Wednesday, April 29

A special gift for Mother's day


I wrote about The Honest Company a little while ago to tell you how much I love their diapers here. I am also a big fan of their healing balm since Sophie is constantly drooling and has a rash on her chin and neck as a result. 

With Mother's day just around the corner, The Honest Company is recognizing all the little and big things moms do, from wiping tears and runny noses to giving cuddles before bedtime and everything else in between. From April 27th and May 10th, celebrate the moms in your life with one of these Aromatic Soy candles (a $19.95 value) Free with every first bundle purchase


Be sure to use code CANDLE4MOM at checkout.

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Vanessa

Tuesday, April 28

Motherhood: kissing your little ones on the lips

Kissing your little one on the lips; yes or no? 
I couldn't manage to get a photo with the other littles, but I caught this one since she can't walk yet! (Sorry it's so blurry)

This is something that I never thought about until recently. I love giving kisses to my littles on the lips. There is nothing better than seeing them as they wake up or after they have been at school/pre-school all day and snuggling in to their soft little faces. However, now that Annabelle is school-aged, we have decided to address kissing on the lips. Especially after seeing her give her teacher a kiss on the cheek. I didn't make a big deal about it, but didn't want her to do it again. Some of you may think: "what's the big deal?" But as a teacher, I feel like this is just something that should be avoided. Having said that, I say yes to kissing your own little ones on the lips. I used to almost hesitate to do it in public for fear of what some people may think. Even writing this and reading it back, I'm thinking "who cares what anyone else thinks!?" Now, I say that while my kids are still so young, I will take advantage of every snuggle and little peck on the lips (usually wet and snotty) because they will be too old to kiss their poor mama on the lips in the blink of an eye.  

What are your thoughts on this topic? I'd love to hear your opinion!

Thanks for reading,

Vanessa


Wednesday, April 22

Best green smoothie




I know there are a million different green smoothie recipes out there. I even blogged about it here. Since then, I have modified the ingredients so that it is not only nutritious, but is really tasty. My kids even love it! I think smoothies in general have exploded in popularity because they are a quick way to get a ton of nutrients in a super convenient way. For me, whether I am on maternity leave or teaching full-time, eating properly falls to the wayside so this delicious detoxing drink helps to give me a boost. I especially like to drink mine in the afternoon around the 3 o'clock lull.  Here is my recipe. I don't measure exactly, but here are the approximate measurements.

In a blender, combine:

-1 cup english cucumber (peeled and diced)
-1 green apple (peeled and cored)
-juice from one lemon or lime
-2 cups baby spinach
-2 Tbsp minced ginger
-1 cup cilantro
-2 cups filtered water

Blend until smooth

**I add hemp hearts and chia seeds to give a protein boost, but the hemp hearts make it creamier

Enjoy!

Vanessa

Tuesday, April 21

Kate Spade for Indigo



Kate Spade drinkware, 22 CAD / Kate Spade bar tool, 20 CAD / Kate Spade paper cocktail napkin, 17 CAD / Office accessory, 47 CAD / Spiral Notebook Curious, 18 CAD / Kate Spade paper clip, 15 CAD / 2015 Gold Dots 17-Month Weekly Agenda by Kate Spade New York, 33 CAD / Party | Kate Spade | chapters.indigo.ca, 22 CAD / kate spade new york All Occasion Card Set, 37 CAD


Some people are gym rats. I'm a Chapters/Indigo rat. I have to purposely avoid the place because I can't stop buying coffee table books, like this onebaby products, and as of late, Kate Spade swag. I think my obsession with gold and white started with Kate Spade New York stationary and I'm driving Duncan crazy because I tell him about my design ideas for each room and they always include, you guessed it, gold and white. or black and white accessories. Every time I walk in (to Indigo) I spot a few gems to add to my list of wants. Here are a few favorites that I've got my eye on these days (mainly for my office).

Thanks for reading!


Vanessa

Friday, April 17

Honestly speaking: body after baby

When I went to get the mail today, I was almost, I don't want to say shocked, but I was definitely surprised by the cover as I pulled the latest copy of Today's Parent out of the mailbox. This beautiful mother and her two littles were on the cover:


I was just so surprised to see a woman on the cover who wasn't afraid to display her imperfections. She really just put it all out there. It came at the right time as I am almost 6 months in with my post-baby body and, although I have lost most of the baby weight (mostly because I have been on a heavily-restricted diet since I am nursing and Sophie has shown signs of sensitivity to all the "good stuff") I certainly feel the aftershock of gaining and losing 40+ pounds 3 times! Similarly to some of the women in the article, I suffered from an eating disorder for a long time (along with anxiety and depression, which is a story for another time). So my body image hasn't always been the healthiest. Since our culture has a specific idea of what is deemed beautiful, it is difficult to alter how I perceive myself physically, but I am working hard to see my stretch marks and soft belly as a badge of honour for having carried and birthed 3 tiny humans. Even if I don't view myself in a positive light, I am becoming hyper-aware of how important it is for me to be a good example for my kids, especially Annabelle who is 5 years old and very in-tune with her surroundings. I am determined to help her, as well as Sophie and Olivier have the healthiest possible body image and understanding of what is truly important and beautiful. One day at a time...

Thanks for reading,

Vanessa

p.s. Sorry for being Queen of the run on sentences today!






Thursday, April 16

Starting out as a Stella & Dot stylist

If you follow me on Instagramyou probably know that I have recently become a stella & dot stylist. This all sort of happened out of the blue. I went to a trunk show at a friend's place before Christmas, more to get out of the house than anything since Sophie was only 2 weeks old at the time. I really loved the jewelry and bags! Then, a few months later, I was talking about some of the jewelry I was wearing with my hairstylist and mentioned that I was toying with the idea of becoming a stylist. A couple days later, I was contacted by her cousin who has been a stylist for a while now. We met for coffee and she told me all about it. I was hesitant at this point since it is essentially a pyramid business model, meaning that the more you sell, the more you move up in the ranks. What made me trust in this company is the fact that there are no minimum sale requirements. I can do as much or as little as I want. What made me decide to ignore my reservations and just go for it was when I met with other stylists in my area for our monthly meet up. It was really inspiring and motivating to be around a group of women who truly love being a stylist, whether it is for fun, as a full-time career or somewhere in between. 

So far, I have only had one trunk show, but I do have a couple more booked and I am learning that I need to hustle and put some work into making contacts if I want results. Otherwise, I'll end up with a pretty snazzy jewelry collection and a pretty sweet discount (but don't tell my husband!)

With the snow finally melting and the thought that Summer may be somewhere in the semi-near future, I have been checking out the Stella & Dot summer collection. Below are a few of my favorite pieces. You can shop the collection here.

Thanks for reading!

Vanessa


Starting out as a Stella & Dot stylist


Thursday, April 9

Review: The Honest Company






My sample pack of diapers
For a long time, I've been making an attempt to use cloth diapers, but I just don't have it in me to use them consistently. Sophie is my third baby and this is my third go at using cloth diapers, but I can barely keep up with laundry as is, so I've thrown in the towel and have accepted the fact that I am a disposable diaper user. Of course, I always feel guilty because I'm exposing the baby to potentially-harmful products, and I just picture a landfill littered with dirty diapers that will be there until the end of time. I often notice the more environmentally-conscious disposable diapers at the grocery store, but haven't purchased them because they are so bloody expensive.

I first learned about The Honest Company when I read Jessica Alba`s book, The Honest Life. You can read my review of her book here. Out of curiosity, I decided to take a peek at their website and saw that I could order free samples. I decided to go for the diaper and wipe bundle. I received 6 diapers (I could chose up to 6 different patterns) and a pack of 10 wipes.

What I like about the diapers:
Overall, I am happy with the diapers. They provide good coverage and absorbency (stand up to little Sophie's explosions) and they are Eco-friendly. You can see the materials they are made with here. They also come in a variety of irresistibly cute prints.

Why they are worth trying:
One word: Delivery. I like the idea that the diapers will be delivered to my door every 4 weeks (I can adjust the frequency of delivery as needed). Also, as mentioned, they are Eco-friendly and gentle on your little's bum, which is by far the most important thing. They are also  reasonably-priced. For $79.95 US per month, I am provided with 240 size 2 diapers and 4 large packs of of wipes. With shipping and the exchange rate with Canada, I'm not really saving money, but it's comparable to what I would pay by buying the non Eco-friendly diapers at the grocery store. My package is set to ship on the 10th of every month, but I can adjust it on the website as needed.

Overall, I am extremely pleased with The Honest Company diapers and think they are worth trying.
You can order your free diaper and wipe sample by clicking on The Honest Company logo on the right sidebar on this page. 

Stay tuned for other reviews of The Honest Company products.

Thanks for reading!

Vanessa


 Disclosure: This review is my honest opinion on the above-mentioned products. I was not paid to review these products. I received the samples free (as any customer would). I am affiliated with The Honest Company as an Honest Ambassador.

Tuesday, April 7

Avocado lime cheesecake bars

In our house we've been dealing with food sensitivities for the past 3 years, since O was born. He has a sensitivity to dairy, nuts, wheat and eggs. Now, with Sophie, we're dealing with the same thing. So, as a nursing mama, I've had to make some serious changes to my diet. As a result, I'm always looking for recipes to satisfy my major sweet tooth. I absolutely LOVE cheesecake, so I modified an avocado lime cheesecake bar recipe to fit our dietary restrictions and it was a real hit! 



Ingredients:

2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup dried cranberries or raisins
*You can add 1/3 cup of pecans if desired
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
2 Tbsp honey
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, grated
1 1/4 cup milk (I used coconut milk)
1 Tbsp unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup raw-style sugar (I didn't have any so I used Stevia)
Zest of 2 limes 
1 tsp vanilla extract
Juice of 1 lime
2 medium ripe avocados
8 oz. cream cheese (I used Daiya dairy free cream cheese replacement)

Place oats in food processor and grind. Add raisins or cranberries, honey, oil and ginger and mix in processor until mixture is sticky.

Using rectangular baking dish, place long piece of parchment or wax paper, leaving a generous amount of overhang on all sides of the dish. Place oat mixture in the pan and spread until evenly distributed. Place in refrigerator to chill. 

Mix gelatin powder with 2 Tbsp of warm water in a small bowl. Let set for 5 minutes. In medium saucepan, bring coconut milk, vanilla, sugar and lime zest to a boil. Add the gelatin and stir until it has dissolved into milk mixture.

In food processor, blend avocados with cream cheese until smooth. Add the hot milk mixture and blend. Spread mixture evenly over crust. Sprinkle with dried coconut and shaved almonds (I added the almonds on individual bars when serving since O and I couldn't eat them). Place in the refrigerator to set for at least 2 hours (or in freezer to speed up the process).

Enjoy! Thanks for reading,

Vanessa






Monday, April 6

Easter

Happy Easter! I hope you had a restful day. Even though it was storming outside...as usual, we enjoyed a family day at home eating Easter candy, playing outside in the snow and doing some littles-friendly baking. The kiddos had a visit from their cousin Lua which meant they played while the mamas gossiped and drank coffee. It was also Sophie's first Easter, so it was special to see the three kids together...Wow, sometimes I still can't believe there are three of them now! Time flies.

Here are some pics from our day. Thanks for reading and have a wonderful week!

Vanessa

The Egg hunt begins (Baby Sophie decided to sleep through it)

Cool guy with his new fedora

Attempt #1 at a group photo
Attempt #2 of group photo
                                   
The gals making an Easter treat (Rice Crispy Treat nests)






Enjoying the fruit of the girls' labour

The littles' finished product








Sunday, April 5

Interview: La maison du lait

                                  
                                   

                                      
                                                                     
                 
                                   
Recently, my friend Elise started a company called "La maison du lait" and I though it would be interesting to find out more about it. Elise has a background in business and marketing, and a great interest in health and nutrition. Put them together and you get "La maison du lait." Here is my interview with Elise. I hope you enjoy! 

What is "La maison du lait?"
"La maison du lait" offers fresh almond and hazelnut milk, as well as mixed almond and hazelnut flour at our local Saturday Farmers Market.

What motivated you to start this company?
The answer is simple for this one. My full-time office job isn't very inspiring and and I needed a creative outlet, so I decided to give this a go. I knew I wanted to sell at the market, and although there was a long wait list to get a booth, everything came together and I was offered a spot really quickly. I had one week to come up with a name, logo, packaging, social media, etc. it was a whirlwind, but it worked out.
Why almond milk?
I've been making almond milk at home for about a year, so it felt like the natural next step to start selling it. I now also offer hazelnut milk and almond/hazelnut flour. 

What does a typical prep day for "La maison du lait" look like?
On Friday night, in preparation for Saturday morning at the market, I soak the almonds in water. Then I puree them in the blender, which helps separate the liquid from the fibre. Once this part is done,  I put the nuts in cheese cloth and wring out the liquid.This part is very labour-intensive and hard on the hands, so thankfully my boyfriend Luc is a great help with this part of the process. Once he has placed all the liquid in bowls, I add in a bit of maple syrup, vanilla and sea salt. I also offer strawberry and chocolate flavor so I add homemade strawberry puree or homemade dairy-free chocolate sauce. For hazelnut milk, I add maple syrup and a pinch of cinnamon.

For the flour, I take the fibre that is left over after making the milk and dehydrate it in the oven for 8 hours on low heat. It creates a nice flour consistency that is great for baking. 

What has been the public reaction so far?
I've had my booth up and running for about 7 weeks now and my clientele has been growing steadily every week. I was featured in the local newspaper so that really sparked some interest. I was nervous about what people would think, but the reaction has been really positive. People are almost surprised hoe much they like the products. They appreciate the fact that it's pure with simple ingredients. The hazelnut milk has been the customer favourite so far. It sold out in the first three hours on the first day it was introduced! 

What is your goal for "La maison du lait?" Where do you see yourself in a year?
For now, I see myself continuing to grow my business and hopefully expanding to the Moncton Farmers Market. I would also like to offer a home delivery service. You know, like the old days when the milkman delivered milk for the week. The milk doesn't contain any preservatives and keeps for 3 days so it would be great if customers could get their milk fresh every week even if they can't make it to the market.

You can find Elise at the Dieppe, New Brunswick Farmers Market on Saturdays and "La maison du lait" on Facebook I can't wait to get my almond milk next weekend!


Thank you Elise for the great interview and thanks for reading,


Vanessa