MommyCon Orlando 2017 Review

MommyCon Orlando 2017 Review

I just got back from MommyCon Orlando 2017 a couple of days ago and I have been itching to write about my experience. 20170908_153248This year was extra special since my husband and daughter came with me, and because I was a part of the MommyCon Media Team. There were so many great vendors and speakers I was disappointed I wasn’t able to see them all. There was just so much to see and do! Here are my personal vendor and speaker highlights from my experience. 😊

 

Vendors:

Lighthouse Kids Company – I was able to actually meet and chat with Vanessa the owner and creator of Lighthouse Kids diapers. These diapers are newish to the market, and I am predicting they will take off soon. I purchased one of their newer prints and it is gorgeous! These diapers are an AIO with a Bamboo and Stay Dry attached insert. It also comes with a booster. Here is their website. https://lighthousekidscompany.com/

Polyblox Totems – This product is a new take on those ABC blocks we all had as kids. You know the one’s with letters, numbers, animals, etc. (My daughter has them and likes to build walls with them and knock them down like she is Godzilla.) Polyblox Totems come attached in totem form with capital and lower-case letters, pictures, Braille, and more. These are on my wish list for my daughter. http://www.thepolyblox.com/

Safari Ltd. – These toys are so awesome. They are educational toys and figurines of animals, mystical animals, dinosaurs, and more. They are affordable and adorable. https://www.safariltd.com/

The Whole Life Co. – I have been using products from this company for a while, but I have never been able to meet the owners in person before. Whole life products are all natural and they have a product called Aroma doh that my daughter loves. It’s all natural and each different color has a different scent. Makes for great sensory play for children. I finally snagged her the set for her birthday, and grabbed a container of their belly butter for myself. If you are interested in switching to all-natural products Whole life is a great company to look into. http://wholelifeandservices.com/

Sessions: I was only able to make it to two sessions due to eating lunch and meeting vendors, but the two I did make it to were amazing.

Babywearing 101 with Laura Brown of Ergo Baby – This was a really great down to earth talk about beginning babywearing. Laura Brown did a fantastic job of discussing the beginning ins and outs of front carries with many different carriers. (Wraps, ring slings, Meh Dai’s, and structured carriers.) Laura took her time, was funny, and answered questions. I wish she could have stayed longer and had a babywearing 102, 103, and so on classes.

Cloth Diapering 101 with Jennifer Labit presented by Cotton Babies: I am already a cloth diapering mom, but I love hearing stories from other cloth diapering families. A family should never have to make the decision of purchasing food or purchasing diapers. It was great to see Jennifer’s presentation on how cloth diapering saved her family money, and how cloth diapering helps to reduce your carbon foot print. I can attest that cloth diapering has saved my family $1,000 in our first year of using cloth. We will continue to save even more as we go into cloth diapering our second child.

Meeting Role Models: It’s sad, but I live in a part of the United States that does not have many natural parenting/cloth diaper stores in it. To be able to be a part of a natural parenting/ cloth diapering community I follow individuals and stores via social media. So, when I had a chance at MommyCon Orlando to meet some of the individuals I look up too I jumped. All of these ladies are business owners/working mom’s and they prove, as a woman and a mom, you can have it all.  

Abby’s Lane – I did not purchase anything at Abby’s Lane, but I did get to meet the owner Stephanie Daniels. 20170902_131252(I had already hit my personal shopping limit before I was able to go to her booth. Haha!) She has been a role model of mine for a couple of years now and I was totally fan girling when I met her. She is just as gracious in person as she is online and I am so glad I had the chance to talk with her. Abby’s Lane is a great online store for all of your natural parenting/cloth diapering needs. They have a cloth diaper book club, and their online communities are just amazing. https://www.abbyslane.com/

 

Smart Bottoms – Christina Malone is the owner of Smart bottoms, a very popular cloth diapering company. 20170902_093433I again, have been following her business and online cloth diapering community pages for a while, and I have seen her handle business situations with grace and patience. She is just as kind in person and it was an honor to get to meet her. https://smartbottoms.com/

Grovia –  It seemed everyone who went to MommyCon Orlando was there to shop at the Grovia booth! From the moment the vendor hall doors opened there was a line for Grovia. I had to wait hours to be able to go up and speak with the ladies working the booth, and to make my purchase. While I did shop the biggest reason I wanted to go to the Grovia booth was to meet Sabrina Azemar. 20170902_121220Sabrina works for Grovia’s social media team and she is amazing. Her laugh and smile are infectious and it was great to be able to meet and talk with her. The online Grovia community is also one of the best online cloth diapering communities out there. http://www.grovia.com/

Laura Brown of Ergo Baby – I follow Ergo Baby and their new online group “Ergobaby: Love carries on” on Social Media, and Laura is one of the ladies who runs the group. 20170902_092925Laura did the Baby Wearing 101 session at MommyCon Orlando and did a fantastic job. She is kind, knowledgeable, and hard-working. Besides working for Ergo baby she is also a Postpartum Doula, IBCLC student, and a mom. ❤ https://store.ergobaby.com/

If you ever have a chance to attend a MommyCon even it is totally worth it. Not just for the vendors, but also for the sessions and the community. They have changed up their ticket structure for 2018 allowing for different tiers, and they always run scholarship and military ticket programs. (There will be a General Admission tier with no swag bag, a Premium Admission tier with swag bag, and a VIP Admission tier that includes an upgraded swag bag and admission to the VIP session the day before.) This was my media swag bag mixed with my husbands general admission swag bag for this year. 20170909_143553Make sure you check them out at www.mommycon.com.

If you haven’t been to MommyCon, didn’t make it this year, or didn’t get a chance to shop at the Grovia booth you are in for a treat! 20170909_144012Click below to enter to win a Grovia Wacky Hook and Loop Hybrid Shell in “Play”. Contest will run from 9/8/2017 through 9/16/2017. Winner will be randomly selected on 9/17/2017.

Click here to enter Pretty in Baby Food’s Grovia Wacky “Play” Hybrid Shell


Homemade Baby/Toddler Food or Pre-Made Pouch Food – This Parent Says, “Just Do You.”.

Homemade Baby/Toddler Food or Pre-Made Pouch Food – This Parent Says, “Just Do You.”.

Recently I have seen a lot of posts on Facebook regarding the difference between making your own baby/toddler food and purchasing canned or pouch baby/toddler food. The comments on some of these posts have made me laugh and some have made me slightly angry due to the mommy shaming of those parents who decide to purchase pouch food for their kids. As a parent, I have done both. I started out making my daughter homemade baby food when she first started eating, and then switched to baby led weaning. Now that she is a toddler it can be hard sometimes to get her to want to eat anything other than French fries, pasta, rice, macaroni and cheese, and chicken nuggets. While she does eat vegetables and I would not consider her a picky eater I still purchase pouch food for her every once in a while. I have to admit they are convenient to have when traveling and my daughter loves them. She views them as a treat. I am not ashamed to purchase them and feed them to my daughter, and neither should any parent. Sometimes it can be more expensive to purchase pouch food, and sometimes if you purchase them on sale, with coupons, and use coupon apps, like Ibotta, then pouch food can cost the same or sometimes less than making your own baby/toddler food. Which ones to choose for your little ones is up to you. I personally feel some are better than others, but there are so many to choose from.

When Shespeaks and Similac asked me if I would try the Go & Grow by Similac Pouches I said yes because I wanted to possibly be able to suggest another pouch food for parents since there are so many. Screenshot_20170713-181756I am happy to say that the Go & Grow by Similac Pouches did end up passing mine and my daughters 3-point inspection. When looking for any baby/toddler pouch or can food at the store I look at its ingredients, price (this includes how often they go on sale, available coupons, and coupon app rebate availability), and lastly my daughters taste test. There has been some pouch food that has passed the ingredients and price tests, but my daughter did not like them at all.

Ingredients: Before I purchased Go & Grow by Similac pouches I made sure to check the ingredients first. Screenshot_20170713-181948All of the pouches I saw/purchased were certified organic and only contained the fruits and vegetables listed on the front. They did have organic lemon juice and extra DHA, Lutein, and Vitamin E added, but I am ok with that.

Price: The price per pouch was also fair. I went to Walmart and purchased several pouches at a price point of $1.32. I did not have any coupons for the pouches, but Similac does have a lot of coupons circulating and I am sure if you write to them they would send you some. I did find a rebate on Ibotta that I was able to claim twice, and I was also able to use their .25 cents off any purchase rebate as well. All in all, I spent $1.00 per pouch. (If I had actual coupons it could have been even cheaper.)

Taste: The last hurdle to pass was my daughters taste test. I gave her the Apple, Butternut Squash, Banana, and Blueberry pouch and the first word out of her mouth was “Yum!”. Screenshot_20170713-181829She pretty much finished that pouch off in less than 5 minutes. After she finished it she asked for more, but I told her she would have to wait. Haha! (She was not happy about that.) She also really liked the other flavors I had purchased which were Pear, Blueberry, and Spinach, as well as the Mango, Pear, and Spinach. We still have the Pumpkin, Banana, and Carrot one to try, but I am thinking she will like that one as well.

Result: The end result for our test showed that Go & Grow by Similac pouch food was another pouch food that we would be able to add to our approved list. It passes our 3-point test with flying colors.

 

As a parent, I want other parents to know that if you end up serving your child homemade baby/toddler food or if you purchase pouch or canned baby/toddler food its ok. Do what you feel is best for your children, family, and budget. Don’t worry about what others think or what they do. As my water bottle says, “Just Do You.”

  • If you are interested in purchasing or learning more about Go & Grow by Similac Pouch food you can find them at Walmart here
  • Shespeaks.com is also having an awesome giveaway at SheSpeaks.com for a custom 12 x 12 photo book from Walmart photo valued at $50 (or a $50 Walmart Gift Card).
  • As I mentioned previously Ibotta also currently has a rebate for Go & Grow by Similac Pouches purchased at Walmart. You can find the rebate here.

Disclosure Statement: Even though this post was developed in partnership with Similac, and I did receive compensation, all opinions are my own. I am a parent myself and would never recommend a product I wouldn’t be comfortable using on or giving to my own child.


Why I Made The Switch, and Now Shop Small

Why I Made The Switch, and Now Shop Small

Before I was introduced to the natural parenting community I was a huge big box retail store shopper and couponer. Then I started to notice items I had purchased at these said stores were not holding up well to wear and tear. They were actually starting to cost me more in the long run since I was having to repurchase the same item over and over again. I hate to say it, even though I love Target, most of the clothes I have purchased from there have ripped very easily, or the color on their shirts have run and I end up with a splotchy mess. Other things I started to noticed is the employees just didn’t seem too enthused to be working at these stores. So, I decided to do an experiment. I decided to start shopping at small businesses to see if there was a difference. (Personally, I define small businesses as anywhere from a personal Etsy shops through businesses with less than 50 or so employees.) Little did I know it would turn me into a small business advocate, and totally change the way I think about stores and their products. Here is what I learned.

Product Availability: When I first decided to try to shop small I was concerned the products I wanted/needed would not be available. I quickly learned everything I wanted/needed was indeed available for purchase at a small business, and if it wasn’t they had a great alternative product. With being a new breastfeeding/pumping mom I had a lot of baby products I needed to purchase. I realized all of my breastfeeding/pumping products I needed, which I usually purchased at Target or Babies R US, were available at small natural parenting stores. Products like nipple cream, milk saver bags, breast pump parts, pumping bags, and the list went on and on. At the natural parenting store’s I even had a support system from the friendly staff and customers. If I picked up a product and had questions about it someone was there to tell me if it was good, or how to use it. This level of customer service is not available at big box stores. I did find the only thing I couldn’t purchase at these small natural parenting stores was disposable diapers. So, I continued purchasing those from big box stores till I was converted and switched over to cloth diapering. 😉

Product Quality: Hands down small businesses have better quality products then big box stores. Selling their product is their livelihood, and usually also their passion. This shows in their workmanship and products. THEY CARE. Target and other big box stores know the majority of people will keep coming back whether they are fully satisfied or not with their products. The cashier at the big box store did not make the clothes, furniture, or spend the time researching the best factories or manufacturing centers for the products. Small businesses, owners and employees, care about customer retention and they know if they are not selling a quality product then their customers will not repurchase.

Price: Yes, the price for some products at small businesses can cost more, but there are many reasons why; and I am OK with those reasons. An example of why products cost more at small businesses is because they care where their product materials are sourced and manufactured. You will find many small businesses only source their product materials and/or manufacture from places in the United States. (Or their own farm!) This alone will cause a product to cost more. I have also found other small businesses, while their product is not manufactured in the US, spend time searching for places overseas that will make their product fairly & conscientiously.

Owners/Employees: When you purchase a product from a small business you aren’t helping to pay the salary of a CEO that makes over ten million dollars, or more, a year and pays their other employees minimum wage or less. Most small business owners make less than $100,000 a year, sometimes significantly less, and that is if they are taking a regular salary. I have also found, in my experience, small business employees are a lot happier at their place of employment, and make a fair living wage in comparison to big box stores. (This lower wage trend at big box stores is slowly changing though due to public pressure on big box stores.)

Giving Back: The greatest perk of shopping small is to see how much small businesses give back. Not only to their customers, but also to the community in which they reside and beyond. The rewards programs, sales and giveaways with purchase that a lot of natural parenting stores do more than makes up for any product price increase you will see. I have never ordered online or checked out at Wal-Mart or Target and been told by the cashier that they were going to throw in a free product with my purchase just because they appreciated me as a customer. Small businesses appreciate you! They also give back to their communities. Not too long ago a small business district near where I live flooded due to heavy rains. Cars and local landmarks were swept away. Many of the small businesses and the surrounding community donated their time and money to help rebuild the shopping district. Other ways small businesses give back is through their online communities. Many small natural parenting stores also have online Facebook communities that foster acceptance and bring families together all across the world. These communities have helped create long distance friendships, and I have seen families reach out to help other families in need. Small Businesses giveaway and donate their products and time, not for the tax write off, but because they care.

I could go on and on why I love shopping small now, especially with small natural parenting stores. Yes, I still do sometimes go to big box stores to shop for groceries or to just walk around Target with my Starbucks coffee, I am a mom after all, but I love my small shops now, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. Do you shop small or are a small business owner? Why do you shop small? What are your favorite small businesses to shop with, and why? I would love to see what in the comments. Let’s share the small business love!


Working Out on A Budget

Working Out on A Budget

When my husband started working out at our local CrossFit box I was happy because he was happy to be working out. After looking at the cost for his membership though I was not as happy as I once was. Haha! It was expensive, and when I quit working to stay home with our daughter the monthly CrossFit membership was just too much for us. When I told him we should look at cheaper options they still weren’t in the price range we could afford. So, we had to get inventive. If you and your family are like mine, then below are some tips on how to work out on a budget.

Good ‘old fashion running/walking outside – I had to list this one first because it’s my favorite, and totally free! Haha! I know that sometimes getting out into nature is hard, especially if you have kids or your location makes it difficult, but it’s worth it! Find yourself a decent jogging/running stroller and hit the pavement. During the warmer months, my husband and I will go to our local park, that has a running trail, and take turns either walking or jogging with the stroller while the other is free to run for a lap. Hiking is another one of our favorite things to do during the warmer months. We have a baby carrier that adjusts to fit both my husband and I, and we take turns wearing our daughter as we hike.

Beachbody’s on demand free 30 days – My husband and I just finished our free 30-day trial of Beachbody’s on demand program and we loved it! We used to do Insanity way back when it first came out so it was a lot of fun to work out to Shaun T. again. The great thing about this program is that you can do it anytime and technically anywhere since it is online. (Since it is currently cold outside we have enjoyed the work out’s inside.) It’s pretty easy to sign up and then you have free access for 30 days to their online library of workouts. Some of the newer work outs you have to upgrade to receive, but the free Beachbody workouts are enough to keep you occupied. If you do not want to be charged for a paid subscription you will need to cancel before your 30 days is up. (I believe my husband called the day before our 30 days was up and cancelled.) This trial is totally worth it, and I started to see a physical difference after week one.

Groupon/Living Social – Many gym’s, and small businesses are now offering discounted memberships or workout classes though Groupon and Living Social. You can get discounts on gym memberships, workout classes, 30-day access to online workouts, and more that range from 50% off all the way to 90% off, and sometimes more. So, before you head out to sign up for workout classes look on Groupon and Living Social first. (Another plus is if you use Groupon through the Ibotta app you can get up to 10% cash back in your Ibotta app if you purchase through Ibotta.) 

dirty-girl-mud-run

Run in 5k’s/ Races for free by volunteering – Last fall I had a friend invite me to run with her in the Great Pumpkin Run, but I forgot to register fast enough and the race sold out. I was super mad at myself, but I did some research and found out the race still needed volunteers for check in the day before. The biggest perk of volunteering was you got a free race registration you could use the next day, or for another upcoming race. Score! So not only was I able to run with my friend, but I was able to run for free. Other ways to save are to see if the race you want to participate in has Groupon or Living Social offers. One year I signed up for a 5k obstacle race at a cost of $70, and later found the Race on Groupon offering registrations for $30. (Doh!) Don’t worry if the heat start time is not the time you want. Most races, if you are not trying to be timed, will let you run whenever.

Free gym trials – Before you spend the money on a gym membership I highly recommend looking to see if the gym offers a free trial. Usually these are promotional gimmicks to bring in new customers, but they can be beneficial to you if you are looking at joining a gym or just want a break from your regular workout routine. I know a couple of times a year the gym near my house will send out promotional free 3-day gym passes, or some gyms in my area, like the local CrossFit, will have a free intro classes. These are great ways to see if the gym is a fit for you before you shell out any money. If you end up liking the gym you visited I would recommend waiting till they have a membership sale. A great time to snag a really good deal for a gym membership is around New Years.

You Tube Video’s – Yes, I said You Tube. Haha! You Tube actually has some really good free workout video’s. You will be able to find video’s covering cardio, yoga, Pilates, and more. Popsugar Fitness has a lot of workout videos on You Tube. I have done a couple and have been pretty impressed. Now that our Beachbody on demand free trial has expired, and since it’s cold here, I will be switching to the Popsugar Fitness videos and burning some calories. 

If you follow the above tips you will definitely save yourself some money, and make it easier to work out on a budget. I would love to hear some of the ways you and your family work out on a budget. 

 


 

Prenatal Vitamins – When to Start, What to Look For, and A Look At Some of Your Options

Prenatal Vitamins – When to Start, What to Look For, and A Look At Some of Your Options

There are so many different brands of prenatal vitamins now they take up half an aisle at Target. You have prenatal gummy vitamins, regular pill form vitamins, and now you can also get prenatal drinks, powder drink mixes, and prenatal vitamin snacks. They also range in cost. Does the difference in the kind of prenatal vitamin form or price really matter? Yes and no. If you have a hard time swallowing pills then a drink or a squeeze pouch snack will work for you, but not all of them offer all of the nutrients you should be receiving in a prenatal vitamin. So, when should you start taking a prenatal vitamin, what should you look for in one, and what are your options?

Start taking your prenatal vitamin early: There is nothing wrong with taking a prenatal vitamin years before you even plan on getting pregnant. In reality it is just a multi-vitamin. It just has more vitamins and minerals to assist with a pregnancy. I personally started taking a prenatal vitamin a year before my husband and I started trying to conceive our first child, and I have continued to take one every day since.

Ingredients: I always recommend discussing with your doctor what you should be looking for in a prenatal vitamin. When I wanted to start taking a prenatal vitamin I spoke with my doctor and she recommend looking for a vitamin that had Folic Acid, Calcium, Iron, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, and Vitamin D. Other helpful ingredients to look for in a prenatal vitamin are Vitamin C, A, E, Zinc, Iodine and Copper. Medical history and diet are other reasons to talk with your doctor about what you should be looking for in a prenatal vitamin. For example: Hemochromatosis, a metabolic disorder where you have an excess amount of Iron in your body, and IBS-D run in my family. After talking with my doctor, she advised that a prenatal vitamin with Iron in it may make me nauseous and constipated, and that I personally could probably take a prenatal vitamin without Iron and be fine. If you have a certain diet your doctor will be able to tell you what dosage of vitamins and minerals you should be looking for in a prenatal vitamin.

So, what are your options? Like I said it’s a prenatal vitamin jungle out there so I wanted to help other mom’s out by comparing a few of the most popular prenatal vitamins I found in store at my local Target, and their pricing. (Pricing of course will differ by store, method of purchase (online or in store), and if you have a coupon or not.) (I have not included Happy Mama products or Bundle Organic products since they are supposed to be used as a compliment to your current prenatal vitamin. If you are looking for items to compliment your current prenatal vitamin Happy Mama offers gummies, drink mixes, squeeze pouch foods, and oat bars. Bundle Organics offers juices.)

Here are the Prenatal Vitamin Contenders: I have highlighted in green the highest amounts of the different vitamins/minerals in the different prenatal vitamins. In red are the highest Total Carb and Sugar content. I have also bolded and underlined the serving amount, how long the bottle should last you, and their price. Again, these are the most popular prenatal vitamin brands that are given the most aisle space, and end cap space. There are other prenatal vitamin brands that are not mentioned here, but I wanted to focus on the most popular.

Olly – The Essential Prenatal Multi-Vitamin: 60 gummies, serving size 2 gummies, will last you 30 days at $13.99. Sodium 5mg, Total Carb 6g, Sugars 4g, Protein 1g. VA 4000 IU, VC 30mg, VD3 400 IU, VE 15 IU, Niacin 20mg, VB6 2.5mg, Folic Acid 800mcg, VB12 8mcg, Zinc 3.8mg, Choline 10mg, Omega-3 70mg, DHA 50mg, EPA 10mg. No Calcium, Iron, or Copper.

vitaFusion Prenatal Gummies: 90 gummies, serving size 2 gummies, will last you 45 days for $9.89. Total Carb 4g, Sugars 4g, VA 4000 IU, VC 30mg, VD 400 IU, VE 15 IU, Niacin 20mg, VB6 2.5mg, Folic Acid 800mcg, VB12 8mcg, Iodine 150mcg, Zinc 3.8mg, Choline 10mg, Omega-3 65mg, DHA 50mg, Other Omega-3 15mg. No Calcium, Iron, or Copper.

Up & Up Prenatal Gummies: 90 gummies, serving size 2 gummies, will last you 45 days for $7.99. Total Carb 4g, Sugars 4g, VA 4000 IU, VC 30mg, VD 400 IU, VE 15 IU, Niacin 20mg, VB6 2.5mg, Folic Acid 800mcg, VB12 8mcg, Iodine 150mcg, Zinc 3.8mg, Choline 10mg, Omega-3 65mg, DHA 50mg, Other Omega-3 15mg. No Calcium, Iron, or Copper.

Nature Made Prenatal tablets with DHA: 90 liquid capsules, serving size 1 tablet, will last you 90 days for $19.99. Total Carb less than 1g, VA 4000 IU, VC 100mg, VD 400 IU, VE 11IU, Thiamin 1.5mg, Riboflavin (VB2) 1.7mg, Niacin 18mg, VB6 2.6mg, Folic Acid 800mcg, VB12 4mcg, Calcium 150mg, Iron 27mg, Iodine 150mcg, Zinc 25mg, Omega-3 228mg, DHA 200mg, EPA 28mg. No Copper.

Smarty Pants Prenatal Gummies: 120 gummies, serving size up to 6 gummies, will last you 20 days at 6 gummies a day for $22.95. Total Carb 11g, Sugars 8g, VA 3000 IU, VC 60mg, VD 1000 IU, VE 30 IU, VK 16mcg, Thiamin 0.08mg, Riboflavin (VB2) 0.17mg, Niacin 20mg, VB6 2.5mg, Folate 800mcg, VB12 10mcg, Biotin 30mcg, Pantothenic acid 10mg, Iodine 150mcg, Zinc 6.5mg, Sodium 25mg, Fish Oil 455mg, EPA 75mg, DHA 60mg, total Omega-3 165mg, Choline 12mg. No Calcium or Copper.

Premama Prenatal Vitamin Drink Mix Essentials: 28 pack, serving size 1 pack, will last you 28 days for $19.99. Total Carb 1g, Folic Acid 800mcg, Biotin 300mcg, VC 30mg, VB12 6mcg, VD2 900 IU, Calcium 100mg, Iron 9mg, Magnesium 60mg, Zinc 7.5mg, Copper 2mg, VB2 1.7mg, VB6 30mg, No DHA, Choline, Vitamin C, A, E, or Iodine. (They also have a mix with DHA. I will list it below as well.)

Premama Prenatal Vitamin Drink Mix Essentials + DHA: 28 pack, serving size 1 pack, will last you 28 days for $19.99. Total Carb 1.5g, Folic Acid 800mcg, Biotin 300mcg, VC 30mg, VB12 6mcg, VD2 900 IU, Calcium 100mg, Iron 9mg, Magnesium 60mg, Zinc 7.5mg, Copper 2mg, Flax Seed Oil and Algal Oil Fatty Acid Blend 165mg, Choline 25mg, VB2 1.7mg, VB6 30mg, ALA Omega-3 30mg, DHA 20mg. No Vitamin C, A, E, or Iodine. 

The gist: Olly Prenatal Multi-Vitamin, vitaFusion Prenatal Gummies and Up & Up Prenatal Gummies are comparable ingredient wise, but not in price. All three do not have Calcium, Iron, or Copper in them. If you are looking to get more for your money, then you should look at Up & Up or vitaFusion. Nature’s Made Prenatal with DHA has everything that you should be looking for in a Prenatal Vitamin except Copper, and they are decently priced for how much you get. Smarty Pants Prenatal Gummies has the most vitamins/minerals, but doesn’t contain Calcium or Copper. They also have the highest number of gummies you have to take, Total Carbs, Sugar, and price. Premama Prenatal Vitamin Essential Mix has everything but DHA, Choline, Vitamin A, C, E and Iodine. Their Prenatal Vitamin Essential Mix + DHA has everything but Vitamin A, C, E and Iodine. The upside to Premama is you get to drink it instead. (This would probably be a prenatal vitamin that I would take/eat something else to compliment it.)

So… If, like me, extra Iron makes you sick then a Prenatal Vitamin like Olly’s, vitaFusion or Up & Up gummies will work for you. The Calcium they don’t have can be made up with the Calcium in Tums if you are suffering from heartburn while pregnant. It will come down to cost and taste for you. If you are ok with taking a pill with Iron, then Nature’s Made with DHA is the best option from above due to ingredients and price.  For me, the Smarty Pants Prenatal Vitamins I saw at Target are just too expensive, and the Total Carb and Sugar count along with 6 gummies a day is a lot. I have tried Premama and it tastes good, and if you have a hard time taking pills or chewing gummy vitamins then Premama is a good choice. (They also offer free samples through their website.) I just wish they could add all the vitamins they are missing compared to the rest of the Prenatal Vitamins.

I hope this post has helped you in some way with your search for a prenatal vitamin. I have tried my best to bring you as much correct information regarding the above prenatal vitamins as I can, but again make sure to speak with your doctor when looking to start taking a prenatal vitamin. For those who already take a prenatal vitamin I would love to hear what you look for in a Prenatal Vitamin and what you take. 🙂

Appen – A Great Work From Home Opportunity for Anyone Looking for Extra Income

Appen – A Great Work From Home Opportunity for Anyone Looking for Extra Income

Giving birth, whether naturally or by C-section, takes a toll on a woman’s body and sometimes her mind. Having to go back to work within weeks or 3 months of giving birth does not allow a family the time to adapt and bond with their new addition. Unfortunately, in the United States returning to work within 3 months of having a child is the norm and for most families a must. Other families run into the hard situation where both parent’s need to work to support the family, but child care costs end up being 50% or more of one parents take home pay. (This happened to my husband and I.) After our daughter was born the cost of child care for our one child was going to take up 50% of my take home pay. So, I went to my employer and told them my situation. I asked them if I could switch to part-time or work from home a little more since I had family who could watch my daughter part time during the week. (It was not unheard of for individuals to work from home at my old company. Actually, half of the employees worked from home.) Their answer was no, and sadly I had to give my notice and resign since 50% going towards child care was just too much for us. While I was slightly discouraged I told my husband I would find a way to bring in some extra money while being a stay at home parent. I would do what I could in regards to couponing and cutting down our bills, and I would look for part time work opportunities. I looked at babysitting, dog sitting, selling things on Etsy, and multi-level marketing opportunities. None of those opportunities fit me though. I was growing concerned not having a job, or something to put on my resume to fill the gap of when I was going to be a stay at home parent, was going to hurt me in the future when I wanted to get back into the work force full-time. So, I searched further and ran across the company Appen.

Appen offers speech and search technology services for their clients. They offer part-time work from home positions in web search evaluation, social media evaluation, transcription, and more across the world. The majority of their part time positions are between 5-7 hours a week or 20 hours a week. Since they hire individuals as independent contractors you can apply for different projects that fit your availability. Some positions require certain degrees, but some positions do not require a degree at all.

I have worked for Appen for a year now on one of their social media evaluation projects. I have worked between 5-7 hours a week and brought in an extra $300 or more a month to financially help my family. It might not seem like much, but between all of my other cost saving techniques and working for Appen I have been able to help pay a couple of household bills and add extra spending money to the budget. While I cannot discuss a lot about the position I have held at Appen, due to a sign confidentiality agreement, I can tell you that if you have experience with social media and computers working as a Social Media Evaluator or Web Search Evaluator will not be difficult. If you have degrees in linguistics or speak another language Appen has other opportunities you can apply for as well.

There are some things to be aware of when working as an Independent Contractor for Appen. As an Independent contractor, you receive your paycheck once a month, Appen does not take taxes out of your paychecks so you will need to set aside some of your paycheck every month, and Appen can release you from your contract if they have collected all of their data from you or you are not meeting contracted production goals.

As a stay at home parent looking to bring in extra cash don’t be discouraged. If like me you are not the artsy type, or are not wanting to join a multi-level marketing company, take a look at Appen’s open positions. If Appen is not for you, I want you to know, YOU CAN find a work from home job. You just might have to do some digging.

Below are just some links to Appen’s social media evaluator positions and their positions for those who are bilingual.

Side Note: If for some reason, you do not hear back from Appen when you submit an application, or are not hired there are two other companies that I know of that are competitors of Appen. They are Leapforce and Lionbridge. I have not worked for these companies so I cannot say much about them, but I do know they sometimes have job openings for social media evaluators and web search evaluators.

Happy job hunting!

Bump Club and Beyond’s D.C. 2016 Gearapalooza

Bump Club and Beyond’s D.C. 2016 Gearapalooza

After attending MommyCon earlier this year I wanted to attend Gearapalooza as well to see how it compared. The short and sweet of it is that they are very much a like, and different at the same time.

MommyCon was HUGE it took hours to walk around to every vendor, but it offered so many class/speaking options for parents to sit in on. The swag bag was nice, but the giveaways could have been done better. You can read my full review on MommyCon here.

Gearapalooza on the other hand was A LOT smaller. It is geared towards the new and expecting parents. (Whereas MommyCon is geared towards parents in all stages.) Instead of thousands of people there were maybe 100 or less at Gearapalooza. This helped for participants to be able to chat with the vendors and really ask questions. Some of the vendors present were Britax/BOB, Jane, Sara Wells, Thule, UPPAbaby, and Freshwave.

Another awesome feature of Gearapalooza is The Baby Guy NYC, Jaime Grayson. I have been a follower of his on Facebook for a while now, but never had the chance to meet him in person or hear him speak. He is fabulous! His talk about car seats, how to use them, what makes a good seat, and explaining some that are currently on the market was an eye opener. I already have a kid but did not know about some of the laws or features surrounding car seats. He also spHe was funny, knowledgeable, and extremely nice.(I had to snap a pic with him. Haha!)20161006_210052

The swag bag for Gearapalooza was a little better then MommyCon, but only slightly. I purchased a Platinum ticket which came with a Ergo Adapt baby carrier and gift bag. Other ticket options were the Gold ticket which came with an Ergo nursing pillow and a gift bag, a regular ticket with just a gift bag, and a significant other ticket with no gift bag.

20161009_121407The giveaways at the end though were, hands down, MUCH better. The items given away were comparable to those at MommyCon, but since there were less people attending the event it was less hectic, fair, and you had more of a chance of actually walking away with something.

 

If you are a new or expecting parent I would highly recommend looking into going to a Gearapalooza near you when you get a chance. Tickets to the event would also make a great baby shower gift for a friend or relative. Worth every penny.

**ADDITION! GIVEAWAY CLOSED**

I was very lucky to win a giveaway at the end of Gearapalooza, and I would like to pay the luck and prize forward to someone else. I am no longer breastfeeding so I would love for this PIF to go to someone who is or will be breastfeeding. To enter head over to my facebook page Pretty in baby food the giveaway will run till Nov 1, 2016 and then I will chose a random winner.
The PIF is a 6 month supply of Motherlove More Milk Plus and a Nurturing life gift box that contains some Pregnant Belly Salve, Sitz Bath Spray, Birth & Baby Oil, Nipple Cream, Diaper Rash & Thrush, and a Motherlove tote bag.

 

MommyCon DC 2016 Review

MommyCon DC 2016 Review

This was my first MommyCon, and I must say I had a BLAST! My husband didn’t want to come with me so I took his mother so I could have some Mother-in-law/Daughter-in-law bonding time. It was also a great way to show her all of the exciting things going on in the baby world that either wasn’t around when she was having kids or has changed since. Here are my take aways!

Location: The Convention was located in D.C this year. While I would have preferred something not in the city it was pretty easy to drive to from where I live out side of Baltimore. The Walter E Washington Convention Center was nice. The only down side was there were not as many food vendors in the convention center as I had hoped. While I was adventurous to journey to D.C. for the convention my Mother-in-law and I were not adventurous enough to journey outside the convention center to find food. So it was a good thing that I packed enough snacks for us to eat.

Layout: Layout was easy enough to figure out. I wish all of the vendors were in one area, but they had some across the hall from the big vendor area that we almost missed. (Good thing we made it over there too since one of my most favorite vendors was hiding over there.) The sessions were easy to find and the only thing that we got slightly turned around looking for was the gift bag station.

Staff: All of the staff we met were friendly. Some didn’t know the answers to our questions, but everyone we talked to made an effort to find out the answer.

Vendors: This was my second favorite part about MommyCon. There were so many vendors! It took us a couple of hours to go through the whole vendor section. Some of the vendors had really long lines and we had bypass them and try to get to see them at a different time. The vendor section layout was good no dead ends which meant that the flow of people was not interrupted.

Sessions: There were a lot of information sessions throughout the day but there were only a couple that I actually wanted to attend. I unfortunately missed the one I really wanted to go to called Moving Past Bed-Sharing the Big Transition, but the speaker was kind enough, on the Mommycon Facebook group,  to ask if anyone wanted the information from the session. So hopefully I will get something out of it. My most favorite thing about the day was the Cloth Diapering 101 session presented by Jenn Labit of Cottonbabies. You could tell that Jenn was VERY passionate about the subject of cloth diapering and by the end of the session everyone knew why. It was amazing to learn how much money you can save cloth diapering and how much you can help the environment. The best part of all was at the end when my Mother-in-law, who helps run the Baby Mission at her church, got a chance to speak with Jenn to see if there was a way that she could get some cloth diapers for her Church’s Baby Mission. On the spot Jenn asked if we had a car because she would send us home with some. My Mother-in-law ended up walking away with 73 cloth diapers. Enough cloth diapers to diaper three kids for three years. Needless to say my Mother-in-law cried all the way home that day. The last session we made it to was Car Seat Safety with Mat York. This gentleman was so funny! He made me laugh during his session. I was glad I went because some of the parents had great questions regarding transitions from rear-facing to forward-facing, and transitioning from a booster.

Giveaway’s at the end: The giveaway’s at the end were crazy. There were so many people in a room that should have been bigger. You had to be present to win if your number was called, but half of the giveaway’s weren’t given away by number. While I understand they were trying to giveaway specific items, such as strollers and car seats, to those families that really needed it; having people guess a number between a certain number and then not calling on certain sections of the audience was not the way to go and was not fair. The giveaway’s at the end were my least favorite part of the day, and I love winning free stuff!

My takeaways: Join the Mommycon Facebook group before you go to Mommycon so if you have any questions you can get them answered. Also, sometimes vendors will get on their and do giveaways before the convention even starts. This year Mat York did some facebook live chats with Grovia cloth diapers and Sloomb before the convention started/and during, and was giving away some goodies to some lucky individuals who were apart of the chat. All in all I had a blast. I am still on my MommyCon high today and the event was Saturday. Next year I may even try to make it to some of the VIP sessions the day before. We shall see!

My Top 5 Favorite Vendors: Since there were so many vendors and I cannot list all of them or it would take forever  I have listed my top 5 favorite vendors and their products. They are not in any specific order.

Wild Poppy Hand Wovens: Oh my goodness were these wraps and ring slings gorgeous! All hand-woven and you can tell that the owner Sarah Rawlings put so much love and attention into her work. You can find her here Wild Poppy Hand Wovens

Ginger Bean: Ginger Bean made these incredible dresses that grow as your child grows. Her dresses go from 3 months to 3 years! Holy wow! Here is her website. Ginger Bean Clothing So Cute!

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Grovia Cloth Diapers: As I mentioned above Mat York did a Facebook live chat with the cloth diaper company Grovia before MommyCon.

20160724_101049They have this one diaper called Purrrrect it has unicorns, kittens, and rainbows on it. I loved it so much that I went to go check out their vendor booth and had to go back a couple of times since they were so busy. For my daughters needs, and since I am new to the cloth diapering world, I ended up getting 2 of their hybrid shell starter sets in Chiffon and Haze. I am very excited to start cloth diapering and to see how much money it will save my family. www.grovia.com

 

Meadowlark Diaper Co.: This was my most favorite vendor. The cloth diapers were so cute, and she had leggings for the mom’s to match the diapers! If I had not just purchased my Grovia diapers I would have been all over her leggings and diapers. Her diapers have been added to my daughter’s birthday wish list, and the leggings to my birthday wish list. Meadowlark Diaper Co.

Ardo: Now this company is on the bigger side but as an exclusive pumping mama I had heard about their Calypso breast pump, but had never seen it in person. The ladies at the booth were so nice and informative about their product and I fell in love with this breast pump. 20160723_112722It is a closed system pump that is the quietest pump I have heard. Even my quietest pump that I own makes a little sound and vibrates so you can tell its being used. I could not hear the Calypso at all and I had the sucker all the way up to my ear. There are also these attachments to the flanges that are like pillows for your boobs! HEAVEN. I have not seen that this breast pump is covered by insurance, but make sure you check with your Insurance company first. For me it’s not covered so I am going to start saving my nickles, dimes, and pennies now so that when baby number two rolls around I can splurge and get myself this breast pump, and maybe by that time it will be covered by my insurance. (Crosses fingers) Ardo

 

That’s my review! Thanks again MommyCon for a great day and I look forward to seeing you next year! Make sure to check out my next post on Money Saving Tips on How to Get to The Next MommyCon!