Mommy-Itis

If you are looking for a legitimate excuse to get a day off work, Mommy-Itis is not the answer, although it sounds pretty justifiable, right? As a matter of fact, Mommy-Itis doesn’t affect Mommys directly at all, it affects young children, so if you need a day off work, I suggest eating an under-cooked piece of chicken.

Mommy-Itis is defined as the complete and utter obsession of a young child with their Mommy, whereas Daddy is, in the young child’s mind, incapable of doing anything as good as Mommy, and results in Mommy doing everything. It is a very common, ‘ailment’ amongst young children, in fact, both of my kids have had a severe case, and my youngest is still in the throws of it. There is an advantage to Mommy-Itis; Mommy is perceived as a Goddess or equivalent, which is a total ego boost. Unfortunately for Dad, this is not the case, Dad is perceived more as a servant or minion.

There is no quick fix for Mommy-Itis. If Mommy is near the, ‘affected’ child, Mommy must perform all child related duties. This is one of those, ‘you can run but you can’t hide types of things’…the only way said child will allow Dad slide on a Pull-Up, is for Mommy to be at least 500 metres away. If Mommy is within yelling distance, Daddy is dunzo. There is not much use in fighting it, because more often than not, it will result in an unpleasant experience.

The good news is that this gets better, it will take years, but there is light at the end of the tunnel, maybe at the 4 year mark. As time progresses, Dads may even become cooler than Moms (especially as Dads are more lenient with car keys and curfews), resulting in Daddy-Itis with teenagers – good luck Dads.

So, for Moms in the heat of Mommy-Itis right now, just ride it out, pour yourself a glass of wine at the end of the day, as it was likely exhausting.  Make an attempt to allow Dad to step in when possible, but don’t fight it if there is resistance…letting young children, ‘cry it out’ doesnt work the same way as when you were sleep training. Enjoy being a Goddess, it is not the worst thing in the world.

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On a side note, the leggings you see in the photos are the nicest, softest leggings I’ve ever worn. I am not a fashionista, but these leggings are a total gem. Really great Canadian company called, ‘SweetLegs‘ with leggings for all shapes and sizes, even the kiddos.

 

Sweet Potatoes for Dessert

The words, ‘sweet potato’ and, ‘brownie’ are not words you would think to find in the same sentence. Strangely enough, they actually go together quite well, and not just in the same sentence, in an actual dessert. I love chocolate, and so does Adam and the girls. I like sweet potatoes, but my family wouldn’t go near them with a 10 foot pole, unless they are in the form of a fry. Initially, I thought this would pose a problem when making sweet potato brownies, but amazingly, it didn’t.

I love sneaking healthy ingredients into desserts. The best thing about these brownies is that you would never know they are loaded with nutrient rich sweet potatoes because they are amazingly delicious. They are decadent, chocolaty and have passed the kid, husband and friend test with flying colours. I feel no guilt in serving them to my family, or eating multiple on my own (and I have). The whole batch lasted less than 24 hours. Eat them on their own, or if you are feeling really adventurous, serve them with my chocolate avocado ice cream (https://myflockoffour.com/2016/02/22/ice-cream-thats-good-for-you/).

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Here is the Recipe for the Sweet Potato Brownies – It Makes 16:
1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 Cup Cocoa Powder
1 TSP Baking Powder
1/4 TSP Salt
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
3/4 Cup Honey or Agave Nectar
1/3 Cup Coconut Oil – Melted
1 TSP Vanilla
2 Eggs
1 1/2 Cup Sweet Potatoes
1/2 Cup Ground Walnuts (optional)
1/2 Cup Mini Dark Chocolate Chips

Here is the Recipe for the Chocolate Ganache Topping (optional but a delicious addition):
1/2 Cup Dark Chocolate Chips
1/4 Cup Almond Milk

Here are the Directions for the Sweet Potato Brownies:
1. Preheat Oven to 350F (on convection setting if you have).

2. Wash 1 large sweet potato well, dry and bake for about an hour. Once the potato is baked and cool, blend it until it is super smooth (no lumps), then begin making the brownie batter.

3. Line an 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper, or lightly grease a non-stick 8 x 8 baking pan.

4. In a bowl, sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt until combined.

5. In another bowl combine the brown sugar, honey/agave, coconut oil and mix until combined. Then add the eggs and vanilla and mix until combined.

6. In batches, add the dry ingredients to your wet ingredients. Once all combined, add the sweet potato and mix until combined.

7. Add your chocolate chips and ground walnuts and mix until combined.

8. Pour the batter into your baking pan, spread it evenly, then bake for about 20 minutes.

Here are the Direction for the Chocolate Ganache Topping:

1. In a double boiler (small pot filled with a little water, boil water, add metal bowl on top of pot) melt your chocolate chips.

2. Slowly add almond milk and combine until the ganache is the consistency you want. I like it a little runnier because it is easier to work with and you end up using less – which means you will likely have some leftover and when nobody is looking you can eat it on its own with a glass of red.

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Enjoy! Would love to hear your thoughts on the recipe if you try it. More sneaky and delicious desserts to come.

Surviving Solo Travel with Kids

A few months ago, I made the decision to travel with my kids, without my husband. There was no booze involved in the decision, it was made with a completely conscious mind. After the plane tickets were purchased, I was committed, and a feeling of complete and utter panic set in…this was happening. If you have ever traveled with your kids, traveling with both parents present is a big production. Just the sheer amount of stuff you need to lug through the airport requires a team of Sherpas, then there is the crankiness that ensues, and more often than not, there will be a spill on the plane which requires a two person clean-up. After experiencing travel just like this, I actually made the decision to do this on my own…and lived to tell about it. Here are a few things I learned that made the journey relatively, ‘painless’.

  1. Get to the airport early. If you think you are at the airport early, when travelling alone with your kids, early is not early enough. I learned this the hard way. Try running through the airport pushing a stroller, dragging a piece of luggage, two car seats, a diaper bag, a backpack and a four year old. It is not a pretty sight, but if this happens to you, keep a smile on your face and don’t show your inner panic…you will look like Super Mom. I recommend avoiding this situation…get there really super early.
  2. Pay whatever it costs and select your seats in advance. For some bizarre reason, airlines think it is okay to separate children from their parents. Believe it or not, I was separated from my kids in both directions of our journey. Luckily some passengers volunteered their seats so I can sit with my kids. I regretted the move about half way though the flight, when the spill occurred and I spent the remainder of the flight in orange juice soaked pants.
  3. You bring it, you lug it. Bring a variety of entertainment for the kids, but as little as possible. They will get bored of everything you bring in 15 minutes anyway, so might as well make your life easier.
  4. If you are going to bring something, bring food. If they are eating, they are not complaining.
  5. Relax. There are many things about travel that are out of your control, especially how your kids behave. Know that you will eventually get to where you are going; there is a light at the end of the recycled air sardine can you are in, and if someone loves you, there will be a very strong cocktail waiting for you at the other end.

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If you are embarking on a journey alone with your kids…or not, safe travels. Happy March Breaking. Would love to hear any other advice you have for traveling parents. Leave a comment🙂

 

 

Let Them Be Little

Kids grow up fast, real fast. One moment they are sitting in the back of the car singing the ABCs, then next moment they are singing ‘hot line bling’. If you think about it, childhood is just small portion of life, not even 10%…I’m not sure who decided that childhood should be so short, but whoever made the decision, they totally got things backwards.

As parents, we want to raise our children to be functioning members of society. We want them to be good people, to know right from wrong, to think before they speak and not to pick their nose in public. As parents, it is our job to teach our children these things, especially how to use a Kleenex.  Of course, the earlier we start to teach our children, the better, the more we teach our children, the better, but remember, they are only children for so long, and sometimes we just have to, ‘let them be little’.

Sometimes I have to stop and think about what I am teaching my kids; is it such a bad thing that they are jumping on the bed? Or painting their faces with apple sauce? Or wearing no pants? Do I need to tell my kids not to do these things? Will they be bad people if they jump on the bed? Will they not understand right from wrong if they paint their faces with apple sauce? The answer is no, they will turn out completely fine. The no pants thing will have to stop at some point, but while they have cute little tushes, might as well let them roam pants-free.

So next time you are going to use the words, ‘no’ or, ‘don’t do that’ think about why. Relax the rules and let your kids enjoy being children, doing the things that children do, because before you know it, they will be all grown up, and wearing no pants won’t be so cute anymore. It takes a change in mindset to ease-up on the discipline, but it is such a beautiful thing to watch your kids run naked through a fountain without a care in the world, or laugh like crazy while jumping on the bed. So let them be little, because they are only that way for just a little while.

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I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, so please leave a comment below. If you think this post will benefit others, please share.

 

 

 

 

 

Ice Cream That’s Good for You

I get a great sense of satisfaction feeding my family healthy food. What’s an even greater sense of satisfaction is when my family is eating something healthy and they have no idea. Sometimes I quietly snicker and think to myself, haha, tricked you! Only if they knew what they were eating sometimes, I would probably be banned from the kitchen forever.

I was actually born with ice cream in my genetic makeup, so it is not my fault that if I had the choice, I could survive eating ice cream only (and drinking wine). Who doesn’t like ice cream? I don’t think that many people. It is unfortunate that such a delicious food has about a bazillion calories and next to no nutritional value. That’s about to change.

I made my, ‘good for you’ ice cream this weekend and was feeding it to Adam and the kids (they do my recipe quality control) when I told Adam what was in the ice cream, he was in total shock. I didn’t tell the kids, I just let them devour it…all of it.

This ice cream is made with no cream at all. It is made with avocados and banana for the base, a little natural sweetener and a touch of chocolate for flavour, so it is loaded with vitamins and minerals. Consider this recipe a base for whatever you like in your ice cream, add pureed fruit, peanut butter, or live a little and add sprinkles.

Here is the Recipe – It Makes 8 Servings – or 1 Gigantic Bowl for You:
4 Ripe Avocados
1 Banana
1/2 Cup Agave Nectar or Honey
1 TSP Vanilla Extract
2/3 Cup Bitter Sweet Chocolate – Melted

Here are the Directions:
1. In your food processor blend the avocado and banana until smooth

2. Add the agave/honey and vanilla and blend until combined

3. Add the warm melted chocolate and blend until combined

4. Pour ice cream mixture into a bowl and put into the freezer for at least an hour.

5. Serve with your favorite toppings and enjoy!

6. If you like this recipe…let me know in the comments below, and of course share it with your friends, they will love you even more.

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Keeping THEIR Cool – Kids & Stress

Kids are kind of like adults, except they are cuter, they can’t drink (legally), they can’t drive and they can’t cook – minus the drinking part, being a kid doesn’t sound half bad to me, I can live without driving and cooking. Like adults, kids also experience stress, who knew! I have always been envious of the carefree life children lead, but knowing that stress is a component, my envious feelings have been slightly weakened.

Adam and I participated in a workshop a few months ago on stress and how it affects children. It happened to be on the same night as game 5 of the ALCS, a critical night for the Blue Jays, so I am not sure how much, ‘paying attention’ there was, but it was a good reminder to be mindful of this very common emotion children feel, how to identify it and how to manage it.

Children demonstrate stress in many of the same ways adults do, they can be irritable, have trouble sleeping, want to eat more, have trouble getting along with friends, get stomach aches, headaches, and my two favourite forms of self-expression, whining and crying.  This is where not being able to have a glass of wine would be troubling for me, wine solves a lot of problems, especially stress.

Stress can come from many different situations, some which we can control, and some which are just a part of life and learning and we can’t control, but can certainly help to manage. Here are some very common situations where stress for kids can arise:

•  Change – moving to a new home, school (not controllable)
•  Having too much to do – overloaded with activities (controllable)
•  Having trouble at school with friends or schoolwork (semi-controllable)
•  Getting yelled at (semi-controllable)
•  Feeling rushed (controllable)
•  Feeling lonely (semi-controllable)

Put yourself in your child’s shoes, if you are getting rushed out of your house and getting yelled at to hurry up, how would you feel? Stressed! If you were overloaded with things to do and had no time to relax, how would you feel? Stressed! What does this result in? Irritable and whiny children. Do we want that? No! Something I’ve put into practice is to put myself into my children’s shoes, and if I know I’d feel stress in a particular situation, I try to be mindful that they probably would as well. I’ve been conscious  of this and it has worked wonders – reduced whining and crying, awesome. A few small changes, like not overloading your kids with activities, allowing enough time to get out of the house and being conscious of the yelling (yeah, I know, it is hard) can really make a difference. For the stressful situations you can’t control, love, comfort and understanding are huge.

If all else fails, there is wine, for you, not your kids. Have an awesome and stress-free weekend.

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The Flock in 20.4 Megapixels

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Phone cameras are convenient, especially when I am pushing a stroller, holding Kaylee because she doesn’t want to sit in the stroller, holding Maiya’s hand and lugging our gear for the afternoon – I really don’t need anything else to carry. My phone sits conveniently in my purse, doesn’t take up any extra room and takes a marginally okay photograph. As the kids are getting older, and Adam and I are trying to capture as many moments as possible, I’ve noticed that our moments are a little fuzzy. So this weekend I decided, no more fuzzy moments, time to invest in an actual camera that takes great photos.

So this weekend I dragged my husband and kids camera shopping. A few things I’ve learned from camera shopping:

1. There are a billion cameras out there that all appear to do almost the same thing, with slight differences, for a huge range of prices. Totally overwhelming.

2. You don’t need to spend a fortune to get a fantastic camera.

3. Great cameras come in small packages.

4. Do not take your kids camera shopping – it is a liability.

I really wanted the crème de la crème in compact cameras, but that comes at a fairly significant cost. After a lot of shopping, comparing and chasing my children through Best Buy, I ended up with the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX60, which is an awesome camera. It takes SLR quality pictures, but I am able to cram it into my purse, somewhere between the wipes and the spare pull-up fairly easily, and it really doesn’t add a lot of extra weight. Adam and I have been playing around with it and have already captured some adorable photos of the girls. We have been running after them with the camera all weekend…unfortunately they have started running away.

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