Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Ricotta and Lemon Bruschetta Recipe

This past weekend kicked off summer in Canada with Victoria Day celebrations which got my wheels turning about some of my go-to recipes for the season.  Year after year, Ricotta and Lemon Bruschetta has been one of my favorite things to serve.  It's light flavors and easy preparation make it ideal for this time of year if you're entertaining or taking it along to a party.  

Thank you to Her View From Home for sharing my recipe over on their blog this week.  Hop on over to get the easy instructions!  For my friends in the states, this would be the perfect take-along to any of your weekend festivities; people gobble it up! 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Next Children's Clothing

A British mum in our toddler play class recently told me about a new-to-me-company from across the pond called, Next.  I was admiring the cute cotton dress her daughter was wearing with a dinosaur print that was darling but not overly girl when she shared that Next is reasonably priced and ships to the US and Canada for a minimal amount (or quickly for free if you hit a certain amount)!
The toddler girls, boys and baby clothes are adorable and have a nice selection of classic looking items that I love.  I especially enjoy discovering new places to look for my boys clothes.  And I'm going to snag a few dresses for my nieces! These are some of the cute things they have this spring...

P.S. I was not sponsored to promote this company, it's just something too good not to pass along! 

Friday, May 20, 2016

Hospital Bag Checklist for C-Section + Free Printable

My c-section is scheduled for June 10th, and I hope to make it until that date!  But, just in case, I started putting together my hospital bag this week (thanks for all the feedback over on snapchat: meg_leanderson).  The first time around, I packed more than I needed and I wasn't planning on having a C-section.  Taking that experience into consideration, I created a checklist for my hospital bag and made it downloadable for anyone else who may be packing their bags too!

Some of my favorite items: 
Bag- I love the canvas zip top bags from Land's End.  They are very similar to the LL Bean boat and totes, but I like this version better because of the zip top, interior pockets which are convenient for packing and the front exterior pocket. This one is a size XL and it should fit all of my stuff and the baby's.  Right now they are on sale!
Nursing bra- these from cosabella are my new favorites
Nursing and C-section friendly PJs- I love this one because it will be flowy over my stomach and is nursing friendly; it also came with a cute robe.  And I love night shirts like this
Baby stuff- The gowns from kissy kissy and receiving blankets from magnolia baby are wonderful for coming home and the boppy cover is from Pottery Barn Kids

-The first time around I ordered a Bravado nursing tank only to end up in tears at the hospital to find it was too small for me a few days after the baby.  While it ended up being great in the longer term, I would recommend purchasing a cheaper one in a larger size for immediately post baby.  Target has some great options.  
-Going to the bathroom can be a traumatic experience after a c-section and is necessary before leaving the hospital.  Probiotics and fiber supplements are a girls best friend; I'll likely be bringing those to the hospital too. 

I am hopeful that with some foresight and mental preparation, this will be a smoother experience than with James Robert.  Last time, I was in labor for 27 hours before being rushed into a c-section; this time, it feels like a luxury to know the date and be able to plan.  And because regardless of how a baby is delivered, it is an incredible celebration, I'll be packing the bubbles this time too!  

(click image to view larger, download or print)
Download or prink checklist here.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Watermelon and Strawberry Homemade Popsicles

There has been a constant supply of watermelon in my refrigerator over the past couple weeks; I can't get enough!  I think it may be my biggest pregnancy craving of all. I've been adding it to my water to infuse the flavor, eating it by the bowl full and most recently making these watermelon and strawberry popsicles.

If watermelon doesn't scream summertime, I don't know what does. And with Memorial Day in the not-too distant future, these could be a great addition to a BBQ.

If you follow me on snapchat (meg_leanderson), you saw that I was experimenting with some homemade popsicle recipes.  James Robert has been begging to make them, so with all my watermelon in the fridge, I thought it would be the perfect time to try!

I've been pinning away homemade popsicle ideas, but ultimately went with the easiest and healthiest version I could find- this requires only 3 ingredients and they are lower in sugar than most which make them a treat I feel good about giving and enjoying myself.

We used watermelon, strawberries and a little bit of maple syrup for sweetening.  Mix that all up in a blender (I love our ninja) and then pour into your desired molds.

I don't have precise measurements for this, but that was the beauty, you really don't need them; you can't really mess this up!  For the small popsicle molds, I used about 2 cups of chopped watermelon (seedless) and about 1 cup of strawberries, hulled and about 2 tablespoons of maple syrup.

My mother-in-law found these popsicle molds at Ikea, which I really like because they are the perfect size for toddlers (not too big).  But I also have my eyes on a set of these; we received one from a birthday party gift bag and they are also a good size plus really cute!

PS.  I have updated my recipe index with the most recent recipes here

Monday, May 16, 2016


Mat has an uncanny ability to capture me candidly; anyone who knows us has probably shared a laugh or two over the sneaky funny videos or pictures he’s taken of me over the years…(thank goodness he’s not on snapchat).  Most of the time I laugh along hysterically, but there are more times than I’d like to admit that he captures something that he finds endearing only to hear me grumble in critique.  

Back in January, when I chose the word courage as my word for 2016, one of my goals was to be courageously authentic.  And as much as I hate to admit it, that can be very hard for me on social media. 

Particularly, as my pregnancy has progressed, I walk the fine line of love and and embarrassment for my bourgeoning body.  I am in awe of all that it is capable of and I love the life that stirs inside of me.  But I also feel self-conscious at times with a belly out-to-there.

I so badly wanted to document this pregnancy as it will likely be the last time I go through it.  My goal was to take a weekly picture. But as the months have progressed, I have found it harder and harder to take a picture of myself that I feel good about.  How sad is that? 

This past weekend, Mat found me in the soon-to-be-nursery nesting up a storm.  He took a few pictures of me which I quickly dismissed. But he very sweetly urged that I let go of control and allow him choose a picture to post of me for the week.  

What he chose touches my heart.  When I look beyond the idea of what I typically post, I saw myself through his eyes. And pregnant or not, that is a gift.  When I looked at this picture, I saw a crazy nesting lady.  He saw his beautiful wife preparing for the birth of his son.  I saw unposed.  He saw a mother and her caring.  But then I saw it too- it’s authentic.  It’s a real moment that he felt worth documenting and I couldn’t be more grateful to see life through his eyes. 

It does take courage, and perhaps another pair of eyes, for me to unfilter my life on this blog and social media.  But in the end, that’s what I hope to do. I hope this place on the internet can be a space that celebrates the styled and wildly-unstyled moments of life.  Because both are to be celebrated.  

For the next couple of weeks, my husband suggested that we do an experiment where he gets to pick one picture of me that documents my pregnancy to post per week.  I’ll be over on Instagram using the hashtag, #throughhiseyes.  

I invite you to join in! I invite you to let your significant other pick a photo to post.  What would they choose? Maybe you’d be surprised to find out what they see through their lens too!

Follow along on Instagram here

Friday, May 13, 2016

5 Tips for Parents of Children with Food Allergies

This week is food allergy awareness week.  Chances are that if you don’t have a food allergy in your family, you know someone who does.   I still remember vividly the day that James Robert was diagnosed with his peanut allergy; it was one of those life-changing events that touches your family in a way that is difficult to understand until it’s your child.  

I can’t speak for every food-allergy parent, but it has been anxiety-producing for me.  It can feel overwhelming to provide constant diligence to protect your child. It changes the way that you think, plan and travel and live on many levels. 

I’m so thankful for campaigns like the one that FARE is putting on this week in order to raise awareness. Did you see the Empire state building lit up for the occasion?
eating out and travel can be stressful and require a lot more planning, but it's still possible!
We’ve been successfully avoiding peanuts since he was 8 months old and I have learned a lot along the way.  To any new parent who is dealing with a food allergy diagnosis,  I remember being in your shoes.  It does get easier.   

There are so many things that you will be doing to take care of your child.  But I urge you to also take care of yourself.  It can be a scary and sometimes overwhelming road.  Not that I have all the answers, but with time, I have learned a few things to lighten the load. 

These are my top recommendations for food-allergy parents:
  • Find a support system from other parents of children with allergies.  Join an online group in your area (there are many on Facebook or your allergist can usually recommend some) or seek out the other parents at school who understand.  Forge friendships and share your concerns and your best practices.  I can’t tell you how much it has helped me to find solace in other parents who have walked the road ahead of me.
  • Find an allergist that you trust and that speaks your language.  We visited a few allergists before finding one that we really liked.  And don’t be afraid to ask questions!   
  • Support allergy awareness and be an advocate for the cause. As my son gets older, it has been helpful to participate in things like the FARE campaign, Teal Pumpkin Project, at halloween and also provide allergy safe snacks at some of his play dates.  I find that many other Mom’s have NO intention of being hurtful, they simply don’t know or understand allergies.
  • Be prepared that there will likely be awkward conversations in order to be your child’s advocate.  I’ve had to ask friends to refrain from certain foods or directly discuss actions I wasn’t comfortable with and it can be hard.  But ultimately it is my responsibility to keep my son safe while he is little.  Take solace in knowing that you might feel like you're fumbling along, but we all are.  
  • Make peace with your epi-pen.  We have yet to use ours, but initially, I viewed the eli-pen with as much fear as I did the allergic reaction.  I had a lot of anxiety about using it and how hard it would be for my son.  But I now try to take comfort in knowing that I have something life-saving at my finger tips.  While you don't want to have it be the default action, having to use the epi-pen is NOT a failure. Once I made that paradigm shift, I took a lot of pressure off myself.
My heart goes out to families who are dealing with anaphylaxis allergies on a daily basis, especially those who have multiple severe allergies.  I recently read a study about how the stress of food allergies can affect parents adversely, perhaps even chronically.  I hope that any Moms reading this post will feel free to email me or comment below if they want to connect further!  

P.S. I love all the inspiration over at Petite Allergy Treats and I recently discovered the wonderful site, Safe Happy Family

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Sweet Cheeks: Call Me A Beauty Counter Convert

After months of piqued interested, I reached out to a local Beauty Counter representative and asked to  sample some of their products.  Luckily, they started shipping to Canada about 8 weeks ago and their makeup line will be available here starting this month.

I've been especially interested in trying their face wash, but wasn't sure which one was for me.  I have mentioned before how hard it has been to find a replacement for Cetaphil that is more natural.  After a few weeks of using their Nourishing Cream Cleanser, I can confidently say I'm a convert.  I love that it is gentle enough to double as a eye makeup remover and also makes my skin feel cleansed but not tight.  

In preparation for having a newborn, I've been thinking a lot about the beauty products I use.  Especially when they are so little and you have so much skin-to-skin contact, I like to be mindful of what I am putting on my skin as it will be shared.  I feel great about these products! Void of harmful chemicals; they are made with stringent standards (more here).

Coincidently,  they recent came out with a line of baby products too.  I was able to sample the baby balm and am hooked.  This stuff is gold! 

James Robert has suffered with eczema since he was a baby.  His cheeks are an area that tend to especially suffer; they get ruddy and chapped easily even in warmer weather.  Many doctors have recommended aquaphor, which is a useful product, but not at all natural.  The baby balm from Beauty counter cleared up his chapped cheeks in just two applications.  It easily massages into the skin and doesn't leave a residue or stickiness.  After trying literally dozens of products, I can say this one has worked the best for us by far. 

This is in no way a sponsored post, and after sampling I eagerly purchased both of these on my own. but These two products were too good not to share!

 P.S.  Here are some of my other green beauty favorites.  Or click on the wellness tab above for more!


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