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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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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Baby’s First Bank Account: Saving for the Future

Not long after Madeline was born, Mike and I were thinking about all of the expenses that would be incurred over her life, not the least of which is college.  Having both had student loans, we really felt like we’d like to be able to afford to send Madeline to college and not saddle her with the burden of student loan debt as she starts out her adult life.  That being said, this is easier said than done! Particularly with the rising costs of higher education in our country.  We didn’t want her to feel like she either needed to qualify for scholarships or take out student loans, so we came up with a unique plan to start saving for her.

New York State, where we live, has some great savings programs when it comes to college. We chose to open a 529 account for her, these are account that most states sponsor (so if you’re interested check your state’s websites for more information).  The beauty of this is that the money you put in is not only a tax deduction for you (wahoo!), but also not subject to income tax when it’s withdrawn in the future (for qualified expenses).  Once you’ve opened your account in your child’s name, you can then start to deposit money and invest it so that it (hopefully) grows.  *It is important to know, there is a management charge for these types of accounts, in New York State it’s $1.60/year for every $1000 you invest.

Like anything else, you can defer pre-tax money in your paychecks to this account.  I however, chose a different path for the first year of Madeline’s life.  Having a baby comes with a lot of expenses (you certainly don’t need us to tell you that!) Between diapers, doctors appointments, formula, daycare, clothes, etc. it can certainly add up quickly.  So the idea of deferring additional money from our weekly checks into this account just wasn’t going to work in our budget.  Then, I had a thought (that I thought was genius)!

One of the ways in which I keep costs down in our family is through couponing.  As you’ve seen with our diaper stockpile post, we’ve found a lot of ways to coupon and save money.  One of the biggest ways that I coupon is through different cash back apps including (but not limited to!) Ebates, Savingstar, Ibotta, Checkout51, and Find&Save.  All of these are mobile apps that pay you cash back for purchasing specific items or at specific stores.  Prior to Madeline’s arrival, I always just sent the deposits to my bank account, and because they come in various increments, sometimes as small as $5, typically I spent them without thinking twice about it. That’s when this plan really came to fruition.  Instead of depositing them into my checking account- I started to deposit them into a separate savings account for Madeline.  I didn’t miss them in my checking account because I never counted on them anyway. After two weeks of testing this, I was surprised to find that I had accumulated just shy of $86 into her savings account.  So now, monthly, I deposit that savings into her NY 529 account and invest it.  It’s a small way to start saving for her, without putting a strain on our budget, we don’t even notice we’re doing it!

Do you have creative ways to save for your little ones? We want to hear about them!

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App Love: Fitbit

 Sherrie and I both own Fitbits and just love them!  Actually, Sherrie is the reason I switched from an Up fitness tracker to the Fitbit, so we could utilize the challenges and push each other to reach our goals!

If you don’t know what a Fitbit is – it’s an activity tracker that you wear on your wrist. It can count how many steps you take in a day, as well as active minutes judging by your heart rate thereby giving an accurate reading of how many calories you’ve burned. It also tracks your sleep and can tell you how many times you woke up,  how often you were restless and how long you were asleep for. You can also track your food and water intake and other exercise you do like riding a bike, playing soccer, etc.

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Fitbits can be a great source of motivation and accountability. You can add other friends who also have Fitbits and challenge them to see who can get the most steps. I know that when I have challenged Sherrie to see who can get the most steps in a week I find myself deliberately getting up and walking more just to see if I can get those extra few steps in! You can write to them supportive messages and cheer their progress. In addition, when you win challenges, like hitting a milestone in numbers of steps or a milestone in weight loss, you earn badges and trophies. I’m always psyched to earn more!

We truly believe that our Fitbits are helping us to lead healthier and more active lifestyles. So much so we’ve convinced our hubbys to get them too! What are some ways you try to stay active and healthy?

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App Love: Ovia Fertility

At Forever Young Moms, we are big fans of the apps created by Ovuline. A while back we wrote a post on our favorite pregnancy apps and we discussed our love for Ovia Pregnancy. We both used it and it is wonderful!  That being said, in order to use their pregnancy app, you have to get pregnant!  That is where the Ovia Fertility app comes in. This app certainly works – twice now for Sherrie or even if you use it to not get pregnant like Emily!

 If you’re trying to conceive this is the app to use – it’s so easy! You just have to enter some data each day. You can keep it simple by entering when your period starts and ends and when you have sex or get more involved and include your mood, symptoms, basal temperature and so much more. The more data you enter and track, the better chance you have of getting pregnant. Entering data is very simple – just click the date on the calendar and scroll down to which data you’d like to enter for that day. The homepage on the app will give you a fertility score based on your data: 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest. It will also tell how many days until your next fertile window and how many days you should wait to take a pregnancy test.

Another great feature is the tips and advice it gives in a newsfeed like format. This ranges from what foods boost fertility to proper exercise when TTC to what is happening in your body at the current time during your cycle. The app also has a cycle insights (a snapshot of your cycle based on the data you enter), articles to read about all sorts of fertility topics and the ability to export your data to excel. You can even customize the look of your app with different fun themes to choose from – Sherrie’s favorite is fresh abstract. 🙂

So if anyone can vouch that this app works it has got to be Sherrie. Twice she has gotten pregnant using Ovia Fertility! She started using the app in February 2014 and by  that August she found out she was expecting. Sherrie had irregular cycles so using this app made it easy to figure out when she was ovulating. After a cycle or two the app was able to determine her fertile window. Each time using the app she was pregnant within months and both times tracking a very irregular cycle.

The app not only tracks fertility but also works for simply tacking your period. This is what Emily used the app for. She had many medical issues when it came to her cycle, in fact a few months before they learned they were pregnant with Madeline, Emily had been diagnosed with PCOS which pretty much confirmed her doctor’s opinion on what they had told her for years: she wouldn’t be able to have children.  So she was using the app to track her cycle days, try to estimate her ovulating or fertile days, and try to actively avoid getting pregnant. She had been using the app for almost two years and it worked very well.  In late December of 2014, it became necessary to have her IUD removed because of a hemorrhage and some troubling shadows on an ultrasound – tracking her cycle became even more important.  It also helped her be able to track symptoms that she could update her doctor with at the many appointments she had. Since she was so tuned into her body, imagine her surprise when she found out they were expecting Madeline!  The app is so good, it works even when you don’t mean it to! Seriously though,  Emily is religious about entering information, even now that Madeline is here and they will not be having another for quite some time, Emily is back to tracking her symptoms and inputting information to see what trends arise and make sure she’s on top of what’s going on.

Another great thing about this app is the ability to report special conditions. For example Emily  has reported that she is breastfeeding, so it won’t necessarily take sore nipples as a sign that she’s pregnant. She also was able to ‘hide fertility content’ so her timeline will not show TTC tips as she is not currently trying to get pregnant.

We cannot say enough great things about the Ovia Fertility app! Trying to conceive can be a grueling and emotional process. Using this app can take some of the stress off. Once you report a pregnancy be sure to download their awesome Pregnancy App! Thank you Ovia for helping both of us create our perfect bundles of joy! <3

Sherrie &amp; Emily

App Love: Baby Pics

There is an app that we both love and want to share with you guys called Baby Pics. There are so many great things about this app and you can use it in so many different ways!

Originally, we were drawn to it for the cute photos you can create for your baby – from major milestones to how old your child is to silly little things babies do! You can also add your own text to keep any memory you want. We’ve created some really cute photos of our baby’s that are great keepsakes. Here are few of our faves. 🙂

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What we didn’t realize at first is just how many uses there are for this app- they even have great artwork for pregnancy! This would be much easier than making a chalkboard every week. Sherrie made really cute photos for her best friend (and fellow blogger- check her out!) and is using the app to track her second pregnancy now!

Sherrie also found that this app is great to use for our blog. Remember the BabyBum Diaper Cream Applicator Giveaway we recently had? Well, Sherrie made all of those graphics in this app using the text feature! You can change the font, size and color of text. We can’t say enough good things about it!

One thing we will absolutely recommend is paying the extra $3.99 to download the premium artwork – so worth it! There are so many categories to choose from such as dates, holidays, firsts, pregnancy and so much more! It’s just fun to play around with some of the different artwork  and doodles available – it makes the app that much more versatile. Do you know someone who just had a baby or is pregnant? You can gift the app to them! How cool?!

We love watching our little ones grow and capturing all their milestones and daily moments with this app! It is available for iPhone and Android users! Share your little one’s photo you’ve created with Baby Pics with us on twitter (#welovebabypics) or in the comments!

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App Love: BabyConnect

I knew the few weeks before Madeline was born that I was going to need some sort of app to keep track of her feedings, diaper changes, etc. At first I just wanted to keep track of how long and on what side she was nursing on. My sister recommended BabyConnect and I love it!

Nursing:

There are so many features to this app I just love! The first is the nursing feature. There is a timer that you can pause and stop per side as you need. In addition you can add in bottle feedings and how many ounces your baby drank at what time. It will grow with her and allow for solids when we get there!

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One of the best parts is the dashboard that gives you a constant time of how long it’s been since the last action so feeding, diaper change, sleep etc.

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What I love even more is the reporting available on the app. Every section has a graphs feature so I can see cumulatively how long she’s nursed or how many times. This really helps to see when she’s cluster feeding or if something is different than usual.

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Diaper Changes: 

Diaper changes work very similar to nursing with the same reporting capabilities. The only difference is you log them based on what was in the diaper and the size.  It also lets you choose if there was a diaper leak or an open air accident! This is a great quick reference for the pediatrician when they’re wondering how many diapers baby is making each day and the consistency and color. I always make sure my phone is charged so I have all the info for doctors appointments.

Medical:

Speaking of doctors appointments the medical section is wonderful. You can keep track of all visits, shots etc. What I love is that as you can add heights and weights and it tells you what percentile your baby is in, so you can keep track between visits!

Sleep:

The sleep section is great because it is basically a timer so you can keep track of how long and how often baby sleeps. I find this really helpful at night. Madeline has a two hour stretch where she’s awake and if I track when and how much she’s slept throughout the day I can figure out when that stretch will be! As she has grown, I’ve been able to watch how her nap patterns change and have been able to plan around them so as not to disturb her when we have company or we need to go to the grocery store.  I’ve found if she misses a nap she is REALLY cranky and hard to get to sleep at night.

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Sharing: 

What I love most about this app is that you can share it! All of the data can be exported to excel and you can also add users.  For instance my husband is added as a caretaker, so is my mom and now it’s on their devices. I can even add my daycare provider so whoever is taking care of my baby can add information. The app then syncs across all devices so the crazy first time mom in me can keep tabs on her!  You can gift this app to your caretakers so that they’re not paying out of pocket to download it, which is also a nice touch.

The only down side is there is a cost for this app but it’s the best $5 I’ve spent! Worth every penny!

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Sites We Love: How Many Diapers

Recently, after reading our post on creating a diaper stockpile, FYM reader Stephen reached out to us.  He also had a baby in the last year, in fact he had twins! I can’t even imagine how many diapers that must be!

In any case, he found himself in need of A LOT of diapers.  Instead of making size guesses based on other’s use like we did, Stephen did something really cool and now he’s sharing it with us!  He looked at the Center for Disease Control guidelines of how babies tend to gain weight and created an algorithm that calculates how many diapers you will (approximately) need.  He has created a free website where the public can use his calculator – it’s called How Many Diapers.  Stephen, and his wife Cara, have even broken it down based on four of the popular brands of diapers: Pampers, Huggies, Luvs, or Honest Company.  It’s so easy to use!

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Here’s what I love about it.  Madeline has grown a lot faster than I had anticipated.  At 10 weeks old, she’s now just shy of 15.5 lbs and approaching the end of her size 2 diapers. Which meant I had WAY more size 1 diapers and size 2 diapers than I needed, even after exchanging in some of the sizes.  I am so thankful for Stephen reaching out to us because just today I did a re-evaluation using his site based on how she’s been growing and I was given how many diapers we will need through the end of this year.  It let me rest easy knowing we have what we need in each size, and hopefully won’t have too many excess diapers this time. Another thing I really love is that after telling you how many diapers you will need, this calculator then tells you how many of each size box that would be. It even links you to Amazon if you’d like to purchase them right away.  How cool is that?!

Thank you so much Stephen and Cara for introducing us to your calculator, we will certainly be using it, and are sure that our readers will too!   Best of luck with your twins (we know what a handful twins can be)!

Check out the calculator and let us know how it has helped you with your diaper stockpile in the comments!

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Hello Fresh!

When Mike left for bootcamp I knew I would be spending less time at the grocery store because it would just be Madeline, Bruce Wayne, and I.  My husband actually consumes most of the groceries!  While the couponer in me was not happy about letting go some of the great deals, the realist in me won.  I also wanted to more healthy meals, so the first week he was gone I decided to try Hello Fresh.

If you haven’t heard of Hello Fresh, it’s a subscription service similar to others like Blue Apron or Plated that sends you a chosen number of meals that will serve a chosen number of people.  The beauty is,  all the ingredients arrive in the portions you will need with their recipes, they even have little stickers that say, “Make me first!” if need be.  Most of the recipes take 30 minutes and the only thing you need to have in your house is salt, pepper, water and butter.

I chose Hello Fresh over the others for a few reasons.  One, I had a coupon (of course!).  Two, it was the least expensive of the three choices.  Three, they have partnered with one of my favorite celebrity chefs, Jamie Oliver, and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on some of his recipes!

I chose to start off with three meals that would serve two people delivered, since it’s just me, I thought it would make great leftovers.  I was sent a shipping statement from UPS on Monday and the box arrived to my doorstep Tuesday by noon!  Here’s what it comes packaged as:

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Once you open the box, there’s a fun recipe card and all of the ingredients for each meal come in it’s own box with the exception of the protein, which is under ice packs.  That means when you’re ready to cook, you open the box, pull out your ingredients and get to work!

The recipe that I loved most from this box was the Lemony Pan Seared Chicken.  I would eat this again and again! And now I can recreate it very easily and still have the beautiful recipe card.  I think it turned out great! While these recipes seem to have a high calorie count, they’re well balanced meals and are delicious. Plus they’re a great way to keep track of portion control!

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I am excited to see what comes next.  The best thing about Hello Fresh is that they publish all their recipes on their site and in their app, so if you weren’t a subscriber before when a recipe came out but want to try it you still can.  I am making this Eggplant dish from Jamie Oliver – it looks like it’s to die for!

The best thing about Hello Fresh though is it’s app.  You can favorite recipes, choose what comes next for the week, and handle your account all from your phone.

Interested in trying it out? Use referral code 8HVGUR and see what you think – then let me know!

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Pregnant in a Digital Age

Remember back in the day when you would hear someone say, “There’s app for that!” Well, as you know it is true, especially these days where you will rarely find a person without a smartphone. When you first find out you’re pregnant, as well as throughout your pregnancy, it’s natural to have questions and to want to know what’s considered “normal.” And sometimes calling your doctor to get answers may not be as quick you’d like. Here are recommendations on what we think two best pregnancy apps out there are.

Emily- Ovia Pregnancy

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I loved the Ovia Pregnancy App.  Having tracked my cycles previously on the Ovia fertility app, it made sense to me to use their pregnancy app as well.  I really thought that putting in data every day would drive me crazy, but it actually became second nature.  I also loved how it would tell you each week what size your baby was, but not just by the regular fruit and vegetable measurements.   Certainly, that’s there if you’d like to judge that way.  But I chose to switch it up from time to time judging by the size of French pastries for instance, or classic childhood toys.  It was always fun to see that our little girl was the size of baked brie or a croquembouche or a Gameboy or a cabbage patch doll!

It became a ritual on Saturdays to read to Mike what size the baby was and developmental milestones associated with each new week of pregnancy.  It also helped that it would tell you the symptoms to expect, in fact I think it made him realize a little more how not glamorous pregnancy really is and to be a little more sympathetic.

While the symptom tracker is helpful and important, the feature I have really loved is the timers.  Every day I can track fetal movement, which is really important because I can’t always remember how much she would move every day to keep my doctor informed (see post re: Pregnancy Brain).  There’s even a timer for contractions, and with the amount of false alarms due to Braxton Hicks I’ve experienced, it’s so convenient to be able to just time the contractions and see how long they last and how far apart they are to make a decision on whether or not I really need to call the doctor’s office.

The only thing I wish Ovia did was provide an app for baby development once baby arrives; however, I am still looking forward to reporting the birth in the app! But I wish given that there’s a fertility app and a pregnancy app, that Ovia made a baby development app, too. I’ll be on the hunt for good ones. 🙂

Sherrie- Baby Center

In addition to also loving the Ovia Pregnancy app Emily discussed above, my other favorite app is Baby Center: My Pregnancy.  I feel like this app has everything from A to Z for expecting moms. As most pregnancy apps do, it gives a snapshot of baby developments and tells you how big your baby is each week. The app even breaks down your pregnancy day to day by rotating different topics such as nutrition, health tips, products and gear, what’s happening to your body, questions you might have about what is safe and so much more. The app even gives you a baby registry checklist with the ability to search products and read reviews on what other moms like and disliked – how cool is that?! Other features include a kick tracker, contraction timer, and the “bumpie” where can you track your weekly pregnancy belly shots. 🙂

Out of all the features offered in this the app my favorite is the pregnancy checklist. Each week it provides a guide for you on what you should be doing and preparing for throughout your pregnancy. As Emily mentioned above, pregnancy brain is totally real! So it is nice to have the reminders and the ability to check the box when you’ve completed the task. Some of the reminders on the weekly checklist include taking a walk, writing down a pregnancy memory, taking your pre-natal vitamins, and my personal favorite – do something nice for yourself. Because pregnancy can be pretty tough!

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Lastly, when your baby has finally arrived the app suggests that you download the Baby Center: My Baby app. Similar to the pregnancy app, it gives you the daily rotating topics about your baby. The checklist on this app is great because you can customize it yourself to include what you want to keep track of. It also offers a sleep guide and a feeding guide.  A super helpful app for first time Moms!

Do you use any of these apps? Or do you have any other good ones that we don’t know about? We’d love to hear from you – let us know!

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