Monday, April 23, 2018

monday

This weekend was one of those weekends that was so busy it didn't really feel like a weekend. Without boring you with too many details, it involved a trip to Cedar Point to pick up the kids' preschool passes, dance class, lots of errands, lots of coughing fits, a long day at church, and lots of house projects.
Jon finished pulling out the tiles in our bathroom over the weekend and discovered additional rot on the right side of the floor by the shower. Our contractor is coming today, though, so I am hoping to see progress on this sooner rather than later!

Elden took this selfie with Littlefoot on Saturday. This was Jon's stuffed animal as a kid and I am so glad Elden loves it as well.

It was FINALLY warm in Ohio! And sunny! Like a unicorn! While Jon ran sound at church on Sunday I kept the kids home because I had to head out there in the afternoon for some safety training. We spent a decent amount of time outside because the weather was fantastic. Etta was super mad when it was time to go in.

The vanity countertop for the kids' bathroom finally arrived so I took the kids to Lowe's to get it. I'm pretty certain that after witnessing what a handful (understatement of the year) Etta was, the young man who helped me will never have children. While my parents were over on Sunday evening Jon and I took out the old top and set this one into place. I still need to finish spackling and painting the walls by it and then caulk it, but we are getting so close to being done with this bathroom.

Speaking of the world's biggest handful, this little girl sure is something. The speed and skill with which she gets into everything makes it seem like there are a lot more of her than one tiny little person. If there was a stronger adjective than honeybadger, it would still not adequately describe Etta. Parenting her has been one of our bigger challenges to date, but the days when I feel like I am going to need committed, she seems to pick up on that and find the right times to bring a book over and sink into me to read. We are exhausted. She is exhausting. I hope we can harness her powers for good because if we do she will change the world in a day.

Friday, April 20, 2018

five on friday

{1} I finally got my Ring doorbell thanks to this crazy good promotion for $50! Technically it is a very early birthday gift from my parents but I am so freaking excited.

{2} Edith is constantly cracking us up. She has approximately five states of being: a) butt naked, b) nothing but underwear and a necklace, c) dress up clothes, d) footed pajamas, and e) nothing but a swimsuit. On this particular night, she chose to combine Etta's peacock costume and footed pajamas while we read a story before bed.

{3} Etta is our resident troublemaker. We didn't have to baby proof anything with the older two (besides stair gates). Etta has decided to make up for them tenfold. She stamped on my walls, I painted it that day, and then she colored in nearly the same spot I had painted the next day. She cannot be trusted alone. Definitely our most mischievous child - she is giving me many gray hairs.

{4} I am obsessed with the Fetch Rewards app. I've had it 2 weeks and I've already redeemed for $15 worth of Target gift cards. So easy! If you are familiar with Ibotta this is a similar concept--you take a photo of your receipt and it automatically finds 'points' to add to your account based on the brands you bought (some of the big ones you get rewards for are Jell-O, Dove, Aquafina, Ben and Jerry's, Blue Moon, Campbell's, and seriously so many more). You'll also get 200 points for every receipt even if you don't have purchases of the brands affiliated with the app. The points can be redeemed for gift cards to places like Amazon, Target, Kohl's, Mastercard, etc. and it adds up so fast. A $3 gift card = 3000 points but considering you can get a ton of points easily--1000 for buying 1 Dove deodorant, 500 for Jell-O cups, etc. you can redeem for gift cards in no time. If you use the code FB2WH when you download the app you will automatically get $2 after you upload your first receipt.

{5} Want to know what's not my favorite?? The weather lately. It has snowed at least three times in the past week. Probably more. I don't know, I'm too salty and I lost track. This is definitely turning out to be one of those springs where we won't actually get a spring. We're going straight from 6 months of winter to scorching summer heat, that's my prediction.

Linking up with KatieAprilAndreaNarci and Erika!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

syrup winners


Ladies, check your emails so I can get your syrup in the mail :)

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

get a ring doorbell for $50 shipped!

This deal is too good not to share, but hurry because I don't know how long it will last! Today I got a Ring doorbell for just over $50 shipped!
{source}

1. Download the Ring app using my referral link. This will automatically put $10 in your Ring account.
2. Sign up for the app. The app is 100% free to use. 
3. Go to ring.com and sign in using the same login info you used to create your account.
4. Navigate to the Ring doorbell and add it to your cart.
5. Checkout. At checkout, you will see your $10 credit from my referral link. Also enter the promo code DS40OFF

This brings your total to $54 shipped!

hump day

Another day, another bathroom project.

Because we are incapable of having just one project on our plates at a time and seeing it through to completion.

Our master bathroom remodel is starting Monday, and in an effort to save some costs we are trying to do a lot of the prep work ourselves. This means tearing down wallpaper, patching drywall, taking out the vanity and toilet, and removing the floor tiles. Monday night I took down the mirror, shelf, and towel rods then removed all the wallpaper. One good thing about wallpaper in a bathroom is the humidity acted as a lovely little steamer so that wallpaper came down in sheets in about five minutes.

Last night, I decided we should tackle the vanity and floors to see what we were up against. We had never removed a vanity before and we figured it would be somewhat straightforward but wanted to be sure. We had also never removed floor tile so we didn't know how challenging that would be.

It took about 20 minutes, but Jon was able to remove the vanity without much fuss. Next up was the tile.

Naturally, I wore the same clothes to do work as I wore to work. If Jon had to list the top three things about me that drive him crazy, not changing into grimy clothes to do house projects would likely be at the top of his list. The thing is, I can't be bogged down by details like changing my clothes. That is precious time I could be spending on house projects.
I discovered some old wallpaper that must have been up when the house was first built:
The good news is that the tile is actually coming up pretty easily. The bad news is there's quite a bit of water damage to the subfloor around the toilet. I can only imagine what it will be like by the shower because the shower is leaking and that's what triggered this entire remodel. 
Today I am hoping to take out the toilet, mud some of the damaged spots on the walls, and remove more tile. 

Also, please tell me how Elden and Edith--who wake up if I so much as breathe heavily in my room--didn't stir once in spite of my hammering and dropping of tools approximately ten feet from their heads.

Also, don't forget to enter the syrup giveaway! It ends tomorrow at midnight!

Monday, April 16, 2018

monday

I had been sick basically all of last week/over the weekend which means I did not go to the gym once.

Can't say I was disappointed.

I may not have exercised once, but I did finally make progress on the kids' bathroom that we started in October. A project I assumed would take me two weeks, tops.


Tasks completed include: hanging the mirror and shelf, touching up paint on the walls and doors, painting the ceiling, and chiseling out the entry door and door frame to accommodate a new handle. We still have to replace the vanity top (painting it did not go well; we have a new top on order and are just waiting its arrival), replace the outlet/light switch, chisel out the closet door to put in that new knob, and I'd really like to switch out the light fixture. Our master bath remodel starts a week from today so Jon and I will be using this bathroom for a bit which is why I felt so compelled to finally finish this project.

At the beginning of the weekend it was actually really warm (it got into the 80s at one point!) so we spent a lot of time outside during the day. And now it's supposed to snow today. I hate everything.

Yesterday at church, Elden and Edith ran off and I couldn't find them. I passed our sanctuary twice and peeked in but didn't see them. On my third pass I happened to notice a certain little Poppy-esque ponytail that served as a locator beacon:
Today's task at hand: surviving. 

Friday, April 13, 2018

five on friday

{1} Simple Gourmet giveaway! Click here to enter :)

{2} Yesterday was in the mother loving 70s here. It was like being kissed by a unicorn for our winter-worn souls. I'm not exaggerating when I say we went outside after dinner and didn't come back in until it was time for baths. My favorite was when Edith was digging in the garden and got so excited she caught a 'tomato' bug. :) Lest you think I am getting cocky, Ohio is keeping me humble with a chance of snow on Monday.

{3} OMG. I have been wanting a Ring doorbell for ages and they are less than $100 now! I may just pull the trigger!

{4} Our bathroom remodel should start in the next two weeks and I am so excited. My room has been ground zero for the materials and I feel like I am suffocating. I am also entirely over trying to come to agreements on design decisions with Jon--we are both very opinionated and have dramatically different tastes. I keep telling him we could never build a house together because we would end up divorced.

{5} Elden has grown so much over the last year. He's still in preschool and therefore hasn't really worked on reading or writing much--if he asks we help but we haven't wanted to push it because we just want to let him be a kid. The other day he asked me how to spell "dear mom, I hope you feel better." I said that was a lot of words to spell and Jon realized he was holding something in his hand...it was a post-it he had written for me, all on his own, where he attempted to spell that out (Dr Mom I hop u f Bedr). Suffice to say, I melted. Then yesterday he played with our neighbor for over an hour--they took turns playing with his teeball toy and digging in the dirt. I'm not sure whether Elden initiated all this playing but the fact that he was engaging with and talking to another kid was HUGE for him! He was super bummed when he realized the neighbor wouldn't be home during the school day tomorrow.

Linking up with KatieAprilAndreaNarci and Erika!

*affiliate links used

Thursday, April 12, 2018

simple gourmet syrups {giveaway}

Recently a friend raved about some locally made syrup she had bought and I knew I needed to try it.


The Simple Products syrups are locally made in Holmes County, Ohio, using trees on the family's farm. Not only do they sell unique syrups, but they also make jams, glazes, dry rub and vinegar. Michael graciously agreed to send a few bottles of syrup for me to try.


I quickly whipped up a batch of pancakes so we could get to tasting.


First up: sugar cookie syrup.


Let me tell you: I am generally not a sweet breakfast food kind of person. This syrup is making me question everything

 
Elden had six pancakes and asked for a seventh--we had to cut him off. He told me this was the best pancake syrup he's ever had.

The lavender syrup actually reminds me a lot of the flavor of honey - perfect for vegans (ahem, Jon) who don't eat honey! As expected, salted caramel tasted a lot like a dessert and I fully intend on sweetening my coffee with it in the morning!

And now I get to share it with you! I am giving away three bottles - one per person - to three lucky winners! You must live in the United States to win and you will have a limited amount of time to send me your address before I pick a new winner. Enter below!
Disclaimer: I was provided with three bottles for free to review and three to give away. All opinions in this blog post are honest and my own.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

nine on ten

This month's ten on ten fell on a Tuesday.

 My alarm went off at 6:14. I am still fighting a pretty bad cold and I got up twice during the night (once for Edith and once for Elden) so I snoozed a bit. 

 As usual, I stayed in bed for about 15 minutes and did Swagbucks. I was able to complete almost all of my To Do list before I left for work.

 I brewed my daily cup of coffee and got Elden and Edith their requested baby coffee (chocolate milk). I pack my lunch the night before so I was able to just grab it and go...

 ...but not before hugs and kisses from my big kids.

 On this particular day I had to stop by one of our fabricators on my way into work to pick up some parts needed to finish installing some paint booths in our new lab. Since the field engineer was on site and needed these parts to complete the install I couldn't wait for them to send it over on their trucks.

Right as I got into work I got this text from Jon. I had no idea it was even #equalpayday so Jon definitely wins the feminist award of the day. I love how supportive he is of me and our girls (and obviously Elden, too!)

So Etta found this old Rosita Happy Meal toy from the movie Sing. This was / is her most beloved object. She no longer sings. I couldn't unscrew her to access the batteries because they were triangular screws (!?). So I took her into work. We successfully unscrewed her but of course she was also glued shut. It took 4 engineers, 20 minutes and $10 worth of new batteries (ugh) and Rosita lives! She's a little worse for the wear since we had to scrape the seams to get in but she sings.

For lunch I brought a vegan version of this quinoa cauliflower chowder, a banana, and a few cuties in an effort to better fight my cold. Then our local Jimmy John's came and delivered some sample subs. Selah!

At about 3:15 I headed home for the day where I was greeted by a certain clingy little girl.

And the rest of the day was basically a sickness-induced blur. I pretty much sat around at every opportunity. I did watch the season premiere of New Girl but in my sick haze did not take any photos.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

favorite new money-making apps

It's no secret I have been a money-saving machine for Disney. Well, in addition to the apps I have been using regularly, I also found a few new ones that I am obsessed with and I can't believe I didn't know about them prior to now.

{1} Fetch Rewards. If you are familiar with Ibotta this is a similar concept--you take a photo of your receipt and it automatically finds 'points' to add to your account based on the brands you bought (some of the big ones you get rewards for are Jell-O, Dove, Aquafina, Ben and Jerry's, Blue Moon, Campbell's, and seriously so many more). You'll also get 200 points for every receipt even if you don't have purchases of the brands affiliated with the app. The points can be redeemed for gift cards to places like Amazon, Target, Kohl's, Mastercard, etc. and it adds up so fast. A $3 gift card = 3000 points but considering you can get a ton of points easily--1000 for buying 1 Dove deodorant, 500 for Jell-O cups, etc. you can redeem for gift cards in no time. If you use the code FB2WH when you download the app you will automatically get $2 after you upload your first receipt.

{2} Receipt Hog. This is similar to Fetch Rewards. Upload any receipt for any retailer and get coins. Coins can be redeemed for gift cards to Amazon or PayPal deposits. It takes a minute or less to upload a picture of your receipt. This one is a slower earner than Fetch Rewards but an earner nonetheless.

The list of other apps I use religiously can be found here. Between these apps and Swagbucks, I am at 19% of my savings goal for vacation.

The other budgeting tip we've been following lately is saving any gift cards we get from promotions at places like Target--the ones where if you spend X amount or buy X items you get an extra Target gift card--to buy the kids' birthday and Christmas presents this year. We're already at about $70 by stocking up on our essentials (diapers, paper towels, etc.) when they run these promotions. Doing this is an easy way to pay for holidays without breaking the bank when the time comes! It is especially helpful since all our kids' birthdays and Christmas fall within 4 months of each other.

Friday, April 6, 2018

friday favorites

 {1} Yesterday I mentioned the fact that this is the winter that will not die. In an effort to flick off mother nature, Jon and I took the kids to the zoo on Saturday when the high got up to a balmy 42F. Elden and Edith wore their pajamas because we've lost our will to fight. 

{2} In an effort to lull myself into a false sense of spring, I picked up some hyacinths last time we went to Trader Joe's. Tulips are my favorite flowers but hyacinths might just knock them into second because I cannot get enough of their scent.

 {3} Not a Pinterest fail! I saw a super cute pin with strawberry "carrots" in cupcakes and decided to make them for Easter. I used these candy melts (not vegan) and made our favorite vegan chocolate cake (in cupcake form) with our favorite vegan chocolate frosting (substituting coconut oil for vegan butter). The cake was super crumbly so that was a bit challenging but many cupcakes survived.

{4} Speaking of chocolate, I picked up a tub of brownie batter dessert hummus from Aldi last week and it is a big hit. Etta wore her finest outfit to go ham on it with a spoon. I prefer dipping pretzels in it but to each her own.
 
{5} This little lady is constantly cracking us up. Edith is nothing if not sure of herself. She's the child Jon and I think we will need to bail out of jail at some point in her lifetime because she does what she wants and consequence will not deter her. That being said, she is sweet as pie 87% of the time and loves making you laugh.

{6} Latest buys. I'm a nosy Nellie and I love hearing about what things people are purchasing on Amazon. We don't have a Prime account so we don't order from Amazon often, but when we do it's usually a weird hodgepodge of items. This week's order included vegan hair styling cream and a vegan shaving brush for Jon, some vegan white miso paste, and one pound of nutritional yeast. So, you know...totally normal things.

Linking up with KatieAprilAndreaNarci and Erika!

*affiliate links used

Thursday, April 5, 2018

sup (in gifs)

Today marks the 312th day of winter in Cleveland and I am feeling a certain way about it.
{source}
I woke up to discover I hadn't run the dishwasher. This meant no travel mug which meant no coffee. Thankfully I had a free beverage from Dunkin so I decided to stop on my way into work via mobile ordering before I left home. Easy peasy.

Get to highway and bam. Gridlock. It's less than a few miles I have to take this particular highway to get to the entrance to the highway I take the majority of my commute, but I did what any respectful person would do and I sat there for 25 minutes straight. Lo and behold, someone decided they were above the law and would just take the shoulder around all of us. Imagine the--for lack of a better term--justice-boner I got when a state trooper who was one lane to my left and a few cars ahead immediately pulled that driver over. Here is actual footage of me at approximately 6:43 am as I watched this unfold:
{source}
Suffice to say, that made sitting in traffic feel okay.

I'm getting off track. Endless winter. The last two Ohio winters were super mild so I totally knew it would catch up to us eventually. Ohio is a fantastic place to live--the cost of living is insanely amazing, there are so many great job opportunities, access to world-class healthcare, and Cleveland has been totally revamped into an incredible place to explore and--my favorite past time--eat. The only thing not going for Ohio is the winter. I have a friend from Texas who has expressed interest in moving out this way should the opportunity present itself and one of the first things I warned her about is the fact that our winter pretty much runs November through (not to!) April. Snow in May is not unheard of. It's depressing enough when you are an adult who doesn't have to deal with little tyrants but an entirely different beast when you are housebound with hyperactive honeybadgers. As of now, this is basically what our house looks like when I get home from work:
{source}
...that would be Jon on the floor and Etta wielding the flying torch. All five of us are ready for spring. Nay. We need spring. Except this is Ohio. We will have winter until June and then catapult straight into 90-degrees and 300% humidity. #prayforus