Friday, September 13, 2013

23 Items to pack before the packers arrive! {Moving Tips}

After having moved 5 times in the past 7 years...I'd say to most people, we are considered subject matter experts. This move was not without the first time {learning} experience of "moving with children," but that is a entirely different post. :)

It never fails the packers and movers arrive at previous destination, pack up everything {thank you company-paid relo} and then you arrive at your new house quickly looking for key items.

I have assembled a down-and-dirty list of must-have items to pack...before you finish start packing {or having the packers pack everything}. Assemble a box/bag/suitcase with a few essentials necessary at the new house, prior to opening a single box:

  • Basics - overnight clothes, extra set of clothes {especially on a hot, summer moving day}, toiletries and shower items
  • New House "Stuff" - pack a roll of paper towels, a few rolls of toilet paper, a multi-surface cleaner, sponge, hand soap, dish detergent, pledge wipes {for the furniture that is a bit dusty from the move} and a dustpan & broom.

    Even if the previous home owners leave the new place spotless, accidents happen and you may want to clean a few things {i.e. glass shelves in a cabinet, etc.}.
  • Post-it Notes - arriving in your new kitchen will be exciting and daunting at the same time. Bring post-its and a pen to write out what needs to go where...and quickly re-arrange prior to loading the cabinets and drawers with items.
  • Towels  -  you will want need to take a shower the first night in your new home, yet finding the box marked "towels" might be an hour-long pack a beach towel, a spare towel, or something to dry off with! And the same goes for a kitchen towel and a hand towel for the bathrooms.

    Prior to closing on our new home, I found a lovely dish towel at World Market to quickly make my kitchen feel a bit more like home.
  • Food & Drinks - aside from running out for a sandwich or something - pack a few things for your new refrigerator such as energy drinks, sports drinks, bottled water, etc. to stay hydrated; and maybe some grab-and-go items such as granola bars, nuts and & fresh fruit!

    {My favorite pick-me-up is Starbucks the grocery aisle near sports drinks or the alcohol - Pomegranate Raspberry is delicious!}
  • Disposable plates, plasticware and cups - Again, the box with "cups" could be lower on the priority list of boxes to open, when you really just need a glass of water!

We were fortunate to have amazing realtors here in Colorado and they gifted us a big basket full of wine {including glasses, opener, etc.}, cheese, crackers and other house warming gifts. You bet your bottom dollar I opened a bottle on night one! 

Considering all of these items to pack yourself or to pack 'on the side' - perhaps it will take your largest suitcase or a big box to house all of these you prepare to move into your new home!

Operation: Save Mommy's Sanity

It has been just over 3 weeks since moving to our new home. Most of the brown boxes have been explored; however, some areas just feel a little unfinished or "half-down"...particularly our "Toyfice" - yep, we have a Toy Room/Office.

The lack of a completion of the Toy Room has caused Miss L to find trouble in every nook and cranny throughout our house. On Wednesday, I thought I might need to begin "day drinking" to survive the day; instead, I brewed a second up of coffee! I actually went out shopping {in the pouring rain} both Wednesday and Thursday nights once daddy came home, just to enjoy a much-needed break!

It quickly became clear that the 70lb box sitting in the Toyfice containing a beautiful, dream play kitchen for our toddler needed to be assembled. I think I may have left for Target and gave this specific directive and labeled it "Save Mommy's Sanity."

I came home an hour later to J surrounded by many parts and pieces out; as he quickly realized that "this is the 'real' deal" and should better hold up for years to come. 3.5 hours later {near midnight} and Miss L's dream kitchen was complete. As we moved it into the Toyfice, I felt like it was Christmas Eve. It was such a treat to see her face light-up the next morning when she first witnessed her new toy.

I have to send a HUGE thank you to my Aunt Shelley for suggesting said kitchen {she found it online - made by KidKraft}, for helping to pay for some of the kitchen with birthday money; as well as my Grandma Reilly and Aunt Cindi for birthday money that contributed to purchasing this beauty...or rather, for saving my sanity!

Miss L has been playing more and more in the Toyfice, and less in MY kitchen cabinets. To top things off, we have even hosted playdates, both yesterday and today, with our new neighborhood friends.

Below are some photos of our playdate today with Miss P. These girls have played together twice at the Pool and already have soo much fun together...

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Visit to Vail

It is simply amazing how close we now live to such beautiful landscapes and fun outdoor natural playgrounds.

J had an opportunity to golf for work "up in the mountains," in Silverthorne. We knew about this opportunity about 5-6 days out, but it wasn't until he came home from work the evening prior and suggested with excitement that we should "all" go to the mountains, in celebration of our anniversary weekend!

We I quickly re-arranged schedules for the following two days, started to pack our bags and prepare to leave first thing Thursday morning. I was honestly sooo excited to wear jeans, boots, sweater and a scarf for the first time in months, after we've experienced 50+ days of 90+ degree heat here in Denver.

Surprisingly, it was still uber-hot up there and I was changing into summer clothes all-too-quickly!

While J golfed, Miss L and I had nearly 6 hours to entertain ourselves...we did some outlet shopping, flirted our toes into the refreshing, beautiful Blue River, had lunch by gorgeous Lake Dillon, hit the playground and even met up with a friend {formerly from Michigan} that just so happened to be in Silverthorne for a wedding that weekend!

Cooling off our "piggies"

Mommy's friend "Alexis" with lil' Alexis

Does it get any more picturesque than this?
Once we arrived in beautiful Vail {elevation 8k}, we found a bar to watch the Denver Broncos kick-off football season. The next day, we started off our morning at "The Little Diner" - which I read is an epic breakfast spot in Vail. It was a tiny diner with a U-shaped bar seating 20 people and the renowned Chef and his tiny crew in the center of the bar, preparing orders. Guests literally wait outside in a line for seats to open {no host stand or "put your name in" here}. Breakfast was delicious and the experience was incredible.

Then, we took a gondola ride up, up, up...up in the mountains to about 10,000 in elevation. The ride was longer than we anticipated {it just kept going}, but we didn't mind as the views were beautiful. Once at the top, we could see the Mount of the Holy Cross and the Gore Range. It was...breathtaking! We donned our hiking backpack/carrier called a Kelty and hit the trails for some family fun and exercise.

We finished the day with Oktoberfest in Lionshead Village of Vail. Miss L cried when we had to sweep her off the dance floor due to the rain. All she wanted to do was dance, dance!

The following day, we explored Vail Village, which is much larger than Lionshead. Both villages are very pedestrian friendly and we could walk the 3/4 mile between both places. I cannot wait to see these places in action during the middle of winter - we are excited to go back!

On the way home, we stopped back at Silverthorne, to show daddy beautiful Lake Dillon and play in the park!

It was such a blessing to be able to getaway like that and to easily go explore this beautiful state. Fun was had by all and Miss L was a trooper with all of the travel!

Breakfast at The Little Diner

View from the Gondola going up!

Top of the mountain

Taking a break during our hike

Dancing at Oktoberfest

Ring around the Rosie

Playing in more Vail

That little smile says it all!


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Cartwheels for Target

Despite my years in dance class, I never really mastered the simple cartwheel. Fast forward to adult Lorryn and now I am actively attempting to master the Target Cartwheel....THAT is a different type of cartwheel that puts a smile on my face and makes me jump for joy {sometimes literally}.

Earlier this year, I noticed Target had this "cartwheel" thing that saves you EXTRA money on top of the fabulously low prices. So...I attempt to be an early adopter and google it to find the website:

I log-in via my existing Facebook account and then, I suddenly get distracted and too busy to actually figure it out!

Fast forward to 2 weeks ago, I am a Work&Stay-at-home-mom that is always looking to cut household expenditures with a little more time on my I log-in again and this time, it clicked!

Here's the Scoop:

  • Using the Target Cartwheel allows you to hand-select specific offers/coupons that appeal to you {note: you cannot select 100, more on the side of 15-25}.

    Keep in mind - this is a savings on top of the 5% savings you can enjoy with your Target RED card {either Debit or Credit - your choice!} AND on top of mobile coupons via text messages from Target.

    If you aren't already getting text message mobile coupons from Target, I would suggest texting OFFERS to 827438 to sign-up for a weekly text message.
  • Once you have selected the handful of offers {relevant to your next shopping trip}, you can click on "my Cartwheel" to display one single UPC code that the cashier will scan to take advantage of all of the offers you are "cashing in!"
  • To get started, it might be easiest to download the application on your favorite mobile device {mine is installed on my android and ipad}....Download the Cartwheel application from whatever "market" you download apps.
  • Once logged-in {conveniently with your Facebook account} you will want to start with "browse" offers  - the search allows you to select "grocery," AND then it will let you select specific areas such as produce, meat, beverages, etc. It also enables you to search by newest offers, highest discounts, those expiring soon, etc. etc.
  • When you see an item/offer of interest - tap the item once, then tap "add" and it is now added to your Cartwheel. Keep adding offers until you max out your Cartwheel.
  • Have your mobile device ready at check-out, tap "my Cartwheel" and then show the cashier the UPC code for your Cartwheel deals and as Miss L says "Ta Da!" You just saved $$.  
Real World Example: Planned Target Purchase
On a recent trip to Target, I purchased our new comforter and pillows - they were Threshold brand and I had a 20% off Cartwheel for Threshold brand bedding + I had a $10 off Target mobile coupon + I saved 5% by using my RED Debit Card...thus, I saved a TON of money!

Real World Example: Impromptu Target Visit
The family was at Target picking up just a few grocery items. I had already selected the Cartwheel 5% off berries, which I picked up a package of raspberries {aka "Finger Berries" to Miss L}...but we also needed flank steak for our fajitas...and I browsed the Cartwheel via my ipad {thanks to Target's free Wi-Fi} and found 10% off a particular brand of steaks at Target which I added to "my Cartwheel" and showed the UPC code to the cashier to save $1.40 on something we were already purchasing, plus the additional 5% {using the RED card}.

I hope this encourages you to move from "downloaded the app" to "using the app." Before your next "Target Run," ensure you have signed-up for their text offers, visited for printable coupons and designated 5 minutes to browse Cartwheel offers and compare with your shopping list. In my opinion, all of these sales offers are only worthy if you NEED to purchase the item in the first place.