Stuffed Salmon Roast

Stuffed Salmon Roast

This meal is very simple but super delicious. With the ingredients listed below this will serve around 6 adults. You're going to need around 20 minutes to prep everything and then  a further 25-40 minutes cooking time.

Cooking Utensils

  • Sauté Pan
  • Chef's Knife
  • Cutting board
  • Baking Pan

Ingredients

  • 2 Large pieces of Salmon (skinned)
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Mushrooms
  • Spinach
  • Goat cheese, cream cheese, or feta

Directions

Pre-heat your oven to 425 F. While you are waiting for the oven to heat up, do the following:

  • Dice onions
  • Mince or fine chop garlic 
  • Slice mushrooms

Then sauté the onions and garlic for 2-3 minutes. After they are starting to go brown, add the mushrooms and sauté for another 2 minutes.

Next, place your roasting pan horizontally in front of you and start building the dish.

Place the larger piece of salmon the bottom of the pan and spread cream cheese evenly over the salmon stopping 1 inch from the sides.

 

Next, evenly distribute the sautéed mixture over the cream cheese.

 
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Lastly, add the raw spinach on top of the mixture.

 

Put the last piece of salmon on top and brush with olive oil or butter. You can add some herbs/spices to taste before putting it in the oven.

Bake in oven for 30-40 minutes at 425F (depending on oven and thickness of salmon). Enjoy what I hope will soon become one of your favorite ways to prepare salmon!

Paleo Vietnamese Noodle Bowl

Paleo Vietnamese Noodle Bowl

When I lived in Toronto, Alyn & I (along with any friends we could drag with us) would love to eat at this Vietnamese restaurant most Sundays after church. Recently we've been craving the same, so I came up with this. Enjoy!

Fish Sauce: (2 servings)

  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • ¼ cup fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons coconut crystals
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice 
  • 1 clove garlic, minced 
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes 

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl, stir well and set aside for later use.

Marinade

  • 1 tablespoon coconut aminos 
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce (or an additional tablespoon of coconut aminos)
  • 2 tablespoon lime juice
  • 2 garlic cloves crushed
  • 1 tsp ground ginger 
  • 1 tablespoon seseme seed oil
  • salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients. Place meat in sealable container, add marinade, thoroughly mix and place in fridge for 30 minutes - 2 hours.

Noodle Bowl: (2 servings)

  • ½ tablespoon sesame oil 
  • 2 tablespoons chopped shallots 
  • 1 pound flank or skirt steak, 2 bbq chicken breasts or 8 large shrimp 
  • 3 or 4 spiralized zucchini
  • 1 cup finely chopped lettuce 
  • 1 cup bean sprouts 
  • ½ cup shredded carrots
  • 1 English cucumber, cut into 2-inch matchsticks 
  • ¼ cup matchstick carrots 
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro 
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped Thai basil 
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint 
  • ¼ cup crushed peanuts or cashews

Directions

Heat sesame oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add shallots; cook and stir until softened and lightly caramelized, about 8 minutes.

For meat: Preheat your bbq to medium heat. For steak of chicken remove from marinade and cook on grill to desired temperature (always cook chicken fully). For shrimp: skewer 4 shrimp on each skewer and grill until they turn pink and are charred on the outside, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add spiralized zucchini noodles and cook until softened (about 3 minutes). Drain the noodles and rinse with cold water, set aside.

Assemble the “noodle” bowl by placing the cooked noodles in one half of each serving bowl and the lettuce and bean sprouts in the other half. Top each bowl with cucumbers, carrots, cilantro, Thai basil, mint, peanuts, and the caramelized shallots. Serve meat of choice on top and sauce on the side. Pour sauce over the top and toss thoroughly to coat before eating.

You can of course add chili pepper, sriracha or hoisen to taste.

Balsamic Glazed Cedar Planked Salmon

Balsamic Glazed Cedar Planked Salmon

We've been enjoying cedar planked salmon all summer. It's got to be one of the easiest ways to prepare salmon and always results in delicious tasting, perfectly cooked fish. Gorgeous!

Ingredients

  • 4 individual cedar planks
  • 4 6-8 oz salmon pieces
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

For the glaze:

  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup sesame oil
  • ½ cup coconut crystals
  • 2 inches fresh ginger root
  • 4 cloves of garlic

Prep

Soak the cedar planks for at least an hour in water.

Salmon

  1. Light the grill and turn on high heat
  2. Cut salmon into 6-8 oz pieces
  3. Brush with olive oil, season with salt and pepper
  4. Place soaked planks on grill for 3 minutes
  5. After 3 minutes, flip planks over and place salmon skin side down on planks.
  6. Turn the heat down low, close the lid of your grill and allow to cook for 8-10 minutes depending on the thickness of salmon. Do not open the lid of your grill as you are part steaming the salmon (this is where your delicious texture is going to come from)
  7. While salmon is cooking, prepare your glaze as described below
  8. After 8 minutes, quickly brush on marinade and continue to cook for 2 more minutes
  9. When time is up, remove the planks and serve the salmon on or off the plank. We frequently eat the salmon straight off the plank! Drizzle any leftover glaze on the salmon just before serving.

Glaze

Place the balsamic vinegar, sesame oil, coconut crystals, ginger and garlic in a small sauce pan and warm over a low heat for a few minutes until the coconut crystals are melted and ingredients are well combined.

Heavenly Sweet Potato Fries

Heavenly Sweet Potato Fries

I'm not going to lie: these are delicious fries and an awesome side. This is a regular staple in the Jones household first introduced to us by our friend Katie. Here's what you are going to need:

  • 3-4 large Sweet potatoes (straight ones are easier to work with)
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • Sea salt and black pepper grinder
  • Cayenne Pepper

This is what you're going to do with them.

  1. Pre-heat over to 450º F
  2. Peal and hand cut potatoes into thick fries. (estimate 1 med-large potato per adult)
  3. Place in large ziploc bag or sealable container
  4. Add 2-3 tablespoons of melted coconut oil, seal container and shake until all the fries look evenly coated
  5. Pour onto cookie sheets and spread out so each fry has contact with the sheet. (I end up using 2 baking sheets)
  6. Season with sea salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper to taste
  7. Bake for 15 minutes, flip and return to oven for another 15 minutes

I like them a little charred and burnt as you get a delicious crunch and chew. Enjoy! 

Homemade Zesty Aioli

Homemade Zesty Aioli

It's hard to overstate just how good this aioli tastes. Alyn wants it on everything. It goes brilliantly with sweet potatoes (and as we just discovered last night, a delicious addition to lamb chops).

Mayonnaise 

Start by making mayonnaise with an immersion hand blender which is sometimes called a stick blender. Gather these ingredients (thank you to my friend Shannon for the recipe):

  • 1 cup “light tasting” olive oil (important it's the light tasting kind)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 a juiced lemon
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • pinch salt

Place the above in the container that came with your immersion blender.

Put the blender all the way in container and blend on high. Slowly pull up the blender as the ingredients visually become mayo until all the oil is blended in. Make sure you don't over blend (or it will separate). Congratulations, you just made mayo!

From Mayonnaise to Aioli

Place your freshly made mayo in a medium sized bowl. Add the following:

  • 1½ - 2 tablespoons fresh cut Cilantro
  • ½ inch grated fresh ginger
  • 1 - 2 large cloves garlic (or to taste)
  • ⅓ lime juiced
  • Sea salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste.

Mix all ingredients into freshly made mayo. Ta da! You now have amazing homemade zesty aioli.

Navigating Paleo

Well a few months ago I started following the Paleo diet.  It's not actually meant to be a diet as much as a life style and I love the food.  I have "pinned" a million recipes and also purchased a cook book called "Against All Grains" which is amazing.  It's funny how often anything new added to an already crazy pace of life can seem overwhelming. It's way easier to eat badly but I want to be healthy, thiner, fitter and have the energy it requires to be a mom of three.  

Do you ever have those days where you realize you spent your energy on all things that "needed" to be done, and in the end, the little ones who need you most get the leftovers? Well we have realized life can too quickly head that way and we are taking steps to stop this cycle. For me, eating well is one of those things.  I know when I don't eat dairy or gluten, I don't feel tired and don't need naps. In choosing to eat healthy, I am choosing my kids.

In the last 7 weeks I have lost 20 pounds and also started to exercise a couple times a week. I'm trying to actually do the things I know to do as best I can but without "shoulding" on myself in the process.

Being a mom is a balance of doing your best and giving yourself grace. It's really tricky and stretching but I think it can be done well.

Some Favorite Recipes

Apple sauce:    (Suitable for freezing)

8 organic apples (Peeled, cored and cut into "dice sized" chunks) 

3/4 cup filtered or spring water

1-2 teaspoons cinnamon  

Put prepped apples into a heavy bottomed pot.

Add water and set to boil covered for 7-10 minutes until soft.

Using a slotted spoon transfer apples into food processor or vitamix with cinnamon and add some of the cooking water in small increments while blending to achieve desired texture. 

For the purple version in the photo just add about 15 organic blueberries when you get to the blending stage! They add sweetness and switch up the breakfast experience for the little one! You can also add powdered rice cereal to give their breakfast more weight if you like! 

Please note:

ALWAYS buy organic berries. Berries are heavily pesticided and your baby does not need those toxins. I would also recommend sticking to gluten free cereals. Gluten is not really good for anyone but is a common childhood allergen.  

Simple 3 Veg Puree:    (Suitable for freezing)

Peel and dice 3 large potatoes

Peal and chop 6 medium carots

Chop one onion. 

Place 2 tablespoons of UNSALTED ORGANIC butter in a pan.

Add onion and sauté til soft (about 3 minutes) and then add carrots and enough filtered or spring water to almost cover the carrots.

Let boil for 5 minutes and then add potato and add more water to cover if necessary. Simmer for another 12-15 minutes.

With a slotted spoon transfer all veggies to a food processor or vitamix.  Keep water in pot for adding during blending to achieve desired texture. 

Please note:

Again because of the amount of toxins in conventional dairy products please be sure to use UNSALTED ORGANIC butter.  Babies under a year of age should not have any salt in their diet either as their little organs are not quite ready for that!

Quinoa Surprise

Well I am just a little fascinated by quinoa at the moment. It is high in protein and low in calories and on the glycemic index. You can use it for anything and it can replace rice in pretty much any recipe. It's also killer easy to make and fast which are two things that are important in a busy lifestyle. If healthy food is both easy and delicious we eat it. If it isn't we may try and eat it for a while but eventually we fall off the wagon. (the healthy food wagon that is!)

The reason I call this Quinoa Surprise is I had never even tried making quinoa when I decided to make it, add a bunch of raw stuff to it, grill some chicken and then surprise! I just made one of my favorite recipes yet! I make it in a big batch and refrigerate a large portion for meals throughout the week! Just grill up a piece of chicken or chop up an avocado and you have a meal in a snap! That's what I call "family fridge foods".

So here is the recipe:

  • Prepare 2 cups of uncooked quinoa according to the package.

Add to it:

  • 1 finely chopped onion (sml-med sized)
  • 1 finely chopped bell pepper of any color
  • 1 handful of basil finely chopped (Noticing a chopping theme?)
  • 1 handful of mint finely chopped
  • 1 handful of cilantro (coriander) finely chopped
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When Quinoa is cooked and fluffed add to a large bowl containing the above finely chopped ingredients. Add 2-3 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and a little sea salt to taste and stir. At this point grab a container for the quinoa that you are putting in the fridge and move the amount you need for your current meal into another mixing bowl.

At this point add:

  • 1 handful per 2 portions cashew pieces
  • 1 avocado chopped up.

Throw them in the bowl with the quinoa mixture. The chop up your grilled chicken and serve on the side. I like to press the quinoa into a small bowl just to shape it but you don't have to do that.

I then add sauce sometimes and other times I just eat it as is. I love Thai peanut sauces and hoisen so they often make their way into my bowl. This picture didn't turn out very well (I thought I had one already) but the actual recipe is fantastic!

Yum

Well I believe a promised you some recipes.  First I should let you know that I tend to modify any recipe that requires cooking with olive oil to coconut oil and only use gluten free flour (usually Pamela’s). We try to eat as healthy as we can and with as much raw food as possible. I rarely use dried spices unless I am not able to get fresh and chop them up myself.

Also we try to eat as much organic food as possible.  If you can’t afford to go totally organic then spend the money first on your meats, green leafy veggies and berries as they are the most toxic foods when not organic. The berries and leafy green because of pesticides and the meat because of hormones and antibiotics. If you want more info on that kind of stuff look at my side bar on the left and click on Dr. Josh’s site or Jenni and Nathan Oates. Both sites have lots of great information.

Ok so which ones did I promise you on instagram? Let’s do this one for today....

Coconut chicken and Quinoa cakes

You will need:

  • Hormone free Chicken 
  • Coconut Flour (Can get it at Wholefoods, Kroger or on Amazon)
  • Garlic powder
  • salt 
  • pepper
  1. Cut up chicken into strips.
  2. Pour 1/2 cup - 1 cup of coconut flour into a bowl (Depending on how much chicken you are doing. You can alway “top up” so go on the low side and add as you need as it’s expensive stuff.)
  3. Add garlic powder (if you like it) and a little salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Roll chicken around in flour and spice mixture (No eggs required) then cook in sauté pan with coconut oil on medium heat.

For the Quinoa cakes you need:

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 2/3 cup grated fontina cheese (Really any cheese works)
  • 3 tablespoons all purpose flour (Pamela’s, corn starch, rice flour all would work too.
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • salt to taste
  • Coconut oil to cook in.
  1. For the cakes: Place all ingredients, except for the oil, into a mixing bowl and stir together until well combined. Season with salt and allow the mixture to sit for 5 minutes.
  2. Put oil into a large sauté pan and place over medium heat.
  3. Form ¼ cup patties with the quinoa mixture and place in the heated sauté pan. (this will have to be done in batches)
  4. Cook quinoa cakes for about 5 minutes on each side. Repeat with the remaining patties until all of the cakes have been cooked. Set aside.

I served this with organic sour cream with some fresh basil and garlic powder blended in. Chicken goes great with any sauce but we like Raspberry chipotle sauce.

Thursday Mornings

Let me start by saying this... I love my job. I love that I get paid to love people and help them grow while I grow. I love that it’s not about performance but about pursuing God together with a team who is asking for wisdom, clarity, humility, direction, and strength while maintaining passion and vulnerability. I love my job. I don’t want to do anything else, I want to spend my life on loving people. Having said that being a pastor is a crazy thing! The hours are at times insane and my heart is constantly pulled, wrestling and praying through issues and events that require wisdom and grace beyond what I have resident. We start our week on Sundays at 6 am in order to pull off having 3 kids, getting to church by 8, two services, meeting with people in the afternoon and the occasional meeting at night. Monday is our longest day with the School of Supernatural life starting at 9 and emanate ending at 10 pm we are often not in bed until 12 or 1am. Tuesday is another full day again at the school often followed by some sort of connect in the evening. Wednesday is a day of meetings at church starting with the pastors meeting and then followed by one meeting after another until we get home near 5. Throughout all of these days we have a baby in tow, a 5 year old to make lunches for and get to school each day and a three year old in preschool. Life is crazy and I love it. Here’s the thing though... I love Thursday morning!

This morning was awesome! I rolled out of bed (literally) at 7 am so go and get Abi’s lunch together (as I forgot to do it last night) and get breakfast ready for the kids. Normally Alyn gets the girls breakfast ready but I was there already and thought I would get that done while waiting for the kettle to boil. Next I got sweet MJ up for feeding and chatted with Tia while she navigated my iPad mini. When he is done feeding we have our chat time. Micah-John is 11 weeks old now and in that stage where he is trying to communicate with random sounds, chirps, gurgles and giggles and its’ the best thing ever. Thursday morning I just get to be a mom. I cuddle MJ without having to stick him in a car seat and run anywhere and I get to braid Tia’s hair because we are not in a rush. When MJ goes down for his first nap it’s cuddle and tickle time with Tia and time to make coffee! Thursdays in our home is typically date days with the kids, time to hang out with friends, and date night for us at night. I love Thursdays....

Creating space

Ok so if you have recently had a baby you will know just what I mean but if you are still waiting store this one away for later.  After giving birth your hormones are raging, your body is healing and you are a little tired. And by “a little tired” I mean exhausted! As for me I am not an expert sleeper. I mean to say, some people fall asleep quickly, nap well without it interrupting their ability to sleep etc. I am not one of those. I’m pretty sure that my punctuation is all wrong even in these first few sentences but hey there is grace for the exhausted right? But I digress.... let’s talk about a need for you to have “you time”. My husband rocks at knowing when I need to just disappear and have “me” time.  In fact he often notices that I need it way before I do. So tonight he made dinner, bathed the kids and put them to bed and sent me to the Frothy Monkey to have some me time for which I am so grateful.  Certainly while your baby is very little and you are running around a 3 hour schedule it’s harder to create space for you to have some “me time” but it’s important.  Even just getting out of the house to do groceries without kids is sometimes refreshing. 

If there are things at home that give your heart and mins space to recover from the day then plan those into your day. I love to cook new foods, paint (on canvas) and read.  Thankfully those are all things I can do at home so it doesn’t matter that we only have one car. I can still create some me space by spending time actually being creative. 

So here is your mission (should you choose to accept it) ... Make a list of things that bring you life and restore your soul :-) I would make the list according to the amount of time required to accomplish them, for example:

15 Minute activities:

  • Coffee and browse a magazine
  • Spend time soaking in God’s presence (in early weeks this might become napping)
  • Browse some favorite recipe websites
  • Burst training (yes, exercise! :-) See burstclub.com it's awesome!

30 minutes:

  • Read a book
  • browse pinterest for recipes (sensing a food theme yet?)

60 minutes:

  • Cook a new recipe
  • Paint
  • Watch a favorite TV show
  • Meet a friend at the frothy monkey for coffee!

You get the idea! Make a list of things you enjoy and estimate the amount of time it takes to do it. Then when you find you feel depleted and need a “pick me up” you can refer to the list and pick something suitable for the amount of time you have free that day.  If you happen to be very good at being spontaneous then perhaps you don’t need the lists... I’m typically fairly planned so lists are my friend! :-)

To sunscreen or not to suncreen?

So I know as a parent (and now a parent who lives in the South) that sun protection is important. Until I moved to Nashville and met Dr Josh Axe I didn’t think there was anything wrong with using sunscreen. I thought sunscreen was my friend and absolutely necessary, I’ve since learned of it’s dangers.

Here’s your first thought about using sunscreen... your skin, as I said in a previous blog entry, it your largest organ. What you put on your skin matters as it is being absorbed into your system, or in the case of sunscreen it’s being baked into your skin.  Most conventional sunscreens have contents that are not safe for your skin.  Now add that we slather it on and then bake it into our skin and you have a real problem.  Is it possible that the reason skin cancer is still on the rise even though everyone you know wears sunscreen to protect themselves is that sunscreen is part of the problem?

So what are we supposed to do AJ? Let’s our sweet little kiddies burn? No! This year the girls have been out in the sun almost daily.  I am careful how long they are out for and at what time of day. I have allowed them to build a little base tan and they are both able to be out for just over an hour a day without any burning or pinkness.  I have only put sunscreen on them once this summer when we were spending the day in and out of the water on a ski boat. For that day I used non-toxic sunscreen so I know I am not baking anything harmful onto them but also that they are not going to burn.  I have found two great non-toxic sunscreens that I really love and that work really well.

The first one is in the picture above and is my favorite and it is sold by Shaklee.( http://healthyoates.myshaklee.com/us/en/products.php?sku=32556 ) I put it on the kids once and it lasts all day.  When we went to Disney two summers ago we spent an entire week in over 100 degree F and sweating like you would not believe! (Mental note to self: never do Disney again in the summer) Even with all that sweat and with getting wet anytime we could to cool off I never had to re-apply the Shaklee non-toxic sunscreen and it is not greasy at all! I am not big on greasy anything really but I have always, even from when I was really little, disliked greasy sunscreen!

The second brand we just recently tried on the boat is called Alba Botanica. (http://www.albabotanica.com/sun/natural-protection.html) It also worked really well, was water resistant even though we were in and out of the water and again is not greasy.  they also have non-toxic spray sunscreens if you like sprays better.

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Also when you use sunscreen you are not getting the Vitamin D that you think you are. Sunscreens block your bodies ability to absorb vit D which we all need for our physical health. I have spent the last few years making drastic changes to diet and taking crazy vitamins to reverse the the Adrenal fatigue that I was suffering with. One of the big culprits for me was vitamin D. Honestly I don’t know what came first the adrenal fatigue or the vitamin D deficiency but I was dangerously low and as we started to fix the vit D issue and B12 issue I started to feel like myself again for the first time in years! Dr Josh says the best thing to do is try and get 20-30 minutes of sun each day (with no sunscreen) and then not wash your skin with soap for the next 48 hours. I don’t fully understand it but vit D is somehow processed in your skin and fat just below so you don’t want to wash it out. I’m sure Dr Josh would explain is better or even if you went to Dr Mercola’s website he is likely to have great stuff too!

The last thing I want to say about all of this is do your research! There are two links on the left side navigation bar of this website. They go to two websites I often read both for health information and for great recipes! Both of these sites have great information on stuff that effects your kids (and that the medical world isn’t telling us about) like toxins in sunscreens, vaccinations and nutrition.

8 Weeks In

I can hardly believe it’s been 8 weeks since I gave birth to our son, Micah-John.  He is such a lovely little baby and very cuddly which is always nice. I am reminded of all the emotions and craziness that comes with recovery from birth and having a new baby in the house and thought I might talk a little about that today.

Let’s talk about Mommy first and then we will head onto baby! Mommy you are amazing! Seriously! You have done an amazing thing whether you had medical assistance (ie epidurals) or gave birth on your bedroom floor.  For most of us the role of Supermom is familiar at some point; we are trying to manage the kids, cooking meals, keep a house clean, work, etc. Having said that Supermom needs to dial it back and recover for the first 2 weeks at least. Your body has been through trauma and it needs to heal so be nice to it! Sleep when you need to, keep your feet up, drink lots of water, rest, let people come to you if you want company. If people offer to help, let them! If you take care of baby and concentrate on taking care of yourself you will thank yourself later. For the first few weeks you will likely feel exhausted and emotional due to lack of sleep and hormones flooding your system.  As you get a few weeks into nursing your hormones will start to settle. The first week really is the hardest and each subsequent week gets a little easier. By the time you get to 4-6 weeks you are usually in a pretty good rhythm and if you are doing babywise by week 8-10 they are sleeping 8-10 hours at night and you feel like a human being again.

Tips to help in the first 6 weeks:

  1. Nursing is a skill and it’s one you learn. Very few babies just latch on and away you go like they show you in the movies. My advice is make use of the lactation consultants while in hospital, or midwives to help you and baby learn this new skill.  It can be painful at first but if you are getting a good latch the pain fades quickly and again by about 10 days in it’s not very painful at all. 
  2. Enjoy all the firsts! Since MJ is our last baby I have especially determined in my heart to enjoy each moment even if its in the middle of the night and I’m exhausted.  I saw his first big smile during a 4 am feed and it melted my heart. Now I’m not saying I love being sleep deprived but I do things to help me get up and stay awake and I’m trying to enjoy each moment. Having said that I still sometimes fall asleep while feeding and am afraid I might head butt my son before I wake up:-) 

What do I do to help myself with the night feeds? Especially the first 6 weeks when it feels like you just got to sleep and now you are up again? I tend to portion out little snacks for myself for each night time feed and make sure there is plenty of water within reach. Since MJ was born close to christmas I would have a little snack of dark chocolate and a clementine ready for each feed.  In addition I pick a new TV show on Hulu or Netflix and watch it only at night during the feeds so there is something else to concentrate on rather than the time and the fact that I am awake!

  1. Plan things to look forward to during the waking hours like a nice coffee date (Decaf:-) with a friend, a favorite food, a little shopping date etc. I spent the first 2 weeks basically in pajamas and rested tons but after those first weeks I found it helped my state of mind to shower and at least get dressed even if I didn’t plan to go anywhere just so the days and nights don’t bleed together.
  2. Give yourself loads of grace. Like loads and loads of grace. And ask questions! If there are moms around that are wise and have parenting styles that you want to emulate then ask them if you can text or call when you have questions.  They say it takes a village to raise children and there is truth to that! Let the wise ones around you help and encourage you. 

Ok Let’s talk about baby...

You are no doubt in love with this tiny little person. Part of you wants to hold them every minute and cover them in kisses and that is completely understandable and normal.  The thing is if you do hold them every minute they never learn to sleep on their own and you will pay the price later on.  I cannot recommend highly enough reading and following babywise. Don’t do your own modified version (I haven’t seen that work) Just do what they tell you to do. If you follow what they tell you to do it will work.  In addition you end up down the road with kids that are easy to put to bed, pleasant to be around and kids that people want to babysit.  You will be able to plan your days because you know when feeds, naps and play time happen. 

I will post on this site a cheat sheet for Babywise to help you stay on track and for quick reference. I still recommend reading it at least twice before your baby comes if it’s your first and then I do a “recap” read between each baby.

For the first 3 weeks just concentrate on getting good feedings going. You are aiming for at least 20 minutes per side. Try for 2.5 to 3 hours between feeds and try not to assume that because baby is crying after an hour and a half that the issue is hunger.  In the NICU they have all the babies on a 3 hour schedule. (Well at least the 2 NICU’s my babies have been in because of being premie) If premies can do a three hour schedule so can your baby! They are rare feeds when all of my babies “shorted me” on the feed because they were just extra hungry or hadn’t fed as well as they could on the previous feed but it’s not a regular occurrence.  If my baby is legitimately hungry and is not just struggling with a burp or has been awakened by noise then I feed them but I still try not to go below 2.5 hours to avoid colic.  Again if you read babywise you will see that adding new milk on top of old milk (which is still processing) is a huge contributor to colic as it creates gas. 

Tips for the first 6 weeks:

  1. Babies cry. They are supposed to and even need to to strengthen their lungs.  Now I am not saying I love to hear them cry at all, It’s incredibly hard on the heart. My point is that just because your baby cries doesn’t make you a bad parent. Crying will not hurt your baby or his/her psyche.  Babies cry for a number of reasons; gas, burps, wet diapers, overheating, noise, or just because they are babies! 
  2. Babies like to suck on things, it doesn’t mean they need food.  Babies comfort by sucking. Just because they are making a sucking face (or hungry mouth as I call it) doesn’t mean they need food.  That’s where the schedule comes in handy because it help you assess if this sucking face is due to hunger or because they just like to! Babies also make the sucking face if they have burp they need to get out. The challenge is to learn your baby and what his faces and body language is saying and that takes a few weeks. I know that sucking face feels like it needs a response but I highly advise not getting in the habit of using pacifiers. The reason for this is explained in babywise more thoroughly but basically anything you teach them to need to be able to settle or sleep means something you have to have with you all the time and they always need to sleep. So you end up with a baby who needs a pacifier to sleep, but when the baby falls asleep and it falls out the baby wakes up and cries until it is replaced, and you get to reenact this horrible 10 minute replacement dance all night! I have 2 pacifiers that I use only in situations like being in a car and trying to get home to nurse when baby wakes and starts crying so to comfort and hold him over until I get home I *might* use a pacifier.

Remember to be kind to yourself! You really are doing well.

What else do I need?

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Well you likely want one of these! Especially if you will be breastfeeding and plan on leaving the house! This lovely thing is called a hooter hider! No, I am not joking that is really what it is called.  I didn’t have one of these with Abi and as Abi was an active nurser (liked pulling of the burp clothes I had cleverly wedged under my bra strap to provide some privacy) I often found myself more exposed than I might have liked! When I had Tia someone lent me a hooter hider and embarrassment free public nursing ensued! I’ll attach a link below but the website has all kinds of colors and patterns and also hosts another brand of nursing covers.  As long as the nursing cover has the boning across the top it’s useful. It enables you to be able to see the baby, help it latch, know if it’s sleeping and make eye contact all the while maintaining modesty.  I happily nursed Tia on the front row at church with one of these covers with no problems!

http://www.bebeaulait.com/products/hooter-hiders-nursing-covers/avignon

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What about wipe warmers? Do you need one? Ummm.... NO! They are a gimmick and tend to just dry out your perfectly useful wipes and make them useless.  In addition, I bank on the changing of the bum and the coolness of the wipe to wake the baby enough to feed. If you loose that little bit of cold discomfort that wakes the little one up enough to feed, then you have to take more drastic measures which never feels kind.  Having said that, if the baby is due to feed you may have to do tricky things to maintain motivation to stay awake and feed like cold wash cloths on the feet and head and such! I know it sounds horrible but especially for the first few weeks they are not always as motivated to eat as the are to sleep.

What about Pacifiers? Well if you read Babywise they would have you not start to use them or you will need to keep using them.  That means for some babies when they fall out that the baby wakes and screams which makes it much more difficult to establish and good sleeping pattern early.  I usually had one or two around and typically I only used them in emergency situations like when you are driving, still need the baby to wait 10 minutes until you get to where you can nurse and want to help him/her stay calm and comforted rather than cry.  I didn’t use them for naps or the night sleeping sets and I also never had to get up in a groggy stupor (which is me at any time during the night) and try and replace the little thing! Bother of my girls “found their thumbs” early because they didn’t have something else to use. This meant when they did wake and wanted to suck something to go back to sleep I didn’t have to be part of that scenario and often they do it without even fully waking up.  Granted it might be harder to get them off of sucking their thumbs or fingers than removing a soother but from what I’ve heard it can be easy or hard either way.  For Abi the dentist told her at 3.5 years old that she needed to work at stopping sucking her fingers. He suggested she only suck them at night when she went to bed and that at 4 years old would be a good time to fully stop. She took the dentist seriously and at 4 he said he thought it was time to stop completely. At the same time I told Abi that when it had been a whole week of not sucking her fingers then we would start painting her finger nails in pretty colors. Well that did it and she stopped that night. Now perhaps bribery and corruption with nail polish promises isn’t your thing but al that to say it wasn’t difficult but I have a sneaking suspicion that Tia might be slightly tricker to convince! Ok sorry rant over! I like the Avent soothers or pacifiers (same thing) they have a cover that keeps them from getting dirty in your bag.  They are BPA free and sized by month so you can fit it to your wee ones face! 

Well that’s the end of my thoughts for tonight! Our son is kicking so hard that I think he might be launching some sort of escape plan. So I think I will get to bed and give him some extra room to move around. 32 weeks and growing....

More wonderful stuff for newborns & moms

Well this first item that I want to let you know about will only work if you have an iPhone.  This app is called “iBaby feed timer” and you, needless to say, buy it from the app store.  The usefulness of having an app that helps you track and remember feed times, length of feed, which side to start on first, bottle feeds, time intervals between feeds and so on. With both Abi and Tia I kept a log manually and because of tiredness was often guessing or approximating to the best of my knowledge.  With this app you can set your regular feed times so that it sends you a little reminder that you are going to need to be ready to feed soon or wake you child if he/she is still asleep etc.  The app only costs $1.99 and is well worth your sanity.

Here is another one of my travel and everyday outing type things.  It’s called the “metoo” and it’s made by Phil and Teds. I love Phil and Ted’s stuff and if you order of of their site they ship anywhere in the USA. They do tend to be more expensive with some items but I also think the build quality of everything I have gotten from them is superior and tend to be better designed than other companies. The “Metoo” folds absolutely flat for packing in a suitcase or diaper bag for a day trip to a friends house or restaurant. The weight limit on it is 38 pounds and by that time your child is practically able to drive a car (not really) and is unlikely to still need a hanging seat.  It attaches to most tables or solid surface counters and doesn’t damage the finish but cannot be attached to a light weight or pedestal table as as soon as you place your child in the seat the table with come over on top of them! :-) 

philandteds.com

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How about Diaper bags? This one is going to come down to preference.  Here’s some things you want to think about. 1) You will need space! Especially for the first 6 months you need space for up to 10 diapers a day when they are new born for a full day out to 6 or 7 (larger sized diapers) for later months.  You will also want to bring 1 to 3 changes of clothes with you for a full day out depending on the poo-ing skills of your child! :-) 2) Pretty is good but sometimes not practical.  It is very likely that things will get spilled in your bag, shoved in your bag, and possibly remain in your bag for longer than expected due to the business of having a newborn. My advice would be to find a bag that is plastic lined so you can dump out liquid spills and it’s easy to wipe out. Also I don’t mind a diaper bag that doesn’t look like a purse and is very obviously a Diaper bag because Alyn doesn’t want to carry something for me that may look to purse like but is fine to carry something that is very obviously not a purse but a diaper bag and screams I am a DAD! Having said all that there are still so many to choose from and I just happen to like Kalencom bags.  I like the quality of the build and how easy they are to clean. They also come with matching changing pads and wipes carriers so it’s all the same theme. (If you care about that.)

This lovely thing is called a Moses basket.  It is really only useful for the first 4-6 months but boy is it useful.  Essentially it replaces the need for a pack-and-play which the baby still fits in it which will depend on the size of the child. The advantage of it is that all of the linens are easily washed in the washing machine and there is no set up required so if your baby needs to go to sleep the second you arrive at a location you have a bed ready to go without hassle or set up.  You can use it beside your bed for the first couple weeks or months if you prefer to have the baby sleeping closer rather than in his/her crib as well. My only thought for you on Moses baskets is you don’t want a used one unless you know where is came from.  Because they are all made from natural materials if a previous baby had some sort of sickness that is capable of laying dormant then there is potential for the new baby to acquire the sickness. They sell the one  like the best at USA baby but you can get them on amazon and many other places as well.

What about toys? Well there is a reason they are brightly colored and have lots of black and white parts.  Really you are just looking at build quality and choking hazards.  One of my favorite toys is the Whoozit.  It is a soft toy with lots of things to look at and later play with.

Meals

So most of us when we bring a baby home feel like we have our hands pretty full just with baby feeding the baby, changing the baby, etc. so the last thing we want to think about is feeding ourselves or our families. When we moved to Nashville and had our second child Tia one of the ladies at the church organized wonderful meals for us.  So about 3 times a week someone from church would drop off dinner and we would get to rest and enjoy.

As a new Mom often you have people who are close to you who ask if there is anything they can do to help as the baby approaches, this is one of those things. If you know your friend to be organized ask them if they would mind helping to organize for meals to be brought for the first 6-8 weeks after the baby arrives.

When I am organizing meals for others I use a website called www.TakeThemaMeal.com. This website is remarkably easy to use and it allows for those people who do want to be involved to sign up and then Takethemameal.com sends them reminders and updates for you. So for the most part the work is at the front end for the organizer. Typically I will send the Mom-to-be and email that looks like this so I can get all the information I need:


Hi ________,

I would love to organize for you to have food provided for you and your family for the first month or two after the birth of your child.In order for this to be effective and a blessings I am wondering if you would mind giving me some information to help in organizing these meals?

Do you have the email addresses of family and friends that might be interested in providing a meal? These might be cell/small group people, church people, friends, family, work associates or anyone else you can think of.

Can you tell me if you or your family have any food allergies, preferences or favorite things to eat.

Are you expecting family to come and stay for any extended period of time after the baby arrives and do you know the dates? This information just allows for those bringing the meals to plan for any extra adults that might be there for the meal.

Can you put together a short list of 3-5 restaurants where people can do pick up orders for those that are less confident cooking or have less time but would still like to bless you with meals. Typical restaurants that people use are either ones close to their house or chains like Chipotle, Five guys, Burger Up, Blue Coast, Wendy’s etc.

Typically after the first week or two depending on the amount of people able to participate I plan for meals to come every other day as there tend to be lots of left overs and people typically don’t have room for all the food.

Lastly, Can you give me your address for the meals to be dropped off at and any gate or door codes that might be needed. I also need a drop of window of time that you would prefer to receive the meals to ensure they are there by the time your family prefers to eat as much as possible.

If you have any questions or thoughts please go ahead and shoot me an email.We are so excited to bless you during this time.

Blessings,

_________

Then when I have the email addresses back I start to plan.  For the first baby I usually ask for people to start signing up for dates on or up to a week after the due date with the provision that if they have not heard that the baby has arrived then they let their arranged meal date pass and go on-line and pick a new one or two.

Your email out to those who are being asked to participate will need to include the address of the mom-to-be and a drop off window. Some people like to eat earlier then others so it's good to have that information from the start. You will also want to neatly communicate the food restriction and preferences info and to go order info that you got from the mom. Point form stuff that is simple and easy to read is usually better as far as not overwhelming those people you are asking to sign up. Through the website you can send reminder emails to those who don't seem to have resounded or if you have their cell numbers shoot them a text and ask them to check their junk mail for an email regarding an opportunity to bless _______. 

The first 6-8 weeks are the hardest interns of recovery, sleep and figuring things out which is part of why this is such a HUGE blessing.

Takethemameal.com

Getting Ready

I don’t know how you like to greet life but I like to have a plan.  Life is busy and being as prepared as possible is the goal.  So there are some things you can do to get ready that will make baby’s arrival a little less bumpy! Here are some thoughts:

You want to have lots of diapers and wipes! Newborns go through 10 diapers a day on average. I have been told that Huggies work best for girls and pampers for boys but I haven’t noticed a huge difference although they do fit differently.  Huggies tend to last a little longer in each size because they seems a little wider around the waste. I like Huggies and I never had any trouble with leaks. They also have a new “pure and natural” line that is made with organic cotton and hypoallergenic. Seventh generation also makes a diaper that has no chlorine, petroleum based lotions or latex in it.  I don’t know if they work as well as I only bought them once but they seemed fine.  I would say you want to buy them on amazon as they are more expensive. As far as wipes I think Huggies wipes work the best.

I call them onesies but most people call then bodysuits.  If your baby is due in the fall or winter you will likely use them everyday and go through quite a few a day as babies often have diaper blow outs or drool issues that make changing them often in the day a necessity. On average in any size (especially in colder months) you want to have 10 for under 6 months and then more like 5 from there per size.

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How about baby blankets? How many do you need? Well it depends on what you use them for! I usually have a couple in my diaper bag as I use them for burp clothes, laying down t change the baby on anything other then the changing table, occasionally covering them up in a car seat with them and swaddling them. There are cotton ones that are fairly cheap and come in three packs and that’s what I typically use for the burp, change, spit up scenarios but for wrapping, swaddling or a little extra warmth I like the muslin ones as they are more breathable and typically bigger which makes it easier to get a tight wrap. So how many do you need? I would say about 10.  You will lielly mass up 3 to 4 a day so as long as you are doing laundry at least every other day you should be fine.  If you don’t plan to do laundry that often then double the amount of onesies and blankets:-)

So let’s talk laundry! Your skin and your babies skin is the largest organ on your body. Our skin absorbs not only the things we put on it like creams and lotions but also the toxins in our detergents and fabric softners that are in our clothes after each wash. Many of the baby friendly products out there have just as many toxins in them as the regular ones. And while I certainly don’t want you to live in fear of toxins as a mom one of the best things you can do is to cut down the amount of toxins that are in your environment.

Currently the largest contributors to toxins in your home are

  1. Your dishwasher (both the stream full of toxic chemicals that it pumps into the air, and the residue of cleansers left on our dishes that we then ingest)
  2. Your laundry detergents and
  3. Our household cleaners. 

When I first started using non toxic cleaners in my home and laundry I tried all different kinds and wasn’t happy with many of them.  I then found the brand that I use now for all of it and that is Shaklee.  Shaklee is a multi-level marketing company that I do not work for, or get any financial gain from on purpose so I can freely recommend their products without ulterior motives. Shaklee is a company that not only is concerned about clean packaging and the environment but with almost all of their household cleansers if one of my girls were for some reason drink it, I wouldn’t need to be worried as they are non-toxic but they really work! The Laundry detergent and fabric softener or dryer sheets are also great! Here is a link to their sight and the products that I recommend.  They have a package where you can basically turn your house non-toxic over-night and then just refill products as needed. We bought this package 3 years ago and still have not had to buy more of the basic G as it lasts that long!

www.healthyoates.myshaklee.com

Look at the get clean products and laundry products under “Healthy Home”.

Getting Comfortable

Well I don’t know about you but as soon as the bump starts to show I tend to get a little un-comfortable while I’m trying to sleep. If you are a front sleeper, you won’t be for long while pregnant, and back sleeping isn’t recommended either.  The reason they say you shouldn’t sleep on your back, especially as you get into the second and third trimester is basically that the pressure of the weight of your womb then rest on your spine and intestines and other organs which lessons circulation (effecting the placenta and baby) and can also contribute to getting nasty things you don’t want known as hemorrhoids.

So you guessed it! Side sleeping is in your future if you haven’t started already! It is recommended that you try to sleep on your left side as much as possible.  Obviously it’s unlikely you will stay in one position all night and so transferring from side to side is fine but try and spend more time on your left side if possible! So why the left? It gives you increased circulation to the placenta and baby and therefore nutrients as well, its the best position to enable your kidneys to flush waste and therefore decrease swelling and well it’s just plain sexy to be a side sleeper! So with all of that in mind I have two of my favorite pregnancy items to introduce you to. 

This is the snoogle! Its the worlds best body pillow.  It’s curves to become your pillow and he top and the pillow that fits between your legs at the bottom. This helps you maintain a supported sleeping position on your side and help you get comfortable and stay comfortable throughout pregnancy. Alyn and I usually have to enter into negotiations as to how many weeks after giving birth the pillow then has to be put away because it’s so stinking comfortable I always want to keep it! I’m aiming for 10 years after this one!

You can buy a snoogle on-line, or at Target, babies r us and Motherhood maternity.  They average in price between 65-68 dollars.

This other little pillow is a “my brest friend pregnancy wedge” and as you hit 20 weeks you may want to (depending on the size of the bump) get this handy fellow! Certainly as you get bigger it’s just a nice support for laying on your side and taking the pressure of your back.

You can buy this on-line as well or at USA baby.

Breast Feeding

Let’s talk about breasts shall we? Am I a breastfeeding fan? Yes, I really am. I would say for a number of reasons, that we will look at, that breastfeeding is the best choice for Mom and baby.  What was interesting for me is all the ideas that I had about it before I had Abi. I mean I really had no idea what to expect. From watching movies or seeing mom’s breastfeed that are more practiced I just thought it would be easy. That I would just know what to do and that Abi would. Well I have since discovered that there is a reason that there is an entire profession revolving around learning to breast feed! These wonderful angels of hope are called lactation consultants and there is a reason they exist.  God did absolutely make your body to be able to breast feed, and certainly some mom’s have babies that just take to breast right away and feed wonderfully from the beginning, but other’s of us get to press through a little. 

I had been told that breast feeding, and pumping, can be painful.  That after a few weeks I would feel much better.  The thing is that’s true but uncomfortable and extremely painful are to different things! But I didn’t know that, so when things were hurting (particularly the pump) I just thought that was normal and had no idea I was actually damaging my breasts. It was hurting, like really hurting so I thought I was doing something right!  When Abigail was born premature by nearly 6 weeks she was not able to breast feed to begin with. She was in an oxygen dome for the first several days and then moved to an incubator as her oxygen levels improved.  As a result she was being fed through a tube into her nose for the first 10 days before we could even start trying to breastfeed.  So during that time I was pumping to make sure she got the colostrum and breast milk instead of formula as the nutritional value of breast milk cannot be matched.  So there I am sitting day after day in the NICU watching sweet Abi in an incubator and pumping through the pain every three hours.  The day before we were about the start breast feeding in the NICU a nurse was checking up on me and I mentioned that it was really hurting to pump.  I told her I knew it was supposed to hurt but I wasn’t sure how much. She looked at my breasts and realized I had blistered and damaged my nipples and that we needed to switch pumps and get some ointment.  It was fixed in a day or two (and we began bottle feedings her the pumped milk) and then I was able to start breast feeding sweet Abi. Because she was premie and her suck was weak it took some work to get it down but I was determined. Abi preferred the bottle as the milk was easier to get out so for a few days she fought the breast but then she realized this was her only option and she started doing much better. I breast fed every feed but also pumped off the extra until I was comfortable on the first morning feed each day. Having said that I do produce an enormous amount of milk!

So then with Tia I had problems as well.  Tia was premie too, but only by 3.5 weeks, and this time I knew how to latch but again I didn’t notice that I had managed to damage my nipples with a pump before I got to take her home.  For those of you that are getting worried about pumps I have posted a good one in the blog marked “A few of my favorite things...” and I will tell you in this post how to avoid my mistakes! I have every confidence that with what I know now I will not have these issues again.  So back to Tia ... I went home from NICU and Tia stayed for a few days.  I went in first thing in the morning and stayed into the evening and fed her every three hors but then pumped when I was at home so there was food for her during the night.  It was during those pumping times that I actually managed to tare my nipples (on the underside where I couldn’t see the damage).  So fast forward to two days after we get Tia home and I’m in so much pain while feeding that I almost pass out and I am bawling my eyes out.  When Alyn came in the room and saw that I was crying, white as a sheet, and punching the bed next to me to get through the feed he booked me to see a doctor.  We were going to the children’s clinic anyway that morning and so we mentioned it to that doctor that I was in extreme pain and was needing to see a lactation consultant.  The Dr then said I was likely not latching well and was suffering from postpartum depression.  I explained the tears were from pain, not depression, and I did know how to latch and I didn’t think that was the problem. We went back and forth and he called the consultant to book an appointment for later that day and finished the conversation by trying to prescribe me meds and telling me that once I learned to latch the baby I would be fine. I was so frustrated!!! In the afternoon I had my first appointment with their lactation consultant named Robyn. When we got in the little room Alyn was holding Tia (who was hungry and waiting to feed) and Robyn asked what was happening. I told her and she asked to see my nipples (how many times can I say nipples in one post?). When she looked at me she said we would not be breastfeeding for a few weeks, wrote me a prescription for a special cream, sent me home with their Medela pump, the correct size of breast shield and specific instructions for healing.  Apparently I had managed to rip one nipple half off and the other three quarters of the way around. She feared if I nursed again the worst one would actually come off.

Now my experiences were extreme! I have’t heard of others that have done the kind of damage I did so please don’t worry.  The only reason I am telling you all of that is to say both times I recovered, the girls learned to feed well, and we fed for a year each with no problems and it was really awesome.  If you do have a rough start, or need help to begin with from a lactation consultant, don’t get discouraged that just makes you normal! 

Here are some tips I wish I knew the last 2 times! With pumps I would only recommend the Medela just because of the bad experiences with some other pumps. They do not have a seem in their breast shield (the part that fits against the nipple) and that seem is what tore me.  In addition to using a good pump don’t pump on to high a speed but actually build up to what you can handle.  If it hurts, not just a little uncomfortable but actually hurts then you are using it on too high a speed. Each time you use an electric pump rub a little coconut oil or olive oil on the inside of the breast shield especially where it goes from being wide and flat to tube like. That will stop any damage to your nipple by eliminating friction. If you do those things you should never have an damage! Coconut work is also antibacterial and anti-fungal so it stops potential infection and is totally safe if some gets in the breast milk.

As far as the health benefits of breast feeding there is a known correlation between a decreased risk of breast cancer and breastfeeding moms. In addition I read a report a few years ago about the decreased risk of Cancer in breastfed kids. (i’m still trying to find where I read that so I will post when I do).

Please read this article by Dr Josh Axe on what is in breast milk and it’s nutritional benefits.

http://www.draxe.com/breastmilk-original-fast-food/

In addition to what Dr Josh has written there are other useful things you can do with breast milk!  (breast milk shakes, ice cream... totally kidding of course!) Because breast milk has it’s own antibiotic properties thanks to God’s design it can clear up infection. Abi had an eye infection in the first few weeks of life and my midwife said to “squeeze” breast milk into it and let it sit for a bit. I did this a few times a day for 2 days and the infection was completely gone. It can also be sponged onto scratches or diaper rash to clear things up! Breast milk is amazing stuff and is totally God designed! I loved breast feeding both girls, I loved the bonding and the eye contact while we shared time only we had together.  I’m excited to do it again with the wisdom I now have (and you have now) and am looking forward to bonding with my son!

More stuff that I love...

Let’s talk car seats! My vote is for the Peg-Perego Primo Viaggio car seat.  Now this is for a couple of reasons:

  1. The car seat itself is one of the lighter ones you can get.
  2. It has side impact and more protection then most other infant car seats.
  3. The base that sits in your car is MUCH smaller then any other brand and it’s easy to get in and out of the base. 

The size of the base particularly matters if you are driving a regular sedan and not a mini van or SUV but it also means that if your bench seat normally fits three it still will. It does come as part of a “travel system” (with a stroller is essentially all that means) and I will chat about the stroller when we get to strollers.  

If you want to check it out click here: http://us.pegperego.com/babyproducts-catalog/2012/Primo+Viaggio+SIP+30_30

Ok let’s talk strollers! The stroller that goes with the Peg-Perego car seat we used for many years.  Because we travelled so much we wanted one that folded easily, was tough (because it got thrown on and off planes) and wiped up well.  The Pliko P3 served us well and survived planes, trains and automobiles well.  We didn’t move to the next stroller I will tell you about until we had Tia and therefore wanted a double stroller.

Here is a link to the Pliko 4 which they just replaced the P3 with:

http://us.pegperego.com/babyproducts-catalog/2012/Pliko+Four

OK so here is my current favorite stroller! It’s made by Phil & Ted’s which is based in New Zealand and builds incredible quality stuff! All but one of their strollers have a single wheel at the front and the wheels are much bigger. Both of those features make it easier to push especially on non-paved surfaces. The stroller that we got was called the Dash and they still sell it but they also have newer ones! Now I’ll warn you that these strollers are more expensive but you get what you pay for and it will make it through all your kids. Our Dash is three years old and has travelled quite a bit and still looks brand new. It’s easy to fold and you can choose where you want to have the second seat (for a second child) with you or not depending on the days adventure! We took this stroller to Disney and Tia didn’t miss a single nap during the day as it folds down flat with little light getting through to wear she was, and Abi still had a seat she could see from! We love this stroller. We purchased the travel bag for flights to protect it and it works really well. I’ll attach a few pictures to give you an idea of what it can do and also a link! They have some smaller one now as well which are even more compact and you can wait until #2 is on the way before you buy the additional seat if you want to!

http://philandteds.com/us/products/push