If You Haven’t Tried FabKids, You Need To!

Thanks to FabKids for sending along the shirt and pants outfit for review. We purchased the dress on our own. All thoughts and opinions are my own, as always. Referral links included. 

Lots of people were excited to read my first post about FabKids (if you missed it, you can find the FabKids review here). FabKids is an affordable fashion site for boys and girls in sizes 2t-12, and joining their VIP club is, without hesitation, THE way to go. 

How It Works

At the start of the month, you will get your own boutique to shop in, styled based on your child’s preferences (though the entire collection is available to you if you want to browse outside of their recommendations). You can select 1 outfit (shirt and pants, top and skirt, dress and leggings, for example) for $29.95.

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You have until the 5th of the month to either make your selection or to simply pass for the month. Passing is hassle-free. You don’t have to call in or anything; just click a button and you will not be charged for an outfit.

If, however, you forget to deal with it between the 1st and the 5th (and they DO send you emails to remind you!), then you will be charged and since you didn’t pick out an outfit, you will have a credit on your account for an outfit to buy in the future. No biggie.

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The Deals are AWESOME

This is the really incredible thing about the site, though: while $30 is already a reasonable price for brand new, in-season clothing, they also have SWEET deals. See the dress pictured above? I bought it for $7.50 (shipped!). A friend of mine snagged an outfit for her daughter for $4.98. They have B1G1 sales frequently, and they have shoes on sale quite a bit, too. The deals are SO awesome!

If you are new to the site, then you can go through my link to get your very first outfit for just $15, and that includes shipping!

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They have such a fun variety of pieces. For our September pick, we decided to go a little wild, and went for this sparkle kitty top (the star over the eye reminds me of Jem and the Holograms!) and these wild pink heart pants. Darah adores them both, and I am pleased with how well they are holding up to wear from an active 5-year-old. Also? It’s fun to have something a little different from everyone else! :-)

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I think you’ll be really impressed with the great selection at FabKids, as well as the really awesome sales. Get yourself signed up and get ready to fall in love with hassle-free, awesome clothes for kids!

How to Get Rid of Bathroom Odors (Not That You Caused Them, or Anything…)

As always, I am sharing my own personal experience here and not attempting to diagnose or prescribe treatment for any conditions. Affiliate links may be included; I only promote what rocks my world! 

Friends, I’m writing this post out of empathy and solidarity: I bet your bathroom, at least on occasion, just kind of stinks. Now I’m SURE that you did not contribute in ANY way to this unfortunate odor. Goodness knows I didn’t! A faint scent of roses follows me wherever I go, and I’m sure the same is true for you! ;-)

But not everyone in my family is blessed with this gift. And so, every now and again our restroom area smells less-than-awesome. Our downstairs restroom is actually the worst, and that is because it is also the home of the litter box. We have two cats, and until a few weeks ago, they were using separate litter boxes. We have now got them both using the same litter box, but what that also means is that we have consolidated the smell factor. It takes pretty much no time at all for the room to smell bad. I knew I needed to put an immediate stop to it, because it was grossing me out, and making me feel genuinely sorry for anyone who tried to use that room. I’m not really down with people feeling grossed out in my house. 

So here’s what I did to combat the odors constantly without my having to constantly clean or spray down surfaces. It takes 1 second and it lasts as long as a roll of toilet paper!

how to get rid of bathroom odors

Purification is an essential oil blend from Young Living that contains lemongrass, rosemary, melaleuca, myrtle, citronella and lavandin. It absolutely excels at neutralizing odors. I’m actually already in the habit of running it once a week in my diffuser just to give the house a bit of a clean slate feel.

But now I’ve figured out how to keep smells at bay in the smelliest part of our home daily! All you need to do is put 1 drop of purification on the inside of your toilet paper roll (have you tried Marcal brand, yet? Good stuff!).

natural bathroom deodorizer

The purification is going to get right to work for you, and you should plan to add a new drop every time you get a new roll of toilet paper out (unless you go through 1 roll a month, or something, in which case you have some unique bathroom habits!).

Now, if you have a compounded problem like we do with our cat litter boxes being in this area, then you might want to also put 1 drop of purification on a cotton ball (go organic, friends! Every step counts!), and stick it in an air vent, or place it high up on a shelf where your pets or children won’t discover it.

Now breathe easy, friends!

Why Young Living?

I started my essential oils journey as a total skeptic, but after digging in, doing the research, and really using the oils, I’ve fallen in love with Young Living. Check out my story on how I got started, as well as all the other articles I have written as I have discovered more and more ways to make great use of essential oils.

If you are looking for a way to integrate natural products into your life, you will absolutely be thrilled with Young Living. I’d love to hear more about your journey and your questions, so feel free to reach out to me at stuffparentsneed@gmail.com and let me know how I can help. I was confused, at best, about essential oils, just 7 months ago, and now I can’t stop talking about them!

Natural Allergy Relief

My TV segment on natural allergy relief and Young Living

DIY Shower Disks for Congestion

Sugar and Essential Oils Scrub for Keratosis Pilaris (bumpy skin)

Essential Oils for Weight Loss

How to Get Started with Essential Oils

Use Lemon Essential Oil to Safely Remove Crayon Marks

How to Get Free Essential Oils Without Starting a Business (It’s EASY!!!)

How to Get Rid of Hiccups with Peppermint Oil

Fighting Germs with Essential Oils

How to Strengthen Brittle Nails with Essential Oils

Back-to-School Germ Relief with Thieves

The Bug That Can Blow Your House In: Are You Protected from Termites?

Special thanks to Arrow Exterminators for partnering with me to make this post possible. All thoughts, opinions, and formerly live termite colonies are my own. 

Here’s a fun statistic for all the homeowners out there: termites cause over $5 billion in structural damage every year. This is more than the damage caused by fires and storms combined. Oh, and another fun fact: most termite damage is not covered by homeowner’s insurance.

That’s awesome! And by awesome, I mean TERRIBLE!!!!! 

Let me tell you, friends, when we first became homeowners, we made MANY mistakes (for example: becoming homeowners…but I digress…). But one thing we did right from the start was to get an annual termite contract. It is a bill that I honestly don’t mind paying every year because I know my biggest investment (also my worst investment, but again, I digress..) is truly protected from termites. If termites somehow make their way to my home and cause damage, my termite company is liable because of our contract. That’s a huge chunk of relief for me!

When we moved into our home in Chattanooga, we reached out to Arrow almost immediately to get a free inspection and a quote for termite services. We were also waiting for the Environmental Protection Agency to totally re-do our yard, as our neighborhood had been declared a superfund site due to unsafe levels of lead in the ground (Yay, urban living!). Can I just tell you how impressed I was with the Arrow Exterminators representative once I shared that information with him? He actually advised me to NOT get a termite contract started just yet, because the ground being treated was about to go away, and fresh, clean, bug-free dirt would be coming in. This man could have made a sale on the spot, but he demonstrated that he was looking out for the customer’s best interest.

I knew it would be Arrow I would work with again when the time was right.

Ok, so fast forward a year and change. We had a beautiful new lawn, and frankly, termites fell off my radar. It was actually thanks to my annual bill coming in for my termite contract on our house in Memphis that my memory was triggered. But our grass and dirt was still only a year old, so I was pretty sure no problems would be found.

Probably nobody is going to be surprised to hear that when we received our free inspection from Arrow, a live colony WAS found. It had really just gotten started and hadn’t yet reached the wood, so no damage was done…YET.

Oh, and just because I thought this was cool…I was shown pictures from under my house (pictures that I could identify as really and truly being under my house) to show me exactly what was discovered. So this wasn’t a situation where I had to just blindly believe that there was an issue. I really liked that about the inspection process. I saw those termites with my own two eyes!

This time around, we opted to get a different type of termite service than the one we originally planned on doing. We decided to have Sentricon stations placed around the perimeter of our home. And just to give you a glimpse at how effective this method is, here’s a fact: The White House is protected by Sentricon stations. BAM!

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So here’s what happens when you get this system: a professional from Arrow will come out and drill very small holes in your property (and they will connect with power and gas companies beforehand to ensure safe drilling, FYI). The holes don’t go down very far, but better safe than sorry! The stations will be about 3 feet from your exterior walls, all around your house.

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Because our soil was soft, and because our house is small, the drilling and the inserting of each station into the ground took about 15 minutes. That’s it!

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I was then told that while the stations are designed to be flush with the ground, should they ever get in any way dislodged, to just contact Arrow, and they would come out and get it placed back in the ground correctly, with no charge. I was glad to hear of this service, and I was also very nervous, thinking, “Oh great! These things are probably going to pop out of the ground every time we mow the grass!”

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So, I made the decision to wait a good long while before doing this write up, just to see if my suspicion was correct. It’s been a month since we’ve had these placed, and we haven’t had even the slightest issue. We’ve had our kids walk and run over them, and we’ve mowed over them, and we’ve had pouring rain and scorching heat and all that jazz. They are staying put just fine! 

Ok, so how do these stations work, and are they safe around pets and children? The stations have a bait technology inside of them that helps keep your home protected any time, and all the time. It smells and tastes AMAZING to termites, and termites, incidentally, are the only critters that are drawn to it. I thought that was a pretty cool feature. They get inside the station and begin feeding on the bait. The workers carry it back to the colony to be shared with others. And it doesn’t kill them immediately, but it does cause them to be unable to shed their skin. They must shed their skin to grow. And that, my friends, is how they die.

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Another feature of your service is that Arrow reps will come out once a year to check the traps and note signs of activity, and once a year for a full inspection. They will be able to let you know if you have headed off a potential termite infestation, and they will refill the traps. They will also check annually for any signs of live termite colonies, though in their experience, the instances of finding live termite colonies in homes with Sentricon systems are almost non-existent. Hooray!!!!

The Sentricon System gets very high marks from the EPA. I’m not really interested in re-polluting the soil that just got cleaned up! I’m also glad to know that the chemicals around my house are toxic, but only if you are termite. There are no concerns for me, my family members, or our pets.

Finally, I just have to say again how very impressed I am with Arrow’s top-notch customer service. I have yet to interact with a professional there who wasn’t highly skilled, highly knowledgeable, and genuinely excited about his work. That says a great deal to me about this company, and it is a chief reason why I will remain one of their customers.

So, if you don’t have a termite contract on your home, or if you are less-than-thrilled with the company you currently have working for you, give Arrow a call. Inspections and evaluations are totally free, and the products they offer are worth every penny! 1-888-462-7769. 

Multi-Level Marketing Companies: Why You Hate Them, and Why You Might Want to Reconsider

As always, I’m sharing my own opinions and perspective. I am not attempting to represent every MLM in the world, nor am I suggesting that every MLM has an amazing product line or a fair compensation plan for distributors. I welcome dissenting opinions, as long as they are constructive, and not destructive in spirit! 

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photo credit: TrevorLowe via photopin cc

I joined a multi-level marketing company (Young Living Essential Oils) at the beginning of February. It was probably the eighth MLM company I’d been asked to consider joining (haven’t we all been asked to join at least one???) and it was the first one I said yes to. I don’t know what the future holds, but I highly suspect it will be the only one I join, not because I think these aren’t viable business opportunities, but because just like everyone else out there, my time is limited, so I have to make careful choices about how I’m spending it.

I have had some really good conversations with several different friends of mine about the fact that I joined an MLM and their impressions of MLM companies. And I can tell you now, the only people who seemed genuinely pro-MLM were people who were already involved in one, either as business people, or as regular customers. Every other person I have talked with about the business model maintains some degree of negative sentiments, ranging from slight suspicion all the way to extreme loathing. 

After having these conversations, I took a step back and thought back to my own thoughts about MLM companies. And you know what? I also didn’t have positive feelings about them! I felt absolutely GREAT about my choice to work with Young Living, but I felt as though I needed to somewhat apologize to my customers that in order to obtain these incredible products, you had to go through a distributor and do the whole “MLM thing.”

So I thought we should just unpack some of the reasons why MLMs give us the creeps together, and then talk about some reasons why you might not want to be so scared of them, after all.

Why We Hate Multi-Level Marketing Companies

1. It is “difficult” to purchase a product. It is rare to be able to go to an MLM company website and just place items in your cart for purchase. Even if you do that, you will often be assigned to a sponsor and receive follow-up communication with them. Otherwise, you’ve got to connect with a distributor to get the information you need on how to get signed up. This is very frustrating for people who just want to get the stuff they want to try and move on without any hassle. We are an Amazon Prime loving world, so having to go through someone to get access to a product seems really outdated.

2. You feel pressure to buy. Perhaps you are being introduced to a distributor by way of a party. I have only been to 1 MLM party in my entire life where I genuinely didn’t feel pressure to make a purchase on the spot. Most of the parties I have attended end by having each guest meet one on one with the distributor to place an order. It is REALLY an awkward meeting when you don’t want to order anything. I have ordered products out of sheer guilt in this exact situation more than once.

3. You feel pressure to sell. This is one of the most unnerving points about MLM companies. All you want is to try that cookware/face wash/nail wrap that your friends have recommended to you, and somehow your request to order has been turned into an attempt by the distributor to give you a new career. What the what?!?!?!

4. The products seem more expensive than is reasonable. And once you start hearing about the fabulous “business” opportunity, you start to put two and two together. It feels like you are paying one heck of a premium so that an upline can passively rake in the dough.

These are all legitimate concerns, and ones that I until very recently shared, myself. So what caused me to feel differently? Let’s unpack what happened to cause my fears to subside.

Why You Should Reconsider

1. I fell in love with a superior product. My opinions first shifted when I started using a product line that was SO extremely impressive. Young Living oils have made a very significant difference in the overall health and wellness of my own family, and that made me not only willing, but also really excited, to share my experience with others. And seeing and hearing stories from my friends about all the ways YL oils are helping them, in addition to the amazing seed to seal guarantee that Young Living has, have made me feel more than certain that YL oils are worth far more than their cost. I cannot speak for any MLM company beside my own, but I know there are many instances where distributors can tell you from their own experience that the products they have to offer are unmatched.

2. I realized that I was paying for much more than just a product, in a good way. Young Living has made the decision not to be available at mass market retailers, but instead, through a network of distributors. They could be pouring millions upon millions of dollars into a humongous corporate structure the same way, for example, Revlon does. And they do pour millions upon millions into a structure; it just looks different. It is, instead, a network of women and men all over the world who are passionate advocates and loyal users of the products, who are available to be resources to customers and help them with their questions and concerns, every step of the way in their oil journey. They are creating meaningful work for so many people. The Revlons of the world do that, too, it just looks different. I can assure you that any time you purchase a Revlon product, you are paying for WAY more than just the product. You are paying for the thousands of employees that company has, as well as for the employees at the store where the product is being sold. By supporting an MLM, you are supporting someone you personally know (or have gotten to know), and I think that’s just incredible.

Furthermore, you should be getting MUCH more than a product when you make an MLM purchase. If you aren’t, your distributor isn’t doing his or her job, plain and simple. Your distributor is there for you as a resource, which is more than can be said for the resources you have at your disposal after buying a product through more traditional means (have you ever tried to call Amazon? OMG, it is a gray hair-inducing experience). Young Living, for example, knows that its customers are going to have questions and seek advice, and they want distributors in place to help in any way possible so that the customer doesn’t feel lost. The relationship is NOT over after the purchase has been made!

3. My team focuses on helping people, not on recruiting business people. In my MLM company, 92% of customers are not actively selling, and that’s totally fine. Furthermore, a large chunk of those who are selling are doing so very casually, which is also fine! MLM companies can be really great business opportunities for the right people. But they aren’t for everyone, nor do they need to be! They also don’t need to be the MAIN source of income for everyone who decides to go for it. That’s really up to the individual, entirely. I personally have an upline that supports, encourages, and educates. I do NOT have an upline that pushes, gives quotas, asks you to do parties, or any of that nonsense. The amount of time and effort that I choose to put into my business will be directly reflected in how I grow. And that’s up to me. I have amazing resources at my disposal, but not a soul breathing down my neck. The focus is solely on sharing our own personal experiences. And that is something I can feel really proud of; I’m never going to beg anybody to join my team. That’s just not gonna happen, and I think that more laid-back approach is becoming more commonplace, though of course, I’m sure we all have examples to the contrary!

I’d love to hear some of your thoughts about MLMs and why you might be nervous about them, or perhaps even why you have come to appreciate them and their place in the market! And if you have any questions about my own experience (again, I can only speak from the perspective of someone involved with Young Living), feel free to ask! I know many of my readers are interested in ways to earn an income from home, but there are so many scams out there that it can be really scary to know which direction to take or where to begin! You will NOT be asked to join my team by asking a question, PROMISE! :-)

 

An Easy Way to Make Date Night at Home Feel Indulgent

This post brought to you by Breyers Gelato Indulgences . All opinions are 100% mine.

Even though we are making an effort to prioritize having dates with each other, my husband and I still struggle to book a sitter and hit the town very often for fun. Part of the problem is the expense (spending $100 on a night out is shockingly easy to do, as it turns out.

But let me just keep it real: the cost of a date night is only part of the struggle. The other part is the timing of social acceptable date nights. I cannot for the life of me tell you the last time I was out at 11pm. I also can’t tell you the last time I was sitting down for dinner at 7pm. You guys, we eat at 5pm ON THE DOT at my house. The kids are in bed between 6:30-7pm. I am often asleep by 8:30. Not working my way toward the bed, friends, but working my way through a REM cycle. So when Tim and I leave the house at 6pm for a date night, we are straight up ready to be back home by 9. Yes, it’s boring, and maybe a little sad, but it’s just the season of life we are in.

SO….I’ve been realizing that we need to do a better job of capitalizing on the time between when our kids go down and when I am ready for bed. There are a lot of great date night ideas for home (and a lot of super cheesy ones, let’s just be honest), but so many of them require you to make elaborate meals or do stuff like erect a giant sheet in your backyard to watch movies on while eating a tray full of homemade chocolate treats. I mean, all of that sounds awesome unless you are the one who has to put it together. By the time I’d have something like this set up and ready to go, I’d be OVER it and just want to go to bed!

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Friends, it doesn’t have to be that hard. And just because it doesn’t take you hours to put together doesn’t mean it won’t be really fun. Take a moment to think about something you really enjoy doing together that is really low key. For us, we LOVE to watch Parenthood. So I created a SUPER easy date night at home that centered on watching a few episodes of our favorite show and indulging in yummy food that we DIDN’T have to make!

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To give the room the whole “Parenthood” vibe, all I did was string up some lights and light a few candles. This is reminescent of Camille and Zeek’s backyard. It took all of 5 minutes to do, I promise.

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While we were reading stories to the kids just before bed, I had a take and bake pizza going in the oven for us. We skipped the 5pm dinner for ourselves for a change (though not for the kids!) and had something special set aside just for us to eat. It was really fun to not have to share it, help small children eat it, or scarf it down after it was cold, as these are al normal things we have to do at dinner time. And I like the take and bake idea because you don’t even have to go pick it up. Of course, delivery would also be an option. But this was just $8.99 at a warehouse club store. It was a great value!

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I did have one surprise for Tim as part of the date, and that was the dessert tray that I had planned. I spent 0 minutes baking or otherwise preparing for this, but I knew it was going to go over VERY well!

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I purchased all 4 flavors of Breyers Gelato Indulgences for us to get to enjoy. They happened to be on sale this week at my grocery store, so this was the big splurge, at $20. And of course, we had massive amounts of leftovers, so it really was quite an excellent buy!

After we were finished with our pizza, I brought all the flavors up and it seriously felt like such a treat. I mean, just look!

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I have 3 favorite flavors (out of 4…I know…), and the one I reach for just depends on my mood. My least favorite, just to simplify things, is the Triple Chocolate, BUT you need to know that I just don’t love cold chocolate. I don’t know what’s wrong me, either. Tim and both girls go after this container of gelato like rabid dogs, so I think it is safe to say that if you like chocolate, you will love it!

Our date night at home fit us to a T, friends. We got to enjoy a show that we both genuinely love, we ate really yummy pizza and only had to turn the oven on and off to make that happen, and then we were spoiled rotten by Breyers Gelato Indulgences. These taste, in my opinion, every bit as rich and creamy as gelato you would expect to find at a specialty ice cream store. It was so fun having as much as we wanted of each flavor. I definitely recommend going the tasting route for your date night at home; such a simple way to make the evening feel in every way like a special treat.

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Do you ever do date night at home? I’d love to hear about your ideas that make for a fun evening without too much work on your part! And do you have a favorite flavor of Breyers Gelato Indulgences? If you haven’t tried it, yet, you are gonna need to get on that, friend. This stuff is LEGIT!

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