#ASKAMAMA {Mondays} with Trisha Hughes: Part 1

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I know it’s technically a Tuesday, today.  But, guys…

This one was epic!

Trisha Hughes, from Eat Your Beets, has been on my “WANT” list of Mamas to ask for this series since I started it.  Thankfully the stars aligned, and we were able to make it happen for this episode!

The one thing neither of us was expecting, was just how long we’d end up talking for!  I recorded nearly 2 hours of interview footage, and decided instead of butchering it to high heaven for one episode – there is a lot of great material – I’d break it into two!

In part 1 we discuss how Trisha and her family came to discover the Paleo/Primal lifestyle, her upcoming events {a hands-on photography workshop & panelling a discussion group at the Alt Summit}, and her crazy experience with being put on the Instagram Suggested Users list.  And in part 2, which will be up next week, we get into the questions you guys submitted for Trisha.

As I did with the previous episode with Bria Evenson, the podcasts will be the longer, unedited versions of the interview.

You can link to the podcast for part 1 on my iTunes channel HERE.  And while you’re there, don’t forget to subscribe (*wink*)



Eat Your Beets
Eat Pretty Things
Edible Omaha
Trisha’s post “Why I’m Glad I’m Losing Followers on Instagram”
Click it up a Notch
Natural Light Food Photography Workshop at Bench Omaha – June 6
Altitude Summit in Salt Lake City – June 9-12


My Weekstagram: April 27 – May 4

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I’m working on a few things for the blog which should be up by Wednesday – fingers crossed.  I haven’t always come through with these deadlines.

I think I need an editor, someone to give me hard deadlines and say things like, “now see here!  You gotta get these posts out because the public is counting on you, you hear??  No more dilly dallying, Barnes.  Barnes.  BARNES!  Are you listening to me??!?  Get outta my office and write,  write, WRITE!!!”

Or something of the sort.

Anywho, while I tidy this stuff up – and because I am apparently a “lazy blogger” (*coughsweetmadeleinecough*) – here’s how my world looked over the last 7 days through the lovely, lazy lens of Instagram!


This was technically taken on the 26th, but since it was from the morning my story aired on the Vinyl Cafe, I figured it was worth sneaking in!  We were lucky Bee went down for a nap at just the right time so we could enjoy the program in peace!  What an amazing experience, to hear Stuary McLean breathe life to my letter… a great achievement, to say the least.


Once she woke up from said nap, I felt giddy with joy, so decided to take and publish some rare face-on selfies.  Well, rare for Bee, that is.
I’m still very much of two minds about the whole “exposing my child’s image to the internet world” thing.  On the one hand, I understand as a “mom blogger” that I would probably build more of a connection with my audience if I posted more pictures of her and my husband, as well as used their real names.  Then on the other hand, I’ve always felt it’s important to keep some things private in order to maintain a bit of normalcy.
But who knows?  Maybe when Li’l Bee 2.0 arrives things will change, because Lord knows if I’ll be creative enough to come up with another nickname while running on zero sleep….


Bee has suddenly taken to showing interest in a new activity: helping me empty the dishwasher.
It’s so cute, she really loves it!  For the last couple of weeks, every time I open the dishwasher, even if it’s just to put a bowl or a mug in, suddenly she’s THERE!  At my side, immediately, offering to, “halp!  Halp Mummy!”
Which, I mean, I am totally on board with!   Help emptying the dishwasher?  YES, please.  Another dreaded chore, one that only takes minutes, is now a fun activity that we can do together.
I just have to remember to keep the knives pointed DOWN.  Gulp.


This is a teaser of something to come.
You guys are smart cookies, I’m sure you know what it’s all about.
Saying goodbye can be so sweet… right?


Another new thing Bee does – I feel like there are so many new things these days – is shlurp the milk from her cereal bowl.  This is something she did not learn from us, I’m guessing she picked it up from watching her friends at daycare.
It’s moments like this when I’m grateful to have these heavy duty bibs on hand, they catch the milk that misses her mouth.
Which is pretty much all of it.


Bee went to bed last Wednesday night with a fever – it seemed to come on super fast, which is always the scariest, especially since she didn’t show any other symptoms… she was just limp and grumpy and weak and glassy-eyed.  UGH.
Isn’t it just the worst when they’re sick?
We kept her home the rest of the week to let her recover; we read books and ate grapes and drank (diluted) apple juice and snuggled and snuggled and snuggled until she was better again.
It was awful, seeing her sick.  But wonderful, being so close.


On Thursday we had our anatomy scan, which is done around the half-way mark of the pregnancy.  I’ll be 20 weeks, half-way, on Wednesday.  Which… is crazy.  RIGHT!?  I feel like that’s completely nuts!  Time is going by so fast!
Everything came back peachy keen with the scan, and the gender was confirmed!  That will be revealed in the next few days 🙂
While I was waiting for the results I took a trip to the teeny food court under the hospital, where my pregnant-self was pleased to find a Manchu Wok!  MMMmmmmmm…. greasy preggo-friendly noodles……

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I decided to participate in Yummy Mummy Club’s #YMCPhotoADay challenge for May!
May 1st’s challenge was “what’s in your bag” – while I was inhaling the noodles in the waiting room, I came across a few of Bee’s toys, in my bag.  Day 1 – success!!


On Friday I left Bee decide what we were having for dinner.
I’m sure if I actually left it up to her we’d have plain pasta, bread and blueberries every night.
I wouldn’t say she’s a “picky” eater, but she definitely has her moments – those days she gobbles down a whole serving of baked salmon though, I swear I couldn’t be a happier Mama!
(We wound up having the baked risotto, spinach and 
parmesan cakes from this amazing cookbook, How To Feed A Family. I – WE – would highly recommend it!)


Can I get a WHATWHAT for #yolkporn??
I mean, seriously.  How can you be a human being and not love a good, runny yolk??
Bee is a huge fan, her favourite food these days is a soft-boiled egg with soldiers.
And smoked salmon!  DROOL!   I know, there are some sites and doctors who would say a pregnant woman should stay away from raw or smoked fish… but my cravings for those particular foods are so strong, how can they be bad for me?  I’m sorry, but I’m going to trust my gut over a faceless, nameless “source”, thankyouverymuch.

And in turn, my gut is going to enjoy gorgeous meals like this.


I missed a couple of days of the challenge, but once Bee started proudly sticking her coveted bear stickers all over herself, and inevitably me, I couldn’t let #art slip by.
The girl loves to colour, we bought her an art easel, which is where she spends most of her playtime.  I could have taken a photo of one of her Crayola creations, but this was something different, and special, I think.
I’m such a proud Mama.


My husband was given two box tickets to game 7, Raptors against the Brooklyn Nets.  It was an historic game for the franchise, potentially taking them to the quarter finals….


 Guys, I have never been more emotionally involved in a sporting event in my LIFE.
Those last 16 seconds lasted an epic and sweat-inducing 10 minutes.
The ball was in our favour.  We could have had it….
At least we got to take home our t-shirts.


The game was at the Air Canada Centre.
Peek-a-boo, uncle Charlie!

My Weekstagram (a.k.a. My Week on Instagram) – March 16 – 23

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*This is my third attempt over three days to get this post out.  The previous two times I lost my wifi connection and each draft along with it.  Sigh.  Hope this one makes it!

Because I received such a positive response after last week’s Weekstagram post, I thought I’d do another one.

*If you’re interested in following me on Instagram, just click the camera icon under my picture and join the fun!

This past week has been… revealing, to say the least.  If you haven’t been caught up on the blog in a few days, you’ll soon understand.

Aside from the big news, the last seven days were spent doing little happy dances whenever the temperature would hover above the freezing mark and feeling like spring was finally here… which was then almost immediately followed by a massive cold blast and the brutal realization that winter was not, in fact, done clutching us in her cold, dying grip after all.  This threatened to send me into a spiral of madness and crazy street-muttering, but by the hand of some caring deity I was saved by a completely unexpected Twitter response from… okay, I’m not givin’ it up yet.  Read on to find out who the mysterious Life Saver was!


Sigh.  I am so ready to put these beasts away, guys.  Peeps living in the Polar Vortex: are you with me?!
Last Monday I stood in the hallway glaring at my dirty Sorels, questioning how it is that I still haven’t been able to convince my husband to move somewhere that’s sunny and tropical all year ’round, and wanting to be rid of them forever.


Wednesday brought one of those nice(r) days, and also… A ROBIN!
You know what that means, right?!  Spring!
Bee was first to see it on our walk home from school, “booodie!  Boodie, mummy!”  I squealed with excitement, took out my phone and started snapping away as Bee looked on with confusion.  I tried to explain the significance of her spot, but she toddled off as I wistfully rambled about jacket-less days ahead and finally breaking out my TOMS… *sigh*.
When she’s a Mama, many years from now, pushing her child to school in a stroller over miles of unshovelled sidewalks, through mountainous snowbanks and arctic, gale-force winds, barely able to see through the slit between her toque and heavy scarf… then she’ll understand.


I am an unapologetic Martha Stewart lover.  Please do not bother trying to get into a debate with me about her business ethics or how she is a cold-hearted dragon woman because I will always love her and do not want to HEAR IT.
The day her magazine arrives at my door each month is cause for a mini-celebration – I hand Bee off to my husband and spend hours poring over the colourful pages, recipe ideas and crafting projects.  I daydream about living in one of Martha’s many houses with it’s collections of earthenware bowls and antique rolling pins, Pinterest worthy gardens and pristinely kept chicken coops.
Oh, Martha.  I think we would be the best of friends.
SO.  Imagine how I felt when, after Instagramming and Tweeting this picture – tagging Martha, of course! – I received this:


*Okay.  I am fully aware it was most likely one of an army of interns who made the Tweet.  But… come on.  Can’t a Martha Stewart-obsessedloving woman DREAM, people?!  Can’t I have just that??!


Bee decided to celebrate the official first day of spring by waking up at 5am.
The girl was excited, what can I say.
Clearly she was more pleased with this situation than I – I don’t think I could have flared my nostrils in displeasure any wider.

Is this a phase?  Please, parents.  Tell me that she will soon start sleeping later than 5am.  


I suppose Bee’s enthusiasm rubbed off on me, because before heading off on an outing I decided to spend a few minutes and actually DO MY HAIR.  Like, style it and use hair product and everything!  Something that hasn’t happened in months, guys.  It’s been a pretty lazy time over here.  I’m not a hair-doing girl, one who gets up and does it every morning – it’s never been a part of my routine, which I think is why it makes me feel just that more special when I do do it!  Last Thursday definitely called for it, and as I sashayed down the street I can honestly say, I felt like a million bucks.

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Saturday brought a big reveal here on I Am The Mama Mantra:
I’m pregnant!
It’s been hard keeping you all in the dark and it feels real good to finally get it out there.
I hope you follow along this crazy journey with me over the coming months as I blog about the ups and downs of being pregnant with a toddler!  It should be a fun time, if only to see what weird foods I crave next….
(Today it was salsa.  Just salsa.  No chips, no crackers.  Nothing else.  Only salsa.)

That same day I dug out my Bellabands.
Mamas who have used them, or pregnant ladies who are currently rocking one, you know what I’m talking about when I say, “Aaaaaaaaahhh…..”

To keep up with me on a daily basis, feel free to connect with my via one of my social media profiles – you can follow the links at the top of the page!  

FOCUS, Barnes (a.k.a. My First Weekstagram: March 9 – 16)

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The one thing I’ve been working on lately, here on this blog, is focus.  It’s something we’re trying to challenge Bee with at the moment: when there are so many things happening at once, how to focus on them one-by-one so you can accomplish everything in due time. Whether it’s finishing a puzzle without throwing the pieces in frustration, or stacking blocks until you’ve made a tower out of “x” amount of them before knocking them down, it’s been an interesting exercise watching her try and remain calm and focused, during these tasks.  We can see she’s getting there, but she is, after all, barely 18-months old. 

*If any of you parents or caregivers out there have any advice on ways to work through toddler frustration, I’d LOVE to hear about it.  You can leave a comment by clicking the dialogue box icon at the top right of this post.  THANK YOU. 

So, for me, it seems appropriate that I’m trying to re-learn this skill simultaneously with her.

I have so many ideas, so many topics swirling through my head that I want to write about (which is confounding to me since all I seem to complain about these days is my lack of inspiration).  And with all this time on my hands between searching for work, it’s been hard for me to focus on one post at a time.  I have about a half-dozen unfinished, chopped up, partial posts just sitting in my drafts folder, waiting for completion, but I just can’t seem to make myself focus on doing them one-by-one, as I’m trying to teach Bee.

It’s a slow process, but I’ve finally committed to sifting through what I currently have before moving on to anything else.  While I clean everything up, things will remain light around here, with some of these struggling posts popping up in between.

First up on the docket, something I’ve wanted to do for a while and what I like to call, “My Weekstagram”. Basically, all the photos I took over the last 7 days and posted to Instagram (clever!!).

Sure, this could be labelled as “fluff” or “filler”, but I’ve noticed a lot of blogs doing this lately and have been quite enjoying perusing through photos casually, seeing how others interpret their lives through the lens of their smartphone.

(Also, this may or may not be a plug for you guys to connect with my through social media!  If you look underneath my picture there on the right, you’ll see a few icons linking to my Instagram, Facebook Twitter and Youtube accounts.  Feel free to subscribe or follow me!  It’ll be fun, I promise!) 


Ah, what’s better than lazy Sunday snuggles with the Bee?  Probably nothing, I’d say.



My sister and brother-in-law were in town from Ottawa last weekend for a wedding and stopped by on their way out.  It was kind of heaven for Bee, the more people to read to her, the better.


Because this winter is apparently never going to end, I decided to drink more hot chocolate.  My husband, anticipating this thought, made me a yummy mug-full and earned mega points when he didn’t even need them in the first place.  A ‘just because’ gesture, and another spot of warmth amongst the dreariness.


In another (lame) attempt at getting Nigella Lawson and/or Jamie Oliver to pay attention to me on Twitter, I posted a photo of my greatest cookbook find to date and asked them what theirs was.  I got nothing.  No response.  Pfffft.  Typical!
I came across this gem in a used bookstore near my house, something I never knew could possibly exist because, who knew Tolouse-Lautrec was a foodie?!  Anyone??  Okay, maybe some of you knew.  I, though, did not, and was amaaaazed when I found his incredible, “The Art of Cuisine”.  Everything about it is sheer poetry, from the chapter titles, most starting with “About Certain…” (About Certain Soups, About Certain Domestic Animals, About Certain Flatteries…), to the cooking instructions (on how to make Roast Snipe, “having killed some September snipe, eat them quite fresh when you have come back from the shoot.”), to the actual art inside (I have framed a few pages and mounted them in my dining room), it continues to be one of the best reads of my life.  Over and over again.


Tuesday saw the greatest weather day we’ve had here in Toronto in… YEARS?!  Ugh, feels that way, anyway.  It was 8 degrees (celsius), people!  That’s practically SUMMER!!
I treated myself to a haircut and then spent the afternoon with my sister-in-law and cheekalicious niece, Baby C!  LOOK AT THOSE CHEEKS.  I mean, come on….


My brother took it upon himself a few weeks back to teach Bee the word, “money”.  And somehow she then figured out what money was – coins, mostly – and now goes around picking up every loose dime or penny or shiny whatnot she sees around the house, shouting, “MONEEEEY!  MONEEEEEY!  Mummy, MONEEEY!” while frantically palming it close to her chest as though someone is going to snatch it from her.  Which, we do.  Because it’s a TINY COIN.  And the last thing we want is for her to swallow a coin and then have to worry about her digesting her MONEEEEEY.  So along with teacher her focus, I’ve been showing her that every time she finds a coin, instead of clutching it in a cold, steel grip like a crazy ol’ millionaire (I just assume that’s how millionaires are with their money), she needs to put it in her piggy bank for safe keeping. An early lesson in savings, if you will.
So later on in life she doesn’t end up stuffing her life savings in cash into a mattress and sitting on it on her front lawn while holding a shotgun and muttering wildly about aliens or the government, or a government of aliens….
That happens, guys.  I’ve read about it.


Along the same lines as wanting to consume nothing but hot chocolate for the rest of the winter, I decided to make room for homemade chicken soup, too.  Roast chickens and, subsequently, chicken soup, are the easiest and most comforting things in the world to make.  If anyone is interested in the soup portion, the simplest of the simple version goes like this:

  • 1 chicken carcass from last night’s roast chicken dinner, or a soup hen
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 large or 2 small onions, chopped (skin on)
  • 1 tablespoon peppercorns
  • big pinch of salt (a couple of tablespoons)
  • 2 bay leaves

Put everything in a stock pot.  Cover with cold water.  Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for at least 2 hours.  For extra oomph, roast the bones first, just on low (350-375) until they’re a lovely brown and your house smells like roast chicken all over again.  You can sieve everything out and keep the pure stock for cooking with another day, OR you can just remove all the bones, pepper, bay leaves and onion skin, keeping the carrots and celery and eat the soup as-is.  Simple, honest perfection.


ANOTHER FOOD SHOT.  Aside from hot chocolate, roast chicken dinner and homemade chicken soup, one of life’s little delights is a soft-boiled egg with soldiers for brunch.
My Granny Fran used to make us these, a true British classic, when we were little, and on Sunday I was moved to make it for Bee for the first time.
And she loved it.
She didn’t even try and pick up the egg or the cup – she instinctively knew exactly what to do when I placed it in front of her.  What a joy to see.
This will most definitely be a staple in our home going forward.


I hope you guys enjoyed my first Weekstagram!  Let me know if you’d like to see this weekly!  Or, if you’d rather me keep my social media roundups to myself.  Either, or!