Tuesday, April 30, 2013

My little lamb's spring outdoor photo shoot

It has been a LONG winter and I am SO happy that spring has finally arrived.  This past weekend was warm and sunny, which was great for my little girl and I to finally go for a walk outdoors.  I bought her a cute pair of rain boots a few weeks ago.  They are too big for her at present, but she LOVES them, so it was nice for her to be able to walk around outside wearing them.  And since it was almost her bedtime (7:00pm), the sunlight was a dreamy golden colour, which made for fantastic lighting for a couple of shots of her.

The next day was another warm, sunny day, so in the late afternoon I set up a large metal tub that I found at Winners.  (For my friends in the US, Winners is like Target, which I am happy to say that we will have here in Canada very soon.)  I filled the metal tub with warm, bubbly water and then I put my little girl in it to play and have fun while I snapped away some incredibly cute photos of her.  I got so many cute shots of her.  One of these days I will have to make a little book for her as a keepsake.

I am so glad that I am able to take so many photos of my little girl growing up.  At least she and I will have so many photos to look back on and reminisce when we are older.  








Monday, April 15, 2013

My little lamb's April photo shoot

Last week I shot my daughter's April photo shoot.  As I have stated before, my goal is to do at least one photo shoot per month for my daughter's first two years, since babies change so much during that time, I want to document the changes with pretty pictures.  So here is my daughter's April photo shoot that I just did.  I hope that you enjoy them as much as I do.

Also, for anyone who likes this fabric backdrop that I made, here are the instructions of how I make them.  Enjoy!

Look at that chubby body!  Love it!!!!





Is it wrong to always have a photo shoot in mind when I purchase her clothes?


Friday, April 12, 2013

Things I wish I knew before having a baby

When I was pregnant, I really had very little clue as to what I really needed to get for my baby when she arrived.  My husband has two boys, and when I asked him he told me he didn't know because 1) it was so long ago (his sons are 16 and 19) and 2) his ex took care of that stuff.

I googled to find a list of what I would need, but was also conscious of not wanting to spend a lot of money. We were fortunate to have a lot of stuff given to us from friends who didn't need the items anymore (crib, baby clothes, baby bathtub, bassinet, indoor baby seats, toys, jolly jumper, etc.)  I was also fortunate enough to also have two baby showers, so our little bundle was in very little want of anything.  However, when people asked what we needed, I was pretty clueless.  I did say older baby clothes as I was smart enough to make sure that we didn't end up with a zillion newborn clothes, which she would grow out of in a month.  If I could do it over again, I would have been very specific in what I wanted for many items.  Here is a small list of items that I think are quite good to have for your baby (at least I found them to be helpful for my own daughter.)

Baby Bibs:  I was ok with using the small cloth bibs for my daughter when she began to drool and also when I began to feed her food, since she was still small.  However, since she turned one I started using those soft plastic bibs with a deep pocket to catch food spills.  Now, instead of having to throw bibs in the daily wash, all I need to do is wipe them clean with a damp cloth, hang them on the chair to dry and they're ready for the next meal.  Easy peasy.  Unfortunately, I have an entire drawer full of all sorts of unused bibs that were given at my two baby showers because I added bib to my list of things that I needed.  I think the worst ones that I tried to use were the flat plastic ones with a pocket.  You can't throw them in the wash and it's too hard to clean out those pockets entirely.  They're just gross.

I love these bibs!  I got mine at  Maxi (Loblaws)
Exersaucer:  I probably wouldn't have bought it myself since I was pretty clueless to what good baby items are out there.  However, the Exersaucer was a gift given to my daughter from a friend.  I recommend it as it was a great way of keeping my little girl entertained while working out her legs.  And I could give her something to eat while she was in there too.

Jolly Jumper:   We were given a used Jolly Jumper from our friend.  This is something that I would for sure have gone out to buy myself anyway.  Maybe it's because I used one too when I was a baby.  I don't know.  My daughter liked using it too.

Sleepers:  For most of the year of my child's life (and as I type this up) my daughter has been wearing sleepers since she was born.  She was born in the winter, so of course she wore these to keep her warm.   I did not bother to dress her up in anything else when we went out because they were warm and snuggly.   She slept a lot, so it was better for her to sleep in her pajamas, instead of regular clothes.  I prefer to wear pajamas myself when I'm at home because they are comfortable, so why would a baby be any different?

When my daughter was about four months old, I started to dress her up in cute little dresses when we went to church, ONLY because she had been given a large amount of dresses and clothes as gifts.  Thus, I figured that she should start wearing these cute outfits before she was too big to fit into them.  I also used to dress her up for her monthly photo shoots in these cute outfits since she would only wear them once or twice (yes, ONCE or TWICE).  This is why I think that these cute little baby outfits are such a waste of money--at least to me.

Sleep Sack:  I was COMPLETELY clueless as to these things ever existed.  However, I received not one, but THREE of them as gifts for my daughter.  I didn't actually use them until her second winter, as she spent the first winter sleeping in a small bassinet and I thought it was easier to use blankets for her.  However, once I started to use them I was converted and realized that I had finally seen the light as to why these things are  SO amazing.

With conventional blankets, your baby will move around and can end up cold because they are no longer covered by a blanket.  But with a sleep sack, they are zipped up all snuggly, so they stay warm, but their arms are free to regulate their body temperature.  We just add a thin blanket over top at night to keep her arms warm, but if she gets hot, she can move her arms out from under it.

And the good thing with having more than one is if my daughter wakes up in the morning with a wet blanket, I have another one to use in case I can't do the laundry in time for her morning nap.

Sippy cups.  Not all sippy cups are created equal.  My first attempt at buying a sippy cup was a failure to me.  It not only had 5 detachable parts to it, but is also leaked.  My second attempt at a good sippy cup was the Playtex 1st Sipster Cup.  They're cute looking, only have 3 parts and don't leak.  I love them.  I throw them in the dish washer, take out the silicone liner to dry out and voila, it's ready to use again.  Love them!
1st Sipster Cup by Playtex

Bottles:  Again, not all bottles are created equal.  When I was breastfeeding, I was also pumping so that others could feed my daughter at times while I slept.  By far the best bottle to use to mimmick breast feeding is the Medela calma bottles.  When I first started breastfeeding and was having problems, I went to see a lactation consultant and this is what she recommended.  In my opinion Medela also has the best breast pumps.  We rented the Medela Symphony breast pump for one month.

Medela Calma Bottle with close up of nipple
Once I stopped breast feeding, I bottle fed my daughter and used the Medela bottles for a few more months, but then all of a sudden, my daughter didn't want to use them anymore (I think because she was starting to teeth), so I switched and started using Playtex Vent Aire bottles that my sister gave me for a baby shower gift.  My daughter is mow 15 months old and I still use them.  They are fine.  However, each bottle has five separate parts, so it's a real pain to hand wash every day.  A friend gave me one Avent bottle and it is so nice to only have three parts to wash, instead of five.  If I knew then what I now know, then I would have just asked for Avent bottles.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Healthy oatmeal cookies for your toddler and child

Firstly, I must mention that I am not a nutritionist, doctor or dietitian.  I am simply a mother who has a vested interest in her daughter's health and will do what I can to help keep her healthy.  If you are like me, you are also very concerned with what goes into your child's mouth. When my daughter started eating food at six months, I would only buy her organic food. I know that not everyone can afford to buy all organic food. Heck, neither can I since I am no longer working full time, so the rest of my family ate regular food and I just bought organic food for her.  But now that she is older, she is starting to eat some of the same foods as we do and she still gets some organic food.

Another thing that I regulate a lot is my daughter's sugar consumption. I do not want my toddler eating refined sugar.  I had a local bakery make a sugar-free birthday cake for her, using stevia to sweeten it.  (Heck, I don't even give her fruit juice to drink because of the high sugar content, which leads to a number of negative side effects.) Any baby snacks that I buy, I make sure are organic and I still read the ingredients in the organic items too.  According to Vincent Iannelli, MD, who is a board certified pediatrician, "instead of juice, children should be encouraged to eat whole fruits", which brings me to what I wanted to share with you in the first place.

A couple of days ago, one of my friends (Thanks Jackie!) posted on her Facebook news feed about a sugar-free oatmeal cookie recipe, which was originally posted on Dr. Don Colbert's Facebook Page.  Normally, whenever I hear about, or read the term, "sugar free", I immediately think that it is sweetened with those horrible, chemical sweeteners, which are complete NEUROTOXINS.  However, since this was posted by my friend, who is currently studying to be a nutritionist, I immediately clicked on the link to see the list of ingredients that I would need to make these cookies.   And when I read the list of ingredients, I noticed that it is a vegan-friendly recipe since it contains no eggs or dairy.  

Lucky for me, I had most of the ingredients. However, I did substitute Almond Milk with Soy Milk, since I didn't have any Almond Milk at home.

These are all of the ingredients you need in the recipe.  You can always add some stevia to add a little more sweetness.

Sugarless Oatmeal cookies 
  • 3 mashed bananas (ripe) 
  • 1/3 cup apple sauce (unsweetened)
  • 2 cups oats 
  • 1/4 cup almond milk (unsweetened)
  • 1/2 cup raisins (try to use the raisins that are not sprinkled in sugar or oil) 
  • 1 tsp vanilla 
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  1. Mix all of the wet ingredients together.  Then add raisins and oats and mix together.
  2. Drop a heaping spoon full for each cookie onto a lightly greased pan (or use parchment paper.)
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, depending on your oven.  (My oven bakes them in 16 minutes.)
(Yields 2 dozen cookies.)

Side Note:  Cinnamon has HUGE health benefits as do oats

After I made the cookies and let them cool, I fed them to my 15 month old daughter.  She really liked them, but I didn't doubt that she would since all of the ingredients are in her normal diet (minus soy milk.)  Although too much soy in a person's diet is never good, having only 1/4 cup in an entire batter is fine by me.

I must give one disclaimer about his recipe.  Personally, I found these cookies far too bland for my liking (ie. not sweet enough).  However, I have a MAJOR sweet tooth, so I am used to eating really sweet things AND it can easily be remedied by adding some Stevia, which is a natural sweetener.  But I must say that since there is no added sugar (except for what is found in the fruit) I am completely ok with my daughter eating this as a snack or small meal.  And since I do not give her sweets (she didn't even get a sugary cake for her first birthday), she has not developed a major sweet tooth like far too many babies and young children have with their families giving them cakes, candies, chocolate, etc.  

So I hope that you will try out this recipe and make a healthy treat for your kiddies.  

(P.S.  My daughter is currently sitting in my lap eating this healthy snack as I type this.)

Mash bananas and apple sauce together.
After mixing all wet ingredients together, add raisins and oatmeal.
 The cookies end up with a brown colour due to so much cinnamon in the batter.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Teaching your baby or toddler to brush their teeth

My daughter got her first tooth when she was almost seven months old.  The week that her first tooth came out, I began letting her brush her teeth.  Now you may be reading this and wondering how a six month old baby can brush her own teeth.  I am here to tell you that it is really quite easy.  You just need to have the right tooth brush.  I picked up a brush baby toothbrush at a local baby store.  Made with medical grade silicone and BPA-free, the brush baby toothbrush is designed for a teething baby.  All they need to do is chew on it--like they would with anything to help them with teething--and it's tiny bristles (which are found on both sides of this baby toothbrush) will help to massage the gums while also helping to get rid of food around the tooth/teeth. 


Silicone Brush Baby toothbrush
My daughter brushing her teeth for the first time at 7 months old.

If your child doesn't have any teeth yet, make sure to wipe their gums and tongue regularly in order to get rid of excess milk and food in order to keep their little mouth clean and fresh.

As for toothpaste, I did/do not want my daughter to use tooth paste with fluoride in it, due to the health risks that ingesting fluoride causes.  So I went to my local health food store and purchased fluoride-free toothpaste.  It's made by a company called Tom's of Maine.  Their naturally based products are for oral care and deoderants.  What I also like about this toothpaste is that all of the ingredients are natural, so I do not feel bad that my daughter ingests it.  She's too small to know how to rinse her mouth, so I just let her swallow her toothpaste-filled spit.  Some people may find that gross, but I find it more realistic and nicer to not try to force my baby to rinse her mouth out and then end up hating the whole process of brushing her teeth.  I want it to be an enjoyable experience that she looks forward to.


Every morning my daughter and I brush our teeth together.  I made this cheesy little song up and I sing it to her just before we brush our teeth.  I sing, "Brush your teeth.  Brush, brush, brush." and repeat it  a few times while I am putting toothpaste on our toothbrushes.  That way, my daughter knows exactly what we are going to do and she gets excited to do it. 

I then sit on the floor with her and we brush our teeth together.  The reason why I sit on the bathroom floor is so that I am at her level so that she can see exactly what I'm doing.  She loves it and watches me and what I am doing.  Then after I have rinsed my mouth, I then ask her to give me her toothbrush.  Most of the time she doesn't want to give it up because she likes it so much and that makes me happy that my daughter enjoys brushing her teeth.  Let's hope that potty training will be just as enjoyable and easy when the time comes.

My 15 month daughter brushing her teeth with the baby brush toothbrush.

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