In Pursuit Of Silence

The noise! 

That noise can not be blocked by hiding yourself behind the closed door of the bathroom…they find you there.

The noise will find you at night when you climb into bed next to your cos sleeping child that cries, laughs, snores and even smacks her lips in her sleep.

It follows you with those tiny three year old legs everywhere you go. The constant yelling, the constant screaming, the “please can I have a snack?  Why is it so windy outside, why is there an ant there? Why? Why? Why? 

Is it wrong to want peace and quite for longer then a few seconds? Every one says “that’s what having children is” or “better you just get used to it” as I pull my hair out because I can’t take this “advice” for the billionth time. As a mom, going crazy from no peace I will tell you it’s not wrong!

As a society we learn to just deal, we deal with having a job we hate, we just deal with a rude professor, we just accept. We just deal that as a mother we won’t get any quite….is that the right way to deal with it though? Why can’t we make it a priority to have a little more quite time, especially when we’re about to have about breakdown without it? 

What I’m trying to say is, don’t you dare feel guilty. If you need some quite time, do it. Take care of yourself and do this one little thing for yourself so all hell doesn’t break out. Do it before you get resentful, before you actually pull your hair out, before you start yelling about the little things because your already stressed out.  

  • Tell your partner to watch the kids for a few minutes as you walk out the door to get a coffee or tea
  • Pick up library books on your own. Your kids missing one library trip won’t  hurt them. 
  • Set up a big bowl of water in the kitchen on a kid table, add bubbles let your kids play and you go hide in your  bedroom, if you can fit into your closest you can have a few extra minutes of silence because they can’t find you there.
  • Put the kids to bed a little earlier. Bonus if you have them outside running for an hour and they will be so tired they might get to sleep quicker.
  • Have the kids help with the chores that you normally do after bedtime so that you don’t have to spend your free time doing them and you can relax. 
  • Ask a babysitter or family or friend to watch your child(ren) for a couple hours, not because your busy just to be alone, do not do erands or chores, just relax. 

Don’t feel guilty, guaranteed your not the only one feeling the same way, atleast be the one that does something about it.

Lavander, The Gateway Oil

Sleep is not my best friend, back in high school it was normal for me to go 48 hours without sleep, it’s normal for me to not be able to get to sleep until 1-2 in the morning some nights, I’ve lived my life used to only having about 5 hours of sleep a night. Eventually I was told by my doctor I have “insomniac tendencies” and was put on a sleeping medication. 

Sleeping medication though I’d also not my best friend,  it took me testing many different medications to find one that mostly worked. The first one I tried gave me horrible night sweats and if I wasn’t set to go to bed with pajamas on then I was out of luck because if I didn’t fall asleep in about ten minutes the medication didn’t work,  or the one medication that gave me terrifying dreams that I felt like we’re reality. The medication I decided to use (I honestly just ran out of other medications to try that were covered by benefits) leaves me with a sleep hangover, one that does not simply go away with a few cups of coffee. 

With my new lifestyle changes for a healthier family I decided to finally try to end my many years of relying upon sleeping pills, and look for a more natural way to help me and my daughter (who at the time was having nightmares and waking up through the night also) I tried by getting outside and taking in fresh air more in my day which did help, and adding more exercise and outdoor running games with me and my daughter which helped her sleeping issues. I though was still having problems staying asleep at night.

Then I found essential oils. Lavander to be exact, a few drops on my pillow and 20 minutes of reading in bed smelling that scent I had the most amazing sleep I had, had in months, amd without that horrible sleep hangover! I ventured to my local farmers market that weekend and went to the essential oils booth and purchased  some chamomile and the scent combination has helped me wonders. I can tell when I forget to sprinkle a few drops of oils I have a long night that I wake up constantly. Lily is also sleeping so much better, I sprinkle one drop of each on my daughter’s favorite teddy bear she sleeps with each night and she’s begun to sleep the entire night with no scares.

*Don’t forget to like my Facebook page @ahappinesshomemade *

Blueberry Muffins

Blueberries are not normally eaten in our house fresh, I enjoy the taste of blueberry but whenever we buy a package they tend to be pushed to the back of the fridge and forgotten. We’ve decided to start buying frozen blueberries and we keep throwing them into our smoothies, and bake with them…my favorite fruits to bake with. I love the sweet taste that comes out of the berries when cooked and I love that the flavour spreads perfectly and pairs well with many other flavours.

With the decision to try and not buy many (if any) pre packaged foods, I decided to try and test out some muffins this week that can be used as a quick snack. after looking through other recipes so that I could get the basics down, I decided to make a few changes, using only brown sugar, and my favorite healthy swap of using yogurt instead of buttermilk and I was very happy of how the muffins turned out and Lily (who does not really enjoy blueberries) gobbled them up!IMG_2975

Blueberry Muffins 

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour, sifted
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup yogurt*
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup blueberries
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit. Grease, or line a muffin baking pan (12)
  2. In a large bowl, sift the flour, add the brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix well.
  3. In a medium bowl, with a whisk or fork mix the egg, yogurt, melted butter and vanilla.
  4. Stir the egg mixture into the flour mixture until combined (the mixture will be lumpy) add the blueberries and mix well.
  5. Spoon the batter into muffin tin 2/3 full
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes depending on your oven.

*For added flavour, use a flavoured yogurt, vanilla or blueberry or mix it up and use strawberry or even peach.

*Don’t forget to go like my facebook page @ahappinesshomemade 

Crunchy Mom, My Badge Of Honour

 A “crunchy mom” is a woman on a quest for more information.  A mom who is environmentally, health, and socially conscious.

 I was called a “Crunchy Mom” a few weeks ago, and from the rest of the comment, it was definitely meant to be an insult. I’ve heard of the term, but have never thought of myself of being one, I definitely though never thought of it as a bad thing, it was one of those mom things that seemed like a good thing to aspire too. I mean look at the definition!  Coming from a girl that was in the environmental club through my school years, volunteered at the food bank, and even tried to start my own charity to give your old sleeping bags that just take up space in your closet that you never use to the homeless during the winter so that had a chance to stay warm in a freezing Canadian winter where shelters were packed full I think that looks like a real honour to be called a “Crunchy mom” but was I one really? 

First, I went to my boyfriend and our best friend Dave, I mentioned the comment and wondered what they thought. Obviously I had to kind of explain what the term exactly meant, but once I got the jist of the definition out I was promptly told “well of course someone said it, you are one!” It wasn’t one second of mulling it over, not one brief pause. So the two people I spend talk to the most and spend my weekends with believe I’m a “Crunchy mom” but I still questioned myself, that seems like such an honour to be called ( in my opinion) and I didn’t just want to take that label and run with it, I wanted to make sure I’ve earned it.

Where else to turn to? Well I don’t have many mom friends (social anxiety at its finest, I really have to just push myself and find more mom friends) and went to Facebook groups, one I had been invited to was a natural parenting group and I went there, as I read through these moms comments and questions I felt even more like I wasn’t one of them.  These were moms that went all vegan, moms that travel the world with there children, moms that bathe in the lakes they find while there road tripping through life in there mini buses there family lives in (ok not all, but I did find one mom that was doing just that!) I was nothing like that, I’m flexitarian, my kid bathes in a bathtub and my kid isn’t travelling mingle with different cultures on there natural land.

But was that what I had to do to be a crunchy mom? Or are there levels of “crunchiness” ?

I decided to open up, went to the post section and wrote how I had been deemed a “Crunchy mom” as an insult and felt like I wasn’t really doing enough to be “crunchy” so asked, am I really a crunchy mom? I couldn’t just ask a bunch of strangers and get a proper response so I decided to explain a bit about what I do, that I think is a bit “crunchy” but I still don’t think is enough.

  • Uses coconut oil religiously as moisturizer,  and make my own body scrubs with coconut oil
  • Lily and I have a minimum of one hour of nature time a day
  • I buy most of my cheeses, vegetables and meat from local farmers
  • All our sweet treats and desserts are home made
  • I’m attempting to make as much ourselves, soups, marinades, condiments and my quest to make our own breads is ongoing (see mu last post) and I hope to one day make all our sandwich breads, buns and such from scratch.
  • Instead of turning up the heat I try to use blankets and layers, or in the heat flowing clothes instead of turning on the air conditioner
  • I do yoga with Lily as much as I can to teach her how to calm her mind and body down.
  • I try to limit Lily’s tv time to one movie a day  (when she gets bored of the movie and runs off to play, the movie is paused and when her interest comes back to the movie the tv turns back on until she loses interest again.
  • I use essential oils for everything from making sure I have a good night’s rest ( chamomile and lavander) to muscles pains and growing pains for Lily.
  • I’m trying to cut down on processed foods, and snacks are only whole foods versus pre packaged snacks.
  • we are flexitarian,  we do eat meat but we don’t make it the only way we get our protein.
  • Lily and I still cosleep, even though she’s starting to move around more during the night and prefers my side of the bed, after almost four years were still comfortable. 

After writing the comment and posting it I had had revelation. Why do I need these mothers to approve that I am a crunchy mom? Why do I need to be approved to have this title?  I’m trying my hardest to be eco conscious, trying hard to make sure my daughter understands where her food came from, and how it’s made versus that it’s just something you buy in a store. I’m teaching my daughter to be aware of the world around her, and to not harm anything even as little as an ant and I’m teaching her that there are other ways to get rid of anxiety, pain and other ways to deal with sickness then popping a pill.

So yes, I’m a crunchy mom, and I wear that title as a badge of honor.

Check out the Facebook page for this blog @ahappinesshomemade 

What Moms Really Want For Mothers Day 

a beautiful new coffee mug is perfect, the awesome Wonder Woman journal my daughter picked out for me this mothers day is absolutely amazing but if you have no idea what a mother in your life is really wishing for this Mothers Day I’ll let you in on the real list.

  • Let us sleep an entire night without having to get up because someone peed the bed
  • Don’t wake me up at the Crack of dawn after we spent hours outside running around yesterday…how are you not still exhausted!?
  • Stop chugging your juice! I just want to drink half just HALF my coffee while it’s still warm not sit down for five seconds then get up to refill your cup, please
  •  No a cookie is not breakfast food please stop crying 
  • PICK UP YOUR DINASOURS AND STOP HIDING THEM UNDER BLANKETS those things hurt more then Lego
  • Don’t ask me for a grilled cheese, eat one bite then say “my tummy says I’m full” …then ask for a cookie
  • Stop asking  for Frozen, I love the movie also but the DVR erased it because it was to full with shows I never get to watch
  • No you can not eat the baked goods that JUST came out of the oven please stop asking they will burn your mouth
  • Please don’t lean your head against the oven while it’s on, your scaring me 
  • I love that you tried to help by putting sunscreen on yourself but please let me do it myself
  • Stopping watering every random object you are pretending is a plant! The floor is soaked now, and so are my socks
  • Please take a bite out of the food on your plate instead of having me convince you for 15 minutes then you saying “yummy” we all know your going to like it
  • Please don’t bring three stuffed animals to bed then take over my side of the bed because you have no more room
  • Please fall asleep before I do tonight

And the most important one of all

  • Please keep giving me hugs today, and have a smile on your face so that I know im doing things right. 

A little dirt and a lesson 

kids make messes, kids push boundaries,  kids make mistakes, kids knock over the plant that you just finished planting all over your couch not even a minute after we finished planting it. 

That beautiful dream I had of picking the seeds from a strawberry and planting them in an indoor pot until they grew enough to plant outdoors, the plan that in my mind would grow into plenty of strawberries, enough to bake special treats. Well that plan had a standstill when Lily was standing on the couch looking at the pot on the ledge she somehow knocked the entire contents onto our couch. 

I can’t really be angry with her though (ok I won’t lie I did have an angry tone when I told her to step back while I vacuumed but I think I deserved to have a little bit of an angry tone) Lily offered to help, she pointed out areas I had missed and helped give me company when I went back to the strawberries and stared picking the seeds off again. 

Kids are naturally curious, they want to understand everything and we as parents need to let that curiosity blossom. Even though there’s some questions that are hard to answer or questions that you have answered before and can just not deal with answering it yet again we have to so that our children learn all the things they want to learn.

We have to understand our children are new, things that are obvious to us are not to them…why we put oil in a pan before we cook something, how worms come out when it rains, that we don’t need to water the flowers and the leaves but the dirt the plants come from so we get to the roots. 

There hands will get messy,  there’s going to be times you have to hose them down before they even get into the house because there so dirty, days your mind is so jumbled because you don’t even know how to answer that one mind boggling question. But take it how it is, a lesson. 

Add A Little Sprinkle To Your Life 

When you kid asks for chocolate chip cookies for three days straight you make her chocolate chip cookies.

I love baking with my daughter and I had gone two days without baking which feels like an eternity to me so I needed to bake and decided to treat my daughter with a little sprinkle to her day.

I’ve been spending the past few months trying to find the perfect cookie recipe, something that is still gooey on the inside but not undercooked, something that does not go rock hard in a day and a cookie that tastes delicious even when there is no chocolate chip (or sprinkle) in that tiny bite and I think I have finally made a cookie that fits all those criteria…finally.

These cookies are packed full so most bites will have you chewing on at least one chocolate chip and sprinkle. The mini chocolate chips make sure its not to much chocolate overtaking your taste buds (but if you can not find or have on hand mini chocolate chips then add either the same amount of regular chocolate chips or go a little extra and add a full 1 cup) IMG_2826

Sprinkle Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup rainbow sprinkles
  1. In medium bowl whisk flour, baking soda,  cream of tartar and salt. Set aside.
  2. In large mixing bowl cream together the butter, brown sugar,  granulated sugar.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Mix again.
  3. Slowly add in flour mixture into sugar mixture until combined. Add in chocolate cops and sprinkles.
  4. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  6. Using cookie scoop, scoop dough onto sheet and cook 10-14 minutes (depending on ovem)
  7. Perfect is lightly browned and soft and doughy. IMG_2803IMG_2819

Lily in The Kitchen

When Lily was around 9 months old I borrowed this one book from the local library titled “The Homemade Pantry” and it’s exactly what the title suggests, an entire cookbook packed full of recipes that show you how to make all the pantry staples at your home instead of buying everything pre-made and processed with ingredients you might not even be able to pronounce. 

That idea of the book stuck with me all these years.

I want my daughter to grow up understanding how to make her own bread, that mayonnaise doesn’t just have to come from a Hellmans container but can be whipped up in our kitchen, I need her to know early on that pizza doesn’t come prepared and frozen in the freezer section of the grocery store, heck I want it to go so far that she understands she can even make her own crackers and cheese!

This is why Lily has grown up in the kitchen and will continue to do so. As a little girl, I would place her in her high chair, roll it into our tiny kitchen and give her a wooden spoon while I baked zucchini bread, graham crackers and even when I wilted spinach in a pan with Garlic to make her a personal toddler person that became a staple in her diet as a toddler.

As she’s grown older she grown from just sitting in the kitchen to her helping us gather our ingredients throughout our kitchen, to her even grating chicken and help dice carrots with a safe knife and learning to scoop the sides of a bowl while stirring and hold to lightly fold chocolate chips into a batter. 

I’m a Baker and I hope to one day own my own bakery and I hope for a little while that Lily will be along to help with odd jobs in the kitchen while I work…I even have this dream that I would have a tiny table for her to sit at off to side where she can do her homework. 

We have a bit to go for my dream of a fully homemade pantry but my daughter is along for the ride and I couldn’t pick a better kitchen helper. 

Zucchini Muffins and A Thank You

I have my daughter to thank for opening my world to baking,  before her I had given up baking years before because I just always messed up, burnt edges, little pockets of flour that was never mixed in and that legendary mishap of a burnt on the outside angel food cake and get completely raw dough in the middle. But when Lily started eating solids shequickly disliked most food put in front of her and with a new moms anxiety I started to stress about the nutrients she was lacking because she really only ate the same things every single day.

I needed to get her to try different foods,  and I finally accepted I might need to start by hiding veggies in her food. Zucchini Muffins was my first thing I tried, I hadn’t baked in close to five years at that point and I was a little nervous if it would even come out edible but I  was a determined mother, my kid needed veggies and I would find a way to get them into her.

Luckily they came out perfect and I began to bake even more, pumpkin bread, other veggie breads, even began making our own graham crackers. If Lily had never had been a little picky as a toddler I would have never found my passion for baking.

So thank you little one for helping your mother discover her biggest passion,  something that brings me joy and something we can happily  do together…bake.

IMG_2800

Zucchini Muffins

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup grated zucchini
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  1. Measure flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in large bowl and stir thoroughly. Make well in the middle of the ingredients and set bowl aside
  2. In a smaller bowl beat eggs until they are frothy. mix butter, sugar together with the eggs. Add the zucchini and milk and mix together.
  3. pour the smaller bowl contents into the flour mixture and then add the chocolate chips. The batter will be lumpy.
  4. Bake at a 450 degree oven for 20-25 minutes.

IMG_2793

Grow Your Own Food

I want my daughter to learn where food comes from.

I want her to know chicken doesn’t just naturally come in nugget form, that seeds that you find in your fruit actually can grow an entire new plant, I want her to know that milk comes from a cow, I even want her to learn what she can forage from a field or forest and what is edible and what is not (which I will be learning along with her) 18193096_1367245056704513_8455789411148102898_o

The past few days I have been reading The 100 Mile Diet by Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon and it has opened my eyes to plenty of new information, shocking statistics and how much I really should be doing to make not only my life a healthier life for me but for my daughter and the planet that my daughter will grow up on.

This week I have decided to make some changes in my life and my daughters, we will be starting to compost so that we have healthy compost to sprinkle over our new garden we will be planting shortly that will be full of vegetables and berries. I will be planning on growing green beans and tomatoes and Lily wishes that we could plant carrots which I will be looking into. Yesterday I spent quite some time picking the tiny seeds off of strawberries so that I could rinse them off, then dry them and plant them in a tiny area so they can begin regrowing inside our home. IMG_2773.JPG

I’m hoping in the next few months that Lily and I will be able to travel to a few different farms around us and pick some fruit and learn some new things about farm animals and we will be going to try some different farmers markets now that the warmer weather markets begin this weekend in our city.

Through all of this I hope my daughter learns to try new foods because shes comfortable that they are safe, because she feels proud to eat them because shes helped grow them with her own hands. This is going to be a change for us, but one I believe is needed to teach my daughter to be grateful for the food that she eats, to be grateful for our earth and that we are still able to grow our own food.