mama cloth 101

Pink Lemonade Shop mama cloth pads

Something funny happens once you start cloth diapering…you begin to look at other items that you throw away and wonder if you can find a reusable option.  Like baby wipes.  Or paper towels.  Or cloth napkins.

Or *gasp* menstrual pads.

Yep.  I know it’s kind of weird.  It took me a while to get used to the idea too.

So.  Let’s talk mama cloth.  Cloth menstrual pads.  They are seriously awesome.

At some point along the way of my crunchy mommy journey I started to hear about mama cloth.  It kept coming up in the mommy groups I belong to and in conversation with other moms so I got curious and I began to look a little further.  They are super popular for postpartum (in lieu of those humongous diapers pads you probably used) but I didn’t learn about them until after I was past that point.  But by the time my first postpartum period arrived when Hudson was almost 10 months old I knew I wanted to give them a try.

I did my research and Pink Lemonade Shop seemed to be the #1 recommended brand of mama cloth.  I waited until they ran a sale after Thanksgiving and then bought an assortment of pads to try.

Pink Lemonade Shop mama cloth stash

I LOVE them!

They are so, SO soft and much more comfortable than the disposable ones.  The wings snap around your underwear so no sticky papers that get folded up under themselves or stick to your skin.  And they are super easy, much easier than I expected.

Here’s the run down:

Why might you want to use mama cloth?  Like with cloth diapers, getting a stash of mama cloth is expensive up front but will likely save you money on your feminine products since they are reusable.  I have not run the numbers on that though so feel free to do some number crunching on your own and report back.  For me it wasn’t the money savings this time (although that is a nice perk), it was for comfort.  Conventional menstrual pads are so uncomfortable.  I think I’m sensitive to the chemicals in those products and I just feel really yucky and almost diaper rash-y when I use them.

Minimizing waste and being environmentally friendly might be another big reason why you’d choose mama cloth.

I have not yet experienced this myself (I think it’s too soon to tell) or looked for any scientific evidence but I have heard many people say that after switching to mama cloth their periods became much lighter and their cramping decreased significantly.  I’m probably not explaining this correctly but the theory I’ve heard about this is that the chemicals in disposable pads and tampons pull the blood from your body (since absorbing liquid is what it is designed to do) and that actually makes your period worse.  Letting the body bleed at it’s own pace (by not using those chemicals) results in an easier period.

Like I said, that’s just what I’ve heard.  But it’s worth a try!

What about the gross factor?  Just about every time I used regular pads I would end up with some blood on my panties that I had to rinse and stain treat, so honestly I wasn’t concerned about that…I figured if I’m already dealing with blood it wouldn’t really matter.  And so far I’ve had no issues with it.  It’s much less gross than dealing with baby poop!

How do I wash them?  I include them with my diapers.  I run the diapers through a rinse cycle first on their own, and then add the mama cloth in for the wash cycle.  If you don’t have cloth diapers then you could just add them to a regular load of laundry that you will be washing with hot water.  Your mama cloth will come with more specific instructions, I’m sure, but it’s really not difficult at all.

What all do I need?  A stash of mama cloth, of course.  Plus a few wet bags.

mama cloth 101

Like I said, I chose to buy my mama cloth from Pink Lemonade Shop.  The prints are adorable (which is certainly not necessary but is a nice perk) and they were by far the most recommended brand.  She has some starter kits already put together and if you are unsure of what you want that’s a good way to try several sizes out.

PInk Lemonade Shop mama cloth setPink Lemonade Shop sets are usually coordinating colors like this one that came with a 9, 10, and 11 inch pad

Because it had been over a year and a half since I’d had a period (pregnancy and then breastfeeding) I really couldn’t remember how heavy my cycles were plus I wasn’t sure if that would change after having a baby.  Since I wasn’t totally sure what all I needed I got out some of my old disposable pads and panty liners, measured them and bought pads that were about that size.

What I started with:

– one 11 inch overnight pad
– two 10 inch heavy pads
– four 9 inch day pads
– two 7.5 inch pantyliners

pink lemonade mama cloth stash

This was a good amount to try but was not enough for what I would consider a full stash.  I was having to wash every day or day and a half and while it’s only for a week that is still a lot to keep up with.  I’d much prefer to be able to make it about two days so I’ll continue adding to my stash in the future.

There are different fabrics and materials.  I chose the ones that have a minky top with a windpro fleece back.  The minky is incredibly soft and the best part is that it does not stain.  I know!  So great!  In fact all the pictures that go along with this post are of my mama cloth that has been used several times – no blood stains!  You can read about the other fabric options here.  One of the other options is raw silk; I haven’t tried it but it’s supposed to be wonderful for anyone who deals with yeast infections because it is anti-fungal.

windro fleece backs of pink lemonade shop mama clothbacks of some of my mama cloth – all are fleece; the brown has pilled just a little but is still totally functional of course

You’ll also need a wetbag to use to store your used mama cloth in until you wash them.  My favorite wetbags are these Bummis bags.  The small one is the perfect size and has a little loop with a snap that you could hang over a door handle or even on a hook on the side of the toilet.

bummis small wet bag for mama cloth

What about on the go?  I use a Planetwise travel wet/dry bag for on the go.  I put a pad or two in the “dry” side (the dry side is for clean items) and then I’m out I put the dirty one in the “wet” side of the wet bag.  It’s no more difficult then with a disposable pad and actually it’s easier because you don’t have to hunt down a trash can.

9 inch day pad from pink lemonade shop fits perfectly in a planetwise wet dry bagone 9 inch pink lemonade shop day pad in a planetwise wet dry baga 9 inch day pad laid flat fits perfectly in the dry pocket

two 9 inch pink lemonade shop day pads rolled up in a planetwise wet dry bagtwo 9 inch day pads rolled up can also fit in the dry pocket

So what do you think?  Are you intrigued?  Totally disgusted?  Planning to try one or two?  Ready to make the switch completely?

P.S. If you are more of a tampon user then you might want to look into a reusable menstrual cup like the Diva Cup or Lunette.  I have not tried these and to be honest, while mama cloth doesn’t gross me out this kinda does, but I know tons of women who adore theirs so it’s definitely worth a look!

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this review.  I bought all these items with my very own hard earned dollars and these are my honest thoughts.  Some links are affiliate links.

a sopping wet New Year

The Date: New Year’s Day 2015

The Time: 9:15 pm

The Setting: Our house

The Background: After a whole day spent taking down Christmas decorations, giving the house a good clean, Hudson refusing to nap and being a general fuss bucket, I was wiped.  Usually Michael and I stay up ’til midnight or later but I was so exhausted that I took a shower and was already in bed reading, planning to go to sleep early.  Hudson was asleep in his bed next to ours.

The Story:   I’m laying there reading and I hear a “drip, drip, drip“.  I think to myself “Hmmm, I must have not turned the shower off completely.  I’ll ask Michael to turn it off when he comes into the room”.  Because I’m tired.  And I’m pooped.  And I don’t want to haul myself out of bed to check on the shower.

Michael is in our half bathroom in the living room and he also hears a “drip, drip, drip“.  He thinks to himself “What is Caitlin doing out there to make that sound?”.

And then.  Chaos.

Michael shouts “hey!!”…pause…”HEY!!!”

This is big cause for alarm, my friends.  Michael is not a shouter.  Like, ever.  I’m the loud one, not him.  Plus, Hudson was asleep.  Once he’s asleep we whisper.  Michael would never, EVER shout and risk waking Hudson up.

So obviously something terrible has happened and I just know an intruder is in our house or some similarly awful event.

I bolt out of the bed and run out the room, slamming my thigh into the corner of the bed as I run, and yell “What?!? What?!?”.  Thankfully Hudson stays asleep.

Michael is already running up the stairs and yells down at me to grab some towels.

No need to ask why because now I can clearly see the water pouring steadily out of the light fixture in our living room.

Oh no.

Michael gets upstairs and sees that the washing machine is full to the top but water is still spraying into the barrel.  Water has come out of the washing machine, flooded the laundry room and hallway (and part of the attic, we later found), and leaked through the ceiling, and come out through one of the light fixtures.

I grab towels and wipe up the puddle in the living room then put a large mixing bowl under the light to catch the water.  We start mopping up the water upstairs.  We used every.last.towel in our house.

Michael calls his dad to bring the shopvac over.  They pull up the carpet, run the shopvac, and set up fans everywhere.

Photo Jan 01, 10 42 16 PM

Around midnight we’ve done all we can do so we finally head to bed.

So much for an early night, huh?

(Hudson slept through all the commotion too.  Amazing since he’s a terrible sleeper even on a good day!)

Turns out, one little hose from our fancy-dancy, less than two year old washing machine had come loose and was spraying water everywhere.

The good news:  

– Nothing was seriously damaged.  There is only one tiny water spot on the living room ceiling and a larger (but not awful) one in the garage.  The pad under the carpet had to be replaced but the floors and the carpet were fine.

– Usually I have a tub of my Young Living stuff that I take to classes and vendor events that sits right directly under that light fixture.  It would have all been completely soaked but we had moved it when we mopped the floors during our huge cleaning spree and had not put it back yet

– For some reason, instead of putting all the Christmas stuff back in the attic that day like I normally would do I had just stacked it all in the guest room and planned to put it in the attic later.  Good thing because water leaked into the attic in the exact spot where the Christmas decorations would have been.  As it were, only a few empty cardboard boxes in the attic got wet.

– We have incredibly kind neighbors who let us use their washing machine the next day to wash all those towels and the clothes that had been in the washer when it broke.

– This happened while we were home and awake; I can’t tell you how many times we’ve started the washer right before we go to sleep or leave the house.  It would have been horrible if we hadn’t caught it as early as we did!

The bad news:

– We had to buy a new washing machine.  But it’s easier to use than our old one.  And it plays a pretty song when it’s done washing.  And we got our old one fixed so we should be able to sell it and get some of our money back.  So I guess it’s not all bad.

Photo Jan 20, 6 36 16 PM

What a way to start the New Year.  Let’s hope the rest of 2015 is much less eventful!

High Five for Friday

It’s sure been a while since I did one of these, huh?  Well here’s what I’m loving today:

1.  Homemade peppermint mocha with homemade whipped cream.  Best. Drink. Ever.

homemade mocha whipped

2.  I’ve been meaning to make us stockings for a few years now.  I’ve had the pattern picked out and purchased but just never got around to finding fabric and sewing it up.  I finally picked some fabric and am ready to get started on the stockings (and a matching tree skirt).  Fingers crossed I get it done by Christmas!

This is the pattern I’m using.

stocking pattern

I wanted something that wasn’t necessarily Christmas fabric but would have that same color scheme, that wasn’t too trendy but not old either.  Something that would look relatively timeless.

One of the first things I saw when I walked into the fabric store was this quilt.  I could not stop looking at it!  So gorgeous.  The colors and patterns were perfect and lucky me they had all the matching bolts of fabric right there with the quilt so I was able to get what I needed.

Love love love.
Christmas quilt

stocking fabric

3.  I also super lucked out while I was there with some curtain fabric.  If you follow my Facebook page you know I found some fabric that I loved a while back at a fabric store in my hometown.  Lo and behold the store I went to today had it…and it was on clearance for $2.50 a yard!!  I think it was $7something at the other store so I was thrilled!

curtain fabric

4.  Our Christmas decorations are almost all done.  We put most of them up Tuesday and then Michael went and got us a tree last night so tonight we plan to get that decorated and then we’ll be all set (well, besides the stockings and tree skirt that I need to sew….minor details ha!)

Christmas tree
We definitely had to modify some decorations and get creative with our placement thanks to Mr. Curious here who has to get into EVERYTHING.  That garland usually hangs to the ground – I looped it up to make it shorter but he still had to try to get it.

Decorating the tree should be interesting….reaching for the decorations

5.  I got a new headband.  And I like it.  That’s all.

headband

Now for the LOW five part of the week….

gray screen of deathAngryflashinggrayfolderwithquestionmark of death.  Yep, that happened last night.  So we’ll be going to buy me a new laptop tomorrow.

The positive of that is Yay new laptop! but the negative is Well there goes my Chrismabirthaversary gifts for the rest of forever.

Computers are expensive, yo.

And that about sums it up!  Happy weekend to you all.

This post brought to you by one fussy baby who is finally asleep.

wrap nap

High Five for Friday

Happy Friday, y’all.  Here’s what is making me happy today:

1.  Cloth Diapers hanging out to dry.

I usually don’t like doing laundry at all (well actually, I’m fine with everything but the folding and putting away part) but for whatever reason I really enjoy doing the cloth diaper laundry.  It’s not nearly as complicated as I expected.  I prefer to let them air dry outside if the weather is nice because the sun does a great job bleaching out stains.

cloth diapers

2.  Our garden.

Michael got our garden planted this week.  I’m looking forward to having fresh herbs and veggies!

garden

3.  Babywearing.

I love wearing Hudson.  It gives us lots of nice snuggles, it allows my hands to be free to do other things, and it’s much more convenient than lugging his big carseat around or hauling out the stroller.  I have a Moby Wrap, and Ergo, and a Mei Tei and I love them each for different purposes.  I’m also part of a local babywearing group and each month we get together where everyone brings their carriers so you can try different things.  I’m giving Ring Slings a go this month and borrowing one to try out.  So far it’s not my favorite and I much prefer my other carriers, but I’m going to keep trying it and maybe it will grow on me (although in retrospect maybe that’s not such a good idea…if I start to love it then I’m going to want to buy one!)

ring sling

4.  My monthly YL essential oils order.

It’s like Christmas every month!  All kinds of goodies – oils, toothpaste, snack bars, cough drops, supplements, and more

Young Living essential rewards order

 

5.  This guy.

Really, could be be any cuter?  He has outgrown his smallest swaddles and is breaking out of them during his naps.  I keep coming in to find him waving his little arms around (kinda cute after a nap, not so cool at 4:00 in the morning when he wakes us all up…we will be finding a better swaddle before bed tonight, I’m just saying…)

swaddle

Oh and don’t forget that today is the last day to enter my giveaway…so chop, chop!

Enjoy your weekend friends!

Linking up with Lauren

High Five for Friday

Hey everyone!  Did you have a good week?  We’re headed home from a week long trip to Gatlinburg.  Michael had a class/conference thing he had to go to for work (the same one we went to two years ago – crazy how time flies) so Hudson and I tagged along with him.  I was excited about a little family getaway but also apprehensive about traveling with a baby.  Overall Hudson did much better than I expected.  The trip down here, while long because we had to stop a lot to feed him, wasn’t too bad and he didn’t cry nearly as much as I expected.  During the day Hudson and I stayed in the hotel and relaxed, then after Michael got out of class we’d go eat and sightsee.  We had two good, easy days in the hotel and two days where he fussed a lot and didn’t want to nap much so that was a little challenging.  But he did pretty well considering and he slept great at night so I was very thankful for that!  Now if we can just have a smooth trip home today *fingers crossed*.

Any-who…here’s what I’m High Fiving today:

1.  This rocking camping chair.  One thing I was nervous about in regards from our trip was the fact that I’d be away from my rocking recliner where Hudson and I spend, oh, 23 hours out of the day.  Ok not that much, but that’s where I feed him and rock him to sleep so it gets a lot of use.  I was afraid that not having a rocker would be an issue and only half-jokingly asked Michael if we could pack the recliner.  I was very happy to find a camping chair that rocks and that folded up nice and small for traveling.  It’s not the smoothest rocking motion in the world but it’s good enough and has served us well this week.

2.  My Moby Wrap and Ergo.  We packed the stroller and have not used it once (we actually packed a lot of things that haven’t gotten used…I told you I was an over-packer!).  I’ve just been wearing Hudson everywhere and a lot of times I wear him while we eat because he will sleep much better being worn than he will in his carseat.  It’s been great and is much easier, I think, than lugging the stroller around.  We’ve gotten a lot of curious looks which I think is strange because I see people babywearing all the time but it must be odd to some.

It really tripped out the hostess at Bubba Gump’s one night.  She tried to seat us in this teeny-tiny little booth.  I was wearing Hudson and there was no way I could fit the both of us in the booth.  We asked her for a table (there was one literally three feet from the booth) and she said that there wasn’t anyone to serve the table (the restaurant was nearly empty).  She tried to get us to put Hudson (who she referred to as “her”) in a high chair but that doesn’t fly for obvious reasons (like, ummm, the fact that he’s way too little to sit up on his own).  It got to the point where I thought we were going to have to leave and find a different restaurant when another waitress overheard and offered to serve us at the table rather than the booth.  We sat there and then the hostess girl announced very loudly to the rest of the restaurant that “there are two people sitting at a table for six and I don’t know what to do about that!”.

I really had no idea wearing a baby was going to cause such fuss!

mobyJust snoozing away while we ate at The Old Mill

3.  I was a guest blogger over here this week sharing how to make homemade stretch mark cream.  You should go check it out!

4. I did not eat this slug for lunch last week.  I came close, but narrowly escaped.  I made my sandwich for lunch and realized I had forgotten mustard.  I lifted the bread off the top to add my mustard and saw something dark; I thought it was a piece of shrivelly lettuce…you know how it gets black and mushy?  Umm, no.  It was a slug, crawling on my sandwich.  I freaked out a little and needless to say lost my appetite for lunch.  Do you know how close I came to eating that?!?  Eww.  What if I hadn’t realized I needed mustard?!?  Horrors.

I’ll be washing my lettuce a little more carefully from here on out.

slugsorry for the poor picture quality…little booger was wiggling all over the place and I couldn’t get a good focus (it definitely wasn’t because I was shaking with relief…)

5.  Michael’s class this morning was super short, just long enough to pick up his certificate of completion, so we went to Cade’s Cove before we headed home. Hudson cried pretty much the whole ride from Gatlinburg to Cade’s Cove but once we got there he settled down and we were able to drive the loop in relative peace.

The detour was so worth it! We saw a group of three bears (a mama and two cubs we think), several deer, and another group of two bears. The second set of bears were really close to us and that was so neat.

Photo May 09, 12 08 47 PMbears at Cade's CoveCade's Covedeer at Cade's Coveblack bears at Cade's Cove

Oh and this.  Michael found this on Craigslist the other day.

fainting goatsThey.Faint.Well.

You’re welcome.

(can I admit that for half a second I wanted to buy these just to make them faint?)

Linking up with Lauren.

High Five for Friday

It’s that time again…time to tell you five things that are making me happy.  What a great way to kick of the weekend hm?

1.  I got on the sewing machine this week for the first time in ages.  Since Hudson was born making time for crafting hasn’t been much of a priority.  I really needed to make some nursing tanks, though, so I escaped to my machine for a few minutes.  It wasn’t a super long project but it was nice to exercise my crafty muscles.  The nursings tanks were super easy, I followed this tutorial and hammered out 7 of them in about 20 minutes.  Plus I used the $1.80 tanks from Forever 21 so I made 7 nursing tanks for less than $14.00 in less than 20 minutes.  Not bad.

2.  We tried a new recipe this week that was really easy and really delicious.  They are called Yumm Bowls and Lindsey over at The Pleated Poppy (where I used to link up my What I Wore Wednesday post back when I wore something more than spit up covered pajamas every day) blogged about this recipe and it looked amazing so we tried it.  And it was super yum.

3.  I painted my toenails for the first time since December?  Early January?  I’m not quite sure.  I was planning to get a pedicure before Hudson was born but I went into labor before that got done.

post partum swollen feetmy very chipped toenails (and incredibly swollen feet) a few days after Hudson was born

Since then painting my nails hasn’t been that big of a priority, you know?  But now that it’s warm (some days) and sandal weather I figured it was time.  It’s amazing how one little thing like pretty toes can make me feel good.

Photo Apr 18, 8 39 16 AM

4.  We started using cloth diapers this week.  We’re not using them all the time yet, mostly just at home until I get the hang of everything, but so far I really like them.  It’s not any grosser than regular diapers and it’s not that difficult to run a little bit more laundry.  So far, so good.

BumGenius math equation cloth diaperWhy yes that is a diaper with math equations…what else would you expect the child of an engineer and former math teacher to wear?  Now if only I could find one with books on it….

5.  Yesterday I got my monthly essential oils order.  It’s like Christmas when my package comes!  My organizing loving heart was so thrilled to get bottle labels and I happily sat in the floor and labelled all my bottles.

April young living essential rewards orderlabeling young living essential oils bottlesAren’t they pretty?

Now to get one of every oil so I can use all my labels….

I wish.

Oh but if I did, how would I organize them?  By color?  Alphabetically?  Hmm….

Anyway.

This post is brought to you by this cute guy who I can hear “talking” in the bedroom so I better go get him up from his nap.

Photo Apr 18, 9 12 42 AMPhoto Apr 14, 8 34 47 AMPhoto Apr 14, 7 47 59 AM

I can hardly stand the cuteness.

Have a wonderful Easter everyone.

Linking up with Lauren

 

High Five for Friday

Friday again?  When you aren’t blogging every day Friday rolls around pretty quickly.  (Someday I will get back to a consistent blogging schedule.  Someday.  Like when I’m brushing my hair consistently and there aren’t cobwebs hanging from the bench in my foyer.  You just wish I were kidding…)

On that lovely note, here are my five things today:

1.  Monday I had a really rough day.  Hudson had had two nights in a row where he did not sleep well at all and then he wouldn’t take long enough nap during the day for me to nap, too.  I was exhausted.  I asked Michael if he would pull Hudson duty for a little while that evening so I could have a break.  Being the wonderful husband and father that he is of course he said yes, so after one of Hudson’s feedings I escaped upstairs to take a bath.  We’ve lived in this house for a year and a half and I’ve never used the bathtub…I’ve always preferred showers over baths.  But Monday it just sounded like the perfect thing.  I was able to soak and read a magazine and have some prayer time and it was wonderful.  I think I may try to work a bath in every week because it was wonderfully relaxing and rejuvenating.

Not meaning to get so off track here, but I just have to take a moment and say that I think single mothers must be super women.  I’m serious.  So many times since Hudson has been born I’ve thought of the single moms that I know.  This is a hard job for sure, but I always know that if it gets too overwhelming I have Michael there to step in and give me a break.  I can’t imagine needing a break or feeling that exhaustion and knowing there is no one there but me.  So any single mom readers that I have, you are awesome and don’t you forget it.

2.  I am so excited about Hudson’s first Easter.  I know he is way too little to understand what is going on, but I’m still really looking forward to it.  We’re just getting him some little baby toys and books for his Easter basket that we would have bought anyway, but I guess since it’s our first holiday (Valentine’s Day doesn’t count…we were still definitely in post-baby fog) it’s more special.  We’ll also get to see some family that hasn’t met Hudson yet so that will be fun.

3.  A productive day these days for me is getting two whole things done around the house.  It’s such a change from the engergizer bunny I used to be who could get tons of cleaning, crafting, and other projects done.  Now my days are spent feeding, rocking, and snuggling Hudson.  I am not complaining at all.  I love my job.  It’s just very different.  All that to say that I got two “projects” done this week that I’ve been wanting to do: I made homemade body wash and homemade baby wipe solution.  Both were so incredibly easy and quick; gathering the supplies was the most time consuming part.

The body wash is wonderful.  I was a little skeptical but it lathers nicely and cleans great.  I haven’t used the wipe solution yet.  Once we start cloth diapering (that was on my goal list for this week and it hasn’t happened yet but we still have two days so maybe I’ll get that started still) we are also going to use cloth wipes.  Since I haven’t started that yet I haven’t used the wipe solution, but I can say that it smells great!

4.  On the note of productive days…my old cleaning routine was to clean the whole house once a week.  It usually took two to three hours and at the end I’d have a sparkling clean house.  When I was working I would do the cleaning on Saturday or Sunday, when I wasn’t working then I’d try to do it on a weekday so that the weekends were free.  I also did all the laundry back to back to back on cleaning day.

Well, I no longer have blocks of two to three hours.  I’m lucky to get one full hour these days since Hudson takes pretty short naps.  Soooooo I’m having to change my mindset from getting the whole house clean at one time to one where I do a little bit each day to maintain the cleanliness.  This is totally new to me but fortunately Pinterest has a bajillion cleaning schedules like that so I’ve been looking at those and trying to get my game plan together.

Do you have a cleaning schedule?  If so, do you prefer to do one room per day (i.e. the bedroom, the kitchen, the living room) or do you prefer to do one thing per day (vacuum, dust, sweep, etc. no matter which room it’s in)?

Right now I’m leaning toward one thing per day so that I don’t have to get the vacuum out multiple times each day that I clean a room with carpet or the duster each day to dust each room.

Hudson is being particularly unpleasant fussy today and I’ve been trying to get this post written for hours.  I’m tired of writing a few sentences here and there so yeah, I’m only writing four things today.  Sorry if this greatly offends you.

Photo Apr 07, 12 13 56 PM

Enjoy your weekend everyone!

Linking up with Lauren

High Five for Friday

Helllooooooo Friday  Wanna know why I’m happy today?

1.  SLEEP!  Yes, it has finally returned.  Tuesday night Hudson slept 7 hours (10:30-5:30) and Wednesday night he slept 8.5 (!!!) hours (11-7:30).  I woke up at 6:45 and didn’t know what on earth to do with myself.  And then last night he fell asleep at 9pm.  We kept expecting him to wake up to eat one more time before bed but he keep sleeping so we finally laid him down…and he slept until 5;30 this morning!  Another 8.5 hours!  I suspect he’s in a growth spurt because in addition to the sudden increase in sleep he’s also wanting to constantly eat during the day the last few days.  I sure hope the great sleep continues after the growth spurt is over!

2.  My neck is better.  Wednesday morning I leaned over to set my glasses on my bedside table and I felt my neck catch.  It was unbelievably painful; so much so that I was afraid Michael would have to come home from work to help me with Hudson.  The spot that was injured (I’m guessing) swelled up and I looked like I had a humpback (lovely).  A little heat, a little ice, a lot of my essential oils, and Michael rubbing it helped.  The pain was much better in 24 hours and almost completely gone in 48.  I still have a little soreness if I turn my head too far but it’s way, way better than it was!

Being hurt is one thing.  Being hurt with a baby that needs to be held and changed and fed is so much more difficult.  I now understand what people mean when they say “moms don’t have time to get sick!”.  I’m just so thankful that it didn’t last long.

3.  I’m going clothes shopping today.  On the one hand I’m not excited about that at all because I’d much rather be able to fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes and I know the sizes I’ll have to get today will be disheartening.  But on the other hand it will be so nice to have some clothes that actually fit right now.  I won’t buy much since I hope to lose my pregnancy weight soon but for now I’m tired of wearing my ill-fitting maternity clothes and I need some other options.

4.  Speaking of losing weight, this week I finally got back to healthy eating.  Since Hudson was born I’ve eaten tons of fast food and junk and such.  I’m finally feeling like I have it together enough to focus on some of the other things in life besides feeding, changing, and rocking a baby.  I’m not dieting or anything, just trying to make better choices.  Splurging was fun for a while but it’s really nice to be back to eating good healthy food that makes me feel better.

5.  It’s time to mix up more laundry soap.  Sounds like a strange thing to make me happy, but I’m mostly excited by how long the first batch of laundry I mixed lasted us.  Wanna guess?

20 months.  Yes, TWENTY months…almost 2 years!  Amazing.

Oh and not only that, guess how much that cost…

$20.00!  That’s $1 per month for our laundry soap.  Double amazing.

homemade laundry soap ingredients

When I first decided to make our own laundry detergent we were living in our apartment and did not have the space for the liquid that seem to be popular (and have to be stored in 5 gallon buckets).  I finally found a recipe for powered detergent on Pinterest and gave it a try.  Like I said, the supplies cost $20.  The hardest part was grating the bars of soap (talk about an arm workout) and then all you have to do is mix it together.  We stored it in one of those big clear plastic containers that cheese puffs or pretzels come in (you can see ours here).

We do about five loads of laundry a week and this container lasted us twenty months (I told a few people 2.5 years the other day but when I went back and checked it was really only 20 months…so sorry about that!).  Of course now that we have Hudson (who creates significantly more laundry for being such a small person) it won’t last quite as long.  This time I bought different soap and I bought my ingredients at Kroger (a little more expensive), so my total cost was about $33.00.  But still…that’s a pretty good price for the amount you get!

What are you happy about today?

 

Linking up with Lauren

so what’s the deal with essential oils anyway?

Young Living essential oils premium starter kit distributor 1612080.jpg

I’ve posted a few things on Facebook and Pinterest recently about essential oils and as a result I’ve had a lot of questions about what they are and how I’m using them.  I thought I’d go ahead and address that here to (hopefully) answer everyone’s questions.

I really didn’t know much, if anything, about essential oils (EOs) until just a few months ago.  I mean, I’d heard of them and knew there were some like lemon and lavender and peppermint.  I knew that lavender and lemon were popular to use while cleaning.  I had even thought I’d added an essential oil to my homemade cleaner when I first made it a few years ago (fyi, the scented oils at Walmart in the candle section are not EOs and don’t really offer anything to your cleaning products other than a scent…don’t make that mistake like me).  A friend of mine who is kind of crunchy, hippie-ish like me and who gives me lots of little tips and such had also mentioned EOs on several occasions, many time when we were talking about baby-related items.

So a few months ago I decided to track down some essential oils.  I’d heard great things; I really wanted to have them to add to my homemade cleaners (in place of the fake-ola scented oils I used the first time) and I was planning to use them to make some homemade hand soap and baby wipe solution.  I didn’t really know where to buy them so I posted on a local Facebook group to see where in town I could get some.  I had a ton of people comment and the one thing I kept seeing over and over was that I should order them from Young Living.

I started talking with one of the ladies who’d suggested Young Living and then started doing some research of my own.  The more I talked to her and the more I researched the more amazed I became about these oils.  Supposedly, according to everything I was reading, they could be used for way more than making household products.  They could also be used for tons and tons of health issues.

One of the options when you sign up as a wholesale customer with Young Living (you can either buy straight from their website and pay retail or you can sign up to be a wholesale customer and get them at a significant discount) is to get what they call the Premium Starter Kit.  It comes with eleven essential oils, a diffuser, and some other small samples.  The oils are what they call Everyday Oils – the oils that are most popular, most versatile, and that you’d want to use on a regular basis.  I was a little conflicted about the cost but finally just decided to use some of my Christmas money and give it a try…it they turned out to be as great as everyone says then they’d be totally worth it!

I was so excited to receive my oils in the mail and it couldn’t have come at a better time.  As you know if you’ve been reading for a while, I had a lot of back pain during pregnancy.  My oils came on a Thursday and that day my back had really flared up and was hurting badly.  Unfortunately my chiropractor was only open Monday thru Thursday and I couldn’t go Thursday afternoon so I was going to have to wait until the following Monday and just deal with the pain over the weekend.  Ouch.

But I had heard that Valor and Panaway (two of the oils in the Starter Kit) were great for back pain so when I got home Thursday afternoon I ripped open the package and applied those two right away.  I applied them again Thursday night and then Friday morning before work.

Y’all.  My back pain was gone.

Now you know I’m pretty natural and what I lovingly refer to as “crunchy”.  I’m into organic food and making my own soap and natural childbirth and all that jazz.  I avoid taking medicine and I tend to lean toward more alternative medicine options.  However, I’m still a total skeptic.  I thought chiropractic care was total witch doctor stuff until I started going and saw such improvements.  I thought reflexology was a hoax until I had that done and absolutely could see a correlation between the feet and the rest of the body.  So even though alternative medicine keeps proving to me that it’s the real deal, I was still skeptical about these “voodoo-witch-doctor-y-medicine-man essential oils”.

Well color me converted….

I could not believe that in less than 24 hours, three applications of oils could do what chiropractic care had only been able to help with.  That discovery alone is worth the price of the oils, in my opinion.

Something else that I’d dealt with during pregnancy that you might remember was snoring.  As in, one night Michael actually got up and checked out our window because he was certain that there was a motorcycle in our front yard….then he realized that was just me snoring!  Prior to pregnancy I only snored when my nose was stopped up, but the added weight gain plus the way pregnancy hormones loosen up your ligaments and stuff to prepare for birth was making me saw logs.

I’d read that Valor applied to the bottom of the big toe helped with snoring.  So I tried it.

Not one time after I started using Valor every night did Michael wake up to me snoring.  I can’t say I stopped completely because no one was awake to hear me, but I was no longer disturbing his sleep like I had been every.single.night.

Very shortly afterward Mr. Hudson made his appearance and learning about my oils took a bit of a back burner.  In hindsight, I so wish I had discovered them just a few months earlier.  I think they would have been fantastic during pregnancy (since I was avoiding taking any medicine during that time) as well as during labor and recovering afterward.   I did use them some during those times, but not to their fullest potential because I hadn’t really had enough time to experiment and figure out what oils to use for what issues.

Some other things I’ve also used them for:
– I had a horrible rash on my inner thighs after my labor due to my legs staying constantly wet for so long with all the amniotic fluid and such.  I used lavender on it two or three times in the hospital while we were recovering and it cleared up within two days.
– I used some Gentle Baby Hudson’s diaper rash and it improved significantly overnight.
– I’ve had three infected hangnails over the past few months and each time applying Thieves, lavender, and/or Purification (I kind of alternate them) dried up the infection within a few days.
– I rarely get headaches (usually only when a sinus infection is coming on), but the lack of sleep with a new baby has caused some fatigue headaches.  Peppermint and M-Grain (a blend specifically for migranes) have knocked them out in about 30 minutes.
– Thieves is an EO blend that is amazing for killing germs.  We’ve used that one a lot since Hudson was born to try to keep him from getting sick.
– I woke up one day last week with a zit, one of those painful ones that is just a bump under the skin that hasn’t come out quite yet.  I applied Purification twice during the day and by the end of the day the zit was gone!

I actually had most of this post typed up Wednesday to post on Thursday but I could tell I was starting to get a cold/sinus infection and I really wanted to try out my oils and see if they made a difference so I could add those results to this post.  Spoiler alert: they did!

Just about every year around this time I get some sort of sinus junk that usually results in me losing my voice.  I can always tell when I’m about to get sick – I get a headache and feel very tired.  Well…with having a new baby and being up in the middle of the night two or three times a night, headaches and feeling tired are kind of commonplace these days.  So I didn’t catch it quite as early this time.  Wednesday it progressed on to a sore throat, sinus pressure in my face, my ears were hurting a little, and a little bit of a rasp in my voice.  My protocol previously has been to start taking Benadryl at the first sign and sleep extra.  Sleeping extra is out of the picture right now and I really wanted to avoid Benadryl.  I started using a variety of my oils Wednesday night before bed.  I still felt pretty crummy in the middle of the night when I got up to feed Hudson but Thursday morning I was feeling markedly better.  I continued oiling throughout the day Thursday and by Friday morning I felt completely better with the exception of a little runny/stopped up nose.  I had less than 48 hours of a runny and mildly congested nose and then that was gone too.  Oils for the win!

And those are just a few of the things that have worked for me in the few short months I’ve been using them.  I’ve heard incredible stories from others about how they have successfully used EOs to fade stretch marks (I’m excited to try that!), clear up acne, to get pregnant, for weight loss, to manage their kid’s ADD/ADHD without medicine, to heal eczema, to reverse autistic tendencies, to regulate blood sugar and get rid of diabetes, and so much more.  I am constantly amazed at how the oils are working for people.

So yeah, this skeptic is now a believer.

Young Living essential oils on the go

I even got a cute little carrying case so I can carry some of my favorites in my purse/diaper bag.  And since I got my initial starter kit I’ve placed two more orders or oils because I just love them so.

Now that I’ve seen what they can do I want to share them with everyone!  Michael laughs at me because any time he (or anyone else) mention various and sundry ailments I’m like “I have an oil for that!”.  You know how when you find a product you love that you just want to tell everyone about it….that’s how I feel about oils!

I don’t claim to know everything.  You’re welcome to ask me things and I’ll try to find the answers, but I’ll also go ahead and direct you to some of my favorite resources.  This is a great website that really helped me as I was trying to learn about oils.  Here’s a look at nine of the Everyday Oils and this video is very beneficial if you have the time and want to learn more about for what the oils can be used (there’s also a good explanation about what EOs actually are).  This and this Facebook group have some interesting testimonies and info as well (apologies for the horrible grammar I just used there).  This blogger blogged for 31 days about Young Living essential oils – there is a ton of information there!  And of course we can’t leave out Pinterest.

One random note that I didn’t know and wish I had before I got my oils…they don’t smell like candles.  Some smell better than others to me, but they are not the delicious, artificial candle-y scents.  They smell very much like a spa/massage place, which isn’t necessarily bad, just not what I expected.

Disclaimer: I only endorse Young Living oils.  My research has brought me to the conclusion that these are the best – they are a reputable company, they don’t put additives or fillers in their oils, and they have a commitment to producing quality products.

So…

What do you know about essential oils?  Do you already use them?  Had you even heard of them before?

Did this answer some of your questions?  If not, let me know in the comments or shoot me a message and I’ll try to help you out!

Are you interested in getting some oils?  Let me help you out!  Go here to find out how to sign up.  When you sign up with YL you get your oils at a wholesale price.  You can be a distributor if you want, meaning you can make a little money by sharing about the oils, but that is not required.  Honestly, when I signed up I only did it so I could get the wholesale price for my own oils.  I am not a salesperson and I’ve always said I’ll never sell anything.  But people have started asking about oils and I’ve seen how wonderful they are and I want to share that with others.  If I happen to make a little extra income that’s an added bonus, but if not that’s ok too.

But anyway, if you think you might want to become a distributor as well or just try out some oils, let me know.  I’d love, LOVE to get you started on your journey to better health.

(oh and in case you’re confused…you DO NOT have to sell Young Living in order to use their oils.  That is totally optional.  Nor do you have to pay an annual fee like at Sam’s Club or Costco.  You don’t have to order a certain amount or number of times.)

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease.

Oh, and don’t forget to come join My Chocolate Moments on Facebook so that you can keep up with my essential oils journey…as well as all the rest of my shenanigans.

high five for Friday

It’s been a looooonnngg time since I did a High Five for Friday post!  I’m just now emerging from the post-baby fog where I hardly knew my own name, much less what day of the week it was.  Tell me I’m not alone in that…

Here’s what I’m high five-ing this week.

1.  I cleaned my house.  I know, so earth-shattering.  But some parts of our house haven’t been cleaned since before Hudson was born and he’s almost two months old *ducks head in shame*.  I’ve been basically worthless in the cleaning department since I’m more in the baby-holding-milk-making department right now, but we’re finally starting to get into a routine.  Most of the time as soon I as get ready to clean Hudson wakes up from his nap so I only get part of a room done.  Yesterday though he took several great naps and I was able to get the house mostly cleaned.  We (well, Michael and mom actually) have been keeping up with the day-to-day things (dishes, kitchen, bathrooms, etc.) but I’ve let a lot slide.  It felt great to get some of the less important things done (like dusting our bedroom…some big ‘ole dust bunnies had accumulated in two months!).

2.  I got in some new essential oils that I ordered.  It’s like Christmas when they come!  And they came just in time to help me knock out an impending sinus infection so it was perfect timing.

Young Living essential oils

3.  During one of Hudson’s naps I got to mix up some of my “potions” (pain cream, diaper rash cream, lotion, etc.).  I had a good time doing something not so baby related for a change.

mixtures made with Young Living essential oils

4.  I had a big Mommy-win this week: I took Hudson out shopping by myself for the first time.  We went to Hobby Lobby (PSA: Hobby Lobby’s carts are too small to fit a carseat inside.  I learned that the hard way and had to haul that huge carseat all over the store.  Next time I’ll wear him in my baby carrier!), Target, the mall (just in and out of Dillard’s), and then we ran by Michael’s work so his coworkers could meet Hudson.  That was a HUGE trip out for us and I was so proud.  He did great, too; slept nearly the whole time.

shoppingThis was actually a different day when we went to Kroger – Michael had one cart for the groceries and I just followed him around pushing Hudson in a different cart.  I don’t know what I’ll do when I need to get groceries on my own…there is not room for a baby and groceries in the cart!  I think I’ll wear him so the buggy is free.

5.  I finally got around to setting up a Facebook page for my blog.  I’ve been meaning to for a while and just never made time (it took, like, 5 whole minutes…what a procrastinator).  Have you liked it yet?  You totally should…all the cool kids are doing it ;).  (go here)

Bonus: I get to love on this sweet boy all day every day and nothing could make me happier.  (Did you really think I’d write a whole post without random Hudson pictures….?)

HudsonLinking up with Lauren