Are Your Kids Lacking Confidence? Here's What You Can Do to Help Them

There are loads of kids out there who are afraid to connect with new people and hardly ever put their hands up when the teacher asks a question, even if they know the answer all the time. A little bit of confidence can take them so much further in life and in their studies, as well. As a parent, it is your responsibility to support your son or daughter in developing a healthy confidence that will help them achieve their goals and realize their dreams. If you don’t know where to start, you will find a few tips below.

 Photo by  Joseph Gonzalez  on  Unsplash

Socializing

If your child is happy and content in their family environment, but shy in school and playgroups, it might be time to go out socializing with them. Even if you only visit friends or neighbors, it will help them develop the skills and the knowledge to talk to different people. You can also try taking them to the local library club or to work with you for a couple of hours, so they will get used to different environments and faces from an early age.

Meeting People of All Ages

While your kids might be familiar with you and your partner, as well as kids their age, they would probably feel nervous around an older person, especially of their grandparents live far away or are no longer around. It is important that they learn how to connect with people of all ages, including teenagers and the elderly. Give them some tasks, such as taking a letter over to next door that was delivered to you, or even send cookies with them, so they can gradually build their confidence.

New Environments

If you have recently moved house and your child is struggling with getting used to their new environment, it might be a good idea to help them explore and get familiar with the place and the new people. If their confidence has been knocked back because they lost their old friends, you might need to be there when they make new ones. Take them to the local park and talk to other moms. Once your child knows that it is safe to talk to new people, they can’t help but copy your behavior.

Connecting with Animals

If your child is withdrawn among other kids and people, you can help them deal with their emotions and fears by letting them connect with animals. Even if you can’t get a pet yourself, you can borrow a dog from your friends, take your little one to a petting zoo, or sign up for horse riding classes. Shy kids usually open up and flourish among animals, as they don’t feel the pressure to fit in.

Drama Lessons

 Photo by  Bekah Russom  on  Unsplash

Photo by Bekah Russom on Unsplash

If your child has issues with communication and expressing themselves, it is a good idea to find a drama club for kids nearby. Find a class that involves sensory motivation, dance, singing, and acting as well, so later your child can choose which one they prefer. Drama can boost any child’s confidence, as they can succeed in communication and track their own progress. Many kids have come out of their shells after starting drama. They are also likely to receive positive affirmations and praises.

Speech Therapy

If your child is shy because they have a speech problem, you will need to find a professional to tackle the issue as soon as possible. Kids’ brain is fluid at an early age, and they can learn new ways and habits easier. Search for a Speech Therapy practitioner in your local area, or get a referral from your child’s school or doctor. You want your child to be able to communicate without worrying about bullying and mockery.  

Puppets

Do you remember Darci Lynne, the winner of America’s Got Talent? She used to be a shy girl, and she won a talent competition. You can use the same method to help your child express himself through the puppets. If they are dealing with difficult emotions or would like to escape from the noisy classroom and reflect on life, giving them a puppet will help them more than one way.

Positive Affirmations

As a parent, you will have to be mindful of your child’s emotions, sensitivity, and fears, and make sure that you are not making matters worse. Use positive affirmations and praises, even if they feel like they always need to match the expectations of their peers. While it is impossible to protect your child from negative comments at school and in their peer group, you can compensate the effect by giving them praises and boosting their confidence.

Learning Support

If your child is a slow learner, or is struggling in school, they are more likely to become withdrawn. You can get a private tutor or get them in additional classes where they can catch up with the rest of the pupils and celebrate their achievements. Sometimes kids can’t help but compare themselves with others, and feeling inferior doesn’t help them develop confidence.

Sports

 Photo by  Anna Samoylova  on  Unsplash

Apart from drama and horse riding, sports can help your child think more positively about themselves. You will have to find a sport they are interested in and will be likely to engage with for a long time. If they can become better than the majority of boys at football, they will have a confidence boost every time there is a game in school. Competitive and team sports are the best for kids with low confidence.

Whether you know what caused your child’s low confidence or not, there are plenty of ways you can help them come out of their shell and flourish. Find an activity they can engage with and get good at, so they receive praises and positive affirmations. Lead by example and show them how to connect with people from all walks of life and of different ages. Confident kids get further in life, when it comes to career choices and progression, decision making, or even choosing a future partner.

 

 

Helping Shy Kids Come Out Of Their Shells

We all coo and aww when we introduce our kids to someone for the first time and their reaction is to go red in the face and retread behind our legs to peek out from a safe distance. It’s adorable… But could it impede their social development? Many kids, even very young kids are outgoing and vivacious yet some are very shy especially around adults. Shyness is by no means a sign of social incapability, nor is it a black mark against your parenting and rarely is it cause for concern or a precursor to a specific social anxiety disorder. Nonetheless, some parents may worry that their kids’ inherent shyness may be an impediment to making friends or cause them to miss out on the social development that can be extremely important in children. If this is a cause of anxiety for you, here are some strategies to help you to bring your shy child out of his or her shell so that the whole world can fall in love with them just like you have…

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Don’t force them into social situations

A “deep end experience” is rarely the best environment for a child to spontaneously develop social skills. Most shy kids are highly sensitive and strongly affected by their environment. Forcing them into a situation like a party where there will be a lot of sensory input from bright colors and loud noises to unfamiliar foods or (Heaven help us all) a party clown will be upsetting for them and force them to retreat further into their shell. Confidence cannot be forced, it has to grow in its own time.

Sign up to classes

Mastery builds confidence. Even shy kids are very comfortable talking to you about what they’re doing while playing with their toys and the intricacies of the relationship between Spider-Man and Barbie. This is because they are creating their own world, a world over which they have total mastery. It behoves us, then to build opportunities for them to gain some mastery over real world skills that will build confidence. Sign them up to an activity, a sports class or encourage them to learn a musical instrument- check out these easy to learn ukulele songs at easyukulelesongs.com. This will help them develop their confidence in themselves and their abilities and hopefully allow them to make some new friends, too.

Get yourself social

Not always but often, shy children come from shy and insular parents. If your kids don’t get to see how you interact with others they won’t have a healthy benchmark for how to behave in social situations. Just as you are the arbiter of general health in your home, you should also model good behavior in a socially busy environment. Keep this in mind the next time you meet up with friends. Take your kids with you or invite friends over to your place. They might be alarmed by the presence of an unfamiliar adult at first but it won’t take long for their curiosity to be piqued and they might just learn that social situations aren’t so scary after all.

Comfortably Chic Instead of Frumpy Fashion for Every New Mom

When you became a Mom your entire life changed forever. You now have a tiny person who relies on you for everything every single day. Your priorities suddenly switched overnight and you feel like you have lost your sense of personal style in the process. It is true that every Mom wants to be comfy, but every Mom also wants to feel beautiful too. You don’t want to transform into a frumpy fashion-less female as soon as you have a child, so it’s time to embrace the fabulous fashionista that still lives inside you. Grab some quick and easy inspiration right here and discover your style again. Anything is possible, even after you have had children, so treat yourself right now.

Boutique Beautiful

It is likely that your body shape has changed since you had your first baby. This is nothing to be ashamed of; it is something every new mother goes through in their life. You need comfortable, yet fashionable clothing items that are going to flatter your new figure. Look no further than lotusboutique.com; here you will find a stunning collection of rompers that you can simply throw on first thing in the morning. Don’t worry about uncomfortable, tight jeans or skin hugging t-shirts any longer, buy your favourite color or pattern and feel stylish as soon as you put it on.

Back To Basics

As your body has changed, you will need to reinvest in some new basics that make you feel happy and comfortable. It’s likely that your old jeans, jackets and vest tops don’t fit you anymore, so use this as a chance to go on a super fun spree. Invest in a pair of elasticated jeans that make your butt look awesome and stock up on comfortable t-shirts in all of your favourite colors. Restocking your basics will give you the canvas you need to work with and everything will fit you so much better.

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Magic Minimalism

Don’t bother being too fussy with your accessories; minimalism is so effective when you do it right. You want to be the most stylish Mom of all time, but you’ve got to remember to be practical too. Long dangly necklaces are just going to get pulled off by your baby and hoop earrings aren’t going to be helpful either. Keep your outfits chic and minimalistic, so you can do your job as a Mom as well as being super stylish.

It’s so natural for a new Mom to feel like they have lost their mojo as soon as they have their first baby, but you don’t have to lose it forever. You need to give yourself time to recover from having a baby and don’t force yourself into clothes that you don’t feel comfortable in. Rediscover your very own Mommy style and take this chance to change up your clothes for the better. Now is the perfect time to go shopping for all those cute items you have always wanted. Browse the online boutiques and grab inspiration from blogs too. You can feel fabulous when you’re a new Mom, you just need to find that inner confidence again.

 

Happy And Healthy: Focus On Your Pregnancy

Whether you’re expecting your first baby, or you’re onto your second, third, or even more, congratulations; you’re in for a magical and exciting time ahead. There are some many parts of the nine months you’ll have to look forward to, and there’s no doubt that you can enjoy the majority of this special time. However, if you’re into reading up on things (and you’re reading this blog, so you probably are); you’re always going to come across the various risks and problems that may arise during pregnancy and birth.

While you shouldn’t sit and worry about everything that may or (probably won’t) happen, especially as stress could be harmful to your child; it is still important to bear some things in mind so that you remain as happy and healthy as possible. If you’re feeling good and doing all you can to provide a safe environment for your baby while you’re carrying them; there’s no reason you won’t have a straightforward pregnancy and healthy little one. The following is some advice and things to consider regarding your pregnancy so that you’ll look back on this time with a big smile, and can tell your little one all about it in the future.

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Try To Stay Calm

This can be challenging, especially if you’ve been reading up on certain conditions and risk factors; however, try to reduce your stress levels and stay as calm as possible throughout your pregnancy. It’s vital that you do all you can to relax and unwind so that your baby doesn’t feel the strain of your life. The best way to handle stress and strain is to make changes in your routine and begin enjoying a calmer lifestyle. Exercise during pregnancy is always recommended as it will keep your circulation working efficiently and pumping everything that your baby needs to them. Therefore, it might be worth considering yoga as a way to exercise and clear your mind of your deadlines, responsibilities, and worries.

Talk to your female gynae or those who support you and have had babies of their own recently, and try to limit your time with those full of terrible pregnancy stories, or those whose company you just don’t enjoy. Create a pleasant and stress-free bubble for yourself and learn to switch off more. Keep it simple and eat well, keep moving, and listen to what your body is saying.

Do What You Can To Stay Informed

There is no use in reading something and worrying that it’s going to happen to your or your baby during pregnancy. However, it’s crucial to educate yourself on a variety of risk factors, especially when they are preventable. You can carry this knowledge in the back of your mind throughout your pregnancy so that you’ll have some idea of what could be wrong (or right) and can inform the right people should you feel anything unusual or are unhappy with a particular situation.

Certain conditions can be caused by a medical error or negligence, so it’s crucial that you are strong enough to speak up and correct the professionals when needed. It’s worth being vigilant regarding any infections or conditions you may experience during pregnancy, labor, and birth. Arming yourself, your partner, and those around you with all the details will help to ensure that the right people hear about what’s happening to you, and there’ll be no excuse for missing any signs or symptoms regarding your health.

 

14 Pounds Down in 2 Weeks Thanks To Keto Coffee

I was super skeptical when I started my keto diet 2 weeks ago. i wasn't sure it was for me and wasn't sure if I would see results, but 2 weeks later I have lost 13.9 pounds and I couldn't be happier! My success is because of my daily Keto Coffee. You can get it for 40% off by joining my 90 day challenge!!! Ask me how by commenting below or click here to sign up!

Guide Them Towards A Well-Rounded Life: Helping Your Child Through Their Pre-Tween Years

Each stage of your child's life requires a steep learning curve as a parent. From finding the right baby bottle that your little one will drink from, all the way through to picking the right college, each stage is fraught and met with a lot of home truths, but also you learn so much as a parent. With each stage and development, you try your best to be there for them every step of the way, but there are some things they are going to have to experience without you being there to protect them. The pre-tween years, roughly between the ages of 8 and 10, goes through many significant developments in their life. Of course, this term “tween” is something that was coined by a marketing firm, but it's a very handy term to define as a difficult period before the teenage years set in. Your child is going through elementary school, and are learning, not just the basics as far as reading writing and arithmetic are concerned, but they are still unsettled in their own bodies. So, as a parent, is there anything you can do to help navigate your child through their pre-tween years, to ensure a well-rounded person, but also, what are the common emotional difficulties pre-tweens face?

Body Development

It's unclear as to why, but girls as young as seven are starting to develop in a physical sense quicker than ever before. Some girls are going to develop early regardless, but it seems to be more commonplace now. As a result, advancement in their body means early onset of body image issues. Feeling self-conscious is commonplace in every child, and as we all know, it can develop long into adulthood, and could even remain for the rest of our lives. But, the important thing for you to do as a parent in order to ensure this transition is met with as minimal self-consciousness as possible, is to shift the focus away from these generalized body issues. It can be helpful to say that “all your friends are going through the same thing”, but this is such a cliché that your child is unlikely to heed your advice. And as children end up being put in situations where they feel exposed, such as the changing room, or swimming lessons, this feeling can be amplified. As a result, you can help to improve the situation for your son or daughter, you can buy swimwear for children that are modest or not as revealing, which may help to soften the issue. As girls will begin to feel upset about the fact that they are developing so fast, but are still approaching the situation as a child, what you can do is to take the focus away from bodily appearances, and go towards the things that make your child individual. Things like a sense of humor, specific skills, or personality traits that make them unique and wonderful.

Trapped Between Childhood And Teenage-Hood

It's a difficult age, between 8 and 10, because not only are they developing at such a rapid rate, physically and emotionally, but they are at an in-between age where they want to emulate children slightly older, but early school memories still loom large. Now, with the prevalence of social media, and the media in general, providing such an influence, it's almost forcing children to grow up quicker. It's vital, as a parent, to let your child be a child. This means encouraging the act of play. At this point, you don't want to be forcing too much in the way of life structure. The fact that they're going to school Monday to Friday should be structure enough. And while they're still learning their own abilities, it's important for you to encourage all of these different explorations. From their intellectual exploration, to their physical play, but also their creative leanings. Now, technology is advancing at such a rate that it's forcing everyone to overthink and to grow up well before they need to. And it could very well be that you've given your child a phone for necessity, but that's not to say you shouldn't impose limits on texting, phone time, and internet use. At this age, playing in the backyard can begin to lose its allure, and the internet, and its various features are incredibly attractive to a child at this age. And while these activities are predominantly teen-related, the influence of older children forces these kids to begin to emulate these behaviors. What you can do as a parent is to encourage play and discovery as much as possible, before the emotional and mental barriers (that every single one of us has set up in our teenage years) becomes a defining feature of our psychological makeup.

Use Your Parenting Time Wisely

As any parent of a teenager will tell you, you've essentially lost them for a few years as soon as they turn 13. At this key stage, between the ages of 8 and 10, every child is still close to their parents, and at this point, you should do what you can to cement a solid relationship. Of course, now, it's very difficult to do so, because we are working parents, and so we rely on breakfast clubs, after-school clubs, and the like. As a result, our children can feel like they have a closer bond with their teachers than they do with us. So, while the novelty of them being excited to see us when we come home is still fresh, we have to take advantage of this. This means playing with them, doing their activities with them, but also, developing that trust. We need to ensure that our children can come to us if they have problems. Many emotional issues will arise at this key stage in their lives, and they will begin to feel upset about certain social issues in school, or in life, and you need to be the person they should talk to. When they become a teenager, they can be a closed book, and so, it's this vital point in their life that you have to make more time for them than you have before, as it will serve both of you well.

Helping your child through their pre-tween years is a considerable challenge, but one that is definitely beneficial in the long run. They say the teenage years are the key time period for development, where they find out who they are, but it is the pre-tween years where you can still guide them towards a well-rounded life.

Ripley's Aquarium - Fun for the Whole Family

If you're in the Toronto area, Ripley's Aquarium is a MUST SEE attraction. I wasn't sure what to expect and went in just hoping that I could keep Zane entertained for a few hours. It turned out, we could have spent the entire day there!

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From the second you walk in the Ripley's Aquarium, you're surrounded by gorgeous colours, illuminated aquariums that span from floor to ceiling and EVERY type of underwater fish you can imagine. It was such a nice experience to see Zane fascinated by the lights and swimming fish. I went with a friend of mine who has 2 older children and they were just as enthralled by the breath taking views.

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The aquarium is divided into exhibits such as the Canadian Waters, Rainbow Reef, Ray Bay and Curious Creatures (to name a few) but besides the exhibits, they have so many other things to offer! They have interactive stops along the way for older kids, they have caves that kids can crawl though, educational games and puzzles, and there was even a teaching session happening where someone from the Ripley's Aquarium was giving a lesson about fish!

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We had 2 favourite parts of the aquarium. The first was the Dangerous Lagoon - which is a long and beautiful aquarium tunnel that allows you to walk under swimming fish, sharks, sea turtles and so much more! There is moving belt so you can relax and be transported on what feels like a magical underwater journey.

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Our second favourite was in the Planet Jellies exhibit. There was this HUGE wall filled with what seemed like hundreds of jelly fish. As the wall changed colours, so did the jelly fish! It was one of the coolest things I have ever seen!

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We had such a blast at the Aquarium and I can't wait to go back with Zane the next time we are in Toronto. It's a place we could visit over and over again and always find something else to love.

 A sleeping baby means a happy mama!!! This is the the right place to tire out your mini :)

A sleeping baby means a happy mama!!! This is the the right place to tire out your mini :)

My Apologies to My Friends Who Don't Have Children

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Having a baby changes your life and also the relationships that you have with the people around you. It makes you sympathize and bond with your fellow moms over how it's possible to survive on so little sleep and it unfortunately, can also distance you from your friends who don't have children. I can't say that I blame my friends... I once upon a time didn't have a baby and found it really hard to relate to what my mom friends were going through. I would try to have a conversion with my bestie M. and every 10 seconds was interrupted by: L put that down, L stop jumping, L stop running in the house! Fast forward a few years and our conversations now go something like this:
-Hey M! How are y - Zane don't eat the dog food! - what was I saying? 
-I'm good... tired, busy the usua - L put that down! Leave your sister alone! - what was I saying?
-You were telling me I think about your day yesterday? I don't really remem - Zane stop french kissing the dog! Omg M gotta go. Zane is playing in the toilet.

Mom life changes EVERYTHING. I've teamed up, once again, with my mom friends and we've come up with a list of apologies for our friends that don't have children! Feel free to add your own in the comments below: 

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1 - I'm sorry I was an hour late to your birthday party  - to be honest.. my son threw up all over as I was heading out the door and you're lucky that I showed up at all. You should in fact be buying me a gift. Have you ever tried to wake a baby up from a nap and then show up at a party smiling? Why is your party at 9am anyways? Don't you know this is NAP TIME. 

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2 - I'm sorry that every time we go out I'm always wearing black yoga pants - it's really because no other pants fit me and the black really camouflages all the food stains from my child throwing his dinner at me. Tonight we ate cheerios for dinner because i just couldn't deal.

3 - I'm sorry that my child bit you/hit you/threw something at you - I really am trying to teach him. Listen - if you think you can do better, take him for a day and try. Actually maybe a week. I could use some sleep. Please?

4 - I'm sorry I forgot your birthday/anniversary/first day of work etc. - I run on 4 hours of sleep a day and I can't even remember my own name most of the time, so just be thankful I remember who you are. You really are important to me and I promise one day I will get my shit together and start checking my reminders on my phone... if I can only find it... my son was playing with it somewhere. Speaking of which... were is my son? 

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5 - I'm sorry I had to cancel our plans last minute because the baby was sick - I promise this isn't an excuse. They put everything in their mouth and are sick every week. I would much rather be sitting and having a glass of wine instead of sucking out boogers from my baby's nose (for those who don't have kids - yes this is a thing... and yes you will have to do it. Have kids they said... it'll be great they said.)

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6 - I'm sorry I left your party early - I know I said it was because the baby was going to have a melt down, but I was the one who was ready to snap and felt it would be frowned upon if I started crying in the middle of a crowd of strangers. 

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7 - I'm sorry I can never make it to dinner with my kid unless we eat at 5pm - Kids are assholes sometimes. Especially tired ones. If you want to have dinner at 7pm and want me to bring my son, that's fine. But know that there WILL be a melt down. And my son's screaming is comparable in volume and pitch to a beluga whale so EVERYONE will stare. We might even end up on YouTube when he starts catapulting the food across the restaurant. I'm down if you are... I've been through it all and have no shame anymore. 

All in all, my life has changed... but I promise I'll find that balance again... or a really good babysitter that's always available. I love you and miss you and still treasure our friendship so please wait for me to find my way. :)

 

DIY Mother's Day Handprint & Footprint Gifts

We LOVE DIY crafts (well I do at least... Zane loves to play with paint - so it's a win-win) and what better time to make one than Mother's Day? All moms LOVE DIY crafts from their kids and even more so from their grandkids! Zane and I got to work and created the most adorable gifts for his Grandma and Great-Grandma this Mother's Day.

DIY NOVELTY TRAY AND PIGGY BANK

Start of with finding the pieces you want to decorate. Make sure to thoroughly clean and let them dry. Some materials are more porous and will need to dry over night. This step is SUPER important. Often ceramic and porcelain products are covered in a film or dirt and the paint won't properly stick unless it's clean. 

Choose your paint colours. We used the paint below and bought a thinner because I didn't want it to go on too thick. 

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Optional: Paint Brush - You'll need one if you decide to write something on the jar or piggy bank (such as the date, your child's name etc.). I also used a thick paint brush to paint on my son's hands and feet. You could also just mix the paint in a bowl and press their hand/foot in it.

Once your tray is clean and dry, map out the design you want. You want to know EXACTLY where you're putting your mini's hand or foot once it's covered in paint because it won't be fun trying to keep them still if they're younger. I recommend doing this project with someone else so that one of you can place the foot or hand in paint and make the print and the other can stop your baby from crawling away covered in paint. 

Follow the directions on your ceramic paint. If you used the same one as I did, let it dry overnight, then bake for 35 mins at 150 degrees. Then it's ready to package and send off!

Tips: Definitely find a place to date your artwork. It's always nice to look back and see when the art project was made. I definitely recommend doing the hand print before the decorating because it's the hardest part. I needed to wash off my son's handprint several times before getting one that was perfect and the rest of the design would have been ruined had I done it first!

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Happy Crafting! I would love to see the artwork you create so don't forget to tag me in your posts! @mrsnewmommtl

 

xox Tovah

 

White Chocolate and Pecan Scones with Hamilton Beach's Professional 14 Cup Dicing Food Processor

This weekend I busted out the ULTIMATE tool: the Hamilton Beach® Professional 14 Cup Dicing Food Processor and got baking with a good friend of mine :). If you've been looking for the perfect gift idea for Mother's Day.... look no further! This machine does it all: it dices, slices, shreds, kneads, chops, mixes and purees. Seems too good to be true... right? Well I put it to the test with homemade scones - and spoiler alert: they were DELICIOUS, so easy to make because of Hamilton Beach's food processor, and took under 30 mins from start to finish!

My fave feature of Hamilton Beach's Professional 14 Cup Dicing Food Processor is that it's really quiet... much quieter than the others out there. It also comes with a super practical storage box to keep all the accessories organized which means no searching through my mess of a kitchen drawer to find them! But the best... the blades, bowl and lid are all dishwasher safe #mom win. It would made a great gift for Mother's Day... or for yourself :).  This recipe, from start to finish, took 30 mins thanks to this food processor that can do it all! 

What you'll need to make the most delicious White Chocolate and Pecan Scone Recipe (taken and slightly adapted from geniuskitchen.com)

Ingredients:
2 cups flower
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup salted butter
1/2 cup milk
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
6 ounces white chocolate
3/4 cup pecans

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Cut up butter into cubes and put in the freezer! (this will help your scones stay fluffy and airy)
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  • Remove the slicing blade and add the kneading plastic blade
  • Add in flower, baking powder and pulse until mixed
  • Add frozen butter cubes and pulse until blended. Do not over mix. You want the mixture to remain lumpy and the butter cubes to be intact. 
  • In a small bowl, mix together the milk, egg, and vanilla and add to the flower mixture - pulsing again until mixed. 
  • Add the white chocolate and pecans and mix again until evenly distributed. **You want the mixture to remain lumpy (like the picture below... it will ensure airy and fluffy scones!!! DO NOT over mix.)
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  • Remove mixture and knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until it is approx 1.5 inches thick.
  • Cut into desired shapes!
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  • Bake scones for 11-15 minutes - or until lightly browned on top! 
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These scones are sure to please anyone you have over for Mother's Day brunch! They were so easy to make thanks to Hamilton Beach's Professional 14 Cup Dicing Food Processor! I can't think of a better Mother's Day gift than this! It's a must have in every kitchen!

Affordable First Birthday Gift Ideas

Dance and Move Beat Toy - This is a toy we first saw at a friends house. I don't know why... but Zane is OBSESSED. It makes music that reminds me of being in a club or rave haha but he could play with it for hours. 

Ball Pit - Zane has a similar one and ADORES it. Just make sure which ever one you choose, you buy one that has the balls included!

Pounding Wooden Toy - This toy is not only fun, but will help with hand eye coordination and dexterity!

Wooden Fridge Magnets - these come in SO many different assortments. They have Letters, Shapes, Objects, Farm animals etc. I love that they're wooden and love the quality of Mudpuppy Toys!

Cash Register - Playing pretend was always my fave growing up so I know any child will enjoy this for years to come!

Farmer Says See n' Say - I remember playing for HOURS with this toy when I was growing up. I'm so happy its still available for our minis!

Laugh and Learn Smart Stages Tablet - This tablet will help your mini learn about sounds, animals, objects and colours! We've actually given this as a gift at 2 birthday parties and received one for Zane's birthday! We bring it everywhere with us :)

Big Colorful Building Blocks Woodland Treehouse - This is great gift for a boy or girl. Zane is obsessed with blocks and loves the little characters!

Light up CAT Truck with Sound - One of Zane's fave gifts for his birthday was this truck! My fave feature is that It's big so you don't step on it in the middle of the night (yay!). He loves the sounds and lights!

Classics Retro Record Player - Guaranteed to bring hours of fun and tunes to any little one ;)

Wooden Mini Balls - It's known that I have an obsession with wooden children's toys and Zane LOVES them too! We have a toy similar to this one at home and Zane has been playing with it for months and never gets bored!

Delicious 5-Minute Dips Your Littles Will LOVE

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We recently discovered President's Choice's fully cooked chicken strips and have been hooked ever since. They're the perfect quick weeknight dinner and a great option for our baby sitter when she needs to cook for Zane! All you do is Heat and Eat! And what better way to sneak in some fruits and veggies than with some quick and easy homemade dips? We paired our strips with a Mango Curry Sauce, a Pico de Gallo and an easy peasy Guacamole. You can make all 3 in under 10 mins!

Mango Curry Sauce

Add the following ingredients into a blender and blend: 
2 mangos peeled, pitted and sliced
2 tbs of orange juice
1 pinch of curry powder
1 tbs of vegetable oil
Salt and pepper to taste

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Pico de Gallo

Dice the following ingredients and mix well:
Juice from 1 lime
1 tomato diced
Coriander to taste
1/4 onion
1/4 red pepper
1 tbs olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

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Guacamole

I used a blender for this guacamole to make it easier for Zane to dip but you can mix it by hand for a more chunky sauce. TIP: Keep the avocado pit and leave it in the centre of your guacamole until you're ready to eat it - it will stop it from turning brown :)

2 ripe avocados
Juice from 1 lime
1/2 tomato
1 small onion
Pinch of garlic
Salt and pepper to taste

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Zane's First Birthday

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This first year came and went faster than I could have imagined. I wanted to throw Zane an extra special first birthday and could not have done it without some awesome companies and local suppliers that I had the pleasure of meeting. You can scroll to the very bottom of this post for a list of them all along with contact info, or read through my post and click on their names go to their website!

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All the pictures below were taken by my fave Montreal Photographer Veronica, from VEMB Photography (the same photographer who did our Fall Photoshoot… she does maternity, pregnancy and family photography). I didn’t want to spend the whole party behind the lens of a camera but I wanted to make sure to capture every moment and memory. We often spend so much on parties and then look back and say: I wish I had a better pic of the cake, the set up, my son laughing... I wish we had a better family picture from the day. I didn’t want regrets so I chose to have the perfect person attend and capture every special moment.

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We had his party at Biscuits et Confetti – a charming coffee shop in NDG that caters to parents and kids. We rented out the whole space to have a more intimate birthday party, and they supplied super helpful staff (look how much set up we did in 15 mins!), we rented a bouncy castle from them and we we able to offer our guests an unlimited open coffee bar made fresh to order by the shop (with screaming kids you need alllll the coffee you can get).

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To add an extra special touch to the party we ordered a custom banner and loot bag tags from Streamers Party Supply. Julia (the owner and designer) is SO helpful and was able to make us EXACTLY what we wanted.  All we needed to do was tell her our theme and colours and within a week we had our proof to approve! Her Etsy shop doesn't even begin to feature everything she can make. She can do invitations, thank you cards, loot bag tags, banners, photo booth props, head bands (and list goes on and on)… and her prices are SO reasonable.  I wish I would have known about her for my baby shower and wedding shower!

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The loot bag tags went on our super special loot bags! We chose Nuby gifts from Elfe.com for each age group (and for the next 2 weeks you can get 15% off all regular priced items on their website using the code ZANE15*). For the youngest children under 9 months, we gave the 3-Step Teether Set BY Nûby™. Teething is no fun so with the bright colors and fun textures this was a gift that would please baby and parents alike. For the children around Zane’s age, we gifted them a Snack Keeper™ BY Nûby™ along with spoons. The bowls are perfect for his age group, are colourful, lightweight and prevent spills because of the awesome lid that allows them to grab treats without the mess! I also added in some Puffies and Puffies snacks from Baby Gourmet so that they could start using their bowl right away! For the older children, we gifted them the Snack N' Sip™ 9 oz BY Nûby™ with a candy filled bag! This genius cup has a straw and drink compartment at the bottom and a compartment at the top for snacks so children can eat and drink at the same time with 1 container! (* Use code ZANE15 for 15% off Elfe.com until 2018-03-23. Valid on regular priced items only. Certain restrictions apply (Nuna excluded)).

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We went with a jungle and animal theme since Zane LOVES monkeys. We ordered most of our jungle themed party supplies from Open A Party. They’re based in Canada (so no duties), their prices were SIGNIFICANTLY cheaper than Amazon, and everything was delivered with standard shipping in 1 week! Everything we ordered was exactly as described and they have such an awesome selection.

We had burgers and fries catered by Notre Boeuf de Grace – if you haven’t tried them yet, you are missing out! We had a salad bar as well for the healthier guests, pizza for the kids from Bardeco (DELISH!) and a Kiddie Corner filled with Delicious treats from Baby Gourmet. I wanted to make sure the minis that were around Zane’s age didn't miss out on the delicious treats!  We offered an assortment of Purée pouches, Shakers and Puffies.

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The sweet table had a candy bar for the older kids and the parents (mostly for me LOL) and cupcakes. I had a tray with rubber ducky jungle animals and asked people to adopt an animal (how cute!?). The star of the table though was our cake from Sisterly Sweets. OMG THEIR CAKES. I’m not even exaggerating here… this sister duo is on fire. Their creations are PERFECT and you’re not sacrificing beauty for taste. Their cakes are as delicious as they are beautiful. Gloria and Tania were a pleasure to deal with, were open to inspiration pics, but I chose to give them carte blanche and told them to do what they do best and I was blown away. We went for a chocolate cake with a vanilla light cream icing and hazelnut crunch. Heaven is where this cake brought me.

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For entertainment, besides the bouncy castle that was huge hit, we hired a children’s musician, Loony Lorny, that came in and sang some of Zane’s fave songs. He came equipped with a bunch of little musical instruments for the kids to play along with and it was perfect entertainment for all the kids!

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Zane’s First Birthday was as much fun planning as it was attending. I can’t wait for Birthday #2! I’m so grateful for the suppliers that I met and I am certain that I will be using the same ones for every party we plan going forward. Below is the full list with direct links to their websites!

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And that's a wrap! Zane's birthday was a hit and after a much needed sleep I'll be ready to start planning Birthday #2 :). 

Party Supplies:
Streamers Party Supply: Custom made party supplies
Open A Party: Canadian Party Supplies

Loot Bags:
3-Step Teether Set
Snack Keeper
Snack N' Sip
*Until 2018-03-23 use ZANE15 for 15% off site wide at Elfe.com . Valid on regular priced items only. Certain restrictions apply (Nuna excluded).

Cake
Sisterly Sweets MTL – Cake sent from heaven that you won’t want to share with anyone (maybe order 2?)

Venue
Biscuits et Confetti

Music
Loony Lorny

Photography
VEMB Photography : Montreal based Maternity, Pregnancy and Family Photographer

Food
Baby Gourmet baby food
Bardeco Pizza
Notre Boeuf de Grace

DIY Candy Jar for a Sweetie in Your Life

Zane and I have recently been loving DIY crafts (ok mostly me but he'll love having these keepsakes one day :)). With a husband who has everything, it's getting harder and harder to surprise him with little gifts every now and then, so a personalized gift from Zane is always sure to be a hit! With Valentine's day just around the corner, I thought it would be so cute to make my husband a personalized candy jar for his office filled with candy as sweet at him! You could also do variations of this craft by personalizing a candy bowl or a cookie jar and filling it with delicious sweets :)

What we used: 

  • Ceramic candy jar (you can also use a candy bowl or cookie jar)
  • Acrylic paint
  • Paint brush
  • Marking tape (optional)
  • Rubber or latex gloves (optional)

1. Mark the jar with the pattern you want using the marking tape.

2. Choose the colour you want for your hand print, add some paint on a plate and get your mini ready! It helps if you have 2 people coordinating this part :) This is the step where you want to put on your rubber gloves if you've opted to use them because although the paint will wash off your hands, it did not come off my nail polish. Place your baby's hand palm down in the paint and make sure it's well coated. Place your baby's hand flat on the jar to get a perfect print! 

** I recommend doing the hand print before painting the jar because you don't get a print that you like the first time (it took us 4 times), you can use water to wash it off and to start over without worrying about ruining the rest of the design!

3. Paint the rest of your jar however you want! If you are using multiple coats of paint, be sure to wait at least 30 mins between each coat to make sure it dries. We chose to add Zane's initials to the jar and to put the date inside the lid so that we will always know how old he was when he made it!

4. Preheat oven to 350 F

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5. If you used marking tape, remove the marking slowly (if you pull too fast it may remove some paint) and fill in any gaps you may have or uneven edges!

6. Put your jar directly on your oven rack OR on a parchment covered baking sheet and bake for 30-35 mins. 

7. Let cool and then fill with your fave candy or sweets!

My recommendation for doing this craft with young babies: Do it with them only wearing a diaper - it makes cleaning up the mess much easier. Have the craft sitting beside your kitchen sink so that the minute you finish with the print you can wash the paint off of them before they get it anywhere else. This craft was super easy, inexpensive (under $20 total) and I know my husband will love his surprise - and I'm sure his colleagues will too now that's filled with delicious candy :). 

Urthbox - the Healthy Snack Subscription Box!

You can use code: MRSNEWMOMMTL10 for $10 off your order from UrthBox

Healthy and non-GMO snacks delivered right to my door every month? Yes please! UrthBox makes it possible to have Vegan, Classic, Diet or Gluten-Free full-size snacks and beverages delivered monthly! You simply sign up online, choose the type of box you want and the amount of snacks you want to receive and you wait impatiently for the delicious treats to arrive :). It doesn't stop there though... by signing up to the UrthBox subscription, you get coupons and discount codes to repurchase the stuff you love AND you earn loyalty points that can be redeemed at the UrthBox Shop! 

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You can use code: MRSNEWMOMMTL10 for $10 off your order from UrthBox

I was SO surprised at the amount/quality/size of the products that were delivered (if you're interested in seeing in more detail what I received, head over to my Instagram page and check out my Urthbox unboxing in my Story Highlights)! I requested the Diet UrthBox because my healthy eating New Years resolution is not going very well lol... and the products I received included Gourmet Pumpkin Seeds, Organic Chewie Fruities, Advanced Recovery Formula, All Natural Sleep Aid, Coconut Granola, Vegan Gluten-Free and Soy Free Gum, Organic Fruit Gel and MUCH more. The only downside to receiving my UrthBox is that I am now obsessed and can not go a month without it LOL. I love that every month I will be surprised with healthy snacks and I love that I get to discover brands and items that I might have otherwise never tried! They even have an option where you can give a subscription as a gift! #bestgiftidea

You can use code: MRSNEWMOMMTL10 for $10 off your order! Click here to visit the UrthBox website.

The Gift Of Beautiful Printed Memories

Take advantage of the Buy 1 Get 3 FREE deal by clicking here

With smartphones at our fingertips, I think we're all guilty of hoarding hundreds and thousands of pictures without them ever making it to print. I decided to change that this Valentine's Day and surprised my husband with some beautiful pictures of some of our favorite memories. I chose Photography.com because of their AMAZING selection of printing types... they can print your images on everything from planked wood to glass to metal! I chose to print our pictures on Acrylic, which give a modern and sleek look with high definition printing that's lightweight and durable. I also LOVED that they arrived ready to hang (because my husband is not a handy man and I am... well you know... busy running the world lol).

 The pictures come ready to hang and look like they're floating on your wall! (Photo taken by  Darion Getzinger Photography )

The pictures come ready to hang and look like they're floating on your wall! (Photo taken by Darion Getzinger Photography)

Photography.com offers printing in any size and after receiving my order in under 2 weeks - i think its' safe to say I'm hooked :) There's nothing that makes me happier than walking into my home and seeing beautiful memories on all of our walls. There's also an amazing deal going on right now... Buy 1 Get 3 FREE!!! Click here to take advantage of this awesome deal and order yours now and make sure to order them by Jan 29th to get them in time for Valentine's Day!

 The Acrylic finish is super glossy and vibrant! The pictures become statement pieces in your home! (picture taken by VEMB Photography)

The Acrylic finish is super glossy and vibrant! The pictures become statement pieces in your home!
(picture taken by VEMB Photography)

Don't miss the chance to fill your home this Valentine's Day with beautiful prints. Click here to visit Photography.com

My Fave 5 DIY Gift Ideas for Babies and Toddlers

My fave holiday is just around the corner (and no it's not my fave because of the chocolate.... ok well maybe it's because of the chocolate), but this year I'm loving it so much more because of all the fun crafts I get to do with Zane! There is nothing sweeter than giving someone you love a DIY made by someone else you love! Below are my fave 5 DIY Baby and Toddler Valentine's Day Gift Ideas!

1. Finger Print Key Chain or Necklace

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I got this idea from The Crafty Crow who originally posted a tutorial for Mother's Day. I changed a few of the steps and decided to make a keychain instead of a necklace because I wasn't sure a bright pink heart necklace would match with my husband's suit every day at work LOL.

What you'll need: 

  • Oven baking clay (in whatever colours you want!)
  • Keychain rings (or a chain or rope if you want to make it into a necklace)
  • Cookie cutters
  • Skewer to poke a hole
  • Rolling pin
  • Baking sheet
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Directions: 

  1. Take your baking clay and roll it out to the thickness you want (I made mine 1/6 inch thick)
  2. Cut out your shape with a cookie cutter
  3. Grab your mini and press their thumb down in the clay until you get a clear fingerprint impression (this may take a few tries... especially if you have a mover like I do)
  4. Take the skewer to make a hole in the heart (where you want to insert the keychain ring or chain for a necklace)
  5. Place the clay on a baking sheet
  6. Follow baking instructions on the package of the clay
  7. Once cooled, insert your keychain ring and you're done!

2. Footprint Canvas Art

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I found this idea on The Mommy Nichols. She's known for her awesome DIY projects and easy recipes... and this craft is no exception. With our little ones growing up so quickly, what better keepsake than a piece of art with their itty bitty tiny feet? I love how easy, quick and beautiful this canvas craft is! Click here to visit The Mommy Nichols website and get this craft started! Follow her on Instagram for more awesome craft ideas all year long!

3. Abstract Art

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This is such an easy craft to do and your little one, no matter what their age, will have SO much fun doing it! You can choose whatever colours you want and the fact that it makes no mess is a bonus! It's a keepsake that you can hang anywhere in your home! Click here to see my blog post about it. 

4. Love Bug Finger Print Art

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I got this idea from I Heart Arts and Crafts. I think it's such a cute craft for older kids who know how to use scissors and can use glue. This is such a sweet idea and I love that your children will be able to do it all on their own. I recommend using washable paint or protecting your arts & craft area with plastic so that once they dip their fingers in paint you don't have the paint everywhere :) Click here to visit I Heart Arts and Crafts to see the full tutorial for this DIY.

5. Kid Made Jewelry Dish

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This last idea came from Inner Child Fun. This is definitely a craft for your older kids (unless you want to do it yourself lol). It requires very few things to buy and it's something that any Mom or Grandma will love. Your kids will have so much fun doing it and will love that their mom can use it every day! You can also do variations of this craft depending on who the gift is for - you can make a ring bowl, a candy bowl, decorative bowl for your home... the possibilities are endless! Click here to visit Inner Child Fun to make your own jewelry dish!  

I can't wait to see which you end up trying! Make sure to tag me in your posts on Instagram so I can see your finish product :)

Healthy Homemade Dog Treats!

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Rambo has officially joined the list of men in my life who are picky eaters (lucky me), so I decided that instead of spending money buying treats that he hates, I would make him some delicious homemade cookies! It also gives me peace of mind knowing EXACTLY what's going in them... and the fact that he loved them didn't hurt either! I wish I could say that finding a great recipe was easy... but it wasn't. I had 3 failed attempts before finding 2 that he loved, but I guess good things don't always come easy! I hope your little fur baby enjoys them as much as Rambo did! I made him Crunchy Ginger Cookies and Mini Muffins!

Scroll to the bottom for links to my fave cookie jars!

Crunchy Ginger Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole wheat non-bleached flour
  • 1/2 cup large flake oats
  • 1 tbs of ground ginger
  • 3/4 cup no salt added chicken broth
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
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Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F and grease baking sheet
  2. In a large bowl combine whole wheat flour, large flake oats and ginger
  3. In a small bowl combine chicken broth, egg and oil
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until well blended
  5. On a lightly floured surface roll out dough until 1/4 inch thick and use cookie cutters of your choice to cut out treats.
  6. Put treats on baking sheet and bake 25 mins.

Mini Pup Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 Apple or 1 cup of Apple Sauce
  • 1 Medium Carrot
  • 1 ripe Banana
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup of butter
  • 1 1/4 cup Unbleached Flour
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
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Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and grease muffin tins (large or small)
  2. Peel and cut carrot and apple and steam until soft. If using applesauce, only steam carrots.
  3. In large bowl, mash banana 
  4. Add eggs and butter
  5. Puree the cooked apple and carrot
  6. Add apple and carrot to the other wet ingredients and beat until there are no lumps
  7. Add the flour and baking powder to the wet ingredients and beat for 2 minute (until smooth)
  8. Fill greased muffin tin 1/2 way full with batter.
  9. Bake for 15 mins if making mini muffins, and 20-25 mins if making regular sized muffins, or until wooden tooth pick comes out clean.
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I would love to see pics of your fur babies enjoying these treats so please tag me in your pics on Instagram :) @mrsnewmommtl

Here are some decorative that I think you'll love - perfect for treats, cookies, baking goods and storage! Click the links below OR visit my online store to see them all by clicking here.

Stackable 3 Tier Cookie Jar 

Set of 3 Chalkboard Glass Canister Jars 

Chalk board labels - turn any jar into a chalkboard! 

Set of 5 Airtight Glass Canisters 

Glass Apothecary Jars

    Collagen Peptides - What's the Deal?

    If you've been on social media following any of the health nuts - I'm sure you've seen at some point or another talk about collagen peptide supplements. The supplements are supposed to help you feel and look your best by benefiting your hair, skin, nails, joints and bones. It's as simple and adding a bit of the supplement to a beverage of your choice (it is totally flavourless), such as tea, smoothies or even a glass of water, and sticking with it for a few months!

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    Some of you may be wondering - what is collagen and why do I want it... or want more of it? Collagen is a protein that is found in EVERYONE's body and is associated with younger and healthier looking skin. It is part of hair, skin, nails, gut and connective tissue. Collagen helps maintain your skin's elasticity - thereby reducing wrinkles and fine lines and it also contributes to firmer skin and has even been shown to help with skin tone. It can help your joints, skin tissues and digestive health as well. So now that you understand WHY there's such a big hype around collagen, you now understand why people are bending over backwards to get there hands on collagen peptide supplements.

    I went to the king of the industry: Vital Proteins - Collagen-Based Nutirition, and tried their unflavored Collagen Peptides. I was sent the 1.25 lb jar and a box of individual portion packets (amazing to bring to work or when you're on the go!). I've been using them for a week already and can't wait to see my results next month! Like any supplement, the results won't be immediate (so don't expect them to be) but will take a bit of time and sticking with it is key! Just as you can't eat one bowl of spinach and fix an iron deficiency, you're not going to take collagen peptides and look 25 years younger immediately. You need to keep using it! I'll update this post in a few months with my results! Click here to visit Vital Proteins and check out their entire collection.

    I'm having a giveaway on Instagram for a limited time, so head over to my Instagram for your chance to win your own Collagen Peptides from Vital Proteins!

    Squoosh, Quinoa and Chia Seed Muffins

    My son is now eating solids and becoming more and more curious about textures and food tastes, so this mama has been trying to come up with creative ways to please his ever developing palate! It should come as no surprise to me (because I know who I married) that my son is a picky eater already like his father... forget vegetables and anything healthy... my son has a sweet tooth and a desire for anything savoury! I've been forced to become a bit creative in the kitchen to make sure he's getting enough vitamins and minerals from his food, so I was SO thankful when I discovered Baby Gourmet's Squoosh packs. They are snack sized organic fruit and veggie purées that taste DELICIOUS and each has a full serving of fruits and veggies! In case you're wondering, I have ABSOLUTELY tasted one before - if the food is good enough for my mini, it should be good enough for me! And in this case it definitely is! Zane's fave is the Squabbleberry Squoosh which has apple, blueberries, bananas and butternut squash, so I decided to try to make a more textured snack with his fave purée pouch and the result was a terrific muffin!

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    Total Time: 30 mins
    Servings: 16 Muffins


    Ingredients: 

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    • 2 cups quinoa flour
    • 1/4 cup milled chia seeds
    • 2 tsp baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp baking soda
    • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
    • 1/4 cup almond milk
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    • 4 - 90g pouches of Baby Gourmet Squabbleberry Squoosh (1 box)
    • 1/4 cup butter
    • 2 eggs

    Directions: 

    1. Preheat over to 375F and grease a muffin tin
    2. Combine all dry ingredients
    3. Combine all wet ingredients
    4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix well (2-3 minutes) - ensuring there are no lumps 
    5. Fill the muffin tin halfway with batter
    6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean
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