Monday, December 5, 2011

FREE credits, gift certificates, and more that you'll want to know about!

As you know, sometimes I learn about things that are so phenomenal that I just HAVE to share it with you! So without further ado, here are somethings to know about for December 2011:

1) My gift to you! Use this link to receive a $5 credit at Plumb District: https://www.plumdistrict.com/?ref=u8d41d71a72e. I do believe that you have to use my referral (the link I posted) to get that credit. Not positive about that, but that's what I am interpreting from their website. After you do that, "like" them on Facebook (through their site) to get another $5 off. Combine that with their 40% off deals they often will give you, and you are well on your way to getting a LOT of free money to spend locally or on the Internet.

2) The Annual Mothering Handmade Christmas Gifts Idea Contest (wow! what a name!) is currently ongoing over at http://www.mothering.com/community/t/1337424/the-annual-mothering-handmade-gifts-ideas-contest. You post your idea for a handmade Christmas gift include a photo, and then whichever post gets the most "likes" by other readers will win a Boba 3g carrier. The deadline to enter is 12/10/11! While you're at it, be sure to send me your idea for a handmade Christmas gift so I can feature you on Life More Simply!

3) The Learning Tower is on Facebook. So am I. "like" them at http://Facebook.com/LearningTower. They hinted that they *might* give away something when they get 2,000 followers...and they got that number today! You can "like" me at http://Facebook.com/LifeMoreSimply while you're at it. ;-) PS--I would really enjoy having one of these, so feel free to order one and have it shipped to my house.

4) Restaurant.com is letting YOU give away free gift certificates! You can send up to 40 $10 gift certificates a day. Spread some love to people you know or even people you don't know! I do recommend that ya'll "friend" me on Facebook (Rachel East) so that you can easily send some my way, too. ;-) Want one but don't know anyone to send you one? Let me know in the comments section below and I'll hook you up! https://feeditforward.restaurant.com/

Sensory Christmas Basket Centerpiece (A Simple Christmas Project #3)

With small children in the home comes small changes in decorating for the holidays. Glass ornaments get put up higher, trees get anchored to a wall, and good linen might be removed from the table during a particularly stainable meal. Instead of removing your dining table's centerpiece altogether, though, why not make it into something that is festive, interesting, kid friendly, and encourages exploration and development, too!

This year, I created a Sensory Christmas Basket Centerpiece for our dining room table. It's a white wicker basket lined with a red and green dish towel. Laid inside are a host of objects all signifying Christmas time. Cinnamon sticks and scented pinecones create the base for this piece, followed by a variety of other things with various textures, scents, sounds, shapes, and colors. Silver bells that twinkle and ding, soft felt red drums, velvety bows, a bendable wirey silver garland, a bumpy, hard Christmastime teddy bear figurine, and a smooth victorian santa/polar bear ornament round out the basket. It's not only engaging to the eye, but delightful for people of all ages to sort through as they experience all of the different contrasting sensory input!

Easy to create, a great educational spin on decorating, and affordable as all getout because you probably already have everything you need to create your own Sensory Christmas Basket Centerpiece. Remember to include different textures, colors, variations of pressure (hard to soft), reflections of light (like a shiny bell vs. a dull cinnamon stick), scents, and even pieces that the children can manipulate (like the garland I used). Have fun keeping your decorations simple so you can focus on the reason for the season!

Have an idea to create a Simple Christmas of your own? We'd love to feature it on LifeMoreSimply with a link back to your own blog and a little info about you! DIY projects, gift ideas, celebrations, food...anything that helps keep things simple and real for Christmas! Email your write up to: lifemoresimply@yahoo.com with "Simple Christmas Post" in the subject line.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Advent Ideas for Toddlers

 Twenty Five Ways to Celebrate Advent
~*~ Toddler Style ~*~
 

What better way could you celebrate Christmas than to do it all month long?! Here are twenty-five ideas that we're using in our home this December to help focus on what the season's all about. These ideas can be done in any order (unless otherwise specified or sequential). I put an astric (*) next to anything that I still need supplies for so that I can prepare ahead of time. Have fun with it, and remember to keep things simple so that you can make the activities intentional.
  • DAY ONE: Finish decorating for Christmas, start the Advent Calendar (we use a wooden train where each day, there is a box to open which will give instructions for that day’s Advent. If you don't already have something like that, create your own with a clothesline and 25 socks, stockings, or mittens!)
  • Scavenger Hunt to find a Christmas book 
  • Craft trees out of newspapers, pompoms, and glitter glue 
  • Sing and dance to Christmas Carols! 
  • Make Applesauce Ornaments*  
  • Go shopping for an AngelTree child 
  • Watch a Christmas Movie 
  • String popcorn and cranberries* 
  • Visit the Library and read some Christmas books! 
  • Tell the story of the Wisemen visiting Jesus, and receive/give one gift 
  • Review the story of the Wisemen visiting Jesus, and receive/give one gift 
  • Have the Children tell YOU the story of the Wisemen visitng Jesus, and receive/give one gift (wooden nativity set)
  • Bake and decorate cookies* 
  • Give some cookies away 
  • Build a "stable" (tent out of blankets and chairs, or whatever strikes your fancy!) and eat lunch with your stuffed animals in it. 
  • Decorate a Gingerbread house or tree*
  • Write a letter to Santa 
  • Make a Happy Birthday card for Jesus 
  • Make Cupcakes and a special dinner to celebrate Jesus' birth (children choose menu)* 
  • After dark, drive around to see the Christmas lights (wearing jammies, of course)
  • Make and hang bird feeders made with peanut butter and birdseed on pinecones 
  • Visit Santa 
  • Make a snowman (no snow? Popcorn balls or craft supplies!) 
  • CHRISTMAS EVE! Wrap gifts for others, receive special jammies to wear, tell the Nativity story before bed
  • CHRISTMAS DAY! Traditions + finding Jesus in the manger of the nativity set

Friday, November 25, 2011

BEST Black Friday/Cyber Monday Deal To EcoMom ($70 for $15 or FREE)!

Receive $70 worth or products for only $15 OR FOR FREE plus free shipping from http://www.ecomom.com/! Here's how:

1) Go to http://www.plumdistrict.com/three_for_free/22b56c51a7/click and buy a "$50 gift certificate to EcoMom for $25" BUT...ENTER THE DISCOUNT CODE  "ENJOY10" to receive $10 off "SATURDAY40" to get $10 off (deal is good for four more days, but the $10 off code is only good for today, Black Friday  code for 40% off is valid only on 11/26!). So now you are getting $50 for $15.

2) Order today through Monday from EcoMom. You will receive another $20 off of a purchase of $50 from their site (or $40 off of $100). So now you are getting $70 worth of products for $15!

3) Share this deal with all of your friends, using the code you will generate (you must purchase the deal first). After three of your friends also purchase the deal, you will get your deal for FREE! So now you have gotten $70 worth of products from EcoMom for FREE!

I hadn't been to EcoMom until I found this deal (and yes, I bought two gift certificates!). They have so much "green" stuff! Diapers, clothing, toys, food, skincare, bathing stuff, household things, etc.. This is an amazing deal and definitely the best one I have found, possibly EVER!

Yup, I know ya love me. ;-)

A Simple Christmas Project #1: FREE Christmas Cards from TinyPrints


I must either be behind or everyone else is ahead for Christmas this year! I started decorating for the Holiday before Thanksgiving, even, but when I went to find and sign up for Snapfish's free Christmas card blogger program, I found that it was already closed....WHAT?! No worries, though, because I found TinyPrint's is offering their own blogger card review program. Now, they have no closing date listed on their website, so I can't guarantee it's still open, but I still signed up for it. :)

TinyPrints offers super duper cute and professional looking cards that you can customize, so hopefully we'll all get a shot at it. The program is only open to bloggers who also have Facebook/Twitter pages (thus you must already be established). Here's the link: TinyPrints.

Happy card designing for your DIY Christmas!

Have an idea to create a Simple Christmas of your own? We'd love to feature it on LifeMoreSimply with a link back to your own blog and a little info about you! DIY projects, gift ideas, celebrations, food...anything that helps keep things simple and real for Christmas! Email your write up to: lifemoresimply@yahoo.com with "Simple Christmas Post" in the subject line.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Bloggers Needed For A Simple Christmas 2011!




A Simple Christmas 2011

Beginning in three days, Life More Simply will be featuring ideas on how to create a simple holiday this Christmas season. We'll share thoughts and instructions for traditions, decorations, gifts, DIY projects, and money/time savers...plus whatever else strikes our fancy! If you have an idea or project that we could share with our readers, please send it to Rachel at lifemoresimply @ yahoo.com with the subject "Post for A Simple Christmas" (or something like that). Be sure to include the link to your own blog, website, or business if you have one! Submissions will be accepted until a few days before Christmas. :)

Blessings,
Rachel

Monday, November 21, 2011

$10 Credit to OneStepAhead

Being a recreation therapist (ok, I work as a Paramedic right now, but that RT degree knowledge hasn't left me!), I have a few rules for toys in my house: they must inspire. This means that the object should encourage my child to imagine, manipulate, learn, and grow. It should challenge, but not overwhelm. Be interesting, but not be solely entertainment. I also generally throw in there that batteries are plastic aren't allowed, but somehow toys still make their way into our home that make noise with no participation from a human! :)

I have long coveted OneStepAhead products because as a rule they are good quality, imagination producing, age and developmentally appropriate toys and household necessities for little ones. I recently ordered a few Christmas gifts from them which came quickly and look awesome! Plus, it didn't break the bank because I hooked up with their deal programs. So without further commentary, here is how YOU can also take advantage of saving a lot of money on their quality products.

1) Sign up for their $10 credit. You will receive $10 off on your first order of $65 or more, PLUS, you will continue to receive a $10 credit for every friend whom you refer who does this. Click here: http://onestepahead.extole.com/a/clk/4fSjH

2) After you sign up for that and are on their website, sign up for their "Daily Deals" program. They don't actually send them every day (or else my SPAM picks up their emails), but you can get amazing discounts on one product at a time. The deals change every day, but I scored their Dyson Ball Vacuum for like 60% off a few weeks ago--Christmas for my boy!

Happy shopping and money saving!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

International Beraved Father's Day

Remembering the daddy's of lost babies and children today on International Beraved Father's Day. 
You and your precious little ones are not forgotten!


Monday, September 19, 2011

Rachel's Creed


I believe in healing and the full restoration of wounded people.
I claim that for myself and my family.

I believe in the provision of a propitiation --perfect substitute-- for desperate situations.
I trust that God will bring one about for myself and my children in His timing.

I believe the promise that God will heal the broken hearted, binding up their wounds.
I am comforted in knowing that I won't hurt forever.

I believe the promise that God will turn our mourning into dancing.
I am excited to know my life will be abundant.

I believe that past suffering can be used to bring about the survival of many people.
I will use my journey as a way to lift others up.

I believe that I do not have to be hurt in the same way again.
I will choose to be healthy and protect myself while loving extravagantly.

I believe that God is all I need, and He will lead me beside still waters.
I will not follow temptation to have anything replace what He can give me.

I believe that I am valuable.
I will live in a way that models for my children that one's value is not dependent upon what happens to her.

I believe that my future is beautiful.
I have peace and joy when I think about what is to come. 

What are you claiming for yourself today?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I'm going to be a Music Together teacher!

Tomorrow morning at 9am, I start training to be certified as a Music Together teacher. I'm really excited about this as it will bring early childhood music education classes to an area that doesn't have them, new income possibilities for my family, and I got a scholarship to attend the training on top of it which made it all possible (thanks, Music Together scholarship program!). My daughter is just as excited as I am, daily talking about how she can't wait to help mommy when I'm teaching the classes after I'm trained. :) 

She was, in fact, one of the main reasons I chose Music Together over the other early ed music programs out there. After a lot of research, I had narrowed my decision down to Kindermusik or Music Together. One thing that I really liked about Music Together was that it's family oriented and thus more accessible for parents with multiple children, not to mention more affordable to them. My 2-year-old daughter verified this when I played both a Kindermusik album and a Music Together sample album for her...and we have been listening to the "Hello Song" from Music Together ever since! Yes, I really do think we know every word of every song on their "Family Favorites" album since it's the staple music in our minivan (don't knock the minivan, I have a story about it that I'll share sometime).


From their website:
Music Together is an internationally recognized early childhood music and movement program for babies, toddlers, preschoolers, kindergarteners, and the adults who love them. First offered to the public in 1987, it pioneered the concept of a research-based, developmentally appropriate early childhood music curriculum that strongly emphasizes and facilitates adult involvement. 

Music Together classes are based on the recognition that all children are musical. All children can learn to sing in tune, keep a beat, and participate with confidence in the music of our culture, provided that their early environment supports such learning.

The training will last three days (whew!), then I'll drive straight to work for a 28-hour-minimum shift (whew! again). Yes, I will probably go crazy missing my little people, but I couldn't let my daughter down by not being able to teach these classes that she's so excited about, right?

What are your thoughts on music programs like Music Together?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Honoring and Remembering 9/11

I wanted to be in NYC yesterday, on 9/11. It's been ten years, and I can still vividly remember being outside hanging laundry on the clothesline when my sister came out and told me that an explosion or something happened in on of the Twin Towers. My mom and most of my seven sisters and I sat around the radio and listened as the events rolled out and it was determined that a plane actually crashed into the building. Once the word "terrorist" was thrown out as a possibility, we got the TV out of the attic and set it up in the living room. School work didn't happen that day. Chores didn't happen that day. And the things I remember most? The moment when we watched live as the second plane approached the second tower. The people who jumped out of windows--alive as we watched them plummet through the air toward the ground...and we knew what was going to happen both times. And we couldn't stop it or look away.

Afterward, I watched as men from our town's fire department went down to the city to help. I later listened to the stories, saw the somber faces, and I continued to wait until the day when I was legally old enough to join the fire department myself. As long as I can remember, I wanted to be a firefighter.

Here we are now, a decade later. I had planned to be in NYC for the 9/11 ceremonies until I found out that first responders were not allowed to attend. So I changed my plans to a local 9/11 services at my church...until another paramedic had to leave his shift at our ambulance company because he was volunteering for disaster relief due to all of the devastating flooding that is occurring in my part of our country. I signed up for his shift, feeling a little grouchy because I thought I would just be sitting on my butt all day doing nothing at an International racetrack near us.

The day before on 9/10, I had missed the funeral procession of a local soldier killed in duty in Afghanistan because I was working. Again, I would be missing something important to me that signified remembering and honoring those lost and those who stand for life and freedom. I wondered if anyone at the racetrack would hold some sort of service or do anything to commemorate the day, and I was quite relieved when I was notified that in half an hour, there would be a service for the first responders. I got up to eat my lunch so that my partner and I could attend, and had just finished when our radio went off.

Someone had crashed their car--not even during a race. It was during a non-event that no one would ever suspect anyone to get hurt in. Not only was this patient hurt, but it was severe. Waiting for a helicopter to come and fly our unconscious patient to a trauma center, I spent the next 45 minutes stabilizing  him along with another paramedic, a doctor, two nurses, and three EMT's. Instead of attending any service, we gave life back to a stranger.

While I was cleaning blood off of things, throwing out used equipment, and documenting the events, I thought to myself how disappointed I was that I hadn't been able to attend any service or even watch one on TV throughout the day. Then I realized--what better way to honor those killed in the terrorist attacks, the standing survivors, and those who are still fighting for life and freedom by their occupations or volunteer work in the US, or their service in the military overseas? Nothing could be more honoring to them than to continue the work, to continue to serve, and to continue to be there when someone needs you.

These words, taken from Fire Wife Katie and her Firefighter/Paramedic husband's blogs, sum it up well:
Potent feelings were awoken that day ten years ago. People who never voiced an opinion suddenly felt compelled to set things right. Our desire to stand up and say something was stirred.

I think the 9/11 generation will be remembered as the generation that cared. Deeply.

To my brothers and sisters that have gone on before me, I will carry on. To the public, when you need us, we will be there.

And we will be here, always ready to give and protect life.

To the 343 NYC firefighters, 15 EMT's, and 60 police officers killed that day, as well as the 2,000 first responders who were injured in the 9/11 attacks: you will never be forgotten, and your brothers and sisters will carry on.

Note: original post written on 9/12/11.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Smart Phone Apps for Toddlers


I've finally done it; I have joined the world of people with "smart" phones. It's a long story, really, of how it came to be, but in a nutshell it goes like this: I had a Verizon contract that made me pay really high bills, have a really crappy phone (regardless of which one I got), and ZERO help from the Verizon employees that I came in contact with (not to mention a website that is almost impossible to navigate). In EMS, a smartphone is really handy for when you need to look something up on the fly, calculate difficult drug dosages, keep track of something, or navigate to a home or hospital that isn't on your map. It was a no-brainer, then, when my sister called me last week and asked if I wanted to switch from Verizon to Sprint and go on a plan with her and her family so we would all only have to pay around $60/month...and did I want a free (or very discounted) smart phone with that, plus a $125 credit to switch from Verizon (to cover the early cancellation fees)? Yes, yes, yes!

So now I have a smartphone. (A Motorola Photon 4g, to be exact). All I can say is that I.love.it. One of the things I love so much are apps. (Brilliant ideas, people! Brilliant!) Since I have a very active almost-three-year-old and a one-year-old who tries in every way to keep up with his big sister, I'm wanting to find some good apps for toddlers. They need to be free, kid friendly, age appropriate, preferably have lock features, and support good development and creativity. That's where you come in! I have lots of readers with small children, and I'm sure that many of you have excellent apps on your phone for those cute little ones.

Leave me some messages telling me what apps you use for your toddlers and why! Or, why do you choose to not use child-oriented applications on your smartphone? Thanks a bunch, my friends! :)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Seventh Generation Free & Clear Diapers Review & Giveaway


While my children have been primarily cloth diapered, I am finding that my son's skin actually does better in disposable diapers as of late. Clearly, the thought of those harsh chemicals and the non-biodegrading ingredients in most disposable diapers does NOT thrill this mother, so I was pretty interested when contacted about trying Seventh Generation's Free & Clear diaper line that they just revamped. Here's what I think:


1) One diaper fits a variety of sizes. I tested on both my toddler (overnight) and my baby (daytime/overnight) with no problem for each. The diapers hold up well and didn't leak.


2) They are not real attractive. No cute prints, and the color is a cream off-white, so it looks kinda gross when soaked with you-know-what. But then, who really looks at a used diaper, anyway?


3) No rashes! AND I didn't have to feel badly about putting them against my lovies' skin because they are so much gentler than regular disposable diapers. :) :) :)


Here's a little info from MyBlogSpark, who provided the sample for me to try and is also providing a package for one of my readers to try:

What Seventh Generation leaves out is just as important as what they put in. Free & Clear diapers do not include chlorine processing, fragrances, latex and petroleum based lotions. In an effort to contribute less overall landfill waste and continue to ensure a premium standard of absorbency, the new Free & Clear diapers have been redesigned with a lighter-weight core. With processed chlorine-free wood pulp in Free & Clear diapers, Seventh Generation also makes certain that no chlorine is released into the environment during the totally chlorine-free (TCF) whitening process of the diapers and training pants.

Seventh Generation has also reduced the size of the diapers’ plastic packaging, meaning that each pack now contributes even less overall landfill waste than before. In fact, Seventh Generation Free & Clear diaper packaging can now be recycled at local supermarkets where plastic bag recycling collection boxes are available. 

My vote? YES! Please buy these diapers instead of regular disposables. Can't afford them? I'm not promising anything and I HAVE NOT talked to Seventh Generation, but overall, they seem to be a great company to work with and I wouldn't be surprised if they would send people coupons for the asking. 

Win it! The first person to do the following two things will snag a FREE package of Seventh Generation Free & Clear diapers:


1) Leave us your best (or worst?) diaper story below. It had better be worthy of winning diapers! Feel free to tell us why you do or don't use cloth, free & clear diapers, etc.. INCLUDE your email address.


2) EMAIL me your full name, phone number, and mailing address, plus what size diapers you want!


Good luck and be blessed!


Disclosure: MyBlogSpark and Seventh Generation provided samples for this review and giveaway. I was not otherwise compensated for this post and the opinions expressed are all mine. :)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Like A Pearl


I want this ring. Like, really, really badly. I am not much of a jewelry person, even. It's not that I don't like jewelry (I do); I'm just a pretty practical person and it doesn't always fit my lifestyle. However. I have a problem with stalking two shopping sites: www.Etsy.com and https://www.theveteranssite.com.

I first found The Veteran's Site Store because they periodically have music videos with military themes and I have a heart for that, so I've been watching their stuff since I discovered them about two years ago. Not only do they post videos, but they have this really cool store that's right up my ally with handcrafted "hippie" stuff, free trade items, and just all around neat stuff...and their prices are so reasonable! They are constantly having sales and the shipping is flat rate! The BEST part though, is that the proceeds from what you buy help to feed and house US veterans, to whom I am forever grateful for.

So the ring. I found it browsing their site today, and I'm pretty sure my heart skipped a beat when I saw it. I don't know why, exactly, because I've seen other beautiful rings before. This one in particular cries out to me. I love non-traditional beautiful rings. You know, diamonds that aren't like everyone else; pearls that are, well, blue in this case. :) Once I clicked on the link and read the description, though...WOW! That is my life right now!

Timeless as the night sky, our Midnight Freshwater Pearl & Sterling Ring is a beautiful testament to the beauty that can come from persevering through struggle.

Pearls are developed because of an irritant inside a clam--sand. Instead of up and dying, rejecting the hardship, or being forever damaged, the clam creates something beautiful out of something ugly, useless, and painful. Once the pearl is created, it can be removed from that clam without harm, giving something precious to the world and giving a normal life back to the clam. That is what I wish my life to be, and what I believe it is right now. Domestic violence destroyed my marriage, and almost destroyed me in the process. When people ask me how I can still believe in marriage and the love of God after what I went through, I simply explain it as it's said in the end of Exodus: that I am ok with the fact that I went through these things because it will bring about the survival of many people. Like a pearl, beauty can come from persevering through struggle.

I may just buy myself that ring. Not sure yet, since I'm not one to buy things for myself, but it's possible.

"Oh Lord my God, I called to you for help and you healed me." (Psalm 30:2)
"The Lord will be your everlasting light, and  your days of sorrow WILL end." (Isaiah 60:20b)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

95% off Dave Ramsey Products!

Tonight is my last class to complete Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University course. For anyone wanting to get out of debt, understand and become wise in handling money, or become a millionaire, take Financial Peace University. I only wish I had taken this at the age of 17-years-old and in high school! Needless to say, I have put this on the future schooling agenda for my children. :) He certainly is the financial guru of this time period, and entertaining to boot.

Here are his seven steps to financial freedom that all of his materials are based around (do these in order):

1) $1,000 in an emergency fund ($500 if your income is under $20k/year)
2) Pay off all debt except the house utilizing the debt snowball
3) Three to six months expenses in savings
4) Invest 15% of your household income into Roth IRAs and pre-tax retirement plans
5) College funding
6) Pay off your home early
7) Build wealth and give!

You can find out about local classes, register for his online class, or access all of his free forms and information through http://www.daveramsey.com. OR, pay $1 and get his "Cash Flow Planning" lesson on mp3 AND an mp3 copy of "The Super Red Racer" children's book by Dave Ramsey! This normally costs $21 but is 95% off for three more days over at Mamapedia. Take advantage of this with your one dollar!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Need Advertising Space?


Are you a business owner? I love to support other people developing or running their own entrepreneurial endeavors--especially parents! If you want to get some extra PR, send me an email at with "Advertising on Life More Simply" as the title subject. You will need a banner and website, but not a ridiculous amount of money (today's now your favorite day, right?).  :)

I offer very reasonable pricing for advertising space and am more than happy to work out something with you and what you can afford--even if it means a trade of your product for my space! Remember that I have over 1,000 readers/followers/subscribers, so you will have a pretty good data base to spread the word to about your service or products.

Space will be first come, first served, so contact me now and we'll start spreading the word about your business!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Love Exuberantly


This is what I think...

You should hold your babies more, and never stop kissing them and telling them that you love them. You shouldn't be afraid to rock them to sleep, to let them get messy, or to let them snuggle you in the morning before you get out of bed. It doesn't matter if your floor isn't always spotless or the clean laundry always folded. It does matter that your children know they are loved unconditionally with an agape love. It does matter that you touch them and hold them and giggle with them and smile at them. Remember that the purest form of you is who you are when you're with your children. Let them know that they are the best thing in the whole wide world. Love those children, and make sure they know it. Don't ever hold back; love exuberantly.

This is what I think...

You should spend more time with that person who you are bound to. Whether it's a best friend, a girl friend, or a husband, be with them. You don't know when an accident will happen, cancer will strike, or something unforeseen takes them from you. Cherish your time. Love them. Stay up late talking, watching funny movies, and listening to the rain. Don't be afraid to experience everything possible that life offers with that person. Take every opportunity to love on that person, to fix every problem that hinders your relationship, and to serve that person with bounding joy. Learn to love better, and practice it. Do not take them for granted or take lightly the memories you have the opportunity to create together. Hold on to that person, the one that you can't live without, or at least that you don't ever, ever, ever want to live without. Love that person, and make sure they know it. Don't hold back; love exuberantly.

This is what I think...

I don't know what you felt when you got that phone call, and I won't pretend that I felt your fear. I do know, though, that I will hold your unconscious baby, sing to him, and love him for you when you can't do it yourself. I will do everything that is absolutely possible to give life to your baby, no matter what it costs me in the process. I will always be sure that I know what I'm doing, that everything is ready, and that your child comes first when my scanner goes off and I step into that ambulance. You don't need to fear, because when I get there, he becomes my baby too, and there is nothing stronger than a mama's heart. Know that if anything ever happens; if I can't get our baby to the place where he should be, or if things go wrong and something happens, I will be sobbing too. You may not see it, but I am breaking inside, too.

I won't pretend that I understand what it must be like to see your  unresponsive husband lying on a backboard with blood pooling everywhere. I do know though, that I feel part of your pain when I want him to wake up and he doesn't. When I know that he may never open his eyes again. When I know that you are standing there watching him die while I try to give him life. It's not easy as I gently tell you to hold his hand and kiss him, to talk to him and reassure him. What I am really saying is that you need to tell him goodbye and hold on to him for these minutes that he is still here for. Know that I am doing everything I can, though. Part of a team, I am still watching everyone and everything. I will speak up on his behalf, and I will make sure he is treated correctly. I will talk to him by name as I push oxygen into his lungs, and I will be ready to do everything possible to get him home. But if that doesn't happen, know that I am standing behind you, and that I wanted him to live, too.

This is what I think.
Seize every opportunity possible to love exuberantly. Don't wait for tomorrow, for tomorrow may never come.


-------
Originally posted at http://OctobersHeart.blogspot.com
If you aren't already following my blog there, then head on over! 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Four Things You'll Want To Know About

There's some great stuff going on in the world right now! If you weren't having a fantastic day yet, check this stuff out and start yourself on turning your ordinary day into a fantastic day.


Like...

1) Free Quiznos food. http://quiznosqclub.com/?imm_cid=C1-9W&imm_kwd=v2:CD1816&flow=prte&imm_mid=4200&imm_hid=789153221&c1=v2:CD1816&c2=&c3=#/register

2) Benefit auction going on over at KumfyKozies with some pretty great looking diapers, mama stuff, toys, and more with excellent starting price bids. All of the money collected will be going to help a family who has experienced a major medical crisis! Check it out: http://hyenacart.com/kumfykozies/

3) Chaco Dirtiest Feet Contest. No, I don't want you to win, because I want myself to win...but if you're a Chaco lover, you know that I couldn't possibly hold this back from other Chaco lovers. :) http://www.chacos.com/US/en/Tan-Contest-2011-Dirtiest-Feet

4) FREE 8x8 photo book from Snapfish...expires this Wednesday! Use code RXV4-1ND8-DKPS-WKMJV9.

Beat Cancer & Get a Pair of Yurbuds Iron Man headphones for only $20!!!





I just learned about a great event going on right now--a Beat Cancer Boot Camp Powered by Yurbuds. It's a two-day event and only costs $5 which will be donated to help fight cancer. Not only do I love the idea of that (and wish I lived close enough to go), but you can actually donate $20 to the Beat Cancer Boot Camp and get a pair of Yurbuds Iron Man Headphones for FREE (a $59.99 value)! I was about to go buy myself a pair (sounds like an excellent way to drown out Insanity while I'm jumping around like an idiot in my living room every day) when I found out that I *may* be able to win myself a pair by telling you about this great organization. So Here's the info, and a big thanks to MomSelect for letting me know about it!
 

WHAT:           Yurbuds®, the leader in sports earphones designed by a triathlete and 23-time    marathoner, has teamed up with Chris "Macca" McCormack, "World's Fittest Man" and two-time Ironman Champion to host the first-ever two-day Beat Cancer Boot Camp Powered by Yurbuds in NYC at the Sports Center at Chelsea Piers.


Free to the public, a suggested $5.00 donation will benefit the Entertainment Industry Foundation's (EIF) Revlon Run/Walk for Women, which helps raise funds for multiple beneficiaries dedicated to cancer research, early detection, and support.


Each boot camp will be led by Anita "Sarge" Kellman, founder of the national Beat Cancer Boot Camp program, and hosted by a Yurbuds-sponsored athlete from the Ironman World Triathlon Corp., which endorses Yurbuds earphones, available at Apple stores, Best Buy, Sports Authority and more.


WHEN:                       Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011
   11 a.m. to Noon Beat Cancer Boot Camp Workout
Yurbuds Host: Chris "Macca" McCormack, two-time Ironman World Champion, World's Fittest Man
                         
                                  Wednesday, August 24th, 2011
           7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. Beat Cancer Boot Camp Workout
Yurbuds Hosts: TJ Tollakson, 2011 Lake Placid Ironman Winner and Kyle "Epic" Mendoza, freerunning and parkour expert

WHERE:          The Sports Center at Chelsea Piers  
Pier 60 at the West 20th Street Crosswalk, New York, NY
Please use the entrance located at the East end of the Pier
By Cab: Enter at 23rd Street & West Side Highway (11th Avenue) 

REGISTER:   Sign up now at www.yurbuds.com/beatcancerbootcamp!  
  
MORE:           Donate $20 or more to receive a pair of Yurbuds Iron Man Series headphones ($59.99 value). For more information please visit www.yurbuds.com and http://www.facebook.com/sportscenteratchelseapiers.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Swimsuits I Want

At some point, all of my extremely hard work is going to pay off (or so I tell myself). I am currently on day 21 of Insanity (check it the video below) and have yet to see any results. It's getting to be very, very depressing. I do actually think, though, that my thyroid is out of whack and affecting this weight problem as I have had symptoms for YEARS that have gotten worse since having my second baby. We're talking a body temp in the 96-97f range, water retention, adult acne, brittle nails, fatigue, etc.. Pretty much EVERY symptom of hypothyroidism. Why am I not on medication? Because I have never been able to test "positive" on the blood work scale. :-\ So I am left now to killing myself and not being able to lose a single pound (example: I did the full 10 day Lemonade Diet a few years ago and lost nothing. NOTHING after not eating for 10 days! Now, I am doing the most intense pure cardio workout that I could find and have lost NOTHING again!), being saddened by the fact that I'm 26 and still have problem skin, and can NOT get rid of extra fluid regardless of what I drink or eat. Boo.

Ok, I'm done with the pitty party. If you're a medical practitioner that would prescribe me some Synthroid based on symptoms rather than blood work though, please let me know ASAP! Or if you aren't, I'm open to all suggestions below. :)

Anyway, I randomly found Hapari Swimwear today online and I really want one of their swimsuits now. They claim to be a great brand for moms (we all know how that "mom" body is!), offering more support where you need it, coverage in the right places, but cute styles and prints to boot! My eyes are wide as I contemplate the possibility of looking good enough in a swimsuit that I can actually walk out into public while wearing it...

So once my body responds to my slave driving and I have the time to go tanning so you can't see through my pale skin, these are the styles that I like most:

My FAVORITE


 The look of comfort:


Feminine AND flattering!

<3 the print and cleavage support (haha)
 

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Master Cleanse (Lemonade Diet) - Day One

Back in college, I came down with a 7-month long debilitating stomach ache after eating some salad on campus one day. After seeing many doctors, I was diagnosed with a "chronic bacterial infection" and was prescribed drugs that didn't help and a depressing timeline of "lifelong" pain. Not accepting that as a good quality of life, I researched different options and ended up hearing about the "Lemonade Diet" aka "Master Cleanse" from a friend. After really looking into and reading about this monodiet full body detox, I gave it a try...and was completely cured of the bacterial infection.

Since then, I had two babies in under two years, and have nursed for almost 3 straight years. My son who turned one yesterday has been self weaning, and I decided now would be an excellent time to do another cleanse. I am overweight from what I was before getting pregnant with baby #1 and unfortunately fell into that category that Weight Watchers describes as "holding on to ten pounds" throughout nursing (in theory, then, I should be able to lose that weight now...or so I am crossing my fingers for!). My first time cleansing, I lost a whole whopping two pounds. I'm guessing that's because I wasn't overweight and my diet was a vegetarian one to begin with so my body wasn't very toxic. This time, though, I'm really hoping that on top of the excellent benefits of detoxing in general, that it'll also help kick start some weight loss.

Anyway, I'll try to keep ya'll updated on how it's going. If I make it through the whole thing, it'll take ten days (I did eight days my first time). If you have never heard about the Master Cleanse, you should definitely Google it tonight. It may be the best thing you ever did for your body and mind!

Day One of Master Cleanse (Lemonade Diet):
I haven't been real hungry, but around dinner time began really craving cheese, vegetables, and a nice cold glass of vanilla soymilk. Weird, I know. Most people crave things like fried food and chocolate. Me? Extra sharp cheddar cheese. Physically, I began losing it around midday--right after doing my first "Insanity" video workout. Killed me. Almost threw up. (Maybe I shouldn't be doing both of these simultaneously, but darnit, I deserve to get back into shape quickly.) Right now, it's 8:33pm and I have a weird sort of headache, am lightheaded, and grumpy. If I remember right, the first 3 days on the cleanse are pretty rough, but after that you're home free. I can make it two more days!

Oh, and maybe this isn't the best time in my life to start a cleanse; I'm getting divorced, just spent 53 hours in a row working EMS at the Phish Ball (three day Phish music festival), and have a two year old and a one year old. BUT. I don't have to work again until Friday which will be day five of the cleanse and I have been wanting to get back in shape since, oh, GIVING BIRTH almost three years ago, so I think now's probably as good of a time as any.

But just in case any of my friends read this, know that I need extra hugs for the next ten days. If you want to come give me a massage, watch a movie with me after the children are sleeping, or just talk to me about goldfish so as to distract me from the mental block of not eating and feeling lonely on top of it, please call. :)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Mamapedia Discount Code for $5 Off

After contacting Mamapedia about the $5 off your first purchase problem that many of you sadly experienced, they wrote me back and said this:
Starting April 1st, we no longer offer $5 credits when sign up.  Instead we offer a coupon code WELCOME5 for them to take $5 off their first purchase.
That's it! Please, when you use it, comment on this post and let us know how it worked. Also, I noticed on their site that they will give you the deal for FREE if three of your friends buy it (you have to buy it first, I think, but am not sure of the details because I just read the information quickly). Check it out! Current deals include 50% off at Chic Online Gift Botique and 67% off of Dr. Seuss prints.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Yoplait Greek Yogurt gift pack GIVEAWAY!

Greek yogurt. Yes, we know that it comes in seemingly every entree at a Greek restaurant, but now it also is available through Yoplait (how much easier is it to eat out of a cup instead of scraped out of a pita?). I was excited when I heard this as it gave me hope that their yogurt would be more affordable than the competition, thus allowing me to buy greek yogurt instead of regular yogurt. Why would I want to do that, you ask? For one, it's excellent as a topping for a variety of main dishes since it's thicker. Secondly, the protein content is higher than regular yogurt (because of the different straining process, if I remember right--don't quote me on that!).
Unfortunately, I have been unable to try the Yoplait brand because the stores around me apparently don't carry it yet. Of course. :-\ BUT...that doesn't mean you can't try it for free! Read the info below (provided by MyBlogSpark), and then enter to win a Yoplait Greek yogurt below!

Now with 14 to 17 grams of protein in each cup, the new and improved Yoplait Greek yogurt is a perfect choice for a snack in between meals. Protein is an important component of a healthy diet, serving as a building block for strong muscles and maintaining healthy bones. With twice the protein than regular yogurt** and a thick and creamy texture, the new Yoplait Greek yogurt helps satisfy your hunger - meaning you can feel good about choosing this tasty, fat-free snack.

New Yoplait Greek is available in six delicious flavors like Blueberry, Strawberry, and Peach (each with fruit on the bottom) or Honey Vanilla, Key Lime, and Plain - all with zero percent fat and at least 14 grams!

The good news doesn’t stop there. Yoplait Greek is making it delicious, easy and free to eat a better snack through the Yoplait Greek Better Snacking Sweepstakes on Facebook†. Just visit the Yoplait Greek tab at Facebook.com/Yoplait starting March 21st through May 31st, 2011 and enter to win a Yoplait Greek snack pack and other cool prizes. Winners will be chosen daily. You can also visit Yoplait.com/Greek for more information and yummy recipes.

Visit Yoplait on Facebook and “Like” the brand to enter to win more fun prizes from Yoplait. Feel free to post details of the Yoplait Greek Facebook Sweepstakes as your Facebook status to share with your friends. Also, be sure to “Follow” Yoplait on Twitter to keep up with the latest news on your favorite products.


Buy It! Visit http://bit.ly/greekcoupon to download a printable coupon for $0.35 towards the purchase of the new Yoplait Greek yogurt today!

Win It! One winner will be chosen to receive a fun Yoplait Greek gift pack that includes a coupon organizer, a magnetic customized meal planner board, a mini pocket fold-up tote, an electronics case, retractable ear buds, a magnetic shopping cart note holder and a pen. To enter: leave me one of your favorite or unique uses for yogurt (a recipe, household, health use, etc.) plus your email address in a comment. Contest will stay open at least through Sunday, 5/22/11.

Additional Entries: leave a separate comment for each entry.
  • subscribe to me in any way (email, Twitter, Facebook, Google Friend Connect, any reader, etc.) = 1 entry each
  • spread the word about this contest WITH a link (Facebook post @LifeMoreSimply, Tweet @LifeMoreSimply, email some friends, blog about it, etc.) = 1 entry each way per day 
Note: thanks to MyBlogSpark and Yoplait for providing the review and giveaway products! No other compensation was received for this post.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

$10 Subscription to a Ranger Rick Magazine!


Today is one of those days where I was able to check my email and then did a little happy dance because...I found a GREAT deal and it's not too late to snatch it up! So, of course, I am passing it on to you. :)

Mamapedia is offering a 1-year subscription to any of the Ranger Rick family of magazines for only $10 (normal price is $20). HOWEVER. If you haven't snagged a Mamapedia deal before, you get a $5 credit, thus getting an entire YEAR of Ranger Rick for only $5! I'm a pretty happy lady right now, because I most certainly did pay my $5 and now have a year's worth of Wild Animal Baby coming for my family. *SEE NOTE BELOW.

There's two and a half days left to get this deal if it doesn't run out first.

Click HERE to check it out!

Other cool stuff about Mamapedia: multiple deals like this a week, but you can subscribe to only local or national ones if you want. Not only do you get a $5 credit when you make an account (email, password, user name, etc.), but every time a friend of yours makes her first deal, you get a $10 credit with no limit! Think of all of those Christmas presents...

*NOTE* After initially posting this deal as being $5 for a year's subscription, two people contacted me and said the extra $5 credit wasn't being posted to their Mamapedia account. I have contacted Mamapedia about this and am awaiting their response to find out why I got a credit but other people aren't. I will update this post as soon as I find out, but until then, know that you may pay up to 50% (the $10) for the magazine (which is still a pretty sweet deal)! 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Veggie Tales 'Twas The Night Before Easter DVD Giveaway and Review!

Big Idea's newest 50-minute "Easter" themed video is an entertaining, colorful, and positive addition to any child or adult's easter basket. Falling in line with other Veggie Tales' movies, this one is well made with clean computer graphics, comprised with a story line that captures the interest of little ones, but also dotted with pop culture humor for older siblings and mom and dad making it a film for the whole family.

Here's the description according to Amazon.com:

It's Easter time in Crisper County and cable news reporter Marlee Meade (Petunia Rhubarb) is hunting for a way to help others. On a tip that the old town theater will be shut down, Marlee cooks up a plan to save the stage and make a difference through the power of musical theater. With a cast of costume-clad townies, massive props and a 20-foot robot rabbit - Up With Bunnies is hatched! There's only one thing missing the star of the show! When news spreads that singing sensation Cassie Cassava (Melinda Doolittle) is arriving to perform in her hometown church s Easter service, Marlee gets worried.  Concerned about the competition, she schemes to steal the starlet for her own pageant! But when things go haywire, will it be curtains for Marlee s dreams   or will she discover the true meaning of Easter and what helping others is really all about? Find out in this hare raising adventure!

As soon as we got the DVD, my two-year-old couldn't wait to watch it. The next time I did let her watch the TV, this is what was on...and the next time after that, too! She loved the music and action, even if the plot may have been a little beyond her. I enjoyed the parallels to modern things, such as American Idol, but even more so, the polyphonic musical parts that were so intricately designed!

The only thing I was disappointed in is that the video eluded to Easter having a deeper meaning than bunnies and chocolate, but it never was really elaborated on. Now, I can't say that this ruins the movie for me, though, because I don't think that people taking Christianity and trying to combine it with the actual holiday of Easter really works...so I guess I kind of appreciate that this movie promotes more than the materialism of Easter but then leaves it up to parents to determine explaining what relationship they want between Christ's death and resurrection and Easter. For my family, this video provides a great opportunity to talk about what Easter means in our modern day culture, how many Christians attempt to blend Easter with the resurrection, and then how this all relates to what we do in celebrating Passover and the resurrection separate from Easter.

Any way you look at it, this is a positive item you could put into an Easter basket, so add it to your list for Sunday! Not only can you buy it in stores, but you can purchase it on Amazon.com. If you want it real quick, Amazon.com has an instant buy or rent feature for this movie that allows you to download it and view it on your computer or TV.

Win it! The first three people to comment here with their email address and then also email me with their full name and mailing address will each win a copy! A big thanks to Big Ideas and EMG Promotions for providing DVD's for this review and giveaway. :)

Check it out!

Twas the Night Before Easter Trailer
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_EbQLOhDRQ

Silly Song – “The Hopperena”:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_7rbspKE20

Homepage:
http://veggietales.com/nightbeforeeaster/

Purchase the DVD:
http://store.veggietales.com/twas-the-night-before-easter-veggietales-dvd.html

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Math Class (part 4)

I was going to attend a 4-year college on a music scholarship. What held me back was the debt I would still assume since my scholarship wasn't full. Instead, I opted at the last minute to enroll in the local community college. I had wanted to start college a year earlier, but my parents squashed that dream by telling me they made that mistake with my older sister and wouldn't do so again (despite my best efforts to inform them that I wasn't my sister and wouldn't be making the choices she did). Because I had been home schooled, I didn't technically have a high school diploma and I hadn't bothered to get a GED, so the college administration was quite put out when I requested to not be on academic probation my first semester (policy for everyone who didn't have a diploma). I had 21 credits that I planned to take my first semester and would have to drop classes that I didn't want to if they didn't change my status in their computer system. They did.

Ron wasn't going to attend this college. He had always planned to attend an art institute, but that idea was thwarted when life threw him into living out of his car after high school. If anything, he was going to attend college sooner, but needed that financial aid. The year he would turn 24 and be eligible for financial aid was the same year I was a college freshman, and we both enrolled.

Not only was I not going to attend this school, nor at this time, but I also wasn't going to take Intermediate Algebra and Trig. I had been speedy and completed all of my high school math in my sophomore year, not thinking that by the time I took college entrance exams, I wouldn't have done math for two years. This placed me into the middle ground of math classes at the college instead of into calculus. My parents, again, told me I shouldn't take this Algebra class because my older sister had done so when she attended this college and she only got a C. So obviously, I should take the class below this so that I could get an A.

Usually, I would have just given in and did whatever my parents told me. It wasn't worth the hassle that would ensue if I wavered from their wishes on anything. For some reason, though, I decided that I was highly insulted by their suggestion and I enrolled in the class anyway.

Ron, as gifted as he is at math, would have never been placed in this class, either...if he had done academic math in the seven years prior to taking his entrance exam. Needless to say, we both landed where we needed to be. Interestingly, we both had made vows to ourselves to not talk to anyone or make friends at school. It was all business--get good grades and get out.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Ron (part 3)

He was that guy that all the girls loved. Incredible blue eyes that looked into your soul, a great tan, and curly light brown hair. He always made it seem like you were the only person in the world when you talked to him, and he always had a bunch of girls lining up for him even though he didn't play any of them and never dated a lot anyway. When my mother first met him, she snuck off into the kitchen and immediately called my grandmother to report on how handsome and polite he was.

Aside from the good looks, he was also smart and beyond talented with art skills. The world worked against him though and began wounding his soul at a young age. He began his senior year of high school at the age of 16, younger than all of his classmates but with grades and a portfolio good enough to land him a scholarship to the Pittsburgh Institute of Art. The "art nerd," he didn't spend much time making or maintaining friends, and if he skipped a class, it was to go to the drawing room. One day, his mother showed up at his school in a van that contained all of his belongings. She had packed him up and without warning, kicked him out of the house. His world immediately changed, and he began a journey that would take him to live with over 70 different people during the next 8 years.

Before he graduated, he dropped out of school and got his GED instead. Forgoing the scholarship, a prom, and a chance at being "normal," all because it became more important to find food and a way to get a shower than it was to attend classes. It wasn't until after he was kicked out of his house that he ever tried an illegal drug, but it was the kids that smoked weed who were willing to accept him and take him in, thus introducing him to a variety of things that would lessen his pain as he got older.

Knowing that he wanted to get a college degree and make something out of himself, he tucked that dream into the future and looked forward to when he would turn 24 and be legally emancipated so he could receive financial aid and attend school. Until then, he worked odd jobs, smoked, and waited.

Friday, March 4, 2011

The List (part 2)



Things I Want In A Man
compiled from the ages of 17-21
  1. confident but humble
  2. him to pray
  3. some musical connection
  4. a gentleman
  5. nice
  6. polite
  7. have a good relationship with his parents, mother especially
  8. for him to look at my eyes
  9. be a leader
  10. search after God
  11. good personal hygine
  12. determined to live a holy life
  13. handsome
  14. a good listener
  15. taller than me
  16. not a talker or player
  17. unselfish
  18. funny
  19. can be silly
  20. will protect me emotionally and physically
  21. isn't disrespectful
  22. not a backstabber
  23. mature
  24. wise
  25. 1 Corinthians 13 love
  26. affectionate
  27. ticklish (negotiable)
  28. deals well with and is slow to anger
  29. not stupid
  30. likes my family
  31. is honest
  32. will like me despite my family issues/rules. I want him to think I'm worth it. I want him to pursue me and not give up.
  33. isn't a workaholic
  34. keeps his promises
  35. has good judgement
  36. does not wear make up!
  37. must me more willing to do God's will than his own
  38. optimistic
  39. trustable
  40. thinks up nice things to do and does them
  41. doesn't take things too personally
  42. sensitive toward others
  43. fun to be around
  44. has a generally pleasant demeanor
  45. doesn't smoke
  46. knows when something is wrong
  47. comforts you when you need it
  48. sees beauty in things and enjoys them
  49. wants to see the world
  50. not too attatched to money
  51. not horribly hairy
  52. good with kids and likes them

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Rachel (part 1)

I was that girl who every mom hopes her son will marry. Sensible, cute, smart, and as comfortable running a household as I was rappelling down the face of a cliff (which for me, means absolutely competent). Not only this, but I was focused. At the age of 16, I had my first "break up" with my boy friend (although who can really call him a boyfriend if neither of you have a license and thus can't really date?). After crying miserably for three days, I determined that dating was simply not for me. I didn't have three days of my life to waste in an attempt to find some dude that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. For me, I was going to enjoy being friends with my male counterparts and when I found my husband, skip the dating part and just marry him. With this came my firm belief in abstinence until marriage, an idea that was introduced to me at a young age (thank you, summer camp!). It had made a lot of sense to me: no risk of STD's, no unwed pregnancy, and no emotional baggage to deal with. Also, no getting into trouble with my parents.

Most guys I hung out with wouldn't believe that I was a virgin by the time we were all in our late teens. Sometimes, a cute guy would find out that I wasn't going to have sex with him and would immediately become interested in someone else. It was annoying, but I figured it was okay because that just meant he would have been a boy I would end up wasting three days on. I was going places in life.

Going against the grain and dating with a purpose isn't the easiest thing in the world. Not wanting to fall into the trap of finding a guy I liked and molding him to fit my idea of what he should be, thus compromising the qualities I was looking for in my future husband, I bought a notebook. In it, I wrote letters to my future husband and in the back, I began a list of characteristics I wanted him to have. This way, I figured I would know him when I saw him and wouldn't compromise what I wanted.

I was in love with my husband way before I ever met him. He was a lucky man.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Gone.

Okay, so I am hoping that someone out there noticed I haven't blogged in, like, oh, a month? I hope that someone wondered if I am still alive, and maybe even about why I haven't written. Maybe you read my more "personal" blog over at http://OctobersHeart.blogspot.com and have became part of my inward struggles lately. Or maybe you didn't notice at all.

Either way, I have decided that I can't run away from the inevitable forever. I do remember telling all of you that I was going to share the story of my husband and myself during February. I do feel badly for never even starting it and leaving an empty slate for the entire month. And I do still want to tell our story.

Why didn't I ever start it though? Because I left him. Somehow, that made starting my story more complicated. Not just the "I'm displaced so using the Internet and writing a blog post is difficult," but the whole emotional and mental hurricane that ensues when you have to leave your spouse makes digesting your past a lot more difficult. On top of that, I have been avoiding telling people we know just because neither of us want to deal with the negativity towards the opposite spouse that society loves to harp on, nor the moral opposition of people who had no idea what's been going on in our relationship because I have never felt the need to broadcast our dirty laundry so to speak.

But now, I am ready. It was a month ago today that I packed up my kids and we left. Know that as you read our story, I still love my husband just as much as I ever did. Nothing will ever change that. I also respect him and that respect has actually grown a lot in the last month as I have seen him shed the things that made it impossible for us to stay.

It's just time to tell my story now...even if I still don't know the ending.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Medela Breastmilk Labeling & Storage System Review & GIVEAWAY!

Medela has a new Breastmilk Labeling & Storage System that is designed to make the whole "what bag do I use?" part of pumping and breastfeeding less complicated. Here's what they have to say about it from http://medela.com:

A new Breastmilk Labeling and Storage System — one that helps parents and caregivers track, label and organize breastmilk bottles in the refrigerator or freezer — is now available from Medela.

The all-in-one system includes one organizer tray, two labeling lids and two 5-ounce breastmilk bottles. The organizer tray provides dedicated space to protect up to six breastmilk bottles or storage bags, and keeps them organized and upright in the refrigerator or freezer. It also features a convenient handle that allows parents and caregivers to easily move the tray around or remove it for cleaning.
To help parents identify the freshest breastmilk and avoid waste, clearly marked “in” and “out” arrows identify which breastmilk bottle is “next in line” for a feeding. Twist-and-lock labeling lids — also available separately in a pack of six — allow parents to select a day of the week and time of day (a.m., p.m. or midday) to track when milk was pumped, or a “feed by” day for other caregivers.

“For moms who are separated from baby and pump frequently, it can be difficult to properly store and keep track of breastmilk bottles to make sure baby is getting the freshest breastmilk,” said Brian Warren, new business development manager at Medela. “The Breastmilk Labeling and Storage System helps mom, dad or a caregiver keep breastmilk bottles in one place, with clear indicators of when breastmilk was pumped for more organized feedings later.”

The organizer tray and labeling lids are compatible with all Medela polypropylene breastmilk bottles (not for use with glass bottles). Like all Medela products that come into contact with breastmilk, the bottles and the tray are Bisphenol A-free. The organizer tray is also compatible with Medela’s Pump & Save breastmilk bags (sold separately). It is 100 percent reusable and dishwasher safe.

The Breastmilk Labeling and Storage System will be available in independent and mass retailers starting in January 2011 at a retail price of $15.99. Breastmilk labeling lids (a pack of six) are also available separately at a retail price of $9.49. To find Medela retail stores visit http://medela.findlocation.com/
My Thoughts...
I was pretty excited about this concept when I first heard about it. I always have the problem of my family not knowing which bag of frozen or fresh milk to start with, and something always ends up going bad before it gets used. :( Even if you date bags, people don't always have the time to read them before pulling one. The tray that Medela designed has an "in" and "out" section so that you will in theory just move the bottles around the ring from "in" to "out" as they get used and you put more in. This will always keep the oldest milk moving forward.

It would be a better system if the "in" section was raised slightly so that the milk actually slid down towards the "out" section and you didn't have to physically push the bottles around. Medela says you can also use this with the bags instead of bottles, but when I put frozen bags of my milk into the organizer tray (I use the Lansinoh brand, but they are the same size as the Medela pumping bags), it didn't actually function so well because the bags didn't fit too well. I thought about solving this problem by letting the milk freeze in the bag as it sits IN the tray instead of it laying flat in the freezer before I move it, but then you may still have a problem moving it around and taking it out since the shape would remain the same as when you first put the milk bag into the tray. So plan on using bottles. :)

The bottles themselves are pretty cool. I don't like that they're a soft plastic, but the lids are great in that you can snap up the top part and spin it around to designate which day of the week and what time of day you pumped that particular milk. No sharpies needed, and the bottles should screw on to any standard pump so you can pump right into them. They're also big enough to express into by hand, which is what I did last night since I was too lazy to hook my pump all up.

Overall, I think it's a good concept but still needs a little more work to make it worth the money. Maybe I should contact Medela about being an inventor for them...

Win it!
Medela and BSM Media are giving away one of these Breastmilk Labeling & Storage Systems to a reader. Here's how we're going to do it...the first person to comment here and email me her name and mailing address (lifemoresimply at yahoo.com) wins! Don't forget to do both steps: comment, email. If someone has already left a comment below, feel free to also do the same because you never know if that person really did complete the second step. Good luck!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

CSN Stores Review Coming Soon!

CSN Stores has over 200 online stores where you can find everything from tools, counter height stools, or great nursery decor! I have spent months, literally, digging through their website(s) and it's like discovering a treasure every time. The only thing I've found that they don't carry are wedding rings...which means they have cloth diapers, Lincoln Logs, patio furniture, and hand crafted door bell boxes. Oh. Yes.


When I tell people about http://CSNStores.com I describe it as the Amazon.com of the regular e-commerce world. :) Definitely check it out (it's pretty fun, I will have you know), and keep watching Life More Simply because we'll be doing a review from them shortly!