The Importance Of Self Care During Pregnancy

The topic of self care is trendy right now but there is much more to it than a bandwagon. Finally, an idea with more substance than ‘adulting’ or the apparently vital role Target plays in our lives. The new year brings high hopes, willingness to embrace change and goals, goals, goals! This year, after an extremely emotionally demanding 2016, my main goal is self improvement. This resolution was borne out of necessity. With my first baby arriving soon there is simply no choice to continue in the mental state I was in. Stress is not good for your growing baby so it is incredibly important to ensure you have a safe, stress-free and happy pregnancy. Taking time for yourself is easier said than done but if I could prevent even one person from feeling the strain I have felt then I would be content.

Self Care During Pregnancy

Whether your stress is a direct result of work, relationship issues, financial problems etc. it does not matter. The physical affects of stress on your developing baby can be detrimental to their mental health in years to come. Even at this point I feel a large amount of guilt for inflicting my sadness and worries onto my baby. Clawing your way out of a rut isn’t easy and casting aside fears is less so. With every kick and hiccup from inside I am reminded and determined to be the best version of myself. Both for the baby and for my own happiness. Sometimes you will come to realize that your expectations of support are nothing more than expectation and in that situation you must be everything you need by yourself.

“So what can I do to minimize stress?”

First of all, like any issue, recognize that you need help and be able to admit it. Even if only to yourself. Fortunately with self care, YOU can help you. All it takes is remembering be to intentional.

Self care practices range from the tiniest trivial activity to life altering decisions and you get to choose what is best for you. Nobody knows you better than yourself! Simply put, do more of the things you love, the things that make you feel warm and fuzzy inside. If that means taking a vacation or just putting on freshly laundered pjs then do it and do it solely for you.

As a highly sensitive and introverted person, time outs are a necessity for me. Unfortunately time away from the chaos doesn’t simply equate to positive, revitalizing me-time. I can often spend it in turmoil with a very messy, over analytical mindset. This serves me no purpose and adds to my woes. For self care to be legitimate and genuinely help you, you must be intentionally selfish and make it entirely about you.

Self Care Activities For A Happy Healthy Pregnancy

These activities are so easy but we often ignore them. Sometimes we just need a little nudge! What are some of your favorite self care practices?

 

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No-Sew Novelty Cloud Pillow

This blog has given me a serious case of craft-itis! I get so much inspiration and motivation from reading hundreds of other blogs every month that I now have a massive craft bug and I am thoroughly enjoying it. This week I tried my hand at a simple cloud pillow for Baby’s nursery. I cannot sew. At all. Even a button, it WILL fall off again. I despise sewing. What I can do however, is handle a small, low-temperature hot glue gun!

DIY No Sew Cloud Pillow

People often ask me if I’ve chosen a theme for Baby’s nursery and honestly I had not, nor had I ever considered one. Unless you can call ‘gender neutral’ a theme. Although I love to decorate and sit back to admire my handiwork, I get bored and over analytical. For me, something overly specific was an absolute no-no.

Let me tell you, choosing gender neutral decor is easier said than done. It seems these days that a lot of grey and rustic/outdoorsy decor is considered gender neutral. I personally think that stuff, although beautiful, is far more boyish than girly. After I had decided on a white crib and re-purposed my old TV cabinet into a white changing unit (check it out here!), I found the cutest cloud door handles on Etsy. What’s both baby appropriate and gender neutral? The sky! So I settled on clouds, stars, the moon etc. as my central ‘theme that isn’t a theme’.

This easy peasy no-sew cutie will be complete in 30 minutes and costs less than $10-20 depending on where you buy your supplies and the quality you desire!

You will need:
  • White fabric (cotton, felt, fleece, velour …it’s up to you!)
  • Poly-fil Stuffing 12oz (o r see amount requirements for different projects on the package!)
  • Low-temp hot glue gun + extra glue sticks
  • Sharp scissors or ideally a fabric shears
  • A sharpie to draw your cloud shape

There is no distinct pattern for this project. I completely winged it and you can too!

Method:

On a clean, flat surface fold your fabric in half and freehand draw a simple cloud shape on your fabric. If drawing is not your forte then find a shape to copy or trace with a quick google search

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Once you’re happy with the shape, cut it out (both sides)

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Since the sides you have cut may have sharpie marks showing then make sure you glue this side up! Make sure both pieces line up and apply a thin, clean line of glue around the edge. Carefully glue edge to edge in small stages 4/5ths of the way around

Don’t forget to stop, you have to leave a hole for filling!

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When the glue is dry and you’re happy there’s no missed spots ie, holes, then turn it inside out. The reason for a thin, evenly glued edge is to avoid puckering. It may still appear puckered in spots but you can iron those out!

Start stuffing the pillow carefully, ensuring it’s totally filled! It may take a lot depending on how large you made it. Work out the bumps as you go.

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The trickiest part is sealing the last gap since the fabric is now the right way around. Take your time and slowly glue it as neatly as possibly. Rushing will result in hot glue all over your hands and the outside of the pillow!

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DIY Baby Changing Station Transformation

I don’t need to tell you that babies are expensive little beings. It is rather overwhelming looking around your home and realizing just how much you need to buy for baby. I think the worst kind of baby gear is the stuff that lasts five minutes and is then no longer of any use. Like a bassinet or a changing table.

DIY Changing Table Transformation

I was lucky to have an old TV cabinet sitting in my garage that had the perfect potential for a changing unit. This was achieved by simply changing the color! I was able to create a beautiful piece of furniture for the nursery that can be used as both a changing table and later, a storage unit. What I love about re-purposing a small cabinet is the versatility of the end result. You could remove the doors and add decorative storage boxes to make it more gender/theme specific or you can also choose to  keep the doors and hide boring necessities behind them.

DIY Changing Station Transformation

DIY Changing Station Transformation

I am doing the latter. I have decided to turn this into the ultimate baby changing station! The upper shelf which is usually for DVD players, game consoles and the like will be a place to store basics like onesies/bibs/burp cloths and the inevitable spare outfits we will need with some changes! Behind the doors there is one shelf which will be home to endless diapers, wipes and also health and bath products. All I am really adding to this piece is a standard changing pad.

For such a huge transformation and total re-purpose, this project is the easiest I have ever done. It had two steps.

I have two words people. CHALK. PAINT.

DIY Changing Station Transformation

Paint that magic potion directly onto your dust-free, un-sanded wood and watch it transform! Granted, it took four or five coats but if you are not in a rush and have patience then you can get away without prepping. I underestimated how many coats it would need and I went through two tubs before I gave in and bought a bigger one to finish it. If in doubt, buy the bigger tin! To save time and effort you can sand and fully prep the furniture from the start. The reason I didn’t was because I began during Summer and therefore in the height of my allergy season. It just wasn’t worth the agony in my eyes and the sneezing fits! Once you are happy with the coverage you can use a clear wax to seal and protect it.

I’m SO happy with the way this unit turned out and even happier that I have a piece of nursery furniture that cost me $25! All I purchased was the paint, wax and door knobs 🙂

DIY Changing Station Transformation

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My Favorite Family Friendly Halloween Movies + Handy List!

Hey Y’all! ABC Family or Freeform as it’s now called (ick) has started it’s 13 Nights of Halloween movie extravaganza which means only one thing. THE CHRISTMAS MOVIES ARE NEXT. Just kidding. Sort of.

I hate when the season ends and I find I have missed one from my list of favorites. I’m so particular about my holiday traditions that I will not stray from the timeline in which I do them so I have to wait a whole other year for a second chance!

I’m giving away too much of my crazy right now…

Anyway, I’ve thrown this list together to refer to. On it you will find all my favorite family-friendly Halloween movies with a few bonus ones for the adults. I don’t like gore or really scary movies so these are just quirky and slightly spooky, psychological thrillers.

Family Friendly Halloween Movies

Don’t forget to check out out my recent post chock full of ideas for hosting The Ultimate Halloween Party!

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Car Essentials For A Long Road Trip

Ah the days of living in Ireland when I was blissfully unaware of the great American road trip and all it entails! When I would climb into the car and hit the road from Waterford to Mayo and think that 5 hours on the road was FOREVER. Now a five hour road trip is like a brief Sunday spin to me.

Car Essentials For A Long Road Trip

In the last 18 months we have driven over 11,000 miles (props to my husband who did ALL of that as I waited for my license!). From Georgia to Alabama and Florida multiple times and to Missouri and Ohio for special occasions. Soon we embark on a 21 hour journey from Northern Wisconsin to Georgia. I am now a seasoned veteran of the great state-wide road trip!

Aside from the back aching pain from sitting in car seats for extended periods of time, there are many obstacles you could run into on a long road trip. I’ve compiled this guide of essentials to make your journey as comfortable and seemingly quick as possible!

For Kids

  • If you’re fancy, seat back entertainment systems loaded with animated movies
  • Tablets or iPods. Even for the anti-technology parent, it will keep them relatively quiet and save your sanity
  • Travel versions of their favorite classic board games
  • Activites (coloring, Etch-A-Sketch, mess free markers etc.)
  • Books (stories, puzzles, quiz etc.)
  • Favorite comfort item whether it be a toy, blanket or pillow
  • A map of where you are traveling to point out locations and educate them along the way (unless you don’t want to hear, “where are we NOW?” every 5 minutes!)
  • Stomach friendly snacks
  • Water
  • Sick bags (sorry for the TMI but it’s that or spend ages cleaning up at the roadside)
  • Small washcloth to dampen and place on forehead if they feel ill

For Pets

  • Front seat barrier or hammock to keep Fido from clambering in on top of the driver
  • A canvas/mesh travel bag for a small dog or pet safety belt clip for a larger dog’s harness to keep him secure
  • Blankets
  • Water bowl with enough bottled water for the length of the journey
  • Food
  • Waste bags
  • Towel
  • Dog cologne (yes, it may sound weird but if you make a pit stop and pup gets wet then you’re completing the rest of your journey with the strong aroma of wet dog – fabulous!)

For The Car

  • Get a service and have your oil changed in advance
  • Jump Cables
  • Contact numbers for roadside assistance
  • Satellite Navigation System
  • I like the WAZE app for checking on potential upcoming hazards/traffic delays
  • Cigarette lighter USB adapter for charging your devices
  • Power bank for your phone
  • Car freshener. Road smells, farm smells, in-car smells…just have one!
  • Car seat organizer to hang on the back of the front seats and contain all the kids activities. No more “Where’s myyyyyy….?”
  • A map. A good old fashioned paper map!
  • An emergency kit in the back stocked with a first aid kit, towel, wet wipes, sun screen, umbrella, snacks and lots of bottled water

For Your Sanity

  • Dress comfortably but appropriately. You may leave in snow and arrive in the tropics or vice versa.
  • Your choice of entertainment (books, audio books, magazines, mobile devices loaded with movies/e-books/music playlists etc.)
  • Camera/Video camera. It might be fun to vlog your drive. Unless tensions are running high then it will at least provide evidence afterwards…
  • A blanket. Unless you have dual control heating then one may be hotter/colder than the other and the driver gets to be most comfortable in my eyes
  • A pillow. I keep a small one to place behind my back, to sleep against or to put under my feet when my legs get restless
  • Fluffy socks. You know the fuzzy bed ones? They keep cold feet toasty and are super comfy!
  • Snacks that won’t cause any discomfort
  • Gum (chewing it will take your mind off a sick stomach if you don’t follow the above!)
  • Gallons of hand sanitizer. I don’t even need to tell you about the condition of some of the restrooms you will stop at along the way.
  • Wet wipes to freshen your face/body throughout the drive
  • A cooler stocked with water/iced coffee (for that good caffeine!). Take a flask full of hot coffee/tea if iced isn’t your style. Avoid carbonated drinks.
  • Sunglasses and lip balm are two small things I often forget but make my journey very uncomfortable – don’t make the same mistake.

 

My greatest tip of all would be to just relax. So many times I have been anxious over arrival and hotel check-in times that I have found  those are the journeys where you run into 2 hour stand-stills on the Interstate. Certainly plan ahead places for pit-stops and places to sleep that night but be flexible in the fact that although you may leave at 6am for a 10 hour drive, an arrival time of 6pm is not out of the realms of possibility. Allow for traffic, roadworks, extended stops etc. Life happens. Go with it! Play old school games like eye spy and count license plates. One of my favorite past times in the car is to read ridiculous billboards aloud to my husband and destroy every country music lyric there ever was by speaking it and analyzing the ridiculousness.

For example,

“First thing we make you feel better. Next stop we pull it all together. I’ll keep you warm like a sweater. Hold on forever”

WHAT?!

If you have a long road trip soon, happy travels my lovelies!

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