Opinions Aside, Time for Baking!

It’s my favorite time of the year… the Holiday Season!

I’m going to be spending a ton of time getting creative in the kitchen and I highly recommend you do too (talking to you too, dads!). There’s nothing more therapeutic for me than to have the oven cooked up to 350 degrees and the smell of fresh cookies, cake pops, and brownies baking.

My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

Being the opinionated person I am, I spend a lot of time making sure my baking turns out well because there’s nothing worse than having to eat rock hard cookies or dried out brownies at the holiday party or family get together. I don’t tolerate it from other people so there’s no way I’m going to allow myself to mess up the baked goods.

Truth be told, I’d rather throw out the end product and start over than give people bad baked goods.

This year I’m breaking out of my shell and going to attempt to bake some homemade pies. I didn’t get around to it for Thanksgiving so here are a few recipes I’m looking at trying for my first pie baking attempt.

1) Chocolate Cream Pie

This pie by tideandthyme.com made me want to run out to buy a pie for me to snack on while I attempt to make one from scratch. I’m a sucker for some Chocolate. And some cream. Ok, and Oreos. This one had me from hello!

2) Caramel Apple Pie

caramel apple pie

Photo credit: ericasweettooth.com/

This pie that Erica from Erica’s Sweet Tooth cooked when family members were coming in from out of town for a BBQ looks delicious. It might be more of a fall recipe but I’m thinking about giving it a shot. Apple pie and Christmas go together like spaghetti and meatballs.

3. No Bake Key Lime Pie

As much as I love baking, being able to put a great pie together without having to turn on the oven doesn’t sound too bad either. This key lime pie looks delicious and is sure to make my father-in-law happy since it’s his favorite.

Alright. I’m going to have my hands full with these recipes but it will be nice to have a few choices and have the kids and family try some new things. I may buy some pumpkin pies too since those seem to be pretty easy to whip together, as well.

Well, wish me luck and Merry Christmas (or happy holidays, if you prefer) to you all. We’ll chat next year.

My Daughter Got Braces (All Hell Broke Loose)

Daughter got braces at this Chicago DentistSo…. we had a quite an eventful month in March. We took the family to our bi-annual dental appointments for cleaning and xrays. Everything went smooth, except my daughter. She wasn’t happy with the information provided by our Chicago dentist.

If your dentist recommends orthodontics, you should seriously consider it. Getting your teeth straightened is often more than a cosmetic issue; incorrect alignment of the teeth or jawbone can cause serious dental health problems later on. Although children most often wear braces, adults can benefit from orthodontic treatment as well.


Even if you’re an adult, it’s never too late to get braces. It’s important to have a smile which looks good and keeps you happy, so it’s worth it to invest the time and money into getting the straightest teeth possible. This can open doors both socially and professionally, so consider it for yourself.

If you have braces or partials, you should consider using an oral irrigator to help keep your teeth clean. An oral irrigator should be used in addition to regular flossing and brushing. The oral irrigator effectively flushes food particles from between your teeth and brackets by using pressurized water.

Wisdom teeth are necessary in the mechanism of chewing food. Most people have their wisdom teeth extracted soon after they emerge. Orthodontist usually remove the wisdom teeth before installing braces or other corrective devices. If your wisdom teeth are causing pain, they should be pulled before they become infected.

If your teeth are crooked, you can get braces to straighten them. This procedure is usually done at a young age, but adults can also benefit from it. New techniques make it possible to wear braces that can be removed to make eating easier, and some types only need to be worn overnight.

To tell whether your child is going to need braces as an adolescent, one test is to check the gap between her two top front teeth. If there is a significant gap, it is likely that she will need braces later on to correct that hole. If not, it is more likely that the growth process will do most of the correcting of any problems in the alignment of her teeth.

Orthodontic devices can make eating a difficult task. Soft fruits, small fruits and cooked vegetables are easier to eat than raw, hard food. For example, apples should be cut into bite-sized pieces to make them more available for consumption. Avoid hard or sticky candy and don’t chew gum while wearing braces.

To get the most out of your orthodontic treatments, you have to follow your dentist’s orders after the braces come off. Wear your retainer according to the instructions that you receive; if not, you run the risk of having your teeth return to their former distortion, putting all of that money and time in braces to waste.

To ensure that you maintain dental hygiene while wearing braces, be sure to follow your orthodontist’s instructions about foods to avoid. Braces make it harder to give your teeth a thorough cleaning, especially if you consume forbidden foods. These foods can cause problems to your orthodontic care.

The bacteria that can grow in your mouth are too much for mouthwash alone to handle. Brushing and flossing are important parts of your dental hygiene routine, because they physically clean your teeth. You may hear that mouthwash alone is enough to do the job, but that simply is not the case.

Be sure to ask your dentist or orthodontist about Invisalign (invisible braces), as well.

This Great Reading Pillow is in My Bed

pillow-300x300My husband and I have been fighting over our Stress Ease Comfort Reader Pillow for a month now and I thought it was time to tell you about it. (And give one away – keep reading!) The pillow was developed by James Maas, a psych. prof at Cornell who studies all things sleep. He’s also the author of this book which I have not read, but one of you is going to get a copy of it with your fabulous pillow!

The pillow, which we received from United Feather & Down and which is available from The Great Indoors for $50, is incredibly comfortable to read with (and to watch tv with, and yes I know that’s terrible for sleep, but I so it anyway…). It includes a quality, very comfortable & soft pillowcase with a built in pocket for the hot/cold pack that comes with it. The pack is made very cheaply and it exploded and leaked scalding hot goo the first time I heated it so I can’t speak to that, but I love the design and I may get make a rice bag of similar size. (The package recommends twice the time I heated it at, so it was not user error – be careful if you use this and I do not recommend that you let children use the hot pack.)

The pillow has a nice lumbar support that especially fits my tall husband very well. (At a foot shorter than him, it’s still great for me, but it’s rare for things to fit him well). The only thing I’d love to see added is some arm supports to make holding my book up a little easier on the arms at that angle, but those might be tricky to make ‘one size fits all.’

Welcome them to Motherhood with Books!

lbbWhat better way to encourage literacy amongst the population than welcoming babies into the world and women into motherhood with books.

THE LITTLE BIG BOOK FOR MOMS is a magic wand for new mothers. It instantly provides in one silver gilt-edge book a treasury of fairy tales, nursery rhymes, songs, games, and activities for new moms to do and read with their children. I recalls when my oldest child was a baby asking readers of my personal blog what I could sing to him other than the alphabet. I could have really used this book! I now keep one on a table close to where we read bedtime stories every night and it’s an awesome resource – the perfect book for every mom who doesn’t want her little ones to miss out on the classic tale of Princess and the Pea, or wants to be reminded of the words to Rub-a-Dub-Dub, play I’m a Little Teapot and Itsy, Bitsy Spider, learn how to create shadow puppets and who wants to make recipes that are especially yummy like Frozen Chocolate Bananas. In other words, this is a book for moms who want to be special moms and who want to bring memorable activities to their little ones. And, when everyone has finally gone to sleep at night, there are essays just for Mom by Anne Lamott, Susan Cheever, and Amy Herrick.

THE ULTIMATE ORGANIZER FOR MOMS is a one-stop, indispensable resource to encourage communication between parent and child. It goes from pregnancy through year five, and is a perfect gift for every new mom and mother-to-be. It will make her life easier with great organizational tools & places to record things like her child’s medical records, birthday parties, playmates, teachers, favorite toys, baby sitters, and those all-so-important “firsts” but it will also give her bragging rights to say “Yes! I’ve kept a baby book for my child.” The Ultimate Organizer for Moms comes with a front and a back pocket and is held snugly together by an elastic band.

What a charming gift the combination of these books would make for an expectant or new mother!

Got Milk? The Very Best Lact-educational Experience on DVD.

simply-breastfeedingContrary to what I heard & read before my first child was born, breastfeeding isn’t always easy. Though I’ve exclusively nursed two children for a looooong time and it certainly got easy and wonderful and even blissful, it didn’t start out that way. Either time.

My memories of learning to nurse my first consist of requiring a nurse, my mom, my husband, a stool and a huge pillow in order to get him properly latched, and heaven forbid the pillow slip or the footstool not be inexactly the right position. The creams, the pain – OhGoodLordInHeaven the pain – it was all normal (for me) but it’s a good thing I was so committed to my children never having formula or I surely would have given up. Once the first 6-8 weeks passed and I was able to nurse him pain-free anywhere & anytime, it was just as amazing as I originally thought it would be from the beginning. Had I had the Simply Breastfeeding DVD with Shari Criso of My Baby Experts prior to giving birth, I would have been much more prepared and well educated.

The “breastfeeding educational program” is incredibly thorough. It runs 2 hours and comes on 2 discs. Part one addresses the benefits of breastfeeding for both you and your baby, and helps you establish a strong personal reason WHY you want to breastfeed, and part two teaches you exactly HOW to breastfeed. It’s organized into helpful chapters so it’s easy to skip to the topic you want or watch it straight through in one sitting.

Some of what you’ll learn from Simply Breastfeeding, as stated on Shari’s website:

* Amazing Benefits For Both You & Your Baby – that You Might Not Have Heard Before
* Exactly How to Hold Your Baby – with real Mom & Baby demonstrations
* How to Prevent the Unneccessary Nipple Pain You Hear About in Other Mom’s Horror Stories
* Exactly How Much Milk Your Baby Needs Each Day During the First Few Weeks, As Well As Signs and Clues for You to Follow to Make Sure Your Baby is Getting Enough Milk
* How and When to Give Your Baby a Bottle
* How to Avoid the Biggest Mistake that Most Parents Make in the Hospital….

Whether you have a lactation consultant available to you or not, and whether you take a breastfeeding class or not (and no, the half hour devoted to it in prenatal class doesn’t count), this DVD will be invaluable to you in your quest to breatfeed your child. I’ve pretty much been nursing for three years straight, and even I learned some new things about those little newbies that make me feel like I’m in labour all over again.

The My Baby Experts blog has lots of great information for all parents – lactating or not.

Above and Beyond the 3 R’s

periwinkleWith Earth Day having just passed, there’s no better time than now to introduce you to the Etsy shop of Ruth Smith, a Winnipeg-based Canadian working mom of two, PeriwinkleDzyns. Ruth got tired of seeing all the obsolete electronic components go into the garbage at a local factory and was industrious enough to rescue them, combine them with her jewellery making skills and create her line of upcycled e-waste jewelery.

Her custom original geekery lanyard is the coolest geekiest. It’s 44″ total length (adjustable to your specification) and has a sterling plated chain around the back of the neck for comfort. It’s very sturdily made of new resistors (never in contact with solder or circuit boards) that have been rescued from going to the landfill. It comes equipped with a 0.75″ key ring for your keys, pass card or whatever you need to have within reach. She makes some cool jewelery that’s less function and more fashion as well. I love this one and this one.

Another cool find in Ruth’s shop are the vintage pinback 1.25″ buttons made by her daughter Kendra. She uses words from vintage dictionaries and thesauri to create these cute accessories which she sells for just $2 each, keeping the books out of the recycle bin, increasing her vocabulary and learning basic business skills all at the same time. What a great venture for an obviously smart little girl!

We love a find that allows you to have it all – shop online, support a mom, support a kid and protect the earth.

Road Trip Tunes: Funky Mama’s Moo Juice

Thank you all so much for your emails and comments. Losing my Dad sucks butt, but we’re doing okay and I hear it gets easier with time, though I’m sure we won’t miss him any less. He left us with years of memories to talk and laugh about, and we’re doing lots of that.

Thanks, also, for hanging in there while I was away and unable to write or edit posts. I’m back!

moojuiceWe took a little road trip recently and used the opportunity to listen to a bunch of new kid-tunes. Each day this week will bring a review and giveaway of one of the CD’s that both the kids and my husband and I enjoyed on the trip. If we didn’t enjoy it, we’ll spare you. You’re welcome.

The first CD we popped in was the newest release by Krista “Funky Mama” Eyler. The CD Moo Juice is full of rockin’ tunes that made us dance in our seats. And made our two year old son demand that we continue to dance in our seats until the CD was over, at which time he demanded “Again!”

My Dad Rocks was a shoo in for my husband’s favourite song, obviously, and I had a hard time picking a fave. Down Down Baby and Multi-Taskin’ Mama are definitely right up there.

Check out Krista performing Moo Juice on KCTV news last year. Isn’t she just an itty bitty thing with a hugely soulful voice?