Shopping Apps that Will Change Your Whole #MomLife

Disclaimer: You need to know that neither of the companies featured in this post know I am writing this. They have not paid or bribed me, this is not an affiliate ad or anything like it. When I find something that makes my life easier, I like to share it with you. That's what the #MomLife series is all about, and that's what today's post is for. 

Shopping used to be my favorite thing in the world. Walking around stores, sipping a latte, being creative with what I bought from different places, the whole process was something I loved and really enjoyed. Fast forward to today and I've got a tribe of banshees that follows me everywhere, making shopping for clothes the bane of my existence. I also have to find clothes for my whole family and not just myself, so that does me in. Shopping is now part of my job description, a task on my giant to do list, a chore. I have done the mall, thrift stores, shopping online, you name it. Nothing has really cut the budget enough for me [I'm cheeeeeeap when it comes to spending money on kid clothes] or made the whole ordeal easy enough for me to enjoy the process. 

Enter Kidizen and Mercari. 

I first heard of Kidizen a couple of weeks ago when I was sitting outside with my new friend, Dana. I complimented her toddler daughter's adorable outfit and she said, "Oh thanks! I got the whole thing on Kidizen." Aaaaaaaand my life was forever a little bit easier. 

Kidizen is a shopping app that lets you customize the sizes you need for your family. I added each of my kids to it, including their gender, clothing size, and shoe size, and I can shop for each one of them separately. Uh-maze-balls. 

Here's an example:

Bella needs shoes. I open up the Kidizen app and hit the search icon, type in "shoes" then click the filter icon and select Bella. Now all the items coming up in my search are girls size one. I can customize my search even more by selecting certain brands, a price range, and more. 

Kidizen is basically a thrift store, except you don't have to go anywhere. The app is comprised of personal shops [just like Etsy] where people sell their kids' new and gently used clothing. I got Bella a designer tunic with leather pockets [something I would never buy for full price, or even on sale ha!] brand new with the tag for $15. If you wanted to clean house and make extra cash, you could also become a seller on the app and get rid of your kids stuff. Win-win. 

One of the best things about Kidizen is that the price of every item includes shipping, so you don't get that alarming total at the end of your clicking spree, and you don't have to mentally tack on five dollars to everything you want. It is what it is, and my mommy brain needs that. 

I will say one thing I dislike about it, and I hate to go Negative Nelly, but I have to give my full review. The app's checkout process needs some work. You have to check out from each individual shop separately. So, if I have eleven items in my cart, they're likely all from different people's shops, and I have to check out for each individual one. I understand why it works this way, it's just really tedious and sort of irritating when you're a busy mom. The real issue with checking out on Kidizen is that the app is fairly new, and there seems to be a glitch with their PayPal checkout. It continued to log me out or say it couldn't read my PayPal account or credit card [I tried using both methods to get past the glitch], causing me to re-enter my payment and shipping info 5-10 times PER ITEM PURCHASE. Yes, annoying. 

I have high hopes for an app update soon, but all in all, Kidizen is a mom life-saver. The other day I spent thirty minutes restocking the kids' wardrobes, because the weather here in Arkansas in October is much different than the California heat wave we're used to. I spent less than $150 and got everything they needed- shoes, pants, and shirts restocked. All four of them. Seriously, this app is incredible. 

During my time on Kidizen, I got into contact with a shop owner I had purchased some things from and she told me about a very similar shopping app, Mercari. I downloaded it and looked around, and fell in love even harder, which I didn't think was possible. 

The reason? Mercari is exactly like Kidizen, except they have everything. Designer stuff, workout gear, shoes, clothing, home goods, makeup, everything a human person could ever want to put on themselves. 

I got a Smashbox eyeshadow set, obviously unopened, for six dollars. A pair of fringed ankle boots for ten dollars. A designer blouse for eleven dollars. A Nike running jacket for ten dollars. I liken this app to a combination of TJ Maxx [the quality of most items and the abundance of great name brands] and a thrift store [the prices] except again, you don't have to leave the house to shop. Even my husband has downloaded the app and loves it. He's lost a significant amount of weight and needed a new wardrobe. Mission accomplished for pocket change. 

I haven't found anything I don't like about Mercari, except the fact that some people are selling junk, which annoys me to no end. Really?? You think I want your early-2000's Packers green, velvet vest with a tear in it? I don't. But, it's a whole heck of a lot easier than sifting through other people's sh*t in person, at the thrift store, kids in tow ;) and if you just filter your searches to be tailored to what you're looking for, you can usually skip that problem altogether. And their checkout process is just peachy, so thumbs up there. 

The brightest news of all.....both Kidizen & Mercari are available for iPhone and Android. 

I hope this post helps out my fellow mamas! I know these apps have severely cut down on my errands, and for that, I love them. Happy on-the-couch shopping!

 photo post signature.png

Our Homeschool Year [first grade]


You might already know that because of our big move out of Cali, Brian and I decided that it would be best to get a late start with homeschooling, rather than have a stressful, bumpy, and inconsistent start. Two weeks after we landed ourselves in Northwest Arkansas, we've finally gotten Bella started with first grade. Last year was incredibly difficult for us. Our family was at a crossroad and we didn't even fully realize it. There was so much extra stress, the end of my pregnancy with Emmett and the first months of him coming into our family held so much anxiety and sleepless nights...trying to do kindergarten at home with Bella led to her finishing off the year in public school. It was hard, but it ended up being a good decision, only because it took the pressure off me and taught me a lot.

This year, I have a fresh perspective and a pocketful of grace for myself [something I was sorely lacking last year]. My approach is very laid back and very simple, which fits this new season of our lives perfectly. Today I'm sharing what it is we're doing.

Keep in mind that I am a big believer in Charlotte Mason's method, and she believed children shouldn't be involved in organized schooling until age six, so Leland and Hudson are just listeners to the stories I read, and they're spending all their time playing and exploring and drawing. Bella is the only kid I have that is school-aged by Mason's standards, although the boys are, of course, around when we do school, so they'll ask questions and get involved every once in awhile.

I am using Ambleside Online as my base curriculum, although I am altering it quite a bit to fit my vision for this year. This free curriculum stems off the CM method and is a dream come true for me! We are following their living book list for year one, as well as their Bible study, artist and composer study, history study [for now], and nature study. I am implementing First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind to give Bella a solid foundation in writing the English language, alongside Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, since she has exhibited signs of readiness to learn to read.

We have brought copy work into our home school, and I've become a big fan. Right now I don't have a book of suggestions I'm following, I just choose a verse or a quote that I feel fits each day and Bella copies it several times. It's been great for perfecting her writing and the letters she has trouble with, and it opens up some great discussions about whatever the words are for that day.

For math, I chose Horizons, mostly because it was recommended by a friend and because I just wanted to try anything that was different from what we used last year. With math I want to bop around and get a feel for my options. This is a Christian math workbook, and we like it so far.

The first book we are reading from Ambleside's book list, is Charlotte's Web by E. B. White. I read a chapter out loud every day, then ask Bella to narrate back to me what happened in her own words. Some days she colors while I read, other times she just lies on the couch and listens. My only annoyance in choosing this book is that she's seen the movie with Dakota Fanning, and she'll jump ahead and tell me what happens [usually the stupid funny parts with the rat that aren't even in the original story]. At least I'm still getting a classic in her and it's building my patience ;)

I purchased the Handbook of Nature Study on Amazon while we were on our road trip, and I am so glad I did! This book is a treasure trove of information, a nature dictionary and encyclopedia combination. It's beautiful and classic and we are loving it! Homeschooling in "the natural state" is a dream on its own, but with this book we are able to look up anything we find on our hikes, and each kid is learning so much every time we step outside. We no longer leave the house without it. We also bring our sketch pads and colored pencils on our adventures, so the kids can draw what they see or whatever new thing we discover while I read them facts about it. I think nature study is everyone's favorite part of this home school gig.

One thing I've never been happy about in homeschooling is that it's hard to keep Brian involved. In the past it was mostly because his work schedule was awful, but now that his hours are more normal, I have some room to work in. We have started evening devotions as a family, and Brian leads them. We talk about our day and what we learned over dinner, then the Bible comes out and Brian reads a passage, then leads us in a discussion where we answer any questions the kids have and then pray together. Although we haven't kept it up every single night, it's been wonderful!

Well that's a wrap! I will post an update of how we're liking everything I chose as well as any curriculum changes I make as the year goes on. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to leave a comment! I'll get right back to you :)

 photo post signature.png

Life Lately [+ the deets on our big move]

Hi lovelies!

Well it's been awhile, but I'm happy to be back at my blog after a break. I can't believe all that's happened since the last time I sat writing on this page. I actually can't believe any of this is happening at all. I keep saying to Brian, usually while we're driving and it's quiet enough for my thoughts to drift, "I can't believe we actually did this!!"

In case you're new or you missed it, we moved from Southern California to Northwest Arkansas two weeks ago. If you live in California your response to that statement is probably, "oh yeah. Get out while you can!" If you don't live in California, you probably think we're stupid or insane or both. We get both reactions on a near-daily basis.

Yes, California is incredibly expensive and liberal and dry and in desperate need of rain and not super big-family-friendly. And yes, California has some of the most beautiful beaches and living there comes at a price, so of course it's expensive. And yes, our entire family and [almost] all the friends and people we've ever known and loved live there and nothing can replace the support of loved ones.

We know. 

This is why it took us awhile to finally follow the call we have heard for so long- the call of God to move somewhere else. We didn't just move because of perks. The positives of moving to Arkansas are just that- perks, and nothing more. We moved away because as much as we tried, we couldn't pretend God wasn't tugging on our hearts. We know beyond any doubt that we are where we are supposed to be right now.

We don't know how long we'll live here, if it'll be forever or a few years, we don't know what's next. We know we absolutely love it so far and we feel incredibly peaceful for the first time in a long time [that happens when you're in God's will], and we know we would like to buy a house here within the next year or two. Other than that, it all depends on God and His still, small voice.

All that being said, I'm ready to fill you in on how everything went down! Moving a family of six that includes a baby, plus a cat cross-country is interesting to say the least.

So if you've been wondering what's up over here since we took the big leap of faith, here ya go :)

The Road Trip

We sold pretty much everything, and rented the smallest U-Haul trailer [it was 5'x8'] which fit our mattresses, table and chairs [taken apart], and a few other favorite items like my beloved bicycle art, and the boys' bunk beds all taken apart. We didn't even bring dishes or silverware, so I do mean we sold pretty much everything. We got a hitch added to our minivan and were ready to go!

We had been renting our house, and were on a month-to-month lease, so we were able to get out easily without the need to sell a house or anything, which was a huge blessing. The night before we were going to leave, we were sleeping at my parents' house, and Hudson and Emmett were tag-teaming the destruction of our trip. They were both waking up every half hour or so, and the plan was for us to get as much sleep as possible since we were supposed to leave at 3AM. Well we had to adapt, so we slept till 5 and left then.

Bonus: Starbucks was actually open by then, so of course I made Brian stop right before we got on the freeway. He was thrilled.

And so the road trip to our new life began...

Everything was really dry and ugly for awhile. 

We got In N Out one last time in Arizona. Goodbye my looooooooooooove!! *insert sobbing emoji*

The kids did beyond amazing. I really couldn't be happier with how well they handled so many hours in their carseats. The whole two days of driving, they were seriously perfect. It had to be God because that is not what I was expecting from my kids. Not even close.

Chicken did great too.

We drove from Murrieta, CA to Albuquerque, New Mexico in one day. It took us 17 hours with traffic and all the stops we made for gas, food, and stretching our legs. I had to slap Brian around a few times at the very end of the drive because he was falling asleep but we'd already booked a hotel on Priceline and paid $80, so we had to make it there. I won't lie, the slapping wasn't so bad for me.

Totally kidding. Sort of. Anyyyyway...

The next morning we hit Starbucks for coffee and bagels and headed back out around 7:30. And then everything got gorgeous.

We stayed at a hotel in Oklahoma City that night, and when we got there we realized we had landed a reeeeally nice hotel on Priceline. We had no idea. When we walked in we clearly didn't belong, especially with how disheveled we were. But staying there was great and we all got some good sleep that night.

Getting There

The next morning we headed out, finished off Oklahoma, and headed into our new home state of Arkansas, where everything got even more stunningly beautiful.

My great grandpa, Elum lives in Arkansas, about an hour from our new home, so of course we met up with him on our way in. It was such a treat for him to meet his great great grandchildren, and I am so thrilled I got to see him again! PS. The Waffle House? YUM.

Once we got into our city, we were all sick of each other and S O  D O N E with the trip. The baby was screaming, Brian was stressing out trying to find the management office, the older kids were bickering loudly, and I was wishing it was acceptable to put my headphones in, but alas, that would've pissed off the love bug. We were required to show up in-person and show proof of occupancy at the Springdale Water District, which was suuuuper fun to do after three days of driving. So after the townhouse management office, we headed to get our water turned on, and then we went home! 

Settling In

After much looking online, discussing, praying, and thinking about it from every angle, Brian and I decided to forego a house and rent a two-bedroom townhouse. We just didn't feel the need to get all the space we might want right away, having to deal with shoveling snow from our property [which, since we're both born and raised in Cali, we are so unprepared for], and collecting a bunch of stuff before another inevitable move whenever we buy. We are in a season of chaos and major change, and in this season, we have found that what we crave is simplicity. Our townhome is perfect. It's two stories, the kids are all in one room via a triple bunk bed and Emmett's crib, and the hard oak flooring makes me giddy every time I come downstairs. Choosing this type of house meant no fuss, no huge empty walls or spaces begging to have money spent on decor, no room to bring in a bunch of junk... it's somewhat close to tiny house living [a dream of mine], and I love it.

My mom flew in the day after we got to our new house, which was awesome because she spent six days helping with the kids while Brian and I did what we needed to do to get set up. We had four full days before Brian had to start work, so we went to IKEA [the closest one is in Kansas, eep!], and stock up on groceries, and explore the area a little before life had to start again. We got a sofa and some other things we needed to function, everything else will be slowly added in as I thrift and shop on the weekends.

I have to say, getting rid of all of our stuff was the most liberating thing I've ever done. We threw away so much junk that was taking up closet space and sold so much, this fresh start is like water to my thirsty soul. I am so glad we chose to go this route rather than paying to bring all our things over here with us! Also, I don't think I was a true minimalist until the move, because I honestly didn't realize how much random crap I still had in my hallway closet. That was humbling.

Fast forward to today, two weeks from the big move, and we now have a TV, we started our home school year yesterday [we decided to wait until after the move to begin, and more on that later], we are getting back to our normal schedule with naps and meals and errands, Bella has started horse riding lessons again out here, and we are starting to feel like we know our way around our little area. We are in love with the beauty of "the natural state", and we both agree there's a beautifully heavy peace over every part of our beings since we got here. God. is. so. good.

Thank you lovely readers of mine for being patient with me as I got through this big step in my life and took a blogging break. I missed you all and cannot wait to share more of our adventures with you!

 photo post signature.png
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Ready To Be Make Elegant Blog

Put Some Purpose In Your Inbox!