A blog for new parents looking for healthy living and tips on raising their baby.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Grow Your Food with Chick fil A

A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog post on the amazing Southwest Salad by Chick fil A.
More often than not, I am guilty of tossing plastic take-out containers into the trash. Containers that could easily be used for something else end up sitting in a landfill somewhere, taking up room on this precious earth.

Chick fil A challenged all of the CFA Moms to do something different.
We were encouraged to upcycle these containers into anything we wanted. So, here's how you can get your salad bowl to feed you again and again.

All you need is to take an afternoon visit to your local Chick-fil-A.

You'll need a salad container and lid as well as a small fruit cup bowl. In the meantime, you'll want to plant a seedling into a rooter plug, or some other type of hydroponics seedling plug. You're also going to want some kind of grow media to hold everything in place.

Because Chick fil A is super generous, and more than likely to give you as many containers as you want, you're looking at paying less than $20 to start your own mini garden.

Spray paint the clear lid, because allowing light into it will cause mold and mildew to grow. I put a little piece of tape on the lid though to create a little window.

Poke holes into the fruit cup to allow water to flow, and to prevent the roots from becoming too bunched. And, then-put it all together! Put about half a cup of water into the bottom of the salad bowl.

Until you see a root or two, you're going to want to water this baby several times a day to prevent it from drying out, and to also encourage them to grow downward.

If you're new to hydroponics, I encourage you to have a look through my own hydroponic garden to get some tips! Enjoy!

Until next time,

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

5 Reasons to Continue Breastfeeding Past Infancy

So, I must have missed the memo, but apparently breastmilk is completely worthless after a child turns 12-months-old. Sure. *rolls eyes*

But seriously, I'm really not sure how this got started, or why people are under the impression that children should only breastfeed during infancy. According to the World Health Organization mothers are encouraged to nurse their children "...for up to two years of age or beyond." This recommendation greatly exceeds the 'breastmilk is only for newborns' theory. 

Recently, I started a #100daysofnursing challenge on Instagram. It was here that I realized the absolute hell that many mothers face for breastfeeding their toddlers. I came across comments like 'she's only doing it for herself' or 'that's sexual abuse' and my jaw dropped. Do people really not realize the endless benefits of breastfeeding your baby through toddlerhood? So I've compiled a list of my 5 favorite benefits of breastfeeding toddlers. 

Immune System

At one year old, a child's immune system still needs time to mature. It is already well documented that the mother's milk provides immune system support in infants-and that doesn't just disappear once a child hits their first birthday. Actually, according to many studies, when compared with their weaned peers, breastfed toddlers were less likely to get sick, develop allergies, or asthma. 


Like with immune system support, much of the medical field agrees that breastfeeding helps lower the risk of obesity in childhood. But new studies and evidence are proving that the longer a child breastfeeds, the lower their risk of developing childhood obesity. When examined at one year of age, breastfed infants consistently had significantly lower levels of fat than did their formula-fed peers. According to La Leche League International, kindergarten aged children who were never breastfed had obesity rates at nearly 5%. In children of the same age who were breastfed for longer than 12 months, their obesity rates were less than 1%. 


Okay, yes, breastfeeding does have its perks for the parents. While, at this age, many parents have to pack lunches and meals for a day out with their toddlers, breastfeeding mothers just have to take their boobs. As little A eats more and more, I have started taking along a few snacks, but the majority of the time he's content with eating from me. 

Protects Teeth

Wait, what?!
I know, but it's true. Many breastfeeding mothers are told to stop when their baby starts getting teeth because the milk will sit on them and cause cavities. Children's teeth (or milk teeth) are very fragile, and an untreated cavity can quickly and easy rip through one. It was recently discovered that breastmilk actually contains a component, lactoferrin, which kills the strep mutans bacteria. This bacteria was also found to be the leading cause of tooth decay in children. 

Ear Protection

Ear infections are terrible, awful things for a child to go through. And parents definitely understand the struggle. Many infants and toddlers have several ear infections early in life because they often follow after illness. According to Dr. Sears, breastfeeding can help protect those delicate little ears. 

While I understand that breastfeeding is not for everyone, it is well documented that it is highly beneficial for toddlers. And, I would appreciate not being made to feel like a sexual predator when I am feeding my child. 

Until next time, 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Fight those Boogies #NeilMed #MomsMeet

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Moms Meet, May Media Group LLC, and NeilMed Pharmaceuticals.  I received this product free to review and giveaway.  All opinions are my own. 

Baby boogers.
The bane of my existence.
Okay, maybe I'm over exaggerating a bit, but my snotty guy and I both HATE baby boogers. Not only are they annoying, frustrating, and gross. But, getting them out is even worse.

Because babies are unable to blow their own noses, it's up to us to get their nasal passageways breathable again. And, the nose bulb they give you at the hospital is NOT the way to go.
For my son, it caused nosebleeds-bad, terrifying nosebleeds. So, you can imagine my excitement when I was contacted by Moms Meet to review the new NeilMed Naspira for babies and kids.

For my family, NeilMed is best known for their NetiPot. Not only was big A born with a deviated septum, but he has horrific allergies, so frequent irrigation of his sinuses is necessary. My favorite thing about NeilMed is that they give you the opportunity to prevent an allergy attack or a sinus infection naturally, with nothing but water, rather than loading you down with drugs. 

So, when my box arrived bright and early at my front door, I couldn't open it quickly enough. 
I was so excited to find a 4 Naspiras, one for little A, and 3 to give away. As I started examining the product, my excitement grew. The uniqueness of the Naspira immediately caught my attention. Unlike any nasal aspirator I've ever seen, the Naspira has a 2-in-1 design, giving you the option to use it as a bulb aspirator, or one with nasal-oral suction. 

The replaceable plastic and foam filter between the bulb and your mouth (not to mention the long tubing) make it literally impossible for any nose contents to get into your mouth. In my few weeks of using this product, I've never even sucked anything into the bulb (it all has just stayed in the tip), much less, my mouth. 

Not long after I received my package, and right on queue, little A had a stuffy nose. Between allergies and teething, he's been a snotty mess lately. Being that he was already on edge, and a little fussy, I decided to give the bulb suction a try first. With our past experiences with cleaning his nose out, you can imagine little A's protest when I tried to clean his nose. To put it lightly, he was less than thrilled. 

But, after two tries-and ZERO pain or blood-I'd created a believer. 
And, if he was a believer, then so was I!

One of my immediate loves of this product was the transparent design. As many of you, I'm sure, I've come across those horror stories showing the disgusting and toxic mold that grows inside of the typical suction bulbs. This design makes it easy to see any nasties that may be inside of your Naspira. 

I finally got the chance to give the nasal-oral suction a try. My initial squeamish tummy quickly passed when I realized just how impossible it is for anything to get to your mouth. Little A's reaction to the suction bulb was definitely relieving. 

But his reaction to the oral aspirator was downright hilarious. I mean, you'd think he was at a relaxing spa or something!

My anxieties circled around cleaning out my son's nose have completely vanished, thanks to this little guy. With it's gentle nature, kids are less likely to fight you. And, with a tip designed for the little noses of children, you don't have to worry about damaging their fragile passageways and causing bleeds. 

Enter below for a chance to win your very own NeilMed Naspira to use on the little noses in your life. 

Until next time, 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, May 20, 2016

The Sleep Dilemma

Last night, I wanted nothing more than to lay my extraordinarily heavy head on my pillow, and to drift off to dreamland. Unfortunately, my teething 13-month-old had other plans.
So, we sat awake together until well after 4 am.
Literally moments after little A finally fell asleep, I heard big A rustling through the sock drawer. It was already time for work.

I put some coffee on to brew, some for my mug and some for big A's thermos, and began assembling his lunch. The baby was awake by the time I saw him off to work, so I was extra thankful for the hot cup in my hand.

Within an hour though, little A was cranky enough for me to try to lay down in bed and nurse him to sleep. And it was a success! Desperate to stick to our schedule in the hopes that he'd sleep tonight, I forced myself and little man up at 9:30. It was time for another cup of coffee, as I counted down the hours until nap time.

And then nap time rolled around. And my exhausted little boy went down without a fight.
As I tip-toed out of the bedroom, I breathed a sigh of relief when he stayed asleep. Finally. I could finally get some sleep.
I got myself cozy on the couch, and decided to wind down by catching up on a little Grey's Anatomy (HUGE fan!). But, during the episode, I started thinking about how I really wanted to try a new recipe I'd been eyeing. Then I started wondering how long it'd been since I'd written a blog post. Nearly a week. I thought to myself.

I glanced at the clock, excited in knowing that little A would probably sleep for another hour or more. And I did what any mom, desperate for a little alone time, would do.

I put another pot of coffee on to brew.

Until next time,

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Deliciously Vegan Carrot Dogs

I am always on the lookout for a good recipe.
It's funny, really, because my love of cooking didn't start until I started eating healthy. Not only did my taste buds change, but I was actually able to taste food. I began learning  what different spices, herbs, and veggies taste like, and how they compliment each other.

Anyway, I'm rambling.
So, I love scouring different blogs for new and exciting things to cook! When I heard about the carrot dog, I was so intrigued I had to try it.

Now, I know. You're probably thinking 'Carrot dog?! What in the world?!?!?!?' I know, because that's what I thought the first time I came across the concept. But, think about this like zoodles (zucchini noodles). Not quite as good as the real thing, but pretty darn close-and a great way to sneak in veggies!

So, to end my chatter, here's the recipe I used!

4 large carrots
1/2 c. apple cider vinegar
1/4 c. coconut aminos (or soy sauce)
3 tsp liquid smoke
2 tsp dijon mustard
3 tsp minced garlic
1/2 minced onion
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp paprika

So you want to start by boiling your carrots. Boil until soft, but not mushy, because these will be marinating. I boiled mine for about 7 minutes. 

While the carrots are boiling, go ahead and pour everything else into a gallon-sized Zip Loc bag. Once the carrots are soft, and cooled, toss them into the bag, remove any excess air, and seal. 

Throw it into the fridge overnight or, at minimum, for 3-4 hours. 

About 5-10 minutes before you're ready to eat, go ahead and pull these delicious babies out of the fridge. Put the carrots and a little of the marinade onto a hot grill or frying pan. 
Cook for 2-3 minutes on on both sides. 
We put ours on a corn tortilla with sauerkraut and mustard!

Little A absolutely devoured them!

The liquid smoke definitely aids in giving it the true grilled flavor, but it does add a little spice. 

Hope you enjoy these as much as we did!

Until next time, 

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking SundayR is for Hoppit

Sunday, May 8, 2016

When Mother's Day Hurts

I have been estranged from my mother for over a year now through my own decisions. It's a choice I don't regret 364 days of the year. But, today, sadness and guilt overwhelm me. Today, I'm reminded of everything my mother wasn't. Today, my heart physically aches at the thought of my son-years into the future-removing all contact from me like I have with my own mom. Today, in North America, we celebrate the day of mothers.

A day when we celebrate the kind, nurturing nature of moms. When we're encouraged to call up our own mother and thank her for the wonderful job she did. It's a day we appreciate the compassionate, soft, and loving touch only a mom could give. A day we all stand, unified, thankful for the benevolence, loyalty, and unconditional love of a woman who pushed a child through her own body. It's a day we spend in celebration, reminded of how incredible, and utterly selfless our own mother is and was.

That is...unless, she wasn't.

My Facebook is swarmed with beautiful photos of moms and their kids. It's clogged with long, heartfelt letters to moms, thanking them for being so absolutely wonderful. The stores are flooded with people buying roses, cards, and chocolates for the woman in their life who helped shape them into who they are.

And I'm left, just sort of standing there. My heart heavy, and my cheeks wet.
Once again, I am reminded of my own mother's shortcomings.
Once again, the memories of loneliness, fear, and neglect flood my mind.
And, once again, my heart grows heavy with jealousy at what I should have had.

The reminders that "you only have one mom" come as a relief. There's no way you'd want two.
The urges to "forgive and forget" are just another stab as you wonder how you could ever forget.

Mother's Day is tough when you have no mom.
It's hard when it wasn't death that stole her away, but mental illness and addiction-when her own demons from her past were so strong that they followed you into your future.

It's kind of difficult to join in on the mother praising and celebration when, by your own choice, your mother has been removed from your life. When there are nights you sit awake, paralyzed by fear, because you don't want to make your own child feel the way you did, even for a second. When you try so hard not to be like her that the terror overwhelms you.
When you promise yourself that your children will never feel the deep loneliness that pricks at your heart on this day of celebration.

To those who suffer on this day: you are not alone.

Celebrate the women in your life who have inspired you to be better. The women who show you what a true mother's love looks like. I celebrate my own mother-in-law who has taught me that love alone can grow a child into a strong, independent, wonderful father.

But more than that, today, celebrate you.
Celebrate the mother of your children, the mother who would go to the ends of the Earth to make her child smile. Celebrate your strength. Celebrate the love you gave yourself on the nights it was coldest, and everything you were for yourself. You, who became your own hero, your own protector, and your own source of comfort. Yeah, the sting never really goes away, but you learned to do it for yourself.

Today, I remind myself that I made the right decision. That, for my own protection of myself, my family, and my child, I did what was right. The choice to estrange myself from my mother was not one that was done easily or taken lightly, and it's a decision that, even today, I do not regret.

Until next time,

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday


Saturday, May 7, 2016

Grow Your Own Food Day 43

So, it's been a little while since my last update, and boy have these babies grown!

Each net pot is now overflowing with roots, all racing towards the water. Most of the plants need at least one gallon of water added between nutrient changes, because they're drinking so much!

The jalapeno is probably my slowest growing plant, still not having any roots in the water. As small as this guy is though, it drinks like a champ! Usually requiring 2 gallons between nutrient changes!

Then we have the spinach which is also coming along nicely. You can totally tell these are spinach leaves, which I just think is cool!

The color on my pepper plant blows me away! It's such a deep and shiny green-absolutely gorgeous.

Finally, we have the bin which contains lettuce, two cilantro, and a kale plant. As you can see, they are all coming along nicely.

With this award-winning lettuce completely taking over everything!

I suffered my first blow of this grow with my two tomato plants. The soil ended up bringing in gnats which DESTROYED both plants. 
I tried to save them with Hydroguard to protect their roots, and an organic gnat treatment, but it just wasn't enough. 

These are the roots of my healthy pepper plant. See how they're thick, white, and strong?

My tomato roots were slowly attacked by gnats until they literally started dwindling away. 

Fortunately, I have two new tomato seedlings ready for planting, so hopefully round 2 will be a little better. 

Until next time,