Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Review: Prenatal Vinyasa Yoga Workout DVD with Julie Schoen






Yoga was an essential part of my maternity workout routine. I attribute the fact that I've lost my baby weight already at 12 weeks postpartum to yoga and swimming throughout my pregnancy (I still need to tone everything up!). Besides helping with weight gain, yoga helped to loosed up my sore muscles and joints and unwind at the end of the day. I am a very firm believer in prenatal yoga practice.

Julie Schoen's DVD was very relaxing and perfect for mommies to be. I really liked that it was divided into trimesters since I was definitely NOT able to do the same poses in my third trimester as my first! I found it to be very refreshing and a good mix of easy and difficult poses. I liked that there was a challenge so it felt like a workout and not just light stretching.

You can pick up a copy of Prenatal Vinyasa Yoga on Amazon

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Postpartum Fitness Series- PhantomFit Resistance Band Review

 
 
***The Postpartum Fitness Series was inspired by my journey to get back in shape post baby.

The PhantomFit Resistance Bands have been a welcome addition to my postpartum fitness routine. They come in light, medium, heavy, and extra heavy. I've been mainly using them to tone my arms and to stretch my legs. They are particularly useful for hamstring stretches. I think adding resistance bands is a great way to add strength training without having to store bulky, expensive weights.

Pros:
  • Different levels of resistnace allow for users of all fitness levels and they "grow" with you as you get in shape.
  • Cheaper than free weights
  • Take up very little space
  • Effective for toning and stretching
  • Strong and durable
  • Portable- great for travel
  • Lifetime guarantee if they break
 Cons:
  • Strong elastic smell
  • Bag is pretty much worthless- I couldn't get them back inside of it.
Overall, I would recommend adding a set to your fitness supplies.  They take up so little room and really are a great way to tone up after having a baby.


I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

13 Uses For Tea Tree Oil and Apothecary Extracts Review



Tea tree oil comes from Melaleuca alternifoliais, a plant native to Australia. It has a myriad of topical uses (note: it should NEVER be ingested).  My favorite characteristic of tea tree oil is that it has antibacterial properties. I use it in my wipe solution for the baby's cloth wipes.

1. In cloth wipe solution
2. Prevent lice- put a few drops on your scalp
3. Soothe sunburns
4. Use in natural cleaning solutions- helps kill mold and bacteria
5. Use in homemade deodorant
6. Remove ticks
7. Use in homemade body scrubs and washes
8. Treat dry scalp
9. In a steam treatment for sinus congestion
10.  In a bath for sore muscles
11. In a reed diffuser for aromatherapy
12.  In homemade laundry detergent
13. In homemade dryer sheets or no dryer balls

It is important to use a quality tea tree oil to get the best results. I was sent Tea Tree Oil from Apothecary Extracts to review and was really impressed. The bottle is REALLY large- 4 ounces! It's pharmaceutical grade so it worked very well. It had the characteristic strong tea tree oil smell and I liked using it in homemade cleaner for my bathroom. You can pick it up here on Amazon.


All purpose tea tree oil cleaning solution:


Ingredients:

·      2 tsp. Apothecary Extracts Tea Tree Oil
·      2 cups distilled water
·      6 oz. white vinegar
·      20 drops of lemon essential oil (optional to get rid of vinegar smell)

Method:
Combine all ingredients into spray bottle and give it a good shake. Shake it prior to each use because the oils will separate from the water. 





I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Friday, June 27, 2014

12 Pregnancy Symptoms I Wish Someone Had Told Me About



As my due date quickly approaches I have been reflecting on all of the things that have surprised my about pregnancy. I am so excited to meet our baby but there are some things I wish I had been warned about! Hopefully this information will help others on their journey to mommyhood. Warning- I'm not holding back so read at your own risk!

1. All Day Nausea/Hyperemesis Gravidarum- I had heard of morning sickness but nobody prepared me for the hell that was Hyperemesis- and I got off relatively easy! Some women spend all nine months on a Zofran pump. I felt constant nausea and did my fair share of puking- morning, noon, and night all the way through the first trimester. My OB prescribed Zofran which helped but I traded one stomach ill for another- constipation (see next point). He also prescribed B6 every 4 hours which REALLY helped take the edge off as long as I took it every four hours like clockwork. I definitely recommend it and saving the Zofran for when you have to have it.

2. Constipation- Pregnancy slows down your bowels and if you have to take Zofran forget about going to the bathroom- seriously, nothing helped (except laying off the Zofran). Colace is safe for pregnancy and does help with regular (non-Zofran induced) constipation. I also found eating lots of raspberries to be helpful.

3. Skin Sensitivity- this one really came out of left field for me. I have always had a darker olive complexion and never had much trouble with sunburn. I sat on my grandmother's porch for an hour (in March!) and burned everywhere that wasn't covered by clothing, including the tops of my feet. I have to wear sunscreen all over now if I am going to be outside. The other thing that got incredibly sensitive was shaving. I had to cut back on shaving my underarms and legs because I was getting horrible razor burn even with a brand new razor. Every three days or so seemed to do the trick. Don't worry, my hair growth slowed down with less frequent shaving and I didn't feel like a wooly mammoth.

4. Heartburn- this is another one that I sort of heard of but did not fully appreciate. Third trimester heartburn is the pits. Basically, baby pushes all of your organs out of the way and there is no room for food. I have been taking A LOT of tums and avoiding eating anything after 7pm.

5. Insomnia- If one more person tells me to sleep before the baby comes I might rip their head off. Seriously. Not only can I not get comfortable at this point but for months I have had trouble falling asleep. My OB said I can take Benadryl which I have done when desperate for a few hours. 

6. Incontinence- I knew that I would have to pee all of the time but I didn't know that I wouldn't be able to hold it! Sneezing, laughing, and coughing all induced bladder incontinence starting every early in my pregnancy. There's nothing like sneezing in front of a room full of middle schoolers and realizing you just pissed your pants! I had to start wearing cloth pads to prevent leaks. Another great thrill is that vomiting also made me pee myself. There's nothing quite like leaning over a toilet puking out of one end of your body while you pee yourself out of the other. I learned to lay down a towel in front of the toilet.

7. Round Ligament Pain- Somewhere around the second trimester you will feel like someone is stabbing you in the side and you will think you are dying. Don't worry- this is actually normal! It's your round ligament stretching to support your growing uterus. It sucks but a microwave heat pack did provide a little relief. Make sure to avoid putting it over where the baby is and don't use it for too long.

8. Pelvic Girdle Pain- this is like Round Ligament Pain's evil cousin. This hit me mid third trimester. For me it felt like what I imagine a Barbie doll would feel like when her legs were ripped off. I never did find anything that helped except rest.

9. Swelling- I guess people did warn me about this but I was still surprised by how big my feet and ankles are in third tri. Besides the obvious elevation and rest I found standing in a pool to be AMAZING. Seriously- it really helps to take the swelling down. I still can only wear flip flops but at least my feet don't hurt when I walk afterwards.

10. Dehydration = Contractions- When I was about seven and a half months pregnant I came down with a bug. At first my stomach and back just hurt a little. By evening I was lying on the floor in tears. Then the vomiting started. I called the on call OB who sent me to Labor and Delivery. It turns out the stomach and back pain were contractions caused by dehydration from being sick. 4 hours of IV fluids helped calm them down. I continued to vomit up everything for 24 hours but at least the contractions had slowed down. After I recovered I took hydration VERY seriously. I can feel Braxton Hicks starting if I get even a little dehydrated now. Make sure to drink plenty of water and if you get a bug don't hesitate to call your doc for fluids.

11. Difficulty Breathing When Lying Down- this one has been huge for me. I read that you aren't supposed to lay on your back when pregnant but even laying on my side sometimes makes me feel like I'm suffocating. Keeping a pillow under my stomach helps a little and if it gets really bad I prop myself up on pillows. My doctor says it is caused my the increased blood volume and  bothers some people more than others.

 12. Heart Murmur- along with the increased blood volume you might discover that you develop a heart murmur. Apparently when the blood volume increases it expose previously undetected issues. Luckily, it's usually harmless. I still had to have an echo cardiogram to make sure.


Hopefully this doesn't scare anyone away from pregnancy. We struggled to conceive this baby and I have been grateful for every ache and pain- I just wish I had been prepared for some of it! My hope is that this might help some other mommies-to-be avoid a few of the panic attacks that I had.

What pregnancy symptoms surprised you? What do you wish you had known? What helped the most? Share in the comments below!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Review and Giveaway! Dr. Carey's Baby Care and Swaddle Blankets



With our baby due in just a few weeks I was very happy to review Dr. Carey's First Year Baby Care Guide- I can take all the help I can get! My first impression was that it was really short. I opened up the book to a random page and was a little shocked to see pictures of baby vaginal discharge and circumcision care-- this might have been amplified by the fact that we were about to eat dinner. The truth is I was unfair to judge so quickly- when I sat down to read the book I realized the short length and detailed photographs are what make it such a great resource! When you are worried about your baby you don't have time to read something that is long and drawn out- you just want the facts. There are also some things you just don't want to Google pictures of (baby vaginal adhesions come to mind) but it's so helpful to see pictures of what is "normal" and what needs medical attention. I confess that the idea of circumcising our little one is freaking me out and that section of the book really helped to put my mind at ease that I would know how to care for it and identify if there was a problem.

The book starts with an overview of developmental stages. As someone who has taught human development at the University level I really appreciated the information and the way it was presented- short and to the point and, of course, with lots of pictures.



The book also covers rashes, baby care that nobody talks about, messy diapers (again- the pictures are helpful to know what is normal and what is not!), minor medical problems, the sick baby, and common questions answered. There is also a chart to record your baby's milestones.



I think what makes this book stand out over the others that I have read on baby care is the way it succinctly gets to the point and isn't afraid to use pictures to help new parents understand and identify what is and is not normal for their baby. I really appreciate the sections on rashes and medical problems-- it will probably save us from a few necessary visits to urgent care since I tend to be a worry wart.

The swaddle blankets are also cute- they are the same material as flannel receiving blankets but much larger. They are comparable in size to my Aden + Anais Muslin Swaddle Blankets. I think they would also make great burp cloths.



You can learn more about Dr. Carey at his website http://www.drcareys.com/ You can buy the book on Amazon in both Kindle and Paperback versions. If you go with the Kindle version I would make sure you have color screen device like an iPad or Kindle Fire to view it on so you get the full benefit of the pictures!

You can also register to win the book and a pair of swaddle blankets below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway



I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Printable! Princess Manners Tablesetting Placemat



This week at camp I am running a princess themed camp. The girls are absolutely adorable and come dressed in their favorite princess dresses everyday. On Friday we are having a Tea Party where the girls will learn table manners and etiquette. I'm really excited!

I wanted to have the girls make placemats that would indicate how to set a proper table. I couldn't find one I liked online so I spent the afternoon designing my own. I'm really happy with how it turned out and am happy to share it! It should be printed on legal size paper. Please let me know what you think in the comments!

Here is the link to the pdf file: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/7024576/Perfect%20Princess%20Table%20Manners.pdf

Friday, May 23, 2014

Update

I haven't posted in awhile and figured I should add an update. I've been super busy preparing for our new baby who is due in July. The pregnancy has been complicated so I've been back and forth to quite a few doctor appointments. The good news is that school will be out in a week and I will have time to rest and get back into blogging. I have some great posts planned and am really excited to get back into the swing of things!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Review: Woobamboo! Toothbrush


Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

There are some areas that I have found to be difficult when it comes to going green. Woobamboo! toothbrushes have solved the issue of being green while maintaining proper dental hygiene. They are made with bamboo that's sustainable, organically grown, biodegradable, and anti-microbial.

With over 1 billion nylon toothbrushes ending up in landfills every year I think the idea of a toothbrush that is biodegradable is awesome! Even the packaging is recycled. It's a small change but if enough people make the switch the impact could be huge!







I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Review: Green Earth Pan by Ozeri

When I was asked by Ozeri to review their Green Earth Pan I jumped at the chance. Our pans were starting to lose their non-stick coating and I was looking for a healthier alternative. Unfortunately, the holidays got in the way and in took me far too long to get around to reviewing the pan. I am happy to say that this pan was worth the wait!



Out of the box you can tell that this pan is different from its non-stick cousins. The pan has a Greblon ceramic coating made in Germany that is PTFE abd PFOA free. There are no heavy metals or chemicals in used in making the pan which was important to me. It also does not emit any harmful fumes since the coating is ceramic.


One thing I thought was fun was the green color on the outside of the pan. I thought this was a nice touch. I also liked the textured cooking surface which surprised me since I have never owned a pan with a textured surface before.



Before using the pan I washed it with soap and water. I then seasoned it with a tiny drop of olive oil like the instructions said to do. I decided to put the Green Earth Pan to the test with a meal that my old pans were currently failing at: bacon and eggs!

My old pans were having a horrible time with the eggs sticking and breaking when trying to flip or remove them... particularly after cooking bacon. I thought this would be an excellent test. I cooked the bacon first with no problems.


When it came time to cook the eggs I was skeptical. What I found was almost shocking- the eggs slide off the surface with ease! I couldn't believe how easy it was to cook them! Clean up was also a breeze. The ceramic coating is awesome!


I would definitely recommend the Ozeri Green Earth Pan. You can pick them up on Amazon in 8", 10", 12" and a three piece starter set.