Mind-Body-Spirit, Childbirth, Pregnancy, Parenting, Career

10 New Ways to Afford Fertility Treatments

Before the birth of her daughter, Aurora, in 2016, Heather Huhman, host of the podcast Beat Infertility and founder of content-marketing firm Come Recommended, went through seven cycles of in vitro fertilization (IVF), suffered four miscarriages and gave birth to stillborn twins, Eric and Alexis. As difficult and heartbreaking as the Washington, DC, woman’s journey to motherhood was, she never stopped working—she had to foot the almost-$60,000 bill for all those fertility treatments.

Heather is not an anomaly. A survey by FertilityIQ, a fertility doctor and clinic evaluation website, found that 92 percent of women undergoing fertility treatments are employed. Of those, 68 percent work a full 40 to 50 hours a week.

One big reason? More and more women are postponing pregnancy until their mid-to late 30swhile they’re furthering their careers—and this delay often makes fertility treatments necessary to start a family. But medical need isn’t the only reason working women make up the majority of fertility-care patients: The high price of help forces many women to continue earning a paycheck while trying to conceive. The American Society of Reproductive Medicine reported that the average cost of one IVF treatment in the United States is $12,400, not including the extra medications a woman might need and the added fees for using an egg or sperm donor, or gestational surrogate.

Read more on Working Mother

Family Entertainment, Parenting, Travel

7 Family-Approved Summer Activities in Tahoe

While the spirit of many ski towns dissolves with the snow, the Tahoe area pulsates with energy all year. When the skiers and boarders skip town, usually after enjoying the snow from November to July, a fresh crop of thrill seekers and wanderlusts emerge to enjoy the hiking, biking, diving, fishing, swimming, and sightseeing in the visually rich environment.
With an overflowing platter of recreational options, this area is ideal for families yearning for adventure, but with a variety of comfort zones.
When planning your summer vacation to Tahoe, pick and choose from the following to craft an epic journey into this astounding pocket of the Sierra Nevada mountain range.
 
1.    Bike Riding: If you’re looking for a scenic, safe, and leisurely family bike ride, rent your wheels at Parallel Mountain Sports in the Village at Squaw Valley (or bring your own!) and have them direct you to the path that snakes along the Truckee River all the way to the crisp waters of Lake Tahoe.
Parenting, Self Love

Introducing HypnoMothering

One of the most common questions I get about Feng Shui Mommy is “What’s the deal with the section on the Fourth Trimester? What the heck is the Fourth Trimester?”

The first three months of a baby’s life out of the womb are referred to by many as the “fourth trimester” – while the baby is no longer in the womb they are still helpless in so many ways and fully dependent on their mother.

These first three months out of the womb are also the first third of what is sometimes referred to as “exterior gestation.” This term comes from the belief that infants are born before their brains are fully matured (because their heads would be too large to fit through the birth path at full maturity) so, their brains finish growing when they are outside the womb.

During this “fourth trimester” the mother can no longer just take care of herself and trust that her baby will receive all he requires (as he did in the first three trimesters), she now has to be really intentional about caring for her own needs, while also of course caring for her infant who is now much more demanding than he was in the womb – it can be incredibly challenging/ overwhelming / (insert your favorite emotional adjective here)!

So, beyond the support I offer for the fourth trimester in Feng Shui Mommy I am now certified to teach HypnoMothering!

HypnoMothering is a 2.5 hour class for moms to be, new mothers, and moms of young children. Developed by two hypnotherapists, each a mother of twins, this fun, practical class teaches mothers easy and fast self-hypnosis techniques to make the most of limited sleep, keep calm and balanced on challenging days, and find focus and mindfulness amidst the myriad of feelings that mothers face.

Find out more here 🙂

Parenting, Reviews and Giveaways, Sponsored Posts

The Cloth Dying Process That Could Change Your Baby’s Life

Sponsored Post: This post was sponsored by Panchhi a company offering high quality 100% organic cotton muslin baby products and only uses natural printing (no chemical dyes!) I don’t post many of these because I only accept sponsored post opportunities from companies offering services or products I already use, and have an ideology I can get behind.

 

A baby’s skin is continually developing in the first year of life, making it susceptible to infection – premature babies have even more sensitive skin, as it did not have enough time to properly develop in the womb and needs extra attention while it plays catch up. What touches this silky skin matters and deserves intention and attention.

Extra Tip: To inoculate your baby with healthy bacteria, rub their bare skin on yours. This is one reason why skin-to-skin is so widely encouraged.

Luckily, with companies like Panchhi coming into the textile-selling scene (companies that are conscious of both the sensitivity of baby’s skin and our environment) it’s easier to find products we don’t hesitate to wrap our children in.

100% organic cotton muslin is a favorite textile for many skin savvy parents (as it’s gentle on the skin, and helps to prevent overheating and sweating), but what about the dye that creates those cute little images and catchy sayings? Does the composition of that dye matter?

It sure does.

Recent research has found that by-product polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) have been found in certain colors of printing ink used in children’s clothing. The International Agency for Research on Cancer and the Environmental Protection Agency classify PCBs as a “probable human carcinogen” and The National Toxicology Program has found that PCBs are “reasonably likely to cause cancer in humans.” In addition, people exposed to high levels of PCBs have experienced irritation in the lungs, skin, nose, and eyes. PCBs have also been found to disrupt hormone function and the immune system.

So yeah, not a friendly group of 209 chemicals that share a common structure.

Because the presence of the PCBs in dyes isn’t intentional, it’s tricky to know what clothing companies to avoid – but we do know which companies to seek out – those that use natural printing.

Panchhi practices the ancient art of natural printing, where colors are extracted from sustainably harvested plants and herbs – no harsh chemical dyes are used on their organic products.

 

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Common herbs used for natural printing are Haritaki, Maddar, Pomegranate, Turmeric, and Indigo. (Panchhi utilizes these herbs for printing but takes it a step further by treating all their products with sea salt and dipping them in aloe vera to enhance the wellness properties and fastness of the prints.)

While these plants don’t offer the same palate found in clothing that utilizes chemical dyes, they offer an array of soothing colors made of Ayurvedic (an alternative form of medicine that focuses on the mind-body connection) herbs believed to produce a positive aura and calm in the wearer of the clothing. And, if your baby is the one wearing that positive aura and calm inducing clothing, you’re in for a good day.

 

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Here’s a further breakdown of the potential powers of these herbs:

Haritaki – Believed to help in detoxification, rejuvenation and in increasing positive energy and awareness.

Maddar – Believed to heal various skin ailments, jaundice, irregular menstrual cycles and kidney dysfunctions.

Pomegranate – Believed to relieve constipation, inflammation, body pain, along with boosting memory, fighting infections and promoting a healthier heart.

Turmeric – Believed to have healing properties for skin problems, cough, cold and fever.

Indigo – Believed to be helpful for people who get excessively hot and sweat a lot. In addition, it is believed to have healing properties for respiratory problems and is used in many parts of India to treat mosquito bites, fast healing of bruises and relieve pain. Indigo is also believed to help calm down, relax and sleep peacefully.

Yes, please.

P.S. I’ve noticed that all the organic cotton products I’ve bought for my son over the years always outlive his non-organic cotton items, making up for the higher price tag of the soft stuff.

 

Quotes from friends of mine who have used Panchhi products:

“I have a more neutral and natural aesthetic which is why I loved the muted colors and soft tones of Panchhi products – they don’t overwhelm the senses.”

“I could tell a marketed difference in my daughter’s sleep when she started using the Panchhi sleep sack – she would fidget less and wake up happier.”

“My son loves the big cozy Panchhi towel, he uses it as a cape and refuses to take it off hours after his bath. And, unlike many other towels we’ve tried, this one doesn’t leave a residue on his skin.”

“I’m super picky about the washcloths I use on my newborn, usually finding them to be too rough or too “syntheticy.” The Panchhi wash cloths are soft and effective and don’t make me feel like I’m rubbing chemicals into my baby’s skin every time I wash her off.”

Parenting, Reviews and Giveaways

Review: Back to School With Bigfoot

My son is already having concerns about re-entering the equally fascinating and intimidating world of school. He’s such a little guy that it seems hard for him to find the words to express his nerves but this book gave him an outlet to explore his feelings in a fun and non-threatening way. The book makes the point that no matter who you are it can be scary going back to school, but this entry can be even more challenging when you feel like you are different, which so many of us do. This book is fun, humorous, and relatable, offering a safe space for parents and children to examine the emotions attached to a new school year.

Check it out here

Parenting

10 Organization Hacks Pros Use in Their Own Homes to Keep Them Looking Tidy Every Day

*I offered a hack for this piece.

Purge, purge, purge

“You do not want to waste time organizing items you don’t need to keep,” says Eileen Roth, author of Organizing For Dummiesand owner of Everything in its Place. So the very first thing you need to do is decide what you can get rid of. She suggests asking yourself: 1) Will I use it again? If you haven’t used (or worn) it in over a year, then let it go. 2) Is the sentiment worth it? Can you take a digital picture of the item and let it go or will you cry because the sentimental value is that high?

Do a sweep three times a day

“It’s essential to my sanity to do a stuff sweep every morning, afternoon, and evening,” says Bailey Gaddis, a certified professional organizer and author of Feng Shui Mommy. This sweep consists of going through every room in the home and returning all objects to their designated homes. “I have a preschooler, so I usually carry a basket with me for easy collection and transport for smaller items. Each sweep takes about ten minutes (for my entire home) and I always feel lighter after it’s complete.”

Read more on Reader’s Digest

Mind-Body-Spirit, Parenting, Self Love

Hypnosis for Children

I’ve had the pleasure of many amazing clients under the age of 18 (many of them under the age of 12) come through my hypnotherapy practice in the past few years, and after seeing similar issues come up over and over again (in my own child as well!) I decided to make a set of short hypnosis tracks to support children with the trickiest issues such as sleep, fears and phobias, potty training and bed wetting, and much more.

All recordings are under 10 minutes and follow a very specific formula geared towards offering children a clear, gentle, and effective experience.

If you’re interested, check them out here. (P.S. The page takes a few seconds to load.)

Here is a complimentary sample for you to check out 🙂

Career, Parenting, Self Love

This 10-Year-Old Kid Reporter Is Following Her Dreams And Inspiring Others To Do The Same

If sports or socializing aren’t your thing, navigating school as an adolescent can be challenging.Avid reader Shayna Anne Rose, 10, discovered this truth in second grade when her teacher told her she could no longer read at recess and needed to interact with classmates.

To cope with this shift, Shayna started a class newspaper on the advice from her mom, Julie Rose, where she interviewed other students during recess. The paper was such a hit, classmates volunteered to help. Soon, Shayna had a “staff.”

As Shayna’s interviews grew in popularity, she reached beyond the playground and began interviewing teachers, police officers, and firefighters. The tipping point came when Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker agreed to be interviewed by the budding journalist. This interview was quickly followed by a chat with New England Patriot’s Rob “Gronk” Gronkowski, and two rather well-known people with the last names Clinton and Trump.

Read more on Babble

Childbirth, Mom Humor, Parenting, Pregnancy, Press

Fun Interview on What Matters Most with Paul Dolman!

“What a joy to interact with Bailey Gaddis (find her on Twitter!), a dynamic and inspiring woman who is clearly on a mission to brighter the world with the vast knowledge she has acquired through her many experiences.”

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Airplane Travel, Parenting, Travel

Mom Bloggers Share the 18 Things That Are Lifesavers While Traveling with Kids

*Reader’s Digest family travel article, by Lisa Marie Conklin, I contributed three tips to.

Sing a soothing song

Even if you can’t carry a tune, your kids can be lulled into quiet time or sleep with a song. “A week before you leave on your trip, choose a soothing song to sing to your child every night at bedtime that they associate with calming down,” suggests Bailey Gaddis, author of Feng Shui Mommy. This go-to methods helps mom and kid settle down after a weary day of traveling. If you have a fidgeter, Gaddis suggests telling your child to close their eyes, watch your face or have them focus on a calming object so they don’t get distracted.

Scavenger hunt

Sightseeing can become boring for kids which usually leads to meltdowns. Gaddis gives her son a scavenger hunt to keep him engaged. “I make a list beforehand of common plants, animals, structures, or objects we’re likely to come across as we sight see. I then read him the list on the way to get him excited about the activity,” says Gaddis. If the kids run through the list before you’re done sightseeing, just add more on the fly.

Meditation

Gaddis spends a few minutes every morning meditating on how she would like the trip to play out and attaches those positive emotions to positive outcomes. “This will send you into your trip exuding a positive attitude that will be absorbed by your children,” says Gaddis. While traveling, Gaddis meditates with her son each morning. They close their eyes and visualize how they want the day to go. They share what they visualized, including the emotions, challenges, strengths and family bonding. “My son tells me what flavors of ice cream we’ll eat at the end of day!” To further appreciate the travel experience the pair often meditates during the day. “We also have meditation moments throughout the day, where we take a moment to really take in how beautiful a flower is, how interesting a piece of tree bark is, what our hand feels like in a cool creek or ocean, and anything else that helps up slow down and be present in our vacation,” says Gaddis. “I’ve noticed that this also helps prevent us from feeling like our vacation flew by—in a good way!”

Read more on Reader’s Digest!

Family Entertainment, Parenting

Fresh Idea for Summer Fun With a Preschooler

The summer is long, so long – especially when you have the task of keeping a preschooler, with an attention span shorter than the nail on their chubby little pinky finger, entertained and educated. Oy vey.

My little nugget has been especially interested in colors lately, so, the following activity from Education.com helped us splash some learning cloaked in fun onto our summer.

(Hudson enjoys his custom made flash cards so much he takes them on road trips and pairs the colors with passing vechicles, road signs, plants, or random food particles scattered throughout our car.)

 

What You Need:

  • Card stock or other sturdy paper (index cards work well too)
  • Scissors
  • Markers in a rainbow of colors

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What You Do:

  • Begin by talking about color with your child, using the markers as a guide. Take each marker out of the package one at a time and ask him to name the colors as you go along.

 

  • Cut the card stock into 5″ x 7″ rectangles. If you’re using index cards, move on to step 3.

 

  • Have your child draw a picture of a flower, plant, or other spring thing on the front of each card, using only one color for each card.

 

  • Now turn each card over and write the name of the color you used on that card on the back using the same color marker. For some handwriting practice, try writing the words lightly in pencil first, then having her trace over the letters in marker.

 

  • Now it’s time to play! Take the cards outside. Choose one card and ask your child to name the color, then turn the card over to reveal the color word.

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  • Now look around outside and find something natural (like a tree or flower) that’s the same color as the card.

 

  • Once you’ve found something, turn to your child and say, “I spy something with my eye that is the color_____”. Encourage him to try and find the object you chose. Give him descriptive word clues to help point him in the right direction. If he guesses another object that is the right color, let him know that his pick is also correct.

 

  • Continue playing by repeating steps 5-7 for the rest of the color cards. Once he finds all the colors, he wins!

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During the course of the game, invite your child to select unique adjectives to describe each color. Encourage him to get creative with his word choices and use his imagination 🙂

Parenting, Pregnancy, Sponsored Posts

5 Ways to Enjoy Sending Custom Cards or Invites

Sponsored Post: This post was sponsored by Basic Invite, a company offering high quality stationery and custom invites and announcements for weddings, births, graduations, and all of life’s other special moments. I don’t post many of these because I only accept sponsored post opportunities from companies offering services or products I already use, and have an ideology I can get behind. 
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My grandmother recently told me that if I can learn to weave spirituality into mundane tasks my life would grow flowers where there once was boring mud. Strangely, this made me think of the act of sending out thank you cards and “real” (versus digital) invites.
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My son’s birthday is coming up, and I know that every aunt, granny, and traditional friend that gives a gift will expect a handwritten thank you note in response. My usual response would be, “ugh, do I have to?” But, what if I tried to weave spirituality into this task? What would that look like?
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Here are some thoughts on how I’m going to make this task more enjoyable:
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1. Find joy in seeking out a beautiful card: I recently discovered that I love navigating card designs on sites like Basic Invite until I land on The One. And then, I easily while away an hour tinkering with colors and fonts until everything is just right. 
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When I begin to feel like I should be doing something “more important” I remind myself that I’m crafting something that will serve as a reminder to the recipient that I’m thinking of them, or want to share an exciting piece of my life with them. Speaking of which… my husband and I are thinking of creating baby number two, so I decided to begin manifesting that baby by ordering a sample of a baby shower invite from Basic Invite with her (I’m assuming it will be a girl) future name and potential birth date. Weird? Kind of – but it’s a fun and tangible reminder of the future.
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And I don’t know why I left the time as 8:30 PM – I will not be awake at that time when pregnant. #GrannySleepSchedule 
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2. Have fun with written messages: As easy as it is to scribble a generic message in cards that require a custom message, I feel the meaning and joy being sucked out of the card with every “Thanks for the birthday gift! My child loves it!” – blah.
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I don’t need to wax poetic about the toy I’m sending a thank you for, but it can be fun to think of a quick anecdote or witty comment to share about the gift and how it’s being enjoyed. 
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Basic Invite Stationary
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3. Connect to how appreciated the recipient might feel when they receive the card: Although I don’t hold it against someone for not sending a thank you card (because I’m usually that person!) I always enjoy receiving a real-live-non-email message in the mail.
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The card makes me think of the person who sent it, and evokes that warm and fuzzy feeling of connection. So, as I’m crafting a card I think about how the card will make someone feel, and use that idea to help me relish the process.
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This little nugget is now a giant 4-year-old, but it was fun to go back in time and create this sample announcement.
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4. Don’t burn out: I know folks who send a card to everyone down to their postman (or woman!) for every holiday, anniversary, or lost tooth (seriously) and then report a sense of resentment over this tedious obligation they’ve laid upon themselves. 
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Instead of sending cards for everything, I’m going to hold out for the special occasions when I feel inspired to connect with loved ones via an aesthetically pleasing card and a personal note (in the case of a thank you or congratulations).
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5. Have my son participate in the thank you card process: The first time my son cared more about the present portion of a package, than the cardboard or paper exterior it was wrapped in, he quickly ripped into one after the other with little regard for who gave it to him, or how special that gesture was. So, I’m now going to be one of those super fun moms who has my child pick out and write thank you cards with me so he can tune into the importance of acknowledging the love behind gift giving and receiving. You’re welcome son. 
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If you want a feast of gorgeous card options, like chic baby shower invitations and birth announcements, check out Basic Invite. And, if you’re like me and need to see something from every angle before making a decision, you can order samples. 
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Happy selecting, customizing, and sending!
Airplane Travel, Family Entertainment, Parenting, Travel

Top Family Friendly Hotels in San Francisco

A metropolitan tapestry woven with public parks, exotic curio shops full of kid-friendly treasures, and an eatery with dumplings on almost every corner (and what kid doesn’t love dumplings?) San Francisco is a natural choice when selecting your next big city family vacation.

But, the question of where to stay is often the stumper when trying to find well-situated and family focused lodging in the city.

Using my family as a metaphorical guinea pig, I’ve discovered five of the top San Francisco hotels that will set your family up to have the ultimate vacation in one of the world’s most cultured concrete jungles.

The Inn at Union Square

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Tucked between a fine art gallery and Morton’s Steakhouse, this hidden gem hotel is freshly renovated and less than a block from Union Square where your family can roam in the grass, inspect public art installations, or sign up for Emperor Norton’s Fantastic San Francisco Time Machine (a walking tour).

Because all rooms are situated off the street, and look out onto a small courtyard-esque corridor, you can enjoy the convenience of being in the heart of downtown, without hearing the constant beat of that heart: traffic. But, even if quiet wasn’t readily available you’d still settle into serenity as this hotel features the most comfortable beds I’ve ever sunk into, and a nightly wine and cheese reception that does wonders for that fore-mentioned serenity.

A short walk to Chinatown and a hop, skip, and a stroller push to just about any culinary option your child’s particular taste buds might desire, this hotel will pour a large helping of simplicity on your trip.

Read more on Vagabond Family!