Category Archives: Wean Team-Guest Bloggers

New Years, Fresh Beginnings

I used to mouth off to anyone that would listen that resolutions are ridiculous.  Why would we not choose to be the best we can be ALL year?! Why would we wait until January to quit smoking or to lose weight?  What is wrong with RIGHT NOW??  As most of us do, I mellowed and grew with every year that passed me by.  Looking back I can see that I was so ANTI-resolution because they never went well for me…hence the reason I thought they were silly.  😉 As we approach 2012, I feel excited and hopeful for the upcoming 366 days.  For me personally, the word Resolution is related to not following through with a goal….I much prefer to plan my Fresh Beginnings.  New habits, new rituals to take care of myself, new ideas – all to be launched in the New Year!  Striving to be the best you can be regardless of the time of the year is important, but let yourself be swept away by the anticipation of a new calendar year.   It’s exciting to plan and create our 2012 self.  So get a piece of paper and get busy, with the extra day in the coming year we just *might* have time for it all!  Happy New Years!!!! One of my Fresh Beginnings is a monthly newsletter for my work as a Life Coach.  I envision it as a helpful resource, full of valuable information for my audience.  If you would like to receive it please enter your email here.  Much gratitude!

On the Go with your Toddler

Life with a toddler is busy! From early mornings, to preparing meals and snacks, to playing…there is never a moment to stop. In our home, my little man and I are always on the go. Because we live out of the city in a rural community, any trip we take is at least 30 minutes in the car, which means we are usually never home for lunch. In the summer I pack a picnic and wherever we end up we have a delicious, healthy, home cooked meal. Our picnics usually occur in our favourite parks, depending where we are, and always include water. We both love being by the water and enjoy sitting on a blanket, usually under a tree, eating and watching the water. Bliss. Here’s a peak at what it usually looks like once I have prepped our picnic and we are ready to go: As you can see, our Wean Green cubes always head out with us. On this particular day, they were filled with cashews and a homemade muffin. Inside the large tiffin was a salad for me, raw vegetables, hummus and crackers and fresh fruit. The smaller stainless containers held snacks – a crispy rice square and more fruit. It doesn’t matter where we are; my little man and I always enjoy a wonderful lunch together. And just in case you too are leading a busy life with your toddler, here’s an easy to prepare kid friendly snack which can be taken on picnics, in the car or enjoyed at home. Crispy Rice Squares! ½ cup brown rice syrup 1 tsp vanilla 2 tbsp coconut oil ½ cup almond butter, cashew butter, pumpkin seed butter or tahini (could also use a combination of these) 5 cups organic brown rice crisps cereal ¼ cup sunflower seeds ¼ cup pumpkin seeds 2 tbsp hemp seeds 2 tbsp chia seeds 2 tbsp sesame seeds Heat brown rice syrup, vanilla and almond butter in a saucepan over low to medium heat until the mixture is easy to stir.  Remove from heat.  Working quickly, add the dry ingredients and stir well to coat.  Divide mixture into a baking pan and press flat.  Let cool and cut into squares.  Extras keep well in the freezer. Enjoy!

Hello domestic goddess, goodbye store-bought bread

I’m feeling a bit smug. The smell of freshly baked homemade bread is wafting through my house. It’s the third batch this week and my family is not tiring of it… and neither am I tiring of making it. Forget about needing a bread maker, forget about labourious kneading. The secret is in the preparation and the preparation is, well, easy. Really, really easy. The recipe comes curtesy of the wonderful Chef at Home, Michael Smith. No Knead Bread – a beautiful bread recipe that requires no kneading. It is truely amazing. Just four simple ingredients (flour, yeast, salt and water) in a bowl, quick stir, leave overnight, gather into a ball, leave a little longer, then bake. The result is picture perfect crusty bread requiring all of about 5 minutes effort from you. Here is the recipe: There are lots of yummy variations on the basic recipe, like whole wheat and multigrain or you can get a bit creative and start throwing in combos like garlic powder and dried rosemary or sun-dried tomato and basil. And if a bread recipe that requires so little effort doesn’t convince you to whip up a batch for your family, then take a quick peek at the list of ingredients in a loaf of bread from the store. There are way more than four, that’s for sure.

The Paperback Princess

Ask me what I’m currently reading and the truthful answer is mainly Dr Seuss and Robert Munsch. My kids have a lot of beautiful books, but the monotony of reading them over and over can really take the magic out of them. I would find myself selecting the shortest book just to get it over and done with. That’s why my new favorite outing is to the library, where there are more books than you can ever read and a lot more besides. Storytime, child friendly computers, CD players, magazines, DVDs, reference books and quiet reading areas make the library a destination for a really pleasant couple of hours. If time is short, then I can just run in a grab one of their quick pick bags containing a varied selection of age-appropriate books and usually a music or story CD too. The online service is pretty amazing too, where you can search and put items on hold, renew your books, sign up for registered programs and let the little ones watch a storytime anytime video. Amongst many others, we’ve discovered the delights of “The Great Stroller Adventure” by Denis Markell & Melissa Iwai and “Gordon Loggins and the Three Bears” by Linda Bailey & Tracy Walker, and my 2 year old son just loved a factual book about Velociraptors. So if  you ever feel that you’ve read The Very Hungry Caterpillar one too many times, head to your local library, get yourself and your kids a card (in Calgary it’s $12 per year for adults and free for children up to age 13) and start borrowing! I also recommend signing up for Library Elf ( so you don’t get stung with any late fees when your baby brain forgets when they are due back. An ever changing selection of new books has really made story time a lot more enjoyable for me and will hopefully encourage the young ones to be avid readers. Plus, I can always pick up a few good, age-appropriate, books for myself.

Are you there world? It’s me, Peita.

Is it wrong that I’ve always been a bit jealous/suspicious of mommy bloggers and wonder how on earth they find the time to do it? Don’t they have enough to do running round after the kids and then just want to slump in front of the TV watching some trashy show whenever they have any spare time? Suddenly, I am one of them. Eeeek! Nope, no idea where I will find the time either. The inclination came about because I need to find something to keep my brain ticking over and have a little creative outlet for myself. Plus, Melissa kinda begged me and bought me lunch. My vital stats: – Two children: one boy (will be 3 in April), one girl (1 in February) – Very happily married. We never fight. Weird, huh? – Moved to Calgary from native Scotland almost 5 years ago – Scottish accent that I never plan to lose. Ever. – Likes: travelling, baking, swimming, walking, singing,, skype, Bobs and Lolo, confusing Canadians by throwing in weird Scottish words/phrases into daily conversation Slange Var!

Guest Recipe of the Week! Pear, Parsnip & Ginger Puree

Thank you so much to Kim Corrigan-Oliver from Your Green Baby for sharing her amazing recipe! Check out her website for tips on raising Your Green Baby! This is so delicious you will be steaming pears and parsnips to make an adult version of this puree. Hint – it makes a wonderful soup. I am a big believer in tickling tiny taste buds on a regular basis; you have to keep those little taste buds on their toes and by exposing your baby to a variety of tastes now may spell success at avoiding the picky eating stage. At nine months of age I challenge parents to add herbs and spices to their baby’s purees, it is such a wonderful way to tickle tiny taste buds and also provide an amazing amount of minerals, vitamins and phytochemicals – yes herbs and spices are full of nutrition. Pear, Parsnip and Ginger Puree 9 to 12 months 2 medium parsnips, peeled and chopped 3 medium pears, peeled, cored and chopped ¼ tsp ginger Steam parsnips for 15 to 20 minutes, add pears and steam another 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat, let cool slightly then puree with hand blender or in blender.  Add ginger and mix well. Nutritional Information Parsnips are a good source of potassium, fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, and manganese.  Pears provide a good source of vitamin C, fiber, vitamin A, niacin and potassium.  Ginger provides potassium, magnesium, copper, manganese and vitamin B6. Hope your little ones enjoy it! Thank you so much to Kim from Your Green Baby for sharing her amazing recipe!

Eat More Dirt…

Written by: Kevin (AKA the weaners’ daddy) I am an urbanized farm boy. Coming from the Peace Country in Northern Alberta I never knew what ‘typical’ produce was supposed to look like… turns out it is uniform shape, uniform colour and blemish free – according to major grocery chains anyways. Not on the farm. (aside: did you know those mini carrot packages are actually made up of machined down giant carrots… or so says my pa). On the farm, garden vegetables have bumps, bruises, and come in all sizes. I once dug up a potato that looked like Ross Perot, big ears and all. To the point, sitting in the garden as a child I would routinely pull carrots, parsnips, turnips and pick cucumbers, beans, peas etc, etc with no intentions of ridding them of the majority of the earthen materials they are covered with prior to partaking in their savory unaltered goodness. This was not due to my inherent good intentions of healthy living. However, it turns out that I and most farm kids are on to something when it comes to how much dirt we grow up ingesting. As a matter of fact, it even has a scientific name – Geophagy (though the definition suggests some sort of compulsion, I in particular was more driven by laziness – not wanting to waste time returning to the house to ‘properly’ wash the produce prior to partaking of my bounty). Research suggests the clays in soil are particularly good at plant toxin removal. Minerals naturally found in soil are routinely taken as supplement pills (especially during pregnancy as the body’s demand increases). It is also said that soil, again referring back to the clay portion of the material, is capable of building up the immune system…. bodies of evidence even suggest that farm children (like me!) have fewer incidents of allergies and auto-immune diseases than our city dwelling brethren. With the discussions that have ensued, my wife’s ingrained pessimism has subsided and I now have free reign to have our two girls reduce our previously instilled cleanliness mantra…. at least when it comes to vegetables straight from Grandpa’s garden. Moral of the story… dirt is not to be as feared – Eat more dirt.