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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Everything You EVER Wanted to Know About Exercising During Pregnancy

Disclaimer: I feel the need to put a disclaimer on this post and let you know I am by no means a medical professional. I am however a mother, certified personal trainer, and yoga instructor. What I am sharing is based on my own research and experience. This post also contains affiliate links. 

I am in my third trimester of pregnancy with my third baby. Never thought I would type that, to see why watch VASECTOMIES, FOSTER PARENTING, & A PREGNANCY TESTOver the last 5 years of being pregnant three times I have learned as much as could about pregnancy and exercise.

I am a certified personal trainer, and yoga instructor, and also a nutrition coach. I also know there are many trainers and fitness professionals in the world who have way more knowledge than I do but don’t have the experience of having been pregnant three times. Here is what I have learned over the last several years about exercising while pregnant.

Your First Pregnancy is NOT the Same as Your Second (or Third)

Your first pregnancy is amazing for many reasons. You can nap when you are tired being one of them. But in all seriousness, during your first pregnancy your body is being stretched for the first time in a new way. Your muscles, ligaments, tendons, organs, and bones have never had the pressure of carrying and holding a baby before.

My first pregnancy I exercised very similarly to how I was exercising before I become pregnant. I adopted the motto “If you were doing it before you were pregnant it is safe to do the same while pregnant“. While this may be true for certain activities I wish I would have had more knowledge of what exactly I was doing to my body.

During my first pregnancy I did lots of yoga. I was already very flexible before pregnancy and with the added hormones I became even more flexible. I don’t think yoga is necessarily a bad way to move while pregnant, but I do think you need to be extra cautious about the poses that you do.

When I became pregnant the second time I was shocked by how my body felt. I was so uncomfortable. I couldn’t do even half of what I had been able do when I was pregnant the first time.

The best way I can describe multiple pregnancies on your body is to think of a deflated balloon. The first time you attempt to blow air into the balloon it will feel like you are going to pass out. The balloon has never been inflated before. The next time it is inflated you don’t have to work as hard.

With the body the same thing happens. The fascia surrounding the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and organs has already been manipulated in the same way previously making it easier to move, which is good and bad. Your body was made to adapt to pregnancy, but if you already have instability in areas of the body they will become even more noticeable and potentially problematic for you.

Hire a Trained Professional

These people are worth the money. Trust me. I spent several months working with a physical therapist after having my second baby and was so sad when I was recovered because I wanted to keep working with him.

While my physical therapist was a male and had obviously never been pregnant he had way more training than a personal trainer and could evaluate the imbalances in my body.

Personal trainers are wonderful. I am certified personal trainer. But our scope of knowledge is limited. We do not have the same training as a physical therapist.

Most insurance plans will cover multiple physical therapy visits. If you have been pregnant and something in your body still does not feel right these are great professionals to go and see.

Diastasis Recti & Healing Your Pelvic Floor after Baby

Women who have given birth – can we just get a moment of silence for all the times we have accidentally peed our pants during a workout. Jump ropes, box jumps, and jumping jacks, I am specifically looking at you. If this is you, there is a solid chance your body has yet to fully recover from having a baby.

Looks can be deceiving. Your tummy might be flat at 6 weeks postpartum but that doesn’t mean that your pelvic floor and abdominal muscles have fully healed.

I mention this because the way you exercise while pregnant can worsen your abdominal separation. Don’t be like me and let your ego get in the way! It isn’t worth it. Again, just because you can do something doesn’t mean that you should.

No matter how many months or even years it has been since having a baby there is hope to heal your pelvic floor and abdominal muscles!I highly recommend the MuTu System for those wanting to heal their core and pelvic floor after giving birth. You can read about my experience with the Mutu System HERE.

Exercises to Avoid While Pregnant

These are the exercises I see recommended by trainers or #fitspo #fitmom Instagrammers that literally make me want to cry. Please, please, please if you are pregnant avoid these exercises. It is only for 9 months of your life and I promise your body will thank you in the years to come.

Even if these exercises can be performed it doesn’t mean that they should. This is a lesson I learned the hard way. Your body is going to change while you are pregnant. Abdominal separation is normal and how you exercise while you are pregnant can improve your recovery after pregnancy.

LUNGES

Most of us, personal trainers included, do not always have perfect form when exercising. For this reason alone, my advice is to avoid lunges after the first trimester. Be very careful with any unilateral exercise, like lunges, during pregnancy because of the risk of low back, hip and knee issues. In my opinion this exercise is not worth the risk of developing imbalances in the body.

Pregnancy Safe Alternative: Squats

Squats are great during pregnancy, just make sure that you have your feet and knees fairly narrow, narrower than you may have done them before, and ensure that you keep your knees in line with your feet. This is to protect your knees and hips, which are more vulnerable during pregnancy because of the horemone relaxin. Also, if you feel too much strain on your back, use a stability ball on a wall for support.

PLANKS & PUSHUPS

Planks and Pushups are beneficial exercises to do, but need to be done mindfully. You can place your hands on a bench, table, stairs, or even against the wall to modify this exercise. Planks should be avoided after the first trimester.

Pushups can be modified during the entire pregnancy. When you look at your midsection while you are doing this you should see more of a gradually rounding. If you see a bulge in the middle elevate your hands further from the floor. There is no shame elevating your pushup.

Pregnancy Safe Alternative: Bird Dog & TRX Chest Press

Bird Dog: Come to a hands and knees position on an exercise mat positioning your knees underneath your hips and the crease of your wrists directly underneath your shoulders. Your fingers should be pointing forward. Engage your core and abdominal muscles. Keep your spine in a neutral position, avoid any excessive sagging or arching. Pull the shoulder blades toward your hips. In this exercise you are attempting to move the opposite arm and leg simultaneously. It is very helpful to use a mirror to help you with form adjustments. Begin by slowly lengthening the left leg until it is long and strong. Lift the leg off the floor until it is at or near parallel to the floor. The leg should not be lifted above hip height. This will help to avoid upward rotation at the hip. That might be enough. If it feels comfortable you can lift the right arm as well. Another option is to lift the leg and arm separately and switch sides.

TRX Chest Press: Grab the handles and take a step forward on one leg. Keeping your body in a straight line and both arms straight, lean froward until your body is at about a 40 degree angle. Bend the elbows and lower your body. Use your arms to push yourself back to the starting position.

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SITUPS, CRUNCHES, AND OTHER ABDOMINAL EXERCISES

According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists the average distribution of weight gain during pregnancy is 30 pounds. This increase in weight causes internal pressure inside of the abdominal cavity. The pressure is upward, downward, and outward and is what creates the abdominal separation. The entire core of the body, glutes, ribs, pelvic floor, and the deeper core musculature become unstable.

This can lead to low back pain, pelvic pain, incontinence, prolapse and urinary urgency/frequency. Women who have abdominal separation also tend to have a higher degree of pelvic floor and abdominal pain.

Avoid these all together.

BOX JUMPS

As mentioned before pregnant women release a hormone called Relaxin which causes ligaments to be looser and can affect balance. Therefore, movements such as box jumps should be avoided after the first trimester. Plus they really don’t feel all that great anyway when you are pregnant.

LOWER BODY UNILATERAL MOVEMENTS

Now some trainers will tell you that lower body unilateral movements (lunges, single leg deadlifts, etc.) are an excellent way to train the body while pregnant. Their reason is that these exercises are great stabilizers and improve balance. I do not disagree that these are great exercises, but I cannot recommend them during pregnancy. It is better to keep both feet together and under the hips for improved balance and stability during pregnancy than it is to try and improve your overall balance and stability. Your chance of injury is higher with these types of movements and they should be avoided, especially after the first trimester.

TWISTING MOVEMENTS

Don’t twist or compress your abdomen torso and spine. No twisting yoga poses. Just don’t do it.

RUNNING

I have some friends who can run while they are pregnant. Personally, I feel like my body is falling apart mid stride and the next day I can barely walk. I learned during my second pregnancy that running and pregnancy, at least for me, are not a great combination. Running is very high impact.

The best prenatal exercise routine is to perform exercises that are low impact and will not create further imbalances in your body. Don’t be afraid to lift weights, increase your heart rate, and work up a sweat! These are all great things for you do.

Exercise Intensity, Heart Rate, & Rate of Perceived Exertion

Over the years the recommendations issued by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) on pregnancy and exercise intensity have dramatically changed:

  • 1985: The ACOG issues a statement that the maximum heart rate during pregnancy should not exceed 140 beats per minute and women should not participate in strenuous exercise for more than 15 minutes.
  • 1994: A new statement is released removing specific limitations regarding exercise during pregnancy. The ACOG said, ‘‘there is no data in humans to indicate that pregnant women should limit exercise intensity and lower target heart rate because of adverse effects.’’ They still recommended that women avoid exhaustion during exercise.
  • 2002: The ACOG published ‘‘Exercise During Pregnancy and the Postpartum Period: ACOG Committee Opinion 267.’’ In this paper, the ACOG Committee recognizes that ‘‘in the absence of contraindications, pregnant women should be encouraged to engage in regular, moderate intensity physical activity to continue to derive health benefits during their pregnancy as they did prior to their pregnancy.’’

It has been many years since the maximum heart rate during pregnancy was recommended not to exceed 140 beats per minute. If a doctor or trainer tells you otherwise there is a good chance they are sharing outdated information. What you want to be mindful of is not allowing your body to become overheated to the point that it can not cool itself down.

If you regularly exercise with a heart rate monitor you can continue to do so while pregnant or you can evaluate your intensity using the Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE), or how you feel based on a scale from one to ten. As a general rule, keep your RPE in the 5-6 range during pregnancy workouts.

Your 5-6 RPE pre-pregnancy will not feel the same as your 5-6 while you are pregnant. During pregnancy the body produces more blood and the heart works harder to circulate the excess. The increase in blood is responsible for fatigue, nausea and dizziness during the first trimester.

General Tips for Exercising while Pregnant

Remember to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated before, during, and after exercise. Dealing with dehydration is not fun when you are pregnant. I learned this the hard way with my second pregnant and ended up in the hospital twice.

Find out what works best for you. For me and my third pregnancy this has looked liked swimming laps, incline walking on the treadmill, lifting weights, and stretching.

Once you reach the third trimester be extra cautious and careful with your movements. During your final weeks of pregnancy your uterus is 500 times its normal size. You’re carrying around an extra 20 to 40 pounds, making even the simplest movements a workout. Enter the gym with zero ego to ensure you are as safe as possible.

Properly warm up and cool down as this will help to reduce the risk of injury.

If you feel dizzy or lightheaded at any time discontinue your current activity and give your body time to recover. This will happen sometimes due to increased blood flow.

High risk activities should be avoided. If you road bike avoid the risk of becoming off balanced by finding a indoor cycle class. Any risk or trauma that could potentially happen to the abdomen should be placed on hold until after you deliver.

Be mindful of the amount of time you spend on your back. The added weight of the baby can place more stress on your spine.

Dealing with varicose veins? Be sure to read the following post Varicose Veins & Pregnancy for more on this topic.

Wear comfortable clothes that aren’t overly tight especially around your waist. My favorites include: Lululemon Studio Pants, Lucy Get Going Pants, Reebok Studio Pants, Lululemon Tech Shirts, and Reebok Burnout Shirts.

Hopefully this post was helpful and encouraging to you! Let me know what you think. How was your experience exercising while pregnant?

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