Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Learning How To Coupon...?

I'm surprised that I didn't add "Learn how to coupon" on my 101 in 1,001 goal list, because I've always been fascinated by the idea of clipping out a little piece of paper out of the newspaper in exchange for getting groceries for free.  I'm all about searching out a free shipping code when shopping online, but the act of physical couponing is SO foreign to me.

I attempted to "coupon" the first summer we lived in Wichita, since I was a new mom with zero friends, working from home and having fair amount of free time on my hands.  I spent $35 for a subscription to the local newspaper, and went crazy bookmarking all of those blogs with the catchy "Couponing 101" photos on Pinterest.  I honestly found the whole process to be pretty overwhelming, with the huge binders full of inserts to have on hand and all of the pop-ups associated with the online coupon printing websites.  The more I looked for deals, the more I realized that none of the products we seemed to buy had coupons available to use (and I wasn't about to start eating entirely out of prepackaged meal boxes just to save 35 cents at the grocery).  Needless to say, I did not make back my $35 invested in the newspaper subscription that summer.

Fast forward to our situation today, where we have 1 more mouth in the family to feed and 1 less corporate salary to feed it with.  We're still readjusting to to the cost of living increase we've had by coming back to Phoenix from Wichita.  Though our family is even less interested in eating process foods now then we were 2 years ago, we're more open to finding ways to pinch a penny or two around the house.

I've found some interesting blogs related to eating healthy on a budget lately, and recently subscribed to Money Saving Mom's newsletter.  I've been impressed with the newsletter content so far, and have actually implemented a few of her ideas, so when she announced that she had just acquired the rights to Grocery University, I was intrigued.


It's an online audio course that promises to teach you how to coupon.  Fair enough, right?  What struck me is that a) it's inexpensive, and b) it's supposed to help beginners coupon well from the beginning, and teach seasoned coupon pros how to save even more money.  Oh, and did I mention that it's inexpensive? hahaha

I've signed up to give it a shot, and hope I'll have some good tips to share with you (along with some extra cash in my grocery budget to show for it).

Do you coupon?  Or are you terrified of the process like me?  Either way, I'd love to hear from you!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Waverly's First Day of School

Today was Waverly's first day of preschool!  


She's doing M/W/F half days at a local private church school.  Ironically, Pomp and Circumstance came on the radio on our way to her first day.  God sure has a sense of humor sometimes!

 I could barely handle the sight of a bunch of toddlers and little kiddos running around in uniforms, it was just the best.  I was also thrilled that one of my sorority sisters has a daughter in Junior Kindergarden there, it's nice to know another family right off the bat.

Waverly had a great day, save for the fact that she used a red Crayola marker as "lip-tick" and came out looking like a bit of a mess.  But that's what preschool is all about, right?!  We celebrated by picking up her favorite doughnut at BoSa Donuts, which she ate in about a minute and a half.


I asked if she had fun, and she said she did but that she "was cryin' because she wanted Mommy to be with me but Mommy went to California". (?!?) What. A. Doll.  All in all, it was a great day.  I can't wait to see how she grows and develops in the next year ahead!

Friday, August 15, 2014

On My Radar, Vol. 1

I've been playing around with the idea of doing a weekly snapshot of life after coming across this fun snapshot format my friend D.O.N. posted a few months ago.  Here's a little catch up of my first week as a 32 year old:
Watching:  Peppa Pig and Sid the Science Kid streamed onto our Smart TV via YouTube.  Peg + Cat and too much Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood on Netflix.  My old Fantasia 2000 DVD, finally discovered by the kiddos.  (Thinking I need to throw in a good old fashioned Netflix documentary so I can say I watched ONE thing this week that wasn't developed for a primary audience under the age of 12.)

Reading: French Kids Eat Everything by Karen Le Billion



This book was an impulse purchase made during a 2am nursing session during Wilder's first few sleepless weeks of newborn life.  I'm only 1/3 of the way through, but I'm really enjoying the story and subsequent "Food Rules" Le Billion has laid out thus far.  I have not actually reached the part where one learns how to make your own child eat everything though, so will reserve final praise until I've finished.

Wanting: An entire new closet (I'm just being honest here).  In all seriousness, I'm working on slowly transitioning my closet into a capsule wardrobe.  It's a great concept - a small amount of clothing you mix and match to create a larger number of outfits (think those chic 'how to pack for Europe in a carry-on suitcase' pins you see on Pinterest, only using that as your full-time closet for the season).

Fantastic Capsule Wardrobe Example courtesy Color Me Courtney

The hard thing about paring down to the essentials in your closet is realizing how many pieces you own that you'd like to swap for more useful items when your shopping budget is $0.  Pulling a Tim Gunn here and "making it work".  More on this later. 

Needing: To not want to buy new clothes.  The kids to both sleep through the night more than once every 6 weeks.  To finally create a good house cleaning schedule.

Buying: I was a good mom and put all of my birthday money towards Waverly's new school uniforms (hello,  cutest toddler saddle shoes on the planet!), but did splurge on a neon pink messy bow head wrap for Waverly from Ruby Blue.


I discovered the brand after seeing my blog friend Fancy Ashley's daughter rocking some amazing messy bows on Instagram over the past month.  It turns out that they're water/pool safe too, so I decided to get myself an adult sized head wrap to hold back my hair when I wash my face.  So fun.

Listening To:  Jamie Cullum Pandora station.  Wilder crying through the baby monitor because he's refusing to go down for an afternoon nap (for the 4th time this week).

Planning: Waverly's first day of school next week.  Setting up my own printed weekly calendar/planning binder, as my Whitney English Day Designer finished in July.  While I loved (looooved) my Day Designer, I need something smaller/lighter to tote around in my purse/diaper bag for 2 still in diapers.  Also, I'm trying to spend money more responsibly (aka not buying something just because I want it).  I already have a printer, paper, and access to the Internet (all wonderful things I'm trying not to take for granted), so will just go with a pretty, free printable until I come up with a better solution.


So far, this free printable from The Handmade Home takes the cake.

Googling:  Recipes for easy to make party hors d'oeuvres made with ingredients that are supposed to be "good for your skin".  I'm hosting a little cocktail hour and fundraiser this weekend with some sorority sisters to celebrate the launch of my Rodan + Fields business.  The idea of skin-friendly apps to go along with the skincare party theme could either be really adorable, or really dumb.  The jury's still out.  I'll keep you posted.

Cooking:  I've been working on some simple, delicious rotisserie chicken crock pot projects that I hope to blog about soon.

Experimenting: With making my own chicken stock from scratch.  Trying to blog every day.

Dreaming:  Life in London.  This Phoenix heat is really starting to cramp my style, so I find myself mentally relocating my family to a rainy, drizzly fall afternoon in England at least 10 times a day.  Loving the idea of moving back to Cambridge and walking the banks of the River Cam with my wellie-clad littles.  Bliss.


What has been on your radar this week?  I'd love to hear from you!  xo

Thursday, August 14, 2014

101 in 1,001: #72- Take Swimming Lessons With The Baby

I stopped working my corporate job last March, and had 4 solid months to be a full-time stay-at-home mom with Waverly before her little brother made his grand arrival.  Wangling a 1 year old isn't easy for anyone, let alone a waddling 6 month old pregnant lady.  I wanted to spend some good quality time with Waverly while I could, but winter was still in full force in Wichita so there weren't a lot of great activities to choose from.

I decided to look to my 101 in 1,001 list for ideas, and thought that enrolling Waverly in swim lessons could be a good option.  Also? I love that  After I got over the initial freakout about having to wear a swimming suit in public (not a pregnant lady's favorite thing in the world to do), I signed us up for the April session.

I wasn't sure what to expect when we showed up at the Wichita Swim Club for our first session.  When I opened the double set of doors into the club, I was assaulted with a blast of hot, humid, chlorine-filled air and the sounds of high pitched kid squeal echos. I wasn't a swimmer growing up, so I felt WAY out of my element.  And even moreso realizing that I would have to parade around all of these kids and parents as the preggo in the swimsuit. 

Thank heavens- it turned out that the baby swimming lessons took place in this fully enclosed kiddie pool.

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Better yet- the pool was heated to about 85 degrees, so the minute I waded in I felt like I was in a giant bathtub.  Pregnant lady bliss.  Let me tell you what- baby Waverly may not have been a huge fan of these swim lessons, but it was a dream come TRUE for this uncomfortable pregnant mama.

Waverlys First Swim Lesson

Sidebar- I initially choaked a little when I paid full price for the Carmen Marc Valvo swimdress I'm wearing in the photos, but it has seriously lasted (and streeeeetched itself) through 2 pregnancies and beyond, and is still in great condition.  Worth every penny. 

We sang all of those classic swimming songs I had forgotten all about (Motorboat, Motorboat, anyone?) and played a few rousing games of "throw the Koosh Ball and pretend to swim after it!".  We even tried to get the littles to float (supported) on their backs, which Waverly apparently thought was the equivalent of waterboarding.  Though she may be little, her lungs may be fierce.  She even grabbed at me so hard in fright that she snapped the removable strap clean off of my suit.  So much for poolside modesty.

I'm telling you, I would have paid GOOD MONEY to sign up for being able to float around in that glorified bathtub of amazingness with other pregnant gals for an hour or two a week (kid-free, of course).  I think their marketing coordinator had better get all up in that profit stream.

All in all, I'm really happy that I had that little bit of bonding with my little girl, and hope I get to do the same with Wilder soon.


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

An Update On My 101 in 1,001 List

In 2012 (man, that feels SO LONG AGO, doesn't it?!) I started a 101 in 1,001 list, committing to complete 101 lofty goals  in the 1,001 days after my 30th birthday...  Little did I know that less than 2 months after posting this list, I would add a 102nd goal to the list- have another baby 15 months after Waverly was born.  So much for goal setting and long-term planning.

There are a few things on the list I've already accomplished and blogged about, like getting a new blog redesign.  There are also a few thinge I've completed but haven't blogged about yet (visiting my parents' hometown of Salina, KS comes to mind).  The good news is that I now have 267 days (starting tomorrow) to finish off the remainder of my list.  Will I watch AFI's Top 100 Movies of All Time?  Considering the only thing I seem to watch lately is Fantasia 2000 or Peppa Pig videos on YouTube, I'm guessing that's a no.  But hey- 10 movies checked off of the list is better than none, right?

My theme for 2014 is "Progress over Perfection", so I'm going to dust this list off and see what I can make of it.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Back To School

Waverly will be starting half-day preschool three days a week, and has her first "big" school event tomorrow- meet the teacher day.  I've had a hard time figuring out just how much to talk about school leading up to her big first day next week.  I didn't want avoid mentioning it at all, and then sneak attack her with a "Hey, guess what?  You're going to be spending 12 hours a week here now!  See you later!" method.  On the other hand, if I mentioned it too much, I knew she'd ask every 5 minutes if it was time to go to school yet.  I decided to do a paper countdown chain to show her how many days she had left until she started "schoo-yul".


paper chain

So far, it has worked pretty well, save for the fact that I'm about 5 days behind in actually removing the paper chains at night before our bedtime routine.  It's the thought that counts, right?

One of the things that just kills me is that all the kids wear uniforms at her new school.  I'm just dying over the idea of a bunch of little 2 year olds romping around in saddle shoes and navy pleated shirts.  Dying.  Here are some of the things that we'll be stocking up on over the next few days.  Who would have thought that a limited dress code would be so fun to shop for?!


Back To School Clothes


Go figure that Waverly's already setting up a killer fall capsule wardrobe before I am!  Cannot wait to see my little student all decked out!


Monday, August 11, 2014

Things I'm Digging Right Now: TINY

We had one of those wonderfully rare Sunday afternoons last weekend, where the sky was overcast (a rarity during the blazing Arizona summers), and brought out the laziness in all of us.  The kids napped for hours, and we were able to have a quiet few hours watching documentaries on Netflix.  After we finished Forks over Knives (which I loved, and will be writing about soon), I scrolled around for a new title while Ryan went to visit a family member in the hospital.

My next choice- TINY: A Story About Living Small:

 

You guys, this was a total game changer for me.  Not only was it filled with some of the sexiest, most jaw-dropping photos of my hometown of Boulder, Colorado, but the entire concept just blew my mind.  Don't get me wrong- we don't plan on breaking the multi-year lease we just signed 3 months ago, dropping a zero from the square footage we currently reside in, and moving into a little home on wheels with 2 toddlers (though, I'd be lying if I said I didn't fantasize about it a few times a day since watching the documentary).

Rather, thinking through some of the themes discussed in the film has really given a boost of energy to the clutter busting and general rightsizing I've been doing since we settled down her in Phoenix.  In addition to making me incredibly homesick (it's certainly interesting to watch someone contemplate what their sense of 'home' looks like while using your former home as a backdrop), watching TINY has really helped me reset my priorities and look at all my past and potential purchases through a new lens.

Have you watched TINY, or read anything about the tiny house movement?  I would love to hear your thoughts!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Happy First Birthday To My Son

On The Night You Were Born
by Nancy Tillman

On the night you were born,
The moon smiled with such wonder

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That the stars peeked in to see you
And the night wind whispered,
“Life will never be the same.”

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Because there had never been anyone like you…ever in the world.


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So enchanted with you were the wind and the rain
That they whispered the sound of your wonderful name.

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It sailed through the farmland
High on the breeze…
Over the ocean…
And through the trees…

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Until everyone heard it
And everyone knew
Of the one and only ever you.

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Not once had there been such eyes,
Such a nose,

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Such silly, wiggly, wonderful toes.

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When the polar bears heard,
They danced until dawn.
From faraway places,
The geese flew home.

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The moon stayed up until
Morning next day.
And none of the ladybugs flew away.

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So whenever you doubt just how special you are
And you wonder who loves you, how much and how far,
Listen for geese honking high in the sky.
(They’re singing a song to remember you by.)

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Or notice the bears asleep at the zoo.
(It’s because they’ve been dancing all night for you!)
Or drift off to sleep to the sound of the wind.
(Listen closely…it’s whispering your name again!)

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If the moon stays up until morning one day,
Or a ladybug lands and decides to stay,
Or a little bird sits at your window awhile,
It’s because they’re all hoping to see you smile…

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For never before in story or rhyme
(not even once upon a time)
Has the world ever known a you, my friend,
And it never will, not ever again…

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Heaven blew every trumpet
And played every horn
On the wonderful, marvelous
Night you were born.

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Happy first birthday, our sweet baby boy.


Monday, June 16, 2014

Our Personalized Beach Towels from Lattice & Ivy

I recently ordered the kids personalized beach towels from Lattice & Ivy, and am totally flipping over how adorable they are!  Can we even talk about how darling their setup for the summer is?!?!




The towels are huge - 30" x 60" - and are made of a super soft microfiber velour.  One of my biggest pet peeves is when our pool towels take up so much room in our beach bag that I have to pack a separate tote for sunscreen, sippy cups, etc.  I love that these are thin enough to fit in my bag while still having room for everything else I need for the pool.  Waverly hasn't stopped carrying her towel around since they were delivered on Saturday.

You can order basic patterns and colors like Wilder's here (just follow the Personalization Steps dropdown boxes on the right of the screen), or towels in our fun summer Designer Collections pattern series, like Waverly's  beach towel in the Flamingo - Sweetheart pattern here.

If you have any questions about our colors, patterns, fonts, or Designer Collections patterns, just drop me a message on my Facebook page!

Hooray for summer! 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Five on Friday

I thought I'd jump in with the 5 on Friday link up crew to download a few random thoughts and get caught up to speed around here!




ONE
Wilder's birthday

Our little Wild Man is turning 1 in less than 3 weeks, which is just totally blowing my MIND.  This entire year has seemed like a giant fuzz of moving and travel and change, it's hard to absorb that he's already turning 1 soon.  Every time I pour a new sippy of formula, I can't help but feel a little sad that this will be some of the last formula in the house.  Then I remember that formula costs us about $5 a day right now, and I do a little internal jump for joy that the end of that huge expense is in sight.  We're planning a low-key brunch fiesta with family and a few friends in town, plus my best friend and her family are flying in for the weekend of the 4th.  I'm thrilled that they're coming to visit and celebrate with us, so we have lots to look forward to in the next few weeks.



TWO
Lattice & Ivy

I've recently started repping a brand new gift and accessories company called Lattice & Ivy.  All of the items they sell are completely customized, so you can mix and match colors, patterns, monograms, names, and decorative frames to design the cutest things for yourself or for gifts.  I'm loving it so far, since I'm getting all the satisfaction I received from making personalized gifts with the kids clothing company  I used to run on the side, without having to spend 18 hours a day camped out in front of the embroidery machine.


The company hasn't even officially "launched" yet, so it has been so neat to start at the ground level and work with their Corporate office to fine tune things.  An added bonus is that they're actually based just outside of Phoenix in Glendale (the town where Ryan and I lived when we moved back to Arizona from New York City when he got his MBA at Thunderbird), so I was able to pop by the Corporate office yesterday to meet the team and see the warehouse and production facilities.  Such. Cute. Stuff.  



THREE
Gordon Ramsay Cooking Tutorials on YouTube

I'm a HUGE fan of cooking shows.  You should have seen the Oscar award winning hard sell performance I  put on to try and convince Ryan we needed to go on the MasterChef cruise with Graham Elliott this fall (verdict: too expensive. BOO.)  Since we don't have cable, it's hard to get my fill of Top Chef and the like right now.  It dawned on me last night that there had to be a few good tutorials on YouTube to stream on my laptop and get my fix while I washed the dishes.  A few quick searches, and I hit the jackpot- Gordon Ramsay's YouTube channel.

(Image found here)

I'm a big fan of Mr. Ramsay's cooking and overall vibe (even if I'm not big on some of his more dramatic TV shows like hell's Kitchen).  I've only watched 2 videos, but have already learned a half dozen new tricks for the kitchen.  Pressing play on one of these little videos makes late night sippy cup washing so much easier!  I think this garlic and saffron mayonnaise will be my first recipe attempt.



FOUR
Summertime Blues

It's hot here in Phoenix.  Hotty, hot hot.  I'm having a hard time figuring out just how cool to keep our new house without breaking the bank (last month's power bill was in a very uncomfortable 3 figure range, and in's not even "summer" here yet!).  I came across these pyjamas, and think they'd be a darling way to class up my PJ collection and keep cool(er) at night!



They also came in a really pretty blush color, which appears to be sold out... Sad I didn't scoop them up before they were gone!


FIVE
Juicing

I watched the documentary Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead on Netflix over the holidays, and it really made an impression on me.  Last month, Ryan and I started eating more "clean" recipes and juicing in the morning using the same ingredients as Kimberly Snyder's Glowing Green Smoothie recipe.  We loved how much more energy we had in the morning (and how much less coffee we needed to survive the morning).  Ryan even lost 10 lbs, which was a great side effect.  We fell off of the clean eating wagon when everyone came down with Hand, Foot, and Mouth last month, and we're back to feeling sort of sluggish and blah again.  My parents are in town visiting right now, and so we've all decided to try juicing for breakfast over the next week to see if my parents get the same benefit we were already seeing.  I'll keep you posted on the results!

Happy Friday, all!
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