Best Housewarming Gift Ever

I am sorry if you thought you were going to get a list of most awesome housewarming gift ideas.  What you’re going to get instead is so much better – a recount of how I came to have a home birth.  😉  Bear with me, this is a long one.

Let me start by saying that it was not how I had imagined I would have my baby.  I thought, like the majority of births in Canada, that I would have my baby in a hospital.  In fact less than 2% (7000/380000) of births in 2012 were outside the hospital.   A similar statistic  is seen in the United States (53,000 home births in 2012 out of 3.95 million births or 1.36%, the highest % since 1975).  I did not that know what I did was so uncommon.

My plan was to also have a physician deliver my baby.  There were a few reasons why I ended up in the care of midwives.  I didn’t have a regular family doctor, well not after I became an “adult”, anyway.  I went to walk-in clinics when I needed to.  So when I became pregnant, I went to my usual walk-in clinic to confirm the pregnancy and they referred me to a maternity clinic near where I lived.   This clinic was supposed to call me for an appointment but they never did.  By the time I finally got an appointment with them, there was a mad rush to try to get me in for the prenatal genetic testing.  We were able to have the testing done in time but it was stressful not knowing why I wasn’t contacted for an appointment and that I might have missed the window for the testing.  Aside from the mix-up, I had 3 appointments with the clinic and each time the appointments before me ran late and I had to wait for 30-60 minutes for 10-15 minutes of face time.  Is this the norm in other places?   Being busy and not having a lot of time to read on my own, I wanted more time with the experts to answer all my questions.   Also, there were 7 physicians in the clinic and whoever was on call the day I go into labour would deliver my baby.  So there was a high chance that I wouldn’t even know the doctor that delivers my baby if I don’t meet him or her during my prenatal appointments.  I wanted to build a relationship and have a rapport with the person who was going to “catch” my baby.   These were the reasons I decided to seek out the care of midwives.

After I switched to midwives, I still had to wait for my appointments, but the waits were shorter and the appointments longer (at least 45 minutes) so I had more time to connect with each of them.   There were 3 midwives who cared for me rather than 7.   Since I was having a low risk pregnancy, we had discussed the option of having a home birth, but this wasn’t an option for me.  I was set on having a hospital birth.  I thought I would be more comfortable with that.  I thought I would feel more secure in a hospital environment.

Our baby decided to arrive 10 days after we moved into our new home.  She had perfect timing!  I was already off work and had unpacked the essentials for the kitchen, bathroom and bedroom.  Our new sofa had arrived and the living room was pretty much set up.  My husband played his last round of golf the morning before my contractions started and we even managed to have my in-laws over for dinner.

My contractions started around 10:30pm that night.  Maybe baby wanted to come out and have a taste of Japanese food herself.  😉  The contractions started at about 10 minutes apart and progressed, in my opinion, slowly.  I couldn’t sleep all night.  It was too painful for me to lie down or sit during the contractions so I was standing or pacing into the early morning.  During those wee hours, as I tried to cope with the pain, I thought about how I was going to go to the hospital when the time came.  How was I going to sit in the car during the contractions when it was too painful to sit?  How long would it take to get to the hospital?  The hospital was only about 15 minutes away, but what if we hit rush hour traffic?  What if there was an accident?  The contractions were not 3 minutes apart until about 7 am.  My husband called the midwives at around 8 am.  By then, I was almost certain, but not positive, that I didn’t want to go to the hospital.  The midwife came a short time later.  She checked on me and the baby.  We were both doing fine, aside from me throwing up all over the powder room floor from being exhausted.  I was only 5 cm dilated so there was still some time to go.  The midwife reassured me that it would be safe to have to baby at home, so that’s what I decided to do.

When I made the decision to not go to the hospital, I didn’t realize that I wouldn’t be able to have an epidural if I wanted one.  It wasn’t in the birth plan.  I wanted an un-medicated birth, but at times, the pain seemed so unbearable that I think I would’ve asked for an epidural if I was in the hospital.  To cope with the pain, the midwife suggested I soak in the bathtub.  I’m not a bath person (think it’s gross to soak in dirty water), so I was reluctant, but I gave it a try and it really helped.  That was another perk to staying at home, since the hospital I planned to deliver at didn’t have tubs, only showers.

DSC_0636

When it came time to push, we tried many different positions, and moved from bathroom to the bedroom floor, to the bed.  Obviously, we were not prepared for a home birth since we didn’t plan for one.   We hadn’t bought one of those home birth kits, which basically includes a bunch of plastic bags to keep your furniture clean.  But the midwife was resourceful.   She put a shower curtain under our sheets to protect the mattress.  And it didn’t get too messy aside from a few dirty towels.  Sorry if this is too much information.  We even learned a few things like use cold water, instead of hot to rinse out blood stains so that the stain doesn’t set and add salt to washing machine to get rid of the stains.

We didn’t let either of our families know that we were having the baby at home.   I didn’t want to hear their opinions on my decision or have them worry about whether it was safe or not.   We didn’t even tell them I was in labour until after baby arrived.   My mom wasn’t too happy about not being present, but I had everyone I wanted with me (my husband and the midwife).

DSC_0651

My baby arrived just before 3pm on our bed after about 2 hours of pushing.  She was perfect and healthy.  I had a bit of tearing which the midwife took care of.  In the end, having a home birth was the right decision for me.  Although we were only in our new place for a short time prior to the birth, I was comfortable there.  I was surrounded by the people I wanted to be present at the birth.  I was confident in the skills of the midwives and knew that they wouldn’t let me have a home birth if it wasn’t safe.  My daughter was the best housewarming gift I could’ve gotten.

DSC_0653

Pregnancy challenges and cravings

Have you read Charlie’s post about her three pregnancy challenges?  I, too, got leg cramps, but not to the extent that she did.  Ouch!  These were my pregnancy challenges and cravings…

I had a relatively painless pregnancy, well until the end anyway, but that’s another post to come…. This easy pregnancy was surprising to me because I am a high stressed/easily stressed person.  Given my personality, I thought I would have a tough pregnancy, but I didn’t even have high blood pressure the entire time.

Being pregnant wasn’t like what I’d seen in the movies.  I didn’t have bad morning sickness (except for one minor episode).  I had some nausea in the early months, which was easily cured by snacking, which in turn helped the constant hunger I felt.   You don’t know how many times I went to bed, after I had brushed by teeth, feeling like I wanted something to eat.  Most of the time I resisted and just went to sleep hungry.  A couple of times, I asked my husband to get me a snack and I ate in bed – a no no in my books on a regular day, but being pregnant I thought I would give myself a break.  😉

Cravings

I didn’t have majorly weird cravings.  No desire for pickles on ice cream for this lady.  No siree!  I did have an affinity for spicy foods, and seemingly an increased tolerance for it because whether it was curry or kimchi, it wasn’t spicy enough.  Whatever I ate just didn’t seem as flavourful as it used to be.  Maybe the extra spicy foods I ate is why my daughter turned out so sassy – total opposite of me!

My husband claims that I once had a craving for jalapeno cheddar bagels from this particular coffee shop chain one morning and sent him all over the city to get it for me.  Truth be told, I merely suggested it for breakfast.  Turns out, the closest shop to us was closed due to renovations after a fire and he had to go across town to the next closest one.  Took him an hour to come back with breakfast.  It was very sweet of him, but I would’ve lived if we had something else for breakfast.  🙂

My major pregnancy woes were the constant tiredness and restrictions.  Let me explain.

Constant fatigue

I felt like I had a cold the whole time I was pregnant, and I did for a good four months.  I was tired, ALL THE TIME.  I went from sleeping at around midnight to being in bed by 9:30pm.  Just like that, I turned into an old lady (no offense to those of you who sleep early).  Though I was tired and fell asleep easily, I often woke up in the middle of the night, sometimes due to leg cramps and sometimes to use the washroom.  Other times, I would wake at 3 or 4 am and have trouble falling back to sleep.  During those times, I took the opportunity to update my Facebook status or message friends on the east coast, who were already up and getting ready for work.  Good use of time wouldn’t you agree?   Later on in my pregnancy, it become even harder for me to sleep because of my big belly, which made me wish I had invested in a pregnancy pillow.  Do those things help?

Restrictions

Two of my biggest weakness are coffee and….baked goods of course.  They go hand in hand, right?  I thought I would have a tough time cutting back on the caffeine, since I usually drink more coffee than water, but it really wasn’t that bad.  Maybe the early bedtime helped.  Even though I knew I was allowed 2 cups a day, I usually only drank about half a cup.  I have since more than made up for all the coffee I could’ve had but didn’t. 😉

20160415_002231

Being in a higher risk group for developing gestational diabetes, my health care providers advised that I cut back the on the sugar intake.  I had to cut the sugar out of my coffee, which wasn’t difficult since I wasn’t drinking much anyway.  But cutting out baked good was extremely difficult.  I used to bake a lot.  And although I usually say I bake for my husband, I probably end up consuming more of it then he does.  I have a major sweet tooth.  I even had to cut back on some fruits because of the high sugar content. 🙁

DSC_1442

I also had trouble trying to eat healthy and getting enough of the right fats, nutrients, vitamins, yada, yada, yada…. It was hard enough for me to keep track of when to take my prenatal vitamins and iron and calcium supplements, let alone making sure I ate enough of the right foods.  Why does it have to be so complicated?  I mean, what did people do in the olden days when there weren’t prenatal vitamins, etc, and they had to worry about more important things like not being eaten by a dinosaur?  But I digress.

What were your pregnancy challenges?  Did you have any strange cravings?

 

 

Roast Chicken and Potatoes

Remember those 3 whole chickens that I bought on sale a few weeks ago?  I used one to make Vietnamese style chicken curry and the second one to make roast chicken and potatoes.  This roast chicken recipe is so quick and easy to make, with very little prep time.  Just make sure you allot enough time for it to be in the oven.  Other than that, put in the oven and walk away.

DSC_1299

I normally don’t eat chicken skin unless it’s crispy (makes me gag otherwise), but let me tell you, I have no problems eating the skin (or any other parts) on this chicken.  It’s crispy on the outside and juicy and tender on the inside.  The potatoes also come out perfectly crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.  Yummy!
DSC_1300

I paired the chicken with kale stir-fried with a bit of olive oil, garlic, shallots I had leftover from the curry (you can omit or use onion instead) and salt and pepper.  Easy peasy.

DSC_1312

When the everything is done, just put the whole roasting pan on the dining table and carve the chicken as you eat.  No need to be fancy.  Well, you can be a little fancy and add some flowers to the table.  A girl always needs a bit of flowers in her life…

What should I do with the last chicken?

Roast chicken and potatoes (Recipe adapted from Jamie Oliver)

  • 1 whole chicken
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • potatoes, peeled
  • 1 large, preferably unwaxed, lemon
  • 1 whole bulb of garlic, broken into cloves
  • a handful of fresh thyme or 1 tsp of dried thyme
  • olive oil
  • a handful of fresh rosemary sprigs, leaves picked
  1. Rub the chicken inside and out with a generous amount of salt (I use about 1 tbsp) and freshly ground black pepper (~30 grindings). Do this in the morning if possible, then cover the chicken and leave in the fridge until you’re ready to start cooking it for lunch or dinner.
  2. Preheat your oven to 190ºC/375ºF/gas 5.
  3. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil.
  4. Cut the potatoes into golf-ball-sized pieces, put them into the water with the whole lemon and the garlic cloves, and cook for 12 minutes.
  5. Drain and allow to steam dry for 1 minute (this will give you crispier potatoes), then remove the lemon and garlic.
  6. Toss the potatoes in the pan while still hot so their outsides get chuffed up and fluffy – this will make them crispy when they roast.
  7. While the lemon is still hot, carefully stab it about 10 times.
  8. Take the chicken out of the fridge, pat it with kitchen paper and rub it all over with olive oil.
  9. Push the garlic cloves, the whole lemon and the thyme into the cavity, then put the chicken into a roasting tray and cook in the preheated oven for around 45 minutes.
  10. Remove the chicken to a plate.
  11. Some fat should have cooked out of it into the roasting tray, so toss the potatoes into this with the rosemary leaves.  You can add carrots at this point if you want.
  12. Shake the tray around, then make a gap in the center of the potatoes and put the chicken back in.
  13. Cook for a further 45 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked and the potatoes are golden. (You can tell the chicken is cooked when the thigh meat pulls easily away from the bone and the juices run clear.)
  14. Remove the lemon and garlic from inside the chicken, squeeze all the garlic flesh out of the skin, mush it up and smear it all over the chicken, discard the lemon and rosemary and carve the chicken at the table.

Pregnancy Announcement – Happy Thanksgiving! We’re Adopting Another Dog.

With Mother’s Day coming up, we thought it would be fun to share a few things about our journeys to becoming moms.  So here goes….this is how we made our pregnancy announcement….

My husband and I were lucky in that it was not really difficult for us to conceive.  It only took a few months once we decided to start trying.  But even though it was only about 3 months or so before we saw those double lines on the pregnancy test, it was still disappointing those months when we were not successful.  I dreaded my monthly visit from aunt Flo a little more than usual.  When she was late, I didn’t want to get my hopes up, so I waited…and waited…for maybe about a week before I took a test.  And when I did, I still wasn’t so sure because that second line that appeared was so darn faint!  Why couldn’t they make these tests better?!?  I mean, you would expect the second line to be the same intensity as the first, no???  So what was I to do?  Google of course!  It  confirmed that if you see a second line, the test is positive, no matter how faint it was.  Even after that, I was still in disbelief.  I knew that miscarriages were common (1 out of 6 women have a miscarriage during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy) so I waited a few more weeks before I went to the doctor’s to confirm.  It wasn’t until my first ultrasound, when we saw the little tiny heart beating that I believed there was a tiny human being growing inside of me.

During these weeks, both my husband and I were tight lipped about our developing little babe.  We didn’t even tell our parents or siblings.  We wanted to wait until the second trimester since the risk of miscarriage is lower after the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.  It was Thanksgiving around the start of my second trimester so we thought we would tell our families at our Thanksgiving gatherings.  With my family, we thought we would play with them a little before we told them.  Yes, we are cruel that way.  We made them wait 7 years, what’s a few more minutes so that we can have some fun with them? 😉   My mom and sister have been bugging us about having children the second after we got married.  I am not exaggerating.  As the years went by and we remained childless, their hopes decreased and they started to bug us less.  A few months before we got pregnant, we adopted a dog.  I’m sure when we adopted our dog, Rocky, that their hopes of us having children decreased even more.  So, during our Thanksgiving dinner, we told them that we were going to adopt another dog and that we had a picture of the dog to show them.

2014-10-13 04.06.41

When we showed them this ultrasound, my sister instantly burst into tears, while my mom didn’t understand and asked, “Rocky’s having a baby?”  Silly mom, Rocky’s a boy!  Lol.  We had to explain that we were the ones having a baby, which led to more tears for all.

With my husband’s family, we weren’t as cruel.  Before dinner, we gathered everyone to take a picture, with hubby behind the camera pretending to take a picture but all the while recording a video of the whole thing.  Instead of having everyone say cheese, he told them to say “Happy Thanksgiving” and then with the next photo, he had everyone say, “We’re having a baby!”.  They all repeated, “We’re having a baby…….whaaaaat??”  It took a while after they said it before they realized what it meant.  And once again, as you can imagine there were more tears. 🙂

How did you announce your pregnancy?

Did you know that Mother’s Day was created by a woman named Anna Jarvis, who never had any children?  For more fun Mother’s Day facts, see yesterday’s post. 🙂

 

 

Crocheted Bunny

So as soon as I said that maybe I would try crocheting a bunny next year, I thought, why not this year?  Why do something later when you can do it now?  That was my OCD speaking.   When I get an idea in head, I run with it, sometimes, and then over-analyze it to death.  A bit of a contradiction, I know.  I am complicated.  Anyhoo, the crocheted bunny was born.

This bunny has been through a lot – multiple amputations, transplantations and eye surgeries.  One foot is bigger than the other.  The ears are not symmetrical.  The Virgo in me wanted it to be perfect, but no one’s perfect right?

DSC_1351

When I showed him/her to my blog buddies, Stephanie asked if that was Miffy, and Charlie asked if it was a boy or a girl?  Who is Miffy, I asked?  This is Miffy:eeHXgd6O

Aside from the ears, I can see the resemblance.  Miffy is a female rabbit created in the 1950s as the main character in a series of books written and drawn by Dick Bruna, a Dutch artist.  She has starred in two television series and one movie.  Have I been living under a rock?  My husband also does not know who Miffy is, so I don’t feel so dumb not with the times.  You learn something new everyday….

Initially, I was going to make a flower to put on my crocheted bunny’s head and make it a girl, but when Charlie asked me if it was going to be a boy or a girl, it got me thinking.  Who am I to decide what it “should” be?  Why does it have to be a girl or a boy?  So, I’ve decided that I’m not going to make the flower and leave it as is.  I’ll let my daughter decide (when she’s old enough to know the difference).  Simple.  And done.

DSC_1336

I got the free pattern for this bunny from Happy Berry.  It was easy to follow and she even has 3 youtube videos for you to follow along if you want.  I used a thicker yarn, so I used a bigger hook.  But in hindsight, I could’ve used a smaller hook so that the stitches are tighter.  You can see the filler in some gaps between stitches.  All in all, I’m pretty happy with this second amigurumi project.  I already have the next one planned. 😉  In the meantime, this little bunny is going into my baby’s nursery.

For more Easter crafts, check out Charlie’s post on how to make a paper mache Easter egg pinata.

Happy Easter!

Crocheted Easter Eggs

DSC_1244

Crocheted Easter Eggs

Since my daughter is only 11 months old, we will not be doing much with her to celebrate Easter this year.  There will be no Easter crafts or games.  She’s too young to dye Easter eggs and join in on an Easter egg hunt.  But that doesn’t mean we can’t still get into the Easter spirit.  No, I did not go out and buy a ton of chocolate Easter eggs and bunnies.  Instead, I decided to try my hand at amigurumi.  Say what?  I know, I can’t even pronounce it myself.  Let’s call it ami for short.  Ami is the Japanese art of knitting or crocheting small stuffed dolls, which can be animals or inanimate objects.  As you know, I crochet during my spare time, usually when baby is sleeping.  I actually began crocheting as a hobby about 6 months ago and have been “hooked” ever since.  So, I still consider myself a beginner, even though I have a massive yarn stash that can revival those of long-time crocheters, I’ve spent many, many hours crocheting (late at night, instead of sleeping) and made many, many hats, scarves and headbands.  I thought, crocheted Easter eggs can’t be too difficult to make.  It’s just a round ball, really.  And ami is usually crocheted with just one stitch, the single crochet stitch, which I already know how to do and I already had most of everything needed (yarn, G hook, stitch marker, yarn needle).  All I had to buy was the polyester fiberfill to stuff the inside of the egg, which can be found at any craft store or online.  Alternatively, you can also stuff the insides with scrape pieces of yarn.

DSC_1232

These eggs are super easy to make.  I followed the free pattern from Petal to Picots.  She gives great suggestions on how to change yarn colours to make striped eggs.  But if you’re lazy, I mean, short on time like me, just use multi-coloured yarn and let the yarn create the pattern for you. 🙂  I whipped these little eggs up in no time!  Aren’t they so cute?

DSC_1245

Not bad for my first go at ami, right?  Maybe next year, I’ll try crocheting a bunny. In the meantime, this little guy is going to have to fill in.  😉

DSC_1269

You can include these crocheted eggs in your little one’s Easter baskets.  Or why not include them in your Easter egg hunt as decoys?  You can also use them as centerpieces to decorate your coffee or dining table.  Whatever you do with them, the best thing about these eggs, is that they’ll never go bad.  Use these handmade mementos again and again. 🙂

DSC_1261

Looking for other things to put in your little one’s Easter basket?  Check out Charlie’s post on 7 Non-Candy Easter Gift Ideas for Toddlers.  Have a wonderful day!

Affiliate links:

Vietnamese style chicken curry (Ca Ri Ga)

The other day, we went grocery shopping to buy ingredients to make Vietnamese style chicken curry.  We saw whole chickens on sale – 3 for $20.  That’s pretty cheap in our neck of the woods so we bought them.  I wasn’t completely sure what I would use all that chicken for (I had a few recipes in mind), but I knew I could just freeze it until I figured it out. We normally buy chicken in parts (thighs, breasts, etc), so having to butcher a whole chicken was a bit of a first for me. I tried to follow Martha’s instructions, but our knives were pretty dull so I had to enlist hubby’s help.  It actually wasn’t so difficult to do, just need some muscles or sharper knives.  😉  We used most of the chicken for the curry, except for the back (we saved for making stock) and 2/3 of the breast.  That way, everyone is happy since the hubs likes dark meat and I prefer white.  You can choose to use any parts of the chicken you like.  I prefer skin-on and bone-in for more flavour.

This recipe is relatively easy to make.  You can divide the work into 2 days if you want, just marinate the chicken overnight the day before you want to eat it.  It’s also a one pot recipe….you know how much I love one pot dinner recipes!  Less dishes to clean!

What makes this curry Vietnamese style is the coconut milk and lemongrass, which may be difficult to find depending where you live.  If you want to omit the lemongrasss, I am sure the curry will still taste pretty good.  You can adjust the spiciness with the amount of curry powder and chili paste.  The amounts used here don’t result in an overly spicy curry.  Even our baby can eat it!

I love the smell of this curry, especially when garnished with cilantro.  Mmmm…can you smell it too?  Don’t forget to have it with toasted baguettes.  It’s how Vietnamese people eat their curry and the best way to eat it, in my opinion!

Vietnamese style chicken curry

Vietnamese style chicken curry

Oh and one more thing, this curry is better than my mom’s (according to the hubs). Shhh…..don’t tell her! 😉

Stay tuned for more easy chicken recipes.  In the meantime, try some of our other tasty recipes.

Vietnamese Style Chicken Curry Recipe (adapted from Food.com)

2 tablespoons yellow curry powder
3 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon sugar
2 small shallots
1 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon chili paste ( such as Sriracha)
peanut oil or vegetable oil
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
2 lbs chicken (thighs, breasts, whatever you prefer)
1 medium yellow onion, divided into 6 pieces and separated
2 stalks lemongrass, cut into 2 inch lengths
1 bay leaf
2 cups water
2 2/3 cups coconut milk
4 large carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces
potatoes and/or yams cut into 1 inch pieces
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
1/4 cup cilantro leaf

Directions

  1. In a food processor, combine curry powder, garlic, sugar, shallots, salt, chili paste, 1 tablespoon of the oil and black pepper. Lightly puree and pulse into a rough paste.
  2. Rub the paste all over the chicken. Place in a bowl , cover, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  3. In a large stockpot, heat oil over medium heat and cook the onion for 5 minutes. Add the bay leaf and lemongrass and cook for another few minutes.
  4. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator. Add the chicken to the stockpot and sear for about 10-15 minutes, or until browned.  Remove chicken from the pot.
  5. Turn the heat to high. Add the water, coconut milk, carrots and potatoes to the pot.  Bring to a rolling boil then reduce to low.  Add back chicken and simmer for about 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked and carrots and potatoes almost soft.
  6. Test the carrots and potatoes for doneness before adding the peas. Continue to cook for another 5 minutes in a light simmer.
  7. Serve hot over rice or with fresh, warm baguettes. Garnish with cilantro.

Affiliate Links:

 

A Grey Nursery

Leading up to my due date, I think I was more nervous about how I was going to decorate the nursery than actually delivering my baby.  The process of putting the room together was almost as long as the gestation period and much like pregnancy, it came together in stages.  First we bought the crib and dresser/change table, which sat in their boxes for a while before they were assembled.  Next came the paint and lastly the accessories.  Why did it take so long, you ask?  Two reasons: 1) we were preoccupied with other things, like work, and it just wasn’t a top priority and 2) we had just moved into our new home 10 days before baby arrived and all we had time to do before moving in was put in new flooring and paint, that is every room except the nursery since I didn’t know what color I wanted it to be.  We didn’t know if we were having a boy or a girl, but that didn’t matter.  I wasn’t going to paint it pink or blue anyway.   I wanted it gender neutral, for baby to be able to grow with it rather than outgrow it and for it to be an extension of our home rather than completely different and separate.  So, why was I having such a hard time with paint color?  Because we had painted the rest of our home (with my dad’s help) in 3 shades of grey: magnetic grey, universal grey and white mountain, which is actually light grey, not white as the name suggests.  And while my highly opinionated parents were cool with the living room, kitchen and master bedroom being grey, they thought that kids’ rooms should be bright and cheery and yellow of course.  Since the crib and dresser we purchased was slate colored, I gave yellow some serious consideration and we’d visited the paint store several times to only come home with a bunch of paint swatches.  An entire room painted in yellow just didn’t speak to me, especially when there wasn’t any yellow anywhere else in our home.  What spoke to me was grey.  So, secretly, without my parents knowing, we painted the room white, with a grey accent wall.  I’m such a rebel, I know.  After that was decided, the rest of the room came together more easily, albeit slowly, and was inspired by a picture we took soon after baby was born.  

image1 (4)

As cheesy as it sounds, she really was our little sunshine, the light of our lives.

So, we added touches of yellow here and there….a tree decal with yellow leaves and owls that was put up by one of the aunties, artwork and even a cute little gift bag from a dear friend (Charlie) that fit perfectly with the my little sunshine theme.

DSC_1033

DSC_0963

We introduced other colors through the textiles.  We have a green polka dot and a blue and white doggy change pad cover that goes with various cribs sheets with polka dot and animal prints in the same colors.  We also have a pink crib sheet that works well with the rest of the room if we are in a more girly mood.

DSC_0992

For added storage and to hide her toys, we put in a cube organizer and introduced even more color with the pink and blue drawers.

DSC_0987

The room is filled with special little touches and gifts for baby from family and friends –  a pair of bronze shoes that belonged to my husband, personalized artwork, a stuffed bear and a crocheted blanket made by her aunties.

DSC_0967DSC_1025 DSC_0972DSC_0970

2016-02-27 00.18.23

I really hope baby grows to love this room and all the little things that went into it.

What do you think of the grey and yellow?  Is the room colorful enough or is there too much color?  How did you go about decorating your baby’s nursery?  What were your nursery must haves?

Affiliate links:

Go to One Pot Dinner

I’ve always loved one pot dinner recipes that don’t require a lot of work and taste great.  Well, who doesn’t?  Pre-baby days, I liked recipes that were quick to make since I often got home from work late and didn’t want to eat dinner at 9pm.  Those days, we had a lot of fried rice, pasta or bbq.  Now with baby, things have changed a bit.  You may think that being on maternity leave, I have a lot of time to cook lavious meals.  Au contraire mon ami.  You see, as my babe has gotten older, it’s become more difficult to leave her alone while she’s awake.  She’s currently 10 months old and I don’t know if it’s the separation anxiety or if she’s just a momma’s girl, but she can’t seem to be without me for more than a few minutes.  Even if I put her in a playpen next to me in the kitchen, she will only last 5 to 10 minutes before wanting me to pick her up.

2016-02-13 01.59.12

(Yes, she is playing with a water bottle and a drink tray.  Please, no judgements.)

Prior to being mobile, she was content to just sit in her chair and watch me do dishes or prep dinner.  Now, she just wants to be in constant contact with me.  These days, making dinner is an all day process.  

DSC_0626

DSC_0631

Most of the time, I prep the ingredients (wash and chop veggies, marinate meat, etc) during her morning nap then either cook the meal during her second nap and we have a cold or lukewarm dinner when my husband gets home from work or I wait until he gets home to look after her before I begin cooking.
DSC_0632

This is why I like recipes that don’t require a lot of work.  I especially like ones where you put everything together in a pot or oven and walk away.  This recipe I’m sharing today is for how to cook pork shoulder for pulled pork but we just eat it as is straight out of the oven.  It’s my husband’s new favourite dish.  He loves being welcomed home by the smell of it cooking in the oven as he walks down the driveway.  

DSC_0635

One pot dinner

This dish has everything you need: meat, veggies and carbs.  The meat is so tender and carrots and potato so soft  (they ought to be, it’s been in the oven for 2 hours) that even baby can eat it.  Bonus!  We usually have it with rice and a side of blanched veggies (no need to season since the meat is already so flavorful).  And if I’m really ambitious I’ll make some cheddar biscuits to dip in the sauce, but usually I’m not. 😉  Remind me to share that recipe later.

DSC_0637

What do you think?  Does this look good enough to give it a try?  Let me know what you think.

DSC_0644

What’s your go to recipe?   How do you keep your child occupied while you cook or do other things?  

One Pot Dinner (Adapted from the kitchn)

Ingredients

4 to 6 pounds boneless or bone-in pork shoulder or butt

1-3 tablespoons mixed spices (see rub recipe below)

1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil

1 yellow onion, sliced

few carrots, roughly chopped

few celery stalks, roughly chopped

few nugget potatoes, chopped in half or quarters

4 cloves garlic, smashed (optional)

1 1/2 cups liquid — chicken or vegetable broth

Rub from Food Network (makes more than you need, just store leftovers in a sealed bag or container)

2 tablespoons chili powder

2 tablespoons salt

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 tablespoon ground black pepper

1 tablespoon sugar

2 teaspoons dry mustard

1 bay leaf, crushed

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven to 325°F.  Place an oven rack in the lower-middle of the oven.
  2. Trim the pork: Trim off any large pieces of fat from the outside, but leave small pieces and the interior fat. If using boneless pork, cut the pork into several large fist-sized pieces. If using bone-in, leave the pork as is, on the bone.
  3. Season the pork: Sprinkle the pork with the spice mixture.  Rub the seasoning into the pork with your fingers so the meat is evenly coated on all sides.
  4. Sear the pork: Warm the oil in the Dutch oven (or frying pan) over medium-high heat. Sear the pork on all sides, working in batches as necessary so as not to crowd the pan. For more detailed step-by-step instructions, see How To Sear Meat.  Transfer pork to oven safe dish or pan after searing if not using a Dutch oven.
  5. Add the vegetables: Onions, garlic, celery, carrots, potato. Nestle them around the pork.
  6. Add the liquid: Pour the liquid over the top of the pork. The pork should be only partially submerged, with some of the pork remaining above the surface of the liquid.
  7. Bring to a simmer: Set the Dutch oven with the pork over medium-high heat and bring the liquid to a simmer.  If not using a Dutch oven, warm the liquid in the hot pan after searing the pork.
  8. Cover and transfer to the oven: Once simmering, cover the Dutch oven and transfer the whole pot to the oven.  If not using dutch oven, cover oven-safe dish or pan with aluminum foil.
  9. Cook for 2 hours or until fork tender: Let the pork cook undisturbed for 2 hours, then begin checking it every half hour. Total cooking time will be 2 to 4 hours, depending on the amount of pork and whether it’s bone-in (which takes longer to cook). The pork is done when it is fork-tender (when the meat can be easily pierced with a fork without resistance and easily falls apart with a little pressure). If you’re cooking pork on the bone, the meat should be falling off the bone. If in doubt, cook the meat another half hour; it’s almost impossible to overcook meat with this method.  Two hours is usually enough time to cook to tender.