My Struggle with Post Partum Depression

You may recall about 2 years ago, I announced that I was going to be having a baby.  Well, I had a beautiful baby boy about 18 months ago and my life has never been the same.  Truth be told, he is my third child.  I knew how much I was going to love him, I knew how much work he was going to be and I knew that we had a new family dynamic that was about to take place.  What I didn’t know though, is how sad I was going to be.  Like not-get-out-of-bed-for-2-days-straight sad and crying all the time sad.

We Kinda Guessed

At around month 3 my husband and I had a long conversation about it and came to the assumption that I had Postpartum Depression.  At this point, I did nothing about it, other than try to relax.  I let my hubby and kids take over most of the household duties that I typically handle, but even with less stress I honestly wasn’t getting any better.  I had a fear of talking to the doctor about it because I was scared.  I had never really dealt with mental illness as it pertains to me before and I just didn’t want to acknowledge that I did, in fact, have depression.

I had other symptoms besides sadness too:

  • forgetfulness
  • lack of drive
  • lack of focus
  • no desire to work or be productive at all

The Doc Confirmed It

Well, at about 5 months in, I still cried all the time.  I got out of bed more often, but rarely felt motivated to shower or do any activities and my husband and I decided that it was time to see the doctor.  Once I went to my regular family doctor she confirmed that I did, in fact, have Postpartum Depression.  She gave me some pamphlets and prescribed me some medication then sent me on my way.  Truth be told the medication wasn’t my favorite, but it did help with one thing.  I cried much less often.  I wasn’t happy per se, but I had fewer tears so I was thankful for that.  I really was tired of my poor children and husband seeing me cry all the time.

I am thankful for the medication that I had during those few months because I genuinely feel like they helped me to some degree.  They didn’t cure me, but they helped me get through for a bit.

What Next?

I stayed on the medicine for a couple of months and then for various reasons, I decided to stop taking it.  Before you ask, yes, I did it under my doctor’s watch.  Antidepressants are scary, I followed all of their rules to the T.  Once I stopped taking the medicine I found myself laughing a couple of times.  Like real laughing, that I hadn’t done in a year or more.  It was wonderful.  I was also ready to get out more.  My husband took me on a couple of hikes (my favorite thing) and even surprised me with several beach trips now that he knew I wouldn’t nix the idea.  It was glorious.  All of that said, I did still have depressive episodes that brought me down more often than I would have liked, but I have powered through and I am getting better each and every day.

The tools that I have found that have helped me the most are:

  • Exercise
  • Sunshine
  • Vitamins
  • Family time
  • Healthy Diet (even when I wanted to eat chocolate cake morning, noon and night)
  • Lots of water

Speak Out

Even with all of the talk about mental health and the public’s desire to see it brought to light more often, there seems to be a major stigma surrounding Postpartum Depression.  Once I came to terms with what was wrong with me, I started speaking about it a lot.  In fact, I made it social media public (this photo and partial quote is from my Instagram account) and you know what?  I felt immediately better.  There is no shame in having Postpartum Depression.  Just like there is no shame in having regular depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety or any of the other many mental health disorders.  Feeling free enough to talk about it and to get help will make all of the difference in the world when it comes to your treatment.

I think that there are great medical tools available to us for improvement in mental health (of course, more improvements can be made), but first and foremost, this stigma that is out there about mental health disorders needs to go away.  I was afraid to mention my postpartum because I had seen so many scary things in the news that I figured people would think that I wanted to hurt my baby or myself.  It wasn’t like that at all, I was just very very sad.  But because of these fears, I was hesitant to talk about my situation with anyone.  Had this stigma not been out there, I am sure I would have gotten help sooner.

Mystery Tackle Box! The Perfect Gift for a Fisherman!

Oh my goodness you guys!! I saw this info this morning and I am about to freak out.  See, my brother in law is a huge fan of fishing and I am always at a loss as to what to get him when it comes to birthday and Christmas gifts, but I love this Mystery Tackle Box Idea and I think I might have found his next gift!

Mystery Tackle Box is the #1 fishing tackle subscription service offering anglers and fishing enthusiasts a fun and affordable way to discover new fishing lures, learn new techniques and catch more fish! If you, or someone you love, enjoys fishing, get them a Mystery Tackle Box Subscription today. You’ll enjoy a monthly box full of new and innovative fishing lures and products, content on how to use everything, plus stickers and special offers. Visit MTBFISH.COM to learn more!
My Readers Get $10.00 Off Your First Mystery Tackle Box – New Subscribers can enjoy $10.00 off their first box of Mystery Tackle Box fishing tackle subscription by using the promo code USFAM10. Get a box full of new fishing products delivered straight to your door. Subscriptions start at $15 per month. Coupon valid through December 31st, 2017.

Ozeri Touch II Digital Kitchen Scale Review

A while back I received an Ozeri Touch II Digital Kitchen Scale.  See, I’m not sure if you remember or not, but I had a baby recently (okay, a year and a half ago) and I really need to make some changes to get my weight back on track.  After a miserable fight with Post Partum Depression, my weight has unfortunately not changed one bit since the baby was born.

Anyway…I thought that one way that I can work toward weight loss is by making sure that I am eating the right amount of foods and weighing the foods are a great way to do that!  I try to weigh out the meats and dairy products I eat to ensure that I am eating the right portions.  Plus, while I don’t feel the need to weigh them out for my dieting purposes, the kids and I also have fun weighing out our fruits and vegetables.

This Ozeri Touch II Digital Kitchen Scale is super easy to use, you basically just have to hit the power button.  If you want your foods measured in a different unit, you just need to touch the unit button to get to the desired choice.  I have had no issues whatsoever.  The easy touch buttons are flush with the scale, which makes it really easy to keep clean!  Simply stated, I really like this scale and plan to use it for years to come and I highly recommend it for those wanting to start weighing their foods.

 

Disclaimer: Okay, here’s the deal:  I was provided with this product for free in exchange for my honest opinion.  All opinions, thoughts and reviews located herein are mine and mine alone and were not influenced at all by the company or its affiliates.

 

The Harlem Globetrotters are Coming to Town!! Save 25% On Tickets!

Do you have basketball fans in your family? Well, they are going to love this!! The Harlem Globetrotters are coming to town!

SAVE 25% for ALL Harlem Globetrotters Games with promo code FUNFAM. Go here to place your order.

With a star-studded roster featuring Big Easy Lofton, Ant Atkinson, Hi-Lite Bruton, Thunder Law, Bull Bullard and Cheese Chisholm – plus female stars TNT Lister, Ace Jackson and Hoops Green – the Harlem Globetrotters’ show is unrivaled in the world of family entertainment. Their 2018 World Tour will showcase incredible ball handling wizardry, rim-rattling dunks, trick shots, hilarious comedy and unequaled fan interaction. After the game, Globetrotter stars will sign autographs and take photos with fans.

 

Nitro Circus is Coming to Town!

Do you have a motorcycle fan in your house? If you would love to go to Nitro Circus, they are coming to Central Oregon on 9/15!  I am so excited to surprise my son with these tickets!!

Details:

Nitro Circus Live – Bend, Oregon

Friday, September 15th at the Vince Genna Stadium! Gates open at 6 pm and show starts at 7 pm.

Nitro Circus Live is the greatest action sports tour on the planet!

Featuring 30 of the World’s best athletes in Freestyle Motocross, BMX and skate! Plus insane contraptions launched from the 40-foot high Nitro Gigant-A-Ramp!

Nitro Circus Live is a 2 hour, fully choreographed, theatrical spectacular that will leave you on the edge of your seat.

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How to Pick the Perfect Produce

Did you know that June is fresh fruit and veggie month?  I have seen countless photos on my social media timeless of my friends out picking fresh berries and fruits.  Sometimes picking fruit is pretty obvious.  I mean, no one wants a smushed (according to spell check, smushed is not a word.  I’m still going with it 😉 ) strawberry or a bruised apple, but sometimes, it’s hard to know if the produce will taste great when you get home or not.  So how do you know if a particular fruit or vegetable is going to be good? Well, there are some tips that will help us decide if something is ready or not.

Here is a list that you can follow to help you pick the perfect produce:

  • Watermelon –
    • The watermelon should always feel heavy for its size
    • There should be a hollow thud when you thump the melon with your fingers
    • The yellow spot (where they have laid on the ground) should be creamy yellow
  • Cantaloupe
    • Like the watermelon, a cantaloupe should feel heavy for its size.
    • It should smell sweet, yet slightly musky
    • The rind should look raised netting
  • Honeydew
    • A honeydew should be a pale yellow color, avoid green honeydew melons as those are not yet ripe
    • It should also have a dull appearance.  A shiny appearance indicates that it is not yet ripe
  • Pineapple
    • A pineapple should be firm to the touch
    • The leaves on the crown should be green
  • Coconut
    • A Coconut is another fruit that should be heavy for its size
    • Any sign of wetness or mold on the outside are a bad sign
  • Spaghetti Squash
    • Spaghetti squash should again, be heavy for its size
    • Look for a rind that is dry and has no cracks or soft spots
  • Acorn Squash
    • Acorn squash should have a good combination of green and orange color in the rind
    • Should be heavy for its size
    • Rind should be dull without any cracks or soft spots
  • Butternut Squash
    • Butternut squash should be beige in color
    • Avoid butternut squash that has any brown spots or deep cuts
  • Avocado
    • The perfect avocado is dark green
    • Yields to slight pressure
  • Broccoli
    • Broccoli should have bright green heads
    • Stems and stalks should be very firm.  If you hold the broccoli up, the stalks should not droop
    • Look for tight clusters of the florets, if they are more open that means they are past their prime
  • Cauliflower
    • Cauliflower should be a creamy white color
    • Look for tight clusters of the florets
    • No brown spots or wetness
    • Make sure to smell for any musky or moldy odors

$1 Regal Summer Movie Express List!

 

If you are wanting to start planning your Summer outings now, be sure to plan some trips to the $1 Summer movies!!  I take my kids to these every year.

Here is the list of movies that will be playing this Summer!  Don’t forget that this program starts on different dates throughout the country, so be sure to check this link for your area’s start date.

For each week, both movies play on both Tuesday and Wednesday at 10 a.m.

  • Week 1
    Kung Fu Panda 3
    Ice Age: Collision Course
  • Week 2
    Trolls
    Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked
  • Week 3
    Monster Trucks
    Penguins of Madagascar
  • Week 4
    Rio 2
    The Boxtrolls
  • Week 5
    The Secret Life of Pets
    Sing
  • Week 6
    Kubo and the Two Strings
    Ratchet and Clank
  • Week 7
    The Spongebob Square Pants Movie: Sponge Out of Water
    The Adventures of Tin Tin
  • Week 8
    Happy Feet 2
    Cats & Dogs 2: The Revenge of Kitty Galore
  • Week 9
    Storks
    The Lego Batman Movie

You can feel good knowing that you didn’t spend a lot, plus what you did spend partially goes to the Will Rodgers Institute.

DIY All Natural Relaxing, Lavendar Massage Oil

We are a very active family and we occasionally have some sore muscles. Okay, that was a lie…it is definitely more than occasionally.

Our big kids are both very active in sports and often have sore muscles.  Plus, as we get older we find that we get sore muscles from the simplest of things.   I am always happy to try and help my family feel better so I was always willing to try and massage out the muscle pain. I’m not big on lotions and oils though because they have countless ingredients that I cannot even pronounce.  I was looking for a good alternative, when I thought why not make my own homemade massage oil?  Because it’s what I had on hand, I decided to use coconut oil and Lavender essential oils to create an oil/paste to use for those sore muscles.  I

My husband had a muscle injury last year that I like to massage for him so I figured who better to check out the new massage oil on.  The verdict?  It’s a hit.  Because it is oil based, it helps make it easier to massage.  Plus, it is all organic so I don’t have to worry about the chemicals that are seeping into our bodies.   Lavender is known for its relaxation qualities so we used that to help relax the muscles and ourselves (I find it useful for sleep).

Here’s how I created this All Natural Massage Oil:

I mix them together into a paste and that’s it.  It’s time to massage.

 

I have also decided that I’m going to be creating this for gifts for this year’s holiday season, so I just ordered these containers to put them in.

 

 

While it does depend on personal experience, I always end up with 2-3 uses with this amount.

 

How We Paid Half Price on Our Home & Paid Off Our Mortgage in Less Than 6 Years

Everyone wants to be debt free, right?  I know we do.  We’ve been in the debt spiral before.  Up to our eyeballs in bills with not enough income coming in.  Sure we did some things to ourselves (spent too much, etc), but we also had some stuff happen to us that was completely unexpected (disability).  Anyway…it took us a long time to climb out of that hole and we were determined to never let that happen again.  So since those days we have been trying to live as simply as possible while working toward being debt free and one of those goals for us was to own a home outright.  That’s right, no mortgage.   Sounds crazy right?  But guess what?  In less than 6 years, we have accomplished that goal!

Here is our mortgage portion of our debt free journey…

Living in a rental was driving us crazy.  We are the type of family that loves to have their own space, if I wanted to paint the walls I wanted to be able to do that.  If I wanted to plant a garden, I wanted to be able to do that too.  The fact is we simply wanted to start paying toward something of our very own that we could create a home with for our family.  The real estate prices in our area during this time were skyrocketing and we just couldn’t bring ourselves to pay $1000+ per month for a place to live, especially since we had experienced disability before.  We never wanted to be in the position that we couldn’t afford our house payment.

We began discussing the desire to buy a home and started keeping track of the real estate ads in the local newspaper and on Craigslist and I even become a stalker of the local Multiple Listing Service website.  We just weren’t seeing anything in our area in the price range that we were looking for.  So, one day we decided to simply drive around the area and see if we could spot any for sale signs.  We did see several, but we also saw what appeared to be an empty house with an overgrown yard and no signs that anyone had been there for a while.  We decided to keep an eye on the property for a week or so and we drove by daily to see if we could spot anyone there.  When it became apparent that no one lived there, I began to do a little bit of digging to find out who owned the property.  I went on to our county website and researched the tax records to find the owner and I decided to write them a letter.

I initially wrote a letter to the lady listed on the tax records and in my letter I stated that it appeared as though the home was empty and I asked if she was interested in selling it.  I got a response about a week later from that same woman stating that she was about to lose the home in tax foreclosure and it wasn’t in great shape so she didn’t think we would be interested.  In my next correspondence I stated that I was, in fact, interested and asked for permission to go onto the property and check it out.  She was right.  It was not in good shape, but we have never been the type to shy away from hard work.

We decided that we wanted to move forward and we offered her half of the home’s (county appraised) value, but since the house couldn’t be financed due to its condition, she also needed to carry the contract for us.  Again, the home was about to enter Tax Foreclosure, so we set a plan to pay the taxes of $2500, taking that away from the price we offered her.  Also, because of the work that needed to be done on the house we requested the first 8 months to be mortgage free.  Because she didn’t have the money to pay the taxes or do anything with the house, she was more than agreeable to our offer.  Not only was she no longer going to have a tax foreclosure looming, she was able to relax a little bit and now she would now be receiving a monthly check.  She was thrilled and quite thankful that we happened to drive by the house that day.

It is now six years later and guess what?  We just sent in our last payment!  Remember that 8 month delay?  That means that we have actually paid off our home in just 5 years and 4 months!  I don’t know about you, but I know very few people who are mortgage free and this is a goal that I never knew I would reach in my lifetime.   As a mom, I love having the peace of mind in knowing that no matter what, we have a home forever and my children always have a home to come back to.  No worries about what may happen in case of unemployment or disability because my home does not belong to the bank and no one can take it from me now that I have this deed in hand.  Of course we still need to make that property tax payment every year, but believe me, when you compare that with a monthly mortgage or rent payment, it’s nothing.

We aren’t done yet though, hubby and I are looking for a new deal to work on!  And p.s…I still stalk the MLS website.

 

An Easy Trick to Talking to Your Daughter about her Period.

Let me just be clear and say that I am not writing a sponsored post, I am not being paid to say these things at all.  I am just reviewing a product that I bought for my daughter that really opened up our conversation about her body and all that comes with it.

When I was young, my mother told me absolutely nothing about my period.  Not One Thing.  When I started my period I was terrified and kept it a secret for almost 4 months because I didn’t know what to say.  Thanks to school, I knew what a period was, but I was too embarrassed to talk about it with my mom or anyone in my family.  Since I became a mother, I knew that I was not going to allow that to happen to my daughter.

I never hid what my tampons or pads were and always answered honestly when she had questions about them as a little girl, but never went into great detail.  For that I waited.  I have been talking to my daughter about her period since she was probably 6 or 7.  I figured that this was too early for her to start her period, but late enough for her to start understanding. We talked about what happens and why and we talked about what she could expect.  Then, we she was 10 I ordered The Dot Girl Period Kit and we check it out together.  It has a fantastic little book of questions and answers and it even comes with supplies.  A reusable heat pack, some pads, some little trash bags as well as a period journal (so she can start keeping track of the dates of her cycle) and it even comes in a cute case!  The case does not announce that it is for your period so my daughter was comfortable putting the pack in her backpack to hold her stuff in case she were to start her period at school.

She is now almost a teenager and she still uses her kit to keep her supplies with her and we still talk often about our bodies and what she can continue to expect.