my favorite splurges

In these lean times, splurging feels just that more luxurious these days, right? I don’t know about you, but when we do decide to go nuts and spend money on something nice these days, it just feels that much better. Or in the case of a pricey massage, it goes just THAT MUCH FASTER. So today I’m blogging about some of my favorite big dollar splurges that have really paid off in the long haul and STILL have us feeling thankful we paid the big bucks for it. Actually, one of the criteria for making this list is that it had to be something that John and I talk about how happy we are that we got it, on a pretty regular basis.

Here we go, in no particular order:

Beco Baby Carrier: $140

It’s been going strong with two kids now. Best baby purchase ever. You’ve see me carry Jocelyn in it too.

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Jogging Stroller: $150-$600 (I spent around $250 on one that was clearanced down from $500.)

Must have features: A front tire that can either swivel or lock, inflatable tires, storage underneath and a waterbottle holder. I don’t jog, but we do go on lots of walks. We didn’t buy this stroller until Miles was two, because it felt like an unnecessary luxury. That was a super stupid thought as we would have gotten so much use out of it from day one with him. Thankfully we have had it for all of Jocelyn’s life and clearly he still enjoys it for a nap on the go.

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Trampoline: $170 (6 years ago)

This was our first joint purchase when John and I were dating. Oh my gosh, we have had SO much fun on our trampoline. Sadly, it hasn’t been out of storage since before I was pregnant with Jocelyn, but it stands as one of the most fun purchases we’ve ever made. Oh, and it’s a GREAT workout, especially if you have a toe touch competition. (Though you won’t be able to walk for days after the first toe touch competition of every season-OUCH!) This is a controversial one as it can break your neck and your friend’s necks too. So proceed with caution here.

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KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer: $250

I grew up with one of these in my kitchen, so it was a given I needed one of these once I was a grown up. Go ahead and get the vegetable grater too so you can make zuchinni bread in a flash. I’m not a major cook or baker, but this thing has made making chocolate chip cookies on a whim so easy and so fast. Oh and angel food cakes? Oh my favorite kind of cake! I would never make another one without my Kitchenaid.

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Honda Odyssey: $24K+

I was anti large car for a LONG time. We held out for the longest time but honestly, if you are pregnant or have little ones, just make your life more amazing sooner and get a van. Some say they only want an SUV, but dude, an SUV won’t open the door for you. I’m just sayin. Plus, the Odyssey has this Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) thingy that helps with efficiency by deactivating cylinders when you aren’t using them, so it’s not a major gas guzzler.

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Waring Professional Belgian Waffle Maker: $72

I spent a weekend at my girl Gail’s house and on Sunday morning she and her husband made me (I was pregnant at the time) Belgian waffles with strawberries and whipped cream on top. I was in HEAVEN. They ROCKED MY WORLD. One would think that this would put a pregnant girl in a food coma, but I drove home that morning feeling fantastic for the rest of the day. I couldn’t help myself, I ordered a maker the minute I got home. We now enjoy beautiful waffles almost every Sunday while watching CBS Sunday morning, or otherwise known as the “Sun Show.” It’s also made for some great breakfast for dinner evenings.

Oh and by the way, the waffle maker makes PERFECT waffles every time. We have made both fancy homemade batter and mix batter, but we have found that The Fresh Market’s brand Belgian Waffle Mix is our favorite. It’s easy and tastes just as great. This photo doesn’t show how nice and thick the waffles are. Just trust me on this one.

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Apple iphone: $199

Without my iphone, how would I ever document awesomely bad hair days like this? (Or the grey shirt that I haven’t stopped wearing non-stop since fall 2009.)

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Our iphones are SO much more than a phone. It’s a camera, Flip video camera and of course a way to communicate in 9 million ways other than actually having to talk to someone on the phone. John has said over and over what a blessing our iphones have been to capture our life right now. (I do print iphone photos, so it’s not like I’m just taking photos to share on Facebook.) John filmed and edited this little video all from our iphone too, which blows us away.

Oh and my old iphone 3 took this photo, one of my favorite photos of John. Without my iphone, I wouldn’t have captured this sweet moment. (I was too sleepy from having Joss to handle our big camera.)

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Apple ipad: $500

Do I really to explain this? Oh my goodness, we use the ipad a million times a day. We don’t have laptops, and don’t want to do our main work from one, but we need another way to access the web on the go or in other parts of the house, so the ipad is a much more affordable option. It’s genius. (Need a cover? We got this one.)

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Having a baby soon? You NEED an ipad. Period. Just trust us. It’s your 3 AM feeding’s best friend.

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Stamped Concrete Patio: $3K-ish

New Patio

When we got our house the only patio we had was a grease stained and chipped little square of concrete out back. When Miles was a baby we had a stamped concrete patio put in and had landscaping created around it. Oh my goodness, that was money so well spent as we spend so much family time out there. It has made a HUGE difference in how we can enjoy our backyard. I say any money spent that facilitates family or friends getting together is money well spent! The concrete was done by Hoot Landscaping and landscaping done by JPS Curb Appeal, which was not part of the $3K.

Photography sessions

Of course, I would be remiss to not mention photography. That’s always been a great investment for us as well. (One that I haven’t done or arranged yet in 2011 for our family though. Oops!)

This is an image from a session back in 2007 and I see it everyday when I walk by it on my way to our bedroom. (It’s a 12×18 inch print, matted and framed.) Many times a day I think about how much I love it and how it captured a truly precious time of my life reading to Miles.

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My camera

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to list my camera and my favorite lens on here since they are business expenses, but I really think that a good camera and the knowledge of how to work it is a splurge (of time and money) that is something that keeps giving back over and over to the people who posses them. We constantly give thanks for the equipment that I have learned how to use to capture our world. Time moves so quickly, what could be more precious than being able to bottle a bit of it?

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So what’s your big splurge that you are thankful for, time and time again?

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  • May 26, 2011 - 11:02 pm

    Lori - Do you have the Beco Gemini or the Butterfly? It looks like you can carry with baby front facing out in the gemini but not the butterfly. I am due June 1st and have been patiently waiting to go ahead with my Beco purchase and I’m finally ready! P.S. our I Pad is already ordered and on the way. Would love in the future if you blog any favorite apps!

    Thanks:) Lori

  • May 26, 2011 - 11:17 pm

    Joanne - CBS Sunday Morning is the best show on tv. Although the last segment (the nature footage) has been cut really short lately, which is a bummer. Maybe I’ll make waffles this Sunday :)

  • May 26, 2011 - 11:23 pm

    donya - We didn’t get an iPad until our son was a year old, but I can wholeheartedly agree about how useful an iPhone is when you have a newborn. We were in the hospital longer than normal when he was born and it was my only way to the outside world those first few days and then the next couple weeks. And of course, the late night feedings and countless baby apps :)

  • May 26, 2011 - 11:53 pm

    Nicki - Too funny! You and I have much in common. I, too, love my Beco, our new Quest van, my jogging stroller (although I am not a jogger, it works great at the beach), my Kitchenaid mixer, and my recently acquired iPad. Wish I would have had it 6 months ago for those late night feedings, although those late night feedings seem to be creeping back into our life :) And I have to agree about my camera. Ever since my baby girl was born in November, I have tossed around the idea of closing my photography business. My husband said, “Great! You can sell your equipment.” to which I replied, “No way! Even if I didn’t do this professionally, I wouldn’t ever want to give up my camera as I will never stop wanting beautiful photos of my kiddos.” And something I splurged on today was a bathing suit. It’s the first time in a long time I have felt that comfortable and cute in a swimsuit. And I do live 10 minutes from the beach, so it’s bound to get lots of use.

  • May 27, 2011 - 9:04 am

    Cassie - I love your list! I pulled the Beco carrier out this week; LOVE that thing! And jogging strollers are so worth the money. I don’t know what I did before we had ours.

    My coin jar definitely has “new camera” written on it. :)

  • May 27, 2011 - 2:33 pm

    jess - So fun!!! Very creative list I love it :)

  • May 27, 2011 - 2:53 pm

    Gail - You know I LOVED seeing that waffle maker on there ;)

  • May 27, 2011 - 4:24 pm

    Heidi Garcia - I love my baby carrier too, however, don’t think it’s a Beco…. I put Tally in it when I go grocery shopping and she usually fall asleep and keeps her from jumping out of the cart…and yes, she would try that… I so want your camera been looking on craigslist, but can’t justify buying it till I get my last piece of Pilates equipment, since ya know, that IS what I do for a living :-) ~ other than that, awesome list…. I have no list…I have a Pilates studio hahaha

  • May 27, 2011 - 4:51 pm

    Susan - I agree completely with landscaping as an investment you will never regret. And camera equipment. And a great house that you can make a real home. And my hot tub :)

  • May 29, 2011 - 11:45 am

    Kelli - I do a lot of cooking/baking and am so thankful for the Kitchenaid. We also splurged on a food processor, I think it’s a Kitchenaid too. My 24-70mm Canon lens was a splurge, but I love it and needed it. I got pictures of my grandpa just before he passed. Our garage, we had a rickety old leaking carport. It was a huge expense but it is so worth it for the additional storage space. And my Mac. It’s so much better than the PC.

  • May 29, 2011 - 4:56 pm

    Heather Corporan - Since you mentioned the waffle maker, thought I’d send you off this oober yummy belgian waffle recipe. It’s the best.recipe.ever! And SUPER easy,albeit not light on the calories ; ) Ingredients 2 cups Yogurt, vanilla or fruit flavored (Stoneyfield’s is the best!) 1/2 cup Butter, melted 2 cups Flour 1 tsp. Baking Soda 1 tsp. Baking Powder 2 Eggs, whisked Mix yogurt and butter in a mixing bowl on low speed. Add eggs slowly. Beat in the dry ingredients until mixed. This will create a very sticky batter. Pour about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of waffle mix into the iron and cook according to the iron’s instructions. These waffles come out very light and puffy. Add chocolate chips for a treat : ) I cook mine for 5 minutes total (mine does not flip) We always get rave reviews from this recipe (I’ve even won a contest with it! lol And I second the minivan!!! Everyday I thank God for doors that open themselves (momma of three kiddos under 6) ; D

  • June 13, 2011 - 9:41 pm

    Christen Pettit Miller - Ah, we love us some Ipads and Iphones here…and the photo of Miles with the Ipad could be an Apple ad.

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