How to shop at Target

 

like a boss.

Target is having SUCH great deals this week that I decided to post about it instead of HF4F. You gotta know it's good if I skip that!

It's no secret that I love Target. Of course I WANT to spend all my life savings there, however I know better. What makes Target even more amazing are their already low prices, weekly deals, coupons, and complete patience with people using those coupons. This is no small task. There are plenty of stores that make couponers feel like the scarlet letter. Every associate I've encountered has been more than helpful and totally calm when I hand over a pile of 20 coupons.

I've been a Target believer since Luke was in diapers. I figured out that ounce for ounce their formula beat out all the competitors prices. Then their diapers came in super close to Walmart's CPD (cost per diaper). But I don't like Walmart's crunchy diapers, and no amount of money would make me convert. So even when we lived 45 minutes away I would make the trek to Target- my monthly pilgrimage.

I ended up opening a REDcard to save even more, and the rest as they say is history.

Now that we live 5 minutes from a SUPER Target (are you jelly?) I can really coupon. I relied only on sales at the beginning of the month since I only used to go once per month. But now I can go whenever, with any weekly sales.

I rely the heaviest on Southern Savers to pass on the super great deals. I also scan the ad (and Southern Saver's run down of the weekly ads). I will also peruse the clearance sections (they're different in every store) for items that I may have a coupon for. Clearance plus coupon=super savings!

Here was one trip this week. Every Up&Up brand item is 10% off right now through Cartwheel (up to 50 items):

Total Breakdown:
K-Cups: $10 each
Ibuprofen: $1.07 each
Hi-lighters: $1.47
Pencils:$1.22
Clothes: $2.50x3, $3.50, and $6

Savings:
K-Cups: $10 each -$2 mobile coupon & -5% Cartwheel =$6.64 (36 cents per cup)
Ibuprofen: $1.07 each -$2 mobile coupon on 2 & -10% Cartwheel=$0.12 (they were free, just paid tax!)
Hi-lighters: $1.47 -$1.00 mobile coupon & -10% Cartwheel=$0.42
Pencils:$1.22 <--- I'll mention this below (should have been $0.20)
Clothes: $2.50x3, $3.50, and $6 -15% Cartwheel= $14.96 (averaging $3 each)
(none of those final prices include the 5% off for using my REDcard)

How does it all work? Easy. 

Target will allow you 1 manufacturer coupon, 1 Target coupon (mobile or paper), and 1 cartwheel entry PER ITEM. On Target brand items you will only find Target coupons and/or Cartwheel (since they are the manufacturer). 





Manufacturer Coupons:



Manufacturer coupons are found in the Sunday paper, weekly circulars we get in the mail, and on the manufacturer websites/facebook/emails.






Mobile Coupons:



I have just started using their mobile coupons and I'm semi-impressed. I like how easy they are (no printing), BUT you can only use 1 coupon once.

Online through their website you can print the coupons twice per computer. I have never had an issue with them not accepting multiple like coupons. 

See the pencils I bought above? The pencils and hi-lighters were both school supplies. I had 1 mobile coupon for $1 off Up&Up school supplies. I thought it would take it off BOTH items, but it didn't. It only took it off the highest priced item (which was the hi-lighters). Had I printed these I could have applied a $1 off coupon to the pencils and $1 off coupon to the hi-lighters. Live and learn. It really isn't a biggie.
You can find Target coupons either through their website (where you print them out) and on their app. There are WAY more on their website, FYI. 




Cartwheel:




Next use Cartwheel! This is a separate app that allows you to scan the items and see if there's additional savings. Savings on Cartwheel are usually in the form of percent off as opposed to say $2 off (not always, but usually). Most times I'll wait until just before checkout and scan all the items in my cart. You can only add a certain number of items (the newer you are the fewer slots you have) but as you spend (and save) you'll unlock new slots. I have never run out of slots even when I first started using the app. All the items you scan (assuming there's a coupon available) will create a unique barcode that the cashier will scan. Watch the cents DROP OFF. I've saved as much as $10 on on Cartwheel scan. On     small trips I usually save $2-$3. 






Reusable Bags:




Did you know Target PAYS YOU to use reusable bags? For every bag you bring and they use they will credit you 5 cents. Doesn't sound like alot, but it adds up!





REDcard:




Finally, if you go in there enough, get a REDcard. If you don't like the credit card thing, get it as a debit card. It's an easy way to save 5% on every purchase. During my last trip the lady in front of me at the register spent $200 and didn't have a REDcard... she would have saved $10 instantly! If she spends $200 there every month she could save $120 a year! Also you get effortless returns WITHOUT your receipt by using your REDcard. Don't know about you but it's really hard for me to keep up with receipts!

Do I ever feel frazzled at checkout? YES. Between paper coupons, mobile coupons, cartwheel, making sure I have my reusable bags, and paying with my REDcard there are times I feel totally scatterbrained and many times I have to go minus the kids. But watching the money drop off is an amazing feeling. And from my experience Target really does have the lowest (or perfectly comparable) prices (regardless of what the big blue competitor slogan says)!

The feeling to walk away with free stuff? Priceless!

**I am not paid or perked in ANY way to share Target's love. I just enjoy passing on a great deal and helpful hints when I have them. 

Our official unofficial guide to Baby Led Weaning

BLW. Baby Led Weaning. Not to be confused with BLT.

When Luke was a baby, I wasn't a believer in BLW. Simple reason? I didn't believe a 6 month old could chew food. I actually made fun of it when I would read articles describing how to BLW. Honestly, I was terrified of Luke choking and being a new mom I just wanted to feed him the easy way. I was also working full time (making it easy to throw a jar in the diaper bag and go).

So Gerber purees it was. I graduated from the Gerber purees to making my own purees. I spent countless hours steaming, blending and freezing food. It saved a TON of money to make our own babyfood!

But he turned one and absolutely revolted against food. Coincidence? Maybe. But he absolutely refused to eat things with texture. Big surprise since everything he was fed for 6 months was pureed.  It was and still is a long drawn out process when we get him to try new food and he's four. I don't expect him to eat broccoli and pot roast, but chicken nuggets would be nice. And what's funny is he likes certain things with crazy amounts of texture. Salad? Check. Tortilla chips? Check.

Because Luke always thrived his nutrition was never a concern with our pediatrician. We never forced him to eat meat, and in a way he may be a self proclaimed vegetarian. He really doesn't like meat at all (except hotdogs- which I RARELY serve and almost never eat myself). And I'm okay with that. But I do wish he'd expand his pallet. Potatoes? Nope. Tomatoes? Nope. Cucumbers? Nope. Rice? Nope. Pickles? You betcha.

When Emberly came along I was determined to do things differently. Will she end up the same way? Maybe. But at least I'll know that I tried a different method. Enter our attempt at BLW.

At 5.5 months she was ready for solids. She suddenly showed an interest in what we were eating and I busted out the purees. I wasn't about to start her on spaghetti and meatballs.

Around 7 months is when we went into full fledged BLW mode. If you're not familiar with BLW it's basically a fancy way to say the baby eats what you eat (and I add... to an extent).  Of course I'm not going to give her pizza yet, or seafood ravioli, or chili. But if we're having chili with baked potatoes I make an extra potato for her. They're not actually "weaning" yet so that part is a little misleading. In fact she still gets 30oz. of formula a day on top of 3 meals. Also if you are interested in this method, ask around. Alot of my friends had awesome insights about the topic. I also searched some blogs to come up with food ideas. One thing that stuck with me and what most people question is knowing the difference between coughing and choking. Emberly has never choked. She has gagged a few times and coughed to get food down. She also has never thrown up from the gagging. Apparently their gag reflex is closer to front of their tongue than ours, so they have to figure out how to swallow on their own. BLW greatly helps them figure it out. Luke still has an issue with gagging. In fact he can throw up everything he just ate by gagging once or twice.

Without blabbing on and on, here's my official {note: completely unofficial} guide to Josef BLW.

What's on the menu?
Bananas
Hummus
Avocados
Eggs- scrambled and hard boiled
Carrots
Green Beans
Potatoes- baked or mashed
Rice

I still introduce all this like I did purees. Slowly over time making sure to allow plenty of time between introductions (typically 4 days) in case of an allergic reaction. Thankfully we've never had one (between both kids). When we did eggs I did have the bottle of benadryl  just in case. I will probably do the same thing I did with Luke with introducing peanuts. I took a jar to his one year doctor appointment and we had a snack in the waiting room. That way if he did have a reaction, we were there.

Many times I just feed her directly from my plate. This gets tricky because I don't like to give her overly seasoned, buttery food, so sometimes I just whip up her own batch.
Bananas and avocados are awesome. They are ready to eat and need no prep. This is typically our go to foods as we are running out the door.

Hummus- I just buy this in the store. I make sure it's plain (no seasoning) and let her go to town. I'm hoping to add chick peas to her menu soon. And I can't wait to smear hummus on toast/crackers/pita when she gets bread down.

Eggs- If Josh and I are having eggs I will give her a little of ours. I have to be sure not to salt and pepper them until I've pulled her portion out. Sometimes I will make these ahead if I know we are going to have an unusually busy week (like this week).

Carrots. I  buy fresh organic carrots, peel and cut them and the freeze them in little bags ahead of time. Then I will just pull a bag as needed and I steam the whole bag and refrigerate what we don't use. I'll pull them out throughout the week for lunch and dinner. Confession? I don't eat steamed carrots, so if I left it up to feeding her from my plate she would never get these (and they are one of her favs!).

Green Beans. We are huge green bean eaters. Fresh, frozen or canned. I tend to stay away from canned just because I'm prefer the taste of fresh/frozen, but I try to keep cans on hand in a pinch. I grabbed a huge bag of frozen green beans at Sams and there were a few individually wrapped bags inside. So we've been working through those. Again I like to steam them ahead of time so I can just reheat as needed.
Potatoes (baked or mashed). These are one of her favorites. Actually she really likes eating in general. But this gets the most beats on the highchair for more. I prefer to bake our potatoes with the crock pot method mentioned here. She gets half a potato and I put a TEENY trace of butter for taste.
Rice. I will occasionally make a casserole that had rice in it (either broccoli, cheese, chicken and rice, or just rice) and give her some. Also if we go to a mexican or chinese restaurant she'll get a portion of my rice. Love that she loves rice and I'd love to incorporate more brown rice into our diets.

A few things I'm going to try working on:

She doesn't get a ton of fruit. Honestly? I'm okay with that for now. I tried strawberries once and they were too tart for her. I'd love to incorporate apples, peaches, and pears into her diet. She has had those in purees (pears were her favorites).

Peas and beans are other foods I'm looking to start next. Black beans, pinto beans, and northern beans are all on my list. I don't want to do too much too soon, but I also don't want to wait too long.

Also bread. I tried giving her little pieces of toast and it all got caught at the top of her mouth and started to go down her throat in one chunk. That kind of scared me, so I took a bread break- not to be confused with baked bread. Hoping to get started back soon.

I am HOPING that she will have a less picky pallet when it comes to food, but I know that once they hit a year things change. This was almost a social experiment for my own curiosity. Even if she isn't picky it may still be coincidence. All children are different and that is SO IMPORTANT to remember.

I will also say that BLW is SO MUCH CHEAPER than buying jarred food and it's SO MUCH EASIER to feed them! I can actually eat with 2 hands and let her go to town on her food. The only exception is avocados- they stain clothes something fierce so I spoon feed her those.

So glad I tried this method after making fun of it something terrible!

Emmie's closet round 2

I feel like I've spent the last year organizing a baby closet (and I have!). This time last year I was getting her room and closet ready for her arrival never thinking we'd be moving a few short months later. I love organizing and purging! Really I do. But am I EVER ready to feel settled and to feel like I know where things are. If I can't see them, they are going to be forgotten and outgrown in no time!
Here's a peek back to her closet in our old house. It was pretty much the same size but the rod was hung higher to allow for premium storage underneath. I had a TON of clothes up top that were too large that I stored in those clear/pink bins. Overall it worked. Nothing amazing. 
And here was her closet here before I tackled it:
Slightly reminiscent huh? I mean who keeps paint supplies in their nursery closet? This girl. We have been graciously given hand me downs that took over for a while. I am so thankful to have such sweet friends who have helped dress our baby! 
In true organizing fashion, EVERYTHING came out. And yes it got WAY worse before it got better. 
We had gobs of hand me downs, shoes and out grown clothes stashed in the bottom of the closet. I am in the middle of painting her room so the paint supplies really do need to stay for now. Do you know how hard it is to paint with a baby? It seems like she is always in there sleeping or she's awake (duh). I just need to get in there when hubs is home and get things painted. I sorted through it all keeping big clothes and current clothes, purging out grown clothes (a pile for things to return to the owner, a pile for consignment, a pile for donate, etc) and trying to find a home for everything else. 

Can we say ahhhh as we breathe a sigh of happy organization?!
I still have my dividers in there separating the sizes. Smaller clothes are on the right, larger on the left. 9 months to 18 months are hanging currently. We have a TON of hand me downs for 18 month summer clothes and they are PERFECT since she is so big. Also to the left there is plenty of room for diaper storage (even though we cloth diaper we use disposables at night- and whenever her cloth are dirty or being washed).  I still have 2 clear bins next to the white ones that hold the clothes she will wear next (up to 2T) and the next round of shoes. Can't even believe my baby will be walking before I know it! I love how well her cheapo $1 hampers are holding up! 1 is for dirty clothes, the other for her cloth diapers. 

I used the same Ikea containers as I did in Luke's old and new closet in the top of her closet. I can't remember their name but they come in a 3 pack for $15. I actually was going to return them, but I couldn't find any other bins or baskets that were as tall as these for a better price. So I kept them! And I made them lovely with some polkas from my Silhouette. I was going to do pink, but didn't have any pink vinyl on hand so the gray picks up the gray accent wall (that will be there soon) and the curtains nicely. The far left bin holds specialty diapers (pull-ups and swim diapers for later), the middle bin holds large shoes and clothes, and the bin on the right is EMPTY!
I had totally forgotten that she has shoes she can wear NOW!
This little shelf is in the left corner of the closet and holds little pretties and of course the clothes pin jar (I use clothes pins to keep clothes together- bloomers, shirts, shorts, etc). 
I will be painting her closet pink shortly, but at least this is done for now! I also need to add a bin at the bottom for outgrown clothes. It's nice to be able to bring those downstairs to sort when they are all together!

Cleaning Schedule

Cleaning is absolutely my achilles heel. I LOVE having a clean house, yet keeping it that way? Impossible.

I was that kid in school who the teachers didn't necessarily have anything bad to say about me, but my desk was always messy. I remember an occasion or two being totally embarrassed when parent/teacher conference time came around and my desk was looking less than stellar.

It's a joke around here too that I don't like to clean until things look messy. I like to see the mess get better. If stuff stays clean all the time, then you never see it change. Know what I mean? So I wait until I can't stand it anymore, and then I clean. Only problem is I  find myself not being able to stand the mess more and more.

It doesn't help that we have a bigger house now. We added almost 600 square feet and although that doesn't seem like much I can feel it. We have 2 extra sinks, a extra tub and shower, and one more toilet. Not to mention two extra rooms and tons more carpet (2 stair cases worth). Also add granite, real hardwood floors, tile, and stainless steel which all is a little high maintenance. Phew.

Surely I'm not the only one who has a house that looks like this:
Or this...
I really thought I'd love having a laundry closet upstairs. And I do. I love how convenient it is since all our dirty clothes get taken off upstairs (no need to haul a basket up and down stairs), but I also forget about it too often. I forget stuff is in the washer. Clean dry clothes stay in the dryer too long. And then I end up getting frustrated by ALL the laundry I've neglected and it turns into a 2 hour laundry doing marathon.

I decided to poke around on pinterest and find cleaning schedules. See how other people clean and how often those other people clean certain areas. Obs I'm not going to clean the whole house every week. I wouldn't have time to do anything else. But I liked all the great ideas of what to do every day, chores to do once each week on particular days, and then what to do once per month. I scribbled out a bunch of different ideas and worked it into a schedule that would work for us.
Before I make it pretty I want to be sure we could live with it. I'm making corrections as needed for our days. Tuesday/Wednesday tend to be our busiest days (Josh is working and I have to take Luke to school) so I went easy on what to accomplish. I can easily throw a load of laundry in before we leave and empty the trash when we get home. Thursday/Friday is our weekend with Josh's off days, so I tried to put bigger items on those day since he can help with the kids. I have since added going through my coupons on Sunday since that's what I get my paper and the mess on the desk seems to peak. As Josh's schedule changes my chart will most likely change since his off days tend to float around the week. 

So far I am LOVING it. My sink has stayed empty and I feel like I always have something to do (instead of feeling guilty that I'm not doing anything yet having no idea where to start). I also love that when I come across something that needs to be done, I can procrastinate it until cleaning day. I noticed that our bathrooms could stand to be mopped since it's been nearly a month (see why I needed a schedule?). Since that's Monday's project (today!) I let it slide over the weekend. 

I also didn't put huge things like hardwood floor care, wiping the blinds, cleaning out closets, etc. because I tend to do those as needed. I don't want to do them if they don't need it, but it is something I notice when it gets bad enough. 

Will I be able to follow this schedule every day? Probably not. But it's a good guide of what needs to get done so I can stay on top of things. If I'm feeling particularly energetic I will go ahead and do the next day's chore so it's one less thing to do the next day. On the flip side if I'm just plain out of energy I'm not going to beat myself up for not accomplishing them. Heck I would love to just stay on top of dishes! 

High Five for Friday!

This was a BUSY week. Probably the busiest we've had in a while. Maybe since we moved.

1. Emberly had her 9 month check up. All is well and she is right on target. Of course they said what a big girl she is (love my chunk of love). We are seriously considering switching pediatricians. I feel like I have switched EVERYTHING in the past year and I hate doing it but we have not at all been impressed. From start to finish (all she had was a checkup and 1 shot) it took 2 hours and 20 minutes. Umm what if I had a sick kid? Or if Josh hadn't been able to keep Luke and I had him there too? That would have been pure torture. I know everywhere isn't perfect and if we were blown away by the doctor it would be worth it to put up with crap, but it's not. 

2. I finally found and went to a chiropractor locally. This is always a daunting task trying to find one you like/makes you feel better. I actually had to go twice this week to get everything in line and make sure it stayed in line. I can't even remember the last time I was adjusted. It may have been before Em was born. Yikes!

3. Luke finally went back to school and I went to community groups at our new church. So ready to be connected again! Looking into preschools for next year. It's a huge decision and although a few have been recommended it's still a big decision!

4. I am in the final stages of prepping things for a consignment sale. It's alot of work to get things together, but so worth it in the end! I just need to get things on hangers and get it all in order.

5. I bought a domain name for the blog! Woot! Did you notice?! ;)  It's something I've wanted to do for a while and since I finally settled on the name of my etsy and facebook shop and it's a name I LOVE I figured it was best to grab the domain name. The new web address is createprettyblog.com and even if you type the old address (astitchincjtime.blogspot.com) it will direct you here. I love that the new name applies to sewing, home diy and decor, and just about everything in between! Fun. 

Love it...

when this happens!!

I pretty much buy all my appliques when they are on sale. They are digital downloads that I can edit in my embroidery program. I try to stock up with the sales and of course that means thinking ahead to whatever holidays are coming up. I can't always predict what my customers will want, so I try to stick to classic "old favorites".

With Easter right around the corner (at least it's right around the corner in embroidery world) I was itching to start on Easter shirts. Here was an easter applique I bought a while ago from Applique Market.
I really liked the pom pom tails, but I figured with Emberly putting everything in her mouth right now that it wasn't really the best choice. So I left them off. 

Turned out pretty cute right?


Like I usually do I was poking around different websites. I like to see what patterns and color combos are being used.  My favorites are Lolly Wolly Doodle and Kelly's Kids. As I was perusing I came across this:
So for around $32 you can have that! Ummm not a price I'm willing to pay, but those pants sure are cute! Love it when I don't even have to be inspired! I saw this long after I finished Emberly's shirt!

By the way, maybe I'm just OCD  but if you zoom in on that picture their sample is photoshopped! The bunnies are photoshopped in which is why the name isn't centered. Expected a little more from such a large company!

But Easter is coming and it's what I've begun working on! Luke's Easter shirt still fits him from last year. I did both of my kid's in long sleeves, but honestly I have no idea what it'll be like here at the end of April. Last year it was chilly (but of course Easter was earlier).

Check out my facebook page "Create Pretty" for ideas, appliques, and font choices. There are also some pretty adorable blanks (from burp clothes and bib to adorable girly ruffle shirts) available!

Living Room: round 1

It was time to get some stuff on the bare walls of this house. It was feeling very vanilla, plain, and boring. Don't get me wrong... I love vanilla. But not on my walls. 

Unfortunately I don't have any before shots of this wall. Just close your eyes and picture this wall... without pictures!
I kind of haphazardly got to the finished product. My goal and "vision" were TOTALLY NOT this! It's kind of a funny story. Sit back, relax. 

My vision was to have a wall with a BOLD line. I love my lines. I wanted there to be one horizontal "line" (imaginary of course) and then the frames/photos popping up above it. 

Like this rendition:
Please excuse my "art" skills. Definitely not my strong point. 

I really like the look of clean straight lines. So I went for it. And really REALLY regret NOT getting a picture. It was bad. Real bad. So bad that when Josh came home he was like "Wha???!" And he usually always likes what I do. He was like "you don't like it do you?" Nope, nope I didn't. Especially after THAT comment. lol. 

I thought it would look like this (the hallway in our old house) but I was very VERY wrong:
That look "works" in a hallway because you are passing it by and not staring at it straight on. This wall that I was working with is seen from our kitchen, living room, and breakfast area. It's always in the corner of my eye. And the straight line just wasn't working. 

So back to the drawing board. My only issue now? I had to work around all those holes I made. We don't have touch up paint for these walls. Womp.

I heard somewhere that when doing collages, to keep a heart in mind. Fitting since last week was V-day. Not to be confused with VJ day or VE day. Kidding. Totally kidding. The Social Studies nerdy jokes just slip out sometimes. 
I used the heart shape method in our old bedroom and loved it. Funny that Luke's canvas ended up in the same place. Total coincidence. 
Since I had NOTHING left to lose I went for it. There is a little secret I keep up my sleeve when doing collages. I think it's the yearbook side of me coming out. In yearbook it was important to keep a line of focus. Can't remember the exact term, but it's easier on the eye. So while I'm arranging, I keep that "line" in mind. 
The large canvas of Sadie actually stayed from the first disastrous try. Then I built everything around it. Bring the bottom of the heart down and the curves of the heart up and out. The 2nd quadrant of this "coordinate plane" was the middle of the wall. 

What I love the most about collages is how it incorporates everything I love. See our wedding card collage? Or the photo/poem below given to us by our dear neighbors in Toccoa? He's battling cancer and it's such a sweet reminder to pray for them daily. 
Or that heart that was made from weeds in Nicaragua. Josh watched the little boy make it in minutes. So sweet. 

I also realized how few pictures of Emberly I have printed (hence the blank frame). Also that huge picture of Sadie is duplicated in the "live laugh love" frame directly above the canvas so that will be switched out too. It took me almost 3 years to get pictures up of Luke so maybe I won't be so behind this time. 

Once I got that wall put together, it was time to tackle the rest of the room!

Here's where this room started:
And here it is today. Not totally done, but getting there. 

While we were snowed in Josh helped hang these shelves. We hope to eventually do built-ins in the nooks surrounding the fireplace. So until then we needed something to fill the space. 

We purchased a sound bar (actually 3 of them) to go under the TV. Josh wasn't impressed with the sound AT ALL from any of them. We determined it's something that we just need to spend a good bit on to get a good system. So we are going to wait. Until then, the holes will sit. We are going to lower the TV to cover the plug plates and then paint an accent wall to cover the rest (once the holes are filled).  Stay tuned!
I'd say it's come along way in 2 months! And I am so loving our new view!! 

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