Thoughts in a moment: mindful discussion book club

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I have decided to create a thoughtful book club! The reason is two-fold: I want to read more and engage in constructive conversation! There are no hard and fast rules to this book club and you don’t have to read every single book to participate! If there are a select few books you’d like to jump in on the discussion for, by all means! We are meeting here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/399791290395171/

I made this selection of books because I believe these are all issues that are affecting our present day and also issues that relate to the intentions of this blog — some are little known. I believe we will generate positive dialogue and perhaps learn something about the world, ourselves, and each other! Happy reading!

April

For April, I decided to choose two books. The first, The Little Book of Hygge – The Danish Way to Live Well is a quick read about this Danish way of life that you may already be partaking in without even knowing it!

The second book, In Defense of Food, discusses the industrialization of food as it relates to the decline of the environment. Pollan looks at food from a health perspective and discusses the multi-billion dollar food industry with facts.

May

“When thirty-eight-year-old New Yorker writer Ariel Levy left for a reporting trip to Mongolia in 2012, she was pregnant, married, financially secure, and successful on her own terms. A month later, none of that was true.

Levy picks you up and hurls you through the story of how she built an unconventional life and then watched it fall apart with astonishing speed. Like much of her generation, she was raised to resist traditional rules—about work, about love, and about womanhood.”

June

TBD

July

“Trayvon Martin’s parents take readers beyond the news cycle with an account only they could give: the intimate story of a tragically foreshortened life and the rise of a movement.”

August

“It started with a harmless quest for perfect wash-and-go hair. Every girl wants it, and Siobhan O’Connor and Alexandra Spunt finally found it in a fancy salon treatment. They were thrilled—until they discovered that the magic ingredient was formaldehyde.”

September

“Your toddler throws a tantrum in the middle of a store. Your preschooler refuses to get dressed. Your fifth-grader sulks on the bench instead of playing on the field. Do children conspire to make their parents’ lives endlessly challenging? No―it’s just their developing brain calling the shots!”

October

“Researcher and thought leader Dr. Brené Brown offers a powerful new vision that encourages us to dare greatly: to embrace vulnerability and imperfection, to live wholeheartedly, and to courageously engage in our lives.”

November

“#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The compelling, inspiring, and comically sublime story of one man’s coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed”

December

“From the star of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills comes an emotional and eye opening behind-the-scenes look at her descent into uncovering the mystery of chronic Lyme disease.”

January

“Even as seas rise against the shores, another great tide is beginning to rise – a tide of outrage against the pillage of the planet, a tide of commitment to justice and human rights, a swelling affirmation of moral responsibility to the future and to Earth’s fullness of life.”

February

“Nightline anchor Dan Harris embarks on an unexpected, hilarious, and deeply skeptical odyssey through the strange worlds of spirituality and self-help, and discovers a way to get happier that is truly achievable.”

 

Seven “crunchy” mom things

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While I hate labels, I would consider myself a relatively “crunchy” mom. That said, there are different levels of “crunchy” moms in my opinion and I tend to fall somewhere in the middle, I think? Of course anyone can adapt crunchy tendencies or take on some granola mom ideals or habits. But, to be a truly “crunchy” mom you probably need to put at least 4 of these seven things into practice regularly. However, I don’t think there is a specific definition. I would also argue that how “crunchy” I am depends on my mood so maybe I am not all that authentic, haha! And, while I am sure this list could be extremely long, here are my top 7 “crunchy” mom things!

  1. Using food grade or more natural and organic soaps and lotions on yourself and baby

When I was pregnant, well even before I was pregnant but emphasized when I was pregnant, I used all products without harsh chemicals or toxins. I even brought my own soap to work because I didn’t want to wash my hands in toxins like triclosan! I also barely wear any makeup and I am extremely conscientious about the types of products used in our household. Our skin is our largest organ and therefore whatever we put on our bodies we also put in them, and I am so not comfortable smearing myself or my child with unnecessary toxins. We also look for better disposable diapers and wipes such as Naty, Earths Best or Seventh Generation.

Some of my favourite “better” brands include:

2. Cloth, cloth and more cloth

This is one of my halfsies “crunchy” mom things. I cloth diaper and cloth wipe part-time. I also used some reusable bamboo cloth breast pads for a time as well. Cloth diapers have so many benefits from cost to environmental, and they definitely contain the poosplosions way better! I would highly recommend delving into this world. It’s a lot to learn but definitely worth it, mostly for the poosplosions.

3. Himalayan Salt lamps in every room

This one is super laughable to some but, I can dig it. I love the ambiance and their supposed health benefits are great! Because these salt lamps are negative ion generators and all of our electronics and other pollutants are positive ion generators, the idea is that these negative ions from the salt lamp are able to neutralize the positive ions to purify and clean the air. Associated with this is my concern with frequencies and radiation from cell phones, and wifi boxes so, I try to turn it all off or put everything on airplane mode at night (my hubby thinks this is ridiculous). You can read more about salt lamps in this great article from Wellness Mama. 

4. Essential oils, I put that shit on everything!

Ah yes, the world of essential oils! These things are true life savers! I used many of them for my labour and delivery and swear by their benefits! I had a completely unmedicated and short labour! You can read more about some of the oils I used, in my birth story.  I find they have so many great uses from stress relief to energy and mood boosting, cleaning purposes, pain and tension release, soothing inflammation, immune boosting, cleansing, the list goes on and on! Our favourite is to use diluted frankincense as our “magic potion” on the bottoms of our feet to help us not get sick! I used this on my newborn’s feet to boost his immunity protection out of the womb as well!

5. Define treat…

So, a treat in our household mostly means an energy ball, a green smoothie or beet juice, all organic of course. I know, I know, I sound like I deprive children. I am also all about moderation but sugar is mostly for really special occasions or if mommy really wants some ice cream… Now, obviously these are things that children can have regularly but we call them our treats and we get really excited about our treats! Our baby has been introduced to organic veggies and fruit and some, because I am lazy sometimes, organic pouches from Love Child. We watch out for food dyes, no pop, and eat mostly organic whole-foods. We also love the farmers market!! Oh, and cupcakes are an exception to this rule!

6. Babywearing

Anyone can baby wear, you don’t have to be “crunchy” for that! But, “crunchy” mamas tend to accumulate a stash of baby wearing items, mostly wraps. While I am a newbie to the baby wearing world, I can see how it becomes addicting. Beautiful organic cotton or wool wraps, cute babies being carried around and insta-calm, what could be better!?

7. Researching the potential harmful effects of everything

Okay, maybe this isn’t crunchy but rather my anxiety and OCD… theres more on that in this blog. This one can get taken to an extreme. Everything really is out to kill us but some things you just can’t avoid. I try to be aware of what I can and then weigh my options. I literally read every label, google the shit out of what the numbers on plastics mean, only use glass bottles, and limit plastic as much as possible. I google how bad certain foam mats can be for your health, flame retardants on furniture, chemicals in clothing and blankets, you name it, I looked it up… some would call that crazy but, I just like to call it hyper-informed. Now, money is a big factor in this one because most of the non-toxic, organic and all natural alternatives are more expensive so, the bottom line is you gotta pick and choose based on what you know and what works best for you and your family!

In closing, I just want to say that no one is 100 per cent and to me it’s about balance. Some days all we eat is mac n’cheese while watching TV but, I prefer to be more “crunchy” than less!

*Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. All opinions are my own.

What are your”crunchy” mom things? Let me know in the comments below! 

 

 

 

Recipe: probiotic smoothie

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I am always looking for quick and simple ways to add probiotics to my diet. Gut health is extremely important but people don’t always think about it. Also, recently, I have been trying to incorporate more dates into my life as they are supposed to help with duration and pain in labour by thinning the cervix and potentially strengthening the uterus. You’re supposed to eat around six per day in the last weeks of pregnancy so, I have found the easiest way to get them in is adding them to blended beverages.

I thought I would share this great smoothie recipe that I found recently. It incorporates kefir which is a great source of probiotics as well as helps me to get my allotted dates in.

Source: www.veggiesutra.com

Makes 2 glasses

Ingredients:
1 cup kefir (if store-bought, look for unsweetened plain kefir with live cultures)
1 cup water or unsweetened almond milk
Half an orange, peeled and cut in to sections
4-5 dates, pitted
1 avocado, peeled, seeded and sliced
1 Tbsp raw cacao powder

Method:
Throw all the ingredients in to the blender and blend till smooth.  If the consistency is too thick for you, add half a cup of water or almond milk and blend.

How do you get your probiotics in? 

My Favourite Etsy Shops for Baby Items

So, I hadn’t really ventured to purchase too many things on Etsy prior to buying baby items. I had always browsed the site and loved everything I saw, but I was so nervous to actually pull the trigger and order something!

Well, I couldn’t resist any longer and I could not be more happy with what I decided to buy. I have been *trying* as much as possible to shop local and small business when purchasing for baby. And while I have way more than enough, there are always so many cute items that are hand made by people who take such time and care to create beautiful products. I thought I would do a quick round up of the favourite shops that I have found!

3 Joyful hearts design 

While this shop isn’t exactly local to me, the quality and care in the products is irresistible. My little boy is going to look so adorable going home in this cute owl crochet hat. It is super soft and made with gorgeous detail. I also purchased a cute basketball hat and diaper cover as a photo prop. If you are looking for cute crochet hats for babies or children or even some props for a newborn photo shoot, look no further than this awesome Etsy shop.

3 Joyful hearts design has hundreds of crochet styles to choose from and they are all absolutely gorgeous.

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CD & Bree 

I was shopping around for those cute bandanna bibs on Etsy and I was really hoping to find some super local. I searched for my area and hoped to do local pick-up. I found this great shop,  CD & Bree, for baby apparel including the bandanna bib, in so many cute patterns! Using organic cotton, these bibs are great for little baby’s drool and spit up but they still look super cute! I can’t wait to see my little guy in them! I will definitely be ordering more and I love that she is local.

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Mimi Shop 

In an effort to buy and support local and to avoid the big box, and valuing quality while keeping the baby toys at a minimum (really, they do not need many toys), I was introduced to Mimi Shop. This great Etsy shop is based out of Vancouver, so relatively local for me and all hand made, unique, quality baby toys. These items are so adorable, great quality and one of a kind. I purchased a music box that can be attached to the car seat or crib as well as a baby rattle. I will definitely be looking to purchase more as the quality just can’t be beat and, they are just so adorable! There are a variety of items and styles to choose from and mine were shipped out almost immediately!

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Baby Nell Designs 

I was looking for a simple tag blanket toy and again, wanted to purchase local. I found this local shop, Baby Nell Designs. This shop has beautiful quilts, tag blankets and bandanna bibs. I absolutely love all of the items in this shop! They are all such beautiful and unique creations and the fabric patterns are very unique! The items were shipped out quickly and again, they best part for me is to get quality hand made goods while supporting local business!

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Twig and Timber 

I purchased the four woodland wall pieces from Twig and Timber a while back for use in the nursery. I love how unique these pieces are and you have the option to completely customize what you want. Their woodland décor fit my nursery theme really well but they have such a variety of items to choose from that can work in any room. I highly recommend them if you are looking for something unique to your home!

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Natural Cold and Flu Remedies

When I get sick, I find, it usually happens at one of two times. Either I finally have some down time to relax, or, it finds me at one of my busiest moments. Murphy’s law.

For this reason, and well, for the reason that no one likes to get sick anyway, I am always looking for new ways to boost my immune system and in my opinion, prevention is the best medicine. I have never been one to take cough medicine or to run out and get a flu shot and I think that there are many ways from nature that we can boost our immunity.

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Now, let me start by saying, I am no expert on these remedies, I just know that they have worked for me. I have come to these personal conclusions by way of research and by not getting sick often or being able to remedy a cold or flu as soon as I feel it. I do believe there is a place for medicine but I prefer to be as holistic as possible.

Here are some of my favourite ways to boost immunity to battle those winter germs:

  • Lemon water (in the morning, especially). I find it can help to fight a cold as soon as I feel a sore throat come on. It’s a great idea to drink it regularly as it helps to flush out toxins and will help your body to always be prepared when germs come to attack. Foodmatterstv.com cites 16 reasons to drink lemon water in their article: 16 Health Benefits of Drinking Warm Lemon Water.
  • Turmeric Tea. I love adding turmeric to my smoothies and juices but, turmeric is also great in a tea. Turmeric has many benefits and according to Meghan Telpner on meghantelpner.com, turmeric tea is “A natural preventative against flu viruses.” I will defer to North of Bloom for her great recipe!
  • Green Juice. There are so many great juice recipes out there and endless yummy combinations. One of my favourites and one that is great when I’m feeling a little under the weather is a combination of kale, half of a lemon, half of a cucumber, 3 apples, 2 stocks of celery, a bit of ginger. At the end, I like to add some powdered or grated turmeric.
  • Nettle tea with honey. I love nettle tea, especially this Pukka Cleanse tea with nettle, fennel and peppermint. According to wellnessmama.com, nettle tea can keep you hydrated  while removing toxins from the body.
  • Sometimes, I like to make a concoction of warm water, honey, cayenne pepper, garlic, ginger, lemon, sometimes apple cider vinegar, and turmeric. This magic potion of sorts has a nice kick to kick the germs from my body, while the honey can help to soothe any sore throat.
  • Vitamins. Cod liver oil, vitamin C and echinacea have always helped me when I am sick. It is important to look for the food grade, organic, non-gmo vitamins.

I do find that these can work for both immune boosting and cold or flu fighting. Let me know some of the ways you like boost immunity!

Bump Day: Nursery Update!

With just over nine weeks to go, things are coming together. We still have to hang up the artwork that makes this nursery a “woodland” theme.

Getting excited and anxious!

Here a few of my favourite buys so far.

Apple Cheeks Cloth Diapers

I am so excited to try cloth diapering and while I have to admit it is a bit confusing, I am going to start with a small collection to give it my best shot! I have heard nothing but great things about Apple Cheeks so I have purchased a few from Well.ca

Apple Cheeks Little Bundle, St.Lucia. 

Apple Cheeks Little Bundle, Winging It. 

Woodland Signs from Twig and Timber 

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Teepee and Tots Co. Moccasins  and organic cotton onesies from the Gap 

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Second Hand Bugaboo Chameleon Stroller

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My Latest Eco Diva Loves

Some new finds from Eco Diva Beauty!! w3ll people natural lover mineral complexion kit no.1 and ecobrow defining wax in penelope

Some new finds from Eco Diva Beauty!! w3ll people natural lover mineral complexion kit no.1 and ecobrow defining wax in penelope

So, since I’ve been pregnant I haven’t really been wearing much make up. I have really lucked out and unlike a lot of women, pregnancy is actually helping my skin instead of causing it to break out. Typically, I don’t wear a lot of make up anyway but foundation, a light eye shadow, mascara and bronzer or blush were generally my staples, other than that I never really do too much.


Because I have some skin concerns and because I want to make sure that I am not putting toxins onto my skin which are then absorbed into my body, I have always wanted to make sure that I was using a foundation that was free of unnecessary chemicals and toxins. I was using Jane Iredale foundation and as I mentioned in a previous post I really loved the coverage. I ran out of the previous foundation and decided that I wanted to try something new so I selected something off of the EcoDiva website, this foundation / complexion kit from W3ll People, and I am really loving it!  The colour description on-line was helpful to decide what would be my best colour option (I am usually the lightest colour but sometimes it can be a bit deceiving). The coverage is great and it doesn’t feel to heavy or like I am wearing anything on my face. The best part: the W3ll People products contain no harmful toxins and the company emphasizes the importance of organic ingredients. This is something I can get behind. You can read more about what their products don’t contain on their website. 

For $70 the kit contains foundation, a bronzer, and a soft brush.

Another product that I have just recently tried and love is EcoBrow.  My eyebrows are so light and I always knew that defining them might be a simple way to change my look without piling on the make up. I love this product. It is a mineral-based, paraben- free wax that is applied to the eyebrows with an angle brush. It is so simple and easy to blend and it doesn’t give the hard, drawn on eyebrow look. The colour that I selected is Penelope and I think it goes great with my hair colour and skin tone.

If you haven’t tried Eco Diva Beauty yet, I highly suggest you get on it! Their products are delivered very quickly and I have not been disappointed!

What is your staple beauty item?

 

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