Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Rhubarb Crisp (gluten/dairy free)


What is a mom to do when both her and her little have just been diagnosed with their second round of pneumonia? Well, make rhubarb crisp of course! This is a great, easy, quick to make yet tasty and somewhat healthy recipe, you know, minus all the sugar.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 C Oats
  • 1/2 C Gluten Free Flour
  • 1/2 C Brown Sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/4 Tsp Nutmeg
  • 3 Tbsp Melted Vegan Butter
  • 6 Stalks Rhubarb
  • 1/4 C Sugar to Rhubarb
  • 1/4 C Water

Directions:

  1. Wash and cut the rhubarb into 1 inch cubes. Place rhubarb in frying pan and add 1/4 C water to pan
  2. Cook over medium heat until rhubarb is soft and mashable (I like to make up my own cooking terms) It takes me about 15 minutes to boil the rhubarb down
  3. Add 1/4 cup of sugar to rhubarb and mix well
  4. Set aside
  5. Preheat oven to 350
  6. In separate bowl mix oats, gluten free flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg together
  7. Slowly add melted butter until it forms a crumbly texture
  8. Place rhubarb in bottom of greased ceramic dish
  9. Top with crisp topping and cook for 25 minutes
  10. Serve warm
  11. For an extra delicious crisp, add a dollop of coconut milk whipped cream

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Nightstand Remake - The Virgin Painter
















I had been searching for nightstands to use in our master bedroom for quite sometime. I like character pieces (aka - thrift store/antique market products) but know they are often hard to find.  While visiting a local thrift store I saw these two nightstands. I loved them, well I loved the potential because let's be real, the stuck in the 70's décor is not really my thing. But I knew I could bring them up to the 2010's. I also could NOT beat the price, $8 each. $16 total for these "character" pieces that I loved. However, they sat in our master bedroom for over a year.

I did not feel comfortable in my painting practices to tackle these pieces. I also had no idea what colour I wanted to go with so they sat. Over the past year I have been getting to know the ladies at Fred and Bessie's. They have helped me immensely. Not only have I had conversations about how to paint, paint types, brush strokes, "issues", paint brushes, shows, best stores to shop at, they sell the best lines of paint I have ever used.

Keeping with my eco-living lifestyle, buying eco-friendly paint is just as important as anything else. I was first introduced to Country Chic (which I still love) then I tried Miss Mustard Seed's milk paint (that one was a bit tougher for me to use) and then I fell in love with a new line called Fusion. It is a fantastic paint line. Beautiful colours, so easy to use, even a beginner painter like me can't really mess up a project using Fusion.

So I dove in and with the recommendation from Janice, I chose an off white called Champlain. The pictures really do not do these nightstands justice. It is my first project I actually feel proud of.

Materials Used:


Fusion - Champlain
Fusion  - Tinting Kit in Silver
Fusion - Small and Large Brush
Miss Mustard Seed's  - Furniture Wax

That's it. I opted to lightly sand these tables before painting but the great thing is, with Fusion you don't have to.


To achieve this look, I tinted the Champlain with the Silver Tint Kit. Added one coat, let dry then brushed ever so lightly with just the Silver Tint. To finish it off, I added the furniture wax to the entire piece. Voila! My first "real" painting project, not the last though, I've been bitten by the painting bug.

This is my first piece for The Virgin Painter (notice the new tab at the top?) It will be a document of my journey into painting old furniture.  Watch my mishaps, success's and frustration at the fact I have to let paint dry in between coats, but examples of why it is best.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Gluten/Dairy Free Tuna Noodle Salad


Ingredients:

3/4 cup Mayo
1 pkg Macaroni
1/4 cup sweet relish
4 celery stocks chopped
1/4 tsp celery seed
1/8 salt and pepper (or to taste)
Optional add ins: carrots, peas, peppers

Directions:

  1. Cook macaroni according to directions on package
  2. Mix everything in a bowl
  3. Place in refridgerator and let cool for 2 hours
Best if served cold

Friday, 10 April 2015

DIY Doll Mei Tai Carrier


Bee is at the age where she likes to play with her "babies". She is such a good little mommy, she has a stroller, cradle, bed, high chair and all the additional doodads that come along with dolls. The other day when we went for a walk, I opted to carry Bee in her Mei Tai instead of pushing the stroller. Sometimes I love the closeness it brings, even if she hates being in it. When we got home, later in the evening, she kept asking for "carry, carry" and holding her doll up to her chest.  It took me awhile to figure out she wanted to carry her doll like I had carried her.

Seeing as I pretty much give my daughter whatever she wants, as long as I can make it, I decided to whip up a little Mei Tai carrier for her. I found this fantastic tutorial over at Lulastic. As she mentions, it truly does take only a few minutes, maybe not 5, more like 10 for me because I opted to iron my fabric, but it is simple. Even a beginner seamstress can sew this up in a jiffy. I love how it turned out and Bee loves to wear it and carry her babies.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Subconscious Breastfeeding

*disclaimer: I have nothing against the companies in this photo, I actually have a Medela breast pump and love it

What's wrong with this picture?


Upon browsing through our local Babies R Us catalogue, I stumbled across the above photo. It took me all of one second to realize this was sending a rather unsupportive, subconscious message about breastfeeding. This picture disturbs me because it appears that a mother, in her own home alone, has the need to cover up. I can't be the only one who see's that this message is not the proper one to be sending. For one thing, a woman can breastfeed without covering up where ever she chooses to do so, but in her own home and alone with just her baby? I mean come on, let's get real. I was subconsciously inundated with these kinds of pictures while pregnant. Perhaps it's why I had a terrible time at feeling comfortable breastfeeding in public, never mind the public outcry that I should cover up and feed my baby in the presences of feces and urine, but to show that even in my own home I should cover up?

Well it worked because even in my own home, I felt the need to cover up so people walking by didn't see my boobs. You know because boobs aren't displayed pretty much every where else right?

Honestly, breastfeeding was not easy for me in the beginning, you can read about my journey here. At 27 months old, we have just weaned my daughter off of the boob. When I started my journey, I never imagined breastfeeding until past 2 but when the time came, at every check in (6 months) I didn't want to stop. I knew the longer I breastfed, the more it would benefit my daughter but at 27 months old, we both decided it was a good time to stop. I had to decrease her feedings to 1-2 times a day about 6 months ago and lately, she just hasn't asked for it so I thought it would be a good time to phase that part of our journey out. How have my emotions been? Relieved, seriously, the next hand to cop a feel on my boobs will be chopped off. My time has come, I can't take another suckle or cop a feel. I feel satisfied to know I gave my daughter 27 months of mama milk to help her the best I could.

It was only through the support of people online and friends who have been there that I was able to be successful and eventually not give a damn about where I fed my daughter. I stopped covering up at home, realizing it was ridiculous and for the most part, I kept myself "modest" while out but that was my personal choice. However, I fully support breastfeeding, I fully support it in public, formula was not always around so we can thank breastfeeding for our survival as a species.  So, Babies R Us, though most may see this advertisement as encouraging breastfeeding, you did not fool me. I see your subconscious message about covering up, even in the comfort and privacy of your own home.

10 top reasons I chose to breastfeed (and you should too):

  1. Breast is best. Countless studies, articles and research have gone into the benefits of breast milk, they are endless. When it comes too it, the boob is the bomb!
  2. You don't have to worry about mixing formula or warming a bottle, breast milk is always ready to go.
  3. Great bonding time (sneak in some good books to read for you and babe, lots of cuddles, lots of kisses, lots of looking at the miracle you created)
  4. I'm lazy. The preparation that goes into making a bottle, especially at 2am which is my zombie state, is more than I was willing to do. I like sleep, I like being able to breastfeed while half asleep and not interrupt my sleep mojo.
  5. People serve me while breastfeeding. We all know it can take quite a while in the beginning so while you are sitting nursing your child, hungry? Ask partner to make a sandwich. Thirsty? Have partner bring you a drink. Bored? Have partner turn on the tv or watch a movie you've been waiting to see. Tired? Lay down and nurse, fall into dream land with babe.
  6. On the go convenience. Husband taking a little longer shopping at Michaels than he said he would? No worries if babe gets hungry, you're primed and ready to go at a moments notice.
  7. It not only provided my daughter 27 months of beneficial nutrition, it provided her comfort. When the tears started rolling and all I had to do was pop my boob in her mouth and everything was all better, oh how good that makes me feel. Now only if breastfeeding could solve all world problems. Countries at war? Take out the boob and calm down now folks. I really do wish something as simple as breastfeeding really could solve all the worlds problems, but it cant, at least it can solve the problem of the best little girl ever!
  8. It takes little to no effort to feed. I don't have to worry that in my zombie like state I mixed baking soda or flour instead of formula. I know my daughter is getting liquid gold because nothing else comes out of my boobs, however, lots of stuff could accidentally end up in a bottle if my mind was still sleeping while I was half awake.
  9. You can't lose your boobs like you can soothers. If soothing is needed and no soother is to be found because for the 100th time your child has thrown it into the abyss, at least you know where your boobs are.
  10. Having to "excuse" myself to go somewhere to breastfeed (not that you ever have to) but that is one GREAT reason that you can use to your advantage. It's like a get out of jail free card if you are somewhere or in a situation you don't want to be in. Family dinners getting you down? Sorry, have to breastfeed, yeah I know she breastfeeds a lot, like every half hour but that's how she is. Really, you are doing it to give yourself time and space away from things that bother you, but it truly is a great excuse.

10 Must Have Items for a Breastfeeding Mom:

  1. A comfy chair
  2. Nipple cream
  3. Fluids and lots of them
  4. Patience/sanity, especially during the teething stage
  5. Supportive bras
  6. Leak pads (re-useable or disposable, I found I leaked right through re-usable so I had to use disposables)
  7. A good book or TV show (for those brief moments you aren't bonding and staring into your baby's eyes)
  8. Tank tops and cardigans (or nursing shirts) I have nothing against "regular" clothes but I found nursing clothes so much easier to navigate. I live in a cold climate so hiking my shirt up to feed my daughter in the dead cold of winter was not happening. 
  9. Breast pump, this one is more of a personal choice but I couldn't live without my breast pump. I tried a manual pump, that was a mistake. I then went for the top of the line, double milk sucking machine and loved it. I was able to prepare 6+ months worth of breast milk. I was afraid I may have to stop early, or give it up, or something would happen to me and I wanted to make sure I had breast milk on hand for my daughter.
  10. Support, talk to friends and family members who have been successful at breastfeeding. There will be so many people telling you to give up, that baby is not getting enough, that it's better for you to switch to formula because of blah, blah, blah. Surround yourself with strong women who have successfully managed the breastfeeding journey. Reach out, ask questions, let them know you want to make it successful and want to hear nothing but positive outcomes or suggestions.

For more information on breastfeeding, check out these articles:


1. Advice for a new nursing mom
2. Benefits of Breastfeeding
3. Breastfed babies grow differently
4. Struggling with milk supply
5. 20 Selfish reasons to breastfeed

Great online resources:


1. Kelly Mom
2. Mother Risk

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Naturepedic



March 13th, 2015 marked World Sleep Day. If you have followed Baby's Nest from the beginning, you know how passionate I am about healthy sleep. You know I've mentioned many times to spare no expense when it comes to buying a mattress, pillows, sheets and blankets. After all, you spend 1/3-1/2 of your life in bed, it needs to be a healthy environment. My family has made the change in most of our bedding products and will go fully organic as soon as we replace our full size mattress. It wouldn't have been possible without Naturepedic. Sound familiar? That is because they have sponsored a post before, you can check it out here.

Recently, on World Sleep Day, I wandered over to the Naturepedic Facebook page and entered a contest to win an organic crib mattress (valued at $289). Much to my surprise, I won! I was ecstatic. My daughter still sleeps in her crib, though it's been converted to a toddler bed, so being able to replace her not so healthy mattress with an organic one made me giddy with glee.

I was even more elated to find out that they ship to Canada! Not only that, but it was here within a few days.  As you can see from the photo, Bee couldn't even wait to take the plastic off, she needed to try it out. Of course, I had to try it out too.

The benefits of this mattress make it phenomenal for the value. It has two sides, one for infants and one for toddlers. The infant side is quite firm (as it should be) and the toddler size is a bit softer, but still firm. One big selling point for me is that they use NO flame retardant chemicals. I have no worries about her inhaling toxic chemicals as she dozes off into dream land. It is also made from 100% organic cotton, which we all know is the only way to go.

Naturepedic is one company you should get to know. Not only are their products healthy for your sleep, but their prices are fair for what they offer. They don't just cater to kids, they cater to people of all ages. They carry mattresses, pillows, sheets, change pads, mattress toppers and protectors.

You will want to make sure to visit their Facebook page as they are giving away 4 huge prizes for Earth Month, all April long.

Monday, 16 March 2015

DIY Canopy Tent



This is by far the easiest way to make a canopy tent. It may not be as fancy as some other ones, but it is simple, it works, holds up well, you can wash it and you can add things to make it fancy. It is a no-sew project and all materials are easily accessible at your local craft store.

Materials:


Large Embroidery Hoop (I used 18inch)
2 Curtain Panels (84inch length)
Ribbon
*Self stick Velcro dots

Directions:

Detach outer embroidery hoop from the inner hoop, make sure to fully unscrew it so that there is an opening
Slide curtain panels over outer embroidery hoop opening
Screw the outer hoop back together, you will only be using the outer hoop for this project
Add 2 strands of ribbon to embroidery hoop to hang (I used 2 because with only 2 curtain panels, 3 ribbons was not feasible)
*Optional - add Velcro dots along two adjoining edges of the curtain panels to close the "back"
*Optional - Add décor, you can see from the pictures that I added a feather garland at the top as well as a bee hive on the inside

Hang and have fun!