Being a mom is hard + freezer cookie recipe

Today was going well. We had a little time with daddy before he left for work. We put Dakota in a beautiful dress and Oliver was using the toilet like a champ. The egg sandwiches for breakfast were delicious, the sun was out, we played outside, and then...

Life got hard. 

As I walked in the kitchen to grab our bowls of salad for lunch (leaving my 2 yr old son and 2mo old daughter alone in the family room - not the best idea I realize) I heard a scream. 

I ran in to see Dakota obviously hurt and Oliver trying to defend himself. "I not hurt her mommy" he told me. Except the big white mark on her forehead surrounded by red was telling a different story. As I realized the severity of the situation (considering the worst- perhaps he had kicked her or thrown something hard at her head) I told him I needed the truth now. 

Since he was insistent that this wasn't his fault I told him to sit on his bed and think until I could calm her down and talk to him. I started crying before she stopped. She looked really hurt and I had no idea what had happened. I opened Oliver's door with the remnants of tears on my face, and Dakotas, and told him that we are on the same team. 

I told him our family needs Dakota to be better. We love her and need to help her ouchie. I don't know how to help her ouchie if I don't understand how it happened. "Did you use your hands? Your feet? A toy?" He stayed silent. I decided to give him space so he wouldn't get overwhelmed and not trust me with his truth. 

Minutes later he showed up holding organic hand cream and bandaids. "I help Koko's ouchie" he stated. I smiled, and he burst out crying, from guilt. Finally, finally, he let it out. "I use Koko's head for playing cars" he admitted and showed me on the carpet how he scratched his fingers along a road-like path. I felt relief not only because the white mark was simply a finger scratch, but because Oliver had learned a vital lesson in confession. That the consequence of lying (Dakota being hurt with no way of getting better) was far worse than the consequence of his bad choice. 

A no pants photo from earlier this week

It's so hard being a mom, but so worth it. 

Once they calmed down and both fell asleep I used the spare time to make a comforting snack. I needed it!  

I've posted this before but here's a halved version for when you're in need of a small, quick snack. 

Freezer cookies
Boil: 2 T butter or coconut oil, 1 cup raw sugar, 2 T milk & 2 T cocoa powder, for one minute. Add 2 T peanut butter, 1 1/2
cups oats and 1 tsp vanilla. Drop on a cookie sheet and freeze. Once frozen you can keep them in a container.

Broccoli white cheddar twice baked potatoes recipe

That darn photo of potato skins wouldn't get out of my head. I thought about it all day long. Food does that to me: preoccupies my mind. What's for dinner? Heck, what's for snack right now? How can I transform these groceries into something I'll remember?

So I made a slightly healthed-up version of the potato skins I'd been fantisizing about. A good dosing of broccoli and a switch from frying to broiling did the trick. 

And yes I ate them at 5:01pm because that's the exact right time to eat a dinner you've been craving for hours.


3 medium potatoes, I used yellow fleshed
3 tsp butter
1.5 cups broccoli
3oz white cheddar cheese 
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400F. 
Bake potatoes, whole, for 50 minutes. Let cool or be a superhero and handle them sizzling.
Cut open into halves and remove all potato flesh (leaving the skin intact) then spread 1/2 tsp butter on each. 
Switch the oven to broil mode and let heat. 
Meanwhile steam broccoli in boiling water or the microwave for 2 minutes, until a little soft and very green. 
Broil potato skins for 4 minutes. Don't let them burn.
Meanwhile, mix potato flesh with broccoli (drained of liquid and chopped) and cheese (shredded or finely cubed) plus salt and pepper. Mash out large clumps. Cheese will melt. 
Pull out skins and fill with broccoli mixture, dividing equally. It's okay if they seem over-filled. 
Broil again until barely golden, about 5 minutes.
Feel free to serve with sour cream to dip but these taste great as is!

Paleo Coconut Macaroons Recipe

If there's one thing Oliver likes as much as scissors, it's "beaters". Before you think he means brass knuckles or something, no, just a plain old hand mixer for kitchen recipes. 

Tonight Daddy was out at a concert so we decided to have a cookie making date, as we usually do. And what better than a simple coconut macaroon. By using honey as a sweetener it becomes both paleo and Amy approved!

1/4 cup honey
2 egg whites 
A pinch of sea salt 
2 1/4 cups unsweetened coconut flakes
Preheat the oven to 350. 
Use the "beaters" to froth up the egg whites with the honey and salt. Mix in the coconut.  
Place in small 1-2 tablespoon clumps on a lined cookie sheet. 

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden. Let cool! 

Chai caramel popcorn recipe

A sticky-sweet and spicy popcorn recipe came up on my blog feed a long time ago and I haven't been able to get it out of my head. Oliver and I love to pop up a batch of heirloom kernels with coconut oil and sea salt but this special treat deserves a place in our snack rotation. 

A splash of oil
1/2 cup popcorn kernels 
1 cup butter or vegan margarine 
2 cups raw sugar
1/2 cup ginger syrup (we use a delicious organic one from the ginger people company; alternatively you could use maple syrup, gmo-free corn syrup or make your own homemade ginger syrup by boiling 1/2 cup water with 1/2 cup sugar and a knob of ginger cut in small cubes)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp each cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves 
You could also add black tea leaves and black pepper to be more authentic 

Heat the kernels in the oil until they are all popped. Lay them on a baking sheet. Preheat oven to 200 F. 
Make the caramel: boil the butter, sugar and syrup for 4 minutes. Take off the heat and add the baking soda, spices and salt. Pour over the popcorn. Toss, carefully. 
Bake for 10 minutes then toss. Repeat another two times. 
Let cool and then place in a bowl to serve. 

Sleeping arrangements for toddler & infant

Of all the things on my mind when Cal and I found out we were expecting #2, the most pressing was: how will we sleep?

And I don't mean, of what quality or quantity... I literally mean, how? Where? In what arrangement?

I'm a huge lover of bed sharing. There is no easier way to raise a newborn than nursing, laying down, in your own bed. It requires almost no effort, although please read up on safety suggestions!

That being said, our support of co-sleeping extended much further than we thought with dear Oliver and it became that he was welcome to choose between his own bed in his room, or ours, every night. 

So with a new one coming I had to think out the logistics. A newborn can't safely sleep beside a toddler. I don't want to move his bed gate to our bed and have one of them sleep on the outside because then there's no gate on his own bed when he uses it. And don't I want to sleep beside my husband? And will anyone get enough sleep!

The solution; a side car co-sleeper! It was lent to me by a friend. It attaches beside my side of the bed and allows Dakota to have her own sort-of crib-ish space that's close enough to pull off middle-of-the-night nursing sessions from. This opens up Oliver's chance to climb in when desired. And leaves me sleeping beside my man! Win-win-win-win. 

Other hilarious arrangements include:
1. All four of us in our room but with Oliver exactly on top of me.
2. Dakota and I in Oliver's bed, and him with dad my bed (on grumpy baby nights, for max sleeping)
3. The opposite: boys there, girls in the big bed. 
4. Mom with both kids, dad rocking solo (big day at work the next morning, not feeling well, just happened that way, etc)
And of course,
5. Mom, dad, Dakota together. Oliver out for a slumber party. 

Here's how it looks:

Our bedroom. A queen plus a side car. 

Oliver's room. A double with a bed rail that can be hidden away under the mattress. 

Dakotas room. A crib for naps or mommy-needs-a-minute time. 

How do you arrange your family's sleep?

Easter craft using toilet paper rolls

My littles made these bunnies from toilet paper rolls. 

1. Remove any remaining paper from roll. 
2. Chop 2 small rings from the top for ears.  Attach with glue. 
3. Paint whatever colour you like/have. 
4. Attach glitter pipe cleaner pieces with a sewing needle. 
5. Add googley eyes, hair bows, ties, etc. 
6. Draw mouths and lashes. Enjoy. 

2 months & 32 months update


Size -- almost 10 lbs, size 3 month clothes. She's slowing down in growth which is technically (and emotionally) juuuust fine. 

Food -- the breast is still best but her soother takes a close second. She nurses every 2-3 hrs during the day then at 8pm, 11pm and not til 5 or 6am. Thanks love!

Activities -- being held sitting up... Also rolling over although I'm trying to pretend this never happened. She likes being smiled at and playing the hop hop hop game with daddy. 

Favs -- smiling, especially with brother-bear. Being cute in general. And then quickly switching to being grumpy-cat as soon as I try to take a photo. Snapped this one though!

Least favs -- immunizations: she cried uncontrollably for a while. I was like, hold on, I thought nursing solves everything. I am so close to anti-vax but I choose to research each one individually and give some/ not give others. So I'm glad she won't get diphtheria but the afternoon sucked! (Look at this "go the heck to sleep now" face I'm giving) 


Size --  just right for a back carry in a Guatemalan sling by Aunty Angela apparently. One of these days I'll weigh him, just to know. 

Food -- Oliver is getting his last fill of cheesy meals as I transition to less dairy-filled meals since I'm trying to be dairy free myself and making two different versions of meals is sucking. Pictured below is vegan cheese sauce but he had the real deal made from havarti.   

Activities -- kidscape! The local tunnels-and-slides type indoor playground is our newfound love. He also loves "chopping" so I give him a plastic knife and something soft like a banana or avocado and let him go crazy. Yesterday I was like "where's the avocado I gave you to chop?" And he says "oh I eat it. Sorry mommy."  Love him. Did I mention scissors last month? Those too. (I've officially made him sound like a future assassin right?) The photo is Ollie at kidscape with his best friend Abigail, on the interactive floor, evidently not actually interacting with the floor at all. 

Favs -- an old classic: house chores. We created a sound barrier for Dakota using blanket. She totally didn't wake up. 

Least favs -- being quiet. (Thanks for the soother pictured below, uncle Dave, aunt Rose, Alex and Luke) I'm sure it was meant for Dakota since Ollie doesn't take a soother anymore (since age 1) but when I saw the volume knob I knew he had to give it a test drive.