Photo Friday - May 31st, 2013

Sitting and looking at mommy all adorable, with a tummy full of fresh organic avocado! 40 weeks.

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Review: Roots Tribe Leather Zip Pouch

I love leather. There's something natural and earthy about it. Leather makes me think of the Native American tribes who treated everything as valuable, and wasted nothing.

My first year here in Canada, in 2009, I discovered a store called Roots. Their clothing has a very old, classic feel to it, and all of their leather products (which vary from handbags, messenger bags, wallets, and footwear) are handmade in Canada. Most of their leather products are made from Italian leather, but they occasionally have a line from leather made right here in Alberta.

They also have an amazing policy. Many of their products come with a 1-year warranty, and if anything is wrong, you can bring it in and they will ship it to their facility in eastern Canada to be repaired, free of charge. After the warranty is over, your items can still be brought in to be repaired for a fee. I'm pretty picky when it comes to the things I love, and when I find something I love, I'd like to have it a long time... preferably forever! So I adore finding companies that not only stand behind their products that are made with integrity, but also work with you to extend the life of the product!

As a parent, it can also be hard to find products that can withstand the wear and tear a child is sure to put it up to. I grew up as a bit of a perfectionist, and it was always a pet peeve when things would start to get ruined. I can't even name how many objects were torn, ripped, squishes, cracked, our outright shattered, by my siblings growing up. I used to take care to read my books so carefully, they looked unread by the time I had finished. I would actually refuse to read "ruined" books. Leather was one of the few exceptions that escaped my scrutiny, because that worn leather actually gains more character with use.

I always end up carrying around a lot of change, so my little coin purse wasn't cutting it. With all of the coins confined to such a small space, it would take me forever to dig around and look for the change I needed. So I decided to order the Roots Medium Zip Pouch in "Tribe" leather. I was lucky enough to order during a free shipping promotion, and my order, placed on Friday, arrived the following Wednesday!

I had my reservations about what the item would look like in person, since you never know with online purchases. But the zip pouch was true to color, and absolutely gorgeous! Initially I thought it may be a little too big, but it ends up meaning that I don't have to fumble around for change for forever, which has been a time saver. It's also the perfect size for people who like to keep everything money-related lose all in one place. The generous size would easily accommodate a handful of cards, some cash, and still have room for change. I have at least 3 friends who do that.

I have come to love everything about it. The supple leather is velvety and durable, and the tribe leather has a rustic quality. The zipper is thick and well made, and has not caught while opening or closing the pouch even once, unlike other brands I have used. It's an absolutely beautiful product, and I am happy knowing I can use it for years to come.

To purchase your own, you can click here. They have a wonderful selection of products for men, in case you're still looking for a Father's Day present. And they also have a beautiful collection of leather products and clothing for women, if you're looking for something for yourself! All of their products can be found on their website.

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Disclosure: This product was purchased by myself, and was not in any way compensated or provided with the company Roots. It is not in any way connected with Roots, and all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Cloth Diapers: Why You (And Everyone Else) Should Use Them!

I know what you’re thinking! Or, at least I do if it’s what I used to think when I heard the words "cloth diaper." I'd picture a white stretch of fabric, wrapped around baby and held in place by pins, later needing to be washed by hand in the tub.

And while this used to be the reality of cloth diapers, it isn't anymore. Might I remind you that, originally, disposables weren't so attractive either. They were huge, and looked very unattractive. If you've seen the 1987 movie "Three Men and a Baby," you know exactly what I'm talking about.

Pre-baby, it was a no-brainer for me: disposables were an assumed part of raising a baby. Having to change poopy diapers is probably the least pleasant thing involved in parenting. Why drag out any contact with said diapers by using cloth, and therefore, having to clean them?

I grew up in a regular household. Lots of things that weren’t needed, were thoughtlessly put into the garbage bin without ever thinking about it again. Disposable diapers being one of these things. With four younger siblings, that was a lot of disposables over the years. But in my early teens, I realized we should at least be recycling. We had one tall kitchen garbage for everything in our 1-bedroom apartment, and with our household of 8, the trash had to be taken to the basement to the bins. With some persistence, the rest of my family agreed to recycle. We went from 3 large garbage bags of garbage, down to 1. The other 2 were all recyclable materials.

After that, I slowly started to become more eco-minded. It required a very different type of thinking than I was raised with. So when I found out I was pregnant, I thought of all the diapers that would end up in landfill. It was enough to make me seriously consider cloth diapering, even though I still thought cloth diapers were the ancient practice of pinned fabric. I was very surprised, and overwhelmed, by what I found. Cloth diapers have come a long way. I found they really look a lot  more modern than disposables. Who would have thought?

Once I had committed myself to cloth diapering my son, the next step was figuring out which ones to buy. You'd think this would be easy, but it isn't! There are a lot of cloth diaper companies and brands out there. Also a lot of styles. There are sized diapers (which mean you'll have to buy a new stash each time your little one outgrows them), and then there are AIOs (all-in-ones), also called "one-size" diapers. Which are adjustable so that you can use them from newborn to potty training age. I looked at bumGenius, Fuzzibunz, Alva, Charlie Bandana, GroVia, Sustainablebabyish, Rumparooz, Thirsties, Lil Joey, Tots Bots, and countless others. Needless to say, I started to feel overwhelmed.

It took me a lot of research, but I finally settled on bumGenius diapers. They have one the best warranty policies, and to me, that meant they must be good quality, because it's products with integrity that are meant to last that offer the best warranties. They also came personally recommended by a fellow mama friend. I had no idea about the differences between their three lines: Elemental, 4.0, and Freetime. After a look into their two different fastening/closure styles, Hook & Loop (velcro) and Snap, I settled on the Snap. It is the most likely to uphold quality when used with multiple children, and my husband and I do plan on there (eventually) being a Baby #2. So I just ordered a dozen of the white 4.0's in snaps from an amazing company called The Green Nursery.

I didn't want to buy too many when I wasn't sure how I felt about them. But I loved them, and went to order more. I saw that bumGenius Freetimes were on sale. I looked into the difference, and the fact that the insert was attached to the cover sounded brilliant to me. So I ordered them. I'm currently operating on a stash of 24, but I'd like to get it up to 40. Minimizing the amount of diapers you use is another way to save money when you cloth diaper, just keep in mind that the more diapers you have, the less frequently you'll have to wash them. I'm absolutely in love with the Freetimes, which I find super easy to use. Since there are two inserts that are attached to the cover, it provides amazing absorbancy. And that's my story of cloth diapering!

There's a lot of reasons to cloth diaper, but here are some of the major reasons:

1. It's good for baby! Once I started to look into cloth diapering, this is what really pushed me over the edge, and made me commit to cloth. We don't really think about it, but there's a lot of icky chemicals that go into disposables, and the less chemicals that baby's precious skin comes in contact with, the better! Last year there was an issue with one of the few plants that produces the material that goes inside disposables (the absorbent material), and the plant had to temporarily stop production. This made the price of disposables jump. Before that, I had never even thought about what goes into making disposables. Once I thought about it, I was really happy to be cloth diapering. A lot of good points are brought up by this mama here.

2. It's good for the environment. Different sources will give slightly different statistics, but, regardless, the impact of regular disposables diapers on the environment is no small thing. One child will go through up to 8,000 disposables by the time they are potty-trained, as mentioned here by The Green Mama. Those diapers do not get recycled or composted. They end up in landfill, and they take a long time to break down (in fact, the first diapers on the market are still in landfill, they haven't broken down yet---that's how long it takes! While cloth diapers have to be shipped just like disposables to a location for purchase, the cloth diapers only have to be delivered to you once, while a constant stream is needed to keep you supplied with disposables. As pointed out in this essay, "It is ironic that many practices of raising a child in our culture actually harm the environment he or she will live in." Cloth diapering is an easy way for us to help preserve the earth for the future generations---our children and grandchildren included!

3. It's good for the wallet. Cloth diapering is economical. It can be as cheap (or as expensive) as you want to make it. One of the cheapest options is to use shells, called "fitted diapers" (which are waterproofed with PUL material), and then prefolds (the fabric insert---which could be microfiber, bamboo, etc.) which catches and absorbs all of baby's business. Flip and gDiapers are a few options like this. Most companies that make this type of diaper come with the option of purchasing disposable inserts in place of the fabric prefold, as well. The next step up would be AIOs, either pockets like bumGenius 4.0 or hybrids such as the bumGenius Freetime or Elemental, where the fabric is attached to the cover. Regardless, the cost of cloth diapering, although it digs into your pockets initially, will be cheaper overall by the time your child is out of diapers. Over cost/savings vary greatly by which system you choose to go with, but as shown here, the monetary savings of cloth diapering one child will be at least $1,200. The cost gets even smaller if you get a good quality diaper that lasts well, and then use them for multiple children. Some of the expense can also be recovered if you sell the cloth diapers once you are done with them.

4. It saves precious time. I am not sure about everyone else, but I found using disposable diapers and wipes to be a huge headache. Constantly shopping around to find the best price for the value, and constantly running out to the grocery store when I realize---last minute---that we're almost out of either diapers or wipes. With cloth diapering, while baby is still exclusively on breast milk, it's as easy as just dumping them in the washing machine (breast milk-fed baby poops are water soluble ), hang drying them, and then folding them for use. It takes me minutes of efforts to accomplish what a half-hour or so trip to the grocery store would!

Do your research, what works for one family may not be for all, and what works for me won't necessarily work for you! I got lucky, since we could love our bumGenius diapers more! There is no wrong choice, as long as it works for you. If you're not sure which cloth diapers would work for you and your baby, one option is to get a variety bundle in order to test a bunch of brands, such as this one offered by The Green Nursery! Most of all, Happy Cloth Diapering!

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Disclosure: This post is not sponsored or associated with any of the companies mentioned above. All of the links are provided in order to allow readers to take a look at the brands. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Photo Friday - May 24th, 2013

Goofing around with mommy on a hot day, wearing one of his bumGenius cloth diapers. 39 weeks.

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Review & Giveaway: Shape Sorter by Green Toys

As I am sure you all remember, Earth Day was on April 22nd. It is a great day to raise awareness, and to remind ourselves about how we can be more eco-conscious, and why. Now that Earth Day has passed, it is also important to remind ourselves that everyday is Earth Day! After all, we all live on and share this earth, every single day.

There is no reason why you have to compromise the planet in order to provide your child with toys when it comes to Green Toys. I always love finding truly amazing product, and Green Toys is just that. All of their products are made in the USA, and therefore local---which is good for the planet. Furthermore, they are extra environmental-friendly because everything is made of 100% recycled plastic! They make a range of toys, that was just greatly expanded this year, from building blocks, to toy vehicles (such as a fire truck and a recycling truck), to bath toys (such as the seaplane and ferry boat).

The packaging is simple and unimpressive. Used to flashy and fancy packaging that marketing departments come up with for us as consumers, this seems to be a bad indicator. However, they believe in their commitment to the environment completely, sticking to the bare minimum for packaging, which I applaud. I could only assume they have confidence that their products will sell themselves based off of the actual product, and not a bunch of overdone packaging. It is a sleekly designed shape sorter in the shape of a saucer, with slots for each of the four shapes on each side.

Once out of the cardboard, I had to take the shapes out of the plastic bag they're packaged in. A moment of dread flickered in my head, knowing how frustrating these types of products are to work with sometimes. Was this going to be another toy that I had to fight to twist open? I was pleasantly surprised this wasn't the case! It opened quickly, and easily. It closed just as smoothly, and the entire construction of the toy is safe, with no little cracks, crevices, or other features that can hurt baby.

We've had this toy for about six weeks now, and Baby E still plays with it every day! I love that there's 8 shapes (2 of each shape), since it makes a nice rattling sound when they're all rolling around inside the shape sorter, which my son adores. Even when a couple of the shapes get misplaced (as is bound to happen), there are still plenty to make it a functional toy. On the other hand, we had previously purchased another shape sorter, which only came with 4 shapes, and three of them were misplaced. A shape sorter with only one shape is pretty obsolete! It's worth mentioning, too, this shape sorter with only 4 shapes (which was made in China, by the way) was only $2 less than I paid for this Green Toys one!

Toys like this shape sorter are great for a little one's brain, since they are discovering how things fit together. I think it's the reason Baby E doesn't get tired of playing with it from day to day. Since each side has slots for all of the shapes, my son loves rattling it up and down, and side to side, trying to get the shapes to fall out of the bottom. So it becomes a kind of 2-in-1 toy for him, since he first has to get the shapes in, and then has to figure out how to get them out! Being the clever little guy that he is, he occasionally is able to twist the sorter open, at which point he happily dumps all the shapes onto the floor.

To purchase a shape sorter of your own, or take a look at any of the other products they offer, click here. All of the designs for all their products are so cute, I can honestly say I want to own one of everything, and I'm sure you'll feel the same! They make toys from 3+ months and up. There are a lot of pictures of this amazing product just below, the first two pictures of my son with the shape sorter were taken the week we purchased it, but the later two were taken after we'd already owned it for over a month.

The amazing people at Green Toys have decided to do a giveaway for the blog! My very first giveaway! One reader will win their own Shape Sorter for their little one (appropriate for infants 6+ months)! Enter using the form below all the pictures using the Giveaway Tool. Good luck!!!

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Bloom Into Baby: Ecocentric Mom Giveaway from My Four Littles!

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Sponsored by: Ecocentric Mom

Special Thanks to Our AWESOME Cohosts

This giveaway is part of the Bloom Into Baby Event.

Be sure to check out all of the current Bloom Into Baby giveaways in the linky below the Giveaway Tools Form.


Ecocentric Mom is one of the best subscriptions out there! Each month they bring you eco-friendly and innovative products for you and your little one!
Check out Ecocentric Mom Reviews on My Four Littles.


Subscription boxes are all the rage lately. And why not? Who doesn't love getting mail? Even better, mail that contains surprises. I always love discovering new, great products. Especially eco-friendly ones! So you can get both of those things in this product. The Ecocentric Mom box is an amazing thing to subscribe to! Every month, a variety of products are sent straight to your doorstep. Personally, I'd love this subscription myself!

I love highlighting eco-friendly products, take a look at my other blog posts for some other earth-friendly reviews. Or contact me using the form on the "Contact/PR" page if you'd like for Found Frolicking to review a product for you, or help promote an eco-minded review/giveaway you are hosting!
One lucky reader will win ONE YEAR SUBSCRIPTION to Ecocentric Mom (RV $204).
This giveaway is open to the United States only.
This giveaway will begin 12:00am EST May 22 and end 11:59pm EST June 4.
All entries will be verified.
Good luck and thank you for entering!
  Don't stop now!   Enter some more Bloom Into Baby Giveaways!  

Disclosure: This giveaway is not associated with, affiliated with, endorsed by, sponsored by, or connected to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or any other social media platform in any way. Social media outlets are in no way responsible for sponsor prize fulfillment. The sponsor alone is responsible for fulfilling the aforementioned prize. This blog did not receive compensation for posting this giveaway. Your information will not be shared with anyone without your explicit consent. This giveaway event is hosted by Amanda from My Four Littles and Four Littles Media. You can contact Amanda at with any questions, concerns, or to see your company featured on a Four Littles Media event.

Meet Our Furry Family!

Before Baby E was even an idea, there were two furry critters that we welcomed into our home. In August of 2010, our Chocolate Labrador-Retriever cross into our lives. A year later, our peaches and cream Manx cross.

Our Chocolate Lab is one of the quirkiest dogs I've ever met. He came from a family that had three female dogs (two "purebred" Chocolate Labs and one Australian Shepherd), and one male Chocolate Lab, all unfixed. All three of the females ended up pregnant, and had huge litters. So we went to see all 18 of them, figuring that with that many little wriggly, chubby little furballs, we'd have the best chances of finding one right for us. All of the puppies seemed to have a lot of energy (one was even barking, chasing, and pestering all the others)... except for one. This one little puppy sat smack down in the middle of all the puppy madness, and just observed us. He was obviously a little tired, but that wasn't all. He was just different. Calm. Calm in a Lab puppy is, well, kind of strange.

My husband was instantly drawn to this little pup. After playing with him for a minute, he was certainly impressed by his attentiveness and awareness. He called me over to look at him, as I was admiring the little, adorable runt of the litter. Jay and I stood there looking at this mellow pup, who happened to be the largest in the litter. The puppy just sat there on the ground, looking up at me with his little round eyes. I picked him up, and he melted into my arms, content to lay there without any objections. I had already tried to pick up several puppies, and they had all wriggled right out of my arms. When the little puppy was still happily laying in my arms ten minutes later, we were sold. That was the little guy we were taking home.

We thought at least half of the mellowness would wear off once he had had a nap. But it didn't. He is still an extremely mellow dog, with very rare, very short outbursts of excitement. After some short brainstorming, we decided to name him "Copper" after the dog in "The Fox and the Hound," one of my childhood favorites.

Copper became instantly attached to us. He couldn't stand being kenneled his first night in our home, and, concluding it was too hard for him to go from dog-piling with 17 siblings for the night to being in a kennel, we allowed him to sleep in the bed with us. He curled up at our feet, and didn't fuss again. I had put up a gate to keep him out of the kitchen, but he'd have none of it. He'd sit at the gate and whimper at me, even though he could clearly see me, unable to stand being separated. Eventually I couldn't bear hearing the whimpering any longer, and I'd pick him up and try to balance him on my hip while making dinner. In hindsight, a baby carrier would have come in handy with that one!

Our mellow puppy grew into a mellow dog. Copper, who had been deathly afraid of water as a small pup, decided at 8 months that he could swim, and just jumped into the ravine of Hawrelak Park, and that was that. We now take him there regularly, as he loves to jump around, playing with other dogs in ravine, and going for a swim. The one thing that always baffled me about Copper, however, was that he looks almost purebred, but his hair is much too long. And despite looking so much like a Labrador-Retriever, he failed to live up to the last half of his breed's name: retriever. He certainly knew how the game worked. If there were no dogs around, he'd entertain us by fetching a stick or a toy once or twice, only to decide on the third throw he was done. I'd watch others at the dog park with their Labs, chasing a ball (or stick, or anything, really) endlessly, throughout the whole duration of their park visit. But not Copper. He preferred romping around with other canines, and wandering towards their owners for some generous pat on the back.

Well, a few weeks ago, he surprised us. It was his first real swim in the ravine this year, and we threw a stick in for him like always, well aware it would probably be abandoned and left to float away downstream. But he caught it, and brought back. So we threw it again, and he went right after it. He loyally retrieved and returned the stick probably twenty times, before we got tired of it and stopped. We can only guess that he's a late bloomer!

Copper's always been a funny dog, a lot more like Merle (from "Merle's Door" by Ted Kerasote) and a lot less like Marley (from "Marley & Me" by John Grogan). He's smart, and can figure out things, but he's well aware of things that will get him in trouble, and he'll avoid them. I know he know how to open the trash can, but he just doesn't. Occasionally, he'll decide something is so irresistible it's worth a scolding, such as sneaking down into the basement and skulking around down there. But I know he knows he's not supposed to do it, since he went from traipsing up and down the stairs like a rock slide, to tip-toeing down there silently when I'm not looking. He somehow seems to differentiate from off limits things that will get him in a little trouble (going into the basement), and things that will get him in a lot of trouble (taking food off of our plates or digging in the trash). This makes him perfectly compatible with our lifestyle, since my husband and I are good at tolerating the little stuff, but too many large quirks would drive us mad.

Then there's our other animal companion. He came from a litter of 7, born in a barn on a farm a few hours from where we live here in Edmonton, Alberta. The family had a Manx as a barn cat (since they have a reputation for being great mousers), and since they had a fairly large property and no other cats, they didn't think it was necessary to fix her. And, well, anyone that knows a lot about cats knows how far a tomcat will venture to visit a female in heat! So the litter of 7 was born. I first heard of the Manx breed when I was 12, and I was instantly in love. Having always been a fan of bobcats, this seemed the closest you could get to owning one, without having your eyes torn out and being scratched to death.

My husband insisted we didn't need a cat, but, persuasive as I am, he eventually caved. When we saw all the little kittens, only 7 weeks old (their mother had weaned them early, a week before), I knew exactly which one I wanted as soon as I saw him. Peaches and cream, being mostly cream from his mid-belly down, with eyes to match. He was a little furball, with just enough tail that you can see a little twitch when he wags it, but still technically a "rumpy" (no tail). He went home with us, and I named him Jasper, after Jasper National Park, which I had just been to for the first time a few months before.

He was a cuddly little fuzzyball from the start. Unlike a lot of cats, always indifference to our presence, Jasper, if neglected too long, will wander over to rub up against you and demand attention. When I was pregnant, I took a lot of naps, since I had a hard time sleeping through the night. While we always keep the door closed to the furry little ones during the night (we tried to let Jasper sleep with us before, and he ends up walking all over us all night), I'd let Jasper nap with me. He'd hop onto the bed, purring, look for the top of the blanket, and wait for me to lift it to let him underneath. He'd proceed to curl up next to my belly and nap with me.

The only thing with Jasper, is he hates to be confined. He refuses to be contained against his will in any way. When he was a little kitten, he screamed the first time I trimmed his nails. I know I didn't hit the quick (the nerve that ends close to the base of the nail). He just didn't like being held down. Every trimming after that was exactly the same. He sounded like he was dying! Eventually, after a year of having his nails trimmed weekly, he finally decided it wasn't all that bad, and he'd wriggle in protest, but not make a sound.

His first trip to the vet to get neutered was no better. We took him in when he was five months, and even then he was a big cat. I bought a hard shell cat carrier, since my family had always struggled getting cats into the soft shell ones. It was quite evident he was stressed about being in the carrier. He hadn't even been in a carrier when we'd brought him home that one day when he became ours. I had just held him in my lap. About five minute into our drive to the vet, he started meowing very loudly, and trying to get out. He started by scratching the hard plastic of the carrier, and when it did not succumb to his efforts, he extended his claws into the slots meant for him to look at, and then pulled with all his might, trying to create an opening through which to escape. He was doing this with so much force, and so much determination, that he ended up splitting two of his nails open, hitting the quick and causing a small amount of bleeding. As soon as I saw the bleeding, I knew I couldn't leave him in there the remaining 15 minutes it would take to get to the vet. So I took my chances, and let him out of the carrier. He settled down on my lap, purred contentedly, and didn't try to move to inspect any part of the car at all. My eyes started to water a bit. I felt pretty guilty at that point. There he was, so content on my lap, after splitting two of his nails open (which must have caused at least moderate pain), and we were about to leave him at a clinic all day to be put under anesthesia and have his testicles removed.

Despite my guilt, Jasper was very happy to see us at the end of the day. We were instantly forgiven, and he didn't even bother to punish us by snubbing us for at least a day. All went back to normal.

If there's something really cute Copper and Jasper have in common, it's each other. These two, while they didn't always see eye to eye, are now two peas in a pod. Although they spend a lot of time apart, they can often be found cuddling in the same pool of sunlight streaming in through a window, or curled up on a huge cushion throughout the night.

Are there any furry companions in your family? A dog, a cat, both, or multiples of one or the other? Tell me all about them in the comments! I have included pictures of both Copper and Jasper below, taken throughout the years. Enjoy!

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My Mother's Day 2013

I'm not going to lie. I had expectations for Mother's Day. Not anything unreasonable, in my opinion. I was hoping my husband would tell me "Happy Mother's Day, sweetie," in the morning, that he'd give me a Mother's Day card, and be a little extra helpful that day. I certainly wouldn't have turned down a present, either, but I wasn't expecting one. Considering it was my Mother's Day, I can't deny it felt extra special. Let's just say it seemed more special to me than all my birthdays combined, since having my son is, hands down, the most important and amazing thing I've ever done.

Was that wrong?

I want to say not, but apparently it was, considering how the day unfolded!

First, I wake up. I'm tired. Baby E wasn't particularly kind that night, and so I felt like I could have used at least another hour of sleep. This wasn't the end of the world, however. As sad as it is, I've more or less gotten used to feeling like I had almost enough sleep, but not quite enough.

I offer to make breakfast, but my husband, Jay, says he already defrosted bagels for breakfast. "Okay, that's fine," I say, thinking nothing more of it. Half an hour later, as my husband pulls the cream cheese out of the fridge, ready to smear it all over our everything bagels, he discovers there is hardly any cream cheese left. He gets irritated with me for not realizing there wasn't enough, and warning him before he made the bagels. I was the last one who touched the cream cheese, but I also remember thinking there was just enough for bagels the next time. Obviously, I had miscalculated. But I didn't think cream cheese was a reason to get irritated with me, especially on Mother's Day. So then I got irritated, mostly because he had been irritated with me, and he hadn't even wished me a happy Mother's Day yet.

Another hour later, Jay's mother calls him on Skype from France (where she has lived for the last 5 years). Immediately, he says, "Hi, Mama. Happy Mother's Day." Now, I'll admit, I am annoyed. I thought, perhaps, he'd forgotten about Mother's Day altogether. But, obviously he hadn't. His mother thanks him, but tells him Mother's Day isn't until later in the month in France (did anyone else have any idea Mother's Day isn't universally on the same day?). They talk for at least 30 minutes, and right after they say their goodbyes, my husband wishes his mother a happy Mother's Day... again. I couldn't help but think, what the heck?

The previous day, on our way to the garden center to pick up some seed packets, my husband said that for Mother's Day, I could pick any restaurant to go to. So after he hung up with his mother, he asked if I knew where I wanted to go to lunch. I shrugged my shoulders and told him not really. He asked four times more over the next hour, and also named some places we could go to give me ideas. I told him there wasn't really anywhere I wanted to go. I wasn't in the mood, and it seemed kind of insulting that his idea of doing something nice for Mother's Day was having me pick the restaurant, which means he put no thought into it. My husband has a thing about lines. Goodness knows not making reservations on Mother's Day means waiting an hour or so to get a seat anywhere. And, all things considered, I wasn't in the mood to go anywhere.

So I make pasta for lunch. While I'm making lunch, Jay plays with Baby E. He holds onto Baby E while sliding him across our slick hardwood floors. Baby E loves this game. About 5 minutes into this game though, I hear a soft bonk! and then my son, crying. He had jerked over suddenly, and Jay hadn't had time to catch him before he fell sideways from a semi-sitting position, hitting his head on the floor. I run to grab him, and it takes a minute and some nursing to console him. It's his nap time, so I take him to bed and attempt nursing him to sleep. It's apparent he's still upset he hit his head, however, so he occasionally pulls off and starts crying, before he latches on again and quiets down. Now I feel a sting in my eyes, and I have to try really hard not to cry myself. Not only do I feel completely unappreciated on my first Mother's Day, but my son hits his head and gets really upset? What a perfect day, I think.

Finally, Baby E goes to sleep. I leave him to finish up making lunch, and I don't say a word to Jay. After we eat, my husband is on the computer, when he loads a page that has a video ad and the video starts playing and the audio booms into life (I have no idea why the sound was that loud). Before Jay has the time to mute the computer or find the source of the video so he can stop it, it, of course, startles Baby E, waking him from his nap. Now even more irritated, I go to put him back to sleep, and decide to give up and just take a nap with him. The whole afternoon passes mostly in silence. Jay on his iPad, surfing the internet, and me, holding Baby E.

In the late afternoon, we decide to go to the dog park. I try to cheer up, reminding myself nothing that had happened that day was that bad, when one puts it in perspective. I even thought that maybe my husband would still say, "Happy Mother's Day!" before the day was over. Jay had, certainly noticed I wasn't in the greatest of moods. But he hadn't realized why, he commented that I seemed a little irritable from losing sleep. I didn't bother to correct him, since I didn't want to get myself worked up and end up crying.

Before dinner, we decide it'd be nice to have a pot of chai tea. So I put the kettle on the stove, and get our little tea pot ready with the loose leaf tea in the strainer. When the kettle boils, I fill the tea pot, and put the lid on. After it brews, I am pouring the tea into our coffee mugs, when there's a ploink! I look into my husband's cup, where the sound had just come from. There is something strange floating in his cup. It is so out of place, it takes me a moment to identify it as a sweet potato french fry. What on earth is that doing there? It had contaminated the whole pot of tea, and there were small bubbles of oil bobbing on the surface of our mugs. Great, one more thing to completely ruin the day, I think, tossing it out. Both my husband and I still have no idea how that got there. We had had sweet potato fries on the side of our burgers the other day, but it certainly hadn't been anywhere near the tea pot.

Once we turned out the lights to go to bed, that was definitely the moment I realized my husband wasn't going to tell me "Happy Mother's Day" at all. The whole day hadn't gone at all like I had anticipated. The saying, "We make plans, and God laughs," come to mind, even though I'm not religious.

The one nice thing I have from the day, is the photo below. I hope everyone had a much better Mother's Day than I! The funny thing is, I think if my expectations had been higher, I would have felt better about it at the end of the day. Because then I could reason that I expected too much, and it was my fault for expecting the sky, or believing that the day had to be perfect. But I didn't expect it to be perfect, I just wanted to feel at least a little appreciated. Don't we all?

I can look back and chuckle at it now, given that a week has passed. But it was still a disappointment. Luckily, I'll be near my mother again for my next Mother's Day. Her Mother's Day hadn't been much better than mine, so we've promised to spend our next Mother's Day together, spoiling each other, and ourselves.

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Photo Friday - May 17th, 2013

Baby E sitting in his Peg Perego high chair. 37 weeks.

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Chobani Review and Giveaway from Momma Lew's Blog

One of my favorite things is a good yogurt. Take a look at this review and giveaway of Chobani natural yogurt below from Momma Lew's Blog!

One of the first brands I heard of when it came to Greek Yogurt was Chobani!  I have to say I am a real dairy snob and apparently Chobani is too!  I will only eat yogurt that is thick and creamy.  Chobani, besides only having natural ingredients, has two times the protein compared to regular yogurt.  And their authentic straining process creates a rich and creamy yogurt.  Needless to say, Chobani is right up  my alley!  I recently had the opportunity to review some of their delicious flavors!

Chobani Yogurt:

  • Contains no dairy treated with rBST
  • Contains live & active cultures and 3 probiotics
  • Has 13-18g of protein per 6oz cup
  • Has no artificial sweeteners or preservatives
  • Has only natural ingredients
  • is Gluten-Free
  • Uses real fruit
  • No animal based thickeners

Chobani is good for so much more than just a pre or post workout treat, snack or breakfast!  I buy the plain yogurt in the 32oz container.  I love to use my "Cho" to replace milk or water in recipes, to replace sour cream when I eat tacos or chili, or as a replacement to mayonnaise in salads.  Oh and one of my favorite ways to use my Cho??  In smoothies!!!

A delicious smoothie with Greek yogurt! 
Or how about as a substitute to ice cream??  I made some delicious baked peaches with rolled oats on top, a dollop of Cho and a dash of cinnamon!  Yum!

My daughter LOVED her peach Cho!  I portioned out the 6oz into a smaller bowl for her, but she could probably eat the whole thing.  Check out the recipes that Chobani has to offer!

Looking to save a bit on your next Chobani purchase?  Here are some high-value coupons!  Or you could enter to win a WHOLE CASE of CHO!  The super generous people have offered to send 1 lucky reader, 18+ and in the US a case of assorted Chobani right to their door step!  All you have to do to enter is follow the steps on the Rafflecopter below!

Good luck!

Veggie Chicago Deep Dish Pizza Recipe

Chicago Deep Dish (also know as "Pizza Pie") is one of my favorites. I love that the deep crust allows that much more space for delicious toppings. Heck, I even like that you can make the crust thicker, since I'm a huge fan of crust. You really can't go wrong! For recipes, I usually like to have a picture showing all the ingredients during prep, but I hadn't intended to write up a recipe for this, so I only took the after pictures! However, after some thought, I figured that pizza is straight forward enough that just the after pictures would do. I tried to minimize the dairy on this pizza to keep it economical, and I also didn't go too fancy with toppings (like artichoke hearts). This is a nice, basic veggie pizza, with all the good healthy stuff!

For tools, you will need two cake pans (with lips/rims preferably), a rolling pin, a medium sized pot, and cutting board. For best results, it is also a good idea to have a pizza stone, or tile pieces in your oven. The benefit being that it keeps the heat distributed evenly, and so you'll get the most perfect crust results. This recipe yields two pizza pies. And it takes 2 to 3 hours to prepare from start to finish, depending on your pace.



2 28 oz. cans whole plum tomatoes
2 tsp granulated sugar
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp chili flakes (or substitute with 1/4 tsp cayenne)
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 bulb garlic, minced fine (or more to taste, I use a whole bulb)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
squeeze of lemon juice or drizzle of red wine (optional)

1 large portabello mushroom, sliced thin
1 medium red onion, sliced thin
1 green pepper, sliced thin
3 generous handfuls fresh spinach
1/2 cup sliced black olives (or kalamata olives, torn into small pieces)
2 cups mozzarella, grated large
1 cup parmigiano-reggiano (parmesan), grated small
a few pinches of course sea salt
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (or 1 packet)
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
1 tsp. sugar
4 cups all purpose flour (plus extra for dusting)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil


First prepare the crust. In order for the yeast to be activated, you want the water lukewarm. If it is too hot or too cold, it won't work. To make sure it's the right temperature, dab your fingertip into it. It should be comfortable to touch, and not feel too cool. Combine the yeast with the water in a large bowl, and mix it with a fork for a second.

When the yeast starts to get frothy, mix in the flour a cup at a time. Work the dough well, for at least 6 minutes. It shouldn't be too sticky. Once it is combined well (no pockets of flour sitting on the bottom),  put the olive oil into the bowl and turn the dough to coat it. Now it needs to be left to rest and rise. My favorite way to do this is to leave it on a 12x24 or 18x18 glazed tile piece. Unlike leaving it on a wooden cutting board, it won't stick at all. But a wooden cutting board will work fine as well. Cover it with a dry, clean tea towel so that it won't dry out.

Now it's time to prepare the sauce. Either put it into a pot and use a potato masher to get the tomatoes into chunky pieces (you don't want it too small, as this will just make the sauce wetter and it will have to cook longer), or do it by hand squeezing each tomato into the pot so that you have chunky pieces. Add the thick juices from the can into the pot as well. Now add the rest of the sauce ingredients. Simmer over medium-low heat for about half an hour, until you have a nice, thick sauce (when you put it in a spoon, it shouldn't drip). Thick sauce will keep you from getting soggy crust.

While waiting for the sauce, preheat your oven to 375 F. Prepare all of your vegetables. Prep them one at a time, putting each ingredient into its own bowl.

Once the sauce and vegetables are all prepared, and at least an hour has passed since your dough was set aside, you are finally ready to make your pizzas! Separate the dough into two equal portions. Dust your wooden board or whatever it is you'll be using to roll out your crust. Grease your cake pans with olive oil, to have them ready to put the crust into. Roll out the dough halves one at a time, stretching it to fit into the cake pan with some overhang. If there is too much hanging over (I let it hang off the rim of the pan a little bit, since I like lots of crust), you can trim it back with kitchen scissors. Don't worry if the crust seems thinner than you'd like, it rises when it's baking.

Add one cup of grated mozzarella to the bottom of each crust. The cheese will keep the crust from getting too moist, which could leave the crust raw. Now add the portabello mushrooms, green pepper, and red onion to each of the pizza pies equally. You can also add the olives now, or wait to add them at the very end. Now put the spinach onto the pizzas. And next, the sauce. To finish, sprinkle the parmesan evenly so that it covers the top of each nicely. You can add the olives now if you haven't already. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle each with a pinch of course salt.

To keep your crust soft, you can use a pastry brush to brush water onto the edge of the crust. Now put your pizzas into the oven. Every oven is different, so they may be done in 20 minutes, but they may not be done for 40 minutes. Leave in the oven for 15 minutes, and check to see how it's doing. At this point, you can brush the edges with water again to keep it soft if you'd like. When the pizza is done, crust will be golden brown. If your pizzas are not yet ready, but one side is starting to get golden brown, I like to turn them around so the other half gets browned nicely, too. Watch closely so you don't overcook it, and remove from the oven when it is nicely golden brown. Let sit for at least 10 minutes. Serve, and enjoy!

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Note: This is a personal recipe of mine, and a lot of work went into creating it. If you would like to share this recipe on your own blog, please ask permission and link back to the original post (this one). If sharing on any other platform, please just link to this post rather than copying the recipe. Thank you!

Night Owl Paper Goods Giveaway from Momma Lew's Blog!

There are few things I love more than products (and companies!) that have a commitment to being earth-friendly, and also create amazing products as well. This is one of them! Check out this Night Owl Paper Goods giveaway from Momma Lew's Blog!

A few weeks ago, some adorable cards popped up on my Facebook and I had to find out more information about the company - Night Owl Paper Goods.  Come on, look how cute these fuzzy friends are:

A Father's Day Card & 1st Birthday Card
I have a pretty serious addiction to all things stationary, from paper, cards & journals to fun pens and markers!  The problem is, I am trying to be more "green" and conscious of being earth-friendly.  Lots of paper and "green" just don't go together do they?  Unless you are Night Owl Paper Goods!  Night Owl is a stationary company devoted to creating handmade letter press cards and eco-chic wooden goodies.

Night Owl has something for everyone.  Whether you are planning your upcoming wedding, announcing the birth of your new child, or need birthday invitations, Night Owl has you covered.  I am loving my Otter School of Fish journal!  I have never even seen anything like this before.  It's made out of eco-friendly sustainably harvested birch and both the wood and paper are 100% biodegradable and recyclable.

And you know what's pretty cool?  Unlike mass produced greeting cards, Night Owl's wood cards are each completely unique.  How nice is it to be able to give the person you care about a card that is just for them.  

The super-friendly folks at Night Owl have so generously offered one of my lucky readers a $20 gift certificate to purchase some of their favorite paper good items!  The giveaway is open to US Readers, 18 years of age and up.   Entries will be verified.  Enter through the rafflecopter! 

Good luck!