Monday, October 21, 2013

I'm going on vacation for a quick minute - but of the blogging kind.

During the past few weeks, I've been having trouble keeping up.  I'd already written about it here, but read a few things this weekend that changed my mind about how I've been approaching how many things have been on my plate lately.

The first sign I saw was on one of my local blogging boards.  One of the local bloggers in my area posted about how she was taking a "fall break" for a few weeks, but in addition to that she was encouraging other bloggers to join her in a break - to recharge, refresh, and come back renewed with a clear head and better content.

The second was a blog post written by another blogger about how blogging is cyclical and why it's important to take an intentional break from blogging every so often, for many reasons.

So, I've decided to give myself an break for a little while.  We have a few things starting up at home and with the kids, I have a bazillion things to do around the house that I haven't been keeping up with as well as I'd like, and basically - I need to sleep a little more.  Little Lady has been going through a stage I'd most correctly describe as awake and Little Man has been going through a cycle best described as loud, lol - and my day times and night times recently have been full of cuddles, requests, reading stories, rocking, playing outside, and just about anything that doesn't lend to productivity.

Which is just fine.

But then I feel guilty about throwing something together that my heart isn't into when it's in those late hours of the night when I finally have a few moments.  I've written over 10 or 15 half posts that I get partially into and then stop, only because something comes up that I need to attend to first.  By the time I sit back down, I have often lost the writing mindset or it's too late to continue anyway.

I have so many posts that I've half written, that I want to write, that I've mentioned I will be writing.

But - they're going to have to wait - because I'm giving myself an intentional blogging break for a few weeks.

I haven't determined when exactly I'll be back, but when I am, I have some great stuff in store for you all.  I have had several reader requests for posts about nursing while babywearing, our car seat review of Little Lady's new seat, and a few other posts.  I also have a few updates on the babies that I want to share including a few things our family has done recently - and if you follow on social media, of course all about my new haircut!  In addition to that I have an amber necklace giveaway coming up for you that I am really excited to get posted, plus a few other lovely things I have up my sleeve.

While I'm out I will still try to answer pressing messages and I will for sure be following up on a few loose ends for some of my ladies currently still waiting on giveaway products to be delivered, but I won't be putting new content up on the blog for a short time and will be interacting and posting a little less on social media.

So I promise I will be back soon, but as for now, it's time for a little vacation.  I'll see you all soon!

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Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Babywearing Workout Giveaway Winner!

Sorry for the delay, DH and I have been painting at every opportunity to finish up a few odds & ends and tackle a huge new TV cabinet I purchased for cheap on our local marketplace!

Back to business though, the winner of one digital copy of The Babywearing Workout is:

Megan S.!

Congratulations Megan and for everyone else - don't forget to join Kelli from The Babywearing Workout and the other ladies who've already joined her in the upcoming fitness challenge later on this week!!!

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Thursday, October 17, 2013

TNO's Tips & Tricks 38 - Reuse your bottle brush!

As a parent of two small children, we've amassed quite a few baby products that I don't really use - or at least don't use for their intended purpose.

Enter the bottle brush.

We bottle feed only when Little Lady is at daycare or at home with DH while I work, and since our daycare provider washes and keeps the bottles she uses for Little Lady - we only have to wash half that amount.  Some weeks go by and we don't wash any bottles at all if I'm not working on the weekend.  Also, Little Lady is becoming quite proficient with a straw cup, and I see our bottle days as being slightly numbered.

So, what do you do with all of the bazillion bottle brushes of all sizes we have at the house?

Do what we always do, Pinky - save the world.  LOL.  Just kidding.  But I'll reuse them!

I've found that our larger bottle brushes are an excellent way to clean stuck on gunk off of a lot of things, pans {depending on your coating}, high chair trays, casserole dishes, the crock pot {if you use it without a liner} - the possibilities are endless.

For our smaller bottle brushes, we use those to clean things like the inside of straws for our straw cups when the kids are older, the inside of the water spout on our refrigerator, and even in small, hard to reach areas on toys.

Instead of going out and buying another sponge brush for your kitchen, definitely try out those bottle brushes you have sitting around that you maybe never really used in the first place!

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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Fall love.

I am so, so glad that fall is here.

Not that I have anything against summer, because I love the warm temperatures and playing outside and splashing around in the baby pool with the kids.  But after a few months of the heat and humidity, I'm just done with summer.

This time last year, I was 6 months pregnant, just waiting for Little Lady to grow a little more until she decided to join us during the holidays.  I'd been listening to Christmas music for months already at that point, but the turning of the leaves and cool temperatures prompted me to turn on Pandora Christmas music almost 24/7.  Even now, hearing a few of the classics reminds me exactly of that time, just waiting for the fall, the holidays, and then her arrival.

This year, we've been enjoying every bit of the weather and the scenery, like when we went pumpkin and apple picking last weekend:

Little Lady was maybe not so pleased with the tractor :)
I will definitely continue to love the apple cider, the pumpkin everything, and the crisp leaves for as long as I can this year!

How is your family celebrating the fall?

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

2013 Family Pictures!

As I mentioned in my nursing photo post the other day, we also recently took new family pictures!

If you're local to Indy, seriously check out Kasey Walker Photography.  She is absolutely fantastic and so so so easy to work with when you're taking any kind of photos.  Kasey does our family, my maternity, and any head shots I need for the blog and has done an amazing job every single time for us!  {This isn't sponsored, I just love her work!}

Anyway, I wanted to share with you all some of my favorite pictures!  DH {per his own request} doesn't show up on the blog all too often, but I really wanted to share these family photos of which I am so darn proud!

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Monday, October 14, 2013

The Babywearing Workout Review & Giveaway!

*  I received a copy of the Babywearing Workout free of charge, but was not financially compensated for this post and any opinions expressed are honest and my own.

If I told you that in one fell swoop you could work out and put your child to bed at the same time, eliminating the amount of time you spend rocking your child to sleep and then subsequently collapsing on the couch afterwards, wouldn't you get a little excited?

Yep, me too!

That's where The Babywearing Workout enters into play.  Instead of spending a ton of time either heading to a gym {and finding childcare during that time} or alternately chasing after your baby while trying to do a workout in the background, the Babywearing Workout keeps your child with you during the workout.  And the benefits are fantastic - increased bonding between you and baby, soothing movements to lull your child into sleep, and increased difficulty level for you - as you wear your child and their weight!

The first time I completed the quick, 30 minute workout - Little Lady had just woken from a nap.  She was alert, awake, and enjoyed every second of the exercise.  There were several points during the workout where she was giggling and smiling at me because of the movements, and at other times she laid her head on my chest and snuggled in close.  Even though she absolutely was not ready for a nap at that point in the day, by the end of the workout she definitely had drooping eyelid syndrome going on!

When we tried the workout on a different day closer to bedtime, Little Lady was worn and snuggled right into sleep - to the point where I ended up just taking her out of the carrier and laying her in bed for the night.

The actual exercises in the workout were gentle and smooth - yet there were definitely points where I was getting sweaty and that little voice in my head was yelling, "Are we almost done with this exercise yet?  My arms are jelly!"  Lol.  By the end of the workout I could tell that I'd been exercising for sure, and while some points were lighter than others, I think it's a fantastic option to be able to multi-task and still get in a workout while calming and cuddling your baby.

Check out a little clip here to see some of the moves we did:

I will say though that after trying the workout in a few different carriers, I found that some were better than others.  For sure, you'd need either a soft-structured carrier, a Mei Tai, or a wrap to be able to complete the workout.  A ring sling probably wouldn't work with positioning or the arm exercises in this workout.  I found our Mei Tai's {like the one Kelli used in the workout} to be the best option as the bulk and positioning of the straps on my body tended to be the least restrictive for the arm movements.  If you don't have a Mei Tai, though, don't run out to get one.  You can definitely complete the workout in a SSC or wrap.

I would also recommend to keep baby in a front carry for the workout, as you'll be doing a lot of movement and that lends to keeping a hand on baby's head for support when they inevitably fall asleep!

If this sounds like a great way to exercise for you as well, Kelli is hosting an awesome weight loss challenge starting on October 28th.  She's putting together a group of mamas looking for exercise, support, and weight loss and anyone participating in the challenge is eligible to win a number of awesome prizes!  {Hint, hint: Boba is her main sponsor - and you all know how much I love my Boba 3G!!!}

And because I'm guessing there are a few babywearing mamas here like me who would love to get in a workout while they rock their baby to sleep - Kelli & I are giving away one digital download of the Babywearing Workout so you can get to exercising and join in on the challenge!  Get to entering below and email me with any questions!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Saturday, October 12, 2013

October is Window Covering Safety Awareness Month!

* This is a sponsored post, however the opinions represented are all my own - and I'm 100% behind awareness of this topic!

This month I'm doing something pretty amazing - I'm teaming up with Smith + Noble for Window Covering Safety Month.

Every year, sadly, there are accidents that involve children in window blind cords.  As a parent, this is one area that tends to be overlooked when it comes to babyproofing - yet it is so important.  Outdated blinds with dangling cords can pose a huge risk, and we want to keep our children safe in any way we possibly can.

So to spread the know-how about safe window coverings, I've teamed with Smith + Noble and my military mom partner Liz to create a video promoting awareness of keeping your children safe by babyproofing your window blinds.  There are a few things you can do to learn more about updating your window blinds, including visiting Smith + Noble, watching my video submission, and actually calling Smith + Noble to obtain a FREE window kit to retrofit your outdated blinds at the following number:  1-800-248-8888.

Please consider looking into the safety of your window blinds this month of awareness!  If you head over to watch my video submission, I'd love it if you could vote as well and share - so that we spread the word!

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Thursday, October 10, 2013

TNO's Tips & Tricks - Use a Ceiling Fan!

* Affiliate links are present in this post.

Here in the Naptown Organizer household, we play a game with the thermostat.

I turn it off.  DH turns it back on.  I turn it off.  DH turns it back on.

DH tends to want our house to be as cold as possible.  I'm talking about windows open in the winter sort of thing.  I tend to like our weather to be a little less freezing and a little more comfortable.  But - I'm also cheap.  I like to keep our thermostat off when possible, set low in the winter, and set high in the summer.  To keep our family comfortable throughout that, we use ceiling fans.

how a ceiling fan saves money and electricity

If you use a ceiling fan correctly, it can take you from using thousands of watts from your whole house AC unit to using less than a hundred to run your ceiling fan.  A ceiling fan {when only used while you're actually in the room} can save you money and make you feel like the temperature is several degrees lower - even when it isn't actually that cool.  This allows you to either turn your air conditioner off or set the thermostat up a few degrees so it doesn't have to work as hard or use as much energy.

I mean, think about it for a second.  We've all been in those places where it's fantastically hot, and even though the air is the same temperature you feel better sitting in front of a fan or waving a paper at your face to cool down.  Sitting {or standing, or really anything} in hot place with no airflow can get pretty miserable - which is why you see handheld fans, stroller fans, or any other kind of fan.  They just make you feel more comfortable.

We have fans in all the important rooms in our home - our living room/kitchen area, the kids' rooms, and our bedroom - and we use them whenever we're in those rooms.  {Like the one from our bedroom, below.}

If you're using fans, though, make sure that you turn them off when you leave the room.  Since the fan isn't actually making the room cooler, if you're not there to feel the perceived temperature change then you are just wasting the energy to have the fan on.  Also, during the winter, you can change the direction of the fan to drive the warm air down from the ceiling to keep help save costs in the cooler seasons as well!

Does anyone else use ceiling fans in place of air conditioning when you can?

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