Immunity Booster Drink

Last fall I shared my family’s tricks for beating the stomach flu quickly and avoiding conventional over-the-counter medicines.

In fact, you most likely already have the ingredients on hand in your home.

My oldest daughter fell ill again last week with a little tummy bug. To avoid coming down with anything myself, I whipped up a concoction that my mom had passed along to me last year.

I already had most of the ingredients in my pantry but had to make a quick run for the fresh ginger.

This Immunity Booster Drink can be prepared in less than 5 minutes in a large glass bowl or cup.

Immunity Booster Drink

  • 1/4 tsp fresh lime juice

  • 1/2 cup of fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 tsp of apple cider vinegar (make sure it has “The Mother”)
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1 inch of grated ginger
  • 1 big pinch of turmeric
  • Honey

Whisk all ingredients together for one minute. That’s it! You can serve this drink chilled, at room temperature, or warmed over the stovetop. Every once in awhile I like to add just a touch of cinnamon. ūüėČ

This recipe makes 6 shot-sized servings.

The orange juice is high in Vitamin C, the apple cider vinegar aides in an improved digestion while boosting the immunity, the ginger helps soothe sore throats, and the turmeric is anti-inflammatory and antiviral.

If you’re up for it, you can even add a dusting of cayenne pepper to increase blood flow and and speeds up healing.

Please let me know if you try this drink and how it worked for you! I’d love to hear from you. ūüėä

Last-Minute Gift Guides For The Whole Family On A Budget

This post contains affiliate links. Please read more about my disclosure policy here.

Christmas Gift Guides For The Whole Family On A Budget

Christmas is getting close! That means you’ll want to give yourself plenty of time for those last minute gifts to get to their recipients on time. If you’re like my family, you’re on a budget and may be wondering just how can you possibly give gifts while on a budget.

All is takes is a little creativity, discipline, and planning. You can find my healthy and unique gift guides for everyone on your list this holiday season!

The REAL Reason For The Season

Let me preface this gift guide by saying that remembering that Jesus is the true reason for the Christmas season. Sadly, it’s all too easy to get caught up with keeping up with the Joneses. As Rachel Cruze would say, “They’re broke!”

Are you tempted to get those holiday gifts by putting them on a credit card? Don’t do it. That’s another post for another day. But do let me help you get pumped by giving you a few tricks and tips for having a stress-free Christmas!

  • Write out a list of your gift recipients.
  • Set a limit for each individual on your list and stick to that budget.
  • Set aside cash and do not go beyond that.
  • Consider omitting unnecessary recipients; What?!

Yes, when we started our debt-free journey we straight up told family members that we would not be exchanging gifts and only buying for the kiddos. Try getting creative by making gifts or doing a family gift instead. You may have friends and family look at you as if you’re crazy but it’s not other peoples’ finances. If they’re not understanding then that is on them and them alone. Yes, this is the season of giving but think of how you can give of your time or talents.

Offer to help a neighbor shovel their driveway or help a new mom wrap her presents. Maybe you can cook up a meal or two for someone on your list. There’s lots of ways that you can give to others without having to spend money.

On To The Gift Guides!

Last Christmas was our first Christmas after starting our debt-free journey. My husband and I agreed from the start that we did not need to get each other a gift. We stopped and looked around at what we already had: a home, running vehicles, fuel in our cars, healthy and organic groceries in the fridge, my husband’s job that made sure that all of the bills were paid on time, our family, our health, and our children. When we took the time to focus on what we already had we were so content with not getting each other a gift. So, who came next on the list?

Kids

We now have three kiddos and last year was our youngest’s first Christmas. She was too little to have any idea what was going on nor would she remember who gave her what. Our children have grandparents, great grandparents, aunt and uncles, and family friends who all give our kids gifts at Christmas. Sometimes the overload is absolute insanity! When Christmas morning is over I look around at gift after gift. I’ve always joked how we’d be just fine not giving our children anything and they wouldn’t even notice.

A few years back I saw a gift-giving rule about getting kids four things:

  1. Something they want
  2. Something they need
  3. Something to wear
  4. Something to read

It’s minimal yet oh so perfect! I communicate with family members about what we’re doing and what other family members are doing as well so that there aren’t any duplicates. Did you know that Target even offers Kids’ Wish Lists?? Yup! This is so unbelievably awesome because you, as the parent, control what items are on the list. You can just about add anything! If Santa wants to include toothbrushes and deodorant in those stockings he sure can!

I’m also not a fan of cheap, plastic toys that take up space and room and won’t last through the month. You work hard for your money so don’t waste it on nonsense. Gift cards may seem impersonal but make the most sense because your gift recipient can go snag whatever they want (or more importantly need) during the after Christmas sales or whenever they want to redeem them. Gift cards make the best last minute gift idea and a lot you can even send electronically! Save your money by not paying for silly shipping!

I’m also all about experiences over more stuff in our home. Clutter and items create stress; why not gift something that those on your list can do?? Groupon has a lot of great experiences for everyone and its super affordable!

We have family that live all over and the shipping costs can add up quickly. I look at that outgoing money as money I could have applied elsewhere. Gift cards and Groupon activities have made gifting without shipping all that much more convenient. Through December 23 Target is also offering free shipping and returns, too! Another reason to love Target!

Baby/Toddler Gift Guides

Diapers

Diapers are the most practical and appreciated gift to give to any expecting or new parents. Those suckers can get spendy so why not help out mom and dad and give a gift that will give often? Just think, every time they’re changing diapers they’ll think of you – and that’s a lot of thankfulness!

The Honest Co. diapers are my favorite because they come in festive and adorable prints. A package of diapers aren’t quite complete without  wipes, cream, and bath time essentials.

Little People

I remember playing with my mom’s Little People at my Grandparent’s when I was a kid. The twins absolutely loved their Fisher Price Little People and although they’ve changed over the years, Little People are a genuine classic toy that is a must-have on your list for youngsters. They last for years as the age ranges from 1 1/2 to 5 years old. They may seem a bit pricey at first but I look at them as an investment for five years of play! I have all of the twins’ old Fisher Price Little People from almost ten years ago and the magic is still there!

This year, my youngest daughter is fascinated with “Mimi” Mouse and “Gigi” (Grandma Kathy) found her a Mickey Mouse Little People house and the whole Mickey Mouse gang. This couldn’t be a more perfect gift for my 20-month old!

Little Tikes 3-in-1 Sports Zone

It’s never too early to teach little ones about health and fitness. If your toddlers have older siblings and those siblings are involved in sports then it’s quite possible that your littles are just itching to get out there and play too! Little Tikes 3-in-one Sports Zone is so versatile. It’s for one year olds up to three year olds and features a basketball hoop, a soccer ball net, and a bowling zone. It is designed to grow with your child and fold nicely for easy storage. My daughter’s Auntie Brittny will be spoiling her with this Christmas morning surprise that’s sure to be hours of fun!

Cabbage Patch Kids

If you’re an 80s kid like I am then you definitely remember Cabbage Patch Kids! My toddler received her very first Cabbage Patch Kids Cutie for her birthday last spring when Lola the Giraffe was all the rage as the world watched in anticipation for her to have her baby on live television. Well, her little cutie has been her baby ever since. When September rolled around, we were having lunch at Cracker Barrel after church when Little Missy spotted Oliver Pumpkin and kept saying, “Baby! Baby!” My Grandparent’s treated her to owning Oliver for the fall season and “Gigi” will be surprising her with Holly Reindeer.

The Cabbage Patch craze led my husband and I right to our single gift for our little one. We decided on the Cabbage Patch Kids Drink and Wet Travel Set. Its suggested for 2 year olds and up but our 20 month old is just shy of that mark. Small pieces will be put away until she’s old enough. But the crib and stroller will be perfect for her babies! It even comes with a baby. I like to rotate my daughter’s toys out every month so she’s not overwhelmed and all of her toys get played with. The extra baby will be perfect for switching out babies or having an extra on on hand.

POtty Chair

I lucked out with having the twins fully potty trained at 17 months. Little One is definitely ready to be introduced to the beginning stages of potty training. We have a two-story home and while I held on to the potty chair I had with the twins, I’ll need one for our downstairs bathroom as well.

This Fisher Price Learn-to-Flush Potty is too cute! It “flushes”, plays music, and lights up. The best part is that the blue seat is removable and sits nicely on an adult-sized toilet! How awesome is that?? I can’t wait to start potty training after Christmas! A few great additions to assist with the potty training process are some training paints, step stool, hand soap, and rewards.

Books

You can never go wrong with a new book or two to add to a child’s library! Share the love of reading by introducing little ones to your favorite childhood favorites or a new one on the market.

I’ve requested potty training books to have in the bathrooms to help Little One relax. She enjoys looking at the colorful pictures and I love expanding her vocabulary. Here are a few of my favorites:

  1. How To Pee
  2. Princess Potty
  3. The New Potty (Little Critter)
  4. My Big Girl Undies
  5. Girls’ Noisy Potty Book

Other toddler gift ideas are:

  1. H is For Happy: An Emoji ABC Book of Feelings – a modern take on learning the ABCs and teach youngsters about their feelings.
  2. My First Crayola – palm grip crayons that help strengthen little hands.
  3. Melissa & Doug Shape Sorting Cube – great for dexterity and shape and color recognition.
  4. Melissa & Doug Fish Colors, ABC, and Numbers Puzzle Bundle – a great age to introduce puzzles and learn colors, letters, and numbers.

Kids Age 8-10

My twins actually asked for gift cards and cash this year. They realize that they already have a lot of things and want to minimize the amount of toys in their rooms. They’re also at that transitional age where they’re starting to outgrow toys but they’re not quite into those really expensive electronics (Whew! Thank goodness for that!).  But it has also made gift giving a bit tricky.

My twins think it’s a special treat when we go out to eat, grab a cocoa or frappe, or they get to “pay” for their own items with a gift card. You just can’t go wrong with a gift card!

My twins have enjoyed receiving Legos, Lalaloopsies, a Nintendo DS and games, and movies to add to their collection.

They also love to read and getting new books really excites them!

Last year, my daughter really wanted an art easel and art supplies from Michaels. While we were there we picked up models and paint sets for my son. The twins really enjoyed spending hours exploring their creative sides and still look forward for lazy Saturdays to paint.

If it snows where you live sleds are an excellent gift idea for the whole family, too!

Gifts For the Whole Family

I am definitely all about experiences over more things so if you’re absolutely stumped check out these unique gift ideas.

Kidartlit offers a monthly book and craft subscription for families with children. You get to pick your subscription and each month Kidartlit sends a beautiful book with a related art project. The boxes arrive in all ready to go so that you can engage with your kiddos right away.

 

Most homes have Netflix and/or Hulu. I had to cancel our Netflix subscription because there just weren’t good shows I felt at peace about knowing that my kids could see the titles (even on the Kid Feauture).  Pureflix is wholesome movies and shows for the entire family that you can stream right to your personal device or television. You can check them out before subscribing because your first month is absolutely free! Woohoo!

Night In A Box is a wonderful gift for anyone on your list! This company offers Kids Night In, Faith Night In and Date Night In. There are lots of wonderful options to choose from and help out if you or someone on your list is on a budget. These Night In Boxes are a great way for couples and families to spend quality time together. Each box comes with everything you need to connect in new and creative ways.

Stocking Stuffers


Whether or not your kiddos are too old to to believe in the magic of Santa or he isn’t someone that your family observes, that’s okay. Stocking stuffers are still fun little gifts to give to others!
My personal favorites are the Christmas candies! As an adult I’ve learned about all of the terrible ingredients in those all time favorites and went on the hunt for healthier alternatives. I want to thank Wholesome for sending our family organic candy canes when I couldn’t find them in our local stores this year. Our entire family loves candy canes as a seasonal treat to stir into our hot cocoa, hang on our tree, and leave a few for Santa to put in the stockings. The best part about these candy canes is that they don’t have any artificial flavors or colors, are made with four simple ingredients including natural peppermint oil, organic fruit juice for color, and Wholesome Organic Fair Trade Cane Sugar. They’re also gluten, dairy, nut free and don’t contain and high fructose corn syrup. Wholesome also sent us some of their Delish Fish which are comparable to Swedish Fish but waaayyy yummier!!! They also threw in Organic Fruit Chews which remind me Starburst but again, they are so much better than Starburst and better for you, too. Thank you so very much again to Wholesome and their team for sending these goodies to our home for the holidays!

I enjoy putting gum in my kiddos’ stockings each year but the conventional gums have so many bad ingredients that I had to give up my chewing gum addiction. Then, I came across Glee Gum! Their name sure is perfect because these cute little squares definitely bring joy and smiles! Glee Gum comes packaged in cute little boxes just right for sliding in your pocket or mommy purse. My kiddos love to open their lunch boxes and find a Glee Gum box inside for after lunch! Wait’ll they wake up on Christmas morning to find these in their stockings! They’re just the right size for loading up stockings. This year, Glee Gum came out with gum pops, too! Similar to Blow Pops, Glee Gum Pops are the first all natural gum pop. Just like Glee Gum, Glee Gum Pops aren’t made with any artificial ingredients, colors, or preservatives. They’re gluten and allergy free, too!

I want to extend a special thank-you to the Glee Company as well for generously sending us a box of their assortment box of gum, a bag of Glee Gum Pops, and a chocolate making kit! Thank you so very much for sending these goodies! We can’t wait to try the chocolate making kit over Christmas Break!

One of the best and favorite treats for younger ones are Yum Earth’s Organic Candy Cane Pops and Organic Christmas Fruit Snacks. Certified organic, non-GMO, and gluten free! No artificial colors or preservatives.

With all of the holiday goodies and calorie-laden foods, it can be rather tricky to keep your eating on track. Suja Organic Cold-Pressed juices are a fantastic way to stay on top of getting key nutrients. They taste great, too! The celery-cucumber is more of a veggie flavor while the Sweet Beets is a bit sweeter. I’m looking forward to trying a new flavor each time I make a trip to the grocery store. Suja juices are certified organic, non-GMO, vegan and gluten-free, and come in BPA free bottles. As a breastfeeding Momma these juices are the perfect pick-me-up during the busy holiday season. They also make an awesome stocking stuffer, too!

I’m such a sucker for lip balms! I always have been since I was a little girl. The Lip Smacker obsession has turned to EOS lip balm. This holiday season they have Peppermint Cream, Peppermint Mocha, Sweet Mint Sphere and Pomegranate-Raspberry Stick, and Strawberry Sphere and Vanilla Bean Stick.

Target even has a Holiday 3-pack just perfect for stuffing any girl’s stocking! The holiday pack comes with sparkling ginger! Are your lips watering yet?

Yum Bath Treats are handmade with love and only natural ingredients like essential oils, coconut oil, almond oil, and shea butter. They’re absolutely adorable and look good enough to eat! If you subscribe to their email list you’ll save 15% off of your first order, too!

 

 

I bought a Wetbrush this summer and my daughter loved it so much that she is constantly asking to use mine (and then I have to go hunt it down each time those little hands borrow Mommy’s brush!). Her favorite color is teal and I found her the perfect Wetbrush Duo – a full-sized brush and a mini brush to keep in her backpack.

Prim & Pure Natural Fruit and Veggie Safe Polish is another stocking stuffer that is making our list this year.

Winter weather means dry, cracked itching and bleeding hands. But they don’t have to be when combated with The Honest Company’s Organic Healing Balm. I swear by this stuff! It is truly healing and the only cream we keep in our home. It works so well as a diaper cream, too!

Speaking of gifts for babies, how about a few gifts for mommies-to-be or a current mommy? Earth Mama has some fabulous products for both babies and mommies. Milkmaid tea tastes amazing and is great for breastfeeding mommas. I still enjoy drinking it! Earth Mama sent me a deodorant set along with their new Baby Face Organic Nose & Cheek and a Coconut Smoothie Lip Balm. Pushing out baby is a lot of work and can dry those mommy lips out. Don’t let baby receive a scratchy kiss from mom and send both baby and momma smooth lips. She’ll love to have one item checked off of her hospital bag list.

 

Guys

I have such a hard time shopping for the men in my life. Can you relate? These guys are awesome! But they make gift-giving a challenge. My husband loves to read. His nightly reading actually lead us to start our debt-free journey. I highly recommend Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover. This is honestly a great gift for anyone on your list. An absolute must read!

If your gift recipients have already read The Total Money Makeover, add Chris Hogan’s Retire Inspire to their library.  These two books will change their lives forever. They won’t be able to look at finances the same way again.

Devotional books also make a nice gift for guys. My Grandpa and husband are big fans of Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling, Jesus Always, Jesus Today, and Jesus Lives. They read these books over and over each year!

I hope that these guides help you for those last-minute gifts on a budget! What are some budget-friendly gift ideas that you have used in the past or applied this year? I’d love to hear your ideas! Please comment below.

 

Cyber Monday Deals You Won’t Wanna Miss!

This post contains affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy here.

Cyber Monday Deals Are Here!

Thanksgiving is over,  Black Friday came and went, the leftovers are all eaten, and the Christmas decorations are up. Now Cyber Monday is here! I’ve got a list of deals that you do not want to miss. There’s a little something for everyone on your list here.

ConvertKit

Know of someone that is an online business owner or a blogger? Help them grow their email list with the best email marketing software. Convertkit can help anyone grow their business by:

  • Sending targeted content with simple, but powerful automations.
  • Build and edit email sequences with their drag and drop organizer.
  • It’s built to use email marketing best practices by default.
  • Free migration for 5,000+subscriber lists.
  • Customizable opt-in forms to fit your brand.
  • Only pay for loyal subscribers once with unlimited forms, segments, and tags.
  • World class customer support from people who care about your business.
  • Industry-leading deliverability means your emails land in the inbox more often.

ConvertKit offers a one month free trial and right now you can enter to win a free year of their services! This is a $348 value! The best part is that you can try their services out for free here.

Start A Blog

Have you ever wanted to start a blog? Maybe you already have a blog and would like to find your niche or you would like to grow your email list. Suzi Whitford over at Start A Mom Blog is offering three of her signature courses for just $47! Say, what?? Guys, this is an incredible deal!

  1. Niche By Number – $27 value 
  2. Blog By Number – $47 value  
  3. List By Number – $37 value 

You can snag all three courses for $47. That’s 60% off of the original prices and it’s like getting two of Suzi’s courses absolutely free! Plan, Build, and Grow today until 11 p.m. CST.

Michaels

Still need to decorate for Christmas, grab a gift for the crafty person in your life, or need to make something of your very own? Michaels has you covered. Now until 10:59 p.m. save 30% off of your entire order plus free shipping (no minimum)!

HandMade With Love Super Bundle

Last week I posted about the giveaway my friends over at Ultimate Bundles were doing in order to kickoff their Handmade With Love Super Bundle. Today the bundle is live at 8:00 a.m. EST.
This deal is like therapy, gifting, and self-care, all wrapped into one really nice little package. It’s fun. It’s at a huge discount. It’s only available for a few days. And if you buy it by Thursday night, you’ll get your choice of a Craftsy course thrown in absolutely FREE!

The Handmade with Love Bundle and it’s 200+ patterns, projects, and step-by-step tutorials covering all your favorite crafts like Quilting, Sewing, Knitting, Crocheting, Weaving, and more!

Seriously, if you want to make a one-of-a-kind gift for a special someone on your list, there’s no need to wait.

Before you fire up your sewing machine, grab that ball or yarn, or get your embroidery hoop ready, there’s only one thing to do: go here to check out your 97% discount on the Handmade with Love Super Bundle.

Earth Mama Organics

Today only Earth Mama Organics is offering their best selling Milkmaid Tea and Angel Baby Bottom Balm 50% off!  I’ll be stocking up because I’m still nursing my 19 month old and can always count on the Milkmaid Tea to boost my supply. Plus it tastes great!

The Honest Company

Have a little one or are you expecting? Maybe you know of someone who is expecting or has a little one this is an AWESOME gift!! I’ve seen this first month bundle offer as low as 40% but today you can get your first month for 50% off!!!


Mommas, today is the day to stock up on diapers, wipes, organic all-purpose balm, hand sanitizer, laundry detergent, you name it. And they recently launched their darling winter prints that you’ve got to check out. Stock up on your favorite Honest products today!

Target

Today get 15% off of your online order. In addition, Target is hosting these other great deals:

‚ÄĘ    30% off select clothing for the family
‚ÄĘ    All Graco on sale up to 20%
‚ÄĘ    Save $100 on the PlayStation GT Sport VR Bundle
‚ÄĘ    Save up to $50 on Google Home devices
‚ÄĘ    Save up to $100 on GoPro action cameras

Target.com is offering Free Shipping & Free Returns through 12/23!

I’m looking forward to applying these online saving towards my organic candy purchase from YumEarth. They came out with organic candy cane pops just in time for the holiday season. They’ll make great stocking stuffers!


I’d love to hear what deals you snagged today! Comment below and tell me about your Cyber Monday Must-Haves.

Handmade With Love

This post contains affiliate links. Please read more about my disclosure policy here.

Growing up my parents were constantly looking for extra ways to bring in extra income even though they were self employed. Times can be tough starting out as young parents. My stepdad would build trailers and snowmobiles to sell while my mom was always crafting. For her, crafting was her second love after teaching and playing piano.


Mom and grandma had been crafting for years. Grandma was a seamstress and could make anything from beautiful dresses to quality quilts. Grandma and mom made Christmas ornaments, wreaths, and gifts to save on money so crafting, not just during the holidays but year round, was part of our family traditions. After working around the house and on the farm crafting was the next activity that was always taking place in our home.


I remember my mom taking toll painting and stamp classes to make our home decorations and cards instead of purchasing things outside the home. I even have some of mom’s beloved toll painted decorations in my home that I won’t part with because I cherish and value the personal touch, time, and love that went into each craft.

My best friend has even started a small Etsy shop with burlap and shirt printing and I stamped for a little bit and have always wanted to scrapbook. Handmade crafts are everywhere! I’m really looking forward to making ornaments with kids this holiday season.

That’s why I’m so excited so share the Handmade With Love Super Bundle from my friends over at Ultimate Bundles! They’re running a giveaway… and not just any giveaway! How would you like to win a Cricut Maker Machine ($400), a Brother Embroidery and Sewing Machine ($390), or any of 18 other prizes?

I thought you might be excited about that because I know that I am! So here’s what’s happening: Including the prizes I already mentioned, there are 20 prizes (worth almost $4,000 altogether), so you’ll definitely find something craft that you’ve had your eye on.

With categories like Knitting & Crochet, Embriodery & Cross-Stitch, Sewing, Quilting, Applique, and Mixed Media Fiber Arts (like weaving), there’s something for every maker.

So take a few minutes and head on over here. You’ll pick your category and enter you name and email address. That’s it! Just sit back and wait to see if you win. Don’t wait because you must enter by November 26!

What handmade craft do you enjoy? I’d love to hear what your special skill is so drop me a comment below!

Holiday Meals Your Whole Family Can Enjoy

Gluten free, dairy free, paleo, vegan…
Deprivation-free holiday meals (take that, food allergies)

Can you believe that Thanksgiving is already next week? I feel like we just recovered from Halloween and that I barely pulled out my Thanksgiving decorations! I pulled out my turkey notepad this weekend and started to make a menu plan for our Thanksgiving meal keeping in mind that I wanted nothing but whole, organic foods. Then, something unexpected happened…

I’ve been feeling different for awhile now and chalked it up to being the mom of a very busy toddler. Even though I eat healthy and watch very closely what I eat my body hasn’t been treating me very well at all. So, I started eliminating certain foods from my diet and guess what? I’m already starting to feel better! But that kind of put a kink in my Thanksgiving menu. No bread or stuffing?? No pumpkin or apple pie?? After the turkey, those are the traditional dishes and desserts I look forward to at my Thanksgiving meal. You can’t have turkey without the stuffing and I’m a total sucker for hot, buttered rolls on our table.

I have several family members that aren’t able to eat certain foods to due food allergies or autoimmune diseases and that can make the holidays frustrating. I always feel badly when theyre not able to eat the dishes I’ve prepared and they feel as though they’re special diets can inconvenience the rest of the guests.

That’s why I’m¬†so¬†excited to tell you about the¬†Food Allergy Freedom Collection.¬†Put together by my friends at Ultimate Bundles, it includes¬†280 tried-and-true holiday recipes, including:

  • Cakes, cookies, pies and candies that follow a¬†Top 8 Allergen-Free diet
  • 30 deliciously decadent yet healthy desserts¬†free of grains, dairy and eggs
  • A guide for preparing home-made candy with unrefined sweeteners (and¬†not a drop of corn syrup)
  • 32¬†gluten-free¬†holiday recipes your crockpot can cook for you
  • Classic recipes like pumpkin pie, turkey gravy, and even dinner rolls¬†focusing on GAPS diet, primal, and paleo foods – WOOHOO!!!
  • A 4-week meal plan, including desserts and snacks,¬†free of (or with alternatives for) egg, dairy, wheat, fish, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish
  • 13 recipes for fresh-baked,¬†grain-free bread¬†made with coconut flour
  • And much more!

Click here to get your Food Allergy Freedom Collection: https://us154.isrefer.com/go/FAFB2017/a10488/


Whether you need to¬†avoid gluten, dairy, eggs, nuts, grains, refined sugars, OR you¬†eat paleo, GAPS, vegan or even AIP, you’ll find something to chow down on with these delicious, deprivation-free recipes.

Normally, you would have to spend over $110 to get the 9 eCookbooks in this collection. But¬†until¬†tomorrow¬†(Tuesday) at¬†11:59pm¬†Eastern Time, you can get it on a pay-what-you-want basis. Seriously ‚ÄĒ it’s a chance to save big while making sure you won’t be scrambling for recipes that work this holiday season!

And if you choose to pay $20 or more, you’ll also get a¬†bonus eCourse¬†full¬†of tips for cooking around major food allergens, so you can transform your favorite family recipes to make them allergy-friendly (worth $40 by itself!). Plus the bundle is backed 100% with a¬†30-Day Happiness Guarantee. So why wait?

Click here to get the Food Allergy Freedom Collection: https://us154.isrefer.com/go/FAFB2017/a10488/

Now the holidays can be fun for everyone with the convenience of this bundle!

Remember, this 48-hour package is only available until tomorrow, at 11:59pm Eastern Time. So if you want it, you need to get it soon.

Get the Food Allergy Freedom Collection here: https://us154.isrefer.com/go/FAFB2017/a10488/

 

Fall Family Photo Shoot


A little known fact about me is that I used to coach cheerleading at the high school I attended. I ran into one of my former cheerleaders and found that she, too, is dabbling in blogging and photography. Since we’re on our debt-free journey I did something that I’ve not ever done and asked if she’d be up for taking our family’s photos. As uncharacteristic as this was of me, my inquiries led to a memorable moment for our family.

Paige Baker at Paige Baker Photography is an absolute dear!  She understands that we are on a  debt-free journey and was generous enough to capture our family. This was the first time since my wedding that we have had any photos taken and we certainly haven’t had any professional  pictures taken as a family since our youngest was born.

 

We had already taken our annual trip to one of the local pumpkin patches when my in-laws visited earlier in the month so I called the owner of a random pumpkin patch I had driven by on my way home from the grocery store. They had the perfect little set up with the patch, hay bales, tractor, and yard filled with autumn leaves.

If you have children then you know what a challenge it can be to get all of them to smile and look in the direction of the camera at the same time. Paige was wonderful to work with! She knew just how to get the kids to look her way and was able to obtain the perfect photo.

I really like the way that she edited the photos with a warm tone; just perfect for fall!

Finding an outdoor setting was extra special for me because I was raised on a farm growing up. It felt like I was at home with the dirt and farm equipment. The smell of hay was especially reminiscent for me.

The pumpkins at this patch were some of the biggest and perfectly rounded pumpkins I have ever seen! There is something about those farm fresh pumpkins that are extra special.

Paige spotted these cute little pumpkins and gourds that were just the right size for Lily’s little hands to hold during the shoot.

I am absolutely in love with this photo that Paige snapped of the twins! It sums up their bond in one photo. They’re the very best of friends and are going through that silly stage where all they want to do is tease one another.

Paige has a real talent for capturing those precious little moments and this picture absolutely warms my heart! I can’t wait to frame this one and put it on my nightstand so I see my loved ones first thing when I wake up and when I close my eyes before bed.

A huge thank you to Paige Baker for taking these pictures for our family to enjoy and remember forever! She is such a talented young lady and I highly recommend her to take your family’s next photos. You can check her other work out on Facebook and Instagram.

Healthier Halloween Treats


This post contains affiliate links. Please read more about my disclosure policy here.


I may look forward to Halloween as much as my kiddos do. This year will be my youngest’s first Halloween to trick-or-treat and I can’t wait to see her toddle up to the neighbor’s front doors and say, “Please” and “Thank you” and hold out her little bucket. I can’t wait to come home and dump all of the candy out on the living room floor and sort each piece by their categories. And as we’re sorting and inspecting my momma bear eyes can’t help but read the back of each package to see what the ingredients  I’m about to let my kiddos to ingest are.


Now, you may be reading this and thinking, “Oh, what’s the big deal? A few pieces are harmless.” I once thought that as well. I was the mommy that wanted to let my kids live a little and experience all of the commercialized holidays and everything that came with it. And then my twins got older and started having issues. Migraines, tummy aches, and eczema are just a few of the side effects the twins started experiencing. When I became pregnant with my youngest I was older, too, and much more aware of what I was consuming as well.


I enjoy reading and would start reading everything. Boy have times sure changed! When I expected to read ingredients like milk chocolate, sugar, and peanut butter I was thrown for a loop as my eyes would scrunch up trying to pronounce words like tert – butylhydroquinone (TBHQ) and polyglycerol polyricinoleate (PGPR). TBHQ has been linked to the rise of food allergies and PGPR is fairly new on the scene. It’s a slimy, yellow, fatty substance used to stretch cocoa by making it go further.


I’ve composed a list of healthier Halloween goodies that you can feel better about handing out to your trick-or-treaters or bringing to your child’s class party.

Annie’s Halloween Bunny Grahams

Made with organic wheat flour, Annie’s bunny grahams are non-GMO verified and don’t have any artificial flavors, synthetic colors or preservatives. and no high fructose corn syrup.

 


Annie’s Organic Halloween Fruit Snack Packs

USDA certified organic made with real fruit juice, no artificial flavors, colors, or high fruit cornstarch and are gluten free.

Right now Cartwheel is offering additional savings on Annie’s Halloween fruit snacks and Halloween grahams. You can save 20%!

Yum Earth Organic Gummies, Lollipops, and Candy Corn

Special edition gummy jack o’lanterns and bats and candy corn that are non-GMO, gluten-free, and USDA organic.

Justin’s Mini Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

Certified USDA Organic and gluten free, Justin’s peanut butter cups are AMAZING! I actually prefer them to Reese’s. These perfect cups are made with Rainforest Alliance Certified cocoa and sustainably sources palm fruit oil.

OCHO Candy

All treat and no tricks with these delectable candy bars! Ochos Candy bars are certified organic, non-GMO, and the coconut and dark chocolate peanut butter bars are certified vegan. They come in bite=sized minis or full sized candy bars. My favorite is the variety bag because there’s something for everyone in there! The guys scarf down the peanut butter while us gals savory the coconut and we all share the caramel. These guys do not disappoint and definitely do not last long in our home.

UNREAL Halloween gluten-free, vegan, Non-GMO Dark Chocolate Crispy Peanut Butter Cups

These are like peanut butter cups but with a crispy twist! Think Nestle Crunch bar with peanut butter.

UNREAL Halloween Non-GMO Chocolate Gems

An M&M alternative! Woohoo! The guys at Unreal have created some of our favorite treats with nothing artificial, all certified organic, fair trade, and sustainable ingredients, They’re non-GMO verified, vegan, and the peanut butter and almond butter cups are certified gluten free. It it unreal how amazing these goodies are!

Glee Gum

Made in the USA with all natural ingredients, sustainably harvested rainforest chicle, and are gluten free. So absolutely no scary ingredients found here!

Glee Gum now offers Gum Pops! Remember Tootsie Pops? Here’s their healthier twin!

There are even mini box options to hand out this Halloween. Cute things come in small packages!

 

Non-Candy Treats

Non candy treats make great items to hand out at Halloween! They allow for extended fun and no added sugar. Oriental Trading and Target have awesome options!

Christian non-candy Treats

I really love the idea of handing out Halloween-themed goodies to share the light of Jesus on an otherwise scary holiday!

Baby & Toddler Options

Ever wonder what those adorable little trick-or-treaters may have when they came strolling or toddling up to your door? I have and I always feel bad when I don’t have something for the little ones. So I got to thinking and came up with a few tot approved treats.

The Teal Pumpkin Project

If you haven’t heard of The Teal Pumpkin Project allow me to give you a quick rundown. Food Allergy Research and Education started to raise awareness for children with food allergies so that they, too, may still participate in the Halloween festivities without worry. Simply paint a pumpkin teal or display one of these adorable signs created by Dawn Warnaar over at Dawn Nicole Designs. A special thank you to Dawn for allowing me to share her cute printables!

Just click on the printable below to print out and display!

 

Candy & Non-Food Treat Sign

Non-Food Treat Sign

I hope this guide has been helpful, informative, and has given you some great ideas to make everyone’s Halloween a little healthier and safer. If you have an idea that you didn’t see listed, please comment and share below. I’d love to hear from you!

Have a happy and safe Halloween!

How To Beat the Stomach Flu Quickly & Naturally

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Well, the stomach flu bug has invaded our home and prompted this post. I have found it nearly impossible to avoid all forms of illness as long as my twins are in public school. They’re the breeding grounds for rapidly growing and spreading germs. After working in the public school system, owning my own preschool, and being married to a Type 1 diabetic I have tried several methods for beating multiple illness that sneak their way into our home.

Today I’m going to specifically cover the stomach flu because it has made it’s most unwelcome presence.

Stomach flu symptoms

The stomach flu symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Stomach cramps
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

This can lead to severe dehydration which inhibits the body’s ability to regain strength and fight off those nasty flu invaders. When my family members come down with something icky I try to heal them with healthy and natural alternatives. You may already have these items in your pantry or refrigerator and they can also be much more cost efficient than traditional over-the-counter medications.

first measures

When the stomach flu hits it usually has the domino effect. It starts with one person and just keeps jumping from person to person. If you can give the other family members pure grape juice without sugar added that will be their best defense if the illness is already in the home and they’re not already showing signs of flu symptoms. If they are then it’s too late. Don’t give grape juice at this point or you’ll be dealing with purple puke.

Grape juice works by changing the pH in the intestinal tract so that the virus can’t multiply. It contains strong anti-viral chemicals as well as Vitamin C and antioxidants. Pure grape juice is supposed to flush and kill the virus and severely lessen the symptoms. When someone gets the stomach virus it really isn’t even in the stomach at all but is in the large and small intestines. The stomach flu keeps changing the acidity in the intestines and makes you feel sick to your stomach. By keeping the pH of the intestines slightly more alkaline can prevent the virus from taking its toll and making you sick.

So if your other kiddos and you are around someone with the stomach flu, start drinking the grape juice as soon as you know you’ve been around it.

***UPDATE*** As soon as the twins showed symptoms of the stomach flu my toddler*, husband and I started drinking pure concord grape juice and didn’t come down with the flu so I can personally attest to the grape juice working. It’s definitely worth a shot!

*My toddler is 18-months old, is still breastfeeding, and hasn’t ever been sick. You can read more about how to increase and maintain your milk supply here.

disinfect everything

In the past you would have found me hoarding bottles upon bottles of Lysol disinfectant spray. I used that stuff like it was going out of style when I owned my preschool and at the end of each school day I was wiping down tables, chairs, and doorknobs at school. Now, I can’t even stand the smell of the stuff. Commercialized cleaners have ingredients in them that I certainly have a difficult time pronouncing. I also have two dogs that live indoors with us and a toddler who is touching, climbing up on, and putting everything in her mouth. So, naturally, I had concerns about what I was spraying on everything in my home.

I’m new to essential oils but am really loving my experiences with them! Below is a natural disinfectant spray.

Natural disinfectant spray

1/2 cup Vodka

1/2 cup of water

15 drops of Rosemary Essential Oil

25 drops of Wild Orange Essential Oil

15 drops of Eucalyptus Essential Oil

15 drops of Lavender Oil

Glass spray bottle

Mix all ingredients together and add to the glass spray bottle. Shake the spray bottle while cleaning. Spray all surfaces that are touched frequently in your home.

If you’re like me and¬† don’t drink alcohol and don’t have any at home get a inexpensive bottle for $5. Do not leave it out of the disinfectant spray. It will help sterilize all of your surfaces.

Be sure you’re using only the highest quality essential oils and buying USDA Certified organic oils.

Wash up!

Get everyone to wash their hands and frequently! I’m the Soap Nazi at my house with this one. I’ll admit that I’m guilty of constantly asking my kids if they washed, how long they washed, did they get between their fingers, when they get home from school, after they use the restroom, before and after they eat or help out in the kitchen.¬† I’ve even noticed how many people I know personally that I have observed first hand NOT washing their hands or getting their fingertips a little damp. C’mon guys! Eww!

Just like with disinfectant spray, hand soaps contain several harmful ingredients like triclosan and octylphenol. Here’s an easy and safe antibacterial hand soap you can make right at home.

DIY Antibacterial hand soap

2 Tbsp unscented castile soap

1-2 tsp fractionated coconut oil

10-15 drops of essential oil of your choice

1 foaming soap dispenser

Directions:

  1. Pour the castile soap and fractionated coconut oil into the soap dispenser.
  2. Add the drops of essential oils – I like lemon, eucalyptus, and rosemary because of their antibacterial properties.
  3. Fill the soap bottle up with water.
  4. Screw on the pump lid and shake gently to mix all of the ingredients together.
  5. Give the lid 2-3 pumps and wash thoroughly.

The fractionated coconut oil helps moisturize your hands while the essential oils smell great!


I wash my hands even more frequently when someone is sick in the home. More than usual! I feel like I’m washing my hands every few minutes and I notice my hands start to get dry. I absolutely¬†loveThe Honest Company’s Organic Healing Balm. This balm truly is the all-purpose ointment and can be used for a multitude of reasons. They recently changed the name to All Purpose Balm because of it’s many uses.

Hydrate and rehydrate

As soon as the sicky can tolerate sipping on liquids I grab a box of coconut water. Coconut water has more hydrating properties than a glass of tap water and helps bowels. It also can fight off viruses because of its anti-fungal and anti-viral properties. Its a rich source of electrolytes and natural salts, especially potassium and mangesium, which is crucial for rehydrating especially if that nasty flu bug attacked at both ends. Coconut water is a living food with easily absorbable electrolytes, sugars, antioxidants, enzymes, amino acids, and vitamins. It’s very valuable in treating vomiting and is a much healthier alternative to sports drinks. I would highly recommend choosing the pineapple coconut water for kids since plain coconut milk may not be as fun for kids to drink down especially when they’re not feeling well. My kids¬†lovepineapple coconut water and always ask for more of it!

starting solids

When said sicky is no longer making trips to the restroom you can slowly start to offer solids. Here’s a list of easy to digest foods:

  • Bananas¬† – high in potassium, an electrolyte
  • Applesauce – contains pectin which has antidiarrheal effects
  • Bone Broth soup¬† – easy to digest and heals the gut
  • Ginger beer or ginger tea – ginger helps ease nausea and is more effective than OTC
  • Whole grain toast or crackers – easy to digest and settle the stomach

Little Extras

My husband and I drink two tablespoons of organic apple cider vinegar every morning to help boost our immunity. Make sure it has “The Mother” in it. If you’re not used to drinking apple cider vinegar be prepared for the smell and taste. It reminds me of stinky feet and is so vinegary that I always pucker and shudder after taking two tablespoons. Think of it as taking a shot and having a “chaser” helps to get it down. I like to follow up with the pure concord grape juice.


This, along with with proper diet, exercise, plenty of water, and good hand-washing practice has kept us well. We haven’t been sick in two years! When our twins come home from school with any ickies we have been able to avoid getting sick ourselves by implementing these steps.

When I’m out and about running errands and can’t immediately get to a sink to wash my hands I always keep hand sanitizer on hand. Think of when a kiddo gets sick in the car. It’s happened too many times to count and when I have to pull over to clean them up I spray a generous amount on my hands. Make sure to follow up with a good hand washing. This works well for the kids when they’re at school and aren’t allowed to keep getting up from their desks to thoroughly wash their hands.


What natural home remedies are tried and true within your household? I’d love to hear what has worked for you and your family! Please comment and share below.

Best Halloween Books for Kiddos

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Yes! Fall is finally here! For our family the decor, toys, and books change each month in our home according to not only the season but also the holiday that comes along with each month. I set out a basket of books with my kids’ favorite seasonal reads.

My kiddos and I have enjoyed reading these Halloween favorites again and again since the twins were babies (they’re almost 10 now!) and have added one or two each year. Now my youngest can enjoy these reads as well. She absolutely¬†loves¬†when big sister reads to her!

 

baby & toddler books

mouse’s first halloween

Mouse’s First Halloween¬†is great for little hands because it’s a sturdy board book that little ones can’t rip or chew apart. Mouse is out and about one spooky night and on his journey he finds things that “aren’t so scary after all”. I love how it helps teach younger children about their surroundings and to discover new things.

Biscuit’s pet & play halloween¬†

Biscuit’s Pet & Play Halloween¬†is one of my personal¬†favorites! It’s a wonderful book that explores sensory play. This Biscuit book comes with touch-and-feel textures that my youngest enjoys feeling over and over again. It’s also a board book – no soggy pages!

here comes halloween

Here Comes Halloween has adorable graphics and gives young ones idea on what they, too, could be for Halloween. Each costume idea has descriptive words to expand your child’s vocabulary. This particular book is geared towards boys but my youngest daughter loves it just the same. It cracks me up to hear her imitate the BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! sound the robot makes!

picture me happy halloween & peek-a-boo

 

Picture Me Happy Halloween and Peek-A-Boo are awesome because you can personalize these books. All of my kiddos love to see their own faces in these books! My youngest squeals out her older siblings names so I love that she has facial recognition down.

Children’s books

 


 

Fisher Price little people halloween is here

 


I am obsessed with any and everything Fisher Price Little People! My goodness are they CUTE! Not only does Fisher Price Little People make amazing toys for kids ages 1 up to 5 but they also offer super-duper cool books and jammin’ music CDs. They’re quality items as well because I have had this entire Halloween collection since the twins were one and this is the first year I’ve whipped them out for my youngest. It adds a bit of sentiment that I was able to pass this along to her and they are still as great as they were almost ten years ago.

 

The Halloween Is Here book is a hard board book with bright, colorful pictures. There are even flaps that your child can lift up to discover more fun within their reading. This helps build cause and effect skills. The book encourages counting, too. I say awesome-possum to that!

fisher price little people halloween sing-Along

The music lover in me went gaga for this!The Fisher Price Little People Halloween Sing Along includes Halloween favorites like Monster Mash, the Purple People Eater, and Ghostbusters along with classic preschool favorites with a Halloween twist.

Fisher price little people trick-or-treat surprise

Okay, how cute is this Little People Trick-or-Treat Surprise set??? Absolutely adorable! When my husband pulled this out of storage for my little one I told him that it felt like Christmas; our youngest had hit the jackpot with the new book, music and toy overload! It’s really good to rotate your children’s toys so that they don’t get board and receive new stimulation through play and discovery. Fisher Price even offers additional Halloween character sets on their website to add to the fun! Right now the Trick-or-Treat Surprise play set is on sale saving you $10. Woot-woot!

 

Room On The Broom

 

Who knows of the book, The Gruffalo? The same creators of The Gruffalo¬†also wrote this fantastic children’s book. I love, love, LOVE books that rhyme and Room On The Broom¬†executes this beautifully. There is even a Room on the Broom movie to go with the book! Read this book with your kiddos first then have a movie night as a family.

Happy Halloween, Little Critter! 

When I was just two years old I received my first Little Critter book when my mom was pregnant with my little brother. The Little Critter books bring back wonderful memories of reading as a kid and that’s why I’m even happier to share them with my kids. I like how Little Critter’s friends, Spider and Mouse, are hiding on each page because my kids like finding them. Happy Halloween, Little Critter! has lots of great illustrations with flaps to add more to Mercer Mayer’s holiday story.

The Berenstain Bears

Also a childhood favorite, the Berenstain Bears books always have a teachable moment for young readers. I like this 2-in-1 combo book from Target that features Trick or Treat and The Prize Pumpkin. The Prize Pumpkin even leads into the Thanksgiving season.

Pippa the Pumpkin Fairy

This wonderfully animated tale is a bit new on the scene. The vibrant cover first caught my attention at my kids’ book fair when they were in first grade and I just couldn’t resist. Glitter decorates the cover while bouncy fonts capture the readers attention and whimsical illustrations dance throughout this book. It’s modern day FAIRY tale approach teaches a valuable lesson. Pippa the Pumpkin Fairy is one that will surely please the little ladies of the house. Did I mention how much I¬†love books that rhyme??

The kiddos also have these books in their Halloween library:

What are some of your children’s favorite Halloween books they enjoy reading this month? Please share some titles that are in your collection below!

Quickly Increase & Maintain Your Milk Supply

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How I increased & Maintained My Milk Supply

There are those times while breastfeeding that our supply tends to take a dip. There are a multitude of reasons for this. In my case any time that Little One was teething or when my monthly visitor returned my supply definitely decreased. Find out how I not only quickly increased my supply but maintained it as well.

Drink, drink, drink!

The first question I always ask myself is, “Have I had enough water today?” I really struggle with this one. As a busy mom I am constantly forgetting to take care of myself when making sure I’m taking care of my family. Not only is staying hydrated essential for maintaining your milk supply but its just as important for your overall health. To keep myself in check and on track I use a free water tracker app. Having a cute and versatile water bottle can be a fun incentive, too!

Food is fuel

Your body cannot maintain a healthy milk supply if you’re not eating enough calories. Did you know that breastfeeding alone can burn between 300-500 calories?? How awesome is that?! What’s not awesome is the jittery, light-headed feeling that can come with not making sure your body gets enough calories. I like to start my day with a bowl of Bob’s Red Mill Quick Cooking organic oats. They’re delicious, quick, and healthy!

It’s important to have easy snacks on hand as well. As a busy momma I don’t always have the time to prepare a full blown meal for myself (and clean it up) so I like to keep Annie’s organic snacks on hand. They’re extremely convenient and taste great! I can just grab them out of my pantry and throw them in the diaper bag to eat on the run. A few of my other favs are Cliff’s Kids Organic Energy Bars, Nature’s Bakery Fig Bars, Frigo string cheese, baby carrots, and sliced apples. Plus, my kids will eat them, too. Win-win for all!

Get Some Extra zzzs

Okay, okay. I fully understand that as a new mommy this is way easier said than done. We both know that a new baby is not going to sleep through the night, especially if you’re breastfeeding. Sleep is one of those precious things that we took for granted during those college years and is now gladly sacrificed for the benefit of raising healthy babies.

Take if from the girl who was lucky enough to have managed an average of 45 minutes of sleep in an entire night with twins so making sure she ¬†snoozed with new baby any chance she got! Mommas, let me tell you this right now. I can not stress to you enough that dinner, dishes, laundry, or whatever else is keeping you from catching a little shut eye is not, I repeat, NOT more important than your MUCH NEEDED REST. Taking a nap with baby or falling asleep on the couch is not the end of the world. Don’t let anyone else tell or make you feel otherwise. I know we all want to be that Super Mom and that time will come. But for right now take some time for yourself. Enlist the help of daddio, willing family members, and friends.

prenatals

Do you still have those prenatal vitamins stashed in your medicine cabinet? If you do, whip those puppies back out and keep on poppin’ them each day. I’d forget to take mine and definitely noticed a decrease in my supply. ¬†I started leaving them on my nightstand and would take the recommended dose ¬†before bed as I plugged my phone in for the night. This also helped with any queasiness you may experience. A full tummy and a good night’s rest are a great combo for combating nausea felt from taking prenatal vitamins on an empty stomach. I really enjoy Garden of Life Prenatal Gummies because they taste great, are easy to take, and have ingredients that you can actually pronounce.

Bonus!

This is my favorite part! I thoroughly enjoy the Organic Milkmaid Tea by Earth Mama Angel Baby. You can enjoy it hot or iced making it a year-round treat. While breastfeeding it’s advised to limit the caffeine intake. I thought I’d go through coffee withdrawals but when I added a bit of coffee creamer and a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg WOWZA! Talk about rockin’ my taste bud world! I’ll definitely miss this tea when Little One is no longer nursing. I also love their Monthly Comfort Tea for when my monthly visitor decides to show up. You can read more about that here.

My 5-Finger Rule

Just to recap, here are my five go-to necessities to increase my milk supply when it decides to take a dip and maintain that liquid gold:

  1. Drink plenty of water – stay well hydrated!
  2. Make sure you’re eating, Momma
  3. Rest up when you can
  4. Keep taking your prenatal vitamins
  5. Sip Milkmaid tea as an extra treat

I’d love to hear about your breastfeeding experiences and what worked for you to maintain you milk supply! Comment below or shoot me an email.