What Hidden Gems Can You Find in Dollar Tree?

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I don’t know about you, but I love a deal. When I say “love”, I mean I am enamored with saving money, but not skimping out on quality.

I have never been considered “rich”, money-wise. Growing up, I was blessed with what I needed, but had to work hard for what I wanted. My mama used coupons and valued being able to spend as least amount of money as possible on groceries so that she and my daddy could save for things like birthdays and Christmas.

Thankfully my parents taught me the importance of money and budgeting. Sadly, a lot of people I know are in major debt simply because they do not know how to budget. But you can surely start making little changes today that will help you be more money-conscious!

So when my hometown finally got a Dollar Tree after many years of not having one (the other was closed down due to theft), I was thrilled!!! Dollar Tree is my go-to for most everything.

Below I’ve compiled a list of 10 products I can’t live without!

10. Calendars
Dollar Tree has definitely stepped up their game with the calendars this year! They have an array of themes; rustic, flowers, Disney characters, etc. They also have mini planners that perfect to stash in your purse. If you’re like me, you HAVE to write down EVERYTHING! Both the calendar and planner have ample space for keeping up with appointments as well as notes. These babies can run you anywhere from $2.00 to an upwards of 30 buckeroos for other brands. (Plus they make great Christmas gifts for the new year!)
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9. Greeting Cards
Greeting cards for all holidays can be found at Dollar Tree. For Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and Christmas (ya know, when you have to get all the grandparents and great-grandparents cards!) I shop Dollar Tree. Their cards are 2/$1 so I can definitely maximize my dollar since I have to buy at least 4-6 cards each holiday. Other stores have “cheap” cards, but they are very plain. Surprisingly the wording in Dollar Tree’s cards are not corny!
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8. Batteries
Jeremy will hate me for this, but I do not buy my batteries anywhere else! Dollar Tree has most sizes of batteries, in multi-packs as well. Brody has loads of toys that need loads of batteries…so why am I going to buy batteries from other places for $5-10?! Negative. I have the same batteries in some things I’ve had since we first moved into our house almost 6 years ago.
…And if you have to replace them…they’re just a DOLLAR!
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7. Spices
If you’ve been to your local grocery store lately, you will see the prices of spices (ah, rhyming there! ;)) are outrageous! My Maw-Maw recently ran out of pepper so we looked at the prices and we both about fell out! Pepper was almost $5 for a container. You can season all your dishes on the cheap with these prices!
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6. Bandaids
With a toddler in the house, we go through quite a bit of Bandaids. Whether he is using them as stickers on the wall, tattoos on his body, or he actually injures himself (or Daddy!), we need a lot of bandaids. Dollar Tree has super cute designs and characters for your little ones. Store-brand and other character adhesive bandages can run you $2.00 or more.
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5. Quick Erasers
Hands down, just as good, if not better, than the Mr. Clean ones (which cost $3.00 for 2). I use these especially in our tub to scrub the nasty oil ring left by Jeremy. Having an auto mechanic as a boyfriend can be tough…fight back with these magic erasers! I also use this with Number 1 on my list, but of course you have to finish the article to see how those two work together! 🙂
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4. Phone Chargers
I came across these the other week and bought one on a whim. We are always losing chargers and I hate wasting $5-10 on a charger that I may not be able to find next week. I bought a car charger and it puts out a good power charge. I stay on the road it seems, and I feel this is a dependable charger, especially since I bought it from Dollar Tree!
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3. Toys
Who has children who think they’re supposed to get a toy every time they go in a store? *Raises hand* Brody has gotten to be quite the persuasionist when we go to Walmart or Target. Mama definitely doesn’t like hearing him scream and holler (like the tantrum that occurred this week) when he doesn’t get what he wants. So, every few times that we go to Dollar Tree and he acts exceptionally well, or if he has a good week at school, I don’t feel guilty spending $1 on a toy.
I also buy kids’ birthday gifts at Dollar Tree. (And if you’re a parent reading this and have a problem with it, you can kiss it!) They have the cutest puzzles, sticker books, and things the child is not going to care about (or judge me about!) and may even like more than the expensive gifts they received. I set a budget amount and let Brody help me pick out cute gifts! The savings doing this alone is priceless!
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2. Toilet Paper
Y’all are probably about to laugh your tail off, but I *LOVE* Dollar Tree’s toilet paper. I’m here to tell you, don’t knock it til you try it! I also bought this on a whim because I hate another big box store in our town so much that I would rather use crappy (no pun intended!) toilet paper than go in that store! Much to my surprise, I fell in love. The quality is pretty good; not too thin and not too thick for my sensitive plumbing. I’m tellin’ ya…I feel like I hit the jackpot here, because I was paying $4.00 or more for a 4-pack of similar quality toilet paper. Why spend a ton on something that you’re going to discard?! I think not!
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1. LA’s Awesome Spray
Drumroll please! I was told about this impressive bottle of gold by Jeremy’s Maw-Maw. She used it as a degreaser (its main property) to clean Jeremy’s greasy clothes before he moved out on his own. If you ask any of the members on Facebook cleaning pages, you will be overwhelmed how much you can really use this spray for! Awesome is truly the holy grail of cleaning supplies. I use it just about everywhere…clothes stains, carpet stains, to clean the oven and microwave after spills, around our toilet, to clean counters…it even takes out grape juice stains like a charm! I love the end result when I spray Awesome to set for a few minutes then use the Magic Erasers to scrub the bathtub.
You are technically supposed to dilute the spray. I have two different bottles, one diluted and one that is not. I use the diluted one for counters or anywhere that food could be near. I use it undiluted for the heavy stuff; stains, bathroom, etc. And at the low price of just $1, you can’t go wrong buying it from Dollar Tree (especially since its much more expensive elsewhere!)
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I hope you try out these things the next time you stop by Dollar Tree! Those who are scared of the quality of items at Dollar Tree, fear not! Most items, if not all, that I have purchased have been really great quality, especially as a Mama on a budget!

And if it breaks, you only lost a dollar!

 

Which of these items on the list will you try out?

What “hidden gems” have you found at Dollar Tree? Comment below so I can try them out!

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So Your Child Needs Speech Therapy…

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March 2016, I was readying myself for Bro’s 2nd birthday party. The boy was obsessed with Minions, so I lived and breathed yellow and blue for weeks on end. He resembled those little boogers quite a bit. Short, stubby, and walking around jibbering about jabber. I had no worries though, because he has always been a very smart and independent child.

Fast forward to his well-check. Weight. Roughly 40ish pounds. Height. Around 38 inches. Head check. Since the kid had a huge head at birth! Eyes. Nose. Mouth. Ears. Shots. Oh beloved shots. They about make me want to take a shot myself…a shot of vodka! Then the doctor asks a few things she had never asked before.

“Is he talking yet?”
Well, yeah.

“What all is he saying?”
Duh, what every 2 year old says…mama, dada, bye, jibber jabber!

“Does he say more than 50 words?”
Pahaha, is this really a question? I’m not sure if the average Chester-ian knows 50 words!! (Haha, just kidding…maybe!)

She began telling me that she thought Brody might benefit from speech therapy.

And my heart sank.

How could this be? Was I not a good mama? What did I do wrong? Why wasn’t he “up to speed” like his 2 year old peers? What was speech therapy? Would it hurt him? Did he have autism?

I was so upset. But after talking with family, they all reassured me there was nothing wrong with my sweet boy…he just needed a little nudge.

And that was okay!

Children are not cookie-cutter. Some will excel in one area, and lack in another. But luckily if your child needs that little nudge, there are awesome therapy centers all around!

After being referred to an awesome specialized therapy center, we went for Brody’s initial evaluation. He was supposed to go back alone. But…separation anxiety. So I went back with him. HE.WOULD.NOT.TALK!

Stubborn lil’ booger! Wonder who he gets that from?!

Finally after warming up (aka, 15 minutes left in the session), he began to utter a few words. We left knowing he would need at least one session a week. A 45-minute drive there. For at least a year! Glad I have a car good on gas!

But, I’d do anything to help my baby!

Week after week he became more adjusted to his therapists. It wasn’t long until he raced on back (and I gained an hour to browse Pinterest!) And it also wasn’t long until utterances became clear words. Words became sentences.

And now he doesn’t shut up!

A year passed and at his last evaluation, he passed with flying colors! We were dismissed and sent on our merry way. (Helloooo no more racking up miles on my car!)

My hope is for those out there fearing that their child may need therapeutic help (whether that may be speech, physical, occupational, or ABA therapy), please know there is nothing “wrong” with your child. Don’t feel afraid or ashamed, because there is nothing to be ashamed about. Secondly, get the therapy your child needs. Therapy will not harm them…it will only help them.

You’re a good mama, whether or not your baby is “up to par” according to the world’s standards.

Your baby will catch up in their timing.

In the meantime, enjoy these precocious years. Soon those littles will be running around talking your head off about all things Cars and Paw Patrol and Mickey and PJ Masks and whatever else he finds on YouTube. In a damn Yankee accent! (Oh yeah, I forgot one con…they teach them how to talk proper.) *face palm*

Just Ramblin’

So, as you all can tell, its been quite awhile since I last posted. My apologies!

When we last left off, I had been to the doctor and got some not-so-good news. I wish I could come to you and say that I’m now a 150-lb weight-lifting machine. I wish I could tell you that my insomnia, body aches, and whatever the heck was happening last time was gone. I wish I could tell you everything is perfect.

But its not.

If fact, there for a little while, things were pretty durn rough. For one, this weight ain’t gone nowhere. Truthfully I haven’t tried SUPER hard to get it off, but I had been exercising and eating better more than I had. AND IT HASN’T GONE ANYWHERE. So frustrating.

But I also fell back into bouts of depression. Let me tell you, it very closely resembles what I picture the depths of hell to be. (For those who don’t know, I developed mild postpartum depression with Brody but never gave in to medication until Bro was about 8-9 months old. I was prescribed an anti-anxiety med that worked wonders.)

My relationship with Jeremy suffered. My relationships with family and friends suffered. I was a raging mess that no one, ESPECIALLY Brody, deserved to be put through.

But I couldn’t stop it.

Emotions ran wild and one moment I was happy-go-lucky, and the next, I’d tell you to go to hell. It sucked. Though I loved Bro, and J, and everyone else, I did not show it. I acted like a little bratty child who didn’t get her way. I couldn’t find the good in any situation. I was the most Negativest (Is that even a word? It is now!) Nancy the world could ever know. I couldn’t let Brody go to Jeremy’s grandma’s (ya know, the one who takes great care of him while we’re working?!) house without freaking out. Sleep…ha. Yeah, right! My mind raced at the darkest hour while these two guys were snoring. IF I was able to find zzz’s, I woke up SO.DANG.TIRED. I could barely get through the day. I had to resort to naps. And if I didn’t get one, I was the illest hornet. (See what I said about a bratty child not getting her way?) It was almost like I wasn’t really me. I mean, sure, I can be a b-witch at times, but my life seemed to be crumbling by the moment.

I’m not sure what made me give in to getting on a *very* low-dose anxiety prescription. But I, myself, and everyone around me agrees it was the best thing I could have made at that time.

Are things fine and dandy and roses and daisies 100% of the time? Nope. Can I control my emotions now? Yes, at least most of the time. (“That time of the month”, for instance!)

I know my thoughts and words can be hard to follow, but I guess today’s rambling is to let those out there dealing with something know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. The prettiest, most put-together woman can be hiding things they don’t want anyone else to know about.

But you shouldn’t feel ashamed.

In fact, the more these issues are talked about, the less there is a stigma about it. Which leads me to the death of Linkin Park front-man, Chester Bennington, and Soundgarden & Audioslave front-man, Chris Cornell. I grew up listening to both of these very talented voices. Because of this evil thing called “depression”, two rock legends will never sing another song.

Do I believe ending your life is the only decision after you’ve had so much? I am not at liberty to make that decision for anybody, or to judge them. I know life can be hard at times…and sometimes you think that your worries and faults will all be gone if you end your life, but you must understand THERE IS HELP out there. You are the only one who can make the decision to get the help you need, and deserve! So if the thought of taking your life has ever crossed your mind, please, reach out.

And those of you who see these suspicious posts, understand these people are not “drama queens” or just looking for attention. They are crying out for help. And it is your obligation to check in on these people and help them seek medical attention!

And if you “don’t want to get in their business”…well, then there is always prayer!