My Top 10 Pregnancy Must-Haves

Surviving pregnancy—specifically the first trimester. How does one do it? Every mother is different and suffers from her own unique set of woes during her pregnancy. Here are my top ways that I nurture my little one and tread water during those first few weeks. Hang in there, mom. You can do ten pregnancy must-haves pin

one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten

I simply cannot rave enough about my prenatals. I found mine on sale at Whole Foods Market just a day or two after I tested positive with my beloved Dollar Tree pregnancy tests. (I have saved a boat load of cash by buying my tests from there all these years.) I had just finished a prenatal from Trader Joes that I was taking as a lactating mother. While I didn’t mind the one from Trader Joes, I was still wanting to find something a bit more natural. I loved these prenatals from Garden of Life. They are an organic whole food supplement and were eactly what I was looking for in a multi-vitamin for this special season of my life. Whole Foods has them just a few dollars cheaper right now than Amazon, but their sale is ending next week. So Amazon may be your best price after next week.

I try my best to drink lots of water, but I often fail miserably. However, I have found that if I carry this around with me I am more apt to get my 64 ounces a day. I used my water bottle during my pregnancy with Baby Van, taking it with me when I went to Montego Bay on a missions trip. It was the only way I survived the heat of that country while 27 weeks pregnant. My water bottle also made the chaotic trip down I-85 during Baby Van’s birth. I carried it around as a nursing mama, drinking like a camel whose thirst cannot be quenched. It even made its way on its second missions trip to Sante Fe, but alas while we were there, it rolled out of the van and broke on the curb. I was so sad. As soon as I returned home, I bought another water bottle. I love them that much. They are worth every penny. (And just so you know, they typically don’t break. Mine just hit the cement curb just right. Baby Van has dropped her bottle several times and it is just fine.)

When I am tired and the fatigue of a new pregnancy is overwhelming, these hair ties make styling a snap. The glitter ones even make me feel fancy—on days when I feel nothing like fancy. I love wearing these in a basic ponytail or sometimes in a messy bun. Survival is key and simple hairstyles can still look great. At least that’s what I tell myself. This neutral set of colors can go with a variety of outfits. I just used one this morning to throw my hair up into a messy bun so that I could run forgotten homework to school for one of my girls. Quick and easy is my motto these days.

My lips tend to get very dry in the winter and even more so during a pregnancy. Burts Bees is my go-to for chapstick. I love their lip balms for chapped lips. Pomegranate is a personal favorite. And when I want a little something extra, I use their lip shimmers or crayons. This particular superfruit set offers a nice selection of different varieties for you to try. You can store one in several locations, your nightstand, your purse and your glove compartment. It never hurts to be prepared.

I am always hungry during the first few weeks and I am blessed that I rarely struggle with morning sickness (don’t hate me). However if I happen to feel a bit queasy, I put a generous dab of peanut butter on something (anything really!) and it helps me. Peanut butter on toast, apple slices, bananas, crackers and if I’m feeling really naughty, a bowl of chocolate ice cream—it’s all good.(Obviously that last option is more of treat than a measure that is take to avoid morning sickness.) It’s a good source of quick protein. My favorite is the all-natural peanut butter from Aldi. Sure it’s not organic, but you can’t beat their price for an all-natural product. Their peanut delight is only $1.69 (16 oz). However here’s another alternative for those that don’t have Aldi nearby or those wanting a sugar-free option. This peanut butter breaks down to $4.16 (16 oz) and it literally just contains peanuts and salt, no evaporated can juice or molasses. It is highly rated.

I use coconut oil for everything. If the kids have a dry patch, I grab the coconut oil. A bug bite? Coconut oil. Need to whiten teeth? Yup, coconut oil. I use a dab of it every morning as a facial moisturizer and part of my skin routine and make-up application. Coconut oil is antibacterial, so it is a tremendous way to clease your face. It has been known to smooth out color tones, reduce fine lines and shrink pores. I love this stuff. Seriously. A little bit goes a long way. Like I said before, I tend to have drier skin while I am pregnant and it needs a bit of extra love during this time. Often I will rub some coconut oil on my arms and legs as I’m getting ready for bed at night. It is an amazing moisturizer. This is a great Christian-based company to purchase coconut oil. They run great sales all the time and if you look at their website, you’ll find that they sell much more than just coconut oil. (I even use coconut oil on my furniture!)

I love drinking hot drinks. While my husband may have converted me to becoming a coffee fanatic, I still love my herbal teas. I drank a special mother’s brew of loose leaf tea during my last pregnancy. Perhaps it may be one of the contributing factors to my easy delivery? I don’t know. All I know is that I wanted to drink something that supports a healthy pregnancy again. For this pregnancy, I am trying to drink this mother-to-be tea once a day, either in the morning or in the evening. I have been purchasing this from Whole Foods Market, but the next time I will just buy it in bulk from Amazon. This is a much better price

Vests. They hide a lot. They hide a postpartum tummy, they hide just plain ol’ tummy flab and they hide a sweet little bump until you are ready to announce to the world that you are with child. I have used the latter technique for my past few pregnancies since my miscarriage. After suffering the heartache of a loss, I now keep my sweet news “under wraps” until I know for sure that all seems well. With Baby Van, I did a terrible job hiding my pregnancy and by the time I was ready to tell the world, I think that just about every one knew. Ha! I think that I did better this time around. (My AWANA shirt was my giveaway shirt with Baby Van. You couldn’t hide anything under that thing.) I love puffer vests like this one. Vests have become a staple in my pregnant and non-pregnant wardrobes. (Plus if I wear them all the time, it keeps people guessing. I don’t want people to automatically assume that just because I’m wearing a vest that I am pregnant. Sometimes I really do just like to layer my clothes. Really.)

Oh sweet slumber. My eyes droop whenever I sit, even if only for a minute. Fatigue was really overwhelming me during this first trimester. I don’t remember it being this bad before. I’d like to say that it’s not old age at thirty-three, let’s just agree that it’s not, okay? Napping and sleeping well at night was essential to having the strength to serve my husband, my children and my church like I needed to every day. A number of years ago we began replacing all of our pillows for feather pillows. Now I am spoiled. I miss my pillow (and my bed!) whenever I am away. A good pillow, similar to this one, is important for obtaining the adequate rest needed for a healthy pregnancy. (I cannot vouch for this particular pillow, so be sure to read reviews before investing in a quality pillow.) Get all of the rest you can… while you can. You will need it. Trust me, I know.

Vinegar was my top craving during my first trimester. Pickles, banana peppers, relish and just so people wouldn’t pick up on it while in public, salt and vinegar chips helped satisfy my taste buds. I don’t think that any of my husband’s family noticed me hoarding the bag at our family Christmas get-together. Now they may have noticed my large plates of food, but I was hoping that they would chalk that up as merely eating extra calories as a nursing mom. Little did they know that I was eating for three and not just two. So to say that my appetite was huge would be an understatement. It has thankfully slowed down a little as I have now weaned Baby Van (sniff, sniff). Here’s a healthy option on a large jar of organic pickles, however I am able to get mine from Whole Foods for a better price. Hubs and I are hoping to grow a garden this summer and I am planning on attempting canning pickles. I am not at all sure about the process and have even less confidence in my ability to produce a delicious pickle. Mine may rival Aunt Bea’s pickles. Who knows?

(And yes clearly I had pickles on my brain when I chose my word for 2015.)


So …anyone else have tips or tales to share about surviving their first trimester. Please share. I’d love to hear and your advice may also help some other struggling first time mom-to-be.

Disclosure: I have included affiliate links in this post.


Orange Oil, An Essential Oil Blog Hop and Giveaway


*The information in this post has not been evaluated or approved by the FDA. Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

*In addition, I received a sample oil in exchange for my participation in this blog hop and for the purpose of a testimonial. All opinions are my own. By being a part of this hop, I have the chance to receive a referral bonus.

 Essential Oil Blog Hop


Welcome to the Essential Oil Blog Hop!


Each participating blog has a different post on a number of topics, from how to use essential oils in general to actual uses and testimonials for the oils themselves. We hope that you will have some fun and learn a bit as well! If you are new to essential oils, you may want to start with some of these introductory posts:



And now for some information about

 Orange - Healthier Oil the Thyme

Information and Uses


  • Orange has been studied for its ability to combat negative emotions and bring a deep sense of security


  • Lifts the spirits
  • Provides a calming influence
  • Allows peace and happiness to enter the mind
  • Aids in maintaining normal cell regeneration
  • Can be used to enhance the flavor or food and water
  • Can help whiten teeth


To Use

  • To use as a dietary supplement, put 2 drops in a capsule. Take three times daily or as needed.
  • Dilute 1:1 with a carrier oil and apply to skin as needed.
  • Can be added directly to food and water.
  • Diffuse up to 1 hour, 3 times daily.


My Testimonial

I have truly enjoyed using the orange essential oil in my home. I kept thinking of different ways that I could use it. I love its versatility. Here are my top two.

My favorite way, hands down, was to use the orange essential oil in the diffuser. This form of usage benefits the entire family at once. I love that! As the smell of orange begins to permeate my home, it makes me happy. I find the scent of citrus fruits to be vigorating and fresh-smelling. It helped set a good atmosphere each morning to start the day for our family, whether the agenda ahead be work, school or simply staying at home. As the mother of five children, setting a happy and calm tone for the day is crucial.

Another method in which I used this oil was to create a simple little carpet deoderizer or refresher using the essential oil and baking soda. With a number of small children underfoot and carpet in all of the bedrooms, my rugs could certainly use a bit of TLC. My youngest is still mainly crawling and to be honest even the older children seem to still spend a good bit of the day wallowing on the floors, doing who knows what. Can I just say that creating a cleaner, healthier floor in their personal spaces was at the top of my list? I love that the properties of the essential oils allowed this “carpet deodorizer” to go beyond simply masking dirty flooring with a pretty smell. It had again, like the diffusing, helped create an atmosphere of peace and calm, a perfect setting for where necessary slumber takes place.

(For those that may be interested: My carpet deodorizer recipe was quite simple. I added three drops of oil to two tablespoons of baking soda and sprinkled it across the carpet. You may need to make an additional batch or two depending on the size of your room. Allow the deodorizer to sit in the carpet for five minutes or so. If you are like me, you may need to close the door, if you are able, to keep out the little people. Vacuum thoroughly.)

I look forward to continuing to learn more uses for orange essential oils as well as each of the other great oils that are part of this blog hop. Please take the time to check out some of these other great oils and read the personal testimonials….and don’t forget to enter the giveaway! Have fun and good luck!!!


If you fall in love with essential oils and are interested in purchasing the kit (more on that here), make sure to mention my blog as a referral!

Now for the really good part….

EO Blog Hop Giveaway We are going to be giving away a roller bottle of Stress Away to one lucky reader! You have many ways to enter!   a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks so much for reading and good luck with the giveaway.



Please spread the love and visit some of the other posts in this Blog Hop!


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One-Half Dozen

The week before Christmas I received an unexpected, yet joyous gift.

Five turns into six


I felt so blessed—a sweet new life to nurture and love.

I reached thirteen weeks yesterday and praise the Lord for a healthy pregnancy thus far. My biggest issue this time around has been extreme fatigue, more so than I remember. Perhaps it’s because I’m older or maybe because I have five children to care for during this pregnancy instead of four. My prenatals really seem to be helping as well as the fact that those first few weeks are now behind me.

I’ve had my first OB appointment with my midwife and all went well. However she was unable to capture a heartbeat with the hand held fetal doppler and thought that I measured a bit earlier than twelve weeks. (Three months is the threshhold where a fetal doppler can be used to pick up the baby’s heartbeat.) We also did not have a solid due date because of my weaning Baby Van which had resulted in an inconsistent cycle.

The birth center typically does not encourage an ultrasound other than the anatomy sonogram at 18 weeks or so, however they sent me to a local hospital to establish a due date for this new little one. My appointment was scheduled for Monday, February 2nd. I tried not to fret as my mind filled with very vivid memories from three years before.

August baby

My heart was in my throat as I entered the sonogram room at the hospital and I was so tempted to close my eyes and not watch. I couldn’t do that though, I had to see.

Tears of relief and joy filled my eyes as I took in the precious sight of a new little life, kicking and flipping and waving at me. The sound of a steady heart beat filled the room.

(I measured just at eleven weeks that day which was why my midwife had been unable to get the heart beat on the doppler a few days before.)

I was thrilled to have a little picture of our precious baby and to hear that new heart beat for the first time. It just never gets old. I couldn’t pull my eyes away from the screen, watching the flipping and waving  arms and legs going everywhere.

February 2 holds so many memories now—tears of grief and tears of sadness.

God is so good.

Coming August

August 23, 2015 (or a day around that time!) is a greatly antipated day for our family. We look forward to welcoming this new bundle into our family.

One-half dozen here we come. ;)


How to Clean a Coffee Maker

I’m about to gross you out, people. I’ve been married for eleven years and have owned a least four different coffee makers.

And I’ve never cleaned one of them out.

Now before you lose your breakfast, please hear me out.

I’ve always rinsed them out, hand washed the carafe with hot soapy water, washed the filter area and carefully rinsed out the reseviour on a regular basis.

(I know you guys are relieved to hear that I at least took these measures. Whew.)

However, I’m talking about deep-cleaning.

This is where you take specific steps to properly deep-clean the equipment to remove build-up, hard water deposits and any other lurking impurities.

how to clean the coffee maker cover

You know what I’m talking about. The instructions that are clearly printed in the owner’s operating booklet and even printed into the lid located on the top of the machine. The lid that you open every day—and see the instructions—and you go ahead and make coffee anyway. I’ve turned a blind eye to that little label for years.

Tomorrow always sounds like a better idea. Right now I just want a cup of coffee.

Here’s how I did it.

how to clean the coffee maker

1. Empty out old grounds and rinse out coffee pot.

Start the process off right and emty both areas from previous coffee remnants. Give them both a quick swish with fresh water—for good measure.

cleaning your coffee maker

2. Fill the machine reservoir with equal parts of water and vinegar.

You can use the measuring lines on the carafe to help you acheive equal parts. Simple measure and dump. My coffee maker is a 12 cup machine. So I measured 6 cups of both water and to clean the coffee maker with vinegar


3. Allow to run all the way through.

Work on something else while the machine is running the brewing cycle. I went ahead and placed an empy coffee filter in the machine to help catch anything. You don’t have to do this if you don’t want. I also stopped mine halfway through the brew cycle and let the water and vinegar mixture sit in the reservoir and carafe for one hour. I figured it was long overdue and could use a good soaking to loosen the deposits and such.

using vinegar to clean appliances


4. Empty coffee pot and allow machine to cool for 15 minutes.

A timer will be your best friend throughout this job. I used my microwave timer (gotta use that appliance for something ;)  )

5. Fill with JUST WATER and allow to run all the way through.

Now you are wanting to rinse everything really well from the vinegar mixture. Nothing would ruin a good cup of coffee like the taste of vinegar. Yuck.

cleaning the coffee maker

6. Empty coffee pot and allow to cool again for 15 more minutes.

You can paint your nails if you want. ;)

7. If necessary, run a second water cycle.

Mine totally needed a second water cycle. I wanted this cleaning to be thorough.

cleaning the coffee maker with vinegar

8. Hand wash carafe and filter holder. Rinse well.

Carefully scrub out the carafe and filter holder. You can scrub out any stubborn stains in your glass carafe with a bit of baking soda. Rinse well and dry with a lint-free towel.

9. Wipe down the outside of the machine with a soft, damp rag.

It’s time to make the outside of your machine just as clean and shiny as the inside now looks. Santitize all of the buttons and wipe away all remaining evidences of your daughter’s brownie batter. Oops.

make better coffee

10. Enjoy an amazing cup of coffee.

You don’t have to wait until morning. ;)

Whew. That job was long overdue and it was completely my fault. I kept putting it off.

Today, however, I quit procrastinating. Today I properly cleaned out my coffee maker…like a big girl. A responsible homemaker.

I accomplished this small feat in my adult life just this morning. Right after I made the morning coffee. (Some things never change.)

Phooey. A weary mama needs her morning cup.

And it wasn’t procrastination. It was just… delayed. ;)


how to clean the coffee maker cover

How about you? Do you faithfully read and observe all of the details in your owner’s manual? Clean out your coffee maker on a regular basis? If you do, don’t lay on the guilt too heavy. I feel quite dejected on my own. Anyway, I’m rejoicing over conquering this small job on my list.


Clean on.