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Post-Pregnancy Hormones & Sunkist TEN

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™ and Dr. Pepper Snapple Group but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #TENways  http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

Baby and New Mom

Even though I haven’t talked about him much many of you probably know that a few months ago I added a new member to my family.  Boy, how the time flies!  It seems just like yesterday we had our newborn family photos taken.

New Baby

I remember that week well.  I was exhausted, so proud of my baby boy, and overwhelmingly thankful my in-laws were able to drop everything and come down to help us.  My parents were planning on staying the first week at home with us and my in-laws the second but my parents’ plans changed quickly due to unforeseen events.

During the end of their visit I was setting on the couch talking to my mother-in-law and all of a sudden I couldn’t see out of one eye.  Nothing, nada.  I saw bright colors flashing and jumping about but nothing that was really there.  After about ten minutes, my eyesight began to return and soon all I had remaining was a bright spot right in the middle of my vision.  It looked just like the spots you see after a camera’s flash.  They didn’t go away though.  Everywhere I looked they were there.  This made reading and focusing on someone’s face very difficult.

I made an appointment that day with the hospital dept. that took care of my epidural.  After a quick interview I was sent to a neurologist, which then sent me for an MRI {which was surprisingly relaxing!}, extensive tests at the eye doctor, and finally to the pharmacy.  It was a long day but such a fun day alone with my husband.  Having lunch out and leisurely walking around shops in between appointments made it feel like a date. {Which makes me think we need to hire a sitter more often!}

Come to find out everything was okay and it was just my hormones out of whack.  Along with my Rx for vision issues/headaches, I was told to drink at least one pop {soda, coke, what have you} a day.  Since I abstained from drinking soda while pregnant {because I felt I took enough risks taking my meds for hypersomnia while pregnant} I was glad to drink some again!!  It wasn’t too long though that I began to worry about all those extra calories I was consuming.

Sunkist TEN

I needed caffeine but not calories.  It was then that I remembered a refreshing orange drink that I love so much!  Sunkist TEN has all of the flavor {full flavor as their ads say!} with only ten calories.  TEN!  That’s the amount calories found in a breath mint.  Sunkist TEN has something like 90% less calories than regular soda {Don’t quote me though because I’m still a bit sleep deprived.  Just trust me that it’s a lot less!}

TEN Sodas

Have you tried any of the TEN sodas?  They include 7-up TEN, Sunkist TEN {yummy!}, Canada Dry TEN & A&W TEN and are available at Walmart.  It’s a great way to have full flavor without sacrificing your dreams of a swimsuit-ready body.

Sunkist Family

We’re a Sunkist TEN family!  Corny?  Totally, but I thought it was fun!  For those wondering, my daughter doesn’t drink soda right now.  It was just a little silly photoshop work from our Mister Roger’s Halloween costume.

Want to try it?  Right now there is a coupon to save $0.50 off a purchase of TWO 2 Liter bottles or TWO 4-pack cans of 7UP TEN, A&W TEN, Canada Dry TEN, RC TEN or Sunkist TEN soda.  {However, if you were to share that digital coupon via email, FB, Twitter (there is a click to share function) you will get brought to a coupon that will get $1.50 off that purchase rather than just $0.50!}  This coupon offer is available while supplies last, from 3/27-4/17.  You can get your soda coupon here

Stay in touch with Dr. Pepper Snapple Group’s (DPSG) Facebook account and Twitter to keep up to date with their latest products and promotions.

Have you tried any of the TEN sodas?  If so, what do you think?  Also, did you have any random post-pregnancy hormone craziness?  I’d like to know that I’m not alone. : )

Dyson DC65 Review – Now at Best Buy

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.  {I was given the product for free.}

I don’t think I ever gave vacuum cleaners a second thought before I was a married – and the owner of a shedding dog.  As long as it did the basics, you know pick up dirt, I was happy. Then I gained a beautiful shedding friend and choosing a new vacuum required extensive research.  Four years ago {Time flies, doesn’t it?} I reviewed a Dyson, a Dyson-DC25 Animal to be exact, and I fell in love!  It had a convenient, out of the way hose, attachments that stored on the vacuum, and enough suction power to suck up the dirt beneath my rug.  Yea, it was awesome!  It had a few cons but overall I don’t think I’ll ever own a different brand of vacuum.  I am loyal to Dyson.

Dyson-DC65

When my brand new shiny Dyson DC-65 Animal arrived my husband and I were very excited to get it set up and give it a test drive.  We were curious if the cons we had with the old vacuum were improved with this newer model.  Was Dyson really listening to our review?

Assembling the Dyson

My husband and daughter began assembling our Dyson last Saturday morning after breakfast.

Dyson Assembly

It’s so easy to assemble even a kid could do it!  Okay, not my two year old but probably an eight year old.  Everything simply snaps into place.  Honestly, it’s that easy!  You see that card my husband was holding?  Those are the picture instructions.

Dyson Quick Start Guide

Here it is.  I just had to show you how unbelievably simple it was to put together.

Dyson 65 Animal Review

Many competitors claim superior performance on carpet {which I don’t believe}, but 75% of US homes have a combination of carpets and hard floors.  The Dyson-DC65 glides effortlessly on carpet and hardwood.  One button makes the simple transition.  It cleans thoroughly on hard floors without scratching them.

Things I love about my Dyson:

– It doesn’t clog. Ever.

– The ball helps it move with ease, especially around corners.  You have to try it to believe it!

– It’s purple!! I just had to throw that in because in my book aesthetics count too. {It also comes in Platinum and Fuchsia}

– Telescoping wand reaches everywhere. I love it for our steps and those pesky corner cobwebs.

– It has an easy to clean washable lifetime HEPA filter that traps microscopic allergens like pollen and bacteria.  Yuck!

– Bagless and it has a clear bin so you can know when it’s time to empty it.

– The bin empties effortlessly with just the push of a button.

Tangle Free Dyson

One thing I didn’t enjoy about my older Dyson was that it accumulated hair around the beater bar.  It did this A LOT less often than my other model vacuum that I used to own but it still required me to break out the thread ripper and get messy every so often.  The new Dyson has a new and improved beater bar and as you can see pictured above there is very little hair there.  For those who are wondering, this picture was taken after we vacuumed our entire house and trust me, it was dirty!

This new bristle configuration will also help dig deeper into carpets to remove more dirt.  You’ve got to love that!

Dyson Canister of Dirt

See, just look at all that dirt and hair!  I’m sad to admit that this was after we emptied the bin a time or two.  I don’t know about you but I just hate the thought of all that dirt in my home!

Dyson Cleaning Path

The new Dyson-DC65 Animal has a wider cleaning path than my old Dyson did.  It covers more ground in less time.  What’s not to like?  Plus, I read the new beater bar has 25% increased power for superior cleaning.  Nice!

New Dyson has a long cord

Here is my lovely model pointing out that this new model has a 10 foot longer cord than my previous model.  Dyson was listening!!!  {Thank you, Dyson!}

Dyson Animal Review

In review, the Dyson-DC65 Animal has a longer cord, wider cleaning path, and it holds more than the Dyson-DC25 Animal that I loved dearly.  Trust me, no matter which Dyson you buy you can’t go wrong!

Daddy and daughter nap

Here’s my sweet daughter resting with her daddy after a tiring morning cleaning.

Dyson DC65

Let me just stop for a minute and brag about Dyson.  We had an in home demonstration for a well-known vacuum brand to help a friend out, you know how that goes.  Well, my friend did her spiel about her vacuum and how disgusting the dirt and bacteria are that are lurking on our floors and furniture.  She about had me sold because I have allergies, I hate dirt, and her vacuum sounded superior to all others.  I was almost sold, that is, until she did her demonstration and wanted to compare it to mine {the older Dyson}.  I think the results shocked her.  Her vacuum didn’t pick up aaaaanything after we ran ours.  Nothing.  That was the day that I became completely loyal to Dyson!  It was just as good {if not better!} than a $1,000+ vacuum that was hard to maneuver, difficult to clean, and did I mention it was over a grand!?

If you want a vacuum you can brag about and depend on, look to Dyson.  It has a five year warranty and is built to last 10+ years.  It’s not cheap but in my opinion it’s worth the cost.

Visit Best Buy online to read more or in store to give them a test run!

-$499 (for Multi-Floor)

-$599 (for Animal): comes w/ TFT and dusting brush {What I received}

-$649 (for Animal Complete): comes with extra tools and Zorb, TFT, and dusting brush

Valentine Heart Cookies with Splenda #Moms4JNJConsumer

This post is part of the HEALTHY ESSENTIALS® 2014 program by Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc. and The Motherhood, who sent me a box of products and compensated me for my time. Opinions, experiences and photos shared here are all my own, and I hope you enjoy them.

Valentine Heart Cookies

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day and we’ll be spending the day at home.  That’s not as bad as it sounds.  You see, we have a brand new baby at our home and that is reason enough to stay in and skip the crowded restaurants but we’re also in the middle of a snowstorm.  Up north this snowstorm wouldn’t be worth mentioning but here in this part of North Carolina, this is an epic storm.  The roads are icy, neighbors who’ve never spoken are out playing in the snow and getting to know one another, and kids are sledding and building snowmen.  Check out the one my daughter and husband built. {By the way, pictures of our new member of the family are coming soon!…and I don’t mean the snowman.}

Georgia Snowman

Since we’re going to be cooped up in the house for Valentine’s Day I think I’m going to make my husband something sweet to celebrate.  Maybe I’ll bake cinnamon rolls, a pie, or my husband’s favorite, cookies.  I made the Valentine Heart Cookies {pictured above} for him before and he really liked those.

No matter what treat I make I know two things, 1.) my daughter will “help” me bake them, 2.) I’ll substitute sugar in the recipe for Splenda.  My daughter always enjoys baking and helping mom and dad cook and this is an opportunity to help give Daddy a gift of her own.  I’ve substituted Splenda in recipes in the past and could never tell a difference but overtime I got out of the habit.  Now that I’m ready to shed a little post-baby weight I’m choosing to take small steps here and there to help live healthier.

If you’ve never used Splenda before it’s simple.  1 cup of Splenda is equal to 1 cup of sugar.  Anywhere you use sugar in cooking or baking you can use Splenda.  If you plan on baking a heartwarming treat for someone you love this Valentine’s Day try substituting Splenda for a sweet treat without all the added calories.

Use cookie cutters on baked cookies

To make the cookies pictured at the top of this post I used my favorite strawberry white chocolate cookie recipe and baked them as directed.  Then I look a heart shaped cookie cutter to make them look extra sweet.  I had no problem eating the scraps but the heart cookie makes a much nicer looking gift.

Raspberry Heart Cookies

Learn how to make delicious Raspberry Heart Cookies (made with Spelnda No Calorie Sweetener) that taste as good as they look by visiting Splenda.com.

Get a printable coupon for $1 off any SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener product at HealthyEssentials.com.  To sweeten the savings, you could get a free 30 minute nutrition consultation with a Registered Dietitian when you buy $10 of SPLENDA® Sweetener Products between now and February 17, 2014 – up to $75 value!  More details on this special offer at HealthyEssentials.com.

How are you celebrating Valentine’s Day this year?

Cheesy Bacon Breadsticks Recipe #BaconLove

Disclosure: This is a post written in partnership with Bi-Lo but all opinions remain my own.

Everybody Loves Bacon

Can I see a raise of hands for those who love bacon?  That’s right, most of you do…and for good reason, it’s ridiculously yummy!  Recently, Bi-Lo asked me to come up with my own recipe using bacon for their “Everybody Loves Bacon Event.”  I spent days and days thinking of a recipe that could be improved upon by the addition of bacon and I came to the conclusion, “What recipe couldn’t?”  {See my bacon chocolate chip cookie recipe}  After much deliberation and searching Pinterest to make sure my recipe wasn’t taken I decided on Cheesy Bacon Breadsticks!

Breadsticks are one my favorite foods to indulge in.  No, they’re not healthy and they don’t claim to be.  They’re just warm, cheesy sticks of goodness.

Cheesy Bacon Breadsticks

Don’t they make your mouth water?  Mmm, they sure do mine and I just finished off a small plate of these earlier tonight.  The best thing about these are is that you can use your favorite breadstick recipe and add bacon to the top.  You don’t have to learn a new recipe if you don’t want to.

Ingredients:

cups warm water (about 115°F)
2 tbsp sugar
½ tsp salt
½ cup non-fat dry milk
1 tbsp yeast
3 cups flour
½ cup melted butter (half for the bottom of the pan and half on top of the breadsticks)
8 oz package of mozzarella cheese
Sprinkle with crumbled fried bacon, garlic powder, Parmesan cheese, salt & pepper (to taste)

 

Directions:
Dissolve yeast in the warm water and let rest for 5 minutes. Add sugar, milk, salt, and enough flour to make a thin soup-like consistency.  Once blended add the rest of the flour, enough to form a moderately stiff dough. Knead the dough until smooth {by hand or with a KitchenAid dough hook}.  Roll the dough into the size and shape of your baking pan. Spread half of the butter onto the bottom of the pan and then place the dough into the pan. Allow dough to raise in a warm place for 15 minutes then spread the remaining butter on the top of the dough. Top dough with bacon crumbles and cheese.  You can also add garlic powder and salt and pepper to taste.  Bake at 350°F for 20-25 or until golden brown. Cut into breadsticks and serve with your favorite marinara sauce {I’ll have to share my favorite marinara sauce recipe with you later.  Don’t let me forget!}.

 

Is it just me or do these not look amazing?  And another thing, why hasn’t Papa Johns or Pizza Hut thought of these before me?  I’m quite positive I’m on to something amazing and maybe they’ll take my idea and give me free pizza for life! …on second thought, maybe that’s not such a good thing to hope for.

 

No matter if you use my recipe or not, you absolutely must try and make Cheesy Bacon Breadsticks.  They are so good!  Don’t forget to shop Bi-Lo for a wonderful selection of fine bacon products at an affordable price!

 

Do you have a favorite dish you’ve added bacon to to make it even better?

Fast Facts About the ALL-NEW Nutrisystem Fast 5

This post brought to you by Nutrisystem . All opinions are 100% mine.

Are you ready to try a new way to lose weight?  I am too…well, almost.  I’m due to have a baby in a few weeks, then a few weeks after that I’ll be ready!  I’ve wanted to try Nutrisystem® for a long time and I was just about to commit when I found out I was pregnant.  Seriously, I had to call to stop my shipment from arriving.  I was thiiiiis close.  Now that I’m towards the end of my pregnancy I’m thinking about Nutrisystem again.  I’m not wanting to lose weight for selfish and superficial reasons but because I genuinely want to be healthy and have energy to enjoy caring for my family.  While looking into Nutrisystem again I’ve found that they have a great new program called Nutrisystem® My Way®.

Nutrisystem My Way is tailored to each person’s metabolism, supposedly providing the right amount of nutrients and calories needed for success.  How cool is that?  With a science-based algorithm to determine each individual’s approximate metabolism rate, Nutrisystem My Way is able to create a customized program tailored to his or her needs.

In addition to the personalized meal plan, people are given specific exercise instructions to help boost their fat metabolism so that they’ll burn fat more efficiently.  As time goes on and people lose weight they’re encouraged to check in from time to time with a Nutrisystem counselor so that their meal and exercise plan can be adjusted to their changing metabolism.  I don’t know about you but that sounds pretty incredible.  I want someone to tell me exactly what to do and when.  I don’t want to have another thing to think about, especially with a newborn for care for!

 photo REQUIREDfast5logo450_zpsebb38c3e.jpg

The Nutrisystem Fast 5 is a one week jump-start kit to get you started with a bang.  It’s currently being offered for free with the purchase of the new 28-day My Way program and is guaranteed to help you lose 5 pounds in your first week!*  Guaranteed, I like the sound of that. *Results vary depending on starting weight, adherence to the program and other factors. If you’re not 100% satisfied, call within 14 days and return the remaining food for a full refund plus return shipping. First order only.  

 photo OPTIONAL2fast5mywaygroup450_zpse9c54eb1.jpg

The Fast 5 features 7 breakfasts, lunches and dinners that were specially selected to get your weight loss jump-started. You’ll also receive Nutrisystem’s great, new shakes that were specially formulated to fight off hunger and boost metabolism.  The Fast 5 week program is designed to set you on your way to the 28-day My Way program more motivated than ever!

Just talking about it has me motivated! What about you, have you tried Nutrisystem before?  If not, do you think you’d like to?

Visit Sponsor's Site

Teaching Children Responsibility

This post was written by Jo and I hope you’ll enjoy it!

I have always said that I am a Marketer by Trade and a writer by nature. I have always dabbled here and there along the way but being a writer for me is not an option but rather an inherent part of who I am.

– Jo Whitehead

Teaching Kids Responsibility

One of the things that all parents have in common is that we want the best for our children and for them to grow into responsible, confident adults, but unfortunately don’t always know quite where to start. Responsibility is a life skill and not necessarily a personality trait. It is something that can be taught. Something that can be instilled – but it’s our job to teach it to them.

It would be unfair of us one day to expect our teenage child to behave responsibly if he or she was never taught the basics and given the opportunity to put it into practice. The trick is to start early and as they grow older to increase the level of responsibility accordingly. A good age to start is when your child is a toddler.

As long as there is housework to be done, there are plenty of teaching opportunities available. Make housework a team effort and make it fun. Yes, the chores may take longer, but not only will you land up with a clean house, but children who realise and understand that they are part of a unit and need to pull their weight too.

If you want your children to act responsibly you need to act responsibly too so that they are able to model your behaviour. For example, once you have finished eating dinner, insist that each family member takes their plate through to the kitchen and places it in the sink or the dishwasher. Make sure your child sees you placing your soiled clothing in the laundry hamper and help him or her to do the same.

Reflect on your behaviour and see if there’s anything that needs changing. If you are the type that enjoys being at the mall shopping, at the bowling alley or batting cages playing, or any other place for hours on end, don’t force your child to stay with you while you ‘unwind’, but rather spend some time with them and once they’ve gone to bed  you can shop or play games online.  There are many apps available for shopping and several for playing games. Or perhaps you have the opposite problem. Perhaps you spend plenty of time online shopping and keeping up to date with social media on your mobile phone? Schedule a time each day when the children are at school or having a nap to check your newsfeed and not while you should be spending time with them. Your children need to realize that they are important and that you take your responsibility as a parent seriously.

And finally, remember to praise your children for acting responsibly. Children thrive on praise and when you praise them, suddenly chores don’t feel so much like work. A positive attitude goes a long way.

Visit TheHappyHousewife.com to get a printable list of age-appropriate chores for children.

Get Moving with Best Buy & Shine Elegant Wearable Tracker

Disclosure: The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.

Shine by Misfit elegant wearable trackerNot everyone is naturally drawn to yoga, to exercise, or even to movement.  For most of us, it takes continual motivation to stay active.  That motivation may be to remain in shape, to stay healthy so we’ll live longer, or just to have enough energy to chase after our young kids.

If you find yourself with a sedentary job like I do, you may want to get in a few extra movements in each day to just maintain your current weight.  But what’s a good, simple, and inexpensive way to exercise?  What about walking?  It seems simple enough and it’s free!

Heart.org has some wonderful inspiration to get people walking.  Check out all the benefits walking has to offer:

It’s Easy

  • – Walking is the simplest way to start and continue a fitness journey.
  • – Walking costs nothing to get started.
  • – Walking has the lowest dropout rate of any type of exercise.
  • – Walking is easy and safe.

It Works

  • – Studies show that for every hour of walking, life expectancy may increase by two hours.
  • – Walking for as few as 30 minutes a day provides heart health benefits.
  • – Walking is the single most effective form of exercise to achieve heart health.

It Pays

  • – Physically active people save $500 a year in healthcare costs.
  • – Employers can save $16 for every $1 they spend on health and wellness.
  • – Fitness programs have reduced employer healthcare costs by 20 – 55%.
  • – Reducing just one health risk in the workplace increases productivity by 9%.
  • – Reducing one health risk decreases absenteeism by 2%.

Many of my friends walk daily and enjoy that quiet time alone or the bonding time with their families.  Several of them have encouraged me to take up this hobby explaining how good it makes them feel physically and how that time out of the house helps clear their head.  While I don’t always want to do the work, a clear head and feeling better about myself physically sound like a great reason to get out and walk.

Shine Tracker

I’ve asked my walking friends if they used a pedometer to keep track of how far they’re walking each day and one friend told me about an incredible little gadget she picked up at Best Buy.  It’s called a Shine Elegant Wearable Tracker.  It’s the tiny little device pictured above.  Isn’t it lovely?  It’s totally not like the pedometers I’ve had in the past!  Plus, Shine is exclusively available in additional colors at Best Buy including Silver, Black, Champagne and Topaz.

Shine is a tiny little device that’s built to empower people to be more proactive with their personal health.  I was fortunate enough for Best Buy to give me one of these little motivators to review.

What does it track?

– Steps
– Activities {such as swimming, biking, tennis, etc.}
– Sleep
– Calories

Additional features:

– It has a built-in clock
– It’s waterproof

Extra Accessories:

– Leather bands
– Sports band
– Necklace

Dimensions:

– Width 27.5mm
– Depth 3.3mm
– Height 27.5mm {& a weight of 9.4g}

Because the Shine is so small {about the size of a quarter} and so light that it’s barely noticeable.  The sports band is easily adjustable to fit the smallest or largest of wrists.   I love that there is no charging required!  All it takes is a coin cell battery that is replaced approximately every four months.

One of my favorite features is how it syncs automatically when you lay it on top of a device where you have the Shine app installed.  It’s so easy!  Plus, it makes it fun to set goals and track progress.

Okay, my absolute favorite features is how it doesn’t look like an activity tracker!  It easily blends in with other jewelry with the sports band and with the leather band I’m sure it would look just like a watch.  No one would have to know that I was tracking anything.  I love that!

If you’re looking for a Christmas present or New Years Resolution present for yourself, check out the Shine Elegant Wearable Tracker from Best Buy.  I think you’ll like it!

Get Quick Care at CVS MinuteClinic #MC

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for CVS MinuteClinic. I received promotional items as a thank you for participating.

My entire family was just hit hard with a massive 48 hour stomach bug.  48 hours seems like a short period of time unless you have the bug.  I’ll spare you the details but It. Was. Rough!  Luckily for us our CVS is just up the road and has a MinuteClinic inside.

MinuteClinic

The MinuteClinic is a walk-in clinic located in select CVS/pharmacy stores in 28 states and DC.  They are open seven days a week and they even have evening hours.  The best part is, you don’t need to make an appointment!  In the past I was able to go in and get a flu shot one evening while my husband was able to be home and watch my daughter for me.  That was so convenient!  It was much nicer than making an appointment, dealing with a little one in a germ-filled waiting room, and then trying to keep her still and my arm relaxed while I get a shot.  Just thinking of that scenario makes me nervous!

The MinuteClinic is a convenient and affordable option.  It may be hard to get a last minute appointment at your doctor’s office {or an evening appointment!} and the ER and urgent care/med express centers have much longer wait times and higher costs.  CVS is a great one-stop shop for all of your cold and flu needs!  You can get diagnosed, get your prescription, get over the counter meds, and stock up on chicken noodle soup and Gatorade while you’re there.

Cold and flu symptoms can be quite similar so check out this great chart below to determine if you have the common cold or if you are actually suffering from the flu!  {Feel free to bookmark this page or pin this chart for an easy reference later.}

Cold or the flu

I hope that you and your family are staying well this winter but if you get under the weather don’t forget to check and see if you have a MinuteClinic near you.  Follow @MinuteClinic on Twitter to stay connected with MinuteClinic!

ICaughtSanta and You Can Too!

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial from ICaughtSanta.com in partnership with Tomoson.  I also received the below picture for free in exchange for my honest thoughts on the website.

ICaughtSanta Reindeer Pic

Here is a picture that we snapped at my in-laws and with a little magic via ICaughtSanta.com that picture can now be used to “prove” that there is a reindeer with a red nose.  Do you want to make a personalized photo with a reindeer in your yard or Santa smiling in your living room?  Here’s how:

  1. Upload your photo that you want Santa to magically appear in to ICaughtSanta.com.  The hardest part is choosing which photo you want to use and the rest of the instructions are pretty self explanatory.
  2. You can select from twenty different Santa/Rudolph poses.  He could be sleeping on the couch, giving you a kiss, or posing with your family for a Christmas photo.   You can change his size, location, brightness of the picture, and even add a fun border.
  3. Proceed to checkout and pay only $9.99 for your personalized photo.
  4. Check your email for your photo that you may then share, download, and purchase copies of!

Do you send Christmas cards/eCards?  Now you can add Santa or a reindeer to your Christmas cards!

You can save 25% off your personalized photo when you use the promo code #Santa25.

{I can’t help but mention that I don’t think it’s a good idea to lie to your kids.  Doing it for “fun” and pretend is one thing but honestly trying to deceive your children seems wrong to me.  Okay, I said it, I won’t lecture.  I know many disagree with me and to each their own but I just had to include that disclaimer.}

Disclosure: 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.

Cord Blood Banking #CordBlood411

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for the Cord Blood Registry. I received promotional item to thank me for my participation.

Cord Blood Registry

When bringing a new one into the world there are a million things to consider.  From nursery decorations, to breast or bottle, to swaddle or not to swaddle, and to bank cord blood or not.  The last one I mentioned, to bank cord blood or not, doesn’t get discussed as much as other new mom issues but I think it’s an important one to be discussed.

If you’re a regular reader, you’re already aware that I’m having a baby next month, Lord willing.  I mention it every other post, I don’t know how you could miss it. 🙂  That means it’s time for my husband and I to set down and decide whether or not we’re going to set aside the cord blood for later use in our family or if we’re going to donate it.

Baby Feet

I’m embarrassed to say that I wasn’t as familiar with cord blood banking when I had my daughter.  We looked at the price tag {which was hefty} and chose not to save it but I assumed the hospital would save it and donate it on our behalf for public use.  This is a precious commodity and it never crossed my mind that it would just be thrown away.  This time we’re either going to make the plans ahead of time to donate it or to keep for us.  There won’t be any waste this time!

Before I go into the details of what cord blood banking is for those who don’t know I have to tell you that the hefty price I mentioned earlier has gone down quite a bit.  It’s now around $1,700 {with a $130 yearly banking fee} as opposed to the $5,000 it was when my daughter was born.  $2,000 is still nothing to sneeze at but hopefully this drop in price will help make it more affordable for families to take advantage of.  Donating cord blood is completely free though!

Through the Newborn Possibilities Program, Cord Blood Registry offers free cord blood and cord tissue processing with five years of storage to families with a medical need so that they may use the newborn stem cells now or in the near future.  To date, the Newborn Possibilities Program has processed and saved stem cells for nearly 5,000 children.

What’s the Big Deal?

Stem cells are immature cells that have the ability to become other kinds of cells that form organs and tissues. They are powerful, unique cells that are the building blocks of the body.

After a baby is born and the umbilical cord has been clamped and cut, some blood remains in the blood vessels of the placenta and the attached portion of the umbilical cord. This cord blood is rich in powerful hematopoietic (blood-forming) stem cells.

Cord blood stem cells have been used in the treatment of more than 80 conditions and are currently being evaluated in FDA-regulated clinical trials for their potential regenerative ability in common health issues including autism, cerebral palsy, pediatric stroke and traumatic brain injury.

Who “Banks” the Blood?

The Cord Blood Registry (CBR) is the world’s largest family cord blood bank and the first and only newborn stem cell bank to pioneer FDA-regulated clinical trials with leading medical centers.

Is Cord Blood Banking Right for You?

Here are some things to read over to see if this may be right for  your family.

  • – Consider the future: Regenerative medicine is a new approach to treatment focused on promoting normal function in the human body through cell based therapies in which stem cells play a vital role. In fact, many believe that regenerative medicine will revolutionize healthcare. Emerging research suggest that stem cells from cord blood have advantages over other stem cell sources in regenerative therapies. The clinical use of stem cells has grown each year, increasing the likelihood that you or a member of your family could benefit from the newborn stem cells you bank.
  • – Know your family history: Does your family have a history of illnesses for which newborn stem cells are currently being used or studied?  If so, you may well benefit from banking cord blood for the conditions treated today, but importantly, for conditions that are currently being studied through clinical research.
  • – Know your options: The primary options for cord blood banking are to store your stem cells with a family bank or to donate to a public bank.  Family banking offers storage of cord blood stem cells for the family’s exclusive use.  This costs a one time processing fee and an annual storage fee.  Free banking is available for families with a medical need.  Public donation allows you to donate stem cells to help someone in need.  Later down the road you may be able to access your donation if  you need it but there’s no guarantee that your donation will be available for you.
  • – Talk to your doctor: If you think cord blood banking is something you’d like to do, it is important to discuss it with your physician. They’ll help you sort through your options and will also work with you and the hospital to ensure you have what is needed at the time of delivery for a smooth collection.

Right after birth is the only time to gather this potentially life-saving blood.  Choosing to bank or not is a huge decision so I urge you, if you’re considering CBR, to take your time and read over all the facts that way you and your family can make the best decision for your family.  To check out more information, visit CordBlood.com.