Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Pepperidge Farm Milano Cookie Coupon

I'm hungry right now. I came to work at 7am and ended up sitting at a race track for 8.5 hours instead of providing EMS for the county due to last minute staff changes. Since I'm scheduled to be covering the county now until 6pm, I am sitting here blogging when I should really be pumping. You never know when someone's going to dial 9-1-1 and, well, wet spots on my shirt would be embarassing, so I really should be pumping now since I may have to leave at any moment. Anyway. I didn't bring any food with me today and I haven't gone out to buy any dinner, so I'm hungry. I did steal an ice-cream sandwich out of a big box of them in the freezer, but then I was just reading about new Milano cookies and realized that I'm still hungry. So no, they're probably not healthy, no, they're not organic, and no, I haven't tried them. But just in case you're standing in a grocery store while you read this, here's some money saving and delicious information for you:

Pepperidge Farm just released a NEW Strawberry Milano cookie (YUM!). They describe it as a
"fab little cookie deliciously pairs luscious strawberry filling with rich, dark chocolate for an irresistible, sweet indulgence that brings a moment of satisfaction to any day."
My own sweet summer moments? Being a SAHM for the first time, giving birth to my beautiful son, and then getting back into EMS. I would like to say that today's sweet summer moment also involves eating cookies, but alas, I'm still hungry.

Check it out!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Happy 75th Birthday, Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood just celebrated their 75th "birthday." Ironic, because they take the birthdays away from hundreds of thousands of babies every year. Yes, they do some good things in my eyes like provide affordable contraceptives to the public. Unfortunately, even when I have been broke and uninsured, I have been unable to take advantage of these things because I can't get past the truth behind Planned Parenthood. You see, I believe that all people from the moment their own DNA is coded (at conception) are valuable and have the right to live regardless of age, social status, abilities, or race. Since I feel it is extremely important to be a voice for those who have none and to protect the unprotected, I can't bring myself to add to the numerical statistics or an organization who so strongly works against the sanctity of human life.

Quotes from Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood:

“We are failing to segregate morons who are increasing and multiplying . . . a dead weight of human waste . . .an ever-increasing spawning class of human beings who never should have been born at all.” -Margaret Sanger

“Every feeble-minded girl or woman of this hereditary type should be segregated during the reproductive period. Otherwise, she is almost certain to bear imbecile children … we prefer the policy of immediate sterilization, of making sure that parenthood is absolutely prohibited to the feeble minded.” -Margaret Sanger

“Organized charity itself is the symptom of a malignant social disease. Those vast, complex, interrelated organizations aiming to control and to diminish the spread of misery and destitution and all the menacing evils that spring out of this sinisterly fertile soil, are the surest sign that our civilization has bred, is breeding and perpetuating constantly increasing numbers of defectives, delinquents and dependents…….to breed out of the race the scourges of transmissible disease, mental defect, poverty, lawlessness, crime … since these classes would be decreasing in number instead of breeding like weeds….such a plan would … reduce the birthrate among the diseased, the sickly, the poverty stricken and anti-social classes, elements unable to provide for themselves, and the burden of which we are all forced to carry” -Margaret Sanger

“The most merciful thing that a large family does to one of its infant members is to kill it.”  -Margaret Sanger

“The purpose in promoting birth control was to create a race of thoroughbreds,” -Margaret Sanger

“More children from the fit, less from the unfit — that is the chief aim of birth control.”  -Margaret Sanger

“We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population”
-Margaret Sanger

“When motherhood becomes the fruit of a deep yearning, not the result of ignorance or accident, its children will become the foundation of a new race.” -Margaret Sanger

“The third group [of society] are those irresponsible and reckless ones having little regard for the consequences of their acts, or whose religious scruples prevent their exercising control over their numbers. Many of this group are diseased, feeble-minded, and are of the pauper element dependent upon the normal and fit members of society for their support. There is no doubt in the minds of all thinking people that the procreation of this group should be stopped.” -Margaret Sanger

Planned Parenthood, founded on the principles of eugenics, I hope you have a happy birthday with my tax dollars.

Definition of EUGENICS (per the Merrium-Webster Dictionary)

noun: a science that deals with the improvement (as by control of human mating) of hereditary qualities of a race or breed 

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Fisher Price EZ Bundle 4-in-1 Baby System Review

 Fisher Price just released a new baby system: the "EZ Bundle 4-in-1". It's designed to give you all of the basic infant and toddler sitting equipment with an interchangeable design that saves space and, may I add, also works with your budget by having the entire package cost the same as one of these products could cost separately. My family lives in a 1,100 square foot home which gets pretty tiny when you consider there is one toddler and one baby (equaling way too much space-consuming baby equipment) and two adults (one is an artist and one is a musician, thus pianos, drum sets, and guitars fill the basement and living room while what could be a bedroom houses an art studio). Needless to say, we need to simplify things as much as possible space-wise so that we can walk through our home. :-)

Basically, you get a box that contains one seat which can snap in and out of the supporting units to create the following apparatuses:

EZ Bundle swing compared to our regular one
EZ Bundle high chair compared to our regular one
Infant Swing
• 6-speeds for variety
• 3-point restraint
• Comfy stain-resistant seat pad
• Approx. 0-6 Months, Maximum weight: 25 lbs.
• Use Swing from birth until child becomes active and attempts to climb out of the product.

High Chair
• 5-point restraint
• Comfy stain-resistant seat pad
• Approx. 6-24 Months, Maximum weight: 50 lbs.
• Use High Chair only with a child who has enough upper body control to sit up unassisted.

Newborn Seat
• Great for feeding or napping!
• 3-point restraint
• Comfy stain-resistant seat pad
• Approx. 0-6 Months, Maximum weight: 25 lbs.
• Use Infant seat from birth until child is able to sit up unassisted.

Toddler seat
• Holds toddlers up to 50 lbs.!
• Comfy stain-resistant seat pad
• Approx. 18 Months & up, Maximum weight: 50 lbs.
• Use Toddler seat only with a child capable of getting into and out of the product unassisted.

The EZ Bundle impressed me on a few different levels. The first is that I thought it may be of rinky-dink quality because of the price, but I've found it to actually be very sturdy. In fact, I had to read the directions to put it together (which I normally refuse to do). Another thing that I like about it is that it's aesthetically pleasing with a modern but not overpowering print for the seat, and nice curves and lines for the seat bases. One of the best things is that I can use it for both my son (8-weeks-old) and my daughter (21-months-old) thanks to their weights, and it's quick and easy to switch the seat back and forth between the baby appropriate and toddler appropriate bases. The seat really does just snap into any of the units, and is no problem to get back out of that unit when you want to again.

Some things I'd like to see in this system is a musical component on the swing, and a dangling toy option that clips to the bar above the swing so the baby has something to look at (I remedied this by attaching my own toys we have). It'd be great if they could also find a way that allowed you to set the swing to move either forward-backward or side-to-side, but I imagine such a thing would have to shoot the price up. And lastly, of course, I'm always up to finding alternatives to plastic. Again, though, you'd have to sacrifice cost and flexibility which are two integral things to the EZ Bundle 4-in-1 Baby System. One thing to watch out for when you use the system is that the swing seems to lay and swing back pretty far. Be sure to ALWAYS buckle your baby in, because I think it'd be possible to fall out the back of it if another sibling pushed you too far or something.

The EZ Bundle would be something I suggest people get because it's just as good as many other similar products but costs a lot less. If you don't have all of the pieces assembled all of the time, it does also save on space and is highly portable if you want to use it on a road trip. Rarely is my husband excited about me receiving something in the mail to review ("takes up space"), but this time he actually said "great! Now we can get rid of all of our baby clutter!" after I explained the system to him. ;-)

This review is based on free products I received with no other compensation. I was under no obligation to give a positive review and the opinions are all mine.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

FREE 20-Page Hardcover Custom Photo Book

Picaboo is offering a FREE 20-Page Hardcover Custom Photo Book through the end of August. You do have to pay shipping, but this is a $39.99 value! I haven't finished making mine yet, but you download this easy program that helps you make the book. It's fast, customizable, and pretty darn good looking. :-) I'm extremely excited about this because it's a GREAT Christmas gift for the Grandparents that most of us wouldn't be able to afford otherwise!

Visit http://www.Picaboo.com and enter the code "FREEBK" at checkout.

Since I haven't got mine ordered yet, let me know if you use this and how it works for you!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Motherhood Doesn't Equal Martyrdom

I mentioned the other day that I have only been getting 3-4 hours of sleep a night since my son was born. The response I heard was a smug "welcome to motherhood!" said as though it should be considered a great feat to survive being sleep deprived for months or years. Not only should I be proud of this fact, I understood, but I should consider it an honor to be a martyr for my family.

Motherhood apparently equals martyrdom.

Along that note, why is it that so many women use complaining as a way to brag? It's as though when one of us explains how tired she is, how many loads of laundry she had to do, or how long it takes her to grocery shop, she's really saying "look at me! I'm winning Good-Mommy points by not sleeping, doing laundry, and enduring long grocery trips with crying babies and big diaper bags!"

I think we do this because it's a way to cope. Sometimes, we're exhausted. Sometimes, we're sick of washing 6 loads of laundry in one day. Sometimes, we are frustrated by our grocery shopping trips taking 2 hours because our kids aren't cooperative and we have to not only push a cart and manage coupons, but we have to push kids around, keep everyone happy, and nurse the baby all at the same time we gather our food. Sometimes, there's no one to say to us "hey, you're doing okay," and we just want to quit. But since quitting isn't an option, we create the affirmation we need by taking the things that are difficult for us and telling ourselves that enduring these things is simply the initiation of motherhood, and we are good mommies because we are successfully managing (or surviving, if we're honest) these things.

The problem is that being exhausted doesn't make me a better mom. I'm tired. When I'm tired, I'm not as aware, not as effective in accomplishing things, and I'm not as nice as I should be. My tolerance for the toddler who is screaming because she wants Oatmeal Squares instead of Cheerios dwindles to the point where I yell at her...all because she doesn't want Oatmeal Squares. Really? Really.

What might make me a better mom is if I would take a nap or go to bed early when the opportunity arises instead of using that time to clean my house. We will survive a messy house and my toddler won't remember it being that way. She might remember a mommy who is mean to her though. And I don't want to be that mom. I don't want to be a "better" mom in someone's eyes because I'm only sleeping a few hours a day.

Please, if I tell you I am having a hard time, don't act like a good mother is a martyr. A good mother treats her kids right, and sometimes you need more than a few hours of sleep to do that. A good mother is better than a martyr mother, and the two aren't the same.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Yoplait Splitz Prize Package Review & Giveaway

I'm a big fan of yogurt, as anyone who has been reading my blog for a while knows. Because of that, I am always excited to do a review of any yogurt products. :-) I was sent a coupon and prize package from MyBlogSpark and Yoplait that gave me the opportunity to try one of Yoplait's new "Splitz" yogurts. There was quite a selection of different GoGurt types for me to choose, but all had some things in common: 1) it's marketed towards kids, and 2) it comes in a tube package instead of a cup. This lets you squeeze it into your mouth or freeze it and then eat it like a pop ice sort of desert.

I chose to try the "simply...GoGurt" yogurt. It contains NO high fructose corn syrup, NO artifical colors, and NO artificial flavors. That's a win for this mom! I only want to put natural, healthy food into my own and my kids' mouths. It can be quite the challenge and particularly if you want to buy something that is marketed towards kids (why that is, I don't know). We found that simply...GoGurt tastes good (although I wouldn't mind if it was less sweet), looks good, and feels good in your mouth. Yup, that's about all there is to it: it's good.

As part of the prize package, I was also sent a cool insulated picnic tote and roll up picnic blanket (one side is soft and the other is water proof) that I'm pleased to report are really cool and uber-handy for softball season. They are manufactered by Picnic Time and are of good quality. I have them ready to go in my basement for the next outing we have. :-)

What they say...
Now you can drive past your local sweet shop without looking back. Yoplait Splitz is the new yogurt that tastes like a sundae. Providing all of the goodness of 100% real yogurt, Yoplait Splitz is a good source of calcium and vitamin D. With no artificial flavors or sweeteners and no high fructose corn syrup, this 90 calorie dessert is the treat your family craves.

For an even “cooler” experience, just pop a Yoplait Splitz in the freezer and in a few hours you can enjoy a cool, creamy cup of authentic frozen yogurt. Available in three delicious flavor combinations including Strawberry Sundae, Strawberry Banana Split, and Rainbow Sherbet, Yoplait Splitz is sure to have your family screaming for more.

Buy It!
Visit http://www.myblogspark.com/uc/main/7b3a/ to download a printable coupon for $0.75 off any flavor Yoplait Splitz today! 

Win It! One lucky reader will receive the same prize package I described above: a coupon for a free box of Yoplait Splitz, as well as a sweet insulated picnic bag and blanket. To win, all you have to do is follow me through Google Friends/reader (be a Blogger follower) and leave me a comment telling me why you want this package. Make sure you leave an email address and separate comment for each entry! Contest will end September 6th at noon, EST.

Please Read: *This coupon offer for a free pack of Yoplait Splitz is not valid in some states, including California, Idaho, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Jersey, Nevada, North Dakota and Tennessee

Extra Entries:
  • "Like" Yoplait on Facebook or Follow Yoplait on Twitter and let them know I sent you!
  • Like Life More Simply on Facebook 
  • Follow Life More Simply on Twitter
  • Subscribe to Life More Simply by email (be sure to verify) 
  • Two entries if you email 4 friends about this contest (CC “lifemoresimply(@)yahoo.com
  • One entry per tweet about this contest (max: 3 tweets per day, at least one hour apart): #win a Yoplait Prize Package worth $50 from @LifeMoreSimply ! Enter at http://tinyurl.com/2g6pytn.
  • Two entries for each time you share this on a parenting/contest forum or site (leave me the link!)
  • Two entries if you have my button on your site (leave the link)
Note: this review is based on free products I received from MyBlogSpark and Yoplait. No other compensation was received and the opinions are mine.

Friday, August 20, 2010

How to pump milk in the back of an ambulance

How to pump milk in the back of your ambulance when you have no electricity:

Step #1: Secure sheets in any way possible so as to cover all windows. This may include tying, wedging, and taping the sheets in place. Be sure to lock the doors before hanging your drapery.

Step #2: Avoiding the flies that are buzzing around (thanks to the windows that have been open all day since your air conditioning is broken), sit on the jump seat and lean forward.

Step #3: Envisioning flowing fountains, crying babies, and bottles of milk, try to get your milk to "let down" by doing short sqeeze-release motions.

Step #4: Be careful not to spill any milk as you hand express and swat at flies, grab a sheet as it falls down, and answer your radio all at the same time.

Step #5: Tilt your head backwards for a minute to relieve the cramp that has built up since you've been staring straight down for 7 minutes.

Step #6: Switch sides and start again.

Step #7: Carefully put away milk (20 minutes later) as your ambulance starts to move and shake out your hands that are now completely cramped up from the repetitive milking motion. Be glad you finished in time for the call.

Step #8: Make sure you are fully covered, then quickly take down the sheets, fold them back up, unlock the doors, put the pump away, plug back in the cardiac monitor that you had unplugged in an attempt to find an electricity source for your electric pump that you didn't get to use, and wipe away your sweat from the heat and tears from the back spasms (you have been leaning over for quite some time now). Do this all within one minute's time so you can climb between the seats to jump up front and tell your driver how to get where you're going.

Step #9: Smile and laugh as you realize how ridiculous but important of a task you just completed.

Step #10: Wait 2.5 hours and start again.

Apple Cranberry Walnut Fruit Crisp Recipe

I'm a big fan of fruit crisps since they're so easy and delicious. Here is my healthy rendition of a fruit crisp. Enjoy!

Apple Cranberry Walnut Fruit Crisp Recipe

Apple Cranberry Walnut Fruit Crisp
Prep: 30 Minutes
Bake: 30 minutes
Yield: 6 servings

  • 5 cups sliced apples (unpeeled for extra fiber)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup regular rolled oats
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (I use 1/4 C four and 1/4 C flaxseed meal for added nutritional benefit)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4-1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  1. Place apples and cranberries  together in a 2-quart square baking dish.
  2. Combine all of the rest of the ingredients together to make the topping. Mixture will resemble coarse crumbs.
  3. Sprinkle this topping over the fruit.
  4. Bake in a 375f oven for 30-35 minutes or until the fruit is tender and the topping is golden.
Note: 1) This is great with vanilla icecream! 2) If you're like me, you want to double the topping portion. Don't. I already did it for you. :-)

Variation: if you're short on time, just use a can of pie filling in place of the fruit and put in the oven on your "broil" setting for a few minutes until bubbly and golden brown. Watch it--it won't take long to warm through!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wordless Wednesday-- First Smiles for Daddy

We Have the Flu--HELP!

We have the flu. Both babies and the mama...which blows my mind. My 100% breastfed baby is SICK and he's only 6-weeks-old?! How is this possible? LoveBug never got sick until she was exactly one-year-old. I guess it's really more of an intense upper respiratory infection plus a cough and low grade fever, but it makes you feel all achey and like a train hit you on top of the breathing problems.

Here's what I've got going so far:
*humidifier with white vinegar added
*big garlic oil supplements for mom
*organic immune boosting vitamin gummy bears for LoveBug
*Cold-Eeze every two hours for mom
*Lots of fluids and rest for everyone (try nursing with a stuffy nose--not easy)
*Vicks for everyone
*Tylenol as needed

I need some help here! What else can I do for my babies that is along the "natural" line of thinking? Please share your ideas and recipes. I'll be checking this post until we're better and will try everything I'm able to.
 Seriously, I already missed 11 hours of work because of this and am scheduled to work 8.5 hours tomorrow. :-\ I need all the help I can get with overcoming this super bug!


Sunday, August 15, 2010

So Easy baby food kit Review and Giveaway!

We as moms know that it's probably better for our babies to eat homemade baby food rather than prepared or processed baby food. Unfortunately, many parents are skeptical of their ability to prepare baby food —how to do it, if they’ll have enough time, and if it’s really worth the effort. It’s all become a simple thing to understand and accomplish though, since two moms have teamed up to provide you with the “So Easy Baby Food Kit.”

In the kit, you’ll find a 22-minute DVD that will teach the auditory and visual learner everything you’ll need to know in order to make baby food. Not only are you instructed on the actual preparing of baby food, but safety, nutrition, food storage, and health are all encapsulated in the “how to make baby food” disc. I thought it provided a clear, easy to understand, and not-obnoxious way of teaching families about infant food preparation.

Secondly in the kit is a “Personalized Guide to Making Baby Food at Home” 118-page spiral bound cookbook. It covers a lot of information but isn’t at all overwhelming and even includes space for you to document the early eating and feeding memories of your baby! Contents include:

·         Feeding Memories and Fun
·         Healthy Eating Habits
·         Benefits of Home-Prepared Baby Food
·         Introducing Solid Foods
·         Dietary Essentials for Your Baby’s Diet
·         Making and Serving Fresh Baby Food
·         Kitchen Tools
·         Safety Basics
·         Food Choices
·         Fresh Baby To Go
·         Managing Your Time—30 Minutes Per Week Is All Fresh Baby Takes
·         Fresh Baby Recipes (from “the perfect start” to over 12 months)

On top of all of that, you’ll also receive two high quality freezer trays. I like these better than the ice cube trays I’ve previously used for making baby food because these have lids, and are sturdier. They are BPA and phthalate-free…and are dishwasher safe to make your life easier!  While these aren’t a necessity to making your own food, they are definitely nice to have on hand.

The last thing this kit includes is actually one of my favorite components: a nutrition tips card. It’s the size of a regular sheet of paper and is laminated to protect the colorful print and illustrations. Not only does it contain quick to find information about nutrients, what foods should be introduced when, and a little bit about preparation, but it even contains safety information like first aid for choking. This card should be in every parent’s kitchen if she has young children!

Overall, I think this is a great product. Many people want to prepare their own baby food but are intimidated or don’t have the time to read a book about it. The Fresh Baby food kit honestly makes it as easy as can be. It’s a great starting point, easy to understand, and nicely arranged and professional. Great for the first-time food maker or as a baby shower gift!

You’ll also want to check out their website as it’s packed with lots of information including a blog, ideas for both toddlers and babies, and downloadable free recipes. http://FreshBaby.com.

BUY IT! Visit Freshbaby.com or Amazon.com. Retail cost is $37.95
WIN IT! The ladies at Fresh Baby are generously giving one of my readers her own Fresh Baby So Easy Baby Food Kit. To win, please visit their website and find something interesting to share here that no one else has shared yet. You must also be a subscriber of mine somehow (Google, Feedburner, Facebook, Twitter…you know, just pick one and tell me which one so I can verifty!). Contest will end on 8/29/10 at noon, EST. You MUST leave a separate comment with a valid email address in EACH entry! If the winner lives outside of the US, she may be responsible for shipping costs. Good luck!

·         Grab an entry for each way that you follow Life More Simply: Blogger (Google Friend Connect), Feedburner, Email, Twitter, Facebook.
·         Three entries if you have my button (leave me the address)
·         One entry if you sign up for Fresh Baby’s email list
·         One entry per other current contest of mine that you’ve entered.
·         Two entries if you email 4 friends about this contest (CC “lifemoresimply(@)yahoo.com”)
·         One entry per tweet about this contest (max: 3 tweets per day, at least one hour apart): #win a So Easy Baby Food Kit from @LifeMoreSimply! http://tinyurl.com/freshbaby
·         Three entries: Spread the word on a parenting forum/message board/etc. (leave the link)
 Note: this review is based on a free sample provided by Fresh Baby. The opinions are all mine and I received no other compensation.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

My first day back at work

Here’s a riddle for you: what do Christmas trees, “Free Mamograms Today—no appointment necessary” signs, alien yard decorations, and beer all have in common? Answer: NASCAR.

NASCAR is a culture all of its own. For three days a year, four distinct groups of people come together for an event that gets crazier by the day. I call these groups The Paid People, The Whackers, The Spectators, and The Drivers. It is an event that reminds me to count intelligence as a blessing and that not everyone can make smart choices. It is an event that my children will never attend.

Day One: I sit in the pits all day, counting the various ways in which I can arrange my body in an ambulance seat. It’s my first day working and I miss my babies, but I’m grateful for the money and the chance to nap. I almost get run over while crossing the lot to go to the restroom by a few NASCAR drivers who apparently think it’s more important to go from the garage to the track at 40 mph than it is to preserve the life of the paramedic who might be saving their butt later in the day.

Day Two: I am stationed with a group of firefighters in the camp ground next to a food vendor who wants $7.00 for a cheese steak. I explain to my cohorts that I just had a baby and will need to pump milk every few hours, but that I’ll be fully covered so no one should feel awkward if they need to enter the camper. One of the female firefighters (missing a few teeth and still wearing her pajamas) says to me in an appalling tone “you’re baby is only 5-weeks-old and you left him to come up here?!” I want to tell her that, believe me, I’m still the better mother because she’s sitting there with a cigarette, swearing up and down in front of her 11-year-old scantily dressed daughter, and without having brushed her hair today…but instead, I shrug and tell her my family needs the money. I also mention that I want to be with my baby, would be if I could, miss him, and that he’s with his grandmother. I think about sticking out my tongue and saying “bet YOU wouldn’t bother to pump milk for your baby while working!”, but I just close the camper door behind me instead.

My only call of the day involves a 30-year-old who had a heart attack last year (needing two stents) and who is now having chest pain. He tells me he was “just smoking a cigarette” when the chest pain came on, and I ask him if he wants to die. He sheepishly replies “no,” and I inform him that he is now an ex-smoker then.

Day Three: I am stationed with a different fire department in a different area of the camping sections. From 6am-9am, things are pretty decent. I’m able to pump, eat breakfast, and even take a 30-minute nap. Then things start to roll and I find myself 2.5 hours late pumping. So instead of ensuring the future feeding of my son, I am transporting people who are in their 30’s but who don’t know that shouldn’t drink 12 beers, no water, and still expect to not get dehydrated after standing around in the sun for 5 hours. I remind myself to teach my son to be smarter than that.

So the working-pumping-motherhood adventures have begun again. Thankfully, God has worked miracles in my life and I will not be a full time working mom any more. *BIG happy smile* I resigned from my regular job and will instead be a paramedic two days a week, a music teacher (from my home) one day a week, and an online entrepreneur the rest of the time (just what that will be, I have yet to determine). Do I want to be with my babies all of the time? Absolutely! Am I glad, though, that I have the opportunity to make ends meet and help other people during their times of need (or stupidity, as today would have it) while I’m at it? Yes! Returning to work is never easy, but this time, I didn’t cry as I pumped my baby’s first bottle of milk. For all of these things, I am grateful.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

good earth Prize Pack Review and Giveaway!

I’m not a person who often buys prepackaged or boxed food (cereal doesn’t count). Part of it is because I didn’t grow up eating it (with a family of 10 people, you learned how to cook!), part of it is because of the expense, and part of it (the biggest part) is because boxed food isn’t generally healthy. When MyBlogSpark contacted me to do a review of General Mills’ new good earth Restaurant Favorites line, though, I was pretty excited. For the first time, there seemed to be a healthy boxed dinner option---which is like the equivalent of receiving a foot massage for a pregnant lady with a toddler and a kitchen that’s torn out due to remodeling! I was more than happy to try it out.

My family made the Mediterranean Chicken with angel hair pasta box and we were all impressed. It was easy (boil some pasta, coat some chicken, cook the chicken, stir in water, milk, and some seasoning packets and then simmer—20 minutes tops). It required very few cooking dishes. And it tasted amazing (I would be impressed if someone served this to me in their home; it doesn’t taste like it came out of a box). The biggest thing I liked about the taste is that it wasn’t too salty like one would expect from a seasoning mix and that my toddler loved it as well (in fact, I caught her with her hands in the main dish more than once). One little change I did make in preparing the meal was that I used chicken breast cutlets instead of slicing chicken breasts like the directions suggest. Using cutlets saves on time and reduces your exposure to salmonella which worked out great.
The main ingredients in the box are whole wheat pasta and flour, water, cheddar cheese, tomato, whey, and olive oil. There is no MSG or added salt, though one prepared serving does give you 22% of your daily sodium intake. We love chicken and whole wheat pasta (the only kind we buy!), so it wasn’t hard to fall in love with a whole grain and poultry meal. On top of having a base of wholesome ingredients, there are five servings per container and they aren’t skimpy, either! I was surprised by how much food it actually made. We were able to eat leftovers quite a few times after our initial dinner.

Visit RestaurantFavorites.com to see all of the different dinner varieties they offer and get ready to “stay in and go all out!”

Win It! One lucky person will win not only a good earth Restaurant Favorites Mediterranean Chicken with angel hair pasta dinner, but you will ALSO receive two sets of bamboo flatware, two bamboo dishes, a bamboo utility board, and a 100% recycled grocery tote! To enter, you just need to be a follower/friend/subscriber of mine (only one way is necessary) and then leave me your best healthy-time-saving food tip below. Be sure to leave an email address and separate comment for EACH entry! Contest will end August 19, 2010 at noon, EST.

Additional Entries:
*Blog about this contest or tell people about it through a parenting forum (2 entries)
*Subscribe to or follow me (each different way = 1 entry; Blogger, Google Reader, Facebook, Twitter, etc.)

*Fav me on Technorati or otherwise vote me up somewhere

*Grab my regular button (2 entries)

*Tweet about this contest with a link and @LifeMoreSimply included (can tweet 2x/day)

*Have another great idea to spread the word? Do it and tell me how you did!

I received a good earth prize pack from My Blog Spark and General Mills for this review and giveaway. No other compensation was received and the opinions expressed are all mine. :-)

Win an AIO Grovia Diaper!

Win a new Grovia AIO cloth diaper and set of wipes from Franklin Goose! All you have to do is comment on their Facebook page and tell them what your favorite blog is. Now, I do hope that you'll say http://lifemoresimply.blogspot.com/! :-) Click here.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - New Baby Parts

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The One Hour Birth of My Son

July 2, 2010
It's night time, but I can't sleep. LoveBug is spending the night at her grandparents' house since we're scheduled to be induced tomorrow morning. My body desperately craves sleep, but instead, I find myself laying on the couch feeling Monkey staying awake with me all night long. This has been an easy pregnancy in one sense--my symptoms have been very minimal compared to my pregnancy with LoveBug. It's been more difficult in the past weeks since I've had an increasing number of contractions and low iron.

Part of me is very excited to know I'll be having my baby tomorrow and only three days overdue. The other part of me feels weird to "choose" the day he should be born. I remind myself that the inducing method--Cytotech, will only cause my body to release its own prostaglandin and if my body doesn't want to continue on into labor, it won't. My midwife has assured me that nothing will be different from a natural birth with this induction and I can expect the time line to remain the same. We're guessing about two hours from the first real contraction to my son being born. After all, my daughter's birth took four hours total.

July 3, 2010
Dawn comes, Monkey finally goes to sleep for the day, and I prepare myself to give birth to my first son. It’s a beautiful day.

Ron and I load the car and stop at McDonald’s for his coffee and a fruit smoothie for me. I mention during the ride that I never fell asleep last night.

We arrive at the hospital’s birthing suite and I am hooked up to a monitor to check the baby and my uterus’ activity for twenty minutes before my midwife arrives to give me the Cytotech. The machine tells us that I’m having regular contractions every 5 minutes even without the medicine and I let the nurse know that I was contracting regularly all night long. Since these aren’t painful contractions, I didn’t think anything of them. I’m told that my cervix is 1 cm dilated and 50% effaced. The staff suggest that I may give birth tomorrow even with the induction and I inform them that I’m only going to be doing this for two hours once things start. They laugh.

My midwife, Deb, gives me half a pill of Cytotech and I try to sleep while they monitor me for an hour. I never fall asleep since the bed I’m on won’t remain in a sitting position and keeps flattening out—not comfortable for an overly pregnant woman! Ron is watching some show on DIY that involves table saws and hammering, so I resign myself to the fact that this child is coming to a mother who won’t have slept in many, many long hours.

My contractions increase in frequency and decrease in intensity, according to the monitor.

We are released for an hour and so Ron and I decide to walk around outside in the 90+ degree weather. The hospital overlooks a lake and is built into the side of a hill, so we enjoy the view as my husband drags me up and down stairs and seemingly mountainous hills.

I rock on a birthing ball in an attempt to help things along. I wonder if this is really going to work and am feeling disappointed.

The hospital staff switch my bed out to one that works, and so I’m able to get comfortable for the next half an hour of monitoring. My mother arrives and we tell Ron’s mom over the phone that she will probably make the birth even though she can’t get here until 3:00pm. My contractions are increasing, but still aren’t painful and I work on falling asleep.

With the monitoring done, my midwife leaves to get some groceries into her fridge. Ron leaves to find some lunch. To my relief, I start to doze in the peaceful atmosphere.

Never having made it to dream land, I hear a “pop! Pop!” that comes from some where in my abdomen. I think to myself that a popping noise within me can not be a good thing, so I lift up my eye mask to tell my mom, but she isn’t in my room. Somewhere in the recess of my mind, I remember hearing that some women audibly experience a “popping” noise when their water breaks. Since my water broke in the tub (or so we assume) with LoveBug, this is a new thing to me. I stand up and there’s the warm fluid. I press the nurse’s button before heading into the bathroom.

Within minutes, the first real contraction hits. I know I don’t have much time to go, so we quickly move me from the monitoring room to the birthing suite. The suite is complete with a gorgeous, huge tub, private bathroom, queen sized bed instead of a hospital bed, flat screen TV, rocking and other chairs, and all of the amenities for a baby tucked nicely into an oak armoire. My mom calls Ron and tells him that he might want to hurry up and the nurse calls my midwife. The nurse checks me and says that I’m 4 cm dilated and 90% effaced.

I manage to change into my birthing attire (swimsuit top and open swim skirt) and get into the tub. My body isn’t pushing yet, but I know it won’t be long. I’m so emotional this time that I want to cry. My son is coming.

Ron arrives and tries to verbally reassure me near my head. After a few sentences, I have to nicely ask him to go find a mint. He smells like food and I can’t handle that at the moment. Someone laughs and I want to throw something at her. I just want everyone to be quiet as my body attempts to turn itself inside out.

Deb arrives and my body is pushing. I’m emotional and it feels like I’m in transition the whole time. I have no relief between contractions—they just intensify and then decrease but don’t actually go away before the next one hits. I want to bite the tub’s side but remind myself that I also want to leave this experience with my teeth in tact. This is the most intense thing I’ve ever experienced and not having slept doesn’t help matters any.

With the contractions not letting up, I can see that Deb is a little concerned. The baby’s heart rate starts to drop as I feel him crowning. Thank God you’re crowning, I think to my son. It’s at this point when things get easier. The contractions ease and I’m able to focus so much better when it’s actually time for the baby to birth. I’m really not wanting to tear, but really wanting this baby out. My body did all of its own pushing with my first child, but Deb suggests that I push between surges this time since his heart rate was going down and I’ve not had relief from contractions. I try this suggestion and it turns out to be the most brilliant idea ever. I am able to control things entirely, and I am able to use my hands to put pressure exactly where I feel it needs to be as his head emerges.

I love it when my child’s head emerges. Feeling his head in my hands as it smoothly enters the world. I rub off the slimy stuff, and note the feeling of a tiny nose, chin, and ears. Ears! It is his ears that impact me so greatly. This is my son and I love him. He is my baby.

I have to give a good push for his shoulders, but I guide him and lift him out of me easily and without tearing at all. I place him on my chest and realize how gray he looks. He isn’t crying, which isn’t bothersome in itself, but…he’s so dark. Everyone notices and we’re trying to stimulate him, but he still doesn’t cry. He’s already been suctioned. I hear Deb say that he had meconium on the way out.

I’m a paramedic. I know that a dropping heart rate, such dark skin, and meconium are very bad--especially if it's my kid. A nurse places blow by oxygen next to his face. He’s breathing fine on his own, but he doesn’t cry and my son is gray. Deb senses that I’m concerned and reminds me that he’s still getting blood from the umbilical cord.

Finally, he cries and starts moving around more. In reality, it was probably only a few seconds. To me, it was an eternity. I hold him extra close to me as they place a hat on his head and a blanket over him even though we’re still in the water.

I ask what time it is and realize I only labored for one hour.

He is beautiful. Six pounds, 15 ounces, and 20 inches long.

My son.

I have fallen in love with a new boy.

Monday, August 2, 2010

I'm Back!

Guess who has the Internet now? Me! *big happy grin* We just got it in our home last week so I am slowly getting through things so I can get this blog back up and running like it's supposed to. My apologies, dear friends, for the intense neglect you've been through during my absence.

On May 3, I was taken off of work (where my Internet connection was) due to pregnancy complications. Thrilling as that was since I then became a stay-at-home-mom (my dream since LoveBug was born), my blogging life came to an abrupt hault. Really, it's not a good idea to drag a 19-month-old to the public library when you are having constant contractions, can't breathe, and black out every time you stand up. Once we realized I was very anemic (my hemoglobin was a 9), I began to use an iron supplement which helped the breathing/fainting symptoms a tremendous amount, but the testy toddler dilemma remained the same. :-D

Fast forward to July 3: baby Monkey arrived! It was a beautiful but intense birth which left me feeling really great (for someone who had just given birth, that is) and with a handsome little man added to our family. (The next post will most likely be his birth story, so stay tuned!).

Now: Monkey is 4-weeks-old and doing quite well. I am losing my mind, but that is still another post.

Coming Soon: I have a list of things I need to do with this blog to get it back together. My first task was to delete the insane amount of emails from my inbox that have nothing to do with Life More Simply. I started with almost 2,000 emails to sift through (fun, right? Not so much.), but finished that task in only two days (keep in mind I have a toddler attached to my leg while nursing an infant at almost all times. Things take a lot longer now.). Now that I'm done with the deletion process, my next goal is to make sure everyone who has won a prize here actually GETS it. Yeah, I'm embarrassed to admit that not everyone who won something from the Baby Mama Shower has gotten her goods yet. And in every case except for one, it's my fault. Things should be much easier now that I have a way to send names and addresses on to companies. :-) Following the catch up from that, I'll finish posting Baby-Mama reviews and more giveaways...and then by the time that is done (a few weeks?), I'm looking to revamp some stuff here including two major competition events and regular posting topics!

Leave me some love in the mean time. Believe me, I need it. Feel free to also leave me some tips on coping with no sleep and how to manage a home, an infant, and a 21-month-old all at the same time!!!! AHHHH!!! <3