Girl’s Room Round-Up

 

In 2015, we did a lot of work to our house. We did a full-scale renovation to our kitchen and bathroom and also made many cosmetic changes to the other areas of our home. I dislike the renovation process when I’m in it, but seeing the transformation afterwards is rewarding.

I have so many ideas for projects I still want to undertake, but one project I’m especially excited for is planning Ramona’s “big girl room”.

It’ll still be a while before we move her out of her crib and into a bed but, in the meanwhile, here is a girl’s room roundup for some room inspiration. I found myself drawn to the feminine designs… So pretty and serene!

Ava's room

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Bed

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Four Unique Gift Ideas for a New Mom

One – A Locket

Last Christmas, I got my mom this locket and customized it to add a picture of my two children inside. It turned out beautifully and would make a great gift for any special mama in your life.

The artist has many other incredible designs on her Etsy site. One day I think I’ll invest in one for myself!

Locket

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Two – A Print for the Nursery

If you aren’t going to throw off the design of the new mom’s nursery by giving her artwork, a sweet print might be the perfect gift. One of the nicest gifts we received when Reid was born was a set of prints my sister designed especially for Reid.

Here are a few of my favorite prints from Etsy that I actually purchased for my own children’s rooms:

Three Prints

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Three – A Journal

My friend, Alison, got me this book when Ramona was born and I thought it was such a unique gift. If you have a friend who journals or enjoys writing, this keepsake journal would make a wonderful gift.

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Four – A Keepsake Ornament

My Aunt is an incredibly talented glass artist and makes these angel ornaments. We have one for Reid and one for Ramona. They are so sweet and such a wonderful keepsake which can be displayed at Christmas or beyond.

Angel Ornament

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What is your favorite gift to give a new mom? 

Link Love

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One – I never thought about doing this when baking muffins but it’s a great idea (and an inexpensive alternative to purchasing a “muffin top” pan).

Two – Putting stuff in the oven is less work than using a frying pan, so this recipe is on my menu plan for next week.

Three – We made this for dinner recently and it was SO good.

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Four – I can really relate to this article.

FiveCore exercises to restore strength after having babies.

SixThis was shared by my friend, Jill, on Facebook and it cracked me up.

 

 

C-Sections, Babies and Bacteria

The other day, I listened to a fascinating podcast with Dr. Robynne Chutkan about our microbiome.

Dr. Chutkan describes the microbiome as, “all the bacteria, viruses, and fungi that live in or on your body”.

She says “our unique microbial footprint develops over [our] lifetime, and it reflects everything about [us]”, including our health history and lifestyle. A healthy microbiome means a decreased risk for disease, obesity, mental illness and other illnesses.

What tweaked my interest during the interview, however, was the discussion about c-sections. Studies have found that babies born by c-section have a different make-up of gut bacteria. This is because during the baby’s trip through the birth canal, they are exposed to all sorts of bacteria. C-section babies, of course, miss those bacteria, so their microbiomes are different than that of a baby born vaginally.

Reid baby 2

I had two c-sections. My first c-section was medically necessary. When I became pregnant with my second child, I was given a choice for the birth. I opted for a second c-section because I knew what a c-section felt like but I didn’t know what giving birth would feel like. And, frankly, I wasn’t sure I wanted to know.

Knowing what I know now, however, I might have made a different choice.

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It’s not all bad for women who need c-sections, though. There are some “low-tech” solutions to help the baby get that important bacteria. And I take solace in the fact that much of ones microbiome is changed by diet, which I think our family does fairly well at.

If you have some time, I recommend you give the podcast a listen. I hope you find it as interesting as I did!

 

 

 

Dealing with a Picky Eater

Once upon a time, my son would eat what was on his plate. Green stuff. Red stuff. Spicy stuff. Not-so-spicy stuff. It didn’t matter.

Those days seem so long ago. Now every meal feels like a struggle.

Dining Table

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“You shouldn’t have made this!” he’ll say angrily, pushing his food around on his plate. And I, too, can feel my anger rising and my frustration building. I then proceed to make the two mistakes that every parenting book will tell you not to do:

(1) I make a bribe (“If you finish your supper, you can…”).

(2) I tell him he has to finish everything on his plate to receive said bribe.

I know this is not good practice but it has become a reflex at this point. For my sanity and for the peace, however, I have to change this response. Our mealtimes are a big chunk of our family time and I don’t want our family time to be two frustrated parents bribing their son to eat his vegetables with the promise of ten minutes on the ipad.

I was looking for some advice on how to tackle this problem and Real Mom Nutrition’s advice hit home with me: Make one meal for everybody BUT be “sure there’s something on the table your child likes, even if it’s simply the tortillas and some fruit”.

Of course, if you are going to do that, you have to be okay that sometimes your child will not eat a balanced meal… Honestly, I struggle with that but I have to realize it’s just one day and it’s just one meal.

To take this idea a bit further, on Super Healthy Mom’s site, they suggest you “make a list of all the foods your kid eats at least 50% of the time”. Then, when meal planning, you can easily make sure at least one of the preferred foods is present at each meal. I’m certain that would be helpful for me so I wouldn’t have to do a mental inventory of all the things my son will eat when I’m planning the week’s meals.

I also like Eating Made Easy’s advice: “Don’t serve milk, juice, or any other caloric beverage with dinner. These drinks are filling and leave less room for healthy foods.” We always serve our kids milk with dinner and I know it’s the first thing they wolf down. Maybe they are drinking their calories instead of eating them and we’re setting ourselves up for failure?

Starting tomorrow, I’m going to prepare some food and try not to stress. It’s what’s for dinner. And if the meal doesn’t go well, maybe the next one will be better.

Are your kid’s picky? How do you approach mealtime?

9 Books I Want to Read in 2016

I’ve been spending my commute listening to audiobooks from the library. It helps me to feel productive during my long drive and I’ve been getting a lot of “reading” done this way. In the past month, I’ve listened to The Help (amazing), Big Magic (loved it) and I’ve just started Steve Martin’s An Object of Beauty (so far, so good).

I’ve been looking for my next read and, wow, there are so many books that I’d like to read in 2016. If only I’d discovered the awesomeness of audiobooks sooner, I would have made a much better Book Club member back when I was a part of one.

Here are the books I plan to read in 2016:

9 Books

RISING STRONG by Brene Brown – I discovered Brene Brown this past summer when I was listening to motivational podcasts to keep me going during my job hunt. Brene seems like such a genuine person and I’m looking forward to picking up her newest book. “Rising strong after a fall is how we cultivate wholeheartedness. It’s the process, Brown writes, that teaches us the most about who we are.”

AT THE WATER’S EDGE by Sara Gruen – I liked Sara’s first book, Water for Elephants, and this book is also getting rave reviews. “A historical timeframe in an unusual setting with a creature who may or may not be the hero of the story.”

GUT by Giulia Enders – As a person who believes in a holistic approach to health, I can’t wait to read this book. “For too long, the gut has been the body’s most ignored and least appreciated organ, but it turns out that it’s responsible for more than just dirty work: our gut is at the core of who we are.”

THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER’S WEB by David Lagercrantz – I’m not sure how good the reviews are for this book but every once in a while you need a book like this in your life. “In this adrenaline-charged thriller, genius-hacker Lisbeth Salander and journalist Mikael Blomkvist face a dangerous new threat and must again join forces.”

ALL JOY AND NO FUN by Jennifer Senior – Because parenting is the best and parenting is also hard. “Thousands of books have examined the effects of parents on their children. But almost none have thought to ask: What are the effects of children on their parents?”

THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN by Paula Hawkins – I may be the only person who hasn’t yet read this book. “Only one is a killer in this nail-biting, stealthy psychological thriller about human frailty and obsession.”

SIMPLE MATTERS: LIVING WITH LESS AND ENDING UP WITH MORE by Erin Boyle – From time to time I read Erin’s blog and I am in awe of her ability to live so simply. “For anyone looking to declutter, organize, and simplify, author Erin Boyle shares practical guidance and personal insights on small-space living and conscious consumption.”

FATES AND FURIES by Lauren Groff – This book was on Elizabeth Gilbert’s list of best books in 2015. “Every story has two sides. Every relationship has two perspectives. And sometimes, it turns out, the key to a great marriage is not its truths but its secrets.”

UNFINISHED BUSINESS: WOMEN MEN WORK FAMILY by Anne-Marie SlaughterI loved Lean In and am interested in reading other perspectives on the topic of family and work.  “A powerful, persuasive, thought-provoking vision for how to finish the long struggle for equality between men and women, work and family.”

What books are on your list? Any recommendations?

Header image via Flickr

Vitamix Love and My Favourite Smoothie

I was one lucky lady this Christmas.

Sure, I had a sinus infection during the holidays and, yes, I was completely miserable and, okay, I complained A LOT… But I got a Vitamix from my husband for Christmas and that brightened up my holidays, indeed.

I understand some might scoff at the fact my husband got me a kitchen appliance for Christmas but dammit if I don’t love me a practical gift like a new blender. And this isn’t just any blender… It’s super-powered. At long last, no more chewing my smoothies because my blender couldn’t pulverize my kale properly.

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I’ve been experimenting with different flavour combinations, but the smoothie I’m currently addicted to is one inspired by Dreena Burton’s Immunity Zinger smoothie. I use:

  • One banana
  • One apple
  • 1/2 cup frozen mango
  • A couple of big handfuls of spinach
  • 1/2 lemon, peeled
  • About a one-inch knob of ginger, peeled
  • About 1/4 cup water
  • Tablespoon of chia seeds
  • Tablespoon of hemp seeds

It’s definitely got some zing to it and helps me start my morning off right. I was previously adding protein powder to my morning smoothies but I don’t feel I need the extra fuel right now. When I get the motivation to ramp up my running again, my nutritional needs will change.

Do you have a Vitamix? If you have a favourite smoothie, I’d love it if you left the recipe in the comments!