Thursday, August 3, 2017

Thoughts for Thursday: Mom Hacks

Before I became a mom, I truly had no idea about anything mom-related except how to change a diaper. I didn't know about sleep schedules, stocking a diaper bag, traveling with babies {and how much stuff is needed to do so} and most certainly didn't sing the theme song to "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse" in my sleep. 

But when I became a mom, I just learned how to do some of these things by trial and error, and with the help of some of my amazing mom friends, learned {and am still learning} some hacks to make that day-to-day craziness just a little less crazy -- and expensive. 

Here are some "Mom Hacks" I've picked up along the way: 

+ Keep a pack of cheap baby wipes by the front or back door to wipe off dirty barefoot feet before coming in the house so chalk, dirt, etc. doesn't end up on your floors. 

+ The most kid- and mom-friendly restaurant is Chick-fil-A, hands down. Not only is the food super addicting, but they practically cater to families. You can use their app to order ahead of time, and some restaurants have the Mom Valet Service which sounds absolutely amazing. But did you know you can trade your child's toy from their kid's meal in for a cup or cone of ice cream? And that you can select a special toy for children ages three and younger? One of our local Chick-fil-A's also has small containers of Cheerios for babies {and kids} to eat while they're waiting for their food. This isn't sponsored, but seriously, we just love us some Chick-fil-A.  

+ Restaurants with things for kids to do will always get my money. For example, we love a restaurant called Blue Goose because they bring little balls of dough out to kids to play with while they're waiting for their food {and a bonus that one Blue Goose location near us has a splash pad outside and we'll bring a change of clothes with us so the boys can play after we eat}. A Twisted Root location near us is basically the same: it has a big outdoor area where parents can have a drink and kids can play, and about 100 yards away is a big splash pad and playground. Other kid-friendly restaurants that we love include Chuy's {kids get a free Push Pop after their meal and our favorite location brings out dough balls for the kids to play with}; Market Street {the store near us has beer and wine on tap for parents, special kid's menus and an amazing playground outside for the kids}; and Whole Foods {same as Market Street}. 

+ Speaking of restaurants, we order our kids' food as soon as we sit down. That way, they don't have to wait forever {because my kids get hangry} and can enjoy their meal slowly and not scream and yell, bugging everyone in the establishment. 

+ And finally on the restaurant theme, there are many restaurants that offer free or reduced-price kid's meals, which is super helpful! We personally love McAlister's, as they offer $0.99 kid's meals {dine-in only} every day! Click here to see a comprehensive list of places where kids eat free or almost free. 

+ Grocery shopping with your kids? I recommend Walmart Online Grocery: you order your groceries online, select a pickup time, drive to Walmart and let them load your groceries in your car for you -- and they don't accept tips. Not having to take my kids out of the car and actually grocery shop has been life changing. But, if you are grocery shopping with your kids, there are some special perks that stores do to make it just a bit easier. Many stores in this area offer buggies {or carts or carriages or whatever you call them in your area} that are designed like cars to make kids a bit happier; mine included! Our Kroger even gives kids a free cookie at the bakery {just ask!} that they can munch on while mama shops. And, I know many grocery stores also give you a free or reduced-price smash cake for your child's first birthday whether or not you order the regular-sized cake with them. 

+ I have been stuck in a jam and have had to go to Sam's Club and/or Costco around lunchtime and as I mentioned before, my kids get HANGRY. {Seriously, they're like the epitome of those Snickers commercials: "You're not you when you're hungry."} So, I've totally had to let me kids have the free samples from Sam's Club as a little "appetizer" to hold them over until we got home for lunch. My local Sam's Club serves samples from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. ;) And, if you're a Business or Preferred Club Member at Sam's Club, the doors open at 7 a.m.! We have a free Sam's membership thanks to Brandon's company, and let me tell you what, there's nothing better than getting your errands run before Knox's morning nap! 

+ We love to go to museums, the zoo, and basically just anywhere that's not our house...but that can get expensive quickly. One thing that has really helped us is to ask for a zoo or museum membership for the boys for Christmas. Honestly, the last thing my kids need is more stuff, and we love that they'll have experiences over things. But, something else that's neat is that Bank of America has a "Museums on Us" program where, if you present your Bank of America or Merrill Lynch credit or debit card and picture ID on the first full weekend of every month for one free general admission to many museums in your area! This has saved us tons! Click here to view the participating museums in your area. 

+ Many places will offer a "kid's size" if you just ask! I used to just ask {and pay for} a small for Walker, but many places will give you a kid's size scoop of ice cream, a kid's size smoothie, etc. Not only is it better for them, it's usually cheaper! Just ask! 

+ Join the rewards programs! Yes, it's another card in your wallet, but the benefits are awesome! Toys 'R' Us offers double rewards (and an extra 10% off on Thursdays with their credit card); Stride Rite Rewards have earned me free shipping and a certain dollar amount off; and by just having my phone number and/or email registered, I've received a ton of store coupons to use for a dollar amount or percentage off at places like Old Navy, Carter's, Gymboree, Stride Rite, etc. 

+ And finally, there is nothing worse than being out and about with your child and having to go change their dirty diaper, only to find the restroom doesn't have a changing table or it's extremely dirty. Even in an airport, I've walked into the bathroom and they don't have a changing table and I've had to change Knox on the ground; yuck! I mean, really?! So, it's always nice to not only have a changing table in a bathroom, but areas that have changing areas/nursing areas/bottle feeding areas, etc. As a PSA to all moms everywhere: Nordstrom has the best bathrooms, hands down. There's the bathrooms {with a changing area and a sink in the stall with you}, as well as a Mother's Room for changing baby's diaper, pumping, feeding, hand washing, etc. It's dimly lit, has comfy couches and chairs and plugs. Thank you, Nordstrom

Fellow mamas, do y'all have any Mom Hacks to share, too?! Enlighten me!

Linking up with Annie, Natalie and Julie


  1. such good hacks! Love the idea of keeping wipes by the door, my boys are always coming in with dirty feet! the restaurant suggestions are so good. We love CFA, they are the nicest! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Haha love these hacks! I definitely do the Sam's club thing too! It makes it so much easier to shop when the kids are happy and full sitting in the cart lol. Also, I didn't know you could order on the app for chick-fil-a! Good to know!

  3. These are great tips! That is so neat your Bank of America card gets you in to museums free on certain days, what's better than free?! I was a total Chickfila fan before becoming a mom but now I love them even more for all the reasons you mentioned! Maybe we need to go there for lunch today...:)

  4. Love these hacks! CFA really is just heaven sent-it is my absolute favorite place to bring the boys to eat. I love the idea of having wipes right by the door-it is SO much easier! And I seriously need a business account at Sam's..waiting for the doors to open at 9am is the worst when you have little kids!

  5. I keep wipes EVERYWHERE now including in the backseat of my car for easy clean-ups. I've noticed a lot of Zoos/Science Museums have similar programs where you get a membership and then you get in free (or at a reduced rate) at tons of museums across the country. We're going to be giving that to my daughter for Christmas!

  6. Love this! I am (im)patiently waiting for Wal-Mart to start offering grocery pick up in our area, SUCH a lifesaver! And CFA has my heart. Now I'm thinking we might need to go there for lunch... :)

  7. One of my favorite posts you've ever written!! So glad to know about all these hacks. I had no idea most of this existed!! Thankful to reap the benefits of your mom experience!

  8. Awesome tips!! Definitely logging these away. Is it bad that I get kids meals and always trade in the toy for ice cream? ;)

  9. Ooh I'll have to remember the kid sized one!

  10. I went out to lunch with a friend a few weeks ago and she has little kids and suggested CFA. They were SO helpful and accommodating!!

  11. LOVE all these tips!! I foresee many Chicfila lunches in our future ;)

  12. Omg, The Blue Goose. Something I miss REGULARLY in DC.

  13. Omg, The Blue Goose. Something I miss REGULARLY in DC.


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