Children's Books, Clothes, Current Events, Giveaways, Reviews

Growing Children Are Expensive: Here’s How I Budget (Plus Another Giveaway!)

In case you don’t realize this yet, let me clue you in on something….kids are expensive! In the first two years of life, they need new wardrobes every few months none of which they’ll never be able to wear again once they grow out of it. Now that my daughter is two she’s growing out of her clothes less quickly than she was in 2011 and 2012. And since I’m a stay at home mom it’s still important for us to stick to our budget when it comes to getting new clothes for C. One of my favorite ways to save some money while hunting for some great finds is shopping our local consignment sales. The Kid’s Closet Consignment sale is coming up in Blue Springs this week and so I wanted to take a couple of minutes to talk about the sale, what kind of stuff you can expect to find there, and to share a special giveaway that owners Kevin and Jill Moxley have graciously offered to six of my lucky readers.

Kid's Closet Connection

If you missed last week’s post about Kid’s Closet Connection, where I discussed being a consignor, you can find it here:

Selling at Kid’s Closet Connection

At a KCC sale you can expect to find name brand clothing and shoes for your little one at a fraction of retail cost. They have strict guidelines for consignors so you can rest assured knowing that the clothes you find will be well taken care of. When it comes to second-hand items, it really doesn’t get much better than that. Not sure what I mean?! Take a look:

Old Navy Outfit For Toddlers

I created an outfit with items that I would definitely buy for my own daughter and piece together for a fun Spring day out. From what I’ve seen, a lot of items that you find at the Kid’s Closet Sales come from Old Navy, Target, JcPenny, Gap, and other more popular clothing stores for kids and families.

Here’s a breakdown of what I would spend if I walked into Old Navy right now to purchase these items:

$10.00 on the Jeans (On sale from $16.94)

$12.94 for the Graphic Tee

$16.94 on the Hoodie

$13.00 on the Shoes (On sale from $16.94)

$6.94 on the Socks

For a total of $59.82!

In my experience shopping at these consignment sales, I’ve been able to find jeans for five dollars a pair, shirts for as little as $1.00 (usually two to three dollars), Jackets for around four dollars, shoes for under five dollars, and large quantities of socks for just a couple of dollars. Given what I’ve learned, I would venture to say that this outfit would likely cost me  around $15.00 total. And if I shopped on half price day, it would be even less, making the Kid’s Closet Consignment sale the ideal way to shop for your little one.

I remember the first time I went to a consignment sale in my area. It was Autumn 2010 when I was pregnant with C. I found maternity clothes, newborn clothes, and infant toys that were great assets to have on hand when C was born. I was surprised to see that there were high chairs, breast pumps, bedding, and just about anything you would need for infants, toddlers, and young children. I’m excited to explore the upcoming Spring sales and see what goodies we can find for our little lady.

All that said, the Kid’s Closet Connection owners have decided to do another great giveaway on my blog. They’re giving away six passes for early admission to the 1/2 price event on Friday evening. Interested in getting one?! Head on over to my Facebook page for the details on how you can enter.

Kid's Closet Connection

Planning to go to the sale this weekend?! Here’s what you need to know:

Kid’s Closet Connection Blue Springs Sale

425 NE Mock Ave. Blue Springs, MO

(Inside Sports City at I-70 & Adams Dairy Parkway)

Thursday March 28th: 10am-7:30pm

Friday March 29th: 10am-7:30pm

Saturday March 30th: Noon-5pm (*half price day for most items)

*Friday March 29th 11am-noon: FREE exotic animal show featuring 8 animals at the sale!*

Kid's Closet Sale

Clothes, Current Events, Giveaways, Parenting, Reviews

My Child Has Outgrown Her Clothes and Toys….Now What?! (Surprise: Giveaway!)

Nothing makes you feel like a pack rat quite than being a mom. Sometimes I feel like my house is really nothing more than a storage facility for baby and toddler items but not once have I ever felt like I was alone in that. Kids grow; They grow fast and, unfortunately, that adorable outfit and those sweet tiny shoes no longer fit my two-year old child. She won’t sit in an infant swing (okay, she might want to but she’s too big for it), she can’t wear any of the clothes from last year, and she’s emotionally outgrown a vast majority of the toys we had for her when she was younger. So what am I supposed to do with all of that stuff?! I’ll admit that I’m pretty OCD about her clothes and toys and so I’ve kept most of her belongings in very good condition…good enough that they could all be used for any subsequent children we may have down the road. Living in a house that’s right around 2,000 square feet doesn’t really give us enough room to comfortably store everything for that big “if” someday in the future (you might remember that we’re not sure if we’ll have more children or not). I wanted to talk for a few minutes today about what I’ve done with the toys, clothes, and baby items that no longer have a space in our home and I also want to give my local readers a chance to win one of
five really great prizes (more on that in a minute).

When my daughter was younger, I always tried to circulate her toys so that everything always seemed relatively ‘new’ (and it was easier to keep things in good shape that way). I would take the toys that she had been playing with out of her room and our kitchen (where many of her toys live) and replace them with toys that she hadn’t played with for six weeks. Eventually, though, as I’m sure many parents with young children well know, she grew out of those and we had to make the decision as to whether or not we should keep, sell, or donate the old items. I try to keep the favorites (toys, clothes, shoes, blankets, etc) and then figure out what the best course of action is for the remainder of the items. Then I came across the Kid’s Closet Connection sales in our area. I will be the first to tell you that I was nervous about signing up to consign with Kid’s Closet for the first time last year. I had no idea what to expect but it’s a great way to get rid of the toys, clothes, shoes, books, high chairs, and every other baby, child, and maternity item that you just don’t have the space for. The best part about it is that signing up to sell is so easy. Let me show you…

Kids Closet Connection

To get started you’ll want to head on over to http://www.kidscloset.biz.

Kids Closet Connection

Click on “Account Login” (you’ll have to go there first in order to register).

Kids Closet Connection

Click on “register” to submit your information and get a consignor number.

Kids Closet Connection

Find a sale to consign at (there are sales across the country both in the Fall and during the Spring).

Kids Closet Connection

Kids Closet Connection

Once you’ve found a sale you want to sell at, you’ll want to start creating your tags (what will identify your items to potential customers).

Kids Closet Connection

Adding your items is really simple. To illustrate how easy it is, I pulled one of C’s dresses from her closet (sorry, folks, it’s not actually for sale).

Kids Closet Connection

 Kids Closet Connection

Kids Closet Connection

Each item is tracked in KCC’s online system that you can monitor during the sale.

Kids Closet Connection

When you’re done entering in all of your items, print the tags off (on cardstock) and attcach them using safety pins onto a hanger. Bring your items to the sale and you’re done. See how easy that is?

Kid’s Closet Connection has been awarded numerous times in the Kansas City metro area for their incredible events that draw thousands of shoppers every season.

Kid's Closet ConnectionKid's Closet Connection

Consignment sales are, by and far, my favorite way to clear out some of C’s old items and earn some money for items she can grow into and to add towards her college savings fund. Owners Jill and Kevin (pictured below) have graciously offered to host a giveaway to my local readers for the upcoming sale in Blue Springs, MO.

Kevin and Jill

If you’re a Kansas City local and you’re thinking about signing up for one of the Spring sales, it’s not too late! If you’re planning to shop and want to win one of the fabulous giveaways, you can earn entries by following the Rafflecopter link below (I promise it’s safe) and by heading over to the It’s An Ordinary Blog Facebook page. Good luck!

CLICK HERE >>> Rafflecopter Link to Enter <<< CLICK HERE

Clothes, Pictures, Reviews

Wittlebee: In Review

I love getting mail. I especially enjoy it when it contains something adorable for my favorite toddler in town so you can imagine my excitement when I this sample box arrived from Wittlebee the other day. I want to start by mentioning that I have an IRL (in real life) friend who also happens to be a blogger that had a negative experience with this company. That said, the following is my unbiased, objective opinion on their company and their products based solely on my personal interaction with them.

Wittlebee is a subscription based clothing company that offers monthly service to their customers. For $39.99 per month they ship a box (worth an estimated $100 in retail value) directly to your door with items matched to fit your preferences, child’s gender, size, and style. Included with each membership is access to exclusive sales and giveaways so the perks of membership don’t end with the box you’ll get in the mail each month. In reading their press releases, Wittlebee’s e-commerce division was launched less than a year ago and has been growing since. With any new company they’re still learning, growing, and working out their kinks. My experience as a blogger was great but I would be curious to see what it’s like when I’m not giving the promise of a review. I’m considering trying it for a month to see what they come up with once I’ve given them a “style profile” to go by. That brings me to the “meat and potatoes” of this review…the clothes.

We received six items in this sample box: Two pairs of leggings, two short sleeve t-shirts, and two dresses ranging from size 18-24 Months to 2T. As with any clothing for female shoppers (it doesn’t seem to matter what age you are) everything fit a little different. Since Wittlebee offers clothing from different manufacturers, this didn’t really surprise me.

I really like the leggings. Both the Tea brand leggings (pink, featured on the left) and the Wittlebee (white, featured on the right) are soft and stretchy so they’ll fit now and they’ll continue to fit as C grows and changes over the coming months and into next year. I didn’t think I was going to like the white ones when I first took them out of the box (I’m not usually a fan of lace) but they really do look adorable on her.

This white short sleeve top, made by Wittlebee, is adorable on her. It’s a little long for C right now but looked surprisingly cute with the pink Tea leggings (see the pictures below).

I thought that the bee buzzing around the giraffe’s leg was a nice touch.

This grey short sleeve top, also made by Wittlebee, is not something I would normally have picked out for C but I thought it looked really cute with the white leggings and an adorable headband I picked up in the clearance section at Target for $1.50. It, too, is a little long right now but she’ll grow into it. Please excuse the blurriness on the bottom edge of the photograph, my lens got dirty (don’t judge, it happens!).

See what I mean about it looking better on?

I want to talk about the two dresses. I’ll be honest, neither is really a style I would ordinarily pick for my daughter, but I can objectively look at each of them and understand how people would like them.

I would love this dress if it was just like I have it pictured (folded) here:

Just like that, it’s adorable. The poplin collar (I think that’s what it’s called) is nice and I absolutely love the polka dot skirt. What I’m not crazy about is how the designer felt the need to make it more “kid friendly” by adding three patches onto the dress.

The third patch is on the back of the dress (which buttons down). See what I mean? Now, how much better would this dress be without those patches?! Am I right or am I right?

The picture in this holiday dress (I’m going to assume it’s meant to be a holiday dress because of the massive flower on the collar) doesn’t really do the color of the fabric justice because it really is nice. I think this is a cute dress, it’s just not a style we would ordinarily pick for C. The sleeves are what I enjoy most about this dress (and, coincidently, what the husband likes least). The material is soft and comfortable and my little one really enjoyed putting it on. I’ve put it on her twice now and looked at it several times. The more I look at it, the more I actually like it. It grows on you. It’s kind of like that little dog that barks next door when you’re not a dog person (I wouldn’t know what that’s like, I love dogs ;)).

In the interest of providing everyone with as much information as possible, if you have experience with Wittlebee and would like to link your review, please feel free to leave it in on the comments.

In the interest of full disclosure: Wittlebee sent me their sample box free of charge in exchange for my objective review on their product. Their generosity did not influence my opinion on their product, their service, or their company as a whole. Please feel free to contact me directly with questions about this review.

Clothes, Tutorials

25 Ways to Wear a Scarf

With Autumn weather rapidly approaching here in the central states, I thought it might be nice to share this video: “25 Ways to Wear a Scarf”.

I’m a European Loop, what are you?

Clothes, Current Events, Daily Life, Parenting

The Lazy Dresser – Mommy Makeover Challenge Day #4

I apologize if you read this post earlier and it wasn’t all here I’m not sure what happened but when I posted this the first time majority of the content didn’t publish so I had to go back and re-write it.
Fact: I hate wearing jeans.
I hate wearing jeans. They’re the first thing, other than shoes, that I take off when I get home and I usually replace them with something more comfortable…like yoga pants. What’s the first thing you take off when you get home?
Today marked the fourth day of the “Mommy Makeover Challenge” hosted by my friend The Naptown Organizer and even though we got off to a late start, I think it still counts. C and I didn’t get ready for the day until after lunch and I was feeling a little sluggish this morning but I’m glad I still made the effort to do this, because I really do think it’s great.
For parents with toddlers, you know how important it is to establish some sort of routine with your little one. We don’t stick to a rigid schedule but we try to make things somewhat predictable for our little one and I think it helps to reduce tantrums and helps us utilize our time with her more effectively. Now that I’m at home with C full-time again, we’ve just about settled into something that is mutually agreeable for us. As a back story, I was working from home for a company until November 2011 when they decided to bring me in-house part-time. I transitioned to full-time the first week of March 2012 and was laid off (due to lack of work) in August. It was an adjustment to get used to being a stay at home parent again but it’s also been so rewarding and so incredible.
Showering is one of those luxuries that’s hard to come by most days when your child is awake. I had an idea that I ran with today and it worked. I brought C into the shower with me. It gave her the opportunity to play in the water and it allowed me the time I needed to clean up for the day. As I watched her mimic me in the bath, I thought of something: what a great observational learning opportunity I have here with her. I can only hope that by watching me, she’ll be able to shower more independently later on. I think this may be incorporated into our daily schedule.
When I said I was a “jeans and cardigan” type of girl, I really wasn’t kidding…
Day of the Challenge? This is day #4 for me with the “Mommy Makeover Challenge” (The Naptown Organizer finished yesterday, I’m a little behind schedule).
How long did it take you to get ready? Shower included it took me about forty minutes to get ready today.
What did you do differently than normal? C showered with me today, which turned out to be a really great experience for both of us. I think we’ll do this each morning in lieu of giving her a bath at night.
Where did you go/what did you do? I had a committee meeting for my placement in The Junior League of Kansas City Missouri at Lulu’s Noodles in downtown Kansas City (off of Central and Southwest near Crown Center). Since the husband had a work event at Boulevard (lucky him!) I took C with me for our dinner meeting. Other than that, we stayed home all day and hung out together.
Did you feel any differently? I noticed that I was more tired today until I got ready for the day. A poor night’s rest may have contributed to that but I can’t help but think that my delay in getting myself showered and dressed played a role in it too.
So, with that, day #4 is complete. I’ll be doing the “Mommy Makeover Challenge” until October 11th but if you’d like to join in you can find all of the information here.
Note that I posed a question up above, it’s something I’m going to do daily from now on. If you want, leave a comment with your answer. I look forward to hearing what people have to say. Today’s daily question (in case you missed it): Other than shoes, what’s the first thing you take off when you get home?
Clothes, Daily Life

“Baby It’s Cold Outside” – Mommy Makeover Challenge Day #3

Holy Autumn it’s cold outside! As much as I love this amazing fall weather we’re having, my options are somewhat limited on what I can wear until I get down my winter wardrobe again (“The time is now,” says the voice in my head). Maybe I’ll put that on the docket for tonight, or tomorrow, or whenever I get around to it. Having said that, today is my day #3 of the “Mommy Makeover Challenge” hosted by my friend The Naptown Organizer. The husband, C, and I went out to Bob Evans for breakfast this morning and so I wanted to wear something comfortable yet seasonally appropriate and so I opted for some long black workout pants, a grey top, and my trusty Old Navy fleece vest.

Day of the Challenge? Today is the final day of the Naptown Organizer’s Mommy Makeover Challenge but I’m only on my third day since I got off to a late start.
How long did it take you to get ready? Including straightening my hair and putting on makeup, it took me about 20 minutes to get ready.
What did you do differently than normal? Nothing really, today was pretty typical for getting ready to leave the house (but we knew we were going somewhere).
Did you go anywhere outside of the home? We did!
Where did you go/what did you do? We went out to breakfast and Target this morning before heading home for a few minutes. Then I met a friend to see “Won’t Back Down”. Afterwards, I went to Trader Joe’s and now I’m back at home with the family for the rest of the night.
Did you feel any differently? I feel pretty great today. The crisp Autumn weather is good for the soul…of that, I am sure.
I will say that in reading my blogs you probably get the impression that I’m a busy person. Don’t let these past few days fool you, my schedule isn’t normally this packed. I’m not sure why October has traditionally been a busy month for me but it has/it is. I’m really very boring. You could say I’m a homebody.
For more information on how you can participate you can see the “rules” posted here. I’ll be “officially” doing this until the 11th if you want to join in.
Clothes, Daily Life, Parenting

“Look Mom, I Showered!” – Mommy Makeover Challenge Day #2

Image

I’ll be honest, life with a toddler can be tough. I’ve found that’s it’s sometimes difficult to get a good shower in each morning when I wake up and so I usually wait until later in the day, or at night, to clean myself up. Not today. My shower (which was much, much longer than it probably should have been) was glorious and I think it helped to set the tone for the rest of this day. Having said that, day two of the “Mommy Makeover Challenge”, inspired by my friend The Naptown Organizer (she’s on day six today, I’m a little behind), was a success.

Day of the Challenge? Today is my second day of the challenge. It’s Saturday so our schedule isn’t the same as it is when the husband is at work Monday-Friday. This gives me more time to focus on getting ready, which is really nice.
How long did it take you to get ready? I won’t include shower time because, let’s be honest, I spent an unecessary amount of time when I take showers. What can I say, it’s my time to relax. I couldn’t find my brush (the joys of having children in the house) anywhere this morning so I had to blow my hair dry with one of C’s combs. Oddly enough, it worked out since I didn’t end up having to straighten my hair. All in all, sans shower, it took me about twenty minutes to get ready this morning.
What did you do differently than normal? I took my time…something that’s very out of the ordinary for me when it comes to getting ready.
Did you go anywhere outside of the home? We did! We went down to a local consignment sale that I’ve got some items in. Today was the last day of the sale so I was able to score some slipper boots for C for only $1.50. Then we headed over to the mall to shop around (I did my window shopping yesterday, my real shopping today). I’ll be leaving the house here again in a couple of hours so I’m glad I got ready.
Did you feel any differently? This was a pretty typical Saturday for me. I did spend a little more time focusing on ME today, which made me feel more relaxed.
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Feel inspired to join in? You can find all of the information for this Mommy Makeover Challenge here. I’ll be doing mine until October 11th, or longer. Maybe everyday. Always.
Clothes, Daily Life, Parenting

Jumping On The Bandwagon- “Mommy Makeover Challenge”

As any stay at home parent will tell you, it’s very easy to fall into bad habits of not showering or getting dressed during the day. It’s gotten to the point where I actually am starting to feel bad for my husband when he comes home to find that I’m still wearing yoga pants and a tank top and that I clearly haven’t put much thought to doing my hair or putting on makeup. God forbid someone were to knock on the door during the day. What would I do? Hide in the closet? Probably. Apparently (and thankfully), I’m not alone in this. My friend The Naptown Organizer decided to facilitate a week-long challenge encouraging stay at home parents to get up and get ready in the mornings…even if we don’t have anywhere to go. I love it.

So here it is, folks, day one:

     

So today I’m wearing my go-to outfit for when I need to leave the house. Jeans, a top, and an open front cardigan.

*Sidenote: As I write this C is carrying around my camera saying, “cheese”. Fantastic.

Day of the Challenge? Today is day one of the rest of my life (I couldn’t resist). I got off to a late start with this challenge but that’s primarily due to the fact that I just started this blog. Do you forgive me?
How long did it take you to get ready? I spent about 35 minutes getting ready. Had I showered in the morning instead of at night, I would need to tack on an additional half hour to that time to bathe and blow dry my hair. Half of my “get ready” time was spent trying to find something to wear which is pretty sad considering I usually just wear jeans with a cardigan sweater.
What did you do differently than normal? I really felt motivated as I prepared for this challenge. I set out clothes for Charlotte last night (I figured if I have to do it, so does she). Aside from that, the process of actually caring what I look like during the day was pretty different from the norm.
Did you go anywhere outside of the home? Coincidently, I just got a phone call from a friend about doing lunch. So yes, I’m going places!
Where did you go/what did you do? I’m planning to do lunch, head over to the mall to window shop (or real shop), and then head to run a few errands.
Did you feel any differently?
You know what, I really do. It’s weird what a difference just getting dressed can make. I don’t feel as tired and I actually want to get out of the house. What a fantastic feeling.
So there you have it, folks, day one of the Mommy Makeover Challenge. If you feel inspired to follow suit, feel free. I’ll be doing mine until October 11th…or longer. Maybe everyday. That sounds good, right?