SHUT THE FRONT DOOR

There’s totally a reason I’ve been so absent from blogging, Facebook, and Instagram!

Between being super busy with 3 kids, navigating a pregnancy with awful fatigue, morning sickness, and working full time. Our days and nights are going to get even a little busier this summer!

 

gonnabefour

Making Memories with American Girl

When I was little, an American Girl was always at the very top of my Christmas list. I remember getting the catalog in the mail and circling just about every single doll and accessory in the entire book. I was so excited when they first came out with the “design your own doll” that was meant to look just like you. I decided to go that route. On Christmas, after ordering through the catalog (pre internet ordering, wow!), I received my first doll which I named Chloe. That same Christmas, my best friend got Samantha who is one of the originals.

We had the best times with them and their appearance shows how much they were played with. I tried so hard to dig up old photos of my best friend and I with our dolls but came up empty handed. I know they’re around somewhere but in the non digital age, it’s so hard to find prints!  I actually have both Chloe and Samantha here at my house now and my 6 year old daughter now plays with them constantly. Funny story is I have no idea how Samantha made the trip from Michigan to Georgia. I just asked my best friend and she said “That’s where Samantha is! I lost her a long time ago.” Whoops.

IMG_4833

I love that my daughter has the same love for these dolls that I had. It is so amazing to see her playing with these girls just like I did over 20 years ago.

A few years ago, before I gave her these, she started her American Girl journey off with a Bitty Baby. She named her “Jinny Jana” when she was about 4. I have no idea where that name came from but we just went with it. Two years later, she still plays with her all the time and asks for new accessories to go with her on the regular. She mimics everything I do with her younger sister and it’s just heartwarming to watch.

bitty baby-3

Aria’s newest obsession with the American Girl collection is the Wellie Wishers. I feel like this line is the perfect step between the Bitty Baby and the full sized American Girl Dolls. Each Wellie Wisher comes with their own story and so many accessories. She has the best time using her imagination with them and creating the cutest stories and play adventures.

IMG_4800

I was hoping to be able to take my daughter to Atlanta to visit a store for her birthday this passed summer, but COVID. I can’t wait to eventually see how excited she is when it eventually happens one day. In the mean time, we’ll just keep playing at home together.

momandaria

 

I absolutely have adored watching the American Girl brand grow over the years and am so happy with where the company has ended up. There is so much diversity and truly something for every girl. Our newest addition to the American girl family is Ashyln from the Wellie Wisher collection. She’s so adorable and my daughter absolutely adores her. Any of the American Girls would make a fantastic gift this holiday season for any girls on your list! Starting the younger ones off with a Bitty Baby all the way up to your older girls with any of the full sized dolls! They are guaranteed to cherish them for a long time to come.

American girl is currently offering free shipping on all orders over $135! You can snag that offer by clicking here. Keep an eye out on their website as well because I have seen a few good sales pop up, which isn’t that often!

This post is sponsored by Sivan Social. All comments and opinions are my own.

 

#LOVEWITHBABYMAGIC

When I was pregnant with my first baby over 8 years ago now (HOW?!) one of the very first gifts I received was a bottle of Baby Magic lotion from my mom. She used it on both my brother and I as babies and truly believes every baby should smell like Baby Magic. To this day, when she visits, with every diaper change that she helps out with; she’s lathering up the baby in lotion. Baby Magic has been loved by protective parents for over 65 years and we can see why in our family!

IMG_2697

The nostalgia behind Baby Magic is just kind of an added bonus for me personally. I think, just like my mom, my favorite thing about it is the smell.  It smells so unbelievably good but is not overpowering in the slightest. All of the lotions that I have used in the line have been thin and easily absorbed into my kids skin. There is nothing worse than a slippery baby. The entire line is also free of parabens, phthalates, sulfates, and dyes so you can feel comfortable with what is going on your precious baby. It is even recommended by dermatologists for baby’s delicate skin.

IMG_2698

You’ll see in the picture above Audrey is holding the No Rinse Wash. It’s another one of my favorite products in the line. Let’s be honest, there is not always time for a bath and babies are so messy. I toss this into the diaper bag. It’s a nice foam so I just apply it to a small burp cloth and wipe her down! It leaves her clean and smelling amazing.

IMG_2705

She obviously thinks it’s a lot of fun to play with as well.

I sometimes have trouble finding specific products in store but luckily for me, everything in the Baby Magic line is available on Amazon. Last time I was out and about I was able to find the lotions at Target through so It’s not impossible!

IMG_2712

Baby Magic is also hosting a giveaway! Ten lucky winners will receive a $100 Visa Gift card from them. To enter just follow this link!

Win a $100 Visa e-gift card from Baby Magic.


Also, if you receive the ValPak mailings, check inside for another $1 off coupon!

IMG_2696

This post is sponsored by Sivan Social. All comments and opinions are my own.

100 Foods Before ONE

My unintentional blogging hiatus came in strong and hard. I went from having two kids in school to having them home for summer. Then I gave birth to  Audrey last July. Oh, and the whole global pandemic thing kind of put a wrench in things as well. It’s funny, you think being stuck at home I’d have more time, but it has somehow seemed to work opposite of that. Well blogging went onto the back burner. Over the last 7 months or so, I’ve gathered up so many content ideas. Over the 6 months, I’ve been doing a lot of research and development into this post. AKA, Baby Led Weaning. It was going to be so hard to feed 3 little people, plus myself if I was doing baby food. I decided and talked to our pediatrician about Baby Led Weaning and go the green light at 6 months. From that day forward, she was / is basically eating everything we eat; some unhealthy snacks she probably shouldn’t have as well.

Etsy Shop Icon

Please note that this list is just from our personal experiences. While I’m sure some of the following items aren’t recommended or are taboo to feed babies, you do you. Check with your pediatrician if you have any specific questions on how to feed after 6 months.

100Before1

It’s a pretty random list but that’s usually how it goes around here! I still laugh that my baby has tried Ox Tail and I have not. There were quite a few things that ended up not being added to the list that I just forgot to add to my note, like scallops and shrimp! It was a ton of fun to watch her try new things and I’m so glad we did this! She’s such a great eater. Although I’m not sure this really has anything to do with the variety of foods she was introduced too.

DSC_9358-2

As you can see, she knows how to get into some food.

My Attempt at Saving this Planet

So this post is going to showoff my “hippie dippie” side. I wish terms like that didn’t exist and everyone out there just gave a shit on what was actually happening to our planet but thus, here we are. Our planet is falling apart and unless people actually make changes it’s likely that my grandchildren won’t be able to call the southern parts of the US home.

I’ve always tried to be cautious of my carbon footprint. I’ve always tried to teach the kids to leave places better than you found them. Recently, I just stumbled upon a series of articles on exactly how bad off our planet really is. In less than 30 years, The northern states are going to have the climate of Dallas. Can you imagine what Dallas will be like?

Regardless, we need to start being better as a society. So it starts here. These are some relatively easy and inexpensive ways to stop being destructive. savetheworld

  1. Get rid of plastic shopping bags. Some states have already banned them and I hope that the entire United States gets on board with this sooner than later. Pick up some reusable bags either at the grocery store or on amazon. This is the set that I have and I absolutely love it. They hold way more than traditional plastic bags and aren’t creating all the extra plastic waste.
  2. Pack lunches without the sandwich bags. My kids take sandwiches to school quite often which meant plastic baggies. I recently switched over to these reusable sandwich bags. They’re easy to wash and dry and so far the kids haven’t thrown them away.
  3. Compost. It sounds a lot grosser and more of a pain in the ass than it really is. A few years ago I bought this compost bin on amazon. Not only am I not wasting food scraps, my plants love me.
  4. Recycle. Actually Recycle. All of those cardboard boxes that things like cereal, mac and cheese, etc come in are recyclable! You mainly need to look at your plastics. Soda bottles, milk jugs, etc., all recyclable. Check with your trash company to see if they offer recycling services, most do. The best thing you can do is not purchase any of the plastics but I know, sometimes it’s hard to avoid.
  5. Don’t buy into fast fashion. This is one thing that has been the hardest adjustment for me. I love shopping for new clothes. I just didn’t realize how much water it takes to just create one garment of clothing. These fast fashion items just end up in our landfills after a couple of wears. The amount of clothing that gets tossed each year in America is insane! To help combat this I’ve been shopping second hand, mainly on Poshmark. I’ve also been trying to resell / donate what I can just so it doesn’t end up in the trash. Kids clothes are tough since they grow so fast / destroy what they have.
  6. Have a vegetarian meal at least once a week. I can’t even get into the meat industry and how wasteful and truly terrible it is environmentally. I am starting to develop more and more negative feelings about it and a lot of it isn’t based on the animals (don’t worry, those feelings are there too.) This is a new goal of mine so we’ll see how the family does!

This is all a work in progress. I feel like if everyone just became a little more conscious of what they were doing the changes that could happen would be amazing. So just start making small changes and work towards bigger and better things. 

* This post contains a few amazon affiliate links. I make a couple bucks off your purchase but it doesn’t change the price of the items.

 

Thomas Bagels: My Ultimate Carb.

There is pretty much nothing I love more than a good bagel. As much as I hate to admit it, bagels are a staple in my diet. In Georgia we don’t have a ton of great bagel shops. Luckily for me, I love Thomas Bagels.

I’m usually just a classic toasted with cream cheese girl; especially on the everything flavor. Sometimes I’ll get wild and toss an over easy egg and some feta cheese on one, drool. I have also used the plain ones to make the kids little pizzas! I just toss on some marinara, cheese, and whatever other toppings I have lying around. I bake them for just a few minutes and BAM!

There are so many recipes on the Thomas website that I’m just dying to try too!

bagel

I am now happy to report I can feed my addiction,in bulk, at Sams Club! Thomas Bagels are now offered across the nation at all Sams Club locations.

Now, who doesn’t love a giveaway! Enter here to win a $50 gift card to Sams!

Win a $50 Sam's Club Gift Card!

So, what do you do with your bagels? Let me know as I’m always looking for more recipes and fun ideas!

This post is sponsored by Thomas’ Bagels.

Having a baby makes your hair fall out.

Postpartum Hair Loss. 

It’s normal (to some degree) but not all that often talked about. In fact, I’m in a group with a bunch of women who had babies in the same month as me and have only seen one single post in regards to it.

Here I am, just under 4 months postpartum, looking like a total snack with a receding hairline on just one side of my head.

postpartum hair loss

Luckily it’s not really all that noticeable if I wear by hair back while it’s parted or when I have my hair down. Unluckily for me, I really like my high slicked back ponytails. They’re a thing of the past for now.

Straight after blow drying (and pumping because, mom life) It still looks like it has tons of volume. My husband didn’t really believe me that it was noticeable until I showed him the picture above.

pumphair

Every time that I brush my hair (not often) or wash it (again, not that often) I’m convinced I’m going to be bald when I look in the mirror. The amount of hair that comes out in my hands while washing, on the round brush when blowdrying, on the floor, or on any pony tail holder is astounding. I don’t remember it being this dramatic with my other two children but per google, everything I’m experiencing is normal.

hairball

That’s from my round brush after one single blow dry. 

So, like I said, per google everything I’m experiencing is normal. These are a few things that I’ve learned after what felt like hours searching and reading other peoples experiences.

  • Between 50% – 60% of women experience postpartum hair loss.
  • It’s related to your hormones. When you’re pregnant the extra estrogen makes your hair look bomb. When that estrogen drops, BAM. YA’ BALD. All that extra gorgeous hair you grew, falls out.
  • The estrogen from pregnancy drops around 3 months postpartum. This is usually when the hair loss begins. It ends somewhere between 6-12 months postpartum.
  • If your hair loss is severe, doesn’t hurt to check with your doctors.
  • Breastfeeding has nothing to do with postpartum hair loss.
  • On average, you’ll lose about 40 strands of hair a day. This is normal shedding process. A postpartum woman will lose between 200-400.  This explains a lot.
  • Keep taking that prenatal vitamin and fill up on protein! Nothing is going to STOP the process but this can make it a little easier on your hair.

So, don’t panic.

Even though I’m not so secretly panicking a little bit. I don’t have the funds for the nice hair pieces. I can’t be walking around looking like Donald Trump.

In all seriousness, I’d go bald to have Audrey again. She’s totally worth it. If you’re going through the same, chin up.

Staying Connected with Portal by Facebook

I’m pretty sure that most of my readers are aware that we live hundreds of miles away from our hometowns. My parents and family are in the Detroit area, my husbands parents and grandparents are in the Chicago area, and my brother in laws are all in either Denver or Dallas. We’re currently living in Georgia. Needless to say, we’re all scattered across the United States.

It’s tough at times, especially with having kids, but we manage to make it work with lots of group chats, texts, phone calls, and video time.

I recently came across Portal by Facebook.

portal

Portal is a smart video chatting system. You’re able to place it in the room that you’re in and the camera will follow you around the room making it feel like the people on the other end are right there with you! This is particularly amazing when you have kids that have trouble sitting still.

If I had it my way, I’d get myself and all my long distance family the classic 10” Portal unit. I feel like the screen would be big enough to still see when walking around the room and I feel like the $179 price tag isn’t too hefty!

Savings.com is giving away 3 of these 10” Portals in the #ConnectwithPortal Giveaway!

It’s pretty simple to enter. Just head to the entry page here!

The giveaway ends on October 18th at 11:59 PT so make sure to get your entries in before then! Official rules can be found here.

Good Luck! 

This post is sponsored by Savings.com

Quick Dinners with Marcangelo

It’s no secret that getting things done around the house, including making meals, is tougher with a newborn. I’m generally trying to eat better as I will soon start to work on  toning up this mom bod but it’s not going to work out well if I’m grabbing fast food all the time. That’s where Marcangelo Chicken Breast Strips come into play!

Marcangelo_Original

It’s as easy for me as opening a bag of mixed greens, heating up some of these chicken breast strips, and tossing them into a salad. It’s unbelievably quick and I’m still getting some great nutrition into my body.

There are other flavors too besides for the original if you’re looking to spice it up. Marcangelo Chicken Breast Strips also come in Italian style and BBQ.

Marcangelo_ItalianMarcangelo_BBQ

I think next I’ll try mixing the Italian style with some whole grain pasta. My two older kids love pasta so a meal that everyone can eat is even more of a win for us.

You can find the Marcangelo brand at your local Food Lion store. Food Lion just so happens to be the closest grocery store to our house at less than a mile away so it’s beyond convenient to just run up there really fast and grab what we need.

food-lion-logo1*1200xx936-527-0-142

From now until August 31st, you can save $1.00 on any of the Marcangelo varieties at your local Food Lion store. Just print the coupon included below!

 

This post is sponsored by Savings.com

Postpartum Recovery with Bellefit

We’re at almost a month since our sweet little Audrey was welcomed into our family. Since my second pregnancy was a c-section and this time I got my successful VBAC; recovery has been much easier on me. I’m sure it has some to do with my method of delivery but also because I’ve been using the Bellefit corset.

bellefit

The Bellefit corset is a postpartum girdle designed to help bind your abdomen. For me, it’s not about “waist training” but rather gaining that abdominal support. Your body goes through a ton during pregnancy and labor and having the Bellefit on helps everything feel just more secure.

So what exactly is a postpartum girdle? 

From the Bellefit website:

Bellefit® offers the best postpartum girdles and corsets for women recovering from c-section and natural childbirth. The leading medical-grade, doctor recommended postpartum girdle and corset brand; Bellefit® helps women get back to their pre-pregnancy shape and lose the post pregnancy tummy faster.

Bellefit® Postpartum Girdles and Corsets are medical-grade abdominal compression binders made of polyamide fabric and elastane. Their hypoallergenic and micro porous fabric prevents skin rashes by allowing the skin to breathe, thus keeping it fresh and comfortable

IMG_1935

I can definitely attest to the fact that they are pretty comfortable. The first time you put it on, it’s a little awkward as your body is still working hard on shifting back to where everything was before 9 months of pregnancy. After the first or second time of putting it on though, buckling all the clasps becomes a breeze. It is also really breathable like they claim it to be. I am running a little hot natured during recovery and it is July in Georgia. I don’t feel like it holds the heat in which was something I was worried about.

IMG_1950

I have also suffered with Diastasis Recti from my previous pregnancy and while I was working to repair it, this pregnancy reversed a lot of what I had been working on. If you don’t know, Diastasis Recti basically means that you have a space between your abdominal muscles. Using the Bellefit, has helped me have some of the strength and support in my abdominal muscles that I’ve lost.

IMG_1943

Here’s a little glimpse of recovery. Take note that for some reason I still have Christmas lights (in July) and a full basket of laundry hanging out on the floor ready to be put away.

All of pregnancy, birth, and recovery are truly a whirlwind. The forth trimester is no joke but I thank Bellefit for helping make it a little easier.