Monday’s Mama is a Hustler, Baby.

This Monday I would like to introduce the other half of The Salty Mamas. Jaymi has one husband, two children, and approximately seventy-nine side hustles.

Y’all. This woman is RIDIC. In the best possible way.

jaymi with ian

Have you ever had a Chick-fil-A open near you? If so, you know that there are usually some people who have clearly lost their minds that sleep outside the night before the Grand Opening in order to win free Chick-fil-A for a year. Yep. Jaymi did that. (So did Christine but shhh we are talking about Jaymi today.) This is just ONE of her many many micro-hustles.

Jaymi blogs and tweets and shares her life on Instagram and Facebook. She can tell you a minimum of ten ways to make money on the side before she’s even had her coffee. After her coffee, that number jumps to infinity.

Jaymi answered a few of my questions, but she didn’t answer the one I forgot to ask. WHY is her four-year-old’s name on that Starbucks cup (which is of course a SALTED caramel something)?? Jaymi, does Lila just like hearing her name? Or is that actually HER coffee? Is Lila the saltiest of them all? Lmk, k?

jaymi with lila

Below are a few questions that I remembered to ask.

1. Jaymi, you ladies are SLAYING the micro-hustle game like I’ve never seen before. What is your favorite side hustle? Why?
This is kind of braggy maybe, but my favorite was having my son as model.  I mean, who wouldn’t want to hear “hey, your kid is super cute, like a few thousand dollars worth?” And I get to see things like this in the store, which legit cracks me up.
Abe as a Model
2. I cannot even believe that you camped outside for free Chick-fil-A for a year but I’m seriously so excited that you did. Is that the wildest stunt you have done for free stuff? What would you do for like, a free car?
Oh, that was small potatoes compared to what I would do. I mean, people will camp out for an iPhone and then GIVE SOMEONE ELSE a thousand dollars. This is way smarter 😉 And yes, this is probably the wildest stunt I’ve done yet for free stuff.  I’m not sure what I would do for a car, but it would probably be ridiculous. (Also, heyyyyyy there car companies! Pitch me a crazy idea. I bet I’d do it.)

3. What is your favorite family holiday tradition? What is something that you skip?

My favorite tradition is baking cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve. We have a little personalized plate with the kids’ names on it that we put the cookies on. It’s a whole thing, and there are lots of sprinkles involved. (So. Many. Sprinkles.)  I have historically skipped Elf on the Shelf because DON’T WANNA, but I think with my daughter in school the jig is gonna be up and I’ll be hearing “Why doesn’t Santa send ME an Elf?!?” in a hot minute. So I may have to reevaluate this one. 

4. It’s the PTA Bakesale. Handmade, store-bought, or nope?

I sign up to bake four hundred cookies, but my Passion Planner fails me and I don’t remember I signed up until the night before. I remember at 11pm in a cold sweat, set an alarm for 3am, and bake cookies until the sun rises. And then probably drop three dozen of them on the ground on the way in to school. But the ones that actually make it to the bake sale? Deeeeelicious.
Go follow her blog and all of her everything to read about all her Hustling Ways. Now. Go do it now. You can’t afford NOT to follow her.

Plus a Flamingo.

And now for a tale of a teepee and a flamingo.

Anyone that has ever read this blog (THANK YOU FOR READING THIS BLOG!!) knows that I am mildly very much obsessed with Target.

So. The grandparents bought the adorable Pillowfort Gold Star Teepee for Babystar’s second birthday.

(If you are wondering, this teepee is HUGE. Which is super awesome if you have a playroom or you want a cute way to corral toys and give your kid a play area in your family room. It is less cool if you have a nursery the size of — well, the size of a teepee plus a changing table. Also, if you were wondering some more, the fabric is nice and thick like canvas. We loved it.)

Target has a 90-day return policy. On Day 103 of owning this teepee, a small child broke one of the thick dowel rods during a playdate. The child was aged two to five (we don’t really know who landed the kill shot). The manufacturer suggests this product for ages three and up. It should not have been broken so easily. Have they ever MET any kids age three and up??

To be fair, there was a knot in the wood where the dowel split, so it was likely weakened before the children started their Game of Destruction.

I took all of it to Target: the broken dowel, the non-broken dowels, the gold star fabric, a two-year-old child. And I asked for a new one. Or at least a new dowel.

The fine people at Target were AWESOME.

I had the receipt in an email (it was purchased online) so they knew I didn’t steal a giant teepee, break it, and try to pull a fast one. They couldn’t give me Target credit since it was past 90 days, but they DID totally break the rules and let me exchange the teepee.

But of course they didn’t have the gold star one in the store. And it HAD to be the gold star one. BabySTAR. Obvs.

So they gave me a brand new other-flavor teepee AND let me keep the gold star fabric from my old one.

And. AND. My receipt showed that the grandparents paid $89.99 but the teepee was currently selling for $79.99 so they couldn’t do the exchange unless I found ten more dollars worth of merchandise — but it had to be from the same department.

OH HAI MINGO! Babystar saw the pink flamingo and it was love at first sight. Mingo was a bit more than $10, so I paid $7.41 to exchange the teepee after the return window had passed AND bring home a new bff. Fair deal.

Mingo joins us on lots of adventures.

mingo1

mingo3

Um, plus I now have TWO teepees. I just need four dowel rods to make the second one. However, the teepees are giant, so I currently have ZERO teepees outside of a closet in the basement.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $23,224.17

These Boots Are Made for Walking.

Walking in a WINTER WONDERLAND, that is.

How many pairs of boots does one toddler need? The answer is definitely NOT five. But five she has. Actually six, because I discovered today that her boots from last year still fit. Whoops.

I first bought the black and brown bebe boots from Home Goods. I kind of hate the whole baby brand name aspect of these boots, but I love the price. They were $12.99 each, and they look and feel super warm.

Then we went to Off Broadway Shoes in Potomac Mills and they were having a sale AND they were having ‘Buy One Get One Half Off’ on top of the sale. So we bought a pair of snow boots (just in case) and a pair of very fashionable black lace-ups with hearts and smiley faces (just in case we take a trip to Milan). I paid $55.63 for both.

And then we went to Nordstrom Rack.

I should have started at Nordstrom Rack.

We found the CUTEST pink boots. They are like fake Uggs, but with zippers. AND POM POMS. Of COURSE I bought them. ($24.99.) How could I not!?

(Seriously, if you know the secret to saying no to an adorable two year old, TELL ME.)

outside museum

RAISING BABYSTAR: $22,928.52

 

Mega Blok Party.

Babystar’s favorite game lately is called BUILD A TOWER SO TALL TO THE SKY.

block tower

I have to use all caps so you can understand how to correctly pronounce the title of this game.

She has been playing this game with her very light foam blocks or her square wooden alphabet blocks with varying degrees of success.

But now we have over 500 Fisher Price Mega Bloks. ($63.56 with tax.)

This happened slowly. I innocently bought the 120-piece Treehouse Playdate pack of Mega Bloks for $14.99 from Costco one day. ($15.89 with tax.)

We came home and opened the box and built the tallest tower ever. It was taller than Babystar!!

I did some googling and realized that 120 blocks for $15 was a really good deal. The basic 80-piece pack is anywhere from $20 to $26 depending where you look. Unless you want the pink 80-piece set, which is mysteriously $14.99. I have found the exception to the Pink Tax. (Well, Mega Bloks and car insurance.)

I picked up another set the next time I was at Costco.

We really like the Mega Bloks. They are perfect for my toddler. They are basically Legos-in-Training. I know, I know, I totally love Duplos. But Duplos need a lot of snapping and pulling apart. The Mega Bloks just sort of sit on top of one another. And the protruding parts that fit inside the bottoms of the blocks are nice and big. This means they do not topple easily. Which is GREAT for my easily frustrated, poor-impulse-control-having, two year old ToddlerMonster when she is trying to build her TOWER SO TALL TO THE SKY.

(The set comes with stickers to make some of the blocks look like leaves or branches or whatever, but we threw those away. I personally think that stickers on blocks limit imagination, but you do you, boo.)

During a recent toy purge, I gave away the small set of Green Toys blocks that she had and never played with, along with a ton of other infant toys. This left an entire ottoman downstairs empty for Mega Bloks.

So I totally bought two more boxes of blocks. Fun fact: only three boxes will fit in the ottoman so one is still unopened just WAITING for one of her friends to have a birthday party. Or for us to get bigger ottomans, whichever happens first.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $22,723.14

Riding in Cars with Toddlers.

I recently took a road trip with my toddler. Just me and the two-year-old.


I was cocky. I was so prepared. I was writing a blog post in my head as I pulled out of the parking lot. It was all about how TOTALLY EASY traveling with toddlers could be as long as you were prepared.

Turns out all you really need is a whole bunch of extra clothes and a lot of patience.

I pulled over three times before I left Virginia. I live in Arlington, which is the very TOP of Virginia. The first two times were because she ‘dropped’ something important, like a particular Care Bear or Little Pony. The third time was because she Exorcist-style puked all over herself and I had to clean her and her car seat on the side of the road. Then, fourteen miles later (but finally in a different state), she hurled again.

And I thought I had overpacked.

I stopped at the first place I could find. We changed her clothes and washed up in the Waffle House bathroom. I doubt Babystar was the first person to clean puke in that Waffle House bathroom and I doubt she will be the last. She is likely the cutest.

We walked around outside for some fresh air before we went inside and found a booth. ($10 for both of us, with tip.) My toddler ordered a piece of toast. Babystar is 85 years old, y’all.

When we finally got back in the car, she fell asleep almost immediately. We had been gone over two hours and we were about thirty-five miles from home.

So. Extra clothes and extra time. That’s mostly all you need when traveling with toddlers. I feel like I totally should have known that.

Instead, I prepared by packing an entire backpack full of fun activities (to puke on).


I brought along our beloved Melissa and Doug Water Wow ‘Art Show’ book plus two more that I bought for the trip. ($9.98) I also brought two Melissa and Doug Color Blast books, which are the ‘magic’ marker books. They only color on the paper in the book. They totally rock, but she didn’t play with them until we got to Pennsylvania. (Then they were awesome for sharing with her cousins so yay?)

I packed a super swag backpack. Inside were a few of her favorite books, a new pack of crayons from my back-to-school haul, two blank Dr. Suess tiny notepads from the Target dollar aisle, a cool generic Magnadoodle that I found for five bucks at Target, an awesome new ‘Nature’ sticker book ($6.99), and some stuffed friends for when she dropped the ones that started the voyage in her car seat. Babystar’s car seat is directly behind my seat, so I planned to just hand her fun new toys as she got bored.

I also filled and packed all three of her water bottles. I gave her one but planned to pass her the others if she emptied or dropped it.

I did not plan on the puke.

No one ever plans on the puke.

All of my preparation was totally useful for the forty-eight minutes of the trip that she was awake and feeling happy and well.

These minutes were not consecutive.

But. We made it. On the way home, I took her to a playground after our hotel breakfast (free!). We visited a train museum (free!). We waited until midday to get on the road, and it kind of worked.


She didn’t get sick right away. She played in the car seat with her bears and books and toys for a couple of hours. My magic backpack was a total hit! She then slept for a long time. And then she got sick when she woke up. We cleaned her up and spent ninety minutes at a Chick-fil-A ($10.55) that was about forty-five minutes from home. I wasn’t that mad. Babystar was a trooper.

All she ever wanted after puking was a clean shirt.

Travel tip: Pack a super cool fun backpack if you want. But mostly, pack extra clothes. And extra time.

MAYDAY MAYDAY: Does anyone have kids that are prone to carsickness? What helps?
RAISING BABYSTAR: $21,233.93