Connect the Dots Ginger | Becky Allen

Friday, May 13, 2016

5 Rainy day Toddler Activities

We are on about day 17 of straight rain here in central VA! I feel so badly for Mason's preschool teacher. All the kids are going stir crazy not being able to go outside and play on the playground. So her and I am sure other teachers and parents are on the lookout for fun indoor activities for the weekend to keep these kiddos entertained!

Honestly I am at a loss as to what we can do, so I went to the internet to find more actives. I feel like we have done a lot of these ideas but here are more ideas to entertain your kiddos! What do you do that is special for rainy days?

  1. Pretend to go camping. 
  2. Build a tent in your living room out of blankets and chairs. Or use a real tent and hang some Christmas lights on the outside to have the "stars" shinning brightly! Don't forget to bring the flashlights, snacks, and books. Or make it an igloo and pretend to hunt for polar bears and go ice fishing. 
  1. Recycle, reuse, renew. 
  1. Find broken crayons, put them in an oiled muffin tin, and place them in a warm oven to melt. Let them cool and pop them out of the tin. Use your new "rainbow color-wheel crayons" to draw pictures for Grandma and Grandpa.
  1. Create an in-home drive in theater. 
  2. Take some old boxes and paper plates and have the kids make their own cars, turn out the lights, grab popcorn and beverages, and put on their favorite movie.
  1. Mix education and fun.
  2. Pull out old magazines and catalogs and let your kids find pictures of animals, food, babies, or cars. Give them safety scissors and glue sticks to make collages. Or have them make their own picture out of the colors they find! 
  1. Get messy! 
  2. No outside dirt play, play in the tub with shaving cream, bathtub paints, and bath crayons. Don't want a bath? Paint with finger-paints or, for easier cleanup, let your kids paint with chocolate and vanilla pudding cups. That way they can lick their fingers without the nasty after taste of paint! Yummy!
  3. Want more daily motivation and inspiration? Click here get free advice, support and encouragement + a free copy of my Clean Eating guide to help you get started on your health and fitness journey! 

    Thursday, May 12, 2016

    How To Control Weight Gain During Pregnancy

    Yesterday was the first time in this pregnancy that I literally had a freak out over my weight on the scale. I have only gained 8 pounds in 21 weeks but seeing the numbers on the scale scared me to death. I am a plus size lady. And honestly the idea of getting closer to 250 pounds scares me so much! I worked so hard before getting pregnant to get those numbers down and well, it is going the opposite direction. Most most moms-to-be fear this and it is often inevitable: WEIGHT GAIN.

    But my doc today summed it up best when we were taking about this..."Do you know how many women out there wish that they have only gained 8 pounds at 21 weeks pregnant. Just goes to show what healthy eating, and exercise can do for pregnancy! (which we talk about at every appointment, I tell him my exercise routine for the week!) Whatever you are doing, keep doing it because it is working!" Looks like I will be sticking with my shakeology and 30 minute workouts, and strength training 5 days a week.
    (Me at 20 weeks with all 3 of my different pregnancies!) 
    With Mason I gained 55 pounds. He was born at 39 weeks weighing in at 7 pounds 4 ounces (Wow, so weird to think I gained that much). Collin I gained 20 pounds and he was born at 40 weeks 5 days weight in at 7 pounds even. For most moms weight gain is something that is just going to happen whether you like it or not. And how much of the weight you gain can be controlled, but there is never any guarantees how much weight you will gain in the end. Check out how each of my pregnancies have been so different in terms of eating and exercise! 
    Talk with your doctor about exactly how much weight they recommend for you to gain during your pregnancy. The common rule for an average pregnancy is to gain between 25-35 pounds. But that really what most women thing they should gain regardless of weight prior to pregnancy. It varies for women who are overweight and underweight too. Overweight women, like me, are now being advised to gain less than the average recommended amount while underweight ladies should gain more in order to support their pregnancies. And if there are twins or triplets, then the weight gain will be even more.

    So how do you control your weight gain while pregnant?

    1) Thing to help you NOT gain too much weight...DO NOT STOP EXERCISING! Unless advised by your doctor, you can continue normal exercise and daily routines, at least walking. Just move your body. As much as we want to sit and eat ice cream all day everyday, it isn't going to do you or your baby a bit of good. Aim for a good 30 minutes of exercise at least 5 days a week. I have been doing 21 Day Fix yoga & pilatesCizeDiary Of A Fit Mommy's Fit For Two 2nd Trimester workouts and the Beachbody On Demand Active Maternity 2nd Trimester workouts. 

    2) Do not eat for two! You are eating for you and a tiny little human. Not an adult sized human. The recommended caloric intake increase is only 300 calories in the second trimester, and 500 calories in the third trimester and during breastfeeding. 300-500 calories is really not that much in terms of foods. It can be easy to over eat and over indulge. So make sure that you are diligent in what you are eating. 

    3) Eat 5-6 meals a day. Not big meals, small meals just like you did before you got pregnant. Making sure that you are getting veggies, fruits and protein in as much as possible, and limiting your sweets and sugars intake. Stick with whole fruits and veggies, good carbs, lean proteins and in the right portions. Stay away from sweets, treats, breads because we often eat too much of them in one sitting and those are filled with excessive calories. Indulgent meals are okay on occasion but do not make it a regular thing. Try not to give into those ice cream cravings on a daily basis because it could cause you to gain over the recommended amount of weight during your pregnancy! 

    **Want to know my #1 tip to have a healthy pregnancy? CLICK HERE! Because I have done it! 26 pounds total gained and I gave birth to a healthy baby girl!

    Want more daily motivation and inspiration? Click here get free advice, support and encouragement + a free copy of my Clean Eating guide to help you get started on your health and fitness journey! 

    Wednesday, May 11, 2016

    Bump Update: 21 Weeks

     Hello to more than halfway! Man, time really is going by so much faster since I have Mason and Collin to take care of too! I am thinking that this summer the pregnancy is going to fly by...or drag...I have no idea but I guess we shall see! I have a busy month this month with end of school activities for Mason's school (mom's day party), his graduation ceremony and I am helping host the last day of school party for his class. Plus getting my music studio students ready for their big recital at the beginning of June. Just so much going on in the everyday family dept.!

    Tomorrow is my monthly checkup with my doc. In a couple months I will be going twice a week, which is weird to think about, that we are getting at that point. Oh and I have to start thinking about when I will be getting the nasty gestational diabetes test done. And on the 23rd I get a follow up ultrasound and it should be my last ultrasound until Elyse arrives! So much to do!!

    I can tell that Elyse is getting bigger. I am feeling her kick all the time. And it is at specific times during the day. Usually around 7:30-8am, for sure around 4pm and then at 9pm when I am laying in bed. She definitely is making her own schedule. I am really looking forward to when Matt and the boys will be able to feel her kick for the first time. I know it is coming soon, and Mason says he can feel her and hear her, but just you wait kid!

    Total Weight Gain: 8 pounds total weighing in at 245.6 pounds.

    Symptoms: Feeling pretty great this week. Just making sure I don't over do it. I do love taking my daily naps. I feel like I almost have to but I don't require 3 naps like I did in the 1st trimester.
    Baby’s Size: Banana/Pomegranate  
    Maternity Clothes: Yes, bottoms need to wear maternity or stretchy pants. Tops I wear maternity now and my bigger t-shirts.
    Stretch Marks: I already have a ton that I got when I gained weight years ago. So nothing new.
    Gender: GIRL!!! 
    Sleep: I am only waking up once a night to go to the bathroom. But started having some crazy weird dreams! I am flipping over from one side to the other a lot, but often times I end up on my back. 
    Miss Anything: Sleeping comfortably flat on my belly or back! Sleeping through the night. 
    Cravings: It has gone back and forth between carbs and then to protein/meat. I have really enjoyed eating burgers. We indluged in our food budget and I got some really good grass fed beef for burgers for Mother's Day.
    Aversions: nothing yet
    Excited About: My monthly check up is tomorrow so I get to hear her heartbeat. I am feeling her kick so much more than before! That has been fun. Looking forward to when Matt and the boys will be able to feel her kick from the outside.
    Workouts: Got in my workouts 5 days a this past week, which is awesome! Still getting lots of massages from Matt for that. I have been doing 21 Day Fix yoga & pilates specificallyCizeDiary Of A Fit Mommy's Fit For Two 2nd Trimester workouts and the Beachbody On Demand Active Maternity 2nd Trimester workouts. 
    Want more daily motivation and inspiration? Click here get free advice, support and encouragement + a free copy of my Clean Eating guide to help you get started on your health and fitness journey! 

    Tuesday, May 10, 2016

    Benefits of Using Coconut Oil

    Did you know that you can use coconut oil for a lot more than just cooking? Yep here are some benefits of coconut oil for moms and babies! 

    Uses of Coconut Oil for Moms: 

    During Pregnancy:

    ~While pregnant you can use coconut oil on your ever growing belly to help prevent itchiness. It can even help reduce the amount of stretch marks or reduce the stretch marks you already have with regular use. (it's cause of that fatty acid chain)

    ~Use it to help with dryness, if you have any, you know, down there or to help aid in perineal massage when approaching your due date.

    ~If your face is super dry you can use it as a moisturizer at night. I have been doing this for about 2 weeks now. I tend to break out while pregnant and I have noticed that all my zits are gone.

    Post-Partum for Moms:

    ~I use coconut oil as a nipple cream. It is safe for babies to consume, and doesn't taste too badly but because of the anti-viral, anti-viral, and antibacterial properties it will help to safely keep your nipples happy and healthy. Cracked nipples, it will help them heal faster and stay healed. And it is not sticky like lanolin. In January a friend of mine just had her new baby and within 2 days had sore cracked nipples. She started using coconut oil and within a few days they were healing and by a week they were completely healed. Apply a small amount with breast milk all over nipples  after every feeding and allow to soak in through "air drying".

    ~Again use it on your now shrinking belly to help reduce itching.

    Uses of Coconut Oil For Babies: 

    ~Does your baby have cradle cap? It is one of the most common things that babies develop. It looks like a yellowish dandruff. And it is ok. Coconut oil is great to treat this, instead of buying the expensive cradle cap ointment at the store which can be full of things we really don't want to put on the baby. Coconut oil might be in a solid form when you buy it but it melts very quickly from our body heat. Easy to apply to a sensitive newborns head that has already been traumatized from birth. Rub some coconut oil on the babies head and allow to soak for 20 minutes. Gently rinse the oil out and using a soft brush, brush the flakes off. It can take a few treatments for all the flakes to go away but you will notice a difference.

    ~Diaper cream is expensive. If you already have a good quality coconut oil on hand you can use it on your babies sensitive bum. If you apply a small amount just after birth it can help reduce the stickiness of the meconium (the tar like poop on the diapers for the first few days of birth) on the babies behind. Making changes faster and a little easier.

    ~Also it can help reduce and heal diaper rash as it is a lubricant and helps heal owies.

    ~Last thing for babies, great as a lotion and as a massage oil for your baby. Babies love being touched and it help to grow your bond with each other. It will soak into their sensitive skin easily and keep it moisturized just like it does for you!

    Dietary Uses:
    Plus 15 dietary uses for coconut oil. Are you going to start using coconut oil? 

    Want more daily motivation and inspiration? Click here get free advice, support and encouragement + a free copy of my Clean Eating guide to help you get started on your health and fitness journey! 

    Monday, May 9, 2016

    No More Mom Guilt

    MOM GUILT! How many of you have felt guilty for wanting to get your hair cut, spending some time away from the kids to regroup, for working out maybe when your kid is crying for a little bit, for spending money on you and not your kids, for just taking some time for you. STOP IT! DROP THE MOM GUILT! You are not supposed to be last. You know what happens when you take care of everyone before yourself? You will crack! You will not be happy. You will feel sad and even angry at times. YOU NEED YOUR TIME TO TAKE CARE OF YOU!

    The number one thing that most women feel about taking care of themselves, especially moms, is GUILT! You are no being selfish finding time to workout. You are not being a bad mom for maybe letting your kid cry a little so you can knock out the last 30 seconds of a move before you can hit pause, take care of your kid and then hit play again to finish it up (and sometimes a 30 minute workout can take 45 minute when you have to do that, and IT IS OK!) You are not horrible for taking 30 minutes just after you get home from work, exhausted, to bust out your workout. YOU DESERVE to be HAPPY. You DESERVE to kick butt! And you are WORTH IT! NO MORE GUILT for doing what you need to do to take care of you!
    I have been there. Mason's first year, I never, ever had time for myself. Matt was deployed and I thought I had to do it all myself. Thankfully Mason was often held at church for me because, maybe I looked like I needed a break, I don't know, but just a few months after Matt returned and I was still doing everything first over me. I cracked! My facade I put up just shattered. I finally told Matt how I was feeling, how I felt like I just "lost myself" I didn't know who I was. I was first just a wife. Then just a mom. Then I was a wife and a mom and was still doing EVERYTHING and never ever took a break for me. I thought I had to do it all to be happy, but the one thing I forgot was ME! And without taking care of me, it just didn't work.

    Why am I sharing all this here...YOU ALL NEED TO HEAR IT! Stop the guilt. Self shaming. And do what you can. Put aside 30 minutes a day to take care of you. Taking a nap, alone time, EXERCISE. Whatever you can fit into your day. JUST DO SOMETHING FOR YOU! You are worth it and deserve to be as happy as possible! Your kids are great and deserve your love, but so do you! 

    ***Comment below with some experiences where you didn't allow yourself to take care of you and what you should have had to do in the past to overcome the Mom/Self guilt and shaming for taking care of you over other things. Learn from your past and do better!

    Want more daily motivation and inspiration? Click here get free advice, support and encouragement + a free copy of my Clean Eating guide to help you get started on your health and fitness journey! 
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