February is Heart Disease Awareness Month

February is Red Dress Month for Women, or Go Red for Women Month. It is sponsored by the American Heart Association, and helps inform women about the signs/symptoms of heart disease. Most of us know someone in our family who is affected by heart disease, or it may be you. In my family it is me, I have heart disease.

Did you know that women experience signs completely different then men when it comes it heart disease? Did you know that women will have symptoms of a heart attack that are drastically different then men? Do you know what those symptoms are? Well make sure you read our whole post, so you can find out.

My story of heart disease

Whew, who ever thinks that they are going to be diagnosed with heart disease? Definitely not me, never in a million year, especially not when I was just 20 years old. But, hey it happened and thanks to medical advancements I am here to tell you all about it.

When I was just 20 years old, I began experiencing fainting episodes. For no reason I would suddenly feel as if I were going to faint, and then I would wake up on the floor. Of course I called the doctor right away and got an appointment. They ran all the necessary blood work and everything came back clear. But, I was still experiencing these fainting episodes.  One time I was on vacation from college visiting my family, on my drive home I began to feel light headed so I pulled into a rest stop. Twenty minutes later I woke up, and had no idea where I was or what happened. I called my doctor and scheduled another appointment. Before my appointment I fainted again after getting out of the shower and fractured my wrist. This was it, I had enough.

I went to my doctor and demanded that he find out what was wrong with me. He said there was one last test he wanted to run, but expected it to come back clear as well.  The test he wanted to run was called a Tilt Table test. It was just as it sounds, I was strapped to a table and it tilted at an 80 degree angle which would induce stress that causes fainting. 15 minutes into my test I passed out, when I came to I remember hearing the nurses yelling at me but couldn’t understand what was happening.

The Diagnosis

After what seemed like the longest time of my life I finally had an answer. It was something I never expected to hear. A cardiologist came into my room and very bluntly told me that I needed a pacemaker or I was going to die. I had a 15 second pause in my heart rate during my test. I panicked, pure fear coursed through my body as she left the room and left me with her physicians assistant. My first thought was to call my daddy, he would know what to do. Any parent can tell you that getting a phone call from your hysterical child saying they need heart surgery is absolutely terrifying.

I was diagnosed with Neurocardiogenic Syncope and Sick Sinus Syndrome. In simple terms my heart  slows down so much that I pass out and my hearts natural pacemaker doesn’t work properly. We had several opinions after the initial diagnosis all confirming what the first Cardiologist said. Although one doctor did agree to try medication first. Being that I was only 20 years old at the time, we went with this option. Several months later I was still having issues, symptoms, fainting and I had enough. After fainting why working, I was transported by ambulance to the hospital where I made the final decision to have the surgery to place the pacemaker.

The Recovery

The down side to having a pacemaker placed is that you lose the use of your left arm for six weeks as the scar tissue grows around the leads placed in your heart. You are prevented from lifting your arm above your head, pushing, pulling, lifting etc. Not the easiest that’s for sure.

I started to feel semi normal again after a few weeks. It was a painful surgery as they make a pocket in your chest muscles for the pacemaker.  The fainting was getting better, we had to find the perfect settings for my pacemaker and it took a bit of time to get them perfect. But once they did, it was awesome. I was able to start living my life again with out the fear of passing out. 

Luckily for me I made a full recovery after my surgery and live a happy 9 years with my pacemaker. It wasn’t without it’s ups and downs, I had problems a few times but they were easily corrected with adjusting my pacemaker settings. The battery life varies on your pacemaker based on the frequency of use. My battery lasted 9 years, and was replaced on 1/31/2017.  Boy did I forget just how painful this surgery could be, haha. This time around I don’t have as many limitations, but I do have some. Like no lifting, keeping it clean and dry to avoid infection. The struggles I face, as taking care of my little guy, cleaning house, cooking, everyday normal tasks. But heres hoping I don’t need surgery for several more year.

Are you at risk for heart disease?

Does heart disease run in your family? Yes, no, or you don’t know? If you don’t know, then ask. It is very important to know your medical history. Do you know the signs and symptoms of a heart attack?  Well, lets find out together.

First thing first, schedule a well woman visit with your primary care doctor. Have them check your blood pressure, and Body Mass Index. Schedule blood work to find out your total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol and blood sugar. Speak with your doctor about any family history regarding heart disease. If you have a higher risk of heart disease, consider scheduling an appointment with a cardiologist for a check up. What can it hurt, sure there is your copay, deductible and taking time out of your day. But what if I told you that making that appointment could save your life one day. Are you willing to schedule it now? You can download and take this risk factor quiz and bring it with you to your health care check up.

Signs and Symptoms of a Heart Attack

According to the American Heart Association these are the signs and symptoms of a heart attack in women.

  • Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
  • Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath, with or without chest discomfort.
  • Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
  • As with men, the most common heart attack symptom in women is chest pain or discomfort. But it’s important to note that women are more likely to experience the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.

If you or someone you love is experiencing symptoms of a heart attack, it is VERY important that you follow these steps.

  • Do not wait to call for help. Dial 9-1-1, make sure to follow the operator’s instructions and get to a hospital right away.
  • Do not drive yourself or have someone drive you to the hospital unless you have no other choice.
  • Try to stay as calm as possible and take deep, slow breaths while you wait for the emergency responders.

Always remember one thing. Heart disease does not care if you are 20 or 75, it can strike at any time. Make your self aware of the signs and symptoms to help save your life, or the life of someone you know and love.


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Coolit Plate Review

Do you struggle with screaming kids at dinner time? I can’t eat this mommy, its too hot! Mommy, blow on my spaghetti! Mom, it’s like lava(my husband grew up saying this)! Mom, it burned my tongue! Well, it’s finally here! A product to help with this task in the quickest way possible. No more sticking it in the freezer for what seems like a life time to your 4 year old, but is really only 5 minutes who then take this time to throw a fit and roll all over the kitchen floor.

So this Christmas my sister-in- law got me a Coolit plate. I opened it and thought, how cool could this really be?(Pun intended) So I gave it a wash and plopped it in the freezer. The recommended freeze time before use is 4 hours. Not so bad considering it was late morning when I added it to the freezer. It would be ready in time for dinner.


The Coolest Product out there

The Coolit, is a 2″x8″ dish that holds about a cup of food, and cools food in approximately one minute. This product is made by two loving parents, who have two littles of their own and have experience with dinner time melt downs. 

WOW! Can I say that I am AMAZED at how COOL this product is! Seriously! The first meal I used it for was Spaghetti. I figured it would cool quickly, and be ready for the table in seconds. Chief had been all over me in the kitchen wanting to know when his noodles would be done because he was starving. No mention of the fact he ate a snack 15 minutes before I started cooking. 

After many uses I decided to try it the other night when I made beef stew in our Instant Pressure Cooker. I took the soup straight from the pot practically still boiling and placed it in the bowl. Within the first minute the broth was cool enough to eat, but the meat and veggies were still fairly hot. I Poured the broth into a bowl and chopped up the veggies and meat a tad smaller and they cooled within the second minute. Afterwards though the bowl was not cool enough to cool another meal.

I have noticed that with some meals such as pastas, meats, and veggies, that you can get at least two servings out of one Coolit plate, but when used with the hot soup I was only able to get one serving. If you have more then 2 little kids, or plan to use it frequently on soups I would recommend you get more then one Coolit plate.


Directions for Coolit

The Coolit is seriously easy to use. There are 4 steps to the Coolit process.

  1. Wash Coolit before first use and place in the freeze for at least 4 hours before use.
  2. Place hot foods on frozen Coolit(cut larger pieces into smaller chunks)
  3. Stir for approximately 1 minute or until cool.
  4. Test food to make sure it is at a good temperature, and transfer to plate.

Seriously, that’s it! Time for dinner!

Overall, I really recommend this product. I wish I had know about it sooner, it would have helped with meal time as we usually had to place Chief’s dinner in the freezer for 5 minutes before it was cool enough to eat.

If you would like to order this product or find more information about this product, you can find it here. This review is my own personal opinion and I was not provided anything as compensation to write this review.


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Is Your Car Seat Installed Properly?

A topic that is very near and dear to my heart is car seat safety. Even before I had Chief, I was always the crazy person who was obsessed with car seats. This got even worse when I got pregnant with Chief. I did extensive research to find the perfect seat for our new little squish. I did extensive research to make sure I knew how to properly install his car seat and how to place him properly in the seat.

Car seat facts

Did you know that 4 out of 5 car seats are installed incorrectly? Do you know if your’s is installed correctly? Did you read your manual before installing your seat?

Here are a few major tips you should go out and check with your car seat now.

  • Is your seat installed correctly? Is there less then 1inch of movement at the base of the seatbelt path.
    • To determine this, take your non dominate hand and firmly grasp the base of your seat at the seatbelt path and shake. If there is more then 1 inch movement then your seat is installed incorrectly. Make sure to tighten the latch straps, or the seatbelt and retest until there is 1 inch or less in movement.
    • If your seat is forward facing you MUST make sure that your tether strap is installed and used.
  • Is your child harnessed correctly?
    • If your child is rear facing then their straps MUST be AT or BELOW their shoulders.
    • If your child is forward facing then their straps MUST be AT or ABOVE their shoulders.
    • Chest clips MUST be at arm pit level.
    • Harness straps MUST pass the pinch test. Here is a link to the pinch test method. I personally recommend you do this every time you buckle in your child.
Strap Placement
Chest Clip Placement
Chest Clip Placement
Pinch Test
Pinch Test
  • Did you know that your car seat expires? Every car seat has an expiration date, it can be found stamped into the plastic of your seat, as well as on the manufacture sticker.
    • Car seats expire anywhere between 4 years-12 years. Each manufacture will vary.
    • Infant bucket seats tend to have a shorter life spans then convertible, or combination seats.
    • Car seats expire due to the break down of materials over time. Here is a great article from Car Seats for the Littles.
  • Did you now that you should replace your car seat after a crash?  Even minor crashes require car seats to be replaced. Here is a link regarding replacements from each manufacture.

Incorrect Car Seat Use

Are you using your seat incorrectly? Here are the most common mistakes made while using a car seat.

  • The seat is outgrown. Each seat has its own specifications as to when the seat is outgrown. Make sure to read your manual to make sure you are still able to use your current seat.
  • Not using the tether strap while forward facing.
  • Using a booster seat to early or not at all.
  • Improper clothing. Did you know that wearing bulky clothing in a car seat can affect the way the seat performs in a crash? (See Image Below)
  • Forward facing to early. It is highly recommended that you not forward face until your child is 2 years or has outgrown the rear facing limits of their seat.
  • Using a seat that has been recalled, expired, or previously been in a crash.

Using the Correct Seat

Are you using the correct seat for your child? Most parents are stumped when it comes to  when to change car seats. Your best way of know this is to read your manual and go by the guidelines provided. Don’t switch out seats until your child has fully outgrown the previous one.

For example, when using a convertible seat wait until the child outgrows the rear facing guidelines before turning forward facing. Same goes for forward facing to booster. Wait until the child has reached the maximum height and weight before transferring to a booster.

To find more information about what seat you should choose for your child check out Car Seats for the Littles. They are a fantastic organization regarding car seat safety.

Why this is important?

I can’t stress the importance of car seat safety enough. Some may say that I am a little crazy about it, and they would be correct 100%. But I have my rights to be. My son was in not one, but two very serious car crashes that could have been fatal. Every single nagging moment I have spent telling people about car seat safety, correcting their install, showing them how to properly install or helping with harness placement makes it all worth it.

The night of mine and Chief’s crash last December, I remember being scared out of my mind. The one peace of mind that I had was knowing that I had checked his strap placement and I knew his seat was installed correctly. The firemen were outstanding and were so kind even though I was yelling at them like they didn’t know how to do their job. They all commented on how Chief would have been much worse off had he not been in a seat, been in a incorrect seat, or had a bad install. They had seen it before.

When we reached the emergency room the doctors and nurses all commented on how they expected him to be worse off, but wasn’t because they heard he was installed correctly and could see he was buckled in properly. He had not yet been removed from his car seat. Now, I don’t say this like it prevented him from being injured at all. Because that isn’t the case. Chief still sustained a skull fracture from the force of the impact, but was otherwise ok. He still suffers from some emotional issues and still talks about the crash as if it were yesterday, but I am forever grateful I was able to leave that hospital with my baby.

So if you only do one thing after you read this article, please make sure that you check your car seat install and the harness placement on your little ones.