Friday, October 30, 2009

Welcome Baby, Shower!

My family will be hosting a baby shower for me in December and I want to review and giveaway items that are baby shower appropriate. I received my 1st item for review yesterday and am so excited about it that I would LOVE to post my review today!!!! I would like to start the reviews in the middle of December and post one each day until the shower. If you or anybody you know is interested in having a product reviewed let me know and we'll get it on here!!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Saving Money

Today's economy has called for some significant changes in most American households, ours included. Looking at ways to save money, my husband and I are considering doing the following:

*Dropping our home phone and using just our cell phones (I have heard that we can choose 5 non-Verizon phones to call anytime for free, I need to look into this).

*Dropping our internet and using only the Verizon air card. We currently have wireless at home and the air card for when we are on the road. We never get close to the minutes on our air card and we have come to rely on the ability to get online anywhere so it makes sense to keep the air card over the home internet.

*Let go of our HBO. Before I moved in my husband used to watch a couple of shows on HBO but there is currently nothing that interests us, we find ourselves searching for something on HBO just to use it.

My husband also reminded me that we could use other stores' ads when we shop at WalMart and they will match the price. I double checked at customer service for their policy and am also listing it here for you -
Price matching
Our goal is always to be the low price leader in every community where we operate. Our customers trust us to have every day low prices ... there's no need for "special sales."

Our unbeatable promise:
Store managers make the final decision in always taking care of our customers, but we do have guidelines for matching our competition.
~We do honor "Preferred Shopping Card" advertised prices. Must be like items, be advertised and require a competitor's shopping card, for the discount to apply.
~We do not honor advertisements that require a purchase in order to receive the advertised price or free product.
~We do not honor "Buy One / Get One Free" advertisements.
~We do not honor double or triple coupons or percent off advertisements.
~We do not honor other retailers' "Misprinted" advertised prices.
~We do not honor Internet Pricing.
~We do not honor competitor advertisements from outside of the store's or Club's local trade territory.

I have been price matching for 2 weeks now and cannot believe some of the deals I have received!! This week one of the competitors had 'lean ground beef' on sale for $0.99/lb. so I took it to WalMart and their lean ground beef was the 93/7. This meat normally retailed for $18.86 for a 5.5 pound package and we paid $5.44 for this package!!! I bought two that night and went back today, the last day of the sale, and got two more!!

Another store had eggs at $0.88/dozen. I eat eggs each morning and normally buy 2 flats (5 dozen) at a time. This week I bought them by the individual dozen and saved over $1.00.

We also stocked up on butternut squash that was on sale for $0.88/lb. and normally retailed for $1.56/lb. at WalMart. We bought a couple more today as they will last for a considerable time in the fridge.

My favorite deal of the week was definitely the ground beef!! I typically don't eat beef as it is harder for the body to break down but turkey has been a complete turn-off this pregnancy so we decided to try this, it was so delicious!! Anyways, I divided it into 12 oz. servings (6 oz. for each of us) and froze it to use in the future. I ended up with 30 double-servings of protein for under $22.00 and I know it will go a long way...

My other thought for saving money is to look for free activities in your area. We have a lot of state parks and this time of year is perfect for hiking! They typically do charge about $2 to get in but we bought a yearly park pass and now we don't have to worry about this charge each time. This weekend we are going to a local park and will pick up some geocaches while we are out...

We also have a zoo pass and can get into our local zoo and about 50 others in the United States for free. We have definitely gotten our money out of this pass, I think I have visited 3 different zoos this year!

Also, look for a discount movie theater, we have one here and we pay $2.00 per person to watch a movie. Granted, these are now new releases; they are typically movies that have been in the theaters and are ready to move on. But if you are looking for an enjoyable and inexpensive date night this is the way to go!

These are just some ways that we are saving money, what ideas do you have?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Boon Frog Pod Review

The Frog Pod is designed to scoop up the children's bath toys, then allows all of the water to drain out, and stores them until the next bath time! Who doesn't love an all-in-one accessory that not only functions properly but is absolutely adorable?

Not only will this make bathtime with our little one fun, but I won't have to worry about mold and mildew building up on the toys. It will also grow with my child- it is cute for a baby and I think a toddler or young child will be very excited to use the frog's back to scoop up their toys. Now for the fun mommy feature - it holds a few bottles of soap, shapmpoo, etc. between the frog's eyes and your shower wall.
Cleaning this frog is a snap as you are already in the bathwater-simply run the soapy washcloth over it once a week. I would also feel completely comfortable putting the two smaller pieces into the dishwasher if it needed to be cleaned. It would be fine to put the body in, but it is rather large so I prefer to wash it by hand.

According to the Boon website this frog can hold between 5-20 pounds depending on how it is secured to your wall. You have four options - suction cups which hold about 5lbs, the adhesive strip and the silicone adhesive strip each hold about 10lbs, and securing it with screws will allow it to hold up to 20lbs!! I personally have the suction cups but have had a problem with it falling so I will be investing in the mounting bracket with the adhesive strips.

This frog comes in three pieces: the wall mount, the frog's body (sits securly on the wall mount), and the basket which is actually the frog's back (this sits securly on the body).
Okay I'll be honest, I didn't find this product on my own...I saw it on another blog and thought it was absolutely adorable!! Here is mine in the bathroom that the baby will eventually be bathed in.

If you have a minute, head on over to the Boon website and check out the frog and their other great products. I love the fact that everything is so modern and adorable!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Baby Update

We went back to the doctor today for our 16 week checkup. Everything is going well although I know I gained way too much weight. The doctor said it was okay this time, he gets really concerned during the 2nd half of the pregnancy as that is when most of it goes to the baby, causing a big and unhealthy baby.
Knowing that I do not have an excuse (I have my energy back) I made myself go to the gym tonight and went for a 45 minute walk when I got home. The hardest part has been the food but we got home and I made turkey meatballs and put them on the grill with some vegetables. It was a delicious meal and I will have the healthy leftovers for lunch tomorrow.
The doctor also listened to the heartbeat and said it was beating in the 150's but he had a hard time getting an exact number as it kept kicking, he was happy as the baby is healthy and moving!! I can only imagine how it is going to be when I feel all of these kicks....
We go back in four weeks at which time we will get the big ultrasound, we will get a copy of it on DVD to share with our family and friends. As quickly as the days and weeks go by I know the ultrasound day will be here before we know it!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Reading to Our Children

Reading aloud is such an important aspect in teaching children to read. As children hear words and see them they begin to associate the 'picture' of the word with what they are hearing, they will eventually begin to associate the different sounds with the letters.
How many of you have ever read to a young child and had the light up because they could 'read it' to you? Imagine how many of the hundreds of times that you read the book you frustrated because you read it so many times before... Each and every one of those times your child was picking up bits and pieces of the book and over time he/she was able to recite it to you. Yes, children can repeat a story long before they can actually read, this is one important reason you should consider reading to your child at least once a day.
Reading is dear to my heart; not only enjoying books myself but reading them to a variety of children. I started babysitting when I was 12 and took a variety of books to read to them each time. During college I started collecting my own books and now have over 1,700!! Honestly, I have lost count and no longer put them into my computer - there are just too many!! I pick them up at yard sales, thrift stores, Scholastic orders, and new from book stores. I rarely get them from book stores as they are expensive and since many of my books go to my classroom they get a lot of wear and tear. I would rather pay a cheaper price and not feel bad if something happens to them.
Recently, my quest for books has changed - I am now looking for board books, soft books, and books geared toward young children (such as Goodnight Moon). I have recently acquired The House in the Night by Susan Marie Swanson and illustrated by Beth Krommes. The fact that this book is a Caldecott Medal Winner and has simple text I was quickly drawn to it, this is one that I plan on reading to my little one very soon.
The one thing I struggle with it: when should you start reading aloud to your child? I had always said I would start as soon as I knew I was pregnant. However, once I was pregnant it seemed silly for me to read when the baby couldn't even hear me. I did read one book, Guess How Much I Love You? by Sam McBratney in which a little rabbit keeps telling the big rabbit how much love he has but the big rabbit always comes back loving it more. I like to think that the little baby truly loved the book but am not sure it heaerd a word. Maybe now at 16 weeks would be a better time to try...
Either way I am comforted in knowing that my baby hears me read to my students 5 days a week and heaers me talk all of the time.