How to Make Money with Apps (Even While You’re With Your Kids!)

How to Make Money with Apps (Even While You’re With Your Kids!)

Who doesn’t like making a little extra money now and then? I know I especially enjoy making money doing things I would already have been doing WITH my children present. (Which they usually are because I am a stay at home mom.) You probably have some questions. Is this really possible? What does it entail? Is it time consuming?

The good news is, it can be as time consuming and as profitable as you want. Here are some apps that I use regularly to make a little bit of money on the side.

Target’s Cartwheel App

If you are a fan of Target you probably already have the Cartwheel app. It allows you to basically “clip” coupons (browse for products and click on the ones you plan on buying which are then saved to your list) on your phone before you shop. Then you pull up the app on your phone at checkout and the cashier scans the barcode and you save some money. It’s very straightforward and easy to use and some of the deals are really good!

Ibotta

This is another app that allows you to “clip” coupons before you shop. Then after your purchase has been made, you scan your receipt and get money back. You can get some really good deals if you use this on top of the Cartwheel app. For instance, one time recently I needed to buy some body wash. This particular body wash was already on sale in store at Target. If you bought 4 you got a $10 Target gift card. On top of that, it was 20% off on the Cartwheel app. Then on Ibotta, this same product happened to be $1 off each bottle. So I ended up paying about $2.99 for each bottle which is pretty good. Use my referral link to get started!

Receipt Pal

This app is a no brainer. You literally take pictures of almost ANY receipt and get points. The points can then be used to buy gift cards to various stores. It’s super easy and it takes literally a few seconds, so why not? You can even set it up so it gets your e-receipts from online purchases.

Pei

Another app you don’t even have to think about. You link it up with your card and make purchases as you normally would. (Only thing you might have to remember is use your debit card like a credit card.) It then gives you cash back on every qualifying purchase. Once you reach $15 you can withdraw it. And believe me, it doesn’t take long.

Shopkick

This app takes a little more work, but not much. There’s a few different ways to earn “kicks” which turn into cash. Some times you earn kicks just from walking into a store. You can also scan items in the store (no purchase necessary.) Then you can also earn kicks from buying specific items. On top of that, there are certain stores that give you kicks when you make purchases with a linked card.

Raise

This app is pretty cool. It sells gift cards to stores at a discount. For example, I have bought a $50 gift card for Groupon for $42. Not huge savings I know, but after a while it adds up. You can use the gift card as soon as you buy it! And the list of qualified stores is long. Click this to get started!

Swagbucks

Ok, this is a whole other ball game when it comes to money-making apps. There are multiple ways to make cash on Swagbucks. You can take surveys on your phone or computer that earn “swagbucks” or “SB” which turn into cash or gift cards. It can be a bit time consuming, depending on the survey, but definitely profitable. You can also take a daily polls, watch videos, play games, even search for things online and they all earn SB. They also have a live trivia game at 8 pm Monday-Thursday that can earn you some SB, even if you don’t win. If you have some downtime and don’t mind being on your phone a lot, Swagbucks is for you. Use this link to get started now!

User Testing

I was excited when I found out about this site. You get paid to try out different websites and review them. There will be specific tasks to do while you verbally answer questions about your experience. Each site pays $10 (some pay more) directly to your Paypal account. I leave the site up on my laptop when I have some down time (usually after the kids are asleep because it needs to be quiet) and it makes a “ding” sound when there are tests available. You might not qualify for every test, depending on who they’re looking for, so the payout is kind of unpredictable but it’s nice extra money.

Sweatcoin

If you haven’t already noticed, I’m a big fan of getting paid for doing things I already planned on doing. This app counts your steps and pays you in “Sweatcoins” which you can use to buy various prizes. I always makes sure this app is open when I walk to drop off/pick up my daughter from school.

Thred Up

If you’re anything like me, you love getting rid of clutter. With 4 kids in the house, clutter is nearly impossible to completely avoid. As I mentioned in an earlier post that you can read here we live in a pretty small house without much storage. So once the kids grow out of clothes I either give them away or sell them on Thred Up. It’s so convenient for moms like me. All you do is download the app, order a bag and it comes in them mail (for free.) Then you fill the bag with whatever you want to sell or get rid of. (There is a chance they will not want to sell everything you put in there, which in that case they can either send it back to you or just donate it for you.) Then you bring the bag to your local post office and mail it back for free. You can keep track of everything you’re selling on the app. Click here to get started!

I hope this helps you start earning a little bit of cash while you’re taking care of your family. Do you do anything else to make money while you’re with your kids? I’d love to hear your ideas!

How to Treat Your Child’s Eczema

How to Treat Your Child’s Eczema

One of the hardest parts of motherhood is feeling helpless while your child is in pain. One of my first experiences with this helplessness was when my son Henry developed eczema when he was only a few months old. At first I thought it was just a bad case of cradle cap. He was scratching his head a lot so I would put socks on his hands to keep him from scratching himself. It wasn’t long before my mother-in-law told me it looked a lot like her eldest son’s eczema when he was a baby.

If you’re not familiar with the term eczema, it is a medical condition where patches of skin are red, dry, raised, and extremely itchy. It can cover someone’s entire body or be limited to certain areas (usually the back of the knees, hands, and elbows.) The cause of eczema can vary greatly, from allergies to certain foods to nothing that can be tested from a medical standpoint. Unfortunately my little Henry has it all over his body. He has been tested for various allergies and all the tests have come up negative. He sees a dermatologist regularly and uses prescribed medicated creams to keep his eczema in control. However, there are various other products we use on top of the prescriptions. (These can be used with or without prescriptions.)

If your child is suffering with eczema please consult with a doctor to discuss treatment options. Here are some of the most helpful tips I have for treating eczema that I have learned through trial and error and from advice from doctors and people who have dealt with similar issues. There are affiliate links that provide me a commission if purchased. All of these are products that I ACTUALLY use on a regular basis and HIGHLY recommend to anyone struggling to control their child’s eczema.

-Avoid water–at least during a bad flare.

Whenever I bring Henry in to the dermatologist and his skin looks BAD they tell me to avoid bathing him or getting his skin wet for at least a week. (Not exactly what a mother of a dirty two year old wants to hear!) Water dries skin out even more so its best to avoid it as long as possible. Use a wet wash cloth to wipe off food or dirt when needed. Baby wipes are the enemy–they tend to dry skin out more, especially if there’s any kind of fragrance.

-Trukid Eczema Bubble Podz in the bath

When you are back to bathing your child I highly recommend these Bubble Podz. They make big bubbles that kids love (like your normal bubble bath) but without the irritating formula. It won’t dry their skin out like other bubble bath products. These are the only product I use in the bath for Henry.

-Cotton long sleeved and footed PJ’s

This seems kind of unimportant, but it is crucial in treating severe eczema. Henry did not sleep through the night before he was a year old because he woke up scratching so much. By using long sleeved and footed PJ’s you are minimizing the amount of scratching they can do at night, which keeps it from getting worse. (Scratching just makes the skin break open and possibly get infected and more itchy.) When I first brought Henry to the dermatologist they told me to keep as much skin covered as possible at night to stop the scratching. Once I did this and started his new medications, he started sleeping through the night for the first time ever.

-Keep fingernails short.

Scratching is pretty much inevitable when your child has eczema. Keeping their nails short is essential so that they cannot break the skin, which can cause infection and make their skin worse.

Hydrocortisone cream

You’ve probably used this before because it is commonly used to treat bug bites and other allergies. I put this one on before any other lotion, but just on spots with eczema patches.

-Aveeno Eczema Therapy Lotion

This is my favorite lotion. There are a million different products out there but I love how this is thick and hydrating without being sticky. It really absorbs into the skin well. I also love the container because it’s so easy to get the lotion out and I don’t waste a drop.

-Vaseline

When Henry is having a really bad flare his feet tend to be the worst affected area. After putting on the hydrocortisone and Aveeno I put vaseline on his feet just to lock the moisture in over night. When he wakes up his feet are nice and soft.

-Coconut Oil

When I am not using the Aveeno lotion, I am using Coconut oil. It’s a little messier but it gets results. It does not stain clothing. Whenever I use this on Henry at night he wakes up with much softer skin and has never had a bad reaction. (And it smells great too!)

-Wet wraps

This seemed counterintuitive to me, but it is another thing my dermatologist recommended. If their skin is super itchy and the creams are not giving them enough relief, put wet cloths on the affected areas. (I’ve used long socks on Henry’s arms. I just cut a hole on the ends so his hands could poke out.) After you put the wet cloth on cover it with a dry one. (I used another sock.) This helps locks in moisture and the coolness calms their itching. I’ll never forget a night when Henry’s skin was particularly bad. I was trying to get him to bed and he was crying and crying. I finally did a wet wrap and he calmed down almost immediately.

I hope at least a few of these suggestions are helpful for you. Does your child have eczema? What products work best for you?

5 Great Things About Having Kids Close In Age

5 Great Things About Having Kids Close In Age

Having children close in age is not for everyone. Some people prefer to wait and have more time to recover in between. (Sleep, what’s that?) Some people want to get pregnant soon after their last child was born and they can’t. There’s a ton of reasons why people may not have children close in age and thats fine! One way is not better than the other. I do hear some negative comments (either to my face or when I walk away) about how crazy it seems to have “so many little kids” and I wanted to point out the positive.

I was still breastfeeding Lila, my oldest child, who was 7 months at the time and I knew something was up. She kept turning away when I’d try to feed her. My once always-hungry baby suddenly seemed disinterested in nursing.  Naturally, I turned to Google for advice. Teething, illness, distraction, there were a million reasons why a baby might be uninterested in nursing for a little while. However, one suggestion caught my eye. Maybe you’re pregnant! Breastmilk apparently can taste different if you become pregnant. At first I laughed at the idea. A few days later I was staring at a positive pregnancy test.

The average siblings in the U.S are 2-3 years apart. (That’s if there is a sibling at all, since rates of people having two children is declining.) This spacing makes sense logically to many, since it gives the mother a decent amount of time to recover physically between babies but keeps the siblings somewhat close in age. However, if you’re debating having children closer in age, or you just learned you are pregnant with your next child a little bit faster than you had expected, like me, you’re in the right place.

Although the small age gap between my daughters was not exactly planned, I am so happy that it turned out this way. Then Henry was born about two years after Violet was born, and Teddy about two years after him. We knew we wanted our kids to be close enough in age to really play together. (And I selfishly wanted to get the hard pregnant years out of the way!) Here are 5 great things about having kids close in age:

1.Baby gear/clothes goes to good use

Ok, I’ll admit it. My boys used a lot of pink stuff. If you’re not into that you might not like this first reason. It’s not like I put them in dresses. But they did use a car seat with little pink Minnie Mouses and many girly swaddle blankets. I love getting my money’s worth out of baby gear. It’s too expensive to not re-use it! Car seats, strollers, cribs, swaddles, bottles, pacifiers, and clothes are all put to good use in our house. We basically have no storage space (no basement or attic) so it just stayed out for the next baby. Now when Teddy is done with things I am giving it away or selling it and it’s out of here for good.

Car seats, strollers, cribs, swaddles, bottles, pacifiers, and clothes are all put to good use in our house.

This perk is not just reserved for the baby stage. My daughters (who are 6 and 4 now) share clothes. They’re basically the same size so why bother having a million different pairs of pants, dresses, shirts, etc? And anything Henry grows out of goes straight to Teddy’s dresser.

2. Sharing is a way of life

Growing up as the oldest of five kids, I don’t even remember learning how to share. It was just a way of life. I’ll never forget walking into my friend’s room for the first time in second grade, going “This is ALL YOURS?!” As much as I would’ve loved my own room as a kid, especially during some of those turbulent middle school years, now I’m glad I didn’t get one. My family is very close to this day and I think growing up physically close is a big cause of that.

My kids’ experience will not be much different. The girls share a room and the boys share a room. They share all of their toys. No one gets a ton of alone time but they are used to that. Of course they still bicker over who gets what, or when one wants to play a different game, but overall they are really comfortable with working together and I love that. My greatest joy from motherhood has come from watching the four of children play together.

3. Pregnancy isn’t drawn out!

Some women say they love being pregnant. Some even claim to have had no morning sickness, mood swings, or heartburn. I am not one of those women. Pregnancy is incredibly hard on your body and doing it four times in a row was no easy feat. That being said, I think I’m done. And I’m thirty years old. No more maternity clothes! No more wanting to throw up at the smell of chicken! No more passing out at six at night because I can’t keep my eyes open! (Ok, maybe I still want to do that sometimes.) Sure, there’s some things I will miss about being pregnant like getting ultrasounds and hearing the heartbeat or feeling kicks. But overall I am happy to say that phase is over.

4. They learn from each other

Violet could not wait to go pee-pee on the potty like her big sister. Henry had to ride a bike like his big sisters do. And Teddy does just about everything the other kids do and he’s only 14 months old. (I wish I was exaggerating!) Kids learn so quickly from their peers. As chaotic as it can be to have 4 little ones running around, it’s also nice to get through hard phases quickly. I just realized this past month how much easier shopping has been with Henry now that he is almost 3 years old. He walks alongside the cart and holds my hand or if he does stray a little bit he will come back quickly when I call him. And then it dawned on me that it will not be long before Teddy can do the same. All of these hard “phases” are easier to get through when you’ve literally just learned how to do it with the last child. I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve, to say the least!

5. They’re best friends

My kids seriously love playing together. It’s like they have their own little club everywhere they go. And I can’t wait to see how their relationships develop over the years. I hope that their close friendships will continue into adulthood and I think growing up close in age will set them up to do just that.

Did you have children close in age? What do you like about it the most?

What Postpartum Anxiety Felt Like For Me

What Postpartum Anxiety Felt Like For Me

You’ve probably read or heard something recently about Postpartum depression (PPD.) That’s because it is extremely common. According to the CDC, 1 in 10 women in the United States will show symptoms of PPD. Thanks to social media, the stigma around mental health is fading and more mothers are opening up about their experiences with PPD.

Personally, my struggle with PPD and anxiety felt confusing, lonely, exhausting, and overwhelming. I did not even recognize it as PPD in myself at first. I often stayed up googling symptoms late at night when my kids finally went to sleep. Looking back, my symptoms were all somewhat obvious but I refused to accept that it was PPD until I began seeing my therapist. One thing that urged me to get the help I needed was reading real life stories online. I read other mothers’ PPD stories and felt less alone. I hope that by telling my story, another struggling mother might stumble upon it and feel less alone and find the motivation to get help.

I often stayed up googling symptoms late at night when my kids finally went to sleep.

I did not experience PPD/A until I had my fourth baby. I consider this to be a silver lining. I think if I had experienced it after my first or even second baby I would’ve taken longer to recognize that something was wrong because motherhood was still new to me. How do you know something is wrong when you don’t even know what normal is? My heart breaks for women who experience this so early in their motherhood journey.

Just because you have PPD does not make you less of a mother. It is a real, physical illness that you don’t have to fight on your own. I considered myself to be very understanding of mental illness and I still did not want to accept that I actually had one. It also looks different for everyone. Some women tend to be more depressed and don’t want to get out of bed. Others like myself are more anxious and have panic attacks every day. No matter how it is manifesting in you, there are so many people out there willing to help you. The only regret I have is not getting help sooner. I feel like myself again, which seemed impossible when I was in the thick of my PPD. Here are the 5 main ways PPD/A affected my life:

1.Feeling Overwhelmed

This was the first inkling that something was off for me. I consider myself to have a very high tolerance for stress. Being the oldest of five children, I am used to loud, noisy households and lots of people in small spaces. I shared a room with three other people at one point in my life! Privacy wasn’t really an option. Fast forward to motherhood with four children. Although I’ve had four children in five years, I never felt truly overwhelmed up until this point. Don’t get me wrong, I had a ton of moments when I was angry, exhausted, or sad but nothing quite like this. I started wondering why I thought I could handle motherhood and questioning myself every day. I harped on what was going wrong in my mind, or even what COULD go wrong, over and over again. What if Lila hates kindergarten and she cries every day? What if Teddy never sleeps longer than four hours and I’m tired forever? What if I’m not cooking enough healthy meals for my kids? What if they all get the stomach bug at the same time and I’m home alone? The list was endless because the possibilities felt endless. And sure, you could argue that the possibility of something going wrong with kids IS endless. But people without anxiety and depression don’t focus on it all day every day.

2. Heart racing/dizziness/panic attacks

After a couple months of feeling overwhelmed, my body acted accordingly. What’s funny is I didn’t realize I was feeling overwhelmed until my body did this. I started having panic attacks and knew something was wrong. Luckily I knew what a panic attack was but this did not make it any less scary. One of the worst attacks happened when I was driving with all of my kids in the car. I only had a short distance to go until we were home but I considered pulling over. I was hyperventilating and trying my best to breathe deeply and slowly. (Thank you voice lessons.) I was terrified I was going to faint while driving which just worsened the anxiety and prolonged the panic attack. After cutting out caffeine (which was SO HARD because I LOVE coffee) my panic attacks subsided a little. But I still woke up with my heart pounding every day. I felt like jumping out of my skin. It’s like I had drank ten cups of coffee even though I had given up caffeine completely. Looking back, this was the main way my body was telling me something was wrong.

3. Lack of appetite

If you know me, this one is serious. I LOVE to eat. I’m one of those people that needs to snack every hour, especially while breastfeeding. When I lost my appetite completely I knew something was wrong. At first I thought I had a stomach bug. It was winter after all, and our kids were coming down with illnesses left and right. I thought I must have caught some kind of virus and it had to work itself out of my system. But this lasted longer than two weeks. I never stopped eating completely because I knew I would feel worse and I wanted to keep my milk supply up. I forced down small meals with basically no snacking in between. Nothing tasted good. Even my favorite treats tasted bland. I’ll never forget looking at a table full of Christmas desserts and not wanting a single one. Now THAT was weird. I lost over twenty pounds in less than two months. While I enjoyed losing the baby weight I knew this was a pretty good indication that something was off.

4. Insomnia/nightmares

“Sleep while the baby sleeps” is probably one of the most frustrating piece of advice for mothers. It’s even more so when you have PPD/A and you have insomnia. Teddy was actually my best sleeper. He loved the swing and would sleep in there for at least four hours every night before waking to feed, which for a newborn is a lot. I however, had the more trouble sleeping than ever before, despite my exhaustion. I had vivid nightmares that shook my body, waking me up sweating and panting. My heart pounded like I had been running from a bear. At the worst of my PPD/A this happened multiple times a night. I also had trouble falling asleep to begin with, although this was more normal for me because I’ve always been a night owl. You would think after being up all night I’d have a hard time waking up in the morning but it was quite the opposite. I would wake up in the morning with my heart racing and a huge sense of dread.

I had vivid nightmares that shook my body, waking me up sweating and panting. My heart pounded like I had been running from a bear.

5. OCD/intrusive thoughts

This is definitely one of the least discussed symptoms of PPD/A. I am so grateful that I found a great therapist and there were a lot of good resources online that I could turn to for this. THIS IS THE MAIN SYMPTOM THAT DROVE ME TO GET HELP. And after you’ve heard all the terrible symptoms I had you know this one must have been terrible. This is the symptom that made me believe I was a terrible mother and there was something inherently wrong with me. It could not possibly be a chemical imbalance, I was just an awful person. I had constant thoughts about everything that could go wrong with my children. It was like watching a horror movie play over and over in my head with people I love as the main characters. My day was filled with thoughts like suddenly picturing my baby falling down a flight of stairs or picturing us getting into a fiery car crash, my toddler accidentally hurting himself with a knife in the kitchen, even thoughts of my daughter running away out of her school and getting lost. Then, to make it even worse, I would beat myself up about having the thoughts in the first place, like, what kind of mother thinks about these things? Why am I obsessed with such morbid stuff? Can I really love my children if I’m having such terrible thoughts? The reality was I would never want any kind of harm to come to my children. If anything, that was my greatest fear and my brain was trying to be hypervigilant, expecting the worst-case scenario at any moment so that I could prepare for the worst.

It was like watching a horror movie play over and over in my head with people I love as the main characters.

PPD/A is much more than a short list of symptoms. These were really just the tip of the iceberg for me.  But I wanted to address some of the main signs that something was wrong so that others can understand what women with PPD/A are going through or women who are experiencing similar symptoms know they are not alone. I know that I did not understand how PHYSICALLY DRAINING PPD/A is until I experienced it myself. It affected my body so much that I started to wonder if there was something really physically wrong with me, like cancer. I had no idea that my mental health could affect my body so drastically. If you or anyone you know is suffering do not wait to get help. Postpartum Progress is a great place to read more and find help in your area.

Have you experienced Postpartum depression or anxiety? What did it feel like for you?