Easy Bathtub Organizer

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

A got quite a few compliments on Little Bun's monster bathroom but primarily my bathtub organizer so I'd thought post a quick DIY on how I accomplished this cute setup.  Now since this photo, we've moved from the baby bath pictured to a laundry basket for his nightly bath.  We really don't need the laundry basket but it is an easy toy pickup when I use the basket.

On to the toy organization!  This was super easy and requires no tools so it was a real winner for me!

Materials:
twist tension shower curtain rod (Walmart)
"S" shower curtain hooks (WalMart)
four baskets (Dollar Tree, Dollar Store)


Wait what?  That's it?  Yes!  That is all folks.

Simply attach the tension rod to the rear wall of the bathtub.

Add the "S" hooks to the back of the baskets (two per basket).

Fill baskets with toys. 

VOILA!  And you're welcome!

A few tips to make sure this goes well for you:
Make sure your hooks fit through the holes in the baskets.  
You don't need to use "S" hooks but I like that I can take off the baskets and rise them out quickly.  
You can use deeper baskets to house your shampoo and body soap.
The rod moves easily up and down so if baby gets grabby (as Little Bun has) you can move it out of arms reach.

I hope you find this a fun and easy way to keep your bathtub organized!

Looking for a Product Review?

Monday, October 16, 2017

Y'all, when Elizabeth from Reviews.com contacted me about their natural deodorant review, I thought oh boy, just what I need, a review to point me in the direction of some magical deodorant that doesn't work.  I've heard this song and dance before!  In my path to being "embryo ready" I made a lot of changes to my daily routine including reducing the chemicals that go in my body.  Whether it was makeup on my face or plastic in my kitchen, a lot of items had to go.  But there was one item that I couldn't part with.  And y'all...it's a doozy!  Chemical laden, baby powder smelling, keeps me dry deodorant (it's a Secret what's under my arms, wink wink nod nod).  So having someone else do all the recon on something I struggled to replace was appealing for this mama!

Before I jump on the deodorants, let's chat about Reviews.com.  Established in 2013, they've got a small staff that is out there getting their hands on products, reviewing products, and pointing you in the direction of the best product on the market.  They have a growing list of reviews and I was excited to see some of their research in their A-Z Review page.  Some of the awesome reviews that caught my eye were dry shampoo, juicer, and cell phone plans.  They definitely are putting their hands in a lot of jars to get their reviews out there.  Now, you know as a business this company has to make money, so yes, there are affiliate links however they maintain their reviews are not based on how much each click provides.  I have no affiliate links and I get no money if you click on any of my links, I'm just here...reviewing a review...about natural deodorant.   

So on deodorant and I tried a few different brands in my chemical cut but to be honest, they were less than stellar and delivered poor results.  As an example, one brand had to run under water before use to moisten the product and then upon further inspection, this "aluminum free" product had aluminum in it.  While their claim was it was too small to pass through skin, why not just skip the "NO ALUMINUM" claim if you've got any form of aluminum in your product.  With costs rising I didn't have the time or the energy or the money to devote to a true comparison of products.  I "secretly" went back to the old stuff and cringed at every application. 

But Reviews.com really did the legwork for me on this one with their Best Natural Deodorant review so I'm back on the natural deodorant hunt and I'll be testing out their top two choices and reporting back to you!

Note these are both DEODORANT as the primary active ingredient in most antiperspirants is aluminum and it can cause estrogen like hormone growth .  Great for stopping sweat, but still raising eyebrows if it has any correlation with breast cancer.  According to THIS article from Cancer.gov, there is little evidence to support that.  I'm not saying I don't believe the claim they're not related, I'm just saying they can't prove it isn't, so why risk it?

I picked up two sticks of their winning brands, Schmidt's and Sam's from Amazon and set to work planning my days.  The first week, I broke out Schmidt'sin the Bergamot and Lime scent.  If you don't know bergamot is like an orange, but it's green like a lime.  Think fresh, citrus scent.  There were several times I caught a whiff of myself and was pretty impressed.

So back to Schmidt's, let's talk about application, this is a little scratchy on application y'all.  The underarm area is sensitive and I think it's the baking soda in the deodorant that adds that scratchiness.  Two swipes and I was done and wondering how badly I would be sweating and smelling by the end of the day (thanks to three prior failed attempts with natural deodorant).  I was pleasantly surprised to discover that by the end of day one, I still smelled like citrus and not at all stinky.  Well, point to you Schmidt's.  You passed ROUND ONE.  By the second day, I was eager to give it another go, and I added some squats and crunches (for the deodorant, not for exercise, I'm actually allergic to exercise).  I was sweating immediately and knew the sweat test was about to commence.  And you know, yes I was a little sweaty or glowing or whatever term you use, but I still smelled like my deodorant and not at all like a stinky mom.

I went on to use Schmidt's for a week before moving over to the second top rated brand from Reviews.com. and I'm going to be frank here, I did not like it because of the scent.  I found it difficult to properly review Sam's because it was just not a smell I could get behind, or under (my arms that is).  I choked through wearing Sam's for THREE DAYS before I put the cap on and said, no more!

But you know something, it worked.  The Schmidt's worked.  And I don't mean in that oh, yea I kinda smell a little stinky at the end of the day, I mean ALL DAY I SMELLED GREAT.  I didn't sweat any more than I normally did with my usual antiperspirant brand.

My goodness, has Reviews.com provided me the secret to smelling good and being free of those pesky parabans and preservative ingredients? 

I think they have!

Now, natural deodorant has one downfall and it can be a deal breaker for some.  It's made with baking soda and not everyone responds to baking soda the same way.  Some people get a mild irritation and others break out.  So you really have to be aware of this fact before you dive into natural deodorant. Also, baking soda is scratchy on your underarm.  Luckily you only need to apply about two swipes for it to work! But in the interest of transparency, on those sensitive underarm areas, wow, it can be borderline painful.  I've been using for two weeks now and I still love the scent, love the dryness, and love that I'm not stinky AND I'm not using harmful chemicals on my body.

I love to test out products but sometimes cost can be a factor.  Sometimes time itself is a factor.  And sometimes I just don't feel like looking for the "new and improved" I just want it handed to me (hello instant society).  If you're like me in this regard, you may want to check out Reviews.com.  I want to extend a thank you to Elizabeth at Reviews.com for reaching out to me to check this out.  Whether you decide to use them or not, they've given me one less chemical product on my list. 

(While I was contact by Reviews.com I was not compensated and all thoughts and views expressed are my own.)








Breastfeeding Tips from a Quitter

Friday, September 29, 2017

There is an almost insurmountable pressure these days to breastfeed your baby.  After all, breast is best, and anything less is...well, not.  It begins while you're baby is in the womb.  People put your breasts in an interview with questions like "Are you going to breastfeed?" and "You know breast is best right?".  I would casually respond with, "we are going to see what works" which is code for A) my boobs are not your business and B) I'm not against formula feeding my infant.

As my belly grew, so did the pressure to breastfeed and my philosophy of going with whatever works starting drawing a side eye from the parenting community.  The baby boards were abuzz with the overall consensus that you breastfeed or you don't care about your baby.  The benefits were thrust at me from every avenue, breastfed babies are healthier, smarter, they bond better and some say they even come out making their own bottles (OK I admit that was an exaggeration).  So I dove headfirst into Breastfeeding 101.  I became familiar with the positions to hold the baby, the football, the cradle, the cross cradle, the side laying...my gosh the possibilities are endless.  I prepared for the physical pain, the potential for mastitis or a clogged duct or irritated nipples.  I stocked a myriad of chemical free nipple creams and had an entire pumping station in the event I needed to pump.  I was not naive that it could be a difficult journey but I was PREPARED...or was I???

Caiden was a big baby with a big appetite and although I studied the size of a baby's stomach intently on one of those 8,423 breastfeeding pins on my Pinterest board, Caiden did not eat according to that stupid depiction.  Here is an example from Medela of an infant's stomach size from their blog.  The post can be found HERE and is titled The Size of Your Baby's Stomach.I can assure you that day one, Caiden asked for a hell of a lot more than what this photo shows and had I fed him according to these guidelines while I was in the hospital he would have continued to lose weight after birth.  Every baby is different, but for some reason every single infant across the world has the exact same stomach size and feeding needs.  Sounds crazy right?  I knew that Caiden had different needs and I adapted to suit those needs.  So while in the hospital we supplemented with formula.  And when Caiden was content and sleeping after a feeding, I felt like I was doing my job.

But then I went home...and the nursing staff did not come home with me and the realization set in....y'all...breastfeeding is hard.  You read that in the books, you prepare on websites like KellyMom. You decide that no matter how hard it is, you're going to be the mom that breastfeeds your baby.  Then you have the baby and the milk doesn't come...or it comes and it's just not enough.  And the advice begins.  Much like when I was TTC, the advice poured from everywhere.

"Just relax, the milk will come."

"Pump between 1am and 5am and the milk will flow."

"Take this supplement or that supplement."

"Drink more water."

"Eat lactation cookies, oatmeal, and more vegetables."

To keep your growing infant from screaming for hours upon end, you supplement with formula.  And you feel like a failure...but I battled with infertility so I thought, how much harder can it be than undergoing IVF?  Well, I got my answer.

It is HARDER.


I always thought I was blessed with a nice rack so I could breastfeed a baby.  I didn't know that size didn't matter, yes ladies, it's true...SIZE DOES NOT MATTER when it comes to breastfeeding.  Why didn't they work, these monstrous mountains sitting on my chest?  It was hard enough getting a baby, now I have to fall victim to low supply?

I thought no big deal fed is best, right?  It was my own philosophy while pregnant!  I chanted those words, fed is best...fed is best.  But in the back of my mind I heard "failure" and "you're not trying hard enough".  I saw pins and posts from milking mom's, pumping mom's and breastfeeding mom's.  I saw pictures of babies attached to the breast and started to resent my own body.  The same body that grew this miracle baby, I hated for not producing the milk to feed him.  I sought support from my Mom Squad and Kelly Mom.  But the milk didn't increase. Little Bun would feed for an hour and still want more, so I had to top off each nursing session with a bottle.  And as I trudged sullenly into the kitchen to make a bottle from formula, I hated myself even more.

Supplementing as a new mom.  
To keep up with this demand, I pumped after feeds, I pumped in the middle of the night, and I pumped while I was trying to feed him milk from a prior pumping session.  And all the while, I cried over staged photos of mothers with their child at their breast.  I slumped over when I saw milk stashes and frozen supply.  I'd look down at him and just cry.  Here was this miracle, this perfect little squishy bundle of joy, and I'm depressed and despondent.  I looked into information about low milk supply and tried lactation teas and fenugreek supplements, I ate lactation cookies, I increased my greens, I drank so much water I felt like I was drowning.  And as the days turned into weeks, the dark chill of depression crept in.  Familiar with the numbness, I knew something had to be done. For me, it's not as important that his milk come from my breast than it was to be a present and attentive and happy mother.

You see in all the preparation to breastfeed, I never prepared emotionally for what would happen if I struggled.  I never prepared for the social media blitz of breastfeeding mothers and its affects on my own emotional state.

Much like the pregnancy announcements and baby showers, breastfeeding was thrust in my face at every corner and much like during our struggle to conceive, I became hyper aware of everyone else's journey.

My breastfeeding journey ended as quietly as it began.  I reduced to morning and night breastfeeding and supplemented through the day until I stopped entirely.  Now I'm a formula feeding mom but I still get envious and question my decision when I see other mothers breastfeeding.  It's especially difficult to admit I quit.  But I did.  I could have done more.  I could have tried harder.  But I was tired from a war on my fertility and I was not armed with the proper tools to succeed.  I thought I did everything I could to prepare but there were areas I lacked.

So as a former breastfeeder, let me share some things that might have helped me persevere.

1) If you want to breastfeed, you have to commit to it.  It's like exercising.  If you keep it up, it will work for you.  And much like exercising, it might take some time to see results.  Don't back down from it.  If you start skipping pumps or feeds, your supply will be affected.

2) If you struggle, see a lactation consultant in your home.  By now you've committed to it, so go all the way.  Don't assume because you read KellyMom or you have 13 breastfeeding books in your library that you're prepared.  No book or website can give you the support that one on one help with a certified lactation consultant.

3) If you must supplement formula, remember it's not a failure.  What you feed your baby does not define you as a parent.

3) Don't compare your breastfeeding journey to anyone else's.  This was a killer for me because all my life I've struggled comparing my story to everyone else.  If you find yourself in that comparison trap, take a social media hiatus and focus solely on your journey.

4) Don't waste your time or money with breastfeeding supplements like lactation cookies or fenugreek.  Get your nutrition from the food you eat and the water you drink.  You would better invest that money in a LC as mentioned in tip #2 above.

5) Stress affects supply.  Learn it, accept it, and then learn some coping strategies to help reduce it.  Whether it's breathing techniques or even watching Friends reruns for the 7,000 time, try to keep stress at a minimum because it is a supply tanker!

6) Never quit breastfeeding on a bad day.  This is something I remind my friends who still breastfeed. 



Do you have any breastfeeding tips for my readers?  Will you share them below?






  

Stop Shaming Millennial Moms

Friday, August 25, 2017

This post was reprinted with permission from Chelsey Lynne Mead at The Cold Coffee Diaries.  The original post is found HERE

Fellow mamas, I come to you with a proposition... no, a plea. That's the correct verbiage, here. I am pleading with each of you as I sit here in my sweatpants staring down an insanely large pile of laundry...

Stop. Shaming. Millennial. Moms.
Stop doing it publicly.
Stop doing it privately.

Stop doing it in an attempt to show us how ridiculous you think we are with our cell phones and our Starbucks and our yoga pants. Trust me. We are painfully aware of our own stereotype, but it comes with coffee and cute photos of our kids, so let us mother in peace.


So I'm a Wedding Planner...

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

So I'm planning a wedding y'all.  You're probably thinking I am a little crazy for marrying Caiden off so early, I mean he is only six months old after all.  Shocker, it's not Caiden's wedding (though we have received some proposals from some little darlings in our IG community). Y'all might know that not only am I a new mom but I'm a seasoned stepmom and this summer, my bonus daughter Madi said YES to her boyfriend and we started planning her wedding for October of 2018.

I am a crafty chick and imagining the DIY things I could do for this wedding has me overwhelmed with excitement.  In a world where you can find pretty much anything to DIY, I am going to conquer or fail (but mostly conquer right??) a fabulous DIY wedding for my stepdaughter and I'm going to share the trials and errors along the way.  If anything, this will be a great experience to document for her memories.

Hope for Fertility - Meet the Foundation

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Hey y'all!  I've been cooking up some awesome blog posts but today I wanted to take a moment to introduce you to a foundation called Hope for Fertility.  Each Wednesday is called Warrior Wednesday and Hope for Fertility features a warrior couple and guess who is featured today?  Why it's The Buns!  

Hope for Fertility is an amazing foundation that is making strides in our community, and dare I say it, they're warriors themselves!  After a six year battle with infertility, they created a foundation that not only helped to fund their IVF efforts, they are now in the process of completing their very first IVF Grant to a couple in need!  Talk about AMAZING!  I am so proud of Tedi and Chase for their efforts to assist a couple in funding their IVF efforts!  I am pledging $100 to Hope for Fertility to support their future grants, which they'll be doing twice a year!  Now let me turn it over to Tedi who can tell you how she got here and what you can do to help a family in need or become a grant recipient yourself! 

Newborn Items You Just Don't Need

Monday, March 27, 2017

As I mentioned in my Newborn Essentials post, the baby industry is booming!  Marketing strategies are in full force to get you what you NEED for baby, even before they're born.  But let's be honest, how do you know if you need an item if you don't even have baby to try it?  Did I just post a list of items you NEED for baby?  Sure I did, but those are merely my suggestions.  It's all speculative until your new bundle arrives.

I fell victim to so many of these marketing strategies myself so I wanted to share with you several items that I bought, found, tried and subsequently DENIED.  Maybe they're your favorite, maybe you are thinking of buying one right now, but don't decide until you've read my Bun Review!  This is my list of items you just don't need for a newborn!