Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Minimalist Baby registry: What you really need

So you are a new mom, maybe you have Google searched 'Must Have Baby Items' or 'Most Used Baby Items' and you have stumbled across my blog. Well, welcome!

If you are reading this before you set foot in a baby store, good for you! If this is the desperate search you are doing after the horrible overwhelming ordeal. I am sending you a hug from one mom to another.

My recommendations come from experience of having 3 kids (maybe more in the future) and my our own run ins with registry shopping, and what experience has taught me for what you REALLY need and what goes in the trash or local thrift store. (if you really want to know what NOT to get go find a local baby resale store and look at what the shelves are filled with and DON'T register for that!)

You are a new mom, registry shopping sounds so fun! When you did your wedding registry it was a blast! Now its cute lil baby stuff oh you can't wait, right? I'm here to tell you that baby stores will humble you and make you question your very ability to become a parent.
 Do you know what that whole wall of blankets do? Why so many options? Do I need a swaddle blanket? Holy cow why so many car seats? Do I value my child's life enough to buy the $500 seat? Am I a bad parent for only spending $300 on a stroller?

Yes that is a whole section of baby bottles and pumps, you ready for this? No... no you are not. 

My best advise? Bring a friend who's parenting style is similar to yours and has had a baby in the past few years and bring her along. She will help you weed out the crazy with the sane. The useful with the junk. 

Done? No... not everyone has that luxury of a close mom friend who you can shop with, so consider me your friend for the day.

Start with the big stuff:

You will be so emotional, hungry and overwhelmed at the end you will make bad decisions at the end of the day. It's better to make a bad decision on a pair of socks then a car seat. 

#1. Car Seat
You can not ride in a car in the United State with out one. You will see there are different kinds: Infant, Convertible, All in One, Combination, Booster... My favorite? Diono
You use it from Birth to Drivers Ed. 5 lbs to 120 lbs. It goes rear facing to 45-50 lbs, converts to a booster and folds in half for easy travel on a plane. Safest seat on the market and steel framed. We have 3 for our kids. Easy to clean. You want more reasons? Just ask in the comments below and I can answer them.

Yeah this is 3 Diono seats all folded and in a folding wagon being toted around the airport.

#2. Diapers

Cloth? Disposable? Pros and cons to both. For us the best was cloth, we went with prefolds and one size covers. Bought one set and it cost us around $400 and we have used it with all 3 kids. Money saving? Yes I think so. We did Seventh Generation disposables for vacations. You can't go wrong with diapers and wipes. Are there a million options? Yes! If you are going disposable decide if you are doing the normal kind or organic no dyes etc.. then just pick what your store has. Honestly you kid poops in them so the best thing you need to know is if it will keep the the poop explosions in or not. That comes with time and testing out different brands.

#3. Baby Carrier

I am not your normal 'buy infant car seat and the travel kit' mom. The one you see lugging around the big bulky infant carrier in the store, putting it either dangerously on the top or filling up the grocery part with baby car seat and no room for groceries. Why? This purely my experience. WASTE OF MONEY! The infant carrier is so small that if you use it for a year that is shocking. After spending $200 for one seat then have to turn around a buy a second seat for another $200 or more! For what? So called 'convenience'? Do you really want to carry a baby in a seat and a huge baby bag? (More reading on that can be found here)
You wish you would look this fab!
Wouldn't it be better to have your baby close to your chest, bonding and even nursing when needed? Then if you need that baby bag you have 2 arms to chose from to hold it. So baby carrier, registry must! What kind? I have tried a bunch of different kinds, Moby, slings, you name it! My favorite? Tula. Yeah yeah It's kind of a cult. But once you have one you too will be shouting "Tula in the Wild" to other baby wearing families.

It is built in such a way that the weight is evenly distributed on your back so that there is no pain! I have carried my 27lb almost 2yr old all over Disney and walked away not feeling any issues! 
We bought my hubby one too and he used it for walking all over Roatan :)  We have put the 4yr old who is 40lbs in the toddler one. He loves it! Again, no pain, no issues and free hands. Win win!

#4. Books
Reading to your child is a must! Go to the library and do the $1 or 50cent books and start building a library. Register for a ton! Can't go wrong with books.

#5 A good stroller

This is only for those that are really going to use it. We got one for baby #1 and wanted a cheap jogging stroller. Got it, good. Used it a ton! He came running with us a lot and we ended up using it quite a bit. Not everyone is like us though. If you are a runner and a mom I highly recommend getting a stroller. But unless you have season passes to Disney or live in a big city where you need it. Don't worry about the stroller and get the baby carrier instead. When baby #2 came along we invested in a Phil and Teds. Those are amazing strollers for the casual runner and the mom on the go. We loved that stroller!  I did an amazing deal where I got it for free... yes free. Read about that here.

Then after baby #3 came we realized how much we all run together as a family and how we needed a more serious running stroller. Sorry Phil and Ted's... So after some hunting a lots and lots of research we decided on a BOB stroller. LOVE IT!!!! Another fab deal I got... more on that later.


#6. Good soft blankets
I love the bamboo ones, just get like 6 of those and you are good. Trust me you will be washing a ton once the baby comes, those blankets will go in and come right back out and be used. Why get a huge stock pile? Do you really want MORE laundry then you need? The bamboo ones area great breastfeeding covers because they are breathable and baby won't sweat as much under there.

That is it!! 
"What about a crib? What about a dresser? Changing table? Baby monitor? Bottles?" I hear you... We cosleep, no crib needed. Buy them a twin mattress when they are ready for their own bed. Get a dresser off craigs list. Changing tables area waste of $$ change the baby on the bed, on the floor or the couch. You have a built in baby monitor, its called your mothers intuition. I can to this day tell when any of my kids are about to wake up. We never bottle fed so I am no help for that department sorry.

Any questions? Let me know! Would love to know your thoughts!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Before baby, life with one kid and now 3 kids later... the comparison

I was looking back at old posts from when I had our oldest son and the cute little innocent list I made of how I thought life was different ... well 3 kids later I updated that list!! ('Then' is when our oldest was 3 months old) Enjoy
Before baby:
I cut coupons and would use them when I remember.
I not only cut them, I also print them out and bought a coupon organizer! Woo hoo! And then get excited with all the money I saved.

Now: Are you kidding me? Coupons with kids? Ain't no mommy got the sanity for that! Have you tried grocery shopping with 3 kids? If I leave with what I came in there for it was a good trip, it normally ends with me throwing my credit card to the cashier begging them to check me out faster before the kids run out the door.
Before baby:
Saw cute lil babies and would just smile at them and say "how cute."
I see babies and think "he is going to be that big soon! No stay a baby!! Where is he I miss him?!" (he is attached to me in my moby wrap)

Now: I still make goo-goo eyes at babies and then hold them in one arm while I take care of my own. Can't have to much cuteness! I have issues I know...
Before baby:
I would sing along to songs and not think much of the lyrics most of the time.
I heard a song the other day and was singing it to him and cried! (What happened to me!!!!! I was never that sappy before!!)

Now: "Can't listen to that song" "Nope the kids don't need to know that word" Ok the baby stops crying for Smashing Pumpkins so we listen to that now...
Before baby:
Laundry was just a once a week thing.
The washer and I have become good friends, his name is Chuck. All day long I 'chuck' laundry into its mouth.

Now: I swear more people live in this house then I know about, how do we have that many clothes? I never stop doing laundry! Forget folding it, all it does is sit there till we need to wear it again. If it doesn't smell musty from sitting in the washer to long I reward myself with a a glass of wine at night

Before baby:
Showers were nice and relaxing.
Then: I panic when I hear the baby fuss and my showers have become energy efficient!
Now: Its a party up in here! Do you really think I need all 3 of you in the shower? Oh now your dad too? *eye roll*
Before baby:
The house would get cleaned when ever I had time or people were coming over.
Then:The house can't be clean enough! No germs and cat fur allowed near my baby!
Now: HAHAHAHA! I can't believe I said and did that! Really? I am constantly cleaning up after the tornado that is having kids. There is no end.. and it looks like I never began all at the same time.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Norwegian Cruise Vegan friendly?

 We went on a family vacation in the middle of April for 7 nights aboard the Norwegian Jade. This was not our first rodeo.. I mean cruise. We are not those 50 cruise under your belt people but we aren't new either. So this time was different for me though. The last time we did a cruise I was a vegetarian, not a vegan. Was Norwegian up for the challenge? We will see...

The first day we got on board we imminently went for lunch in the buffet area, I was impressed with the signs for 'Vegan' or 'gluten free' in all different locations. The first thing I tried was their offer of 'Veggie burgers available' so I asked. That sent the kitchen into a panic.. they were asking each other "where is it?" After a bit of a scurry they found it and made it on the grill. The taste was better then expected! You could see the vegetables in it so it wasn't a Boca burger... Thank goodness!
 So lunch buffet was a win for them and it continued to be so for the entire cruise. They had awesome Indian food every day for lunch and man was it spicy!!! Asian food one the one side was all labeled 'Vegan' so I was happy that I could freely choose and not worry.

Our little cruisers found plenty of options too, pasta bars with different sauce options (vegan also). Every morning for breakfast there was fruit, breads or all sorts, a fresh juice bar (that was extra $) and plenty for me to choose from! 
My coffee is a must in the morning so I brought my own coconut milk in case the cruise didn't have any non-dairy milk options. However I saw one day someone asking for soy milk and low and behold they had it!! So the next morning I chose a random staff member in the breakfast buffet area for soy milk. That sent a look of panic on her face as she asked someone else where it was, they motioned to the back and she left for at least 15min as I stood there looking like an orphan child with my plate of food and no where to go. Finally she returned and poured me a nice glass which I was happy to have :)
I learned that they keep it in the area where the cereal is at... no need to run to the back.. but neither one of us knew that I guess.
My final verdict? Yes Norwegian Cruise Line is vegan friendly!! Give them a try!!

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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Adult Chicken Pox how to survive and what helped

Can adults get chicken pox? Is it really worse to get them as an adult? Yes and YES!!

Since going through this horrid ordeal I realized that if adult chicken pox could be used to get the truth out of someone, man would it work!! "Anything! I'll give you anything you want just make it go away!"

 It starts off as a low fever, 101° for me, and just not feeling well for a day or 2.

Then BAM the next morning you wake up with some lovely red spots on your stomach and back. Not many, 20-30 and think to yourself "These itch, but hey it's not so bad. I bet the only difference is as a kid you can just lay around and watch TV all day but as an adult you still have a house to clean, dinner to cook and kids to take care of." So you take your 4,000mg of Vitamin C and sit in the sun and down the probiotics hoping it hurries this along.

Next day: Now they are all over your face, every uncomfortable place on your body, scalp and mouth included. You want to run away from your own skin till it passes. The pain, the itching and other overall feeling of bugs crawling on you will make a sane person go into the nut house.

That night: You CAN'T SLEEP! You lay there wondering what you did to deserve this torture, you are so tired but laying there feeling like you want to unzip you skin and run away doesn't help you relax into a peaceful slumber. You toss, then turn, then itch, then get a drink, then lay down, then start wondering when it will be morning only to realize its 11:45pm.... You beg your body to let you sleep, you start bargaining with it "What do you want? More rest on the weekend? Vegan ice cream every night?? What?! Just tell me!" "Why in the world does it feel like bugs are crawling on me? Are there bugs on me?"

To add to this all you are now an adult, so you have little humans to keep alive while you slowly die inside (or so you think). The baby wants to nurse A LOT! He thinks your stirring around means he should do the same, so you are nursing him what feels like every hour for at least 30 minutes. "Don't itch, don't do it! Oh great the baby just pulled his razor blade nails out and scratched a pox on my chest! So now he is going to get sick!" Thus begins the new dialogue for the next hour in your head imagining the whole family getting as sick as you and you never getting any better and still being the one to take care of them.

The next morning you get out of bed having never slept and look more like a horror show. You kindly remind your husband that its 'death till you part' and that if he winces again looking at you the death might come sooner for him.

The kids want breakfast. You also want to eat but realize that your throat now has a pox in it and hurts like fire when you swallow. Oh joy now there are more in your mouth too, it hurts to eat... the only comfort you had is now torture. Where is the fast forward button?

That night you get a brilliant idea. Wine, you think wine is a great idea! The comfort of that bottle of sangria, just pour a glass and relax.. ahh yes.. finally some comfort. Anything to ease the pain and torture.... "FIRE! LAVA! WHAT WAS I THINKING?!?!" Open sores in my mouth and I pour an acidic component on them? Genius idea! That lack of sleep is catching up with me.

Finally you get sleep and over the next few days start to turn a corner, some of the pox are drying up and getting a crust on the top. They don't itch anymore and those nighttime or anytime oatmeal baths have paid off. You are trying everything to get rid of them! Dr. Google continues to be your go-to for advice and by the end of this horrible experience you have a new found sympathy for others that get chicken pox as an adult. You also feel like an expert on all things chicken pox and can tell everyone what to do to help it move along. So being the new expert that I am I will share with you what worked for me.

  • 4,000mg Vitamin C daily - I took Emergen-C
  • Probiotics - anything helps to build up your gut
  • Apple Cider vinegar - it helped ease the itch and dry out the pox at the same time, use it topically
  • Nelsons: Pure & Clear Acne Treatment Gel - I used this on my face and it was great! Helps clear up the pox the fastest then anything else I tried! It is meant for the face so it was gentle yet strong
  • Oatmeal baths with baking soda and lavender - it helped with the itching and relaxed me as well
I hope it goes quickly for you!!!
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Monday, January 16, 2017

Review of Nourishing Meals Cookbook by Alissa Segersten and Tom Malterre, MS, CN

3 forks out of 5

I love a good cookbook that is meant for larger families and for those like us who eat healthy. This one didn't grab me as much as I wanted it too. Every week I would pull 5 recipes from it hoping I would love it, hoping that it would become a new favorite but it just didn't. While she appealed to my vegan family this was not a vegan book, there were a good number of recipes in there that were happily already vegan but others that I had to convert or just pass over all together. None of the recipes that I tried were a 'winner' in this house, no requests for "Please make that again!" or "Mom this is the best!" they mostly were forgotten and after a few weeks so was the book. The writer seems like someone I could be friends with, she has a large family and really wants them to eat healthy and convinces her audience that they too can be like them! For those reasons I love the heart this cookbook has. But the recipes just didn't make me want to keep coming back. So there it will sit on my shelf, I may open it from time to time looking for a recipe I forgot was in there, but over all it will just sit there.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review

Thursday, December 29, 2016

How to watch movies that are clean for the whole family

Do you enjoy watching movies with your family? Yes!
 Do you enjoy having your four-year-old repeat curse words that he heard for the first time? No...

We love being able to watch movies with our family and not be on the edge of our seats waiting to edit something out or close the kids eyes or ears. There is a fantastic company out there that we discovered and have since only watched movies on their website.


Use my link below to get 5 free movies and try them out.

You can edit the movie however you wish, no language, no nudity, no sex, no violence. Any and all of the above!

It's nice to be able to watch a move again and not have our kids learn anything they don't need to learn... If you know what I mean.

Monday, December 5, 2016

GIVEAWAY! The Good Rub products and review

Moms need some refresh time and down time, its hard to come by, I know. But we give of ourselves all day long, so that quick recharge does good for the whole family ;)

I was able to try out some great products recently and I want to share them with you!! The bath bombs from The Good Rub are exactly what a mom needs, after a nice run or a long day with the kids throw one of these bubbly friends into the bath and relax. This not only will relax those sore muscles, but will make you forget the fact your 4 year old had a melt down in Target over a piece of  used gum on the floor that wasn't his but he wanted it anyway.

After a long run you might have a new pain or sore muscles from that stretch you could do after the run because your 15 month old needed to nurse ASAP. So what to do? The Good Rub has you covered! Their Super Salvy  has a great smell and will help for other skin issues as well.

Their products are paraben free! They only use VEGAN, natural and organic ingredients. If you want to see for yourself check out their site here.

Are you ready to win some for yourself to try?? What do you need to do? Easy!

1. Follow me on Instagram
2. Like the giveaway picture
3. Follow the tag to The Good Rub's Instagram follow them
4. Tag at least 2 friends who you know would want to win as well!