Affordable Baby Clothing

Who else just loves baby clothes?! They can be so. darn. cute. It’s hard to not spend all my baby budget on clothes. Actually it’s near impossible; that’s about all I’ve bought so far. Since I’m currently working, Jared and I have more room in our budget than we did last year, and when we found out that I’m pregnant, I asked Jared if we could make room for baby things. Like I said I’ve basically just bought clothes so far which means I need to start focusing on other things like diapers, breast pads, a noise machine, swaddles, burp cloths, etc. But that means that I’ve found where I love to buy baby clothes from! So here’s my little gather-up of my favorite baby clothing stores, which have cute, good quality clothing, and best of all, it’s affordable. And one of the perks of having a surprise-gender baby? We can reuse the baby clothes we have for Kiwi for the next baby, boy or girl. See, saving money already! 😉

Clothing

Carters
This is an American baby/kids clothing store that is amazing! Their clothes are great quality and they have adorable patterns and designs, including gender-neutral options (but their boy or girl stuff is amazing as well!). They basically always have a 50% off sale going too. I often browse the website and I don’t think I’ve ever seen them *not* have a sale. You can also find the Carters brand on Amazon, but the sales are better directly from the Carters website, in my experience. Before we went to the States for Christmas, I ordered a bunch of baby clothes from here to bring back with us. Just don’t be like me and forget that you’re paying in USD, if you’re from another country.

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The Baby Factory
This store has some of my favorite growsuits; the Mobi Minors brand has some really cute patterns and they’re only $10 each. Some of their items are too expensive for me BUT they often have sales and then are more affordable! Last week I found this cute yellow sweater, normally $30, for only $6. That’s my kind of deal! All three items of clothing in this below photo are from the Baby Factory, and all three I bought on sale (the doll was handmade by my mom’s friend).

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T & T Childrenswear
If you shop here, do it online, as the prices are significantly cheaper than in store. The prices are affordable and I’ve got some items from here that are cute and seem to be good quality!

SaveMart
This is a thrift store, op shop, whatever you want to call it, in NZ. I’ve been to one in Hamilton and one here in Whangarei and both have been large stores with a great selection! I got these three adorable items for just $10 a few weeks ago. Yes that suit is pink, and no we don’t know the gender; but it was $3 and there’s a 50/50 chance, so I couldn’t pass it up! As for the other two items they look boyish but I would totally put a girl in them, I just need to get some cute headbands if we have a girl so I can girl-ify any outfits like these!

BabyCity
This is another store that’s normally a bit expensive for my taste, but I got some super cute items there on sale last week! The shirt and pants in this photo are both the brand Dot2Tot and they’re super soft. The pants were $4 and I think the shirt was as well.

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Other

Ideal Baby Swaddles
There are a gazillion options out there for muslin swaddles, it can be overwhelming. I found these muslin swaddles by Ideal Baby “by the maker of Aden and Anais”, at the Warehouse. There’s not a ton of color variety – I think 3 color options for 3-packs, and maybe 4 or 5 options for a single swaddle (that I’ve seen anyways). But they’re really affordable at only $10/each or $25 for a 3-pack, and I was surprised to find they are really very soft! I would totally get more of this brand if they had more color options, but I don’t want to get duplicates and I’m not a fan of the other color options (too pink or blue, or just not that cute). ALSO this is very important! They are 106×106 cm, or 42×42 in, so they are nice and big! Some of the other brands I’ve seen are only 80cm and I don’t know if that’s big enough to really swaddle a baby.

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General Tips for Saving Money

Always check for sales or clearance items! Honestly, anytime I’m shopping for clothes, or pretty much anything, I shamelessly head straight for the sales racks.

Be patient – sometimes if you wait a bit  you can get something on a great sale! Try to find out when the next sales are and hold off until then. (Speaking of which, does anyone know when H&M has sales?! Their baby stuff is toooo cute!) I got some great deals on clothing from Carters and Amazon during Black Friday last year.

Keep track of what you have and what you need. I have a long list of everything I think I need for Kiwi, and I’m keeping track of what clothing I have so I don’t accidentally end up buying thirty pairs of pants in a size that Kiwi will outgrow in a few weeks. That way when I’m shopping I can check and see if I actually need something, or which size I should get.

Don’t be afraid of hand-me-downs. When I was little we had friends who would give us several garbage bags full of hand-me-down clothing from their kids, once or twice a year. It was our favorite day! It was like going on an unlimited shopping spree. I loved going through it and trying to claim the best items before my siblings could get to them. Several months ago I bought a bulk lot of newborn and 0-3 month clothing from TradeMe (which is pretty much like Craigslist in the States) for only $30. Most of the clothing was gender-neutral and in great condition and there were even some merino wool items, which I won’t buy because unless I live in Antarctica — which I don’t — I can’t bring myself to spend $25-50 on one single item that a baby will outgrow in a few months anyways.

Now I’m curious, what are your tips on saving money, or your favorite places to shop for baby clothes? Let me know in the comments!

My Strongest Pregnancy Craving/Aversion

When I became pregnant, I learned SO MUCH.

We all know that pregnant women have morning sickness, feel tired, have to pee, all that good stuff.

I knew that. I was expecting it. But when it actually happened to me I was surprised.

Like, ‘OH… you really do feel sick and tired literally half the time.’ (and as your due date gets closer… all the time…)

‘I throw up at least once a day and still feel nauseous at least until midday, but I’m just used to it now so it’s okay.’

‘This is the actual definition of tired.’

‘I’ve peed like five times today and it’s only 9am…’

‘I’m starving.’ This one, guys, this one is insane. I have always loved food but I used to snack out of boredom when I was home. Now? I eat because I am al.ways. hungry. I can eat a big meal and be totally full. Then an hour later… I am starving again.

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*photo of my nephew Percy just because he’s adorable*

And of course the infamous cravings.

Probably 80% of my cravings were for American food that I can’t get here so I just cried as I made lists of the delicious foods to eat while we were in America for Christmas.

But the one thing I always wanted was a McDonalds cheeseburger (Burger King could do in a pinch). Thankfully Jared was very kind and would often give in to my begging to get fast food because 1. I didn’t have the motivation to make dinner when we got home. Or 2. I was literally thinking about the food I wanted for two days straight and was basically in love with it.

My first trimester I was OBsessed with food. I was constantly thinking about food. Watching those Tasty videos on Facebook and just drooling over how good it looked (and then ordering fast food because I was too tired to actually make it…). Pinning delicious recipes on Pinterest that I probably still haven’t made. Okay it wasn’t that bad I swear I did cook, but we got fast food probably once or twice a week. I’m blaming it on Kiwi.

As I entered the second trimester, I suddenly was unbothered by food. I could take it or leave it. Most things weren’t even that appealing to me. I would turn down sweets (I am normally sugar *obsessed*, truly).

I haven’t had any cravings for extremely weird foods, but the biggest craving/aversion I’ve experienced is beef.

Before I was pregnant, I hated the smell of raw or cooking beef. Ground beef, steak, whatever, it all smelled like blood to me. Just ew. Once it was cooked I loved it, but the smell while it cooked turned my stomach. I always thought that I would know I was pregnant when I loved the smell of beef.

Well what do you know. The day before I found out I was pregnant, I was cooking mince (ground beef) for nachos, and I was surprised that it smelled really really really good. It smelled like steak. So delicious. I wondered, but, pushed the thought aside, guessing it must be a coincidence as I was using prime mince instead of regular. ‘Maybe it just smells different?’ I thought, since I don’t normally use prime mince so I didn’t know if there was really a difference. The next morning I took a pregnancy test (and then three more) and after all the initial excitement I thought ‘Huh so my theory about the beef was right.’

Since then I have loved the smell of beef.

And now it really depends on the day. A couple days ago I made beans and mince (ground beef) with taco seasoning and onions and the beans were really tasty but the meat was just blagh. Then the other day I took a bite of Jared’s burger and was disgusted by the taste of the beef patty. That being said I had a steak and cheese pie the other day and it was honestly one of the most delicious things I’ve ever eaten (thank you Dad!). We had burgers from McDonalds last night and they were yummy, and I made beef broccoli for dinner tonight and even slicing the raw meat didn’t bug me.

Anyways. Just a glimpse into the things that go on in my mind.

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I’ll be sharing some of my favorite baby items I’ve got so far, and some of my wishlist items too, in the future! I’ve found some amazing leather baby shoes online that have managed to get past my ‘babies don’t actually need shoes’ logic because they’re too darn cute.

American Christmas

If you’re wondering why I haven’t blogged in two months…

So am I.

I never really know what to write about. Even though there’s tons going on that you would probably find at least somewhat interesting. So I’m just going to write, and if it makes sense great, and if not, at least I tried. So here we go!

Last Christmas was really special because Jared and I got to go to America to visit my family! It was our first time being back since our wedding (almost a year and a half ago) so it was really special to see everyone again. My sister, her husband, and my stinkin’ cute nephew also made the long trip from NZ to Washington, so it was a party! THEN to make things even better? My BEST friend (and cousin) Arianna, her husband, and their baby came to visit from California. So it was basically the best.

Jared and I hadn’t seen Ben, Adalia, and Percy in a longgg time, and so it was really fun to see them and spend time with them! It was so good to see my cousin Arianna too, and it was Jared’s first time meeting her husband Micah, and none of us had met baby Oakley yet.

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I mean, let’s be honest. Could she get any cuter?!

One really fun thing was how excited Apollo was EVERY time he saw me for the first week. When he first saw me – TILLY!!! And a huge hug. The next morning? TILLY!!! And a huge hug. When I went with mom to pick him up from school? TILLY!! And a huge hug. It was so sweet!

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Jared and I had such a good time visiting with my family, and were excited to see my old church family and friends too! It was so hard to leave them all when we got married, so you can bet that we had such a good time visiting with them.

ALSO on the day after Christmas we went to Canada to visit my grandparents.

Now here’s the thing about my Grandma Jean. She loves to cook. And she cooks for an army. It’s impossible to be hungry at Grandma’s house. We had so much delicious food including Hungarian cabbage and noodles, and nokedli. It was a gooood day, my friends.

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Now, I’m totally telling things out of order, just for the record. Christmas day was full of all the traditions that I’d been so excited to share with Jared! Biscuits and gravy for breakfast, opening stockings, and spending all day long working on a large jigsaw puzzle together (see above photo of Micah and Ben!). We play board games, eat food, and just chill out.

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We had an amazing two weeks and THEN on the way back to NZ? We stopped in Hawaii for a few days of beachy goodness before heading back to our normal lives. Kalina came along to help out with Percy, and Grandma Cindy and Grandpa Earl came as well!

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Percy was not thrilled with the taste of the sand and yet kept eating handfuls of it. Look at those adorable brown eyes. And that expression of despair…

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You probably have noticed that most of the photos in this blog post are of Percy or Oakley. It’s just because about 95% of the photos I took were of those two cuties. Pretty sure when our baby is born my blog will be 99% Baby Kiwi, with maybe one or two pictures of food (because we all know how much I love food) scattered in.

As my pregnancy gets further along and Kiwi keeps growing, I have been feeling wayyy better morning-sickness-wise but also very very tired all the time. So I’m trying to take it pretty easy when I’m not at work, and hopefully that means I’ll be focusing more on spending time blogging.

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The BEST Blueberry Muffins

These muffins are really the best you will  ever make. My mom’s friend Mrs. S gave her this recipe years and years ago, and since then we’ve never used another one. These muffins are light, moist, flavorful, and on top of that they’re pretty easy to make.

Mrs. S’ Blueberry Muffins

Preheat oven to 400F or 200F.

Mix:

1/2 cup softened butter

2 eggs

1 teaspoons vanilla

1 1/4 cups sugar

1 cups sour cream

Mix separately:

2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

Combine wet and dry ingredients. Do not over mix.

Fold in:

1 cups blueberries

Spoon into muffin pans. Bake at 400F or 200C for 20-22 minutes. Recipe makes 1 dozen muffins.

Notes: Feel free to substitute any other berry for the blueberries. You can also use plain unsweetened yogurt in place of the sour cream. I did this last time I made them and they were just as good!

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Unrelated photo, but really what is a blog post without at least one photo? Also I just LOVE the photos I took at the Australia Zoo. Take me back anyday… So many amazing animals to look at and learn about and of course to photograph! Plus that bokeh in this photo? Kinda cool if you ask me!

Amazing Cookie Recipe

Last week I made some a. maze. ing. cookies. I found the recipe on Pinterest and somehow I didn’t end up pinning it. I printed it but must have thrown it away afterwards. But I needed to find that recipe again.

Because these are just so good.

Peanut butter. Oatmeal. Chocolate chip. Cookies.

Find the recipe HERE and trust me – save it to your Pinterest board, or bookmark it, or somehow make sure you have a way to find it again!

They’re easy to make.

Absolutely delicious.

And they don’t have butter, only call for 2/3 cup of sugar, and duh, who doesn’t love chocolate chips?

Trust me. They’re so worth it.

 

Changing Seasons – Moving Across the World

It’s crazy to think that it is winter here in NZ right now. It does get cold but it’s definitely not Bellingham cold. It was probably colder in Bellingham last March (when I returned to the US after 6 months in NZ) than it is now in NZ. It’s just about as rainy though!

I think I am finally getting a sense of the seasons again. Moving to the opposite hemisphere can just mess with your sense of time. You have cold, rainy, Thanksgivings where you huddle around a hot fire and drink tea and hot cocoa all the time. Christmas is freezing and everyone hopes for snow as you dig into roast turkey or ham. Then you have a few months of cold weather and relentless rain (or snow) with no fun holidays to break it up. Then spring finally comes around, and there’s Easter as it starts to thaw out, then by Memorial Day it’s actually getting warm again. The Fourth of July is hot and (hopefully) sunny, and it stays light until 9 or 10 so fireworks don’t get started until late at night. As the summer comes to a close and everyone’s thinking about school again, you have Labor Day, and the crisp fall days that come with it…

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Then you move to the other side of the world. You celebrate Thanksgiving in warm weather, Christmas is spent at the lake and Christmas dinner is barbecue. January, February, and March are hot and sunny and if you live in NZ you’re never more than a few hours’ drive from the ocean. Easter is when it starts to get cold, and Memorial Day doesn’t exist here. Fourth of July? Sure we have July 4th… but it doesn’t mean anything. The weather grows colder but surprises you. For a week it will be so cold you’ll need your heater going before you can get up and do anything. Then it will be actually *warm* for a few days, and then as rainy as Bellingham.

When Jared and I got married and moved to NZ, I was so glad that it was almost Spring. We got to NZ in August and spring started on September 1 (keeping track of seasons is so much easier when they start on the 1st!). Moving across the world is hard. Even when you are madly in love! Even when you have friends and even family in your new home. It’s not easy at all, especially when you have amazing family and friends that you must be crazy for leaving behind. Seeing the leaves return to the trees, flowers, birds singing… it helped a lot. Sometimes autumn and winter can be kind of dreary, but you can’t help but love the growth that comes with springtime! And while moving across the world is hard, it was so worth it. Look at this handsome face I get to see every day!

It’s really crazy when you move to another country how many things are different. I got so excited to see Stagg’s Chilli in the grocery store and I don’t even know why! It was just to weird to see an American product that I hadn’t even thought of in ages.

At first you miss the big things, like your family, friends, church, etc. As times goes on though you realize the little things that make it even harder. Not knowing which brands are quality and which ones are cheap. Makeup prices being twice as high in NZ than in the US for the same brands and same products. Sometimes it would be nice to just see a Walmart or Target, or to see a brand you recognize, or a food that you always had at grandma’s house. There’s so much more too, I just can’t think of it at the moment. They’re not things that you can sit down and think of, but things you’ll notice as you’re at the grocery store or on the way to church, and you suddenly realize, man imagine driving on the right side of the road again! I haven’t seen snow in so long… man I would love to go to the mall in Bellingham one more time.

It’s odd on a holiday when nobody cares. You’re all excited to celebrate Thanksgiving or Independence Day but most people don’t have a clue that day is special to you.

BUT there are fun things about moving as well! You get to learn another language! I mean yes we speak English in NZ but there’s so many words that are different, and slang words. I’ll just give you a few comparisons of American words vs their Kiwi counterparts!

Bathroom – Toilet. Unless it’s a bathroom *without* a toilet (because it’s in a separate room), THEN it’s a bathroom.

Counter – Bench.

Garbage/Trash – Rubbish.

Cookie – Biscuit

Biscuit and Scone – Scone

Have you ever moved to another country? Was it similar to the one you came from, or different? I can say that moving to another country is pretty weird. It takes a while to get used to! But I love being in New Zealand. From the first time I came here, there have been some great, friendly people who have helped make the transition easier. Shoutout to you guys! (that is; basically all my NZ friends and family. Love you guys!)

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A New Job and a Dryer!

Last week was incredibly busy, but for good reason! I found out that my work visa was approved (Praise the Lord!) and just a few days later I applied for a job, and less than a week after my visa arrived, I started work! It’s really a blessing to have a work visa now (previously I was on a visitor’s visa) and besides the extra income (which is a huge help) I love that I get to work with Jared! That’s right, I’m working for Alpha Construction Services Limited now. I’m just working three days a week so I still have time to take care of our house. AND this past week, Jared and I bought a dryer… so, exciting things happening around here! That really sounds so boring but that’s being an adult! When we were getting things for our house, after we got married, I was so upset that we were paying almost $400 for a vacuum. Now I’m glad we did, because it’s an amazing vacuum (Miele) and it will last us for years and years and years… but it does take a while to get used to being an adult.

Anyways, that was a long paragraph- so we got a dryer! It’s funny because before I met Jared, when I was staying with Adalia and Ben, I thought to myself, ‘If I ever lived here I would need a dryer. It would be non-negotiable.’ (by the way, I didn’t mind that they didn’t have a dryer! I just thought if I was permanently in NZ, and in the winter, I would get one) But when Jared and I were newly married (well I mean we still are, but…) and moving into our first house and getting things, a dryer really wasn’t the most important thing.

However.

I am so. excited. To have a dryer!

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Alright enough about that, I don’t want to bore you! One thing I am hoping to blog about soon is ideas for meals that you can make ahead! Why? Because now that I’m working (!) three days a week, I am trying to do lots of meal prep ahead of time so when we get home from work, dinner doesn’t take long to make. Since I have Mondays and Tuesdays off, I’m planning to use those days to do groceries (as usual), meal prep, and make sure the house is clean. So far today I’ve done like 1/3 of that… I got groceries, came up with a meal plan, and tidied most of the house, but I still have to do the dishes and make dinner, and clean the bathroom. I’ll probably get my meal prep done tomorrow.

Tomorrow is also the day that we get our dryer delivered and installed!

Okay, okay, I’ll try not to talk about the dryer anymore. I’m just so excited!

AND I just remembered that one reason I haven’t blogged recently is because my camera broke so I couldn’t take any new photos! Thankfully the replacement part was only $30 so I ordered it on Saturday and I am hoping it will arrive soon.

However I still have a few photos from that day Jared and I went hiking! Oh and I also have photos from rugby, that I haven’t edited yet… so much to do so little time. I also have important thing to do like renew Jared’s passport, switch my driver’s license to an NZ one, and more… BUT I’m so thankful that I’m busy because the reason is that I have an amazing job!

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PS Sonic gets cuter all the time, and I honestly just spent like thirty minutes looking at puppies on TradeMe cause doesn’t he need a friend?! But yeah I don’t think that will happen… I mentioned it to Jared the other day and he said NO haha! Plus we like JUST finished the whole potty training thing and I really love not having to clean up dog messes every day.