Friday, September 30, 2011

Tommee Tippee Winners

Thank you to all the lovely mommas who entered to win either of my Tommee Tippee product giveaways. There were not nearly as many entries as my other two giveaways...I wonder why that was? Regardless, I'm pleased you took the time to read the reviews and to those of you who entered the giveaways--thanks again!

The winner of the Closer to Nature 5 oz bottle is...... Molly Bussler

The winner of the Li'l Sippee First Cup is...... Ricki L!

The winners have until Sunday at noon CENTRAL time to respond, or new winners will be chosen.

Check out Letters from Momma's current giveaway: Betty Crocker new Milk Chocolate Brownie Prize Pack! There are NO mandatory entries--choose which ever you want to do, and as always, it's rafflecopter entry!

NEW Milk Chocolate Brownie Pack Giveaway & Review by Betty Crocker

Something you should know about me, I love to bake--LOVE to bake! Everyone I know loves my treats, and one of my go-to items is a pan of brownies. A secret that I am about to reveal to you, that no one should tell Martha Stewart, is regarding my brownie recipe.

I use store bought mix.  

There. I said it. The secret is out. In my humble opinion, brownies turn out better when you use store bought mix. I don't think the same of cookies, cakes, or rolls, but brownies...use the box. Just my opinion.

There are ways to personalize your brownies, so that you can at least say they are semi-homemade.
  • Toss in some white or milk chocolate chips--or for an even yummier treat, try peanut butter chips!
  • Top with frosting and sprinkles
  • Swirl in some cream cheese or a little bit of cheesecake batter 
Here's my most recent brownie invention:
  • spread the batter out between two 9x13 pans, cook for less time (15ish minutes) and keep an eye on them since they are much thinner
  • allow to cool
  • cut into little squares
  • stuff some Betty Crocker Cream Cheese icing between two pieces for a surprising dessert--Brownie Sandwiches (I cannot begin to tell you how big of a hit these were!)
All of that being said, I am so excited to share the latest brownie mix from Betty Crocker.
**Milk Chocolate Brownie Mix**
I received one Betty Crocker® Milk Chocolate Traditional Brownie mix, a red Betty Crocker apron, a 9x9" brownie pan with lid (mine was Wilton brand), and mixing spatula. Winner will receive same prize pack.
I had planned to make the new brownies with my sister, but there were a few issues with out plan--starting with a flat tire. She loves brownies almost as much as I do, so of course we were looking forward to making them together, but such is life.
I made them this past week for my husband and I--too bad G isn't a big girl ;-) We demolished them; they were so scrumptious! I would definitely suggest some milk to wash it down! They turned out perfectly, they were best warm out of the oven--the perfect blend of gooey and crumbly. The flavor is different from the Dark Chocolate or Fudge brownie mixes--rich milk chocolate floods your palate--but the quality is the same as the Betty Crocker brand you know and trust.

You and your family/friends can share in the brownie delight-- look for the new Betty Crocker Milk Chocolate Brownie mix in stores this fall.

You can also enter to win using the rafflecopter widget below!

Visit Betty Crocker on the web:
Betty Crocker website
Betty Crocker on Facebook
Betty Crocker on Twitter

    Disclosure: The product, information and prize pack have been provided by Betty Crocker through MyBlogSpark. All opinions are my own, bake at your own risk! :-)

      Thursday, September 29, 2011

      Strange Things of the 7 month kind.

      G has been doing some odd things lately, and I'm interested to see if your kiddos do similar things.
      1. She pulls her hair. Usually this only occurs while nursing. She'll grab onto her hair and PULL. Not just the, "oh, what is this?" gentle tug...but the "wow, some hair came out," YANK. I've tried stopping her but she only gets mad at me!
      2. She scratches her ear. a lot. Usually only her left one. No ear infection, so I have no clue why. Sometimes she actually scratches it on the inside and a little scab develops because she broke the skin. Yes, I clip her nails, it still happens.
      3. She has been known to pull off in the middle of a let down. So.annoying. It's not been happening as much lately, I think this happened more when she was soooo distractable. She's been getting better at eating, so hopefully this is on it's way out.
      4. G says "Ba-Ba!!" but doesn't ever really take a bottle... so my maybe she is trying to say "ma-ma" but hasn't figured out the right mouth movement. When she is eating she can say "mmmmmmmm," so I know she can do the "m" sound. Maybe Ba-Ba is for baby? or block? or book? who knows. It's cute though, just odd.
      5. She can put herself down to sleep at naps AND at bed time, but will scream in the middle of the night if she wakes up. At naps, if she wakes up, she can put herself back to sleep. Sometimes she can put herself back to sleep in the early morning, but most often, if she wakes up at night, it's a battle of wills--will she "cry it out" of will I go in there? WHY is she so unreliable with sleep?!
      6. She acts like she is teething, but STILL NO TEETH! She'll gnaw on things, drool, act irritable, and like sucking on cold things...and I can see the whites of the teeth, but they've yet to push through. So strange.

      Please let me know if you baby does/did anything similar, I'd really like to know G isn't the only unexplainable baby!

      Wednesday, September 28, 2011

      Save Our Daughters part IV: What You Can Do

      This is part IV of my Save Our Daughters series. If you have not read parts I - III, please do so.

      Mothers ask yourself these questions:
      • How do I feel about my own body?
      • Do I make negative comments about my body or the bodies of other women?
      • Am I often on a diet, over-exercising, or obsessing about my weight?
      • Do I hide my body from my family and friends?
      • Am I critical about my child's body?
      • Do I make negative comments about my child's weight or eating habits?
      • Have I ever restricted my child's food intake for fear that she would get fat?
      • Have I focused more attention on my daughter's weight than my son's?
        taken from University of Florida Extension
      Like so many other things, mothers are the first line of defense when it comes to stopping poor body image and eating disorders. I know that many people fall into the trap of 'blaming the media,' but young girls get their cues primarily from the women around them. Little girls don't care what Victoria Beckham or Katie Holmes look like. They don't care that Heidi Klum walked the runway weeks after giving birth. They care what you think about yourself, they notice how you interact with food, and they listen when you speak negatively. By the time your daughter gets to the age that she may care about celebrities, your impressions on her already solidified the way she thinks about body image. Yes, the media sucks...so what. What really matters is how you feel about yourself and what you do around your kids.

      Please reflect on the above questions & take action NOW if you find that you may be negatively influencing your kids' thoughts on body image. There are lots of resources out there, including books, websites, and educational articles.

      A few resources to get you started:

      Pierson, S., & Cohen, P. (2003). You have to say I'm pretty, you're my mother: How to help your daughter learn to love her body and herself. StateplaceNew York: Simon & Schuster.



      Tuesday, September 27, 2011

      Meal Plan Monday, one day late

      I don't know why I didn't post this yesterday...laziness from the weekend, I suppose.
      So sorry to all of you who were on the edge of your seat waiting to hear what my family would be eating this week!!

      Sunday: Pork steaks, Velveeta Shells & Cheese (yes, from the box...GASP!), mixed veggies
      Monday: Ranch Chicken Burgers, homemade steak fries, mixed veggies
      Tuesday: leftovers
      Wednesday: Pork Roast, potatoes, carrots
      Thursday: leftovers
      Friday: Pulled Pork Sandwiches
      Saturday: weather pending, first Chili of Fall :-)

      Do you like to bake? Please consider entering my current giveaway for the NEW Betty Crocker Milk Chocolate Brownie Prize Pack. Very easy Rafflecopter entries--with no mandatory entries, choose which ones you like.
      Linked with Menu Plan Monday at OrgJunkie.com

      Creamy Ranch Chicken Burgers

      Creamy Ranch Chicken Burgers
      Adapted from Express Lane Meals by Rachael Ray
      16 oz ground chicken breast
      2 finely chopped garlic clove
      1/4 cup finely chopped onion
      1/2 tsp parsley leaves (or use some fresh if you have it)
      1/4 pound Havarti cheese, diced into 1/4" cubes
      2 tsp poultry seasoning
      1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
      Salt & pepper
      Ranch dressing for buns
      4 buns of your choice

      In a large bowl combine the ground chicken, garlic, onion, parsley, Havarti chunks, poultry seasoning, lemon juice, and salt, & pepper to taste. Divide the mixture into 4 equal mounds and then form into thin patties about 1" thick. Drizzle with olive oil to coat. Place patties in a skillet on medium-high heat, cook through--about 5-6 minutes on each side. Serve on toasted buns topped with Ranch dressing.

      Extra options:
      add bacon (or turkey bacon)
      add pickles (as my husband does)
      switch up the cheese try provolone, muenster, or colby jack
      add tomatoes
      use real lemon and zest instead

      Do you enter giveaways???

      Attention all giveaway entrants and hostesses!

      Have you heard about Giveaway Cube? It's a great place to find and link up giveaways. I just found it yesterday and wanted to pass it on to you all...if you haven't already heard about it.

      Monday, September 26, 2011

      Save Our Daughters part III: positive body image for my daughter

      This is part III of my Save Our Daughters series. If you have not read part I or part II, please read them for the motivation behind  this post.

      G on Mother's Day, about 2.5 months old
      My daughter is beautiful. She is amazing. She is fun. She is smart. She is silly. She is personable. She is mine.

      The love between me and my husband (plus God) created this little girl, who has no idea what the world has in store for her. Before little bear was born, I had hoped for a boy. I didn't really care what sex our baby was, as long as he or she was healthy...but I really did hope for a boy.
      One of the main reasons?
      I didn't want my child to experience the pain and agony of trying to be a certain size or weight...and the odds were a lot better if our baby was a boy. I know that men can be self-conscious, and I know they can be bullied and have poor body image. The statistics don't lie though: Women are a lot more likely to suffer from an eating disorder.

      G, about 3 hours old
      Anyways, our baby was born. She laid on my chest, and I marveled at her perfection. I was also really proud of myself for giving birth to her au naturale. How strong and amazing is a woman's body!? In those first days I felt many things (thanks hormones), and it was inevitable; I wondered how I would ever be able to shield her from the situations I had fallen victim to.

      Mothering is tough, let alone trying to promote a positive body image, so thank God I have a few years before G starts to understand what that is.

      Here is what I have so far--

      G 7 months old
      I hope G will have a good relationship with food.

      I will not force her to 'clean' her plate. She can eat when she is hungry, and be done when she is not. I hate "wasting" food, so we'll just serve less. If she's hungry, she can have a little more.
      We will have primarily fruits and vegetables for snacks. Grains, sweets, and fats will be mostly reserved for meals and dessert. I don't want to call them "treats," as that has the connotation they were earned.
      I will teach her to fill her plate with a healthy balance of all food groups.
      I will not eat a lot of junk in front of her. Well, I just won't eat a lot of junk period. I have to lead by example.
      G will not be given food as a "reward." I know this will probably be really hard, especially in the preschool years. I don't want to use candy for potty training, going to soccer practice, or getting a good grade in school. I think that could lead to the mindset of hard work = eat food. I suffered (still do) from thinking that if I worked out, I deserved a treat. I think that also leads to an emotional attachment to food. I really, really don't want her to have that. Food fuels our bodies. End of story.

      G around 1.5 months old
      I hope G will understand health is more important than the number on the scale, or the size on her clothes.
      When we go to the doctor, or get sports physicals, I will emphasize the health issues. We won't care about BMI or weight, so long as she is active, eating right, and not at risk for serious problems like diabetes.
      I will have G turn away from the scale when they weigh her, and ask the nurses not to say the number aloud. I will not keep a scale in the house. I do not want her to be obsessed with some number.
      I wish it were possible to keep G from knowing about sizes while shopping...but I can't go into the stores and cut out all of the tags. Bummer. I will focus on the fit of the clothes, rather than the size. We will discuss why sizes are "necessary," and how important it is that she feel comfortable in the clothes.
      I will not get frustrated if she outgrows a size "too" quickly. I will not comment on how "big she is getting." I will, instead, say, "you're growing into a beautiful young woman, I'm so proud of you!" or something like that...
      I will not discuss my own issues with sizing around her. I will be proud of her shape, so I need to be proud of my own.
      I will not dismiss her feelings, if she is having any negative thoughts, I will be there to encourage, promote, and empathize.

      G at 3 months old
      I hope G will talk to me or her dad if she is struggling with stress.
      Part of developing an eating disorder stems from the desire to control, when other things feel like they are spiraling out of control. What you put into your body is something that you control. I hope to give G ways to control other things in her life by giving her options that allow her to take ownership of decisions.
      I do not want to let G 'over-book' herself like most kids these days. As a family, we will decide what extracurricular activities to take on each year so that a good time balance is found. We will focus on being great at the things we do, rather than spreading ourselves too thin and ending up being mediocre at them all.
      I will not put pressure on G to have all A's. Yes, that's ideal, but as long as she is working hard, learning the material, and keeping up with the assignments, we'll be happy.
      I must get better at dealing with my own stress. I cannot expect her to handle stress well, if I get worked up over little things. This will be a big challenge for me, but she needs a good example. We will find ways to de-stress that are healthy. Going for walks, listening to music, taking some quiet time, sometimes saying "no" to things that don't have to be done today, and praying are good options.
      We will attend mass as a family, and discuss faith matters in our home. We will pray together and talk about those things stressing us out. We will start this at a young age so that good foundations are already set in preparation for the teen years.

      I hope G will be critical of media, social media, and her peers interpretation of both.
      This one is pretty simple. I don't want her watching junk, but I won't really be able to stop that forever. So the main thing I must do, is teach her to watch TV, surf the web, and listen to the radio with a critical eye/ear. She must know that not everything in the media is true. People lie, airbrushes exist, and most people are just trying to make money & promote their own interests. I want to teach her to be an independent thinker. I will teach her to research topics that interest her. I want her to know who, what, when, where, how. I think this will be a fun job, because of my interest in journalism and investigative knowledge.

      G, 6 month professional pictures
      Most importantly, I hope G will be happy. She deserves to be happy. Everyone does.

      I know I cannot stop her from developing an eating disorder, or even a poor body image, but I can try. I really want the cycle to stop with me. I want to save our daughters.

      For other Save Our Daughter blogs, see The Shape of a Mother.
      For resources on recovering from an eating disorder, please see the National Eating Disorder Association.

      Sunday, September 25, 2011

      No more nursing to sleep & a Great Weekend

      Look at my big girl!!
      I've made the tough decision to stop nursing G to sleep. It's a sleep crutch that is causing some bad night time troubles. So far today, I've been nursing her, reading a story, and then putting her down awake. It's worked for both naps, with only a bit of crying. She has been able to put herself to sleep for a while now, but I hadn't done it consistently. With babies, consistency is the key, so I am vowing to keep putting her down awake each nap/bed time. We are also starting to feed her solid food two times a day, because I think part of her inability to sleep through the night is due to serious hunger. Her night time cries are not just the "I want to eat" or "I'm lonely" cries, they are the "I must eat or I will scream all night because it's that bad" cries. I have tried cried it out, and it does not work. I refuse to have a broken heart, a sleep deprived baby, AND an isolated baby. Breastfeeding is much different than formula feeding, so we have to do what works for G, judge me not. Her tummy digests breast milk much faster than a formula baby's belly digests formula...so it's physically impossible for her to sleep through without having added solid calories too.
      I'll keep you updated on how all of these changes affect our nighttime.
      For the record, last night, I got 1 hour of sleep, awake for 2 hours, 3 hours of sleep, awake for 45 minutes, 3 hours of sleep, awake for 1 hour, 1 hour of sleep. Those broken 8 hours are not at all comparable to 8 solid hours, things must improve, or I'll go crazy!!

      Aside from G's poor sleep habits, this weekend was so wonderful that I didn't even post yesterday!! It was a great end to a miserable week (that's not worth rehashing here, just trust me).
      Friday night we surprised my husband's cousin with a great party for his 30th birthday at a local brewery. My sister babysat so that we could have an evening out. It was so wonderful, I cannot explain how much it was needed! We had some adult libations, chatted with family, took a little tour, and ate delicious food.
      Saturday we were lazy until the afternoon, when we had our church picnic. We went to mass, I volunteered at a game booth for 30 minutes, we ate awesome BBQ made by the Knights of Columbus, had free dessert, got G a balloon "animal?" from a clown, and my sister took the baby on her first cake walk. As the music came to a stop, I yelled over to my sister to ask what number we needed. She looked down and responded, six! The announcer pulled out her number, "six!" she said. They had won!! I was overly-excited!! :-) G didn't know what had happened, but she got excited by me laughing and clapping. The tough part was choosing the prize. My sister settled on some butter cupcakes with chocolate icing--great choice.
      G and my sister won the cake walk!
      Then this morning I made a scrumptious breakfast and my husband brought us all drink treats from Panera Bread. G took an amazingly long afternoon nap--so I hope she is back on track from her horrible night of sleep.

      Friday, September 23, 2011

      Save Our Daughters part II; The Road to Recovery

      This is part II of my Save Our Daughter series. If you have not read part I, please read it for background information on why/how I became bulimic. Please don't judge me for being so open and honest. Feel free to stop reading if you are offended. My hope is to touch someone who may have been, or is still going, through the same thing. I also want to give some background for part III of my series, which will be about trying to help G avoid a poor body-image and complications of that.

      I am a smart woman. I knew being bulimic was unhealthy.

      I sought help. I told my mom. She really only worried about me more. I went to the student health center. I was given a counselor, a nutritionist, and a doctor. They have a great program set up to (try to) help students get better. I wasn't really ready to change though, so none of that helped. I thought I was ready to get better...but I guess I wasn't.

      I prayed. I knew God doesn't make junk, but I separated the action of being bulimic from who I was as a person. Thus, it was someone else who did all that binge/purge stuff. I didn't know that girl. I only hope God can forgive me for being so selfish.

      When I met the man who would become my husband, things just felt right. Our relationship was serious from the get-go. Marriage was inevitable, and part of being soul mates is the ability to trust completely. 14 months after my bulimia started, I broke down and told my future husband all about it. This was only 4 months after we started dating. He reacted the only way someone truly in love could...concern, care, and desire to help me get better. He didn't push me away, think that I was broken, or get angry. Together, we talked about how it started, why it was bad, and how I could get better. He loved me-broken me-and that gave me hope that I could get better. One of the sweetest things he said to me: "You have to get better, because I was reading, and bulimic women have a lot harder time trying to get pregnant...and we want to have a family." He had read all about bulimia, it's health affects, and how to be supportive to me.

      Just like the road to hell, the road to recovery is paved with good intentions. I swore I'd be better by the time we got married. Though I wanted to get better, I slipped up a few times.  From marriage until graduation (18 months), there were less than 10 occasions. That's not bulimia, by the medicinal definition, but it certainly isn't fully recovered. I don't think recovering from an eating disorder is something that happens very quickly.

      After we moved to our current home, there was one time. It was June of 2010.

      That's hard for me to admit, because it wasn't that long ago. Before that, it had been at least 6 months. The "reason" for that binge/purge was because I had gained weight, despite working out and eating right. I was craving junk food sooooo bad. I let myself binge/purge, despite the hard work I had been doing to be healthy. Turns out, I had just become pregnant.

      When I found out I was pregnant, my mind flashed to that episode and I was horrified. What had I done?? I was pretty worried about the baby until our 20 week sonogram, when I was assured he or she was healthy and growing just find.

      That was the last time I've had a bulimic action. Sure, I still get down on my body sometimes...but in a much more normal way. It is not easy. Alcoholics can give up alcohol. Smokers can give up cigarettes. Those suffering from an eating disorder cannot simply give up food. There are a lot of people suffering from an eating disorder than never find help, or they give up hope. I pray for them. Staying healthy, and trying to maintain a positive relationship with food and my body is hard. Thankfully, I do have support and for some reason, a stronger-than-ever will power.

      I don't know how or why, but after becoming a mom, my body image has improved somewhat. I carried a baby, my body (with God, of course) nurtured her into being, I gave birth, and I am nursing her. I am now completely responsible for a little girl's well-being. She needs me, more than I need to be "perfect." I eat a well-balanced diet. I work out because I want to, and if I don't feel like it...I don't. I have love handles, 'momma' marks, jiggly thighs, and a rounder-than-I'd-prefer belly, but I accept them.

      Within the past year I've truly come to believe my physical appearance is nothing compared to my personality, soul, and actions. My husband says the nicest thing about me is my "extreme caringness." Not my body. G doesn't care about my body either. Pass the dessert, because I could die tomorrow and no one will say, "oh, she was so fat, she ate too much ice cream!" I hope they will say, "oh, she was really sweet." So long as I am healthy and taking care of myself...what will be, will be. To be clear, having this outlook doesn't justify eating any and everything while leading an inactive lifestyle. This outlook simply states, everything in moderation...right, mom?

      That statement comes after 24 years of disordered thinking and 4 years of an eating disorder--and I couldn't be more proud of myself. I have to work at it everyday, but I'd call it recovery.

      Being pregnant with G is what finally helped me recover, and I vow to do everything possible to keep her from falling victim to a poor body image, or worse--an eating disorder.
      Stay tuned for part III of my Saving Our Daughters series for how I plan to do so.

      For resources on recovering from an eating disorder, please see the National Eating Disorder Association.

      Thursday, September 22, 2011

      G at seven months

      Today she is officially seven full months old.

      Whew. I don't know where month seven of G's life went?? It was full of giggles, playdates, illness, travel, cries, and mobility.

      Home weight: 16.3 lbs
      Home length: 27"

      Dear G,

      This month you tried lots of new foods! Peaches, Apples, Pears, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Peas. You like them all. So far, you really enjoy eating. You've also drank from a sippy cup on several occasions--you like to hold it yourself, but haven't figured out how far back you need to hold your head.
      This month you loved playing around other babies. We met up with Justina, Theo (& Siena), and also went to the Parents as Teachers playgroup. You like to crawl up to other babies and investigate them--sometimes trying to eat them.
      This month you loved musical toys. Anything that sings, plays a tune, or jingles fascinates you. You also have recently started playing your little grand piano more.

       This month your sleep was crazy and very unpredictable. Some nights you slept through, while others you woke up 4 times. I try to do everything the same, but it doesn't seem to matter.
      This month you got sick. You're still getting over whatever kind of tummy bug you caught. I hate it, because I can't do anything for you. You don't even want to snuggle sometimes.
      This month you went to 'daycare' for the first time--at the gym. You love their jumparoo. I love getting to exercise more often.
      This month we went to Grammy's house, got a new car, and spent time with family for Labor Day.
      This month you got faster at army crawling and have pulled up from a sitting position. It's a tough workout for you, and you get really frustrated doing it. You don't pull yourself into a sitting position from laying down, but if you are sat up, you can pull yourself to standing.
      This month, no teeth appeared. I'm crazy. You've gone through teething, I know you have, but no teeth to report...yet.
      This month your giggles have gotten insanely cute. They were sweet before, but now you start giggling and it turns into a full on laugh. OMG, I can't get enough. Your daddy always makes you laugh, he loves it sooooo much, too!
      We skyped with Grammy for the first time this month, you always try to eat the camera.
      We've gone on lots of walks and trips to the store this month. You love being outside--especially now that it's so nice out! You now ride on my hip or back in the Gemini.

      I'm sure I'm missing parts, but that's because you're growing so quickly! I love you so much little girl, you're amazing.

      Love, momma

      Wednesday, September 21, 2011

      Save Our Daughters part I, How I developed an eating disorder

      This post is extremely personal, and is part I of my series about Saving Our Daughters. Please don't judge me for being so open and honest. Feel free to stop reading if you are offended. My hope is to touch someone who may have been, or is still going, through the same thing. I also want to give some background for part III of my series, which will be about trying to help G avoid the misery of poor self-image.

      Have you ever done something, but felt that you weren't the one doing it?
      Ever do something that you said you never would do?
      Ever do it over and over again?

      I have. Many, many times.

      I ate a lot of food.
      Then, I threw it up I made myself throw it up.

      I guess you can call it bingeing (yes, correct spelling) and purging. Bulimia. Whatever.

      I've always had a poor body image. I primarily blame the media, not necessarily for any influence on me, but for their influence on society and my friends, which did affect me. I didn't want to look a certain way because celebrities did, I wanted to look a certain way because girls around me did.
      When I was young, my mom often commented on what or how much I was eating. I know she didn't mean any harm, she just didn't want me to be fat. I don't blame her at all, she's one of my best friends, those comments are simply one rung on the ladder.
      Another rung, is the fact that I had several relatives who fed me anything/everything I wanted. I didn't really know the meaning of 'healthy eating.'
      I also matured faster than everyone in my grade, and boys made fun of the way I looked in elementary school.
      I was on the chubbier side in middle school, when girls become really catty, and I felt ostracized.
      I thinned out some by high school, and I was an athlete. On the inside, though, I still felt really bad about how I looked because I was bigger than my jock peers. In my mind, I wore a "big" size and I weighed a lot. I had love handles. I had tree trunks for thighs. Something was always wrong, in my mind.
      I also had a bad relationship with food. I would not eat breakfast, if it meant I could eat junk food for a snack. I 'rewarded' myself for running, by eating ice cream or some other unhealthy snack. My mom always told me the key to healthy eating is moderation. I knew in the back of my mind I had a bad relationship with food...but I didn't really do much about it until I left home.
      My freshman year of college, nutrition became a passion of mine. So much so that I became kind of obsessive about it. I wouldn't eat anything bad...but then that would lead my body to crave any semblance of fat, so I'd binge eat it. All I was missing was the trigger leading to purging.

      Enter a very catastrophic break-up with a serious boyfriend. It was a bad relationship from the get-go. I was set on remaining single my senior year of high school...but I was a sucker for smooth talkers who brought me flowers on our first "non" date. It was all down hill from there. I still planned on breaking up with him when I went to college. Well. He.followed.me.there. That screwed up my college experience on many levels. A few months later, he moved back home, and had the audacity to break up with ME! I was completely devastated. It was one of the lowest points of my life. He was a loser, I was a winner...and here he was breaking up with me! I was the one that wanted to break up! I never did it because I was too afraid of being alone. So when he did it, I felt like I had been punched in the gut, kicked in the head, and spit on.

      I had previously thought I was an amazing catch, but if this loser felt like he was better off without me...I began to think I wasn't worth all that much. I moved on, but the relationship and break-up scarred me for life.

      I found solace in exercising. I used my body, proved to myself what it could do, and kept my mind off of other things. Exercise is a great way to relieve stress and boost moral--the problem arises when it becomes obsessive. Just as I had developed a bad relationship with food, I started one with exercise. If I didn't get to the gym at least once a day, I got really down on myself. I ran so much, ibuprofen was the only way I could walk to class. I was into size 6 clothes, and for my body...that might as well be a size 0. I had about 14% body fat...again, for my genes, that's ridiculous. I ate only enough to be efficient in the gym.

      The summer after my freshman year I sublet an apartment so that I could stay at college--working, taking a class, and running. (I still love running, but my affinity for it is much healthier now)

      So what took me from compulsive exercising and eating overly healthy, to being bulimic?

      Living on my own. That, in and of itself, like many of the things above, is not bad.  Combine them all and the ladder I was climbing toward an eating disorder was complete.

      No one was there to hold me accountable. I felt isolated, and I was a wreck. I had friends, but that didn't matter. On the inside, I was alone.

      My 'healthy' eating and over-exercising led my body to crave fats. So in my weakest moments, I would find something-anything-junky to eat. I'd then feel completely horrible & make myself throw it up. Those 'weakest moments' became routine. It was a daily, if not more, occurrence.

      I really don't think I can go into anymore detail, for fear of scaring family and friends. Suffice it to say, it got bad. I don't want to really rehash all of the details of being bulimic. For the purpose of Saving Our Daughters, you really only need to know how I became bulimic.

      For my attempts to recover, see part II.

      For resources on recovering from an eating disorder, please see the National Eating Disorder Association.

      Tuesday, September 20, 2011

      Baby Probiotic to the rescue

      Let me start by saying that I love my daughter, of course I do, but I did seriously think twice about buying her baby probiotic. It is expensive stuff! Too bad I just couldn't feed her Activia.

      not her normal self, but still sooo cute!
      I was pretty sick on Friday with what I assume was a stomach virus. I hoped my breastmilk immunities would help G avoid the illness, but she has been having diarrhea diapers since Friday. She never ran a fever, and she acted pretty normal. By pretty normal, I mean she slept like a typical 7 month old would...not my usual daughter. She's also been more irritable, but not ridiculously out of sync. Her diapers were dirty more often, and the poop was so disgusting smelling. The color was way different, and they're very runny. Sorry for the TMI. You asked for it by reading a probiotic themed post. ;-)

      Yesterday, I changed 14 diapers between 7:30 AM and 2:30 PM. 7 hours, 14 diapers. That's an average of 2 per hour. MORE THAN A NEWBORN!! Yeah, it was a great day. Yes, I did use some disposables. Not only did I get tired of just changing a diaper; I had to keep her hands out of that area, restrain her flailing legs, wipe her down, and deal with her squirming body FOUR times more often than a normal day. Oh, and I had to change her clothes 5 times. I like to let things run their course, but Friday, Saturday, and Sunday were not nearly as bad as Monday.

      Thus, a call to the doctor was made.
      The remedy?
      Baby Probiotic.

      Weird, but it was worth a shot. Seeing as I was averaging a diaper change every thirty minutes, I went to the closest store. CVS. How much did they want for this magical powder? 29 big ones.

      I can think of 100 other things I would rather do with twenty-nine dollars. I wanted G to feel better, I really did, but I just couldn't force myself to shell out that cash. At least not without checking the store down the road.

      Super Target to the rescue. I could go on and on about how much I love Super Target, and yesterday they were like an angel sent to rescue me from this diaper changing abyss. Oh, and hopefully make G feel better...yeah, that too.

      Rather than spending lots of time browsing the aisles (which I would not normally mind), we went straight to the pharmacy consultation. "Baby probiotic?" I asked.

      The pharmacy tech took me right to it. No Up & Up (Target generic) option. bummer. The cost was still $10 cheaper than CVS. Well worth the extra 5 minute drive.

      The doc told me to give her one packet of powder mixed with breastmilk 'now' and one packet (mixed with solids or milk) before bed. If it didn't seem to help by (this) morning, we'd need to make an appointment.

      Seems like she is on the mend, so we'll see how today goes. She is back to her wacky sleep self and has only had one dirty diaper this morning. It was still a little weird, but nothing like before. I don't know if baby probiotic should get all of the credit or not, but it certainly didn't hurt.

      What are probiotics?
      Basically they are live microorganisms that help human digestion. Generally, they are thought to help irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea, and ulcers--among others. I've read several websites about probiotics, but am not quite sure how they work. Currently, it seems, literature is more focused on detailing what probiotics help.

      Monday, September 19, 2011

      Menu Plan Monday

      So far so good on the food budget this month. I think I will end up going over, as per usual, but hopefully not too bad. Meal Planning is not an exact science, at least not in this household.

      On Wednesday, I am taking a meal to a family from church who had a baby about a month ago. The Mothers of Young Children group at our church is amazing. Among many activities, they provide THREE separate homemade meals to moms who have recently given birth. Each mom in the group volunteers to cook for the new moms throughout the year. I've decided to bring my favorite meat loaf & sides, which is what we will eat too. Saturday is our Parish picnic--I'm so excited! Breakfasts this week are leftover biscuits and blueberry muffins, cereal as needed. Lunches are sandwiches, fruit, yogurt, and crackers/chips.

      Sunday: Baked Chicken Chimichangas (I prefer baked chimi's), homemade refried beans, spanish rice
      Monday: L/O what-my-husband-calls "goulash" (macaroni noodles, lots of tomatoes, tomato paste, ground beef, seasonings, mushrooms, cheese)
      Tuesday: Nachos or taco salad
      Wednesday: my best Meat Loaf, mashed potatoes, salad, brownies
      Thursday: Leftover bar
      Friday: Homemade Pizza &/or leftovers
      Saturday: Our church is having a BBQ for the Parish Picnic - mom's night off <3

      Linked to OrgJunkie.com's Menu Plan Monday

      Sunday, September 18, 2011

      New Haircut!

      This weekend I got my hair cut. Not normally a big deal, but I've not gotten my hair cut since the end of last August. Yes, that is over a year. Regardless, I think my hair held up pretty well...but I was ready for a change. Haircuts are a nice way to start fresh, and since I have been trying to work out more regularly and take "better" care of myself, this hair cut was much needed.

      I got REAL bangs...not the side swept bangs I've had occassionally over the past 4 years. I also had almost 8 inches cut off. I like the bangs, although they will take some getting used to. I don't think I look like "me." I don't really like the length. I wish I had left about 2 inches--good news, my hair grows fast.

      What do you think?? Honest opinions welcome.

      I think I look like Bones.

      Saturday, September 17, 2011

      Spinnin' Saturday: A Little More You

      This week's song is "A Little More You," by Little Big Town.
      In our new (to us) car, I only have a 1 cd disc player, instead of the six I was used to in the Honda (bummer). Because of that, I tend to listen to the radio a lot more. When songs that I've heard a lot come on, I tend to change the station, in favor of newer songs that I'm still learning to sing along to. "A Little More You" is not one of those songs. I listen to it every time!

      2007 summer
      I listened to "A Little More You" a lot when my husband and I were still dating. We were really in love, but the situation was pretty tough on us. How could we be so young, but so in love? It caused one or both of us to question it several times, and occasionally we would hold back, or withdraw from the relationship. Sometimes we just needed a little more of each other.

      I like the intro the best...that's probably why it catches me any time it's on---
      Don't you wanna dive on in, yeah the water feels right
      Dancin' on the edge of the love you're a beautiful sight

      Here's a link to the video. I didn't post it in this blog because there are girls in bikinis in it, and I wasn't sure how 'family' appropriate it is... The song is innocent, and not profane at all--just trying to be super PG here ;-)

      Write a post about a song stuck in your head, what it means to you (or just how catchy it is), include a link to my post and then return here to link-up (at the bottom of this post), so that others can get to your blog and read your Spinnin' Saturday post!

      Friday, September 16, 2011

      Rockin' Green winner

      There were 130 unique entrants in the Rockin' Green cloth diaper detergent giveaway. 675 total entries were verified, and the winner is Naomi Greenberg. She has been notified via e-mail and has until 9/18 (Sunday) at 4 pm central time to respond.
      Thank you to all who entered!!

      Please check out the Tommee Tippee reviews and giveaways currently going on!
      Tommee Tippee Bottle (9/29 11 PM central)
      Tommee Tippee Sippee Cup (9/29 11 PM central)

      Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Li'l Sippee Review & Giveaway

      Before becoming a mom, I always thought of sippy cups as a toddler thing. Now, in all of my new-mom-wisdom, I'm here to share that sippy cups are a gateway into self-feeding. And self-feeding is much better than, you, the parent doing all of the work. Once your baby can sit in the high chair, and you're starting solid foods, think about introducing him or her to a sippy cup!
      Why give a 6 month old a sippy cup?
      While we have never supplemented with formula, I do occasionally leave G with someone else who needs to feed her pumped milk. Sippy cups are the start of her learning to drink by herself and not need someone to hold a bottle for her (though the sippy currently requires assistance too). She also participates in family dinners now, eating her solids for supper, so I think it's only fair to offer her a cup too. She likes to drink out of my cup, but ends up spilling water all down her front. The mess factor of an adult cup means that's out of the picture for a while. Sippy cups to the rescue!

      The only sippy cup we had tried before the Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Li'l Sippee First Cup, was one we received as a shower gift. We obviously needed more than one sippy cup (Who wants to wash the same cup, over and over and over?). So when I was trying to figure out which brand to get, I tried to find a brand that is synonymous with quality, offered a leak-proof and soft-spout sippy cup, and had a variety of sizes/colors to choose from.
      I'm pleased to say that Tommee Tippee extended me to opportunity to review their Closer to Nature Li'l Sippee First Cup.

      G is a tough critic but I think she was won over. The cup was easy enough to assemble--just make sure the dot on the lid ring matches up with the dot on the spout piece. It was also really easy to clean (hand wash). The cup is chubby, which is a great feature for little hands learning to hold things. G loved the bright pink color (she's a girl through and through).

      I did several leak tests throughout the trial run, and G's precious breastmilk stayed safe. She enjoyed trying to drink on her own, and I prefer this cup over our other one because she had an easier time getting milk out. That being said, some moms may find that to be a negative feature because it means spills may occur as the baby learns to sip the appropriate amount. I, personally, like that the milk is easy to get out because it will teach G what an adult cup is like. She can drop the cup, tip the cup, or throw the cup, and milk will not come out (so that's a baby-safe feature). She can sip on the spout and milk will flow freely, so she must learn when to stop to swallow (a big-kid feature). In the meantime, I'll trade cleaning up her chin for her gaining "independence."

      Winner will receive a Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Li'l Sippee First Cup, green

      Add one to your baby supplies by buying at Babies R Us.
      Want to win one?? Enter below using the Rafflecopter form!

      I received the above product from Tommee Tippee to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated in any other way. Read Disclosure.