Self-Care for Mamas

Truth be told, I really stink at self-care. So maybe I am not the most qualified mama to pen this type of post. However, I feel like this is a great way to hold myself accountable while encouraging other mothers to take a time out to focus on themselves. I am going to talk about a few of the easier things I do. I am not going to offer up unrealistic advice like, “Spend the day at the spa!” or “Take a vacation with your girls!” Most of us can’t afford to unwind that way.

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It is hard. I mean HARD. Mothers are so underappreciated in our society. We even constantly pick at each other. Especially online. It is easy to say, “Oh, just unplug!” But for some of us, social media is our only contact with the outside world and other adults for days at a time. Even weeks at a time! I once went two whole weeks without seeing an adult other than my husband. It takes a toll.

so my first piece of advice is actually…

  1. PLUG IN!
    Find a Facebook group or another online community of like-minded mamas. Even better if they are local! Finding your tribe and a solid support system is so crucial! If you cannot find a group like this, start one! Put the word out in other mommy groups. Chances are you are going to find at least a couple other people who are looking for the same kind of thing you are. That is what I did, and now i interact with 84 amazing local mamas every single day and co-facilitate a local Goddess Circle with one of them!

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  • Work Out Away From Home.
    It may be cheaper to reach for those DVDs than to join a gym or a fitness class, but your work out will be interrupted by diaper changes and requests for snacks, and you will be constantly tripping over toys and tiny humans. Make your work out about you and get out of the house! This doesn’t mean you have to stop staying active as a family. I love going for family walks and hikes, but getting out of the house alone gives you some time to enjoy a silent walk, bike ride, or car ride to your favorite gym or yoga class, and being away from home really lets you focus on your body and your breath. If you cannot afford to go to a gym, commit to taking one yoga class per month. You deserve at least one day. Look for donation classes in your area if you are strapped for cash!

 

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  • Meditate in the Shower.
    If we are lucky enough to take a shower without a toddler attached to our legs, showers are often the only quiet time mamas get. Take advantage of this time to center and set your intentions for the week. I like to take three big, deep breaths with hands in prayer at heart center and recite the five principles of Reiki outloud. 1. For today I will not be angry. 2. For today I will not worry. 3. For today I will make my way honestly. 4. For today I will count my many blessings. 5. For today I will show love and compassion to all beings.

 

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  • Fuel Your Body.
    This is the one thing I suck at the most. I am a notorious meal skipper. If you are overwhelmed and strapped for time, splurge on a quality protein shake. I have been blending up a vegan chocolate protein shake with a little spinach, some unsweetened almond milk, ice, and a splash of peppermint extract for breakfast. It is like Christmas at Starbucks, only it is good for you! I am still not consistent with eating throughout the day, but at least I kick it off with something nutrient dense!

 

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  • Take Yourself on Dates and Go on Dates with Other Moms.
    Sometimes a date is going to Target by yourself to buy toilet paper. Sometimes going on a date means doing the grocery shopping by yourself. Recently I met a girlfriend at a big baby retailer where we picked out new car seats for our children. We spent the entire time spending money on our kids and talking about our kids and husbands, but we were able to do so freely with another adult! And their happened to be a coffee shop in the same plaza, which means we got to sit down for 20 minutes to sip on delicious, icy cold, caffeinated goodness. 20 minutes to sit quietly with someone whose company you enjoy is a great way to wind down when you are exhausted at home.

 

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  • Get the Kids Involved.
    When you just cannot get away, get the kids involved. I try to have a “mindful minute” every day with my kids. My daughter is still a bit too young, but my four year old son and I practice mindful breathing and repeat a mantra. It has become such a part of our rhythm that if I skip it, my son actually asks to do it! He also loves to do yoga and will ask if we can do some “warrior posing” together.

 

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  • Ask For and Accept Help.
    If you need help, do not be afraid to ask for it. And if someone offers to help you, do not be to proud to say, “Yes! Yes, please!” I think a lot of women worry about putting people out. Let me tell you right now… If your friends did not want to help you, they would not offer. So say YES!

 

 

A lot of this stuff may seem like common sense, but sometimes a reminder really helps. Sometimes having someone give you permission to do something for yourself is all you need to light the fire under your bum. If you feel like you need permission, I am giving it to you right now. I am giving myself permission.

Fill your cups, mamas! And a special shout out to EMotD for encouraging me to keep my cup full.

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Birthdays and Cupcakes

I am obviously not going to be the most active blogger on the internet.

I did write a post a few weeks ago, however the WordPress app for Android leaves something to be desired and I could not publish it.

Having two little ones makes it hard to actually sit down at the computer. But that is the way it should be, right?

Speaking of my littles, we celebrated my daughter’s first birthday last weekend. I cannot even believe it. She was born, i blinked, a year zipped by before i knew what was happening.

I thought i would share a few pictures from the day, as well as a recipe for the cupcakes. I make these cupcakes for my son’s birthday every year too. They are great and cater to all types of allergies and food sensitivities. They are vegan, soy free, nut free, and gluten-free. More importantly, they are DELICIOUS! I am asked for the recipe quite often, so I will share it here!

But first, some pictures…

crownI also made the birthday girl a special crown for her special day…

I am going to be making a couple more crowns for my niece and for a friend’s kiddos, so my next post might be a tutorial if you are interested in making your own birthday crowns!

I have also been considering opening up an Etsy shop where I would offer crowns, gnomes and other peg dolls, and some of the other things you will see me posting here from time to time.

And now… CUPCAKES!

This carrot cake is absolutely delicious. I usually whip up some coconut fat for the icing, but i did something a little different this year and made a vegan pumpkin spice buttercream. I wanted something i could pile high like a frothy cuppa. I originally adapted this cake recipe from another one i found online, and the buttercream recipe was sent to me by a friend.

Cupcakes…
3.5 cups oat flour
3 tablespoons ground flax
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon baking powder
pinch of salt
2.5 cups hemp milk (Tempt brand is nut free if you are working with a nut allergy)
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup coconut oil (melted)
1.5 cups vegan sugar
1/3 cup raisins
2.5 cups chopped shredded carrots

Buttercream
1 stick of Earth Balance
3 cups vegan powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
hemp milk

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl combine your oat floor, flax seed, cinnamon, baking powder, and a pinch of salt. Mix well before adding the hemp milk, orange juice, sugar, and coconut oil. Once your batter is mixed well, add in your raisins and carrots. I usually end up baking these for around 40 minutes, but every oven and baking dish is a little different, so just keep an eye on the edges of your cakes. Once they start to brown, use a toothpick to check the center. If it comes out clean, your cakes are finished!

Set those aside to cool (you can even pop them in the fridge to speed things up) and get started on your buttercream! The buttercream is easy peasy. All you need to do is let your Earth Balance stick soften up a bit, combine all of the ingredients, and whip! Slowly add splashes of hemp milk until you get the consistency you are looking for.  You can use a fork to whip, but if you have a mixer or an immersion blender it makes this frosting a lot easier. We are not gadget people, but an immersion blender is the best thing that ever happened to my kitchen!

Once your cakes are cool, you can spread or pipe your buttercream onto them and then put them in the fridge to solidify. And then you are left with this…

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Yum!
Check back soon for a birthday crown tutorial, and happy baking!

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A Day at the Playground

We finally had a day that was both warm and sunny. It almost hit 70 degrees in Southern Maine yesterday!

I think every family in the city must have been at the playground. We have all been anticipating the warm season for so long.

We so desperately want to get out of this city and find that perfect piece of land, but who can really complain when this is your view?

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Pinch me! I live here!

Until we have acres upon acres for the children to run free on, I think the fresh ocean air will suffice quite nicely.

playground Gaia  playgroujd Auggie

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Welcome Spring… (and Rainbow Gnomes!)

Oh, sweet spring. This is by far my favorite time of year.

This winter has been fairly mild, but we still welcomed spring in Maine with a snow storm.

We have spent a few warm afternoons running around on the grass, but it is still a bit too cold and gloomy most days. So we have been spending our days playing indoors and crafting away.

I recently made a set of peg doll gnomes for the adorable son of some of my most lovely friends. My children were absolutely smitten, so today we are making them a set of their very own.

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These are just very simple peg dolls created with a DIY pattern. If you are interested in making your own, it is a great beginner’s project. I will share how we made ours if you would like to follow along!

What you need:

3″ peg dolls (ours are a smidge over 3″)
Felt in any colors you desire (we are sticking with Roy G. Biv for spring!)
Needle and thread
Embroidery floss in contrasting colors
Paper, pencil, scissors, measuring tape, pins
Hot glue or adhesive of choice

Making your pattern:

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a) To make your hat pattern, start with an equilateral triangle that measures 3 1/2 inches on all sides and clip off 1/8 of an inch from two of the corners (this will help make a nice shape in the back).

b) To make the cloak you need 2 1/4 inches for the neck and 3 1/4 inches at the base. It should be about 1 3/4 inches long. You can see I like to add a little shape to mine, creating a 1 1/2 inch side.

Now, most 3″ peg people will share similar measurements, but you always want to measure your peg’s heads and bodies to tweak these patterns accordingly. Even pegs from the same maker will have inconsistencies. As my carpenter step-father always says, “measure twice, cut once.”

Construct your gnome’s hat:

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a) Fold your hat in half and sew the long side closed with a simple back stitch. Don’t fuss too much about keeping it perfect. You wont see the stitches on the finished product.

b) Turn your hat inside out (a pencil comes in handy here). At this point, you can call it macaroni and be done if you are happy with it!

c) I like to add a bit of embellishment by finishing the edge of my hats with a blanket stitch in a contrasting shade.  (See graphic below if you do not already know how to do a blanket stitch).

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d) Now your hat is ready to be worn!

 Construct your gnome’s cloak:

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a) Find some matching embroidery floss.

b) Blanket stitch around the edge, leaving the neck undone.

c) When you are finished, leave a tail (which we will later use to sew our cloak onto our gnome!)

Putting it all together:

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a) I like to put the cloak on first, as the hat has a nice little curve in the back that may overlap with the cloak. I start with a small spot of glue on the back of the neck before placing the cloak on my gnome. Press for a moment to secure as your glue sets.

b) Using the tail of your embroidery floss, sew the cloak closed.

c) Knot your thread and tuck it up under your cloak.

d) Now it is time to glue on your hat! I like to dot glue all the way around the inside of my hat before tugging it down snuggonto my gnome’s head.

And you are done! Or…

e) You can paint a happy face on your gnome! I am partial to either a blank face or some simple rosy cheeks.

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You have completed your simple but adorable gnomes! You can place them on your holiday or seasonal tables, or give them to your children for endless hours of creative and imaginative play!

gnome and august  gnome and lamp

Get creative! Mix and match your colors! Embroider and embellish! Enlist the help of your little ones and have fun!

If you use this tutorial to make a gnome or two of your own, share a picture in the comments!

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Testing. One. Two. Three.

I have never excelled at maintaining a blog, which is ironic because I used to get paid to blog for other people.

I have spent the past five years building a business that no longer calls to me. At least not in the way it once did. Perhaps because i have since had two gorgeous children and my priorities have shifted.

Up until these past few months, I have been working on designing a new website and preparing to relaunch my business after a lengthy maternity leave. Now all of a sudden… I feel lost.

But there is still so much happening in my life. Being a mother is busy work! And my little family has so many big dreams.

And so I thought I would try my hand at this blogging thing again as a way to document our adventures.

Come along with us, if you’d like.

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