Living in the Mommy Moments

There’s a viral video out there about motherhood and how quickly our children grow up, and it’s taken over my Facebook feed in recent weeks. If you’re a mom reading this, I suspect someone has shared Slow Down with you along with the tagline “guaranteed to make you ugly cry.” That rather unappealing promise aside, it’s a beautiful song, and I adore Nichole Nordeman. She’s one of my all-time favorite singers, and the story behind her latest album, The Unmaking, is inspiring. Meanwhile, there’s a super popular post on Scary Mommy right now which is also popping up on my social media feeds with increasing frequency entitled Someday I’ll Wish I Could Go BackSlow Down and the Someday I’ll Wish article have touched the same nerve with mommies of the Internet world – namely that our babies’ childhoods seem to pass too quickly, like a blur; that we want to savor every moment but life and the worries of every day distract us from truly enjoying each precious moment we have with our children. And we know that someday we’ll regret it.

Given its popularity, chances are you’ve watched the Slow Down video several times by now and boohoo cried over it too. But, if you haven’t read the Someday I’ll Wish article, I encourage you to check it out now. It’s a quick but impactful read. I’ve read it like 10 times at this point and still cry every single time I read these lines: “She was longing to nurture. To pick up a crying baby and be everything that he needs. To hold that warm, soft body and feel the weight of his head resting on her chest.” What a powerful image! As I read those words, I can literally feel my daughter nestled against my chest, her warm breath against my neck and my arms wrapped around her back and bottom. That’s a rare occurrence for me now.


My darling daughter at just one day old!

My only child is just 7 and ½ months old, but I can already attest to that all too rapid flight of time. My daughter’s first months are just a hazy memory now. Seems whenever I hold her these days, she just struggles out of my arms. I end up wrestling with her most of the time as she fights to gain ever-increasing mobility and independence. Perfectly developmentally-appropriate of course, but frustrating for me because now I really want to cuddle her close. I find myself staring longingly at pictures from her very earliest days in the hospital, when she gladly snuggled up to me and fell asleep on my chest. Pictures like this one:

I wasn’t paying attention at the time. I was too busy reeling from my emergency C-Section; too worried about my milk supply and too preoccupied with fears that I’d never lose the 50 pounds I gained during pregnancy, that I’d never feel like myself again. And now I find myself regretting the time I wasted, the moments I missed and wishing I could go back and hold my placid, tiny little newborn again; longing to recapture and savor those precious snuggly moments I failed to cherish at the time. N.B. I long to relive the cuddles and snuggles with my sweet little newborn NOT the sleepless nights, projectile poops and 3 AM battles with nipple shields. And I definitely do not miss the hours and hours I spent fellowshipping with my breast pump. But those are the things – those nagging nuisances, those pressing have-to-do tasks that go along with parenthood – those are the things that capture our attention and cause us to miss out on the sublime everyday moments with our children we might otherwise embrace. So each night when my husband and I sing our daughter to sleep my voice cracks because I know another day of her childhood has passed. I get tearful because I realize again that a little bit more of our time with her has slipped away.

I recognize that in order to truly enjoy the precious (and all-too brief) time I have with her, I need to live in the moment and stop being so distracted by all the other things that worry and distract me from what I truly value. And I am reminded of the following pre-game speech I once heard from former University of Florida (and current Oklahoma City Thunder) men’s basketball coach Billy Donovan.

He gave this speech just prior to the national championship game, which they won (Go Gators BTW). I love what he says! And it must have been effective because not only did this team win the national championship that night, they went on to win a second (e.g. back-to-back) national championship the following year. Coach Donovan challenges the players to anticipate adversity but still remain focused on the goal – to live in the moment. That same message – living in the moment despite the (very real) daily challenges that distract us from the truly important things like cherishing our children and family – is the key. As parents, we will always remember our children’s various stages fondly. But living in the moment, cherishing each moment is key to avoiding the pain of regret that comes from realizing (after the fact) you missed those precious moments because you were too worried about other, less important things. But again, the question is, how can we remind ourselves throughout the day to “live in the moment” when our minds often wander to other things?

First, understand it’s “normal” for your mind to wander. In 2015, Microsoft released a study (1) which stated, among other things that an adult’s attention span is only 8 seconds long. Basically, our minds wander every 8 seconds. Understand that some of us have an even harder time. For example, I have ADHD. And recent studies (2) have found adults with ADHD suffer from “excessive mind wandering,” (file that research finding in the ‘duh’ category). So, obviously my mind wanders more often than every 8 seconds. The point is, for all mothers, it’s hard to remain present with our children, and for some of us (i.e. me and others with ADHD), it’s REALLY hard. I often find myself feeling antsy or bored, reaching for my phone or the TV remote just while feeding my daughter. It’s tempting to multi-task, even when with our children in the name of “productivity.” But that kind of multi-tasking does not produce meaningful results, and it communicates to our children that they are less important than the phone, laptop, tablet etc. Which brings us to the next point: understand the role technology plays in distraction. That same Microsoft Study (1) found that average adult’s attention span decreased by 33% in just 13 years – decreasing from 12 to 8 seconds when measured in 2000 versus 2013, respectively. Those dates of course correspond to the boom in internet, hand-held technology and social media which now inundate us all, constantly. So it’s important to disconnect from the phone, laptop and TV as often as possible (at least a couple of times per day for at least 15-30 minutes at a time) and just be present with our children, spouse and family.

Here are 2 techniques that can help you tune into the present moment. Before trying either technique, disconnect from all electronic devices (obviously, you’ll need to read through how to practice these tricks first). Simply disconnecting from electronic devices will help tremendously with your present moment focus.

Technique #1 Balanced Breathing – think of your inhale (breathing in) as an arrow pointing upward. Now imagine your exhale as an arrow pointing down. Balanced breathing is when the “up” and “down” arrows are of equal sizes. Your inhale matches your exhale. Another way to think of it is to count silently as you breathe in (say inhale for 4 counts). Then count at the same pace as you breathe out, and match your exhale to the inhale (4 counts). When you first begin practicing Balanced Breathing, you may need to start with shorter breaths, only 3 counts in/out so you don’t get too tired or light-headed, especially if you have any breathing conditions (asthma, COPD, etc.) or allergies. You will soon be able to stretch out your breaths. But always make sure your inhales and exhales are equal or “balanced.” Practice Balanced Breathing at least 5 minutes each day. And soon you’ll be able to use this technique to focus yourself whenever you need to pay better attention. It can also help you feel more energized during the afternoon doldrums and can help you calm down after an argument with your spouse.

Technique #2 Grounding – Grounding uses your senses (touch, taste, sight, sound, smell) to help you return your focus to the present moment by directing your attention to your immediate surroundings. The easiest and quickest way to do this is by using your sense of touch but any of your 5 senses will work. The next time your find your mind wandering, reach out and touch your child’s foot or hand or touch the chair or sofa your sitting in. Feel the texture of the table next to you or pet your dog or cat. As your doing this, really pay attention to how it feels in your hand. Try to describe the sensation in your mind. Is it rough, smooth, furry, cold, warm or coarse? Simple touch is very effective for bringing us back into the present moment, but other sensations work too. Try pouring yourself (and your child/children if applicable) something to drink. Then slowly take a few sips, being mindful to notice how it tastes and feels in your mouth and as you swallow. Next, describe it to your child. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. It can be simple, like “oh that is cold on my tongue and throat.” Ask your child to do the same. Try being very still and quiet for a few seconds and notice what you hear. Can you describe it? Maybe you hear the whirring sound of the refrigerator, or your dog snoring (that’s our house). Pausing for a few minutes to tap into one or more senses is a great way to bring yourself into the present moment, and it’s a useful skill to teach your children too. Try it today and practice it with your kids a few times a week. It will become second nature.

There will always be distractions. As Coach Donovan said, “there’s gonna be adversity and challenges.” We know that in advance. But as moms we know that we don’t want to miss these precious moments. I want to embrace these moments now, not later or after the fact.  I want to really live in these “Mommy Moments” each precious day.

Wisdom for the Day:
Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
~Matthew 6:34 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)
Read more here.

Resources of the Day:
1. Check out this article entitled Rush to Press from the brilliant Functional Dad. Yes, it’s true I’m massively biased. But do remember Functional Dad is PhD with tons experience helping folks perform better and improve their daily lives by applying these very same mindfulness and balanced living skills.
2. This self-help worksheet for anxiety from the wonderful online site Anxiety BC contains more info on relaxation and grounding as well as additional links for skills such as progressive relaxation and tips on healthy living.

The Top 5 Pregnant Lady Nemeses

Pregnancy introduces you to lots of new people – new friends, new medical providers, and of course a brand new family member. Sometimes you meet new characters in the people you’ve known for years. Most of these people are supportive and kind. Some are annoying, but some become all-out nemeses. Below is a list of the most frustrating, critical, and otherwise antagonizing folks you’re likely to encounter while gestating, along with suggestions for how to handle them.

1. Ms. All About-Me:
All-About-Me swoops in early in your pregnancy and seems so excited for you. Soon you realize All-About-Me’s not excited for you – she’s excited for herself. She announces your pregnancy on Facebook (on her Facebook page); she tells all her friends, relatives, coworkers, etc. the big news and all before the end of your first trimester. She insists on throwing you a baby shower; she wants to help you decorate because she already has a theme picked out for the nursery. She even presents you with a list of baby name suggestions. You have so much on your plate, after all. The problem is that it’s tempting to allow All-About-Me to take over, especially if you are: 1) feeling ambivalent about the pregnancy; 2) feeling too awful from morning sickness to get very excited yourself; 3) too busy with other children, work, etc. to plan for the new arrival; or 4) not financially able to do all the things All-About-Me promises to do for you and the baby.
How to Deal: In the immortal words of Barney Fife:

… nip it. Nip it in the bud. Thank All-About-Me for those things you accept then clearly and directly state which are deal-breakers.

2. The Worry Wart:
Poor well-intentioned Worry Wart just wants to share in your miracle, but doesn’t know anything about pregnancy and says all the wrong things. For example, Ms. Wart may tell you how she talked to her friend about your pregnancy and that friend “who is a nurse, by the way (as though that immediately guarantees expert credibility status), wants to make sure you are eating enough foods with folic acid and are taking your vitamins.” Wart then launches into several cautionary tales about not consuming enough folic acid to further emphasize the point. This is serious, Preggers! You don’t want to have a baby with an extra arm in the middle of its forehead, do you? Since you’ve been dutifully taking prenatals since before you got pregnant and are forcing yourself to eat 3 servings of green veggies every day despite crippling nausea, these helpful hints are seriously annoying. When Worry Wart reminds you (for the 5th time) not to miss your OB appointments, you may be tempted to fire back: “Nah we’re skipping the whole prenatal care thing. We’re bettin’ on a genetic crap shoot and a diet of Cheetos and Mountain Dew!” Screen Shot 2016-06-04 at 4.54.20 PM
How to Deal: Redirect Worry Wart’s nervous energy toward a specific project. Ask for help finding the safest travel systems or best deals on diapers etc.

3. The Constant Caller:
The Constant Caller tends to arrive near the end of your pregnancy. She starts calling and texting you with increasing frequency in those latter weeks “just to check in.” My own Caller Nemesis began reaching out to me around 32 weeks, asking how I was feeling, if I needed anything, etc. It was all very flattering. Then, Caller dropped by to see me around 34 weeks. Utterly appalled by the size of my belly, Caller immediately (and repeatedly) declared that I was “huge” and proclaimed that I would most certainly not carry to term because I was “so big.” I was incredibly uncomfortable and already very self-conscious about weight I’d gained, and I secretly hoped she was right, that I’d deliver early and put an end to my suffering. Thankfully, my baby had other ideas. By week 38, Caller was calling and texting several times a week, and I was literally praying to have the baby. By the time my due date arrived (with no baby and no signs of impending labor) I was going insane. Caller’s incessant texts asking if I had “anything exciting to report” only served to remind me that I was probably going to be pregnant for the rest of my life. The only thing I had to report was another 5 pounds gained so I chose to cut off all communication with her in order to avoid a profane texting outburst.
Screen Shot 2016-06-04 at 3.27.34 PM

How to Deal: Constant Caller wants to be in the loop. Reassure her she’ll be among the first to know.

A trick I learned from BTDT moms is to tell people an estimated due date 2-3 weeks after your actual EDD.




...Okay I didn't actually do that. But it made for an awfully satisfying fantasy!

…Okay I didn’t actually hurl things at Horror Queen’s head. But it made for an awfully satisfying fantasy at the time!

4. The Horror Story Queen:
The Horror Story Queen has the scariest birth stories around (and it seems to grow more elaborate each time she tells it). Horror Queen will seek you out, poor pregnant Mama, because you have to hear… so you’re prepared, just in case. “I was in labor for 72 hours. I passed out 6 times. The epidural didn’t take, and I had a third degree vaginal tear. Blah, blah, blah. Oh, I’ve already told you that one? Well, my sister’s, daughter’s, best friend’s delivery is the grossest, most terrifying story ever! You need to hear it too.”

Here’s one I actually heard while pregnant: “Oh you’re not delivering at [unnamed] hospital! You know what they say about that place don’t you? That’s the hospital where people go to die. My niece delivered there, and her baby died…I’m just saying.” To which I responded “And I’m just saying, duck!” as I hurled 5 lb. bottles of prenatal vitamins at her head!

How to Deal: Run away! Okay, you can’t run, but waddle away as fast as you can! 
Avoid the Horror Queen at all costs.


5. The Creepy Stranger:
As a Preggo, you can never be sure when you’ll encounter Creepy Strangers. They’ll appear as if out of nowhere, and usually when you least expect it. Creepys have finely honed covert skills, skulking up silently with arms outstretched, ready to touch your growing belly, often without asking. The Creepy Stranger also prides herself on being able to predict the gender of your unborn child just by assessing the shape of your belly, how you’re carrying, the condition of your skin, the position of the moon and so on. Creepy will ask you all sorts of personal questions like the number of children you’ve had, your age, your plans for pain management during delivery, if you’re married and etc. If you happen to be very pregnant when you encounter Creepy, expect to be informed as to how easily you could induce labor by simply taking a few laps around your house (this is especially annoying if you’re already desperately marching your pregnant behind around your neighborhood like a band in a parade everyday without so much as a single real contraction or cm dilated); how you should be having sex every night to induce labor (not terribly appealing since that’s how you got yourself into this mess to begin with); and (in vivid detail) the results Creepy had using castor oil to induce.

How to Deal: Honestly, it’s hard to completely avoid Creepy Strangers, so I encourage you to either take a mixed martial arts class before becoming pregnant so you know how to defend yourself, or consider purchasing several of these:

Take Home Mommy Wisdom: The truth is that none of these folks is really your enemy. They’re definitely annoying, especially when compounded by the ordinary hormonal swings and discomforts of pregnancy. It can be very difficult to graciously deal with a Creepy stranger touching your belly or the power plays of All-About-Me. When tempted to explode, take a deep breath and try reminding yourself that each of these folks is excited for you in his/her own misguided way. Enlist the help of your significant other in dealing with any particularly annoying family members. If you absolutely cannot maintain your cool when dealing with one of these folks, then limit contact as much as possible (texting is a useful means of maintaining communication without too much contact) until after you’ve had the baby. Also, try to remember that this is a blessed time (yes, you are blessed in spite of the heartburn, hemorrhoids and ankle-swelling you’re experiencing) and these characters just wanna share in your moment of joy.

Still, God, in His faithfulness, will deliver (women) through childbearing as long as they remain in faith and love and holiness with self-restraint.
~I Timothy 2:15 (The Voice)
Read more here.

Karen Dietrich is a new full-time mom and a long-time beauty junkie. She spends her time loving her baby, laughing at her husband and wondering if she’ll ever again fit into her pre-pregnancy jeans. For more from Karen and her relentless quest for beauty and wisdom in everyday life, be sure to subscribe to her blog: Daily Beauty Wisdom.

A Truly One Size Fits All Facial Cleanser? Olay 4-in-1 Sensitive Daily Facial Cloths Review

A Truly One-Size-Fits-All Cleansing Cloth? Almost!

A Truly One-Size-Fits-All Cleansing Cloth? Almost!

Remember how your mother (or grandmother) taught you to wash your face every night by telling you horror stories about what would happen if you slept in your makeup – like how your eyes would be swollen shut the next morning due to some terrifying affliction nobody’s ever heard of, or that you’d develop giant blackheads that would get infected just in time for the big homecoming dance? Yeah, I never got that.

Here’s how I learned to take care of my face – my mom told me how she had acne as a teenager; how awful it was; how she was dragged (kicking and screaming apparently) off to see diabolical dermatologists where she received painful treatments she loathed. She told me she hoped I would avoid this fate and the plague of acne, but Mom never role modeled good skin hygiene. I never observed her washing her face every night. I’ve never caught my mom wearing a sheet mask; never known her to splurge for a facial.

I had to figure out the whole skincare thing for myself. It’s like my mother had enough of it as a kid and wanted no part of all that washing and scrubbing, cleaning and clarifying jazz. I’ve always nagged my mother to “at least take off your makeup before bed.” Sometime she would; usually she wouldn’t. We agreed to disagree. My husband is a similar battle. Having also struggled with acne in his teens and endured his own unpleasant interaction with the dermatologic profession, he has no interest in going through a bunch of facial cleansing rituals every night. Each time I rev up to preach to him the importance of washing his face at night, he simply rolls his eyes and walks into another room. Even my baby girl ducks and dodges when I go in to wash her little cheeks and nose. It seems I’m the only one in the house who actually enjoys a good face wash.

Mommy & Me - She may not have taught me to wash my face, but she taught me everything about being a mother!

Mommy & Me – She may not have taught me to wash my face, but she taught me everything about being a good mother!

Another struggle – just about everyone in our household has sensitive skin. My mother has extremely sensitive eyes. My husband and daughter have very reactive skin. So finding a facial cleansing product that won’t irritate has not been easy. I found these highly rated cloths while searching for a potential solution at Paula’s Choice / I almost always agree with reviews of the Beautypedia team, and I highly recommend this website as a resource for anyone looking to save money and make wiser beauty purchases. Seriously, check it out! You’ll be amazed what you can learn about the cosmetics industry and the products you already use or have considered purchasing.

Anyway, after checking a couple of drugstores, we located these cloths at a local Wal-Mart and immediately purchased. I was surprised when I opened the packaged because these cloths (unlike the majority of ready-to-use wet cleansing wipes) must be dampened with water to activate. Not a huge deal but it does add an extra step to the process. And it means these are not the wipes you’d keep on your bedside table for a quick swipe before bed, at least not if you expect any results. It is also worth noting that you do have to rinse off the suds that these cloths produce. Again, not a major deal, but it means you’ll need to use these cloths in the bathroom or at least near a sink and/or with a damp wash cloth handy. And that again adds another step to the process which kind of defeats my purpose (e.g. to make face washing as easy as possible for people who openly hate the whole process).

I was pleasantly surprised by the size of the cloths. They’re very large, too large in fact to use on my daughter’s tiny baby face. So I cut them into quarters which is easy to do since they come (conveniently) folded that way. Honestly, even my mother and husband can get away with using half a cloth. My mother reported easily removing all her makeup with halved cloths (she uses no eye liner or mascara) and reported no eye burning or sensitivity. Hubs likewise had no complaints or reactions and reported the (halved) size was satisfactory. My daughter never cried or exhibited any problems when we washed her face with the cloths. I always follow up by wiping her face with coconut oil (as I discussed here) which helps keep her skin calm.

Cleansing cloths cut into quarters, halves and full size

Cleansing cloths cut into quarters, halves and full size

I found that I only needed half a cloth to remove almost all of my makeup (more on that shortly). And used in this way (i.e. cutting the cloths into halves or quarters), you really get a ton of product for less than $7, which is a great bargain! My one complaint is that it takes a fair bit of scrubbing to remove waterproof eye makeup with these cloths. If you’ve read my eyeliner post (BTW if you haven’t read it yet, you really SHOULD! Check it out here), you already know I’m a huge fan of waterproof eyeliner. In fact, I really only use waterproof eyeliner because I find the regular kind just smudges and runs all over the place. Not only does that annoy me to no end, it wastes my time. And I’d much rather spend my time with my daughter or on more enjoyable activities than fixing messy makeup! I digress, having to scrub too hard around the eyes is NOT good for several reasons. Reason #1 it risks damaging the sensitive eye tissue which has less oil glands and is more vulnerable to stretching and wrinkling than other skin on the face. Check out this article to learn more. Reason #2 is that scrubbing and tugging the delicate eye area can cause loss of eyelashes and eyebrow hairs. This hair loss happens naturally as we age. So the thinner your lashes and brows, the older you appear – not good! Basically this means, if I use these cloths, I have to add a step – eye makeup remover first, then cleansing cloths. Since I purchased this product for others and not myself (I already have a cleansing routine I’m very happy with), this is only a minor strike against the product. I’m deducting 1 star. It may be a fatal flaw for you, especially if you’re seeking a 1-step product to remove your own really stubborn makeup.

Summary: These cloths work well for sensitive, reactive skin and are gentle enough to use on baby skin. They are reasonably priced given the amount of product. However, in order to “stretch” the product, you’ll need to invest a few minutes cutting the cloths into halves or quarters (no biggie). These cloths are not wet upon arrival and each cloth must be damped before usage. You will also need to rinse your face after using the cloth, so this is not a one-step face cleansing product. Finally, while the cloths remove most makeup quickly and effectively; waterproof eye makeup is a challenge and requires more effort than you may want to invest when other products remove it more efficiently.

Price: $6.96 (33 large cloths)

Daily Beauty Wisdom Rating: **** 4/5 pearls of wisdom

Wisdom for the Day:
She considers a field before she buys or accepts it [expanding her business prudently]; With her profits she plants fruitful vines in her vineyard. ~Proverbs 31:16 (AMPLIFIED)
Read more here.

Resource of the Day:
I’ve said before and I’ll say it again, you really need to check out Paula’s Choice / Beautypedia. It’s a fantastic resource full of 1000’s of unbiased product reviews, general info articles and the phenomenal cosmetics ingredient dictionary.

The (Coconut) Oil of Gladness + WHOLE30 Bulletproof Coffee

I have written previously about my love for cooking with all iterations of coconut oil. Vegetables, in particular, seem to respond deliciously to a hearty helping my fav oil and hefty doses of heat and salt. The result is almost always crispy green yumminess that rivals any bagged potato chip I’ve ever tasted. But coconut oil’s uses are not limited to cooking. A fact of which you are no doubt aware, if you frequent online beauty sites (for example: Pop Sugar, Total Beauty, etc.); follow any health or beauty-related YouTube Vloggers (e.g. FitLifeTV, JenerationDIY, and MANY more);  or really have spent any amount of time online recently. Coconut oil is trending as the magical multi-purpose oil touted as everything from shaving cream (messy but reasonably effective in my experience) to leave-in hair conditioner (works well but I’d suggest only applying from mid-shaft to ends and not roots to avoid limp, greasy hair) to cure-all for eczema and lice (thankfully, can’t speak to its efficacy for those particular afflictions…yet). Instagram alone offers a dizzying array of coconut oil-based DIY facial scrubs promising to eliminate old acne scars, age spots, fine lines and cellulite; guaranteed to leave you with smoother, brighter, younger looking skin. Wow! All that, and crispy delicious brussels sprouts, too. Truly amazing!

Well, I’m here to tell you about 2 uses for coconut oil not previously mentioned in Internet Land.
#1. Caring for sensitized baby skin – From an aesthetic perspective, there’s not a lot to “correct” about baby skin. But infant skin can be very fragile and reactive, especially during transitional periods or bouts of illness. My daughter is now 7 months old. She inherited her father’s fair, sensitive skin and allergies (see pic below). She’s also teething, i.e. drooling a lot. When she developed her first ever cold a few days ago (and the runny nose, congestion and sinus drainage that goes along with it, cue sad Mommy face), the combination of factors resulted in an itchy irritated rash on her face, neck and chest. Fortunately, we keep a bottle of fractionated coconut oil spray on the changing table (as I’ll explain below). We just spray a little on a clean facial tissue, then wipe her face, neck and chest twice per day. Following this regimen, the rash resolved within 72 hours. Obviously I’m thrilled that the rash healed so quickly, but I’m especially pleased that she no longer seems so uncomfortable. Also, it’s reassuring to know that if she gets any of the oil in her mouth (and she puts EVERYTHING in her mouth right now), it is nontoxic, chemical and preservative-free unlike any other facial/baby wipe we may have used and unlike any cosmetic or medicated cream or ointment.

Daddy & Baby - both use coconut oil to soothe their sensitive skins! <3

Daddy & Baby – both use coconut oil to soothe their sensitive skins. Swoon!

#2. Coconut oil is a phenomenally effective baby poop cleaner-upper (yep I’m going there) – As I said my daughter is teething. She’s also beginning to eat some solid foods, and she’s had this mucus-y cold. All these things combine to produce some very sticky, icky, tough-to-clean-up poopy diapers. Enter the magic fractionated coconut oil spray. A few simple spritzes of the miraculous spray oil before “going in for the wipe,” and cleanup time is easily cut in half, maybe cut down by ¾. It cuts right through the “mess,” allowing Mommy or Daddy to tidy up the area quickly and with far fewer wet wipes, saving time and money, and parental exposure to toxic ickiness.

Various coconut oil treatment options from darling daughter's changing table.

Various coconut oil treatment options from darling daughter’s changing table.

So now that I’ve offered you a whole new (terrifying?) perspective on the varied uses for and amazing powers of this extraordinary oil that brings happiness to so many, allow me to bring the subject back full circle to food – to a deliciously warm, chocolately and satisfying blender drink. Too soon for that image? I hope not, because I’m talking about COFFEE! As every mother knows, it’s always okay to talk about baby poop – to talk about almost anything – as long as there’s coffee.

Coconut Oil Coffee – The Saga Continues:

From chemical-laden to coconut goodness - coffee bliss at last!

From chemical-laden to coconut goodness – coffee bliss at last!

Back story – I wrote about my struggle to let go of artificial (powdered) coffee creamer at the beginning of our WHOLE30 journey and again mid-way through the program when I realized the powdered chemical-laden gunk was delaying my progress. Though Hubs’ iced option kept me caffeinated and headache-free, I never found a truly satisfying alternative. Then, a few days after completing the program, I discovered the fabulous Coconut Mama.

The Internet has long been a-buzz with the promise of multiple benefits from what has been termed “Bulletproof Coffee” see also slide #2 in this Total Beauty slide show. Now, I haven’t touched dairy in any form for years, so the idea of adding (even) grass-fed butter to my all-important coffee seemed downright sacrilegious to me (and though WHOLE30 allows for the use of clarified butter, I’ve been – quite frankly – too darned lazy, and still too dairy-averse to even go there). Plus, I’ve always wondered – if the active ingredient is the MCT oil, why not forgo the butter and just use an oil that’s high in MCT fats to begin with, i.e. coconut oil? So several years ago I tried adding coconut oil to my coffee but was left with a very unappetizing puddle of oil sitting atop my cup, leaving me with no choice but to pour out my otherwise pristine caffeinated cup o’ goodness. So when I stumbled upon Coconut Mama’s recipe for coconut oil coffee, it rocked my world (or at least my AM routine)! What follows is my own adapted version of Tiffany’s (AKA “The Coconut Mama’s”) recipe. Hubs and I now choose this option regularly for our coffee (hey we’re trying to keep up with a teething 7 month-old after all), and it’s been a wonderful switch! I hope you will enjoy it as well!

WHOLE Bullet-Proof Coffee (with Coconut Oil)

• 10oz. Freshly Brewed Coffee
• 1/2 Tbsp. (that’s 1.5 tsp. BTW) extra virgin coconut oil (I used Carrington Farms brand)
• 1/2 Tbsp. gelatin (optional, I used Great Lakes brand)
• 1 tsp. pure, unsweetened cocoa powder
• 2-3 drops liquid stevia (optional, omit during WHOLE30. I used SweetLeaf Chocolate)
• Additional toppings like cinnamon, nutmeg or unsweetened shredded coconut

1. Carefully pour hot coffee into your blender cup.
2. Add coconut oil and any other flavorings or sweeteners you’re using. Stir briefly to combine.
3. Place the lid on your blender then blend up your coffee.
The result will have a nice frothy “head” like a fancy coffee shop drink (see pic below).
Once blended, pour it into your cup. I like to sprinkle mine with unsweetened shredded coconut (because, can you ever have too much?).
To Make WHOLE30 Compliant:
• Omit stevia
• Again double-check the cocoa powder you’re using to ensure it contains no sweeteners or unapproved additives
• Feel free to use any approved spices you enjoy!

Wisdom of the Day:
(For the Lord has sent me) …to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and a day of vindication for our God, to comfort all who mourn, to provide for Zion’s mourners, to give them a crown in place of ashes, oil of joy in place of mourning, a mantle of praise in place of discouragement.
~Isaiah 61:2-3 (Common English Bible)
Read more here.

Resource of the Day:
The fabulous Coconut Mama offers free e-book with recipes using coconut flour that are sure to please any coconut aficionado (or fanatic such as myself).

Is This Bib the Answer to Your Messy Baby Prayers?

Bella Tunno Bib to the Rescue!

Bella Tunno Bib to the Rescue!

Our daughter is a really happy baby. She’s a joy to have around, almost all the time, except when she’s hungry. When she’s hungry, watch out. She’ll scream and yell and throw herself around like it’s the end of her world. When she’s eating she often continues hurling herself about, reaching for things and looking all around the room. It was a messy, drippy, drooly affair when she was just bottle-feeding. Now that she’s eating some solid foods, it’s a full-contact sport! There’s spinach in her ears and up her nose; mashed carrot is caked under her chin and dried on the straps of her high chair. We couldn’t keep clean shirts on the kid! All those adorable cloth bibs we have – you know the ones – the cute ones from Carter’s and Gerber, with ruffles and hearts and baby animals on them, with sweet sayings like “mommy loves me” and “born to burp,” – those things barely survived a feeding before they were soaked through with a lethal combo of pureed veggies, rice cereal bits and some bizarre sour milk-like toxin. We were desperate for an alternative. And one day, I found an answer, via

The Bella Tunno Silicone Wonder Bib is composed of 100% PVC and BPA-free silicone, and it’s CPSIA Compliant as well as dishwasher safe. Each bib is designed with a lip at the bottom to catch spills. It is adjustable for several different infant and toddler neck sizes and also comes in multiple colors and styles for boys and girls. Immediately upon discovery, I purchased two of the fuchsia with elephants style which is super cute, and we keep one bib in the baby bag at all times because they’re super convenient for use on the go. You can roll them up so they take up very little room in even the most over-crowed diaper bag.

At first, I was over the moon with this bib, and I still think it’s an overall wise purchase. The bib fits our daughter well and because of its larger size provides greater clothing protection from spills, leaks and spit-up. It is so cute. I mentioned that already, didn’t I? Well it’s worth repeating because I’ve gotten several compliments from other mamas, which is always nice. The cleanup is a breeze (literally just rinse it out in the sink and drip dry, or use a little dish liquid for especially scary messes). Also, it’s incredibly reasonably priced at only $13-14, all the more economical when you consider it could replace all your other cloth bibs and could save you money on laundry bills.

My one complaint is (likely) specific to our child and her tendency to pick and pull at things while eating, so she very quickly learned she could pull off the bib due to the construction of the notched closures. Not surprising because she’s learned to pull off bibs with Velcro closures as well. In fact, the only ones she hasn’t been able to pull off are bibs with sturdy metal snaps at the neck, but of course those bibs are not adjustable and are usually cloth. She’s especially motivated to pull off the Bella Tunno now that she’s teething because she loves to chew on the notches at the neck so it’s a big-time struggle to keep it on her. That’s a huge problem immediately after a feeding when that “lip” reservoir is full of liquidy gunk! Several times she’s yanked the bib off and tipped it over, dumping out the ickiness all over the place before mommy and daddy could catch it. Sort of defeats the purpose of the bib and meant that we didn’t really save that much money on laundry bills after all…It’s a shame too because otherwise this is terrific bib.

Because I believe this problem is limited to those select few babies who love to pick, grab and pull while eating, I’m giving this a rating of 4 out of 5 pearls of wisdom. The pros definitely outweigh the cons.

Price: $14 + shipping from (save 15% when you join their mailing list)
$13 + shipping from (or free shipping with Amazon Prime)

Daily Beauty Wisdom Rating: **** / 5 pearls of wisdom

Thought for the Day:
…but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”
~Matthew 19:14 (English Standard Version)
Read more here.

Hi I'm Karen.

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