Happy Breastfeeding Week!

Motherhood changed you in ways you cannot anticipate.  When I was pregnant, I knew I wanted to breastfeed, because, well, “breast is best” and all that.  I have a science/medical background.  I knew breastfeeding is healthy and beneficial for baby and mama.  But I never knew the way breastfeeding would shape me as a mom.  I never knew that it would make me love and appreciate my body for what it was created to do.  I never knew it would give me a parenting tool to ease pain, sadness, and sickness.  I didn’t know it would force me to pick up some much needed healthy habits that I had been neglecting (like eating better and drinking enough water).  

I never knew breastfeeding would be my superpower, but it is.  Just call me SuperMom.

A Steal of a Deal

This post contains affiliate links.

Y’all know I am nothing if not a work in progress over here.  I love finding resources from other bloggers to use on my journey of self-improvement.

Enter the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle – a huge collection of resources for sale for a very short time (only until April 27th, in fact).  With roughly 100 ebooks and ecourses, I know I probably won’t get to all of them.  But just the handful of resources on grocery savings would cost almost $50 if purchased separately!  Add in the books on homeschooling preschoolers (worth $35), and the bundle is a steal at $29.97!

But that’s not all that’s included – as I mentioned before, it’s a total of 98 books and courses.  There is also $300 worth of bonus offers included from some awesome companies, like Craftsy and Hope Ink.  Plus, it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee – if you aren’t 100% happy, you can get a refund.  And it will only be available for a few more days.  This is my fourth time getting one of the Ultimate Bundles, and I’ve never been disappointed!

Check it out!

Ultimate DIY Bundle

This post contains affiliate links.

If you haven’t heard about Ultimate Bundles yet, you are really missing out!  A compilation of awesome, relevant ebooks and tons of freebies gets sold for a short period of time for an incredibly reasonable price.  The Ultimate DIY Bundle, which I personally bought last time it was on sale, is COMING BACK for a limited time only – just 48 hours!  And to get you all geared up for it’s release, this week only there is a FREE ecourse to help get your creative juices flowing – check it out here!

Some of my favorites included the ebooks on DIY homemade skincare products and the ones on photography, as well as the photo editing for beginners ecourse, and the hope ink print included as a freebie!

Grown Up Lunch Ideas

Who remembers being a kid and eating lunch packed by your mom or dad? I know I do. Mom made me turkey sandwiches, but Dad usually made PB&J. Add a bag of chips, a Little Debbie, and a thermos of Koolaid – boom! Lunch.

But maybe not the healthiest lunch… Of course, neither is fast food, which a lot of us eat for lunch almost everday. I have to admit, in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, convenience foods are, well, convenient.

But my husband just changed jobs a few months ago, back to doing electrical work in the construction field. Sometimes he is close to places he can go eat for lunch, sometimes he isn’t. Sometimes he doesn’t even have access to a microwave. The problem is that he doesn’t love sandwiches, so we can’t make sandwiches everyday.

While it’s challenging to pack a lunch everyday, it saves money and is so much healthier. So, here area few of his lunches, hopefully to inspire some grown up lunches for you!

BLT wrap. On a tortilla or other wrap of your choice, squirt some mayo or mustard. Next layer shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, and slices of bacon. Roll up and serve!

Chicken salad on a pretzel bun. We make several different kinds of chicken salad at our house. Like spice? Add hot sauce. Like sweet? Add grapes. It’s so versatile! Top with lettuce on a pretzel bun for a fun twist.

Ham pinwheels. Another easy one – slather some hummus on a tortilla, top with deli sliced ham, roll, and cut into bite sized wheels. Serve with a side of veggies.

Roast beef sub. Pretty traditional – roast beef, lettuce, tomato, Dijon or honey mustard on a hoagie roll.

Pizza wrap. Spread cream cheese and mozzarella sauce onto a tortilla, top with pepperoni and mushrooms, and roll.

Tuna salad and crackers. Plain tuna salad gets an extra kick when served with flavored crackers, like ranch Wheat Thins.

Happy lunching!

Toddler Meals – Lunch Edition

Let’s just jump in, shall we?

Part of mommy’s Evol Chicken Burrito. It has organic chicken, rice, onions, beans, and cheese. Yum.

Organic mixed veggies and fruit. I buy organic mixed veggies and single veggies in the freezer section. Boil for like 3-5 minutes and they are super tender, perfect for Mr. 4-Teeth. I add in some fresh fruit – berries, banana, or orange. Sometimes, I also let him have some apple-cinnamon snacks – his favorite.

Baby food. Earth’s Best chicken and stars pasta or Plum hello dinner! broccoli and cheese pasta.

Dinner leftovers. Spaghetti, stuffed bell peppers, whatever is healthy and already cooked. Add some fresh fruit and veggies and that’s lunch.

Toddler Meals – Breakfast Edition

Alternatively titled, “No, I did not realize I had banana in my hair.”

Jake’s been eating solids for a long while, but he’s only been eating “table food” for a little while. We do still give him baby food, but we have started trying to give him more “whole” food so he can feed himself. He thinks it’s fun to feed us, too!

For breakfast, here are some of our typical options.

Earth’s Best Organic Blueberry Waffles and cut up bananas. I like these waffles because they are the 4 mini waffles that are stuck together, so rather than having to cut it up, I just tear them apart and he eats the mini waffle. He can’t eat all 4, so we share.

Plum hello morning! Quinoa Oatmeal with fruit. We’ve had the banana-blueberry flavor, and the apple-cinnamon flavor. We serve with a side of fresh fruit – blueberries, mandarin oranges, or cut up grapes.
Scrambled eggs with sautéed onion and bell peppers. We typically do a sweeter breakfast, but we occasionally like savory as well!

We also sometimes do a fruit purée pouch or jar from Earth’s Best, Sprout, or Plum, when we need convenience. We were originally really anti-pouch because of all the negative press, but we squirt it out onto a spoon, smell it, and taste it before Jake eats from it. We feel like that’s a healthy compromise since so many companies have started using the pouches and they have a wider variety of options in pouches than jars for many brands.

I think now that J is eating “real food,” it forces me to think a lot more about what I’m buying and what I’m cooking. I hope it will mean a healthier lifestyle for the whole family!

12 Month Breastfeeding Update

So, here we are. Can you believe it’s already been a year? I can’t. Well, maybe when I’m attached to the breast pump I can. (J is 53 weeks old today, which means I’ve been pumping for 48 weeks.)

Breastfeeding was a really big deal for me as a mom. I wanted to make it work until his first birthday come hell or high water, and I actually did it. I have to say, breastfeeding as a working mom is so hard. There are a lot of challenges that stay-at-home moms just don’t have to face (unless they have to pump and bottle feed). I don’t want to discourage anyone from breastfeeding in any way, because it was an incredible experience, but it was tough at times.

I’m happy that I was able to nourish his body with the best thing I could offer him for his first year of life, and honestly, if I didn’t have to pump, I would want to keep doing it for longer. But as it is, working full-time, not even getting a lunch break, having to pump while I work, standing on my feet 14 hours a day? I’m ready to quit. My body is just so tired.

In an ideal world, I would nurse until he was about 2 as long as he wanted to continue. I would settle for continuing for the next 6-ish months at nap time and bedtime. If I can swing that without having to pump while I’m at work, I totally will. We are going to work hard at getting rid of the bottle, since it isn’t good for his teeth and I don’t want to keep pumping much longer. He was with his dad for 9 hours, and only had food and a cup with water/organic apple juice, so he can definitely do it. I just have to get the kid drinking some liquids! I read that toddlers between 1 and 3 should be consuming a liter of liquids a day, and he definitely isn’t since he’s started slacking on breastfeeding. His poop is getting hard, and I’m convinced it’s because he isn’t drinking enough liquids. He just isn’t interested in a cup. He will take a few sips and then he throws it across the room – water or juice. It’s so frustrating!! Maybe trying breastmilk in the cup will help? We just hesitate to do that, because he wastes most of whatever we give him in the cup, and I don’t have extra breastmilk to spare.

To sum it up, breastfeeding = good, pumping = pain in the butt. The US needs to get on board with the rest of the civilized world and give longer maternity leave benefits. Actually, so does the company I work for… Anyway, we have definitely had an awesome, if sometimes challenging, successful first year of nursing!

Things to Love Thursday – Snacks

Mmmm, snacks. We love to eat. Jake is a great eater, he likes pretty much everything. But, his mama wants him to have healthy choices. We definitely do fresh fruits and veggies, but sometimes that’s not an option if we are on the go.

For snacks, we have a few new favorites. Hands down, number one is Happy Creamies.

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I might actually sneak a few for myself when we bust these out. They are made with organic fruit and vegetable purée and coconut milk. So, to recap – organic, gluten-free, dairy-free, and delish.. Jake has outgrown his dairy issues, and we don’t know of any issues with gluten, but it’s good to know we have options if we did have food sensitivities.

Our other new favorites include YoBaby organic yogurt and Earth’s Best apple cinnamon Happy Snax. We try to buy organic for him as much as possible, but he does eat non-organic as well; however, we try really hard to avoid giving him anything super processed, sweets, or fast food.

Halloween Treats for Baby

We are really careful about what Jake eats, for a lot of reasons. That being said, I just didn’t feel like a 9-month old baby had any business eating a bucket of candy. We did take him trick or treating at 3 houses, just for the experience, but we made him a treat basket without candy, much like we did for Easter. His bucket had 2 Halloween themed board books (one was Room on the Broom which I got because Jess at Little Baby Garvin said it was a hit at her house, and this girl knows holidays) and some glow sticks. He loved his treats! We really enjoyed the books together, and he was so intrigued by the glow sticks – and total I only spent about 15 bucks, including the bucket! (Although glow sticks are usually non-toxic, make sure to supervise little ones since everything tends to go straight in their mouths!)

If you are looking for non-candy treats for Halloween, or any other time, don’t be discouraged; holidays can be fun for little ones without all that processed sugar!