Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Feeding Your Mind

*I've partnered with Skillfeed to bring you this post.

People sometimes think that becoming a mom means that you automatically become a boring person who can no longer converse about anything other than cloth vs. disposable or breastfeeding vs. bottle. The fact is, that it's easy to become that mom. It's easy to be so consumed with every movement our children make that we lose ourselves. It's the struggle that lots of women and even some men go through.

https://www.skillfeed.com/MTMommy

There is a way to combat those feelings of general blah-ness. How? Learn something new. Take up a hobby. Learn a new language. It actually doesn't matter what it is, but doing something to engage your brain is important. Not only does it halt your brain from turning into baby food mush, but it makes you a more interesting person and it can be a lot of fun!

"Fine," you say, "but I'm cooped up at home all day long with the kids, with only a brief respite from the monotony when my significant other comes home." How am I going to find the time to get out and learn something new?

The answer is amazingly simple!


Learning online isn't just for college students anymore and it certainly doesn't have to cost as much as a college degree! Skillfeed is an online learning platform that showcases literally thousands of videos on topics as diverse as public speaking, jewelry making, photography, learning new languages, and even learning how to moonwalk!

Personally, I love that they offer courses on software, like on the new Windows 8.1 platform. My husband just got a new laptop for Christmas with Windows 8.1, but it is entirely different from what we've used for years. Watching some of the videos on Skillfeed was a quick way to get up to speed and help us navigate it.
As a blogger, I use a lot of computer programs, so when I saw that Skillfeed offers videos on things like Mailchimp, Adobe, Blogging, and more, I knew that I'd found a place where I could spend literally hours learning new things to improve myself, my blog, and my writing. There are always areas where I can improve, so I really appreciate the ability to learn in a form that allows me to start and stop as often as I need to.

One of the things that's really impressed me is that when you click on a topic in the Skillfeed course list, you'll see videos that range from beginner level to intermediate and even some for people who are experts. This way, you can start where you feel comfortable and continue to get better. Once you reach that expert level, you might even be able to publish your own video to instruct others!

You might think that a resource like this would cost big bucks, but that simply isn't true. Right now, you can get a FREE 30 day trial (you do still have to input a credit card). After the trial, you'll only spend $19 a month improving your skills. That one fee gives you access to the entire catalog of videos and you can watch from whichever device fits your needs best.

So, what's it worth to you to improve yourself? Are you ready to make a change and take up a new skill? Check out Skillfeed now!

Sooth and Play Giveaway


Welcome to the Soothe and Play Giveaway, generously sponsored by Medi-Pals!

Having a sick infant or child can be emotional for both the child and caregiver, and that's why Medi-Pals created their kid-friendly medication dispensers. Available in 3 fun characters, Medi-Pals dispensers are familiar and fun for the infant, easy for the caregiver to use, and they always ensure that the child is getting the accurate dosage of medicine. Also, Medi-Pals are made in the USA! Thrifty Nifty Mommy recently had the chance to review the Medi-Pals medication dispensers, and she said they worked like a charm! Be sure to check out her full review to get the details on how these dispensers work.

Personally, I wish that these had been around when I had Alex! It used to take Mostly Together Dad and I BOTH to get him to take need medicine. One to hold him down and one to pry his mouth open. Baby numbers 2 and 3 were totally different, though! They would suck it down and ask for more!  
Key benefits of Medi-Pals pacifier medicine dispensers:
  • They're softer than a straight syringe, and the syringe sits snugly in the nipple, so no medicine gets lost or stuck to the sides.
  • They're accurate - the caregiver is in complete control of dosage.
  • The diverter on the pacifier nipple fans the medicine to the sides, not straight to the back of the child's throat, so that the child won't gag and spit the medicine out.
  • They're reusable, dishwasher-safe, and easy to clean.
  • The pacifier and faceplate are easy to put together and take apart. You can even change faceplates!
  • They work with more than just oral vitamins, pain relievers, and oral antibiotics—it can also be used with baby food or even honey. If you can get it into the syringe, it will work.
Medi-Pals wants to help you SOOTHE your baby so they'll be ready to PLAY - that's why they've put together an AMAZING prize package for one lucky person!

This prize package is valued at over $500 and includes:
  • 2 Medi-Pals dispensers: Your children will get to take their vitamins and medicine stress-free with Freddie the Frog and Lilly the Ladybug.
  • 1 Blooming Bath in Yellow
  • 1 Mamaroo (Original version, classic gray color)
  • 1 Vulli Sophie the Giraffe Teether
  • 1 new and improved Step2 Easy Turn Coupe
  • 1 $150 VISA Gift Card
Open to the continental US only, ages 18 and up. Ends 2/11/15 at 11:59 PM EST. Enter using the Giveaway Tools form below. Good Luck!
Disclosure: I did not receive any compensation for hosting this giveaway. One winner will be randomly selected using the Giveaway Tools random selector and notified via email by the hosts of this giveaway, Thrifty Nifty Mommy and Viva Veltoro. Once notified, the winner will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or Google. Void where prohibited. Please note, design of Step2 Easy Turn Coupe may vary depending on in-stock availability as it's being redesigned.

Monday, January 26, 2015

DIY: Valentine Candy Jar Gift

*This post is brought to you by Dollar Tree.


With Valentine's Day right around the corner, I thought I'd share a fun, easy, and thrifty craft that you can recreate yourself for under $10! To get started, first visit your local Dollar Tree and stock up on supplies. (Everything is just $1!) You'll be able to find ribbons, balloons, candies, and most important - a vase or jar that you'd like to decorate.

You'll want to have an idea of what  you want your final project to look like. For mine, I chose a tall, thin vase that I could wrap ribbons around and place stickers on easily.

For my first jar, I picked up a simple pack of foam heart stickers. The backs peel right off, but once you stick them on, they may not come off without tearing, so be careful! I did a smaller heart on top of a larger one, in a diagonal pattern.

Next, I got out the hot glue gun and put a ribbon around the top and glued a bow on top of that.

Last was the easy part! I simply filled the jar with wrapped chocolate candies, and topped it off with some larger candies and a heart.

With the second jar, I really wanted to get creative with some plastic heart bead necklaces. First, I measured around the jar and cut the necklace so that the ends would just touch. Using the hot glue gun, I secured the ends. The result was a really fun contrast.

Next, I filled the jar, leaving the top inch bare. I then used some artificial roses to fill the top. I finished it off with a large balloon (using scissors to cut the stem down to size), a large candy, and a pink heart.

I had a lot of fun making these. I was able to get all of my supplies for under $10 by shopping at Dollar Tree. The projects also took less than 10 minutes to create. I'm not sure who will enjoy this more, myself, or my sisters who will be the recipients!

These would make great gifts for anyone on your list. Get the kids involved and make one for their teacher!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Saturday Savings!


The best deals of the week are right at your fingertips!

Freebies

"What's in the Bible?" DVD - Jesus is the Good News From Family Bible Films ($1.00 S&H)

FreckleBox - Valentine's Printable coloring pages

Clothing Deals

Under $5!

Gymboree - Get an extra 20% off markdowns for savings up to 70% at Gymboree! (while supplies last)

Crazy 8 - Get $10 jeans and $7 tees at Crazy 8

Reebok - Sign up for email updates and get 15% off

Tea Collection - Take an extra 40% off sales prices at Tea with code TAKE40

Valentines Day Deals

Tiny Prints - Save 20% on Valentines Day Cards (PROMO CODE:  VDAYJAN20), Birth Announcements (PROMO CODE:  BABYJAN20), Invitations  (PROMO CODE:  INVITESJAN20), or Gifts (PROMO CODE:  GIFTSJAN20)!Also, use PROMO CODE:  2015TP20NEW for a 20% discount on your total order for all new customers!

Cate&Chloe - First month 30% discount. Use PROMO CODE:  MTMVIP30

Miscellaneous Deals


Learning Resources - Get 15% off with PROMO CODE:  HAPPY15 (ends 1/31)

BabyBeddingZone.com - Up to 70% off

Tutoring - Save $20 on a tutor from WyzAnt 


Friday, January 23, 2015

Join Ms. Frizzle on The Magic School Bus!

When I was a kid, my favorite classes were the ones where they would show a video. I learned something, but was entertained at the same time. Does anyone remember Reading Rainbow? We used to watch it every week at school. My favorite, though, was when they would show The Magic School Bus. It was so much fun and everyone always wanted a teacher like Ms. Frizzle!



Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Meet our New Akita Puppy, Mochi!

This past week has been an exciting one for our family. We added a new family member. Mochi is an Akita puppy who is already 4 months old! Bringing her home has been a very exciting time for us, but one that has been a long time coming.


We have been wanting a dog for a long time - and not just the kids! I have always been a dog lover, but we had to make sure that the timing was right and we wanted to make sure to find the right dog for our whole family. We had first learned of the Akita breed when we lived in Japan. We knew that they are gorgeous dogs, but after doing some research, we found that they are so much more than that!

The Akita Inu breed is known for being very loyal, fairly quiet, and relatively clean indoors. These are all amazing things in a dog that is going to live inside! Of course, there are negatives as well. They are known to be intelligent, but very stubborn, protective, yet aggressive if not socialized and trained well.

Despite the negatives, we knew that the Akita was the right dog for us. Our first step was to contact an Akita rescue to see if we could help a dog in need while also fulfilling our families needs. Unfortunately, rescues recommend only placing akita puppies in homes where there are young children, so the puppy can grow up around children and learn how to behave accordingly. The rescue that we contacted had a dog that had had puppies, but they were already all placed.

We went back to the drawing board and, while it was not our first choice (and one I know will probably bother some people) we went to an Akita breeder. We searched for one in our area, but unfortunately, the closest reputable one we could find lived 6 hours away. Nevertheless, we were determined and were able to pick up our puppy last Thursday!

Since bringing her home, and we are working on the whole puppy potty training thing. So far, she has shown a real love of her crate and frequently hides there from the kids, who make her a little nervous (who could blame her really - sometimes I want to hide from them too!).

The day after she came home, I took her for a check up at the veterinarian, where she received and clean bill of health, lots of treats, and the admiration of every doctor and nurse at the clinic. Maybe I'm just a proud puppy parent already, but she was the cutest pet there! She definitely showed her anxiety, though, by hiding under the chairs at every opportunity. She won't be able to do that for long, but in the mean-time, the vet staff invited us to stop in any time, for a treat and to get her comfortable with being there.

Since then, she's come out of her shell a little bit, she's eating more and has even started following little Sophia around, when she says, "C'mon, Moch" and proceeds to run around giggling. Alex has enjoyed taking some responsibility with taking her outside to potty and Shari has told every single one of her friends, teachers, and even some strangers about her new puppy!

Needless to say, Mochi the Akita has found a family who loves her. Personally, I think we are the lucky ones!

Monday, January 19, 2015

5 Ingredient Turkey Goulash

Growing up, my mother used to make a dish that she called "Goulash". It wasn't until much later that I realized that it was actually a real thing - my mother has quite the imagination and would often make up her own names for things. After looking into it, I found that the goulash recipe my mom made was nothing close to the traditional goulash that originates in Hungary. Regardless, it's delicious and I've even given it my own twist.

An under 20 minute meal!