The Swan Life: March 2017

The Swan Life

Hello and Happy (almost) April, readers! We’re about into the fourth month of the year and this is an important one… when our family expands from 3 people to 4 with the birth of our little swan. That’s all that has been on my mind lately, so I guess that wraps up this month’s edition of The Swan Life. April Fools… of course I wouldn’t do that to you guys (can I say April Fools before we’re not technically into April? Clearly I’m excited for March to be over.) This is my chance once a month to share my perspective, thoughts and ways of saving a little dough (from the non-finance major in our household).

Curriculum For Toddlers

Just like most all parents, we strive to do the best we can by our little ones. We focus on having a healthy diet for the kiddo, limit screen time, read lots of books, emphasis outdoor time, and building and developing that little brain of his.

We’re fortunate our little one enjoys books. We can never read enough to him and sometimes it even requires a lot of patience as he endlessly requests “one more book” at bedtime. Sticker books are great and have even kept him sitting still for 30 minutes at a time (huge toddler win!) And that got us looking on Amazon where we found this comprehensive curriculum set. It’s been a nice new development tool that makes early learning fun!

Big Boy Room

The biggest milestone we had this past month was transitioning our son from his crib to the “big boy bed.” Just like in February when he dumped the diapers (best pun ever…) and had great success wearing his Thomas the Train, the milestone for March was necessary before the newborn arrives.

His big boy room has been ready to welcome a new occupant for some time now. I truly think the reason we didn’t make this transition earlier was laziness on our part. Our son has always been such a great sleeper, he never once tried climbing out of the crib and we had such a great nighttime routine down that it proved easy for mom and dad. Why fix what isn’t broken?!

We definitely wanted to create a space that a big boy could appreciate, but we didn’t want to break the bank either. Here are some ways we customized and saved:

  • Paint Color and Letters – The color scheme we went with was navy and orange, think Chicago Bears, but not originally by design. We bought some wood 12” letters from Michael’s to spell out our son’s name (coupons always help at a store like this – I have the app downloaded and it’s the easiest way to clip coupons… or realize you have one while waiting in the check-out line) We also bought some orange spray paint and some Command Strips. A little outdoor project to spray all the letters orange, let dry and stick on the wall. Easy and cheap.

Swan Life

  • The Bed – The most important part to the new room. Our crib in the nursery is convertible, but we figured why convert it when another baby was on the way to sleep in there. We didn’t care to purchase another convertible crib, especially since we already had a full size bed in our possession. This was actually my bed that my parents bought me probably back in high school (aka free!). Perfect size for the room and perfect size for a growing little boy. We simply bought some new sheets to go with the color of the room, placed the bed against the wall lengthwise and added…
  • Toddler Rail – Because the bed included a box spring and there was no way to remove it and still use the bed frame we figured we’d need some sort of rail (it would be a decent fall should Jr. roll off). We bought a simple toddler mesh bed rail and it hasn’t let us down…or allowed him to fall down (I’m on fire today…).
  • The Chair – To round out the room we actually moved the chair from the nursery into the big boy room. Don’t worry, we actually got a new chair for the nursery thanks to a smokin’ deal I found on Facebook. Our neighborhood has a private Facebook page where you can only join if you actually live in the neighborhood. People are constantly giving things away or selling items. I found the new chair, asked JW for his thoughts and we instantly jumped on it. Unlike us to make such a quick decision, but it has been a good one. Anyways the white chair works really well in the big boy room so this transition was seamless.

The Swan Life

Spring Cleaning Maid Service

Let me preface this section by saying this was totally a first for us. We’ve always been pretty self-sufficient when it came to our house (as evident by the Tired of Being a Homeowner post JW wrote up). That doesn’t mean, however, that we enjoy it all.  JW did some research and asked me if I could appreciate hiring a professional maid service before or after we had the baby. I thought it was a great idea and good timing as well.

Let me just say it was the best $205 we spent last month! I know you must be shocked to hear we spent that much on the cleaning, but that also factored in a $75 coupon. Because our house has never enjoyed a deep cleaning, and we’ve lived here almost 5 years, it was necessary. We keep up on the standard chores: laundry, dishes, vacuuming, etc. But it was the extras that were well worth it included base boards, dusting the fans, blinds, bathrooms top to bottom etc.

I mentioned that in The Swan Life from October. Another benefit? The time savings! The estimated time to deep clean our house was 4 full hours for two maids (8 total man-hours)… and that would likely take JW and I all day. The older I get the more I value my time… and time spent with family.

Keurig Discount

I’m sure a question you’ve had on your mind lately is how we enjoy our new Keurig Rivo. No? Aw come on guys. This is just to show that the prize I won at my work holiday party hasn’t been a complete drain. JW found some great deals on pods to use in the machine.

We initially thought Amazon would be the best answer, like always for us, but buying direct from Keurig offers the best deal. The pods basically come to 60 cents each which isn’t bad for a nice cappuccino / latte / macchiato. Not as cheap as a regular home brew coffee (or cold brew), but significantly less than the corner coffee shop and worth it to us.

Next time I write for you guys, much will be different in our household!

How did you decorate a children’s room on the cheap? What apps do you have that offer great coupons? Do you enjoy a good spring cleaning? Why is it always spring and not summer/fall/winter cleaning?

-Lucy

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  • Aww, congrats on the Big Boy room! I’m sure the little Swanling will appreciate having a new space of his own. 🙂 For the Keurig pods, is it possible to snag a reusable pod? I used to have a Keurig but I wasn’t a fan of the amount of trash and the cost. The reusable pods might be a good option?

    • The Green Swan

      I love the little Swanling term 🙂 We have looked into reusable pods, but because this is a special Rivo machine (doesn’t take K-cups) you have to buy resealable foil that you put over a pod that you already used. Basically you have to clean out the pod, refill and put the foil over it. We tried cleaning a pod out once and it was nearly impossible… we gave up. -Lucy

  • Mrs. Groovy

    I love Michael’s for design ideas. And the chair looks great against the yellow wall! So excited for you and JW and the birth of Little Swan. It was great meeting the two of you!

    • The Green Swan

      Thank you so much Mrs. Groovy!! It was a pleasure meeting you two as well, we’ll need to get together again! -Lucy

  • I’m so excited for the Green Swan family – didn’t realize you were so close! I’m still hoping to keep the twins cooking until May.

    Definitely can’t blame you for waiting until it was necessary to move your son into his new room. We have had sleep issues with all of our kids. How did he do? Back to his normal sleeping routine?

    We were going to move our littlest before the twins arrived to free up his crib, but read that twins often do fine together in one crib at first. We have two cribs, so we’re going to keep the status quo for the time being and use the spare crib for the twins.

    • The Green Swan

      Oh yes having twins is a totally different ball game. Sounds like you have it all figured out for the sleeping arrangements. The transition for us was surprisingly easy, but we have had a few night here and there where he will turn on the light and wants to play or read a book as opposed to sleeping. Can we blame ’em? I would say he’s back to a normal sleep pattern though so we can’t complain. Best of luck as your little ones join the world! -Lucy

  • The Magic Bean Counter

    congrats on the big boy room. I definitely feel you on not wanting to change up your old bedtime routine, that can be a very slippery slope. Sounds like all is well though, which is great to hear.

    • The Green Swan

      Thank you! It’s amazing how much little ones rely on their schedules. We are all creatures of habit! -Lucy

  • Joe

    The Big Boy room looks great! W didn’t redecorate for our son. His room is also my office. Someday, he’ll have his own room… 🙂
    Twins will be a huge change for sure.

    • The Green Swan

      Funny you mention about your son’s room also being your office. We kept our desk in our son’s room too and when either of us work from home on a random day we sometimes sit in there! Families make everything work. -Lucy

  • MrsBITA

    So exciting that the new cygnet is nearly here! Congratulations on the move to the big boy room. This month we’re going to start training Toddler BITA to fall asleep on her own – no more Mom or Dad in the room till she falls asleep. I’m not looking forward to the process, but I am looking forward to the outcome.

    • JW

      JW here…Lucy is sleeping next to me and baby boy #2 is sleeping nearby. Family of four now!

      I hear you on getting toddler BITA to fall asleep by herself. Putting them down when they aren’t asleep is never easy, but its great once they get used to it. Persistence and patience is key! Best of luck.

      Thanks for stopping by, Mrs. BITA.

  • Exciting times. We have our first little one on the way so it’s interesting to hear a little about what we may have in store in the not so distant future. Pursuing FI can be tough, doing it while raising a kiddo I’m sure will add a few new twists!

    • Yes definitely. Although so far we’ve found that kids don’t really have to be super expensive. There’s a lot of control parents have on that. As a expecting parent, you should check out my post on the subject…I’ve tracked every dollar spent on Kid#1 so far and logged it. You might find it interesting. Here’s the link: http://thegreenswan.org/managing-the-cost-of-children

      Thanks for stopping by!