Crayons for Toddlers

My new favourite word; Dexterity: the ability to use your hands skillfully.

Toddlers do not have the dexterity to hold a regular size crayon to draw. We didn’t know this, until L.B. was given her first package of crayons at Swiss Chalet to occupy herself with while we read our menus (how thoughtful). Swiss Chalet is now officially our favourite family restaurant because they’ve also thoughtfully installed a baby changing table in both the women’s washroom AND Men’s washroom. I’m impressed someone from head office is acknowledging that it’s not always the Mommies job to change the diaper, Daddies are fully capable of doing these things too! Back to…Crayon for Toddlers. We want to encourage L.B. to start exploring with art but she is still too young to play with paint without trying to eat it. So, we set out to find bigger crayons that are easier for her to grasp and came across these at Walmart.

In my opinion, paying $6.95 for just 2 crayons is a little too pricey! Don’t ya think?

MyFirstCrayolaWashableMarkers_2-1024x853

A couple of weeks ago, I saw her playing with these at our local community centre. So, I asked the girl working at the centre where I could buy it? and she told me that I could make it at home! Cool…
wpid-img_20150128_142021.jpg

 

Crayons for Toddlers

  • Here’s What You Need:
  • 4 packs of crayons ($1 per pack at Walmart)
  • Silicon muffin cups
  • Baking sheet with aluminum lining
  • Instructions:
  • Unwrap the paper covering the crayons
  • Use your hands to break the crayons into silicon muffin cups
  • Put it in the oven at 230 degrees for 10-15 mins
  • Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let the melted crayons set overnight
  • Now your toddler is ready to create her first masterpiece! FYI (make sure you buy the “washable” ones) 😛

wpid-img_20150131_214311.jpg

wpid-img_20150131_214316.jpg

wpid-img_20150201_065452.jpg

wpid-img_20150201_071415.jpg

wpid-img_20150201_093615.jpg

Personally, I wouldn’t use these silicon muffin cups again to bake food but I’ll be saving them for other crafty uses or make these fantastic crayons again for an awesome birthday gift.

I hope you enjoyed this post! Please feel free to share…

 

Finding Balance

This week has been hectic, but I was finally able to schedule a night out with some local moms in the neighborhood. It’s funny how making new girlfriends is so much easier after you’ve become a mom (well at least for me anyways). I guess we’re all on the same boat…exhausted, clueless and desperately seeking for some adult conversation. Our night out was at the local pub The Black Dog. The food was good, the service could have been better but everyone was just too happy to be out of the house for a change. All the mommies looked different (myself included) but everyone looked really good. We had initially planned the outing for just a couple of hours after our babies went to bed. Let’s just say, the night ended way past our own bedtimes :P. It was a great night!

My 1st Mommy's Night Outfit
This was my outfit for the night.

We also had our 1st annual Operation Christmas Child packing party at home. It was a potluck party because I’ve finally accepted that trying to serve all the food at my own party, will now be a thing of the past. Potlucks has always been a foreign concept in my own household. As my mother would say “If you invite people over to your house, you should feed them“. Anyways, this potluck was successful and no seem to mind that I wasn’t providing all the food. It was really nice getting to know some of the mommies. Mommy conversations are still mostly within the 3 P’s (Pee, Poop & Parenting) but it was still just really nice to be talking to another adult. I hope to make this packing party an annual tradition.

So, I convinced my husband (which didn’t require too much effort) that I needed to get a massage this week. I found a local RMT online that ran her practice out of her own home. I was a bit hesitate at first but, I was really glad that I decided to try it. She was fantastic and was able to work with my shoulder specific injury from strength training. This has been a hectic week but with the girl’s night out, massage and children’s party. It has been a balanced week for me.

Highlights of Our Week

Mommy Tip: I have a mommy friend, who once told me that the one thing she learned about being a Mother after 7 years is that “For the rest of your life you will always have to live with the mommy guilt, so deal with it”.

Life of a Mommy

My original plan this week was to get up at 4:30am so that I could finish my workouts earlier and have a bit of time during the day to catch up on house chores. My daughter had her own plans and decided to get up at 4:30am too. Oh well, I can only try to do everything but sometimes I just have to decide which is more important. For me, the decision was made on the day my daughter was born that her needs will always come first! My husband’s second and everything else…i.e. the housework can always wait another day. I also discovered that even though sleeping-in was never my thing, this too has changed since becoming a Mommy. I call this Life of a Mommy.

Highlights of Our Week

This week we got some hand-me-downs toys from a really nice neighbor. I should have triple checked the old toys. My little girl got a cardboard cut from one of the broken toys and her little finger started to bleed. I was so traumatized with the sight of her blood, I didn’t know what to do. Thanks to my hubby’s calm nature & quick thinking, he immediately wash her wound, applied polysporin and a tiny bandage for her. He kept assuring me she is 100% fine and even though she was also laughing & giggling again in no time. I couldn’t get over the horrible feeling that my baby got hurt :(. This reminded me of the movie The Passion of The Christ The main focus of the movie was of course about Jesus and I would never forget that in my heart. But when I watched that movie again (shortly after my daughter was born) I saw it differently. This time I saw Jesus through Mary’s eyes and now I understand how it’s so true when people say that “your child’s pain is worse than your own“!

 

 

 

 

Being A Better Mommy

Starting any kind of new fitness regiment is really hard but trying to stay on track is even more difficult. I’m happy to announce that everything is getting better & easier for me this week. Remember “You can’t take care of anyone else, until you take care of yourself first” This statement may sound a bit selfish but it’s actually the furthest thing from it. By taking better care of myself in terms of eating well and working out again, I have so much more energy to keep up with my rambunctious little girl. After every workout, I’m in a better mood which is good news for hubby. These positive changes has overall made me a better mother & wife. So, how could caring for myself be an act of selfishness? If the result is creating a better version of me for my family.

Being a Better Mommy means:

  • Eat a balanced breakfast, no time? try a Breakfast Smoothie
  • Make time to sweat (a little), here’s a quick Workout idea
  • Take time for yourself (take a bath, read a book or write a letter). Do whatever makes your heart glow, your family will thank you.
The loves of my life and main motivation to stay healthy
The Loves Of My Life and The Main Reason For Me To Stay Healthy!

 

 

 

A Meal Plan for Nursing Moms

Breastfeeding my daughter has been one of the most wonderful experience of being a mommy. The benefits of breastfeeding are endless but here’s a few reasons why I feel that “Breast is Best”

  • I’m 100% confident that my daughter is getting the best nourishment.
  • Breast milk contains antibodies and lymphocytes that helps my baby resist infections.
  • It’s available whenever and wherever she needs to eat
  • Breastfeeding is associated with a lower risk of (SIDS)
  • It’s Free 🙂

The only downside to breastfeeding is how hungry I feel ALL THE TIME. It’s true that breastfeeding may help your body burn up to 500 extra calories a day (without exercise). This is not the time to start eating whatever you want. Keep in mind – good quality foods that you consume will produce good quality milk for your baby too. So, start thinking about the importance of healthy eating and consuming nutritionally dense meals before your baby’s next feeding. This is also not the time to be cutting calories or going on a crash diet in hopes to shed that baby weight quickly (my biggest pet peeve). Do you really think your baby cares about what you look like before you had her? The answer is probably, NO!

Important Nutrition Tips:

  1. Drinks lots of fluids to stay hydrated (limit beverages that has added sugar, like sodas or fruit drinks) stick to lemon with water, skim milk or homemade broth.
  2. Meals should contain a lean source of protein, complex carbs and healthy fats.
  3. Snacks between meals.
  4. Talk with your doctor to find out if you need a multivitamin.

Here’s a sample of my meals:

Pre-Breakfast: Squeeze half a lemon into a full glass of water (lemon juice naturally detoxifies the body and gets your digestive juices flowing to help with better absorption of nutrients in your meals) Drink this 10-15 mins before your first meal.

Breakfast:

  • 2 egg whites + 2 whole eggs
  • 1 cup of red, green, & yellow peppers (or any kind of vegetables you like)
  • 1/4 cup of onions (minced)
  • 2 slices of multi-grain toast with 1 tsp of Unsalted Butter
  • 1 cup of skim milk
  • Prenatal Vitamins & Fish Oil Supplements

Breastfeeding Breakfast

 

Snacks: Breastfeeding burns calories, so keep healthy snacks on hand to help refuel throughout the day. I usually snack before lunch and dinner and depending on how long my nights are (when baby is teething) I will have another snack right before bed.

Healthy Snack Options:

  • Edamame
  • Homemade Coconut Bran Muffins
  • Greek Yogurt Parfait (Raisins, Plain Granola and Unsweetened Coconut)
  • Hummus, Carrots, Multigrain Toast & Hard Boiled Egg

 

Lunch:

  • 2 spinach egg muffins
  • 3 cups of mixed baby kale greens
  • 1/2 pear (chopped & slice)
  • 1 slice of multigrain toast with real butter
  • 1 cup of orange juice (not shown in photo)
  • 1 cup of Water (not shown in photo)
  • 2 capsules of Fish Oil Supplements

2014-09-26 14.16.36

Dinner:

  • 3 oz grilled salmon steak ( 2x a week)
  • 1/2 of green beans (steamed)
  • 2-3 small boiled potatoes (usually with the skin)
  • 1 polish turkey sausage ( or another source of lean protein)
  • 1 cup of orange juice (not shown in photo)
  • 1 cup of water (not shown in photo)
  • 2 capsules of Fish Oil Supplements

2014-09-07 20.01.12

This is just a sample meal plan. I DO NOT eat the same foods everyday because it’s important to eat a variety of fruits, vegetables and different source of protein.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apple Picking at Archibald Orchards & Estate Winery

We took our 1st family mini road trip to Archibald Orchards & Estate Winery  to do some apple picking! This was a first apple picking experience for everyone, especially for our daughter who just turned 1.

Here’s a recap of our day…

First we went into the wine shop to look around.

2014-10-03 11.01.21

Then we started our apple picking adventure, and guess who was such a big little helper 😛

2014-10-03 11.15.51

IMG_4451

Then my husband suggested that we need to do a kissy selfie here!

IMG_4423

And we continued with more apple picking…

2014-10-03 11.33.18

And some apple tasting…

IMG_4462

Photo was taken while I was still chewing my apple 😛

2014-10-03 11.58.59

It’s never too early to start teaching your child to eat whole foods (even better when it’s freshly picked)

IMG_4518

$24.00 for 1/2 bushel. We will definately be coming back next year!

2014-10-03 12.36.33

 

No Soda & No Birthday Cake

I have a confession to make.

I’ve been planning my daughter’s first birthday party since she was 6 months old 😛 call me crazy, but I love birthdays & I love parties! So, I can’t think of a more important day than my daughter’s big O.N.E. and naturally as a Foodie and a Nutritionist the first thing on my agenda is the type of food I will be serving at this party.
Most of the mommies in my mommy group are on the same boat, so when the topic of food choices for our upcoming parties came up. Everyone was shocked, when I told them that I won’t be serving soda or buying the birthday cake from the store. Yes, I’m aware that I’m going against the grain here (like I always do) but if I’m not the one to set the example for my daughter, who will??? It was very interesting that most of them felt that the success of a birthday party is actually based on how much fat & sugar will be served to the kids & alcohol to the adults. (yea, there will won’t be any alcohol either…c’mon it’s a birthday party for a 1-year-old)

After announcing that I won’t be serving any sugary drinks and a store-bought cake at my daughter’s 1st birthday party. I was suddenly known as the “Mean Mommy” in the group who doesn’t like to let my kid or others have any fun! 😦 The way I see it, healthy eating doesn’t always have to be boring or less “fun” it just means that I need to be more creative and come up with different ways to serve traditional “party foods”.

So, here is the menu plan so far for the party:

  • Turkey Spring Rolls (yes, its deep fried but its loaded with turkey & veggies)
  • Polish Potatoes Salad (potatoes, carrots, parsnip, eggs, pickle, green apples in a greek yogurt dressing)
  • Tuna Avocado Salad
  • Open Salad Bar (Spinach, Peppers, Onions, Hemp Seeds & Our Special Homemade Garlic Dressing)
  • Orange Juice, Apple Juice & Water
  • For Our Guests: Homemade Vanilla Cupcakes
  • For The Birthday Girl: Oatmeal Carrot Cake with REAL buttercream frosting ! See…I can be a fun mommy too 😛
 

Sun Safety Tips for Babies

1. Put on sunscreen 20-30mins before heading outside. I got this Green Beaver natural sunscreen from a local health store. It was a bit on the pricey side but well worth the peace of mind to know that I’m using a natural product on her delicate skin. It spreads easily into an oily film so you won’t have to use a lot but I like knowing that all her little exposed body parts are well covered. (Don’t forget the back of the neck and tops of the feet)

Green Beaver SPF 30

2. Cover your baby’s arms and legs in lightweight, light-colored clothing. Light colors reflect the heat and keep skin cooler than dark colors, which absorb heat (Wear a wide brim hat and try to face away from the sun while playing on the swings)

wpid-img_20140531_101150.jpg

3. The sun is strongest between 11:00am – 4:00pm. So when you can, time your stroller walks or playground playdates with your baby earlier than 11:00am or later than 4:00pm. ( Don’t forget to bring along a water bottle to stay well hydrated for both Mommy & Baby)

wpid-img_20140530_120840.jpg

Have a Safe & Happy Summer !

A Bunny For A Friend

We decided to take my daughter to the local flea market yesterday. It was part exploring a new environment and part looking for a soft mat for her to play on. Flea markets brings back fond memories of my childhood of waking up before the crack of dawn and waiting impatiently for everyone else in the house to get up. Flea markets back in the days had livestock, bunnies and puppies. Those were good times !

This particular flea market also sold puppies but since my daughter plays with Remmi everyday chasing her around to catch her tail. She did not seem impressed by these wiggle little creatures that resembles a smaller version of our family dog and she was not allowed to touch.  She was very delighted with all the different sights and sounds of the flea market and seemed 100% content just looking around at different things. Then, we came across a little shop that had a big basket filled with stuffed bunnies which caught her attention ( or maybe it was my attention ) 😛 the bunnies were super soft and cuddly and very reasonably priced. So, I decided to buy her one even though it goes against my rules of not buying her any toys because I rather spend the money on saving for her education or buying organic foods. Sometimes, I just want to be mommy who spoils the love of my life (a little) and forget about the rules. There was a mountain of bunnies of all different shapes & colours. So, it took me awhile to narrow it down to the 2 most adorable bunnies and held it up for my daughter to see and choose one. Naturally, a 10 month old is gonna reach out both her hands (or maybe it’s just her) to grab both but I retracted the bunnies and explained to her that as much as she loves both, she can only choose 1. My daughter looked at me a little puzzled. This is the annoying part… the sales woman decided to chime in and said “it’s so CHEAP just buy her both” repeatedly. I am aware that this was her sales pitch to move more inventory BUT as a mother. This made me think of how important it is to teach my child (and to start at an early age) the value of money and the privilege of owning things. I know what is best for my child and the important life lessons that I want to instill in her, so I showed my daughter the 2 bunnies again and this time she just looked at me and smiled with excitement. I knew she would be happy with either one. (LOL). So, I picked the pink bunny for her but since it really was a good deal. I bought the blue bunny as well but this bunny will be given to my daughter’s friend.

 

My Mommy View: Even if I can afford to buy 2 or more of something I will always buy just 1. Unless it’s a really good deal :p then I’ll buy 2 but I’ll make sure my daughter understands that if we’re  blessed with the privilege to afford more of something we should always share it.