Archives for July 2017

Saving Money at the Grocery Store: How I cut my snack allowance in half!

Saving Money at the Grocery Store

I feed a family of 4, two adults and two toddlers and I am always looking for ways to save money on groceries. Toddlers may not eat as much food as an adult but they are still expensive to feed when you take into account all the “special” food I need to buy for them. For example, I need to buy apple sauce pouches because my children have not yet mastered the skill of spoon to mouth. I also need to buy 5 cartons of almond milk a week! And don’t forget the snacks! My kids don’t eat meals. Instead they graze all day.

I’m currently unemployed and a stay at home mom so I took some of this time and geared it towards saving on our grocery bill. This week I was able to cut our snack allowance in half! How did I do this? I shopped around, couponed, bought in bulk and got creative.

Shop around!

While I was at Big Lots looking for party supplies, I noticed that their apple sauce pouches were insanely cheap compared to my local grocery store. A sale on apple sauce pouches at my local grocery store is usually 4 pouches for $2.50. I cringe every week when I have to buy these. That’s over .60 cents a pouch. Ugh! While perusing the aisles at Big Lots I noticed they sell the 12 packs of the same apple sauce pouches for $4.00! I quickly did the math and realized that’s only .33 cents a pouch. That’s getting the same pouches for half off! I grabbed enough for the month.

Coupon!

While looking over the grocery store flyer, I noticed Cheerios were on sale for $2 a box if you buy 4 boxes. Not a bad deal when you compare them to baby puffs. Baby puffs are around $2 a container and only 1.5 oz. A Cheerios box is 9 oz. and for the same price you get 6 times more cereal! Not only was this a good deal, but coupons.com had .50 cent Cheerios coupons that double at my store. After my Saving star rebate of $1, each box was only .75 cents!

While I was grocery shopping I noticed Smart Food was on sale for $1.99 a bag and each bag had a coupon on it for $1 off when you buy 2. I bought two bags for $3.

Get Creative!

When I looked into the shopping cart, I quickly realized I had some great supplies for trail mix. Cheerios, popcorn, and I needed something else…PRETZELS! I grabbed a giant family size bag of pretzels for $3. I was going to grab some M&M’s for the trail mix but decided against it, only because I know one of my kids would only eat the M&M’s and refuse the rest. I now have the supplies to make trail mix all month long for less than $10!

I was spending $10 a week in snacks with pretzels, veggie fries, and apple sauce pouches. By shopping around, using coupons, and getting creative, I was able to cut our snack budget in half!

Do you have a creative way of saving? Please share!

Milk Soy Protein Intolerance: A journey to finding the silver lining

What is Milk Soy Protein Intolerance?

Milk Soy Protein Intolerance, MSPI is when a baby cannot break down the proteins in milk or soy. Depending on the severity of the intolerance, it can manifest itself it a variety of ways, including: eczema, diarrhea, irritability (that’s an understatement), refusal to eat, weight loss, and blood in the stool.

A new mother, a MSPI baby, and a journey to finding the silver lining.

WEEK 1

Our little bundle of joy couldn’t wait to meet us and arrived a week early on June 28, 2014.  My water broke at 8pm the night before. I labored at home for four hours then was admitted to the hospital. Everything went as planned. Our son was born at a healthy 7 lbs. 10 oz at 7:42am. His APGAR was great and he immediately took to the breast. He was healthy, I was healthy, we stayed the mandatory 48 hours and left the hospital with our son as new parents. The first week at home was uneventful. Our baby was a typical newborn that fed on demand, pooped, and slept a lot.  Because I was on unpaid maternity leave, my husband and I agreed that he should go back to work. That was the first week.

Week 2

The second week I started to notice a difference in our son. He appeared irritable and started to cry often. He was also hungry all the time and he started to sleep less. As a concerned mother, I mentioned this to his primary care and was told that he might have reflux and was feeding more often to soothe the discomfort. We left the doctors with a prescription for Zantac.

Week 3

I’m not a doctor but I knew something was wrong.

The third week was worse than the second week. My son cried for 18 hours of the day. I now fed him every half hour to try to console him. I was exhausted! No one was sleeping and my breast were engorged from all the breast feeding. I was in pain and I could tell my son was in pain. We went to the doctors again. This time the doctor told me that he did not have reflux, and perhaps all the dairy I was eating was making his stomach upset. I was told to take him off the reflux medication and to stop eating so much dairy. I could still eat good dairy like yogurt but was told to stop eating ice cream and milk. As I reflect back, this was one of the dumbest suggestions anyone has every told me but I was a new mother and just wanted my son to stop crying.

My son now started throwing up after his feedings. I was told that this was because my son was over eating to soothe the reflux. I was told to decrease his feeds and the medicine will help with the burn of reflux. Meanwhile I stopped going to breast feeding support group at the hospital. I was embarrassed by my son’s constant crying, and my leaky, over active breast while other mother’s were struggling with their supply.  A couple of my friends had babies around the same time I did and I was so full of jealousy, envy, and spite that they were bonding with their babies while I couldn’t console my baby. I stopped going out all together.

Week 4

By the fourth week, friends, family and my ob-gyn started to question my sanity.

“She’s overtired.”

“That baby sure is colicky.”

“She might have post partum depression.”

“I think breast feeding is too much for her.”

Something needed to change; I was tired, my baby was colicky, and maybe I did have post partum depression. I switched to formula.

NOTHING CHANGED WHEN WE SWITCHED TO FORMULA.

Week 5

Week 5 I saw the doctor to tell them there were no improvements switching to formula. They told me it takes time to adjust to formula and it can take even more time to find the right one. We were put back on the zantac and told to give it time. Despite my concerns I was told that my son was gaining great weight and that’s what really matters.

Week 6

Something broke in me. I snapped.

This wasn’t colic, this wasn’t post partum, new mom jitters, or lack of sleep. I was a new mom taking the experts advice because I didn’t know any better. Well, now I know I’m my son’s strongest advocate and I will do anything to get his needs met, even if that means questioning authority. Something was seriously wrong and I was going to find out what it is and get my baby the help he needs. I scoured the internet for resources and found a childhood friend who went through a similar experience. She had some extra cans of a hypo-allergenic formula and wanted to know if I wanted to try it. Absolutely!

Instantly, my baby started to show some relief. I knew this was the answer and quickly informed my primary care of the changes that I saw in my baby and wanted her to prescribe my son this formula. Instead of seeing relief in my doctor’s eyes, I found doubt. She actually questioned my reasons for wanting this formula prescribed and treated me like I was looking for free formula. She wanted me to go back to the old formula or breast feeding for three days, so she could take a stool sample and test it for blood to prove he had MSPI.

MSPI: HEAR MY WAR CRY!

Enough is enough! I said NO! With that as my final answer, she told me there was nothing else she could do and I would need to see a children’s gastroenterologist. I thought this was progress, a specialist is what I believe my son needs. However, I was told they are located hours away from my home and that there are waiting lists that can take up to three months. Despite what I felt like were her multiple attempts to deter me from seeing one, I was adamant for a phone number to schedule the appointment.

I called Children’s hospital and was able to see a gastroenterologist the very next day!

I went there with three pages, back and front documenting my son’s feeding, crying, and sleep schedule, ready to fight. Instead, I was welcomed by a doctor who listened, heard my concerns and VALIDATED every concern I had. In fact, he told me MSPI is pretty common and my son was displaying almost all of the symptoms. He asked for a stool sample, but acknowledged that there might not be blood in the stool for a number of reasons including switching to a formula and the severity of the MSPI. He gave me a prescription for the formula and even offered to have me see a nutritionist if I wanted to start a dairy/soy free diet to start breast feeding again. It was such an amazing experience to feel heard and find the help my son needed.

My son did end up having blood in his stool at his 3 month check up, but due to the gastroenterologist ascertaining my claims, I was treated differently with my primary care doctor. My son was instantly prescribed an elemental formula and an apology for them not acting faster on my son’s MSPI.

This experience has changed me forever

I recently took a silly online personality test and was shocked to see I scored the highest in assertiveness. This was surprised me because I do not consider myself assertive at all. I was the shy child who hid behind my parents legs, the student who did all her work and never asked questions, the worker who attended every meeting and took notes. I never spoke back and always did what I was told.

That was the old me, Pre-MSPI.

Since my experience with MSPI and the obstacles that I needed to go through to get my son the care that he needs, I have found my voice, my strength and my self-worth. I no longer second guess myself and now take charge of my life. I speak up, I share my knowledge, and I question authority.  MSPI has changed me. I hope no one ever has to experience what I went through but if you do, I hope you can turn a negative into a positive and find the silver lining.

Find Support

My journey with MSPI was a challenging and lonely experience. However, with my second son, I found support that helped tremendously during those long, sleepless nights. If you suspect MSPI, I highly recommend the Facebook support groups MSPI AND REFLUX MAMAS and REFLUX REBELS

 

Want to shop for free? I’ll show you how!

Want to learn how to shop for free? I’ll show you how!

Yesterday I found a really good deal on diapers. In fact, it was such a great deal, I bought a year’s worth of diapers! Do you want to know how much it cost me?

NOTHING!

I GOT A YEARS WORTH OF DIAPERS FOR FREE!!!

Well, technically the diapers cost me $100 but I used my rebate apps to pay for it. There are dozens of rebate apps out there but I want to share with you my top 4 rebate apps that take minutes to use and save me a ton of money every year! Don’t miss out on your opportunity to shop for FREE!

1. Ebates

Ebates is an app that gives you money back to shop online! You can make money shopping over 2,000 online stores! I frequently buy online at Target, Amazon, and Macy’s, all stores that offer money back on Ebates. Get paid to buy items you were already going to buy. How great is that?! If you are interested in saving money, sign up, here and earn your first $10 for just signing up!

2. Ibotta

Ibotta is an app that offers rebates for shopping online and in store. I often use Ibotta for grocery shopping. Simply find your store in the app, view the items that offer rebates, purchase, and take a picture of the receipt. It’s that easy! I save about a $1-2 a week using Ibotta for my groceries. How do I buy gifts with $1-2 savings? Well it adds up! I save all year and then by Christmas, I have about $100 saved to spend on gifts. What are you waiting for?! Sign up here and earn your first $20 within the first month with all of their extra bonuses for new users!

3. Check Out 51

Check out 51 is similar to Ibotta, where you chose the items you want to redeem, upload the receipt and GET PAID!

4. Saving Star

Sign up and enter your local loyalty card. Pick the items that you plan on buying and the app. does the rest! Wait and watch the money accumulate!

These are the four apps that I use weekly to save money on items I already buy. Last year I saved over $200 from these apps. Can you believe it?! $200 for shopping!

What apps do you use to save money?

 

I won the Liebster Award!

NOMINATED FOR THE LIEBSTER AWARD

Feeling grateful that my hard work is being recognized across the internet. I would like to thank Amanda from Ambitiously, Amanda for noticing my efforts and nominating me for the Liebster Award. You can check out her blog at Ambitiously, Amanda. Amanda’s blog is a lifestyle blog that focuses on her experiences at University. I love the aesthetics of her blog!

WHAT IS THE LIEBSTER AWARD?

The Liebster Award was created years ago by bloggers for bloggers. It is an award recognizing small, up and coming bloggers with the goal of welcoming them into the blogging community, getting to know the new blogger and spreading awareness of their blogging efforts. As a way of getting to know the new blogger, the Liebster Award requires you to answer a few questions when you accept the award.

10 QUESTIONS ABOUT MYSELF

1. Tell us about your blog.
I started my blog shortly after I found out that I was being laid-off. After working for the same school for over five years and now faced with the unknown, I started the blog to document my new endeavors of finding my new niche in life. I also wanted to share my adventures in parenthood and how I manage to live within my means by saving money.
2. What has been the most rewarding experience your blog has brought you?
I think losing a job and the stability from that job can be a stressful experience. Instead of focusing on the negatives of this experience, I have refocused my efforts into this blog to be more productive. So far, I’m staying positive during this life changing situation.
3. What is the best piece of advice you can give your readers?
The possibilities are endless but you don’t know unless you try. Take risks and enjoy the ride!
4. What is your favorite travel destination and why?
I love the White Mountains in New Hampshire. It’s close to home, affordable, the views are amazing, it’s great all year round, and I love nature!
5. Where would you love to go in the world?
I would like to someday visit the Mayan ruins in Mexico and experience Thailand.
6. If someone were visiting you town, what would you suggest they do?
Go to the beach then grab a cup of chowdah and a lobstah roll downtown.
7. What makes you deliriously happy?
Making memories with my family and getting a crazy good deal.
8. What is your guilty pleasure?
I’m addicted to teen shows and novels. Teen wolf, The 100, Vampire diaries, The Hunger Games, Twilight Series, Harry Potter, I LOVE THEM ALL!!!
9. What is a difficult obstacle you have had to overcome?
I was a special education student with a severe expressive and receptive language disability. I worked really hard to overcome this disability by graduating high school, going to college and becoming certified as a special education teacher myself.
10. What are you most grateful for in your life?
My family and friends.

PAY IT FORWARD

As part of my acceptance and carrying the tradition of the Liebster Award, I would like to nominate seven, up and coming bloggers and recognize them for their blogging efforts

1.  Alicia at It’s a Joyful Journey

2. Monica at Lucky Mojito

3.  Delphine at LesterLost

4. Devajani at  A Cup of Assam Tea

5. Jess at Unapologetic Kinkz

6. Anitra at Chronicles of a Momtessorian

7. Cherie at Reminded Homeschooling

Congratulations!

 

HOT TOY DEAL ON BOB THE BUILDER

LOOKING TO STOCK UP THE TOY CLOSET?

Head on over to Amazon for this hot toy deal on  Fisher-Price Bob the Builder, Mash & Mold Construction Site for only $8.48! Originally $29.99, you save over 70% off the original price!

This playset includes the following:

  • Bob the Builder Construction Site playset includes 16 oz. (0.45 kilograms) of Mash & Mold Playsand
  • Includes Dizzy vehicle and two-sided Bob/Wendy sand stamp
  • Crane contains multiple molds and can act as a wrecking ball
  • 5 different tools and over 35 molds help shape and build with the Playsand
  • 4 easy-to-use, easy-to-move hexagonal tiles act as the base of the playset

Thought of using essential oils? Check out this deal!

THOUGHT OF USING ESSENTIAL OILS?

DON’T MISS OUT ON THIS DEAL!

Head on over to AMAZON where they are offering the URPOWER 2nd Version Essential Oil Diffuser, 100ml Aroma Essential Oil Cool Mist Humidifier with Adjustable Mist Mode,Waterless Auto Shut-off and 7 Color LED Lights Changing for Home Office Baby for only $14.95. That’s over $25 off the original price! I bought one of these for my classroom to improve student’s focus. I was so impressed with the diffuser that I bought another one for my son’s room!

The bedtime routine is so much easier with this diffuser. My son loves being responsible for filling up the diffuser with water. We pick the essential oil blend for the night and then he gets to pick one of seven colors for his nightlight. I swear by essential oils for improved health (try forty thieves) and sleep (lavender). My son’s colds have decreased in length since using essential oils and his sleep has improved tremendously. If you thought of giving essential oils a try, you will not be disappointed with this diffuser.

AMAZON FBA UPDATE: I made my very first sale!

I sold my very first item on AMAZON!

My very first post on this blog was about the school I worked for for over 5 years closing and being laid off. Instead of looking at this situation in a negative light, I changed my mindset and looked into all the opportunities I now had available. I now had this new found freedom of not working a 40 hour work week! The two options I chose to delve into was starting this blog and selling on Amazon. You can read the post here https://adultingmama.com/adventures-in-scheming/

If you’ve been reading this blog, you will notice a common theme; parenting is hard and I love a good deal! Retail Arbitrage is the idea that you buy something at a low cost and resell it for a higher cost, making a profit from the resell. I’m always shopping clearance and decided to send in 4 of these items to Amazon in the beginning of May to see if they would sell. Well, I had my first sale last week! It took almost two months to sell something but I made my first sale and I am now $12 richer!

Is this something that I will continue to do?

I don’t know. I did some research on resell arbitrage and it looks like it’s a fading concept, with Amazon at least. Ebay is notorious for resell arbitrage but with Amazon FBA, fullfilled by Amazon, they give you the luxury of keeping your products in their warehouses and shipping the product for you! However, Amazon is getting stricter with their policies and the majority of people who started with retail arbitrage are moving towards private label.

What is private label?

Private label is when you buy in bulk from China, label the product with your brand and sell on Amazon. Sounds easy, right? Wrong! The product needs to be something that is generic and can be reproduced in China. It ideally needs to weigh less than 2 pounds and the dimensions less than a foot to be worth shipping.  You also need to find a product with a high sales rank and not a lot of competition and you need to market it to make it work. I also spoke with some of the more successful Amazon sellers and most of them told me that the majority of their money for the first YEAR goes right back into the business. It’s a lot of work, time, and investment.

I’m not necessarily throwing in the towel just yet. I still have three other items for sale on Amazon. I might ship some other items too to feel out the market place. If something sells quickly and I can find a generic in China, then I might consider Private Label. But for now, I’ll celebrate my $12 sale!

Tell me about your business adventures? I would love to hear from you.

Allen Sports 4-Bike Hitch Mounted Carrier Rack 50% off!

In the market for a bike rack?

Check out this wicked good deal on Amazon. Amazon prime members can get the Allen Sports Premier Hitch Mounted 4-Bike Carrier rack for only $78.33. That’s 50% off the retail price! With 4 out of 5 stars and over 200 reviews, this is a wicked good deal.

Here’s a product description from Amazon;

Allen Sports’ Premier Hitch Mounted 4-bike carrier mounts quickly and easily to your 2″ trailer hitch. The arms “snap” into place right out of the box. Allen’s new dual-compound cradle system securely holds your bicycles in place and the rack’s large padded Spine Shield protects your bicycles as well. In addition to the easy folding arms on this rack, the new innovative internal tilt-away release makes it a snap to access your vehicle’s rear lift gate. The powder-coated rack installs in just minutes with a no-wobble bolt and an integrated locking loop offers a place to secure your bikes.

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