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Sweet Me Photography + Giveaway!

I am so excited to announce that Midwest Mom & Wife is teaming up with Sweet Me Photography!

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Sweet Me Photography offers in-home and affordable newborn photography. There are photographers available all over, but just recently Sweet Me Photography has came to Des Moines.

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Why am I so excited about this? As a mom, I know how important those first photos are of your precious baby. But, as a postpartum doula, I know how important it is for you to rest, recover and bond with your newborn. Sweet Me Photography provides boutique sessions in the comfort of your own home. No need to pack up all sorts of baby necessities and no need for you to be up moving around. Let the Sweet Me photographers take care of it all. They bring lighting, heating, props, outfits (but if you have your own, you are more than welcome to use it!), blankets, and backdrops.

Go take a shower, get some rest and let the photographers capture some wonderful photos. Every Sweet Me photographer is also trained in baby safety, so you can rest assure they are properly taking care of your newborn.

Because Midwest Mom & Wife has begun an amazing partnership with Sweet Me Photography we are offering a giveaway! One lucky winner will win Sweet Me Photography’s package one valued at $350! And there is moreANYONE who enters for the giveaway will receive $25 off any package of their choosing, just for entering!

Giveaway will end Sunday, October 2nd! Make sure you share with all your expecting friends!

Enter here!

World Breastfeeding Week 1

World Breastfeeding Week 2016 + Giveaway!

Happy World Breastfeeding Week!

 

World Breastfeeding Week is always celebrated the first week in August and runs August 1st through August 7th all over the world!

Every year we celebrate women, their children, and their breastfeeding relationship. I get super excited this time of year because it can be such an empowering week. Many women will share their personal breastfeeding stories and pictures throughout social media. Not only does this help normalize breastfeeding, but also gives confidence to many women who may be struggling.

Not only is breastfeeding important for mom and baby, but this year’s World Breastfeeding theme is “on raising awareness of the links between breastfeeding and the Sustainable Development Goals. By recognizing that breastfeeding is a key to sustainable development, we will value our wellbeing from the start of life, respect each other and care for the world we share.” This statement is so true and I am so happy that this has become the theme for this year.

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During this week, communities all over the world hold different celebrations to help spread the word about breastfeeding. One common event held in Central Iowa is the Big Latch On. Check here to see if there is one near you!

To help celebrate all the women who breastfeed, I am excited to hold a great giveaway! I am giving away a Kiinde Breastmilk Storage Set and a box of Ameda Store ‘n Pour Breast Milk Storage Bags.

The Kiinde Breastmilk Storage Set is an AMAZING set! It includes twist pouches where you can directly pump into, the adapters where so you can connect the pouches to your pump and is compatible with ALL major pumps, a squeeze natural feeding bottle, and much more! BONUS: There is also a Foodii Toddler Feeding Gift Pack inside!

The Ameda Store ‘n Pour Breast Milk Storage Bags are also great! When pumping milk you want to make sure that precious “gold” will not leak out! These bags have an easy-close zip seal so they will not leak. Freezer safe and no BPA and DEHP.

Breastfeeding does not strictly mean your baby exclusively nurses from your breast, but it includes those who work and pump, or who may exclusively pump. As a mother who breastfed two children 18 months and beyond, I know the challenges of working full-time and providing breastmilk and breastfeeding to your child exclusively. Having reliable products to ease the pumping and feeding is crucial!

Enter to win below! The giveaway ends Sunday, August 7th and I will announce a winner next week!

Enter here!

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WEAR Conference 2016

I am so excited to help spread the word of this year’s first babywearing, WEAR conference held by MommyCon!

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I have attended MommyCon a few times and I know the WEAR conference will NOT disappoint! This 3-day conference will be held in Chicago, over Memorial Day weekend. It will be full of speakers, seminars, over 30 exhibitors, classes, and much more! ALL related to babywearing!

Friday, May 27th – Sunday, May 29th

 

Some fun things you can look forward to attending are:

  • Babywearing Yoga presented by KIND
  • Babywearing Belly Dance
  • The Babywearing Lounge – where you can touch and try-on lots of carriers!
  • Using Wraps, Ring Slings, and Exploring American Babywearing Subculture from a Man’s Perspective
  • Wrapping 101
  • An introduction to the Mei Tai
  • And so much more!

Check out the entire WEAR schedule here!

Whether you are new to babywearing or a novice, there will be something for everyone!

Prices

Singe Day Pass – $40 

3-Day Pass – $100

Ultimate Educator Package – $500

There are rooms available at the Westin Michigan Avenue hotel, at a discounted rate. When booking your room, make sure to mention WEAR! Find more details here!

All children under the age of 16 years are FREE to attend with a paid adult.

If you are interested in attending make sure to use discount code: Midwest16 at checkout to receive $5 off your ticket price!

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The Honest Toddler & Signed Book Giveaway!

One individual I was very excited to see at MommyCon Minneapolis was Bunmi Laditan aka The Honest Toddler. I had been following her on Facebook, Twitter and had subscribed to her hilarious blog. She was even more funny in person!

The Honest Toddler does NOT hold anything back. She lays it out just as it is. It is amazing how many things she describes and explains hit so close to home. It seriously is a relief knowing that you are not the only parent out there dealing with all the things, with a toddler. As she explains, toddlers are entirely another species!

The Honest Toddler just recently published a book called Toddlers are A**holes. “Toddler a**holery is a normal part of human development—not unlike puberty, except this stage involves throwing food on the floor and taking swings at people who pay your way in life.”

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I just finished reading the book and loved it. I will give you a heads up … yes, you can relate to a LOT, but some of the things may be taken to an extreme. I have no doubt in my mind though, that there are parents out there that deal with these extremes! Honestly, any and every parent who has a toddler or has graduated out of the toddler stage (lucky you) can and will relate to this book!

I was able to get my hands on two signed books and am giving one away! All you need to do is …

  1. Comment below one crazy thing your toddler has done!
  2. Like” Midwest Mom & Wife on Facebook

I am really excited to hear all your crazy toddler stories 🙂 I will announce a winner Saturday, May 23rd! Let the craziness begin …

8PPDoulaHelp

Local Doula Spotlight: Blessed Bean Birth & Belly

In celebration of World Doula Week I had the privilege to interview one of the many doulas, in Central Iowa, Michelle Conkling. Michelle’s doula business is Blessed Bean Birth & Belly and has been a doula for almost two years. Below, you will find some basic questions of why she became a doula, her education, and why she enjoys it so much!

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Why did you want to become a doula?

“Before my daughter was born, I didn’t even know what a doula was. After she was born, I started to read a lot because my birth did not go as planned and ended in a c-section. I joined a local ICAN (International Cesarean Awareness Network) group and doulas kept coming up. The more I read about doulas, the more passionate I became about the idea. I wanted to support women through this very important time.”

What program did you use to become a certified doula? How long did it take you?

“I certified through the International Childbirth Education Association (ICEA). There are many organizations now that certify doulas but I felt that ICEA and DONA had the most name recognition. I also liked that I could go back and certify as a post partum doula, a childbirth educator, and a prenatal and postpartum fitness educator all under one umbrella. There are eight books you need to read through ICEA on topics of birth to breastfeeding to postpartum depression. After I completed the reading, I attended a doula training workshop – this was an intense, hands on, two days full of information, workshop. I also attended a childbirth education class. And then I jumped in to attending births. You need three births to get certified – I am a volunteer doula through Mercy West so that helped a lot. I have subsequently attended additional training on VBAC’s and on utilizing a rebozo for labor support (a rebozo is a traditional Mexican shawl that can be used to apply pressure to the hips or support the belly.”

What is your favorite part of being a doula?

“I am continually amazed at the strength and power that women have during birth. And there is always the part when the mother gets to see her baby for the first time. It is a privilege to be a witness to both.”

Why should every pregnant woman hire a doula?

“We spend so much time and money planning our weddings but often we don’t give equal consideration to planning our births. Now granted, there are many things you can’t control during birth. But it is worth the time to educate yourself not only about the birth process but creating a support team around you – that support team includes your medical providers. One in three births in this country end in a c-section and those stats are very true in Iowa. We need to start asking our medical care providers tough questions about evidence based care long before we are in the middle of labor – questions about inductions and c-section rates. Having the continuous support of a doula has been shown in numerous clinical studies to result in shorter labors, reduces the need for Pitocin and c-sections, and reduces the mother’s need for pain meds and epidurals. The continuous support that a doula provides is invaluable!”

Do you have children and did you use a doula for your birth?

‘I will absolutely be using a doula for my next birth!”

What differentiates you from other doulas in the area?

There are many great women offering doula services in the Des Moines area. I really think it’s important for women (and their partners) to meet with several doulas to find the best fit for them. My role is to not only support the expecting mother but if she has a partner, help him or her best support the mother.

How many births have you attended?

“I have attended 15 births.”

How much do you charge? What type of packages do you offer?

“My fee is $600. I don’t offer different packages – I do offer a bellycast to clients if they are interested in that. I can work with people on payment plans and take Paypal.”

To celebrate even more Michelle has been gracious enough to give away one FREE belly cast! A belly cast is a plaster cast of a pregnant woman’s belly. It is a beautiful keepsake you can keep for years to come and show your children. This is one, of the many, unique things Michelle offers to all her clients.

Follow these rules to be enter into winning a FREE belly cast! I will announce a winner Sunday, March 29th on my Facebook page.

Belly Cast Giveaway

 Happy World Doula Week!

8PPDoulaHelp

Rhockett Retreat 2015

Have you heard of Rhockett Weaving or the Rhockett Retreat?

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If you are a babywearer you NEED to check it out. Rhockett Weaving is owned and operated by Rhonda Brackett. After she fell in love with babywearing and discovered it was a necessity in her life, she began creating her own signature style wraps. She also takes custom orders, if you are wanting something really special.

This April, is the very first Rhockett Retreat. This is a place where people come together, who love wrapping as much as you! There will be good food, henna from Alternative Artistry, babywearing yoga, babywearing art, campfires & s’mores, and MORE!

There will be classes through out the the three-day, two-night event including weaving, dyeing fabric and learning different wrapping instructions. You can also check out some awesome local vendors such as Finnabug Bags, Starbright Baby, and Alternative Artistry.

The Rhockett Retreat is being held …

Friday, April 24th through Sunday, April 26th

You can come by yourself, you can come with your little one OR you can bring the entire family. Not everyone needs to attend all the fun classes, but there will be no child supervision provided. There is also a charge for each additional person, to cover room and board.

This years Rhockett Retreat is being held in Ogden, Iowa. You can choose to stay the entire time or drive for only the day on Saturday and/or Sunday. You can register here for whatever option you choose! If you register for the entire retreat you will receive a FREE swag bag!

To help get everyone excited about this fun babywearing retreat, we are doing a GIVEAWAY!

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One lucky winner will win a waldorf inspired babywearing doll created from Rhockett Weaving scraps!

OUR BABY SHOWER

The contest begins TODAY and will end Friday, March 13th! I will post the winner on my Facebook page. Good luck!

8PPDoulaHelp

MommyCon Minneapolis Tickets Giveaway

Let’s have another giveaway!!! 🙂

I will be giving away 2 FREE tickets to 2 separate winners to MommyCon Minneapolis!

MommyCon Minneapolis is Saturday, April 18th.

Here are some blog posts, I have already posted with some great information about what you can expect!

MommyCon Minneapolis 2015 – What is MommyCon?
MommyCon Chicago 2015 – Chicago Schedule announced!
Cloth Diapering Resource Center
Great Cloth Diaper Change: MommyCon Minneapolis

Update: MommyCon Minneapolis has changed venue! It is now being held at the Marriott City Center. Check out here for information on booking a discounted room.

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I will announce a winner on Saturday, February 28th!

8PPDoulaHelp

Blank Park Zoo Night Eyes 2014 & Giveaway!

We made it out to the Blank Park Zoo Night Eyes again this year! Monte really enjoyed himself last year, so we made sure to check it out this year.

He went as a minion this year! It was hard to get a picture of him with the entire costume on (classic 2 year old), hopefully, before the end of the season, I will get one. I bought it off Etsy … I seriously have an Etsy addiction. Everything is so unique on that site!

I tried to get some good pictures of the event, but as the night went on, it got darker and darker and my pictures did not turn out the greatest 🙁

There were a lot of the same themes as last year like the Wizard of Oz, Pirates, When I Grow Up; but they did a great job of setting it up differently and adding some new things!

They also had the Fun Zone set up this year, which includes bouncy, inflatable houses, kettle corn, hot dogs, and more. We did not make it to this area in time. The Fun Zone closes at 7:30 pm

Monte enjoyed receiving candy from all of the different characters dressed up such as Woody from Toy Story and a Princess! He was a little shy when he met the princess. He wanted to go over, but never got enough courage to go and take a picture.

Monte also enjoyed riding the train, riding the carousel, and seeing some of the animals. While we were there the lion’s were super active and we saw the male lion get up and run! We also saw the tortisus’s up close.

I would definitely recommend putting Night Eye’s on your list of Halloween things to do! I love how the kids receive more then just candy, such as coupons, and how it can become a learning experience by viewing the animals and seeing some different, kid-friendly characters!

This weekend is the last chance to check it out.

It will be open Thursday – Sunday

Thursday & Friday 5:30pm – 8:00 pm

Saturday & Sunday 1:00 pm – 8:00 pm

If you go Thursday or Friday I would recommend being there right at 5:30 so you have a chance to check out the Fun Zone!

Giveaway!

I am giving away TWO free tickets to Night Eyes. All you have to do is go to my Facebook page and like, share and comment “done” on the pinned post at the top of the page. If the page gets to 120 “likes” by Wednesday, I will randomly announce a winner! Good Luck!

What is your favorite thing at the Blank Park Zoo Night Eyes?

8PPDoulaHelp

Hy-Vee Gift Card GIVEAWAY!

If you live in the Des Moines area you may have noticed all of the SUPER Hy-Vee’s popping up!

The first one opened in Urbandale (I personally shop at this one!) Now there is one located in Ankeny and Waukee!

A few things I like about the Super Hy-Vee  are …

1. Bulk Section 

Each Super Hy-Vee has a bulk section. You can find nuts, dry fruit, oatmeal, flours, quinoa, trail mixes, organic, non-organic items and much more. You can also get honey, grind your own peanut butter and almond butter! The nice thing about shopping bulk is it’s more economical. Personally, I do not have much space in my kitchen to store large bags of flour, boxes of rice, nuts, oatmeal, etc. I enjoy purchasing EXACTLY what I need for a recipe or what I will be using that week. It also saves me a lot more money that way. If it is something that I use over and over again I will buy it in larger quantities. I love to place whatever I have leftover, into mason jars and place in our cabinet. I think it looks so much more neater 🙂

2. Meat and Seafood Counter

There are a lot of pre-made items available. When I know we have a busy week coming up I love buying an already marinated salmon or a stuffed chicken breast. All I have to do is throw it in the oven, bake it, and add some veggies! Every once in awhile they will also have GREAT meat bundle packages for awesome prices and you receive fuel saver money for it also. This past summer, I would always stock up on their brats when they had their 10/$10.00 deal with 10 cents off on fuel saver! We would use them that week or I would just throw them in the freezer for when we had any family get together’s like my birthday party 🙂

3. Organic and Health Food Department

I LOVE walking through the Organic and Health Food Department! I always find something new and wonderful to try. They have Kind Bars, Almond Milk (I buy the Hy-Vee brand, way cheaper then anywhere else), Kombucha, sweet potato chips, Monte’s favorite cheese ravioli’s, and so much more. If you shop in this department on Wednesdays, you can receive a 10% discount. This helps tremendously, when you try to shop mostly organic.

4. Produce Section 

Their produce section is not my ALL time favorite, but they do offer some great deals on their produce. I also like their Hy-Vee grillables, which are various chopped up vegetables in a tin tray. You can place them on the grill or saute them and a lot of times they offer fuel saver on these too!

5. Fuel Saver

The main reason why I always shop at Hy-Vee is the Fuel Saver program. As I mentioned above, there are a lot of items they offer for Fuel Saver.

Each week, I look through the Hy-Vee add and circle any item that we may be interested in that has Fuel Saver on it. If it is an item we use frequently, I may stock up on it so I earn even more Fuel Saver, such as batteries or toilet paper. Considering Travis drives 45 minutes EACH WAY to work, almost every day, getting as much off of gas is VERY helpful with our monthly budget.

I would love to hear from YOU about your thoughts and favorite things you enjoy about Hy-Vee! I am offering a FREE $25.00 gift card to YOU!

There are a few rules though …

1. You must comment on one post. Please comment anything you would like! I am looking for feedback, so I can provide more of what YOU want to read 🙂

2. Subscribe! The 15th subscriber who subscribes AND comments will win the $25.00 gift card.

3. You have 1 week to do all of the above!

Don’t forget to go “like” my Facebook page to stay on top of what is going on!