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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Time To Pay Attention

Like most 6 1/2 year old boys, my son, loves the hell out of some tablet time. He likes watching videos and playing all kinds of apps. I try my best to watch what he’s doing but you know, stuff happens. We can’t monitor every single second spent on the tablets. Hell, that’s why we let them play on them. To get them out of our hair and get some shit done. Well, lesson learned.

He’s been super into Minecraft but it’s still just a little advanced for him. He gets super frustrated when he “dies” or is defeated. He asked me a few days ago for a game called “Builder Buddies.” Since I have to enter a password for everything that is downloaded… I looked at it and thought “innocent enough!” Building a world. Cool.

Wrong. 

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It was probably early in the morning or I was distracted when I agreed to download the game. I didn’t realize it was a “social” game meaning he could interact with strangers all over the world. I didn’t notice you can literally see the chat bar in the screenshot above. Well, in my opinion social games are not appropriate for a 6 year old.

This afternoon he comes and sits next to me with his tablet and this game open. He starts showing me different things that he was building and says “oh no, someone came in and destroyed the door.” I assumed it was part of the game and then I saw the chat bar at the top of the screen. I asked him to see it and I could tell he wanted to hide it. I asked him if he ever saw anything bad in the chat and he said “yeah, someone said fuck.”

Nope. 

I asked if he talks to people on there and he said “yeah! I type to them sometimes.”

Again. Nope. 

I stayed on the chat for just a few minutes and saw people asking if “anyone wanted to role play” or if anyone “wanted to make out.”

Enough. Deleted. 

My husband and I then looked up reviews for the game on a website called Safer Kid. Sure enough, it’s pretty scary! He was even using his real full name in the chat. URGH.

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We explained to him all the different reasons why he can’t play that game anymore and why we deleted it. He cried and didn’t quite understand until we told him that there could be people on there who want to hurt him. He then seemed to grasp our concern and was happy when we found a similar app without the social aspect.

So, I know this is my fault for not paying more attention when he asked to download it but I’m happy he didn’t have it long before we realized. Lesson learned.

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It just blows my mind that this little man is finishing up Kindergarten and is capable of READING and WRITING. It’s amazing but a whole new dangerous that I wasn’t prepared for until today.

Bleeding in Early Pregnancy

I wanted to tell my personal story on bleeding in early pregnancy. I’ve had bleeding in almost all of my pregnancies and each time I went against my better judgement and googled things. I spent way more time than I’d like to admit just reading comments, blog posts, and searching for outcomes. 99% of of those things we’re all negative.

I’m telling my story.

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Seven (wow!) years ago I was pregnant with my first child. I was around 8-9 weeks pregnant and started some heavy bleeding. I’m talking red, period like, clots. I was instructed by my OBGYN to go to the emergency room to get checked out. I did. They did an ultrasound and said there was no reason that they could find that I was bleeding. My son had a normal heartbeat and everything looked fine. I was sent home with a diagnosis of a “threatened miscarriage” and placed on a wait and see type of plan. I was told to take it easy and see what happens. Well, I had basically a short normal period. The bleeding lasted 3-4 days. I went back to my regular doctor for another ultrasound and everything looked great. I now have a healthy, crazy, 6.5 year old son.

With my second pregnancy, Aria, I had no bleeding. I was almost waiting for it but nothing ever happened. Thank goodness.

Here comes the more dramatic parts: 

Over a year ago we decided to expand our family once again. I was tracking ovulation and all that good stuff for months. I was doing what I said I would never do: take pregnancy tests before my missed periods. Twice over several months I had faint positive tests before my missed periods. Twice I ended up bleeding within a week of when period was due. I had two chemical pregnancies and was diagnosed with secondary infertility.

So, This past October – early November, once again another positive test. I was planning a fun pregnancy surprise for my husband. These tests were taken after my period was supposed to start so I thought THIS IS IT! I was on progrestone supplements.

I started bleeding… AGAIN. I told him “Well, I was planning a fun pregnancy surprise for you but I’m having another chemical pregnancy.” I went to the doctor for my usual HCG levels and they were in the high 200’s. That wasn’t typical of my past chemicals. I went back 48 hours later and they were close to 1000. So again, not typical of a chemical but typical for a healthy pregnancy. I stopped bleeding. I went in for an ultrasound a little later and BAM! Heartbeat.

Fast forward to 7-8 weeks pregnant, I start red bleeding again like I did with my son. I called my office and they urged me to go to the emergency room. I stayed calm and went in. It was an exact repeat of what happened 7 years ago. There was no explanation for the bleeding but I left with another diagnosis of “threatened miscarriage.”

Now, here I am at 20 weeks pregnant. Everything is looking flawless.

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So while bleeding in pregnancy is terrifying, don’t fall into all of the horror stories you’ll see on the internet. Sometimes there are positive outcomes even if you never get a reason why it happened to you.

Protect Your Childs Future

Protecting your personal identity and making sure you’re safe from fraud is something that all of us are practicing; at the very least you’ve heard of it.

Well, what about your children?

Can you imagine your kids turning 18…

They are ready to get their first credit card on their own. They decide that they want to get a loan to go to school. Then they realize their identity was stolen and they have hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. This might sound far fetched but child identity theft is the fastest growing crime in the United States. You may be monitoring your credit but honestly, who thinks about their kids social security numbers? You should. 

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Identity Protection Planning is a company that focuses on entire family protection. Not only will they look out for you but they’re also going to be keeping an eye on any minors in the home. They offer a RISK FREE service with a $1 million dollar protection plan. If anything happens, they’ve got your back.

Identity Protection Planning offerers a service called Identron which is the most comprehensive coverage available to families.

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Their rates are extremely reasonable for the levels of coverage you and your family are receiving. To view the different plans available check out this webpage!

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With these two little ones at home and one on the way it’s absolutely horrifying to think that someone out there could be ruining their future without my knowledge. The effects of identity theft can take years and is a huge expense to try to sort out. I don’t know about you, but the peace of mind of having a company like Identity Protection Planning is worth the small monthly fee.

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It’s a …

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GIRL!

 

Before I was actually pregnant, I kept saying that I wasn’t going to find out the gender. I really didn’t care what the gender was so I figured that we would keep it a surprise for when he/she was born.

Well, come 14 weeks…
I started to think about preparing and planning things for the new baby. I couldn’t wait. I’m such a type A and planning orientated person that I needed to know.

So on my birthday we found out. She wasn’t shy.

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We told the kids, family, and co-workers with little scratch off tickets revealing the gender on amazon. So once everyone knew, I decided to go public with the news.

YAY to another baby girl!