7 Things to Do for Yourself as a Mom (Plus 1 Bonus)

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and weekend. My latest post at the parenting blog I write for FE Media is called “7 Things to Do for Yourself as a Mom.” Click the photo to read.

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At the end of the post I mention that my list is “by no means complete.” Another self-care activity I enjoy is writing in my journal. I like to free write. I set a timer for 15 minutes and write by hand with the goal of not stopping my pen. I write as fast as I can, whatever comes into my mind.

Recently I learned a new journaling technique I want to share with you. I first heard of it from Monica Cost, a corporate consultant, author of the parenting blog Mom-wise at FE Media, and author of the book The Things I Used to do to Sneeze!: How to Live an Authentic Life with Awesome Emotional Sensations

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The process works like this: every night before I go to sleep, I write down three things:

1. Something that went well

2. Something I want to accomplish tomorrow

3. Something I’m looking forward to in the future

For example, here’s the list I made the night of November 22:

1. Something that went well: turned in my mom blog post 2 days early

2. Something I want to accomplish tomorrow: write draft of blog post

3. Something I’m looking forward to in the future: watching NFL football

Review your list in the morning. I’ve found since I started doing this, I’m looking for the positives in my day instead of dwelling on negative things that inevitably happen. I’m also accomplishing more. When I write down one thing I want to do that day, and then get it done, I receive an endorphin rush and this usually leads to getting a few more things finished. The third benefit I’ve seen is once the event I’m looking forward to in the future arrives, I’m able to slow down and be present in that moment I’ve been anticipating rather than it flying by in a rush.

If you try this technique, I’d love to hear your thoughts. I’d also love to know what you do to relax and recharge, especially during this busy holiday season.

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Vote for Mr. Kimble!

My friend Kat entered her dog, Mr. Kimble, into Modern Dog Magazine’s Cover Dog Contest. Mr. Kimble is a Shetland Sheepdog and very special. In July 2014 he was in a bad accident, and needed expensive surgery. With the help of an entire community, the funds were raised for him to have the operation and he’s now recovered. The photo was taken about 6 weeks after the surgery and was one of the first times the dog smiled since the accident.

Mr Kimble

The winner of the contest will be decided by whichever dog receives the most votes, and first prize is a photo shoot with the dog appearing on the Spring 2015 cover of the magazine. All of the dogs entered have a chance to be featured in the magazine, too. You can vote for Mr. Kimble once a day until January 7, 2015 at 12 p.m. PST, by clicking this link.

As a fellow dog lover, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting this little guy in person, and he’s a sweetie. If any dog deserves to win, it’s him!

A 5th Practical Use for Coconut Oil

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Coconut oil is one of my new favorite things in 2014. Besides cooking with it, coconut oil saves me money on:

  • Hand and body lotion
  • Lip balm
  • Shaving cream
  • Diaper rash cream (for my son, not for me!)

I love coconut oil so much I wrote a post in April called 4 Practical Uses for Coconut Oil, with recipes for a hair mask and lip scrub. Since then I’ve discovered a fifth practical use, which surprised me: it stops mosquito bite itching and speeds healing. When I first read it, I was skeptical (although I don’t know why, given coconut’s oil track record), but I had two large bites on my forearm that itched pretty bad. I rubbed in a little whenever I felt the itch, and I’m here to tell you it worked!

So I can add calamine lotion to my list of things to eliminate and replace with coconut oil (not only does it save money but so much better for your health with it’s all-natural properties). What about you? What are your favorite uses for coconut oil?

 

 

 

Image courtesy of rakratchada torsap/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’m Writing for Moxie Lady!

I’m thrilled to be a contributor for Moxie Lady, a website dedicated to improving women’s lives. For my first article, “Work-at-Home Mom? 5 style tips, starting with ditching the jammies,” image consultant and wardrobe stylist Kristen Kaleal shares her advice to be a stylish WAHM (her tips apply to any woman working from home). Kristen and I discussed the concept of having a uniform other than your pajamas, which frees up mental energy for more important tasks. Our discussion got me to think about my own “uniform,” which consists of:

  • Jeans (jean shorts in summer)
  • T-shirt (or tank top in summer, and I tend to wear plain or sports tees)
  • Nike trail runners (in one of my favorite colors, turquoise)
  • Under Armour ankle socks (these are the best socks EVER!)
  • I pile my hair on top of my head with a coordinating color claw clip, and wear an elastic headband (these ones from Adidas are my favorite right now)
  • Small stud earrings, usually rhinestone
  • A bracelet or cuff, which I use to keep track of which side to nurse my son

Click the photo to read the article for all the tips and feel free to share your own work-from-home uniform and/or fashion advice in the comments. ??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Flower Water: Fresh Chamomile Cold Infusion

photo (3)Along with my husband, I’ve made a conscious effort to cut sugary sodas and other drinks out of my diet. Although we’ll occasionally drink Sprite or ginger ale, for the most part we stick with water and tea. Water is the best thing we can drink, and it’s fun to flavor it to help meet hydration goals. We grow herbs that can be used to brew fresh teas such as nettle, lemon balm, and chamomile, and a couple weeks ago discovered the chamomile flowers can be used to flavor water in a cold infusion. Chamomile is easy to grow (in fact, you want to plant it somewhere you don’t mind it spreading), and the cold infusion is a snap to make.

Clip about a 1/4 cup of the chamomile flower heads.

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Put them in a strainer and rinse.

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Pour the flowers into a 32 oz. mason jar.

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Fill the mason jar with water (preferable filtered), and cap.

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Place the mason jar in the refrigerator for 8-12 hours.

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The finished infusion

 

Strain or scoop the flowers from the jar, and enjoy! The slightly sweet and delicate flavor of the water is so refreshing!

You can use the flowers you removed from the mason jar to make hot chamomile tea. Place the flowers in a saucepan, fill the pan with 32 oz. of water, and bring to a boil. The water will begin to change color, and it depends how strong you like your tea, as to when you want to turn off the burner. I then scoop out the flowers to add to our compost pile.

 

 

Buckwheat Peanut Butter Pancakes

Buckwheat peanut butter pancakes topped with organic strawberries and real maple syrup

Buckwheat peanut butter pancakes topped with organic strawberries and real maple syrup

Two winters ago, my husband and I started making our own maple syrup from five trees in our front yard. We keep and freeze some and like to share and give the rest away. As a result, people have asked us for maple syrup recipes. This is the first in what I hope will be a series of recipes involving maple syrup.

Ingredients
1-1/2 cups buckwheat pancake and waffle mix (Bob’s Red Mill is my absolute favorite)

1 egg (lately we’ve been getting farm fresh eggs from Point Farm)

1 Tbsp California Ranch extra-virgin olive oil

3/4 cup cold milk (I used SO Delicious coconut milk, a tasty dairy-free option)

2 Tbsp peanut butter (I love Jif Natural Creamy Peanut Butter Spread)

1 cup (or more to taste) organic strawberries (I try and eat organic strawberries as much as I can, since they’re part of the Dirty Dozen)

Maple syrup (the real stuff) to taste, a generous pour

Directions
Blend mix, egg, oil, milk and peanut butter until just blended. You may need to adjust the batter with more mix or milk if it becomes too thin or thick. Preheat cast iron skillet or griddle with olive or coconut oil. To make pancakes, I scoop batter out of the bowl with a 1/4 cup and pour into the skillet. Cook on medium heat until until you see bubbles in the center and the edges begin to brown. Flip pancake, cook for less than a minute. Stack pancakes on a plate and top with strawberries and maple syrup. Yields about 12 pancakes.

Ahi Tuna with Super Lemony Aioli Sauce

Ahi tuna with super lemony aioli sauce served with tricolor quinoa and winter blend vegetables

Tuna is one of my favorite foods. So much so I have two other tuna recipes on this blog (check out Tuna, Veggie & Cottage Cheese Concoction and Winter Blend Tuna Pasta). As a nursing mother, however, I’m careful to limit my tuna consumption (it’s a smart idea for everyone though).

Today’s recipe comes courtesy off the back of a Bay Prime Ahi Tuna bag. As a modification, I super charged the lemon aioli sauce by using the juice from 1 lemon (about 4 tablespoons) with lemon grass and lemon zest. The original recipe says to use 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and either lemon grass or lemon zest. Warning: my version is not for the faint of heart. Make sure you really like lemon if you choose to make this my way. Otherwise, I’d use the recommended amount of lemon juice and pick one additional lemon ingredient.

Ingredients

1 lb. Bay Prime ahi tuna
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp (or less) sea salt
Lemon Aioli Sauce
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 tbsp lemon juice (or the juice of one lemon, about 4 tbsp)
2 tsp fresh basil (my basil hasn’t sprouted yet so I used dried this time around)
1/2 tsp (or less) sea salt
1 tsp lemon grass and/or lemon zest of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp white pepper
4 cloves garlic, pressed

Directions

Thaw fish. Gently pat with a paper towel to dry. Salt and pepper tuna. Heat olive oil in cast iron skillet on high heat. Once pan is hot, add tuna and sear 2 minutes per side for pink center, or 3 to 4 minutes per side for well done tuna (I like all my meat and fish to be well done).
Lemon Aioli Sauce: Combine yogurt, lemon juice, basil, salt, lemon grass and/or lemon zest, white pepper and garlic. Mix well. Chill in refrigerator for 20 minutes. Scoop on the cooked tuna.