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5:58 AM

For over a week, I’ve been stuck and didn’t have an clue what to blog about. I asked Jairo last night, and his answer, “Just write about life. It’s not always perfect.” 

So……here it goes. 

It’s 5:58 AM. I’m sitting in the bathroom drinking coffee, because there’s no where else in our “studio” to sit that I won’t end up waking the baby, or Jairo, who just got home from work 1.5 hours ago. This is my quite place. 

I should be getting dressed and going to feed the chickens, the dog, the cat, the turtle and my garden (hell, I should be feeding myself!), but it’s been a tough week and to be honest, I just feel lazy. So for now, I’ll sit here on the edge of my tub, in my Grandpa’s robe, sipping coffee out of my “New Mommy” mug.  

In all reality, it’s been more than a tough week, it’s been a tough year. 

But we do a pretty good job at looking past the bad and being grateful for all the good in our lives. Sometimes tho, things just get to be too much. And that’s where I’m at today. 

Let me start by briefly (or not so briefly) explaining our situation. 

We live in a house that is owned by my Father in Law. There is a main house and an add on. We live in the add on, and another family lives in the main house (they were there before we moved in). We pay all of the utilities for the property (which is more than we make in a month) and they pay……..well we don’t really know, whatever it is that they have arranged with my father in law. I could go on and on for days about the issues here but to explain it shortly, they don’t like us living here and they pretty much make it known. 

So now I’ll take you back to the beginning of my week. And this part of the story needs explaining for you to understand the whole picture.

I had just layed Jackalynn down for a nap and Jairo had just gone to sleep (remember, he works night shift), when one of their three dogs, starts jumping on the rot iron gate (which is attached to the wall next to Jacky’s bed) and barking. This went on for about 5 minutes before I opened the window and told the dog to stop. Before I closed the window and walked away, the man who lives in the main house walks up and says “Common go…….puta juera!” 

Yup. That’s right. His dog is breaking MY gate, and waking up my baby, and I’m a “Puta Juera” (that means stupid white girl in Spanish, btw). 

The next morning, I go outside to water my plants and find cigarette butts IN MY PLANTS! So I’m already frustrated that we have no money because we pay their utility bills, and now this?? 

And now here’s where the week gets really good…….

On Tuesday, Jairos supervisor informed him and all the other Temps that the college is doing their “Fiscal year” and within 8 days all of the Temps will be fired…….our single income family will now have no income. We’ve already struggled since Jackalynn was born and I stopped working, and we’ve done it without asking for help, and all while keeping it together and being happy (we truly have been happy even tho we have so little). 

We aren’t really sure what we will do yet, but we are taking it day by, day. Jairo has applied for other positions where he works, so there’s a chance he could still get a permanent spot. He is also in the process of testing to become a Border Patrol Agent. 

I have faith one of those doors will open for him. 

We had so many plans for what we would do when we get our tax return, like taking Jacky on a vacation, but that will have to wait. I am thankful that we will have a tax return at all, and when we need it most, but man, it freaking sucks that we have to use that money for bills. 

I know one day, none of this will matter, and I will look back and be proud of us for making it through this time……but for now, I’m just going to drink coffee and pray for better days. 

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”             -Philippians 4:6-7 

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Testing Tuesday (Sensodyne Deep Clean) 

I wasn’t really looking for a new brand of toothpaste when this mission came up on BzzAgents. I had seen a lot of advertising for Sensodyne and had considered it before but, being the coupon mom that I am, I would always go for the trusted brand with the better deal. 

I was pretty excited to get the opportunity to test Sensodyne for free. So I applied for the sample and waited for it to arrive, which took about two weeks. 

Today, I have been using Sensodyne for one week, brushing twice a day. 

It claims to reduce sensitivity with a minty flavor and foaming formula. I don’t usually suffer from any severe sensitivity, but occasionally I’ll get a slight sensation while drinking or eating something really cold, like chewing on ice or eating Popsicles. Which I figure is pretty normal, so for this review I was focusing more on the foaming and minty flavor. 

On Day one I only used and pea size amount, as I normally would with other toothpaste. I was not too impressed. It was minty, but the “foaming formula” wasn’t too great. That night, during my second brushing, I decided to increase the amount that I used, to double what I had used in the morning. This time I got a smack in the face of minty freshness, and the “foaming formula” finally showed it’s stuff. 

I continued to use the same amount, twice a day, for the continuation of the week. 

Overall, I do like Sensodyne Deep Clean. It had a refreshing mint flavor that is not over bearing, and the foaming formula really does leave your whole mouth feeling clean and refreshed. 

On the down side, I do not like the amount that has to be used in order to get that freshness. With the higher price and smaller tube than my usual brand, I know I would end up spending much more to use Sensodyne. 

However, if I had a coupon or sale that made it the same price, or less, than my usual brand, I would chose Sensodyne. 

Do you have a favorite toothpaste brand? Let me know in the comments below! 

I really enjoyed this sampling. If you would like to get product samples of your own, for absolutely free, head over to BzzAgents to sign up! 

Thank you for reading, please be sure to give this post a like and Follow for weekly updates.

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Testing Tuesday

Product Testing is one of the things that I do to keep myself sane (as I’ve discussed here). It is a fun way to try new products, share my opinion, save money and sometimes, make money.

Some of the companies that I test for require different things.

Some companies just require testing and a survey. Others require more. In addition to testing the received product, it will be required to take photos or videos, post a review on the companies website, post a social media review and a blog review. On other occasions, when I really enjoy a product, I will do those things just to spread the word and share my experience with you. I always enjoy seeing honest reviews that tell me about awesome new products and how to use them, and I would love to share my favorite products with you.

For those products that require blog reviews, or those that I just want to share and brag about, I have created “Testing Tuesdays”. There is no schedule, it might be weekly, or only once a month, but I will do my best to update you on awesome new products regularly.

Next week, I will have my review of Sensodyne Deep Clean which I received for free from BzzAgents.


Thank you for reading! Please be sure to like this post, and follow for more updates. 

Do you have a product you would like to see reviewed? Leave a comment and let me know!

 

 

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Cranial Band Update

It’s been one week since Jackalynn got her cranial band. The first week is used as an adjustment period meant to gradually introduce the helmet and to check for any signs of discomfort or adjustments that need to be made. 

The adjustment schedule goes like this:

  • Day 1: 1 hr on 1 hr off until bedtime
  • Day 2: 2 hrs on 1 hr off until bedtime
  • Day 3: 4hrs on 1 hr off until bedtime. On at nap time.
  • Day 4: 8hrs on 1 hr off until bedtime. On at nap time
  • Day 5-6: 8hrs on 1 hr off. On during sleep. 
  • Day 7: 23 hrs on 1 hr off (full time)

Jackalynn was adjusted and started wearing her helmet full time on Day 5

Sound Asleep

With the helmet comes a bit of a change in our routine. I used to give her a bath every other day because of her cradle cap and eczema, I didn’t want her skin to dry out too much. Now, in order to avoid rashes and overall “stank”, she has to have a bath everyday, sometimes twice a day. I also had to change the soap that I use for her head. 

Johnsons Bedtime Bath was my brand of choice, and it still is on occasion. But in order to avoid any funky smells from the helmet, Jackalynn’s specialist, Mike, suggested we switch to something with little or no scent. 

So before the helmet came, I tested a few other soaps that I had stored away. I tried several variations of Johnsons, Burts Bees and Jafra. I decided on Babyganics Shampoo and Body Wash. It’s foaming, so it cleans deeply and it is scent free so it doesn’t cause any weird funk when Jacky sweats in her helmet. It’s also gentle enough to use everyday, which was a major concern with Jacky’s eczema. I also switched from Johnsons bubble bath, to Babyganics Chamomile Verbena Bubble bath and instead of using the Eczema creme every other day, I now use it once or twice a day. 

The soap that we use, and any other bathtime things might seem so trivial and may not be blog worthy to some, but to Jacky (and me as well) bathtime is the best and maybe even the most important time of the day. 

For one hour a day she gets to be helmet free, and that hour includes bathtime. So anything that I can do to improve on that time for her, I will do. 

Aside from bathtime, we spend that hour winding down for bed, reading books, spending time with Dad before work and most importantly, we makeup for cuddle time that the helmet interrupts. For a good 15-20 minutes we just hug and kiss on her, massage her head, smell her hair and just get as many extra snuggles as Jacky will give. 
For me, the hardest part of this whole experience, is not being able to smell and kiss Jacky’s head whenever I want. I never realized just how often I would rest my cheek on her, smell her and just love on her. As many parents know, theres nothing quite as mesmerizing and addictive as the scent of your baby’s head. I now miss that smell for 23 hrs and day. 

Our first week has gone great, and today’s measurements  already showed significant improvements from her first appointment. In numbers, she’s down from a 9 to a 7 (normal is 0-4). 

Checking on the Chickens

We are so happy that she is doing so well and we are hopeful that treatment will be faster than originally planned!

If you have any suggestions on making bathtime more fun, leave a comment below. 

Be sure to like this post and follow for weekly updates! 

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Beating the Stay At Home Blues.

Being a Stay at Home Mom (SAHM) has a reputation for being this glamorous privilege that only Stepford Wives, with rich husbands, can obtain. But it is so much more!

While I agree that being a SAHM is a privilege, it is also a choice and it’s not just Pinterest wins and rainbows all of the time. It involves a lot of hard choices, feelings and work. We didn’t make the choice for me to stay home, based on a wealthy income and it being easy. We made a choice to completely change our lives and to live on less in order to provide our daughter with more one on one time. And it works for us.

As I have said before, I worked before Jackalynn was born, and I worked up until I was taken out on maternity leave due to sciatic pain. I had worked since I was 15 years old, so it wasn’t an easy transition from having my own money, to being fully dependent on someone else. I wasn’t the only one who made a change either. For almost 6 months, Jairo was working 2 jobs and was only home for a couple hours a day, and those hours were spent sleeping. Now, instead of working a Monday to Friday 9-5 job, he works Graveyards Sunday-Thursday. This was probably the hardest change, because he is not a night person, but he has adjusted to it and actually enjoys his new job.

Being on Maternity Leave was easy at first. It was nice to relax, take naps and just get ready for Jacky to be here. It was even nice for a while after she was born, but then, as many new Mom’s and even experienced SAHM’s will tell you, there comes a point when you start to feel like you don’t contribute. For me, those feelings came when bills got tight and we started struggling. I immediately felt guilty. I felt like I was not doing enough for my family and felt so sad and helpless.

So why not just go back to work? 

I could do that, sure, but have you priced childcare lately? If I went back to work, my entire check would go towards Jackalynn’s care, she would be in someone else’s hands all day, and we would still be in the same situation, financially. That’s why I don’t go back to work.

 

So instead, I got to work thinking of ways I could help from home. Here is my list of ways a bored, SAHM can make some extra cash and beat those SAHM blues.

  • Online Surveys – There are several websites and apps that will pay you to take surveys online. These are normally connected to companies and brands that need feedback on their products or services. My favorites are:
    • Opinion Outpost – Take surveys and collect points for rewards.
      100 points = $10 Paypal money. You can also redeem points for airline miles, amazon gift cards or make donations to a charitable cause. I have been using this site since December 2016 and have made $205.
    • Quick Thoughts – Similar to Opinion Outpost, but less activity and less reward options. Most surveys pay out $2.00, $00.10 if you don’t qualify for a survey. Using this app, I am able to earn one $10 Amazon gift card per week.
    • Surveys On the Go –  Up until this week, this was my least favorite survey app, because it was very low activity and low payout. I’ve yet to earn enough to cash out a reward. But this week, I got a ‘Beer Study’ that will pay $15, and I have started getting higher paying surveys daily. I will have to do an update at some point to let you know how this app works out in the long run.
  • Coupons and Rebates – This method takes a little more skill and work, and I am still in the process of perfecting my system, but this is a sure way to save money daily, as well as earn money on things you normally purchase.
    • Ibotta– My favorite way to earn money back on my shopping trips. There are a ton of rebates on everyday items (including beer and wine for my fellow #winemoms) and it’s so easy to use. Once you reach $20 you can cash out in a number of ways, including Paypal. Since January I have earned $69 in rebates.
    • Couponing – There are a number of ways to find coupons, and honestly, you should take advantage of all of them, but first, visit The Krazy Coupon Lady for all things coupons. This is my go to for coupon advice. Once you have an idea of where to start you can print them from coupons.com , smart source and red plum. Sign up for loyalty programs or newsletters from your favorite brands, and receive exclusive coupons in your emails.
    • Send Feedback – You may not realize how many brands you use on a daily basis. But a lot of those brands will send you valuable money saving coupons, or free samples, just for your feedback. After reading an article on Tough Nickle about this, I had to try it and I was pleasantly surprised with the amount of coupons and samples I received in the mail from companies like Johnsons, Folgers, P&G and so many more!
    • Ebates – Another way to earn rebates on shopping trips. This way involves more online shopping, but if that’s your thing, then this might really benefit you! I earned a little cashback purchasing some things through Groupon, and there are a ton of other sites to shop from.
  • Product Testing – I was product testing long before I was pregnant, but now as a SAHM I have made it a regular hobby and I love the hell out of it. There are lots of different ways to become a product tester, these are my favorites.
    • Influenster – I have been an Influenster for almost 3 years now. In the last year I have started receiving boxes at least once a month. Boxes can include a number of different things, depending on the badges that you unlock. My current box included 2 lip liners and 2 lipsticks.
    • Crowdtap – I signed up for Crowdtap a little over a month ago and have already received 2 full sized samples, and earned $20 in Amazon gift cards by participating in daily polls, surveys and simple missions. This is easily becoming my favorite way for product testing.
    • BzzAgent – This is similar to Crowdtap, without the possibility to earn gift cards. I signed up a little over a month ago and have received 2 full size samples to test and review.
      • In case you weren’t keeping track, thats a total of 5 full sized samples within a month, absolutely FREE!

While these ways might not be for everyone, its something to try! I know that it’s not much, and nothing close to a working income, but it is enough to help us to have a little extra pocket money, and it keeps me from getting cabin fever!

I know that there are a ton of Mom’s out there struggling with the same feelings I had, and I hope that this list might help.

If you know someone who might enjoy this read, share my page!

If this post has helped you, give it a like and leave me a comment! 

Thank you for reading, please be sure to follow for updates every week!