With the amount of time I spend on Amazon.com and coupon websites and mommy blogs, I honestly thought that I knew about most cool products that were out there. Sure, there were a few newbie things I wasn't aware of, but surely nothing that I actually needed.
Oh boy, was I wrong.
I found out yesterday that there are probablythousands of things I absolutely-must-have-and-definitely-need. . . . and for sure there are at least three.
My New Favorite Things
* Ever heard of swimmie diapers? Yeah, those diapers that you put on your kid when he goes swimming to hold in all the, um, fecal matter that could come spraying out were he wearing a regular diaper that disintegrates when it touches water. Those swimmie diapers. The same ones that cost $10 for 10, and the kid always seems to poop right when you put it on. Ex-pen-sive. (Not to mention gross. Ever pulled a poopy swimmie off? Unless you can rip the impenetrable sides off the dang thing, you have to peel it down their legs - poop and all. Ugh. Messy.)
Anyways. They have these things that I pretty much equate with the cloth version of swimmie diapers. They hold in the poop, but not the pee (just like regular swimmers diapers), and they have Velcro so they can be put on and taken off much like regular diapers. Oh yeah, and they are only $14.50 on Amazon, meaning that if you go swimming twice a week throughout the whole summer, buying one of these will save you about. . . umm. . . .well, alot of money in disposable swimmies. These miracle diapers are called Bummis.
* My second newest favorite thing is not an item, but a club of sorts. It's called Amazon Mom and signing up is completely free. (Again, one of my favorite things. Free!!) When you sign up you get coupons and email deals and all sorts of cool stuff. The best part? FREE SHIPPING. No, scratch that, free 2 DAY shipping. So, those Bummis I was telling you about? They ship for free. And you don't even have to spend the $25 to get it. Sure, terms and conditions apply, but pretty much, you get up to a year of free shipping. And great deals on diapers. Ummmm. . doesn't get much better than that!
* If only I had known about this next treasure one year ago when we bought our pop-up camper. Because, you see, Bjorn has been sleeping in a pack 'n' play when we camp. And those things are heavy, bulky and take up alot of camper space. Not to mention, they are kind of a pain in the ass to put up, take down, and store.
Oh yeah, I know, it's so expensive. Is it really worth it? Blah, blah, blah. But we went camping 10 times in the last year, people. 10 times. Sometimes for up to 4-5 days. That's a helluva lot of use out of the GoCrib. I like to think that even when Peanut comes, we will still go camping as much as we did last year; just strap Peanut into a front/back carrier and off we go. But I also like to think that these stretch marks will go away on their own and someday I will be able to go to the bathroom alone, without a wee little voice saying "What you doing, Mommy? You poo poo, Mommy?"
So maybe if the initial investment is deemed too high, there is always the Babies R Us version, the Kidco Peapod.The cheaper version. Which may not be quite as comfortable for the kiddo, but, hey, neither are those fold-out beds in the camper, and The Hubs and I use those just fine. It's camping. We can all rough it a little.
* Lastly, there is an item that while not made specifically for parents or young children, is the perfect addition for every family.
We've all heard of Skype. (Right? Haven't we?!) In fact, it's become a verb, much like some other internet-y words. Google it. I'll facebook you. Skype me later.
Soon, I predict that you will be using another Internet-y verb. Presto. As in, Presto that pic to Grandma.
The only way I can explain it is that Presto is a one-way computer/printer for those who have no computer, printer or Internet. Are you fully confused yet? Because it is actually pretty simple.
My Grandma has no computer and no Internet access. But with the Presto machine we bought her, she is able to connect through some kind of line (cable line? phone line?) and receive emails. They are sent to her "printer" (for lack of a better word) where, if the email is from a safe sender - one that has been pre-approved (so no spam "want to enlarge your &*%^" emails for Granny), it will print out right there for her.
She gets emails now. And pictures. Right away. She no longer has to wait for the person to remember to send the digital prints to Walgreens to print off into actual pictures, and then remember to go pick them up and then still remember to put them in an envelope and send them off. And, oh yeah, we ran out of stamps last week and I keep forgetting to buy new ones. When all this time, these pictures were posted on facebook and shutterfly and twitter and the only person who hasn't seen them. . . . is Grandma.
Not anymore. Now Grandma can see them the same day as everyone else. When Peanut is born next month, Grandma will get to see pictures the day s/he is born. Instantly. Cool. Super-cool. Actually, one of the best things ever invented. And everyone without Internet access should have one.
No one asked me for my opinions on here. No one sent me free stuff or coupons or anything. In fact, these companies probably have no clue who I am, that I have a blog or that I covet the items they sell. I mention it to you here because I don't want you to miss out on some of the cool things that I did. And because I'm hoping that somehow, someway, these companies will somehow find me, send me free stuff, put me (and my gorgeous baby) on an advertisement and whisk me and Bjorn off into a life of modeling and hefty paychecks. And because I want to hear all about the cool stuff you just found out about, too.
Today we went over to a friend's house to play in the baby pool and hang out with friends.
And I got a little boy who knocked over his 8 month old baby friend, wouldn't share any toys and liked to yell "No! No! No!" whenever anything was asked of him. Even if what I was asking was if he wanted to play outside in the pool.
By the time the other Mommy friend got there with her 9 month old, I had had it. Up to HERE. Done with him and his tantrums.
He got spankings. Toys taken away. Time-outs.
And I literally growled at him. Growled. Not one of my higher points.
Where was my cute, sweet little boy? Where was the little man who loved to share his toys and read books to his favorite baby friend and had to be stopped from helping too much? Where was my happy helper boy? Where was the kiddo who other moms stopped to tell me that he was "too cute" or had "such good manners"? Where did he go?!
Apparently, he went away with his mom the sweet, caring, patient woman. Because she didn't show up today, either.
I'm thinking that the pregnancy hormones have kicked in.
After I got home, and an hour nap for me and two and half for him, I had some downtime to think. And I think maybe he wasn't so bad.
Ok, so he wouldn't share and he was yelling and he kinda threw a few fits.
Isn't that what 2 year olds do sometimes?
And instead of <> growling at him, couldn't I have found a better, more patient, less exasperating way to show him what to do instead? But I was so tired and so uncomfortably fat and so fed up with it all that I couldn't think of anything but what a little terror monster my sweet boy had mutated into.
Maybe it wasn't so much him. He was just being a typical toddler. Maybe it was me. I just need to look at him with restful eyes and a pinch of salt (preferably on a margarita glass in about 5 weeks) because things are not always what they seem. Sometimes they are better.
I can kick and stay afloat and do all the things that will keep me from drowning, but I most comfortabe drifting along in the shallow end of the pool atop a raft that comes with a can holder.
The Hubs, on the other hand, grew up a competitive swimmer and even now, at a big 6''1', can slice cleanly through the water. At one point deep in his scuba diving days, he entertained the thought of going for his Underwater Rescue Diver certification and running his own dive shop.
I still hold my nose to go underwater.
Needless to say, I was a little anxious about Bjorn's first day of swim lessons. Would he take after me and dip his toes slowly in the water or like his Daddy and dive right in?
I shouldn't have worried. He dove.
Like a natural, he jumped right in and when the instructor said to kick, he kicked. When he asked Bjorn to use his arms, he did. And when he asked him to do both at the same time, the little Boy Wonder did that, too.
He blew bubbles, dove under water for plastic pool rings and jumped in the water from the side of the pool. He swam (with me holding him just above water) from one end of the pool to the other and back again. He seal-crawled in the shallow end and monkey walked along the length of the pool, holding onto the railing.
Having been in a pool only half a dozen times at most, he was a completely natural. Took to it like a fish to water.
So it looks like we may be spending alot of time in the water in the future. Guess I will have to take swim lessons, too!
So much so that, I am ashamed to admit this, I actually DVR'd the show when I was out for the night.
Yeah, I don't think that is what DVR was invented for. (And doesn't the whole concept of DVR - paying more for something that could be quite cheap, go against the whole idea of Extreme Couponing?)
But, whatever. . . . I am completely addicted.
I have always been a sales/coupon freak. Half my college wardrobe came from Goodwill and other thrift stores - and I looked good, too. It was all name-brand, no-holes, fits-perfectly stuff. I just got fantastic deals on it. The other half of my wardrobe came from New York & Company or The Gap, when they had coupons for "Buy $75, get $25 off". And I would buy $75 dollars worth. . . of sale items. My total savings was always astronomical!
Or so I thought.
I mean, I really thought I was good at couponing and sales. After all, I had a closet full of great clothing for a third of the price.
Then I got pregnant with Bjorn, and as the budget reins tightened, I saw how it easy it was to save even more through groceries and household items.
Before, I had cut coupons, but used them haphazardly, and never after looking at the sales flyers. I began my new saving by shopping all sales, regardless of if I needed something or not; getting toothpaste and toilet paper and dish washing soap. For free! (In fact, in the last three years, I don't think I have ever bought toothpaste or dish soap. After coupons, it is always free. Free, people!!) Then I meal-planned according to what was on sale that week. Finally, I went to three/four/five different stores in order to get the best freakin' possible deal I could.
But my grocery bill was stuck at $150 a week. Which seems to be waaaay too much when there are only two and a half of us to feed.
How could I get that to go down? It was like my weight - once it was where it wanted to be, nothing could make it go any lower.
So, the first few times I watched Extreme Couponing, I was determined to learn something. Something I could put into action.
I learned that you can make your food bill be less than $4. . . but you can't have any fresh fruit or vegetables. In fact, no produce at all. All fruits and vegetables, if any, must be canned or frozen.
I learned that all meats you buy have "meat by-product" in them or are some un-recognizable mixed form of turkey, pork, beef, chicken and other "products". No real meats allowed.
I learned that some people actually have 300 bottles of Excedrin and 50 packages of Depends, even though they have never had a problem with migraines or incontinence.
I learned that kids shouldn't be expected to build forts under their beds, or store their toys in their closets, because those spaces are meant to be filled with 653 rolls of toilet paper and 92 bottles of Bleach and Windex.
And I learned that it is selfish - so incredibly selfish - to take all 65 bottles - every single last one - of Guldens Brown Mustard off the shelf just because you have a coupon that makes it free. Because the next person that needs that Guldens for a backyard family BBQ that started ten minutes ago, but just realized that they have no mustard, so had to run to the store to get some - will have to go to yet another store and take more time away from their fun, relaxing day. Because you decided it was more important for you to hoard 714 bottles of something that will expire in one year than to be a good, contributing member of society and share.
That being said, my total before discounts at the grocery store yesterday was $122.90. I saved $64.51 after coupons and store cards, with my total coming to a whopping $58.39. For the week! That's like a savings of 55% or something. I walked away with a cart full of milk, fresh bread, fresh vegetables and fruit, 2 dozen large eggs, 3 Snuggle fabric softeners ($2 each after coupons!!), 2 packages of Hebrew National hot dogs ($2 each!), 8 large yogurts ($.77 after coupon!), 3 packages of coffee - Tully's and Seattle's Best (less than $5 each), pasta, pasta sauces, a 24 roll of the good 3-ply extra strong Toilet Paper ($4 after coupon!) and much, much more.
I feel like I did good - especially when last night's dinner (spicy sausage and rice stuffed bell peppers) turned out fantastic, and tonight's dinner (Taco Thursday!) sounds delish as well. You can save without sacrificing.
Take that, Extreme Couponers. You may spend only $8 a week on groceries, but I eat oh so much better. And I leave a few mustards for others. Go back to kindergarten and share!
Friday was Bjorn's 2 year birthday. 2! I can't believe it. And boy, did we celebrate!
Thursday, because the Hubs worked early early to late late on Friday, his actual birthday, the Hubs and I made a "Mel-mo" cake for the little booger, sang Happy Birthday to him FOUR times and made him his favorite meal of pasta, pasta and more PASTA!
Friday - Happy Birthday Bjorn!! I took the little man to his favorite gym for a few tumbles. Off to Johnny Rockets for a free kids meal, then, after his three hour nap, we joined The Hubs at his work, where we danced and sang along with a patriotic musical. He loved it!
Saturday was his birthday party at the local splash pad. All his friends showed up, as well as Mommy's and Daddy's. And he enjoyed yet another "Mel-mo" cake - actually a cupcake cake. And one of Cookie Monster, too! What a blast!
Sunday he finally opened his presents from Mommy and Daddy, and spent the next couple hours playing with them outside. Too bad it's already 100 degrees here, or we would spend all our time outside playing hockey! Finished off the night with beer butt chicken, fried green tomatoes and zucchini from our garden and a showing of Shrek. Bjorn loves the dragon most of all.
All in all, I think it was a great birthday for him. Me? I need a nap!