5 Ways to Make the Most of (Children’s) Consignment Sales

It’s Fall y’all! (well almost) and we’re excited because this means it’s consignment sale season!

In our area, there are two major consignment sales that happen in the spring and the fall, you’ll want to check around your area because they are awesome!

Let’s just talk about the clothing for a second, some are lightly worn, but many things you will find here are brand new with their tags! FYM Sherrie was able to score all Under Armour and Nike clothes for Logan for summer at one of the spring sales, they have all sizes, and the pricing is amazing!

It’s the same thing with toys, we usually find more Melissa and Doug and Fisher Price Laugh and Learn toys than we can possibly bring home! They even have outdoor toys, slides, playhouses, wagons, kitchens, and more.

If pricing wasn’t already great, anything left on the last day (usually Sunday) becomes half price!

Pretty much everything you can imagine are at these sales, and they’re a great place to stock up pre-baby as well!

Here’s our top 5 ways to make the most of these consignment sales.

1- Sell: If you can get on the list to be a consigner, it’s totally worth it.  FYM Emily has been doing this for about a year now, while it is some work to get everything ready and drop it off, it’s a great place to get rid of things that you no longer use or clothes that no longer fit.  Otherwise it’s just taking up space in your house.  Also, you’re making money! You even have the option for everything to be donated, so you don’t have to go get it! Score!  And as a consigner, you get special passes to shop early, which means you have access to the things that go fast! Bonus tip: If you don’t want to sell, but have extra time on your hands, you can volunteer.  If you volunteer for 8 hours over the three days, you also get in early.

2- Get an Early Pass: After the consignors and volunteers get in to shop, the next two categories of people who can get in are new moms (pregnant or a child under a year) and military (with ID).  Both of these categories can bring guests! So team up with a buddy and head out to shop.

3- Make a Game Plan: These sales can be extremely overwhelming, so it helps to have a game plan.  Make a list of the three priority things you’re looking for, and go in order of what you think will sell quickly.  There will always be clothes, hit them last. the hottest items are usually outdoor toys and play kitchens- make a beeline.  If you see one you want, grab the claim ticket! You do not have to carry it around.

4- Bring a bag (or Wagon):  Seriously, you can get out of control quickly, so bring a bag or even a wagon, something so that you can put the things you want in.  Once you think you’re done, step to the side and go through it all, you want to make sure you really want or need everything you’re getting.

5- Leave the Kids at Home: These sales are not only extremely overwhelming but they are packed and usually in large venues like indoor soccer arenas.  Do yourself a favor, leave the kids at home.  It will be considerably easier to move around, get what you need and focus if you’re not trying to chase your toddler.

Happy Bargain Hunting!

 

Budget Meals Eggplant Lasagna

Budget Meals: Eggplant Lasagna

By now I think you know we are Money Saving Mamas! So we thought that we would share with you some of our favorite budget meals.  One of the many reasons we don’t eat as much takeout as we used to is because of how expensive it is.  FYM Emily does the math in her head every time she cooks, it’s astounding how much cheaper (and healthier and more delicious) you can make food at home, and it doesn’t have to take a lot of time or be labor intensive!

As the end of summer is approaching and our veggie garden is in full bloom, we thought this would be a great recipe to share!

Here’s what you need: 

Two Eggplants (home grown- no cost)

Small Container Ricotta Cheese (15 oz) ($1.79 at Hannaford)

Bertolli Rustic Cut Spicy Marinara Sauce ($1 money maker with Hannaford Rewards)

1 Cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese ($1.89 for a full bag at Aldi)

1 Egg (89 cents a dozen at Aldi)

Italian Seasoning, Salt, Garlic Powder

Garlic Texas Toast ($1.99 at Aldi)

First, you slice your eggplant into 1/4 inch thick slices, we did this with a knife, but you can use a mandolin for easier. Eggplant is full of water, so you want to lay the slices out of paper towels and sprinkle with salt to draw out the moisture, let them sit for 10 minutes and then pat dry.

Meanwhile, beat an egg in a medium sized bowl.  Add ricotta, mozzarella (1/2 cup), garlic powder and Italian seasoning and mix until thoroughly combined.  Set aside.

Once your eggplant slices have been patted dry, place on a cookie sheet and cover with foil.  Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes.  This will make them flexible, but not fully cooked.

Then it is time to assemble! Pour a small amount of sauce on the bottom of your casserole dish.  Layer Eggplant slices, then cheese mixture, then sauce until you reach the top.  Sprinkle the rest of the mozzarella cheese on top of the last sauce layer.  Bake on a cookie sheet (to catch drips) at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes.  Let sit for 15 minutes.

Budget Meals Bertolli Rustic Cut Sauce

While your lasagna is sitting, bake your Texas Toast according to package instructions.

Budget Meals Texas Toast at Aldi

Then, enjoy!! This was delicious and even better, the entire thing was $2.33! Not even per serving, but total! And it made 4 servings.  When’s the last time you took your family out to eat for $2.33?

Budget Meals Eggplant Lasagna

Have you tried this? We would love to know what you think of it!  And share your favorite budget meals with us on our Facebook Page!

 

Money Saving Mamas: Hannaford Rewards

We love Hannaford for it’s  everyday low prices and high quality, but given all the other stores we can shop that will  double manufacturers’ coupons, we’re usually only at Hannaford to grab a couple of things when we return our Clynk bags. So we were super excited when they announced a new Hannaford Rewards app and program!

When you download the app it is chock full of coupons (it appears these were limited, cannot guarantee they’re still available).  We got an entire list of products for free (about $50 worth) such as Mt. Olive Organic Pickles, Chick Pea Snacks, Dole Jaya Juice, Seventh Generation Dish Soap, Noosa Yogurt, Ciao Bella Gelato, Laughing Cow Cheese Wedges, Bertolli Rustic Cut Pasta Sauce and so much more! But the best of all was a coupon for $5.50 off a $5.50 or more purchase! The best part was that these appear to be store coupons, so if you had a manufacturer coupon or there was a rebate available on another app, you could combine them and make money.  We actually found a $1 coupon on the Bertolli rustic cut sauce!

Hannaford also rolled out a rewards program with this app. Every time you buy a Hannaford brand product, 2% of the price will go into an account and be deposited as a reward coupon each quarter.  So, we made the most of our $5.50 coupons by buying meat that had coupons on it (we freeze it right away) and getting the 2% rewards back.  We will continue to check out and use this new app- it’s a great way to grab some extra freebies for your household!

 

Ready to get started? Download the app here! Happy Saving Hannaford Rewards Shoppers! If you downloaded it and got some coupons or used it in store- let us know how it went! Join our Facebook group, Money Saving Mamas and share with us!

Doc McStuffins Color Wonder

Friday Faves: Crayola Color Wonder

Have you tried Color Wonder with your kids? We are constantly blown away by this product.  Essentially, Crayola promises that your children will only color on their coloring book.  How?! They have special markers that only show up on their special color wonder paper.  MAGIC.

Crayola Color Wonder Marker

We were skeptical, to say the least, assuming they either wouldn’t work after a while, or they would be dull in color – and we couldn’t have been more wrong.  These are our favorite way for our toddlers to color – no mess and no “art” on the walls, floor, or self!

 Crayola Color Wonder in Action

Madeline is obsessed with Doc McStuffins, which is great for us because Crayola seems to have partnered with Disney.  They have so many themed coloring books to choose from and are a pretty good value considering how long they last in our house.

Doc McStuffins Color Wonder

Still a skeptic? Check out this video- it’s true!

Crayola Color Wonder in Action!

They don’t just make coloring books though! Sherrie was able to score this awesome stamp set for Logan after Christmas on clearance.  To say that Logan loves to color is an understatement and color wonder makes it mess free!

 

 

Have you tried these Crayola products yet? Let us know in the comments!

 

Common Illnesses: MRSA

**WARNING: Post may contain images that are difficult to look at.**

Writing this post is so hard, but it’s important to know what can happen to your children. In late June, Madeline contracted community MRSA. Mike, FYM Emily’s husband, is in the Army National Guard, and while away for his drill weekend he contracted community MRSA on his leg.  Despite being very clean with changing his dressing and bandages, Madeline contracted it on her chin.

MRSA, or Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus, is caused by staph bacteria that has become immune to antibiotics and can be very dangerous.  It typically often begins as a painful skin boil. It’s spread by skin-to-skin contact. At-risk populations include groups such as high school wrestlers, child care workers and people who live in crowded conditions (Mayo Clinic, 2017).  Madeline is at a stage where when she hugs you, she hugs your thigh, so it was probably only a matter of time before she got it.

Madeline had come home with what looked like a pimple on a Thursday evening. She woke up at 4:30am on Saturday screaming, and I realized that the “pimple” had burst and was bleeding.

 After calling the pediatrician (who said she didn’t need to be seen), we went to a family barbecue for the fourth of July holiday.  All day long the pocket kept swelling and redness seemed to spread up her face and jawline.  We decided to be safe and head to urgent care who immediately sent us to the pediatric ER at Albany Medical Center.

She was seen very quickly and they determined that she had two abscesses that required draining.  This meant she had to be put under, which is extremely scary, but if MRSA is left untreated it can spread to the bloodstream and other organs,  so it was necessary.  Madeline was a trooper, but was admitted to the Children’s Hospital for IV antibiotics and monitoring.  The culture of the abscesses was sent out for 48 hours of testing.

In the 6 days we spent in the hospital, Madeline had to be put under twice to drain the abscesses.  She had a team of 6 plastic surgeons and 8 pediatricians (including residents).  She received 5 days of constant IV antibiotics (through three different injection sites).  It was only on the last day that we gave her oral antibiotics and she was able to move freely.  The whole time she was a trooper!

  

While we were at the hospital my parents were at home furiously preparing the house for her return.  Because MRSA can live on any surface, anything and everything she had come into contact with needed to be cleaned.  This meant bleaching a lot of toys, washing everything that could be on the sanitary cycle (super hot water) and throwing out anything that could not be cleaned. On the plus side, my house is a little less cluttered, but it was a nerve wrecking time not knowing if we got everything.

There are only a few ways to keep MRSA from spreading and the best way is to ensure you are constantly washing your hands with soap and water, not hand sanitizer or antibacterial like Purell. This can actually kill off the good bacteria on your skin.  This was the perfect time to teach Madeline how to wash her hands herself.

About a month out, we are glad to say Madeline has fully healed and has not re-contracted the disease.  We’ve had a follow up with the plastic surgery team, and provided she is protected from all sun exposure, her scaring should heal fine.  However, it is quite common and extremely dangerous, so we need to be careful to ensure she doesn’t contract it again.  If you think your child has contracted MRSA, call your pediatrician and go to urgent care or the ER immediately.  This is not one to joke around with or wait on!

Indian Ladder Farms

Local Love: Indian Ladder Farms

We’re always looking for fun, local things to do with our little ones.  Since Madeline is a berry fiend (no joke!) we thought she might enjoy a trip to go berry picking but had no idea where to start.  FYM Sherrie has taken trips to Indian Ladder Farms with Matt and Logan in the fall seasons, and pointed us in their direction.  And boy, were we thrilled! We’ve now been a few times!

Let’s start with the berry picking! The bushes were FULL of big, juicy, amazing blueberries!! Picking two quarts didn’t take more than 15 minutes, even with a toddler in tow! Madeline loved walking through the bushes, pulling the berries off (though some she chose we’re quite ripe) and stuffing them in her mouth.  Seriously, I couldn’t hardly pick fast enough to keep up with her eating! She even made friends with fellow pickers (and sampled their blueberry bounty as well).

Indian Ladder Farms

It didn’t end there! What I LOVED about our visit was how much there is to do at the farm.  We could have chosen to pick raspberries as well, but instead we opted to walk the farm.  It is a working farm and they have so many animals that you can see and interact with.  We’d never taken Madeline to a zoo, and we thought this would be a good test, knowing how much she loves our dog, Bruce Wayne!  To say she loved them would be an understatement.  There are so many animals at Indian Ladder Farms including, sheep, goats, a HUGE bunny, baby bunnies, chickens, cattle, and a massive turkey.   She squealed with delight, said hi to everyone and everything she saw and really got a kick out of daddy feeding some of the animals.

 Indian Ladder Farms

Indian Ladder Farms

Once we were able to pull her away from the wildlife, we stopped into the cafe and store.  To say it is full of country charm is an understatement!! The adorable shop is filled with unique gifts, homegrown produce, local milk, and the most delicious baked goods.  Even in the middle of august, it is safe to say, Madeline loves cider doughnuts! I cannot wait to go back for apple picking!

What I didn’t know, and will be nice to explore on a date night, is that Indian Ladder Farms also has a brewery and cidery on site.  In the afternoons and evenings, you can do tastings- Mike and I will love that, as we love hard cider!

I am already planning our next trip back- this is a family favorite and a staple in the warm weather months for sure!

 

"Things

Friday Faves: Melissa and Doug

Have you ever found a company that just can do no wrong? You love everything they make? That’s how we feel about Melissa and Doug! If you don’t know  about this company and the amazing products they make, you need to!

Melissa and Doug are actually a married couple, they’ve been married over 30 years! And together they have six children.  They founded the toy company with one mission:
To provide a launch pad to ignite imagination and a sense of wonder in all children so they can discover themselves, their passions, and their purpose.

This is exactly what our kiddos need! We are all about learning and letting them discover and grown on their own.  We love these toys so much because not only do they allow that, but they are made with an amazingly high quality.  We’ve found that our kiddos spend the most time with these toys just because they love them so much! Here are some of our favorites!

Puzzles:

Melissa and Doug make so many kinds of puzzles!! We love them all, they grow with our kids.  From wooden puzzles with knobs, to just big pieces, to smaller grips that make noise, to mix and match there are so many stages of development that these puzzles span!

Pretend Play:

Melissa and Doug have AMAZING wooden play food!  They come in themed sets like this cupcake set that Logan has, and there are so many different ways to play with them.  They’re not only adorable,  they’re perfect for learning.

Games:
Madeline hasn’t started playing with them yet, but we have mix and match wooden animals as well as a fishing game by Melissa and Doug! These are great ways to learn while again having fun! We can’t wait to show her and see her develop new skills.

Learning:
One of the things we included in our Easter Egg Hunt this year were letter magnets by Melissa and Doug.  We wanted to be able to have the kids learn letters in a variety of different ways, and magnets are a great one.  They will grow with our children for a while, after recognition they will grow to reading and spelling and sight words! We love that we know they will last for a long time!

Dress Up:
Something our kids love is playing dress up. Who says costumes are just for Halloween?! Melissa & Doug offer a variety of dress up costumes such doctor, firefighter, police officer, chef, the list goes on! Each costume features jackets and tools to match the occupation – so much fun!

Our kids have and use so many of their toys that we had a tough time narrowing it down! Are you as big a fan of Melissa and Doug as we are? We want to know your and your kiddos favorites!

 

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Family Photoshoots: Why They’re Important and How to Ensure Success

If there’s one area that we absolutely think you should be spending money on (and don’t forget, we are money saving mamas), it’s professional family photoshoots.  We aim to try to get them done every six months, sometimes it’s more, sometimes it’s less, but we really try.   How many times a day even do you say “the kids grow up so fast” (I mean FYM Sherrie said it hours after Logan was born!). It’s so important to capture them at each stage! They’re also the gift that keeps on giving,  Whenever we get photos taken, we love to get prints made and make DIY gifts for aunts, uncles, grandparents and great grandparents, and of course our family yearbooks!

We recently realized that since we all got married in 2014, we don’t have any professional photos of the four of us together, let alone our kids! To be honest, I don’t even think we have a selfie! So, we knew we had to change that.   We started looking for a photographer that does mini sessions, they are typically shorter photoshoots and much cheaper than paying for a full session. They are perfect for kids, because as you know they tend to have short attention spans. We came across Samantha Martens Photography. She was affordable, provides you with all the digital images (trust us, that’s pretty unheard of) but on top of that she was on point! She was extremely accommodating, able to work with our crazies (the twin husbands and all the children!) and gave us pointers like fix your necklace, lift your chin, move your hair- the things you really need! We’re pretty biased, but we think they turned out amazing! We are already booking our next family photoshoots together for the Fall!

Family Photoshoots Matt and Sherrie

Photo Credit: Samantha Martens Photography

Photo Credit: Samantha Martens Photography

Photo Credit: Samantha Martens Photography

Photo Credit: Samantha Martens Photography

  Want to ensure your family photoshoots go off without a hitch? Follow this 5 steps.

Day and Time: Pick a day and time you know you can make.  We chose a Monday at 6pm, not too late so that the kids wouldn’t be too tired, but not too early that they would be all wound up with energy. We chose a park with plenty of open space for the kids to be kids.  And, not too crowded of a location.

Outfits: If you’re not into matchy matchy, try to coordinate.  We had chatted before and knew we were both thinking blue, a little extra check to make sure we were thinking the same family of shades, and without even seeing what each other was wearing, we all coordinated perfectly.  Not too matchy, but just right.

Family Photoshoots

Photo Credit: Samantha Martens Photography

Have Help: Sherrie asked Grandma Cathy (her mom) to come a long and it was the best idea ever! Not only do we just love spending time with Grandma Cathy, but she was so helpful.  Just having an extra set of hands to hand off a baby too, or to keep kids who aren’t in a photo entertained was a god send.  If you can, bring an extra person to help! If nothing else, you’ll be less stressed, stress shows in photos!

Distract the Kiddos: You may never know it, but the only way we got this good picture of all three of the kiddos was to shake a mickey mouse rattle, call Madeline’s name, and shake the car keys for Logan.  Distractions help.  Kids are like the dog in Up, one thing has them saying “Squirrel” and running in the other direction.  If you can control those distractions, a great photographer can grab the shot.

Photo Credit: Samantha Martens Photography

Photo Credit: Samantha Martens Photography

Have Fun: Yes, getting these photos is important, but you want to capture real life, so don’t forget to be silly and have fun with it! Matt and Mike are always goofy together, and sure enough we got  the typical “prom pose” photos of the two of them.  When it seemed like we were a little too stuffy, Sam told us to “grab each others butts” and so we were like “wait what?” but then we did, and this photo is just pure joy and silliness all in one.  Above all, be present in the moment and enjoy it!

Photo Credit: Samantha Martens Photography

Photo Credit: Samantha Martens Photography

Photo Credit: Samantha Martens Photography

Photo Credit: Samantha Martens Photography

Having family photos taken soon? We would love to see them! Share them below or on our Facebook page!

 

 

5 Tips to Ensure Your Family Photoshoots are Successful!”</div>
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ChooMee Sipn

Friday Faves: ChooMee

Right around Madeline’s first birthday we started looking for a solution for her to feed herself.  We have followed a modified baby led weaning approach to introducing her to table food, but she’s at a point where she needs to learn to use utensils.  Why? Because she is little miss independent, and spoon feeding her is no longer an option! That being said, yogurt is one of her favorite foods, and the only way she will eat veggies is in a pouch.  So, without a solution, we’re left with a really messy kid!

That’s when I discovered the company ChooMee, and I have fallen in love!!! They make two different products, and we love them both for different reasons.

The first are these silicone spoons.  They’re small, easy to hold, and malleable, so they’re perfect for little hands who don’t understand why spoons are curved with a top and bottom.  They have a cutout on the spoon part,  so when dipped, they pick up the food you’re trying to eat.  This makes it easy for toddlers to learn, we found it works best with a thicker liquid, so yogurt was perfect! It absolutely helped Madeline learn how to use utensils and she loved that she was doing it herself.

ChooMee Spoon ChooMee Spoon with ToddlerChooMee Spoon 

Then I discovered these pouch tops! They are a life changing invention!

ChooMee Sipn

Essentially what you do is put this on top of the existing pouch spout.  What it does is make it so that you have to suck on it for the food to come out! This helps avoid spills and not squeezing the pouch onto the floor (Madeline’s favorite activity) and helps your child learn to use a straw (same sucking motion).  They have made giving Madeline a pouch wonderful and worry free, and she loves the independence of eating by herself!

ChooMee Pouch Top ChooMee Sipn Pouch Top

We got our Choomee products on Amazon and in true prime fashion, they were here in two days! We love them, and while we no longer use the spoons, we don’t go anywhere without the pouch top!

We love ChooMee’s Sip ‘n Spouts!”</div>
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mabels labels home

Products We Love: Mabel’s Labels + Giveaway!

**The product we received for this blog post was in exchange for our honest review. All of the opinions stated here are entirely our own.**

If you’ve been following along for a while, you will know that we love Mabel’s Labels!  We have loved using their clothing labels for our little ones for years and we were so excited to be able to try out some of their other products from their Safety Products & Home Organization Labels line! The kids’ safety products help ensure your child’s allergies, special needs and important information is always close at hand and their custom household labels are ideal for helping families stay organized and can be used for everything including jars, cans, bins and more!

Safety

When it comes to your child’s safety, no mother messes around! That is why we jumped on the opportunity to try the Kids Safety ID Bracelets.  Our kids are crazy toddlers, they have their own ideas of where they should be and why…and my goodness- they are so fast!  These durable, disposable ID bracelets are perfect for trips to museums, theme parks, field trips, the list goes on! You can personalize them with names and numbers. These bracelets contain your contact information to help lessen the panic of being separated in a crowd.  If you want that extra layer of privacy, the bracelets can be attached around belt loops or under socks.

The added bonus of purchasing this product? Mabel’s Labels donates a portion of all sales of this product to Autism Speaks, an organization that promotes research and awareness about autism.

We tested these bracelets out during a family trip to the NYS museum. Logan thought it was so cool and we felt peace of mind knowing if we ever were to get separated because he sprinted off, our information was on him. This is most helpful because Logan is still too young to memorize our phone numbers.

Household

Is your home in need of an organization makeover? Then Mabel’s Labels has the products for you!  FYM Emily loves the Write Away! Labels for Home. Theses labels are self-laminating, writable labels and are the perfect label for everything around your house. Simply use a permanent marker, write, seal, stick and you are good to go! Whether you’re labeling bins,  jars, cans – these durable labels are guaranteed to meet all your needs!

Emily uses them to label her Essential Oil bottles, they’re great because they never peel off or wipe off – they’re just perfect!

Are you like us and store your stuff in totes and bins? Ever find yourself having to open each bin to see what is inside? Well, that is something Sherrie finds herself doing a lot! So she tried out their custom Storage Bin Labels!  These labels are great because you get to customize them with text and different styles! They are durable enough for storage totes and containers  and are guaranteed to last anywhere in the home – from basement to garage to attic.

Sherrie customized them with baby/toddler clothing sizes, as well as all the seasons/holidays for her bins of decor. Finding stuff in her basement is a breeze now, especially the kids clothing.  As Finn moves up in sizes, it is so much easier to stay organized and put his outgrown clothing back in the labeled bin and grab his new size. She also love how organized it makes her basement look!

mabels labels home mabels labels home mabels labels home

Giveaway!

So we love Mabel’s Labels so much and we know you will too! They have generously allowed us to giveaway one of their products to one of our lucky readers! We chose to giveaway the Baby Label Pack! The Baby Label Pack is the perfect bundle of customized waterproof labels and tags designed especially for all of your little one’s needs. From diaper bags to bottles to onesies – this pack is perfect for any type of mom! The Baby Label pack includes:

15 Personalized Name Stickers
16 Mini Custom Name Stickers
2 Custom Shoe Stickers (1 pair)
21 Tag Mates™ Stick On Clothing Labels
2 Personalized Bag Tags
Your choice of text, style and font!

To enter this AMAZING giveaway* all you have to do is comment below with how many kids you have!  For an optional, additional entry subscribe to our blog! In the upper right hand corner you will find the form, simply fill it out and check your email to complete the subscription process! Don’t worry – we won’t spam your emails. You will be signing up for our monthly newsletter with links to all our posts as well as future content and giveaways!

*Official Sweepstakes Rules & Regulations*
No purchase necessary.  Sweepstakes open to legal residents of the United States and must be at least 18 years of age. Contest begins August 7th and the deadline to enter is Thursday, August 10th at 8:00 PM EST.  Winner of the prize will receive a code to order (1) Baby Label Pack (retail value of $26.95) described above and cannot be exchanged for cash value. Winner will be selected at random draw and the number of eligible entries received determine the odds of winning.  Winner will be announced Friday, August, 11th at 12:00 PM EST on our social media pages; Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Good Luck!!!

 

 

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