Saving a Little Fun Money

March 5, 2020 at 5:53 am (travel) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Money is tight, I’m right there with you. But I want to show my kids things and have fun too. Here are a few simple ways that I have found to grow a little bit of a “fun money” fund and set aside to do some family things, or whatever your heart desires!

Ibotta– (referral code irrqbz) This app really is legit. When I shop, just as I normally would for everyday items and necessities, I search the app for deals on things I got. If I I some, I scan my receipt and get money back. They add it to your account and you can cash out via paypal or other gift cards once you hit $20. It’s a little slow, but free money! Sometimes I check the app before I shop to see if there’s a good deal going on for something we use anyway even if it wasn’t on my list, but in general just shop as normal then scan. If you use my code we can help each other as a team to earn bonuses. Score! See below for how much I’ve earned this way!

Ebates– Same idea, but use when shopping online. You start through the app and then search for the store you want to shop at. Money is added up and a check is sent out to you quarterly. I have cashed the checks and they are legit too! See below!

Receipt Hog– This one you just scan any receipts you get into the app. They give you points for each one. Once you add up to so many points you can cash out via PayPal or other methods. Super easy and I scan I receipts I’m already getting, gas, groceries, etc. I’ve made a little cash so far.

My big tip when doing this is to take the cash out directly and immediately add it to an envelope or jar and stash it away. Why? So that it doesn’t get spent on everyday stuff. This helps me to really keep it “extra” money and see it add up. I add money to this envelope that I get from anything extra, maybe selling some clothes or a furniture project I do.

A couple more to possibly try:

Door Dash- I’ve signed up to be a delivery driver just for some pocket cash, and since I’m always out and about anyway, but haven’t found any jobs in my area yet. Keep you posted!

Amazon Product testing- there are several sites you can do this through. But beware that you may eventually add up enough “income” that taxes may need to be filed. I’ve been told that the expenses would outweigh the income, so this may not be an issue. I’ve used PPOC before and made a little cash.

I also sell our clothes and items that we outgrow, especially baby things, through local resale shops or Stuff, Etc.

Good luck saving for something fun! What are you hoping to save up for?!

XX,

Jess

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Must Have Baby Items You Didn’t Know You Needed

February 24, 2020 at 7:55 pm (Mom Stuff) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

So many options when it comes to baby items now days! Its confusing and overwhelming. And some of those things you just plain don’t need to waste your money on. Here’s a list of things that you probably didn’t know you needed, but that I’ve found to be so helpful! Honestly!

Travel Plate- This has been one of the most handy inventions I’ve used with both the boys! Since it’s got it’s own case, I just fold up the dirty mat when we are out and put it back in the case to clean when we get home. So simple!

Travel Spoon– Handy when they are using purees and soft baby food still. You can fill this guy with food and there’s so much less mess! It’s even got a cover for the end.

Rubber Changing Pad– This one by Ubbi is so handy. Easy to wipe, roll, fold, it makes diapering on the go so much easier.

Roll-up Changing Clutch– I adore my diaper bag, but sometimes I don’t want to haul the whole thing if I’m just running in somewhere. This clutch can fit in my purse and get even smaller if I unzip the pad portion. Just the necessities for quick jonts!

Dream Egg Sound Machine– This is the most portable sound machine I’ve seen. Lots of noise and volume options, plus its wireless. Charge it and go. It can even be used in the car or stroller, etc. So handy for anyone, not just babies!

Baby Nest- There are lots of options out there, but we love ours from Doreen’s Bibs and Bobs. It’s cute, handy, and portable. We still use ours at almost age 2 and take it on trips too! It seems to keep kiddo nice and cozy.

Convertible High Chair– Seriously, if you going to use a high chair, make sure it’s convertible. I had an older Graco version for the oldest and this new model does so much more and therefore is so much more handy. It can be attached to a chair as a booster, the back can be removed for more space, the base itself can be a stool seat for older kids. It really has all the features we need, including folding up and the tray hangs on the back!

Tush Baby- One of the things I found with kiddo #2 is the Tush Baby and I love it! He always wants to be carried, but also get down and look. I’m sure you can all relate! This thing saves my hips and makes it easy to carry forward or backward, front or hip, and he can go up and down to his heart’s desire. So handy!

A Great Looking Diaper Bag- Ok, it’s not a necessity, but it sure does make momming a lot more fun. I’ve had many, loved several, but this Lily Jade bag takes the cake. Its gorgeous. Plus it can be a backpack, or the straps stow away to be a should or cross-body bag. It’s so spacious without being too big or heavy to carry too. I carry everything but the kitchen sink I’m here with me. Its officially my purse/ diaper bag. I just call that the mom bag. ❤

Hope these ideas help you too! Anything else you would add?

XX,

Jess

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Family Travel Tips

January 14, 2020 at 6:51 am (Family Stuff, travel) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Traveling with kids is not for the faint of heart. But, it’s totally possible to have an awesome time and not lose your sanity! We are living proof. I have a few simple tricks to keep it all together when traveling with a crew. My family of 5, mom, dad, 17 year old, 6 year old, and 1.5 year old, recently traveled to Florida and not only survived, but also had an amazing time. (Read about Florida ideas is previous post!) Here are some things that worked really well for us that we recommend and will be doing again.

Packing Cases- We got each family member a different color set of packing cases this time. Especially helpful since plane tickets no longer come with a checked bag any longer, as we decided to pay the extra fee for only two large checked suitcases between the 5 of us. This set of packing cases, which we used, are decently priced, come with 6 pouches per set, and had plenty of color options. They are a bit cheaply made, but did a good job for us. Lots more options for these on Amazon too! I divided each person’s cases into groups, like one pouch for shirts, one for bottoms, one for undergarments, etc. I also think it may be helpful to divide by outfits rolled together. At least this way there were only 6 options for where your swim suit could be located on the chaos! 😉

Nacuwa Bottle- If you haven’t heard already, all airlines now only allow liquids in 3.4 oz bottles and these need to be in a quart sized ziplock baggie. To simplify things, use the Nacuwa bottle! All of our necessities can go in one bottle. It’s even TSA approved! Tip- add a ziplock to each bag. You might bring home a hotel lotion, or find that you had a little perfume in your purse without a baggie. Each person is allowed one, so make sure you are prepared to take advantage of this! We use the Nacuwa travel bottle for camping and cabining as well! So handy!

Bubble Bum Seat- Got kids in the booster seat age and size range? You need this. Its handy for all the things, travel, grandma’s car, carpool, etc. We loved having it for the rental car. I know rental cars can provide carseats, but they add an extra expense. And, I’ve heard rumor, that sometimes they don’t have the size seat you requested on hand, or it is outdated or dirty… Save yourself extra trouble and get this guy. He fits in this bag shown in my hand, then blows up to the seat B is holding below. It meets and exceeds all safety standards! Plus, B says it’s super comfy.

Spirit Airlines- Ok, hear me out. This may not be the airline of beat choice if you are taking a super long flight and need extra comfort… but they have their perks if you are ok with very basic and are hoping to save some money. Perk 1- they allow you to bring a diaper bag on free, in addition to the one personal item each traveler is allowed. Thank goodness! Perk 2- they also allow you to check a stroller and carseat for each child for free. We checked the toddler’s carseat (again with the rental car issue) and gate checked the stroller. This means we drove it all the way to the gate with kiddo in it, and it goes right in the door of the plane and off to meet us. Perfect! Perk 3- they combine weights for your suitcases, whereas other airlines don’t. Each checked suitcase is allowed to be 40lbs without extra charge. With Spirit, one could be 20lbs and one could be 60lbs then. Less stress worrying about how to split things up!! Perk 4- you can bring your own snacks and drinks! They do not serve anything for free on the flight, adding to your lower prices, but this also allows you the freedom to pack what and how much you want! Some airports will not allow you through safety checks with drinks. Chicago did, because Spirit’s checkpoint was separated. However, Jacksonville did not, as all airline were checked together. Snacks were fine. Exceptions are always made for breastmilk, formula, etc.

Carseats– I mentioned above that I believe in the perks of bringing your own carseat when renting a car. Here is something you should get. A strap to attach the carseat to your wheeled suitcase. So handy to not lug another parcel through the airport. We wheeled the carseat to baggage check. Then we packed it in it’s own travel bag to be checked. The second picture below is how the carseat bag rolls up into it’s own pouch to pack. Pack this in an outside pocket of your suitcase and you will know where it is before you check bags.

Last tips- stay organized, go with the flow, don’t see it all, and enjoy the little things. Dad says- pack lots of snacks. You will have a blast! Safe travels!

Anything you would add?

XX,

Jess

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Marineland, Family Florida Trip Ideas

January 9, 2020 at 7:12 am (Family Stuff, travel) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Want to take the kids to Florida, but not quite ready to go all in on Disney just yet? We weren’t either. I have some ideas for you!

Must see in Florida? Marineland Dolphin Adventure!! Truly, this place is a must see and a pleaser for all ages.

Yes, we danced with the dolphins! 🤩 This dolphin is Dazzle and she was a sweetheart. We learned a lot about her and dolphins in general. You can choose tickets to swim with the dolphins or tickets to meet and greet with them (pet them!), like the youngest and dad did.

You can even get a package that includes painting with the dolphins! There are talks and training demonstrations…

There was a tour of the facility, which included learning the history here. They are the first facility of their kind! Movies have even been made here! You can see turtles and other sea life too. There was just so much to explore. Plus, who doesn’t love an adorable gift shop? They even had custom necklaces made with each dolphin’s fluke (tail fin). How neat?! There is also a photographer there to snap photos while you are in the water or focusing on the dolphin fun!

And the view over the ocean was divine, even on a cloudy day…

There is just so much to say about this place. Truly I can’t rave enough and highly recommend you visit there for yourself!

Want to make it a whole weekend and need more things to fill your time? Us too! I’ve got a few recommendations:

Tip- Fly into and stay in Jacksonville. It’s a big enough city to have plenty to do, but not a spring-breaker hot spot.

1. Check out the beaches! The whole family enjoyed the sand and water, even in the cooler winter time. We all love to hunt for shells and treasures. Best beach for shells, sea glass and shark teeth is Mickler’s Landing, a public beach at Ponte Verda. Jacksonville beach, Atlantic beach, and Neptune beaches are all public, close by and very nice. Public beach access in Marineland was also very nice!

2. Jacksonville Zoo! Also fun for the whole family.

3. See St. Augustine! The younger kids didn’t understand the significance and were not super interested, but did enjoy seeing the big stone “castle”. They had lots of lights up in the evening, the bridge is neat, and there is a huge light house. Plus shops and restaurants to please us bigger kids.

4. St. Augustine alligator park! We didn’t get to make it here, but this attraction looked so fun!

5. Catty Shack wildlife sanctuary! We also didn’t make it here, but it is on our list! You can see them feed the tigers!

6. Seafood! Need I say more? I’ll list a few of our tried and true favorites.

*Safe Harbor, Jacksonville

*Slider’s, Jacksonville

*Sonny’s BBQ, Jacksonville (not seafood, but totally a favorite worth checking out)

*South Beach Grill, Marineland

Tip- Hyatt Place, Jacksonville Airport is where we stayed. Casual yet nice, family friendly and spacious. Plus, you can sign up for Hyatt Club for free and get free breakfasts. Just one we would recommend!

I hope you enjoy visiting Florida too! Let me know how you like these spots!

XX,

Jess

Disclosure: we were hosted at Marineland only. All opinions of all locations listed here are fully our own. We want to be helpful for your family, with honest reviews!

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Wedding Date And Location Set!

July 27, 2009 at 1:46 pm (Wedding Plans) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Its official!  We finally set a date and picked a location!  Are you ready?  Our wedding will be August 28th, 2010, in Negril Jamaica at the Couples resort!  Yay!

After meeting with a travel agent last week we were almost immediately sold on Negril and the Couples resort.  We are now so excited that we wish we could push the date ahead!  How did we decide?  Well, the travel agent loves Negril and told us how amazing and gorgeous it is.  And, who wouldn’t be sold by a few of these pictures!? :

negril 1

http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1395/1489692121_6520c4957b.jpg

So, what do you think?  These aren’t exact pictures of the Couples resort, just the Negril area.  But, to check out our exact resort, go here: http://www.couples.com/13cn/index.html

The trip includes everything imaginable, from flights, to drinks and food, to sports and massages.  The wedding itself, with a planner, is even free! 

My question for all of you is, what colors should we use for the wedding?  I want something more tropical than we had planned before.  I am thinking a teal and yellow or berry pink… or?  Help!

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My Favorite Place In The World

December 30, 2008 at 3:32 pm (Home Changes and Additions) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Nope, not Hawaii.  That ranks very high on my list, but not my top.  My favorite place in the world is my grandparents’ house.  That’s it.  Simple.  Ever since I was little they have had the coziest house (even after moving).  Not only are they interesting people and amazing story tellers, but they have such a great home that brings back memories of staying there as a kid.  They have always been antique collectors, and this is probably why I have an antique obsession.  Their basement is packed with antiques, and trinkets, odds and ends, and so many goodies to look at.  Now that I am older and have a house of my own, they have been slowly passing along some of my favorite gems to me.  We went to their house for Christmas this year, and I ended up coming home with a truck load of goodies.  I hope to someday inherit some more of their great furniture, but I also love the littles they send home with me.  Here are a few of my favorite finds from my recent trip to my favorite place in the world:

 

These are some antique mail boxes from a post office that my grandpa owns.  They are so perfect (and more of those cubbies I love).  We just aren't sure where to put them yet.

  

A close up of the doors and some things stashed inside already.

A close up of the doors and some things stashed inside already.

 

This is an old pin cushion made from a hoof that we used to play with as kids.  I know, kinda creepy, but I think it is totally cool!

This is an old pin cushion made from a hoof that we used to play with as kids. I know, kinda creepy, but I think it is totally cool!

 

This is an old lamp that needs some cleaning.  It hangs from the ceiling and you put oil in it.  The oil drips down the clear threads that run from the top to the bottom.  The oil then glows colors when the light bulb is on.  I think it looks kind of like early fiber optics.  Its very neat, but has been stored and needs TLC.  A project!  YAY!

This is an old lamp that needs some cleaning. It hangs from the ceiling and you put oil in it. The oil drips down the clear threads that run from the top to the bottom. The oil then glows colors when the light bulb is on. I think it looks kind of like early fiber optics. Its very neat, but has been stored and needs TLC. A project! YAY!

 

This is a Christmas tree made out of my grandma's antique jewelry.  What a cool idea!  It is framed in a very old frame and there are Christmas lights behind the black velvet.  It is really so cute that I might have to leave it our all year!

This is a Christmas tree made out of my grandma's antique jewelry. What a cool idea! It is framed in a very old frame and there are Christmas lights behind the black velvet. It is really so cute that I might have to leave it our all year!

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