Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Want to boost your milk supply? Try Mrs. Patel's! {Review}


On my birthday this year I received the best present - I sold my first ad through Passionfruit Ads!  (If you haven't checked out my ad page, click here.)  My goal for this blog is to, first, communicate with other mamas and families, but also to make a bit of cash on the side so that I can spoil Lemon.  We currently pay one of my paychecks to Ashley, our nanny, so any extra money we make is spending money for us, helps us get through to the next month and usually we use it to do something "fun" as a family.  I was so excited that I sold an ad I told everyone I knew!  (And maybe I shouldn't be writing this, but anyone that reads my blog knows I am pretty straightforward in everything I write so I have decided to just share it all.  There's no shame in keepin' it real!)

My first ad came from an awesome company called Mrs. Patel's and their website is mrsmilk.com (how cute is that?!).  Anhoni Patel wanted me to review her Fenugreek Bars, Milk Water Tea and Munch Crunch products - they all help moms increase their milk supply.  Just a week earlier, as Lemon was signing "please" after I knew my milk was out (after she nursed) right before bed, I considered taking fenugreek again just so I'd have enough for her when she wants it.  We have been going strong for 16 months and now she nurses about 3 times a day but always wants more before bed and I know she is only getting about 2-3 ounces (so we supplement with almond milk).  So, just in time, Anhoni bought an ad and here we are!

Anhoni Patel lives in San Francisco with her husband and two children.  She started Mrs. Patel's in February and is passionate about helping new and nursing mothers.  Man, she definitely shares my passion because I had a tough go of it there in the beginning and shared a lot of it on here.  I wanted to give up nursing a thousand times but am so happy I stuck with it and I love that she is a mom wanting to help other moms too (you know I love this!).  Her products are Indian treats based on recipes passed down in her family for hundreds of years and are based on basic Ayurveda principals (see below).  She was inspired by her mother, who made these for her when she gave birth to her own children, and wanted to do the same for other mothers - helping to boost their milk supply and helping them with postpartum healing.

Her company offers a 20% discount on all new orders and they have a loyalty program for women who have made 3 orders and plan on ordering more.  Their Chai Spice tea (my favorite kind of tea is chai) is the only milk making tea on the market with a unique set of flavors and neither of their teas include fennel or fenugreek (common milk boosting herbs).  But, each of their Fenugreek Bars do contain 5% pure ground fenugreek (the equivalent of 2-3 capsules of fenugreek pills).  In the beginning of my nursing journey, I took Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle to boost my supply (3 Fenugreek 3x daily and 2 BT, 2x daily) and it totally helped me.  But, the downside to taking the pills is that you smell like maple syrup but when eating her bars, you don't!

More information about her products:

"Based on the tenets of Ayurveda (a system of medicine native to India), our ingredients have been used by nursing mothers in India for thousands of years.  Our products are ideal for mothers who have recently given birth, those experiencing difficulties with their milk supply and those pumping, working mothers who want to maintain their supply and keep breastfeeding."

Their fenugreek bars (that come in a gluten-free, vegan option as well):

  • Increase milk supply and aid in joint healing.
  • Eat one a day in the morning.
  • Each bar contains 5% fenugreek.
  • Unrefrigerated can last 1.5 weeks, refrigerated 2-3 weeks.  If transferred to a sealed container in the fridge they can last 1+ months and if frozen up to 3 months.
  • The regular bars contain wheat, dairy and nuts.
Their Milk Water Tea:

  • The strongest lactation they offer, also a postpartem detoxifier.
  • There are two kinds - Herbal Blend and Chai Spice.
  • Neither of their blends contain fennel or fenugreek.
  • Caffeine free.
  • Steep for 5-7 minutes and take with milk and sugar.
  • Doesn't need a strainer since it is a heavier, lose tea.
Their Munch Crunch:

  • Best taken after meals because it aides in digestion while increasing milk supply.
  • Can sprinkle it on salad, yogurt or eat on its own.
All products:
  • There are no known side effects.
  • There is no need to continually take the products after your milk supply has been boosted.
  • If you have a good milk supply you may not need their products because you do not want to overproduce.  You can also cut the servings of each product in half.
  • Cannot use when pregnant.
  • All products come in a 10-12 day supply.
  • Shipping to the US.
And they have social media pages and love to connect with other mamas!  Check out their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!


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I tried the gluten free/vegan pack and liked them.  They are a bit spicy, definitely seedy and you can taste the fenugreek.  I did not religiously eat one a day but when I remembered I ate one, and towards the end of that last couple of bites it gets pretty spicy (not hot, just spicy).  The bars are the size of a regular serving of a dessert bar (like a lemon bar) but have a very different, distinct flavor to them, not like a dessert but more like an herbal/health bar.  You can definitely taste all of the herbs and I would recommend the chocolate over the regular for a sweeter taste.

Anhoni ended up sending me the regular pack of Fenugreek bars (not gluten free) and then the gluten free pack so I gave the regular pack to a mama of a 9 month old baby, my friend Crystal.  She reported back that she didn't notice much of a change her supply but had a good supply to begin with.  She said, "They definitely taste healthy and compared to other things I've tried, they're good.  A healthy snack for a nursing mama."

I also tried the Chai Tea and the Munch Crunch and preferred the bars over both of them.  They had too much of an earthy taste for me and the Munch Crunch was still too seedy even with yogurt.  I did not try it with a salad, however (as is also suggested) and am thinking that its earthy flavor would have gone better with greens.  I also think that if you put the Crunch in a smoothie that would be good too, that way the seeds would get blended in and you wouldn't be crunching on them.  (I understand it is a "crunch" but I'm not a fan of crunching on seeds.)  The tea was heavy so I put it in loose and let it seep but it still ended up tasting not very "chai" to me and had more of an herbal, earthy flavor that I wasn't really a fan of.





Did this work to boost my milk supply?  I am not sure, as I am nearing the end of our nursing period with my babe.  But, are these Fenugreek bars a great alternative to taking the supplements?  Yes!  I wish I would have known about something like this in the beginning, I would have jumped all over it (I would have tried anything!).  I would suggest the bars if you are looking to try one of these products because they were definitely the most tasty of the three.  And, they are a great alternative to the other supplements and teas out there, for sure.

Thank you, Anhoni, for letting me try your products, I had fun!  I hope that you visit mrsmilk.com if you are interested in ordering, reading more about her products and supporting this mama on her semi-new business venture.  And if you are a new, nursing mama, hang in there and try anything - it is SO worth the journey!!!

Please note:  I received a free product to review, but the opinions expressed above are 100% my own. 


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Friday, October 25, 2013

A Long Overdue Wedding

On Saturday, October 12th I attended my first gay wedding and I loved it.  Now this wasn't just any gay wedding, this was my aunt's wedding, my two aunts, who have been in each other's lives for 14 years.  It was a long overdue marriage and I am so happy that they finally got to make their love official.  I hope to attend many more wedding like this in the future.  Yay for marriage equality!

This is my aunt Donna and her partner Sonja - my other aunt.  I asked them what the colors were for their wedding, because you know I like to dress the "theme" and she said rainbow.  So I ordered Lemon a dress on eBay and found a vintage dress for me on Etsy and had to make clips to match!


Their wedding was at the end of our fall break so on Friday the 11th we took off for Palm Springs, CA.  We stopped in Quartzsite on the way and Ian fell in love with Gem World.  And the jerkey shop that claims to have the best jerkey (with 3 exclamation points!) - none of it is gluten free.  Lemon slept almost the whole way to Palm Springs (over 4 hours) and I knew something was up with this baby that usually only sleeps 30 minutes on road trips.


We got to our Groupon booked hotel, Posh, and discovered they don't accept kids (after we arrived there with Lemon crying at the door that we had to wait 15 minutes for someone to open).  So my step-dad called the Quality Inn and got us a room.  It was close to downtown, super quiet and had a beautiful view, we liked it.  And check out our matching Indie Nook pants!!

We spent the evening with our family and put Lemon to sleep in my mom's bed.  It was fun seeing everyone and getting to stay up and chat.  Lemon fell right to sleep and stayed asleep until we had to wake her to go back to the hotel.  Then she wouldn't sleep in her pack n play and instead slept with me, keeping me up most of the night whining.


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After a terrible night's sleep we headed to breakfast at the restaurant at Carrow's, walking distance from our hotel.  It looked like Denny's and was super run down but had the most delicious gluten free potato pancakes.  So delicious I wish we had one here!


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After a nap for everyone (only an hour) and after stopping at an estate sale (OLD house, RAD stuff) we went back to the villa were some of my family were staying and let Lemon run around with my mom, her Nani.  Then we heard that we had to go to Cheeky's for lunch and after seeing a grass fed, local, organic burger on the menu, I was sold.  So we put our name in and walked around downtown.  I wish we would have had more time on Saturday afternoon, before 2nd nap, to walk around downtown.  I'd love to go back to Palm Springs to spend the weekend going to yard sales, eating out and shopping!

This baby was a pill the whole trip, I think she had a cold or was still feeling terrible from her shots earlier in the week, but she had an awful cough and was just miserable.  But, at lunch she smiled for the first time the entire trip!



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After lunch we headed back to put the baby to bed.  She ended up sleeping an hour and a half and Ian and I headed to the pool, face-timing the iPad (because someone suggested I not bring the monitor), to hear her when she woke up.  It was AMAZING and for a not super fancy hotel the heated pool area was super relaxing.

That night was the wedding so we get dressed in our rainbow dresses and went back to the villa!


It was a gorgeous ceremony, right on the grass at the villa, and Aunt Donna and Sonja wrote their own vows.  You could feel the love and I had tears when it was over.  I am just so so, indescribably happy for them.




After speeches and dinner, there was dancing!  We had a super tired baby on our hands so I tried to put her to bed, hoping she'd fall right asleep like the night before (and after we lugged the pack 'n play to the villa and set it up) but she didn't.  By 9:30 she was so over tired and so were we so we headed back to our hotel and went to bed.  She slept even worse that night, and ended up in bed with me and then with Ian early in the morning so I could get some sleep.



We stopped at the giant Marilyn on the way home, then at Fresh 'n Easy for breakfast and snacks and then were off!  We had another wedding to get to that night and wanted a happy baby instead of a grumpy one.  It turns out she slept only about a half hour on the way home and only I made it to the wedding that night so that my sick babe could finally get some sleep in her own bed!  I ended up taking the next day off to recover, take Lemon back to the doctor, shop, clean and do our laundry!

It was a whirlwind trip and I wish Lemon would have been feeling better.  I also wish we would have had more time to spend with everyone, I always love seeing my family.  I am so happy for my aunts, though, and wish them a lifetime of happiness - and am glad we got to be a part of their long-awaited marriage!!

We love you Aunt Donna and Aunt Sonja!!


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Thursday, October 24, 2013

A Whole Week Off!

1st Quarter (45 school days) just flew by and all of a sudden it was Fall Break!  I was so excited to have a whole week off with my baby and take her to do all of the things that Ashley gets to take her to do during the week.  We had to leave for my aunts' wedding on Friday but until then it was all baby all the time for me!

After a brief bounce house birthday celebration on Saturday with one of my dearest friend's daughter and my bestie's son . . .

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. . . we started off doing a little Goodwill shopping for baby clothes on Sunday!  I get most of Lemon's clothes on IG shops (yep!) or at Goodwill, I hardly buy anything new.  The overalls in this pic are vintage and have little bees on them, so freaking cute, and I bought them at an earlier Goodwill trip.  I love baby clothes that are different and I guess it's because I like my clothes to be different and unique too.  I shop at Goodwill for me most of the time as well!  Lemon had fun playing with all the yucky toys and the bins were her fav, with all of the broken pieces that I could tell her not to put in her mouth!

 

I love breakfasts and morning snuggles with my girl!


And on Monday we headed to the zoo with friends!


 


It was not Lemon's first time petting the goats but it she probably thought it was because she was just a little muffin last time.  She loved them and kept calling them dogs, of course.


No zoo visit would be complete without a trip to the splash pad!  The babies loved it!

 

 We started eating dinner out back since the weather is nicer and it is my absolute favorite thing!

 

On Tuesday, Lemon got her 15 month shots and then we took her to the Children's Museum.  It probably wasn't the best idea (I should have listed to my husband) but she had fun.  This is when our break just went downhill, though, because she spent the next couple of days feeling horrible and wasn't really right again until the following week.  I like to schedule shots while we are off but they just ruined our week!  (I even had to miss Gymboree Wednesdays with my girl, I was so upset!)
 

We did have time on Thursday to play dress up though, I kinda can't wait for even cooler weather and wintery baby clothes!  Lemon in my old coat:





Rode our bikes to hike around in Papago Park (and someone was still a little shot grumpy or just starting to get sick):


  

After my aunts' wedding in Palm Springs Friday to Sunday (go here), we rushed home to attend another wedding that night.  I ended up going alone but had tons of fun celebrating another awesome union with my friends!

 The happy couple, and John's ring was made by my husband!

Did you know that Ian is making rings?  He has an instagram for his shop:  @spiritbee_woodworks and his Etsy shop is coming soon!  Check out his work and order one when the shop opens!  They are so cool!

Our week off went by way too fast and I'm sad it's over and we are back at school.  I got really, really sad that Monday that I took off (when I was supposed to be back) and wished the whole day that I was a stay-at-home-mom.  We had such a fun day, just my Lemon and me, I didn't want to leave her again.  Ugh.

Buy some rings, maybe one day I WILL get to stay home!!  (You gotta dream BIG!)  Happy Fall everyone!

Monday, October 21, 2013

15 Months - So many firsts!

(15 Month shots on 10/8:  30.5 inches and 22.75 pounds.  Hated the doctor, hated the nurses, hated it all.)

9.15.13         You said alligator for the first time.  There was an alligator in your book and I said it, you listened a couple of times and then said it yourself.  It was SO COOL.

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9.16.13          You came up just to get a hug from me today.  You put your hand on my leg and just paused for a minute, it was awesome.

Played with a hose today for the first time and loved drinking out of it - put your mouth right on the nozzle and it ran all down your front.  You kept trying to touch the water.  It was the first time that you did something that I remember doing, I remember trying to touch water when I was little.

9.19.13          You sat in your lemon chair all by yourself today.  You climb in facing the chair and then do a little twist and turn around, it is so cute.

9.21.13          You got your first juice box today from Chipotle and loved it, you got mad at anyone who tried to take it from you.  You also say please, more, bath and play in sign language.

 
(Not a pic of her first, that was blurry, but here's her second!)

Picked out two number 8s today from the magnet box at swimming lessons.  You had one and then dug around for the other one to find it because it looked like the one you already had.  You are so smart.

You let go at swimming and wanted to go under instead of monkey crawl.  You just let go of the edge and then flapped your little arms to the surface until daddy reached down and got you.  You wouldn't hold on you just kept letting go, you thought it was the funniest game.

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9.22.13          When you eat something yummy you say "mmmmm" really high like you are really enjoying it.  You totally make noises while you eat like your daddy. 

Played on the steps today in grandma's pool and thought it was funny to fall onto the second step in the water.  You must have done it about 30 times while I held your hand.  You also dove off of their waterfall into their pool (from seated) and loved it.  You love the water more than any other baby I know and are just like your mommy - such a fish.

You shivered for the first time because you were cold and when we mimicked you you mimicked us back and shivered on command.  You let me bundle you up and you sang while I rocked you back and forth and held you after swimming and if I stopped you swayed yourself.

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Climbed stairs for the first time at your grandparent's and just needed up going down them.

Loved the piano but mostly just the book sitting on top of it.

You sign "please milk" to me when I'm nursing you at night and the flow starts to slow down.  It breaks my heart that I don't have more milk to give you.

9.23.13          You cried when the sprinklers turned off in someone's yard today while we were on a walk.  You didn't want to leave them even though they were off.

You swing your arms back and forth when you're walking at the splash pad or around the block and sometimes you hunch over and hang both your arms down in front of you like you're so bored.    

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You put your water on the water cooler where we do to fill it up, you are so smart.

9.24.13          You said elephant tonight.

I put some squeaky shoes on you and you hated them.  I don't know if it was the squeak or the shoe (with the part between your toes) but you wouldn't walk to me in them and when you did you cried and squeaked.  It was so funny but so sad.

9.26.13          You flap your arms up and down when you're really happy or excited.  You bend your arms at the elbow and just flap away, it is SO cute.

You fell in a fountain today just like you fell in the bathtub last night.  You leaned over too far and went right in and I had to pull you out by your leg.  You were scared afterwards and we had to strip off your clothes and you wanted lots of cuddles.  But I was proud of you, you weren't scared for long, and went right back up to put your hand in it again, although a bit more cautious this time.


9.27.13          You came up and kissed me today, all on your own.

Said owl tonight.

You love pointing at animals in your books, anything with eyes or a face, and having us say the names of them.

You walked almost all around the block with a bit of help from us (on daddy's shoulders).  You reached for my finger to hold today while walking.  You love playing in the dirt and licking rocks.

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You have to shut drawers, cabinets and close whatever is open.  You like things in order.  I wonder if your "lift the flap" books taught you this.

9.30.13          You take a rest from playing to come get a hug from me or sit by me.

Got to excited to see me after being at my mom's yesterday and flapped your arms, ran to me and wouldn't sit with anyone else.

Awesome mood today - yelling, talking and screaming all around the grocery store and saying "hi" to everything around the house.

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After we yelled at you for playing with your plate you looked at us, oh so cute, and whispered "hi" and it was hard to stay mad at you.

10.4.13          You and I have these moments sometimes.  You touch me and giggle and then I tough you and you giggle or we have staring contests.  It's like this special mama and baby moment that I love, and at that moment I am in a spinning world with only you and it is the best thing in the world.  I also love when you want me to play with someone with you and you sit down next to me or in front of me.  Cutest.

You lay down on the floor and talk and I say "hi China" and you lay on your belly and say "hi."  I have no idea why you do it but it's funny.


10.7.13          You signed "play" to get out of your high chair, unprompted.  You signed "bath" unprompted yestereday.

You furl your eyebrows when you are concentrating on something or something confuses you.

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This girl has many so many leaps this past month I hardly remember them all!  She has been a pretty good sleeper too, for the most part, and has just been so much fun to be around.  She isn't old enough yet to really test her limits (wait for my 16 month post!) and just has the sweetest, funniest personality.  Everything is "hi" and "byeee" lately and I am loving every minute.

Lemon still loves her nanny, Ashley, and we do too.  Ashley takes her to swimming sometimes, Gymboree, the movies, the Children's Museum - it is just awesome.  I leave them snuggling on the couch every morning and Lemon had a few days where she didn't cry when I left!




And on Fridays I get lunch visits!


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Our yoga studio, Hot Yoga University, celebrated their one year anniversary so we walked over.  My friends, the twins, were going to a costume party so we had to get a pic with Lemon!

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We also may have had our last swimming day of the year at Chrstine's house with Christie, Nicole, Christine, Espen and Ian.  I will miss the summer!  (Check out this girl's after swimming hair and her sunburn right under her eyes!)


We rarely get time to snuggle anymore since Ian has been sleeping on the couch every night.  The baby's door is shut but we swear she sleeps better when he's out there and not in bed with me.  So here we are snuggling for about 10 minutes before she was up from her nap.


Sleeping was kind of sporadic this month with a couple of crazy nights where the baby had to come in bed with me.  She had a cold and then had another cold and now has a couple of teeth coming in.  I seriously don't really remember our sleeping situation because it's always so nuts but I think she did pretty well for a bit in there, sleeping through the night.


Bike ride weather!  Woooo!  And new moves, wears her sunglasses now (and keeps them on!) and pulls them down and says, "hi."  So cute!


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Splash pad Fridays are also a thing of the past, these last few were chilly!

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But she met a new friend and it was the first time she actually wanted to interact with another little kid.  It's funny that she's getting to that point but she thought this guy was hilarious!


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I somehow took so many videos this month and even left out a ton.  Here are some that this post couldn't do without!

One night at dinner we gave Lemon a piece of our steak and she played with it for 30 minutes!  She flapped it up and down, put it in her hair, tried to pull it apart, bit it and waved it around some more.  We were cracking up!

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This girl has been able to cry on command since she was just a little baby (go here), and she's still got it!

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The things babies do on their own that turn out to be super funny.  She is hilarious.

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Started saying hi to the dogs by name (kind of) this month and going up to them and petting them (smacking them).  Also loves to go up and down the curbs in our neighborhood, with our help, saying "up" and "down."

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Ian took this video and I think it's the best one we've ever made of her.  I can't believe she walked over to the phone herself, picked it up and said "hi."  Amazing.

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This month has been a blur and I am way late in this post.  This girl has been so much fun and is turning into a real little kid - it's crazy how fast the time goes.  I wish I could remember more but I can't, thank goodness I try to write down milestones when they happen.  We love you little Lemon and you will always be a baby to us!  I can't wait to see what comes next because you are just getting more fun by the minute!

(PS - Does anyone know why BlogStomp makes my pictures look so bad?  They could be really clear, great pics but when I Stomp! them they turn out fuzzy.)


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