ULMas 1st Anniversary, Let’s Have a Happy Hour All Day!

I am the designer and owner of ULMas brand Beautifully Practical Breast Pads!  I designed them a few years back because I felt truly discrete, leak-proof, absorbent and pretty nursing pads should be a reality.  But, when I searched high and low I couldn’t find any that fit the bill.  Perhaps I had a high standard but I figured with a little a lot of work I could make just the solution come to fruition.

Once I got the design ironed out and tested thoroughly, I obtained a business license and launched Undercover Leaky Mommas on Etsy.  Well, that was a year ago already.  I can hardly believe the year we’ve had too.  I have learned a TON about on-line sales, tax codes, sourcing, time management, pr, marketing and SEO and inventory. I’ve learned how to do my own invoicing, how to anticipate sales and trends in fashion.
I’ve just been flying full speed into a huge market and the best part?

I get to do what I set out to do:

Help other mommas!

I love that other mommas don’t have to drive somewhere with their newborn or settle for whatever’s on the shelf at their local chain store.

All they need to do is visit my shop purchase the pads they like and soon thereafter they can have Nursing Pads that Really Work!

ULMas "Zebra" Print

ULMas “Zebra” Print

Along with having our first anniversary, Today Marks the beginning of National Breastfeeding Week.

As a way to celebrate these things, I have decided to give everyone a Happy Hour all day!  With this event every ULMas customer gets BOGO on all ULMas brand nursing pads all day today! ❤  Head over to ULMas on Etsy and Enter the code: “HappyHour” in the coupon code field at checkout to Buy One Get One Free on all ULMas Breast Pads!

Thanks for reading and thank you for your support!

Erica, ULMas

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Check us out on Facebook, Twitter and Etsy

Dear Jesus,  Thank you above all for sustaining me each day. Thank you that I get to do something that helps other mommas out.  I love raising my boys and being a homemaker.  I love the life you have given me. Amen.

How to Get into Fitness FOR REAL Part 1 of 2, Mix-It-Up Monday’s

By now, most everyone’s new-years resolution to “eat right and exercise” has fizzled out.  Maybe they fizzled out January 3rd.

As a child I was in almost every main stream sport: soccer, basketball, volleyball, swim team, gymnastics, ballet, track, cross country….etc…

When I wasn’t playing a sport I was jumping on the pogo stick with my buddy or killing hours on her trampoline.

Looking back, I was working out A LOT!

Why?

Well I wasn’t obsessed with being a certain weight or looking like Angelina Jolie or something like that.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago, a lot has changed.  I am married and have two toddlers climbing me (literally as I write this, Gideon is requesting the “Animal Sound Song” on YouTube.)  My day is so full of the demands to just keep the proverbial plates spinning on my finger tips.

I am busier than ever but when do I work out?

I’m more beat than ever how can I possibly add exercise?

I just want a break!!!

Ok that catches us up to almost two weeks ago when I went from a sporadic exerciser to someone who works out 6 days a week.

HOW?!?!

Here’s what I did.  I am not a doctor but this is what worked for me.

STEP 1: FIND YOUR MOTIVATION

I used to think the right video or gym membership would be the golden ticket.  It turns out neither really worked for me.  I never found the perfect video (and felt it was a waste of money to keep searching) and the gym didn’t work either.  I was way too distracted by other people.  I found myself unsure of what exercises to do and generally felt self-conscious.  So while the gym is great for some, it wasn’t for me.

I mentioned above that I JUST WANT A BREAK!!!! AH!!! 🙂

For me, that is the golden ticket.  Exercise is my break.  I was using social media for this purpose but never felt better for having searched Facebook.  It couldn’t make me more relaxed because I would get annoyed waiting on pages to load.

I began the search for a way to feel like I got a break.  Enter exercise.  Allow me to explain, exercising vigorously for just 10 minutes triggers the release of “feel good” hormones.  That means that every time I workout I feel good afterwards and more calm.  I feel more collected.

Oddly, for me, exercise isn’t about what all the diet industry mantras would have you think it “should” be about.  I’m not trying to look like Barbie or lose 20 pounds in a week (yikes!)  I lost 25 pounds in a couple of months when I was so sick.  It was NOT good and I DON’T recommend it.  I became medically malnourished.  Bad Bad Bad.  What’s more the weight I reached wasn’t “cute” it was scary.

I urge you to avoid exercising for the wrong reasons because it isn’t sustainable and will do more harm than good.  In extreme cases leading to malnutrition and a whole host of illnesses or obesity.

STEP 2: Gear

Think minimal here and put it on first thing before you have come up with an excuse.  The point is to get things that work but don’t become a stumbling block between you and feeling good.  In other words, don’t over think this step.

I got this sports bra and I cannot recommend it enough.  I like it because it is VERY supportive and comes in bra sizes so you can get a great fit.  This is tough for me usually but not with this bra.  It fits so well I can jump without discomfort or really much movement at all!

I also got supportive foot wear.  I like Merril brand shoes because they fit my feet well.  The big take-away here is get shoes that fit your specific needs.  I supinate (my feet roll out) and need great arch support.  Take a minute to consider your feet then choose a shoe that fits you well.

STEP 3: ROUTINE

I have found I want to workout to some degree every day.  To start I did just 10 minutes a day.  I streamed free kickboxing videos off YouTube and did them on my trampoline to reduce the impact on my knees (I have low cartilage in my knees so “pounding the pavement” is not good for me.  The trampoline is a great solution for this and cheaper than getting several machines to get a range of workouts in.)

Why 10 minutes?  Because when you are just getting started this will be enough to get the endorphins going.  I don’t repeat behaviors that don’t have a pay-out.  If I do too much too soon I will wear myself out and be too sore the next day to keep going.

Do you see a recurrent theme here?  I am working out to FEEL GOOD.

I kept this 10 minute routine for a few days but then noticed that I felt like going just a little longer so I mixed in a couple of 20-26 minutes routines.  This week (the beginning of week three)  I plan to do Monday/Wednesday/Friday kettlebell routines (off YouTube, I like Fitness Blender) and Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday kickboxing routines (off YouTube I like BeFit).  I plan to do different ones each day and to keep each workout under 30 minutes for the next several weeks.  My goal is to workout aggressively for a shorter amount of time so I can trigger the feel good hormones and break a good sweat then be done for the day!

Over time our bodies become accustomed to the workload and the time will need to increase.  I expect to be able to keep my 10-30 minute routines longer by keeping a good variety.

Variety is important to avoid boredom and avoid a plateau (where you don’t see results).

I am intentionally doing 3 days of Kettlebell and 3 days of Kickboxing on an alternating basis because this will be a rotation of weight training (kettlebell) and cardio (kickboxing).  On Sunday’s I do light exercise (this could be walking) just to get the blood flowing and keep my muscles loose.

From what I have read you need both weight training and cardio to be fit.

So there you have it!  3 steps to getting into Fitness for real!  I hope you get to feeling good today.

CLICK HERE to read the second half of this post.

Dear Jesus, I am so excited to finally have a motivator for exercise that excites me.  Thank you for designing our bodies this way.  I pray this post will help others to get going on their fitness journey and I pray they will take it slow and listen to their bodies so they stop long before they cause themselves harm.  Lord, we often want instant gratification and if that looks like x pounds lost the temptation is to go about it in an unhealthy way.  Please bring conviction where necessary to prevent me and others from using a good thing like exercise, to harm the body you gave us.  Amen.

Oh! Chocolate, Fun Food Friday’s

The boys and I had the pleasure of visiting a coffee, wine and chocolate bar called, Oh! Chocolate, after surviving a stressful trip to the grocery store last week. This place is incredible!
Oh! Chocolate is located in Normandy Park at 19865 1st Ave South.  They make their own chocolate on site.  They use Victrola Coffee.  Victrola Coffee Company is located in Capitol Hill.  They have a nice dine in wine bar.  They have a menu of real food so your not stuck with coffee and a muffin from the drive through when your hungry for more.

And the icing on the cake?

I asked the barista if they had lollies for my crying children.  She replied, “No. We give out candy necklaces.”

WHAT!?!?! AWESOME.  No gooey sticky fingered children.  Praise God.

I handed the candy necklaces back to my unsuspecting children and like a really good musical, the birds sang to the rhythm of little kids chomping in delight.  It was too good to be true.

both boys chomping cloes-up of hank close-up of giddo 1 close-up of giddo 2

It gets even better!

I ordered an Americano.  This is my “tester” drink because you can tell a lot about the skill of the barista and the quality of the coffee by how well they make an Americano.  Just espresso and water means they can’t hide burnt shots or crappy coffee beans.

I took a sip and joy pranced across my taste buds.  Little joy ferries flooded my senses.

The service was quick and friendly.  The barista was wearing, get this, CLOTHES!  The candy necklaces were free!  And they handed me a menu to take along so I would know what all they have available.

If you find yourself in Normandy Park, give these guys a try.  They’ll appreciate your patronage as they are a new establishment and you won’t regret it.  I worked in coffee sales and pretty close with our own roaster for a while.  Suffice it to say, I am more than a coffee snob.  I am down right picky.  Not rude but I can smell nasty coffee from a mile away.  Well friends your search is over.  Maybe you need a nice place to get a glass of wine, want homemade chocolates or just want excellent coffee.  At Oh! Chocolate you can have it all.

Happy Momma. :)

Happy Momma. 🙂

I should add, I am not in any way affiliated with Oh! Chocolate (except as a new customer that plans to return.)  I am not being compensated for this review.  These are my honest opinions and observations.

Dear Jesus, I am so excited to have such an excellent business near by.  I just can’t say enough good things about them.  Please bless this business.  Amen.

How I Pick 7-10 Meals: Meal Planning with Supercook.com

This post is a piggy-back to yesterday’s post.  I mentioned yesterday that I choose 7-10 meals for a given meal plan.  I don’t sit and flip through endless cookbooks trying to find recipes that call for specific ingredients.  With the internet, there’s no need to do meal planning the slow way.

My favorite meal planning website (click here to see it) allows you to take all the ingredients you have or intend to buy and easily plug them into a list that auto generates recipes.  You scroll through the recipes to pick the ones you like and add them to your on-line recipe box.  There they stay conveniently waiting for you to retrieve whenever you want. 🙂

I love that you can just click ingredients from a box on the right and add them to your on-line pantry.  Then click “show more” and it will give you more ingredients to choose.

What’s more, this site is free!  You don’t even have to register to use it.  I do recommend registering though so you can retrieve saved recipes later.

Dear Jesus, I remember the advent of internet.  My how it has become a way of life.  Thank you for really helpful sites like supercook.com. Amen.

The Tin Room Theater

Bart and I had the pleasure of going out on a date last Friday to see Les Miserables at the Tin Room Theater.  The venue is beautifully decorated and quaint.  I believe it seats about 35 people.  The tickets were $8 each, so $3 less than major theaters.  I went early the day of the show to buy them and the gal selling tickets took me into the theater to reserve our seats!

When we arrived that night for the show we were a few minutes late.  We walked to our seats in the packed room, pulled our reservation cards out and sat down.  It felt special.  Then a gentleman came to our seats and asked if we would like any drinks or movie candy.  They actually serve you at your seat.  I noticed the gentleman next to us had a beer brought to him at the start of the show and then 45 minutes later.  You can actually make arrangements like that!

Les Miserables was a beautiful show and illustrates the Gospel.  The film was about three hours long but the time flew by.  I recommend this venue to everyone!  If you can make it to their theater for a show I think you will have a wonderful time.

Coupon Deals for this week:

KensCoupon1

You’ll need both the store coupon and the manufacturer coupon to get this deal.

I noticed Safeway has a $0.99 deal on Ken’s brand salad dressing.  Normally this dressing costs close to $3 each.  There were manufacturer coupons for a dollar off two Ken’s in the weekly mailers the past several weeks.  Together that makes 2 Ken’s salad dressings cost you $0.98! (I have a few of this coupon, let me know if you want one.)

I also noticed Fred Meyer has the Colgate toothpaste on sale 10/$10!  If you still have the $1 off manufacturer coupon then you haven’t missed you chance at free toothpaste.

Dear Jesus, thank you for your faithfulness.  Your grace abounds!  Thank you for the fun evening out and for neat places like The Tin Room Theater.  Amen.

Why and How to Coupon.

Luke 16:10, “One who is faithful in very little is also faithful in much.”

Matthew 25:21, “Well done good and faithful servant.  You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much.  Enter into the joy of your master.”

I sent myself through college and did it on as few loans as I could possibly take.  This meant I had around $17 a month to put toward food.  Even for a single person that is a lean budget.  If the average family of four spends $500 a month on food then that would be $125 per person.

I knew what it felt like to be hungry and broke.

God has blessed me abundantly.  I now have a degree and a family.  My husband works hard and is able to provide very well for us.  I get to buy good quality food without fear of breaking an impossible budget.

So why do I coupon now?

When living on the $17 a month grocery budget I faced two big goals: to steward what God gave me well and to eat as healthfully as possible.  Those are the two reasons I coupon today.

I believe as long as I coupon wisely I can continue to steward the money God gives me wisely.  I have a few rules.  I don’t buy a product we don’t actually use and need.  I avoid impulse buys.  I keep a binder full of coupons so I am organized.  I call it, “My Other Wallet.”

couponbinderAs for the healthy eating part, I enjoy splurging on good organic produce more easily because we are saving on other things.

So far I have Rite Aid figured out and really like their system.  They run in store specials that I clip coupons to match whenever possible then look for items that are in highlighted boxes in their flier.  They often have a buy $x of these items and get $x in “Up rewards” a.k.a. Rite Aid store credit (that loads to your store card the following day).  This can be really cool.  So far I have gotten a completely free razor (not disposable) in the brand I like and two free eye shadows (in the brand and color I wanted).  I also got $2 in Up Rewards for “buying” these items.  Essentially, Rite Aid paid me to take things I wanted home. Pretty neat huh!?!

To be sure couponing could suck up too much time. Unless….

You check local coupon bloggers that get paid to do the work for you. I like this one:

http://thecouponproject.com/

Some folks buy several copies of the Sunday paper.  This may be a good idea but I cannot bring myself to do it.  Instead I clip coupons from the local paper that is delivered for free.  I have a couple girlfriends that are willing to save their copies of the local paper and give them to me.  This way I have at least three copies of the coupons I want.  This comes in handy when a store runs a great deal and I want to buy more than one.  Many coupons limit you to four like coupons so I don’t bother with saving jillions of Soft Scrub for example.  I save four and call it good.  I should add I do not wish to create an in home grocery store or amass so much that we pay a monthly storage unit fee!  That doesn’t seem like good stewardship, it’s more like hoarding.

From now on I intend to continue using Thursday’s to share tips for saving money and if there’s a great couponing tip I’ll include it too! 🙂

Here are some hot deals for this week:

Albertson’s has Tillamook butter on sale for $1.88 each (limit 4)!  Walmart has Softsoap bottles on clearance (7oz size) for $0.94 and if you have a $0.75 off coupon like me that works out to $0.19! Rite Aid has Edge Shave Gel on sale for $3.49 less their in ad coupon of $2 and the manufacturer coupon for $1 off  makes it cost $0.49 (or less if you have a store card discount)! 

Dear Jesus, thank you for being so generous with me.  I pray that you will show me where you want me to spend the money that you give me and give me wisdom to glorify you.  Couponing has been fun so far and I am thankful for a new way to make money stretch. Amen.

A verse for the day and a business to boot!

I really dislike shopping.  I go because I need something.  I don’t enjoy weeding through all the overpriced merchandise to find a good deal while my little ones go stir crazy.  I don’t enjoy the endless onslaught of nearly naked teenagers in all the store advertising.  I don’t enjoy trying a bunch of clothes on only to leave with really bad hair because my head is big and I have to squish it through the neckline on shirts.

I am far more inclined to go because the boys need something.  Clothes are easy, if it say’s 3T or 4T then it’ll work for Hank.  A few weeks ago we were at the mall shopping for Hank.  I mistakenly thought JC Penny’s carries toys in store.  I now know they only have them on-line.  Thankfully, Hank seemed unaware that the outing was to buy toys as he didn’t seem to mind when we left empty-handed.

All was not lost because nearby there’s a store called, Alley Kat.  This store is an exception because everything is priced reasonably and is easy to find.  I buy undershirts there whenever I need new ones.  This day I was looking for a black one and they had a sale two undershirts for $6.99!  That is a great price in my book so I happily selected two.  After paying the cashier I took the bag and left the store.  I placed the bag in the bottom of the stroller and noticed something on the bottom right corner of the bag…

Rev 4:11

Rev 4:11

I apologize because it is hard to see in my picture but it say’s, “Rev 4:11” in the bottom right corner of the Alley Kat shopping bag.

Revelation 4:11 says, “You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for you created all things, and by your will they exist and were created.”

Amen!

I had chalked Alley Kat up to an Asian version of Forever 21.  Boy was I wrong.  Not only do they have tons of stylish clothing and super cheap undershirts, they are a company that preaches the Bible!

Who knew?

I am so glad to be a patron of this store.  Their clothing has been wonderful, their prices good, and their service great too.  Thank you Alley Kat for spreading the word of God!

Dear Jesus, I am so excited to know that there are businesses in the Southcenter Mall that spread your Word.  May you be known by many through their simple ministry.  Please bless this company. Amen.

The Dyson Ball DC 41 Animal

A while back I was hanging out with a group of gals.  Some of my favorite friends actually.  My vacuum had broken that day and they all said, “You need a Dyson.”  I got the impression maybe everyone needs a Dyson.  I wound up looking at a very hefty price sticker beneath the Dyson Ball DC 41 Animal.  It went against my desire to save money.

$600 for a Vacuum!?!

Well, then I saw a neat little store sign that said 20% off. Hmmm…. What to do?  Even with the discount this is a very expensive machine.  After talking with Bart we agreed it was a good idea.  I felt so darn nervous leaving the store with it.

Thankfully I didn’t let buyer remorse convince me to return it.  This machine is AMAZING!

In short, the pro’s outweigh the con’s and I expect to use this thing until I can no longer push a vacuum.

Pro’s: Lightweight, easy to maneuver, very easy to push, the vacuum self adjusts to floor height so you can go directly from carpet to hard floor and back, sucks up everything, bagless, compact, straightforward to use, and gets way under things easily.

sand

Look at all that sand in the bottom! We don’t live that close to the beach.

Con’s: Sucks up everything (don’t get too close to that stray sock), expensive, and doesn’t have a cord keeper.

cordeverywhere

At this time we do not have any animals, and the Dyson DC 41 Animal is built to handle pet hair.  I bought this model at my girlfriends’ encouragement and I am glad.  It has no trouble sucking up my long hair strands from the floor.  Plus, I don’t have to clean them out all the time because the vacuum just keeps on working!

hair

Dear Jesus, thank you for blessing our family abundantly.  Truly your grace abounds.  You are so generous with all your creation. Amen.

Vitamix

vitamixgreendrink

I am so darned excited about this blender!  We recently bought it off craigslist.com and I have used it at least twice a day every single day.  You can juice with it, make hummus, blended coffee, sauces, even hot soups!  Also, the manufacturer has a complete product warranty including pre-paid shipping should the Vitamix need repair of any kind.

The Vitamix is so powerful it turns even very fibrous foods into smooth creamy puree! 

The base is unusually large but needs to be.  I am pretty sure if it weren’t built so well it would destroy itself because it is so darn powerful.

In short, I love this blender and recommend it 100%.

Here are a few recipes I like:

1/2 C. Orange Juice, 1/2 banana, 1C. spinach, 2 kale leaves & 5 ice cubes

1/2 C. Orange Juice, 1/2 banana, 1tsp. flax-seed, 2 kale leaves & 5 ice cubes

Both recipes make a mighty green drink that tastes sweet and delicious.

vitamixhank

Dear Jesus, thank you for blessing our family with this machine.  I am glad to be able to provide healthy juice for my whole family. Amen.