Baby Gear – Common Big Purchases

While choosing items for your baby try and keep these three things in mind versatility, simplicity, and quality. A few things bought with those in mind are much better then 20 things bought for single purposes. Simplicity in design and quality in material is necessary for long life. The more complicated the design the more areas something can fail in. I would much prefer simplicity in design to “convenience” in bells in whistles any day.

Here are some of the more common “big” baby items and how we applied those three principles. This is not a complete list. I still have several more posts coming in this series. This is my personal experience I do not claim that it is more then that. Every situation is different.


A carseat is a must if you drive anywhere, at anytime. We forwent the infant carseat carrier and went straight for a convertible carseat. By doing this we were able to put the saved money from not purchasing an infant carseat into a very nice convertable carseat with many safety features. Carseats are one of those things where nicer really is better. With the amount of driving done in our culture a carseat is the single most important purchase you make. We made one big purchase that will last Natalia for years and can rear-face up to 40 lbs.

An infant carrier carseat is a great way to not have to hold a baby, another reason we chose not to get one. It is so tempting just to tote the baby around in one of those things, use it in restaraunts, at the store, in a stroller, or for walks. They are massive and uncomfortable. We chose to go the carrying route. We invested in a few good carriers (more on that later) something we wanted anyway and we were able to completely cut out this expense and another gadget to have and greatly increase the amount we held Natalia. The times that I wished I could just put her in a carseat in the cart, highchair, or stroller were times that she was still being benefitted from being held. There is nothing wrong with putting a baby in a carrier carseat, but I knew without one I would hold Natalia a lot more.


We were blessed with a bassinet that we used for both Christopher and Natalia until recently. We knew it needed to be replaced at some point because there were some broken elements to it (it was still safe to use if we put the bassinet basket on the floor). When we saw a wooden one for sale at a antique mall we bought it. While the other bassinet had failed where there was a piece of plastic bearing much stress this wooden cradle with it’s simplicity of design had fewer fail points and is was made of better quality material. I could definitely see this bassinet lasting us through all of our children and maybe even grandchildren. Plus, it’s pretty and looks nice in our room. Natalia sleeps in there part of the night and with us part of the night.


I bought a swing because I was able to get it for only $20. Honestly, I found it unnecessary for our situation. It was very wonderful for the moving process and if at another time I am moving with a tiny baby I might look into borrowing a swing, but for day to day use… we did not use it. I preferred holding/wearing Natalia or just letting her lay on the floor. The benefit I got from it hardly seemed worth the space it took. From what I understand it is nice for babies who need to be upright though.

Stroller –

Natalia has yet to be in a stroller. I just wear her. I love keeping her close especially for the first several weeks when we are both adjusting so much and being near each other helps us both. Even with Natalia being a chunky six month old I prefer wearing her and pushing Christopher then wrestling with a double stroller for walks.

We did have a stroller for Christopher and it was nice for the amount of walking I did the summer after he was born. I do not need as big a stroller now though because I do not walk to stores nearly as often. I take walks but not to really to complete errands.

Play Pen

I really don’t have much to say about these, because I have never used one. Obviously I didn’t find it necessary and I don’t know different. I did use a travel bassinet for Christopher and a bouncy seat for Natalia. Most of the time they just sleep with us when we travel.

From my sister Amy (who is visiting right now, and brought a playpen for her young daughter) “We have one because it was given to us, and we used it instead of a crib. We did that because our kids don’t like sleeping with us.”

Grinding Your Own Flour

 frugal friday @ Life as Mom

How to make Ricotta Cheese

Last Friday I shared how to make feta cheese Out of a gallon of milk you get nearly a pound of feta, but we won’t stop there let’s take it a step further and get nearly a cup of ricotta. How cool is that? Oh, and this time I’ll even leave out the lame whey jokes.

This cheese is really easy to make and so tasty.

I used it to make homemade Alfredo sauce. Delicious!

Homemade Ricotta

You will need:

Whey left over from making feta cheese , another cheese, or Greek yogurt

A 5 quart non-reactive stockpot

A wooden spoon

A theremometer

A strainer

A clean cloth for draining

Receiving container to catch the whey during the draining process

1) You need the whey to become acidic, to do this leave the whey out for 12 – 24 hours. I know this is a terribly difficult step but the results are worth it. I actually did not have a chance to make the ricotta immediately following this step so I stored it in the fridge until I could.

2) Heat the acidified whey in a non-reactive pot, while stirring with the wooden spoon, until it has reached 220 degrees Ferinheight (95 degrees Celsius). Do not let it burn on the bottom or boil over.

3) Remove from heat and let cool down until it is cool enough to handle. This will take a few hours. Do not stir it.

4) Line the strainer with a very fine woven VERY clean cloth and place over you receiving container. You can sterilize the cloth by boiling it in water.

5) Pour the whey through the lined strainer, slowly. You may have to pour it out in stages depending on the size of your strainer. Allow most of the whey to drain through, this will take 1-2 hours.

6) Lift the corners of the cloth and hang over the receiving container. Let fully drain.

7) Gentle remove the ricotta from the cloth, scraping with a spoon. RICOTTA!!!!


Now, as far as the leftover whey is concerned I think it is still fine for lacto-fermenting things, but am not sure as I have yet to try it. Hopefully tomorrow though, I will be making LF Ginger Carrots so we will see.   Never mind. It’s not.




  1. No, you can’t ferment stuff with this whey. It’s been heated really high and it’s killed all the probiotics. And the point of whey is to add all those nice probiotics to whatever you’re fermenting. :)

    I have tried this once before and it did NOT work for me, sadly. I got no cheese. Did I not heat it high enough? Or something? Because I wanted to make lasagna….

    • Thanks I’ll edit the post! I asked… Laura from HH (I think) and she said maybe.

      My biggest guess would be the whey did not get acidic enough… many recipes do not call for letting the whey sit out. But, it might also be not heating it enough. Sorry, I know that is not super helpful.