Saturday, May 28, 2016

The Top 10 Items You Need For Your Newborn

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This post may contain affiliate links. 
Which means that if you purchase from an affiliate link, 
we receive a very small commission. This is at NO cost to you.

Thank you for supporting our family!

When I was a brand spankin' new Mama, 
I recall that feeling of having to have EVERYthing!

I mean, all the gadgets advertisers are always begging us to buy.

All the baby gizmos & frills & whistles.

Now, that I've, you know, had a few kiddos...

I know better.

There's only a few things you really (I mean REALLY) need.

The rest is just extra icing on the cake.
If you get it, great. If not, then don't sweat it.


The Top Ten Items To Buy
For Your Newborn

1) Oodles O' Blankets (receiving, spit up, crib, warmer/less warm, etc.)

This is where I'd go a bit overboard.

With all the mess that newborns make, 
you may go through quite a lot of these
EVERY single day!

I've enjoyed those shoulder spit up smaller ones,
and as well as, the bigger receiving ones. 

And warm fuzzy ones to snuggle them in.
And crib blankets (optional; see below)

And you might as well throw in some cloth (or plastic) bibs here
why you're at it.

It's all in containing that mess!

2) What To Wear (Sleepers & Onesies; Outfits of Choice)
***take into consideration sizes & seasons

My babies come out big, so we just skip the newborn sizes
and go straight to 0-3 months.

Take into consideration the season you're projected to deliver in.
How much laundry per day you can get by with
(for number of outfits to calculate).

Buy a bit bigger than you expect,
but don't go too big.

With my later children,
I bought second hand sleepers, or have
hosted clothing swaps with friends.

They grow so fast.
Do NOT spend too much on this category!

(maybe just that one special baby dedication outfit, but that's it!)

Oh, and special mention, you may want baby laundry detergent,
but we just use free & clear detergent for everyone, so that works too :)

3) Diapers & Wipes (diaper bag, creams, etc.)

A simple diaper bag.

A whole bunch of wipes
(you cannot buy too much of these!!),
and lots of diapers. 

 I concentrate on size 1 & up. Newborn (for us)
lasts maybe a week, if even!

1 & 2's usually last quite awhile, and with 10-12 diapers
per day in the beginning, you are going to go through a lot.

A nice diaper cream of choice.

And you're good to go!

4) Bottle and/or Breast Feeding Supplies
(***note: if breastfeeding, Vitamin D drops)

I have breast fed all of my children (but not all went successfully).

Just a prepared for what may happen.

If you really, really want to breast feed (which is best for you
& baby), then find some support ahead of time.

The first while always hurt me (A LOT), but I used
a special cream (Lansinoh HPA Lanolin for Breastfeeding Mothers, 40 Grams)
 and it lessened it with the later ones.

If bottle feeding, then you need to select:
bottles of choice, cleaning/sanitizing system, formula of choice
& be ready to switch nipple flow size as baby grows (or if baby is fussy 
on one particular flow/nipple).

Breast fed babies on our continent need extra Vitamin D.
Buy the drops for baby, and you'll be set to go!

5) Somewhere To Sleep/Sit
(i.e. crib, baby layette, bassinet, bouncy chair or ExerSaucer) 

For our newborns, we've had them either right in the crib
OR a bassinet. But there are tons of options.

Even for co-sleeping parents, there are co-sleeping options
that are safer than before (i.e. The First Years Close And Secure Sleeper)

(I roll too much in my sleep and our bed is high. Not chancing it, but 
many of my friends have their system going)

For daytime, I put the baby to "play" in a bouncy simple seat on the floor.

Older babies seem to enjoy the ExerSaucer, but floor & tummy time 
is still important.

All the other fancy gadgets are optional.

Also, swings are great, but not all babies like them.

Two of my babies were very fussy & loved the helped to settle them down.

(another item to seek out used & in good condition, if possible)

6) Stroller & Car Seat (set or not)

I've never had a set that fit together, but some of my friends swear by them!

A simple stroller that takes you & baby from A to Z will suffice.

Now, a car seat you have to be choosy with.
There are dates to check & verify.

I don't recommend you receive them used at all, unless
you know the person WELL (no prior accidents with the seat),
 and the date is okay still.

although a few friends have given me almost brand new ones 
they no longer needed. Dates were okay)

Note: you may also want to purchase a sling.
I personally tried to wear my baby, but it hurt my back,
and it didn't feel comfortable. But there are TONS of Mamas
that love that experience! Another optional purchase.

7) Medical Supplies 
(thermometer-just one that works! & nasal aspirator, infant Tylenol, etc.)

A thermometer is a must.

Babies can spike fevers very very quickly,
and you want to know what you're dealing with 
when you call the Doctor.

But fancy?
I don't think it's necessary.

Just that it works.

Infant Tylenol is helpful to have on hand, in case.

Nasal aspirators have come in handy from time to time
(those sucky things you stick up their nostrils), so another
item to consider purchasing.

8) Bath Supplies
(washcloths, towels-could use regular towels though! &
either a baby bath, or take baby into bath with you; shampoo/soap)

I used to buy baby baths, but I ended up not using them,
forgoing it.

We just bathe them in the sink.
It's at a better level for my back, and I feel more
in control of the baby in my arms.

When they get bigger, I bring them
to the regular bath, and they can always jump
in with one of us as well.

Cloths are good, but we just use regular ones (more durable), 
and regular towels (warmer & thicker).

Shampoo and soap smells nice, but again,
with newborns you don't really need that much.

9) Beauty Care Supplies
(nail clippers, baby comb, Q-tips, optional are hair accessories, hats, etc.)

I actually don't use nail clippers til much later.

I find my newborn nails seem to rip off okay, or I bite them off...

But, if you do choose to use clippers, just be super careful.
They can cut very easily as their areas as so much more sensitive than ours.

Q-tips are helpful for cleaning. Or those cotton balls. (around ears & belly button)

I actually have had to use a regular brush with my last baby. His hair
was SO thick!! (he had five hair cuts before he turned one years old)

The other stuff is just for fun (accessories for hair).

10) Toys!
(basic things to look at or shake are all that is needed)

When babies are very little, they like contrasts.

Black & white pictures for babies will suffice.

As they get older, they'll enjoy chew toys, and things that shake.

Stuffed animals are nice, but they often just become dust collectors.

One or two special ones usually are good enough for cuddling.
(but do not leave in crib or sleeping area period!!!)


Honestly, out of that list, there are still some things I've done without.

Don't let our consumeristic society fool you...

Our newborns will be small for only such a short time!

Try to buy only the bare essentials, and don't worry about the frills :)

(plus, relatives or friends might end up splurging on your behalf!!!)

***Special Note: This article is
for educational purposes only. For anything medical related,
you are to see your health care provider
(for any specific questions relating to your particular situation).


What about you: 
what was a MUST when you had an newborn?




Friday, May 20, 2016

How To Cope When There's Not Enough Of You To Go Around

Welcome to my blog today.

This post may contain affiliate links. 
Which means that if you purchase from an affiliate link, 
we receive a very small commission. This is at NO cost to you.

Thank you for supporting our family!

The last few weeks have been nuts.

Maybe because it's spring, and the end of the school
year is upon us?

Or maybe, and I am slowly learning to accept this,
"crazy busy" is just my life.


Currently, I have at home with me everyday: a very precocious 2 year old,
an extremely active 1 year old, a non-stop talking 8 year old,
and an artsy 'happy go luck' 10 year old.

And two teens that are in school, that grace us with their presence in the
evening. Late night chats and many topics to cover. So little time.

If you had asked me 20 years ago, heck even 10, if I would end
up being a full time stay-at-home-homeschooling-large-family Mama,
I'm not sure I would've believed you.

I mean, I've always wanted children. A bigger brood even.

I came from a family with 4 kids; my husband's had five.

So we were both (semi) used to the crazy shenanigans of larger family life.

But with the closeness in age of my last two, and the fatigue of this pregnancy,
it's brought me to my knees (in prayer) more than I can recall...

I'm sure that I'm not alone.


Crazy living doesn't have to include my particular brand of 'crazy'.

It's that season of life where you're stretched so thin, that 
you're having a hard time coping.

Some days, you feel it, and others you may not.
But overall, it's a season of extreme fatigue.

Whether physical actual tiredness...

Or emotionally.
Or spiritually dried up.

Or just feeling like Bilbo Baggins,

“I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too 

much bread.”

That has been me in this season.



A couple of weeks ago, I decided to take some action.

It had been a really disgustingly horrible week.

I was feeling sick, and this was coming up & that.

Kids, well the usual, but it's just so much when
you're already drowning.

I took some decisive action, and although I cannot 
100% credit any one change, I can share the 
totality of my choices.


How To Cope When There's Not Enough
Of You To Go Around

First of all, I started being diligent on my vitamin/supplement routine.

Even though I'm a RHN by trade (Canadian term, Nutritionist), I too
forget to take my vitamins!!

Got back on routine, & after two days I was already feeling more

Although, this does not constitute medical advice (see clause at bottom),
 right now I'm taking:

-prenatal multivitamin

-fish oil (for the EFAs)

-vitamin D

-Magnesium powder

-Calcium/mag mix (I know I'm not consuming enough calcium this time around!)

-when I remember: my herbal pregnancy teas

-short term I've been taking an Iron/B vitamin mix (not daily though)

Honestly, I really feel that was a very helpful step.


Secondly, I decided to ask some of my close friends for prayer.

It is humbling, and sometimes embarrassing for me to
share my personal life with others.

Something I am always working to overcome.

So, once I made the decision to share my heart, I quickly jumped
onto the computer, and went into our secret Facebook group.

Ok, write everything out. Share the prayer request.


I let these ladies know I was having a hard time, and
that I was also battling a lot of physical symptoms with this pregnancy.

Many of them commented fairly soon afterward that they would commit to pray for me.

That's what I love about small groups! What an awesome way to feel supported.

The very next day I woke up without that nauseous & dizzy sensation 
raging through me. (had been battling this pregnancy)

I was so elated!

I let the girls know that I was feeling better, and thanked them.

Then I got a mini negative report on my latest ultrasound.

The dreaded "fibroid" word came up.

"Just to let you know, we'll be monitoring you..." etc. etc.

Only 3 mini ones at this point, but again I went online & asked for some prayer.

On another Mama group I asked for some shared experiences.

The point is: SHARE with people what you're going through!

Use wisdom in personal details with those you don't know well, 

Not smart. Not wise.

Stand together instead.

Now, I want to just add that sometimes you need someone more than
just a friend.

Since I've experienced severe perinatal depression in a prior pregnancy,
I'm at higher risk for it to occur again.

So, this time around, I'm also being proactive & keeping in
touch with an accredited Christian counselor.

He has openings where I can call him if I just need to talk through anything.

I (by His grace) haven't had to take advantage of that much
this go around.

But it's there.
It's another safety net.

(and, if you're struggling, you should NEVER feel ashamed if you need to talk 
to someone professional. I would search out a person who is accredited and that you personally feel comfortable to chat with)


The next one just sorta started to snow ball out of the first two.

As I started to feel better, I became more active again.

Now, not active in terms of swimming & bike riding (like I used to do!),
but for now cleaning the house & walking will suffice.

Had an amazing time visiting with everyone.

The most encouraging comment about my health came from 
a friend that has seen me throughout this pregnancy.

"It looks like you've lost some weight, but your belly is still growing!"

I looked down. Today, the scale came out...

Finally, the weight gain has slowed down.

(I often get super puffy & swollen during pregnancy! It's due 
to my insatiable desire to eat all the time, just so I won't feel sick!!!)

But the more I've started to move, the better I've felt.


Three choices.

Take better care of your health.

Share your struggles with loved ones.

Get active.

So simple, yet we often focus on any & everything else!


What about you: 
what do you do when you feel you cannot cope??


***Note: this post is for educational purposes only. You should consult
a medical health provider for advice on individualized health choices.




Sunday, May 15, 2016

5 Ways Of Putting Together Your Curriculum

*This post may contain affiliate links. 
Which means that if you purchase from an affiliate link, 
we receive a very small commission. This is at NO cost to you.

Thank you for supporting our family!

5 Ways Of Putting
Together Your Curriculum

I still remember my first introduction to the
'homeschooling world'...

I didn't have a CLUE on how many options
are actually available.

A friend recommended a book to help me,
and of course, the hours of website perusing

Over the years, as I met & interacted
with more & more homeschooling
families, I came to realize that there 
is no 'one size fits all' of homeschooling

However, there are only a few ways you
can put together your curriculum pack.

Today, I'll share five popular ways to do this, and
each of their benefits/challenges.


1) Buy a complete set 
(otherwise known as 'boxed curriculum')

Benefits: easy for newbies; (usually) no planning needed; covers all of the
subjects in one set (no need to go looking for other pieces); comprehensive & (typically) comparable to what children in public school are covering

Challenges: lack of individualization; your child may excel in one portion (say English), but not the math component; cost is usually quite expensive & must pay up front (no piecing together through the year!)

Examples: Bob Jones (BJU), Sonlight, ACE Paces, etc.

2) Purchase by subject & piece together.
(usually called 'eclectic' homeschooling)

Benefits: you can research the best fit for your child in each subject; highly individualized school program, allows you to purchase as needed; typically much more economical; easy to replace one subject over entire boxed set

Challenges: research is needed; can be time consuming to find all pieces; curriculum doesn't always 'fit' well together, or complement one another

Examples: Mystery of History (History); Life of Fred (Math) & Wordsmith Apprentice

3) Follow a particular method.
Let that method be your main guide.
(i.e. Charlotte Mason, Classical, Unit Studies, etc.)

Benefits: while you learn about particular methodologies you'll have a better understanding of WHY you are selecting said curriculum pieces; you can easily find support from other followers of that method (online groups, in person groups, co-ops, etc. all created around that methodology

Challenges: not easy to build an entire curriculum based on one ideology; you may still want to mix & match (i.e. you cover Charlotte Mason based literature studies but mix with a traditional type Math booklet, etc.)

Examples: using sites like Ambleside Online or reading Classical Conservations

4) Use multi-level teaching curriculum.

Benefits: this can save A LOT of time; children learn together & share thoughts; build strong relationships

Challenges: if age range is larger than a few years, this can be difficult to navigate (I've tried it!!)

Examples: various options--> piece together your own group work OR purchase by subject material that can be used with multiple ages at once (some boxed curriculum can be adjusted to do this as well, such as Sonlight)

5) Follow your child's leading.
(termed "delight directed" or "interest led")

Benefits: your child finds great fulfillment in pursuing their own interests or giftings; less 'fight' over doing school work 

Challenges: what if your child is not very motivated to learn much about anything; or you can see talents in your child that they haven't yet discovered (it's a balancing act to be sure!)

Examples: using unit studies of interest to child & adding in core subjects; OR totally allowing your child to direct the school day (in some instances overlaps the term 'unschooling' or unstructured education, or a combo)


These are some of the main ways I've seen people select their curriculum.

I personally have gone from using a full box set (typical when you start out) to following
more closely number 2.

What about yourself: what has guided your curriculum selection?





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