The 5 Best Resources For Printable Coupons

Picking up the Sunday paper or subscribing to newspaper delivery used to be the only way to get your hands on coupons, but that’s all changed in recent years.  Now, getting printable coupons for your favorite brands is as easy as logging on to a few websites.

Best Printable CouponsBrand Sites – First and foremost, I always recommend checking the websites of your favorite products and brands for printable coupons.  The more demand there is for coupons, the more likely the brands are to supply them.  Many big brands (like Kraft) are really good about offering printable coupons on their site for many of their products.  If you know there’s a specific product you’re going to buy, no ifs about it, always check the brand site for a coupon.  For example, we use Cottonelle toilet paper.  We ONLY use Cottonelle toilet paper.  If the big pack we usually buy isn’t available, we’ll buy a smaller pack – but, it will always be Cottonelle.  If I know I need to pick up toilet paper, I check Cottonelle’s website for coupons.

Moving beyond the brand sites, there are other options out there for coupons.  These are, in my opinion, the 5 best sites for printable coupons.  I use them all and I use them often!

Coupons.com – This one seems kind of obvious, no?  Printables, card-linked offers, coupon codes… they have it all.  You can sort by category or browse the whole lot.  I love that it has a tracking bar that shows you how much you’ve “clipped” in savings.

Redplum.com – One of your weekly paper regular coupon inserts, Redplum is also online!  My favorite thing about Redplum is that you can load the coupons you “clip” onto your favorite store loyalty card – no actual printing!  Redplum has a huge variety of coupons, many “high-value” coupons too!

SmartSource.com – Another weekly insert, SmartSource is online too.  SmartSource offers a full listing of coupons, but you can also submit your zipcode to get coupons specific to your area.  SmartSource also offers Direct2Card coupon options for several supermarkets.

Store Sites – If you know where you plan to shop, hit up their website!  Many stores like Wal-mart and Target offer coupons, both manufacturer and store coupons, on their websites.  Target even allows you to stack coupons (use a manufacturer coupon and store coupon on the same item).  Some stores (again, like Target) offer additional savings through their apps.  Target has an app called Cartwheel.  If you take the time to plan, you can use a manufacturer’s coupon, store or app coupon, Pharmacy Rewards and a Red Card discount at Target all in the same trip!  Just the Pharmacy Rewards and Red Card alone will clip 10% right off the top of your total.

I know coupons save me a ton of money every month, and even make it possible for us to enjoy products we wouldn’t otherwise be able to justify spending the money on.  Do you coupon shop?  Where are your favorite places to find coupons?

Posted in Life in General, Reviews | 9 Comments

5 Tips For Taking Better Pictures of Your Kids

5 Tips for Taking Better Pictures of Your Kids

Taking pictures of your children, pictures that look a little more put together than a quick snapshot, can seem nearly impossible.  By using a few simple tips and tricks, you can take a painful experience and make photographing your kids fun!

Take Better Pictures of Kids Photography TipsWe’ve all tried to do it.  “You sit here, you sit here and you sit here.  Don’t move.  Smile.  Be still.  Stop doing that.”  You get the picture.  Or maybe you don’t.  Trying to take pictures of your kids can be a seriously stressful, incredibly frustrating experience.  Often, it’s not only the parents who end up frustrated and stressed out, but the kids do too!  I won’t promise miracles, but I do have a few tricks up my sleeve to help you get better pictures of your kids, without sending anyone over the edge.

Beautiful Park Davidson, NCFind the Right Setting

If you want to get some decent pictures of your kids, the first thing you need to think about is where you want to make the magic happen.  I highly suggest you get outside.  Lush and green or winter gray, you’re going to have more room to move around and less clutter in the background, you’ll have more variety in the shots you walk away with, and no one feels trapped in a space they can’t get out of.  You’ll most likely have better lighting and more colorful pictures too!

Find a local park, head out into your back yard or your kid’s favorite fun spot – anywhere they can be comfortable and you can safely take pictures – is a great place.  We have the lovely local park that has not only play equipment, but a greenway, pond (ducks, geese and turtles!) and lots of room for running.  It’s a great spot for a family picnic followed by a walk along the greenway (and soee picture snapping along the way!)

Get Moving Play with Your KidsGet Up and Get Moving

If you want to take the best pictures of your kids you possibly can, give up on the idea of standing (or sitting) still.  If you make them feel forced, most kids will be done – d.o.n.e. – and quick.  Let them lead the charge, move around, pick where they want to stand.  Use games (like Simon says or Freeze) to manipulate their positions or poses.  Playing Tag is an excellent way to get some giggles going, and giggles make the best shots.  Shooting s moving target isn’t easy, so use breaks in the game to snap pictures rather than trying to catch all the action.  Be excited about suggesting things for the kids to look at or do (“Hey!  Check out that Turtle!”  or “I bet you can’t reach up for that tree branch!”)  You’ll be surprised at the requests they will comply with when you don’t make it about setting up a picture.  Let the poses happen naturally.

Pack The Necessities

There are a few things that will ruin even the cutest pictures… nasty noses, messy mouths and dirty hands.  Bring along a very baby wipes, some tissues, and maybe a hair brush (especially if you have a girl.)  Take the occasional break between games and silliness to check those noses, and if you’ve been eating or playing in the dirt, those hands!  If you’ve got a girl and you’ve been doing some running and craziness, you might want to smooth down any crazy hair too.

Silly Kid PicturesGet the Sillies Out

Give your kids a chance to be goofy, funny and just plain silly.  My girlie loves to “pose” in her own silly way, and I indulge her.  We usually make a deal… let me take a few my way, and we’ll take a few your way.  Sometimes her silly pictures end up being some of my favorites.  Dance around with your kids, be crazy, and forget about who’s watching.  Silly faces are fun for everyone.  If you’re comfortable with your little ones handling your camera, pass it off and turn the tables.  If they feel like they have some control, you’re more likely to get the results you want from them.

Say When

You know the line in that song… “You gotta know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away, and know when to run.”  Yeah, that totally applies.  As a parent, you know how to read your kids.  Don’t push them.  Every photo outing won’t be a huge success, so don’t expect it.  If you start getting a lot of push back or you can tell your kiddo’s attitude is shifting, give it up.  There will be other times for pictures.

If you try to push your kids to take pictures when they don’t want to, you’re setting yourself up for a photo fight every time you pull out the camera.  They have minds like steel traps… they will remember you made them take pictures when they didn’t want to, and I can promise you this: once the attitudes shift, you aren’t going to be happy with any shots you get anyway.  When it’s time to put away the camera, put away the camera.

Promises, Promises

I promise, I really do – If you incorporate these little tips and tricks into your next attempt at taking pictures of your kids, you will be SO much happier than if you take the “sit here, sit there” route.  Once you have shots you love, you can spiffy them up a little using the tips from our Drab to Fab tutorial.

Do you have any tips and tricks that you incorporate into your photographic adventures with your kids?  What works for you?  Share your thoughts with us here or on Facebook and good luck on your next memory catching session with your kiddos!

Posted in Parenting, Photography | 27 Comments

Taking on IKEA {A Newbie Tale}

Taking a solo trip to IKEA, for me, is much like taking a trip to the bathroom… I’m never allowed to go alone.  Despite numerous visits, I’ve never left the store with more than a handful of small accessories.  I guess I’d still qualify as an IKEA Newbie.  That all changed Saturday.

IKEA Furniture AssemblyMy sister took my children with her and her family this past weekend to Great Wolf Lodge in Concord, NC to celebrate my nephews birthday.  With the upcoming office project, operation “take back the play room” is in full effect.  Step 1 – Figure something out to get the toys from the play room into the boy’s bedroom.  Simple enough, except that the boy has so many trucks and tractors… ugh!  Knowing I needed more than Target could offer, we headed to IKEA.

Silly husband.  He thought a kid-free trip meant it would be a quick trip.  No such luck!  Do you know how packed IKEA is on a Saturday afternoon?  It’s a wee bit insane.

IKEA Check Out Line CrazyThat was only 1 of many lines that were a mile long.  I knew what I was getting into though.  After walking the showroom and weighing our options, we knew what we wanted for the boy’ room.  With that settled, I could relax a little a do some office decor shopping!  I picked up a few things, mostly things in my accent color (yellow), but you’ll have to wait for the big reveal to get the details on those.  I also scoped out some decorative lighting options, but I couldn’t settle on what I liked best, and left with only photos and memories instead.

Table Lamp IKEAOne thing we did come home with was a plant stand, but with no intention to use it as such.  Since the girl’s American Girl obsession started, I’m always on the watch for something that can be repurposed or altered to fill an American Girl need.  And there, in the outdoor furniture, I found this cute little plant stand that – to me – looked very much like an American Girl dining table.

American Girl Table IKEAI knew in picking it up that chair making would be on my to-do list, and well, I’ve already made a sofa…so, why not?  For less than $20, I’ll have a full dining set for the girl and her dolls.  It’ll take me a little time, but I’ll save a ton of money – and more importantly, I’ll make the girl happy.

While putting the table together took all of 5 minutes, that was not the case with this bad boy…

IKEA Expedite Entertainment UnitI had heard IKEA horror stories, so I was prepared for assembly to take me a while.  What I wasn’t prepared for was my own impatience and inability to leave the boxes alone until the weekend.  Instead, after rolling in from a 12 hour work day, I decided to tackle this beast with the assistance of a very eager 4 year old.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a kid more excited about a piece of furniture.  He was busting at the seams to have somewhere to arrange all of his tractors and heavy equipment.  He has quite the collection.

Assembly wasn’t near as bad as I thought it would be, even with my 4 year old assistant ‘helping’.  I had about 90 minutes into the project.  I still need to get the bracket to mount his tv (it’s going to look so tiny in there!) and add a few more bins, but we have almost moved everything from the playroom into this bedroom.  If all goes as planned (and it never does!), I’ll be painting my new office sometime within the next week!

Are you an IKEA shopper?  Have you scored any amazing deals there or seen any unbelievable IKEA hacks?  I’d love to see/hear about them!

Posted in American Girl, For the Home, Life in General | 10 Comments

Make An Easter Egg Wreath for $5 {Dollar Tree Crafting}

I love crafting with supplies from Dollar Tree.  Earlier this week, I shared the Magnetic Chevron Memo Board I made for my new office (which is slowly but surely coming together) and today I’m sharing the Easter Egg Wreath I made to adorn our front door for the next month.  The beauty of this wreath?  It will hold up in the weather with no issues, and all for $5.  Bonus, you can put the whole thing together in about 10 minutes.  I know you guys love 10 minute wreaths, as evident by how frequently this one has shown up on Pinterest.

Make An Easter Egg Wreath for $5Getting Started

This wreath is so easy, it’s ridiculous!  As long as your kids are old enough to be trusted not to stab themselves (or someone else) with floral wire, they can do most of the work for you!  It would actually be great fine motor skills practice!

Easter Wreath 5 Dollar SuppliesYou need the following -

2 pks – 18 eggs each – Plastic Eggs (look for the eggs with holes in the tops and bottoms)

2 pks – 6 ft each – Floral Wire

1 roll Ribbon

The Hardest Part

aster Wreath String EggsThe hardest part of this project, and it’s not hard at all, is stringing the eggs.  If you found the eggs with holes in the tops and bottoms (Dollar Tree!), this is just like threading a bead.  Take one pack of eggs and arrange them in whatever pattern you like.  One at a time, thread the eggs onto the floral wire.  Go in through the whole on the bottom of the egg and out through the whole at the top.  Do that 17 more times.  And then, pick up the other piece of floral wire and do it all over again.  When you finish, you should have two strings of 18 eggs.  It gos pretty quick, I promise.

Easter Wreath Pet LoveTwister

This is where things get twisted…literally.  Lay your two strings of eggs side by side.  Twist the ends on on side together several times to secure them to each other, then gently twist the egg strings together.  You can to twist then snugly against each other, but not so tight that the eggs push each other apart.  Bring the ends together and twist again to secure the two ends together.

Easter Wreath Egg TwistOnce you’ve twisted the ends together, you can snip off the extra floral wire using scissors and a pretty heavy hand.  Now you can shape your wreath into a circle, or if you chose, you could manipulate it into more of an egg shape.

Easter Egg WreathTwistUse your ribbon to make a bow (a great way to cover up your twisty wire connection) and add a loop to hang your wreath… then you’re done!

You can hang your wreath inside, outside or anywhere you chose.  And, at $5, you can chose to use it for one season or save it for years to come.

Do you have any favorite Easter or Dollar Tree crafts?  We’d love to see them!

Posted in Crafts, For the Home | 9 Comments

Divergent {In Theaters Now!} #Review

Divergent Movie Poster #Review #Divergent

Earlier this week, a girlfriend and I headed out (courtesy of Summit Entertainment) to get an early dose of Divergent.  I’ve been bursting at the seams to talk about this movie ever since, but I had to keep mum until the official release.  Well, Divergent is officially in theaters as of today and I can finally share what I thought of the movie!

My quick and dirty review… GO SEE DIVERGENT!  Keep reading for the detailed review…

The Story

Divergent is set in America, many years from now.  After civil war destroyed the nation, faction system was set in place to divide people based on human virtues.  In this action-adventure film, Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley) is warned she is Divergent and will never fit into any one group. This places her in grave danger.

When she discovers a conspiracy by a Erudite faction
leader Jeanine (Kate Winslet) to destroy all Divergents, Tris must learn to trust
in the mysterious Four (Theo James) and together they work to find out
what makes being Divergent so dangerous – before it’s too late.

Divergent The Movie #Review #DivergentBook vs Movie

Divergent is based on the best-selling book series by Veronica Roth.  I’m currently on the third book in the series, Allegiant.  (The first two are Divergent and Insurgent.) You can get them all on Amazon for a great price.

If you’ve not read the book, no worries!  You will still LOVE the movie.  If you have read the books, no worries!  You will still LOVE the movie!

As far as movie adaptations of books go, they can sometimes be rather disappointing, especially when key parts of the story are altered for the big screen.  I will be honest in saying that my biggest concern going into the theater was whether or not the movie would live up to the book.  How much would they change?  Would the chemistry feel the same or would they make it more physical for the sake of the visual?  I think most avid readers have these same types of questions anytime they see one of their favorites adapted for the screen. While there were a few minor changes, I am happy to say that the film was VERY true to the book.  The minor changes that were made had no affect on the story as a whole, and were things a lot of people would probably never have even noticed.  I just read the book a few weeks ago, and I think it being so fresh on my mind was the only reason I even noticed the differences.

Casting

Theo James and Shailene Woodley were neither on my radar before being cast as the lead roles in Divergent.  (I can guarantee you that they’re on my radar now though!)  Despite that, there were still several cast members who were very familiar to me and who’s names being associated with the movie made it a “must see”… (to be specific – Kate Winslet, Ashley Judd, and Tony Goldwyn.)  After seeing the chemistry between Theo and Shailene, I can see why they were cast alongside each other.  The relationship and chemistry between the two was essential to preserving the integrity of the book and the did a wonderful job.

Divergent Tension #Review #DivergentThe Action

This movie was action packed!  There wasn’t a lot of “blood and guts”, but there was a lot of hand to hand combat and some gun violence.  It was fairly integral to the story and they did a great job bringing that through on the big screen without creating a blood bath.  The fight scenes were well choreographed and didn’t look faked or overly computer enhanced.  {That’s a huge pet peeve for me, so bonus points for awesome fights!}

There was one kind of “action” missing from the movie – and I’m glad!  In the book, the physical chemistry between Tris and Four hangs in the air.  There are subtle touches, grazes of the fingers, holding of hands and some kissing – but that’s really it.  Nothing ever gets what I would call “hot and heavy” and I was really impressed that the storyline for the movie stayed true to that and didn’t overly sexualize the characters.  While the book does tell you that you choose your faction at age 16, the movie leaves that out (so everyone’s ages are a little less clear in the movie than the book) and while the writers could’ve taken some liberty there, they didn’t and that impresses me.

Divergent Dauntless Jump #Review #DivergentThe Final Word(s)

If you love a good story with a little sci-fi, a lot of action and mind bending plot, Divergent will impress!  I honestly left the theater with no complaints, aside from the fact I will have to wait until 2015 for Insurgent!

Posted in Entertainment | 11 Comments

My 7 Year Old is Addicted to Youtube

It really started innocently enough… “Here, baby.  Quietly watch this video while mommy answers some questions for the doctor.”  Babies go to the doctor a lot.  Older siblings really don’t enjoy these trips.  There comes a point where you will do nearly anything to quiet the squirmy, anxiously little angels while you try to have a half way intelligent – or at least half awake (newborns don’t have great sleep schedules) – conversation with your pediatrician.  It’s usually somewhere between the car and the reception area.

In my case, ‘nearly anything’ meant finding The Wiggles or some equally annoying kiddie show on my iPhone and handing over that precious piece of metal and glass to an untrustworthy 3 year old.  I owe the life of my phone to Otterbox.

Watching videos on my iPhone became a fairly regular thing.  It was a quick way to get a moments peace and she really seemed to like it.  Fast forward about a bit – somewhere circa 2011… Our library had this program called Kidoz on their computers (basically a safe web browsing environment for kids) and after discovering that we could buy a personal license for the program, we added it to one of the laptops at home.  It allowed her to watch videos, play games and do activities without needing constant help.  She thought it was awesome.  She would watch Betty Crocker videos on how to decorate cakes, science experiments in action and videos of her favorite shows.  It was awesome!

After I got my iPad in 2012, I started letting her watch videos via the YouTube app.  She’d tell me what she wanted to watch, I’d search it and she’d be content for a few videos.  She was also learning to read/spell at that time, so we’d work through what words she needed to search for, how to spell them, etc.  One day, she wanted to search for American Girl videos.  We did… and that’s when the real obsession started.

She found many, many, MANY videos of house tours, crafts, tutorials and the like – all focused on American Girl and similar dolls.  She’d sit up my iPad, find a project, collect her supplies and craft right along with the video.  It was really cute to see her little mind working, copying what she saw on the videos, and working her way through how to substitute for the supplies she was missing.  Instead of squishing her creativity by limiting her screen time, I embraced it.

Now she asks to make her own videos and asks me to post them on YouTube (which, obviously I do).  I give her no direction, no prompting – this is all her.  Last night she asked to make a new video (2 actually) and asked me to post them for her.  She’s even asking for her own video camera (the jury is still out on that).

Is she addicted to YouTube?  Maybe.  Probably.  Will she move on to something else?  I’m sure.  Soon enough.  Am I a bad parent for contributing to her YouTube interest?  I don’t think so.  (And, for the record, I do monitor what she’s watching – so, definitely nothing inappropriate.)

What do you think about YouTube?  Appropriate for kids to make/post videos or not?  What about me letting my 7 year old cruise YouTube?

Posted in American Girl, Entertainment, Life in General | 9 Comments

It’s FROZEN Release Day! {Win The BluRay/DVD Combo Pack}

Who’s ready for several non-stop days of FROZEN viewing?  I know that will be the case at my house this week!  My kids have been counting down the days for that last two weeks.  Every night, I get the “X days until FROZEN!” from the girl, then I get it from the boy.  And, as it happens, there ARE frozen fractals all around our area this morning!  It seems appropriate.

FROZEN has been our new Disney favorite from the moment it hit the screen.  We’re currently working on building our own ice palace (you can see the awesome how to video here) – it’s definitely going to be an ongoing project.

Frozen DVD GiveawaySo today, because you’re all awesome and I know how much every girl, some boys and plenty of adults too are dying to see it 50 more times, we’re giving away a FROZEN BluRay/DVD/Digital Copy Combo Pack.  To make the deal a little sweeter, we’ll also include a copy of the FROZEN book!  It’s one of my daughter’s current favorites.  She even dressed up as Elsa and took her book to school for the character parade her class participated in for Read Across America week.

Frozen Book GiveawayEntry is easy!  Just use the Rafflecopter form below.  The giveaway will remain open through Sunday night and we’ll announce the winner Monday morning.  And while you’re entering things, don’t forget about our American Girl Giveaway running through March 23rd.  It’s had a ton of entries so far, but it only takes one to win!  That lucky entry could be yours!

We already own Anna and Elsa (thus the need for the ice palace) and I have a feeling that Kristoff isn’t far from our future.  Are your little princesses going crazy for the release of Frozen?  Have you bought the dolls, the costumes or any of the accessories?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Posted in Current Giveaways, Giveaways | 29 Comments

DIY Chevron Magnetic Memo Board {Crafting With Dollar Tree} #shop

This post is sponsored by Dollar Tree.  I <3 them and shop there often.  They have some awesome stuff.  The opinions of their store shared here is mine and mine alone.  And, of course, if you comment – you can share your opinion of their stores too!

DIY Chevron Magnetic Memo Board

DIY Magnetic Chevron Memo Board - MamaMommyMomCrafting on the Cheap

Isn’t this Chevron Magnetic Memo Board cute?  Would you believe I have a total of $2 in it? – and that includes the bow (which you could total do without!)  A trip to Dollar Tree and a raid of my craft supply closet, a little bit of patience and I have a cute new, functional piece of wall decor for my new office-in-progress.

I love Dollar Tree for inexpensive craft projects.  All you need is a little imagination, some time to wander the aisles, a few dollars and you’re good to go!  For this particular project, you’ll want to hit up the kitchen section and grab yourself a cookie pan.  Yes, bakeware.  While I am sure this pan would make lovely cookies, I had bigger plans for mine.

Make A Magnetic Chevron Memo Board - MamaMommyMomGetting Started

If you craft at all, chances are you have some paint laying around.  Spray paint or the regular brush on acrylic would work fine.  For my office makeover, I already know that my color scheme will be white, yellow and gray.  As it happens, I had white spray paint and yellow brush on acrylic handy.

After removing all packaging/stickers from your cookie pan, you can spread out a trash bag or piece of plastic to do your painting on.  This is the first time you’ll need to have some patience while completing this project.  The paint can take a while to dry depending on many factors, including the humidity and how thick you apply your coats.  I suggest two thin coats, front and back, with ample dry time between.  It only takes a few seconds to apply a coat, so you can do this as you have a few spare minutes through out the day.  I started this project the night before and got on one coat front and back before bed, then finished it up the next day.

Make A Magnetic Chevron Memo Board (Pattern) - MamaMommyMomDetails

You know how they say “the devil is in the details”?  Well, that’s kind of true here too.  Laying out a Chevron pattern isn’t hard, it’s just time consuming and requires a little bit of finesse.  I found a great printable template online from Life In Positudiness and put it to good use.  While you could certainly use tracing paper and trace the pattern onto your pan for freehand painting, I wanted a crisper finish, and my freehand paining is terrible, so I grabbed the scissors and painter’s tape.

The first row is the hardest, and the rest is a breeze!  Start by cutting out two strips of the Chevron pattern and taping them end to end.  This gives you one Chevron strip long enough to run the length of your pan.  Using strips of painter’s tape, line the edges of your pattern.  You will need to trim each point on the edges where the tape intersects to get good, sharp points.  Once you’ve taped both above and below the Chevron pattern, you can move it down and continue taping.  After the tape pattern is laid out, smooth it down well – giving special attention to the edges and curves in the pan.

Make A Magnetic Chevron Memo Board (Paint) - MamaMommyMomLife In Technicolor

The great thing about painter’s tape is that you can stick and unstick without messing anything up.  Once you’re happy with how your pattern looks and you’re sure the edges are smooth, you’re ready for paint!  With gray planned for the walls and white for my furniture, I really want to use pops of yellow in my new space.  I’ve had this bottle of yellow Gloss paint hanging out in my craft closet for sometime, and as it happens, it was the perfect shade for this project.  A quick coat of yellow was all I needed.  If I had used a darker color, I would’ve probably added a second coat.  On the white though, the yellow was find after only one coat.

After a lot of trial and error through the years, I have decided that I prefer to remove my painter’s tape while my paint is still wet.  Very carefully, remove the tape one strip at a time.  Toss the tape and allow your board to dry completely.  Once dry, you can touch up any edges or spots that may need a little extra coverage.

Make A Magnetic Chevron Memo Board (Close Up) - MamaMommyMomCute and Functional

Cute, right?  It’s going to look amazing hanging on the wall in my office!  I’ll be sure to share an updated shot of it on the new gray walls once I get the project completed.  It will be a great spot to keep my notes, but it would also be pretty awesome for a kitchen or photo memory board in a guest room.  And, all I spent was $2 on supplies at Dollar Tree!  I think I will swap out the bow with some sort of seasonal decor each month… maybe an egg cluster for Easter or a Gerber Daisy for Spring (both things that I can grab for just $1 at Dollar Tree.)

Later this week, we’ll have an Easter wreath to share that you can make for less than $5!  Are you a Dollar Tree crafter?  Do you have some amazing Dollar Tree crafts you can share?  Leave a link in the comments – we’d love to check them out.

Posted in Crafts, For the Home | 24 Comments

Amazon Prime Goes Up To $99 {Still Love It or Leaving It?}

Thursday was a sad day in Amazon Prime land.  Amazon users across the globe woke to an email detailing an impending price increase for the yearly subscription service.  I knew it was coming, as there had been rumblings around the web for weeks.  Was it going to be enough to make me walk away from my Prime membership?  I can see their reason for the increase, but can I justify it on my end?

Amazon Price Increase LetterI took to our Facebook page to see what others were saying.  I was surprised to see how many people don’t use Amazon more frequently, as well as the number of people who’ve never even tried Amazon Prime.  Personally, we order from Amazon at least twice a month.  It’s definitely my preferred method for gift shopping, as well as being a great resource for hard to find things or things typically only available at retail stores I don’t frequent.

Before I had my Prime membership, I would generally spend the $25 required for free shipping (now $35), rather than pay the $6.99 shipping fee.  I love that I can log on, order something that’s $6.99 – pay NO shipping – and have it in my hand in two days.  If that weren’t enough on it’s own, the TV shows and movies available to Prime members for FREE are awesome and have been a life saver when it comes to the kids.  We’ve also discovered some of our favorite series through Amazon streaming.  Prime members can also borrow one Kindle book a month for free.

The jump from $79 to $99 a year?  Yes, it’s still absolutely worth it to me.  Shipping costs aside, the instant video and ebooks more than pay for the membership fee.

If you order from Amazon often, or if you enjoy reading on your Kindle and watching streaming video, you should give Amazon Prime a go.  It’s FREE for the first 30 days.  If you try it and don’t see the appeal, just cancel!  You can sign up for your free 30 day trail here: Amazon Prime 30 Day Free Trial

If you’re a Prime member, what do you think about the increase?  Will you keep or cancel your membership?

Posted in Entertainment, Life in General | 9 Comments

Stylish and Practical Spring Home Decor {Spring Style with Kleenex} #KleenexStyle #Sponsored

This post has been sponsored by my favorite tissue brand, Kleenex.  My nose is grateful for their product, and so are my messy kids.  All thoughts and opinions contained herein are those of Mama.Mommy.Mom.

Stylish and Practical #KleenexStyle

Practical Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

Practicality is a funny thing.  Not funny “haha!” funny, but funny “ironic” funny.  Before having kids, I had a neatly arranged coffee table that sat in my living room.  It had this metallic charger plate with candles, a sand “zen garden”, neatly stacked home decor magazines and, at one point, a tall glass vase that housed my blue Beta fish, Bud.  Our end tables each housed a lamp, a drink coaster, more magazines, and on one table, a box of Kleenex.  There were resin cast swan planters that sat in front of our fireplace, a huge mirror on the wall and a tall floor vase that sat in the corner, with random seasonal decor poking out.  The tables were always neat, the planters angled just so, and the vase properly arranged.  Everything was just as it should be, all the time.

At the time, that all seemed very practical.  I aspired to have my living room look like it jumped out of the pages of House Beautiful.  Fast forward 10 years, and not so much.  The coffee table became a bedroom breeding ground for all things ‘homeless”(we couldn’t have little heads getting cracked on the corners), the planters and vase became something else to get broken (those are long gone), and my fish met his maker years ago (we tried replacing him, but I think the children pestered the new one to death.)  Needless to say, practical home decor for us is minimal.  I still like to change things up a little as the seasons change, but the way I do it has become much more subtle and definitively “kid-friendly”.

#KleenexStyle Color CoordinateColor Coordinate

Spring decorating doesn’t mean you have to give you your favorite colors.  While I enjoy bright, springy colors like pink and green, my family room is tan, brown and blue.  Pink and green?  Well, they just don’t coordinate.  Something simple you can do to add a little pop of spring without a complete room make-over is a 5 minute fix: Swap out the photos around the room with bright, season appropriate prints or pictures that bring in a little color without it seeming out of place.  You can then add little accessories in the immediate area of your photo that pull from the colors in the photo for a little extra pop.

In my family room, along side of my stylish Kleenex box (which totally matches my throw pillows), I have a cute Spring portrait of my daughter (with red, green, and pink) and some cute green tile coasters a friend made/gave me for Christmas.  Remember the part about being practical?  For me, now days practical means less.  Clean, some color and functional (Kleenex and coasters!)  If your table is big enough, you could throw a nice vase with some flowers (I would do artificial, again, because that’s what’s practical for me) on it.

His & Hers #KleenexStyleHis & Hers

Keeping my kids’ rooms cleaned is a never ending chore.  Anytime I go through, my first stop is always the night stand.  Of all the places I need to be organized and accessible, the nightstand is it.  I don’t want to be woke up in the middle of the night when the girl or the boy can’t ind their water cups or their Kleenex box.  My kids are huge Kleenex fans.  We always try to keep a box in each kids’ room.  Both kids love that they can pick their own Kleenex style to match their decor (or satisfy whatever color whim they’re on).

Right now, my daughter is very into the matchy-matchy thing, so her nightstand space is full of pink and green, with one random purple vase (her one thing she picked up on our last trip to IKEA.)  Aside from her lamp, bank, vase and box of Kleenex, her nightstand will be littered with books and drawings by weeks end, but it’s all her style.

On the other hand, my son only wants things that are blue or bright construction colors.  He’s big into diggers (even his piggy bank is a cement truck) and loves that he can get his Kleenex in a “boy colored” box.  Even the vase he had to have (what sissy has, brother wants too) is green and fits nicely with the trim on his lampshade.  By weeks end in his room, the open space on his nightstand will become a parking garage for various diggers, LEGO mini figures and diecast cars.

Catwalk or Kleenex?

Check out the fun video from Kleenex below and see if you can figure out what is Catwalk and what is Kleenex!  Also, to celebrate their 90th birthday, Kleenex is bringing you the Kleenex Style Studio.  Check it out and tell us which style fits you and where you like to show off your #KleenexStyle

 

Posted in For the Home, Life in General | 24 Comments