Sunday, November 21, 2010

Day 24 - It’s called post-partum baby!

It happened after the “babymoon,” two weeks after Jake was born. Everything was perfect. I stared for hours on end at the little precious being that I had created. I was overjoyed to finally meet this tiny person that had lived inside me for 9 months. I wondered who he was, what he would become and who he would look like. I was totally captivated by his every little movement and jumped at every coo! I was in a swoony, blissful haze! I was in love! And, the icing on the cake was that I could finally sleep on my stomach. Heaven!

Skip to a couple of weeks later…

The happy, swoony hormones from my delivery were levelling off and were all wonky. My emotions like my house were now a complete and total disaster. My little precious little wonder looked less like a baby and more like a parasite that required constant feeding and diaper changing, needed to be held around the clock, and squawked whenever I put him down. I couldn’t remember when I had last showered and how long I had been wearing my pyjamas. I wondered whether the black circles under my eyes had become a permanent fixture. And, my boobs hurt! I couldn’t figure out what hurt most, the fact that they might explode or the feeling that someone had tried to sandpaper my nipples off. I wondered when I would get my figure back because I wasn’t keen on the stomach flap and the stretch marks that looked like a road map to my belly button. I mourned the loss of my old life. The one where I could party all night, sleep in, do what I wanted when I wanted. You know the life that had zero responsibility!

The hurt, hormones, sleeplessness, dark circles, flabby skin, crying, poopy diapers and constant caregiving is what postpartum is all about! It plain sucks…period! Here is some consolation, however. Every mommy goes through it! It’s like a right of passage to mommyhood. If you can handle post-partum you can pretty much handle anything your little monsters to throw at you. The “suckiness,” although “sucky,” is brief (and, like the actual act of childbirth will become a vague memory). Most things get resolved with time. And, what doesn’t go away, you just adjust to. Those little bundles of poopy messes and spit up are really easy to get attached to. They have a way of making you forget about your old life was like. Soon, you will wonder how you could have ever possibly lived without them. J

Monday, November 8, 2010

Day 23 - A Mothers Guilt

People always talk about how great it is to have children. It is great! It’s more than great! It’s amazing and wonderful! Sometimes, however, there are those rare occasions where everything isn’t so wonderful. Those are the days where it just feels like its one long chain of messes, tantrums, whines, screams, and screeches after another. The tried, tested and true naughty spot is no longer effective. And, you feel like tossing your Supernanny Guide to Child Rearing Success out the window or maybe just calling her to see if she is available to babysit for a while.

All kidding aside, there are those days where you simply feel tired, frustrated and overwhelmed! You feel like you’re a terrible mother and like you’re not cutting it. And, to make matters worse you feel guilty it. But, I would argue that most moms feel this way at some point in time (just add it to the long list of things they don’t tell you about mommyhood).  After all, parenthood and motherhood isn’t all sunshine and roses all the time. It’s hard work! While it’s a totally rewarding and fulfilling job, there are just some days where you would like to call in sick because you would just rather curl-up on the couch for an uninterrupted day of reading or to catch-up on the latest season of Gossip Girl (when was the last time you did that?).

But, I think that the number one rule to getting through mommyhood is to remove the guilt and to give yourself a break. Let’s face it, these little buggers know how to push your buttons and pull your strings from the moment they come out of our womb. And, while we may love our little monsters to bits, they can drive us crazy from time to time! I’m telling you it’s ok to feel unmotivated, emotional, drained, or on the verge of a total meltdown. It happens! It doesn’t make you a bad mom either. It’s also ok to take a break from time to time…maybe you need a whole day off. Heck! Some of us may need an entire vacation on another continent to recharge batteries and to gain perspective. I’m telling you that it’s ok! And, that it’s nothing to feel guilty about!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Day 22 – Halloween Post Mortem

I didn’t feel entitled to write about Halloween because I hadn’t really gotten the hang of it yet. At least for me, Halloween with small kids seems to require a lot of tactical planning and strategy. Prepare dinner while face painting and disguising, put dinner in oven to keep warm, go out trick-or-treating (one parent stays home to give out candy), return home, serve dinner, eat dinner while running to the door to dole out candy. Repeat over and over, “No, you can’t have candy until you’ve finished all your supper,” sort candy, try to limit candy consumption during sorting, try to contain and limit household damage of strung out children hoped up on sugar, attempt to put little monsters to bed now crashing from sugar high, which may include whining, crying and tantrums.

Then, there’s the dilemma of what to do with the CANDY! Between the candy collected and the candy left over from the dole out we usually have enough candy to feed a small village until Christmas.

But, this year seemed to go more smoothly (meaning I didn’t feel totally exasperated). Plus, we also managed to keep the candy to a minimum which is always a good thing in my books. So hear are some lessons learned:

1)      In talking with neighbours we realised that the parents thought that each house gave out too much candy (for sure, no one wants to be the labelled the “stingy house”) and that the kids ended up with a full bag after only having done our street. This year, I did my civic duty and bought less candy! In order to extend kids trick-or-treating experience I only bought two boxes of 50 candies each and dished out two candies per child. We will forever be known as the “stingy house.”
2)      Prepare dinner early or order out before trick-or-treating. You will not have time to prepare a proper meal in between face painting, dressing up kids and dealing with sugar highs (trust me, I’ve tried).
3)      Go trick-or-treating early, sort candies and re-gift any candies that you or your kids don’t like. Did I say “re-gift”? Yes, yes I did! Pretty horrible, I know. But, Jake can’t eat gum and hard candies and doesn’t like liquorice. Plus, I’m pretty sure that there’s some happy Halloweener out there really enjoying Jake’s jaw breakers. Not to mention that it cut Jake’s candy stash in half. And, this makes mommy very happy. 
4)      Also, we limited the candy giving out time. Apparently there’s an unwritten Halloween code that if your pumpkin is turned off you are closed for business. So, we closed up shop at around 8pm when we had no candies left.
5)      Give in! Your child will eat candy, they may not want to wear their costume exactly the way it was intended, they won’t sit through supper because of the constant doorbell ringing, and they will have a sugar high. Don’t fight it, just ride it out…it’ll soon be over.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Day 21 – Project 20 Minutes/21 Days – A brief summary

Activities – run, run, yoga, hike, hike, yoga, yoga, yoga, walk, walk, yoga, yoga, bike, yoga, bike, yoga, yoga, yoga, bike, walk, walk…

Waistline: belly flap is less…flappy?!

Scale says: 5 lbs lighter (good news considering that I had gained some 50 lbs during my pregnancy with Keegan.) 10 lbs more to go! Whoop, Whoop!

Overall Evaluation: I do look and feel trimmer (skinny jeans, here I come). And, actually doing 20 minutes of exercise felt more like a walk in the park (and sometimes was literally was a walk in the park) than real exercise. I do have to admit that it was finding those extra 20 minutes a day that I found challenging. It sometimes meant ignoring the pile of dishes that needed to be done to go pedal on the bike or pushing the toys away in the playroom to do yoga in a less then Zen environment. It also sometimes involved using Keegan as a free weight, or having all 32 lbs of Jake on my back because it’s fun to ride Mommy during Sun Salutations. And, while sometimes it was difficult to get myself into gear, once I did it I felt a whole lot better. The mantra being…NO EXCUSES!

As for 21 days to make it a habit? Well, I guess it does…in part. In the last week I wasn’t exactly forcing myself to do exercise. It’s kind of become a part of my regular routine. I do 20 minutes of yoga after I drop off Jake at daycare and in the evening Jake, Keegan and I go for a 20 minute stroll around the neighbourhood. Easy!

But, in his infinite words of wisdom, my hubby told me the other day that you know you’re addicted when you love something so much you are unable to give it up. This would definitely apply to my kids, my hubby and my morning coffee…not so much to my exercise routine. I do like it! I like when the scale tells me that I’m one pound lighter than I was yesterday. I may even love some aspects of it! I love the fact that I may not have to wear Spanx to that function I have next week. But, I don’t love it. Not yet anyway. But, I’ll keep on trying…J

Part 1 - Project 20 Minutes for 21 Days

Happy Baby Poses!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Day 20 - First Horse Show

One of my closest friends is a trainer at a riding school in Val-Morin, Québec. Jake has been there a couple of times and he loves, loves, loves the "horseys"! Last weekend my BFF invited Jake to participate in the beginner (very beginner) class. Let me tell you the competition was pretty stiff, but Jake managed to win a Red Ribbon (that's first place). YAY! So what if he didn't even realise that he was in a competition and so what if everyone got a Red Ribbon. Jake was great and he had a blast! Isn't that is what counts!? I'm a proud Momma! Goooooo Jake!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Day 19 – Thanksgiving Ritual

Kids can be really smart, creative and ingenious if you give them the chance! That is what I discovered over the Thanksgiving weekend. I was taking care of my nieces on Thanksgiving Day and while the little kids were down for their afternoon nap, my oldest niece, Kylie (7 years), and I were discussing about the meaning of Thanksgiving. I was explaining to her that Thanksgiving was a day where we give thanks for all the food that was harvested throughout the summer. The usual tradition in our family is to go around the table and to tell everyone what we were thankful in the past year. But, Kylie, being Kylie, thought that our normal practice would simply not do to mark such an important occasion. Being the colourful and creative girl she is, she decided that this year our family would do a much more grandiose gesture. She then asked if I (and I quote) “could help her prepare an event to thank Mother Nature for all the great things she gives us in nature to survive.” (Did I mention that she is brilliant?)

This is what she came up with!

The event (more like a ritual) took elements of our normal tradition, but infused a bit of nature loving witchiness in it (good witches of course).  That afternoon Kylie set up a white sheet and decorated it with candles, flowers and a basket. As the master of ceremonies, she also prepared a speech on coloured paper and binded it together (very official). That evening after dinner, she led us outside and asked us to sit next to our assigned candle. She delivered her speech thanking Mother Nature and then asked us to “go out in nature and collect something we are thankful for.” When we had returned with our piece of nature, we all went around the circle and thanked Mother Nature for each item (a leaf for being so colourful, a piece of wood for building the house we live in, flowers for decorating the gardens and making us happy, etc). We placed each item in the basket and our candle was lit. Kylie then led us in two songs to commemorate the occasion (we looked these up on the Internet, and I’ve included them below because they were a hit and a hoot).

I’m not sure if this will become our new tradition, but it was very special and as unique as Kylie. Sitting together in a circle, under the stars and by candlelight, singing songs and being thankful was not only fun and a family bonding experience, but we also felt closer to nature. The ritual was also a great learning experience for the little kids. Kylie taught them so simply and authentically about nature and gratitude in a way that no adult could. For me, the gesture reminded me that our bond to our family is like our bond nature, we are all connected for better or for worse. This bond is sometimes fragile, and for that reason, we all need to take time to care for and be grateful for each other.  

For such a great experience, I am grateful and thankful for you, Kylie!

The First Thanksgiving
(Sung to: "Twinkle, Twinkle")

Pick the corn and pick the beans,
Pick the squash and other greens
It is harvest time you see
Come and share a feast with me.
Bring your family out to play,
We'll call this Thanksgiving Day

I Eat Turkey
Sung to: "Frere Jacques"

I eat Turkey,
I eat Turkey.
Yes, I do
Yes, I do
Turkey in my tummy,
Yummy, yummy, yummy.
Good for me
Good for you.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Day 18 – Hey Little Buddy! How Did You Get Up in There!?

When you become a mom you soon realize that you will have to deal with some pretty gruesome situations. For example: the humungous flutter-blasts (the poops that explodes out the top of the diaper and splatters all over the babies back); or, the throw-up all over you, the bed and the baby. These are the nasty situations that only you as a mom can handle (must be an X chromosome thing) because fathers love to suddenly become inflicted with a case of dry-heaving.

But, the nasty situation that I had to deal with this week is where I draw a line in the sand.

On Wednesday, Jake woke up in a fit. He was howling that his bum hurt. I automatically thought: 1) he had a small rash; 2) he had to go to the potty. When he confirmed that it was not in fact a number 2, I grabbed my flash light to look for a rash. Well, I can also confirm that there was no rash. But, I did find something. There looking right back at me was a little white worm! A WORM! I tried not to panic, I held back a little scream, and not to mention the dry heaving. I did not want to alarm the toddler. I carefully pulled up his pull-up on and told him to go back to bed.

After a restless and reluctant night sleep in the bed with Jake and his new little friend, I immediately called our paediatrician. Even though Jake insisted that his booboo bum was all gone,” that little pain in the butt needed to be evicted immediately!

We went to the paediatrician and he did confirm that what I saw was indeed a worm. Yuck! Apparently these little white critters (officially called pinworms) only come out at night. Children usually get them from sandboxes and play areas at school or in the park. They swallow an egg and a mature worm emerges out the other end. They lay there eggs at night and that’s what causes irritation and scratchiness.

Despite the fact that worms are totally gross, the good news is that these little bum buddies are for the most part harmless, common and pretty easy to treat. You don’t even need to go to your paediatrician. You can get Combatrin over the counter. It’s a one dose medication that exterminates the worms completely.

The best precaution, however, is to make sure that your kids wash their hands after they go to washroom and before they eat. But, since you can’t always control what your children put in their mouths, I suggest a routine flashlight inspection of the tushie. You may be surprised to find that your child has a little night buddy too!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Day 16 - Saying Goodbye: Airport Confessions

Yesterday we drove Papa to the airport. He’s off to Europe for three weeks and saying goodbye is never easy.

A lot of people ask me how I manage a relationship with someone that travels more than seven months out of the year.

Well, here it is. When I first started dating my future hubby I was miserable. Dropping him off at the airport was like something out of a sappy movie. We hugged and cried, and then, we hugged some more and we cried some more. When we were apart we spoke on the phone for hours on end (our phone bill was astronomical). I would wake up sad and go to bed sad. It was like my life stood still while he was away. It didn’t take me long to realize that I couldn’t live this way. I had to regain some sense of normalcy in my life because I couldn’t live with all the drama the situation created. It was either we part ways for good or I had to change my whole attitude and outlook on the situation. And, since by that time I had fallen head over tea kettle for the bugger, I had decided on option two. It was a very conscience and rational decision on my part.

From that day on my whole view of our situation did transform because I decided to look at it differently. On the one hand, I could stay a sad love sick puppy, on the other, I could decide to just be happy. I was after all lucky enough to snag myself an incredibly passionate and determined person that would never let anything or anyone keep him from achieving his dreams. I certainly wasn’t going to be the one to stand in his way.

My hubby’s drive inspired me to focus on finishing school and then my career. We each supported each other in our separate endeavours from afar. And, when we were together, we managed to find time to buy a house, get married and have two children. It’s funny how a change of perspective can change everything…

And, how is it now, after eight years, and with two children to add to the mix?

After dropping Papa off at the airport we were all a little out of sorts. This part never really gets easier. But, after a good night sleep we all woke up refreshed and happy. And, life continues as usual. While, Keegan is still too young to notice that his Papa is gone, Jake is used to it now. He understands it’s for good reason. According to Jake, “Papa is going to bring us back a treasure chest of gold medals!”

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Day 15 - A Word on Dancing

I remember being at my uncles wedding as a teenager. The dinner was over and the music started. Everyone was on the dance floor having fun when out of the corner of I spotted her! My Mom! She was doing the most embarrassing thing a Mom could do to her teenage daughter in public! Yep! She was dancing…or something like it (Sorry Mom!)! There she was - gyrating, flailing, head-bobbing, shimmy-shimmying, and lip-synching words to a song that she didn’t know. I was horrified! But, what made matters worse was that she spotted me looking at her (obviously oblivious to my utter and complete embarrassment) and she waved at me to come dance with her. I reluctantly did! But, insisted on giving her the teenage eye-roll and scowl! The one that says: “Stop it Mom! You are Soooo Uncool and you are Totally Embarrassing Me Infront of Everyone!”

Well, little did I know that I would be eating my words in the future!

You see, I love to dance! In my late teens and early twenties I would head to the bar with my closest BFF’s and we dance all night! And, we were pretty good too. At least my girlfriends were good and I would like to think that I could hold my own. But, since I had kids, I’ve had little opportunity to do so. I gave up dancing when my belly got so big that I my movements felt less like dancing and more like an impression of a scared chicken.

But, yesterday was that day that I actually got to try out my dancing skills. Jake and I were listening to music and we started an impromptu dance party. I was moving body, shaking my hips, bobbing my head, waving my arms up in the air and I started to think that this first attempt at dancing may not be so bad. WRONG! I saw Jake, my two year old, looking at me with a little frown on his face that told me it was bad. VERY BAD! I looked down at myself and saw what he saw! My arms, hips and legs were moving, but not even remotely close to being on beat! I looked like one of the rejects from So You Think You Can Dance. The ones that you so feel bad for because they just don’t truly grasp how very bad they are.  

I was disappointed. This is just another example of things that they don’t tell you in baby books and that I feel would have been useful to be informed about. Things like:

1)      Morning sickness can also include afternoon and evening sickness;
2)      Expect that you or your children will never leave the house clean (Murphy’s Law – if it is clean, they will find a way to put their sticky, dirty hands on it);
3)      After you have kids you may no longer be able to laugh, run, sneeze, or jump on a trampoline because you may risk peeing your pants;
4)      The laundry pile will be now a permanent fixture in your house;
5)      Expect that there may be times where you may not shower for three days in a row, and there may even be times where you question when you had your last shower;
6)      Expect to not sleep until your kids are safely out of the house; and
7)      Your child will have at least one major temper tantrum in the middle of Wal-Mart (plan your exit strategy in advance);

As if this wasn’t bad enough add to the list:
8)      After you have kids, you will lose all sense of coolness and you will now dance like YOUR MOTHER.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Day 14 - Rain, Rain, We Love Rain!

The sunshine and warm weather have gone away, the beaches are closed and vacation time is over. The everlasting days of summer are gone and the drizzly gloominess of fall is upon us. On these days, it’s tempting to huddle inside where it is warm and dry and to hibernate under the covers. But, with kids, day after day of huddling inside can quickly lead to cabin fever! Arts and crafts, board games, puzzles, and TV can only get you so far.  With everyone cooped up inside there is bound to be pent up energy (and not to mention crankiness) that needs to be released.

My question is: why do we insist on staying inside when it’s raining?

Drizzly fall days are a great opportunity to get outside, to explore nature, and to make important discoveries. It’s just a matter of putting on a rain jacket and a pair rain boots! When I was a child, there was something magical about those days. The sound of the rain falling in the trees, the color of the changing leaves amplified by the flat light, the sweet, musty smell of the rotting leaves, and not to mention the wildlife that seemed to come alive in the wet weather. On those days I would jump in puddles, try to find the funniest looking mushrooms, pick the reddest leaves, listen to the birds, and make mud cakes. After a couple of hours outside, I would come in all wet, dirty and tuckered-out. My mom would strip me down, wrap me in a warm blanket, and give me something warm to drink. It was total bliss!

I still enjoy those days! But, what I love best is sharing them with Jake (Keegan is still too young). I always love seeing Jake’s sense of exploration and the way he lights up when he discovers something new. He also loves the rain. It doesn’t bother him a single bit! And, like his mommy he finds those puddles irresistible!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Day 13 - A Serious Case of Mommy Brain

It seems that as soon as you have children a part of your brain ceases to function properly. You know the part that is responsible for memory, organization, and fine motor skills. I'm not sure if it's due to lack of sleep (see sleep deprivation) or the fact that you are not only responsible for yourself (which may have already been quite a challenge), but you are now also responsible for another little human being. Personally, I believe that it's the fact that you and your brain must function 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Eventually, there are bound to be shoddy connections, lack of memory, wiring malfunctions, processing errors, and system overloads. The only solution is to shut down and reboot.

I have been known to have mild cases of mommy brain from time to time. Dropped jars leading to broken glass and applesauce all over the kitchen, walking into a room wondering how I got there and what I was looking for, unpacking the groceries and realizing that I forgot a bag at the store, and not to mention the keys that are constantly misplaced. But, sometimes, a string of mommy brain incidents can send you into a never-ending cycle of negative despair. Sadly, that’s what happened to me yesterday. My mommy brain took over and it put a total kybosh on my day!

We were heading to Gamma and Papou’s that afternoon, but before we could leave I had to pack the kids bags and take little Keegan to the pediatrician. Simple enough! But, as usual, it took me forever to pack because I couldn’t find anything, I didn’t know what to bring, and needless to say, there was a little bit of a lack of focus on my part. Mostly packed, I left the house in a bit of a panic, since I was now late for Keegan’s appointment. Late and stressed, and trying to remember the couple of items that still needed to be packed in the kid’s bag, I realized that I had completely gone into auto pilot and was going in the wrong way. Back on track and cutting it close, I arrived at the intersection of the pediatrician’s clinic. Waiting at the stop sign, I saw two cars coming. The first one slammed on the brakes and then “BANG!” The two cars crashed right in front of me! I went to Keegan’s appointment in a complete daze, and then, somewhat frazzled I headed back home. At home, I managed to remember to pack the missing items in the kid’s bag and loaded it into the car. And, we were on off! I’m happy, thinking that nothing else could possibly go wrong. But, as my hubby unloaded the car, he turned to me and asked: “Babe, where is your bag?” I couldn’t believe it! I had forgotten my bag! The clothes on my back would be the only clothes I would wear for the next three days! To make matters worse, a couple of hours later Keegan proceeded to throw up on me and all the clothes I was wearing. The only clothes I had! Unable to process and warning sign flooding my screen, I realized that complete system crash was imminent. I decided it was time I head up to bed, shut down and reboot before I had full system meltdown. As my head hit the pillow I wondered…will someone ever invent system upgrade - Supermommy 2.0?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Day 12 - Wordless Wednesday

My mom, in her infinite words of wisdom, always told me that "if you don't have anything good to say, don't say anything at all!" I guess today is one of those days...

Monday, September 27, 2010

Day 11 - Gettin Crafty for Halloween

Halloween is on its way and my crafting buddies (my beautiful nieces) asked me to help them make some fun decorations. I perused the Internet for inspiration, put on my creative cap and came up with some great ideas for spiders, bats, ghosts and pumpkins partially made out of recycled material.

These crafts are made with egg cartons, jars and lids, and some old tissue paper. Things that I bought for the crafts include: black paper, black and orange paint, pipe cleaners, tea lights, and googly eyes. Supplies that I already had at home include: hot glue gun, crafting glue, scissors, paint brushes, and permanent markers.

This is the result!

And, here are the instructions!

Tissue Ghost
 Cut out two carton egg shells and tape them together to form the head. Lay tissue paper flat, place the head in the middle and wrap the paper around it. Wrap an elastic around the base of the head. Glue on the googly eyes and the mouth with craft glue.

Googly Eyed Spiders
On black paper, trace the outline of a jar lid and cut it out. Glue the black circle on the top of the jar lid with craft glue. Stick on the googly eyes with craft glue and draw a mouth with marker. Cut three or four pipe cleaners in half and glue them on the back of  the lid with the hot glue gun.

Egg Shell Bats
Cut out a row of the three carton egg shells. Paint the shells black and let them dry. Cut bat wings and ears out of black carton. Use a hot glue gun to affix to body (eggs shells) to the wings. Use craft glue to glue on the eyes and ears. Draw the mouth with marker.

Mix a bit of glue and paint directly in a glass jar. Paint the inside of the jar. Cut out a cardboard stem. Hot gun glue the googly eyes and stem to the jar. Draw a mouth with permanent marker. Let the jar dry overnight and place a tea light inside when it is dry.

Here's to a job well done!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Day 10 – Jake’s Egg Pizza

Jake does not like to eat leafy greens. He calls it grass. What can I say, he’s only two!

We’ve tried them steamed, sautéed and in stir-fries with no success. He usual picks them out and pushes them off his plate. If they do manage to get into his mouth “accidentally,” he spits them out and declares: “Yuck Moooommyy! I no like grass!”

One day, while making my extra healthy quiche, I carefully hid some of those leafy green suckers in between the crust and the eggs. Imagine my surprise when Jake gobbled the whole thing up! He even asked me for another piece of “Egg Pizza!”

Ever since, “Jake’s Egg Pizza” has become a staple in our family’s repertoire. I don't even need to hide the greens anymmore.

Note: The crust that I usually make a flourless with sweet potatoes, sesame seeds and ground flax seeds, but depending on the ingredients and the time you have I’ve included a link for a spelt flour crust.

Jake's Egg Pizza

1 cups of grated sweet potato (I have also done it with a half cup each of potato and carrot with good results)
1 cup ground sesame seeds
½ cup ground flax seeds
1 Tbsp coconut oil (you can also use olive oil)
1 fresh garlic glove
Parsley or basil (I like to use fresh, but dried will work nicely too)
Salt to taste


6-8 eggs beaten
¼ to ½ cup milk (almond, rice or soya milk works just fine)
Fresh spinach greens, chopped onions, peppers and fresh basil (optional)
Variation: Fresh spinach, chopped carrot, zucchini, mushroom, onion and fresh parsley (optional)


Preheat oven to 350°C.  Process all ingredients for the crust in a food processor. Grease pie plate. Press mixture into pie plate. Bake the crust for about 30 minutes or until sides start to become a little brown. Remove from oven.

Line crust with spinach. Add other chopped veggies and fresh herbs.

Beat eggs. Pour in milk and add salt. Pour egg mixture into crust over the greens and chopped veggies.

Place in oven for another 30 minutes or until eggs are completely cooked through.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Day 9 - A Tale of Too Tired!

Sleep Deprivation: Physical tiredness, lack of focus, a general feeling of being in a daze, haze or fog, forgetfulness, impatience, irritability, and overwhelmement (yes, I just made that word up). Other possible symptoms, include: emotional distress or just stress in general, emotional breakdowns, urge to cry for no reason, feeling of hopelessness (as in, will this day ever end), and my personal favourite, wanting to bite my husbands head off every time he mentions that he’s tired and he needs a nap! (Really! I mean really! Cause he wasn’t awake at 3:00am this morning! But, I’ll get to that one a little later…)

When I became pregnant I fully understood that sleep deprivation came with the job of having children. What I wasn’t fully prepared for was how long the sleep deprivation would last!

For most women it starts during pregnancy. The frequent trips to the bathroom, the feeling of discomfort, and later on, having to wake and literally pick up the belly to change positions. Then the baby arrives and there are the constant feedings and the irregular sleep patterns. Then, the first night that your sweet angel finally manages a full night of sleep, overjoyed you impulsively declare that you are ready for another! And, so begins another cycle of sleepless nights. Skip ahead a couple of years and sleep deprivation becomes permanent state of being! You learn to function with a chronic case of mommy brain.

But, then some nights are just bad. For me last night was a capital B.A.D. As per usual, I woke up in the middle of the night when I heard Keegan’s little cat cry for a feeding. Thirty minutes later, I stumble back to bed and just as my head hit the pillow I hear Jake calling me because he had just woken from a bad dream. I poke my husband to go console his eldest and let me get a little shut eye, but he roles over and starts snoring in defiance.(I am amazed at how he can still manage to piss me off even when he’s sleeping). So, I trudge back to the kid’s room and lay down with Jake until he falls back asleep. Thirty minutes later, I stumble back to bed again and just as my head hits the pillow, I hear Keegan cooing. When I look in his crib, he is wide-eyed and smirking (yes, at 2:00am smiles become smirks). I bring him to bed with me so that he doesn’t wake his brother. One hour later, Keegan is asleep. I gently place him back in his crib and head back to bed. It’s now 3:00am and both kids are sound asleep, but now I’m wide awake. I do manage to fall back asleep, but what seems like 5 minutes Jake is jumping on me telling me to “wake up mommy.” I pull myself out of bed and grudgingly make a B-line for the coffee maker.

To my fellow mommies, I would like to apologize. I have found no real immediate remedy to the situation. Symptoms should diminish as children age (or, so I hear). If symptoms do persist or get worse, I suggest that you consult a health professional – my suggestion: massage therapist or spa technician.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Day 8 - Tea Cakes Please!

I’m no masterchef. I’m not even a person that enjoys cooking that much. But, I do end up cooking quite a bit because I don’t like pre-prepared food and I like to know exactly what goes into what I’m feeding my family. I try as much as possible not to use things like refined sugar, butter and white flour.

Here is a great recipe I found (and modified slightly) in the Alive magazine for tea cakes!

Hope you like them!

Almond Tea Cakes

2 ¼ cup almond flour
¾ cup kamut or spelt flour
½ cup honey
1 ½ tps baking powder
½ cup applesauce
3 Tbsp coconut oil (replaces butter)
6 egg whites
1 tsp vanilla
Dollop of blueberry jam on top

Variations – fresh blueberries, grated apples with cinnamon, raspberries.

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease muffin pan (coconut oil is my preference).

Mix together almond flour, spelt/kamut flour, and baking powder. Stir in honey, applesauce, coconut oil and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, beat egg whites with electric mixer until soft peaks form (about 4 min). Fold egg whites into mixture.

Fill each muffin cup half full. Add a dollop of jam.

Bake for 20 min or until edges are slightly brown.

Makes about 12 cakes.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Day 7 - Breastmilk + Rice Cereal = One Happy Baby!

Keegan is 6 months old! And, that means that he gets his first taste of food. 

I'm a big believer in not rushing the introduction of solid food (unless otherwise indicated by a health professional, of course). My first, Jake, was in no hurry to start eating. He was definitely a boob man and didn't understand why he would ever need anything else other than fresh warm milk from the milk bar. Feeding him was such a mess and most of what when in the mouth was spit right out again.

Little Keegan on the other hand has been closely eyeing my food for the past couple of weeks. I caught him on a number of occasion watching me eating intently. His gaze would follow my every move, and as I would take a bite, he would open his mouth and mimic my chewing (you get the picture). This past week I let him play with a soft tip spoon to prepare him for this momentous milestone in his precious little life. He popped the spoon in his mouth as if he new exactly what its purpose was. So it was no surprise that he was a real champ from the very first bite. What was surprising, however, is how ravenous he was! He loved it! He grabbed my hand and shoved the spoon in his mouth as if to say "Not fast enough mommy! I want more, more, more!" And, I was so proud!

Yummy! Yummy!

So hungry! Give me that spoon!
Oh ya! That tastes good!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Day 6 - The Laundry Pile

Help! I’m drowning in laundry! I really don’t know if it’s just me, but my laundry pile is like a pesky weed that, as soon as I think that I’ve got it all eliminated, another pile sprouts up somewhere else! Today, I’ve got a major overgrowth! I mean the process extermination process should be easy enough. Step 1 – launder clothes. Step 2- fold clothes. Step 3 – put away clothes, Step 4 – repeat. But, as usual, the dirty laundry has been coming in faster than I can process it and there seems to be a system breakdown at Step 3 and 4.  Now, I’m surrounded by piles and piles of unfolded laundry! I’m officially desperate and discouraged (tempted roll into the foetal position and cower in the corner of the laundry room)! Raising the white flag! SOS! I give up! Send in the reinforcements.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Day 5 - A Mom's Rant About Mainstream Media and Consumerist Society! (This is not my post-grad thesis)

Is anyone else tired of the confusing mixed messages that the media is putting out there? I mean, you just to turn on the TV or the Internet and the headlines spew out a plethora warnings for parents. Not to mention the constant advertisements pushing parents to buy the latest, must have gadgets, the hottest and most convenient products, and the most-up-to-the-minute way to protect your kids from just about anything.

We listen to them blindly, but then a couple of weeks, months or years down the road we find out that the products we bought were recalled for safety reasons or that they contained a potential toxic chemical.

The research is all totally contradictory. I’m all for keeping informed, but in this 24/7 news environment it seems that the research comes out before it is actually proven. I mean would it be possible to facts straight before your scare the bejeezus out of me? It’s one thing to be scared, but do I really need to be scared and not know what to do, or who to listen to!  For example, one day they warn us about the hazards of the sun and say: “Protect your kids! Make them wear sunscreen!” The next they say, “Sunscreens are dangerous and may contain harmful chemicals.” Or, they tell you: “Juice is good! It’s made with real fruit!” Then you find out that the sugar added to juices may be contributing the onset of diabetes. And, don’t even get me started on the H1N1 situation! To vaccinate or not to vaccinate…that is indeed a great question!

Well, thank you mainstream media for turning me into a seriously paranoid, stress case. So, WHAT THE HECK IS MOMMY TO DO? Go with her gut and hope she makes the right choice? I really don’t like that option.

Here’s one experts solution - read the labels of everything! Everything, meaning: medication, food, personal hygiene products, household product and toys. And, avoid anything that contains the following: preservatives, artificial flavours, artificial colors, artificial sugars, and modified anything. In general, avoid anything you can’t pronounce, spell or need some sort of degree in chemical engineering to understand. Also, avoid anything that’s been overly processed and anything that has too many ingredients. In short, buy things that are as close to their original state as possible.

Although, I admit that I have spent hours at the grocery store reading and comparing labels and humming and hawing over the pro’s and con’s of various products. Most mom's, including me, have little time to do so. And, it's practically impossible when you have whining kids hanging off of you, shoving random goodies in the cart, and incessantly asking: "Mommy! Can you get me this? Can you get us that?" My personal modus operandi is: "Get in and get out as quickly as possible!"

Well, have no fear fellow paranoid mommies! I have found an incredible resource that will save a lot of worried days and sleepless nights, not to mention time at the grocery store. I would like to introduce you to the GOOD GUIDE, an online review guide that rates products based on their safety and environmental impact. Basically, this site is shortcut that has done the label reading for you!

Hope you enjoy! (…you can thank me later!)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Day 4 - Fall Camping 101

What an amazing time we had in the Adirondack Mountains. I’m so excited that we followed through on the plans because the weekend was a complete success. The days were sunny, the fall colors were out, and the scenery was spectacular. Not to mention that the company was pretty terrific too! In total we were four families, eight adults, seven children, and two babies. You would think that with so many kids that we would have some sort of minor incident to speak of. But, everything went smoothly. We even survived an almost below freezing night! The key was to be prepared!

And, we were all very prepared! All four families arrived at the campsite with their SUV’s filled to the brim with clothes, food and camping gear! We were all joking that we probably brought too much. But, as we were leaving the campsite, the were coolers empty, not one piece of clean clothes left in the bags, and all the sleeping bags and blankets packed, we were all glad we had brought so much.

So, here is my list of MUST DO, BRING, CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT ITEMS on a fall camping trip with small children.


1) Lots of clothes: Remember to bring lots and lots of changes of clothes. Between playing by a lake, hiking a muddy mountain, and a sandpit by the washrooms, all the kids had many opportunities to get really dirty!
2) Lots of layers: With temperatures that ranged from freezing to 20 degrees, it’s best to layer on the clothes and simply peel them off as the temperature gets warmer. My kids had a base layers, fleece joggers, and then a warm shell jacket (and in the case of the baby a fleece bunting bag).
3) Warm accessories: Bring hats, gloves and warm socks to keep their little extremities protected from the cold.
3) Lots of warm blankets: Warm blankets (fleece or wool) are a good idea whether it’s to stay warm by the campfire or as an extra layer while sleeping in the tents.


Ø      Hook on High Chair – These chairs make great portable high chairs and keep babies off the ground.
Ø      Baby Carrier – The mommies and babies (5 months and 9 months old) went for a hike up Mount Cascade and Mount Porter (over 4000 feet and 7 hours total). Anything is possible with a good baby carrier. For a baby that can sit up, I would suggest a real hiking backpack. For those with smaller babies or for those that don’t want to invest in a hiking backpack, I love the Ergo Baby Carrier. The baby can sit on your front or your back and the design and straps are really comfy.
Ø      Fleece: My kiddies spent most of their weekend wearing fleece from MEC. I love their stuff for the outdoors because it’s inexpensive and it’s durable, so can be handed down from kid to kid.
Ø   Sleeping Bag: I would invest in a warm sleeping bag. MEC makes a great mummy sleeping bag for kids. As for the baby, I simply used a bunting snowsuit.

Here are some of the trip highlights!

Fun times in the wet sandpit by the washrooms!

Eating and relaxing by the fire!

Priceless photo ops!

Mommies and babies on top of the world!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Day 3 – Going Camping

Tomorrow we leave for a camping trip in the Adirondacks with the boys. When I was planning this particular camping trip, I was very excited. What a fantastic idea for family bonding and adventure (…images of roasting marshmallows by the campfire and hiking in the fresh air). I mean, my husband and I are pretty outdoorsy and adventurous and we always said we wanted to pass on these excellent traits to our sons. Ok! So what if my oldest is two and my youngest is only five months old...don’t they say it’s never too early to start??

Now, did I mention that the weatherman in Lake Placid is calling for sun, rain and clouds, warm and cold weather, and everything in between? So, what am I supposed to pack for my babies on this wilderness adventure? Shorts and mittens?? On top of that, we have to bring a change of clothes in case of spit ups, spills, and potty training accidents!  Needless to say that as I sit here, surrounded by a huge stack of camping gear, baby gear, snow suits, rain suits, warm weather clothes and all the fleece that I could pull out of the kids drawers, I am feeling a little overwhelmed.

So, little red flags are raised and that annoying voice inside my head is thinking “What are you doing? Why are you bringing a two year old and 5 month old camping in the WILD? Are you nuts??”

My reasoning:

1) Before we had kids, my husband and I were avid campers! Alright, alright…good enough campers!
2) I’m not an expert on many things, but I am somewhat of an expert on travelling with small children. At two years old, the oldest has more stamps on his passport than many people get in a life time. We’ve trekked him all over Europe, Mexico, New Zealand, and pretty much all across Canada. So, if we can travel up to 26 hours with one toddler in a crowded, confined plane, we can certainly handle 48 hours in the wilderness with that same toddler and an additional baby.
3) For occasional camper, we’re well equipped! We’ve got the below 30 sleeping bags, the tent that could survive Mount Everest’s base camp and a stove burner that could be lit in a hurricane. (My hubby, although never having been in the Scouts, likes to Be Prepared!)

So, why shouldn’t we go? Oh, let’s see…

1) The images that keep creeping into my head of my babies wet, eating dirt from the ground, being eaten by bugs, and with the onset of hypothermia.
2) And, this huge pile of clothes, diapers, toys and baby gear that doesn’t seem to fit into any camping knapsack I own…

Putting all worrying aside, which is what all mommies do best, let’s try to be positive. This will be quite an adventure filled with lots of great stories and learning experiences. At best, we have loads of fun, and at worst, we hop back in the car and make a B line for the closest motel.

Oh! And, one last question. Is it acceptable camping etiquette to bring a travel suitcase? Would that be really wrong? Because it’s the only thing that will house all of stuff I have to bring…

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Day 2 – Project 20 minutes for 21 days

A wise mother once said (the wise mother being my mom); in order to ensure that you have a successful day you MUST DO the following:

1)      Do one thing for the house (including, but not limited to any house cleaning, repairing, maintenance, and organization. Note: ensuring that the cleaning lady has the key to get into your house does not count.)
2)      Do one thing for your family (including, but not limited to cooking a nice meal, a family outing to a movie or museum, a sporting activity, getting down and dirty and playing with your kids, or simply a 15 minute cuddle session on the couch. Note: the proverbial “bringing home the bacon to feed the family” does not count.)
3)      Do one thing for yourself (including, but not limited to at least 20 minutes of things like yoga, exercise, meditation, book reading or internet surfing. Anything spa related, such as pedicures, manicure, massage, etc. Note: managing to quickly hop into the shower, actually shave, and slap on some deodorant does not count.)

Now, while these guidelines may seem easy enough (heck, most moms do items 1 and 2 before sitting down for breakfast), item 3 seems to be a bit more tricky. After all, it’s hard to ignore screaming children, the stack of dishes on the kitchen counter and the out of control laundry pile. But, as the saying goes, you can’t take care of anyone unless you take care of yourself first!

So, in order to ensure I do something for me and that each day is a complete success, I am henceforth beginning Project 21 minutes for 21 days. If you haven’t guessed already I’m going to do 21 minutes of exercise for 21 days (I know, totally original). You might be asking, why 21 minutes? Because health experts say that you should do at least 20 minutes of exercise a day and who am I to argue with the experts. Also, I’m an overachiever…so 21 minutes it is! And, why 21 days? Well, research shows that it takes at least 21 days to form a habit. I’m hoping that by the end of 21 days I will be totally addicted!

Stay tunned…