Breakfast Smoothie w/ Hemp Protein

I love recipes that I can add to, subtract from & substitute ingredients. Smoothies are perfect for this kind of lax attitude in the kitchen. A little of this, a little of that... boom, deliciousness. On our vacation, Tim and I started making smoothies for breakfast and we noticed how awesome we felt afterwards. Lots of energy, our digestive systems were regular, we weren't hungry by 10 am. (I can't say the same about starting out with coffee & carbs).
[Love her]
Are smoothies still trendy? I know it's a little late to be jumping on this bandwagon, but oh well. I got the base of my recipe from Jenna Marbles' blog. You know, the delightfully sassy YouTube star? Sure she curses up a storm and loves saying penis but her messages are actually pretty substantial (like her new one about just texting people what you really mean). Plus, her dogs are hilarious.
[This stuff rocks.]
So here is my current favorite breakfast smoothie. Or whatever time of day smoothie, it doesn't really matter. Makes about 2 servings.

5 ice cubes
1 banana
1/2 avocado
2 cups frozen berries
1/2 c. greek yogurt
2 T. Hemp Protein Powder
2 T. coconut oil
1 c. OJ or Coconut Milk (then, keep adding until it reaches the consistency you want)

I drink mine on my way to work in a neat plastic tumbler like this one. Found it at my grocery store for $5 - score. Sorry, I don't have time to lay around in my bath robe sipping smoothies in the morning. Gotta drop off the little one at his Nana's house & get to work!
This morning I added liquid vitamin D to our smoothies because I've been a little stuffed up lately. If I have baby spinach, I'll also throw in a handful of that. Just get crazy with it! Whatever produce you like (that can be blended easily) will work in a smoothie.

Maybe I'll never go back to coffee...? That's a lie. When it starts getting colder out, I'll definitely crave something warm & autumny. Anyone know a good pumpkin latte recipe?


Vacation in OBX

Saturday, July 21st - 3:02 AM
With our car loaded up, we left Pennsylvania for Corolla (pronounced Cor-ah-la, not Cor-oh-la) in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. An hour into the drive, we stopped for coffee and, like a scene in Marley & Me, Indy tried to jump out of the car, spilling our coffee everywhere. New coffees were purchased and we pushed on. Once we crossed into Virginia, we pulled in at a rest stop to change Flynn, feed Indy, and stretch our legs. Strangers greeted me with friendly Hello's which proved we were officially in the South. After 10 hours and one more stop for eating/changing/stretching... we arrived!

Highlights from the Week

Beautiful mornings on the beach.
Lots of Baby Wearing...
and Beach Playing.
Smoke Bombs...
Double Rainbows... (whoaaa)
Oh yeah, and there was a pool, too.
The best part?
Then we drove home. 
Exhausted, tan & happy.
Did you go anywhere fun this summer?


10 things I don't do since I became a Mom

I must have said it a hundred times, "I won't change just because I have a baby." Wrong. So very wrong. It's one of those things that happens whether you like it or not.

Here are some things that I don't do anymore that I really didn't see coming.

1) Enjoy drinking. Didn't expect this at all! I loved drinking before I was pregnant. I looked forward to my big glass of red wine every night and when Tim and I went out I'd knock back 3 or 4 beers. I even had a glass of wine here and there throughout my pregnancy. It just doesn't do anything for me anymore. I will have 1 drink to be social if we have friends over or go out, but very rarely does this happen. We're going on vacation in a week and I should be drooling at the thought of sipping margaritas poolside, but I could care less. Who knows, maybe I'll give in to peer pressure and rediscover my love of tequila.

2) Wear my hair down. Hair touching my face is so irritating to me these days. I can't stand it. I haven't  blow-dried my hair in months and it's always back in a bun, ponytail or braid (the only hairstyles I'm capable of). I know my husband hates this, but I don't know how to overcome it - aside from chopping off all my hair, which he would hate even more.

3) Wear heels. I sported heels at 9 months pregnant! Can't do it anymore, and this was something I was adamant I'd never let happen. I tried, but it's borderline torture to carry a baby, and a diaper bag and constantly bend down to pick up dropped toys while wearing heels. Plus, if some lunatic tries to kidnap me & my baby I gotta be able to outrun that mother effer. (These are thoughts I have daily.)

[Who is that girl?]
4) Wear a regular bra. I've been wearing the same nude-colored nursing bra for 8 MONTHS. I only wash it once a week. And I'm so sick of it. But, it's probably the most comfortable one I've ever owned. Definitely getting my monies worth out of that purchase.

5) Arrive on time. This aspect of my life is getting a little bit better, but it takes some serious planning and determination to get anywhere on time. I used to be the queen of timeliness. If it's getting to work, I have to have every single thing packed & ready the night before or I will be late. If it's a casual event, expect me to be at least a 1/2 hour late. When Flynn was under 6 months old, being an hour late was totally normal.

6) Eat first.  I used to be very impatient when I was hungry (even before I was pregnant). I'd watch my sisters-in-law getting their kids plates of food and not sitting down to eat their own food until all the chicken was cut up and everyone had the right princess cup in front of them. This blew my mind. How would I ever become that selfless? Must be a mom thing, because it just happens. You automatically put your child's needs before your own, and there's nothing your stomach can say or do about it.

7) Hate kids music. Whatever makes Flynn happy, makes me happy. 3 out of 5 CD's in my car are for the kiddo. He's in a Kindermusik class and he absolutely loves the songs. On more than one occasion, I've dropped him off at my Mom's house and driven all the way to work without changing the music - and I didn't realize it. Wow. Any "Lullaby Rendition" CD is also great. It's popular artists' songs turned into lullabies.

8) Watch my language. I still curse. A LOT. Tim and I both agreed that we need to tone that down in the coming months, lest our child's first words be something we feel ashamed to document in the baby book.

9) Listen to experts. I can't read parenting books. I read every pregnancy and breastfeeding book I could find, but I trust my gut way more than I trust anyone who's written a book on raising children. Especially if it's a book that provides absolutely zero scientific evidence of the claims it makes and is written by someone with no training in child development. Ahem, Babywise. If you like Babywise and it worked for you, that's totally fine, but it just did not "speak" to me as a parent. No one parenting book has thus far.

10) Stick to a schedule. When Flynn is at my Mom's house, he's on a schedule because it's easier for her and I'm fine with that. But it's still not completely set in stone. On weekends and Wednesdays (my days off) we just wing it. Sometimes he takes a nap at 8:30am, sometimes it's 10am. Sometimes I just nurse him and sometimes I follow up with a bottle or solids (or both). Sometimes he naps in his crib, sometimes he naps in the car while I run errands, and sometimes he naps in the stroller during a walk. He's a happy kid and all of his needs are met, so I feel like we've got the important part covered.
[Out to eat past Flynn's bedtime. Oops.]

Has motherhood changed you in any surprising ways?


We gave our dog Valium & other weekend tid bits

I'm not into prescription drugs, or any drugs for that matter, but we have a hyperactive dog who gets VERY anxious in cars and spins in circles in the trunk. That, plus we have an 8+ hour car trip to the Outer Banks ahead of us. I was shocked at how quickly our vet handed us a bottle of Valium for Indy. The words "long car ride..." had barely come out of my mouth and I had pills in my hand. You'd think they would have something specially made for dogs. Nope. Regular old human Valium!

Our vet suggested we test it out once before our vacation to see how many pills Indy would need to be calm for the entire car ride. He's a 90 lb dog, after all.

We want Indy to be less like this... (they're playing, I swear)

And more like this.

Over the weekend, I was gone both Saturday & Sunday from 8am-2pm refereeing at a girls' lacrosse tournament in the area, so that means Tim was on Daddy Duty alone. What better time to drug your dog, am I right? Tim gave him 1 Valium and he was perfectly calm for about 2 hours. Clearly he'll require a higher dose for our trek to OBX. At least we know. Now, if you could only drug a baby...

KIDDING. So just kidding. We're hoping Flynn's new comfy convertible car seat + lots of radio tunes chills him out. He usually sleeps in the car, but we've never driven more than an hour away. Should be interesting. 

If anyone has tips for car travel with a baby & a dog, do tell!

P.S. - The heat did not kill me. PHEW. I want to thank bananas, trail mix & lemon water for keeping me energized & hydrated all weekend.


Flynn's 1st Fourth

Our Fourth of July was  tame compared to those of years past. Having a baby doesn't make events less fun, it just makes them different. For example, instead of lounging around with a beer in my hand, I was vigilantly applying sunscreen to Flynn and constantly checking his swim diaper to see if he went poopy. 

Even though you give birth to a baby, it still doesn't dawn on you that you're a mom until you're faced with certain tasks, like taking a baby to a pool. I drank 1/2 of a Miller Lite, but it's really not that enjoyable to drink when you're the one responsible for keeping someone from drowning.
[After the pool... exhausted]

We didn't make it to any professional fireworks displays this year (Flynn goes to bed at 8pm) so we enjoyed some surprisingly loud & awesome fireworks at my brother's house. Well, they weren't enjoyed by everyone...

My poor babe! He was absolutely terrified, which he expressed through screaming, kicking frantically & grabbing his Dad's shirt.  (And what did I do? Instagrammed it. I'm so awful). 
After a few, he got used to them and watched quietly.

Then, we left early and all went to bed.

The end.


Jef's poem to Emily

As many of you know, I’m a huge Bachelor/Bachelorette fan. I’ve been watching religiously for about 5 years now. This season has southern belle Emily Maynard searching for love after she was chosen by Brad Womack in a previous season and the relationship went nowhere. I like her. I think she’s genuine. Plus, her teeth are like a perfect pack of Chicklets. I can’t take my eyes off them.

She's down to three dudes, but there’s only one I want to see her engaged to.

Jef Holm. SWOON. Is this guy for real? He literally makes my heart melt. (Sorry Tim!)

Soft spoken. Humanitarian. Entrepreneur. Religious. Stylish. Tight pants. Rad hair. WRITES POETRY. (Stalk him Follow him on Instagram for some daily eye candy: @jefholm)

I know, I know, it’s a TV show. But if he’s acting, he is THE greatest actor of all time and I’d rank him up there with Tom Hanks in the romantic-comedy genre. But please, just let me continue living in my little Bachelor/Bachelorette fantasy world where everyone is represented accurately and true love is possible. Thank you kindly.

During the last episode (home town dates), Jef penned this little ditty for Emily. Women across the country collectively sighed. Then hit rewind and sighed some more.

I got bored and transcribed Jef’s letter to Emily for you. You’re welcome.
Men… pay attention. This is how it’s done.

Jef: I wrote down a bunch of stuff, and I want to read it to you.

You and I have one of those relationships that just comes easily.
From the first time I met you there was a unique connection.
That the only words I can use to describe it is meant to be.
As we spent the last little while traveling the world together, I’ve gotten to know so much about you.
I’ve realized I’m completely in love with everything about you.
I love the way you smile.
I love the way you grab my hand and hold it.
I love how good of a person you are.
I love how passionate you are about helping others.
I love how good of a mom you are.
I love that you want a cute little family, hopefully with me.
I love how you chase your dreams and I love how you want to make the world a better place.
I love how funny you are and how funny we are together.
I love how you fit in my arms.
I love the thought of going to sleep next to you and waking up to those big brown eyes every morning.
I’m so excited to meet Ricki.
I’ll teach her how to play sports and I’ll cheer her up when she’s sad and laugh with her when she’s funny.
And I’ll be there for her.
I wanna show her how to fall in love and have a love story that lasts forever, because I’ll love you forever.
Most of all, I’m completely and hopelessly in love with you.

Emily, do the right thing. Pick Jef and make me the happiest fan in the world.


Flynn's Sensory Bin

While browsing some blogs the other day, I saw a really great DIY activity/toy for babies that are Flynn's age (6+ months). That blog lead me to other blogs that raved about the same idea, and it turns out this is a popular concept among Montessori schools. I had vaguely heard of them before, but basically, it's an education approach built on independent learning, discovery rather than direction, mixed age classrooms and specialized educational materials developed by Maria Montessori. There are schools all over the country for children age 0-18, and many people home school their children using Montessori techniques.
A sensory bin, or "treasure basket," is a container you fill with all kinds of random things found around your house - (baby safe) objects of different colors, shapes, textures & sizes. You don't have to buy anything, just use your imagination! Babies always end up wanting to play with anything but their toys anyway, so I think this is a great way to let them explore safely, under supervision.

I walked around our house and filled Flynn's sensory bin in under 10 minutes. I'll add to it/subtract from it as he grows, too (or if I see that something is becoming unsafe).
  • Black cloth sack (that the Moby wrap came in)
  • Burp cloth
  • Natural sponge
  • Beer can koozie
  • Bulb aspirator
  • Whisk attachment to an electric mixer
  • Pom pom trim
  • Bink/Pacifier
  • Toy boat
  • 1/2 of a cardboard egg carton
  • Buttons tied on a loop of string
  • CD (shiny!)
  • Hair roller
  • River stone (large enough to not be swallowed)
  • Piece of ribbon
  • Felt square
  • Wooden curtain rod bracket
  • Sprouting jar lid
  • Plastic hair comb
  • Rubber bottle sleeve
  • Wine bottle cork
  • Gift box
  • Knitted bootie
  • Spice jar filled with beans (you could also use rice... he loves to shake it!)
Just over the past day or so, he has been so entertained by everything in the bin... and even the bin itself!

Hope everyone has a fun & safe Fourth of July. We are heading to the pool a little later with my brother's family (and 4 of Flynn's girl cousins). It'll be his first time in a pool - can't wait!


Coconut Oil: is there anything it can't do?

I'm turning into the father in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," except instead of using Windex as a cure-all, I'm using coconut oil. I swear to you, if the only two beauty products I could use for the rest of my life were Dr. Bronner's Liquid Castile Soap & coconut oil, I'd be all set. Oh and maybe mascara, 'cause it makes my eyes pop.

[We use this kind for Flynn, found here]
I already blogged about it being one of the awesome ingredients in Flynn's homemade formula, and it's also become a popular substitute for other oils & butter in cooking recently. The banana bread recipe I make calls for 1/2 cup of canola oil, but I use 1/2 cup coconut oil instead and it tastes great. At room temperature, coconut oil is not a liquid. Don't let this throw you off. If you need it to be a liquid, microwave it for 10 seconds or let it sit on the oven as you preheat it. 

Apparently there are well over 100 uses for coconut oil, according to this website. So far, I cook & bake with it, add it to fruit smoothies, use it as lip balm and on dry skin, and last night I slathered my face with it because my adult acne (ugh) is back with a vengeance. Pregnancy hormones were kind to me and my face was flawless for 9 months. Not anymore.

[We buy this kind for everyday use, available at most grocery stores]
Here are some of the amazing ways coconut oil can be used. I can't wait to try them!
  • The base for a homemade body scrub
  • Nutritious addition to dog or cat food
  • Apply to your underarms as a natural deodorant
  • Use in place of shaving cream
  • Make-up remover
  • Apply to cuts/burns to speed healing
  • Use on baby's diaper rash & cradle cap
  • Mix with baking soda & use as a natural "goo gone"
  • Use instead of WD-40
  • Eating a few spoonfuls a day will help: increase milk flow in nursing moms, digestion, overall immune function, thyroid function, boost energy
  • Guitar string lubricant (gotta tell my husband, who just joined a new band)
  • Helps pimples & acne (uh, yes please!)
  • Mix with baking soda as a facial scrub
  • Lice treatment (hope I don't have to deal with this for a few more years)
  • Prevents stretchmarks during pregnancy
  • Massage into scalp for a dandruff treatment
  • Non-toxic flea treatment
  • Ear infections: add a few drops in the ear at the first sign
  • Soothes pink eye infections
  • Use it to clean the inside of your dogs ears (trying this ASAP! Indy's ears are always dirty)
[You're going to put WHAT in my ears?]
This wasn't on the list, but I think it would make a great nipple butter for nursing moms. It's soothing and it's a natural anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal (thrush!). I have to remember that next time around.

Do you use coconut oil? If so, what's your favorite use for this tropical wonder?


My Baby's Got a Secret (Part 3: Making Baby Formula)

In parts 1 & 2, I explained why (I and many others think) raw milk is healthier than regular, pasteurized milk from conventional dairy cows and why lactose intolerance doesn't have to stop people from enjoying dairy.

I'm not trying to declare a mommy war on people who use regular formula. Like I've said previously, I do use Earth's Best when traveling or when I forget to pick up more raw milk at Kimberton Whole Foods (they have pretty limited hours on weekends). It's my back-up, and anyone with mommy-brain needs a back-up! 

Do I think making fresh formula using this recipe is better? Well of course, or else I wouldn't be doing it. The ingredients, science behind them, and the fact that you know exactly how it's prepared cannot even compare to commercial baby formula.
[Fresh batch in the fridge]
I've heard plenty of people say that making baby formula is reckless. I'm sure it is if you're concocting something on your own (which I'm not). Here's the thing. I trust myself ONE MILLION percent more than I trust food manufacturers. They care about profit, not your baby's health. Similac, Enfamil, and Earth's Best have all had major recalls of their baby formula over the past few years. Melamine contamination and botulism are two of the reasons. Babies die from those things. DIE. Maybe I'm just a paranoid first-time, Mom, but that freaks me out. And frankly, I think it should freak everyone out. To paraphrase my Mom (who convinced me to make Flynn's formula), "People think if it's for sale at the grocery store, it's good for you." Nothing could be further from the truth.

Okay, enough of my ranting, let's get to the good part: Flynn's homemade baby formula!

The raw milk formula recipe first appeared in the book Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats, by Sally Fallon Morell and Mary G. Enig, PhD. Morell is the President of the Weston A. Price Foundation. And Dr. Enig is kind of a big deal. She's an expert in the field of lipid biochemistry, a licensed nutritionist, a qualified expert witness, a nutrition consultant to individuals, industry and state and federal governments, a contributing editor to a number of scientific publications, the author of over 60 technical papers and presentations, as well as a popular lecturer. The best part? They are both moms who raised their children according to the nutritional principles they pioneered.
[Nutrient-dense oils & supplements]
- Raw Milk (whole raw milk from old-fashioned cows, certified free of disease, that feed on green pasture)
- Filtered Water
- Liquid whey (made from separated whole milk)
- Lactose
- Gelatin
Bifidobacterium infantis (probiotic powder)
- Cream (good quality from grass-fed cows, not ultra-pasteurized)
- Cod liver oil (high-vitamin, fermented)
- Sunflower oil (expeller-expressed)
- Extra virgin olive oil (organic, unfiltered, never heated)
- Coconut oil (organic, extra-virgin)
- Nutritional yeast flakes
- Acerola powder
[Dissolving the gelatin & lactose in filtered water]
[My trusty blender]
So what do each of these ingredients do?

- Milk & water make up the base of the formula.
- Whey assists with the growth of beneficial bacteria in the G.I. tract.
- Lactose, a milk sugar derived from whey, helps make cows milk as rich as breast milk.
- Gelatin binds everything together in baby's stomach and aids with digestion.
- Bifidobacterium infantis contains the "friendly" bacteria most commonly found in infants; it promotes proper digestion and absorption and encourages the formation of antibodies against undesirable bacteria, viruses and allergens.
- Cream is an excellent source of healthy fats, which babies need to thrive.
- Cod liver oil is a rich source of vitamins A & D, as well as the essential fatty acids EPA & DHA (also called Omega 3's).
- Sunflower oil is a good source of different fatty acids.
- Extra virgin olive oil is chock full of antioxidants and healthy fats.
- Coconut oil is antimicrobial, antibacterial, antiparasitical, and antiviral. It supports good thyroid function, radiant skin and heart health. Coconut oil's medium chain fatty acids are converted by your body into quick energy and not stored as fat. Plus, I think it's naturally sweet taste makes baby's dig this formula!
- Nutritional yeast flakes are very high in B vitamins (1, 2, 6 & 12). It has a tannish color, which is why the formula isn't bright white like powdered formula.
- Acerola powder is derived from the acerola cherry, which is one of nature's highest sources of vitamin C.

The Weston A. Price Foundation has made it even easier to obtain all of these ingredients by teaming up with the Radiant Life Company, who now sells a formula "kit" on their website with every ingredient, except milk, water, whey & cream which you need to buy or make fresh. This company only recommends the highest quality products for this formula. I'm talkin' fancy-ass olive oil that you can't even get at Whole Foods. I ordered a 3-month kit since Flynn still nurses and gets at least half of his daily milk intake from me.
[Bottle & funnel from Ikea]
In addition to the ingredients above, I use the following kitchen utensils:
- Blender
- Small saucepan
- Rubber spatula or whisk
- Measuring spoons
- Liquid measuring cup
- Funnel (if your storage container has a narrow opening like mine)

I took a Sharpie & wrote the amount of each ingredient needed on the actual ingredient container itself. That way, I don't need to look at the recipe each time I make it (which is every 2-3 days). I can pull all of my ingredients out and start cookin'. I was SO nervous the first time, because obviously it's important that it be prepared correctly for Flynn's sake. My hands were actually shaking a little bit. But after a few times, it's a cinch.

I won't bore you with the directions. It's a lot of "simmer this" and "measure that" - just like every recipe. If you want to check it out, go here.
[The downside? Extra dishes!]
This homemade formula tends to be a little thick because of the coconut oil and gelatin solidifying in the fridge - totally normal. Just warm it up like you would a regular bottle and it thins out. Flynn took to it right away, and we'll most likely keep making it for him until he reaches age 1. Although I've read that you can switch to plain raw milk once your child is eating a wide variety of solids, Flynn's been taking his time in that department, so we're not in a rush to phase the formula out. We want him to have all this good stuff for as long as possible. He had a minor cold over the winter, but since then, nothing. Even our pediatrician is impressed. (But shh, he doesn't need to know why!)

Obviously, this isn't for everyone. I consider myself a "high-energy" person. I love to be busy and have a hard time sitting still. After Flynn goes to bed, I'm washing diapers, making formula, baking banana bread, cleaning, etc. 

Unless The Bachelorette is on... then, get me to the nearest TV! 
Hometown dates tonight. Team Jef!
What do you guys think of homemade formula? Am I completely nuts?
Leave your comments below :-)


DIY Dishwasher Detergent

"What are you making now?" 
That's what my husband says when something weird arrives in the mail. This time, it was citric acid from Amazon.com for my homemade dishwasher detergent. Don't worry, the rest of the ingredients can be found at the grocery store.

I'm on a mission to kick toxic household cleaners to the curb. There are plenty of natural products on the market (like Seventh Generation & Method), but they can be pricey. I like going natural and saving money at the same time. I also need natural products that work, and this stuff actually does!
I always load up our dishwasher as much as possible (to save water & energy) and start it right before I go to bed. This morning at around 5:45, thanks to Flynn, I awoke to squeaky clean dishes with no lingering toxic residue. Sing it with me... the best part of waking up, is no Disodium Decyl phenyl Ether Disulfonate in your cup! 

I used DIY Natural's recipe and they even do a cost breakdown. I love me a cost breakdown. I once did one with homemade iced coffee v. Starbucks, and it seriously makes Starbucks look like a bunch of con artists. I won't lie, their convenient drive-thru occasionally wins me over...
[5 cents per load!]
An empty couscous container made the perfect storage solution for my detergent, and I added a pinch of rice to prevent clumping. 1 tablespoon of detergent is all you need for a load of dishes, plus a few tablespoons of white vinegar poured in the rinse aid compartment to give everything a spot-free finish.
My husband used to think I was loony tunes for wanting to make my own cleaning products, but now the nerd in him thinks it's pretty cool. Yay for science.

Have you ever made any cleaning products? If so, did they work like you expected?