Amazon Mom/Amazon Prime – An Honest Review

*This is an unsolicited review*

I tried out Amazon Prime through their Free Trial last March since I was already a fairly frequent Amazon shopper and I kept seeing the ads for it.  I loved it so much that we signed up and paid the $99!  Now that we are finishing up our first year, I wanted to share my review.


Why I tried Amazon Prime to begin with:

I was buying a ton of diapers (still am) and wanted a better deal.  The “Subscribe and Save” for Amazon Moms is what I wanted to use for big diaper savings (you get the exact same deals as a “Prime” or “Mom” member).  The other thing I liked – I generally shopped for things that had free shipping anyways, but the 2 day free shipping really appealed to me. There are several other Prime perks that we ended up using that really maximized our savings.

What you get for $99/year

  1. Free 2 day shipping on a TON of items, but not everything.  I have not spent a dime on shipping all year.  I also bought every single Christmas gift (except the homemade ones, of course) through Amazon Prime.
  2. Subscribe and Save benefits. You get on a set monthly shipment for diapers and other reusable items.  The more items you subscribe to for automatic shipping, the more you save.  You CAN edit this before it ships, and cancel things if you still have plenty.diaper
  3. Prime Movies and TV. (Amazon Instant Video) You can access this benefit through free apps for your phone, iPad, Kindle, and smart TV.  Free remote app for your phone and tablets also. OPTIONAL: We bought the Fire TV Stick on sale at $35.99, currently priced at $39.99. This gave us better access to the Movies and TV that is included with Prime.  Note that not ALL selections are free.  A lot of the newer movies and such have a rental fee. Avg $3.99 rental.  For us, there are so many free selections that we only actually buy a rental once every few months. *Note that you can earn credits towards free rentals and more using No Rush shipping, see #4 below*AmazonTV
  4. Selecting Free No Rush Shipping.  If you are not in a hurry, you can earn money (Amazon credits for books, music, and movies) by selecting the free No Rush shipping option on select purchases.  If I’m smart and ordering gifts and such ahead of time, this is a great way to earn credits for music, books, and movies that you want to listen to/read/watch.
  5. Prime Books on Kindle. I LOVE to read, and I read 5-10 books a month. There are 800,000 titles you can borrow on the Kindle for free.  However, this only works on the actual Kindle, not with the app.
  6. Photo cloud storage. I have used Snapfish for online storage and photo printing for years, but have gradually been migrating to Amazon photo storage also. The app is good, it’s included free with my Prime, and I can access it on my TV and be really cute and have an album rolling on screen with the grandparents over. 🙂
  7. Prime Music. Again been migrating over and using this a lot. I have the app (free again) on my phone and can get tons and tons of music included in the Prime membership.  Cuts your iTunes bill! I use this app on my TV also, and have music playing while I do house chores, or classical while the baby sleeps. Choosing No Rush shipping can get you credits here too, since not every album is free this can be handy.

    I have eclectic tastes...
    I have eclectic tastes…
  8. Discounts, Deals, and Coupons.  Lots of options here.  As you are shopping you will see some items marked with “exclusive Prime member pricing.” This can save you little extras like 5-10% here and there on clothes, $1.00 off coupons (like on my new toothbrush), and special deals you’ll see upon sign in.  These I don’t shop for, I just use if it is something I was buying anyway.  This way I don’t spend more money buying what they advertise! I just take the opportunity to save on purchases I was already going to make.
  9. Prime Pantry. This is the only option I have not used (yet).  You can get credits using No Rush shipping for the Pantry too.  So far, the deals I have seen here are pretty comparable or often above the price of my grocery store. So, I stick with my grocery and use my coupons at the store. Example for today’s prices: Lays potato chips are $3.50 for the party size bag, if I buy 3 of the same size bag at Kroger with my Plus card I get them for $1.77 a bag.  A 12 pack of Coke today on Pantry is $4.68, but buy 3 packs at Kroger and get them $3.00 each. Now for convenience, you may like this feature.  Please let me know in the comments if you’ve used Prime Pantry and what you think!

My Savings for 2015:

  1. Shipping – I’m not even going to count this as a dollar amount since I almost always bought items with free shipping anyway, but I’m giving MAJOR points for convenience on the 2 day shipping.
  2. Subscribe and Save – Diapers, gotta have them (unless you like cloth, and I don’t). This is based off of my actual purchases of 1152 diapers in a 12 months period (GASP! That’s an = number of actual diaper changes. mostly done by me!!!) I started with Luvs and switched to Huggies about half way through the year due to leakages. I use a LOT of store brands with other things but with diapers I need the good ones. Prices increased with size and the brand swap, but I paid from $0.13/per diaper with the smaller size Luzs to my current $0.18/per diaper with the size 4 Huggies (I also clipped a Prime coupon and saved $1.00 when I switched). I spent a total of $175.68 in a year using Subscribe and Save.  If I bought the same brands, same sizes at Target I would have paid $211.46.  I also purchased my diaper pail refills here for an additional $8.50 savings for the year. You could definitely save more here, if you need more items on auto ship, I just didn’t.  I still saved $45.28 here!
  3. Prime Movies and TV – Here’s where we saved big. We were paying for satellite and the streaming only plan on Netflix.  There are SO MANY free TV series, movies, shows on Amazon that we shut off both our satellite TV ($79/mo) AND Netflix ($7.99/month).  I won’t lie, this was an adjustment for both my 10 year old daughter and my husband who loved his History channel. After a couple of months they were both very happy with the change.  Although you do have the option of purchasing full seasons of shows from the History channel and others for around $12.99, we never did.  My husband instead subscribed to a few good YouTube channels and he really enjoys that. You can get the YouTube app through the Fire TV Stick or your Smart TV. My daughter was very happy with her new Prime show selections, and I like them a LOT better also.  I’m finding better tween shows with good morals here.  Also great PBS shows for the toddler when (you know we all do it) I need him out from under me for 5 or 10…or 20 minutes.  ANYWAYS I spent $35.99 for Fire TV Stick (optional) $12.97 renting movies that weren’t Prime read: free. So, subtract what I spent on the Stick and rentals from the $948 (insert fist pump!) I saved by cutting off satellite and Netflix and  I saved $899.04 in this section!!!!
  4. No Rush Shipping savings – I didn’t use this as much as I should have, but I still managed to rack up $18.00 in credits!
  5. Books – Since I read a lot, I racked up a lot here too.  You get free borrowing on your Kindle device, which is great for my daughter, but since I read on the Kindle app on my iPad I also purchased the Kindle Unlimited subscription (optional) at $9.99/month for me to use.  Again a huge and awesome selection of books to borrow, plus one free full download each month to keep via Kindle First!  I did buy 4 books that I wanted to read that were not available to borrow spending $23.96 in book purchases.  So I spent $143.84 in the past year.  I WAS spending (eek! I did not realize this until I just added it up) a whopping $431.40 the previous year on e-books.  That’s being conservative, at 5 books a month averaging $7.99 a piece on my Nook. Some months I read more like 10. Ouch. On the bright side, $431.40 I would have spent-$143.84 I DID spend still saved me $287.56.
  6. 7. 8. & 9. above I’m not going to put a savings dollar amount on.  I spent hardly any money on music the previous year (literally, like $5) so I didn’t have a good comparable.  I also did not track my actual coupon or discount savings, so won’t make that up, but I can remember at least $3.00 in Prime Clipped Coupons.  The Pantry I mentioned that I didn’t personally use, so don’t have any savings here to report.  I can tell you that I feel I really used the music a lot, and the photo storage a little, and I liked having both!

So I spent $99 on a Prime Membership, and saved $1249.88!

That’s a NET savings of $1150.88!!!

So do I recommend purchasing Amazon Prime? Ummm, YES!

Try it out for FREE and see what you think!  Please use my link below to sign up for your trial!

Click HERE for the Amazon Prime free trial link.

Using this link is the only way I get “paid” on this review, I’m using the same link any Amazon Prime member can use to send a referral to friends.  You can do the same thing for your friends, and earn $5! Another advantage of Amazon Prime!


Menu for the Week of 2/7

Wow! Busy weekend including some fun horseback riding and cow work practice. I LOVE my Quarter Horse, Leo, he is so smart and so fun to ride.

Anyway, I didn’t get a chance to post up this week’s menu, so here it is, just a little late!

Click THIS LINK to go straight to this week’s recipe board on my Pinterest.  Everything except Sunday’s tacos are slow cooker meals!


We did tacos, just a plain taco kit people. It was easy, and my husband made them while I finished up our taxes.


Chicken Pot Pie in the Crock Pot


Crock Pot Chicken Fried Rice


Easy Beef Stroganoff with egg noodles and green beans


Crack Chicken, served on sandwich rolls and sweet potatoes. (Super easy and SUPER delicious!)


Having company – making Pork Tenderloin (my recipe!) with mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli


Broccoli Cheese Soup and if I feel up to it, I’ll make some homemade bread to go with it.  Feel free to serve up some garlic bread or yeast rolls from the freezer too!

Why I didn’t let my son “Cry It Out.”

“Is he sleeping through the night yet?”

I would innocently get asked by seemingly every person who saw my adorable infant.  Almost every time, I was likely envisioning kicking that person in the face and screaming “H*** NO HE’S NOT!” Sometimes, I admit to actually saying that out loud (without the kicking or screaming). GAH! WHY do people ask new moms that question? Like it is some right of passage and you are a bad mom if your baby isn’t sleeping for 12 hours a night.

Public Service Announcement: Infants were not created with the ability to abstain from food and/or comfort for hours at a time. It is, in fact, NATURAL and NORMAL for them to wake frequently each night. (source)

If you have ever had that moment, or are LIVING in that moment where you JUST NEED SLEEP, I feel you. What do you DO? Do you let them cry until they fall asleep, perhaps following a controlled cry it out method? Do you just shut their door, your door, and run to the other end of the house to escape? Or, do you simply and subconsciously say “he/she needs me, here I am.” Such an unbelievably difficult and personal decision for both moms and dads. Although I had moments of trying the other ways, I was in the final camp with our second child, our son. He needed me. I was there.  And I’m still there.  Here’s why.

“We cannot train our babies not to need us.  Whether it’s the middle of the day or the middle of the night, their needs are real and valid, including the simple need for human touch. A ‘trained’ baby may give up on his needs being met, but the need is still there, just not the trust.” L.R. Knost


My daughter was just a different story, she was an angel baby. My son was what we lovingly called “Difficult Baby.”  Everything with him was, and is, just plain harder.  Disclaimer: he is a sweet and loving baby and I wouldn’t change him for millions!  BUT everything from nursing to sleep to diapering and dressing him as an infant was just HARD.

News flash, Moms:  Babies can be hard to deal with and you can say, out loud, that life with them isn’t always a peach.  You don’t have to be a martyr and a saint to be a good mom!

I did a lot of research on this sleep thing.

For a good laugh, read this article on baby sleep research.

There is just so much information out there.  It is completely overwhelming.  You have friends telling you how they “sleep trained” their baby and they sleep from 6:30PM to 6:30AM exactly.  Other moms telling you to lay them down and let them cry, you’ll spoil them.  Then, the newer, more complete studies are showing us how the Cry It Out method is damaging our children psychologically.  I really studied up on this.  It hit a cord with me.  If my son is crying – and that is his ONLY way of asking for my help – what am I telling him by ignoring his request?  For me, I felt I was telling him:

  • He is unimportant to me.
  • I am too busy for him.
  • My sleep needs are more important than his comfort/cuddle/diaper/nursing needs.
Is that what I wanted to communicate to my son?  Are my sleep needs more important than his (diaper/milk/cuddle) needs?  No. I decided my needs honestly were not more important that his needs.  Especially as a breastfeeding mommy, I felt that my son had legitimate hunger and comfort needs that nursing can fulfill.  I can totally function the next day, with a good deal of caffeine, once I drag myself out of bed.  I can wake up every hour to two hours all night long and, surprisingly, get through my next day of work, household chores, and homeschooling our daughter.  Can/should my son be asked to function normally without his needs being met?  Dr. Darcia Narvaez has done a great deal of study on the subject, and writes in Psychology Today:
“The baby is absolutely dependent on caregivers for learning how to self-regulate. Responsive care—meeting the baby’s needs before he gets distressed—tunes the body and brain up for calmness. When a baby gets scared and a parent holds and comforts him, the baby builds expectations for soothing, which get integrated into the ability to self-comfort. Babies don’t self-comfort in isolation. If they are left to cry alone, they learn to shut down in face of extensive distress—stop growing, stop feeling, stop trusting.”
If I choose not to meet my son’s needs, he could “stop growing, stop feeling, stop trusting.”  The answer was pretty clear to me.  I can function with less sleep, but no, he cannot go without me coming to him when he asks for me.

If that’s not enough for you, read up on the evidence of the “external womb.” Google it.  Human infants are born developmentally deficient in comparison to other species.  Humans are not near as far along in their physical or emotional development compared to other mammal babies.  We are basically still fetuses when we are born.  We NEED 24 hour care and comfort from our mothers.

The bright side of night waking, and you responding.
  • Quiet, uninterrupted private time with mom (or dad!) and baby. This can be hard to get during the day with siblings, pets, and noise distractions.
  • Babies who wake at night may actually be smarter! (source, Item 4)
  • Soothing your child on an as needed basis as an infant can lead to greater independence later. (source)  In fact, meeting their needs promptly promotes better long term behavior and overall general health.
  • One day, your baby will stop “needing” you. Why not respond and treasure them while they do?

Look, if you used the Ferber method or Controlled Cry It Out method, or you’re just one of those blessed people with a baby that sleeps, I’m not judging you.  Like every mom we do our best and somehow our kids seem to turn out ok.  If you’re in the trenches now and are wavering, consider what I’ve written here.  Read the info from the sources, and make your very best judgement call that works for you and your family.  For me, I chose less sleep.  At 19 months I am happy to say, as of last week, we are finally sleeping through the night, most nights.  Update my mom card.  We made it.  You will too.

Dinner Menu for week of January 31st

Follow THIS Board for the Week #1 Recipes!

ALL recipes this week (as usual) are slow cooker meals!


Deep Dish Pizza and Salad


Spinach Artichoke Chicken


Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti


Potato Soup (EASY!) and Yeast Rolls I buy the frozen Kroger brand rolls- be sure to set them out to rise 4 hours ahead of time!


Angel Chicken (serve on angel hair pasta) with Steamed Broccoli We think it is super tasty to mix the broccoli in with the chicken and pasta, making a great one dish meal.  The sauce from the chicken is amazing with the broccoli!


Honey Balsamic Pork Loin, Roasted Cauliflower & spinach salad


Kielbasa Sausage, Green Beans & Potatoes



Meal Planning

I have found my life is easier if I make a weekly menu.  WAY easier.

For the last year I have switched almost entirely to slow cooker meals and it is just what I needed to make dinner less of a chore.  As an infant, my son was fussy almost every evening and making dinner turned from a necessity to pure drudgery.  He cried if he wasn’t held just right, he screamed so loud I couldn’t even think of what to cook in the first place.  That’s a whole different post!  My solution was to use my crock pot to make dinner not once a week, but every night.  I put dinner in during my son’s first nap, and I cooked dinner in peace and quiet!  I have always loved my crock pot, but definitely used it more in the winter, and mainly for chili and soups and roasts.  I needed new recipes, and I needed to plan ahead.

Now, I have never been good at planning my menu.  I have always just kept all the basics and wandered the grocery aisles and picked up whatever kind of sounded good, making sure I grabbed 5-7 meals worth of meat.  Then every night I’d stand in front of the pantry and fridge wondering what exactly I thought I’d do with that ground beef.  That I didn’t thaw… Again.

Enter Pinterest. Ta DA!

I began browsing slow cooker recipes on Pinterest and pinning away whenever I got the chance.  Then, once a week before I go to the grocery I scroll through my Pinterest Board “Crock Pot Deliciousness” and make my dinner menu. Lunches, for us, are generally leftovers from the night before and I keep sandwich stuff on hand also.  For breakfast we almost always have toast, eggs (from our chickens), and fruit.  I keep a running list all week on top of my microwave with a pencil handy so I have already placed things like soap, toilet paper, bread, ect on my list and have it started.  So, I make that menu by what sounds good to me off my Pinterest board and usually alternate meat types, keeping in mind I need something easy for Wednesday nights since we get back late from church and Mondays when I usually leave early and am gone all day.  Planning ahead for the week with my weird work schedule helps A LOT.  I literally am checking my calendar while I’m planning my menu since my schedule varies week to week.  I don’t want to choose a recipe with 15 ingredients on a morning I have to be out the door at 9:30AM! (Do not judge me, 9:30 is rough! I have to get 2 kids ready that don’t move fast in the morning and take care of a ton of animals, besides get myself presentable!!).  Keeping your own schedule in mind, feel free to use my menu’s as your own!  Watch for the “easy” note and move that to your busiest day (long work day, soccer practice, game day, church, whatever!).

Click below for this week’s menu!

Week #1

I LOVE this thing!
I LOVE this thing!

Canning for Food and Fun

I like to can things. I actually enjoy it.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s a lot of work, but there is something to be said about stockpiling beautiful jars of food for your family with your own skills and magic.  Food you have grown and canned yourself also makes for a unique and thoughtful gift to share!

Stick with me on this year’s canning journey!  These posts will start back up in early summer when the garden starts producing again.

How I Make Money as a “Stay at Home Mom”

Why I want to stay home
Why I want to stay home? I don’t want to miss these moments.
First of all, let’s talk mommy choices.

I always planned on staying at home with our kids.  My husband and I discussed this before we even got married, so it was in the plan all along.  Not all moms can/want to/choose to stay at home with their kids, and that is OKAY!  We all make the best choices we can as wives and mothers, and sometimes that option is to work outside the home.  This post is for moms or wives who really desire to be at home for the family, yet need to help out with the income as well.

My husband works. Hard. A lot. He also tries hard to balance providing with spending time with the family and completing the never ending tasks of maintain a property with a 50 year old house and a lot of animals.  We do this together, and as a team I feel it’s my job to help with the income as well.  It’s a real financial need as well.  As hard as my husband works, it only covers so much of our living expenses.  I have spent the last 11 years earning a part time to full time income while spending 7 days a week with my children, so I have some experience with this.  Here are my thoughts to share on the subject.  So here we go, although I’ve done several others, my current jobs are:

  1. WIFE and MOTHER
  2. Maid (can’t avoid it when you have the job above)
  3. Part Owner and CFO for a family owned telecommunications consulting company
  4. Teaching horseback riding lessons
  5. Bookkeeper (independent consultant)
  6. Bookkeeper & Advertising for my husband’s side job company
Read more about my part time jobs on my About Me page if you’re interested in details.
Jobs #1 and #2 are REAL people! But I need paying jobs too, so jobs #3, 4 & 5 are necessary to make some much needed money. #6 I’m hoping will pay… one day. Okay #6 does pay by freeing up my husband to accomplish more actual revenue work, so I do get paid in a round about way for that too.
What can YOU do?
  • Step 1: List your skills. You are valuable!
  • Step 2: What can generate revenue from those skills?
  • Step 3: Research.
  • Step 4: Ask, seek, knock. Find that work!
Step 1 in figuring out what you can do to make extra money is to list what skills you can bring to the table.

Write them down. Did you have a career pre-children?  Do you have a college degree?  What life experiences do you have that you can share with others for a profit?

For me, I worked at a preschool during most of my time in college. I taught all ages then became an Assistant Director managing teachers, scheduling, money collections and lots of other aspects. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Business Management and was promoted to Co-Director at the preschool.  My dad retired from a career in telecommunications and opened his own consulting company, I bought in and started doing the accounting.  I’ve owned a horse boarding facility and taught lessons and trained horses, still doing my own book keeping and management.  I have even had a few direct sales jobs along the way.  Everything except the work at the preschool I have done working from home with at least one child underfoot.
Let’s take this summary and break it down for Step 2.
Business Degree = lots of management, accounting, and entrepreneurship courses
Preschool Director = people skills and management skills
Bookkeeping = I can manage and organize money, ordering, and inventory, taxes, and payroll
Life experience with horses= I can care for horses well, I can train both animals and people
What part of your list can you do from home, do with your kids along, or do part time with a sitter?
  • I can do bookkeeping from home.
  • I can teach riding lessons and take the kids along to play outside while I teach.
  • I can board a couple of horses at my home.
  • I can take in training horses (on occasion) at my home.
  • I can do bookkeeping on site for some clients with the kids at a sitter (or if you get some really great clients, take the kids along).
  • I can help my husband grow his business to make extra family money by using my bookkeeping and marketing skills.
  • I can offer in home childcare.
  • I can do direct sales.
  • I can do online reselling.
Step 3 – Research it.

Google it, Bing it.  Check with your friends on social media and see what they know.  What are people doing with those skills?  How much does it pay?

Step 4 – Ask, Seek, Knock.

I like this verse from the Bible, in Luke 11:9 (CEB)

And I tell you: Ask and you will receive. Seek and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened to you.

For me, I’m going to pray about it first.  I’m going to ask for it, I’m going to want a stay/work from home job and I’m going to set that goal.

Seek it.  This is active.  You’ve got to LOOK for work.  Look on job websites, ask friends, ask relatives. Want to clean houses?  Look for want ads out there that you can fulfill.

Knock.  Another active thing here.  It is likely that this work is not going to fall in your lap (although, on occasion it will… I once had a friend ask if I could watch their child on a regular basis and I’m like, heck yeah, I’m home anyways! This might be an option for you. Go back to RESEARCH and make sure you could do a good job at it.)  Post fliers or mention what you’re offering at your homeowner’s meeting.  Post what you’re offering on social media and ask your friends to share.  Really. Knock on those figurative (or literal) doors.  Put out ads. Make those contacts. You’ve got to actively find this work and you CAN if you try hard enough.

If you are having trouble with Step 1 and 2.  Here are some ideas you can look into.

  • Direct Sales
  • Consultant – work independently from home or part time outside the home in a field you are knowledgeable in
  • Reseller – sell other people’s things on Ebay, Etsy, etc for a commission
  • In home childcare – research local requirements and get certified
  • Teaching – applies to people or animals.  Student tutoring, music lessons, horses, dog training.
  • Medical coding and billing, data entry. Get trained and certified and then SEEK that job.
  • Crafty? Can you turn your craft into an income? Try making a few things and open a store on Etsy.  Its cheap (like $0.20 per listing) to get started with a couple of things to try and see if others are interested in buying.

Comment with your work from home job and share some ideas for other moms!

Good luck!

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