How to Keep Kitchen Counters Free of Clutter

I don’t know about you, but whenever there is a glad surface anywhere within my reach I always seem to find a way to clutter it up. It could be a table, shelf, or chair! It doesn’t matter what it is, it only matters that it’s a flat surface easily accessible for me to throw my junk on. 

One that had bothered me for a while is my kitchen counters. They’re so easily cluttered up with food or appliances and it makes the whole kitchen look messy. I finally got to the point where I was done with a consistently messy looking kitchen and I knew the culprit was the cluttered counters. But how was I to fix this mess? 

1. Make cabinet space for what you can 

I’ve kept the toaster on the counter for 3 years and I only use it maybe 6 times a year. I don’t always need that accessible. So it’s on a tray in a cabinet now. Same goes for the food processor. I use it a lot but it’s easy to move so it’s in a cabinet above the outlet I typically plug it into. I’ve cleared space in my cabinets for snacks and fruit that kept being left out. It only took about 3 minutes to reorganize my pots and pans to make a spec for the pot I continually left out on the stove. Once I put away what I could I found that there was very little left out on the counter. 

2. Make counter space for what is necessary   

There are going to be things that are just super convenient to always be on the counter! For me a big one is my kitchen aid. That thing is so heavy, if I kept that in a cabinet I would never use it because it would be such a pain to bring out and put back! Also, my dish drying rack kinda needs a space on the counter. In the end I picked 4 places in the kitchen where I keep things. Next to the sink for the drying rack, a corner for the knifes, spoons, and whisks, a corner for the jars with rice, sugar, and flour, and lastly a space for the kitchen aid. 

3. Keep things in their place. 

this is tip is twofold. 
a) put away things when you’re done with them. 
This one is easy. As soon as I’m done processing food in the food processor I put the base away. If I’ve used the toaster I let it cool off and then I put it back. The main thing for me is if I let something stay out too long it’s like it grows roots there and it’s harder to put away. I gotta do it right away or it’s not happening for a month. 
b) Keep counter things in their space

This may seem repetitive but often I’ll lmov something and it will never find its way back where it’s supposed to be. but I have a little trick that helps me. I keep the things I keep on the counter on something on the counter. For example, the jars with flour, sugar, and rice, if I use one of those I have the tendency to grab the jar, pull it close to where I need it, measure out what I need, and then leave it in this newfound spot for a while. This does not help keep the counters looking tidy. Instead I have a tray basket that I keep the jars on. That way when I need one I either go to where it is to get what I need, or I pull the basket to me and then put it back. It helps keep things in their place so much easier! 

Until the idea is to keep things simple and neat. If you consistently keep things in their place there won’t be as much as a need to clean. And if you keep the things on your counter to a minimum there won’t be a stainless much daily tidying to do thus making your life all that much easier. 

10 Christmas Gifts for Under $10

Does the Christmas traffic get worse every year or is it my patience wearing out? My husband and I went to the store this past Saturday (it’s mid November y’all) and the traffic was horrific! I mean I just about started rolling down my window to scream at people horrific. I decided then and there, no more Christmas shopping. The rest of it will be done in the early morning when only the birds are awake or online.

Also, do I end up spending more each year or is my wallet just smaller? Either way I’ve cut back on who I give gifts to and how much I spend on them. $10 and less gifts on amazon are gold! It’s both cheep and you don’t have to get out in that Christmas traffic. If you want to view the item click on the photo or the name.

Disclaimer: As an Amazon associate I get a small commission from qualifying purchases.

1. Stainless Steal Drinking Straws 

 

This is a great gift for anybody! Guys, girls, and it helps the environment! And if you wanted to add a little something you could put them in a tumbler with some hot coco mix and you have a really great gift!

 

2. Credit Card Organizer 

 

 

Perfect little card organizer that comes in many different colors. If you’re like me you have about a 50 cards and half of them are gift cards that have less than $5 but you can make yourself give them up because that’s money saved…I digress. This is a perfect little gift for anyone! Literally, think of someone you haven’t been sure what to get them and think if they might need a little card organizer. I am willing to put money down to say they do.

 

3. Ceramic Pour Over Coffee Dripper 

 

 

Gift for your coffee loving friend! I have a drip coffee brewer and it makes fantastic coffee! This coupled with a bag coffee beans will leave a caffeine addict well satisfied.

 

 

4. Deluxe Tea Infuser 

 

 

You know that one friend who doesn’t drink coffee but loves tea? The person that goes to Starbucks because that’s where their friends want to go but they order a strawberry lemonade? While you’re getting your regular friends something coffee related you can give them this amazing tea infuser! It’s great for brewing yourself just a little cup of tea! Since your friend probably never brews more than one cup at a time its the perfect gift for them!

 

5. Small Glass Teapot 

 

 

Another gift for your tea loving friend! This tea pot is only large enough for one serving at a time. It is stove top save and comes with a stainless steal infuser.

 

6. Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser Necklace 

 

 

Look at this set of necklace pendants that also serve as essential oil diffusers! Two pendants that are both pretty and are useful! These would make a perfect gift for you essential oil loving friend.

 

 

7. Trio of Essential Oils Set 

 

 

A set of essential oils! Lavender, Tea Tree, and Eucalyptus. This would be perfect to pair with a pair or socks, gloves, or the aromatherapy pendant I mentioned above!

 

8. Wooden Eyewear Holder 

 

 

Know someone who’s always looking for their glasses? Give them something fun to keep their glasses on! I guarantee they will spend less time looking for their glasses and more time laughing at the little wooden face wearing them.

 

 

9. Mini Bluetooth Speaker 

 

 

I got this speaker a few months ago and it is great! This is so small you could carry it around in your pocket if you want.  This is something I like to use it while I’m watching dishes, its small but loud enough for regular Bluetooth use.

 

 

10. 2020 Where’s Waldo Calendar 

 

 

This might be my favorite thing on Amazon right now. I’ve always loved searching for Waldo and this Calendar has 16 pages of Waldo searching fun! The first page starts September 2019.

If you like shopping on Amazon check out 7 Things You Should be Buying on Amazon 

 

 

My Honest Instacart Review

Groceries  delivered directly to your door with just the click of a button is just too appealing not to try. But, I’m also a penny pincher so the thought of spending more on groceries than I have to is horrifying to me. Instacart offers free shipping and $10 off your first order. You will need a code but you can find them in abundance with a quick google search. With that in mind I decided to go ahead and try it out for a bit. 

The first week I got my regular groceries with little or no extra cost because of the coupon.

The second week I found a code that said it would give me $30 credit for my next order. The code went through and after my order I got a notification that said I would have $30 free on my next order. 

On the third week I went ahead and checked Instacart. There ended up being no credit on my account and I couldn’t find the notification that said it would be. Thus I decided to not use it this week but instead I conducted an experiment to see how much Instacart actually charged extra. I had noticed the other weeks that some of the prices were higher than I had remembered them being. I made a list and did my own shopping. After I got home I went on Instacart and added the exact same things”l to my virtual cart. Below are the results.

(Side note: all the shopping was conducted at Aldi.)

My shopping total: $46.28

Instacart total: $61.74 (this includes a 5% tip and fees)

As I was adding the items I had bought to my Instacart I noticed each item was slightly higher in price and I began to write the difference down. Instacart’s added an average of .15 cents per item (some items were .50 cents more and others only .06 cents) so my Instacart order total was $4.51 more than my own shopping, before any tip or fees were added. 

I knew Instacart would be more expensive in the end, this is only fair when you’re paying someone to do your shopping. I was surprised that they added on to each item instead of keeping it the items at the same price and Then adding on the extra as a fee at the end.

In the end if I had used Instacart I would have paid an additional $15.46.

I would give Instacart 4 out of 5 stars. I withhold a star because I think adding a little to each item is sneaky. I think it would be more upfront to add it at the end so you could see the fees clearly. And there is the $30 that isn’t in my account.

The final question then is, would Instacart be worth using on a regular basis? Personally I say no. I do my shopping weekly and an extra $60 a month just for connivance isn’t worth it to me. 

But if you don’t mind the extra fees I would suggest you look into it. The convenience is amazing and they do have a subscription that would bring your fees down. But if your like my you’ll save the money Andy get your own shopping done. 

 

For more shopping tips check out 5 Tips for Easier Grocery Shopping and 7 Things You Should be Buying on Amazon

7 Best LOTRs and Harry Potter Themed Baby Clothes

Ever since I was around 13 I have loved Lord of the Rings. I realized a while ago that I didn’t have any LOTRs themed clothes for Lily! I started looking at what was out there and found some really great things! I stumbled upon some Harry Potter themed clothes as well and have compiled a list of my favorites.

Disclaimer: As an Amazon associate I do get a small commission from qualifying purchases.

1. Lord of The Rings Hobbit Meals Onesie 

This onesie has all the Hobbit meals and is 100% appropriate since babies eat 1,000 times a day. It comes in 3 different colors!

2. What About Second Breakfast Onesie 

This onesie has “What About Second Breakfast” written in the Lord of the Rings script. Perfect for your hungry little guy or gal. It only comes in white.

3. Lord of the Rings Onesie 

With the classic stacking rings baby toy on it this onesie is perfect for Lord of the Rings fans and pun lovers alike. Only comes in white.

 

4. Harry Potter Scar and Glasses Onesie 

This onesie is one of my favorites! With the lightning bolt scar and round glasses, it is perfect for any child of a Harry Potter fan. It comes in black and gray with a gray long sleeved option.

 

5. Snuggle This Muggle 

I can’t even this this outfit! So freaking cute! There are a few variations of this outfit but this one is my favorite. 

6. Five Piece Set 

This set of Harry Potter themed onesies is just too much! 

 

7. I Never Received My Acceptance Letter

 And lastly to tie everything together one last onesie. “I never received my acceptance letter to Hogwarts, so I’m leaving the Shire to become a Jedi.” This one comes in 7 different colors to choose from! 

 

If you liked this check out my other post 7 Best Star Wars Themed Baby Clothes

 

7 Best Star Wars Themed Baby Clothes

Who doesn’t love Star Wars? If you don’ and are reading this anyways then just go. 

Anyways, I think geeky themed baby clothes are some of the best!  And there aren’t many things more geeky than Star Wars so I put together a list of the best Star Wars baby clothes I could find on Amazon!

 

Disclaimer: As an Amazon associate I do get a small commission from qualifying purchases.

 

1. The Force Onesie


 

This one reads “The force is strong with this one”. Don’t we all hope the force is strong in our child? No? Just me? Okay, moving on. This onesie comes in 13 different colors which makes it perfect for any baby!

2. Future Jedi Onesie

 

Let the world know that your baby is a future Jedi with this cute onesie! It comes in 12 different colors!

3. I Speak Wookee Onesie

I love how appropriate this is for babies who only make noises! This “I Speak Wookee” onesie comes In 5 different colors! Plus a bib! 

4. Awakens You Onesie 

Yessssss! “The Force that Awakens You” so appropriate for a baby. And it comes in 9 different colors!

5. Princess Onesie 

 

What little princess would’t be totally adorable in this? Plus, I mean, we all know that Leia is the best princess out there. This onesie comes in gray and pink.

6. Sithed Onesie

This pun is too cute. I would totally get this for newborn since they’re always sithing. It does only come in white. 
 

 7. The One That Takes the Cake 

5 different Star Wars onesies! I love these so much!! I know its for boys but I’d totally dress my little girl in these. I know $25 is a bit much but that’s only $5 per onesie! 


6 Items I Wish Were On My Baby Registry

I tried to be really stingy with my baby registry because I didn’t want people to buy all the little thing she that I kinda wanted and not get the things I really wanted. Lily is 7 months and looking back there’s a few things I wish I’d put on. 

Disclaimer: As an Amazon associate I do get a small commission from qualifying purchases.

 

1. Reusable Breast Pads 

I had Bamboobies from Target on my registry but they only sell them in packs of four. After I had Lily I realized four wasn’t enough. I went on amazon and found the same kind for the same price but it was an 8 pack! They’re organic, reusable, and it comes with a laundry bag you can use to wash them in. 

 

2. Nursing Pillow Cover 

I was gifted a nursing pillow with a cover but it wasn’t until months after Lily was born that I realized I should have had more than one cover. There’s going to be times that baby spits up or poos on the pillow. It would have been great to have more than one cover to put on it while the other was in the wash. 

 

3. Bath Toy Organizer

I honestly didn’t really think about how bath time wouldn’t go until a few months ago when’s Lily was able to sit up in the bath and play more. I currently have a mesh bag that was the packaging for the rubber duckies I got for her to hold her toys in. I am planning on getting THIS for her toys soon. 

 

4. Diaper Pail 

I knew I would be using cloth diapers so I didn’t put this on my list. But looking back I realized it would have been helpful to have, not only did we use paper diapers we had been gifted during the first few weeks, but also a pail would have been helpful even when using cloth diapers to throw the wipes away in. 

 

5. Pacifier Clips

For some reason I thought pacifier clips were only for toddlers…I was very wrong. After a few weeks of dealing with her dropping her pacifier in the floor a hundred times a day I went out and bought a few. THIS is a really good deal with 4 clips and a teething toy! 

 

6. Teething Jewelry 

I didn’t realize how much Lily would want to chew on my necklaces. She is always grabbing at whatever’s I am wearing and of course everything I wear isn’t safe enough for her to chew on. I just got this for my brother’s wedding and Lily loves it!

 

5 Tips for Easier Grocery Shopping

Growing up I hated shopping of any kind but I had a special dislike for grocery shopping. Once I got married I began to start to enjoy grocery shopping! And then I had a child…and now shopping for groceries is an even larger chore. I’ve jotted down some tips for you shoppers (wither you enjoy it or not) might come in handy as your pantry and fridge get emptier and you must once again brave the food stores. 

Disclaimer: As an Amazon associate I do get a small commission from qualifying purchases.

1. Buy in Bulk 

Grocery shopping often includes shopping for non edible and yes just as essential items such as cleaning supplies or toiletries. Recently I took a day to buy just those sort of things in bulk, I went to Ollies and got the best prices I could find for hand soap. shampoo and other things like that! Now for a few months I’m not going to have to worry about going to that side of the store to pick those things up. Thus saving me time and brainpower.

2. Subscribe and Save on Amazon 

I discovered buying household items off of amazon recently and I am in awe that I didn’t start doing it sooner! For example you can buy 30 rolls of toilet paper for $19 and on top of that up can subscribe and tell them how often you want it sent to your house saving you time and money! Imagine never running out of toilet paper and never having to go to the store for it….Amazing.

3. Hit Only One Store a Day

This may be just me but I’ve found that if I try and go to multiple stores in one day my shopping instantly becomes 1000x harder. There may be people who find it easier to hit all their stores at once but I for one either just do all my shopping at one store or if I absolutely have to go to a different store just wait until the next day.  

4. Timing is everything!

With an infant who still needs frequent naps timing a store run is quite possible the most important step of my shopping day. When Lily was 3 months and under she almost always slept in her car seat in the store which was wonderful. Now she is 7 months she likes to ride in the cart seat which is freaking adorable but also tires her out. I find the best times to shop for us are right after breakfast or immediately following her morning nap.

5. Start Your List the Night Before

I try and let my husband know the night before that I’m going shopping the next day so he can let me know if there is anything he needs. And then I have time to write out a list and add things that I will inevitably forget on it.

 

That’s it! My 5 tips to make your grocery shopping that much easier. Also, check out my other post 7 Things You Should be Buying on Amazon.

 

 

7 Things You Should be Buying on Amazon

There are some things we use a lot of that is always a great chore to go to the store and buy it time after time. For my husband it’s paper towels. We use a lot of them and he doesn’t mind spending the money on them but he hates the time it take to go to the store and try to pick out the best for the best price. Suddenly it hit us that we could just order them off Amazon to save us time and quite possible money! We started buying our paper towels from Amazon and just ordering them is a great relief to my regular shopping trips. I began to wonder what other things Amazon had that I could be getting to make my life that much  easier and below is a list of my 7 favorites .

Disclaimer: As an Amazon associate I do get a small commission from qualifying purchases.

Paper Towels

 24 rolls, 102 Sheets per roll for all for $21! As I mentioned before these are a lifesaver for us! Not only is this the best value I’ve found for paper towels, its also super easy to get! and there’s no lugging bunches of paper towels around the store and in and out the car anymore! I just order them when we run low and they’re at our house two days later!

Toilet Paper 

Same brand as the paper towels we order, 2-Ply Paper, 350 Sheets per Roll, 30 Count for $20!

Hand Sanitizer

This hand sanitizer has vitamin E and aloe, 32 Fluid Ounce (Pack of 4) for $13!

Trash Bags

Amazon trash bags! 120 for $14!

Disinfecting Wipes

Lemon Scented disinfecting wipes,  75 Wipes Each (Pack of 3) for $9!

Tampons

They have plastic applicator, multi absorbancy packs, unscented (which is very important to me), 4 packs of 36 (144 total) for $18!

Maxi Pads

These are thick maxi pads, super absorbency, unscented (very important), 4 packs of 48 (192 total) for $20!

Subscribe and Save:

Some of the things I have listed have a subscribe and save option, I think this is brilliant but unfortunately I haven’t tried it out yet. I plan to and when I do I’m sure I’ll write a review on it!

 

 

There you go! My top 7 favorite things to stock up on with Amazon. Also, check out my other post on 5 Tips for Easier Grocery Shopping.


My Sleep Training Experience

A few weeks ago I decided it was time for Lily to start sleeping through the night. I had tried a few things at this point to help her and nothing had worked. At the time she was getting up 3 times a night to eat and I had gotten to the point where I was going to have a mental breakdown if it didn’t stop soon. I took about a week after I decided it was time to sleep train to decide on exactly what system I was going to use. I had read a lot about the Ferber method and decided use that as my guide.

Disclaimer: As an Amazon associate I do get a small commission from qualifying purchases.

What is the Ferber Method?

The Ferber Method comes from a book called Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problem’s by Richard Ferber, M.D. which, as the title indicates, matches the symptoms of your child’s sleep problems to a solution. The most common one that I’ve seen used the most is his method of sleep training with the intent to help your child learn how to put themselves to sleep. His method is a modified cry it out in which you go in and calm your child in lengthening increments so as to reassure them that you are still there while also helping them learn how to self sooth. His book has several charts one to help with how to lengthen the increments of time between going in and another on how to wean from night feedings. 

I found his book helpful and encouraging. It made me feel better to know I was using a method that had worked for other moms and that was recommended by someone who had helped a lot of children learn how to sleep. I didn’t take everything he said as gospel (for example he doesn’t encourage pacifier use and I didn’t think I could take that away from her while sleep training) I changed it up for how I felt Lily would best respond and that seemed to work and developed my own method, the Maria Method as it were.

What is the Maria Method?

I decided to completely stop the night feedings. I had previously tried to slowly wean her by only do 2 a night and that worked for a few days and then she started waking up more and I felt she was confused as to when I was getting her up to eat and when I was just soothing her. Ferber has a method to decrease feedings and I had also tried shortening nursing times but it just made her more angry. Once I had decided that I did a lot of research about how to sleep train and I came up with my own basic steps.

1. Make a bedtime routine

Our bedtime routine starts around 6-6:30 with nursing, getting into her pjs, reading, rocking, and then bed. The key to a bedtime routine is the routine. Pick something you are willing to do every night and then stick to it! I would also suggest starting a routine as early as 2 months before you plan to sleep train so that your baby will associate those things with getting ready to sleep for a long time.

2. Make a chart

This chart is what you will follow as to how long you will wait before you go in to check if they’ve been crying. It’s important to have this made before you start your first night of sleep training. I tried sleep training a few times before this and not having a chart was detrimental, I would sit there timing how long it had been since she started crying unsure as to how long I was going to let her cry, it was so stressful. So, I made a chart and for the most part stuck to it. 

First wait: 5min. Second wait: 8min. Third wait: 10min. Fourth wait: 12min. fifth wait: 15min. Subsequent waits: 15min

I used this chart every night. Ferber has you lengthen the first wait every night but I didn’t like that. Unfortunately she did catch on that I would eventually come and just kinda waited for me to come and then cry even more when she saw me. I think that was on the 5th night that I noticed that and I started off with a 15 minute wait and she stopped doing that.

3. Determine to stick it out

In one of the many blogs I read that talked about sleep training suggested to make a plan and then stick it out for at least a week before you decided to quit. This is a really good rule to follow. Sleep training is hard because often at first you are actually getting less sleep than before you started it. There was one night I think it was the 5th or 6th night that she was crying and I couldn’t take it anymore so I started crying. I almost quit then but the next night was so much better I was glad I didn’t!

4. Make a waking routine

This will help your child distinguish between you coming in to sooth them and coming in to get them up. I usually turn the sound machine off and open the curtains before I go to her bed. 

5. Keep a Record 

The first 7 days I made posts in my insta story to keep track of her progress. I simply put the total number of minutes she had cried the night before. I would defiantly suggest keeping track of how long they’re crying or the number or wakings so that you can look back and see the progress and most likely you’ll see results after a few days. 

6. Nap whenever you can!

This should be a rule followed pretty much all the time for any parent but especially while sleep training. Your nights are going to be a lot harder at first before they get better, so you need to make sure you nap during the day whenever you can so that you survive the night.

What were the results?

Here’s how the first 6 days of sleep training went for Lily and I. I tracked how much she cried each night. 

Day 1: 2 1/2 hours total crying 

Day 2: Very little crying wasn’t even worth timing!

Day 3: 1 hour total crying, she got very distressed this night and I ended up picking her up and rocking her a bit.

Day 4: 30 minutes total crying.

Day 5: 1 1/2 hours total crying

Day 6: 15 minutes total crying, she started rolling onto her tummy in her sleep this night and so it upset her when she woke up that way.

Day 15: I only had to give her pacifier back to her once about an hour after putting her to bed. Once I went to bed I didn’t get up until morning. I haven’t been able to do that in six months…So I was pretty happy.

Not every night is like Day 15, but I was really proud of her for it that I had to mention it! Most nights she loses her pacifier a few times but goes right back to sleep after I give it back to her.

Please Indulge my Soapbox:

I was posting about sleep training Lily on Instagram and got some negative feedback from a mom who doesn’t believe in sleep training. I will never understand someone who singles people out they disagree with just to say something discouraging. If you don’t think sleep training would benefit you or your child then don’t do it! If you think you and your child would benefit from sleep training than embark on the journey! I think Moms who judge other moms for sleep training assume they don’t love their child enough to hold them or rock them to sleep at night. And there are Moms out there who think moms who don’t sleep train are hurting their child and are just taking the easy way out. Either way isn’t easy and most moms truly do love their child and are just doing what they think is best for them. Ultimately, you baby isn’t going to remember if you rocked them all night or let them cry it out for a bit so do what is best for you and your child and don’t try and discourage others who are doing the same but in a different way.

On a lighter note I did get some encouraging messages from moms who saw I was sleep training and those helped me make it through that first week!

 

Tarnished Silver Hack

A long time ago my Abuela gave me an engagement ring/wedding ring set that was her sister’s. I decided that when I got married they would be my wedding rings. Unfortunately, they were a little small so when I got married I decided to wait until later to get them resized and my husband and I got a cheap set for me to have until then. Anyways, short story long, I was looking into resizing recently and when I tried on the rings to see how much larger I would need them I realized they fit! I’m not sure what has changed in the last two years…but I’m super excited to be able to wear the rings my Abuela gave me! One problem though, they were pretty tarnished. So, I began to look into cleaning tarnished rings and found a quick and easy way that worked! I’ve shared it here for your use!

 

What You Will Need:

Materials:

Water

Baking Soda

Aluminum Foil

Pot (to boil water)

Bowl

Instructions:

First, you’ll need to boil some water (I did two cups). Once the water comes to a boil you add a tablespoon of baking soda to every cup of water. Stir it until it’s dissolved. The water will bubble up a little bit when you add the soda in.  

While you’re waiting for the water to boil get a bowl and some aluminum foil. You’ll have to put some of the aluminum on the bottom of the bowl. I just went ahead and wrapped the whole bowl in it. Then you’ll put your rings or whatever other jewelry in the bowl. The jewelry needs to be touching the aluminum to create a chemical reaction to clean the tarnish off.

Once you’re baking soda water is ready pore it into the bowl with the jewelry and then wait. You should see bubbles coming off the jewelry.

I waited about 10 minutes and then checked it, the rings looked a lot better but I felt they could still use some more time so I left them until they had completely stopped bubbling which was after another 15 minutes, total of 25 minutes. 

I did use a needle to clean out some dirt from some crevices but as you can see the baking soda water worked wonders! Here’s how they looked after!

 

 

I hope you enjoyed my little helpful jewelry cleaning hack! 


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