mom find: mini pump

For all the breastfeeding (or soon-to-be) moms out there, this mom find is for you!  I saw this mini-breast pump, sometimes called a bullet pump, online and decided to give it a try.  It was pretty cheap, so I thought that I might as well check it out.  The pump is great!  There are many versions of this pump, I’m sure they are all the same, but this is the one I purchased: Silicone Breast Pump  Continue reading “mom find: mini pump”

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budgeting

I would not say I am an expert at budgeting or finances, but I do work hard to keep our finances in order and to pay off our debt.  Although it may sound strange, I enjoy budgeting and financial planning.  I think this is mostly because I like a good spreadsheet (HAHA!) and I have a personality where I enjoy organization, which works well with budgeting and financial planning.  Also, I am not really a big spender, so I don’t see budgeting as something restricting.  I more see it as something that helps my family to be able to do the things that we enjoy. Continue reading “budgeting”

why I have 7 bank accounts!

As the new year approaches, I always try to think of where I would like to focus my time and energy in the coming year.  I usually end up with a few goals to improve my lifestyle and a few that will improve my family.  One goal I always seem to have is paying off debt and making financial improvements for my household.  One thing that I tried last year was multiple bank accounts.  I have a total of 7 and it works great for my family!

Continue reading “why I have 7 bank accounts!”

toddler room ideas

Recently my son turned 3 years old and we decided it was time for him to move to a big boy room.  We were hoping the room would get him excited about moving out of the old room to make way for our new baby.  We have a new baby coming this Spring and we needed to move my son down the hall.  So, for his birthday we decided to give him a room makeover!  We used a lot of items that we already had and bought the rest from IKEA or Amazon.

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We already had a twin bed, dresser, and nightstand (these were mine as a child) plus a few other items we used for decor.  So the picture above shows many of the items we purchased from IKEA (I know it looks like a mess!).

We decided to do a Lion Guard themed room since that is my son’s favorite show right now.  He got a Lion Guard bedding set from my parents for his birthday, plus my husband found some great wall appliques on Amazon.

Here is the finished product:

His bed with the appliques on the wall.  He already had Kion and Simba stuffed animals.  Plus we had a green throw to add to the bed and the lamp (from IKEA) for the night stand.

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All of the bins were from the Dollar Tree.  I love their bins!  They have so many colors and, of course, everything is a dollar. 🙂

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The shelf ($34.99, but we purchased during a sale) for his books and toys is from IKEA and so are the tables ($7.99) I used to make a train/play table.  To hold his books that are on the wall, we used IKEA spice racks ($3.99)!  We got his stool ($7.99) and stool cushion ($4.99) from IKEA as well.  We already had the car track rug and tent (both from IKEA).

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The rocking chair was a hand-me-down from my mother.

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I added a number and alphabet banner to the wall, which we already had (purchased from the Target Bullseye Playground).  The lamp on his dresser is also from IKEA and was in his old room.  We added a few of his toys around the room because we were hoping he would want to play in his room more often.  We are thinking that when the baby arrives we might need to spend more time upstairs and we wanted him to actually want to be in his room.

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He LOVED the room and slept in it the first night.  Since our son is an early riser, we have discovered that he will even play in his room by himself in the morning until we get up and dressed.  He never wanted to do that before and always wanted to come watch TV in our room.

I am so happy with how the room turned out!  My son said “I LOVE my new room” and he walked down the hall and said “That’s the baby room now” to his old room.  It all worked out perfectly! 🙂

❤ Kia

Best Jeans for Kids

jeans

I have been looking for the best jeans for my kids that are cost effective yet durable since my kids play hard. After searching high and low I have ranked the best jeans for your money.

  1. The Children’s Place – they have jeans that are $7.99 pretty much every day of the week. They claim it is a “sale” price yet the sale never ends. They have skinny, straight and bootcut pants options which are good for kids of all sizes. My son is very skinny and the slim jeans fit him rather nicely. They aren’t too tight and they aren’t too baggy. For the price of $7.99 it can’t be beat.
  2. H&M – if you have an H&M near you they are the 2nd best option. They provide the slim look that all the kids are crazy about these days and they are only $9.99.
  3. Old Navy – everyone pretty much has an Old Navy close to them. The sale price of their jeans typically falls right around $10 but you must catch them at the right times. Like The Children’s Place, they offer the different styles that will fit your kid just right.
  4. Crazy 8 – what I like about them is their Rockstar jeans. They have the perfect fit to them and my son looked absolutely amazing in them, he even won best dressed at his football banquet when having them on. What puts them at number 4 is only because of the higher price of $12 which isn’t really even high at all.

For my parents with kids out of the child sizing (5-14) I believe one of the top stores for girls is Forever 21. They have skinny jeans that come in at the low low price of $7.99. You aren’t going to find that price for adult jeans anywhere. For those with the older boys, I will have to recommend Old Navy as they tend to have more sales than most places and the jeans are offered in multiple styles. If your child likes the distressed look you can also easily YouTube how to do it yourself so you aren’t paying an arm and a leg.

Happy Shopping 🙂

❤ A

pregnancy style

I wrote this post when I was pregnant with my son, but it still applies.  I found myself referencing this post when trying to think of clothes to wear now that I am pregnant again.  So, in this post I decided to share some of my pregnancy style.  I was told several times that I looked “cute pregnant” or that I “wear pregnancy well” and I would always get compliments about my outfits.  So here are a few tips I have found that worked for me.  I didn’t want to spend too much money on maternity clothing, since I knew most of it could not be worn after the baby was born.  I bought a few maternity pieces from Target and worked with the other items I already had.

Since I am a working mom, I need work appropriate outfits, as well as casual outfits.  I bought one maternity dress, borrowed another, bought two pairs of maternity jeans,  two long sleeved shirts, a short sleeved shirt, black dress pants, a black dress skirt, a pair of black leggings and two belly bands (black and white).  That’s it!  Most of the items I bought were on sale, from a consignment store and for the others I used coupons I received when I started my registry with Target.

Here are a few pictures of my outfits and what items I mixed and matched to make each outfit:

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In this pic I was around 23 weeks and my outfit is a dress I found that was a little big on me, so I added a belt, scarf, and some flats.  This outfit contained no maternity items.

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In this picture I was 24 weeks and my outfit included my maternity leggings, a big white button up shirt, a cardigan, red scarf, and a black belt above the belly.  I also wore my black riding boots.

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In this pic I was around 28 weeks and my outfit includes my maternity black skirt and long sleeved maternity shirt.  I also added a scarf (I LOVE scarves) and a white tank top.  I found some great long white tanks that I love to pair with my shirts.  They are cheaper than the maternity brand tanks and work just as well because they are still long enough to cover my belly.

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This was taken at Week 29 and does not include any maternity items, except a belly band.  I paired a turtleneck that I had with another long tank, jeans, white belly band, and riding boots.  Plus I added a necklace.

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This was taken during Week 30 and contains no maternity items.  I wore a stretchy skirt with a big button-up shirt and cardigan.  I love big button-up shirts and I happened to have this one in my closet, but you could probably get one from a husband, boyfriend, brother, male friend, or thrift store.  They are everywhere!  I also added a skinny belt above the belly and flats.

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This was taken during week 31 and contains no maternity items, except a belly band.  I am wearing some stretchy jeans that I had and a belly band, plus I added two loose tank tops that I had and a cardigan.  I also added my black boots.

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Week 32 – This outfit did not contain any maternity items.  It is a wrap dress, which I already owned and a long tank top.  I added some fun jewelry and red flats.

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Week 32 – Here is that button-up shirt again!  I added a white tank under the shirt, a belt, and my maternity jeans.  I also added flats as well.

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34 weeks – Big, white button up shirt, purple tank top, maternity leggings, scarf, jean jacket, and a black belt.  I also wore riding boots this this outfit.

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35 weeks – This outfit included a stretchy, non-maternity dress, maternity leggings, a cardigan, and a black & white belt.  I wore riding boots with this outfit as well.

It is hard to put together maternity outfits that are cute and comfortable, but here are a few tips to save a little cash on your maternity clothes:

  • Cardigans work great in the fall and winter: I have lots of them and they don’t have to be maternity to add something extra to an outfit.  Also, you can pair a cardigan with a short sleeved shirt if you don’t have many long-sleeved options.  
  • Before you purchase maternity items, check your closet:  I found many items in my closet that were stretchy material and could be worn for most, if not all of my pregnancy.  
  • Stop by your local consignment store:  I checked a few consignment stores in my area and couldn’t find anything, but then I checked a children’s consignment store and found several items.  Make sure to check children’s stores, as well as your traditional consignment stores.
  • Purchase a few high waist belts:  If you don’t own any belts that you can wear above your belly, purchase a few.  I use them all the time, especially with my non-maternity items.  They help to make these items fit a little more like traditional maternity items and they accentuate the belly!

What are some tips you have found for maternity apparel?

❤ K

 

Truly Free Tax Returns

creditkarma

I have recently started working on my taxes and helping others as I do most years and this year I decided to try out a different provider. Typically I go straight to TurboTax and they make things fairly easy, however, the past few years I don’t like the hidden fees and the way they up-sell to get done what you need. This year after getting an email from credit karma I decided to try out their services. Also note credit karma is great for checking your credit scores and looking for ways to improve your score as they give free advice and suggestions. What was great about credit karma is the fact that everything truly was free. They don’t require you to pay for any filing for state or federal and your full refund is 100% yours. The set up is almost exactly the same as TurboTax and they will guide you through the pages that you need to fill out. I had no problems and someone with little to no tax experience should be able to file with no problem. You can register to use their services at http://www.creditkarma.com/tax.

Happy Tax Season All!

❤ A

Awesome Toddler Items at IKEA

One of my favorite stores is IKEA.  I love the way they style their products, the environment in the store, the MANY items they offer, and good prices.  I don’t mind putting things together, so IKEA is the perfect store for me.  Outside of the many pieces of furniture and household items, I have also found some great baby, toddler, and children items in the store.  They offer inexpensive cribs, that all convert into toddler beds, training potties, and children’s furniture. 

Here is a list of some of my favorite items, but I could not list them all so make sure you check out the store and website:

For eating I LOVE the Kalas (yes, all IKEA items have Swedish and Norwegian names) bowls, plates, cups, and flatware.  We have purchased several sets because after several moves pieces have come up missing.  Each piece of the set is $2.49 for 6 pieces.  They come in multiple colors to make everyone happy. They are dishwasher and microwave safe.

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Kalas bowls, plates, cups, and flatware ($2.49 for pack of 6) – http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/50192959/

Also, if you are looking for a basic, inexpensive high chair check out the Antilop.  We purchased one for my son and just recently stopped using it.  It is easy to clean and with the removable tray you can use it as a toddler chair as well when you are ready to move your child up to the table.  

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Antilop Highchair with Tray ($19.99) – http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/S79067506/

The wooden toys at IKEA are amazing.  I really like wooden toys because they don’t break so you can use them forever.  IKEA has A LOT of wooden toys, so these are just a few of my favorites.  The Mula crane with blocks is great for fine motor skills and learning shapes.  Your child will have to match the correct shape block for it to fit on the back of the crane.

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Mula crane with blocks ($14.99) http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/20294879/

They also have traditional stacking rings and a shape sorter.  

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Mula stacking rings ($7.99) http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/50294887/

Mula shape sorter ($7.99) http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/10294889/

One of my son’s favorites is the train set.  We have the 20 piece basic set, but we also have the 12 piece extension.  My son loves trains and the price is great for this wooden set.

Lillabo Train set ($9.99) http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/30064359/

IKEA has art supplies as well.  They have one of the best prices around for their wooden easel.  They also have paper, markers, pens, colored pencils, paint, and more.  Make sure to check out this section if you get the easel.  The large roll of paper they sell is great too.  We use it even without the easel for my son’s masterpieces!

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Mala Easel ($19.99) http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/50021076/

Mala art supplies (ranging from $0.99-$9.99) – paper, markers, colored pencils, pens, scissors, paint, and chalk http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/categories/departments/childrens_ikea/18735/

I also found that they had great prices for crib sheets.  I bought a few packs and have never needed more.  They are a soft cotton and mine have held up well.  I have only gotten the all white, but they also have pink, blue, and green.  

Crib sheets ($9.99/2pk) – http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/00130879/ (available in white, pink, blue, and green)

For those of you that are near a store (or traveling near a store), it is definitely worth the visit.  Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to walk through the entire store if it is your first time!

 

❤ K

mason jar solar lights

 

As you know, I love mason jars so when my mom mentioned she saw, on pinterest, a way to make solar lights out of the jars I thought I would give it a try.  I didn’t really have specific directions to follow for the lights, so I tried different things until I got something that worked. Continue reading “mason jar solar lights”

office on a budget

Since we moved into our new place, I have been wanting to update my office/work space.  I wanted it to look more organized, fun, and have a more cohesive look. I didn’t want to spend too much on the updates so I tried to mostly work with what I already owned. Continue reading “office on a budget”