Category: health

What to do with all this “Me Time?”

what-will-i-do

For months now people have been asking me what am I going to do with all “my time” once the girls go to school. Close friends, neighbors and even family have all asked me what my plans are now that my kids are in Kindergarten.

“It will be nice for you to get some time to yourself.”

“Now you can finally have some ME TIME.”

“So, what are you going to do with all of your time now?”

I know they all mean well and some are just making conversation, but it is quite dismissive of what fills up my time already. Guess what? I have worked from home for the last two years. Guess what I’ve been doing? Writing! Yep. This blog as well as contributing to a few other blogs AND freelance articles for local publications. So that means I have deadlines. I have a fledgling career (albeit a very low paying career). I have goals and *gasp* I am productive beyond motherhood!

A friend of mine (also a mom) told me once, “you need to do more than JUST be a mom.” Why is it once you become a stay at home mom all anyone can see is the stay at home part? Just a mom. Some days I wish I could be “just a mom.” Not that being a mom is without challenges, but then I’d at least be doing one job. Writing from home while simultaneously providing my own childcare is the most stressful gig I’ve ever had. How many moms have to make sandwiches while conducting a phone interview? Or potty train while on a conference call? I’m not talking taking a phone call while kids run amok. I’m talking sounding like an intelligent and focused professional while taking care of another human being. Nothing says I am capable and trustworthy quite like, “I’m sorry can you hold for a moment?” [addressing child] “didn’t I just say to stop smacking your sister with that? No, I’m not a stupid head, you are.”

So to all the curious folks who need to know more about how I spend my day, well here ya go:

WORK TIME

The part everyone forgets that I do outside of my mom responsibilities. I work. Even though I have a home office and that is where I schedule myself for 4-5 hours each day, folks just see me at home. They think I am cooking and cleaning, not actually working. How else are you going to get top notch blog posts like this one? Hint: not while I’m folding socks! *wink*

This is how I spend the majority of my “me time.” Running my own blog is work. I am the head writer, marketer, tech support, photographer, idea creator and editor. I have meetings and conversations with advertisers. I have to design the website and promote it. I have all the behind the scenes things happening on a daily basis. I write three 800-1,000 word blog posts a week. If you think that sounds easy think back to high school English class. Remember how hard it was to just write one essay a month? Yeah, I do that three times a week for “me time.”

ALONE TIME

Once you become a parent, you are never alone. Just ask any parent who has ever tried to pee in silence. When you have to take the kids along to every appointment, errand or meeting you have to take the shit-show on the road. So the day after my kids went to school I scheduled my self for an eye exam. I sat alone with an iced coffee while I waited for the doctor. I moved freely and at near lightning speed from room to room. And I finished every single sentence I started because I didn’t need to instruct someone to sit on their bottom. It was glorious.

new-glasses

FINISH ERRANDS IN RECORD TIME

There are days I schedule myself in my office to, ya know, work. But when I need to run a quick errand it’s quick. I can get into the car alone, zip up to the corner store and zip back home faster than any Olympic track star. I don’t need to wrestle the kids into their car seats and then spend half an hour begging them to just get out of the car so I can go inside where they can interrupt me while I pee.

SELF CARE

Self care is hard for anyone taking care of other human beings. But the more responsibilities you pile into one day the less time there is for self care. I often go without lunch, or shovel in kid left overs because there isn’t enough time for me to make meals for myself. Once I get the kids lunches on their plates I spend the next half hour dealing with their complaints and arguments about the quality of their lunch. By the time I realize I didn’t eat lunch it is 3:00 p.m. and I eat whatever I can grab. Now that the kids eat lunch at school, this allows me time sit down and enjoy a full meal. If you want to know what my life has been like for the last 5 years try eating a meal in a room full of chimpanzees throwing things at you.

ate-in-the-living-room

CONNECT WITH OTHER MOMS

Before my career as a mom I worked a 9-5 job. I often scheduled lunch dates with friends during my work day. Now, I make sure to schedule some time to see a friend. Working from home alone can be isolating and lonely. I miss having co-workers to talk to. I miss eating cake three times a week to celebrate birthdays. Now my co-workers are other moms living and working miles away in their own homes. We need time to connect and commiserate about our demanding little bosses. I need to know I’m not the only one trying to balance work and mom life.

There ya have it. This is how I have spent my time the last two weeks since school started. My house is still a mess. My laundry is still in piles and I still haven’t had a good mani pedi. I have typed several thousand words into my computer and I am no longer hangry. My kids are at school and I still don’t get “me time.” But I am getting time to recoup a little sanity after years of chaos.

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia and The Novice Mommy.

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Why Going Bald Matters in My Family

My life after St. Baldrick's

It was just after Christmas of 2002 that we discovered my niece was very ill. Her parents thought it was just a stomach bug that kept her couched for a week. But when Ashley appeared gray and limp and refusing to eat her chocolate treats that Santa left her, we knew something was wrong. After taking her to the emergency room my brother and his wife were told Ashley has Leukemia. She was immediately taken to a medical center for treatment.

Ashley was only three years old, but she lived several months of her life in the hospital. She endured three surgeries and still wears the scars along her abdomen. The first surgery, which nearly every kid with cancer endures, implanted a Picc IV line that administers chemotherapy directly to her heart. We thought that would be the worst. The second surgery was to remove her appendix as it became inflamed from the amount of chemicals coursing through her body. The third and last was the most invasive and the most difficult to watch her heal from. She was surgically cut straight down the middle of her abdomen so doctors could open her up to repair a hole that had worn through her colon- a side effect of the chemo.  The medical center treating Ashley is also a teaching hospital which means the surgical area has a viewing bay. My brother stood over his baby girl, helplessly watching afar as doctors work to repair her from the inside. Did I mention she was only a toddler?

I get this is totally graphic. I get that some of you may stop reading right here. Please don’t. On the eve of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, it is important for you to know the truth of what life looks like for kids with cancer. From newborns to teenagers a child is diagnosed with Cancer every two minutes. Every single one of them will have a different experience. Maybe they won’t need extra surgeries, or need to learn how to walk again, or fall behind their classmates at school. Maybe their journey will be easier, or maybe it will be worse. The one thing they will all have in common is that the powerful chemo killing their cancer will also cause them to lose their hair.

Before we even knew about St. Baldrick’s my brother decided to shave his head when Ashley lost all of her hair. It was an act of loving solidarity. She wouldn’t have to be the only one bald, they could be bald together. Today, my family fully supports the brave ones who shave their heads to raise money, awareness and support for kids with cancer.

The U.S. government designates less than 4% of funds toward researching a cure for childhood cancer. And pharmaceutical companies designate even less, because childhood cancer drugs are not profitable. As a result seven children a day die from cancer. It happens every single day you wake up. St. Baldrick’s is one of the few Pediatric Cancer fundraising organizations where proceeds are streamlined directly to research teams. They raise millions of dollars each year to help find a cure for pediatric cancer, and less invasive treatment options.

How do they raise millions? Their unique platform is simply signing people up to “Brave the Shave.” People create a team, and ask donors to sponsor them at a head shaving event. They show up in firehouses, gymnasiums, rec centers, schools and VFW halls across the country to brave the shave together with other shavees. It takes a lot of courage to choose to lose your hair. Kids with cancer don’t get a choice.

How do they spend those millions? St. Baldrick’s provides grants to fund every stage of research, from ideas in the lab, to clinical trials to fellowships. Eighty percent of children treated for cancer stand a greater chance of side effects that follow them for life. While much of the research is focused on a cure, it is also focused on preventing lifelong damage caused by chemotherapy, surgeries and radiation.  Through collaborative efforts, St. Baldrick’s supports the next generation of oncologists, helps children not just survive, but thrive; and funds necessary research.

How can you help? Find a local event near you. Just go and be inspired. If you are not ready to brave the shave donate to someone who is. Create a shave event in your hometown, volunteer your time and talents as a barber, or just help spread the word. St. Baldrick’s makes it super easy to get started and provides you with all the marketing an organizational materials needed for success.

Why is St. Baldrick’s so important to my family? Because in the 1950’s every child diagnosed with cancer died. Today 90% of children diagnosed with the most common cancers, like Ashley’s Leukemia, will survive. St. Baldrick’s is leading the way in researching cures for childhood cancer. In 2016, St. Baldrick’s funded research that developed the third (in existence) FDA approved drug treatment for pediatric cancer. It is the first drug treatment breakthrough in twenty years and it will help treat children with high-risk neuroblastoma. Every time someone donates a dollar to St. Baldrick’s, or braves the shave in support, we are confident the money is being spent wisely and with finding a cure is at the forefront.

Brave the Shave at St. Baldrick's

My niece Ashley is now a 14 year cancer survivor. She has worked hard to overcome the lingering effects of her cancer treatments. Most impressively, she has raised thousands of dollars in her young life to provide comfort and care, and to fund a cure for other kids living with cancer. In March 2016, Ashley braved the shave herself, just before her prom and graduation. She willingly gave up what most girls struggle to, her golden curly locks of hair. Her boyfriend, friends and family shaved right alongside of her in solidarity and together contributed over $2,000 to pediatric cancer research.

St. Baldrick’s will forever be a part of our lives. We believe in giving other cancer kids a fighting chance and a chance to survive.

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia and The Novice Mommy.

This is not a sponsored post and no financial compensation was received. I wholeheartedly believe in the mission of the St. Baldrick’s Foundation and would love for you to share this post with as many friends and family as you can! Use #gogold to help kick off Childhood Cancer Awareness month and spread awareness about Childhood Cancer. 

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Friday Favorites: Three Sisters Herbals

3 sisters collage

This week I am introducing you all to one of my family’s favorites, Three Sisters Herbals. These handcrafted organic products are made right here in the USA (Hyde Park, NY), are eco-friendly and can be customized to accommodate particular sensitivities. There are vegan and animal friendly products too. Yep, you can even use most of these products on the family pet. High quality organic products, handcrafted in small batches, at an affordable price is the trifecta of sustainability.

Kim Mule created Three Sisters Herbals salves and tinctures for family use and with family budgets in mind. Many of her products are multi-use and can easily extend to the family pet. Talk about economical! It all began with a DIY salve kit and Kim’s passions were lit. After the birth of her third child she knew her next “baby” would arrive at the birth of her business. Kim combines her passions for herbal remedies and a natural lifestyle with her degree in Graphic Design to make life as a mom work for her. She works from her home studio so she can be available when her kids get off the bus. And, she provides great products that work for other families.

Here are my family’s personal favorites:

Three Sisters Herbal Magic Salve

You can never ever, ever have too much Magic Salve! In fact, here are 25 different ways to use it! We have used it for diaper rash treatment, and to prevent diaper rash when our girls were babies. Now we use it for cuts, scrapes and minor burns. Use this to treat under eye puffiness and you might agree that there is literally magic in this container! You can even use it on dry cracked lips. If you happen to be a pet owner you can apply this to your furry loves little feet too! The salve moisturizes, heals and soothes skin without chemicals, perfumes or petroleum. It is also handcrafted with organic herbs and safe to use on all skin types. Through the month of August get an extra 20% off with the Magic Salve stock up sale!

Three Sisters Herbal Hand Sanitizer

Kim gave me a bottle of Hand Sanitizer to sample for this review. It is crafted with a natural base of Aloe Vera Gel, and the Four Thieves blend has been proven to ward off germs, flues and viruses.  I have tried mixing my own hand sanitizer and it doesn’t feel like enough. This non-sticky formula isn’t overpowering to the senses and you only need a few drops.  I carry this in our car to apply to our hands after a day at the park, the library, a trip to the store or other places kids climb all over and sneeze on. This is my new favorite!

Three Sisters Herbal Bug Away

Bug Away is an absolute summer must have. Actually we use it spring through fall to ward off the ticks. We live in an area overrun with ticks and Lyme disease. We recently had a couple of tick invasions in our own yard. This natural hand crafted organic blend of essential oils is effective on ticks, mosquitoes and flies. It is safe enough to use on babies, children and even dogs and farm animals. I like that it is Deet free and it is does not irritate my kids skin. We spray directly on our skin and clothes when we are playing in the yard or at the park; and on our back packs and shoes before going on a hike. This is also available in a lotion stick which is great to use on toddlers.

I love Kim’s mission to provide healthy, family safe products, and I also love the meaning behind the name. Kim chose the name Three Sisters Herbal in honor of the bond her mother had with her two sisters. It represents the power to uplift through love and respect. As a mom advocating for love and respect among the mom community, this philosophy epitomizes my own mission. Three Sisters Herbals products are healthy and effective too, which seems like a perfect fit for my family.

Stop by threesistersherbals.com to order, or check out the other products Kim offers. You can also find Three Sisters on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia and The Novice Mommy.

No financial compensation was received for this review. Promotional products provided by Three Sisters Herbals for testing in exchange for review. All opinions are genuine and solely belong to The Whatever Mom.

 

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Friday Favorites – My New Breakfast Routine

Breakfast Just Got Easier

Oh boy do I hate breakfast. It’s not that I don’t like eating breakfast; it’s just that I have two picky eaters who protest everything I make. The amount of time it takes me to cater to their morning desires and get them to actually eat, I have very little time left to make my own nutritious breakfast. With school starting in just a few weeks I am already worried about making sure everyone has enough time to eat a healthy breakfast before the bus arrives. Including me!

I have some crazy food sensitivities so now I have to watch everything I eat. I often make all my food from scratch (not requesting any medals here moms. I’d quickly give up having to grill my own chicken for a fast food chicken sandwich any night). Not being able to eat gluten, dairy, soy and eggs makes breakfast a big challenge for me. I have the best luck with whole food smoothies, but oh man that takes a bit more time than I have in the morning. Yes, I can prep ahead at night for the entire week, but that is another to-do on my already lengthy list. What I need is simple, quick, easy and nutritious.

When Kathy from Kick Ass Healthy Moms contacted me directly to sample some gluten free, dairy, soy and egg free products I was super excited to give them a try! It is everything I am looking for- fiber, protein, vitamins, free from my trigger allergens and very convenient to use. There is very little prep time involved which is key for me!

isalean shake

Kathy and I spoke over the phone for a quick no pressure consultation to discuss my dietary needs and my lifestyle. I joined her Facebook welcome group so I could meet other moms like me and get some tips about including healthy eating in my busy day. Together we came up with a plan to get a healthy breakfast and pump up my energy! We agreed to keep in touch via email. It was reassuring to have Kathy available at any time to ask questions.

I’m not big into weight loss shakes, but if that is your thing then trust me these products will work for you. I lost 8 lbs. in the first month by following the weight loss methods (and not a lot of exercise). I replaced two meals a day and ate two snacks. I love how low maintenance it makes my breakfast routine! I just rip open a packet and whirl in my drink blender with water and ice and I am done. I can drink it while I’m making breakfast for the kids.

isalean shake mix

Each shake packet carries 250 calories and is packed with over 20 grams of plant based protein and 8 grams of fiber. As much as I love my whole fruit and berry smoothies- these shake packs keep me feeling fuller for longer; which is exactly what I need to keep up with two busy kids. I also notice I have less sugar cravings (you know that gotta have afternoon treat). I plan to continue with the shakes simply because they are such a quick way to get a nutritious breakfast together for me in the morning. All the ingredients are non-gmo and there is nothing I can’t pronounce.

Isalean greens

Kathy also sent me the Greens powder. On its own it tastes…well, wild. As in I am eating from the wild. When I consulted with her about my disappointment in the taste she suggested adding a half a scoop to my morning shake. So much better!!! The point of the greens is to help supplement the amount of green veggies you get in a day. Adding into my morning shake gives me one veggie serving at the start of the day. On those days I am running around crazy and I forget to eat, or I don’t have enough time to plan, I am covered with my initial serving of greens. A friend of mine shares that she even puts it in her kids smoothies on the days they are especially picky about eating.

isalean supreme

This right here is my liquid gold and I love it! If I drink this one alone as a 1 oz. shot it is also has a potent taste. Pouring it over ice and adding cold water creates a slightly sweet green drink that I actually like. I savor this as my mid-morning treat. It is also a great way to ensure I am drinking enough water in my day.  (Something I am always working on).

Isalean supreme shot

The b-vitamins, herbal blend; juice and fruit extracts give an extra anti-oxidant boost as well a natural energy boost. There is no caffeine added to this, but I am telling you it gives me a better energy boost than a cup of coffee.  If I have a really draining day I drink a second around 3:00 p.m. to get me through the rest of our crazy day.

There were some other goodies included in my sample pack like the 5 hour energy shot full of b-vitamins. After drinking it I felt more awake and alert. My mental fog wasn’t as thick. I’m not saying that’s a cure for mommy brain, but I definitely noticed some of that lift. Kathy also shared some dark chocolate and Isalean bars that were so good!

After only a few days I had more energy to keep up. I felt more alert and less mental fog. And after two weeks I started to release weight and just felt good overall. I still really love eating whole foods, but the shakes, the greens and the Ionix Supreme are exactly what I need to supplement those difficult mornings with. As a mom I often neglect my own needs, like eating a meal, to satisfy the needs of my family. I don’t have to do that now!

 

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia and The Novice Mommy.

No financial compensation was made for this review. Promotional products provided with compliments by Kathy LaMarr and not Isagenix directly, in exchange for this review. All thoughts and honest opinions are solely my own. 

 

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Things No One Tells You About Motherhood

Things They Don't Tell New Mothers

Once people knew I was pregnant the stories of motherhood began flying my way. I was told I was going to fall head over heels in love my baby (and I totally have). Everything that my baby does will be adorable (I somewhat agree). I was told to take all the medications that were offered at delivery time (I never got any medications as we went directly into delivery upon arriving at the hospital). How I would love the cuddles, giggles, the milestones, cute outfits, tiredness and body changes. What I was not told about was the realism of motherhood.

Once I had my daughter I was not ready for what was about to happen. The true experience of motherhood was nothing like what I had been told. I do not want you, my awesome blog reader, to go blindly into motherhood without knowing the untold stories of motherhood.

Tiredness. Yes, I have experienced it in the past and I was told about tiredness. I would gladly take tiredness. However, since the beginning of my pregnancy I have been EXHAUSTED! My body went through 9 months of growing a baby while on bedrest. You would think I would have gotten a lot of sleep. My husband naively asked why I was so tired all the time. My response was you grow a human for 9 months, have it ripped from inside you and as your body is trying to heal you become a 24 hour vending machine. Walking away…grumble, grumble, ask my why I’m tired…grumble, grumble…

Childbirth is not as painful as the horror stories you hear.  I had my daughter without medication. Before it sounds like I am bragging, let me say she was a fast delivery where there was no time for mediation. The worse part was the “ring of fire” as her head pushed out. This is coming from a woman who has multiple health issues and takes numerous pain control medications.

The Heartburn never goes away! My heartburn was so bad that I had to see a specialist who scheduled me for surgery to remove my gall bladder. I had excruciating heartburn that caused me to double over in pain. The only way I got the slightest relief was by having to make myself throw up. This was horrible in itself. I was told that gallstones were a common issue for women after childbirth. Even after having my gallbladder removed I am still on prescribed medications for the heartburn.

Stretch marks everywhere. I have stretch marks on places I never thought possible. My toes and feet swelled three times their size during weeks 36-38 and then swelled more after giving birth. It hurt to walk for weeks. I now have stretch marks on my toes and feet. I also have stretch marks on the back of my neck, armpits, butt, hips, and arms, stomach….EVERYWHERE!

Time alone ceases to exist. You no longer have time to read that book you just got into. You now read The Very Hungry caterpillar a bajillion times. No more quiet refreshing showers, now you have to find ways to drag in some baby contraption to hold the child and toys to keep her happy while you quickly shower before she screams uncontrollably. (P.s. keep the shower door ajar so she can see you for a longer shower). Gone are the days of peeing in peace (have you read my Mommy Potty Chaos Post?). Ironically as I write this I am in the dentist’s waiting room using my “alone time” to finish this post.

Overwhelmed is the new normal. I used to juggle a million things very successfully. Now I can’t seem to get through one morning without losing my composure. I was once told I come off as unfazed…where is that person now? Balancing household bills and squeezing out money for baby needs, housework that never is caught up, friends are put on the back burner, finding time to buy groceries. Now the baby needs more attention, other child needs attention, your needs don’t count. Don’t forget the husband needs attention and by the way your legs would embarrass Chewbacca, a fact that my husband let me know by buying hair remover cream “so it can work while you do other things.”

I was never told these things could become part of my daily routine! I think that as our babies grow the sting of the events we deal with are covered with fluffy cute loveable moments. We forget the pregnancy struggles and how hard it was to walk, breathe, and function. We forget the “ring of fire” during birth. As sleep patterns form we forget the length of exhaustion. We also forget those unimaginable monster mommy moments we dealt with.

I do promise that when a naïve young woman asks what motherhood is like, I will share the horrid untold stories of motherhood. I will not sugar coat a thing. It will either make her stronger in knowledge of what is to come or make her think twice about becoming a mother.

Ooh, yeah the dentist is calling. I wonder if I ask nicely they will sedate me so that I can also get some sleep while I am here?

deb editDebra is a first time mom to her beautiful rainbow baby Skyler, a wife, a blogger and an ordained minister. She enjoys crafting and creating educational fun for her step sons and decorating her home. Find Debra at Crossing New Bridges on Facebook and on Twitter.

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Friday Favorites – Eir NYC

Friday Favorites Fresh Eir

Happy Friday All!

As you know by now my Friday Favorites are products I personally use and love. I don’t want to review products for the sake of having a review. The products I share have to fit some purpose in my life so I can give all of you an honest review. That being said, here is my favorite products this week!

I received a full sized product of Fresh Eir by Eir NYC. A friend of mine gifted me with an amazing subscription box and this was one of the products inside! What do I absolutely love about this one? It’s organic, eco-friendly and versatile! The Fresh Air canister is made of recyclable stainless steel and is aerosol free. I have used this all around the house and in my car as an air freshener, but now I carry it in my car kit to use as a hand sanitizer. This has been a life saver at the park and I just touched some random sticky stuff, or after handling the pump at the gas station. I have also used it to spray down the soccer gear and the laundry hampers. The instructions say I can also spray on my body as a freshener… just a tip for those “shower free” days. 😉

Fresh EIR NYC

The witch hazel, aloe and sage essential oil blend smells great! I am not clogging the atmosphere with aerosol spray and my home smells and feels fresher! $20.00 for a canister is a bit pricey, but really worth it when you can use it in so many places. Interesting fact about the name, Eir is the Norse goddess of healing. All EiR products are made naturally to nourish the mind, body and soul.

Included with the Fresh Air is a sample of Uplifting Butter. The blend of coffee infused coconut oil, rosemary and cypress essential oils is supposed to help combat cellulite and water retention. Fun fact about me, I have quite a bit of cellulite covering a rather large surface area. I wasn’t sure about this tiny sample. I would need an entire vat to dip myself in! Ha, ha!

EiR Uplifting Butter

I did try it out and although I did not notice dramatic results, my skin did appear a little smoother over time. It also smells really good. Like a day at the spa good. I received a 1/2 oz sample, but the full product is sold in a 4 0z. tin for $35.00. With more ounces I might be able to target some larger areas. 😉 You can find the entire line of hand whipped body butters on their website.

I also really love that this company is based out of Brooklyn, NY. So this is technically a local company for me and after searching their stock list I find there is a store close by that carries Eir products. Looks like it’s time to go shopping!

The links contained in this post are for your convenience and I do not receive any compensation if you use them. The products reviewed in this post were gifted items, so no financial compensation was provided for this review. The opinions expressed in this blog post and exclusively my own. 

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia and The Novice Mommy.

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The Benefits of Getting My Kids Out and Moving

The Benefitsof Keeping My Kids Moving

When my kids get exercise they are a lot less whiny and a lot less lazy. When we sign them up for sports, they have a place to focus their energy and make new friends. I have four boys, and all of them but my two-year-old play soccer. That doesn’t stop him from trying to cross the white line and see if he can help his brothers out every Saturday, because he loves to kick the ball around. In the winter they play basketball.

With school getting out soon I need to step up my own game and get them moving each morning. Most days I try to take them for a walk or to the park before the sun makes the slides too hot to play on. Every time I decide to have a lazy day and let my kids watch Netflix, I pay for it. They spend the day arguing over everything and they don’t want to do anything. Sometimes when they get like that I make really dumb decisions and take them to the store just so we can get out of the house. That right there is proof that once you have kids you lose brain cells. Letting them run around outside is more likely to snap them out of their orneriness.

If I can preempt the drama by getting them outside first thing then my kids are more pleasant to be around for the rest of the day. I’ve tested this time and time again—because I like lazy mornings—but the results are always the same.

I read over this study showing how exercise benefits boys academically (in addition to saving me from excessive whining). It concludes:

Higher levels of physical activity at recess were related to better reading skills and participation in organized sports was linked to higher arithmetic test scores in grades 1-3. Particularly boys with higher levels of physical activity, and especially walking and bicycling to and from school, had better reading skills than less active boys.

Interestingly, the academic benefits of exercise was not as significant in girls. The full study can be found here.  But if you just want a run-down of the parts you actually care about, go here!

I don’t need a study to tell me that when my kids have a physical outlet for their energy they are a lot less cuckoo, but it was encouraging to see it actually helps them become better learners.

Other than participating in sports, here are a few activities that will give your kids some exercise: run through the sprinklers, go for a bike ride, play “Just Dance” on the Wii or XBox, jump rope, hula hoop, or play a good old-fashioned game of tag!

How do you keep your kids active?

Amber Amber Christensen is a mom to four boys, a blogger and the author of  Memoirs of Mayhem: The Good, The Bad, and The Hilarious. She is learning to find the humor in her parenting, which she shares on her blog Watch This Mom. You can also find her on InstagramFacebook and Twitter!

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Friday Favorites: Top Picks for Summer Skin Care

SAFE SUN

Did you know the first official day of summer is June 20th? But many of us are already enjoying some fun in the sun now! I spend hours outside in the back yard, or at local parks with my kids. I want to be sure each of us is protected from sun damage or sun burns. I am really careful about what I put on our skin. I also like products that multi-task and save me a little time.

Before I share my favorites here’s a quick word about SPF. The Sun Protection Factor, or SPF, estimates how long you are protected against sun burn. For example, if you know your skin starts to redden after 20 minutes in the sun, a product with an SPF of 15 will keep you safe approximately 300 minutes before you start to burn. The higher the SPF the longer the protection time. But it is important to apply properly and reapply in time to get the most benefit from your sunscreen.

Here are my favorite can’t live without summer skin care items:

Tinted Moisturizer with SPF 

I rely on my tinted moisturizer for a casual coverage that evens my skin tone. Using a tinted moisturizer with an SPF protects me  from damaging UVB and UVA exposure. I personally like Mary Kay’s CC cream with an SPF 15. The coverage is great and it is light weight enough for me to wear while at the park with the kids, running my errands or even working up a sweat at the gym. Not only does the SPF keep me from burning quickly, but it is the first line of defense against aging. (Sun damage = wrinkles). You can locate a Mary Kay rep online and purchase for $20.00.

cc cream

Lip Balm with SPF 

My absolute favorite is Kiss My Face Lip Treatmint with SPF 30. This water resistant lip balm keeps my lips smooth and tastes amazing!  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten a sunburn on my lips just standing at the park with my kids, or playing outside in our yard. Too much sun exposure to your lips can cause dehydration and aging. The antioxidant formula re-hydrates and heals dryness. I also love that it is gluten free and cruelty free. Kiss My Face also has a really great line of organic lip balms that I buy for my girls to enjoy. You can purchase online for around $2.50, or find in most retail drug stores.

kiss my face lips

Sunscreen with SPF 

I go with Kiss My Face Organic sunscreen. It is gluten and cruelty free and made with 87% organic ingredients. It is water resistant for up to 80 minutes which means I can run through the sprinklers, or take a dip in the pool with the kids without worry. It is broad spectrum which means it protects against UVA and UVB rays. It may seem pricey at $13.99 a tube, but worth the peace of mind I get knowing it’s less chemical exposure for me and my kiddos.

kiss my face sunscreen

Sun Protection Tips:

To get the most benefits from your sunscreen you should apply 10 minutes before going out in the sun. It takes that long for the minerals in the cream to settle into your skin and create a barrier of protection. I apply my tinted moisturizer and lip balm as part of my morning skin care routine so I am set for the day. I try to cover the kids just before we leave the house, or before they leave for school.

Getting a little sun isn’t a terrible thing. It is actually medically necessary to get enough sun to help our bodies convert proper levels of Vitamin D. We only need about 15-20 minutes a day of unprotected sun exposure for good health. You want to be sure you are protected during the peak times of day which is 10 am – 3 pm. That is when the suns rays are most intense and you are more likely to get a sunburn. If you know you will be out in the sun for longer, say a day at the beach or at the pool, be sure to cover up and use your sunscreen!

Product links provided in this post are for your convenience. No affiliate links are included and I do not receive financial compensation if you use them. All opinions and reviews belong solely to The Whatever Mom.

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia and The Novice Mommy.

 

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Interview With A Parent of A Child With Autism- Meet Kaitlin and Parker

rd autism

As we close out Autism Awareness month I want to share with you one more story. Meet Parker. His mom Kaitlin lives in my area and we are part of the same mom’s group on Facebook. I am grateful she is allowing me to share their story. It may sound familiar to you, or you may know someone who is currently going through a similar journey to find a diagnosis. Feel free to share this story with them: a real mom with a real struggle just like theirs.

Autism Awareness

How old was Parker when he was diagnosed?

Parker was 18 months old when he was diagnosed on the spectrum of Autism. I knew in my heart prior to the diagnosis. I think with knowing something was going on prior it was easier for me to accept. Two developmental pediatricians and a neurologist confirmed the diagnosis and still follow him.

 

What has life been like after diagnosis?

Everything I read about was so different than actually experiencing it. We began our journey receiving services through Early Intervention (OT, PT, Speech, Special Ed) and working with a licensed social work therapist (LCSW). All our services were in home so it was like a revolving door sometimes. It would be three services a day. We would make strides with speech and have some new words for a little while and then they would just disappear, like he forgets he learned them. One day they were here and the next they just disappeared. He had a lot of sensory needs. He would love being rocked, squeezed tight and disliked certain textures and loud noises scared him. Every day I learned some new.

IMG_20160319_085645

As Parker got older he became very aggressive towards others. He was hitting, biting, pulling hair and he would even bite himself when things would get overwhelming for him. It was hard to watch and accept. His activity level was extremely active and very dangerous. Parker has no fear whatsoever so, safety became a huge concern. He is also a runner/bolter. We recently became enrolled with Project Lifesaver with our local sheriff’s department. Parker wears a radio transmitter device that can aid in the location of finding him if he ever takes off.

 

How important is it to have support?

I am a single parent and having support is HUGE! I am thankful for my family who helps when anything is needed. My parents are our greatest support system and I would be lost without them!

 

What advice could you give to outsiders not familiar with autism?

Never judge a book by its cover. Prior to kids I told myself I would never use a backpack leash. But with his safety concerns I have too.

Kaitlin also recommends the following articles to help others understand more about what it’s like to be a parent with Autism.

The Mighty: 12 Things Not To Say to Parents of Kids With Autism

Today Parent: 11 Things Never to Say to Parents of A Child With Autism (and 11 Things You Should)

 

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia and The Novice Mommy. 

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Friday Favorites- Earth Day Roundup

Happy Earth Day!

Yes, today is the day we celebrate the earth and all the fabulous wonder it brings. Hug a tree, recycle a container or go out and plant something. Here are my Top 3 favorite earth friendly (and human friendly) products I have shared so far in my Friday Favorites series!

NORWEX

Norwex

My absolute top favorite is Norwex. We use the Envirocloth every day and need only water to clean with! This has cut down my household dependence on paper towels, cleaning chemicals that wash into our water supply and I let my kids help out more often too! That saves my energy resources. 😉 I started using the crazy mesh dish cloth I thought would never work and now I am hooked! It cleans better than a sponge and food doesn’t get stuck inside. I no longer have to buy pesticide soaked sponges! That saves me money, our water supply and adds way less waste into our landfill. You can find my original post about Norwex products here.

 

RUME

MyRuMe

I still love my RuMe reusable bag! I carry this tote inside my mom purse where ever I go. It has saved me from using countless plastic bags when shopping for only a handful of items. I can skip the plastic bag at the library too when out with the kids. And I can even use it to carry home a wet pair of pants (don’t ask). It is a great size and rolls up small so I can carry in my purse. It is washable and very sturdy! You can read my original post about my favorite RuMe products here.

 

POOFY ORGANICS

Poofy Organics

Last but not least, Poofy Organics has become our bath time favorite! My girls are still using and loving the Young Wild and Free shampoo and conditioner. I am loving the organic ingredients (entire product is not organic certified) and that it is cruelty free. The products clean really well and smell wonderful! We also use the lice prevention spray in the morning before leaving for school. This also smells really good without being over powering! All products that are good to our earth from start to finish! You can read my original post about Poofy Organics here.

There ya have it! A round up of my Top 3 favorite eco-friendly products I can count on! For me being kind to our earth is necessary to leave behind a healthy world for my children and my children’s children. What earth friendly products do you love the most?

All links to giveaways are now closed. Winners have been chosen and prizes distributed. No financial compensation given for reviews all opinions belong solely to The Whatever Mom. No affiliate links contained within individual posts. 

 

 

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia and The Novice Mommy. 

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