Friday, August 26, 2016

Breathe In

*This post contains affiliate links*

Relaxing can be challenging, nevermind finding the time to do it!  Usually, I manage to being a relaxation visualization technique when I lay down and close my eyes to go to sleep.  I have about thirty seconds before I'm unconscious from sheer exhaustion.

I have been given the opportunity to test out some essential oils lately.  I have been enjoying using a few drops of peppermint oil in a basin of steaming hot water.  I place my face a few inches from the surface, put a towel over my head, and breathe in deeply.  I find that afterwards, I am more relaxed and able to breathe easier.

The brand of essential oil I have been using is New York Biology.  You can find the product here:

*I received this product in exchange for my honest review*

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Basic Lavender Oil Cleaning Solution

*This post contains affiliate links*

Ever since I first used Mrs. Meyer's All Purpose Cleaner in college, I have loved the idea of using natural cleaners around the house. I like the idea of using products that won't release harmful vapors into the air that my children and myself can breathe in. I didn't want to shell out big bucks for the Mrs. Meyer's cleaner again, so I discovered a very simple but effective concoction of 50% water + 50% distilled white vinegar and about 15 drops of lavender essential oil.

Using this formula ultimately makes cleaning more enjoyable for me. Since I will be cleaning my home for the rest of my life (barring a very unlikely winning of the lottery and having a live-in maid), I might as well make it as pleasant and relaxing as possible.

I got myself onto a weekly cleaning schedule about 6 months ago. It has completely changed my life. It has allowed me to focus on one area of the house a night, and I can rest in the knowledge of knowing that every surface is being cleaned regularly.  I no longer discover food crusted on the floor underneath the table, not being able to identify how long it has been there (yuck!).  I have a little bit of order in my chaotic house.

I was recently given the opportunity to review Lavender Essential Oil by NewYork Biology.  This is easily the strongest scented lavender oil I've ever used.  I'm hoping that it will last me for quite a few months, and I can start using it to make my own soaps and bath products.  Here's the link

*I received this product in exchange for my honest review*

Learning To Love Laundry (Or Not)

*This post contains affiliate links*

I have three boys under the age of five.  They eat a lot.  Like hobbits, they will ask for breakfast, second breakfast, and elevenses.  I end up spending a lot of time in the kitchen.

My youngest just turned one a couple of weeks ago (insert emotional tears).  He eats like a champ and has yet to refuse any option I've placed in front of him.  I love this age.

I end up with three or four dirty bibs a day. More (for the older two), if we have spaghetti or pizza for dinner.  I have yet to find a miracle cure for removing tomato sauce stains from clothing.  I have always used cloth bibs, which inevitably sit by my sink for a couple of days before they make it into the washing machine.  Even with terry backing, milk often still soaks through onto my baby's shirts. So, that makes another three shirts added to the already heaping laundry basket.  After the bibs and shirts have sat, wet, for a couple of days, they start to get pretty stinky.

With three boys and an active husband, and cloth diapering each of my boys when they are babies, I have learned to embrace laundry. I just go ahead and do at least one load a day, rather than letting it pile up and having a marathon on one designated day a week of washing and drying.  I've tried to make it cheaper by line drying when possible, and making my own laundry soap for pennies a load (thanks pinterest!).  Still, if there is a way to reduce laundry, I'm all about it.

Enter in The Cutie Bibs.  They are made of silicone and BPA free. I was skeptical at first. I thought they might smell funny or have a freaky texture, but they have neither. Instead, they WIPE CLEAN. I can simply wipe them off after a meal or snack with a washcloth and then use them again at the next eating event.  I easily have two dozen cloth bibs in rotation that are pretty dingy after three kids.  I can say goodbye to those and replace them with just two of these- one for home, one for the diaper bag.  No more mildewy monsters staring guiltily at me from behind the kitchen sink.

The Bibs came with two bonus silicone mats.  I use these to protect my wooden kitchen table from the perils of dried-on oatmeal, smelly milk spills, and fossilized pasta shells. I can keep the other one in the diaper bag for any time I'm lucky enough to eat out.  This way, I can protect the restaurant's table and not have to do the walk of shame out the door when my toddler inevitably gets food all over the place.

Find The Cutie Bibs on Amazon here:   #mygreatbabythecutiebibs

* I received this product in exchange for my honest review*

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Why My Kids No Longer Watch TV

It is all too easy to be consumed by a good TV show.  During long days and nights of nursing three babies, I've watched more than my fair share.  I have used the TV as a babysitter for my older two boys, justifying that usage in order to "get things done."  What usually happens is I zone out and just check facebook "real quick," or just watch one quick show.  Then, two hours have passed, wasted.  Also, when my boys would deign to interrupt me I would immediately feel annoyed.  "I put cartoons on for you.  What do you want?" Over time, the majority of interactions with them were negative- I was being pulled out of my technological reverie to get snacks, wipe butts, clean up messes, and break up fights.  I was missing out on all the good stuff.

After discussing this issue with a friend, I had a realization that my oldest will be starting full day Kindergarten.  I will no longer be the person he spends the most time with.  Scary.  Not to say that my parenting influence will suddenly be over, but in a way I'm sending him off into the world.  I cannot let Daniel Tiger raise my child.  I have more wisdom and manners to impart first!

I read this little paragraph lately, and it shook me to my core: "There have been over 4000 studies done on the effect TV has on children.  A parent spends on average 3.5 minutes a week in meaningful conversation with their child.   Children watch TV 1680 minutes a week.  53% of 4-6 year olds choose to watch TV over spending time with their father.  Now can we understand ADHD?  Childhood health problems?  Psychological problems?  Motivational problems?"*

I have definitely had days, while nursing my youngest every 2 hours and desperately clinging to any chance of a nap I could get, that I only had a 3 minute meaningful conversation with my oldest child.  This makes me feel awful.  I feel like I need to make up for lost time, now.  Right now.

It's been a week since my kids have watched TV.  My oldest still talks about various cartoons and TV shows, but he has not asked to watch it for the past two days.  My children are playing with their toys more.  We are reading more books together.  We are cuddling more.  They are fighting less.  They are playing outside more.  They are moving more.  They are asking more questions (and having them answered).  I'm excited to play with them and watch them now.  This has definitely been the best decision I have made in a long time.