Monday, July 18, 2016

Chic Cowl Nursing Top by Udderly Hot Mama (Review)

This summer, I have been trying out a nursing top from Udderly Hot Mama. These days, there's a lot variety when it comes to nursingwear. Udderly Hot Mama sets itself apart from the competition with nursing and pumping tops that can be adjusted with one hand. As moms, we definitely need our hands free! 

I have been nursing my babies on and off for nine years, so I am well versed in the pain of finding comfy nursing tops. I am a casual gal, so I look for tops that are both cute and functional. The Chic Cowl Nursing Top is cute for just running around town, at the office, or paired with cute accessories for a night out.

One of my favorite features of the nursing top is that is has a patent pending flap that buttons in if mom needs more coverage. It's as easy as pulling the top down and your breast is covered without covering baby. I am not a mom that uses nursing covers, but I also don't like to bare it all in public.

 The Chic Cowl Nursing Top also is a longer top, which is great for expectant moms. You can definitely use this top through out an entire pregnancy. Lastly, the flap is removable, so when even when you're done nursing you can incorporate this top into your every day wardrobe.

The Chic Cowl Nursing Top is made of a soft, breathable material that I have found to be very comfortable during this humid Midwest summer. It also washes well. Udderly Hot Mama tops are made in the USA. Made from a 95% Rayon/5% Spandex. It retails for $49.95, available for purchase on their website and

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Disclaimer: I received a free item in order to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own. Some posts may contain affiliate links which help support this blog. Thank you for reading!

Friday, July 15, 2016

3 Ways to Find The Best Furniture Deals

Furniture often comes with an expensive price tag. However, if you're trying to save money, there are a number of ways to discover good furniture deals that give you more bang for your buck. Want to know how to find the best deal when purchasing household furniture? Keep reading!

Be flexible with styles and measurements
You may have a particular piece of furniture that you want to incorporate into your home, but being flexible when it comes to purchasing a new sofa or bed could save you money. Moreover, furniture that's slightly bigger or smaller than you originally wanted could work out to be less expensive. This is something to keep in mind if you're shopping on a budget.

Use secondhand furniture websites 
Secondhand furniture and auction websites let you browse pre-owned items that are usually sold at a discount. This is your chance to buy a "new to you" furniture piece without the large cost of a brand new item. Sometimes, there isn't as big of a selection on these websites, but if you're patient and check them on a regular basis, you could pick up a bargain. Remember to contact the seller directly if you need more information about a product and check photos of the item for any wear and tear, scratches or marks, too.

Pick up furniture from a bargain outlet 
 Some online furniture shops have brick-and- mortar shops that let you pick up an item yourself. Shoppes can save on delivery costs by transporting the items themselves. Usually, you can take it home with you that very day.

A guest post from our friends at Latest Home.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

BODYARMOR Natural Sports Drink Review

I have spent the last several months giving my lifestyle an overhaul. I could do all of the natural living things I wanted, but if I didn't get off my butt and start moving, I was going to remain obese. So, I took a long had look at myself and decided to get moving. Plus my Celiac diagnosis really lit a fire under my hide, so to speak.

My worst habit was my pop addiction. I had tried and failed many times in the past not to drink it. Sadly, I would give into temptation. Since I made changes, I've been downing water like a mad woman for months and rarely drink pop now. I also try to walk several miles a week and work out at home. A healthier, more active lifestyle means putting better things in my body.

With adjusting to a more active lifestyle, I've looked into drinks besides water to keep me hydrated. I won't lie, water gets boring. Traditional sports drinks have a lot of artificial flavoring, but I figured they were better than pop, so I'd drink those anyhow. Try as I might, I will never like plain coconut water. Then I was introduced to BODYARMOR, the #1 natural sports drink.

What makes BODYARMOR different from other sports drinks, you ask? First of all, it has no artificial flavors. It's packed with potassium and electrolytes that keeps you hydrated. It contains vitamins and minerals from coconut water, which luckily for me is flavored by delicious flavors such as fruit punch, orange mango, strawberry banana (my favorite!), mixed berry, tropical punch, grape, and blackout berry. Another important aspect for my diet is that it isn't packed with sodium, which I need to specifically avoid.

My husband also tried out BODYARMOR and really enjoyed it. He hasn't gotten on the same healthy lifestyle kick I have, so any thing I can get him to drink besides pop is a miracle. These sports drinks will definitely become a household staple for our family since every member of the family can enjoy the yummy taste and health benefits.

Since we've gotten to sample BODYARMOR in our home, I've already found it in our local grocery store and noticed that a friend had it in her diaper bag. I'm happy that it's available to purchase locally, because it's absolutely delicious and leave you filling good. If you're located in the Midwest like I am, you can find it in several stores like Hy-Vee or Target.

Save money on BODYARMOR with this downloadable coupon:

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Disclaimer: I received free products in order to facilitate this review. Although this is a sponsored post, my opinions are honest and my own.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Lifting the Black Cloud: Healing from Postpartum Depression and Anxiety

Before you read my story, I want to say that if you are struggling with postpartum depression, please reach out to some one who can help. Whether it be your doctor, midwife, a mental health professional, family member, or trusted friend. You can even e-mail me. Please get the help and support you need to start feeling better. Don't believe the lies that postpartum depression tells you.

This is a post that I have struggled writing. I have started and stopped so many times. I don't usually get into deeply personal topics on this blog. But postpartum depression has been such a taboo topic in our country and I think it's time to change that. More women are shedding light on this subject and sharing their stories. This is mine.

There was a very dark period in my life recently. Something broke inside me after I gave birth to my fifth child almost a year ago. There were some personal reasons that attributed to it, but I will not disclose what on a public forum. I confided in a few people who I am close to about what was going on at the time. Opening up to my midwives were probably the first helpful step in a slow recovery process.

The postpartum depression hit immediately following Ellia's birth. The first personal situation happened just hours after she was born. I remember that day I had retreated to bed and chose to ignore what had happened. As the early postpartum days went by, I realized I had this terrible fear of being alone. I couldn't function. All I could do was nurse my baby, take some pictures of her and the kids, and sleep. I would sit in my bed rocking her and just cry my eyes out wondering what in the world my problem was. I couldn't get a grip. All I could do was cry.

Then came moments of panic where I couldn't bare the thought of my husband going back to work. I cried when I thought of him missing out on this precious time in our lives. I couldn't explain to him that I felt so isolated and that I felt like no one in the world cared. So when he did go back to work, I would make sure some one was at the house with me, whether it was a friend or family member. I was terrified of being alone. I didn't realize that my panic at the thought of being alone was a huge sign of postpartum depression.

As the weeks went on, my intrusive thoughts were more unbearable. I was really starting to think that I was worthless. There were times I just wanted to run away. And then the guilt of that made the postpartum depression even worse. I would think to myself, "why am I feeling this way? I love my children. I take care of them. I am a GOOD mother."

Finally, when my baby was around four or five months old, I attended a birth conference. At that conference, there was a session on postpartum depression and anxiety. I cried during several of the points the speaker made, because I could relate to so many of them. I just couldn't bring myself out of this black cloud that consumed my life.

At some point, I grew weary of being so depressed. Of not wanting to socialize. It was beginning to tear my marriage apart. So around seven months postpartum, I decided to take back control of my life. I made an appointment with my midwife to discuss that I was still struggling with the depression and anxiety, along with an entire host of health issues.

Going forward, we made a plan to get me healthy again physically, emotionally, and spiritually. She encouraged me to make these decisions for myself, not just for my family. It was in that decision I made that I remembered my value. I have previously overcome domestic abuse and I am a rape survivor. I've come too far to give up now.

While I can admit that my moods aren't perfect, I am doing so much better. Our current life situation has been a bit frustrating, so that continues to affect my recovery. I smile, laugh, and enjoy my family again. I regularly visit with family and friends. The joy that was dampened inside of me has been renewed. I am still taking steps forward and getting better week by week.

I often post on Instagram about my progress in taking my health back. I have been adapting to a gluten free lifestyle, on a weight loss journey, and working on a positive state of mine. Follow me on Instagram @newandnaturalmom.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Teaching Children to Apologize in a Few Easy Steps

A question I get a lot as a mom of five kids is how we handle apologies in our home. I don't think that apologizing even comes easy for adults, so it's something we've tried to teach our kids early in life. We focus on a few key character traits in raising our children like integrity, accountability, and selflessness. Learning how to apologize is something that can help kids develop these traits. Not only that, but it's a good habit to get into.

That being said, there can be a few things that go into apologizing. We try to allow grace in any situation. Adults and children mess up just the same. I also try to keep in mind that both parties may need a cooling off period before an apology takes place, so don't force an apology.

Another thing I've kept in mind is that I can't step in to every single little squabble that goes on. We don't sit back and let the kids beat on each other, but there are certain times where we want them to use their problem solving skills to solve conflicts themselves. Believe me, my oldest daughter thinks her brothers can just breathe wrong sometimes. ;-)

So, here's what we try to do in our household:

1.  Apologize and name the offense.

2. Offer a solution.

3. Ask for forgiveness.

Step #1 is important because it teaches the child to apologize and admit that they made the wrong choice. Sometimes this can be the hardest part. (Parents: I would also encourage you to give your child grace here. Don't berate your child over the choice they made. After they've realized it's wrong, move onto the next step. There's no sense in beating a dead horse.)

Step #2 helps the child think of a better choice for next time. This has helped our kids learn to respect others.

Step #3 gives the other child a chance to forgive and usually helps dissipate the situation quickly. I do not force my children to hug, since sometimes they are still mad. A quick hand shake can also do. 

A scenario might go like this: 

I'm sorry that I push past you. Next time I will try to be more patient. Will you forgive me? 
  I'm sorry that I accidentally hit you with the ball. I really didn't mean to. Next time I'll try to be more careful with where I throw it. Will you forgive me? 

Adapting this has really worked in our household. It's taught my husband and I to give our children grace and allows us to restore peace quickly. We've also noticed that we don't need to step in as much to break up squabbles, because they've learned to apologize on their own very quickly. As our kids have gotten older, this is a really important skill to learn.

I hope this might help you on your parenting journey! What are some methods of apologizing that work well in your household?