5 Tips To Save Big On Cyber Monday

It's Here! It's Here!  Cyber Monday, Is here!

1. The deals are outstanding!
2. I get to shop from my couch
3. Most all websites offer free delivery.

FACT: Consumers expect to spend 45% of their holiday budgets this year via e-commerce channels, according to a survey released by Javelin Strategy & Research. During the entire year, online and mobile commerce are expected to comprise 9% of total retail sales in 2015, up from 6% five years ago.

As easy and fun as it can be to shop the world wide Interwebz, Cyber Monday only lasts 24 hours, so having a clear focused plan is necessary.  Below are 5 ways to find the best Cyber Monday Sales


It's That Time Again... WARNING: Here we come!

If the below map could have been created by you, then follow closely, FTM&D is going Down under  to FTD's Mother Land, Australia, for a press trip/ holiday/ getaway, and we plan to teach a thing or two about one of the most beautiful places on earth.

We are heading super-south in March, and will be documenting the the trip via Periscope, Youtube, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, so follow along on your favorite, because there's no doubt, it's going to be very entertaining!

Follow along here:  Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram | YouTube | Google+


To work with FTM&D while we are home, please reach out!


Holiday Shopping PSA: Need A Reality Check?


Nothing says I hate my life like shopping for holiday gifts at the last minute, with a child in tow.  I know, I've done it. Twice. Last year I vowed to NEVER find myself in a line that snakes all the way to the back of the store, to buy over priced crap because I'm in a last-minute-pinch.  So I made a plan. A really good plan to not only save time, but money too!  Here are my best 10 Tips To Save BIG On Holiday Shopping... and not find yourself crying in a mile long line holding overpriced junk.

Before I get started, I need you to repeat after me...


1. Plan ahead. Everyone's been naughty, just make the damn list already! Probably the biggest mistake I make is heading to the stores with a loose list of people to shop for, and a vague idea of what I want to get them. Nothing says FAIL faster!  Make a list of anyone and everyone you may want/need to buy gifts for, then add your vague gift ideas... maybe even go so far as to just come out and ask them what they want. Then use this as your master list. Stick to it, and when that person has been taken care of, write down what you got them, and cross them off the list.

2. THIS IS NOT ABOUT YOU! I am so bad about shopping for myself during the holidays. So bad. As much I am a huge fan of retail therapy, there are two major flaws with this:

1. My holiday shopping time and budget is limited.
2. The post holiday clearance sales in January are WAY BETTER.

It's best to leave yourself out of the equation until after the holidays. Plus, won't it feel so much better trading in Auntie Nell's ugly sweater for the one you've had your eye on since the holidays... that's now half price!?

3. Leave the distractions at home.  When possible, avoid taking your child(ren) with you.  Even if this means trading all of your lunch breaks until January.  Brown bag it and shop in peace.  We all know, kids not only complicate the mission, they can make it costly needing extras... and don't forget the chance for meltdowns and diaper blowouts.

4. Price shop from home.  There are way too many apps and websites available today to not to compare prices, both online and in stores. Pull out the list you made and start going through it before you start shopping. Write down where the best deal is, then check your list once finished for stores or websites that overlap. This can save you a bundle on shipping and time.  Between the coupon apps and the compare-and-save apps, there is no reason to pay full price anymore.

Example:  I needed a big ticket item from a big box hardware store. I went to their website, found what I wanted, then searched for a coupon code.  I was able to save 20% at checkout with a coupon code I found on RetailMeNot.com.  What made the deal even sweeter was that I opted for in-store pickup.  This was fast, seamless and saved me time and money. DO THIS!!!

5. Crowd-Sourced Deals.  There is a new trend going on where websites are crowdsourcing for cheaper deals. Basically, if 10 people show interest in an item, then the website reaches out directly to the manufacturer for a bulk buy rate, then passes the deal on. Look for theses deals on those big ticket items.

6. Coupon like a crazy person.  Coupons are everywhere these days, don't buy without them! Don't just rely on coupon specific websites and apps, check the website for the store you are heading to.  Many are offering in-store coupons.

7. Don't discount the discount sites. Websites like Amazon, Groupon, Zulily, Overstock, Wayfarer...  all will be fighting for attention this season, so capitalize on it!  Most are even offering free shipping on the smallest orders. I have each bookmarked this time of year to check quickly for steals on things on my list.

8.  Shop Secondhand. What does every parent have in common at 2am on Christmas Eve/Hanukkah? They're putting together toys. So, if you are going to give your child a fully assembled toy anyway, why not just buy it secondhand, shine it up and slap a bow on it? Secondhand children's stores and higher end consignment shops have incredible deals on gently used items... so worth checking out!

9. Hit up Pinterest and get crafty. Make something for the person that has everything.  Every year I knit hats and scarves for family and friends. They all look forward to them now; some even put in orders for specific colors.

10. Regift it! Before you do any of the things on this list, grab a box and walk around your house filling it with crap you don't want anymore. Remember, your crap is another person's treasure. Somehow. Once you have filled the box, sit down and decide which friend/family member or what holiday party's Secret Santa you can pawn your crap gift the goods to.

How do you save big during the holidays? If you have any tips or tricks, please please please share them!!!!


Enjoy The Best Of The Holidays Lactose-Free #NoMore #DairyEnvy

**I've partnered with LACTAID® to share some great recipes and ideas for enjoying all the flavors of the Holidays Lactose-Free. All Opinions are my own. Especially, the part about hitting my life quota for Lactose, and it being total crap. 

One of my favorite things about the Holidays is the food. Some of my happiest memories from Christmastime are decorating cookies with my mom and siblings while drinking hot chocolate piled high with whip cream or gobbling up pie with a yummy cold glass of Egg Nog. 

Don't even get me started on the holiday party spreads and dessert tables. I've already polished off a bar of Peppermint bark. I LOVE the holidays!!

5 Ways To Reconnect with Your Partner Over The Holidays #FeelTheLove

In T-minus a few days, the Holidays will officially take over. Between the parties, presents, family gatherings, work obligations, and of course, the children, the stress level can go through the roof, leaving even the strongest couples bickering.

Not. Good.

Don't let this be you and your partner. Take time for each other during the holidays; Reconnect, make memories and be intimate! Be reminded how you two made it this far in the first place.

Below are five fun ways to keep the fire burning bright between you and your partner this holiday season... and beyond!


PARENT PSA: Before You Let LEGOS In Your House, READ THIS!

Today's Parent PSA is well overdue. I've known about the dangers and life changing effects that come with owning Legos for some time, and should have said something by now. This blog is after all built on the back of my fails and lessons learned. So, here goes, a very important public service announcement about the havoc legos can cause if you let them and tips for controlling the chaos.

First of all, letting Legos in your home will immediately put an end to a few things...

Thanksgiving Day Jokes, Memes and GIF Hilarity To Get You In The Holiday Spirit

To get you in the spirit of family fun and of course, heaps of dysfunction, here are a few Thanksgiving day laughs to get you going...

WARNING: Cover those sensitive eyes...


I Challenge You To Be Someone's Holiday Miracle #ChainOfBetters

Recently, a very close family member reached out in despair. He's a single father of a six month old and terrified. In addition to the regular fears that come along with being a first-time parent, he's barely making it paycheck to paycheck. Listening to him share his fears about buying the basics for his baby broke my heart.

After getting off the phone with him, I couldn't stop thinking about his situation and the anxiety he is carrying around.

I had to do something.

I decided to send him the two things he's the most worried about running out of, diapers and formula. I grabbed my computer to do some online shopping, when I realized I didn't know what size diapers he needed or the formula he used.


How a child changes your life

Everyone is greeting you, your parents, aunts and cousins are bothering you with lots of advice and this happy period seems to last forever. But here you are, after 9 months already carrying a sweet baby in your arms and singing lullabies. Despite all the sleepless nights, the two of you are the happiest people in the world, due to the little one who ties you even stronger. Your life gets a new sense and millions of reasons to get better day by day.

Even though your closest friends are very happy for you, everybody understands that you are estranging more and more each day and sometimes you can’t even recall the last time you have gathered together. Well, to tell the truth, you can easily figure out the main reason why some friends are avoiding you: they don’t have children yet. Therefore, probably, they think you don’t have much in common anymore. Or maybe they simply don’t want to disturb you as you are experiencing the best time in your life.

Whatever would be the reason you probably don’t want to miss your friends, do you? So invite them to start a frank talk on this issue. Just tell them how happy you are. Explain that the fact that you got married and became a mother/father doesn’t change anything in your friendship. All of you are simply following a newstep in a mature life. Encourage them to arrange their lives as well, to build a family and raise a child.

Are they singles? Encourage them to meet new people, because only in this way they will be able to find their love. Are they too shy to start speaking with a girl? Nowadays, everybody knows that’s no need to waste time looking for the perfect partner in a café, club or wherever else. Online dating is a wonderful opportunity for the people which are afraid of personal contact or simply don’t have much spare time.

Find out the list of the best dating sites for them where many women are looking for men and vice versa. Using the websites settings they can even try the matching system, which will help them meet singles sharing the same interests and tastes as they do. Finding a trustful dating website is already a half of success. So go along! Good luck in building your friends’ happiness.


I Finally Did It. Because Mommy Needs To Grow Too.

When I started my first pregnancy/parenting blog five years ago, TiredOfBeingPregnant.com, it was so I could vent about my pregnancy woes and fears. For some reason, I wasn't always comfortable talking about hemorrhoids and stretch marks with my husband, but when I came to strangers, I was all about sharing.

When I delivered my son, a few of the readers from TOBP reached out and said please don't stop writing! That's how this blog, First Time Mom and Dad, was born. I honestly had no idea that mommy bloggers existed when I started the blog. So imagine my surprise when I realized there were nine million mom bloggers! Or, 9 million mom blogs had been registered by the time I registered mine. So pretty much, I was 9,000,001. Hence the name First Time Mom and Dad, I didn't know I was supposed to come up with a funny name. I just went with what were were, first timers!

Still I love blogging. I also love love love my community and the wonderful friends I've made. Even though I knew I was a very, very small fish in a very, very, very large pond, it didn't matter, I had an awesome community that encouraged me to keep writing.

Now that I've been a mommy blogger for nearly four years, I'm ready for change. I'm ready to be more me and less mommy.  You know, go from 90% mommy and 10% me to closer to a 80/20 split. (I like to start with small goals). I'm ready to grow, learn and push myself.  I'm ready switch gears from all-day-every-day mommy, to mommy, me and more!

Long story short, I want to write about lifestyle things, not just mommy things.


All I Want On Christmas Morning Is This. First.

**I've partnered with Door County Coffee To talk about the one thing I have to have on Christmas Morning, and remind you that you probably will want the same! All opinions are my own

Somewhere between sixteen and having a child, I lost my child-like love for Christmas. I hate to say it, by my late-twenties, Christmas became an expensive holiday, that left me broke and tired.

Terrible. I know.

However, now that I have a little three year old running around, I cannot wait for Christmas! I'm so excited about the holiday season.


The Top Ten Websites For Finding Holiday Steals and Deals

(This post is 100% all me! not sponsored. at all. I use every single one of these sites to save year round!)

Prior to having a child, FTD and I would put off holiday shopping until last minute. We'd find ourselves at Target on Christmas Eve trying to talk ourselves into giving everyone a pair of footie pajamas. Now, thanks to online shopping and next day delivery, we get to do that from the comfort of our couch. #Score

Since I keep insisting to FTD that I'm an online shopping queen, I thought I would prove my worth by sharing the best holiday shopping websites for scoring great deals! Not one of them knew they were on this list prior to being published. I really believe in this list and the HUNDREDS it WILL save you! I shop at these sites.

Without further ado, The 10 Best Websites For Holiday Steals And Deals


Damn You, Halloween, You've Turned My Kid Into A Crazy Person

This was his first taste of Halloween, his Pre-K Halloween party haul. 

 And a big thank you to the mom who threw in the Apple. You've got my heart.

I am so over Halloween candy, if I never see it again, it will be too soon. My kid is so freaking candy obsessed. I'm seriously considering getting his head checked. 

Mommy! Mommy!  Pleeeeeeeeeaaaase can I have the Pumpkin? Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaassssse!


We keep the Halloween candy on top of the refrigerator in a big plastic Pumpkin. Like the one kid's use to trick-or-treat. 

All damn day long, my kid stands at the foot of the refrigerator begging and pleaded for his precious. He cycles through empty promises of being good, begging, bargaining, crying, full-on tantrums and guilt trips. His dedication and creativity are commendable. 

This 3-in-1 Baby Chair Should Be On Every New Parent Wish List

** I wrote this review/blog post while participating in the Ingenuity Blogger Campaign and received monetary compensation and/or free products to facilitate my review.  Views and opinions are my own.

Like everything FTD and I review on the blog that requires assembly, FTD was tasked with assembling the SmartClean Trio 3-in-1 High ChairOnce together, it’s his job to test the product’s structure and strength, for the review process. (Yes, he totally tried to sit in it!)

But things didn’t go as they usually do. Not even close…


Want A Happy Baby? Give Him Happy Feet!

**I've partnered With Happy Feet Happy Baby to talk about the importance of great shoes and socks for little feet.  

My maternal Grandmother was one of my best friends. She was a sassy lady who knew what she wanted. She loved good food, fashion and times, and never missed a chance to take me off to indulge in one or all of her favorite things.

When my mother moved my siblings and I out of Miami, I still went back to visit my grandmother every summer for a few weeks. Upon my arrival we always did the same thing; we went straight to the mall for a new pair of shoes. Gammy always said, "Honey, a great pair of shoes are essential for your growing feet." We only looked for shoes that fit her two main criteria, "looked as fabulous as they were made."

To this day, everytime I buy a pair of shoes, I think of my grandmother. I employ her same reasoning about the importance of shoes being well made when shopping for my son.


I Want To Be Like That Mom. Fearless.

I say it all the time, being a parent is hard. Very Hard. It doesn't matter if you are a first-timer or been-there-done-that parent of multiples, being a parent is hard, demanding and requires a great deal of selflessness.

However, there does seem to be one thing that separates the first-time parents from the parents of multiples, constant fear.

Sometimes, I think I am the most neurotic, over-protective, paranoid parent on the planet. Then, FTD swoops in Helicopter-parent style and proves me wrong.

Being a parent means being responsible for another life. That's freaking scary enough! Then add in a love that is so intense, amazing and truly unexplainable, and you've got the recipe for staggering amounts of fear.

I worry non-stop about my kid. Even though I try not to be a helicopter-parent, I watch him like a hawk. Especially, when we are out at a social event, party, park, or really anywhere where I can make up a horrifying scenario of how he can break something, get hurt or lost.

The worst part is that the fear and paranoia constantly stand in the way of me fully relaxing and enjoying myself when out with the kid.

It sucks.

It's in these moments I see how the fear separates me, the first-timer, from the been-there-done-that parent.


New Parents, Use THIS For Your Holiday List

**I've partnered with My Registry to share an awesome idea for Holiday Gift Lists.
Being that my little guy was born the first week of February, my entire Holiday wish list was things for him. So when anyone would ask, I would point them to my baby registry for gift ideas. It wasn't until I partnered with My Registry, did it occur to me that I should still have a holiday and birthday registry for my son.


10 Lessons Learned (The Hard Way!) About Having A Kid In Pre-K.

Now that my little guy has been attending pre-K for nine solid weeks, I think it's time for an update about Pre-K life.

I'm pleased to say, after about three weeks, Ollie fell into the routine of school really well. He LOVES his teachers, and they love him.

When it comes to him adjusting to school life, he's been a champ. As for me... not so much.