Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Online Shopping

Whew it's been a while, did you miss me? Why is it that all emergencies must happen at the same time and one right after another? Hopefully we are back to "normal" now...

Anyway, this will be a short one about online shopping. If you follow my blog, you are likely as addicted to online shopping as I am. There are some great daily deals websites (refer to my earlier post) and plenty of coupon codes and credits floating around to keep you busy and addicted. My favorite part of online shopping is having your purchases shipped to your door. Not only does this save me time, gas and the hassle of shopping with two toddlers, but I love looking forward to a package coming in the mail!

My belief is this: if I can find it online for the same price as the store (or less) AND we need it or will buying it anyway, then I get it online. Why drag the kids to the store if I don't need to? That means I've ordered things like toiletries, plants and even cereal online, weird I know. But it also means I try not to be swayed by the great deals for things I'll never use.

QUICK TIP: If you are about to place an order online, take a peek at and check to see if there are any coupon codes out. I can't tell you how many times I've saved an extra $10 or got free shipping just because I took the extra 30 seconds to look. And of course don't forget to go through to get money back for college savings!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Be Prepared

I am hesitant to write about being prepared for an emergency, since often when people do that they are presumed to be crazy bunker-building doomsdayers. Don't worry I'm not crazy, I just feel an enormous responsibility to be prepared to take care of my children during an emergency situation. If it were still just Chris and I, we wouldn't bother to buy so much as an extra bottle of water-if something happened, then we'd deal with it. But now that we have two children depending on us, I cannot begin to imagine the stress of wondering how we are going to get them clean water, food and medicine. A number of events could cause these problems, and it is not unrealistic to think we will encounter one of them at some point in our life. Just a few months ago we had a snow storm here in the south severe enough to shut down everything in our area for almost a week. And the grocery stores were sold out of bread before the storm even started, milk, meat and other items after. I called the store later in the week to make sure the shipment had come in before making the trek out for nothing. It hadn't arrived, so I skipped our weekly shopping trip and it hardly affected us at all. But for others who have a week's worth of food or less, I'm sure there was relief when the roads finally unfroze and the shelves were restocked.

The people of Japan are dealing with this situation at this very moment. The stores are out of food, the restaurants are closed and no one has any idea when more shipments will come in. The tragedy continues for the people lucky enough to survive the earthquake, tsunami and flooding.

So what does being prepared look like? That depends on the size and needs of your family. We need diapers, but not formula or baby food. We have well water, so we don't have to worry about problems with city water, but if we lose electricity then we also lose the use of our well. We don't live within walking distance to a single store, and only have a few neighbors, so I feel an extra responsibility to be prepared. We think nothing of having car insurance, health insurance and life insurance so it makes sense that being prepared is just another form of having insurance for the hopefully not but just in case.

Here are some questions to ask yourself: If you couldn't leave your house for two weeks, what would you need? What if you didn't have power? Would any family members need a prescription medicine? Do you have another method of cooking if your electricity goes out? Could you handle a minor medical emergency with both knowledge and supplies? Even something as simple as bringing down a child's fever? Do you have any pets to consider? Could anyone else (family, friends, elderly neighbors, etc.) need your help? What if you're out and not at home? What if your family is in separate places? What if you can't reach people by phone? What if you have to evacuate?

Best question of all: What harm does it do to be prepared just in case?

Thursday, March 10, 2011


As you know, at roughly $3-$4 a piece, buying a few birthday/wedding/baby shower/thank you/congratulations/etc. cards can add up quickly. For several years now I've been buying the large file boxes already full of cards for most occasions, and I love it! Not only does it save a lot of money over time (they usually come out to about $0.50/card), but it saves me so much time looking through cards in the store, which children tend not to be patient during-not to mention the trip out to go get the card.

My stash of cards was getting low, so I was pretty happy to find this cute box at Sam's Club. It was $15 for 30 cards, and I wasn't sure what to expect. Every single card looks as though it's handmade with unique detailing, so adorable! I will be getting another box for sure if they are still in stock the next time we go.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A Mother's Happy Hour-Nap Time

This one won't save you money, but it might save your sanity. When I first became a stay at home mom, I spent my son's nap time getting as much housework done as I possibly could. I felt that clock ticking, and needed to hurry so that at the end of the day I could see some concrete evidence of my hard work. I also had the absurd idea that a stay at home mom should be able to do it all during the day-cleaning, cooking, laundry, grocery shopping, errands, etc. After all, you do have 40 hours a week right? Oh how I laugh at my naivete, really I was clueless.

It took a couple of years, but I have now realized the power of a well-used nap time, and by well-used I mean not used at all. Taking some time to relax does a tremendous amount for making me a better mother. It gives me patience, more energy and increases my overall happiness. And everyone knows, if mama isn't happy then no one is happy. Now I will spend that time writing on this blog, reading, listening to music or sitting outside. Some days I even go so far as to unplug the phone, both to get some quiet time and to ensure it doesn't wake the kids early.

Whatever it is that helps you recharge, I encourage you to make time for that when/if you're able to get the kids to sleep. You may not have a sparkling house (who does with children anyway?) but I can promise you will have a happier family!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Save Money On Paint

As I start thinking about painting our house, I thought I would share an easy way to save money on paint. Most paint stores, and every Lowe's and Home Depot, have an area for "oops paint". When a customer orders a specific color and either changes their mind or never picks it up, the store will sell it for a deep discount to get rid of it. Yes, many of these colors are hideous, but many of them are nice too.

Generally the gallon size are $5 and pints are $1, but this can vary by store. This won't help when you're needing to paint a large area and need several cans, but we've found some great colors for bathrooms, closets, dressers and additional layers to our beehive. It's also a fun thing to check out each time we happen to be in Lowe's, you never know what you'll find!