Friday, 27 March 2015

Frozen yogurt bites--easy and quick snack for kids

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So the thing is, when you're stuck on the couch coping with bed rest, going stir crazy and feeling incredibly guilty that you can't take care of your family the same way that you used come up with quick ideas that will make your kids happy. Because mommy guilt will do that to you. So this post is a quick one--with a quick idea that you can whip up tonight and put into your kids hands, and I promise you they'll love it.

We're heading into only about two more weeks left until my due date, which means that the fear of baby coming way too early has started to decrease and it's now just a matter of me trying to cope with all of the crazy contractions that come and go throughout the day and night...little signs that my body is prepping for the big day that could come now at any point. Our hospital bags are packed (kind of) nesting checklist is dwindling, baby blankets are neatly folded and bags full of both blue and pink newborn clothes have been pulled out--anticipating the big surprise. I can't believe that I'll be holding a newborn and our life will forever be changed in only a matter of a week or two. One moment I'm chasing after my beloved kindergarten kids at school (as I wrote about here), and the next moment I'm at home, ready to kiss newborn cheeks and introduce this new little soul to both Mya and Carter. Life just doesn't stop for a moment. Thank goodness.  

So as I dream of tiny toes and pudgy newborn cheeks...and panic about sleep deprivation, recovery time and how I'm actually going to pull of this whole three kids, 4 yrs old and under gig, I am also aware that my kids still need me to pretend that life is normal. Mom is fine. Everything is just as it always has been. So I took some time to come up with a little after school snack for these two--something that was new, different and that they would actually love and eat.

So after searching online for healthy snack ideas, I found this little snack that I knew that my kids would devour. And the bonus was that I could make it quickly while just sitting at my kitchen table for only a few minutes.

It's super easy, super quick to make and something that I promise they'll actually like.  

Frozen yogurt bites.

It's as simple as that. Drops of yogurt, placed in the freezer, then pulled out to outstretched arms, eager to dig in. They'll love them.

This is how I made them: 

Use whatever yogurt you prefer. 

Take a small Ziplock bag, fill it with yogurt then cut a tiny hole in one corner of the bag. Careful that it doesn't all spill out though! 

Squeeze tiny drops of yogurt onto a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper.

Then place them in the freezer until they harden.

Then when your kids get home, pull them out and try with all of your might to grab them off of the cookie sheet and put them into cute little bowls for the kids to try--or, as you can see here...just forget it, and let them at 'em. No time for a pretty presentation. They took one look at them, pulled up a chair to the counter and barely took time for a breath through each bite.

Which is actually a good thing--because they start to melt if you leave them out for too long. We didn't have that problem here though.

Give 'em a try. They're delicious.

Back to bed for me.

Have a great weekend everyone,
Erica xo

Monday, 16 March 2015

Mommy guilt and one-on-one time

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It's those quiet nights when my mind starts to wander.

My mind starts to try to envision what life will be like as we welcome a new baby into this house. My mind tells me that I'm beyond excited for this new phase in our life. But my mind also sneaks in moments of guilt, knowing that it will become a balancing act of giving each of our children enough one-on-one attention so that they all know exactly how much they are loved, and never question it for even a moment.

So last night was good for me. Good for Mya. Good for all of us. Because we had her all to ourselves. A whole night of just her, Terry and I. Daddy/Mommy/Mya time, we call it. Because if you give it a name, it feels even more special.

Carter went to my parents house for the night so that Terry and I could get a full nights sleep...because even 2yr olds know when life is about to change. So, just like Mya did when she was only 2yrs old--and just weeks before I gave birth to her little brother, Carter has decided that sleep isn't a necessity anymore. So waking us up a million times a night just for some extra cuddles from mom is necessary...because our sweet little Carter (the biggest mama's boy that I know), somehow knows that baby is coming very soon and mom might be more occupied than usual. So my wonderful parents offered to bring him to their house for a sleep over, so we could get some much needed sleep.

And do you know what that meant? It meant that Mya wanted to go too.

So we quickly switched her thinking, and instead of her feeling left out from experiencing a fun sleep over at Nana and Papa's house, we told her that this means that we get her all to ourselves...mommy/daddy/Mya time. And we built up the night for her so that she was more excited about staying home than leaving--because we knew how important this was for her, for us, for me especially. Because one-on-one time is so incredibly important. And it's something that we try to do with each of our kids whenever we can.

So we got her into her jammies, snuggled her between us on on the couch, got her a little bowl full of treats (not the usual boring healthy snack before bedtime that she is usually used to), stayed up late and had a movie night--just the three of us. So as Frozen flashed across the screen in front of us, she laid her head on our shoulders and we snuggled, kissed her head, told her how special this time was and she soaked up every last minute of it. Because she had us all to herself. All the attention on her. And she loved it.

Then when bedtime finally did come, it just got better.

"You and daddy can both put me to bed tonight!", she said. Because the reality is that one of us always puts Carter to bed and the other always puts Mya to bed. But last night...well, she had us both, all to herself.

So we read bedtime stories, tucked her into bed and within seconds the words "Lay with me mommy and daddy" passed her lips, which was not surprising. So we crammed into that little single bed, Terry in the middle, Mya on one side, me on the other--and we pretended that we were comfortable, because having us both there meant the world to her. So I wrapped my arms around Terry and held on for dear life as I hung off the edge of the bed as my huge pregnant belly pushed me aside, and she snuggled into us--loving every breath that we breathed over her in the still of her dark, warm room.

"This is a little ridiculous", Terry smiled and whispered to me at one point as I was literally about to fall off of the bed.

"Shhh..." I said to him. "This is important to her. Let her have us. She'll remember this. She'll remember how it feels".

And she will.

And Carter will have his turn next in a few days.

Because one-on-one time, whether it's for only a few moments in the morning at the breakfast table, a moment before bedtime tucking small people into bed, a trip to the grocery store with only one child, or a whole day built especially for them--it means that they feel loved, without distractions. And there is nothing greater than that.

Erica xo    


Thursday, 12 March 2015

Celebrating baby and bed rest

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Bed rest. 

It's something that I'm unfortunately all too familiar with. 

Third pregnancy--third bed rest. 

It's just what my body seems to do apparently. It decides at about 34 weeks that it's time to hand over the eviction notice to any baby growing inside of me, and it starts the process of slowly easing this new life into the real world. So OB's put a halt to it quickly, and tell me to stop chasing after 26 kindergarten students all day long, get off my feet as much as I can, sleep whenever I'm able to and basically take it easy until baby is actually ready to be delivered. So here I am again, wanting so badly to meet this little soul who is kicking me all day long and letting me know that he/she is ready to meet us...but desperately trying to convince him/her to stay put for at least a few more weeks. 

So the couch has become my new home. Netflix has become my entertainment. And trying to keep myself from nesting, doing house chores and prepping for baby has been my challenge. And with a 2yr old and a 4yr old not exactly understanding why mom can't do the same things she was able to do only a couple of weeks ago, it means that I've had to become creative in keeping them entertained, while keeping myself at least in a sitting position. 

But in the midst of the stress, worry and fear that always come from knowing that your baby might come early, there was something that stole my fear away for just a couple of hours. A good distraction. A good sense of normalcy. A great group of friends. 

My mom and sister put together a little gathering--a small group of girlfriends, all coming to celebrate this baby, this new life and this huge change that we're about to undertake. 

And kids? Well, for the first time in over 4yrs, we decided to leave them at home instead of including them. Because we know that moms need a break sometimes. Moms need to be able to sit and chat, and eat and drink and socialize without having to chase after toddlers, feed hungry babies, rush to the bathroom with a newly potty trained kid, or break up silly fights over toys. Sometimes parents just need a break from it all. So although we would have loved to have had the husbands spend time with us as well, we invited the girls only, knowing that the husbands could then stay at home with the kids. 

And do you know what happened? After the words "This is so nice to have quiet and to know that we can just sit and actually talk to each other without the kids needing us or running around" came out of several people's mouths...we of course spent the majority of the time talking about our kids. Because as much as we all need a break sometimes--we love them, adore them, miss them and think about them every time that we're away from them. 

But the silence was beautiful. Oh it was so beautiful. 

And it was soooooo lovely because wine was poured, hot appetizers were served, people were relaxed, girl talk was happening and we could just sit and be still. Which is a complete rarity, as any parent surely knows. 

So people spent time suggesting baby names for us--since our short list exists, but we haven't nailed one down yet.

Delicious food was set out...

Wishes for the new baby were made...

Jars of candy were set out and ready to be won...

Drinks were poured...

Gift baskets full of chocolates were taken home...

Envelopes were left out for the ease of future thank you cards...

And we all sat, ate, drank and chatted...

in the silence of a house full of only adults.

3 girls on their 3rd pregnancy again together!

So once the last glass of wine (or sparkling juice, for a few of us) was poured, when the last appetizer was served and once the last guest packed up her things to go...of course the first thing that I did was call Terry to bring the kids over to mom and dad's house. Because 2hrs was just enough of a break before wanting them back in my arms again.

So within minutes of their arrival, the house burst with noise, movement, laughter and toddler tears. Just as it's supposed to.

And they put on puppet shows on the new stage that their Papa built just for them in their basement that's in the midst of being renovated into a big playroom specifically for them...

and they put on real shows where they danced, sang and tested out their new stage with an audience of family members who cheered them on after every performance.

A little glimmer of sunshine in all of this--it's probably the best therapy for a mom stuck on the couch.
Thanks mom and Jen and our wonderful girlfriends who broke up the stress and worry of being on bed rest for to you all.

Love Erica xo
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