EVEN WITH AN ALLERGY, OUR KIDS LOVE EATING ALL KINDS OF FOODS!

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You really cannot ever be fully prepared for what comes along with motherhood.  When my first baby was born, we noticed that he was not a happy camper, and he was later diagnosed with a milk allergy.  If milk was in anything he ate or drank, he would have a reaction within the day, and it could take up to three days for the inflammation to subside.  Due to this, our entire eating habits changed. Over the years, our family has transitioned from no dairy, to vegetarian to plant-based. This was initially to help our son, and he soon was quickly able to recognize the foods he could or could not eat.  He knew to ask at parties if foods had dairy in them, and if he could not get a definite answer, he’d stay away.

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I knew this was something he got used to over the years, but it wasn’t until his 6th birthday party that dealing with allergies took a unique twist.  Our son wanted to invite a friend of his from school to his birthday party, however he had a very long list of severe allergies, so he was usually unable to eat at friends’ parties.  My son was set on us making him an allergy friendly party, right down to the cake so his little friend could partake in the entire party. So we did.

This meant a few things.  First off, we had to prepare our kitchen for the food.  Ensuring that there were no allergens and we did a thorough clean.  We checked all food labels, and even went further to make sure if there was an ingredient that we were not quite sure of, to look it up.  We have learned over the years that milk and milk derived ingredients can be hidden in unique names such as:

Casein & caseinates — ammonium caseinate, calcium caseinate, hydrolyzed casein, iron caseinate magnesium caseinate, potassium caseinate, sodium caseinate, zinc caseinate, Hydrolysates — casein hydrolysate, milk protein hydrolysate, protein hydrolysate, whey hydrolysate, whey protein hydrolysate … just to name a few.

 

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So after we did the “triple check” -- once at the store before buying it, once when you get home and put it away, and again before you serve or eat the product, we were off to the races.  We made some yummy treats that all of the children could enjoy, and a cake with non-dairy icing! Yum!

As a mom of a child with an allergy, I am constantly trying to learn new recipes to keep meal time fun. But what is equally important is to be aware of how to keep my kitchen safe for my son and his friends with food allergies.  Recently we had the chance to join expert home cook and allergy awareness advocate Thea Vanherwaarden and Team NASCAR driver/ Food Allergy Canada ambassador, and NASCAR driver Alex Tagliani to learn some new allergy- friendly recipes and tips, which as a fellow allergy advocate, I wanted to share with all our mom-tribe today.

 

Melissa’s favorite safety tips when dealing with a food allergy:

  1. Read food labels each and every time you buy something. Manufacturers can change their production process and alter their products at any time

  2. Cook meals that are free of the person’s allergens first, using separate cookware and serving utensils. Keep the food covered in a space where it will not be splashed or come into contact with other foods.

  3. Use two different cutting boards: one dedicated to allergy-safe meal preparation.

  4. Wash hands often with soap and water

*Note: Even with all your kitchen precautions, you may still come in contact with your allergen. Be sure to always be prepared by carrying an epinephrine auto-injector with you at all times.
Disclosure: Epinephrine auto-injectors are indicated for the emergency treatment of anaphylaxis. This product may not be right for you. Always read and follow the label.

 

RECIPES

Acai bowl

A refreshing addition to breakfast or any meal, easy and quick to make. The fresh fruit and seed toppings are simply gorgeous. Download this recipe!

Sushi

Inspired by west coast culinary fusion, this sushi calls for chicken instead of fish. Let your creativity loose for inspiring additional filling ideas. Download this recipe

Chicken tacos with mango salsa and chickpea avocado crema

These chicken tacos will have any guest asking for more. A pop of spice from the chicken is cooled down perfectly with a creamy chickpea and avocado crema. Serve with a side of tradition­al black beans and you have yourself a Mexican fiesta. Download this recipe!

 

If you know of a mom who has a little one with an allergy or you are a mama trying to cook for someone with an allergy, share this blog and head to foodallergycanada.ca/SummerofTAG for more allergy-friendly recipes and tips on how to stay safe in the kitchen.

 

This post is sponsored by Pfizer Canada. All views and opinions are my own.

How Hand-Me-Downy Clothing Swap Got Us the Most Value from Our Kids' Clothes

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If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that kids grow up way too fast and are constantly outgrowing their clothes. That’s why we decided to share our number one tip for getting the most value out of our kids’ clothes: we always add Downy Fabric Conditioner to the wash! With six kids between us, our families rely on hand me downs and are constantly cycling kids’ wardrobes between each other. Not only does it benefit our wallet – but the planet, too. Sustainability is important to both of us, and we are conscious of the actions we take and the impact they have on the planet.

Why? We couldn’t believe that North Americans send 10.5 million tonnes of textiles to the landfill every year. In Canada alone, if all clothing put into landfills was gathered together, it would fill the Rogers Centre three times. Scary! Giving and receiving hand-me-downs helps keep clothes out of landfills longer, and by doing so – you help the environment!

If your kids are as active as ours are, you’re probably doing a lot of laundry, too! When you wash with Tide and Downy together, you keep clothes looking newer 50% longer. This combo helps protect our kids’ clothing so they can be worn, re-worn and handed down and loved even longer and not worn out and thrown out too soon! We then can pass our favourite pieces down in our own families and friends, encouraging them to continue the hand-me-down tradition!

How does Downy work so well? It’s designed to protect clothes from stretching, fading and fuzz, helping keep our kids’ clothing in great shape for handing down to others

To make hand me downs more fun and engaging, we recommend throwing a party to swap clothes. We recently hosted our own Hand-Me-Downy Kids’ Clothing Swap Party, where each mom was invited to bring a bag of their used kids’ clothes. As a result, we each walked away with a season’s worth of new stuff, without spending a dime. It’s a fantastic idea that can save you time, money. You also feel good knowing that you are helping the environment and keeping clothes out of the landfills for as long as possible.

 

Interested in hosting your own Hand-Me-Downy Kids’ Clothing Swap Party? Simply visit http://handmedowny.ca for more information on Downy Fabric Conditioner and to receive a $2-off coupon so you can grab your own bottle. There are also some great tips for how to throw your own swap party. Because as moms, who wouldn’t like an excellent reason to have a girl’s get together!?

 

XO Vanessa+Melissa

#HandMeDowny #Ad

 

That time we go to be Hockey Wives! Melissa's weekly vLog

How often do you get to say, I LOVE MY JOB!  We both left the corporate world to be stay at home moms.. then along the way we met each other, feel in love (LOL) and started our TV show and this business.  This week was a HUGE reminder of why I love what we do!  We had SO much fun! We got to hang out in box seats at the last Maple Leafs game of the season like the @hockeywives.  I also got to see the reveal of our family photos with @yellowbrickroadphotography! SO ADORABLE! And we filmed an uber fun Easter vLog with the amazing mama @TheTaylorKay- that you guys have to watch! And the whole time we had my little babe with us.. who now has some new tricks!!! 

xo

MeliS'

HOW TO BE A HAPPY MOM! #TheMOMfiles

Okay I may have made a mistake and loaded this a day early, but maybe it was meant to be... hope this makes your Tuesday just a little bit better;)

-----

"If these tips don't work... just drink some wine 🍷 " 😂.

What's your number one TIP to being happy??

LET US KNOW IN THE COMMENTS BELOW!


Tip:

STOP SAYING SORRY...listen, we might sing some Justin Bieber ...to reiterate our point 🙈🤣🤛🏻

Just having a little fun with this one ... but also dishing out how we try to get our Happy On!

I MICROBLADED MY BROWS: Melissa's weekly vLog

Guys, a lot of mamas have been asking about this morning routine saver.  We are talking NO more brow pencils, having the same shape of eyebrow every day (come on... you cannot draw that puppy on the same way each time.. lol). Going swimming with the kids and not being afraid to dunk your heads and misplacing your brows!  Watch what goes into having my eyebrows microbladed by Ashely from Highbrow Life!

Check out her other work at www.instagram.com/highbrowlife

xo

Melissa

3rd Times A Charm ... The Best Bottle For A Stay At Home Working Mama! #Forbetterbeginnings

It never dawned on me that with my third baby, things that I was good at with baby one and two, I might not be as good at, or even successful with the third time around. That saying, “third times a charm", rings a bell, however with this little guy, he had is own agenda.  

Each baby truly is so different, and nothing could be more true with our third.  After a high risk pregnancy, a premature birth, and a short stint in the NICU, my little man arrived home calm, and happy to be here!  He slept, ate and cuddled like clock work and this mama had felt like she hit the jackpot.  With a previous GERD baby, and one COLIC baby, my husband and I were expecting it to be way different.  However, while baby was rather easy, my milk production and breast feeding was not.

My milk came in late, and because he was premature I had to pump around the clock.  Along with that, while in the NICU he was being supplemented via NG tube every three hours so his blood sugars would not crash.   

When we were finally released he was nursing just fine, and things seemed perfect.  However, as each week passed he hit rapid growth spurts, and my milk could not keep up.  I knew as a third time mom what I needed to do, I just wanted my baby to be fed and happy.

I turned to the bottles which I trusted for all of my children.  7 years ago with my colic son (in image below) we used the Playtex Baby™ Nurser® with Drop-Ins® Liners. He loved those bottles, and mama felt the same way.  I also loved using the Playtex Baby™ VentAire®, which has a unique  Anti-Colic Bottom Vent helps prevent air ingestion for less gas, spit-up and fussiness! (Once you have had a colic baby you know just how important this is!)

I also looked to Playtex Baby for the soothers, because in the NICU all the babies are given soothers.  So I made sure to transition him to a Playtex® Ortho-Pro® Pacifier which was perfect for his tiny mouth.

 

I knew with the sterile liners, it was one less step for mommy and daddy when prepping bottles.  Daddy also felt more confident at just how easy it was to pop in a liner and have a bottle ready to go right away.

As a busy working mom of three, only needing to sterile nipples quickly in the microwave, is one reason I found the Playtex Baby™ Nurser® with Drop-Ins® Liners so much more convenient. 

 Along with that, because I am a working mama, my babe joins us on filming days, in meetings or comes along for road trips.  Instead of having to pack a handful of bulky bottles, the liners allow me to only bring one nurser bottle, a baggie of sterile nipples and a few liners!  Easy!

Having a colic baby in the past I have dealt with the gassy bubbles a well!  This was another reason why we loved the PlaytexBaby™ Nurser® bottle.  With the liners, we are able to push all the air out of the bottle, meaning no air was getting into our little ones tummy.

Lastly, as a third time mom I knew that giving the other two children opportunities to share in special moments like feeding the baby would be key to making a happy transition once the baby arrived.   

One of the tips we received on our social media, when asking how to help our youngest adjust to a new baby- was to let her feed him.  This was an amazing idea, as you can see in our vlog below- she just LOVED that chance when she got to feed her little baby brother.

Oh, actually I have one more reason why I loved having baby on the bottle.  It meant that mama could actually get some down time or a break because now anyone could help with the feeds!  Mamas, if this is baby one for you, I can’t tell you just how important that is (and how amazing it feels).

xo

Melissa

#Forbetterbeginnings

#PlaytexMOMS

If you are looking for a bottle to help with colic or that are super easy to use (especially for hubby) you can find them here:

·         Nurser Bottles amazon.CA: http://tr4ckit.com/ivr3

·         Nurser Bottles toysrus.CA: http://tr4ckit.com/f38m

·         Nurser Bottles walmart.CA: http://tr4ckit.com/6sd5

·         Nurser Bottles playtexbaby.cahttp://tr4ckit.com/4wot

·         Soothers amazon.CA: http://tr4ckit.com/k68i

·         Soothers playtexbaby.CA: http://tr4ckit.com/lclg

 

 

School Clothes That Stand the Test of Time and Budget

This post is part of the YummyMummyClub.ca and Carter’s | OshKosh and #CartersOshKosh #Kidsentials sponsored program. I received compensation as a thank you for my participation.

Who remembers the knee patch your mom ironed on over the hole on your favourite pair of jeans? The jeans you chased your grade school crush around in. The jeans you would wear until your mom would literally force them off of you to wash. The jeans you fashioned for every occasion. We all had our favourite pairs!

Somehow, those amazing jeans, that had been through everything, lost their cool the minute your mom “put a patch on it!” (pun intended) They lost their edge. The cool factor of their worn out look was gone with that fresh, clean patch.

This is a real memory for me as a child. I remember when I became a mom, I swore I would never patch my kids’ jeans.  Funny enough, my husband has the same memories and made me promise I would never buy a patch… ever. 

This patch-free pact we made seemed very doable, until it’s your kid and you swear they must be dragging their knees across the playground cement. We barely make it to Halloween before our son’s pants start to wear thin.

As moms, we get it. We know the pain of out-grown, over-worn clothes, that don’t even make it to the hand me down pile!  We both also know the challenge of incredibly “fashion independent” children, who have their very own, unique style. We both have girls who have been dressing themselves since they were two, and boys who might just be future fashion bloggers themselves. 

My husband swore he had the answer to our dilemma when he purchased some shall we say “affordable”, okay cheap, jeans for our son. They were literally splitting at the seams before the 2nd week of school.  

So we had to come up with a game plan to make sure our kiddies had their clothing and fashion needs met, while still staying within our budgets. Having little ones in SK to grade 2, we have done the back-to-school shopping dance a handful of times. We can confidently say that we are mom-experts in this field. Okay, maybe not experts, but we’re pretty good. Although, last year during one of our back-to-school shopping days, within the first twenty minutes there were tears, complaints, looks of disgust and pure frustration over the selections we were making. 

This year we have a new game plan. Our goal is to keep the tears and frustration on the down low, the kids in check, and our shopping time to a minimum.  

Tips:

1. Shop in the morning

Have a hearty breakfast and while everyone’s spirits are high, hit the stores.  Bring snacks and take breaks if the kids are showing any signs of frustration.

2. Have Fun 

This should be fun! Let your little ones make choices. Recognize their style and listen to what they say. Ask them their opinions before you send them into a change room with a bunch of items they do not want to be trying on. Choose a store such as Carter’s | OshKosh where you know you will find clothes that provide quality and durability, but are still stylish. This is a win win for everyone.

3. Keep It Simple – One Stop Shop

This is a big one. Find one place that carries the things you need. As we mentioned, we both love to shop at Carter’s | OshKosh because they specialize in young children’s apparel. From newborns to size 14 (our kiddies age ranges from 5 months to 7 years old), this is perfect for us! Not to mention, this is a brand that we wore as kids. We just love that history!  

4. Have a Game Plan and Involve the Kids

Start your shopping experience with a game plan and check list of what you actually need. Make sure you involve the kids with the plan, so expectations are met. That way neither of you gets lost in buying things you do not need.  Let them know what they should expect and make sure you stick to your own plan. Do NOT DEVIATE! Take it from us, they will be the first to let you know if you start spending too much time in one area. 

5. Give Them the Check List

Below is a handy check list for back-to-school items. Give your little one a copy, so you can both stay on track and within budget.*  *This is a common theme. 

(Purely for our own sanity, so we don’t have to do laundry multiple times a week, we think it’s best that the littles have a fresh outfit to wear every day of the school week. Plus one or two extras just in case…)

  • Shirts: 8-10 - If they like T-shirts more, then get a few of those to pair with a zip-up hoodie.
  • Pants: 7 - Go for a variety of jeans, khakis, joggers or tights and one dressy pair or a dress for the girls.
  • Sweatshirts/sweaters: 3 - Mix it up with pull-overs or hoodies and one nice sweater for special events.
  • Long-sleeve shirts: 5 - Add in a dressy option as well.
  • Girls may opt for a couple of shirts/dresses as well depending on preference.
  • Shoes: 1 pair for indoor/ 1 pair for outdoor / 1 dressy pair –Try them on in-store and make sure your kids can get them off and on.  We have purchased amazing shoes, only to have a child in tears over not being able to get ready fast enough at school, requiring us to buy a new pair.
  • Socks: 10-15 pairs
  • Underwear: 10-15 pairs

Want to see what we got? Here are some of the items our little ones chose:

Hockey themed long sleeve shirt

Tulle skirt with matching top

Sparkly shoes

OshKosh fleece jogging suit

6. Let Them Take a Break

Kids will be kids. Don’t get frustrated if they are tired or over the shopping experience faster than you expected.  Again, another reason why we just love shopping at Carter’s | OshKosh is our kiddies can take much needed breaks, play with the toys or watch the in-store movie, all while we show them clothing options and outfits … with either a “yah or nah’! 

7. Have a Special ‘Treat’ After and Make It a Special Back-to-School Day

This is a special day. Going back to school is exciting, but also scary for some kids. If you have time, take each child separately. If you can’t, don’t sweat it. Make it a family activity. This can be a special day out with Mom and/or Dad. Grab a yummy treat out after or have a picnic in the park post shopping. Or if your kids are anything like ours, you’ll be treated to a full fashion show when you get home. Whatever your back-to-school shopping includes, have fun and try to enjoy it. 

xo 

Vanessa + Melissa

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What are your tips? Share them with us below in the comments.  And make sure to head over to www.cartersoshkosh.ca/kidsentials to enter to win 1 of 6 $500 Carter’s | OshKosh gift cards. Then share your favourite #CartersOshKosh #Kidsentials with us on social media!

Spread the love and share the contest with your family and friends. You can enter again each month.

Potty Training Tips from our #MamaTribe

One thing we never claim is to be "Mommy" experts, but we do have 5 babes between us and we love to share our experiences. You could call us the "conduit" of information for our mama tribe.  So when it came to potty training, we reached out to our own #MAMATribe and the experts over at Pull-Ups, for some amazing tips and accessories for making Potty training fun and successful.

Vanessa + Melissa Tips:

1. Don't force it. When they've had enough, stop, give a break and start again.

2. Create a sticker rewards board and let your little one help you make it. Once they start using the potty, allow them to choose any sticker to post on the rewards board.

3. Accidents happen, don't get upset. You don't want your little to feel discouraged.

4. Find some great potty training books and make it fun! 

Our #MamaTribe Tips!

Smarties....yep bribery worked for us. Also staying home all weekend and letting her run around with no pants, or diapers on.  All three were pretty much ready to go after 3 days. With the exception of a few accidents here and there, which was acceptable

~Nicki, Mother of 3

Practice routine. Kids are amazing learners, especially when they have a routine. I was so shocked when I first saw my daughter at her daycare.  She went potty and jumped right off to wash her hands without anyone asking her! Go over what they should do lots of times, so they can easily remember
~ Sarah, mother of 2.

I would say, every child is different and they respond differently to techniques used. Sticker charts worked well around here and allowing them to walk around naked for a while until they could tell they needed to use the potty.

~ Kristy, mother of 3

As always, make sure to have fun! One way to do that is with Pull-ups and their Pull-Ups Potty Partnership which we used with our little one recently!  For those of you who follow us, this toddler is a ball of energy so potty training had to be lots of fun for her to want to have anything to do with it. So we loved doing the  Potty Personality quiz online to learn just what is the best way to help her learn to use the potty best (she was a puppy in the quiz)!

Take the quiz for your little one and share with us their personality too, or your own #Pottytraining tips!

xo

V+M

Diapers & Lipgloss Book Club

What are some things that you stopped doing once you became a mom?  For us both, it was reading.  We used to love a good juicy book.  I actually had a collection of both The Baby Sitters Club and Sweet Valley High growing up and you could find me curled up in a corner every night reading. Vanessa's always loved a good bio or romance. 

I think many of us love reading, or at least the idea of it. But now that we have kids, it's a challenge.  Ironically enough today Vanessa said, "We need to start a book club!"

So Diapers & Lipgloss is officially starting a book club for all our mamas everywhere.  Here are the details.

1. Each month we will select (with our mama tribe's input) a new book to read

2. One Wednesday evening a month, we will go on Facebook Live with some wine (and herbal tea for preggo Melissa) and discuss the book

3. At the end of our chat, we will choose the book for the next month

This way we don't need to get a babysitter, we don't need a designated driver when we drink and we all get a chance to read books again!

August Book: A night in with Marilyn Munroe

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25394463-a-night-in-with-marilyn-monroe

My Baby Won’t Stop Growing!

This post is part of the YummyMummyClub.ca and Carter's | OshKosh #CartersComingSoon sponsored program. I received compensation as a thank you for my participation. This post reflects my personal opinion about the information provided by the sponsors.

I guess it's a good thing that my baby is growing like a weed, but I just can't believe twelve weeks have passed since I gave birth to this amazing little babe. It almost feels like the birth was a dream at this point. Isn't it funny how that happens? The details become a blur and we tend to remember the glorious moment of the baby's arrival, over the intense and painful labour. 

And then life with babe begins. It's so incredible the amount of changes babies go through in the first year of life. Already from day 1 to now, Minnie has grown and developed so much. Every day she's doing something new: smiling, grasping small rattles and dangling toys, laughing and now pushing up on her tummy.

I know I shouldn't say it, but so far I've been blessed with a good sleeper. She LOVES her sleep and l love getting her all cozy each night in a onesie plus sleeper, from Carter's | OshKosh.

Last week Melissa and I went on a shopping trip to Carter's | OshKosh with our littles to stock up on sleepers, onesies, summer gear and newborn clothes. Since Minnie is growing so much, I literally go shopping every few weeks to keep up with her. My shopping is all about quality, affordability and style of course. Melissa's sister just had a baby girl, so Melissa was all about the cutesy newborn outfits. 

Speaking of summer, since Minnie won't even be 6 months (so… no sunscreen) by the time summer hits, it's so important that I keep her precious skin out of the sun and protected. We also found the cutest sun hats, sunglasses, plus adorable bathing suits and swim shirts with SPF. Swim shirts are an absolute MUST for my fair babes.

Now that the weather is heating up, it's the perfect time to get your kids summer gear organized. Have a peek at our shopping trip to Carter's | OshKosh! BTW, normally shopping with kids is traumatic, but there is always a kids movie playing in the Carter's | OshKosh store. They also have toys and a nursing room, so trust us, you can bring the kids with less drama than a normal shopping trip. Yay!

P.S...Some exciting news to share! Carter's | OshKosh is throwing a baby shower for one lucky new mom or mom-to-be at each of their new store locations from now until the end of the year. They're opening a whole bunch of new stores. Each winner will get a $250 gift card, a complementary in-store baby shower and prizes for 10 of her closest friends. Sounds amazing, right?!
                        Click here to enter #CartersComingSoon

                      Click here to enter #CartersComingSoon

Keep an eye on the Carter’s | OshKosh Facebook page to see when even more new locations are added to the contest!

5 Fun Finds

If you're anything like us, we're always looking for fun, functional and affordable things that make our lives easier. 

So stay tuned, as we start regularly sharing our fun finds, that we know you'll just love! This week's finds are convenient, fun, and include a great activity to introduce your kids to gardening, by creating their very own vegetable garden.

1. Travel Perfume Bottle

Last month we travelled to L.A. and we all know that traveling with liquids is now a thing of the past (unless its frozen breast milk LOL).  Our favourite drug store has lots of options for little containers to bring shampoos, conditioners and creams, but what about perfume?  We got you covered. Check out this fab little new product, that you can actually transfer your favourite scent into.  No waste, or overbearing smells. Through its unique pumping system, it pumps the perfume directly into your carrying container! This is a must have for any travel moms! We used it, and just loved how easy it was!

2. Thermacell Lantern: Get LOST MosquitoEs!

Vanessa and I both love to entertain outdoors in the summer months, but right around 7 or 8pm those pesky mosquitoes arrive. Let's be honest, mosquitoes are a pain and can end a party. Introducing.. the Thermacell Lantern. Not only does it deter mosquitoes, black flies, and other little pests, they look great!  The lantern uses butane to heat a repellent pad to evenly and effectively vaporize a repellent in the air that biting bugs really HATE!  It does not kill insects, just repels them, and the lanterns are EPA approved!

 http://www.thermacell.com/products/mosquito-repellents/mosquito-repeller-lanterns

http://www.thermacell.com/products/mosquito-repellents/mosquito-repeller-lanterns

3. Kid friendly GPS System

We're not trying to scare you with this one, we promise. But we have to admit, we were intrigued when we heard about it. We're talking about a GPS tracking system for your littles. Personally, this is not something that we would use everyday, but there are times we certainly would. Have you ever been to a packed amusement park with a bunch of crazy kids? Even crowded malls, or a school field trip. Not Your Child, is a new GPS tracking system that your little one can wear on their belt or on a lanyard under their shirt. You can even place it discreetly in their knapsack. This system will immediately notify you if your child is going over a certain speed (ex. in a car they should not be in) or is trackable to their exact location if they get lost (can you say Disney?!)  We recommend this for mama's doing solo travels, day trips, or even camping!

4. Get Ready For Sleepovers with Camp Nana Papa

Summer is the best time for camp outs and sleep overs, but for some little ones a night away from mom and dad can be more scary than fun! That's why we LOVE the Camp Nana Papa book, that includes a firefly stuffy (that has a night light in it!) The story focuses on sibling love, and their special relationship with Nana and Papa. A beautiful read for kids of all ages, and prepares your babes for a night away from mommy and daddy. You might even get a date night with this one! www.campnanapapa.com

5. Self Watering Planter

Okay, so admittedly neither of us have a green thumb. However, we value the importance of teaching our children about food sources. Kids love learning about the earth and where all our food comes from. We just love the self-watering planter we discovered from Lee Valley. In addition to having fun, creating and growing their very own veggie garden, this is excellent way to support healthy eating. Not only is it the perfect way to get kids started in the garden, but the planter can actually can be left for up to three days, cause we know how busy life gets. But don't forget to teach the kids about watering.

http://www.leevalley.com/en/garden/page.aspx?p=74022&cat=2,51603

YOU CAN SEE HOW THE SELF WATERING PLANTER FROM CEDARCRAFT WORKS IN OUR SEGMENT WITH HGTV HOST CARSON ARTHUR

We hope you like this week's finds.

xo

Vanessa + Melissa

Pregnant or Plan on Getting Pregnant? Here’s What You Need to Know About Vaccinations

La traduction en français de cet article est ci-dessous

Melissa and I were both pregnant with our first babies in 2009/2010. As newly pregnant ladies, we were both over the moon. Of course, we were nervous about what lay ahead, but mostly, we were both filled with joy with the blessings we were carrying in our bellies. There had been a time when Melissa wasn’t sure she even wanted to be a parent, but at 25, when she held her baby for the first time, her life changed in the most beautiful way forever. I, on the other hand, just assumed that one day I would be a mother, as many young women do.

Although we have different approaches to parenting, (Melissa tends to have a more holistic, natural approach, whereas I’m more prone to mainstream, scientific studies), we definitely share the same values and morals when it comes to our families. 

During our pregnancies, our health and our babies' health, were always top of mind. Exercise, vitamins, a great diet and having a healthy mindset was always the goal for both of us, but in reality you can’t always control what surrounds you when you’re pregnant. 

During our first pregnancies, we started hearing about the H1N1 swine flu that was spreading rapidly and eventually became a pandemic in Canada. I remember thinking, just my luck! The minute I get pregnant, this terrifying flu starts going around. We were terrified of catching this flu because we were hearing of so many pregnant women who were being hospitalized. 

During our routine OB & Midwifery appointments, we were both told we should have a vaccination against this flu strain. Although we were nervous to get any vaccinations while pregnant, the benefits of being vaccinated against the H1N1 Flu outweighed any minimal risks. My O.B. at St. Michael's Hospital went over all the facts, as did Melissa's midwife. We are so thankful we got ourselves vaccinated against this sometimes, deadly flu. We later learned from media that in Canada, roughly 10% of the population had been infected with the virus, with 428 confirmed deaths as of Feb. 2010. We were happy we didn’t take the risk of being unvaccinated. Nine months later we both delivered healthy babies, who are now 5 and 6 years old.   

To be honest with you, before we both became pregnant we hadn’t really given much thought to vaccinations. Not until people were getting sick from the H1N1 flu. Once we had our babies, we became much more aware of the vaccinations recommended for all babies, toddlers, children and adults. We both made the educated decision to keep our kids and ourselves up to date. It just made sense to us, considering many diseases that used to kill or cause serious harm are now either eradicated or greatly reduced because of vaccines.

Actually, I have to admit that during my 2nd pregnancy, I had my daughter and my husband vaccinated for the flu, but missed my own vaccination. At 28 weeks pregnant I ended up in the hospital with the flu and a nasty fever. I recovered, but learned my lesson. I didn’t miss my flu vaccination for baby #3, currently on board.  

Now, what frightens us, are parents who don’t vaccinate their kids because they’re misinformed or fearful. Immunizations protect children in schools and daycare centres where diseases are easily spread. Vaccinating is definitely a community effort and when we all vaccinate, we help protect the very young, elderly and chronically ill who can potentially die from preventable diseases. It’s that simple. 

As Moms, we totally understand that there are a ton of conflicting opinions on every parenting subject you can think of and all parents really want is the best for their kids. When it comes to vaccinations, the best thing you can do is to educate yourself through scientific and reliable sources. Talk to your doctor, ask questions.

If you’re not sure of the vaccination schedules for babies and children check out this link: https://www.ontario.ca/page/vaccines-babies-and-toddlers

Also, make sure to keep yourself vaccinated so you don’t pass anything to your kids or anyone else’s. https://www.ontario.ca/page/vaccines-adults

Vaccines are really the best way to protect your kids from certain disease. Most vaccines are effective 90 to 100% of the time. Let’s keep our kids and communities safe from these diseases. 

Stay Healthy!

XO Vanessa+Melissa

This post was developed in association with the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. The opinions of the author are their own.

Getting your family immunized is an important part of creating a foundation for a healthy life and it’s normal to have questions. Here’s the information you need to make an informed decision for your family.



 

Vous êtes enceinte ou vous prévoyez le devenir? Voici ce dont vous avez besoin de savoir sur la vaccination.

Melissa et moi étions toutes deux enceintes de nos premiers bébés en 2009-2010. En tant que femmes nouvellement enceintes, nous étions toutes deux surexcitées. Nous étions bien sûr anxieuses de savoir ce qui nous attendait, mais plus important encore, nous étions toutes deux remplies de joie à l’idée de porter dans notre ventre une source de bénédictions. Il fut un temps où Melissa n’était pas certaine de vouloir même être parent, mais à 25 ans, lorsqu’elle porta son bébé dans ses bras pour la première fois, sa vie changea à jamais de la plus merveilleuse façon qui soit. Quant à moi, j’avais tout simplement présumé, comme un grand nombre de jeunes femmes, qu’un jour, je deviendrais mère. 

Bien que nos approches en matière d’éducation des enfants étaient différentes, (Melissa avait tendance à adopter une approche plus holistique et naturelle alors que j’étais portée à favoriser les études scientifiques traditionnelles), il n’y avait aucun doute que nous partagions les mêmes valeurs et la même éthique lorsqu’il s’agit de notre famille. 

Pendant notre grossesse, notre santé et celle de notre bébé étaient toujours au cœur de nos priorités. Nous avions toutes deux comme buts de faire de l’exercice, de prendre des vitamines, de suivre un excellent régime alimentaire et d’adopter une attitude positive, mais en fait, il n’est pas toujours possible d’avoir le contrôle de son environnement lorsque l’on est enceinte. 

Au cours de nos premières grossesses, nous commençions à entendre parler de la grippe porcine H1N1 qui se propageait rapidement et qui avait dégénéré par la suite en une pandémie au Canada. Je me rappelle avoir pensé que c’était bien ma chance! Aussitôt enceinte, ce terrible fléau commençait à se répandre. Nous étions terrorisées à l’idée d’attraper cette grippe parce qu’il y avait tellement de femmes enceintes qui étaient hospitalisées.

Lors de nos rendez-vous de routine avec l’obstétricien et la sage-femme, nous avions reçu toutes deux la recommandation de nous faire vacciner contre cette souche de grippe. Bien que nous étions anxieuses à aller de l’avant avec cette idée en étant enceintes, les avantages du vaccin contre la grippe H1N1 dépassaient tout risque si minime soit-il. Mon obstétricien à l’Hôpital St. Michael’s avait passé en revue avec moi tous les faits, tout comme la sage-femme de Melissa. Nous avons été tellement reconnaissantes de nous faire vacciner contre cette grippe parfois mortelle. Nous avons par la suite appris par les médias qu’au Canada,  

près de 10 % de la population avait été infectée par ce virus, dont 428 décès confirmés en date du mois de février 2010. Nous étions heureuses de ne pas avoir pris le risque de demeurer non vaccinées. Neuf mois plus tard, nous accouchions toutes deux de bébés en santé, maintenant âgés de 5 et de 6 ans. 

À vrai dire, avant de tomber toutes deux enceintes, nous n’avions pas réellement pensé à nous faire vacciner. Jusqu’à ce qu’une partie de la population tombe malade à cause de la grippe H1N1. Une fois que nous avons eu chacune notre bébé, nous sommes devenues beaucoup plus informées des vaccins recommandés pour tous les bébés, les tout-petits, les enfants et les adultes. Nous avons toutes deux pris la décision éclairée de demeurer à jour en ce qui concerne nos vaccins et ceux de nos enfants. Cette décision nous semblait logique, compte tenu qu’un grand nombre de maladies qui tuaient les gens ou leur causaient de graves symptômes sont maintenant éradiquées ou réduites grandement grâce aux vaccins.  

En fait, je dois dire que pendant ma deuxième grossesse, j’ai demandé à ma fille et à mon mari de se faire vacciner contre la grippe, mais que j’ai oublié mon propre vaccin. À 28 semaines de grossesse, je me suis retrouvée à l’hôpital avec la grippe et une mauvaise fièvre. Je me suis rétablie, mais j’ai appris ma leçon. Je n’ai pas oublié de me faire vacciner contre la grippe lorsque j’ai eu mon troisième bébé, qui a maintenant vu le jour. 

Ce qui nous fait peur maintenant, ce sont les parents qui ne font pas vacciner leurs enfants parce qu’ils sont mal informés ou ont peur. La vaccination protège les enfants dans les écoles et les garderies là où les maladies se propagent facilement. La vaccination est sans aucun doute une action communautaire et lorsque nous sommes tous vaccinés, nous aidons les très jeunes, les personnes âgées et les personnes atteintes d’une maladie chronique à se protéger contre les risques de mourir potentiellement de maladies évitables. C’est aussi simple que cela.

En tant que mamans, nous comprenons tout à fait qu’il existe une multitude d’opinions divergentes sur chaque sujet lié à l’éducation des enfants auquel on peut penser et que tous les parents ne veulent que le meilleur pour leurs enfants. Lorsqu’il s’agit de vaccination, la meilleure chose à faire est de se renseigner en consultant des sources scientifiques sûres. Parlez-en à votre médecin, posez-lui des questions.

Pour connaître le calendrier de vaccination pour les bébés et les enfants, veuillez cliquer sur ce lien : 

https://www.ontario.ca/fr/page/vaccination-des-bebes-et-des-tout-petits

De plus, assurez-vous de vous faire vacciner régulièrement pour ne pas transmettre de maladies à vos enfants ou à quelqu’un d’autre. 

https://www.ontario.ca/fr/page/la-vaccination-des-adultes

Les vaccins sont réellement la meilleure façon de protéger vos enfants contre certaines maladies. La majorité des vaccins sont efficaces dans 90 % à 100 % des cas. Prenons les moyens pour protéger nos enfants et notre collectivité contre ces maladies.

Demeurons en santé!

XO Vanessa+Melissa

Ce blogue a été rédigé en association avec le ministère de la Santé et des Soins de longue durée de l’Ontario. Les opinions de l’ auteure lui appartiennent.  

Vaccines.. they don't have to hurt! Evidence based tips to Help Kids cope

The dreaded vaccine needles....  

Although we strongly believe that all children should be vaccinated, we are the first to admit that we both struggle with vaccination time!  It can be quite painful for mom, and babe!

We love the new campaign out, #ITDOESNTHAVETOHURT and we were inspired to learn more about this evidence-based pain care, in order to help our little ones deal with child-hood needles or how to better cope in any situation that requires potentially 'painful' medical attention.

Recently we interviewed Child Life Specialist Christine Shadd, who works at SickKids Hospital, asking her what are the best tips for reducing pain and helping our children cope with needles! 

8 Tips to help during needles 

1.       Don’t lie to your kids if they ask if there is going to be a needle, or if it will hurt, tell them the truth.

2.        If needed you can request the use of numbing creams, sugar water or breastfeeding is great to do during vaccines!

3.       Use comfortable positioning, for example being cradled in arms

4.       For older kids if you can, give them a job, like holding the bandaids or cotton balls

5.       Don't forget about the magic of distraction!!! (blowing bubbles, smart phone/iPad, singing, toys)

6.       If you are anxious about needles, do not share that with your child.  Do NOT say in front of your child that you or spouse struggle with needles, have a calm soft voice while using POSITIVE words

7.     Don’t tell them “it’s going to be ok” or “it won’t last long”. rather tell them they are doing a great job holding still or count to ten with them for distraction

8.       Be prepared with immediate reward (i.e. lollipop, small toy, stickers…whatever they will be excited about)

 

Want to hear more of her amazing tips?  Click the video below!

 

Here are some amazing links that we LOVE!

About Kids Health – Painfree Injections in Babies

http://www.aboutkidshealth.ca/En/HealthAZ/TestsAndTreatments/GivingMedication/Pages/Painfree-Injections-in-Babies.aspx

It Doesn’t Have to Hurt Campaign

http://pediatric-pain.ca/it-doesnt-have-to-hurt

Baby laughing while getting vaccines – Dr. Darden, Maryland (YouTube)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOOxpT9q2mo

   Christine Shadd, BA, CCLS    Certified Child Life Specialist – Outpatient Clinics  The Hospital for Sick Children

Christine Shadd, BA, CCLS

Certified Child Life Specialist – Outpatient Clinics

The Hospital for Sick Children

#MomGuilt.. It's real

Good morning. 

Little stretch.

Say my prayers and read a few bible verses. 

 

Now I'm here on my bed listening to the chatter below, as my babes play in their little kitchen,  while my husband is trying to keep them from a fight over one thing or another. 

I'm here doing, absolutely nothing...

I think they assume I'm folding laundry, or getting ready for church, but I'm not.  I'm liking pictures on Instagram, responding to emails and just lounging on my bed... feeling guilty.

Why?

Why is it that we so often feel guilt in pleasure?  That we feel bad if our husbands have to do a little more than usual? That if we hear the banter downstairs, our first inclination is to stop whatever we were doing for ourselves to rush and make it better? Is it the pride?  Maybe we feel like we can usually do the best job at calming storms, or providing the best breakfast?

Why do we call home and check in when our hubbies have it under control? You know that call...

Me "Hey babe".
Him "Hi mama".
Me "So.... How are the kids?".
Him "...fine".
Me "Did you make lunch?".
Him "No I thought I'd let them starve".
Me (insert eye roll, because I know he's already offended that I'm calling to check up on him, but I continue) "Did you use the boiled eggs I left out? and don't forget the chopped veggies.  The baby has milk in a bottle in the fridge already and don't let little man have any juice before he eats his sandwich. Oh and..."
Him "I got it under control babe".

 

Right? And when you get home, 

Me "Hey Hun, thanks so much for letting me have time to get my hair done".

Wait! Let's stop for a second. Do our husbands say "thanks" for being able to do anything alone?  Do they come home and say, "Thanks for letting me go to the barber!"  Why do we do that?  It's this guilt again!  We feel guilty for asking for time to ourselves and usually when we get it, we are only thinking about our babies and if our husbands are okay.

When we spoke with therapist and Sexologist, Kelly McDonnell-Arnold, she told us that this actually can have negative effects in our SEX and intimate relationships with our husbands! Huh? Who knew?  Yes, she says that Moms tend to lose themselves once the children start popping out! (Can I get an AMEN?)  I used to read books, I used to travel, I loved my coffee breaks in an actual coffee shop just journaling... Now, I barely do any of those things.

 OK, moms don't get me wrong... I would not change my life for the WORLD!  I am beyond blessed. However, this is the truth.  It's easy to lose our sense of self when we become Moms.  Kelly also mentioned that Moms can be over simulated with touch, carrying children, kissing  ouchies, cuddling on the couch, carrying children (yes, I said that twice because mine want to be carried everywhere).

So that intimate touch we used to crave from our partner is actually not required in the same way. Hence ,when Daddy wants some hot mama time, we find ourselves tired and our minds actually just want to shut down. 

Okay, so what do we do?  Watch this vLog we just shared in our #MommyTalk.. Kelly gives us some amazing tips.

We talk with Sexologist Kelly about getting the va-va-voom back in your relationship after KIDS!

Xo 

Melissa 

The Best Diet EVER.. Is the one that works for YOU!

You have probably heard about all the different diets, nutritional lifestyle plans and crash diets/programs to hep you get fit, lose weight, drop the baby weight or even to change your beliefs around food!

As someone who has a major passion for health and nutrition, (plus I'm very curious about the latest food fads) I took the entire month of January to test out some of the hottest diets out there and have provided you with my full review.

Here are the FOUR types of diets I tested:

  1. Raw food (provided by Rawlicious)
  2. Juicing (PURE Juice Bar)
  3. The Planet Friendly Diet
  4. IIFYM (or Flexible dieting)

Raw Food:

This was a one week journey for me with NO cooked food.  No items are allowed to be heated above 118 degrees.  For this diet, I used the Raw Food Cleanse created by Rawlcious, which was really interesting, because I wasn't quite sure even how to go a full day eating RAW!

Juicing: 

I was nervous for this one, to be honest.  I'm going to embarrass myself and admit that almost a decade ago I tried the Beyonce diet (we are talking lemon water with maple syrup and cayenne pepper).  I somehow convinced my then finance, (now husband) to attempt this with me. By day 3 we were both angry and found ourselves at the local burger joint before lunch time!

This diets was a variety of juices and no eating of anything solid for five days! Yes, 5 days!! 

The Planet Friendly Diet:

This one intrigued me as a mother and as someone who is quite passionate about the state of our environment and mother earth. We had recently received a press release about this new book written by Cat Smiley, who is a world class athlete and also owns one of the TOP weight loss retreat centres for women, in Canada.  She just released a new book/cookbook which gives support and guidance to create a healthy lifestyle change, while minimizing your carbon footprint!  I was SO excited to try this one out and learn in the process!

MACROS/ IIFYM/ Flexible Dieting

Okay, so I had tried this before and decided to finish off the month with something that is rather familiar to me.  The theory here is you can eat whatever you want, just within your specific bank allotment of carbs, proteins and fats. Sounds amazing right!!! Well three donuts don't quite fit, but you can definitely fit in some treats here and there.

Click Here for my review in this weeks Mommy Talk vLog!

After one month of trying these diets...here is my review

Raw Vegan:

http://rawlicious.ca/canada/cleanse-packages/

Pros: 

  • Quick prep.
  • Reduces your intake of dairy, meats and processed food.
  • Allows you to receive enzymes (which are killed during cooking) and we were told during our interview with Chelsea from Rawlicious, this is the key to looking young!

Cons:

  • It is quite difficult to get used to.
  • It eliminates a lot of foods, which can be hard for a family. 
  • You will require additional b12 in your diet via vitamins.
  • Won't always equal weight loss immediately, because you are still eating a healthy amount of food.

SCORE

EASE (6)

SUSTAINABLE (9)

FAMILY FRIENDLY (5) *depending on your comfort levels 

WEIGHT LOSS (7)

TIPS: Prepare snacks ahead of time like raw vegan protein balls. Take this one day at a time and do not be hard on yourself if you struggle in the beginning.  Try the RAW UNTIL 4 plan first (smoothie, big raw salad and then a clean healthy dinner with your family)

PLANET FRIENDLY DIET

http://www.amazon.ca/The-Planet-Friendly-Diet-Smiley/dp/1456572636

Pros:

  • Lots of energy from the healthy smoothies and yummy dinners.
  • Easy to include the family.
  • Perfect for any level of nutritional knowledge because she gives you ALL the tools you need!

Cons:

  • You must be prepared with food to stick to the exact diet.
  • It may be difficult to get used to not eating meals during the day.
  • Once you are done the 21 days, you will have to ease back into adding in more calories again or it could result in weight gain (but she does a great job of teaching you how to do that in the book!)

SCORE

EASE (9)

SUSTAINABLE (7)

FAMILY FRIENDLY (8)

WEIGHT LOSS (10)

TIPS: Make sure to have all your ingredients on hand.  Pre-make your snacks and make sure to have them ready. Read the entire book, because it is full of valuable information for when you are done!

JUICE CLEANSE

http://www.purejbk.com/cleanses

Pros: 

  • Instant weight loss.
  • Helps you get a clean slate and get ready for a healthy lifestyle.
  • Reduces your reliance on processed and unhealthy foods.
  • Forces you to take down time.

Cons: 

  • It is not easy.
  • It is not sustainable past the 3-5 day mark.
  • Not as much energy as you may be used to.
  • Your family cannot partake in the cleanse, however you can include healthy juices for everyone afterwards!

SCORE

EASE (5)

SUSTAINABLE (4)

FAMILY FRIENDLY (3) *the cleanse is not for the family, but they can all drink healthy juices with you!

WEIGHT LOSS (10) *please note the wait lost during the cleanse can come back quickly if you jump back into bad foods immediately.

Flexible Dieting

http://beginnermacros.com/

Pros:

  • This nutritional lifestyle allows ALL foods
  • You can apply this theory to ANY lifestyle, if you want to be vegan, eat vegan just make sure to hit your protein/carbs and fats
  • You can eat what your family eats 
  • It prevents yo-yo dieting because there are no restrictions and food automatically loses its appeal because nothing is off limits
  • You can eat lighter in the morning, so that you can enjoy a night out!

Cons; 

  • It takes time to get used to
  • You have to track everything you eat
  • You need to learn to use an app and it can be unenjoyable if tracking food is a negative for you
  • You need to learn to pre-track so that you are not at dinner with your family on your phone tracking
TIPS: Practise using the app My Fitness Pal before you officially start, with your own daily routine (not even aiming to hit the numbers) because it can be daunting at first.  Then use a macro calculator based on your goals to find out your numbers.  Be patient because it will take some time.  Seek out resources online to help! Be patient, it can take a few months to be comfortable and you might not lose weight right away.

SCORE

EASE (7) *once you are used to it, it becomes second nature

SUSTAINABLE (10)

FAMILY FRIENDLY (10) *The family doesn't do this, however it allows you to eat all the time with your family and not making you buy separate groceries

WEIGHT LOSS (8) You will lose weight, you just need to be a little more patient. 

How to raise a veggie lover!

With Palatetraining

Vanessa and I both love our veggies, but we will be the first to admit that our kids don't!

We know how hard it can be to get little ones to eat the greens, so we scoured the internet for someone who was doing it right!  Dr. Laura Lefkowitz, is an M.D. out of Florida and  specializes in nutrition.  She's taught us so much! Did you know that the baby palate is developed while in the womb? Or that you should never mix veggies and fruit in the same meal?  Well, take a few minutes to sit back and enjoy this video, because we know it will help you raise a veggie lover!

TIPS FROM DR. LAURA

Top 3 rules of Palatetraining are:

1) Always start non-sweet Vegetables, then Sweet Vegetable, and finally fruit.

2) Never Mix Fruits and Vegetables.  You can mix Vegetables with grains and Fruit with grains or avocado, but never mask the taste of vegetables with fruit.

3) Serve every puree/food independently on a flat sectioned plate (like pain on a painter’s palette) and aim for 2-3 different colored food at each meal.  i.e. green peas, orange sweet potato, and yellow squash. or  Green zucchini, purple potato, and orange butternut squash.

For more information on Dr. Laura Lefkowitz:

Tips To Shutting Down Social Media Over The Holidays

So this is it! We are shutting down our social media for 8 days!

Deep Breath.

This means:

  • No scrolling our feeds.
  • No taking pictures and posting them (we might miss this the most!).
  • No responding to messages.
  • No quick peeks.

Nadda.

Nothing.

Null.

No Social Media!

Could you do this?  We are aware that our business keeps us on social media a little more than the average mama.  However, we know lots of Moms & Dads who find themselves constantly scrolling down their Facebook & Instagram feeds, it's just so tempting..isn't it? All those funny, cute images on Instagram, plus peeking across social media to see what is going on with everyone else's lives. The truth is though, for some people, it can really take up way too much time and take away from being in the moment with your family & friends..Yes..REAL life. 

We admit it's a great way to pass time here and there and keep up with friends, but it's very common these days to see faces literally 'in their phones"..at restaurants, coffee shops, libraries, transit..well everywhere! The worst is seeing two people out for dinner with both their faces buried in their phones! Are we right!? Please vow to never do that! 

Want to know about our #SocialMediaShutDown Challenge?

 

Want To Join Us?

Feel free to use this image, or the one above (just save it to your phone) and post it to your social media channels. Let your friends and family know you're doing a social media detox!

Tips

1. Make a no phone at the table rule.

2. When someone texts you, call them back.

3. Take those pesky icons off your smart phone.

4. Turn your notifications off (if asking you to do number 3 is too intense).

5. Play, laugh, have fun! Forget about the rest of the world for a few minutes.  Shut your phone down and just embrace the holiday season.

6. Find a TRIBE (Or join ours) that will keep you accountable and join this refreshing challenge too.

7. TELL YOUR KIDS! Trust us! (did you watch our vlog? Vanessa told her daughter and she was already leaving reminder notes for her the next day).

We know your family, children and your mind will be thankful to finally take a rest, to not have a screen glaring back at your eyes. Join us and take a break for a few short days of watching what is going on in everyone else's lives and enjoy your own! We promise, you can't go wrong here. 

 

"LEAVE US A NOTE BELOW OR CONTACT US IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN JOINING OUR CHALLENGE!" 

xo

Vanessa + Melissa

 

 

Christmas And Food Guilt ... Erase It For GOOD!

I've always loved Christmas, but there's also a little part of me that used to fear it...the food that is. 

I know I am not alone here either.  The anxiety would set in, as chocolates and desserts were laid in front of me. Gravy poured with love, and my cup  overflowing with yummy wine!

It's a joyous time.  I am not saying it isn't, but it can be a week, sometimes two full weeks of guilt, feelings of failure, fear, lack of will power, the list  goes on.  The foods that I limited myself of year round surrounded me, everywhere I turned.

I would find myself saying things to myself like:
“I shouldn’t have ate that”
“I have no self-control”
“I hate how I feel now”

So I had two options going into Christmas this year:

a) Let those thoughts eat at my mind. Workout extra hard.. out of feelings of guilt. Remind myself each time that I placed another chocolate in my mouth that I will pay for it in the New Year!

OR

b) Engage in the family fun of food, laughter and joy. Embrace a few extra pounds, but know that the foods around me are available year round. There is nothing different that should create the need for me to binge or over indulge.

Over the years this kind of guilt, pain and constant yo-yo behaviour was crushing me from the inside out and I didn't know how to deal with it. I mean we're living in a society obsessed with dieting and perfection. We are surrounded by words and messages such as:

This Year, I Have A New Plan...

a) Look at the entire year or the month as a whole, not just the day of Christmas or the celebrations! Look at the success I had with my workouts and getting all my proper nutrition in, the other 95% of the year.  That's a pretty dope way to look at it!  

 

b) Embrace the foods that I want to eat and eat until I am FULL (not until all the food is gone). Because really, I can have some leftover turkey, chocolate AND a glass of wine tomorrow again, if I want to.

c) Stop worrying about the food.  Focus on not missing a moment, the laughter, cheers, the hugs and the family time. The FOOD will be there tomorrow, those moments will come and go. 

d) NO GUILT! It doesn’t matter what happens, If I eat one too many chocolates or don’t count my macros perfectly.  Being hard on myself over food is not allowed this year!

These may seem silly, but for someone who has struggled with food for years and understands the importance of eating mindfully, I want to help others think of ways to embrace the season, be merry and bright!  I also understand just how it feels to be hard on yourself and restrict, or punish yourself via food!  So let's say "NO!" to that together this year!

Set your own rules up for this year's Christmas and holiday celebrations. Take ownership over your food guilt and DON'T let it ruin you!  

XO Melissa

Here's To Being A MOM And All The ways I Might F* It Up!

The word sensitive, when related to a son is what most moms love to be able to say.  We want our sons to be affectionate, to be kind and to be gentle.  All that being said, parenting a sensitive boy has it's own set of difficulties.

While it's amazing to see him cuddle and coo at his baby sister, when he comes home in tears because his friends told him he couldn't play with them at school, it leaves me with a hole in my gut. When he gets scared because his teacher raises her voice, or when he bursts into tears over being corrected, I’m lost for words on how to help him navigate those feelings.  I try, as every mom does, but every time I feel like I come up short.

As much as he's sensitive, he's equally spirited. Put him in a room of boys and he is bouncing off the walls. Given the opportunity, he will find a way to sneak around us to get his way.  He's been coined Dennis the Mennis in our family at times, because although he is as boy as boys get, he has this sweet heart that most the time he actually doesn't even realize he is going to get in trouble for what he has set out to do.

His sweet grin, after he throws the green slime up in the air, that is now stuck to the ceiling, or his light laughter after he knocks down all the decorations on the armoire from an "ultimate plane landing". His eyes bulging out when he realizes the sink overflowed onto the floor, because he stopped paying attention from the excitement of the bubble bath he was creating!  He challenges us daily as parents, to try and appreciate the joy in his attempts, but also to guide him with lessons and rules.

My husband and I are careful in our choice of words, but at times I feel like I'm walking on eggshells with him.  I listen to his sadness after a hard day at school and although I empathize with his heart, at the same time I want to parent.  To help him understand he can't always chase after the same kid, because he is the easiest to catch.  That you cannot always correct other 5 year olds because you know the right answer.  Teaching them these life skills they need … “where is that parenting book?!”

As soon as I start to talk to him about the other side of the stick in any situation, the tears pour. I get another stab in my stomach that he feels I’m not on his team.  

This mom gig is NO JOKE and I feel like I'm always torn. He needs rules and guidance, but he also needs gentle leadership.  When I attempt both, I feel like sometimes I get it wrong.  I just want him to be happy, innocent and full of joy.  That time he danced away like no one was watching and he did not care about being laughed at.  I have this wish for that feeling to remain as long as possible.

I know that the tantrums and break downs are all part of him growing up, but when you love a little human so much, you want the best for them. At times I feel so lost at how to actually achieve that.

So here is to being a mom.. and all the ways I know I might F *IT UP (lol) … 

xo

Melissa