Sunday, February 27, 2011

Save money on Amazon, and!

As previously mentioned, we are expecting a new baby this summer. Now that my kids are older, diapers and formula are a distant memory, but as I browse the baby aisles, the expense of caring for a baby seems to be coming back to me.

However, there are so many new options for saving money on baby (and home) products that I never had access to before! I recently signed up for Amazon Mom which saves you an additional 30% on items you Subscribe and Save to, as well as free two day shipping. I never would have considered ordering diapers online, but after combining some coupon codes I found in my Parents magazine, and my free American Baby magazine (you can get a free subscription by signing up for just about any baby deals online-- google it), I was able to discount my price so much that I got four cases of diapers for less than the cost of two, shipped straight to my door! Check it out (I got two each of the following orders):

Luvs Premium Stretch Diapers with Ultra Leakguards, Size 1 (8-14 Lbs), 264 Diapers
Item(s) Subtotal: $35.54
Shipping & Handling: $0.00
Promotion Applied: -$3.55
Promotion Applied: -$7.11
Promotion Applied: -$10.66
Total Before Tax: $14.22
Sales Tax: $1.32
Total for This Shipment: $15.54

Munchkin Super Premium Diapers, Size Newborn Ultra (0-10 Pounds), 144-Count Box
Item(s) Subtotal: $29.11
Shipping & Handling: $0.00
Promotion Applied: -$2.90
Promotion Applied: -$5.81
Promotion Applied: -$8.73
Total Before Tax: $11.67
Sales Tax: $1.09
Total for This Shipment: $12.76

That's an average of 6 cents per diaper. In order to get more coupons, I went ahead and subscribed to Parenting: Early Years on Amazon as well. A one-year subscription was $9.97, but right now they are offering 2 magazine subscriptions (select titles) for $15, so I went ahead and got Parenting: School Years, too! You won't find baby coupons in the second one, but I love magazines and will gladly read it for tips with my older children. Plus, I will get the cost of the magazines back in my coupon savings after one diaper or formula order, easily!

Another site for diaper discounts is Along with the Amazon Mom coupons, I got a coupon code in my Parents magazine. The website was offering a deal for first-time customers which I used along with my code. I ordered two Giant Cases of Huggies diapers for $47 (reg. price for 1 box: $38). If you're planning to make an order on, please use the following promo code at checkout to get 30% cash back on diapers + 15% off everything else, and I will get a credit on my account! MRSJ5621

ALSO, after placing your first order on, you can use the promo code 10BUCKSFREE right now at (their sister site) to get an instant $10 credit toward your first purchase of $10 or more. I used this promotion to try out Rockin' Green detergent for only $3.85. (The code MRSJ5621 works on this site, too!)

There are many other sites and deals out there. Take some time to search the web for freebies, samples, coupons and promo codes, then mix and match them with your local/web store promotions and ad prices.

I also sew.

With a baby boy on the way, I constantly find myself disliking the clothes, layette and decor available for boys. Granted, things have come a long way since even 8 years ago when my first son was born (when the girl sections were entire departments, and the boy area was an aisle or two of sports and primary colors-- ugh).
I found a crib bedding set that I adore, however, I am still dissatisfied with the options overall. For that reason, as well as my love of crafting, I decided to make my own bibs and burp clothes. I am really happy with how they turned out, and I know there has to be more moms out there looking for "rock star" styles, so I might pop some up on Etsy later if I get a chance.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Love Angry Birds?

Check out this AMAZING Angry Birds cake! There's a step-by-step How To guide complete with pictures, and a video of the playable dessert based off of the popular iOS video game!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Changing Diapers, Changing Lives

Please join us in our goal to raise 10 million diapers with one simple $5 text- text BABY to 5200.

You can help change a baby’s life. Join our effort to donate 10 million diapers to low-income families and babies in need. Go to to learn more or simply text BABY to 52000 to make a $5 donation.

Recent studies show it can cost, on average, more than $11,000 a year to raise one child, yet one out of four children live in a home that makes less than $11,000 total in a year. This can be a huge struggle for the many families across the country who can’t afford the expense of diapers, forcing them to resort to extreme measures such as stuffing panties with newspapers to serve as a diaper.

Gifts In Kind International’s goal is to distribute 10 million Seventh Generation diapers for families in need through text donations from individuals. Help us by texting BABY to 52000 and give a one-time donation of $5.

Seventh Generation ( is the official diaper partner for our campaign and will provide their chlorine-free, environmentally friendly diapers. Seventh Generation's mission is to inspire a more conscious and sustainable world by being an authentic force for positive change.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

How to Throw a Survivor Themed Party

Party Planning is my middle name.

Okay, so it's not. And thank goodness, because that would be a long middle name (you hear that, Chef Oliver??).

However, I have always loved hosting. Something about weeks/days/hours of planning and the frantic hustle to hide your clutter before guests arrive gets my blood boiling. Over the years I have hosted many dinners with friends, themed and non-themed Board Game nights and wedding receptions, and [my personal favorite] birthday parties. I've decided to dedicate a section of my blog to the various parties I have planned, complete with instructions on how you can recreate and revamp these ideas into your own fabulous events!

Today's featured party is the Survivor Party:

A year or two ago, my husband and I discovered the life-changing television series known as Survivor. Having never seen it before, we happened upon a new season premiere one night and were hooked. A few months after the finale, a new season started and we watched every minute of it, too. We started a Netflix account and watched previous seasons until we had seen every last episode. At some point along the way, my son caught an episode and became transfixed on the survival part of the show... he loved the challenges, fishing and clue solving. When his 7th birthday rolled around, he knew he wanted a Survivor-themed party.

Survivor, of course, is not a theme in which you can just pop into Party City and stock up on pre-printed decorations and supplies. I was being forced into creativity (a position I love to hate and hate to love)... I had to take matters into my own hands. Alas, here is my recipe for a perfect Survivor Themed Birthday Party (in this case, targeted to 1st graders).

I printed my own invitations using Survivor images from Google (read: sunsets, tropical images, and the Survivor logo). I then wrapped the invites in scraps of burlap and tied them off with tiki necklaces ("Immunity Idols") I found on Oriental Trading, with special instructions to each guest reminding them to wear their idols to the party. (Note: have back-up necklaces for kiddos we forget theirs).

Tiki Torches:
Every Survivor needs a torch for tribal council. I spent a week creating these custom torches for each guest using the following original recipe.

1 Styrofoam cup
Currogated cardboard
Bamboo rods (I found a 10-pack at Tuesday Morning)
Red/yellow/orange tissue paper

I started by poking a hole through the bottom of the cup, just big enough to insert the bamboo. Adhere with a hot glue gun. I cut sheets of currogated cardboard large enough to cover the cup, and glued to the outer rim of the cup. When dry, glue cut strips of tissue into cup to hide the cup and create the torch's "flame". I also used jungle-print strips of paper and glitter glue to label each guests torch.

Check out Oriental Trading and your local party store for luau/tiki/jungle/island themed decoations such as leis and wall hangings. Put a want ad on craigslist and ask for leftover party supplies.

I purchased an inflatable palm tree cooler and filled it with juice boxes. I also bought party pates and cups with the Survivor logo printed on them.

Knap sacks/Buffs:
I used burlap and twine to sew basic pouch-style knapsacks for each guest. Pre-fill these bags with items they will need for "challenges" (read games below), and they serve as favor bags after guests have collected all of their prizes. I also included a Survivor buff in each knapsack for the guests to wear during the party-- you can make your own out of bathing suit fabric, or print the Survivor logo on to iron-on transfer paper and adhere to bandanas.

The cake:
I can't take full credit for this cake. I did a google search and was inspired to make this design after seeing another cake. I did my best to create an island, included a small shelter and flag (using pretzel sticks and fruit roll-ups), and surrounded it with Pirouline cookies and twine.

Face paint:
Certain episodes of Survivor encourage participants to decorate their faces/bodies with warrior paint before challenges or ceremonies. I used basic face paint and created fun designs on the kids (with their parents permission).

The first game I invented was inspired by the food eating challenges. I collected gummi versions of eyeballs, bugs, and other gross looking edibles, and stuck them on skewers. Guests went up against eachother (2 at a time) and raced to finish the candy skewer first.

I also lead a "Survivor Auction". Each guest had an equal amount of play money in their knap sack (toy dollars and change). I explained to them that I had a collection of prizes that I would "sell"... if they wanted something, they needed to make a bid on that prize. They could bid eachother out until they were out of money, or no longer wanted to raise their bid. Also, like Survivor, the auction would end at any time without warning. The prizes I offered were candy, small toys, and Survivor trading cards. Be sure to offer every guest a small prize just for playing to keep it fair.

Often on Survivor, there are challenges in which other Survivors, or their family members, have to answer a series of questions about one particular Survivor. We played this group game after the auction. In each guests knapsacks, I included a small chalkboard and stick of chalk (found on Oriental Trading). I asked a several questions about our guest of honor (my son, the birthday boy) such as, "What is his favorite color?" and "What grade is he in?". The guest with the most correct answers won a prize. You could also do this game before the auction, and give the winner extra cash for the auction.

Finally, we played a version of "Pin the Tail on the Donkey" that was pirate-themed and featured a treasure map. I found this at the Dollar Tree, and thought it matched our deserted-island party theme.

Cake & presents:
I always end my kid's birthday parties with cake, then presents. After present time, let the kids "challenge" eachother with Wii sports games (one-on-one bowling/tennis/etc.), or just play until parents come for pick up.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Crazy Baby Names

In a world where celebrities name their babies Apple (Gwyneth Paltrow), Pilot Inspektor (Jason Lee), and Jermajesty (Jermaine Jackson), it seems we've really heard it all. But this has got to be the most bizairre baby-namin' I've ever heard.

TV Chef Jamie Oliver (sometimes referred to as The Naked Chef) has four children:
Poppy Honey Rosie (2002)
Daisy Boo Pamela (2003)
Petal Blossom Rainbow (2009)
and newborn son, Buddy Bear Maurice (2010)

Seriously, say these names out loud. Yeah.