The most amazing bundle!

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by incredibundles but all opinions are my own.
If your social media timelines are anything like mine they are filled with pregnancy announcements, birth announcements, and mentions of little ones parties. I have to say, seeing all these announcements makes me so happy! Whether it be a friend I’ve known for years or someone I just recently discovered through social media, it makes my heart so happy to see all these announcements! But when it comes time to find a gift it can get pretty overwhelming. Well not anymore. Incredibundles is here to help!

So what is it, exactly?!

Incredibundles is an amazing company that makes finding and giving gifts to tiny humans so easy! They have so many different types of bundles, including an option where you can create your own bundle. They even have an option for a diaper subscription! If you’re not a parent, trust me when I say that is amazing!

What bundles do they offer?

This company offers a wide variety of bundles to choose from such as:
-Book bundles
-Diaper bundles
-Bath bundles
-Sleep bundles
-Organic bundles
-Character bundles
-One year supply bundles
-Learn and grow bundles
And like I mentioned earlier, you can even create your very own bundle. With so many options you sure to easily find a bundle to fit your budget!
We created our own bundle with lots of different things to keep Sebastian entertained! A few of those things pictured below are the Melissa and Doug wooden pounding bench, 2 board books (the very hungry caterpillar and brown bear brown bear). We also got the Skip Hop Moby Bath Rinser (not pictured)

I currently have a giveaway going through my Instagram for a $50 credit/gift card to Incredibundles.com so click the insta link below to enter!! You don’t want to miss this!
Instagram Link
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Baby Number 2 is a…..

So last week I announced our newest life update, that we are expecting a second baby due in April 2018!!

I am only 12 weeks but I was lucky enough to find out the gender of our newest member early! (More on that in another post)

We would like to officially announce that we are expecting another sweet little boy!

How I found out the sex of my baby early and how you can too!

Can you believe I found out the gender of baby number 2 before my first trimester even ended? Crazy right? I know some people like to wait until the baby is born to find out the sex, but I’m a planner. I’m a “type A” kind of person and I like to be as prepared as I can be, as early as I can be.

So how did I find out so early? Well as I am not of advanced maternal age, and I am not high risk for chromosomal abnormalities I would have to pay a good amount of money out of pocket for a blood test through my OBGYN. The tests your medical professional offers is so expensive because of everything it tests for. I was only interested in finding out the gender so I began looking online for a test that would allow me to find out my baby’s gender early, accurately, relatively simple, and within my budget. I was on Facebook one day, in my due date group I had joined, and saw a bunch of ladies discussing exactly what I was looking for through a company called SneakPeek!

After doing further research I learned this company offers 2 different options for finding out the gender of your baby as early as 9 weeks! They do it by lab testing the chromosomes in the mother’s blood. When a woman is pregnant she has chromosomes in her blood from not only her, but her baby. It’s called shared fetal DNA. The company lab uses a small sample of the mother’s DNA and simply tests for the male chromosome.

Of course I was curious how I would collect this blood sample the company required. So I read on, they have a Kit you order and can do alone, right from your own home! This kit includes a simple finger pricking kit, simple instructions, and everything else you need to gather your sample and ship it back to their lab. You even have the option of getting it fastTracked, meaning you will have results in 72 hours!

They also have a Clinical version you can do if you can make it to one of their ultrasound studios! They have 9 of these in 4 different states and are expanding!

I got to try out a different method, in which SneakPeek sent out a licensed phlebotomist to my location to gather the blood sample. SneakPeek mailed out my package which included:

  • Sample Collection Vial
  • Anti-clotting factor
  • Instructions and consent forms
  • Pre posted shipping (for back to the lab)

The procedure here is a little different than the at home kit you do yourself. Instead of getting a sample by pricking your finger they take 3mL from your vein as if you were donating blood. This lowers the risk of self contamination, which can happen if you don’t sterilize things well enough when using it at home.

The whole sample collection process took less than 5 minutes. The phlebotomist even shipped my package back out to the company. She took my sample around 12:30 noon on Monday, October 9th. Due to that being a postal holiday the mail didn’t run that day. On Wednesday I got notification that my sample would be delivered Thursday morning and I would have my results that evening sometime! Thursday afternoon I got an email saying my email with my results would be delivered between 6 and 9 pm (PST). To my surprise I received my results via email at 5pm!

If any of you are expecting and don’t know the gender, or you are planning to get pregnant I HIGHLY recommend checking them out!

What Is Self-Care (and what it is NOT)

I am a big believer in the NECESSITY of self-care for everyone. As a mom I feel like I need it now more than ever. That’s probably due to how much I neglect myself since having Sebastian. Regardless, I feel that self-care is necessary for a person to be less stressed and overwhelmed. Self-care is something everyone NEEDS to be happier and less stressed, but does everyone know what self-care really is?

WHAT IS SELF-CARE?

What comes to your mind when self-care is mentioned? Getting your nails done? Taking a hot bath? Treating yourself? It is so much more than all of that. Self-care is different for everyone, but here is a list of what self-care is (or should be) for everyone.

1. It is something that should be done daily. This means you will have to plan for it. It requires a conscious effort. It is meant to be done deliberately and with purpose.
2. It’s a deep sense of self love. You have to acknowledge that you not only need, but deserve to care for yourself the way you do for others.
3. Sometimes it’s as simple as self respect. Respecting yourself enough to not put pressure on yourself. Respecting yourself enough to allow yourself to skip things and not feel guilty. Respecting yourself enough to not be mean to yourself when you feel like a failure. It honors yourself, your accomplishments and your efforts no matter how small or unimportant you feel like they were.
4. It is something that you should look forward to.
5. It is about taking care of yourself and treating yourself with the same love that you give to others.
6. Self-care is the key to a happier, less stressed you.
7. It is self preservation.

WHAT SELF-CARE IS NOT.

Self-care won’t be the same for everyone. When I ask if someone has made time for themselves today I sometimes get the response, “I don’t really like yoga” or “I don’t have any money”. Somehow self-care has been mistaken for only yoga, meditation, or spending money. And while it is different for everyone here is what self-care is not (or doesnt HAVE to be).
1. Self care isn’t necessarily splurging on a new wardrobe or a fancy new gadget. It doesn’t have to involve spending money at all.
2. It isn’t something that should happen by chance or just once in awhile. You need self-care daily.
3. It’s not something you force yourself to do.
4. It’s not something you don’t enjoy. While I fully believe in trying new things, you shouldn’t force yourself to do things you don’t like.
5. It’s not for when the tough stuff is over or when you earn it. Self-care is not something that needs to be earned or perfect. Don’t feel as though you have to earn acts of self-care. It is for everyone, every single day. It’s not based on how much or how little you did.
6. It isn’t easy and won’t just happen. You have to consciously plan to do it and sometimes it will take help from others. Sometimes you may have to be flexible or choose to neglect something to make it happen but it’s worth it. YOU are worth it!

MAKING TIME FOR YOU!

So how are you supposed to find time for yourself when your daily life is already exhausting you? You have to MAKE time. You have to figure out what works for you! Put it in your planner. Write it on the calendar. Talk to friends and family if you need help. There’s nothing wrong with getting help so you can take care of yourself. Start off with small things daily or every other day and don’t give up. Ask for help but be flexible. Plan it around your schedule and deadlines so that you can really enjoy it, even if it’s only 5 minutes.

The goal of self-care is to relax, refresh, and refuel ourselves. Don’t let it overwhelm you or stress you out. That’s not the purpose. It’s a lifelong practice that takes time to create a habit of. So remember to be gentle and patient with yourself.

10 Household Uses For Vinegar (with pets and small children)

I'm one of those crazy people who prefers natural cleaners especially with a dog and toddler who puts EVERYTHING in his mouth. I love trying out new natural cleaning products but I know they can get expensive so here is a list of all the ways I have used Vinegar as a natural & cheaper cleaner!!

1. A Clogged Drain.

There's nothing worse than a clogged drain! To fix this problem take 1/4 cup of baking soda and pour it down the drain. Follow with 1 cup of vinegar and let sit for 15 minutes. Rinse it with a small pot of boiling water. This should clean out whatever was stuck.

2. Keep Ants Away.

I mix 2 cups of vinegar with 2 tablespoons of dishwashing liquid and 2 tablespoons of baking soda in a reusable spray bottle. Spray around the problem area and they should stay away. I have to reapply every 3-4 days typically.

3. Mosquito Bites.

Mosquitoes, this summer, seem worse than ever before. No matter what I use I still end up getting bit! To relieve the itch from a mosquito bite simply dip a cotton ball into vinegar and apply to the bite for 5-10 seconds. This should alleviate the itch and redness.

4. Bee Stings.

If you get stung by a bee or wasp (or other flying insect) use the same cotton ball technique and apply it to the sting to relieve pain and itching.

5. Diaper Rash.

While I am a very lucky parent that my son has never had a diaper rash, he still gets red and irritated from time to time. When this happens I take a soft baby washcloth and mix 1 teaspoon of vinegar with 1 cup of water and wipe him. I let him air dry and then put a diaper on him. I do this until I see an improvement and so far he's 18 months without a rash!

6. Disinfect Children's Toys.

There are 2 different methods for this! You can use a dishwasher or a bathtub/sink.

For the dishwasher method:
Load up all the plastic and rubber toys
into the dishwasher. (Make sure none
of the toys are battery operated or
electronic.) Add 1 1/2 to 2 cups of vinegar
and just run the dishwasher!

For the bathtub/sink method:
Put all the toys into the bathtub/sink
and plug the drain. Add 1 cup of vinegar
to 1 gallon of hot water and let soak for an
hour. Then wash and rinse off! Make sure
you get all of the water out. (Pro-Tip: You
can close the holes on toys with hot glue
to keep water out of them.)

7. Tub/Shower Cleaner.

Take 1/2 a cup of hot vinegar and combine it with 1/2 a cup of dishwashing liquid in a reusable spray bottle. Spray the shower/tub and let it soak for 45 minutes. Then just gently wipe down!

8. Oven Cleaner.

I hate my oven being dirty but the fumes from the self cleaners give me a headache. I prefer this natural scrub! In a bowl, mix 3-4 drops of dishwashing liquid with 4 tablespoons of baking soda, and 5 tablespoons of vinegar. Apply to the areas of the oven you need to clean and let sit for a few hours. Then you just go back and wipe it down!

9. Microwave Cleaner.

My microwave is something I can't stand to be dirty. I also don't want to scrub it for 30 minutes. The solution? Work smarter not harder. Take a microwave safe bowl and combine 1/2 a cup of water with 1/2 a cup of vinegar. Place the bowl into the microwave for 5-6 minutes (or however long it takes to begin bubbling). Let the microwave cool down, then using oven mitts remove the bowl. You can then use a paper towel or washcloth to wipe down the inside of the microwave.

10. Recharge Towels.

After awhile towels get a residue build up that causes them to not only loose their fluffiness but their absorbency as well. To recharge your towels wash once with hot water and 1 cup of vinegar. Wash again with 1/2 a cup of baking soda and hot water. This will get rid of the residue build up on your towels.

5 reasons why I don’t make my spouse’s plate first.

So we've all seen the debate about whose plate do you fix first, your child or your husband/spouse. Now I know it stems from religion, where the man comes first under god, however (and maybe I'll get some backlash from this) I'm not religious. That's not to say I don't believe in God, Jesus, miracles, etc. I refer to myself as spiritual and maybe that's why I have a different view on things. I don't believe in making your spouse's plate first and in our house, I don't practice it. Here's a few reasons why:

1. My child literally depends on someone to make his food and his plate for him. Meaning until someone does this for him he doesn't get to eat.

2. My spouse is 28 years old and is fully capable of making his own plate or being patient while I make OUR child's plate.

3. My son is only a year and a half old. He doesn't understand patience yet. While I do try to make him practice waiting for things, food is NOT one of those things.

4. I don't believe my son getting his food before his father is going to make him disrespectful. I mean can we be real here? There are so many more things in life that can make a child disrespectful, getting his plate first is NOT one of them.

5. Okay, call me a feminist if you want to but I don't think that just because he is a male he should be treated as though he's above me. We are equal and he agrees.

Just because I fix my child's plate first doesn't mean I don't value or respect my spouse. I appreciate how hard he works for our family! As a matter of fact he works so hard he's rarely home for dinner but when he is I fix our son's plate first and he fixes his own plate. Why? Because even he understands that my son depends on SOMEONE to make his plate and as a mother I take that duty on.

My spouse and I are partners. We parent together. He goes to work while I work at home taking care of our house and son. Regardless of me being a stay at home mom he knows what I do all day everyday (& even at night) isn't easy. He acknowledges that we both work hard and he doesn't care if I make our son's plate first. As a matter of fact if I tried to make Adam's plate first he would take it from me and make his own plate as well as a plate for me while I get out toddler set up.

8 Tips To Make the Stay At Home Moms Day Easier

Being a stay at home mom is not easy. I knew that before having my son and choosing to be a stay at home mom. What I didn't anticipate is how hard it would really be.

My whole day is ran by a 1.5 year old. He determines if I get to sit down and for how long (oh and where I can sit down). He determines how long my coffee sits there until I actually get to drink it. He even determines how much sleep I get. If you're a parent, you probably understand where I'm coming from.

However I have learned how to make my day go smoother. Now this isn't to say we don't have any bad days or that things always go smoothly, but these things have made it easier on me. Even on the bad days.

1. PREP

I try to do as much as I can the night before. Especially because I'm a night owl and have a hard time going to sleep before 11. I prep what I can for tomorrow's meals and what I can't prep I check to make sure I have everything. Prepping for the next day includes whatever cleaning that needs to be done. For me, waking up to a sink full of dishes and a dirty house immediately puts me in a bad mood. So cleaning the night before not only saves me time for the next day but I'm also in a better mood.

2. PLAN

I try to plan our day ahead of time. Is it going to be rainy? Am I going to need a lot of indoor activities? These are things I like to know the day before so I can plan accordingly. I try to plan one activity that helps my son get his energy out because when he has tons of energy (like everyday) and nothing to get it out his tantrums are much worse. I also try to plan a quiet time activity, as well as an independent play activity. All these different types of activities help him and I keep our sanity plus it gives us something to do rather than the same thing everyday.

3. LISTS

I like to have a list of things that need to be done around the house. I have this list divided into sections based on the amount of time each thing takes (5, 10, 15 minutes). That way when I have a few minutes I can look at the list and pick something off of it that's going to fit into my day right then. For example, making my bed, wiping down the counters & appliances, rinsing dishes, putting dishes away, starting laundry, all of those things take me 5 minutes. So after Sebastian goes down for a nap or he's playing independently I will glance at the list and get something done off of it. It doesn't take long and it's not overwhelming.

4. CLEANING ROUTINE

Along with a list of quick things I need to do I really like having a cleaning routine. Being in a routine helps keep my house from getting to that "can we just burn it and move" feeling that comes with being overwhelmed with everything that needs to be done. Now does that mean everything gets finished and my house is spotless? No, let's be real. But like all of my tips, it does help. There are tons of routines/schedules on Pinterest if you need inspiration!

5. ROUTINES FOR THE LITTLES

My son Sebastian has been on schedule since he was 4 months old. Obviously it's changed a lot since then but having a set routine for the majority of the days helps him and I. It helps me get more done and not loose my sanity. It even helps him because he knows what we are doing next. He naps, eats, plays and even gets ready for bed around the same time everyday. Routines aren't hard to implement you just have to get in the habit of doing things in a certain order or at certain times. It may be hard at first because it's new but it's worth it.

6. USE A PLANNER

I like to use a planner for all the extra mom stuff I have to keep up with like dr appointments, play dates, deadlines, and even daily goals. Everyday I write down 3-4 goals I have for the day. I try to make sure at least one of them is a fairly quick and easy goal so that even on those really crazy days I still feel accomplished.

7. SELF CARE

It's no doubt I'm a huge advocate for moms taking time to care for theirselves. It's just so important!! I always feel better if I can get some "me" time in the morning! Personally I think having some type self care in the morning gets your day started off on the right foot! Getting a warm bath, going for a walk/run, writing in your journal, watching a tv show, etc., are all great ways for self care in the morning.

8. DON'T BE SO HARD ON YOURSELF

This is probably the most important tip. You're going to have bad days. You're going to have days where you breakdown and cry and feel like you're the worst mom in the world… I can promise you that you're not though. And the fact that you are worried about being a bad mom shows how much of an amazing mom you really are. I always feel like a little extra self care is needed on these particularly rough days! Remember no mom is perfect, we all lose it now and then. Our houses all look like tornadoes hit them at one point or another. It's not a competition. Read the kids a book, give them a kiss, put them to bed and go take care of yourself! Tomorrow is a new day.