Reused Christmas Card Gift Tags!

Every year around this time, I go through my Christmas cards and make gift tags to use for next year’s presents.  It is so fast and easy!  I literally just sit down with a pair of normal and fancy edged scissors and cut away while watching my current obsession on Netflix!  It is fun to see the Christmas cards again next year…not to mention it is green, super cute and will save you some money!  It is also amazing how you can always find a tag that matches your wrapping paper perfectly.  Next year, just add a hole punch to your Christmas decorating accessories.  Punch a hole into your super cute tag, write a note on the back side with a fun colored marker, and tie it to the package with some pretty ribbon or twine from the dollar store!  No bows needed.  Beautiful!  Now people can’t complain that cards are a waste of money and just get thrown away!  =)


Free Baby Stuff…Just Pay Shipping!

There is only one thing I like better than a bargain…and that is FREE STUFF!  Here are some pretty awesome baby deals for pretty awesome items!  You get the items free and just pay shipping!  That is about $120 worth of stuff for about $36 shipping!!  I ordered my free udder cover and seven sling before I was even pregnant to put in my “hope chest”.  I didn’t want to pass up a great deal!  You could even get these for a nice baby shower gift for someone else!  I just ordered my free carseat canopy to have for future babies.  I wish I had it for Clover’s infant seat.  (P.S.  I have never been hassled by the companies after my purchase.)  You’re welcome!  =)

FREE Carseat Canopy:

1.  Go to
2.  Click “Shop Now” and select any carseat canopy (I picked Reagan!).
3.  You will automatically be directed to the shopping bag. Use promo code: CCMOTHER for a free canopy!  All you pay is the shipping fee…about $12.95. (This promo code can also be used for $50 off the cost of any 5-Piece Whole Caboodle Set)
Note:the promo code is ” CCMOTHER ” and can be used more than once – just open a new browser window each time.

FREE Udder Cover:

1.  Go to
2.  Click “Shop Now” and select any Udder Cover (I picked Carson!).
3.  You will automatically be directed to the shopping bag.  Use promo code: CARSEAT for a free udder cover!  All you pay is the shipping fee…about $11.95.

FREE Seven Sling:

1.  Go to
2.  Click “Shop Now” and select any Seven Sling (I picked Northern Lights!).
3.  You will automatically be directed to the shopping bag.  Use promo code: CARSEAT for a free sling!  All you pay is the shipping fee…about $11.95.  Note: They automatically insert “size exchange insurance” for $3.50 into your cart in case it doesn’t fit you.  You may choose to keep it or remove it.






Starbuck’s Half Price Happy Hour: My kind of happy!

I am all about coffee!  My entire kitchen is coffee themed…I am dedicated!  Obviously, I just have to share this penny pincher tip with you.  We all know coffee can get pricey…so enjoy this sweet offer from Starbuck’s while it lasts!  They are offering half priced frappuccino’s  May 4-13 from 3-5 PM.  P.S.  They have a new Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino!!  The picture looks like it has chocolate whip on it…yum!  I was seriously just thinking the other day (as I sipped my java chip frappuccino) that I wished they had one with cookies.  Thank you, Jesus!  =)

I remember the first time I ordered from a Starbuck’s.  I was so nervous because the menu seemed to go on forever and what do all those words and terms mean??  Here are some tips to help you sound like you know what you are doing.

Did you know?

  • Non-fat: You can order pretty much all of Starbuck’s drinks as “non-fat” and they use non-fat skim milk.  This will almost halve your calories and take away the fat.  I cannot tell a difference and always order my coffee drinks non-fat (you can also specify 1% or 2% milk if you prefer that).  Note: Non-fat versions do not include whipped cream…you have to say “with whip” to add this…worth the calories in my opinion.
  • Sugar Free: You can also order many of Starbuck’s drinks “sugar free” and sugar free syrup is used.
  • Skinny:  Non-fat skim milk and sugar free syrup are used.  Guilt free!
  • Decaf: You can order most drinks without the caffeine.  I thought my pregnancy and breastfeeding days were going to make me miss my favorite Pumpkin Spiced latte and Gingerbread latte which are only offered seasonally.  I was wrong…for once…thankfully!  ;P
  • Tall: Small size (12 oz)
  • Grande: Medium size (16 oz)
  • Venti: Large size (20 oz hot or 24 oz cold)
  • Kid’s Temp: Around 140 degrees.  I have a “weak” mouth.  I hate waiting -forever- for my coffee to cool off so I can enjoy it.  I now order all of my hot drinks at kids temp so I can sip away immediately without scalding my mouth.

There are obviously many more coffee terms but these are some basics I’ve learned over the years to get you started.  Enjoy your Happy Hour!  I can’t wait to try my grande decaf non-fat mocha cookie crumble frappuccino with whip!

P.S.  My all time favorite Starbuck’s Drink is: Grande decaf non-fat kids temp gingerbread latte with whip (that is a mouth full…a yummy one!).  What’s yours?


Summer, Sun and Skin! …so happy together!

Summer is fast approaching!  I thought I’d share some quick tips to help you protect your skin!  Don’t forget your skin is actually your largest organ…so don’t neglect it!  Hope you have lots of safe fun in the sun this summer!  =)

SPF…what does it mean?  SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor.  It measures sunscreen’s effectiveness at protecting your skin from UVB wavelengths (UVBs cause the most skin damage…we can thank UVBs for our wrinkles, dark spots, etc.).  SPF compares the time you can be exposed to UVBs before the first signs of redness appear on your skin USING sunscreen vs. NOT USING sunscreen.  Example: Say you would normally start to burn after 10 minutes in the sun without sunscreen.  You are smart and apply your SPF 30 sunscreen so you can now expect to start burning after 300 minutes instead.  You can now stay in the sun 30 times longer than normal without looking like a lobster. Note: Reapplying sunscreen does not extend your safe exposure time.  It simply replenishes what you have washed or sweated off.

Fun in the Sun Tips:

  • Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before you go out into the sun.
  • Apply sunscreen LIBERALLY….most people only use about half the amount of sunscreen they should.  If your sunscreen is expiring on you then you are using it wrong.  Be especially careful with the spray types as its easy to miss spots…the air doesn’t burn and lots of the spray ends up blown away.  (I do like the spray for the part line in your hair).
  • PROTECT YOUR BABIES!  SUN EXPOSURE AND BURNS DURING CHILDHOOD INCREASE YOUR RISK OF SKIN CANCER LATER IN LIFE!!!  I’m not a fan of all caps, but this one deserves it.  They make baby sunscreen products that are generally safe to use after 6 months of age.  Many baby bathing suits and rash guards also contain UV protection in the material (look at the tags).  They even sell baby tents to shade your bundle of joy!
  • Buy waterproof sunscreen if you will be in the water or sweating.
  • Reapply sunscreen LIBERALLY every 2 hours and after swimming/sweating/toweling off.
  • Wear sunscreen on cloudy days, too!
  • Don’t forget your ears, feet, and toes.
  • Don’t forget your lips.  Buy an SPF lip balm.
  • Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes.
  • Wear a large brimmed hat to protect your head and face.
  • Dark loose fitting clothing protects better than light tight fitting clothing.
  • The sun is most intense between 10 AM and 4 PM.  If your shadow is shorter than your height, you are probably going to burn.
  • If your skin rarely burns use SPF 2-12.
  • If you burn easy but tan some use SPF 12-30.
  • If you burn super easy and never tan stick with SPF 30 and higher.
  • Don’t forget that some medications can increase your sensitivity to the sun and increase your risk of burning.  Ask your pharmacist if you are unsure.

After the Burn:

  • Apply cool compresses or take a cool bath.
  • Take an over the counter NSAID (aspirin, naproxen, or ibuprofen) during the first 24 hours to decrease inflammation and help with pain.  (Make sure they don’t interact with other medications you may be taking.)
  • Apply aloe.  Aloe straight from the plant is best.  Alcohol free aloe is another option (it is usually clear in color).
  • Pain relieving sprays like Solarcaine and Dermoplast can relieve pain but are limited as they only help for 15-45 minutes on average.  This may be long enough to help you fall asleep though.
  • Take an oral antihistamine for itching (may cause drowsiness).
  • After 48 hours apply cocoa butter to rehydrate.
  • See medical attention if your burn blisters or you have a fever or confusion.
  • Learn your lesson for next time and wear sunscreen!

I hope you have a safe and super fun summer!  If you absolutely have to be tan to be happy consider a spray tan or tanning lotions as a safe alternative to give you that sun kissed glow.  Personally, I have learned to embrace my pale skin and encourage you to do the same.  I’d rather be pale now and less wrinkled later.  Besides, pale is in.  I mean look at Edward Cullen…hello!?  =P







My Testimony

Do your planning and prepare your fields before building your house.  Proverbs 24:27

Disclaimer: This post is not me trying to compare my life to anyone else.  This post is not me saying you need to live your life like this.  This post is not me at all.  This post is all thanks to God.  This post is a testimony to God’s faithfulness, provision, and blessing.

I remember laying on my bed reading Proverbs in my tiny 1 bedroom apartment shortly after marrying my husband almost 5 years ago.  We were fresh out of college with enormous student loan debt and officially on our own in this journey called life.  This Proverb jumped out at me that day and struck a chord.  At the time I was feeling impatient with things.  I wanted a house and all the stuff that goes in the house.  I felt I deserved it after the 6 years I went through in pharmacy school.  You see we live in a society where everyone wants, wants, wants…and we all want it now!  It doesn’t matter if we cannot afford it or will not be able to sustain it once we have it.  We can put it on a card or depend on family or the government to bail us out.  It is all too easy in our society to fall into this category of want and greed.

God gave us great guidance with this short and simple verse.  I took it to heart that day and promised I would lay the groundwork for a strong foundation before jumping into building my house…both my physical house and the family that makes the house a home.  As I meditated on this verse that day I envisioned the life God wants for each of us.  He wants us to be blessed, worry free, happy, comfortable…the list goes on.  So I decided to be content with what I have and trust in God to lead the way while trying not to worry or want for more.  I am not going to say it was or is easy.  I work on it each day.  I repeat phrases like “Good things come to those who wait.” and “Patience is a virtue.” in my head.  It is so tempting to worry and to want stuff.  I worried all through my school years…which made me study….which made me get good grades.  My worrying was reinforced by a positive end result, and I was used to it working for me.  It is also easy to think stuff will bring us happiness and to calculate our self worth by what we have.  Unfortunately, that is what our society as a whole does.

My husband and I lived in our tiny apartment for 2 years, and we were genuinely happy!  The apartment was nothing to write home about, but I remember it fondly.  We spent our newlywed years there, and it will always be special to me.  About a year and a half after being married we decided to buy a house.  We had already started preparing our fields when we put college before being together.  We spent 2 years living 1000 miles apart and seeing each other about 6 times.  We talked on the phone everyday though and got to know each other really well!  We had faith in each other, and our love held us together.  Thanks to that preparation, we both had good jobs.  It was time to buy a money pit (that is what our accountant told us anyway).  We went into serious saving mode for the down payment.  Our apartment backed to a cluster of pine trees, and we often had visiting squirrels on our balcony.  They liked to tease the dogs through the sliding door.  I remember joking to John that we were like 2 squirrels saving up our acorns for the winter.  That winter I did not shop for 5 months straight besides the bare essentials and groceries.  That is harder than it sounds and was quite an accomplishment for me…I love to shop!  John and I played World of Warcraft (I got up to level 55 on my blood elf demonology warlock…hey!…don’t judge…if I’m playing a fantasy game I’m going for the complete opposite of myself…and the demons were so cute and kept me company!).  We also watched a lot of movies at home and caught up on some reading.  It is amazing how much money you can accumulate in a short time by doing this.  We also skipped our vacation that year.  We were planning and preparing our fields.  It was all worth it though and God rewarded us.

Homes where we lived at the time were much more expensive than where we grew up and where our family was.  It made sense to move back home.  We were nervous about the move home because John would lose his job.  We prayed about it and felt led to make the jump though and trusted God would provide for us.  I started planning for the move and studied/passed the pharmacy law exam to get my license to work.  I found a better paying job with a solid company within a month of passing the test and had to move home a month before John to start my new job.  Since then my previous employer went bankrupt, and the pharmacy I worked in closed…God provides!

Once I passed my test and we knew we were moving, we set up an appointment to go out and look at homes.  We looked at 8-10 homes.  The last home on the list was about $20K above our price limit.  I almost skipped over it when browsing homes online but something (God) told me to put it on my list even though it was pricey.  None of the homes that day seemed right.  We were down to our last stop for the day.  When we walked in the front door we just knew it was our house.  It was a short sale home that had never been lived in.  Some wealthy men had built it for fun when the market went sour.  It had been on the market for 3 years…waiting for us it seems.  The day before we went to see it the sellers lowered the price into our price range.  The house was even in walking distance to a community dock where we could kayak.  It was a blessing and was meant to be.

Once we moved, John’s employer said they could no longer use him.  About 4 weeks later they contacted him and asked if he could work 10 hours a week from home.  They couldn’t get by without him.  He agreed.  This turned into 24 hours a week over time.  Eventually, his employer sold to a larger company, and they hired John full time with benefits to work from the comfort of our home.  His benefits kicked in the same time we found out we were expecting our first child.  Instead of having to pay 20% of the cost of labor and delivery with my benefits we found out his benefits would pay for the complete pregnancy, labor, and delivery!  God provided.

Our biggest blessing came with the arrival of our beautiful baby girl, Clover Jane.  We planned our pregnancy which my doctor said is rare these days.  Her exact words at our first appointment were “Oh, wow!  A married couple who planned to have a baby…we don’t see that much these days.”  I find this to be sad, but I digress.  I planned for the pregnancy…started my prenatal vitamins and gave up caffeine.  We got pregnant the first month of trying.  We found out we were expecting on Christmas morning – best gift ever!  I had a smooth and easy pregnancy.  I thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience.

When Clover was born, she did not breathe for about 5 minutes.  Talk about a test for my worrying problem!  Whenever I watch a movie or reality show with births I hold my breath and freeze until I hear the baby cry.  My baby did not cry.  I was so tempted to lose myself with worry and become hysterical during those 5 minutes.  Instead I prayed.  I told God that I knew He would not let anything happen to my baby girl because He had never let me down.  After being suctioned, beat up, pounded, and given a ventilation mask Clover cried.  I had to ask if she was in fact a girl.  The nurse had to look…she said she had been too worried about her other end.  My Mom later heard the pediatric nurse and nurse practitioner talking about how they didn’t expect to have to do all that work.  I am so grateful God was with my baby girl just as He has always been with me.

Five years later, I am so grateful I read that Proverb that day.  I am so grateful God used it to guide me to where I am today. I wanted to put this all in writing to express my thanks to God for always being there for me and as a testimony to others.  God will never let you down.  Sure, life will throw us curve balls and there will be hard times.  It is reassuring to know that even in the hard times God will be there to help us through it.  It is never too late to accept Jesus in your life.  Now that I am a mother it amazes me that God love me more than I love Clover.  It doesn’t matter what Clover ever does or what silly mistakes she makes I will always be her number one fan.  God will always be your number one fan.  People say you have to give up too much stuff to be a Christian.  I disagree.  When God leads the way life is so easy and so sweet.  I figure God is all knowing so He knows the best path for my life…I only get one life so I want to live the best one for me.

Girls Night In…Pamper Yourself for Less!

This post is going to be short and sweet.  I had the pleasure of working 13 hours today with only 20 minutes of rest for lunch followed by grocery shopping/unloading, etc.  Needless to say, I am ready for bed but might squeeze in a chapter of The Hunger Games first!  =)

To continue my “get the most for your money” penny pincher ideas, I’d like to share a tip I learned from an interview I watched years ago with Queen Latifah.  She said her grandmother taught her to use baking soda as an exfoliant.  You simply mix some baking soda with water to form a paste and gently rub it on your forehead, cheeks, nose, and chin (avoid eye areas).  Rinse off and enjoy smooth skin.  It’s that quick and that simple!  Exfoliate 1-2 times a week to slough off dead skin cells, dirt, and oil.  You can also mix the baking soda into your facial cleanser if you’d like.  Baking soda can be used to soften your feet, hands, and elbows as well.  You can even mix it with shampoo to get build up out of your hair.  Another neat tip is to soak your combs and brushes in a basin of warm water with 1 teaspoon baking soda to rid them of build up.  At around 50 cents for a large box of generic brand baking soda (at Wal-Mart…shameless plug!) you can save some cash and treat yourself to a relaxing spa night at home!  Life gets busy…especially for working moms.  Don’t forget to pamper yourself every now and then!

For more neat baking soda ideas visit:

Goodnight everyone!

Tanger Outlet Club…the chic ELITE!

I have always loved to shop.  My Mom used to half jokingly tell me I better pick a good job so I could afford my love to shop.  Now that I am working and spending my own money, I have found pleasure in finding good deals and being a smart shopper.  I want to get the most for my money…especially now that the time I spend at work making my money is valuable time spent away from my baby girl!  I thought I’d share one of my super finds with you.

If you live near a Tanger outlet there is absolutely no question…join the Tanger Club!  I did not know it existed until recently and have saved so much money!  For a one time fee of $10 you join the club.  They send you a $10 gift card on your birthday the first year you join so you get the $10 back.  Once enrolled, you are a member for the life of Tanger outlets and get all of the coupon book discounts every time you shop.  You also get special web offers, birthday specials, and free gift card purchases.  Some of my favorite deals are 20% off $40 at Carter’s, 20% off $50 at The Children’s Place, 15% off $75 at The Loft, 20% off one item with purchase at Aerie…and the list goes on!  A local special coupon this year is buy one buffet and get one free at Harrington Raceway and Casino.

Another good idea is to like Tanger on facebook and sign up for their text message deals.  They offered a free $10 gift card for a Midway movie ticket stub this fall as well as for leap year and daylight savings…$30 of gift cards within 5 months!  Yes please!  Happy Shopping!!

P.S.  You can buy the club card as a gift…great Mother’s Day idea!