Introducing Trisha Hughes for #ASKAMAMA Mondays

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I’m thrilled to introduce the next Mama in the #ASKAMAMA series, food blogger and photographer TRISHA HUGHES!

Trisha authors the blog, Eat Your Beets, where she gets to share her favourite gluten-free, Paleo influenced recipes and her passion for food photography. She also gets to share this passion through her ebook, Eat Pretty Things, a complete how-to guide for people looking to step up their food photography game, and learn how to shoot and style beautiful food of their own.

She loves building her community on Instagram, where she posts real food inspiration and snippets from her daily life, along with occasionally sharing her ways of simplifying life through minimalist fashion.

I’m so excited that Trisha is the next mama on #ASKAMAMA Mondays, and to have her answering your questions!

Now, let’s get started!

If you have a question for Trisha, anything related to food photography or queries on Paleo or gluten-free recipes, or even just how to keep up with a large family of your own – did I mention she has FOUR kids?! – then shoot me an email at iamthemamamantra@gmail.com, post it on social media along with the hashtag #ASKAMAMA, or head on over to my blog iamthemamamantra.com, and fill out the online form.

You can also contact Trisha directly:

Instagram: @goeatyourbeets
Facebook.com/eatyourbeets
Trisha@eatyourbeets.com

Deadline for submissions will be Wednesday, May 13, 2015. So let’s get those questions coming!

It’s Mother’s Day! My Gift Suggestions for 2015

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Guys, I ALMOST FORGOT ABOUT MOTHER’S DAY THIS YEAR.

After weeks of everyone being taken down by virus after virus, having both kids on “the pink medicine” as Bee calls it (aka: thick, sugary strawberry flavoured amoxicillin), sleep training going out the window because of travelling, as well as all sorts of childcare drama, Hubs and I were sitting on the couch clutching our glasses of wine the other night like they were there to save our lives, and I sighed a loud, “uuurgh. I need a BREAK.”

We sat there in golden silence for a moment, only the crackle of the baby monitor lilting through the air, when Hubs said slowly, “isn’t it Mother’s Day soon?”

“…..oh my God.  It’s Mother’s Day soon.  It IS MOTHER’S DAY SOON!  Find out when it is!!!  GOOGLE IT!!!  MOTHER’S DAAAAAAAY!!!”

Through all the madness and hysteria of the last few weeks, I had forgotten the one day of the year when it’s every Mother’s RIGHT to ignore everyone and everything – children, spouses and mountains of laundry included – and laze about like an old-timey Lady of Leisure, splayed out on a 4-poster bed or a chaise longue (lounge? long?), sipping mimosas and eating bonbons brought to her by above mentioned ignored children and spouses.

A day which sees her being showered in compliments (“oh my darling, your eyes looks so refreshed and youthful. Not at all like the eyes of a woman with two small children who never sleeps.”), grand gestures (ignored children miraculously learning to do laundry on their own, “don’t get up, sweet Mother.  We shall tackle these mountains for you.”) and, perhaps most importantly:  GIFTS.

With the realization that this GLORIOUS day is just around the corner, I flipped open my laptop and started taking note of what I’m dreaming of for Sunday, May 10 (thank you, Google!)

***Now, seeing as how we just bought a house, I do not expect any of these to actually materialize this year.  But for those of you Mamas looking for something to wish/hint/outright ask for, or if you’re a Papa looking for suggestions, here is my Mother’s Day Gift List for your consideration:

MothersDayPics

1.  Auburn Jewelry

rings

Specifically these gorgeous, delicate and colourful stacking rings!  Jill over at Baby Rabies listed them on her 2015 Mother’s Day Gift List, and the moment I saw them I knew I must have them on my list, too.  I totally stole the idea, but… I mean, look at them!   Full disclosure here:  I’m not someone who wears a lot of jewellery – in fact, you can list the amount of pieces I own on two hands.  Maybe even 1.5 hands.  Okay, I own 7 pieces of jewellery, and that counts my wedding rings.  It’s not that I’m accessory deficient!  I have a vast collection of scarves (much to my husband’s displeasure), quite a few pairs of shoes and various purses/bags for different occasions.  It’s just, jewellery has never “done” it for me.  I like to think of myself as Marilyn Monroe, who rarely wore any in her day-to-day life. Yes, I just compared myself to Marilyn.  It’s a Mother’s Day post.  I’m allowed!  But there’s just something about these little rings… they’re so delicate, and with those pops of colour I think they’re just the perfect thing to add to any outfit, giving it that extra bright, happy “oomph!”  Plus, they’re subtle enough that you can wear them for any occasion. Kind of the perfect accessory, I’d say!  So I have to thank you Jill, for introducing me to Samantha and her lovely company!

2.  Daniel Wellington Classic St. Mawes Lady Watch

Classic St. Mawes Lady

The last watch I owned I bought for myself as an early 30th birthday present in Las Vegas.  It was after a wild night of uncontrolled gambling that saw me win a whole $50!  AMERICAN!  Don’t ask me which game I was playing, I couldn’t tell you.  It was a card game.  Not Blackjack.  Not Poker.  Apparently it was something that old ladies play and it’s super easy and all I remember about the event was calling my then boyfriend (now husband, lucky guy) at 4am and hoarsely shouting that I had WON!  I WON, BABY!!  And to celebrate, the next day I blew it all (*coughplusacouplehundredmorecough*) on a Michael Kors watch I’d had my eye on for a while.  I loved that watch.  I still have it, and still think it’s pretty great!  But it is big and chunky, and five years later and two babies on, just isn’t practical anymore.  Now that I’m entering a “Schedule or Die” phase of my life, with Bee being at home part-time and Bubs having set, regular nap times, lunches and playdates and appointments to keep track of, not to mention the fact that I’ll be going back to work in a few months, I’m looking for the next generation in a “I’m Still Cool Look At My Cool Watch” watch.  And I believe I’ve found it in this Daniel Wellington beauty.  What I love is the large face, which I think it looks bold and sexy on a feminine wrist, as well as the deep tan colour of the strap.  The simplicity of it, the clean lines are exactly what I like in a timepiece.  Wow.  I just said timepiece.  I just aged myself there, didn’t I.  

3.  Adult Colouring Books

colouring book

Get your mind out of the gutter.  Not those kind of colouring books!  These ones by Johanna Basford (I especially like the look of the Secret Garden edition), look dreamy and ethereal, and I think would be a lovely way to de-stress while the Littles nap on a rainy day.  I’ve always loved colouring, and once upon a time imagined I might one day think about maybe possibly looking into taking an art class.  That never happened, of course.  But I’m totally into these “grown-up” colouring books, and would love to have them tucked away in a drawer for those days/nights I’m feeling like flexing my artistic bones.  Anna, from Annawithlove Photography posted the above photo on her Instagram and Facebook pages a few days ago, and I’m already drooling over how gorgeous and perfect she’s making the images out to be!   I can’t wait to have a go myself!

4.  Seven Spoons by Tara O’Brady

Seven+Spoons

If only for the food photography alone, I need this cookbook.  The words “beautiful” and “gorgeous” are used in every review and, from what I’ve seen, Tara has created not only a practical cooking guide, but a collector’s item to proudly display on your coffee table rather than stashing it away on a shelf.   Perhaps these aren’t quick 5-minute weeknight meals, but they are beautiful and thoughtful, and sometimes dizzyingly complex (in the best possible way ), and are meant to be treated with love and shared with the ones you love.  I got the warm and fuzzies  – and quite hungry – while poring over it in the bookstore, and can’t wait to own a copy of my own some day soon.  In the meantime, I’ve put my name on the wait list at the library behind 150 other people hoping to admire Tara’s work.  If you’re too impatient to wait like me, Seven Spoons is available for order on Amazon now…. Also, Tara replied to a comment I tagged her in on Instagram, which means we’re totally BFFs.  That there is reason enough to buy her book!

5.  Consonant Skincare Ageless Beauty Kit

ageless beauty kit consonant

I’ve been a fan of the Consonant Skincare line from waaaaaay back when I first interviewed the ladies at The Freeze Clinic all those many moons ago. Since then I’ve been a regular user of their dreamy Organic Foaming Face Wash and Ultra Firming Organic Eye Cream, and recommend it to anyone who cares to listen to me go on about basic hygiene as if it’s a “thing,”  “washing your face is the coolest.  You should try the Consonant line!!  I love their stuff!”  The truth is though, that their line is pretty cool:  they use only healthy, 100% natural botanical ingredients in all of their products, and their HydrExtreme serum won the grand prize at the 2012 Canadian Beauty Innovation Awards for its “potent” – and natural – moisturization.  I can vouch for this award, I used it every day until the bottle drained completely dry (which took a while because, another amazing thing about these products: they LAST FOREVER) and my skin has never looked or felt better.  The price point is great what you’re getting, so a kit like this one – with the 3 products I’ve tried plus your choice of face cream and a $25 gift card- is definitely worth it!  Your skin will thank you!

6.  SLEEP.

Beauty-Sleep-1

I would like to look like this lady, sleeping happily and peacefully for one day.  One full day.  In bed.  Without sticky hands or or meals or pee or puke or sh*t or laundry or natural disasters or crying babies or Royal Babies or fights before school or scheduled playdates or knocks at the door or people needing something they forgot or phone calls or emails or “is this okay to give the kids?” or  Instagram or Facebook or anything else you could possibly think of that could distract or keep me from delicious, glorious, wondrous, elusive, desperately needed and desired SLEEP.   Just… give it to me.  Just that.  Only that.  Sleep.  I want sleep.  One full day.   Sleep.  THAT, is the greatest gift of all.

*****

Now I’d love to hear from you, Mamas!  What’s on your list for this year?
If you could have ONE THING, what would it be?

It Takes a Village: #ASKAMAMA Monday with Bria Evenson

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It’s BACK, guys.  And with a whole new format, to boot!

The old proverb says, “It takes a village to raise a child,” and at it’s core, that’s what #ASKAMAMA is all about.

I’m seeking out Mamas (& Papas!) to offer advice and tips and stories and tales and misguided adventures to any and all of you who are looking for answers and/or anecdotes outside of your immediate circle of peeps who you lean on regularly for such things.

The goal is to expand your Village because, really, raising the next generation – and the next, and the next… – we’re all in this together, don’t you think?

#ASKAMAMA is on Youtube & the Podisphere, so going forward you can reach out to The Village on all your fun, fancy mobile devices and submit questions however suits your needs!  The podcasts will be the full, unedited interview with each Mama (& Papa!), and the vlogs will stick to the original format in that they will focus solely on the submitted #ASKAMAMA questions!

Bria was so gracious and patient with me as I took my time to work out all the kinks, and I’m so grateful to have had her as the first Mama to kick off this new series and… phase?  Chapter?  Let’s say both.

I’ll be announcing the next Mama in the coming days, so stay tuned for that!

In the meantime, here’s how to reach Bria directly:

Email:  briaevenson@beachbodycoach.com
Instagram:  @bria_evenson_fitness
Facebook.com/BriaEvensonFitness
Twitter:  @FitBria

And again, here’s how to submit your questions on parenting, lifestyle, cooking, the great Big Questions of the Universe:

  1. Post it on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram using the hashtag #ASKAMAMA
  2. Leave what’s on your mind in the comment section of this post
  3. Head to my Facebook page and either drop me a private message or post the question on my wall
  4. Shoot me an email at iamthemamamantra@gmail.com
  5. Fill out the trusty ol’ question form at the bottom of the page

This is going to be SO much fun, guys.  I’m really excited!  And I hope you all stick around and have your Village grow with this series.

Super Simple Egg & Salmon “Cupcakes”: A Speedy 5-Ingredient Weeknight Meal

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Tell me, guys.  Don’t these babies look goooood?

Well, they totally were.   A huge hit for their wee size!

Not bad for a last minute “oh-my-god-where-did-the-day-go-what-am-I-going-to-do-for-dinner-everybody-panic!!!!” dinner.

I know there will be many more of these in the days, months & years ahead; once my maternity leave comes to an end & I head back to the daily grind of being a full-time working mom, I’m going to be relying on recipes like this to keep me sane & my family nourished.

I’ll admit, their name is a bit deceiving, since they are obviously not cupcakes. But when Bee squealed, “oooooh!  CUPCAKES!” after I placed them in front of her, I decided that that’s what they shall be called, always & forever

What I love about them isn’t just that they’re quick & easy (oh, so quick & oh, so easy), but also that they can be adapted to use whatever you have in your fridge or freezer. Instead of salmon you can use bacon.  Ran out of frozen peas?  Substitute chopped kale!  Don’t like dill?  Um, are you crazy?!  Okay, okay, then go ahead & add a bit of dried oregano or garlic powder instead.

Here is the recipe for how I did them last night, but feel free to use it as a basic outline for creating your own super fast version.  I would recommend though not adding too many more ingredients, you don’t want to overwhelm the tarts.  They’re mini after all & can only handle so much!

Prep Time:  5 mins   **   Cook Time:  18-20 mins   **   Total Time:  23-25 mins

Serves 2 Adults & 2 Children (double recipe for more people & leftovers)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 12 Tenderflake mini-tart shells
  • 6 eggs
  • 2-3 slices smoked salmon (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
  • small handful frozen peas

 INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat oven to 375.

Take tarts out of the freezer, separate & place on a cookie sheet.

Whisk eggs in a medium bowl with the dill & a pinch of salt  & a couple cracks of black pepper.  Set aside.

Chop smoked salmon & add to the eggs.

Mix it all together & pour into tart shells, filling to just below the crimped edge of the pastry.

Drop a few frozen peas into each tart, being careful not to overflow the mixture.

Place in the oven & bake for 18 minutes.  If the egg hasn’t set, leave for another 2.

Remove from the oven & leave for another couple of minutes to set.  When they’ve cooled a bit, gently remove from the tins, pop them onto plates & serve with a simple salad, which you can make while the tarts were baking – I made one with chopped cucumber, tomato & bocconcini cheese!

Finally & most importantly, enjoy!  My family certainly did, & I’m sure yours will too.

*****

If you do try this recipe, I’d love to know how it turned out!  Let me know in the comments!

 

 

 

 

 

All Hail the Glory of the Nap!

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Here’s the thing about struggling with getting your baby on a schedule: you succumb to the exquisite rareness of the quiet moments and get so lost in them, that the laundry doesn’t get put away and the kitchen remains a mess from breakfast.

“Oh, well,” I tell myself during these complete blips-of-life (because surely these 45 minute+ naps are blips, right?)  “I’ll just do it all tomorrow, in-between his multiple 15-minute naps.  While wearing him.  And shushing him.”

Now, though – in this meditatively still moment –  I will take it minute by minute, lap up the ongoing quietness and stillness, finish this coffee, and write and wait until I hear him stir on the monitor.

***Note:  he woke up two minutes after finishing this post.  Literally.  Whatever.  I’ll take what I can get.

 

An Open Letter to Myself, 6 Months Postpartum: 10 Things To Do Every Day

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Dearest Beth,

Hey, there.  How’s things?  I like your haircut, it’s a nice change for spring.  Could be a bit shorter, but, you know.  And can I say, I’m super glad you’ve gone back to blonde.  It takes away from the deathly dark circles around your eyes.

What, I can’t say that?  But…I’m you.  Sooo…..

Anyway.

Can you believe Bubs is 6 months old already??  Where did that time go?   Like sands through the hourglass, amiright?!

It’s crazy to think about, but half a year ago you went into labour and shot out a baby in three hours flat.

Well.  Done.  Ouch!  But, well done.

Six months.  Gone, like a puff of smoke.  You breathed in, then out, and now, here we are.

Let’s just talk a bit about Bubs for a second, before getting into the real reason I’m writing you this letter (dum, dum duuuuummm….).

Li’l Bubs.  Li’l dimply, chubby Bubs.  His joyfulness is contagious.  He enchants anyone who glances his way.  He squeaks and smiles his squinty smile at strangers, but don’t be fooled:  the boy knows how to crrrrrrrry.  Especially when you’re out of the room for longer than he can blink.  Or sneeze.  Or fart (he does a lot of that).  He sits up without support, is thisclose to rolling over, and will only go to sleep on his belly, which scared the CRAP out of you those first few nights you left him that way (now, that’s to say he sleeps on his belly when he sleeps.  Which, let’s be honest, isn’t a lot.  And is  a whole other monologue onto itself.  Sigh.)  His favourite toy is any spoon he can reach, and his favourite activity is observing intently as he carefully drops it to the floor.  He loves watching his sister RUN, and squeals with delight when she dances.  His little mullet is growing by the day, such a random and hilarious thing… you better not cut it.  EVER.  He is a joy and a delight, and he completes your family in the most perfect way.

You have two beautiful, healthy children and a hottie of a husband who, for some reason, loves the living shit out of you.  You have a new house and a bunch of fun projects in the works, spring is finally springing – everything is coming up ROSES for you.

You are an incredibly fortunate woman.

Which now brings me to that real reason I’m writing you this letter:

It’s time to get.  Your shit.  Together.

Okay, that’s a bit harsh.  But let me explain.

Yes, you are currently a SAHM with two little kids.  And yes, your main priority day-to-day is keeping your littles alive and helping your family thrive.  But GIRL, all that “looking after other people” nonsense doesn’t mean you get to completely ignore the fact that YOU ARE A PERSON, TOO and let yourself fall apart and turn into that bowl full of mush that, let’s be honest, every kid in the world says “yuck” to in Goodnight Moon.

So, I’ve compiled a list:  Ten Things you must do every day to achieve “Regular Person Like Everybody Else” status, which will in turn help you get back to being YOU.

These are not huge tasks; I’m not asking you to paint the Sistine Chapel.  But after so long of not doing them (read: the last 6 months), these basic things may seem tedious and time consuming and every day you will no doubt think, “meh, this one’s no biggie.  I can skip it today.”

But listen, I am 100% sure that after a few weeks it’ll all come back to you, and not only will you begin to feel like a Regular Person Like Everybody Else again, but – most importantly – you will feel like YOU.  The YOU before babies and diapers and worrying about healthy meals and snacks and mountains of laundry that pile on top of themselves.  Before scraped knees and teething and sleep training and daily battles between your toddler and the hairbrush.  Before sharing became an issue, and tiny talons and scratched up faces, and food sensitivities and transitioning from your bed to their crib to their bed.  Before sweatpants became the uniform and braless-ness an acceptable state in which to be…. before all that – and oh, so much more – you were YOU.

But guess what?  You still are.  And these Ten Things are gonna get you back there.

Trust me.  I’m you.  Soooo, I know.

And now, I present to you:

Ten Things You Have To Do Every Day, Without Fail:

    • Brush your teeth, TWO times.  Bee is starting to brush hers regularly, so set a good example.  Not a smelly, gross coffee-breathed one.  Maybe you don’t have an obvious chunk of spinach between your front teeth, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t something more sinister lurking between your molars.
    • Put on deodorant (down, boys).  This literally takes 2 seconds.  Just because you may spend a few days not coming into close contact with anyone other than Bubs – and when you do you’re wearing a huge winter coat and layer upon layer of “clothes” (see above re: sweat pants & braless-ness) – doesn’t mean it’s okay to skip this crucial hygienic step.
    • Shower.  Okay, you can make this one every other day.  And hair washing only needs to be done twice a week, so you can use your judgement whilst showering to decide if that day is the day… and by “use your judgement” I mean determining if there’s enough time before Bubs wakes up screaming bloody murder for your boob.
    • Wash your face.  Remember a while back when you talked to the ladies at the Freeze Clinic about how you wanted to start washing your face again, every day?  Remember that??  And remember how you did it for a while and it felt sooooooo good but then you let the ball drop and stopped because you got pregnant and lazy?!  Yeah.  Let’s pick that back up again, shall we?  Those pores aren’t closing themselves.
    • Reach out to a friend.  Your friends are awesome.  You are incredibly lucky to have such amazing people who actually want to hear from you and be around you, and who offer support and words of wisdom in times of need.  So you need to be better at maintaining those relationships.  It doesn’t have to be an hour-long phone call or a hand-written letter (though, those are really nice) – just a little text or email can do great things.  Plus, it’ll be nice to engage with someone other than a 6-month old.  And to have someone answer you back!  With actual WORDS!!  Can you IMAGINE?!
    • Write.  Even if it’s on the notepad on the fridge, it’s time to get those squeaky wheels turning.  You love to write.  It challenges you and makes you happy.  So do it.
    • Take 5 deep breaths.  Preferably first thing in the morning, before the chaos of the day begins.  Centre yourself so you don’t fall off the edge when Bee is screaming in your face that she doesn’t want to wear a shirt to school.
    • Attempt a 30 minute workout.  The walk to and from daycare doesn’t count.  Get your heart rate up.  If you can’t squeeze in one of your 21 Day Fix videos (which, dude, you can) then throw Bubs in the stroller and tackle some of the hills in your new ‘hood while running errands.
    • Look your husband in the eyes and tell him you love him.  Because you absolutely do, and he deserves to hear it.
    • Be kind to yourself.  Probably the most important step.  You are doing the best you can, Mama.  Sure, most days aren’t perfect, and you can feel like you’re failing an awful lot of the time.  But listen to me:  you’re not failing.  And despite the daily challenges of raising a head-strong toddler with the imagination of Peter Jackson, a sleep-deprived baby who clings to you day and night, and keeping your insanely gorgeous husband in love with you, despite ALL THAT: you’re doing alright.

Trust me.  I know.  I’m you.

Okay, good talk.  Let’s do it more often.  Until next time, take care.

Sincerely,
Beth

#MotherDaughterTag!

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Oh, this was such fun to do.

I’d been seeing the Mother Daughter Tag pop up on YouTube and some other blogs I’d stumbled across, and thought that I absolutely had to get my mom on board to shoot our own!

My mother is a classy lady. But also can take the Mick out of anyone in the room. She’s quick and witty and silly and I knew we’d have a blast.

So naturally when I asked, she said yes!

(We also ended up with a guest! Bubs decided his nap time was OVER, so he joined in for the final few questions!)

Here’s how this, or any other “tag” works:  A series of questions are posed, then each person has to guess what the other’s answer would be.

Easy! And as you can imagine, there’s lots of potential for hilarity.

There are a few different versions of the tag out there, but here are the questions we used:

  • What is my favorite colour?
  • What is my favorite flower?
  • How tall am I?
  • How old am I?
  • Where did I meet my husband?
  • How old was I when I had my ears pierced?
  • If I was an animal, which animal would I be & why?
  • Is my bed currently made or unmade?

Below is the finished product!

We really did have some good laughs while making it! I think the chemistry between moms and daughters are all so special and unique, and seeing your own play out on screen is just so cool. To have this now – this brief moment in time together – saved for posterity, means so much.

And man, I just know it’ll get funnier as the years move on!

I’d highly recommend making your own!

And if you do what are some questions you’d pose to your mother or daughter?