Recyclebank: 25

Quickly earn 25 more points to add to your Recyclebank by clicking on the image above. You can redeem your Recyclebank points for magazine subscriptions, coupons and even gift cards! I highly encourage you to start collecting Recyclebank points now because you’ll be amazed how quickly those can add up.

Free DVD from Izzit

Pups of Liberty

If you are a teacher (or home schooler), you can request a free dvd from Izzit. It is completely free – no strings attached. Plus, you can request a new free dvd each school year! Last year, I requested In the Classroom with David Robinson. I just requested Pups of Liberty as my choice for this year. It tells the story of the Boston Tea Party with cats and dogs. Teachers, sign up for Izzit and request your free dvd today.

940 Saturdays…and a Review

940 Saturdays

Did you know there are 940 Saturdays between a child’s birth and the day he or she turns eighteen? On one hand, that sounds like a lot of time. On the other hand, I know those days (and years) will fly by. The past 5 months with Nathan have already flown by and I want to savor all the moments. For that reason, I was intrigued when I saw there was a new book called 940 Saturdays: Family Activities and a Keepsake Journal.

The book was written by Dr. Harley Rotbart, who is apparently a renowned parenting authority. I loved the concept of making the most of all the Saturdays so was excited to read this book. When I opened up 940 Saturdays, I was quite surprised. Let’s just say that it wasn’t what I expected.

940 Saturdays is a 2-inch thick book – and it’s blank pages for you to journal about the Saturdays. Each page has two Saturdays on it, counted by number with space for you to fill in the date and journal about what you did on that Saturday. The concept is good. I want to make the most of every day with my son. That said, the idea of journaling what we do every Saturday – mundane or extraordinary – is overwhelming.

940 Saturdays does come with a booklet insert with ideas for what you can do on these Saturdays. While it was divided by ages, I was disappointed. The booklet is simply a list of hundreds of ideas. It’s a bullet list of ideas like draw pictures, play outside, make a collage and visit the zoo. I could come up with these ideas on my own. There wasn’t anything particularly noteworthy in this list. Maybe that was the intention. Simple ideas or involved, these 940 Saturdays should be spent enjoying the time with our children.

So, would I buy this book? No. Even though I love journaling, I’d rather enjoy the Saturdays as they come without worrying about writing about them. I don’t want to be tied to a book like this because I (personally) would feel guilty missing a Saturday or two of recording. Plus, I feel overwhelmed looking at all the pages to be filled. I want to enjoy the days as they come. That said, I do appreciate that this book made me think long and hard about how I spend Saturdays – and every day – with my son.

Please note that I received a free copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Recyclebank: Ruby Tuesday Coupon

Turn your Recyclebank points into a buy-one-get-one-half-off meal deal at Ruby Tuesday. This reward normally costs 100 points, but is just 50 points for one week only!

Do the Next Thing

Do you have busy days? Why am I even asking that question? Of course you do. We all do! There are days when we are busy from the moment we wake up till the moment we go to sleep. And in my case, even before and after because my mind often refuses to shut off!

It seems I’ve had quite a few of those days lately. It’s August and even though I’m not teaching full time this year, I’ve still been plenty busy. I’ve had school music to plan, hymns to record for chapel, and faculty meetings to attend. I’ve had trips to make across the state and early childhood workshops for which to present. I’ve been helping my husband in his classroom and preparing for another year in mine. Then, there is the ever present household cleaning, cooking, dishes, laundry and grocery shopping. And most important of all, I have a baby for whom to care!

Some days, I don’t think I’ll get it all done. And you know what? I rarely do. Some days, I feel overwhelmed by the sheer length of my to-do list. Why? Because it seems for every item I check off, I add two more. Some days, I just don’t know where to begin. It is on those days that I have to remember the simple – but profound – advice of Elizabeth Elliot. It is she who said, “Do the next thing.”

Do the Next Thing.

The next thing is often as simple as washing the dishes or changing a diaper, but it is one more thing that’s getting done. It’s helpful for me to remember that I don’t have to tackle my entire to-do list in one day – or at one time. I simply have to do the next thing. When we focus on one task at a time, my life instantly becomes more manageable.

When we don’t know where to start, do the next thing.

When we feel overwhelmed by the busy-ness of day to day life, do the next thing.

When we want to give up and pull the covers over our heads, do the next thing.

When we are frustrated and discouraged, do the next thing.

Live your life one moment at a time and do the next thing.  

Kroger: Back to School Sweepstakes

Kroger Back to School Sweepstakes

Kroger has a new Back to School sweepstakes running through July 26th. Enter to win free groceries for a year, a $25 Kroger gift card or an instant win of various food products. You can enter daily until the sweepstakes ends. Let me know if and what you win!

5 Favorite Baby Gifts

5 Favorite Baby Gifts as Recommended by a New Mom - Simple and practical ideas that any Mom will appreciate!

Please note that the following post does contain affiliate links. If you purchase anything through these links, I will receive a small percentage back to support this website. Thank you! Still, I would recommend these gifts regardless of where they are purchased!

As a new Mom, we received many thoughtful and generous gifts when Nathan was born. I promptly wrote the thank you notes, and we have since put these gifts to good use. That said, three months into caring for a baby, there are couple gifts that I use more than others. Some we received and others I purchased on my own, on the recommendation of others. These five things are the items I will now give as baby gifts because they are so useful! I realize every baby is different but if you are looking for something unique and / or practical to give a new Mom, here are my top recommendations, coming for a new Mom who’s tried and used them all.

1. Aden and Anais Swaddling Blankets

Before I had a baby, I thought these blankets were overrated. Then, a teacher from Andy’s school gave us two of these Aden and Anais swaddling blankets and I quickly learned why everyone raves. First, they are the perfect size of blanket, whether you are laying the baby on the ground or swaddling. They are lightweight enough that you can use these blankets year around. I especially like them to cover up when I’m nursing. The price is a bit higher, but you could do as the one teacher did, buy a set of 4 blankets (as they are sold) and divide it into two baby gifts. We’ve been perfectly happy with two of these marvelous Aden and Anais blankets. You can find these at Target and Babies R Us as well as online.

2. Booginhead Pacifer Clip

If a baby uses a pacifier, they are going to need a pacifier clip. Regardless of what kind of pacifier they use, there is one pacifier clip I recommend. It’s called the Booginhead. It’s a strong clip that doesn’t damage clothes and can attach to any pacifier. Plus, it’s available in lots of cute colors and patterns! We ordered ours from Amazon but I later saw it at Walmart. It is the best investment and will save you countless times of searching for and washing a dropped pacifier. Buy one of these sooner rather than later.

3. SwaddleMe

Swaddling has received a lot of attention in the recent years. Our hospital swaddled Nathan in the NICU and even sends all parents home with a sleep sack / swaddle. Nathan liked being swaddled, then didn’t for a small window, but then really liked it again. From week 3 on, we’ve used the SwaddleMe swaddle to help him get a good night’s sleep. We’ve found that it keeps him from jumping as little babies do, especially when they are sleeping on their back as now recommended by all doctors. The SwaddleMe is easy to use as it wraps the baby securely. We laugh that the baby looks like a little burrito, but he really seems to like it and sleeps soundly – which makes me like it. Again, you can buy these at Target or Babies R Us as well as online. I just purchased the bigger size at Once Upon a Child, a child resale shop.

4. Coordinated Onesies and Bibs

Let’s be honest. There are so many adorable outfits for babies. Boys or girls, it doesn’t matter. When you have a baby, your dresser and closet will be filled with the cutest assortment of outfits. What gets worn the most? The onesies. In my experience, the overalls and sweaters and pants are worn occasionally. They are too much work for a new Mom who is happy to be in clothes herself. Buy the baby some cute onesies – with bibs that coordinate – and she’ll be happy that the baby is dressed so cutely and simply. When the drooling starts around 2 months, as it will, she will be extra glad for those matching bibs and onesies. I’ll give bonus points if you buy bibs that wrap around and snap on the side of the neck instead of velcro-ing on the back. Those are my favorite bibs because they are easy to fasten and stay on securely. Here’s an example of some matching sets, but they can be found anywhere you buy baby clothes.

5. Pampers Diapers and Wipes

I stockpiled a lot of diapers before Nathan was born. I stockpiled diapers in all sizes and in all brands. Nathan hasn’t had a problem wearing any of the diapers and rarely leaks in any of them (no more so than the typical new baby). Of all the brands we have used, I have decided that Pampers are my favorite brand. These diapers fit securely and hold the most, especially in the newborn days. As for wipes, Pampers are also my favorites. I know some Moms don’t like these wipes because they are most moist than other wipes. To me, that is what I like the most about them. I feel like I can really get the baby’s bottom clean with these wipes. I will still buy the ones that are the best deal but am watching harder for deals on Pampers.

There you have it. If you are looking for practical gifts to give a new Mom, these are my personal recommendations. Of course, board books, baby wash and baby shampoo are also nice practical items always needed to round out your baby gifts. Freezer meals are also appreciated, especially once the baby is born! What would you add to this list? Are their other items Moms have appreciated as baby gifts? I’d love to hear in the comments!

I’m linking to Thrifty Thursday at Living Well, Spending Less

Top 5 Deals of the Week: 7/13 – 7/16

Top 5 Deals of the Week Button

This is a great week to shop at Kroger! I don’t do my every day shopping there, but their sales make it worth my time. This is a good sale week at Kroger. There are lots of good digital coupons that can each be used five times. Look in your ad to find all of those deals. Here are the top five deals I see for this week.

1. Blueberries (1 pint) at $0.99
Final price: $0.99 – They freeze great!

2. Kroger milk (1 galloon) at $1.88
Final price: $1.88 – Limit two

3. All laundry detergent at $2.99
Use printable $2/2 coupon or $1/1 coupon
Final price: $1.99

4. Doritos at $2.49
Use $1/1 digital coupon (Can use up to 5 times in one transaction)
Final price: $1.49

5. Ritz Crackers at $1.99
Use $0.50/1 digital coupon (Can use up to 5 times in one transaction)
Final price: $1.49

Glade Daily Break Sweepstakes

Enter the Glade Daily Break Sweepstakes (via Facebook) for a chance to win one of 4 giveaways. Plus, everyone who enters get to print a $1/1 any Glade product coupon.

Mars Movie Night Sweepstakes

Mars Movie Night

Through August 10th, you can enter the new Mars Movie Night Sweepstakes. Oh, I do love the Mars sweepstakes! Last time, I won several free candy bars, and I’ve already won at this one – on my second try. Here’s the scoop.

Text the word MOVIE to 78787. You will get a text back prompting for your birth date (to make sure you are over 18). Then, you will get a second text prompting for your email. After that, you will get a final text telling you if you are an instant winner or not. The first time, I wasn’t but the second day / time I was. What do you win? This is even better than chocolate. Gasp!

If you win, you’ll receive a $6 Mastercard to use for a home movie night. It is valid at any online streaming movie service – such as Amazon. If you’re an instant winner, you’ll receive a text to enter your unique code at the Mars Movie Sweepstakes. Once you do, you can select “$6 to Use at a Movie Streaming Service.” Once you do, you’ll get an email with a pdf file containing your Mastercard code. I used mine immediately at Amazon to purchase a $6 gift card and applied the credit to my account.

It’s really very simple if you follow the prompts. Just take the time to send that first text. You can enter daily and there are 500,000 winners! Let me know if you win!

Thanks, Hip 2 Save!

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