Early Moments: Dr. Seuss and his Friends “Free” Book Trial 

I love nothing more than a great deal, so when I saw this “free Dr. Seuss collection” I wanted to try it out. (Yes I know my baby won’t be able to read for ages, but it’s still exciting!) The way it works is you have to pay a $5.95 shipping fee. Then after your package arrives you have a set number of days to cancel your next order, or else it will start charging you monthly for a book subscription. I decided to try it out! I was a little concerned because I read some online reviews that said canceling was very difficult. However, I still decided to try. I ordered the set and it shipped five days later! The books were delivered an additional seven days after that. Overall, a twelve day process! 

The book set includes The Cat in the Hat, Mr. Brown can Moo, The Tooth Book, Go, Do, Go, and Ten Apples up on Top. The package also includes an activity book and a sticker sheet. They are all new and look great. After they arrived I set about trying to cancel my membership so that they didn’t start charging me monthly.

I called to cancel it the first time, but I was out on hold fifteen minutes. I had to give up because I needed to run to class. Next Michael tried and was on hold for thirty minutes before giving up. However, the third time Michael got through right away.  They said it was cancelled and that they would email us. I was a little nervous, but it ended up canceling and we have had no problems. So I would definitely say it was worth it!

Do you have any suggestions of great deals I should look into? 

I’m Stockpiling Diapers and Saving Hundreds of Dollars! Here’s How:

Did you know the average household spends between $750-$1,000 on diapers per child!? That is literally so so crazy. It struck me that if I could save money here, we could substantially lower our out of pocket costs. I decided that stockpiling and couponing for diapers was going to be my new hobby!

To start, I went through dozens of Pinterest pins and online searches to find a few different mom’s charts on how many diapers their baby used. I ended up with four different sets of numbers. Two ended at size three so I decided to do the same.  Here are the averages per size for the following four babies.

Sample A: 

Newborn- 216 

Size One- 160

Size Two- 640

Size Three- 684

Total Diapers- 1,699

 

Sample B: 

Newborn- 252

Size One- 280

Size Two- 560

Size Three- 1,368

Total Diapers- 2,460

 

Sample C: 

Newborn- 196

Size One- 770

Size Two- 924

Size Three- 756

Total Diapers- 2,646

 

Sample D: 

Newborn- 234

Size One- 552

Size Two- 893

Size Three- 1,329

Total Diapers- 3,008 

 

There is a pretty HUGE range of diapers between sample A and sample D. So I decided the best way to approach it was to average out the numbers. I hope this helps to create a good reference to how many we will need. Here are my averages.

My Average Diaper Quantities: 

Newborn- 225

Size One- 440

Size Two- 754

Size Three- 1,034

Total Diapers- 2,453

I felt pretty confident so I decided to start buying according to those numbers.  Now the important part was to make sure I was getting my diapers at a great price.  I looked online for price averages, however that didn’t really help. A lot of people’s average price per diaper was a lot lower than I would be able to get because they were buying store brand diapers. Now don’t get me wrong, that’s awesome. In fact I love it! However, since I was buying so far in advance I had to make some choices.

All of the people’s comments that I read online that were advocating to NOT stockpile diapers warned repeatedly about the same two things. One, apparently some diapers can expire. Two, they cautioned that not every baby reacts well with every diaper.  There can be allergic reactions, fit problems, etc. I did some research and we decided to only buy Pampers Swaddlers and diapers from The Honest Company. I chose the Pampers Swaddlers because out of literally a dozen different review sites and mommy blogs they were almost always the first pick, and if not, always second. A vast majority of hospitals use these diapers too. They also never expire, though exposure to light and extreme humidity can cause the slightest of discoloration (I wasn’t worried about that). I also decided to include The Honest Company because I love what they stand for and their commitment to healthy, great quality baby products. (I actually blogged about their house products free trial – they have one for diapers too – a few months ago. Since then I also have started using their lotion and we have their shampoo & conditioner! I really like this company)!

Choosing those two name brand diapers and choosing not to include any store brands DID effect my price point. Obviously, to start with these were more expensive than a Target or Walmart brand diaper. It is totally worth it to me, however. I feel confident in the brands I chose and that I won’t run into problems. (Just in case, I of course didn’t break the seal on any boxes. Most stores will allow for exchanges or store credit returns. Also, if I have a surplus of diapers many stores will let me exchange the box for a different size).

At the end of the day, the average Pampers Swaddlers diaper costs around $0.31 a diaper. I decided to try to never spend more then $0.20 a diaper. Generally I stayed a few cents below, but a few impulse buys did lead to going over that price goal by a few cents. To get discounts I combined store promotions, store discounts, manufacture coupons, and store coupons. The place I found the best deal on Pampers was always Target. (I didn’t think of it until literally this week, but I wish I had opened a Target debit card. You get 5% off of every purchase, so that would have been even more savings! We are talking about opening one soon). I only bought the Honest Diapers online so I could take advantage of membership benefits.

My best overall deals were from my short lived membership with the Honest Company. My husband and I each created an account and took advantage of some serious promotions before discontinuing our accounts. At the time they were offering one free bundle after you order your first bundle. So we payed for the 240 diapers, then got another 240 diapers free! Plus, when I referred my husband to the membership I was given a $20 credit. You can see how you could use this to your advantage. Our very best deals came from this! Plus, you can cancel at any time with zero fees.

As I mentioned before, we also had a lot of great luck with Target. Every other week or so Target offers a gift card when you purchase so many of the advertised product. If you have the patience to wait it out, every so often they offer a $15 gift card with the purchase of two boxes of Pampers diapers. On top of that you can use up to one manufactures and one Target coupon per box. This provides a great deal! Also, if the box has somehow been damaged (for example, smashed) they will extend a 10% discount, but only if you ask. I know that a slightly smashed box is not going to alter my diapers in any way, so I took advantage of this when applicable.

For sizes newborn, one, and two my averages out cost per diaper was $0.12!! (Remember, this is in comparison to the Pampers average of $.31 a diaper!!) That is nothing to scoff at!! We are currently working on our size three stash, but I’ll be sure to update this post once we have more data. I don’t know what to expect as our average for those diapers seeing as how the price per box remains the same, but quantity drastically drops. This will be where the coupons will really matter!

We plan on buying about half of our expected needs for size three, but then putting the amount of boxes we will still need on our baby registry. We also will register for size four and fives.  If people feel drawn to offer those as a gift, we will be spending even less on diapers! Overall, I estimate that we have saved about $335 on diapers so far. That is pretty great in my book. Overall, I am beyond thrilled with the success we have had with our baby on a budget progress!!

We currently have bought 1,879 diapers. Plus someone just gave us another 25 for free! I ended up buying a few more size two than I needed, but they were part of the free bundle so I didn’t mind at all! We might need them, and if not- I know several pregnant ladies who might be able to! I’m so excited to see how much savings we accumulate! 

To answer your questions, half of baby’s closet is entirely Diapers! Haha. That’s where we’re putting them! 

Dresser Restoration Project 

The second trimester is awesome. I finally feel like a person again! It’s great to have energy and to finally not be nauseous all the time. Since I finally feel human, we have started on the nursery. I want to have a lot of it done before I balloon so big I can’t help! So we recently set about restoring an old dresser. My great aunt gave it to me when I was really young. We were living in Thornton, Co so I’m thinking I was about 8. I have kept it all this time – thanks dad for letting me store it at your house. It desperately needed some love, but I could see so much potential.  

I started by running to Lowes to buy supplies. Here’s what we ended up buying. * I bought the cheapest paint brushes at Lowes in an effort to make this as economical a project as possible. 

  • Chalk paint $29.99
  • Paint brush (large) $3.98
  • Paint brush (trim brush) $.94 
  • Plastic dropcloth $2.98
  • Sandpaper $5.97


Next we picked up the dresser and brought it home. It was still cold out so we covered the nursery in plastic so we could work inside. Since we were just using chalk paint I wasn’t too nervous.

   
STEP ONE: First we wiped every inch of the dresser down with a wet rag. I was surprised at how filthy it was, inside and out. We pulled out every dresser drawer as we washed them and removed all of the old hardware. Next we lightly sanded over the dresser, really just emphasizing on any raised nicks. Also, I had to sand off a lot of nail polish from my childhood. (According to all of the different blogs I read, sanding before chalk painting is not required, but I wanted to be careful). 

 
STEP TWO: Next I started painting! The chalk paint went on so well. I was honestly surprised. In no time I had the base and the drawers painted! I let them dry for a few hours and then did another coat. We were beyond thrilled with how it turned out!! 

 
STEP THREE: While I painted Michael started on the hardware. Originally we were going to replace all of the handles. However, nothing I found was perfect. Michael suggested trying to keep the original handles, but painting them gold. They are gorgeous so I agreed. He pulled out the bottle of gold spray paint we used on our IKEA frames for the living room (Design Master Color Tool in Antique Gold). First he soaked the handles and scrubbed them off with a toothbrush. After they dried he took them outside and spray painted them. He gave them a solid coat and then brought them in to me to see what I thought. I LOVE THEM. They belong in a fairy tale. I was beyond pleased. Once the dresser and the handles were undeniably dry we reassembled. 



STEP FOUR: The last piece of the project was inserting drawer liners. (Well, technically this step was done between paint coats, but you get the point). This dresser is old and I was worried that the wood might have little splinters that could get caught in baby’s clothes. So while we were at Lowes we picked up drawer liner. It was great because it had like a ruler printed on the back of the paper so you could cut to size. This was definitely a two person job though. Honestly, it was the hardest part! I wanted it to sit just perfect so poor Michael patiently sat and helped aligned paper over and over again until it was perfect! It was completely worth it though. The drawers are adorable.  

I LOVE the finished project and I’m so happy I listened to Michael about the handles. The touch of gold is great. Overall our cost was $43.86. (We did already have the gold spray paint to that could add an extra $8 to your project). That’s an amazing price for a darling, great quality dresser! Another thing I love- I have plenty of leftover paint. So as this little one grows up and inevitably draws on this dresser I can fix it up in a matter of minutes. Hopefully it will last her a long time! 

“Baby Mama” Maternity Shirt 

A few weeks after we found out we were pregnant I decided I needed some super cute pregnancy shirts. I of course went straight to Etsy. I found this one from a shop called Tolittlearrows. I loved it! The cost after shipping was $39.85, which is honestly more than I would ever spend on a Tshirt. However, it’s the first baby and I was really excited. It reads “Baby Mama”across the front. 

 

  
I ordered it on the 17th and it arrived five days later on the 22nd. There is nothing I love more than fast processing/shipping so I was thrilled! 

  
The shirt arrived in great shape with cute packaging. My only complaint is that I obviously didn’t read much about sizing. I usually wear an XS/S. So in my mind I was thinking “oh I’ll be huge. I better order a size up.” Well I didn’t think about the fact that it’s a maternity shirt. So it already has allowed for a larger stomach (there is some really cute ruching along the sides). So this already large shirt is huge on me. I’m in my fifth month and it’s still a baggy dress on me. It actually makes me look even less pregnant hahah. I don’t think it will fit right until the day or two before the baby comes! However, it’s totally my fault. It’s a bummer, but overall, I’m happy with my cute (not too) little shirt! 

2016: “you can’t always have joy” ; a lesson in gratitude

This past week leading up to the start of 2017 I have seen dozens and dozens of posts complaining about 2016. “Worst year ever.” That has really been heavy on my heart. Some people had very real issues that they were upset about. However, a lot of it… well I’m sure you can imagine what was being said. It actually hurt, and maybe even offended me to see people condemning an entire year. Surely something good happened to you. (If nothing else most of you discovered Hamilton this year, though yes it was technically premiered off Broadway in 2015, your life changed this year!) 
Then, last night, one of the boys we were babysitting said something amazing. Something that so many of my adult friends need a reminder of and that I wanted to put into words and share! We were watching Inside Out. In the beginning of the film you see all of these globes that represent memories. All the happy memories are gold, angry are red, sad are blue, etc. At the start of the film almost every memory is represented as golden. The little boy leaned over to me and said “that’s not like real life! You can’t always have joy. You need to be sad too. Otherwise you won’t know when you’re happy. It’s like, you catch a jiggly puff and you just are like cool *monotone voice* . Cause you always catch Pokémon and you haven’t been sad.” 
I was so impressed with how insightful this young boy was! (I also took a mental note of a good parenting lesson I want to teach our daughter). I think this is an essential lesson of the gospel. But beyond that, I think this is a crucial lesson to a happy, overall fulfilling life. Yes, this year had struggles and things that we wouldn’t have chosen. However, without darkness there is no light. Without opposition how could we appreciate the good? 

So was 2016 the best year politically? Maybe not. I wasn’t a huge fan of either major political party candidates. (We voted third party). But at the end of the day- in 2016 you were so fortunate as to live in a country where you have the freedom to safely and freely walk into a local booth and VOTE. And for that matter, you live in a country where in four years YOU GET TO VOTE AGAIN. THAT is truly an amazing, under appreciated blessing. 

As for people condemning 2016 because of the passing away of celebrities, I’m going to refrain from a lesson in parasocial relationships and how unhealthy I find them to be. Instead I’ll just say, while yes, death can be sad. In my opinion, it’s sad for those who are still here. I believe in an after life and a loving God. I think in that I have to recognize that death is only heartbreaking for those left behind to miss the deceased. Because surly, as a Believer, I have to accept that they are in a happier, better place. (And, could I argue, for those who believe that there is nothing after death- if there is nothing than surly there is no grief or pain haunting those passed on. However, I can 100% admit that I am unschooled in that train of thought). I would just urge you to dig inside and see if your entire year was spoiled because of the deaths of (beloved, respected, and cherished) celebrities that you don’t actually know. Does the sting of their deaths overshadow every time you got to hug your family, kiss your pet, and accomplish something you’ve worked for? 

What I am trying to say is this. When I reflect back on 2016 I could choose to see struggling in school, friendships, relationships, work, etc. However, I choose to see all of the amazing things instead. 

I could look back and see a semester of tears, trying classmates, and hard work. Instead, I choose to see a semester that brought me closer to professors. A semester where I learned how strong I am! A semester where I tried my hardest and my straight A’s proved that I am a capable, intelligent woman. I choose to be so thankful and excited that I have the opportunity to receive a high quality education! 
I could look back and remember every day I didn’t want to go to work. I could remember the silly dramas and sore feet. Instead I choose to remember that I am graduating DEBT FREE. I choose to remember that I was able to pay my car note every month without my husband’s (willing) help. I have proven to myself that I am hard working! That I can handle responsibility and I am willing to help support myself without any entitlement delusions. I’m proud of that. 

I could look back on every fight my husband and I had and I could choose to be frustrated or sad. Instead, I choose to think back and realize that for the entire year of 2016 I had a partner who loved me every day. Who provided a roof over my head and laughter in my soul. I choose to see 365 days of an adventure. 
At the end of the year I have a wonderful husband and 2016 was filled with hundreds of small and large joys we got to share in together! From the daily cat snuggles to finding out one of my besties is expecting a baby!! I also was able to spend a few weeks in China loving and serving a beautiful people. Michael and I spent two weeks exploring London and Paris! We saw tons of extended family. We took my perfect puppy on dozens of adventures. I got to travel to Colorado and Utah to see people I love. Then we had a total blast in Florida with Soph and Toph for the Forth of July. We visited North Carolina to see one of my favorite uncles get married! I rode in a fire truck and started this blog. Virginia spent a week visiting in June, Michael and I spent a romantic Valentines Day weekend in a gorgeous cabin in Gatlinburg, and Michael threw me my very first surprise birthday party. My family also spent Christmas together and we moved into a beautiful home. Oh and did I mention: WE FOUND OUT WE ARE HAVING A PERFECT LITTLE BABY. AND SHE IS A GIRL. So thank you 2016 for every little bump in the road that made me appreciate the absolutely wonderful year I was able to experience. 2017- I’m so excited to see what you teach me!