The Busy Giffs: January 2014

January 29, 2014

The Most Perfect Vanilla Chai Recipe


Let's talk about my not so secret: I don't drink coffee.
Gasp. I know. 

How can I work full time, have a toddler, be (almost!) six months pregnant, be working on the last semester of my Masters and not drink coffee?!
I'm actually exhausted just reading that sentence. Ew. 
Fun fact #2: I don't drink Red Bull either. Weird.

I am however, absolutely obsessed with vanilla chai. 
If I go to Dunkin Donuts or Marylou's Coffee, I grab a Vanilla Chai 90% of the time.
At $3 a piece, it can add up.

Thankfully Tastefully Simple has come up with a much cheaper alternative for me!


Oh My Chai by Tastefully Simple with a splash of French Vanilla Creamer tastes identical if not better than the $3 a cup vanilla chais I buy in the drive through!

10 oz makes 8 servings and it's only $10 for the container! Way cheaper!

The best part? I'm hosting an online party and you're invited!
Grab some Oh My Chai or beer bread mix (delish!) and have the items shipped directly to your house!

Just click HERE and enjoy your delicious treats!



January 28, 2014

Back to School (for Cheap!) With CampusBookRentals.com


I can not believe I'm going back to school again... but this is my last semester!
In May I'll (hopefully!) be graduating with my Masters degree!

For some reason I thought taking a course that ends on May 9th when I'm due May 10! Part of me wants baby to stay in so I can finish the course, and part wants this little man to debut early so I'll be recovered enough to walk at my graduation on the 17th!

Talk about stress!

One thing I'm not stressed about?
Getting my text books!

CampusBookRentals.com  has been my go to for books the whole time I've been working on my Masters and this semester is no different!
I'm always amazed at how much cheaper I can rent my textbooks for, anywhere from 40-90% less than what the bookstore and Amazon offer the books for! And I don't have to worry about a cheap yucky buy back price at the end of the semester, I just pack them up and ship them back! Oh, and the cherry on top- shipping is free, both ways.
Campubookrentals.com even lets you write and highlight in the books which is so huge for me!
Check out how it works!


In addition to saving a ton of money, Campusbookrentals.com gives back to Operation Smile with every single book rental. Talk about spending your money on a worthwhile cause!

Okay, so maybe you were smart and got out of college as fast as possible? Do you have old textbooks still laying around? Campusbookrentals.com also has a program called Rentback, allowing you to rent out your old textbooks and make money on them every semester, rather than just a one time buy back!  If I had known about this when selling all my undergrad books, I'm sure I'd still be making money on them! Blah!
Here's how Rentback works:


 So you've got two great programs to check out depending on what your needs are: books or cash!


Disclaimer: I was offered compensation in exchange for my post, however all thoughts and opinions are my own.

January 27, 2014

Baby Gap + Paddington Bear

As a lover of all thing English teacher and books, I literally squeaked in excitement when I opened up an email from Baby Gap this weekend.


Their new Paddington Bear collection! Ahhh!
I adore Paddington Bear and Gap's take on baby clothes are just divine.

Sadlt Emma is too big for this collection but wouldn't our baby boy on the way be too cute in these...


1. Days of the week bodysuits $55 / 2. 3 pack bodysuit $29.95 / 3. Rain boots $26.95
4. Rain Parka $49.95 / 5. Long sleeve one piece $29.95

And everyone should own the Paddington Books!


What item is your favorite?
I wish I had money to buy them all!




January 23, 2014

My First Subscription Box: Julep


I caved and bought my first subscription box!
Now my make up routine consists of the typical pink Covergirl mascara and E.L.F eyeliner.
If I need a boost a throw on some of this (4 year old) Marilyn Monroe Physician's Formula translucent powder and quick brush of a mark. blush. 
I'm pretty simple. so a make up box makes no sense.

I'm pregnant and super picky about my overweight frame and how much I'll spend on clothes so no clothing boxes.

That leaves nail polish.  I paint my nails, I won't out grown them and it's relatively inexpensive (especially when your first box is free), so I tried out Julep!

You start out by taking a survey and picking your favorite things so they can best match you to the colors.
When I took the quiz I got the "Classic with a Twist" but I literally already owned all of those colors, so I picked a different box instead! Easy peasy!

I ended up with the It Girl Box.


I just love the teal.

At 19.99 a month for over $40 worth of stuff, it's a deal but when you're used to spend 99 cents to 1.99 for a bottle of Sinful Color and splurging means picking up Essie at TJ Maxx for $4, it's not my cup of tea for pay more than $6 per bottle of polish.

If you're a polish junkie you might love it, but it's just not for me!
What other subscription box can you recommend for me to try?!



January 22, 2014

Instacart


It's no secret that I LOVE Peapod delivery service.
Whether I go to the store and pick up my order, or have it delivered to the house, it is a God send some weeks.  I am sure I'll use it even more when baby #2 gets here!

My younger brother is currently at college in Boston and when he complained about having to literally carry his grocery bags 2 miles down the street from the closest grocery store back to his dorm, I wanted to send some Peapod groceries to him! Sadly, Peapod doesn't deliver where he is but Instacart does!


Instacart is an online grocery delivery service and will give you different grocery stores to choose from depending on your location. 
My brother has the option of Shaw's or Whole Foods for his deliveries and I figured since he just went back after the holiday break, he was probably due for a grocery trip!

Instacart is easy to navigate with a bright screen, large pictures, and the divided categories.  I was able to just call up my brother and ask him what types of things he'd like.  In true boy fashion, he asked for steak tips, bacon, Cheez-its, eggs, soda, and bananas.  Hey, whatever makes him happy right?

My brother said he'd be around that evening so I scheduled the delivery for a few hours later.
Only $3.99 for a delivery fee if you want it in as little as two hours! That's amazing!
Instacart uses personal shoppers to pick up and delivery the groceries directly to you and you can keep an eye on your account online and actually see when the order goes from placed, to shopping, to delivering. I loved that when it was done "Shopping" it gave you an estimated time of exactly when the shopper would deliver, rather than just the one hour window.

Delivery was even easier. And EARLY! We had picked an 8-9 pm time frame and he showed up at 7:55! Our shopper even offered to help my brother carry the groceries up the four flights of stairs to get to his dorm room! How sweet! And my favorite part... I could add the tip right to the delivery order so I didn't have to worry about my brother looking silly for not having cash to tip the shopper!

And here's the coolest thing: if you are in one of the delivery areas and  are interested in trying out Instacart, you can click on THIS LINK RIGHT HERE (or use the coupon code MBTS10) and get $10 off your first order!

I love knowing that all I have to do is make sure my brother is going to be in his dorm at a certain time, hop online, order him some groceries and be sure he's eating healthy and nutritious stuff, without worrying about him trying to drag all the bags bag to his dorm room!

Have you tried out Instacart yet? What do you think of it?

Disclaimer: I was offered free delivery and a coupon code in exchange for my review, however all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

January 21, 2014

2014, Resolutions and 30 by 30


Can you believe January is already almost over? Seriously?
This whole year is just going to fly... I can feel it.

We have so much to be excited about this year.
I've "settled in" to my job teaching, baby #2 is on the way and we're even starting to look at buying a house!
2014 should be even better than 2013.

It got me thinking about my "resolutions" and my 30 by 30 list.

I don't usually do the typical resolutions but I have a few things I'm hoping to focus on this year.

1. Be more present. 
Emmalee is quickly growing up and she'll seem so much bigger when the new baby comes along.
It's easy to get caught up in emails, Facebook, Pinterest, and grading at night but I've been working on really using my prep period so the work I take home can be minimal so I can spend my precious minutes with her. 

2. Take more time for me (and Dave).
As much as I need to be there for my babies, I need to be there for me too. I always say I'm going to do more things for myself and never do. I just want to not feel guilty when I go to the hair salon, or dinner with a friend. There's nothing wrong with getting a babysitter once a month so I can have the me time I need, whether it's with myself or if I invite David.

3. Follow through.
I am the queen of to do lists and if it's on the list, it will get done but you know what never gets put on the list? Seeing friends. I always find a way to "need" to do something rather than just spend the afternoon out with a friend.  I miss a lot of them and this year I want to focus on reconnecting.

Those are it.  My three "resolutions".
And of course, I still have my 30 by 30 list.
I turn 28 next month so the time is ticking!

Here's how it looks right now:

1. Be an English Teacher (have my own classroom)
2. Have baby #2.
3. Buy a house.
4. Own a pair of Manolos.
5. See a show ON Broadway.
6. Run a 5k.
7. Weigh 150 lbs again.
8. Get my Masters degree.
9. Do a photography challenge for a month.
10. Pay for someone else in the drive through behind me.
11. Get my palm read/fortune told.
12. Go to a blogging conference.
13. Re-learn how to sew and make a blanket from Em's old clothes.
14. Own a car that's less than 5 years old.
15. Go for a weekend trip to Martha's Vineyard.
16. Adopt a family for Christmas.
17. Buy a bicycle. A regular old fashioned bicycle.
18. Go to Vegas for my 30th! (even if it's only for 1 night!)
19. Start (and keep) a vegetable garden.
20. Spend a day getting pampered.
21. Learn to crochet or knit.
22. Buy brand new furniture.
23. Have dinner out with my husband at Top of the Hub or go to Blue Man Group (he's never been!)
24. Wear a bikini to the beach... no cover up.
25. Bring Emmalee to see the Rockafeller Christmas Tree.
26. Do a boudoir photo shoot.
27. Go to a group fitness class.
28. Buy an original piece of art and frame it in our house.
29. Go on our first family vacation (must be out of state, can't be CT)
30. Make a list of 100 things that make me happy.

I made a good dent and I alreday know a few things will be marked off in 2014 and I'm so excited!

January 20, 2014

Come Party! With Thirty One Gifts!


I'm having a party and you're invited!

If you've never heard of Thirty One Gifts, you are crazy! They have some of the most adorable and amazing storage solutions and bags!





Click HERE to go shopping!

I've got too mcuh in my shopping cart and can't WAIT to check out!
I'm very sure I need like 8 super organizing totes (ideally in navy wave) for the new nursery, the living room, and the car!
and how perfect would it be as a diaper bag!? I just love it!

But if I needed something different, this tote is to die for!
I can only take orders until the 29th so order soon!


January 18, 2014

Winter Sick & the Braun Forehead Thermometer


Ugh. Winter sickness has taken hold of our house, well, it did.  I'm 92% sure it's gone now but I'm afraid I'll jinx myself!

Hubs came home from work ill and within hours we all were.
Do you know how hard it is to take care of a sick 2 year old when you literally can't even hold down Gatorade?!
It was a rough day.

The hardest part of taking care of a sick little girl is that she still wants to be little miss independent and do everything herself... get her own drink, pour her own medicine, take her own temperature...

Thankfully Braun has made a thermometer even she can use herself!



It's a one button push design and the bright screen immediately turns red, yellow, or green so you can quickly and easily see the temperature, even if the toddler refuses to hand it to you...

I found a few variations in the temperatures and I'm not sure that it as accurate as other thermometer "methods" but as a quick and easy screen, I highly recommend this thermometer!

So glad Influenster let us try it out!


Disclaimer: "I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes."


January 4, 2014

I Can Paint : The Urban Art Bar

I have a new obsession.
It's called Art Bar.
Have you heard of it?


I was lucky enough to be invited to the Urban Art Bar in South Boston last week to try it out. 
Now, I can't paint to save my life.  Literally, my students often pick on me for my drawings on the board.  I teach English, not art, so whatever, but I have a few friends who LOVE going to art bars so I've been itching to try it out.

The way it works is that you go online to their calendar, pick out a picture you like, and register online!
What is nice is that there are no tickets involved, you just show up and give them your name.
For only $45 they provide you with everything you need for the experience: an apron, the canvas, the paint, an instructor!
I picked out a really great Boston skyline picture.


January 1, 2014

And 2013 is gone.



It's January 1st, 2014. How crazy is that?
I always feel like every year just flies by and 2013 was no exception.
Everyone and their mom took a look back at the year and it seemed like a good idea!

January:

I made my 30 by 30 list
I restarted my Grad program after taking a 3 semester leave.
Emma had her first trip to the ER, complete with stitches and a scar.


February:

I turned 27 and treated myself to my first (and only) massage!
I officially took over a full time sub English job.
I got bangs (short lived- oh well)


March:

Dave and I saw Kenny Chesney at Mohegan Sun.
I rebranded the blog.


April:

An act of kindness led to a great day at the Providence Kids Museum.
I went to my first blogging conference
Emmalee started swimming lessons.


May:

Dave turned 30 and had a great surprise party. 
We went on our first "real" vacation to Philadelphia for a long weekend. 
We brought Emmalee to Sesame Place.
I finished my semester with my first ever 4.0


June:

Emmalee got her first piece of Lily.
Got a summer job teaching.
I went to my first group fitness class at the Y.


July:

We decided to try for baby #2!
We bought our first ever brand new car!
Emma had her first trip to the Splash Park and the Boston Children's Museum.
I went to Jason Aldean at Fenway Park.
Emma rode her first horse!


August:

I started teaching in my own classroom!
Emmalee had her first day at "school", better known as full day daycare!
After 6 years, I left Friendly's.
Emmalee met Cinderella at the Easton Children's Museum.
Dave and I went to a Red Sox/Yankees game.
I saw Kenny chesney again, this time with my mom!


September:

David fell down the stairs, dislocated his finger and had to have his wedding ring cut off!
We announced baby #2 was on his way!


October:

We went apple and pumpkin picking. 
Dave went to Dick's at 1 am to buy Red Sox Championship gear.
Emmalee went trick or treating for the first time.


November:

David flew to Texas to be with a friend for the weekend.
David "slept" through Thanksgiving.
I had LOTS of pregnancy bleeding, but everything seems to be okay now.
We found out baby #2 is a boy!


December:

I was moved from a "high risk pregnancy" to a "normal pregnancy"!
Emmalee and I ran away to PTown for the weekend.
Emmalee won a TON of contests!
Emmalee and I went to her first Disney on Ice.
We had the most magical Christmas so far, Emma was just in awe!
I finally tried out an Art Bar!


So excited to see what 2014 will bring!


Holiday Hot Toy: Paw Patrol Lookout Tower

I was provided this toy in exchange for a review, however all thoughts and opinions are my own.  Shopping for both of my kids has been rid...

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