Feb 28, 2011

My Best Life - Helping Others Live Their Best Life

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Reflection on Last Week's Strategy

I shared last week that I would like to organize one drawer every day. The first day I tried this strategy, I decided to tackle one of my kitchen drawers. This project ballooned into cleaning the whole bank of drawers (four in total) instead of just one. Regardless, it worked! Every day I cleaned at least one drawer or cupboard and my commitment of cleaning a drawer a day was upheld all week. As a result, most of my kitchen and bedroom drawers have been reorganized.

I would like to continue with this strategy until everything has been reorganized. Afterwards I will change my reorganization schedule to a maintenance schedule.


This Week's Strategy

This past Friday, I had the wonderful opportunity to volunteer at an inner city organization. This organization primarily seeks to address poverty in the city that I live in. This experience was one which encouraged an emotional growth in me.

I am a highly emotional and passionate person. However, my emotionality sometimes brings me down. I become so overwhelmed and burdened by certain things (such as witnessing poverty and homelessness) that I myself, end up feeling sad, helpless and even depressed. In an effort to avoid such raw feelings, I choose to avoid situations and circumstances that expose me to such things. I often put my head in a rosy, happy, world. I avoid newspapers and news programs and I carefully choose what I do and where I go. As much as the realities of our world are painful to witness, I have come to realize that if my passive and ignorant position is shared by others (which it undoubtedly is) it will only exacerbate the problems of our world.

Gandhi said, "Be the change you wish to see in the world". I have been wanting to live my best life... that's what these postings are all about! However, My Best Life has primarily consisted of superficial tasks which yes, may make my life better but do little to improve the lives of others. I want this to change. At least every two to three weeks I want to think of a way to make other people's lives better.

So what's my task this week? What's my strategy? This week I will meditate on the ways in which I can help improve other people's lives. I will make a list of these strategies and I will share them here every two to three weeks on My Best Life.

I want to live My Best Life but more importantly, I want others to be living their best life as well. I hope that this awareness will make a difference and that I can ultimately play some role in improving the lives of others.

Please feel free to comment if the strategy for the week inspires you as well... your suggestions and encouragement is always welcome! In the meantime, I would like to wish you a wonderful week.

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Feb 27, 2011

Cloth Diapering Made Easy

diapers & trees

Before my daughter was born, my husband and I made the decision that we would diaper our child with cloth diapers. She only uses disposables overnight or if we are out visiting friends or family.

There were several reasons why we made this decision:

First of all, cloth diapers are inexpensive in comparison to disposable diapers. Plus, we get to use them again on our second child, thus the savings are even greater!

Secondly, you can't deny, cloth diapers are gentler on the environment. Yes, we have to use water and electricity to launder them but at least they are not taking up space in the landfills.

Lastly, there are chemicals in the majority of commercial disposable diapers. We like the fact that we choose the fabric that will touch our daughter's bottom and that we can choose how we will launder the diapers.

Making the choice to use cloth diapers does not need to be overwhelming. Here are some suggestions to get you started.

Selecting a brand of cloth diapers
  • Most parents, prior to their child being born, buy a couple packages of disposable diapers every month leading up to their child's birth. Instead, purchase a couple cloth diapers a month. I would suggest buying a few different brands, that way you can try out which ones you like before investing in a whole set.
  • Look for all-in-one diapers. They're generally more expensive but you can often forego the liner and wrap when using all-in-ones.
  • Look for diapers that are good for multiple ages/stages. Cloth diaper manufacturers are getting quite clever by making diapers that will last a child from birth all the way up to 4 years of age!
  • Believe it or not there are some companies that allow you to rent your diapers for specified time periods for as little as $15-$30 per week. What's great about this system is you can try out various brands of cloth diapers before committing to a major purchase. Here are a couple of these companies:
Diaper Daisy
One Posh Baby

  • Cloth diapers tend to be a hot item on discount or deal-of-the-day websites. Check out my list of discount deal-of-the-day websites HERE.
  • Ask around. Do your friends have a brand of cloth diaper that they would recommend?
What do I need?
  • It's best to have 24 - 36 diapers to start with. This way you are only doing laundry every 3-4 days.
  • Your brand of cloth diaper will dictate what accessories you need (i.e. liners, wraps, etc.)
  • A diaper pail.
  • A wet bag.
  • If you're laundering your own diapers, you might as well make your own wipes too! My instructions for making your own wipes can be found HERE.
Laundering cloth diapers
  • Most cloth diapers come with laundering instructions. Follow these instructions as closely as you can, as proper laundering will ensure that your diapers will have a long life.
  • I love using Eco-Nuts or Soap Nuts to launder my fluff. If you haven't heard of these companies, make sure to check them out!
Eco Nuts Soap
Soap Nuts

  • Your diapers will eventually stain. The best way to remove stains is to let the diapers dry in the sun after laundering. Make sure to have the stained side facing up. Lemon juice is also a very effective way to remove stains from your fluff. Combine this with drying your fluff in the sun and your diapers will look great!
  • If you don't want the task of laundering your own diapers, you could always choose a diaper service. I would only suggest you consider the type and amount of chemicals that are used to wash the diapers. You may want to launder the diapers anyway (in order to remove any chemical residue before your child wears them).
Storage of dirty diapers
  • As mentioned previously, a diaper pail is a must-have item.
  • We attached a diaper sprayer to the side of our toilet. This way we can easily rinse the waste from the diapers into the toilet without having to get the entire diaper and/or our hands wet. Spayers can be purchased from many companies but they can also be made. I found a great blog which gives step-by-step instructions for making your own diaper sprayer attachment. The website and instructions can be found HERE
  • When out and about, a wet diaper bag is a must. There are so many styles and brands available. Diaper Junction has a variety of wet bags available for purchase but these items can also be found at local stores, on Etsy and through various websites on the internet.
Done with diapering? Now what?
  • Some places will buy used cloth diapers if they are in good condition (another reason why you should launder them properly).
  • Sell them on Kijiji, Craigslist or eBay
  • Offer them to a friend or family member.
  • Donate them to a local woman & children's shelter.
If you need more information about choosing to use cloth diapers, make sure to check out:

Real Diaper Association
Do you have any tips or suggestions about cloth diapering? Feel free to share!

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Feb 25, 2011

{this moment: sour pickles}

Inspired by SouleMama

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

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Feb 22, 2011

Pregnant and Sick? Time To Get Some Relief!

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It happened. Four months pregnant and I caught the king of all colds. When I was pregnant with my first child, I was the picture of perfect health. Not only was it an easy pregnancy but I was able to completely evade cold and flu season. This time around, I haven't been so fortunate.

Normally when we're sick with colds, there is a plethora of herbal and medicinal cold remedies available. However, while pregnant there are few "safe" herbal and medicinal remedies to ease the symptoms of a nasty cold.

Here are some things I found useful while pregnant and sick with a cold.

Cough suppressant recipe (all natural)
I got this recipe years ago from the book, Herbally Yours by Penny C. Royal. It tastes nasty but it soothes the throat and is amazing at suppressing a bad cough (so you can finally get a good night's sleep). I find this concoction works as good (if not better) than any over-the-counter cough syrup.

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp ginger
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp water

Mix all the ingredients together and take a 1 Tbsp dose. Store leftovers in a sealed container in the fridge. 

I'm not talking climbing a mountain... just elevate your head when you're sleeping. This can work wonders on congestion and coughing.

Water. Juice. Tea. Increasing your fluid intake will help you flush out the virus.

If you have a sore throat, gargle with salt water 4-6 times a day. It helps relieve the soreness and also serves to cleanse/sterilize your mouth and throat. In fact, according to Buzzle (2011) "during gargling, the process of osmosis is initiated which dehydrates the bacteria thereby substantially extenuating their effects" (paragraph 2).

Normally when I feel a cold coming on, I gobble an extra odourless garlic tablet every day. However, garlic in concentrated tablet form is not safe during pregnancy.  According to Medline Plus (2011), "garlic is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when used in medicinal amounts in pregnancy and breast-feeding" (paragraph 30).

Garlic is a natural blood thinner, thus, large doses would make it unsafe for use during pregnancy. However, when taken in regular doses (i.e. in recipes, cooking, etc.) it is fine. Even though the medical community has not proven garlic effective in treating colds, I have personally found that increasing my garlic intake always helps boost my immunity so I can quickly recover from a cold. A good recipe to utilize garlic can be found HERE.

Hot teas and chicken noodle soup
Hot herbal teas (I make my own concoction of lemon, slices of ginger and honey) open up your airways and make it easier to breathe. Chicken noodle soup (the infamous home remedy passed down by mom) has the same effect.

Herbal lozenges can provide a lot of relief to a sore, dry throat. I find hard peppermint candies are just as beneficial as the commercial brands of medicated lozenges (and the peppermint helps you breathe a little easier too).

Neti pot
Prior to this pregnancy, I've heard quit a bit of buzz around neti pots and how effective they are in clearing one's sinuses. However, the idea of flushing my nasal cavities with a saline solution made me cringe. I can't stand swimming and getting water up my nose, how would a neti pot be any different?

This past cold was awful! In desperation I ran out to my drugstore and purchased a neti pot. The first time I used it was awkward and uncomfortable. However, I had much success with my second and subsequent uses. The difference it made to clear my sinuses was remarkable. What's wonderful is it's perfectly safe to use throughout your pregnancy!

Also, apparently regular daily usage of a neti pot can also prevent someone from getting sick. Often it takes 24-48 hours from when you are exposed to a virus to when you start feeling and displaying symptoms. Daily flushing of your mucous membranes (where many viruses enter your system) can help prevent a virus from taking hold and multiplying! I swear by the effectiveness my neti pot and it has become a part of my daily health practice/routine.

Orange juice
A classic remedy. Although not proven entirely effective by the medical community, drinking an extra glass of orange juice every day can't harm you.

You can't deny the benefits of rest while sick with a cold. Your body needs to use as much energy as possible to combat your illness. Rest will make a cold go away faster.

Put your head over a pot of hot water and cover your head with a towel. Breathe deeply. The steam really helps with opening up your airways. Just make sure that your steam treatment is not elevating your body temperature (as increasing your body temperature while pregnant isn't safe for the baby).

Regular strength Tylenol is considered safe to use while pregnant. However, I would use this as a last resort, or if you need to bring down a fever. Consult with your physician as to what is the safest dose to take while pregnant.

Vicks Vapour Rub
I swear this stuff works! I even follow the folk remedy of putting some on my feet and sleeping with my socks on. A bit on your chest and back will usually provide enough relief to fall asleep.

Vitamin D
According to Dr. Patrick Massey (2010) "Vitamin D may be as effective as vaccination for seasonal flu" (paragraph 1). Also, "Vitamin D appears to have protective effects against colds and other respiratory tract infections" (Heal With Food, 2011, paragraph 13). A Vitamin D supplement or 15-30 minutes of sunshine per day could make a world of difference in helping you overcome your nasty cold.

Please note, there is no replacement for your physician or midwife's advice, so please seek their support if your symptoms persist.

Hopefully one or a few of these remedies helps you find some relief from your cold. Please feel free to comment or share if you have additional suggestions or advice.

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Baby Signing Time


Buzzle. (2011). Gargling salt water benefits. Retrieved February 21, 2011 from, http://www.buzzle.com/articles/gargling-salt-water-benefits.html.

Heal With Food. (2011). Guide to fighting common cold and flu. Retrieved February 21, 2011 from, http://www.healwithfood.org/commoncold/.

Massey, P. (2010). The alternative approach: Vitamin D boosts immunity against flu. Retrieved February 21, 2010 from, http://www.naturalhealthresearch.org/nhri/?p=2753.

Medline Plus. (2011). Garlic. Retrieved February 20, 2011 from,  http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/300.html.

Royal, P. (1982). Herbally yours (3rd ed). Publisher unknown. 
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Feb 21, 2011

My Best Life - Get Organized


"i arrive monday," he said for the second time.

Reflection on Last Week's Strategy

I shared last week that I would like to drink more water on a daily basis. I carried around my water bottle and challenged myself to drink three bottles of water a day. Throughout the work week, I found this strategy to be quite successful but I let my water drinking habit slide on the weekend. I will have to be more diligent with my water consumption on the weekends in order to be successful in this life-improving strategy.

This Week's Strategy

I am usually very neat and organized but these first few months of my pregnancy were so tiring that I have let my home get cluttered and disorganized.

About a year ago I borrowed a great book from the library entitled, 30 Days to a Simpler Life by Connie Cox and Chris Evatt. This book really assisted me in getting my home and life organized. My strategy for the week includes a suggestion from this book. This week I will clean one drawer or closet a day. I need a strategy like this; otherwise I get carried away, do a massive clean-up, but then lose enthusiasm to continue my cleaning/organizing schedule on subsequent days.

This strategy is especially important because we are preparing to move our office into the basement so that we have a bedroom available for the baby. There are a lot of drawers that need to be cleaned out and condensed in our office space... it will be a big task but it's necessary!

Please feel free to comment if the strategy for the week inspires you as well. Also, comments or suggestions to help me meet my goal are greatly appreciated.  In the meantime, I would like to wish you a wonderful week.

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Feb 20, 2011

How To Build A Play Kitchen

I have been wanting to publish the plans for this project for quite some time now. I hope you enjoy the story of the creation of my daughter's play kitchen.

For my daughter's second birthday we wanted to buy a play kitchen for her. As we shopped around, we quickly became aware of three things:

1- Play kitchens are very expensive
2- They are huge
3- Not very many would match our decor (which means a lot when you live in a townhouse)

So I proposed to my husband that we BUILD the kitchen. I did some research online and got some basic ideas... then we went shopping.

Here's the pictorial diary of our play kitchen creation.

We bought one small pine end table from IKEA for $19. This table served as the foundation for the play kitchen. Everything was built around this key piece.

The foundation of the kitchen.
We purchased a small stainless steel dog dish from the dollar store and used it for the sink of the kitchen. My husband traced the dish onto the surface so he would know how much of a hole to cut out for the "sink".

Who would have thought a dig dish would make a great sink!
My husband then cut a small piece of plywood to attach to the the back of the kitchen. This piece would serve as the back of the stove.

A small piece of plywood was attached down the centre of the table. This piece would allow for two doors to be added to replicate cabinets. My husband decided to get creative with the paint and replicate the quartz counters we have in our own kitchen. The rest of the piece was painted with a small can of dark brown paint (which matches the espresso finish on our own kitchen cabinets).

A handy paint job to replicate our quartz countertops.
We added a few plastic pipes for the faucet and painted wooden drawer knobs for the oven and sink controls. Two cupboard doors were added by using plywood and some simple door hinges. We used "stainless-steel-like" shelving paper for the oven top, oven backing and door. The oven burners were hand-drawn using a permanent black marker. We added a brushed chrome knob for the cupboard door and a brushed chrome handle for the oven door.

Pulling the look of the kitchen together with a variety of details.

We tried our best to make the play kitchen match our kitchen.
The backing of the unit is a leftover piece of maple from the previous year's kitchen renovation. We then found a great shelf at IKEA for $2.99 (which we painted to match everything else) and added some peel and stick subway tiles that we found at Home Depot to complete the look.

These peel and stick subway tiles really made the look! They were only $1 each.
An under-counter battery operated light was added. The clock was painted on and is set to 6:56 - the time my daughter was born.

We purchased some simple pieces to complete the look of the kitchen. Pots and pans, tin cans from the dollar store and play food made the kitchen ready to play in!

A kitchen ready to play in!
The big reveal!
In the end, our kitchen was about $50! My dear husband did all of the design and construction and I was the interior designer. We worked as a team on this project. The love and care we put into my daughter's play kitchen could never be matched by the store-bought kitchens we were originally looking at.  

This project also inspired us to create one handmade gift every year for our daughter's birthday. I look forward to sharing our most recent project that we designed for my daughter's third birthday... her Mr. Dressup Tickle Trunk.

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Feb 18, 2011

{this moment: little painter}

Inspired by SouleMama

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

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Feb 15, 2011

Painting With Young Children

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"Every child is an artist. 
The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up." 
~Pablo Picasso~

Have you ever watched a child paint? The look of concentration, the way they hold the paint brush, their broad sweeps and fine dabs... the process is fascinating to observe. This article will share my daughter's exploration of this particular art medium and will also provide some tips and suggestions to inspire your own little Van Goghs!

My daughter's exploration of paint started when she was a little younger than two years of age. We had a watercolour set and let her explore wetting the brush, selecting a colour and then sweeping the brush back and forth on a piece of paper.

Her exploration then evolved into her own process. She would draw with some felt markers and then ask for water and a paint brush to "paint" the paper. The results were stunning. Although she is only three, after reading the book Olivia, she had named a number of her paintings "Starry Night".

Felt markers and water. My daughter's version of "Starry Night".
Recently, I expanded her painting media repertoire to include liquid tempera paint. I provided 18" x 24" paper and a selection of three tempera paint colours. She loved the enormity of the project and she was focused, as well as intent to cover as much of the paper as she could!

So, how can you implement painting into your child's daily activities? Here are some suggestions to make the process an enjoyable one.

Inspire them

Children don't necessarily need inspiration but sometimes they need exposure to things they otherwise wouldn't know of or understand.

  • Bring your child to a painting class (as an observer) and allow them to walk around and watch other people painting.  
  • Bring your child to an art gallery. Some art galleries even have a children's area so they can explore and interact with art.
  • Provide books and pictures of real paintings. Incorporate these into their regular activities. From birth my daughter had a set of Baby Einstein: ABCs of Art Discovery Cards that she would interact with. She would look at the paintings for a long time. When she was a little older she would remove the cards one by one from their box and then spend a significant amount of time putting them back in.
Baby Einstein: ABCs of Art Discovery Cards

Prepare for a mess

You have to be okay with the mess that this activity will bring. However, adequate preparations will make the mess and clean-up more manageable.

  • If you don't want paint on the table or floor, then cover the surfaces with drop cloths. Inexpensive reusable plastic tablecloths work really well.
  • If using tempera paint, premix the paint with some dish soap. This simple step will make clean-up a lot easier.
  • Prepare a sink or bucket of warm, soapy water.
  • Dress your child appropriately for this activity. This is not the time for your child to wear his/her finest clothes. Have them wear old clothes, pajamas, or a paint smock over their clothes. Plastic paint smocks can be bought from many toy and art supply stores. However, one of daddy or mommy's old shirts also works well as a paint smock.
  • Dress yourself for this activity. You may get a little messy too, so don't wear your best jeans.

Be organized

Before starting this activity, be organized.

  • Have all the materials ready ahead of time to allow your child an easy transition into the activity. This means filling your paint pots with the selected colours, gathering brushes and preparing paper.
  • Have a space designated to dry paintings. Collapsible clothes drying racks make a great place for paintings to dry. 
  • Have a pen/marker and some masking tape handy so you can document the date and any "narration" your child provides during the process. The tape can be easily stuck on the back of the artwork for future reference.
  • Don't forget your camera.

Inspire them... again

Inspiration can keep an interest exciting. Here are some additional ways to inspire your children if they've already had numerous experiences painting.

  • Provide alternate types of media to paint on (i.e. watercolour paper, canvas, ceramic tiles, etc.)
  • Provide an inspiring arrangement of flowers, plants, fruits or rocks in the immediate painting area.
  • Take the activity outside. Set up the painting activity in the great outdoors and allow nature to be the inspiration!

Tips for success

Here are some tips to make the process more successful.

  • Tape the paper your child will be using to the table or the easel. A paper that doesn't move makes the experience less frustrating.
  • There's no need to provide a whole rainbow of colours. Have your child select three colours... this is more than enough for their initial exploration of this art medium.
  • Resealable paint pots help prevent waste and also cuts down on the preparation time needed for subsequent painting sessions.
  • Allow plenty of time. Your child may be content with just painting one or two pictures but allow enough time for him/her to paint as many pictures as he/she would like. 
  • Allow for conversation to flow. Art and art appreciation is a opportune time to introduce new concepts as well as expand your child's vocabulary.
  • This is an amazing opportunity to observe your child's creative development. Ask yourself how each painting session has changed or evolved. Perhaps your child is doing finer marks whereas previously they were using broad strokes. Maybe they're experimenting more with the mixing of colours.

How to preserve finished artwork

Treat their paintings like treasures.

  • Have a few picture frames available so that you can hang and display a rotation of paintings. You can even type up an artist's card and mount it on black paper to post beside their framed artwork.
  • Scan smaller works onto the computer and take photographs of larger pieces of work. Preserve a digital library of their work
  • Use digital images of collected art work to make; calendars, greeting cards, post cards, photo collages, coffee mugs, etc.
  • Collect original samples of work in a portfolio. I have a great artist's portfolio. It's large enough to store bigger pieces of art as well.
I have this great portfolio by Edelen Wille it stores large works of art.

Make the experience positive

Children with positive experiences with an activity are more likely to partake in repeated exploration of the activity. Allow them to completely control this process. Do not correct or critique their work. Smile. Observe. Speak gently and softly.

I hope this posting provided some inspiration to motivate your own little Van Goghs. As always, your comments, personal experience and/or suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Win You Kid's Dream Craft Room

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Feb 14, 2011

My Best Life - Drink More Water

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Reflection on Last Week's Strategy

I shared last week that I would like to incorporate a positive meditation/breathing exercise into my daily routine. I found this strategy worked very well. The exercise of inhaling positive feelings and exhaling negative ones got me through some stressful moments. Since I was integrating this daily breathing technique into my night time routine, I ended up practicing it through various times of the day... driving in rush hour traffic being my favourite time to practice this exercise. Overall, I feel more positive and I believe this strategy is going to make my days happier and easier to manage.

This Week's Strategy

Water. Water. Water. As much as I try, I don't drink enough water. Now is the time to create a good habit. In order to accomplish this task I need some motivation and a tangible sense of how my goal is progressing throughout the day.

I own a 550 mL stainless steel water bottle. I figure if I can drink three bottles of water a day, that's a good start to meeting my goal.

My first bottle will need to be consumed before I go to work. If I have the bottle full and waiting in the fridge, this task should be manageable while doing my morning tasks.

My second bottle will need to be consumed while I am at work. This will be a challenge as I am kept busy with 12 toddlers throughout the day. However, I will aim to drink my water during nap time, my break and on my drive home.

My third bottle will be consumed in the evening. As long as I have the water bottle with me while I'm on the computer or while watching television, I should be able to accomplish this task.

I will also have my usual two cups of herbal tea/day. This will bring my water consumption above 2 L per day (which is adequate for someone my height and weight).

I hope this strategy works because water is the essence to well-being. I want to look and feel my best... after all this is My Best Life!

Please feel free to comment if the strategy for the week inspires you as well. Also, comments or suggestions to help me meet my goal are greatly appreciated.  In the meantime, I would like to wish you a wonderful week.

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Feb 13, 2011

Drumroll Please....

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It's that time... the announcement of the winner of my 100th Posting Giveaway valued at $45 (CAD).

But, before I do so, I would like to take a moment to thank everyone who entered this draw. I am happy with the participation in my first giveaway and I would like to thank everyone for their comments. I have learned about some new charities and I have added a few books to my "must read" list!

Now for the winner... this draw was performed by Random.org. To see the publicized results, please click HERE. The winner of the $25 e-gift card to Amazon and the $20 e-gift charity card is:

Draw Details

CONGRATULATIONS entrant #22 - M.M-G who wrote:
"One hundred posts already! Congratulations! Here's to 100 more. One of my favorite books is Prayer for a Child by Rachel Field because it's so sweet and I love the illustrations. I would donate $20 to the Stollery Children's Hospital Foundation because they do so much for our little ones. I don't have an account so I will have to post as anonymous. M.M-G"
To claim your prize, please send an email to deliberatemom {at} gmail {dot} com. I will arrange the e-delivery of your prize with you!!!

Once again, I would like to thank my dedicated followers of The Deliberate Mom. If you enjoy my blog, I invite you to leave your comments on my postings and please recommend The Deliberate Mom to your friends. I look forward to writing my next 100 postings and I can't wait to continue this journey with you!

Wishing you a wonderful day!

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Feb 11, 2011

{this moment: bunny kisses}

Inspired by SouleMama

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

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Feb 9, 2011

Capellini Favolosi (A Great Pasta)


This scrumptious pasta dish is one of our household favourites. Many years ago, an Italian boss of mine had told me about this recipe. She gave no measurements and roughly described the process. After many years of making this dish, I've fine-tuned the measurements. From beginning to end, this meal takes 8-10 minutes to prepare, requires five ingredients and the results are phenomenal! A side note though, this pasta dish is all about the garlic, so if you don't like garlic, don't bother.

The Ingredients
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 of a bulb of garlic (minced) *I usually use 3/4... but we LOVE garlic*
190 g of angel hair pasta
1/3 cup fresh parsley (finely chopped)
Parmesan cheese

The Process
Prepare angel hair pasta as directed on the box.

Warm the olive oil over medium heat.

Saute the minced garlic until softened (don't wait for it to turn brown or it will overcook).

Pour garlic/oil mixture over strained pasta.

Mix well.

Add chopped parsley. Mix.

Scoop onto plates and sprinkle freshly grated Parmesan cheese over top.

This dish can be eaten alone but also pairs well with grilled chicken and a glass of white wine. Enjoy!

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Feb 8, 2011

The Insecurity That Nearly Ruined My Life

I do not deserve love because I am unlovable.

I can't answer how such an awful thought could dominate my existence but it did and it nearly ruined my life. Everything I have and love today balances precariously on a brave step I took almost seven years ago... I left my ex-husband.

My ex-husband was a good man. He was a gentle man. This in itself should not be the basis of marriage but these two characteristics and the fact that he actually loved me was enough for me to say yes to his proposal. When I reflect on the past I see a woman full of insecurities, full of self-loathing, and devoid of any emotional maturity.

I was twenty-four when I married my ex-husband. We were married for five and a half long years.

Shortly after we married, I started attending college. Suddenly my world grew. I met new people, I had new experiences, I expanded my horizons, I heightened my ambitions but most importantly, I fell in love with me. It may sound weird but I truly believe that loving yourself is the key ingredient to finding true love. When I looked in the mirror I finally saw me, rather than the person I would never be. I saw Jennifer, I saw her quirks, I saw her intelligence, I saw her passion and I saw her value.

It's amazing how when your perspective about yourself changes your view of others change as well. I began to see that my ex-husband was not an ideal mate. He did not challenge me. He did not inspire me. All he could do was love me and suddenly that was not enough. I wanted true love. So I took a brave step and left my ex-husband.

From that moment on, my life exploded with amazing opportunities, remarkable experiences and... love. True love. I found the love of my life. A friendship of seven years evolved into a love I couldn't have possibly imagined. I found THE one... my soul mate.

My amazing husband. I wouldn't have found him if I didn't find me first.
I have been happily married to my husband for four years. He is good, kind, gentle, sensitive, intelligent, industrious, passionate, loving, giving, creative, inspiring, funny, and supportive.

So as I write this posting, less than a week away from Valentine's Day, I want to share with you my own personal words of wisdom and encouragement:
"You are perfect because only you can be the best you. Love yourself and everything else will fall into place."      
I am lovable and I deserve love. I am glad I came to that conclusion so many years ago, because without this epiphany, I wouldn't be where I am right now. Now stop reading this posting and go find love in yourself!

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Feb 7, 2011

My Best Life - Breathing Positivity

1 comment:

breathing doodle
Reflection on Last Week's Strategy

I shared last week that I would like to contribute more to my savings by cutting back on my spending. I strategized that I would only spend $10 of my allocated $40 spending this week... thus saving $30. How did I do? I spent a grand total of $0.00!!! Woo hoo!!!

I plan to continue the strategy of cutting back my spending from $40 to $10. The past week has taught me to carefully consider what I spend my money on. It really helped to have this goal in mind. Hopefully by May, we will have enough saved to completely pay for our trip to the mountains with cash as opposed to credit!

This Week's Strategy

Six weeks into My Best Life and I am doing it! Positive changes are rippling through my life!

This week's strategy is one which I hope will add onto my strategy in week three (doing more yoga). At my last yoga class, the instructor guided us through a breathing and meditation exercise which inspired and enlightened me. She prompted us to think of a positive feeling as we inhale and to release a negative feeling as we exhaled.

For example, the exercise went something like this:

Inhale (joy)... Exhale (fear)
Inhale (peace)... Exhale (doubt)
Inhale (serenity)... Exhale (frustration)
Inhale (love)... Exhale (worry)
Inhale (patience)... Exhale (resentment)

I think you get the idea of how this works. I can not express how fantastic this exercise made me feel. Afterwards I felt full of joy and positivity!!! I would like to incorporate this breathing and meditation technique into my daily life. So every night when I practice my deep breathing techniques before bed, I will take a few minutes to do this exercise. I hope that eventually I will be able practice it continually throughout the day.
"Just for now, without asking how, let yourself sink into stillness. Just for now, lay down the weight you so patiently bear upon your shoulders. Feel the earth receive you, and the infinite expanse of the sky grow even wider as your awareness reaches up to meet it. Just for now, allow a wave of breath to enliven your experience. Breathe out whatever blocks you from the truth. Just for now, be boundless, free, with awakened energy tingling in your hands and feet. Drink in the possibility of being who and what you really are – so fully alive that the world looks different, newly born and vibrant, just for now." ~Danna Faulds
Please feel free to comment if the strategy for the week inspires you as well. In the meantime, I would like to wish you a wonderful week.
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Feb 6, 2011

I'm Celebrating My 100th Posting With A Giveaway!!!

100 fotos de My Buffo


This is it! My 100th posting! Instead of the pressure of writing the best blog posting ever, I've decided to celebrate this momentous occasion with a giveaway!

However, I want to make this clear, this isn't a follower grab or a way to increase readership. I am thrilled with the following I currently have and as much as I would love to have more followers, I sincerely want my readers to follow my blog because they enjoy it, not because I'm giving away a prize. Therefore, the only "rule" to participate in this giveaway is to leave a comment on this posting! This contest is open to anyone and everyone! Please no anonymous comments (that would make it impossible to decipher who won). If you don't have a Google account and the only way you can comment is anonymously, then please be sure to end your comment with a first name and last initial.

To ensure the integrity of this giveaway, http://www.random.org/ will determine the winner by random "public drawing" and I will announce the winner with a blog posting and a screen shot including the winner's comment and/or name. Only one entry per person (multiple entries will be deleted). The winner will just have to contact me with their e-mail address and the prizes will be sent out by e-mail... no strings attached.

Now how easy is that???

So, are you excited to hear what the prize is??? One lucky winner will get:
$25 (CAD) e-mail gift card to Amazon
$20 (CAD) e-mail gift card to make a donation to the charity of their choosing at Charity Choice

Ready to play? Comment on this posting... to make the comments more interesting for other readers please share what your favourite book and/or charity is! Please note, this is just a suggestion for the content of comments and is not a requirement to participate in the giveaway.

Entries to this giveaway will be accepted until:
12:00 pm (MST) Sunday, February 13, 2011.

Good luck and thank you so much for reading The Deliberate Mom. I look forward to writing my next 100 postings!

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Feb 5, 2011

Making Homemade Baby Food

Just look at those beautiful colours! Fresh, organic, baby food... there's
nothing quite like it!
Shortly before it was time to start my little girl on solid foods, I made the decision to make her food from scratch. There were several factors which influenced my decision. The first was that there had been a recent recall on commercially jarred baby foods. The fact that I was leaving the health and safety of my child in someone else's hands made me quite nervous. The second factor was that I wished to serve my daughter primarily organic foods. However, the processed organic foods looked far from savoury. The third factor was cost. Commercially prepared foods are expensive. I was sure I could cut those costs significantly whilst ensuring the absolute best, nutritious food for my daughter.

Making your own baby food is a personal decision. It takes some time and diligence but there is great satisfaction in watching your child savour the food that you have prepared so lovingly for them.

Here are some tips and methods I used in preparing baby food for my daughter.

  1. The first step is to purchase some good quality reusable jars. My personal favourites are the Bernardin 125 mL mason jars with snap-on lids. However, I really dislike the snap-on lids because the lids and jar rings rust easily. I recently became aware that there are BPA-free screw-on caps available for these jars. I've ordered them and I can't wait to use them. They are refrigerator, freezer and dishwasher safe as well!

  2. Decide what types of foods you want to prepare. This will often depend on your child's age and the complexity of the food you wish to make for them. I initially started my baby food preparation with vegetables such as corn, carrots and peas. After a while I added meat to her diet (turkey and chicken). Of course, I chose organic foods but you can choose whatever suits you and your family.

  3. If certain vegetables are not in season, you could always choose frozen vegetables. I particularly liked Stahlbush Island Farms frozen vegetables. Not only are they organic but they're affordable and available at many local grocery stores.

  4. I chose to steam my vegetables and meats. A steamer is a great way to preserve the nutritional value of food. Most steamers come with instructions for timing the cooking for optimal flavour and nutritional value. I found these instructions exceptionally helpful! 

  5. All of the food I made was prepared in a blender. A food processor could be used as well. I would prepare one batch at a time, washing the steamer tray and blender after each batch. I would prepare the meat last to ensure there was no accidental contamination of the vegetables.

  6. Before filling jars, make sure they are clean and sterilized. The sterilization process does not have to be as arduous as when canning (since your foods will never be stored in a pantry) but it's good to ensure that all the jars and lids have had at least a 3 minute boiling water "bath" prior to filling them with food.

  7. I would fill the jars about 3/4 full. Make sure to write the date that the food was prepared and the contents of the jar on the lid. I found that a piece of scotch tape and a permanent felt-tip pen worked well for labeling.

  8. Foods should be stored in the refrigerator or freezer. I usually placed a two day portion of food in the fridge and the rest I stored in the freezer.

  9. With my little girl, we found that 36 jars of food would last about 6 - 7 days. Therefore, I only had to make her food once a week. It would usually take 2 - 3 hours to prepare 36 jars. 

  10. Consider how you will warm your baby food. It doesn't make sense to make such wonderful, nutritious foods only to zap them in the microwave! We would warm a bowl of water in the microwave and then submerge her jars in the hot water for about 10 minutes.

  11. Remember to only introduce one new food at a time. It's always good to know how your child is handling and processing the foods that are being introduced to them. You may want to keep a food diary for your child while you are in the phase of trying new foods.

  12. There are a variety of baby food cookbooks on the market. I found I didn't use these very much as I preferred to keep my daughter's meals simple and free of extra flavours and spices. However, it doesn't hurt to have a cookbook to inspire new ideas or to provide extra guidance in the preparation of your child's foods. Here are three of my personal favourites:

I hope these tips have helped and inspired you to consider preparing your own baby food. Please feel free to share any of your tips, suggestions or comments on baby food preparation.

This posting may contain some affiliate links. Clicking these links results in a small compensation for me and my family. For more information about the affiliate programs I participate in, please visit my disclosure page HERE.
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Feb 4, 2011

{this moment: messy face}

No comments:
Inspired by SouleMama

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

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Feb 2, 2011

What Husbands Can Do For Their Pregnant Wives

Being pregnant isn't easy. There are many emotions, frustrations, pains and complexities involved in carrying a child for nine months. Men must know this! However, I have heard a number of pregnant women gripe about how their husband's idea of supporting them throughout the pregnancy was to capitalize on their cravings.

I feel fortunate. My husband is so attentive and has done a number of things in my first pregnancy (and in this one) to help me feel supported throughout the childbearing process. So to those of you who are not as fortunate, here is a list of things that your husband can do to make the duration of your pregnancy more bearable. Print it out. Stick it on the fridge. E-mail the link to him. Leave this posting open on the computer. Send the message loud and clear! You need to be loved and appreciated more than ever... after all, you are carrying his offspring!

Dear Husband / Father-To-Be,

You planted your seed and did your duty. WRONG! Now's the time to step up and show your wife how much you care. Confused? You don't know what she wants? Don't worry... here are some quick tips on how to show some love and appreciation to your wife throughout the remainder of her pregnancy.

Sincerest regards,

The Deliberate (and pregnant) Mom

THE List for Daddy-To-Be

We always need our man to listen to us but now is more important than ever! Hear our woes. Sympathize with our worries. Sincerely listen and hear what we are saying.

Oh my goodness, there's no better time to pick up a vacuum cleaner, wash the dishes, do the laundry or make the occasional supper! We are tired and we need help. If you don't want to fall victim to the onslaught of pregnant, hormonal explosions of frustration, then make sure to help out around the house. A side note to the ladies... compliment him GREATLY for how he helped (even if he didn't do it the way you would do it)... he's more likely to volunteer to help out again.

Be at her beckoned call
If she's craving a grape slushie when it's -35 outside, don't try to talk her down from her craving. Get out there and drive around the city to find the perfect grape slushie. Trust me... these are memories in the making and although it seems odd or frustrating now, you'll both laugh about it years later.

Take her on a date
Just because she's carrying your child doesn't mean that you're off the hook for taking your lady out on the town. Take her out to dinner, see a movie, or simply browse in a book shop and afterwards go out for tea/coffee.

Be eager
If your wife is ecstatic about a birthing or parenting class, try your best to share in her excitement. Even if you have to fake your enthusiasm... do it! In her pregnant brain, the lack of excitement = lack of excitement about the baby and/or her.

Show a little romance
She needs to know you love her... pregnant or not! However, an extra showering of romance can help smooth over her rough days or emotional moments. A random greeting card professing your love for her, slow dancing in the living room, a bouquet of flowers, a sappy slide show... there's so many things you can do to help her feel loved.

Book a spa treatment for her
A month or two before the baby is due, surprise her with a spa treatment. A manicure, pedicure or massage can really help relieve some of her pregnancy aches and pains.

Help her relax
There are a lot of physical and emotional stresses that accompany a pregnancy. Find ways to help your wife relax. You could prepare a bubble bath for her, give her a shoulder or foot rub, or surprise her with a magazine.

Book housecleaning services for her
A month before the baby is due, while she's out visiting, shopping, or at her baby shower, schedule a top to bottom professional housecleaning. Coming home to an immaculate home could make the world of difference to her. Another great tip is to book some additional housecleaning services for a couple months following the birth of the baby.

Treat her to some great maternity clothes
A great maternity wardrobe can help your wife embrace and accept her changing body. Take her to the mall and let her take all the time she wants trying on jeans and shirts.

Let her know you think she's beautiful (inside and out)
Trust me, she's feeling frumpy and far from sexy. Remind her of all the things you love and adore about her.

This is a wonderful time that is to be cherished and remembered forever. If you have any comments or further suggestions, please feel free to share!

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