Monday, September 30, 2013

Getting Out With Baby

When the boy-o was first born I was at a bit of a loss as to how to get out of the house with him, and I really wasn't sure what sorts of programs and activities existed for caregivers and babies. Thank-fully I stumbled across the website Meetup and that was the start of a beautiful social relationship with other moms and babies, as well as getting to explore our neighbourhood better.

It can be scary to leave the house with your new baby-- you're worried about forgetting something, how you'll cope if your baby has a diaper explosion or really starts to lose it and gets upset. You might be worried about feeding your baby in public, or about something happening to them while you're travelling. These are all totally normal concerns, but don't let these worries keep you from getting out with your baby! Not only is it good for your baby to explore their world, but it will do YOU a world of good to get out of the house and chat with other mums who are going through the same things as you.

Meetup: This is a FREE website that allows you to connect with groups of people in your neighbourhood! You can search for groups by using regional key-words or by using topic based keywords. The groups then function like a message board where people can post events, and you can RSVP your attendance or not. Sometimes there will even be several similar groups in one location. For example, I belong to the Toronto New Parents group, as well as the St. Clair Mama's and Papa's group which is a more neighbourhood specific group.

The kinds of Meet Ups suggested in the groups are wide ranging from coffee dates, to lunch dates, to stroller walks in the park and neighbourhood events. This a great way to meet other mamas who live near you, and you can pick and choose which events suit your time-table and budget.

Another big plus of the MeetUp groups is that you can usually make suggestions for new events on  days/times that work for you if there are no standing meetups that work for you. Some groups have an open format where you can even create the event yourself without having to ask the group admin to do it for you.

OEYC Programs: The Ontario Early Years Centers are also an amazing resource for new parents! They're funded by the Ontario government and are free to participate in. Contact your local center to find out what their monthly calendar looks like. Generally speaking however they offer regular "drop-in" times where you and baby can stop by for free play and meet with other parents and caregivers. They also offer more structured activities that you need to pre-register for like songs and rhymes, and parent education workshops on various topics like weaning, language development and baby care. This is a great way to take advantage of your tax-dollars at work and meet other parents in your neighbourhood in a secure and organized environment. The staff who run these activities are all trained in working with young children, and many have their ECE qualifications. These were a lifesaver for us this summer since we don't have air conditioning and the OEYC sites by us did!

Library Programs: Your local library can be a wonderful hidden resource for getting out with your baby! Give them a call and ask if they offer any baby and caregiver programs, you might be surprised at the options. Many libraries offer a story time, or singing/rhymes circle time all of which are free to attend... and you don't even need a library card! But you might as well pick one up while you're there so you can make sure you have books on hand to read to baby at home. See my previous post on Reading Together to discover the importance of reading together with your baby and to see some of the boy-o's favourite books!


Swimming: While it's not recommended you take your little swimming until they've had a few sets of shots, swimming can be an excellent way to bond with your baby and get them used to the water from a young age. Many community pools have open swim during the day on weekdays, which means the only people in the pool are seniors and caregivers with babies and children too young for school! This can be a great place to meet other parents, and it's a fairly in-expensive activity since your baby isn't charged an admittance fee. Start small--aim for 15 minutes in the water and slowly increase the time you and baby spend there. Make sure you have a swim diaper for them though, or the lifeguard wont let you in, and you might have an awful mess to deal with! (regular diapers will explode if they soak up that much water and they won't hold any of the mess in.)


Stroller Fit: Stroller Fit activities can be found through groups like MeetUp or many organizations run classes that you can pay for as well. Essentially Stroller Fit is a great way to ease back into exercising with a baby in tow, and it also provides an opportunity to meet other parents as well. And like all of the recommended places to meet other mamas (or papas) it provides your baby with some socialization. You can even start up your own Stroller Fit group if one doesn't exist in your neighbourhood. Just find a nice park or trail, or a quiet neighbourhood to walk around in and stop periodically to do some other exercises and stretches. Your baby will love the fresh air, just make sure to dress them according to the weather, and keep sun protection in mind for your little.

What activities do you and baby do?

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Spaghetti Squash Bake

I discovered this delicious lasagna-esque meal a while ago in a Kraft Food magazine and then made it my own. It's changed and morphed over the years as to what goes in it, but it always ends up tasting awesome. It's also an excellent gluten free way to make "lasagna."

You can add whatever spices you like to it in order to change the taste of it. Some of our personal favourites include adding chili powder and sautéing the veggies in Catalina salad dressing, adding tex-mex seasoning and using spicy oil, or using flavoured canned tomatoes like Cracked Black Pepper.

The base recipe is provided here... you can experiment with your own flavourings, or just make it as is which pairs really well with chicken parmesan!

Spaghetti Squash Bake


  • 1 medium spaghetti squash, cooked
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 zucchini, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 TBS Olive Oil


1. Heat olive oil in non-stick frying pan and sauté zucchini, onions and celery until tender.
2. Pre-Heat oven to 425 degrees.
3. Scoop out cooked spaghetti squash into large glass baking dish. Add it in sautéed veggies and canned tomatoes. Mix well to combine. Add 1 cup shredded cheese and 1/2 cup parmesan cheese and mix well again.
4. Sprinkle remaining shredded cheese on top and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until cheese on top is browned and bubbly.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Teething Trauma

Apparently it runs in my family for babies to start teething early (Oh Joy!) so at the ripe old age of 4.5 months the boy-o already had TWO teeth fully cut through.

At first it was kind of cute and I was all like, "Awww... looks at your little teeth!"

4.5 Months Old
Then he bit me. And continues to bite me on an almost daily basis.

Because not only do babies in my family start to teeth early, apparently we're also somehow related to vampires, because the boy-o sure tries his best to draw blood at every opportunity, and today he nearly succeeded!

Now don't get me wrong, I certainly don't willingly offer my fingers to be sacrificed, but he's pretty sneaky and quite frankly he's pretty quick. He has an assortment of lovely chew toys which see a lot of action, especially now that the top two are trying to come through as well *FACEPALM,* but my fingers continue to be his special treat as he squeals with glee upon inflicting his razor sharp chompers on my poor defenseless fingers. Having to breastfeed a baby with teeth is a whole other story... and once those top teeth come in too he's definitely cut off!

The all wooden one on the left is his favourite!

We've also tried pretty much every suggestion under the sun for making the painful process of teething a little easier for him. We've tried the chilled teething rings and the frozen washcloths--but he hates anything cold in his mouth, so those are all a fail.

He has an amber teething anklet on each foot, and we've tried the Camilia Teething Drops and the Hylands Teething Tablets. I think all three of these are helping, but I try not to use the teething drops and tablets too often, even though they're all natural remedies.

And there's been a few really miserable days where the Infant Tylenol has even come into play. It's so terrible watching your little in pain and you'd think Mother Nature would have come up with a better way for teething to happen by now--evolution my arse!

When did your little start teething?
What were some of your favourite methods for easing teething pain?

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Canadian Mommy Blogs

As a newbie blogger there are certain things that I'm still learning about as I go, and one of the ways that I like to learn is by reading! So I've decided that it's high-time I dedicate a post to some of my fellow mommy-bloggers. I'm also a big fan of promoting my fellow Canadians--so this blog post combines both of those things. Here's a list of some of Canada's top mommy bloggers as listed in Canadian Living and Canadian Family:

1. Leanne Shirtliffe: Ironic Mom- Her blog posts are hilarious, and her guest bloggers are also amazing! If you ever need a good laugh, or to be reminded that parents are real people too--grab yourself a cup of coffee and head on over. Just don't drink and read or you might end up with coffee shooting out your nose!

2. Emma Waverman : Embrace the Chaos- Emma's blog posts tend to look at the daily realities of parenting and call attention to some of silly situations we find ourselves in and how to stay light-hearted about them. She also tackles some of the "popular" topics that float around and affect our day-to-day lives when it comes to raising our children.

3. Laura O'Rourke: Mommy Miracles- Laura's writing is very down to earth and she provides a good mix of humor and reality in her blog posts. Her posts often look at real life situations and offer a thoughtful and often funny response to them. She engages with her readers and the comments demonstrate that!

4. Tenille Lafontaine: Feisty Frugal and Fabulous- Tenille's blog is definitely the place to go if you want some money saving tips, delicious recipes, and helpful hints about life in general. If you're looking for some giveaways to enter to get free stuff, she's got it listed! Guest bloggers pop in occasionally with something new to offer as well.

Your Turn:
What are your favourite blog sites to read?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Hearty Lasagna

One of my favourite foods to make from scratch is lasagna! It takes a bit of time, but then I can add in meat AND veggies rather than settle for store bought which normally includes one or the other. I haven't quite figured out why they think the two can't live harmoniously together.... but anyway. Lasagna is also a great food to make for lots of leftovers! We usually make our lasagna in a 9X13 pan, and it will make 6-8 portions, depending on how hungry we are the night it was made.

I always start by making my own meat and veggie tomato sauce, which is really the heart of the lasagna. The longer you can let it simmer the better! Also, it freezes really, really well.

One of the best ways to freeze lasagna that I've discovered is to let it cool completely and then wrap each piece individually in saran wrap. It keeps out any freezer burn better than Tupperware, and takes up way less space in your freezer too!

Hearty Lasagna


- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 2 cans preferred spaghetti sauce
- 1 lb ground meat, we use turkey
- 1 green pepper, diced
- 1/2 large onion, diced
- 1/2 zucchini, diced
- handful carrot matchsticks
- 3 or 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 box of no cook lasagna noodles
- 1 500g container of cottage cheese
- 1 bag shredded mozzarella (or any other shredded cheese mix)


- Brown ground meat in a skillet and drain off excess fat
- Add diced tomatoes, spaghetti sauce and browned ground meat to large saucepan. Mix together well. Add in veggies and crushed garlic cloves.
- Let sauce mixture simmer for at least an hour, preferably more.

To Assemble lasagna:
- place thin layer of sauce on bottom of 9X13 pan, add three lasagna noodles on top,

- add layer of sauce, spread half of cottage cheese container, and place more noodles,

- cover noodles with more sauce, spread the second half of the cottage cheese, add more noodles,
- add final layer of sauce to generously cover noodles and sprinkle grated cheese over the top liberally.

-Cover lasagna with tin-foil and bake in pre-heated oven at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Remove tinfoil and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Let sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Although this lasagna already has veggies in it, it serves well with a side caesar salad to amp up the veggie quota of your meal, and to make it more likely that you'll get 8 servings out of it instead of just six.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Adventures in Solids: Part II

So a while ago I posted that we had started the boy-o on some solids, and provided a how-to on making your own puree from Sweet Potato. Since then we've greatly expanded on the boy-o's eating repertoire and have now tried making our own baby food from Sweet Potato, Avocado, Apples, Pears, Squash, Pumpkin and Rice Cereal.

Squash and Rice Cereal Face

It's been really easy to make our own foods so far, and I know the boy-o is certainly loving his food! We've made all of them essentially the same way: the sweet potato, squash, and pumpkin have all been cooked in a little water in the microwave (the first batch of Sweet Potatoes were boiled!), and then were mashed into a puree and placed into the ice cube trays to freeze.

The apples and pears were both cut up into tiny chunks and boiled in a small amount of water. Once the fruit was tender the water was saved to add as necessary when they were mashed up. I added a pinch of cinnamon to the apples to make it similar to applesauce in flavour and the boy-o loved that!

Avocado is a little different because you don't need to cook it. (The only other baby food you don't need to cook is bananas!) So once the avocado was ripe I simply scooped it out, added a little water and mashed it up as well, then put it into the ice cube trays to freeze it. 

When the boy-o is ready to eat some of it, I take one or two cubes from the bag and microwave them for 30-45 seconds to melt them, mix them up, and add more water if necessary to achieve a smooth runny texture. Any baby-spoon is great, but we have a really handy one we got in a baby sample pack where the purple tip turns colour if the food is too warm!
Other than mixing the Sweet Potato and Apples together, which I think is the boy-o's current favourite, we haven't tried any mixes yet. Once we add in a few more veggies we'll start experimenting with some other mixtures.
What were some of your little's favourite baby food combinations? One of my cousin's little boys loved black beans and bananas together! I stumbled across a really great website the other day for making your own baby food with some great suggestions for combining foods. It's called: Wholesome Baby Food. I look forward to checking it out frequently as the boy-o grows and his appetite for new and exciting foods grows too!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Reading Together: Sharing Together

I'm a huge fan of reading and so is my Hubby. We've both loved books for as long as we can remember and so we hope to pass on that love of reading to the boy-o. I still remember many of my childhood favourite books like "Coral Island" and "Goblins in the Castle." The fact that we love to read is certainly no secret to our family and friends, and I'm very proud to admit that the boy-o already has almost an entire two shelf bookcase in his room full of wonderful books! Some are pre-loved, some are new, some are for when he's a little older and some are in a second language.

Books: Not just for reading! Om nom nom....

I try to read with him everyday (or ever other day at least!) and so far it seems like he's got some personal favourites too. At the moment we're mostly reading board books because he's at the stage where he wants to grab and pull everything into his mouth, and a regular book would run the risk of giving him a paper cut as well as getting ripped. So it'll be board books for a while yet!

 Some of our current favourites are:

1. The Barnyard Dance: This book is a silly rhyming story about a group of farm animals doing a country dance. The images are really cute and the rhyming simple. The boy-o loves the sound of this story and we read this one every time we sit down together to do some reading. Boynton has a bunch of really great books, but this one is our favourite.

2. Noisy Farm: This book is a super simple one, but the boy-o loves when I make the noises and he likes looking at the bright colours. He also really likes trying to lift up the flaps, although he doesn't really have the dexterity yet to manage that!

3. B is for Bear: We read this one so often that the boy-o has started to learn which pages have something to touch and will start to reach for it before I even bring his hand to it! The letters are large and clear and the book has a nice rhyming scheme. The pictures are large as well, and there's a lot of different textured spots for baby to touch and feel. The boy-o also gets really excited by all the large human faces in the book.

4. The Very Hungry Caterpillar: This one is a classic favourite, and is a frequent read in our house! The pictures are simple but lovely, the story a beautiful one of transformation, and it provides some opportunities for basic counting and "name that object" style playing.
5. Grumpy Bird: This is an excellent book that talks about feelings and friends. It's a nice repetitive story that allows your little one to anticipate what's coming next and it provides an opportunity to practice counting by keeping track of how many friends Bird has. It has a good message at the end and the pictures are very cute.

All of these books are available through Amazon or Chapters in board book format!
We actually like the idea of reading to the boy-o so much that we had bought a book that was meant to be read to him in utero! We decorated his nursery in Dr. Seuss theme, so when we stumbled upon this book we just couldn't resist! It's an adapted story from various Dr. Seuss books and it's really super cute with all the rhyming tongue twisters you'd expect to find in any other Dr. Seuss book!
Reading with your child is a great way to bond and spend some quiet time together. And the best part is, it's never too early or too late to start! If you don't already read with your little one pick up some books today and get started! It's a life-long love that you'll be passing on.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

7 Best Baby Shower Gift Ideas

One of the comments on my previous post Product Review: Whale of a Tub pointed out that it would make a good baby shower gift (which is how we got ours!) and she's totally right! Then it got me thinking that there are lots of things I would really strongly recommend as shower gifts having gone through that process myself. So this post is all about my Top Suggestions as a new mom for baby shower gifts. I will preface this by saying that every baby is different and what was amazing for us might be less appreciated by another baby and vice-versa.

We've all been invited to a baby shower before and thought "I have no idea what to get them!" So you buy a cute outfit and call it a day. And yes, all those outfits are totally adorable, but one thing new moms rarely lack is clothing for their little ones!! If you really want to buy clothes, buy them in a bigger size like 3-6m so all the clothing they receive isn't the same size. If you're looking for suggestions besides clothes however, read on!

7 Best Baby Shower Gift Suggestions:

1. BrestFriend Pillow: This item is obviously only useful if the mama-to-be is intending to try breastfeeding, but if she is--then GET THIS! We had a lot of troubles getting things going in the feeding department and after visiting with a lactation consultant several times where they had these pillows I made my husband go buy one immediately. They are especially useful if the mama is not overly well endowed because it raises your baby up quite high which makes it easier for everyone! Also, the pillow is contoured to wrap around your body and it buckles in behind you. This was a lifesaver for those 1am, 3am, and 5am feeds. With the pillow securely attached to you, you don't have to worry about it slipping off, and because it creates a nice wide, flat surface, if you both happen to doze off while feeding it's not a big deal because baby is fully supported.

2. Bouncy Chair: You don't need a fancy bouncer to do the job--as long as it vibrates you're all set! We used this chair A LOT when the boy-o was small. He loved the vibrating sensation and it would calm him down pretty much immediately if he was upset. He used it to sit in, to nap in, and to play in. We used to set it in the middle of the kitchen table while we ate dinner so he could be part of the action. Now that he's bigger he loves the toy bar on it and grabbing at those. We never really used the music part, so it's sort of an extra bonus for someone who does want to use it. The best part is that this gift is inexpensive (often on sale!) and will last them for a while. Ours has certainly got a lot of mileage in the last 5 months. Just remember if you purchase this item, get a few sets of batteries for it too!

3. Activity Gym: Although this one also requires batteries, I can't recommend it enough! It's also a little more expensive then my other suggestions--so you might want to go together with someone else to purchase this one. We have the same play mat and it provided hours of fun and enjoyment! The boy-o loves trying to swat the dangling toys and would get totally transfixed by the colour changing star when the music was playing. He would also wiggle all over dancing along to it. Once he got too big and could grab onto the toys on the bar to pull it down, the mat served as a colourful, padded space to do tummy time! These come in all kinds of themes and colour variations, and with most of them you can switch out the toys for other ones you might have at home to keep it new and interesting.


4. Whale of a Tub: My previous post on the Whale of a Tub basically sums up why it's so awesome so I won't bother repeating it here, except to say that it really is amazingly helpful. It's also super cute.

5. Lamaze Toy: We have Mortimer the Moose (affectionately called La Mooze in our house) and he's awesome!! We don't travel anywhere without that thing! They make a whole line of creatures that are essentially the same. They're bright and colourful, they have parts that jingle and parts that crinkle, they have hard parts for chomping on when those teeth start to come through, and they're soft and cuddly too. We got ours second hand from a friend who was clearing out her baby stuff and what a gift it was!

6. Sleep Sheep and Friends: This is a cuddly "white noise" machine that can clip onto babies crib, bassinet, or cradle. It also comes in a travel size to attach to strollers/car seats etc. We use this adorable little sheep every night. It has several sound effects to help lull baby to sleep to encourage self-soothing and it's down right adorable! It takes batteries, but they last for a really long time. After five months of use we haven't had to change them yet--and we use this sheep every single night!

7. Aden and Anais Swaddle Blankets: Not every baby is happy to be swaddled, but these blankets were a total lifesaver for us! The boy-o is very tall and quite quickly grew out of the regular cotton blankets you can buy for swaddling at Sears or Toys R Us, but he sleeps so much better when he can't flail his arms around and hit himself in the face. (go figure!) These blankets are super light and perfect for when the weather gets hot but you still want to swaddle your little one at night. They're also a great option for covering the stroller when you're trying to block out some of the sun and for blocking out stimulation at nap time.

There are certainly other items that we really love as well (like the Exersaucer!), but these 7 are items that I think would make a perfect shower gift for the mom-to-be! What are some of the most useful items you received or bought for your baby?

Friday, September 20, 2013

Product Review: Whale of a Tub

Bathtime is one of the best times of day in our household. The boy-o has a total ball splashing all over the place and sending water flying! (usually on mummy or daddy!) We received the Precious Planet Whale of a Tub by Fisher Price as a baby shower gift, and little did we know then how much all three of us would end up loving this tub.

Some people consider infant tubs a waste of money, but my back and knees greatly appreciate this tub! We fill it with water and place it on the center of our kitchen table so there's no bending over the big tub,or kneeling on the hard bathroom floor. Plus, this tub is designed to keep your infant safe, which beats having to worry about him slipping in the big tub.

This tub has several features which make it a total winner in my books!

1. The little green seat in the middle. Basically you lay your baby back in the "tail" and rest their bum on the seat. This means that they can comfortably lay back and be fully supported and there's no worry of them slipping down into the bottom because they're sitting on the seat. Once your baby can sit up on their own and tries to escape the seat, it pops out, allowing your older infant to simply sit up in the bottom of the tub instead.

2. The green foam along the back of the tail. This patch of foam not only provides a padded head rest for your little while they get their bath, but it also adds a bit of traction to help prevent any slipping.

3. The tub comes with a smaller orange whale. It has some holes in the bottom and can be used to entertain baby, or to help rinse them off. The boy-o loves to chew on it! (He loves to chew on EVERYTHING so no surprise there!)

4. The plug in the bottom. The tub a small plug in the base to allow the water to drain out. We just dump it out the side, but it's nice to have the slow drain option so you can pop it in the big tub or over the sink and let the plug out for a slow drain while you go do something else.

5. The adorableness. One of the reasons I love this tub is purely cosmetic and I'll admit that. It's just so super CUTE! I love the design of it and the fact that our bathtime includes ocean animals.

There's an interactive demonstrate of all the specifics of the tub on the Fisher Price website. All of the product pictures are also from the Fisher Price website.

So overall I give the Precious Planet Whale of a Tub at 10/10! There's nothing about this tub I dislike and I am SO glad that we got it as a gift.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Top 5 Things My 5 Month Old Has Taught Me

I'm a huge advocate of the old adage that we never stop learning! There's always something new to discover, or a new way to look at something old. It's hard to believe that the boy-o will be 5 months old already on Friday, and when I think about how that's happened so fast and about how much he's changed in that short amount of time, I realize that I've changed in that time too. Having a baby truly is life changing, and my son really does make me a better person.

He's discovering the world and everything in it at a rapid pace, and as his primary caregiver I get to help him experience that world. But it's not just him that's learning in our time together--my son has taught me 5 very important things that I want to share with you.

The Top 5 Things My 5 Month Old Has Taught Me

1. When you're upset you should let people know.

This seems obvious--but really, how often are we upset or frustrated about something (or at someone!) and rather than express our feelings we keep it bottled up inside? This isn't healthy for us emotionally or mentally, and it leads to further problems down the road when it does finally surface. Since the boy-o is still trying to figure the world out (and his own limbs for that matter!) he gets frustrated easily some days, and he's not afraid to show it! He knows that when he lets his frustration out someone will comfort him. Why are we so afraid of letting other people know we're having a rough go? When did it become unacceptable to ask for help? Taking a cue from the boy-o I'm trying to be more aware of my emotions and what I'm feeling so that I can share those feelings with others.

2. Trying new foods is an adventure that we should look forward to.

The older we get the more stuck in our ways we become. There are certain foods that I WILL NOT eat. Some of them are foods I've tried recently and confirmed I still dislike (squash!), and some are foods that I haven't had in ages because "I don't like them." On several occasions though I've forced myself to re-try some of these foods that "I don't like" only to discover they are in fact delicious and that I could have been eating them ages ago! (like asparagus!) There are also foods I'll turn my nose up at before I even take a bite because I've convinced myself it's something I won't like. Why is that?? We've just started the boy-o on solids and so far he's had sweet potato, avocado, apples, rice cereal and now pumpkin. He's approached every one of those foods as something delicious to eat that he can't wait to try! His willingness to launch into any food I offer him is inspiring and I hope to portray a more open mind to new foods in the future so that he's more likely to maintain his openness too!

Avocado Face

3. Sometimes a quiet cuddle is all we need.

It's amazing how much a quiet cuddle can improve your outlook on the world. Everyone is so busy these days and the amount of quality time we get to spend with our loved ones is short and infrequent. It's easy to get burned out with all the daily demands that we face. I've learned from my son though that sometimes a quiet cuddle is all that it takes to help us recharge and help us face the wide world again! There's something almost profound that occurs during the cuddling process that sets off those "happy endorphins" and lets us know that someone has our back when we need it.

4. We should all be excited by the reflection we see in the mirror.

I'm sure that most of you have seen the reaction of a baby who has seen themselves in the mirror--it's one of sheer joy! (often accompanied with wide smiles and shrieking!) Why do we lose that?? When was the last time you saw yourself in the mirror and shrieked with excitement?! Or even had a big smile? And let's face it, it's hard to be goofier looking than a baby--but they don't care, because they are enthralled with their own image. They love looking at themselves because when they see themselves they aren't thinking about their knobby knees, or their chubby thighs, or their little pot belly... they just see a face smiling back at them and it makes them happy. It's simple really! I try to take this advice to heart and I'm re-learning to love the person I see in the mirror staring back at me. Partly because I want to the boy-o to grow up knowing that whoever he sees looking back at him is worth smiling at, and partly because I want to experience that sense of Joy in myself too.

5. Napping is a wonderful thing.

Now, I've always loved napping. So this isn't really something new that I've learned, but it has been reinforced (and has at least partly convinced my husband who hates napping!) I can say however that there are few feelings as wonderful as napping with your baby cuddled up on your chest asleep. It's a beautiful bonding moment, it builds trust, and it encourages you to nap when your baby does. The boy-o is getting less content to nap on people and it makes me sad to know that our group napping days are numbered and to cherish every minute left of those times. Whether napping together or just napping in general putting him to sleep several times a day has really reminded me about how much sleep we as adults need, and that most of us don't get anywhere near the recommended amount! Even though we're happier, function better, and are more productive when we get enough sleep many of us don't. One way to help combat that lack of sleep is to grab a nap here and there when the opportunity arises. It offers us a chance to recharge and gives us the opportunity to take on the rest of the day from a new perspective. The boy-o certainly feels better after he's had a long nap, and I know I do too!

I hope that as I continue to teach the boy-o about the world that I continue to learn from him too. Sometimes true wisdom comes in tiny packages!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

It's Chilly, Time for Chili!

Chili is one of my all time favourite things to make when the weather starts to get cooler. It's easy, it's healthy, and I can make a huge batch in my crockpot and freeze some for quick meals later. Chili is a very personal food, and I know a lot of people are very particular about their chili recipes. I learned how to make chili from my mom who used to make it fairly often when I was growing up. I've taken her recipe as a base and adjusted it to make it my own. Chili is also a great way to use up some of the random veggies you  might have kicking around your fridge.


Crockpot Chili:


1 lb of ground meat (we usually use Turkey)
2 tbs garlic powder
1 or 2 large green peppers, diced
1 large onion, diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
1/2 zucchini, diced
1 handful of shredded carrots
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can Vegetable Garden beans
1 can brown beans in tomato sauce
1 packet chili powder
1/2 can or bottle of beer (You can use water instead if you prefer, it just adds some liquid to the chili)


1. Brown ground meat in a skillet and drain extra fat and liquid. Sprinkle garlic powder over meat.
2. Add ground meat to the crockpot and then add everything else, adding the beer last.
3. Mix together well to combine ingredients together.
4. Cook on low in crockpot for 6 hours.

Once the chili is ready I love to sprinkle some cheese on top! I usually add a little parmesan and then some grated cheese as well. My hubby loves to eat his chili with some nacho dips to dip in it. I really like pairing my Zucchini and Cheese Damper with my chili! There's something super satisfying of really dense bread with a hearty meal like chili.

One of my ultimate favourite ways of eating up leftover chili is to make it into chili nachos! To make chili nachos cover your plate with a generous amount of nacho chips. Sprinkle re-heated chili over chips. Add salsa, grated cheese and jalapenos. Microwave for a minute or so to melt cheese. Remove from microwave and add some sour cream. Enjoy! (You might need to eat them with a fork!)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Farmer's Feed Cities: U-Pick Adventure

This past Sunday we decided to embark on a family outing to our local U-Pick farm called Andrew's Scenic Acres. We wanted to do something outdoors to take advantage of this lovely cooler weather, and I was excited to get some farm fresh produce to make the boy-o some more homemade baby foods! I also love supporting local farmers whenever I can.

Besides the standard U-Pick items they also had quite a few things to entertain the kiddos and make the trip that much more enjoyable. They had pony rides, a hay ride, a huge hay bale climbing station as well as a BBQ serving up hot dogs and sausages!

One of the things that I really loved about Andrew's Scenic Acres was all the sunflowers!! You can go there to pick a variety of berries and other produce, as well as flowers. There were sunflowers everywhere and they were so pretty. The boy-o was pretty enthralled with them and loved the "prickly" texture of the head where the seeds grow.

We decided to pick ourselves some pears and apples. There were three kinds of each sort of fruit and I think we ended up with a pretty good mixture of them all. The trees were loaded with delicious ripe fruit, and we certainly took full advantage of the "sample 3" rule employed at the farm!! Eating a fresh, ripe pear or apple straight off the tree is a sensation that everyone should get to experience.

The boy-o wasn't much help with picking the fruit, but I have a feeling he's going to enjoy eating his homemade fruit purees.

It was quite chilly out at the farm so we made sure to bundle up nice and warm. Our carrier was the perfect mode of transportation for this event since it meant we didn't have to try and push a stroller around the field, and it also helped provide some extra body heat for warmth. All the ladies that we met at the farm had to stop and smile at the boy-o, and really, with a face like that can you blame them?!

After we finished picking our fruit we stopped for a lunch break. Hubby and I had hotdogs from the BBQ and some homemade fruit juices that the farm makes with their berries. They were DELICIOUS! Boy-o looked pretty jealous of our hotdogs but had to settle for a bottle.

So all in all we had a fantastic Family Fun Day at Andrew's Scenic Acres. We picked some apples and pears, and we also bought a cooking pumpkin, an orange squash and a spaghetti squash. We used the pumpkin to make the boy-o some puree, I made the Pumpkin Toffee Muffins listed in a previous post, and we made some Pumpkin Meatloaf! So many delicious uses for pumpkin.

Part of the reason that I really wanted to go check out this U-Pick is that I'm a huge supporter of buying locally when you can, and recognizing that farmers are the people who feed us. There is an excellent organization called Farmer's Feed Cities that I highly recommend you check out! They have all sorts of helpful information and excellent resources to spread the word. Think about it, when was the last time you visited a Farmer's Market, went to a U-Pick, or checked which country your produce in the grocery store has come from?
I challenge everyone this week to look at the labels on their produce the next time they go to the grocery store. Where did the product come from? Is it in season? Is there a local alternative? Support your friendly farmers and eat local when you can. After all, our farmers are the people who feed us.