My Tips and Tricks for Pregnancy

baby in belly

Being pregnant is such a blessing because of the joy and excitement that comes with new life.  That being said, there are many areas of pregnancy that present challenges.  These challenges can be alleviated by using certain products and adding some activities to your daily routine.  This is also a great time to get some reading done because after that baby, you are not going to have any time to read!  Any extra moment that you have will be devoted to sleeping, most likely.

I have learned a lot during this second pregnancy and wanted to share some tips and tricks with others.  Every pregnancy is unique and every woman is different, so these are just ideas and suggestions that worked for me.

pregnant belly


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Pregnancy Suggestions – External

 

1. Leggings

These are a life saver when your belly is constantly growing!  Even some maternity pants can be uncomfortable if the waistband is not made right.  There are so many different places to purchase leggings, but I got mine at Target.  Three different colors to go with lots of different possibilities.  Super comfortable during any stage in your pregnancy, but especially in the last trimester when you feel huge and don’t want any extra pressure over your tummy.

2. Creams and Lotions

With a growing baby comes a growing belly and skin that must stretch to accommodate the space.  This pregnancy, my skin has been extra itchy.  I have found relief in using all natural products to make lotions.  I also try to apply lotion to my belly every night to prevent any stretch marks.  The most common ingredients when doing a Pinterest search are Shea butter and coconut oil.  These two products are great for the skin and help moisturize.  Find the raw Shea butter that I use here and coconut oil here.

Pregnancy Suggestions – Movement

3. Exercise of some kind: Yoga!

This is not a time of your life where you should be running marathons and lifting heavy weights, but you shouldn’t be sitting on the couch all day eating ice cream out of the carton either.  Find a happy medium.  I have fallen in love with yoga and pregnancy poses to relieve aches and pains.  I have also found yoga poses helpful to move this baby around when she is making me uncomfortable.  Yoga mats are relatively inexpensive and you really don’t even need one.  My favorite poses are: the bridge, cat cow, and king pigeon.  If trying yoga, just make sure that you are doing safe poses for pregnant women because some can be dangerous.

4. More exercise: Walk/Jog

Again, you need to use common sense and not overdo it when exercising.  I try to take a walk every day, sometimes mixing walking with a light jog.  Walking is great exercise, especially when you are pregnant.  I use these running shoes and love them!  If you don’t have time to talk a walk, try to incorporate more walking into your normal day.  Park further away from the store entrance, kick around a soccer ball with your child (if you have one already) or go for a swim.  The point is to stay active.  This will help you maintain a healthy weight during your pregnancy and help your body not get stagnant.

Pregnancy Suggestions – Toxin-Free

5. Young Living essential oils

We discovered essential oils about four years ago shortly after my daughter was born. Essential oils are the lifeblood of the plant and contain beneficial constituents that the human body recognizes. These precious resources can support and balance all systems of the body including emotions. I enjoy adding Frankincense, Lavender and Tea Tree to lotions that I make using Shea butter and coconut oil. Frankincense helps restore and bring balance to the DNA (that’s the genetic instructions) of your cells. Lavender has many benefits, including being calming and soothing. Tea Tree also has many benefits, but is known for its ability to balance the skin. Young Living has incredible products with high standards. For more information, read this post.

Cleaning sprays DIY6. Toxin-free cleaning

Everyone loves a clean and fresh smelling home, but did you ever stop to think about where the scent is coming from? Many cleaning products claim to use real lemons, but who is truly regulating that? When you are pregnant, you may be extra sensitive to smells due to the hormones. I use only natural ingredients to clean. That way, I don’t have to worry about inhaling harmful fumes. My go-to ingredients for cleaning are vinegar, baking soda and Young Living’s Thieves cleaner. Between those three ingredients, I clean my entire home!  For more information and recipes, click here.

Pregnancy Suggestions – Internal

7. Drink pure water

Drinking water is beneficial for everyone, especially pregnant women.  The problem is that so many sources of water are not pure.  City water is treated with all kinds of harmful chemicals, well water could have harmful substances and bottled water is sold in plastic.  We chose to invest in a Berkey water filtration system.  So, we pour water from our well into the filtering device and it removes harmful substances like lead from the water.  If you’re drinking the twelve glasses a day that’s recommended, you want to make sure you’re drinking pure water without any harmful chemicals.  This hydrates your body without overworking your immune system.

8. Supplements

The sad truth is that we are simply not getting enough nutrients and minerals from the food that we are eating, so everyone should be taking some kind of supplement.  But, just like the water, you need to make sure that the supplements are from a pure source.  Expecting mothers need to be extra vigilant to make sure that they are getting folate, Calcium, and many other vitamins and minerals that your developing baby needs.  We choose to order most of our supplements from Young Living because it’s a company we can trust for purity.  I take 1 ounce of antioxidant juice called NingXia Red every morning with cod liver oil for my omegas.

Pregnancy Suggestions – Literature

Gentle Babies

Going along with the Young Living essential oils I mentioned above, this book is a valuable resource. It gives in detail specific oils and protocols that are super beneficial during pregnancy, delivery and after baby is born. There are certain essential oils that you should be extra cautious with when pregnant, just because they are so highly concentrated. Everything that you put on your skin or into your body can directly affect your unborn child because everything is absorbed one way or another. Your skin absorbs anything that you put on it and your digestive system must process what you consume. Even after birth, essential oils can be of assistance. There are certain oils that help increase or decrease your milk supply. Overall, this book is a small investment when you consider all the information that it gives you.

The Solution

I know this is a controversial topic, but let me be clear. There are too many “coincidences” and studies centering around bad science for this not to raise questions. There are all kinds of incentives and rewards for people in the medical profession to push and recommend vaccines. Guess who’s rewarding them? The same companies that make a profit from the vaccines! I just think of all of the people who lived 50+ years ago. They did not have the enormous amount of vaccines that are recommended today and they lived healthy lives.

There are other alternatives. It’s so sad to me that we have been brainwashed and just accept that a pill can help us. The human body is so complex and was created so intricately, there is no way a man-made substance is going to benefit long-term. This book explains lots of science behind the human body’s natural prevention called the immune system and then alternative ways to boost immunity.

Literature for Preparation

Loving the Little Years

I started reading this book after I saw it on someone else’s blog. This is written from the perspective of a mom who is not perfect. Sometimes when I’m reading books or articles, the tone and overall feel of the text is that the author has it all figured out. This is simply not realistic when it comes to raising littles. They are constantly changing and are God’s way of shaping our characters. This book has changed the way that I look at raising my daughter and I wish that I had read it sooner! The author connects raising children with your walk with Christ. An easy read and well worth the investment of money and time.

Parenting

We purchased this book after watching a sermon series on parenting. This book has definitely changed the way that I view discipline. It is Biblically based and very straightforward. The author has a unique way of delivering content without making the parent reading it feel judged or guilty. This is another book I wish I had read before having my first child. So many gems and perspective shifters! I would recommend this to any parent or parent-to-be!

 

Overall, there are many challenges and blessings of pregnancy.  I pray that you have found some ideas in this post that will be helpful to you.  Blessings for your precious bundle and growing family!

Juicing

juicing watermelon

Why We Choose to Juice Fruits

My daughter has an allergy where she cannot consume raw apples or pears.  This made it incredibly difficult to find store bought juice.  Almost all juices have apple or pear juice as a filler because those fruits are pretty cheap.  Also, we have been trying to get healthier and know exactly what we are putting in our bodies.  So, juicing was an easy decision.  You have the upfront cost of purchasing another appliance, but we believe it has been well worth the cost.

freshly peeled oranges

The hardest part is going to be finding a juicer.  There are SOOO many different kinds and brands.  After researching, we decided to go with one that is a cold press because heat can take away vital enzymes and nutrients.  Other juicers have a blade that spins around to separate the juice, and the blade is what produces heat energy.  The cold-press technology basically squeezes the juice out of the fruit by pressing and grinding.  The brand that we have is SKG.  There are only a few parts to take apart and cleaning it is very easy.  Usually, we just throw it all in the dishwasher.  To view the juicer that we use and love, click here.


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fresh squeezed orange juiceBenefits of Juicing

I have done a lot of research into the food industry and have discovered information that is disturbing.  It started with reading The Daniel Plan and then watching a documentary on Netflix called Food, Inc.  The short version is that the consumer needs to be educated and wise to decide what is best for their family.  Tricky wording and optional labeling can leave even the well-educated consumer  guessing.  So, by juicing, you remove all of the guessing.  Purchase organic produce, straight from the farmer if you can, and there you have it.  You know exactly what is in your juice.

Other than piece of mind, juicing does have health benefits.  If you prefer to drink your vitamins and nutrients, or have a very active lifestyle and need something on-the-go, juicing is great.  I plan to use juicing as I do making smoothies – sneaking veggies in that my daughter doesn’t like to eat.  That way, she’s still getting the nutrients, but can’t even taste it!  There is no real scientific evidence right now to support juicing is better than eating the whole fruit or vegetable.  I believe that they can both be beneficial.  In our case, juicing was necessary to meet the needs of my daughter’s food allergy.  We have also noticed that the juice tastes better.  It’s like your body can taste the difference between pasteurized and fresh-pressed.  Amazing!

SKG juicer

For more information, check out these articles: The Healing Properties of Juicing and Juicing, How Healthy Is It?

The Juicer

juicing fruits

As you can see, there are two spouts at the bottom of the reservoir.  You cut your fruit up and place into the top.  The bottom part turns and separates the pulp from the juice.  This juicer comes with a cup to catch the juice, but you will need to grab a bowl or something to catch the dry pulp.  We use our Pampered Chef glass mixing bowl.  This batch got almost a gallon of juice from one little watermelon!

juicing fruits

 

It’s super easy to use!  We love juicing and have only tried a few fruits so far.  These pictures are from watermelon.  We have juiced pineapple, raspberries, oranges and lemons.  The pineapple is a household favorite and I use lemon juice in my water to raise my body’s pH level.

 

Benefits of Juicing Cold-Pressed

Although it may seem slower than other appliances, this juicer gets the job done and it is very quiet.  You get a lot of juice from fruit and have super dry pulp.  The dry pulp is full of fiber, so you will want to save it for something.  It is excellent for adding to smoothies.  If you’re into hunting, deer enjoy watermelon I hear, so that’s another option!  We have only tried using this juicer with fruits, but I have read that it works great with vegetables and even nuts if you want to make your own almond milk, etc.

I like to save the dried pulp to add to smoothies.  The pulp has lots of fiber and helps thicken smoothies nicely.

Just press into an ice cube tray, freeze, pop out and toss in a freezer bag.  Label with contents and date.  The next time you want to add a little something to your smoothie, toss a couple cubes in!

For more ideas on how to make food at home, check out my post here about pizza made from scratch, or here for homemade applesauce.

Organizing Essential Oil Bottles

After being a Young Living distributor for over two years, we have accumulated quite a few bottles of different essential oils.  We ordered cases to store them, but not only was that getting expensive, but the cases have tops.  This makes them great for travel, but not so home-friendly.  The way we were organizing essential oil bottles had to change!

How to store essential oils on the cheap!
We love the case and the cap labels, but are running out of room!

After doing lots of research, the containers that were available to purchase just seemed like too much money.  My husband suggested that we use the containers that the company sends the oils in since they basically cost us nothing extra.  So, we started saving the containers.

Making Your Own Storage / Organization

IMG_3116

These are the containers that we were shipped in one month’s large order.  It doesn’t take long to build the collection needed to store a large amount of oils.

Store essential oil bottles using materials that you probably have on hand.

Cut the tubes to the desired height.  Hubby used a hack saw to cut them.  We decided to cut them all the same so the small 5 ml bottles would also fit.  I used a ruler to make the rows straight.

Essential oil bottle storage!

Attach the cut tube pieces to a piece of cardboard that you have already cut.  (Measure how large you want to make it first.)  I started using hot glue to attach, but then I ran out so hubby picked up some tacky glue at Lowe’s and that worked great.  Glue, place, press.  Repeat.

How to store essential oil bottles in the home.

Here’s what it looks like!  This storage system works great for us.  I measured and created this to fit in a drawer in one of our cabinets.  That’s awesome because you can customize this to whatever size you want.

As we get more oils, we re-arrange the bottles.  Our type A personalities require us to store the oils in alphabetical order.  Yes, I re-organize them each time we get a new oil.  It just makes it so much easier to find what you are looking for!  This system makes it easy to change where the bottles are placed.

Storing this amount of bottles can be very challenging.  I hope that you find this helpful!

Learn more about Young Living here.  Read more about essential oils here and here.

Introduction

Ok, so I’m new to blogging.  I am a wife and mother to a sweet little girl.  My healthy journey began over two years ago after deciding to have a baby.  Having a child just brings a whole different perspective to life!  My husband and I decided that we would try to address a few areas in our life including clutter, diet, products we use in our home and on our bodies and exercise.  While we are nowhere near perfect, we have made some major shifts in our lives to help us live better.  I’d love to share the lessons that we have learned along the way.