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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

Welcome Audrey+ VBAC birth story

It took me a few days (okay, 11) to get this post up. We’ve been soaking in all the newborn snuggles and cuddles. On July 2nd we welcomed Audrey Jane via VBAC into the world to complete our family. This birth was by far the easiest and she’s been the sleepiest little peach.

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On July 2nd I was scheduled for an induction at 5:30 am. We woke up at 4 and called the hospital to make sure that there was room to induce. Since it was technically an elective induction, I knew there was the possibility of getting bumped for women that were in active labor. Sure enough, all the beds were full and they asked me to call back a few hours later. I called back, still full. They again asked me to call back in a few hours and just basically told me they’d call me after speaking with my doctor  if they could make room. I was pretty discouraged because I had my heart set but kinda put myself into the mind set of “what will be will be.” I decided to start cleaning my house like a mad woman and sure enough just when I was in full swing nesting mode, they called and asked me to come in.

So this induction was elective but since I was going for a VBAC my doctor didn’t want me to go much passed 39 weeks. Audrey was measuring at a great weight so she was comfortable with the induction at 38.5 – I know elective inductions can be quite controversial but I felt like I was doing what was right for us and was assured by my OBGYN that it was fine.

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So by noon we were at the hospital. My doctor basically made a recovery suite into a birthing suite to accommodate me. The room was quite small but I could have cared less. I was checked upon arrival and was only 1.5cm dilated and still quite high. I was expecting to be there quite a while before meeting Audrey but to my surprise things progressed really quick.

12:30 – Pitocin was started along with antibiotics since I was GBS positive. I was really comfortable so I was nervous that the drugs really weren’t working. I was also surprised they went straight to Pitocin. I figured since I wasn’t that dilated they would have tried the oral / suppository medications first but doctor knows best right?

2:30 – My doctor came to check me again and I was about 2.5-3 cm so despite being comfortable, it was obviously working. She was able to break my water. Since I had no epidural at this point, this was one of the weirdest sensations ever. With every contraction, water would come out which just felt like I was peeing myself. I was still laughing and relatively comfortable.

5:00 – I made it to 6cm and now was in a great deal of pain. I wasn’t trying to go natural or anything but I didn’t want an epidural until I couldn’t take it anymore. I just wanted the mobility for as long as possible. It was this time I had the epidural ordered.

5:30 – The epidural was in place and I was a lot more comfortable. I still was feeling a lot but it wasn’t pain so I was happy. They decided to use the peanut ball at this point. I was laid onto my side with a giant ball that looks like a peanut between my legs. I stayed like this for about 45 minutes and kept complaining that my urinary catheter was bothering me. They let me get rid of the peanut ball at this point.

7:30 – At this point I hadn’t been checked in a while and they didn’t expect me to be fully dilated but sure enough… The nurses had just switched shifts and I was still complaining of the urinary catheter bothering me. I didn’t have a good numbing and knew something was going on. There was a ton of pressure.  The nurse asked if I wanted to be checked and I said “might as well.” She immediately called my doctor.

8:03 pm – Audrey Jade was born after just 4 sets of contractions! She was 7 pounds 4 ounces and 19.75 inches long. Successful VBAC.

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This delivery, despite being an induction, was my easiest. I was prepared for the worst but the results ended up being the best case scenario for me. 7.5 hours from start to finish was absolutely amazing as I was prepared for 24 + hours.

I did have a second degree tear (same as my first delivery) but recovery this time around just feels so much easier. It’s been 100% easier than my c-section delivery for sure. Here I am 11 days postpartum now and besides the lack of consecutive sleep, I’m feeling pretty damn good.

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She’s fitting into our world absolutely wonderfully. The kids are so great with her and are eager to help (most of the time) in anyway that they can! I was expecting more jealously but honestly, they’ve been doing great! My mom came to town from the day she was born until yesterday and then my in-laws get here this evening. Matt doesn’t have to go back to work until August so we’re unbelievably lucky.  I’ve been surrounded with lots of love and help which I’m sure is another reason recovery and adjustment has been pretty smooth sailing so far ! <3

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Living Well with TeaWell

I’ve always been a huge tea drinker! I love everything including loose leaf, iced, sweetened, unsweetened, and more recently the Teawell brand by Celestial Seasonings.

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There is something just so relaxing to me about enjoying a nice cup of tea. There are so many benefits besides just the relaxing feeling that I get. As you can see, I have been sipping on the Matcha Green flavor.

Inside each TeaWell Matcha Green Tea Bag you’ll find… 

  • Green Rooibos: known for its powerful antioxidant properties.
  • Elderberry: for immune system support.
  • Dandelion Root: for digestion support / stimulation.
  • Panax Ginseng: for mental vitality.

This tea jam packed with amazing things for your body and mind: The best part; it tastes amazing. I like to steep it for about 10 minutes and then add agave for a little sweetness. I typically prefer my teas hot, but in the Georgia summers, iced tea is so refreshing! I’d make this iced using double tea bags and the same agave sweetener.

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The TeaWell brand is available nationwide at Walmart stores.

Savings.com has provided a printable coupon to all of my readers that you can find below. You’re able to use this coupon on the TeaWell brand and other Celestial Seasoning flavors at Walmart stores. Also be sure to check your local Valpak mailer for additional coupons redeemable at Walmart!

 

There are so many other great flavors that I’m dying to get my hands on! I had a gnarly cold a few weeks ago and I bet the honey lemon would have been amazing. Also, the ginger mint sounds so enticing! You can learn more about the different flavors here.

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Cheers to delicious tea and all of it’s health benefits!

Now, tell me! Are you a tea drinker? What are your favorite kinds? 

 

This post is sponsored by Savings.com

Third Time Moms’ Hospital Bag

This isn’t my first time packing a hospital bag for a hospital stay after giving birth. The first time I didn’t pack nearly enough of the things I actually needed.  The second time I think I way over packed. This time, hopefully, I’ve got it down.

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This list doesn’t include the things I’ll be bringing for baby. This list is just what I’m bringing for me.

  1. Boppy Pillow. This thing helped so much with nursing in the hospital. I was able to position baby comfortably on me which is so important when you’re not feeling the greatest.
  2. Nursing Cover. I had quite a few visitors with my first two and I just like to have the option of a little bit of privacy.
  3. Breast Pads. My milk came in with a fury the second time so not having my shirts soaking wet is a godsend. My last hospital didn’t have any available so I literally had toilet paper shoved into my bra.
  4. Women’s Depends Diapers. The first 24-36 hours I just wear the mesh undies given to me by the hospital but towards the end of my stay when I’m feeling better these things are awesome.
  5. Non Slip – Slipper Socks and regular Slippers. So comfy! My feet were freezing the entire time I was in the hospital even with my summer baby.
  6. Eye Mask. Hospitals are bright even at night sometimes. It was nice to have a mask to take naps especially during the day.
  7. Big ole’ Granny Panties. I like to have the option to wear “normal” underwear as well.
  8. Toiletry Bag. I pack travel sizes of my essentials. Shampoo, Conditioner, Hairspray, Hair Ties, My Favorite Scrunchie, Chapstick, Toothbrush, and Toothpaste!
  9. Clothes. I plan to bring 2 pairs of PJ pants, 2 nursing tanks, clothes to go home in, and a robe. I realized last hospital stay that I don’t change clothes nearly as much as I thought I would!

Then when labor actually starts I’ll toss in a few more things! 

  1. Chargers.
  2. iPad to watch Netflix. Last hospital stay the ONLY channel that came in clearly was HGTV and there was a property brothers marathon on for 3 days. I still can’t watch it.
  3. Light makeup and blowdryer. Theres something about that first shower and doing my hair and a little bit of makeup that just makes me feel human again.
  4. Kindle. Reading helps me pass the time and relax.
  5. My own pillow and blanket. I couldn’t stand the hospital pillows and scratchy blankets.
  6. Snacks. I just bring a few little things like granola bars and some trail mix. You never know if the kitchen will be open and how hungry you’ll be right after delivery or in the middle of the night! I’d rather have a few things with me than make my husband run around.

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I feel like I have it down pat this time but we’ll see!
My bags are officially packed and I’m ready whenever this little lady tells me it’s time! 

Parents: Learn to RSVP.

We’ve all seen the viral posts where a child has a birthday party and no one shows up. We see the sad child sitting alone at the table set up for 20 with no friends there to share their special day. These photos and stories literally hurt my heart. It’s because of these and just general curtesy that whenever my kids are invited to a party I always RSVP. We can’t always make every party that we’re invited too and that’s okay! I can always at least know the parent if we’ll be attending or not.

This past weekend we celebrated Aria’s 5th birthday! The school year is over so I made sure to have the invites out about a month before school ended. I heard from ONE parent. ONE. I sent out 22 invitations and got a response from one single parent.

We have a lot of friends who have children so I knew that my daughter would still have other kids there to share her day but this lack of consideration really bothered me. I wouldn’t have cared if I got 22 people that said “I’m sorry, we can’t make it” but only one person bothered to tell me if they’d be attending or not.

This made the planning process a little tough. Did these parents think it was regrets only? Would people show up that didn’t let me know they’d be attending? So we purchased extra “goodie bags” and food just in case.

Lets just say kids left with 2 goodie bags and some people got to take a full pizza home!

So moral of my rant, just don’t be a dick and RSVP; even if you can’t make it. 

 

Anyways, Aria still had an amazing party.

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Oh, and Costco cake is DELICIOUS.

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