Everyday blogging challenge, plus youtube videos

I was a brand new entrepreneur with a tight (read: nonexistent) marketing budget and was  hunting around for ways to build up my webstore, when someone HOOKED ME. That’s right- a successful Youtuber with a cute name introduced to me the term V.E.D.A and I was sold. I joined the challenge to post daily videos through the month of August and I’ve been trying to do so every A*Month since! Now I’m an old pro: I can edit my videos, pace myself, stop myself from saying “SOOOooooo” as a filler, and I’m writing my own daily prompts. A few friends are getting in on the fun too, so if you’re a blogger/vlogger or you know someone who is, the invite is open to all! Just add your URL to this post and we’ll subscribe and follow along with you.

Browse the list below that I literally just threw together. I’ll stick with these for the most part but may deviate if I’m not feeling the topic that day. You can subscribe to my Youtube channel or check back here for the embedded videos. See ya in April 2015!

  1. Kid-Friendly Jokes (April Fools)
  2. Fighting fears of the dentist
  3. Overabundance of THINGS and how to streamline
  4. Bringing back the bartering system
  5. Easter, springtime, goals this season
  6. The top-secret, styled wedding you wish you had thought of
  7. Household chores and paying allowance: Do’s and don’ts
  8. All things FREE that I could think of
  9. Education & the S-Word (Private/Public/Charter/Home/Un)
  10. Smoothies: Nutribullet is great but I still love pizza best
  11. Meal Solutions: My love/hate relationship with cooking
  12. The highs and lows of my Teens and Twenties
  13. My day job. My night job. My never sleep job.
  14. How motherhood finally grew on me
  15. Knowing what sets you off and what calms you down
  16. Me time. 30minutes, twice a week
  17. The condition of my spirit. Plans for hope and a future.
  18. Business Expo. Using what I got from that public speaking class
  19. The community in my little corner of the world
  20. Why I’m afraid for New Jersey. Pros & Cons of my state.
  21. Being a “mompreneur” and what the phrase means to me
  22. Made in USA- does domestic fashion really matter?
  23. Internships! Volunteering! This is how you get started.
  24. Advice from my Grandmother. (For better or worse
  25. Parenting Pt. One: Bragging because my kids are perfect
  26. Parenting Pt. Two: Just kidding: here’s how we survive
  27. Ten wishes I have that may make me old-fashioned
  28. Random Thoughts of the Day
  29. Why being a freelance designer ROCKS, and how to do it
  30. ??? (this will be interesting…)
Thanks for visiting TurnoversBaby on WordPress! Leave a comment and let me know what you think! Check out a few other VEDA videos by clicking the link below and show some love to the other vloggers that joined my challenge>>>

VEDA Challenge 2014

VEDA Challenge 2014

I committed to Vlog Every Day in April, and you can subscribe to my Youtube Channel https://www.youtube.com/user/TurnoversBaby and follow my posts.

It’s not to late to jump on board if you want to take the VEDA challenge yourself! Just post your link in a comment here: http://turnoversbabyshop.com/blog/april-2014-veda-challenge

It’s no joke. But Happy April Fools Day just the same! 😉

A Cleaner, Greener, Baby Shower + Earth Mama Giveaway!

(Read the full post here)

In a world where things are built to be broken and replaced, sustainability is a precious feature.

Buying and using items with longer life cycles is also a way to conserve our natural resources.

Be creative in your planning

If you’re planning or hosting a baby shower, here are some green ideas that were given to me by other creative mommas:

Use mason jars and glass straws for beverages— make fresh squeezed juice instead of bottled punch, and fresh fruit bouquets for centerpieces

Give guests a potted plant to take home as a thank you gift

Make centerpieces out of tall glass containers and fill with eco-green baby products and top with flowers in their own container

Wrap gifts with baby blankets & towels, or use containers/baskets she may have registered for

Have a wishing well for guests to fill with small, unwrapped, eco baby products

Throwing a greener, cleaner baby shower is easier and cheaper than you may think! It just takes some brain-storming and dedication on your part. For more tips on how to decorate and cater a sustainable event, and spend less money doing so, read my Resourceful Guide to a  Gender Reveal. Meanwhile, be sure to enter the giveaway and connect with Turnovers and Earth Mama Angel Baby!

(Organic Mama-To-Be-Tea Sampler by Earth Mama Angel Baby)
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GREEN: The color of the month

You’ve probably heard far too much of the color green, ever since Emerald was named the Pantone Color of the Year 2013. Well, I’m the Queen of Green, and I will never get tired of it. Number one, it brings out my eyes when I wear green makeup or clothing. Secondly, green stands for life and earth and sustainability… things that I love. Since March is a perfect opportunity to talk about green and Saint Patrick’s Day is on 3/17, I wanted to make a list of three-hundred-and-seventeen things I can find in shades of green.

Just kidding. I’m dedicating an acronym to things that we can do to LIVE GREENER, being more responsible with our resources, and focus on  making healthier choices.

Happy St. Patricks Day!  Be Greener than ever.

Image Solar Power

If you’re considering PV Panels or Solar Thermal Panels, have a look at this guide first to help you understand the different options that are available.

ImageTransportation Choices

When possible, opt for walking, biking, carpooling or public transportation. Check out these plans for a car-free environment in Hamburg, Germany.

ImagePrevent Pollution

Be a selective shopper and consider things like packaging. Also, choose digital thermometers over ones that contain mercury. Here is a guide for eco-minded consumers to follow.

ImageAir Out Your Home 

Opening windows for 5 minutes a day can make a big difference in your indoor air quality. Removing clutter and dusting can also improve the air you’re breathing inside. Also remember that plants give off oxygen. More tips on this here

ImageTree Planting

Planting trees in your yard is a great idea, not just for the environment but also for raising property value. Here are some things you should know before beginning your agricultural project.

ImageRepurposing & Recycling

Everyone knows how to recycle, and in some towns & cities, it’s a requirement. Repurposing is another way to give new life to something old or unwanted. Here are some ideas on how to repurpose household items.

ImageImplement Eco Habits in Your Home

Getting the whole family on board is important. Green your home by teaching your kids (and spouse!) to turn off lights, set sleep timers on TVs & computers, conserve water, limit the use of paper products, and create eco habits.

ImageClothing Choices

Natural fibers vs. synthetic fibers, organic vs. pesticide-treated, versatile vs. limited, classic vs. trendy – there are lots of things we can do to support healthy manufacturing processes and extend the lifecycle of your own clothing. We can even alter and update things we already own.

ImageKale & Spinach

I was not so sure about putting leafy greens into smoothies, but I was pleasantly surprised by how good it is. Here’s a healthy home-made Shamrock Shake recipe to try!

ImageSwap Products/Services

Cash money is green, but it can be even more rewarding to swap items rather than selling them. Instead of a yard sale, think about exchanging goods and services locally with friends and neighbors in your community, like the author of this article did.

ImageDe-clutter & Donate

Streamlining your closets and living space is a healthy practice that can simplify your routine and refresh your home environment. If you have things you don’t use or like anymore, pass them on to others who will make use of them. Here is a guide to getting rid of things, according to category and geography.

Image Avoid Wasting Food

The Dept. of Agriculture estimates that an average American family wastes over a quarter of their food at home. Ways to reverse this pattern include meal planning, rotating items in the fridge, freezing, dehydrating, and composting. Read this article for more info.

Image Yoga, Aerobics, HIIT*

Try some of these exercises at home, to give you natural energy and get your body into healthy shape. Electricity-free exercise will save you money on your utility bill. You can also get some ideas from a chart that I made, especially if you have kids in your care.

*High Intensity Interval Training

My Survival Kit- Top 5 Things for Mom

Do you remember all those gadgets, ointments, first aid supplies, and other paraphernalia that you probably received at your first baby shower? Maybe you went a little wild on your registry and found yourself surrounded with tons of items that you thought you needed. The result: A back-breaking diaper bag.

As parents, we often depend on things to help us with the balance and order of our lives. Our needs change as frequently as our child grows. Prior to a year ago, I could not take my sons anywhere without hauling around our diaper bag- the vessel for a hundred things besides the diapers. It was a life line, fully stocked with every just-in-case product I thought I might need.

I’m learning to prioritize and condense as the boys are getting older. Their needs have changed, and my confidence has grown. Unless we are traveling to a wilderness, far away from all people, gas stations and shopping centers, there is no need to pack so many things. I’m always prepared, but my little car can only handle so much cargo without feeling cluttered and making my passengers feel claustrophobic.

Things. We don’t need as many as we think. I played through my day quickly in my head, and realized something: Short of food, oxygen, and love… we don’t really need too much. However, in terms of physical items, there are some things that have proven to be very useful.

I came up with five things which, as a mom of 3yr and 4.5yr old boys, I wouldn’t want to live without. Next year, my Top Five Things will look completely different, but for this stage of life here is my survival kit:

1. iPhone Notes App

iPhone Notes Application
For everything that I can’t rely on my brain to remember

I use this memo program on a regular basis. I digitally manage items on my grocery list as I shop the market. I write to-do lists while I’m watching my kids play in the bath. I type first draft blog posts while I’m standing in line. I copy/paste addresses, numbers, info that I found on emails or web browsers. Anything I need to remember, for future use, gets put in a digital note. I even keep track of my kids’ height and weight, and when someone has a fever I log their temperature & medicine times/doses. If you want to hear more rambling about how much I love the Notes app, watch my vlog on Youtube.

2. Portable Potty Chair

Potty Chair
A must-have for road trips and outings with potty-training children

This has been a lifesaver more times than I can count. It stays in the car, along with plastic bag inserts that have absorbing pads inside. If my newly potty-trained son absolutely needs to go pee right away (because kids don’t always give sufficient notice), I’m prepared. It was especially helpful when my oldest was potty-training because it would have been awful to drag along my youngest and put the baby carrier on the floor of a public bathroom so I could help my toddler. Thankfully, I’ve never had to do that, and I was able to limit the trips to public restrooms. The model pictured here is great- the legs fold up so it can be more compact. The legs also snap outward, so it can be set on top of an adult sized toilet seat. We have a sturdier potty chair at home in their bedroom, in case they wake up in the middle of the night and need to use the potty.

3. Car DVD Player

portable-dvd-player
An easy way to encourage quiet and relaxing car trips.

Sometimes there are places to go, and the kids are not always on board. If you have a long drive ahead of you, a DVD player for the car is very helpful for keeping the kids content. Grandmary (great-grandmom named Mary) bought a portable DVD player for my kids two years ago. The model we have is battery operated, but has a power adapter that plugs into the car and one that plugs into a wall at home. The screen swivels, but I keep it in the center of the back seat so it’s viewable from both sides of the car. The holding case keeps the screen opened and it suspends from the back of the driver and passenger seats. The case has a pocket for DVD storage, and it also came with a remote control. On occasion, I will set up a DVD even for a 30 minute trip if I’m really in need of a peaceful and quiet drive.

4. Double Jogger Stroller

Double Jogger Stroller
This was my best option for taking the kids on a jog, to the mall, on the boardwalk, to the beach and to some restaurants.

This jogger stroller was purchased by my coworkers when I was expecting my second child. I don’t know how I would have ever left the house with the boys if not for this very handy transportation device. My sons are almost 3 and 5, so I considered selling it this year, but even my oldest still fits comfortably. It’s wonderful for taking walks, a day at the zoo, a jog on the boardwalk, and it even serves as a wagon for the beach since the tires are so wide. The storage space underneath has held shopping bags, snacks, toys, sweatshirts- you name it. The cup holder section near the handle is a convenient feature. The seats even lay back, which is excellent for holding a baby.

5. Storybooks

Storybooks
Reading is part of our bedtime routine and it helps the kids to be calm and listen contentedly.

Storybooks are a must-have in our house because we enjoy reading together, and it helps the kids to be calm and listen contentedly. Thankfully, we have an enormous collection of books and we visit the library every two weeks so the boys can choose new stories. Every night, we read 2-3 books before bed, and it’s good for them to have quiet time to listen and sit still for awhile. We also keep books in the car so the kids can look at the pictures and words while they’re stuck in their seats. Storybooks can also help them to be patient at restaurants and in waiting rooms, and quiet when visiting someone who’s sick.

What are the Top Five Things in your parenting survival kit?

#momessentials

Get fit, avoid tantrum.

I’m not going to present myself as a committed fitness guru, and I won’t deceive you by implying that I exclusively eat vegan, non-GMO, healthy foods everyday. On the contrary, I’m writing this with a handful of jellybeans on the table to my right. My diet is healthy and well-balanced in general, and being in my best shape is important to me, but I have learned to set realistic expectations.

I have been in decent shape all of my life, mainly because I had hobbies that were physically strenuous. Rollerblading, playing basketball, running track, and snowboarding in the winter helped me to maintain an athletic build as a child and teen. In my late teens and twenties, I lived in the city and walked absolutely everywhere- often in high heels.

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Playing in water in Hawaii
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The fun kind of exercise 😉

Even while pregnant, I was on the move- constantly up and down concrete stairs and traveling up and down Broadway while on lunch breaks. Truly, I was not concerned with weight much and I don’t bother with scales often even today. A telltale sign for me is “How do my clothes fit?” Having a baby throws you for a total loop, inside, outside, emotionally, and socially. When my baby was ten months old, I went to work at a tailor shop on a United States Coast Guard base. Their state-of-the-art gym building was available for my use, so I took full advantage and my body was transformed into pre-pregnancy shape once again.

My baby's first outing
My baby’s first outing

Then… SCREECH!!!!! I had another child, was no longer working outside of the home, and I was left in worse physical shape than the first time around. Furthermore, a gym membership was out of the question. Competent babysitters were few and far between, and money was tight, so I had to get creative for my workout routine. I know there are other women out there in that same boat, and that is why I put together this blog post! I want to inspire and encourage you to create exercise opportunities for yourself in any season, with children of any age.

Lately, I’ve been feeling less motivated and my commitment level is dangerously low, so I created a list of ideas meant to inspire myself to get up and do it! Hopefully, I will gain a few accountability partners who will cheerlead me in the comments, and I will also be asking what YOU are adding into your daily routines. If you feel trapped because you have children climbing all over you and can’t get to your local fitness center, take a look at this realistic chart and think of what you could implement right now. Spring=Green, Summer=Yellow, Fall=Orange, Winter=Blue

Object: Get Fit, Avoid Tantrum
Get into shape, in any season, with children of all ages in your care

In case you have not noticed, babies & children can really throw off one’s personal plans. If you’re dressed in workout clothing and ready to do some floor exercises, it will be that moment when your child needs assistance in the bathroom.

Even a baby can sense when something un-baby-related is in the works, because when Mommy steps up onto the treadmill, the baby will forget being content in the swing and will begin fussing for no apparent reason.

That may sound rather paranoid, but it is definitely the case in my house, and I used to be highly frustrated because I felt I could never get anything done! Whether it was working on my home-based business, cooking, cleaning the bathroom, getting a shower, switching out kids clothing for the next size- NO amount of planning ahead, distractions, or pleading would ever buy me enough time to finish a task like that.

When I was about one step away from insanity, I questioned whether it was humanly possible for caretakers of young children to be time-efficient and productive. Then I came up with a plan, and so far it has been working like a charm…

Wait until they are sleeping, or make them a part of it. 

Sidebar: showers are preferable while they are sleeping, as is most business-related work, but naps are a thing of the past and they only sleep so long at night.

MOTHERS OF NEWBORNS: A word of caution: You should not exercise before your doctor gives you clearance, at your six week checkup. Walking and stretches were awesome for me in the beginning, but I (stitches and all) was not ready for serious exercise until my baby was a few months old. Even at that point, I would advise that you pay attention to how your body feels and start slow. Helene Byrne, founder of BeFit-Mom, has offered a few safe suggestions. “After an uncomplicated vaginal delivery, women can start pelvic floor exercises, special postnatal abdominal isolations, gentle stretching, and fitness walking with the baby in either a front pack or stroller as soon as she feels ready,” Byrne says. All pregnancies and recoveries are not equal. Since the recovery time for a C-section is longer, I would strongly advise women not to exercise until they are fully healed and have had follow-up appointments with the doctor.

There are exercises you can actually do with your baby, aside from the ideas on my chart (above). A personal trainer in NYC named Stefan Aschan has come up with exercises you can do using your infant’s weight to actually enhance your workout. Read more about it here.

TurnoversBaby's board on Delicious & Nutritious recipes
TurnoversBaby’s board on Delicious & Nutritious recipes

Now, the second part- which is no less important but not my topic of choice- is DIET. Diet and exercise go hand in hand, and I thank God that one inspires the other. When I’m doing sit-ups, it’s a great time to reflect on what I’ve been eating and when my abs start to scream, I downright resent the dessert I ate. My motivation to eat healthier is #1 I want to be healthy/beautiful inside & out, and #2 I want my workouts to feel easier and show me quick results. But diet on it’s own is a no-no in my book. I believe that STRENGTH is hugely important when you have children. Eating less or eating cleaner will surely help you to lose weight, but you don’t want to lose muscle in that! Try juggling a baby, a toddler, stroller, diaper bag, etc… you get the idea. So don’t lose your muscles- you’re going to need those. I am obsessed with finding healthy, delicious meals and snacks for my kids and for myself. I’ve started to pin recipes on Pinterest, so follow our board and you are welcome to send us your pins.

Meanwhile, I hope this was useful to you. Please share my chart and help other mommies take control of how they look and feel in a realistic, non-stressful way. Making your kids part of it is key, and you’re also teaching them by example how to exercise and take care of their bodies. Good job, mommas! If you have any ideas that I didn’t mention, or want to talk about what works in your family, leave a comment and share.

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A different kind of Valentine’s Day

Here’s the situation… Before kids, we loved to go on extravagant dates. Expensive,delectable restaurants in the center of town. Spontaneous excursions. We had fun. Even on a college budget there was always fun to be had via snowboarding trips to the mountains, game nights with friends, renting out the rink for private ice skating, karaoke, Harlem globetrotters games, open mic night, dance clubs, blah blah blah…

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Hanging out at Dave & Busters Arcade
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Snowboarding in the bitter cold of the Poconos
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At my friend Karen’s wedding

Fast forward to 2014: Having two preschool-aged boys makes it tougher to get away from the homestead, and it’s truly impossible to be spontaneous. Competent babysitters are few and far between, and going to Philadelphia so we can dine at our favorite restaurant is not in the budget.

So- it is time to get creative. How can I make-believe we are having dinner at Tequila’s, and avoid spending hundreds of dollars? How can we get around the challenge of finding an available, trustworthy babysitter for the night? (Where are all the level-headed, interactive teenagers hiding??)

The answer: Steal ideas from the menu, put the kids to bed for the night, and make cooking as a couple part of the experience. The result: AMAZING food, surprisingly good teamwork, and a memory far more special than the usual night out.

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The source of the inspiration. Tequilas Restaurant on 16th & Locust, Philadelphia, PA

Do I feel guilty for stealing the menu of this grand restaurant, and practically replicating their options in my kitchen? A little bit. No. Many people would never take the DIY approach (it’s no good if you’re impatient and hate cooking), and I hardly expect the restaurant’s business will suffer because of my choice. And so, inspired by their Valentine’s Day themed Special Lovers Banquet menu, we agreed to make sangria, a festive salad, rib eye steak in chorizo sauce, chocolate truffles with vanilla ice cream and raspberry sorbet, and our favorite appetizer: queso fundido.

queso
Queso Fundido is a cheesy dip served with small flour tortillas or corn chips.

Next, I scoured the internet for recipes (links included below) that sounded close enough to our selections. The ingredients list tool on Allrecipes.com was helpful for some of the choices, and I also used Google to search for things by name.

I had a memo on my cellphone with a list of the ingredients needed for our dinner. We went shopping yesterday, and spent $73 at the grocery store, and another $26 at the liquor store (wine & raspberry pucker for sangria, mexican beer for the queso fundido). Spanish/Mexican food is CHEAP when you shop at the grocery stores! You may have to find a Spanish store for chorizo (hot sausage) or chayotes (a Mexican squash) but we found practically everything with no trouble at all.

Chayotes (a type of Mexican squash) look a lot like pears, but the bottom has a really funny shape. The whole family was joking about it looking like an old man's expression when eating something sour.
Chayotes (a type of Mexican squash) look a lot like pears, but the bottom has a really funny shape. The whole family was joking about it looking like an old man’s expression when eating something sour.

I also will admit that some of the prep was done last night. I made the raspberry sorbet (it needed to freeze) and mixed up the sangria (the flavors blend better overnight), and we also made the chocolate truffles and put them in the fridge. It was easy and didn’t take long.

Chocolate Truffles dipped in Milk Chocolate and White Chocolate. I colored the white chocolate pink with strawberry juice to decorate the top, and made taffy hearts. Cute?
Chocolate Truffles dipped in Milk Chocolate and White Chocolate. I colored the white chocolate pink with strawberry juice to decorate the top, and made taffy hearts. Cute?

Today needed to be an early dinner because of a commitment at 7pm. (Although I highly recommend you do this at night if you have young children, and let them watch a movie in bed while you cook. Tuck them in, say goodnight, and you’re ready for your date in the next room!)

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Neither of us are drinkers, and wine doesn’t appeal at all- But thanks to my friend taking us to a Portuguese festival back in 2006, it’s now our occasional beverage of choice.

The sun was shining, it was time to make dinner, and I needed a hat.

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Marques cannot take finding hair in his food, and despite my best efforts, it happens from time to time. I was considerate enough to stuff all of my hair into this pink striped hat that I found in the closet. (My grandmother bought me this when I was ten. True story.)

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At 3:30 this afternoon, we started chopping, grating, and sautéing.

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Carmelized Almonds, to top the salad
Carmelized Almonds, to top the salad
Poblano peppers had to be blackened under a broiler, then peeled and diced
Poblano peppers had to be blackened under a broiler, then peeled and diced
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I could easily be a vegetarian, or a pescatarian, since I’m not a fan of cooking meat. I eat steak maybe once a year.
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Searing the Rib Eye Steaks

I branched out of my comfort zone and touched raw steak. Massaged it, actually, with olive oil, sea salt and black pepper. Not my favorite part of this thing.

I sipped some sangria while the steak was cooking
I sipped some sangria while the steak was cooking

By 5:00pm, we were sitting down to a very Tequilas-esque dinner, all within the comfort of the kitchen.

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It was fun, and really delicious. And I am no chef. Want to try? I dare you to get inspired by your favorite restaurant’s menu, and research some recipes to make with your honey. Make a memory and save money. By the way, the amount of food we made was way more than we would have been served while dining out. We had enough to share with others, plus there is queso fundito and a plate of truffles in my fridge right now.

Going to Philly for dinner at Tequilas would have cost us $303.95

Appetizer (queso fundido) $9.95

2 extra glasses of sangria $16

Valentines Special ($75 per person) $150

20% gratuity fee ($40)

Roundtrip train tickets $38 (to avoid the gas, tolls, & parking garage cost)

5 hours of Babysitting (rate: $10/hr) $50

– darkshot

We spent almost $100 on everything we needed, and our kids were safely at home with us while we enjoyed our dinner for two.

Here are the recipes we followed!

Queso Fundido

Carmelized Almonds (for the salad)

Raspberry Mango Sangria

Rib Eye Steak with Chorizo sauce (the rub wasn’t included with this guide, but I used olive oil, sea salt & black pepper)

Chocolate Truffles

Raspberry Sorbet

Cleaner toothpaste, straight out of my kitchen

Growing up, my mother was a heavy tea drinker. She was a late-nighter, early-riser, daycare-runner, get-the-girls-ready-for-school-enforcer, breakfast-maker, work-at-home-mommer and she LOATHED the taste of coffee. So, she drank tea. As a result, her pearly whites needed a bit of help maintaining their sparkle, and I remember watching her scoop baking soda onto her toothbrush after she was through using her toothpaste. She scrubbed off the stains effortlessly. (She also had about 600 other uses for baking soda, but we’ll save that for another post.)

te-y-cafe-cerebro-

I tried the same tooth-whitening technique when I became a coffee addict. By the age of 18 I was making iced coffees in the kitchen of my apartment, stopping by the coffee shop on my way to work, then again on my trip from work to college, then from college to the sewing lab on Market Street. I worked full-time hours, overloaded my classes, tutored students in my ‘free time’ and loved every minute of my hectic, over-achieving lifestyle in Center City, Philadelphia. It became clear that I was in dangerous territory when the entire Dunkin Donuts staff learned my name, my coffee order and often had it ready for my predictable visits. I also realized that I couldn’t relax when I tried, and I felt my heart rate escalate from time to time, so I have cut down dramatically on my coffee consumption. Back to teeth-

When I tried using baking soda and water on my toothbrush, it felt very abrasive. My teeth are naturally on the soft side and I grind my teeth in my sleep (Maybe too much information here?) so I absolutely can’t take any more harshness that may damage my tooth enamel.

ImageI started using a popular brand of whitening toothpaste, but after a few weeks of use I noticed that my teeth were EXTREMELY sensitive. If you’ve never experienced tooth sensitivity, imagine a throbbing sensation in the root of your tooth that makes your entire mouth feel like it’s in shock. It’s no party. My dentist told me with certainty that the whitening toothpaste was the culprit. I switched to a toothpaste made for sensitive teeth. While that seemed to make a difference as far as the discomfort, I happened to glance over the label one day and I was bothered by the long list of “active” and “inactive” ingredients. I like simple. Natural. Pure. Especially when it comes to something I’m putting in my mouth or on my skin. (Don’t even get me started about food!) Image

The next step for me was to find a natural alternative to my chemically composed toothpaste.Image

I found a recipe online for a homemade toothpaste made from coconut oil and baking soda. Naturally, I made a few modifications and made it my very own. I didn’t want to use the stevia (sugar+teeth=cavities) and I didn’t have any vegetable glycerin on hand (chances are, neither do you).Image

I combined 3 tablepoons of Coconut Oil (Organic, Unrefined, by Better Body Foods. Found it at Sam’s Club.)

with 3 tablepoons of baking soda (it wasn’t nearly as abrasive when mixed with coconut oil)

and 1-2 teaspoons of sea salt, then added pure peppermint extract.

Just stirred it up with a plastic baby fork and it became a paste-like consistency.

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The tupperware container now sits in my medicine cabinet where the other tube used to be. I’ve been using it for three days, and I can’t say my teeth are whiter yet but they will be eventually. Baking soda always worked for my mom, and I can definitely get on board with it this way. My teeth feel smoother than they did after brushing with store-bought toothpaste, and I LOVVVVVE that there are only 4 ingredients which were freshly mixed up just days ago, by moi.Image

Take 5 minutes and make some of your own and see what you think. Once my kids run out of their expensive, strawberry flavored, natural + fluoride toothpaste, I will see how they do with the homemade alternative. I ❤ home remedies, and this one is an obvious winner. I haven’t done the math, but I will assume that it will save some money and time wasted searching through the dental hygiene aisles.

Resourceful Guide to a Gender Reveal

GENDER REVEAL is a new trend that has been gaining popularity over the last few years. Before sonogram technology was created, the gender was always a surprise, announced at the time of the birth! When sonograms were invented, parents were given an opportunity to find out sooner. The latest craze is a compromise of those two options. Hosting a gender reveal party means that you won’t need to wait until your baby is born, yet you can still share the surprise in the company of your friends and family.

Depending on how you look at it, you could see benefits or disadvantages to choosing not to find out your baby’s sex before delivery.
Keeping Baby’s Gender a Surprise

Let’s face it! There are pros and cons to each of the two extremes.

You might go the route of finding out ASAP because you can’t take the suspense, feel that you’re pre-planning is limited, or the pressure from family and friends makes you cave.

You might insist on waiting for the birth because you love surprises, found that it simplified the planning process, or because you take the most natural possible approach to things.

  I was inspired to provide some helpful options (See them below) for moms-to-be who want to host an easy to plan, budget-friendly event. There are so many themes and favors and games available through online search, but the common approach isn’t always the best one. I created a list of the typical vs. the resourceful, and included some costs for your comparison. Shipping costs and transportation expenses were not included in the totals. The costs are based on a party of 18 people.

Also note that for Option #2 Resourceful Approach, everything is reusable and there is nothing to throw away after the event is finished. The best part about following this guide: You could save over $300, plus save time and energy on the simplified style, and you will not have bags of garbage to take out with you.

Tips and Ideas for your Gender Reveal
Tips and Ideas for your Gender Reveal Typical

Typical Approach – Grand total $453

Cake

  • Bakery-made gender reveal cake, $75

Surprise Factor

  • Box of helium-filled Balloons, with no lasting value, $24

Snacks

  • Catered Hors D’oeuvres, minimum $180

Tableware  (prices from Party City)

  • Plates in pink & blue, $16
  • Napkins in pink & blue, $8
  • Plastic dining wear, $8
  • Plastic drinking goblets, $20

Store-bought Decorations

  • Paper Decorations, $28
  • Paper table cover, $6

Voting Symbols

24pc Lips/Moustache Awls $26

Invitations

  • Custom Invitations, $54
  • Postage, $8

Resourceful Approach – Grand Total $118

Cake

  • Friend or Relative bakes cupcakes, No direct cost

Surprise Factor

Snacks

  • Potluck-style appetizers, No direct cost

Tableware

  • Reusable Plates, Silverware & Glasses, No added cost
  • Cloth Napkins, No added cost (If you don’t own any, buy 20 for $11)

Homemade Decorations

  • Baby Photos of Mom & Dad, Ultrasound Scans Banner, Flowers from the garden, No cost
  • Tablecloth alternative: 5pk Baby Receiving Blankets, $13

Voting Symbols

Pink & Blue Wooden Clothespins, $4

Invitations

  • Online Invitations, No Charge

Postage, No Charge

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Remember, the object is to intentionally spend money on things that you need/ will use again, and eliminate the unnecessary extras that take up time and add to your never-ending list of things to do. Chances are, you will want to spend more time on prepping the nursery, creating gift registries and getting extra sleep before your bundle of joy arrives. Clean up will be a breeze, too! Just throw the receiving blanket “tablecloth” and the napkins into the washer, and use the dishwasher for the cutlery. You won’t have trash bags full of paper products. Follow our tips and you will enjoy your special day, and feel especially green while you do! (In spite of the pink and blue)

I hope this is useful for you! Please comment with your own helpful tips or questions. I will check back regularly and will do my very best to assist.