A dear friend of mine back in Arizona sent me a message on Facebook telling me she was looking through a magazine that reminded her of me... Well of course I had to check it out and lo' and behold I LOVE IT!!  The issue you are seeing to the left is the issue I picked up from Barnes and Noble... It seriously does have recommendations for "Girl-Friendly Chain Saws"! It might be a while before I buy myself a chain saw but I'll definitely become a subscriber to this magazine in the future when money allows. 

Mary Jane is a farmer in Idaho who also has two retail stores, and a bed and breakfast!  I'd LOVE to visit her farm one day! 

So a big thanks to my friend L for being a great friend who knows me so well even though we are miles apart.  Oh and speaking of... She's an incredibly talented mama herself!! Check out her Etsy shop Kisses and Kings!!

So I never thought I'd do a review on anything but that's what I get for thinking "never" right?  So here it is... My review and comparison on the Diva Cup and the Instead Softcup...both of which are cups inserted vaginally to catch menstrual flow and are to be used instead of pads and tampons.  Now I'm certainly not an expert on either, so this will be short and sweet.

The Diva Cup   
The Diva Cup is a $40 reusable cup that is inserted vaginally to catch menstrual flow.  It can be kept in for up to twelve hours at which point you remove, empty, rinse and re-insert.  I began using the Diva Cup about five months ago and I have what I would call a Love/Hate relationship with this particular product.  The first time I tried it I basically thought... "there's no way".  All the instructions given with it I felt were practically impossible from "turning" it after it was in, trying to get it to fully pop open, and as far as removing goes... let's just say in short that I panicked, thinking how in the world was I going to get this thing out.  Well... needless to say after relaxing, bearing down as it tells you to do, and reaching farther up in there than I ever imagined I'd ever have to, it came out... so if you find yourself in this situation... don't panic ;).  When I read that it takes about three to four cycles to get it "right", I continued to try it and lo' and behold by the fourth cycle I was in-love!  It felt great to have the freedom of no pads and no tampons.  I've completely mastered the part of taking it out and I have my little routine of how I remove it, empty it and drop it in my bathroom sink as I finish my business... but the hate part of the relationship come in my periodic struggle that still remains to get it to fully pop open once inserted.  At the beginning part of my most recent cycle I took out my Diva Cup, inserted it, made sure it popped open and was on my way and continued to do this for the next couple of days.  However, when I was re-inserting it about midway through my cycle... I COULD NOT get it to pop open... I tried and tried but there's only so long I'm willing to have half my hand that far up there if you know what I'm saying!  That's when I removed it... washed up... and went downstairs to grab my sample pack of Instead Softcups that came in the mail. 

The Instead Softcup
The Instead Softcup is a disposable cup that is also inserted vaginally to catch menstrual flow.  It too can be kept in for twelve hours but is then disposed of once removed and a new softcup is inserted.  They come in a 14 count box for around $10.  Today is my very first day in trying the Instead Softcup and I was INSTANTLY in love.  I inserted it with complete ease and didn't have a single leak all day long.  It too was comfortable and worry free and there was no hassle of having to lug around pads or tampons.  Remember they are disposable... so if you plan on being away from your personal restroom for more than twelve hours you need to carry with you however many necessary for the time you will be away.  I only ran some random errands and came home sporadically throughout the day so I didn't need to carry any with me.  Unlike the Diva Cup, which has to be removed for sexual intercourse, the Instead Softcup doesn't let Aunt Flo ruin any possible date nights you have planned with your hubby!  It stays in while doing the deed!  A BIG plus for those who completely avoid sex due to it being that time of the month.  The only downfall I noticed with my first use of the Instead Softcup was the removal process, although quite easy, was quite messy.  I found the diva cup, even with it's emptying and rinsing, a much cleaner task than when I removed the Instead Softcup and had to wrap it up in tissue and discard.  Keep in mind though... that was my first time removing it and like the Diva Cup will probably take me a few tries before being a pro at it. 

And The Winner Is...
Both!  I truly think there is a time and place where one will work better than the other given the specific situation.  I had a friend mention she went camping recently while using the Diva Cup and it was great!  I would have to agree with that... if I went camping I would not want to deal with the mess of having to somehow dispose of the Instead Softcups.  However if Aunt Flo came to visit during a romantic weekend away with hubby... The Diva Cup would only turn into a hassle and the Instead Softcup would be my best friend!  With that said I think the Instead Softcup wins the majority of the time because of it's ease of use... and the Diva Cup will win if ever I foresee not being comfortable needing to dispose of anything in a given situation.  And last but not least I will say that the menstrual cup concept has been a godsend to me as a homemaker... trying to keep up with my little man is difficult enough without having to factor in bathroom breaks every few hours to change a pad or tampon and I certainly don't need anything else in my purse or diaper bag!  So if you haven't tried one yet... give them a try!  You will seriously think back to the days in high school and find yourself saying... "If ONLY I had one of these then!!  I could have gone to so many more pool parties and gone with my class to Breakers and I wouldn't have been so self conscious and paranoid on our Disneyland trip!".  Oh and remember... in order to try the Diva Cup (or any of it's competitors) you'll have to fork over the dough and just hope you like it... but with the Instead Softcup just go to their website and order a sample pack for just $2.50!

~ Be Magical!

PS... "Breakers" was a water park where I am from... just in case anyone was wondering ;).

As with everything else... what motivated me to begin making a monthly menu for my household was saving money.  Too many vegetables had gone to waste in our refrigerator and too many times have we come home from the store, having spent $100, and still not figure out what to have for dinner.  Menu planning was my solution. 

I started out small... and I started out simple.  I sat down with my husband... okay actually I yelled to him in the living room while I was sitting at the kitchen table... and we figured out our seven most favorite meals that I make.  We divided those up throughout the week making sure to not put two of the same type of dinners back to back... for example, making sure at least one day was between dinners with chicken or pasta.  Then suddenly... we had a menu for the entire month!  Wait... but we only picked seven meals... how do we have a whole month's menu planned?  REPETITION!  Remember... I needed it to be simple so that I would stick with it and I needed it to be budget friendly. 

We've been doing this so far for the whole month of April and not ONCE have we gotten sick of any dinner that I have made and in fact... each day my husband asks "What's on the menu?" and each day I actually have to look.  I surely thought we'd have each day's menu memorized by the end of the month but nope... the only days we have memorized are Spaghetti Night and Pizza Night because those are our favorites.  I can only imagine how much money we have saved and the amount of stress that has not even stepped over our threshold into our home by having this menu plan.

Here are the details:  When I first began this it was in the middle of March... I took inventory of all that I had in the pantry and refrigerator and planned meals for the remainder of March using up all I had.  Then is when we planned out April deciding between our favorite meals and went shopping.  For the most part, each meal had ingredients that had good shelf life (i.e., canned goods, onions, etc) or could be frozen.  I did however learn my lesson, which will come in handy in May, when I bought a huge Costco package of bell peppers and had them go bad in my fridge before I had even touched them.  I won't be making that mistake again.  So for the occasional fresh ingredient needed for a meal... I'll just go out that day or the day before or sometimes even send hubby after it on his way home and it's been working grandly. 

May will be interesting as far as menu planning goes... it will be the first month in which we begin getting our weekly CSA deliveries!  I'm so excited but it will also be quite a test run.  I imagine this topic will probably come up several times so I decided to change my "Homestitched" page and dedicate it to menu planning instead.  Don't worry though... I'll make sure to blog about any homestitched projects I begin

~ Be Magical!