How to Have a Natural Labor + Delivery in the Hospital!

We’re about 9 months home with our new bubba and I haven’t quite had the will to put him down long enough to share his birth story but, now that he’s a daily napper and I have a few free hands for an hour each day, I want to give you all the tools to have a wonderful, natural birthing experience in the hospital like I did!

Being that this was my third pregnancy, my decision was already made when we were ready to start trying to get pregnant-I would go au’ natural again during labor and delivery and strive for the most undisturbed experience as possible. To make it easy, I’ve made a list of things that I truly feel were the best tools to have when planning for a natural birth in a hospital!

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FIRST + FOREMOST: PREPARE YOUR MIND + BODY!

I don’t feel like I can stress this as hard as I probably need to through a simple blog post but, I promise you: It’s not enough to just think in you’re head, “hey, I’m just gonna try this all natural thing with ZERO practice or preparation” and magically make it work. Not going to cut it sister. Your mind and body have to study harder than it ever has in your life. Yes. Seriously, I just said study to give birth.

I don’t care if it’s just 15 minutes every day from today until you have your sweet new baby, make the time to:

  • Meditate
  • Stretch
  • Exercise
  • Get your Downward Dog on
  • Sleep
  • Belly dance (seriously!)
  • Watch birthing videos

Get your body moving, stretching, and grow your mind with meditation! Head HERE  and HERE to get my personal experience with prepping my mind and body and some pre-labor faves!

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SECOND: INCLUDE YOUR HOSPITAL BIRTHING TEAM

The next thing I encourage you to do is to include everyone from your birthing team in your plan. Ask your caregiver their opinion, let them know your hopes and desires, and remind them closer to your due date of your birthing plan.

When it comes to family and those who will be in the room with you, make sure to let them know that just because you are still having your baby at the hospital does not mean that you want to have a medicated birth. Your hopes are the opposite. You want the safety and security that comes with the hospital standard but, on your own terms!

*We gave C the choice to be in the room with us during labor and delivery and he was so excited to be able to make this decision for himself. We let him know beforehand what he may see, how I may sound, look, and feel, and what to expect when it came time to bring Lincoln into the world. We also gave him total access to leave with one of our parents during the intense stages of labor and pushing if he felt like it became too unsettling. As a proud mama I have to praise him because this little guy stuck it out the ENTIRE time! My soundtrack to Lincoln’s arrival was C’s little voice shouting, “He’s here! I see him, I see him!!” 

  • OBGYN
  • Partner
  • Parents
  • *Children
  • Grandparents
  • Doula

 

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THIRD: BE OPEN-MINDED

Remember, not every birth is the same just like not all pregnancies are the same. Even if it’s the same woman, the same man, the same doctor and L&D Team, no birth is ever the same! So, be open-minded when it comes to the tools available to you during labor and delivery.

   *Before my first natural birthing experience, I thought I would HAVE to get in the birthing tub at the hospital. When it came down to the day, I never did. BUT. When I was laboring with Linc, I was incredibly nauseous. By incredibly, I mean ABSOLUTELY TERRIBLY NAUSEOUS. When one of my L&D Nurses suggested that I hop in the tub to relieve the intensity of my contractions, I refused because I just didn’t want to switch positions. I didn’t end up needing it the first time so, why would I need it now? WRONG. She suggested it again, and again, and finally once she left the room and I had exhausted all of my other resources besides medication, I took her advice…Do you know what happened? I wished I had listed to her sooner and hopped in that tub LONG before I actually did!

     Although, the tub did relieve my contractions for the short time I was in, I ended up needing medication to subside the nausea and vomiting. THIS is where the Hospital part of this post comes in! Situations like these are exactly why you have a natural birth in a hospital and not at home. There are circumstances, small and big, that can arise during labor and birth. I know, I know, woman didn’t always used to have modern medicine ages ago and we used to birth babies in the woods but, we’re also farther off as a society now. I don’t have anything against home birth, I love it! If I didn’t have debilitating anxiety, I may have had a home birth myself BUT, for me, a natural birth in the hospital takes a few less notches off my stress buckle!

 

Here’s the thing: YOU CAN DO IT! Whether you’re at home, a birthing center, a hospital, or yes, even in the middle of the woods! Your body, just like mine and every other woman’s body on this planet, was MADE to do this!

Before you go do your fifteen minutes of cat-cow, watch our birthing video and give it a like + subscribe! Then, head HERE and HERE for more tips on having a natural labor!

 

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HYATT REGENCY | Sarasota, FL

Last year before having our newest little guy, we decided our fam jam better take as many family trips as a quartet as we could!

One of our favorite Florida trips ever has been our stay at Hyatt Regency in Sarasota, FL! We spent the weekend Kayaking (included in resort fee), shark tooth finding, shell picking, pool splashing + swimming under waterfalls, aquarium visiting, and digging into some really amazing bites (hello, room service!)!

The resort sits above a beautiful waterway and has an amazing breeze when you walk into the lobby! The boys of course were itching to get in the pool or to the closest beach so, after check-in we headed straight for the pool!

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Once we let them get their feet a little wet, we had a super fun surprise! They had never been kayaking in the ocean before so, I knew with the option to do so included in our stay, we had to take them for a swing out to the resort’s private beach!

K was a little timid at first and had to sit right on top of me but, after we got to the open waterway from the canal he was totally into it!

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The private beach was amazing and there wasn’t another soul in sight! We collected seashells, swam, and caught some rays!

After our drive down, pool play, and private family time kayaking, we were ready for some serious grub! Room service is always our go-to when we’re ready to just shower, chill, and fill our bellies! So, we ordered the kids pizza, and shared a Shrimp + Grits dinner and some yummy dessert!

One day two of our trip, we visited Blind Pass Park on Manasota Key to shuffle through the sand for Shark Teeth! We left with a cup FULL of shark teeth of all different shapes and sizes and the boys still bring them out to play, examine, and count them often!

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The water on Florida’s West Coast is stunning! We could have stayed forever if the world would have let us!

Once we had our fair share of sun for the day, we went to visit the MOTE Aquarium back in Sarasota! The boys spied on some super strange and really amazing sea creatures, touched a baby crocodile, watched manatees kiss their tank, played with otters, and saw caimans for the first time ever!

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We wrapped up our trip from the MOTE Aquarium with another order of, yet again, in room dining, and made our way back home bright and early on day 3! This was such a beautiful memory that we made as a family of 4 and I can’t wait to see what this same adventure will bring now that we are 5!

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Baby’s Best Friend + A Giveaway!

Hey mamas!

This one’s for you and that sweet, squishy-cheeked little baby you have!

Read below for the deets on an amazing online boutique and your chance to win a $50 credit for yourself or your little!

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Have you ever purchased an outfit or plush for your baby that is just PERFECT all around? Everything about it screams, “I have to have this in all of the available sizes and colors!” That’s the exact thought I had when we opened our box from Picket Fence! It was like Christmas all over again for our baby Linc and the packaging alone made me want to hop online and order everything available in baby size from their shop! I know you’re dying to know-what was in our box? A charming romper with fish on it’s front and my personal favorite, a Woodland Jelly Cat bunny!

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The fabric of his adorable romper is soft, stretchy, and breathable (making it the perfect match for our on-the-move little guy!). The colors are vibrant and even the tag on his butt puts that extra stamp of “feel good” on it!

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And check out those fish! Aren’t they great for summer? We’re going on a family vacation this July and I can’t wait to show Linc off in this newest addition to his wardrobe!

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I know I know, I could go on about his darling romper and I may be biased because I have my own but, seriously-who’s heart doesn’t melt for a baby in a romper?

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Now, for my favorite item in our box: Linc’s new Jelly Cat bunny. It has him cuddling and kissing all day long! If you have yet to feel a Jelly Cat plush, you’re totally missing out. These things are like the Messiah of stuffed animals. A Jelly Cat bunny has the softest fur you’ll ever pet and the most floppy, easy to hold arms and ears! Linc has carried his bunny around the house since it found it’s new home and it’s ears have become his most prized teether these days!


I know what you’re thinking now, “how can I get my hands on a Jelly Cat of my own or one of these rad rompers?” (For your baby, right?) Here’s the scoop:

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I’m giving away a $50 credit for Picket Fence to one of my followers! All you have to do is head on over to their site and let me know what YOU would like to see in their shop! Once you browse through their collection, I know you’ll want to give them a follow and BONUS, you’ll get extra entries into our giveaway just by following!

HEAD HERE TO WIN!

 


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 Marvel LIVE! Age of Heroes | Save on tickets!

I am super lucky to be a Feld Entertainment Blogger Ambassador! In exchange for sharing my love and thoughts about their super fun awesomeness, Feld Entertainment has provided me with complimentary tickets to Feld shows and other exclusive opportunities! Without their generosity, I would not be able to provide my readers with such fun giveaways and/or discount codes like this one!

The time has come…We’re all in full fledged holiday shopping mode and Christmas is right around the corner! Save yourself from the hustle and bustle of downtown traffic to find stocking stuffers for your favorite little heroes by purchasing tickets to see Marvel LIVE! Age of Heroes! Add a few capes and accessories to their stocking with these SUPER awesome tickets, and you’ve got yourself a gift even Santa would love!

This action-packed show for kids of all ages plays Amway Center in Orlando for SEVEN totally rad performances January 12-15, 2018 and features The Avengers, Spider Man, and our personal favorite: The Guardians of the Galaxy! With tickets starting at just $15, it’s an affordable and fun event for us mamas to gift our littles this holiday season!

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Save on tickets by using code: MOM20 at checkout when purchasing online and save 20%! What a SUPER awesome gift idea, #amiright? *Not valid on VIP seating. Hurry for the best available seats! Code expires January 11, 2018!

Want more info about Marvel Universe LIVE! Age of Heroes?!

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Check out this quick excerpt from Feld Entertainment about our FAVORITE live show!

“Marvel fans, assemble for this live, legendary battle to defend the universe from evil. The Avengers, the Guardians of the Galaxy and Spider-Man join forces with Doctor Strange, master of the mystic arts, in a race against time to recover the Wand of Watoomb before it falls into Loki’s hands in this all-new, spectacular arena stunt show. Produced by Feld Entertainment, Marvel Universe LIVE! Age of Heroes is performing at Amway Center from January 12-15, 2018 for seven performances. Tickets are on sale now. Witness cutting-edge special effects, aerial maneuvers, pyrotechnics, martial arts, motorcycle stunts and vast 3D video projection mapping in this completely new thrilling adventure. Fans of all ages will be immersed in the Marvel Universe and experience it all with their family…LIVE!”

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Marvel Live! Age of Heroes

Get the deets:

WHERE: Amway Center | 400 W Church St #200 | Orlando, FL 32801

WHEN:

 

Tickets available for purchase online at Ticketmaster.com | Via Phone at 800-854-2196 | Box Office at Amway Center, Orlando.

Make sure to share your experience using: #MarvelUniverseLIVE @MarvelOnTour @AmwayCenter #AmwayCenter!

 

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Natural Birth Must Haves!

Is a natural birth your birth plan? You can TOTALLY do it mama! With this list of MUST HAVES for a natural birth from a mama who’s done it not once but, twice, I am confident that you can achieve a beautiful birthing process without meds like I did!

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  1. Essential Oils: Consult your midwife prior to using.*
    • Clary Sage Oil-Help induce labor naturally and enhance contractions once labor has started. Use topically with a carrier or in a diffuser. Not to be used prior to labor*
    • Peppermint-Help reduce nausea + headaches. Not to be used after birth, can reduce milk supply* 
    • Helichrysum-Supports elasticity of the perineal area. Mix it with a little carrier oil and apply to perineal or use in a compress.
    • Myrrh-Use with a carrier oil and rub it on the lower abdomen with clary sage oil to bring on contractions.
    • Lavender-Promotes relaxation and eases muscle tension.
  2. Cold Wash Cloths: These will be a God send when a contraction comes along and you’re beginning to sweat out of every pore on your body. Make sure your partner knows to keep them cold and ready for each contraction!
  3. Personal Fan: This is one that I didn’t have with my first or second birthing experiences but, it sure did make a difference with my third! Not only does it keep me cool where I want to be cool but, I placed mine in front of our essential oil diffuser to blow the steam right into my face. A big whiff of Clary Sage Oil diffusing and blowing from the fan would send me into a long, deep, really beneficial contraction! THIS ONE is my favorite!
  4. Birth Support: Make sure to have a really solid team behind you. If a nurse comes in offering medication, or something that doesn’t sound like part of your birth plan, you’ll need a backbone to do the talking for you, one who supports your plan. Make sure they know your practices and preferences before entering the hospital. Keep everyone updated on the research you’ve done and signals for your “breaking point” should you have one.
  5. Evening Primrose Oil: Consult your midwife prior to using. Recommended at 38 weeks or after through vaginal insertion or oral consumption.* This stuff is wondrous! Evening primrose oil helps the cervix to soften and thin out (efface). Studies suggest that due to linolenic acid found in EPO, it may trigger a prostaglandin response in the body to help shorten labor.
  6. Red Raspberry Leaf Tea: Not to be mistaken for raspberry tea.* Raspberry leaf tones the muscles of your uterus so they work more efficiently. Drink 2 or more cups a day starting at 36 weeks or after. Can also be used during labor for hydration.
  7. Yoga + Meditation: Whether you’re having a natural or medicated birth, yoga and meditation are great tools to have all the way through your pregnancy! Help your mind and body prepare for your baby by practicing meditation every evening in a luke warm bath and try 10-15 minutes of pregnancy yoga every morning to help ease aches and pains!
  8. These Apps:
  9. Dates: A study conducted in 2011 and published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found that the consumption of date fruit in the last 4 weeks before labour significantly reduced the need for induction and augmentation of labour, and produced a more favorable, but non-significant, delivery outcome. My favorite are the fresh dates from The Fresh Market! Start consuming 6 per day, every day starting at 36 weeks for best results.
  10. Affirmations: Birth affirmations are great when paired with meditation for removing stress and fear when another contraction comes along or to keep your body relaxed while pushing during the third stage. Along with affirmations, I like to envision my body acting as a rose or flower opening up for my baby to make his way out. This Pin Board rocks and has a ton of affirmations to choose from!
  11. Several Coping Options: Whether it’s a warm tub, birthing ball, Rebozo Shawl, pacifier for biting down, you name it-have it! Try practicing Belly Dancing for Labor, Hypnobirthing, and Breathing Techniques.

 

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10 Things No-one Tells You About That Are Essential in Your Hospital Bag, For a Better Post-Partum Stay!

This post contains affiliate links which help me fund the free + fun posts on the blog and sometimes, Friday night pizza nights!

We’ve all been there: stalking Pinterest for the best, most secretive must-haves for your hospital bag, only to find the same results each time you scroll down. You then turn to rely on friends, family,  or New-Mom Facebook groups for answers. Well, I’m here to save you from middle of the night Pinterest scrolling and sanctimommies of the Facebook world, with this single post! As a mom of 2 with a third arriving any day now, I’ve had my fair share of experience with hospital bag packing!

Congratulations mama + get ready for the best ride of your life!

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1. Pads but, not just any pads, THESE pads:

During the first 12-24 hours you’ll bleed ALOT, like more than I’m sure you’re actually picturing in your mind right now so, the adult diaper style pads the hospital supplies you with are great during that time but, afterwards when you’re not bleeding from what feels like your vagina to your butt, you might want something a little more comfortable. After two babies and a third just days away, I’ve had my fair share of pad trial and error and THESE are by far the best for medium to heavy bleeding!

2. Boy Short Underwear like these: MAMIA Women’s Seamless Stretch Boy Shorts Panties (Pack of 6)

If this is your first pregnancy, then you haven’t yet experienced the joy of mesh undies after birth. They’re great, really, if you don’t plan on moving from where you’re sitting at any time to feel a gush leak out one side. Boy shorts are AWESOME, they keep your pad in place, tightly confined to its appropriate and carefully adjusted area, and you won’t feel awkward when a nurse comes in while sitting in nothing but boy shorts and a nursing bra versus mesh undies and a pad sticking out on the side!

3. An actually COMFORTABLE nursing bra (or several). This one is my FAVE: A Pea in the Pod Full Coverage Nursing Sleep Bra

With my first, I didn’t know the absolute need for a nursing bra. Things changed when round two came. I promise you won’t regret investing in just a couple of comfortable, easy to manage nursing bras. The Pea in the Pod Nursing Sleep Bras are my personal favorite. They’re ultra soft, light weight, pull down easily, and don’t have weird clips or straps. They’re soft enough and without lining that you’ll have no worries cuddling your new babe while wearing it or sleeping in between feeding sessions.

4. A legit heating pad
You won’t regret this one. Your hospital probably has heating pads available, SOMETIMES, as long as there’s one not in use by other new moms. Even so, the heating pads they offer are okay but, ESPECIALLY if you’re on baby number 2 or after, you’ll likely want a heating pad that gets hot and stays hot. Of course not to be used when cuddling baby or feeding but, when they’re sleeping or away at the nursery, you’ll want some warm relief. The Sunbeam Heating Pad is top rated and for good reason. It’s already packed in my hospital bag and is off limits to anyone in our home until after baby is here and mama fully recovers.

5. House shoes. Not slippers, Not socks

Okay, I’m talking: easy to slide on, rubber bottoms, that your grandmother used to wear when she cleaned house or got ready in the morning. Socks, ewe unless they’re keeping your feet warm in the hospital bed. Slippers, just the same. Someone will likely come in and mop and clean your room once or twice during your stay but, if you decide to walk around the baby floor or down to get fresh air in the hospital courtyard. You’ll want the rubber bottoms.

6. Something to keep you occupied after baby arrives

There are only so many channels on the hospital’s cable network and only so many Law and Order SVU episodes you can watch before wanting to pull your hair out. Bring a book, magazines, cards, a board game for you and hubby, or something else you enjoy doing in a tiny, quiet space. *Also, snacks that can be eaten in between meals.

7. Something to help you fall asleep…
Fast! Practice meditating, bring Lavender Essential Oil and your Diffuser, your favorite pillow, anything. You’ll need it. Once things become quiet and everyone leaves you alone with your new baby for the first time since he/she has made their arrival, the exhaustion and tiredness will quickly set in and so will baby’s next feeding time or diaper change. The adrenalin will settle and your body will soon start to remind itself that it needs rest after all the work you put in for however many hours. Your team of nurses will visit periodically to make sure you’re awake and feeding your baby when it’s time, they’ll help with diaper changes and charting urine and bowel movements if they’re due, and anything else you or baby may need. So, take the time to rest when baby allows.

8. A short, light-weight robe

Don’t get something that will drag on the floor. A nice, light weight, knee-length robe will do the trick! One like THIS ONE (which I own and love) will make feedings easier without making baby hot and visits from friends and family more comfortable. Not to mention, your hospital bed is only so big, there’s no room for all the extra fabric of a long, heavy, terry cloth or fleece robe!

9. Your own towel

Have you ever stayed in a hotel with exceptional service but, hop out of the shower to a towel that only wraps halfway around your body? Well, that’s what you’ll get if you don’t bring your own. You’ll thank me for this one after your first shower post baby.

10. DISPOSABLE Breast Pads

If you produce a pretty fair amount of milk or more, you’re sure to leak…A LOT. You’ll be feeding your baby often but, some mamas are extra gifted when it comes to producing milk and have quite a bit of leakage in between feedings. Try the reusable ones at home if you desire but, during your hospital stay, the disposables will be so much easier and more convenient!

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This post contains affiliate links which help me fund the free + fun posts on thehappeninghousewife.com! Find a full disclosure on the sidebar of my blog.

 

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6 Ways to Stroll with Evenflo Pivot

A huge thank you to Evenflo for gifting this stroller to our growing family in exchange for an honest review. As always, all opinions and thoughts are 100% my own.

Florida, sweet Florida!

There aren’t many places that you can spend the first weekend of March in swim trunks and flip flops and for that reason, we’re so happy to raise our babies in this sweet Sunshine State! For us, March calls for open windows, fruit picking, diving into the questionable temperatures of the pool, and renewal of our annual passes to the Central Florida Zoo!

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Over the weekend, we hopped in the car and made the short trip to visit the zoo! I’ve been dying to test drive our new Evenflo Pivot Travel System since it’s arrival and knew the zoo and all it’s terrain would be the perfect spot (even though the cheerios on the tile and our super plush shag rug did offer substantial terrain on the night of our new stroller’s unboxing).

What I really loved about pushing the Pivot around all day is the “toddler seat recline to bassinet” action. (Side note: We have a luxury brand stroller that I had to have JUST for the bassinet and to tell you the truth, the whole seat removal and replace with a bassinet and vice versa, is a TOTAL pain.) With the Pivot, there’s a lever on the back of the seat which reclines it ALL.THE.WAY. down to a bassinet. I really just can’t get over how much of a time and energy saver that is. How do you get it back into seat mode? Pull that lever and lift up. Seriously, it’s that easy! There’s a buckle on the back side of the seat to give the seat shape and keep it stable. I’ve got to give it to Evenflo for making it so easy and affordable to leave the extra bulky bassinet behind and transform your stroller from sit to sleep mode in 2 easy steps, WITHOUT the hassle of unlocking, removing, and storing a bassinet!

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Not only does the seat transform into a bassinet but, it can be unlocked and reversed for a parent-facing stroll. This was perfect while we waited in the long line to renew our membership before entering the zoo! The belly bar is easily removable and has an awesome snack tray which occupied little K with carrots and cucumbers during our wait!

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Once we got into the zoo, we just flipped the seat around and he was content all the way until he needed to exercise his bitty legs when we entered the petting area!

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Going through two toddler stages, several strollers and wagons, tons of terrain and adventure, and the constant feeding of growing boys while on the move, I think it’s safe to say that we’re pretty experienced when it comes to knowing a good push to bad push in a stroller and the severe need for a well thought-out stroller basket.

Knowing that we’d be spending our entire day at the zoo, changing from play clothes to swim suits and back again, and snacking during our visit, the large and realistically functional basket on the Pivot, was a HUGE plus. It’s super easy to get in and out of, with a large enough space for two towels, a wet bag, lunch box, and more! I can’t thank Evenflo enough for creating this stroller with such an easy to access basket! TOTAL LIFE SAVER.

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Now, let’s talk about the push!

I’ve had my fair share of stiff wheels, blow outs, terrible turns, and squeaky strolls when it comes to strollers. Five years ago, being a first time mom, I was so excited to have an over the top, drop-in, majorly bulky travel system. BIG mistake, HUGE.

Going into our second baby with a toddler on the run, I REFUSED a travel system and instead told myself I’d be a baby-wearing feign. WRONG. (I mean, I love wearing but, I’m certainly not an 80% of the time baby-wearer. Heck, I’m not even a 30% of the time wearer.) Eventually, I caved and purchased a Sit and Stand…TERRIBLE. The idea was great but, the push was so difficult that we never used it.

Now onto my third baby, with TWO toddlers CONSTANTLY on the go and a storage unit full of mom knowledge acting as my brain, it’s easy to know what works and what doesn’t in only a matter of minutes (BEFORE purchasing and exiting the store to find you’ve made a huge mistake weeks later). Even my husband can appreciate a good stroller with an easy push and after our day trip, we both agreed that Evenflo has totally nailed it with the Pivot! Each of us had a chance to push through dirt and rocks, over boardwalk trails, water covered walkways, and mulch with ease!

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We wrapped up our long day filled with tons of snacking, playing in the sun, petting and visiting our favorite animals, and test driving our newest addition and I think it’s safe to say that every one came home a happy camper!

After a little thought, hubby and I have both decided to let go of our luxury stroller (with the bassinet) and replace it’s spot in the back of the mom mobile with our new Evenflo Pivot!


Want a full list of the 6 Ways to Stroll with the Evenflo Pivot? (Of course you do, that’s why you’re here!)

  • Front Facing Carseat Drop In
  • Rear Facing Carseat Drop In
  • Outward Facing Bassinet
  • Parent Facing Bassinet
  • Front Facing Seat
  • Parent Facing Seat

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Because each system comes with a SafeMax Infant Car Seat which features an Anti-rebound bar, we can’t wait to install it in our family car to bring baby #3 home!

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Save Your Shopping Trips with Snap + Shop Tray! (+ 15% OFF CODE!)

Hey mama! Did today’s trip to pick up milk and bread leave you yanking your hair out? Are you finally pulled into your driveway with your little one passed out oh-so-sweet in the backseat while your heart is still racing from that terrible run to Target?

Listen, we’ve all been there, and I’ve got your back when the older woman behind you glares, or when the young couple in the aisle next to you comments about how their child “will never act like that in public,” I’ve totally got your back…and so does Snap + Shop.

I’m not exaggerating when I say that I have been waiting, desperately, to come across this mama miracle.

We all know what it’s like to:

a. Spend 35 minutes before even leaving the house or getting dressed, preparing snacks for  what should be-at max, an hour out of the house.

or  b. Packing said snacks and realize as you pull into Target that you’ve forgetten all of them on the kitchen counter.

If you’ve made it to c. and remembered you’re littles’ snack collection, you’re now moving onto the next dreaded step…

STRUGGLING WITH 5 BAGS OF CRACKERS AND CHEERIOS MANAGING TO (hopefully) ONLY DROP SOME ONTO THE FLOOR BEFORE YOUR (loving & beautiful) TODDLER SPRINKLES THE REST THROUGHOUT THE STORE AISLES.

On the other hand, you could save yourself all of the prep and Zilpoc waste, losing precious snacks to the floor before your toddler even gets ahold of them, and most importantly…occupy that sweet bundle as you shop your way through Target heaven!

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Introducing: Snap and Shop!

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This perfectly designed little tray comes in 3 solid colors: Pink, Teal, and Blue. It’s attachment can fit onto any size cart handle (or stroller), and comes off for easy washing!

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Let’s not forget the removable lid. The lid secures tighttt for travel and storage! Pack your snacks into the tray at night to easily grab and go in the morning! Just make sure to listen for the three “snaps!” when placing the lid!

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Take your shopping trips to the next level and save 15% on your Snap + Shop Tray by using this code: HOUSEWIFE15

Happy shopping mamas!

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A huge thank you to Snap + Shop Tray for sending us this one of a kind product!


*From time to time, you’ll see affiliate links in my posts! I might make a very small commission or may be otherwise compensated if you make a purchase from clicking those links, which helps fuel the love and life behind The Happening Housewife …and sometimes funds Friday pizza nights!

6 Shopping Apps You Should Make Space on Your Phone For!

This time of year always sneaks up on us. You know the time: when the boys are going out in public with shorts too tight and embarrassingly high above their knees, tee shirts and belly buttons playing peek-a-boo, and shoes that aren’t even passable for another kid’s hand me down collection. Living in Florida, we only see Winter for a few weeks and we’re just about out of that small speck of a cold season so, it’s a total purge of the kids’ closet…and dad’s wallet.

I’ve learned in my last 5 years of being a mother that nothing, ABSOLUTELY nothing should be purchased without a coupon, sale sticker, or discount, unless it’s necessary. As much as I wish that I was one of those moms who carries a binder full of coupons into the store with her, I just don’t have to time or patience to do so (*major kudos to those of you who do). BUT, unless my phone is dead or in someone’s hand under age 5, I can always be seen with a handful of snazzy mobile coupons taking anywhere from 20-50% off of my total bill!

That’s where this post comes in. I originally posted this in September of 2014, one month after the launch of The Happening Housewife but, it only included 3 of the 6 apps that I save with and I knew it was time for some major tweaking and updates. So, here it is:

1.Shopular- My absolute favorite shopping app is Shopular. It’s an easy to use, coupon and savings app.

Things to LOVE:

  • Very user friendly
  • Sign Up is simple You don’t have to go through a lengthy sign up process to use it
  • Select your favorite stores to store at the top of your feed to save time when shopping
  • Automatic sale finder (when Location Services is turned on) Set the app to use your location, when you pull into a shopping plaza or mall, the app will pop up with all of the deals available through the app in that location. & When you slide open your app, all of those deals will automatically move to the top so they’re easier to access!
  • Outlet Store Coupons available
  • Easy to Scan No zooming or downloading necessary
  • Search Bar Makes it easy to find and search for the store you’re shopping at
  • Shopular takes and uses your recommendations There was a time shortly after I posted the original content of this that I was really hoping for a small handful of stores to be added to the app. I sent them an email and within 60 days, the stores were all available in the app!
  • Available on Android + IOS

2.Shopkick- An app that gives incentives and rewards just for scanning select product barcodes in a store registered with the app.That’s right- you literally don’t have to buy anything to start reaping the benefits of Shopkick.

Things to LOVE:

  • User friendly The app updates daily on how many “kicks” are available for certain stores making it easy to include Shopkick your shopping trips.
  • Reminders when on-site When you walk into a store that is registered with the app or has current “kicks” available, the app will remind you to “check-in” and use it (bluetooth enabled).
  • Easy to scan barcodes It’s very rare that I have trouble scanning an item that is ready for “kicks” when using the built in barcode scanner.
  • Incentives + Rewards The really great thing about this app is that the rewards are actually things that most people want or use. Oh, and don’t forget their referral program. Please feel free to sign up…HERE!
  • Double + Triple Points Several times throughout the year, Shopkick will offer it’s users double or triple earnings for scans.
  • Available on Android + IOS

3.Cartwheel- An app specifically designed for Target shoppers to easily save during their shopping trips.

Things to LOVE:

  • User friendly After adding your savings to the Cartwheel app, all you have to do at checkout is show the cashier the barcode in the “Checkout” tab at the bottom of the app. It will tell you how much you’ve saved since the start of your Cartwheel adventures!
  • Weekly new ad reminders 
  • Easy to scan barcodes The app has a built in barcode scanner which will search the entire app for discounts on your items. Headed to the register and forget to search and add a few items to your savings? Scan those last few items to make sure you’re not missing savings! (There are times that I’m scanning while things are on the checkout belt!)
  • Search Options Not interested in scanning with the barcode scanner or prefer to add your savings before even walking in the store? The search makes it easy to save your discounts without scanning.
  • Combine with Target coupons and discounts You can combine your Cartwheel savings with savings, sales, and coupons from the Target app.
  • Available on Android + IOS

4. Gmail- I know, this isn’t specifically designed for saving on the go. However, if you open an email account just for savings memberships and link it to your Gmail app, it totally works like a coupon charm.

Things to LOVE:

  • Search Option The one thing I have always loved about Gmail is that the search tool is the easiest and most useful of any email search tool in my opinion.
  • Easy to delete unused and outdated savings Gmail makes it easy to delete emails by checking them off and removing them in bulk.
  • Multiple uses This goes without saying but, the Gmail app can be used outside of a coupon or savings app.
  • Birthday Clubs Signing up for a membership with a brand or company that offers Birthday Clubs can lead to MAJOR discounts that you may not receive otherwise.
  •  Extra savings Similar to Birthday Clubs, enrolling in memberships and promotions from retailers can get you tons of extra savings and coupons that other apps may not offer.
  • Available on Android + IOS

5. Retail Me Not- This one isn’t my absolute favorite but, it’s my go-to when noone else has a discount code or coupon for a retailer that I know typically offers savings.

Things to LOVE:

  • Search Option Is it obvious yet that I would never use a discount app without a search tool?
  • Available online as well as mobile app The fab thing about RMN is that everything available on the mobile app is also available for use on the desktop.
  • Viewable recent usage Although RMN doesn’t delete all of the older discount codes it has, the most recently, successfully used deal will be available at the top of a store’s feed! It will tell you if the discount has been verified by users and how many times a certain discount has been used through RMN.
  • TONS of savings RMN offers more savings from each retailer than any of the other apps I’ve listed. I don’t know how they do it but, just today they have 35 available offers with 9 verified discounts for the Gap alone.
  • Available on Android + IOS

6.Flipp- This app is fairly new in my collection but, it’s been really great so far.

Things to LOVE:

  • Search Option Yes, again with the search feature. The Search tool in Flipp let’s you look for specific items and brands, not just stores.
  • Over 800 Big Name Retailers Think of an app that offers all of those “Big Box” ads in one place…that’s what Flipp gives you. No more flipping through huge circulars when you walk into a store to see what their latest sales are. With Flipp, you’ll know what your savings will be before you walk in!
  • Shopping Lists- This one makes it super easy to create a mobile shopping list before hunting down all of the ingredients for that delicious Pinterest recipe you’ve been craving!
  • Extreme Couponing without the big binder Clip coupons in the app for instant savings at the checkout. (For US user only)
  • Notifications before discounts expire Set reminders to use coupons before they  expire
  • Available on Android + IOS

Happy savings!

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10 Things to Know Before You Attend MommyCon

1. Get your rest the night before. This includes EVERYONE attending with you-mom, baby, grandma, toddlers, husbands…definitely husbands. MommyCon is FULL of amazing speakers, exhibitors, and things to do and see. Making sure to have plenty of rest the night before will only make your day, and everyone else’s ten times easier!

2. Pack lightly and definitely pack snacks. Between all of the fabulous swag and awesome must haves that you may (probably) purchase from the MommyCon shop, your hands are sure to be full. My best advice here is to pack a small backpack, preferably one with insulation for cold snacks, and only MUST haves for your day!

3. Be prepared for LOADS of info. MommyCon is really fantastic when it comes to sending all of their moms home with knowledge. You may want to bring a pen and notepad in your lightly stuffed bag!

4. Bring the littles. This event is well known for the #crunchymamasunite club. It’s a total judgement free zone equipped with activity areas for toddlers, changing stations, and a free boobing experience. No one looks twice at a breastfeeding mama or a melting toddler. Its pretty…normal and super comfortable with extra hands galore!

5. SAVE SAVE SAVE! The MommyCon Shop has tons of goodies you’ll definitely want to bring home with you so, start saving now or be prepared to “borrow” from your little one’s piggy banks!

6. Consider bringing Mom “business” Cards. Looking to meet new moms in your area with similar interests or kids the same age as yours? MommyCon is literally THE PERFECT place. Make it easier on everyone and print of some quick info cards you can pass out to your new mom BFF. Just add your name, kids ages, city, and phone number! Juggling kids, a baby in a carrier, a backpack full of swag, and a package of bunny crackers while trying to pull out your phone to add a new mom friend into your contact list isn’t easy. Show them you really want to stay connected with this easy way to stay in touch! (Print some FREE HERE!!)

7. Research the VIP sessions. VIP sessions cost more than general admission tickets and can sell out but, can definitely be worth that little extra bit! Look into the VIP sessions at your MommyCon upon registering!

8. Try to pass on the stroller or stroller share with a friend. This event brings in TONS of mamas so, space can get a little too crammed for a stroller! If you absolutely need one, see if you and a friend can share one stroller rather than bringing two and if your babe doesn’t want to walk, you’re sure to need your hands so, consider wearing instead of pushing!

9. Join YOUR MommyCon group on Facebook! There’s one for every MommyCon city! Find yours HERE. The mamas in these groups are super helpful and make it easy to carpool, stroller share, and chat before the event!

10. DON’T STRESS! MommyCon creators and staff have got their mamas covered in more ways than you’d imagine! Moms are free to breastfeed without a cover as they need, changing areas are available, there are extra hands everywhere you turn, quiet spaces are accesible, and electrical outlets are typically at your service somewhere in the event space for plugging in! You’re covered everywhere you look so, come stress free and prepared to have a really great time!

 

Don’t forget to check your city’s dates and save on your ticket at ANY city with this special code from me to you!

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