Insuring Your Family’s Future with Bestow

Thanks to Bestow, a life insurance company, for sponsoring this post. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Before having kids I never thought about life insurance because it’s one of those things that just isn’t on your radar until you hear some horrible story about a devastated family or you start having those mom panic moments when you’re in a close call on the highway. You know the ones I’m talking about!

Kids change everything about how we plan for the future and we start to consider important things like buying a house or saving for college but for some reason life insurance still seems to take a back seat even though it’s so important. I think this is because it is so complicated! Many of us may have a group life insurance plan through our employer but that might not be sufficient (read more here). And for me, I became a stay-at-home-mom and all of a sudden, only my husband was covered with life insurance which I was not okay with. I contribute to our family not only as the main caretaker for our kids but also with The Birth Hour as a significant portion of our income.

Life insurance is one of those things that we all know we should have but many of us don’t actually take the steps needed to get on board! I was so excited to learn about Bestow because they are a young start-up that has made it their mission to take the guesswork and annoying aspects of getting life insurance out of the equation.

You can get signed up in about 3 minutes online and there are no phone interviews, physicals or lab tests involved. Bestow has modernized the process by allowing you to sign up for life insurance coverage, if approved, from your phone or computer. (No invasive medical exams or pushy sales agents).

Lucky me, the first place that they launched is Texas so I signed up right away! They will be rolling out in other states in the near future and you can sign up to be notified on their website. Bestow allows people to not only get protection for their family but also help other families who don’t have coverage.

Some quick facts that make Bestow unique are:

  • They use an easy online questionnaire and health databases rather than medical exams to determine your medical history allowing you to get coverage in minutes instead of weeks.
  • It’s affordable. Being young and healthy is definitely to your advantage when it comes to life insurance. I was able to get VERY affordable coverage for a small monthly fee that gives me so much peace of mind for the future of my family.
  • They are able to avoid a lot of overhead by using technology, and the cost savings is passed to the consumer. You can get a plan for as little as $2.50/month for the most basic policy, price goes up depending on coverage and term length. Max coverage is up to $500,000 for 20 years and even that is still very reasonably priced!
  • Instead of commissioned agents they use licensed customer care representatives so even though it’s all online, it’s not impersonal. If you have questions, you can get them easily answered. AKA: it’s a better experience.
  • They are backed by two huge insurance companies that are both A+ rated which means that you are getting the same quality life insurance policy as the biggest carriers, without having to deal with all of that bureaucracy.

This isn’t the most exciting part of having babies but it is so important and I feel really passionate about sharing it with you! You can learn more here and listen to my chat with their founder at the end of this podcast episode (Ep. 240) as well. I also love this article about buying life insurance while pregnant, where Bestow addresses some misconceptions!

 

The Birth Hour’s Know Your Options Childbirth Course!

Comprehensive & Evidence-Based Childbirth Course from The Birth Hour

I’m so excited to announce the Mother’s Day launch of THE most comprehensive online childbirth course in existence! We will take you from the final weeks of pregnancy through postpartum and newborn care covering all of the evidence-based information for all types of birth, no matter what you are planning!

Bigger-than-a-Bonus

pumped milk
Then, we’ve got you covered when you’re going back to work with an additional six module Back-2-Work Breastfeeding Course that you will get completely free as part of enrollment in the Know Your Options Childbirth Course!

Lifetime Access + MORE Bonuses!

Oh, and you get lifetime access to everything! I’ve actually already had a few mamas who are still in the trying to conceive phase sign up because they wanted to be sure to get in on the course while they can! The cart will only be open through Mother’s Day! The first 25 students to sign up will get a special gift in the mail from Earth Mama Organics! Hurry!

Go Here For All The Details!!

Essential Oils in Our Life

I’ve been so hesitant to write this post because of all of the perceptions around network marketing and how many direct messages and emails I’ve gotten myself that have always annoyed me! But once I realized how much I was using essential oils in my daily life, it really just made sense to share them with my audience. I honestly want to help more mamas find all of the amazing ways to incorporate oils into their every day that I’ve grown to love over the last few years. I share more info at the bottom of this page about joining YoungLiving as a “member” which basically just means you purchase a starter kit (which is the perfect intro to all of their oils!) and then you get wholesale prices! Here’s some more info on how we use essential oils with our family and why I now only use YoungLiving (after many years of buying the random bottles at the grocery store).

FAQ

What do we use oils for? For just about everything!! Whether you are looking for oils to help you sleep, for natural immune system support, for energy, for focus, for relaxation, for your kids, for natural alternatives to cleaning products, the list is endless!! And you will learn along the way, there aren’t hard set rules, but part of joining our oils team is that you get access to the most amazing resources & our private facebook community where literally any question you have will get answered.

Why Young Living? YL has an unmatched Seed to Seal process to guarantee the purity & potency of every oil. Each batch of oils is rigorously tested in house for therapeutic viability & they are so confident in their products that you can actually visit the farms & participate in the harvest/distillation process. Many of their oils (designated with white labels) are so safe they can even be ingested!

How do we use oils? You can diffuse them (you get a diffuser in your starter kit!) which is great for making your house smell great, helping your babies or kids relax at night for bed, getting rid of unwanted odors in the house & more, you can apply topically (some require a carrier oil like jojoba or coconut oil, you’ll learn all about that later!), you can make rollerball combos (my fave!), creams, sprays, and just about anything!!

How will I learn how to use my kit? You’ll get plenty of reading material with your kit, but as mentioned above, you’ll get access to our exclusive facebook community full of amazing resources like how to use each oil in your kit, which oils to avoid around kids or while pregnant/nursing, and all of the dilution ratios for individual oils. We have classes, books, live facebook hangouts & search functionality that will help you navigate through any questions you might have.

What should I get? A premium starter kit, which comes with 11 of the most commonly used oils + your diffuser (I recommend the Desert Mist which has an amazing candlelight flicker). The premium starter kit is the best value & provides you with everything you need to get started. You’ll get over $300 worth of product for only $160.

Do you have to order more oils monthly or sell them? Nope! Your kit can be a one time purchase, but along with it comes a wholesale membership, which just means that should you decide to purchase oils in the future, you would get a 24% discount! You will also get a personal referral link should you ever decide that you want to share them, but neither is required.

To enroll with our team, ORDER HERE and make sure the number 15023809 appears in both the “Enroller” and “Sponsor ID” fields. Sign up as a Member, this does not mean you have to sell oils, it just means you are getting a starter kit & will therefore get 24% off retail prices. Next you can choose to set up your Essential Rewards monthly autoship, we highly recommend this as a way to order those things you wish to have outside the kit and begin to cut toxins from your home with YL cleaning products, baby products & even makeup.

When you sign up as a wholesale member, I will invite you to our private groups on facebook, which is where you can learn everything you need to know about using your oils & connect with an amazing, inspiring community. If you are interested in selling the oils and sharing about the company, I am passionate about helping women earn income to help support their families! You will get access to online courses, videos, FB groups, e-books and more to help you if that’s the direction you want to go! And, of course I’m here to help you along the way!

Where do you order your rollerballs, glass bottles & carrier oils? You can find all of those goodies here!

*Any suggestions made on this blog are very specific to Young Living essential oils and should not be used with oils from another source. Statements made on this website about Young Living Essential Oils have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products and information are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Anyone suffering from disease or injury should consult with a physician. If you are currently on medication, please do not stop.

Self Care Gift Ideas for New Parents

Adjusting to a new baby always comes with its challenges. Whether it’s your first or your fifth, you’re dealing with lack of sleep, hormone shifts, putting the needs of this new human before your own AND figuring out what your relationship with your partner looks like now that there’s another person in the picture. These are some of our favorite recommendations for new parents to ensure that everyone is practicing some self care while caring for their new bundle of joy.

Sleep

Sleep is obviously the biggest hurdle so let’s tackle this one first.

  • Hire a postpartum doula – this is an invaluable gift you can give to new parents that will help them get some extra zzz’s.
  • Smart Nora – the last thing you need when you finally do get to lay your head down is to be woken up by your partner’s snoring. I’ve been truly AMAZED at how well the Smart Nora has worked to curb my husband’s snoring. It’s been priceless to not only get more sleep but also to not be annoyed at him for waking me up several times a night!
    • You can see in the picture below how it works, the box powers it and hides under the bed and then there’s a pillow insert that inflates when he starts snoring and it moves his head just enough to get him to stop.
    • The egg looking thing on our night stand is the sensor that detects the snores and activates the pillow.
  • Eye Mask – I was one of the first supporters when this mask launched on Kickstarter and I can’t say enough good things. It completely blacks out the room which is so great when you are trying to get your sleep in at odd times.

gifts for new parents

Eat

Nourishing your body with good food when you’re new parents is almost as important as sleep. Some great gift ideas are.

  • Home cooked meals – easy meals that can be frozen and popped into an oven or crock pot are ideal.
  • Take out gift cards. Or how about this Katz’ deli meal you can order on amazon?!
  • Gift card to a meal prep service. Either one that makes complete meals or one that sends the ingredients and you make the meals like Blue Apron. My best friend’s husband loves to cook and got sick of eating meals people brought so this was a great option for them, especially when he was on paternity leave and had some extra time.
  • Grocery shopping – either offer to do this for them and stock them up with some staples or gift them with a credit to a grocery delivery service in their area. Instacart is one many people use and Amazon Fresh is a newer one.
  • Nursing snack station – Fill a basket with healthy and quick snacks for the nursing mom (trail mix, granola bars, jerky, nuts, etc).
  • A great book that outlines specific meals that are nutritious and healing during the 4th trimester is this one!
  • Monthly subscription for healthy snacks or fresh fruit.

photo: @danihampton

Household

  • House cleaning service!!! (This is the #1 recommended by all parents I interviewed!).
  • Dog Walking Service or doggy day camp gift cards.
  • Take the older kids somewhere on the weekend and/or offer to do school drop off/pick-up for a week!
  • Laundry Service.
  • Cloth diaper service (obviously check with them first on this one!)
  • Monthly subscription for flowers.
  • Amazon prime membership (check to see if they have one first).

Comfort

Here’s where you can have some fun and do some pampering for both parents. Almost all of these ideas came from new moms!

  • At home massage visit or spa gift card. There are massage therapists that specialize in postpartum.
  • Since they will be spending most of their time lounging around the house, a really nice robe or set of pj’s is a great gift especially since baby likely already has tons of sleepers, treat the parents instead!
  • Nice sheets or a cozy blanket (maybe even one to commemorate baby)
  • Herb baths – Mom shouldn’t be using any bubble baths or bath bombs right after baby but an herbal bath that’s specifically meant for postpartum is a great gift. I love this one for sitz baths and this one for full tub soaks.
  • One mom suggested a special body wash or shampoo to motivate her to take showers and practice that basic form of self care! Try an organic option!
  • High end face wash and moisturizer to help mom feel fresh and self indulgent at the beginning and end of each day.
  • Diffuser and essential oils.

Black Friday & Cyber Monday Deals

Looking for some of the best deals for pregnancy, baby and even the older kiddos (and adults) in the family? I’ve rounded up my faves and will continue adding to this list as I discover more great deals!!

TOP FAVORITES

Other Fun Stuff

Fertility Awareness Method (FAM): Natural Birth Control

This guest post was written by Austyn Smith

The book “Taking Charge of your Fertility” by Toni Weschler provides deep insights into what happens in a woman’s body during a typical menstrual cycle. Learning about these changes in detail helps women become very in tune with their body’s physical signals of fertility (or lack thereof). In part one of this series, we discussed using Toni’s Fertility Awareness Method to help in troubleshooting infertility issues naturally, and ultimately achieving pregnancy. In part 2, we will discuss using this same method as a means for birth control.

Natural Birth Control After Baby

I have successfully used the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) for natural birth control for over four years, and have loved it. It entails charting your body temperature, your cervical mucus, and your cervical position as a means for noting your fertile and infertile times, and then planning intercourse accordingly. Although this method is not for everyone, it can be a great option for women who prefer not to use traditional birth control or have adverse reactions to it (myself). Using this method does require a bit of planning and consistency in order to be effective, so it is ideal for the organized or schedule-driven mama.

Plan on charting two full menstrual cycles before you begin using this method so that you can get a true understanding of charting, how it works, what it all means, and identifying your own body’s cues and signals of fertility. During each cycle you will be taking a daily basal body temperature (you need a special thermometer for tracking), recording cervical mucus, and cervical positioning (optional). A sample chart of a typical cycle is below.

sample fertility chart

As a reminder, there are three phases of a typical menstrual cycle: the pre-ovulatory infertile phase, the fertile phase, and the post-ovulatory infertile (luteal) phase. I recommend re-reading FAM part 1 to review the basics of the signs of fertile and infertile phases, before continuing on. I also highly recommend reading the book in detail before trying this method in order to get a clear picture of the procedures in detail. At any rate, here is an overview.

Phase One: Pre-Ovulatory Infertile Phase Rules

The first phase of a cycle begins on the first day of bleeding during your period. During this phase, there are two rules to follow.

First five days rule

You are only “safe” to have intercourse during the first 5 days of a menstrual cycle if you have had an obvious temperature shift 12-16 days prior.

Having this shift means that ovulation has indeed occurred and the bleeding you are experiencing is not ovulation spotting or implantation bleeding. Remember sperm can live for up to five days in a fertile environment, so any time after these first five days consider yourself potentially fertile, even if you are still bleeding. You may consider yourself “safe” beyond the first five days if you then keep the second rule.

Dry Day Rule

Before you ovulate, you are safe on the evening of every dry day—meaning you do not have any cervical discharge during the course of the entire day. If you have been dry and then have intercourse, the next day you must be careful since semen may mask cervical discharge. If at the end of a day after intercourse you have been dry all day, consider yourself safe once again (remember, sperm cannot survive in a dry environment).

Phase Two: Fertile Phase

Ideally, you are only having unprotected sex when you know for sure you are in your infertile phase. If you do decide to have sex during your fertile phase, you will need to use a barrier of some type (like condoms—we are huge fans of these), or explore other areas of arousal and climax without penetration. A woman’s egg once released survives only 24-48 hours. However, if the uterine environment is right, sperm can survive for several days, so there is a range on either side of ovulation day where you must consider yourself potentially fertile. To err on the side of caution, assume most women have an 8-10 day range of fertility. As a basic review, the signs of fertility include:

  • Cervical mucus changes from dry to sticky, then creamy, then eggwhite (extremely fertile), to sticky or dry, and finally menstruation.
  • Cervical positioning changes from firm, low, and closed to soft, high, open, and wet and then closed and low again.
  • Basal Body Temperature Shifts: a spike of several tenths of a degree which remains high for 3 consecutive days will indicate that ovulation has occurred. Remember you need a special thermometer for tracking.
  • Ovulatory Pain: Some women experience cramping in the lower abdomen on one side indicating ovulation is occurring.

Phase Three: Post-Ovulatory Infertile Phase

During this phase remember the Temperature Shift Rule.

Temperature Shift Rule

You are “safe” the evening of the third consecutive day your temperature is above the coverline.

Review how to chart temperatures and calculate coverline here. Essentially, the first day there has been a temperature rise by 2/10 of a degree, and has stayed elevated for 3 consecutive days, you can be sure you have ovulated. Highlight the previous 6 temperatures, and identify the highest of those. Draw your coverline on the chart that is one degree higher than the highest of those temperatures.

You are considered infertile at 6pm on the third consecutive night your basal body temperature is above the coverline. If your temperature is on or below the coverline during those 3 days, you must start over once your temperatures are back above the line. Remember, sex is still okay, only you must use a barrier method.

There are a few exceptions to these rules that will throw your body off a little bit—being sick, traveling, breastfeeding, or sleeping poorly for instance. So definitely review the book in detail before trying out this method.

Monitoring and charting fertility signs not only helps women understand their fertility in a very detailed manner, but can also serve as a diagnostic tool for infertility, as well as a means of natural birth control. It can be a great alternative for women who do not want added hormones, surgery, or the pressure of remembering to take a pill for birth control. I have found great success in using the Fertility Awareness Method both to prevent pregnancy, and to achieve pregnancy when I want to conceive. You may find a copy of Toni Weschler’s book here, and more information and community resources about using the Fertility Awareness Method at Taking Charge of your Fertility or ovagraph.com.