Pass the Swerve Please


Whether you’re swearing off sugar, trying the Keto diet, or going low-carb, Swerve sugar replacement is such a game changer.

I am NOT a fan of the nasty after taste some sweeteners have. Swerve doesn’t have it, and it equals sugar measurements teaspoon for teaspoon so there’s no guessing when following recipes. Sometimes a simple change or swapping of ingredients goes a long way.

If you start your day off with a cup a Joe, you don’t wanna mess with your mix, right? Switch to Swerve – zero calories, zero guilt, and your coffee doesn’t have to change. Here is the science behind it:

  • Zero-calorie sweetness is achieved by the combination of erythritol & oligosaccharides
  • Erythritol naturally occurs in many fruits & vegetables through fermentation
  • Oligosaccharides are sweet, non-digestible carbohydrates sourced from select fruits & starchy root vegetables
  • Oligosaccharides are prebiotic fibers, so they’re not only tasty, but they help stimulate beneficial bacteria in your gut
  • Swerve does not affect blood glucose so there’s no spike in insulin!

If you’re not about “dieting” but into making better choices, then Swerve is the ultimate sugar replacement. There’s nothing worse than trying to make your go-to yummy recipe of muffins and using a sweetener that’s overpowering, ruining your favourite treat.

I switched to Swerve a few months ago and love it. What are some of your healthy swaps? 

***Links will take you to Amazon where you can purchase product if you like. I am an part of the Amazon Associates Program.***

My Fave Essential Oil Diffuser


It wasn’t until I had children – when germs spread like wildfire or certain smells can knock you on your butt – that I became an advocate for the use of essential oils in the home.

Not only do they make your house smell amazing, but the health benefits are awesome too. For example, Purify, my go-to oil, not only makes your house smell like you just cleaned it (lemon and eucalyptus being the main oils in the blend) it also cleans the air you and your family breath.

The Viva Naturals Ultrasonic Diffuser line is my favourite! I love the natural grain wood designs that come in a variety of stains like natural, black or grey. My diffuser looks beautiful in any room on any surface. Here are some more perks:

  • Vaporizes oils, without using heat, into a cool mist maintaining their natural potency 
  • Cleans the air, eliminating toxins, mold, germs, & leaves your home smelling clean 
  • 4 mist modes release a gentle stream of calming oils into your home
  • Changing colours include moonlight white, firefly green, aquamarine teal, galaxy purple, sunset red, mellow yellow & mystic blue

If you love using different oils in different rooms for different reasons, then this is also an awesome option because it’s very affordable when compared to many other diffusers!

Use lavendar in the bedroom for its calming benefits, purify in high-traffic areas to keep things fresh and germs at bay, and maybe peppermint in the office to keep your mind alert!

What are your favourite oils to use?

***Links will take you to Amazon where you can purchase product if you like. I am an part of the Amazon Associates Program.***

Have an Anxious Friend? Keep Them & They’ll Keep You Alive.


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Photo Credit: The Cut

If you were close to me in my tween and teen years, you may remember me having a weak stomach when it came to nerves. Whether exams were coming up, a semi formal, a new crush…my anxiety would inevitably attack my insides – shooting high levels of cortisol into my system, sending my body into panic when there was no real danger. This physical chain reaction would usually lead me to being physically ill.

Some people assumed I was bulimic, others thought I had the flu a lot…and then there were my friends who knew what was really up and just went with the flow. They didn’t ask questions because they knew I had no answers. I hate my anxiety.

There are perks to knowing someone who gets bouts of anxiety though. As an anxious person, I almost always have a plan B, C, D and E. If we’re in a building and the fire alarm goes off – and there is indeed a fire, I am the person you want beside you. As you were ordering your Starbucks coffee and telling me about the crazy morning you had, I was listening while also planning escape routes out of the building should something crazy happen.

It’s just something I do. Maybe I watch the news too much. I don’t see the harm in being mentally prepared for emergency situations. Some people say I’m wasting my energy. Maybe I am, but I bet you’d follow my ass out of that building when it’s time for plan ‘B’ and you’re too panicked to think straight. You’re Welcome. 😉

Is There a Cure for This Mommy Brain Thing?


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Focusing is something I really struggle with lately. I know that “mommy brain” is an actual thing so it makes me feel better about my lack of concentration. But it doesn’t make things any less frustrating. It’s annoying how easily an idea that just entered my mind fades away like cotton candy in water…and I’m left feeling as panicked and bewildered as this poor dude:

I get agitated when I think of an item I need to add to my grocery list but can’t find a pen to quickly jot it down. It’s that bad – if I don’t write down the important thing that floats into my mind within 30 seconds, it’s gone. It’ll pop up at some other time during the day, but probably when I’m driving or showering.

At least three times a day I find myself standing in front of the fridge holding the doors open asking out loud what the heck did I need again? Or as I’m heading downstairs to the cold room for a jar of tomato sauce, it may occur to me that I’d like something sweet with my coffee later. Naturally I return upstairs with all the ingredients for pineapple up-side-down cake but no jar of sauce. Frig! Downstairs I go again.

Please tell me some mommies out there can relate? Any tips of how to focus again?

 

I Hate You, Parenting Articles


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I read parenting advice from all different perspectives. And with each paragraph I read I shake my head and realize I’ve been doing it all wrong. At the end of the article I’m convinced that one of my children may turn out to be a serial killer. Who knows, maybe both will.

Why are there so many methods? How do I know which one will work?I believe that  all these different theories were written by people who think their own parents did it wrong. After years of trying to fix themselves they believe they’ve come up with the right way to raise a child.

I want to know how their children turned out…or better yet if they even have children. And if their children did happen to turn out to be brain surgeons or violinists or CEO’s of big companies – I’d like to know what these successful people really feel about their childhoods and how their parents raised them. I wonder if they gave me the password to their computer if I’d find a file with 52 pages of a book they’re writing about parenting and how to do it right.

I hate how these articles make me feel. I hate that I’ll always feel inadequate even when I’m doing an okay job. I hate that I question everything:

  • Did that three-day potty training week from hell scar him?
  • Is he going to marry a bitchy woman because I yell at least twice a day and he’ll find bitchy women to be comforting and familiar?
  • Will he develop a tick when he sees blueberries because of that morning we had a power struggle over eating two more blueberries before he was allowed to leave the table?
  • Will he be behind in kindergarten because he’s home with me and not in daycare like many other toddlers? He can only count to 14 and not 31, maybe I should put him in preschool twice a week.
  • Will he develop OCD because I try to pick those boogers out of his nose every chance I get?
  • If I ignore this tantrum right now will he grow up to be resentful and angry because I’m not validating his feelings?

No matter what I do I’m questioning myself, doubting every decision I make. And as if my own fears aren’t enough I read parenting articles that confirm them. The articles make it official – I’m doing it wrong. Well guess what parenting articles?

 

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Have a nice day 🙂

 

Unleashing My Inner Hulk


When Jacob whines, I want to grab a chair and throw it through the window. When he has a tantrum, I want to have my own tantrum too. I want to stomp and shout and cry and shriek and smack my head against the wall.

I never knew that I could feel such turmoil and violence inside of me. I feel like any second I’ll morph into The Hulk and start throwing furniture around the room. But while all these feelings are building up inside of me and my blood is reaching a hot, scolding boiling point, this is how I look:

internally screaming

I look patient and kind and understanding. Somewhere on my skull there is a throbbing, pulsing vein as I contain these feelings. They are pushed down into my gut for the time being. But they get their chance to be unleashed at the right moment. Whether it’s when I’m alone in my room and I scream into the pillow, cry while I’m showering, sob as I tell my husband about how horrible our two year old treated me today, kick the stuffed animal that’s in my path, scrub hardened food off a plate with way more pressure than needed…

There are many opportunities for me to unleash. And I never let one pass me by. Having my own little fifteen-second tantrums, while alone and out of earshot from my children, are what let me remain calm and collected during my toddler’s tantrums. I’m able to stay in a logical frame of mind – remembering that Jacob is only two and has yet to learn to control his emotions. I can stay calm and guide him through his frustration and anger, rather than react to it with my own yelling and screaming.

I also tell any moms who listen about how tantrums make me feel like my head will explode. I think it’s good for us to share these stories. It makes me feel less crazy when I know a fellow mom cries in the shower too. And better yet, I learn new unleashing techniques!

What are some of the ways you unleash after a day of listening to tantrums and whining? Let’s all help each other stay sane.  

THREE Ways This Pregnancy Is Different from the First


In case my 700+ blog followers don’t know yet, we’re PREGNANT! Before you read on, just know that I AM excited about it. The following post is just about my pregnancy this time around…and how it’s not as awesome as the first one.

Napping is Hard

When I was pregnant with Jacob and I was tired I simply got comfortable and drifted off into a nice little piece of heaven. This time around, I’m lucky if I can close my eyes for a few minutes without a matchbox car being driven over my forehead.

I Don’t Feel Like a Million Bucks

Just like my first pregnancy my skin looks great, my hair is thick and I have a nice glow. Sounds soooo terrible, right? Ha! Well during my first pregnancy I had time to pamper myself. So my nice skin could be moisturized, and I could put makeup on to accent my cheekbones and eyes. And I could style my hair into a fun messy bun, or large beachy waves.

Now I’m lucky to put chapstick on and my hair gets thrown into a ponytail. I’m too tired to try looking nice. And on the days that I want to put the effort in, my two year old decides he wants to put makeup on like mommy, and I have a bigger mess to clean.

My outfits are a joke. Track pants and sweaters are my go-to items. Fast and comfortable. In a nutshell it’s hard to feel like a million bucks these days.

I’m Not as Giddy as the First Time

Maybe it’s because I know what’s coming. Oh my, that sounds so foreboding! I don’t mean that I’m not looking forward to having a precious newborn arrive, I’m referring to the Dark Days that are the first 6 weeks post partum.

With my first pregnancy I had NO idea what to expect. I thought it would be like playing house. What a rude awakening I had. Being a first time mom was HARD! So I just feel a little overwhelmed about how much my new bundle of joy will need me, as well as how much my toddler will need me as this BIG change happens.

BUT!! This time around at least I know that it passes! I can remind myself that it’ll go by in a haze but that things WILL get better. And although it’ll feel like there is no end in sight, I will KNOW that there is because I’ve done it before and it MUST have been worth it if I’m doing it again.

How did you feel during your second pregnancy? Any tips on ways to lift myself up a bit?

I Thought I Birthed an Angel, Until He Turned Two


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Jacob turned two years old in July. What a happy little dude he is, until I say that horrible, despicable, awful word: “No.” It all happens in slow motion for me:

  • His head tilts upwards
  • He looks into my eyes
  • His eyes begin to water
  • He frowns
  • A moan escapes his throat
  • The moan takes on a higher pitch
  • He’s yelling and screaming and running mad with rage

I’ve heard different things. Ignore him, let him know who’s boss, cuddle him while he fights your embrace, walk away and give us both space, etc. I try to think about how I feel when I’m told “No”. If I really want something, I consider asking “why?” and enter into a non-heated debate of opinions until I am satisfied with the explanation or get what I want.

But, a two-year old doesn’t have enough vocabulary to calmly sit down and have a good old debate. So all his feelings bubble up and he literally hits a boiling point. It makes complete sense to me. I can relate to him too. I feel the same way a few times a day as a homemaker. However, at my age, I’ve learned how to save the rage till after he goes to bed, then write in my journal or have a fist fight with a pillow while sobbing out all the bad feelings.

So how do I respond to the little demon who comes out when I say “No”? I try my best to be understanding. I don’t give in to what he wants (usually ice cream for breakfast or pretzels for lunch or to bring his entire wooden Thomas train set into the bath). I say “I’m sorry you feel sad, but we can’t do that right now.” Which usually brings on a whole new level of sobs. But I figure, it’s good for him. I do it, in private so I don’t freak him out, and feel like a new person afterwards.

His anger, and tantrums are totally normal. At two, I don’t think I need to teach him to “suck it up” I think he needs his feelings validated, felt and then to move on to playtime. Ignoring him? That’s not my style. I would feel absolutely rejected, defeated and unimportant if someone I love dearly paid no attention to me if I was sobbing.

He needs to know I love him, so much, that I won’t let him eat ice cream for breakfast, and that when he’s upset about it, mommy sympathizes with him.

This will all pass. I tell myself it’s just a season, like winter. Actually that’s the perfect season for “the terrible twos” – dreary and long, but often filled with absolute joy, excitement and carefree play.

Guest Post by Michelle Pino: DIY Home Spa Treatments


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Hello friends and followers! I have a treat for you. Michelle Pino was gracious enough to offer some amazing DIY recipes for home spa treatments. Just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Michelle Pino has provided these DIY recipes based on the treatments currently being offered at Skana Spa, at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino. Michelle enjoys sharing her knowledge as well as finding ways to live a frugal, healthy and happy lifestyle. To connect with Michelle, email her at MichellePino@turningstone.com! Read her article below and pamper yourself a little:

 A Mask for Your Hands, A Mask For Your Feet:

A DIY Facial and Pedicure Just in Time for Valentines Day

Almost everyone enjoys berries and chocolate, and who doesn’t enjoy spending time relaxing at the spa? Why not combine the two this Valentines Day for a great do it yourself spa treatment that can be done from the comfort of your own home? Enjoy these recipes alone or with friends, either way you will not regret pampering your body and yourself to something naturally special.

Chocolate Strawberry Fruity Face Mask
Strawberries are great natural ingredient for controlling oil balance in your skin, as well as for the banishment of unwanted pimples and acne. The hydration from the honey will leave your face feeling fresh and smooth.

Ingredients:

½ cup Strawberries, pureed
¼ Cocoa powder
3 tbsp Honey

1 Egg White

Directions:
Combine the above ingredients in a small bowl making sure everything is thoroughly combined. (You may find you need to add more cocoa powder if the mixture is too runny, or another egg white if it’s too clumpy.) To apply the facemask, begin by washing your make up and any other skin products off. Next, apply the mask to your face with your hands. The texture of the mask should be smooth, not too runny or clumpy. Avoid your mouth and eyes. Allow the mask to set for about 15-20 minutes. Wash the mask off with warm water, followed by a splash of cool water to close your pores. Ta-da!

Homemade Chocolate Pedicure

Body wraps can be applied to the entire body or be made specifically for any one area of the body. Either way they are great for moisturizing and hydrating the skin, leaving it soft to the touch. They also provide great relaxation and allow the skin to become firmer, temporarily reducing the appearance of wrinkles and aging. This specific mask is targeted for the feet and can be done as a pedicure! Try doing it alone, with a significant other or with a friend!

Ingredients:
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
5 strawberries
1/2 cup champagne
1/3 cup honey

*Note: You will also need a microwave, blender, and paintbrush.

Directions:
Place the chocolate chips in a glass microwave-safe dish. Put the dish into the microwave and heat for about two minutes on medium heat, or until the chocolate chips are completely melted and smooth. Separately, add the strawberries, champagne and honey to the blender. Blend until smooth and creamy. Next, blend the strawberry mixture and the melted chocolate until it forms a paste. Let cool so that it is still warm to the touch, but not uncomfortably hot. While waiting for the paste to cool, clean and exfoliate your feet using either a scrub or brush. This removes dead skin cells and will give you better results from the foot wrap. Apply the chocolate berry mixture to your skin using the paintbrush. Leave this on for approximately fifteen minutes. During this time, kick your feet up and relax. Sip on champagne, indulge in some chocolate covered strawberries or place a warm cloth over your eyes. After fifteen minutes wash the wrap off your feet and pat dry.

*Note: Remove nail polish, cut and file toenails prior to this!

Strawberries and chocolate might be the first thing that comes to mind when you think “Valentines Day,” but they are not just for eating anymore. They offer great benefits to your skin and will leave you smelling heavenly, not to mention it’s an inexpensive way to spend quality time with someone you love. Light some candles and turn on some relaxing music, and you’re ready for your own do it yourself spa at home!

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/darwinbell/4189114299/

I Wish Pasta was Good for Me


lasagna

I’d eat it all the time. Even for breakfast.

We’re being hit by a major snow storm today. It’s the kind of storm that makes you stay indoors; venturing out only if it’s a MUST. Naturally, I want to warm up my bones, but not with a cup of tea, with a huge plate of lasagna with layers of cheese, meat. cheese, and more cheese.

Garlic bread on the side would be nice too. With melted cheese on top of course! I could make one right now. But the problem with that is my lasagna can feed about 8 people. So my husband and I, who have no will power when it comes to my lasagna, will eat the whole thing by the end of today. We’ll have a plate for dinner. But throughout the evening we’ll periodically grab a fork and take mouthfuls right out of the dish it’s baked in. This happens until it’s done.

If only eating lasagna was like having a big bowl of fruit. Chock full of nutrients that feed my immune system, rather than full of carbs that make my butt bigger. If only a plate of pasta a day would keep the doctor away, instead of that boring apple.

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/exlibris/