The Just Clean Something Challenge: Spring Cleaning Edition {half way done!}

The Just Clean SOMETHING Challenge: Spring Cleaning Edition - Motivation & accountability for those who hate to clean!

I hate cleaning, but I’m forcing myself to clean something everyday this month.  We are halfway through the month, so let’s touch base and see how everyone is doing.

Honestly, this month is going much better than it did the first time I tried this challenge. First of all, I think the weather really does help.  There is just something about the Spring air that inspires cleaning.  I’ve never done a full spring cleaning before.  It has always been too intimidating, but knowing that I’m doing at least one task a day has really helped me stay motivated.

Secondly, I’ve been doing a much better job of cleaning earlier in the day instead of waiting until after supper.  My first time through this challenge, I often waited until the last minute to clean something before I posted my nightly update on Facebook.  This time around I’ve been planning out my cleaning much earlier in the day, which means that I’ve been able to get more done each day.

Although I’m getting a lot done, I’m struggling to actually finish my projects.  I decluttered, cleaned, and organized all of my kitchen cabinets except for one.  One day I scrubbed half of my kitchen sink.  The upstairs hallway is completely spring cleaned except I need to dust the top of the door frames.  I decluttered half of Grace’s room and half of Noah’s room.  Yesterday I scrubbed the railing along the deck, but I left one small section unfinished because my arms were getting tired.

I’m not finishing anything!!!!!!

I don’t need to have every inch of my house cleaned by the end of this month, but I want to finish spring cleaning at least a few of these rooms.  These half finished projects are pathetic!

How have you been doing this month?  If you haven’t started the challenge it isn’t too late.  Start today!  Jump up right now and clean your bathroom mirror.  It is that easy.  Just clean something!

The best way to get connected, stay motivated, and find accountability is to like my page on Facebook.  Each evening I post a “Roll Call!” on my Facebook page for you to share your accomplishments.  You are also welcome to post before & after photos on my timeline or use the hashtag #JustCleanSomething on Instagram.  It has been fun hearing from so many of you each night.  Keep it up!

Reminder: Easter falls on April 20th this year.  I will be taking a break from the challenge on April 18th, 19th, and 20th.  Three less days to force myself to clean!  Yippee!

What has been your biggest accomplishment so far this month?  What has been your biggest struggle?

Posted in Tips | 2 Comments

Say Goodbye to Allergies with Raw Local Honey

Does this natural alternative to medicine really work?

Can allergy symptoms be erased by something as simple as honey?  Can the sniffling, sneezing, and watery eyes be cured just by ingesting raw local honey everyday?

One Family’s Real Life Testimony

Heather and her family moved to a new home and were surprisingly met with terrible seasonal allergies.  Heather suffered from watery eyes, sneezing, stuffy nose, and a raw throat from all the drainage.

During Heather’s worst months she tried to keep her symptoms under control with:

  • allergy eye drops multiple times a day
  • prescription nasal spray once a day
  • benadryl every 4-6 hours
  • claritin or zyrtec daily

Even with all of these medications, Heather still wasn’t feeling great.

Heather heard that taking raw local honey could help with allergies and decided to give it a try.  She started taking 1 teaspoon of raw local honey 2-3 times a day.  Heather made sure to eat a spoonful of honey at breakfast and supper every day.

Within just a few days of taking the honey, Heather started noticing a difference.  Her eyes and throat weren’t as itchy as before.  Gradually she started to cut back on her medications.  First she stopped the nasal spray.  Then she stopped the eye drops.  Next Heather stopped using benadryl.  Within a month of starting to take raw local honey, Heather was off all of her allergy medication except for the occasional claritin or zyrtec.

Heather’s entire family regularly takes raw local honey.  Her daughter has mild asthma and was also taking claritin daily.  After starting the honey, she was able to stop taking claritin and didn’t need to use her inhaler as often.

FAQ About Raw Local Honey & Allergies

Why does raw local honey help with seasonal allergies?  Raw honey is unpasteurized and unfiltered.  That means that it still contains some of the pollen that the bees bring into the hive.  When someone is allergic to pollen, the body sees it as a threat and attacks.  That is when the sneezing, watery eyes, and other symptoms start.  When someone ingests raw local honey daily, the body starts to recognize that pollen as normal and stops attacking.  This is the same way that allergy shots from a doctor works.

Is raw honey safe to eat?  There is some debate about the safety of raw honey.  You should consult your doctor before trying raw local honey for your allergies.  You’ll especially want to be cautious if you have extreme allergic reactions to pollen.  There isn’t a way to tell how much pollen is in a teaspoon of raw honey and your body’s reaction could be dangerous.  For more information about the safety debate of raw honey, read Side Effects of Raw Honey.  Honey of any kind should never be given to a child under the age of one.

How much raw local honey do you need to eat?  This will depend on how bad your symptoms are.  Heather took a teaspoon of honey 2-3 times a day during allergy season and continues to take 1 teaspoon a day during non-allergy season.  Heather and her family eat their honey at meal times just because that is an easy way to remember to take it.

Does raw local honey help with all allergies?  No.  If you are allergic to things like dust, dogs, or peanuts this will not help.  It only has the potential to help with outdoor, seasonal, pollen based allergies.

Is this guaranteed to help everyone with seasonal allergies? No.  It worked for Heather and her family, but it might not work for you.  However, if you are looking for alternatives to conventional medicine for your seasonal allergies, this is a natural option you might want to try.  As I said before, consult with your doctor.

Say Goodbye to Allergies with Raw Local Honey - Does this natural alternative to medicine really work?

How do you know your honey is raw?  Raw honey doesn’t look the same as regular honey.  It is cloudy and lighter in color.  It should also clearly say “raw honey” on the label.  UPDATE: I am wrong!  Raw honey can come in both ways and it might depend on your area which kind you can find.  The “cloudy” type of honey is actually called creamed honey.  It is a method used to help with crystallization that happens to raw honey as it is stored over time.  However, you can find raw honey that has not been creamed and looks like the kind on the left in the picture above.  So how do you know if your honey is raw?  Check the label and assume that it is NOT raw unless it says that it is.  It is also a good idea to only buy your honey from a trusted source.

Does it matter what type of raw honey you use?  There are several different types of honey that you can buy based on the type of plants the bees were hanging out with.  Wildflower, clover, and alfalfa are just a few of the different varieties.  You might have better results with one type of plant over another.

Where can you buy raw local honey?  You’ll probably have a hard time finding raw local honey at a regular grocery store.  Instead check with a natural foods store or local farmers’ market.  Watch out for local honey that isn’t truly local.  Many beekeepers take their hives to a warmer climate (like Florida) during the winter months.

My Story

Last year I was struggling with seasonal allergies more than normal.  Since I was breastfeeding Noah, I wanted to limit the medications I was taking.  I had heard that Heather was using local honey, so I decided to give it a try.

I used the honey daily for several days and I didn’t notice a single change in my symptoms.  I was frustrated and gave up.  I called my lactation consultant to find out what allergy medications were safe to take while breastfeeding and I started using that instead.

Months later I realized that I had been taking local honey, but it wasn’t raw!  No wonder it wasn’t working.  So I don’t have personal experience with raw local honey, but I do plan to try it this year if my allergy symptoms return.

Heather is a real life friend of mine and I appreciate her sharing her story.  Thank you so much, Heather.

Have you ever tried raw local honey for your allergies?

Disclosure: Consult a doctor before taking raw honey as it is possible to have a dangerous allergic reaction.  Never give a child under the age of one honey of any kind.  I am not a medical professional.  This post is meant to educate, not to replace the guidance of professional medical advice.

Posted in Green Living, Tips | 4 Comments

Homemade Chicken Fried Rice

Easy Homemade Chicken Fried Rice - a great way to sneak some veggies into your diet!

This post contains affiliate links.

Homemade chicken fried rice isn’t nearly as difficult as I imagined it would be.  It comes together easily and is a great way to sneak some veggies into your diet.  This recipe is so simple that it has even made it onto my fast & easy vacation meal plan.

This recipe is super forgiving.  It can easily be made with more or less chicken, rice, vegetables, or eggs.  Just use what you have on hand.

Homemade Chicken Fried Rice

Ingredients:

  • 4 Tablespoons coconut oil (or your oil of choice, but I like the slight coconut flavor in this dish)
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 4 cups cooked rice
  • 2 1/2 cups frozen mixed veggies (I use a carrot, corn, pea, & green bean blend.)
  • 2-3 eggs, beaten

Directions:

1. Start the rice if you don’t have it cooked already.  You’ll get approximately 4 cups cooked rice from 1 1/2 cups of uncooked rice.

2. Cut the chicken into small pieces, smaller than bite sized.  You could also use leftover cooked chicken.

3. Heat the oil in a large skillet.  Then add the chicken, garlic, and onion.  Fry until the chicken is cooked and the onions are soft.

4. Add the salt, pepper, sugar, and soy sauce.  Stir well.

5. Add the cooked rice and fry for several minutes.

6. Add frozen vegetables. Stir and cover.  Fry until the veggies are tender, stirring occasionally.

7. Pour beaten eggs over the rice.  Mix throughout the rice by stirring until cooked.  Serve immediately.

This recipe was adapted from the More with Less Cookbook, which is my all time favorite cookbook.

Do you make your own chicken fried rice at home?

Disclosure:  This post contains affiliate links.  Thank you for supporting Simply Rebekah!

Posted in Recipes & Freezer Cooking | 2 Comments

The Just Clean Something Challenge: Spring Cleaning Edition

The Just Clean SOMETHING Challenge: Spring Cleaning Edition - Motivation & accountability for those who hate to clean!

I hate cleaning.  I hate it.  I hate it.  I hate it.  Yet I love a clean house.  Funny how that works, huh?

I’ve always struggled with getting into a good cleaning routine.  That is why I created my super popular cleaning checklist that you can download for free and customize to fit your home.  It is why I hosted the Just Clean Something Challenge last summer.  Cleaning it hard for me.

Since cleaning is something I struggle with, I’ve never done any official Spring cleaning.  Any extra “deep” cleaning that I’ve done has always been really sporadic.  I want this year to be different.  So I’m bringing back the Just Clean Something Challenge for the month of April.

Everyday, starting tomorrow, I will clean at least one thing in my house.  I am hoping to accomplish something that looks similar to Spring cleaning by the end of the month, but honestly any progress is worth celebrating.

Who’s with me?  Misery loves company, right?  I might post periodic updates here on the blog, but the best way to get connected, stay motivated, and find accountability is to like my page on Facebook.  Each evening I’ll post a “Roll Call!” on my Facebook page for you to share your accomplishments.  You are also welcome to post before & after photos on my timeline or use the hashtag #JustCleanSomething on Instagram.  I look forward to seeing what progress you make this month!

I don’t have a snazzy Spring cleaning schedule for you to follow each day.  I hate cleaning way to much to be that organized.  My only advice to you is to look at your messy house and do something, anything, to make it look better.  Then do something again the next day and the next day.  Let’s stop over thinking it and just do something.

Note: Easter falls on April 20th this year.  I will be taking a break from the challenge on April 18th, 19th, and 20th.  Three less days to force myself to clean!  Yippee!

My friend Krissa from More Than Mundane is joining the challenge.  You can visit her blog to read about her cleaning struggles.

Are you ready for this?  I’ll see you on Facebook and Instagram (#JustCleanSomething) starting tomorrow!  Until then, you can read more about my struggles with cleaning here.

Do you do Spring cleaning each year?  Why or why not?

Posted in Tips | 10 Comments

14 Things You Need for Your Postpartum Body: A Pre-Baby Shopping List for Mommy!

14 Things You Need for Your Postpartum Body: a pre-baby shopping list for mommy!

This post contains affiliate links.

Diapers?  Check.  Onesies?  Check.  Car seat?  Check.  Things to help you take care of your postpartum body?  Umm…

When I was pregnant with Grace, I came up with a list of questions for all of my mom friends.  I asked for advice about different registry items, handling guests at the hospital, favorite pregnancy books, and more.  The very last question was, “What else do I need to know?  What did I forget?”  Again and again my friends pointed out that I had forgotten about me.

If you are expecting your first baby, don’t forget to add some must needed mommy items to your pre-baby shopping list!

14 Things You Need For Your Postpartum Body

1. Maxi Pads - You’ll bleed for several weeks after having a baby.  Go out and buy some pads to have on hand.  You can’t use tampons and honestly, you wouldn’t want to anyway.   I tried out the newer Always Infinity pads and really liked them.  You could also go the cloth route.

2. “Big” Underwear - I had to have a c-section with Noah and my underwear went right across my incision in the hospital.  Ouch.  I wish that I had bigger underwear that would have been more comfortable for the ride home.  Sadly, you don’t always know before hand if you’ll be having a c-section, so plan accordingly.

3. Nipple Cream - If you breastfeed, your nipples will be sore at first.  Nipple cream (and a good latch!) will help.  With Grace I used lanolin.  It worked well, but for Noah I switched to Earth Mama Angel Baby’s natural nipple butter and I liked it even better.

4. Nursing Pads - When you nurse a baby you’ll experience “let down.”  That is when the milk is “released” and becomes available to the baby.  The tricky thing is that let down happens in both breasts at the same time, not just the one the baby is feeding from.  So that means that you’ll leak a little (or for some, a lot) from the breast that the baby isn’t feeding from.  A nursing pad will be your friend.

Some women are “leakier” than others.  You might leak at night when when your baby starts sleeping longer, if you have pressure on your breasts (like if you are carrying something heavy against your chest), or even from hearing a baby cry.  Even if you don’t want to breastfeed, you might want to pick up a small box to use until your milk dries up.  There are several different brands and you’ll find out which kind you like the best, but Lansinoh is my favorite because they are thin and discrete.

5. Nursing Bras - My girlfriend used to work in a bra shop and she recommended getting a bra fitting as close to your due date as possible and no sooner than 6 weeks before your due date.  Your breasts are going to get bigger when your milk comes in, so leave some extra room in your new bra to accommodate for that!  Here are 3 nursing bras that I have and recommend:

Sports Clip Down from Motherhood – This is a nursing sports bra and I liked it because it offered a lot of support.  I never did anything athletic in it because I prefer to sit on the couch and eat Oreos, but it offered plenty of support for that.  :)

Original  Nursing Bra from Bravado – This bra was super comfy for sleeping.

Wireless Jacquard Nursing Bra from Motherhood - This was my go-to bra for when I was leaving the house.  It offered enough support for me, I liked that is was lightly padded enough to hide the nursing pads, and it was prettier than my other nursing bras.  One thing I didn’t like was that it came up kind of high and sometimes it would peek out of the top of some of my lower cut shirts.

6. Nursing Tanks - Run. Do not walk.  Run to the closest store to buy some nursing tank tops today.  They make nursing around other people so much easier.  I have practically been living in nursing tank tops ever since Grace was born 4.5 years ago.  There are two different ones that I recommend:

Gilligan & O’Malley from Target: This is a cheaper tank top with a simple shelf bra.  They cost about $20.  I own 5.

Essential Nursing Tank from Bravado: This is the Cadillac of nursing tanks.  It costs about $50, but the bra support is much better than the Target tanks.  I own one and used to save it to wear when I was going out in public.

14 Things You Need for Your Postpartum Body: a pre-baby shopping list for mommy!

7. Insulated Cup with Straw - Nursing mothers need to drink a lot of water to keep up with their milk supply.  Even if you aren’t breastfeeding, you may find that having an extra large cup of water by your side helps you stay hydrated during this time when you are focused so much on your little one’s needs.  My hospital gave me a nice cup with a straw, so you might not need to purchase one yourself.  This one is really nice though because it has “freeze stick” in it that will help keep the water cold all night.

8. Special Soap for Your First Shower - Your first shower after giving birth is a big deal.  It might be one of the first moments that you are away from your newborn and focusing 100% on you.  You will definitely want to freshen up and having special, fun soap makes the experience even nicer.  Of course this is totally optional, but why not pamper yourself?  You just gave birth after all!  My favorite handmade organic soap comes from Sweet Sally Soaps.

9. Breastfeeding Friendly Pajamas - You don’t have to buy official nursing pajamas, but you will want to be sure you are wearing something that is easy to breastfeed in.  I own a nursing gown that I wore in the warmer months and in the winter I wore regular pajamas, but I made sure they buttoned down the front.

10. Stool Softener - After my vaginal delivery, I wasn’t too excited about the idea of letting anything else “pass through” down there.  Thankfully, the stool softener I took in the hospital was effective enough for me and I didn’t need to take anymore after I got home.  If you are prone to getting constipated, I would have some stool softener on hand at home waiting for you.  If not, then just make a mental note and have someone run out and get some for you only if needed.

11. Tucks Witch Hazel Pads - It is very common for women to get hemorrhoids from all the pushing during labor.  Tucks medicated pads are made to help relieve the symptoms of hemorrhoids.  It isn’t guaranteed that you will get hemorrhoids (I didn’t), so don’t buy them ahead of time unless you already have hemorrhoids.  You can always ask someone to run out and get them for you.

12. Tummy Splint - Some women experience a separation in their abs during pregnancy called, diastasis recti.  The separation can make it look like you have a belly pooch that just won’t ever seem to go away.  Crunches and sit-ups only makes it worse.  I don’t know much about diastasis recti except that is can be corrected and a tummy splint can help.

13. Snacks - Trail mix, granola bars, almonds, chocolate…  You’ll be thankful to have some snacks on hand.

14. Convenient Meals - Stock your freezer and fill your pantry with easy, convenient meals! A simple frozen pizza or spaghetti will do, but if you are up for it then I recommend trying to fill your freezer.  Here are some of my favorite freezer friendly recipes:

The birth of a baby is such a special time in life.  Enjoy it and don’t forget to take care of your postpartum body!

Moms, what have I forgotten?  Have you used any of these products?

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.  Thank you for supporting Simply Rebekah!

Posted in Breastfeeding & Excess Lipase, Pregnancy, Tips | 33 Comments