Life Lately

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Long time, no talk! I haven’t done one of these posts in a good while so I thought it was time for a little update.

Up first, some good things I’ve eaten lately:

This brunch at Cora:

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Our Valentine’s Day dinner in:

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(I used our favourite marinade for the chicken and shrimp. Have you tried it yet?)

Approximately 57 cupcakes from Sinfully Sweet:

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I just discovered this place and have already been there more times than I care to admit.

P.S. Can you tell my appetite is back?

Best book I’ve read lately: All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood. This book is not for the faint of heart. It details the love story of a young girl and a much older man but the writing is very heartwarming and compelling.

Between pregnancy and winter, my skin has been freaking out for months now. I’ve been trying some natural solutions and getting into a new routine with my skin care. My skin is super dry and sensitive while also breaking out constantly, which is frustrating. At night I’ve been using grapeseed oil under my night cream and the Body Shop Aloe Mask on extra dry spots. My Burt’s Bees Herbal Blemish Stick has been a godsend and I’ve almost completely used mine up; time to repurchase! I’ve also discovered a new face mask that isn’t in the Think Dirty database yet but it is formulated without parabens, paraffins, silicone or mineral oils so I feel pretty confident using it. A good mask with cleaner ingredients has been super hard to find and I am LOVING this one. I use this once a week and always notice a huge difference in my skin afterwards. Another product that’s been saving me is the Josie Maran Vibrancy Foundation with argan oil. I mentioned this last spring when I used it for my wedding makeup. I loved it in warmer weather but in cold weather it’s even better. Not only is it a foundation, but the argan oil acts as a skin treatment too. It gives a great glow and isn’t cake-y or heavy. This one is also not in the Think Dirty database yet but again, finding a good clean-ish foundation has been tough. This one is free of parabens and synthetic fragrance which are the two big things I’ve been avoiding.

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In the pregnancy world: I have a long and detailed second trimester post in the works but in short, I’ve been feeling awesome. I just hit 6 months and we start pre-natal classes soon. I’ve also been doing a crap ton of baby product research and I’m completely overwhelmed. Tell me about all your fave products, mamas!

I’ve recently done a bit of a Facebook cleanse and I have noticed a big shift in my mood, plus an increase in free time for things that actually contribute positively to my life. I felt I was relying on my phone too much and I’m so happy with how I’ve felt since unplugging more often. I plan to share more on this soon. I’ve also started watching a TED Talk when I first wake up in the mornings instead of mindless internet scrolling. I’d love to hear your recommendations, if you have any.

Things I want to do soon:

  • See La La Land in the theatre.
  • Start checking things off our baby to-do list.
  • Take a fun class or workshop of some sort.

 

What have you been up to?

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Easy Banoffee Cups

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These little cups were born out of laziness. I wanted Banoffee Pie. But I didn’t want to make a pie (or be tempted to eat the whole thing, for that matter). Sometimes my lazy brain can be kind of clever, in a “work smarter, not harder” kind of way and I started to think about how I could really simplify things. Enter these cups. All the great flavours of Banoffee, way less effort and ready to eat in no time. I think these little cups would be a perfect dessert for your Valentine. And if your Valentine is yourself then you get to eat both…lucky you!

Easy Banoffee Cups

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp. powdered sugar
  • 8 chocolate sandwich cookies, coarsely chopped
  • 1 large ripe banana, peeled and sliced
  • 4 tbsp. caramel sauce

Instructions:

Put the heavy cream and vanilla extract in a bowl and beat until stiff peaks form. Add the powdered sugar and whip until combined. Set aside.

Layer two of the crumbled cookies into the bottom of a 12 oz. glass. Then layer on ¼ of the sliced banana, 1 tbsp. of the caramel sauce and ¼ of the whipped cream. Repeat the layers again and garnish the cup with leftover cookie crumbs. Now repeat these steps with the second glass.

Chill the prepared cups until ready to serve and devour!

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It’s a…

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So, I know that we were very insistent on not finding out the gender at the beginning of this. But then we found out my younger sister was expecting and due just a week after me. We tested some Old Wives’ Tales together on New Year’s Eve. And then the suggestion came up about a double reveal. Nothing big, just our parents and siblings. The more I thought about this, the more excited I became. We started to plan the get together but when Caitlin couldn’t find out the gender of the baby at her ultrasound, things came to a standstill. Again, I wrestled with finding out at all, but ultimately, Tommy and I had gotten too used to the idea of finding out to go back to playing a waiting game.

We had our 20 week ultrasound and saw our baby squirming on the screen. We saw tiny hands and perfect feet and a pulsing heart. It was magical, and we left with an envelope with the answer inside.

I should back up here. For a long time now, I’ve believed this baby to be a girl. I can’t say why, really. Is it because I was around for more of my sister’s growing up, so I felt I understood them better? Was it because little girls love Tommy and gravitate to him? Was it because my nausea was so intense? I don’t know, but I for sure thought this little baby was a girl. In addition to this, almost everyone I talked to was convinced I was having a girl too. This just felt like our reality and I never really thought about the alternative. Don’t get me wrong. I want both genders, for different reasons. But I definitely thought this one was a girl and that has been the narrative in my mind this whole pregnancy.

Then I saw BLUE balloons and everything changed. We have a video of the reveal that I’ve avoided posting publicly because all you can hear me saying is, “Holy sh*t, holy sh*t, holy sh*t!” about fifty times. I was SHOCKED. Everyone else was too. It was a great moment.

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So, we’re going to a have a little boy. We know his name and we use it in private. We call him “he” every chance we get. We went on a little shopping spree for him this past weekend and bought all the little boy outfits we’ve been looking at since we found out we were expecting but before we knew he was a boy. I went through a weird phase of panic about being a “boy mom”. Like I might not be good at it. I’m a girl’s girl all the way through. How will I relate to my son? I had to redirect my thinking after all of that girl projecting I’ve been doing for the last few months. Time is good medicine for worries like this and I’m already looking forward to all our little boy has to teach me. Remember when I talked about being a student on the journey of motherhood? This feels like lesson number one.

IT’S A BOY!

I am so shocked. And thrilled. And terrified. And grateful.

We can’t wait to meet him.

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Hearty Banana Oat Muffins

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The very first thing I baked after my first trimester kitchen hiatus was banana muffins. Looking back on it, I still can’t believe how long I went without cooking a single thing. It was insane. In addition to my exhaustion, cooking smells were my worst enemy and this meant I stayed out of the kitchen for a good, long while. If you know me, this is unheard of. Finally, one Saturday morning several weeks back, I woke up and I actually felt decent. I was starving and nothing but banana muffins would do, and even better, I actually felt like baking them myself. But there was one catch.

My absolute favourite banana bread recipe has cream cheese, which we didn’t have on hand. Oh, and I really didn’t feel like using my mixer either. I wanted a one-bowl deal. I did a quick Google search and landed on this recipe. It was super fast to whip up and it totally hit the spot. I started making a batch every week or so but in the New Year I decided maybe it was time to find a healthier alternative. I tinkered with the original quite a bit and these came out even better than I had dreamed, on the first try. No butter, no refined sugar and no gluten if you use gluten-free oats. They are filling and perfectly sweet, although I love them spread with a little strawberry jam. Even if you’re on a resolution diet of some kind, these will probably still be allowed for a guilt-free treat. My biggest problem these days is always having enough ripe bananas on hand!

Hearty Banana Oat Muffins

Makes 12 standard muffins

Ingredients:

  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • Pinch salt
  • ¾ cup coconut sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups oat flour
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 12 cup standard muffin tin with liners.

In a large bowl, mash the bananas. Melt your coconut oil and add it to the mashed banana mixture. Stir in baking soda, salt, coconut sugar, egg and vanilla. Once this is combined, stir in the oat flour and cinnamon.

Scoop into lined muffin tin and bake for 18-20 minutes.

Notes:

I measured my coconut oil in solid form before melting it.

I made my own oat flour by pulsing 1 1/2 cups rolled oats in my food processor.

I buy my coconut sugar at Bulk Barn.

 

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Fun With Old Wives’ Tales

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My youngest sister Caitlin and I are both expecting and due just a week apart in June. It’s been a lot of fun to compare symptoms and to have a sounding board about our pregnancy related stresses, too. On New Year’s Eve we got together with family and while speculating about the genders of our babies we decided to test out a few popular Old Wives’ Tales. I thought I’d share our results for fun!

Heart Rate 

Apparently if the baby’s heart rate is higher than 140 it’s a girl and if its lower, it’s a boy.

Our results:

Me- Boy

Caitlin- Boy

 

Pee Test

You pee in a cup and then add baking soda. If your pee fizzes, it’s a boy. If no fizz happens, it’s a girl.

Our results:

Me- Girl

Caitlin- Boy

Sidenote: probably the weirdest thing I’ve done for fun in a while.

 

The Ring on a String 

We had my Dad tie each of our rings to a string, hold it steady over our belly and watch what direction it naturally turns. If it goes around in a circle, it’s a girl. Back and forth is a boy.

Our results:

Me- Boy

Caitlin- Girl

Bonus: We also completed this on my Dad for fun and the string did nothing. It definitely seemed to sense our babies’ energy!

 

Stolen Beauty 

The legend goes that if your beauty gets “stolen”, it’s a girl. If you look like your regular lovely self, it’s a boy.

Our results:

Me- Girl

Caitlin- Boy

 

Chinese Gender Predictor

This is an online quiz that calculates the gender by conception month and age of the mother. It boasts 90% accuracy.

Our results:

Me- Boy

Caitlin- Boy

Spoiler: I spoke with a Chinese co-worker who laughed in my face and told me that this is in no way legit.

 

Cravings

Sweets for a girl, salt for a boy.

Our results:

Me- Undecided- I wouldn’t say my cravings go either way

Caitlin- Boy

 

Sickness

If you are sick, you are more likely to be carrying a girl.

Our results:

Me- Girl

Caitlin- Girl

 

Final Tally:

Me- 3 girls, 3 boys and a ?

Caitlin- 5 boys, 2 girls

 

Final Thoughts:

I was quite certain we were having a girl from the start but lately I’ve been seeing our boy’s name everywhere and wondering if it’s a sign. Caitlin has no idea what she thinks her baby will be. The anticipation is part of the fun and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for us come June!

 

Photo Credit

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