Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Mex-I-Can: Slow-Cooker Tex-Mex Chicken

I guess I'm on a slow-cooker kick, but seriously, it doesn't get much easier than this.  Dinner that cooks itself?! Yes please!  This recipe turned out super yummy.  I served it over brown rice and topped it with Avocado.
Delicious, healthy & even better for lunch the next day.
The Goods:
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch-wide strips
2 tbsp taco seasoning mix
2 tbsp flour
1 green & 1 red pepper, cut into 1-inch-wide strips
1-1/2 cups chunky salsa
1 cup corn
1 cup Tex Mex Shredded Cheese

Make It:

Toss chicken with taco seasoning and flour in slow-cooker. 
Stir in all remaining ingredients, except cheese & cover with lid.
Cook on LOW 6 to 8 hours (or on HIGH 3 to 4 hours).
Stir occasionally.
Top with cheese.

xo,  Kiara


Monday, September 24, 2012

e.l.f. Makeup Review

     I know it's not quite Hallowe'en yet, but it's about to get scary up in here.

     I recently impulse bought a tonne of e.l.f products online because, one; how convenient is it that I needed new makeup the same day my mat. cheque got deposited into my bank account, and two; C probably won't want to go to college anyway, so who's needs a savings account...totally kidding.

     I tried not to over do it, but everything by e.l.f is super inexpensive, and let's eyeslipsface it, sometimes I buy a lot of something that I don't need just because it's on sale.  After a week of obsessively checking the mailbox, so that I could get to my loot before the hubby did,  it showed up in my living room this morning, in the hands of a not so impressed looking man.  Sorry! but not that sorry.

So $43.00 and some free shipping later, and here's what I ended up with...

I haven't been this excited since I fit into my pre-preggers skinny jeans!

Because I need this many brushes, because I'm a professional... no, but they were $12.

Pumped about this high def powder.

Mineral Infused Face Primer ($6)  :  blah blah mineral whatever.  This primer is a gel.  I put it on after my usual Nivea moisturizer.  It basically soaks up any left over oil from your moisturizer and leaves your skin feeling silky.    

Flawless Finish Foundation ($6): I used a foundation brush to apply this foundation using upward strokes.  It was soft and matched my skin colour.  It also didn't leave my skin too dry like I find to be the case with most foundations.

High Definition Powder ($6) : My usual powder is Make Up Forever HD from Sephora ($32).  This powder is so similar that if you switched the container I wouldn't know the difference.  It gave me the matte look that I love.
This is Fun!
 I'm horrible at doing eye makeup and this is everything you need for a smoky eye look and it's easy!  The eyeshadow blended well, the eyeliner was foolproof, and the mascara was pretty decent and not clumpy at all.

Nude Nail Polish $2.00 and Ballet Slippers Lip Gloss $3.00

I love nude nail polish! This polish goes on amazing for a cheap $2 deal and with a decent top coat I'm thinking it will last.  They have a sweet assortment of colours too.

The Glossy Gloss goes on thick, but I like that occasionally because it lasts.  It also smells amazing.

This is where it gets scary... 
WARNING - some images may be disturbing.

Dear lord it hurts to look...
That's better! minus the weirdo grin

The smoky eye look is more for a 'Tequila Tuesday' night out.  There are a few other "get the look" sets that are more natural and day time friendly... you know... for 'Sangria Sunday' afternoons.

Note:  I'm pretty sure I woke up with some sort of flu this morning, hence the pale, clammy undertone to my skin.  I guess I picked a bad day for a trial run, but you get the point.  Also, e.l.f did not sponsor this post in any way, but if they would like to give me some free stuff for saying all kinds of nice things about their products, I probably wouldn't turn it down. :)

xo,  Kiara

Sunday, September 23, 2012

10 Things I Wish I Knew Before C Showed Up

1. Babies are actually pretty smart.

     I avoided giving C certain toys when she was only a month or two old because I thought they were 'older' toys and that she wouldn't really know what to do with them.  Every time my mom came over for a visit, she ended up pulling toys out of their packaging and giving them to her.  C always got super excited and of course she thought Nana was the best.  I was left wondering why I didn't introduce them to her sooner, ie. her Exersaucer that she was instantly pro at.  I wish I knew how quickly babies learn and not to be afraid to try new things earlier on.

2.  Keeping a baby alive takes ALL your patience.

    Not just a little patience, but a whole heaping pile of it.  Nothing tests your patience like a fussy and exhausted baby that won't sleep.  You try everything.  Every position, every motion, every pacifier, and nothing works.  The only thing left to do is cry yourself.  So now you're both crying and you feel like a piece of shit parent because you can't help your kid.  And then, after doing absolutely nothing different, she passes out.  You finally get downstairs and plop down on the couch, and take a big fat sigh of relief, and she starts screaming again.  PATIENCE

3.  Gotta be flexible.

     Babies can't be put on a schedule per say.  Sometimes, if you work hard enough you can get a routine going.  And sometimes that routine might last a week or two.  And then something changes, be it a growth spurt or teething and the comfy little routine that was working so well goes to shit.  It's best just to face early on, that shit is never going to be consistent, for any length of time, ever again.  Awesome.

4.  Make it home for nap time, or else.

     If you have a million things to do and you attempt to tow your baby along with you, you're setting yourself up for failure and most likely a massive crying fit in public.  Plan your outings to be shorter than 90 minutes, until your babe can handle staying awake for longer than 2 hours at a time.  So don't plan on being efficient at errands until they're 6 months old.

5.  ALWAYS bring the diaper bag.

     Once, I thought I would only be out for half an hour, so I figured I didn't need the diaper bag.  I foolishly thought that I'd be able to shoot back home if C needed her diaper changed that bad.  NO!  Sometimes, babies take huge craps and they can be super acidic.  The instant it hit C's skin, she started wailing, gut wrenching screams... she was clearly being murdered.  I pulled the car over, crawled in the back seat, and ripped her diaper off.  She felt better instantly.  Then I had to figure out how to get her back home with poop everywhere and no diaper.  Wish I would have brought that fully loaded diaper bag that's just sitting uselessly beside the front door.

6.    Gas is a big deal.

     Cracking the code of why your baby is crying is never as simple as feed, change, rock.  Sometimes it's gas and I definitely underestimated it's power.  When you think you've exhausted all options, try a good burp session.  I never really thought it was all that important.  I always did one good burp at the end of a feeding, but usually it takes more than that.  If you're nursing, burp in between boob changes, if you're formula feeding, burp every 5 minutes.  Even if that seems a little much, you'll be surprised how much it helps.  Also, have some gripe water on hand.  It was especially helpful when I messed up huge and ate some spicy Thai for dinner.

7.  Newborn clothes are pointless.

     They grow way to fast to spend money on a million tiny outfits.  Get a handfull of onesies, some long sleeve and some short, for the first month.

8.  You can't bring your newborn to the beach.

     When I was still in pregnancy la la land, I had all these visions of bringing C along with me to the beach, where I would spend endless hours working on my tan.  Reality Check: We did not go to the beach once this summer.  What the heck are you going to do with a newborn at the beach?!  It's way to hot for them to nap, they can't sit up and play all cute in the sand, and newborns get heat rash like it's their job.  I have no idea what I was thinking... must have been all the hormones.  I'm pretty sure the same goes for winter babies.  Don't plan on taking your baby to the ski slopes this winter.   Obviously it's good to get out and get some fresh air but newborns are so sensitive to the elements. We always planned for walks in the evenings once it was cool enough.

9.  Cradle Cap is a real thing.

     It sounds made up but it's basically baby dandruff.  Some babies get dry, crusty scales on their scalp.  It's caused by leftover hormones from pregnancy.  NEVER PICK AT IT, as tempting as it may be.  Thank god for my mom because with C it started out as one scale and I was about to pick it off.  At bath time, I washed C's hair with Aveeno Baby Shampoo and lightly exfoliated her scalp with a washcloth.  Sometimes I put some baby oil on the area and it eventually went away.

10.  Set your pride aside.

     At first I felt like a big fat failure when I needed to accept help.   'What mom can't take care of her baby?'  Asking for help when you need it is important.  It's impossible to properly care for and love your baby when you're exhausting and out of patience.  Don't try to be a hero at your baby's expense. Even just a 20 minute nap helps.  Usually friends and family are more than willing to help a Momma out.

xo,  Kiara

Friday, September 21, 2012

Today, I am a Domestic Goddess.

How it all went down...
  • I made Turkey Chili
 I always just throw a bunch of things in a crock pot for Chili.  There's no science behind it and no way to mess it up.

The goods:

2lbs Ground Turkey
1 onion, diced
2 cans tomato sauce
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 can kidney beans
1/2 can whole corn
1 carrot, sliced
2 celery stalks, chopped
chili powder... no idea how taste I guess
1/2 pack clubhouse chili seasoning
salt & pepper to taste
Sriracha... a few good squirts

 It's all very accurate and precise... whatever, it turned out Yummy!
  • I took C on an Adventure wasn't quite an adventure.  It was just to the mall.  But we took the glass elevator up and down a couple times, and we discovered her new favourite toy.  Pretty Epic.

His name is Henry.  Sorry Sophie, you've been replaced.
  • I baked Brownies
...and ate more than half. Oops.
 I always use the same recipe that I desperately sough out on Pinterest once my preggers cravings kicked in.  Big thanks to it's creator! I would not have made it through that tough time without you.  You can find it here.
  • I gave myself a face makeover
Because one; my entire face needed work.  I don't get how I lose track and/or stop caring long enough to grow full on hedges where my eyebrows used to be, and two; I bought a too big bag of avocados that soon faced the fate of the compost bin.

I did not however, take any pics of the masterpiece that was my face.  I figured I'd spare you guys when I saw the look on P's face and noticed how quickly he left for his night job. (He's a stripper.  Not really. He plays bass in a sweet band, but he could be a stripper if he wanted extra cash...he does want extra cash, but he knows I'll just spend all of his ones on necessary things like baby nail polish)...FOCUS!...

If you want a soft face that feels like...
I couldn't help it...
When an opportunity presents itself to show cute baby butt, you show cute baby butt.
...blend this and start spackling...

 1/2 ripe avocado
1 whole egg
1 Tbsp Greek yogurt
1 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp EV olive oil (I wanted to use coconut oil, but we're fresh out)

I left it on for about 10 minutes... kinda burned for a few minutes...
which I know is never good when it comes to your face, but it stopped, and now my skin feels less like a desert and more like a face. Yay!

Hooray for productive/ fun days.  Now I will eat more brownies and watch a couple hours of mindless T.V.  Sometimes Mat. leave is the best kind of leave.

xo,  Kiara

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Thrifted Kitchen Shelves

Holy crap balls, thrifting is fun!  

Okay so I'm old, but at least I'm saving money.  

One trip to my local Value Village and a quick stop at Dollarama later and Voila!  This kitchen works a lotta bit better for me.  For now... until we can do a complete overhaul, once operation income suite is oh, what could be another decade.  (Touchy subject.. it's been a lot more work than we expected...)  
Anywho... here's what I found on my scavenger hunt.

$4.99 for a set of 4 of the exact cups and saucers I wanted...pretty sweet start.
All 5 frames were .99 cents, the two trays were $1.50 each, and the wicker basket was .89 cents.

...painted those suckers white.

I'm not exactly sure what I'm doing with the frames yet because they're a wee bit tiny for a kitchen.  I might track down some funky scrapbook paper to fill them with and hang them diagonally in the stairrrwelllll.

If you read my post on Kitchen Karma, you know what my kitchen looked like before.  Everything on the shelves was super random, complete with a large, out of place plant.

Here it is now... I'm kind of in love.

Things I'm still on the hunt for...

Barnwood to replace that hideous clock
Window treatments
Track light fixture
Distressed wood bread box
 Wood bowl that will hold fake limes (to replace those not-so-matchy glasses on the top shelf)

In total I spent a whopping $21.54

xo,  Kiara

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Spare Room = Creative Space

     We have this spare room on our main floor that was cluttered with all the stuff that hasn't found a home yet.  I was feeling pretty ambitious yesterday morning while C napped, so I got to work.  

     We have an "office" set up on the second floor, but since it's beside C's room, I never use it out of fear of waking her up.  I'm sure you can see where this is going... I took over the spare room that the hubs was using as a jam space, and converted it into my creative space.

     I moved in a temporary couch and threw up some old artwork that hadn't found it's place in any other room.  Like I said before, everything is very half assed and temporary, until we have the funds to buy the things we want.  I have a million eventual designs and decorating ideas for every room in our house.  This is what I came up with...

Hi random Koala Bear Framed Puzzle
I was a Registered Massage Therapist before I became a Mommy.
I always keep a vision board.  If I'm reminded every day of the things I want, it helps me stay focused on the prize...

...apparently the prize is 2 more years of school and another $10,000 of student loans.

 Some funky wall art...

  The boring stuff hidden behind the door...

Our schedule, budgeting & bills
A fun closet before and after... 

this was driving me crazy because I have OCD

And last bitchy comment about the paint and wallpaper...
seriously?! ew!

xo,  Kiara

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Breastfeeding Dilemma


     I always knew that I would breastfeed my babies for as long as I could.  That was the one parenting decision that I was stubborn about.  Aside from the obvious health reasons, breastfeeding is free and convenient...sing me up!  What I didn't know, is how demanding of a job it is.

     C latched on as soon as she was placed on my chest in the delivery room.  It was easy.  Not that I wouldn't have worked my ass of to get her on the boob, but we lucked out and things went smoothly from the start.  I remember thinking to myself, ' I get why moms nurse their toddlers.  This is awesome!'.  That's how much I loved it.

     Little did I know, that three and a half months later and I'd be ready to call it quits.  For the past week, I've been struggling with the decision to switch C over to formula.  I wrote pros and cons lists, researched the shit out of everything and anything, and finally made a decision, then changed my mind again.

     Truth is... breastfeeding was easy.  Losing your freedom for 9 months, and then deciding to continue on with the sacrifice for another year takes way more dedication than I have.  And trust me, I guilt tripped myself to the max, saying things like ' you can't even give your baby one year of your life, when she'll make you happy for the rest of yours', or 'she's grown up so fast already, and now you're going to rush her off the boob, might as well just send her off to college now'.  Yeah...pretty harsh, I know.

    Pretty much, what I wanted was my life back.  I wanted to be able to leave C with Daddy or Nana and be able to go shopping for four hours instead of having to rush back home before my three hour deadline.  I wanted to be able to have a few drinks without having to pump for a day and a half before.  I wanted to be able to take C out for the day and hand her over a bottle (not that I haven't nursed in public, it's just easier to bottle feed).  I wanted my freedom back.

     I started out trying to get C used to a bottle first.  She's one of those babies that refuses a pacifier and is repulsed by anything that isn't my nipple.  It took work, but I began pumping and only bottle feeding her so she would get used to it.

     From there,  I decided to try and strictly pump and bottle feed her.  I pumped every meal, a whole 6 ounces, 4 times a day.  I tried this for a week and then I broke down.  I found that I was constantly hooked up to the pump, and when I wasn't, I was either cleaning pump parts or feeding C her bottles.   I stopped spending quality time, patiently teaching and playing with my little babe because I was so exhausted.  That's when I draw the line.

     I'm not sorry, but anyone who guilt trips someone into breastfeeding regardless of how it's affecting their baby is sick.  I understand that breastfeeding is extremely beneficial for a baby, but it comes at a price.  I'm not willing to shut myself in all day just to pump all of C's meals, to find that we can't even do fun things together.  It's not worth it, if I'm losing precious time with her.

     The new plan on the block is to supplement with formula when I want to.  I love breastfeeding and I'm not 100% ready to give it up.  Reason # one: I love the bond that C and I have and I like being that person for her.  Reason #2, I'm terrified that my boobs are going to shrivel up when my milk goes away.  I already told the hubs that he better start investing some cash into the new boobs for mommy fund.  It's serious stuff.

     So the plan is to nurse her when I can, and supplement with formula whenever I want some freedom, ex. all day shopping spree, movie night with the girls, or consuming way too much wine for the goodness of my pearly whites.

     I tried C on Enfamil A+ today and holy crap, the kid can chug faster than her Momma at our annual Girl's Weekend.  It's like a milkshake for her and she loved it.  She didn't get gassy or crampy, and I could tell she was satisfied.  Success! ...and you better believe I had me some celebratory Kraken.

xo, Kiara



Thursday, September 6, 2012

Kitchen Karma

     When we started house hunting back in February, I knew I wanted a house that I could make into a home.  I didn't want a house that was brand new, or already finished because I wanted to do the work and make it my own.  Of course, I had a few ideas of what I wanted structurally, but nothing too concrete.

     When we first saw our house on MLS we passed on it right away because the pictures were hideous.  Then P decided to go check it out without me.  Good thing he did because he knew it was the one after the first walk through.  I saw it a few days later and I was sold as soon as I saw the kitchen.  Tip of the day : don't judge a house based on crappy website photos.

     Months earlier, I started doing what everyone does when they're excited about something...  PINNING everything to do with it.

     I found a pin of what my idea of a beautiful kitchen was.  I found this pin months before we even started looking at houses.  Actually, up until a few days ago, I completely forgot about the pin.

My kitchen is on the left....the pin is on the right.
Kinda crazy right?!

     I guess when you know what you want, and you think about it enough, things just kind of fall into place.  Obviously it's not exact, and the shelves aren't filled with all the cute things like the kitchen in the pin, but this is how I'm going to kick start Thrifty Thursday.

I'll be on the hunt for...

ceramic & silver tea pots
white cups & saucers
silver butter dish
terracotta flower pots
distressed wood bread box
small silver serving trays
white wicker plant basket
wood cutting board
barnwood for art 

xo, Kiara

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Post Baby Bod

     I'll just start by saying, once you have a baby, you have this new profound love for your body.  It's like any insecurities I once had, the usual #whitegirlproblems, instantly vanished.  By no means do I intend for this to be any kind of show off post about how I lost the baby weight.  Mostly, I think it's necessary to show how important it is to love yourself because, as a woman, you can do some seriously amazing things.  

     Your body is well equipped to make a baby in nine short months, and once you're at your worst, you somehow manage to use your own strength to maneuver that 6 plus pound baby out of your tiny frame.  How?!  It just doesn't make sense...but somehow it happens.  And after all that, you heal up and lug that heavy kid around for another couple of years.

Hold me up Momma, you're not tired!
So... here's the deal... 

     I ate everything in sight.  Like anything and everything I've ever wanted because it was good for baby.  Right? that's what you're supposed to do?

     I'm talking Dairy Queen pretty much every day, poutines, pizza coated in mild wing sauce, pastries and brownies galore.  Never did I ever want anything to do with anything green and leafy, or high in protein.  Nope...carbs and high fat dairy is where it was at.  There was no way I wanted an underweight, scrawny baby.  (Yet, she still came out at 6lbs15oz, which was skinny.)

Let's just get one of everything.
     I seriously packed it on.  And I felt bad about it when my doctor asked me if I was having a baby or an elephant.  I kid you not, those words came out of my doctor's mouth.  I felt bad about it for all of 10 minutes.  Once I left her office... I headed to the nearest Marble Slab.

Apparently my body wasn't the only thing I let go...someone needs a mani. Yikes!
     Ladies! Don't ever, ever feel bad about indulging and satisfying your cravings when you are pregnant.  There's a reason for it.  The foods that contain the highest levels of bacteria, ex. fruits and vegetables, dairy, and meat, will probably be the foods you are least interested in.  Your fetus is a little genius already.  Little smarty pants doesn't want to risk being contaminated.  Eat what your body tells you.

So here's what I did...

     I tried to stay fit once I found out I was pregnant.  I did yoga and walked around the block every night until I strained my S.I joint hiking.  Which is pretty common in pregnancy.  Once I pulled that sweet move,  I stopped most activity all together.

This must be the pretty sight that the hubs got to look at for a good 7 months straight.
     I ate everything.  If I wanted a poutine for breakfast, I got it.  When I desperately needed 4 packs of Pillsbury turnovers, I ate them all and didn't share.

     I hoped that once I popped this kid out, I would get my love of veggies back and I would start working out whenever I was ready.

     I didn't rush things.  I wanted to take advantage of my post-partum body for as long as I could.  I needed all the newborn snuggles that I could get with my soft, squishy body.   It was the best.

What do you want to do today C? This? Okay me too!

     The day I got home from the hospital was the day my veggie cravings began.  I literally only wanted salads and grilled veggies for every meal.  I couldn't even stomach the thought of eating anything deep fried, or any kind of meat.  My body wanted green nutrients.

     Eating healthy, along with breastfeeding, got me back to my pre-preggers weight at around 8 weeks post-partum.

At around 10 weeks post-partum,  I started doing yoga and I began running again.

Here's the progression of my body...

My pre- pregnancy weight was 125lbs
 I gained a total of 35lbs.

 I lost 14lbs before I got home from the hospital and C weighed almost 7lbs of that.
Today I weigh 124lbs.

     No need to stress.  Do what feels right while you're cooking that little babe.  Once you accept that your post baby bod will never look the same as it did in your glory days, you can feel better about your battle flab.  Yeah I said it... battle flab.  And it's worth every roll.

xo, Kiara

Saturday, September 1, 2012

A Pre-Second Baby Letter to Myself

So You Really Want a Second Baby?  
WARNING... this gets a little graphic.

Read this letter on the days when you wake up to C with the hugest smile on her face and you think... I WANT MORE OF YOU!

Read this when you can't believe you made this little babe, and she is the sweetest, most cuddly girl, and she melts your heart.
and you think.... I could make you a little brother or sister no problem... maybe tonight!

Read this when you watch 3 back to back episodes of A Baby Story and you're a big blubbering mess.
and you think... I'm jealous of these new moms and I want that feeling again.

Read this...

Remember when you had a stash of granola bars and puddings beside your bed because you couldn't make it through the night without feeling starved and/or nauseous.

Or the time when you had an appointment but couldn't make it out the door without a plastic bag in case you were sick.

Or when you couldn't make it to work because you couldn't lift your head off your pillow... at 4:30 pm.

Remember how sore your boobs were and how you couldn't even wash yourself in the shower, they were so sensitive.  Think of how your cute, perky nipples will never be the same again...looking all tribal and shit.

How about the time when you had a migraine for 3 days straight and you couldn't take any pain killers.  Or that chest infection that sent you to the emergency room only to be sent home and told to wait it out.

Think of the 20 times when you couldn't enter the grocery store because even the thought of meat, dairy, or vegetables made you salivate and dry heave.

Or how you could only eat pizza for weeks.

Remember when you had a crazy sex drive one day and then absolutely no drive the next and your hubby was really confused.

Think of the mood swings, better yet, ask the hubs to remind you.

Think of your last week of pregnancy... feeling so swollen, hot, and down right uncomfortable in your own skin.  Think of the week of early labour, the contractions, the pelvic pain, diarrhea, nausea, exhaustion.

Think of the pain that came with the contractions once your water broke.  Think of wishing you were the young girl in the car beside yours on the way to the hospital, and not yourself, because it was too painful.

Remember kneeling on the floor of the L & D waiting room with other expectant Mom's watching you in horror.

Remember begging for the epidural and being told you might not be able to have one because of your tattoo.

Or hearing that your babies heart rate dropped and they had to pull her from you so quick that you tore.

Remember the two minutes of silence, when you didn't know if your baby was alive.

Think of the recovery.  The 15 stitches, the swelling, stinging, and the UTI.

And whatever you do... do not think of the connection between you and your little girl.  Don't think about the look of relief in her eyes when she heard your voice for the first time, after being yanked from her comfy little world.  And definitely don't think about how she needs you more than anyone and always will.

Maybe... just don't think.

xo, Kiara