Category: Home Organizing

Friday Favorites – Basic Invite

Friday Favorites Basic Invite

If you are like me you spend a lot of time designing just the right holiday card, birth announcement, or thank you card in your head only to find most sites don’t have what you are looking for. When the folks at Basic Invite offered me a select number of custom cards it was hard to choose exactly which card to design. I no longer need baby shower invites, or to send out personalized birth announcements. Those years are behind me now, but I know there are so many of you who need a great design site to find just the perfect stationary for those exact occasions. That’s why I am so excited to share this find with you!

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I thought about what I should create since I am not getting married and we aren’t having a birthday party for the girls this year. (Don’t worry we are doing something special, just not a party). I wasn’t sure what kind of stationary I really need. I thought about designing my Christmas cards, but I’m not ready to unveil those to anyone just yet. Those are top secret until they show up in mail boxes! So I designed some thank you cards to match The Whatever Mom web site. These will be great to include when shipping prizes, or thanking partners.

I have not yet found, or used, a site with so many options to personalize my design. After I select my card design I perused the gallery of over 160 different color options. I also have the option to change up the textures and patterns. For example, I start with a a polka dot background and a peacock in front. I have fun changing up the colors of the feathers, the polka dots and the background. Having the ability to change all of these essential elements makes it easy to match a party theme, baby nursery or wedding colors. Basic Invite offers truly customizable cards for every life event, from weddings to birth announcements to bah mitzvahs and graduations.

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It is so hard to choose a final design because I love every thing. I love the instant preview option so I can see my changes within seconds. I am so excited that Basic Invite is one of the few companies that offers free samples of actual invite/card choices. Having a physical sample in hand before ordering hundreds of wedding invites saves so much worry! This way you can see the texture and the colors before placing your final order.

Even the envelop is customizable. You can choose from 40 different color options and include an address. The envelops come free with most orders and include a peal and seal closure. There’s no licking! This will be a huge time saver when sending out Holiday cards!

The most difficult part of the design process is selecting just one option. I narrow down my final choice from over 22 pages of card designs. I enjoy the list of recommended matching items and related items. This way I won’t forget to include special inserts and I can see what other stationary will look like with my design.

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Once I select the card I like best and change the colors from what is pictured to what I want the rest is easy. I see my design choices in the instant preview, and once I select the envelop color it is available for side by side preview.

The check out process is very simple. I was a little distracted by the fun of creating my design that I did not realize I forgot to create an account. I confess I have done this on other sites too. I typically lose my fun little design and have to start over again. This time my choices are saved and waiting for me after I create my account. It may sound like a small thing, but as a busy mom doing a few too many things at once, it is such a convenience to not have to start a project all over again.

During the check out, I agree to the final edits and that all the information is correct. I can do this for free or assign the task to the design team at Basic Invite for just $10. You probably won’t select this option on just a handful of thank you cards, or announcements. But if you are ordering over 100 wedding invites this is an important service to have available.

Basic Invite Thank You Card

Overall I am really impressed by Basic Invite’s services. The website is user friendly, the design process is easy and fun, the paper quality is excellent and the customer service post order is spectacular. I received prompt emails asking if I am satisfied with my products. I highly recommend Basic Invite to design your next round of one of a kind cards!

Financial compensation was given in exchange for honest review of Basic Invite online design service. All opinions belong solely to The Whatever Mom. No affiliate links are included in this post. I only review products and services that readers can truly use and feel good about using.

 

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia and The Novice Mommy.

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Back to School Prep: Homeschool vs. Traditional School

Back To School Prep

When our oldest daughter was wrestling with some emotional struggles half way through third grade, my husband and I decided that homeschooling might be a better fit for her. We finished out the year at home and happily witnessed a jump in her self-confidence and enjoyment in learning. Yes! We knew we made the right choice for her.

But what about her little sister? Kids’ personalities and needs at different stages are so unique, and choices about their education have to be unique, too. We’ve found that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for any family. As a social butterfly with a teacher she adores and a need to have some space from her overshadowing big sister, public school is where our middle kid is headed for first grade.

This untypical situation leaves us with a back-to-school prep season unlike any we’ve experienced before. Some things have stayed the same: the thrill of starting something new, an eagerness to get back to routine, wanting to pull my hair out from nonstop sibling bickering and “I’m bored” complaints. But the school year preparations – those are very different.

Where The Dough Goes

We’ve spent more money on books than clothes for our homeschooler. We’re just not as concerned about switching out her faded, well-loved summer grubs for a shiny new look. Instead, most of the back-to-school budget goes towards carefully chosen curriculum that fits our daughter’s interests, subject level and learning style. We’ll fill in the wardrobe gaps as needed with the changing seasons (and probably pay less doing it), but for now, her grass-stained knees are welcomed in class.  Our younger daughter, however, will look a little more polished come September.

Home school curriculum  sara hm school4

It should be noted that there’s a wide variety of teaching methods and philosophies when it comes to homeschooling. Many parents choose to piece together their own unit studies or lessons using mostly free resources (libraries and the internet are godsends), field trips, projects and more.  That has been my own approach in the past, but this year I’m hoping to scale back my lesson-planning time and embrace a little more structure. So while our family’s back-to-school budget needs to accommodate curriculum supplies, many homeschooling parents spend next to nothing this time of year.

Supply Checklists

Pencils and erasers can be found on both of our kids’ lists this year, but that’s about where the similarity ends.  Instead of traditional items like crayons, folders and tissues, our homeschooled fourth grader will get a re-stash of craft and science experiment supplies, along with copy paper for the printer.  No need for a new backpack and lunchbox, but a magnifying glass and some graduated cylinders? Yes, please!

Planning and Organizing

This is where the biggest difference lies. There’s not much to it with a traditional student: make sure their hair is neat, fill their backpacks and then get them to the bus stop on time (although that is admittedly a challenge in itself). But as part of the legal requirements of homeschooling, every student needs a plan of instruction for the year. That means that the bulk of my back to school prep isn’t revolved around spending, but planning. What does my kid need and want to learn this year? How will I teach each subject? Should we join local classes or meet-ups? What field trips should we plan? All of these questions and more run are on my mind while I piece together a yearly plan and a daily/weekly routine that works for everyone.

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I also look back on the past year to make note of what worked and what didn’t, and then make changes accordingly. For example, this year we’re setting up a dedicated workspace for those times when my daughter needs a retreat from her two-year-old, wanna-be-rockstar brother to give an assignment her full focus. We’re also going to try a four-day schedule, leaving a full weekday open for field trips, projects, cooking and other hands-on fun.

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Just like a teacher spends time setting up their classroom in the days before their students walk in, I’ll be working on getting everything organized to make the transition out of summer vacation as smooth as possible. A little effort now will make a big difference in our daily routines. As a work-at-home mom and teach-at-home mom, organization is essential.

Despite the work involved, I’m excited to get the ball rolling! Homeschooling is just one of those things in life that isn’t always a walk in the park, but ultimately worth every bit of time and effort it takes. I’m looking forward to a fun year of learning for all of my kids!

 

Sara HVM EditSarah Coppola is a wife, mom of three, Hudson Valley native and adventure-seeker. She founded Family Friendly Hudson Valley to discover and share all the great stuff for families found in our own backyard.

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Friday Favorites: FabFitFun 2016 Spring Box

Friday Favorites (3)

Fellow Mombies nod your heads if you agree with any of the following statements:

  • I wear pajamas all day and maternity clothes past their prime.
  • My meals consist of 3 times reheated coffee and leftover chicken nuggets from my children’s plates.
  • I’ve run on just a few hours’ sleep for the last five years.
  • I want to lose the weight that crept up on me but with 3 boys under 5 years old, the only thing I am losing is my sanity.
  • I am not being the best version of me!

All of these things were my life. Then something finally clicked and I wanted to start taking care of me! It’s my responsibility. I owe it to myself and my family. After this epiphany I found myself walking around Ulta Beauty for an hour trying everything on. Then I got my hair colored in a salon as opposed to my generic $6 box o’ color. And I am finding ways to budget in purchasing a couple of new outfits. Overall I am beginning to live a healthier life for me.

With the weight finally coming off I want to give myself a reward. Let me introduce my new healthy obsession: FabFitFun!

Fit Fab Fun Magazine Box

The FabFitFun box is a quarterly subscription service that sends out products each season. Each box shares full sized products from the latest in beauty, fashion, home, fitness and health. I love this subscription box! There are items in here that I would never splurge on myself with, nor would I even know about them. Each box will always contain full sized premium products with at least a $100 retail value. The Spring 2016 box is worth $282 but the subscription cost is $49.99. Read below to get $10 off of your first box, or prepay the annual subscription fee and get a $20.00 discount and pay only $179.99. Most of these products include a promo code just for FabFitFun members to use toward next purchases.

Let’s go over all my new goodies…..

Herb Garden by MakersKit –  How cute is this wooden trough? It comes complete with compost, containers, basil, mint and thyme. Instructions are also included. Perfect for Spring! ($35 value).

FitFabFun Magazine Unboxing

Contour Kit by Ish – I have watched contouring videos before and I’m too frightened to even try. I was happy to find that Ish makes easy to follow “HOW TO” videos that you can watch HERE. If contouring is still not your thing you can just use them as blush, eye shadow, or highlighter. ($32 value).

Bath Bomb Trinity by Jus ‘Amour – Confession: I don’t own a bathtub. Another Confession: After smelling these bath bombs and reading the essential oil blends, I’m being selfish and not giving these away as a gift!  I’ll use them at some point in my life during a dream vacation. ($28 value).

  • Love Potion (Jasmine, Rose & Sandalwood Essential Oil Blend)
  • Wake Up (Eucalyptus, Peppermint & Lime Essential Oil Blend)
  • Deep Breath (Lavender, Chamomile & Ylang Ylang Essential Oil Blend)

FitFabFun Magazine Unboxing

BodiPure Keratin Gloves & Socks – If you can’t go to the spa, bring the spa to you. These left my hands and feet silky soft. Make sure the kids are asleep so you can put your feet up and relax! These items are packaged separately so you do not need to use the socks at the same time as the gloves. ($10 value).

Tag Necklace by Jook & Nona  –  I typically wear silver, but I adore this 18K gold plated necklace engraved with the word “LOVE.” This is an example of something that I wouldn’t have purchased on my own because it’s gold. I’m so glad that they picked it out for me! I hear celebrities love Jook & Nona so now I feel like a VIP. ($65 value).

Jook and Nona Love in Gold

Shaving Emulation Lotion by HelloLegs – Spring means Summer is around the corner and Summer means shaving. Make this tedious task easier with this combination of body lotion and shaving cream. The website hasn’t launched yet, no full value price available.

Argan & Hemp Oil Therapy by Marrakesh – This product left my hair feeling healthier, smoother and with a shine. However, I just want to keep smelling it. It’s amazing! You need it.

Marrithew Mat Strap Plus – My initial reaction was “I hate yoga.” I do. I know that I’m in the minority but my body and brain just can’t get on the same page when it comes to yoga. If you do enjoy yoga or Pilates – this is a pretty nifty strap. It has a 3-1 versatility so I did actually get some use out of it. Use it as a strap to hold your yoga mat, to assist you in yoga poses, or resistance exercises. Great for travel! ($15 value).

There were 2 gift cards included that did not come with any stipulations so they are as good as cash!

  1.  31Bits– I used this $25 gift card to purchase a gift for my niece. After shipping I only paid $6.00. I love what they are doing to make a difference in the world with their products.
  2. Sterling Forever  I typically don’t purchase inexpensive earrings without trying first, but I made the splurge. By splurge, I mean $10 since $30 was already covered! ($30 value + free shipping).

My favorite item in the entire box is surprisingly NOT a product. It is a little note card from I AM THAT GIRL. It’s a non-profit organization but at its core – it’s a movement! Empowering girls to love, express and be exactly who they are. I AM THAT GIRL has made a difference in thousands of girls lives from all over the world connecting them both in online and offline programs and initiatives.  If you want to raise the standard on how girls treat themselves, each other and the world then consider being a sponsor. I am hanging this card on my bathroom mirror to “remind myself that I’m not alone, that I’m beautiful, that my voice matters, and that I am enough.”

Follow FabFitFun’s Facebook page for great tips and articles!

Sign up for a subscription box here. Treat yourself, you deserve it! Use Promo Code: GLORIA for an additional $10.00 off your first box!

Thanks for reading to the end! As promised here is the Giveaway Winner for 4 Mess Fest tickets!

Congratulations Jennifer R. You will be contacted directly via email today!

Gloria DarmaninGloria Darmanin is a three time boy mom and completely outnumbered. She works hard to spread awareness for childhood cancer, authentic inclusion for persons with disabilities and gender equality. When she isn’t hiding from the kids she is off planning her annual St. Baldrick’s event and dreaming of ways to make money for charity.

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Friday Favorites – Eir NYC

Friday Favorites Fresh Eir

Happy Friday All!

As you know by now my Friday Favorites are products I personally use and love. I don’t want to review products for the sake of having a review. The products I share have to fit some purpose in my life so I can give all of you an honest review. That being said, here is my favorite products this week!

I received a full sized product of Fresh Eir by Eir NYC. A friend of mine gifted me with an amazing subscription box and this was one of the products inside! What do I absolutely love about this one? It’s organic, eco-friendly and versatile! The Fresh Air canister is made of recyclable stainless steel and is aerosol free. I have used this all around the house and in my car as an air freshener, but now I carry it in my car kit to use as a hand sanitizer. This has been a life saver at the park and I just touched some random sticky stuff, or after handling the pump at the gas station. I have also used it to spray down the soccer gear and the laundry hampers. The instructions say I can also spray on my body as a freshener… just a tip for those “shower free” days. 😉

Fresh EIR NYC

The witch hazel, aloe and sage essential oil blend smells great! I am not clogging the atmosphere with aerosol spray and my home smells and feels fresher! $20.00 for a canister is a bit pricey, but really worth it when you can use it in so many places. Interesting fact about the name, Eir is the Norse goddess of healing. All EiR products are made naturally to nourish the mind, body and soul.

Included with the Fresh Air is a sample of Uplifting Butter. The blend of coffee infused coconut oil, rosemary and cypress essential oils is supposed to help combat cellulite and water retention. Fun fact about me, I have quite a bit of cellulite covering a rather large surface area. I wasn’t sure about this tiny sample. I would need an entire vat to dip myself in! Ha, ha!

EiR Uplifting Butter

I did try it out and although I did not notice dramatic results, my skin did appear a little smoother over time. It also smells really good. Like a day at the spa good. I received a 1/2 oz sample, but the full product is sold in a 4 0z. tin for $35.00. With more ounces I might be able to target some larger areas. 😉 You can find the entire line of hand whipped body butters on their website.

I also really love that this company is based out of Brooklyn, NY. So this is technically a local company for me and after searching their stock list I find there is a store close by that carries Eir products. Looks like it’s time to go shopping!

The links contained in this post are for your convenience and I do not receive any compensation if you use them. The products reviewed in this post were gifted items, so no financial compensation was provided for this review. The opinions expressed in this blog post and exclusively my own. 

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia and The Novice Mommy.

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Friday Favorites- Earth Day Roundup

Happy Earth Day!

Yes, today is the day we celebrate the earth and all the fabulous wonder it brings. Hug a tree, recycle a container or go out and plant something. Here are my Top 3 favorite earth friendly (and human friendly) products I have shared so far in my Friday Favorites series!

NORWEX

Norwex

My absolute top favorite is Norwex. We use the Envirocloth every day and need only water to clean with! This has cut down my household dependence on paper towels, cleaning chemicals that wash into our water supply and I let my kids help out more often too! That saves my energy resources. 😉 I started using the crazy mesh dish cloth I thought would never work and now I am hooked! It cleans better than a sponge and food doesn’t get stuck inside. I no longer have to buy pesticide soaked sponges! That saves me money, our water supply and adds way less waste into our landfill. You can find my original post about Norwex products here.

 

RUME

MyRuMe

I still love my RuMe reusable bag! I carry this tote inside my mom purse where ever I go. It has saved me from using countless plastic bags when shopping for only a handful of items. I can skip the plastic bag at the library too when out with the kids. And I can even use it to carry home a wet pair of pants (don’t ask). It is a great size and rolls up small so I can carry in my purse. It is washable and very sturdy! You can read my original post about my favorite RuMe products here.

 

POOFY ORGANICS

Poofy Organics

Last but not least, Poofy Organics has become our bath time favorite! My girls are still using and loving the Young Wild and Free shampoo and conditioner. I am loving the organic ingredients (entire product is not organic certified) and that it is cruelty free. The products clean really well and smell wonderful! We also use the lice prevention spray in the morning before leaving for school. This also smells really good without being over powering! All products that are good to our earth from start to finish! You can read my original post about Poofy Organics here.

There ya have it! A round up of my Top 3 favorite eco-friendly products I can count on! For me being kind to our earth is necessary to leave behind a healthy world for my children and my children’s children. What earth friendly products do you love the most?

All links to giveaways are now closed. Winners have been chosen and prizes distributed. No financial compensation given for reviews all opinions belong solely to The Whatever Mom. No affiliate links contained within individual posts. 

 

 

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia and The Novice Mommy. 

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Spring Cleaning (Not A Guide)

Spring Cleaning

Phwew! Spring break is over and the kids are back at school FOR SIX HOURS TODAY!! We survived!                I survived!!! Now, to update you on our week!

Last year for spring break we took an amazing road trip to Mystic CT (<—click it) to see the aquarium and a few fun little museums. This year (are ya ready for this?) we stayed home to spring clean our house! I know…that crazy Whatever family! It’s all about balance right? Amazing fun doesn’t come without the price of cleaning up a mess. Don’t worry; this isn’t another blog about how to clean your house, or what schedule you should follow to spring clean in 30 minutes or less. This is a blog about survival.

Although I do love me a good clean house to live in, having me tell you how I clean my house really doesn’t matter. You know how to clean a house right? Even if you clean your house in a different order than I do mine you’re not doing it wrong. It may set you at ease to read this next confession of mine; I haven’t cleaned my home in five years. OK that’s a little misleading. I have cleaned my house, but I haven’t been able to clean my house for FIVE. YEARS. All the sticky parts were cleaned up and the most trafficked areas maintained, but cleaning any deeper just did not happen.

When you have two little kids always stuck to you like Velcro, and zero extra help you do what you can to survive. Even if that means stacking things high on top of the fridge, or into as many distant corners as possible to keep them from destroying things. That’s what you do. Survival. Survival can get dirty. I didn’t even take pictures to share with you because, well things were dirty. We cleaned behind furniture and found things we thought we lost years ago. Did you know spiders can create webs that connect your furniture TO the wall? Yep. Found a lot of those too.

We washed curtains, shampooed carpets, washed windows and here’s my favorite part: we threw things away!! If you’ve read my posts before you know I am an avid “chucker.” I love to throw out duplicate items, small random toys that have no meaning and riding my closet of tiny clothes I’ll no longer squeeze my mom bod into. I admit I felt a sharp pang in my heart when my five year olds fit into my old concert t-shirts. I’d be lucky if I could get even one of those shirts over my thigh now. *sigh*

We moved furniture to new locations and organized kitchen cabinets. So much work. But, so happy it’s all done. I am having a lot of emotions about the girls starting Kindergarten and I feel like settling things in our closets and cupboards will help me feel like I have some amount of control over this new season of parenthood (and maybe breathe a little better without the inch of dust on my walls). In some weird way it makes me feel more prepared. I feel like we are closing a chapter on their early childhood. All the baby stuff. All the toddler games. It’s all gone. We are no longer spending hours piled under tents and learning our ABC’s. My kids know their ABC’s.

This spring cleaning was about tucking away the memories of our lives at home the last five years. It was about me carefully and lovingly packaging those moments up neat. I packed away all evidence of our preschool years now preserved in a box on a shelf. We can visit those days again, but we won’t have those moments to live again. I’ll miss being at the park at 10:15 a.m. on a Tuesday soaking up the sun while listening to my kids gleeful screeches. I’ll miss watching them in the backyard lost in a daydream while swinging higher and higher.

As I blew off the dust that collected during the last five years of survival, I began to look forward to surviving the next five years. Bullies. Heartache. Bus rides. Science. Learning. Navigating friendships. Understanding more about the world. This spring cleaning was a way of holding on and letting go at the same time. It is so hard to let go of those “little” years, but I have to let them go to make room for what’s to come in the next five years.

I know I’ll never have everything perfectly crossed off of my list. I’ll never accomplish all the things I want to with my kids as time passes by too quickly. But, I’m doing my best to hold onto who they are today, before leaving those little people in our past. Now that our house is clean I feel like we each have a fresh place to start this next leg of our journey. Join me five years from now when I “deep clean” our house once again. *wink*

Got a great been there done that survival tip for the Kindergarten year? Please share it below! You can also share it on my Facebook Page or Twitter!

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again!

 

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Friday Favorites: Money Saving Apps That Earn You Extra Cash

MoneySaving Apps

This week we upgraded my dumb “smart” phone to a much better option! My last phone really was the dumbest smart phone ever! If I tried to download an app (or use any app) the phone would freeze. I would have to turn it off and restart it every time. I couldn’t upload any of my pics any where and it would just shut off randomly. I know… first world problems. But, it can be frustrating when you are trying to use your phone for business and an all inclusive scheduling tool.

Now that I have a fully functional phone I am finding more apps that save me time and money! Who doesn’t love that? During those early years of paying for formula and diapers for two babies I spent a lot of my time clipping and organizing coupons. Now, I just don’t have the time. So apps like Target’s Cartwheel and Ibotta are super easy to use and much quicker than clipping and sorting coupons!

I feel like I’ve come late to the party because just about everyone already knows about these apps. But, if you are as late to the party as me, let me share my favorites!

 

ibotta app

The Ibotta app allows me to unlock savings deals on grocery items, apparel, electronics, specialty gifts, pet supplies, arts and crafts and more. I simply unlock a coupon to get cash back on that item instead of the amount deducted up front like a coupon. Once the cash amount reaches $20 you can cash it out and transfer to a Paypal account to spend any way you want. Who doesn’t want EXTRA cash?!

walmart savings app

I am not a fan of shopping at my local Walmart. Mostly because it is swamped no matter what time of day I go. There’s never an easy place to park and the lines are always so long it’s never just a quick stop for me. But, a lot of my friends are using the Walmart Savings Catcher app when they shop. It automatically searches your purchased items and compares the prices at other local stores. If an item is cheaper at another store Walmart refunds the difference! Another way to make EXTRA cash! (I have not used this one yet).

cartwheel app

The Target Cartwheel app is super easy to use and you can stack your savings! If you have a coupon for an item already AND there is a cartwheel coupon you can use BOTH! I purchased bathing suits for my kids Easter baskets this week. As I was standing in line I remembered I could use the app! I’m glad I did because there was a coupon in there for 15% off kids bathing suits AND additional coupons for the candy items I purchased too. I didn’t pay full price for anything! You don’t get cash back with this app, but saving up front is a great way to keep cash IN your pocket! The best part is no coupon clipping and it stores your digital coupons in your dashboard to access at the cash register!

Often these kinds of apps offer a chance to earn extra cash by sharing with your friends. So, the first time they use the app you are rewarded with $5-$10 in your account to spend any way you want. Between earning cash and saving cash you are getting paid to shop!

I am hooked on using these apps to save and make money. Now, I am curious what other must have apps are out there! Which ones are your favorites?

PLEASE share in the comments below!

 

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again!

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Friday Favorites- Glade Wax Melt Warmer

Glade Wax Melts Warmer

In the last few years I have slowly replaced products in my home with more eco-friendly or kid friendly versions. Instead of heavy cleaners I now make my own cleaners with peroxide and essential oils, and I use Norwex products. But, the one thing I miss the most is burning candles.

I am a recovering candle junkie. I could easily live at a very well known candle store. I had stock piles of candles for every season and in every “flavor.” The problem for me is allergies and worries about air quality. Most candles contain lead in the wicks and the fragrances can over power me to the point of breathlessness and headaches. With kids in the home I worry about their safety with an open flame.

I am so happy I found the Glade Wax Melts Warmer! Now, I can melt my favorite wax scents without the worries of flames, toxins in the air and heavy scented fragrances. I can control the amount of scent in my home and feel safe leaving the room.

I found this electric warmer at my local Dollar General for around $10. I picked this cream colored ceramic with floral design to best blend with my home decor. I can put it any where in my house and it will match the room. I like it in the kitchen best where I can keep a close eye on it with kids around.

Here are pics of my Glade Wax Melts Warmer working in my home!

Glade In My Home

I like that there is a light indicating the burner is on. This way if any little hands accidentally flip the switch during the day I can catch it. So far the girls have only been a little curious about it, but they don’t seem to notice it much. I however, enjoy having a safer product for us to use and I can keep my home smelling fresh.

What are some of your favorite scents for the home?

No financial compensation was given for this post. There are no affiliate links in this post. All opinions and reviews belong solely to The Whatever Mom.

 

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent andMasshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again!

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Buddy Poppies for Veterans Day

Veterans Day We Remember

The other day my girls and I were running into the store very quickly to pick up a few items. Outside the entryway stood an older gentleman clearly a Veteran holding a handful of bright red poppies. “Can we get one mama?”

Those colorful little fake flowers take me back to my childhood. I remember helping my moms friends assemble these little poppies for our local VFW. I remember hearing war stories from my parents friends as a kid. And, I remember volunteering at the Veterans Home with elderly war heroes. Some of them were missing legs, and many survived things I am lucky enough to not have experienced. My girls are the same age I was when I first learned about the sacrifices of our American war Veterans.

“Yes, sweetheart why don’t we each get one.” I gave them each a dollar bill to hand to the gentleman in exchange for a bright red poppy. He thanked them and complimented their generosity. I thanked him for his service and shared that both my father and my father in law were Vietnam War Veterans. His heart genuinely broke when I shared with him that they both passed away over a decade ago to cancer in their early fifties. Seeing these poppies reminded me of them. I am grateful for their service to our country, their service to our families and I am thankful they made it home to all of us.

Happy Veteran’s Day to my Dad, my Father In-law and all my aunts, uncles and cousins who have all served in the military. Thank you to all our Veterans who have served and continue to serve! Thank you to the wives, children and families who have loved ones serving in the military. Your sacrifices are important too!

Buddy Poppies are assembled by disabled Veterans and Veterans in need. This helps provide them with a small income and the sales help fund programs for Veterans. You can watch the short video below to learn more about the VFW Buddy Poppy program. And, remember to thank a Veteran today!

 

Click here are some great ideas to help children celebrate Veteran’s Day. 

 

 

 

The Whatever Mom is a full time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the BIG potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here, Find her two party Body Beautiful project here and here. 

Find more from Roxanne at Hudson Valley Parent and at Masshole Mommy

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Love Letters That Last A Lifetime

Give more than chocolates on Valentine's Day
Give more than chocolates on Valentine’s Day

Let’s talk Valentine’s day. I’m sure by now you already have your Pintrest board all pinned and ready to go. So, I won’t bore you with another crafty hand print to hang on the fridge, or to mail off to grandma. Instead I want to share with you my most favorite tradition of all. It’s so simple and will only cost pennies to make. Are you ready? Write your kids a love letter.

Growing up my mom struggled to make ends meet as a single mom working three jobs. My siblings and I really didn’t get to see her often. My mom didn’t get to attend my soccer games, or school pageants because she was always working. I know this wore on her and it was not easy missing out on so much. But, every Valentine’s day we could count on two things: 1. a heart shaped box of chocolates and 2. a love letter. I remember rushing down the stairs to find both left at my place on the dining room table.

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Write a letter for every birthday and holiday to tuck away for your child.

 

I loved opening the envelop to see her pretty penmanship float across the page in precise circles and loops. It was almost comforting to see my name written in her script. Every year she said all the things she didn’t have time to say to me on a daily basis. How proud she was of me, how much she loved me. I still have my letters tied in a ribbon, tucked away in an old box my mother decorated for me. It is one of my most cherished childhood possessions.

Write the date and holiday on the envelop.
Be sure to include the date!

I love this tradition so much I started doing it with my own kids. I know they are only four and can’t read yet, but I have purchased a card every year since they were born. I have written to each of them how much I love them. I seal the envelop, write the year on it and tuck it away in their keepsake box. Now, I purchase a card for every major holiday and I write in it how we spent our holiday, what they were into at that time, what milestones they hit, or something personal about how I feel about being their mom.

Our box of keepsakes and love letters.
Our box of keepsakes and love letters.

One day I’ll hand over the box and hopefully they’ll allow me to open it with them.

 

Tips for writing a love letter to your child:

1. Tell them how much you love them. You may say it every day, but writing it down allows them to revisit it any time they need to.

2. Share your favorite times with them. Maybe you took a special hike, or played a new game together. Maybe you love that time you danced in the rain together, or how much you love rocking them to sleep at night. Reading your perspective from those special events really deepens their understanding of your bond.

3. Tell them how it feels to be their parent. We all get so busy with life. Our kids need to hear how happy it makes us feel to be their parent. (You know in between all the commands for “get your shoes on!” “hurry up let’s go!”).

4. Tell them what you are proud of them for. Not just “great game,” but how about “I love that you enjoy sports so much. It makes me proud to cheer you on every week.”

5. Share your dreams for them. Encourage your child to be anything they want to be. Teenagers especially need to hear this; busy teens need to know how much their parents are invested in their happiness. Trust me it will be worth all that eye rolling.

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