Deal Alert: 50% off Earth’s Best Body Products at Sprouts

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Sprouts Farmer’s Market has Earth’s Best children’s body care products on clearance at 50% off.

I have used the vapor ointment on both of my kids which works well. I have not used other Earth’s Best body care products but I picked up a few to try them out (items are pictured). I buy products that use the least amount of chemicals and preservatives possible, opting for naturally derived ingredients and paraben-free. These met the criteria. The lotion and bubble bath smell really nice too.

I validated for you that all Sprouts locations are participating in this deal, since these items are being discontinued. However, check your local Sprouts Farmer’s Market for availability, as items will vary depending on location.  If there’s a specific item that interests you, you may choose to call them in advance for availability.

Let us know if you use any of these products and how you like them!

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Deal Alert: Diapers for $.15 each or less

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Pampers

Even with a decent deal, we normally pay $.19 a pop for diapers, so this deal is pretty fantastic.

To get your diapers for $.15 cents or less each, here’s the drill:

  1. Visit www.jet.com
  2. Order diapers that are at least $35
  3. Use coupon code APPLE15 to get $15 off your order

We have bought Pampers Swaddlers for both boys. They are lightweight, the blue line indicator is handy and we’ve had minimal leaky diapers. We just bought a box of size 3 diapers (136 diapers) for twenty bucks!

 

 

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Subsidized Preschool and Youth Classes for Everyone

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Sports

My son was enrolled in a multi-sport class when he was 2. I signed up through a local sports school and didn’t think twice about the cost. I was excited about my little man learning something new. I’ve always valued the importance of developing and discovering interests and talents, so investing in this was a total no-brainer.

When I called the company to ask a question about the next session of classes, the administrator mentioned a “city class schedule”. This peaked my curiosity and she explained that the instructors also taught at city locations. These were the same classes, however, they were taught at public places owned by the city like community centers and parks. These classes were also offered at a subsidized rate. I decided to go directly on my city’s website to see what other classes were offered.

It turns out that my city offered dozens and dozens of classes that range anywhere from art, sports, science, cooking, to pretty much you name it. There are classes for preschoolers, youth and even adults.

Benefits of signing up for these classes through the city:

  1. The obvious one here is the cost. I paid $132 for 8 classes when I signed up directly and only $65 for 6 classes when I signed up through the city. $16.50 per class vs. $10.83 per class. Same coach, same class, different location.
  2. There are dozens of classes on a single website which makes class selection and enrollment easier. This is a time saver. Also, there are classes offered by the city that I wouldn’t even know where to look for elsewhere. For example, “Donuts with Daddy” is a class where kids and dads can bake, decorate and eat donuts together on a Saturday morning. That’s just plain cool.
  3. You are bound to meet people who live in relatively close proximity. You don’t have to be a resident of that particular city to sign up for classes, but there is a resident and non-resident fee for classes; residents get a discount. The likelihood that your son’s bestie in class lives within a few miles away is pretty good, which can make play-dates outside of class easier to coordinate. Also, you and your little one are more likely to see a few familiar faces as you try out new classes. This can help alleviate some nervousness.

Masala Mommy Tip: Before I enroll my kids in any class, I ask about the current enrollees: number of students, age of each, and sometimes even gender. Some classes have a larger age range, so it’s helpful to know where my guys are in the spectrum. Smaller class size means more focus on my guy. And lastly, in rare instances, it’s helpful to know gender. For example, my dude likes to break it down so I enrolled him in a hip hop dance class. Not many boys attend dance classes so it was nice to know there was one other boy in the class to help role model that boys can dance too! Is it a deal breaker? No. Is it helpful sometimes? Yes.

Most cities have a government operated website that has information ranging from public safety and transportation to events and recreation. The websites are typically the name of the city with a .gov or .org extension; however, use a search engine like Google to find the exact web address.  Take some time to look around the website because you’ll probably find a schedule of classes and will be surprised by how many fun activities are at your disposal for your little one at a fraction of the cost you’d normally pay.

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Get Pumped by the Affordable Care Act

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pump
As the 2016 election campaigns are well underway, it makes it appropriate to revisit a positive change that was made under President Obama’s administration. Regardless of which side of the fence you sit on when it comes to Affordable Care Act, better known as “Obamacare”, if you’re an expectant mother, then there’s good news for you.

Health plans are required to cover the cost of a breast pump for expectant mothers across the country. That’s right…a breast pump is 100% free of cost to you thanks to this revision in our healthcare system a few years ago.

When my older son was born in 2011, I borrowed a Medela Dual-Electric Pump in Style breast pump from my sister-in-law (bought my own parts of course). Now that I was prego again and planning to breastfeed my newest little man, I was on the hunt to buy a breast pump. Some research lead me to scoring a brand new dual-electric breast pump completely free of charge. This is how…

In an effort to encourage mothers to breastfeed their babies (breast milk has several health benefits to both baby and mother) and remove the barrier of expensive supplies, health plans are required to either cover the cost of a rental or a brand new one for you to keep, upon request. The key is “upon request”…this benefit is not widely advertised.  Like me, my guess is most women who have perfectly great insurance (that they already pay for) do not even know they have this benefit.

Your plan will dictate if you’re eligible to rent or own either a manual or electric pump. Duration of a rental and timing of when you may receive your pump will also depend on your specific health plan.

If you are insured by a national health plan, for example, United Healthcare, you will likely be eligible to own a brand new dual-electric breast pump from the options listed below:

a. Medela PNSA Starter Set* (model 57081)
b. Ameda Purely Yours (model 17070PMW)
c. Ameda Purely Yours Ultra (model 17085MT)
d. Tomy The First Years Breastflow Memory (model Y4613)
e. Hygeia Q (model 10-0056)

Upon calling my health plan, I received a few different 1-800 phone numbers of “preferred vendors” that I could call to order my pump. I personally called Aero Flow and it was easy to order. The agent emailed me a list of pumps to choose from, which I’ve listed above. I provided my insurance information and home address to her and about a week later, my new pump and basic parts arrived at my doorstep.

I personally chose the Medela PNSA Starter Set, which is the Medela Pump In Style breast pump that I was already familiar with. This included:
• Double Electric Breastpump
• Double pumping kit with 24 mm PersonalFit™ breastshields, includes connectors,
valves, membranes and tubing
• Two breast milk collection containers with lids
• 9 volt AC adaptor

You may be offered an opportunity to upgrade your package to receive additional breast pump accessories (i.e. tote, cooler set, battery pack, etc.) with some out of pocket cost.

Call your health plan before you spend heaps of money on a breast pump; you might just score a brand new one completely free of charge.

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Are We There Yet?

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My baby’s first time flying, and our first time traveling as a family of four was an overall success. It helps that we have flown both domestic and international with our older son when he was a baby. And for that reason, we were able to prepare fairly well for this trip. I say experience is everything. Of course, there were hiccups, but what fun would it be if there weren’t. Okay, a lot more fun. But at least we’ll have something to laugh about later.

Here are some Do’s and Don’ts from our first family vacation:

#1 Don’t Panic. I have learned over the last 15 years with my man that there is “Husband” and then there is “Travel Husband”. The stress of packing, loading up the car, keeping the kids composed, going through security, waiting for the plane, and finally taking off into the air turns him into someone I don’t even know. When I took the baby for a diaper change, “Travel Husband” decided to line up at the gate before any announcements were made to “beat the rush”. Those people reading their newspapers and sipping their coffee were only trying to fool us and were plotting how to get to the door first. And I mean, if that were to happen, just because we have tickets doesn’t mean they have to let us on the plane, right? There was too much at stake. Clearly, we mustn’t relax, not for one second. Well, in that whirlwind, “Travel Husband” with all his precision left my breast pump behind. It would have been too convenient to notice before we made it all the way to our seats on the plane. So I then had to deplane, run down the jet way back to the gate, and then hustle back to my seat avoiding eye contact with the annoyed passengers. The lesson here is: Leave “Travel Husband” at home. No, no. The lesson is hustle, but don’t stress. Try not to get overwhelmed on travel day. Law of attraction held true for us…think positive.

#2 Don’t Over-pack. We got this right. We traveled fairly light. Only items that we needed along the way were kept. Some of the important items included: baby bottle ready to go, extra milk, breast pump, all diaper bag essentials, receiving blankets, snacks, a few small toys, and sanitizing wipes to clean off airplane seats. Lollipops and hard candy helped little man’s ears during take-off and landing. I keep a small first-aid kit that includes thermometer, children’s/infant Tylenol, and band aids. Lastly, extra clothes for the kids are stashed into the hand luggage. Accidents and spit-up can happen anytime, anyplace.

#3 Do Take the Car Seat Onboard If Possible. We took the car seat and caddy up to the gate with plans to ask if our flight had vacant seats. Check your airline policy beforehand. If the flight isn’t full, some airlines will give you an extra seat for your lap baby free of charge. This made our little munchkin’s plane ride more comfortable and safe. It also kept my hands free for attending to both of my kiddos. Keep a car seat cover folded up in one of your bags in case you’re asked to check it in at the jet way after all.

#4 Do Keep Snacks and Games. Now is the time to bust out the new coloring books, travel sized games (Tic-Tac-Toe and UNO are favorites) or dare I say the computer tablet. My big boy has a tablet that we mostly reserve for traveling and he gets it after we’ve exhausted all the other activities first. Now being 3.5, he was very inquisitive about how the plane operates, how the clouds look and so the questions were endless. I took full advantage of having 2 hours of zero distractions to spend quality time just talking to my son and we didn’t need to do anything else. It was perfect. I also kept some of his favorite snacks for the flight. As for my baby, the humming motion of the plane was enough to keep him satisfied. He does well in car rides and apparently plane rides are no different. I had milk ready for take-off and landing to help his ears. He giggled, looked out the window, took a nap and had a bottle. I did a diaper change in my lap and nursed him once too. His first flight was shockingly easy but I was prepared with small baby toys and my natural singing voice (ha!) in case I needed to go into full entertaining mode.

#5 Do Take on Breast Milk, Formula and Water for the Kids. You can absolutely take these items with you through security and you’re not limited to the 3.4oz rule for other forms of liquid. I personally don’t like the idea of these items going through the x-ray conveyor, so I happily hand them over to TSA to run a separate test, which they do without opening the bottles. By opting out of the x-ray, I do have to go through a pat-down. If you decide to pass on the x-ray, just be sure to leave enough time to go through these extra procedures that might be a little lengthy, but safer in my opinion.

#6 Do Dress Appropriately. With the security lines being long and no matter how little hand luggage you carry, there’s still enough to make security a bit painful. We wear shoes that are easy to slip on and slip off. We all keep an extra sweater tucked away in one of the carry-ons instead of holding them. Kids wear socks. It can get chilly on the plane and even in the airport, so I dress the kids in long-sleeves and pants, even in the dead of summer. If you’re potty training, now is not the time to test out the Spiderman underwear. Diaper up those kids.

Keep things straightforward and do whatever makes the journey easier. If you have to bend some of your rules on travel day to make it easier, go right on ahead. No judgment!

For more information on traveling with children, visit the TSA website at:  https://www.tsa.gov/travel/special-procedures/traveling-children

 

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