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Monday, September 12, 2016

Potty Training Essentials

This post was sponsored by Charmin as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central.

Alright you guys, today I wanted to talk to you about Potty Training. As you may know, our son is TWO years old!! I can't believe how fast he is growing up! He turned two in the beginning of July and we think he may finally be ready to take the plunge and start potty training. 

This is a huge deal. I don't recommend potty training unless your toddler seems ready. One clue that helped us is seeing David insist on diaper changes as soon as he dirtied them. He used to fight us on getting a new diaper--not anymore! This is just one thing that really clued us in.

When you decide to start potty training you need to be ready. You need to make sure you've done your research and have a game plan for how you are going to tackle it. This isn't something you just wake up one morning deciding to do.
potty training essentials- charmin now has a bargain priced toilet paper!


Here are some things to think about before getting started:



1. Has my child transitioned to a toddler bed?


  • I definitely recommend this. Think about it. What happens if you kid needs to go in the middle of the night but can't get out of bed? 
  • Transitioning from crib to toddler bed is a whole other obstacle, so make sure you take care of this at a separate time from potty training. Don't attempt too many new things at once.
    • make sure you toddler proof the house before transitioning to a toddler bed! We have chain locks on our doors now because our son can unlock the door. Last thing we'd want is for a jail-break in the middle of the night!

2. Do I need to adjust our bed time routine to take out any last minute drinks?

  • For a while we were giving David some water in a sippy cup to drink in his bed. We had to slowly phase this out to try our best to eliminate needing to use the restroom in the middle of the night.

3. Do you have a potty training seat?

  • Not everyone uses these, but we definitely find them beneficial for those tiny bums.

4. Do you have enough toilet paper??

potty training essentials- charmin now has a bargain priced toilet paper!
  • When kids start wiping for the first time they tend to use wayyy too much toilet paper so we love to go for bargain brands.
  • Even if your kid isn't wiping themselves yet, it is still a new thing for the parent. Learning to wipe someone else on the toilet is a whole lot different from wiping yourself and for me at least, takes a lot of attempts to make sure everything is clean since I can't see it as well as I could during a diaper change.
  • Because we have one more person on the toilet in this house, and the reasons mentioned above, we are going through wayy more toilet paper than we used to so we decided to turn to bargain toilet paper. Unfortunately, the normal bargain brand we used just wasn't doing the trick. But did you know that Charmin just launched a new product that is actually comparable to that bargain brand toilet paper price?? Well, they did. They have the Charmin Essentials Soft and the Charmin Essentials Strong. We prefer the Soft and it is amazing! It is super soft and advertised as being clog-safe which is sooo important during potty training!
  • potty training essentials- charmin now has a bargain priced toilet paper!
    • One more thing. Charmin is actually running a deal right now where you can upgrade your current Angel Soft or Scott 1000 toilet paper to the new Charmin Essentials Soft or Strong. This is a FREE upgrade! All you have to do is tweet your TP swap out request to @Charmin using the hashtag #CharminEssentials and #Promotion and Charmin will send you a FREE roll! (read terms and conditions here)

Sunday, August 21, 2016

What you should know about freezing breastmilk!

I like to be pretty transparent here on Lexi Michelle Blog, and so today I want to tell you a little about my experience breastfeeding this time around, specifically about storing breastmilk in the freezer.

I wish I had know this BEFORE i started my breast milk freezer stash! No one ever tells you about this! MUST READ!


So, with my first I did no freezer storage whatsoever & I regretted it. I regretted it when I went back to work shortly after he was born and my milk supply completely DROPPED! It was almost impossible for me to bring it back up. Plus, while my work did have a mother's room for pumping mothers, I felt guilty taking as many pumping "breaks" as I would need to keep it up. No one else in my department was a mom, there were a 1 or 2 fathers, but I just didn't think anyone really understood. It felt like people just thought I was relaxing in the break room & skipping out on work, even though that was not the case at all.

I am a stay at home mom now, and so I probably don't "need" a freezer stash, but I opted for one for emergencies.

I did struggle in the beginning with an initial oversupply of milk right after Farrah was born which led to plugged ducts and eventually mastitis & then an allergic reaction (hives) to the medication they gave me to treat mastitis. This then led to a decrease in my milk supply. So it was tough.

I worked hard to increase it.

I purchased Brewers Yeast, added Ground Flaxseed to everything and even started eating oatmeal & drinking coconut water even though I hate both of those things! And you know what? It worked! After a couple days my milk supply increased. I was pretty prone to plugged ducts after that bout of mastitis, and so occasionally my supply would drop a little, but for the most part I produced a ton of breast milk!

I was happy. I had enough milk where every time I pumped I could give one bottle to Farrah & one would go in a freezer bag & straight into the freezer.

This built up my freezer stash very quickly! But I never touched it! Why? Because fresh breast milk was just so much more convenient for multiple reasons:

  1. It is already the right temperature.
  2. It can stand for up to 6 hours at room temperature before expiring.
  3. I always forgot to pull breast milk out of the freezer to thaw.
breastmilk storage guidelines- what I wish I knew before I started my freezer stash!
Add caption

Okay, so when my freezer started to fill up I decided I should probably start rotating out. When I actually started using this milk I learned a couple of things that I wish I had known ahead of time:

  1. Freezer milk is a lot more temperamental.
    • it is only good for 24 hours in the fridge (and takes almost as long to thaw completely).
    • it is only good for 1 hour standing at room temperature.
  2. The taste changes.
    • Yes, I taste my breast milk. I noticed that anything from the freezer older than about 6 weeks started to taste more iron-y/metallic. Why? I guess this has something to do with the enzymes that digest milk(lipase) breaking down the fats while the milk is stored. The milk is still perfectly fine for baby, but some babies don't like the taste.
  3. It is pretty inconvenient to prevent the metallic taste.
    • I read that you can prevent the metallic taste from happening if you heat the breast milk on the stove (not oven) until the edges start to bubble, then let it cool, & freeze it. This works because it stops the activity of those enzymes.
    • I have never tried it, but honestly, the whole house falls apart when I pump. David turns into a little toddler tornado & I really don't have time to heat milk on the stove & watch it to make sure it doesn't turn into a rolling boil.

So what would I do differently?

I would definitely start rotating out freezer milk every couple weeks. This taste is something I only noticed in my older milk, so instead I recommend rotating it out and not waiting until the milk is already 3 months old to do it. 

I am pretty lucky and Farrah will drink the older, metallic-y tasting milk, but I do feel pretty bad giving it to her and avoid it as much as possible. My sister has had success feeding her son bottles that are half fresh and half frozen breast milk to minimize the taste so that is another option. Otherwise, scald the milk like I mentioned before.

But honestly, this is something NO ONE talks about when mentioning their freezer milk & I really wish I had known about it when I started storing breast milk.

One more thing!

If you are using those Lansinoh Breastmilk Storage Bags (which is what I use) and you are thawing the milk in the fridge, be sure to set those bags in like a tupperware container or a small bowl because I have had a couple leakers! I think it's because the frozen milk can be sharp when frozen & sometimes cuts into the plastic baggies. Nothing's worse than spilt milk!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Evenflo Sibby Travel System and the Ride-Along Board

This post was sponsored by Evenflo as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. I received the Evenflo Sibby Travel System to facilitate my review.



Evenflo Sibby Travel System and the Ride-Along Board

Alright, as many of you know we gained a new member to our little family in April! Farrah is now 4 months old & all smiles! 

I love my little Farrah, but I do miss the convenience of traveling with just one child! I can't tell you how many times people catch me walking with Farrah in her car seat in one arm and my 2 year old in the other! And on top of it all, I may be the only mother who HATES baby wearing! I get all sorts of sweaty from it, especially now that it's summer time.

It's actually a bummer too. When I was pregnant I decided not to get a double stroller for multiple reasons: (1) the bulkiness (2) David is now two & loves to run around, only sometimes wanting to be in the stroller, so the extra seat would go empty a majority of the time (3) I planned to babywear during the times he wanted to sit in the stroller (until I realized I hated it!)

I recently had the opportunity to try out the Evenflo Sibby Travel System and the Ride-Along Board (now available at Target) and you have no idea how much easier it makes my daily activities!


Evenflo Sibby Travel System and the Ride-Along Board

Evenflo Sibby Travel System and the Ride-Along Board

I can avoid the bulkiness of the double stroller that my 2 year old won't sit in anyway, and I still have the option of toting both children with the Ride-Along Board attachment for David while baby Farrah sits in the main seat. When David is not using the attachment, I can just fold it up very quickly & continue on our walk.


Evenflo Sibby Travel System and the Ride-Along Board


The Travel system also comes with a super light weight car seat that can actually sit in the stroller as well (I love this for if Farrah falls asleep on the drive and I don't want to wake her). 


Evenflo Sibby Travel System and the Ride-Along Board

Evenflo Sibby Travel System and the Ride-Along Board

Honestly, this travel system is pretty straight forward & super easy to assemble I personally didn't even need the instruction manual. My 2 year old was even able to figure it out on his own! 

When I first set it up, I was a little concerned about the space on the ride along board. I wasn't sure if the back of the stroller seat would bother my son, but honestly he doesn't seem phased by it & it's basically like a little skateboard so he loves it! He especially loves it when we are going somewhere uphill. He just jumps on & then jumps off when he's done. Make sure you teach your toddler to warn you before they jump off, I made that mistake lol

All-in-all super easy to use, glides smoothly, has a large storage basket in the bottom (with front & back access), & it's pretty versatile, plus my baby girl thinks it's pretty comfy! And it comes with a car seat! I'm all for deals like this! Don't forget, this deal is available at Target, so be sure add it to your registry!

Evenflo Sibby Travel System and the Ride-Along Board




Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Mexican Cauliflower Rice

If you follow my instagram, then you know that I am OBSESSED with cauliflower! It is literally my favorite veggie! Why? because it can transform itself into different rices and potatoes! And as long as you season it correctly, it passes for the real thing!

A couple weeks ago I made some Mexican Cauliflower Rice for the first time. My husband LOVED it! Upon trying it for the first time, he asked me if we ever needed to make the real rice again! So now we've subbed out mashed potatoes AND Mexican Style Rice with this delicious dupe. Here's to low-carb living! Woohoo!!

This recipe is very similar to my normal Mexican Style rice, but for convenience I am using canned tomato sauce instead of fresh tomatoes. This recipe makes 8 servings, which we immediately place in tupperware as an easy side for the week.

Mexican cauliflower rice, low carb mexican rice sooo good! tastes like the real thing!


Ingredients:


  • 2 (12 ounce) bags frozen cauliflower
  • 1/2 tbs canola oil
  • 1/4 medium onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cube chicken bouillon
  • 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 (10 ounce) bag frozen mixed veggies (peas, corns, carrots, & optional green beans-depends on the brand you get) 
  • salt to taste


Directions:


  1. Start by microwaving all frozen veggies according to package directions. (I usually subtract 1 minute from microwave time, just because I am also pan frying these, but that's optional)
  2. In a food processor, pulse cauliflower until it resembles rice.
  3. In a medium pan, heat 1/2 tbs canola oil & add garlic, onion, & bouillon. Sautee until onion becomes translucent & bouillon is melted.
  4. Add "rice" & tomato sauce and stir. Let simmer for 1 minute.
  5. Add mixed veggies & salt to taste & then stir once more.


Mexican cauliflower rice, low carb mexican rice sooo good! tastes like the real thing!

Mexican cauliflower rice, low carb mexican rice sooo good! tastes like the real thing!

Mexican cauliflower rice, low carb mexican rice sooo good! tastes like the real thing!

Mexican cauliflower rice, low carb mexican rice sooo good! tastes like the real thing!

Mexican cauliflower rice, low carb mexican rice sooo good! tastes like the real thing!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Pack your hospital bag in 2 minutes (from a 2nd time mom)


Baby girl Farrah came 9 days early and within a half hour of arriving at the hospital. And because I'm the procrastinator that I am, I didn't have my hospital bag ready--at all!

Sure I would've loved to have been more prepared or been one of those moms who had their hospital bag packed months in advance, but it's just not me. I did purchase the "recovery" stuff a week before, but my toddler got into it and when it was actually time to use it, half of it had gone missing =/

I had been feeling contractions all day, but they were a little sporadic and if I was walking they were terrible, but if I laid down I hardly felt them at all so I really wasn't sure what to think. Luckily I went into the hospital just to make sure because little Farrah was ready! I went from being dilated a 5 when I checked in, to a 10 within a half hour and delivered her after just 3 pushes! Can you imagine if I had ignored my instincts and not gone to the hospital??

So today I bring you: How to pack your hospital bag in 2 minutes! (because sometimes that's all the time you have)

how to pack your hospital bag in 2 minutes from a second time mom (bare essentials that you need in your bag!)

Here's what you absolutely need for the hospital, including some things I forgot in my hurried packing frenzy, but wished I hadn't.

  • bag for dirty clothes
  • Comfy sweats & tank top for road home
  • Going home outfit for baby
  • Newborn mittens (didn't bring these =/)
  • Binky
  • Mombo nursing pillow
  • Cell phone charger
  • Flip flops
  • Shower essentials
  • Toothbrush & toothpaste (I forgot this!! I felt so gross the next day!)
  • Make up (I remembered this, but didn't use it)
  • Make up removing wipes
  • Chapstick (this is a MUST! My lips got so dry at the hospital, it was awful)
  • Underwear
  • Bra 
  • Hair ties & Bobby pins
  • Insurance card & IDs (forgot this, didn't need it at our hospital)
  • Carseat w/newborn insert
  • Prenatals if breastfeeding
  • Colace
  • Breast pads
  • Nipple cream
(Tip: Always call hospital to see what they provide. Ours provides diapers, wipes, formula if necessary, newborn clothes, blankets, booger grabber, pads, mesh underwear, tucks witch-hazel pads, ice packs, & dermoplast spray)

Anyway, these in my opinion are the bare necessities. They had a room at our hospital with crackers, drinks & other miscellaneous snacks that were great for us & especially our toddler along with the other items I mentioned above, so please call your hospital ahead of time to find out what they provide so you are not packing unnecessary items. 

Good luck!!

brother sister love

Farrah Love

Farrah Love


Farrah Love



Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Life Update

The month of May is almost over & I have only written ONE blog post! ONE! I realize I am majorly slacking, but I have a good reason: life.

Life gets crazy sometimes. I love writing my blog and it is a priority for me, but my family is definitely higher up on the list. 7 weeks ago my husband ruptured his Achilles playing flag football and had to have surgery a week later (5 days before baby was born). He still has a boot on his foot and can't put any weight on it for one more week. 

And then our little baby girl decided to be born 9 days early (5 days after Scott's surgery)! She joined our family on April 13th at 7:33pm. She weighed in at exactly 8 pounds and was 20 inches long! Labor was so quick I couldn't believe it.


We also have had some family in town to meet her so our schedule has been hectic. On top of it all, I am recovering from an extremely annoying bout of mastitis. So I  haven't had much time to write, but I am hoping to change that now that our lives are slowly returning to normal.

Farrah will be 6 weeks old tomorrow, so maybe we'll just call it maternity leave and pretend I didn't go so long without posting ;)

Anyway, check back for some new posts every week, they will be here!  I'm also on instagram & twitter so be sure to follow me there as well @lexxi_lu


Friday, April 1, 2016

Confessions of a Stay at Home Mom

I've been a stay-at-home-mom for a little while now. I quit my job to stay with David full time when he was about 5 months old. It was a tough decision, but truthfully it was made for me. We needed to switch daycares and everything close had a waiting list for infants. So I quit my job and stayed with my baby boy.

confessions of a stay at home mom
(today- April 1, 2016)

confessions of a stay at home mom
(back when he was my baby =( July 2014)

I love every minute of our time together. I am truly grateful that I was "forced" to stay home with him. And now, with new baby about to arrive any day the thought of going back to work seems out of the question. Can you imagine the cost of two babies in daycare?! Insane! It just wouldn't be worth it for us financially.

confessions of a stay at home mom
(February 2016)

I know there are parents out there who would trade anything to be in my shoes. Believe me I know how fortunate I am to be able to stay with my babies and I don't want to seem ungrateful at all, but I must be honest-- about 95% of the time I love being a SAHM, but there is still a small part of me that misses working.

There is a small part of me that must confess that sometimes:

  • I don't feel as successful, fulfilled, or accomplished. 
  • I feel like others think I must not be very bright, otherwise I'd have a career.
  • I don't feel respected.
  • I feel frumpy.
  • I feel like no one understands me or why the house isn't always spotless.
  • I feel judged on everything from how I'm dressed to how my son is dressed or how clean my house is.
  • I feel like like people think I'm lazy for not working.
  • I feel like people think I'm on a never ending vacation.
  • I feel selfish for wanting a break.
  • I feel like a boring person.
  • I feel like the only thing interesting I can converse about is what my son did that day.
  • I feel like when people look at me, all they see is a mom.
  • I hate not being able to contribute financially.
  • I feel selfish when buying things for myself.
  • I miss having financial freedom.
  • I hate having to ask for money for the grocery store. 
  • I miss feeling independent.
  • I miss having utilities in my name.
  • I don't feel important.
  • I feel like my opinion doesn't hold as much weight.
  • I don't feel like I am living up to my full potential.
  • I feel like it doesn't matter that I went to college.
  • I feel unqualified for any career. (Job offers used to pour in, but now, I've been out of work for far too long.)
  • I feel like I've let myself go.
  • I am so sick of doing laundry, washing dishes, and cleaning up spills.

All of this is just me. No one does or says anything to make me feel this way. And truthfully, I feel happy a majority of the time. But sometimes, being a stay-at-home-mom gets to me.. I really hope I am not the only one who feels this way..

confessions of a stay at home mom