Lovin my Mom Bod!

As this is a ‘mom’s blog’, it would be remiss of me not to post something on Mother’s Day (in Canada)  and wish all you yummy mummies out there a happy and joy-filled Mother’s Day!! This is my second Mother’s Day so far and I can’t deny that it’s nice to be spoiled. Last year my lovely hubby got me a ring as a mother’s / ‘pushing’ present and I hope to hold onto it so that I can give it to my daughter when she grows up.

Obviously, it’s nice to receive gifts and have breakfast in bed as a thank you for all the hard work us mother’s do throughout the world. From wiping bums to cooking meals and washing endless amounts of laundry, we mums keep the world turning. And in that spirit, I would like to point out a great documentary I watched on Netflix the other day. Embrace by Taryn Brumfitt is one woman’s story of how she went from hating her body to loving it. Taryn had three children and then went on to become a body builder in an attempt to get her pre-baby body back. She successfully lost weight and strutted her stuff in a bikini at a competition to finally realize that she was still miserable and upset with her body. Fast forward a couple of years, and Taryn has now learned to love her mom bod with its stretch marks, saggy boobs and loose pelvic floor.

But the documentary isn’t just about Taryn, it is also about society’s view of the perfect body and what it means to be healthy. It’s an interesting watch, hearing other women talk about their love or hate for their bodies when they have one boob, disfigurations, and facial hair. It also puts into perspective how trivial our self-obsession with image is and that we should be applauding our bodies for the amazing things they can do.

Therefore, in the full spirit of Mother’s Day I want to congratulate every mother out there that has been through the trauma of birth, whether natural or caesarean, as our bodies have done something truly incredible. Not only did we carry a growing baby within us for over 9 months but we endured labor, breastfed, looked after other children, made meals, cleaned the house, did laundry and kept everyone alive! My stretch marks have now become a badge of honor, a scar which shows what I have achieved and although I may never fit into my pre-baby jeans again, I have an amazing child that couldn’t care less about my muffin top!

Happy Mother’s Day everyone, no matter if you are celebrating today or not, remember your body is freakin awesome!!!

One of those Annoying Runners.

I’m not a runner. I don’t feel any shame for admitting that I’m not built for running, never have been. Like most people, I’ve given it a try over the years and had stints of running which for me is jogging slowly but I’ve never really found my passion. I don’t feel bad about it as I think that we are all built for different sports. My husband could get off the sofa now and do a 5k run in a reasonable time without any concern while I would be trailing behind gasping for air. And I could Irish dance the arse of anyone but I am most definitely not a runner.

Despite my running inability, I have always wanted to run a 5k. It’s not a long distance, seems relatively reasonable and if my will fails, I can still just walk it. I have to this point successfully avoided all charity runs, either personally or work related and have happily been the person on the sidelines cheering the weary runners on. My brother recently completed his first charity run which his kind work colleagues signed him up for while he was on holiday and I have to say I was a little inspired. I watched him do an early morning park run with a six-month baby on my hip and as he jogged by in a rather fetching lycra outfit I wondered if I could do the same?

Well, the opportunity has presented itself and I’ve decided to take the plunge and dig out my running shoes. My local church, Hillside Wesleyan, is doing a ‘Hillside for Haiti’ 5k run to raise funds for their Haiti mission trips. Don’t worry, I’m not asking you for money, calm down. The run takes place on a trail not far from my house and many people use it as an opportunity to do the couch to 5k run program which is exactly my plan.

I have already been out twice and enjoyed my brief running minutes of dance music accompanied by an electronic motivational voice that tells me to keep going! This is not easy for me and it certainly does not come naturally which is why I wonder what the hell I am doing every time I get home in a sweaty mess. But for some unknown reason, I am determined that I will run this 5k. Anyway, your support would be appreciated and I will try to post updates on my progress or failure. And if any HRM people are interested in joining me for the run, give me a shout and I can send you the details. Happy running!

1 Year, 1 Candle and Many More.

My honey-bun has officially turned one! The cake has been eaten and the candle blown out (by an adult) for the celebration of her first year being alive in the world! All day I have been thinking back to how much my life has changed now that I am a parent and it is really true that nothing will ever fully prepare you for how much life changes. This time last year I had a block of ice down my pants, a newborn chomping on my boob and the most blissful feeling of happiness that she was finally in my arms.

It all feels like a bit of a blur but there are some moments that have been filed away, such as watching my husband learn how to do a diaper like he was defusing a bomb; begging for more disposable underwear because the nurses stowed them away like treasure and bursting into tears when the breastfeeding specialist labelled me an unfit mother with her judgmental eyes. Those first few days are such a mixture of joy, pain and tiredness, that it is probably a good thing I can only remember snippets. It also makes me very thankful for the technology we have now as I can look back at pictures and videos of that time and be instantly transported to that precious moment.

My two sleepyheads ❤so much love for them

And out of everything; the unwanted parenting advice people give, the unbearable pain of birth and the endless breastfeeding torture, the one thing I regret over this past year is not taking more pictures. Now believe me, my phone is filled up with cute photos but I still feel that there are moments that I missed because I couldn’t be bothered to take a picture. Now that she is a year, I can look back and treasure all the unique moments we had together and know that she will never be that small and vulnerable again. Now she can bite my finger, throw her water cup at me and shout “Momma” louder than I like but she will never be the tiny little baby that slept in my arms for hours without moving.

I guess that is why people start considering having another child when their first is a year. We wish that our first child could have stayed a baby a little longer and that we might enjoy the baby phase more with a second child but I don’t think it works out like that. The baby moment I miss the most, is being able to nap beside my little girl. She would lie still and peacefully sleep on her side of the bed and I wouldn’t have to worry about her moving while I slept on my side. I would wake up next to her pudgy cheeks and smell her sweet head as she sucked her lips in and out as though she was feeding. If I do that with her now, she rolls around, slaps me in the face and sticks her fingers in my eyeballs!

So to anyone reading that is due a little bundle, enjoy every moment while you can, take pictures every second and ignore all the other nonsense!

Snot and Chicken Soup.

The past few weeks have been an endless onslaught of coughs, colds and runny noses! As those of you with children will know, they pick up something from everyone, whether it’s a new word, gesture or bug that they licked of another babies face. This means there’s a continuous battering of colds, stomach bugs and random vomiting that plagues your life and health. Play dates are canceled, swimming is banned and you try hard to avoid anyone in fear of spreading or receiving more contaminants.

For the first ten months I breastfed my honey-bun, so she managed to fight off any sickness but we have recently come out of quarantine after enduring a cold that wiped us all out. At first it was a runny nose and a few coughs which progressed into a fever, an endless stream of green slime and a very grumpy baby. It was hard not to feel sorry for her when she repeatedly rubbed boogers into her fine blonde hair and coughed like a 50 year old smoker but then we all came down with it. Through blurry eyes, red noses and serious amounts of cough syrup, we cuddled and tried hard not to kill each other though none of us could sleep.

My little girl rolled around, hacking and breathing like Darth Vader while we did the same until the fever broke, the cough calmed and the chicken soup had run out. Pretty much all of my tops were covered in random streaks of snot from where she used my shoulder as a tissue and I couldn’t blame her as I didn’t want her little nose getting sore from Kleenex wiping.

We have all been through one of these times but having a sick child thrown into the mix just makes everything feel worse, never mind if it’s more than one! Now every time she coughs or sneezes I fear the possibility of another stomach wrenching bug. Apparently young children get sick 8-10 times a year. A year! I might as well buy some black wreaths, burn some incense and put a sign outside the door to announce the arrival of small pox. A tad dramatic, but seriously I don’t know if my sanity will cope if those figures turn out to be correct.

Thankfully, I don’t have to worry about daycare and calling in sick to work but if I did, all of my personal days and potentially vacation would be used on looking after a sick child. She’s cute but not that cute! All I can say after my complaining, is a serious shout out to the people who work and have young, bug infested children. To all the single parents who have enough on their plates and then have to cope with a sick child and to anyone thinking about having kids…8-10 times a year people!

Spirit Come

A very talented friend of mine, Katie Overbeek, has recently released an album on iTunes and I have asked her to share a little about the new album for the blog. I have heard Katie sing and play the piano, so I can honestly say that she has the voice of an angel and an unmatched level of determination to make her dreams become a reality. Through years of loyal service as a worship leader, crowd funding and balancing life with young children, Katie has been able to take her passion and produce a beautiful album that reflects her love and faith.

Here’s a little snippet of her journey and a link to the album:

“Two years ago this coming May I had the opportunity to go on a retreat in North Carolina. Coming back from that retreat, I had one of those kind of extraordinary moments of clarity that come from time to time in life and I had a strong feeling or intuition, I guess you could say, about writing a fresh set of songs and taking them to the recording studio.

It didn’t make any sense.  We had no money – and I had no songs!  It had been almost a decade since my first recording project and I hadn’t exactly made a career out of it.  My twenties were predominantly spent running a business (music teaching) and parenting.  Lots of kids.  Kids everywhere.  All the time.

I am a worship leader in my local church, and have written a number of songs that we have sung together as a congregation but the songs that I began to write from that point were a mix of congregational songs and more stripped down, acoustic and raw expression of my personal faith.

As with anything that’s really worth doing, the process was long and painful and full of unexpected twists and turns.  We stepped into it not having a penny to put towards it.  And things definitely did NOT fall together right away.  In fact, in the year following the initial crowd-funding campaign, we experienced more pressure on our finances and more anxiety and difficulty than we ever have.  For a while we weren’t sure if we’d be able to pay our own bills, let alone complete this project.

A little over 18 months from the time it was just a dream in my head, I now hold the album in my hands and I can’t help but feel an immense sense of gratitude for every single person who helped make it happen, whether financially or creatively.  This album isn’t about making money.  It’s not about getting attention.  It’s simply what I did when I felt God speak to me.

Something I’ve learned from this process is that the best dreams require a community of people walking with you. We aren’t meant to figure this all out alone! 🙂

The album is now available on iTunes via the link below:

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/spirit-come/id1195206899

If you would like to know more about Katie’s story you can catch up with her at: http://katieoverbeek.com/

 

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.

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!!!