Saturday, May 28, 2011

It's not always easy being a momma to two

No matter how many books you read or mom's you talk to, I don't believe that its possible to truly comprehend the exhaustion and sleep deprivation that a newborn entails. Similarly, despite a 'been there, done that' attitude, nothing can truly prepare you for the challenges of having an infant and another child at home.
baby toes
I admit it, before the baby boy arrived, I didn't give mothers of two near enough credit. I know that in the long run, having two little boys 25 months apart is going to be fantastic, but for now, its extra-exhausting.

With one, you can go back to bed after an early morning feed.
With one, you can nap when the baby naps.
With one, you can shower when the baby naps or you can just plop them in their bed and let them cry for 10 minutes.
With one, you can watch oodles of tv while nursing the baby.

With two, not so much.

It's rare for the baby boy to sleep within the boys two hour nap so I rarely have any time of my own to sleep, shower, blog, bake, sew or anything else that may possibly recharge my batteries, just a little bit.

I'm not complaining, this exhaustion and steep learning curve is a very real part of motherhood and I truly believe that the momma's who swear everything is perfect, all the time, are quite simply, liars. That being said, every moment that has its frustrations is matched by another moment, laced with love, that makes it all worthwhile.

So to you Momma's who have been doing it for ages, kudos to you. And for us Momma's that are just learning to walk this new walk, WE CAN DO IT. Motherhood has the most amazing reward; the immeasurable love of our children.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Bamboobies eco-friendly breast pads | Review & Giveaway

Breasts are virtually a rite of passage for women; a physical manifestation of the numerous changes that are occurring mentally, emotionally and physically as we undergo the transformation from girl to woman.  Similarly, tender nipples are simply a reality for breast-feeding momma's, especially during the early days when our bodies and our babies are just learning to communicate.

Despite sore nipples, for those that are able, breastfeeding is a beautiful thing.  Although there is no magic bullet to make breast tenderness subside, it will get better as your breastfeeding journey continues.  There are things you can do however, to help ease the transition.

Quality breast pads are a must.  I admit that I have a box of disposables in my bedroom, but I primarily use them as a backup, I stash them in  the diaper bag, in the car, at my parents house anywhere that I don't want to be caught without.

Reusable, cloth nursing pads are easy to use, easy to wash and if you get the right ones, they can be discreet, comfortable and effective.  If you haven't heard of  Bamboobies, I urge you to check out their website.  Bamboobies sent me a pair of their regular and overnight breast pads for the purposes of this review, keep reading for your chance to win a 2-pack of either variety.

Bamboobies have a number of noteworthy features, including their uber cute name, but their absolute softness is second to none.  Only organic bamboo/cotton velour touches your tender breasts and when I first took them out of the package, I literally rubbed them against my cheek the way the boy rubs his 'blankie' on his face.

In addition to kitten softness, Bamboobies are extremely thin, leakproof and have a unique heart shape.  I admit I was skeptical, but Bamboobies ROCK!  These super thin pads kept my breasts comfortable and my shirt dry; the heart shape allowed the pad to easily conform to my breast without any telltale lines showing through my t-shirt.  And because sometimes leakage just refuses to be contained, Bamboobies also makes large overnight breast pads made of organic bamboo fleece (also ridiculously soft) in the traditional round shape.

All Bamboobies breast pads are eco-friendly and use organic bamboo fabrics and an ultra-absorbent (and thin) hemp core to disperse and lock in milk leakage.  Bamboobies are available online and start at a price of $16.99 for two pairs.  When I think of what I've paid for cheap, leaky, lumpy, cotton breast pads in the past, Bamboobies are well-worth the price.

Bamboobies is offering Momma Stuff Blog readers 20% off their purchases, just use coupon code MSB20 at checkout!

Enter to Win
Two pairs of Bamboobies Nursing Pads ($16.99 value)
Open to Canada/US only
First Entry:
Visit Bamboobies online and leave a comment sharing the Bamboobies feature you like the best!
Please make sure you include your email address if its not in your profile otherwise I won't be able to contact you if you win!
Additional Entries:
Please leave a comment for EACH additional entry

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  I entered to #win 2 pairs of @Bamboobies ultra-soft, ultra-thin, ultra-eco breast pads | @mommastuffblog

Giveaway closes Sunday June 5th, 2011 at 8pm (PST). Winner will be determined by a random number generator. Winner will be notified via email and the winner will have 48 hours to respond or a new name will be drawn and contacted.

Contest is now closed, congratulations to our winner, comment #31, Jamie. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Ponderosa Cake | Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Soy-Free Chocolate Banana Cake

To those who attend the University of British Columbia (UBC), Ponderosa Cake is a well-known treat; I however only had the pleasure of tasting this moist, chocolate chip banana cake once in my pre-gluten-free life.  I was at a barbeque and I found myself amazed that this cake, which by ingredients simply sounded like a glorified banana bread, could taste like so much more.

Once I returned home I promptly Googled the recipe and when I first started experimenting with gluten-free recipe adaptations Ponderosa Cake was at the top of the list.  I'm still not exactly sure how this recipe got its name, and I tend to simply call it chocolate banana cake, but regardless, after many iterations, I am confident that I have this recipe ready for gluten-free, dairy-free and soy-free mass consumption.

The last time I made this recipe was at Colin Jack's Celebration of Life; his brother suffers from gluten and dairy in tolerances and I wanted to make sure that there was a treat he could safely enjoy during his time of grief.  I wish that I could share a photo that truly displays the texture and deliciousness of this desert, but instead I have only a snapshot of my Ponderosa Cake taken on this unforgettable day.  But please trust me when I say that this cake, complete with a chocolate chip and brown sugar centre, is absolutley delicious and must be made if you love the combination of banana and chocolate.
ponderosa cake

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Soy-Free Ponderosa Cake
(Chocolate Banana Cake)

  • 3/4 cups of mashed ripe bananas (approximately 2 large bananas)
  • 1 tsp baking powder  

  •  1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

  •  1/2 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/2 tsp xantham gum
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

  • 1/2 cup dairy/soy/gluten-free shortening*
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup plain coconut yogurt**

  • Preheat oven to 350F, line (or lightly grease) your baking pan with parchment paper. 
  • In a small bowl, mix together bananas and 1 tsp of baking powder.  Set aside. 
  • In a small bowl mix together cinnamon and brown sugar.  Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (sorghum through cinnamon). Set aside.
  • Cream together the shortening and sugar until well combined.
  • Mixing thoroughly between each addition, add the egg, vanilla and finally the banana & baking soda mixture to the wet ingredients.
  • Alternate adding the dry mixture and the coconut yogurt to the wet ingredients, ending with the coconut yogurt.  The batter should be fairly thick.
  • Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan, sprinkle half of the chocolate chips over the batter then sprinkle half of the cinnamon & brown sugar mixture on top.
  • Repeat the batter, chocolate and cinnamon layers with the remaining ingredients.
  • Bake for 40-45minutes until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.  Allow to cool before cutting and serving.
  • Enjoy.
yield: One 8x8 cake - this recipe can be doubled for a 9x13 cake

* if you are not concerned with 'soy-free' I recommend Golden Crisco.  For those that can tolerate dairy, I find shortening gives a better texture to the final product than butter.
**Original recipe calls for sour cream, I imagine soy yogurt would also work.

    Monday, May 2, 2011

    welcoming baby | an a-ha moment

    Despite the plethora of parenting books, advice and information available on how exactly we should parent our children, there truly is no manual that can provide a concrete answer for every situation.  As parents we have to live and learn, make tough desicions and keep the interests of our children at the forefront of our minds at all times.

    Sometimes the right choice for the situation is clear and other times its a long and bumpy road to find our way to our a-ha moment, when we finally realize how best to proceed.  My mom has told me more than once about her 'spilled milk' a-ha moment, when she realized that her frustration over my clumsiness was coming at a cost of my insecurities and anxiety; so she made a change.  Similarly, I recently shared an a-ha moment; my experience learning to trust my instincts as a nurturing mama.

    I think we all understand the concept of an a-ha moment, so when I stumbled upon the Aha Parenting Website and Newsletter, I was intrigued.  After a quick browse around the site, I signed up for the newsletter and I've been recieving useful tidbits of information ever since. 

    One of the first newsletters I read was in response to a reader inquiry from a family of four where the potty-trained toddler began peeing in the vents, then eventually peed on his little brother.  Now the boy isn't potty trained, but I could immediately see the relevance for our family and began filing away the information in the recesses of my mind.  The newsletter touched on why spanking and timeouts wouldn't work, then why sticker charts won't work and finally explained that in order to effectively diffuse the situation the parent needs to acknowledge and honour the child's emotions with love, words and actions.

    So when the baby boy had been home a mere two days and the boy started having a pre-nap meltdown, I decided to take the aha parenting advice to heart.  I gave the boy a huge hug despite his tears and flailing arms and I simply talked to him.  I told him that both Daddy and I loved him very much and that I knew he was upset and angry that the baby was taking up Mommy and Daddy's time.  I explained that no one was going anywhere, that we were all a family and that Mommy and Daddy were always there for him.  I'm not sure exactly how much of our talk he understood, but he quickly calmed down, gave me a hug and crawled into his bed.  As he was laying in bed he said 'baby' a few times and even tried to say his brothers name (the first and only time so far).

    A week later, and the boy is still barely acknowleding his baby brother, but after our chat, there really hasn't been any more emotional and unexpected meltdowns.  Pretty amazing, the power of words.