Tis the season for back to school blog posts. You know, right between vacation tips and pumpkin carving. I think I’m supposed to be writing this in a chalkboard font. Whoops.
Today I am driving my middle child to college. And coming home without her. If you need me tomorrow, I’ll be huddled under the dining room table with my thumb in my mouth, rocking back and forth. Babystar will hang out with me and we will have snacks. And probably several toys. And a cat. Hmm. It’s going to be difficult to wallow in my sadness with all that fun.
But I’m not sad. This is so exciting. LOOK HOW HAPPY AND EXCITED I AM.
It’s ok to be all of these things, right?
I am typing this early as I will be driving and crying (wait wasn’t that a band?) all day Monday. But I will use the magic of the internet (and future posting) to trick all of you.
Did it work?
My beautiful college freshman and I have spent the last month gathering everything she might need for her dorm. She needed a LOT of stuff, and we shopped around for deals, and for the prettiest of the pretty things. Which meant that Babystar has spent a LOT of time at a LOT of stores (ok, mostly Home Goods and Ikea and our beloved Target), helping us choose sheets and pillows and notebooks and laundry detergent and so much everything.
I have basically forwarded my mail to Target.
And we did go a little crazy in the Back to School section of the Dollar Aisles of Target for Babystar, too.
Please note: I am not pressuring my two-year-old child to, like, start reading and doing algebra or whatever. But she is naturally curious, and she loves to sing the ABCs, and point out letters, and count things. She loves books and sometimes she wants me to read books to her and sometimes she reads them to me. And other times we just have reading time and she brings me my own board book and sits next to me with another and we mind our own business. Interesting creatures, Toddlers.
My son was about Babystar’s age when he started asking to do ‘workbooks’. Target had them for one dollar each so I bought some ($5) to put in the arts and crafts dresser for whenever Babystar is ready.
But wait, there is SO MUCH MORE. We bought some flash cards for letters and numbers. Babystar knows all the letters as long as they are capital letters. We need to work on lowercase letters next. And she likes to count but she has been starting with four unless reminded about lowly one, two, and three. We bought some matching puzzle games for concepts like opposites, shapes, counting, and the alphabet. We also bought flash cards — not to quiz the baby — but so she can have her own cards to play with. (Her older brother loves magic and especially loves card tricks and Babystar likes to play with his cards. Sometimes that is ok and sometimes it is not ok.) And if Babystar wants to talk about the letters and numbers on her cards, EVEN BETTER. We also bought a felt pizza counting game because Babystar loves pretend food. All of these were one dollar each.
The Felt Counting Pizza is one of the few games we have opened at this point, and she LOVES IT and practices over and over and she’s totally doing it. I’m actually surprised at how fast she picked up the counting game. And y’all — she starts with ONE. OMG. Thank you, pizza.
We got a few other sneaky learning toys. We found a pack of square wooden blocks with the letters of the alphabet both uppercase and LOWERCASE. She has some wooden blocks already, and these are only the tiniest fraction of an inch smaller. For only three dollars, I really thought the difference would be more noticeable.
This set of wooden fruit is fun on it’s own and it also teaches balance, as the smaller fruits all balance on the watermelon. They don’t have to be in a specific order, they just have to be equal on both sides. Kind of perfect for teaching the concept of weight to a toddler.
And we bought a Tickety Tock. Do you remember Blue’s Clues? Babystar is obsessed with that show. I know that she is too young to learn to tell time. I really do know this. But she very much WANTED the chalkboard clock and she has been SO PATIENT with all of the dorm shopping and it was only three dollars, so we bought the toy clock.
The grand total for all of these cool learning toys was $21.
Ridiculously low, I think. I do NOT want to think about how or where they were made. I know I could have made many of these things myself or I could have spent a hundred dollars buying from small business. I also know that I SHOULD have done that. But this time I did not. Please feel free to drop links for responsibly made versions of these items in the comment section.
RAISING BABYSTAR: $20,456.30
I love the Target Baby Box ($7.41 with tax). I really appreciate the ability to try out baby products without a huge investment. Ok, I MOSTLY appreciate getting a package of fun little travel size products in the mail for less than $10, but I like the trying them out thing second best. Or maybe third best. I like getting mail, I like having little cute bottles to tote around, and I like being able to try out the products without a huge investment. Oh, and I also like looking at the pretty gold box all wrapped up like a present, and I like that the $10 coupon that is included that makes it basically free. MORE than free, actually. I would be silly NOT to buy the baby box. Plus, of course, I get the opportunity to try out new baby brands or products that I otherwise might not have purchased.
(I totally have an image of Steve Martin sitting in front of a Christmas tree on that burgundy chair on Saturday Night Live, and reciting his Holiday Wish skit. I hate that skit. I know that most people love it, because it is included in the ‘Best of SNL’ Holiday Special every year. But Steve Martin annoys me and I am not sure know why. I think it’s because of Shop Girl. He played such a sleazy guy in that film, which he himself wrote and likely cast. So maybe I don’t like him because he is a really good actor? I like The Jerk, Parenthood, Father of the Bride, Roxanne, and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. I did hate him in Little Shop of Horrors but I think that was kind of the point. Anyway, I realize that I just basically ripped off a SNL sketch and I wish I had at least recreated one that I liked.)
The most recent Target Baby Box came with $20.54 of baby things. I know this because one of my brilliant college student children did the math. Check out the breakdown.
Method 4x Concentrated Laundry Detergent Free + Clear
- 53.5 oz for $12.99
- 8.1 oz for $1.97
Baby Dove Rich Moisture Tip-to-Toe Wash
- 13 oz for $5.99
- 1.8 oz for $0.83
Mustela Hydra Bebe Body Lotion
- 10.14 oz for $12.99
- 1.69 oz for $2.17
Cetaphil Baby Gentle Wash With Organic Calendula
- 7.8 oz for $4.29
- 1.7 oz for $0.94
Philips Avent Freeflow Pacifier (0-6 Months)
- 2 pack for $5.49
- 1 pack for $2.75
Honest Company Hand Sanitizer Spray Lavender
- 2 oz for $2.99 (FULL SIZE)
Triple Paste Rash Ointment
- 2 oz for $7.49 (FULL SIZE)
Seventh Generation Baby Wipes Free and Clear
- 64 ct for $2.99
- 30 ct for $1.40
TOTAL VALUE $20.54
PLUS the Baby Box included a ‘$10 off of $50’ Target baby coupon. Do you know how easy it is to spend $50 in the baby section at Target? So easy. So so so easy. So basically, the Baby Box is free even if I don’t use any of the cute miniature products.
Because the truth is, I’m not going to use all of these products. I will give some away, like the Avent pacifier and the Triple Paste rash ointment. They are fine, I just don’t use them. I will use some right away, like the Method laundry detergent and Honest Company hand sanitizer spray. That 30-pack of Seventh Generation wipes is currently in my diaper bag. I will save the Mustela lotion to try after further research. And I will likely toss some immediately. We already know that the grown-up versions of Cetaphil and Dove contain some very suspicious ingredients, and so far I assume the same is true of the baby versions.
But did I mention that the Target Baby Box has POLKA DOTS!?
RAISING BABYSTAR: $20,435.30
It’s a Baby! It’s a Star! It’s SUPERBABYSTAR!!
OMG YOU GUYS! This Cat & Jack cape from Target is EVERYTHING!
Babystar totally spotted this and picked it out all on her own, although it does seem like something I would want her to wear. She loves it. I love it. Huge win. ($24.99)
I love that it is size XS-M so she will be able to wear it for years. I love that it is reversible so she can have pink or blue, depending on her mood. (It was in the girl’s department but not in the boy’s department, which I found annoying because PINK IS NOT JUST FOR GIRLS. But the fact that they did not sell pink OR blue but rather pink AND blue is a step in the right direction.) And I love that it attaches with a single (largish) spot of velcro so she can pull it off herself in a pinch.
And she’s off!
RAISING BABYSTAR: $20,361.20
Babystar’s friends are taking over the place. We started sitting them on the couch back when there were only a few stuffed creatures, but as all parents know, those babies MULTIPLY. I think they are going to have to be relocated — but to where? Her bedroom is completely on trend with the new tiny house movement, but those tiny houses aren’t meant to house twenty six individuals including a family of bears.
We did purchase some of these — but most are gifts. Plus every time the Teenager visits her grandparent’s attic in Florida she brings back more of her old Care Bears for her little sister. Which is completely sweet and adorable but also STAAAAAHP.
In spite of our overcrowding problem, I just let Babystar bring home ANOTHER FRIEND from Target. We already lived with the Demigod of the Wind and Sea, so we needed Moana of Motunui ($8.99) to bring a little estrogen to Babystar’s boat.
PS: her boat is a salad bowl.
Or something like that, right?
Are you interested in a peek behind the blogging curtain? I usually post about things purchased for Babystar about a week (or two) after we’ve actually purchased said things. I keep a running list on a Note on my beloved iPhone so that I don’t forget anything. (Well, three lists. One for food and one upcoming holidays and one for everything else.) On Sunday mornings, my darling pious Husband takes Babystar to play in the church nursery while I drink coffee in bed with my laptop. I look at the Notepad, figure out groupings that make sense, write a post or three, and schedule them to post throughout the following week.
Easy peasy, right?
Somehow, April did not go so smoothly. There is even an EXTRA Sunday in April; that’s right, this was a five Sunday month. And I still somehow lost most of those precious mornings to a sick baby or a bunny holiday or something else understandable but STILL.
I did not, however, forget to buy things for the baby. In the interest of accuracy and my sanity, I’m going to simply copy and paste. I’ll add explainations/information/sarcasm in blue. (TBH sarcasm comes in all colors here.) And then do some math, I suppose.
Airplane ticket subsidize $120 Babystar and I flew to Myrtle Beach for four days visiting Grammy and Grampy (the in-laws). My lovely MIL (over)paid for the ticket but we upgraded to first class so $120 was out of our bank account. Worth it.
Suitcase 39.99 omg y’all it has stars and she LOVES it
Water at CLT 3.19 I accidentally put her sippy cup in the checked bag and had to buy a sports bottle-type water bottle at our connection. How do you teach a kid to drink from a regular water bottle? Please advise.
Nook $120 We re-nooked. That place is the bomb dot com.
Target diapers $4.99 x 10 ok, ok, I KNOW, but April was really hard, ok? I did not need diaper laundry on top of everything else. I know I COULD have done it but I really didn’t want to. Mea culpa, Mother Earth.
Chew Tylenol 5.95 She hates these btw.
Liquid Motrin 6.39 She was sick with a high fever for several days after Myrtle Beach. See? April was HARD.
Chew ibuprofen 3.94 She hates these too.
Infant Tylenol $6.99 She hates this too, but can be tricked. Poor baby.
Moana 12.99 We have already watched it, NO JOKE, over twenty times. Don’t tell anyone but I also love it. Babystar signs ‘help’ and says ‘help turtle’ at the beginning when Moana helps the turtle. And she says ‘uh-oh heart’ many times throughout the movie but I don’t want to spoil it for you. But if you have seen it, Babystar slays my heart EVERY TIME because she calls Te Fiti ‘mama’ and I die. Every single time.
$10 bees 2.65 socks Busy Bees is only $10 if you come after 4. Also I was wearing my Birks (#hippiemama) and didn’t have socks in the bag (even though I almost ALWAYS have a spare pair just in case) so I had to buy some. They are super fancy.
Safety latch 4.31 I bought a pack of latches. Again. I still have not installed a single one. But I did move all of the glass to the top cabinets. So, you know, progress.
Cat and jack rocket shirt 4.50 It’s adorable and she loves it.
Bloom wipes 7.99 The Water Wipes are a big NOPE. Sadly. We are trying some others.
Target wipes 4.39 Cheap but I opened the Bloom ones first so I don’t know how well they work. I’ll let you know the verdict on wipes soon. Pinky swear.
Cat and Jack shirts $4 x2 A dinosaur one that she picked and the infamous ‘strong like mom’ because i’m so #basic.
Also here’s the April food and now I’m REALLY caught up. Babystar ate and GREW so much this month.
- frozen pizza $3 x3
- sea bass $7.50 x2 (she fancy)
- strawberries $4.49, 3.99
- watermelon $2.48, 4.54, 3.49, 6.99
- clementines $2.99, 3.99, 2.99, 2.99, 2.99 (she’s addicted yo)
- bag of apples $3.99, 6.99, 3.99
- ice cream cup $1.49 x3
- carrots $1.49
- frozen waffles $3.59
- cheerios $1.97
- blueberries $3.59 x3
- string cheese $4.99
- chocolate chip cookies with m&m’s $2.99 (one at a time, usually, shhhhhh)
- organic eggs $5.49
- ice cream mini cup $1.29
- popsicles $4.99 (did I mention she is also teething?)
- $3 slice of cheese pizza next door to Nook x5 (so convenient)
- Chick-fil-A 4-piece nugget meal $3.75 x4
- Burger King kid’s meal (I told you it was a hard month) $4.89
- McDonald’s kid’s meal (props to them for giving TINY fries AND sliced apples) $2.99
- Harris Teeter salad bar lunch, mostly fruit $2.28
- T.G.I.Friday’s pasta kids meal plus tip about $9
- Longhorn mac & cheese kids meal plus tip about $8
Oh, and we went to Rise + Rhyme which is a cool local kid’s concert with a $5 cover charge that serves full breakfast. The coffee (it’s at 9:30AM what!) and breakfast that I shared was $24.25 with tip. (I gave her ALL of my pineapple and blueberries but kept most of the sweet potato pancakes for myself. April was HARD Y’ALL.) It all goes on her tab though, because I would not have gone to see Culture Queen without Babystar. Even though I love her and yes, we ARE all towers of royal power. She has no idea how much I needed that song that morning. I love you, Culture Queen.
RAISING BABYSTAR: $16,902.99
I SWEAR with that place. Target, I mean.
Last Friday afternoon, the girls and I went to Target. The Teenager was to be Cinderella at a five-year-old’s birthday party the next day, and we went in search of a blue headband. We found one for one dollar! Score, right?
No. I spent $58. And change. And most of it was (of freaking course) spent on the baby.
So, ok, Babystar needed new socks. She has a big bin of infant socks that we have been stretching over her getting-so-big toddler toes. And I have been searching for socks that SHE could easily put on (which means NOT the fold down kind) and that had a lot of rubbery grippy bits on the bottom because she is forever at a soft play room in her socks. Ta-daaa! $10.49.
Also, the Dollar Aisle had kid’s sunglasses. The black pair might be a little big LOL. $3.
And can Cat and Jack please stop being so freaking CUTE? And CHEAP? $4.50? Did a child make this shirt? Don’t tell me. I guess I should investigate this. Dammit. I love them so. It all seems too good to be true, though.
(Babystar was SUCH A GOOD SPORT about modeling all of these for me!! She even had the ‘impatient but whatever’ attitude that I imagine most models have. Except Chrissy Teigen. Obvs.)
I also bought more of the foamy Method soap. Dispensers and refills. Babystar likes washing her hands. To be accurate, Babystar LOVES washing her hands. Which is great. Time-consuming but great. I also wash my hands waaaay more due to diaper changes and sticky watermelon so all hand soap purchased Friday goes on Babystar’s tab. $12.97.
RAISING BABYSTAR: $15,303.10
Literally. Babystar was dragging her too big 2T fleece pajama feet around the house and down the slide (yes, the slide in my living room and I can’t even). She looooves her dinosaur pajamas and it’s very cold these days but she haaaaaates when the feet drag so I was spending entire evening fixing her little footies.
You know where this is going: I bought some new pajamas. Help. Help. Someone please ban me from Carter’s and Target. But not really because Target is my bae.
Also, she needed onesies because she spends a lot of the weekend on outings with her dad (YAY FOR MOMMY TIME WHICH I MOSTLY SPEND CLEANING TBH), and he usually puts her in disposable diapers since the church nursery requires them anyway (I AM PRETTY SURE BABY JESUS WORE CLOTH) but Babystar likes to put her hand down the disposable diapers so onesies are a must. We only had two in her size so I added a three pack of short sleeves and a three pack of long sleeves. Dude. Whatever it takes to get some time to myself.
Does anyone else have a baby/toddler/small thing that will shove hands down disposable diapers but not so much in cloth? I don’t get it. Maybe it’s the elastic at the top of the cloth? The same thing preventing the blow outs is preventing the spelunking? Maybe? Thoughts?
Maybe her butt just itches. Oh, I’m sorry. Her bootie.
Anyway, here’s the goods. Minus one pair of dinosaur fleece pajamas that I wrapped up to put under the Christmas tree as her Something to Wear. And minus another pair of penguin fleece pajamas that she wore last night (BEFORE I WASHED THEM BAD MOTHER ALERT). And minus a onesie that she is wearing right now.
I bought the onesies in 24 months but the fleecies in 18 months because she has ONE pair of fleece pajamas that fit her perfectly and they are Carter’s size 18 months (hand-me-downs) so hopefully they will not shrink.
RAISING BABYSTAR: $13,845.89
Babystar is growing out of her pajamas. I was SURE I was set for the winter. I just gave away everything up to 18 months (except for one pair of Carter’s fleece pajamas because all of Carter’s clothes run small except the fleece or terry footed pajamas and we just have to accept this fact). I am trying to squeeze some more wears out of her 18-24 months pajamas but they are basically capris. Babystar is not tall; I don’t get it. But it’s cold at night. And she hates blankets. So I bought some 2T jammies to hopefully get her through the winter. The cotton sets were buy one, get one half off. I bought two of the same, so four sets of airplane pajamas. Babystar loves airplanes. She waves to them and blows them kisses. She knows the difference between and airplane and a helicopter. It is really funny listening to her trying to say helicopter. The fleece dinosaur two-pack was on clearance. She also loves dinosaurs. Yes, I bought these in the ‘Toddler Boys’ department but she legit loves dinosaurs and airplanes. Which she learned about from her pink laptop and the sky, respectively. Also, why are airplanes and dinosaurs for boys and not girls? Many girls ride in AND fly airplanes. Amelia Earhart, anyone? (Ok, maybe she is a bad example.) And I happen to know from watching Jurassic Park that there were DEFINATELY girl dinosaurs. So, what’s the deal?
Also, I did LOOK in the ‘Toddler Girls’ section for airplanes. I found two shirts on clearance for $2.25 each, but no airplane pajamas.
RAISING BABYSTAR: $13,527.96
The other day after a fun hour or so at Busy Bees ($15 but we also went today so $30 total), we popped into Target for granola bars. (We eat a LOT of granola bars in our house and they are cheapest in the big box at Target. Well, they are REALLY cheap in the giant box at Costco, but the teenagers won’t eat the peanut butter flavored ones so it’s not really a good deal after all because I don’t want to eat thirty peanut butter flavored granola bars. Ever, really, but certainly not every month. I digress.)
I found the cutest holiday outfit for Babystar and I did not buy it. Repeat: I WENT TO TARGET AND DID NOT BUY ANY BABY CLOTHES.
You guys, it had stars (mandatory), sparkle, and it was not a dress! Perfection with matching shoes! AND I DID NOT BUY THIS.
The outfit was $16.99 and the shoes were $22.99 but you know what? She already has a perfectly fine holiday outfit — the same one that she wore for her dedication. It’s a dress, but she will live. I don’t need to spend $40 for a new outfit. That’s not to say that I won’t
crack change my mind and buy it later. Especially if it goes on sale. But for now: RESTRAINT. I bought my granola bars and went home.
And then the very next day? I went into Carter’s to return the extra Halloween costumes that I had stressbought (which should be a word) and once again I had so much restraint! Ok, so I did exchange the Halloween items instead of return them. I traded them for a five-pack of onesies, size 24 months, and a very cute long sleeve shirt. Babystar only had two onesies that fit and I like to layer in the winter. And just look at this long sleeve t-shirt. Everything was on sale and I only owed $1.28 at the register. Not bad. RESTRAINT.
I don’t know what has gotten in to me. Or yes, I do. I have watched this adorable human grow out of season after season of clothes. I have given away items that I know she never wore — or only wore a couple of times. I have watched that number at the bottom of each post creep higher and higher and it is downright terrifying.
And I have another theory. I am finally getting enough sleep. My brain is more able to function properly. (Sort of. I still forget where I am going on the way to the park. And I kind of already forgot my point.) But sometimes, when the planets are aligned properly, I can use my deductive reasoning skills and my common sense and all of the other cool smart lady traits I know I still possess (somewhere) and stop BUYING ALL OF THE STUFF for this small creature that will wear the same clothes every day and not care at all and only wants to play with tampon boxes and the mixing bowls anyway.
Anyone else ever have a similar epiphany?
RAISING BABYSTAR: $13,266.46
FURTHER RESTRAINT: I am not blogging every day per the NaBloPoMo guidelines. I don’t really have that much to talk about and I hate spam. Many of you doing NaBloPoMo are killing it. Good for you. I like following along. I am not killing it. And I am sort of fine with that.