Mommy Down Time: Book Clubs

One thing both of us here at Forever Young Moms love to do is read! But it’s increasingly hard to find or make the time to read for fun. We love the idea of book clubs for moms because it forces you to make the time and you are exposed to new books you may not have tried before!

FYM Emily introduced Sherrie to a Mommies Only Book Club on Facebook.  This is the best of both worlds, not only are you getting to read a new book, but you can discuss the book over a weekend, on your own time, and you don’t have to clean your house to host others!

While I get frustrated with book clubs because I find myself reading books I didn’t want to read, it’s also good because it’s an eye opener.  I recently discovered the author Jodi Piccolut.  I had heard great things but never really tried her books until I read two of them for a book club.  Turns out, I really like her style of writing and the stories she creates- and now I have so many more choices to read!

Books clubs are a great way to have something for yourself.  As moms, we are always go, go, go, putting everyone’s needs before our own,  but self care is extremely important.  That’s why we love book clubs, it helps to keep some time just for you, where you can relax and escape your reality for a little while.  Even if you don’t love the book, it’s nice to just get away.  🙂

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Sunshine Blogger Award!

All we can we say is WOW! We are so unbelievably honored to receive the Sunshine Blogger Award!  Thank you to Kayla of Adventures of a Young Mother for nominating us! The Sunshine Blogger Award is an award for bloggers who are creative, positive, and always aim to be inspiring.

As part of the award we need to share the love! We have to nominate 11 other bloggers who  will be required to:
1. Thank the blogger who nominated them and link it back to their blog
2. Answer the 11 questions asked by the blogger who nominated them
3. Nominate 11 other blogs and give them 11 new questions to answer
4. Notify your nominees and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post

Kayla gave us some really awesome questions to answer!

1. What’s your favorite thing about blogging?
Our favorite thing about blogging is being able to share our stories of our journey and the community that we are building around that! Whether it’s readers, other bloggers, companies, and people in the community, we feel like we’re creating an extended family, and that’s a wonderful feeling!

2. What do you want reader’s to take away from your blog?
The single more important thing we want our readers to take away is you’re not alone.  There’s always someone going through a similar situation and you’re surrounded with support.  We hope that we’re helping other moms just get that break of sanity that they may so desperately crave!

3. What’s the best blogging advice you’ve been given?
The best blogging advice we have been given is to have fun! It would be very easy to let blogging become a job and feel like you have to fit within certain rules.  We started this for fun, we always want it to stay that way! And we’ve been able to have great experiences, try great products and make great activities and crafts and memories with our kiddos!

4. many children do you have?
Between the two of us we have 3 children. Sherrie has two boys, Logan and Finn, and Emily has one girl name Madeline.

5. How old are your LO’s?
Logan is two years old, Madeline is 1  years old and Finn is 6 months old.

6. What makes you happiest to be a mother?
Sherrie
: The thing that makes me happiest to be a mom is seeing my kids smile, laugh and enjoy life. Their is no greater joy than experiencing life through the eyes of your child.
Emily: The happiest part about being a mom to me, is just that I’m able to be! I struggled with infertility so the fact that Madeline is here and perfect and healthy is just such a miracle and a blessing.  I love seeing the world through her eyes, now that I am a mom, I can’t imagine it any other way! It’s the best job I’ve ever had!

7. What is the biggest struggle you’ve encountered as a mother?
Sherrie: The biggest struggle for me has been balancing everything. Between two kids who are 18 months apart, it can be difficult to find time to squeeze it all in. It makes it even harder that the days fly by!
Emily: Wanting to do it all, and mom guilt.  I totally struggle with mom guilt, I always want to make sure we are doing the best we can, making the best decisions, and exposing Madeline to fun and new things! So days that I get impatient or that we don’t do too much, I struggle with guilt.

8. What do you do for me time, when you get the chance?
Sherrie: My down time is shopping, getting a mani/pedi or getting my hair done!
Emily: Umm– down time? Seriously? Well, I crochet and that helps, but to me, my downtime isn’t really downtime, it’s working on my masters, working on this blog, running my Usborne Books business and reading as an escape. (Or Pinteresting and DIYing).

9. What’s your favorite movie?
Sherrie: Wow, that is a tough question and not sure I can name just one, I love too many! I enjoy suspense thrillers, comedies and every now and then a romance movie!
Emily: Conspiracy Theory! Seriously, it’s great.  But I love a wide variety of movies, I think I’ve seen The Proposal 15 times and still it never gets old.  And forget a Harry Potter or Disney Marathon on Freeform- I’m there, all day.

10. What’s your favorite date night?
Sherrie
: Matt and I are so low key that dinner and a movie would do. The last date night we had we went to lunch and then ended up birthday present for shopping for Logan. Even when not with the kids, it is hard not to include them somehow and we are perfectly okay with that!
Emily: It is crazy but Mike and I have only been on one “date night” since Madeline was born! It was a wedding of a close friend.  Not that we don’t know it’s important or don’t have the time, we’re just so thankful for her that we like to spend dates with her- we can’t get enough of soaking her up!  It would be nice to get out alone, but we just end up talking about her!  We have always loved going to breweries and getting out- that would be fun to do still (you can bring a baby right?)

11. What did you get for Mother’s Day?
Sherrie: The boys got me the sweetest card! Matt got me one of my favorites for breakfast, munchkins! And prepared my favorite meal for dinner while he cleaned the entire house top to bottom, washed and folded all the laundry – he basically gave me the day off! 🙂
Emily: Madeline made me the sweetest card! Mike was a champ, he totally stepped in and made an amazing breakfast (even fixed my coffee!), changed all the poopy diapers, and then made dinner not only for me but also for my mom.  He did a great job!

We are so happy to be able to share our journey of motherhood with you all!  We started our blog just over a year ago not knowing what would come of it.  We thought, we’re moms, we’re married to twins, we like to DIY, we could totally write a blog! With very few expectations we’ve been blown away by the community we are creating and the opportunities that have continued to present themselves.  What started as a little dream has become a very large part of our daily lives!

Emily wanted to offer a piece of advice to others who may be thinking of or starting a blog. Plan Ahead! The one thing that has surprised her the most is how much time it takes not only to blog and promote, but to grow a blog! Whether you plan ahead your post you’re going to write, the social media you’ll be sharing, or the back end work of keeping up a website- it all takes a LOT of time and focus.  Planning for it helps to keep you from getting overwhelmed.  We know that when we are planned well, we run like a much smoother machine (though not flawless!) than when we don’t! And it helps keep blogging enjoyable and not a job!

And the award goes to…
The Coffee Mom

The Crocheting Mom 

The Strattons

The Life and Times of a Happy Wife

A Pint Sized Life

Adventures with Nico 

Parenting Expert to Mom 

House of Psych

Rogers Party of 5 

Coffee and Sarcasm 

Mama Bear Daily 

You are all so deserving of this award! We feel that you exceed the requirements for the award and we love following your journey to and through motherhood as well! Keep on shining, Moms! Here are your 11 questions we want you to answer. 🙂

1.  Where are you from?

2. How did you come up with the name for your blog?

3. What do you enjoy most about blogging?

4. If you could have dinner with any one person dead or alive, who would it be and why?

5. If you could only listen to 5 songs for the rest of your life what would they be?

6. What’s the one thing you say often (to your kids) you never thought you’d say?

7. What’s the funniest thing your child has said or done in the last month?

8.  How did you announce that you were pregnant? Show us those photos!

9. How did you choose your baby’s names?

10. Using 3 words, describe your motherhood experience.

11. Now that you have kid(s), what advice would you give to yourself when you were pregnant?

Can’t wait to see what you all come up with! Congratulations!

Friday Faves: Mom Products!

In honor of Mother’s Day this weekend we thought it would be fun to ask other awesome Mom Bloggers to share with us what their favorite Mom products are. We asked, what products helps you out as a Mom? It could have be anything – we set no boundaries. We wanted their honest answers!

For us, hands down our favorite has to be the Sarah Wells Breast Pump Bag. As nursing moms, the stress of having to pump at work, or anywhere that isn’t the comfort of your own home, can take a toll on your supply. Let’s not forget that carrying around a breast pump is not high on our list of fun things to do. Sarah Wells designed special bags specifically to transport breast pumps that allow for ease when it comes time to pump. The pumparoo that goes with is also great for carrying and storing your parts in between pumping sessions.

Pumping Bag- Sarah WellsBag for Pumping at work

Here are 12 Mom Products other Moms like us can’t live without!

1. Katie from My Joy in Chaos
Mom Favorite: Sweaty Band

This is the only headband I’ve found that stays in place, even while doing intense workouts, and looks great. I wear one nearly every day to add a little somethin’ somethin’ to the classic mom bun as well as wearing one with my hair down for an added pop of color and style. I can be practical and a little stylish with the variety of colors and patterns. I wrote a longer review of them here. You can buy them on amazon.

2.  Maria from I, Mommy
Mom Favorite: Laneige – Lip Sleeping Mask

This is one of my most favourite lip care since buying it at Sephora in January. I suffered from super chapped lips especially during the winter months. I’ve tried so many products to help and it never quite got the job done. I love this product and recommend it to anyone who has the same issues.  I love this because I don’t really have the time in the morning to do my regular face routine with helping my skin throughout the day. So I have time just to wash, and moisturize. With three kids, my time to care for my skin is at night time. Applying a small amount of this at night or morning helps hydrate my lips all day. It also lasts a while. I’ve had it for three months and have yet to use half of this 20g bottle.

3. Jessi from The Coffee Mom
Mom Favorite: Ergo Carrier

For both of my kids, my one must have was my Ergo. It let me get everything done while still technically holding my clingy babies. Especially with two kids, it is important to have free hands for the 4 year old, but still hold the baby. It makes everything easier from house work, grocery shopping, and family trips! No stroller for me, the Ergo is so much easier and convenient. I got mine on sale on Zulilly.com, and they go on there often!

4. Kayla from Adventures of a Young Mother
Mom Favorite:  Mama’s and Papa’s Baby Snug Seat

I’m a new Mom still doing a lot of experimenting to figure out what works for not only me, but my little man! He’s only a 4 month old baby so he’s just discovering all that he can do! Recently he’s started holding his head up extremely well, and has been sitting in his Mama’s and Papa’s Baby Snug seat. It’s been beneficial for him as he’s beginning to sit up unassisted but also such a lifesaver for me, I’m able to prop him in his chair, put a few toys on his tray and get what needs to be done around the house DONE. He’s able to sit right next to me as I do dishes, prepare meals, or even sit on my laptop and get some blogging done. There’s also an added activity play tray that you can purchase, it’s basically a tray that sticks to the tray below, with tons of toys attached to entertain! We were given ours at our baby shower but it was on our registry at Target. I know you can also purchase them at Toy’s R Us, Walmart, and Buy Buy Baby. You can also purchase them online on Ebay. From what I’ve seen, they run from about 44.99 to 63.99, depending if you purchase the activity tray with the seat.

5. Meghna from Life Little One
Mom Favorite:  Uppa Baby Vista

My favorite Mommy Product, without a doubt, is the stroller we invested in. It’s called Uppa Baby Vista. It is the SUV of the stroller if you may. We bought it during my babymoon at London, UK and lugged it all the way to Muscat, Oman since it was not available in the country 2 years back. The stroller comes with a bassinet, so this was my infant’s first ride. She is 2.5 years old and she still sits on it every single day as I take her in her Uppa Baby stroller to her nursery. This stroller is a bit heavy but it is so sturdy and spacious and useful that we have taken it with us to all the trips we have taken with our little one which covers 5 countries and 3 continents, and Uppa Baby has been a dependable travel partner.  Here’s the link to the site to read about it and buy. It is now available in the USA, Europe, Asia Pacific and the Middle East too.

6. Crystal a.k.a. The Messy Mommy from The Messy Truth of Motherhood
Mom Favorite:  Bubula

If you use disposable diapers, there’s really no way to keep your typical plastic diaper pail from smelling like crap.  That’s why I LOVE my Bubula. (Bubu-wha? Bubula.) It’s a stainless steel and aluminum diaper pail with an air-tight lid (i.e., nearly odorless). It’s 50 percent larger than standard diaper bins, and you can use tall kitchen garbage bags in it. Because of it’s size and quality, I only have to change the bag once per week, and my daughter’s room always smells fresh.  The important thing to know about Bubula is that the company’s customer service is stellar. The lid on mine broke after six months, and Bubula shipped me a new one — no questions asked — within a day. For free. The company’s vice president even emailed me to make sure I received the replacement. You can’t beat that kind of care. Bubulas, which cost about $90, can be purchased on Amazon.com and at Babies/Toys R Us.

7. Dâmares from  How to Marry a Millionaire
Mom Favorite: Diaper Bag from Hema

I actually don’t have a favorite product, or one that would make my life more practical or easier, but I thought of my diaper bag (from Hema) that I take with me everywhere (just as my daughter 🙂 ). It carries not only her necessary things but also all my things, while still having enough empty space and not being heavy. It’s black, of a good quality and it fits our lifestyles, which I have to say wasn’t that easy to find… in the midst of so many plastic colourful bags. I like it ’cause it doesn’t even look a baby’s bag.

8. Kali from Oak City Mama
Mom Favorite: Organic Cotton Nursing Pads & Anvy & Me Diaper Changing Clutch

Maybe it’s just me, but I leak breastmilk constantly. I have to wear nursing pads at all times so that I don’t soak through my shirt. I’ve tried several different kinds, and these Organic Cotton Washable Nursing Pads are my favorite. They are really soft, so they don’t cause extra irritation like the terry cloth ones do. I bought them at Babies-R-Us, but you can also get them on Amazon. I think most diaper bags come with changing pads, but mine didn’t. The first time we tried to leave the house with Beckett, I realized we had nowhere to change him. Oops! I like the Anvy & Me Diaper Changing Clutch that I found on Amazon because it has a place to store diapers and wipes, which makes it really easy to grab and know that you have everything you need.

9 .Cat from Mommy is Exhausted
Mom Favorite:  Munchkin Diaper Bag Dispenser

One of my absolute favorite mom items is the Munchkin Diaper Bag Dispenser.  I know, it probably seems really insignificant but it makes my life so much easier.  It is only 3.99 and comes with lavender scented, baking soda infused bags.  It is a clip on diaper disposal bag dispenser!  I did an entire post on it because I love it so much.  It is so convenient since it clips right on to the diaper bag and I always have a place to dispose of dirty diapers.  I can tie them up and throw them out and no smell lingers.  An advantage over throwing them in a plastic store bag.  I ordered mine from Amazon.  It is also available at Target!

10.  Christine from Nigel’s Village
Mom Favorite: Sound Machine by Rohm

My “Mom Favorite” has to be the portable sound machine by Rohm! We travel a lot with our baby, Nigel, and find that it helps him sleep uninterrupted, whether it be in our hotel room or in the car or even in his stroller. It packs a punch for being so tiny. You can visit my YouTube channel to get more details! I bought mine on Amazon.

11. .Rio Steven from This is the Mama Life
Mom Favorite: Kiinde Twist Breastfeeding System

My mom favorite is hands down The Kiinde Twist Breastfeeding System! It completely eliminates a lot of breastfeeding hassles. The breast milk storage bags can be attached directly to your pump so you don’t have to worry about transferring your milk, and possibly spilling that liquid gold! Once you’re ready to feed your little one, you just pop on a nipple and you can feed right from the storage bag. They are easy to freeze or store in the fridge with the breast milk organizer as well. The Kozii Breast Milk Warmer in this set is amazing! You can warm the milk in the storage bag, or in any bottle. It can be used to heat baby food, making it an item you will use as your baby grows and explores purees. This set takes the guesswork out of heating milk and baby food, no need to worry about getting the temperature just right. It saves you time when pumping and preparing bottles, and you just toss the storage bags when baby is done! Minimal clean up! Now that is a beautiful thing. I personally bought my set at Amazon, but it is available at Target, Toys R Us, and Bad, Bath and Beyond. Read more about my review on my blog here.

12.  Anitra Elmore fromThe MamaZone
Mom Favorite:  Grove Collaborative Subscription

My favorite thing right now is my Grove Collaborative subscription. Grove sells amazing health and beauty products from all my favorite brands. I know it’s not necessarily a “thing,” but it’s making my life super simple these days. I love that I can get our cleaning and beauty products delivered to our door like clockwork each month. And, the biggest bonus is that there’s a great referral program, so we’re getting free products as well. 

13.  Melissa from Mrs. Jackson Tells
Mom Favorite: Fisher Price Rainforest Jumperoo

My mommy favourite would be the fisher price Rainforest Jumperoo. I got it from Argos in the UK for my then 6 month baby boy. For me It’s a favourite because before getting this toy, Eli wasn’t interested in any other toy and so he only played with me, which I loved, but it meant that I wasn’t able to get much done around the house, something I believe all mummies know about. After we bought it, Eli loved it and would spend 10-20 mins playing on it before he wanted off, that’s 10-20 mins I didn’t have before. Plus it meant that I didn’t feel like I wasted a lot of money on something else that was going to just sit around like his other toys.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the wonderful moms reading this! Perhaps you want to treat yourself to one of these products! 😉 A special thanks to all the Mom Bloggers for sharing their favorites with us! 🙂

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Mom Judging: Why it Needs to Stop

Scroll through Facebook.
Find a catchy title on Scary Mommy.
Read the article.
Laugh as I totally relate.
Skim the comments.
“How dare she feed that baby formula?”
“I would never let a daycare raise my child!”
“Oh, she cloths diapers…that is so gross.”
“What mother feeds her baby food from a jar?”
“Is she really breastfeeding her toddler?!”
“It is not childbirth if you had a c-section.”
Rush of emotions come over me.
Instantly feel like a horrible mother.
Resist the urge to throw my phone.
Repeat.

We need to STOP. Stop this nonsense right NOW. Mom judging is everywhere. In the store, at restaurants, on social media, the workplace, the list goes on. What happened to the golden rule if you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say it at all?

On my first day back to work after having my second child, while in my very first pumping session ever at work (that is right, I didn’t need to pump at work for Logan, he was mostly formula fed *gasp!*) Emily sent me the cheesy, yet adorable song from High School Musical, “We’re all in this together.” As the video drowned out the sound of my pump, I laughed and laughed and even shed a tear. Emotions were high that day. I never got into High School Musical, but it got me thinking. These kids are onto something. We really are all in this together. Whether you whip out that boob from day one to year two. Or you wash bottles late into the night from formula feeding during the day. Whether you purchase a food processor to make your homemade baby food, with or without organic vegetables. Or you go to the store and pick up the baby jars of food. Whether your child came out of your vagina (yeah, I said vagina). Or you had a c-section, by choice or not. Whether you decide to spend your money on diapers. Or if you’d rather just do it with the cloth. Whether you stay at home and take care of your kiddos. Or you need to place them in someone else’s care so you can pay the bills. Should I keep going?

A couple of years ago Similac shared an amazing video. Before you jump out of your seat, this video was not promoting their formula. In the video you see all different types of moms bringing their kids to the park. They begin to judge each other immediately – you see the breastfeeding vs formula, the cloth vs diaper, the working moms vs. the stay at home moms, and on and on. At the end the end of the video a situation happens and you know what? They all come together as one. Because when the kids go to bed at night and we finally get to take that deep breath – we are all the same inside.

Being a mom is damn hard. Easily the hardest job of my life and no matter how we choose to “mom” – we are all faced with similar struggles. We teach our kids to be kind to one another and then we immediately turn around and make snarky comments because another mom is doing something we didn’t do. It is a bit twisted and backwards if you ask me. Next time you want to judge a mom, put yourself in her shoes. Everyone has battles that we know nothing about. It is time that we put that negative energy towards something else.

So moms – I am are here to say, can’t we all just get along?!
Don’t make me use my mom voice. 😉

 

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Mommy Support Groups

Since I found out that I was pregnant, one of the things I’ve been adamant about is building my “tribe” or finding my “village” as it’s sometimes referred to. I have a few good mommy friends local to me, but I was looking for more support. Since then, I have found many mommy groups and boards and from that made some amazing friends.

Just Mommies Due Date Clubs: I don’t even know how I found the justmommies.com site, I must have searched for it on google. It is a community of women who are all due at the same time called Due Date Clubs. These are essentially groups of discussion boards where you can interact with other women around the world going through the same stages of pregnancy. When all of our babies were born, our due date club switched to a Facebook Group and we still all interact on a weekly and monthly basis. From this board, I met two women who I consider to be great friends of mine. They are definitely part of my village! Sharilyn and Megan are the sweetest women, we have a ton in common, and as consultants, they both feed my lularoe habit! But, seriously, I talk to them every week and love that I have them as a support system. Plus our kids are all within days of each others age, and that helps us relate as well. I still have yet to meet these two fabulous ladies in person, but that hasn’t slowed our friendships at all!

Facebook Groups:  Nearing the end of my pregnancy, I also joined a few Facebook groups dedicated to nursing moms.  They were a huge help, especially with Mike being gone a good chunk of the first part of Madeline’s life.  As a first time mom, breastfeeding was completely new to me, so to be able to just jump on at any time of the day or night, ask a question, and get a friendly response was a huge piece of mind.  Many of the ladies in these groups feel like an extended part of my tribe, even if I haven’t met them.  Towards the end of our nursing journey, I met a woman (again thanks to Lularoe) who I just adore.  Holly (and her husband Partick) are amazing, and at the time I met them, had just started their journey to become lactation consultants and doulas. They are so much more than their business, they truly live and breath what they do- and they care! I can’t say enough good things about That Doula Couple.  As a part of that, they each run a support group, one for moms and one for dads.  This is a huge resource to be able to utilize! After Madeline was born, and still now, I suffered from some Postpartum Anxiety, but these groups and the people who run them have truly been a way for me to ease out of that anxious state and know that I’m not alone.  I think that’s all a new mom can ask for, is a little support.

Meet up Groups: There are also local meet up groups in my area.  I joined two but never actually found the time to go to a meet up! Being a working mom, it’s hard to find time to get to playdates as they tend to be during the day.  But, they are a wonderful way to make friends, socialize your children, or just get out of your house!

 

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Ripple Stitch Afghan

Mommy Down Time: Crochet

Let’s face it moms- we don’t get a lot of downtime.  But, it is so important, and you’ll hear it everywhere, to find something that’s yours.  I am always thinking about Madeline, doing activities, crafts, etc. with or for Madeline, so the idea of something that I do for me seems odd.  But that’s exactly why you need something that can either be mindless and let you take a break, and give you something else to focus on. That’s when I really started to think I needed a hobby and crochet is it!

There’s something very satisfying to me to be able to make something and see it come together.  But, by now, I think y’all know I just love to craft! I had at one point, taught myself to knit and the results were less than satisfactory.  So the idea of teaching myself to crochet seemed very daunting.

How did I do it you might ask?

Ravelry: This is a great site for getting started finding projects.  Between Ravelry and Pinterest I was able to see things I may like to make and find a pattern for them.  This got me to a good starting place where I at least knew how much yarn, what type of yarn and what size crochet hook I would need- then it was time to shop.

YouTube: Doesn’t that seem like it’s the answer to everything? No seriously though.  Videos are a great way to learn a skill.  What I found is that patterns are unbelievably hard to read.  It’s almost like crochet is a different language! So that being said, I needed to learn how to actually achieve the different stitches within a given pattern.  Hence- YouTube. There are so many people who have made videos on how to do specific stitches.  Every time I encounter one that I don’t know how to do (and Mommy Brain is real, so let’s be honest, even some I know but haven’t done in a while) I find a video for it on YouTube.  Once I watch it once, do the stitch along with the video a few times I’m good to go!  I then keep it handy to reference as I put down and pick up the project.

c2c baby blanket

Facebook Groups: What I have learned about crocheting (and also knitting) is that it’s like a cult! No seriously, a mom cult.  There are so many people who seem to live and breathe crochet.  Naturally, that means, you can find a lot of groups on social media! I am in a few crochet groups and what I’ve found is it is a great place to show what you’ve recently made and get some feedback, but also a great way to learn about trends and new ideas for projects!

Meet Ups: There are also lots of great resources or local “stitch and bitch” clubs! Personally, I love that my hobby can also be a way to make new friends and get out of my house and routine. That break time with other adults is really important for my own sanity!  I started a lunchtime craft day at work.  Now every Tuesday and Thursday at our lunch hours. We sit together and work on the projects we have currently underway, whether that’s inside or outside, and just talk about non work related things.  There are lots of local yarn shops and craft stores that also host these events as well.  I’m looking forward to attending them!

I’m also really proud of the things I’ve been able to create! I love being able to make handmade gifts for my friends and family, useful items for my house or for Madeline, and so much more! Here are a few quick things I’ve made recently!

Hand Crochet Harry Potter Lovey Crochet Fox Blanket Crochet Baby Hat Crochet Pussy Hat Crochet Afghan

Are you a crochet-er? (I think they refer to themselves as hookers, that seems off color, haha 🙂 ) What hobbies do you pursue that are just for you?

Emily signature

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Family Traditions: Easter Egg Hunt!

You may have noticed, but here at Forever Young Moms we are big on creating family traditions that we can share and pass on! Now that the babies are toddlers, we thought it would be fun to have an Easter Egg hunt! Just like the conundrum we had with Easter baskets- what do you put in Easter Eggs geared towards toddlers!? Well here are some great ideas that we put together for our little ones!


Foods
When they don’t throw their food, toddlers can be eating machines! So we thought some food instead of candy would be perfect for the eggs!

Snacks: We wanted to make sure we included healthy snacks and since we love all things Annie’s, we got snack packs of bunny grahams and cheddar bunnies, but we had to order extra big eggs to make sure they fit! We also went with applesauce pouches which are quick, easy grab and go of one of their favorite foods.

IMG_4826.jpg

Toys
Of course we knew we would be putting toys in the eggs, but what is small enough to fit in eggs, but big enough to not be a chocking hazard? That’s harder than you’d think! We found ourselves taking the Easter Eggs out shopping with us to test them out!

Tsum Tsums: When in doubt, more tsum tsums! We got two Mickeys (no fights here!), Kermit and Miss Piggy and superheroes!

Disney Tsum Tsum

Little People: Little people come in pretty much all variations! So of course we snagged Disney characters. We got two duplicates on a buy one get one free sale (again no fights and saving money!).

Little People Magic of Disney Mickey and Friends

Hot Wheels: Logan is all about cars and trucks right now and hot wheels fit perfectly in an Easter egg!

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Mini Beach Balls: Our kids are obsessed with balls, they love to throw things! These mini beach balls were the perfect size to fit in the eggs. Once they find the eggs we will blow them up and set them loose!

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Activities

In addition to toys, we added some activities to the eggs! We had to buy extra jumbo eggs for these! 🙂

Playdough: Even though it can get messy, playdough is still a toddler favorite!

Bubbles: Have you ever met a kid who didn’t like bubbles!? Ours sure do! There are many many mini bubble wands hidden in these eggs!

Easter Egg Hunt- Bubbles


Slime: These eggs were a perfect addition from the Target One Spot and they’re already shaped like eggs! Perfect!

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Once we had dozens of filled eggs we wanted to find baskets for the hunt. We snagged colored buckets at Michael’s and grabbed bunny ears for them to wear.

The day of the hunt we will hide the eggs all over the house and hopefully outside if the weather holds up! Target One Spot had cute egg hunt signs! We enlisted the help of our twin hubby’s to create a maze- starting at the sidewalk, through the entire house and out the back door to the swing set! The kids will love it!  And we can mix this up every year as they grow.

Do you do an egg hunt for your kiddos? What do you put in the eggs? We’d love to hear!

Sherrie &amp; Emily

Redeeming Pampers Rewards!

Last year we shared a post about why we love Pampers Rewards. In a nutshell, Pampers Rewards is a free loyalty program where you enter codes found inside the packaging of diapers or wipes. We both absolutely love Pampers and stand by their products 100%. So the program to us is an added bonus!

After I first signed up I took a glance at what rewards I could redeem my points with. There is a ton of great options to choose from. A few examples of the rewards are Pampers coupons, a Shutterfly calendar, books/magazines, toys and so much more! I immediately set my eye on the Step2 Cozy Kitchen –  I only needed 7500 Pampers Rewards points to get it. So I made it my mission that I would save up my points until I could score the kitchen!

Well I can proudly say MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! A few weeks ago I entered a code and realized I was just a few hundred points away from claiming the kitchen. I sent out a tweet to Pampers and being the awesome company that they are, they thanked me for my loyalty and added some points to my account to get me to my goal! Thanks, Pampers!!!

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It said it would take 6-8 weeks to arrive, but it arrived within a week.  Logan really enjoys his play food so having this kitchen just made his day! He loves to  pretend to cook us up stuff and give us plates to eat. It is the perfect size for our living room, too. It doesn’t take up much space. I am so glad I held onto my points for this!

If you are a Pampers customer, you definitely need to get in on this program! It’s so great! What is your reward goal with your points?

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Tips for Pumping at Work

Pumping at work can sound like a nightmare.  Depending on where you live, the laws may vary as to how a pumping mom can expect to be accommodated.  In our state of New York, the law states that employers have to allow moms time to pump whenever they need to (they can require that you make up that time you take to pump). We are both extremely lucky and fortunate to work for employers that were supportive and accommodating to let us pump whenever we need to and never ask twice.

There are a few awkward things that you may run into when you pump at work. FYM Emily is  not a shy person, and tends to be an over sharer in general.  Many times co-workers will come to her cube to talk as she’s getting up to pump and she has no problem telling them exactly where she’s going.  It has certainly caused some strange looks but, hey – a mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do!  Anytime there is a conversation about breast milk with a coworker, they may get a little uncomfortable.  It’s all about just being sure you don’t cross a line.

With that being said here are some of our tips  for ensuring that pumping at work is smooth and easy for you, thus be able to adequately feed your little one. 🙂

Make the Time
We all know that it can get busy at work, but be sure to  listen to your body and never skip a session. Habit is key here and you have to stick to a firm and solid routine. Emily has gotten up and left the tail end of meetings because she needed to pump!  If you can, block the time on your calendar every day to ensure you don’t miss a session. Emily does this so she is not scheduled in back to back meetings. If your employer doesn’t already have a dedicated nearby space for you, be sure you account for that time, too.

Pumping Breastmilk

Get Comfortable
 Ensuring you get the most from a pumping session is about relaxing and being comfortable, which we know can be hard to do at work. Perhaps you want to bring a comfy pillow with you or if you can turn the lights down or off.  You should also bring in a photo or video of your baby so you feel more like a mom and less like a dairy cow!

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Bring Snacks & Water
Staying hydrating throughout the day is key to producing milk.  Throw some snacks in your pumping bag and grab your water with you when you go to pump. If it’s the only chance you’re going to get to eat, go for it!

Have the Right Tools
 We both invested in a Sarah Wells pump bag to transport all of our pumping essentials. Emily used the Kiinde cooler bag to transport milk and Sherrie uses a lunch box that has built in freezer packs. We both highly suggest a hands free pumping bra, you can make your own or purchase one (we both love this one). It doesn’t hurt to pack an extra shirt (trust us), nursing pads, and a sharpie for labeling.  You just never know and we’d rather you be prepared than find you are in need of anything!

 Pumping Bag- Sarah Wells Bag for Pumping at work

We both know how stressful this can be. You got this mama – keep going! Do you have any tips for pumping at work that we missed? Let us know!

Sherrie &amp; Emily

App Love: MyFitnessPal 

We just love the My Fitness Pal app! It is similar to the other calorie counter apps but the beauty is that it can sync with other apps.

We have this synced up to our Fitbits. Not only does it give you a gauge of where you’re at with your intake/outtake, but it also updates you on how many calories you have left to eat based on your exercise levels. Fitbit when synced with My Fitness Pal has great graphs to show you if you’re on track or overeating – so you can self correct!

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While Emily has been following her modified 21 Day Fix, she’s also been logging her calories in MyFitnessPal. Here’s why: you can eat any carb and have it count in 21 Dat Fif, but caloricaly speaking not all carbs are the same. It helps to be able to track what was different based on what she ate so that she could make the smartest choices possible. While this is certainly an added step in the process, Emily thinks it has made all the difference in her success.

Another great feature is that you can either manually add ingredients from a favorite recipe and it will calculate the calorie and nutritional information based on the number or servings, or if you’re using an online recipe (like from Pinterest) you can just enter the URL and it will calculate all of that for you! This feature makes keeping track really, really easy.  Many popular restaurants also have their information in the systems, so no excuses for not keeping track!

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Just like a social network, you can add friends (in fact it syncs with your Facebook account) and keeps track of your friends activity in a news feed like style.  This way you can cheer on your friends in their health journey, and they can cheer on you! Or, in my case, keep me accountable.  It even sends you a notification if you don’t log in for a few days (yes, I’ve gotten one) to help keep you on track! I need someone to push me like that, so I love this feature!

Do you have a favorite app or way to keep track of your intake and output? We want to know about it! Tell us in the comments!

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