Welcome to the Earnest Mom Squad.  Part One. 

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Please join me in giving an earnest welcome to A, who is one of the newest members of the  Earnest Mom Squad. Here is a quick intro from this fabulous mama! 

My name is A, I am a 22 year old stay at home mom of an 8 month old little boy. I have been married to the love of my life, Tyler for 2 years. We live in a small home, in a tiny town of northern Pennsylvania; it’s simple living and we are loving everyday! 

My son Noah (aka Our Little Super Hero), was born with many health concerns and requires a little extra love and attention.  I am so blessed to have him.  He has spent extensive time in the NICU/hospital and I spend a lot of time attending therapies and doctors appointments with him. 

Other than being Noah’s momma and Tyler’s wife, I love worshiping the Lord with friends, sewing, the outdoors, tacos, and writing. I am a growing Christian who has just started her faith walk and strive to do and be the best I can. I consider myself to be somewhat of a crunchy momma; I cloth diaper, baby wear and believe that coconut oil and breast milk heal all. I currently struggle and battle with PPD and PPA. I am working on myself every day. I guess the important thing to take from my bio is, “Hi! I’m A, and I’m just an imperfect person doing my best everyday.”  I cannot wait to start writing and couldn’t be more excited to be a part of the Earnest Mom Squad ! 


Photographer credits: https://www.facebook.com/photosbysjz/

You Are Enough. Yes, YOU earnestly are enough. 

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This past summer these three words rang in my head as I read them on my little phone screen. You. Are. Enough. Before reading this post it never occurred to me that I was indeed, enough.  Usually late at night when I rock earnest babe back to sleep I scroll my Instagram and Pinterest accounts to keep me awake. This is the time when I realize that I need to be more, there are always tips and pins that tell me how to be more positive of a parent, more skinny, more happy, more successful, more pretty, more face contoured, more hard working, more, more, more!!  When everything I see is telling me I need to be more, it is REALLY hard to feel like I am enough. 

Then I turn this battle inward, I believe that once I get more I will be happy (SO NOT TRUE); but when it is in my face enough, I become so sure that once I have a thigh gap…I will be enough. Ugh. Seriously, I did not even know that was a thing until Pinterest told me how I could get more of it. 

Back to “You Are Enough,” I read this post on She Laughs Project’s Instagram account and I stopped in that moment, I read the words out loud to myself and I realized that I had never told myself I was enough. So to see it that once, I did not believe it.  With a whole world telling us how to constantly improve ourselves, the majority of the time outwardly it is hard to see that we are enough. Fast forward to months later, I am sitting in a MoPs meeting and a MoPs mama sharing her personal story asked us, “Who do you think you are? Who do you think you are to question God? He made you, exactly the way he wanted you. Who are you to question that?”  I swallowed back tears, who DID I think I was??! At 32 years old, I had no idea that I was made enough and in that very teary eyed, pride-swallowing moment I gave myself permission to accept that I was enough. My life changed. 

I was enough, and it was liberating. I believe that our minds are very powerful things and I made it my mission to repeat to myself to remind myself often that I was enough. I am beautiful enough. I am strong enough. I am mom enough. I am smart enough. I am pretty enough. I am enough and reader, so are you!! In seeing the beauty that I can see in myself and loving myself as I am, has opened me up to see the beauty and love in everyone else. It feels so free, so light and so kind – I look back and cannot believe at the ways in which I judged myself, the things I said to myself.  In place, I remind myself that I am my kind of pretty, my kind of strong and my kind of happy. All these which are evolving as I change as a person, but that is okay because people change. Now that I am here, loving me I refuse to turn back. 

I am so thankful for the She Laughs Project, and their three small words has changed me as a mom, a wife, a woman, a sister and a friend. I am enough and I want all of you to know that you are too!  I have stopped looking at “make yourself more” posting accounts to “love you as you” accounts on social media and it has helped me to keep my positivity. I needed to not only change how I was thinking about myself but also change how I allowed my outside world tell me who I was. 

I am enough, just as I am. And I am happy, truly happy , it only took 32 years to get here but I am happier knowing that I get to be a better example as a self confident joyful woman to my daughter.  I want to be the change, any earnest readers feel the change too??  Let’s climb together because victories are way better when celebrated with those that you helped lift along the way. 

In closing, I want to tell you so you know, you are enough. 

x. earnest mom. 

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, an earnest gem.

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Please note that earnest mom receives no compensation for this post, I just earnestly adore and cannot praise this FREE program enough!

 Dolly Parton created The Imagination Library in 1995 in her home county, in Tennessee. Her hope was to bring a love of reading to children in her community by delivering developmentally and age appropriate books to children. She wanted to be sure that no matter a family’s income, every child could have a library all their own. Fast forward to 2016, and over 1600 local communities provide the Imagination Library to over 750,000 children every month. 

We have been blessed that in 2010 when earnest boy was born our county in Michigan had an Imagination Library program where he built a library consisting of rich and classic books that were mailed to him every month from newborn until age 5. That is 60 books total, as a family just starting out we could not have hoped to create a collection of books like that for him. I was so grateful for such a wonderful program. When earnest baby was born, I assumed that since we had already had the Imagination Library in our home for one child, we would not be able to get it for her. Boy was I wrong, Dolly Parton wants every child to have their own library, no matter the number of children in your home!

Now living in Erie, PA we still receive a book a month for her, and she is always excited to get her very own book every month. We open it together, read it and then she gets to explore it. 

Here in Erie, The United Way of Erie County sponsors The Imagination Library and so long as you remain in Erie County your child will recieve a free book per month until they turn five.  The United Way of Erie County has gone one step further and created Reading Buddies. 

To maximize the impact of the Imagination Library, United Way of Erie County created Reading Buddies, a program that gives parents and other caring adults guidance and tips on early childhood reading. Developed by local reading specialists, Reading Buddies focuses on ways to increase the love of reading in young children.

The Reading Buddies program techniques are simple and proven! Parents and caring adults receive helpful tips and information on making the most of reading with their children. This leads to children being prepared for kindergarten and success in school! Children are welcome to attend Reading Buddies events, with activities provided in a separate, supervised area during the adult training. To attend an event near you, check out the Reading Buddies calendar! – United Way of Erie County Website

We have attended many Reading Buddy events here in Erie, we have met the cast of Erie Playhouse’s Rapunzel and Peter Pan plus enjoyed tips to encourage reading and literacy at home while the earnest kiddos got to play and do crafts. All free. Having benefited so much from the work that The United Way does here in Erie I hope to share this information so others can benefit too!

How so you sign up?! If you in Erie County PA, sign up here. Be sure to sign up for the United Way of Erie Newsletter and follow them on Facebook so you can be up to date on the fun events they have planned. For instance, today they have Reading Buddies planned (preregistration was required). 

Saturday, October 15 

Registration: 10:30am

Event: 11:00am – 12:30pm

Join United Way, the Erie Public Library and our friends at the Erie Playhouse for Reading Buddies with the Youtheatre cast of Arthur’s Halloween! Parents will learn helpful, everyday tips for reading with children. All families attending will receive lunch and free tickets to see a performance of the play at The Erie Playhouse! Families will be entered to win an interactive story buddy. 

Not in Erie, PA?! Thats okay, see if your county has their own Imagination Library Program here. The Imagination Library is currently available in Austrailia, Canada, United Kingdom and The United States. I earnestly recommend to take advantage of the this free program now. 

x. em. 

United Way of Erie County Website

United Way Of Erie Co Facebook Page

The Imagination Library Webstie

Mommying is Hard. Earnest Support, and it’s Free. 

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There are a ton of books, experts and advice out there. Support and help to get us through the crazy yet amazing journey called parenting. Well, as a mom of two strong willed, messy, smiley and sometimes sticky kiddos I am always looking advice. Especially when it comes to the hot topics like discipline, eating and education.

I believe each and every parent needs love, support and guidance for parenting especially since most of it is ‘learn as you go.’  Since having both my little ones, I feel like God has given me the most profound job I could ever have – raising two tiny humans into *hopefully* kind, empathetic, honest, caring adults who also have the freedom to be who they want to be. At times I find myself stumped, and they are only 6 and 2. Knowing this is only the beginning, I search for parenting information and articles that I can sift through to make into my own parenting style that will be successful for this earnest little family.

In the past, I have attended and traveled to MommyCons, Gearapaloozas and local parenting events here in Erie that have all been at cost; as I was simply seeking advice, support and connecting to other fellow mommas.  I will tell you, these events are worth MORE than their weight in gold and I would recommend any parent that can attend, go; however, that is not always an option. Well this weekend I stumbled on a gem!! A FREE, seriously, a free mom conference.

The is conference called The Mom Conference and it is online from October 11-13, 2016. They will send you your special link every morning to watch the seminars for that day, at your own pace. The only catch, the link and seminars will expire after 24 hours.  I found this conference through Positive Parenting Solutions Facebook page, where I have often found very helpful FREE webinars.  I am hopeful that this conference will be just as helpful and informative.

According to The Mom Conference website,

The Mom Conference is three days full of fabulous online interviews with TWENTY of your favorite speakers, authors and bloggers.

Motherhood is hard. But motherhood is also beautiful. This conference is about helping you maximize the beautiful stuff while minimizing the hard stuff.

The Mom Conference will give you inspiration alongside powerful, concrete ideas to help you be the mom you really want to be.

Please know, this blog post is in no way sponsored, I earnestly am excited to try this free resource and hoping to get as many moms out there the opportunity as well. If you are interested, use this link MOM CONFERENCE REGISTRATION to register.

x. em

La Petite Crème. An Earnest Review.

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La Petite Crème is a diaper changing “game changer” for me.  As a mom who mainly cloth diapers, using cloth wipes was a very easy transition.  What was not so easy for me was finding a solution (other than plain water) to wipe my earnest babe’s derriere when needed.  Most of the solutions that I had concocted my self or purchased from other mama-makers often seemed to not last long enough.  They tended to develop an “old” smell after a few days.  I was so happy to have stumbled across La Petite Crème which helped to solve this problem for me.

This French inspired, chemical free diapering lotion truly is easy to use, easy to transport and easy recommend to any mama out there, cloth or disposable diapers do not matter because this product can be used with dry cloth or disposable wipes – your choice!

img_1073How does it work? Squeeze a small amount of La Petite Crème on to a cloth or disposable cotton pad or whatever wipe works for you, and simply use to wipe clean the diaper area.  No rinsing required!  It is that easy, not rinsing allows a clear protective film to remain on baby’s sensitive skin.  This diapering lotion is cloth diaper safe, fragrance fee and hypoallergenic while naturally cleansing and disinfecting.  Since it is chemical free, it only has six ingredients – water, olive oil, vegetable glycerin, beeswax, vitamin E and limestone. Best of all, I can pronounce all of them.

Learn more about La Petite Crème here.  You should definitely give this mama-maker a try, moms supporting moms.

x. em.

Earnest Mom Local Spotlight: The Family Shop

The Family Shop is a new and exciting parenting retail store opening here in Erie, PA.  Created by Jeff and Kristyn Chiaramonte, their mission is to provide the best quality family care products and services at fair pricing to support families of all income levels. Every customer matters to them. Such a perfect name for their shop as they truly are family focused and family supportive, a community effort that is rarely felt in any big box store today.  They are trying to help the community not only by providing great products to families but also by supporting local “mommy makers/artisans” which will have Erie made products featured on their Vendor Wall.

The Family Shop will provide great new natural products focused on helping families. They will be offering  a variety of baby carriers/wraps, nursing/maternity apparel, cloth diapers, bamboo feeding tools, educational toys, teething products and more. The shop has a Mommy Corner, designed with nursing moms in mind, it is a quiet corner where mammas can nurse if baby gets hungry during shopping or change their bums without being distracted from the business of the hustle and bustle.  There is also an adorable kids spot that is a space designed specifically for little ones to play, with a huge open window  where kids remain in sight from across the store; moms and dads can shop while their little one plays, and can keep a good eye on them at the same time.

The Family Shop will have their grand opening starting Tuesday April 26, 2016 10 am lasting all week, they will give away free reusable “The Family Shop” totes on each in store purchase, while supplies last.  The shop’s regular hours of operation will be Tuesdays-Saturdays from 10 am – 6 pm.  During the grand opening there will be large stamp pads available in an array of colors so the customers can use their hand prints to decorate the lower half of the store’s walls.  I earnestly love this idea and cannot wait until my littles are old enough to return and can pick out their own hands on the shop walls.  As the days lead up to the grand opening, stay tuned on Facebook where the shop has been featuring some fun reveals and keeping us updated with any news.

I am earnestly excited for this store to open, as an Erie resident and mama of two I can see the potential and need for this shop to be a great community support.  Kristyn and Jeff hope to start hosting learning programs from the shop to allow moms and dads a safe place to spend time, grow and learn, and allow children to socialize as well.  The shop is quaint, inviting and welcoming to all customers.  Whether you are curious about baby wearing, cloth diapers, looking to simply connect, or thinking about going bit greener in your home, this is the shop you want to stop by!

Contact The Family Shop at Yorktown Plaza
2501 W. 12th Street
Erie, PA 16505
814-616-6801
or Connect on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/Eriefamilyshop
and Twitter:
@familyshoperie

Hope to see you at the Grand Opening!
x. em.

Earnest Mom Gets UnPapered!

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A while back, earnest dad and I had chatted a bit about using unpaper towels. Never really getting around to it and feeling quite intimidated by the change, I finally bit the bullet and reached out to the sweet Sarah over at Marley’s Monsters to get our hot hands on some high quality unpaper towels.  There were some great fabrics to choose from, since I figured paper towels are used to clean up messes it was best to get a fabric or two that looked nice together and hid stains if needed. I loved the flower print and Sarah helped me to pick the perfect complementary color to go with it.  We are a family of four and we ordered 24 unpaper towels, we have not been disappointed at all!

Here they are compared to the Honest Company’s”select a size” paper towels and then a shot of the thickness of the flannel.

As I mentioned above, we ordered 24 unpaper towels and they are the perfect amount for our family of four. They are great for wiping up spills, wash up great and are super soft for wiping sticky fingers and faces. To store clean ones, we roll them together and hang from our paper towel roll, well, now our unpaper towel roll. The flannel sheets naturally cling to each other which make them roll off perfectly when we pull them off the roll. I use the same unpaper towel through the day when I am drying my hands and then with supper (as I am home all day with earnest babe). We store dirty unpaper towels in an Urban Oreganics muslin bag in our broom closet. I wash a load of unpaper towels about every two days and use our regular natural detergent on a quick wash and tumble dry for about twenty five minutes (they dry quick!).  So far zero stains too!

Unpaper towels have been an easy transition for this earnest family and I am wishing everyday that I had not felt so intimidated and bought these bad boys sooner! Marley’s Monsters is such great quality and Sarah is SO sweet I would recommend anything from her shop. If you are curious about unpaper towels, try them today and use earnest mom’s 15% discount listed below, which is good until March 20th, 2016. Sarah also offers cloth wipes (which we use and love), nursing pads (also use and love!) and many other great handmade items. Enjoy!

x.

earnest mom.

Marley’s Monsters 15% code: EARNESTMOM15

Visit Marley’s here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/marleysmonsters?ref=s2-header-shopname

Expires March 20, 2016

Mamahood; let’s DO this!

Ok, so typically I would not post about what anyone else does, that being said I’ve decided to create a call to action. Mamas, let’s stop judging one another. Let’s stop sizing up how we gave birth, what diapers we use and if we use bumper pads or not.  Let’s stop using social media to shame or tear down fellow mamas. Why?! Because it hurts. I’m so disappointed when I see us mamas tearing other mamas down.

We are all connected by one thing, we have been blessed to have children all our own (whether birthed or adopted or even step), we are all attached by a cord of responsibility for a future generation. 

Let’s stop. Let’s embrace one another, let’s love one another and most of all let’s lift each other up! Kindness and acceptance are some of the most desired things around the world, so let’s give it out like candy at Halloween. Scratch that, giving it out at Halloween makes it sound like we need to dress up to receive it; no let’s just spread them everywhere, regardless of what we would have done ourselves or how we would have done it differently.  Because kindness and acceptance are FREE. 

Mamahood is one of the most powerful sisterhoods out there! So let’s call that order to march. Let’s celebrate our differences, let’s support our new mamas or less informed mamas. Let’s be caring and earnest in our comments on social media, if we see something may be wrong let’s be classy and privately message where we think there needs improvement. 

Mamas, we are setting the example so let’s set the standard high and help our littles grow to be better than we could ever be. When babies are around, sleep is minimal, emotions are wild and the number one thing us mamas need it an outstretched arm of support; we don’t need hands to only push us down. 

That being said, let’s lessen the judging, public shaming and finger pointing that only cause hurt and offense. Instead let us change it, let us being to increase the embraces of kindness, blankets of support and sisterhood of uplift that will help all mamas out there. 

In closing, I want to take a moment to say: mamas keep up the good work, keep taking care of your kids the best you can each and every day; smile at a stranger because smiling is contagious and that’s one thing I love to catch.  Send a fellow mama a message of encouragement because a kind word can change someone’s day in a moment. If you can, give a text or call just to say “I’m thinking of you and you’re awesome.”  Remember, happy people are the most beautiful and smiles do more repair than any discouraging word. Let’s do this mamas, let’s be the change. 

x. 

earnest mom. 

Earnest Mom’s Crunchy Journey. Turning Red to Green. 

Shop the new Honest Feminine Care line!**This post contains Honest Company affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking through my links.** 

Ok, ladies this one is for you. After attending a Red to Green session at Mommy Con Columbus, I decided this topic was an important one to touch on in this series. We are chatting about Aunt Flow and the the many options we have out there to help get us through that time of the month. That being said, I will not be focusing on anything graphic. This crunchy journey will look at how we can be more green when we are menstruating. 

How about a few facts:

  • Tampons and pads with odor neutralizers and artificial fragrances are chemicals, conatining artificial colors, polyester, adhesives, polyethylene (PET), polypropylene and propylene glycol (PEG), all linked to hormone disruption, cancer, birth defects, dryness and infertility. 
  • In general, mass marketed tampons and pads contain genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) and numerous pesticides. 
  • Chlorine bleach is what is used to make pads and tampons so white, which can create Dioxin.  Dioxin has been linked to: Abnormal tissue growth in the abdomen and reproductive organs, abnormal cell growth throughout the body, immune system suppression, hormonal and endocrine system disruption Note: Dioxin has been found in Breastmilk which means not only are mamas exposed but so are their nurslings
  • Since menstrual pads and tampons are classified as “medical devices,” ingredient disclosure is not mandatory.
  • And then there is the waste. An average woman in the US will use more than 16,800 in her lifetime. 
  • Approximately 20 Billion (with a B) menstrual pads, tampons and tampon applicators are sent to landfills each year – maybe that’s why we see them in our streams, lakes and beaches. Gross. 

So, what are our options?! I mean, we do want options right? We are talking about the most sensitive parts of our body and we are willing to blindly put all kinds of chemicals there. Yikes. As far as alternatives to disposable all together; you’ve got mama cloth (reusable cloth pads and tampons) and menstrual cups. This earnest mom has fully converted to cups and mama cloth, no more waste here.  I have included some links below where you can get some great cloth pads and cups online. If reusable is just not your thing, which is okay – there are companies that offer chemical and bleach free, organic cotton disposal options, check the banners and stay tuned, I will be giving away an Honest Organic Pad Set, be sure to enter!

My earnest ladies, I encourage you to not just take my word on it; do your own research. Be informed, these ate the only bodies we have and we’ve got to take care of them!

Curious about cups but not sure where to start? Kim Rosas of Put a Cup In It has a great website that really helped me with my cup usage and information. Let’s work together to become more healthy, have less chemical exposure and less waste!  

Enter to win an Honest Company Organic Pad Set (one 10 pack of regular and one ten pack of super pads) at the link here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Note: You must be a resident of the US or Canada to be eligible to win!
//widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js
Have questions about what I use, suggestions or thoughts about turning red to green? Please email me, I’d love to keep this #detoxthebox conversation going, and please if you are going to comment let’s refrain from being too graphic as I would like to keep my blog as earnestly wholesome as possible. 

UPDATE: Still in the fence about trying Honest?! Use this code to get $10 off your first order of $25 or more! Use: GET10

x. 

earnest mom. 

Some cloth and cup links:

The Pink Lemonade Shop

Lunette Cup

The Diva Cup

Organic Disposable Options:
Shop the new Honest Feminine Care line!

Mommy Con? Yes Please!

I recently had the privilege of attending Mommy Con in Columbus, Ohio. It was a hike from my little town but man, it was worth it! (Stay tuned to see the swag bag). 

I was able to attend a few VIP/Media opportunities where I got to hang with the BabyGuyNYC and meet sweet Xsa and the lovely Laney (who are the brains and hearts behind Mommy Con). I also got to volunteer (which got me in for free) and help out the wonderful Keeley as we handed out swag bags and disassembled Mommy Con after all attendees left.  Here I am below with the BabyGuyNYC

 
If you read last week’s post, I let you know all about Mommy Con, a boutique style convention for moms who breast feed, baby wear, cloth diaper, along with other natural parenting approaches. I attended some great seminars including Potty Taining 101 with the fabulous Tamica from Potty Schmotty, and yes Tamica I am STILL singing the potty song in my head! I also attended a seminar about lady business and how to go green during that time of the month. Both of these seminars will be detailed in future posts.   

 All in all, even though I did not pay the $40.00 it costs to attend (because I volunteered) I would say, if you’re into natural parenting or parenting as a whole, attend!!! It’s SO worth the money. The information I received was priceless and the swag bag was EVEN better…oh yes swag bag, well here it is pictured below.   
I must say, the ladies that work crazy hard to put this kind of event together for moms, being moms themselves (well most of them) they are amazing. Like I said I was blessed enough to have a media session with darling Xsa and Laney and they are some the kindest and genuine ladies I’ve ever met, and I’m so thankful to have had such a good time. 

Then there were the giveaways with the BabyGuyNYC. Oh. My. There were car seats, breastpumps, strollers and much, much more! Some mamas (and daddy’s too walked away with some amazing gifts that day. 

My volunteer shift was at the end of the conference where I handed out swag bags, and man that little room with zero airflow was HOT but it was a lot of fun, especially with Keeley who kept humor around for us to enjoy.  After that we worked hard, breaking down and cleaning up the entire conference, it was a blast! Here I am in the gift bag corner.  

  

All in all, my experience was great. If you find a Mommy Con near you, get a ticket! (Or keep and eye out for the call for volunteers).  I know many are selling out and they’ve already released presale tickets for next year’s locations so, head on over to Mommy-Con and check them out!

Until next time!

x. 

earnest mom.