Thursday, July 31, 2014

I pledge to have the Merck for mothers PEP talk: Thoughtful Thursday

Merck PEP talk

Did you know women still die from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth? Globally, every 2 minutes a woman dies from problems that occurred prepartum and postpartum. Preeclampsia, embolism, and postpartum hemorrhage are serious and occasionally fatal complications from pregnancy and childbirth.

I had hyperemesis my entire pregnancy, but it was otherwise unremarkable. My labor was equally uneventful, other than my blood pressure dropping; I delivered my son after 12 hours of labor and 2 good pushes. I was in awe over how perfect he looked, in a flash, the room started to go dark. I was fine seconds earlier. My nurse midwife had just started to suture me up when I began to hemorrhage. She asked my husband to take my son, while she began working on me. I kept hearing her repeat, "Stay with me, don't shut your eyes. Focus across that room on that beautiful little boy." I fought as hard as I could to stay awake. I had never felt more tired. The nurse pushed fluids through my IV, while the midwife attempted to stop the bleeding. The bleeding abruptly stopped, just in the nick of time; they were preparing to whisk me away. 

When I became coherent I realized there was blood everywhere. It looked like a trauma zone instead of a delivery room. The staff was so frantic over my postpartum hemorrhage that they lost the needle to suture me up, but I didn't care. I was happy to be alive and overwhelmed that I had a healthy baby boy.

My son, Gabriel Christian
My situation could have had a very grave ending. If I had not been in the care of trained medical professionals who acted quickly, I could have died. Postpartum hemorrhage is the leading cause of maternal mortality and estimated to kill a postpartum woman every 4 minutes. Death from post-partum hemorrhage has declined greatly in developed nations

I had seen television episodes that included women suffering from postpartum hemorrhage, but I never thought it would happen to me. Surprisingly, my mother also had a postpartum hemorrhage when she delivered me. She is a nurse and we never had a discussion about the complications of pregnancy and childbirth.

My friend Sarah from Finnegan and the Hughes shares her preeclampsia story here

In conjunction with Merck for Mothers, I pledged to have the PEP talk. There are three potentially fatal outcomes from pregnancy and childbirth. Death from these three complications is rare, but everyone should know the signs and symptoms of:
  • Preeclampsia
  • Embolism (pulmonary)
  • Postpartum hemorrhage  

Will you take the pledge to give someone you know the PEP talk? 

You can learn more by visit their website and following them on social media. 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The devotion of a dog: "I and love and you" pet care $100 product giveaway

This post is sponsored by "I and love and you" total pet care

Naya and her son, Will
Last fall I vowed I would never own another rottweiler ever again...ever. It wasn't because they were vicious or I had a bad dog, it was because a rottweiler managed to steal a piece of my heart that I will never get back. She was fiercely loyal, goofy, smart, kind, and protective. We spent years together and at the ripe old age of 13 when she was no longer capable of standing and in constant pain I made the unbearable decision to have her euthanized. A very selfish part of me wanted to keep her around forever, but I loved her enough not to let her suffer.

A small piece of advice: never say never.

Multi V-1 BOSS Siegerin AKC/UKC CH
Jailbirds Natural Disaster
Naya came to me from her breeder in Slovakia as a very young dog. We knew she was special from the start; she escaped from a crate in Atlanta airport and was lured back with an air traffic controller's Cheetos. She was to become a champion, breed ambassador, mother, grandmother, and my best friend. We traveled the United States competing in dog shows and winning the heart of everyone that met her. She held several official titles, but my "princess" was her favorite. Naya loved spaghetti, kittens, tennis balls, and pot holders. She was one of a kind.

A few weeks ago a good friend called and asked if I would consider getting another rottweiler. There was a 6 or 7 year old male rottweiler who had one owner his entire life. The owner who still loved him very much was now incapable of caring for him, and they were looking for a forever home. I was a little hesitant; I knew he would never replace Naya. My grandmother even chimed in, "He might be cute, but he will never be Naya."

We took our french bulldog and my son to visit Chief; it was love at first bark. He came to live with us a week later. All of the rottweilers that I have owned had varying temperaments, but in a strange coincidence Chief has a personality reminiscent of Naya.

Our new farm dog, Chief 
Whether a dog came from a pedigree of champions or your local animal rescue; every dog deserves an affordable high quality dog food. Our family chooses I and love and you ultimate dry dog food.

I and love and you is loaded with tasty ingredients.

  • Digestive enzymes such as prebiotics and probiotics 
  • Real Meat as a first ingredient
  • Superfoods such as chia seeds, green mussels, olive oil, and tumeric. 
  • Nude Food™is grain free
  • Available at supermarkets and grocery stores including Whole Foods and Kroger
I particularly love the red met medley recipe which contains pork, lamb, and bison, and the simply sea recipe which contains cod, herring, and mehaden fish. They also have a poultry palooza formula that contains turkey and chicken.

Our transition to I and love and you dog food has been seamless. The dogs experienced no tummy upset and we followed the guidelines on the I and love and you website.

Fish based formulas can help with dry itchy skin and help create a soft, shiny coat. My french bulldog has a healthier coat and seems more energized.

Bob and Chief both have picky palates, but they gobble up I and love and you dog food formulas.
I and love and you dog food
Photo Credit: I and love and you website 

I and love and you doesn't just have dog food, they also have a cat care line.

The product line available for dogs includes:
  • Raw dog food
  • Raw freeze dried dog food
  • Grain free dog kibble
  • Canned food
  • Chews & treats
  • Biscuits
  • Daily supplements
  • Natural Remedies
  • Flea & tick products
The product line available for cats includes: 
  • Dry kibble
  • Canned food
  • Treats
  • Daily supplements
  • Natural remedies
  • Flea & tick products
  • Litter

If the high quality ingredients aren't enough to impress you, check out the philanthropic work of the company. They have donated 10,478 meals to animal rescue groups to date. They also regularly feature a local animal rescue group or shelter on their website.

Want to give I and love and you pet care line a try? One lucky reader will win a prize pack valued at $100 from I and love and you pet care which includes items from their line of pet products. Just follow the link below for your chance to win:

Resident mischief maker and chief food tester
"I and love and you? I approve!"

Disclaimer: I received product and monetary compensation for this post however all opinions 
contained herein are my own. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

#SheetsAndGiggles by Angel Soft® so you aren't #SheetOutOfLuck

This post is sponsored by Angel Soft®

So #SheetHappens... I'm talking about those uncomfortable moments in the bathroom when you realize that you are out of toilet paper. If you are lucky, those moments happen at home when you have someone who will hear your cry for help. My last #SheetHappens moment was at my son's soccer game. I needed to use the restroom so bad and I never thought about checking the port-a-pottie for toilet paper. My sigh of relief quickly turned into an #OhSheet moment when I realized there was no toilet paper; I was #SheetOutOfLuck. Everyone has had an #OhSheet moment--if not several. And those moments don't respect age, gender, or tightly organized schedules. Even my four year old son has shared an #OhSheet experience.

We were coming home from a trip to Chicago and due to traffic our 7 hour road trip took close to 9.5 hours. Everyone in the car needed a break and we stopped by a restaurant with an indoor playground for lunch. My 4.5 year old son Gabe needed to use the restroom. An older lady I estimated to be in her 70's followed us into the restroom and we held the door for her. There were only two restrooms in the bathroom and she entered the stall next to us. It is hard to politely describe the noises that came from her stall. She was having some obvious intestinal discomfort, and let out a very noisy fart followed by a rather loud sigh of relief. #SheetHappens and I wouldn't have thought twice about it, but I have a very kind and outgoing son. Gabe yells out across the stall, "Do you feel better?" I know she heard him, and I tried my best to keep from laughing and prevent him from realizing that she had ignored him. Gabe was just being polite and I was completely mortified. We waited patiently until she left the bathroom because I couldn't bear to face her or chance that Gabe would look her in the eye to ask if she was okay. I was thankful that it wasn't a true #SheetHappens moment; could you imagine how embarrassing it would have been if either of us didn't have toilet paper in our stall? 

I have partnered with Angel Soft® on their #SheetOutOfLuck video campaign to discuss those embarrassing #SheetHappens moments and how Angel Soft® can help you prevent them. 

Check out more #SheetOutOfLuck videos here

Angel Soft® wants to prevent one lucky Blog of a Bluegrass Belle reader from having a #SheetHappens moment for an entire year; you would be hard pressed to find yourself #SheetOutOfLuck if you won a year's supply of Angel Soft® toilet paper! I will be hosting a giveaway sponsored by Angel Soft® for a year's supply of Angel Soft® in the weeks ahead. 

Did you enjoy these #SheetsAndGiggles moments? Do you have a #SheetHappens or #SheetOutOfLuck moment? You can share those moments with Angel Soft® on Twitter or Facebook, and follow the conversation using the official hashtags #SheetHappens and #SheetOutOfLuck. 
Are you going to #BlogHer14 in San Jose, California? Angel Soft® is an official sponsor and they have a booth (#201). You can stop by to participate in some fun booth activities and meet their team.

Disclaimer: I received financial compensation for this post from Angel Soft® however all opinions contained herein are entirely my own.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

"I and love and you" total pet care because I love you Bob.

This is a sponsored post for “I and love and you” Total Pet Care.

Meet Bob... also known as Escobar el Mafioso. He is my 1.5 year old French Bulldog, and he is as naughty as he is cute. I have a special bond with Bob; we have shared adventures and he has comforted me in times of sorrow. Bob was born in Bogota, Colombia. At the time, my son and I were regularly visiting my now ex-husband, and we really wanted a smaller dog that was easier to take along when we travel. We had been searching for months to find a frenchie puppy, and we hadn't had much luck. When we visited the breeder, Bob was the most rambunctious of the two remaining puppies. He was also the largest. Bob came home with us that same day.

We did all the necessary paperwork and Bob made the trip back to the United States with me. I traveled with a 25lb puppy in a carrier and a 3 year on my hip from Bogota, Colombia, back to Lexington, Kentucky. It was a struggle to housebreak a puppy and care for a toddler, but we managed to make it.

When my ex-husband and I filed for divorce, Bob became my comforter. My son eventually had to start overnight visits at his Dad's and I was thankful that I had Bob to keep me company. If I needed someone to cheer me up, I had my goofy, bat-eared puppy.

Bob is a part of our family and we are very conscious about what we feed him. I want him to be as healthy and happy as possible, and that includes feeding him a high quality dog food.

I and love and you pet food is a high quality pet food line that is available at your local grocery store. It can be found at most Kroger and Whole Foods stores, so you can shop for your entire family in one store.

We are excited to give this new pet food line a try. It is made with real meat, contains prebiotics and probiotics, and it is grain-free. Bob will be transitioning to the red meat medley recipe. 

Bob has had a seamless transition over, he loves his new food and treats. I and love and you has a handy guide to help you make the transition from your old food to the new one. 

Interested in trying I and love and you pet food? There is a $3 off coupon available; just visit this link

To learn more about about I and love and you please visit their website and social media channels.

Full review and a giveaway for a gift basket of $100 worth of I and love and you pet care products in the weeks ahead.

i and love and you dog food

Disclaimer: I received product and monetary compensation for this post however all opinions 
contained herein are my own. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Blackberry Cream Cheese Hand Pie: Foodie Friday

Blackberry hand pie
I love blackberries; despite what anyone else has to say about the seeds, it is my favorite fruit. We have more wild blackberries on the farm than I have time or patience to pick. The season has just begun and we have already picked a few gallons. I made a double batch of blackberry freezer jam (recipe coming soon), a cobbler, blackberry tea, and these delicious blackberry cream cheese hand pies. I am still digging into blackberry recipes and I hope to have a blackberry cupcake recipe developed soon.

This recipe is so easy and there is no dough to make. The hardest part is waiting on them to cool long enough to eat. You should have most of the ingredients in your kitchen. I highly recommend fresh blackberries with this recipe, but you could get away with frozen.


  • 1 can of jumbo biscuits (8 in a can)
  • flour for rolling 
  • 1 egg for washing and sealing
  • sugar for sprinkling 
Blackberry Filling
  • 2 cups of washed whole blackberries (do not crush)
  • 1/3 cup of granulated sugar
Cream Cheese Filling
  • 8 ounces of cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup of confectioners sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla 


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  • Mix whole blackberries and granulated sugar, try to lightly coat each berry, let stand for 10 minutes. 
  • Allow the cream cheese to soften before using. In a separate bowl mix cream cheese, confectioners sugar, and vanilla. Don't stress if your mixture is a little lumpy, it will eventually melt. 
  • Beat an egg in a separate bowl to seal pies and "wash" the tops. 
  • On a floured surface roll out an individual biscuit. It should make a 5 inch circle (roughly).
  • Place a tablespoon of cream cheese mixture in the center of the biscuit and lightly spread around one side. Don't get too close to the edge.
  • Layer berries on one side covering the cream cheese mixture. 
  • Using a brush, lightly dust the rim of the circle with the beaten egg.
  • Fold 1/2 of the dough over to cover the berries and cream cheese, try to keep the edges aligned.
  • Crimp with a fork to seal.
  • Cut an X in the top of the dough to make an air vent.
  • "Wash" the top of the pie with egg mixture.
  • Sprinkle liberally with sugar.
  • Place on a greased baking sheet.
  • Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown
  • Only build one pie at a time, the dough won't stay rolled out for very long.
  • Try to be gentle with the berries, they are a mess when crushed.
  • This recipe is obviously baked, but you could fry them in shortening.

What is your favorite way to eat a blackberry? My favorite is probably straight from the vine; I refer to it as quality control.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Making a House a Home: Wayfair Daily Sales

This post is sponsored by Wayfair and is part of the daily sales email campaign.

I have transitioned from having a 2200 square foot house, to an 800 square foot apartment, back to a 4500+ square foot house. As our move-in date approaches, I panic thinking about the costs associated with furnishing such a large home.
I enjoy having a beautiful and stylish home, but I don't want to go broke spending lots of money on home decor. It is no secret that I am a bargain shopper. I don't like cheap furniture either and it can be hard to find a good deal on high quality pieces. I discovered Wayfair: the online store where you can find almost anything for your home. The advantage to shopping Wayfair is that you can often read reviews about products that you are ordering, and they offer daily sales where you can score some fantastic deals. 


The sales are on items routinely found on; they launch every day at 12 EST, and last for 72 hours, but quantities are limited. The categories are curated into groups such as dining and furniture, cottage-chic wall decor, entryway updates, etc. The items are discounted from their regular list price.

In one of my daily sales emails I noticed they were advertising accent chairs under $200. What kind of accent chair could you get for under $200? I fell in love with this Deco Slipper Chair in Charcoal which was only $82.99 with free shipping; I was astonished. The reviews on the chair were great. I decided that it was a deal too great to pass up, and I was impressed when the chair arrived. It was gorgeous.

A random photo I captured in our session. 
I have the perfect place for the chair when we move in: it will go in the office. But accent chairs in a photographer's home often serve a dual purpose: I have been known to relocate chairs to use in photo shoots. I decided to give my new chair a quick test run with my future niece, KK. The picture on the right is an outtake from our little mini photo session. As you can see, KK was impressed.

I also ordered a pair of outdoor throw pillows for a wooden porch swing. They were equally beautiful, and a great value at $22.99 for both.

You can sign up for the Wayfair daily sales emails in the link below. I receive no commission from email sign-up. I encourage anyone who might be interested in getting good deals on items for your home to do so. They have offered daily deals on great brands like Le Creuset, KitchenAid, and Safavieh.

When we get moved into the house, I will post updated photos of my slipper chair and pillows along with a few other Wayfair items. 

Sign up for Wayfair Daily Sales Emails

I am a Wayfair Homemaker and I received a gift card as compensation for this post, however all opinions contained herein are my own.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Writing with Sparklers: Photography Friday

sparkler photography                                                                                             Did you ever see cool photos of "sparkler writing" and want to try to recreate it? It isn't as hard as you might think. Actually, it is pretty easy with any DSLR camera. I have a few tricks and tips to try while photographing someone writing with a sparkler. It is a fun activity to document your family holiday or even a wedding. I did individual letters so I could print and frame them, but you can try whole words. I made the image below using four letters and a storyboard. I let Jeremy do the writing in these photos so that I could photograph them, but tonight I hope to do some writing of my own while Jeremy manages the camera. 

Here is what you need:
  • DSLR camera
  • Tripod or some level surface to sit your camera on
  • Safety sparklers (the ones that don't burn all the way to the end) 
  • A person who is handy at writing backwards or some type of photo editing software.

Camera settings:
  • I shot on Bulb mode (labeled B on my camera dial) with my Canon EOS 7D 
Writing with the sparkler:
  • You will write a mirror image of whatever you want to read. It isn't that difficult, and just takes a few practice attempts. If you have Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, or other photo editing software you can go in and "flip" the image so that you don't write backwards. 
  • Frame up the shot and give whoever is writing dimensions. I told Jeremy to keep the writing directly in front of him. It will make your letters look uniform when you upload them. 
Taking the shot:
  • Tell whoever is writing to let you know when they are going to start and finish each letter. 
  • As they begin writing press and hold the shutter button. You will keep it depressed until they finish each letter. The camera will only capture what they wrote while the shutter button was held down.
  • Show the person writing the images that you took between sparklers, it will give them an idea of how to adjust their writing. We averaged 3 or 4 letters per sparkler. 

Happy July 4th, and have a safe and fun time writing with sparklers!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Dr. Thomas Walker State Park: Wordless Wednesday

A story can be told in pictures as well as words. Here are a few photos from a family afternoon at 
Dr. Thomas Walker State Park just outside of Barbourville, Kentucky.