Thursday, March 25, 2010

Money Saving Ideas for Utah County Parents

Let's face it. Babies and children are expensive. They have growth spurts every few months that require a new set of clothes and shoes. They grow in their cognitive and motor skills, requiring new play equipment, toys, and games. They grow from a bassinet, to a crib, to a toddler bed as well as from a backwards facing car seat, to a forwards facing car seat, to a booster seat. Honestly, the money you can spend on kids is endless. Unless...you find ways to save. Personally, I really appreciated it when I became a new parent and people shared with me their ways of saving money on children's items. So I just wanted to mention three places in Utah County that I have found great deals.
(1) Kid to Kid
Kid to Kid buys gently used kids clothes, toys, and baby furnishings and then sells them at amazing prices. You can find a lot of things there: infant and children's clothes, maternity clothes, shoes, cribs, rocking chairs, playpens, nursery decor, strollers, baby monitors, toys, books, movies, etc. And I'm not exaggerating about the great prices. I've bought movies, toys, and clothes, each between $3 to $6. A whole outfit (long-sleeved onsie and overalls) was $7, when it would normally be about $20 in the stores. I saw a Boppy for $8, when it is normally $40 full price in the stores. And everything is in pretty good condition. The closest one to my home is only five minutes away in Lindon. The Provo one can be good too, but merchandise doesn't stick around very long there because of all of the new student parents and families. But there are currently 13 locations in Utah. So go to kidtokid.com and click on "nearest location" to find one near your home.
(2) Gifts of the Heart Exchange
This one actually became so popular in the community that they have had to limit it to just for BYU students. So if you are a BYU student, read the rest of this to find out how you can get FREE baby items. You heard right, FREE! The Gifts of the Heart Exchange is like a free garage sale. You just go and take home what you need. The MBASA (MBA Spouse Association) puts it on twice a semester and it is a great resource for clothes and baby/toddler gear, especially when money is so tight for students who have kids. All items are donated by other families who are getting rid of things, as well as by Kid to Kid. Each exchange is at a different church building location, so you need to go to http://giftsoftheheartexchange.blogspot.com/ to stay informed about coming-up exchanges. At the location, you'll find the gym organized into different groups: maternity clothes, boys clothes, girls clothes, hats and shoes, toys and books and other gear. Each time I have gone, I've literally walked out with 2-3 bags of free clothes. You've got nothing to lose by going when you aren't spending any money. It's a win-win situation.
(3) Just Between Friends
I only learned about this one recently, but it sounds fabulous. Just Between Friends is a shopping event that happens usually twice a year per location. At these events, consignors bring their new and gently-used children's and maternity merchandise to sell. Shoppers can then purchase these items at great savings (usually 50-90% off retail prices). Merchandise is inspected to insure only high quality items will be sold. So if you're looking to find a great deal on baby/toddler/kids items or to make money and sell the items you no longer need as your children have outgrown them (earn about 75% off of the sales), then this is the place to do it. And, if you volunteer to help for a few hours, you can shop before the public to get the best deals first. The first event in Utah will be March 25-27 at the Spanish Fork Fairgrounds (475 S. Main St, Spanish Fork, UT), and the second Utah event will be April 21-24 at the Davis County Fairgrounds (151 S 1100 W, Farmington, UT). So go to jbfsale.com to sign up and to find more details, because the first event is this weekend.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Hand Washing Activity

First teach them the the four steps:

1. Use soap and running water.

2. Rub hand back and forth.

3. Rinse hands with water.

4. Dry hands with clean towel or paper towel.

Here is a poster that you can download to help teach the steps and you can put it up in your bathroom to remind your kids to wash their hands.

Spanish Poster

English Poster

Here are some songs you can teach them to sing while they wash their hands. If they sing one of these songs while they are scrubbing their hands they will know that they are washing long enough.

Spanish Song

Lávase las Manos

**To the tune of Feliz Navidad

Lávase las manos cha. . cha. . cha . . cha . . cha. . . cha.
Lávase las manos cha. . . cha. . . cha . . cha . . . cha . . . cha.

Agua caliente, jabón y quince segundos,
Cha . . . cha . . . cha . . .cha . . .cha . . cha!

Qué tengas buena salud
Qué tengas buena salud
Qué tengas buena salud

Desde mi corazón

English Song

**To the tune of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

I can wash my hands you see,
Wash them clean as clean can be.
Inside, outside, my fingers, too
Around my thumbs and then I'm through,
Now rinse away the dirt and stains,
Send those germs down the drain!

Next teach them to wash their hands after:

1. Playing with pets

2. Using the bathroom

3. Sneezing, blowing your nose, and coughing

4. Touching a cut or open sore

5. Playing outside

6. BEFORE eating

To end the activity here is a coloring sheet you can print for them to color.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Playground Safety

As the weather is warming up, your family is probably getting excited to spend some time outdoors. Going to the park is a great outdoor activity for you to enjoy together. You can have a picnic, play kickball, run on the grass, throw a Frisbee, walk the dog, or play on the playground. My siblings and I used to love making up silly skits and dances to perform to our parents at the park.

Play is a very important part of a child’s development. As you visit the park or other places for your children to play at, supervise your children and try to teach them the importance of safety and show them ways they can make their play safer.

Have fun!

You can follow the link below to read an article on playground safety from kidshealth.org.