Category: Random Ramblings

Best Consignment Sale in Gloucester County

So by now you may have seen my Facebook Posts or even my LIVE video with a  quick tour of the Just Between Friends Western Gloucester County Consignment Sale going on at Total Turf in Pitman, NJ. First of all, I have been a consignment sale shopper since 2012 – right before my son was born. He will be 6 in April. I have bought baby equipment, clothing, toys, books, puzzles, and so much more from consignment sales. I have been to sales all over New Jersey and I have to say this one is the best. The space is HUGE which makes shopping so much more pleasant. The aisles are nice and wide, making it easy to carry my big blue shopping bag (which you are given as you enter the sale to keep your hands free) without bumping into other shoppers. All the non-clothing items are spaced out around the perimeter by category. There you will find baby equipment, toys, games, books, puzzles, room décor, ride-ons, baby toys, and so much more! And let me tell you, the standards at this sale are amazing. Everything on the floor was neat, clean, and organized. The clothing is clean and I didn’t see anything stained, ripped or pilled.

As a homeschool mom, I was super excited to snag these great learning resources. Seriously. I paid $8 for this STEM Magnet Set that currently retails for $49.99. It is BRAND NEW! The Life Science and Physical Science Folder Games were $5.00 each — a SAVINGS of $30!  The Brain Quest Questions were $3 and the new Fractions Tile Pack was $1.50. Did I mention that everything in this photo is brand spankin’ new?! All this would have cost me $114.91 and I paid $22.50. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have a money tree in my back yard and I get so excited over deals like this!

Of course I picked up some clothing for the kiddos too. Here are a few of the things I purchased. Under Armour shirts – one for $4.50 and one new with tags for $7.00.  A Nike Short Set for $8. A Children’s Place sundress for $4.00. I kept looking for the tag on that one – it must have never been worn! And a Carter’s shirt for $4.00. Everything looks brand new!

Did you know that a lot of items at the sale will be marked down to 50% off on Sunday? Also, items marked with a “D” will be donated to a local charity if they do not sell this weekend. The charity that the items will go to is The Unforgotten Haven in Blackwood. It’s nice to know that unsold items marked to donate will go to a terrific non-profit organization right within our community.

I have personally never consigned at any sales, but I am definitely going to consign at the next Just Between Friends Western Gloucester County Sale. I will let you check out the Consignor details for yourself, but for me it’s a no-brainer. It’s local, it’s a super organized event, and I’ll make some money for cleaning out the kids’ closets! The owners, Jennifer and Michele, are both super sweet and were right there this morning getting everything set up and ready to go! I’m looking forward to consigning at the next sale and will be sure to keep everyone updated when consignor registration opens, so be sure to LIKE, FOLLOW, and SHARE so you don’t miss it!

xoxo,

Denise

Top 5 Reasons to Use a Paper Planner

I’ve seen several posts on social media over the past few days about planners. Most of the posts were asking what kind of planner others use and why. I noticed a lot of comments from people asking why someone would want to use a paper planner instead of an app, to-do list, or calendar on their phone. I even had a discussion with a friend the other night about my planners and the person thought I was crazy for wanting to “write” stuff out when I have a computer that could very easily organize all my information. I have been using a Classic Happy Planner for two years now and I love it. I actually decided this year to add a Mini Happy Planner to the mix. My Happy Planner is mostly for myself – I put everything in there that I need to do to take care of the house, the kids, and my online business. I picked up a Mini so that I could keep track of our bills and other important information that doesn’t make me quite as “happy!” I understand that some people think it’s silly with all the technology at our fingertips these days, but here are my Top 5 Reasons for Using a Paper Planner (or two)!

1. Accountability

There’s something about writing things out that makes me more productive. I like to think about what I want to accomplish in a day or week and write it out. Once it’s written, I look forward to completing the task – no matter what it is – so I can check it off. It holds me accountable and putting that little check mark next to the item makes me feel good!

2. Keeping Organized

I like to plan my week out on Sundays. I write in everything that’s going on that week – appointments, phone calls that need to be made, bills that need to be paid, chores, meals, projects, activities for the kids, and family activities.

3. Tracking Habits

I am currently trying to drink more water, so I made a small tracker to add to my weekly spread that I can track how many glasses of water I drink in a day. I also want to make more time for myself, so I am going to attempt to write one thing I’ve done for myself every day. I know a lot of people like to track other things such as fitness, foods, moods, etc. These are all terrific ideas and, who knows, maybe I’ll add something else in as the year progresses.

4. It’s NOT Digital

That’s right, I want to use a paper planner because it isn’t on my computer, phone, or tablet. I spend enough time on these things for business, shopping, and social media. It’s a nice break.

5. Creative Time

It gives me some time for myself at least once a week and I get to have a little creative/crafty time. Between stickers, washi tapes, and pretty pens, I’m all set!

 

So there you have it – My Top 5 Reasons for Using a Paper Planner! If you use a paper planner, I’d love to hear your reasons.

-Denise

 

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Word for the Year: PEACE

For the past several years I have seen many people choose a word for the year. This word provides focus and remains with you throughout the year. Instead of a resolution – which let’s face it – most of us break rather quickly – it’s a way to make yourself a better person without limiting yourself to one thing. I’ve been giving this a lot of thought over the past few weeks knowing that the New Year was approaching. I thought of several words and their meanings and ways to apply them to my daily life, but the one word that I kept coming back to was “peace.” I’ve noticed a decrease of peace in my life and in increase in stress lately. I’ve been thinking of ways to implement my word over the next 12 months and I’ve come up with a short list. The list may seem little, but the ideas behind it are BIG!

To start, I’ve chosen a quote to keep in mind: “Every day brings a choice to practice stress or to practice peace.” This is absolutely perfect for me because it’s just what I want.

Then I created my short list of ways to live peacefully:

  1. Set limits.
  2. Slow down.
  3. Unclutter.
  4. Accept and let go.
  5. Breathe.

Seems simple, right?! I hope so! My bigger thoughts or “goals” for each of those things goes much deeper… and here’s what I’m thinking.

Set limits. This means a few things to me, in no particular order. I have a tendency to take on more than I can handle at times because I don’t like to say, “no.” This almost always causes me stress because I never want to disappoint anyone, but I need to learn to set limits and know when I’ve reached my limit. For me, it also means setting more limits with my kids – again, not wanting to disappoint, but knowing when they’ve had enough screen time, snacks, etc. It sounds silly, but I’m always involved in taking care of devices and fixing food and this often stresses me because every time I start to do something that needs to be done, I’m interrupted and by the time I’m finished with the kids it doesn’t seem like I ever get to finish what I started. And lastly, setting a limit for social media. I  know I’m not the only one who can get sucked into mindless scrolling or pinning!

Slow down. If I can’t get it all done in one day, it’s okay.  Taking time to just stop and enjoy little moments.

Unclutter. Clutter and kids just seem to go together! So I’m not talking about the mounds of toys and games, but little things like letting the mail pile up because I don’t feel like dealing with it. That’s a big one for me. I truly despise the mail. I should really just put a trash can next to the mailbox and deal with it before it even makes it in the front door. (Hmmm… That’s not such a bad idea.) And then there’s the pantry. And my desk. Oh, my desk. The clutter of those things can really work my nerves, but hopefully I can tackle those things one day at a time and keep them clutter free.

Accept and let go. Easier said than done, I’m sure. But this one I really need to work on. I can get so worked up over situations and circumstances I cannot control.  I let these things consume my brain. Sadly, I often find that I’m the only one upset, while the person (or people) who have upset me move on, and quite frankly, could care less and I’m the only one who ends up feeling sad, hurt, or stressed. I need to practice accepting these things I cannot change and move on.

Breathe. That’s right — inhale and exhale.  This is another quote I found that I really like: “Inhale peace. Exhale stress. Inhale calm. Exhale worry.” – Mary Davis

In order to keep my Word of the Year close, I’ve created a special page that I inserted at the very beginning of my Happy Planner. I can leave it right in the front or I can move it to the beginning of each new month.

Planner Pic

Do you have a word for the year? If so, what is it? I’d love to hear them!

Happy New Year!

– Denise

Posts on Happy Little Wife contain affiliate links. When you make a purchase through an affiliate link, your price will be the same, but Happy Little Wife will receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting me.

 




Christmas at Longwood Gardens

Our family has had a membership to Longwood Gardens for the past three years, but we’ve never managed to get there to see the Christmas displays. It either gets too cold or our schedules get too crazy. This year I was determined to get there. Last week’s weather was very mild and we made it a point to clear our schedules to visit. The kids – ages three and five – were looking forward to seeing the lights and our son couldn’t wait to see the train which is only on display during the Fall and Christmas seasons. But it wasn’t just the Garden Railway that they were looking forward to — they enjoy the Tree House and believe it or not, they are very interested in the different types of plants and flowers throughout the grounds and in the Conservatory. Since Alyssa (3) has been visiting since she was a baby and Tyler (5) has been visiting since age 2, they have become very appreciative of the beauty found at the Gardens. It is a fantastic learning experience for them and it brings me joy to see them stop and ask for us to read the informational signs to them. This past summer they were so involved in the Waterlily Display that one of the workers actually came over to them and gave them a little lesson on the plants and allowed them to touch them. During this visit as we were walking along a path, Tyler stopped to admire the lights and snowflakes in one of the large trees and he said he remembered when that was lit and there were fireflies and music. A man passing by us stopped and asked how old he was and said that he was quite impressed that Tyler was recalling “Nightscapes” from a couple years ago. I love that our children enjoy visiting here!

We knew we were going to be in for a treat when we could see a tree covered in green lights all the way from the road before the entrance. I mean, there are over a half-million lights to be seen once you enter the Gardens. From trees illuminated with “icicles” outside to gorgeous displays inside, the whole experience is breathtaking. Here are a few of my favorite photos from our visit. I have many more, but I don’t want to spoil it for you if you want to go this season!

 

Longwood Gardens: Icicle Tree

Berries and Poinsettias

Longwood Gardens: Berries and Poinsettias

Orchid Tree

Longwood Gardens: Orchid Tree

Apples, Cranberries and Walnuts

Longwood Gardens: Apples, Cranberries and Walnuts

I think the Exhibition Hall with the apples, cranberries, and walnuts was our family’s favorite part – we were in awe of the estimated 670,000 cranberries, 8,000 Granny Smith Apples, and 3,000 walnuts used to create the patterns. Crazy, right?!

If you plan on visiting, be sure to check out the Longwood Gardens website for their calendar of events and for more information. The membership really is a terrific value especially if you intend on visiting more than once a year.

Bundle up and take your travel mug with hot chocolate and enjoy an unforgettable experience that will become a family tradition. I would love to hear about your favorite part too!

-Denise

 

 

Walmart Grocery Pick-Up: Is it worth it?

This honest review of Walmart Grocery Pick-Up is unpaid and unsponsored. I’ve been using the service and wanted to share my experience with you.

I don’t know about you, but going grocery shopping is not something I look forward to — especially with two little kids. About two years ago, our local grocery store started offering Shop from Home, which I found to be a great time-saver as well as a money-saver. There were no impulse buys, no forgetting items, and best of all, I didn’t have to leave the house! It was completely worth the fee when it was freezing cold.  But then I started thinking that $16 ( $10.00 shopping fee + $5.95 delivery fee) was crazy and I would do pick-up and still pay the $10 shopping fee. That was short-lived. I was too cheap. No matter how much time it was saving me, I couldn’t bring myself to spend that extra money. I went back to shopping late in the evening once my husband was home to be with the kids. Again, not something I look forward to because if I get some “free-time” I would rather be anywhere but the grocery store.

Enter Walmart Grocery Pick-Up.

About a month ago, my local Walmart started advertising Grocery Pick-Up. Well, isn’t this just fantastic! I looked it up and guess what? There is NO SHOPPING FEE! That’s right – no shopping fee. Someone will shop for me for FREE. All I have to do is pick up my bags. I should mention that there is a $30 minimum order, but if you are grocery shopping, that’s easy to do.  I’ve used the service several times now and each experience has been great. I decided to document today’s pick-up to show you how wonderful it really is.

Last night I created my meal plan for the next two weeks. I was able to go through my Pinterest boards and pick my recipes, make my grocery list while checking the pantry, fridge, and freezer, and add all the items I needed to my cart on the Walmart Grocery website. You can use the app too – whatever works for ya! My list was fairly short because I only needed the ingredients I didn’t already have on hand. I loaded my cart, scheduled my pick-up time for between 1:00 and 2:00 p.m. today and checked out. All I had to do was wait for my email that my order was ready for pick-up.

I received my email at 12:30 p.m. (a half hour ahead of schedule) that my order was ready.

I finished my lunch and when I was ready to go, all I had to do was open the Walmart Grocery App on my phone and “Check-In.” By checking in, I was letting the store know that I was on my way and the app would track my drive so they would know exactly when I would arrive.

 

As you can see, I clicked check-in at approximately 1:07 p.m. and pulled out of my driveway at 1:09 p.m.

I arrived at the store at 1:20 p.m. and within seconds, an associate came out to my car and asked if I was Denise. I said, “Yes! That was fast!” He went back into the building and walked right out with my order. It was raining and I offered to help load my bags into the car and he insisted that I stay in the car and he would get it all. He loaded all my bags, I signed that I received my order and I was on my way at 1:24 p.m.

 

You can see the associate walking back inside with the empty crates where my bags once were. It took me FOUR MINUTES to get my groceries. And I was back in my driveway at 1:35 p.m.

I’ll say that’s a WIN!

You know what else is a win? Saving money. I knew I was saving money because I wasn’t paying a “Shopping Fee,” but I didn’t realize how much I was saving compared to my usual grocery store. So out of curiosity and because I have so much free time (hahaha) I decided to go on my grocery store app and add all the same items to my cart to see what it would have cost me.

Here is my exact grocery list – yes, I made this table to show you.

Do you see that?! I saved almost $30 by shopping at Walmart compared to my local grocery store. I’d say that Walmart Grocery Pick-Up is worth it! Do you agree?

Want to give it a try? If you found my review helpful, you can save $10 off your first order of $50 by using my referral link below and you’ll save me $10 on my next order too! I’d be grateful!

All you have to do is CLICK HERE TO SAVE $10 ON YOUR FIRST ORDER.

♥ Denise

 

 

Magically Changing My Kids’ Behavior

Two weeks ago I wrote “Homemaking: A Calling and a Blessing” – my kickoff to my own 40 Days Challenge. My goal over these forty days is to de-clutter and organize our home, along with making our home more peaceful. The first week started off great – I cleaned and organized our upstairs hall and linen closets and hauled two bags of trash out of the house. I felt good. Last week, I tackled our son’s bedroom. He has a lot of storage (because we love IKEA) and that makes it much easier to “collect” stuff – there’s plenty of room for it! So I spent an entire day clearing out his closet, dresser, and wardrobes. I boxed up toys that were no longer age-appropriate, put clothes that I wanted to save (I have my own issues with letting go of “baby stuff”) in totes to put in the attic, and made a big box of clothes to sell and/or donate.

So what’s the problem? My first two weeks were extremely productive. The problem is that the peace I am really wanting is lacking. I am still worrying. I am still raising my voice (this is the big problem for me). I get in bed at night and I feel defeated. Tuesday was my breaking point. I put my foot down and told myself that was the last “bad day” I was going to have. I said I was going to create peace in my home – and I will.

My kids give me a run for my money every single day. I often wonder how this can happen. I used to manage a classroom of up to 28 little ones at a time, yet I can’t control TWO. Really?! I must be the worst mom ever. Actually, I’m not. I’m just a giant softie who succumbs to pouty faces and puppy dog eyes. That’s my problem. So I picked up a book that our pediatrician recommended  about 2 years ago – it’s been collecting dust ever since. It’s called 1-2-3 Magic by Thomas W. Phelan. It claims to be “the simplest, most-effective parenting program for raising happy, well-behaved children.” Sign me up! I planted my butt on the couch and started reading. I tuned everything else out (talk about peace!) and read half the book. I intend to finish it before the weekend, but I was able to implement the method right away the next day. {The second half of the book focuses on routines and real-life stories, so even though I only read half, I read enough to get started by introducing the method to the kids and “practicing.”}

On Wednesday, I sat my two little munchkins down and explained to them how things were going to work. They were told that I am no longer going to raise my voice and that they basically have 10 seconds to shape up and change their behavior or they will find themselves in time-out. We also briefly discussed how less nonsense will lead to more fun together. Wednesday and Thursday were much better than Tuesday and I have hope for tomorrow. I will say that my (almost) five-year-old responded much better to this than the (newly turned) three-year-old. Aside from one major tantrum from the little one in which she was having no parts of time-out, we had two peaceful days. We even managed to watch a movie in the middle of the day and make a St. Patrick’s Day craft on Wednesday and today I was able to bake five dozen cupcakes.

This simple approach truly worked like magic. I stopped both my kids in their tracks by saying, “Take 1.” My husband couldn’t believe his eyes during breakfast when little Mr. Man was ready to throw a fit, but instantly stopped when I started to count. It gives the child a few seconds to stop and evaluate their own behavior and to decide if they want to continue and possibly end up with a consequence or just let it go. And the best part is I don’t need to get upset or raise my voice. Ahhh… there’s that peace I want.

I intend to be consistent with our new approach and to create the peace our home needs. I will be writing a follow-up post next week to update you on our progress and to include some positive reinforcement ideas I have up my sleeve from my teacher days. I am not 100% sold on “time-outs,” so I will be implementing time-out alternatives, which the book does discuss as well.

1-2-3 Magic is very easy to understand and gives many real-life scenarios. There were times when I thought the author actually knew my kids! While it is evidence-based and written by a clinical psychologist, it’s not a text-book. You’ll fly right through it and feel ready to make a change. I say this because I know I am not alone in this struggle and that this just might be the help you need too.

♥ Denise

 

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Homemaking: A Calling and a Blessing

Once my husband and I were married and decided to start a family, all I wanted to do was “be a mom.” I was ready to give up my profession and live my life following in my own mother’s footsteps of caring for a family.

“What’s your occupation?”

“I don’t work. I’m a homemaker.”

“Oooh. Okay.”

I used to feel (almost) a sense of embarrassment when I would be asked what I did or where I worked. I would always follow it up with, “I used to be a teacher.” I went to grad school, I earned my degrees and I had a profession I loved. I suppose I wanted people to know that I didn’t always “just stay home.” After six years of answering that same question, I now proudly respond with either “I’m a stay-at-home mom” or “I’m a homemaker.” And that’s it. Why should I say more? It is a blessing that I am able to stay home with my children.

I think of being a homemaker as a job — a full-time job with lots of overtime and the paycheck comes in the form of smiles, laughter, and love. I would be lying if I said it is an easy job and I struggle with something almost daily. I get in bed every night and reflect on my day and I think of everything I could have done – or what I could have done better. I beat myself up over a lot of little things.

I often wonder if I’m the only one who feels this way. Well, I learned that I’m not. I was inspired by my friend Stephanie from Happily Homegrown to think about the “ministry of homemaking.” She mentions that Melissa from A Virtuous Woman writes, “… homemaking is just as important as any other type of ministry because as the wife and mother – the way our family feels at home speaks volumes about how we minister to their needs.” It was Stephanie’s post and the way she shared her experience that made that light bulb go on for me — homemaking is a calling. I can remember throughout my Catholic school education being taught about vocations and to answer our “calling” in life – whatever it may be. For me, the calling was to become a wife and a mother – a full-time homemaker.

I decided to reflect on my calling. Being a homemaker is more than cooking. It is feeding the mind, body and soul. It is more than cleaning. It is wiping the tears and negative thoughts and instilling kindness and positivity. It is more than doing laundry. It is washing away the anxiety and fears and providing warmth and comfort.

Many people will begin 40 Day Challenges within the next 24 hours. Maybe those challenges include giving up social media or chocolate. Maybe they include getting organized and decluttering at home.  While I still plan on decluttering and organizing our home, I am also going to work on making my home the home that I always envisioned. I need more peace in my life. A peace that comes at the end of the day when I get in bed. I want to raise my voice less and laugh more. I want to be more patient and less in a hurry. I want to worry less and pray more. As the homemaker – the mother and the wife – I am the heart of the home. Everything seems to begin and end with me. If I want more peace in our home, it needs to begin with me.

Over the next 8 weeks I will be sharing my journey of organizing, decluttering and making our home more peaceful. I hope you will join me.

♥ Denise

 

Something to Think About…

This post has nothing to do with cooking, baking, organizing or homeschooling, but it does have a lot to do with what has been on my mind over the past couple weeks. It has really been weighing on me and I feel like I should just put it out there for everyone to read. I kinda’ think that I’m not alone in my thoughts.

First, I’d like you to picture these scenes for just a moment:
1. A middle-aged man boarding a plane alone.
2. An older woman leaning on a gate and then getting into a car and driving off down the road.
3. A 30-something man picking up a five dollar pizza.
4. An older woman at the grocery store with just a few items in her cart.
5. A 16 year old boy walking down the street.

Okay, have you pictured each of those scenes? Maybe you even imagined someone you know. After all, it wouldn’t be that difficult because none of them are anything out of the ordinary. Now let me tell you a little more.

The middle-aged man boarding the plane alone. He was boarding a flight to fly across the country to bury his mother.

The older woman leaning on the gate and then getting into a car was the mother of a son who over-dosed. She was at his house to gather his clothes for his funeral and to take his car to her home.

The 30-something man picking up the five dollar pizza works over 50 hours a week just to barely pay his bills and only had $10 in his bank account, but all his children wanted was a pizza.

The older woman at the grocery store recently became a widow and has no income. She is picking up a few necessities with a few dollars that were graciously given to her.

The 16 year old boy walking down the street had to separate from his family because they were evicted from their home because they couldn’t make ends meet after a job loss and medical issues. His family is homeless and he needs to stay with a friend.

So what’s my point? My point is: We shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Cliche? Yes, but very true. We just never know what someone is going through because the truth is most people won’t tell you. We see snippets of peoples’ lives on social media and we assume that life is good. We don’t know their whole story. We think we know their story based on status updates and photos. We can’t see their broken hearts or their empty bank accounts.

I will tell you this: I know every single one of the people mentioned above. I know that their lives aren’t easy. I know, in several instances, they have encountered insensitive people. People who would rather pass judgment and think that they have all the answers and want to tell people how they should feel, how they should prioritize things in their lives, or how something is a result of their actions. No one chooses to be in certain situations – it’s called life. And it happens – not always as we plan. I know some will argue that some people put themselves in certain situations by the choices they have made, and while I agree it is true in some cases, it’s more important to recognize that someone may have made a poor choice – it doesn’t make them a bad person.

Here’s my advice. Be kind. Think before you speak (or type). Have some compassion. Be a friend. If you know someone is going through a hard time, don’t walk the other way or wait for them to call you — reach out. You just might make their day. And for all of you struggling in any way – be REAL. It’s hard. I know that… trust me. Have the courage to show the true you. It will make you feel better.

xoxo ♥ Denise

 

Hello world!

Thanks for stopping by. Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Denise and I am a daughter, sister, wife, and mom. I’m a former Catholic school teacher turned stay-at-home mom. The name “Happy Little Wife” is fitting because without becoming a wife, I would have never become mom and that right there – that has made me so incredibly happy.

I am a bit of a mess. Although, most people think I have it all together because of all that I do. I menu plan and cook, coupon, bake, garden, clean, run my own handmade business, and somehow always end up doing direct sales as a hobby. In addition, my husband and I have chosen to homeschool our children. But back to the part about me being a mess. I am. Things get crazy around here and clutter happens. I go on a little mini rampage and get things back in order.

I’m a perfectionist and I tend to overthink things waaaay too much. I’m extremely sensitive. I can get a little snippy and say things I don’t mean. And then I’ll most likely cry about it later. I care too much and I love unconditionally.

So why this blog? I’ve always loved to write and I have made it one of my goals this year to spend a little time doing something for me. I’ve created about three blogs over the past ten years, all of which had one post and then I never wrote again. I’m making a promise to myself to keep up with this. I’m looking forward to sharing what I do and how I do it. Whether it be a recipe, organization tip, a homeschool activity, or some other random rambling because I just need to get it out. This is where you’ll find it.

I hope you’ll join me on my journey.

xoxo ? Denise

 

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