I’m a Mom…?

I’m a Mom…?

Sometimes it still doesn’t feel real that I’m a mom. Even when I am staring into the eyes of my blue eyed child, it takes me a minute to realize that he’s mine, all mine. How lucky am I to have been given such a gift? I never knew that one little boy could become my whole world, and teach me more about love and joy in seven months than I’ve known in twenty-seven years.

Mother’s Day is just around the corner, and if you are still deciding on gifts for the moms in your life, look no further than my list of Gift Ideas for Mother’s Day. Whether your mom needs a little encouragement in her life, deserves pampering and safe beauty products, or simply loves to cook, I’ve found the perfect gift for her.

Gift Ideas for Mother's Day

  1. Woodhouse Day Spa –>This is the very best spa that I’ve ever been to! I am obsessed with the hot teas, coffee or fruit infused water that you can enjoy while sitting in the relaxing ‘quiet room’ pre- and post-service. I know a gift card to Woodhouse would be one amazing Mother’s Day Gift. For locals, there is a Woodhouse at The Greene in Dayton and in Montgomery near Cincinnati. Right now Woodhouse is offering Mother’s Day spa packages and a free Sonoma Lavender Neck Wrap (this is the neck wrap you get to wear while having services done at Woodhouse) with any gift card purchase over $200. Woodhouse Day Spa
  2. Beautycounter Lustro Sugar Scrub –> For those moments when you don’t have the time to get away to the Woodhouse Day Spa, why not bring a spa-quality service home? Beautycounter’s Lustro Sugar Scrub is the perfect way to scrub away winter and leave your skin polished and smooth for the warm days ahead. I love the sugar scrub for using before shaving my legs to leave a super smooth finish. I also obsess over using the sugar scrub on my elbows and heels. I always follow up with an intense moisturizer, like the Enrich Body ButterLustro Sugar Scrub
  3. Tiny Tags 1 Name & Birthday 24K Gold Plated Open Loop –> I have been wanting a mother’s necklace like this one ever since Jack was born! Tiny Tags necklaces are of great quality, and I know this necklace would be a gift treasured by any new mom. There are a lot of styles and options on Tiny Tag’s website, but my favorite is this option with the birthdate + name of the child engraved.Tiny Tags
  4. Beautycounter Citrus Mimosa Hand Wash & Hand Cream Set –> The Citrus Mimosa scent from Beautycounter is one of the best in my opinion! Every time I use these products I feel like I’m at a spa, and I think all moms can relate to needing a moment of bliss throughout their day, even if that’s simply by washing your hands! This Hand Wash and Hand Cream Set is packed with nourishing ingredients like organic aloe and chamomile, and leaves a subtle, refreshing citrus scent.Citrus Mimosa Hand Wash & Hand Cream Set
  5. Pregnancy Prayer Journal –> Is there a newly expectant mother in your life that you’d like to gift on Mother’s Day too? I think this Pregnancy Prayer Journal from Val Marie Paper would make just the sweetest gift! The pregnancy prayer journal is divided up into trimesters and then months with space to pray for any worries, baby’s developments, future, symptoms and the dad-to-be. There is space too for answered prayers, a Scripture verse and even goals. I would have loved to keep a journal like this when I was pregnant! I pretty much used this blog as my sounding board in the same way. (You can find all of my Pregnancy Posts HERE if you’re interested in reading more!)Pregnancy Prayer Journal
  6. Minimalist Baker’s Everyday Cooking –> I love Dana’s blog for easy and healthy recipes, and as of today (!) you can purchase her new cookbook, Everyday Cooking. Within the cookbook there is 101 vegan recipes, and all of these are brand new recipes never before seen on her blog. Plus, all of the recipes require 30 minutes or less, 1 bowl or 1 pot, or 10 ingredients or less to prepare. So great for all the busy moms in your life!Minimalist Baker's Everyday Cooking
  1. MantraBand –> I just found these little bands, and oh my goodness I am obsessed! Per the website, “Mantrabands are simple, elegant bracelets with a touch of delicate polish and an uplifting message; promoting a lifestyle of optimism, positivity, mindfulness. Wear your Mantraband every day as your daily reminder, affirmation, and inspiration. Made with love.” I know that as a mom, life can get really busy throughout the day. It would be so helpful to wear these encouraging and uplifting bands to remind myself how blessed I really am, and to give myself a little extra motivation when I need it most. A few of my favorite sayings include:
  • “Smile, Breathe and Go Slowly”
  • “Choose Joy”
  • “Be Present”
  • “Have Courage and Be Kind”
  • “Make Today Count”

Mantrabands

Mother’s Day Special – Free Shipping!

Beautycounter Mother's Day Special

  • In honor of Mother’s Day, I’m offering FREE standard shipping this week on all Beautycounter orders. Comment on this post with your email address, or send me and email to take advantage of the offer! –> jana@happywifehealthylife.com

** Shop Beautycounter online at this link –> http://bit.ly/1SMCelR

A Local Mother’s Day Weekend Event!

Palette of Threads & Beautycounter

  • For all you local friends, I will be co-hosting a Moms & Mimosas Event on the Saturday of Mother’s Day weekend alongside Palette of Threads, North Dayton’s 1st Mobile Clothing Boutique! I plan to share Beautycounter’s message for #betterbeauty and safe products, while guests have the option to sip mimosas and shop both makeup and clothes. It will be a fun event for women of all ages – whether you’re a mom yet or not! Since it is Mother’s Day weekend though, I am encouraging guests to bring their moms and  daughters and make it a girls day out! If you are local and would like an invite, feel free to shoot me an email at jana@happywifehealthylife.com and I will share all the event details!

Skinny Suppers Cookbook Giveaway

Skinny Suppers Cookbook Giveaway Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 8.37.07 PM

…Jessica – Congrats! Shoot me an email to jana@happywifehealthylife.com and I will get you a copy of the cookbook!

My Breastfeeding Journey

My Breastfeeding Journey

To put it simply, my breastfeeding journey hasn’t been easy. I’ve faced seven cases of mastitis, two ER visits, a three day hospital stay, IV antibiotics and countless clogged ducts. During the past seven months I’ve had so many conversations with different women who breastfed and let me tell you, I have yet to run into someone who says it was easy. Even if a mom didn’t experience a recurrent sickness, you can be assured that each has faced her own battle whether it’s been with supply, latch issues, clogged ducts, painful feedings, and much more.

I had a pretty easy pregnancy, and although my delivery didn’t go as planned I was just thankful to have a very healthy baby. Although recovery from a c-section is no joke, I was also able to heal steadily from the procedure after a bit of time and a lot of self grace. Breastfeeding though has literally been one of the hardest physical and emotional things I’ve done, but also one of the best and most rewarding experiences I’ve had. It has shown me another side of myself I didn’t know existed. I don’t think I realized how selfish I have been for 27 years until I became a mother. Breastfeeding forced me to let go of  my self-control, and to sacrifice my own body for a bit longer to feed and bond with my son.

My Breastfeeding Journey

I wouldn’t be sharing the entire story though if I also didn’t admit there have been plenty of days I’ve longed for and wished for my breastfeeding journey to finally come to an end.

After experiencing another bout with mastitis again a few weeks ago, I have been in the process of weaning Jack. I was hoping to continue at least a year, but I have come to realize that you can accomplish a goal without ‘failing.’ I am not quitting and giving up, but instead giving Jack the best thing I can possibly give him – a healthy mom. Each case of mastitis has taken so much out of me from the high fevers and chills, to the excruciating (…and I mean excruciating…) pain. It takes me 2-3 weeks to recover from each bout, and by the time I start to recover I get hit with another round. I haven’t taken care of myself the way I should since Jack was born, but I know now that he needs a healthy mama more than a breastfeeding one.

I can’t write a post on this topic without sharing my disclaimer that I truly believe breastfeeding is an extremely personal choice. There is no right or wrong answer, and each mother has to choose the path that’s best for her and her baby. I absolutely can’t stand mommy wars, and judging someone based on how they feed their child is just wrong. You never know what a mom is going through behind closed doors. When I was pregnant I thought I would try breastfeeding, but if it didn’t work out I would be okay with it. After I had Jack though I realized how precious that relationship we had formed was, and when it was trying to be taken away from me by physicians and my own body, I fought back hard. I was determined to make it work, and work we did. For seven months my son and I have fought together and I will never ever forget this journey we’ve experienced. Now that he is moving onto eating solids and is transitioning into a new stage, I am letting myself be accepting of the fact that it’s time for me to take a step back and make my health a priority.

We are weaning slowly for my own heart and health, and Jack’s tummy. I went from providing six feedings a day, to three with one at 6:00am, one at noon, and the last at 6:00pm. Currently I have transitioned to feeding twice a day – once in the morning about 6:00am and once in the evening before Jack’s bedtime around 7:00pm. I was going to completely wean from all feedings, but right now we have fallen into a good spot where I feel healthy and energized while still getting a couple feedings with Jack each day. Eventually I will wean completely, but right now today I am happy and proud of our new routine.

I truly think the hardest part about ‘quitting’ for me is that it feels like the end of an era. I will never again have this opportunity with Jack, so as silly as it may sound, it is difficult for me to give up knowing we can’t ever go back to these times.

When expecting moms ask me for breastfeeding advice, I try to share my honest thoughts without sugar coating my experience. Breastfeeding your baby is hard hard work and a personal choice. If you really want to do it then you’ll have to work at it, but if you find it just isn’t a good fit for you then that is okay too. A lot of people thought I was crazy for putting myself through all of what I did, but I am incredibly thankful I was able to breastfeed my son as long as I have. Those memories of him wrapping his hand around my finger, while nursing during the night are ingrained in both my head and my heart.

Skinny Suppers Cookbook Giveaway!

Skinny Suppers Cookbook Giveaway!

Happy Monday friends! I am kicking off this week with a fun giveaway for all of you busy cooks out there!

Skinny Suppers Cookbook Giveaway - Skinny Mom

A couple weeks ago, Brooke Griffin, who is the author of the Skinny Mom website reached out to me about the meet-and-greet she was holding at a Cincinnati-area Kroger. Brooke is a local-to-me author and although I couldn’t attend the event, I wanted to get the word out about it on my Facebook Page. In exchange for the post, Brooke graciously offered to send me a copy of her new cookbook, Skinny Suppers.

Screen Shot 2016-04-15 at 5.33.34 PM

I happily accepted the book, but immediately thought my readers may want the opportunity to have their own copy as well. I asked Brooke if I could do a giveaway of her cookbook on my blog and she agreed!

The Skinny Suppers Cookbook includes 125 suppers and side dish recipes like Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers, Supreme Pizza Pasta Casserole, Un-Sloppy Janes, and Loaded Nacho Soup. Throughout the book, Brooke shares some of her secrets as a busy home cook. Skinny Suppers also includes the month of suppers meal-planning calendar, ‘Twice as Nice’ recipes you can cook once and eat twice, and slow-cooker and one-pot meals to save time and money. The book is also filled with photos, easy step-by-step instructions, and nutritional information.

Skinny Suppers Cookbook Giveaway - Skinny Mom

I have to admit that I’m a pretty darn clean eater who doesn’t cook much with processed foods. Most of the recipes in the cookbook are super healthy and light, but many do include an item or two not typically found on my grocery list. However, I think it’s pretty easy to substitute ingredients as you see fit. Also, I always try to keep in mind that food should be enjoyed and not everything I eat is going to be perfectly ‘clean.’ I would say that 80% of the time my meals are super healthy, but the other 20% of the time I like to indulge and treat my husband to meals that are a bit more up his alley and not a veggie burger or spaghetti squash! Brooke’s meals are great for those busy weeknights when you need something on the table fast, and are also excellent for splurging on the weekend with delicious items that won’t leave you feeling like you’re in a food-coma. Yes – you can make meals like Slow-Cooker Chicken Pot Pie, Cheesy Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna Rolls, and Blackened Chicken with Avocado Cream Sauce while eating healthy with your family.

Skinny Suppers Cookbook Giveaway - Skinny Mom

Overall, this cookbook is excellent for all of you busy moms (and non-moms!) out there who want to put healthy and easy meals on your family’s dinner table. The book is beautiful, hardback, and filled with a ton of gorgeous photographed recipes and glossy pages throughout. The book retails for $29.95 and is available on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble.

Want a chance to win your own copy of the Skinny Suppers Cookbook? Here are the ways to enter:

Additional Entries:

This giveaway is open until midnight on Friday, April 22nd. Good luck to all who enter!

Favorites for Friday {April 15}

Favorites for Friday {April 15}

  • My Jack!

This week has been a little all over the place, but man have I enjoyed the craziness that is life! Jack’s always been a fun little guy, however his sweet, funny and loving personality has really started to shine the past few weeks. I say this every time he turns another month older, but I just cannot believe he is going to turn seven months on Sunday! I really wish I could bottle up this age he is now forever. He is truly starting to realize who mommy and daddy are, he is very interested in his big brother Tebow, and he loves to play, roll around and giggle like crazy. I have found all of his ticklish spots now so lotion + jammie time at the end of the day lasts a little longer than it used to. I get side tracked from trying to wind down for bed as I do my best to get him to laugh out loud at his mama’s silliness. Man do I love that funny boy!!

Jack - MudPie Gifts

  • Healthy Eating – Less Meat and More Veggies + Fruit + Fats

I am in no way a vegetarian as I don’t think I could ever give up a great burger or steak, but I have been doing my best lately to make sure my meals are less focused on meat, and more focused on fruits, veggies, fats and whole grains. Most of my breakfasts and lunches have been vegetarian, while I stick with a small serving of meat with plenty more veggies for dinner. My breakfasts have been either green smoothies, oat bran or oatmeal, overnight oats or a couple over-easy eggs with toast. I’ve been trying to incorporate one fruit serving and at least two servings of healthy fats at breakfast as well, whether that’s through peanut butter, walnuts, chia seeds or toasted pecans. At lunch I have had a huge salad almost every day, and the ingredients vary depending on the day. However, I also make sure to include a cheese, whether feta, gouda or cheddar, and healthy fats like avocado or more walnuts within the salad. I also love throwing in fruit when I have it on hand. My favorite lunch salad combo right now is mixed greens with shredded carrots, walnuts, apples and a little blue cheese. So good!!

My mom and I went to one of my favorite restaurants, Northstar Cafe, while we were in Columbus a couple weeks ago shopping. We split the Northstar Burger and each had our own Simple Salad on the side and it was to die for. This is hands down one of my favorite vegetarian meals! The Northstar Burger is made with organic black beans, brown rice and beets, and topped with white cheddar, kale, tomato, pickle and onion. The best!

Northstar Cafe Veggie Burger

  • Fitness

I have been doing a lot of working out lately, which is huge for me! You all know I have struggled to find my fitness rhythm since having my son, but I think I am finally starting to hit my stride again. I have been doing the workouts off-and-on from the 21 Day Fix  and can tell that I am a lot stronger now than I was 2 1/2 months ago when I first started. I haven’t been doing them every day for months, but the past six days I have done one thirty minute video every day and am so proud of myself! I try to incorporate Jack in the moves too whenever I can, especially when I am doing the workout when it’s just he and I at home together. You can watch some of our mommy + baby fitness shenanigans by clicking here for my latest Instagram video!

Mommy and Baby Workouts

  • Jack’s First Eats

We started feeding Jack solids a few weeks ago and are having so much fun watching him try new foods! So far his favorite is definitely banana, but he also really like sweet potato and oatmeal cereal. His feelings about avocado on the other hand are still up in the air! I took pictures of his initial reaction eating avocado and it was absolutely hilarious. My husband and I could not stop laughing at his facial expressions!

Jack Eating Avocado

  • You’ll Miss THOSE Days

My latest blog post for Dayton Moms Blog was shared earlier this week. As you know, I am a contributor to the site and enjoy sharing some of my thoughts as a new mom. This latest post is titled You’ll Miss THOSE Days, which focuses on how I now perceive time as a mother and how I’m doing my best to not wish the time away waiting for new milestones to be achieved.

“I think a lot of moms measure age by milestones, but I encourage all of you to not get so wrapped up in getting where you’re going that you miss the beautiful journey. We are only six months down the road, but already I can feel myself missing those days.”

You can read my entire post by clicking HERE!

Baby Jack Crawling

Have a wonderful weekend! I hope the weather is beautiful where you are too!

City Seed Delivery: Farm-to-Home

City Seed Delivery: Farm-to-Home

Local friends who love produce, deliveries, and organics – Today’s post will be right up your alley!

City Seed Delivery

Fellow mama and blogger Laurie Malseed and I met while on the set of Living Dayton during one of my segments a couple years back. Laurie and her husband have recently launched a new start-up called City Seed Delivery, and asked if I would be interested in trying a variety box from their produce delivery service. I jumped at the chance to share about their new business, while also trying some fresh produce that is locally grown (all organically grown), supplemented by an organic distributor, and delivered straight to my front door. Laurie also included a dozen non-gmo farm-fresh eggs with my order, and I’ve been having an over-easy egg with avocado and sliced oranges from the delivery almost every morning since!

City Seed Delivery

Produce variety box deliveries are a part of a weekly subscription available to City Seed Delivery members. To become a member, you would simply create an account on the website, add your delivery region to the cart, and select the produce box you would like to receive – either a small 10 pound box or a large 20 pound box. There are also additional items available for delivery, including grass-fed beef, poultry, pork, eggs, raw dairy, wellness products, and much more.

City Seed Delivery

One major goal of City Seed Delivery is to support local farmers from the greater Dayton and Cincinnati regions. Currently, City Seed Delivery works with The Baumgardner Farm, Double J Farm, Palara Farm, TS Farms, Burnetts Land of Milk and Honey and The Clark Family Farm.

City Seed Delivery

I received the Small Variety Box that is considered to be one bushel, (Large Variety Boxes are two bushels). Let me just say that 10 lbs. is a lot of produce! Within my box were all organic bananas, spring mix lettuce, potatoes, oranges, onions, yellow squash, celery, carrots and more. The produce variety boxes vary weekly and according to Laurie will air on the side of “staple” fruits and veggies with an occasional inclusion of a not-so-typical green or root veggie. Another option available, if you prefer to select the fruits and veggies you will or will not receive, is to upgrade to the Premium subscription.

City Seed Delivery

If you are someone who wants more fruits and veggies in your life, especially those of the organic varieties, but want it delivered to your front door – City Seed Delivery is the perfect choice for you and your family. With each purchase, know that you are not only receiving healthy produce options, but are also supporting local farmers, a local business and a local family!

Thank you to City Seed Delivery for my produce box! In exchange for a delivery, I am sharing my experience with City Seed here on the blog. All opinions are my own.