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Gardening Essentials to Buy at the Dollar Store

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When you are living on a budget but want to expand your garden, then you need to go to the Dollar Store! Over the past couple of years, I have seen the Dollar Store expand their garden supplies from tiny pots and watering cans to decent sized pots, watering cans with the longer spout, seeds, tools, gloves and even small bags of soil! This is where I needed to be shopping to get my garden going for this year.

The must have that I picked up first was the watering can with the narrow spout. I prefer this kind of spout for my small indoor pots because I can control the water flow. To buy this type at Walmart or Lowe’s will run you at least $10.

Next, I picked up some pots for my seedlings. The ones I picked up are 6″ pots which after I am done with transplanting my seedlings to bigger pots, I will use these pots to transplant my herbs. There were bigger pots that I plan on picking up this week once I have my garden plans set. At Home Depot, a 6″ pot starts at $2  so you can basically get one free at the Dollar Store.

Then, I found a hanging basket and liner which will be great for the wild flower seeds that I purchased as well. I love the look of a hanging baskets on porches to bring out the colors of a house. What I don’t like is the price at Walmart starting at $8 for a small one. I can’t wait to watch my flowers bloom in my new hanging basket!

Other things that you can find to get your garden started is gardening tools like a shovel and rake, gardening gloves and kneeling pads. I have all of these from previous years of gardening so I didn’t need to buy them this year but it is a great resource for someone just starting on their green thumb journey or someone needing to replace their tools.

Last week, I talked about the variety of seeds that you can buy at the dollar store. Out of convenience, I picked up seed packets for carrots and lettuce at Walmart which were $1.49 and $1.69 each so I could have picked up a third packet if I bought them at the Dollar Store! If you want to read my post about starting from seeds here is the post: Plant Seeds to Save The Earth

The only thing that I did not purchase at the Dollar Store was my soil. Since I will be doing my gardening from pots, I prefer to use Miracle Grow potting soil because it has the added nutrients my plants will need.

I can’t wait to continue to journal my garden as the season continues! Fill me in on some of your gardening tips below!

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Our Moving Adventure

Our Moving Adventure

 

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!

Photo Feb 24, 5 38 35 PM
Congrats to 5678 Dance Elite Mini Team for their 1st place win and showmanship/choreography award AND Congrats to the Petite Team for their Third place win and Girl Group Judges Award!
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Couponing Terms with Printable List

8 foolproof ways to

As I have been researching and participating in groups on couponing, I found myself lost because I couldn’t understand the terms these couponers were using. OOP was the most common. Then there is stacking and catalina and frees. What in the heck are these people saying? I didn’t quite realize that couponing came with its own language which the 4 years of Spanish in High School will not help me here!

I decided to start a list and make it printable for all of my fellow newbie couponers to understand what other people are saying. I printed this list out so when I am reading an article or scanning through Facebook groups, I can look up the term without needing to google it. I hope this list will help you! If there is a term that I am missing please feel free to leave it in the comment so I can edit the printable list. Click here for the PDF free printable:  Couponing Terms to Know

For this week’s big savings: I was really proud of myself to watch what the extreme couponers in my area were doing and following suit, on a smaller scale. Our local grocery store had Arm & Hammer laundry detergent 3 for $1.77 each, a digital $3 off 3 coupon and a manufacture $3 off 3 coupon which made these FREE! Plus Schick razors were on sale for $5.99 with a $1 off digital coupon and $4 off manufacture coupon which made them $.99! Plus, Huggies diapers on sale for $6.99 with $2 digital coupon and $2 manufacture coupon which made them $2.99! There are a ton of other deals that I scored and wish I would have taken a picture but I will from now on. In total I spent $20.06 and saved over $75 between sale items, digital and manufacture coupons! Oh and I can shave my legs again now that I can see them after I had the baby so double score for me!!

Keep an eye out for next week’s DIY Coupon Binder to get us started with organizing all of these coupons!

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Thankful For The Good In Life #thankfulthursday

Thankful for

I want to start out by saying Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. Whether you are American and celebrate Thanksgiving or you are from another country and don’t celebrate this holiday, everyone has something to be thankful for today. What are you thankful for today?

Being Thanksgiving, I am thankful for so much good in my life. As stressful as life has been this past year or even in the past few months, there is so much to be thankful for in my life.

I am thankful for my husband that has had to deal with so much lately including a last-minute wedding.

I am thankful for my children who always keep me on my toes and teach me something new everyday.

I am thankful for my family who has been there to help and support us during this difficult pregnancy.

I am thankful for my friends who know that even if I disappear from the world, I appreciate everything they do and the encouraging words they always have for me.

I am thankful for so many things in my life that I can’t list them all but those are the most important ones today. What are you thankful for today?

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Positively Grounding a Tween

Tween Positive GroundingTypically, Thursdays are my days to write about being thankful but after my experience with Danyella yesterday, today is going to be a special subject day…. Grounding a Tween in a Positive Way. I know that at her age, that kids are struggling with still being a child and struggling with wanting to be treated like they are older or an adult. This doesn’t mean that a child can treat others in a disrespectful way which is where we are struggling with Danyella. She feels that she can speak to the adults that care for her in any way she feels fit and continue to do the things that she enjoys. Well she is about to find out that life doesn’t work that way.

In the adult world, if we spoke to each our bosses in this rude manner then we would be fired from our job. If we spoke to a police officer in this rude manner then we would be arrested and spend sometime in jail. If we spoke to our friends in this rude manner then we would be become friends, quickly. If we spoke to our significant other in this rude manner then we would be dumped and living a single life. If we spoke to our loved ones in this rude manner then we would be living a very lonely life. So why do we allow our children to speak and react in rude manners when adults cannot act like that?

Well in my house and family it is not allowed. I will admit that I made many excuses and let things go because I felt Danyella has gone through a lot of change in her 10 years especially with a new baby on the way. The problem with the excuses is that I created a monster that thinks she controls the adults instead of respecting them.

After her meltdown yesterday which was over the fact that she didn’t get her dance leotards into the laundry after I (or so I thought) finished all of the laundry. She flipped out about everything and anything that came to her mind at that point. She refused to go to dance which normally I would make her stay home but instead she was sent without being in her required clothing so that she had to explain why to her teacher. She will be coming home today only to find her room quite empty…. no TV, no toys! Just her clothes, bed and books will be left which she will be earning her items back through a point system.

I had seen someone post this as a meme a while back and the idea sat with me so this morning I decided to make my own point earning system including chores that she fights with me over and positive activities that are required for her to complete in order to earn her items back. I will be posting how this first time goes in Monday’s post so be on the look out.

Print The Grounded Points Chart Congratulations You are grounded

CongratulationsYOu are grounded (1)

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Mommy Time Out Day

Mommy Time Out Day

Some days even Mommy needs a Time Out and today is one of those days for me. After a day filled with my WHOLE family, today needs to be a day for just my family and studying. Today is my Mommy Time Out Day from blogging and other things like cleaning the house (shhh don’t tell my boyfriend haha).  So be sure to come back tomorrow to check out Baby Evelynne’s First Baby Blanket!

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Tips To Living Your Happy Mom Life

Tips to Living your happy life (1)

In my 36 years of living, one thing I tend to forget to do is living a happy life for myself. As a mom, I’m always taking the time for my kids to make sure they are fed, clothed and happy. As a girlfriend, I make sure that my boyfriend’s needs are met and he is happy. As a daughter, I make sure that my parents have the help they need to make their lives happier. Same goes for my friends. The big question is…. when do I take this time for myself to make sure I am happy?

The answer to that question…. when I can remember to take the time!

Here are some small tips to living your happy mom life each day…

  1. Enjoy your shower time! This is my favorite time of the day because I shut the dog, the kids and attempt with the boyfriend out of the bathroom, sit and let the water just run over me. When I was pregnant with Danyella and on strict bed rest, I was told that I could shower but I had to sit in the shower. I don’t use one of those old people shower chairs but I do use a cushy tub pillow. There are times that I can sit in the shower and let the water run over me like I was in the rain. I don’t get these times alot but I enjoy the moments when I get to relax in the shower, just me, myself and I!
  2. Enjoy your Potty Time! Oh yes I went there! The Mommy Potty Time is usually filled with kids and pets running in and out or shouting your name. Even for a 30 second pee, I let the kids and dog run amuck while I take the few seconds to hop on Pinterest. Just about since the start of Pinerest, I have been obsessed with this site/app. I have over 100 boards and thousands of pins all done in just a few seconds and minutes I have on the potty and other down times. Pinning makes my life feel more relaxed and I have found so many recipes, diy projects, kids projects and more to help my life.
  3. Get up Early or Stay up Later! I know that many mom bloggers talk about getting up a few minutes early to take Me Time but that is not me. I am a night owl and that will never change. I can be up until midnight, hours after the kids go to bed but ask me to get up even 15 minutes earlier and forget it because the snooze button will be hit! If you are a morning person then kudos to you! I like to take the time to do some stuff for me whether it is doing some reading, crocheting, journaling or other things that I want to do just for me.

They might just be a few, simple tips but these are things that help me enjoy a happier mommy life. I hope that these few tips can help you enjoy your happier mommy life!

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Importance of Sticking to A Schedule when Homeschooling

The Benefits of Providing a Schedulefor yourkids (1)

When I woke up this morning, I really had no idea what I was going to write about today but I did know that I wanted to start a series on homeschooling since that is now our life. The good, the bad and the ugly of homeschooling since homeschooling has a stigma attached to it.

When I homeschooled Danyella before and would go out in public during the day, the looks and questions we would get were enough to make me snap… which at times I did because I refused to send my child to a shitty public school and not learn anything when I can provide her with a useful education at home.

Something that I learned when I homeschooled Danyella before was that she is the child that needs the structure of a schedule. If I let her take a million breaks or get up and walk away from something to many times, it became a game to her. One that she used to push-off her schoolwork as long as possible. Not this time!

Photo Aug 29, 9 33 49 AM

A comment on my Instagram post of Danyella and Max while she was doing her schoolwork and Max looked sad that his buddy wasn’t playing with him really bothered the hell out of me last night and this morning so that is where this post is coming from. The comment was kinda asking, kinda implying that Danyella should get lots of breaks in the beginning to start homeschooling…. ABSOLUTELY NOT!

When public school kids go back to school, do they get lots of breaks to start their year off? NO! Most come home with homework for both themselves and their parents. Just because she is being homeschooled doesn’t mean that we just fly by the seats of our pants. We have a daily schedule of what happens from 8am-5pm everyday. We have meals, chores, school and other activities scheduled throughout our day.

Yes, she does get some free time like kids get recess BUT it’s not multiple times through the day and it is not to play with the dog because he is lonely. Teaching my child structure and a schedule is important because as adult we live by structure in order to be successful (or at least the successful adults that I know do). As parents, if we do not structure our schedules and our children’s schedules then we have chaos and chaos leads to negativity which leads to unhappy, disconnected children.

Danyella is a dancer, a competitive dancer, and is taught a schedule and structure for each of her classes and her competitive team. Each teacher has a different style for their structure but the child thrives in class when there is structure.

Whether your child is a toddler/preschooler and you are teaching them at home or if they are older and you are homeschooling, a schedule is key to keep them on track and you sane. When a child wakes up, knows what they need to do for the day and at what times, life just runs smoother and happier for entire family.

Benefits:

  1. Schedules teach structure which is important to instill for adulthood
  2. Schedules keep the expectations of the child in focus
  3. Schedules help the child understand that School is serious not a game
  4. Schedules keep parents sane
  5. Schedules help families stay on track with their life goals
  6. Schedules make for happy children which make for happy parents

What are your thoughts on keeping your child on a schedule (whether you homeschool or they attend a school)?

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Trying Homeschooling Again

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Keep scrolling for the Free Printable Planner and Reading Log!

I wasn’t expecting this past year to go the way it has with a pregnancy that has ended up complicated, a daughter who became a competition dancer, needing to move out of our house, starting college again and going down to one income. With a new baby coming, more expenses are going to be coming our way so I am trying to find ways to cut our costs down which the biggest cost was private school.

Making the decision to pull Danyella from the private school was the hardest decision because I really loved the school she was in. They had smaller class sizes and staff that were focused on the children’s education and well being.

This was something she wasn’t given at the 2 public schools that she attended. Don’t get me wrong, I am not bashing all public school because they are not all made equally but the 2 schools that Danyella attended were in the same sending district and were just to big and money focused rather then student focused. After seeing my daugher crying before school and after school, I couldn’t keep sending her to this school that made her miserable like that.

After a lot of research and fighting with the school district (New Jersey is one the most parent friendly homeschooling states but the school didn’t want to lose the funding they go for the student they ignored for 2 years), I decided to homeschool her for the remaining 3 months of the school year. We continued to homeschool for the next year and then my work schedule changed so we put her in an excellent private school.

Now we are in a situation that we cannot afford private school but we aren’t moving for at least another month so public school is out so we are back to homeschooling again. This time she is a little older and a lot sassier so it will be interesting… to say the least!

The past week has been about planning out the next month of course work, picking her online program and getting myself organized. I realized that I needed a planner but a school or teacher planner wouldn’t work. I needed something to be able to customize for our plans as a homeschooling team. Nothing I found on Pinterest really worked for me or had way to many pages that I just didn’t need.

All I needed was a yearly planner broken down by quarter so if we decide to keep homeschooling then we know what we are doing for the entire year, a weekly planner broken down by day and subject and a daily planner that Danyella and I organize each day with a broken down schedule and expectations. Plus I wanted to make sure she kept a log of her reading books (very important to me outside of school as well). So I made the planner myself and am offering it free to my blog readers!

I hope you enjoy the printable planner and reading log. Feel free to talk about your homeschooling experience below and click the link below to download the planner!

Free Printable Homeschooling Planner and Reading Log

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Do Coupons Really Matter?

Is Couponing Worth It_

For more years than I want to admit, I have been couponing on and off…. though more off then on because I would either forget it was Sunday to buy the papers, I was too lazy to cut the coupons before I went shopping or I would just forget the coupons at home when I was already in the grocery store. Also, I was doubtful that I was really saving any money because I would have to purchase 2 or 3 of a product just to get the $1 off. Well this past week taught me the lesson that I need to learn to be frugal and that there are good coupons and deals if I just pay attention!

 

So we all know of the extreme couponers that have a format to how they coupon and purchase like $200 worth of groceries for $20 (maybe a little extreme but not really if you watch the shows and documentaries). In my mind, those extreme couponers were a little crazy and had too much time on their hands which I didn’t have. Now, I do have the time on my hands and the financial need to cut down on our spending costs so I better start paying attention to what they are doing and copying their money-saving ways.

My lesson from last week is this…. Shoprite (our local go to grocery store for good deals) had Arm & Hammer laundry detergent on sale for $1.99 plus there was a coupon out in the world for a $1 off the detergent which means you can buy the detergent for just $.99! Well that $1 savings could go towards the fresh fruit and veggies that my family devours in a day or less.

Lately, at my go to couponing place, I could have easily purchased 10 bottles for $1 each BUT I only had 1 coupon for regular detergent and 1 coupon for the sensitive skin (Danyella and the new baby). So I ordered (yes I order my groceries which will be a future post) 1 bottle of regular scented detergent and 1 bottle of the sensitive skin detergent and used my coupons. After putting the groceries away, I was kicking myself in the ass about the detergent situation so I waddled my ass around Shoprite to get more of the detergent without the coupons. (insert crying face emoji here haha) I mean with how much our dog sheds, I needed as much detergent as I could get at that price!

 

Lesson learned because we go through detergent so often with a furry puppy. The next place I  have been looking for coupons has been coupons.com because I can easily print of the coupons and why would I need to go over their limit of only printing the coupon 1 time when I don’t usually stock up on things. (BIG MISTAKE AND LESSON LEARNED FOR A FUTURE POST COMING SOON!)

 

Photo Aug 13, 12 15 01 PM

Next lesson on coupons I learned…. I may never become one of those extreme couponers but this morning I got out of bed early (a rarity just ask my boyfriend husband) and went to Wawa to purchase 2 Sunday papers to get those coupons. (“Christina” has found us a hook up to get a set of 10 papers to split and save us the trip and money!)

As I am cutting the coupons from 2 different papers (don’t know why I decided to try 2 different papers but something told me to do it), I find out that not all papers have the same damn coupons! The one paper had more coupons than the other but the other paper had a rebate coupon that doesn’t expire until March of next year. Shit now do I buy 2 of each of those papers? Yes, I do buy the one paper for “Christina” and I and she gets us the hook up for the other paper so we can use all the savings we can get!

This is a bit overwhelming and a little exciting at the same time. I am trying to find other ways to save money before this baby gets here and we have to add baby stuff to the grocery list. Since this is going to be an ongoing challenge for me, I am starting a series on couponing and saving on Sundays. If you have any tips or stories of your own please feel free to comment below.

*Check out how to make your own coupon binder: Create your own Coupon Binder

* Need help learning couponing terms: Couponing Terms with Printable List

**Since, writing this post last year, I have been finding better ways to save with coupons and I can’t wait to share my post this weekend on using these coupons to stockpile so be on the look out!