Thursday, December 31, 2015

2016: Building Healthy Habits and Routines!


I want my 2016 to be all about building and maintain healthy every day habits and routines.  At a glance it may seem like I am adding to my already busy life, but in reality many of my goals and resolutions will make my life easier.  My hope is to basically declutter my routines, home, and body so that I have more time and energy for my little family J.  So… without further ado, I invite you to read my goals and resolutions for 2016! 

2016 Goals and Resolutions:

Diet:

  • Become a meal prep master.  That means we are going to be having healthy home cooked meals EVERY DAY around here.
  • Control my milk allergy – that means, NO MILK in anything L
  • Avoid added sugar (milkless chocolate chips in trail mix are ok, but sugar in coffee and baked goods are a no-no.)
  • Take my Ningxia Red every day morning and night!
Exercise

  • Rehabilitate my knee.  For those of you that don’t know, my exercise has been minimal since I hurt my knee in June.  I will be seeing an awesome physical therapist soon and I need to be disciplined about oiling up my knee and doing my exercises at home EVERY DAY!!!

My living room when it is actually clean... isn't it peaceful?
Mental

  • Build household organization routines.  My husband often jokes, “una casa limpia es una se├▒al de una vida desperdiciada” (a clean home is a sign of a wasted life), but I disagree.  A clean and organized home helps me feel accomplished, relaxed, motivated, and focused.
  • Continue to play and read with Max every day.
  • Spread the love of essential oils – these have changed my life for the better and I want to share that with people.

Financial

  • Do what Dave Ramsey recommends: tell my money where to go at the beginning of every month... and follow through of course!


What is your # 1 goal for the New Year?

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Hooray for Diaper Mega Savings!

Has the cost of diapers got you down in the dumps???

Max is pondering the cost of diapers...
Diapers and all that relates to them seem to be the most universally dreaded part of parenthood.  If I am honest with myself, my least favorite parental activity is changing Max’s diaper.  In fact I pretty much try to do whatever I can to get out of it.  Luckily my husband has embraced this aspect of fatherhood and I can literally go an entire weekend without changing a single diaper.  This is pretty amazing and fortunate for Max too because I don’t seem to have the diaper changing skills that my husband, pro-diaper-changing extraordinaire has.  In fact, the other day after wrestling with Max for about 8 minutes, I managed to get his poopy diaper off and just barely wipe him clean when he actually escaped and crawled out of his room, all the way down the hall, and hid under the dining room table where he sat giggling at me.  I have to admit that part of the reason he was able to get so far was because I was debilitated by laughter—his little butt wiggling under his onsie had me rip roaring with laugher.

Anyway, in our household Alejandro changes the majority of the diapers and I procure the diapers and all the other stuff we need.  I am so to speak, the logistics and procurement officer of our household so I mainly take charge of determining what we need and where to buy it, then I order it or go pick it up on the correct day so that I can use my wad of coupons.


So, I have two big tricks that I use/have used to save big money on diapers and other baby items. Read on!


Diaper and Baby Gear Mega Saving Method 1:

When Max was first born we used pampers and we saved a significant amount of money on them because we purchased several boxes of them on our registry at Babies R Us.  We made this purchase knowing that we could easily exchange them within a year of purchase without having any problems.  When we made our trip to Babies R Us to use our registry completion discount plus some other discounts, we made sure to do a few things:

1.  We purchased everything that we knew we were going to end up buying. We also made sure that we had all of these items on our registry.  This included a several month supply worth of diapers.

2.  We researched competitor prices and made sure to use the price-match guarantee at the register, especially for big items like our BOB Jogger.

3.  We used any coupons that we had.  We didn’t know it at the time but Babies R Us offers competitor coupons.  We could have taken a 20% off coupon from Buy Buy Baby or Bed Bath and Beyond and used it on our jogger.  Oops!

3.  We used our registry completion discount to get 15% off of the entire purchase (including sale and price-matched items).

4.  We opened a credit card that day to get an additional 15% off of the entire purchase (including sale and price matched items).

5.  We made this big purchase on a Saturday (Thursday works too) to get an additional 10% off of the entire purchase.   There was a promotion for using your toys r us credit card on a certain day.  Year round, this promotion works on Thursday but in November they offer this discount on Saturdays too.   

6.  After our purchase, we took all the money that we had been putting aside in an envelop for this purchase.  We stuck it in the bank and paid off the Toys R Us credit card right away.  We did not purchase anything unless we had the money for it in that envelope.

7.  As Max grew, we ended up with extra boxes of diapers of certain sizes.  We just took them back to the store and got the next size that we needed.  Easy peasy.

Here are a few of the great deals we ended up getting:

$32.04 per 186 ct box of Pampers Swaddlers.  For the same price you can buy a 129 ct. box of Pampers Swaddlers.  Be basically got 45% more diapers for our money by planning ahead.

$207.61 for a BOB Revolution SE Jogger.  This compares with $459.99 at Buy Buy Baby (minus 20% because it is silly to not use a coupon in that store).

$58.52 for an additional Chicco car seat base.

$76.49 for a crib mattress original price $99.99.

$52.01 for a Kiinde Feeding set (bottle warmer, disposable bottles, various nipples, pump attachments, solid food pouch filler, etc.) original price $99.99.

$12.55 for a 808 count box of pampers sensitive wipes.  Original price $23.99.


Overall, we hit the jackpot on this purchase.  I even saved the receipt to prove it!  And now for my next tip…



Diaper Mega Savings Method #2

This tip will help you once you find the diaper that you love and you have an idea of how many you typically need for the week or month.  We use Earth’s Best now and we started using this trick once we had settled on our diaper brand and we knew we would be in the same size for a while (3’s and 4’s).

Tip number 2 is:  Get an Amazon Mom account through Amazon Prime and use “Subscribe and Save” to buy your diapers.  This will save you up to 20% or more off the price of diapers.  It does require an amazon prime membership, but I can assure you it is totally worth it.


This method of buying diapers will save you a lot of time and money.   You won’t have to make the dreaded diaper run to the store with a baby in tow.  You won’t have to go diaper deal hunting, which frankly is not an easy task.  Buying diapers with coupons can be tricky and amazon mom takes that out of the equation.  You know every month that you are going to pay a great price for diapers.

We spend about $35 dollars for 140 Earth’s Best diapers (these are generally more expensive than many brands but they actually fit Max really well).   The list price for this amount is $79.99.  Pampers Swaddlers are slightly cheaper at about $36 dollars for 162 diapers.  And if you like Huggies Snug and Dry, a 192-count box of size 4s runs at about $31.

Places like Babies R Us only use coupons on diapers if they are diaper coupons or if they are able to apply a total purchase coupon.  You have to buy diapers every month but you won’t come across special deals and coupons on diapers every month.   I like that I can use subscribe and save and save my energy for the sweeter parts of parenthood --- basically anything but diapers or diapering.

So this is how subscribe and save works.  Every month you will have a ship date.   Anything that you purchase through subscribe and save will be automatically shipped to you by that date.  When you subscribe for an item, you are adding it to your automatic ship order.  You determine the frequency of your order based on your needs.  For example I am currently a subscriber of two boxes of earth’s best diapers.  I have it set up so one box is shipped monthly while the other is shipped every two months.  I typically adjust this as my diaper supply waxes and wanes.  Next month I will be skipping both shipments because I have a massive stash of diapers right now.

Here are a few things to keep in mind if you are going to use this tip:

  • Keep in mind that you can change your order.  Maybe you order two boxes this month so you only need one next month.  Change your order. 
  • You can plan your monthly orders months in advance if you need to.
  • You can add other baby or adult items to your order.  In fact, the more items on your order the more you save (up to 15%).  I have bought canned baby food, kitchen sponges, Swiffer dusters refills, Vega One Protein Powder, etc. on subscribe and save.
  • Making returns with amazon is not convenient or cost effective.  Only buy diapers this way if you have found the diaper that fits your baby.  When I decided to try Earth’s Best, I spent more money at a store just so I could try them out before making a bigger purchase.
  • There are also other perks of using amazon prime and subscribe and save.  Explore the perks and use them.  We watch a lot of amazon prime movies because they are free with a subscription.
Max approves of Amazon Subscribe and Save... I think he just likes the boxes.


Anyway, I hope this post will help you save time and money.  If you have any insight about saving money on diapers or baby gear, please share in the comments.  I would really appreciate it!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Burn Update: 1 lesson learned


So, my hand has healed very well from my nasty burn on Monday and something very surprising happened when I stopped applying lavender... On Monday and Tuesday I put lavender on my burn site regularly - no blister.  On Wednesday and Thursday morning I didn't apply any lavender.  By Thursday afternoon I had started to develop a small flat blister pocket on the palm of my hand.  As soon as I realized that I was getting a blister I have been putting lavender on it a few times a day and the size has gotten slightly smaller and it has stayed very flat with almost no fluid inside.  The blister is unlike other blisters that I have had in that it has not interfered with my use of my hand.  The lack of fluid is pretty remarkable.

In summary, this is what I learned from this experience:

To avoid big puffy fluid filled blisters, apply lavender until the burn has completely healed.


Well, thats all folks!  Oh.. and if you are scratching your head and saying? "Burn? What Burn?" Please read my previous post on my wicked burn.   

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Burns + Lavender = No Blisters!


 Ok, I know I promised to blog about everything mom related… not just lavender…. But I just cannot pass the opportunity to share this crazy thing that I did yesterday and how lavender saved me from a lot of agony.

Last night I was cooking with a skillet that I had put in the oven at 410 degrees Fahrenheit—you see where this is going don’t you?  I pulled the skillet out, tossed my oven mitt to the side, checked the temperature of my meat, and you guessed it – I grabbed the handle of the skillet with my bare hand.  Yowzer!  It hurt a lot.  This was by far my dumbest and most painful burn of my life.  At the moment, I was sure that my hand was going to be totally unusable for days.  Luckily I was wrong, thanks to the heroine of this story, dun, dun, dun, Lavender!

Thanks to lavender, what I have to tell you now is pretty unbelievable.   Are you ready?

I do not have a single blister on my hand!

You are probably sitting there thinking, “come on Mumma Lavender get a grip, that burn must not have been that bad”.  Actually, this was a really bad burn.  The pain was excruciating for hours.  It was so severe that I thought that I would not be able to fall asleep AT ALL.



 This picture is from 12 hours after grabbing the skillet.  The burn area actually stretches from the first knuckle from each of my fingertips all the way to the bottom of my palm to the base of my thumb.  My pinky was pretty much spared.  Right now my skin is shiny and warped in some places, but in others you can’t even see that I was burned.  In fact, my ring finger and palm were the areas that hurt the most.  Now you cannot even see that my ring finger was part of the burn area.  Thank you lavender!


So why does this all matter?  I am so glad you asked…

I always assumed that bad burn = bad blister = ripped off skin = lots-of-pain-for-days-and-days.  It was the natural order of things.  Now I realize that blisters don’t have to be a way of life!  No blister = no raw skin = no infection!  I probably will not even get a scar.  Lavender is making this burn heal very fast.
This also means that one day post burn, when baby Max stood up WITHOUT-HOLDING-ON-TO-ANYTHING-FOR-THE-FIRST-TIME-EVER I was able to clap with all my might!


So now, I’ll get to the specifics of what I did to prevent blister mayhem all over my hand.

As soon as I realized that I had burnt my hand, I did what most people do – I ran my hand under cool water for a few minutes.

Next, I gently spread several drops of lavender all over my burn.

Finally, I filled a bowl with water, 4-5 drops of lavender, and a few ice cubes.  I used this to keep a small washcloth constantly moist with cool water by dipping it in and wringing it out periodically.  I spread the wet towel over my burn.

I basically used this cool compress all evening until I was ready to go to bed.  I also reapplied lavender directly to my burn under the compress once every hour or so.

When it was time to go to bed I was actually afraid because every time I took the compress off my hand the pain started to intensify incredibly quickly.  My hand looked all right but it felt like I was still gripping that hot pan.  I really thought I would not get any sleep until I remembered something: I have an Aloe plant!

So I broke off a piece (actually my husband did because I was pretty useless at this stage) and spread the inside goo and fibers onto my hand over a fresh application of lavender.   The coolness and moisture of the plant kept my pain at a much more tolerable level and I was able to sleep - A deep lavender sleep -which I had also put under my toes of course ;)



Disclosure:  I am not a doctor, just a mere mortal that uses essential oils for everything.  I am also a Young Living distributor (#3126359) and my statements have not been certified by the FDA.  If you are considering using essential oils, please do your research on which oils are healthy and safe for therapeutic uses.  Not all oils are created equal.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Blister-Be-Gone?

If you have ever gotten a blister, pay close attention!  A few days ago I had two bulging blisters on the tops of my toes.  While working on this blog, singing the praises of lavender it occurred to me that I had read that lavender could treat blisters. So I gave it a try. 

I put a drop of lavender on my finger and spread it over the two blisters.  I did this two more times in the next hour and 15 minutes or so.  After about an hour and a half from my initial application of lavender, I felt the blister loose its fluid without breaking the skin.  I used a napkin to absorb the moisture and finish draining my blister.  I then reapplied lavender.

The next day I could barely tell that there had been a blister there.  My skin did not break and basically just began to reattach itself to the flesh below it.  I experienced zero discomfort when I put shoes on that same morning.  This is the only time I have ever used lavender on a blister (this is all new to me) so I am very curious to see if it will help me prevent blister problem spots.

In the past I would get a blister while running and it would tear or I would have to pop it.  The spot would be sore for a long time and would become a blister breeding ground.  I would get blisters over and over again in the same spot because my skin would be so weak. 


But will this work on feet that are running often? (I was not able to try this because I am supposed to rest my knee).  What about blisters from burns or blisters that have already popped?  To find out, I ordered some lavender for sharing.  This is where I need your help!  I would love it and be eternally grateful to those that are willing to try this out and report back to me.  My goal is to get an accurate picture of lavender as a blister beater in different scenarios.  If you are interested in trying out a bit o’lavender on your blisters (this includes all blister types), let me know and I will try to get some to you right away!