Friday, December 31, 2010

Our vasectomy reversal journey

3D of Baby B, 19w4D
From August 2007 to February 2010 my husband and I used a vasectomy as our means of contraception and family planning. Considering the stress that was in our lives and our marriage in those early years of the vasectomy we didn't give the choice a second thought. However, God had other plans for my marriage and family. First came a 180 degree improvement in my marriage thanks to a lot of hard work on our part and an even bigger helping hand from Him.

After those issues were fixed God began working on our heart regarding our choice for family planning. Sometime in the Spring of 2009 my husband and I began seriously reconsidering our vasectomy choice and began our vasectomy reversal journey (vasovasostomy). I wish I had known way back then what an emotional journey we were about to embark upon. I suppose all the trials and tribulations were little tests of our true faith.

Our journey began with heartache and frustration. My husband met with the urologist that did his vasectomy and while he found out that because we were under the 5 year mark we were excellent candidates for a successful reversal. Bad part, reversals are not covered by insurance and we were going to have to pay upward of $5000. Where in the world were we going to find that kind of money? My hopes we dashed. I can distinctly remember sitting in my car after a shopping trip to a local plant nursery crying my eyes out from frustration. I honestly thought this would be an easy process. Get it reversed, assumed it would be covered by insurance, and we'd be well on our way to growing our family the way God intended and commanded in scripture. Boy was I wrong!

After the discovery that we'd have to pay for the surgery ourselves we came up with a budget and began scrimping in other areas of our expenses whenever and wherever possible. God's hand was upon us once again when he put me in touch with another homeschool Mom on the same journey towards a vasectomy reversal. She was a wealth of information, stuff I hadn't even considered. I felt truly blessed the day she emailed me without prompting and offered up her invaluable advice. I spoke with this wonderful via email in late 2009/early 2010. As a result of that conversation we found a wonderful Dr. in Texas who has a reversal ministry and does micro-vasosostomy for a fraction of the cost we had originally budgeted for. Because of our budgeting and saving we had about 95% of the costs including travel expenses saved. I called the Dr.'s office in January 2010 to inquire about their procedures, costs, requirements, etc. At that time they were scheduling about 3 months out however, as if God's hand was upon us yet again they had 1 opening 2 weeks from the date that I spoke with her. I quickly called my husband to see if that date was ok with him and he said yes. Almost overnight I went from dispair to elation, we were one step closer to making our vasectomy reversal a reality and we weren't going to go in debt because of it. Oh how far we'd come from crying in the plant nursery parking lot!

With arrangements made we were off to Texas to make God's plan for our family a reality. I thought we were golden, end of story. Bada bing, bada boom. We'd have the reversal, get pregnant and be well on our way. Little did I know that the most difficult and emotional part of our journey still lay ahead of us.

The surgery itself went very well. As a Christian ministry, the Dr. and his staff said a prayer over my husband before surgery started. I was allowed to stand/sit at my husband's head and comfort his as best I could during the surgery. Being a biologist, I was also intrigued to be able to watch the surgery up close. Certainly a memorable experience. My poor husband was in a lot of pain after the surgery with the plane trip home being the hardest part. He is a trooper though and made it through as best he could. I know his discomfort level went down a lot when we took his stitches out.

Much to our surprise and against Dr.'s orders 3 weeks later we found out we were pregnant. We were elated! See, I knew this would be an easy journey once the reversal was completed. Boy was I wrong! I miscarried the very same day I tested positive. Crushed, disappointed, frustrated, confused; none of it can even begin to describe the range of emotions I was experiencing. As a couple we had never had any problems getting pregnant or staying pregnant. I knew I was fortunate in that regard but honestly took a lot of it for granted. I had friends who struggled month after month to get pregnant, I told them I understood but in reality I didn't. You can't truly understand or appreciate emotional struggles until you experience them yourself.

My miscarriage was painful physically and emotionally. I tried my best to pick myself up and move on. I had no reason to believe that we wouldn't be pregnant in another month or two at most. I miscarried on a Saturday and the following Sunday while at church a dear friend of mine loaned me the book A Mom Just Like You by Vickie Farris (wife of HSLDA's founder Michael Farris). It is a book mainly on homeschooling from a Mom's real life point of view but Vickie also struggled with miscarriage after deciding to follow scripture regarding birth control. When my dear friend mentioned that Vickie was a homeschool Mom who struggled with miscarriage after opening her heart to God's will for her family I BURST out in tears; we were in our adult Sunday school class so this was not an easy event to hide from others. We both immediately knew that her willingness to loan me the book unprompted was God's doing. What a blessing that book was for me on my journey. After devouring that book in a day I moved onto other books with a similar theme; following God's will for birth control as dictated in scripture. The books I read were all written by real Moms on real journeys. What a blessing those words of advice were to me at a time of grieving and severe frustration.

In May 2010 when we still were not pregnant I kindly asked my husband to make another appointment with his urologist to have his sperm tested. I really wanted to know what (if anything) was causing our inability to get pregnant so easily like the times before. I was afraid his tubes had grown back together or he had torn one or both of them picking up our toddler inadvertently those first few weeks of his recovery. The results of his testing showed that his numbers were good but the little guys didn't want to swim. I also had my own suspicions about my fertility. In the 4 years since last giving birth and more prominently since my miscarriage I had noticed a change in my own body. I began to doubt I was ovulating and I knew my "moisture level" down there wasn't like it had been in the years past. Combining all these factors, all I could think was that the cards were stacked against us. All I could think is "God, why did you bring us down this road only to close the doors to allowing us to conceive and successfully carry to term?". Yes, He was testing my faith. I was failing his test miserably! Feeling led to research natural methods to remedy our problems I came upon some great websites that helped me develop a plan. In June 2010 my husband and I both began taking supplements to help with our fertility challenges. Again, I was hopeful that we'd be back on track and conceive easily. The supplements I began taking showed an improvement almost immediately. Men are different. It typically takes 3 months for their supplements to make a difference in their swimmers, just by nature of their biology. Despite knowing this, month after month ticked by with more frustration and tears. When my cycle arrived in August I was at the end of my emotional ropes. I cried, moped around the house, and finally just gave up. I prayed a very long prayer and gave it all up to Him. I was no longer going to get my hopes up each month only to have them dashed every 4 weeks.

I no longer had expectations for conceiving. I began to think that perhaps this long journey was just a test of faith. God wanted to see how far we were willing to follow his calling for our lives. I thought perhaps He really never had any intention of allowing us to actually grow our family like we had hoped. I quickly settled back into my routine with my 3 kids. I ramped up our homeschool work and was content with where we were as a family of 5.

When the last weekend in August rolled around I held out no hopes for a positive pregnancy test. However, when the day I was due for my cycle came and went I started to get suspicious. We were in the middle of the house buying process though and just assumed I was stressed. I have skipped a cycle once before without being pregnant about 7 years ago so I knew it was possible. I was due on a Friday so when Saturday and Sunday rolled around without a trace I knew I was going to have to test just to make sure I wasn't, which I had already assumed it would be negative. But as any woman who is trying to get pregnant will tell you, you ALWAYS have a slight hope for a positive even despite all the negative thinking and convincing otherwise that we all do to ourselves. Monday morning, Labor day 2010 I woke up early to test. As with my other 2 pregnancies the pink line was almost immediate. It was faint though and I questioned myself if I was seeing things. Holding the test closer to the window I realized I wasn't just imagining things. I crept back up upstairs and woke my husband up with the good news. It was exactly 3 months since first starting our supplements. It had worked!

I was excited but also nervous considering our earlier loss. I tried my best to comfort myself with the knowledge that even on the day of testing, I was farther along with this pregnancy than I was when I lost the baby earlier this year. Everyday I stayed pregnant I said a prayer of thanks and asked for just one more day of being pregnant. Was our journey to growing our family really over? Had we actually made it through the storm successfully? I could hardly believe the road we had traveled. I had felt alone and frustrated but once we were through it I knew God was with me every step of the way, he never left, but rather carried me through the rougher patches of the journey.

I am encouraged and hopeful for 2 other homeschool Moms I know who are on a similar vasectomy reversal journey. And to anyone else out there that might be reading this, whether you are considering a reversal or are in the low spots of this journey please do not give up hope. No matter the end result, you are following God's will for your family as commanded by scripture.

I am also happy to announce that not only are we expecting one blessing but rather 2 beautiful blessings. God has blessed us with so far healthy identical twin girls! The journey is clearly not over yet, God has big plans for my family. I am excited to see what those plans include being a Mom to twins.

If you are considering a vasectomy reversal and would like more information please do not hesitate to contact me. I am more than happy to share any and all information I have to provide, including the Dr. and his wonderful ministry that made all this financially possible.

 Due to the tremendous outpouring of response I have received from this post I want to also include the primary source I used when researching supplements to help with our infertility problems. Natural Fertility Info

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Thursday, December 30, 2010

From 3 to 5 kids in an instant!

If you are friends with me on facebook you already know the recent news but for those of you who I haven't connected with yet on FB I am excited to share our most recent life changing news with all of you.

The Monday before Christmas was my standard 20 week ultrasound appointment and OB checkup. Within an instant of the ultrasound beginning our entire world was turned upside down and doubly blessed. I am overwhelmingly excited to announce that we are expecting twin girls, most likely identical.

I had my suspicions with this pregnancy but never in my wildest dreams did I think my suspicions were correct. I chalked up my extreme nausea to being older (it has been 4 years since my last pregnancy so a lot can change hormonally), my overwhelming exhaustion was also due to being older, and my bigger then normal belly was because this is pregnancy #3. See I had reasonable excuses for everything different I was experiencing. When my nausea started to diminish around week 14 I really knew it couldn't be twins, wouldn't I be sicker longer than with my singletons if I really was carrying twins? Apparently not. I started feeling undeniable movements at week 13 and had inklings of movement a few weeks before then. I felt my singletons move for the first time closer to week 16 or so. Lastly, at about week 15 or so I could feel two definite "hard" areas in my belly. One low like I would expect and another on my right side. Yet again, I had a reason. I was just having a bigger than normal baby. My husband is over a foot taller than I am so this was a plausible explanation.

My husband and I joked back and forth a few times in the weeks leading up to my 20 week appointment about twins. Never in our wildest dreams did we think it would be true. I have to admit though, in all honesty, being a mother of twins is something I have day dreamed about since I was a young teenager. Not really sure why that is, it is just something I thought would be interesting, different, and definitely a fun life experience. My husband has always known I've dreamed about twins but like me never really thought it would ever be reality.

God clearly has an interesting plan for our lives! I am excited to unravel the chapters of our life that lay ahead.

In a post later this week I will tell the story of how this pregnancy might never have been. His hand is clearly elbow deep in our lives, not merely laying upon it!

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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Extensive list of free or discount baby items

While browsing a Mom chat board I came across this incredibly extensive and a tad bit repetitive list of free, discount, and coupon offer lists from a wide variety of companies. I suppose I am posting this as much for my reader's use as for my own so I know where to find this info in a few months when I have time to call these various companies. Also, I'd love to hear what you receive if you call these resources yourself. Many of the resources listed on the top are for Moms of multiples, but this list is extensive and there are plenty of discounted offers and free products for Moms of singletons as well.

*Free New Mothers Kit From Pfizer Call
1-800-223-0182-Say you are
interested in the New Mother's Kit and also let them know if you are having twins or triplets. They will ask how you heard of this offer, tell them a friend told you. You get Desitin, Pediacare, Purell, and other Pfizer products.

*Evenflo 1-800-233-
Baby free gift pack for Multiples-full of bottles, nipples and toys

*Window Covering Safety Council 
free childproofing kit for window blinds, Call 1-800-506-4636

*Avent 1-800-54-AVENT 
free info and sample (wonderful samples for breastfeeding mother)

Baby Mil or Baby soy 1-800-344-1358 - Free samples and coupons

*Balmex 1-866-844-2798 press 0 - 
free sample/coupons

*Carnation Good Start 1-800-242-5200 
free club with checks free and dollars off formula if you have twins or more they will send you even more coupons for free formula.

*Del Monte 1-800-USA- 
BABY (coupons/samples)

*Earths Best 1-800-434-4246 press #1 for 
free coupons

Free Evenflo Product Coupons, Booklets and Information, Call 1-800-356-2229

*First Years 1-800-533-6708 
free toys for Multiples

*Gerber 1-800-443-7237 
free coupons - be sure you tell them if you are having multiples

*Huggies 1-800-544-1847 samples and coupons (make sure you tell them if you are having twins/triplets)

*Johnson and Johnson 1-800-526-3967 coupons, and for multiples coupons for 
free items.

*Luvs 1-800-699-7916 coupons for Multiples

*Pedia Care 1-800-717-2824 $23.00 in cents off coupons and coupons for 
free items new mothers pack (some of their products are Desitin, Listerine, Pedia Care, Purell) Great pack

*Similac 1-800-
Baby-Line Welcome addition club checks for formula and info

*Twins magazine 1-888-558-9467 they will send you a back issue to see if you like it.

*Nestle Infant Nutrition 1-800-222-0453 They send coupons for 5 cans of carnation good start formula

*Playtex Products 1800-222-0453 Twins-bottle kit, liners and pacifiers. Triplets-2 bottle kits, liners and pacifiers. Quads-3 bottle kits, liners and pacifiers

*Evenflo Products Multiple Birth Program 1000 Evenflo
Drive Canton,
GA 30114 1-800-356-2229 Twins-starter kit, disposable liners and
coupons. Triplets-starter kits, liners, coupons and bibs Quads-starter kits, liners, coupons and bibs

*Scott Paper Co. - Call 1-800-TEL-SCOT to receive 
free Baby Fresh Wipes for multiples.

*Playtex Products 1800-222-0453 Twins-bottle kit, liners and pacifiers. Triplets-2 bottle kits, liners and pacifiers. Quads-3 bottle kits, liners and pacifiers

*Johnson & Johnson 1-800-526-3967 Twins-gift packet. Triplets-gift packet. Quads-gift packet

*Mead & Johnson 1-800-222-9123 You can receive a one time shipment of complimentary formula; one case for each baby.

*Proctor & Gamble Company Pampers Multiple Birth  Program 1-800-543- 0480 Preemie Pampers can be purchased by the case by calling 1-800-543-4932.

*Beechnut Food Corp 800-beechnut Twins-promotional packet and 2x the coupons. Triplets promotional packet and 3x the coupons. Quads-promotional packet and 4x the coupons.

*Bristol-Myers Multiple Birth Program 1800-422-2902 ask for coupons and samples.

*H.J. HeinzConsumer Services 1-800-872-2229 Send coupons for 
baby products

*Modial Industries 216-626-4490 Different gifts, some people get diaper genies

*Carnation 800-242-5200 Carnation does not have a multiple program, but you can call every week or so and get coupons. They do have an Special Delivery Club for expectant mothers:1-800-547-9400, Carnation sends booklets on pregnancy, nutrition, formula coupons, samples, order forms for upcoming programs and other pamphlets.

*Midas 800-621-0144 Midas dealers offer discounts on car sets. You can return the seats to Midas and get credit for
services at any Midas shop.

*Ross Laboratories (Similac)1-800-222-9546 Welcome Addition Club -Call to join the club and receive coupons. Talk to your peditritionfor local rep. Will usually give a case of formula per 

*Scott Paper Co.1-800-TEL-SCOTTwins-coupons for 
free Baby Fresh and Wash a-bye BabyTriplets-coupons for free Baby Fresh and Wash a-bye BabyQuads-coupons for free Baby Fresh and Wash a-bye Baby
*Ansa Bottle Co., 1-800-527-1096 Triplets or more only

*Little Me, 1-800-533-5437/1-301-729-4488 Triplets or more only;

*Mother's Little Miracle, 1-310-544-7125 Triplets or more only;

*One Step Ahead Catalog, 1-800-274-8440

*COUPON for a 
FREE any size Baby Magic Product 1-800-228-7408

American Academy of Pediatrics 1-800-433 9016 Parent Resource Guide

Babysitter Safety Booklet ask for booklet #12 1-800-843-5678

Beechnut's mailing 
list, coupons 1-800-523 6633

Booklets & Info for Moms-to-Be from the March of Dimes

Breast pump and infant care catalog from US Medical
Corp. 1-800-408-7633

Breast feeding healing and soothing lotion

Carnation Follow-Up Formula coupons and informative booklet (formula for babies eating solid foods), 1-800-242-5200 (ext.291)

Carnation The Very Best Magazine, can of formula coupons 1-800-242-5200

Cedar 1-800-GO CEDAR video for play sets, and catalog

Children's shoes catalog, 1-800-MY5-TOES

Diaper Genie for twins or more (call before 3 months old) 1-800-843-6430

Diaper Rash Ointment 1-800-587 3721 sample

Earth's Best (
baby food) newsletter, coupons 1-800-442-4221

EvenFlo 1-800-356 
BABY or 1-800-233 BABY coupons and information

Family Beginnings Club For expecting parents
BABY 123

Fisher Price 1-800-432 KIDS catalog and information

Flanders Buttocks Ointment samples for Diaper Rash.
Send two loose stamps and your address to: Flanders Marketing, P.O.
Box 5323, Aiken,
SC 29804

Folic Acid and It's Role in Preventing Birth Defects Booklet, good for before and during pregnancy. 1-888-232-6789

Gerber 1-800-4 GERBER prenatal pack, also for coupons later

Guide For a Strong and Healthy 
Baby ask for phd603

Guide to Infant Play pamphlet from Sassy for 0-18 months. 1-616-243-0767

Heinz 1-800-872 2229 
Baby Food coupons and Booklet

Baby Club For Canadians 1-800-565-2100

Home safety tips, 1-877-UL-4-SAFE

Information on Advantage Sound and motion Bassinets,

Information on BeBe Sounds Prenatal Listening device.

Information on ear infections and a booklet on you 
baby's language development and hearing 1-800-587-DAVS or visit

Information on homeopathic medicines for children,

Information on why you should have your 
baby's umbilical cord blood saved,

Introductory Subscription to American 
Baby Magazine for Expecting Parents (Will be billed after introduction offer.) 1-800-678 1208

Johnson & Johnson 1-800-526-3967 for New Parent's Pack of coupons and info

Kimberley-Clark (Huggies) 1-800-544-1847 press 1, 1, 1 automated mailing 
list also Proof-of-Purchase Catalog, and Huggies rebate forms: 1-800-990-4448

K-mart 1-800-533 0143 Birthday Club

Little Me: 
baby wear catalog 1-800-533-5437

Little Remedies coupons, info, and poster (Little Noses decongestant aids, Little Tummy gas and nausea relief, etc)

Magnetized chart for your fridge Write to: Advil Forum on Health
Education, Dept. CAM, 1500 Broadway, 25th Floor, New
York, NY 10036

Maternity clothes catalog,1-800-966-6847 for Maternity Factory Outlet

Mayo Clinic Complete Book of Pregnancy and 
Baby's First Year from
State Farm, 1-888-SF EVENT (1-888-733-8368)

Motherhood Maternity Catalog, 1-800-4-MOM2BE they have nursing and plus sizes cloths

Motherwear 1-800-633 0303 catalog for moms who breast feed

Munchkin coupons (for bottles, nipples, etc.),

Pantene Pro-V Essentials! Choose from instant hair quencher, body enhancer, and ultimate hair therapy. 1-800-776-8424

Playtex Product Coupons, Booklets and Information,1-800-222-0453

Pregnancy Diary Myself My 
Baby (Spanish Version Only) to take you step by step through your pregnancy. Write to:
National Maternal
Child Health Clearinghouse, 8201 Greensboro Dr., Suite
600, McLean,
VA 22102 1-703-821-8955 ext. 254

Pregnancy guide CD, 1-888-933-5383

Pregnancy planner from the National Women's Health Resource Center  and the Consumer Healthcare Products Association. It's a 10 month blank calendar loaded with pregnancy tips and information. 1-877-986-9472

Preventing and Treating Your 
Baby's Diaper Rash pamphlet, and a $1 off any size from Balmex, 1-800-777-2500

Ross Labs (Similac For Canadians 1-800-518-CLUB coupons and samples

Ross Labs (Similac) 1-800-BABYLINE Welcome Addition Club

Safety Kit for Halogen Lamps 1-800-985-2220

Sample of Zilactin 
Baby Teething Gel, 1-800-746-8888
ext. 715

Schering Plough 1-800-522-7300 video on child allergies and pollen index chart

The 1st years 1-800-533-6708 product catalog and coupons

Toy Safety Coloring Book for kids (ask for item #283) and you can also ask for a booklet on safe playground tips for
children 1-800-638-2772

Triaminic 1-888-935-5543 information and coupon

Tylenol 1-800-962-5357 information

Video on water contamination, lead exposure, health effects, and what parents can do to protect their children. 1-800-604-1995

Window Covering Safety Council 1-800-506-4636 childproofing kit for window blinds

Women after childbirth: a pamphleted Depression After Delivery to help you determine if you have postpartum blues or need help with deeper feelings. Write to Depression After Delivery,
Box 278, Belle
Mead, NJ 08502 or 1-800-944-4773

You're A New Parent! Guide from Prudential Insurance
ext. 3076

Baby's Development, a color booklet about child development from birth to 18 months. 1-888-344-BABY


Carnation "Special Delivery Club", for expectant parents. You get pamphlets on prenatal care and nutrition and product samples, coupons and other goodies for the new 

For parents of multiples, write Evenflo for information and requirements to receive their promotional items for
multiple births, including samples.

Call Midas for information on discount car seats for infants.

First Name Almanac. Receive a free igraphied presentation of a first name, its meaning, personality traits of persons with that name and other neat little things.

Johnson and Johnson offers 
free booklets and samples, coupons etc....on a wide variety of subjects ranging from baby products to personal health care.

Kodak. for information on the "New Parent Program".Includes discounts and coupons on Kodak photograph equipment and film.

Osh-Kosh by Gosh. to join the parents club and receive 
free coupons and special promotional offers.

For Munchkin coupons (for bottles, nipples, etc.)

Free "Lansinoh" sample - For Moist Wound Healing During Breast feeding

Free "Bulb Guard" Safety Kits for Halogen Lamps
(request by postcard)

Free J & J "New Parent's Packet" of Baby Product Coupons (ask rep)

Fisher Price Rewards Program /

Feeding / Food:

Free Evenflo Product Coupons, Booklets and Information

Beech Nut 
Baby Food. to receive rebate forms that you return with UPC labels to receive coupons good towards future purchases of baby food

Free $5 Rebate on a Case of "Babymil" or "Babysoy"


(Ext. 291) Carnation Follow-Up Formula for kids now eating more than just milk offers information pack and money saving coupons.

Baby Basics Formula

1-800-242 -200 (ext. 291) Carnation "The Very Best"Magazine

Free Carnation Baby Formula Coupons

Free Carnation Baby Formula Coupons and Booklet (x010)

Welcome Addition Club (Similac) ,Free Similac, Isomil or Other Formula Coupons

Educational Materials

Free Mead/Johnson Coupons toward Enfamil, ProSobee,
Other Formulas
Baby Food

Beechnut's mailing 
listfree coupons

Earth's Best (
baby food) newsletter, coupons

prenatal pack, also for coupons later 1-800-443-7237

Heinz Food Coupons and Booklet (press #2)




Diaper Rash Ointment sample

1-800-544-1847 (press 1, 1, 1 )
Kimberly Clark (Huggies: to get to the automated

Kimberly Clark (Huggies) Huggies rebate form

"Preventing and Treating Your 
Baby's Diaper Rash"
pamphlet, and a $1
off any size from Balmex,

Free Diaper Rash Cream sample from Xttrium Labs (in

Diaper Genie

Free Kimberley-Clark Product Coupons,
Booklets and

Free Proctor and Gamble (Pampers/Luvs) Product Coupons
and Booklets

Store Brand Diaper (Big Lots)

Feeding Supplies

BABY or 1-800-233-BABY
Evenflo coupons and information

The 1st years product catalog and coupons

Playtex Product Coupons, Booklets and Information

Johnson & Johnson for "New Parent's Pack" of coupons
and info


Free Tylenol Product Coupons for Tylenol Products of
Your Choice

Free information and coupon

1-800-746-8888 (ext. 715)
Free sample of "Zilactin" Baby Teething Gel

Free Baby OraJel Coupons for Cherry Flavor and
Nighttime Formula

Orajel Rebate !!!

Free Magnetic Dose Chart and $2 Coupon on Children's
Motrin Cold

Little Remedies coupons, info, and poster (Little
Noses decongestant
aids, Little Tummys gas and nausea relief, etc) 

"Just in Case You Need a Babysitter" Safety Booklet
ask for booklet

1-800-843-7625 ext. 3076 For a "You're A New Parent!"
Guide from
Prudential Insurance

"Preventing and Treating Your 
Baby's Diaper Rash"
pamphlet, and a $1
off any size from Balmex

Baby's Development," a color booklet about child
from birth to 18 months.

Free Breastfeeding healing and soothing lotion to get on their mailing list. For
multiple births,
they have a one time offer of a certificate for a 
package of
diapers. Other coupons. Send confirmation of births
to: AHP, ATTN:
Drypers Multiple Birth Program, Box 8830, Vancouver,
WA 98666-8830.

MeadJohnson/Enfamil - 1-800-

Drypers will send you coupons in exchange for your unused points from other diapers. Check it out. You'll get $10.50 in coupons for 50-125 points or $21.00 in coupons for 126+ points. There is also a link on the page for a 
Free Goodie Pack.
"Enfamil Family Beginnings" Register to receive newsletter, coupons, etc. Also, go to for a free diaper bag at the hospital!

Ross Labs/Similac 1-800-BABYLINE "Welcome Addition Club" They send you a starter supply of formula along with coupons. If your child needs to be put on Alimentum formula due to allergies, you can request a starter supply of that as well. (That is expensive stuff!!!)

Carnation "The Very Best" Magazine, 
free can of
formula coupons 1-800-
CARNATION (1-800-242-5200)

Gerber 1-800-443-7237 for coupons for food, toys, and clothes. before the baby is born for a prenatal pack. After the birth you can when your baby reaches each of the stages 1,2,and 3 and they will send you coupons.

baby food: 1-800-872-2229 after your baby is born. They will send coupons.

Beechnut: for new parent info and coupons. The web site will list any promos they have at the time.

Kimberly Clark/Huggies  you can be put on the mailing list bying or signing up online. other sites are and Munchkins bottles and accessories, free coupons and pamphlet.

Evenflo 1-800-233-5921 or 1-800-356-
BABY (not sure which is correct Playtex product coupons and info 1-800-222-0453 Zilactin teething gel free sample 1-800-746-8888 from last OCT. issue of Parents magazine 1-800-400-3430 free brochure on reasons for saving your baby's umbilical cord blood.

Childproofing kit for window blinds from Window
Covering Safety
Council 1-800-506-4636 Balmex 1-800-777-2500
Free pamphlet on treating diaper rash and coupon 1st
Years- 1-800-533-
6708 catalog and coupons Goodnights disposable diapers
free sample
and coupons 1-800-324-8783

K-mart birthday club 1-800-533-0143

Pampers- 1-800-PAMPERS Ask for
coupons. sign up for e-mail newsletter. You can
also get info on
their promos 1-800-442-4221 sign up for newsletter (this is an
food company) free info on pregnancy and babies.
Has a 
free stuff

baby's first circus ticket for free! Send baby's
name, address,
and date of birth to: Ringling Brothers. & Barnum &
Bailey Box 39845,
Dept. FB Edina, MN 55439 - devoted to information on pregnancy
and babies.
Check out the 
Free Stuff category and you will find
many of the
offers listed as hot links. - (1-800-523-6633) has information
about their
products and any special offers they have running at
the time. E-mail
or them for their new parent information. - (1-800-443-7237) - lots of
information you might
find helpful. You can join my Gerber from the web or
them to get on
the mailing 
list. You can for coupons each time your
child steps up a
stage in food. - (1-800-442-4221) - sells organic baby food. You can sign up for their newsletter on the web.

BABY - Heinz Baby Food line. You can get a one- time new parent pack with information and coupons buying and asking for it. - Sign up on-line for their e-mail newsletter to learn about new offers as they come out.

1-800-233-5921 - Evenflo - Coupons and product brochures for bottles and feeding products.

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Monday, December 13, 2010

Review: ALEKS Math TOS Crew

The latest product that we have had the chance to review for the TOS Homeschool Review Crew was ALEKS math. ALEKS math is an online math program for K-12 students. 

According to the ALEKS website:

ALEKS (Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces) is an online tutorial program:
  • Complete Curriculum Solution - Access to Full Course Library
  • No Textbook Required
  • Artificial Intelligence Targets Gaps in Student Knowledge
  • Assessment and Individualized Learning
  • Master Account - Monitor and Direct Learning Progress
  • Unlimited Online Access - PC & Mac Compatible
  • Allows Students to Toggle Between English and Spanish
Active use of ALEKS will dramatically improve grade performance and learning progress.

The ALEKS math program is not flashy, full of pretty pictures, or filled with animation to entertain. This is a straight to the point math education system that provides solid learning potential for the right child. Each student receives their own account so they can login and progress at their own speed. There is no need to repeat and review lots of unnecessary material with ALEKS, the system automatically moves the student through subjects that they have proven to have mastered. The use of pie charts gives the child a visual of their accomplishments and what is left to complete in the math course they are currently working on. 

Parents can quickly and easily monitor the progress and attendance of multiple children from a master account.

ALEKS math provides math courses for everything from basic math facts all the way through high school trigonometry. They also have math prep courses for specialized levels if this is something your children require.

How we used the product:
As someone who learns math easily, I was incredibly excited about the math learning possibilities my 4th grade son would get with our free month trial. Notice I said, was. My oldest son, who is the only one that fits in the 3-12 grade range learns math completely different than myself or my younger children. He can only learn math when there is a verbal explanation for new concepts and lots of hands on assimilation opportunities. He requires lots of examples and opportunities to practice a new math concept. He can not see problems or solutions easily in his head, although he is making progress in this area slowly. ALEKS proved to be a bit discouraging for him because new concepts are not introduced verbally. All new concepts, examples, problems, and solutions are in black and white. My oldest son quickly got bogged down with deciphering new explanations and was not grasping the bigger concept of the lesson at hand. I regularly had to sit with him while he did his ALEKS lesson to give verbal reinforcement and explanation for what he was learning. ALEKS is supposed to promote and encourage independent math learning so having to sit with him for so much time was counter productive and a drain on our homeschool day.

On the other hand, I know this program would have been golden for my first grader had he had the opportunity to experience this program. He is gifted in the area of math so as a result needs little explanation or review when learning a new math concept. I am considering a free month trial for him to see if this is a program that he will enjoy. This is not to say that your child has to be gifted to get the most from this program. Quite the contrary, so long as they do not need lots of verbal explanations for math I think any student would do just fine with ALEKS wonderful math courses. In fact, I know of plenty of other homeschoolers on the TOS Crew that had success using this program with their children who are not gifted in math.

ALEKS is offering homeschoolers a free month trial ($19.95 value). Normally, their free trial is 48 hours but ALEKS is giving homeschoolers a special deal.

Visit ALEKS for 1-Month Trial

A subscription to ALEKS is:
  • $19.95 per student, per month, or
  • only $99.95 every 6 months, or
  • only $179.95 every 12 months.

Be sure and read what other TOS crew members are saying about ALEKS!

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Friday, December 10, 2010

Review: Apologia Press Good Morning, God TOS Crew

I have yet to meet a homeschool Mom who does not loves books. Likewise, Christian homeschool Moms generally love to get their hands on solid scripture based books that they can read to their children. My children and I were very fortunate to be able to review Good Morning, God by Davis Carmen and published by Apologia Press.

Good Morning, God is a beautiful story about a 4 year old boy as he goes through one week marveling at the wonders of all that God does from sunrise to sunset. This book can be used as a simple read-aloud to young children or it can be expanded into an eight day devotional with your children. To encourage using this book as a true devotional, the author has written several discussion questions which correspond with each day in the story. The main focus of this book is on Deuteronomy 6:6-7.

As a family we chose to discuss and reflect upon one discussion question each time we read this book. I was encouraged each day to hear my children talk about what each question meant to them and I delighted in the springboard effect of questions that inevitably happened after each reading of this book. Not only is Good Morning, God beautifully written but it is also enchantingly illustrated which made reading the book even more enjoyable. From our family discussions I made mental notes of biblical topics I needed to discuss and reference more often in our studies.

Good Morning, God is recommended for children ages 1-8 but can easily be adapted for older students especially in the discussion question sections. My 9 year old was almost more enthralled in this book than his younger siblings. Additionally, Apologia Press sells a coloring book to accompany this book which retails for $4.00.

You can purchase Good Morning, God by Davis Carman from Apologia Press for $14.00.

As a member of the TOS Review Crew I received this book for free from Apologia Press in exchange for my honest review. No further compensation was received.

If you would like to read what other TOS Review Crew members are saying about Good Morning, God be sure and visit the TOS Homeschool Crew blog!

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