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PostHeaderIcon 10-Minute Workouts While Baby Naps

  Written By: ElleC

My doctor recommended three workouts, that you can easily fit in while baby’s snoozin’ in the afternoon or kicking away in her bouncy seat. Each mini routine is a series of three simple moves that shape up your entire body, especially the core and back muscles you need to strengthen for toting your new bundle of love around!

Continue reading “10-Minute Workouts While Baby Naps” »

PostHeaderIcon Bennefits of homeschool

  Written By: Kimberly

homeschoolAt the end of our rope with not only our finances but with the education our kids seemed to not be getting, we looked into homeschool and working from home. That’s when we found the John Commuta system and purchased it.  The worksheets talked us through the system and helped us  not only lower our monthly bills but eliminate them all together. The system also helped us analyze our finaces in a different way.  
Continue reading “Bennefits of homeschool” »

PostHeaderIcon Top 20 Resources for Pregnancy and Parenting

  Written By: Melainie

pregnant resource listOnce I found out I was pregnant, I wanted to learn all I could about my pregnancy and taking care of a baby. I did a lot of searching for pregnancy information and good parenting websites. Looking back, I wasted a good bit of time weeding through information to find what I was looking for. So I decided to create a list of my top 20 resources for pregnancy and parenting to help others find that information more easily. I hope it helps and please pass this information along!

List of Resources for Pregnancy and Parenting:

1. What To Expect - Heidi Murkoff, author of the well known book What to Expect When You’re Expecting has a great website devoted to pregnancy and early parenting, and I found her week-by-week pregnancy tracker to be a great source of information for me when I was pregnant.

2. StorkNet Birth Stories - When I was pregnant I could not read enough birth stories. I wanted to read about all different types of birth experiences and I loved the wide variety of stories that people posted on StorkNet.

3. Parenting Community - Although I personally do not believe in everything I have read on the Parenting website, they do have a great community for just about every parenting situation. I found some great advice from other parents and being involved in an online community has been very encouraging for me.

4. WebMD Pregnancy Health - Whenever I had health questions during my pregnancy, I always found good information at WebMD. It also came in handy for my new mom paranoia questions.

5. American Pregnancy Association - This website has great information to help you plan and prepare for pregnancy, birth and your newborn baby.

6. WomensHealth.gov Pregnancy - The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has a special website dedicated to Women’s Health and gives a good bit of information for pregnancy, including government programs for pregnant and new moms.

7. La Leche League International - La Leche League is my favorite website for breastfeeding information and help. It has plenty of information and if you cannot find the answers to your breastfeeding problems, it can point you to someone who wouls be glad to help.

8. Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) - I love the MOPS group and their support for mothers of all ages and stages. If you do not have a local community to get involved with, then you can find support from their online community.

9.  Focus on the Family Christian Parenting - This website gives great advice, counseling and encouragement for raising good children in a healthy loving environment.

10.Husband Coached Natural Childbirth (Bradley Method) - I strongly support the Bradley method of childbirth and am so glad that my husband and I chose to learn those techniques for a natural delivery.

11.HypnoBirthing (Mongan Method) - This is another technique I considered for a natural childbirth, which involves total relaxation and self hypnosis.

12.Baby Center - I loved the wide variety of conception, pregnancy and parenting tools that I found here and sometimes I would browse around their forum while I was their.

13.Mothering – For a while I was addicted to the “Ask the Experts” section of this website, which lets you ask a child care specialist any question and browse the Q&A from other users. I still like to use it whenever I have an odd parenting question.

14.Kids Health - If you feel like you need a crash course in parenting, this website provides a good guide.

15.Breastfeeding.com - I found the Breastfeeding Q&A  to be very helpful and supportive for breastfeeding moms who have questions, problems or concerns.

16.Cafe Mom - This online community is all about supporting mothers and giving them a voice. I just check in now and then, but some find it very helpful to stay involved in a community for moms.

17.New Parent - My favorite section of this website provides detailed articles on product recalls for parents.

18.Ask Dr. Sears - I am a big fan of Dr. Sears’ pediatric and parenting philosophies,which you may remember from my immunization article. His website is a great parenting resource from a pediatrician’s point-of-view.

19.Childbirth Connection - This article on Childbirth Connections has a comprehensive list of resources for pregnancy complications and issues.

20.FAMILY! I know it seems like I am cheating to have this as a resource, but I have found it to be so true. Family members that have children are the best people to go to for everyday advice because they know you and your situation best. I have been blessed with a wonderful family that has provided me with much need support through my pregnancy and parenting adventures.

Have you found a website to be extremely helpful that I did not mention? Please let me know of any good pregnancy / parenting resources I may have forgot.

pregnancy parenting resources list

PostHeaderIcon Five Rules for Happy Mums (and Babies!)

  Written By: Guest Blogger

The following article is a guest post written by Dee Mason, a wonderful freelance writer who would like to share some of her own personal tips for mothers. She has written for many websites on a wide range of topics, like her (wikivee article) interview with a travel writer and (one of my faves) her tips for social media. I think she is a terrific writer, so I hope you enjoy!

five rules for happy mums and babies guest

5 rules for happy mums momsAs a mother who was determined to stay at home and look after my son, I clearly recall the difficult early days. It seems utopian to some, but if you struggle, like I did, to conform to everyone else’s idea of what a perfect Stay At Home Mum should be, then read on. These are five things I wish I had known at the time.

“Stay At Home Mums Should…”

There seems to be an unwritten expectation that Stay at Home Mums should have perfect houses, dinner on the table at six and a child with an IQ of 150. After all, what else is there to do all day? It was pointless trying to explain to people that just being dressed by eleven was difficult some days. As a first time mother I felt overwhelmed and frequently out of my depth with my new baby. In a typical optimistic young parent moment we had taken the bizarre decision to move house not long before I gave birth. Suddenly, almost overnight it seemed, I was there on my own, surrounded by unpacked moving boxes, and a screaming baby who demanded my undivided attention every minute of the day.

RULE ONE: Focus on what you can manage. The most important thing you can do as a first time mother of a young baby is to get through each day. A happy baby is one whose mother is not stressed by the unrealistic expectations of others. Or even the realistic ones! Some days just don’t go to plan. Let it go! Your job is just to do your best and do what you can manage that day. Be the Stay At Home Mum you are, not the one everyone else thinks you should be.

Pay attention to your relationships

I used to envy my friends who had everything under control. Some mothers seem to be able to cope with it all. “Oh yes, I am up at five preparing the vegetables for the evening meal” said one friend, in all seriousness. I could have wept. And whilst it is important to remember rule one ‘Focus on what you can manage’, it is equally important not to allow yourself to disappear into Motherland never to reappear.

RULE TWO: Set aside one day per month to go out with your husband/partner. My mother gave me this advice. It sounds great, but it was difficult in practice. Babysitters, money, tiredness – all these things stand in the way. But I think it was great advice and I would say the same to any new parents. You and your relationship matter too. Even if it’s just a walk in the park together, it will remind you why this whole situation occurred in the first place! If you are a single parent, then it’s also important for you to go out, just for yourself, or in search of Mr. Right.

Mindfulness

It is so easy, amidst the chaos of the day, to be consumed by stress and lament the mundane round of chores our life has become. I used to tell my husband that my day was like digging a very big hole, only to have it filled by the next morning. Unless you have experienced being at home with a young baby this will seem like an exaggeration. It’s not! Washing (stuff gets dirty in moments), cooking (everything gets eaten), cleaning (where did that banana come from?!) all have their equal and opposite and there is no escaping it.

RULE THREE: Try to take one moment in the day to be mindful of all that is positive about being a Stay At Home Mum, and how lucky you are. I used to do this at bath-time, when the day was nearly over and my baby was happy and playfully splashing in the bath. As I watched him playing I would bring to mind all the good things about that day, and live in the moment, enjoying the pleasure and love in my child’s face. I was thankful that, however hard and difficult the day had been, we were both here, safe and well. It became a sort of mental reckoning I did every day, and it really did help.

Do you want this or that one?

As parents we get so much conflicting advice about how to bring our children up. When you are at home on your own with your baby it is easy to chat away about all sorts of things.  But don’t ever forget that your baby is not your best friend – that doesn’t mean not want to be. By this I mean remember that you are in charge and not your baby. Babies need stability and security, and being offered endless choices about things is sometimes confusing for them. By all means let them make small decisions, but don’t let that extend to offering them endless choices about everything. I wish I had listened to this piece of advice, instead of feeling like I was restricting my child’s ‘freedom of expression’, or whatever nonsense I had read at the time. In the end, ‘Put your boots on, we’re going to the park!’ is much better than, ‘Would you like to go to the park? No? You’d rather stay home and watch cartoons? Well honey, Mummy would like to go to the park…” After a twenty-minute discussion and potential tantrum flashpoint, the walk in the park is likely to be a grumpy affair, whereas a cheerful exhortation to just come and have fun will always win out.

RULE FOUR: It’s not your baby’s job to make decisions. It’s yours. Never forget who is in charge. Kids like firm parenting; it makes them feel secure and loved.

I beg your pardon?

Pester power. I never suffered from it, and here’s why. I resisted, with all my strength, the impulse to spoil my child. It was hard. Spoiling children is fun. But it is, as the saying goes, a rod for your own back! When asked if we could go to a toy-shop I would reply ‘Just to look’. That was the deal. Any nonsense and we left. If I was asked for anything I would simply reply, in a slightly mystified way,”But it’s not your birthday is it? Or Christmas?” as if the request was a sum that simply did not add up. It amazed me how quickly children accept what they are told when you handle things this way. Your response frames their expectation. Exceptions to no spoiling rule were last day of school term or injury/upset. After all, everyone needs treats sometimes. But that’s it!

RULE FIVE: Be the adult: consistently resist the temptation to spoil your little one and it will save heartache for both of you.

I hope these pieces of advice are helpful to others. I know how difficult it can be to stay at home and look after children. It’s a heroic endeavor and one you should be justly proud of!

~Dee Mason

PostHeaderIcon 10 Things To Do Before Having a Baby (10)

  Written By: Melainie

pregnantHere is the finale to my “Things To Do Before Having a Baby” posts! My list of 101 things is finished and now I will make a page with the entire list. I hope you enjoyed it and maybe it will be useful for anyone who is considering starting a family. This last list is more about what to do after you’re pregnant. Leave me a comment telling me what you think.

To Do Before Baby:

91.  Take sexy pictures of yourself- Spend some time and money at a professional photography studio having someone take fun, sexy photos. Or do fun, flirty poses while your husband snaps photos like you’re a movie star and he is the paparazzi. It’s a nice way to be the center of attention before your baby becomes the star of the house.

92.  Audition to be on television- This isn’t really something that I would care to do, but it is on most people’s to do list. If you want to audition for television then you would be better off doing it before having a baby, so trek out to Hollywood and audition. Maybe you’ll become a real star…

93.  Go to a live concert- No matter what the genre of music, you must attend a live concert before you have to “grow up” and be the parent. I went to a mini Christian concert when I was a teenager and I am very glad for the fun experience, the exciting atmosphere of it.

94.  Visit a developing country- Do some volunteer work in an under-developed country and be grateful for what you have. Sometimes you don’t realize just how blessed you truly are until you are faced with extreme poverty like many people have to deal with across the world. This is a great way to keep your spending in check when you become pregnant and want to buy everything you see for the baby.

95.  Read Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way and What To Expect When You’re Expecting- Both of these books were necessary for me to feel confident about the pregnancy and birth of my baby. I would even recommend reading them if you are trying to conceive. Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way is about the Bradley Method of childbirth but it also has so many great common sense points for having a healthy pregnancy. Also, What to Expect When You’re Expecting has a great easy-to-read layout and is packed with information from trying-to-conceive through postpartum care.

96.  Stock up the house- Buy an abundance of cleaning supplies and toiletries so you don’t have to go shopping for a while. This is more for the third trimester of pregnancy, but you could stock up before getting pregnant if you want. After having a baby you will probably not want to go on any shopping trips for a while- at least, I know I didn’t. Buy a bulk supply of everything you use on a regular basis. You might want to invest some money in a deep freezer and store up a bunch of pre-made meals too.

97.  Prepare Thank-You notes and birth announcements- Here is another third trimester task that I wish I had done. I was too exhausted to give a care about birth announcements and did the bare minimum of thank-you’s. I thought that I would have time after the baby was born- this is crazy, there is never time for anything other than basic necessities.

98.  Learn about Cord Blood Banking- Read all about it and decide accordingly. There are many pros and cons to consider with cord blood banking and it’s a decision that must be made before going into labor.

99.  Do a safety inspection of your home- Check your smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, security system, etc…

100.Make two baby registries- Put all of the expensive things you would like in a registry at a fancy baby boutique and make another registry with the necessities at somewhere like Wal-Mart/Babies-R-Us.

*******************************************************

Ta-Da! The Final Tip To Do Before Having a Baby is…

101.Relax and enjoy your pregnancy- You may not want to do everything I have listed here but it gives you an idea… Overall the most important thing to do before having a baby is to enjoy the experience of growing your precious baby.

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