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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Let's Get Real: The Truth About Motherhood

Ok, I think it's time to take the road less traveled and talk a little about the craziness that can come with new motherhood. We all heard the warnings, 'Your life will never be the same', 'say goodbye to sleep', say goodbye to sex', etc, etc. I think the honest truth is, no matter  what you heard, and how many times, there really is nothing that can prepare you for this experience. I'll never forget driving home from work with my Dad before I went on mat leave and having him tell me: "Honey, having a baby is like being hit by a 2 by 4; you won't know what hit you". I think my Dad hit the nail on the head and then some.

I am so happy to be a Mom, I can't wait for all the crazy and fun and memories to come. But I will fess up and say I was truly overwhelmed when our young lady came along. I went into labour at 12:45 in the morning, and was in labour for 23 hours- so I got a great preview of the lack of sleep before Ari even made her debut! By the time the 3 of us came home from the hospital, my husband and I had maybe 3 hours of sleep; and we definitely didn't get a whole lot more those first few nights. Safe to say pregnancy brain turned into Mommy brain squared. I couldn't tell you what day it was, the time of day, or how old I was in that first week! I was in a total fog. 

Maybe you got pregnant without planning to, or struggled to get pregnant; maybe your pregnancy was difficult or you suffered bad morning sickness; maybe your labour and delivery didn't go the way you thought; and/ or maybe the baby you got and how you feel about Motherhood isn't what you expected. There is never any way of knowing what we are in for. I think the greatest hurdle for new parents- especially Mothers- is that there is no grace period. There is no easing into it. One day you're pregnant, the next (or few later!) you're a Mom. Period. No givsies backsies, no 'hold on, wait I'm not ready!'. Nada. Some embrace this instant change, others struggle, and many of us fall somewhere in the middle.

In the first few weeks following Ari's birth, I did a lot of soul searching. I was in love with this beautiful  creature that I had been blessed with, but totally stunned by how upside down I felt. And I will say that the lack of sleep probably compounded this. There were tears and hugs with my husband and parents where I needed reassuring that this new life would settle down. This was especially needed in the first few weeks when Ari was fussy in the evenings (see this post for how I found the silver lining).  I remember asking Will when Ari was maybe 3 or 4 weeks old if he thought parents ever feel like they get a grasp on things, or if it's a constant evolution. He went with the latter, and I have to agree. Looking back even now, I can see how much has changed in such a short period of time. 

I don't think I had the baby blues or post pardem depression, but I will openly admit that I struggled to regain balance on my new Motherhood legs. One of my best friends had her baby 2 days before me, and I revelled in how naturally she seemed to fall into motherhood. I still appreciate how she takes everything all in stride, and feel like I have started to do so as well.

One of the saving graces was joining a local Mommy group- you've heard me talk about it on this blog. I cannot say how much being surrounded by other new Moms has helped me. The babies range from brand spanking new to 6 months, and it's beyond refreshing to see these women and their bumpkins every week to swap stories and share in the joys and challenges. If you are a new Mom or are currently pregnant, I cannot recommend joining one of these groups enough. Even if you think you have a strong handle on motherhood, you never know when you're going to get thrown a curve ball and need some reassuring. For this glimpse of sanity (or whatever it is!), I have to thank my sister in law for suggesting that I get out of the house and check it out.

I hope that all new Moms, no matter how calm or overwhelmed they are by their new role, remember the person they were before motherhood. We are Mothers, but we are still ourselves, albeit new versions. I embrace this new phase in my life, but like all the important things in life, appreciate the work and challenges that make it what it is. 

The best things in life aren't free, they take hard work, but that's what make us appreciate them. When you look back at life, you'll have the memories to tell the unique story that is yours. Enjoy writing it.

oxox





Coupon Alert!



If you know anyone looking for baby gear, Websaver has a $5 coupon for Fisher Price Cradle n Swing, rockers, & bouncers!

Click here for the coupon!

Image Source:http://www.google.ca/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=fisher+price+cradle+n+swing&oe=UTF-8&gws_rd=cr&um=1&ie=UTF-8&hl=en&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&ei=kxgiUs6rPOrViwKKqYHQDA&biw=1273&bih=680&sei=lRgiUuywM7HtiQKN6oCQAQ#facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=4i9Ql_mCKKxilM%3A%3B9THEqpF44cVAJM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Frobots.thearbweb.com%252Fwp-content%252Fuploads%252F2012%252F05%252Fswing.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Frobots.thearbweb.com%252Fbaby-products-i-couldnt-live-without-pt-2%252Fswing%252F%3B1007%3B1007


Friday, August 30, 2013

Yummy Mummy Recipe: Zucchini Brownies

I'm always up for trying new things, and I love finding ways of adding nutrition to my cooking & baking. Now don't think I'm delusional or anything, I'm not trying to say brownies are healthy, but I'll take the chance to add some fibre, etc. And hey, if they fool the hubby, they'll fool the kids too! ;)

I found this recipe on Rumbly in My Tumbly. Yum Yum! Seriously deadly chocolate territory!

Check out Shannon's delicious recipe here.

(I swapped the walnuts for chocolate chips and only used 1 cup of icing sugar for the glaze, and the result is to die for!)

Photo Source:
http://sorumblyinmytumbly.blogspot.ca/2012/04/frosted-zucchini-brownies.html
Honestly, these things are SO MOIST it's incredible! They actually remind me of the giant double chocolate muffins at Costco! ;)

Enjoy!



Thursday, August 29, 2013

Yummy Mummy Recipe: Black Bean & Salmon Tostadas

I found this recipe while looking for inspiration for canned salmon. We have plenty of it since my hubby's family catch it fresh, then can it for future use. It's an excellent ingredient, since it packs a ton of valuable omega 3s, and versatile; it's great hot or cold. 

I downloaded a salmon cookbook from Eating Well.com, so am trying out some of the recipes. You can check it out here. I made a few minor tweeks: I bought tostadas (see photo) instead of using tortillas. I also heated them in the oven for 5 minutes, then added the bean spread & salmon mix, and heated for another 5 before topping with the other cold ingredients. 


Some of the yummy ingredients

Yummy Mummy Black Bean & Salmon Tostadas:
(Source: Eating Well.com)


Makes: 4 servings, 2 tostadas each
Active time: 25 minutes Total: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

6-inch corn tortillas
Canola oil cooking spray
6- to 7-ounce can boneless, skinless salmon, drained
1 avocado, diced
2 tablespoons minced pickled jalapeƱos, plus 2 tablespoons pickling juice from the jar, divided
2 cups coleslaw mix or shredded cabbage
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
15-ounce can black beans, rinsed
3 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
2 tablespoons prepared salsa scallions, chopped
Lime wedges (optional)

1 Position racks in upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat to 375°F. 
2 Coat tortillas on both sides with cooking spray. Place on 2 baking sheets. Bake, turn- ing once, until light brown, 12 to 14 minutes. 
3. Combine salmon, avocado and jalapeƱos in a bowl. Combine cabbage, cilantro and the pickling juice in another bowl. Process black beans, sour cream, salsa and scallions in a food processor until smooth. Transfer to a microwave-safe bowl. Cover and microwave on High until hot, about 2 minutes.
Serve with brown rice cooked with diced tomatoes and onions or salsa.

The finished product :)


As I mentioned, I made a few minor modifications. I also skipped the cooking spray and used a non- stick baking rack. The recipe made plenty, but I only made 6 for the hubby and I, and that was enough for dinner, allowing for leftovers the next day. We both agreed this is a funky recipe, worth trying again.





Monday, August 26, 2013

Yummy Mummy Recipe: Cabbage Soup

Last night my in- laws loaded us up with a ton of goodies from their veggie garden. Amongst all this edible goodness was a massive green cabbage (It was the size of a basketball!) , and some other yummy root vegetables. Being that we're approaching the end of Summer, my cooking style is starting to shift away from lighter meals to hardier comfort food.


With this in mind I decided to whip up a batch of cabbage soup while the lil one napped. (Who says cabbage soup is just for people on diets?!) Here we go...

Yummy Mummy Cabbage Soup
Prep Time: Approx. 30 min Cook Time: 1 hour
Makes approx. 10 servings

For this rendition, I used:

1/2 a very large green cabbage = to one whole regular cabbage, sliced thin & centre removed
3 white onions, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 turnip, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, sliced
10 cups water
2 vegetable bouillon cubes
Salt & pepper to taste
1 tbsp olive oil and/ or butter
Optional: 100g bacon or ham (adds extra flavour)

Directions:

Start by warming some olive oil and/ or butter in large pot. Add diced onion & garlic.

Cook until onion is translucent; add 1 cup water, followed by turnip, carrots & celery

Once carrots & celery have softened, add bouillon cubes, remaining water & cabbage

Add salt & pepper to taste

Bring to a boil for 5- 10 minutes; cover & reduce heat for approx. 45 minutes to an hour

I let mine stand & cool on the stovetop for a while before transferring. With this batch I put some aside to eat right away, and portioned out the rest to freeze. This way, when the hubby has to work in the cold Fall & Winter weather, I can pull a bag to thaw overnight & send with him in a thermos.

I love when I get the chance to plan ahead!!! Any way to make life a little easier when you get the chance is a golden opportunity.

I hope you enjoy :)

Image Source: Simply Recipes


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Retail Therapy: Swap Meet!

Before my little lady came along I used to work on weekends, so was never able to go to any of the fun activities and events in the area. My sister- in- laws had told me about the swap meet held at the Cloverdale Fairgrounds, so I was kind of excited that I finally got the chance to go.

I was told to go early, since the best things go quick (don't they always???) and to bring cash. I got there for 9am- the time it opened- to find a big line up of other eager deal seekers; by the time I got in, people were already leaving with armloads of goodies!

The line to get in at opening

As a first timer, I wasn't sure what to expect, and came armed with my massive diaper bag(lol, it might as well be luggage!) and stroller. While this wasn't the worst thing to do, I quickly found the more seasoned swap- goers came armed with slings & carriers, since it gets so crowded and therefore not too easy to manoeuvre a stroller.

The swap meet 10 min after opening 

I was in search of a Bumbo, but ended up with lots of other goodies instead. There were lots of tables loaded with clothes- most for $1- $2 per item!- toys, gear, and all manner of baby and kid items. I saw more practical things, such as baby gates & bedding, and the more impulsive: hair accessories & itty bitty shoes. Some vendors were selling brand new items, and there were the standard Tupperware, Norwex, and RESP stalls. There were also several cloth diaper sellers and a photographer.

Phew! Lots to look at! Some of the other ladies from my Mom's group also went, with varying degrees of success. One of them has a little boy, and she made the observation there were not as many choices for boys; however, I'm sure the selection is different at each swap. We all agreed it was crowded though, so if you don't like being surrounded by other bargain hunters, this may not be your shtick. 

Including the $5 admission, I spent $40. I think I did pretty well for the money I spent: Lots of clothes (not that Ari needs them, but I couldn't resist!), bunny slippers, a Baby Gap backpack- for $1!, hangers, a shape- finder toy, headbands & barrettes, & a soother/ cup clip. And most of the sellers were willing to bargain. I'll admit I'm not a seasoned pro, but I'm hoping my haggling skills will improve with practice. :)

How cute is this?! $1 Baby Gap backpack

BUNNY SLIPPERS!

Ruffles...

... and polka dots

The cute hair accessories by Princess Krislyn's Boutique
(I had a hard time deciding!!!)

The pacifier/ cup clip by Passing Fancies
(I couldn't resist the sparkles and bow!!!)



I can't wait until the next swap! I hope you get a chance to check it out. :)

For more info on the Kid Swap at the Cloverdale Fairgrounds, click here




Saturday, August 24, 2013

Mommy Date: Bog Walk

One of the amazing things about living in BC is all the natural beauty around us.
I have lived here my whole life and am still discovering some local gems. This week my Mom group organized a walk through Burns Bog in Delta, and I can't wait to go back.

If you live in or are familiar with the area, you've probably heard of Burns Bog. One of the Moms in our group is very knowledgeable about the Bog and offered to play tour guide for us. It was like having our own private eco tour.

To get into the Bog, you have to park at the local ice arena and enter off a paved path. There are 2 options for walking through this part of the Bog: a short, inner path that takes approx. half an hour to walk, and a longer, outer path that takes approx. an hour to walk. We were lucky to have cooperative babies, so were able to go along both paths.

Our Mommy tour guide told us about some of the plants and creatures that are indigenous to the Bog, how the early Natives used the plants (skunk cabbage diapers anyone???), and stories/ legends about the Bog. We were warned not to step off the plank path, since the Bog consists of 20 metres of peat! While the ground looks solid, it it hard to tell by appearance alone where the sink holes are (think muddy quicksand). A partially submerged tractor along one of the paths is a reminder to be cautious; legend goes that the driver sunk with the tractor, and it continues to sink at a rate of 1/2 inch each year.

The nice thing about the plank path (see photo above) is that it's stroller friendly. Since the Bog is open year- round, there is chicken wire along one side for traction during the rain & snow. The path is built and maintained by volunteers, and they are currently in the process of adding an additional plank path to connect the two routes through the Bog. 

To find out some ways to support the Bog, check out their online store here. (I'm not sure if they sell it online, but you can buy a tea made from a plant found in the Bog- Labrador tea! I'm adding to my 'gotta try it' list).

For more info, check out the Burns Bog Society website. If you're new or unfamiliar to the area, see the link for  a map & directions . I hope you get a chance to go to this beautiful place! It's beautiful rain or shine!


Stroller dashboard shot!

Labrador Tea! Gotta try it!

The infamous sunken tractor.

Trying out the 'safe' part of the Bog to walk on. 
With 20m of peat below, the ground is very soft



Thursday, August 22, 2013

2 Month Shots



My little monkey got her 2 month vaccines yesterday...
It was an interesting experience. While she handled the shots pretty well initially, I'd say that madame has been a little out of sorts since.

Since talking to some other Moms, it seems to go in the territory of 'every baby is different'. My doctor was lovely, but I have to laugh at the info she gave me: 'Your baby should sleep the rest of the day'... LOL. Except for the car- ride- home- induced- nap, my lil monkey did not sleep again until 9:30pm!!!

Haha to that. But we got some good snuggles in.

On a more serious note, vaccinations have become such a controversial & talked about subject, that it's hard for parents to sift through all the info and opinions and really, truly make an informed decision they are comfortable with. I will admit if I lived in a part of the country where people travelled less, and thus weren't exposing the population to disease new & old, I would be tempted to forego vaccines. 

I made my decision based on this, and the hope that prevention is the best medicine. I am not against those who choose to forego vaccines. Again, I know we're getting into sticky territory here.

That being said, it is important to inform ourselves about what these vaccines are, and why they are deemed necessary. A good reference is your local health authority. Here in BC, the BC Centre for Disease Control has some good info and provides immunization schedules. Babies receive vaccines at 2, 4, 6, 8, 12, & 18 months; then again at 4 years (approx. age that children start kindergarten). After that they don't receive any more until grades 6 & 9. 

At 2 months, children receive 4 vaccines: DTaP- HB- IPV- Hib (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, hepatitis B, polio, Haemophilus influenzae type b),  Pneumococcal conjugate ‡, Meningococcal conjugate C, and Rotavirus. Your family doctor may administer the vaccines. If not, you can visit your local health authority. For those in the Fraser Valley, Fraser Health operates clinics in which the vaccines can be administered. Our local health clinic has a wonderful staff of ladies who are always happy to help & answer questions. Don't neglect to use this great resource! As a BC resident, you can also call 811 to speak to a health services rep. Again, another great resource. 

Reactions to vaccines range from soreness, swelling at the injection site, fever, and (less commonly & more seriously) seizures. Check out this site for more info. If you think your baby or child is having an adverse reaction to the vaccines, call 911.

In BC, you will want to bring your child's Health Passport so that the necessary info can be added for future reference. You should be provided with one at your child's birth, or you can request one from your local health authority.

I hope this info helps. I'll add more when the young lady receives her 4 month shots (I've been warned the reaction may be more extreme).

I'd love to hear your thoughts on vaccines and what influenced your choices, pro or against.

Image Source: http://www.google.ca/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=shots&oe=UTF-8&gws_rd=cr&um=1&ie=UTF-8&hl=en&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&ei=Z68VUs7KIuTbigLtzIHwAw&biw=1273&bih=680&sei=aa8VUprbG-fdigKAhIC4CA#fp=d1fb51d39cdbf0fc&hl=en&q=health+symbol&rls=en&tbm=isch&um=1

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Retail Therapy

You know the feeling...

The exhilaration of stepping out in public with the babe and enjoying a lil shopping- even if you don't buy anything!

I had a blast at Homesense this week checking out ideas for kids rooms and I can't wait until our lil munchkin will add her own twist on her room.

There was some ADORABLE bedding & accessories that I wish I had an excuse to buy. If you or someone you know is looking for some cute items for a girl's room, Homesense had a really nice selection. See below for some of my faves. :)


The bedding & pillows are Cynthia Rowley- LOVE the colours!!!
(The headboard was on sale for $192.99!)


HEART the chevron pattern!





Colin & Justin sheets- how cute are these?!

Calling All WAHMs & SAHMs!

Ladies!

I am looking to promote some local talent! If you or someone you know is a WAHM (Work at Home Mom) or SAHM (Stay at Home Mom) who makes and/ or sells unique products I would love to hear about them!

I'd love to help support local ladies trying to stay at home to raise their families, and getting the word out there is a great way to do this!

I'll begin featuring these talented ladies as soon as possible!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Nursery Artwork!

It's crazy some of the baby and kids rooms you see now! People seem to be spending more money on their children's rooms than their own! I know that's been the case with our family- the little one has the nicest bedroom of the lot! Some of the rooms you see look like they've come right out of a magazine, and i think alot of the credit has to go to how you accessorize the space. 

Even if the room (and/ or budget) is small, you can have a beautiful space- it's all in how you work with what you've got.

That being said, it doesn't take alot of money to buy the supplies to make your own cute nursery artwork, or to find some inexpensive pieces online. (Check the artwork I make below) :)

I've recently been working on some fun projects for the little one's room. If anyone is interested in having their own custom nursery artwork, let me know :)

UPDATE: ANIMAL PRINTS NOW AVAILABLE







Monday, August 5, 2013

Love & Marriage After Baby



Do you remember the playground rhyme:

...First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in the baby carriage...?

Once that babe arrives, alot of people realize a tough truth: all of a sudden, that rhyme reverses: When you've had a baby, love and your marriage aren't first anymore. At the very least, more conscious effort is needed to maintain that bond between you and your mate.

My hubby and I definitely had to adjust. We're a family of early risers- and that means (read: meant for me) early to bed. I'm talking 9:30/ 10pm the hubs and I were tucked in for the night. Now throw in our new precious bundle. SMACK! All of a sudden I could no longer go to bed when my body was so desperate for sleep and let me tell ya, the first few weeks took alot of adjusting to this new sleep pattern (sleep- what sleep?!) I had to accept that I would no longer be snuggling up to my husband every night- either because one of us had to sleep on the couch, or simply because I no longer had the same bed time as him- and I was overwhelmed with how sad that thought made me.

After the first few weeks of up- side down bedtimes, I'm finding that I've adjusted to this revised routine and that I actually get a little 'me' time to unwind before the last feed of the night. Whether this involves finishing up tasks left over from the day, hobby time, or just relaxing in front of my laptop and tuning out for a little while, I'm enjoying this little pocket of time while I have it. 

We have also since learned the importance of setting a date night. We have yet to go on one, but are looking forward to some much needed alone time and maybe a full 8 hours of sleep :). It's definitely true what they say about having to work harder to keep the flame alive- especially when you're both sleep deprived and the new boss wants to hang out with Mommy and Daddy all the time! We're learning as we go, but I think we'll be able to go for dinner and a movie soon- I'll let you know how that goes. 

Before I even got pregnant, my sister- in- law gave me some sage advice: Always remember who you are outside of being a wife and mother. I've since learned just how valuable this is to do. 

I hope you find some special time that's all yours too- even if it's only a few minutes right now ;)

oxox

Image Source: http://www.google.ca/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=wedding+rings&oe=UTF-8&gws_rd=cr&um=1&ie=UTF-8&hl=en&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&ei=RPD_UeXfA6WIigKH9oDQDQ&biw=1273&bih=680&sei=R_D_Ubv3H8HwigLDj4HABA#bav=on.2,or.r_cp.r_qf.&fp=4659df3406ea462b&hl=en&q=hearts&rls=en&sa=1&tbm=isch&um=1&facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=vwH-9MprBQSPmM%3A%3BbulDH0bqftkUxM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwearewello.files.wordpress.com%252F2013%252F02%252Fhands_making_a_heart_in_the_sunset-wallpaper-1920x1080.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fblog.wello.com%252Ftag%252Famerican-heart-month%252F%3B1920%3B1080