The MommyCon Experience

mommyconLast year, when I was still pregnant with Tiny, I heard of a 2-day parenting conference that was held in cities all across America.  This conference was touted as being in favor of natural parenting and attachment parenting.  I didn’t even know what attachment parenting was, but there was no way I was taking a 7 week old into Philly on my own last year.  I saw photos from several of my friends, and they really seemed to enjoy themselves and learn a lot at MommyCon, so I had to see it for myself.

This past weekend, was MommyCon 2014, and it was back in Philly, as one of several locations around the country.  Tiny is now 15 mos old, so he and I went both days.

Saturday was the VIP day.  There were about 250 people there, a whole lot for a VIP experience.  And while it was noisy (your encouraged to bring your children), and a little disorganized (first year at the convention center and shipments not arriving on time), it was also amazing.  There were 3 session on Saturday, all very casual.  We heard from The Honest Toddler, The Leaky Boob, and The Baby Guy NYC.  And for attending as VIPs, we each received a Beco Soleil Baby Carrier!  I’ll be honest, the BECO is the reason I chose to go as a VIP instead of just going on Sunday for the general admission day.

VIP Sessions

I got a chance to talk to some great people, enjoy a day in the city, and learned a little more about baby wearing and what I like in a carrier.  The day concluded with a walk to City Hall.

Sunday was a bit different – there were a lot more people, an expo floor with vendors, the Baby Wearing World Record, a variety of sessions, and giveaways galore!

babywearingworldrecord

I wanted to know what this whole attachment parenting/natural parenting thing was about.  I had visions of hippies with boobs out, wearing multiple children, with patchouli stink dancing in my head the first time I heard that phrase.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  Attachment parents and natural parenting are just labels we give ourselves to see what group we fit into.  There were moms, and dads, at MommyCon from all walks of life.  There were so many different types of parents at this event and we all were able to get along and support one another no matter if we birthed at home or the hospital, naturally or with interventions, breastfeed or formula feed, baby wear or pushed strollers, cloth diapered or use disposables, whether it was our first child or seventh (I didn’t meet anyone with more than 7, but it is highly possible) the message was clear – I support you and your parenting choices.

So after two very full days in Philly with my son, I am now home, processing all that I heard.  MommyCon was a good experience.  I’m glad that I went.  I had fun, learned something new, and even made a new business contact or two (which is a bonus).  I found out about new products, and really wish some of these things were out when I had my first baby 7 years ago.  

I’ve already been asked by a few friends if I’ll go back next year, and to be honest, I won’t.  From what I saw this year, MommyCon is great for those who are expecting or have children under 2, however I didn’t see much that addressed parenting the preschooler or even school aged child, and that is the season our family is moving into.  If the seminar offerings change to include preschoolers and school aged children, maybe I would reconsider, but I don’t think MommyCon should change to include that dynamic.  They have captured lightning in a bottle with MommyCon and their niche and how they address it is amazing.  

For more information on MommyCon, check out their website.

Its time for the RWJ Hamilton Baby & Toddler Expo!

rwj baby expoIts time for the RWJ Hamilton Baby & Toddler Expo!

Join our friends from RWJ University Hospital in Hamilton for this year’s Baby Expo this Saturday, April 26 from 10a-1p at the RWJ Fitness & Wellness Center on Quakerbridge Road in Mercerville, NJ (exit 65A off of I-295).

RWJ Hamilton’s Baby Expo has grown into a very popular and much anticipated day of fun with educational exhibits and demonstrations focused on pregnancy, childbirth and early childhood development. In addition to community exhibitors, they will host health information booths on childbirth, breastfeeding, and nutrition. Giveaways, free literature and prizes are distributed throughout the event.

  • Toddler room with arts, crafts and face painting
  • Homemade baby food demo and tasting – 10:30 a.m.
  • Healthy toddler snack tasting – 11:30 a.m.

I have been attending this event for the last 7 years, and am looking forward to checking it out this Saturday.  This event is FREE, and open to new, expecting, and experienced parents and grandparents.  This is a baby/child friendly event, and I have had good luck getting around with my stroller in the past (hoping to be wearing my son during the festivities this year if he is agreeable).

Please note, the RWJ Fitness & Wellness Center is NOT on the hospital campus.  For directions to the Fitness & Wellness Center, use the following address: 3100 Quakerbridge Road Mercerville (Hamilton Twp) NJ 08619.

 

{WOW Summit} 2 Passes for the Price of One

green moms meetWho is going to join me at the first ever Moms Meet WOW Summit, from October 6-8 in historic Philly?

Here is just a little of what they have planned for this super summit: First, you’ll get the chance to meet and mingle with other moms like yourself, as well as let loose and get pampered without having to feed the kids, carpool, or clean the house. You’ll also hear advice from some amazing speakers (check out the lineup here), attend educational workshops, participate in on-the-spot product sampling opportunities, and get tons of free goodies! In fact, each person will walk away with over $200 worth of natural and organic loot—there will even be chances to win cool prizes throughout the event.

Register by August 31st for the early bird pricing deal - plus get to bring a friend for free!

{WOW Summit} 2 Passes for the Price of One

green moms meet With great pleasure, I would like to invite you to the first ever Moms Meet WOW Summit, from October 6-8 in historic Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Here is just a little of what they have planned for this super summit: First, you’ll get the chance to meet and mingle with other moms like yourself, as well as let loose and get pampered without having to feed the kids, carpool, or clean the house. You’ll also hear advice from some amazing speakers (check out the lineup here), attend educational workshops, participate in on-the-spot product sampling opportunities, and get tons of free goodies! In fact, each person will walk away with over $200 worth of natural and organic loot—there will even be chances to win cool prizes throughout the event.

Register by August 31st for the early bird pricing deal - plus get to bring a friend for free!

 

Home Economics for Real Life

Home Economics for Real LifeWhen I started this site almost three years ago, my only focus was on saving money – couponing, daily deals, shopping sales and the occasional DIY project.  Recently, I have noticed this page is going in a different direction, one that not only shares money saving ideas, tips, and tricks, but also where I discuss other aspects of keeping a home and raising a family.

After a bit of thought, I decided the tag line for this page – “Raising the bar, without raising your budget” didn’t exactly fit anymore, but how could I sum up what I wanted Raising A Family On A Budget to be about, in one simple sentence.

And then it came to me - “Home Economics for Real Life”

Depending on your age, and what schools you went to, you probably had a home ec class of some variety when you were in school.  For some, these classes were about learning to cook or sew, but for others, these classes included details like budgeting your money as well as your time, learning to be a smart shopper, menu planning, cooking, sewing, as well as general life skills for keeping a home and living within your means.

Growing up, I got a good mix of academic Home Economics classes as well as the real life experiences from my own mother.

In my middle school (CW Lewis in Gloucester Twp, NJ), everyone in 6th thru 8th grade took both “shop” and home economics.  Mrs. Guida taught Life Skills – the ideas of conflict resolution, comparison shopping, and budgeting time and money.  With Mrs. Depsey we learned to sew, both by hand as well as with a sewing machine.  And Mrs. Dunn was not only the cooking teacher, but she was also our Girl Scout leader. When I got to high school, Mrs. Walker was the cooking and nutrition teacher, and it was in her class I learned the importance of menu planning and how to prepare family style meals on a budget.

These skills carried over and were reinforced at home by my family, specifically my mother.  From the time I was in the sixth grade, my mom ran a family day care out of our home.  These additional seven children weren’t just bodies taking up space in our home, but they became like part of the family.  That meant the weekly grocery trips with my mom required 2 shopping carts, lots of coupons, a well planned list, and about 2 hours on a Saturday morning.  From there, I also learned to prepare dinners for our family of 5, as well as breakfast, lunch and snacks for up to twelve people at a time.

In addition to my academics and extracurricular activities, I also had responsibilities around the house – from cleaning my room and making my bed daily (which I usually didn’t want to do), to helping with the yard work, vacuuming, cleaning the bathroom, doing laundry, shoveling snow, picking the fruits & veggies from the garden, and helping with the family’s laundry.  I hated having chores, and felt that the ate into my social life and free time.  Often, it was my being stubborn about not wanting to complete a task that was the reason for lack of free time, because my brother would do all of his chores and be out playing before lunchtime on the weekend, and it often took me significantly longer to accomplish the same tasks.  Mom, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry for the headaches I gave you every weekend fighting about cleaning my room for hours on end.  I have a feeling these three kiddos will give me a dose of my own medicine before long.

Now as a mom, I realize that I can not put a value on the experiences I had when I was younger.  Those things that made me moan and groan as a kid, are the reason I have a strong work ethic, a mostly organized and tidy home, home cooked meals on the table, clean laundry in the drawers (ok, in the baskets), and children who are now willing to help work around the house (and sometimes not so willingly) all so we can function together as a cohesive family unit.

That’s what I am now sharing with all of you here on Raising A Family On A Budget.  It is about more than clipping coupons, and the budget part that I have focused on for so long.

Now its time to focus on the raising a family part, and focusing on all of the aspects of homemaking and parenting that is real life and not some idealized picture we get from watching 1950’s television.  I am not June Cleaver or Donna Reed.  I’m not even Mrs. Cunningham, but I’m trying to be the best home economist I can be in the real world.

 

2-year Subscription to Parenting or Parenting the School Years for Just $6!

parenting magazineThere is a great magazine deal available on Mamasource today – get a 2 year subscription to either Parenting or Parenting School Years for just $6!  That’s just 28 cents an issue!

Here are the details:

  • Choose from $6 for a two-year subscription to Parenting or Parenting School Years magazine ($88 Value)
  • Each subscription includes 22 issues
  • Magazine will be mailed to the address provided at checkout on Mamasource
  • Subscription will be sent to you within 6-8 weeks
  • Valid for new, renewal or gift subscriptions; US only
  • Limit (1) voucher per household per subscription, may buy more as gift

{Mamasource} 2-year Subscription to Parenting or Parenting the School Years for Just $6!

parenting magazineThere is a great magazine deal available on Mamasource today – get a 2 year subscription to either Parenting or Parenting School Years for just $6!  That’s just 28 cents an issue!

Here are the details:

  • Choose from $6 for a two-year subscription to Parenting or Parenting School Years magazine ($88 Value)
  • Each subscription includes 22 issues
  • Magazine will be mailed to the address provided at checkout on Mamasource
  • Subscription will be sent to you within 6-8 weeks
  • Valid for new, renewal or gift subscriptions; US only
  • Limit (1) voucher per household per subscription, may buy more as gift