Thursday, October 29, 2009

Heartfelt Birthday Rant

I am 25-years-old today. I remember a time when I thought that my 17-year-old baby sitter was "old." Now, I think of how young and innocent (or niave!) 17 can be. What would I have changed from 17 to now if I had "known" what I do now?

I'm not sure if I'd change anything, other than possibly skip getting my B.S.. It hasn't helped me too much and I now have an almost-$200-payment a month for practically the rest of my life (yuck).

I might have gotten married sooner. I don't think my parents thought I knew what I was doing when I got engaged just before my 20th birthday and married when I was 21.5-years-old. I did. Now they know, too.

I would have moved heaven and hell before getting pregnant to create an at-home-business so that I could be home with my baby girl. But really, who knows if that would have worked out, anyway?

In all, I think that this last year has aged me more than it should have. I feel like an old lady trapped in the body of a 25-year-old. It has been the best darn year I've ever had (with the birth of my daughter only 2 days after my own birthday!), but it's also been the hardest. I have struggled with more depression than I think I ever have (or at least a different type of depression), been more tired, and felt like I'm trying so hard but accomplishing so little (will my house ever be clean again?!).

Like I said though, this has also been the best year of my life. I never knew how much I would LOVE being a mama until I had that little girl. How blessed I am! I have been filled with more love, adoration, and desire that I ever knew was possible.

So here I am, 25-years-old. Today isn't really special in an of itself. I probably won't eat any cake, and maybe won't even get a present today (my husband's sick, my family is busy, and my daughter is just too young)...but that's okay, because I am alive, have a beautiful family, and an entire life ahead of me. What will the future bring?

Here's what I hope it brings for me:
- more babies (or baby)
- having my own business
- travel, travel, travel with my family!
- go on a vacation with JUST my husband to some warm place with water
- health
- debt-free financial security (hopefully even with a little extra spending money included!)
- big veggie and flower gardens
- fighting fires and cutting cars
- sleeping through the night again

Life is such a precious gift. Let's not waste it!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

H1N1: to vaccinate and visit the ER--or not?

I've been struggling with whether or not I should get vaccinated against the swine and seasonal flu's this year, and also if my dd should get the vax. Even being a paramedic, I've always refused the seasonal flu vaccine and continue to be alive. I'm struggling with it this year because while I think the media and government has overhyped the flu (both kinds) to the point where the public is now fearful, I do think about the what if? of it all. If only we knew the future in a situation like this!

It's a difficult situation to determine what to do since I want to be careful about the vaccinations my family receives, but I also want to be careful about the diseases we contract! To help me decide, I did two things: looked in to the non-hype information about H1N1, and called my midwife.

Here's an informational memo put out by the county where I serve as a paramedic:

As the H1N1 virus continues to spread, health officials and medical experts have advice for people experiencing flu-like illness, who wonder if they should seek medical attention.

"We realize that many people are concerned because a new flu virus is circulating along with the seasonal flu this year," said Marcia Kasprzyk, Deputy Director for Public Health. It may help to know that for most individuals, novel H1N1 influenza will be no worse than the seasonal flu.

"Most people recover from the seasonal or novel H1N1 flu without needing medical treatment," said Prudence Ferraro, Chief Nursing Officer for Schuyler Hospital. Ferraro urged those who are NOT seriously ill to avoid hospital emergency departments. Instead, they are advised to contact their primary care doctor. "We’re asking for everyone’s help to make sure that the emergency department remains available for people who truly need it."

Kasprzyk pointed out that by going to the hospital when you are mildly ill can cause more problems:

• The individual can GET the flu from someone in the waiting room

• The individual could GIVE the flu to others

• The individual could DELAY important medical care for the seriously ill

Call your doctor right away or get emergency care in the event of severe or worsening illness.

Swine Flu Signs in adults: rapid breathing, difficulty breathing, pain and/or pressure in the chest or abdomen, bluish skin color, dizziness or confusion, increased fever or persistent vomiting.

Swine Flu Signs in children: increased fever, rash, rapid or difficulty breathing, bluish skin color, irritability, not waking up or interacting, and not drinking enough fluids.

The New York State Department of Health has set up a hotline (1-800-808-1987) for those who have questions about the H1N1 virus.

When I called my midwife, I asked if she's recommending for pregnant women (identified as being at one of the highest risks of contracting H1N1) to receive the swine flu vaccine. Her answer? DEFINITELY NOT. Instead, she recommends preventative measures such as hand washing. The risks of the vaccine outweigh the risks of contracting the flu--and that goes for both the seasonal and H1N1!

What are you plans for flu vaccines this year?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Special Days in November

November's just around the corner! Here are some wacky and crazy (and not so crazy) holidays during the month of November:

November 1- All Saint’s Day

November 2- Look for Circles Day and Deviled Egg Day

November 3- Housewife’s Day and Sandwich Day

November 4- King Tut Day

November 6- Marooned without a Compass Day and Saxophone Day

November 7- Book Lover’s Day

November 8- Cook Something Bold Day and Dunce Day

November 9- Chaos Never Dies Day

November 10- Forget-Me-Not-Day

November 11- Veteran’s Day

November 12- Chicken Soup for the Soul Day

November 13- World Kindness Day & National Indian Pudding Day & Sadie Hawkins Day

November 14- Operating Room Nurse Day

November 15- Clean Your Refrigerator Day and America Recycles Day

November 16- Button Day and Have a Party with Your Bear Day

November 17- Electronic Greeting Card Day & Homemade Bread Day & Take a Hike Day

November 19- Great American Smokeout & Have a Bad Day Day

November 20- Beautiful Day and Universal Children’s Day and Absurdity Day

November 21- World Hello Day and National Adoption Day

November 22- Go For a Ride Day and Eat a Cranberry Day and National Cashew Day

November 25- National Parfait Day

November 26- Thanksgiving Day

November 27- You’re Welcome Day

November 28- Red Planet Day and Make Your Own Head Day

November 29- Square Dance Day

November 30- Stay At Home Because You Are Well Day

1st week of November: Chemistry Week
3rd week of November: Game and Puzzle Week

Did you also know that November is...
Aviation History Month, International Drum Month, Native American Heritage Month, National Sleep Comfort Month, National Model Railroad Month,
and Peanut Butter Lovers Month?!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Million Baby Crawl & Giveaway- LINK

Thanks to Blogger, the post I started on Wednesday but didn't finish until today ended up falling into the line up as if I actually had posted it a few days ago...So here's the link the Million Baby Crawl & Giveaway post so that you don't miss out on this awesome opportunity to help make a difference and win a cleaning kit from Seventh Generation!

How did you tell your family that you were pregnant?

One week from tomorrow, my beautiful baby girl will turn 1 year old. She was 11 days overdue, so as I've been at work the last few days, I've been thinking back to the struggle I was having exactly one year ago, wishing and pleading with God to PLEASE bring this baby out of me! :-)

It's made me revisit all of my memories, especially the second most precious (next to her birthing)--the day I found out she had been created. It was on Valentine's Day, 2007, and I had just finished a 12 hour shift at work as a paramedic. I stopped for a pregnancy test on my way home not because I thought I was pregnant, but because I had stopped taking birth control pills due to health problems the month before and wasn't really sure when to expect my period. My mind was in a fog during the hour long drive, and I actually got pulled over for speeding (nearing midnight next to a bar). I wanted to tell the policeman "hey, I have a pregnancy test in back! Let me go!" but I didn't need to since he saw the "female firefighter" sticker in my back windshield and told me to have a great day, but that I was going 15 miles over the speed limit (oops--must have still been in ambulance mode).

Upon arriving home, I greeted my husband, our house-mate, Jen, and our friend, Jon, who was spending the weekend. I snuck my bag into the bathroom, read the fine print directions, and peed on the stick. I set it next to me and immediately, I saw a "plus" sign indicating that it was positive. I re-read the directions three times to make sure I'd done it right, and ran a new one under the sink for comparison's sake. Keeping everything to myself, I took the last test the next morning. I was still pregnant.

Finding out you're pregnant causes a flood of conflicting emotions through your body and gives you this very strong urge to tell people. I wanted the "telling" to be special, though, so for 9 days after finding out, I savored this secret between God and me. I prayed over that baby and enjoyed this new found life. On the ninth day, My husband and I were going away for our anniversary. I created a treasure hunt that led my husband from our house to our hotel room an hour away. The last gift I gave him was a Willow Tree figurine of a mother and father holding a baby. An index card was enclosed with our due date written on one side: 10/20/08, and this verse on the other side "Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one's youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. (Psalm 127:3-5)."
My plan was for us to keep it a secret until we were done with the first trimester, but my husband would have none of it. We drove home the next day with small "grandparent" gifts for our parents to tell them the happy news with. Happy moments. :-)

How did you tell your family that you were pregnant?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Michael Buble: Crazy Love Review

Michael Buble's new album, Crazy Love, recently debuted as #1 on the billboard chart. Falling into the jazz category of music, it's an upbeat listening experience for even the newest of Buble fans. I actually hadn't even known of Michael Buble's existence until One2One Network sent me a copy of Crazy Love to review. Once I started playing it in my office though, coworkers immediately recognized him and asked about the I guess he must be popular. :-)

Singer and songwriter Michael Buble has actually sold over 22 million albums worldwide with #1 hits in over 15 countries. This newest album came out of a desire to create a collection of songs that make up the "ultimate record about the inevitable roller coaster ride of relationships." One can tell that this is the theme of Crazy Love just by reading the track titles:

1. Cry Me A River

2. All Of Me

3. Georgia On My Mind

4. Crazy Love

5. Haven't Met You Yet

6. All I Do Is Dream Of You

7. Hold On

8. Heartache Tonight

9. You're Nobody Till Somebody Loves You

10. Baby (You've Got What It Takes)

11. At This Moment

12. Stardust

13. Whatever It Takes (bonus track)

Best things about this album: it's well executed, holds true to its theme, and Michael has captivating eyes which are highlighted on the album's cover.

Worst things about this album: the music is a bit predictable (but then, this is coming from a girl who grew up listening to Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa to get her jazz fix--and they're as complicated as it comes). Also, the album cover and title freak my husband out a little bit so he doesn't want to listen...haha.

Find more information here:

Michael Buble Website:

“Haven’t Met You Yet” Video:

Link to buy this album:

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Million Baby Crawl & Giveaway

Seventh Generation needs your help making our nation’s outdated chemical law tougher, in order to make the world safer for our children. Join us in spreading the word about the Million Baby Crawl ( to help educate and empower parents to raise their voices for stronger standards on toxic chemicals.

Did you know that…
  • In the 33 years since Congress passed that nation’s chemical regulatory law, the Toxic Substances Control Act (TCSA), the Environmental Protection Agency has required testing on just 200 of the more than 80,000 chemical compounds developed for products used in the home.
  • Under the current law, the EPA does not have the authority to demand the information it needs to evaluate a chemical’s risk, and neither manufacturers nor the EPA are required to prove a chemical’s safety as a condition of use.
  • 1.25 million kids younger than six are unintentionally poisoned in the home each year by things like cosmetics and personal care products, cleaning substances, pain relievers and cough and cold medicines (American Association of Poison Control Centers)
  • Studies show that nearly 200 industrial chemicals and pollutants have been found in the umbilical cord blood of newborns (EWG).

How you can help… It’s easy, visit and create a crawler that represents why you want chemical reform! As an extra incentive (and thank you), Seventh Generation will be giving away a Living Home Starter Kit to one of my readers who creates a crawler! The Living Home Starter Kit is valued at $50.00 and includes:

Ruby Grapefruit & Herb Natural Glass & Surface Cleaner
Green Mandarin & Leaf All-Purpose Cleaner
Emerald Cypress & Fir All-Natural Toilet Bowl Cleaner
Natural Citrus Scent Shower Cleaner
Emerald Cypress & Fir Tub & Tile Cleaner
One Roll of Recycled Paper Towels
…and a Seventh Generation Tote to haul all your new stuff!

Once you've made your crawler, report back to me here and let me know these two things:

1) what the name of your crawler is and 2) one fact about this issue that you found to be compelling.

That's it! This contest will be open until Monday, November 16 at 0730 hours, EST. Please leave your email address and a separate comment for EACH entry into this contest.

Earn Extra Entries By...(after your initial entry)

*Tweeting about this contest (1x/day)
*Emailing 4 friends with "" CC'd in
*Following me
*Subscribing to me
*Grabbing my button (NOT onto a blog roll)
*Otherwise spreading the word!

Be blessed!

Monday, October 19, 2009

It's an Etsy Christmas!


1) Etsy Artisians who themselves would like to be featured during Life More Simply's "It's an Etsy Christmas!" event.

2) Etsy Artisians who YOU would like to see featured during Life More Simply's "It's an Etsy Christmas!" event.

It's an Etsy Christmas! will feature reviews and giveaways from some of the best Etsy shops out there. You'll find unique one-of-a-kind gift ideas that are handcrafted in the US and Canada for each person on your gift list. To nominate yourself or someone else to be featured during It's an Etsy Christmas, just leave me a comment below with the link to that person's Etsy shop!

Chocolate candy? Decorations? Diapers? Clothes? Jewlery? Artwork? Ornaments?
You Decide!

Is Udder Covers A Scam?

After writing my first post about Udder Covers where I shared a promotional code for free nursing covers, I received a comment warning me to check into the legitimacy of Udder Covers. I found that as this person reported, there is negative feedback out there about Udder Covers. Upon further investigation, though, I'm happy to let you know that I'm 100% confident in ordering from Udder Covers. Here is what I found:

According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), Milk Bands, LLC (who DBA "Udder Covers" since this is just another product that they make) has been accredited since 4/21/2009. They have an "A" rating on an A+ to F scale which is very good (they only miss the A+ because they haven't been in business long enough). The company is family owned and operated out of UT and produces/runs the Milk Bands company (which you are probably familiar with) and the Udder Covers company (which you may not be so familiar with). In the last 36 months, Milk Bands, LLC has received one complaint with the BBB in regards to a delivery issue. This issue was resolved and has not affected their standing with the BBB. You can read the full report by clicking here. What does all of this mean? That the BBB says they're okay.

I asked Udder Covers about their relationship with Milk Bands, and this is how they explain it:

My husband and I started Milk Bands LLC in 2005 and invented a breastfeeding bracelet to help moms track the sides that they nurse on, what time and how long and other various things that moms observe and record especially with a newborn baby. We've put our life savings into that company and have now built up a name for ourselves across the globe and are being carried by some larger household named companies here in the US and in Canada as well. Last year when I had my 4th child, we decided to expand our product line and begin carrying breastfeeding covers and pads. We began selling them privately to different clinics and agencies as well as test the waters with the public market by selling "kits" that contained a cover, a set of 4 pads and a breastfeeding bracelet on eBay. We got a 100% positive feedback on that and at the end of last year, we began focusing our time and energy into creating a site for the Udder Covers.

Next, I visited and read through the posts at which seems to be the location of much negative conversation about Udder Covers. At first, you'd think things are horrible and that people aren't receiving their covers after paying for the shipping. If you read on, though, you'll find that everyone does receive their orders (it seems to take about 2 weeks from what the posts say). Some people did mention that when they called the retailers listed as carriers of the product, the retailers didn't know what the consumers were talking about. Another person also mentioned something about getting their CC number abused after placing an order with Udder Covers. To check out these claims, I myself called many of the retailers listed on the Udder Covers website and had the same problem that others I contacted Milk Bands, LLC to see what they had to say. Here's what they answered regarding the "store locator" option their site not matching up when people actually contact the store about Udder Covers:

The store locator shares the Milk Bands™ list. That's why right now you're only getting stores that carry Milk Bands™ when you try calling them. We're working on getting it separated as more Udder Covers™ are out in stores but some do carry both. It's just a matter of time and money before we can get that taken care of.

So far, everything seems to line up...but we still haven't dealt with the credit fraud issue! I asked them about that and received an interesting reply...which you'll just have to come back and read another time since this post is getting pretty long. :-)

Be blessed!

YoPlus Light Review & Giveaway

Compliments of MyBlogSpark, I was able to try the new Key Lime Pie flavor of YoPlus Light. I'm a regular consumer of yogurts and love that I can have delicious flavors without the guilt of a similar ice cream. :-) I eat it alone and in smoothies, but usually buy the generic brand in bulk so as to be able to afford it (haha).YoPlus Light has a special coupon promotion going on right now though, so don't assume that you can't afford the luxury of a smooth and creamy TASTY desert or snack (see below)! Soy yogurt remains my favorite type of yogurt, but if I'm going with a milk based one, I would certainly recommend YoPlus. Their "light" variety is creamy and light in taste. The best part is that you don't have to stir it and can eat it right with the lid by just curving it in your fingers!

Here's what they say:
With only 70 calories, YoPlus Light contains a special blend of probiotic cultures, 3 grams of natural dietary fiber and the same great taste you expect from Yoplait. Even better, YoPlus Light is now available in three new delicious flavors - Key Lime Pie, Honey Vanilla and Strawberry Banana - and is already available in supermarkets nationwide.
MyBlogSpark sent me a whole "Get Healthy" gift pack along with the coupons for the yogurt. I'm impressed with the quality of it too--you're going to love it if you win it! My favorite part is the light blue duffel bag they included. It's hard to find the "perfect" sized bag for a day's outing or a gym workout (okay, I never, ever go to the gym for lack of time...but I do have those day long outings!). The ear buds included are a brilliant idea for an on-the-go mom. I'm thinking that it'll be a life saver during my long ambulance hours waiting for a call, or even to break up the silence at my office job (ha). Now the towel that they included is a little disappointing as far as towels are concerned, but it is the right size to wipe sweat off of yourself, so I guess it serves its purpose. :-) I'm also thinking it'll make an awesome microfiber cleaning cloth (oops, did I just admit that?). I love microfiber cleaning cloths, but that's another story.

Buy it! Click here to download a $1.00 off coupon for YoPlus Light

Win it! Yoplait and MyBlogSpark are giving one of my readers a "Get Healthy" gift pack that includes a stylish sports bag, sports towel, ear buds and two free coupons* for any flavor of the new YoPlus Light yogurt. *Please note: These free coupons are not valid in Louisiana, Nevada and North Dakota. Simply leave me a comment here telling me your #1 get or stay healthy tip for busy people. Be sure to include your email address in every comment or you will be ineligible to win! Contest Ends November 3, 2009 at 0730 hours, EST. *CONTEST ONLY OPEN TO US ADDRESSES*

Earn extra entries by spreading the word! Blogging, sporting my button, emailing some friends, tweeting with a link (one time per day), you know...Be sure to leave a separate comment with an email address for every entry!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Building A Better Blog: Technorati

One of the ways that you can easily and quickly promote your blog in cyberspace is by registering through Technorati. Often unheard of by armature bloggers, Technorati is one way that you can increase your traffic, page rank (where it shows up in search engine results), and value to companies offering products for review.

What is Technorati? Technorati is simply a search engine and index of blogs. By June of 2008, they had indexed 112.8 million blogs and had won a few prestigious awards involving the Internet and/or technology. Technorati also assigns a ranking to each blog (with "1000" being the highest)) and "authority" number between 1 and 10.

Why should I join and register my blog with Technorati? By joining and registering, you will create another avenue of exposure for your blog. If you want to review products on your blogs, many organizations that deal with product reviews want to know what your Technorati Authority and Ranking is. Also, by viewing your profile, you'll be able to see all of the other blogs (also registered with Technorati) who have links to you.

How do I join? Go to and click on "join." You'll provide them with basic info and then be on your way. It's totally free!

Technorati Authority: ones "authority" is a number fixed to your blog by Technorati. It's supposed to represent your influence over the blogging network (i.e. how many people have links to your blog?) and the popularity your blog has at a given point in time. This is a fluctuating number that you may see go up and down based on what the popular topic is in the blogging world on a given day. There is also a "topical technorati ranking" that also measures the relativity of your blog to the category from which the ranking falls into (good news: your blog may fall into multiple categories).

Technorati Rank: this number indicates where your blog's authority falls when compared to ther authority number of other blogs. The highest number you can get, of course, is "1".

Some things you should remember...

- Links to you only count if that person is registered with Technorati

- "Blogroll" links don't count

- Technorati only counts newer links. Once a person's been linked to you for, let's say 6-months, Technorati isn't going to count that link anymore.

Overall, Technorati has been the most useful to me in tracking who links to me and also so that I can provide product review companies with a Technorati number when they ask. Remember, any number--even if it's low--is better than no number. If you want companies to think that you're a serious blogger and can influence the online community, get registered with Technorati!

My Leave of Absence

Some of you may have been wondering where I've been and why I've taken a leave of absence from Blogging for the last two-ish weeks...

I have been:
  • stressed out dealing with situations at work involving my rights as a working and pumping mama

  • busy trying to get all of my work at work caught up and organized for a future big event that I hope happens soon so that I can tell you about it *praying*

  • trying unsuccessfully to not stress out at home because I can't keep up with all of the house and baby work while working 5-6 days a week

  • trying unsuccessfully to not stress out about money's difficult to make ends meet when your regular job pays you $11,000.00 less a year than the "average for your position in your area" according to online sources; and you're still left with school loan payments and a car payment (plus the usual stuff)...why'd we go to school again?

Yeah, I'm a real person after all. I'd love to say that I always find time to do the things I want to (in this case, Blog), but the truth is that sometimes I just don't get to it. Having the Internet only at work really limits online activity, too. *sigh* My resolution is to post as MANY times as I can today, provide you with some awesome giveaways, and write down the information that you've been asking for! With that said, I must get busy...Feel free to leave some war stories from your own life! Sometimes, commiserating makes one feel better.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

How To Homeschool

These are the three easy steps involved in officially home schooling a child. Please note that this is a guideline for my home state of NY. I have no idea what other state laws mandate as far as enrollment, documentation, and testing go, but I imagine that it falls along these lines. Please also be aware that a person "graduating" from a home school program won't necessarily have an official diploma unless you follow steps beyond what's listed here.

1) Submit a letter of intent to your school district's superintendent. It should include the names and ages of the children whom you are going to home school and the years for which the schooling will take place. A new letter must be submitted prior to the start of each school year. You do not need to submit the first letter until the school year during which your child will be turning six-years-old (though it wouldn't hurt to make it official with the school district if you choose to begin Kindergarten before the age of 6). After your child has turned 16-years-old, you do not need to submit any more letters (though it also wouldn't hurt to keep everything recorded until graduation).

2) Choose your method of madness: i.e. what textbooks and curriculum's will you be using? One should really begin to think about this and explore options well before the beginning of the school year. I would suggest the following: 1) Order a paper homeschooling catalogue from or go online where you can see a variety of different options all in the same place. 2) Find other HS families in your area and ask them what they use (churches, libraries, and the Internet are great ways to find local groups). 3) Attend a used curriculum fair. There's a 2-day one about 20-minutes from where I live now and it's a huge event! Larger cities usually hold them annually.

3) Submit a quarterly report to the school district. It should include the child's name, address, dates for beginning and ending the quarter, and the child's grade level. List each subject by name, and then include highlights of what you've done as well as a letter grade. For example:
Math: Jenny completed units 1-9 of Scott Forseman Math, Grade 2; included were the concepts of basic addition and subtraction through numeral and word problems. Grade: A-

Helpful Links: Find out about laws, regulations, and resources by STATE in the US Schooling and education ideas and resources Reviews of almost every home school curriculum out there! Allows you to view and purchase different curriculum's (note: though owned by a "Christian" company, the educational materials provided are not necessarily "Christian")