Tag Archives: tips

A Couple Things

Hey everybody! It’s been a little while since I’ve done one of my “couple things” posts. I thought I’d take this opportunity to do just that.

1. Fitness Fridays – They’re going to be a little different around here. Kathy, my co-host has decided to take a break from writing on her blog for a “to be determined length of time.” If you were an avid reader or visitor of her blog, be sure to stop on over and wish her well!!

In the meantime, I am planning on continuing with Fitness Fridays, with a break today because I wanted to cover a couple things. 🙂 I also will be doing some brainstorming on how to make it bigger. I don’t want anything huge, but I’d like to reach more blogs, get more people to link-up or get involved. If you’re interested in teaming-up, feel free to comment below or email me at jillianokeefe1022@gmail.com

2. TheSkimm – I am deeply in love with TheSkimm. Every morning, Monday-Friday, I get an email in my inbox, BRIGHT AND EARLY, with a rundown on the day’s news. Now, you’re probably wondering why you would want to sign-up for something new when you have the internet at your disposal. Well here’s the answer, #1 TheSkimm is free to sign-up for and #2, the news descriptions they provide are brief, to the point and explained in a manner that anyone can understand. I have felt tremendously more educated about the world’s events since joining them. Below is a snapshot of what their daily email looks like.


3. Beachbody – I am slowly but surely working and learning the ropes of the Beachbody community. It’s a lot of fun and I’m learning SO much. I actually just ordered the 3 Day Refresh and PiYO. I can’t wait to receive them!! I also have a 13 day clean eating challenge beginning on August 4th. If you’re interested in learning more about it, please comment below or email me. I’d be happy to send along the information, I just need commitment by July 28th.

4. A GIVEAWAY! Yay! My final update for today is that I’m joining Logan from Logan Can… in celebrating her 2 year blogaversary! She’s hosting a really great giveaway that you NEED to be a part of. Enter using the Rafflecopter widget below and be sure to stop over to her blog and say HAPPY BLOGAVERSARY, Logan!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Your turn!

What are a couple things from your world?

What was the best part of your week?


Cycling, A Breakdown Of The Equipment You Need

Since I’ll be doing The Ride for Roswell in a few short weeks, I thought it would be great to share some tips on equipment you need in order to start cycling. This is a sponsored guest post.

In many countries, and increasingly here in the UK, cycling is a widely used mode of transportation. Carry on Cycling is an organisation of cycling enthusiasts, so this makes us happy. In Holland and Belgium, bicycles have been a part of everyday life for so long, that they are an extremely safe option, as well as healthy and efficient. Some countries rely very much on bicycles as their main form of transportation and it has become a staple in their culture.

The most commonly ridden bike is a road bike. These tend to have a shorter wheel base and are more upright than mountain bikes. Their shape makes them defter at speed, but the downside is they can be difficult to control at slower speeds. The design also means riders need to lean forward to the handle bars. It is recommended to get advice from a specialist bike shop before purchasing a bike, to make sure you get the right model for you and your cycling plans.

Additions to bikes

These days most road bikes have clip less pedals, which mean the rider can attach their specially designed shoes to the pedal to prevent slipping.

Child seats are a common addition to road bikes, meaning children can share the chassis with their parent or care giver and don’t need to pedal.

Front and rear lights are a wonderful safely precaution, alerting other road users to your position in the dark. Locks are now standard on all models to prevent theft. Bells or horns are an important tool in alerting other road users to your presence. Mud guards and fenders protect your bike from every day wear and tear. Water bottles are a must for longer haul rides. Baggage carriers or baskets mean the rider does not have to wear a back pack and lightens their own load.

What should I take with me on a bike ride?

It is wise to carry a basic maintenance kit when you go for a bike ride, in case you suffer a puncture. A pump is an integral part of these kits, as well as a puncture repair kit and an extra inner tube, in case yours needs to be replaced.

It is also a good idea to take waterproof clothing with you to use in the event of a change in weather; there is nothing worse than ending what had been a great ride sodden because you didn’t prepare properly.

All riders should wear appropriate protective clothing to prevent chaffing and saddle sores and to protect from soft tissue damage should you come off your bike.  A helmet is an absolute must here too. It will act as an impact absorber for your head should you have an accident. Glasses are great not just to shield your eyes from the sun, but to act as a barrier to all the grit that can be thrown up from the road.

It is also possible to individually customise your bike, adding whatever you feel you need to compliment your riding style and experience. To learn more about cycling visit Carry On Cycling.

Here is more ideas on equipping your bike.

Sarah Mcarthy is a writer for Carry on Cycling. You can find her on Google Plus here.

Lessons Learned: Moving with a Toddler

Lessons Learned from Moving with a Toddler

Despite our recent living situation being less than ideal, we still moved with a toddler and I learned a great deal from it that I will use in future moves and want to happily share with you today.

10 Lessons Learned from Moving with a Toddler

Lessons learned moving

What worked for us:

Involve your child every step along the way. When we were going around looking at apartments, and then once we had made our decision, we involved him. Sometimes it was as simple as say, “We decided on a new home.” or “This is going to be your new bedroom.” I don’t know whether he understood everything or not, but he was always interested in what I was telling him.

Take your child to the new home a couple of times before moving in (if possible). After we signed our lease, we came back a couple of times, once so that Emmett could get more comfortable with the place, and the second time to measure. However, each time we were there, we made a point of showing Emmett his room and letting him act as silly as he wanted to in there.  He loved having the open empty room to go buck wild in.

Send your child to day care or have someone babysit, while the actual move takes place. I know this might seem like it would backfire, and the child would have a hard time adjusting, but it worked really well for us. It allowed Seamus and I to get the move, and the majority of the clean-up completed, without having to make sure Emmett wasn’t getting into one thing or another. When we picked Emmett up from day care, and brought him to his new home, we led him by the hand, going from room to room. Which brings me to my next lesson…

Allow your child to become acquainted with their new surroundings. Despite bringing your child to the new home a few times, they still may freak out or have a negative reaction to everything in their perfect little world changing. Don’t push, let your child experience the emotions, just be their to help make them feel better, or help calm them down when they start going crazy. Emmett never seemed sad, but he definitely acted out, he was very  mischievous and would not listen to Seamus at I or at all. It got frustrating at times, but then I reminded myself that I was still adjusting and getting used to things, and I understood completely what had happened. So Emmett’s hyper activity, was probably due in part to a small level of anxiety. It’s now been 3 weeks since we’ve moved, and he is a completely different child, than when we first moved in.

Explain everything you’re doing when it comes to packing. There were times when I would be packing, that Emmett would come stand by me, and just kind of hover. Obviously I have no idea what he was actually thinking, but I’d use that time to explain what I was doing and why I was doing it. He really seemed to enjoy the conversation, even if he didn’t understand everything.

Set your child’s bedroom / playroom up first. Since your child is going through a huge change and may not understand everything that’s going on, try to make their transition as easy as possible, by setting up their room and ensuring you have their favorite things handy. For us, this took us looking through many MANY boxes, but we found everything and got Emmett’s room set up before he got home from day care. He seemed to really love to be able to run right in and grab his blankies.

Take a few extra days off. When we were scheduling our move, we did it on a Friday, and I planned on taking Monday and Tuesday as well. At first, I wasn’t sure if I’d stay home on Tuesday, because using vacation time for moving just doesn’t seem fun, but in the end I took it. I’m glad I did too – Emmett was up for almost all of Monday, into Tuesday night. Having the extra time off allowed us to not stress about going back to sleep with little sleep.

What Didn’t Work / What I Wished We’d Done

Get your child involved in some sort of activity that really holds their attention while you pack up their toys. Emmett was great when I was packing his clothes, but when it came time to put his toys in a box, he just kept pulling out what I had put in. I ended up leaving this packing until he was at school, or napping, next time I’ll just keep him busy.

Clearly mark all boxes with your child’s toys / clothes / diapers. I thought I did a pretty good job of ensuring that all of the boxes we’d need the night of our move and the morning after, were clearly marked, well I was wrong. I mean, I didn’t do a terrible job, but I definitely could have been more diligent, maybe clearly marking with a symbol or colored tape, which boxes were Emmett’s, Seamus’ or mine.

Do some sort of check on the tenants that will be living below, above or on the sides of you. As I’m sure you’ve read a few times, things in our apartment haven’t been going very well. The people below us are so obnoxiously loud and just don’t seem to care that people live above them. I wished we’d done some sort of research on what kind of people they were and whether they were quiet. Live and learn, right!?

That about does it, we’re still slowly unpacking, but we’re here and we’re adjusting.

If you want to read the other posts I shared on preparing for a move with a toddler, you can click here or here.

Your turn!

What things have you learned when moving with a baby, toddler or older child? I’d love for you to share in the comments below.


33 Little Know Facts About Me

Today’s my Birthday, so I thought I’d some unknown facts about me. I chose 33 since that’s how old I turned today… Yikes!


  1. I was actually born in Pennsylvania, at Hamot Hospital, and spent the first year or so of my life in PA. We didn’t move to NY until I was two, I believe (mom correct me if I am wrong).
  2. As an infant, I had a hernia. All because I lifted a bottle that was too heavy for me. HAHA j/k
  3. My 16th birthday was spent at a Bush concert, and I thought it was THE coolest thing. I still vividly remember that night and how hot I thought Gavin was.
  4. My name is Jillian, not Jill, and I will often take the time to correct folks who call me Jill.
  5. In the nickname vein, my mom hates nicknames, so I was always Jilllian growing up. In high school, my way of rebelling was to have all my friends call me Jill. As I got older I went back to Jillian and now I hate being called Jill. It funny, if we’re out and about I run into a friend, Seamus can place when I was friends with them, simply by whether they call me Jill or Jillian.
  6. In 8th grade going into high school, I went on a diet that only allowed for 7 grams of fat a day. I stuck to that bad boy, and lost a crap ton of weight, but it didn’t stay off (obviously). Breakfasts were lemon yogurt, lunch was lemon yogurt and then dinner was a salad with fat free dressing. I also tracked what I ate, any day where I stuck to 7 grams of fat or under, I got a smiley face, the days I was over I got a big fat sad face. Yeah, I’ve never had a great relationship with food.
  7. I want 4 kids, because I loved growing up in a big family, but I don’t think that we’ll have that many.
  8. I switched my college major around a bit before settling on Elementary Education, and now I don’t even utilize that degree (which I’m okay with). When I started, my major was journalism, then I toss around theatre and finally Elementary Education.
  9. I obsessively research so many things. What I mean is, if I’m interested in a topic or want to know how to handle a situation, I will research it and read almost everything I find, until I feel confident in my knowledge.
  10. I was never able to watch most 90s TV shows because I always had younger siblings around. When people talk about watching My So Called Life, for instance, I recall watching Sesame Street or Barney. 🙂
  11. If you turned on an oldies music channel, particularly of the 60s decade, I would likely be able to sing the words to about 80% of the songs that came on. It boggles Seamus’ mind whenever we listen to that station, but it’s because that is what my parents always had on in the car or at home, and the words all just stuck.
  12. I met Seamus on match.com, after I had decided I was alright with remaining single for awhile longer. Glad I chose to change my mind.
  13. Our first date was at The Irishman, Seamus asked me to marry him after taking me to dinner at The Irishman, and our last meal as just a couple (before we went in to have Emmett), was at The Irishman. That place holds so many memories, and I’ll be devastated if they ever close.
  14. The way I take my coffee changes on an almost weekly basis. Currently, I take my hot coffee black or with just a shot of hazelnut flavor.
  15. The way I take my iced coffee is different than the way I take my hot coffee. Iced coffee usually has vanilla and cream in it, hot (currently) is just black with the flavor shot.
  16. When I get to work, I would love 15 minutes to get settled and have a sip of coffee, before answering any staff questions. I like this time because it allows me to go from a relaxed state of mind, into work mode. I rarely have this luxury any more.  Oh well! 🙂
  17. I despise cleaning! It’s all because when we were little every Saturday was cleaning day. My mom would put the names of all of the rooms on pieces of paper and put them in a hat and we’d have to choose 2. This is probably one of the reasons why I have a hard time cleaning up after Emmett every night. I just hate cleaning! haha
  18. My credit card was stolen by my roommate in college, and I never pressed charges. I just wanted out of that room, into a single and I got my wish.
  19. I have a weird love / hate relationship with vegetables. I love raw carrots, hate them cooked – Love raw tomatoes, hate them cooked. All of my vegetable issues came out on my first date with Seamus, thankfully he found them endearing and not crazy. 🙂
  20. I have a serious phobia of lasagna. Just the thought of it makes me cringe, and if something is named lasagna, even if it is nothing like the original recipe, I still can’t eat it. I’m totally odd, I know.
  21. I’m the oldest child in my family, so is Seamus. Actually right now, my house is full of oldest children. Totally just realized this. Actually, I guess Emmett is an only child.
  22. I absolutely love driving, so long distant car rides are no trouble for me (so long as I get pee breaks).
  23. I loved Full House as a child, and continue to love it to this day. My one true hope is that Emmett loves Full House as much as I do, so that we have a real excuse to have it on in our house.
  24. Barbies were my favorite when I was growing up. I have to be honest, if I ever have a daughter, I’ll have a hard time keeping her from playing with Barbies if she wants to, despite the supposed body image issues they give off.
  25. I was very into theatre in late grade school and high school. I was in almost every play and musical from my Freshman year, until I graduated. I was also in chorus, and had a decent singing voice back then.
  26. My favorite subject in high school was Chemistry, and I didn’t even do that great in the class. I liked it because our teacher actually cared and tried really hard to make sure everyone understood the subject. He, in my opinion, is what a teacher should be like.
  27. My mom was my first grade teacher. I went to a Catholic grade school where there was only 1 first grade, and she was that teacher. It was not a good experience for me, and probably for my mom. HAHA I was a total brat and thought I was in charge, because she was my mom. She set me in place pretty quickly, but I was so embarrassed. I still remember crying over it.
  28. I was only ever in trouble in school ONE time, including high school and college. I was in third grade and we had a male student who enjoyed running around the classroom, pretending to bite girl’s butts. Well, he happened to coming up behind my chair when the teacher walked in, so she caught me jumping out of my chair and the boy acting silly. We both had to sit in the hallway for the remainder of the day. Did I mention my mom was a teacher at that school? Yeah. She knew right away and I was in so much trouble.
  29. I’m a dipper. A percentage of the food I eat, is used as a means to dip. Rooties blue cheese is my favorite, followed by Frank’s Red Hot and Honey Mustard.
  30. I love camping! I’ll do any kind of camping, but primitive camping is my favorite. Out in the middle of nowhere, where it gets pitch black and you have just your tent. It’s so peaceful, and everything surrounding you is so beautiful.
  31. We went to Vermont for our honeymoon, and I think about going back to Burlington and Stowe at least once a week. Honestly, if I were ever able to relocate there, I would do it in a heartbeat.
  32. My favorite color is blue, followed closely by orange and pink.
  33. Most days I feel like the luckiest person in the world. I have the most supportive husband, the cutest and sweetest child, a family loves me for me, a boss that cares about me as a person and not just her employee, and readers who read and support everything I write.

There you have it! 33 facts you had no idea you needed to know. 🙂 I hope you enjoyed reading a little bit more about me.

Your turn!

I’d love love LOVE to hear some secret facts you have about yourself, that you don’t always share. Please share them in the comments below!

5 Tips I wish I’d Know as a New Mom

Life as a new mom, can very difficult but You Can Be Better Prepared.

When you’re pregnant for the first time, and the days, weeks and months are slooowly creeping by, you are left wondering, am I prepared for this?

Oh momma, you’re prepared, but there are some additional things that other mommies may not have shared with you.

I had so many people say that mom’s don’t always share what actually happens after having a baby because they don’t want to scare women away. I say, to hell with that! Nothing would have scared me away from having a baby, but if I had known then, what I know now, my experience as a brand new mom might have been bit smoother.

5 Real Life Tips for New Moms - Baby Doodah(1)

Your Love for Your Newborn Will Grow and Change as a New Mom.

I’ve loved Emmett from the moment I knew I was pregnant. I felt him grow and move and kick inside the womb and there was an instant connection to him once he was born. However, I struggled in the beginning because when he was first in my arms, I felt affection for him but my heart wasn’t bursting with love right off the bat. There was nothing wrong with me, and there is nothing wrong with you, if you should feel this way.

This new, beautiful little bundle is coming in and changing your life completely, it doesn’t mean you don’t care for him (or her) or that you wouldn’t do anything for them, it simply means you need time to adjust. You have too much else going on in your life, that you don’t need to put added pressure on yourself to feel any differently than how you’re feeling.

Postpartum Depression (PPD) Isn’t a Joke!

Obviously, I knew going into having a baby that there was a chance that I would feel mopey or sad, but I completely underestimated how mopey and sad I’d actually feel. No one shares how bad it can be. Not one single other mom said to me, watch out for how you’re feeling after you have Emmett. Sure, I’d read about it, and my OB-GYN had mentioned it but I was in no way prepared for the swing of hormones that were racing through me. All of which, lead me to feel sad and ready to kill myself one minute and so undeniably blissful the next. I thought something was seriously wrong with me, that nothing would ever feel right again, which is probably why I had so many issues with #1. Thank goodness for my doctor, Seamus and a dear close friend, reminded me of what was going on in my body, and allowed me to cry to them without a lick of judgement. They only ever wanted me to feel better and I did, eventually.

5 REAL LIFE Tips for New Moms - Baby Doodah

 Breastfeeding Isn’t Easy, but You CAN Do It!

In the midst of dealing with the beginnings of my PPD, I was trying to get my newborn son to latch and nurse and gain weight. I knew before having Emmett that I would breastfeed him, but in the back of my mind I knew there was always formula if I needed it. I regret thinking this way, I should have never entertained the idea that formula existed and that my son might drink it, I believe this is what led to most of my trouble with breastfeeding, because I was always so willing to just give up.

Emmett’s first night was a tough one, he was latching but not really sucking because he’d fall asleep at my breast. The next night, was the night he went through his cluster feeds, he’d wake up and cry every 2 hours or so to eat. I was exhausted and just wanted to sleep, I almost admitted defeat and allowed him to be fed formula. Once again, thank goodness for Seamus, he gently pushed and encouraged me to keep doing what I was doing, reminding me that the next night would be easier and he was right. Each subsequent night got easier and easier, and now we’re old pros (yes, Emmett is still breastfed today at 13 months old).

I encourage you to reach out to support groups, lacation consultants and friends who have breastfed. Surround yourself with people who will support your desires, not belittle them or make you feel crazy for wanting to give your child the very VERY best, despite the extra effort it takes in the beginning.

Breastfeeding Will Likely Hurt in the Beginning but Your Body is Made to Adjust.

As with anything worth doing, it requires extra effort and perseverance. The first several times that Emmett would latch, it was wrong, but I didn’t know it was wrong. His mouth wasn’t open wide enough, which leads to a shallow latch and potentially cracked nipples. Thankfully our hospital had lactation consultants on duty 7 days a week, who were very VERY helpful. They watched Emmett latch, showed me what he was doing wrong and how to fix it, they shared the phrase, “shove with love,” which basically means that once you have the baby’s mouth open wide enough and your nipple inserted, to gently shove the baby on until you feel him latch. It worked like a charm and it was because of these women that I had such success.

The other thing is, it hurt a lot, in the beginning, but with patience and lots and lots of Medela Lanolin (I recommend you buy this now, if you plan to breastfeed), I healed and breastfeeding became a pleasurable time for me and my baby to spend together.

You will bleed lots and lots and LOTS!

Again, one of those things that people had mentioned to me but never quite stressed how bad it would be. The hospital gives you pads that resemble adult diapers, but in the first few days, even those you’ll soak through quickly. Most hospitals will load you up with pads before you walk out their door, but once you run out of those you’re probably wondering what you should buy next. I went with Stayfree Ultra Thin Overnight Pads and they worked perfectly! They weren’t the bulky pillows from the hospital, but they still soaked up so much blood, I never worried whether I was going to overflow it, which is a huge accomplishment considering how much comes out of you at a time.

There you have it, my top 5 things I wished I’d known before delivering Emmett. My goal isn’t to scare you, but to share what REALLY happens after birth, so that you’re prepared and can stop PPD in its tracks.

Your turn!

What tips do you wish you’d had before becoming a new mom?

Any questions you have that I can help you work through?


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