A Year to Clear (Week 26 of 52)

Week 26 – Rocks, Shells, Sand, Bark, and Pine Cones

IMG_8613OK, this one is a little strange I guess because not everyone has rocks, shells, sand, bark and pine cones just hanging around, but here goes: when I was getting something out of the attic yesterday I came across a container full of rocks, shells, sand, pine cones, and even some bark that I had collected from different places. I have always loved collecting little things like unique rocks and seashells, but I probably don’t need a big bin of them in the attic. The worst thing about my collection is nothing is labeled. I guess I thought I would always remember where the bags of sand came from or the beach where I collected the really cool purple shells, but I don’t.

I went through the rocks and decided on a small pile that I wanted to keep, if for no other reason than to show them to S someday when she is learning about geology. I kept a few shells that are really nice or that I remember why I collected them in the first place, but the rest I decided could go. I put the rocks in a garden bed that has some perennial grass in it; the bark went in the mulch/branch bin; I think I will try to have S help me put peanut butter and bird seed on the pine cones and hang them out for the birds; and the sand and shells went into a big Tupperware container to create a little “beach box” for S to play with. Not including the sand and shells that are now a toy for S, I got rid of 11 pounds of rock, shells, sand, bark, and pine cones.

52 Weeks of Saving (Week 26 of 52)

Week 26 – Snagshout

Have you heard of Snagshout before? Snagshout invites people to leave reviews for select products on Amazon in exchange for discounted prices (sometimes as low as FREE). I’ll admit, there is a lot of junk on the site that I would never want even if it is free, but sometimes I see something that is worth ordering. My most recent purchase was some fish oil capsules for Matt; he takes fish oil anyway so I knew it was something that would be used and save us money. The bottle was free so it actually saved us $17.99, the cost of a similar size bottle of the fish oil we normally buy.

As far as using Snagshout goes, there really aren’t any “catches”. You have to have an Amazon account to link to Snagshout. It doesn’t have to be an Amazon Prime account; however, normal shipping charges do apply so a Prime account definitely helps with that. You can request a code for any item on the Snagshout page, you then add the item to your Amazon cart and enter the Snagshout code before completing the order. Once you receive the product they ask that you write a review on Amazon within two weeks. After you have written the review you request Snagshout to verify it and then you are done. The only restriction is that you can only order one product at a time and aren’t eligible for a new discount code until your review has been submitted and approved.

I should mention that I have found a couple other websites that supposedly provide discounts on Amazon in exchange for reviews as well. One is called Elite Deal Club and I can’t attest to how good it is because I have never found an available deal on an item that I want (there are always a lot of sold out deals). Another site is called Uber Zon Club. Uber Zon Club sends out emails when new products are available; however, whenever I see a deal I actually want and I click on it I get a page that says “sorry you missed it”. If I don’t get the “sorry you missed it” page, I get a code, but when I go to use the code on Amazon it says I am either too early or too late. I have never actually successfully used Uber Zon Club. For that reason, I’ll stick with Snagshout as being the only one of the three sites that I would recommend using for some good deals in exchange for Amazon reviews.

Wet Wednesday: Truck Pool

You might remember that last year I posted about a water activity with S every Wednesday. This year I won’t be posting every Wednesday, but S still loves the water so I hope to find some fun activities to do with her this summer. Recently we filled up the bed of our pick-up truck with water for S. to play in. We have a new (to us) truck and it has a nice bedliner. The bedliner combined with the steep slope of our driveway meant that all we had to do was back the truck into the driveway and turn the hose one, otherwise we might have had to put plastic in the bed of the truck to hold the water.

We got S ready (yes, her face is white from sunscreen), put her in the truck, turned on the hose, and she was thrilled. Just being in the bed of the truck is exciting to her so you can imagine how much fun she had when water was added.IMG_8376

As always, S tried to drink the water. Not only does S love playing in water, she always wants it in her mouth as well which can be a challenge at times because not all water is suited for drinking.IMG_8379

For a while S just splashed and splashed, intermittently sticking her face in the water.IMG_8387

In addition to her love of being in the water and drinking it, she also likes being under water which I find slightly strange since I have never been a big fan of holding my breath. She is in swim lessons for the summer and she can now stay under for five seconds and, according to the instructor, she also has breath control.

Once the initial excitement wore off, I went and found some toys to add to the “truck pool”. The toys kept S entertained for a while especially when we turned the hose on just enough so she had a slow trickle of water to play with.IMG_8396One of the best toys I added to the mix was this little container of sea creature figurines visible on the left in the photo below.IMG_8406

I purchased the container of sea creatures at Target for a car trip and the idea was to let S sort the different creatures into an egg carton. S was thrilled with the sea creatures, but not the egg carton idea and I was less than thrilled with the plastic/chemical smell that came with the creatures. Once we came home and the sea creatures were aired out a bit the smell vanished, but they were still relegated to the outdoor toy collection. In the truck S spent quite a while scattering the creatures out, gathering them up, and playing with them.

Despite all the rain in Texas this year, I still hate to waste water so Matt did his best to dump the water on the lawn; however a lot of it spilled out on the driveway in the process. S got to ride along with him (in her car seat) as he maneuvered the truck around the driveway. It is amazing how little things like that are so exciting to her; she really can find the joy in so many little things and an afternoon in the “truck pool” was no exception.IMG_8415


52 Weeks of Saving (Week 25 of 52)

Week 24 – Selling on Facebook

FacebookMoneyAs you might remember me mentioning in this post, I am a little hesitant to use Craigslist; however, I have some items that S either never used or has outgrown that I know are worth a few dollars. Instead of Craigslist or just giving them away, I decided to list my items for sale on a moms’ Facebook group hear in Austin that I am part of. While I am hesitant to use Craigslist, I am a little more comfortable selling baby/kid items within the Facebook group. This week I have made $11 with a potential $18 more tomorrow (so maybe $29 total this week). One thing I have discovered is that moms are a little flaky, but I guess that comes with the territory: kids get sick, have accidents, sleep on wonky schedules…I’m pretty understanding. It is a good way to get back a few of the many dollars we have invested on things for S.

A Year to Clear (Week 25 of 52)

Week 25 – Miscellaneous Bags

We have aBags suitcase in the attic full of miscellaneous bags and backpacks. This week Matt pulled it out for me to go through and see if there was anything I could get rid of. I found an insulated lunch bag for S (which is great because I have been thinking of buying one so that saved me some money), some extra reusable grocery bags that will come in handy, some little cloth gift bags that S quickly confiscated as her own, and 4.5 pounds of miscellaneous bags and purses to give away. I ended up keeping more than I thought I would, but backpacks and duffle bags are useful so I didn’t want to give them all away. The suitcase stayed too, not only is it useful, but as you might guess from the picture, it has a lot of sentimental value to me. Right after high school I traveled all over the United States and Europe with a group called Up with People; that suitcase went with me everywhere. So overall, not the most productive week for getting rid of stuff, but I found some useful items I forgot we had which was an added bonus.

Father’s Day Adventures 2015

Matt and I had big plans before S was born. We were going to spend our weekends with her camping, hiking, and kayaking. Two years later and we have gone camping once, done a few hikes, and our kayaks have been sitting in the backyard unused… until today. Last summer in Maine S sat in a kayak and went canoeing once, but we had never taken her kayaking in Austin. I know Matt loves being outdoors and on the water so for Father’s Day I decided we should go kayaking. It took a little while to get going this morning, but we finally got packed up and headed out the door with minimal resistance from S; however there were a few extra items added to the dry bag:IMG_0017

I guess Matchbox cars are just as important to keep dry as my camera and purse. When we got to the lake we unloaded the kayaks and boom, we heard thunder and it started to rain. We debated and waited for a little while. S spotted a playground and kept asking to go play or go swimming while we tried to stay a little dry under a tree;   however when the rain ended she was still at least a little excited about the kayaks.IMG_8429

Finally, we put the kayaks in the water and for the next 20+ minutes all I heard was “I want to get out, I want to get out”. It wasn’t that S didn’t like the kayak, it was that she desperately wanted to go swimming. It definitely didn’t help that right away she hit her face on my paddle and got a bloody lip (I had to quickly figure out how to paddle with someone on my lap without whacking them in the face every other stroke). She got over the bloody lip before too long, but she didn’t get over wanting to swim and multiple times tried to climb out of the kayak. Have you ever tried to paddle while a toddler is twisting in your lap, trying to put her feet in the water, dipping her hands in, and leaning over the edge of the boat? In hindsight, it was pretty comical, but at the time I didn’t find it very entertaining.

We did have some good moments. We paddled around tree tops (the lake level is significantly higher than it has been for a couple of years); stalked a tiny turtle while we tried to convince Matt to try to catch it; watched a heron fish; and S helped me paddle so we could “go so fast” like a motor boat.IMG_0014 IMG_0002













We heard thunder again and started to head back to the landing, but of course there was no going home until S was allowed to go for a swim with her dad. Only then did “I want to get out, I want to get out!” turn to shrieks of joy and excitement. She is definitely a water baby.IMG_0020

Today was just one of many adventures we hope to have this summer with our sweet little two-year old S who now claims to be a “big girl”. HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!

A Year to Clear (Week 24 of 52)

Week 24 – Old Bike

BikeGearMatt had a bike sitting in our backyard under a tarp that really wasn’t in good condition. He has had it for a while, but since it really isn’t in rideable condition he decided it was time to get rid of it. The bike weighted 32.5 pounds including a few extra tires that were also in poor condition. Currently the bike is sitting out at the curb and we expect someone will take it before too long for scrap metal if nothing else.

52 Weeks of Saving (Week 24 of 52)

Week 24 – Target App


I know there are a lot of people who are big Target fans. I prefer Target to Wal-Mart (have I mentioned that S has never been inside a Wal-Mart?), but I probably only go to Target once every month or two. S likes Target though because they have little shopping carts she can pull off the shelf and push around the store.

For Target lovers there is a Target credit card that saves you 5% on every purchase, but for those of us who just want to find an occasional good deal there is an app called Cartwheel. Basically, Cartwheel allows you to download Target specific digital coupons. I haven’t used it very much, but once in a while they have great deals so it is worth checking out. Recently, they had a deal for 50% off one Melissa and Doug dress-up costume. S is kind of hit or miss with wanting to play dress-up, but I like having costumes available for her. Last year I bought a bunch of glittery fun costumes after Halloween, but if you read my post about it, you might remember that I wanted some more occupational costumes for her. Melissa and Doug have some relatively nice occupational costumes, but they are always at least $20 so I was pretty happy to see a 50% off offer. I picked up a doctor costume for S using the Cartwheel deal since S has really been into talking about doctors lately and giving her stuffed animals a check ups. It was $10 well spent. I pulled the costume out this week on a rainy morning and she went to work making sure her stuffed animals were all OK.LittleDoctor


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