Getting Pregnant with Growing Generations

Sponsored Post

If you’re looking to grow your family but you’re having some medical difficulties, look no farther than Growing Generations. Infertility and the waiting/trying to get pregnant can be such a difficult time for you and your partner. Emotions are strong, patience is thin and all you want is a baby. Using an egg donation to have a baby is sometimes a simpler choice for your body when looking at options like using in-vitro fertilization. Growing Generations makes the process easy for your family and allows you to be picky on the characteristics your donor has. For instance, you can choose the blood type, hair color, eye color, and ethnicity. You’ll also get to see their health history along with their family medical history- because that’s important! Once the egg is retrieved, fertilized, and placed into your uterus, you can continue the pregnancy as normal. Getting pregnant doesn’t need to be difficult for your family with the help of Growing Generations. Take a look at the infographic below and don’t hesitate to contact Growing Generations with any questions! <3

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail to someone
Share this post!

The Truth about Motherhood

 

When you become pregnant, the “truth” about motherhood is almost hidden from you. Been there, done that moms don’t want to scare you with what is about to come.

You’ll never get to pee alone. I don’t care if your child is 5 days old or 5 years old. Chances are, you’ll never use the bathroom alone again. And if you try to, that’s when they’ll start getting into stuff (especially during the toddler phase) and you’ll regret not taking them with you in the first place.

You’ll survive on coffee. And wine. There are nights that you can count the hours of sleep you got on one hand. You’ll be exhausted. Coffee will be your best friend. And then when you’ve had a rough day- wine will be necessary to make it to bedtime. Might as well buy stock on both after you get that positive pregnancy test! 😉

Hello internet friends. Hanging out with friends with kids can be super hard. I love my Target dates and going to ChickFilA with other moms, but in all honesty, I get the most interaction from my internet friends. These moms are up breastfeeding when I am, they’re pulling out their hair midday just like me, and they crave adult interaction as much as I do. Sometimes the best mom friends you’ll have, are friends you’ve never actually met in person.

You’ll catch vomit in your hands, at least once. This is something that you never imagine will actually happen…. But it will. I can almost guarantee it! And if it isn’t your hands catching the vomit, it’ll be your hair. Your shirt. Your mouth. Yep- the real truth.

Prepare for the newborn pee/poop. On you. If you have a baby boy, you probably know this is coming. But if you’re having a girl- you can get peed or pooped on too! Just a word of advice: be quick. And if you plan on changing them in your bed at night, have towels nearby to throw over the mess so you can go back to sleep. Change those sheets in the morning! 😉

Babies get older…. And they turn into kids. I mean, I know we all know this will eventually happen. But I know I wasn’t really prepared for this. Give me a newborn or a toddler and I’ll rock that kind of motherhood! Give me a school-age kid with homework and preteen emotions at 6 years old- SEND HELP. Kids do not get easier as they get older. They get more independent, sure. But easier, oh heck no.

 

Motherhood is not for the weak. But let’s be honest- women are pretty badass so we get through it just fine. With wine. And cookie dough. What’s a “truth” about motherhood that comes to your mind?

 

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail to someone
Share this post!

MommyCon Review, Promo Code, and GIVEAWAY 

*Edit- Looking for the 2017 coupon code? Use the code FLUFFBUM17 for $5 off!*
For the third year in a row- I have the pleasure of being in MommyCon’s media team as a blogger. And last year, I experienced MommyCon in real life- instead of just thru the windows of the Internet! 😉 I was 34 weeks pregnant so I was hormonal but I loved having a da away from my kids and husband! I had a day for me, doing what I love! Here’s what I think about the MommyCon events…

MommyCon is freaking awesome! Where else are you going to find a bunch of parents with a mindset like you?! Cloth diapering, baby wearing, breastfeeding, co-sleeping, essential oils… The list could go on and on. Everybody is accepted. There’s no shaming or words being thrown around the mother openly breastfeeding her child. It’s like everyone is on the same team. MommyCon brings that community together and it’s literally one of the coolest things I’ve experienced.

So other than meeting people- what else is MommyCon about? Well… There are some really neat speakers. I had the pleasure of listening to Jessica from the Leaky Boob last year. And maybe it was the pregnancy hormones- but she seriously made me cry. Her words were so powerful that I just couldn’t hold them back.

   

Another person I got to see speak was Jennifer Labit, the founder and CEO of Cotton Babies. She spoke about cloth diapering- mostly how and why to start. She was a very good speaker and I was excited to meet her!

   

I had a total “fan-girl” moment when I met Jamie, the BabyGearGuy. I love following his posts on Facebook and Instagram. He’s just a really down to earth, funny guy. And he knows his stuff! He spoke on car seat safety and answered questions. My sister in law convinced me to go up to him for a picture, which I would have anyways… But I was nervous. 😂 Again, probably my pregnancy hormones.

 

 

Along with bloggers and speakers, you also get to shop. And I like shopping! There were many venders there and they were all right up my alley. Smart bottoms, Pink Lemonade Shop, Applecheeks, Tekhni- and that’s just the beginning! I was really excited to meet Sue, the owner of Pink Lemonade Shop. She also is in Ohio but is still about two hours away from me. I’m happy MommyCon allowed us to actually meet!

 

Now, the swag bag. I wouldn’t recommend going to MommyCon if you’re only going for the goodie bag. There’s so much information and other amazingness to get from this experience than just the goodie bag. But, it is an awesome perk. MommyCon has some awesome sponsors! Because I’m in the media team, some of my items are a little different  than the general admission bags, but here’s what I received:

  

And then here is what I purchased. I could have (and wanted) to purchase some additional things, but I was overwhelmed and couldn’t make a decision on what I wanted. So although I didn’t get everything I had my eye on, I’m still really happy with what I did purchase! And I LOVE my MommyCon shirt! As a matter of fact, I’ve gotten some awesome compliments on it! 😉

   

MommyCon 2015 was really neat and I’m happy that I got to experience it! But now, they’re gearing up for MommyCon 2016! Here is the schedule for this year:

  • MommyCon Atlanta- February 6th
  • MommyCon Chicago- March 5th
  • MommyCon Seattle- April 2nd
  • WEAR: Babywearing Conference (Chicago)- May 27th-May 29th
  • MommyCon Austin- June 25th
  • MommyCon DC: July 23rd
  • MommyCon OC: August 20th
  • MommyCon Orlando: September 3rd
  • MommyCon San Jose: October 29th
  • MILK: Infant Feeding Conference (Orange County)- November 11th- November 12th

 

Can’t wait to buy your ticket??? I have a coupon code for you! Use the code FLUFFBUM16 at checkout to receive $6 off your general admission ticket- not valid on VIP upgrades. This code is good for ALL MommyCon events, including WEAR and MILK!!! 🙂

IMG_7594-5

Now- enter to WIN a pair of MommyCon general admission tickets! Pick the city you would attend. Please be aware that this covers the ticket ONLY and does not include travel or hotel stay.

 

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail to someone
Share this post!

My Feeding Journeys + MiLK Conference Giveaway

img_8118

This week, #MomLifeMonday and #WinItWednesday are colliding! A huge thank you to MommyCon’s MiLK Conference for sponsoring this post and providing the tickets to giveaway!

*Before I became a mother, I had how my babies would be fed all planned. They would be breastfed for at least 6 months, until they started on solid foods. I would make their pureed baby foods and they wouldn’t eat “junk.” Little did I realize, babies don’t follow the plan.

 

Aubrey


Aubrey was our first baby, born when I was still a kid myself. I hadn’t been around breastfeeding much before becoming a mother. However, I figured it was something natural so it should work out just fine. I purchased nipple cream, a breast pump, breast pads, and a boppy pillow. I thought I was set and ready to go.

After Aubrey was born, we had a difficult start. She didn’t seem to be interested in nursing and her blood sugar was a little low. There was a point in time that she didn’t nurse for over 8 hours. After nursing again, they let us go home as long as we followed up with her doctor in a few days.

Breastfeeding was extremely painful for me. My nipples were raw. They were cracked and bleeding. I was putting Vitamin E on them plus the nipple cream. I distinctly remember, and it almost sends chills down my back now, crying when she would start crying in hunger. My poor baby wanted to eat but I didn’t want to feed her. I would cry and ask my husband, “what kind of mother doesn’t want to feed her baby?!” It was hard for us. And I decided to somehow, stick it out.

I started pumping in preparation to return to work. I had a cheap breast pump that I picked out at Target just because it went along with the bottles we picked. It did nothing for me. It would suck and suck but nothing would come out. I could nurse her just fine at this point with very little pain but I just couldn’t produce enough milk to store and to keep her satisfied. We fell into a rabbit hole and decided that we would start supplementing with formula.

The start of our formula journey was when she was 6 weeks old. I had that “plan” of just breastmilk until 6 months old so I felt a little guilty. At this point, she was half breastfed and half formula fed. Within two weeks, I was too overwhelmed as a mother at 18 years old. I needed life to be just a tad bit easier. And then she became 100% formula fed.

Looking back now- I feel like I had a strong lack of knowledge and support. I *could* have successfully nursed her until she was at least 6 months old. I *could* have nursed her until a year. I *could* have nursed her until she naturally weaned herself. Facebook Groups weren’t so much a thing when she was born and I was the first of my friends to have a baby. I had no idea what I was jumping into and thought that the most natural thing in the world would just come….. naturally. The super sore nipples could have been caused by a number of things. And I really wish I would have known to find a lactation consultant to help me ASAP. Aubrey was my first little guinea pig, if you will, on this whole being a mother thing.

 

Baileigh


Before Baileigh was born, I started doing more research on breastfeeding and how I could be more successful with the next baby. She was born 18 months after Aubrey so things were still fresh in my mind. I knew to start lathering my nipples up with cream even in the hospital. I knew that I wanted to get a freezer stash started and that I was going to have a much better pump as my sidekick. I had made all these “plans” again. Afterall, I had been there and done that. It just had to be easier the second time around, right???

Wrong. Baileigh and I had a pretty good nursing relationship from the start. She had an okay latch and it most definitely wasn’t as painful as it was with Aubrey. I had the same goal of exclusively breast milk for the first 6 months. I didn’t have to return to work as I had become a stay-at-home mom but I still wanted her to take a bottle. Three days after having her, I started pumping with a Medela manual pump. My goodness- I loved that pump. Baileigh took to the bottle so whenever we left the house, she would have a bottle of breastmilk so I wouldn’t have to nurse in public.

Here’s where I think I went wrong. I was so worried about my supply dropping like I felt like it did with Aubrey…. That I started taking a supplement to boost my milk supply. Fenugreek. I smelled like a pancake house and not in a good way. I had such a strong letdown that I started to almost choke her when she would nurse. I just had way too much milk! This little baby was only 4 weeks old and I could easily pump 10 ounces in a session. WOW, right?!

Baileigh then started having some belly issues. Well, more like spitting up issues. She had always spit-up just a little bit. But this was like, projectile vomiting. I specifically remember a middle of the night feed and I thought her head was going to spin around like a horror movie. The amount that she vomited all over the bed was WAY more than I thought she could even have in her little body.

Baileigh also had some problems gaining weight. She was so tiny and petite. At the recommendation of our pediatricians, we started adding some cereal to her breatsmilk bottles. It helped to hold the milk into her belly, but just not enough for me to feel like she was nutritionally getting the milk she needed. Those pesky formula companies…. I had formula cans in my cabinet from the free samples they sent me. They won. I couldn’t see my baby not gaining weight anymore. And I couldn’t deal with all the spit-up anymore. I also was dealing with postpartum depression and I’m sure that wasn’t helping anything.

We quit breastmilk almost cold turkey at 6 weeks. At this point, I felt like a complete failure. How could so many mothers nurse their babies for so long yet I couldn’t seem to last more than 6 weeks?! Don’t get me wrong, I’m not “bashing” formula moms at all- but this wasn’t what I had planned for my babies. This wasn’t the healthiest option I saw for them and it just wasn’t what I had wanted.

 

Jackson


Jackson James- my little game changer. Before Jackson was even conceived, I found my support groups. Knowledge, power, support, confidence, and perseverance was what was going to get me to my goal for at least one of my babies. And with him, I even edited my goal to wanting to nurse him for one year.

When Jackson was born, we clicked right away. He was a boobie monster and loved mama’s milk. I decided to wait to really pump because being a stay-at-home mom, it wasn’t necessary for a bottle. There would be a minimal amount of times that I left him and it wasn’t going to be a for awhile anyways. It was just me and him- and that was A-OK for me.

Remember how I had hoped everything would just come naturally? I was waiting for a problem to occur: cracked nipples, bad latch, drop in supply. I was just waiting. Luckily, it didn’t happen in the beginning like it had with the girls. We were smooth sailing through our journey.

Months went by and he had only had breastmilk. My first *successfully* breastfed baby. I had support from family and friends. I nursed in public. I pumped when needed, and that was it. Everything was wonderful!

And then it wasn’t. Two things happened: Jackson’s weight gain seemed to have plateaued. And I needed to pump to leave him… And my boobs decided they weren’t going to cooperate anymore. I was worried that my supply had finally dropped. I was worried that Jackson wasn’t actually getting what he needed from me anymore. I tried lactation cookies, I tried increasing my water intake, I tried fenugreek again. Nothing seemed to be working. I even tried an electric pump and that got out less than my manual! I was so frustrated.

I had family pressuring me to try formula, so I did. After all, formula companies sent me formula while I was pregnant. Wouldn’t you know that a baby at 8/9 months old wouldn’t drink formula after only having breastmilk as their milk source? Yeah- I figured that too. Lucky for me, I have some amazing friends that knew my goal and knew my struggle. I now have an amazing supply of frozen donor milk in my deep freezer for when we need it. My supply has come back enough that I don’t wonder if I’m making enough.

We are just under a month away from his first birthday. I will have nursed my baby, with a little help from donor milk and a splash of formula, for one full year. I made my goal of 6 months of just breastmilk. I know there are many women that nurse for years and years and multiple babies. And compared to them- my story seems dull and silly. But it’s a part of my motherhood journey. And accomplishing this year makes me feel, well, kind of badass. My body has successfully nourished another human being though 9 months of pregnancy and almost 12 months earthside. <3

 

 

 

MiLK Conference

The second annual MiLK Conference will be held in Costa Mesa, CA November 11-12. It will be MommyCon’s final event in 2016. MiLK is an infant feeding conference for parents and parenting professional. It’s set-up to provide not only nutritional information, but support and an educational platform for the health of children. Want to go? There’s one of two ways from here- you can purchase your tickets using my promo code FLUFFBUM16 for $5 your ticket price OR you can enter to win the rafflecoptor below and win a pair of 2-day tickets! 🙂

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail to someone
Share this post!

Meal Planning Monday #2

IMG_4988.JPG

 

This is in NO WAY a cooking blog. Most of my recipes come from other bloggers or websites because I’m not always the best cook. (Just ask my husband!) I won’t be posting the recipes, but feel free to ask about them in the comments and I’ll let you know where I got my recipe from and/or I’ll post the recipe. 🙂 Happy Meal Planning Monday!!

 

Week #2

 

Monday

Breakfast: Smoothie & Pancakes
Lunch: Mac N Cheese & Tuna
Snack: Raisins and Dried Cranberries
Dinner: Chili in the Crockpot

 

Tuesday

Breakfast: Smoothie & Scrambled Eggs
Lunch: Leftover Chili
Snack: Peanut Butter Crackers
Dinner: BLT sandwiches, Steamed Broccoli, and Garlic Parmesan Noodles

 

Wednesday

Breakfast: Smoothie & Oatmeal
Lunch: PB&J Sandwich, Banana & Carrots
Snack: Green Pepper Sticks w/ Ranch Dip
Dinner: Taco Night

 

Thursday

Breakfast: Smoothie & Eggs
Lunch: Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup
Snack: Cheese and Crackers
Dinner: Chicken & Broccoli Alfredo

 

Friday

Breakfast: Smoothie & Toast
Lunch: Mac N Cheese & Peas
Snack: Popcorn
Dinner: Pizza Night

 

Saturday

Breakfast: Eggs, Sausage, & Toast
Lunch: Leftover Pizza
Snack: Smoothie
Dinner: Fried Chicken, Mashed Potatoes and Gravy, & Green Beans

 

Sunday

Brunch: Sausage Gravy, Biscuits, Eggs, & Bacon
Snack: Smoothie
Dinner: Beef Stroganoff, Mixed Vegetables, & Crescent Rolls

 

Questions about anything? Post them in the comments below! What are some meals that you’re having this week? Share them by tagging @fluffbumbabiesmama on instagram or using the hashtag #FBBMealPlanning 🙂

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail to someone
Share this post!

Fall Fun with the Family

A few weekends ago, we went to our local fruit farm! We picked apples, looked all over the pumpkin patch for some pumpkins, and purchased some goodies from their market. It was a great day with family and we wouldn’t have spent it any other way! We went with my parents, my brother, my mamaw, and my aunt. Everyone enjoyed themselves! We ended up picking 20 pounds of apples and 4 pumpkins. Afterwards, we stopped in the market and bought some Amish noodles, pumpkin butter, apple cider, pure honey, and snacks for the kids. It was a really great, fall day! Here’s a few pictures that I took:

IMG_4227.JPGIMG_4225.JPG

IMG_4224.JPG

IMG_4226.JPG

The weekend after that, we made plans to go to our local zoo. They have a Halloween event called “Boo at the Zoo” where they give out candy to the kids dressed up in costumes. They also have little events and family friendly Halloween decorations throughout the zoo. We go every year so we can get another wear out of their costumes. Plus it’s just another excuse for some fun family time! 🙂 I didn’t take as many pictures because we were busy the whole time! We arrived around 11:30 and didn’t leave until 7:30/8ish! Because we have a membership, a trip to the zoo only lasts a few hours so this was one of the longest trips we’ve made! Everyone was exhausted by the time we got into the car!!

IMG_4275.JPG

The following week was Trick-or-Treat! Ever since I was a little girl, we always traveled 30 minutes to my mamaw and papaw’s house for trick-or-treat. She would make either beef stew or vegetable beef soup, both homemade. There’d be dessert, lots of candy, and great company surrounded by family and friends. We’ve continued the tradition as I got older and now my girls are loving it just as I always have. This year, my husband decided to casually dress as Batman and I got a Halloween sweatshirt and a witch hat. This is the first year we’ve all dressed up which made it a little more fun!

IMG_4344.JPG

This was as far as our fall festivities went this year. Our pumpkins were bad by the time we were ready to carve them and roast the seeds. This was disappointing to me and the kids, but we’ll do it next year! 🙂 I love making seasonal traditions with my family. It makes us look forward to each season as one ends. Now, we’re to continue fall with Aubrey’s 4th birthday, Thanksgiving, Black Friday shopping, and my nephews birthday! And then, we’ll be starting our winter family activities! And I can’t wait!!! <3

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail to someone
Share this post!

My Exclusively Pumping Story

I started out my pregnancy just like everyone else…confused. Perfect strangers would come up to me and ask me 100 questions about how I would raise my child. These strangers made me feel like I HAD to Breastfeed, cloth diaper, baby wear and do everything else that “the perfect parent” would do. It was completely frustrating to me but I decided to try to research as much as physically possible to make the best decision I could.

My husband and I attended Breastfeeding classes and I became increasingly confident that I could do it! My husband is one of those people who read everything the experts say and thinks we have to do it EXACTLY by the book. This is something I find incredibly annoying and incredibly beneficial. Ha Ha. Let me follow that by saying, if my husband was not so adamant and supportive of my Breastfeeding I would have given up on day one.

IMG_1668

Our daughter is the laziest baby ever. Even in the hospital, with the lactation consultants help, I struggled to get the proper latch and was in a lot of pain. We went home on a Friday and by Monday morning I was dreading feeding Myla because it hurt so bad and was so miserable. When those nosey strangers tell you that you HAVE to breastfeed they don’t tell you how incredibly hard it is. It’s like they forgot or something, I don’t know, but I’ll never forget.

This is the look I kept getting from Myla in the hospital.  "Yeah right mom, good luck getting me to eat from those things..."

This is the look I kept getting from Myla in the hospital. “Yeah right mom, good luck getting me to eat from those things…”

One morning I was feeling Myla and pulled her away to find blood all over her mouth and face. Screaming for my husband, I was thinking I somehow killed our baby, until I realized that it wasn’t her that was bleeding… It was me. I was so raw that my nipples had actually begun to bleed. It was awful. That day just so happened to be Fathers Day. I decided that as a present to my husband (and myself) that I would pump and let him feed her for the first time. I fumbled with the pump and hoped I was doing it right. For the first time, I wasn’t dreading feeding my child. She drank the bottle so well that I decided to exclusively pump from then on out.

There are many reasons some moms choose to exclusively pump for their babies. I chose to do this because traditional breastfeeding was not working for us. I was miserable, and Myla was hungry. “If mommas not happy, no one is happy.” That is the best advice I ever got and I totally agree!! There is almost no information or support for exclusively pumping mommas out there so here’s how it works!

IMG_1676

You pump just as much as you would feed your baby. At first, I pumped about an hour before she would be ready to eat. You pump, on a pressure that is comfortable until the milk stops flowing. It takes awhile at first but your body will get the hang of it. I would then pour the fresh milk in a bottle and let her chow down! She ate so much better this way, and actually started gaining weight like she was supposed to! YAY! I was blessed with “over production”, meaning I produced more milk than Myla needed so I had a wonderful stockpile in my freezer! Fresh milk only lasts a couple days in the fridge so every 3 days or so I would pour my fresh milk into the freezer safe bags with the date and lay flat in the freezer. What is great about a freezer stockpile is that when your little one starts eating cereal, you can thaw and use the milk in the cereal instead of water. Double the nutrients!

Once Myla got older and my body got used to the pumping I could go longer without pumping and not have to pump as long. I got down to as little as 3 times a day and only pump for 20 minutes or so. The downfall for all this for me was I could not go longer than a week without getting clogged ducts. If you know what these are you know how painful they are! I would spend almost an hour in the super hot shower trying to message them out so I could sleep at night. Then Myla and I got Thrush. Thrush is basically a yeast infection on your breasts and the baby’s mouth. Its terrible. So So terrible. At around 5 months I had decided that I had enough and it was becoming more of a pain. Hubby and I own our own business, so our schedules were crazy!! After attempting to pump in a moving car one too many times I knew that my lifestyle wasn’t cut out for this. Once again the thought popped into my head, “If mommas not happy, no one is happy!”

I started weaning myself off the pumping. I need to express how important it is to go as slow as possible because you can get so many infections and pain from doing it too quickly. It involved a lot of Advil and ice packs, and could never be described as fun!

Once I finally got dried up, Myla had maybe 2 weeks worth of milk left in the freezer that I continued to give her. Once I got down to about a week left I started mixing in the formula. We started out with Similiac Supplementation, which is meant for breastfed babies. This tastes the most like breast milk so it was an easy transition. At first she would drink 2 oz. of formula and 4 oz. of breast milk. Every couple of days I would up the formula and decrease the breast milk.

Myla was officially a formula baby. While part of me is mad at myself for not sticking it out, I am ultimately happy. I wish I loved breastfeeding as much as some moms do, but I hated every second of it. Formula actually improved Myla’s well being. She wasn’t going #2 any more than 2 times a month. The formula and the introduction to cereals helped her become more regular. The doctors were incredibly concerned with her bathroom habits and were on the verge of recommending some drastic measures. I could not be happier with my decision to give her formula.

DSC_2533

This is Myla now.  She just had her first birthday and could not be a happier (and more ornery) girl in the world! If you are feeling lost like I was for almost the whole first year of her life, just keep in mind you are not alone.  Also, look at the picture above.  Myla is healthy, happy and couldn’t be more perfect!  Whatever you chose to do for you and your little one is the right choice.  Either way, your baby will be happier if you are happy.  You don’t have to torture yourself to make your children happy.  They are going to be happy if you are!

If you would like to see what my ESSENTIALS for Exclusively Pumping are, you can check out this post from my personal blog, Myla Moo Review!

It has been wonderful sharing my story with the Fluff Bum crowd! Thank you so much Amanda for inviting me to do this entry!  -Jess

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail to someone
Share this post!

SodaStream Review

As part of wanting to become more eco-friendly, I wanted to start using a SodaStream maker instead of buying cans of soda or bottles of soda. I found out that not only is it better for you to make your carbonated drinks at home, but it does reduce waste from plastic bottles and aluminum cans. Here’s my SodaStream review:

20140225-212049.jpg

I received this red SodaStream maker and these syrups to make our pop and other drinks. What I really like about the actual machine is that there are no batteries and there are no plugs. This baby runs on it’s own! If you are unfamiliar with a SodaStream, there is a carbonated bottle that screw into the back of the machine. You then fill up the clear bottle with tap water or whatever water you’d prefer to use. You then screw on the clear bottle of water to the machine and press the button a few times until you hear a buzzing sound. Then you can release the bottle, unscrew it, and add whatever syrup you’d like! It’s super easy, affordable, and fast.

20140225-212810.jpg

Our favorite soda was cola, root beer, and ginger ale. I also really liked their energy drink even though I haven’t had an energy drink in years! The girls love it when we make our own pop and they’re always asking us to make some!

20140225-212628.jpg

As you can tell, they were so excited when we got it! (Maybe because they saw how excited Mommy and Daddy were too!)

20140225-213006.jpg

20140225-213042.jpg

So tell me, do you have a SodaStream maker? And if not, are you wanting one? I’ve wanted one for years! And we’re so happy that we’re finally getting to try one out and use it regularly. There’s another thing we can cross off our list at the grocery store! 😉

Please Note: I received this SodaStream Maker and the syrups in the pictures for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was made. All opinions are honest and 100% my own!!

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail to someone
Share this post!

Meal Planning

Once upon a time, I started planning my family’s meals every week. We started saving money at the grocery store from not buying extras and there was no questioning what was for dinner because it was listed on the fridge. For some odd reason, I just stopped doing it. I found we were starting to waste food, spent more money at the grocery store, and we would eat late at night. On a mission to eat better, go to sleep earlier, and save money, we I decided to start meal planning again! Here’s this week’s menu:

Monday

  • Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs, Toast & Yogurt
  • Lunch: PB&J with Carrots
  • Dinner: Hamburger Soup from The Pioneer Woman

Tuesday

  • Breakfast: Oatmeal
  • Lunch: Leftover Soup
  • Dinner: Chicken with Mustard Cream Sauce (also The Pioneer Woman), Baked Potatoes & Salad

Wednesday

  • Breakfast: Sausage Sandwich and Bananas
  • Lunch: PB&J with Grapes
  • Dinner: Roast, Potatoes & Carrots in the Crockpot

Thursday

  • Breakfast: Eggs, Toast, and Apples
  • Lunch: Mac n Cheese with Peas
  • Dinner: Lasagna, Garlic Bread, & Salad

Friday

  • Breakfast: Pancakes and Yogurt
  • Lunch: PB&J with Celery
  • Dinner: Sausage, Potato, & Kale Soup (The Pioneer Woman) with French Bread

The weekend is usually our free days. We never really know what we’re going to be doing or if we’re even going to be home. So I usually make sure we at least have the essentials in our house for weekend meals. And some weekends, we find ourselves at a family member’s house or out running errands so it’s easier to pick up dinner. We also do our weekly grocery shopping on Sunday, so we typically decide that day what we want to eat that evening. This has really worked for us as far as eating better and saving money!

Do you plan out your meals weekly?

 

 

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail to someone
Share this post!

A Big NO NO in Colder Weather!!

no coats in car seats

Just a friendly reminder: please DO NOT keep a puffy winter coat on your baby/toddler/child when putting them in a car. It is so unsafe and could cause harm if in a car crash. A few good alternatives are:

  • blanket in the car
  • allow the car to warm up before bringing baby out there
  • a light weight sweatshirt or fleece jacket
  • strapping baby in the car and then putting the coat on backwards

We have a special balnket in the car for the girls and they wear light, zip up sweatshirts. We put their heavy coats on to transport them from the house to the car, the car to the store, the car to the house, etc. but they are always taken off before strapping them into their car seat. Safety first!!

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail to someone
Share this post!

Toddlers love Juice… Mommy DOESN’T!

Most toddlers start out with 1/2 their sippy cup of juice and then the other 1/2 is water. Mix the water and juice together and you’re giving the toddler more of something to drink with less sugar. Wrong. Juice is like toddler crack. At least in our house it is. And that is exactly why we cut it out of our children’s diet.

Some of you may be thinking, “Why would you cut out juice?” “Juice isn’t harmful.” “Juice is not full of sugar.” or even, “100% Juice only is just fine!” Nope. Nope and nope. I would only buy 100% juice for my kids with no added sugar. I thought that even 1/4 of their sippy cup mixed with 3/4 cup of water would be just fine. Nope. I lived. And I sure as heck learned!My kids only wanted juice. They would refuse milk, water, everything that wasn’t juice. They were addicted. I finally got them to break the habit by switching to milk only in the mornings and after nap time (when their dad was home) they could have juice. It was like day and night. They were calm and good listeners in the morning and then someone flipped the switch after nap time. It was the juice. Even though they didn’t have much of it, that small amount of “natural” sugar got to them. They were bouncing off the walls. It wasn’t until my husband really noticed a difference one weekend that we just stopped buying it. And I’m so happy we did!

Aubrey REFUSES to drink water. Plain water is just “YUCK” in her words. This means if she wants something to drink, her go to is milk. Milk is good for you so its not a huge bad thing… but too much of anything can be bad for you. Right now, we’re figuring out how to make our own flavored water. I looked at MIO but there’s so many ingredients in it that’s just not good for you. I might as well be giving them juice! I am looking at a special pitcher that has a place for fresh fruit and it will diffuse into the water. We’re also looking at adding essential oils and stevia to a pitcher every few days to also make a flavored type of water. This is just one more thing we did to become more “natural” parents!

Something I would like to point out: I am not depriving my children of fruit juice. If we go to a relative’s house and they offer my kids juice, that’s fine. We just prefer juice to be in moderation. We had also made the decision months ago to not buy juice boxes. After seeing pictures of the Capri Suns with mold in them, we decided to not take that chance. Juice boxes are expensive anyways!! If we do offer juice in the future, it will be homemade, raw juice from an awesome juicer. We just meed to purchase one first!

Mommas that also don’t do juice, what kind of drinks do your little ones drink regularly? Any tips to help me get Aubrey to drink plain water?

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail to someone
Share this post!

Our Elf on the Shelf Today

I have been taking pictures of our elf, Lily, to show you some of our fun ideas. I wanted to wait until closer to the end of the season to share them all, but I loved today’s set-up!! Lily brought the girls one of those indoor snowball fight sets. As soon as the girls saw it, they were so excited and so thankful. Aubrey just kept saying, “Oh, thank you Lily!! Thank you sooo much!!” How cute is that?!

indoor snowball fight lily1

The girls have been playing with the “snowballs” all morning. They’re SO fun!! If you want to buy these for your little ones, click the link below! 🙂 These are perfect all winter long, not just around Christmas time!!

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail to someone
Share this post!

Reusable Snack Bags from ReUseIt

If you’re a crunchy mama, you’re probably looking at new things to try all the time that will help reduce waste in your home, save money, or will eliminate chemicals in your life. We switched to reusable baggies to mostly save money. Yes, plastic sandwich bags don’t cost a whole lot. But that price eventually adds up. Currently, my husband uses between 15 and 20 sandwich/snack baggies per week. When my kids start school, they’ll be doubling or tripling that number. I would have to buy a new box of bags every two weeks or so. And that’s ridiculous if you ask me. So after some discussion, we decided that reusable snack and sandwich bags would be the best option for our family… especially if we decide to expand our family at some point in the future. So I went to ReUseIt and looked at the different options. They have a ton of different options for a waste-free lunch. They have lunch boxes, lunch bags, snack and sandwich bags, food containers, bento boxes, napkins, utensils, cold packs and more. There are so many “steps” you can take to reduce the cost of packing lunches in your home. And ReUseIt is a great place to start. They have all these different options in a bunch of different brands. Here are the ones I chose to review:

itzy ritzy lunch bags planet wise lunch bag

I tried the Itzy Ritzy Snack Happens Mini Reusable Snack Bags (2 Pack), the Itzy Ritzy Snack Happens Reusable Snack Bag (not pictured), and the Planet Wise Reusable Sandwich Bag with Zipper. These a GREAT, QUALITY, bags. I like these bags because they come in a variety of fun prints, making it more difficult for a child to forget about them on the lunch table or accidentally throw them away. That makes these bags perfect for a kid-friendly, waste-free lunch! The zippers make it super easy for any age to open and close them without a hassle. No more pinching the ends of a plastic baggie to *hopefully* close them and pray for no leaks! These bags are leak free! I wouldn’t recommend putting an actual liquid snack or food in them… Let’s be honest here! But you can put in some fresh fruit or fresh veggies without any issues! 🙂

Are you interested in winning the ones that I received for this review?? Click HERE for a chance to win these awesome reusable bags AND a Glow Bug Cloth Diaper!!! 🙂

Please Note: I received the reusable bags mentioned from ReUseIt for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was made. All opinions are my own and 100% honest!!

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail to someone
Share this post!

Glow Bug Cloth Diaper Review & Giveaway Announcement!!

Glow Bug cloth diapers are made in China and the company is based in Canada. They are a great option if you are wanting to build a stash quickly because their diapers ONLY come in packages of 12. They do occasionally have Mini Bundles with only 4 diapers. I have found that if you are apart of a co-op, you may be able to find a group that offers them. And B/S/T groups are always a great option to find a single diaper to try before buying an entire package. Glow Bug diapers are one size pockets. They each come with two microfiber inserts that snap together and snap into the front of the pocket. The pocket is a little different because it opens at both the front AND the back. This makes stuffing the diaper a little bit easier! What really sets these diapers apart from others is the 360 degree gussets! Baileigh usually has solid poops so this doesn’t really do anything special for us. However, I believe this would be an AWESOME feature for those early, exclusively breastfed poops!!

glow bug 2 glow bug

I really like how different these diapers are. You’re not going to find a diaper similar to these and that’s really important in the cloth diapering world. These days, this diaper relates to that diaper and none of them are really unique. I don’t love every design that these diapers come in and the packages only option isn’t so buyer friendly. When you do divide the price between the items in the package, it’s an awesome deal. But you need to have that $150 to spend at that one time.

These diapers do hold a lot of pee and I believe that is greatly due to having two inserts. I have found these to be great during naptime, long car rides, running errands, etc. I also believe that this diaper would work just fine for a light wetter overnight. Here’s Bai with her classic pose for showing off her diaper:

945187_10152130395834282_387240779_n

And now it’s time… GIVEAWAY ANNOUNCEMENT!!!

Click HERE to be taken to the Christmas Giveaway page for a chance to win a Glow Bug diaper!! 🙂

Please Note: I received this Glow Bug diaper for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was made. All opinions are my own and 100% honest!!

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail to someone
Share this post!

Love with Food- A Monthly Subscription Box Review

lwf5

Love with Food is one of the many monthly subscription boxes that can introduce you to new foods conveniently. You can sign up for a specific plan that fits your needs. You can sign up for one month (1 box) or you can sign up for multiple months. (6 months/6 boxes, 12 months/12 boxes, etc.) I received the November box and this is what was in it:

  • Kukuruza Tuxedo Popcorn
  • Green & Black’s Organic Dark 70% Chocolate
  • Laura Secord Maple Fudge
  • Mighty Leaf Ginger Twist Tea
  • Eat Natural Almond, Apricot, and Yoghurt Bar
  • Dancing Deer Baking Co Rosemary Sea Salt Shortbread
  • Sensible Foods Sweet Corn Crunch
  • Arora Creations Indian Spice
  • Popchips Sweet Potato Chips

lwf3lwf4lwf2

And I def found a new favorite snack!! The Tuxedo popcorn was AMAZING and I absolutely loved the Sweet Potato Chips!! There was a great variety and I have been thinking about getting another box! If you REALLY like something, you can also purchase that item from their website. It really is a neat program. Even better? For every box they send, they donate a meal to a hungry child. So not only are you getting new and different snacks in the mail, you’re helping a good cause! Here’s How It Works direct from their website:

lwfI was very impressed with this box. I shared almost everything with the kids and hubby so I could see exactly how “family friendly” this box was. The kids enjoyed most of the different foods and hubby didn’t have a single complaint! Now, that’s pretty good! I highly recommended trying them. After all, who doesn’t love a little goodie in the mail?? 🙂

 

Please Note: I received this Love With Food box for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was made. The opinions are my own and they are 100% honest.

 

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestEmail to someone
Share this post!
%d bloggers like this: