Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Seven Slings Review *Updated*

My good friend Kallie turned me on to They currently have a promotion going on where you can get a sling for the cost of shipping.  Baby T loves to be worn, and I was really struggling with the Moby wrap, so I was very excited to try a sling out. Unfortunately I've had some minor issues, the process was a bit confusing, so here's what you need to know.

The Website
The website is easy to use.  You go to the "shop now" tab, pick out your pattern, quantity and size. It automatically adds to the cart.  You can then enter your coupon code.  The first time you shop this site, it also adds $3.50 for "size exchange insurance." I thought that was kind of odd, but see below

Slings come in sizes 1 through 9. The sizing chart is very complicated and I had a hard time determining what size I would need (I quickly saw why the size exchange insurance was offered). Sizing is based on your conventional size, your t-shirt size, height, weight, cup size, and (most importantly, according to the chart) your shoulder to hip measurement. By the first two measurements, I was a 6. Height, weight, and cup size put me at a size 4. Shoulder to hip measurement put me between a 5 and a 6. I decided to split the difference and order the size 5 and made sure to purchase the size exchange insurance. 

Ordering is the easiest part of the process. Pick your pattern, your quantity, and your size. It adds the sling to your cart and gives you your total with a place to enter a coupon code.  I used code family2012, and it removed $39 - the cost of the sling. I checked to make sure the size insurance was in the cart. My total came out to $15.45 for a sling that was sale priced at $39. Excellent.  I entered my info and clicked the order button.  I got an e-mail confirming my order right away with a link to track shipping.

The reason the shipping is so expensive is it's first class and with processing you can expect your delivery "within 2 to 8 business days" by the website's description. I ordered the sling on February 27th and when I went out of town on March 6th it had not arrived.  When I returned on March 9th, it was waiting in my mailbox.  I never got a confirmation shipping e-mail, and the link to my shipping information just took me to a page that said my order was being processed.  So while I'm not sure exactly how long it took to get to my mailbox, it was relatively close to their 8 day estimate.  Usually when a place gives you a shipping estimate of several days, it comes either on the lower end or right in the middle of the estimate, so I was a little disappointed in how long it took.

I opened the sling and the first thing I noticed was the smell.  It had a very heavy chemically type of smell. The fabric also feels very thin, cheap, and not very soft. My first impulse was to wash it, but I decided to get it tried on and put the baby in it so that I could return it if it was the wrong size.  When you unfold it out of the package, it's just one big long piece of fabric sewn together at the ends. You have to fold the sling inwards on itself to make it into an actual sling.  The website and the sling itself have step-by-step instructions, and it didn't take long to figure it out.  I got the sling on and it fit great shoulder-to-hip (which was the only measurement that told me to actually order a size 5). Unfortunately there is a lot of leftover material in the middle.  I put baby in and there was so much extra material that I folded it back at the shoulder.  Well, since the print is only on one side, folding it back really took away from the appearance of the sling.  I decided that I would need to take advantage of the size insurance and send it back.

Size exchange policy and a problem
This is where things get tricky, and this might be long winded but it's important. The size exchange insurance is $3.50 and for that you get a postage paid envelope to send it back and they will send you another size without charging you additional shipping.  Does anyone else find it odd that it cost me $12 for them to ship it to me but only costs $3.50 to ship it back?

The sling must be returned in "perfect resell-able condition."  I figured that meant no damage to the product.  Well, when you get the return instructions, you find out that it's a bit more complicated than that.  The sling must be perfectly re-folded, per their included folding instructions.  It must be perfect re-packaged and they must be able to literally take it out of your envelope and put it into another shipping envelope to send to someone else.

Unfortunately when I took the sling out, the green zipper broke off of the bag right in my hand. I figured I could put it back on.  I folded it to the best of my ability and squeezed the sling back into the bag. I sealed the bag and tried to reattach the zipper. No dice, it would not go back on. So I started trying to unseal the bag. It tore. In two places. It says right on the instructions that if the bag is torn it may result in them shipping the same sling back to you because it is no longer resell-able.  I was leaving town AGAIN, so I didn't deal with the issue until I got home.

I e-mailed the company on a Monday, got a response on Thursday that as long as the sling itself was not damaged, I could return it.  I e-mailed them back and said "Great, but now I'm really close to the 14-day return window, can I still send it back?" I got an immediate response saying they would waive that requirement for me.  I should have figured if I posted my review they would get back to me the next day! :) So it's safe to say that yes, I would recommend this company, with the following recommendations:

My Recommendations
1)Don't order without a coupon code, it's silly to pay full price (try coupon code familybump). 
2)Buy the size exchange insurance but be aware that your bag and sling need to stay in PERFECT condition (I don't know if they often bend those rules, so do the best you can just to be safe). 
3) Don't go in and out of town and wait to deal with it like I did, the instructions say if it isn't returned within 14 days of delivery that they can hold you sling and re-charge you for shipping! 
4)Overall, just be willing to take a risk.  I'm disappointed but it's a good deal and I can always re-sell it on Craigslist or a friend might be able to use it :)

Hope that you found some helpful information here!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Mama needs some new clothes!

I HATE spending money on myself!

I know I'm not the only thrifty mama with this problem.  I love buying for the kids - toys, books, clothes, etc. I shop it around and I try to save as much as I can on those things, but it doesn't "hurt" when I spend the money.  Buying for myself is almost physically painful - it makes me nauseous even. Unfortunately, looking in the mirror every time I got ready to go somewhere was making me MORE nauseous.  New clothes have been long overdue.  

This week, Target just came out with a bunch of coupons for clothing.  So I printed like mad, grabbed my pharmacy rewards 5% off and my Target Red Debit card, and went shopping.

Here's what I purchased:
Merona denim crops
Mossimo denim crops
Two Merona cross-front t-shirts
Liz Lange Maternity/Nursing tank
 2, 2 packs of MAM 0-6 months pacifiers (because baby is a paci-snob and needed new paci's!)

Total before coupons and 5%'s off: $76.60
Total spent: $58.20

I still hate that I had to buy clothes, but I can't argue with what I paid!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

A non-review of

A good rule of thumb is not to judge something until you've tried it.  I'm not going to do that here.  I'm not going to order from, so I can't tell you about the shipping or the customer service. I simply researched price (because you know I love to save some money), and I'm going to share my findings.

First,; then, my local Target (come on, if you know me you HAD to know that was coming ;) ).
I have a coupon for $10 off my first order of $49 or more.  I figured that sold by the case so I figured that $49 would probably be spent quick buying in bulk.  I'm wary of buying in bulk, because when it comes down to cost per diaper you don't always get a great deal. I decided to do my research and see what came up.

We use Huggies Pure and Natural diapers. Yes, this money-saving mommy uses the most expensive type of Huggies there is.  It's a long story that has nothing to do with this entry so I'll save it. I was surprised to find that they sell P&N the same way as my Target store, or by the case.  So I compared the same package I can get at Target (score!).

A 80 pack of Huggies P&N is $21.99 on (that is the sale price, it says original price $27.99). This comes out to 27 cents per diaper.  My $10 off is only good if I spent $49, so I decided to add 3 packs to my cart for a total of $65.97.  Subtract the $10 for a cost of $55.97. gives free shipping on orders of $49 too. And, if I'm reading right, no tax for Texas (it had certain states on the list that had to pay tax and TX wasn't there). This comes out to 23 cents per diaper.

This week, an 80 pack of P&N diapers is on sale for $19 at Target.  I also have a $1 coupon, and I get 5% off (You NEED a Target Red Debit Card people, I'm tellin' ya!). So my cost pre-tax is $17.10, with tax it's 18.51, or 23 cents per diaper. 

So it's all the same... except next time I don't get $10 off at And last week at Target I had a Target coupon for $2 off and a manufacturer coupon for $1 off, making my tax-included price $17.26, or 21.5 cents per diaper. I'm not always lucky enough to be able to stack coupons but it pays off when I can.

If we compare sheer base price, sells the 80 pack for 27 cents a diaper (and, like I said, that says "sale") and Target sells it for 25 cents per diaper.  Now you do get a $5 off per case loyalty bonus at, which for the size one case of 132 diapers makes it $32.99, or 25 cents per diaper.

So from what I've found, you really can't save much by buying in bulk at I don't buy in bulk unless I'm going to save money, because I need something to make up for the sanity it's going to cost me when I'm trying to store 240 diapers. Either way, by big pack or case, you have to order over 200 of my brand of diapers to get free shipping at  I'd rather pick them up 80 at a time.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

A first for me!

I've been a proud aunt for almost 13 years (I can't believe my niece is so grown up!!).  My nieces are 12, 6.5, and 4 months old.  But on Monday I got something all new to me - I got my very first nephew!  I was the last of my siblings to get a nephew. It goes like this.  My sis had the first two kids, so my bros and I all got nieces. Then, I had my first son - my bros and sis got a nephew. THEN, my older bro and his wife had a daughter in October, so my sis got her first niece. I had another boy in December (another nephew for everyone else).  So everyone had nieces AND nephews but me.  That changed Monday!  And oh my goodness is he beautiful, I just have to show him off.

                                                        My youngest and my new nephew

Yes, we have doubled my mom's grandchildren count since October :) Can't you just hear her complaining about it?

I was super happy to spend part of the week in Cypress helping out with my nieces and my new sweet nephew, I can't wait to get back this week  to kiss those cheeks! And maybe do some fun aunt stuff with the nieces :)

Tomorrow I'm going to work on a post about baby related stuff. I have to talk about my new sling and I love blogging about saving money so it will be a fun entry!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Rubber-made kids

I swear children are made of rubber. How else could they bounce back so fast from illness?

Really, my 3 year old has been sick for almost a week.  He woke up Monday with a scratchy throat and one red, swollen, goopey eye. He had a trip to the pediatrician for some antibiotics and decongestant and we put him back on Singulair. Singulair is a miracle drug for him and for me, but at $165 for a 30 day supply we don't buy it unless we have to.  Mommy is currently doing without it, as a matter of fact.

Fast forward to Friday and he's got a snotty nose and a yucky cough.  I was hoping it was everything drying up and going away. Then last night at dinner, "the change" came over him.  "THE CHANGE" meaning I watched as his eyes slowly took on that glazed over sick look, then the color gradually drained from his face.  He wound up laying down with his head in Daddy's lap, his dinner untouched.  It was then I realized pretty much everything I'd given him to eat that day had gone untouched.  Uh oh.

Sure enough, we get home and he winds up puking. He then promptly fell asleep.  We let him sleep in our room, both of us ears open for any more puking sounds. The baby also has been congested and was coughing a lot so I wound up sleeping with him in the bed with me, so it made for no sleep for this mommy.

At 5:30 this morning, the big one emptied his stomach. I put the baby down in his bassinet to help Daddy with clean up duties, so of course he woke up and wanted to nurse.  Got everything cleaned up, got everyone back down, and bam - more puke.  We gave up at 6:30 and the whole family got up.

At 7:15, he puked again. Caught his breath, looked at Daddy and said "I'm hungry, can I eat now?"  Of course your parental instincts scream "NOOOO! You're puking, no food to puke up!"  But there's something about this kiddo.  When he asks to eat, it generally means he's done puking.

It's now 10:15 and he's had applesauce, plenty of water, cheerios, and goldfish, and he is running around like a banshee. Daddy and I are slumped in our chairs, eyes glazed over from exhaustion, just watching the show.

Whatever God makes kids out of, I sure wish He'd share it with parents!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Doesn't Wal-Mart always have the best prices? Maybe not...

I love shopping. Just ask my husband. Heck ask the people at Target - they know me. They know my kids. They ask about the kids when I don't have them with me. My 3 year old has favorite cashiers. I love me some Target, and other shopping places too, but mainly Target. Why? Because as much as I love Target, I HATE grocery stores more than I love Target. .

Is it bad when you leave Target and all your 3 year old talks about is "Mommy, can we come back to Target tomorrow?"  Yeah, okay, I might have a problem.

My Target addiction has only gotten worse since the addition of the Target Red Card debit card.  My husband is pretty opposed to store credit cards.  Yes, some of them give great deals, but lots of open lines of credit make him (and me) nervous.  Now, you can get a Target card that comes directly out of your checking, and it saves you 5% off your purchases.  That's addicting right there - scanning your debit card and watching the price drop right at the register.

Still, I wasn't even putting Target into play when I was doing grocery shopping.  There are a few things I religiously buy at Target - their up and up brand toilet tissue, paper towels, and trash bags, for example. Groceries though? Surely Wal-Mart is cheaper, right?  There are a few things I only buy at HEB (Milk, for example - Matthew is a milk snob and he has R.J. brainwashed already). So it's usually paper goods at Target, milk and produce at HEB, all others at Sams and Wal-Mart.

What got me thinking was the arrival of my 5% off pharmacy rewards card in the mail.  This is a card I get in the mail every time I fill five prescriptions at the Target pharmacy using my Target debit card.  The last one just happened to arrive on payday when I was about to do my grocery shopping. So I got to thinking.  Surely Wal-mart is cheaper.. but is it really 5% cheaper on everything? I started researching online to see if anyone had done a cost comparison and found someone who makes a list and shops her list at both places. Target wound up being cheaper by like a dollar, but there was no mention of a 5% off in there.. and there was no mention of an extra 5% off pharmacy rewards card either. Hmmmmm....

So I made a list of food and non-food items. Honestly, I thought it was super interesting, and I could go on and on about it all darn day.... but I doubt anyone would actually finish reading it!  So I'm going to give you the totals and then at the end of the entry I'm going to post the items.
First the raw totals:
Target: $85.58           Wal-Mart: $86.81

For a non-Target card holder who shopped my list, you would have saved $1.23 shopping at Target.

Now, I have a Target debit card and I get 5% off, so my Target total was $81.30, which is a $5.51 savings over Wal-Mart.

AND I had my 5% off savings card from the pharmacy rewards. My final total was $77.24, which is a  $9.57 savings over Wal-Mart!

Is that really a big deal? Well let's see.  Cost of open gym at Gymagic: $5. I could almost take my big boy twice.  Cost of a ticket to the zoo? $5. Children's Museum? $3.  I just earned us multiple trips out to do something fun!

 Of course there were things that were cheaper at Wal-Mart, like canned foods (and I mean they hammered Target into the ground, way more than 5% cheaper).  But I buy a lot of that stuff in bulk at Sams. I am thinking I should also cost compare Wal-Mart and HEB for those items.

I had fun doing this and will probably do it again and drone on and on about it on here.  Not as much as I drone about Target.  Have I mentioned how much I love Target...?

So, if you're interested, here's a list of the items. 
Green beans - Target had Del Monte only. They were 99 cents per can. Wal-mart had Del Monte for 82 cents and store brand for 68 cents.
Corn - Same for both stores.
Spaghetti Sauce - Target had Prego Traditional for $1.84. Wal-Mart had Prego for $1.83
Pretzels - Target had a 3lb bag for $3.99 (store brand), or $1.33/lb. Wal-mart had a 1 lb bag for $1.48
BBQ Sauce - Target had Kraft original for $1.27, Wal-Mart had the same for $1.26
Cream of Mushroom Soup - We use Campbell's Healthy Request. Target was $1.57/can, Wal-Mart was $1.22. For the regular Target was 1.27 and Wal-Mart was 98 cents. For store brand Target was $1.02 and Wal-Mart was 62 cents.
Lucky Charms - 16oz @Target is regular 3.29 but was on sale for $2.99, Walmart had 16 oz for 2.68
Chicken Nuggets - both were store brand, 1lb 13oz bags. Target $4.44, Wal-Mart $4.47
Bread - Mrs Bairds for both, Target was $2.39 and Wal-Mart was $2.38
Granola Bars - Quaker Chocolate Chip, Target had them for $2.00, Wal-Mart for $2.12
Goldfish - Large Carton, Target had it for $6.99, Wal-Mart didn't have it marked but I've bought it in there for $6.98 before so we'll go with that
Frozen Broccoli - Target 97 cents, Wal-Mart 73 cents
Cereal Bars - Nutrigrain Target is regular 2.79 but their sale right now is $2.50, Wal-Mart is $2.54. Both have store brands, Target's is $2.54 and Wal-Mart's is $2.00
Applesauce - Motts Natural, Target $1.67, Wal-mart $1.98
Special K Meal Bars - Target 5.99, Wal-Mart 5.98
Cheerios - Target 3.29/17 oz on sale for 2.99, Wal-mart 2.98/ 18 oz

On to the few non-food items I compared:
Diapers (Huggies Pure and Natural) $19.79 @ Target, Wal-Mart didn't have them in store but the same size is $19.79 on their website
Nursing pads (Lansinoh) Target 7.99 for 60, Wal-mart 7.98 for 60
Shampoo (Herbal Essence), Target and Wal-mart both had it for $2.84
Downy: Target regular 6.99/90 loads on sale for 5.99, Wal-Mart 5.98/105 loads
Cascade Complete: Target regular 6.99/26 loads, on sale for 5.39; Wal-Mart 5.97/26 loads

Test post and introduction

Testing? Testing??

I think we're good!

I'm starting this blog because, well, I'm hoping it will be interesting to some.  I'm a stay-at-home-mom. I like to think of it as being a domestic engineer, although my "for real" engineer husband says I just want to be an engineer because they're cool.  I have a beautiful family that I love taking care of.  We're very blessed that I can stay home with our kids and take care of them and our home.  Staying at home is a big job in the sense that you take care of the kids and run the household.  I have my ideas of what I "should" do as an at home mom, and one of those things is I try to find ways to save our family money.  My wonderful husband, Matthew, supports us very well, but every little bit I can save us is spending money in our pockets.  We can work on our house, take our family on vacations, etc. and have extra spending money if I'm saving us money in other places.

I scour the web for coupons, I check the sales ads at the stores, and I shop around.  I've recently begun to actually cost-compare stores by making a list and going "shopping" at two different stores, where I write down the prices of everything and then compare my totals.  I recently posted my first cost-comparison to a Facebook note, and I'll probably re-write it and post it here just because.

Another thing I've been very interested in lately is product reviews.  That's a whole post in of itself, for sure.

I'll probably post little blurbs here and there about my life - having kids is like free entertainment, people, I'm telling you.

Bare with me while I get it all figured out.  Happy reading :)