Thursday, January 2, 2014

Beginning a Whole New Year






It's January second today, and as I write this I hear Eloise playing downstairs and a spoon hitting the side of a mug as my wonderful hubby makes me more tea.
I am sick - I somehow avoided all the bugs and virus' hanging around since the beginning of the season only to fall prey to a common winter cold.
Eloise has been sick with this cold for a few days now, and while she's on the mend, all the cuddling and loving we've done together was the perfect opportunity for me to catch it from her.

I have spent all day in bed; I cannot remember the last time I was able to do this and while the break is lovely, it certainly makes me a little antsy as well. However it's given me lots of time to think; to think about this past year, the peaks and valleys, the blessings and the struggles and about what the coming year might hold.

When it comes to a New Year I am ever the optimist, certain that this year will be better than the last.
This has been a real growing year for me, in so many ways.
I can see a difference from the person I was a year ago, to the person I am now.

Life experience has a way of doing that, and I think that I am, perhaps, just a bit better than I was.
God set a path for me to take this past year, and though I was blind to the lessons while I was walking it, I can look back with better clarity and say: "Yes, I can see that now."
I feel that I've really learned to pray, and to really, sincerely, trust in Him when I do not know the answer, or my next step to take.
I've had to fall to my knees many times, praying that I continue to do His will and for guidance and strength when I feel confused or upset.

And every day I am reminded of the many, many blessings in my life.

A whole new year stretches before me, full of unknowns, but I am not worried, my path has been set, all I must do is walk it.

Peace,
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Thursday, September 12, 2013

This Mama Has Gone Primal



Hello my friends, it's been a while!
So I'm here to catch you up on all that's been happening in our lives, and one of our biggest changes is that we, have gone primal.
Now with a 2 year old things don't get much more primal than that, she likes to drag dolls around by their hair, eat food foraged from under the couch, and hit things repeatedly with anything that resembles a club; but actually I'm talking about the Primal diet, also known as Paleo, Ancestral or even Caveman diet.

The decision to start eating this way really came after my darling hubby's dr. appt, and we decided some of our dietary habits needed to change now.
I did the research - I looked into GAPS, Atkins, Clean Eating, G.I. - you name it.
But then I came to Paleo, and read "The Paleo Diet Solution" by Robb Wolf, and my first thought was: Yeah, right!!!

However, I was intrigued by the 'no wheat' aspect, as I had just finished reading "Wheat Belly" by William Davis and dug a little deeper.
After talking it over with Hubs we decided: Weeellll, why don't we try it? Just until your next Dr. appt...
Doc had been strict about impressing how weight needed to be lost, blood pressure needed to go down and activity needed to be increased.
The follow-up appointment was further coercing....err...incentive to make some changes ASAP.

So without further ado, we waved goodbye to wheat, sugar, most dairy, bad fats, legumes, tubers and said hello to high-protein meats, seafood, vegetables, fruits, nuts and eggs.

It was quite a rough two weeks, mostly going through the wheat-withdrawal, it caused some seriously grumpiness.
But we were able to get through it, and Hubby especially noticed immediate results. He was telling me he felt he had more energy, wasn't bloated, his gut felt better and his fatigue was much less.

By the time he had his second follow-up appointment, he had lost 15lbs! The doctor made him step on a scale in his office just to confirm this!
I'm not interested in weight-loss, and throughout this entire new regime I have stayed completely steady at my weight of 120lbs. Barely a fluctuation more or less.

And we have not been suffering!
Here's just a couple of meals I've made:

Good 'ol roast chicken with broccoli and cauliflower (potatoes are in the no-no list) which also left me with a wonderful carcass to make bone broth.


Zucchini lasagna (no noodles! and this pic is of it uncooked, there wasn't enough time to take a picture after it came out of the oven, it was AMAZING! Better than regular lasagna!)


Whole30 Chicken in a pot with cabbage:


Even Paleo Pancakes, totally gluten and sugar free, they were delicious and eeeaaaasy!


And here's a little example of what we would have for lunch on any given day:

It really is working out so well for us, and I'm seeing such wonderful results that we're sticking with it!
I'll try to post some more recipes that I've tried and enjoyed later on.

Peace,
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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A Quick Update

Where to start?
Well, first off I would tell you that "Things are Good."
We are good, happy, more or less healthy (though we've had our fair share of bugs this winter!) and all-in-all in fairly good spirits.

Eloise is getting bigger and smarter everyday, not to mention a HUGE personality to go with such a teensy package.
Her words right now consist of:
- Bapa (papa)
- Hippo
- Balle (ball in french)
- Suse (soother)
- Numnum (for food)
- Uh oh!
- Mama
- Lait (milk in french)
- L'eau (water in french)
- 'gard! (for 'regard' or 'look' in french)

And I'm sure of a few others that I've forgotten off the top of my head.

We've had an insane amount of snow this winter - and it just keeps piling up! I can't help but feel very Canadian as we shovel off our cars and drive in all sorts of crazy weather (at 10mph mind you...)

I have been keeping busy with all sorts of little crafts and my herbalism. I've even started getting some orders for my winter skin balm, which I handed out some samples of.
It makes me optimistic enough to think that maybe I really could work at home and make a little income this way.
I've been enjoying my quilting and drawing and also learning how to even do some gluten-free baking!
While none of us are celiac (thank God) we do have some carb issues and hubby may have a gluten intolerance, so we're slowly cutting it back and seeing if it helps.
Jeremie is in his first contract as an IT tech and really enjoying it. It's quite the change from the welding shop, and it was so funny having the discussion that yes, you needed to wear nice slacks, and a button-up shirt or a nice sweater...yes, you need to wear a belt and nice shoes...
Poor guy, he's only ever wore clothes that could get grease stains, rips, tears or catch on fire as opposed to a nice, clean-cut look. 
Although personally, I think he looks very handsome in his  "office clothes." ;)
We recently celebrated my 26th birthday this past weekend by going to the Museum of Nature and then out for some wonderful Indian food while Grandma and Grandpa graciously babysat for us.

And today we just finished celebrating Shrove Tuesday with family and ate a wonderful pancake dinner! My Mum and Dad thought I was a little crazy when I told them I wanted to make blue, red and green pancakes; but being the wonderful sports that they are (and used to my weirdness by now) allowed me to play with the food colouring!
(yes they did taste better blue)

Lent is now upon us and I'm trying to get into the season! I've decided to do the 10-10 challenge for the internet/computer usage. Meaning I can't be on the computer between 10am and 10pm. I'm also going to try not to make any meat dishes on Friday and really honour Lent this year.

And that's what we've been up to!
Coming up, my DIY project for table-runners, and recipes for bottling your own berry cordial and gluten-free bread. 

Peace,
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Saturday, December 29, 2012

What's The Deal With Oil Pulling?


I am a bit of a Pintrest addict. It's become my favourite resource when it comes to recipes, handicrafts and alternative health.
I kept seeing pins about the health benefits of "Oil Pulling." I had no idea what this was (or even the fact that it was for oral/overall health) and curiosity got the best of me.
I learned that oil pulling is taking about a tablespoon of organic, cold-pressed, unrefined oil and swishing it around in your mouth for 15-20 minutes.
The oil, I read, could be Sunflower, Sesame or Coconut. At least these were the most popular options.
What really sold me on it was the benefits of oil-pulling daily
Oilpulling.com lists these following conditions as most frequently responding to by Oil Pulling:
  • Acne
  • Allergies
  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Back and Neck Pain
  • Bad Breath
  • Bronchitis
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Colitis
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Constipation
  • Dental Cavities
  • Dermatitis
  • Diabetes
  • Eczema
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Hypertension
  • Insomnia
  • Migraine Headaches
  • Mucous Congestion
  • Peptic Ulcers
  • PMS
  • Periodontal Disease
  • Bleeding Gums
  • Sinusitis
  • Tooth Abscess

Now I'm most excited about it's oral benefits like reducing plaque and gingivitis, reducing cavities, reduces harmful bacteria in the mouth, and oil pulling with Coconut oil reduces mouth bacteria.
It's also well known for naturally whitening and brightening teeth.

So I will be doing a 2 week 
experiment of oil pulling daily to see if it makes any noticeable difference to my oral or general health.
I decided to use Coconut oil as that's what I had on hand, and I don't mind the taste of Coconut.
Truth be told the swishing and sucking it back and forth between my teeth did make my cheeks a little sore, but you don't have to be swishing vigorously for the whole 15-20 minutes. 
After I spat (NEVER SWALLOW - the oil will now contain bacteria and toxins you've lifted from inside your mouth, the last thing you'd want to do is ingest it.)  I simply rinsed with water. 
My teeth immediately felt cleaner and smooth. They felt like I had just had a cleaning at the dentist, and I noticed my breath did not smell at all.

Some people recommend you do it first thing in the morning (or in the shower) I can try, but the best time I've found it when my little one naps in the afternoon. It's beneficial no matter when in the day you Oil Pull, and is great to do just before bed.

I will post an update in 2 weeks about any differences I've noticed, until then, keep smiling!

Peace,

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Friday, December 28, 2012

Aromatherapy Dream Pillows

Another Christmas gift I made this year was aromatherapy Dream Pillows.
I had seen the idea online and was struck by how easy they were to make, and useful!
Herbs have been known for years as being therapeutic not only for their medicinal properties but for their smell as well.
I wanted to make pillows that could be easily slipped into a pillow-case, that was stuffed with loose, aromatic herbs to induce a calmer, quieter more restful sleep.
In these pillows I stuffed:
- Lavender
- Chamomile
- Rose Petals
- Calendula
- Mullien

I can't say I actually measured anything, just divided the herbs evenly then poured them into the bag. I didn't stuff it tightly or with anything else other than the herbs.
I wanted it to lie flat under the pillow and not be bulky or over-stuffed.
These ones I did just simply sew shut - however if you wanted to re-use your pillow, a line of velcro could easily be sewn onto the opening so you can refresh your herbs every few months.
I would really recommend using fabric such as cotton or linen, something that air can easily pass through.
Another benefit is that these dream pillows can also be put with children, to help promote sleep as well.
If you decide to do this however, I would make a pillow that cannot be opened, or placed on top of the mattress but under the fitted sheet so playful babies don't suck on it like another toy.

Sweet Dreams!
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Monday, December 24, 2012

Homemade Oil Of Oregano



I had gotten introduced to Oil of Oregano a few years ago and have been using it as a go-to method when I feel a cold or flu coming on.
The one thing I wasn't impressed with however, was the price.
Thankfully I found this recipe online and decided to whip myself up a batch!
Here are a few of the benefits of Oil of Oregano:


  • Destroying organisms that contribute to skin infections and digestive problems.
  • Strengthening the immune system.
  • Increasing joint and muscle flexibility.
  • Improving respiratory health.

Skin Infections

Oil of Oregano can be applied directly onto the skin to treat itches, skin infections, and irritated gums, but only if it has been diluted. Always follow the instructions on your particular bottle before applying topically onto the skin, since highly concentrated oils may first need to be mixed with Olive Oil or Coconut Oil before application (usually one teaspoon of Olive Oil or Coconut Oil per one drop of Oil of Oregano). 

Digestive Problems

The high concentrations of thymol and carvacrol in Oil of Oregano have been shown to calm upset stomachs and aid digestion. Therefore, a quick home remedy for mild indigestion is to drink a glass of milk or juice that is mixed with 2 or 3 drops of the oil. 

Sinus Congestion

Oil of Oregano is a wonderful natural remedy for sinus congestion. A common solution is to add 3 drops of the oil into a glass of juice and drink this mixture daily for 3 to 5 days.

Colds and Sore Throats

Oil of Oregano is an excellent early defense mechanism when you feel a cold or sore throat coming on. Simply take 3 drops of the oil once per day (you can mix it into a glass of orange juice) and you should notice results within a few hours. Repeat this once per day for up to 5 days until the symptoms are gone. 


DIY Oil Of Oregano
You need a ratio of 1:1 with fresh Oregano and Olive Oil.
I used 1/2 cup of Oregano to 1/2 cup Oil, but you can reduce the amount of oil if you'd like a stronger batch.
  • Wash and dry your Oregano
  • Place Oregano in a ziplock bag, cover with a tea towel and hammer at the leaves using a meat tenderizer or something similar. This will bruise the leaves causing them to release their oils.
  • Heat up a small amount of Olive Oil (in the microwave is fine) until warm than add to ziplock baggy of crushed leaves. Close the bag and squish and smush the oil and leaves around for a minute or two. (This ensures that you pick up the released oil.)
  • Now pour the leaves and remaining Olive oil into a clean, dry glass container with a fitted lid, and place in a cool, dry place for 2 weeks.
  • After 2 weeks strain the leaves from the oil and bottle. 
Please keep in mind that there are side effects to taking Oregano oil continuously, and should be avoided if pregnant. 

Voila! You've just made your own Oil of Oregano!



Peace,
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Friday, September 21, 2012

Homemade Vapour Rub


I came across this recipe for homemade vapour rub from CrunchyBetty's website.
As a Mum to a little one, I didn't feel comfortable even using the baby brand vapour rub on her little chest when she got the coughs or sniffles.
This recipe seemed straight forward enough and true enough I soon had a natural vapour rub that seemed identical in texture and smell.

Homemade Vapour Rub

  • 2 tsp beeswax (grated)
  • 1/4 cup EVOO
  • 35 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 15 drops eucalyptus essential oil
  • 15 drops rosemary essential oil
Melt the beeswax and olive oil together until smooth (I used a glass bowl in the microwave, stopping and stirring a couple of times until it was completely melted). Stir well with a whisk. Continue whisking while adding the essential oils drop by drop. Transfer to a small lidded container. Store in a cool, dry place for up to  a year (or more).

Both baby and hubs loved it, not to mention it left the skin on the bottom of my feet nice and soft!
Enjoy!

Peace,
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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

DIY Decongestant Shower Disks

DIY Decongestant Shower Disks


My whole household has been sick with a cold and I desperatly wanted something to help clear our poor sinus'.
Thakfully I came across THIS. A recipe for a vicks vapor rub shower disk knock-off.
The recipe is extremely easy:


  • Baking Soda
  • Water
  • Eucalyptus EO
  • Rosemary EO
  • Lavender EO
With 2 cups of baking soda I was able to make about 8 disks.
Add water to baking soda slowly, until it is thick and resembles putty, add 15 drops of each essential oil.
Spoon into lined muffin tray and let dry over-night OR bake at 350' for 20 minutes. 

I added a little too much water to mine, and they didn't set as well as I would've liked overnight - so I popped them into a 350 oven for about 15 minutes and they seem just right. 

To store keep in dry place, and are well kept in just a simple paper bag.
Try not to put disk under direct water-fall, instead put it on a shelf or side of the tub. The steam of your shower should draw out the EO's and you'll keep your disks longer. 

Enjoy!

Peace,

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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Mommy Lessons Prt. 2

Mommy Lessons I've Learned So Far, Continued




11) Mommy's food is always preferable.
It doesn't matter that she just ate a huge bowl of the same meal pureed. The food on Mommy's plate is where it's at.

12) Diaper changes cut into valuable playtime, and escaping while bare bottomed is always hilarious.
She can crawl amazingly fast while half-naked, probably because she's less 2lbs.

13) The t.v. remote is more fun than any other toy.
Way more fun that a toy, slightly more fun than the phone and TONS of fun when all the electronics shut off at the same time when the power button is pushed.

14) Standing in the tub is the ultimate thrill.
Mostly because I have to keep saying "on your bum" and sitting her down, just to have her laugh and pop back up again.

15) EVERYTHING MUST BE TASTED.
Flecks on the carpet. grass, twigs, shells on the beach, rocks, mommy's face and the odd time, even food.

16) Kitchen cupboards and drawers are much more fun to play in than the toy chest.
Throwing towels, hot plates, utensils, pots and pans are much more exciting - plus they have the added benefit of making WAY more noise.

17) Kisses can make anything feel better. 
But we all know that.

18) Dropping a nap can be a good thing!
Just no sleeping after 4pm or that little party animal will be up 'till midnight.

19) "Baby Einstein" can be a lifesaver. 
Need 20-30 minutes to do a task? Pop that baby in, and get 'er done.

20) Board books are an awesome teether.
I have board books used just as chew toys and are full of little tooth dents.

Peace,
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Saturday, August 11, 2012

Dear Eloise: A Letter To My One Year Old Daughter



Dear Eloise: A Letter to my One year old Daughter

To my darling daughter,
It's 8:30pm right now, and exactly 12 months ago at this moment I was shaking with contractions and working harder than I ever have my entire life, to meet you.
At 4:07am, tomorrow morning you will have been born, and will have changed my life forever.
I saw, through bleary, tired eyes, your tiny face and Papa holding you up to me, and gently asking “What should we name her?”
We decided on “Eloise” a French name, meaning “warrior.” An apt name it turns out, as we battled though 28 hours of labour together; but you were born healthy and strong, weighing 7 lbs and 8 oz.
I had to have an emergency cesarean, your heart-rate was too fast and we decided that you had been working hard enough, it was time to meet each other, and I didn't want to wait any longer.
You won't remember this, but Papa always will.
While I was getting my stitches, Papa got to take you into a quiet room, sit in a chair in the corner and stare down at his new beautiful daughter.
Papa told me you looked right up at him and watched him intently, and thats when he fell in love with you.
Shortly after Grandma, Grandpa and Auntie Nessa got to meet you, and Papa introduced you to your new family.
You were a very happy baby, and a very hungry baby, you had no problem figuring out how to nurse, and it was your favourite place in all the world, to be cuddled up against me and it was my favourite place too.
After two days in the hospital, we went home, and then you started to grow.
Everyday you did something new and amazing. Overnight you would change and get a little bit bigger, a little bit heavier, a little bit stronger.
Too quickly you outgrew your little cradle that sat beside our bed and moved into your own crib.
I remember being amazed as I watched you grab for things above you, and how you'd laugh in your sleep.
Suddenly you were sitting upright by yourself and playing with toys, you laughed all the time and were eating solids.
When you were 8 months old, you figured out how to crawl and started getting into everything.
Now you're walking along holding onto me, and I will rejoice and be a bit sad the day you let go and walk by yourself.
You are amazingly smart and talented, and every day I see you getting smarter and more talented.

These past 12 months have been the most amazing, precious, challenging and exciting months of my life.
The last year has flown by, and though you're still a baby, you're creeping up on toddler-hood, another stage I'm excited to go through with you.
God has blessed us immeasurably when He gave you to Papa and I; you are the most precious thing in the world to us, and we thank God every day for such a gift.
We love you so much, and we will always love you, we will always be there for you, we will always help you, and we will always be on your side, no matter what.

Happy Birthday, beloved daughter, my darling Eloise.

Mama & Papa XoXoXo


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