Affordable summer activities you can do with your kids + free printables

Summer is officially in full swing – and as introverted as I am – I can’t be home every single day. So, I’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite kid-friendly summer activities that we love to do, hopefully you will enjoy them too! The best part? They’re affordable!

Affordable summer activities for kids:

1. Have a backyard picnic with your favorite foods

Pc: CANVA

We love backyard picnics! Our favorite foods, a sunny day, and just running around and playing outside! Seems so simple, but it’s a nice way for you to unplug and enjoy quality time together!

2. Go to the splash pad!

We just recently started spending time at the splash and we LOVE IT! Here in Texas the splash pads are completely free, and almost every park has them! A tip I’ve learned: get there before they open. It’s not as hot and less people!

3. Go to the beach!

Here in Texas the beaches are also free, and many of them have free parking. I’ll be honest, the thought of taking a toddler to the beach used to give me super bad anxiety! But, we’ve found a super cute small local beach, it truly is a hidden gem. Look around online for any small local beaches near you, some communities are building beaches in neighborhoods here. It’s the craziest thing, but also comes in handy for when you don’t want to make a big trip to the big beaches with your little ones.

4. Play in the rain

I don’t know about where you live, but here in Texas it’s been an exceptionally rainy summer. As long as there is no lighting or thunder, we’ll play and run around in the rain! Get you some rain boots and go to town on the muddy puddles!

5. Have a movie day

I got this idea from my sister and I love it! Bring out the mattresses, pillows, and all of the blankets to the living room! Camp out, make some homemade popcorn and watch a family movie! This is great for those rainy days when you can’t play outside. Here in town they have $1 early bird kid movies, that’s a great option as well!

6. Go to the park!

Good ole trusty park playground! Pack a cooler with lunch, sunscreen, and some water and spend the day at the park! I don’t know about you but my kiddo can spend the whole day there!

Bonus: free printables for the rainy days

How To Start A Vegetable Garden on A Budget!

Screenshot this pic to easily shop all of your garden needs in the LIKEtoKNOW.it app!

I know what you’re thinking, “isn’t it too late to start a garden?” Depending on where you are in the world, right now is the perfect time to start your summer garden! You may not be able to start seeds indoors, but you can sow them outside or buy plant starts from your local farmers market or nursery.

Imagine: landscaping stone and mulch around the pots 😅. The garden is planted, the aesthetics are a work in progress.

We live in SE Texas, so we have an extra long growing season! I’ve actually just sowed a few seeds directly outdoors and they’ve already taken off!

If you don’t follow me on Instagram, you probably have no idea what I’m talking about! I know Ive been a bit MIA from my blogging space, so the long story short update: we moved out of our apartment in the city and bought some land in hopes of starting a small homestead. We’re doing this all on our own, and on one Income. With prices of lumber and materials skyrocketing, we had to do lots of research as to how we would make our garden. And so, our budget garden was born!

Here’s what I’m using this year:

Grow bags!

Tomatoes growing in 10 gallon grow bags

Grow bags are a great option to grow your veggies in! The materials are self-wicking, they are a great help to the plant’s root-system, and the best part they’re cheap! I’m growing in 10 gallon grow bags, you can get away with 5 gallon grow bags ; but I really wanted my veggies to not have to compete or sacrifice for space. However, because of their self wicking nature they do need to be watered more often. Currently with this Texas heat I water once a dawn and once at dusk, for some this may be a con but I honestly enjoy being in my garden space so I don’t mind.

A trellis!

Depending on what you grow, your veggies may need something to climb up on. I’m growing tomatoes, cucumbers, and sugar baby watermelons. You can use a tomato cage for all of these, upside down for the melons. I also really wanted to use cattle panel, but I drive a sedan so getting a trellis and tomato cage home was a challenge. I found this trellis netting for under $10! It’s actually surprisingly sturdy and does an awesome job! You’ll need something to attach it to, and something to help support and guide the plants onto it.

Garden Stakes

As mentioned earlier, you’ll need something to attach the trellis netting to! That’s where these garden stakes come in, I stuffed these on each side of the grow bags on the inside and secured them to the handles of the grow bags. Using the zip ties

Zip ties attached to the grow bags + zip ties securing the trellis netting!

Garden Zip-Ties

I needed a way to hold everything together. Originally I hammered the garden stakes into the ground, however that made them way too short! So, not only did these zip ties allow me to secure the netting to the post, but it also was able to secure them to the plant and grow bags! These items seem like such a mindless thing, but they really are the “glue” that keeps it all together!

Garden Velcro Tape

Velcro tape guiding plant up the trellis!

Velcro? For plants? YES! Now because of the type of trellis Im using, I needed something to help guide the plants up and to also keep them secure during wind and storms. Tomatoes naturally grow up, but melons like to spread out unless you train them to go up yourself! This Velcro tape is more gentle than using something like zip ties, and it allows the plant to grow without being disturbed. I found growing the plants up rather than letting them stay on the ground have helped minimize the pests.

EXTRAS

Hand pruning shears

Pruning is almost always necessary for a healthy garden. I thought – because pruning seed starts were easy with my fingers – that i didn’t need these. I was so so wrong, these plants got SUPER thick. These pruning shears are a MUST!

Organic Potting mix

Having an organic garden is my priority! This organic potting mix is affordable AND effective in the garden!

Organic compost

Two of the most important components of your garden should be your soil/mix and your organic matter. This compost has been working great in our garden and is also very affordable!

Screenshot this pic to easily shop all of yours garden needs in the LIKEtoKNOW.it app!(Disclaimer, links are affiliate links. Which mean I may earn a small commission if you shop through these links, at no extra cost to you! Thank you!)

And there you have if, a simple garden on a budget! Are you gardening this year? If so, what are you growing? I’d love to know In the comments below!

Super easy Toddler Activity box & storage idea

It’s 2021, we’re living our best lives and leaving the clutter behind! Today I’m sharing a super simple and easy way to organize and store your kids playdoh and craft accessories! You can also use this to create your very own Toddler activity boxes!

We love activity and sensory boxes in our home! They’re a great way to keep the kiddos busy while you take some time for yourself, prep dinner, or do a quick pick up of your house. Whatever you use these for, it’s an easy way to help your kids be entertained, especially if they need a break from technology or on bad weather days when you can’t get outside!

First:

You’re going to need some sort of storage box, I love these from Michael’s AND they’re on sale right now!

We got the pink one!

Next:

Fill it up with your items! We filled ours with playdoh, paints, and all of our craft accessories!

I’m sure If you have toddlers then you may have most of these items already, but if you don’t, here are some ideas with what you can fill your box with!

Playdoh
Washable paints
Popsicle sticks
Kinetic sand
Puzzles are great to add to your activity boxes
Or you can purchase a pre made box! This one is a sensory box and it is also offered in different colors!

And there you have it! I hope you’ve enjoyed this idea, and if you create one of your own feel free to tag me on Instagram so I can see your wonderful creations!

Disclaimer: post may contain affiliate links, which mean I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you when you purchase these items through those links. If you do, I want to sincerely thank you for helping support my family.

2020 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE FOR HER

Remember my last post? How to have a budget friendly Christmas. Well, Many of you had questions and asked for product recommendations. So, I’ve complied a list of gifts I think any woman in your life might like. They’re cute, trendy, and useful without any cheesy-ness. I hope you enjoy, and keep a look out for a Gift Guide For Men to come.

Disclaimer – Links may be affiliate links, which mean I may earn a small commission when you shop through these links, at no extra cost to you. Prices are subject to change, all items were $35 or less at the time this blog post was made.

Looking for a budget friendly gift guide for the women in your life? Look no further friend, I’ve got you covered! In no particular order, lets get into the gifts!

  1. COZY SLIPPERS. I have yet to meet anyone who doesn’t like slippers. Diamonds who? Cozy slippers are where it’s at!!

2. A CUTE MUG. Listen, there really is no such thing as too many cute mugs. Especially Target mugs!

3. Bobbi brown travel LIP GLOSS. I’ll be honest,I used to not understand the purpose of travel-sized cosmetics for people who weren’t always travelling…and I worked in the beauty industry for over 5 years. But as a busy woman and mom who is always on the go, Travel sized cosmetics are literally GENIUS! They’re compact and easy to throw in the diaper-bag or purse for a quick refresh. These are definitely a must have!

4. Kate Spade Glitter Studs. I have no other explanation other than KATE SPADE and GLITTER STUDS!!! I MEAN, just beautiful.

5. KNOTTED HEADBANDS. Knotted headbands made their appearance and they’re here to stay, honey. Seriously, how cute are these!

6. Heart Stud Earrings. Glitter studs aren’t your girls style? Don’t worry, these super chic heart stud earrings she will for sure love!

7. YETI MUG. Hear me out, I know it’s not shiny or fancy. But this mug, is literally a life safer. Especially if you’re shopping for a mom, HOT coffee or tea?! She’ll love this gift forever.

8. Drink More Water Bottle. Another great must have, especially for the gal on the go or busy moms!

9. Last but not least, a COZY BLANKET. Have you ever met a woman who’s not cold? Neither have I! This super cute and cozy ultra plush throw blanket is what dreams are made of.

SHOP THIS SCREENSHOT WITH THE LIKETOKNOW.IT SHOPPING APP.

3 Easy tips for staying on a budget while Christmas shopping.

Is your love language gift giving? Mine is, too. But my wallet, not so much. I’m going to share with you some things we’ve learned and tips we’ve used to stay on budget with christmas shopping.

As the years have gone by my husband and I have prioritized our spending on essential things like personal care, health, investing and savings. I used to very much be into over-the-top spending and showering everyone with gift-giving, the downside was I almost always ended up broke afterwards. It got to the point where I no longer looked forward to Christmas shopping and it became more of a stress than it was enjoyable. Like most things, I put endless amount of stress on myself wanting to buy everyone, yes literally everyone, a gift for Christmas. No one asked me to, I just really like Christmas gift shopping. And to be honest, I struggled a lot with a shopping problem I took years to even acknowledge was a problem ; but that is a story for another day…

Here are some tips that helped us stay on budget:

  1. NOT EVERYONE NEEDS A GIFT.
    I know, it sounds kind of awful. But your Sister’s cousins great aunt Sheryl, twice removed, that you’ve only spoken to twice doesn’t need that fancy Pandora bracelet. And remember, Christmas is way more than what we give or receive during this day… So, We made a list and kept it short, consisting of the people in our lives we hold close. My parents, His grandparents, one gift exchange for each of our families, and our daughter. We went from shopping for like 20 people, down to 7.
  2. SET A BUDGET.
    When I tell you about how much we spend per person you may be shocked. You ready for it? We try to keep our spending at about $35 per person, with the exception of our daughter. Bringing us to about a total of $250. YEP! Y’all, I was EASILY spending close to $1000 years past just on Christmas shopping. INSANE. And that brings me back to tip #1, keep your gifting circle to the people you hold close. Now our budget definitely changes through the years, sometimes our budget is more and sometimes it’s less. Especially given this year’s situation, don’t feel pressured to give fancy gifts. This doesn’t mean you cant get little gifts of appreciation for your co-workers, your team, nieces and nephews, or other family members. I love making little hot-chocolate gift bags with a special thank-you note or a giftcard; and they’re super affordable. In a cute plastic gift bag add your hot coco pouch, a candy cane, and some marshmallows. VOILA! You can even turn them into little reindeer. super cute!
  3. KEEP IT SIMPLE.
    Christmas shopping can get hard, and its easy to buy a bunch of random things and overspend when you don’t have a plan. A sister of mine shared this with me and I’ve applied it to our Christmas shopping ever since. You can have whoever you’re shopping for make a list of a NEED, a WANT, and a READ. If your budget allows you can get one from each category, or one from the entire list. This way, not only do you save money, but your gifts tend to be more meaningful and useful.
  4. VOLUNTEER.
    Now this one may be difficult this season with Covid, but if permitable, you can eighty-six the gift-giving and volunteer as a family at a food pantry or a soup kitchen. Years past our family made little sack dinners and drove around town feeding the homeless. This is a great way to get the family together and enjoy gifting to those in need.

And there you have it, 3 awesome ways to cut down on spending this Christmas season + 1 bonus tip. I hope you’ve enjoyed these ideas, do you have a hack to save money on Christmas shopping? Share them in the comment box!

15 must have items every breastfeeding mom needs.

FAVORITE BREASTFEEDING ESSENTIALS:

In honor of National Breastfeeding week I wanted to share with you some of my favorite essentials that I feel will be helpful for your breastfeeding journey.

Disclaimer: I am not a lactation consultant, doctor, or specialist. Please consult with your doctor before trying any of the recommended items to see if they’re right for you. Links provided in this post may be affiliate links, which mean I may earn a small commission when you purchase through them, at no extra cost to you! Thank you.

Breastfeeding is a FULL TIME JOB, scratch that, its TWO full time jobs. Our journey was not easy in the slightest ; with a lot of hard work, support, and encouragement from some amazing breastfeeding mama’s we made it to 2 years of breastfeeding. Crazy right? I never thought I’d make it to 6 months.

TOP 15 BREASTFEEDING MUST-HAVES :

1) Nipple Cream!
Those poor nipples will be dry, chapped, sore, and maybe even bleeding. BUT DO NOT FRET, it all calms down after you and baby get the hang of things. I went through so many tubes of nipple cream during our breastfeeding journey, I narrowed it down to my TOP 2. In no particular order, Lansinoh and Earth Mama.

2) Breast therapy packs!
These wonderful therapy packs also help care for your nips. Let me tell you, the first few weeks you want to make sure your nips and breasts are being well taken care of. You can use these packs cold or warm. They help reduce soreness, engorgement, clogged ducts, mastitis, and help promote let down.

3) Nipple Shields!
I lost our shields before I could use them, but SO many mamas recommended these when I first started breastfeeding. They come in different sizes so make sure you measure for the right fit for you. Or, you can just get a few and try them out. It’s not uncommon for your breast and nips to fluctuate in size during your breastfeeding journey.

4)Haakaa!
What the heck is a Haakaa? This little bad boy is made directly from the hands of the breastfeeding angels. Simply attach it to your breast while the baby is nursing from the other, and this little contraption will catch your let down(leaks)! I seriously wish I had this sooner when I discovered it. So much liquid gold wasted at the beginning, but when our haakaa came in it was a GAME CHANGER. Plus, I didn’t have to take the pump out during every breastfeeding session.

5) Re-Usable Nursing Pads!
Now, you can always get disposable ones but I like saving money. So, I bought a huge pack of re-usable nursing pads. They’re super soft and comfortable, they don’t stick to your nips like most disposable ones, and you can throw them right in to your baby’s laundry on wash day.

6) LACTATION COOKIES!
Ok, so many people think lactation cookies are a sham…I’ll admit I even did too, at first. Until I found these. They’re SO good, I honestly don’t even like oatmeal cookies but I ate like 5 in one sitting and let me warn you. DO NOT DO THAT. I could have fed an army of babies. I pumped so much milk that day.

7) BREASTFEEDING BRAS!
Initially I wasn’t going to invest in nursing bras. Why are undergarments so expensive? (or maybe I’m just cheap!) After a day or two into our breastfeeding journey I QUICKLY took to amazon and purchased some super comfy nursing bras. I thought I could get away with using sports bras but they were simply too tight, I really underestimated how much breasts grow when breastfeeding. Nursing bras are typically made of super soft stretchy material with clasps to help with easy access.

8) A PUMP!
At first I really didn’t think I would even use a pump. I was SO determined to exclusively breastfeed. However, like everything in life, that really didn’t go as planned. Days after my baby was born I developed sepsis and was re-hospitalized ; and unfortunately I was not able to nurse my baby for the first few weeks while in recovery. Having a pump is great for those days where you maybe want to give your girls a break, want to build your milk supply, or if you’re returning back to work. This was the pump I absolutely LOVED! Check with your insurance to see if they cover the cost of a breast pump. Don’t forget Breast milk Bags to go with your pump, and make sure you are replacing and cleaning the parts as directed by your pump manual.

9) BOTTLES!
If you read number 8, you’ll know why you need bottles! Bottles are great to have, even if its just a small pack. Our Lactation Consultant recommended using preemie nipples for breastfed babies, yes even if they’re not preemies. Preemie nipples closely mimic what it’s like for a typical breatsfeeding let down, ensuring that you don’t over feed your breastfed baby. These were the bottles our picky baby liked.

10)NURSING COVER!
I’m all for openly breastfeeding, if that is what YOU are comfortable with. Absolutely do not feel embarrassed or let anyone shame you for how you nurse your hungry baby. And truthfully after a few months your baby will start fighting even going under a nursing cover, or at least mine did. I opted for using a Muslin Blanket when she reached that age, they’re super light weight, breathable, and you can use them in multiple ways.

11) BREASTFEEDING PILLOW!
I suffered with HORRIBLE back and body pains after having Olivia. It made it so hard for me to hold her up when she was breastfeeding. I’ve also heard breastfeeding pillows are super helpful for mamas who are recovering from having a c-section. There are several nursing pillows on the market, but we loved the Boppy Pillow.

12) WATER BOTTLE!
Hello extreme thirst…I got extremely thirsty during the first few months of breastfeeding. Keeping a HUGE water bottle by the bed, nightstand, and coffee table was a MUST HAVE. I don’t know about you but i’m more prone to drinking water if its in a cute cup. Plus staying hydrated is essential for a successful breastfeeding journey! I loved this one, but really you can use anything!

13) SNACKS!
Along with the thirst, being ravenous seemed to hit when ever I was breastfeeding my baby. I bought some of my favorite snacks in bulk and portioned them out into little baggies or containers to have on hand for whenever hunger striked!

14) A BREASTFEEDING STATION!
What is a breastfeeding station? Basically I got a small basket that fit on the coffee table and beside table filled with water, snacks, some headphones, the current book I was reading, and my phone charger! Having a breastfeeding station was super helpful in those moments where my baby was cluster-feeding and I’d be glued to the bed or couch. My common nursing spots were on the couch and on my bed, which is why I chose those two locations. Feel free to use anywhere in your home to set up your nursing station.

15) SUPPORT!
I know moms, we feel like we can or have to do it all. But let me tell you, breastfeeding is no walk in the park. I made so many awesome friends in breastfeeding groups. Whether in person or online, I can guarantee there is a breastfeeding support group near you. Attending a physical group is super helpful, in my opinion. I was able to meet and connect with other moms. However, with the whole Covid situation going on, Online support may be a better fit for you. I found the online groups that leaned more towards “gentle” parenting were most helpful and way less judgemental than your average online “mommy group”, in my experience.

BONUS: If your hospital, midwife, or birthing center offers a breastfeeding class, TAKE IT! I promise you it is worth every penny!

And there you have it, My Top breastfeeding essentials for nursing moms! Have any recommendations? Share them down below!