8 Things I wish I had known when I was pregnant

Congratulations! You’re going to be a mommy! In all the excitement it’s very easy to get caught up in all the pink or blue and delve deep into your What to Expect book, but there are a few things almost no one will tell you that I really wish I had known…so here goes…

Morning sickness is not just in the morning 

If you are one of the many who suffer from morning sickness I’m praying for you because it’s really no fun at all but according to the several nurses I have in my family (including my mother-in-law who home-birthed  5 children of her own and was a labor and delivery nurse for years) it is actually a B6 deficiency which can contribute to ‘morning sickness.’ Therefore if you are one of the lucky ones who may be reading this before they are actually pregnant, be sure to start taking B6 supplements now. Otherwise there are wonderful little things called Preggy Pops that actually helped me and several of my friends. Also it seems to help to eat several small meals per day with plenty of protein. For more tips click here for my post specific to this subject.

Your prenatal vitamins can make you nauseous 

Luckily there is a quick fix to this. Store them in the freezer! I’m not sure why this works but I have several mommy friends that swear by it. Just put a reminder in your phone to remember to take them!

Sometimes you get quick shooting pains across your stomach that are completely normal

As early as 3 months along I would have sudden shooting pains across my stomach periodically and was worried that it was a bad sign and according to my OBGYN and aforementioned nurse friends, it was just my muscles stretching to make room for the baby and when you are farther along it can just be the baby kicking or wiggling into an uncomfortable spot for a moment. (Of course I am not a medical professional so if you have doubts, always ask your doctor or medical provider.)

Your significant other thinks you are more beautiful now than you have ever been, even on days you just feel huge

I heard it from my sweet husband and I have heard it time and time again from friends, there is nothing sexier to a man than the woman carrying his child. This is good to keep filed away for those days about 9 months along when you are feeling like a house and your feet are swelling ‘the size of tree trunks’ as my doctor likes to affectionately call it. Thanks Doc!

 ‘Pregnancy brain’ is a very real thing! 

Even if you were one of those people like I was that almost didn’t need a calendar because you seemed to always remember when and where you needed to be at all times, you too can be effected. I’m not sure what it is about that little person growing inside of you that steals your memory, but trust me, it will happen! Let’s just say that by month 9.5 I had sticky notes everywhere and often found myself ending up in rooms of the house and not knowing what I went in there looking for. Sigh…which brings me to my next point…

You are actually pregnant for 10 months not 9

Yup! If you think about it and do a little elementary math, the average full-term pregnancy lasts for 40 weeks and 40 divided by 4 is…….10! 10 months! It was explained to me that it’s known as 9 months because technically on the last day of the 10th month you have the baby… in theory… So don’t get too excited when you’re creeping toward the end of that 8th month!

Drink lots and lots of water

Staying hydrated can help to fend off Braxton Hicks contractions and can help reduce swelling.

‘Nesting’ is a thing! 

At some point, most likely late in your third trimester, you may feel a very strong urge to clutter and clean EVERYTHING! First of all this is totally natural, but you may want to warn your husband and/or any other housemates you may have that this will happen because you will most likely be asking for help! I ended up selling a lot of household items and furniture that I felt were cluttering up our house to make room for the baby’s things and honestly, I’m so glad I did! I ended up making a little cash and decluttering our home. I will admit though that steam cleaning everything and washing all of the linens in the house, including curtains, may or may not have been a tad overboard. A few things that came in handy during this phase were the local Facebook garage sale sites, I became a regular on them and still am! They are awesome for thrifty families! Homemade natural cleaning supplies made from mostly vinegar, baking soda and essential oils. My Facebook site and twitter feed have lots recipes and I will be sure to make that a future post. But natural cleaning supplies will come in handy while you are pregnant and long after to keep you and your children from harsh chemicals and not to mention you can save a ton of money!

Is there anything I missed? What are some things you wish you had known? Do you have any clever solutions or tips and tricks you wish you had known? Please leave them in the comments.

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Whole 30 and Paleo Teriyaki Chicken Fried Cauliflower

Today marks day 13 for my husband and I on the Whole 30 challenge and so far so good! No slips! I won’t say it’s been easy, but with some serious commitment and will power, it is possible to give up all traces of grain, dairy, sugar, legumes, soy and alcohol for 30 + days. The ‘+’ is because there are at least 10 reintroduction days.

Other than food cravings the hardest thing has been redefining our date nights and get togethers with friends and family that have always revolved around food and drinks. According to the whole 30 book you can eat out, but you pretty much have to be okay with being ‘that person’ that asks a ton of questions and makes a ton of substitutions to their meal. Having been a server, it’s very hard for me to do that. But I digress, I’ll be writing another post about date nights on Whole 30.

I love Asian food and have really missed fried rice, so I was thrilled when I found the cauliflower ‘rice’ recipe in the Whole 30 Book and then found a paleo teriyaki sauce recipe which I modified slightly to make it whole 30 compliant. It came out so well that I have literally eaten it for lunch for the past three days!

Note and recipe credit: This is my first time writing a recipe, so if I leave anything out or anything is confusing please feel free to let me know in the comments. Also I have used the whole 30 cauliflower rice recipe from the book as a base and modified the teriyaki sauce recipe I found here. I wish I were a chef and could make recipes up on my own, but unfortunately not. This is just a modification to other recipes I found and merged to make a whole 30 compliant version of my favorite dish.

Kitchen Gadgets Needed

Food Processor – Unless you are a super whiz at chopping, this is a must for this                                     recipe. Once you buy one, you will never know how you lived                                         without it!

Meat Thermometer

Ingredients

Teriyaki Sauce

1/2 cup coconut aminos
2 medjool dates
1/4 cup juice from fresh oranges
2 tbs rice vinegar
1 tbs fresh grated ginger
1-2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
1 tbs sesame oil
Pinch of red pepper flakes (I chose to omit this because I did not want to add heat                                                     to the sauce.)
Optional: Add 1 tsp arrowroot flour to make the sauce thicker

Sauce Instructions

Combine all ingredients into a food processor and puree until smooth. Transfer puree to a saucepan over medium heat. When the mixture begins to boil, stir for another 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Cauliflower ‘Rice’
1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets
3 tablespoons ghee or clarified butter
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 cup chicken broth (For whole 30, be sure your broth is compliant)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons coconut aminos (a soy sauce substitute)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 minced green onions
2 large eggs
2 – 3 large chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces

‘Rice’ Instructions (From the Whole 30 Book)

To ‘rice’ the cauliflower, place half of the florets in a food processor and pulse into a rice-like consistency. (The book says 15 – 20 pulses, but at least with my food processor it only took  3 – 4.) Don’t over-crowd the cauliflower in the food processor, and don’t over-pulse or the florets will get mushy. Repeat to rice the remaining florets.

In a large skillet, melt the ghee (or clarified butter) over medium heat and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. When the ghee is hot, add the onion, green onion and carrot and cook stirring until the onion is translucent, 2 – 3 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until garlic is aromatic, about 1 minute.

Add the riced cauliflower to the skillet and mix thoroughly with the rest of the vegetables. Add the chicken broth, cover the pan with a lid, and steam until you’ve arrived at a rice-like consistency, 10 – 12 minutes. (The cauliflower should be tender, but not mushy or wet.)

Meanwhile, prepare the teriyaki sauce as listed below and set aside. Heat sesame oil in a skillet over medium – high heat. When oil is hot, pan fry chicken until mostly cooked through. Pour half of the teriyaki sauce over chicken until the temperature reaches 160 degrees. (Chicken is fully cooked at 165, but will continue to cook after being taken off of the heat.

Mix in coconut aminos, sesame oil, salt and pepper. Push rice to one side of the pan and crack and scramble eggs on the other side until the eggs are cooked through. Mix scrambled eggs into the cauliflower mixture. Mix in cooked chicken and the other half of the teriyaki sauce.

Serve immediately. (This dish keeps well in the refrigerator for a few days, so make extra for a quick meal later in the week.

Shortcut – I used a precooked rotisserie chicken to cut down on prep and cooking time. (If you purchase a precooked chicken from a store, check the ingredients if you are on the whole 30 diet to be sure it is compliant.)

http://domesticatedmomster.com/2015/07/22/foodpornthursdays-11-june23-2015/

Have baby, will travel. Tips and tricks from my daughter’s first plane flight at 10 1/2 months.

The fourth of July has always been a big holiday on my father’s side of the family and since we live 1,600 miles apart, that requires either a really long drive, or a plane flight. It was only a matter of time after becoming parents that we would have to bite the bullet and fly with the baby. In general our little girl is pretty laid back and loves to make new friends, but at 10 months, she is constantly on the go and very curious, so we were convinced we would have trouble containing her on a plane for several hours. Also, she is still on formula and with the TSA regulations how would we bring food and water for her? Well I’m happy to say that we were pleasantly surprised! She did so well on each leg of our flights to and from our destination, so I am much obliged to share tips and tricks I learned about traveling with our baby.

Please note: all green bold words are clickable links to handy products which made our travels easier.

Think/Order Ahead 

First I ordered formula, food and diapers from Amazon.com and BabiesRUs.com to be sent to our destination, that way we only had to pack enough for our flight and a little extra in case of delays. That was a huge help considering luggage for a family of three with a baby is already no joke! We did end up having to take some leftover items back with us so thankfully I packed a few reusable grocery bags to use as a carry on for extras. We also received some gifts for the baby which also made those extra bags a must-have.

Packing

Photo credit: Lifehacker.com
Photo credit: Lifehacker.com

We managed to fit all of our clothes for the week in one large bag by rolling each piece of clothing and doing our best -to only bring one outfit for each day afew extra for the baby. I was also sure to pack warm and cool clothes for the baby as I was not sure what the weather would do and wanted to be prepared for anything. Thankfully, her clothes are still small and do not take up much room.

We packed all toiletries, bottles and sippy cups in one small rolling duffle bag. Bags with wheels are a huge help when you are carrying several items and the baby! We knew we would have a place to wash bottles when we got there, but we didn’t want to have to wash them all the time, (we would be on vacation after all) so we packed all we could not fit in the diaper bag in the rolling duffle bag. I also made sure to pack the baby monitor, a sheet for the pack and play my father borrowed from the neighbor so that her bed would smell familiar. (A note on the baby monitor: the one we packed did not have a range far enough to reach the waterfront in the back yard, so we actually ended up purchasing an inexpensive sound-only monitor when we got there and returned it after our stay. it worked great!) I transferred baby shampoo and lotion to travel size containers because that was cheaper and faster than making a trip to the store.

In hindsight I over packed the diaper bag, but better safe than sorry right? I packed four empty bottles and two travel formula dispensers. (We use these all the time for her formula because they make it much quicker and easier to make a bottle than measuring out each scoop.) I planned to buy a bottle of water after getting through security. As it turns out, the TSA told us on our way back that we would have been allowed to bring water in the bottles as long as it was for the baby. We didn’t end up having time to get a bottle of water before our first flight so we asked the flight attendant shortly after finding our seats and they were very accommodating and got us all the water we needed. I also packed baby two baby food pouches which she could eat directly out of. Ella’s Kitchen is my favorite brand and the only brand my baby will eat. I also packed lots of wipes, several diapers, plastic bags like these for dirty diapers, a sippy cup for take off, (Having them drink when taking off  and landing helps relieve pressure in their ears, a bottle will do the same.) a variety of small toys, (I tried not to pack the ones that made noise.) and a few burp cloths for any spills. Hand sanitizer and a small travel size dish soap were my only liquids. (The dish soap was just in case I needed to wash bottles because we were delayed. I didn’t end up using it but it was good to have for peace of mind.) I also packed my Kindle Fire Tablet and downloaded a season of Umi Zoomi episodes which proved to be very helpful when she got restless.

We did not bother to bring the stroller because we didn’t want to have to worry about waiting in line to retrieve it after every flight as we purposely booked short layovers. Instead we brought the Ergo Baby Carrier and it worked like a charm keeping my hands free and I just stored it in my reusable grocery bag when not in use.

Another must have was this car seat cover. It has a shoulder strap which was amazing to help my husband carry it and pull our large clothing bag. This to me is a must to protect the car seat from getting dirty. The attendant at check in said that some people think they have covers there and they do not so the car seats end up filthy. Car seats are checked free of charge on most airlines and with the cover we were able to also put an extra can of formula and her portable Chicco travel high chair in the car seat bag as well to save room in luggage and it got there safe and free of charge! We were very glad we brought the travel high chair as it came in very handy our whole trip!

Since we were planning to do some swimming I also packed this reusable swim diaper I found so that I didn’t have to worry about packing the disposable ones! This is great if you have access to a wash machine or even a sink as you could pack a small amount of laundry detergent to wash essentials in the sink.

Tips for the flight 

As it turns out, all legs of our flights ended up going incredibly smoothly. Either we have an angel child, or we were well prepared and picked the perfect time to fly. (Of course I would like to think it’s that we just have an angel child!)

On all legs I sat on the inside next to the window and my husband took the outside seat. Thankfully we were on small planes each time so there was not a third person to worry about in our row being annoyed by our little one trying to grab at their belongings or play peek-a-boo when they are trying to catch some Zs. I’ve heard a few things about sitting toward the front or the back of the plane to be near bathrooms, but at least for us, that didn’t seem to matter.

On takeoff and landing I made sure to give the baby her sippy cup with water in it just in case her ears were to bother her, but fortunately she didn’t seem to have a problem. I was prepared with a bag full of every small toy and teething ring she owned and of course the only things she actually ended up playing with were the plastic cups the flight attendant gave us for our drinks and the window shade. Why didn’t I think of that? The classic buy an expensive toy and they play with the box scenario. The two things that did come in handy were the tablet with the Umi Zoomi shows I downloaded via Amazon Prime and my jacket. When she started to get restless and board I just started an episode and she watched about a minute or two and then fell asleep which I was impressed with because I am typically not in the habit of letting her watch shows yet, but was willing to do whatever it would take to keep her from being ‘that’ screaming baby on the plane. I used my jacket to cover her when she fell asleep and I was plenty warm snuggling with her.

Diaper changing actually ended up being a breeze. I didn’t want to bother with taking her to the tiny bathrooms, so I just laid her on daddy’s lap in the next seat and changed her there. Thankfully there were no poopy diapers. I had the dirty diaper bags I mentioned earlier and I just wrapped them up and gave the bag to the flight attendant when they came by to pick up trash. Couldn’t have been easier that way!

Overall I attribute the success of our travels to the convenience of ordering essential but bulky items ahead of time, short layover times, (keep in mind this can put you at risk to miss a connecting flight, however fortunately it worked out for us and we didn’t have to wait long for out next flight.) very helpful flight attendants, the luck of the draw on fellow passengers that didn’t mind playing endless peek-a-boo games with our little one and last-but-not-least a very laid back child! Quick brag warning!! We even had a few fellow passengers comment on how good she was and what a joy she was to play with on the flight!

I hope this post has helped to make your travels smoother and ease your worried mind! Feel free to share any travel tips I may have left out!

Just because, here is a pic of my little one playing in the window of the plane.

Emi at the plane window

My daughter made me a hippie!

Okay, it’s time to admit it….I’m on the fast track to officially becoming a hippie, or at least what I used to think of as one. Any time I would see someone with their own garden, bringing their own bags to the grocery store, buying a cart full of produce, making everything they cook from scratch I would smirk and think really? What a hippie! As if it were a bad thing? Well, you live and you learn and 11 months into parenthood, (well really 20 months in because I consider myself a parent from the moment I conceived.) here I am doing every one of the things I mentioned, not because these things are now becoming popular and cool, but because I feel they are the right thing to do to provide the best life I can for my family.

Growing your own garden saves money on produce and ensures that there are no unknown chemicals used on the fruits and veggies you put on your plate. Okay I don’t quite have my own garden yet, but I plan to very soon. Hopefully I also grow a green thumb because as of now, I can’t even keep a cactus alive.Time to do some research on gardening! Bringing your own bags to the store just makes sense. It produces much less waste and a lot more fits in them, so it’s less trips from the car to the kitchen. Everyone wins! I recently bought my first cart full of produce due to the Whole 30 diet my husband and I have committed to and making everything from scratch ensures great tasting food and you know exactly what’s in it. No preservatives needed and no worries of what it will do to your health in the future.

You’re probably thinking, okay so where does your daughter come in to this picture? Well it started with my curiosity about the ingredients in her formula which you can read about here and it has slowly progressed from there. Like most parents I am hellbent on doing everything I can to provide nothing but the best for my child. Therefore, when she started showing an interest in what was on my plate, I figured I’d better clean up the contents of that plate. Hence Whole 30 which you may read more about here. In cleaning up the contents of my plate I’ll live longer which is better for both of us. Using reusable bags over several years will significantly reduce the amount of wasted plastic bags that ultimately go into landfills and make the future world just a little cleaner for her and her children. Making everything (or most things) from scratch will teach her the art of cooking which is slowly being lost due to prepackaged, processed foods, not to mention that it will keep all of us much healthier.

I will never claim to be anywhere near perfect, but I am really making an effort to take a good hard look at my lifestyle and habits because I now have little eyes watching and learning those habits. The food I eat, the company I keep, the music I listen to, the books I read, the shows I watch and the church I attend or don’t attend, everything I do, can make a profound impact on my children and there is no better time than the present to start leading by example.

A huge thank you to my daughter for giving me the inspiration to be an even better version of me and continue to improve every day because her future and mine depend on it.

Other signs I may be turning into a hippy (possible future posts)
– I’ve started researching and using homemade all natural cleaning solutions
– Strongly considering taking up yoga
– Baby wearing is one of my favorite things
– I just may take up sewing and start making my daughter’s clothes
– Essential oil research is on my to do list

Have you “become a hippie” since your child was born? Feel free to comment. I’d love to hear about it!