Thursday, December 13, 2012

Great Gifts for the Breastfeeding Mother

Teething Bling
Product Details

Teething bling is a breastfeeding necklace for teething babies - I discovered this item far too late into my breastfeeding relationship! They come in a number of colors to match any outfit. They are fairly inexpensive at around $20 apiece, and this company also sells bangles to match! You can redirect your baby's biting to this conveniently located necklace. Fantastic!

Google Nexus 7 Tablet PC

This item was a recent gift to me from my husband, it is a 7 inch tablet PC. It is fantastic! It is fast, can run multiple applications at once, and has the Droid market - lots of apps and even many free ones. There are two types available - 8gb at $200 and the 16gb one at $250! Sometimes it is nice to get a break and just sit quietly with the baby during nursing sessions; other times it can be quite boring and a gadget like this can pass the time.

Boppy Breastfeeding Pillow
Product Details

While there are other brands of breastfeeding support pillows, my only experience is with this one. I loved it! When Nathan was first born I was so concerned with propping him at the correct height while keeping him comfortable, and this pillow was a great support for my arms to allow me to do so! These also come in a variety of colors and designs. However, as a gift for a breastfeeding mother, they only need one and mostly in the first few weeks or months after birth.


There are a number of nursing tank tops/bras/shirts/pads/more that are quite useful to a breastfeeding mother, but buying clothing can be tricky - especially for some one whose belly and chest went through quite an ordeal during pregnancy and continue to change throughout the breastfeeding relationship. So, you may want to avoid this.

What do you think? What are some gifts that you breastfeeding mamas could use?

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Oh the Noise, Noise, Noise, Noise!

Lately Nathan has rediscovered his voice. He screams, a lot. He hollers out of excitement, yells in frustration, and hoots when he's upset. I've heard that it is just a phase. I've been ignoring it. I've tried reminding him that we use our inside voices unless we are outside. No change. It has been weeks, perhaps even months, since he began this. If anything, he does this more now.

I am starting to realize he might just be a loud kid. He isn't constantly screaming, or anything similar to that. However, I probably hear him cry out around three times in a given day.

Oh well, for now we have no neighbors directly near us to get annoyed, so I will just continue to not react to his yelling. As he gets older he will learn appropriate times to be loud, and when it is best to be quiet.

Such a goof.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Joys and Gifts of Breastfeeding

 Keeping up with the season of giving and being thankful, I have been thinking about the numerous gifts that breastfeeding my son has awarded me. Of course, there is a large range of blessings that can come from such a natural, loving activity - a full spectrum of gifts bestowed upon me by my little one. If you have breastfed a child, perhaps you can relate.

Going through hectic days, especially those first few weeks, I really appreciated how easily I could lull my baby boy to sleep while nursing him. This has continued to help me all these months later. I have gotten him to sleep using other methods, but still nothing is quite as easy as nursing my boy to sleep. This goes hand in hand with another gift: peace and quiet. 

Babies cry. They must, they have too few means of communicating their needs. However, while I'm nursing Nathan, whether it's 3am or 3pm, I get a short period of silence. A moment to just stop and take a breath. Peace and quiet has been highly underappreciated by me in the past, but no more. 

I have a bit of social anxiety and sometimes parties can get to be overwhelming after a while. Breastfeeding Nathan has given me an excuse to duck away and recollect myself while also feeding the little guy. 

There are of course smaller gifts that breastfeeding has awarded me: Larger breasts (to help camouflage the belly I'm still sporting) is one such small gift. Another, is that I have had fewer dishes to wash (bottles and such) and we have saved money by not buying formula. 

However, the best gift I continually receive from nursing my little boy is the closeness and bonding I feel every day. The little glances and smiles, the comfort and familiarity; everything about it really. I love breastfeeding my son.

Friday, November 30, 2012

KETO: Keeping the Variety in the Ketogenic Diet

The main struggle I have faced while on a low-carb/keto diet is getting sick of the foods. On low-carb diets you end up having to home-make the majority of the foods you consume. This can take some getting used to and before then it is easy to fall into lazy habits. My lazy habit was making the same recipes I'd already enjoyed over again. No matter how much you love a recipe, you will eventually get sick of it. The one way to combat this is to keep trying new things.

The main food items I consumed, especially initially were meat, eggs, cheese, nuts, heavy cream and some vegetables. I focused too much on the same recipes and got burnt out. Something easy to spice up your go-to meal (on lazy days or whenever) is just that - spice! The difference some Sriracha has made in our menu is fantastic. Onion powder, garlic salt, cayenne pepper, ground red pepper flakes; there are so many spices out there to fit any meal type.

New recipes are all over the place. A quick search on Google will lead the way to numerous keto recipes. I prefer sites that give users the capability of rating recipes, that way if one sucks I am less likely to waste time/money on trying it out. Trying finding people living the low carb life who keep blogs. A couple of my favorite Low carb or keto blogs are:

I Breathe... I'm Hungry...


Your Lighter Side

Highly recommended, I've found a bunch of great recipes at these blogs. Another good source for recipes and recommendations is forums. I frequent and to get ideas, and go from there.

Once you have a feel for what types of ingredients you can substitute in order to make something low carb, you can really take off and try out new concoctions of your own!

Whatever you do, if you want to avoid the pitfall I suffered, find a way to change what you are eating from day to day. Try new things constantly, and adjust your meal plan to keep it interesting.

Aloha Friday 11/30/12

Wow, another month gone and we are about to enter December!

The little guy and myself have caught some type of cold and it is really affecting his sleep. By which I mean, neither one of us is sleeping. Yesterday his nap was delayed by 4 HOURS because I tried for 2 hours to get him down (and came so close numerous times) and then finally gave up for a bit. He slept for a good amount of time, and I figured bed time would be late. Nope! 3 hours after waking from the nap and he was ready for bed, right on time. Poor little sleepyhead.

Well, anyhow. It is another fantastic Aloha Friday and you know what that means!

This week's question is:
  Does your parenting style change when you/your child are sick?  

As for myself, I stick to the majority of the same things but I tend to be a bit less active in them. Things like household work tend to fall a bit behind, and Nathan ends up fetching a lot more items for me. Once he gets older I'm sure I'll be making more compromises.

How about you guys?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Kabuki and Ludo!

It seems that Kabuks has accepted his new little buddy Ludo into our household! So cute to see big ol' Kabuki cuddling up with the tiny Ludo. I take too many pictures. 

And of course every time I have the camera I must be taking pictures of Nathan! Love it.

If you'd like to see more pictures/be updated when I post something new, check us out on Facebook!

KETO: Meatballs and Coffee Cake

My husband and I weighed ourselves after Thanksgiving and decided we needed an emergency keto week! We will be planning longer bouts in ketosis for the near future, but right now we are needing to trim the food budget and spend it on Christmas preparations instead! So, quick little bursts to help maintain our weight.

Here are a couple of the recipes I've enjoyed this week.

Low-Carb Meatball Nirvana
(original recipe here)

I came upon the original recipe while off the low-carb lifestyle and loved it! So I had to make some substitutions so that I could continue to make these, on or off keto!

2 steps to adjust the recipe:
Sub in almond milk or half and half for the milk (or don't - it's ~13 carbs divided into 20 meatballs)
Sub in one egg instead of bread crumbs

I tend to add a lot of sriracha to this recipe, but I am addicted to the stuff.

Low Carb Coffee Cake
(link here)

Just made this tonight and enjoyed it quite a bit! It smelled amazing and was very easy to make as well. I might sub in a different sweetener for Splenda (maybe Stevia) but other than that it was a great low carb version of a treat.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Shortly after Kai's passing, Kabuki began being extra needy and loving. He would constantly seek us out, following us from room to room. I knew he just needed more love and affection.

Over time he started going in the opposite direction. He eventually spent more time away from us than around us - and it had never been that way before. He was getting lonely. It broke my heart when I took notice and made a point of keeping track of him. It was time to find him another companion.

Obviously we could never replace Kai - nor would we want to. Our only hope was that a new kitty could be friends with Kabuki. They could play around and keep each other company when we are out of the house. Normal stuff.

So I kicked up my kitten search. I went to Craigslist, which I generally avoid since there is no accountability. Literally any one can post anything and try to scam you. I found a cute little kitten and we went and picked him up on Saturday.

He has cute little mewls that sound exactly like Kabuki when he was that little. He starts purring almost immediately - just like Kai and quite a bit like Kabuki as well. Since he's a kitten still he loves to play, all the time. So adorable!

His name is Ludo.

Kabuki has been a bit shy around him, but they actually cuddled today! For 2 minutes, but still counts! Generally, Ludo tries to play with Kabuki, who plays back a little bit but then runs away. They are hilarious. Kabuki is pretty much back to normal! Once he is used to Ludo I'm confident he will be completely normal again.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Aloha Friday 11/16/12

Happy Aloha Friday once more!

Since Thanksgiving is coming up on us rather quickly, this week I want to know what your favorite Thanksgiving dish is! It can be traditional or not-so-traditional. If you have a link to your favorite recipe, feel free to share that as well!

What is your favorite Thanksgiving food/recipe?

Mine has got to be something sweet - every year I look forward to pecan pie! The many variations of it, I love it all. I haven't made one myself just yet, but I might try to sometime in the near future. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Breastfeeding During the Holiday Season

 It is that wonderful time of year again! I love the chill in the air, bundling up and getting cozy next to the fire. You cannot beat the delicious food that surrounds you. Watching holiday movies and getting to see the extended family all together. It is all just so cozy and fun.

 When it comes to breastfeeding, however, the holidays can present some challenges. The number of parties and larger groups of people hanging around can make it more difficult to breastfeed in peace. Additionally, sometimes being in a group setting can bring forth larger amounts of unsolicited advice at one time. Even the smaller details, like colder weather, can make it more difficult to breastfeed - more layers means it can be more difficult to be accessible for a nursing child.

 For me, I was always fairly self-conscious about my body; including my boobs. I didn't really want any one (related or not) to see me nurse Nathan. I had a nursing cover that I used each time, but Nathan hated to be covered up - even at 2 months old. So I would go hide out in a back room each time Nathan was hungry. Since I also was one of few in my family to breastfeed exclusively, I felt a little awkward doing something different. So I would go out of site. This worked out well for me because I could relax instead of constantly battling Nathan with the nursing cover. Since I was relaxed, Nathan wasn't so distracted and we could get down to business and be back out socializing in no time!

 Even if you are comfortable whipping out your boob and nursing in front of whomever, depending on the age of the baby they might get distracted from nursing in a social setting. I had this problem even at home, with my husband or kitty. Distractable baby couldn't nurse with any light or noise for at least a month around 4 months of age. Yikes. If your baby is like this, that's another point for hiding out in a quiet room!

 This year, Nathan will be 15 months old at Christmas. Since he is an older baby, I do not know my extended family's opinion about extended breastfeeding. It doesn't directly affect how I will care for my child, but I would like to avoid any type of drama with those I only get to see a couple times a year. The saving grace in this area is that most of his nutrition is coming from food these days anyway, so it may not even come up.

What are some challenges around the holidays that you have faced?

Saturday, November 10, 2012

KETO: Zucchini Lasagna and Pumpkin Ice Cream

Low Carb/Keto Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream

For the ice cream "recipe" I actually just bought some low carb ice cream (there are a couple of brands who make this) and added flavors.

Let 3/4 cup of ice cream soften
Add 1/4 cup pure pumpkin (canned)
Add cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg. For these, I just did a sprinkle of each. Be careful with cloves and ginger, as it can be easy to add too much of these strong flavors.
Stir well and eat as is or refreeze to the initial firmness!

Low Carb/Keto Zucchini Lasagna

2 small zucchinis
1 pound italian sausage
2.5 ounces shredded mozzarella
2/3 cup of cottage cheese
1/8 tsp of salt and pepper
1/4 cup parmesan
1/8 teaspoon garlic salt
1/3 cup tomato sauce

1-Preheat the oven to 400 degree Fahrenheit
2-Grease a quart-size baking dish - either a flat one or a taller one.
3-Slice the zucchini to about 1/8th of an inch
4-Place the zucchini in a single layer on a baking tray or oven-safe cooling rack and bake for about 5 minutes.
5-Brown the italian sausage
6-Flip the zucchini over and bake a few more minutes, until a light golden-brown.
7-While the zucchini is baking, mix together the cottage cheese, salt and pepper, garlic salt, and parmesan
8-Line the bottom only of the baking dish with zucchini.
9-a)If using a flat quart baking dish, spread all of the cottage cheese mixture over the zucchini
9-b)If using a taller dish, spread about half of the cottage cheese mixture over the zucchini
10-Layer the sausage on top of the cheese (like before, flat dish = all of it, tall dish = half
11-Spread (all or half of the) tomato sauce over the meat
12-Finish the layers, if using a tall dish
13-Sprinkle mozzarella over the top
14-a)Bake for about 30 minutes at 375, if using a flat dish
14-b)Bake for 35-40 minutes at 350, if using a tall dish

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Just In Case

Long ago, before I even gave birth to Nathan, I purchased a breast pump. I was super excited to use it, and the first few times I pumped it was actually fun and novel. (I also posted a review of this product)

After I gave birth to Nathan, I practiced using the pump. It was very easy and I was excited to begin using it full-time. After a short time, I began pumping and storing milk in the freezer.

Unfortunately, I was pretty uninformed at the time, and was pumping entirely too much. I had read so many posts and articles about increasing your supply, and I wanted to do so in order to freeze a bunch of milk. I nursed Nathan regularly, whenever he wanted, and would pump in between almost every nursing. The only exception being at night. It actually got up to my pumping 8 times in a day. Absolutely too much!

I wanted to store a huge amount of milk in the freezer 'just in case'. "How much breast milk might he go through in a month?" I actually calculated an estimate of that and was on my way toward storing that much milk. 

Something to do with the lack of sleep or just general ignorance made me overlook one simple fact: 

If I am returning to work, and pumping milk to replace what he would get while I'm not home, I only need to pump and store the amount needed for one day. 

After all, I was going to be pumping on my lunch breaks, which would refill the stash for when I'm gone. Every day. It was ridiculously simple. 

I ended up with a terrible oversupply. At the advice of some others, I slowly declined the number of pumping sessions each day. At that point, I was producing twice as much milk as Nathan needed in a day - if I had cut out all pumping sessions I would have suffered through aching, full breasts as my supply stabilized - and quite possibly could have gotten mastitis.

Well, it all worked out when I reduced down to the more-reasonable pumping one time a day. Doing this will slowly build a freezer stash without risking a huge change in your supply. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Coping with Pet Loss

Having lost a beloved companion of my own recently, I feel the need to share what has helped me get through the tough emotional times so far. As with many things, the range and magnitude of emotions one may experience will vary from person to person.

The first important thing to understand is that it is okay to feel your feelings. You will feel sadness and loss, but you might also feel anger, guilt, even initial shock and denial. You must allow yourself to go through the levels of grief in order to pass through and come out on the other side of it.

After Kai's passing, one of the first things I did (the next day) was take out some time and write out what I was feeling. This was, of course, after a great deal of crying and moping and not-sleeping. I wrote out everything I thought of in a long free-write block of text. I didn't write it to show anyone else, I just wrote it all out to get a visual representation of my emotions. This helped me a great deal. It also came in handy when I went to write my blog post - the organized and more memorial-style work regarding my kitty.

It also helped me to talk with others who have lost pets. Talking and relating to other people can help you feel like what you're experiencing is a normal range of emotion.

Going through the emotions is an important first step in moving forward through your grief. However, do not allow yourself to dwell for too long. Give yourself enough time - and I'm sorry to say I do not have a specific amount of time that is acceptable. That will vary.

Feel your feelings, get them out, and then keep yourself occupied. Try to make sure your downtime is limited in these first few days or weeks, as down time can lead toward over thinking. In my experience, any way. So keep yourself busy with friends and loved ones, house work, movies, whatever. If you think of your loved one, try to limit it to happy memories.

What has helped me immensely is throwing myself into my time with Nathan even more so than usual. I had been over-planning our meals and trips to the parks and all of the little things that happen each day. In addition, our remaining kitty Kabuki has needed extra love lately as well - cuddling with him has helped a lot.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Pumpkin - Cookies, Pancakes, and Brownies!

So this time around I am going to post a few regular old (non-keto) recipes! Jason and I are going for a quick 2-week stretch (possibly a little longer) right before Thanksgiving, but that doesn't start until Monday!

So, just tonight we made this:
Pumpkin White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Oh my gosh! So tasty! We were out of quick oats and just dropped that ingredient, and I added one extra egg for more cakiness. So good.

Pumpkin Pancakes
For these I just use a basic from-scratch pancake recipe, and sub in pumpkin instead of eggs! I think this is the recipe we usually use for regular pancakes -

I also add about a teaspoon of cinnamon, but I love cinnamon! A tasty cinnamon glaze on top is amazing -

Glaze Recipe
2 tbs butter
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups confectioner's sugar
2 tbs milk

Can you tell I'm on kind of a pumpkin kick? LOVE pumpkin! Well what goes better with pumpkin recipes than ONE MORE pumpkin recipe?!

Pumpkin Swirl Brownies
Similar to the pancake recipe, I basically just added pumpkiny goodness to a regular recipe! So find yourself an awesome brownie recipe - I like this one:

I used the pumpkin mixture from this recipe:
3 oz softened cream cheese
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 egg
3 tbs sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

On top of the brownie mixture in the pan, place spoonfuls of pumpkin mixture and swirl the remaining brownie mixture into it. Makes a cool design and tastes great!

Bake as usual for the recipe.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Fun Activities with a 13-Month-Old

As fortunate as I am to be able to spend all of this time with Nathan at home, I definitely need help keeping the little guy entertained. I have been trying to come up with various ways to keep the little guy entertained and hopefully help him learn to explore more on his own. Here are a few activities to keep a young toddler entertained.

Put in/Take Out
Around the one-year mark (or earlier) kids begin to take an interest in placing things inside a container and removing them from it again. Whether it be a random shoe box  a toy bin, or a cabinet; it can be great fun for a little one to practice putting stuff in and out of it. Another good thing about this is that it can evolve into teaching your children to clean up after themselves. Make a game out of tossing toys into the toy bin (or whatever) and encourage your toddler to do the same.

Toddler Cabinet
So I'm not the most creative activity/object namer. But basically, if you have a spare cabinet, you can fill it with toddler-friendly objects and allow your child to play around in it while you do other things. Sometimes this can help give you a chance to prepare a meal, if your cabinet is off to the side in the kitchen. Since toddlers go through stages of separation anxiety, keeping you nearby/in site can help them stay comfortable and mildly independent.

Mystery Basket
This is less of an activity and more of a surprise assortment of items your toddler may not always get to play with. It can range from various tupperware containers to mismatched socks to blocks. Anything that he or she can safely play with. The idea behind this is to give the child something they don't often interact with. This can give them a distraction for you to be able to get some work done or take a few minutes for yourself.

A Walk Around the Block
If your toddler has started walking then this can be a great time to help him practice on rougher terrain. It always keeps Nathan's attention to see the different surroundings, and I love that he holds my hand while we walk! Try not to be too ambitious the first few times - even a walk to the mail box and back can be a big adventure and take some time. If the little guy or girl isn't yet walking, or is tired, a walk with the stroller is also nice. This time of year with the leaves fluttering about will be the visual stimulus needed to provide for a nice distraction as well. I like to narrate what we see, even if Nathan seems more interested in trying to grab his toes from around the stroller tray.

Finger Painting
While you can buy non-toxic finger paints and do your best to prevent ingestion, if your child is like mine then every chance they get they will try to eat that stuff. So I recommend using jello, or pudding, or even jam to "finger paint" with. Anything colorful they can smear across their high chair tray. It could be even more fun and easier to clean up if you have finger painting time in the bath tub! Start them off already naked and you don't even need to worry about laundry!

Stack up and Knock Down
This game has so far been mostly me stacking up and Nathan knocking down - but it is still fun! Especially since I've begun to teach Nathan what "Wait" means and he will barely be able to hold back (but will still wait) while I try to race and stack the blocks up as high as they will go. He gets so excited to finally be able to knock them down. Hilarious!

Singing and Dancing
Who am I kidding? This isn't just for toddlers, this is for everyone.

Peek-a-boo/Hide and Seek
We've upgraded our old peek-a-boo game into more of a hide and seek thing. Nathan loves it! Never tires of it. Just go off and hide some where easy, and if they still can't find you just keep calling to them and peeking out. Once Nathan finds me I jump out and he squeals with excitement. That never gets old! I love it.

I know there are a bunch of other activities out there. What are some of your favorite ways to have fun with your little (or not so little) one?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Aloha Friday 10/26/12

I'm still missing my kitty Kai (here's the post) and could use some happy stories this week.

So my question is:

What is something you are excited for?

My husband and I have put our social life on hold quite a bit this past year, but we have had a number of fantastically happy days. Of course, love spending time together, seeing Nathan discover new things and grow up in front of me. Other than the obvious fact that I'm psyched to see the next thing that Nathan learns and to hear the next word he learns, I am especially excited for something else. This December, my husband and I are going to our first concert in over a year! The first real concert since before I got pregnant, which will have been over 2 years. We used to go to several concerts each year, so this is exciting and a first step in getting the "us" part of our family back again. Of course I wouldn't trade my new life for anything, but from time to time it's great to get back to your carefree moments temporarily.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Our Sweet Kitty Kai

Three and a half years ago, my then-boyfriend (now husband) and I adopted two amazing little kittens. We knew right away that they were the ones for us when they practically jumped into our arms upon meeting.

Kai (with Jason) when we first adopted him.

Kai was even more forceful with his love; he would literally knock his head against your chin until you petted him enough. He was the first lap kitty I have ever met. Sure, kitties will sometimes visit to be scratched behind the ears for a short time, but Kai would stay and cuddle up and fall asleep. At night he would come in and lay across my neck, like a little kitty scarf. If you so much as glanced at him, he would begin purring.

He loved his brother - they would often clean each other and fall asleep together.

Kai and Kabuki from a couple years ago.

Last August we learned that Kai had a rare and severe form of heart disease. Even though I knew he was dying, on some level I always thought he would make it through.

In the recent weeks he had stopped doing most things. He would barely eat, never played around, and mostly stayed in a quiet place away from everybody. He used to constantly jump up onto my lap when I was rocking Nathan to sleep, but that had stopped. Kabuki (his brother) started avoiding him for the most part. He had to be assist-fed for a while.

A couple days ago Kabuki started spending tons of time with Kai. I would always find them together. Kai suddenly had a huge appetite and was constantly drinking water. Kai was always seeking us out to visit. He would jump into our laps and just purr - full force rather than the weak half purring he had been doing. Last night he visited us at bedtime and laid across my neck like the old times - the first time in a very long time.

Kabuki keeping Kai company yesterday

Last night Kai came into Nathan's room as I was setting Nathan back into his crib. He came to be with us in his last moments. Jason and I comforted him as he passed away.

Kai, you were the most loving kitty. Rest in peace little buddy, we will miss you.

Kai April 2009 - October 2012

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Mommy Confessions

Came across this post at The Stir today, and LOVED IT. Checked out immediately and suddenly I feel a lot better about myself as a mom. Sure, I typically try to research things I know little about, and try and keep Nathan well taken care of and everything. But sometimes I just don't feel like I am keeping up. At my old job I had learned so much and actually felt like I knew what I was doing the majority of the time. That hasn't been the case since Nathan was born!

But, keeping up with the theme of confessions, here are a couple of my own:

~I let Nathan chase after our (healthy) kitty all he wants - until the kitty starts swiping at him. One of them will learn! Nathan shouldn't chase kitties because they scratch and kitty should hide from Nathan because he grabs.

~I am most excited for Nathan to have teeth and be able to chew food because I no longer have to blend anything up. I can just chop up some stuff and he feeds himself! It's great!

So what are your mommy confessions?

Friday, October 12, 2012

Aloha Friday 10/12/12

Happy Aloha Friday everyone!

I know the holidays are on their way and that tends to mean lots of delicious foods are headed in our direction.

This week's question is:

How do you avoid gaining weight during the holiday season (if you avoid it at all!)?

I used to not worry too much about it. I would gain a couple of pounds without realizing it, or if I did notice I would consider it insulation. Gotta keep warm in the cold Winter months, right? This year I will be balancing it out with low-carb weeks each month. The plan is to have one low-carb week each month, unless we gain a certain amount of weight. Then we will do more! We are also going to exercise more, to try and head off the extra carbohydrates that shall be consumed.

How about you?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Review: LeachCo Prop 'R Shopper Cart Cover

Today I am reviewing the LeachCo Cart Cover. I actually bought this a long time ago - nearly a year. I was excited when I saw this because it just looks comfortable. Carts never do, all metal or at least hard plastic, cold, typically wet from rain. Blegh. Not only does this have big cushions on both sides, but there's a pocket on the back flap (not visible in this picture), two toy holders on the front, a little seat belt to keep the baby inside, and a cover for the cart handle! 
Convenience: This product is made of machine-washable fabric (just remove the pillows and toss in the washing machine!) When not in use, you can roll it up and it closes with velcro and the seatbelt becomes a handle. The toy tethers are a huge help - especially once children figure out they can throw things. Since babies seem to love chewing on the nasty cart handle, this covers it right up so you won't have to make a mad dash for the sanitizing wipes. 

Quality: Over the past year, this thing has gotten a lot of use. It has held together completely, and there is no visible wearing on it thus far. This is durable and works for most carts. The only exceptions I've come across are the new giant plastic target carts. I can even fit it into (one side) of the Costco carts. 

Cost: Compared to other cart covers, the LeachCo seems to be in the middle range of cost. Right now, you can buy one at BabiesRUs for $40 - the cheapest other brand costs $20 and the most expensive is $68. At the LeachCo cover is $29.99, the cheapest other brand is $17 and the most expensive is $90. 

The only supposed downside I've found to this is that since it is so shaped to carts in particular, it doesn't double as a cushion for restaurant high chairs. This is a feature of some other types of cart covers. But really, I don't think Nathan could fit in restaurant high chairs with a cushion crammed in there too. In addition, to be able to fit things that are as differently shaped as a cart and a high chair, it would have to sacrifice a bit of quality. No loss to us!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Aloha Friday 10/5/12

Happy Aloha Friday everyone!

Hard to believe it's already a few days into October!

This week I'm wondering...
What is a funny thing that happened in your childhood?

Apparently, when I was quite young I couldn't pronounce my first name, Jessica. To me, it sounded like "Kaka", so when people asked my name, that's what I responded with. They laughed, and of course kids love to make people laugh, so I continued to say that for who knows how long.

More Aloha Fridays Here!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

How to decide when to wean.

If you are planning to, or are already breastfeeding your child, this thought has likely crossed your mind. Here is what you should consider when determining at which point to wean your child. You want to first consider why you would wean your child.

Is your reason because of lack of health benefits at a certain age? If so, you should know that breastfeeding continues to be a valuable source of nutrition and disease protection for as long as breastfeeding continues. 

How old is your child? The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusively breastfeeding for the first six months. WHO recommends breastfeeding exclusively for the six months, and then past that with complementary foods up to two years and beyond. Toddlers will continue to benefit from breastfeeding past two years, so don't think of that as a cut off point if you don't want it to be. 

Will you be returning to work? Pumping can help you maintain your supply and feed the baby while you are gone. It can be considered a hassle to pump at work. Especially once your baby has passed the one-year mark and you can start giving whole cow's milk or others instead of formula. You could introduce cow's milk at this age, and still breastfeed when you are home with the little one, if you like. 

In your community/family/friends, at which point did they wean their child? I am not suggesting you base your parenting decisions off some one else's - even someone you care deeply about. However, this is something you will deal with as people constantly compare themselves to others. People who mean well but do not know better may suggest that it is time to wean. Some think that once a child can ask to nurse, they are too old to continue to do so. Frankly, breastfeeding is between you and your child, anyone else you include should be supportive. 

The most important concern, to me, is how you both feel about continued breastfeeding. I think mothers should try to at least hit the six month mark, and hopefully up to a year. However, I understand that sometimes this isn't the right fit. Whatever works best for your family and your life - when you decide to wean should fit into that perfectly. 

Wordless Wednesday 10/3/12

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Monday Review: Radio Flyer 4-in-1 Trike (first stage)

I was not paid to endorse this product, these words are my own. Affiliate link used.
For Nathan's first birthday, Jason and I decided on a Radio Flyer 4-in-1 Trike! We were more than excited when we saw it. Since we only have experience in assembly and the first stage, that's all I will be reviewing.

Manufacturer Description: The 4-in-1 Trike is the ultimate Grow-with-Me Trike. It offers 4 ways to ride, to accommodate ages 9 months to 5 years: it easily converts from a stroller to a steering trike, learning-to-ride-trike, and finally a classic trike. The 4-in-1 Trike features safety features for the youngest riders, including removable wrap around safety bars with cupholder and snack tray, and a 3-point harness. The trike has quiet ride tires. The height-adjustable push-handle and unique stroller-style canopy remove for older riders. The sturdy steel frame and adjustable seat ensure it will last for years.
Jason put the trike together a couple days before Nathan's birthday, and we had to take it out immediately for a walk! Nathan loves it.

Storage: The cupholder is awesome! The little storage on back is adorable but you can't fit much into it. Not sure what I could keep there.

Control: Steering is something else with this thing. You directly control the front wheel with the handlebars,  way from the back, and you must make fairly wide turns in order to direct it. There aren't really any shock absorbers so it's a bit of a bumpy ride.

Fit: If you've got a big guy like I do, it is a challenge to cram him into the holder. See? He fills it up. We have to angle him just right to get his legs where they need to be, otherwise he gets stuck on the way in. The next stage says I have to wait six more months, but I have a feeling we will be trying a lot sooner.

Safety: This may also be because Nathan is in the 85th+ percentiles of height and weight, but going over speed bumps can tip this thing. The harness system is a bit strange to me. This must be more for smaller babies, because the straps do not hold Nathan in place at all. He loves seeing the ground pass by, trying to reach it and all, so he always scoots hit butt over to one side and leans. No matter how tight the straps are, he manages to scootch. Whatever, no risk of him falling out - that plastic piece keeps him inside.

Appearance: This thing is adorable. I love the vibrant color, and the classic Radio Flyer logo and design. It looks awesome in all stages. The one exception for me is the canopy. Looks and feels flimsy. But it's only there for a short time anyway.

Quality: It is made out of high quality, sturdy plastic with some metal pieces. The directions are easy to understand, and this thing is pretty darn solid.

Overall: I believe this is a high quality product, designed for the average baby/toddler, and this is something I can recommend. I think the main focus of this product is taking a classic-style tricycle and adding pieces so that it can be enjoyed earlier. Stage One Rating: 7/10

Anything else you'd like to know? Feel free to leave comments :-)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Aloha Friday 9/28/12

Another week has flown by! I hope it was good to you all. Happy Aloha Friday everyone!

This week's question is:

What is one thing that has changed in your life in the past year?

For me, I could go with the obvious getting married, having a child, but I think it is just too easy. A product of these two, however, is the next biggest change in my life: I have finally begun to be more confident in my self. I was feeling this way before I had Nathan, but it felt like a huge step down in confidence as I panicked my way through the first few months. With research and worry and stress I somehow made it through (and so did Nathan!) and I figured out that he is not made of glass. I have a fair amount of common sense, and I know what is best for the little guy. I can do this, and have been for a long time now. Plus, I'm awesome! Come on! ;-)

So what has changed in your life? Share in the comments :-)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Breastfeeding Survey #1

Hey guys, if you get a chance please take my survey about breastfeeding! It's for anyone to take, not just nursing women!

Jump to breastfeeding survey

Monday, September 24, 2012

Monday Review: North States Superyard Play Yard

I was not paid to endorse this product, these words are my own. Affiliate links used.
This product has been a huge help to me since Nathan became mobile. He has always been big for his age (I believe still above the 90th percentile in height and weight) and regular play yards/travel cribs did not provide enough room for him to move at all. Ever since I purchased this superyard baby jail (I say this with love, of course) I have been able to keep up with the household chores! Usually. You know how it goes.

This product is durable, convenient, affordably priced, and comes in both color and plain white. You can even purchase extra extensions to give your child even more room as he grows!

Durability: The superyard gates are made out of a fairly hard and very durable plastic. This plastic is just flexible enough that if you happen to trip over it (if you're like me, you will do this more than once) it will bend the tiniest bit instead of crashing down with you.

Convenience: The gates are attached with pieces that allow you to adjust the angle between each one almost 360 degrees. This is helpful for transport because it folds right up and you can carry it with a little handle. Also, everyone's housing situation is different. Depending on the square footage, furniture, heating vents, any any other number of variables; you  will need flexibility in how you set up this thing. It even comes with a little pamphlet that warns of the only shapes you should avoid because of risk of tipping the fence over.

Affordability: Depending on where you buy this, the price will vary a little bit. Amazon, as you may know, will update your cart if you have items in it that change price. BabiesRUs has this product listed for around $80 for the colorful 6-piece set, while on Amazon right now the 8-piece set is around $111. So, per piece, this is within $0.50. Negligible. Unless you go to BabiesRUs, and get one of those 20% off any product (except the 20 or so listed in the fine print) coupons with your receipt. You can use it on this baby gate.

Other: This gate is pretty tall - 26 inches high. This has given Nathan lots of practice pulling himself up to stand, and walking side to side. You can hang toys from any area on the fence, and it even comes with rubber grippies for the bottom to hold it in place.


Anything else you'd like to know about this product? Please feel free to ask in the comments!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Nathan - the Toddler

I am truly amazed that 365 days have passed since Nathan joined our family. As much as I remember my water breaking, waiting around at the hospital, and that entire affair - I cannot recall how it was as just the two of us.

The past year has flown by, as time seems to as we age, and it's crazy to try and remember all that has happened.

Nathan as a newborn infant would not sleep unless he was cuddled up on me or Jason. I loved the closeness, and I was exhausted and napping quite a bit at that time as well.

His first bath at home was exciting - and hated by Nathan. Jason and I were worried about his temperature, about the risk of dropping the slippery baby, and more I'm sure.

Nathan's first holiday season is more of a blur than anything. We were sleep-deprived, and Nathan was too young to do much. He was very good with everyone, didn't cry once at Christmas!

I'm not sure if Jason and I even stayed up until midnight for New Year's. If so, it was probably along the lines of. "3...2...1...Happy New Year's!" Let's go to bed.

We had a half birthday party, just as an excuse to invite people over and get together.

Our first trip to the zoo - despite the huge downpour we had a fun time. Even got Nathan to fall asleep in the stroller for the first time in months!

We took Nathan swimming a few times in the pool. He loves splashing around, but got bored at being restricted to a floaty or being in our arms.

Bath time is no longer hated by Nathan - in fact he splashes around so much that more water ends up outside of the bathtub.

Nathan started sitting up on his own, rolling around, crawling, standing, and now shuffling sideways and taking a few small steps. It all ran seamlessly into the next, as if it all just really happened.

I had no idea how much love I could have for some one. He melts my heart with every smile.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Aloha Friday 9/21/12

Happy AF everyone! This week I'm wondering...

What is the best piece of advice you received in your life?

For me, the best piece of advice I received is not to take everything personally. People can be rude/thoughtless without even realizing it. And, it turns out, people don't think about you as much as you think they do, so everything they do is not based on how they think it will impact your life.

An Island Life