Saving money and couponing in this day in age is definitely at least half digital! There are so many apps out there to increase your savings. Over the next few weeks we will be sharing our favorites!
One app that we both love is Ibotta. This is a rebate app that works at multiple stores. The rebates rotate, but essentially, you make an account with your Facebook and it will automatically puts you on a “team” of your friends.
Then, you shop the listed stores and buy the items there are rebates for. When you get home, you verify the rebates by scanning the barcode and uploading an image of your receipt. It is that simple.
Within a few hours you are credited the amount of the rebate! It accumulates in a bank and when you hit $20 you can cash out either via a gift card or directly into a PayPal account.
Every month there are team bonuses where you’ll get extra savings for redeeming a certain number of rebates and money value within your team. Additionally, some brands have bonuses where you can earn an extra $1 or $2 for completing them!
What we love about Ibotta is that it is not just grocery stores, there is also rebates for retail stores too. For example, the craft store Joann’s (and you know we love our craft stores!) occasionally pops up as a rebate!
Since this is money already spent, you can use this money as a savings plan. Emily was putting all her savings into Madeline’s college fund, but they recently decided they want to take a family trip to Disney. She saves up to buy Disney gift cards from Target where she also saves an additional 5% with her red card! Sherrie and Matt put their savings towards paying down their student loan debt. Every little bit helps!
Want to get started? Join our teams! Either use this link or this one to create your own account and start saving! FYM Emily has saved $434.10 with this app alone in the last two years and Sherrie has saved $107.10 over the last 6 months! What are you waiting for?!
As you may know essential oils are all the rage right now. But don’t worry, we’re not here to make you join a group or buy oils from us, as we know it’s pushy consultants that can give compamies like this a bad rap. Luckily, we’ve been really fortunate to meet some phenomenal consultants from many companies including DoTerra and Young Living who have gently introduced us to the wonderful world of essential oils.
As moms, we’re always looking for ways to keep our families healthy. For Sherrie, it started as a replacement to candles who wanted something more natural in the air and safer for her very tall toddler. For Emily, she was looking for a way to introduce a more natural healing method- Madeline was constantly getting sick and she was tired of giving her Motrin or Tylenol.
That’s when we discovered essential oils, whether they’re diffused, in a roller ball, or in a cleaning solution- they have changed our lives dramatically!
What exactly is an essential oil? Well, it’s the extract from a plant. These oils are all therapeutic grade and each oil and plant has its own properties and different uses. Call us cooky- but this stuff really works!
So how do you get started? We recommend trying out oils from all different brands before committing to a company, each has different standards so you will get to know what fits best for your budget and which companies you like. We have found for our family that we love Eden’s Garden. These oils are a great quality without carrying a huge price tag. They have single oils, plus some amazing blends and even a line specifically made and diluted for kids!
So which oils do you get? There are SO MANY choices that it can be easily overwhelming- here’s what we recommend starting with.
Lemon– lemon is a staple in both our houses! It’s amazing for cleaning- works like a charm! But it’s also good to diffuse and create a nice crisp, clean scent in your house.
Lavender– lavender is another staple. Known for calming- this is great to add to a hot shower, diffuse before sleep and is the base of many roller ball and spray blends!
Thieves (or the Fighting Five)- this is a blend of many oils. It’s well known for its immune boosting properties. Diluted with fractionated coconut oil- Emily has been rolling this on Madeline for two months and she hasn’t been sick since!
What else will you need? A few things to help you along the way.
Diffuser- Be sure to invest in a good diffuser. This is an easy way to get started with oils. Trust us, you’ll soon find you use it daily. FYM Emily loves this one! We recommend just cleaning them once a month by diffusing a blend of 2/3 water and 1/3 white vinegar.
Roller Bottles– another quick find from Amazon– you’ll soon realize you’re creating blends and rolling them topically. We keep two rollers on Madeline’s changing table and another 2 in her diaper bag! I also carry four rollers in my purse at all times- the headache blend saves Emily at least three times a week!
Fractionated Coconut Oil- If you’re going to get in to blending for rollers or sprays, you’re going to need to dilute your oil. We’ve found coconut oil to be a great way to do this! Fairly inexpensive and doesn’t bother anyone with sensitive skin!
Ready to get started? We will be sharing some of our favorite blends in the coming weeks. In the meantime- follow along with our It’s Essential Pinterest board! We would love to see how you are using oils in your lives!
With Earth Day this past weekend, we thought we’d feature a new company that we love: Clynk! Bringing back cans and bottles is awesome, not just because it’s good for the environment but because it gives you your money back (and we’re all about saving money!). That being said, we HATE doing it. When are moms supposed to find time either without your kids (sorry, but if we have free time we’ll be at target, in leggings, sipping Starbucks) or with them in tow (forget about it!) to stand there and enter all those cans and bottles into the machines?! You can imagine, that’s not likely to happen when they are little.
Then we discovered CLYNK! The way this program works is you sign up, either online on your computer or mobile phone or at your local Clynk Kiosk. They will mail a card for your keys and wallet as well your unique barcode stickers that are linked to your account. Go to your local Hannaford and get special green bags (you’ll receive a coupon for a free box when you sign up!).
While you’re home you fill up the green bags with your bottles. Once it’s full (or you reach the max line if it’s glass) you tie it up and put your account barcode sticker on each bag. At your local store, there will be a CLYNK kiosk where you simply just drop off your bags!
The refund is automatically placed on to your account which you can review online. Once you reach an amount you want, you can cash out at your kiosk!
We love that we can recycle in such an easy way! When you have kids a lot of the things you did before fall by the wayside. But happily, thanks to Clynk– recycling and saving money doesn’t have to!
I don’t even want to believe it, but today Logan turns TWO! Wow! I know I said this last year but where does time go?! How is it even possible that two years went by? It seems like just yesterday we were at the hospital getting ready for his arrival. I want to cry and laugh all at the same time right now.
To our precious Logie Bear,
Today you turn two years old. In just two short years you have grown up so much. You are smart, funny and just a true joy to be around. Your dimples get me every single time. And those curls! THE CURLS! Who doesn’t love those curls?! You are just so beautiful. But your beauty is not just in the way you look on the outside. You’re even more beautiful on the inside. You already show you have so much compassion and kindness in your heart. From the way you smile and say hi to the people in our neighborhood to the ways you try to console your brother when he cries. It’s absolutely adorable to watch you…be you.
We are so proud of the son, brother, grandson, nephew and friend you are. There is nothing your Daddy or I wouldn’t do to show you how much we love you. There are no words that can even come close to it either. Today, we celebrate you and if we could give the world, moon and stars to prove how amazing you are, we would.
Never, ever let anyone dull your sparkle! Shine on, bugsby.
Let’s face it moms- we don’t get a lot of downtime. But, it is so important, and you’ll hear it everywhere, to find something that’s yours. I am always thinking about Madeline, doing activities, crafts, etc. with or for Madeline, so the idea of something that I do for me seems odd. But that’s exactly why you need something that can either be mindless and let you take a break, and give you something else to focus on. That’s when I really started to think I needed a hobby and crochet is it!
There’s something very satisfying to me to be able to make something and see it come together. But, by now, I think y’all know I just love to craft! I had at one point, taught myself to knit and the results were less than satisfactory. So the idea of teaching myself to crochet seemed very daunting.
How did I do it you might ask?
Ravelry: This is a great site for getting started finding projects. Between Ravelry and Pinterest I was able to see things I may like to make and find a pattern for them. This got me to a good starting place where I at least knew how much yarn, what type of yarn and what size crochet hook I would need- then it was time to shop.
YouTube: Doesn’t that seem like it’s the answer to everything? No seriously though. Videos are a great way to learn a skill. What I found is that patterns are unbelievably hard to read. It’s almost like crochet is a different language! So that being said, I needed to learn how to actually achieve the different stitches within a given pattern. Hence- YouTube. There are so many people who have made videos on how to do specific stitches. Every time I encounter one that I don’t know how to do (and Mommy Brain is real, so let’s be honest, even some I know but haven’t done in a while) I find a video for it on YouTube. Once I watch it once, do the stitch along with the video a few times I’m good to go! I then keep it handy to reference as I put down and pick up the project.
Facebook Groups: What I have learned about crocheting (and also knitting) is that it’s like a cult! No seriously, a mom cult. There are so many people who seem to live and breathe crochet. Naturally, that means, you can find a lot of groups on social media! I am in a few crochet groups and what I’ve found is it is a great place to show what you’ve recently made and get some feedback, but also a great way to learn about trends and new ideas for projects!
Meet Ups: There are also lots of great resources or local “stitch and bitch” clubs! Personally, I love that my hobby can also be a way to make new friends and get out of my house and routine. That break time with other adults is really important for my own sanity! I started a lunchtime craft day at work. Now every Tuesday and Thursday at our lunch hours. We sit together and work on the projects we have currently underway, whether that’s inside or outside, and just talk about non work related things. There are lots of local yarn shops and craft stores that also host these events as well. I’m looking forward to attending them!
I’m also really proud of the things I’ve been able to create! I love being able to make handmade gifts for my friends and family, useful items for my house or for Madeline, and so much more! Here are a few quick things I’ve made recently!
Are you a crochet-er? (I think they refer to themselves as hookers, that seems off color, haha 🙂 ) What hobbies do you pursue that are just for you?
After you leave the hospital almost every mom will save their baby’s first outfit, blanket, hat, bracelets, etc. We sure did! Instead of just throwing those keepsakes in a box or inside a baby book, you can put them in a shadowbox to be out on display. We both spotted this project on Pinterest and just couldn’t resist recreating this for Logan and Madeline (and now Finn)!
First things first, you need to gather all of the things you saved from the hospital. This may include hats, blankets, going home outfits, bracelets, foot prints, birth announcements, name banners from the bassinet at the hospital, etc. Here’s what it looked like when Emily got all of Madeline’s things together:
What You Need:
Shadowbox (we suggest 8×10 or larger)
Scrapbook paper (for background, embellishments, etc.)
For the background Emily made the hard choice and decided to use Madeline’s blanket. Let me tell you, cutting that blanket almost killed her, she was in tears! But in the end, it turned out really well! For Logan and Finn’s background Sherrie went with a piece of scrapbook paper.
After you have your background, it’s just a matter of arranging and rearranging until you find a layout that you love.
Emily really wanted to get Madeline’s going home outfit in, but it didn’t fit so instead she used a hat that was given to Madeline. There’s a few women who knit and crochet hats for all the new babies born at Bellevue Women’s Hospital where Madeline was delivered and she showed up back from her bath in this cute purple hat! Emily had made a name banner for Madeline’s bassinet at the hospital (Thanks Pinterest!) the whole thing wouldn’t fit, but a piece of the gold bunting was reused to hold Madeline’s birth information.
For Logan and Finn’s shadowbox Sherrie made a name banner using scrapbook paper, stickers and small clothes pins. She added their hats and their hospital bracelets, as well as the stamped footprints the hospital did when they were born. I used more stickers to write out their date of both and weight/height stats.
Once all your pieces are in and you add your embellishments/stickers and whatever you wan, simply close the shadowbox up ensuring that everything is nice and secure! Here’s the finished products from ours!
They make great additions to the nurseries and are keepsakes the kids will have when they get older!
If there’s one thing that we love it’s saving money! With three kids between the two of us we certainly know how expensive life can be. We started couponing a few years ago and while we’ve certainly scaled back in some areas, we are still hunting the best deals!
Over the next few weeks we will be sharing some of our favorite apps to help you save! In the meantime, we wanted to share our top ten tips for Extreme Couponing: Mom Style.
#10: Consolidate Stores
As a mom, time is precious. Before kids we’d make multiple runs a week to as many as five stores. That’s just not realistic anymore. Forget the fact that we don’t have that kind of time, imagine getting your kids in and out of their car seats that many times, no thank you!
#9: Start a Stockpile
We can’t even explain how important this is. I can’t imagine what I would do if we ran out of diapers, paper towels, or toilet paper! Luckily, we don’t have to find out!! When they’re free (or really cheap) stock up on the items you use frequently. While storing these things may be annoying it is worth it in the long run for convenience and cost savings.
#8: Forget Brand Loyalty
With the exception of very few items, we don’t necessarily always buy the same brand. Being open and flexible allows you to save the most money. A salsa in one brand may be free, while another could be $4! We’ll take free please!
#7: Set Your Max Prices
How do you know you’re getting a good deal? You won’t unless you set some thresholds, there are certain things we just refuse to pay for, like shampoo. But there are other items we are willing to spend money on, but not a lot. For example, Emily prefers not to pay for coffee, but she’ll pay up to $1.49/lb.
#6: Meal Plan
Meal planning may not seem like it relates to couponing but it sure does! It’s not enough to look at the sales for the week, if you can create meals with what you have in your stockpile/freezer and then replace those items with the sales from that week- you’re always going to find that you save money. It also doesn’t hurt to meal plan so that you’re not left scrambling and then end up ordering takeout!
#5: Shop the Sales
This shouldn’t need to be said, but shop the sales when they happen. If there’s a great deal on a ham before a holiday, but you’re not going to be home, get it anyway and freeze it. You can always use it and you may not see that sale again.
#4: Clip Coupons
Gone are the days where coupons only came in the Sunday paper. While you may still want to buy one (or 4) newspapers there are so many other places to get coupons. Try printing some from coupons.com, Red Plum, Smart Source, or even many manufacturers websites. We use a coupon database and check for coupons for every item before shopping!
#3: Rewards Programs
It pays to be a member! You know we love programs like Pampers Rewards, but did you know there are other rewards programs? One of our favorites is Kellogg’s family rewards. You just link your grocery store card and you accumulate points for buying their brands. You can cash those points in for coupons!
#2: Use Your Store Loyalty Card
Your store loyalty card is super important! For many stores, like Price Chopper or Shoprite, not only do you get sale pricing with your card, but many have e-coupons that you can add and stack with your paper coupons. That’s an easy extra savings! And places like Target have debit cards linked to your checking account (Red Card) that doesn’t hurt your credit AND saves you an extra 5%!
#1: Stack It Up!
We always say, don’t just use one coupon! Know your stores coupon policy and use as many coupons as you can- that may mean a paper coupon, an ecoupon, a sale and a rebate through one of many available couponing apps. Check out our favorites in the next few weeks as we highlight them!
Couponing does really does pay off- we’ve saved thousands each year and are able to do so many more things for our families! You can put it towards your savings, family vacations, date nights, whatever you want! How do you save your family money?
You may have noticed, but here at Forever Young Moms we are big on creating family traditions that we can share and pass on! Now that the babies are toddlers, we thought it would be fun to have an Easter Egg hunt! Just like the conundrum we had with Easter baskets- what do you put in Easter Eggs geared towards toddlers!? Well here are some great ideas that we put together for our little ones!
When they don’t throw their food, toddlers can be eating machines! So we thought some food instead of candy would be perfect for the eggs!
Snacks: We wanted to make sure we included healthy snacks and since we love all things Annie’s, we got snack packs of bunny grahams and cheddar bunnies, but we had to order extra big eggs to make sure they fit! We also went with applesauce pouches which are quick, easy grab and go of one of their favorite foods.
Of course we knew we would be putting toys in the eggs, but what is small enough to fit in eggs, but big enough to not be a chocking hazard? That’s harder than you’d think! We found ourselves taking the Easter Eggs out shopping with us to test them out!
Tsum Tsums: When in doubt, more tsum tsums! We got two Mickeys (no fights here!), Kermit and Miss Piggy and superheroes!
Little People: Little people come in pretty much all variations! So of course we snagged Disney characters. We got two duplicates on a buy one get one free sale (again no fights and saving money!).
Hot Wheels: Logan is all about cars and trucks right now and hot wheels fit perfectly in an Easter egg!
Mini Beach Balls: Our kids are obsessed with balls, they love to throw things! These mini beach balls were the perfect size to fit in the eggs. Once they find the eggs we will blow them up and set them loose!
In addition to toys, we added some activities to the eggs! We had to buy extra jumbo eggs for these! 🙂
Playdough: Even though it can get messy, playdough is still a toddler favorite!
Bubbles: Have you ever met a kid who didn’t like bubbles!? Ours sure do! There are many many mini bubble wands hidden in these eggs!
Slime: These eggs were a perfect addition from the Target One Spot and they’re already shaped like eggs! Perfect!
Once we had dozens of filled eggs we wanted to find baskets for the hunt. We snagged colored buckets at Michael’s and grabbed bunny ears for them to wear.
The day of the hunt we will hide the eggs all over the house and hopefully outside if the weather holds up! Target One Spot had cute egg hunt signs! We enlisted the help of our twin hubby’s to create a maze- starting at the sidewalk, through the entire house and out the back door to the swing set! The kids will love it! And we can mix this up every year as they grow.
Do you do an egg hunt for your kiddos? What do you put in the eggs? We’d love to hear!
We don’t know about you, but when we think of Easter baskets we have visions of chocolate bunnies, Cadbury eggs, jelly beans and peeps! All so YUMMY! But that is not really ideal for babies or toddlers. So what can you give babies and toddlers in their Easter baskets? Well, here are some of our best recommendations based on what our kids are getting this year!
First things first, you need to pick a basket. You will soon learn that we have a slight obsession with Thirty One Gifts. So when a chick basket was a special in February, Emily just had to have it for Madeline! As for Logan and Finn, Matt and Sherrie love sports, so they picked out a soccer ball and baseball basket for them! Then comes the fun part, filling your basket! Here is what our kids are getting in theirs!
Books are always a great gift to give for any holiday! You know FYM Emily loves Usborne. This That’s Not My Bunny is perfectly paired with a hand crocheted bunny lovey!!
Our kids are at a stage where they are obsessed with play food! For Madeline- these soft carrots from the Target one spot are perfect! For Logan, who just got his Step2 cozy kitchen from Pampers Rewards, will get a more durable, wooden cupcake decorating set by Melissa and Doug! (We love Melissa & Doug- a post on that a later date).
Logan is at a stage now where we are ready to introduce Play-Doh. We got him two containers to start to see how he likes it! Other great imaginative toys are action figures. We thought Logan would enjoy these toy dinosaurs, which even can double as an educational toy!
Our kids love puzzles and they make a great addition to any Easter basket. Madeline is just starting to figure out chunky puzzles- so she will be getting this adorable insect wooden puzzle made by Melissa and Doug! Finn will be getting these stacking rings and block set – both are great sensory toys for babies. All of our kids love, and still love, blocks and stacking rings! (Side note- check your local Marshall’s, we found these all at great prices!)
If you haven’t noticed, FYM Emily is only slightly obsessed with Disney, Tsum Tsums are perfect because they are your favorite characters in a soft, squishy form for your babies and toddlers to enjoy! The mini ones are perfect for their little hands! Since Beauty and the Beast is so popular right now- FYM Emily was able to find Belle, Beast, Gaston, Lumiere, Cogsworth, Mrs. Potts and Chip! Because you want to collect them all- this will be a fun challenge as Madeline grows!
If there is one activity that our babies love more than anything, it’s bath time. Seriously- we must have some of the cleanest kids around because they love their tubs! We are always looking for fun bath toys. Emily got this adorable Rubber Ducky set for Madeline at Carter’s! And Logan is getting bath crayons while Finn will be getting a bath time book and a lion toy! Our kids will be so excited for all of this!
Another great basket suggestion is to complement what your kids already have/love. Madeline has a Little Tykes vanity that she loves, but she didn’t have any accessories to go with it. FYM Emily was able to find this cute wooden beauty set in the Target One Spot. It will be perfect for the vanity as Madeline learns to play with it more!
Finn is currently obsessed with chewing on his hands. It’s hard to tell if he is teething just yet, so we got him a Nuby teething bib. He absolutely loves it! So we decided to pick up two more for his Easter basket!
Here are the baskets all put together and ready for the Easter Bunny to deliver!
The kids are going to LOVE what the Easter Bunny got them this year! 😉 We can’t wait for him to drop it off for our kids! What is he bringing your kids? Share with us!
Do you remember the excitement you felt when your kids became mobile? There is a sense of accomplishment for both the child and parents! We both remember being so proud of our kids when they began to crawl and then walk. You share the news like you just won the lottery! Rightfully so as it is a big milestone to hit. 🙂
So when baby is on the move you figure you go around your home, baby proof this and that and then you’re done. Well…guess again! Baby proofing is constant! There is always something that needs to be baby proofed! Baby proofing turns into toddler proofing, it just never ends.
We both started with the ordinary things you’d expect- outlet covers, cabinet locks, baby gates, but we quickly realized it is so much more than that! Here are just a few of our tips, tricks and products that worked for us!
If you have cabinets that have knobs, these are the best! They’re relatively inexpensive and they’re easy to work and open for the adults (seriously, that’s a major plus) and they slip right on, so no drilling into cabinets! They also make locks if your cabinets don’t have knobs or if you’d rather have the locks be out of sight.
It might be hard to see in our pictures, but all of our babies are tall! The kitchen counters, that we never thought they’d be reaching as toddlers are an easy target. This can be dangerous when using small appliances, so something as simple as putting the crockpot all the way back on the stove makes a huge difference. We always have to be sure everything is pushed to the back or they’ll come by and swipe it. Don’t leave any sharp kitchen tools where they could reach up and grab it – it just takes one second!
We both have end tables with some serious sharp corners. It poses a huge risk if the baby were to hit that corner. If you’ve ever tried one of those baby proofing corner products, you will know there aren’t that many good ones that stick and stay stuck. What does that mean for baby proofing? Remove the table! Emily used to have a bookcase as you walked in the door. Her biggest concern was making sure it was anchored to the wall. As it turned out- Madeline didn’t like to climb it so much as she liked to empty every single thing in it! Guess what’s no longer in the living room?
If removing the furniture isn’t an option than we strongly suggest you anchor it to the wall. You can purchase anchor kits at any baby store or any of your local retail stores like Target, Walmart, etc. Recently there was a video captured on a baby monitor of two toddlers who climbed out of their cribs when they woke up from a nap. In the video you see them playing and then begin to climb on the dresser. The dresser ends up falling on top of the boys leaving one completely trapped. The video is hard to watch but the mom’s decision to share it was smart. Parents anchor down your furniture! Sherrie had Matt immediately install an anchor for the dresser in Logan’s room in case he climbed out of his crib when he wakes up.
When it comes to baby gates, there are a lot of options. Emily loves the latching baby gate. Because Bruce Wayne has some crate issues, they actually had it installed way before they even knew Madeline would be arriving. It’s a great way to section off the house without worrying about it being knocked down.
If you don’t want to screw your baby gate into the wall we swear by the good old spring loaded, pressure gates. Quick to install, sturdy (that’s a must our baby’s are also ridiculously strong) and not that much of an eyesore! And don’t forget to gate the stairs! All of our kids are climbers. Seriously they’re like little monkeys. Stairs are probably the scariest part of our house, it’s a big part of our baby proofing.
Be sure you place outlet plugs in all the unused outlets in your house. If your outlet has something plugged into it, they make special covers that will cover the outlet and cord so your child can’t pull the cord out.
Dog Bowls & Toys
Madeline is fascinated by Bruce, and he’s always been allowed to eat whenever he wanted, so there’s always dog food on the floor. We learned pretty quickly that’s a hot spot for Madeline. It’s been a fight to baby proof that piece, one we’re still working on that one – any suggestions?! You will also want to find a new place for your dogs’ toys as well. Logan quickly became interested in Zelda’s toy basket and to prevent him from playing and chewing them, we had to move the basket to a room he does not go in. Dog toys could be a major choking hazard for babies and toddlers!
Other Things to Consider:
Depending on how your home is set up, there may be other things you will need to think about. For example, if you have a pool or if you have doors that may be easy for baby to open. Be sure you have proper, working fencing and gates around your pool and doors that are properly secured!
Another thing you may have not thought of is after you give your kid a bath, always remember to drain your tub completely. Why? Toddlers are like magical monkeys. Before you know it, they are climbing out of their cribs, opening doors and grabbing something they shouldn’t. What if one night they climbed out of their crib and ventured into the bathroom and climbed into the tub. If they slipped and fell and their was still tub water from last nights bath, they could drown. You may say the chances of that happening are slim, but it is always better to be safe than sorry.
The last thing we want to share is locking away things cleaning supplies, laundry detergents, medications, cigarettes, etc. Put them in a place your child can never reach or lock them in cabinet. It also wouldn’t hurt to have the Poison Control Center phone number handy in case of an emergency – hang it on your fridge! They are open 24/7 and can be reached at 1-800-222-1222.
These are just a FEW suggestions, be sure you really watch your child as they play and think about your home and what they might try to get into. Babies and toddlers have very curious minds so one thing we’ve learned is that child proofing isn’t just about installing safety measures in your home, it’s also about installing safety practices. Making sure that you change how you do things so that you’re operating in the safest way possible! Stay safe!