Review of Ebates

As I’ve mentioned on some other occasions I love saving money. One of my favorites it is ebates. I signed up back in August 2012 and so far I’ve earned $137.13. And I know I’ve seen the commercials that say I’ve “earned” xyz amount on ebates. Well earned is probably poor choice of words but I still love ebates. And here we have my Review of Ebates.

Review of Ebates

If your looking to save money on things you need and are already planning on buying online I would defiantly start with ebates. Previously I had always forgotten to check before I went to a website but I recently I added the Chrome Extension and now every time I go to a site that I can use ebates on a little pop-up shows in the upper right hand corner.

Review of Ebates

This takes the option out of my forgetting to actually check first. The other nice thing about ebates is that you can also find coupons that can be used on the site.

ebates coupon

If you haven’t checked it out I highly recommend trying it. They typically have some sort of sign up bonus as well. And to be honest there is no reason not to. Your probably going to be buying the stuff anyway so you might as well get a discount.

Ebates Coupons and Cash Back

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Newborn Recommendations

Baby girl is almost 6 months old now so I’ve decided its time to post some newborn recommendations. These items are pretty much things I really liked that I didn’t see on most other posts. These things might not be for everyone but they were really helpful for me.

Newborn Recommendations

Newborn Recommendations

These recommendations are in no particular order:

1. Receiving blankets:

I really like the aden® by aden + anais® Muslin swaddleplus® Blankets because they are large and breathable. I used these for everything. I would fold it up and put it under her head. I used it as a blanket. I used it as a cover when I was breast feeding her. I keep an extra one in my diaper bag just in case and we have some on each floor of our house. I love them!

2. Rock n Play:

I slept so much better when baby girl was born because of the Rock ‘n Play. We kept it on either Josh’s or my side of the bed at various points of her life and it was awesome. When baby girl was a month old we started giving her a paci and so often in the night she would drop it. I could just lean over put it in and rock her a bit to sleep and we were golden. During this time I did tend to go to sleep at the same time she did. I could put her in it fully awake when I went to bed and she’d just fall asleep with me. I will note that my baby is just a sleeper so this may not be the same experience for everyone. Also the link/image below is on the exact rock n play I have because mine is older and was given to me by my sister.

3. Swaddle:

I love the SwaddleMe swaddles for when they are young! We ended up using the swaddle in the Rock ‘n Play and I think that really helped her sleep longer. When we moved her to the crib at 3 months we stopped using the swaddles but thats for another post! For us the small/meduim swaddles were sufficient but our daughter is also on the smaller side.

4. Boob pads/Nursing tank top:

I’m grouping these together but I love them for different reasons. I had a huge leaking problem once my milk came in. Once I leaked through the boob pads twice between feeds and I was feeding her every 2 hours. They also have Disposable Nursing Pads which I ended up using at night with the reusable ones because I was leaking so much. During the day I mostly opted for the reusable ones so I didn’t feel as wasteful. I also love having nursing tank tops. Sometimes I just hang out around the house in them when its hot. Its really nice for if I’m going to be feeding her around other people because then I’m not showing as much skin. If I wear it under a regular shirt and then just lift up my shirt to feed her it works really well. The only downside is in the summer when its really hot I get extra sweaty from wearing two shirts.

5. Comfy Chair:

When baby girl was really little some of her feedings would last forever like an hour. In her nursery we had Ikea Poang Chair which works okay. But honestly in the 0-3 month stage I wish I had a better chair in her room for night time feedings. At that point she was just general not great at feedings which didn’t help. Now at 5 months I can feed her in the same chair and it’s fine but those feedings are generally short only 5-15 minutes.

6. Small Blanket for car seat:

If you have a baby born during the colder months I highly recommend a small blanket for in the car seat. My aunt made us two and they are about 14 in by 19 in. I typically would fold them in half and they were the perfect size to cover her but not too big.

Small Blanket        In Car Seat

7. Swings:

You’ve probably heard this before but we love our swings. We actually have two. One upstairs in the den and one downstairs in the family room. I do recommend having something in any room your going to be spending any time in for two reason. First its nice to have a safe place to put them down if you need to do something quick. Second if they happen to fall asleep in your arms I’ve found it easier to transfer her somewhere close to finish her snooze then to have to take her upstairs to her crib or something. If you don’t want two swings thats fine but I do recommend something. At least one of them has the vibrating and music option but we never used either of them.

8. Changing table everywhere:

For people who only have one floor this is not necessary but I wanted to have a changing table on both floors of our house. Now you might say thats super expensive but one we got from my sister (my brother-in-law made it) and the other I bought from someone at work for like $50 so it wasn’t so bad. I like having the full changing table in both places because there is room for baby storage but honestly just having a designated place to change them is probably fine. Also which might be excessive is that I got two Baby Trend Diaper Champ Deluxe to go by each of the diaper pails. I didn’t really want to put dirty diapers straight in our regular trash so I just went ahead and got two.

In Closing

You might find that some of these newborn recommendations are helpful for you or have other ones you just love. Leave a comment for your newborn recommendation I may have forgotten one that I actually love!

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Baby Monitor Recommendation

When it came to registering for our baby a baby monitor was top on our list. As I have mentioned before we got a lot of stuff from my sister but one of the things we didn’t get was a baby monitor. I did some research and found one that had good reviews and contained the things we wanted. So this is my baby monitor recommendation after two months of usage: Levana Ayden 3.5″ Digital Video Baby Monitor.

Baby Monitor Recommendation: Levana Ayden 3.5 Digital Video Baby Monitor

Levana Ayden 3.5 Digital Video Baby Monitor

Baby Monitor Recommendation

The main things we were looking for in a baby monitor were:
– Portable. We wanted to be able to unplug the monitor and take it around the house with us
– Video. We wanted to be able to see baby girl on the screen
– Night Vision. Since most of the time its going to be dark in her room I wanted to be able to see her even when its dark
– Multiple Cameras. We only one kid now but when kid #2 comes around I didn’t want to have to buy two monitors

Why I love it

Even though we had a list of things we wanted out of a monitor this one had a bunch of stuff that I love that I didn’t even know I needed!
– LED Indicator Ring. I am blind. Well not really blind but I wear contacts and they are -7 yes -7! When I’m not wearing my contacts or glasses I can’t see anything. So in the middle of the night when I look at the monitor I really can’t see anything but having the ring light up when she is crying it a great visual.
– Temperature Monitoring. I didn’t think I really cared about this but I actually really like it. Sometimes rooms in our house getting hotter then the thermostat and I like to know hot warm or cold it is in her room. Especially when she is wearing her baby marlins magic sleepsuit because its kinda thick and keeps her very warm.

What I don’t like

– Screen Brightness. At night when I’m trying to sleep the screen is really bright. There is a PEEP mode that I may try to use which lets you turn off the screen and it’ll come back on when they make a noise. Per Amazon “PEEP (Power-on/off Energy Efficient Picture) sets your monitor and your camera to “sleep” when there is no sound in the nursery saving hours of valuable battery life. The second your baby makes a “peep”, the camera and the monitor will activate so you can see and hear exactly what is going on.”

Other Comments

These were some other things that I thought about when I was doing research: access from phone and being able to move/tilt the monitor. You can’t do either of these things with this model but I was ok with that. I wasn’t actually sure I wanted the monitor to stream online for security reasons and the way I have the monitor set up I really have no need to move it at this point in time. So based on all of those facts Levana Ayden 3.5″ Digital Video Baby Monitor is my baby monitor recommendation!

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New Backyard Slide

We have a nice back porch at our house. It was part of the reason why we ended up buying this house. The back has nice shade most of the afternoon which makes it nice even on hot days. The only down side is that there isn’t much for kids to do back there. I decided I wanted to put something back there for when my niece and nephews came over. Thus came the idea of adding a new backyard slide to give them something to do.

New Backyard Slide

New Backyard Slide

I didn’t want to buy a full backyard play set yet because baby girl can’t even walk. I figured maybe in a year or two we’ll get a nice set for the backyard but for now what can I do. I had looked online but they were going to be like $200 and I was thinking more like $20. I had looked on craigslist too but hadn’t really found what I was looking for.

Then one day when baby girl and I were out for a walk I saw a house that has a play set in pretty bad condition but the slide looked good still. I found the guys info on our neighborhood directory and he said I could have it for free. Fast forward to Josh borrowing some tools from my dad, getting it disconnected and up on our yard. We have a retaining wall made of wood in the back and I figured we could easily screw it into the wall. The wall also has various heights so I was hoping one of them would work for this slide. And it was! Its a rather fast slide but Josh and I survived going down it. Also, most of my niece and nephews have been on it and no one has hurt themselves yet!

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Review of Shopkick

On of my favorite savings apps is ShopKick. Its one of the few apps out there where you literal have to buy nothing and you can get free gift cards! So here is my review of ShopKick.

Review of Shopkick

Review of Shopkick

I’ve been using ShopKick since 2013 and so far I’ve earn enough points for $50 in gift cards. I recently redeemed one for $25 and used it to help buy a new Kuerig since ours was leaking. ShopKick lets you earn points typically one of three ways: walking into stores, scanning products, purchasing products and scanning receipts. I’ve done the first two but I’ve never actually purchased anything. You can get more points by buying things but I haven’t really found it worth it for the points and they are usually things I don’t need at the time.

The thing that I like most about it is that I can do it at stores I go to normally. The two places I’ve been doing it more recently are Target and Food Lion. When I first started doing Shopkick one of my friends and I would go over to Target specifically to find items. She has since moved away but I’ve seen other people doing it and shared some of my pointers. One of the things I usually do it when I find an item I put it back with the bar code. I think the main reason why I really like ShopKick is because its like a scavenger hunt in the stores trying to find all the items. I can even keep doing it with baby because she’s usually chill enough to let me scan a few extra things when we are at the store. And we have lots of free time on our hands so we aren’t usually in a rush.

– At stores I normally go to
– I don’t have to buy anything
– I like the challenge

– Looking back I averaged $25 is about 1.5 years (but some of that time I was pregnant and didn’t leave the house) so if your looking for a big money maker this might not be the case
– Sometimes you can’t find the items

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Butter Sugar and Butter Nut Cookies

Last week I tried out another Grandpa recipe and this time it was Butter Sugar and Butter Nut Cookies. The tricky parts of this recipe were: 1. No baking time, 2. No baking temperature, 3. No cookie size.

Butter Sugar and Butter Nut Cookies

Original Recipe
Butter Sugar and Butter Nut Cookies

We had to cut all the amounts by a quarter to make a more reasonable amount of cookies.

Makes 5 dozen
7 T Butter
7 T Shortening
1 ⅜ c Sugar
1 Egg
3 ⅛ c Cake Flour
½ t Salt
1 t Vanilla
½ c toasted and finely chopped pecans (optional)
Chocolate Chips (optional)

Combine flour and salt and set aside.
Cream butter and shortening with sugar until fluffy.
Add egg and vanilla.
Add dry ingredients, beating just until incorporated.
Stir in ground nuts (optional)
Chill in freezer for 15 min
Make into 1 in balls and flatten
Bake 350 for about 15 min
(Optional) Melt chocolate chips and dip cookies

Pictures with Steps

Sugar and butter ready to be creamed

Fully creamed

All ingredients mixed and ready to be put in the freezer

1 inch balls


If you want to add nuts

Cookies mixed with nuts

You could also dip them in sugar

Or sprinkles

Or dip them in chocolate



*Note: Pictures and instructions were made/created with assistance based on the original recipe

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Killing the weeds

I try to be on top of killing the weeds in our yard to try and keep things looking good. However it had been 2-3 weeks since I’d last sprays and there a ton that had started growing.

Killing the weeds

Killing the weeds

We ‘hired’ my 5 year old nephew to do some of the spraying. Because of that I wanted to use something safe around kids and whats safer then vinegar. I’d found some recipes that call for vinegar, salt and dish detergent. I used to have specific ratio that I used but now I if I feel like it I dump some dish detergent and salt in the bottom of my container and then fill it with vinegar. And sometimes I don’t even bother adding the salt and dish soap if its not convienent. I used a sprayer that I think is similar to this one: Roundup Sprayer style=. I think mine looked slightly different and I probably got it from Lowes instead of Amazon but you get the idea. So to summarize: a bunch of salt, a bunch of dish soap and a lot of vinegar. I basically put pour the salt and dish soap in for a few seconds each.

So once you have it mixed go ahead and start spraying. It seems to work better on hotter days when the weeds will be in direct sun and try not to do it when your expecting it to rain.

Here is the before
Weeds before

And the next day
Dead weeds

In Closure

There are some weeds that it doesn’t work as great on. The tall ones that are more grass like don’t work as well because the key is to get the mix on a lot surface area and those weeds don’t have as much. It does still kinda work but not as well. Also, it seems like you might have the spray more frequently then with other weed killers that you purchase. But vinegar is super cheap, I don’t mind spraying and its safer around kids.

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Review of InboxDollars

Until about 5 months go my husband and I were DINKS (dual income no kids) but then baby girl came! We had already decided once she came that I was going to stop work and be a stay at home mom. I always wanted to be a mom and be able to stay home with my kids like my mom had done. But this meant that my income dropped from a lot of money to nothing. So I decided to try out a few different things online that I can do to make some extra cash which leads me to this review of InboxDollars.

Review of InboxDollars

Review of InboxDollars I decided before I did a review of the site I should use it for at least a month to really see what the money making possibilities where and if I thought it was worth my time. During the month I made about $9 plus the initial $5 for a total of about $14. The payouts occur when you reach $30. There are two ways that I use it to make money for the most part. The PaidEmails and some surveys. I have also done some of the other ones like the promotions, cash offers, video earnings and searched but they aren’t as convenient for me. I usually do the surveys and read the emails while I’m on my phone feeding my baby or watching tv. I normally do everything from my phone vs the website.



They usually have a bunch of surveys that are available everyday that you can do. Most of them require a few minutes of them figuring out if your a good fit before you actually get to the survey. That can be kind of annoying because you could spend 15 minutes doing pre-surveys and not make any money. However at this point I have the time to answer questions so I keep doing them. For ever survey you try you get a spin on this wheel.



Spin to win

I usually just a ticket for the sweeps but I have gotten 5 cents several times. Either way you usually get something so it is worth it to do the spins. Now I mentioned the sweeps which are basically sweepstakes for various prizes from money to target gift cards. I usually enter for the money and do the monthly $250 for 50 sweeps. I haven’t won yet but I’ve only been doing it a month and I honestly don’t really except to win but hey its work a shot.






The other thing I usually do is the paid emails. These are super easy and can also be done from my phone. I just go through each of the emails and click the link and get my 2 cents.



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Super Summer Adventure Submerged

A few weeks ago I helped with Super Summer Adventure Submerged! SSA is our church‘s version of Vacation Bible School

Super Summer Adventure Submerged

Super Summer Adventure Sugmerged

I made the submarine out of a big card board box one of my neighbors gave us. I cut a box is half and taped it to the back side of the submarine to hold it up. I put the two half behind the two outer port holes. Then when I took the kids pictures I had them sit in the box to help hold the submarine up.

Little fishes

I was also going to try and make these fish out of paint chips as a decoration. But I couldn’t find paint chips that were that big and I couldn’t rehand that cool of a shape out of what I had so instead I just free handed a simple fish.


Shark Attack

One of the things that they gave us was to use was this little piece of paper to put on the front of a box as a shark. I was like I can make something cooler then that! So I made this shark out of a box we had. The kids tossed little bean bags into the mouth. I asked my nephew and he said it was his favorite thing that day!


In closing

I also put of a few more decorations but they didn’t turn out as well as the fish, the submarine and shark. The submarine was such a big hit that another church in the area that will also be doing this VBS asked to use it. I was more then willing to give it away because I actually hadn’t figured out how I was going to get it home. We only have two cars and I had to get my co-leader to come pick it up in her mini-van. So double win!

During the week I helped with the 4s class. It was extra fun because my youngest nephew was able to come and was in my class! He was a great helper in the mornings before it started to help keep baby girl happy. And baby girl did great in the nursery. The only day she was fussy was Thursday but I can’t blame her because she got shots the day before.

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Laundry Soap Recipe

Laundry Soap RecipeI decided that it might be fun and cost saving to make my own laundry soap a couple of years ago.  I don’t do a ton of laundry at this point because there are only three of us I figured it would be a good time savings for not having to buy laundry detergent as frequently.  I found a Laundry Soap Recipe on pintrest that was similar to one my sister suggested and gave it a shot.

I’ve made two batches and invited people over both times to assist with the process. The process isn’t that hard but its easier to do it with someone who has a food processor for shredding the soap. The first batch which was just used by myself and husband lasted about 18 months. We are still working on the second batch.

Laundry Soap Recipe

I was able to get all the supplies at Walmart and they were right next to each other on the shelf which made things easier. I made a batch and half or so this round because I already had some supplies and spent $22.56 on the supplies.

3 lb OxiClean (the original recipe only called for 3.5 lb but the 5 lb was a better price)
4 lb 12 oz 20 Mule Team Borax
4 lb Arm & Hammer Baking Soda
55 oz Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
3 bars Fels Naptha Soap


You could also get this Laundry Soap Kit because it has most of the ingredients. Or you can just go to Walmart and get the stuff. At Walmart I got a big glass jar by the kitchen supplies to hold the laundry soap and it worked really well.


As I mentioned before it was super easy. I shredded the soap using my food processor. Then I combined all of the ingredients in a bucket and your done. I use about 1-2 Tablespoons per load and in the Oxiclean container there was a scoop that I use.


Other Notes

You can also make a different version that you dissolve the soap in water before adding the other stuff. That is actually a better price per load but takes up more space. Because I already mixed the supplies together I decided to do a modified version. I put a some of the mix in water and got it all dissolved. I’ve been using that because sometimes the dry mix leaves a residue on my laundry. But honestly that doesn’t happen that often.

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