Gift Ideas for a Stubborn Husband

Husband GiftLike most women, I like nothing more than a day spent shopping. I know, I know, it’s very stereotypical. But unfortunately, it’s a stereotype that I very much live up to.

There is one exception to this, however, and that’s shopping for my husband. Is it my imagination or is trying to buy a present for a man one of the most complicated tasks in the entire world?

My husbands birthday is coming up. And like any sensible wife, I decided to ask him outright; what would you like for your birthday? His answer of course, was nothing. Don’t waste any money he said.

Considering he bought me a beautiful handbag on my birthday, this was never going to fly. I therefore spent countless hours researching and came up with the following three gift ideas.

If you have a man who’s impossible to shop for, I recommend the following.


If you’ve been with your partner over a year, you probably know by now what he likes to wear. An article of clothing can therefore make for the perfect purchase.

Keep in mind however that it’s important to think about his tastes not your own. Now is not the time to try to change him.

As a result, I decided to shop for work boots rather than the Italian shoes that I secretly wish he would wear. There’s a time and a place for trying to change your man, and their birthday isn’t it.

Power Tools

If your partner enjoys a spot of DIY, this can be another area that’s ripe with potential present ideas. Personally, I don’t know a thing about power tools but I do know one thing; when my husband turns his air compressor on, the noise makes me want to kill him.

I therefore decided to read a few air compressor reviews and find him something a little bit quieter. Was this selfish? Possibly. Was it worth it? Definitely.

Now he can power his sanders and drills without torturing the neighbors.


Finally, we have alcohol. Most women wouldn’t dream of buying their man a six pack but I’ve always been okay with it. If he’s happy to pick up tampons for me occasionally, I’m happy to buy him beer every now and then.

Considering it’s his birthday however, I decided to go one step further and buy him a bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue. I’ve always thought scotch is scotch but I’ve been repeatedly reminded that this simply isn’t the case.

So there you have it, shopping for men isn’t easy but it is possible. Just think clothes, power tools and overpriced scotch.

My Diaper Bag Packing List

diaper bag necessitiesSo after doing a surprising amount of research, I’ve finally picked out a diaper bag. Unfortunately, it turns out I’m only half way home. The second stage of operation organised mommy is figuring out what I actually need to put in it.

If you’re trying to choose a new diaper bag, I recommend the following site that’s all about the best diaper bags. If you’re trying to figure out what to put in your new bag, I recommend the following slightly minimalist diaper bag packing list.

Diapers: Simple enough right? What isn’t so obvious is the how many diapers you should. With smaller diaper bags used for quick trips. two or three diapers should be just fine. With larger diaper bags used on longer trips, its better to be safe than sorry. Estimate how many diapers you’ll need for the day and then add 2 more.

Wipes: Keep a large number of wipes on hand because you’ll need them for both yourself and your baby. Its always helpful to keep them in a zip loc bag so you can see exactly how many you have left.

Cream: If your child gets diaper rash she will be cranky all day so make sure you have a full tube of on hand at all times.

Changing pad and blanket: There’s no arguing with a diaper that needs to be changed and there isn’t always a sanitary place to do it. This is where a changing pad becomes very important. You may be able to get by using a small blanket as a changing pad if your infant will be taking a nap during the day.

Seal able bags: Trash cans won’t always be nearby so seal able bags to stow the used diapers and wipes is an absolute necessity. Keep a number in excess of the number of diapers you carry just in case of unexpected surprises.

Pain Relievers: Your child will often be exposed to discomfort ranging from teething to common colds. Pain relief for theses inconveniences will be extremely important. Children’s acetaminophen or ibuprofen are excellent for these situations. Also, aspirin for mom and dad’s headaches is always a good thing.

Extra Clothes: Babies will frequently bee in need of clean clothes due to spills and accidents. In addition, moms who are nursing should also keep an extra shirt of their own.

Food and Entertainment: Even the shortest trips can require nutrition and distraction. Containers with solid food and baby bottles should always be available in your diaper bag. Books and toys are necessary to provide distraction during the day.

What do you keep in your diaper bag?

My Guilty Pleasures

bathA day in the life of a mom is hard. It seems that we shoulder many burdens and responsibilities, whether at home, school, work, church, or Junior League. How can we possibly keep our lives well oiled when we are feeling squeaky ourselves?

I have a few guilty pleasures I indulge in just to keep the threads of sanity I have from shredding. Guilty pleasures do not mean gobs of money. There are no Manolo Blahnik boxes or shopping bags associated with my guilty pleasures. It’s all about taking time for yourself. Not stealing time, scheduling time.

A few things that help me take the edge off (and wine isn’t even on this list!):

A simple bath. Toss the kids’ bath toys into a cabinet. You don’t even need expensive bubble bath. Some Epsom salt from your local drug store and a few drops of lavender oil (or even peppermint extract if you’re feeling stuffy!) will do the trick. Whatever you do, do not use the kids’ Curious George bubble bath. Immerse yourself, relax, let yourself go limp. Think about five things that rock your world.

Grocery store check out aisle magazines. Oh, the joy a People or Us Weekly magazine can bring! What’s important is to view these magazines as a voyeur. Don’t start comparing yourself to those air brushed celebrities or worrying about why you don’t own the latest “It” girl trends. Just enjoy the fashion, gossip, and superficial nonsense. If anything, you’ll think your life is way better than those rock stars you read about.

Exercise. I mean it. I actually hate to exercise and have yet to find something that makes me want to throw off the covers and hit the gym. However, I force myself to go because I always feel better when I’m done. Always. If crunched for time, I go for a quick 30- minute cardio work out. A little is better than nothing, right? Plus, the gym’s childcare is great fun for my boys and a huge convenience for me!

Nosh. Quit worrying about kid fare and prepare some of your favorites at meal time.

Dessert. Just a dish of dessert make me instantly relax. Maybe it’s just the muffin top expanding. In any case, a taste of something sweet after the kids go to bed is an indulgence I look forward to all day. Lucky for me we still have a stash of Halloween candy to dig into! May I also recommend Dibs ice cream bites. You just need a bite to do the trick, not the whole package!

An at-home pedicure. I personally do not have a pedicure budget these days. I do have a drawer full of dime store nail polish. Just a simple trim, buff, and polish will do the trick. When the polish is dry, slather on some yummy scented lotion and admire your tootsies. No matter that it’s winter. Your little secret.

So that’s it. A handful of simple, guilty pleasures. I wish I could indulge in all of them everyday. Let’s be honest, I don’t even get one a day, but at least I have some things in my hopper for when I make time for me. My kids’ well being depends on my sanity.

First Time Watching Pinocchio

Sometimes wishes can get lost in the shuffle of our busy, busy world. Many of the moms I know feel like their daydreams have been put on hold as they tend to carpools and runny noses. Kids too can feel overbooked and missing that time to just imagine. We don’t stop as often as we should to wish upon a star.

Although I write here about lots of fun activities – movies, books, crafts, cooking ideas, and more – I have been trying to be conscious about giving us all the time to daydream, to imagine, to create in our own way. For my son, this means time spent staring out the window at the birds and critters, and lots of time later talking to me about his thoughts. For me, it means spending those extra five minutes in the shower or walking around the block one extra time, letting the water or movement shut out the rest of the world, and letting my thoughts fly.

Do you carve out extra time and space for you and your kids to be dreamers? I’d love to hear how you honor that imaginative and creative opportunity in a world of soccer, scouts and supper.

Once you are done with your quiet time, though, and looking for a movie for a family movie night, you might have noticed that Disney just re-released Pinocchio, in a 70th anniversary edition. I was provided with a copy of the new Blu-Ray / DVD package, which I think is a great idea. We haven’t bought an HD television or a Blu-Ray player yet, and so we obviously haven’t been buying Blu-Ray discs either, although we’re assuming that eventually we’ll catch up with the Joneses! Disney packaged the Blu-Ray edition of Pinnochio with a standard DVD, so we have the Blu-Ray for later and the DVD for right away.

My kids had never seen Pinocchio before, although we’d read various versions of the classic tale. They were delighted with it, as they are with all of the classic Disney movies. I enjoyed some of the bonus features, including the “Pinnochio’s Matter of Facts” which replays the movie while sharing fun facts about it. The Blu-Ray itself has even more great bonus features and games! Both versions will be in stores on Tuesday March 10.

Watching the movie and singing the song “When You Wish Upon A Star” had my son and I talking together about our dreams, about how we might want to change our world if we could, and about whether wishes do come true. Tonight, we’ll be stargazing and letting our imaginations run wild!


In Defense of Coupon Cutting

coupon cuttingI always find it interesting that many of the people who most need to save money don’t bother to coupon. I’ve heard a variety of reasons and excuses over the years, but the most frequent is probably that it takes too much time. I’m here to debunk that myth for all you busy moms who would like to find some extra room in your monthly budget. For the last several years, I have spent 20 minutes clipping coupons before heading to the store to save hundreds of dollars each month.

I actually spend less time on my grocery shopping than my own mother, who spends double my grocery budget for a household half our size! However, even if I did spend a few more minutes than most people, the return would be well worth it. I once tracked my money saved & time spent to get an estimate. Coupon clipping netted me about $30/hour. There aren’t very many jobs I could find at that rate!

Hopefully by now, I’ve convinced you that clipping coupons is worth the effort. The next step is learning how to get started. First, you’ll need to start collecting coupons. You’ll find these primarily in the newspaper each Sunday with printable coupons for added bargains. The task that most people find daunting is finding ways to store all those coupons.

In an effort to keep couponing simple, I actually stopped clipping them several years ago. Instead, I stored the whole inserts and cut coupons only as needed before I went to the store. Date a file folder and slip your inserts into it each week. The coupon database and weekly grocery lists at Inexpensively includes a list of dates & sources so you’ll be able to find the coupons you need quickly when the deals arise.

This isn’t the way to save the most money, but it is the way that will save you the most time & effort. I’m actually headed back to my old coupon binder in an hopes of lowering our grocery budget even further, but the file folder method has served me well for the last several years. Now, where did I put my scissors?