Author Archives: Danielle Laroche

Half-off Grocery Savings

I may have been AWOL over the last year but don’t think I haven’t been saving money and couponing because that’s basically in my blood. Last weekend I did my typical grocery shopping but mid-week realized I needed a couple things ( and stock up on great sales ).

I bought:

English Muffins (qty3) // $4.39
Cream Cheese // $5.59
Arnold Sandwich Thins // $4.29
Brown Paper Bags // $2.79
Tide Detergent // $4.49
Taco Seasoning // $0.99
Total // $31.32 ( which is ridiculous! )

Sales and Savings:

English Muffins (qty3) // buy 1 get 2 free // $0.55 coupon that doubles to $1.10 // $3.29
Cream Cheese // $5.59 // $5.19
Arnold Sandwich Thins // $4.29  // $3.99 // $0.55 coupon that doubles to $1.10 // $2.89
Brown Paper Bags // $2.79
Tide Detergent // $4.49 // $1.99 // load to card coupon $1.00 // $0.99
Taco Seasoning // $0.99
Total // $16.14

I could have saved even more if I had a Tide coupon which come out pretty frequently and a cream cheese coupon which I don’t usually see.

With a little wise shopping and checking out coupon fliers I was able to save half off my shopping bill for a handful of items that are pretty costly full price. Not everything I need every week is on sale and that’s OK. I try to shop the sales when I can and buy the larger sizes of items we go through often. A huge lifesaver has been the load to card option for digital coupons. It takes me two minutes to scan the app and load anything I might buy.

** added bonus, apps such as Checkout51 or Ibotta allow you even more savings by uploading your receipt ( or linking a loyalty card ) and taking advantage of items they have available that week.

Potty Training before Two!

Potty training is something no book or website can teach you how to do. I know there are articles “potty train in three days!” and good for you if that worked! However, I don’t think it’s something that can be done so easily. Here’s how we potty trained Brandon before his second birthday. I’ve been writing this throughout our whole training process as to not forget anything!

1 – Interest! // Brandon showed a lot of interest in the bathroom as a whole starting around 18 months or so. He wanted to be in there with Kevin and I, he wanted to flush, he wanted to “see” and just be a part of the entire event. This was the first step towards us deciding we would give it a shot. We put him on the potty a few times here and there early on just to get him used to it but we did not start right away.

2 – Timing! // You know what they say, timing is everything. It’s not everything in this case, but it is important. Kevin and I decided to begin potty training over Thanksgiving week/weekend.  We were home for four days straight with no plans to leave the house. You need to stay close to that potty!

3 – What? // I talked to a couple of friends about how they potty trained and what they used to potty train. Some suggested the training potty that sat on the floor so their little ones could do it themselves and others suggested the cover to fit over your existing toilet (boy mama’s make sure you have the shield!). We ended up having both options but used the cover on our existing toilet mostly because that is what our Daycare uses and we wanted to stay as close as possible to what he had already seen. During the first 6 months Brandon went gone back and forth about which potty he uses. I didn’t particularly like the small one on the floor (besides having to wash it) because he’s too excited to stand up and see his accomplishment he doesn’t finish completely; whereas on the big potty, he’s stuck there until we get him off.

4 – How? // This is where some of those tips & tricks came in handy for us.
* Remove all diapers, underwear and pants. Brandon needed to be free to pee at any moment, unnecessary clothing needs to be off. Plus, he loved being naked! We do live in the northeast so it wasn’t optimal temperature to be naked – long socks help keep legs and feet warm!
* Set a timer. We set a timer for 30 minutes and every time it went off, we put Brandon on the potty and read a potty book. Doesn’t matter what book, just read something! If nothing else, it makes them comfortable sitting on the potty for a period of time and not wanting to jump off.
* Clap! Jump! Congratulate! Do whatever you can in a loud obnoxious way when they do something good. This encourages them to keep doing what they’re doing. If there are other people in the house, get them in on the action too. Since we potty trained over a holiday, we had a full-house – making the Grandparents happy helped encourage Brandon to keep going. A naked toddler at the dinner table isn’t ideal, but sometimes ya gotta do what ya gotta do!
* Give treats. Everyone handles this differently. Some do stickers, some do toys, some do charts… this is all your preference. We did one goldfish or cookie for a pee and two for a poop. The poop eventually turned into a mini train, coined “poo-poo choo-choo”…but to be honest, Brandon didn’t care one bit about the toy, he wanted the food.

5 – Accept. // Accept the fact that there are going to accidents. There are going to be A LOT of accidents – especially this early in the game. Yes, we cleaned up a lot of pee off the floor, carpet and clothes and that’s OK! We never forced him to sit on the potty, we never yelled at him when he had an accident and even to this day we don’t get mad or yell.

( chalkboard similar here and here )

It’s been almost a year since we started potty training and happy to say we are fully trained and it feels so great. Brandon was potty trained before his second birthday – meaning he was wearing underwear all day and going on the potty. Yes, of course he had accidents and came home from Daycare in different clothes at least once a week! He was wearing pull-ups during his nap as well as all night and that stopped on his terms. A couple months after his birthday we were getting ready for a nap and got his pull-up and he said “don’t need that”, we told him he has to stay dry….and he did, and has been dry ever since. Night time was also on his terms. While getting his pull-up ready for bed he said “don’t need pull-up”. We weren’t so quick to drop this one since he hadn’t woken up dry yet. We made a small chart and told him 5 days of a dry diaper and he can throw them away. Just like that, he was dry! So before 2.5 years old Brandon was potty trained. Of course he wets the bed once in a while – he sleeps real hard, or longer than usual, drinks a lot too late or refuses to pee before bed. It happens. And it’s fine! We put down pads ( which are also great if you’re pregnant and think your water breaking in bed sounds terrible ) for accidents and go about our lives. I’ll do an extra load of laundry if it means no more diapers!

Stuffed Peppers and Chicken

dsc_0113 Meal prepping has been my life for a while now and I have to admit, I enjoy it much more than I ever thought I would. The menu planning leaves a lot to be desired because I typically fall back on the same basic meals or ingredients but I’m really trying to expand. Here is something so simple anyone can make with ease!dsc_0112I’m a big component of aluminum foil ( try not to slice it, otherwise it’s pointless )

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Turkey Stuffed Peppers

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a pan with foil. Cook 1lb ground turkey with a sprinkle of salt, pepper, cayenne, cumin, curry and/or any spices you like. In a separate pot, cook rice or quinoa ( I also like frozen brown rice – it takes 2 minutes to cook ). While everything is cooking, cut the top off of the peppers and remove the seeds. Once the meat is cooked through, mix it with the drained rice. Spoon the meat and rice mixture into the peppers and top with half a slice of cheese or a pinch of shredded cheese. Cook for 30 minutes or until the peppers are tender.

Prepping Protein ( chicken )

While cooking one meal, I like to prep some protein for the week either for lunch or dinner. Chicken is the easiest thing to prep and can be eaten SO many different ways; topped on salad, in wraps, tacos, sandwiches or mixed with pasta. I make a thin layer of olive oil in the bottle of a foil lined pan. I sprinkle whatever spice is appealing at the time ( this is my favorite lately ) onto my chicken breasts, cover both sides of the chicken and bake with the peppers for 35-45 minutes depending on the thickness of your chicken.

Once the chicken is done, you can shred it, cube it, slice it or leave it whole for meals later in the week!

 

 

Halloween & Fall Books

Raise your hand if Fall is your least favorite season….anybody…no?…just me? It’s true, I’m not a lover of Fall, or Apple Cider, or Flannel shirts or Halloween but I am a fan of reading good ( and new ) books to Brandon every few months. His current fascination of all things Monster, Dragon and “things that say roar”, what a better time to change up our reading than right now! Here’s what we’ve been loving!

Room on the Broom // B Is for Boo // There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bat! // Little Blue Truck’s Halloween // The Spooky Wheels on the Bus // cat pillow hiding in background

We love any of the ‘tiger tales’ books, ( Cats, Ghosts and Pumpkins ) Goodnight Goon is always a fun read and Sandra Boynton can do no wrong! Brandon loves anything bus, so I got this book at the end of last year and we have all of the “Night Before” books as well: Halloween & Thanksgiving. Any of The Spooky Express books are great gifts because they can be state specific, love that.

I could not pass up that cat pillow at the Target dollar spot since it looks like Zoe ( others here and here ) and my Mom got Brandon the sweetest Trick-or-Treating tote ( use code ACORN to make this tote $6, Pumpkin, Black Cat and Monster ones )

What books are you loving this season? Brandon is pretty much all about illustrations and not SO much about the story line which makes these all winners! I know there are so, so many books for this month of spooks and thrills but I think Santa will be bringing all the Monsters!

Hi, I’m new here…

Well, not new but it feels like I haven’t been on here in AGES! Two posts in the last year is not like me and I really want to get back on track with my blogging; sharing life, recipes and what’s new in our life!

This year has brought some changes to our life. WE MOVED!!! It was a long time coming and finally found a house we fell in love with after only a couple months of searching. We made the house our home at the end of April and have spent the last few months settling in and enjoying the space. We loved our condo ( and still have it ) but it was definitely getting a little tight and we needed our own space….away from neighbors! We couldn’t be happier.

Brandon is now 2.5 years old and has been so much fun. He is still at daycare full-time, learning his ABCs, counts to 12 by himself, eats any and everything, knows what he wants and doesn’t want, loves choo-choos, swimming lessons and most importantly, he’s potty trained.

We haven’t done much this year but at the same time we’ve been busy every week since the beginning of the year looking at houses, going on vacation, having friends and family over, going to the beach, checking out our new town, decorating and relaxing! I’ve been meal planning this whole time and trying to change up meals so I hope to share more recipes in the coming months!

In the meantime, here are some shots from our trip to the Pumpkin Patch over the weekend!

Happy Fall Friends!

 

Columbus Day Sale

Holidays always bring the best sales! Columbus weekend is really the last BIG sale until Black Friday / Cyber Monday. American Eagle has some really great finds but the best are the Bralettes that are all $14.92 ( creative, ey?) with free shipping and free returns. I rounded up a few goodies that are currently in my shopping cart! I’m thinking Sale Sunday should be a thing here on the blog…who doesn’t love a good sale while the hubby watches Football? Let me know what you got! ( super bummed that so many of the $19.99 jeans are sold out of realistic sizes )

Camo Sweatshirt / Tee / Tank / Flannel / Bralette / Lace Bralette / Jegging Crop / Dress / Racerback Bralette / Halter Bralette

Brandon’s 2nd Birthday

How did we end up back here already? I feel like we just cleaned up from Brandon’s first birthday and just like that he turned two! It’s incredible and sad all at the same time. My little baby is really becoming a little boy and I want time to stand still…just for a little while longer.

Brandon’s birthday fell on a Thursday this year ( St. Patrick’s Day Eve in case you forgot! ), so we celebrated with balloons, a couple gifts and dinner out. I am typically out of the house before Brandon wakes up, but I wanted to be sure I saw him on his birthday so I went to work a little later. Little man came downstairs to a small basketball hoop and a Music Mat. I’m not sure he’s overly thrilled with either one!

Sunday was his party with some family and friends. We had a simple day with pot luck style food and good fun with everyone.

Brandon’s Sports themed party was a lot of fun to plan! I made paper bags into footballs and baseballs, got sports plates and napkins for the kids, sports stickers and a roll of easel paper for the kids to color on and stick their stickers. Everyone was able to take a ball home with them at the end of the day!

Happy 2nd Birthday to our sweet little man!

2 Year Update

Age: 2 Years

Stats: Height 36″ (92%), Weight 30lb 6.0oz (80%).

Clothes/Size: Pretty much 24 months or 2T. Pajamas I always say a size or two bigger because they shrink and are SO tight to begin with and shoes he’s into an 8.

Favorite Foods: Favorites would be fruit of any kind, macaroni salad, anything he can dip in ketchup, anything pickled or with salad dressing on it, goldfish, cookies, cheese & crackers, yogurt….and anything else we give him. He’s still a really good eater and has the same thing at meals as we do. Once in a while he’ll have a bad night but bribery works everytime.

Diaper size: Praise the Potty Gods…we are potty trained. It was no easy feat, but I think we have officially made it. We started in November during Thanksgiving weekend when we would be home for an extended period of time. Brandon was showing a lot of interest in the potty so we decided to give it a go ( we also changed his crib into a toddler bed at the same time) – he was about 20 months old at the time. He had his ups and downs and accidents at Daycare…but we never turned back and we have a potty trained 2 year old! I’ll share more on that later.

How much am I eating: Not a relevant question anymore! He’s not the garbage disposal he once was; however, he still loves to eat!

Words: Brandon says new things everyday and it’s so awesome. He can communicate with us and let us know what he wants. He can decide what to drink and what toy he wants. I love that he can talk ( except when it’s “wus dat mama?” about 385 times a minute.

Activities: Helping do any and everything. He is still very much independent and wants to throw things away, climb in his chair, brush his own teeth and wash his own hands. He wants less and less help doing things which is nice and terrible at the same time because if we try to help it’s a disaster. He loves playing in the sink full of water, taking showers with us and watching Wheels on the Bus ALL DAY LONG!

Sleep: This kid has been sick since January so sleep has been all over the place. When he’s feeling good, he sleeps a solid 8pm-6am or thereabouts. We have been putting him to bed a little later recently because his mornings were starting earlier and earlier by climbing into out bed at 530….which was NOT happening. So he goes to bed anywhere between 8-9pm and wakes up closer to 7am.

Favorite Things: Nursery Rhymes on YouTube, any remote control, bottles of medicine, his thermometer ( see a trend here? )…anything he shouldn’t have, he has. He still loves to just carry around one specific item and as of lately it’s his thermometer. He loves buses and matchbox cars.

Signature Moves: Running around naked….he goes to his door and tells us “buh bye”, whipping his head back and forth, sliding down the stairs on his butt and falling on the floor when someone walks in the door as his defense mechanism.

Mom’s Proudest Moment: Just everything. He is an extremely smart little man, picks up things the first time he sees it done, using his words to express what he wants or doesn’t want. I am beyond proud of Kevin and I for sticking with potty training and not giving up. It’s harder on the parents than on the kid for sure. One day he would pee no problem and the next he would have 8 accidents in an hour. A few months of accidents is worth a potty trained 2-year old.

Dad’s Proudest Moment: Dad is also proud of the potty training as difficult as it was in the beginning we made a decision to go for it and we never turned back. The accidents were minor in the long run.

Surprise!!

Such a delayed post here – but like I said life has been moving and I had to get on board. Blogging is not my job, it’s my hobby and something I enjoy doing but sometimes I need to step back and just live!

It’s been almost a month now since we surprised my Mom for her birthday! It was so fun planning and getting ready for the big day and unfortunately there are not a ton of pictures to show of it, but she was kind of surprised…doesn’t make it any less special though!

dsc_0140Huge, huge, huge thanks to friends and family for coming, to my husband and brother for setting up and Dad for going along for the ride!

dsc_0157 dsc_0170Nap time was postponed a little but well worth it since this little man is so cute.

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I’m all about party favors (ALL ABOUT THEM!). We had the party at a wine bar and the invitations were “wine/vintage” themed so we originally wanted to go that route and give Kevin’s Homebrew Beer as a favor (check out his Facebook Page: Sound Brewing); however, the morning we planned to head to NY the keg kicked and we were left with nothing. Not a single bottle of beer. I love doing homemade items as gifts and favors and we now had hours to think of something else to make for a gift! I’ve done granola, beer was out of the question, too late to infuse oil…the next best thing was BBQ Sauce! Kevin makes this stuff regularly. It’s cheap. Easy. And delicious. It was a scramble to get the ingredients and jars but we made it work!

dsc_0155Happy Birthday Mom!!! We all love you. Hope you had a great **th birthday!

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Sephora Stock-up Sale

I know I have been super MIA lately but I’ve just been enjoying soaking in life! I have so much to share from the last few weeks with events and meals but fiiiiiiirst …. if any of you are Sephora VIB/VIB Rouge members you must jump on this sale NOW! With code “20VIB” you can save 20% off your entire order (nov. 11-14). It’s time to stock up on favorites and grab some Christmas gifts – here’s a peak at my shopping cart!

sephoraMakeup Forever Ultra HD Foundation
Too Faced Grande Hotel Cafe or Too Faced Christmas in New York
The Estee Edit Inside Track EYeliner
L’Occitane Verbena Shower Gel

Nest Holiday Candle Ornament
Beauty Blender
L’Occitane Hand Cream Set
boscia Makeup Breakup Cool Cleansing Oil
Urban Decay Naked Ultimate Basics
Moroccanoil Dry Body Oil
GlamGlow
Chanel Chance Parfume
Lashstash Mascara Favorite