Summer on Sale

A few weeks ago, I posted a blog about my Friday Favorite thing, an adorable swim suit cover-up, that I purchased for my upcoming yachting trip. Well, it just dropped in price to $10.99!! They have a ton of colors, but only the lavender is on sale for that price. If you’ve been longing for warmer days at the pool or beach, now is the time to order. Amazon changes prices constantly, so it may go back up next week.

If you’d like to purchase, you can use this link to buy from Amazon!

coverup

I just bought mine, and because I didn’t choose 2-day shipping, I got $1 off my next digital purchase! Looks like we’re having a movie night this weekend! Gotta love Amazon!

Can’t wait to rock this in a few weeks! Cheers to warmer days!

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Thrift Store Meets Subscription Box

When I was working, one of my guilty pleasures was subscription boxes. I used StitchFix (which I’m pretty sure most of you are familiar with) and threw away plenty of money on over-priced clothes. I told myself I was paying for the convenience of not having to shop. And, I guess I was, but even then, I was overpaying for it.

Enter thredUP. thredUP is an online consignment store. They have some serious discounts on name brand stuff. And now, they have Goody Boxes, which is comparable to Stitchfix, only way way waaaaaay cheaper!

Like Stitchfix, you pay $20, which will go towards whatever you purchase from your box. thredUP sends you 12 – 15 items in a Goody Box that you get to try on at home, then send back what you don’t want! You only pay for what you keep and it is not a subscription. I love that it sends you more items than just five, so you have a better selection.

All of the fun of a subscription box, and probably only a quarter of the price!

Currently, the Goody Boxes are themed: Night out, Office Styles, and Cold Weather Essentials, but they also have a “Custom Goody Box,” and that allows you to tell them what you’re looking for. I’m planning on using this to find some vacation clothes.

As with any service like this, it pays to be specific! I will make sure I tell them brands that I like, as well as certain looks that I like/don’t like. If I don’t wear certain fabrics or prints, I plan to tell them upfront!

If you shop with thredUP using my referral link, we both get a $10 credit! So you can order your Goody Box for only $10, and then that goes toward whatever you purchase! Win, win, win, win!

Has anyone used this service? Let me know how it went for you!

Story Time Dropout

I have to say that one of my most favorite days of the week is was story time day.

When my daughter, now 13 years old, was little I worked. I wasn’t able to take her to story time at the library and I felt like I was missing out! Being a working momma was a necessity then, and she turned out to be an avid reader (top AR in her grade last year, wha?!). So obviously missing out on story time didn’t hurt anyone, but I really longed to be able to do it with my second child.

And so, once a week, we hop in the car and head to story time. I have to tell you that the first time I took him, I teared up. It is super silly, but I totally was overcome with thankfulness. I didn’t make a big deal out of it, and no one noticed, but I totally did it.

My sister and niece started to attend story time, too, and I was in stay-at-home-mom heaven. My precious son and his sweet cousin, singing songs and listening to stories, together! I would well up again…

EXCEPT that when we go into the story time room, my child goes nuts. My sweet, book loving, little boy only wants to run. From me.

Today, the librarian told me that, “He is really active. Why don’t you try bouncing him on your lap, so that he gets the feeling that he is moving?” Sure, lady with no children, I will hold my almost two year old on my lap while he goes limp and struggles to try to get down, and bounce him. I’m sure that is exactly what will cure his need to run.

In her defense, I do not think she was trying to be rude. I do think her intention was to help me. But, God, I was embarrassed! The next time he got up to run around, we left.

Of course, when we left the room and went into the actual library – that has the most wonderful children’s section, by the way – he sat quietly and did a puzzle.

Maybe next week we will try the class for 2 to 3 year old children. The class we are currently in, for 18 to 24 months, is mostly just songs and the librarian holding up stuffed animals to the giant group of children. Maybe an older group would mean more focused activities. But if we try that and fail, I guess he is a story time dropout.

Today it’s Toddler-1, Momma-0.

My new favorite day of the week is Saturday. Daddy can be in charge. Momma is sleeping in!

 

A Real Life Easy Button?

Have you guys tried the Amazon Dash buttons? I’ve been using them for about a year, and I’m in love. I’m actually surprised at how few people know about them, even though they have been around awhile.

dash

Set up is pretty easy: you connect it to your wifi, get on your Amazon account and pick out specifically what item (and quantity) you want mailed to you, and then put it in an appropriate place!

We currently own four dash buttons: Tide laundry detergent, Angel Soft toilet paper, Huggies, and K-cups. The toilet paper button is in the cabinet in the bathroom. Whoever picks up the second to last roll, is responsible for pushing the button.

Once the button is pushed, the order goes through and alerts me on my phone. If I have a reason, I can cancel the order. If I don’t cancel it, I receive a shipment of toilet paper in two days. At my door step. No more forgetting vital items at the grocery store! All I do is push a button!

I know what you’re thinking: “Great, but my toddler would push it ten times and then I’d receive twenty tubes of toothpaste, and worse — be charged for it!” There are settings for that! You can set the button to not allow another purchase to be made until the first one is fulfilled. So, if your child pushes the button ten times, only the first one goes through.

If my husband goes to the bathroom and takes the second to last roll of toilet paper and presses the button, then my order goes through, and later that day my daughter pushes the button without knowing that my husband already did, I can cancel the second order when my phone alerts me. Pretty easy!

When my son was a baby, this was priceless for keeping diapers in stock! No one had to make a 2 am Walmart run to pick up diapers! We have the Huggies button, but y’all, they also make them for Luvs and Pampers (and probably others that I have not yet discovered)! I breastfed my son, but I have seen dash buttons for Similac and Gerber formulas. Dash buttons would make great baby shower gifts! And they’re only $4.99!

These would make great gifts for lots of occasions: house warming, bridal shower, teachers, new office/job, graduation, etc.

Before we got married, my husband would run out of toilet paper and contact solution and forget to purchase them at the store! I can’t tell you how many times he would leave my house at night and take a roll of toilet paper from my stash because he forgot to grab some when he was at the store. I should have gifted him dash buttons! He’s a man, so he may have forgotten to press a button…

What item (currently offered or not) would you love to receive at the press of a button?

Penny-Pinching Momma

My life before staying at home was in the public high school. It’s true that teachers don’t make much money, but I earned enough to live comfortably. Now, as a stay at home mom, I sometimes struggle with not earning a pay check. My husband has never ever made me feel guilty about money, but the control-freak in me absolutely hates that I am not bringing home a check.

Side note: The money is probably the only thing that I don’t like about staying at home. And before you catch me complaining too hard, there is nothing that requires me to stay home with the baby. I could easily go back to education and get a job teaching, if money bothered me that much.

I’m not the kind of girl who is interested in washing out ziploc baggies to reuse, so I try to be creative when it comes to helping out with finances for our family. Christmas 2016, our first without two incomes, I used Coinstar for a ton of Christmas gifts. I went through old purses, both vehicles, couch cushions, and junk drawers to put together a jar of coins. What I had fit into an empty spaghetti sauce jar. I wasn’t very hopeful, but when I had Coinstar count it, I had $109! You can keep that entire amount if you turn that money into a giftcard at the kiosk (otherwise Coinstar takes a percentage to turn the coins into cash). The giftcards carried by the kiosk varies by location, but I found one that would convert coins to Amazon gift cards and purchased several Christmas gifts that way. You can get anything on Amazon! That money could pay for diapers, toilet paper, books, etc!

Another thing that I’ve used is Swagbucks. It sounds kind of questionable, but it has legitimately paid me over $50 in giftcards. There are several ways to earn through Swagbucks, but I use the surveys. Each survey is worth a different amount of “swagbucks.” You fill those out, and once you accumulate at least 300, you can redeem that for a giftcard! It is NOT going to pay out a ton; 300 swagbucks = $3.00. But I redeemed each time I had 300 swagbucks, I turned mine into Amazon giftcards (have I mentioned that I love Amazon?!) and would immediately put that giftcard onto my Amazon account. Then, the next time I purchased through Amazon, I got $3 off whatever I was buying. Or more, if I had accumulated enough giftcards. Every little bit helps, truly. One survey even lead to a product trial. They sent me a free package of diapers and I had to use them and record my thoughts on them and how well they held up. So, I got Swagbucks for the trial AND free diapers for my son for a week. Often, they have sign up bonuses, but that varies by date, so check their website for details. (If you follow my links, I will earn Swagbucks for referring you.) 

thredUP is my favorite way to earn a little money, while also cleaning out closets. Money + less clutter + you literally only put it in a bag and give it to the mailcarrier. I’ve tried Ebay, but you have to worry about shipping cost, packaging, taking pictures, and writing up details to describe the item. I just don’t have time or patience for that! Through thredUP’s website, you can order a “clean out bag” for free. They mail you the prepaid bag, you fill it with clothes (yours, your husband’s, your kiddo’s…) that you no longer want, seal the bag, and hand it to the mail carrier. They do the rest! I have shopped for clothes via thredUP before, too. If you don’t mind second-hand, they have a pretty great selection. (More on that in another post, this one is about saving money, not spending!) And if you use my referral link to join thredUP, you get a $10 credit! Ten dollars is quite a bit when talking about second hand shopping!

The last tip that I want to share is this: before you buy, ask yourself if you can wait until Christmas/your birthday. That sounds fairly simple, but here is what I tried for 2017, and I think it really helped. When I’m out shopping for something specific and something else catches my eye, I add it to a list that I keep in my phone. That list turns into the Christmas or birthday list that I share with my family when they ask what I’d like to receive. For example, my family makes homemade pizza quite a bit, and each time we do, I cut it with a knife. While I was in HomeGoods looking for a gift for a birthday party, I saw a pizza cutter and thought: I really need one of those! Of course, I didn’t need it…I can easily use a knife. But instead of purchasing it, I opened the note on my phone and added a pizza cutter to my Christmas list. (I literally keep a list on the Note App on my iphone) When November rolled around, my in-laws asked for Christmas ideas and I was able to send her the list that I had made all year. Was the pizza cutter at HomeGoods expensive? No…it was probably like $8.99. But it all adds up. And I did receive one for Christmas!

Do any of these sound do-able to you? Do you have any tips or websites that have helped you save or earn money? Leave it in the comments, I would love to try new things!

 

Freezing Friday Fave

I’m a Texan. Texans enjoy three things: bragging about being Texan, barbque, and hot weather. I have friends who whine about us not having a “real winter” down here, because most years you can wear shorts on Christmas Day. But the real test came this week, when mother nature dealt us two days off of work and school from ice and snow. It was terrible. Even my friends who claim to love cold weather are sick of the winter that we’ve had down here. I prefer any temperature north of 80 degrees, so I have been absolutely miserable with lows in the 20s and teens!

All that ice and frost did allow me to spend more time with my husband and daughter, who were stuck at home while the roads were icy. While I don’t watch much tv, my husband is notorious for turning on a show and then leaving the room (or sometimes, the house). Usually, when he does this, he has turned on football or some strange Netflix documentary that I don’t have any interest in. I was pleasantly surprised, however, when he turned on Atari: Game Over. The documentary is about the rise and fall of Atari, and goes in search to prove the urban legend true that the company buried “the worst game of all time,” ET. While I’m not a gamer, and am too young to have owned an Atari, I appreciate the pop culture nostalgia, and love a good urban legend.

The show features a man named Ernest Cline. He wrote the book, Ready Player One. I had heard of the book (it’s on my “to read” list), but had never heard anything about the author. He reminded me of a Zack Galifianakis character, super nerdy but in an adorable and comedic way. I decided to move Ready Player One to the top of my reading list. It was already checked out at my library, so I decided to try another book he wrote, Armada. The reviews on Goodreads weren’t great, but I noticed that everyone was comparing it to his other novel.

I’m not done with the book yet, but it is really a fun read! The premise is that the government has known for decades about an imminent attack by aliens. In order to prepare and train humanity to fight, they created video games. The main character, Zack Lightman, has played an alien war simulation game for years with his friends, and has worked his way up to being one of the top ten players in the world. When the alien war is just about to begin, Zack’s video game skills make him a top recruit to join in the fight. I can see it being a fun movie, kind of reminds me of Pixels (with maybe a little more character development).

Like I said, I haven’t finished the book yet, but I wanted to share it as my favorite thing this week. If you want to download a copy or purchase it on Amazon, you can follow this link. When you purchase via an affiliate link, I earn a small amount at no extra cost to you. Thanks for helping a stay-at-home-mom out!

What are you guys reading this week? Let me know if you’ve read Armada and what your thoughts were!

Family Matters

On Friday my little brother purchased his very first house. It’s weird watching my siblings get older and do grown up things.

Though we have the same parents, I am several years older than both my brother and my sister. We were never in the same school at the same time as students. I was a teacher when they both were in high school. Because I had my oldest child at a very young age, it felt like “the kids” were my brother, my sister, and my daughter, for 10 ish years anyway.

In the last two years, I have seen my sister married and give birth to her first child. And now, my brother buying a house. It’s surreal, but exciting to consider what else the future holds for them and our family.

Our age gap wasn’t as pleasant when I was growing up. My brother and sister are close in age and had friends in common. I was usually with the adults, because my parents friends all had kids the same age as my siblings. But now, as an adult, I am so thankful.

As a parent, I got to see my mother be a parent to teenagers and young adults. I took notes, and feel prepared for this stage in my daughter’s life. I watched my mom plan a wedding, and deal with my brother moving back home after college.

I will get the pleasure of loving on new baby nieces and nephews after I’m done having babies. After my son’s birth, I worried, “how will I ever be okay with not having any more children?” We want one more, but would that be enough? Of course it will, because my younger brother and sister can have children after I am done. And, I will be a more available aunt when my children are older. It was hard to be helpful to my sister when I, too, had an infant.

Today I’m full of thankfulness that we all live in the same small town, and hopefulness about the happy future full of nieces and nephews and cousins for my babies. What a beautiful season I’m living!