Category Archives: Family

Turn It Up Tuesday – #77

Welcome to the 77th week of Turn It Up Tuesday! Last week, we had an awesome time on Turn It Up Tuesday with 439 links – another amazing week! We’d like to thank each and every one of you for making every week so amazing! Keep sharing your amazing posts with us here on Turn It Up Tuesday!

It’s time for another great week of Turn It Up Tuesday!! We’re so excited to have you this week and are thrilled to have a couple awesome giveaways to offer you (at the end of the post). So, be sure to link-up your best posts, enter to WIN and visit a few new friends!

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Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Don’t you agree?

Don’t worry, I’m not gone. I’m never leaving!

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder - Baby Doodah

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7 Ways to Love Your Spouse Again

After having children, the love between spouses can change.

It can even, at times, feel strained. You now have someone other than the two of you to focus on, and finding time for your child AND your spouse can be difficult, but it is VERY important. In order for your relationship to continue to grow and thrive, you need to foster the love between you and your significant other. It NEEDS to be a priority!

To have and want a strong relationship, you need to work on it. Even the most connected of couples has to put some work in, behind the scenes. Trust me, I understand, after baby, all you can think about is that baby, nothing else seems to matter. But, then years have passed and you realize that your spouse is now a stranger. Why not head that off, and make a few small tweaks to your relationship, now – so that you can go back to being best-friends.

You have to think…. I’m with this person for a reason, I made the choice to create life with this person. Remind yourself of those ideas, when things get tough and you’ll both come through with just a few scratches.

[Tweet “Love comes easy. The relationship takes work.”]

I want to provide you some easy tips, to help grow the love between you.

7 Ways to Love Your Spouse Again - Baby Doodah

Simple Ways to Grow Closer to Your Spouse

Creating a loving environment for you and your significant other doesn’t have to be all about grand gestures, sometimes even the smallest things mean the most.

  • Write love notes to one another. If you’re both too busy to stop and say I love you, why not leave a cute little note, or send a text, telling your significant other how much you love them. Taking time, each day, to remind each other of the love you have for one another is one of the BEST ways to grow and foster love between the two of you.
  • Create routines, and do them together. What I mean is, if you are able to wake up at the same time, you’ll be able to spend a few minutes in bed just talking to one another, maybe sharing your dreams, talking about your plans for the day, or simply just quietly holding one another. That time in the morning, before the kids are awake or other obligations take over, is a precious time. Use it wisely!
  • Communicate. I think this one is the most forgotten methods to build a stronger relationship. We get so busy with everything else going on, that we just forget to sit down and talk to our spouse. Telling them about your day, listening to them tell you about their’s will cause great growth. You’ll grow to feel safer and more comfortable, talking about everything going on in your life, without judgment.
  • Have a Date Night EVERY Week. I know what you’re thinking, there’s no way you could afford to go out weekly. I agree and I’m in the same boat. But, a date night doesn’t have to cost a thing! You can sit on the couch and watch a new movie, curled up next to each other with popcorn (and no kids), or what about leaving the kids with a trusted neighbor and heading to the park for a walk? The possibilities are endless, and don’t need to be overly time consuming, either – I know we all have other responsibilities.
  • Let Go and Forgive. I understand, we all have situations or things that occur in anger, that may be difficult to forgive or forget. But, the best thing you can do for your relationship is to forgive and forget the negativity of your past. Now, I am not saying that you should forgive and forget any form of abuse, or other extremely hurtful behavior. For those other smaller instances, try to understand where the other person was coming from, before holding onto that anger.
  • Appreciate them for who they are. Yes, I know times in a marriage can get tough, you disagree, argue and fight – but, at the end of the day, you need to take a second to realize who you’re fighting with. This is the man or woman you chose to be with because you LOVE them. Talk things out. Appreciate who they are, not what they do for you.
  • Remember that you’re both human. Finally, remember that you’re both human, you make mistakes… Yes, even YOU! Let the small things go, and don’t waste time bickering about each one. Your relationship will grow to be something you had only previously imagined.

There are times in a relationship, that can span months, sometimes even years, where the love between the two of you feels missing. It takes work, to build the love you want. The love is almost always there, you just need to put in effort to feel it again.

We are so often willing to work hard for everything else in our lives, why don’t we put the same level of effort into our relationships.

If you find yourself stuck, take some time and journal out ALL of the reasons why you fell in love with your significant other, and then really think – Did any of that change? Can we work together to bring that *SPARK* back?

Your turn!

What things do you do with your significant other to foster and grow the love between the two of you? What’s worked, and what hasn’t?

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Pre-Conception: Tips to Prepare for Pregnancy

Are you and your significant other thinking of getting pregnant? Have you given any thought to what you should do to prepare your body for pregnancy? Today’s post will walk you through some steps that will help prepare you and your body for baby!

Having a baby can be one of the most joyous times in your life, but before you have that baby, you need to conceive. Have you ever wondered what the important information is, when you’re trying to get pregnant? Well, wonder no more, I’m here to share what you need to know before conception!

If you’ve been thinking of getting pregnant for awhile, then I’m sure you’ve noticed how much information is available for those who are already pregnant and what to expect, there’s not so much out there on tips for preparing for conception. However, I want you to feel confident in your knowledge and be ready to take on any of the challenges that conceiving a baby can bring. I can’t prepare you for everything, but my hope is that by sharing these tips, you’ll be better prepared on what to expect.

Pre-Conception Tips to Prepare for Pregnancy - Baby Doodah

Are You Prepared?

I’m sure you’re well aware that having a baby is a huge responsibility, but I want to make sure you understand the things that are most important when it comes to conceiving. Things like your weight, blood pressure, your finances and caffeine intake, become even MORE important because you want to be as healthy as can be, for that soon to be, bundle of joy. You can certainly have a baby at any stage in your life, but I want to provide you some tips on how to be most prepared.

Tips for Women Trying to conceive

  1. Schedule a pre-conception visit with your OB-GYN. Before even beginning the “fun” of conceiving, you want to make sure that everything is working properly, that your blood pressure is at a safe level, that you have not contracted any STDs, also things like your blood sugar levels, or your weight – are important. By making and keeping this appointment, be well prepared for the long (and exciting) road of pregnancy. Remember, most of the symptoms listed above are treatable, so see your doctor and make sure you’re healthy!
  2. Check to ensure the medicines you take are safe. One other important note to consider when meeting with your doctor, is ensuring that the medicine you are already currently taking is safe to have in your system when you get pregnant, and throughout pregnancy. In some circumstances, you may need to try a different, safer medications.
  3. Start taking Folic Acid. Whether it is in the form of a multi-vitamin or all on its own, it is very important to ensure that your baby’s brain and spinal cord grow completely and develop correctly. You can read more about the benefits of Folic Acid here.
  4. Start tracking your ovulation schedule. Knowing when your body is ovulating will make it easier for you to know when the best time to get pregnant is. There are loads of apps out there, my personal favorite is Ovia from Ovuline. It has a super easy interface, and is very comprehensive, asking me questions on things I hadn’t thought of.
  5. Ditch the Birth Control! This one probably goes without saying, but just wanted to be sure and mention it.
  6. Stop drinking, smoking and doing drugs. Enough said!
  7. Make an appointment to see your dentist. Many women have issues with their teeth while pregnant because of the hormone changes in your body, they become more sensitive, shift, or can cause gum disease, so having ultimate gum and teeth health BEFORE baby is really important. Want more information on teeth and gum health during pregnancy? Check-out this post on Web MD, for more information.
  8. Aim for a healthy weight, or try to lose a few pounds. You do not need to be at your goal weight to have a healthy baby, Emmett is living testament to that, but you do want to try and maintain a healthy weight, or possibly lose a few pounds before actually conceiving. For myself, I began focusing on more mindful eating, and in the process lost some weight.
  9. Stock your home with healthy foods. If the junk food is in your home, you are bound to eat it. So, just keep it out! Keep only the healthy foods around, and you’ll make healthy choices.
  10. Finally, start the conception process!!

In Conclusion

Remember, every woman’s pre-pregnancy experience will be different. So, don’t stress out if it takes you a little longer to get pregnant, than it does a friend. Instead, enjoy your time as a childless couple, and enjoy the whole conception process. 😉

85 percent of American couples under 35, have a fairly easy time conceiving (pulled from fitpregnancy) – and if you are not part of that 85 percent, stress will not help conception. Taking time to ensure you are following the steps above and just enjoying the process, will.

Good luck and remember to have fun!

Your turn!

Have you started the pre-coneption process? Do you have any tips that helped you through everything? Please share in the comments below!

Or, if you’re already pregnant, what things have kept you healthy?

signatureLooking for a quick, easy and FREE way to get your news? Check-out theSkimm and sign-up for your daily email box delivery of the world’s news, plus if you share your birthday, you get it listed at the bottom of the newsletter on your day. It’s like celebrating with thousands of people!!!!

Things to Remember About Toddler Emmett

I’ve always wanted to be a mom!

Ever since I can remember, I loved playing house, and pretending I had all the babies. I loved holding them, and nuturing them. It was one of my favorite activities as a child (my other, was playing school, in case you were wondering). So when I found out I was pregnant with Emmett, I was more then excited, my life felt like it would finally have a purpose.

However, when Emmett was first born, things didn’t start out as I had envisioned. I went through some serious Postpartum Depression. :( (More details on this linked at the bottom of the post) Looking back, I wish I had asked for help… I knew I was struggling, I just did nothing to fix myself. So, he and I didn’t get off to the best of starts – I cared for him, breastfed him, did everything I could to keep him safe, but it took a few weeks for the deep love I feel for him now to bloom and blossom.

Anyway, the reason that I mention all of this is because I have now realized how fleeting time with him, this little, is. So, I decided to write a post, with 35 things I never want to forget about Emmett.

Things to Remember About Toddler Emmett - Baby Doodah

35 Things I Never Want to Forget About Toddler Emmett

  1. The way you will stop what you’re doing, to look up at me and say, “I love you SOOO much, momma!” It makes my heart melt every single time.
  2. The way you and I can just look at each other, and start giggling over nothing at all.
  3. The way you curl up close when you’re watching TV.
  4. The way you will lay down with your head on my lap, when you’re tired after school.
  5. The way you look in your winter hats.
  6. The way you look back at me from the back seat of the car. You have a half smile on your face, and a half, “stop looking at me mommy” face.
  7. The way you run to me when I pick you up from day care.
  8. The way you get so sad when I leave the room for even just a few minutes. (Going potty alone? No way!)
  9. The way you hug. You give the tightest, strongest hugs, and they feel so good.
  10. The way just seeing you can wipe a full stressful day right out of my mind.
  11. The way you need to bring a hot wheels car with you almost everywhere we go.
  12. The way you suck on your binkie. I know we’ll need to get you to give it up soon, but you look so sweet when you have it.
  13. The way you always need to have “green nigh-nigh” with you at all times.
  14. The way you want to help and truly interested in everything that I’m doing.
  15. The way you just *need* to wiggle your dupa (butt) before you get into the tubby each night.
  16. The way you forgive. If I snap at you because I’m stressed, and you’re getting into things – a simple apology from me and a hug, makes it all go away.
  17. The way you explore with all of your food. It makes a mess, and can be frustrating, but I never want to forget what it’s like.
  18. The way you mimic me in movements, and sometimes in words (though, I hope you leave the swear words out of it). lol
  19. The way you love your day care teachers. You hug them each morning, I love that you are so happy there!
  20. The way you run to me when you get scared and need comfort.
  21. The way you’ll reach for my hand when you’re walking or going downstairs. I love how fully you trust me!
  22. The way you love your daddy. As much as you love me, you love your father, too. You always want to do things with him, build lego buildings, or help him cook. It warms my heart to see the bond you two have.
  23. The way you look when you’re sleeping – All curled up in your blankets.
  24. The way you love building a “house” out of your blankets and your crib.
  25. The way you are curious about everything.
  26. The way we have to read 4 bed time stories each night.
  27. The way you love stickers. Every time you get new ones, you have to use them all, and stick them all to yourself (or mommy). :)
  28. The way you were fearful of the snow at the beginning of winter 2014.
  29. The way you NEVER give-up. You will keep trying over and over again, even if it isn’t working or you can’t figure something out.
  30. The way you need to lay your “green nigh night” on everything – your stool, the table, your little desk, everything.
  31. The way you count. You can get to 20 pretty well, and only stumble if you’re not really paying attention.
  32. The way you know that green means go and read means stop with a traffic light, and will direct me when to go or stop.
  33. The way you were so in love with our Christmas tree, and when we took it to the street, watched for it everyday, until the garbage men took it away.
  34. The way you always want a bite of what I’m eating (doesn’t matter what it is).
  35. The way when you get in trouble at dinner, for playing with your food, or spitting out milk, you start singing this, Mommy and Daddy and Emmett song you made up. It’s adorable, and you have a dance!

He’s the best! Every single thing he does, even when he’s getting into trouble amazes me. I had NO idea how much I could love someone, until I had Emmett. I’m sad that he won’t stay little forever (he’s so much fun right now), but I am so excited to experience life with him.

I love you, Emmett!!

Emmett’s First Days

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The Family’s Guide to the Affordable Care Act

This is a sponsored post, however, all opinions and thoughts are my own. Thank you for helping to support my family.

As a mom, one of the most important things is keeping your children safe and healthy, right? Maybe you don’t have health care yet, or maybe you’re not sure where to get started. I mean, we hear all about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on the news and media everywhere, but do you really know what it means for YOU, or where you can get more information, or to start the enrollment process?

If not, you’ve come to the right place!

Understanding the Affordable Care Act - Baby Doodah

The Basics

Let’s start with the basics. I want to help you realize what is available, so that when you go to the enroll you know what you’re looking for.

Since, our concern is our children first, let’s look at what is available to them with the ACA.

When it comes to the ACA, where you fall when it comes to coverage is based primarily on your income. So depending on what you (& your spouse) make, your child(ren) could be eligible for Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP, or you may also hear it referred to as Child Health Plus) or Children’s Medicaid. The bottom line here, your child should NOT go without health insurance.

Children’s Health Insurance Program and Children’s Medicaid

The rules for qualification for CHIP are pretty straight forward, your child must be under the age of 19 and fit into the income brackets that are set forth by the government.

Children’s Medicaid does not have a monthly premium associated with it, so the income guidelines are lower, however, even if you make more than the Medicaid guidelines, your child will be eligible for CHIP.

See the income bracket below to determine where your child would fall.

CHIP and Medicaid Income Guidelines

Click on the picture to view larger.

When you apply for CHIP or Children’s Medicaid you’ll be doing it directly through the New York State of Health Exchange, and if you don’t live in New York State you can actually start the whole application process through websites like UnitedHealthcare’s. It’s a pretty simple and straight forward process –  You begin by entering your age and zip code, and then it has you fill in some additional identifying information, as well as allow you to add on additional people (so, your spouse, and/or your children).

One note, this is not the formal enrollment process. It does ask you for an estimate on your household income. This is because it will provide you with the information where you should fall, based on that income you’ve provided. However, once you get into the formal application, you will need to provide concrete information, which could lead to a change in what you’re eligible for. It shouldn’t fluctuate much, I just wanted to give you a head’s up (unless your estimate is hugely off).

Medal Level Plans and Adult’s Medicaid

Now that we have your child(ren) covered, we need to you get insured as well. Thankfully, if you’ve already been following the application process so far, you don’t need to do much else in order to determine what you’re eligible for.

The medal levels are, Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum – The cost and benefits associated with each go up from bronze.

When you enter your income, the system will take that into account, as it does for you child. If you are eligible for Adult’s Medicaid, it will advise you of that. However, if you are above in the income brackets for Medicaid, the choice is yours!

Obviously if you visit the doctor frequently, or believe that you will need to, the higher the medal level you will want to go. You may pay more each month for your premium, but you won’t have high copays / co-insurances / deductibles.

Below are the income guidelines for Adult Medicaid

Affordable Care Act - Adult Medicaid Income Guidlines - Baby Doodah

Click on the picture to view larger.

 You can read more about each medal level by clicking here.

The goal here is to get everyone affordable health insurance. If you don’t qualify for Medicaid, there are still credits available to you via the government. My recommendation is to start the enrollment process now, to learn what you’re eligible for.

Health Insurance can be a highly confusing thing. If you don’t understand the terms or just aren’t really sure where to start, I want to help! I’ve been working in health insurance for the past 8 years, and have a pretty wide knowledge – so please feel free to ask away in the comments.

Understanding the Affordable Care Act - Baby Doodah (1)

Additional Resources:
Health Insurance Exchange 101
Shopping for Health Insurance
Health Insurance Definitions and Terms

Your turn!

Have you personally enrolled in health insurance via the Exchange? If so, what was your experience?

When in comes to health insurance, what other questions do you have? I’d love to help you understand all there is to know!

signatureLooking for a quick, easy and FREE way to get your news? Check-out theSkimm and sign-up for your daily email box delivery of the world’s news, plus if you share your birthday, you get it listed at the bottom of the newsletter on your day. It’s like celebrating with thousands of people!!!!

Fail Forward – No Sugar No Grains

Have you heard of the No Sugar, No Grains lifestyle? How about Vinnie Tortorich? Maybe Fitness Confidential?

If you haven’t heard of any of those three things, that’s okay – you don’t need to. I’m almost hopeful that you don’t know any of the three. That means I get to introduce you to a whole new way of living healthfully! And that’s awesome! I’m going to share a lot of information about them. And, I’m really excited to do so, let’s get started!

My Struggle is Real

For at least 19 years, I’ve knowingly struggled with my eating. I have no idea why, or where it started, I just remember struggling to keep my eating under control. I was a serial dieter. One fad diet after another, I even found success with many of them, losing up to 75 lbs at one point – but, I never managed to keep it off. I always looked at my diet as “only temporary,” and “only until I lose the weight.” Those two statements right there are part of the MUCH bigger reason I never stuck to a diet. However, I want you to know, that despite struggling with my weight, in the past and currently, you CAN find your happy place when it comes to your food.

Fail Forward - No Sugar No Grains

Don’t Let Those Resolutions Waiver

We’re nearing the end of January, this is about when people’s resolutions begin to waiver. People start to give up on their goals, or stop believing in themselves. If you listed one of your goals as losing weight or getting healthy, I want to help you get past this hump and keep moving. Trust me, it IS possible!!

For the last 20 days, I’ve been following the No Sugar No Grains (NSNG) diet, created by Vinnie Tortorich. I’m not an expert yet, but I am seeing great results, and Seamus actually started following this means of eating about 3 months ago and has had amazing success. He’s lost 68 lbs, by simply giving up ALL sugar and ALL grains. He does workout, but because of a bad back, he’s currently only walking 4 to 5 days a week. Nothing overly intense, and yet he’s still losing weight!

With most diets, they encourage you to eat low-fat / low calorie. To eat small portions and stay below a certain (small) number of calories. People succeed, but they often feel restricted, which can in turn lead to the binge / guilt cycle. That doesn’t need to happen, you can have yummy, delicious cream in your coffee, or eat real bacon, and not turkey bacon (unless you prefer turkey bacon).

Here’s why I am loving NSNG, I am NEVER starving. In fact, I rarely think about food, unless I’ve gone too long without eating. Because I’m giving myself the fat it needs to work properly, and getting my carbs through healthy veg, I don’t obsess over when my next meal is. It’s an amazing feeling, freeing a part of your brain that has always stressed/obsessed/worried about food. NSNG is a true lifestyle change, it’s not a temporary fix, it’s  something that you stick with and (honestly) will want to stick with.

There are some added benefits, beyond just losing weight, and I am losing weight (6.7 lbs in 20 days). Giving up gluten can have a HUGE impact on your mental clarity. I often stuttered and struggled to find the right words when I spoke, now I feel clear and like I’m not stumbling over my words. Removing sugar (and sugar substitutes) has also helped, by keeping my blood sugar stable, so I don’t have the peeks and valleys (rushes and crashes), that I once did. I feel a sustained amount of energy all day long, and it feels great. And, the best part? My body is having an easier time fighting the depression I suffer from.

There’s no greater reason than that to follow NSNG. Losing weight is wonderful, but if I still hate life, then it’s pointless.

Maybe you’re thinking, I can’t do this – I just can’t give up pasta/bread/soda/cookies, etc – that’s okay! Maybe try giving up just one of those things, and doing that for awhile, until you feel strong and confident in your ability to say no, then maybe remove something else, so on and so forth.

And, if you just aren’t interested in following an NSNG lifestyle, that’s okay. Please know, you can still be successful, you just need to put your mind to it!

Fail Forward - No Sugar No Grains - Baby Doodah

In Conclusion

In future posts, I’m going to talk to you about how we got started with NSNG and provide you with some tips on how to prepare for NSNG if you’ve been eating whatever you want for awhile.

If you’re interested in learning more about NSNG, or maybe you want to start following this lifestyle – Vinnie Tortorich has an amazing book Fitness Confidential and a self-titled podcast, that I would recommend checking out.

Additional reading

Snack Ideas: 10 No Sugar, No Grain Snacks – From Family Sport Life
Recipes: Gluten Free Anna (Anna is Vinnie’s co-host on his podcast, and her recipes are out of this world!)
Article: No Sugar, No Grains: Is This the Key to Long-Term Health?

Posts About My Frequent Failing Forward

I have Binge Eating Disorder
What it’s like on a daily basis, struggling with Binge Eating Disorder
What Someone with Binge Eating Disorder Really Looks Like
Coping with Binge Eating Disorder & the Loneliness of Having the Disorder
Why I Decided to Be Bold and Come Clean About my Binge Eating Struggles
Enough with the Lies Regarding Food Consumption
How I’m Working to Say NO to the Binge

Your Turn!

What are you failing forward with, this year? 

Have you ever followed the NSNG lifestyle? Did you have success? Share your secrets in the comments below!

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Looking for a quick, easy and FREE way to get your news? Check-out theSkimm and sign-up for your daily email box delivery of the world’s news, plus if you share your birthday, you get it listed at the bottom of the newsletter on your day. It’s like celebrating with thousands of people!!!!

This post may contain affiliate links. This does not change the cost for you, simply helps to provide for my family. Thank you!

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