Lesley Ann is a stay-at-home mom and started couponing when her son was one. She considers herself a “realistic couponer, ” although she does enjoy the occassional freebie! Lesley Ann uses her couponing savings to try and justify her home
Lauren is a senior in college studying Business Administration. After quickly realizing the expenses of college, Lauren began couponing. Even with a limited time schedule, she has found ways to make couponing fun and easy. Deals on everyday items and
Classy Mom Look! Who says a 35 year old mom can’t wear Hollister?!! I was at the mall with my much younger sister, Lauren, and was waiting for her outside the Hollister store in the mall. She was taking too long so I decided to go in and see where she was at in her shopping endeavor. She was still trying on clothes so I decided to take a look around.
I found this dress on a sale rack for $20 and decided to give it a shot. The young teeny boppers (as my parents would call them) in the store gave me some strange looks, but I decided to press on. I tried it on, thought it looked pretty great, confirmed that with my sister and made my first purchase at Hollister! Who knew?!!!
The dress is still on sale and can be found here. It is very light weight and has two slits, one on each side of the dress. Hollister actually has some other maxi dresses on sale that are equally as cute. If you are interested in my sunglasses, a similar style can be found here (they don’t carry my exact style anymore but this is pretty close).
Have you ever bought an outfit at a store where you felt out of place? Let me know in the comments below! You are only as young as you feel, right?
School has started or is getting ready to start and it’s important to go over some back to school safety tips with your children. The tips below are courtesy of the American Academy of Pediatrics. The Academy has numerous articles and tips that are great for parents and children! Also below is a fantastic back to school book for kids!
Choose a backpack with wide, padded shoulder straps and a padded back.
Pack light. Organize the backpack to use all of its compartments. Pack heavier items closest to the center of the back. The backpack should never weigh more than 10 to 20 percent of your child’s body weight.
Always use both shoulder straps. Slinging a backpack over one shoulder can strain muscles.
If your school allows, consider a rolling backpack. This type of backpack may be a good choice for students who must tote a heavy load. Remember that rolling backpacks still must be carried up stairs, they may be difficult to roll in snow, and they may not fit in some lockers.
SCHOOL BUS SAFETY
Children should always board and exit the bus at locations that provide safe access to the bus or to the school building.
Remind your child to wait for the bus to stop before approaching it from the curb.
Make sure your child walks where she can see the bus driver (which means the driver will be able to see her, too).
Remind your student to look both ways to see that no other traffic is coming before crossing the street, just in case traffic does not stop as required.
Your child should not move around on the bus.
If your child’s school bus has lap/shoulder seat belts, make sure your child uses one at all times when in the bus. (If your child’s school bus does not have lap/shoulder belts, encourage the school system to buy or lease buses with lap/shoulder belts.}
All passengers should wear a seat belt and/or an age- and size-appropriate car safety seat or booster seat.
Your child should ride in a car safety seat with a harness as long as possible and then ride in a belt-positioning booster seat. Your child is ready for a booster seat when she has reached the top weight or height allowed for her seat, her shoulders are above the top harness slots, or her ears have reached the top of the seat.
Your child should ride in a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicle’s seat belt fits properly (usually when the child reaches about 4′ 9″ in height and is between 8 to 12 years of age). This means that the child is tall enough to sit against the vehicle seat back with her legs bent at the knees and feet hanging down and the shoulder belt lies across the middle of the chest and shoulder, not the neck or throat; the lap belt is low and snug across the thighs, and not the stomach.
All children younger than 13 years of age should ride in the rear seat of vehicles. If you must drive more children than can fit in the rear seat (when carpooling, for example), move the front-seat passenger’s seat as far back as possible and have the child ride in a booster seat if the seat belts do not fit properly without it.
Remember that many crashes occur while novice teen drivers are going to and from school. You should require seat belt use, limit the number of teen passengers, and do not allow eating, drinking, cell phone conversations, texting or other mobile device use to prevent driver distraction. Limit nighttime driving and driving in inclement weather. Familiarize yourself with your state’s graduated driver’s license law and consider the use of a parent-teen driver agreement to facilitate the early driving learning process. For a sample parent-teen driver agreement, see www.healthychildren.org/teendriver
Always wear a bicycle helmet, no matter how short or long the ride.
Ride on the right, in the same direction as auto traffic.
Use appropriate hand signals.
Respect traffic lights and stop signs.
Wear bright-colored clothing to increase visibility. White or light-colored clothing and reflective gear is especially important after dark.
Know the “rules of the road.”
WALKING TO SCHOOL SAFETY
Make sure your child’s walk to school is a safe route with well-trained adult crossing guards at every intersection.
Identify other children in the neighborhood with whom your child can walk to school. In neighborhoods with higher levels of traffic, consider organizing a “walking school bus,” in which an adult accompanies a group of neighborhood children walking to school.
Be realistic about your child’s pedestrian skills. Because small children are impulsive and less cautious around traffic, carefully consider whether or not your child is ready to walk to school without adult supervision.
If your children are young or are walking to a new school, walk with them the first week or until you are sure they know the route and can do it safely.
Bright-colored clothing will make your child more visible to drivers.
One of my mottos has always been, “It is better to be safe than sorry!” Now this quote can apply to many different areas of your life. The area that I want to touch on today is home safety & security tips. Even if you already have a home security system, there are additional ways you can protect your home from unwanted trespassers or intruders. And I’ll tell you why…
The last neighborhood that we lived in was fantastic. The perfect neighborhood with multiple playgrounds, swimming pools and even a clubhouse that you could rent out! Lined with trees and wide sidewalks it was the perfect place for families. Then I started hearing about burglars going right into peoples backyards and taking all of their patio furniture. I kid you not. I think since it was such a new neighborhood that people originally thought that they were movers. After this incident, I installed these on my gates…
They are outdoor master locks that require a key. Anything that you can install on your home that could potentially deter your house from being a target is worth it! Burglars don’t want a house that’s hard to get into. They want an easy target!
Here’s an example of a good quality lock. I like the brand Master Lock the best…
Now, the picture at the very top of my article shows a sign that says, “No Soliciting, No Trespassing, No Handbills.” I actually got it from a friend through her Homeowner’s Association. I thought it was a great idea! Nothing is more annoying than someone knocking on your door trying to sell you something that you don’t want. They knock at 9am, they knock at 8pm. I was over it and since I’ve put up this sign, NO ONE has knocked on my door. Woo hoo!
Here’s an example of a nice professional-looking sign like mine. If your problem is usually solicitors, this sign is perfect for you! I like mine put right above my doorbell…
So what if you DON’T have an alarm system? Pretend like you do by putting these alarm system stickers on your doors and windows! Anything that you can do to deter them is worth it! And these stickers are VERY inexpensive!
There is a fantastic Target Mobile Coupon out right now that will get you some free school supplies at Target! If you already are subscribed to Target Mobile Coupons, you should have received the coupons via text (see pic below). If not, text OFFERS to 827438 to get signed up. NOTE: The coupons expire 8/8/14…
The second coupon in the picture above is the one we are working with. Here’s how the deal panned out…
Buy two Up & Up, 2-pocket plastic portfolios (ones with or without prongs) = $.50 x 2 = $1.00
Use the Target Mobile Coupon = $1 off two Up & Up school supply items
Final Price = FREE!
NOTE: For some odd reason my mobile coupon wasn’t working when he scanned it, however, the cashier took a look at my phone and verified the discount. And here is my beautiful receipt with a total of ZERO! Happy shopping!
Did you know that extreme heat during the summer months can cause power outages? If the power does go out, it’s important to know how to keep your food safe from spoiling. Below is some great information from this article on food safety from the American Red Cross…
What you will need if the power goes out for more than TWO hours (perishable foods cannot be stored at above 40 degrees for longer than that)
A cooler for the items in your refrigerator (see my favorite cooler pick below). Pack your refrigerator items in the cooler surrounded by ice and keep the temperature below 40 degrees. For your freezer, if it is half full, it will stay good for 24 hours. If your freezer if completely full, it will stay good for 48 hours.
A “digital quick-response thermometer” (my fave pick below and the #1 best-selling instant-read thermometer on Amazon). You can use this to check the temperature of the inside of your cooler and also the inside any food that you are preparing.
This past weekend was my SIXTH time to Vegas! You would think by my sixth trip that I would have seen it all, but Vegas always has surprises in store!! So here is the best and worst of Las Vegas (for this trip, at least)!
This time around, we stayed at a new hotel (for us), The Palazzo. It’s the sister hotel of The Venetian, which we stayed at last time we went. The Palazzo and The Venetian are all-suite hotels, which we love. As we get older and needier (lol) we have a need for a larger room and more space. Unfortunately with more space in the rooms, comes larger parties in the adjacent rooms. I believe next time we will stay some place a little more expensive to avoid the parties in the rooms! But Vegas is Vegas, so you never know!
I will say this…when we stayed at The Venetian we had no issues. The Palazzo, on the other hand, I had some issues with. One of them being holes in the sheets. There is NO excuse for holes in the sheets. Here they are…
Our town car driver told us the hotel with the best service was the Wynn. He said Steve Wynn holds his employees to a very high standard. Maybe we’ll try them next time. Vegas Fact: Did you know Steve Wynn built the sister property, the Encore, as a present for his wife? Must be nice!
Shopping at these two hotels is abundant! The Grand Canal Shoppes are situated around the “Canals of Venice,” where you will occasionally see a boat floating by with a couple (who spent way too much money to go on a boat ride in a fake canal), along with their singing guide (who is usually pretty good – sounds even better after you’ve had a few drinks!) Here’s me at the shoppes. My favorite store was Chapel Hats!
FOOD & ADULT BEVERAGES
I had a slight obsession this trip with Wolfgang Puck. We ate at three of his restaurants (one at the Canal Shoppes, one at Caesar’s Forum Shops, and the other at MGM Grand) and the man does not disappoint! Please know that I am not a foodie and if anything am slightly picky. This man turns an ordinary cuban sandwich into extraordinary! And the sauces in his pasta dishes are to die for. Fabulous, fabulous!
Beer – 24 taps with pipes flowing over your head. A beer and liquor menu on a convenient iPad! All at the Public House in the Canal Shoppes. Here’s a pic of those beer pipes and taps…
Shows & Attractions
We tried quite a few new things during this trip! We saw David Copperfield, which was fantastic. I remember watching him on tv as a kid – making the Statue of Liberty disappear and walking through the Great Wall of China. The theatre was intimate, which made up close viewing of his illusions that much better! It was almost like people weren’t clapping after he got done because everyone was just dumbfounded. He is the greatest magician and illusionist of all time. It’s a must see. Sit up close to the front if you want to participate in the show. Vegas Tip: This show let out at the same time as a major boxing match and a few other shows (all at MGM Grand). If this happens to you, walk to the Tropicana if you need a taxi. The line will be WAY shorter!
So check out this picture…
It’s me with a 16 glass sampler of Coca-Cola products from around the world. For only $7! This made me so happy for some reason! I had such a blast sampling all of these tasty beverages, and one that was totally disgusting. But I’m not telling you which one!!
And then next to the World of Coca-Cola was the M&M World. 4 floors of M&M products, but the highlight was this…
All of those tubes are filled with delicious flavors of M&M’s!!! A chocolate lovers dream… My inner child came out and I was giddy filling up a bag with a whole bunch of flavors to take home. LOVED IT!
A FEW INTERESTING THINGS I RAN ACROSS…
So, did you know you can get an IV in your room if you need a little pick-me-up at the MGM Grand?! You can! I hope these people have a nursing background!! Here’s the ad…(and check out the guy on the far right trying to look like Bane from the last Batman movie. Interesting…)
Museums, culture and history in Vegas? It’s true! We checked out the Leonardo DaVinci exhibit at The Venetian. It was very interesting and I had no idea of his scope of work, but I was hoping for some actual paintings or inventions. Nothing at the exhibit was done by him, just examples. If you are looking for an art exhibit, the Bellagio does have fine art exhibitions on a rotating basis.
Every summer we hear on the news of pets that have died from excessive exposure to the heat. Keeping your pets safe in the heat is so important…and so easy! Here are some tips on how to help your furry friends when it’s hot, how to spot an animal in distress, and some products that might help as well!
Exercise Early or Late
Go early in the morning or late in the evening for runs or outside exercise with your pet.
Shorten your distance and limit the amount of time you spend exercising.
Walk your pet in the grass – hard surfaces can burn those precious paws!
Take water for you AND your pet.
Provide shade outside (NOT in a dog house!)
If your dog has to spend time outside, it must be in the shade with access to cool water.
Shade provided should not be in the form of a dog house. Temps in those little houses can actually be worse than outside in the shade!
Humidity + Heat + Urban Living = BAD NEWS!
Heat is bad enough, but when you add humidity, it makes it even harder for your pet to breathe. And if you live in the city, pollution will make the conditions even worse.
Check your local news station for ozone alerts before you head out.
When I was traveling almost every weekend with Hilton, I would sometimes stay in one hotel one night and another hotel the next night! I had to learn (very quickly!) how to pack and repack, which meant staying organized while I was traveling. Even though I don’t travel as extensively anymore (thank goodness!), I still use those principles when I go on vacations with my family. Our trips run smoother when everything is in order!
Here are my top tips for staying organized while traveling:
1. Pack efficiently – What does this mean? It means organizing your clothes and folding them compactly. I personally prefer to have a stack of shirts, a stack of shorts, stack of socks, etc. Or, you could stack by outfit (one shirt, one short, one pair of socks, etc.). If you are not good at this, there are many products that can help you!
I LOVE these slim organizing bags. They have mesh “windows” so you can see what you packed in each bag and also have a carrying handle so you can easily take them out of your suitcase too. And I love that they come in 11 colors! eBags Slim Packing Cubes – 3pc Set
One other thing I do (which most people do as well, but I do a tad bit differently) is take just enough shampoo and conditioner. But I always put shampoo in a blue travel bottle. Why? Because shampoo rhymes with blue, so I’ll never get my shampoo and conditioner mixed up!
Here are some of my favorite travel bottles. They are equipped with suction cups for the shower wall, they have a no-drip valve, and they are BPA free. You can also use them for food!
2. Leave Room for Souvenirs – There is nothing worse than going on a great vacation and having no place to put those special treasures that you’ve found! If you need to, take a bigger suitcase, just make sure you are within the baggage guidelines of your airline.
3. Unpack When You Get to the Hotel – As soon as you get to the room, unpack! Make your home-away-from-home feel like home by hanging up all of your clothes. Get out your bathroom toiletries and set them up like you do in your own home.
4. At the End of the Day, FOLD YOUR DIRTY CLOTHES! – Some may find this hard to do, but if you packed it so efficiently in the first place, you’ll need to pack it just as efficiently to take it home. Otherwise, you’ll have wads of clothes that will take up more room than when you packed them in the first place. And if you really want to be organized, fold them and put them into stacks of how you would wash them when you got home – whites, darks, etc. This will make coming home with all that dirty laundry, MUCH simpler.