Friday, August 10, 2018

Save big with Amazon Subscribe and Save | 35+ items to save on

This post is sponsored by Kleenex, Scott, Cottonelle and Viva but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

Do you look forward to going to the store during the busy back to school shopping season with a bunch of rambunctious kids in tow? Me neither. And I won't have to because I have Amazon Prime.

But seriously, you know about Amazon Prime, right? Surely you have! As a busy mom of four, I pretty much order everything for my house on there. I'm actually on a first name basis with my new mail guy and I've only lived here for a month. That should tell you how much I use my Prime membership! I'm a huge advocate for it because with this many kids and so much going on I just don't have the time to run to the store for every little thing we need. Trips to the store are stressful for me. With Prime, I can order what I need from my phone in my pajamas with a kid climbing on me and Amazon delivers it right to my door. I totally skip the drive, the lines, the screaming toddlers climbing out of carts, the frazzled feeling, and the inevitable impulse buys that end up in my cart. 

Lately, I've fallen in love with Subscribe and Save feature for Prime members. Amazon's Subscribe and Save can help you save up to 15% more on thousands of products and it's the way to go when it comes to household items and things you buy regularly. I don't know about you, but I'm kind of particular when it comes to items like toilet paper, paper towels, dish detergent, diapers, wipes, and all of that. Not just any old brand or style will do.

With Subscribe and Save I can order all of my favorite household items and have them delivered (free!) as often as I need them, whether it be monthly, bi-monthly, or even up to 6 months apart. It's so convenient- I don't even have to remember to reorder. Amazon does it all for me and I get a discounted price on top of the free shipping. I can also skip deliveries or specific items if I don't need them right away, or cancel an item or shipment anytime.

Right now is a great time to skip the back to school shopping madness and stock up on products for your family like Kleenex, Cottonelle, Scott, and Viva. Do you need paper towels, tissues, or wipes for your little ones' classroom? Grab them on Amazon and save up to an additional $3 o these back to school essentials. Whether for school or home, everyone needs this stuff and you can't beat these deals! 

I'm obsessed with these Kleenex antibacterial wipes. They go everywhere with us- in my purse, diaper back, glove box, to the beach, restaurants, etc. They're a must-have for moms with messy kids on the go. I finally realized that I need to just add them to my Subscribe and Save list and now they come by the case every couple of month and we never run out. 

Are you ready to use Subscribe and Save yet?! It's seriously the best! Make sure to snag these back to school deals on Kleenex, Cottonelle, Scott, and Viva while you're at it. 

Need more ideas for things to subscribe to? Here's a list of household items to consider:

toilet paper
paper towels
tissues
dish soap
hand/body wipes
laundry detergent
fabric softener
dryer sheets
shampoo 
conditioner 
body wash
razors
shaving cream
lotion
deodorant
pads/tampons
over the counter medication 
toothpaste
face wash
mouthwash
toothbrushes/replacement heads
makeup remover wipes
hand soap
hand sanitizer
vitamins
diapers
wipes
pull ups/training pants
formula 
baby food 
pet food
cat litter 
garbage bags
batteries 
light bulbs

Saving money with Subscribe and Save is easy and addictive. You're going to have to get this stuff anyway, so why not save the money and not have to think about it?! 

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Life Lately

What a crazy month it's been. My last post from the beginning of July (!!!) talked about our exciting journey to homeownership. Well, it's been a whirlwind, that's for sure. We packed, moved, cleaned the old rental house, started unpacking the new place, and even got a little painting started in the living room and kitchen area. I feel like we are in survival mode all over again, and it's no wonder why. There's just been so much going on and a lot of annoying little things that add up to big stressors for me as someone with major anxiety.

The first week in the house was crazy. We had the microwave crap out on us the very first day we were there. We had just moved the day before and I had the worst night of sleep ever, thanks to the sprinkler system going off every hour all night (and with no central air conditioning I was sweltering in my bedroom and had the window open, so I could hear the water spraying all night). I woke up super early, made my coffee, and ultimately had to reheat it, only to have the above the range microwave trip the breaker and refuse to power on. Not the best way to start your first morning in your new house. After grabbing an extension cord and trying multiple outlets in the kitchen and living room we realized it was probably the microwave and not an electrical issue. Yay. To make matters worse, I had just sold our old microwave for $5 at our garage sale, so we didn't even have a backup. 

Then last week the fridge stopped getting cold. We spent a week living out of a cooler and had to get bags of fresh ice daily. All of the food spoiled, including all of the condiments and stuff I'd just restocked from moving. Not really what I was expecting when I fantasized about home ownership. I knew there would be things that would break and repairs that would need to be done...but it was really disheartening for it to first happen to the microwave and then to the fridge too, all within the first couple of weeks of living here. We had just spent so much money and we're also trying to buy a second car ASAP (because my husband has a bit of a commute for work now, and me dropping him off is really inconvenient and leaves me carless a lot). Then there's the bedroom in the basement that needs to be finished as well, and the garage needs finished too. It's just a lot of money going out and it's really stressful trying to prioritize projects when things keep randomly breaking and needing replaced all at the same time too. Surprise! And not the good kind either. We have a working fridge again now though, thankfully. I don't want to use a cooler again anytime soon...and I'll never take an ice maker for granted again! 

On top of the unpacking and trying to get everyone settled and comfortable in the house, I've been feeling totally trapped inside. We we've been in the middle of a major heatwave here in Washington and the new backyard needs a lot of work. Remember I mentioned the house had been a rental for years? Well the yard was pretty neglected during that time, unfortunately. The flowerbeds along the fence line didn't look like they'd been weeded in years. The weeds are taller than me in some spots! And they're filled with bees, so I don't know what to do about tackling them just yet. The yard has no trees and no shade whatsoever either, so playing out back is pretty much out of the question when it's really hot outside unless you want to melt. It's not so bad when it's only 80 degrees or so. But in the 90's and triple digits? Nope! It's one of the drawbacks of this house for us- the yard. I loved our old backyard, and this one is pretty lackluster in comparison. So that's been a big adjustment for us so far because we are so used to being able to head out back whenever we want, and now we feel like we can't. I've got big plans for the yard, but it's going to be a few years in the making and it's not anything I want to take on just yet. Hopefully by next summer we will have made a few improvements so we can hang out back there more and enjoy it as a family. We'll just have to deal for now. 

We have had a few chances to get out and explore a little though. We've been walking to the local grocery store a couple of times a week just to get moving and pick up whatever we're running low on-  usually milk, fruit, fun snacks, etc. The little kids ride in the double jogging stroller and I let them grab a free banana from the produce section to munch on while I shop. Sometimes we grab a fun little drink or treat for the walk home and explore the neighborhood a little. We've also stopped by the library a few times and got our new library cards. The kids loaded up on some art and LEGO books. I browsed the local events calendar to see what's going on in our little town, making mental notes of events I want to remember to check out (but inevitably forget). And we made it to the lake once so far. It's only about 15 minutes away and it's absolutely beautiful. We are definitely going back at least once more before the summer slips away. It was the most fun I'd had in a while and we got in some much-needed family time, all six of us. 



If you follow me on Instagram you probably saw that we added a member to our family. Meet Hank! 

He's our teeny tiny kitten we adopted from a friend who had found him abandoned in her barn with no mama cat to take care of him. He was about 3 weeks old when we picked him up, which makes him about 6 weeks old now. I felt so bad for him because he was so little and should have probably still been nursing. But he was already eating kitten food and he was litter box trained. The best part was that the big kids were away at summer camp when we got him so we were able to totally surprise them. They've been dying for a cat, but being in a rental made that not a possibility for a while. We'd promised them a pet once bought a house and it was just perfect. The kids love him so much, and I don't mind him either. In all honesty though, he's a sweet little kitten and the kids have been great about taking care of him.
The view...waiting for the big kids at summer camp.

I decided that now that the stress of actually buying a house and moving is over with that it's time to focus more on taking care of myself. It's no secret that I've been struggling mentally these last couple of years. I've had postpartum depression and a few personal circumstances that have left me totally stressed out, depressed, and unable to function in many ways. It's taking a toll on my physical health now- I'm unable to sleep or eat much at all. I'm waking up at 4am daily with stomach pain, and for the last week straight I woke up nauseous and dry heaving into the toilet before the sun comes up (and before anyone suggests it- NO, I'm 100% not pregnant!) I'm exhausted and anxious all the time and I'm so done feeling like this. I started focusing on my diet more these last few weeks and have been making a conscious effort to eat better and eat more. Food aversions or not, I need the calories for energy and I've been keeping myself in check most days by sharing some of my healthy lunches on my Instagram stories. It helps me feel like I'm being held accountable and I've gotten some sweet messages of encouragement as well, which I totally appreciate. I also started exercising again! It's been years. I hate exercising, I'm not going to lie. But I need to do it. 

I know everything that's going on with me is beyond fixing it with just eating better and exercising. I've tried and failed over and over again to just "pull myself out of it" and I always end up in a downward spiral again in a week or two no matter how hard I try. My husband has been gently urging me to see a therapist for some time and I finally agreed. The idea of talking to someone about my problems scares the shit out of me. I'm not good at vocalizing my feelings. I don't talk things out. I never have. Growing up, we didn't talk about our problems...we swept things under the rug and kept everything surface level, and I'm so tired of living that way. As much as it makes me feel uncomfortable to pour my heart out to a stranger, I just know it needs to happen. I can't bottle this up anymore. It keeps bubbling over and it's getting worse and worse because I just have no clue how to deal. And along with therapy I'm also in the process of finding a new primary care doctor and have some bloodwork done to check my hormones and thyroid. I think there may be some underlying issues going on too and I need to know what I'm dealing with health-wise in order to fully heal myself, so to speak. 

Summer is winding down and I feel like it's just getting started for us. Moving took up a lot of our time and we still have so much we want to do. Hopefully we'll have time for some more fun before the weather starts to transition to fall, then quickly to winter here in the Pacific Northwest. Our seasons change so quickly and I'm not ready for the sunshine to go away just yet!


Friday, July 6, 2018

Homeowners

Hi friends! I cannot even begin to tell you how excited I am to finally have some GOOD news to share! Things have been tense around here to say the least...that's no secret. In my last Life Lately post I mentioned that we were trying to buy a house. Well, we are now officially homeowners!


That cute little pink and white chevron key has been on my key ring for just about a year now. It doesn't unlock anything yet...it's just one of those keys with designs on them that you can select in the hardware department. It hasn't been cut yet, but it will be soon. See, my husband gave it to me last year. We moved into this rental house knowing at the end of our lease it would be time to buy, but I was feeling impatient and pissy (as usual). So one day he came home with this key and said "I'm going to buy you a house next year." Cute, right?

It's been a long time coming and it's been quite a journey to get here. There were a few times when I thought it would never happen and I gave up hope. We had tons of roadblocks thrown our way and it took a lot of time and work to get to where we needed to be financially. We've come a long way, we still have a long way to go...but we did it! We may have done a lot of things ass-backwards, but we reached this goal and bought a home for our family. At long last, we won't be eternal renters after all. 

Fun fact about the new house: we bought it from our friends. You guys, I really truly think things happen for a reason and that timing is everything. Last time I mentioned us buying a house on the blog, I talked about how we'd missed out on an awesome house we'd fallen in love with after a low-ball appraisal that left us really hurt and frustrated. We had our hearts set on this "dream house" and were naive in thinking that because our offer was immediately accepted that we'd just glide through the rest of the process without any issues. Gosh, we were so clueless! 

Anyway, the day we'd put that offer in an old friend on Facebook messaged me and asked if we were still looking for a house. I've known this gal forever (we lived a block away from each other and rode the same bus to elementary school) and she ended up marrying a friend of my husband. Small world, right? That's north Idaho for you, haha. They're a military family and they own a house close to here in a nearby town that they'd been renting out for years (when the army sent them all over the country). They'd actually hit us up a few times when they needed new tenants or when they knew we were looking for a place, but the timing and logistics never worked out. Well, here she was, telling me her tenants were breaking their lease and they were thinking of selling their house- were we interested? I told her thanks but no thanks because we'd just had our offer accepted on the dream house.  

Well, three weeks later that house completely fell through and I was devastated. And mad. Really mad because I felt like it wasn't fair. I didn't want to start all over scouring the internet for new listings and jumping in the car with four kids to race to see it before anyone else.

Then I remembered my friend messaging me about wanting to list her house. I had completely forgotten about it because I was so hyper-focused on the ill-fated dream house! It was May 23rd that I messaged her asking if they were still selling the house. She quickly replied that she still had tenants, but that they were moving out "soon," and then they wanted to list the house for sale in the coming weeks. Perfect! 

Within a few days we were driving out to the their rental to take a look at it. I knew it was a cute house. I remembered seeing a few pictures of it on Facebook back when they first had it built (2010) but I didn't know any of the specifics and my memory really sucks these days. The home information Zillow was totally inaccurate because it hadn't been sold since it was initially bought and the basement was initially unfinished. So the square footage was off, the room numbers were off, and the photos they showed were very...lacking to say the least (not pretty at all!) But my friend assured me to just go see it for myself and that they were just awful photos. I knew it had been a rental for a while and that it probably needed some TLC, but it had a lot of potential and the price was good. 


We drove out to the house, spent just a few minutes walking through it to get a feel for the size and layout, counted the bedrooms and bathrooms, checked out the backyard, and saw the neighborhood. I know it looks quite small from the outside (that was my first impression) but that's because you only see the shorter end of the house from the front. It goes back quite a ways though and has a full basement. It definitely has space for a family of 6. It has 4 bedrooms with 1 unfinished downstairs, so that gave us the 5 bedrooms we need without any kids having to double up. It also has a bonus little "nook" or walk-in closet sized room that my husband can totally use to set up his art studio. It's pretty small and it doesn't have a window, but it's big enough for his set up, has tons of electrical outlets for extra lighting and everything else, and it's got a door that can close and lock so we can keep kids out of it (something his current space doesn't have). So that's a bonus "6th" room  (that doesn't technically count as room), and it also has a huge basement family room. When we saw that room down there we knew that was it. We could totally see ourselves in that house. It wasn't totally perfect, but it had pretty much all of the must-haves and it was in a great neighborhood. We wanted it!


From there, I messaged my friend and said "We definitely want it! How do we do this?" She replied with "Let's get the ball rolling then. No need to even list if ya'll want it!" And that was pretty much that! It was May 28th when we saw the house and then we signed all of the paperwork and closed on June 28th. Done and done. I mean, obviously there was a lot that went on in the last month (hence me still being MIA and wanting to rip my hair out/cry every day!) but as far as buying a house goes? This was probably the best way to do it. We didn't haggle. We didn't have to negotiate anything, everyone was completely cool and cooperative the entire way, we communicated what needed to be done, and we just went through the list of things to do as quickly and painlessly as possible. I'm thrilled that it worked out. I mean seriously- after all these years...for us to end up buying that house (that we'd talked about renting before) and the timing of it and everything...it just couldn't have worked out more perfectly. Oh, and the icing on the cake? After we closed they told us they wanted to buy us a brand new dishwasher. Because the one currently in there is mismatched from having to be replaced multiple times from prior tenants. Talk about best sellers ever! 

Looking back, the dream house wasn't so dreamy. It was only 4 bedrooms and it didn't have the bonus space for my husband. It was also on the corner of a busy street, which I know would have bugged me so much. I don't like traffic driving by. I get mad when people drive too fast in my neighborhood. My gut had told me not to get that house and I talked myself back into it because it had a few other upgrades I wanted and I didn't want anyone else to scoop it up. But a concession like that...being on the corner of a busy street terrified me, and I'm so happy now that the deal fell through. I would have been so unhappy there now that I think about it. Plus, it was slightly over our budget and we would have had to spend a lot more to get less house. 

The home we bought from our friends might not have every single little detail we wanted but it's got everything we need and has great potential for even more. They had it built and only lived in it for a short while as they finished the basement themselves. Then they had to move for the military and it's been a rental ever since. It needs a family to pour some love back into it and make it the home it was truly meant to be! I'm so excited to settle and make it our own. Once upon a time I even considered myself crafty, so I'd love to put some of those old skills to good use- finally! Woohoo! And the neighborhood is lovely- it's quiet and safe. A welcome change for my teen and tween who are needing to test some boundaries and get more personal freedom. Exploring our "quaint" little town will be great for them. And yes I said quaint- we moved out of the city and to a little town on the outskirts. It's so quiet out there! Another perk we are looking forward to.

The new house has a peony bush out front. A clear sign because those are my favorite! 

Anyway, I promise to post more house updates later, after we get moved in and somewhat settled.  And then it's time to paint and prioritize a few projects that we already know need to be done around the house. We've got just a few more days until the big move! I cannot wait for this part to be over already and it hasn't even begun. With all of our moves over the years though (there have been SO many, right?!) I feel like I've been training for this. I'm basically a professional mover at this point, so one last move should be a piece of cake, right? Moving...4 kids...been there done that. I got this! 

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