Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Do you ever feel like a bad Mommy? My week has been rough. I've always thought I'd be that Mom whose house all the kids hang out at, and I'd open my screen door to a nice front porch while wearing an apron, welcoming the children in with warm cookies on a platter, a la 1950. So far, life seems to have other plans. I am still working fulltime, and despite my best efforts to keep that little fantasy alive, I have slip ups. They're hard for me to admit. And, I KNOW they're little things. Things that probably don't matter in the long run, but they matter to me.

So, I started off the week forgetting it was Valentine's Day. We had to stop at Walgreens on the way to daycare, and I frantically filled out valentines for the kids. I imagined myself and daughter sitting at our table coloring home-made valentines. Sitting in the car with a ballpoint pen and $2 box of Hello Kitty 3-color paperboard valentines isn't exactly what I had in mind. Daughter, never ceasing to surprise me, though, yelled KITTY! KITTY! upon seeing them and was thrilled that I let her have one of her very own while I filled out the rest for the kids at daycare. Maybe that wasn't so bad?

Then, today, Tuesday...(its only Tuesday!?) I started the morning logging into work while daughter was eating breakfast. I had to do my timesheet, which was actually due on Monday. I tried to fill it out while fielding nutella-covered fingers away from the laptop. This resulted in me spending 30 minutes filling it out, only realize I coded all time to the wrong week. Another 30 minutes deleting said information, and I was a wreck. I brought daughter upstairs to dad, where she promptly cried for 10 straight minutes despite the fact he was holding her.

Do you ever wonder if its just not worth it? The work thing. I don't want to be the Mom that fills out valentines in the parking lot and is short with a toddler because she just wants my attention, but I'm preoccupied with work. But, both my parents worked. I loved my babysitter, but she wasn't my mom. I've been so torn lately.

I saw a friend opened a photography business. Her pictures are amazing! I can't help but feel a pang of jealousy. Maybe I should open a photography business! Wait, I don't have a camera. Or a portfolio. But, its a nice dream. Maybe I could do photography while wearing an apron?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A New Year

I haven't posted for awhile. I have plenty of things I could review, have an opinion about. I just haven't gotten around to it.

But I do have this little bee in my bonnet about something I've been itching to post about. Most of you that know me, know I love a good deal. But, I'm also realistic. I DO watch those women with envy in front of me in the grocery store line with 3 bags of groceries, a million coupons, and a bill total of something absurd like 27 cents. I also know, I just don't have that in me. I do clip coupons. And I do go out of my way to buy things that are on sale, but unfortunately, I have a fulltime job, and a 20 month old, and I just can't be that intense. But I do pride myself on things like: stocking up on Annie's Mac and Cheese for 50 cents a box a few months ago. Or, scouring the internet to save an extra $5. And, as my friends like to tease me about: Reusing ziplock bags. I seriously NEVER have to buy them!

But, what I CAN do is find amazing deals. Little bits here and there. This isn't going to become a 'deal blog,' but, I am trying to keep track of what kinds of deals I find, and keep track of what I saved. I told husband this can be our 'fun' money. I will try to report monthly what I've found. I have a few ground rules:
1. Its not savings if I wouldn't have bought it anyway. Things like diapers I have to buy no matter what they cost, so when I find a great deal on these, it counts.
2. I don't count 'sales' like, "Gee, I got 25 cents off my can of tomatoes at the grocery store!" Everyone did. Don't get too excited.
3. These rules may be broken. :)

So, without further ado, here's what I've saved this month.
-$40 on diapers.
I ordered two packages of diapers on amazon (where I currently buy all diapers) List price is $40.88 (23 cents each). With amazon Mom, coupons from magazines and coupons from Amazon, I paid about $18 per pack, bringing them down to about 1o cents each.
- $10 on dog food
By registering at Nutro.com, they sent me a coupon. I was expecting something like $1 off, but imagine my surprise at finding a $10 coupon in my mail box!
- $12 on Cliff Kids Fruit Snacks
Again, with the AmazonMom. I'm a bit obsessed. This is an amazing deal, though, since these things are like $1/ea at the grocery store, and I indulge my daughter in these. Rather, I indulge myself, as these are special snacks for times when I really want to keep her busy. :) She loves them! And, I got a box of 24 for $12!
-$10 at Target
Using a combination of coupons they mail me because I caved and got their debit card, and the 5% savings everytime I use it. I bought groceries, so my bill was over $100. I'm counting this one because hey, I want to prove to myself that debit card is worth it...at least its not a credit card. We continue to not actually own one. I have one in my wallet. My mom insists I have one for 'emergencies' Yes, I am 27 years old and my mother still took it upon herself to send me a credit card with my name on it. But, I digress.
-$5 on wine
This is a rough estimate, but one I'm also going to claim because I'm awfully proud of myself for actually using those coupons on the back of grocery receipts for 20% off wine at the liquor store I shop at anyway. Please don't calculate how much that means I SPENT on wine. We'll just go with the savings.

So...here I am in my first month of this little project and have saved: $78!!
This does not include any Ebates I've earned...maybe next month I'll track those, too.

What do you do to cut corners, money-wise? Any tips that don't involve buying 5 Sunday papers and stacking coupons in separate transactions are appreciated!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Kelty Kids FC 3.0 Backpack

Rating: 4.5/5 stars
We like to be outdoors. A lot of the outdoor places we like to be are not conducive to strollers. We knew we had to get a backpack carrier. After baby outgrew the bjorn, what were we going to do?! We searched around a bit, but the Kelty really seems to have the market on structured backpack carriers. I would venture to say 80% of the people we see hiking have a Kelty. Possibly more. There are several models available. This review is for the FC 3.0, as deluxe as it gets in the world of Kelty. (Deluxe reads expensive). We do love this carrier. Baby seems comfortable, it comes with a sun shade (have I mentioned its sunny in Colorado?), will last for what seems like forever. Also, for the most part, I despise strollers in crowded places. Things like art fairs and farmers markets. Not only is everyone annoyed with someone trying to squeeze by them with the stroller, inadvertently rolling over/into their feet, it annoys me, the stroller pusher. I can't walk quickly, as I tend to do, I can't see what I want to see, get to where I want to get to. I thought a backpack carrier would be the solution to all of this. While it IS the perfect solution, for a self proclaimed stroller-hater like me in many situations, it does have a few drawbacks as well. Which may be the reason we might not be a 4 stroller family but, as of today, have become a 3-carrier (+1 sling) family. I broke down and ordered an Ergo. What I hope to be a rave review will follow in the weeks to come.
Overall, this is a great back pack. Its phenomenal for real hikes. It has a lot of storage for snacks, water, diapers, toys, etc. Its comfortable for baby and wear-er. The one thing I don't like about it is its size. Well, I like its size for hiking. I just think its a bit overkill for things like walking through an art fair. You look (and feel) a bit like a gear-head. Also, we travel a lot. I've found myself on vacation wishing I had the carrier. The size of this carrier isn't exactly friendly for travel. Unless, of course you were on a hiking trip.

-Self deploying kick stand, makes it extremely easy to get baby in/out and off/on your back, even by yourself.
-Sunshade comes with it. It is more than ample for even the sunniest places, yet not claustrophobic. Even shields a light rain (from the top)
-Extra storage below baby, and an extra zip-off mini-day pack make for plenty of storage for day hikes (and your partner can wear the mini day pack to alleviate extra weight). (The newest model seems to have done away with the zip-off pack. The storage is still there, its just not removeable. But the new, awesome colors make up for it in my world).
-Comes with a changing pad, so you don't have to pack yours. (Changing pad is a bit small, but it does its job)
-Comfortable for baby. Baby has been known fall asleep on numerous occasions in this pack.
-Adjustable for many sizes. Husband and I can both wear this pack. Me: 5'1" 115lbs (I can't believe I just posted that), Him: 6'2" 235lbs (Bet he won't be jazzed I posted that either).

-Its heavy. While the pack does its best to disperse weight to the hips, husband mostly wears this. And even he complains its quite heavy.
-Its big. It doesn't really pack down at all for easy storage/travelling, and its more than necessary for your average stroll through the park. Its great for real, adventurous hikes, but for everyday use, its large. And in charge. (couldn't resist)
-For its size, it doesn't have a TON of storage. Its a great day-pack, but you could never fit enough stuff for an overnight trip.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Reuseable (cloth) swim diapers

I've mentioned before that I'm currently a disposable diaper kind of girl. I dream of being a cloth diaper kind of girl, but I'm just not there yet...daycare full time can derail some of your plans. :) Yes, I could do it on the weekends/when at home, but lets face it--that would be expensive (cloth AND disposables?!) And, well, just a pain. :)
Regardless, for swim diapers, I AM 100% cloth. Not only do they help eliminate landfill waste, they're a great deal. One reusable diaper will run you roughly the same cost as one package of disposables. When you swim as much as we do, they are FAR cheaper than disposables. I've tested 2 brands, results below.

iPlay reusable swim diaper
Rating: 3/5
The iPlay comes in several sizes, based on pounds. They seemed to run fairly true to size. The 6month size says on their website it will accommodate babies up to 18lbs, and baby wore this until just past 12months, when she was about 18-19 pounds. That being said, it also wasn't too big when she was smaller. This is a good quality diaper, we never had trouble with solids leaking out at all. But, it is all one piece, with no ties/openings/etc. While this might be a pro in some people's book, I found it extremely difficult to get on and off. Especially once it was wet. And, even more so if baby did have an, ahem, solid in it. Add in the fact that you're generally somewhere such as a locker room, dock, etc and it can be quite the messy and frustrating experience. It is also more padded than other cloth swim diapers we've tried.

Comes in a variety of colors. My one gripe is that all the girls colors have ruffles on the butt. I don't know about you, but I still put a swimsuit over it, so the ruffles just add to the bulk (and stick out strangely from some suits). I settled for one girl one with ruffles and one 'boy' one that is very gender neutral. I would stick to the boys ones in the future, no ruffle, exact same cut.

I'm not sure how it would fare if baby peed in it while OUT of the water, as we never had the er, pleasure. If it does in fact hold in pee when baby is say, on your lap while in a boat, I would definitely rank it higher. However, I don't think this is the case.

-It works! Keeps solids out of the pool with no problem.
-It is mostly hidden under a swimsuit. Bulky, but doesn't stick out as much as others.

-One piece makes putting on, and especially taking off very difficult. Can be messy if diaper is dirty.
-Gets to be a little snug on chubbier thighs toward the top end of the weight limit. No adjustments available

Kushies reusable swim diaper
Rating: 4/5

This diaper also comes in several sizes, based on pounds. However, this one has velcro and ties and is quite adjustable. The Kushies website boasts many great colors/prints, but good luck finding them for sale. (The Kushies website does do retail, but you can find better deals other places if you're willing to go for the few styles/colors offered). These seem to run a little small...or, more accurately, small around the waist, but tall. Currently baby is in the 14-25 pound size and is 20.5 pounds. The waist, since its adjustable still fits, but I guess I'd like it to be closer to 'closed'? There is quite a bit of velcro showing when it is tight on her, but technically, it fits. These are very well designed diapers, fully adjustable, easy on/off (even with a mess), and they were smart enough to put the "soft" part of the velcro facing out, as to not ruin swimsuits/clothes/etc that would rub on it.
While the waist on ours is just barely closing, when it is wet, it is VERY droopy. They seem to be a bit long/tall. The cut is a bit strange, with elastic around the legs, but then an extra piece that covers it. Looks cute when dry/no swimsuit over it, but stick out of the (girls) swimsuit a lot and kind of oddly.

-Easy on/off.
-Cute patterns, if you can find them, several uni-sex patterns, good if you plan to use for more than one child.
-Adjustable with velcro/ties around waist.

-Fit is a bit strange--tall/saggy, sticks out of swimsuit
-Does not hold in pee (I don't know of any that do, but I still wish they did!) Makes boating/hanging out on the beach/dock/etc difficult. Or, messy at the very least.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Hot Sling

If you're into baby wearing, a sling is a must have. We have the standard bjorn, and I debated something else...something more snuggly. I hadn't quite decided yet when we received the hot sling for a gift. Perfect, I though...decision made! Not so fast.

This sling serves its purpose. It holds baby. It works well for a bigger baby, it was ok for a smaller baby. I was able to breastfeed while wearing this sling on numerous occasions. I do love this sling for travel. Its easy to pack, great for use in airports, after stroller has been checked, or when baby is just sick of the stroller, etc. It just wasn't my favorite piece of baby gear. I've already decided next baby, a new sling is one of the few things we'll buy. For me, this sling was just ok. Maybe a 5/10.

-Easy to pack. Just one small-ish piece of fabric. Can fold up small enough to keep in diaper bag at all times.
-Very cute
-Able to breastfeed while wearing a smaller baby with little concern for modesty. Also, hands free!
-Seems comfy for baby, includes 'leg padding' which adds minimal bulk, but more comfy for baby, especially in hip-carry position.
-Works well for a hip-carry of an older baby.

-A bit difficult to get baby in/out by yourself
-One size does not fit all. These come in sizes. Which means, only I can wear this. Husband would need a separate one.
-It came with an instructional video. Really? I don't have time for that. I want to read a quick instruction booklet and be on my way.

It does make holding baby for long periods of time MUCH MUCH easier...Note the chaos this picture captures. :)