Wednesday, August 9, 2017



Y'all, we live in the magical world of 2017 where you can order your groceries online and someone will select them all, bag them, and bring them to your car. It is a special place, this world. With two kids under 5, not having to unbuckle all 10 points of seatbelt is a lifesaver. But now that so many stores are offering this service, which one is the best? Not to fear, I've really sacrificed to compare for you by trying out Kroger's ClickList service and Walmart's new grocery pickup. Here's the nitty-gritty.


Kroger ClickList
Pros:
  • You can use paper coupons, and digital coupons auto-deduct
  • Paper receipt for rebate apps, like iBotta
  •  Fast and friendly service
  •  Pickup areas are generally well-marked, but it varies by store. The first store I used was clear and great. I had to hunt for the pickup location at the second store.
  • If they don't have something in stock and substitute it, you still pay the price of the original item. For example, the store was out of regular grape tomatoes, so they substituted organic grape tomatoes instead. 
  • With substitutions, you have the right to say no thanks and you won't be charged for the item.
  • ClickList offers unique coupons. I received $11 in FREE snacks in a back-to-school coupon bundle. These included Rice Crispy Treats, fruit cups, granola cups; I even got to select the flavors! This was such a nice treat, as I don't usually buy those items and it's nice to have something different every once in awhile.
  • Once you try ClickList, Kroger mails/emails you ClickList specific coupons. I got mailed one for 10% off my entire grocery bill next time I used ClickList. That's big, y'all.
  • Bonus Kroger points: After your ClickList experience, you'll receive an e-mail survey (I got one after my first time but not my second, so I'm not sure if it's a first-time only survey or an every-time survey and I got skipped). When you complete the survey, you get 50 Kroger Fuel Points. That's halfway to 10 cents off a gallon of gas!
  • Same day pickup!
  •  The first 3 ClickList orders waive the $5 fee

Cons:

  • No unit prices on website can make it difficult to find the best deal
  • Digital coupons don't deduct until you pick up your order, so you don't really know how much you're spending
  • It can be hard to find generic items if you don't know the specific names. I had to google what their Kroger version of Triscuit's were called, because they didn't come up under my search for Kroger Crackers.
  • $5 per pickup isn't bad at all, but it's not free like Walmart
  • When you use paper coupons (which they MAIL me!), an employee has to walk out to your car, get them, walk back, and then print your receipt. I don't mind the extra wait time, but I hate making more work for people, and I wish there was a drive-thru where I could drop them off.
  • If you order for the next day and the ad changes the prices of items in your cart, you pay the current day's price. This could completely wreck your savings plan.
  • Substitutions can get weird. I ordered cookie dough ice cream, and when they were out they gave me cookies and cream of the same brand instead of a different, if more expensive, brand's cookie dough flavor. I could have declined the substitution, but my kids had been terrible and I needed something to look forward to after they went to bed! #MomLife!
  • I've had a lot of trouble placing the order. Their website says the mobile app doesn't do ClickList yet, but there's a button on the app. So my first two orders, I ended up frustrated and had to basically make two lists because it wasn't working right. When I tried to change stores on the website, it deleted my hard-researched list. I ended up going back a page and driving further so I wouldn't lost all the time and effort I'd put into the first list. So there are still some glitches to be worked out.


Walmart Neighborhood Market Grocery Pickup
Pros:

  • Unit prices on the website make finding the best deal easy
  • Free pickup is a plus, but there is a minimum purchase
  • Bonus first timer goody bag- this was such a nice surprise! The little bag is cute and witty, and it included items I often forget (a birthday card!), a breakfast item, a snack item, Spaghetti-O's, and coupons. It's like they know me!
  • E-mail has a map of where the pickup location at your store is located
  • I created and ordered my entire list from my phone. I used their website in Safari, because I don't like having dozens of apps, and it was easy peasy.
  • They e-mail you when your order is ready, even if it's before your pickup window. My order was ready 30 minutes prior to my pickup window, and it was nice knowing that if I was running early (HAHAHA, just a minute while we all laugh at the thought of me being early), I could've picked it up.
  • If their ad changes, you get the lowest price- whether it was yesterday's ad or today. It's nice to not worry about ad change day affecting your weekly bill!
  • Same day pickup!


Cons:

  • Must spend $30 to do a pickup. I was so bummed about this. If I only need a few items, I hate unbuckling my kids for a five minute run into the store. Newsflash- there's no such thing as a five-minute run-in with a 2 year old and a 4 year old.
  • Digital receipt hinders rebate apps like iBotta and Coupons.com. I was quite disappointed here, as I had several rebates I wanted to use, but couldn't, because I needed a paper receipt.
  • Produce is tricky to order if weighted. For bananas, I put 1- meaning one pound, because the website said it was sold by weight. Instead, I received a single banana. Unlike Kroger, who allows you to add notes, there was no space to indicate how many pounds I wanted.
  • I had my husband pick up this order on his way home, which was quite convenient for both of us. He mentioned that when they show you the produce, it's in a bag, so it's hard to tell if it's good or not. When he got home, we realized the one banana had split and turned brown. But he couldn't see that with the produce bag around it.
  • Our pickup window was 6-7, so prime after-work hours. My husband mentioned there was only one worker running deliveries out to cars, so the wait time was longer than what we generally experienced at Kroger.


So which is better?
It really depends. I honestly see myself using both. I love how easy Walmart's ordering process was, and it's super close to my house. The Kroger ClickList locations are 15 minutes away, so those require more planning. Kroger has more coupons, and quicker service. Walmart has cheaper prices, but their generic brands aren't as reliable as Kroger's. My choice each week will mostly depend upon what I need, if I'll be on the side of town with Kroger and can justify the $5 fee, or if I have at least $30 worth of stuff but won't be on the Kroger side of town. Coupons will play a deciding role as well; if I have many worthy digital Kroger coupons, I'm going to save up items on my list and head that way.

Both stores offer unique experiences with ups and downs. Neither is perfect yet, and I'm looking forward to 'testing' each store further to discover which is best!

What do you think? Have you tried Kroger's ClickList or Walmart's Grocery Pickup?



Tuesday, August 8, 2017


We lead busy lives these days. Working moms, stay at home moms, and work from home moms are all busy bees, running a home, scheduling doctor's visits and dental checkups and classes and lessons, oh my! It's no wonder many mothers get so busy helping their tiny loves lead their lives, the moms themselves get lost in the shuffle. Slowly, day by day, we begin to feel more and more invisible. I thought I was alone in this, and then I watched Sing.  It took a movie with a target audience of the under 12 set for me to realize I wasn't alone. But this is the secret plight of the American mom: over time we become invisible, and then we worry we're the only ones who feel this way.

In Sing, Reese Witherspoon's character Rosita is a mama pig to 25 piglets. She seamlessly runs their household while her husband and kids either ignore or her mock her for the things she enjoys (singing). When the opportunity to participate in a singing competition arises and she can't find a sitter, she creates an elaborate pulley system to do all of her jobs for her.

And no one in her family notices. They were so used to not looking at her, they literally didn't notice she wasn't there for days, until her husband accidentally wrecked it all. When they watch her perform later in the film, they finally see her. She isn't just a mom, a wife, a woman running 26 other pig's lives. She's an individual with passions and goals. That's what brought tears to my eyes; she was finally visible again. She was seen as more than just mom and wife and family chef; she was seen for her individual talents and joys. I loved that the filmmakers didn't make her a disgruntled parent, either; she clearly loved her children, and simply wanted something for herself as well. We all want wonderful lives for our children, and we often forget to make sure our own lives have fulfilling moments outside of parenting.

This isn't an uncommon phenomenon, either. Another mom formed an experiment when she felt invisible. She wore only one earring for 7 months, waiting for someone to notice and tell her. 7 MONTHS. She had just had her second baby, and everyone was so busy fussing over the baby they didn't see the mom. This is why the maternal death rate in the U.S. is so high compared to other developed nations. We simply see less of the mom once the baby is born. Newborns are so needy, and adorable, that it's easy to give them all of our attention. But new moms need attention, too.

I love my kids. I also love myself, and it's important to remind myself I'm more than a mom. I'm an individual with interests, talents, and goals outside of my family life. Just as it's perfectly fine to be satisfied with a life focused on your kids, it's also okay to want more. Find your joy, and give yourself time to explore it.


Friday, July 28, 2017

Raven's Home: Pilot Review

During the Disney Channel reign of the early 2000's, there were so many good shows. The Suite Life of Zach and Cody, Hannah Montana, Phineas and Ferb, and Wizards of Waverly Place, to name a few. Competition was high, and I'll admit I missed the That's So Raven train. I caught an episode here and there, but I wasn't a dedicated viewer. However, when I heard it was getting a revival, a la Boy Meets World/Girl Meets World, I was intrigued.

Since I wasn't an original viewer, I can't compare the current reboot to the original. But while watching the pilot, I was reminded of the old episodes. Also, Disney Channel has put the original That's So Raven episodes on the Disney Channel App (I've got it on Apple TV, so I plan on catching up a decade late!).
Image result for raven's home


Overall, I enjoyed the reboot. There isn't a lot of backstory as to why Raven isn't married anymore, though we do get a snapshot of Chelsea's situation. We don't meet the mysterious ex-husband/kid's father, though his texts show us that he sees the kids daily when driving them to school.

Disney is doing so much right these days. Despite a rocky relationship with her felonious ex, Chelsea doesn't speak poorly of him in front of their son. She and her son have an interesting, slightly inverted relationship, but it works. She still has her ditzy moments, but it's clear she loves her son.

I love that Chelsea and Raven are still close, and that their friendship hasn't waned. Their roommates at the moment, because financial situations required it, as their marriages dissolved in a similar timeframe. It's important to show kids that adults can maintain relationships, especially through difficult circumstances. It's also refreshing to see that although moments can be hard, like sharing a bathroom, the kids all come together to support one another too. They stick up for one another and are there for each other, even when they're in an argument. I love that this show is teaching kids that not every disagreement is an overdramatic, end-all, life-ruining thing. Even if you're mad at someone, you can still protect them and take care of them.

Raven's Home focuses more on the kid's relationships and issues than the adult's, especially as one twin discovers their physic power-while the other twin has not. I'm excited to see where the show is headed, and if the other twin will also discover powers. I'd love to see Raven's twins work together to solve situations that arise from the one's visions.

I loved how Mia's 'sheroes' (she-heroes) were strong women of all colors and walks of life. It was great that Raven struggled with parenting decisions, like if she was inadvertently giving one twin more affection than the other. The serious moments were tempered with humorous ones, so the show had a great flow.

Have you seen Disney's latest reboot? What were your thoughts?

Thursday, July 27, 2017



Let me sit down for a damn minute
A fun rhyme for tired parents


Let me sit down for a damn minute, please.
You do not need more cheese.
Nor a snack nor a nibble;
No, you can't eat the dog's kibble.
I do not want to carry you,
Your pounds are many, not a few.

I do not want to sing to you,
I do not want to say another moo.
Old McDonald can keep his farm.
Just let me sit down, and your stuffed animals will not be harmed.

I do not want to walk around,
I will not leap nor bound.
Kiss your own boo boo ouch,
I am glued to this couch.

I want to read a magazine or book,
I do not want to heed your 'look!'
I want to sit, be still a spell,
Please don't make me yell!

I'd like some quiet, some peace!
Not another pretend doll feast.
I do not want to play with your train,
If you keep this up, I won't be sane!

Hands and knees, on the floor
That's really such a bore.
Can't we sit and watch a movie?
Without a tune, catchy and groovy?

Please don't cry!
I'm sorry, you aren't allowed to fly.
Not from the roof, at least.
Please don't act like such a beast!

Is it nap time yet?
That's usually a safe bet
For a quick little rest,
For both of us, it's for the best!

That's right, close your eyes.
Breathe deeply and sigh.
I love you most,
From coast to coast.
Enjoy your sleep,
Please don't make a peep.

Ah, peace and quiet.
A serenity; you can't buy it.
A comfy seat for the first time all day,
Or maybe even since last May!

Ding dong!
What fool is at the door?
When I'm done with them, they'll surely be sore!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

An Affordable Moana Birthday Party


When I began searching for Moana themed birthday party ideas for my two year old's party, I was underwhelmed. Every Pinterest and Google search revealed extravagant, over-the-top, expensive custom decor. Ain't nobody got time for that! He's turning two; he probably won't even remember it! I wanted him to have a fun day, with a theme from his favorite movie, but I wasn't willing to break the bank to accomplish it. Here's how I threw a memorable party for under $50.

Decorations

I hit the Dollar Tree for decorations. Since his birthday is in June, there were lots of summer Luau themed options. I picked a couple of garlands, a palm tree, a table cloth that looked like a grass skirt, hot pink plastic silverware, spunky colored napkins, and bright flowery plates. I also picked up some colorful leis to double as fun party wear and a take home favor. I got all of it for $15. I reused a 'Happy Birthday' banner I had on hand, and put a couple of fun leftover streamers around it. The only thing that didn't work out like I wanted was the table cloth. I thought it was a full table cloth, and it ended up being just a grass skirt for a table. Had I known, I'd have grabbed an actual table cloth in a contrasting color to add more to my colorful theme.
 


Food

The most important food at any birthday party is obviously the cake! We got this gorgeous cake from Costco ($18). I chose the beach theme, then asked them to leave off all the beach chairs, umbrellas, etc. and just write his name. I picked up the Maui and Moana figurines at Target on clearance for $6 and added them myself. 


Birthday Boy enjoying his cake on his luau themed plate.
 In terms of snacks, I got creative. Here's the menu:

Maui's sun (Pineapple rings, watermelon in shape of sun)
Tamatoa's seafood (goldfish)
PB &Jellyfish/ star fish sandwiches (PB and J cut into shapes with cookie cutters)
Coral Reef (Cheetos)
Lolotai Seaweed (Grapes on a skewer)
Sea Snails (mini hot dogs in crescent roll strips)

To add some flair, I put the grape skewers in the pineapple husk. I put the bright plastic silverware in plastic cups, and put the cutesy named food labels out so people could enjoy my hilarious commitment to theme (also, my niece mentioned she loved my food puns at the last few birthday parties, so the pressure was on!)
For the goody bags, I put blue Sixlets in a snack size bag with goldfish, swedish fish, and gummy sharks.

Going 90s

Overall, I'm really pleased with how it all turned out. The decor made the porch feel nice and festive, everyone loved the food (and my niece was a fan of the continued puns, so #winning!), and our now two year old had a blast. We may not have had a custom balloon arch with life-size Moana cut out, but what would I do with that after the party anyway!? I like 90s style parties, like I had as a kid, with kids running around, yummy cake, and a few decorations. If my kiddos have fun, I'm a happy mama.

How do you like to do your kid's parties?



Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Mott's Juice Pouch Review

I received coupons for free Mott's Juice Pouches to try and review. Here is the review!

We tried the Apple Cherry flavor of the Mott's juice pouches. Both of my boys, ages 2 and 4, loved the flavor. I like the pouch shape, as its easy to toss in a bag on the go. It had a good flavor, but they drank it super fast. It was a little difficult to get the straw in the pouch as well. Overall, it was a hit. It's something I can imagine picking up every now and again as a special treat, but not something I'd buy consistently since it didn't satisfy their thirst for long. 

We also usually water their juice down, because they're both extremely active which leads to us needing to make sure they stay hydrated. By watering down their juice, we make sure they only drink the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended amount of juice while also getting plenty of water. I really liked the convenience of having a drink prepared, and all I had to do was grab and go.

Do you have a favorite juice brand? What is it?