Homemade Applesauce

Homemade Applesauce

Applesauce is another one of my favorites to make for my son to eat for breakfast or a snack because of how nutritious, delicious, and filling it is. It is also easy, quick, and cost effective!

Ingredients

  1. Two (organic) Apples
  2. (Purified) Water

Optional Ingredients

  1.  Rolled Oats
  2. Chia Seeds or Hemp Seeds

Step 1:

Peel and chop two apples of your choice.


Step 2:

Boil (purified) water for a few minutes. Then pour boiled water into a bowl and add chopped apples. Let soak for five minutes.

Step 3:

Scoop all of the apples out of the water and into the blender. Then add some of the water that the apples soaked in and pulse until it’s a consistency of your liking. 



Step 4 (optional):

Add toasted Rolled Oats, Chia Seeds, or Hemp Seeds for additional nutrition. 

I hope you enjoy this homemade applesauce recipe! 

Recipe for Healthy and Nutritious Scrambled Eggs

Recipe for Healthy and Nutritious Scrambled Eggs

Good afternoon and happy Thursday! This is one of my favorite recipes to cook for a quick healthy, nutritious, and delicious breakfast for Paul. Click on the ingredient whose nutrition you wish to explore further: 

Recipe

Ingredients

  1. [Organic] Eggs
  2. [Organic] Avocado
  3. [Organic] Butter 
  4. [Organic] Tomatoes
  5. [Organic] Mushrooms
  6. [Organic] Fresh Spinach or [Organic] Frozen Spinach 
  7. Scallions
  8. Hemp Seeds

Part 1:

    Sautée spinach and mushrooms in a pan with butter. 

    Part 2: 

    Add chopped tomatoes when mushrooms and spinach are sautéed to your liking. 

    Part 3:

    Add eggs and scramble until they are cooked to your liking. 

    Part 4:

    Sprinkle hemp seeds on top of your eggs. Serve with avocado for your little darling to enjoy =)

    Thank you for reading! I hope your little one enjoys this recipe! =D

    Recipe for Quinoa Guacamole Salad 

    Recipe for Quinoa Guacamole Salad 

    Good morning and happy Saturday! Quinoa Guacamole Salad is one of my favorite recipes to make for Paul for lunch or dinner because each of the ingredients are packed with nutrition. =) The recipe is as follows (click on the ingredient whose nutrition you would like to explore):

    Recipe
    Ingredients: 

    1. [Organic] White quinoa 
    2. [Organic] Frozen Spinach
    3. [Organic] Tomatoes 
    4. Scallions 
    5. Lime
    6. Salt
    7. Pepper
    8. Two [Organic] Avacodos 

    Part 1:                    


    Place 1 cup of [organic] white quinoa, frozen [organic] spinach (it is my preference to use frozen spinach for this recipe) and 2 cups of [purified] water into a pot over medium heat. As soon as it reaches a boil, cover the pot and lower the heat as low as possible so that it is simmering. Let simmer for about 15 minutes or until the water is completely absorbed into the quinoa. 

    Part 2:


    While the quinoa cooks, prep your quacomole. The ingredients for this recipe should be based on your preferences. Place two ripe [organic] avocados in a bowl and mash them with a fork until the consistency is smooth. Then add in the ingredients of your choice. In this recipe, I added and mixed [organic] tomatoes, scallions, salt, pepper, and one lime into the avocados.  You can add jalepenos, cilantro, onions, etc. Then cover and cool in the refrigerator.

    Part 3:


    When the quinoa is done cooking, serve with the guacamole for your little munchkin to enjoy =D 

    Tip: for extra nutrition, add a tablespoon of [organic] hemp seeds. =D 

    Thank you for reading! I hope you have a happy happy happy Saturday! =)

    Modeling and Encouraging Healthy Eating Habits and Lifestyle 

    Modeling and Encouraging Healthy Eating Habits and Lifestyle 

    Modeling and encouraging Paul to learn healthy eating habits and teaching him how to live a healthy lifestyle is a top priority of mine. The way we shop, the products that we buy, and the recipes that we make are all carefully considered to ensure that Paul is getting the nutrition that he needs in his daily diet primarily from products that do not contain preservatives, coloring, hormones, antibiotics, etc. If you are looking to buy products that are free of these potentially harmful components, the label to look for is organic. Other labels, such as “all natural” and “farm raised” are labels that do not necessarily mean that their products are preservative, hormone, antibiotic and color free; so it’s best to buy the regular inorganic products if you can not find the organic products.  

    Paul not only watches Matt and I cook, he helps us! I usually give him a small task to do, like wash a few pieces of spinach off in the water and then place it in the pot. While we are prepping and cooking, we talk to him about the ingredients that are going in his food and why these ingredients are nutritious for our bodies. He helps us do tasks like mix the ingredients together or scoop them into bowls. Then, he watches mama and dada enjoy healthy good eats which makes him want it too. 

    Along with eating healthy, Paul also watches mama make fitness a priority. We go on walks every day that it is not raining; and he sees my interest In living an active lifestyle. I try to workout during his nap time every day, but he usually wakes up before I finish so he ends up spending the last 10 minutes working out with me. He is very interested in my weights, and tries to lift them; but they weigh almost as much as he does!

    Teaching relaxation is another priority of mine when teaching him how to live a healthy lifestyle. I have been working on teaching Paul how to take deep breaths in through his nose and out through his mouth (which he thinks is hilarious). Now that Paul only takes one nap a day, we take 30 minutes a day to relax together by doing breathing exercises and reading. Yoga will eventually be added on to this routine. We also work on breathing exercises when he becomes upset and emotional. 

    Finally, I have been on a mission to avoid and eliminate as much toxins as possible from our home environment. This includes furniture, cookware, toys, etc.

    Paul is my miracle. There are no words to describe how much I love him. I want to teach him the skills that will help him live a happy, relaxing, conscious, and healthy lifestyle. Thank you for reading, I hope you have a happy Tuesday! =D

    Capturing and Embracing Happiness

    Capturing and Embracing Happiness

    I have always been a strong believer of embracing the positive of every situation; it has always been a defense mechanism of mine. Even in the darkest, most unbearable and [seemingly and sometimes] irresolvable of situations, there are happy and positive moments around you waiting to be captured and embraced. Getting stuck in a vortex of negative energy and pessimistic thinking can happen rapidly, especially if negative situations continuously arise; and when this happens, it is so important to search and find the happiness waiting to be embraced around you–as little as it may be. Every day that we wake up is a fresh start; an opportunity to approach the day with a positive mindset; an opportunity to create and discover new options to change undesirable circumstances; an opportunity show respect, love, kindness, appreciation and admiration for those around us as well as ourselves; an opportunity to seek forgiveness and forgive; an opportunity to reflect on yesterday’s experiences with the goals of making a happier life and a happier you. I am sharing some beauty that I captured today and some happy moments that I had with my family  =D What beauty and happy moments did you embrace and capture today? If you would like to share the happy moments that you have embraced today on instagram, use the hashtag #embracehappymoments

    Fashion as seen in this post:

    Paul: Jacket: Burt’s Bee’s Baby Similar One , Burt’s Bee’s Baby Similar Two , Burt’s Bee’s Baby Similar Three // Sneakers: Stride Rite Shoes // Pants: Hand-Me-Down

    Sandra: Blouse: Express // Leggings: Forever 21 // Sneakers: Adidas

     Thank you for reading =) I will keep a lookout for your hashtag #embracehappymoments on instagram =D I hope you have a happy day!

    Body Progression: Everything You Want to Know

    Body Progression: Everything You Want to Know

    Good morning and happy Wednesday! Over the past 23 months, my body has gone through incredible changes. During this time, it was difficult to find information discussing the changes of a postpartum body, so I wrote the blog What Every Woman Should Know About Her Postpartum Body to share information about these significant changes. In this blog post, I shared research in addition to my own experiences with the postpartum changes (and if there were any) with my pelvic muscles, muscle mass loss, breasts, and vagina; as well as my experiences with diastatis recti, weight loss and fertility.

    Pregnancy Progression

    Week 1 and Week 17

    Week 20

    Week 23

    Week 25

    Week 27

    Week 34

    Weeks 36

    Week 37

    Week 39

    Postpartum Progression

    3 Hours Postpartum

     3 days postpartum

        feb 10thfeb 10th side

    5 days postpartum

        Feb 12th front Feb 12th

    18 days postpartum

            Feb 25th side  Feb 25th

    28 days postpartum

             March 6th side  March 6th

    47 days postpartum

    march 25th side March 25th

    3 Hours Postpartum and 14 Months Postpartum Comparison Pictures

    At 47 Days Postpartum, I lost all of my pregnancy weight, but I still needed to continue to strengthen my pelvic muscles, close my Diastasis Recti, and tone my body. I started consistently working out 3 days a week when Paulie turned 9 months, and by 13 months, I increased my workouts to 4-5 times a week (all completed at home). I will talk about my workout regime in an upcoming post.

    Thank you for reading, I hope you have a very happy Wednesday! =D

    Limiting a Baby’s Exposure to Toxins: Sharing Research on Toxins Found in Crib Mattresses

    Limiting a Baby’s Exposure to Toxins: Sharing Research on Toxins Found in Crib Mattresses

    Good evening and happy Wednesday! After Matt and I decided on which crib we were going to buy, our goal was to find a safe, nontoxic, and organic crib mattress with as little material as possible (an organic mattress does not mean it is non toxic). In a typical crib mattress, toxic chemicals may be added to the filling of the mattress to make it firm, and on the mattress to make it flame retardant and water proof.

    Toxins Found in Crib Mattresses:

    1. Mattress Filling

    Many typical crib mattresses are filled with polyurethane foam to make the mattress firm. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, there is no level of safe exposure to polyurethane; and exposure to it may cause asthma, endocrine disruptions, lung damage, skin and eye irritation, and allergies to isocyanates. It is important to know that polyurethane filling may also contain other toxic chemicals, such as formaldehyde.

    Also, polyurethane filling is highly flammable.

    2. Flame Retardants

    Flame retardants are added to crib mattresses to prevent the risk of fire. According to the United States Enviornmental Protection Agency, flame retardants may cause reduced IQ, cancer, learning disabilities, thyroid disruption and reduced fertility.

    3. Water Proofing

    Polyvinyl chloride is added to crib mattresses to make it water proof. According to Tox Town, polyvinyl chloride may be harmful to the reproductive system and respiratory system; cause endocrine disruptions; and cause cancer.

    We chose to purchase a crib mattress that was not waterproof (instead, we use organic cotton mattress pads) and consisted of only three materials: organic wool (because it is a natural flame retardant), organic cotton, and 15.5 gauge 260 unoiled steel coils/intersprings with a 6 gauge border rod (because I was confident that the quality of the intersprings would create the firmness that I was looking for). If you choose a mattress consisting of these materials, you should ask the suppliers the following questions:

    1. Are the sheep sprayed with any pesticides? If the mattress is made from wool that was cut from sheep that were sprayed with pesticides, the wool is going to be toxic whether or not it is organic.

    2. Is the cotton sprayed with any pesticides? Organic or inorganic cotton that is sprayed with pesticides is toxic.

    3. How many coils does the mattress have? Are they oiled? What material are they made from? How thick is the gauge of the coils? The firmness of the mattress will depend on the thickness of the coils, how many coils are in the mattress, and the material that the coils are made from. I wanted the coils to be unoiled (to avoid any toxic oils) and to be made from steel (because steel is a good quality metal). I wanted the thickness of the gauge to be 15.5 or less; the lower the number, the thicker the coils are. I also wanted a mattress with a lot of coils, so I chose one that had 250.

    This is all of the information that I have learned from researching what toxins are found in crib mattresses and how these toxins impact a baby’s cognitive and physical development. I hope that this information was insightful and will help you find a crib mattress that works best for your family.

    I hope that you have a happy day!

    Limiting a Baby’s Exposure to Toxins: Sharing Research on Wooden Baby Products

    Limiting a Baby’s Exposure to Toxins: Sharing Research on Wooden Baby Products

    Good morning and happy Saturday =D

    When I found out that I was almost 3 months pregnant with my son in July 2015, I drastically changed my lifestyle after researching the impacts that environmental toxins could have on a developing fetus. Then, as his arrival was rapidly approaching, my research transitioned from learning about how toxins impact a developing fetus to how toxins impact a baby. I extended my research to products such as cribs, crib mattresses, bassinets, bassinet mattresses, diapers, wood toys, plastic toys, teethers, baby food, formula, cookware, etc. It was astonishing to learn that every item that I researched had commonly used brands that contained added toxins; too much to cover in one blog post. The purpose of this post is to share research on the toxins found in wooden baby products and how these toxins could impact a baby’s cognitive and physical development.

    Wood is used to make many baby products; most often it is used to make cribs, teethers, and toys. The type of wood and how it is treated will determine whether the products are toxic. I recommend calling companies to ask the following questions to inquire about specific items:

    1. Are your [cribs/teethers/toys] made from certified sustainable wood or hardwood; or pressed or engineered wood?

    • It is important that [cribs/teethers/toys] are made of certified sustainable wood or hardwood. If you see that the wood is pressed or engineered (i.e. fiberboard or plywood), it most likely contains formaldehyde as a bonding agent.

    2. Do you sell wood that is unfinished; or are they finished and if so, with what? Does the finishing contain VOC’s, lead, phthalates, or polyurethane?

    • Ideally, [cribs, teethers/toys] should be purchased unfinished.
    • Most finishes contain Volatile Organic Compounds’ (VOC’s).
    • Some finishes contain lead. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, children who have exposure to lead could develop the following complications:
      • ataxia, coma, convulsions, death, hyper irritability, stupor, neurological effects, decrement in IQ performance, ADHD, and hearing impairment.
      • The Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry also states that lead could impact the developing fetus because it crosses the placenta and as a result could negatively impact the fetus’ viability, fetal development, and early childhood development.
      • In addition, lead could also cause renal, hematological, endocrine, gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, and reproductive damage.
    • Some finishes also contain phthalates.
      • According to Tox Town, phthalates may cause cancer. The may also be endocrine disrupters and could cause harm to the human reproductive system.
    • Some finishes also contain polyurethane.

    3. What do you use to bind the parts of the [crib/teethers/toys] ? Does the bind contain formaldehyde?

    4. Does any part of the [crib/teethers/toys] contain formaldehyde, lead, phthalates, or polyurethane? 

    This is all of the information that I have learned from researching what toxins are found in wooden baby products and how these toxins impact a baby’s cognitive and physical development. I hope that this information was insightful and will help you find wooden baby products that work best for your family.

    Thank you for reading, I hope you have a happy day =D

    What Every Woman Should Know About Her Postpartum Body

    What Every Woman Should Know About Her Postpartum Body

    Good afternoon and happy Tuesday! For me, pregnancy was the most wonderful experience of my life. I loved watching my body change; I loved feeling Paul grow; and I loved giving birth. During pregnancy, a woman’s body drastically changes in a very short period of time, and some of these changes continue to impact a woman postpartum. Five postpartum changes that every woman should know about are:

    Pelvic Muscles: It is important that women who want to become pregnant, are pregnant, or are postpartum understand the importance of strengthening their pelvic floor muscles. The weight from carrying a baby for 9 months places a lot of stress on a these muscles, causing them to become weak. Weakness in the pelvic floor muscles causes women to be at risk for experiencing incontinence while pregnant and postpartum; which is a sign of a much more serious problem called a vaginal prolapse. The only way to prevent incontinence and a vaginal prolapse is to exercise the pelvic floor muscles. It is never too late to start pelvic floor exercises. The most commonly known exercise that targets the pelvic floor muscles are kegals; but there are many more exercises that a woman can do prior to pregnancy, while pregnant, and postpartum to strengthen her pelvic floor muscles. I used this stretching guide while pregnant, and continue to use it postpartum. I highly recommend it.

    Diastasis Recti (split abs): Women who are interested in exercising postpartum should be aware of diastasis recti. Some women, including myself, experience a split in their abs while pregnant. To reconnect them, women need to do very gentle core workouts. Post delivery, I asked the nurse to check my abs and she confirmed that my abs were split three fingers wide. She then taught me how to measure my abs and explained that prior to engaging in ab toning exercises, my abs could not be any wider than one finger width apart. Women are not allowed to engage in any toning exercises until six weeks postpartum; so when I reached six weeks, I saw a physical therapist who taught me the exercises that I needed to do to strengthen my abs. I highly recommend going to see a physical therapist six weeks postpartum prior to exercising; but if you do not, these are some great exercises that you could use to strengthen them.

    Vagina: Any change to your vagina will depend on the trauma it endures during delivery. Trauma includes first degree, second degree, third degree, or fourth degree tears or episiotomies; as well as tools used for assisted birth. Women who experience no tears or episiotomies; first degree tears or episiotomies; and who give birth without assistive birthing tools will most likely notice very little change about their vagina both aesthetically and sensationally.

    Muscle Loss: Muscle loss is inevitable during pregnancy due to many factors. The experience of pregnancy is beautiful, but it is physically difficult. There are approved pregnancy workout programs that women can do; but even these workouts may be too strenuous for many women. If you are unable to workout during pregnancy, do not worry, any muscle loss during pregnancy can be rebuilt postpartum.

    Breasts: If you produce milk, your breasts will change drastically; and they will change whether or not you choose to breastfeed. I exclusively breastfeed (meaning that all sucking needs, both for nutrition and comfort, are met at my breasts); and exclusive breastfeeding has not only impacted the physical appearance of my breasts, but my weight loss and fertility as well.

    1. Exclusive Breastfeeding and Weight Loss: I dropped my pregnancy weight at an accelerated rate; and I am now back to my pre pregnancy weight. It is recommended that women consume an additional 500 calories a day if they are breastfeeding; but this recommendation proved insufficient for me. Women burn approximately 20 calories per one ounce of milk. That means my son, who loves to drink milk, is causing me to burn about 700 calories in a 24 hour period.
    2. Exclusive Breastfeeding and Fertility: Women who exclusively breastfeed may experience natural child spacing. For this to be effective, women need to be breastfeeding approximately every 3 hours to maintain the hormone prolactin; which is the hormone responsible for milk production. Natural child spacing is 98 percent effective for the first six months postpartum. At 10 months postpartum, my period has not yet returned.

    These are five postpartum changes that every woman should be aware of. Understanding and expecting these changes could help women to prepare to address these changes postpartum.

    Thank you for reading! I hope that you have a very happy Tuesday! =D

    Is There Really An Issue With Sleep Training?

    Good afternoon and happy Friday! =D

    If you are a parent who strongly agrees with nighttime parenting or sleep training, then this proposal is for you.

    As I was driving home from my son’s most recent doctors visit, I was overwhelmed with so many emotions after his pediatrician told me that I should consider sleep training my baby. At first, my thoughts revolved around the notion that sleep training contradicts my beliefs on nighttime parenting; but after much reflection, I found that notion to be false. Lets define the purpose of nighttime parenting and sleep training.

    Nighttime Parenting: Parenting a child by engaging in any activity that the child needs for him to build enough security to fall asleep.

    Sleep TrainingTeaching your child the skills needed to sooth himself to sleep.

    I completely agree with both of these definitions; and if I agree, then why is it that I have rejected sleep training? Well, what I have come to realize is that I have not rejected sleep training; but rather the current commonly used sleep training methods available. The methods that I have encountered:

    1. contradict my intuitive responses.
    2.  are not individualized to my baby’s needs.
    3. often do not consider teethingseparation anxiety and developmental milestones.
    4.  do not regard nighttime parenting as essential. Many babies need to be parented to sleep and parented back to sleep.

    The goal of sleep training is to teach children the skills required to successfully self-sooth; and helping them learn these skills involves nighttime parenting, time, patience, practice, and trial and error. This is why I am proposing a new option that combines nighttime parenting and sleep training; what I have named the Individualized Nighttime Parenting Sleep Training Guidelines. Thus far, I have not encountered any sleep training program that offers suggestions on how to help parents create an individualized sleep training program for their child. As an early childhood educator, to ensure that every student succeeds academically, teachers must individualize lesson plans based on two very important considerations: the skills that each child has already mastered; and the best way to foster each child’s strengths and needs. The same principles should apply to sleep training. The sleep training methods currently available will be successful when using them for children who have a specific type of temperament; but there is a whole population of children who are not accommodated for. If you are looking for another option, follow the Individualized Nighttime Parenting Sleep Training Guidelines below.

    Before creating a Individualized Nighttime Parenting Sleep Training Program:

    1. Set realistic expectations for your child. This program is not meant to be a quick solution. This is a gradual process based on a program that caregivers will design to meet the needs of their child. Remember to be flexible; remain patient; smile; stay positive; and praise even the smallest progress.
    2. The goal is to teach children the skills needed to self sooth. 
    3. Nighttime parenting is required.
    4. Answer the following questions:
      • What is your child’s temperament? (i.e. easy going? strong-willed?)
      • Is your child able to communicate when he is hungry, has a soiled diaper, or needs comfort?
      • What self soothing skills has your child mastered? (i.e. sucking on fingers? sucking on toes? placing pacifier in own mouth?)
        • if the child has mastered self soothing skills, do these actions actually sooth the baby?
      • How is your child currently soothed to sleep? (i.e. breastfeeding? bottle? rocking? singing?)
        • What are his sleep associations?
      • Where does your child currently sleep? (i.e. crib? co-sleeping?)
      • How does your child react when he is placed in the crib? (i.e. happy? reluctant?)
      • Do you have a nighttime routine in place?
      • Is your child ready for sleep training?
        • How do you know?
      • Is your child teething?
      • Is your child about to reach any developmental milestones?
      • Is your child experiencing separation anxiety?
      • Any other considerations about your child before sleep training?
      • What is the end goal for your child? (i.e. sleep in crib all night? sleep in crib half the night?)
    5. Revisit and reflect on the answers to these questions daily to note and address any changes. 

    Creating an Individualized Nighttime Parenting Sleep Training Program:

    1. Establish a bedtime routineA calm and predictable bedtime routine helps children transition into a sleepy state.
    2. Help the child create positive associations with the crib. This may take time. Place your child in the crib and immediately provide verbal praise. Then partake in a reinforcing activity such as reading a book or engaging in fun social interactions. Do the activity for as long as the child will tolerate it. The goal is to gradually increase the time spent in the crib until the child intrinsically enjoys it. If the child spends only a second in the crib today; aim for a second a half tomorrow.
    3. Determine whether your child is ready for sleep training. After the bedtime routine is established and the positive associations have been created with the crib, determine whether your child is developmentally ready for sleep training by reflecting on your answers to the above questions.
    4. Transfer or establish positive sleep associations. If a child is accustomed to sleep associations involving parental support such as nursing or rocking, then these dependent sleep associations need to be slowly replaced with other sleep associations independent from you. When deciding what type of sleep associations to replace established ones with; ask yourself “how is my child currently soothed to sleep?” This will help guide you when choosing new associations. For example, if you decide to replace nursing with a security item, such as a blanket or a toy, then this blanket or toy needs to be used during every nursing session until the child associates the item with the nursing experience.This process will take time and will involve trial and error. Just remember to work on replacing one sleep association at a time.
    5. Slowly Fade Away. After the new sleep associations are successfully created and the child has developed a positive association with the crib, it is time to slowly fade your presence. This will also take time.
    6. Give your child the support he needs. Even if your child has made progress, expect there to be nights when he needs extra nighttime parenting. Do not do the program when your child is about to reach a developmental milestone or on nights that your child is experiencing teething pain, separation anxiety, or insecurities; rather, focus on providing your child with the comfort that you are fully present when he needs you.
    7. Provide lots of positive verbal and physical reinforcement. Make the nighttime routine a positive experience to encourage the development of a positive attitude towards transitioning into a sleep state and staying asleep.

    If you strongly agree with nighttime parenting or sleep training and have not yet discovered a sleep training method that works for you; follow these guidelines to create a successful Individualized Nighttime Parenting Sleep Training Program for your child.

    Thank you for reading! I hope you have a happy Friday! =D