Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Pumpkin Carving Alternative

An awesome alternative way to let small children have a cool looking pumpkin for Halloween, alternative to carving pumpkins for Halloween,
Last year we wanted Michael to get into the Halloween fun of decorating a pumpkin.  Since he was only a little over a year old, we didn't want to have him carving a pumpkin.  On one of my shopping trips to Walmart, I ran across this awesome way to decorate a pumpkin, Mr Potato Head style.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Shutterfly

I found Shutterfly about four years ago when my sister-in-law was asking about a good place to be able to share photos and videos of her new baby with the family.  I did some research and one of my friends had sent me an invite a few months before hand to join her Shutterfly share site.  Since all of our family live hours away, we decided to start our own share site even though we had no plans on having any babies.

When you join Shutterfly for the first time, you get 50 free 4x6 prints.  There's unlimited photo storage and you can create share sites.  My husband and I love our share site.  We have chosen to make it as secure as possible.  Meaning, the only way to view our pages is by either our members signing into their Shutterfly account or they can use the password we have created to view the site.  You can set it up so that if there's ever any updates to the site an e-mail will be sent to all the members.  We have ours set to a monthly e-mail.  We love it more now than before.  Michael has his own page on the site and I have all pictures taken of him in monthly albums.  We also have all of our YouTube videos linked to our site.  It's the best way to have our family involved in our activities as much as possible.  The share sites have the capability for you to sign up for different events, create a directory, and so much more.  When we first started ours, there wasn't much that you could do, but now there just seems to be new things added all the time.  We've even started a share site for my husband's family reunion.  The big thing is, it's free!

There's so much more than just the share sites.  You can have your pictures printed and mailed to you or sent to your local Walgreens, Target, or CVS for pick up.  They can make prints from wallet size to 20x30.  There seems to always be new items that can be made with your pictures on their website.  The big thing that keeps me coming back over and over again is their specials and deals.  Right now they are running their 101 4x6 prints for free.  This past year I have not paid a penny for the pictures I've had developed for my mother-in-law and grandmother-in-law because of these deals.  They seem to run them once a month, normally around a holiday.  The deal is good through November 1, 2013 (use the code in the picture below at check out).  You will have to pay shipping and tax, but it's still cheaper than going one hour at Walmart.  The pictures turn out a lot nicer.

They are also running another deal that's good through November 3, 2013 (use the code in the picture below at check out).  You can get 50% hard cover photo books.  Their photo books are great and the system they have now is pretty easy to work with.  I've been able to get several free 8x8 photo books through Shutterfly, but have not seen any offers recently.

If you're on facebook, I would definitely like the Shutterfly page.  That's where I've gotten a lot of my free or great deals from.  We actually just got our free 16x20 print that they had going a free weeks ago in the mail yesterday.  I paid $5.09 for shipping and tax.  This size of print is normally $17.99 plus the shipping and tax.

In the future, I'll try and post deals that I see on here.  In the past, I've gotten deals with Shutterfly by purchasing clothes for Michael at OshKosh B'gosh.  I currently have a $20 "gift card" that I got a few months ago from there that I'll be using to purchase something for our house. If you like what you just read please click to send a quick vote for me on Top Mommy Blogs- The best mommy blog directory featuring top mom bloggers

Friday, October 25, 2013

Little man's first haircut

When Michael was born he didn't have a whole lot of hair and it seemed to go away after his first bath.  Even after his first birthday, there wasn't a whole lot of hair and we didn't feel the need to cut it.  A few weeks before his second birthday, we decided that he was in need of a cut, but didn't feel that there was enough to cut to offset the cost of going to a salon.  A friend of ours who has hair cutting experience came to our house and cut Michael's hair.  It ended up being a two day process.  Here's the video from the first day:


Since then, we took him to watch me get my hair cut.  Even though it wasn't at a salon, it helped show him that he shouldn't be afraid of someone cutting his hair.  We were going to take him to watch Daddy get his hair cut, but we figured that Michael would end up wanting to run around the salon and that wouldn't be good.

Since we're having family pictures taken tomorrow, we had to get Michael's wild hair under control.  We ended up taking him to a hair salon, but not just any hair salon.  One that was just for kids!  We figured they would be extremely experienced with cutting kids hair fast, but still do a good job.  We took Michael to Cartoon Cuts at the Dulles Town Center and were very pleased with the place.  Since this was his first time at a salon, we did the first hair cut deal of $18 (which is the same price of a regular hair cut).  Here's the video we got:


We liked it.  They had a TV at every station so the kids would be focused on that instead of the scissors.  They even gave him a sucker, which seemed to work better than the TV.  Well, that and having Daddy right beside him.  Since it was his "first haircut", they put some of his hair in a baggy and attached it to a certificate.


 We will most definitely go back there for his next haircut.  If you live in Northern Virginia and need a place to take your child to get their haircut, check them out.  They did have a $9 price that was for a buzz cut if that's more what you're looking for. If you like what you just read please click to send a quick vote for me on Top Mommy Blogs- The best mommy blog directory featuring top mom bloggers

Monday, October 21, 2013

Halloween fabric wreath

simple and easy fabric Halloween wreath,
Many years ago I had made the wreath on the left in Girl Scouts.  Over the years, the fabric had started falling out.  I decided that I would just redo it.  I went to our new Hobby Lobby and bought the circle foam on the right.  I bought the smallest size they had.  Ended up it was bigger than the one I had.  I knew that I wouldn't have enough fabric to cover the new wreath so, I went to Jo-ann Fabric and Craft Store and bought a half a yard of Halloween fabric.  I took every piece out of the original wreath and began working on the new one.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Halloween Spider Handprints

fun Halloween decoration to do with the kids,
I wanted to do this with Michael, but as I was putting the black paint on his hands he wanted it wiped off his hands.  I had bought a pack of 5x7 canvases last year at Michaels in hopes to make some hand paintings of Michael's for gifts.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

DIY Ghost-o-lanters

easy and simple outside Halloween decorations made out of recycled gallon jugs,
We have way too many gallon jugs around the house since my husband has a c-pac machine that uses distilled water.  I tried to drawl ghostly faces on the jugs and then painted them with black paint.  I wasn't too happy with my faces so, I asked my more talented husband to drawl faces on the remaining three and then I painted them.  We're going to cut a hole in the back so that we can put one of the lights you use for pumpkin jack-o-lanters.  I plan to use these to help "light" the walk way to our door.  There's another pretty simple Halloween decoration you can have fun with the family!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

DIY Halloween Bats

simple and fun Halloween decoration made out of recycled egg cartons,
Want to make something cute for Halloween with your kids and not break the bank?  This is the activity for you.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Five years come and gone?!?

As I was decorating our front door to look like this and get it ready for Halloween and the Fall season, I realized that it was exactly five years to the day that we signed all the paperwork for this house to be ours.  Seems like yesterday that we were looking for houses every weekend during the whole month of August.  It was a very stressful process, but I am so happy that we went through it.  It's so nice to own the place that we live in and not throw money away by renting.

I know that if it wasn't for our Realtor, Cindy (The Greenya Group), we could have had a horrible experience, but she was great.  I'm so glad that we were blessed with her help because I doubt we would have been able to find anything on our own.  Since we had never done this before, we could have been taken advantage of.

To be honest, I did not like this house at all, but we needed a house and had been disappointed by two other houses that our offers were declined on.  As we were driving back to our apartment the day we put an offer in, Cindy called and said that the offer was accepted.  I was so happy, but had no idea what we had in store.  Buying a house is not a simple thing and can take a while before you ever get to move in to the house.

It was a Friday that we signed for our house.  After celebrating with Cindy and our mortgage officer, Dan, we walked around the house and started making plans on what we needed to do.  That weekend, we started the packing process of our apartment.  I remember that we went to Home Depot and bought all the paint for all the rooms in the house.  That Sunday, we packed both of our cars with what we needed for the week.  We couldn't fit a mattress in either of our cars, so we put our futon mattress in the car and that's what we slept on for the first week in our house.

I love our house now and have so many wonderful memories in it.  We've made it our house and it's slowly looking like a different house both inside and out.  Here's to another five years of memories! If you like what you just read please click to send a quick vote for me on Top Mommy Blogs- The best mommy blog directory featuring top mom bloggers

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Layaway - yay or nay?

This year was the first time we've ever done layaway.  I must say that I love the idea and am so glad that some places are bringing it back.  We went to Toys R Us and put our nephews' and some of Michael's Christmas gifts on layaway.  It was simple setting up the layaway.  We had to pay a certain amount for a down payment and the system went ahead and setup a payment plan for us.

After going to Toys R Us, we went to Walmart to put some other gifts on layaway.  Once we found out where to setup the layway, it was simple to set it up.  Like Toys R Us, we had to pay a certain amount for a down payment.  Unlike Toys R Us, there was no payment plan setup.

We get paid weekly, so I calculated what a weekly payment would be for both places and was very pleased with the amount.  One week has gone by since we set the layaways up.  I went into Toys R Us with no problems on paying.  You can go to any register in the store and can be taken care of.  

Went in to Walmart and at the store we go to, you have to make the payments at the place you pick up online in store orders.  I will admit that it was late at night when I went in.  There was a sign at the register stating that they were working on a shipment and they would be back in 20 minutes.  I went to Customer Service thinking that it's just a payment and they should be able to take it.  Nope, they didn't know how to do it and just stood there like idiots.  I went back a few days later and during the day.  There were two people working the register and had no problem with taking my payment.

So, because of the way I was treated when wanting to make a payment and the fact that they didn't have more than one person working the register when they knew there was going to be a shipment, I will not be using the layaway option at Walmart next year.  I've decided that I will pay a little more to get better service and be able to make a payment at any register.

I do believe that layaway is the way to go as long as you have an idea already on what you're going to get people.  Best way to get things without using a credit card.  I think next year we'll open a Christmas Club account to save some money throughout the year for gifts and do the layaway in combination. If you like what you just read please click to send a quick vote for me on Top Mommy Blogs- The best mommy blog directory featuring top mom bloggers

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Baby Proofing - part 3

As promised, part 3 of 3 in baby proofing our three story townhouse.  I have talked about how we baby proofed the playroom and the main floor.  The third floor has our bedrooms so the only time we are up there is for sleeping.  Most of the baby proofing that we've done is for Michael's bedroom.  

 We had originally covered the outlets with the Safety 1st Press n' Plug Protectors, but Michael figured out how to take them out.  We now have Universal Outlet Covers on the outlets that are not covered by furniture.  Michael likes to climb so we have used Furniture Straps to secure the furniture to the wall so they don't fall on him.  We also have Safety 1st Window Blind Cord Wind-Ups so that he can't hurt himself with the cords on the blinds since he likes to play with them.

Ever since he started climbing out of his crib (see video below of him climbing out), we took the gate we originally had on the main floor (Summer Infant Multi Use Gate) and moved it to his bedroom doorway.  This way we don't have to worry about him escaping from his room and getting into stuff he should be.  I'm sure in a few months, once he's potty trained, the gate will be taken down and we'll do more baby proofing on that floor.
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