Blog Hobnob Linkup ~ September

 Welcome to the September Edition of a New Linkup!

August Edition

We are back with the September edition of the Hobnob Linkup! Made in a Day‘s former Blog Hop Social has been renamed the Blog Hobnob, and it is a great chance to find other blogs out there and meet new bloggy friends. Come and join us, why don’t you? I have found and connected to some amazing blogger through this hop!

This Blog Hop is a Meet & Greet where you can connect and network with other bloggers in various genres! Link up below and check out other blogs, follow them on social media and leave a nice comment! Super easy to make new friends!

This is a monthly Link Up. It will start on the first day of the month and will stay open until the last day of the month. So stop back by and check out who’s new each week!

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Help Name A New Product

In case you aren’t following me on Instagram (and if you aren’t, please follow me on Instagram!), you probably missed this post:

After struggling for months with diaper changes (twisting, turning, thrashing), I made a harness for Audrey. It was such a success, I made a second one for the changing pad in the nursery too. I’ve decided I will start selling these in my Etsy shop. I just need a name. If you come up with the perfect name, I will give you one for free (your choice of fabric)!

I have made a few updates to it already, and we are working on figuring out about the patentability of it.

Meanwhile, we need help coming up with a name! After putting it out there on Facebook and Instagram, I have quite a lot of names to choose from. I need your help! Please fill out the form below to help us name our product!

If you are interested in purchasing this, there is a place on the form to express interest!

No Regrets

No Regrets

Before I gave birth to the twins, I spent a lot of time getting posts ready to go for this blog. Then, when they were itty bitty and always sleeping, I could blog more. Then, I would blog and craft during nap times or after they went to bed. I also found that I had last minute wrap-up things that I wanted to complete, and I did those while baby wearing. I might have also checked my phone while we were in the playroom and they were bouncing or playing or nursing…

My head was full of to-do lists and cleaning tasks and other things. I couldn’t get on their level because my back and shoulder was injured, so I would sit with my phone in my hand and a baby in the other.

Then I stopped and thought.

What if something were to happen to my babies? Some freak accident? Would all this matter?

No, I wasn’t ignoring them or letting them get into something unsafe. I was doing everything possible to keep them safe and happy and healthy.

But things happen.

And if something were to happen, would I regret my current actions?

Yes.

I would regret looking at the phone instead of my babies while I bottle-fed them or nursed them. I would have hated that I responded to those 14 messages instead of got on my hands and knees and played.

So what am I doing now?

Blogging less (have you noticed it’s not every day anymore?), playing more. Laughing more. Observing more. Reading more. Singing more. Happy more.

Don’t worry, this blog isn’t going anywhere. My work with The Wise Baby and How Do You Do It? isn’t going anywhere.

My babies will be growing up.

And I will be enjoying this time with them while I can. The dishes aren’t done. My face hasn’t seen makeup in months. There are dust bunnies everywhere. But we are having a grand ole time, and I love it!

The Joys of Motherhood

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Anyone that you talk to about babies will tell you “They grow up so fast!” It is totally true. I have to say that I am enjoying every moment, even the hard ones. Here are some of the joys that I get to experience (times two!):

  • soft hands
  • fast-growing nails
  • sounds while nursing
  • diaper changing adventures
  • smiles just for Mommy and Daddy
  • slow-growing hair
  • pawing my chest while nursing
  • eye twinkles
  • reaching hands up to us
  • brightening up a room when Mommy or Daddy comes in

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#IceBucketChallenge and #BathWaterBucketChallenge

We were challenged by Paul and Merelene Valder to take the Ice Bucket Challenge as a part of our Lot 15 Hokies tailgating group. We have decided to donate to Hospice of the Piedmont in the memory of Tim’s Uncle Dave (and our son David’s namesake). We have challenged our twins Audrey and David (we have something special for them), my brothers Tee and Josh, and the University of Richmond radio station, WDCE.

And then…

Audrey and David were challenged (by us) to take the Ice Bucket Challenge. While it isn’t quite safe for babies to take this challenge, they did take the Bath Water Bucket Challenge. They now challenge their baby cousin Matix and baby friend Baxter to take the Bath Water Bucket Challenge. Please Note: All bath water was WARM!

Review: Cleopatra’s Choice Shea Butter


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As a part of a way to live more naturally, we are trying to eat organic, cook more often, use essential oils (over other drugs). As a part of that, I was interested with trying out Shea butter. We received a tub of Shea butter from Cleopatra’s Choice for us to try and review. You can find the listing on Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/b00kqascdg

In my posts, I always like to list some uses of the products I try. Here are some uses that I found:

  • improves many skin conditions: blemishes, wrinkles, eczema, dermatitis
  • treats skin allergies, insect bites, sunburns, frostbites
  • treatments for extreme dry and cracking skin
  • uses as a lip balm
  • put under lipstick to keep it in place
  • mix with a hair conditioner for a deep hair treatment
  • put on feet before you put on socks
  • apply to your belly to reduce stretch marks (before, during, and after pregnancy)
  • use on cuticles
  • rub on insect bites to help relieve itchiness
  • apply to paper cuts to reduce the risk of scar or pain
  • use as a hair sculpture gel
  • use as a carrier oil with your favorite essential oils

So what are my thoughts about this particular Shea butter from Cleopatra’s Choice? It comes in a 1 lb tub-  the same kind of container that you would get a small container of soup from a Chinese restaurant. In that way, I was totally underwhelmed by the packaging. Because of this, when I lifted the top off, I had to be careful not to get Shea butter everywhere. There was a sticker on the top to note that this was the ivory color (instead of the yellow color). It then lists that is is 100% pure and organic, deep absorbing, long lasting hydration, treats dry skin, minor burns, and eczema, does not clog pores or leave skin greasy, has rich amounts of vitamins A and E, helps treat “dreak spots, skin discolorations, stretch marks and blemishes” (spelling mistakes on the packaging?).

After using it, it works just like Shea butter has for me in the past. A little bit goes a LONG way. Will I use it for my go-to moisturizer? Absolutely not. I have never loved the overly-heavy feeling of Shea butter, and I do think that it feels greasy when applied. That being said, I am happy to have it on hand to use for really dry-skin days, as well as a carrier “oil” to mix with my new Young Living Essential Oils.

Although I did not have this brand, I will say that I loved using Shea butter on my stomach during my pregnancy, not that it necessarily helped with stretch marks (which is totally genetic, by the way), but that it reeeeeally helped me on my itchiest days (which were quite often during the 2nd and 3rd trimesters). 

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

9 Months Old!

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I can hardly believe that we have 9 month old babies! It’s been such a blessing to be their mommy and to see the changes that they have gone through in just this one month!

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Things We Love About Audrey

  • the way we can predict that another tooth is about to pop through because of her pursing her lips and spitting
  • the way that she looks at David when they try a new food to see if they should eat it or spit it out (“Brother, do we likes this? Ok, we like this./Oh yeah, it’s awful.”)
  • how she still gets so excited, pumps her arms, and has the biggest smile on her face
  • her fits of giggles when she sees her brother
  • the way she races (crawling) around the playroom, stopping to sit every now and then to see if David is chasing her.
  • how she will whine in her crib until her brother wakes up (and then they talk until we come to get them)
  • how she will pull herself into a standing position onto just about anything
  • her “yelling” at books when they don’t magically open up
  • her sudden kisses- they don’t happen all the time, but when they do, she grabs your face (or David’s head) and gives you the biggest kiss in the world… Heaven!
  • how she is now in 12 month PJs because of her long body
  • the extreme challenge in changing a diaper or clothes
  • Audrey’s love of her new mini Cabbage Patch Kid Desi

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Things We Love About David

  • after 4 months of teething like a champ, he now has two teeth (7/27 and 7/30)!
  • the way that David army crawls soooo fast
  • how he chases after his sister around the playroom
  • the way he now opens books and flips through the pages
  • how he still loves to be on his back more than anything
  • the graceful way that he goes from a sitting position to crawling
  • his sideways GQ pose- like he wants to sit himself up, but he’s ok just posing
  • how he will whine in his crib until his sister wakes up (and then they talk until we come to get them)
  • his kissing sound show that he wants more food or more kisses (depending on the situation)
  • how he will stick out his tongue and blow raspberries when he is finished eating or drinking his bedtime bottle
  • how he is now in 12 month PJs because of his long body
  • the extreme challenge in changing a diaper or clothes (we thought we had escaped it with him, but it started very recently)
  • how, if you give him 4 pieces of food he will try to put them all in his mouth… and succeed
  • how he talks with his mouth full
  • his gigantic grin that he gives his daddy when he gets home from work

Young Living Essential Oils

Disclaimer: I have not been paid for these statements. All thoughts and opinions are my own. If there are any incorrect statements, I will edit them as soon as I am made aware.


A week ago, I had an online Essential Oils (EO) 101 Party/Class with Angela Bickford, a fellow MOM. I had been talking with her about oils for months, and I was finally ready to bite the bullet and get my Young Living Kit.

What is Young Living?

Young Living is a company that has been in business for many, many years, harvesting and selling essential oils for personal use. One reason that I was drawn to them is their Seed to Seal process (they grow the plants, harvest, and then bottle and sell the oils). I like that it is all with one company without working with middlemen along the way. It is very controlled and YL is extremely careful with their process. Fun fact: 2% of essential oils sold in the US are suitable for medicinal purposes, and YL sells 98% of them! You can find out more about the Seed to Seal process here.

Without bashing other oil companies, here is a problem with some others. Most EO are extracted from the plants using high heat and high pressure with some chemicals. The final product will still have the smell, but it won’t carry the same therapeutic qualities of the oils. There also aren’t any standards in labeling essential oils. It can actually be a diluted oil, but can still (legally) be called 100% Pure Essential Oil. Yikes! Usually, you can spot these by looking at the price. Essential Oils should be more expensive ($15-$150 a bottle) because of the process and rarity in extracting the oils from the plants. While the FDA doesn’t have standards, they have asked Gary Young (the founder of Young Living) to help create standards for essential oil labeling.

How do I use essential oils?

There are 4 main ways to use essential oils: inhale, diffuse, topical application, or ingest. You will want to be careful with each of these options, as some should only be used a certain way. For instance, some oils are considered “hot” oils and should be diluted before applying topically. Some are not safe to ingest. Some can be used in all four ways safely (as long as you have a good, trustworthy oil company). Before using any oils, it is always best to do your research, especially if you take any medications (as some oils react with medications).

How To Use

How can I purchase oils?

You have a few options. You can purchase individual oils at the retail rate. If you have a smaller budget or only want to try an oil or two, this is a good option. Occasionally, some distributors may offer sales, but for the most part, assume that you will be spending the retail rate plus tax and shipping. You can see the products here.

If you just can’t make up your mind about which oils you want, I would HIGHLY encourage you to get one of the kits. There are some options here with the amount and size of the kits, but it will give you the most bang for your buck, because you will also get a wholesale membership as well. As a wholesale member, you will save 24% off of the retail rate of future purchases.

What is the kit?

You have some options here. You can get the starter kits that vary in size and price ($40-$150). The Basic Starter Kit ($40) has mostly sample sizes, as well as some business literature for you (in case you want to sell YL). The Basic Plus Starter Kit ($75) is similar to the Basic Starer Kit, but it also includes a diffuser. The next level (and the one that I chose) is the Premium Starter Kit ($150), because it comes with the samples, literature, and diffuser, but it also includes the Everyday Oils collection, which is 10 different 5 mL of oils (Joy™, Frankincense, Lemon, Lavender, Peppermint, Purification, PanAway, Peace & Calming®, Thieves®, and Valor®) . Remember, with these kits, you also can purchase anything you want at the 24% discount.

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If you get the kit, do you need to sell it?

The short answer is “no,” but you can become a distributor if you want, simply because you have bought the kit. After purchasing the kit, there are no requirements to sell anything. To retain your wholesale rate, you just have to spend $50 (at that wholesale rate, remember) within a year.

If you do decide to sell it to make a commission and bonuses, you don’t have to do anything extra to “sign up.” There are some minimums to meet in order to make a commission in a month, however. I am still learning this, so I won’t write too much. I’m actually not interested in this end of it, but I have a great enroller/sponsor (Angela Bickford) who would be more than willing to fill you in on the details. Let me know if you want more information and her contact information.

What oils should I start with?

Obviously, there is a reason why the Everyday Oils collection comes in the Premium Starter Kit.

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It has 10 of the best, most-used oils (and some of my favorites). You can read about them in the online guide.

Benefits and Uses of Lavender Oil

We originally started with lavender oil, because it has so many uses. We used it for teething and calming the babies, but it is really considered the jack-of-all-trades of oils. I wrote a post about using lavender oil that you may find helpful.
Benefits and Uses of Thieves Oil
There are pure oils and then oil blends (a mixture of pure oils). Young Living also sells a blend of oils called Thieves, which is another one that I have been DYING to get my hands on. I am able to get it in my kit, which is awesome. It is to help with all kinds of cleaning and disinfection and heading off of germs.
Benefits and Uses of Purification
Another blend that I’m excited about is Purification (also in the kit), because it is supposed to be great for keeping mosquitos away. It is also something that I want to try for clogged milk ducts.
Another great all-purpose oil is Tea Tree Oil (also called Melaleuca). We have used this in different ways for acne-prone skin (as a spot treatment, face and body wash, and as a daily face mist). We are also going to start using this for all-purpose cleaning as well. You can read about different uses for tea tree/melaleuca oil on this post.
A lot of these are safe for kids as well, which is why we are getting into it- less chemicals around them. There is also a set of KidScent Oil Collection that has sadly been sold out since it was first introduced. These are pre-mixed and diluted and ready for your little ones! As soon as they become available again, I am going to pounce.
Here are some snapshots from ADropAtAThyme.com about the others oils that come in the premium kit, just so you can see all that these basic oils (and blends) can do:
Benefits and Uses of Valor Benefits and Uses of Peppermint OIl Benefits and Uses of Peace and Calming Benefits and Uses of Pan Away Benefits and Uses of Lemon Oil Benefits and Uses of Joy Benefits and Uses of Frankincense
That’s it for the oils that are included in the premium kit. Here are some other snapshots of oils that are not in the premium kit:
Benefits of Melaleuca Benefits of Basil Benefits of Balsam Fir Benefits of Di-Gize

Other Questions

Do you have any other questions? Write them in the comments, and I will add them here and answer them (to the best of my ability).

 

 

Review: Mandala Yoga Massage Balls


Disclaimer: I received the following product for review. This post contains affiliate links.

Mandala Logo

Ever since I became pregnant with the twins, I started having shoulder blade and back pain. After a year of off-and-on physical therapy, we discovered that it was probably due to the changes in my body due to the pregnancy (something with my spine slipping out of alignment), and it just keeps getting irritated because of the leaning over, bending, holding, and breastfeeding. An exercise or stretch will help for a time, but sooner or later the pain will come back.

When I had the opportunity to try out the Mandala Yoga Massage Balls, I was excited to give them a test.

Mandala Massage Balls

They came quickly through the mail in a regular package without many directions, so I went to their website to get some information about usage. On the care page, it recommended that you wash them in warm soapy water and then towel dry (a good practice for anything new that comes into your home).

They remind me of lacrosse balls in size, but because they are all rubber, they have a bit more give and squishiness to them, which feels much better for massaging sore muscles.

Unlike other massagers or techniques, you are meant to put the massagers on the pressure point and then let your body weight and gravity take over. You don’t have to roll around (although you certainly can) to have them work effectively. You would ideally stay on the ball for 2-3 minutes to let them really work out the muscle before moving off.

They work because of myofascial release, which is a soft tissue therapy, meant to treat of skeletal muscle pain and immobility. It is also called myofascial trigger point therapy, which is very similar to the massage that I get through physical therapy. As part of my treatment, I was instructed to use a tennis ball to help pinpoint the painful area and put pressure on it. Let me tell you, however, that these work so much better! The flexibility that they have, mixed with the firmness helps to put the right amount of pressure on the pain.

Mandala Tight Hip Flexor

Mandala Foot Pain Release

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For more information, check out the following:


Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theyogamassageball

 

Website: http://www.theyogamassageball.com

 

Tips: http://www.theyogamassageball.com/tips/

 

HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR MANDALA YOGA MASSAGE BALLS

Thanks again for ordering from Mandala the Yoga Massage Ball.

Upon receiving your new set of Mandala Yoga Massage Balls, we recommend taking a moment to give them a quick wash in warm soapy water and towel dry.

Made of solid vulcanized rubber, Mandala balls are ready to use right of the box.  Giving them a wash, though, will ensure 100% hygiene for personal use. As you continue to use and enjoy your Mandala balls, repeat this easy cleaning process to maintain the highest level of hygiene…another great benefit to using Mandala balls.

If you have any questions about care, don’t hesitate to contact us here at Mandala.

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

Guest Post: Redoing a Vanity for Under $50

I am so excited to share a post written by my sister-in-law, Lauryn. She and her husband (Tim’s brother, Kevin) just bought their first house and have been amazing with their home renovations. I really hope that she will do some more guest posts, as they have done a great job!

Vanity Before-After (1)

Hello fellow blog readers! Dory (my sister-in-law) asked I write a post on my husband’s and my recent DIY of my vanity. We moved into our first home just a couple months ago and I finally have room to have a vanity again! My mom picked this one up at an antique shop in Warrenton, VA, and brought it down once we moved in.

Vanity Before - DoyleDispatch.com

The vanity is in great shape including the huge mirror attached! It sat in our garage for about a month until we decided to try our hand at painting furniture.

What you’ll need for this project:

  • vanity : a gift but was $230
  • two orbital sanders (if you have a helper): borrowed for free
  • medium grit sandpaper: borrowed for free
  • paint: $30 (we overestimated and only used ~$15 worth)
  • brushes: already had
  • stencil of your choice: $12 (but came in a packet with others)
  • paint of your choice (for stenciling): $2
  • painter’s tape: already had
  • foam paint brush: $5
  • drawer pulls (to jazz it up): $67 for 6 pulls

Total for project with vanity: $346

Total for project without vanity (using a piece of furniture on hand): $116

Kevin borrowed his dad’s two orbital sanders and we went to work on the vanity first, turning it over on its sides to make sure we sanded underneath and any hard-to-reach crevices. Several times, for the more intricate or thin parts of the vanity, we went ahead and just used a piece of sand paper (medium for the entire piece).
 Next up came the drawers: these we whizzed through as the finish was only on the front. We went ahead and sanded the sides and the inside lip of the drawers. Once completely sanded we broke out the paint (Saffron Strands by Behr) and went to town. We skipped the primer (it’s included in the paint) and applied two coats. Continuing with the drawers we painted the front, inside lip and sides again with two coats.

Vanity Painted - DoyleDispatch.com

Then I realized just how mustardy yellow it really was and DID NOT like it. (The fluorescent light in the garage didn’t help either). I didn’t think the whole “just-one-color” thing through and found it to be just wayyy to grandma-y (yes, that’s a word) looking with the shape of the vanity and the mustard yellow.

I spoke with my mom that night and explained we sanded and painted the vanity but the color was just too bold and how I was going to sand it again the next day to re-paint it. She suggested white washing the vanity with a cloth just to subdue the color which gave me an idea! I headed to Michael’s the next day to pick out a stencil for the front. I really like the moroccan print lately so I found a stencil with this pattern then headed to Home Depot and picked up a jar of Martha Stewarts Metallic Paint in Thundercloud. I headed home and out to the garage. Kevin and I decided to try something new again, stenciling furniture.

Vanity Supplies - DoyleDispatch.com

Kevin wanted to be very precise with the stenciling so he measured out the center for each drawer then placed one of the shapes in the middle (so the middle of the drawer would have a centered shape). Once all the centers were found, I went ahead and taped the stencil down with some blue painter’s tape and was sure none of the stencil was lifting up off the curved shape of the drawer. Once the area was covered using Martha Stewart’s foam brush, I quickly lifted the stencil and let it dry for a couple seconds while I grabbed the next drawer. This went on for six drawers. Once I was through I grabbed the first drawer I worked on and placed the stencil over just two or three of the stenciling I had done prior in order to line up the shapes and proceeded to cover the remainder of the drawer (which involved repeating this last part 3 times).

DIY Vanity Stencil - DoyleDispatch.com

We moved everything up to our master bedroom once it was fully dry. I still wanted to get pulls for the drawers but hadn’t picked them up yet. A couple weeks and an Anthropologie 20% off sale later, we now have some pretty snazzy drawer pulls on the vanity! It was really easy to install the pulls because we had already found the center of the drawer, all we had to do was find the middle shape and drill away! This removed the risk of not having the pulls lined up once the drawers were stacked, too.

Vanity Completed - DoyleDispatch.com

I hope this encourages anyone who is putting off either painting furniture or stenciling furniture! All you need is a couple afternoons (and an extra pair of hands certainly helps the process go a bit faster)!

Tips:

  • Do not skip the sanding step. It’s time-intensive but worth not having a “gunky/thick” feeling/look to the furniture
  • Skip the primer step since you’re sanding, more than likely you’ll need two coats of paint regardless
  • If possible, use two sets of hands :)
  • Remove the stencil once painted after a couple seconds and move onto the next one drawer. By the time you’re through with each set of stenciling move back to the first drawer as the thin coat of paint dries quickly!
  • Be sure to center the stencil by measuring each drawer so the stencils line up

 

Isn’t the “after” just amazing?! I love how it turned out! Thanks so much, Lauryn, for this great tutorial! Make sure to check out her new blog From NOVA to SWVA! Yay! My blogginess is rubbing off on more family members!