Packing the Hospital Bag!

 

Hospital Bag

Packing the hospital bag.

I’d say this task was even more daunting than packing the diaper bag after the kiddo had arrived earth-side, and now, we’re going to be doing it all over again! I had no idea what my experience was going to be like, what things I’d need the most, what would comfort me the most, and add in “end of pregnancy” hormones… yikes.

Once we got to the hospital, I didn’t even use a ¼ of the things I had packed. When people tell you to only pack the essentials, they’re right. But, what ARE the essentials?! Obviously, the essentials are different for every person, but, I’d like to think that us mamas can agree on some things :)

So, if you are seriously stressing about what to toss in your hospital bag before that buddle of joy (or bundles of joy!) arrive, read on!

Plus,  I’ll be adding a list of top suggestions that all of you wonderful mamas submitted to me!

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Top Essentials from Mamas Like You!

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5 Simple Eco-Friendly Stain Removers

Image courtesy of Canva
Image courtesy of Canva

Stains. As parents, stains are part of every day. Even if you aren’t a parent, I can guarantee you’ve ruined a shirt here and there and buried it deep in your closet because you couldn’t figure out how to get a spot out! Our guest blogger from HireHouseCleaners Kensington, explains some of the best eco-friendly stain removers below. I bet you’ll find one that you didn’t even think of before!


 

You are probably well acquainted with all those unpleasant and stubborn stains that cannot be removed from surfaces at home. It is true that nowadays there are a lot of strong detergents that promise to remove all spots, no matter of their origin. In spite of their innumerable benefits, commercial stain removers are often more toxic than you can imagine.

Another alternative that has recently become very popular is to use eco stain removers. They are a cost-effective decision and are easily applied on a wide range of surfaces.

In case you have still not explored all the advantages of non-toxic stain removers, read below to find out some valuable tips!
You do not need to be an expert to remove nasty stains – as long as you are acquainted with the right instructions and with the best eco friendly stain removers, you’ll get rid of those stains in no time!

Do not feel panicked when you observe a stain on the surfaces- the most important thing is to treat it right away, because, if you wait for a longer time, you do not stand a very good chance to remove the stain.

Image courtesy of Flickr
Image courtesy of Flickr

Here are several effective eco stain removers:

Baking Soda

Baking soda has proven its efficiency for removing stains from almost every origin. It is especially suitable for cleaning biological stains like vomit and urine, and, baking soda effectively neutralizes the unpleasant odors. One effective recipe is to mix baking soda with water and to rub the stain with the paste that you have made. If it is a really nasty stain, you may need to alternate with vinegar.

White Vinegar
White vinegar always tends to be an excellent decision when it comes to eco-friendly stain removers. It is particularly suitable when you treat plant-based and dye-like stains as well as stains from coffee and tea. You can also apply it for stains caused by mildew and mold. It is inexpensive and it is also easily found in the nearest stores. The acetic acid in the vinegar makes it one of the best homemade stain removers.

Enzymes

You have probably not tried the amazing properties of enzymes but I assure you that they are great when it comes to breaking down substances like carbohydrates and proteins. This means that they can be ideally applied on a wide range of food stains. Of course, you may also search for laundry detergents with enzymes, but it is always better to spray the stain with a cleaner solution that contains enzymes such as ones from HireHouseCleaners Kensington.

Oxygen Bleach
What differs between oxygen bleach and the extra toxic chlorine bleach is that it consists of natural soda crystals and hydrogen peroxide. When it is mixed with water, the oxygen bleach releases and works perfectly for the removing of a wide range of stains. It is usually found in a dry powder-like form or crystals.

Rubbing Alcohol
This is another eco-friendly stain remover that is able to dissolve stains from ink and other similar substances. Instead of turning to commercial products, feel free to apply it and enjoy the incredible results. The ink stain will quickly disappear and your carpets and surfaces will become cleaner.

These are several eco-friendly stain removers that will help you to get rid of stains in an easy way. Instead of spending a lot of money on commercial cleaning products that are often harmful for your health, do not hesitate to try these natural cleaners. Stains on clothing, carpets, tablecloths, and more will easily disappear thanks to these magical stain removers.

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Are You Back to “Normal” Yet?

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I don’t focus too much on super serious posts. This is mainly because I like keeping my blog fun, happy, and light. However, as a mom, birth and postpartum is something I feel very strongly about and I feel like moms need more advocates for their births and postpartum healing.

Specifically? Postpartum depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders. 

It’s a real thing and it affects more women than you think. “According to the Centers for Disease Control, 11 to 20% of women who give birth each year have postpartum depression symptoms. If you settled on an average of 15% of four million live births in the US annually, this would mean approximately 600,000 women get PPD each year in the United States alone.” I can guarantee that you personally know someone who suffers from some postpartum ‘thing’, and you probably don’t even realize it. The month of May is dedicated to Mental Health Awareness which also includes Maternal Depression/Mental Health. However, it doesn’t just happen in May and we need awareness ALL the time. There is a terrible stigma attached to mental health issues, which in turn, discourages an alarming number of mamas to seek help. “Only 15% of women with postpartum depression ever receive professional treatment.” 

Now, when I was pregnant, I never thought twice about PPD stories or statistics. And that’s the thing, you never think it will be YOU. But guess what? It very easily could be you and it is HARD. 

As a new mom, I already felt overwhelmed, but, I loved the time right after our daughter was born. Then, as 8/9 months postpartum approached, I just wasn’t feeling the same. I still loved being a mom and our daughter is literally the light of my life and my heart wants to burst with the amount of love I have for her (even when she’s being a grouch!), but, there were things that were changing. PPD, Anxiety, and Mood Disorders vary for every person they affect. Below, check out my Top 5 Most Frustrating Things About PPD.


 

 

The Top 5 Most Frustrating Things About PPD

1.) Anxiety– Anxiety attacks are SCARY, especially when they come out of nowhere and you’ve never dealt with them before. I always felt like an idiot for getting so “worked up” over things- things that others would find silly, pointless, no big deal. But, to me, those things sometimes overwhelmed me and I literally could not control it. My poor husband felt helpless, but, whenever an attack hit, he stayed calm and prayed. He told me that every time he began to pray, my anxiety attack would slow and I would calm down. I had NO idea about his praying until he mentioned it one day after an anxiety attack. So, for us, the power of prayer helped and it meant a lot to me that my husband did that.

2.) Feeling Like a Drama Queen– after my PPD and anxiety started setting in, it seemed like the silliest of things could push my emotions off the deep end. I’ve always been a sensitive person, but, this took the cake. I would get upset so fast, when before, the thing I was mad about wouldn’t have even phased me! I felt like everyone just saw me as over-dramatic and ridiculous because they just couldn’t understand. I always felt like I complain too much and that I’m a “Debbie Downer” who can’t just be happy and see the positive all the time. 

3.) Feeling Like a Failure– I know I am a great mom. My family knows I am a great mom. Even though I know this deep down, I still felt like a failure for so many reasons. I didn’t understand why I got upset over random things or why some days my patience was non-existent. I felt like a failure when I couldn’t get my daughter down for a nap or when she wouldn’t stop crying. Those things are SO common for moms, yet, I felt like I was the only one who had this “difficult” child. My sense of reality felt so skewed some days.

4.) Feeling Damaged– This is a BIG one. I still struggle with this daily. Motherhood is tough, especially as a first-time mom. The majority of us struggle with something whether we admit it or not. With PPD/Anxiety, I felt like I did something wrong along the way. I didn’t feel like I was capable of doing things or that other people did those things better than I did. The biggest factor in this is when people say things like “oh, calm down, it’s no big deal”, “if you did this, or this, or this, you’d feel better”, or “stop being so sensitive”. I already felt like I wasn’t normal, and then, feeling like I was damaged because of how I felt made me feel even worse. I always felt like I needed to put on a happy face because people just wouldn’t truly understand how I felt. I felt like I needed to be “fixed” and I still feel this way some days.

5.) The Hit To Your Self-Esteem– motherhood is exhausting for EVERYONE at some point or another. You barely have time to shower, put on make-up, etc. I expected that part of my life to take a hit as a mom because I was no longer my priority- my daughter was! However, with PPD, the exhaustion is different. It’s mental, emotional, physical. You no longer have the desire to be your best, because, you don’t feel your best. At all. You feel like a failure because you can’t balance life as a mom, spouse, partner, friend, daughter, whatever. When your brain is going non-stop, when can you find time to do anything “extra”? You don’t feel good enough so why bother pampering yourself? 

These feelings are so common with moms struggling with PPD and other mood disorders. Finding support and resources makes a world of difference. If you aren’t ready to seek professional help like counseling, make sure you find support in other ways like online PPD groups and friends who are experiencing or have experienced the same things (I bet you have at least one!). You can also check out some of the resources below also. 

I think many people who are not familiar with PPD feel like it’s a quick fix and wonder why we aren’t “back to ‘normal’ yet.” Besides, what IS normal after you become a parent!?

Just remember, you’re not the only one and it does get better with time. Don’t expect a quick fix- it’s a work in progress, but, a beautiful one because you are a mother who sustained life inside for 9 months. You are a wonderful mother whether you believe it or not. You will get through this! 

Basic Information About PPD, Anxiety, & Other Postpartum Mood Disorders
Postpartum Progress

Postpartum Depression Statistics

The Symptoms of Postpartum Depression & Anxiety

The 6 Stages of Postpartum Depression

Help & Tools

Six Things You Should Avoid If You Have PPD

6 Tools To Help You Feel Supported & Understood

New Mom Checklist for Maternal Health

Support, Events, & Health Resources

Climb Out of the Darkness 

Postpartum Depression Treatment Programs & Specialists

Postpartum Depression Support Groups in the U.S. & Canada

Have you struggled or are you struggling with PPD? What is the most frustrating thing for you?

 

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Tasty Fall Recipes

 

FAIRY

As the chilly weather begins to set in, I’m always in the mood for warm and comforting dishes! There’s something about dishes like chili, soups, roasts, and casseroles that just make me happy when the temperatures drop! My crockpot becomes more prevalent in the fall, too!

We’ve had an unusually hot summer in Colorado this year and we’re still in the mid-70’s to low 80’s these past couple weeks. As much as I love the warmer weather, I’m ready for some cooler temps! This also means that I am in search of cold-weather friendly recipes :)

Check out some of these recipes that have become our new favorites lately!


 

Southwestern Chicken Chili
Super quick and delicious crockpot meal for a chilly fall night!
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Ingredients
  1. 1½ lbs boneless chicken breast
  2. 3 cans petite diced tomatoes (14.5 oz each)
  3. 2 cups medium salsa
  4. 1 (14.5 oz) can corn, undrained
  5. 2 (14.5 oz) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  6. 1 pkg ranch seasoning
  7. 1 pkg taco seasoning
  8. Toppings - cheese, sour cream, tortilla strips ect
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in crock-pot and cook on low 4-5 hours.
  2. Remove chicken from crock pot and shred.
  3. Place chicken back in crock pot and stir.
  4. Serve with desired toppings.
Notes
  1. Makes enough for leftovers too! :)
Adapted from Mommy's Fabulous Finds
http://crunchyontheweekend.com/
One Dish Chicken & Rice Bake
Serves 4
Quick and easy without tons of clean-up! Mama win!
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 1 can (10 1/2 ounces) Campbell’s® Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup
  2. 1 cup water
  3. 3/4 cup uncooked long grain white rice
  4. 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  5. 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  6. 1 1/4 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
Instructions
  1. Stir the soup, water, rice, paprika and black pepper in an 11x8x2-inch baking dish.
  2. Top with the chicken.
  3. Season with additional paprika and black pepper.
  4. Cover the baking dish.
  5. Bake at 375°F. for 45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the rice is tender.
  6. Let stand for 10 minutes.
  7. Stir the rice before serving.
Adapted from Campbell's
Adapted from Campbell's
http://crunchyontheweekend.com/
Crock Pot Easy Pot Roast
Serves 8
"Moist and juicy pot roast done in a slow cooker with carrots, onion and potatoes."
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Prep Time
40 min
Cook Time
9 hr
Total Time
9 hr 40 min
Prep Time
40 min
Cook Time
9 hr
Total Time
9 hr 40 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 lbs chuck roast
  2. salt and pepper to taste
  3. 1 packet dry onion soup mix
  4. 1 cup water
  5. 3 carrots, chopped
  6. 1 onion, chopped
  7. 3 potatoes, peeled and cubed
  8. 1 stalk celery, chopped
Instructions
  1. Season the roast with salt and pepper to taste. Brown on all sides in a large skillet over high heat, about 4 minutes per side.
  2. Place the roast in the slow cooker and add the soup mix, water, carrots, onion, potatoes, and celery.
  3. Cover and cook on Low setting for 8 to 10 hours.
Notes
  1. I always add additional seasoning to my pot roast- nothing specific and it's usually different each time. Whatever pairs well with each other is my go-to! Also, I RARELY measure seasonings.
Adapted from All Recipes
Adapted from All Recipes
http://crunchyontheweekend.com/
 

Stuffed Peppers
Serves 6
Super tasty and easy recipe for those busy nights!
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Total Time
55 min
Total Time
55 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 lb lean chopped turkey meat or ground beef
  2. 1 garlic, minced
  3. 1/4 onion, minced
  4. 1 tsp garlic powder
  5. 1 tsp cumin powder
  6. salt to taste
  7. 3 large sweet red bell peppers, washed
  8. 1 cup fat free chicken broth
  9. 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  10. 1 1/2 cups cooked rice
  11. Olive oil spray
  12. 1/4 cup reduced fat shredded cheese (cheddar or mozzarella are my favorites!)
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 400°.
  2. Spray a little olive oil spray in a medium size saute pan and heat on a medium flame.
  3. Add onion, garlic and cilantro to the pan. Saute about 2 minutes and add ground turkey.
  4. Season with salt and garlic powder, and cumin and brown meat for several minutes until meat is completely cooked through.
  5. Add 1/4 cup of tomato sauce and 1/2 cup of chicken broth, mix well and simmer on low for about 5 minutes. Combine cooked rice and meat together.
  6. Cut the bell peppers in half lengthwise, and remove all seeds. Place in a baking dish.
  7. Spoon the meat mixture into each pepper half and fill it with as much as you can.
  8. Place all stuffed pepper halves on the baking dish and pour the remainder of the chicken broth on the bottom of the pan.
  9. Cover tight with aluminum foil and bake for about 35 minutes.
  10. Top with shredded cheese and enjoy!
Notes
  1. We typically eat 2 halves each so this only feeds 3 people when we make it.
  2. Also, we double the meat mixture each time so we can freeze half of it for a later date!
Adapted from Skinny Taste
Adapted from Skinny Taste
http://crunchyontheweekend.com/

 What are some of your favorite cold-weather recipes? 

Other articles you may enjoy:

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Our Favorite Snack & Dip Combos

Simple Breakfast Recipes

 

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“Renovation on the Cheap” Series- Post #3

We have been BUSY BEES, everyone. Some days, it seems we are TOO busy. Ha, typical right? I don’t think we ever have enough time in the day to do everything we want and need to do!

oh-you-want-to-remodel-the-house-great-i-have-it-all-designed-on-pinterest-already-8f038

My husband ran into some car trouble and was without his car for a little over a week and a half. He was taking my car to work so I was home and getting stir crazy with our little one! Tonight, he FINALLY got the problem fixed and we are back to having two running cars- WOO HOO!

The car was definitely interfering with our renovation progress. However, we are truckin’ along on the downstairs and making some great progress! This week, my dad and husband picked up the drywall and insulation and unloaded it. My dad finished up some wiring, plumbing work, and insulation on Saturday while my husband battled his car all morning and afternoon. Today, my husband took a break and the drywall hanging started this morning! The guys made some great progress while my mama played maid and cleaned up drywall dust after them :) If you don’t have a shop vac for your home reno projects, GET ONE. Rent one. Borrow one. Buy one. You won’t regret it.

We’ll be working on the drywall the rest of the week and we’re hoping to be done with that step by this weekend. Then comes taping, plastering, texturing, and painting! Ahhh…painting, the funnest thing of all…*enter sarcasm*. :)

We’ve also got a lot of painting to do in the rest of the house (touch-ups, painting another layer in the bathroom upstairs, etc.). We’re enlisting the expert painting skills of my Gram during that phase! Thanks, Gram!

If you want to check out the photos so far, see the slideshow below! I’ve been trying REALLY hard to keep up with the photo taking, but, some days our insanely busy toddler distracts me from my photo taking duties.

Keep checking back for more updates and photos! We’re so excited that you’re following our journey!

 

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