Monday, February 24, 2014

Stretch Your Tax Refund Further: Walmart Best Plan Brings You Unlimited Talk Text and Data/Web #FamilyMobile

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When I married Dufda I entered into a whole new world of no contract cell phones.  I always thought that we were at the mercy of the big providers and their 2 year contracts.  That is so not the case and why I am happy to tell you about the Walmart Family Mobile Plan today! We are all in the midst of tax time and planning what to use those coveted tax returns on, right?  Who wouldn't want to ditch the contract and get an awesome phone (for under $100 might I add) and some of the cheapest wireless plans around? This can really stretch your refund further that you ever imagined.  So let me tell you how to get the most bang for your buck and the best cellular situation with Walmart Best Plans.

Dufda and I have a collection of about 5 cell phones between us.  It is a serious issue but you never know when one will break.  When approached to review the Nokia Lumia 521, I was stoked because it would be the first Windows phone I would be giving a go.  We are very familiar with paying out right for our phones to avoid a contract and really do like the latest technology.  The Nokia Lumia retails at Walmart for $98.88.  That's it and it is all yours, no contract to fulfill.  Never thought to go to Walmart to get your cell phone?  Well neither did I.  Walmart Family Mobile is powered by T-mobile so you get the trusted nework with the amazing Walmart price.  Although the Nokia Lumia 521 lacks some of the bells and whistles of it's more expensive counterparts it is a great device to keep in contract with loved ones at a very reasonable rate.  I am very familiar with the Android operating system so there was a learning curve to mastering the Windows set up.  It is very similar to that of my desktop though, so it helped a bit.  You are able to customize the screen with what ever tiles you need and use the most and most can change the color.  You see I went with my all time favorite, pink.  When you are using anything that is built into the phone, the Lumia preforms very fast.  If you are using anything that doesn't come with the phone, you are sitting around waiting for it to load which is a bummer. The phone is lacking a forward facing camera and a flash on the camera it does have.  This greatly reduces the quality of picture that you can take and it going to make any mom think twice about purchasing since cell photos document our kid's life.

These are both candid shots taken with cell phones.  The quality from the Nokia is definitely poorer than the Samsung.  This is disappointing because many Nokia phones having amazing cameras and can take some beautiful pictures.  The Nokia Lumia 521 may lack a great camera but it does have a very solid feel to it.  I think I can worry a little less about this one versus my Samsung because 1. I doubt it will break as easy and 2. I can replace it for just $100.

The phone is affordable, but are the plans?  Walmart Family Mobile plans are no contract and offer an Unlimited Talk, Text and Web experience for much less that those big name carriers.  For one month you are going to be paying $39.99 and you can cancel at any time.  That is $50 less that the plan that I had while on a contract!  Want to add another line?  That line will be just $34.99.  If you do not need the web, you can get your cost down to $29.99.  When you first sign up you will purchase the phone along with an starter kit which brings your total cost to $133.

The process was simple, but improvement can definitely be made on Walmart's behalf to make it even better.  I chose the phone that I was going to purchase and had to wait for a sale associate to retrieve it for me.  The wait was maybe five minutes but I have a one year old so it feels much longer.  The sale associates were not very familiar with the cell phone and my husband had to help them open it up to get the battery in.  I am not very sure why they must open up the cell phone there.  The battery was not charged so there was really no reason to unpackage in the store.  I wonder if you are giving this as a gift if you could do the activation at home instead.  The whole set up was lengthy and I was getting antsy to get out of there.  If I go to Walmart I want to get in and get out regardless of what I am buying.  As with anything in Walmart, there are lots of choices to pick from.  The Walmart Family phones were also next to the T-mobile phones (as pictured at the top) and if you are looking for a specific product you may not know which one you are suppose to buy.  We even questioned it because there was a display for what looked like a better price T-mobile plan near the Walmart Family Mobile.  

With this entire experience I am just excited to see more options that do not tie people down to contracts.  We should be able to change our minds, upgrade our phones and pay what we want without two companies controlling every move we make.  Seriously though, ditch the contract.  Take that tax return and get a sturdy phone with a plan that lets you quit them if you aren't satisfied.  That way you know they are going to try their hardest to keep you.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Holy Grail of Baby Shoes: Freshly Picked Mocs

Disclosure: I have received this product in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are 100% my own and may differ from that of yours.

So it was no secret that I really wanted a girl, mainly so I could dress her up in ridiculous outfits and put huge flower headbands on her.  What I didn't know was that you can get some pretty awesome outfits for little boys too.  No outfit is complete without a really cool pair of shoes. So much so,  I am pretty sure part of the reason I married Dufda was because he has great taste in footwear.  This means Nugget's feet have to be outfitted in the best.

Skip forward to one random Friday night.  Dufda and I am doing our usual and eating nachos and watching Shark Tank when this incredible woman starts telling her story.  She took the metal frames of some old windows and scrapped them to purchase leather to make shoes that would stay on her babies' feet.  Then Freshly Picked was born. Now this sparked two thoughts in my head: 1.This girl is bad ass and can make shit happen and 2.The frustration of shoes falling off a babies' feet is THAT frustrating that it does call for extreme measures.

One day I woke up and I had to have shoes for Nugget.  I needed them at that instant and I cannot tell you why.  There are a ton of recommendations for footwear for your little ones nowadays but they all lead to a super flexible sole to allow the muscles of the feet to develop correctly.  So you need a soft sole, but they you also need the shoe to stay on.  The last part is the hardest to find.  I can't tell you how many pairs of shoes we bought and the moment Nugget starts to crawl, the shoes come off.  

Freshly Picked Moccasins are basically the holy grail of baby shoes.  At first look you are going to notice two things.  The shoe is very understated which is great because there are no characters or childish colors allowing you to dress your baby as the little stylish human they are.  You will then notice they are $60.  When I first heard that they were $60 I thought this was all kinds of crazy and I couldn't ever imagine spending that much on feet that if you look close enough, you can see them growing.  I actually made this comment after I saw them on Shark Tank.  Then I got the mocs.  

So why are Freshly Picked worth it?  Your mocs will arrive in an adorable little bag (as pictured above). Yeah, I know this doesn't' add any real value but I like when a company takes the time to present their product in a manner that is enjoyable and makes unpackaging fun.  When you pull the mocs out you will see that they are made of the softest, most buttery leather and you will instantly want them in your size.  About the sizing: I had ordered a size 5 without measuring Nugget's feet because that is what size he was measured at Stride Rite.  I urge you to measure to make sure you are getting the right size. 

Even though I ordered the wrong size, it did not stop us from being able to wear them.  This is due to the design of the shoe and why it stays on the foot so well.  There is a piece of elastic around the ankle that stretches to allow for the most easy insertion of the foot.  It does not allow the shoe to come off.  So with that being said, I was able to add even more value to the shoe since Nugget can grow into them and get far more use out of this one pair.

I heard about Freshly Picked for the first time on Shark Tank but they have an immense following.  When I got my mocs and posted a photo I couldn't believe how many people were so loyal to this brand.  To make it easier for you to get your hand on a pair of these fantastic moccasins, My Jordanian Nugget is giving away a pair to one lucky reader!  Enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Packing your diaper bag with Dr. Brown's

This post is sponsored by Dr. Brown's.  All opinions are 100% my own and may differ from that of yours.

A purse, of some sort, is usually always attached to a woman.  They are a sense of pride and usually a really big investment for that woman.  Than you become a mom.  Do you still carry your purse and a diaper bag, only a diaper bag, or only a purse.  Everyone has their own style, but babies, they need things.  I was never the winner at those games played at bridal showers where everyone sees what is in there purse.  Now I will trample on anyone with the contents of my bag.  Hand sanitizer, wet wipes and disinfectant spray...check, check and check.   So what makes your diaper bag complete?

 I feel like packing a great diaper bag is a learned art.  Your babies needs change as well so your bags contents have to constantly evolve.  Specially in this weather you need to be prepared with items to keep baby healthy and clean.

Germs are just flying everywhere so that is when you need to turn to Dr. Brown's and their Healthy Wipes.  Healthy wipes are just one of the many things that I always keep in my diaper bag.  They make three kinds that are great for all ages: Tooth & Gum, Nose & Face, and Pacifier & Bottle wipes.

The Tooth & Gum wipes are great for after bottles or meals to make sure nothing is lingering in your little ones mouth.  They are simple to use and you wipe there gums just like you would anything else.  Now that we have a clean mouth, let's get to cleaning the one thing that is always dirty: the nose and face!  Specially with snotty colds, we are constantly wiping Nugget's nose and it can get so dry.  These wipes are free from alcohol so drying isn't an issue and they are are safe for skin and eyes. 

 Finally, my favorite are the Pacifier & Bottle wipes.  While I am not normally a germophobe, there are times where your baby's pacifier ends up is the grossest places.  High chairs are probably the most disgusting thing we come in contact with and I just pull out one of these and wipe that bad boy off.

When your little one is brand new, you need the most stuff to get through a day or at least you think you need the most stuff.  So what did my diaper bag look like when Nugget was newbie? Those first couple of times I left with Nugget, I felt like I packed the whole nursery. Considering we cloth diaper, space is at a premium.  I start with my diaper bag.  It is a Petunia Pickle Bottom Satchel and I LOVE IT!  It turns into a backpack, which before kids, I would have thought was really lame.  Now it is really awesome.  I feel like the size is just big enough to give me room for what I need and not to big that everything gets lost.

So you have a great bag, what do you pack in it?  This is going to depend on how old your baby is but this is what my diaper bag looked like when Nugget was a newborn:
  • Dr. Brown's Healthy Wipes
  • two burp rags
  • two outfits
  • 4-5 diapers
  • disposable wipes
  • hand sanitizer
  • wet ones
  • diaper cream
  • like 10 pacifiers
  • a wubbanub
  • a small toy (which was never once used)
  • mittens
  • socks
  • pants
  • wallet
  • keys
  • changing pad
  • bib
  • thermometer
  • nose frida
  • gas drops
The list goes on and on and I probably used one thing while I was out with him.  Being a new mom, you have no idea and you want to be prepared.  Nugget is now 12 months old and this is what I take:
  • Dr. Brown's Healthy Wipes
  • 1 Gerber prefold as burp rag
  • 1 onesie
  • 2 diapers
  • cloth wipes
  • wipe spray
  • diaper cream
  • a wubbanub
  • 18 trillion toys
  • changing pad
  • and my wallet
I still carry to much stuff.  So what is your must have in your diaper bag for the winter months?

We are giving away a set of Healthy Wipes so you can always be prepared in these cold, germy months.  Enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, February 3, 2014

The Plastic Devils

Dufda reminisces about a time when he would meet his friends and play marbles out in the dusty desert.  They would collect all the different colors and sizes.  He would even pull them up on the computer now and explain why American marbles were so rare in Jordan and vice versa.  Never forgetting to remind me that they were just 5 Jordanian cents.  So he wasn't really in the dusty desert I just like to throw that in for good measure but when we were little we played with actual toys.  Ones that promoted imagination through building and making.

When I was pregnant with Nugget I vowed to make sure he had toys that were purposeful and not annoying. I was on my own personal mission to ban plastic from my house...then the baby came and so did the plastic and the background noise of cow's mooing and dogs barking out of worn out speakers.  The toy companies could not make these toys any more annoying if they tried.

I have five arch nemesis in my house that may be chucked out the window with no notice if I lose it one day.

Intruder #1 V-Tech Fly and Learn Airplane

As I write this post, Nugget is playing behind me and all I here is: "The cat is on board!" "The dog is on board!" Airplane propellers.  1. Animals don't man air crafts 2. Why would you put cats and dogs on the same plane, they hate each other.  It would go crashing down after "Every one's on board, Let's countdown to take off...3,2,1 Take off"  CRASH!  It is never ending and super annoying.  Best part...we have 2 of these gems.  I bought this as Nugget's first toy when I was like 6 months pregnant.  I thought it was just fantastic and cute.  At that time I did not know my hatred from plastic and the repetition that comes with the toys.  In addition to the annoying sounds and phrases, Nugget eats the string all day.  It used to be it is grey, gross.

Intruder #2 Fisher Price Laugh and Learn Table

I can't tell you how many times I have seen this table pop up in pictures of other mother's houses so I know a lot of you are in the same hell hole that I am with this toy.  Put this thing in Spanish mode and you will be pushed off your rocker for sure.  "Green, Verde! Blue, Azul!"  Yes we just learned Spanish...over and over and over again.  After you are done with your Spanish lesson please tell me where the damn purple phone is.

Intruder #3 Follow Me Fred

I willingly purchased Fred as one of Nugget's Christmas presents.  Now we are going to buy Fred a dog house...across the river, down the road and in the next county.  Fred moves on his own and never stops.  The music is eerily creepy and reminds me of an Are You Afraid of The Dark episode.  If you don't have him already, keep Follow Me Fred in the toy store.  Woof, Woof!

Another Christmas present gone wrong.  Every child needs a walker, right?  This is the one we picked.  Once again...Where is that damn phone?  What is it with babies and purple phones that they feel so compelled to yank them off of every toy.  Have OCD?  Don't get this toy.  Once the shapes are placed back in their correct position it creates a magnetic force field that only babies are attracted to causing them to dropped whatever they are doing, run over to the walker and clip them out of position.  The coolest remote ever would not distract Nugget from removing these shapes.  Mooo!

Intruder #5 VTech Go! Go! Smart Wheels Van

The smallest of the bunch but arguably the most annoying.  I bought this because it was on sale for some ridiculous cheap price.   It actually belongs on a VTech SmartTrak which we do not have and bless the hearts of any family who has to put up with more than one of these.  "V is for Van!"  'Vans are so cool!"  Is this Vtech's way of making kids think their moms car is the coolest? "Ride along in my van!" "Beep, Beep!"  It just goes on and on.

My favorite part of all of these toys: the off switch! Which toy do you hate the most?

Friday, January 31, 2014

I Forget I'm a Mom and Then...

I forget a lot of things.  Eleven months ago I could blame it all on pregnancy brain and now I have to blame it on new mom brain but soon I won't be such a new mom.  There was the time I was pushing the baby in the cart at Target and thought I forgot him at home.  I am that person that leaves their sunglasses on their head and looks for them forever.  One time Nugget was wrapped to my back and I suddenly panicked because I didn't know where he was.  I cannot be trusted to park in a parking garage without my husband or an app that takes me back to the precise location of my vehicle.  My life is in shambles because I basically suffer from mom induced short term amnesia.  Sometimes I even forget I am a mom...but then I have a week like this past week.

The other day I scraped puffs puffs of my white couch.  As I finished scraping the puff puffs off the couch I took a step and stepped on a cookie, or tootie if you are Dufda, that was then ground into my leopard print carpet.  That carpet was a surprising good buy when I was 19 years old considering now it hides a slew of dried up mum mums, rice cakes and of course puff puffs.  I think to myself,"Why do I even know what a mum mum and puff puff are?"

That same day I could not find Nugget and it was very quiet so I started to search through our super small home to find him licking toothpaste that had been dried up on the bathroom floor.  He had his tush in the air and was going to town on that delicious Aquafresh.  While Nugget is having his snack of fluoride and Red dye 30, not Red Dye 40 so we are in the clear, I think to myself, "What has my life become?"  No sooner have I removed him from licking the floor has he found a carrot that is probably 3 years old to munch on.  I don't even bother to retrieve this item from his mouth because compared to the: rock salt, lead based paint chips, hay, clumps of hair, and dog food...a fossilized carrot is at least food based and the lesser of the two evils (the other evil being bitten by his insanely sharp teeth). 

When Nugget isn't trying to ingest everything that he is not suppose to he is compulsively trying to get into the bathroom so he can press the scale button 100 times.  He will fight off Shrek to get to that scale.  Nugget's other compulsive habits?  He must hook his finger in my mouth while he is trying to fall asleep.  He must rip out every single piece of my hair while he in on my back.  As soon as you are not looking he will sprint, I use sprint loosely because he only crawls but I assure you he is fast, to the dog bowl to play in the dogs water and double fist Kibbles n' Bits.  He will one day climb Mount Everest because he loves to scale whatever object he can...then flip out because he can't get down.  When you try to disrupt any of these behaviors, he goes berserk which brings me to...

Nugget cries for the most legit reasons in the world.  Yesterday he cried because I couldn't give him any more Amoxicillin...yes, my child loves antibiotics....yum pink potion.  He cries because the dog barks.  He cries because the dog won't drink from his sippy.  He cries because I won't let him drink window cleaner.  He cries because I won't let him eat the hair out of my hair brush.  He cries because I pretend to cry because he hurt me.  

Things that would make a grown adult cry or get seriously, seriously mad...Nugget thinks are just hilarious.  He wants you to bite his fingers and the harder you bite the funnier it is that fun for him?  Pretend like you are chewing on his keys...hilarious.  Suck on his fat rolls (try that on someone other than a baby...) belly laughs all day.  Bite his butt, so funny he can't breath.

All of these things combined have made me feel very "mom" this week, a feeling I don't' usually have.  As the first of my friends to have children I find myself with no one, other than online friends, to share the random, bizarre and disgusting things that happen in a house when it is occupied by a miniature human.  The moment you have that baby, diaper bags trump design hand bags, sippy cups trump wine glasses (you wish it didn't though), you inherit this whole new set of interest that your friends just do not understand.

What made you feel really "mom" this week?

Thursday, January 30, 2014

How we get our 10 a day

Before I met Dufda I cooked, I swear I did.  I even have a bunch of cute aprons to prove it.  Now they get about as much use as 46 pairs of black stilettos I had pre-baby.   I also ate a lot of processed food because it was easy and quick.  Before Dufda met me he never turned on an oven.  I don't even know if he could make an egg.   He had to learn quick since he assumed the role of CEO of the household.  Learn he did.  Dufda actually may be a better cook than me.  Famous Spaghetti, Famous Fried Rice, Famous Chicken....he has them all. One thing that he definitely does better than me is make sure our family is eating whole, real ingredients that grow in the ground or on a tree or live in farm.  He is slightly obsessive about it.  The other day I snuck canned beets into our house and he got legitimately mad about it.  I was basically ruining my salad by placing a canned vegetable among all the fresh veggies.  How dare I?  Don't even try to make Velveeta Mac n' Cheese around him.  He will make you feel so guilty for eating fake cheese that you won't even be able to enjoy how great it taste.

Did you know you are suppose to get 5 servings and vegetables and 5 servings of a fruit a day?  How does you diet stack up against that?

Today I am going to share some super simple ways my family makes sure we are getting our 10  a day.  

1. Just don't buy any crap!  If you avoid the middle aisles of the grocery store you will be able to avoid all the crap that you would buy instead of buying vegetables.  If you don't buy it you can't eat it.

2. Budget.  If you have a set amount to spend, you are more likely to buy food that will serve many purposes, fill you up and taste good.  Our family has a budget of just $75/week for groceries and we are able to eat fresh so you have no excuses.

2. Learn how to make you favorite foods you would normally buy frozen or prepared.  One of my family's favorite foods is chicken fried rice.  Most people would either go to the Chinese place down the street and get take out or buy it in the freezer aisle.  We do neither.  Dufda makes it all from actual ingredients and this way I am able to serve it to Nugget without having to guess whether or not it is good for him.  His taste amazing too!

3. Cook ahead.  If you have to cook every night, it is very easy to turn to something quick to cook that is full of preservatives, salt and crap.  If you cook for two or three days this doesn't become an issue.  Leftovers save you money versus eating out for lunch as well.  Always pack it!

4.  Wash, cut, sort and store.  One of my favorite things to get when I am at work is a salad from Hello Bistro. Hello Bistro is a spin off of Eat n' Park's famous salad bar that offers every option there is.  Sure you are eating a salad but you are paying $9! for that salad and you really don't know what you are getting in terms of freshness and content in the ingredients.

Here is what I like to have on hand to make salads and snacks:

  • Grapes
  • Tomatoes
  • Cranberries
  • Strawberries
  • Green Pepper
  • Cucumbers
  • Peas
  • Carrots
  • Corn
  • Beets
  • Lots of Lettuce
Everything get washed, sliced, diced, taken off the stem and ready to eat.  This will make sure that you have no excuses when it comes to getting your vegetables in.  When it comes time for dinner I can choose what fits the meal and whip up a quick salad.  At night I make myself a huge salad to take with me to work and it keeps me from hitting up a fast food place in the middle of the day.

Now doesn't that look a lot better than a hamburger?  It is obviously much better for you as well.  How do you make sure you get your 10 a day?