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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Penny Pinching Tip: How to get Starbucks for Free

Everyone, I am obsessed with all of these smart phone savings apps! I have been saving money like crazy since I discovered them and I thought I would share since I am loving this so much (and, let’s be honest, because you earn $5 per referral).

But really, who doesn’t want Starbucks for free? And if you don’t like Starbucks, you can redeem the money via PayPal, venmo, Regal Entertainment Group (movies), or iTunes. Let me explain.

The app is called Ibotta and you can download it in your app store. Click on my link to download though and help me earn more money for Starbucks! Winking smile My referral code is kwonbeg.

Here’s how it works. Various “rebates” are added to Ibotta for groceries, alcohol, healthy & beauty, apparel, electronics, restaurants, special occasions, pets, home improvement, babies & kids, and even movie theaters. You simply go to one of the locations listed (Wal-Mart, Target, etc. all popular stores), make your purchases, verify the items by scanning the bar codes, take a picture of your receipt and then await your earnings. They’re really quick at processing them too. Once you have met the $5 minimum for Paypal/venmo or the $10 minimum for the giftcard options, you can redeem your earnings. It literally took minutes for me to receive my gift card.

I have saved $24.75 in about 2 weeks or so. And I am not buying things that we don’t need or want. Seriously, they have rebates on things like Chobani yogurt, milk, bread, eggs, cleaning supplies, meat, bottled water, etc. I earned $10 by purchasing my formula from

You form a team with all of your friends and can earn more rewards that way. There are bonuses for making certain purchases and I’ve made quite a few dollars by those too.

So check it out! And I’m not posting on behalf of Ibotta or anything—totally just wanted to share my new obsession!

So here’s the referral link:

and my referral code: kwonbeg

I have more savings apps that I will share with you in the future!! What’s your favorite money saving app?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The First Month and Infant Reflux

The first month was hard. We had our joyful moments, of course, but I think we had more moments during that first month that made me question whether or not I should have even become a mother.

I loved Sienna so much—but since I had never been a “baby person”, I doubted my every move and felt like I had no idea what I was doing. Sienna’s was the first diaper I ever changed in my life—I really mean it when I say that I had no experience with babies. And I had no idea what the norm was—so I didn’t know if Sienna’s screaming during almost all of her waking moments was normal or if something was wrong.

There were those people who knew how to lift me up and there were those who brought me down and brought me to tears when I was finally out of their presence. If I am ever around a struggling mom, you can bet the only words I will offer (if any) will be of encouragement.

I cried all.the.time. Constantly. Everything made me cry. Looking back, I’m pretty sure I had the Baby Blues—but not anything like post-partum depression. I became (what I feel) was a horrific wife. I lashed out and my husband took the brunt of it. And then I felt horrible and I would cry some more. Thank goodness this eventually went away. And I am even more thankful that my husband loved me unconditionally—I really learned this during the first month and my love for him became even greater. He always had the right words.

I have talked about the breastfeeding problems on a previous post. That was stressful for me and baby. And I’m sure it was hard for hubby too.

When Sienna was born, we were told that she may had swallowed and aspirated amniotic fluid. She would throw up a greenish liquid and we were told how to put her on her side when this happened so that she wouldn’t choke and then use a sucker to get it out of her mouth. You can imagine how the nights went—complete exhaustion but yet so afraid to close your eyes because your baby girl could choke!

They decided they needed to pump her stomach. They thought that pumping her stomach might help her with breastfeeding. It didn’t. And she continued to throw up—even when we brought her home. We kept her very close!

When she was three weeks old, I was changing her diaper and she looked like she was choking. She straightened her body out, her little eyes bugged out, she turned red, and looked like she couldn’t breathe. It was terrifying. I don’t know if I did the right thing or not, but I did what we learned in our infant CPR class and turned her upside down. She then let out a scream that sounded like she was in pain. The same day, she projectiled a yellow substance and I found a little blood in her diaper (she hadn’t had the normal hormonal stuff for over a week).

I brought her into the doctor immediately. If ever you wished your family was close, it’s in times like these. All alone with our baby girl, I was on the verge of tears during that doctor’s appointment. Our poor baby girl looked so sick. This is when we found out that she had lost a significant amount of weight. The doctor ordered an ultrasound and the nurses inserted a catheter for a test---not something you want to happen to your 3 week old. The poor little girl.

Thankfully, hubby left work and wasn’t working terribly far away. He was there in time for the ultrasound and I felt so much more calm with him there. Everything turned out to be normal with her organs—such a relief!! But yet, what was causing her symptoms?

She had another choking episode at the doctor’s office while the nurse was in the room—they saw what I tried to explain to them—she called other nurses and the doctor into the room after that. They finally understood.

She was diagnosed with infant reflux and put on Zantac, which is administered with a little syringe. We met with lactation, etc. And I finally made the decision, during the time between this visit and her follow up, to start supplementing. And everything started to change.

There were no more choking episodes. She started to look healthier and scream less often. There is no greater relief than to know that your baby is ok.

When she starts having choking episodes again (even now), I know it’s time to up her meds again, which has to be done as she grows. The doctor said some children grow out of it and others will have it their entire lives.

I am so thankful that it was something that could be so easily fixed (or symptoms diminished) by medicine. I cannot imagine what parents go through when their children have something serious.

I had planned on this post being about the first three months, but the first month has a lot of detail—so I’ll just leave it at this and write a separate post for the second and third months.

At four months, I am SO glad that it gets better…more on that later!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Guilt Tripping Someone who is Overweight

Back when I was losing weight very successfully, I loved to watch Biggest Loser. One of the ways trainers would try to get contestants in the right mind set to lose weight was to essentially make the contestant feel guilty for being overweight.

For example, how could you possibly choose “insert unhealthy food here” over your child or loved one? Don’t you know that this food will kill you? Why aren’t you working harder; do you want to die of a heart attack and leave your children behind?

And while these questions might have truth to them, I no longer believe this is the way to encourage someone to lose weight. And here’s why:

Being overweight comes with a lot of guilt. Heck, maybe guilt is even a contributing factor to weight gain since those of us who are overweight are also often guilty of eating our feelings.

I feel guilty every single time I put something in my mouth that deep down I know isn’t going to get me closer to my goals. I feel ashamed of the rolls of fat that make my shirt snugger in my mid-section. I am ashamed of my thighs that, when I was younger, school-age boys would make weatherly references to. I can’t even lift my arms without feeling ashamed of my ever-growing bat wings. I am ashamed that I can no longer wear my beautiful, sparkling wedding ring that I had resized when I was meeting my weight loss goals.

And with shame comes lots and lots of guilt.

And I worry about keeping up with my daughter when she is old enough to walk and run around. And that encourages me to get back on track. And then I slip up and I feel overwhelmingly guilty that I cannot stay on track, even for her.

And the truth is, when you try to “encourage” someone to lose weight by reminding her/him of the loved ones that he/she could potentially disappoint by being overweight, you are implying that the choice comes down to whether or not the overweight individual will chose, say, a brownie over their beautiful little child or loving spouse.

And that is a lot of guilt to lay upon an already struggling soul. And often that guilt becomes an awful lot of shame.

If most overweight people are like me, they’re already beating themselves up. And I would say this occurs every single hour of the day. I doubt an hour ever goes by when I am not conscious of my overweight body, of my food choices, of my health, and of the guilt I feel because I struggle so terribly.

So if guilt tripping is not the way to go, how can you encourage a loved one to lose weight?

By encouraging healthy behaviors. And not in a way that is obvious that you are trying to get him/her to lose weight.

For example, suggest going for a walk because you want to spend time together—not implying that this person needs to move more to burn more calories. Build the individual up—more than likely he/she is suffering from low self-esteem. And most importantly, offer unconditional love.

To make changes, one has to be emotionally ready to do so. No amount of pestering is going to make that happen. It’s truly a process.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Look Up

I was looking at my Facebook Timeline the other day and I thought, “wow—I sure have been negative lately”—and that’s totally not me. I’m usually a glass-half-full kind of gal.

I complained about a store clerk who rubbed me the wrong way, voiced my distaste for an article I had read, grumbled about choosing the line at Wal-Mart where the woman in front of me asked for every single of her 20 items to be rung up on a separate receipt, my piece of junk Toshiba laptop with Windows 8, and even how reading the comments on news stories makes me lose faith in humanity. All in the past two weeks.

Whew! That’s a lot of complaining.

It made me realize that I have been spending too much time looking down. While looking down, all I see is the dirt around my own two feet—all of the bad and totally self centered. And in these moments, I realize it’s time to look up again.

There’s a bright blue sky above. The sun is often shining and even if it’s not, the rain in the clouds keeps the earth alive. There’s a better perspective when looking up—less self involvement, in fact, you don’t even see yourself when you look up.

And I mean this in a couple of different ways: simply finding the positives in every experience, but also in looking up spiritually.

Just this morning I thought to myself, I am glad that it is the soul that is eternal and the body that is temporal.

Look up. Look up. Look UP.