Monday, July 1, 2013

Giveaway: Treat yourself with Escape Monthly!

Escape Monthly knows that you need to feel pampered sometimes, but as mommies, that does not often happen.  That is why Escape Monthly delivers a box of destination-inspired luxury products to your door each month.  Even if you can't get away physically, the items in each box will help you escape, even if it's just for an hour or so.

The boxes contain various items inspired by a specific destination, including full-size bath products, teas, gift certificates, and more.  Plus, you automatically get entered into a drawing to win a trip for two to each monthly destination, just for being a member.

Escape Monthly is $49.95 a month, but if you sign up now using the code "YOURESCAPE," you will save 20% off your monthly box, and this code is good for 20% off every box you order FOR LIFE!

Want to try before you buy?  Escape Monthly has generously offered a free box to one lucky reader.  Enter to win a free Escape Monthly box to try using the Rafflecopter form below.

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My rant on cloth diaper naysayers

I am excited for my little man to arrive (sometime in the next two weeks!!!), and I really cannot wait to get started using my extensive cloth diaper stash that I have built up in anticipation of his arrival.  Although I have not yet started using them yet, I have become quite an advocate for cloth diaper use over the past few months.  I have spent a lot of time researching cloth diapers and how to properly use and wash them, so I feel I am as ready as I can be to use them on my son.

One of the things that drives me absolutely batty right now is the way that people who have never contemplated using cloth diapers seem to think they know everything about it.  I was at a party a few weeks ago, and one of my friends mentioned that I was planning to use cloth diapers.  Another woman at the party, who I have met a few times, started telling everyone what "the problem with cloth diapers" is.  She went on and on about how difficult they are to clean and said, "You have to rinse them and then wash them, like, four times, and spray them and bleach them and wash them again."

I, of course, attempted to jump in and clarify that it really is not that difficult, not to mention that bleaching your diapers will destroy them, but she happens to be one of those people who thinks she knows everything about everything and is generous enough to share it with all the other humans who are just stumbling through life awaiting her guidance.

The whole situation really irritated me.  I mean, I certainly have a lot of folks in my life who think I am a little crazy for cloth diapering.  Maybe I will end up being one of them after I give it a try.  However, nearly everyone is at least supportive of me doing it.  They may not be ready to convert themselves, but they are at least watching to see how it goes for me.  I don't even mind some good-natured ribbing about it.  After all, 8 months ago, I was right there with them, and I never thought I would consider using cloth diapers.

But when people who don't know anything insist upon getting noisy with their misguided instructions on how to live life, I get irritated.  I suppose it did not help that the gal who decided to give a "how-to-wash-your-cloth-diapers" lecture - or, in her case, a "how-to-destroy-your-cloth-diapers" lecture - is not one of my favorite people to begin with.

To make matters worse, last week, my husband and I attended two days of childbirth classes to prepare for our son's birth.  On the second day, a local pediatrician came in to speak with us.  He asked if anyone was planning to use cloth diapers, and I raised my hand.  He then made some joke about me trying to save the earth and delivered it in this condescending tone that indicated that he thinks I am some naive little woman with big dreams that I will never accomplish but aren't I just adorable for trying?

First of all, my motivation for using cloth diapers is primarily financial.  Second, even if all I wanted to do was save the earth, what the heck is wrong with that?  Third, why in the world does he feel the need to make fun of a new mother who is trying to do something a little differently?  Talk about insecure.  Needless to say, we will not be employing him or his practice as our pediatrician.

Working overtime to induce labor naturally

I am currently 38 weeks and 3 days pregnant, and the doctors (and my reflection in the mirror) tell me I have a great big baby boy cooking in there, so I am quite eager to get him out before we hit a point of no return, and I have to have a c-section.  So for the last week or so, I have been trying everything under the sun to get my body in gear and get this little man out.

I am doing a lot of physical activity, with an emphasis on squats, stairs, and walking.  Yesterday, I did 250 squats, and today, I am aiming to hit that again and maybe even surpass it.  I also have stopped asking my hubby to do everything that requires a trip up or down the stairs.  Fortunately, the knee trouble I had earlier in my pregnancy is much better now, so going up and down the stairs is not too painful.

I am also drinking raspberry leaf tea and taking evening primrose oil.  I really do not know yet if either of these are working since I only just started them a few days ago, but at least they help me feel like I am doing something.

At my last doctor's appointment, 6 days ago, I was 50% effaced and dilated 1 centimeter.  I have another appointment tomorrow, so I am hoping that I will show some progress then.  Actually, I am hoping that I do not make it to that appointment and that I just go into labor today, but some progression in effacement and dilation tomorrow is the next best thing.  

I also found this great labor dance video, which if nothing else, really makes me laugh, both when watching it and when attempting to do it.  The best part about me trying to do it is seeing my dog Oliver come strolling into the room and just stare at me as though I've lost my mind.  It's hard to feel good about yourself when your dog is judging you.

Arthropet Review and Giveaway


I am so excited to be a part of this giveaway.  I happened to see that Neocell was looking for someone to do a review and giveaway for their product Arthropet, and I jumped on it right away.  The company's representative was really nice and great to work with.  She generously sent me 2 bottles of Arthropet for my dog Oliver to try.

Oliver is a 7-year-old German Shepherd and Chow Chow mix.  He has suffered from arthritis since he was only 3 years old.  He has always been and continues to be a very playful, loving, and enthusiastic dog, so it is easy to identify when he is in pain.

Until recently, I had him taking a joint supplement in the form of a treat.  He loved the taste and had no idea it was good for him, which is always nice.  However, when the 2013 pet food recall happened, a friend of mine told me that his treats were among those recalled, and I discontinued using them.

Oliver did all right for awhile since he also eats Purina One Vibrant Maturity dog food, which contains glucosamine to help with his joints.  However, I started to notice him slowing down a little bit.  When he would stand up after being asleep, he seemed stiffer than usual.  Although we have dealt with these joint issues for awhile, we have usually been able to stay ahead of them, so I was eager to find something to replace his old supplements.

About the company

Arthropet is manufactured by NeoCell, a company that provides a wide variety of health products with an emphasis on collagen protein.  The company was started by a scientist who started using collagen protein after his own heart surgery.  After seeing the amazing effects it had on his recovery, he started NeoCell to help bring collagen protein to others.  The company has grown significantly since then, but I love the fact that it was born out of one man's personal experience.

About the product

Arthropet contains chicken cartilage, which is a natural source of glucosamine, chondroitin, and collagen.  It provides your pet with these essential ingredients to help slow joint deterioration and promote strong, healthy, and happy dogs.  Arthropet also helps to promote eye health in dogs, which is a great additional benefit for the senior pooch.

Oliver's experience

The supplements are designed to taste good to dogs.  I tried giving them to Oliver straight, and he did not go for it, but I think that is an Oliver issue, not an issue with the product.  He has very strange and picky tastes for a dog and turns his nose up at things that every other dog in the world will eat.  So, to test my theory, I tried giving a couple to our other dog, Stella.  She was all over them and ate them like they were treats.  I imagine most dogs would like them well enough to eat them plain.

Oliver took one tablet a day for several weeks.  The recommended dosage for his size is 2 tablets, but I wanted to see how he would respond to just one, especially since he gets some benefits from his dog food already.  After about 10 days, I started to notice an improvement in how he was getting around.  When he would get up after napping, he was moving better.  He also seemed to be in better spirits over all, and when we returned from walks and he performed his usual celebratory "I-just-went-for-the-best-walk-of-my-life" dance, he exhibited no signs of pain or stiffness.

The giveaway

Neocell is generously offering a free bottle of Arthropet to one of my lucky readers.  If you have a dog with arthritis or other joint pain, I highly recommend trying this product.  There is nothing worse than seeing your beloved pet in pain, but veterinarian treatments can be very expensive.  Enter using the form below for a chance to try Arthropet for free.

If your pet is really suffering now, you do not have to wait for the giveaway to end to try Arthropet.  It is available at a variety of online stores, including Swanson Vitamins.  Give it a try, and be sure to come back and let me know how it worked for your pup.

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