Aug 30, 2011

My Shanti Uganda Baby Shower

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This past Saturday was my baby shower. Since this is my second child, I didn't need a lot of things so I decided to utilize the opportunity to fund raise for a special charity... The Shanti Uganda Society.  100% of the proceeds from the party goes towards Shanti Uganda's programs aimed to improve the lives of mothers and grandmothers living with HIV/AIDS, improving infant and maternal health and supporting teen girls. I felt this fundraiser was perfect for a baby shower, as some of their proceeds support birth programs and helps to sponsor such things as; birth classes, birth kits, midwives, and medical supplies.

What made this fundraiser so exciting was that it was not an average charitable event. It was a home party to sell handmade bags and jewelry which are skillfully crafted by Ugandan women.

The whole process of arranging my party was quite simple. I contacted Shanti Uganda through their online home party sign-up form. A very kind and helpful representative phoned me a few days later and took my credit card number to keep on file as a deposit for the products that they would be mailing out to me. Shanti Uganda even has nice selling incentives for the hosts of parties. The details about hosting a home party can be found on their website.

Within a week I received a huge box full of beautiful, colourful, handcrafted products. There were various types of bracelets, necklaces, earrings, tote bags, banana bags, yoga bags, diaper bags, meditation CDs, blank note cards and T-shirts! I was in awe when I first saw these gorgeous treasures!

My sister-in-law hosted the shower in her home. We had a great time looking through and displaying the products. I was so excited when I saw everything set up and showcased so beautifully.

My baby shower was so wonderful! Of course we visited, talked, passed the baby around for snuggles and cuddles, ate, and shopped the Shanti Uganda wares.

Each bead is hand-made with recycled rolled paper, varnished and then added to a clasp.

If you want more information about Shanti Uganda, please visit their website:

Also, here's a great YouTube video about this wonderful charitable organization.

Please note, I was not compensated in any way to do this posting. I just love a great find and dear friends, this is quite possibly one of my greatest "discoveries" ever!
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Aug 29, 2011

My Best Life: A Vision For The Future

Vision without action is a dream. Action without vision is simply passing time. Action with vision is making a positive difference. ~ Joel Barker
Do you have a vision of what your "perfect" future would be? I do. However, sometimes the everyday tasks, wants, needs and routines distract me from focusing on my vision. For example, dreams of travelling to Paris may be derailed by my need to treat myself to Starbucks a couple times a week.

My husband recently told me about a book which describes creating a vision poster. I instantly loved this idea. I have a bucket list but it's hard to take action on a list that's stowed away in a journal or posted on a page in my blog. A vision poster allows me to see my dreams on a daily basis, it allows me to be creative and it's always exciting to think about what I really want out of life.

Plus, a vision poster is effective because it:

  • reminds us of our priorities in life
  • can be helpful when making decisions about life plans, purchases, etc.
  • holds us accountable to ourselves
  • becomes part of our everyday lives
  • helps us determine what actions to take in order to achieve our vision

This week I will collect pictures and work on assembling my vision poster. I'm excited to make my vision for the future a tangible item that I will look at on a daily basis. After I've assembled my poster I will:

  • take a photograph of it
  • put it on my computer as wallpaper and a slide show
  • print a small photo of it to carry in my wallet  
  • hang it in my bedroom

Have you ever created a vision poster? If so, please feel free to share your ideas and/or process here. In the meantime, I would like to wish you a wonderful week.

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Aug 27, 2011

My Push Present

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Today I received my push present from my husband. A push present (also known as a "push gift" or "baby bauble") is a present a new parent gives a new mother when she gives birth to their child. In practice the present may be given before or after the birth, or even in the delivery room (Wikipedia, 2011).

He stuck with the traditional gift (traditional being that he gave a similar present after I delivered our eldest daughter).

No greeting card, chocolate, flowers, or jewelery could match the sentimental value of this gift. I love my dog tags... and I love my husband for giving them to me.

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Aug 26, 2011

{this moment: baby face}

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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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Aug 25, 2011

A Quiet Mommy Moment


I recently came across this poem and after a teary moment I thought I should share it with all my dear mommy friends in blogger land.

Babies Don't Keep
Mother, O' Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth.
Hang out the washing, make up the bed,
Sew on a button and butter the bread.

Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She's up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I've grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue,
Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo.
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due,
Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek - peekaboo.

The shopping's not done and there's nothing for stew,
And out in the yard there's a hullabaloo.
But I'm playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look! Aren't his eyes the most wonderful hue?
Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo.
The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow,
But children grow up, as I've learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep!
I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep.

~ Ruth Hulbert Hamilton
Wishing you a wonderful day of memorable moments with your babies... no matter what age they are.

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Aug 24, 2011

Allowing Our Children To Eat Dirt And Walk Barefoot

I recently visited a fellow blogger's site and enjoyed the pictures she had posted of children playing barefoot in her child care program.

As a Early Childhood Professional who's worked in this field for eighteen years, I contemplated the most popular rule in schools and childcare centres... shoes must be worn at all times. Why? Fire regulations? The possibility of hurting one's foot? At what point do rules such as these take away from a child's sensory exploration of their world? Moreover, at what cost to a child's development do we impose such rules?

Upon searching for the article that the previously mentioned blogger cited, I came across an interesting article that proclaimed that barefoot is best for children. The claims made in the article are based mostly on the physical ramifications of wearing shoes at too young of an age. However, there is the sensory side of going barefoot. The freedom and to feel the earth beneath you is a grounding experience. In addition, to decipher feelings and textures with one's feet is a unique experience in and of itself.

Just think of all the activities that are done barefoot... martial arts, yoga, swimming, walking on a beach, gymnastics, balancing on a beam, dancing, and the list goes on and on. Imagine forcing someone to wear a pair of shoes while doing these activities. The activity itself wouldn't be as enjoyable would it? So why do we force our children to wear socks and/or shoes when they don't really have to?

What about the other senses? A couple days ago my daughter was making "cookies" with her homemade play dough. I suddenly realized that she was really eating pieces of the "cookies" that she had made. My instinct? I told her to stop. Why? Wouldn't it be best for her to realize that it's not the tastiest thing available? Couldn't one argue that she's learning something about the play dough by tasting it?

Infants and toddlers are especially sensory beings. It's up to us to make sure that they get the opportunity to use their senses rather than stifle them! Isn't this why we buy the non-toxic crayons, we make our own play dough, and we make goop out of cornstarch and water?

What are we teaching our children about the world when we impose so many rules and restrictions? Do you let your children play in mud, splash in puddles, play with insects, and climb trees?

Overprotective care within the parameters of parenting, schooling and child care seems to be escalating.  I'm not saying to let children play on the highways but what harm could really come of playing barefoot in the backyard or eating a little dirt?

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Aug 20, 2011

My Best Life: What Makes Me Happy

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Have you ever given serious thought to what makes you happy? Is it a bubble bath, nature, gardening, knitting, a good book, exercise, family, or friends?

The other day I was visiting with a woman who I used to work with. It's been two years since I had seen her last. This past year she developed Bell's Palsy and as a result she can not sing in her church choir. It broke my heart when she said that singing is her joy in life and that she feels like nothing if she can't sing for God. Singing brings her peace and happiness.

I realized that I haven't really considered what makes me happy. I know in the moment that I'm joyful but I don't really think about it otherwise. Wouldn't it make sense to know what makes me happy? Perhaps it would be easier to be joyful if I consistently and conscientiously seek out those things that uplift my spirits.

This week I'm going to spend some time constructing my happy list. I would like to encourage you to do the same. If you know already what brings you joy in your days, then please feel free to share your thoughts here.

In the meantime, I would like to wish you a wonderful week!

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Paper Mosaics: Reusing Paintings

Reusing old children's paintings to make collages. #kids #activities #art

Here's a simple and easy-to-prepare art activity for children. I especially like that this activity utilizes scrap pieces of paper.

To prepare for this activity, cut different colours of paper into small squares. Scrap pieces of construction paper or wrapping paper can be used. My daughter produces mass amounts of paintings, so she chose a few paintings for us to cut up for this project. I used my paper cutter in order to accomplish this task quickly.

Your child can use glue to affix the squares onto a larger piece of paper. Sticky shelving paper can also be used if you don't have glue available. Older children may enjoy planning out the design they will create. Younger children may simply enjoy the process of filling the paper with the multi-coloured squares.

I find that using black, grey, or brown paper as a background looks best.

My daughter really enjoyed this project. I hope that your children will enjoy it too.

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Aug 19, 2011

{this moment: little and big sister}

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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Aug 17, 2011

Vegan Triple Chocolate Cupcakes

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The power of suggestion got the best of me. Lately I've been watching a lot of The Food Network and sometimes my daughter watches with me. It seems like we're constantly watching shows about cupcakes... Cupcake Wars is one of our favourites. After drooling over all of these delicious looking desserts, we decided it was time to make our own vegan cupcakes. Thankfully, with the help of the Internet, we threw together our own cupcake concoction.

The Cupcake
First we started with the Best Vegan Cupcake recipe from Joylicious.

1 1/4 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup warm water
½ cup brewed coffee
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon distilled vinegar

  • Preheat oven at 350F.
  • In a large bowl mix the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt together until well incorporated. Add water, coffee, oil and vinegar into dry mixture, mix until fully blended. Fill muffin pan with liners and fill with batter ¾ the way full. Bake in oven for 22-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Place on rack to cool. Once completely cooled cut a hole out of the top of the cupcake (keep the top part to "plug" the hole later).

The Filling
Then we made a filling for our cupcakes. We chose to fill them with Raw Vegan Chocolate Pudding from Vegan Coach. This rich and delicious pudding is made from avocado. The recipe is also posted here on my blog.

1 avocado
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup cocoa
3/4 Tbsp vanilla
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/4 - 1/2 cup water (depends on the consistency you prefer)
  • Gather your ingredients. Peel and remove the pit from the avocado.
  • Place all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor.
  • Add water as you blend to ensure your preferred consistency.
  • Chill for an hour before using to fill the cupcakes.
  • Scoop small spoonfuls into the cupcake holes and plug with the reserved cake topping.

The Frosting
Lastly, we made a frosting. The best frosting recipe I've come across is the Creamy Chocolate Frosting recipe which can be found at However, the recipe isn't dairy-free... so I converted it so it would be dairy-free! Here's my version of the frosting recipe.

1 1/3 cups icing sugar
3 Tbsp cocoa powder
3 Tbsp vegan margarine
2 1/2 Tbsp chocolate soy or rice milk (I use soy)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

  • In a medium bowl, sift together the icing sugar and cocoa. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl cream the margarine until smooth, then gradually beat in sugar mixture alternately with soy/rice milk.
  • Blend in vanilla.
  • Beat until light and fluffy.
  • I like to chill my icing for about half an hour before frosting the cupcakes. I find it spreads a bit easier.
  • Frost the cupcakes and dust lightly with cocoa or top with candied sprinkles or cocoa nibs.

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Aug 15, 2011

My Best Life: It's Okay To Make Mistakes

Now that things have settled for our new family of four, I thought I would return to the My Best Life postings.

Mondays are usually the most dreaded day of the week. I like to take the opportunity to make the best of my Mondays by thinking of a strategy that I can implement for the week to make my life a little bit better. After all, seven days of a positive change could make a life-long impact! So feel free to join me in my journey for a better life.

This Week's Strategy
I'm not perfect... no one is. So why is it that I beat myself up every time I make a mistake? We are told throughout our lives that it's important that we learn from our mistakes. Well the way I see it is in order to learn, some mistakes need to be made. I learned to ride a bike by making mistakes. I learned how to write a research paper by screwing up on my first few papers. I even found the love of my life because I had made a mistake! However, I tend to apply this logic to everyone else but myself! When I make a mistake I often punish myself for screwing up in the first place. I don't demand perfection from anyone else but I demand it from myself.

This week I'm letting go. I'm going to say, "Oops" when I screw up and I'll apologize if my mess-ups have affected anyone else. More importantly, I am going to let myself be okay with it. If I notice I'm starting to mentally criticize myself for messing up, I am going to remind myself of this pledge I've made today.

Also, in order to be successful and be held accountable for this life-changing decision, I've enlisted the help of my husband. He will listen for if and/or when I start beating myself up over a mistake and remind me of this strategy that I am implementing to live my best life.

Are you okay with making mistakes? What do you do to cut yourself a little slack? As always, your comments and suggestions are welcome.

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Aug 13, 2011

The Ice Cream Man

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Ice Cream Tricycle

Oh how I remember those hot summer days as a child. I recall the sound of the bells on the ice cream man's bike.

Jingle, jingle, jingle.

Every child in the neighbourhood would scream, "THE ICE CREAM MAN!!!"

Jingle, jingle, jingle.

So begins the mad dash into the house to beg mom or dad for some spare change.

Jingle, jingle, jingle.

Standing in front of the ice cream man's bike and looking at all those glorious photos of delicious icy treats. Which one to choose? A fudgsicle? A creamsicle? A rocket? A drumstick? Oh, the decision is an impossible one to make.

Jingle, jingle, jingle.

I hand over my money and he opens the freezer compartment. The brisk air that rushes out of the cooler gives me a hint as to the icy goodness that is soon to be mine.

Jingle, jingle, jingle.

Oh the memories.

Now the ice cream man drives a truck that plays loud, obnoxious music. The ice cream man wears sound isolating earphones because the music would surely drive him insane. The ice cream man drives me insane. I can't stand it when he drives his "noise-mobile" into my neighbourhood.

My daughter is allergic to dairy. She doesn't know about the ice cream man. She calls the ice cream man the music truck. I call it a sad reminder of an era that has past. Those were the days when a teenager could earn a few extra bucks by driving a bike full of icy novelties whilst being regarded as a hero to the neighbourhood children. Those were the days.

Photo Credit
Photo by Craig CH found in the Creative Commons on Flickr
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Aug 12, 2011

{this moment: great-grandma}

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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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Aug 11, 2011

Vote For Pedro('s Favourite Blog)

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Today, I spare no shame. I fall on my knees and ask you to hear my plea. Desperate times really do call for desperate measures.

Okay... enough of the dramatics, here's the deal.

There's this great group in Alberta, Modern Mama. This mom-focused group plans events involving fashion, lifestyle and parenting. For a small fee, moms can attend these events (and what's great is for a few extra dollars, there's nannies on site to hang with your baby while you eat, shop, socialize , etc.).

For the month of August, this business is running a contest for Alberta's Best Mommy Blogger and yours truly is one of the contenders! Now are you excited or what???!!!

Here's where the begging and pleading comes in. I need your vote. Really and truly. There is a restriction of only one vote per IP address so I need your help. Wherever you are in the blogging/online world, your vote counts!

What's in it for me? If I win, I get a personal technical consultation for my blog AND some assistance with beautifying my brand and blog as well! So really, this prize is for you, my loyal readers!

How do you vote? Simply click this "pretty in pink" button and cast your vote for The Deliberate Mom. That's all. Easy.

Thanks so much for hearing my plea and for showing your support!

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Aug 9, 2011

Eat a Rainbow

One of the positive sides of my daughter having severe allergies to dairy is that she loves her fresh foods. This kid eats just about any fruit or vegetable. Avocado, brussell sprouts, peppers, broccoli, beans, papaya, mango, berries, melons and the list goes on and on.

One of her favourite meals is when she gets to "eat a rainbow". Every colour of the rainbow isn't on her plate but the idea is there. Today she has requested another rainbow. I'll see what I can do.

Cucumber, mango, red pepper, tuna and blueberries! Colourful and healthy!
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Aug 7, 2011

When Colic Took Over My Life

We were told countless times but we didn't listen... "Your first baby was easy... wait until you have your second. It's never easy twice in a row." Thank you nay-sayers! I can now say you were unfortunately right.
For the past three weeks we have been through what seems the never-ending struggle of dealing with a crying baby. Our newest addition is not a happy camper and like so many other parents out there, we feel overwhelmed, tired and helpless.

This past Wednesday, our little babe's "crisis" peaked. Two bouts of crying... one was four hours in length and the other was 6 1/2 hours in length. Add that up and we had about half a day of screaming and crying. It seems like there's nothing we can do to help her overcome this distress. She is inconsolable! We change her, try to feed her, burp her, carry her, rock her, sing to her, talk to her... it just doesn't stop. The thing is, when my daughter cries like this, she just doesn't cry... she screams a blood-curdling, pained scream. It's the most dreadful cry I ever heard in my life. She flails her arms all over the place and pulls her little legs up tight into her chest. By 11:00 pm Wednesday evening, my husband and I decided that this was not normal. We called the health hotline and they recommended we bring her to the hospital's emergency room.

I knew when we got there it was going to be a waste of time. The unit clerk treated us like we were the "typical" over-reacting parents. She even had the nerve to say that her daughter was like that for six months and what worked for her was to hold her and sit on a large yoga ball and bounce up and down. Trust me, at midnight in the emergency room, we are not looking for parenting tips and techniques. Something is wrong with our baby and we KNOW we're right about this.

To make matters worse, our screaming baby fell asleep and the little darling slept so peacefully. The emergency room emptied and the time went by. We ended up bailing and went home. First thing Thursday morning I booked an appointment with our daughter's pediatrician. I was able to get an appointment with him that afternoon. Finally, we would have an answer to our questions. Or not.

Once again, while in the doctor's office, our little girl was happy and content. That's probably why our doctor dismissed her ails as colic-like symptoms. He recommended Ovol drops to us and sent us on our way.

Since then, I have read everything I can about colic and acid reflux in infants. We have tried a number of strategies. Some have helped and some don't seem like they've had an impact:

  • I've cut out all dairy, whey and casein from my diet. Perhaps my daughter is like my other daughter and also has a dairy allergy. Unfortunately, according to the literature I've read, it takes three days for the dairy to leave my milk and approximately three weeks for her intestinal/gastric tract to return to "normal".
  • I've tried baby-wearing. So far she hates it, but maybe with more exposure to it, she'll eventually like it.
  • We introduced a pacifier. I never thought I would offer a pacifier to my child (especially at three weeks of age) but when she's distressed she suckles like she's hungry and then refuses to feed. The pacifier helps to keep her calm.
  • We try not to let her get too worked up. The more she cries, the more air she swallows, which in turn has a negative impact on the amount of reflux/gas she experiences.
  • We keep her upright and hold her for 20 - 30 minutes after every feed. Just imagine what this is like when she wakes up at 1 am, 3 am and 5 am... it makes for a long and exhausting evening.

So far, my babe has not had another vicious crying bout like last Wednesday's. We've decided if it occurs again, we will videotape her so that we can show the doctor what she's doing and how she's acting when she's in such distress. I am also keeping a detailed log of her eating, sleeping, fussing and crying episodes. Perhaps with this sort of documentation, a doctor will take our concerns more seriously.

Did you have a child with crying, colic or acid reflux issues? Any tips or suggestions? We're desperate and ready to try just about anything.

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Aug 5, 2011

{this moment: bathing baby}


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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Aug 3, 2011

Sisters Forever... Friends For Life

The reality of having a second little girl is finally sinking in. I can't believe I have two daughters! Two girls! Thinking about this makes me excited (and a little scared).

Two girls... sisters forever and friends for life. They get to play together and dream together. When they're older they can go shopping together, share secrets, cry about their first loves, celebrate each other's milestones and be there for each other.

When my husband and I decided to have a second child we did so hoping that when we have passed, that our children would at least have each other for love, support and the mutual memories that they could only have through being raised together.

I am excited for this phase in our life. My only sibling is eighteen years younger than me. I love my brother dearly, however, we never had the opportunity to grow up under the same roof. Even though we have the same parents, our family experiences are very separate and individual.

I couldn't imagine what it's like to grow up with a sibling but I look forward to sharing this experience with my daughters. I hope to foster a strong relationship between my girls. I know it won't always be easy (and believe me, I've already thought about the teen years) but I do know that my husband and I have lots of love to share in our new family of four.

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