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.

Who wears short shorts?

We wear short shorts. If you dare wear short shorts, hit the Target Cat & Jack sale for short shorts.

Ok, I’m older than most #toddlermoms, but does anyone remember those Nair commercials? They were on before I even understood what Nair was, and it was apparently off the market before I needed to know. (Yeah, I know, shaving is a silly Western Beauty Ideal but I like having smooth legs. I don’t know if I would have enjoyed a magic chemical cream that probably burned like hell removing the hair from my legs, but I never even got the chance to find out.)

Anyway, the actual answer is Hooters Girls and toddlers. THAT’S who wears short shorts. And me when I’m at home on the farm. Or at the beach over my bathing suit.

I digress.

The temperature in Boulder, Colorado was over 85 degrees for TWO days in a row and silly me, I thought summer was here. It was Memorial Day weekend and everything — right on time.

I rushed out to Target (just kidding, I was already there because I live there) and bought some cute shorts for Babystar. This pair ($5.32) and this pair ($3.80) and this pair ($3.80) and this pair which look like regular denim but feel like buttah ($7.60) and this jumper ($7.59) because I am weak and it is adorable all toddler clothes were 20% off on Cartwheel. Plus just look at this jumper and imagine a giant heart-eyes emoji wearing it because that would totally fit.

rainbow jumper looking at clouds.jpg

(Does anyone know how to work Cartwheel? I know I’m missing deals and I hate missing deals and someone said you have to scan everything before the cashier scans everything but what if you use self-checkout, do you have to scan everything in your phone and then on the beepy thing??? If you have explained this somewhere on the internet, please drop a link below. And if you have not explained this somewhere on the internet, could you please? Thank you!)

This was one of the miracle times when I actually figured out how to work Cartwheel and I got the discount!! YAY! Plus I got an additional 5% off by using my Target card. Yep, I got a Target card. It king of seems like a bad idea for me, doesn’t it? I agree. However, the credit limit is reasonable so I can’t lose track and I SAVE FIVE PERCENT off everything. Highly recommend. I especially love the extra time for returns because I never remember anything in time. Yes, this is for sure an ad but I’m telling you because I love you.

But like, I’m serious about needing that Cartwheel tutorial.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $28,465.40

Also I just found a box in the basement labeled ‘3T Summer’ and I’m pretty sure those aren’t mine so whoops.

PROTIP: look in the basement/attic/older cousin’s closet before you buy more stuff. But if you forget, forgive yourself, because I’m sure you were busy remembering what shape the apple slices are supposed to be this week and which plastic dinosaur is Lulu and which one is Peeko and which one is Teetee. Peeko is starting to get her (his?) feelings hurt, MOMMY!!

Moving. Is. The. Worst.

It’s true. Moving suuuuuuucks.

I have a theory. Moving is so terrible that talking or thinking about a past move brings on a sort of PTSD situation. This is why no one tells you how bad it is. And so when you ask your friends and family and acquaintances for recommendations, no one really wants to think about that horrible time in their life. So they just pretend they didn’t hear you or avert their eyes and walk run away in a state of avoidance.

I get it. I don’t want to talk about it either. But I think that’s how I ended up with the WORST MOVERS EVER and I was crying on moving day but only because the mean mover guy made me hang out in 40 degree weather with no coat for two hours while he told me AFTER LOADING ALL MY STUFF that it was going to cost about twice what I thought. Fuck that guy. (I mean, thank goodness my husband’s company paid for the move, but it was still awful. And they couldn’t fit Babystar’s playhouse. And I was cold and tired and hungry and he kept adding wrong and starting over and talking to someone on that stupid phone clipped to his ear and omg I’m having flashbacks.)

Ok. Forget it. Never use Long Distance Movers. Oh yeah, I’m linking to them so you know exactly who I think you should never ever use. Trust me on this one.

(Though the guys that moved us IN in Colorado were simply lovely. But they also contracted for United Movers so maybe use them instead.)

So, moving sucks. Colorado is AWESOME, you guys. FREAKING. AWESOME.

But moving still sucks. I am STILL not completely unpacked. And that’s not even counting all the boxes in the basement. There is still one box in my bedroom and a few hidden in closets throughout this farmhouse. I doubt I will ever truly finish. I give up.

ANYWAY.

I have totally been feeding Babystar this whole time. And we went some fun places too. We also went a lot of boring places so Babystar got some cool Patience Presents. And I bought more Cat & Jack clothes from Target because they are so darn cute. And I bought other stuff because I am a sleep-deprived sucker.

I have a pile of receipts and no time or desire to take pictures or think of clever titles for separate blog posts so I’m going to cheat and list a whole bunch of stuff here.

(You know, for the Smithsonian. Yep, that one. Babystar turns eighteen in 2033. Hey Smithsonian, hit me up then, k? K.)

  • Princess Poppy pillowcase (for the bed she still won’t sleep in) $4.79
  • Princess Poppy blanket (that she at least uses in her teepee) $9.59
  • This adorable shirt because why is Target so cute!? $4.50
  • This shirt for St. Patrick’s day $4.50
  • Two more shirts and some leggings $5, $4.50, $5
  • Princess Poppy hat that we lost the same day $0.90

 

poppy hat

  • Brand new awesome stuffed Branch doll from thrift store $5
  • If You Give a Mouse a Cookie book from thrift store $1
  • heart shaped rock $6
  • green rock from a random shop in downtown Boulder $2
  • quartz crystal (yes, the kid loves rocks) $5
  • Blue!! from eBay (that tag lasted twenty years outside of my house but twenty seconds inside of my house) $26.70

blue puppy

  • 3-pack of Contigo water bottles from Costco $11.99
  • Coffee and snacks and tip at Java Mama which is a cool coffeeshop with a playspace that I wish was closer to my house $12.43
  • three sets of 4T pajamas from Costco that were marked $3.99 but I just noticed while looking at the receipt that I paid $7.99 each and I’m slightly annoyed although I knew that price was too good to be true
  • dinosaur dig kits from the Target dollar aisles $3 (times three)
  • four mall dinosaur rides, you know, those animal shaped ride on things in every mall in America $40
  • four mall carousel rides $4
  • another trip to Frolic, an indoor play place a bit too far from the house $9.86
  • a trip with dad to the Denver Children’s Museum $26
  • three crochet finger puppets from the grocery store line $2.99 (I didn’t know the price until they rang up and I was already feeling too defeated to try to put them back)
  • m&m tee shirt and m&m’s from dad’s trip to NY $29.65
  • Aldi wipes $3.49 times four because I made my son bring back a bunch from the east coast in February because Aldi wipes 4 lyfe and now anyone that visits me from the east coast needs to please bring me Aldi wipes because I miss them so much ok thanks
  • Other wipes $3.79, $3.49, $4.99, $6.99
  • Diapers $14.99, $7.99, $21.99, $21.99, $14.99, $14.99
  • laundry detergent (she shares with us obvs) $4 per month so $16 through April
  • Seventh Generation Coconut care baby wash $7.99
  • Honest bubble bath (that she asked for but hates) $10.79
  • Babyganics bath wash $8.99
  • bathtub crayons $2.99
  • dinosaur egg bath fizz thingy that she hates $1.49, $1.49
  • January food $159.42
  • February food $144.06
  • March food $142.24
  • April food $146.94 (Hit me up if you want the full list. I’m talking to you, Smithsonian. Also, I see your kid’s meal price jumps, Chick-fil-A.)

RAISING BABYSTAR: $28,011.65

(And now, hopefully, back to our regularly scheduled sass.)

 

 

SaveSave

New Digs = New Haunts.

OMG YOU GUYS. I really miss Nook and Busy Bees and Scramble AND all of the awesome playgrounds in and around Arlington, Virginia. Hey NoVa parents, go out and play. Don’t take it for granted. Especially get yourselves and your kids to Watkins Regional Park and Clemyjontri and Potomac Yards.

Don’t get me wrong, I AM ABSOLUTELY SMITTEN with Colorado. But we are still figuring out the indoor play spaces. And on the few non-windy, above 60 degrees days, we go out looking for our favorite parks. We have found a few great playgrounds and a few, um, small interesting playgrounds. We are still looking for our most favorite park ever, but it’s more of a Spring Goal.

We HAVE found a few indoor play spaces that we like. WOW! Children’s Museum in Lafayette, Colorado is kind of the bomb diggity. We joined the first time we visited ($99). It has everything a toddler could want — a light piano, art room, tiny grocery store, pirate ship, dance studio, sand box, and so much more.

 

 

We also found a fun play space in Thornton, Colorado called Frolic. We’ve only been once ($9.86) because it’s kind of far away, but it was adorable and great for an afternoon of fun. It was NOT as good as Nook or Scramble or even Busy Bees but really, what is? (ARLINGTON YOU LUCKY BASTARDS!!) Frolic has a great CedarWorks play structure and smaller dollhouse, a train table, mini grocery store, orange ball pit, and a few other ride-on and bounce-on toys that kept Babystar’s attention for over two hours. I do wish it had better seats for the grown-ups. The picnic tables in the corner are great for Toddler Snack Time but not so great for mama’s lumbar support.

 

 

We are looking for more, more, always more, but so far everything I have found is open for like three hours from nine to noon only two days a week and I just can’t get out of the house that early. Maybe someday. I believe in us.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $26,397.74

 

The Organized Toddler Room.

I have finally done it. I have fully unpacked Babystar’s room.

Please behold the cleanest this room will ever be.

toddler room 2

It’s still clean and organized if you open those closet doors!

toddler room 9

Everything is a little creamy beige and boring right now, but I barely care because it is ALL PUT AWAY. I’ll grab some Command Hooks and put up some pictures later. When I unpack them. For now, check out the awesome ORGANIZATION in this room.

I put that old af beat up nine-drawer dresser that I bought from Craigslist for $15 one hundred years ago in Babystar’s closet the very first day we moved in. There is a scary door in the back of her closet that leads to a strange tiny attic room and I didn’t really want her to go exploring. She loves exploring. I use that dresser for extra diapers, blankets, wipes, and random things like that.

The other side of the closet has a brand new super cool Tot Tutors Kids’ Toy Storage Organizer that I bought on Amazon last week for $55.11 on sale. It was super easy to put together and it comes with twelve bins for organizing all of the toddler’s tiny toys. Four bins are bigger, eight are smaller, and they are perfect for holding her dinosaurs and baby doll clothes and rocks. Yes, rocks.

We also bought a great Tot Tutors Kids Book Rack that was ALSO on sale for $24.04. It’s not anything like a regular bookcase but it does make me feel like I’m in a doctor’s waiting room. Which is extra fun when I’m getting my daily regimen of seventeen plastic shots. In my head. The bookcase is really just four fabric slots that hold bedtime books, titles facing out, at toddler eye-level. It’s perfect for Babystar, as she has not figured out to work shelves like a person yet.

toddler bookcase

We also splurged on a Melissa & Doug toy box ($87.18 ON SALE!!) that holds about 5% of her toys. Don’t get me wrong, it’s plenty spacious and it holds a lot of toys. Babystar just has WAY too many toys. Yes, I just noticed. Whoops. Bad mama.

The toy box is really well made and very cute and doubles as a bench and it has those safety hinges to protect tiny fingers and I put a couple pillows on it that are probably on the floor by now but they did look cute for this picture.

I also found space in this room for my mother’s old rocking chair and the lion that Santa Claus used to scare Babystar in 2016. I could probably fit anything in this room. Babystar has by far the largest bedroom of all three kids. And she doesn’t even sleep in her own room. The other half of her room (not pictured) is actually just her dresser and the guest bed. The guest bed is currently just a queen mattress on the floor so if you are planning a surprise visit, BYOB. B is for boxspring.

The most AMAZING RIDICULOUS AWESOME thing in Babystar’s room is the giant KidKraft Savannah Dollhouse sent by her grandparents. It is so tall that she can’t even reach the attic. Yes, the dollhouse has an attic. It’s bananas. Babystar loves it.

The dollhouse is scaled for dolls as large as Barbies. I kind of thought her Strawberry Shortcake dolls would move in. But no. She sometimes crams her stuffed animals in there, and, um, they totally fit. But she usually just uses it to play Trolls. The Trolls are SO TINY in this giant mansion. Check out Bridget.

kid kraft dollhouse2

And because I am also obsessed with this dollhouse, and the fact that it has a porch swing (because it has a porch WUUUUT), this would be Princess Poppy’s view from said porch swing.

toddler room 3

I also actually HID a bunch of her toys and books because she has WAY TOO MUCH STUFF. I put a bunch of crap quality items in clear storage bins from Target (four at $4.99 each) and plan to rotate. If I don’t forget. And it’s kind of fine if I do forget, because really? She’s all set. Half of her toys are downstairs anyway. I live in a children’s museum.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $26,288.22

(This post contains affiliate links. I FINALLY signed up for the Amazon Associates Program. I am hella excited. Please read the official legal disclosure on the full page.)