Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Excuses for 2017

Hello Blog Friends!

I know, I know, I was MIA AGAIN!  Of course I have good excuses, I always have excuses...

Today I wanted to update everyone on family stuff.  You know I had twin babies in 2016 and Lily had some health issues, but I don't think I ever really updated you guys on what happened.  Because of her traumatic entry into this world, she suffered a brain injury that caused her to not have a suck/swallow reflex and caused some other motor skill delays.  Before she was discharged from the NICU in December 2016, she had received a tracheotomy and a fundoplication and g-tube placement.  She got the trach so we can help her manage her secretions as she doesn't swallow the saliva and mucus that her body produces.  The fundo keeps her from refluxing and the g-tube is how we feed her.

Considering the doctors and staff and the NICU didn't think Lily would do much of anything, she has come SO far.  She is definitely behind developmentally, but she is working on crawling and she will probably be walking by summer.  She has significantly better motor skills than anyone expected.  She WANTS to eat, she tries to steal Paige's food all the time.  I believe when she is a little older and can understand, we may even be able to teach her to swallow.  The state has a program that sends different therapists based on your preemie's needs to the house to do therapy with her.  Currently, Lily has a physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech therapist and a feeding specialist that see her a couple times per month.  I'm sure she would be developing at a much slower speed if we didn't have all these specialists coming to teach us how to work with her. 
Lily crawling for a toy
Lily's condition sets her up to get sick easier than most babies.  She has had MANY hospital stays in her short little life.  Most commonly, she gets pneumonia and rhinovirus, but she ended up in the PICU once for RSV so far.  The times she is sick are scary for all of us, but we are learning more and more how to manage her symptoms and the hospital stays are getting shorter and shorter.

Recent hospital stay.  She didn't feel good. :(

Paige never even believed she was a preemie.  A short 3 weeks in the NICU is really amazing for a baby born 7 weeks early.  She is walking and starting to say words.  She almost refuses to let anyone feed her because she is independent and wants to do everything on her own.

Paige found earmuffs
Both babies have SO MUCH personality.  They have strong opinions and voice them often.  They definitely keep us on our toes.  Melanie has been a wonderful big sister.  She doesn't hesitate to jump in and help if someone is throwing a fit or just needs someone to play with.  She isn't as keen on helping with diaper changes or trach suctioning, but hey, who could blame her there?

Naps are fun

Having a house full of kiddos with such varying needs can put strain on relationships, but hubs and I are going strong.  The keys are patience and understanding and a good foundation.  We have definitely developed those things over the years.

Life is very different than it was 5 years ago, heck even 3 years ago.  I don't think any of us would change how our life has turned out, though.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Sharing is Caring: Ebates pays you to shop online.  That's it, really, it's that simple.  I personally use Google Chrome to access the internet most of the time and there is an app for Chrome.  Any time you go onto a website that has an ebate available, a message pops up that lets you know how much rebate can be earned by shopping the site.  If you don't use Chrome or if you shop on your phone, you can go to the Ebates website and find the store you will be shopping and access their site from there.  I'm sure there is an app for that, too. If you search the app and website, you can also find coupons and deals from Ebates affiliate sites.

Right now you could earn 15% cash back at places like Kohl's, Staples and Dick's. Earn 3% for select purchases at  You could even earn 6% back at Groupon!  Talk about savings!  Ebates puts all your rebates into your account and then occasionally sends you a check or deposits your earnings into your PayPal account.  That's it.  You literally get paid for shopping you were going to do anyway and may even find a deal you weren't aware of.  Be sure to use any of the links in this email to sign up for your very own Ebates account and start saving some money today!

How do you like to save money?  Did you sign up for Ibotta to save money with me?

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Sharing is Caring: Ibotta

Folks, I have got away from just subscription services so I've changed the name of this series.  I want to share my opinions with you because you are my friends and I do care!  Today, I want to talk about Ibotta.

Ibotta is an app on your smart phone where you can earn rebates on things you are already going to buy.  I mostly just use it for grocery rebates, but there are rebates for many other kinds of websites and products.  I recently even found out that there are rebates for WINE!  This makes me VERY happy.  The issue is that your liquor store has to list what you purchased on the receipt and a lot of them don't.  My newest favorite store does though, and they are the least expensive store in town for the brands I buy AND they are right on my way home!  Big win for Rum Runners!  Thanks guys!

Anyway, Ibotta.  You find the products you are going to be buying anyway; milk, bread, eggs, onions, baby formula, trash bags, orange juice... seriously, there are a whole bunch, you get the point.  You may have to take a poll or watch a short video to qualify for the rebate, but it never takes very long or they may offer a recipe for you to use the product in.  Do your shopping.  When you get home, you scan all the items that qualify for rebates and a picture of the receipt and BAM!  they put money on your account.  When you get enough money on your account, you can cash it out to your PayPal account and put it in your checking or you can use it for gift cards for Amazon or Starbucks or many, many other places.

If you have a rewards card for the store you are shopping, I use my Reasor's reward card, they will save the information so the cashier can scan the barcode on your phone in case you don't want to carry your card with you.  With Reasor's and I assume other stores they have connected this way, you don't even have to scan your products and receipt.  The purchases just upload and they pay the money to your account shortly after you finish your shopping.  Even better!

You can earn even more rebates if your friends are using Ibotta.  There are multiple levels of bonuses each month and you get there faster if you AND your friends are using the app.  I want all of you to join my team and we can earn those bonuses faster!  Go to your phone's app store and download the Ibotta app and use the code BIDYBHU to join my team!  I use the app often and earn bonuses often so if you join me and use it with me, you will earn bonuses, too!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Is that subscription worth it: Audible

When you have little ones, you have your hands full.  When your hands are full of kid's stuff, it can't be full of books!  I love my kids AND I love to read, this is quite the dilemma!  How does a busy mom manage to squeeze reading into her busy schedule?  Audiobooks!  There are many ways you can listen to a book these days.  There's the old fashioned book-on-tape, but nobody has tapes anymore so I guess it would be book-on-CD or you can download audiobooks to your phone/tablet/computer/other device.

Places I like to listen to a book:

My daily commute to and from work
Trips to Lily's doctors appointments in Tulsa
While working at my desk at the office
While taking a shower or cleaning house

While I love to get things for free and I love my local library, I hate waiting lists.  I have often found myself at the end of a long line of people waiting to borrow a popular audiobook.  I have very little patience for that sort of thing so I happily subscribe to Audbile.  For $14.95 I can enjoy a new title each month.  There are always new and exciting books offered as well as classics and everything in between.  Audible members can enjoy discounts and member-exclusive sales in addition to their monthly book title.  There is something called Audible Channels, that I have to admit I haven't explored yet, but sounds exciting.

Unlike most of the products I've reviewed on this site, I couldn't find a link for you to use so I could earn free stuff.  I'm sad about this, but I'm still happy to share my love of Audible with you.

Where do you like to listen to a book?  

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Is that subscription worth it: Dollar Shave Club

Hello Friends!  I'm back today with another product review!  Today I want to talk about Dollar Shave Club.  I know you probably couldn't tell by looking at him, but the Hubs is sensitive, well his skin is anyway.  He could only use certain razors and they were NOT the inexpensive ones.  He was pretty skeptical when I told him I was ordering razors online for him to try, but these were a success!

The way it works:

In your first box, you get a cartridge of blades and a handle to attach them to.  Each subsequent month, you just get the cartridge of blades and you can always add additional handles for a small fee if you need them.  There are three different levels of razors:  The Humble Twin, "A lightweight razor with a shallow pivot head for blade contouring. Comes with 5 refill cartridges per month" for $1/month; The 4x, "A more advanced razor with a wide open back for a fast, easy rinse. Comes with 4 refill cartridges per month" for $6/month; and The Executive, "Our best razor. Includes a trimmer edge for hard to reach places. Comes with 4 refill cartridges per month" for only $9/month.  Folks, this is a great deal for some good quality razors.  I was so impressed with the razors, I started using them myself.

The company also offers a line of shave and shower products for the menfolk.    I recently ordered a body wash from the Wander collection for the Hubs and it smells amazing.  He also uses the Post Shave Cream and says it works very well.  We have been members of the Dollar Shave Club for quite some time now and have NO intention of turning back.  The nice folks of Dollar Shave Club sent me an email recently with a code I could share with a friend to get their first month free.  Aren't you glad you are my friend?  Use any of the links in this email and the copy and paste the code at the check out and you, my friends, are on your way to your first month free!  Are you ready for the code?  Here goes:


As with all my product reviews so far, I'm not getting paid for my opinion and my opinion is all mine.  If you use the links, I will earn credit for free products, so I'm thrilled when someone uses my links.  I hope my reviews will help you to find some new favorite products.  If you have tried any of the products I have reviewed, please comment and let me know what you think!  Even if we don't agree, I'm open minded, I want to hear what you think too!  

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Is that subscription worth it: Ipsy and Birchbox

All of my reviews so far have been for products that I have liked and would recommend all my reader friends subscribe to.  Today I'd like to talk about a product that I didn't enjoy enough to keep paying for.  Actually, it's two products, but they are so similar that I'm going to lump them together.  Today we are going to talk about Ipsy and Birchbox.

Both products work the same, you fill out a questionnaire so they can decide what products you might enjoy and then they put together a package and ship it out.  With Ipsy, they always send your products in a cute little cosmetic bag and I use those bags for various things around my house that don't usually have anything to do with cosmetics.  With Birchbox, you don't get the cute bag, but you get to pick one of the samples you get each month and still get to be surprised by the rest.

The problem I had with both services is that I might get the same product in a different shade or the same shade of something in a different brand in back to back months.  I don't need 2 lipsticks in a pretty berry shade, even if they are different brands.  When this started happening with Ipsy, I switched to Birchbox, but it happened with that product, too.  The positive thing about these products is the price.  Each box it $10 and you will usually get a full sized product as well as a few sample sizes.  These services would be great for someone who is starting a beauty routine or trying to shake up an existing rut.  As for me, I have a ton of makeup and hair products that I've purchased over the years that are cluttering up my makeup bag as it is.

Did you have a different experience with these products?  I'd love to hear about it!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Is this subscription worth it: Book of the Month Club

This week I'd like to talk about Book of the Month.  This seems appropriate for by blog since I was doing so much book blogging before my last hiatus.  I was signed up for Book of the Month at one point last year, but I wasn't reading many paper books so I was having a hard time finishing one before the next came in.  I have since worked paper books back into my routine and I'm excited to get started on some new ones.

The way it works:  You can sign up for a 3, 6, or 12 month subscription and you pay for it up front.  The more months you sign up for, the lower the cost of each book.  At the beginning of the month, you get to pick from 5 books chosen by a panel of BOTM judges.  Each month there is a celebrity judge who gets to choose a book, also.  They will ship out your chosen book around the 5th of the month and you should get it in a week or so.  If you don't think you will love any of a current month's selections, skip that month!  You can cancel any time.

These are always current releases and books all the publishers and book bloggers are talking about and it's a hardcover!  If you just sign up for 3 months at a time, the shortest and most expensive plan, it's $14.95 per month.  $14.95 for a hardcover book?!?  Folks, I don't know if you have shopped books lately, but that's not bad at all!  I spent almost that much on an ebook of a new release I've been waiting for.  You can buy a copy of previous month's books for just $9.99.  I think this is a great deal if you are going to purchase books for your library.  I love to find a paper book that is a great read because you can SHARE it!  Let your friend borrow is, let your mom borrow it, let your sister borrow it, let the husband read it!  You can't do that (at least not easily) with ebooks or audiobooks.  If it turns out that it's not as good as you were hoping it would be, donate it to your local library.  Local libraries are a gem of our communities and they are often severely underfunded.  They LOVE when people donate books they can actually put on the shelf.  Books that readers WANT to read.  Then when you go see your tax guy in the spring, write off the books that you donated!  You practically make your money back on your investment and you can feel good about donating to your community.

As always, if my post makes you want to run out and subscribe to this product, PLEASE use the links so I can get credit on the site.  I blog for free and have to work a real job to spoil my kiddos and feed the family.  Share the love and shop the sites through my links so I can spoil myself with these subscriptions!

What do you subscribe to?