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Friday, March 29, 2013

Giveaway: Baby Einstein Gift Basket


Chances are, you or someone you know recently gave birth or soon will be. Hey, I just did and i'm associated with at least three other women who have also and I can think of at least three others who are due to give birth soon enough. Perhaps you've been invited to a baby shower or just want to surprise that new mom or mom to be with a thoughtful gift. One that goes beyond the ordinary gift of clothes and diapers that will soon be outgrown or even thrown out because they've served their "duty."

That said, i'm so excited to be able to take part in this exciting and thoughtful giveaway from Baby Gifts and Baskets! The winner of this exciting prize valued at up to $150 gets to choose from one of ten baskets. Designed with newborns in mind, the gift basket comes loaded with items such as Baby Einstein books, rattles, musical toys, stuffed animals and more, depending on which basket you choose should you be randomly selected as the winner. Items that will stimulate baby's senses providing benefits for years to come.

This giveaway is open to legal residents of the US within the 48 contiguous states who are ages 18 and above. The end date is April 7th, so don't delay! Be sure to check out the full official rules.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, March 25, 2013

Giveaway: Win a Once In a Lifetime Trip to The Republic of South Africa




If boogie-boarding off the sandy beaches of South Africa and embarking on an African luxury safari to view elephants, rhinos and other big game in their native setting is on your family’s bucket list, then now’s the time to book your Spring Break vacation with Kalahari Resorts. The home to America’s largest indoor waterparks, Kalahari Resorts, is offering families a once-in-a-lifetime chance to win a family African Safari to the Republic of South Africa just in time for Spring Break.

Kalahari Resorts offers families a very memorable Spring Break getaway experience with an indoor waterpark featuring more than 100,000 square feet of thrilling water slides and family oriented water features, fine and casual dining, luxurious spa facilities and fun activities for the whole family all in an authentic African-themed setting.
The chance to win a Kalahari African Safari to the Republic of South Africa is open to registered guests staying overnight at Kalahari Resort - Wisconsin Dells, Wis., or Kalahari Resort - Sandusky, Ohio, between Feb. 14 and April 10, 2013. For Official Rules, information on how to enter or to make a Spring Break reservation, visit Kalahari African Safari.  The winner will be randomly selected from the pool of eligible entrants and announced on April 18.  
The winner of Kalahari’s African Safari will receive travel vouchers for airfare, resort accommodations and activities valued at $22,000 for up to four family members. Entrants must be at least 18 years or older at the time of entry. For additional information about Kalahari Resorts, visit KalahariResorts.com.

Giveaway:
For your chance to win family passes to Kalahari Resorts in Wisconsin or Ohio, simply leave a comment below stating that you'd like a chance. This giveaway will end 4/8/13.

I was offered a free family pass in exchange for this post.

Win Prizes for the Mess Master in Your Home

Do you ever wish you could be rewarded for the messes your children make? Dirty Jobs, known for their cleaning products that are formulated to handle the dirtiest jobs, is launching a nationwide search for America's top 'Mess Masters.'  Send them a photo of the messiest mess your own Mess Master makes and if your photo is selected you could win a full year's professional maid service from Molly Maid, one of the country's top-rated professional home cleaning service companies. Additional prizes are also available.



Get that picture of your Mess Master and click the flyer above to get to the contest entry page. The contest ends May 9, with the grand prize winner being announced on or about May 12.

Prizes include:


Grand Prize Winner - Molly Maid Cleaning Service for 1 year
First runner Up - $500 Gift Card
Second Runner Up - $250 Gift Card
Eleven Weekly Prize Winners will win a $100 Gift Card


I have been offered a gift card in exchange for sharing this contest.

My Birth Story


This is our newest little guy. Yup, another boy bringing our boy total to 5 and still one lone daughter. He was actually born Friday before last, but i'm just getting around to putting this post up, and i'm so excited to share with you our birth story.

Our little guy was actually due on the 9th of March, but as it's been with me in the past, he wasn't trying to come into this world without mommy getting help by way of an induction. This has been the case with 4 out of our 6 children. 

The Wednesday of the week he was born (Friday), I actually switched my doctor. Not that I didn't like my other doctor; I was actually looking forward to him delivering our baby because he just seemed so positive and upbeat about the child-birth experience, but it so happened that a couple of breakdowns in communication caused things to not work out. I didn't know if this new doctor would accept me, being that I was so far along, but he was kind enough to do so. I took my records in so that I could be considered on this particular Wednesday and was told to watch for a phone call with my answer which could come in later or the following day. 

My hubby and I decided to get some shopping done at a nearby Walmart, and I noticed that the contractions were constantly coming. And somewhat intense to the point I thought labor would kick in on its own. But it didn't. I just knew things were going to pick up that evening after all of those contractions, but as I got more relaxed, so did those contractions. Perhaps if I had the motivation to keep walking, real labor would have kicked in, but I wanted to rest not knowing if the doctor would send me right from his office to labor and delivery when I did receive that call.

The next morning, my hubby called me from work at around 9am and told me that the doctor's office had called and wanted to see me the next hour. I got myself ready and he arrived. When we got to the doctors office I completed the necessary paperwork and was eventually seen. My examination revealed that I was already 4 cm and 50% effaced! Why hadn't labor kicked in? As far as I know, 4 cm means i'm in active labor. I was instructed to head to the hospital for a non-stress test. Aside from being so tired and worried they might suggest induction right then and there, our children were scheduled to head to Chicago because they were a part of a play that our church was putting on. We took a several hour detour home where I sneaked in some more rest and we also dropped our children off at church and finally headed to the hospital. 

When we arrived at the hospital, they were pretty busy and it was quite some time before they got an open room where I could be monitored. When I did get hooked up, the sweet nurse explained to me what the experience would be like at this particular hospital, as i'd never delivered there. When I try to think back to what she was saying, I really can't remember more than her telling me that as a new thing they're doing, they would give me my baby for the first hour of his life for skin to skin time. They won me over right there. If for whatever reason I was unable, dad would take on this responsibility, having to remove his shirt and all. I got a good little chuckle knowing the type of person my hubby is and imagining the awkwardness it would have been for him. I've heard of how important that time is and for the first time in 6 live births, I would have this experience. Fortunately everything was well and we were instructed to come back the next morning for an induction.

I had the hardest time falling asleep, so totally not looking forward to yet another induction. The next morning, I woke with plenty of time to get myself prepared to head in. I just sorta took my time with it until the last few moments. I wanted to pick up breakfast not knowing how long the process would take, and yet didn't want to be late. I'm so glad my hubby insisted we stop for a bite and made me feel not so bad about being late by a few minutes.

We arrived at the hospital and were assigned a room where I was instructed to change into the hospital gown that I would be wearing at least until I delivered. About an hour later I was hooked up to the IV and the pitocin was started. I was hoping I would deliver by 1pm, but things seemed to be moving along so slowly, i'd set my sights on around 5pm. The nurse came back later and increased the pitocin and things got serious. I'd made up my mind that I did not want an epidural, despite saying I wanted one with my last labor and delivery, which never made it then by the way. I'd decided that I would go with whatever meds to just take that edge off of the pain as i'd done with children 1-4. 

I'd taken time to do some research and get my thoughts together on how I wanted to do things this time around. I wondered if it was necessary to wait until 10 centimeters before you can push. With my last child, I had to push, although I was only measuring at 5 cm, and everything worked out just fine. After researching, I decided i'd listen to my body. With each painful contraction, i'd pray, focus, breathe and push just a little against the pain to try to help things move along. I hadn't had a birth experience where my water wasn't broken. There was one time when it broke spontaneously, and the other times it was broken to speed things along. I though it had to be broken. When the nurse performed another check, she told me it'd probably break anytime. I soon felt the need to push. I warned the nurse that I had to push. She checked me with the next contraction and although I was only about 5cm, she said I was about 8 with contractions.

I don't completely remember, but this may have been the point where they left the bed somewhat reclined. It's a position I hate because it seems to make the pain so much worse, but it was really near time for me to push. I insisted I needed to push. I lay in that somewhat reclined position with my legs covered and even though I warned and warned the nurse I had to push, things were moving in what seemed like slow motion and before anyone could stop me I pushed. "I think my water just broke and the baby's head is out" I exclaimed. The cover was removed, and sure enough baby's head was there. I was instructed not to push anymore. I held with all that I could as I lay there panting and they got a doctor who must have been passing by to finish the delivery. I remember hearing the doctor asking my hubby if he was coming over (to cut the cord). My hubby later explained to me that he was sitting there in shock at how rapidly things happened and hearing that the baby's head was out. My doctor made it just a tad too late. He said he didn't expect me to go that fast.

There was a quick initial check to make sure everything was a go for me to enjoy that first hour with my baby. He was handed to me minutes later, not having had a bath and in just a diaper and a hat. I put him inside of my gown and nursed him, surprised at how well he took to my breast with almost no effort. We actually had probably more like an hour and a half together, but I enjoyed every moment of it. We had an extended hospital stay to make sure he wouldn't be affected by GBS which had resurfaced and since they only got to get one dose of antibiotics in before I delivered, whereas they like to get in two. Thank God everything is well and i'm here at home enjoying our newest addition.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Trying Week Part 2 and Tips to Avoid Induction When Pregnant

So this post is continued from last week, though I never made it to post about it last week, I still want to express what was going on in my life and also to share that i'm glad this part is over. There's still part 3 to follow.

I am one who tries to avoid medical intervention whenever possible. Unfortunately and for whatever reason, my babies don't like to come on their own. I tend to need help which comes in the form of inductions. Matter of fact, 3 out of 5 pregnancies ended up needing to be induced for me.

I was hoping this time would be one of those times where labor would start on its own. I imagined myself laboring successfully at home until the pain was no longer bearable, or at least until the contractions were coming around 5 minutes apart and besides I hate the time spent hooked up to the monitors and the IV line. Didn't happen.

Another thing that adds to the stress of not spontaneously laboring is the pressure from family to go see a doctor because the baby's not coming on his own. I know that my family loves me and they are truly concerned about the well being of myself and my unborn baby, but something in me says, well what if you wait one or two more days and labor starts up on its own. Well i've proven to myself that i'm only psyching my own self out, but I want to give my body the benefit of a doubt.

So, there we have part two of why I was stressed out. I'd passed the 40 week mark on the 9th of March and my body was not cooperating. Doctors really don't want you to go past 42 weeks. Period. This puts your unborn child at a higher risk of complications due to a lack of amniotic fluid, stress on the baby which could cause the baby to have that first bowel movement in utero which can end up in the lungs causing pneumonia and an extended hospital stay among other possible problems.

What I should have done from the beginning, and what you can do:

Drink Raspberry Leaf Tea. I've not followed through with this at all like I should have, even knowing how things have been for me, but i've heard that the benefits are ideal for pregnant women. It helps to strengthen your uterus during pregnancy, thereby decreasing the chances of preterm labor, and also manages to help you go into labor so that you don't go over and may even help cut the time down that you would be in labor.

Another tip I found was Eating Pineapples. Pineapples contain bromelain which is said to help ripen and soften your cervix. One catch, though, is that you must eat it fresh, so that means no canned pineapples because the bromelain dissipates over time. This one was actually new to me. It may have possibly helped some. I don't know, but whether it did or not, I enjoyed those fresh, juicy, sweet pineapples my hubby started bringing home for me.

Another tip I recently learned, but didn't try was to Eat Dates Starting 4 Weeks Before Your Due Date. I'd actually read this one well before time for me to worry about it, and ended up not remember just which fruit it was. I ended up with dried figs, which to me were gross tasting, and I suppose those are still sitting in the fridge. In study results that I found, dates help to dilate the cervix and bring about spontaneous labor. The need for pitocin/oxytocin (artificial labor inducing hormones) was significantly reduced, AND the first stage of labor progressed faster.

Lastly there's Evening Primrose Oil. I believe this is the same supplement I read about not long ago that all women should be supplementing with anyway, but upon doing research, it looks like this is a good one to use to help induce labor. You can take it orally and there were even recommendations to insert it up near the cervix. It looks like this one should only be started as you near your due date, but the women who say that they used it seem quite persuaded that it works.

If you have other tips, please don't hesitate to share. Maybe someone like me will stumble up on this post and avoid an induction. Also, this information is not meant to replace the advice of your physician, so please be sure to consult your doctor to find out if these are options for you.


Monday, March 11, 2013

Nuby iMonster Snack Keeper Review


This is my new favorite dish to serve up snacks to my toddler. I remember shortly after receiving it to review it, I filled it with cereal on our way out. I believe we were going out on one of our home searches, not knowing how my baby was going be with it. Would he drop it? Would it keep him satisfied and quiet or was this just going to be a temporary fix? He's one of those children who gets bored with sitting in his carseat and will cry mercilessly until he's free, and with none of our older children going along to distract him from boredom the crying tends to start sooner and last longer.

To my surprise, the iMonster Snack Keeper (which around here we simply call it the snack monster) kept him occupied, entertained and quiet until he eventually fell asleep! I like the way it's designed where he just grabs this guy buy the arms to carry it around and sticks his little hands between the perfectly spaced rubbery teeth to have a satisfying snack. 



I first tried out cereal the size of honey comb and they stayed inside really well. This got me to wondering how small I could go. The next cereal I tried out were fruit loop sized. I expected that surely these would fall out, but to my surprise, the iMonster Snack Keeper holds even this size cereal really well. My son gets excited when he sees his little snack monster and perhaps even a little impatient because he knows mom is going to have snacks that he enjoys. I have the pleasure of serving him snacks without worrying about a mess to clean in a BPA free container.


The iMonster Snack Keeper is available at Buy Baby Direct online and also in stores, Burlington Coat Factory, Amazon.com, CookiesKids.com and Diapers.com.

Keep up with Nuby products and updates:

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As a Nuby Mom, I receive free products to facilitate my reviews. Opinions are my own.



Giveaway: Limited Time Only Dreamworks Animation DVD Samplers with Specially Marked General Mills Cereals



I find that my children are much like I was. Maybe due to my telling them stories of how things were for me as a child. For instance, I remember being younger and trying to be the first to call that i'm claiming the prize that comes in the box of cereal. Oh no, there wasn't taking turns. If I called it first, it was mine. My children, as of now, at least ask me if they can have it, but I better not forget which one asked first or boy oh boy there's going to be trouble.

I think it's pretty cool that General Mills is offering DVD samplers in certain of their cereals. Some my children are quite familiar with. No arguing over who's going to get to add to their collection and saves me a headache in the process.

It was also really neat being able to check out the preview of the upcoming release "The Croods." My kids enjoyed as well and looks like it's going to be something that we'll be able to enjoy together as a family, so something to look forward to.

There are four DVD samplers and they're available on specially marked boxes of Big G cereals, but only for a limited time. Also, be sure to keep an eye out for "The Croods" coming to theaters near you March 22nd.

Giveaway:
One Momma's Reviews reader will win a gift pack which includes:

  • A set of 4 Dreamworks animation DVD samplers
  • The Croods: Grub's Survival Book
  • The Croods: Movie Novelization Book
  • Film Reel Tin filled with movie theater snacks

The information, products and General Mills gift packs were provided by General Mills through My Blog Spark.




Trying Week Part 1: If You're Ever Faced With Gangrene or Amputation

This past week has been a tough one. My dad has been in and out of nursing homes and hospitals since last year with rarely a visit home. I really don't think he wants to go home to stay at least, given his current condition and the inability for anyone to be at home with him 24/7. At least in the nursing home he's made friends, he's never alone and has someone to look after him around the clock. I've veered off course, so let me get back on track and bring you up to speed.

My dad is a diabetic. Diabetics don't heal easily when they're cut our otherwise wounded or bruised. Last year sometime, my dad got his toenails clipped. He says that the guy who clipped his toenails cut too deeply and things seem to have taken a turn for the worse from there. His toe never completely healed and my dad developed gangrene. I guess it was not easy for him to see how bad things had gotten because he had a stroke and isn't so mobile. To make matters worse, infection set in on his other foot as well.

I don't know if it was a routine check or one done because of the complaints of his feet hurting, but it was found that he had gangrene. I heard that it was dry gangrene and that doesn't really spread, so i'm thinking it wasn't really a big deal. This is not something i've heard much about, so since a big deal didn't seem to be made by the medical staff, I assumed it was okay. Until I started hearing talk about how bad his toes started to look. Things seemed to be getting worse.

The observation was made that my dad had blockage somewhere in an artery which was preventing blood-flow. My dad was scheduled for an angioplasty on one side and told that if that side didn't work, the other side would be done weeks later. Anything that gets near the heart can have you on edge, but thank God everything went well. It was also discovered that the plaque problem was beneath the knee. Not a big deal right? Well since my dad isn't in the best of health, the doctor thought of it being to risky to go in and try to remove the plaque. Plaque can become dislodged and end up causing blockage that can be life threatening.

Next suggestion? Amputate. My dad said they wanted to amputate up into his thigh area. I, wanting to trust that doctor knows best, figured that's what would have to be accepted. It's hard to imagine my dad without legs. The same dad who I remember coming and going as he pleased and even dreamed of walking again from time to time since he had a stroke over 10 years ago. But if that's what it would take to save his life, then so be it.

My dad was given one week to decide what he wanted to do. Tough pill to swallow for such a life altering decision. My mom, who is no longer with my dad, was insistent that we find other alternatives. They may not be together and things between them are rocky, but my mom is full of heart and wanted us to research because there just had to be something else that could be done. After just a little research, here is what I found and if you're up against amputation as your "only" option, please pay close attention, because there may be hope for you yet:

If things haven't progressed to far, you may have hope if the infection is in it's early stages in revascularization. Upon researching, I found out that even with medical advances, doctors are quick to suggest amputation and somewhere around 85 percent of amputees could avoid amputation if they knew there was an alternative. This procedure had been successfully used for at least 10 years.

This is made possible by the use of lasers that are used to dissolve the plaque to restore the blood flow. My dad's doctor tried to discourage me from seeking anything further to be done. Perhaps out of not knowing. Perhaps out of missing out on a referral bonus. I don't know, but he was not very supportive nor did he offer hope of any thing  else possibly working out. I know you can't trust completely trust everything you read on the internet, but Do Your Research anyway. Also, Take advantage of a second opinion even if your doctor doesn't think anything else can be done. I guess out of three main arteries only one had blood flow which itself is limited. My mom insisted that we do all that we could, so I did go ahead and set up a consultation with I doctor I found through a site called spectranetics.com. He was scheduled to see the doctor two days later. My sister and brother in law saw him to his appointment and this doctor offered hope. He feels optimistic that this procedure is going to work out for my dad.

He did want to know why my dad waited so long. Time is really crucial in such a matter. As a result of action not being taken sooner, my dad did end up losing all of his toes. The doctor still has to go in to do the laser part of the procedure, but it had to be delayed because the gangrene was spreading and they wanted to prevent it spreading through his body which could have proved fatal. For now, we're waiting to see, while we hope and pray, but at least we were given a bright ray of hope and in the chance that it doesn't work, we know that we tried.

Do try to take care of your health. This is a challenging thing to see my dad going through and we have no other choice than to take this step by step. Try to stay at least somewhat active. If you can squeeze in 10 minutes a day of something as simple as walking, every little bit helps. If you have diabetes, try to be sure and keep it under control. I've heard that cinnamon is great for helping to keep your sugar under control. Lastly be sure to keep fiber incorporated into your diet. None of this information is meant to take the place of talking to your doctor, but I hope that in taking time to put this post here, there is someone, somewhere that will benefit from this.