Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tasty Tuesday

We've had bread.  We've had cucumbers.  Now we've had bananas and melon.  Bread is still his greatest love, but how cute is he reaching for his melon sticks?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Must-Have Monday

This week's must-have is a silly little $5 teether called Razbaby.  We have the red one, but given how much Aidan adores it, it might be time to splurge on the blue one too.  Backups are important!

I love it because it's easy to clean and fits on his Booginhead Pacigrip so it never hits the floor.

Aidan loves it because it's got lots of different strange textures (the raspberry part, the leaves, the vine) that feel awesome on his sore little gums.

Total strangers love it because, well, it's a raspberry-shaped pacifier, and how often do you see those?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Mommy is Thrifty

Because so many of us are into this sort of thing, I thought I'd post about my adventures in couponing.  Living in a tiny Norristown apartment, we emphatically do NOT have the room for the hoarder-esque stockpiles proudly showcased on Extreme Couponing.  Nor do I have the desire to possess 74 boxes of a brand of cereal that we don't eat.

Still, there's so much to save even when you remain fairly brand-loyal and only buy what you fairly immediately need.

How and where to coupon is partly a regional thing, but here's what I do:
- I get coupons from the weekly inserts (Red Plum and SmartSource) from my local Sunday paper.  I signed up for Sunday-only delivery for $1 per week.  What I obtain in coupons more than pays for this, for sure!
- I print coupons online
- I match these manufacturer's coupons to store sales and store coupons with the help of sites like KrazyCouponLady
- I shop primarily at Rite Aid, Walgreens, and CVS (there is one of each within 2 minute of my apartment) but also at Target and Walmart.
- My main savings are on health & beauty and household items, but I definitely also clip and save at the grocery stores!

Anyway, this morning's fun included stops at Rite Aid, CVS, Walgreens, and Target.  I am a master list-maker and shopping-trip-planner, so each stop was really, really quick and the boys stayed in the car.

Rite Aid:
The merch: 2 big bags of combos, 4 tubes of Colgate toothpaste, 2 tubs of Pampers baby wipes
Total product value: $27.52 plus tax
Total paid out of pocket (minus coupons): $13.44
Total +UP rewards/coupons received (valid for next visit): $14.96

Net earnings of $1.52.  You make this too easy, Rite Aid!

The merch: 2 Secret clinical strength deodorants, 1 bag of Hershey's Bliss chocolate
Total Product Value: $24.77 plus tax
Total paid out of pocket: $17.69
Total ExtraCare Bucks (valid for next visit) $5.99

It's instances like these where if I wasn't brand-loyal and very specific on what I want, I could save a ton more.  Secret Clinical Strength runs upwards of $8 or $9 full price.  Even with a sale and a coupon, it's expensive deodorant.  But it's what I use, and my personal opinion is that a deal's only a deal if it's for something that I want.

Net spend of $11.70.  I can live with that. 

The merch: 2 bags of knorr pasta sides, a cucumber, a banana (the cucumber and the banana are lunch for Aidan.  Not actually on the shopping list.), 4 boxes of q-tips
Product Value: $16.65
Total paid out of pocket: $10.71
Total GC rewards received: $5

Net spend of $5.71. 

The Merch: a container of lysol wipes, 4 bottles of soda, 2 boxes of cereal.
Product Value: $17.11

Paid out of pocket: $5.83
Total RR received (valid next trip) $1

Net spend of $4.83.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Family Friday

Family Friday - a quick update on the state of the Shields clan.

This particular Friday is exciting, because Tom sends out report cards.  We are edging ever-closer to summer vacation, which we are hoping will be a time for sleeping in (ha) and taking our boy out to see what the world has to offer.

In an unplanned turn of events, my job was eliminated last week.  Monday, I had a job.  Tuesday, I didn't.  There are about a thousand reasons to freak out about that, but the bright side is that I belong completely to my teeny tiny while I figure out what's next.  This week, our major accomplishment was definitely sleep.  He's getting some.  We're getting some.  It's lovely.  I can't even begin to explain why, but when I am not working, Aidan sleeps a hundred times better.  When Aidan is home with daddy or at school, his naps are unreliable and notoriously short.  When Mommy's around, our boy can pull 3 hour naps no problem.  We usually get two long naps and one shorter snooze every day.  Then he goes to bed between 7 and 8, wakes up at 2 for a smackrel of honey (or milk.  whichever.), and goes back to sleep until 6ish.  The habit we've fallen into is that Mama takes the 2am wakeup and daddy handles 6am (either with first class airfare to mommy's bed for some breakfast, or a bottle full of milk and zantac if mommy remembered to make one up).  This routine's working nicely and we are hoping it's here to stay at least for a while.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Thankful Thursday

This week, I am thankful for the opportunity to spend a little more time with my little boy.  Losing a job is always tough, but spending the day snuggling his sweet little face is really amazing.

It's all too easy to get bogged down by the negatives, but it's so much more satisfying to find a cloud's silver lining.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tasty Tuesday - Aidan's First Foods

My teeny tiny is five months old.  Although we were prepared to wait another month or so before attempting any solids, Sir Aidan had other plans.  On one of our much-adored weekly playgroup meetups at Panera, he reached out and snatched some bread from my plate.  Before he could be stopped, it was in his mouth.  And he loved it.  He's mama's boy after all - carbs make our hearts happy.

We let him nibble on bread from time to time, though we're in no rush to add more to the mix.  We're a BLW family (more on that later), so we're still eagerly watching for signs of readiness.

From a recent Olive Garden outing:

Unsatisfied to confine himself to bread, Aidan's also had a taste of cucumber.  Mommy meant to start him on veggies.  Turns out, cucumbers are fruits.  Whoops.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Today I am thankful for the amazing women that have helped our family stay afloat while I have been hurt.  Not being able to lift my own child has been heartbreaking, but Auntie Megan, Auntie Katie, and Auntie Karyn have been so wonderful.  I am so thankful that we have them in our lives.

I can never really properly thank them for the hospital pickups, pharmacy runs, diaper changes (Aidan's, not mine, I swear!), hugs, cuddles, baths, changes of clothes, meals, cookies, love, encouragement, and support.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Must-Have Monday - Oh My Baby, Little One

I'll kick off "Must-Have Monday" with this gem of a book that I found.  It brought me a lot of comfort when I first went back to work, and we still read it all the time.  It's in our regular bedtime story rotation, but I also like to bring it with us to daycare.  If I find myself with a few extra minutes before school or during lunch, I like to read this to MY baby little one.

It's a about a mama bird who has to leave her baby bird at school all day while she works.  Even though they are apart, her love is with him all day long, and - surprise! - his love is with her too!  Her favorite part of the day is when they are reunited.  Sound familiar, working mamas?

It's called Oh My Baby, Little One by Kathi Appelt and illustrated by Jane Dyer.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

5 months old!

You are 5 months old, my big boy!!!

You, right now:
- Are rocking Huggies size 2 diapers.
- Have just begun wearing size 3-6 month clothes.
- Weigh about 14lbs. and are about 24 inches tall.
- Still only drink four bottles while mommy is away at work.  Each bottle is 3.5 ounces.  Sometimes you don't finish.  Once, you finished everything and wanted more.  Mommy tries super hard to figure you out, but you're you, so it's not so easy.
- Would rather stand than sit, and would rather die than lie down.

You still adore:
- tickles!  I have never heard a child laugh so hard!
- having your shirt taken off (this worries mommy)
- your bumbo and jumperoo
- Wubbanubs (especially Mr. Monkey) and your Skwish
- your Auntie Megan, who comes to hang out with you every week.  She talks to you in silly voices and you laugh like CRAZY

You have learned to love:
- your crinkle star
- Classical music in the car

You aren't so thrilled about:
- naps your crib
- your baby boy carseat

You are beginning to notice:
- The cats
- Mommy and/or Daddy leaving
- Your toes!
- Other kids at school

Life, this month.
- You rolled over from your back to your belly.  You just won't stop doing it, and you have aged mommy many many years by sleeping on your face.
- You still have weekly playdates with your buddies Phinn, Teddy, Chase, Ryan, and Timmy.  You are starting to play together on the floor and it is SO cute!
- You tried your first foods - a piece of bread and a piece of cucumber.  Mommy thinks you're too little, but you have ideas of your own.

Mommy would love to say more, but you've decided you're through napping and you'd prefer to play.