10 life hacks that make my life as a mom dramatically easier!

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Back when I had Franklin in 2010, motherhood hit me like a ton of bricks (that fell on me while I was being hit by a truck without warning). It was tough! I’m a naturally introverted person who likes to be alone a lot, and I love to be productive. When Franklin was born, I was taking a double loads of classes to finish my masters degree in psychology (I am also a law school graduate), I was running an online food store (for which I wrote newsletters, ordered products, stocked shelves, printed out orders and filled boxes, shipped them… I did pretty much everything), I was running a non profit food buying group so people in my community could have organic food at cost (which involved ordering produce, creating spreadsheets for orders, trying to accommodate everyone’s requests, sending out invoices…), I was also writing a couple of books, blogged, cooked everything from scratch, did most of the housekeeping, and more… It was insane!

I often say that Franklin was exactly the baby I needed to have at the time. Yes, he was terribly high needs, but I needed it. I needed someone to tell me to slow down, to be OK not doing anything. It was hard… But I’ve changed so much and for that, I’m grateful.

Today, I have another little boy, and I am with my kids nearly all the time, with my husband going to law school. I’m also determined not to have a baby sitter take care of baby Nicholas. I don’t feel comfortable leaving my baby with anyone before he’s at least a year old (and even then…), but… I’m totally not OK with being a mess at the end of the day.

Over the years, I’ve developed strategies to make my life easier. Here are some of the main ones… They allow me to nose overwork myself with things that aren’t important, while still allowing me to keep working. Can’t take the workaholic out of the girl!

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Mango Papaya Smoothie with Green Powder

I’m not a picky eater; I love pretty much everything. But papaya? Forget it. I tried eating some when I was pregnant with Franklin, since it’s supposed to help with heartburn, but no. But last week, we ended up with a papaya. Oh, what to do? I don’t like papaya, but I really don’t like to toss food in the trash (or in our case, the compost pile or the chickens).

The papaya sat in my fridge for a few days, until I thought… Hey! Let’s make a smoothie. The result? A deliciously tangy and refreshing drink, which would also make a great frozen dessert if you run it through an ice cream maker. I made it even better with some coconut oil and my current favorite green powder.

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Mango Papaya Smoothie with Green Powder

Ingredients

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[Review] Ice Cream that Everyone Can Scream For by Jennifer Robertson (+ giveaway!)

What’s better than a nice bowl of ice cream on a hot day? Living in Portland, I am fortunate to have access to some pretty amazing ice creams, including Salt and Straw, hailed as one of the 21 best ice cream shops in the US.

But, many of my friends can’t have dairy, and I do love making my own ice cream, with or without cream. So, when Jennifer Robertson, classically trained raw food chef, passionate mom, and downright wonderful friend came out with her new book Ice Cream That Everyone Can Scream For, I immediately purchased it.

The first recipe we tried was for Raspberry Mango Popsicle. Franklin had been asking for popsicles for ever, so I made these because they were easy and straightforward, and sounded delicious. They were a big hit.

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They’re the 3rd ones in the row of photos. Aren’t they all gorgeous?

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“New Seasons” Fajitas Bowl – 30 Minutes to a Super Nutritious Dinner

Only moms understand why evenings are the most difficult part of the day. Kids are tired, getting cranky, and might be hungry. Husbands are often tired, if they are even home. And we, after a full day of work or being with our children (it’s work too!), have to make dinner and hopefully go to bed with a clean kitchen. It’s not always easy! And while husbands can definitely cook, those of us with picky palates high standards would rather do it themselves. Yes, I want my food to be nourishing, organic, perfectly cooked, delicious, fresh, and I don’t want a massive mountain of dishes to clean afterwards.

Sounds impossible? It’s not. After 7 years of cooking for myself and Matthew, and then 4 more years of cooking with children, I’ve developed many recipes that fit the bill. One of them is what I call the “New Seasons Fajitas Bowl.” I created it to celebrate my favorite grocery store in Portland, New Seasons (my mom is obsessed with it, too). It’s like a Whole Foods store, except prices aren’t outrageous, employees are super friendly, and it’s a B corporation. If I wasn’t so passionate about working for myself, I’d work there!

Fajita Bowl

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Extended Breastfeeding and Introducing Solids – Ending Breastfeeding, Iron Supplementation, and Sleep

As my little bundle of joy, Nicholas, is approaching the 6 months mark, I thought I would share some information about extended breastfeeding and introducing solids. Many of you have asked about my family’s diet (read more here), including what I feed my little boys. Here are some answers, including both facts and personal experience.

Extended Breastfeeding and Introducing Solids

When should one stop breastfeeding? I believe that the decision to stop breastfeeding should come from the child, not from well-meaning family members, friends, or the medical community. Unfortunately, many people see breast milk as a source of nourishment, and nothing else. The child cannot eat solid, therefore he gets breastmilk. Once solids are introduced, breastmilk is no longer needed. Ironically, many people then switch to formula at this point, clearly showing that solids are not enough at such a young age.

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Just Like Hail Merry Tart Recipe – a Guest Post for De~Hydrated – Modern Live Food Cuisine

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After buying way too many Hail Merry tarts, I figured it was high time I make my own. After all, the ingredients are simple, and I don’t have a separate budget for chocolate indulgences (though that does sound nice!)

So, I’ve made them! It took me a few tries, but my husband finally declared them perfect. I’ve shared the recipe with Jennifer Robertson of De~Hydrated – Modern Live Food Cuisine. Enjoy!

Guest Post: 5 Healthy Snack Ideas for Preschoolers – by Lauren Nastasi

Today, I’m delighted to shine the spotlight on Lauren Nastasi as one of my guest bloggers. What I like most about this fierce mama and lover of good food is her determination to put health above dogma. Open minded, loving, and generous, Lauren is a wonderful person all around. Today, she shares with us 5 snacks her daughter likes to take to preschool.

If most of you are like me, you are trying to navigate the world of Goldfish and artificially flavored “kid food”. I don’t even like to use the phrase “kid food” because I don’t understand it. Why do kids need special food with characters on it? Some argue their taste buds are different, but I didn’t find this to be true at all. My daughter didn’t discover there was such a thing until she started preschool this past September. She always ate healthy fresh food and had a palate similar to mine. My guess is because that’s what she knew, I didn’t give her the other option.

The food that is marketed to kids is down right gross, most are filled with chemicals, highly processed and hardly what I would call “food”. You would think that food meant for growing, pure, little bodies would be food that helped their growing, pure, little bodies. But, alas, we live in a world where this is not the case at all. So as Moms, we must do our best to lead by example and show our kids that healthy food is good tasting and just as fun as the stuff with the cute cartoon characters.

I send my daughter to school with a healthy snack everyday and when I ask her what the other kids had, I’m appalled. A lot of time I feel these parents aren’t educated on what is in their kids snacks, so as the saying goes “ignorance is bliss”. They see 100% Vitamin C and think it is a healthy snack but that snack also comes with different dyes and artificial ingredients. I know some parents just aren’t sure that their kid will like healthier food, but I’ve seen from experience, if they try it, usually they like it.

Below I compiled a list of our favorite snacks for preschool hopefully this list can help anyone who struggles with getting their child to eat healthy.

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Valentine’s Day Blood Orange Cheesecake (aka Ralph Nader Cheesecake) {Raw, Paleo, Gluten Free}

This Valentine’s Day, treat yourself to a fruit that was once reserved for royalty: the delicious, berry flavored blood orange. This cheesecake is suitable for paleo diets, raw diets, gluten free diets, dairy free diets, and more. Which means that everyone can eat it! Except people who eat low fat, but they have other things to worry about than not getting cheesecake for Valentine’s Day.

 

My household consists of one husband, one preschooler, one baby, and myself. Not enough to devour an entire cheesecake, as awesome as it is, so I invited friends over. Shannon was interested, but she doesn’t celebrate V-day. Instead, she chooses to celebrate important single historical figures and the accomplishments they have made due to their single status. Of course, I immediately thought of Ralph Nader, who understood you can’t really change the world and be a good family man. Whenever my husband takes on too much, I remind him he’s not Ralph Nader. And I feed him cheesecake before he has time to grumble.

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Valentine’s Day Blood Orange Cheesecake

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Probiotics and Breastmilk – Boosting a Baby’s Immune System (And What Do I Personally Use?)

In the US alone, nearly 1 billion of probiotics are sold every year and sales are on the rise. But can probiotics, both from supplements and from those existing naturally in breastmilk, affect the health of our breastfeeding babes? Research says that yes, they can.

Do probiotics pass into breastmilk?

The short answer is yes, if a mother consumes probiotics, they will pass into her breastmilk and benefit her little nursling. Studies have shown that when mothers include probiotics in their diet, a host of benefits (some of which are discussed below) are conferred to both herself and her child.

How are probiotics beneficial to breastfeeding babies?

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Overnight Crock-pot Cinnamon-Apple Oatmeal

It doesn’t matter how fast you can make a smoothie. Sometimes, just the thought of mixing something up is more than you can handle. I’d blend up green smoothies any time, personally, but my husband often has to leave the house before I have time to make him breakfast and… I think he’d rather not eat at all than make breakfast!

Enter… My overnight cinnamon-apple oatmeal. You prep it all the night before, and in the morning, you have a hot bowl of oatmeal that’s ready to eat.

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Overnight Cinnamon-Apple Oatmeal

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