Fly Baby!

Living in a different country from all of your immediate family can definitely be hard but it does mean that the time we share together is more precious. After my little girl was born, we decided that I would take her to England to introduce her to all the family members that hadn’t been able to come out to Canada. My honey-bun was around 6 months old and I wasn’t exactly looking forward to taking the six hour flight alone, there and back. Besides being a terrible flyer, I had no idea how she was going to react or behave to being cooped up in a flying tin can with me desperately trying to entertain her.

The thought of annoyed strangers glaring at me while she screamed her lungs out seemed to be the main fear which bothered me the days leading up to our journey. Everyone hates to be sat near the crying baby or irritating child that constantly kicks the back of your seat and why, when there is very little we can do about it? Everyone is in the same position, they have a journey to make and some of those people include children. Now, before we start jumping to child etiquette on planes and the rules around disciplining them, I’m more talking about babies and young infants for the moment. I’m sure in a few years I will have many tales regarding tantrums during the mid-flight movie but for now, this is about the judgmental looks you get when a baby is crying because IT’S A BABY!

The flight to England was a breeze, thankfully. I had booked a midnight flight hoping that she would sleep through the whole ordeal, which is exactly what she did. While my honey-bun was snuggled up in her car seat dreaming of milk, I sat next to her gripping the armrest in my usual state of flight terror repeating the same line in my mind, “humans aren’t meant to fly, we shouldn’t be here.” When we finally landed, passenger after passenger walked by and said, “Didn’t she do well.” Everyone beamed happy smiles that their journey wasn’t disturbed by my precious cargo and I felt like Mom of the year. I single handedly carried the car seat, diaper bag, rucksack and suitcase of the plane and loaded up the stroller feeling like a rock star.

However, the flight back was somewhat different. Instead of an evening flight, we travelled back in the middle of the day and my little girl was already frustrated from the car ride to the airport and then the waiting around for the flight. When we were onboard the air hostess was very strict that she had to be secured in her car seat for the entire journey which meant she squirmed and wriggled around in frustration for the best part of 6 hours. If she did manage to nod of for a nap, she was normally awoken ten or fifteen minutes later by an announcement, the drinks cart or turbulence, so there was no restbite for me or the surrounding passengers. At one point I had her on my lap and she gleefully started to remove her socks while a child in the row next to us was having a full on tantrum about headphones. His mom looked at my baby and then said to me, “Your babies feet are going to be cold, you know!”

I was slightly dumbstruck that in the midst of her own child having a meltdown she had time to turn and criticize me as though my honey-bun was going to freeze to death without socks. Thankfully the same boy started to throw-up moments later and I felt slightly vindicated for his mom’s unnecessary rebuke but I didn’t leave the flight with the same sense of victory. None of the passengers congratulated me for my quiet baby this time and if anything I received a few critical looks as people passed by. I also found it baffling that while carrying a car seat, a diaper bag, a rucksack and a suitcase, not one person asked if I needed help but continued to look at me as a disruption. I felt like screaming, “We are all getting there at the same time people!”

Anyway, the next time your on a flight have a little sympathy for the people travelling with children. Yes, it was their choice to procreate but toddlers, tantrums and sock removal are all part of life. And to any parents, particularly moms, try not to judge every other parent around you and just focus on your own – we have enough ‘mom guilt’ to deal with. And if it really bothers you, but a ticket in first class!

The Best Chicken Recipe Ever!

Ok, so the title may be a bit confident but if you are a member of my family, you will be well aware that Minner’s Chicken IS the best chicken recipe ever! And as general connoisseurs of food, all food, I think we are on safe ground to make that claim.

Over the past ten years or so, we have all been making Minner’s Chicken for family gatherings, general parties, and weeknight dinners, with no complaints. In fact, my husband loves this dish so much he has requested it as his birthday meal every single year we have been together! He also has a number of other meal requests because he is apparently entitled to a birthday week, not a day. But that said, Minner’s Chicken always leaves plates empty and bellies wanting more.

Now, I haven’t requested anyone’s permission to release this valuable recipe out into the public but as we surely stole it from someone, I’m going to guess that it will only do the world good to share this delicious dish. (To whoever found the recipe first, we applaud and thank you.)

I have absolutely no idea why it’s called ‘Minner’s Chicken’, so please don’t ask but my guess would be that it involves a talented chef called Minner and some rather tasty chicken? 😉 Anyway, the main ingredients are chicken and broccoli, laid side-by-side in a casserole dish and then smothered with a creamy curry sauce which is finally topped with breadcrumbs. Yummm (just having a moment here). I tend to use already cooked chicken that I’ve shredded or cut into chunks but it’s entirely optional.

Another great thing about this recipe, besides it being scrumptious, is that it can be made into a fabulous main meal for guests or trimmed down for a lower calorie weeknight dinner. When I make it during the week I take out the cheese, cream, and breadcrumbs, and simply use the basic ingredients for the sauce which still proves to be tasty. Well, enough of me nattering on, here is the recipe:

Minner’s Chicken

Ingredients:

3-4 chicken breasts

1-2 broccoli heads, partially cooked

1 can of condensed cream of chicken soup

A big dollop of mayonnaise

A squeeze of lemon juice

A splash of evaporated milk or cream

A handful of grated cheddar cheese

Half a tablespoon of curry powder

Breadcrumbs mixed with melted butter

Instructions:

Partially boil broccoli and drain. Place cooked chicken and broccoli in a lightly greased casserole dish. In a separate saucepan heat the chicken soup and add the cream, mayonnaise, cheese, lemon juice and curry powder. Mix with a whisk until smooth and then pour over the casserole dish. Melt butter and stir in breadcrumbs which should be generously applied on top of the sauce. Bake in the oven on a medium heat for 20-30mins until the top is golden brown and heated through.

Serve with golden roasted potatoes or rice and enjoy!

Simple Baby Booties

Like most people, I like to scroll through the various apps on my phone when I’m bored and I spend a lot of time on Pinterest. I’m not tech savvy and I don’t particularly care about trends, so I’m always late to the game when it comes to new social media apps. I’ve only recently started using Pinterest and it took me a couple of weeks to even understand the point but I now happily sit and scroll through all the relentless images of self-help and DIY projects. My husband would literally spend hours on Pinterest looking at various home improvement ideas, so we have a long list of projects waiting to be done such as home made bedframes, composting bins and home energy ideas. Oh joy!

What I have found helpful now that I’ve started sewing, are all the free patterns that can be found with a simple swipe of the finger. I am now regularly saving sewing ideas to my boards in the hope that I will find some time to make ruffled skirts, baby ponchos and adorable dresses. One of the projects that I attempted to make was a pair of fleece baby boots. I find that my little girl is constantly taking her socks off and kicking away any form of shoe I try to get on her tiny feet but I still wanted to try and make something that would keep her little toes warm while we are out walking during the freezing winter days.

So I found, what I thought was a relatively easy guide to making booties and picked up some tartan fleece material and a white fluffy fabric for lining. I cut out my pieces and set to work at the sewing machine excited to see the finished boot. Now, I class myself as someone with a reasonable level of intelligence but I struggled to understand the wording of the instructions. I found myself holding up pieces and repeatedly turning them over and over in order that I could sew the ‘right’ side to the ‘outer’ side or was that the lining side? I had to sew some sides, but not every side and then turn it inside out. Then pin the outer part to the sole piece or was that the lining? I still don’t know. When I got to the end of the first boot, I turned it inside out hoping to see my completed boot and immediately realised I had done the whole thing the wrong way round. Duh! As you can see from the picture, I now have one boot of each fabric.

It took another attempt to get it right and I’m a little embarrassed to say that I almost made exactly the same mistake twice! But after some trial and error, and some more errors, I finally ended up with some little fleecy booties that my darling honey-bun joyfully pulls off completely ignorant of the effort it took to make them. I think my next sewing project will be something simple like a blanket or a pillow case.

Self-image Reflection

 

Ok, this is a hard post for me to write – just putting that out there before we get started. In my New Year post, I mentioned that I would be doing some self-reflection in order that I might reboot my mind when it came to self-image. So here is my attempt at confronting the little demons in my mind which scream, “watch out, wide-load coming through!”

For those of you that know me, you will know that I’m a pretty blunt individual. A spade is a spade. And so, I find it hard to eloquently convey my emotions but for the goal of helping myself and maybe a few readers I’m going to walk you through my self-reflection thought process so far. In preparation for this post I researched a few sites and looked over some discussions on self-image and how to improve it. They all come to the same consensus that self-reflection is necessary when identifying root causes for a particular insecurity. (And I was so hoping to avoid doing this!)

After pondering where to begin, I came up with my first question which inevitably led me down a river of many twists and bends. I asked myself, why do I care about how I look? My first inclination was to list of the general shallow reasons such as fashion, wanting to feel good and being attractive for my husband. These are true but really covers for the real answer which is, looking good gives me some validation. I need to look good to feel some sort of self worth when people compliment or admire me. I don’t think that I am the first person to ever admit this but it is still disappointing to see how deep my insecurities run.

This then leads me to, why do I need the validation? This might not be your next natural question if you don’t require the validation. Perhaps you have self-image insecurities because of a high school bully, an abusive parent or a controlling partner, but I would guess whatever the reason, we are all seeking something to fill or fix a hole within us. Therefore, the obvious response for me is that I need validation because I am missing something.

What am I missing? Well, most of the self-image coaching information I have read focusses on childhood issues, whether it was bullying, a dysfunctional family or an unexpected death, which I suspect are the root causes for most people’s issues. We all take our own personal ‘image’ mirrors out into the World and reflect our deep-rooted problems onto others and then live through repeated cycles of destruction. The key is breaking those thought processes and creating new paths which lead to positive changes.

Well, I’m not going to bore you with the unnecessary details of my childhood but I would guess that at some stage of my childhood I realised that looking good equated to feeling good. This may have been to gain social recognition, for a cute guy on the bus or to overcome a deeper hurt, who knows? But that realisation turned into a habit which festered and became a constant maligning thought process.

As a young adult, my self worth was balanced on the shaky walls of every relationship I had and over the years it has gradually become more sturdy thanks to my beliefs and an amazing loving husband. But if I put all that aside and the constant bombardment of media images, I am still left with an insecure teenager that is still hoping for the boy at the dance to notice her.

It’s that simple when it’s all boiled down.

Problem solved – I wish! Now comes the real leg work of putting some sort of plan into action in order that I might not seek validation for the shy teenager living inside my mind. This, as with everything is a personal choice. Some people opt for daily affirmations to tell themselves that they are beautiful or some might try and deal with parental issues head on. If you are a believer of any particular faith, you might find value in researching scriptures so that you can memorize them during times of struggle. For me, I’m going to acknowledge my weakness and choose not to let it bring me down. This means choosing not to read fashion magazines because it will only feed my insecurity. It means choosing not to compare myself to every female I know because we all have our own inner battles to deal with. It means choosing to celebrate who I am and the difficulties I have overcome by loving every minute of my life with my amazing family and friends. And it means choosing to be thankful for the healthy functioning body I do have when so many other people are suffering. This may seem simple but the conscious decision to choose is a powerful act which will eventually forge positive and fruitful habits.

I’m choosing to be thankful!

Fitness Giveaway

Yummymummy.blog is excited to announce that it has partnered with Walsh Performance to offer all the lovely yummy mummy readers a chance to win a free subscription to Ultimate Fit Moms. This is an online training program that offers busy moms personalised nutritional plans, weekly workout routines and a private Facebook community where you can reach out for support and free tips. http://www.ultimatefitmoms.com/

Ultimate Fit Moms

This offer has kindly been donated by Scott Walsh, a qualified personal trainer that specialises in working with moms. Scott currently works in Halifax, Nova Scotia, but his online program is accessible to anyone from the comfort of their own homes. This means you don’t have to spend money signing up for the latest trendy exercise class or endure the cost of gym membership to a swanky gym that you only see once a year!

As an existing member of Ultimate Fit Moms, I can personally recommend the resources that Scott has to offer and I am currently following the program as part of my New Year health reboot.

As a member of the Ultimate Fit Mom program you will receive a personalised diet plan based on your current measurements and goal, which will outline your ideal daily calorie consumption alongside more detailed advice on daily protein and carb intake. This is then teamed with four weekly workouts that can be done either at home or in the gym at your own convenience. The workouts consist of some weight training and cardio but they are easy to fit in throughout the day as they don’t require much time or equipment. The website also contains an exercise library which has videos demonstrating how all of the exercises should be properly performed.

Another added benefit of this site is the supportive community of moms that are just a click away with encouragement and tips. This has been such a big help for me as all the ladies in the group post both their triumphs and their weaknesses as they battle through their fitness journey. I have seen tips on meal preparation and motivational photos to keep every mom in the group focused. This is all rounded off by an encouraging trainer, Scott, who is friendly, welcoming and always reachable for any extra guidance or advice.

I would just like to add that I have not been paid to promote the site and it is purely down to Scott’s generosity that we have this amazing giveaway for you today! If you would like to win the free subscription to Ultimate Fit Moms, simply share the Yummymummy.blog Facebook post announcing the giveaway on your timeline and you will be entered into the draw. (Click on the Facebook icon to find the Yummy Mummy Facebook page) One lucky winner will be selected at random and announced via the Yummymummy.blog Facebook page on Saturday 7th January.

Good luck and get sharing!!!

New Year, New You!

Over the next few days we are going to hear the repeated question, “What is your New Years resolution?” It’s the same cringe worthy question we hope to avoid answering every year and yet we still continue to ask people out of habit. The number one resolution year after year is to lose weight and with an ever-increasing obesity rate, it doesn’t look like our goals will be changing any time soon.

That said, the weight loss subject feels like a particularly delicate topic for most women as we are endlessly bombarded with society’s unrealistic ideal image. Now, that doesn’t mean that men are not affected by the same insecurities, as the rising obsession with bodybuilding demonstrates, but it does feel that women have to deal with conflicting ideals on a daily basis. The fashion magazines promote skinny under-aged models, the media displays endless nude female figures and even the restaurants have imposed guilt with ‘low calorie options.’

Again, and again I am surrounded by the most loving, generous women that have endured child birth, financial struggles and personal losses, to find that we inevitably talk about feeling fat. It leaves me a little disheartened that such intelligent and inspiring women have become a generation obsessed with the size of our jeans, myself included. Although I am a good mother, loving wife and a loyal friend, I still beat myself up because I don’t look like a slim twenty-year-old. The days of scoffing a whole pizza or a huge bowl of pasta with garlic bread have long passed and that over indulgence only leaves me with a few extra pounds and a guilt complex.

I have battled with my weight before losing well over 35 pounds, so I completely understand how frustrating it is to look down at the rolls of flab and feel despair. I have had my share of moments in the dressing room when you try and squeeze into the size you want rather than go up to the next dress size as somehow the increasing number on the label reflects something about your identity. I can even admit that once I lost the weight and became a regular ‘gym bunny’, I felt a ridiculous sense of accomplishment and pride to the point where I felt superior to people who were still overweight. Because being slim means you’re a great person, right?

However, since giving birth I have struggled to lose the extra blubber and I’m back to feeling insecure about my shape. When I look at my altered body I don’t see the miracle of how it grew a baby and sustained it with milk, instead I see stretch marks and a mummy belly. Countless people said that it would all disappear while breastfeeding, but it hasn’t. On the one hand, I am proud to be a woman because of the amazing things are bodies can do, and on the other, I tear myself down for not being Heidi Klum.

Over the years, I have tried a variety of different weight loss programs such as Weightwatchers, going low carb, gluten free, calorie counting and even vegan (I physically felt amazing while being vegan) but nothing addresses the underlying issues swirling around in my mind. I tell myself that my goal is to be healthy but in truth, that is really code for ‘slim’. Therefore, my New Year’s resolution is to evaluate and adjust my understanding of ‘healthy.’

This January, I will be undergoing a clean eating program and exercise regime (details to follow) in an attempt to confront the ‘baby belly’ but more importantly, I will be taking time for self-reflection in the hope of rewiring my mind. I don’t know where this mental journey will take me but as I look down at my beautiful blue eyed daughter, I know that I don’t want to inflict any of my mixed-up perspective on her little absorbent mind. Surely, she should be able to grow up and hope to be more than just slim, pretty and attractive?

Food for thought!

Anyway, my mini rant is over. Watch this space for details about my fitness journey, including a giveaway competition and feel free to suggest any good reads on this topic or simply comment if you relate to my endless frustration.