Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Dreaded "Santa Claus" Photo

I'm sure that at one time or another you've all been in a mall over the Christmas season and seen the *insane* line-up of parents/caregivers with their children in tow to get their Christmas photo with Santa taken.

I've actually got my photo taken with Santa several times as an adult (it was for my mom, ok!) so I'm no stranger to the scenario--kids wailing, clinging to their parents, planking on the floor, destroying their nice outfits and refusing to go anywhere near the old bearded man.

There seems to be various "windows of opportunity" where Santa photos tend to go over ok. Very young babies or toddlers 2 and over seem the most likely to tolerate the holiday tradition without too much of a fuss. Since this is the boy-o's first Christmas, it will obviously be our first attempt at the iconic Santa Photo. He's a pretty chill baby so I don't think it will be any trouble at all on his part--Santa better watch his beard and glasses though!

We're debating about whether we should make it a "family" photo and all get in there, or just get one with the boy-o alone while he's young enough that it's possible. (Because in all likelihood next years photo will have to be family affair in order to get him anywhere near St. Nick.) Hubby really wants to be there for the boy-o's first Santa photo, so we'll have to brave the line-up on the weekend, and I'm actually dreading that MORE than the photo itself. Yikes!

Have you had any Santa horror stories?? What are some of your wisdom infused tips for a FTM facing her first encounter with the holiday photo?

Friday, November 22, 2013

Pureed Chickpea Soup- For You AND Baby

I've had some chickpea's sitting around for a while, and I kept meaning to try making "baby hummus" with them, but it never happened. Then today I found a recipe for making a pureed Chickpea Soup and thought that was the perfect idea--I can totally alter this to make it baby friendly for the boy-o! But I wanted to try it out too, so after making the soup base I split it into two and added some extra things to both.

Pureed Chickpea Soup


- TBS oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 stalks of celery, diced
- 2 large carrots, diced
- 1 can, rinsed chick-peas
- 1 box sodium reduced chicken stock (900ml)
- 2 cups water


1. Heat saucepan with oil, and add onion, carrots and celery to sauté for a few minutes.
2. Pour chicken stock, water, and rinsed chick peas into large pot. Add in sautéed veggies.
3. Cover and boil for about an hour. Remove from heat and let cool.
4. Pour soup into blender/food processor and blend till smooth.

NOW... for the baby version I left it at that and simply added a little Rice Cereal to it before serving to make it a little thicker.

For the adult version I returned the soup to the saucepan to heat it back up and added some red chili flakes and some garlic powder, letting it simmer for about 10 more minutes. Removed for heat and served!

It was super easy to make and both the boy-o and I both really liked it! It's nice to finally eat the same thing for once. After I finished making the soup I simply portioned his half out into an ice-cube tray to freeze into cubes for future use!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

"My Baby is Better Than Your Baby" Syndrome

As a FTM I get overly excited when the boy-o has learned a new skill, because not only is it new to  him, it's new for me too! I think it's part of our job as parents to encourage our children as they grow and develop. BUT, I cannot stress this enough, it is NOT our job as parents to pressure our children to do things before they are ready or to compare/belittle/judge other children on what milestones they have or haven't hit yet.

I honestly don't get it. I don't understand why some people feel the need to look down on other people's babies because they weren't sitting by 6 months, or crawling by 8 months, or walking by a year or WHATEVER! Those kids will figure it out eventually in their own time, so what's your problem?! It literally has nothing, at all, to do with you and your child. As if parents don't worry enough on their own about whether their child is "meeting their milestones," they certainly don't need you to chime in about how "ahead" your baby was.

Desperately Trying to Go Forward

Thankfully I haven't been the recipient of this sort of crap (at least not to my face, anyway) but I have friends who have--and makes me angry. It makes me really angry. What kind of sad adult feels the need to pick on a baby? Why do we need to make life a race right from the very beginning?!

I'm not saying that you should feel shy or ashamed to be proud of your babies accomplishments--or that you shouldn't share those new exciting thing with your family and friends--because you should totally share them! It's important to celebrate the little things. But there's no excuse, ever, for the "My baby is better than your baby" syndrome. I absolutely love hearing about the new things my friends little's have accomplished... it's so exciting to see them grow and change as they get older but I try really hard not to compare our babies or push Peter into things before he's ready because someone else's kid has already done it. Sometimes it can be a tough line to walk and we don't even realize we're doing it.

So I encourage you to pay closer attention to the ways you talk about your baby to others, and the way you react to the news of other people's littles. Is it supportive? If not, keep your mouth shut because no one needs to hear it--especially a baby.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

I Would Like Exactly ONE Cookie

I'm sure you've been there... some days you really want a cookie, and I mean REALLY, but you don't want to make a whole batch because you know you'll end up eating them all yourself!

Well, today I present you with the solution! A recipe for making exactly ONE chocolate chip cookie! These "mini" cookie recipes are floating around all over the internet right now, and as much as I support the traditional way of baking cookies--these are just too damn good to ignore!

Single Chocolate Chip Cookie


- 1 tbsp butter melted
- 1 tbsp white sugar
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 3 drops of vanilla
- pinch of salt
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 tbsp chocolate chips


1. Combine melted butter with brown and white sugar. Add in vanilla drops and egg yolk. Combine well.
2. Add in salt, flour and chocolate chips, mix well.
3. Scoop out dough into microwavable safe bowl or container and microwave for 30-45 seconds. Do not overcook otherwise cookie with be hard and dry! Enjoy!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

What's in Your Closet: Having Hard Conversations

There's a really awesome video going around right now of a TED talk that happened in Boulder, Colorado by a woman named Ash Beckham. She talks about how important it is to have "hard conversations" with people, and that no matter what your "hard conversation" is, hard is hard. There's no comparing my hard against your hard--it's just hard. Her talk is about encouraging people to leave their closets behind and have those hard talks, because a closet is no place for a person to live.

Ash is a lesbian and part of her talk was about her coming out of her own closet, which she describes as having rainbow walls--but walls that no one could see, because it was dark inside. She talks about how difficult it was for her to have that hard conversation with people, and she shares how some of those conversations went. One of the stories she shares is about having that hard conversation with a 4 year old girl in a restaurant and the life lessons learned from pancakes. I'd like to share her video with you now.

Not having those hard conversations is like a holding onto a grenade, but that doesn't make it any easier to say what needs to be said and leave our closets behind. There's a website called Post Secret that's been around for quite some time now, and essentially they help people take the first step in coming out of their closets by offering a way to anonymously share their hard conversation with the world. You send them a postcard with your "secret" on it and they upload them to their website to
display for all to see.

What makes it so difficult to have these hard conversations with one another? Fear of rejection or disappointment? Fear of causing pain or suffering to others? Or a fear of being open and vulnerable? The bottom line is that it doesn't matter what your hard conversation is about--it's hard, and it needs to happen...because the longer you wait, the more time you give that grenade to explode.

I've seen first hand how hard those conversations can be, and I've seen how beautiful life can become once they've been had. The boy-o has the lucky fortune of having a pair of Aunties on one side instead of an Aunt and Uncle, and I hope that he grows up inspired by their courage to have had their hard conversation.

But like Ash tells us, stepping out of a rainbow closet isn't the only hard conversation people have. No matter what your hard conversation is about--step out of your closet into the sunshine, because a closet is no place for a person to live.

Friday, November 8, 2013

MOVE-ember Update: Week One

Well, week one of MOVE-ember is over and it's time to report on how I've made out so far.

It wasn't a very successful start because this week has been rather stressful. My mom was here to visit the first few days which was great fun, but we were crazy busy running all over the city, and then the boy-o got an ear ache and is now back on antibiotics (after having just come OFF antibiotics last week from Strep Throat!). So he's been a seriously grumpy fussy-butt and has spent a lot of the last three days screaming at me if I even *think* of setting him down.

Ok, so enough of the excuses and back to the report:

Veggies/Fruit: I did much better at eating more veggies and more fruit. I could certainly stand to eat even more though, so that's a work in progress. Even with the stress, I managed to keep the bad snacks to minimum. Small victories, right?

Exercise: Besides the real workout on Saturday (which I was seriously sore from for DAYS!) all we've managed is some long power-walks in the stroller, and even some of those have ended in the boy-o erupting at not being held.

Water: Fail. I need to get my water bottle back out and start using that rather than glasses. Must. Drink. More. Water!

Weight loss: Even with the shaky start to MOVE-ember I managed to lose 3 pounds this week! Hurray! Also, to go with my new pants I finally bought I'm wearing a belt again. I'm currently on the second hole from the end. This will help me keep track of inches in a very practical way.
So week one may have kicked my butt a little bit--but week two is all mine!
In fact, I think I'll go refill my water bottle right now!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Product Review: Sinchies Reusable Food Pouches

As I've mentioned before I like to make my own baby foods, and so far the boy-o has loved everything we've tried! He's a real food machine and his introduction to solids has gone incredibly well. We're up to two meals a day now and they are by far his favourite part of the day. He's not a very messy eater but we still hadn't attempted to have a "solids" meal while we were out before, even if it was his usual meal time--we would just bring a bottle instead because that seemed easier.

Recently I received some Sinchies food storage pouches in the mail to review, and on Monday we were out of the house all day at the new Ripleys Aquarium (which is AWESOME by the way), so that seemed like the perfect opportunity to test them out!

I decided to test out the two smaller pouches which hold 80ml and 140ml. I added two ice-cube sized servings to the smaller bag, and three ice-cube sized servings to the larger bag. Both bags still had room to add more if needed, but that's all the boy-o eats so far at a meal! The smallest one was a little difficult to fill because the opening isn't very big, but I got the hang of it pretty quickly and the medium sized one was no difficulty at all. Once the bags were filled I closed the double ziplock seal at the top and popped them into the lunch bag. There was no leaking!

When it was time to feed the boy-o it was super easy! I just removed the cap and squeezed the puree out onto a spoon. It was mess free and really easy to get the puree out. Older children can even skip the spoon phase and simply suck out the food from the pouch via the spout.

When it started to get down to the last little bit I rolled the bag like you would a toothpaste tube to make sure we got it all out, and we managed to squeeze it pretty clean.

The Sinchies meant we didn't need to bring a bulky glass jar or tupperware container, and we had the double benefit of bringing our own puree as well as the container being washable and re-useable for less waste. It was really convenient and easy to use, and it washes out really easily too with a quick swish of a bottle brush. According to the website they are dishwasher safe as well, which we sadly don't have. Anyone want to send me a dishwasher to review?!

Another important feature of the Sinchies for me is that besides being dishwasher and freezer safe is that they don't contain any BPA, Phthalate and PVC--because if you're going to take the time to make your own baby food you don't want to then stick it in a BPA filled container!
The Sinchies made our first "solids on the go" meal a total success, and now I'm not so nervous about feeding the boy-o while we're out and about. I'll definitely be recommending these things to all my mom friends who make their own baby food, and even to those who use pre-jarred stuff because they are way easier to carry around than a bunch of glass jars! They're eco-friendly, convenient and mom-friendly! They're also quite reasonably priced and you can mix and match which sizes you want to order.
Overall I give the Sinchies a 9/10, and look forward to reusing them for many meals to come!
How do you manage meals on the run with your infant?

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Coffee Without a Coffee Maker?

My mom was here visiting the last few days and she is a coffee-a-holic! She'll drink 4 or more cups a day sometimes and I always feel bad when she comes to visit because we don't drink coffee, and don't even own a coffee maker! In the past we've tried to remember to have some VIA singles on hand, but those things aren't cheap. When it comes to coffee she's not overly picky when circumstances are looking dire--and she'll happily take instant over tea. But this time we didn't even have any instant coffee on hand and I knew the tea in the morning just wasn't cutting it for her.

We actually had a tin of regular coffee left over from the boy-o's baptism and I was trying to think of a way to make my mum some coffee with it--then it hit me, a perfect way to make regular coffee without a coffee maker.

My husband likes to drink a lot of tea so we have a bunch of those metal tea balls, but I figured the holes in the mesh would be too big and that some of the coffee grounds would escape... BUT we also have some of those little "make your own tea bag" pouches which I figured would work perfectly!

I simply scooped a tablespoon or two of coffee into the pouch (the same as you would tea in the photo above!) and closed it, then put it inside a second one to make sure no grounds escaped. I poured my boiling water into the mug and then put the "tea bag" into the water to steep just like tea does--because after all, what's coffee besides hot water running through the grounds?
When it looked like it was dark enough I called my mom over to test it out, and the smile on her face after just smelling it told me this was a hit! She used the same "tea bag" of grounds to make two more cups later in the day and said that even the third one was still delicious with a robust flavour, and that no grounds managed to escape!
So now when she comes to visit next time, I'll be able to make her a nice hot coffee without having to worry about buying instant, and without having a coffee maker!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

MOVE-ember : The exercising begins!

I finally did it. After 16 months or so, I finally exercised again! REAL exercise, not just a power walk with the stroller. I did a 30 minute workout to Jillian Michael's Yoga Meltdown this morning before heading to work. I managed to finish it, but I certainly had to "cheat" a few times. At the end of it I was not a pretty sight--but I did it! The boy-o was getting pretty cranky by the end with watching mommy for that long without getting any cuddles, but I'm hoping it's something we can make a regular habit of doing.

I have such a love-hate relationship with exercise... I enjoy the extra energy it ends up providing in the long run, but I get so defeated looking at the scales because I have always lost weight veeeeery slowly. I have a pretty muscular build so I tend to tone up fairly quickly but the number on the scale never seems to change much. I know it's better to watch inches than pounds, but it's losing the pounds that provides me with the most satisfaction. I've joined several gyms in the past and after 3-4 months I tend to lose interest because despite making a regular habit of going, I don't get the results to keep me motivated. The same thing goes for exercising at home--I have several intense work-out videos and I'll stick to them really well for a few months, and then lose inspiration because the pounds still aren't shifting!

I've done the body fat percentage test that some gyms offer so I know that it's much higher than it needs to be/should be, but it seems like no matter what I do I can't get it to budge. (and yes I've had my thyroid tested!)

I'm now currently the heaviest I've ever been thanks to the extra baby weight, and I just pray that I'll be able to at least get back down to where I was before--which is still too heavy, but at least I'd be able to wear my regular clothes again and see what I can do from there. But it's a daunting task because I've tried so many times in the past without success.

I'd like to try and convince myself that whether the pounds come off or not it's more important to live a healthier lifestyle in general, which includes more exercise and better eating habits--but I know that as a results driven person, that if I don't get the results I'll end up giving up again.

How do you stay focused and committed to living a healthier lifestyle??
What are some of your exercising tips for a busy mum on the go?

Friday, November 1, 2013

Battling the Post Baby Bulge: MOVE-ember

Yep. I said it. BULGE.

The boy-o was delivered via an unplanned C-section and although the first few weeks were really horrible, we got through it and moved on into a good routine and things were great. I even lost almost all of my baby weight by 3 weeks post-partum.
And then all the help left and my husband was back at work, and all the freezer meals we had made ahead of time ran out, and the boy-o stopped sleeping for approx. 20 hours a day, and I ended up eating crap. All the time. Quick crap. Carb crab. Anything I could eat in 20 seconds, and if it didn't need to be hot, even better. And all the baby weight essentially came back!

I 'm a big fan of gently reminding myself that it took 9 months to gain it all, that I need to be gentle with myself taking it back off. And I really do believe that's true... the crazy-annoying thing though is that it was already ALL GONE and then because of bad lifestyle choices, it all came back!

I keep telling myself that I'm going to eat more veggies and fruit, that I'm going to make better food choices... I also keep telling myself that I'm going to start exercising again and drinking more water. The boy-o and I go for walks almost every day, and that's certainly something, but I need something a little more intense than that. I know I've toned up a little bit (lifting a 17lb baby all day will do that!), but the fat needs to go. And I keep telling myself I'm going to do it. And then I don't.

Why? Because LIFE happens.

I know from previous experience that once I start exercising and get over that hurdle I'll feel better, I'll have more energy, I'll sleep better etc. and yet I still can't motivate myself to start. But the reality of it is that it's been over 6 months since the boy-o was born, I still don't fit into my regular pants and I need to step up and do something about it!



So dearest Interweb, you are what is going to hold me accountable to this. The month of November is going to become MOVE-ember in this household. I've just announced it to the whole world--so now I have to stick to it, right? I'll be posting updates about how I'm making out and I welcome whole-heartedly your tips and tricks for sticking to it and how a busy mum can realistically lose the baby fat.

So please--share your tips, and your experiences... It's nice to know we're not in this alone!