5 Things I had on My Pre-Baby Bucket List (And $75 Pre-Natal Product GIVEAWAY)

pre baby bucket list bellyitchblog.com happyfamily.com

After getting married  a couple years after law school, my husband and I decided to start a family, but before then, I already knew that there were things on my pre-baby bucket list I had to enjoy before taking on the challenges of parenthood. We didn’t call it a “bucket list” back then, but the concept was the same.

I was one of the first among my friends to marry and would be among the first to have kids, still I had a few other law school buddies who had children so I knew of all that was involved in child rearing.

Being the eldest of 4 children in my family, I had spent a substantial amount of my pre teens to college years babysitting, looking after my siblings or helping relatives and family friends care for cousins and other children in their family. So, I had an inkling of what was involved with child-rearing. I was well in the know that I had to get my free-spirit on before joining mommyhood.


Here is a list of things I did before jumping into the parenting pool.

traveling

1. Traveled on a moment’s notice – Back then and still today, last dirt cheap minute fares to far off places, spas and other locales came easy. Once you signed up for last minute deals emails, you could get an alert in your inbox on Thursdays, for example, purchase your ticket by Friday and be in the air after work. After children, the opportunities for such impromptu adventures are near impossible.

2. Spend Freely – Owing to number #1, most of the money you earned belong to you so you could splurge on a last minute trip, buy that expensive handbag, go out to eat twice a week because there was no other person’s college fund you needed to be saving for or some baby’s 1st birthday party you needed to use up all your rainy day fund to plan and throw.

3. Sleep in– Before kids, Sundays meant sleeping in. Saturdays wouldn’t yet involve games, practices, rehearsals, recitals, trips to the zoo, museums, and festivals. While all of those things are fun and I really enjoy cheering my children on and watching them perform or enjoy themselves at a craft fair, sleeping in and reading the Sunday paper in bed all day was a luxury too I enjoyed pre-having a family of my own.

4. Not have to clean regularly – After children, you no longer have the privilege of cleaning your home on Saturday and not have it messed up again until mid week or well into the following week before needing a new cleaning. Having a family of three or more means having more people to clean up after and less uncluttered spaces because families can be messy.

5. Take adult classes – I didn’t grow up in a family where we could afford classes, so before having kids, I enrolled myself in a host of fun classes: ballet, tennis, adult gymnastics, pottery, painting, cooking, whatever was available, I did. And again, having disposable income for myself, I could afford to!

Having enjoyed that life, I wouldn’t trade in the one I have now for anything in the world.  I am glad my husband and I had a chance to grow a little nest egg so we could buy a home for our future kids to grow up in. Today, there are more  resources, inventions, services and products available to parents that I wish I had available to me.

For example, I recently learned about Happy Mama which is the first organic baby food to expand into the prenatal category, offering Mom and Baby an easy nutrition solution throughout the First 1,000 Days, by starting as far back as the womb. How novel!

happy mama

You know like before, most of the products available aimed to give newborns, infants and babies a healthy start at birth.

But, the NEW Happy Mama® Prenatal collection is changing the trajectory of children’s health through nutrition by getting to baby before birth and making sure mom is in optimal health from the beginning of her pregnancy journey. We were gifted a generous package of the products to sample out and really enjoyed them!

The Happy Mama Prenatal collection includes a host of nourishing and healthy products including; Fruit + Veggie Blends, Probiotic Supplements and Gummies.

Another great thing about the collection is that it offers extra vitamins and nutrients that moms-to-be need like DHA, Choline, Calcium and Fiber, which they may not get from their diet or prenatal multi-vitamin alone.

When you can’t keep foods down because you’re suffering from nausea or morning sickness, these vitamins will come in pretty handy!

The Probiotic Supplement is flavor-free and easily dissolves in water – plus it’s a taste-less addition to soft foods. The supplement helps support Baby’s developing immune system. As you may know, probiotic supplements are also great for keeping one regular and are great for digestion and easing heartburn and other digestive woes that increase during pregnancy.

We’ve gone past the days of the ginormous yucky tasting pre-natal vitamins. Thank God!

Companies have gotten more inventive and are taking mom’s taste buds into account. Happy Mama’s Prenatal Gummies, for example, provide extra essential nutrition for Mama-to-be, such as Omega-3s, DHA, Choline and Vitamin D, with each bottle containing yummy gummies in three flavors: lemon, berry and orange. They are deelish! We tried them. Yummy!

Better than candy because the prenatal gummy is a supplement to your daily prenatal/multi-vitamin and it’s needed because the top prenatal vitamins on the market do not provide you with the recommended value of DHA, Choline or Vitamin D.

happy mama

The Happy Mama Prenatal collection is available at Target as part of the Made to Matter—Handpicked by Target™ product collection in the women’s health aisle, but before you buy some, you can win the line from Happy Mama here! Open to US only from Now until November 13. Many ways to enter. Daily Entry options available!

Happy Mama PreNatal Gift Certificate ($75)
For more information about Happy Family and the Happy Mama Prenatal collection visit www.happyfamilybrands.com. Also, be sure to follow them on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram, too!

FTC: This giveaway is sponsored by Happy Mama Prenatal

A Love Letter From a Toddler Reviewer to Butler Overboots

butler overboot review bellyitchblog.com

A love letter from a new Penguin:

Dear Butler Penguin,


I love my Overboots! Since my mom opened the box, I don’t want to take off my boots – which has gotten me in trouble since we don’t wear shoes in the house. I do everything in my Overboots – I water the plants, I go on family hikes, I jump in puddles, I put on my bike helmet and pretend that I’m an astronaut. Basically everything.

Kid Easy, Kid Fun

When we are walking out the door and my dad says, “Put on your boots.” And I do, it’s that easy.I put on my own Overboots with no help. I slip my boots on and we’re out the door. No more “Are your shoes on?” or “Why aren’t you’re shoes on?” My shoes are always on with Overboots.

Mom says “Penguins go on the outside, hon.” I put my Overboots on the wrong foot and they are still comfortable. Then I look down, My penguins are talking to each other. Oh oh. Switch boots and now the penguins are on the outside.

Penguins Go Outside

Speaking of penguins going outside, Mom and Dad let me wear my Overboots on our weekly family hike in Rock Creek Park. We took my little brother and my dog. When my boxer dog, Idana, walked through the creek I did too. It wasn’t too deep and I got to splash and jump in the water.

Overboots definitely aren’t hiking boots, but since it was a bit slippery in the park, they were perfect for walking over wet leaves.

Where did you get those? What’s are they called?

Every time I wear my Overboots to school I hear one of my friend’s moms ask my mom, “Where did you get those boots?” I usually pipe up and say “they’re Overboots!”

Mom says, “They go over shoes, so they are the perfect rain boots. And the boots come with a cold weather insole so they are great winter boots. Plus they come in a number of colors, too.” Green is my favorite color so my Overboots are in Lime Green.

Mr. Penguin, I am proud to be the newest member of the Overboot family.

Yours Truly,butler overboot1
Teddy G.
Your Newest Penguin

——————————————-
Get yours! From Butler Boot Online or Our Amazon Affilliate between $21 to $99 depending on size, style and locale.

Review: SmartyPants Prenatal Gummy Vitamins Are Yummy And Good For You (WIN $70 WORTH)

SmartyPants All in One PreNatal Gummy Vitamins   SmartyPants Vitamins

This review of these eco-conscious prenatal vitamins couldn’t wait for Eco-Friday!

SmartyPants gummy vitamins for adults and kids just released its prenatal version this Spring. And as my 10-year old son who sneaked a few when my back was turned can attest to ….they are deelish.


And they’re good for you.  Each gummy is packed with all the mineral and nutrients a pregnant woman needs: Vitamin C, D, E, B3, B6, folate, B12, and pantothenic acid; along with extra mom-to-be goodness: Vitamin D, B12, the omega-3 fatty acids EPA,  DHA and the MK-7 form of vitamin K2, which is particularly hard to get through diet.

What you won’t find: GMOs. Artificial colors. Artificial flavor or Artificial sweeteners. The only thing that would make them better is if they released a Sugar-Free version next for moms-to-be who have gestational diabetes and are watching their sugar intake.

smartypants vitamins review

This Kid is Totally Like my 10-year old! ha!

Other than that, these vitamins look to be a great alternative to the large horse-pill vitamins I had to take when I was last pregnant over 7 years ago. Our reviewer,  my 7-year old daughter’s expecting 2nd grade teacher, who checked out our review sample (Valued at $34.95 retail)  said she is enjoying them.

The other awesome part is you get to take 6 daily. Yum!

SmartyPants Vitamins — All in One Gummy Vitamins for Kids and Adults with Omega 3 Fish Oil2

Founded by serial entrepreneurial parents, Courtney and Gordon, SmartyPants also has an altruistic mission. It has a on one-for-one nutrient grant to Vitamin Angels for every bottle sold. So far, it has donated more than one million life-saving nutrient grants to women and children worldwide who suffer from undernutrition.

The makers of SmartyPants are giving one lucky Bellyitch reader a TWO- MONTHS SUPPLY!! Woot! That’s a Value of over $70 retail!! You get 360 Gummies to take home. Awesome Sauce!

Now thru next Friday, October 30 – It could be a pre-Halloween gift to the winner. Open to US ONLY.  Many ways to Enter. None Mandatory. Enter Below:

Bellyitch/SmartyPants 2-Months Supply of Pre-Natal Gummies Giveaway

Back to School Review: Clark’s Cloud Steppers Sillian Firn


From NYC to Nagasaki to Newcastle, kids have returned back to school.

Our team of Bellyitch Moms and their broods are no exception.

Our product reviewer, Chelsea Social, “walks” us through a day in the life of a Clark Cloud Stepper. ($85 retail)


 

Back to School

So my eldest son has just begun PK3, which means the sleepy time summer morning routine is over. So when my Sillian Firn Walking Shoes came in the mail, I was excited. Growing up, a new school year always meant new shoes. Now this time, as a mom, I have new mommy school shoes.

The first test of the Clarks was…you guessed it, walking! You can’t have the name walking in your shoes label and not expect someone to walk in them. My son’s school is only 0.2miles from home. So it’s a 10 minute walk with the toddler and baby in tow.

First off, Clark spoils you! The first time you put on the shoes it feels like your walking on a memory foam mattress. The soles of the shoe babies your feet. And the Sillian Firn design has an elastic wrap over the face of your foot. The total effect makes you feel like your foot is being held by someone giving you a foot massage. If you’re like me – this is heavenly! I was skipping around the house before my husband asked what was going on.

Off to School

As an avid walker, the Clarks really are comfortable walking shoes. The foam cushion, though not as high as my athletic shoe, supported my heels and high aches. The elastic top grip meant that my foot didn’t feel like it would slip out with every step. By the time we arrived at school, my feet didn’t feel like they had gone for a walk at all. No shin splints. No aching heels. The walk home was equally pleasant.

Not Your Mother’s Clarks

From the moment you open the box to the first time I slipped on the shoes, I knew these were my Clarks. I remember my mom telling me stories about growing up in Trinidad. How after Christmas, my grandmother would set money aside in the family budget each week so that my mom and her siblings would have a new pair of Clarks for Easter. It was that serious!

Her old Clarks were her best Sunday shoes until she grew out of them or gave them to her younger sister.


By comparison my Clarks Sillian Firn Walking Shoes are amazing.

They are comfortable without being fussy. And the style is espadrille chic with an elastic grip. Clarks has always been known to make good quality shoes. So I wasn’t surprised to see the elastic topsides were dual stitched making the shoes harder to unravel.

These are everyday, running errand and taking kids to school shoes. While my mom was only allowed to wear her Clarks on Sundays, my Clarks are the Monday to Saturday shoe.

Buy, Try, or Say Bye-Bye

Definitely a buy! I’ve worn the shoes off and on now for about three weeks. The memory foam in the soles are not as forgiving as when they were new. The shoes seems to have adjusted to my hard walking stance. But besides that the shoes are still very comfortable and have withstood some longer treks. These are definitely the new mom shoe to have for the fall!
Chelsea Social

Get Your Body Back: WIN These $189 Pair of SRC Recovery Shorts

fashion-woman-shoes-get-ready-large

Many women use shapewear to help smooth out bulges under dresses and snug tops, which is fine.

However, after a baby, you’ll need something that does a little more, like actually help you shrink your tummy back to pre-pregnancy shape.


You can do that with the very popular innovative shorts that Australian company SRC Recovery makes.

SRC Recovery shorts are very popular and worn by mothers worldwide to help get back their pre-baby figure faster.

Wear them after birth for 3 months.  They can be worn day and night and are suitable for women who have had vaginal and C-section deliveries.

The patented medical grade compression fabric helps to hold muscles together to promote healing and increase circulation to help your body get rid of excess fluid.

recovery-shorts
Unlike shapewear which can deactivate the core muscles, making your recovery last longer, the SRC Recovery shorts help to stimulate the muscles and build up core and pelvic floor strength.
If you would like a pair of these miracle shorts, learn more about it by Likeing the @SRCPregnancy Recoveryshorts Facebook page  &  following SRC on Instagram @SRCHEALTH

And now thru next week, you can win your own pair! Contest open worldwide! I mean not just limited to the US and Canada as other contests! Woot!  There are many ways to enter and some each day!

SRC Post-Pregnancy Recovery Shorts ($189 Value)

Back to Schol: Great Budget Desktop for College or Families

 

printer-best

After several years working at various companies, institutions and government bodies, I struck it on my own about 10 years ago. I ran my own boutique media and tech law firm (and later a boutique public relations firm briefly). Now I have a digital publishing company.


Between then and now, I had always worked from a home office. Sometimes, I worked out of that space solely and other times, part time, splitting hours working in a shared-office suite I leased in the city.

Naturally, to complete my office space, I had to get a mult-functioning printer that also had fax, copying and scanning capabilities.

My first one was a very heavy bulky laser desktop version by Brother. It did the trick and lasted a long time.

As my business grew and I started doing more public relations work for clients, I decided to get a supplemental printer. This second one was an even larger multi-function printer, made by Dell. It too was laser and could do print jobs super fast. It lasted several years and still works though it no longer faxes.  Both came with printer cartridges that lasted pretty long before needing to be replaced.

Recently, I upgraded the home office and acquired a few more desktops so the kids could each have their own computer.  My eldest had several computer-based projects and my three school-aged kids were fighting too much over the two desktops we owned.  I decided to leave the Dell to the kids and get myself a small desktop.

So I set off one day specifically to search for a laser printing, assuming laser was mandatory for professional documents.

I headed to my local Staples store and saw an HP Office Jet  Pro 8610 desktop printer there on sale for about $79.00 after a manufacturer discount. It was a good size to fit on my new desk or underneath it on the floor. It was color so I was geeked as I had never had a color printer before.

I didn’t even realize that it was not a laser printer, though I should have known given the great price.

It isn’t until I set it up that I realized. However, when I did my first few print jobs, I saw the quality was precise and distinctive.

You couldn’t even tell it wasn’t a laser print job. I decided against returning it.

I really dug being able to print in color as well. The color was sharp and true. It was great for flyers, and other graphic design projects.   HP has a series of printables and templates  you can access too that would supplement or complement your design needs.  You could download a desktop app or use the ones offered through its Snapfish partner.

And the printables are not just for business documents, but also personal stuff like invitations, party printables, worksheets for the kids, greeting cards, family calendars, chore lists, grocery lists, meal planners, cupcake wrappers. The works!

IMG_2746

Because I have been so busy, I never took the time to study the owner’s manual and learn of all the other functions.

Nonetheless, each month, I would discover a new one.

Like, one time, my son started printing from his computer and that is when  I discovered he had connected to the printer too via a wireless network connection option meaning, it could connect wirelessly to all the computers in the home and be used by each to print!

Wow!

One day, I needed to scan a document and that is when I learned that I wasn’t limited to the scanned document being simply downloaded as an electronic document on the c: drive in the attached computer.  I also had the option to email the doc, send it to any of the other computers in the network, and to send it to a thumb drive I could connect to the printer. That last option could come in handy during rush time when you need to just pick up a doc and go!

Very neat!

Then today, I finally had the need to send a fax and that is when I discovered that I didn’t need to connect the fax to the telephone jack in my wall via a telephone cord. It sent the fax via the IP network. (and it could send using the DSL, and other fiber optic non traditional landline telephone connections in the home).

That was a great discovery for several reasons: 1.The wall jack was remotely located behind a bookshelf in my office and is very hard to access; and 2. I don’t even own a telephone cord long enough to reach.

I feared having to haul the entire printer to the next room to connect to the jack there because it was more accessible physically there, not blocked by anything like a massive bookshelf.

hp office jet

Thus, I was pleasantly surprised to see the fax was sent off in no time and I was given a fax confirmation promptly after to alert me it was successful.

I got a call shortly after from the recipient to let me know the transmission was received. Perfect!

It was a God-send because the other alternative would have been to feed and scan in several pages of documents, then take a few extra steps to forward the document off. It would have been a slightly more time-consuming process.

I appreciated the quicker fax option. To think, so many young people these days don’t use and don’t really even remember the fax days.

I even learned that you can print to home from anywhere in the world and even when you are far away from the printer.

I imagine that this would be awesome if you had this printer at a remote location for an event, conference or convention you were running, for example.  You could have some secretary, clerk or assistant back in the home office send in print jobs for event registration lists, guest updates, or Powerpoint presentations that someone forgot in the office.

Other neat functions I learned about include:

  • It prints photos if you feed photo paper and it has a borderless option so the photos print like photos you get from the drug store or print shop without the trim.
  • You can print and fax at the same time. I discovered this on accident when my son sent something to print while the fax was sending a file.
  • It can hold up to 240 pages in the printer tray and prints as fast as 13 seconds per page and up to 19 pages per minute.
  • It has 2-sided printing for graphic jobs like printing brochures, menus and programs.
  • It has an automatic document feeder so you can scan multiple documents without having to lift the flat bed and insert each one separately which could take a lot of time for large scan jobs.
  • You can print from your desktop, tablet or phone, any device that connects to the printer wirelessly.
  • It has the standard one-year limited hardware warranty.

Overall, this is an awesome, highly recommended printer!

You can order it from Staples and they will ship it to you for free. Or if you have Amazon Prime, get it there too and get it shipped for free!

If you pick one up, do let me know how it works out for you!

Eco-Friday REVIEW: Aetrex sandals offer style and comfort for moms-to-be

201502emilyrose

 

It’s been awhile since we’ve had an Eco-Friday post sharing our latest finds, news and information about living an eco-friendly, holistic and natural lifestyle.


Today, I would like to share my experience testing out one of Aetrex‘s family of comfy, orthopedic friendly yet stylish athletic shoes,  sandals, thongs, slippers and other feet support products for men, women, children and families.

Moms-to-be get swollen feet,  and often times, they go up a shoe size. Another side-effect of pregnancy for many women is achy joints and muscles having to balance their new re-distribution of weight so they are grounded and balanced.

Having comfortable shoes are a MUST! This brand’s shoes indeed could help out in that department.

The pair I checked out, The Emily Rose Flip Flop (complimentary) retails for $99.95 and felt like butter on my feet.

I got them in the mail after a couple of marathon days at the gym, running on the treadmill. My heels needed a break! So these puppies were perfect. They are light and offer plenty of give. I literally felt like I was walking on air wearing them.

Since 1946, the company has specialized in comfort and wellness footwear. The makers seemingly have perfected the art and skill of manufacturing a quality comfort shoe.

The Emily thong sandal is a classic warm weather shoe and it is fully adjustable for the ultimate fit.

Highly recommend and the brand sells a variety of styles as well for different tastes and style palates. Check them out and find a store near you that sells them HERE!

Review: Sophie La Girafe makes baby skincare now!

sophie the girafe

For 53 years, the French originated Sophie La Girafe has been a tried and trusted teether that generations of mom have given their babies with much success.  This Spring, the brand is branching into the organic skincare for baby business.

The line of products, formulated for baby’s with sensitive skin, include face creams, body lotions, baby oil, bubble bath and hair and body wash, and a starter kit in travel size.  Sophie La Girafe skincare is not just organic but also free of GMO (genetically -modified organisms), allergens, gluten or nut. It’s 100% vegan product and ranges in price from $18 to $22, depending on the product.


We were sent the $24 starter kit to review and here is what our reviewer, mom of 10-month old cutie pie named Teddy had to say:

Product Review: Sophie La Girafe Baby – Starter Kit

We love our Sophie La Girafe teether. We’ve had one since my three year old was a baby and a family friend in Canada sent it as a gift. “All my grandkids have one,” she said. “And Teddy is like another one of my grandkids.” So I was really happy to see that Sophie has branched out into baby products. Here is my review of the samples.

Face Cream – Unscented. It was nice and thick. Makes me wonder if there was SPF in it because it was definitely formulated for a baby’s dry skin.

Body Lotion – Unscented. Medium texture and consistency. Not as thick as the face cream. Went on smoothly and a little went a long way, surprising since it was not as thick as the face cream.

Baby Oil – Unscented. a bit runny and messy. Now that a number of manufacturers are making baby oil gel, I’m surprised that Sophie had such a messy product in its collection.

Hair and Body Wash – Slow to lather which meant I was able to get it on a squirmy 10 month old in the bath tub. Also, there wasn’t much foam and suds, which means no worries about it getting into his eyes. Really like this compared to other baby hair and body washes.

Our ratings:
Buy – Sophie’s Hair and Body Wash and Face Cream
Gift – Body Lotion
Passing up – Baby Oil

The product launched at that fab store for eclectic, unique and different finds, Anthropolgie.com.You can get it there!

Hosting a Baby Shower this Spring? Check out these tips, recipes, links and more!

fun baby shower

If you plan to host a baby shower this Spring or Summer, you are fortunate to have more options and flexibility than in the Fall or Winter.  Backyards, rooftops and patios become options for a venue. You can save money too by hosting it at a park or making your own favors with outdoorsy themes versus buying them like the super cute tutu nail polishes and the “Ready to Pop” favors above.

Shower hosts can serve cool and refreshing mocktails too like the “Summer Is Coming Mocktail” created by Zico brand ambassador and celebrity nutritionist, Tanya Zuckerbrot, of the renowned F-Factor Diet.

It’s made with Zico‘s newest flavor: watermelon raspberry coconut water. I mixed up a batch using a sampling of complimentary stock Zico provided me. I thoroughly enjoyed it and because there is no alcohol in it, I shared some with the kids and they loved it too. The lime and mint garnishes give it the perfect kick at the end. Yummy. Here is the recipe for the Summer Is Coming Mocktail recipe:

 

mocktails

 


Serves 8

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups ZICO watermelon raspberry coconut water
1 small seedless watermelon, flesh removed and diced (about 4 cups total)
2 limes
2 cans zero-calorie lemon-lime soda
mint, for garnish

  1. In a blender, puree the coconut water, diced watermelon and juice from the limes.
  2. Pour the mixture into a pitcher over ice.
  3. Serve by pouring 2 oz. of the pureed mixture into a glass. Fill to the top with lemon-lime soda and mix lightly to combine.
  4. Garnish with mint.

And before you start planning for a Spring or Summer shower,  you must head over to Pinterest and there you will discover links to many websites and blogs choc full of fab ideas. Here is a select few to start you off:

 

how-to-throw-an-awesome-baby-shower-on-a-budget (1)

Pretty Providence

 

baby shower

Mommy Mania

baby shower2

Crafty Morning

Pistachio Macaroons

Crystal and Comp

NUK® is the Only true Orthodontic pacifier (GET $1 OFF to TRY)

Sponsored Post

 

For first time moms (and dads) of newborn babies, a pacifier can be a saving grace. It’s the perfect aide to soothe baby during those times in the day when fussy, cranky, tired or simply hungry and anxious for a feeding.
Well-known pacifier brand has updated its popular pacifiers for the first time in 55 years to incorporate a new advanced nipple that naturally fits in baby’s mouth for oral development.
The new design has integrated channels that apply less palate pressure. There is also a scoop nipple cavity to  maximize tongue movement. A heart-shaped shield  prevents irritation and the thin neck to this new pacifier lessens jaw pressure. And for the eco-conscious moms out there, it is also BPA free.
Best yet, it’s the only true orthodontic pacifier!

 

Recipe 1


Give NUK® a try! NUK® is offering a $1 off NUK® pacifier coupon.

All you have to do is take the Pacifier ABC Quiz HERE and receive the coupon!

Try it out! And come back here and let us know how they work out!

post signature