I know that the title of this post sounds superficial but it’s not just about the beauty of my nails. It is more that once every two weeks, I get to feel like a woman. Not a Mom, not a wife… just a woman.
Every other week, I drop the girls off at my moms for a couple hours. My Christina picks me up from my moms, we grab Dunkin’ coffee and head to the nail salon.
While we wait for the salon to open and the women to set up, we enjoy our coffee and talk (what we do best lol). We both get gel manicures so we pick out our colors which I usually have a reason behind my color choice like a holiday or celebration. This week they are green for St. Patty’s Day that just passed.
In that hour of sitting while my nail color gets changed, I feel like a woman. There is no baby to feed, no tween drama, no house to clean. It’s just me in that chair getting my hands pampered.
It might not sound like it’s a big deal but to a work at home mom with an infant to care for, a tween to homeschool, a house to clean and a business to run. Just being a woman for 2 hours every other week is something I need to keep me sane.
With summer coming aka flip flop season, I’ll be adding pedicures to my bi weekly Woman time. I am thankful for the time I have to sit and feel like a woman while I get my nails painted!
Today’s What the What Wednesday rant is a Mom related rant… A couple of weeks of go the females in my family went on our annual trip to the Philadelphia Flower Show. Since I am a member of the Philadelphia Horticultural Society, I am blessed with a bunch of tickets for the show so we brought 2 of my mom’s friends and one of their granddaughter’s along for the fun. This is a trip that I have been doing for years because it is filled with beauty.
In the past, I had gone during the week and then last year we went on a weekend. It was crazy crowded last year that we ended up not fitting on our train to go home and had to wait an extra hour. This year we planned things out for during the week to avoid chaotic crowds. We figured Wednesday would be a good day to go down.
Well… Mother Nature had other plans for us and our trip was already plagued with a snow day. So, we had to delay going from Wednesday to Friday. We missed our train going down by just minutes. This was totally my fault. When I put the train station into my gps, I put the wrong one in and we went to the one across town…. whoops! So we waited an hour for the next one.
We finally get down there and are instantly immersed in the beauty of exotic flowers. I love that feeling when you first walk in and don’t know what to expect but you know it is going to be beautiful. The show did not let us down because WOW!
To make life easier, I decided to wear Baby Evie on me because maneuvering a stroller around would have made me run into people on purpose. People were so down right rude and knocking right into me trying to get to the displays which means they were knocking into the baby! I started to give people the elbow when they got to close to me. The crowd of people was more then we saw on a Sunday last year and they were just rude and nasty.
As a pumping mama, I have my body on a schedule to pump every 4-5 hours. Overnight I can get away with 6-7 hours. If you have ever breastfed a baby, you know that going to long not only results in leakage (thank goodness for breastpads!!) but very sore, painful breasts which can lead to further issues. This is something no woman wants to feel.
By noon, I was on a 6 hour stretch and the pain was setting in but the girls wanted to eat lunch. We figured we could eat and during that time I would find a place to pump (ie: a bathroom stall). There is a food court in the convention center so you don’t need to leave the show at all. It was pricey to eat there…. $42 for 2 BBQ sandwiches, fries and 3 drinks! Freaking crazy to pay for the convenience but we did it.
There were no place to sit and eat. People were reserving 4 and 6 people tables for just 2 people. We finally just sat in the hallway outside of the food court to eat our food. That was frustrating as it was but we made due. The bathroom was nearby so after I ate, I handed Baby Evie off to one of my mom’s friends to hold her.
With only 2 bathroom stalls and a line forming, sitting for a half hour to pump was out of the question. All of the bathrooms only had a few stalls so I couldn’t use a bathroom to pump. How does a place that holds huge conventions and shows only have a few bathrooms with a few stalls??
FML what was I going to do?? I gave up, sat down in the hallway and pulled out my pumping stuff. I covered myself with a nursing cape and started pumping. We had tons and tons and tons of people walk by. Every child and female stopped to talk to Evie and tells us how beautiful she is while I sat there pumping. I was never so embarrassed in my life!
I am truly learning how hard it is for breastfeeding mamas to feed in public. No, I don’t breastfeed Evie because she cannot latch correctly. I pump so that my child still receives the best nutrition I can give her. Why does a society that is supposed to be supporting women and their needs, not give breastfeeding/pumping women any support? I would have thought that a place that is filled with people nearly every week of the year, would have a private area for moms for care for their babies!
Everyone loves or loathes Spring cleaning their house but how many of you Spring clean your finances? This is something that will help keep you on track toward your financial goals whether its saving for your family vacation or saving for your first house.
So what goes into Spring cleaning your finances? It’s taking a deep look into your budget, spending, income and where you can clean some stuff up with your finances. It’s looking at whether you need that donut when you buy your coffee (I am guilty of this) or do you need to eat out once a week or can every other week work into your lifestyle?
For most people, your income is a set amount every week or every other week because that’s when they receive their paycheck. For my family, the hubby gets a paycheck every other week for his night job. Then, our income fluctuates because we own businesses that rely on other people either hiring Doug for a service or for myself someone purchasing my products. We have adjusted our budget to accommodate the way our income is paid to us but for most people you know how much you will be getting and when which makes budgeting and analyzing your spending so easy.
Do you fit into the 50/20/30 rule? One of the hardest part of the rule to stay in is the 30% for your lifestyle because it’s easy to add those extras into your spending. I am so guilty of this especially eating out. When I am to tired to cook because I was up all night with the baby or we were out with the dance or something else going on, eating out is the easiest physical solution. Afterwards, I kick myself because financially I shouldn’t have spent that money because it could have gone towards the family Disney trip we are savings towards.
As a new series, I want to break down ways to cut down on the lifestyle spending through the Spring season. Each Sunday, I will focus on a different way to Spring clean your lifestyle spending in a fun way. Let’s Spring clean our finances while having fun!
Anyone that knows me, knows that there are things that bother me. Sometimes it is small pet peeves, sometimes it is how someone in my life is acting, sometimes it is how someone is treating someone else, sometimes it is a general frustration in my life that I need to work through. I know I am not alone when it comes to the need to vent your frustrations about life. So I am making Wednesdays….. What the What Wednesdays!
What the What Wednesdays will be my day to vent my frustrations which is fitting because Thursday is Thankful Thursday. So I will vent on Wednesday, let it all go and be Thankful on Thursday for what is in me life.
So who is with me on having days that you just need to vent about life or people or things going on? Right now, I know for me, I need to release some of the frustrations going on in my life because the longer I bottle it up, the more pressure builds up and then I will explode. Anyone that has been on my receiving end of my explosion knows it is a scary, scary sight so the release is necessary.
Needing a release from stress and frustrations is for everyone. This release needs to be a healthy release like journal writing, yoga, exercise, blogging (this is my release), talking to friends or many other healthy ways. I encourage each of you to find your healthy way to vent and release your frustrations to keep a healthy mind, body and soul.
My Vent For the Week: At this moment, my frustration is my husband and his need to clean my stuff or unpack my stuff. I am an artist so I live in a state of organized chaos when it comes to all of my stuff. I know where all of my (ok most of my stuff) is and do not like any of it to be touched. This is where my control freak comes out because I like my stuff where I put it so I don’t need anyone else organizing for me. He is driving me up the freaking wall with touching my stuff! Ok vent over… for now haha!
Yes, I am still alive and didn’t just disappear into the dark side. No, I didn’t abandon you, my loyal readers, for a blog free life.
In a few past posts, I have talked about the stress of finding a new place to live especially because we have a dog in our family. Renting an apartment or house with a dog is extremely hard because landlords are fearful of the damage they will need to repair when the dog family moves to a new location. Thing is, not every dog family is a bad family or have a bad dog. Thankfully, we found an owner willing to allow our dog child to live with us in an apartment. This was one of MANY hurdles we had to overcome recently with moving. (There will be other future posts about the struggles of being a renter)
Once we were given the keys to the new apartment, the move began. One huge problem was that I didn’t pack fast enough….
In my defense, I had a 7 week old beautiful baby girl who needed my attention and cuddles which took time away from my need to pack our entire 3 bedroom with a packed basement house. I packed when I could between taking care of Evelynne and Danyella, homeschooling, pumping every 3-4 hours, eating and trying to find time to sleep.
Emotionally this was a hard situation to keep pushing myself forward because this became our home. This was where Danyella set up her room and we buried her precious Hannah (her first rabbit). This is the home we took Evelynne home to after she was born. This is the home I thought we were going to buy until the original landlord screwed us over (more on that in a near future post). I began shutting down at times while packing which was my depression kicking into high gear (or low depending on how you look at depression).
Thankfully my family and Doug’s family were great at helping us move. They helped Doug move the big items. My mom and sister helped me pack especially on Saturday when I still had a lot to pack and had to be a dance mom all day for competition dress rehearsal (bad timing but it all worked out). We would have never been able to do this move without their help.
From Thursday until Monday morning we packed and moved nearly everything. It was the most stressful and exhausting 5 days of my life. The stress definitely put a strain on my already delicate marriage. I don’t look forward to doing this again in a year but we now this move is only temporary. Honestly, with this knowledge, I want to leave everything in boxes for the next year to make the next move easier!
Then, it was focusing on setting up everything and the dreaded UNPACKING! NOOOOOooooooo!
Slowly but surely I am going box by box, room by room trying to get everything organized and put away. Downsizing from a 3 bedroom house to a 2 bedroom apartment has been a challenge but one great thing is our walk up, finished attic. This attic will become my business room once I am finished unpacking the downstairs. I finally found my laptop over the weekend so I could get back to blogging. I still can’t find the bag that houses my panties so I am hoping they didn’t end up in storage (never too much TMI on this blog!).
It has been a struggle with packing, moving, unpacking, celebrating Danyella’s 11th birthday, being a stay at home mom to a 8 week old baby, homeschooling and being a dance mom but thankfully our family and friends have been a great support system. Poor “Christina” has listened to me bitch, complain and cry through this entire process and I am sure there will be more to come.
Now that I have complained…. I am thankful for Danyella’s Elite team’s First Place win in their category this past weekend at Beyond the Stars dance competition, ordering all my supplies to start making my soaps and lotions again and that we are out of a house that caused me so much stress and anxiety!
Yesterday, for the first time, I went to customer service at my local grocery store and asked for a rain check. I have never done this and didn’t even know it was still a thing some stores do until someone talked about it in my couponing group. Rain checks are still a thing so how and when do I ask or use them?
Typically in my shopping adventures, if the store is out of something on sale then I won’t worry about it. This week was a different story because I went to Shoprite twice for my Creamate French Vanilla creamer and they were out. The creamer was on sale for $1.66 so I wanted to stock up on it because I go through creamer now that I am back to drinking coffee everyday.
With my coffee, I am a creature of habit either French Vanilla or Pumpkin Spice (I could drink it all year long if they would make and sell it) or Peppermint Mocha (only in December before Christmas). If I wanted to drink coffee that tasted like Cookies and Cream or some other gross flavor (sorry if I offended anyone) , then I would have gone home with creamer. I just couldn’t do it.
After I was done checking out, I put on my big girl panties and went to customer service to ask for my rain check. For some reason, doing stuff like this makes me nervous and shy. So I stumbled over my words when I asked for a rain check and the girl needed to know exactly what I wanted it for. I didn’t realize she needed the exact flavor… whoops.
Eventually, I was able to find my big girl words and walked away with my rain check for my french vanilla creamer! A little more success for my shopping trip!
After some research, I found out that my local grocery stores will issue rain checks. As far as I know, Walmart and Target do not issue rain checks for any of their grocery products. I will now be using this knowledge to help in my future shopping trips to save money and you should too!
If you or your family have products that you love and they are out of stock when they are on sale, then I encourage you to ask for a rain check because it can help save you so much money especially if you end up getting a coupon for that product in the future! Double win!
This week’s trip was small because we are moving over the next 2 weeks and I don’t want to stock up on to much and have to move even more stuff. I spent $30.73 and saved $87! My only complaint is that my $2 digital coupon for diapers didn’t come off so I will be going to customer service this week to get it fixed. Diapers are expensive as it is so saving an extra $2 is helpful (it is enough to purchase my creamer with my rain check!). Instead of paying $3 for my diapers, I spent $5…
My free items this week were the detergent bottles, scent booster, stain fighter packs, bananas. Halos were $2 (I bought a bag of these earlier in the week as well), Raisin Bran Crunch $.50, Kellogs and Frosted Flakes were $3 for both, pasta $1.50, Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream (not my fav chunky monkey sadly) $1.50, bacon $2, ground beef (3 pounds) for $6 and the water was 3 cases for $6.
I definitely missed stocking up on some stuff but still grabbed great deals. I plan on splitting the ground meat into 1 pound bags to freeze and use in the future for pasta meals. We plan on packing our kitchen over the next couple of days so we will be eating lots of easy stuff like cereal so thankfully the cereal was a great deal. Even though we won’t go through 3 cases of water before we move, I couldn’t pass up this deal because at Walmart you buy a case for over $3 a case for their brand.
Have you used rain checks? How was your shopping trip this week?
I hope that you enjoyed my Valentine’s Day for him gift guide for this year. All of these gifts can be purchased and shipped with free 2 day shipping when you use Amazon Prime. If you don’t have Prime click the link below to start your free 30 day trial today!
It’s Savings Sunday and I am going to chat about my couponing best friend… my Coupon Binder! Through my research of extreme couponing, I learned that (after the coupons) a couponer needs to have a coupon binder to organize and keep track of their coupons. Each person has their own method to their couponing madness so I am going to share my Binder and madness with all of you!
This post may contain affiliate links. See our disclosure page for more information.
To create a simple coupon Binder you will need:
1 Binder (I am using a 1″ Binder but I know others that use wider binders)
Scotch tape that has a matte finish because the shiny finish will wipe the pen/marker off
Sharpie or pen (I prefer a sharpie because it’s easier to write)
Clear plastic sheet protectors (I have a set of 12 but could use more to break down my categories)
Coupons of course (yes I am being a total smart ass now)
Now my preference is to use full size sheet protectors because I print a lot of coupons from the internet which tend to be on the larger size. Alot of extreme couponers use baseball card protector sheets because you can group the multiple coupons together. I tried this way and didn’t like that the sleeves required me to fold the big coupons in odd ways to get them to fit.
I use the tape to create labels for my sheet protectors. My categories are household, beauty, medicine, beverages, breakfast, pantry, frozen, meat, dairy, produce, baby, and miscellaneous. Ideally, I will get another set of protectors and breakdown these categories even more for easier organization.
The inside binder pockets are used to store my new coupons before I get them cut, the store flyer (when I can find them because our town doesn’t have them delivered to us which is just stupid!) and my receipts (because I like to keep track of my savings).
I now keep my coupon binder in the diaper bag so it’s always with me in case I need to make an unexpected stop for something.
This week’s savings update: I made this week a small trip because I was given the heads up, in the couponing group I am in, that this coming week was going to have lots of coupons and our local store was going to have super coupons. Better to get what we need and save the money for next week. What did I get? My deals…. 2 Chobani yogurts for free (could have been 3 but I forgot to take the coupon off of the printer), Orange juice for $.99, 3 boxes of cereal for $4.50, 6 pack of flavored water for Danyella for $.88 and waffles for $1.19. In total, I bought 13 items for $15! I can’t complain about that at all!
I can’t wait to see what this coming weeks deals will be!!
I thought with the birth of my little Evelynne on New Year’s Day, that 2018 was going to be a great year…. my year. Well the trials and tribulations have just continued into this new year. So a new year doesn’t always mean a new slate, it just means adjusting your perspective and approach to those hard times that plague your life.
I am starting off this new year with having to find a new home for my family due to circumstances out of my control as a renter. I am having to make a decision that is breaking my heart about my marriage because the trust has been broken between my husband and I. I am having to make a decision about to do about going back to work and whether I want or have the heart to put my precious baby into the care of someone else. These are all changes I was not expecting to deal with 18 days into 2018…. 18 days after my little baby was born.
I won’t lie or sugar coat this at all, I have cried and cried and cried but those tears were not getting what I needed done or helping my family. My other concern about my tears is falling into post partum depression which I experienced after my first baby. PPD is not something any mother wants or should have to deal with especially if being triggered by outside circumstances.
How am I keeping the positive during these hard times? I am working on my self care. This is something I have consciously work on or I can find myself just sitting and wallowing in my sorrows for hours.
This means I am making myself get up and shower. I am making myself read and listen to my positivity books when I am sitting to pump or feed the baby. Those moments when I get down, I make myself pull out my notebook and write positive things about myself and my life. Lastly, I let myself cry when I need to cry as long as it does hinder myself from doing things I need to do for my girls and myself. (Even as I am writing this post, tears are flowing because sometimes I need to let them out).
Life isn’t always the way we want it to be but we can’t let the negativity pull us down. As a mother, I need to have the strength to be the best I can be for my children. Yes, Times will be hard and times will be sad and times will be easy and times will be happy but no matter what the times are for you… always find the positive even if it means taking the extra time to do so.
Anyone who wears sweaters, has old sweaters that are out of shape, dull in color or out of style. I love to take old items that most people throw away and make it something new again. For the next 2 Teach Me Tuesday posts, I will be showing you how to upcycle an old sweater into something new just using the sweater, scissors, yarn and a yarn needle!
Today we are upcycling an old sweater into new slippers which are cozy and cute! My best tip is to use a machine knit sweater because they don’t unravel as easily as a handmade sweater.
Step 1: Cut the sleeves off of the sweater.
Step 2: Take a pair of shoes or flip flops to cut the sweater to create the soles for the slippers. You can use a marker to trace and cut the soles as well.
Step 3: Line up the sole to the cut end of the sleeve. I did pin them together just to make it easier for me. You might need to stretch the sleeve end to fit the sole.
Step 4: Cut a large length of yarn and sew the sole and sleeve together. I used a stitch that wrapped the yarn across the edge of the two pieces by threading the yarn through the yarn loop. You can use any stitch that is easy for you. For added strength, you can stitch 2 rounds.
Step 5: this is optional! I added a weave of yarn at the top of the sleeve so I can tighten the top if I want to wear them different ways.
Now I have a new pair of slippers for this snowy night we are going to have in New Jersey! Next week, I will be taking more of the same sweater to make mittens so be sure to stay tuned!
I haven’t written a blog post in weeks now because mentally and physically this pregnancy just exhausted me. I’ve wanted to blog but the topics and words just couldn’t couldn’t appear for me. I’m 39 weeks pregnant and no one, including my doctors, thought I would make it this far into my pregnancy.
Yes, I should be happy and ecstatic that I officially went full term with Evelynne but it has come at a price. At 34 weeks, I was 1 cm dilated and at 35 weeks, I progressed to 2cm dilated. The contractions were coming on stronger by the day. This meant the baby should be coming any day right? I’ve been sitting, not so pretty, at 2cm with strong contractions for about a month now.
Also, for over a month now, I’ve been back to getting sick every time I eat which leaves me with no energy at all. I have tried every trick I could find or someone suggested to get my labor started again but nothing has worked.
Everyone keeps asking when she is going to be here but I have no idea. The doctors are content with letting me go until 41/42 weeks but I need my body back. Don’t get me wrong, I love my baby girl and want her to be healthy but I question how healthy she can be when I can’t eat and hold anything down? My doctors don’t seem to be concerned when I questioned them about it.
Another crazy thing was when I asked about being induced this past Tuesday (38 weeks 3 days), the nurse practitioner told me that they would need to do an amniocentesis to check her lung maturity…. what the actual *^%#?? I’ve never heard that and just watch over 50 women in my baby mama group give birth early, some being induced and not one of them had this occur or suggested! Now I’m just frustrated as h^**!
I know she will get here on her own schedule but I would just like to eat again… and not get sick!
Add the baby stress to the holiday stress and life stress and I am a mess. I will have a new post about my 2018 goals on January so please tune back in!
I spent most of November focusing on my pregnancy and getting through each day so I blogged as much as I could but my work reflected my lack of attention. My blog numbers went down but my Pinterest views have been increasing since joining some group boards. For the rest of my social media, some numbers went up a few and a some went down a few. I really enjoyed my vacation savings series and starting the DIY gift series which seems to be a hit with my readers.
Here is how my numbers compared from October to November
October Page views: 3.3K November Page views: 2.7K
October Instagram Followers: 825 November Instagram Followers: 838
October Facebook Likes: 896 November Facebook Likes: 894
October Pinterest Followers: 642 November Pinterest Followers: 648
October Pinterest Daily Viewers: 1322 Nov. Pinterest Daily Viewers: 2208
October Twitter Followers: 2400 November Twitter Followers: 2404
October Google Plus: 22 November Google Plus: 20
October Stumbleupon: 55 November Stumbleupon: 55
Blog Income: WordAds continues to be my only income so far with each month increasing by a few dollars but not enough to cash out yet.
Here are my goals for December :
Mondays will continue to be my day off until the baby arrives which then will turn into Mom Mondays and Saturday Baby Day will go away. Tuesdays will be Holiday DIY gifts for kids and adults. (Who doesn’t love homemade gifts??) Wednesdays (besides today) will continue to feature gifts from my online Boutique. Thursdays will continue to be Thankful Thursdays and ways or things to be thankful for in our lives. Fridays will continue to be Feed Me Fridays. Saturdays will continue to update everyone on my Pregnancy and maternity life, until Evelynne arrives at least. Sundays will continue with ways to save for a family vacation but will focus on Disney World savings.
My goal for December is basically to get through the month until the baby comes which could be any day now.
Social Media Goals:
I am working on increasing my Instagram followers, likes and comments through a few different groups and pods. I need to gain back some of the followers that I lost on Facebook and increase my other followers as well. I really don’t know how much I will get accomplished between the holidays and the baby coming.
I have joined a few affiliate and influencer sites to help with my attempt to gain sponsorship. I do have my first Influencer box on its way which is unpaid but the products will be great to review. I am really hoping that I will get to start reviewing baby products when she makes her arrival!
I know that this is the season to create gift guides but instead of featuring those gifts on my blog, I am featuring them on my Facebook Page through my Amazon affiliates account. I am hoping to grab my first AA sale soon.
I am still finding ways to increase my income and I am so thankful for the guidance of the Mom Bloggers Tribe because I would be so lost without their help and support. Each day is a growing experience and I can’t wait to grow with all of you!