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Monday, October 20, 2014

Yummy Mummy Monday: Leftover Turkey Soup

I know you're probably sick of turkey right about now. Thanksgiving is over and now it's time to shrink those tummies back down just in time for Christmas. Right? Hehe, sure that's what we tell ourselves.

Even thought the thought of eating anything else containing the bird may not excite you right about now, if you're like me, you know how much you can make out of the leftovers from a big meal: sandwiches, potpie, soup... this probably sounds like your menu from the past week. ;)

My favourite thing to do after any roast (beef, ham, turkey, etc) is to boil up the bones and remaining scraps of meat and make a nice stock that is a great base for soup (see info below). I try and it make up into soup right away, but I also freeze the stock and pluck it from the freezer at a later date when I get the craving to make soup.

So for anyone trying to think about what to do with those turkey leftovers that made it through the week or are now nestled into your freezer, why not make some yummy soup to be enjoyed on cozy Fall & Winter evenings? (Plus it's a great way to use up extra veggies too!) There, doesn't that make you look forward to turkey again?

Yummy Mummy Recipe: Leftover Turkey Soup
Serves 4- 6

1 large onion, chopped
2 leeks, sliced (whites only)
2 stalks celery, chopped
3 carrots, peeled & sliced
1L turkey or chicken stock* (store bought is totally fine)
Approx. 2 cups diced leftover turkey
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp poultry seasoning
Salt & pepper to taste (I love lots of pepper!)
Optional: Cook up some pasta to add when the soup is cooked. It's best to add it last or when you serve it so the noodles don't soak up all the liquid

1. In a large pot, saute the onions and leeks on medium heat until cooked/ translucent (approx. 5 minutes), followed by celery & carrots.
2. Add stock, bay leaf & poultry seasoning & give a good stir. Increase heat to high & bring to a boil
3. Allow to boil for approx. 5 minutes, then reduce heat to low& simmer for 30- 45 minutes. Add salt & pepper to taste (add any other favourite seasonings as the soup simmers so the flavours combine).
4. Serve immediately, or allow to cool & freeze for later. 

*To make your own stock, toss the remains of a roast (bones, scarps, drippings) into a large pot & add 1 litre of water with salt & pepper. For added flavour, add some diced onion, carrot, & celery to make a basic soup base. Bring to a boil, then reduce & simmer for 30- 45 minutes. Can be used right away, or refrigerated/ frozen for later use.

Image Source: Saveur

October posts sponsored by Cutie Pie Boutique

Friday, October 17, 2014

Madison Ave Baby: Amazing Mom Feature & Giveaway

After talking to so many women I know about returning to work after starting a family, it's always interesting to hear their stories and learn how they decided on their journey. Many return to the jobs they had, while others start on a whole new career path. Today's Amazing Mom Merina is one of the ladies that decided motherhood meant a change in her career. Today I am really excited to introduce you to Merina and her adorable business, Madison Ave Baby  (make sure you check out the giveaway at the end of the post!).

            In the beginning...
My Sister in law Shawna and I started a website with of some of our favourite jewelry, home decor, party supplies, and other favourite finds. Madison Ave Baby is a section of that site that offers handmade, local, modern and- most importantly!- adorable baby head bands.  

The baby head bands retail between $7.50- $13.00 online- I really want them to be affordable. 

            How did it all get started?

I started Madison Ave Baby when I was still pregnant with my little girl and was starting to think about her first photo shoot and how I was going to style it (naturally, having been in the beauty/ fashion industry for so many years). Looking around trying to find accessories that were fashionable, sweet & stylish was a huge issue. So like every situation I encounter, I created a solution that I was happy with instead of settling for what is out there. I began to sew little simple head pieces for her and suddenly Madison Ave Baby was born! 

Naturally my baby girl inspired me to create something unique. In my personal day to day look I like to have my own style and flair and I LOVE accessorizing. True style believers know accessories can make any outfit. I figured why not do the same for baby girls out there?
What makes you love what you do?
My favourite aspect of this venture is design and marketing. Shawna and  
I design the line together, collaborating and incorporating both our styles.  
When you really love something you do, you're not shy to show the world what you have created.  

What are the challenges with your business?
The most challenging part is limiting the amount of styles we put out. There are so many fabrics, buttons, stones, ribbons and ways to get carried away, but buckling down and narrowing down options can be challenging.  

What advice do you have for other Moms thinking about starting their own business?
Just do it! You don’t have to know a darn thing. Just start simple and grow as it comes naturally; don't dive into the deep end off the bat, its to overwhelming and intimidating. With a busy life don’t bite off to much. Just do what you love and start small.. grow as it needs to, keep the passion. 

More about Merina:
I started out as a make-up artist 10 years ago, and ventured into the world of wedding planning. While working for an up scale bridal boutique I started making bridal head pieces and customizing accessories for brides. It has always been in my nature to create beautiful things, and I'm continuing the pattern into the world of baby girls' accessories.  

My goal in life is to be my own boss, use my skills and abilities, and strive for success while doing something I love.. after all isn't that the dream? 

If you'd like to get your hands on some of Merina's cute accessories, go to our Contests page for a chance to win a set of 3 headbands from Madison Ave Baby (fits 0- 18 months).

From top to bottom: Vintage Flower in Grey,
Cheetah Diva in Ivory,  City Chevron in Pink

To see more of what Madison Ave Baby offers, check out their website.

You can also find the company on Facebook & Instagram: @merinachandra.

Photos & logo courtesy of Madison Ave Baby

October posts sponsored by Cutie Pie Boutique

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Sleep Advice for Families with Q & A

On October 15, I had the pleasure of hosting a live Q & A on Facebook with sleep consultant Marnie Huard of Cheeky Chops (click here to see the Amazing Mom post about her from earlier this year!). She had some great tips and advice for families looking for help getting their youngsters to sleep.

Since she had such great advice, I thought I would share it here. See below for the Q & A with Marnie:

Q: What is the #1 question you get asked by parents when they seek your help?

A: The first question is usually: how long will it take to make my baby sleep better. Answer: the learning curve is about 3 weeks for babies to sleep better at night and can be up to 6 weeks for naps.

Q: How long does sleep training usually take? Is it different for babies vs. older children?

A: Nights take about 3 weeks to be consistent, naps up to 6 weeks. It can take longer for older children, but it all depends on their temperament, personality, sleep issues, and so on.

Q: Is there a difference between boys & girls for sleep training?

A: Boys tend to have more attention-seeking behaviors than girls (head banging for example) so we have to deal with this while sleep training. Overall the difference isn't very big; it's more dependent on the child than the gender.

Q: Is having a routine necessary for a good sleep?

A: Yes!!! Having a routine ensures that your little one doesn't have too much day time sleep and also gives your baby a sense of predictability and consistency.

Q: What is a sleep association and what are the most common ones?

A: A sleep association is something your baby needs in order to fall asleep because it's associated with sleep. The most common ones are rocking and nursing to sleep.

Q: What are some best bet sleep techniques to help your youngster (and family!) get the sleep they need?

A: Anything you decide to implement for sleep, stick with it for at least 2-3 weeks and be consistent! Consistency is key. Breaking a sleep association is also necessary for better sleep.

Q: What are some common mistakes parents make with sleep?

A: I like to say that nothing is a mistake unless it becomes a problem for your family. That being said, adding sleep props is often a common go-to solution for parents looking for better sleep, but it only help on a short-term basis. Another common one is worrying that your baby is waking because he is hungry so parents end up feeding their little one every time he/she wakes up.

Q: Why is it that babies wake up more often during the second part of the night (after 11pm)?

A: It's because that's when they enter the light sleep phase and they wake up almost every hour; if they don't know how to fall asleep by themselves, this is when you are up with them 

Q: To finish up our live Q & A, let's talk about toddlers: When is a good age to transition a child to a 'big kid' bed?

A: A good age to transition is anywhere between 18-3 year old, as it all depends on the child. The main thing is to look out for the signs of readiness: trying to escape the crib, interested in big bed, crib is getting to small, and child is starting to show negativity towards the crib.

Q: Once in their 'big kid' bed, how can you help keep your toddler in bed?

A: Getting your child involves in the transition will help them understand the concept. Also letting them know in a firm but loving tone that it's not ok to get out of bed during the night (except for potty) until the morning for big snuggles. Having a toddler clock can be a big help. Also praise praise!! If your child ends up getting out of bed, put him right back while minimizing interaction but still being loving.

Q: Is there any final advice you'd like to add for readers before we finish up?

A: Only go ahead with sleep training your child when you feel completely ready and be very consistent once your start the process.

A big thank you to Marnie for participating in the live Q & A and for all of her great advice.

If you would like to learn more about Marnie and her sleep consulting services, you can find her on the Cheeky Chops website and on Facebook.

Image Source: Mod Cloth

October posts sponsored by Cutie Pie Boutique

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Savvy Family Tip #5: Take a Tip from Your Grandma

Today's Savvy Family tip reminds us that simpler is often better...

Tip # 5 – The modern version of your Great-Grandmother’s strategy. 

When your great-grandfather arrived home on Friday evening his pocket contained the family pay packet. The weekly ritual in most successful households was the division of the money to pay for the family needs, rent, groceries, heat, light, telephone. Money was also tucked away for larger purchases, shoes, clothing. 

Mason jars and envelopes were the management tools of the day. 
When the grocery jar was empty there were no more groceries purchased until after payday. If there wasn’t enough money in the clothing envelope you had to wait, sometimes for a few weeks. 

Our great-grandparents managed real scarcity. 

In comparison almost all of us have two pieces of plastic, one that gives us access to every dollar we have, the other allows us to arrange a loan to purchase just about anything from a cup of coffee to a vacation. This situation creates its own problems. It is too easy to spend what we don’t have for items that we really may not need. 

We need to create artificial scarcity to assist us to manage our spending. 

The envelope method is often suggested as a tool to manage our spending. The challenge is that we’re not used to or comfortable walking around with cash. It seems too 20th century. 

An alternative method is the account specific debit card.  One family member fills the cars with fuel and goes grocery shopping every Sunday. Sunday evening they transfer a set amount of money from their general account to their debit card accounts. This is their “allowance” for the week. When the debit account is empty, spending stops until next Sunday. 

What tools do you use to manage your spending? 

Dan Olson is a Sun Life Financial Advisor. An experienced Dad with three children, now young adults. With everyone under one roof for the Summer, his home is feeling really, really small.

If you have some questions for Dan, or would like some help with your family's savings, here's how you can contact him: 

604 308 9502

Image source: Lily Shop

October posts sponsored by Cutie Pie Boutique