honest review of Hollar dollar store on line dollar tree

Hollar: An Honest Review

This is not a sponsored post, I was just impressed! I will however,  get a small kickback in credit  if you order after clicking through on any of the Hollar links in this post, and you can too, just for signing up for a free account at Hollar!

Have you heard of Hollar?  Hollar is an online dollar store. If you know me at all, you know I love a good deal. I heard about Hollar  on Youtube and decided to try it. If you order more than $25, you get free shipping, and they have sales that are always changing.

My order came in 8 days. Here’s what I thought:

Fizzy Baby helped me open everything in the appealing bright orange box.

hollar review dollar store online

I ordered a set of melamine plates for $2 each. I love them. We’ve been using them non stop and they are holding up better than our Corelle wear, and bring joy to my eyes every time I look at them.

hollar review dollar store online

I really felt like Gerta needed this squeaky dog toy  in the shape of a banana split, which was only $1. How wrong I was! The squeaker was so loud, it scared the pants off of her, and drove me nuts. I ended up binning it .

hollar review dollar store online

I hate the feel the of my feet in flats without socks, but I love the look. I’ve been wearing these “old lady” no show socks with my flats, and thought I had found the best deal at Ross, for a little over a dollar a pair. But no! I got EIGHT pairs on Hollar for $4. They are  more slippery than my other ones, but they stay on better.

hollar review dollar store online no show socks with flats

We only had one dryer ball left but I didn’t want to “invest” in another set of the reusable dryer balls, if I didn’t have to. However with only a $1 investment for two balls, I didn’t mind at all! They work great!

hollar review dollar store online reusable dryer balls

I use these scrubby pads on all the things in my kitchen and bathroom, from stuck on toothpaste and peanut butter and jelly on the counters, to burnt on crud on the stove, to congealed oatmeal in the bottom of the pan. This pack of 8 was $1. They don’t last as long as the brand name ones I usually use, but don’t scratch the surfaces and clean as well.

hollar review dollar store online scrubbing pad scouring

I use my wooden utensils to the point of death, until they are cracked and probably hazardous. Desperately in need of replacements, I scooped up all 6 for $3. I love the colorful handles too!

hollar review dollar store online wooden spoon bamboo kitchen utensils

Needing nonslip hangars for some of my dresses and kimonos, I thought I would replace some of my beautiful, matching wooden hangars for these beautiful, matching  rose ones. I LOVE them! The slim design keeps my clothes together and they aren’t as noisy as the wooden ones, and nothing falls off! I nabbed this steal in packs of 18 for $5.

hollar review dollar store online flocked hangars Both the app and the website are well designed and work in consort with each other. If you are on your phone and add some things to your cart, it stays in your cart on the computer. I add things until I get up to that $25 free shipping limit.

I’m not going to abandon The  Dollar Tree completely, but Hollar is definitely getting some of my business! If you like saving money and scoring good deals, and shopping in your pajamas after the kids are in bed, then Hollar is absolutely for you!

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Books I Read: Honest Reviews

When I read book reviews, I just want the reviewer’s opinion. I don’t need a synopsis of the book because if it looks appealing, I’ll find that out for myself. I give you what I myself prefer, which is just straight up an honest review. Pretty much, nothing I read is less than three stars because Mama ain’t got time for bad books!

Besides, I link all my books to Amazon so you can easily purchase the book if it appeals to you. (And if you do, I’ll get a little sumpin’ sumpin’ out of the deal because they are affiliate links–win, win!)

Incredible Story of Redemption 

I watched Tiffany open a Fab Fit Fun box knowing nothing about her and laugh-crying by the end of her FB live. I promptly then watched several more of her videos. When I told a friend how much I enjoyed them, she told me Tiffany was in recovery. I bought the book that night.

Her honesty and raw real-ness was breathtaking. I was awed by her story and how much she could remember! She has lived a powerful life already and I’m excited to follow along as she continues to help change lives. 

Adorable photos.

Lots of sweet and cute ideas. I love the Japanese flair. Many of the ideas were quite simple and I’ve actually done, but still, this book is worth picking up for a peaceful afternoon read.

Riveting 

I never expected a book that was half about CONSTRUCTION to be interesting, but it was! The chapters flipped between the incredible construction of the amazing World’s Fair and the destruction of human lives at the hands of a psychopath. I also enjoyed learning several tidbits of trivia about Chicago and every day items that for their start at the 1893 World’s Fair.

Wow.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I chose a book about such a difficult topic, but this author knocked it out of the park just like his beloved Giants. I was blown away by the love and pain and passion that came through his words. Thank you both for honoring us with your story.

Well done!

Herein you’ll find lots of novel and actually implementable ideas for a beautiful home.  I like the mix of DIY projects, thrift store finds (you KNOW I LOVE THAT!), and elements they hired done. The colors are delightful, and even though a lot of it isn’t my style, I still gleaned a lot of ideas. The writing is humble but with the sense of humor I love it an author.  Lots of inspiration!

What!? Mind blown

I am usually pretty good at figuring out twists in the plot before they’re revealed but I LOVE an author who keeps me guessing! And how!  I was puzzled by the very last couple of pages though. It was almost as if the author thought, hmm, what can I just throw in there to throw everyone for a loop. Based on the reviews on Good reads, I’m not the only confused one either. I liked all of it up until then. If you like psychological thrillers, this is a do not miss.

I can’t stop thinking about it

I loved the truth telling In the story. I loved how it was told from start to finish in the Deep South vernacular and still painted beautiful word pictures. This tale made me laugh and cry, and wanted to know more about the rest of the story. I can’t wait to read the sequel.

Literally a cozy book: just what I needed.

I LOVED this book. The suggestions for crafts were adorable and easy to implement. Some of the food recipes were “highbrow” but not so much so that I felt intimidated. I loved the thoughtful suggestions for ways of interacting with your world. She even had a page with directions on how to “do nothing”. I pretty much understand how to do nothing, as I’m sure you do as well, but what was novel for me, was putting it on your calendar. I NEED to do that! The pictures drew you in and gave you peace. I want to get to know the author better and follow her blog and buy all her things. She did an outstanding job with this book. It was perfect.

What books have you loved recently? What kind of book reviews do YOU like?

easy refrigerator organization that works

Easy Refrigerator Organization (that actually works)!

This post contains affiliate links which, by you clicking through, give me a little fun money at no cost to you. Thanks!

Food. We all need it. We all buy it. Most of us have a refrigerator. Most of us end up throwing away unidentified science experiments at some point(and in my case, literal science experiments). I hate wasting food. I hate searching for the mayonnaise or garlic buried deep in the back of the fridge. Ain’t nobody got time for dat! After looking for years for the best, easy refrigerator organization system that actually works, I finally found success!

Because I have the goal of bringing up independent productive people, I try to teach them responsibility early. I attempt to put organizational systems in place which support that independence. If I want my 3 year old to be able to access her own cheese sticks and applesauce pouches, and get her own cup of water, I need to have organization techniques which support that. I have tried numerous methods of refrigerator organizations and none of them have stuck. I tried this particular one over a month ago, and with many people using the fridge hourly, it’s still in place. This easy refrigerator organization is definitely a win for our busy family, and I know it will work for you!

Here’s what I did.

LABEL THE SHELVES AND COMPARTMENTS

Labeling the wall with a dry erase marker has worked better than anything I’ve tried. I saw this hack on a Rachel Ray clip. The dry erase marker did leave residue behind in my fridge, so I put packing tape where I wanted the labels and wrote on that.

easy kitchen refrigerator fridge organization cheap clever food organize

easy kitchen refrigerator fridge organization cheap clever food organize

USE A LAZY SUSAN

I used a lazy Susan in my fridge. I’ve had one for a while, but it was never clear to the other users what should be on it. Since we apparently have a kajillion open containers of pickles and relish, all of them are placed on the lazy Susan.

easy kitchen refrigerator fridge organization cheap clever food organize

INVEST IN A FEW CLEAR ORGANIZERS

I got a couple clear containers from Amazon in which to put our lunch meat and cheese.

easy kitchen refrigerator fridge organization cheap clever food organize
Jam=mead, apparently. 🙂

As you can see, it’s not perfect, because being able to find some ingredient quickly just isn’t a priority to the rest of my family. It’s  a whole lot better than it was, and I can keep it cleaner and clearer than before because now I remember my system too. I’d love to know what works for you to keep your fridge organized.

This post contains affiliate links which, by you clicking through, give me a little fun money at no cost to you. Thanks!

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What I Learned on my First Writing Retreat

What I Learned on my First Writing Retreat

A few weeks ago, the Handsome Husband and I went on a no kids trip to Washington DC. Never having been there before, I thought I could tour the sites in the morning, and then have my afternoons free to write blog posts and read all the delicious books, while he was in meetings.

Oh what I fool I was!

Washington DC is an incredible city. I didn’t realize the depth and breadth of the museum situation, nor the magnitude of all the historical sites. I toured my little heart out until I literally crashed one afternoon into my bed with a blaring headache from all the stimulation and noise and people.

Clearly, I did not open my computer even once.

I was lamenting to one of my besties, and saying that maybe we could get an airbnb for a night or two. In our city, whole apartments are really cheap. She could work on her master’s class and I could write.

To my delight, she thought this was a magnificent plan and offered up her family’s cabin, on a bluff above the Mississippi about a ninety minute drive away.

We went out for a nice dinner Friday night, stopped at the store for mostly healthy grub to keep us fueled all weekend and arrived around nine pm. We watched a movie (well, to be honest I fell asleep halfway through) and woke around eight to a gorgeous snowstorm.

Completely, slowly, and calmly, for the first time in forever, I read my Bible, brainstormed, and posted on social media until about ten. I wrote pretty much all day until about seven pm. We had pizza, lemon crumble and Moscow mules for dinner and stayed up way too late.

Sunday morning, I woke up gloriously tardy, read my Bible, a book, and attended church on-line. I thought I could do a webinar on growing your blog’s reach, but my phone’s internet connection was too spotty.

I wrote eight blog articles as well as the amazingly productive brainstorming session, before we had to clean up and head for home around four pm.

Feeling accomplished, I can’t wait to schedule my next writing retreat!

I learned a lot about what I loved, who I am, and what I’ll do differently next time.

Even with no kids around, I’m highly distractable.

I get preoccupied by ducks and herons. I’m startled by the chiming clock and the thumping furnace. Even with no wi-fi at the cabin, I still wanted to check my social media accounts quite frequently. I was able to put it off until after I would finish an article, and use my social time as a break. Having to wait on a slower cell signal helped me not want to do it as readily as I do at home. I would definitely suggest finding someplace with little to no internet if you really want to get some writing done.

I like to exercise.

At home, I start my day with a jump/jog/walk on my rebounder nearly every day. It really helps wake my brain up. We were here during a blizzard, but next time, I’ll plan to go for a walk in the mornings.

I can get a lot done with a body double.

Having Karen working in the same room as me on her class work helped me stay on task immensely. In the ADHD world, they call that having a “body double”. Another person here with me who doesn’t even have to be encouraging me or saying anything to me assists me to keep my focus on my goal. She served as a physical anchor for me to keep coming back to the tasks I wanted to do. Karen, just by being present, also provided a kind of calm reflection of how I wanted to be, which helped me absorb the message of “I am working. I am focused. I can accomplish this.

I over pack.

On Saturday, I got up and wore what I’d slept in all day. I didn’t really need to bring separate outfits for each day. I brought my pillow, but I forgot to bring it into the house with me. I didn’t want to go out and get it in the blizzard and found I still got two great nights of sleep without it.

And I still don’t have what I need.

Luckily Karen was prepared with extra phone chargers and ear buds. My kiddo found the list of blog ideas that I had left at home and snapped a picture of it to send to me. I will try to make sure I have those with me next time.

If given free rein, I drink way too much coffee.

At home, I make my coffee with half teeccino so it has half the acid and half the caffeine in the mornings and switch to all decaf by noon. I like to have something warm to drink all day. Karen likes fully caffeinated coffee all day. I kept pace with my usual though, and then couldn’t fall asleep until past two a.m. Next time, I’ll make sure I stick with my regular regimen.

I buy too much food.

We had less than 48 hours in which we needed to feed ourselves at the cabin, but I bought enough for several days. I guess some part of me is afraid of starvation, or at the very least, not having just the perfect snack I am craving on hand. Still though, it was nice to have whatever I wanted to eat nearby, and to have a good selection of healthful foods along with the treats we brought. Since we stopped at Aldi, it was still really reasonable. I would probably buy too much food for future retreats too.

I can just write.

Usually, I do the entire process at once: write the article, revise and edit, find the photos, make a picture graphic, add links, and schedule or post it. Doing it this way seemed much more efficient. I liked doing a batch of articles all at once. Then from home, doing the other steps in another session will be a lot faster. I will definitely try to stick to this method.

My first writing retreat was definitely a hit. I would like to do this on a regular basis. Have you ever made a retreat for yourself to get some goals accomplished? What are your recommendations for success?

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Tips for Finding the Best Thrifting Deals

I am always looking for a bargain and for quicker, easier ways of doing things. If you are too, this thrifting haul example and tips for finding the best deals fast is for you!

Thrift store tips goodwill savings cheap chic style fashion frugal Salvation Army

Hoodies for my 11 year old

I asked her how many she thought she needed, and she vehemently responded, “ALL of them!”

Thrift store tips goodwill savings cheap chic style fashion frugal Salvation Army

Tees for her to wear and also with which to make Pinterest crafts.

Ah! The freedom to use my sewing scissors and cut things with abandon!

Thrift store tips goodwill savings cheap chic style fashion frugal Salvation Army justice old Navy

Pants and leggings. The black ones are to cut off and wear under her skirts. Sometimes the staffers catch a brand which resells well, such as Justice or Pink, and mark it up quite a bit, but often you can find them for the standard price, like I did today.

Thrift store tips goodwill savings cheap chic style fashion frugal Salvation Army

Summer skirts. On Poshmark and ThredUp, all of these go for at least $10. Know the brands you want, and whether or not you’ve found a good deal. If you’re unsure, look it up in store.

Dress for almost 3 year old. It’s actually a 24 month size-don’t be afraid to try things on. And once we tried it on, I couldn’t talk her into taking it off again.

Pro tip: just roll with it. I only bought her this because sometimes it’s easier to fork over $2.88 than listen to the incessant whining.

A few items for me. I’m thinking of making the capris into Bermudas. Only buy things to alter if you’re actually going to do it! The top is actually Motherhood maternity, but for $.44, I don’t really care!

Wear a skirt while you shop and it’s easy to just try something on in right there in the aisle.

A couple of skirts for 13 year old.

I also got a pair of Keens for 9 year old. They were the most expensive item at $8.88.

The total cost: $89 and change!

Total time spent: Under an hour.

Kids along: Three

I discovered thrifting in my 20s, when I went into a store I didn’t realize was consignment, and found my favorite Express sweater for less than 1/3 of what I had paid for it. That was lightbulb moment for me.

Why pay mall prices when you can get the exact same thing second hand and way cheaper?

With some experience under my belt buying for my own wardrobe and some house wares, I found thrifting to be a freeing way of life, especially once I quit teaching and more and more kids came along.

Now, homeschooling six kids on one income, I have to be frugal and fast. Here are some more of my best tips:

Go with as few of kids as possible

The more kids you have along the less able you are to think.

Try to take the kids who you are shopping for with you.

I bought some Keens for Cadrian today which he doesn’t really love because he’d prefer to wear socks and tennis shoes!

Really kid? Are you sure you’re mine?!

If I would have had him with me, I would have known he didn’t like them–and wouldn’t you know, shoes aren’t returnable. I can resell them or save them for Denton.

Keep a running list of needs

On the side of my fridge, I write down the things I’m on the lookout for. This includes when I realize someone has outgrown shoes and what size they need, or that they need a white shirt for this event. Or if I saw a cute DIY on YouTube, I’ll write down the items I want to watch for.

Set a time limit.

I usually go thrifting when my boys are in tutoring. That gives me about 50 minutes to choose items and pay. The time limit makes me make quick decisions and I’m less likely to buy something I only like (versus love) unless it’s $.44.

Go often.

I go to the same Goodwill a couple times a month. Sometimes I buy very little, sometimes I find a lot that will work. The inventory is always changing and different colored items are on sale or clearance.

Know the return policy.

I buy things too for my kids who might not be with me that I can return just in case they don’t love it. (I didn’t realize that shoes weren’t returnable until today! See how important that tip is!!)

It’s sometimes easier to not have them with me, have them try stuff on at home, and return it if it doesn’t work. I’m usually ok with donating it back too if I miss the return deadline, since most kid’s clothes are only $2.88.

Know the deals.

At Goodwill, they have a color of tag that is cheaper that day. Today for instance, anything with pink or yellow tags were 2 for $.88. Sometimes it’s “only” half off, but you still want to pay attention to the signage.

Go early.

I can never do this because of homeschool, but the color of the day is pretty picked over by 2 pm when I can go.

What are some of your favorite tips for getting the best deals?

Depressed mOM WITH DEPRESSION day in the life

A Day in the Life of a Mom with Depression

6:00 Eyes pop open and brain sizzles. Realize that the two-year-old is still asleep and you don’t have a headache, for the first time in two or three weeks. Try to go back to sleep but your brain is on now and you can’t. Try to get out of bed. Lay there. Your neck and shoulders hurt so much you can barely move your head.

7:00 Get up and find coffee. You are so achey you hobble down the stairs like an 85 year old. You know you’re not sick and that it isn’t from too much exercise. The boys are ready to get on the bus and just want their snuggles and love. You just want to be left alone, but you do give the hugs and kisses. Realize that you have some time completely alone and you take advantage of it and read your Bible. Sneak in a little creative verse drawing.

8:00 Decide to work out for the first time in several days. Can’t get the TV to turn on. Try to watch videos to entertain you on your phone. But it’s just not working and you keep getting distracted and get off the trampoline several times to clean this or pick that up and put that away. Grab another cup of coffee. The little girls are up now. Kevin comes in the house briefly and fixes the TV by unplugging it and plugging it back in. Your foggy brain couldn’t come up with that solution. You hug and kiss him in thanks but he’s in a rush and you feel brushed off.

9:00 You feel like you’re moving through a field of molasses in a swamp. Sometimes it feels like you are a swamp walker all the time.  Everything takes such a colossal effort.  The big girls are up and the boys are back home. You homeschool, and you keep thinking that you’ll do school  with the kids but you also want to see if you can get some more walking in and watch motivational videos which improve your mood.  You can’t get them motivated to do their work when you can’t get motivated yourself.  They get their own breakfasts and watch YouTube while you keep walking on the rebounder. Put on some educational videos at least.

10:00 Check your planner and remember that your daughter’s orchestra concert is tonight. Cry, because doing something in the evening seems like it is way too overwhelming. The husband is telling you someone is going to come over and consult about the floor you’re hoping to put in, and you know the piano teacher will be here soon so you get dressed and put on some make up. You play with your two-year-old and watch her laugh, but feel apathetic. You wish you could be so carefree.

coffee mom talk depression day in the life depressed mom mental illness

11:00 The kids’ piano teacher arrives and you walk the dog down to the barn to find your son. It’s a beautiful sunny day and you want to stay outside but the wind is too windy and the wind chimes are to chime-y and the sun is too shiny. You go back inside.  Time passes and you don’t even know what you did.

12:00 Now it is lunchtime and you realize you had meant to go down and get hamburger out of the freezer to thaw several times and never actually made it happen. Let the kids make their own sandwiches. Do some reading and Marco Polo with some friends. Want to support them and what they’re going through. It’s very hard because you don’t have any emotional strength for yourself.

1:00 It is time to take oldest to orchestra. You cry because Finnella cries and tries getting in the car. You go and get your nails done so they look pretty because feeling pretty makes you feel better. And they are pretty,  but it doesn’t really help. You’re reading a book about a recovering drug addict who is in jail and it’s hard even feel any empathy with her and you know your problems aren’t even that big but they seem insurmountable.

2:00 You get home and take a picture of your crabapple trees because three of the four of them aren’t blooming and it really bugs you, as in, you think about the not blooming trees on a regular basis. Bugs you like,  it comes up at random times in your mind, “Why aren’t they blooming?! Why do all the other trees look so good!?”  And you want to post to gardening experts about what you should do.

You try to think of solutions for the things that really bother you because you know it’s not normal thinking. But you can’t help it, and actually finding a gardening forum is overwhelming and several days later it’s still not done.day in the life with depression depressed mental health mom mother mental illnessYou see your puppy lying still in the yard. She doesn’t get up when the car drives into the lane. Suddenly you worry that she’s dead, she’s really dead. What would you do if she was dead?? You feel your heart racing and you start sweating, and you’re breathing rapidly and you can’t think of anything else but if she’s dead and so you start to walk over to her and she lifts her head  and runs excitedly over to you. You thank God she’s not dead and you know that it’s crazy to even have thought that she’s dead, and that logically it’s nearly an impossibility but you can’t help it. You snuggle her for a while.

3:00 The kids are all playing out back and you watch them through the deck doors for a while and marvel at their wonderful creativity even know they’re doing some things they’re really not supposed to be doing, like playing with the fire escape ladder. You don’t have the energy to make them take the ladder back upstairs and have a sneaking suspicion that it will be in that tree all summer, but you can’t even care. You are just glad they are leaving you alone.

You have gotten the new patches for the ceiling in the mail so you apply one.

You go out to the yard to try to get some vitamin D.

depression day in the life depressed mom describe mother mum

When the kids discover that you’re home, you really can’t handle them climbing around on you so you go sit in the living room and they wander off to play outside some more. When the two-year-old comes to ask you to read to her you do, but you are so exhausted that you just fall asleep. You literally just fall asleep on the couch without meaning to.

5:00 The next thing you know your 13-year-old is telling you that it is time to leave for her orchestra concert and asking if you can please do her hair. You do a  pull through braid, very loose  and beautiful. But she doesn’t think it’s fancy enough and doesn’t think that there is enough time to fix it again and she make up. You feel defeated. No one can understand how hard it was to just make yourself braid that incredible child’s hair.

You actually did remember to have someone get the meat out of the freezer. But now there  is no time to make dinner. The kids have to fend for themselves again. Brielle has offered to stay home with Finnella (2) and Elivette (5) so you let her despite your misgivings because it would be a lot easier to not have to deal with the little girls during the concert.

You notice that the spackle on the ceiling is dry so you start to do that, even though it’s nearly time to leave.  You just think you would have enough time while Aviana finishes her make up. She’s annoyed by this idea, because it’s really a foolish move to try and spread spackle smoothly on the ceiling when you have a deadline of walking out the door in a couple of minutes. Your brain just doesn’t do logical sometimes a lot of the time.

6:00 You’ve arrived on time at the concert and save seats for Aviana’s (and your) friends , and the husband and Cadrian (9) who are coming. Denton (7) plays a game on the Kindle and you try to read your book on your Kindle app on the phone. It’s super hard to concentrate because you worry you will miss the people you’re saving seats for. Your legs are aching like crazy and your whole body feels out of control and heavy and fuzzy. You can’t just sit still and enjoy reading.

7:00 The concert is four different orchestras and your daughter gets two recognition certificates. You’re really proud of her, and want to enjoy the remainder of concert, but you also really want to leave. It’s hard to keep in your seat, but it helps to have the boys asking questions and feeling restless too, because helping them behave appropriately and encouraging them, helps you.

9:00 You discover that Kevin has stopped at McDonald’s because he didn’t get supper. You didn’t get supper either. You could have stopped for food too, but chose to get home instead. After getting the boys in bed and talking with Brielle and Aviana, you have some time to talk with Kevin, for the first time in several weeks.

In spite of feeling grumpy towards him, you’re working at flirting with your husband and talking with him about vacation plans and ideas. And everything seems to be going really well when he says some snide things to you. Whether unintentional, or intentional,  you say “You don’t need to make fun of me like that,” when he tries to drive a point home several ways. Then he gets offended and suddenly you’re in a fight, and you’re comparing him to Donald Trump, and he stamps out of the room. Now you’re alone again.

10:00 You apologize for the Donald Trump comment and then sit on the couch scrolling and watching Intervention. You like Intervention because they’re worse off than you are, you know you don’t want to self medicate like they do, and  you do want to learn how to handle your emotions in a healthy way, and learn better coping skills,  and almost all of the episodes are a story of redemption.

1:00 a.m. You take your vitamins and medicine,  go to bed and watch it some more until your eyes are heavy enough and your brain is numb enough to finally sleep. You average between 5 and 6 hours of sleep when the depression is bad. And it’s been bad lately.

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Stylish Mom on the Go

I don’t consider myself to be a super-chic mom, but, just like you, I am a busy mom on the go, who likes to look the best I can! I like ideas of how to be frugally fashionable, so I share my photos of my weekly fashion “uniform”. Find out why I love it, and what each outfit is perfect for in the never ending daily of mom life.

This post contains affiliate links. Clicking through gives both of me benefits because I get a small compensation and you benefit by seeing cute things! That makes us friends with benefits. 

outfit stylish mom style on the go spring

Hat: Husband’s

Dress: Casa Lee via Goodwill

This is the perfect outfit to wear to church,  do some errands, (how do I always end up doing errands on Sundays?!), hang out with your two year old while the rest of the family goes to 11 year old’s play,  go out to dinner with some dear friends, stay out too late having too much fun, but feel so relaxed and happy by then end of the night it’s totally worth it.

stylish mom outfit ideas busy active mama real life

Shirt: Banana Republic via Goodwill (similar)

Skirt: Tangerine Trek Skort via Goodwill

Sweater: Wish (similar)

This outfit is perfect for trying to do your best. Forgetting to take your usual outfit photo and doing it in the bathroom before you head off to bed is part of that.

outfit stylish mom style on the go spring

Sweater: Land’s End via handmedown

Tank top: Walmart via thrifted

Shorts: New York and Company via Goodwill

This outfit is perfect for feeling like you’re constantly failing and reassuring yourself that you’re doing your best and trying to listen to your own positive advice. It’s perfect for having a Hard Day.

Sleepshirt: Zulily

This outfit is perfect for sleeping. I actually wore athleisure pants and a tank this day but forgot to take a picture.

outfit stylish mom style on the go spring

Shirt: Stitch Fix

Skirt: Goodwill

Shoes: FitFlops via Amazon

This outfit is perfect for exploring and discovering and resting. It’s also good for running around like a crazy person to fit in a massage. It’s also excellent for being perfectly contradictory.

stylish mom outfit ideas busy active mama real life

Shirt:  Eddie Bauer via Goodwill (similar)

Necklace: Target (similar)

Basic jeggings

Boots: Goodwill (similar)

Two year old: homemade

Trashed kitchen: Two year old (and her siblings) (and likely their mother)

This outfit is perfect for doing so many things including  picking up groceries and organizing bins and going shopping with Thirteen and trying to install “easy to install” tile and really wanting to give up and go to bed but you’ve made plans with your bestie to go out and have some Her time. It’s perfect for having a couple of drinks and a scrumptious dinner and then sitting at her house and feeling wonderfully relaxed for the first time in forever.

outfit ideas stylish mom style on the go spring

This outfit is perfect for putting on after spending the morning exercising and watching YouTube in your pajamas and seriously wanting to stay at home but get talked into heading to the mall and interacting with as few people as possible and then spend the rest of the evening hiding lounging in your room.

Headband: I cut off the bottom of the dress because it was awkwardly long.

Sweater: Wish

Dress: Goodwill

Belt: Amazon

Boots: Goodwill

 

tired mom why am I tired exhausted can't sleep

You’re tired, Mom. Here’s why.

In honor of Mother’s Day-have a nap! We know you’re tired! These could be reasons why:

  1. The neighbor’s dog is barking.
  2. Firecrackers. Somewhere.
  3. It was daylight savings time last month and you still haven’t recovered.
  4. You’re hungry and you can’t sleep but you are too tired to get up and make a snack.
  5. Your kid peed the bed.
  6. Your kid threw up in your bed.
  7. Your kid threw up in her bed.
  8. You threw up.
  9. You got your kid’s throw up in your hands.
  10. Your kid stepped on a cactus in the middle of the night.
  11. Your child can’t find his blanket.
  12. Your child’s pillow is too lumpy.
  13. Your teenager is out with friends.
  14. Your teen came home drunk.
  15. Your husband sleeps like a polecat on a leash.
  16. The dog needs to go out.
  17. You buckled and unbuckled baby dolls in the van 57 times.
  18. Musical beds. The adults never win.
  19. 4 shots of espresso doesn’t last long.
  20. You drank 4 shots of espresso and now you can’t sleep.
  21. Carrying laundry up and down stairs a bajillion times takes all your energy.
  22. The people who sleep in your bed talk in their sleep.
  23. People snore.
  24. You’re close to menopause and get night sweats.
  25. You got a muscle cramp and have been awake since 4:22 a.m.

Thank you to the amazing community of the Quad City Crunchy Mamas for their contributions and ideas to this list! ❤️

For more reasons you are tired, check out the post I wrote for the Quad City Moms Blog.

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Books You Need to Read (and a couple you may not)

I hate when people waste my time describing a book in their review. That is not the point of a review. I want to know if it was good and if the book will be worth reading. That’s what I do in my book reviews.  I don’t really have time to finish less than three star books anyway,  so you won’t find a bad book (at least in my opinion) here.

Here’s what I read in April.

This post contains affiliate links, which help me keep my kids stocked with books and food, all at no cost to you!

Oh my gosh. I read a book about hockey, and I loved it. My reading a book about hockey, which isn’t really about hockey, is a feat in and of itself, but loving it, even while I hated it, was incredible. It’s beautiful and tough and real and gritty. I was filled with despair and hope and satisfaction.

The quotable material and phrases and words I want to remember forever filled several notebook pages. I couldn’t make it five stars because of the depth of detail about some of the awfulness that can happen to people, but it will still be one of the best books I read this year. You must read this book.

**Check out spoiler reviews on Goodreads though if you feel you might have certain triggers about any of the difficult topics addressed. **

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the Queen of Mystery in excellent form. If you’ve never read her, I recommend starting with this one or And Then There Were None. It’s dated, obviously, so you do need to prepare yourself for that. I generally like Miss Marple better than Hercule Poirot, as far as Agatha’s detectives go. We have integrated one of his phrases from this book into our family lexicon as a joke, with an exaggerated French accent; “Because sir, I do not like your face.”

I would have liked to have a handy French dictionary with all the pronunciations for the many French phrases. Maybe when she wrote this, it was expected that the general public spoke French, but it certainly isn’t the case now!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh my goodness! The entire first half of the book made me want to gnaw my arm off! I hated being kept in suspense about what had happened the day of the ding-dong-dang barbeque! But once we got into the second half, it was a wonderful thing. It was so real, so healing. I cried in several different places. It was a phenomenal ending with so many good things.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As guide to motivate you and explain why you should pursue your dream of an internet based business, this book is on the mark. As an actual how-to do that, it is seriously a fail.  It does help to get you motivated and it does make you believe that you can leave the regular workaday life and start something you’re passionate about via the internet. He does a good job of outlining how people seem to make money from a variety of sources via social media and the web. He describes it’s possible for you to take your blog from basic, to a full time income. And possibly that’s all the book is supposed to be. Maybe it’s not meant to get into detail of how to actually make that dream happen.

My understanding was that it was supposed to though. It was disappointing that he didn’t get into the nitty gritty or the actual how to. I got this book because one of my favorite YouTubers recommended this as a life changing book. I definitely wouldn’t go that far, but it was encouraging. It was a fast read, so I didn’t feel like it was a lot of time wasted.

 

 

I love World War II stories, there  is something so powerful about the triumphs and tragedies that happened in my grandparents’ and in-laws’ life times. This book was especially compelling. I seriously found it to be one of the best books I’ve ever read. It contained such interesting and incredible perspectives and intersections. Wonderfully well researched, Lilac Girls was enjoyable and heart touching, as well as awful to contemplate. I can’t recommend highly enough.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



I was fascinated by this book. It is written in an anthropological style, so it is just a report of people, their stuff and how they interact with it. No judgement, no assessment, just details. I loved being invited into these families’s homes and peeking around at their belongings and  home life. It’s an aspect we often, if ever, are not privy to. If you’re as interested in other people and how they live as I am, you need to get a hold of Life at Home. It’s real life, y’all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 It was intriguing enough to make me want to keep reading but I had already forgotten the title by the time I came to put in in Goodreads a few days later. The title was why I picked it up in the first place. I wasn’t even sure I liked the main characters and didn’t know whether I wanted good things to happen to them. I was also irritated that being thin and good looking was emphasized so much in the main character’s transformation into becoming more confident.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What an amazing book! I couldn’t put it down. I stayed up until the early hours of the morning because I had to finish this story. It’s been ages since I have been that engrossed in a book, or that affected by a story for that matter. There aren’t words to describe the emotions you feel while reading this.

Awed that the author was able to impart such an unvarnished, yet grippingly beautiful story of life in Virginia in the late 18th century, the plight and powerlessness of both slaves and women, the interesting turns in fortune, I rate this book unputdownable.  I should tell you, that I read Alex Haley’s Roots and Queen at a young impressionable age, so my bar for this type of story is pretty high.  I felt like I could genuinely SEE each of the characters in my mind as I read, which, frankly, doesn’t really happen to me all that often. So much tragedy happens to so many people that one does start to get a little numb, but I still couldn’t stop reading. I felt as if I were an unfortunate witness to their lives. Nearly everyone in this story is admirable, and even those who aren’t, you still feel anguish for the things they went through to make them be as they are. This is a book I will remember for years to come.  I highly recommend you block out some time and pick up this book.

**Check out spoiler reviews on Goodreads though if you feel you might have certain triggers about any of the difficult topics addressed. **

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What I Wore Weekly- Spring Mom Outfits

You’re a busy real life mom. I am too. I share with you relatable   outfits and wearable, stylish fashion so you can feel put together while you’re wiping noses and tables and feeling wiped out. It’s a challenge to be fashionable on a budget, but I can help you with that!

This post contains affiliate links, which help me keep my kids stocked with books and food, clicking through is good for me, at no cost to you!

style mama SAHM fashion outfit of the day what to wear mom cheap chic frugal gold sneakers farm cardigan lace vest

Sweater: hand me down

Crochet Vest: Goodwill

Support your local farmers shirt: Zulily You can find one like it HERE

Jeans: Zulily

Gold Skechers: Purchased at Ross and you can get yours here

This outfit is perfect for hanging out with your 13 year old all day in Des Moines and finding out she was an alternate for qualifying for Nationals at the state level of National History Day!

style mama SAHM fashion outfit of the day what to wear mom cheap chic summer hat spring skirt flipflops

Hat: Dollar Tree similar HERE

Shirt: Goodwill

Skirt: Land’s End via Goodwill (I cut five inches off the bottom as it was an awkward length. I just left the hem raw. If you like an item but it has something wrong with it, see if you can alter it easily.)

Shoes: FitFlops available HERE

This is the perfect outfit in which to wake up with another headache and try to do your best and get the basics done and with a pretty good attitude even though you’re seriously not feeling it. It’s also good for standing in some weeds at the side of the road because it makes a cool photo.

style mama SAHM fashion outfit of the day what to wear mom cheap chic frugal

Dress: actually a nightgown a friend gave me because her more abundant boobage kept escaping–I don’t have that problem, unfortunately. And who can tell it’s meant to be a nightgown anyway? This is another way to save money. (Also it was literally because I just didn’t bother to get dressed)

lace vest: Goodwill

Hat: Goodwill

Shoes: NEW Old Navy via Goodwill

Necklace: Target

This is the perfect outfit in which to have a migraine and not want to get up but you have to get up and sit very still until you’re forced to do something and then just throw on some accessories because you have to take people places and people are coming over but thankfully by then you feel better and can enjoy your friend and kids’ friends and the first party of the year and dancing in the rain. But seriously, people, I wore a nightgown all day.

second hand thrifty fashion mom life outfit of the day style

Cardigan: Wish

Shirt: hand-me-down

Skirt: Old Navy via Goodwill

Shoes: Like, 15 year old Skechers, seriously, these have lasted for freeking ever

Necklace: hand-me-down

Earrings: Shortline Design

This is the perfect outfit in which to get a bit of business done, have some friends over and run here and there, and go to the chiro and acupuncturist finally and fall asleep and for sure drool, and then realize you don’t have enough time to run home and change at least your shoes and fix your hair (which is left over from the day before!) because you get to help host the Bloom! Event with the Quad City Mom’s Blog, but you just smile and act like you meant to do it all along. And when you get home, it’s perfect for hiding in the car in the garage because you just don’t want to talk to your people but of course they are waiting up for you, and hug them but you can’t sleep and feel sad.

 

Silk Vintage Scarf: Thrifted from Life’s Little Treasures

Sweater: Hand-me-down

Sloth dress: Amazon

Jeggings: Sam’s Club

Converse: eBay

Earrings: Iowa hand made by Shortline Design

You can see another way I styled this dress here.

This is the perfect outfit in which to wake up with ANOTHER headache and not even want to face the day but you do it anyway and you are glad because you get to serve with your family and your CC (other) community and move a lot of rocks and hang out with your kids who are your favorite people and have lunch at a park and sit in the van ALONE while the boys are in tutoring because the two year old fell asleep and take them to Walmart because even though you did the pick up thing, you forgot several things and buy a new amazing mop that you’re in love with, but also that the kids want to use all the time, so that’s a win, and an incredible carpet cleaning gadget that is way less than the ridiculous heavy Kirby you spent a lot of money on a long time ago but works way better and actually gets all the stains out in the worst of the carpet (which you hate but that’s another story) and to think you’re going to sit and relax at the end of a long day, one in which your husband is not only working late, but he’s in another state and then when you take the dog outside, you see that the COWS ARE OUT so then you spend the rest of the evening chasing stupid bovines and you fall asleep on the couch and sleep there all night because it was a hard day; but at least you got your steps in.

This is also the perfect outfit to wear for most of the next day until the mail comes and you get your new tee shirt, so you change so you can put it on.

style mama SAHM fashion outfit of the day what to wear mom cheap chic frugal

Five year old took this picture.

Shirt: IOWA by the Iowa City Mom’s Blog  I hate when clothes are too small so I ordered it a little big, but this particular style was WAY too big, but I got to put four tiny rubber bands on the inside and kind of blouse it and it looked awesome.

Shorts: Levi’s via Goodwill (I bought these last spring, but ended up gaining a lot of grief/stress weight, and they were too small and I could never wear them, however, I actually took the tags off today!)

Sandals: American Eagle via Goodwill

Necklace: Etsy, gift from a friend/doula client

Earrings: Shortline Design

I bought both these shorts and sandals last spring when I was putting together a summer capsule wardrobe on a tight budget: you can read about that here.

This is the perfect outfit in which to build chain reactions with your boy and spruce up the kitchen a bit and give baths to horribly dirty people, and clean all the things over and over because seriously as soon as you put away those towels somehow they’re out again when you walk back into that room, and really want to see your friends but decide you need a quiet night in even more and that’s hard and it’s perfect in which to be sad and cry because a year ago today was when your beloved mother-in-law went into intensive care for a couple of weeks and then got better and then suddenly we lost her. Life is hard without her. Spring is always hard for me, but it’s especially hard without her, her experience, her understanding, her having been through so many spring plantings and farm crises and survived, her help and assurance.  It’s hard without her.