November 17, 2017

30 Gifts For Adults That Give Back

Disclosure: Affiliate links are used in this post. Any purchase you make using these links supports this site.

Like I did for my previous post "20 Gifts For Kids That Give Back," I have decided to do the same for adults! All of the stores in this list will donate a portion of their sales to various charities and organizations.
 
1) United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) - UNICEF has an online market full of various gifts from jewelry, musical instruments, to area rugs! 90% of their profit goes to helping children all over the world, providing everything from food to health care.
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2) Guylian Belgian Chocolate
 - A portion of all of Guylian's sales goes towards Project Seahorse, a small conservation group dedicated to helping seahorses. This is my favorite brand of chocolate, so I highly recommend it as a gift for any chocolate lover!

3) Munchkin's Project Orca - Munchkin recently launched an #OrcasLiveInOceans campaign, where 100% of proceeds from their #OcrasLiveInOceans clothing goes towards building a coastal ocean sanctuary in the U.S. for captive orcas. Tee shirts are $25 and sweatshirts are $48. I actually own both sweatshirts and they are super comfy!

4) Toms
 - Toms shoes have a one for one program, so everytime you buy a Toms product, you are helping a person in need, from providing them with a pair of shoes to a safe birth.

5) Roma - Roma has a program called "Give Poverty of the Boot." Basically, for every pair of boots sold, a brand new pair of boots is donated to a child in need. Also, 10% of all of Roma's sales go to the Roma Foundation, which provides aid and education to children in poverty. Now rain boots on their own might not be the best gift, but you could do something cute like stick a bouquet of flowers in them!

6) Better World Books - Every time you purchase a book from Better World Books, they will donate a book to someone in need. Great gift for a book-lover!

7) Best Friends - Products you purchase from the Best Friends store goes towards helping animals find safe and loving homes! They have various shirts and accessories that would make great presents for a pet loving friend!

8) Box Lunch - For every $10 you spend at BoxLunch stores or on their website, they will donate a meal to someone in need! Box Lunch has a lot of pop-culture items, including Disney, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Sanrio, etc, so a great place to shop for the geek or nerd in your life!

9) Love Your Melon - Love Your Melon is known for their hats as their original program was for every hat bought, they would donate a hat to a child with cancer. Love Your Melon's now instead donates 50% of their profit made from product sales to their non-profit partners. They have also added shirts and other accessories to their site as well, in addition to their hats.

10) Good Spread - Everytime you purchase Good Spread peanut butter, Good Spread provides a life-saving peanut butter medicine called Ready-To-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) to a child in need through their partnership with MANA Nutrition. You can find Good Spread in select stores or order online. This is a great gift for any peanut butter lover!

11) Pura Vida Bracelets - Pura Vida Bracelets have a Charity collection, where they give back to a wide range of causes! Their bracelets are all handmade, so each one is unique, and they start at only $5!

My Pura Vida bracelet that shows support for Crohn's Disease.

12) Global Goods Partners - All items in the Global Goods Partners store were made by women artisans in over 20 countries! Every purchase you make goes towards supporting these women all over the world. They have everything from jewelry to home decor. 

13) WWF Gear by New Headings - New Headings donates 20% of all WWF Gear sales to the World Wildlife Fund. They have a lot of great outdoor gear and travel accessories.

14) The Nature Conservancy - Select donations to the item of your choice come with canteens or bags. Donations start at $25 and go up to $250. Gifts vary depending on the amount you choose to donate. This would be a great gift for a friend that loves hiking and exploring.

15) We Wood - WeWOOD's goal is to plant a tree for every watch they sell through their partners: Trees For The Future, Treedom, and American Forests,  Their eco-friendly, natural wooden watches are made from reclaimed and recycled wood and materials. A bit on the pricier side, but their watches are of great quality and are gorgeous!

16) Hand in Hand - Hand in Hand has a "Buy a bar, Give a bar" program where they will donate a bar of soap and a month of clean water to a child in need for every Hand in Hand product purchased. All their products are made in the USA, are vegan, cruelty-free, and eco-friendly. They have various bath products such as soap and sugar scrubs, and also fragrances. 

17) The Company Store - For every comforter purchased at The Company Store, a homeless child will receive a blanket through Family Promise and their affiliates. Their comforters range anywhere from $100 to $1,000 depending on style and size. This would be a great housewarming gift!

18) Ivory Ella - Ivory Ella donates 10% of their net profits to Save the Elephants, an organization that tracks, monitors and secures elephant populations. The majority of their products are Elephant themed, so great for an animal loving mom! They have lots of great clothing choices, jewelry, and accessories!

19) Sudara - Every purchase of Punjammies® and Sudara goods helps empower hundreds of women in India to live in freedom from exploitation. They have clothes for women of all sizes, ranging from XS Petite to XXL Tall.

20) Headbands of Hope - For every headband that is purchased from Headbands of Hope, they donate a headband to a child with cancer. Their hair accessories start range from $10 to $20.

21) DIFF Eyewear - DIFF Eyewear has a buy one give one program. Every time you buy a pair of shades, they donate a pair of reading glasses to someone in need.They also help provide eye exams, assistance, and treatment to those in need as well. Prices range from $60 to $85.

22) The Starfish Project - Every purchase you make goes towards helping exploited women and girls. They mostly sell jewelry, but there are some shirts available as well. (They do also offer some jewelry for kids!)

23) Charlie's Project - Charlie's Project donates 20% of their proceeds or a minimum of $2 per legging to select charities.They have tops, skirts, dresses, and leggings in all sorts of prints. They remind me of Lularoe, but for a better cause! (They also have some clothing for kids!)

24) Panda -Panda makes a donation to Gift of Vision, an organization that helps get glasses and eye exams to those in need, for every pair of sunglasses they sell. For every watch Panda sales, they donate to Pencils of Promise, which helps provide schools in areas of need.

25) SoapBox - For every bar of soap you buy at SoapBox, they donate a bar to someone in need! Their soap products start at the just under $5! Their products are also cruelty-free and vegan!

26) Conscious Step - For every pair of socks you buy, Conscious Step donates to one of their many causes, which you can find a full list on their site. They have socks for both men and women. These would make great stocking stuffers!

27) Greater Good - Greater Good has various shops that support different causes. I have personally purchased from The Animal Rescue Site, where a portion of their profit goes towards helping rescued animals. They also have shops that help end hunger, support veterans, promote literacy, protect the rainforest, and fund research for breast cancerAlzheimer'sautism, and diabetes. All shops have a variety of items, ranging from clothes to home decor! You are sure to find a great gift that supports one of these great causes!

My kitchen mats I purchased from The Animal Rescue Site! You can find them here.

28) Twice As Warm - Twice As Warm sells hats, gloves, and scarves. Their mission is for every item you buy, they donate one to someone in need. All products are made in the USA. These would make great gifts for the holiday season!

29) Feed - Every purchase you makes from Feed, donates school meals to children in need. The site is set up so that you can see just how many meals your purchase will provide. They are known for their bags, but also have accessories, even some baby clothes! There are also diaper bags, which would be a great baby shower gift.

30) FIGS - Have a friend who's a medical professional? Then this site is for you! Every pair of scrubs that are purchased from FIGS, donates a pair of scrubs to another medical professional in need. They have scrubs for both women and men.

BONUS
Amazon Smile - I included this as a bonus as this is basically just you shopping on Amazon, but when you go through the "Smile" link you can pick an organization you would like a portion of your purchase to be donated to!

Attribution: Image used in blog post photo does not belong to me and was found on Canva.

November 13, 2017

L.O.L. Surprise! Pets, Lil Sisters & Charm Fizz Prize Pack Giveaway


Sponsored & Hosted By: Love, Mrs. Mommy

The winner will receive: 

An L.O.L. Surprise! Pets (Series 3), Lil Sisters (Series 2), & Charm Fizz (Series 2) Prize Pack!

Love, Mrs. Mommy is hosting and sponsoring this years hottest holiday toys as a giveaway! Included in this prize pack is the BRAND NEW (just released!), L.O.L. Surprise! Pets (Series 3)! WOW!  Everyone wants L.O.L. Surprise! goodies and stores can't keep them on the shelves (I know, as it took me forever to get some for my daughter!), so I decided to share the love! :) Good luck everyone!

Open to entrants from the Continental US and must be 18+ to enter.
Giveaway Dates ~ 11/13 9:00 AM EST through 12/4 11:59PM EST

Good luck everyone! 

Don't forget to subscribe to be the first to know about newest post or giveaway! You can also follow the blog using the social media icons located in the navigation bar!

Disclosure: Love, Mrs. Mommy will be mailing this prize pack to the winner. All other participating bloggers are not held responsible for prize fulfillment or shipment. This giveaway is in no way endorsed or sponsored by Facebook or any other social media site. The winner will be randomly drawn by Giveaway Tools and will be notified by email. Winner has 48 hours to reply before a replacement winner will be drawn. If you would like to participate in an event like this, please contact LoveMrsMommy (at) gmail (dot) com.

November 3, 2017

There is No Mommy Instinct

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Shortly after having our daughter, I remember family and friends telling me that the doctor isn't always right when I mentioned we had breastfeeding issues, and to follow my "mommy instincts" as if they were trying to be helpful, but for someone who just became a mom, this only made me feel worse, like they are telling me that I am supposed to know what to do because it's just instinctual.

I am a first-time mom. I have no idea what I am doing. My husband has no idea what he is doing. We have never done this before. There is no instinct.

Telling a new parent to trust their "instincts" is like throwing them under the bus! You should be able to trust your doctor, pediatrician, lactation consultant, if not, get a new one.

I feel like when they people say this, what they are really saying is "Well I didn't do that, but I did this, and it worked." Well great that it worked for you, but that doesn't mean it's right for everyone. And honestly, I don't trust family and friends as much as I trust my doctor. After all, how could someone who was trained to care for babies know less than me, a new mom who has never cared for a baby?

I feel that some people think just because they became parents they know it all and do not need to listen to their doctors or pediatricians, and thus feel like they can tell others what to do. Just because your child survived bed sharing and blankets before age one (for example), does not mean I am willing to take the risk! I also feel this is how so many parents end up losing their kids because they get bad advice from family and friends or think it can never happen to them as they have this "instinct", and then when it does, it is world-shattering as Jordan DeRosier discovered when her son died from a blanket (source).

My mom had bumpers, blankets, stuffed toys, in my crib growing up and yes I survived, but after reading horror story after horror story and being told time and time again by our birth class instructor, doctors, midwives, etc about sleep safety, I was not willing to risk my child's life if there is no need to. Did my daughter really need to sleep in the same bed? Did she really need a blanket? No, these were not things I believed our daughter needed. Plus side of not sharing a bed, we never had to deal with transferring her to the crib, which co-sleeping parents tend to struggle with. (However, these may be things you decide to do and that is your decision, just know they do come with risks.)

Everyone likes to make doctors out to be the bad guy and sure they can be wrong at times, but so can you and anyone else. This mom truly believed her son was lying for years about not being able to see well until an eye doctor finally proved to her that her son, indeed, had poor eyesight (source).

A doctor is going to give you advice based on what they know from research and have experienced first hand. You have the option to follow or to not follow that advice. If you choose not to and things worked out, it is not instinct, your choice just worked. Your doctor's advice might have worked as well if you had given it a chance or it might not have. This is problem-solving and decision making, not instinct. You do not just know that your doctor is wrong, you are just stubborn or skeptical and want to try something else, which is totally your call!

For example, my doctor recommended coconut oil for my daughter's cradle cap, but I didn't have any on hand so I looked up alternatives and found baby oil would work too, which we had on hand. I used that instead and her cradle cap cleared up after two days. There was no "instinct" telling me not to trust my doctor. I just didn't want to make a trip to the store so I found an alternative solution. I got lucky that it worked, if it had not, then I would have tried coconut oil next.

I think people have a tendency to throw around the word instinct without understanding what it truly means, so here is the definition:

"To qualify as an instinct, the behavior should be automatic, irresistible, triggered by something in the environment, occur at some particular time during development, require no training, be unmodifiable and occur in all individuals of a species." (Source)

To me, this leaves only human emotions to being a true instinct as you can't suppress how you feel, so everyone has them, but science says otherwise:

"Many psychologists consider instinct and emotion similar in that both are automatic. For example, fear is both an emotion and an instinct. However, while instincts are immediate, irrational, and innate, emotions have the potential to be more rational and part of a complex feedback system linking biology, behavior, and cognition." (Source)

With that definition in mind, motherhood comes with no instincts. If being a mom was an instinct, then there wouldn't be abortions or abandoned babies, women wouldn't suffer from postpartum depression, all women would have children and would continue to reproduce, which just is not the case.

Another phrase that is often used is "gut feeling,"  which I think is more appropriate, but I don't think this is a special mom ability. I see this as problem-solving, which anyone can do.

For example, my husband and I both had a feeling breastfeeding wasn't working as our baby was fussy and not dirtying as many diapers as she should have, so we saw the pediatrician and lactation consultant. We were both right as she had lost too much weight. It wasn't just me that had a bad feeling, but my husband as well. This was not a "mom superpower." (By the way, breastfeeding is not an instinct and it does not come naturally. If it did, more women would do it and there wouldn't be a need for lactation consultants. Anyone who says it just came naturally, got lucky.)

Another example is just last week when my daughter had a pretty bad diaper rash. The skin had broken and at the same time, she had a tiny amount of blood in her poop, which only showed up a couple of times. My husband and I began to have concerns that it was more than just diaper rash. I paid $20 to be told to alternate between Neosporin and Desitin and to change her diaper often, and the kicker, the blood was most likely coming from the open wound! BUT it was worth the trip to the doctor's office because I did not know that I needed to or that I could use Neosporin on her sore. After a few days, it cleared up, and we now know what to do next time so there would be no need for a rush to the doctor's office.

We also had a scare back when our baby was only maybe three months. She was super fussy, just out of a blue, so we called the nurse helpline. The nurse told us to give her some Tylenol, which helped and she went to sleep, and then to go to urgent care in the morning. Turns out she was totally fine, nothing wrong, just a really bad night and the doctors working at the time were so sweet. They told us we were doing everything right and that we were great parents. Maybe we just need new family and friends, because the doctors so far have been the nicest and most understanding when it came to parenting. Even our lactation consultant was super supportive when we decided to switch over to formula!

Anyone can have gut feelings or reactions, but how we act on them comes from experience. First-time parents do not have experience raising babies because they have never had one so they will rely on their doctors, books, family, and friends for help. Instead of telling them to "trust their gut," direct them to someone who can give them the advice or help they need, preferably someone trained in whatever it may be. If they have already received advice, don't belittle their choice to follow that advice. Remember, what worked for you may not work for them or you may have taken risks that they are not willing to take.

First-time parents, do not be afraid to ask for help. There is no parenting instinct and it does not come naturally. It is okay to feel as if you have no idea what you are doing. Anyone who claims they know it all is probably lying. Parenthood is a long journey, you learn as you go!

October 27, 2017

Writing a Will: What You Need To Know

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Being young parents, this may seem like a "morbid" thing to do or some may think it's bad luck to write one as if you are dooming yourself to die young, but having a Will is extremely important for your children in case something terrible does happen. We definitely don't have any intentions of dying anytime soon.

A Will is an ever-changing document, which you are supposed to visit time and time again to make updates as you age. People's addresses change, relationships change, assets change, and the number of children you have may or may not change. We are fortunate enough to find an attorney who will do free updates as time goes on.

However, getting a Will written turned out to be a more difficult process than I had expected, and then it became really simple. The problem we ran into in the beginning was that no one we knew, knew much about Wills! Sure some had one written, but they just had an attorney to do it for them so they weren't able to help with what all the documents were. Others used an online site, which many attorneys don't recommend because they may not follow your state's laws, so they just followed the prompt given to them.

In the end, we finally found an attorney who charged a reasonable amount and he explained everything to us. After talking to him, the Will no longer seemed as complicated as the internet had made it out to be.

I highly recommend contacting multiple attorneys in your area to find out how much they charge for their Estate Planning services as many, sadly, overcharge in my opinion. We got quotes from attorney's that were in the $1,000 - $2,000 range and that is way overpriced for a Will. Now if you are doing Trusts along with a Will, that would definitely put in the $1,000 range, otherwise, it should be under $1,000.

Our community does offer a Will class, which will get you a basic Will written and notarized on spot for $50 per person, but it is missing some important documents like Power of Attorney and Health Care Directive, so we decided it was not for us as we wanted those documents.

To make your Will writing process easier, here are some things to consider before contacting an attorney:


1) Gather Your Assets


Find out how much your estate is worth. What is in your bank accounts? Do you have any CD's or bonds? Do you own real estate? Do you have life insurance? Any retirement plans? Do you own cars and what are they worth? Anything that is of any value should be added to your assets. 


2) Choose Your Child's Guardian(s)


This was our main reason for writing a Will. We wanted to make sure our daughter would go to the guardian of our choice should we both happen to pass away while she is young. You will need two people for this, basically a first and a second choice in case the first is unable to do so. I highly recommend you ask the person beforehand if they would be willing to be your child's guardian before having it written in the Will.

Side note: Godparents are not guaranteed to be guardians of your child. It is only recognized by the Church, so if you want to make sure the Godparents are the guardians of your child, then you will need to have a written Will.


3) Pick a Personal Representative


The Personal Representative will be the person in charge of making sure your Will is followed once you pass away. If married, the first choice is usually your spouse, and then you will have to pick a second person in case you both pass away at the same time.

Our Attorney recommended having the same backup for both if you are married or it becomes a little more complicated should you both get in a deadly accident at the same time. He mentioned it becomes a "race to the death," as it becomes a matter of who technically died first that will determine the way the Wills will work out. If you have the same person, not an issue, but there could be a conflict if not.


4) Pick a Trustee


This is the person who will manage your child's trust funds if they are still a minor. For many, this would likely be the same person you chose as your child's guardian. It just makes sense, in my opinion, that the person you chose to raise your child would also be the one helping them manage their money in case something should happen to you.


5) Choose An Age For Your Children To Recieve Their Inheritance


This was honestly not something we thought about at all until we met with our attorney. If there is no Will, the inheritance usually defaults to age 18, but our attorney recommended to wait till they are at least 25.

We both thought about it and ended up going with his recommendation of 25, with the idea that we could also change it later. I was pretty responsible in my early twenties and so was my husband, but we knew many who weren't and our daughter may or may not be responsible enough at a younger age so we will have to wait and see.


6) Choose Your Financial Power of Attorney


The Financial Power of Attorney is someone who will handle your finances if you are unable to do so. This will often be your spouse, but you will want a backup in case you both are in an accident.

Our attorney recommends picking someone you trust for this but do not tell them until the time is necessary as once they sign the document, it goes into effect. They can sign it when they need to know about it and take over handling your finances then.


7) Pick A Health Care Directive


This is the person who will make medical decisions for you if you are unable to do so. You will want to pick someone who knows what your life and death decisions are and will follow your wishes, such as how you want to buried or if you wish to be an organ donor. This will most likely be your spouse but you will want a backup should you both be in the same accident.

Our attorney recommends sticking to family members as a backup and in this case for your spouse and you to have different people,


8) Don't Forget Pets!


Different states have different laws when it comes to pets. In my state, you couldn't leave a trust for your pets until 2016, when that rule changed. This is not recommended if you have children as it takes away from the money they could receive. Another option is to pick an organization like the humane society, but our issue with this is that often times older animals are put down.

We went the third option route which was to pick someone we trusted to leave our pets to in case we both should pass at the same time and leave them some money to care for them. The only downside to this is sometimes that person you pick may put your animals down just to keep the cash so you will want to make sure to choose someone you really trust.


***

These are just a few things to think about when it comes to writing your Will. Your attorney will, of course, walk you through the process, but knowing ahead of time the answer to these things, will make the writing process quicker.

Once your will is written, it will need to be notarized and you will need to have witnesses, usually, these are provided by your attorney. However, if you so choose to go the online route, which is not recommended, you will need to find witnesses and someone to notarize your Will, or it is not considered official.

Once that is done, you can live the rest of your life with peace of mind that your child and pets will be taken care of if something should happen to you. Hopefully, it will be a long life and we will be able to come back later to change our backups to be our daughter once she turns eighteen.


Attribution: Image used in blog post photo does not belong to me and was found on Unsplash.