Tuesday, November 3, 2020

No Bake Healthier Brownies



Baking plays a big part in my life. It is something I spent a lot of time doing with my mom and grandma for many occasions, or just because! This is something I want to continue to do as Emilia grows up. Plus who doesn't like a little sugar after dinner!  

Reality is this, we are trying to cut out some sugar and choose healthier options because we definitely consume more sugar than we actually need. So this of course contradicts my love for baking! Will I quit...heck no! Just means I need to get creative. 

I love easy recipes, that could be adapted to a variety of things like having a 16 month old who wants to be fully involved - no complaints here! 

Ingredients

• 1 cup raw almonds 
• 1 cup walnuts or pecans
• 2.5 cups of dates; pitted for less steps! (If dry soak for 10 min in warm water) 
• 3/4 of cacao powder
• 2 tbsp of cacao nibs (plus more for topping) 
• 1/4 tsp of sea salt
• Organika Cacao Maca Powder or plain Maca Powder
• 1/4 cup of your desired milk 
• 1 cup of chocolate (I really enjoy dark chocolate, and you can buy dairy free chips for vegan option!) 
• 2 tbsp of coconut oil (I use the liquid one)
• 1/4 cup of powdered sugar (to thicken your chocolate ganache but I didn't use it as I added the maca powder instead)

Steps

In a food processor (or pre-bought), chop up the walnuts and almonds. You can add in the cacao powder here or mix in a bowl the powder and nuts. After soaking the dates (if needed) otherwise place dates in food processor and chop. Slowly add the dates to the powder and but mixture; do this in food processor or in the bowl by hand (you can hand mix and apply some pressure to the ingredients mix). Add this mix to an 8x8 pan (insert parchment paper), and press in the mixture. Apply pressure so that it creates a solid piece. Sprinkle some.chopped walnuts and cacao nibs. Put in the fridge for 25-30 mins. Remove and apply ganache. 

Chocolate Ganache: warm up 1/4 of your desired milk. Add in the cup of chocolate and cover to allow for heat to melt the chocolate; about 2 min. Mix with a whisk. Add in 2tbsp of coconut oil, the desired amount (1 scoop I used) of the Organika Cacao Maca Powder. Mix and put in the fridge for 8-10 mins. Remove and whisk again to maintain thickness. Add some of the powdered sugar (or replace with some Maca Powder insteas this is what I did) if desired and needed to thicken up. Spread generously over the base layer. Add some crushed walnuts and Cacao nibs or add your own Halloween flair and return to the fridge for another 20 mins. 

Remove and cut into pieces; each 8x8 should make 12 servings!! 

Enjoy with a cold glass of milk or a warm cup of Organika Mylk Latte Powder!! 


******
XOXO


Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Crock-Pot Love: Chicken Chili



This recipe is definitely a winner! And what deems a meal a success is if my babe eats TONS and still asks for more! Ding, ding, ding we have a winner! 

You definitely need to try this one! Usually for a chili, I always throw in some jalapeños but with our little miss we have had to improvise with spices in our own individual plates! It was honestly still amazing without the heat! 

***** 

Ingredients
  • 4 bonesless chickens, thawed
  • 1 onion; yellow 
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced 
  • 24oz (or 1 container) of chicken broth; I use the low sodium
  • 2 15oz cans of Cannellini beans
  • 1 large can (or more if you'd like) of kernel corn
  • salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp of cumin - or more to taste. I prefer 1.5 tsp
  • 3/4 tsp of oregano
  • 1/2 tsp of chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper
  • cilantro
  • 4oz of low fat cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup of half and half 
  • avocado
  • tortilla chips
  • shredded cheese of choice
Steps: 
  1. Place the chicken breasts at the bottom of the Crock-Pot. Adding to that your salt, pepper, oregano, cumin, chili powder and cayenne pepper. 
  2. Dice up your onion and mince your garlic then add to the pot along with your beans, corn, cilantro (quanitity to taste...I love A LOT) and chicken broth and then stir. 
  3. Cook on low for 8hrs or 4hrs on high. 
  4. Reove the chicken and shred then return to the slow cooker. 
  5. Add cream cheese and the half&half, and stir, covering 
 


Crock-Pot Love: Chicken Dinner & Fixings


It has been a tough, long week and my Crock-Pot has been my saving grace. I have come to really appreciate and learn how to make full dinners in one pot and coming home to a ready-made dinner! No more stress of rushing to figure out what to make and instead, just enjoy family time with a delicious meal!

This meal was simple, with little to no prep time and was super tasty! 

******

Ingredients 

  • 4 chicken thighs
  • 1.5 - 2 lbs of potatoes diced (I really like Yukon)
  • 1 - 1.5lbs of green beans or asparagus
  • 2 Tbsp of olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 8 oz. can of tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp of salt or to your liking
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary 
  • Chicken broth

Steps
  1. Add your olive oil to a pan after heating over medium to high heat. Once your oil is hot, place your chicken thighs and focus just on browning both sides. No need to cook it through as it will be cooking in the Crock-Pot. 
  2. Dice your potatoes and trim your green beans; mix them and add them to the bottom of the Crock-Pot. 
  3. Once chicken thighs are browned, add them on top of the beans and potato mix. Add the garlic on top and drizzle the tomato sauce on top along with your salt, pepper, thyme and rosemary. 
  4. Smear the tomato sauce to help the seasoning to combine. 
  5. Add a little bit of chicken broth to the bottom - I like to add this for extra flavour, and to ensure the chicken doesn't dry out.
  6. Cover, turn on the Crock-Pot on low for 8hrs or high for 4.5 hours.

Serve, enjoy and let me know what you think! 

******
XOXO


Tuesday, October 27, 2020

DIY Halloween Ghost Frame

Nothing says "new normal" like finding some cute crafts to do with your family for Halloween. It doesn't all have to be about the candy! But you can always pair a bowl of your favourite treats while crafting!! 

Halloween might look different this year, but maybe look at that in a positive mindset that you possibly have never looked at before! How special is it to spend Halloween with all your fave people instead of just a select few! Hop on a video call with your family near or far and do this craft together! Might as well make the best of it and it'll definitely go down as the most memorable Halloween yet!


This craft is super easy and really you can make it your own! 


******

 



What you'll need for this cute little ghost!

• frame (choose whichever frame you'd like) 

• white, red and black paint (be sure to at least have a chalk and acrylic white paint the rest can be acrylic)

• brushes 

• pencil 

 

Steps: 

• take the backing off your frame and paint it white to get a base coat. The photo above has a blush pink background by mixing white chalk paint, some white & red acrylic. The chalk paint is just thicker but by mixing it with the acrylic it's not too lumpy giving you a nice smooth finish. 

• let completely dry. Next draw on the ghost ! Paint white using same technique as above with acrylic and chalk. 

• let completely dry. Trace the outside of your ghost, add the eyes and then use a thin brush to brush on the black lines with paint. Let dry and then so a thin layer of white again over some parts so the lines aren't too defined. 

 

That's all! Display in your favourite place! 


******

XOXO





Sunday, August 16, 2020

All About Vitamins


Let's talk vitamins! I personally have always been a big vitamin person because I see the benefits and prefer the natural means of finding equilibrium in my body versus being dependent on medication. Biggest thing is finding the brand's that offer what you need and that you know you can trust! Especially when it comes to your kiddos! 

When Emília was born, I was sure to ask the doctor all the questions around vitamins, the benefits of taking what when and of course did a bit of my own research. I had come across AllKidz vitamins and appreciated firstly that they are a Canadian company! Secondly, I really loved that they focus on age specific products so there's no guessing and of course they use nothing but natural ingredients and are completely transparent about it. As mentioned above, AllKidz focuses on age specific products because they value and understand that at each stage, kids require different supplements and nutrition to help support their growth and development. They explain that, "As fellow parents, we at allKiDz® know that you’re looking to provide the exact nutrition that your child needs, nothing more and nothing less. That’s why we strive to give you products with ingredients you’re familiar with – ingredients you can pronounce." (AllKidz About Page). And this is a thousand percent true, which is why I gravitated towards them. You can read more about their ingredients here.


Some of my other favourite things about AllKidz:

  • They have a variety of products from multi-vitamins, probiotics, vitamin D and more!
  • They're gluten free
  • No artificial colouring or flavours
  • And they are Health Canada-Approved formulations


Side Note: To all my Vegan friends, you're in luck I know it might often be hard to find Vegan products, but AllKidz actually offers Vegan options which is amazing! 


____________________________________________


My Favourite Products: 

Living in Alberta this was the number one thing that was recommended to us, since our winters are so long. It also helps with building strong bones and teeth and is usually recommended by doctors starting from birth. The dropper it comes with makes it super easy to administer to your kiddos. And again, they are labelled with the age so you're not left with question or how much and how long you should be giving this to your kiddo. Here's the Vegan option.

This was another supplement suggested to us because Emilia had a lot of bad tummy pains as a baby and still struggles with some digestion now. Some foods really upset her belly and she become super gassy and uncomfortable and often very constipated. I notice a big difference when she does not take her probiotics! 

Now that Emilia is a year old, this was something I started to look into. It still has the vitamin D within it, which is great. However, along with this, it also has calcium, vitamin A (great for vision & skin), vitamin B (supports metabolism which my babe definitely needs as well as supports mental development), Zinc and Vitamin C (immune support). It's an amazing blend and is specialized specifically for babes aged 1-3! It comes in little packets that you just mix with water. If you don't like this, they also have them in drops! Once your babe is old enough, you can transition them to the Multi Gummy Bears Vegetarian which provide a set of vitamins appropriate for ages 4-13 and the Multi Gummy Bears which are for ages 6 and above.  

____________________________________________

Where to buy

Luckily there is a large variety of places, and a lot of them are all online which means you don't have to worry about leaving your home! You can find AllKidz supplements at: 


Hope this was informative!! Thanks so much for stopping by and reading! 


XOXO

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Healthy & Delish - Kiddie Pancakes




Finding something to feed Emilia these days is hard, and I am going to go ahead and share that I feel I am not alone in this. Emilia is at a stage right now where she does not want any food that requires us to feed her. She is so into the self-feeding thing right now (which is amazing) which makes it difficult for us some days. The worst question I face almost every day is "what are we going to eat for ________ (insert meal time here)". I dread this question most days because of how much of a struggle it is! 

I find for us, the hardest meal to plan for is breakfast, I am not sure why, but it is definitely the one I struggle with. She isn't into a lot of meat at the moment, but loves veggies and fruit. So of course this leaves us with some spaces that need to be filled as far as getting her to have the necessary nutrients daily. 

We usually try to give her eggs, but like anyone else, there are days she just isn't in the mood for eggs and refuses to eat them, or doesn't even touch them on her plate. So, as mentioned, I have had to get creative. I tried to find some items online and then what I did was added some protein to the recipe. This way if she has not having eggs or any other protein, I know these pancakes have it! By the way she absolutely loves them which is a bonus! So, I made a bunch and then freeze them and toast or microwave some in the morning for her to have!


Protein Packed Smoothie Pancakes



What you'll need
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1 egg
  •  2 cups of spinach
  • 1 cup of flour (wholemeal, whole-wheat, gluten free, etc. whatever works for your family)
  • 1 tsp of coconut oil
  • 1 1/8 cup of Milk (or preferred, we use 3% for her right now)
And my personal touch in adding the protein 
  • ProFi Pro Health Protein Booster 
    • This protein is safe for kiddos and you can put it on anything. It is a Vegan product and made from pea protein. It is unflavoured too which is a plus! It is so easy to mask into things. We also add it into our meatless pasta sauce! 

How to make it

  • Take all your ingredients and place them into a blender. Once items are fully dissolved it will look like the texture of a smoothie - just a bit thicker because of the flour.
  • Be sure to spray your hot pan, cook over low heat to allow time to fully cook without burning.
     
  • Serve, and enjoy! 

Let me know what you think, and hope your kiddos like it as much as ours does!


XOXO

Monday, May 11, 2020

The Dalgona Coffee Trend



I am sure by now, you have heard of the Dalgona Coffee that has been trending pretty well everywhere! We first saw it a number of months ago on good old TikTok and well decided to try it. YUP definitely fell in love! Of course now, it is my go to drink when I am home and feeling my sweet tooth asking for something. 

I have been trying a few different - little changes - things in my Dalgona Coffee, and thought I would give you some inspo! I would also love to hear about how you've been experimenting with your Dalgona coffee. Or if you haven't yet, when you do try it and fall in love with it, I want to hear about anything you are doing different!! 


What you will need
- Cup (I like using a mason jar)
- 1 Cup of Milk of choice; I use Silk Vanilla Oat
- Ice - whatever amount you like
- 1 Tbsp of instant coffee; I use Nestle or Hasty Coffee
- 1 Tbsp of brown sugar; this is my preference
- 1 Tbsp of water
- Whisk
- Bowl
- My Touch: Chocolate/Vanilla Pudding Mix Powder


Let's get to it! 

1. In a bowl, place the 1 tbsp of instant coffee, 1 tbsp of brown sugar and 1 tbsp of water. Depending on how strong you like it, you may want to double up the ingredients. I always do double as I found the ratio of milk to coffee wasn't enough for me.

2. With your whisk, you will mix the ingredients for about 2-5 mins depending on how fluffy you want the coffee to be. I usually don't do it too long as I find in the end it is a bit difficult to mix afterwards. So I usually just eye it, and check to see the consistency and once I am happy with it I stop.

3. Put desired amount of ice in your glass and add the cup of milk. At this point, this is when I would add a little bit of vanilla or chocolate powder. I don't measure this amount, I kind of add until I feel I met the flavour I like but usually about a teaspoon or two.

4. Add the coffee mixture to the top. Snap a photo! haha And then if you would like you could mix it a bit otherwise I find I am just with the straw drinking the milk or coffee foam on top.


******
Thank its, that's all! It has been the best addition to my time in isolation when I know the coffee shop hours are limited and line ups are long!


XOXO

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Post-Birth Recovery Tips


Post-Birth Tips


There are so many tips out there that could be done, however I found these to be the best. All of these ideas I got from my friend Lucy who honestly has had three kiddos and is in the most amazing shape post delivery every time! She is like a magical unicorn! So with that being said, I live by her tips and such because they obviously worked for her! Without a surprise, they too worked for me and were so worth the work to get everything ready ahead of time! She is from British Columbia so a lot of the items she recommended to me are from a local shop in Kimberly, BC. You could find some items at your local health food store but I did not waste time looking for some items as they were essential oils created by a mama after she had her own kids - her shop is called Healing Hollow her products are incredible! 

***

So, how the hell do I get my you know, to look like normal again? I think this is a question that many women ask and become concerned with once the baby is finally here! You kind of think about it before the baby but you still have the anticipation of the baby so it comes and goes as a thought. But now the baby is here and you know there's been some damage to say the least! Ps. I couldn't not laugh when I finished this sentence!


  • But real talk, again my friend Lucy was so amazing to share with me her post birth tips to help fix up the damage, or at least "fix" it with some duct-tape! Don't actually apply duct-tape that isn't the tip!


Tip #1: this isn't so  much as tip as it is a piece of advice or even a disclaimer for post-birth. DO NOT look down there until you're actually healed. Lucy did share this with me, but I decided to go against that and became way too curious. MISTAKE. I think I cried and said "oh my gosh it looks so ugly". This was only about like 4-5 days postpartum; not a good idea and I totally knew better considering I know Lucy would never lie to me and she knows!! haha 

Tip #2: Try to find healthy snacks, the energy balls in the previous post were amazing and have amazing fats in them! Fruit is another good one, my favourite were frozen grapes!


Alright so here is the information I know I was excited to receive! Lucy was honestly amazing and I am so thankful to have her in my life. Especially when it comes to anything pregnancy, baby and well anything really!

***

If you're looking for a one stop shop for majority of the items, check out Midwifery Supplies, they have everything including pre-made kits you could buy. Personally, I prefer to buy individual items and make it myself. I found the below worked for me, so I bought some items online or from the shop if I couldn't find it else where. They are an amazing resource! 


- Padsicles Recipe -

What you need

Steps

1. Open your pads but DO NOT remove them form the sticky part. Spray with witch hazel
2. Add the various oils as listed above. 
4. Spread on some Aloe Vera - I did one small squeeze of the bottle and had a plastic butter knife to spread.
5. Wrap each pad individually with aluminum foil; try not to pat it down or squish it. 
6. Put the pads in a Ziploc and place in the freezer ready to use.

Additional Information

These will feel AMAZING on, and you will know when you no longer need them...hint, it will no longer feel soothing but super cold and not so nice! At this point if you want you can switch to the non-frozen version.

The oils you buy cannot be a low grade oil. You must purchase a higher grade essential oil as they will be in contact with your skin  and in this case your vagina. The products I have linked above are great items and are safe to be used for this purpose! Please purchase the items wherever you see fit; I supported local health food stores and if I could not find it there, then I did purchase from Well.ca as they are a Canadian distributor out of Ontario!


***
Peri Bottle Cleanse 

You will likely be told to have a peri bottle on hand, and if not well, you're welcome. This was something recommended to me by my midwives and honestly it was the best thing ever and SO simple. 

What you need 
Steps
EVERY TIME you go pee, you will do this! You will fill your peri bottle with warm water - I filled it pretty much full - and then you will put your drops of calendula in it. After or even as you are reaching the end of your pee, you start to squeeze this mixture to your vagina. It will cleanse any bacteria from getting to your stitches. And the warms of the water will sooth it! The tincture is strong so it may sting a bit but literally for a few seconds in the beginning. 

The calendula has natural healing properties and it is amazing to fight off any bacteria!

***

Arnica Montana 

Helps with swelling and bruising. 

This is a homeopathic product, and could be found at natural food stores or online - I usually use Well.ca . This was recommended to me by my friend as well as my midwives. 

***

Postpartum Belly Wrap 

Helps with swelling and expelling the lochia quicker. As well, it made me feel very comfortable because without it, it felt like everything was hanging so heavy and my midsection felt very weighted.

Note: Please before using this note that in using this, it will release the lochia (blood) quicker and you will notice the bleeding will be heavier. Ask your midwife about it, and ask how to monitor regular compared to too much lochia. 

Where to find: Amazon (this is the exact one I bought)

***

Compression Leggings

These are amazing, move to these when you feel up for not wearing the wraps! I switched to these once my bleeding stopped. They will help keep everything tight and in place. Whenever I did not wear these, I just felt very heavy in my stomach area and actually at times made it hard to breath. With gravity everything hangs lower and everything has shifted inside so this was just a nice comfort piece for me.

Where to find: Snap Back from Preggo Leggings

***

1 Week Postpartum 

Alright so, as you will be told by your midwife or doctor, you will not be able to bath until you are healed. This is due to the chance of infection if you're not entirely healed up. I also tore a bit which is why I wasn't allowed to take a bath for a bit. If you are unsure, please ask your midwife or doctor about when you can bath.

What you could do instead is do a little soak bath until you're allowed a real bath. I started doing this one week postpartum - as per my midwives checks - you need to ask your midwives about when you could start these. BUT they are AMAZING!

What you will need


Steps

Place the sitz bath seat on your toilet and you could place the sitz right into the seat with warm water, or you could also have the mixture already made up and the sitz disolved in the water bag and also can squeeze to the desired area. I preferred to just sit in it. The bag I found was really good to use as a replacement for the peri bottle. 

***

Again you guys, everyone is different and of course everyone also has their own comfort levels! Be sure to always ask your midwife or doctor before using anything. The things above were all recommendations given by my friend who had a midwife and also approved by my midwives. It is important to understand the purpose of each remedy. 


XOXO

Pre-Labour & Delivery Tips




So, I did a lot of research when it came to this. I wanted to be prepared - shocker right! - and be sure to have all the necessary products. Even though I didn't know what the final outcome would be, I figured I would have it regardless and then just pass them along to another mom friend if I didn't end up using any of it!

I had a list of things I wanted to have prepared; a lot of these things came from the information I received from Healthy Birth Choices and from my friend Lucy who is a wealth of information! So I plan to share some of these things with you but I cannot take credit for any of it!



Labour & Delivery Tips
Have Water within Reach!
At Healthy Birth Choices we were told to have water near by during the first stage of labour. It is important to keep hydrated between contractions in order to keep your bladder active so that it does not stay full which could actually become a challenge when you are in labour and trying to push the baby out. Many times, women can go into an emergency c-section because the baby does not seem to be progressing into the canal. There have been cases where women actually have had a full bladder which caused a block and the baby was unable to get things progressing in order to start the descend. By drinking water after every contraction (like a few sips from a straw) and then trying to pee, it will keep you hydrated and help maintain an empty bladder!


Tip: have some sort of sip type cup, I got mine from Starbucks! 

Ener-C Drink & Popsicles
Once you are in active labour, drinking water on its own won't do much nor will you have the desire to be drinking water. During this time however it is still important to keep hydrated but also important to remember you will be burning energy. By this time, you will not by very interested in food either so having some water with Ener-C mixed in or making some Ener-C popsicle sticks will assist in keeping hydration up as well as giving you a little boost of energy.

You could find Ener-C at your local health food store and/or in the health food section at your grocery store.


Red Raspberry Leaf Tea & Evening Primrose
At about 34 weeks you could start drinking Red Raspberry Leaf Tea  and at about 36 weeks you could start Evening Primrose. Both of these methods are encouraged by Midwives and always be sure to confirm with your midwives and other healthcare practitioners when it is safe with your pregnancy to take these items and/or if recommended. Everyone is different and therefore may require different timelines and guidance. The timelines above were given to me by my midwives, and I am sure based on my appointments with them. The red raspberry leaf tea is good to drink as it actually helps to prepare your uterus for birth. You may experience some contractions - not real ones! - as this tea will get your muscles moving. If the contractions are too strong, then of course either refrain from drinking (if you're only doing one cup a day) but you could drink up to 3 cups a day. I actually pre-made a bunch and had it in the fridge. I added a little bit of honey to sweeten it a little and it was nice especially when it was super hot!

With the Evening Primrose, you ingest one pill in the morning and in the evening you poke a hole in the gel capsule and insert the pill vaginally. This will help to soften your cervix and start preparing your body for birth. This helped me tremendously, and helped to soften my cervix even leading up to delivery. When I went for my appointment at 38 weeks, I was already about 1 centimeter dilated already! During delivery I believe having done this really helped speed the process for me with dilating and maintaining a soft cervix. Again, make sure to speak to a health practitioner about both these products before using!

Tip: You can find the tea at many grocery stores in the natural food section; I purchased the primrose from Well.ca as the brand has great reviews and I couldn't locate it elsewhere. 

EZ Birth 
So, EZ Birth, so much I could say about this product, and so much others have said. All good of course! This item was also recommended to me by my midwives. I had heard about this product before my midwives had recommended it as I had a number of friends who went with midwives. This item also helps prepare your body for labour and allows for labour. I have nothing bad to say about this product as I do find it helped and probably played a big part in the positive experience I faced with labour.

Eating is Actually Important!
My midwives and many moms who took the midwifery route actually discuss and express that eating until you lose the urge to do so - usually when you're in active labour - is actually good because you will have an energy reserve that you will definitely need when you're delivering the baby! I have to share that while in first stage of labour, I ate an entire meal consisting of chicken, salad and some sort of carb! It was glorious and actually never tasted so good! In my mind I think it was thinking or knowing it would have been my last real meal before learning to scarf down food once the baby was in the picture! With this mindset, think quick, easy and something that is still tasty! My friend Lucy gave me a recipe for some energy bites which I ate during labour as well as after delivery as a snack whenever I was hungry.

- Energy Bites Recipe - 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup cashew butter
  • 1/2 cup organic peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup almond butter 
  • Alternatively; I used 1.5 cups of Nuts for Nature: Nut & Seed Butter
  • 1/4 cup raw honey (when you're in labour it is totally okay to have this as well as post delivery)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut + extra for coating
  • large handful of dates (I would have the dates sitting in warm water for a few minutes first I found this helped when putting them in the food processor)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1.5 cups rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup organic coco powder
  • 1/8 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup hemp hearts
Steps
Super easy! Place ingredients in a food processor and pulse. Then roll them out into whatever size balls you would like and rolled them in the shredded coconut. I used Ziploc bags to portion out and to keep them fresh and stored them in my fridge. 

Where to buy?  
All the items I either bought at Costco or Bulk Barn. I found it was easier and cheaper to buy in bulk quantities as I would actually double or triple this recipe so I didn't have to worry about making them again for a few weeks! 


'Oil Pads' are not just for Post-Birth!
I had heard of using padsicles for post-birth recovery, however my friend Lucy actually advised me to make some non-frozen pads with the same ingredients to use 30 days prior to my due date. Using these 'oil pads' will help your perineum stay lubricated and stretchy which could help with tearing during birth!

- 'Oil Pads' Recipe -

Ingredients

Steps
On each pad you will spray with witch hazel plus add each of the oils listed above. The smell will be strong so make sure to make these in a place where you could open a window! 

Additional Information
The oils you buy cannot be a low grade oil. You must purchase a higher grade essential oil as they will be in contact with your skin  and in this case your vagina. The products I have linked above are great items and are safe to be used for this purpose! Please purchase the items wherever you see fit; I supported local health food stores and if I could not find it there, then I did purchase from Well.ca as they are a Canadian distributor out of Ontario!


Other Helpful Tips

I am sure you have heard this a lot but REST as much as possible the days leading up to your due date or delivery. I cannot stress enough how much this helped me! I made sure to be in bed by 8:30/9pm every day and I would take a nice warm bath every night to help me sleep better at night. I could sometimes be a night owl but honestly I really had to change my mindset and force myself into this new routine and I am so thankful that I did!

Another helpful tip that I have which was offered to me by my midwives is the use of "hot compresses". It sounds complicated but literally NOT! If you are planning for a home birth, all you'll need is a crock-pot, some small cloths, water and coconut oil! You keep these in the crock-pot and when you're ready and are crowning you apply the cloths with the water and coconut oil and hold it to maintain lubrication. If you are planning a hospital birth, it won't actually be difficult. You are more than welcome to travel with your crock-pot although I am not sure how many would do this haha. Essentially every room under the sink will usually have a metal-like bowl - otherwise ask for one. You can get the water as hot as possible and then do the same thing with the oil, water and cloths. Now the only difference is you may have to put in more water and redo it as the water could cool off quickly. But totally still doable! Again, another difference is at the hospital they will NOT offer this and you will have to have someone do it for you; so make sure to in advance ask someone who will be in the room during delivery who could provide this service haha!

***

Now, of course I am sure there are so many things out there that could work or have worked for you. However, these are the things that worked for me and I truly believe provided me with a successful home birth. My entire labour was only about five hours and I confidently will say these things played a part I am sure. Again I am not able to take credit for any of these things as I had amazing women in my life who provided me with these great tips and tricks that they have used or provided to other women. Know that if you use these, and they work to praise the amazing women behind these ideas because they were my wealth of information! 


XOXO


Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Simple Easter DIY


It is bazarre to think that Easter this year will look a little different. Not only are we quarantined - potentially until Easter or longer - but as a family we have a little nugget who will be celebrating her first Easter ever! 

The teacher in me cannot go without putting together some sort of craft. We try to do something with Emilia for every seasonal event, so we could throw it all into her memory book! And then the baker in me, of course, is all about putting together some delicious baked goods! 

****************

Easter Craft 

Emilia is quite little, so there are limits to what we could do with her. With that being said, this was an easy craft which could be modified based on age as well. I allowed for Emilia to actually 'paint' but what I did was, used a Ziploc bag to put the canvas in and we avoided a big mess, HOWEVER it was a great sensory activity for her!



What you will need

- Various paint colours (up to you on the colours) 
- Canvas or cardstock sheet of paper 
- Ziploc or plastic wrap 
- Vinyl bunny cut out; use a Silhouette or Cricuit or easy buy a roll or Protector from Dollarama and
   it is super sticky, use this it works great!

Easy Steps 

1. Cut out the bunny or whatever shape you'd like to use
2. Stick it some where on your canvas/cardstock 
3. Droplets of various paint colours on the canvas; nontoxic
4. Infants could finger paint by spreading the paint, or this could be modified for age for example
        - sponges, paint brushes, rollers, etc.
5. Allow paint to dry and peel the cut out shape! 


XOXO



Easy & Quick Easter Baking



I usually go all out for events, I love to bake! However, being quarantined, this is not the best idea because there is no one else but my husband and I to eat all the goodies. That of course would NOT turn out so well! This year I went a bit more basic and just made some cute little bunny cookies! 

Best part...the dough does NOT need to be refrigerated! You could make the dough and use right away. Or, if you have time use your regular sugar cookie or short bread cookie recipe and skip the first part! 

****************

Easter Bunny Cookies

I stumbled upon the easiest and quickest cookie recipe a few years ago on Pinterest, and it is my go to when I am in a rush and don't have time to make sugar cookie dough and chill over night. I will include that recipe here so you don't have to get lost in the Pinterest hole! 

What You Will Need

- Cadbury Eggs or Eggies (or any format of this) 
- A gingerbread man cookie cutter 
- tooth pick 

Steps
1. Make your dough; make sure to put your dry ingredients together first and then mix them in to the wet ingredients. Might seem like a silly step, but allows for perfect, even baking and dispersion of ingredients.

2. Roll out the dough, 1/4" thick . Use Gingerbread Man cookie cutter. Flip the Gingerbread man upside down (so the legs are up to be the ears and the head is down to be bunny's bottom) and reshape the feet to look more like ears. How do you do this? just elongate the legs a bit to get rid of the squared look.

3. Place a Cadbury Egg center of the arms and bring the arms up to be holding the Cadbury Egg. Take your toothpick and make some eyes and a nose. It is okay to go in the oven, the candy outside will protect the chocolate; the candy shell may crack a bit from the heat but that is all.

7. Place cookies on the sheet and bake for 6 minutes on 350! I have a convection oven and this time is the best for my cookies to be soft and not burnt. Might need to change based on your oven. When they come out of the oven let them sit for a few minutes to cool and then move them to a cooling rack.

8. Look at your bunnies and say awwwww, and then enjoy these divine little treats!



XOXO

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Baby Skin Always is so Awwww-Inducing



One thing is true, when holding a new baby or any baby, there is always an aww shared especially when touching their skin. The reality however, is that this isn't always the case for our poor little baby girl. She definitely gets her sensitive skin from her mama and then prone to eczema from her dad. She definitely did not get very lucky in this department. 


Babies are born of course very wrinkly and as days pass after birth, you will notice flaking. Many times you will see the flaking happen on their face and their scalp, other times it could travel down to their arms and legs. 

For the first year of a baby's life, it is important to understand that their skin is still developing which means they will be extra sensitive and susceptible to skin damage from too much sun exposure, wind, cold weather and heat. Not only natural elements, but also other irritants such as scents in lotions, detergents, bubble bath, etc. 

******

Things to Avoid

As a mom, I know I always want my baby looking like she is in tip-top shape, smelling clean and looking presentable. When you are thinking about adulthood you think about having to shower everyday otherwise you may scare people off - which depending on the day might not be a bad thing! Reality is that, this is not the same when it comes to a baby. As an adult our skin is fully developed therefore the sensitivity isn't as high.

I remember it was a big struggle for me when little E was experiencing the bad baby skin flakes. It was so hard for me to NOT rub or scratch it off. I would apply lotions to help had to really make a conscious effort to just let it be. The scratching and rubbing of this dry skin is actually not going to help and this flaking is a natural process as the baby is not in a new environment compared to the past nine months. 

Although bathing seems like a means of cleansing and ridding of dirt, it actually isn't the best thing for your babe especially in the first few weeks. It is actually more important to try and prolong a bath for as long as you can. If you do this, your baby in the long run will actually have smoother, softer skin. This may not make sense, but if you are constantly washing your baby then you are ridding of the characteristics of their skin that is actually important in their transition and exposure to their new environment - the healthy and necessary oils for example. 

This was the most difficult for me to comprehend. Babies do not need baths every.single.day. In fact, in doing so you can damage skin and dry them out even more. So think about 'mini baths' between actual baths. Minimizing how often can be a big game changer and this was something we learned with Emilia because we were bathing her every single day and it caused a lot more dryness to her skin. 

******

Some Tips & Tricks 

A few things we picked up from friends as well as from our midwives. 

1. At birth, wait if possible up to 2 weeks to do a full body wash. You could wash baby's head but avoid washing the body to give their skin a chance to develop a bit. This will help keep babies skin a lot softer.

2. Do not bathe baby every day. Maybe do a full soak about 2-3 times a week and in-between use wash clothes in warm water to just rinse the folds, clean off any drool or milk. This will help keep rashes from appearing but also keeping baby clean without getting rid of the natural oils they need. 

3. After a bath - especially for a baby with eczema - try to lightly pat-dry their skin with a towel and apply cream right away. By allowing some water to remain on their skin it will help lock in the moisture from the lotion a lot better which will help with dryness. 

4. Washing baby clothes before they wear it, is so important as you do not know what products or other environments the clothing has come into contact with. Pre-washing everything will ensure that any possible toxins that can cause a rash or outbreak will be avoided. 

5. We use a diaper rash cream that has calendula in it because it is great for rashes especially in the genital areas or related to milk getting trapped in creases and causing a rash. 

6. Having a humidifier will also help keep baby's skin away from dryness. Especially in a province like Alberta where the winters are super dry, a humidifier is a must have! We have Emilia's on every night during the winter months and we notice that her skin does not become dry as there is constant moisture. 

******

Favourite Baby Products

There are so many things we have tried since having Emilia, but these are our top must haves when it comes to baby products and sensitive skin 

Babyganics: they provide hypoallergenic products ranging from bath products, lotions, detergents, and even diapers. They have very mild scents or products that are completely fragrance free which is great especially for babies that have super sensitive skin.

Aveeno Baby: They too have very mild scents, however the product specifically we use from them is their eczema lotion because Emilia often will get spots of super dry skin. 

Frida Baby: They have a variety of items but our favourite for sure was their SKINSOOTHER. It is a silicone pad which is to be used during bath time.

Ivory Snow: Great detergent for sensitive skin - I even use this for me because of how sensitive my skin is. 

Bbluv Group: They have amazing products and for us we found their humidifers to be the best as they also have built in air purifiers which are great for when babies have a cold. We enjoy the size of the tank it has which allows it to last an entire 8 hours or longer. They have a variety of settings and has a built in night-light. 

XOXO