Top 3 Money-Saving Apps

The holidays are almost here!

I have so many fun gift ideas and can’t wait to knock out my shopping list! But (like most people) I’m also trying to save money where I can …

Apps are the perfect way to do it - and there are actually a ton out there! I’d love to use them all but honestly, who has time for that?! Instead, I stick to my 3 favorites: Ibotta, Walmart Mobile, and Ebates. (Wait!!! Keep scrolling to access my referral codes and we’ll *both* get EXTRA CASH BACK when you sign up!)

They’re easy to use, don’t take a lot of time, and actually give cash/store credit back for every single purchase. And the best part? They’re all completely FREE! Just download them to your phone to get started :)


Ebates is BY FAR my favorite money-saving app. Participating stores offer a percentage cash back on all purchases made through the app. For example, today Amazon is offering 5% cash back - but I’ve seen it as high as 20%! I’ve been using Ebates for two years every time I shop online. Every few months, I get a check in the mail with my cash back (sometimes $50+) - it’s that simple!



The Walmart Mobile App offers a lot of fun features but my favorite is the Savings Catcher! Just scan your receipt within 3 days of making a purchase. If a local retailer has a lower price advertised for any of your items, Walmart will refund you the difference on an e-giftcard … GENIUS!!



Ibotta is the first money-saving app I ever downloaded. It’s a great way to earn cash back on things you already buy (like groceries, apparel, etc) and you’d be surprised how much that cash adds up!

Use referral code QCIONMC and we’ll *both* get extra cash back when you sign up!!

Whats your favorite app for saving money? If you have other suggestions, I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

With love,


Earn Cash Back.jpg

6 Tips for When You're Feeling Overwhelmed

It makes me laugh writing this post because I get overwhelmed all. the. time. Some days I’m at a breaking point and it’s not even lunchtime yet!

As a stay-at-home mom, somebody always needs something from me. I’m changing diapers, picking up toys, making meals, doing the zillionth load of laundry, giving baths and wiping tears, scrubbing spit-up out of the carpet … I’m also trying to run a blog, be a good wife, and find time to eat something/wash my hair every now and then. And that’s just the everyday stuff on my list!


I’m not sharing this post because I never feel overwhelmed. I’m sharing it because there are things that help on those *really* hard days - and sometimes I’m just too stressed out in the moment to remember them. I’m hoping it will help me to write them down - and maybe it’ll help you, too :) Here goes:

Give yourself a Time Out

Even adults need to regroup sometimes. Take a minute to clear your head and put things into perspective. Ask yourself: Is it really THAT big of a deal? Will it matter in a year, or next month, or even tomorrow? Is it worth giving up my sanity/happiness over? If not, then try to let it go.

(I had to remember this recently when Luna poured milk allllllll over the coffee table. She was trying to make chocolate milk by herself and my brain was just like “noooooo!” Then I realized that a) it was an accident, b) she’s becoming more independent which is a GOOD thing and c) it really wasn’t that big of a deal. So instead of freaking out like a crazy person I gave her a high five … and a wet paper towel to clean up the mess!)

Cut your To Do List in half

Realistically, it’s not all getting done today anyway. Focus on tasks that are really urgent/important and leave the rest until tomorrow. Or cross things off altogether. Am I ever going to shampoo all the carpets in my house? Probably not, which is why it isn’t on my list anymore :)

Do a quick clean

Take 10 minutes to straighten your house, wash dishes, and toss in a load of laundry. *Everyone* functions better in a clean space.

Focus on things you can control

There are some things you just can’t change no matter how much you try. Take them out of the equation … then focus your efforts on the things you can control. You’ll feel a lot less helpless and a lot more confident in your own ability to get things done.

Ask for help

I’m convinced that 95% of the times I’ve felt overwhelmed could have been avoided by asking for help. Trust me, I *know* it’s hard. But you’re not an island - you can’t do everything on your own all the time. So accept help when it’s offered and ask for it when you need to!

Learn to say “No”

If you really don’t have the time or energy, give yourself permission to say “no”. In the end, you don’t actually have to do all the things. Just the ones that really matter.


With love,


Feeling overwhelmed(1).jpg

Cozy Fall Fashion for Toddler Girls

It finally feels like fall around here!

It’s crazy how fast it happened. One day we were running around in shorts and tees and the next it was practically freezing outside … which of course was the exact moment I realized I didn’t have ANY warm clothes for Luna!


Target is *usually* my go-to store for toddler clothes. Even though it’s an hour away, I packed up the kids and we headed in that direction. But for some reason I couldn’t find anything that I loved there. Maybe it’s because Lu was really energetic by that point - she kept grabbing things off racks saying “this is SO cute!” faster than I could get them back on!


Thankfully, Old Navy was only a few miles away … and their selection was a lot more my style! I loved how all the clothes coordinated without being too matchy matchy.

BUT … I forgot that Old Navy doesn’t have carts, ugh! So while Luna had the best time running through the racks, I was stuck lugging Stella around in her infant car seat which was definitely a mom fail moment. I actually overheard (not one) but TWO other moms telling their toddlers how good they were being after passing us! I felt like such a bad mom in that moment. It’s funny now but I wish those moms had been a little nicer. I mean, we’ve ALL had days like that, right?! Where our toddlers are out of control but we *really* need to get things done? But it also reminded me that kindness is everything. So if you see a mama looking way in over her head, I hope you’ll offer to help her out - I know I will!


Anyway, we walked away with a few cute pieces and then I ordered more online (I got an extra EIGHT PERCENT cash back using the Ebates app!!). We’ve already gotten SO many compliments on her new looks - now it has me thinking that I need to snag a few things for myself from there!


What are your favorite places to shop for toddler clothes? Or for yourself?! Leave me some recommendations in the comments!

With love,


P.S. Shop the looks here!:

fall fashion for toddler girls.jpg

Paint Therapy with Luna

Life’s been a little messy lately …

Too many tantrums and tears. Not enough sleep. And a house that’s impossible to keep clean no matter how hard I try (and I really do try!).

I feel like I’m constantly fussing at Luna. I worry that I’m not giving Stella enough attention. And I’m pretty sure Kris thinks we’re all crazy when he comes home and both kids are crying. (Whyyyyy do they always have meltdowns at the exact same time?!)

All my plants are dying and I’m like, I get it. I’m floundering over here, too.

It’s soooo easy to get bogged down with things. But recently I started thinking, maybe it really isn’t. Maybe it’s just me. Maybe all those little things (the everlasting pile of laundry, the dishwasher that needs to be unloaded, the toys scattered all across the floor, the poor dead plants) aren’t all that bad. They’re just proof of life. Proof that our home is filled with good food and (mostly) happy kids and a whollllle lot of love.

Maybe it’s a mess sometimes, and frustrating, and overwhelming.

But maybe there’s magic in the messes, too.


Speaking of messes:

I started a new project with Luna the other day! I tossed a drop cloth on the floor and gathered up my paint supplies … canvas, brushes, and all our favorite colored pants.


Then we got to work.

We sat side-by-side, her smearing the paint with her little hands, me scraping and blending with whatever tools I could find. For the first time in weeks, I felt myself relaxing. It was like coming up for air after being underwater too long. And it felt really, really good.

Painting Together.jpg

It’s been a few days and I’ve seen a shift in Luna’s moods, too. Less tantrums, more hugs. And a lot less tears (from both of us). Sometimes she’ll stop painting, kiss me on the lips, and say Thank you SO much mommy. And you guys, it’s the best. I’ve missed my happy big kid and it feels sooo good to have her back.


As for the painting, it’s a lot like my life: a work in progress.

Sometimes I love it, sometimes it’s crazy.

But if it looks a little off today, it’s okay. We can always add new colors and layers tomorrow. We have the power to change what we’ve done, to forget all about our mistakes and move on.


And that’s what I really love about painting with Lu … if we mess up, it’s okay. It doesn’t have to look perfect, not even close. And if we get it all wrong today, there’s always tomorrow to make it right.


With love,


P.S. Want to make this project at home? Here are a few tips:

First, buy a BIG canvas … it’s more fun! And a drop cloth because toddlers are soooo messy. We used acrylic paints but I actually recommend washable paints for little hands.

If you really want a beautiful, cohesive piece to hang on your wall, pick out the paints yourself. I chose a handful of colors that Luna loves AND compliment each other. White is the perfect base color because it goes well with most things and blends easily. If your toddler wants to use colors that don’t compliment each other, that’s totally okay - just use a different canvas for those colors :)

Also, you may want to stick to 2-3 paints per session. Mixing 5 or 6 colors at the same time will almost always create brown. So grab the white paint and then let your toddler choose the other 2 or 3 colors … she’ll get to make the decisions and you’ll get a beautiful piece of artwork!

Last but not least - have fun!!!!!

Stella's Birth Story

Our sweet Stella Claire arrived on June 28th at 6:47 a.m. 

It's been a little over a month and we're so in love!  Stella is a happy little sleepyhead and so easygoing.  I could spend my whole day kissing her squishy face :)


I'm excited to share her birth story because it's a really happy one.  Not just because of Stella - although she's obviously the best part! - but because it went better than I ever could have hoped.  Every time I think back to that day, I'm filled with joy and gratitude.  It was one of the best experiences of my whole life.

It was also incredibly painful - but I'll get to that later!

To Epidural or Not to Epidural

I didn't have a birth plan for Stella.  My number one priority was a healthy delivery. But if I'm completely honest, I *really* hoped for a natural childbirth. 

It's not that I'm against epidurals - I had one when Luna was born! But so many things went wrong. Afterwerwards, I felt a lot of guilt about my decision to accept the epidural. It felt like I had risked my baby’s life for my own benefit. Maybe that was the wrong way to think about it. Epidurals help so many people! And I’m not judging anyone for accepting one. But at the end of the day there are risks and I spent a lot of time worrying that something would go wrong again.

On the other hand, it’s scary to think about giving birth without meds! Which is why I didn't really have a plan.  All I could do was labor at home as long as possible and deal with the epidural dilemma once I got to the hospital.

The Final Weeks

Throughout my pregnancy, I was *sure* I'd go into labor early.  All the signs were there!  And Stella was measuring small which put me at risk for preterm delivery.  But as my due date approached, I started getting anxious.  Nothing was happening!  And all the signs that had been there were suddenly gone. 

At my last appointment, my doctor only confirmed my fears. Even though I was 3 centimeters dilated and almost completely effaced, I hadn't progressed at all in over two weeks.  For the first time, he mentioned the possibility of an induction.

So many things were running through my mind as I left the office that day.  I didn’t want to be induced. I knew it would increase the chances that I would need an epidural and again … I was just scared! But also …. I would do anything for our sweet babe. If the doctor said we needed to go through with it, that’s what I would do.

As it turned out, I didn't need to worry so much.  I went into labor that very night …

It was just before midnight on my due date.


Labor always starts the same for me.  I'm barely feeling anything and then I'm suddenly having contractions every 2 minutes.  Looking back, I probably should have gone to the hospital a little sooner than I did.  But even in those final hours, I still wasn't sure what to do about the epidural. 

So we waited. 

For almost six hours, I breathed and visualized my way through contractions.  I honestly had no idea what I was doing! During that time, Kris rubbed my back, talked me through the pain, and physically held me up at times.  He brought me ice water when I needed it and gently wiped the sweat from my forehead.  He was the best labor partner I could have asked for.

Except for one little thing, haha!

In the very beginning, he kept asking if we should go to the hospital.  And I honestly just wasn’t ready. I knew the second I arrived, I'd probably cave and get the epidural so I wanted to stay home as long as possible.  After the third time he mentioned the hospital, I got a little snappy with him. 

He took the hint and didn't mention it again :)

Heading to the Hospital

It was 6:00 a.m.  By that point, I was laboring in the bath tub and my whole body was shaking.  My mom had arrived to watch Luna and contractions were becoming unbearable.  Kris tentatively mentioned the hospital one last time. 

I was still worried about the epidural.  But I also knew he was right. 

It was time to go. 

I kissed Luna on the head just before we left.

Can I hit pause for a second?  I just mentioned that my mom watched Luna while we headed to the hospital.  But what I didn't mention was the fact that she drove over 3 hours in the middle of the night to be there.  I'm so grateful for her part in my birth experience.  It meant I didn't need to worry about Luna while I was giving birth.  I knew she'd be happy and healthy and taken care of.  Plus it was just really nice having my mom close by ;)

At the hospital, they offered me a wheelchair but I turned it down. It sounds crazy but I felt the same way for both of my deliveries - if I couldn’t walk into the hospital on my own, how could I ever push a baby out? So that’s what I did - I walked to Labor & Delivery, pausing every few seconds for another contraction to pass.

The door to L& D stays locked but there’s no nurse at the window. Instead, they use a security camera + intercom. Kris hit the button and told them why we were there just as I knelt down to have a contraction. The nurse was confused - she kept saying he wasn’t on the list. She thought his wife was already inside when really I was just out of view on the camera! It took a minute but someone finally came out to help him and that’s when they realized what was going on.

They led me into a small room and handed me a clipboard.  But halfway through the first form another contraction hit.  I crouched down to the floor. When I’m in pain, I try not to overreact. But also, I was in A LOT of pain by that point and the nurse could tell. “Let's get you to triage," she said.  I felt so bad - I hadn't finished a single form!

As we headed down the hallway, I joked between contractions about my low pain tolerance.  "I'm probably only 4 centimeters dilated," I told the nurses.  I didn't tell them how scared I was that it might actually be true.


If you've ever given birth, you probably know all about triage.  It's the room where they check to see how far your labor has progressed.  If you're ready to be admitted, they take you to a delivery room!  If not, they send you home.

My triage room was teeny tiny.  I could have stretched my arms out and (almost) touched both walls at the same time!

It's crazy how fast things progressed.  When we arrived, my contractions were already super painful.   Still, I could walk and talk and function somewhat normally between them.  But then there was no "between" anymore.  It was just one contraction after another after another.

There was a bathroom right next to my triage room - they sent us in so I could change into my gown before they checked me. I tried to pee but I was in so much pain by that point. I was shaking so hard I couldn’t stand anymore.

The nurse was banging on the door for us to come out. They half-carried me back to the room and I remember being crouched next to the bed. I was terrified I was going to deliver our baby on the hospital floor. And yet, the rational part of my brain still thought … there’s NO way I’m that close.

Kris lifted me onto the bed and the nurse strapped monitors around my belly.  She tried checking my cervix but I could. not. sit. still!  I was in SO much pain.  I needed to sit up, to move, to do anything to get rid of it.

Everything started collapsing around me.  I couldn't think anymore.  I knew I didn't want an epidural but I couldn't remember why.  I didn't know it at the time but I'd just entered the Transition Phase of labor. 

At that point, I really lost sight of things.  I suddenly knew with absolute certainty that I couldn't go through with a natural birth.  So less than 20minutes after arriving at the hospital, I caved.  I asked for the one thing I didn't want:  an epidural. 

And guess what?  It was TOO LATE!!

My first reaction was disbelief ... Was I really that far along?! 

And then relief ... No epidural!!  No catheters or complications or crashing baby's heartbeats.  No guilt or stress over the decision. Everything was going to be okay …

and then the fear hit.

People talk a lot about the pain of natural childbirth.  And it's true that it's incredibly painful - I've never felt anything like it. But it's also really scary!  You're about to push a BABY out of your body.  And there's not a thing you can do to stop it.

I felt completely unprepared.  I hadn't taken any classes, hadn't hired a doula, hadn't done anything useful leading up to my labor other than a few prenatal yoga videos. But it didn't matter!  I was about to give birth without an epidural whether I was ready or not.

The Delivery

It's amazing how clearly I remember all these details because by that point I was literally screaming for someone - anyone - to help me.  And then I completely lost it.  I couldn't even manage words anymore.  I was just screaming.  My hair was matted to my skin with sweat.  My body was being ripped open from the inside.  I remember wildly trying to launch myself off the end of the bed - anything to escape the pain - and being physically restrained.

There were nurses everywhere - at least three in the tiny room and four or five standing just outside.  The triage room didn't have a door - just a meager little curtain that was wide open - so I didn't have much privacy.  But there wasn't time to move to a delivery room.

The doctor rushed in.  That's when things started moving in fast forward.  He didn't hesitate.  There was a little pop and a gush as he broke my water.  Then he was looking me straight in the face.  "I need one push," he said.  "One big push and she'll be here."

So I pushed!

I've never felt more alive than in that moment.  It was the first and only time I've ever felt really connected to what it means to be a human being.  To experience something so raw and unfiltered without any barriers.  I didn't just experience the exact moment Stella made her way into the world.  I felt it.  And it's something I'll never forget.

And just like that the pain was gone.

Hello Baby

There is nothing like seeing your newborn baby for the very first time.  I don't need pictures or videos to remember those moments.  I'll forever remember seeing Luna for the first time and the same is true for Stella. 

She was messy and swollen and absolutely perfect.

The nurses were waiting for me to take her.  I remember feeling a little wide-eyed about that.  When Luna was born, she was rushed off to NICU immediately.  I didn't get to hold or touch her until she was already wiped clean and tightly swaddled. But with Stella, I was allowed to hold her right away.  They laid her on my chest while Kris cut the cord and the doctor cleaned me up. 

I closed my eyes and leaned my head back.

And I thought:

I can't believe I'm holding our little girl.  I can't believe I just gave birth without medication.  I can't believe how different it was from my first experience.  And I can't believe it's all over!

The doctor smiled.   "That was the best delivery you could ask for," he said. 

I was thinking the same thing.  



I was still in triage but things had settled down.  The curtain was closed and I was nursing Stella while Kris and I talked about what had just happened.  That's when I realized the time.  It wasn't even 7 AM yet!

"What time was Stella born?" I asked. Kris checked the card left by the nurse.  It said 6:47 a.m.

We'd been at the hospital maybe 30 minutes.


Later that day, my mom brought Luna to meet Stella for the first time.  She was excited for the present we gave her - a coloring book and markers "from baby" - but less excited about being a big sister.  It's been a work in progress since then but I think Lu is finally coming around.  We're a family of four and it feels pretty amazing :)



I've been through two very different birth experiences - one with an epidural and one without.  By far, the natural birth was more painful. It was a kind of pain I didn’t know humans were capable of surviving. But it was also worth it.  Recovery has been so much easier this time around.  And I just feel better.  I feel really, genuinely happy.

And honestly, you guys? I can’t wait to do it all over again one day :)


With love,

Lace & co.