Friday, March 30, 2018

Five on Friday - Tried and True Favorite Products Purchased from Amazon + a Look Inside Our Amazon Account

*This post may contain affiliate links.

Aside from our local grocery store, Amazon is the “store” who gets the most of our money.  B and I have been Prime members basically since they started offering it, and I alone have been a loyal Amazon shopper since 2002.  That’s sixteen years, y’all.  I can’t even tell you how old that makes me feel.  Haha.

They have pretty much anything you could ever want or need, and to be able to get those things with free two-day shipping, save more money than you would if you had shopped at Walmart, and not have to set foot in Walmart?  Sign.  Me.  Up.  Olivia needs a plain white t-shirt for school next week?  Amazon Prime it.  Jacob needs a costume prop to dress up like a book character for school?  Amazon Prime it.  Birthday gift for a little kid’s birthday party next weekend?  Almost out of dog food?  Down to the bottom of the pile of diapers?  Looking for some cute sandals to wear on your trip?  Amazon Prime that junk and never leave the couch. 

Just from my Amazon account alone, we have placed 218 orders since 2002, the majority of them occurring from 2010-2018.  And keep in mind that doesn’t even include Brian’s account.  HOLY MOLY!

Quick side note, people who live in the same house can share an Amazon Prime Membership.  Therefore, we only pay for one Prime membership, but he and I can each shop separately.  That makes it a lot easier to shop for secret birthday and Christmas gifts and it also allows us to have separate wish lists.

Since we’ve been loyal customers for so long and we have pretty much bought all. the. things. from there and I thought I would share some of my all-time favorite purchases today.  All links below are shoppable!

O N E – For Your Home

Creative Co-Op Wood Two-Tier Tray with Metal Handle – I cannot sing the praises of these trays enough!  They are gorgeous and you don’t just get one, but you get TWO for this price.  We currently have one in our eat-in kitchen that I have too much fun decorating for the holidays, and the other serves as hair accessory storage in Olivia’s room.  See my post about that here.

Entry Way Outdoor Door Mat with Non Slip Backing – is this doormat not the cutest?  We bought it over a year ago and it still looks brand new.  It comes in tons of other designs, too.

Nail Polish Table Rack Display – Oh how I love this thing!  My nail polish storage was a hot mess before this came along and now it’s organized in color order and it takes up way less space.  Not to mention I can easily see all of the colors now!

T W O – For Your Closet

Womens Casual No-Show Socks – Ladies who love booties – BUY THESE!  I used to wear booties without socks (which always grossed me out) because my athletic no-show socks still peeked out of the top.  These come in a ton of different colors, they stay completely hidden in your boot, they are comfy, and THEY DO NOT SLIP.  Can I get an amen?!

All For You Women’s TunicsI have sung the praises of these tunics many times here on the blog and I will continue until you each own one.  Hehe.  I own three of them, but they come in 42 colors so load up!  Boutique quality for that price – can’t beat it!

T H R E E – For Your Kitchen

Trident White Sugar Free Gum – In the words of Monica on Friends, “I will always have gum.”  Hehe.  And I do, thanks to Amazon.  I used to always get these same 9-pack bundles from Sams, but they are SO much cheaper on Amazon. 

Advanced Mixology Moscow Mule Copper Mugs – I’ve also mentioned these numerous times and here I go again!  ;o)  I bought these for Brian a couple of years ago for Father’s Day and we use them constantly.  They are 100% pure copper so that is an excellent price and they keep drinks ice cold.  See my favorite Moscow Mule recipe here.

Easy Lunchboxes 3-Compartment Bento Lunch Box Containers – All the yes to these plastic containers!  I use one every single morning for Jacob’s lunch and they fit perfectly inside the Pottery Barn lunch boxes.  We’ve had the same set for three years now and they are still going strong.  The best thing about them is that they are easy to open, even for tiny kids.

Hill’s Science Diet Dog Food – We buy Maui the expensive brand of dog food, and we used to get it at our local Pet Smart because Walmart and Target don’t carry it.  Well, once we found out that Amazon carries it for about $5 cheaper PER BAG, we have purchased it on Amazon since and we’ve never looked back.  They also offer a coupon if you subscribe!

Baker’s Secret Cookie Dough Scoop – Do you bake cookies a lot?  I used to use a spoon and my fingers to drop the dough on the cookie sheet which was pretty messy at times.  I came across this cookie dough scoop and it’s pure magic.  Every baker must have one of these.

F O U R – For Your Office

Cowboy Studio Photography & Video Lighting Kit – I bought this to help with my photography and I use it all the time.  It’s especially great during the winter when there aren’t a lot of natural daylight hours.

Pilot G2 Retractable Premium Gel Ink Roller Ball Pens – These are all I use for my planner and Amazon has them way cheaper than any other place!  Love these pens and this color selection!

My Passport Ultra Portable External Hard Drive – We back all of our digital files up on two separate hard drives – one that I keep in my office, and one that we keep in a fireproof safe (you can read all about my method for backing up digital files here) and we love this one that we purchased two years ago.  The price is higher now than when we purchased it, though.

Large Fancy Rectangle Chalkboard Labels – I use these to label all the things.  I use these liquid chalk markers and they are erasable, so you can reuse these again and again. 

F I V E – For Your Kids

One Line a Day – I’ve also talked about these on the blog and my love for them is still strong.  These are five-year memory books that you can either use for yourself or for your babies.  I have one for each of our babies (they also come in pink for girls if you so desire a girly color) and I have been writing in them since they were born.  They will make a sweet keepsake one day and they also make for the perfect baby shower gift!

Levana Jena Digital Baby Video Monitor – This is the monitor that we used (and still use) for Olivia.  Yes, we still have a baby monitor in her room.  Yes, we will probably keep it there for a while longer.  We’ve been using it for four years now and it is still going strong!  I love that it has an intercom so we can talk to her if we need to.  Just last night she had gotten out of bed to do something she wasn’t supposed to (likely grabbing a toy or something) and all I had to do was press the button and say, “Olivia, get back in the bed!”  It’s nice to not have to get off of my comfy spot on the couch and it’s even nicer to be able to know when she’s misbehaving.

5-Minute Stories – We pretty much get all of our books from Amazon because they are by far the cheapest, and some of the kids’ favorites are these 5-Minute Storybooks.  They have so many different versions and we own at least three or four of them.

Intex Crystal Blue Inflatable Pool and Intex Fun Ballz 100 Count – For Christmas several years ago we bought these two items and gave Jacob a ball pit for Christmas.  He and Olivia played with this for YEARS!  And it ended up being cheaper than buying any of the actual ball pits.

Crane Cool Mist Humidifier – A quintessential baby necessity.  We’ve had the blue one for Jacob and the pink one for Olivia since they were both born and we have used them countless times.  Both are still going strong.  And they look so nice!  Not at all like your typical humidifier.

Fisher-Price Rock ‘N Play Sleeper – If there was one baby item that we couldn’t live without, it was this!  We bought ours for Jacob before he was born and he LIVED in that thing for the first year of his life.  It is so dang portable and lightweight that you can bring it anywhere.  Heck, sometimes Jacob would be asleep in it and Brian could still pick it up and carry it over to the dinner table without disturbing him so he could be by our sides while we ate dinner.  I had a lot of nerve damage after his birth so it was a complete Godsend for me since I had trouble getting around for so long.

The Original Stomp Rocket – This makes the absolute perfect birthday gift for a boy or a girl and it’s only $15.  I can’t even tell you how many we have purchased over the years for birthday parties, and our kids love theirs.

Toddler Boys and Girls Striped Pajamas – Southern mommas and fellow lovers of all things monogrammed, DO NOT spend $50 on striped monogrammed Christmas PJs for your kids!  Grab these for just $14.99 (they come in red or green) and take them to a local shop to get them monogrammed.  I spent $8 on each monogram, so fully monogrammed PJs were only $23 per child.  If you try to buy them on Etsy or from any of the other boutiques you will pay an arm and a leg for them.  The quality of these is great!  Our kids have worn them for the last two Christmases!  Matter of fact, Olivia has been wearing hers on and off this entire last week!

Boutique Hair Bows 20 Pack – Fellow girl moms, y’all feel my pain on the cost of bows, don’t you?  They are SO expensive.  Well, we found this pack on Amazon a couple of years ago and it is probably the single best thing we have ever purchased on Amazon for Olivia.  The bows are excellent quality, they come with an alligator clip which we LOVE because the clips covered in ribbon often slide out of her hair, and there’s one of every color in the rainbow.  For a mere $4.99.  Yep, 20 bows for the price of one.  Just note, these ship from China so they do take about three weeks to arrive, but hey, the shipping is free, so why not?

Radio Flyer 4-in-1 Stroll ‘N Trike – I take back what I just said about the bows because THIS might be the best product we ever purchased for Olivia and for Jacob.  Both of them received one of these for their first birthdays and they are still using them today.  Jacob is almost seven now so he has pretty much outgrown his, but sometimes he still loves to hop on and take a ride.  My point is, you will get your money’s worth and it’s so much more fun for the kids to ride in than a stroller if you’re just going for a walk around the neighborhood.  It also comes in red for the boys!

Pampers Swaddlers – Although we don’t have to buy them anymore, Amazon was our one stop shop to buy diapers!  Sams prices were pretty comparable to Amazon’s, but the convenience of having them delivered to our door stole our hearts!

Native Girls’ Jefferson Child Sneaker – Yep, we jumped on the bandwagon and bought Olivia some Natives in milk pink, and after only a few days of wearing them, I can tell that these are easily going to be one of our favorite Amazon purchases.  You can get these from Nordstrom, but they are $10 cheaper here on Amazon!  I’m already thinking about getting Jacob a pair…

In addition to shopping for products on Amazon, we also use the Amazon Drive for our online backup for all of our digital files.  All of our photos, videos, papers, and music files are backed up safely, so if our computer ever crashes, we’re good!  Read more about that here!

And did you know that Amazon sells gift cards to loads and loads of restaurants and other retailers?  Yep, they are your one-stop shop for gift cards!

We also have an Amazon Visa credit card which we can use anywhere, but we get double points when shopping on Amazon.  We then redeem all of our points for Amazon gift cards, which obviously, we know we’ll use on our every day purchases.  I can’t even tell you how many free gift cards we’ve gotten throughout the years from redeeming points on the purchases that we already make every day!

Not already a Prime member?  You can sign up here today and join us in our addiction! You absolutely will not regret it… especially if you have small kids!

Happy shopping!

*Linking up with A Liz Adventures and Carolina Charm for Five on Friday, A Little Bit of Everything for Friday Favorites,  September Farm and The Farmer's Wife for Oh Hey, Friday, Meet @ the Barre for Friday Favorites, and Cup of Tea for High Five for Friday.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

The Most Functional (and Pretty) Way to Organize Batteries

*This post may contain affiliate links.

We have four people in our house and two of those people are little ones who have loads and loads of toys, so we go through some batteries!  We are talking lots and lots and lots of batteries.  I try to keep plenty of each size on hand at all times so we tend to have several packs of each size in our utility closet at all times. 

For the longest time I stored them all in one box, but I found that was hard to find what I was looking for right away, and it was also hard to see exactly how many we had of each size at any given time.  This, of course, was causing me to run out of some sizes and not have batteries when we needed them. 

As you all know, I am on a simplifying and organizing journey, so I am trying to make every aspect of our home tidy, simple, and functional.  And digging through a large box of batteries for five minutes just to find what I was looking for was not simple.  When I set out to figure out the best way to organize them, naturally, the first thing I did was head to Amazon to look at battery organizers to see what kind of things are out there. 

The first thing that came up was this organizer.  I immediately started swooning because I love a good organizer, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that organizer wouldn’t work for us.  For starters, I didn’t want to be confined to a set amount of “slots” to store the batteries because if I ended up having more than the organizer would hold, that meant I would still have to have a place to store the extra packs of batteries and I would also have to remember to move them over to the organizer as slots became available.  Also, we keep way more than just six D batteries on hand at all times, so I knew this one wouldn’t work.  It sure is perfect for those of you who don’t keep a lot of batteries on hand, though!

I kept searching and came across these organizers next.  They don’t have a set amount of slots for each size, and instead the batteries can be “loose” in there so you choose how many of each size you want to store.  It looked like a good idea, but then I realized that some brands of batteries do not put their expiration dates directly on the batteries themselves, and instead only put them on the packaging, so it probably wouldn’t be wise to discard the original packaging.    

I started searching for small plastic storage containers next and I came across these, and I knew that this was the way to go!  (And I wish the handles had been turquoise when I bought mine!  That definitely beats lime green!)  I also found this cheaper version that would work just as well!  We keep seven different types of batteries on hand – AA, AAA, C, D, 9V, Lithium coin cells, and rechargeables.  (I told you we have a lot of batteries!)  I didn’t want seven containers because they wouldn’t be symmetrical on my shelves, so I bought six of them, grabbed my trusty rusty vinyl chalkboard labels, and went to town labeling.

We have a lot of rechargeable batteries, AAs, and AAAs so I knew those would need their own containers, and then the C and D batteries are so large I knew they would need their own as well.  I decided to put 9V and Lithium together in the same container because a) we don’t keep many 9V on hand, b) Lithium coin cells are tiny and don’t take up much space, and c) we don’t use either of these sizes too often so I knew it made sense to put them together and keep them at the bottom of the stack.

All of the batteries are stored in their original blister packaging so I can easily see how many we have on hand, and we can also easily see the expiration dates.  It’s easy to just to toss them in the containers – no pulling individual batteries out and moving them to a fancy organizer – and we can see immediately when we’re getting low on one size. 

We have a TON of rechargeable AA and AAAs, so those are kept loose in Ziploc bags that are labeled “AA charged,” “AA not charged,” “AAA charged,” and “AAA not charged.”  This helps us keep up with the charged/not charged status easily.  And side note, we absolutely ADORE the Panasonic eneloop rechargeable batteries.  They are by far the best rechargeable batteries I’ve ever owned.  They have over 6k reviews on Amazon and they are highly rated.  I’ve come to love these so much that we don’t keep nearly as many standard AA and AAA batteries on hand anymore.  Buying the rechargeable batteries saves a lot of money in the long run and they’re better for the environment, so they are a win-win!

Anyhoo, now all six bins sit on the shelf in our utility closet under the stairs and it’s so easy to grab what I need in just seconds.  The bins are spacious enough to hold a lot of batteries in their original packaging, but altogether the six bins don’t take up very much space on our shelves.  These particular containers nest as well so you don’t have to worry about them sliding around!

Organizing just makes me so happy!  And who knew I could talk so much about organizing batteries?  You can file this one under "Things I Never Thought I Would Write About."  ;o)  And I originally thought this post would be short and sweet, but as always, I’ve gotten long-winded.  Lol.  I know some of you have probably left the post by now from sheer boredom but I promise to be back with something a little more stimulating on Friday.  ;o)

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*Linking up with The Pleated Poppy for What I What I Wore, Pumps & Push Ups for Oh, Hey Girl! Link-Up, The Mummy ChroniclesTucker UpShopping My Closet for Style Me Wednesday, Classy Yet Trendy for Trendy Wednesday Link-Up, The Blended Blog and Jessi's Design and Going the Distance for What's Hap-"Pinning" Wednesday.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Recent Family Happenings

We’ve had so many things going on in our world lately, I thought I would just do a family brain dump and summarize all of the happenings in one little post!

Olivia Started Soccer

Our girl has officially started soccer and she is ecstatic!  Since her birthday was in early 2014 she missed the cutoff to play in the U6 league and therefore she has to play in the tots league.  This means that she will only have training classes and will not have real games.  I was a little disappointed, but she seems to be content with just the practices! 

She had her first practice Tuesday, March 13 and she had a blast!  She is pretty much the oldest child there and most of the other kids are significantly younger than she is, so she seemed to be the least shy and the most agile.  We are looking forward to many more practices ahead! 

Olivia’s Four Year Well Visit

Our girl also had her four year well visit a couple of weeks ago and she did great!  Here are her stats:

Weight – 37 lbs. (65th percentile)
Height – 41 inches (75th percentile)
Blood Pressure – 82 over 56

The doc said that her BMI is perfect and she passed her vision and hearing screenings with flying colors.  She had to get vaccines at this appointment but she was very brave.  She did cry, but she recovered almost immediately after they put her Band-aid on, and she was thrilled to get not one, but two lollipops when it was over.  Although, when we were walking out of the building she did tell me, “Mommy, I don’t ever want to come back to this building again.”  Haha.  Bless.

She is officially ready for Pre-K4 in the fall!

Book Character Day at Jacob’s School

Last week Jacob’s school had book character day.  Our smarty pants first grader has been reading on a fourth-grade reading level for most of the year and his favorite series right now is The Magic Tree House.  When I asked him who he wanted to be for character day, he knew immediately he wanted to be Jack from the series.  He just so happened to already have some red sunglasses, so B popped out the lenses to make “glasses” and then we put a striped shirt on him, gave him a notebook and a pencil to be his “travel map,” and he wore his book bag since Jack’s character often has one. 

When he arrived at school that morning one of his classmates immediately ran up to him, excited as ever, because she was Annie from the series!  So much fun!

Grandparents Day at Olivia’s School

Olivia’s school also had Grandparents Day last week and they had lots of fun.  All five of her grandparents were there and they had breakfast, sang some songs, and got to spend the morning together.  I wasn’t there (since I’m obviously not her grandparent) but my dad and my father-in-law sent some pictures of our jolly gal and they said that she did a great job singing!

Jacob’s Third Quarter Report Card & Award Ceremony

Jacob brought his report card home for the end of the third quarter and he brought home his best grades yet!  He’s had straight A’s every quarter this year, but these were his highest A’s of the whole year!  He came home with all 100’s and a 98 in Math and a 96 in Language Arts.  We have started rewarding him this year with good report cards so he was excited to receive his $10 for having straight A’s!

He also won several awards at their third quarter Award Ceremony:

Principal's List
Religion Award
All Day Everyday Award
AR Goal Met Award

Aaaand he was in the Top 5 AR earners in his class again!  We are so proud of our Boo Boo!

And that’s the latest in our household!  What’s new with you?