Joovy New Room Review

Disclosure: The Workout Mama is a Joovy Moms ambassador and as such is provided with product for reviews. All opinions are 100% honest and my own.

Last summer after Josh had his vasectomy we thought we were done with the baby phase in our home. We went through our entire house and donated or sold all baby related items.

It was great…until a few months later when I came to Josh and said that I would be open to fostering a child and adopting. This is another post for another day but needless to say he was elated because this has been something he has wanted to pursue since we dated.

We slowly began gathering up hand me downs from our friends that they no longer needed. By the time we had our home inspection to get our foster care license we had a crib and a dresser. Several days after we passed our inspection we found out we were pregnant! You can listen to the entire story on our vlog Vasectomies, Foster Parenting, and a Pregnancy Test.

Our little boy, Jesse, joined our family 14 days ago. In case you missed Jesse’s Birth Story you can read it HERE. Over the last few months leading up to his birth we have been blessed by family, friends, and even amazing brands like Joovy! We have received hand me down baby clothes from friends and our family has helped with diapers and other items we needed! We are overflowing with gratitude! Joovy has sent us a Caboose Ultralight Stroller and Room, which I will be reviewing today.

The initial setup of the New Room took Josh around 30 minutes. We attached the bassinet, changing table, and parent organizer. When is was all put together we realized that the Joovy Room is a very swanky nursery center.

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The bassinet can be used for baby’s up to 15 pounds. The mattress is securely attached to the bassinet insert. I love that Joovy includes a waterproof mattress sheet as a standard item with the Room.

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The changing table flips off to the side, making it super convenient for diapering, and is very securely attached to the side rails of the Room when in place. I love that I have an extra place to change the baby out in the living room and can easily keep in eye on Caden and Maisie while they continue to play. There is a large pocket on this side of the New Room that we are using to store extra outfits in case of the occasionally diaper blowout.

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The surface of the changing table can be easily cleaned and holds your baby up to 25 pounds.

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On the opposite side of the changing table the parent organizer attaches and can hold diapers, wipes, ointment, and anything you might need while changing a diaper.

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Once the baby outgrows the bassinet the insert can be easily removed and the Room becomes a playard. This would be such a great purchase for a family who travels often with a little one, has limited space in their home, or is looking for an additional changing table and safe spot to let their little one rest. The Room has two wheels so it can easily be moved around the house as needed.

Everything neatly fits in a carrying case making it very easy to bring the Room on vacation, which we plan to do in January. Josh and I might be slightly crazy but back in October, before the baby was born, we booked a cabin up north because Caden has been begging to play in the snow. Wish us luck!

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I am so in love with this little boy and can’t imagine our family without him. He is our little miracle baby!

Joovy really thought about everything a parent would want or need in a playard. This would make an excellent gift for a soon to be or new mom!

ABOUT JOOVY

Joovy is an american based company that is a family-run business that considers their employees, customers and factory partners as members of the family. Their goal is to design and manufacture family gear products that are extremely useful, practical, good-looking and FUN. You will not be disappointed if you decide to purchase this stroller or any other product from Joovy.

WHERE TO FIND AND BUY

Joovy Website, Amazon, Joovy Facebook, Joovy Twitter, Joovy Instagram

Thank you Joovy for letting me review the Room! The Buschel Family is very thankful for how generous you have been to us!

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Once a Month Meals & Instant Pot Review

Disclosure: The following post contains affiliate links. This means if you purchase an item from a link I provide to those shops, I might receive a commission. I only share products and services that I would personally use and think are a good fit for my readers. Thank you for supporting the brands that support our family. All opinions are 100% honest and my own.

In the less than a month our family will be growing from a family of four to a family of five. Our baby is due to arrive in the middle of November, if not a little before, but as of right now, in just under a month we will welcome this new baby to our family.

I knew that I wanted to try to stock our freezer with several meals before the baby arrived so I would have nutritious food available for myself and my family. The problem was I had absolutely no idea how to go about making meals ahead of time or what type of meals I should even attempt to freeze.

Several months ago I bought an Instant Pot and it has been my favorite purchase in the last year. If you aren’t familiar with the Instant Pot it is a programmable pressure cooker that can dramatically cut the time you spend in the kitchen and allows you the ability to not have to monitor the oven or stovetop. Special thank you to my friend Jeanette for sharing how much she adored her Instant Pot which led me to purchase my own!

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I have been attempting to streamline my kitchen over the last few weeks and decided to take the gigantic bag of rice we purchase monthly from Costco and divide it up into individual 2 cup bags. In case you were curious, out of this 12 pound bag of rice I had 14 two cup bags and 1 one cup bag. It is so much cheaper buying rice in bulk and cost just under $15. Cooking rice in the Instant Pot is the easiest thing to do. You simply need to place 2 cups of brown rice inside the Instant Pot with 2.5 cups of water and set it on manual for 22 minutes.

The way I cook our dinners now has drastically changed thanks to the Instant Pot. This got me wondering if maybe I could find a few recipes that I could freeze and put directly into my Instant Pot. A quick search on google led me to discover a website called Once a Month Meals.

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When I started searching the website it was like the clouds above my head parted open and light from heaven streamed down on me as angels sang Hallelujah. Ok, so maybe it wasn’t that dramatic, but in all seriousness I knew I had just hit the freezer meal jackpot.

Once a Month Meals gives you everything you need to shop, prep and cook the bulk of your monthly meals in just one day — and freeze those meals for when you want to eat them. To start you can pick a meal plan that is based on 7 different dietary preference or you can customize your own.

I decided to customize the meal plan for our family only because we like to eat gluten, dairy, and egg free as much as possible. I also wanted all of our meals to be able to be cooked in the Instant Pot.

Currently, Once a Month Meals has 50 recipes specifically using the Instant Pot but their entire recipe library is huge and they have over 600 meal plans that you can choose from. If you decide to use one of their menu plans you can always swap recipes out to create a menu that best fits your needs.

I also want to mention that the recipes are easily able to be adapted to the needs of your own family. For example, our family stays away from soy and two of the recipes I selected called for soy sauce which I swapped out for coconut aminos.

When your menu is finalized you print out the shopping list, prep instructions, cooking day instructions, recipes, labels, and thaw sheet. Everything is organized for you to be able to succeed in prepping meals ahead of time for you and your family!

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My customized menu included…

  • 2 Breakfasts: Cherry Date Breakfast Bars and Sweet Potato Apple Hash
  • 7 Instant Pot Dinners: French Dip Sandwiches, Chicken and Rice Soup, Healthy Roots Chili, Honey Bourbon Chicken, Paleo Mongolian Beef, Paleo Tacos el Pastor, and Thai Chicken Thighs
  • 2 Snacks: AIP Pumpkin Bites, and Almond Butter & Bacon Energy Balls
  • 3 Side Dishes: Peas, Cauliflower, and Broccoli

Each recipe serves 4 and was doubled. When I was finished prepping all my meals my freezer was filled with 14 dinners!

There is no way I would have been able to have done this without Once a Month Meals. Everything was laid out perfectly and the directions were very easy to understand.

It took me a total of 8 hours to make, bake, and freeze all of these recipes. Not all of the recipes needed to be baked ahead of time which saved hours of prep work for me in the kitchen.

I feel so accomplished and proud of myself that at 35 weeks pregnant I was able to fill my freezer with healthy meals and snacks for myself and my family that are made with real food. The 8 hours it took me to complete this menu plan left me super tired and my body was ready to sit down after having been on my feet all day but it was so worth it!

I love that when I ready to make a meal I just need to let it thaw enough to remove it from the freezer bag and it can go into my Instant Pot frozen! Yes, you read that correctly, it can be cooked from frozen in the Instant Pot. Plus it will be fully cooked and ready to eat in an hour!

When I froze my meals for the Instant Pot I froze each meal in a freezer bag that was placed in a bowl, pot, pan, or anything else I could find in my kitchen that would fit inside my Instant Pot. I wish I could say this was my brilliant idea but it came from the Once a Month Meals website. They seriously have included everything to make you as successful as possible when prepping your meals.

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Thankfully all the meals fit into my freezer to freeze. I was a little nervous to see how they would fit. 14 was the magic number of meals to make at once for the size of my freezer.

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The next day I removed the meals from the freezer so I could take them out of the containers.

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Amazingly they all fit back into the freezer perfectly and I even had the top shelf left empty!

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The total cost for all these recipes was $300. I purchased organic meat and produce and had to go to several stores to buy everything that was needed. Depending on the menu you choose, the region you live in, how you shop, and how big your family is the cost of your meals will vary. Once a Month Meals reports that shopping for a monthly menu can average between $150-300.

The shopping trip happened a day before the prep work and two days before the recipes were put together. When you are doing freezer meals you want to think of the process as more of a marathon than a sprint. Shopping, prepping, and freezing are best done in phases and not on the same day.

With a four year old, two year old, and newborn this will be the best gift to myself! Having a fully stocked freezer with meals and snacks ready to go makes me so happy!

I can see myself making more meals and snacks ahead of time for my family especially in the month or two after the baby arrives if these recipes are successful. The day spent in the kitchen is worth the time if it allows me to prep so many meals at once.

I obviously didn’t cover everything but hopefully this gives you a good idea of what I did to plan ahead for our meals. Let me know if you would like me to post an update on the meals after they have been cooked. I would be happy to do that if it would be helpful.

Once a Month Meals has two membership options for you to choose between. You can select either a $16 monthly subscription or a $170 yearly subscription. Regardless of whether you choose the monthly or yearly option, your membership will give you access to all nine menus and associated documents (shopping, recipes, instructions, etc.) as well as the ability to mix and match recipes from different menus to create your own custom menus in MenuBuilder.

I would love to know if you have ever made freezer meals? Do you own an Instant Pot?

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How I Got a Flat Tummy in 30 Days!

Want to know how I got a flat tummy in 30 days? Me too! I would love to know when the results shown in the photo below never happened to me in 30 days.

Over the weekend I received an email from a fellow blogger, thank you Sia, notifying me that another blogger was using one of my before and after photos to promote a 30 Day Ab Challenge for a flat tummy. The image was quickly gaining traction on Pinterest.

How I Got a Flat Tummy in 30 Days!

This made my jaw drop. I felt like I had finally made it as a “blogger”. My work was stolen and used without my consent.

And just so we are all clear on my work here, I mean selfies taken on my iPhone in the bathroom mirror.

I know it is probably lame that I got excited about this, but what is it that they say about flattery? 😉

Anyway, as flattered as I am that someone used my photo to promote their fitness challenge, I wish that my image had not been used in this way.

THIS FIRM FLAT TUMMY IS NOT FROM A 30 DAY AB CHALLENGE

I highly dislike the idea of people seeing that picture of my midsection and thinking that by doing a 30 Day Ab Challenge they can achieve those same results. Let’s chat about the photo for a second. Here is the original. As you can see the dates had been cropped out.

Before-After

These two photos were taken 18 months apart. Not 30 days. This before and after photo was 547 days in the making.

In October of 2011 I had just found out I was pregnant. There was no flat tummy happening for numerous months between these photos.

I exercised throughout my entire pregnancy and my diet was very healthy. I also taught several group fitness and yoga classes weekly.

After my son was born I updated my progress monthly but two years ago decided to remove most of those posts for fear of my images being stolen to promote products I don’t use or believe in. My 10 Month After Baby Stats post is still published if you would like to read it.

On a side note, this photo created quite the controversial stir back in May of 2013 when I guest posted on FitLife.Tv. The majority of the comments about my article were not about the article itself but targeted this same photo. You can read all about this in my post The Problem with Body Bashing.

I did not do a 30 Day Ab Challenge for these results. When I workout I don’t ever focus on only my “abs”. I do however work my core and focus on all the muscles from the shoulders down to the quads.

I do NOT think there is anything wrong with my before picture. I love my flat tummy in both photos and I love my tummy now.

HOW TO SPOT A FAKE

I also really dislike the fact that the image was used by another “personal trainer” to promote themselves. There are tons of fitness bloggers on the internet who claim to be a personal trainer yet do not share how they are certified. This is a huge red flag. If a trainer is not forth coming in a Bio or About Section of their blog or website on the certifications they hold do not look any further into buying a program from them or paying for online coaching. This industry is super competitive and trainers pay $$$ each year to keep their certs current and have liability insurance. Legit trainers have certs and will place that information in an easy to find location on their website.

The next time you see a before and after picture that looks a little to good to be true, it is probably because it is too good to be true. Many supplement companies and fitness brands grow because of the success they have with sharing before and after photos. While reputable trainers and fitness bloggers use their own clients before and afters there are many Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook accounts who are looking to promote their at home business by “stealing” someones hard earned before and after photo.

Before you Pin, Share, Double Tap, or Buy when you see another before and after photo determine first if it is from a legitimate source. Please remember, a firm flat tummy happens over time and with consistent effort and dedication both in the gym and in the kitchen. Not from being able to copy and paste a photo of another persons hard work.

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