Where Did the Day Go?!

No seriously?! It’s already 9:30PM! I have an hour and a half left until I NEED to be asleep (seriously, I could stay up later but then I wouldn’t function properly tomorrow) and I still have about a million more things to get done! Ughhh…

Does this ever happen to you? You wake up, think of everything you’re going to accomplish, and then before you know it the bedtime routines have begun and you’re debating:  should I sweep the floors real quick or start that last load of laundry or work on this or that etc… That’s very much me today, yesterday, and pretty much the last few months.

I have my planners but I can’t seem to stay on track and get everything done! I need more hours in my day. I have officially decided that. I feel so frazzled and to put it plainly – BLAH! tired momI can’t tell you what I ate for dinner – did I even eat dinner? Nor can I give you a great understanding of what happened today. This is NOT a good thing..silly brain please reboot and start working again!

How do I fix this problem? Here’s an idea that I came across, the Rise & Shine 10-Day Free Challenge provided by @ShawnLFink, the mastermind behind the Abundant Mama site. Basically, she’s going to help us with awesome emails on how to “get more sleep, rise early and take care of [ourselves] before

photo credit

the world wakes.” Love it! Sign me up! ~ Oh wait, I already did!

I’m very excited about this and wish it started like tomorrow but patience is a virtue so I will wait until the 18th for it to officially begin. I’m really hoping to get encouraged by this challenge because lately I feel like I’ve just forgotten about myself and that’s no fun. I need to be able to encourage those around me and have my biz together for my family. That can’t happen if I’m all frumpy Franny and sleep Sally!

If you’re feeling like me and need a refresher, head on over and sign up for the challenge too! We can do this – yes we can!!!

Know Really! The No Spend Challenge

Just saying the title alone gives me the shivers. Can you believe there are people out there who take these month-long or even year-long challenges where they only spend on…NECESSITIES!? I know right? I presented this idea to my BF tonight and I got an awkward glare and a “no way!” But, I think it’s genius! We have a baby coming in 7 weeks, so while most people are doing the challenge for 30 days, I’m going to attempt to be brave and declare that WE shall take the challenge until baby #2 comesstop spending (so little one, if you want to come early feel free, just not too early). I’m sure he’ll get on the bandwagon with me – eventually!

Our no spend month – ish (also known by others as a fiscal fast) will hopefully help us to gain some extra savings for when this new one comes. When our first baby came, we had two very good incomes coming in and “saving” wasn’t really a big deal. I was just ready with “everything a new parent needs.” Now I feel totally NOT prepared. How does that happen? Then again, is anyone ever totally prepared when a new baby is coming? Nope! So I don’t feel THAT horrible.

For our no spend challenge, I think it’s essential to have a plan. So, just like a diet, this challenge will start on Monday the (oh my dear, what is the date on Monday?!) ..the…11th! I promise, I have one day to convince the Man that this is a good idea – wish me luck! Here’s my quick, off the top of my head breakdown for the no spend challenge:

  1. The biggie:  only essential purchases! Meaning, nothing frivolous. Meaning, I should probably avoid window shopping and going online for a while. Sighs.
  2. No eating out (perhaps we’ll do one last meal tomorrow? Is that horrible? Kind of defeats the purpose huh?)
  3. Grocery shop for basics – nothing fancy.
  4. Careful with gas – this means no random unnecessary trips, no running the car’s a/c just because we can when we’re parked, and more carpooling.
  5. Create a reward for the end! I know, that seems a bit odd but I found this idea from Jessi at the “budget mama” and really liked it. Most of the posts I’ve seen involving “no spend challenges” were only about saving saving saving! But this idea of having something to look forward too will definitely make this challenge much more easier and fun I think.

Stay tuned for updates on our no spend challenge for the next 7 weeks! If anyone has any tips please leave them below!

no spend idea + uneager BF = challenge accepted

keep calm photo source

This Is Our Fate – Breakfast – I’m Yours

Forty minutes until midnight on a Friday and I’m snuggled in bed thinking about what to eat for breakfast tomorrow. Goodness how times have changed. Three years ago around 11:30PM I was probably ready to head out with my girls. Nowadays, I’m thinking about food. Great! I’ll blame these late night thoughts on baby #2 right now.

Weekends in my house have taken a complete 180 degree turn. We used to wake up on Saturdays and head over to Ihop and order one of their signature favorites, do some unnecessary shopping, grab some Starbucks and head home! Not so much anymore. For just the 3 of us we’d always spend around $30, uhm no thanks! For us, eating out is really a guilty pleasure these days. What about for you?

Because of that, fate has decided that I needed to learn that cooking at home is much more friendly to our health and our wallet – although, I do miss you my buttermilk shortstack and cappuccino! Sighs…recently I came across a recipe for Blueberry-Oatmeal-Pancakes-blueberry oatmeal pancackes at 5dollardinners.com and I am about 99.9% positive that’s what we’re eating in the morning. Or at least what I’m eating when I get off this computer…It incorporates the blueberries I got on sale at Savemart yesterday, plus it only takes a few pantry staples that I already have on hand. Plus, apparently they freeze really well so large batch making – don’t mind if I do!

[Side note:  if you haven’t checked out 5dollardinners.com you should totally do it! I am officially addicted to that site. Erin Chase @fivedollardinners has totally helped me on my journey of spending more time and less money in regards to eating! Check her out!]

Usually for us, breakfast during the week is pretty much the same:  eggs, spinach, and toast or oatmeal and fruit. Because that can get BORING super fast, I think it’s good to cook on the weekends a “fancy” breakfast that we can all enjoy as a family. Don’t you think it’s important to at least have that? I can’t wait for the day when Kalani can start helping in the kitchen. Like really helping! Now he gets the milk out and carries the eggs to the counter (of course with the occasional crash, splatter, uh-oh but that’s okay, I’ve become a master at cleaning up cracked eggs).

One day I want to try and make homemade cinnamon rolls..drools! Seems to complicated to me though but like I said, one day! Please share what some of your favorite breakfast recipes/tradtiions are that your family values!

Blueberry pancakes for breakfast = I’m yours

photo source: 5dollardinners

 

 

Just Keep Rolling – Rolling – Rolling

Who has a smelly house? Smelly car? Dirty dishes? Not me!!! 20140806_163318That’s because I scored major at Savemart this past weekend. Not that I’m bragging – okay, maybe just a wee bit – but I got PAID $0.21 to take 11 Febreeze sprays, 5 Dawn dish detergents, and 9 Febreeze car cling-thingies (Hawaiian Aloha smells fab) from my local grocery store. That’s 25 items for about $0.00 each..go ahead, reread if you want, I’ll wait. *whistles*

Now, close your jaw. Good. I bet you’re all wondering how in the world did I do that?! Don’t worry, I’m still pretty amazed, but I’ll get to that in a second. First and foremost, I want to be able to help everyone understand the concept of saving money while grocery shopping. This for my family, has helped tremendously. I’d like to share my newbie adventures with you all to show everyone the “not-so-extreme” side to couponing. I’ll be honest, if you’ve watched TLC’s Extreme Couponing show and think that happens every time, you’re highly mistaken! Remember, it was all done for entertaining purposes. Are extreme savings possible? Yes – obviously from my breakdown up above. Does it happen each and every time? No, not really. At least not for me, but maybe it’s because I’m not fully devoted to hours of clipping coupons and dumpster diving (for the record, I’m actually not devoted to dumpster diving, like, at all).

So, let’s get down to business and let you all know how I saved so much money! Basically, stores sometimes run amazing deals that when coupled with coupons and time you can score great products at amazing prices. The deal I took advantage of last weekend was at Savemart. They had a promotion of buy 5 select P&G products, get a $10 catalina (coupon that prints at register) to use on your next transaction. Luckily I had numerous BOGO (buy one get one) coupons for ANY Febreeze product and for the Dawn dish detergent. So, to town I went!

My initial purchase was four Febreeze and one Dawn that totaled $9.79 including tax. From that, I got the20140804_160138 (1) - Copy $10 catalina which you can see at your left. Then, I literally just kept rolling – rolling – rolling that catalina and the rest of my coupons in separate transactions until I finished. At the end, I got another $10 catalina which I plan on using pretty soon as I need to go grocery shopping.

Here’s some insight to couponer lingo that took me a moment to understand. When couponers say they got their items for FREE, their usually talking before tax because you always have to pay tax. Very rarely are there instances where there’s “moneymakers” and the store gives you cash back. When I first started trying to coupon to save money on groceries I would get so frustrated because I was paying something when everyone else said they got things for free. That’s why! For this example, that is what is going on.

Breaking it down even more:  originally I paid $9.79 for my first transaction, with each following transaction I paid 20140804_235257 - Copypennies for the tax but I’m not counting tax toward my OOP (out of pocket), and in the end I got a $10 catalina to use on whatever I want. That catalina basically washes the original $9.79 that I paid and results in the $0.21 “moneymaker.” Hopefully this helps clarify some things for a lot of people who have always wondered. It took me a while to grasp how all the lingo worked and the situations came out.

If anyone has any questions about what I did or other couponing conundrums just leave in the comments below!

5 transactions + 30 minutes of clipping coupons = $0.21 moneymaker

Playdough Gonna’ Play

It’s raining, it’s pouring, and my toddler thinks I’m boring! We didn’t get to go out for our usual walk to the park today because of the rain coming down. While I’m happy he knows our schedule, I’m sad right now because he’s been sitting in front of the sliding glass door all pouty with his puppy just staring out. Time for some mom intervention!

To the pantry I marched! Luckily, I had all the right ingredients to make him some playdough! I know he’s not even 2 yet, but I’m trying to expose him to colors, letters, and numbers right now. homemade playdoughThis week we’re all about the color green and the letter A (so far, we’re just doing ABC & 123). I whipped up some green playdough for him and he slowly came out of his slumber and started playing.

Now, I know that Play-Doh from say Target, is about $0.50 a container which is definitely not breaking the bank, BUT if you’re like me (uncertified germophobe), then you usually toss the Play-Doh as soon as it has nasty yucky grimy remnants in it. That being said, the cost of Play-Doh alone can add up so I do think you should try to make your own. It’s super easy and the little ones can help make it too! I have yet to try the glow-in-the-dark versions or scented ones, so on the to-do list that will go.

A while ago I got a giant box of plastic cookie cutters for $0.25 at a yard sale. I usually match up the colors of the cookie cutters to the color of playdough we’re working with to encourage color matching. For instance, this week, most of the toys that are out and about in the house are all green because that is the color we are focusing on! More on that later… Kalani really likes the cookie cutters but he gets bored eventually.

This morning I found an Alphabet Playdough Mat FREE printable. Score! I printed out the one for the letter “a” and inserted it into a sheet protector I had – voila! Yet another fun activity for my lil’ Man that allowed us to spend some good quality time together. My fav! The mats are courtesy of Becky at This Reading Momma. She has inspired me to attempt to make some of my own – one day! Kalani is currently learning Spanish and Hawaiian from his grandmas so it’ll fun to make some mats in the second languages too – look forward to that in the future!

Let me know if anyone has made their own playdough (plain, scented, glitterized) and if there’s any creative ways you guys use to play with it!

cheap diy playdough + rainy day = good quality Mama & lil’ Man time!

 

Playdough photo source

Oh Yeah, Throwin My Neighborhood in the Air!

Depressing fact:  Carson City is the capital of Nevada, yet there are not many options for family activities. Bummer! We find ourselves in Reno quite often because there’s really nothing going on over here. I am all about supporting local events and representing my neighborhood whenever I can, but it’s so hard when it feels like there’s nowhere to take my lil’ Man around here. Because of that, I am always on the lookout and search for some budget-friendly events that our whole family can do in this area. Or, most importantly, that are terrible-2’s-hit-us-early friendly.

This weekend I am happy to report that we got lucky!

The Nevada Fair was held here over a course of 5 days. There were lions, tigers, and bears (okay, just lions – Hollywood lions that is), carnival rides, and the usual NV fair stuff – rodeo entertainment and livestock. Various booths were also out with locals selling their goods, a few California food stands (Nevada folks where you at?), and major companies were out trying to get some new customers.

The best part, majority of the events were FREE! Of course we were all over the fair because I like free fun family activities that are close to home. It was fun to check out the animals (although I swear that cow smell is stuck on me), and walk around the carnival.Photo Source Kalani really only liked staring at the lights and refused to try any rides but that’s okay. Maybe next year!

We did pay a whopping $3 to get Kalani a wristband for unlimited use on a bounce house. He at first was stuck in a corner of the bounce house because all the bigger kids were a bit intimidating (any Mamas ever get anxious when their babies are in those and the big kiddies come all Tarzan like?). He finally got out of his shell (thanks to a super nice little boy who took the time to help Kalani climb up and around) and he went on the slide! Then we couldn’t get him off. Aren’t little kids funny? So timid until BAM! Then there’s no stopping them!

Another great event coming this week, National Night Out! Going down at Mills Park, 5 – 8 p.m. For those who have never been, it’s basically a bunch of awesome activities put on by local emergency responders (thank you all for your service!) and it’s all free. Ka-ching! I plan on heading on out as my lil’ Man loves all the trucks! Plus, there’s free hot dogs and soda. Seriously, we’d be crazy not to go. This week, take your little ones out to some local event in your neighborhood.

(2)free family events + this week =  worn out toddler = happy Mama!

 

Photo Source

Is There a Trick to this Energetic Toddler Thing?

For those of you who have little ones running around, you understand the importance of needing to keep them entertained non-stop. I swear, my lil’ man Kalani is like the Energizer Bunny! He literally has 2 settings:  sleep and run around. That’s it! For a stay at home mama, coming up with fun and frugal ideas is a bit challenging day in and day out and I swear there’s got to be a trick to it!

I would love to go out and buy all those “educational” toys and movies for him. I that people still speculate if they’re worth it or not, but without them I still feel like I’m ruining his future education somehow. Darn PBS for tacking on my guilt. Let’s be honest, most of those are way out of my budget and I just can’t justify spending all that money on ONE toy. Because for real, I don’t care how much “educational this or that is said about it,” it’s a toy. And my son, well, his attention span is maybe 3 minutes – on a good day. So, those toys are just not worth it.

What I have discovered is worth it for me and allows me to spend some good quality mama-son time while being easy on the wallet are projects that I do with items around the house. It is so easy to just grab random items from the pantry, mix up some things and voila! Instant entertainment for my nothing but energetic toddler.

Today, we painted in his bathroom for seriously an hour and a half. That’s crazy timing for him to be entertained. I recently got a good deal on some shaving creams (about $0.19 each) so I was trying to think of what I could do with all of them, and a light bulb went off! It was too hot to play outside so I figured water play in the bathroom wasn’t too shabby of an idea. I squirted some shaving cream in a muffin pan, added in a few drops of food coloring, did a little swirly swirl and let my mini Picasso go to town! He had a blast painting on the bathtub walls then washing everything off and repeating. Finally I could tell it was naptime so the excitement had to end.

I know there are plenty of DIY bathtub paint recipes on the internet too, so if messing with shaving cream isn’t your thing, go ahead and try out the bathtub paint. We did it when Kalani wasn’t even a year old yet and I remember the bathtub got way too slippery and it freaked me out so I said never again. But, whatever works better for you and what you got on hand – get er done!

Yesterday, I got out some old toilet paper rolls (I’m all about reusing) and we made little monsters for puppets. little monstersAt diyready.com they have a great list of projects to do with recycled toilet paper rolls – I’m working my way through it! Granted ours weren’t as awesome as theirs looked (check out that skill to your left) but ours were, uhm, UNIQUE! Kalani let his art skills out and afterwards we played tag around the house making “monster” noises. Yes, we ran in the house. I know:  shame, shame!

Basically, I am learning that I don’t need to spend a lot of money to make sure my lil’ Kalani*boi is happy, engaged, learning, etc. With some google searches and a little DIY, I can usually find things to do. Hopefully though, we’ll start exploring more of our city and seeing what great things the capital has to offer for family-friendly activities. I smell a field trip!

Until then, please give me all the tricks you’ve got to entertain an energetic toddler boy! Thank you all, and good night!

 

 

photo credit:  lil monsters