Mother’s Day 2020 Book Guide

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Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Unsplash
12 books for all the moms in your life

Nothing says living through quarantine while raising two young kids at home while simultaneously trying to work like not writing a new blog post for TWO MONTHS!

Coronavirus, am I right?

I truly hope everyone is staying safe and healthy and maintaining your sanity. This has been an experience unlike any other.

But I’m not here to write about COVID-19.

Instead, I wanted to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the launch of my book this month! I can’t believe it’s been a year since Sugar-Free Mom to Be was released into the world, hopefully giving other T1D women hope for a healthy pregnancy.

Since May also hosts Mother’s Day, I thought I would compile a list of excellent books for moms of any kind.

*Please know that this post contains affiliate links, meaning at no extra cost to you, I will get a tiny percentage of any profits of purchased items made through that link. Click the book photo to learn more.

For New and Expecting Mothers

A comprehensive and judgement-free pregnancy companion: Nurture is the only all-in-one pregnancy and birthing book for modern mothers-to-be and their partners who want a more integrative approach. Author Erica Chidi Cohen has assisted countless births and helped hundreds of families ease into their new roles through her work as a doula. Nurture covers everything from the beginning months of pregnancy to the baby’s first weeks.

For Creative Mamas

“Balance motherhood and creative pursuits! Women and new mothers are constantly encountering the message that they can never do anything for themselves once they have children. This conversational book is like brunch with girlfriends, offering you friendly advice, community encouragement, and tips on carving time out for creative endeavors. Meet women who not only defied the “no more time to be an artist” stereotype but found motherhood gave them focus, confidence, and efficiency in their art and creative endeavors. Becoming mothers renewed a sense of purpose in their creative pursuits, and by prioritizing this need to create, they became more patient and better mothers to their children. Interview questions cover a range of topics, including early days and creative work, community and vulnerability, and tactics for regular creative practice. Whether you read it front to back or pick it up for a 5-minute dose of encouragement, this is the encouragement you can lean on for balancing family life and art in your own way.”

For Loss Mamas

“The death of a child fractures the natural order of the world. No matter the amount of faith, positive vibes, or strength you possess, having your child precede you in death will leave you burdened with questions and threaten to leave you defeated. Armed with kindness, love, and a better understanding of your new battles, this book will present you with artistry to validate your emotions, find your new mission, and create your song of freedom your heart is desperately fighting for. If you are overwhelmed with grief or if you are seeking to assist someone else throughout their grief journey, Still Fighting provides outlets of self reflection, prayer and planning, and profound prospective as you conquer your battles as a bereaved parent.”



Embrace invites us to explore the grief surrounding pregnancy loss. Sharing her own painful experiences, Liz Mannegren gently creates an open and honest discussion about the mess and heartache such devastation creates. As we allow Christ to redeem each uncomfortable ounce of this journey, we find freedom and hope. Each chapter ends with a series of journaling prompts that encourage reflection, gratitude, and healing.”

For Moms Battling Baby Sleep

Bedtime, the Ultimate Battle is a concise and humorous tool that even the most sleep-deprived parents will love. It contains the meat and potatoes of sleep solutions for your baby that you can easily in the middle of the night, without worrying about heartburn.

Bedtime, the Ultimate Battle includes more than ninety tips and tricks and discusses common nighttime hurdles such as:

  • Sleep training
  • Getting baby to nap when they don’t want to
  • Weaning babies who breastfeed to sleep
  • Handling sleep regressions like a champ
  • and more!”

For Faith Moms

Sacred Walk of Motherhood -a 21-day motherhood journal- it seems that the Proverbs 31 woman is who so many of us moms strive to be like. But motherhood is hard. And so often, it feels like, no matter how hard we strive, we will never quite reach that goal.It is my prayer that this journal will be an encouragement to you. To show you that God is walking this journey with you. That He chose you, He hand-picked you. You. To be the mother to your children. I pray that you will utilize the journal pages as a way to be intentional with your prayers and goals. And that you will enjoy the beautiful artwork as you write these scriptures on your heart.”

50 Ideas For A Great Life is a friendly guide to a life packed with fulfillment, love, and meaning. By reading it, you’ll learn manageable steps on what to accept, change, and remove to improve your life. With the ideas and personal anecdotes, you’ll explore strategies to level up your career, health, and relationships.”

 

How Are You Feeling, Momma? is a sigh of relief as you come to realize you are not alone in how you feel. This book is a collection of 31 short reflections giving you a peek into the inner life of Shelby and Lisa as they share all the emotions they’ve grappled with as moms over many years. In each chapter, you will read two perspectives on a specific emotion and corresponding Psalm scripture. One captures the emotion from Shelby’s experience as a Christian mom and the other from Lisa’s vantage point as a Jewish step-mom and grandma. With vulnerability and a hefty dose of wit, Shelby and Lisa will:
-Inspire you to lean into and get real about your feelings
-Give you both a Christian and Jewish perspective on each emotion
-Encourage you to find comfort in knowing you aren’t alone in how you feel
-Help you connect the pleadings in the Psalms to the pleadings in your soul”


“In Present over PerfectNew York Times best-selling author Shauna Niequist invites you to consider the landscape of your own life, and what it might look like to leave behind the pressure to be perfect and begin the life-changing practice of simply being present, in the middle of the mess and the ordinariness of life.”

For Any Mom


“In this book you’ll find heartwarming essays about identity, adoption, body image, miscarriage, friendship, faith, infertility, and more. The Magic of Motherhood is a curated collection of honest stories that weave together the love, joy, and magnificent heartache of motherhood. Instead of offering advice, the writers offer something even better: their hearts.” 

The book sits on my nightstand and I have read it over the past year or so. I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, I’ve felt connected and not alone in motherhood. It’s an excellent compilation of essays and a beautiful book in its design.

And of course, for T1D Moms

In this memoir, get personal insight into Kendra’s pregnancy as a type 1 diabetic. In search of information on what pregnancy entails for a type 1 diabetic mother, Kendra set out on documenting her own experience during her pregnancy. Touching on topics such as insulin resistance, perinatologist visits, and managing tight HbA1c levels, Kendra hopes her experience connects with other type 1 diabetic mothers and provides some insight on what to expect. This is a personal account of one diabetic’s experience and does not offer any medical advice. This memoir captures the thoughts and emotions of the author during her first T1D pregnancy.


“Thinking about having a baby but worried about your type 1 or type 2 diabetes? There’s a reason for concern: uncontrolled diabetes can lead to health complications for both women and their children. But keeping a tight rein on your blood sugars before and during pregnancy can help reduce if not eliminate the risks. Balancing Pregnancy with Pre-Existing Diabetes explains exactly how to have the healthiest pregnancy possible while balancing the rigors of insulin, diet, exercise, and blood sugar control that are the foundation of diabetes management.” 

I found Cheryl’s book about halfway or so through my first pregnancy and it is a wonderful resource.

Whether you are treating yourself for Mother’s Day or looking to gift a mom in your life who loves to read, any one of these books would be a great gift.

I Got a Puppy! Here are My Must-Have Puppy Items

*This post contains affiliate links, which means, at no extra cost to you, I will earn a tiny royalty if you click on the link and make a purchase. That said, these views are my own.

Because I’m certifiably crazy or a masochist, I decided it would be a good idea to add a puppy to our circus. Whazza, whazza, whaaaaa???!!!

Ever since our dear Toby died about five months ago, things just haven’t been the same in our house. Don’t get me wrong, it was kind of nice having just one dog, and she’s very well behaved, but it was clear she needed a companion. She spent all day and night laying around sleeping. In the process, she gained almost ten pounds! Me and baby girl got trim down a little.

I’ve been stalking a dozen or so dog rescue groups and shelters and saw an adorable dog flash on my Facebook feed about a week ago. He was so cute – a mix of Chihuahua and Dachshund. He was small like my husband was wanting, and young. He seemed perfect.

I quickly filled out and submitted an application for him, and less than an hour later a nice lady called me to let me know I was approved. He was located at a small humane society in Kansas, about a two hours’ drive away. I wouldn’t be able to get down to see him for a few days, so they held him for me.

Saturday rolled around and me, my mom, our resident dog, and my four year old piled into the car for a little day trip to potentially meet our new dog and bring him home.

I was worried about how our dog Joey would react. She’s selective of dogs and I’ve never had a small dog, so I didn’t know how it would go with our 60 pound girl.

It turns out that tiny little dog wasn’t a fan of our big girl. I was disappointed but not entirely surprised. I was ready to get back in the car to head home empty handed when one of the shelter ladies asked if I’d be interested in another puppy who would be about 30-40 pounds. This was a larger dog than my husband was wanting, but I decided to look anyway since I had made the trip.

And it was love at first sight for both me and our dog Jo.

Joey and our puppy, Coco, getting introduced at the shelter

They brought out this little black and white girl who was wagging her long, skinny tail and peeing everywhere in excitement.

Jo’s demeanor did a complete 180. She was wagging her little nub of a tail and sniffing and wanting to play with the little pup, who was about 17 pounds.

I knew she’d be coming home with us. My son loved playing with all the toys with her and she loved him right back. It was clear she was the one we had been waiting for.

Coco in her favorite spot on the couch

Yet, when bringing home a puppy or any new animal to your home, you can’t stop your stomach from flopping around and guessing whether you are making a huge mistake. Change is hard. And she was a puppy at just four months old.

It had been well over ten years since I had dealt with raising a puppy, but it is just like riding a bike. Housetraining, chewing, and obedience training has given me a new little project.

I decided to put together this list of must-haves for anyone considering getting a puppy or just brought home their new addition.

Chew Toys

Just like a teething baby, puppies like to chew. ON. EVERYTHING. Except dog babies have razor-sharp dagger teeth. When bringing home a young puppy, make sure your house is stocked with a variety of toys, some specifically designed for them to chew on. And remove any items in your home that you don’t want them to destroy – like shoes. We have moved all of our shoes out of her reach to keep her from chewing on them. This helps eliminate the bad habit of chewing on your stuff and not making a game of chasing your puppy down to snatch it from their grasp.

I ordered this chew toy that is specifically designed for puppy chewing. It’s small and a softer material that the regular hard plastic bones. Both my new puppy and my older resident dog LOVE it. But note, it is designed for puppies and NOT large dogs who are strong chewers. My older dog has chewed off one end already, so we have to monitor when the puppy plays with it.

This teether is actually one designed for a baby, but I had it in my cupboard and it was no longer being used so I decided the puppy could have it. And she loves it! The wood ring is perfect for her to sink her puppy teeth in, and the cloth is added fun. Puppies love wood since it is softer than hard plastic – think table legs and baseboards they love to chew on. Since it isn’t a puppy specific toy, I monitor her closely when she chews on it, but so far she hasn’t destroyed it. There are bite marks in the wood, and the cloth has held up nicely.

Kong toys are also great options for a dog of any age. They are fun to stuff with treats to provide a little bit of stimulation and play to your pup. They are also great for sticking in the freezer to give your teething puppy something cool to chew on. These small Kongs are designed just for puppies and come in cute baby colors!

Sleeping Arrangements

Unless you want your puppy to sleep in bed with you or on the couch, you need a comfy place for them to lie down.

Our puppy was used to having a dog bed in her foster home, and she loves lying there often during the day.

This bed is perfect for her size, comfortable, and is machine washable! Even better, it fits perfectly in her kennel, so she has a nice soft bed to sleep and relax on when she is crated.

We happened to still have a kennel from our other dog, but this one by AmazonBasics is similar and at a great price. All the dogs I’ve ever had have been crate trained, and my older dog still loves spending time in her kennel. A crate with a comfy bed and some toys helps make a puppy feel safe and secure, and keeps them from destroying your home when you’re sleeping or away.

Fine Dining

Puppies love to eat. And they’re growing little bodies need good food to restore their energy. I’m a huge fan of Taste of the Wild dog food. It was one of the only brands I could feed my older dog, Toby, that wouldn’t upset his stomach and calmed his allergies. It’s high quality food, so I wanted the best for our new puppy too. I’ve tried a variety of flavors in the adult food, but the salmon I think remains the favorite in our household.

Elevated food bowls are good for a puppy’s spine and digestive system. The elevated feeder below is great for your growing puppy, as it adjust to three heights.

Training

Since I’ve been an adult, I’ve never had a young puppy. Both of my previous dogs were closer to a year or older when I got them and already had some bad habits that proved to be unbreakable. I wanted to get my puppy off to a good start behaviorally, so I’ve been working every day on training her. Socialization to other dogs, people, and places, and basic obedience is very important to me for our new puppy. And with training comes some needed supplies. Most dogs are strongly food motivated, so training treats are a must have. I love these from Blue Buffalo. They are a good size and must be tasty!

Along with using command words like “come” and “sit,” I’ve also been using a clicker to help train our puppy. This gives them another sound to associate a command with. I love this clicker because it has a little strap that goes around your finger, so it just lays nicely in your palm while you are working with your pup.

And of course you can’t do any training outside your home without a collar and leash! Dogs should have a six foot leash, NOT a retractable one! I personally hate retractable leashes and avoid anyone who uses them. They’re terrible, especially for larger dogs. You as the owner need to be in control of your dog, and a retractable leash just doesn’t let you do that. This leash is a basic six foot leash and perfect for training.

More than anything, a puppy needs love and patience. Give them time to adjust to your home and your family. New surroundings can be exciting and scary, and they are learning what you expect of them. Make sure you give them enough play time during the day to burn off some of that envious puppy energy and you will have a companion for life!

Just doing some work with a puppy on my lap

Follow me on Instagram to stay up to date on all things new puppy!

What a Mom Really Wants for Valentine’s Day

So V-Day is coming up, and while I am not especially interested in gifts, I have made a list of what I would LOVE to have Cupid bring me. Made by a mom, for moms.

You all know how much I complain about my lack of sleep. It’s a vicious circle. My anxiety affects my sleep, which in turn causes me a lack of sleep, which gives me more anxiety. And the cycle repeats.

I recently made an appointment with a psychiatrist to see what deeper issues are at play here besides my kids who wake me up about twice every night. While I’m already on a mild dose of Zoloft, maybe a sleeping aid will help. I don’t know. But I’m thinking a psychiatrist is my next step.

Until then, I’ve rounded up some items that I think would help me relax and possibly improve my sleep. If you’re a tired mom like me or struggle with anxiety, check out my list.

*This post contains affiliate links. By clicking on the link AND purchasing the item, I receive a small profit.

Olly Sleep Melatonin Gummy

OLLY Sleep Melatonin Gummy, All Natural Flavor and Colors with L Theanine, Chamomile, and Lemon Balm, 3 mg per Serving, 25 Day Supply (50 Count)

I have actually started using these and have found them significantly helpful to my sleep. I have ZERO problems falling asleep. My troubles lie in staying asleep. Like I mentioned, my boys wake me up about twice every night. On top of that, I was tossing and turning, and finding myself waking up several times in the night for virtually no reason. Then it would take me a little while to get back to sleep. This is torture when it happens. I wake up so groggy and feeling like I got no sleep at all. I’ve found that if I take two gummies right before bed, I sleep soundly until I hear the kids hollering at me. Even then, I can fall back asleep easily, and I have been waking up more refreshed.

At $11.99, you can’t beat the price for better sleep.

Therapy Putty

The Squeeze Aromatherapy Therapy Dough Lavender 100% Pure Essential Oils

So I’m a huge fan of sensory stuff. While my sister bans Play-doh or anything like it from her house, I gladly welcome it. I enjoy squeezing and molding the dough as I find it soothing. I recently learned there is such a thing called therapy putty or therapy dough! I cannot be more excited. Because of all the typing I do (and my diabetes I’m sure), I’ve been having issues with stiff joints in my hands and fingers. Being able to squeeze putty is soothing and relaxing for my hands. Even better, you can find scented therapy dough to add a little extra relaxation. This lavender one tops my list.

Under Eye Mask

BrightJungle Under Eye Collagen Patch, 24K Gold Anti-Aging Mask, Pads for Puffy Eyes & Bags, Dark Circles and Wrinkles, with Hyaluronic Acid, Hydrogel, Deep Moisturizing Improves elasticity, 16 Pairs

I’ve been cursed with dark under-eye circles that just won’t quit. Obviously, my poor sleep makes it worse and I’ve found myself layering on the under-eye makeup as thick as I can without looking cakey. I’ve tried a few under-eye creams with no success, but have yet to give eye masks a whirl. These golden under eye masks look promising, with 1600+ largely positive reviews. People claim they are “soothing and cooling”, and help skin look firmer. With 16 individually wrapped pairs in the box, you get a lot for only $9.99. And the gold just gives it an added luxurious feel!

Shower Bombs

Cleverfy Shower Bombs for Valentines Day – [6x] Shower Steamers With Essential Oils For Aromatherapy And Stress Relief – Great As Birthday Gifts For Women, Gift For Mom, Unique Gift For Women

Before having kids, I was a bath gal all the way. There was nothing better than a hot bath, even in my modest, standard tub. Then motherhood hit and now I have two kids who refuse to give me two minutes of privacy or quiet to enjoy such a luxury as a bath. Instead, I have turned to scalding hot showers to ease my tired mama bones. And I’ve recently learned (I’m sure I’m about 50 years behind the times) of shower bombs. Just like a bath bomb, a shower bomb relies on the spray and steam from the shower to release soothing scents while you shower. Just put it in an area on your shower floor where there is a light stream of water, and you can enjoy multiple uses! I love eucalyptus and lavender scents, and this box of six includes both! This makes a perfect gift for busy moms and is a top seller, with 400 overwhelmingly positive reviews. If you can’t take mom to the spa, bring the spa to her.

Foot Peel Mask

2 Pairs Foot Peel Mask Exfoliant for Soft Feet in 1-2 Weeks, Exfoliating Booties for Peeling Off Calluses & Dead Skin, For Men & Women Lavender by Bea Luz

Listen, we are in the thick of winter and my feet are looking and feeling a little rough. I would love a little pseudo-spa treatment and for my feet to feel 20 years younger. With more than 3800+ overwhelmingly positive reviews, this foot mask seems to breathe new life into your crusty feet. Yes, please.

Casper Sleep Hybrid Mattress

Casper Sleep Hybrid Mattress, Queen 12″

I’m going to end this list with a bang! I’ve been on the hunt for a new mattress for a few years now. Ours is a decade old pillow top, which seems not to provide the amount of support I need as I get older. Memory foam mattress are a big thing now and something I’m definitely interested in. I got a memory foam pillow last year and I love it!

But I’ve heard conflicting things about memory foam mattresses, saying that some can wear out after about a year. Casper has been in the bed-in-a-box game for a while now, so they are a trusted brand. While they sell a complete memory foam mattress, I’m intrigued with the hybrid mattress as it seems to be the best of both words and may last longer. So, if my husband hits the lottery in the next week or so, he can order me one of these and win as the best gift-giver of a lifetime (even though he already does).

Whatever you end up getting for Valentine’s Day, I hope it shows you how much you are loved and appreciated!

I’m Still Here

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Hey all,

So January finally wrapped up. I’m not sure how it’s possible that it feels like Christmas was last week but that January was the longest year on record.

So I’ve been busy hustling.

I did get the chance between writing for clients and raising the kiddos to write a little something for myself. If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that I get no sleep. And it has nearly killed me.

I went from needing a solid 9 hours of sleep before having kids to getting 5-6 hours of sporadic sleep now that I’m a mom to kids who are the lightest sleepers ever. It’s cruel.

My lack of sleep has impacted my life in so many ways. In reality, it was a contributor to me quitting my full-time office job. I just couldn’t hack it.

And it has fueled my anxiety and mental health issues.

If you feel like reading further on this topic, you can read my post on Medium, Sleep Deprivation Has Made Me a Monster.

If you’d like to see what I’m doing for one of my clients, I encourage you to check out Nutritious Gifts. Created by a registered dietitian, these are food gift boxes loaded with healthy snacks and ingredients to give your body a boost. You can check out the blog posts here.

That’s it for today. Gotta get down to business. If you want to stay up to date on what’s going on with me, follow me on Instagram or Facebook.

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I Hit the Ground Running

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So it’s been a month since my last post, and I feel like so much has happened since then. I officially quite my full-time corporate marketing job…yikes! It’s weird. I’m still working with them on a contract basis, it’s just…different.

That said, the past month has possibly been my busiest ever in regard to work, and I couldn’t be happier. I really think I just needed a new challenge and some variety to motivate my mind. I’ve been cranking out articles for clients at my fastest pace yet!

While I’ve been incredibly happy, it hasn’t come without some stress. The reality is that even though I switched to freelancing with some clients already on board, the reality is is that I’m only making about 55% of what I was bringing in with my full-time job. I had a prospect call yesterday that sounds very promising, and two more calls tomorrow that should fill in some big gaps.

While this change in income is somewhat scary, I still believe I can make it. I believe our family can make it. I’m not going to let us fail because I took a risk on my dream job. I’ll do whatever it takes so that our family isn’t lacking for anything.

Right now, that just means sticking to a strict budget and making cuts on unnecessary expenses. This has been surprisingly easy for me to do. In all honesty, I think my previous spending habits were a consequence of how bored I was. My mind wasn’t being challenged, so I turned to spending money to buy things to give me some short-lived excitement.

Not to mention the money I am saving by not eating out for lunch. Since I was always in such a hurry to get down to work and exhausted at the end of the day, prepping for lunch happened once in a blue moon. I was spending a lot of money on food every week just for lunch. Now that I’m home, I happily eat leftovers.

Additionally, my wardrobe has changed, so I’m doing less laundry and obviously don’t need to spend any money on clothes to wear to an office. The same with makeup. I’m typically bare faced, which both my skin and wallet love.

I just wanted to pop over here to say hi and that I’m still hanging around. I’ve got several clients that are keeping me busy right now, with more to come. It has been such a load off my back to be able to have flexibility to do my work and get things done around the house, on top of spending a few more days a week with the boys.

We can do hard things. We just need to believe.

Read my latest article about freelancing on Medium.

Follow me on Facebook or Instagram yet? You can stay up to date with what I’m doing on those platforms. 

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