Thursday, November 29, 2012

Swag, Amazon, and Gluten Free Stuff

I recently was able to bless another family by getting some awesome gluten free stuff from Amazon and it's much easier then you think - may take a bit of time but it's so worth it!

So to get some free stuff off of Jess's Amazon Page
  • sign up for swagbucks here.
  • download the tool bar and search for everything possible - multiple times a day (gmail is searched at least 10 times a day) There are many ways to earn swagbucks - taking surveys, printing coupons, watching tv, playing games, etc. I sadly do not have time for those and basically just search whenever I'm on the computer.
  • Once you earn some swagbucks and reach 450 - redeem for a $5 e-amazon gift card.  (they will start to accumulate quickly don't worry).  You can redeem multiple e-amazon gift cards and just stockpile them for a large order. 
Then go here to shop Jess's Amazon Page (This is my affiliate link and it's like leaving me a virtual tip that doesn't come out of your pocket - I am saving for my daughters next specialist appointment)

Please bookmark this as your amazon shopping page (Jess's Amazon Page)and I'll be forever grateful to you! And share with others too - everyone shops Amazon and it's great that they have this program to help us small bloggers!

Below are some of the great deals that have been out there lately:

Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Pizza Crust Mix, 16-Ounce Bags (Pack of 4)
Bob's Red Mill Organic 7 Grain Pancake & Waffle, Whole Grain Mix, 26-Ounce Bags (Pack of 4)
Bob's Red Mill Organic High Fiber Pancake & Waffle, Whole Grain Mix, 26-Ounce Bags (Pack of 4)

*Please ignore the annoying little white boxes behind my links.  I can't figure out why they are there or how to remove them :) 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Cyber Monday Deals

Here are some of the deals I've found for Cyber Monday - as I find more I will try to update this page! Happy Shopping! :)

eMeals - 30% with the code CYBER  You can read my review on this awesome program here.  This would make a great gift for a busy mom or someone who is trying to eat healthy for the new year!

Amazon - insane deals and steals.  If at all possible if you are buying via Amazon - please go through my link! :) Jess's Amazon page Right now they have the Kindle Fire for $129 - just enter FIREDEAL at checkout (Limit 1 per person)..... I have this on my wish list!!!

And don't forget no matter where you are shopping online go through ebates or shopathome to get 1-10% cash back at participating retailers (which is almost all of them!).  This is like free money and the check you'll get after the new year will be much appreciated!  These programs are above and beyond any cash back you'll receive from credit cards - if you shop on line it's really silly to not belong to these program.

- When you join ebates after making your first $25 purchase you'll receive a free $10 gift card of your choice.
- When you join shopathome you'll receive a $5 credit to you account.

*The above are my affiliate links - they money earned goes towards my daughters specialist doctor appointments.

Friday, November 23, 2012

One month to go!

I am due December 22nd, so I have only one month left til my due date.  I of course am hopeful that I go a bit early, just so it's not so close to Christmas!  I do realize there is a big chance that it will be close, since thirds are unpredictable, and I only went 2 days early with A.  C was induced 5 days before my due date, but so far I have no signs of needing an induction!  I had high blood pressure with him, and this pregnancy has been doing really well so far.  Fingers crossed it stays that way, as I don't enjoy pitocin!! Who does!

  I plan on having a natural birth like I did with A.  I went in and was 3 cm with her, walked the halls to keep progressing.  I used the birthing ball and listened to a nature cd, found comfort in the shower with DH rubbing my back with soap.  A entered this world, 12 hrs after my first contractions at home.  I had no pain medication and though it was very intense, it was a wonderful birth that I'd love to repeat.  Thankful to have such a supportive husband to be by my side again for our last baby's birth.  We choose what works best for myself and our babies.  After having such a traumatic pitocin induction with an epidural, needing forceps and a 4th degree episiotomy, I am very pro natural!  I of course realize that things arise and birth is never predictable, but I;ll be going in with the intention to do all in my power to have a natural and pain medication free birth again. 

This time of the year is so busy, so not sure how much you'll be hearing from me on Fridays.  I will have wifi at the hospital, so I hope to put up a post about baby's arrival and how our birth went.  Also, things to look forward to are a few reviews I will be doing once baby comes!!!  The most exciting part of baby's arrival for us, is finding out if we'll be adding a little brother or sister to the family!!! Can't wait!!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The get to vs have to attitude

From about mid-November till the 1st week in January our calendar is packed.... it seems every weekend has something in it - if not multiple things on the same day.  This past year we have tried to focus on a different perspective in almost everything and I am anxious to apply this to our upcoming busy time.  The 'have to vs get to' attitude..... 

Do you - 
  • have to go to church or do you get to go to church
  • have to help someone or go somewhere or do you get to minister to someone with the love of Jesus
  • have to wait around and talk with other church goers or do you get to fellowship, encourage, life up and enjoy being with believers
  • have to spend time with people once a year or do you get to spend time with people you only see once a year
  • have to cook and prepare food or do you get to show your love to people by nourishing their bodies with yummy food you made
  • have to change your schedule because your babies are exhausted or do you get to change your schedule and have a very good reason for doing it - you're doing what's best for you babies (and you've got a great reason to!)
  • have to spend money on gifts or do you get to take a different route and gift something that means something to you or something to share about God
  • have to eat that 2nd helping of pumpkin pie or do you get to enjoy an extra piece of pie because God has blessed you with good fortune

It's all about perspective and what you make of it. If you have a bad attitude it's going to rub off on others and pretty soon the enjoyment time you were hoping to have is suddenly filled with grouchy and cranky people.... all because of you and your attitude.  Turn everything into a thankful situation and you'll be amazed how quickly everything changes.... it could be worse, a lot worse - we have lots of freedoms here and we need to be thankful for those everyday.

1 Thessalonians 5:18(NASB)  'in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.'

And as a side note - there is nothing we HAVE to do except what God tells us to do - it's ok to say no to another get together, or another gift exchange, or another office party.  Saying no is sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself and your family. 

What is something that you feel you 'have' to do but you really 'get' to do today or this week?

*I am also in no way saying that just because we have good thoughts we can change our lives or what happens to us - we can just change how we react to those things that do happen.  Only Jesus can truly give us the joy that never ends!  If you want to know more about that - please go here - Are you a good person?
Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Homemade Christmas Ornaments

This year I have been trying really hard not to spend a ton of money on Christmas.  I do have certain traditions that I love at Christmastime that I didn't want to leave out, just because of money.  So I came to the crafty conclusion to make some things!  For instance, I love for my kids to get brand new pajamas on Christmas Eve.  They are to wear that night and when they open gifts in the morning they look adorable!  This year I bought the fabric and made the kids matching jammies!  Not only did I save some money, but they are much more special than store bought ones.

Another tradition we have is to get a new ornament every year.  Well at first I'd go to Hallmark and pick out ornaments that fit their year they had or something memorable.  It just became way to expensive.  Last year I got them each one from Walmart, but still they weren't exactly what I had in mind.  This year I decided why not make the ornaments, too! 

This pregnancy has my hands in such pain from carpal tunnel though.  I knew I couldn't do something too intense, but wanted something cute.  I picked up some clear Christmas balls.  I've done ornaments with these in past years, snowmen made out of hand prints, faces of snowmen, marbled paint inside, etc.  I needed something extremely easy this time though and also personal to each child.  I grabbed my gold paint pen and wrote on their initials. Since baby's gender is a surprise, I needed to make 2!  Then I took a pencil and used the eraser side, dipping it into red and green paint (I didn't even pour the paint out, just used the paint inside the cap after shaking the paint up) and dotted the ornament.  This made for easy peasy polka dots. I just did the top sides, so I could leave them in the carton to dry. I was going for easy!  I think they turned out really well and took me a couple minutes to complete! 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Last Day

Today's the last day to get this ebook for 99cents~  Tomorrow the price rises to $4.99.  This is so much more than just an easy and enjoyable read - it's practical and life changing.  And it wouldn't take long at all to read - waiting for a dr appointment, picking your kids up off the bus - 15 minutes to change your insane month of December.... totally worth it right?

I thought so:)

Here's the link for the book -Celebrating and Savoring a Simple Christmas

*The above is my affiliate link that helps me to pay for my daughter's learning specialist. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Turning of the Tides...

So...the newborn series is complete...there are a few other things that I may write reviews on later...but for now we are going to skip right along from newborn diapers to cloth trainers!!!  My my how they grow! LOL!  Nah, Baby J is still in his diapers...but Miss A is getting closer to potty learning and we have been using more cloth trainers.

A few months back, I decided to take the hard line that Miss A was DONE with diapers.  Big mistake.  This child does not want to potty train and there I was stuck between not wanting to go back into diapers and give her the wrong message and the FEW cloth training pants that I had.  I hadn't bought many because I *thought* that potty training would be rather quick!  I hear all of these stories about how kids train in a few days or they just BAM potty train!  So many mamas on the swap pages are selling never used training pants because their kids potty learned before they could use them!  So I didn't bother to buy a bunch.

And then I found myself not wanting to put Miss A back into diapers...but needing something more absorbent than underwear!!

So I have invested in a bunch of Training Pants...and you get to benefit too!  Trainer reviews to come from Best Bottoms, GroVia, Flip, Blueberry, and good ol' Gerber!  I had posted reviews on the Fuzzibunz and Smart Bottoms trainers previously, but will update those as well! :)  Are there any other trainers you would like to see reviewed???  Open to suggestions!!!  I haven't found a great one for night time, so Miss A still wears a cloth diaper at night!

Also, who has some good potty training tips???  I think I have tried them all....but always looking for new ideas!  My little girl has a LONG stubborn streak!  So I need ideas for the stubborn child.  Her latest is when I ask her if she needs to use the potty her answer is "I did poop in potty." you didn't!  Little liar!!!  LOL!  Going on 3 1/2 and needs to be thinking about using the potty!!!  When did your child potty train?  And was it hard, easy, etc?  Fill me in!

Also, for experienced mamas...what is the one piece of advice you could give to a mama about to potty train her child?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Another book giveaway!

And we have a winner - TRACEY!  We are working on numbers in our schooling and I asked my daughter what her favorite number was between 1 and 10 and she chose #5! So comment #5 won! Tracey - I will send your information on shortly.

And don't forget - if you still want this book (which I highly recommend) you can get it for only .99cents and then on Friday the price goes up to $4.99!  So get it now and be prepared for Celebrating and Savoring a Simple Christmas :) Blessings to all.

Here's a flash giveaway!

MoneySavingMom has come out with another awesome book - Celebrating and Savoring a Simple Christmas

After her last one - 21 Days To A More Disciplined Life  you can't go wrong with buying this book.  She gives such wonderful and practical suggestions and advice for simplifying and enjoying your holidays.

TODAY only - one reader can win this book (or purchase it for .99cents here - Celebrating and Savoring a Simple Christmas on Friday the price will go up to $4.99)

To enter leave a comment sharing one of your tips on how you simplify your holidays and I'll announce the winner tomorrow morning (Wednesday).

Share the contest and earn an extra entry (just leave another comment saying you did).

Friday, November 9, 2012

Packing the Hospital Bag

I know I have some time, but I am a list maker!  So even though I have about 6 weeks til baby arrives, I am itching to get a list started.  We were at Walmart this week and I picked up some baby essentials.  Some newborn Huggies, even though we cloth.  I have no idea how any of my cloth stash will fit the baby, so have to have some back up ready!  Some wipes, baby shampoo and baby wash, etc were also purchased.  I like to feel prepared.  There is nothing I am in control of while being pregnant, and I like to feel some control.  So the nesting has begun.  I feel better having stuff purchased and now to get packing!   I am starting to think about all the things that need to be packed for the hospital.  Here is my list so far.

For Labor:
Lotion for massage
Ponytail Holder
Nature sounds CD and headset
Change for snack machine (for Daddy)
Camera and charger
Video Camera and charger
Cell phone and charger

For Postpartum:
Boppy Pillow
Bed Pillow
Nursing Cover
Nursing Pajamas
Nursing Bra 
Big Granny Panty style Undies ;)
Going Home Outfit for Baby
Warm Blanket for Baby
Fun items for Big Brother and Sister

Okay so what am I forgetting???? Leave a post to what you wish you had or are so glad you remembered!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

We have a winner!

And the winner of a 3 month subscription to eMeals is -

Congratulations - I'll be in touch soon. :) Jess B

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Happy Heinys Mini Review

Who can resist the ADORABLE prints of the Happy Heinys diapers???  Not me!!!  I love Happy Heinys and their adorable and huge selection of colors and prints!  We had a few OS Happy Heinys for Miss A and I just had to snag a few of the minis for Baby J!  I was also excited about the Mini since it is designed to fit longer than most Newborn diapers!  If you would like to read more about my initial findings with cloth diapering a skinny baby and our rocky start to cloth diapering Baby J, please see the Intro post here.

Fits:  4-16 pounds

Price Per Diaper:  (3/5 Stars)  This diaper retails for $18.97.  This is average or just a dollar or two above the average price per newborn diaper.  The added price, may be completely worth it for those of you considering this diaper due to the higher weight limit and ability to fit longer than most newborn diapers!  Most newborn diapers stop fitting at 10-12 pounds, the manufacturer guidelines for this diaper fits up to 16 pounds.

Leaks:  (4/5 Stars)  Ahhhh...once again, my skinny boy caused problems!  The HH OS did not fit Miss A well for a long time due to the generous leg openings, and we had the same problem with Baby J and the HH Mini.  (for the record, moms with chunky kids LOVE HH diapers!!!)  The leg openings on this diaper were just WAY too big on my little man!  His skinny chicken legs just were NOT cloth diaper friendly!!!  This diaper is very versatile since it is a pocket and can be stuffed as desired for your child.  This diaper comes with two inserts, one shorter for the smaller rise setting and one longer for the larger rise setting or you can use both for added absorbency.  This diaper was EXTREMELY absorbent!  So if you have a heavy wetter, this is the diaper for you!  If it hadn't been for the leg openings not fitting my little man, I would have loved these!!!  This diaper did not fit well until 10-11 pounds...seriously.  My chicken leg little boy just didn't put meat on his legs until that point, so I was not able to use these until then...and by then my OS were starting to fit.  

Fit:  (2/5 Stars) The fit around the waist was PERFECT!  This diaper has a great aplix closure and it overlaps for small waisted babies.  But those leg openings were just huge on my little man!  This diaper was just OUT for many weeks because those openings were so large!  It made me really sad because I was really excited about this diaper!  This diaper does feature something that many newborn diapers do not, a snap down rise!  Just like the OS counterpart, you can snap down the rise for smaller babies and then let it out as your baby grows.  This makes the diaper fit longer than most and gives you the most bang for your buck!!  This diaper does not have a snap down for the umbilical cord, but with the rise snapped down, it was clear of this area for us.  Some shorter babies may have to wait until the stump falls off to get into this diaper though.

Ease of Use:  (5/5 Stars)  This diaper is extremely easy to use!  The aplix closure and overlapping tabs make it a cinch to get the perfect fit every time!  The pocket is nice and wide and easy to stuff!  And the this diaper is extremely easy to wash and care for!

Washing:  (4/5 Stars)  This diaper is extremely easy to wash.  Simply unstuff the diaper, toss in the wash, toss in the dryer, stuff the inserts back in, and back on baby!  The pocket is very easy to stuff and makes your job easy!  My only complaint would be the wash tabs.  The tabs come undone in the wash very easily and can cause a diaper chain in your wash.  I did find that the HH's did this quite often!  The HH Mini has a very soft inner fleece that is soft against baby skin and easily releases poop marks/stains...even those pesky EBF stains!  Very nice to wash!

Overall Performance:  (4/5 Stars)  I was very excited about this diaper...but like most it just did not work on my skinny guy. :(  For the majority of babies, this diaper would be a home run.  But for those skinny kids on the block...this just isn't a great one!  Once my little guy got big enough for this diaper to work, it was quite nice on him!  But by then my OS diapers were starting to fit!  

Total Stars:  22/30

Friday, November 2, 2012

Preparing for Christmas

  Yes I know we just got through Halloween and now are all looking forward to Thanksgiving.  Believe me I am not trying to skip over my all time favorite holiday!  It's just that this baby is due 3 days before Christmas! 

  I started a list of present ideas about a month ago.  Thanks to internet shopping, I purchased the kids presents all in one afternoon from my recliner!  And at 7 months pregnant, it was the PERFECT way to shop.  Also I've been picking up a few odds and ends on some of the mama bargain sites online as I've seen things here or there.  Can't beat good deals!  So the presents are rolling in thanks to Mr UPS and the mailman!  I'm collecting them all in a hidden corner of the basement under a sheet.  Once they are all here, I'll do the wrapping and hide them back there.  I'm also glad that last year Santa decided to not wrap his presents, so the gifts from him are just placed under the tree.  Saves mama a bit more time!  I want to get everything done before Thanksgiving.  That's when I'll have a month left til baby's due date.  I figure then I'll have time for decorating for Christmas (always do it the day after Thanksgiving), and doing our usual traditions and crafts with the kids.  I'll also have that time to finish up preparing for baby, washing up the padding on the swing, bouncer, etc.  Getting everything out of storage and ready to use!

  I like to sew pajamas for the kids and made them cute Halloween ones this year.  Here is the tutorial I used. Yesterday I finished their Christmas Eve pajamas, made out of cute gingerbread flannel that Clayton picked out. So I'll have 3 matching sets, and praying that the baby will be here in time for Christmas Eve at our house in it's matching jammies! I also want to save some money and make them ornaments this year.  Every year they get a new ornament.  I started out getting Hallmark ones, then last year got some cheaper ones at Walmart.  This year my plan is to paint their initials on clear glass balls.  I saw a cute idea on pinterest where you take scrapbook paper and curl it, putting it inside the ornaments.  So I might dig through and find some old Christmas scrapbook paper and do that and just paint their initial on it as well!  All those scrapbook supplies that have been sitting dormant for years since having my babies will get some use finally! LOL 

So that's my game plan.  I know my circumstances are different because it's like I'm running a race and the finish line is the baby's due date, but are you starting to prepare for Christmas too???

Thursday, November 1, 2012

eMeals review and a giveaway!

eMeals Easy Meals for Busy and Frugal Families

Recently eMeals contacted TMG to conduct a review of their products and host a give away (3 month subscription!!!).  Laura was so kind to direct her to me and I was pretty giddy to take on the challenge.

and let's be honest....

I fell in love with this product - I have always wanted to have my meals planned out, with a grocery list attached and have everything all in one place and well not have to do all the work.  That's where this is a great product for busy moms and wives (cause they do all the work for you!).  Everything is so clean and simple to follow, they provide you with the recipes for both the main dish and a side dish, your shopping list, the list of staple items you will need for the recipes.  They provide you with two weeks worth of recipes at a time so you're able to save time and money by shopping just twice a month (in a manner of speaking).  I am a check list kind of girl so to have someone organize all this information was amazing and relieved so much of that extra time it takes to find recipes, make the lists, find the best deals, etc.  I just had to click print and the work was done.  Plus depending on which store you choose they provide you with an estimate of how much your supplies will cost - so for those who have trouble budgeting or sticking to a budget they have also done the work for you which is really nice. Even Dave Ramsey recommends it ;)

eMeals - Easy Meals for Busy People!

So how does it really work - 
  • First thing is to select your family size - For Two (1-2 servings) or Family (3-6 servings)
  • Next you choose from numerous meal options:  Classic, Clean Eating, Simple Gourmet, Paleo, Low Carb, Low Fat, Portion Control, Natural & Organic, Vegetarian, Gluten Free, and they also offer a lunch plan.
  • Then you pick the grocery store you want your lists to be produced from: ALDI, Kroger, Publix, Ralphs, Safeway, Target, Walmart, Whole Foods.
  • Lastly you choose the desired subscription length: 3 Months ($21 total), 6 months ($35 total), 12 months ($58 total - only $5 per month).  Plus you can add on weekday lunches for only $4 a month.
Do I think this is worth $5 a month - absolutely.  The amount of time and effort this has saved me this past week has been awesome.  Plus I would guess you could start to recognize if there is a rotation of meals and watch for sales to save even more money (which would be right up by alley).

It's really simple and they do offer you a preview of some of the recipes (but take my word for it - they are yummy!). How cute is this icon? hee hee

I <3 eMeals

Now on to the giveaway - it will run till next Wednesday (November 7th), and I will announce the winner in my post on Thursday.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*The above links are my affiliate links - they help to pay for my daughter's specialist. :)