How to have a tantrum-free shopping trip for the price of a cup of coffee.

Sometimes I need a five dollar coffee drink to get through the day.

Sometimes I need a fifty dollar pedicure to get through the week.

And sometimes I need a ten thousand dollar Mediterranean Cruise if I am going to resist the urge to flee alone to the mountains and live off the land. Alone. By myself.

(I never do get that last one.)

Toddlers are people, too.

You know how summer days seemed so loooong when you were a kid but now they zoom by before you can get everything done? Even if ‘everything’ is just pack a bag and go to the park and come home and make a relatively healthy dinner?

Time is funny like that.

I imagine that a forty-five minute trip to Target must feel to a toddler like waiting at the DMV for an entire afternoon feels to me. Like hellacious hell.

Enter the Patient Prize.

I have mentioned the Patient Prize before. I didn’t invent the concept but I have WHOLLY embraced it. I have been looking to rebrand Bribery for quite some time now.

Whenever I bring Babystar into a potential meltdown situation — usually a trip to Target but not always — she is allowed one Patient Prize. (Babystar named it her Patient Prize, which is more accurate than Patient Present tbh because really we are all winners.)

 

How to Patient Prize:

  1. Let the Toddlermonster pick the Patient Prize first. At Target, I suggest you stop in the Dollar Aisles conveniently located near the entrance. This will save you money by avoiding the toy aisles while still preserving the illusion of choice.*
  2. Let the Toddlermonster HOLD the toy/hat/apple/whatever in the shopping cart. It then becomes a tangible reminder of the toddlermonster’s choice EVERY SINGLE SECOND whether he or she wants to keep the Patient Prize or act a fool.
  3. When the Toddlermonster inevitably wants to get out of the cart to run away, or screams because he or she is bored and wants to leave RIGHT NOW, you look them in the eyes and say, ‘Ok. But first we have to go put back the Patient Prize.’
  4. Usually, the Toddlermonster will chill. Not always, but most of the time. If the Toddlermonster does not chill, you have to put the Patient Prize back and deal with the outcome. You may decide to leave the establishment. You may decide to rush through the checkout line with what you already have. And you may decide to finish shopping while holding a loud floppy Toddlermonster (peace be with you). You do you.

 

AND YOU GUYS THERE IS AN UNINTENTIONAL BENEFIT! Since Babystar knows she gets to choose ONE thing, she doesn’t ask for EVERY thing. I hope it works out that way for you, too!

 

 

 

  • Stickers .30, $1, $1
  • Bouncy ball $2.99, $2.88, $2.99
  • Troll bandaids $1, $1
  • Light up bunny thingy $1
  • Trolls $4.99, $4.99, $4.99, $0.89, $0.89, $2.99, $2.99, $14.99, $4.99, $2.99, $2.99
  • Plastic dinosaur with googly pop-out eyes $1
  • Felt ice cream cones $3
  • Weird juice box lady $2.99
  • Bubbles $1, $1
  • Gardening toys $3
  • Wooden birdhouse to paint $3 (plus one for Princess Buttercup too $3)
  • Coloring books $1, $1, $1

 

RAISING BABYSTAR: $28,868.20

*Unfortunately, Babystar knows that the Trolls are in the toy aisles, so she often insists we go there. Fine. Whatever. I have since made a new rule that she cannot get duplicate Trolls and she has them all so we always ‘just go check’ if there are new ones. Her dad doesn’t have the same deal so she still brings home Trolls quite often.

You can’t spell #momlife without MLM.

So, are you on Team OMG Stahp or Team They Are Just Trying to Make a Living. Which, come on, we all know is actually Team WE Are Just Trying to Make a Living.

Love them or hate them (or just try to avoid them), if you are a mom these days you will def meet another mom hoping to sell you something. If you’re lucky. If you are not lucky, you will meet another mom that immediately acts like your bff until BAM out of the nowhere on the the third (play)date gives you the hard sell about joining their team.

I get it. Back in ye olde 1900s, my mom sold Avon, Mary Kay, and The Almighty Tupperware. I STILL keep my cereal fresh with hand-me-down vintage Tupperware. Because Tupperware is legit awesome. Many of today’s popular MLM companies are slinging awesome things. (Overpriced, of course. But awesome.) I love me some essential oils and children’s books and vegetable gummies and fancy face creams.

I will go to your parties. I might even host one because I like you and I like wine. BUT DON’T TRY TO TRICK ME. If our friendship depends on my purchases, I hate you.

I have one friend that I knew for OVER A YEAR before I knew that she sold essential oils. She actually never told me. A mutual friend had a handmade potion in her bag labeled Liquid Xanax so of course I had to ask what THAT was all about. (It was not in fact black market benzos. It was lavender and chamomile and mildly disappointing.) This essential oil MLMer is very successful and never annoys her friends.

I know the other kind of people too. I don’t like them as much.

You know who are the chillest MLMers on the block, though? The super sweet shillers of Usborne Books! Be chill must be like the first, third, seventh, and last bullet point in the Training at Usborne. I have four friends now that sell Usborne in various parts of the country. If I am available, I will always attend their virtual Facebook parties. Recently I have attended parties to the tune of $21.97 and $69.94. You can see which friend I like better. KIDDING! My book purchasing is directly correlated with my wine consumption.

tl;dr: I will buy your MLM stuff if you promise to shut up about it.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $28,784.36

 

 

Sand castles to go go.

If you like sand say ohhhhhh. If you like sand say oh! OH!

Throw the sand in the air like you just don’t care.

No! Stop! We DON’T. THROW. SAND.

When we go to the library, Babystar wants to spend the entire time in the sandbox.

When we go to the mall, same.

She once went to the Children’s Museum in Denver and she spent the entire time in the giant sandbox out back.

You get it. The kid loves sand.

Please no one tell her that it is possible to have a sandbox at home. I don’t want any part of that noise. I know, I’m a terrible mother. Fine. Whatever.

I DID pick up some sand toys and sun hats from the Target Dollar Aisles ($14) and I keep them in the car because I never really know when we will find ourselves at a sunny sandbox. Babystar has sand radar. Sandar. If there is sand, she will find it.

sand toys

We had a Problem With Sharing for a while. We bought extra shovels and pails so we would be able to share and maybe make some kindred sand spirit friends. Babystar was getting extremely (though probably rationally) worried that the other kids would take her sand toys and never ever ever give them back. We solved that problem by labeling all of the toys. Mabel’s Labels sent us these awesome labels. (They didn’t ask for a review or anything and this is not an affiliate link. I think they are just partial to Babystar’s name.) These labels are the bomb dot com. They have been through round and round of sand and water and sun and sand and sand and sand and they still look brand new and shiny and glittery. And they also solved the Sharing Situations. I’m pretty sure these labels are magic. Just if you were wondering.

sand play

Babystar doesn’t need a sandbox anyway. She finds plenty of ‘sand’ on the farm and she does not discriminate. Others might call it light brown dirt. Or dust. Or sometimes small rocks. But it is all sand to Babystar.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $28,692.45

 

SaveSave

Roy G. Biv.

Lunchtime poll: Has everyone heard of Roy G Biv?

Hint: He was NOT a member of Bel Biv Devoe.

My mind was blown last week while decorating for the SIMPLEST, can-be-pulled-off-at-the-last-minute-if-necessary, EASIEST, most inexpensive birthday party theme evah. My darling husband, who has been alive on this earth for a full eight years longer than I, and who has successfully made his way through the American public school system, has never heard of Roy G Biv.

Me: Hey babe, can you arrange these vegetables in a rainbow?
Husband: *starts with purple, then picks up yellow*
Me: No, do a real rainbow. With Roy G. Biv.
Husband: Who?
Me: …
Husband:  …
Me: *gets scared because everything I know is a lie*

Red-Orange-Yellow-Green-Blue-Indigo-Violet. Roy spreads rainbows wherever he goes.

Babystar loves coloring. Actually, she loves all of it: drawing, painting, cutting, glueing, stickers, decoupage, cubism, whatever. Babystar is here for all of the art.

Also, making friends in Colorado is proving more difficult that anticipated. Everyone is suuuuper nice. I chat up all the parents at the playgrounds, and everyone is friendly enough. But not like, hey we should get the kids together again friendly. I am TRYING, I swear. I will happily accept any tips and pointers you have, and if you live near Boulder, do you want to meet at the library tomorrow? 🙂

(Babystar HAS made one really awesome friend in Colorado but she is not pictured for reasons of I didn’t want to ask her mom hey can I post pictures of your kid all over the internet because I would like to continue this budding friendship.)

Some links below are affiliate links. Please see full disclosure on home page.

We decided to have a Coloring Party for Babystar’s third birthday. It was the perfect small birthday party for guests of all ages. Babystar chose plates and plates and napkins and hats and a HAPPY BIRTHDAY banner from Target ($21.23) and she was SO PROUD to have picked them out herself. I definitely gave her the ‘rainbow’ idea but she could have chosen literally anything and it would have worked with the coloring theme.

party hats

We decorated with crayons and markers and colored pencils. I did buy new crayons ($2.48 x3) and markers ($14.99) and colored pencils ($14.99) and pads of paper ($2.19 x4) for the occasion but we needed to restock the art cabinet anyway. Also, boxes of crayons make GREAT party favors. You could buy all new art supplies, use what you have, or some combo in between to make this party as outrageous or as chill as you like. The secret is in the sorting. Group the crayons/pencils/paints/whatever in color families and boom — instant decor.

crayons

I also bought three bright bouquets of flowers from the grocery store ($11.97) for the party room. I trimmed the stems and handed each bloom to Babystar to decide how they should be arranged. She actually divided them by color even before she saw the crayons and pencils divided that way. Three year olds are really smart. (I recommend Trader Joe’s or Sprouts for cheap bouquets, if you have either of those chains nearby.)

flowers

I ordered the cake from a local baker mama and it turned out AMAZING. She made cupcakes too per Babystar’s request. There was no cost for the cake because we bartered,  but you can go as expensive or inexpensive here as you like. The joy is that it is so EASY. Go colorful or go home, ya know. Make some cupcakes and play with frosting and food coloring a little bit and you are all set. I skipped the ice cream because I usually forget to serve it anyway and so many people are dairy-free these days and ice cream is really messy and kind of expensive and no one really cares and I suggest you do the same.

Snacks can double as decoration! I bought fruits and veggies and arranged them on white platters in the aforementioned ROYGBIV formation. I also had a couple of dips and a bowl of animal crackers on the snack buffet. I spent $46.72 at the grocery store for all of the food, and of course there were plenty of leftovers for snacks throughout the week.

And finally, we turned this regular coloring party into a super awesome birthday party celebrating Babystar with the help of an app* ($4.99). Yay for 2018! Yay for Technology!! We turned pictures of Babystar into coloring pages and asked everyone in attendance to color and sign at least one. I mean, Grandpa might not want to draw pictures for fun, but there is no way ANYONE will say no to coloring a picture of the guest of honor. I put the pictures in an envelope with her birthday cards from this year for a super awesome keepsake. Mom of the year over here, y’all.

 

Oh, I almost forgot about the presents. My usual rule is that the PARTY is the present, but I wasn’t at all sure she would have any guests at her party. Luckily, she did. But I bought the gifts before I knew that would be the case. We now have a ‘birthday Poppy‘ (which is currently on sale but I paid $19.99) and a ‘birthday Branch‘ (currently on sale but I paid $14.99) and a Troll Tree ($29.99). The colorful wrapping paper was $2.99.

 

RAISING BABYSTAR: $28,678.45

*There are plenty of free apps that turn pictures into coloring pages but we found the best luck with one that cost $4.99. Your mileage may vary. Try the free ones first, for sure.

Three is a magic number.

Does anyone remember that compilation from The Nineties that was a bunch of random bands reworking songs from Schoolhouse Rock? Evan Dando sang about the number zero and Skee-Lo and Mr. Morton schooled us all on verbs. I listened to that thing on repeat for a few years, as the older kids were tiny peanuts and cars had CD players and Spotify didn’t exist and parents were still in charge of the music in the car. Remember that?

I TOTALLY remember my mom and dad forcing me to listen to R.E.M. and Aerosmith and Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones when all I wanted to listen to was Tiffany and Debbie Gibson and Cyndi Lauper and GAWD MOM WHY ARE YOUR RUINING MY LIFE.

Obviously I now love The Rolling Stones and R.E.M. and would pay actual real live dollars to avoid listening to Tiffany and Debbie Gibson. I still have much love for Cyndi, though, and so does Babystar though she prefers when Justin Timberlake AKA Branch sings True Colors because it makes all the Trolls happy again as well it should because it is an amazing song and what are we talking about?

Oh. Right. Schoolhouse Rock. That album was/IS the bomb diggity.

I found it! This one!! (If you click on it you can find out all the other artists but it’s also an affiliate link so choose your own choice and live your own truth. ❤ )

The song that is stuck in my head this week is Three is a Magic Number — the Blind Melon version. Babystar turns three today, and I think it really might be magic.

(You guys I think the elusive potty training switch has been flipped but I don’t want to jinx it but OMG YAAYAYYYAYAYAYYYYY!!!)

And sometimes she plays by herself and shares her things and she legit just offered me a fruit snack out of the blue to be kind and if you knew how much this child loves fruit snacks you would know that she is becoming VERY mature.* Three really is a magic number, y’all.

Also, I have just the BEST birthday party theme this year. Babystar is all in AND it is the easiest thing in the world. I’ll take lots of pictures today and share how to recreate this incredibly genius total cop-out tomorrow.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BABYSTAR!!

fairy wings

These pictures were from the Festival of Fae last weekend which was free but the wings were $5 and the fairie quest (that she abandoned two minutes in to go race unicorns instead — a decision I fully supported) was another $5. Also we got ice cream and hers was $4.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $28,479.40

*Ok, so the fruit snack was in the shape of a carrot and she has recently declared a War on Carrots even though it tasted like an orange gummy bear but whatever. SHARING.