Thankful for My Shower #thankfulthursday

Thankful for MyShower

It is Thankful Thursday and as a pregnant mom, I am Thankful for my shower! Yes, you read that right…. My Shower! My shower time is where I get my mommy time right now. It is my happy place! Do you have a happy place?

My shower time started when I was pregnant with Danyella and was told no baths and no standing for more than 5 minutes in the shower. So, I began to sit in the shower so I could enjoy the steam and water for more then a few minutes. The water dripping on me was like being outside in the rain. Sometimes we need to just feel that peace and be one with the water. This continued after Danyella was born because it became a place where I could almost meditate, relax and clear my mind.

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Being pregnant with Baby Evelynne has been uncomfortable between the ongoing morning sickness, growing belly and having a baby pushing against my ribs. Add that to just the stress of needing to move, starting school and being out of work. My shower time is my sanctuary. There are times where I can just sit for an hour or more. The times where I need to take a quick shower, they just suck the life out of the moment of getting out of the shower. Like it is unfinished business that I need to take care of still. My hour-long shower times will be cut shorter after the baby comes but until then I will be enjoying my shower times.

What are you thankful for today?

 

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Finding Ways to be Thankful

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Today is #thankfulthursday and I am not going to lie, I have had a hard time coming up with one thing that I am thankful for. Part of this is because some of the things make me feel materialistic and other things feel like given things in life.

Yes, everyone is thankful for the basics in life like food, water, shelter and clothing. Thing is, there was a time in my life where I was living in my car and lived in a homeless shelter. There is a time where I was trying to come up with change just to find money for food. If you look in my drawers, most of my clothes are from 10 or more years ago, from thrift stores or cheap clothing from Walmart. At least I have clothing to wear right now.

Lately, things feel like they have been going in opposite direction that I want which can be so frustrating and makes it hard to find the things to thank the universe or your Higher Power for. Sometimes, you need to step back and remember the basics in life and that the rest is just an added bonus.

My housing situation isn’t ideal right now but at least we have a place to live that allows us to keep our special puppy. We need to move and finding a place that will fit our family and puppy has been the most difficult thing in the world. I wish we had the money to buy the house we are living in or another house but it is a very difficult option right now. All we can do is to continue to look and the right place will find us.

Holding to a meal budget has been such a difficult thing for my entire adult life. I will make a list, purchase what is on the list (online grocery shopping has made this so much easier), stand at the fridge or cabinet and struggle to find something to make or eat. So then I blow the budge out of the water because I end up getting takeout somewhere. I need to learn how to stick to a meal plan, meal budget and learn to be creative with the food I buy because there was a time when I didn’t get a choice of what I ate. I need to be thankful for any and all food and not be so damn picky.

I went from having a job that I could afford to buy my first Coach purse and Jimmy Choo shoes. High end clothing, handbags and shoes was my life over 15 years ago but that all changed in an instant. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to be able to afford those luxury items again but they don’t make my world go round now. I have always been one to shop at consignment and thrift stores which I have found some amazing deals.

I have 2 specific claim to fame for my finds… My first amazing find was a vintage knee-length wool coat that zipped up the left side and had a corset-type ribbon back. My words can’t even describe who gorgeous this coat looked but someone stopped me on the streets of SOHO New York and offered to buy the coat off my back for a client of his (he was a personal stylist). As tempting as the offer was, I cherished that coat and declined. Unfortunately, when I became homeless I lost the coat. My second claim to fame was finding a BRAND NEW WITH TAGS Baby Dior outfit at a Salvation Army store for Danyella. Now when I found this outfit, it was before I even knew she was a girl but I couldn’t resist not buying this amazing outfit and thankfully she was a girl!

Since the only decent, affordable consignment shops (yes there are ones that are way overpriced for used clothing!) are a bit of a drive for me, my options have been limited especially since getting pregnant. I know that there is online shopping but I still prefer to go to a store and try clothes on so I know that they fit right. My go to is either Target or Walmart which sometimes you can feel the (lack of) quality that you are buying with cheap clothing. One good deal I have found at Walmart has been these super-soft, stretchy shirts for $5 for a short sleeve shirt. They had them in basic navy, black, maroon and olive-green colors which I bought XL in each size because they are large enough to cover my growing belly. I was super, super excited to find them in long sleeve (only $6.88) in some Halloween prints and other solid colors which I bought in 1XL and 2XL to keep me going while my belly grows. I wish I could afford the adorable pregnancy clothing on the market but it really isn’t an option when you are out of work for most of your pregnancy so I am sticking to these comfortable, affordable shirts and leggings.

Sometimes we take the basic things in our life for granted when we need to step back and be thankful for these necessities because life could be worse one day or you could have worked your way up from a situation that is worse than it is right now.

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27 Weeks and Low Blood Pressure

27 Weeks

It is my last week in my 2nd trimester and I finally beginning to understand why I have been feeling like well crap. For weeks, I have been told that my blood pressure was just way to low, and I needed to work on making it higher. For pregnant women, you usually hear a doctor be concerned about high blood pressure but there are the rare few that suffer from just the opposite, low blood pressure.

At the Maternal Fetal Medicine office, they have been checking my blood pressure every week when I get my shot. This is where the concern for the continued drop in blood pressure has been voiced the most. Their suggest was to drink a Gatorade everyday to help with my sodium and electrolyte intake which should help my blood pressure rise. The other day, I went to see my regular (delivering) OB and the nurse was concerned that my blood pressure was high. When I asked the numbers, she said it was 121/68 which was high compared to my previous visits. My response was that the Gatorade must be working!

I will admit, it has been extremely difficult for me to drink Gatorade, Powerade or any other ade with electrolytes because I don’t like the after taste and it gives me heartburn. I found a Gatorade called Flow Smooth in 2 different flavors and not only do I like the flavors but there hasn’t been any side effects either! WIN WIN

My OB explained that the low blood pressure was, more than likely, the cause of how uncomfortable and crappy I have been feeling every single day. Low blood pressure has accounted for my dizzy and light headed spells that I frequently have had, some days multiple times a day. I chalked up my shortness in breath to the baby pushing into my ribs and growing bigger but the lower blood pressure actually contributed to my breathing issues. Plus, I can tell it is low when I begin to see spots in my vision. Lastly, it was explained that some of my headaches and general weakness is more than likely from the low blood pressure.

Now that I have been drinking a Gatorade a day, I can definitely feel a difference. The spots and headaches are not as frequent. I still feel pretty weak and dizzy at moments but its been my cue to drink some Gatorade and then I start to feel better or I end up taking a nap. OH a nap sounds so good right now! Ok I am off to take a nap before I have to write a paper tonight.

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Thankful for my OB Nurse #thankfulthursday

stay positive

Wednesdays are my baby doctor appointment days which since July my rear end has been seen by my high risk OB nurse every week. Why you ask am I showing my OB nurse my rear end every week?

Well since I have had 2 preemie babies, my doctors wanted me on weekly progesterone shots that are administered by Maternal Fetal Medicine office. So every Wednesday, I walk into the office, Nurse Charlie gets my shot ready and then I expose my back end. It can be quite embarassing the bigger that I get and the bigger my pants and panties get.

I am sure that Nurse Charlie sees many rear ends every week and it is just another day to her but as a self conscious pregnant woman it is a HUGE (not just my rear end) deal to me. The plan is that I continue my weekly shots until I am 38 weeks (if I make it that long) so I will be exposing myself weekly to Nurse Charlie for another 12 weeks. Oh boy!

Something that I have learned in my pregnancies, is that it is really the nurses that make sure that us hormonal, pregnant are doing what we need to do for our babies and are really good while we grow a human inside of us. When I switched my insurances, my copay for the progesterone shots were over $1000 a month which just wasn’t going to happen now that we are on one full time income. When I brought this up to Nurse Charlie, she is the one that has bent over backwards to make sure that I got the shots that I needed and at a price that I could afford. She is the one that has checked on me at home when I have gone in with bad side effects of the pregnancy like low blood pressure that has been making me light headed and have fainting spells.

I truly can’t thank Nurse Charlie enough for going above and beyond for myself and my baby girl while she is still growing inside my big ole belly. If you are pregnant, make sure you thank your OB nurse because they truly care about their patients, the big ones and little ones.

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Emotional Burnout #MotivationMonday

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It has been a week since I have been able to get a blog post out of me. If you look at my drafts, I started multiple posts but just couldn’t finish them. Yes time was a factor but if I am being truthful, my heart just wasn’t in it to write this past week. Being pregnant, I know that I am more emotional than usual but I would just sit and start crying multiple times throughout the day because this past weekend was my little brother’s 9th anniversary of his death and I was becoming emotionally burned out.

The week leading up to his anniversary is always an emotional one but we keep busy by planning his annual balloon release memorial service and cook out. Add the stress of the pregnancy hormones and the pregnancy itself… my stress level felt like it skyrocketed. Now add that my psych paper this week was on Addiction and basically I just mentally shut down.

More than once my boyfriend found me crying and when he would ask why, all I could muster up was that it was all too much this week and I couldn’t take it. In one week, I dealt with my brother’s death anniversary, my pregnancy complications (had a few close call fainting spells) and one of the Mama’s in my group had to have her twin boys early because of complications (I sat on the couch and cried for hours for those boys who are now in the NICU and getting stronger everyday). I just hit my end and crashed but it felt like every time I did something, I crashed all over again.

Last night was the first night I was able to get to bed and sleep before midnight which was a nice thing for me. I was living off of little sleep and an occasional nap. My poor boyfriend had his head bitten off more than once in an hour for the past week (sorry babe). I had the Mom Emotional Burn Out but this week it is time for recovery and get myself back on track.

Every mom has their emotional burn out moments trust me! Some are definitely not as extreme as mine but we all have them. The key is to let yourself feel your emotions, embrace the discomfort while it lasts and when you are ready, pick yourself up and love yourself again. Motivation Monday!

**On a little side note, my boyfriend has made it without to many scars through this pregnancy and other times so I have to say Happy Anniversary! I love you and everything you do for our family.

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Craft and Art Store Coupons #savingsunday

Using Craft Store Coupons for Supplies#SavingSunday

As a Fine Arts Major, Artisan, Crafter, Mom to budding artists and craft supply hoarder, I have learned the art of using coupons to get what I need for as little money as possible. Recently, my Painting Professor emailed us the list of what we needed to purchase for her class with the links to Amazon to purchase all of items. When I put them all in my cart, they were over $300… not in my budget at all!

That is when I turned to my local craft/art supply stores! In my local area, I have Michaels and Hobby Lobby which we frequent both because each something different to offer plus their coupon structures are very different. If I need to look elsewhere, I can travel about 45 minutes or so to Joanns or AC Moore but I prefer to stick to the 2 stores that are only 10 minutes away from me.

At one point in my life, I worked for Michaels because the discount was great and I loved being surrounded by arts and crafts all day long but sadly I needed money for then fun so I went back to waiteressing. Still, when I walk into Michaels, I know at least one person so I can get the scoop of what is new in the store which is awesome! Michaels offers more of a broad range of art and craft supply items so that you have a little bit of everything to choose from but I can’t always find that exact thing I need or idea that is stuck in my head.

Now back to the subject Michaels coupons…. They offer a rewards app that includes all their coupons for the week. Most weeks, you will find a 40% off one non sale item. On certain days or weeks they will offer special coupons like 20% off your entire purchase or 30% off yarn. Some of these coupons can be great, especially if it includes sale items! Another plus for Michaels is that they will accept competitor coupons, so if Joanns is offering a 60% off coupon, they will allow you to use it at Michaels (score so savings there!). My one gripe is that there is a HUGE exclusions list which includes books! They have cool coloring books for adults, craft sets for kids that have books plus pattern books. If it has a book then it is excluded which just frankly makes a crafter very angry! Before I go into Michaels or while I am walking around, I will look at the other craft stores to see if they have a better coupon offer to max out my savings.

On to Hobby Lobby…. they offer fabric which Michaels does not which is a plus in my book! They have added to their soap making supplies (though they still make that damn melt and pour soap a big thing like you are really making soap but that is a post for another time) which I like being able to go there to buy some of my butters and oils when I need to make a small batch of something. Everything else is pretty comparable to Michaels with having a little bit of every type of supplies.

As for Hobby Lobby coupons, they only ever offer one coupon… 40% off one regular priced item. They do not accept competitor’s coupons so you can only ever use that one coupon. On the plus side they have very little exclusions and they allow coupons on their books! This has been huge for me because sometimes I get a request from someone to make a specific item and if I find it in a pattern book at Hobby Lobby then I get a bunch of patterns for a much lower cost!

Back to my painting class supply search, I learned that Micheals and Hobby Lobby had a majority of what I needed on this list so I was going to use my coupons as much as I possibly could to save as much money as possible. Hobby Lobby had the wood panels so I have been going there nearly everyday (except Sunday because they are closed) to purchase the panels. The rest has come from Michaels and they have had a 50% off coupon this past week which has been a huge help! So the list that would have been $300 or more has cost me about $150 with just a few things left to get.

If you are a parent, these coupons come in handy for kids projects for school and home. I can’t tell you how many times I have had to utilize these places and coupons for book reports and science projects that needed to done for school. In my opinion art and craft supplies are so overpriced to enjoy the stimulation of the artistic side of our brains so use these coupons and save some money to enjoy more art projects in the future!

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Make Extra Money on Facebook

Since I run a handmade business and love to SHOP, my house has a tendency to have a lot of stuff or as my boyfriend sees it… clutter! To me, I know where everything (ok almost everything) is and everything has a place (are you singing Mary Poppins yet?) but to him, he just sees stuff everywhere. Now that we prepare to move, it is time to declutter my house and this has been my easiest solution for the past couple of years…. Facebook.

Before Facebook had a marketplace to sell your items, local people created yard sale groups for their area. I belong to 10, maybe more, of these yardsale groups for either my area in general or kids exclusive groups. I live on the border of 2 states so I have an added benefit for these groups to travel 5 minutes to the dark side (which is what I like to  Pennsylvania lol).

Since I know that I won’t stop shopping because either someone in the family needs something (kids, dancing, school, etc), my business needs something (new ideas pop in my head all the time), or my tastes in home decor changes, I came up with a plan a few years ago to find 10 (sometimes more) things each month to list and sell on these groups. After I saw some success with selling, months where I needed a little more for bills or another expense, I would declutter and purge more items to cover the money for it.

Now that Facebook has added a Marketplace, the ease of selling your “clutter” has become even easier because you can list it in one general area and add it to your yard sale groups. I tend to get more sales from the yardsale groups then the Marketplace but the more places you have them listed, the more exposure which can find the one person that wants it in their life. The best-selling items have been home decor, baby/kids items and women’s clothing/shoes and handbags but people will list everything and anything. At the holidays, I will list my handmade items and make even more money plus I have helped build my customer base this way.

So how does this selling your clutter on Facebook work? These are my tips to be successful in selling your clutter on Facebook.

  1. Find a notebook to keep track of what you list on Facebook to sell, how much you list/sell it for and when it is sold. It helps to make life easier so you know what is for sale and what isn’t plus I love to see how much I make.
  2. Besides the Facebook Marketplace, join Facebook yard sale groups. If you search your town or area and add yardsale, you will find groups to join and if you have kids add kids yardsale in your search.
  3. ALWAYS take pictures in daylight to give people a true sense of the colors. I hate when I see a listing and people don’t have a picture or the picture is so dark, you can’t even make out what it is.
  4. Be as descriptive as you can with your details. If it is something for the home or bag, give them measurements. With clothing, give them sizes plus long/short sleeve etc. The more detail the better the interest.
  5. When writing out your description, give them a location (I tell them my town since I live near another state) you are willing to meet them and write cross posted. Don’t ask me why but if someone sees an item on multiple groups and it doesn’t say Cross Posted, they tend to lose their shit and start going off in the comment section before you can even respond. (Like they are not human and make mistakes).
  6. When you set up a meetup, do this in public. I know some police stations have designated areas just for this now. Since where I live, I give 2 options for either side of my town… Walmart or Big Lots. By the end of the conversation (this will happen over messenger), you will want to agree on a location (make them come as close to you as possible since you are trying to make money not spend it on gas meeting them) and make/model/color of the car they will be in. I have made the mistake of not getting car info from them and then they either don’t show or I go through anxiety wondering who it is parking next to me and is it my meetup person.

Since being on bed rest and out of work the past month, we need make up the difference in money plus I needed to get rid of stuff for the move. I went through the house and placed items on our dining room table (which is now a cluttered mess) and began to list about 100 different things. Out of the 100 different things that I listed, I sold most of them and made over $500. I am not saying I can do this every month but, even when I make $100 a month it has helped with groceries (you know all those little items you need like milk, eggs and bread). If you saved the $100 a month you made decluttering your house, that is $1200 for Christmas (which brings in more stuff into the house) or a vacation! What would spend the extra money on?

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