Thursday, December 18, 2014

When Everything is Not OK

This was supposed to be a very different post.  I never thought I’d have to write what I have to write today. This post was supposed to be an announcement. I was going to go on about the shock we felt and adjustment we went through when we found out that we were unexpectedly pregnant with number 3, due in March. I was going to talk about dealing with antepartum depression while being a mother to 2 toddlers. I was going to write about how we're surprising our parents with the gender reveal on Christmas. But, then our world stopped turning and seemed to reverse.

At 22 weeks (5 weeks ago) we went to the doctor’s for our 20 week anatomy scan. Up until that point

our biggest worry (once I'd found an anti-depressant that worked for me) had been if we'd find out the gender or not (I was against it, McGee was very much for it). Well, we found out the gender, and everything else seemed fine. It was a short ultrasound and, when we met with her a short time later, our doctor said how great baby looked… “But…” I hate that word. Both of my previous pregnancies included a lot of “buts”.  The doctor didn't seem overly concerned, but she'd noticed something weird around baby’s heart and recommended that we go to a specialist in Denver to have a more in-depth look. This, oddly enough, didn't worry me. We'd been sent to the same specialist for a “heart issue” with Goofy Girl that ended up being nothing. So, this would be the same right?

Not so much. By the time the doctor sat down to do a half hour peep of the baby, after the tech had spent an hour, I started getting bad vibes. Especially when the doctor said that we'd “need to talk” after she was done, and then followed up with asking if I had anyone with me that I wanted to come sit with me while we talked.  And then she said “I want you to know that this isn't your fault. Nothing you did caused this.” My world shattered. To put it simply, I was told that baby had fluid in the abdomen (ascites) and heterotaxy syndrome (the stomach and, it appeared, the heart were in the wrong place). “I’ll get you into the Children’s Hospital as soon as I can.” That was Tuesday. Thursday McGee and I went to the hospital for about 5 hours of ultrasounds with various different departments and techs. Monday I went in for an MRI and then we had our team meeting; a meeting where we sat across from 5 distinguished experts who told us that they were baffled. What was happening should not have been happening. The only good news (also known as the only answer) that we got, was that baby’s heart was fine and WAS in the right spot. Baby’s liver and stomach were fine but on the opposite sides from where they should have been. That fluid? The ascites? That was the baffling part to them. That’s not just supposed to appear, something like an infection, STD, or family history is supposed to cause it- none of which fit our case.

The gist of all this? We don’t know if baby will come home with us in March. We won't know until the pregnancy has run its course, baby has been delivered, and they're able to see what they can do. Meanwhile, we wait and go to appointments at Children’s Hospital weekly and my doctor 2 times a month.

Now, I'm left with nothing to say when people ask how the pregnancy is going, or if I’m liking being pregnant. I'm left having to give a half-hearted smile when people say what a good big sister Goofy Girl will be, or how full my hands will be when there are 3 toddlers to chase. I get the unusual experience of feeling my baby move and watching every week, not knowing if I'll ever get to see that on the outside. It hurts, REALLY hurts.

BUT.

The title of this was misleading- everything is OK. At least, it’s going to be. No matter what the plan for this little one is, I know that this is supposed to happen. I know that we’ll be strong enough to make it through; strong enough to trust that Heavenly Father has a plan. I know that this sounds na├»ve. I know that it sounds like I'm believing in a fairy tale. But, even if I am, it’s a fairy tale that’s bringing me peace in an otherwise shattered and darkened world, so I'm clinging to it.

I am so blessed to have an amazing support group behind me. Family on both sides, friends near and far, and virtual friends I might never meet have rallied around us and buoyed us up in ways that I’d never imagined. The day of my MRI I had prayers coming, both sent to me and silently said, by at least a hundred women who I've met through my beloved Cloth Diaper Group. Family was praying and friends were texting. I know that’s the only way we got through that day, the day with more questions than answers. To all of you, thank you, and please keep them coming. Every bit of strength is being felt and is much appreciated. We're paying it forward the best that we can and will continue to do so, as always.


I’m going to try to start blogging again. I need to throw myself into something besides thinking about the uncertainty, I need predictability in my life, and Christina (who wrote about her recent struggles) needs the support that I haven't been giving her. This was started as a partner blog and it will continue that way, just don't be surprised if it’s not frequent (well, it will definitely be more frequent than the last 6 months…) 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Wisdomantics Review & Giveaway (#wisdomantics, #HowlingHornGfitGuide)

 note: this game is being featured in my #HowlingHornGiftGuide because you can buy it for Christmas or you can gift it for birthdays or another speical occasion. This game won't be able to get to your place before Christmas, but it deserves some special recognition because it is awesome!


About the game 
WisdomanticsGAMEBOARDFINAL021312
For 2-4 players, ages 12+
 Wisdomantics–New King James Version (NKJV) is an interactive DVD board game for players of various faiths who desire to gain the vast wisdom of King Solomon. Wisdomantics-NKJV utilizes the proverbs of Solomon and blends chance, knowledge and strategy to create a fun experience while you learn! The game’s intent is to bring individuals together to learn how to cope with numerous situations in a fun and relaxed environment. Inside the box you’ll find 2 interactive DVDs with 400 questions, score cards, blessing cards, and more!






Here is a video from youtube that explains more about the game:

video



My thoughts

I came from a family that loved playing all sorts of games. I still have my passion for playing games especially board games. When I heard about the board game, Wisdomantics, that quizzed you about the book, Proverbs, in the Holy Bible, I just knew that I had to play the game.


I love learning and testing my knowledge especially religious knowledge. I find knowing more scriptures helps me out in my daily life adventures. It helps me feel closer to my Heavenly Father and helps me when adversity strikes.

My husband and I were able to play this together when our kiddos were in bed. My little ones are 3 and younger and not quite old enough for this game (don't worry, I play other games with them so they don't feel left out).

The instructions on how to play were really clear. We didn't have a difficult time understanding how to play the game. I liked how the Wisdomantics' website contains videos about how to play and different scenarios for those who learn through visuals. The game is set up so each player must build their own King Solomon
Temple by collecting gold, cypress, and cedar tiles. The first player to build their temple wins the game. Players collect tiles by answering questions about Proverbs correctly. The game become very interesting with advancement and blessing cards.

One unique feature of the game is the "Praise Report Space". When players land on this space, they must briefly tell everyone what God has done or is currently doing in their life. By doing so, they collect Blessing cards. I love this space because it is a gently reminder to look for what God has done for you!



This game was so much fun and definitely helped me and my husband learn more about Proverbs. This is a game that we will be definitely be playing a lot especially on Sundays! I feel that you are truly missing out by not owning Wisdomantics!





Giveaway
*Chance to win Wisdomantics
*open to anyone 18 and older who lives in the USA or Canada
*If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again
*winner has 48 hours to respond to winning email before a new winner is picked





"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Organic India Spices Review (#HowlingHornGiftGuide)

About turmeric formula

"If I had only one single herb to depend upon for all possible health and dietary needs, I would without much hesitation choose Turmeric."


--Dr. David Frawley, Founder of the American Institute for Vedic Studies

Our  organic Turmeric formula is made with the purest, 100% organic turmeric, a natural spice that contains curcumionoids, which are phytonutrients with powerful antioxidant properties that fight the damaging effects of free radicals in the body. Fortified with curcuminoid extract and organic ginger, our organic Turmeric supports important blood and liver functions, healthy joints and overall well-being, which is ultimately reflected in a radiant, supple skin.

It is only in recent years that Western scientists have increasingly recognized the medicinal properties of Turmeric. According to a 2005 article in the Wall Street Journal entitled Common Indian Spice Stirs Hope, research activity into curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, is exploding. Two hundred and fifty-six curcumin papers were published in the past year according to a search of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Benefits of Turmeric:

Supports healthy joint function
Promotes radiant skin
Improves digestion
Supports healthy inflammation response
Gluten-free and vegan
90 capsules per bottle
GMO free
Kosher & Halal certified


My thoughts

I actually started the turmeric capsules when I started losing my voice. I got a cold that lasted about a few days, and then the cold settled into my voice (turmeric also supports a healthy immune response). When this happens, I normally lose my voice for many days. However, I got my voice back really soon and didn't feel so exhausted. The turmeric capsules really helped. My husband also starting them too to see if they would help me get over a virus that he picked up. And, he told me that he could tell the difference before and after
taking turmeric.

Turmeric is amazing! I honestly understand why it is go to herb because it has so many healing properties. I am definitely going to keep this in my house to keep my family healthy.

About Chyawanprash

Chyawanprash (CHAI-en-prah-sh), 100% organic, is made from the original  Ayuryedic recipe developed by the sages living in the forests of the Himalayas and is the real deal! It is rejuvenating, energizing and boosts the immune system, and often called "The Elixir of Life".

Chyawanprash is helpful to everyone, regardless of age, by creating harmony in the body and improving metabolism. Well-known as an immunity booster, Chyawanprash also excels as an antioxidant, rejuvenator, and source of energy. With Amla as a main ingredient, Chyawanprash also serves as a rich source of vitamin C and antioxidants.

Benefits of Chyawanprash:
  • Supports digestion of food and absorption and nutrients
  • Balances stomach acids
  • A rich source of vitamin C which strengthens the immune system and speeds healing
  • Smooths heart function
  • Nourishes brain cells and improves coordination and memory
  • Maintains moisture balance in the lungs
  • Supports liver function to purify the blood and eliminate toxins
  • Eases occasional constipation and promotes elimination without taxing the urinary system
  • Improves skin complexion and increases the absorption of calcium
My thoughts

I was so excited to try Chyawanprash. I have been learning about herbs the last few months and how much they truly help the body.

Chywanaprash only needs to be taken once a day and you only need about a teaspoon. You can take it with crackers, by the spoon, and with milk. I decided it would be fun to try it out with my breakfast so I made biscuits and I put Chywanaprash on it. All I have to say is how delicious it tasted. I love herbs and spices and because it has 37 herbs, the flavor and smell is amazing.

Chywanaprash can get a little warm in the mouth so it is recommended to consume it with milk. I noticed some warmness, but it didn't bother me at all. Both my husband and I noticed a change after eating Chyawanprash. We just felt healthier and had more energy. I know it was due to this product because it has so many things that the body requires. I am a firm believer that you are what your body absorbs and Chyawanprash helps your body to absorb nutrients.

About Tulsi Holy Basil tea - original

Throughout India, Tulsi is considered "The Queen of Herbs" and is revered as a sacred plant infused with healing power. Traditionally grown in an earthen pot in every family home or garden, Tulsi (also known as Holy Basil) makes a delicious and refreshing tea that possesses wonderful health benefits that support the body's natural immune system while relieving the body's negative reaction to stress. Tulsi's remarkable life-enhancing qualities, noted repeatedly in ancient Indian scriptures dating back 5,000 years, are now here are for you to fully enjoy.


Benefits of Tulsi tea:
  • Stress relieving
  • Soothing & relazxing
  • Abundant in antioxidants
  • Powerful adaptogen
  • Uplifts mood
  • Caffeine & gluten free
  • USDA certified organic
  • 18 tea bags in a box
  • Non GMO Project verified
  • Kosher & Halal certified

My thoughts

I love herbal teas because they really work. Like I stated before, I have only recently started getting into herbal drinks and herbs and I wish I had started sooner. Tulsi tea has a smell like basil and it tastes like it too. I found the flavor to be mild and comforting.

I tend to get really stressed because I am so busy and worry so much. Sometimes I find it hard to calm down. I decided to try this tea several times to see how I felt. And every time I felt so much better. I calmed down, my mood brightened, and I could relax!! It is so nice to be able to find a healthy way to relax along with my yoga.

Final thoughts

I am really impressed with the products by Organic India. I think these would make great gifts for Christmas. I would love to get these products as stocking stuffers and so would your friends and family.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Ballroom Dancing Mastery System (7 DVD Set) Review & Giveaway (#HowlingHornGiftGuide, #ballroomdancing)




About the product

This 7 DVD set, progressively and step by step, takes you into the beginner's world of Ballroom Dance, in all the major social ballroom dances. Ballroom Dancing DVD Set Covers Swing Dance and it's major patters, Waltz Dance, Rumba Dance, and Foxtrot over 7 DVDs that take you from your very first steps.

Here are the four types of dance dvds:

Swing Dancing and swing dance dvds can be difficult. Swing dancing is one of the single most prolific styles of dance, you'll find it everywhere. Get ready to swing dance with DanceCrazy's extensive introduction to Swing Dancing, a 2 DVD Series! This is the first of two DVDs, and covers the fundamentals of the dance, extensive swing dance lessons, as well as a few beginner patterns.

Two left feet? No rhythm? No Problem! This swing dancing DVD series is for you. You'll be showing off some amazing Swing Dance steps in no time at all. "There's no other DVD series that is this in depth, this step by step, or this fun..." Swing has earned its reputation as one of the most versatile and energizing forms of popular music and continues to attract new converts to its catchy tunes and syncopated beats.

Two progressive Waltz Dance DVDs. Learn to Dance the Waltz! This DVD teaches the very basics of how to dance the waltz. We include a complete breakdown and detailed instruction for men and women, including dancing to the music, and essential tips for success on the dance floor. Waltz your way to grace, style, and confidence with the help of two friendly and accomplished instructors. You'll learn the essential components of this beautiful dance, such as Rise and Fall, Sway, and Footwork, as well as exploring steps that will showcase your dancing and help you gain the poise to shine on the dance floor! Explore the gorgeous movements that made Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers dance icons and then incorporate that fluidity into your own steps. You learn everything from the Box Step to the Twinkle and more, all while having a great time!

Learn to Dance Rumba. Beginners 2 Volume Set. DanceCrazy.com presents the second of two beginning rumba dance DVDs in your complete step by-step-guide to dancing the beautiful Rumba! This DVD walks you through an amazingly fun array of beginner Rumba dance steps that are sure to light a fire on the dance floor. From the very basics, our professional Rumba instructors guide you through every step of the way.
Learning the Rumba has never been as easy and exciting. This spicy and sensual dance combines luscious rhythms, memorable melodies, and gorgeous patterns to create the ultimate, intimate expression of Latin romance. With the resurgence of Latin music and dancing, Rumba dancing

And Finally, Foxtrot! Want to embody the essence of Frank Sinatra's fantastic music combined with Fred and Ginger's grace and style? The Foxtrot Dance will make it happen for you! Foxtrot epitomizes elegance, class, and big band sophistication. Popularized at the beginning of the 20th century by vaudeville performers, Fox's Trot was quickly adopted by ballrooms across the nation and transformed into the dance we know as Foxtrot today. Foxtrot not only showcases grace and flair, but also combines it with the swingin' sounds of some of our best loved jazz musicians.

The Ballroom Dancing Mastery Set has it all! The system puts all these dance together. There s nothing else like it.

My thoughts

I have always wanted to learn how to dance especially ballroom dance!! I never got the chance to learn when I was younger so I jumped at the chance to review the Ballroom Dance Mastery System DVD Set. Thankfully, my husband was supportive of my desire to ballroom dance so we could do this DVD together. We wanted to take dance lessons but find it hard to do with our schedules.

I decided it would be fun to learn how to Waltz first so I starting watching the Waltz DVD. All I have to say is how well the Waltz DVD (and the other ballroom dance DVDs) are made. They really are made for beginners. The instructors will first show you a basic dance step. Then to make sure you understand how the dance step is done, they show it at different angles. The instructors even take time to show the woman's and the man's steps with different angles. I found it extremely helpful to have segments of the DVD devoted to my dance steps.

The pace of the DVD is nice and slow in order to allow you to fully grasp each dance move. The instructors are excellent, and I found their directions easy to follow. All I can say is how much fun it is to be able to learn how to dance! These DVDs would be a great gift for anyone because they truly can teach anyone how to dance! And, of course, a perfect gift for yourself!!

Giveaway
*chance to win a copy of Ballroom Dancing Mastery System DVD Set
*Open to anyone 18+ who lives in the US



I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Expandable Hose Review (#expandablehose, #HowlingHornGiftGuide)



 About the item
  • Strongest Hose Available at 100-PSI (Pounds Per Square Inch) Working Pressure
  • 300-PSI (Pounds Per Square Inch) Burst Pressure
  • Starts Out 33 Feet and Expands to 100 Feet with Water Pressure, Release Pressure and Hose Returns to 33 Feet
  • Lightweight will Not Tangle, Twist, or Kink
  • 100% Money Back Guarantee For A Risk Free Buying Experience

My thoughts

I live on about an acre of land. I have lots of grass, flower beds. trees, and a garden that I need to water. I do have a sprinkler system, but there are times where certain areas need more water or just don't adequately watered. It can be a challenge to haul hoses around my yard. However, if you had an expandable hose, then moving a hose around the yard wouldn't be such a challenge.

When I first received the expandable hose, I was impressed by how light it really was. I could pick it up and not even be bothered at all. In fact I can do it with one arm. My other hoses are definitely heavy compared to this expandable hose. I have to use both arms and my body weight to haul them around in my yard.

I love how the hose comes with nozzles and especially with a nozzle where I can turn the water off and on! A really cool feature!!




I closely examined the material. The material is very strong and is flexible. The stitching is excellent and gave me lots of confidence that this hose would last.



And the hose worked perfectly. There were no kinks, and it was easy to pull around the yard. It easily expanded to 100 feet and contracted back to 33 feet when I was done using it. The best part is that this hose doesn't take up a lot of storage room and doesn't need any fancy equipment to hold it up because it is so lightweight.

obtained from Quality Source Products

I tried to get some pictures of the hose being empty and full, but my pictures just didn't turn out so well. Probably due to the fact that I had my little boys helping me out. So I used a picture provided by the company, Quality Source Products.

All I have to say is how amazing it is to watch the empty hose start to fill up and see a hose that is 33 feet in length expand up to 100 feet.

I loved how this expandable hose has made my life so much easier. I love how I can get a 100 foot hose from a hose that is only 33 feet long with just using water pressure. This is definitely a great investment and is a perfect gift! I really want to get more to have them in different spots in my yard.


I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Wise Men Gifts - A Christmas Service Activity



My husband and I want to make Christmas special for our family. We want our children to learn that Christmas is about Christ. We want them to know that this season should be looking for opportunities to serve others and not just thinking about what things they want.

Christmas is such a beautiful time of year, and I want others to experience the joy and magic. There are a lot of people who are lonely, depressed, and struggling. I want to help those people out so they know they are loved.

When I was younger, my family was privileged to experience the "12 Days of Christmas". This is when some one starts delivering packages starting on December 13th for 12 days (it ends on December 24th) with the theme of the song 12 Days of Christmas. It was so fun waiting to hear the the door bell ring because I wanted to see what we could get. I don't remember everything because it has been a while but I do remember getting eggs for 6 geese a laying, milk for 8 maids a milking, and cans of pineapple for 5 Golden Rings. Here is a great blog post that provides ideas for each day!

I really wanted to do the 12 Days of Christmas for two individuals. However, my husband works in the evening and with small children it would be hard for me to doorbell ditch gifts for 12 nights in a row. That is when my husband came up with the idea of doing Wise Men Gifts! We decided that we would deliver 3 gifts to families or individuals that we feel need to know that they are loved.

How to do Wise Men Gifts:
  1. Pick at least one family or individual who needs some extra Christmas Cheer
  2. Decide on what gifts that you want to give them. Examples: gift baskets, food, games, baked goods, homemade items, etc.
  3. Print a sign that reads "Wise Men Gift #1 - Merry Christmas" or something like that. I printed the sign so no one would recognize my hand writing. (note: I will upload the sign soon!)
  4. Then deliver the gifts randomly during the month of December. I spaced the gifts out so the person/family would get a Wise Men gift about every week.
  5. Tell others about the Wise Men Gifts because this will spread happiness around!!

All I have to say is how much fun we are having with this service activity. We are having so much planning on gifts to give and picking a date to deliver the gifts. This is another new tradition my family is doing because it is helping us to make Christmas special and to help us remember the true meaning of this season.

Please share ways you serve others during this Christmas Season!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Susie's Hope Review & Giveaway (#HowlingHornGiftGuide)



About the movie

Based on the true story that successfully passed Susie’s Law in North Carolina, which seeks stricter punishment for animal abusers, Susie’s Hope brings to life the inspirational relationship between pit bull attack survivor Donna Lawrence and Susie, a pit bull-mix puppy found beaten, burned and left for dead. Recognizing reflect and abuse were to blame for the tragic attack that nearly claimed her life 10 months earlier, Donna resumes the battered animal and accepts her as family. Together, they learn to heal, love and forgive as thyey lead a historic effort to seek justice and protection, not only for Susie, but all animals. Starring Emmanuelle Vaguer (40 Days and 40 Nights), Burgess Jenkins (Remember The Titans) and Andrea Powell (Ender’s Game, The Twilight: Breaking Dawn Saga: Part 2), Susie’s Hope is an incredible story of love, loss and redemption.

 Here is a trailer of the movie from youtube: 


video

About Susie

Susie was found nearly dead in Greenfield Park in Greensboro, North Carolina on August 20, 2009. Just a puppy, Susie had licked the face of her owner’s newborn baby. Her owner became violent—she was beaten so severely her jaw was broken. That wasn’t enough, though. She was then set on fire and left for dead. Incredibly and against all odds Susie survived. Donna Lawrence adopted her two months later. Susie is now a trained therapy dog and event won the American Humane Association’s American Hero Dog this year!




Check out Susie's Hero Dog Award video:



Want more information

To learn more about Susie and Susie's Hope, check out their official website: http://www.susieshope.com

My thoughts

I love animals. I wanted to be a veterinarian when I was little because I just loved animals so much. I didn't become a vet, but I kept my passion for animals with me. Currently my family has a pet rabbit named Freckles and seven chickens. Everyday I get to teach my children how special animals are and how they need to be treated with love and respect. 

Susie's Hope is based on a true story. I actually watched this movie shortly after my miscarriage so I was extremely emotional when I watched this. There are parts of this movie that I could completely understand the pain and the loss. Despite the movie having sad moments, the story has a message of love, hope, and forgiveness. So don't worry about the movie being too depressing because it is not! I was extremely moved how Donna Lawrence, survivor of a pit-bull attack, bonded with Susie, a pit bull-mix puppy that was found beaten and burned. I was able to see how Donna and Susie needed each other and helped each other heal because they understood each other's pains.

I love how Susie's Hope is about raising awareness about animal abuse and educating the public on how to end animal abuse. I feel this movie is a perfect Christmas time movie because it teaches us to have hope, to forgive, and to see the beauty inside of each other. I loved the quote on the movie jacket: "Every Now and Then, We All Need Rescuing". So true!

I hope you enjoy this movie as much as I did.

Giveaway
*Chance to win a copy of Susie's Hope
*open to anyone 18 and older who lives in the USA or Canada
*winner has 48 hours to respond to winning email before a new winner is picked





"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”