#WHOLE30 Stuffed Turkey or Pork Roulades

#Whole30-Compliant Stuffed Turkey & Pork Roulades #Paleo #Grainfree #Dairyfree #Primal #JERF

#Whole30-Compliant Stuffed Turkey & Pork Roulades #Paleo #Glutenfree #Dairyfree #JERF

Sometimes you just need something special for dinner. This recipe makes about 8 elegant entrée servings. It’s delicious and impressive, and it just happens to be Whole30-compliant. Much of this recipe may be prepared in advance, making this a convenient option for hosting company. Your guests will never suspect you’re serving a “diet” recipe. But then, Whole30 is not a diet. It’s a lifestyle, allowing you to regularly enjoy healthful and delicious meals like this one!

For the Spinach Cream Stuffing –
• 1 + 1/3 cup raw almonds or raw cashews, soaked at least 3 hours (or overnight) in filtered water
• ¼ cup lemon juice
• 1 tsp. spicy brown mustard (not Dijon, see comment below+)
• 2 tsp. Celtic sea salt, divided
• ¼ tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
• 1 whole pitted date
• 4 Tbsp. Nut Pods Original Unsweetened Coffee Creamer, New Barn or homemade almond milk (I like this recipe from the lovely and very talented Angela of Oh She Glows)
• 1 egg lightly beaten
• 4 – 6 Tbsp. filtered water, added 2 Tbsp. at a time to mixture while processing to form a smooth cream
• 10 oz. package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and very well drained
For Roulades –
• 2 lb. extra lean turkey or pork boneless, skinless cutlets
• 1 Tbsp. coconut or avocado oil
• 1 tsp. Celtic sea salt
• Generous sprinkle garlic powder

• Food processor or powerful blender (e.g. Vitamix or Nutribullet)
• Parchment paper
• Meat mallet (pounder)
• Chef’s knife + Cutting board
• 13”X9” baking pan or dish
• Nonstick coconut oil spray
• Toothpicks (optional)

1. Prepare spinach cream as follows:
• Drain soaked nuts. Then place nuts into the canister of food processor with S blade attached or into the canister of powerful blender (I used a NutriBullet blender, but a food processor would work too).
• Add the next lemon juice, mustard, 1 tsp. salt, pepper, date, egg and creamer/milk to the canister.
• Place lid on food processor or blender and begin to process mixture by pulsing on LOW food processor.
• Begin adding water 2 Tbsp. at a time until the mixture comes together; has no visible pieces of nuts or date and is mostly smooth. Use as little water as necessary to be able to blend the mixture.
• When mixture reaches consistency similar to ricotta cheese, scrape the mixture into a small mixing bowl along with well-drained spinach and remaining 1 tsp. Celtic sea salt. Stir well to thoroughly combine.
• Cover with lid and refrigerate mixture.
NOTE: Spinach cream may be made up to 3 days in advance. Just keep covered and refrigerated until ready to use.
2. Prepare stuffed roulades as follows: IMG_4725
Place 1 large piece of parchment paper over a cutting board. Then place 2 cutlets in the center of the paper about 2” apart. Cover cutlets with another piece of parchment paper. Then pound each cutlet with meat mallet until about 1/8” thick. Repeat this process with remaining cutlets.
NOTE: You can do this part in advance as well. Simply place pounded cutlets in a large freezer bag and refrigerate up to 24 hours.
3. Coat the inside of 13”X9” baking dish with coconut oil or nonstick coconut oil spray. Then add 1 Tbsp. of oil to baking pan/dish. Set aside.
4. Using clean hands, place one cutlet on a plate. Spread 2 Tbsp. spinach stuffing mixture atop of the cutlet. Then carefully roll up the roulade and if desired secure with toothpicks. Next place rolled and stuffed roulades side-by-side in prepared baking dish. Repeat this process until all roulades have been placed in baking dish. Use any remaining spinach cream to top roulades, spreading an even layer over top each roulade in baking dish. Sprinkle roulades with 1 tsp. seal salt and garlic powder as desired. Then cover baking pan or dish with aluminum foil.
NOTE: Rolled and stuffed roulades may be prepared up to 24 hours in advance and kept covered and refrigerated until ready to bake.
5. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375° Fahrenheit (190° Celsius). Bake roulades in preheated oven for about 45 minutes or until the thickest roulade reaches an internal temperate 165° Fahrenheit (74° Celsius).
6. Allow baked roulades to rest about 15 minutes before serving.

Halved #Whole30 Turkey Roulades with Super Simple Sweet Potatoes, Tossed Salad, & Presto Peachy Vinaigrette.

Halved #Whole30 Turkey Roulades with Super Simple Sweet Potatoes, Tossed Salad, & Presto Peachy Vinaigrette.

~Makes 7-10 roulades, or about 8 servings.

+When doing #Whole30, it’s very important you get into the habit of checking the ingredient lists of anything you plan to eat or use when cooking. For example, dijon mustard usually contains white wine which is not permitted during #Whole30, so be sure to check the mustard before you purchase. For a complete list of Whole30 program do’s and don’ts as well as answers to just about any questions you may have, I highly recommend you check out the program rules here and other resources available at Whole30.com to educate yourself prior to beginning your own Whole30 journey, whenever you have questions or need some support.

SERVING SUGGESTIONS: This recipe makes a fancier entrée suitable to serve to guests or company. These roulades are especially delicious served with Stupid Easy Cran-Cherry Sauce. The sweet tartness of the sauce provides a lovely counterpoint to the savory spinach stuffing and makes the meal feel even more special.

Mixed Halved #Whole30 Turkey & Pork Roulades with Stupid Easy Cran-Cherry Sauce

I suggest serving this entrée with a tossed salad of mixed greens, fruit and nuts. Optional side dishes include Oven Fried Sprouts; Super Simple Sumptuous Sweet Potatoes; or Quick & Easy Crispy Potatoes. A final note, the Spinach Cream Stuffing makes a terrific appetizer dip for raw vegetables. Simply spoon spinach cream into an oven-safe bowl and bake at 350° Fahrenheit (177° Celsius) for 30 minutes.

Beauty Resource for the Day:
I recently posted an article describing my favorite (and not-so-favorite) drugstore sunscreens. In that article (which you can read here), I attempted to demystify the various sunscreen “active” ingredients and discuss which types of formulas are best for different members of the family. The video that follows from the brilliant celebrity makeup artist, Lisa Eldridge, provides an even more in-depth discussion regarding sunscreens and offers a short list of recommended brands and products including those available outside and within the USA. Apparently, other countries have access to a wider variety of broad spectrum sunscreens than we do here in the United States. Bummer! But I’ll let Lisa explain the particulars.

Wisdom for the Day:
“I know the plans that I have for you, declares the LORD. They are plans for peace and not disaster, plans to give you a future filled with hope. Then you will call to me. You will come and pray to me, and I will hear you.” ~Jeremiah 29:11-12 (God’s Word Translation)
Read more here.

French Provincial Furniture Rehab – Chest of Drawers Makeover

A few years ago when Hubs and I purchased our home, we found ourselves with 3,000+ sq. feet of area in need of decor and very few suitable pieces of furniture. Because we’d decided to spend most of our remaining cash (after all the initial mortgage monies were paid) on professional interior painting and in converting several rooms’ flooring from carpet to hardwood, we had very little left to spend on furniture. So, pretty quickly we decided our best bet was to purchase quality used furniture and refinish as necessary.

The first piece we rehabbed was this flat front, chest-on-chest piece circa 1950.
We chose this chest because it’s well-made, solid wood and was in good condition. Plus, it actually came with this matching vanity and stool which we also refinished (I’ll described in separate posts).
IMG_3289We snagged these beauties for $350 total. My thinking was, because it’s flat front, the chest would be the easiest to tackle as my first refinishing project. What follows is a step-by-step description of what we did and what I learned during the process.

Step #1: Removing those hideous drawer pulls. Okay, so they’re not actually hideous. Maybe you like them, but they’re not my style and did not fit with my vision for the finished piece. Plus, removing the pulls made Step #2 a whole lot easier.

Step #2: Sanding. This took quite a while. We used 2 different electric sanders and ended up doing most of the work by hand. This is where I learned my first furniture refinishing tip. Stock up on woodworking masks because you never know what materials (and potentially even hazardous chemicals) may be flying around when you refinish a vintage piece. I nearly choked a few times, and I’m still not sure what types of fumes we inhaled as we sanded off countless layers of paint, varnish and sealants. Why take that chance? Now I wear a mask anytime we tackle this type of project. I’d add that I tried to save some cash by initially purchasing a cheap-o mask akin to those flimsy plastic Halloween masks kids wear. It left marks on my face. It was difficult to breathe through, and then the flimsy rubber band on the mask broke. Ugh the frustration! So, I recommend you purchase a sturdier, more comfortable (and yes, more expensive) mask like this one.

Step #2b: Ordering New Pulls and Appliqués. As I said, sanding took a while, so I took advantage of that delay by shopping. I spent hours browsing various internet sites, searching for exact right the pulls. The interesting thing about this chest is that the pulls on the top 3 drawers are smaller than those on the bottom two, despite having the same widths (both large and small pulls measure 2.5″ at the centers). So I really had to hunt to find pulls I liked that were available in both large and small sizes. Ultimately, we had great success with these purchased from the unfortunately-named MyKnobs.com. I was so pleased with the experience that we ultimately decided to order all new knobs for our bathroom cabinets from MyKnobs.com. I also wanted to jazz up the flat drawers by adding floral appliqués and found a great selection of floral appliqués at reasonable prices from Do It Yourself Chic retailer at ebay.com.

Step #3: Cleaning Up. Once you’ve finished sanding, it’s important to remove all the dust, as residual dust will keep the paint and primer from sticking. On the advice of various internet furniture painting gurus, we used baby wipes to clean the piece and remove excess sand, dust and debris prior to priming.  

Step #4: Applying Appliqués & Priming.  This step took longer than necessary. But, I learned the importance of applying appliqués BEFORE priming for best results. That’s my 2nd tip – furniture glue works best when applied directly to bare wood. If you going to add any decorative accents to the furniture you’re refinishing, do so before priming. This may seem self-evident to some, but I had to learn the hard way. I tried to apply appliqués to sanded and primed wood and it was a massive fail! The glue wouldn’t adhere and the appliqués kept sliding off. Ugh! Fortunately, it was a relatively easy fix. We just had to re-sand (to remove primer) the areas where we planned to place the appliqués. Vise grips also helped ensure the appliqués stayed in place while the glue dried. Bonus tip – We found that Gorilla Glue tends to be more effective than furniture glue for appliqué application. We used Rustoleum Painter’s Touch Ultra Cover Primer, available from Home Depot and other retailers.

Step #5: Painting. I started painting by hand using a quart of warm white Valspar paint and a regular bristled brush. But after 3 coats, the coverage was streaky, and I disliked the brush strokes left behind. I experimented with using foam brushes and found that the coverage was smoother but drippy. Even though I sanded the piece by hand after each coat of paint, I still disliked the finish. After researching the best furniture painting guides online, I decided to switch to a different paint altogether – Rustoleum PAINTER’S TOUCH® Ultra Cover 2x Satin Spray in Heirloom White. What a difference! This is now my all-time favorite paint. The coverage is beautiful. The spray nozzle works wonderfully and is so user-friendly in design. Unlike other sprays we’d tried (for smaller projects), this one never clogged or dripped. And the coverage is thin, smooth and even. No more drips or streaks! Tip 3 – If you’re new to refinishing or just don’t have time to bother with (seemingly) endless cycles of paint and sanding, get some PAINTER’S TOUCH® Ultra Cover 2x Spray. Other finishes are available but I love the satin.

Step #6: Gilding the Lilly. I love the look of golden patina over antique white painted furniture. I easily located a suitable (and inexpensive) stencil at the craft store and expected to make quick work of the stenciling using some gold craft paint. But alas, that attempt failed miserably. Next we tried several other gold paint options, everything from craft paint to specialty golden furniture paints. None seemed to stick to the paint or they were barely visible. Some even peeled right off. So we eventually sought advice from online resources and local paint stores, and ultimately purchased 1 quart of this pricey specialty gold paint, Benjamin Moore Studio Finishes Latex Metallic (at a cost of $50 for 1 QT) from the nearest Benjamin Moore retailer.
Fortunately, this product works really well with the stencils. And it was easy to apply using a rolling foam paint brush like this one. After only one coat of this stuff, we had a gorgeous golden stencil on each of the drawers.


After only one coat of this stuff, we had a gorgeous golden stencil on each of the drawers.




For the finishing touch, I used some more of the latex gold paint to highlight the appliqués, as seen here. IMG_3379


Step #7: Sealing. After my experience struggling with brush-on paint (and after realizing the comparative ease of spray paint), I decided to use a spray-on paint sealer. And I figured, why change to something else when we’ve had such success with Rustoleum’s Painter’s Touch products. We used this seal and protect spray and it worked beautifully. I think the finished piece required 2 cans, but it was well worth it given the time and hassle spared. And as you can see from the last picture below, this sealant has protected and preserved all our hard work despite heavy daily use.


The finished product, immediately after completion

The finished project after nearly 5 years. Still in pretty great shape. All those steps paid off in producing a lovely and resilient piece we use daily.

The finished project after nearly 5 years. Still in pretty great shape. All those steps paid off in producing a lovely and resilient piece we use daily.

Wisdom for the Day:
Therefore I love your commandments above gold, above fine gold.
~Psalm 119:127 (English Standard Version) Read more here.

Beauty Resource of the Day:
Wanna read more before tackling your next furniture rehab project? Check out this informative article from Frugal Girl featuring step-by-step guide and product recommendations (and lots of pictures!).

Living in the Mommy Moments

There’s a viral video out there about motherhood and how quickly our children grow up, and it’s taken over my Facebook feed in recent weeks. If you’re a mom reading this, I suspect someone has shared Slow Down with you along with the tagline “guaranteed to make you ugly cry.” That rather unappealing promise aside, it’s a beautiful song, and I adore Nichole Nordeman. She’s one of my all-time favorite singers, and the story behind her latest album, The Unmaking, is inspiring. Meanwhile, there’s a super popular post on Scary Mommy right now which is also popping up on my social media feeds with increasing frequency entitled Someday I’ll Wish I Could Go BackSlow Down and the Someday I’ll Wish article have touched the same nerve with mommies of the Internet world – namely that our babies’ childhoods seem to pass too quickly, like a blur; that we want to savor every moment but life and the worries of every day distract us from truly enjoying each precious moment we have with our children. And we know that someday we’ll regret it.

Given its popularity, chances are you’ve watched the Slow Down video several times by now and boohoo cried over it too. But, if you haven’t read the Someday I’ll Wish article, I encourage you to check it out now. It’s a quick but impactful read. I’ve read it like 10 times at this point and still cry every single time I read these lines: “She was longing to nurture. To pick up a crying baby and be everything that he needs. To hold that warm, soft body and feel the weight of his head resting on her chest.” What a powerful image! As I read those words, I can literally feel my daughter nestled against my chest, her warm breath against my neck and my arms wrapped around her back and bottom. That’s a rare occurrence for me now.


My darling daughter at just one day old!

My only child is just 7 and ½ months old, but I can already attest to that all too rapid flight of time. My daughter’s first months are just a hazy memory now. Seems whenever I hold her these days, she just struggles out of my arms. I end up wrestling with her most of the time as she fights to gain ever-increasing mobility and independence. Perfectly developmentally-appropriate of course, but frustrating for me because now I really want to cuddle her close. I find myself staring longingly at pictures from her very earliest days in the hospital, when she gladly snuggled up to me and fell asleep on my chest. Pictures like this one:

I wasn’t paying attention at the time. I was too busy reeling from my emergency C-Section; too worried about my milk supply and too preoccupied with fears that I’d never lose the 50 pounds I gained during pregnancy, that I’d never feel like myself again. And now I find myself regretting the time I wasted, the moments I missed and wishing I could go back and hold my placid, tiny little newborn again; longing to recapture and savor those precious snuggly moments I failed to cherish at the time. N.B. I long to relive the cuddles and snuggles with my sweet little newborn NOT the sleepless nights, projectile poops and 3 AM battles with nipple shields. And I definitely do not miss the hours and hours I spent fellowshipping with my breast pump. But those are the things – those nagging nuisances, those pressing have-to-do tasks that go along with parenthood – those are the things that capture our attention and cause us to miss out on the sublime everyday moments with our children we might otherwise embrace. So each night when my husband and I sing our daughter to sleep my voice cracks because I know another day of her childhood has passed. I get tearful because I realize again that a little bit more of our time with her has slipped away.

I recognize that in order to truly enjoy the precious (and all-too brief) time I have with her, I need to live in the moment and stop being so distracted by all the other things that worry and distract me from what I truly value. And I am reminded of the following pre-game speech I once heard from former University of Florida (and current Oklahoma City Thunder) men’s basketball coach Billy Donovan.

He gave this speech just prior to the national championship game, which they won (Go Gators BTW). I love what he says! And it must have been effective because not only did this team win the national championship that night, they went on to win a second (e.g. back-to-back) national championship the following year. Coach Donovan challenges the players to anticipate adversity but still remain focused on the goal – to live in the moment. That same message – living in the moment despite the (very real) daily challenges that distract us from the truly important things like cherishing our children and family – is the key. As parents, we will always remember our children’s various stages fondly. But living in the moment, cherishing each moment is key to avoiding the pain of regret that comes from realizing (after the fact) you missed those precious moments because you were too worried about other, less important things. But again, the question is, how can we remind ourselves throughout the day to “live in the moment” when our minds often wander to other things?

First, understand it’s “normal” for your mind to wander. In 2015, Microsoft released a study (1) which stated, among other things that an adult’s attention span is only 8 seconds long. Basically, our minds wander every 8 seconds. Understand that some of us have an even harder time. For example, I have ADHD. And recent studies (2) have found adults with ADHD suffer from “excessive mind wandering,” (file that research finding in the ‘duh’ category). So, obviously my mind wanders more often than every 8 seconds. The point is, for all mothers, it’s hard to remain present with our children, and for some of us (i.e. me and others with ADHD), it’s REALLY hard. I often find myself feeling antsy or bored, reaching for my phone or the TV remote just while feeding my daughter. It’s tempting to multi-task, even when with our children in the name of “productivity.” But that kind of multi-tasking does not produce meaningful results, and it communicates to our children that they are less important than the phone, laptop, tablet etc. Which brings us to the next point: understand the role technology plays in distraction. That same Microsoft Study (1) found that average adult’s attention span decreased by 33% in just 13 years – decreasing from 12 to 8 seconds when measured in 2000 versus 2013, respectively. Those dates of course correspond to the boom in internet, hand-held technology and social media which now inundate us all, constantly. So it’s important to disconnect from the phone, laptop and TV as often as possible (at least a couple of times per day for at least 15-30 minutes at a time) and just be present with our children, spouse and family.

Here are 2 techniques that can help you tune into the present moment. Before trying either technique, disconnect from all electronic devices (obviously, you’ll need to read through how to practice these tricks first). Simply disconnecting from electronic devices will help tremendously with your present moment focus.

Technique #1 Balanced Breathing – think of your inhale (breathing in) as an arrow pointing upward. Now imagine your exhale as an arrow pointing down. Balanced breathing is when the “up” and “down” arrows are of equal sizes. Your inhale matches your exhale. Another way to think of it is to count silently as you breathe in (say inhale for 4 counts). Then count at the same pace as you breathe out, and match your exhale to the inhale (4 counts). When you first begin practicing Balanced Breathing, you may need to start with shorter breaths, only 3 counts in/out so you don’t get too tired or light-headed, especially if you have any breathing conditions (asthma, COPD, etc.) or allergies. You will soon be able to stretch out your breaths. But always make sure your inhales and exhales are equal or “balanced.” Practice Balanced Breathing at least 5 minutes each day. And soon you’ll be able to use this technique to focus yourself whenever you need to pay better attention. It can also help you feel more energized during the afternoon doldrums and can help you calm down after an argument with your spouse.

Technique #2 Grounding – Grounding uses your senses (touch, taste, sight, sound, smell) to help you return your focus to the present moment by directing your attention to your immediate surroundings. The easiest and quickest way to do this is by using your sense of touch but any of your 5 senses will work. The next time your find your mind wandering, reach out and touch your child’s foot or hand or touch the chair or sofa your sitting in. Feel the texture of the table next to you or pet your dog or cat. As your doing this, really pay attention to how it feels in your hand. Try to describe the sensation in your mind. Is it rough, smooth, furry, cold, warm or coarse? Simple touch is very effective for bringing us back into the present moment, but other sensations work too. Try pouring yourself (and your child/children if applicable) something to drink. Then slowly take a few sips, being mindful to notice how it tastes and feels in your mouth and as you swallow. Next, describe it to your child. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. It can be simple, like “oh that is cold on my tongue and throat.” Ask your child to do the same. Try being very still and quiet for a few seconds and notice what you hear. Can you describe it? Maybe you hear the whirring sound of the refrigerator, or your dog snoring (that’s our house). Pausing for a few minutes to tap into one or more senses is a great way to bring yourself into the present moment, and it’s a useful skill to teach your children too. Try it today and practice it with your kids a few times a week. It will become second nature.

There will always be distractions. As Coach Donovan said, “there’s gonna be adversity and challenges.” We know that in advance. But as moms we know that we don’t want to miss these precious moments. I want to embrace these moments now, not later or after the fact.  I want to really live in these “Mommy Moments” each precious day.

Wisdom for the Day:
Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
~Matthew 6:34 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)
Read more here.

Resources of the Day:
1. Check out this article entitled Rush to Press from the brilliant Functional Dad. Yes, it’s true I’m massively biased. But do remember Functional Dad is PhD with tons experience helping folks perform better and improve their daily lives by applying these very same mindfulness and balanced living skills.
2. This self-help worksheet for anxiety from the wonderful online site Anxiety BC contains more info on relaxation and grounding as well as additional links for skills such as progressive relaxation and tips on healthy living.

The Top 5 Pregnant Lady Nemeses

Pregnancy introduces you to lots of new people – new friends, new medical providers, and of course a brand new family member. Sometimes you meet new characters in the people you’ve known for years. Most of these people are supportive and kind. Some are annoying, but some become all-out nemeses. Below is a list of the most frustrating, critical, and otherwise antagonizing folks you’re likely to encounter while gestating, along with suggestions for how to handle them.

1. Ms. All About-Me:
All-About-Me swoops in early in your pregnancy and seems so excited for you. Soon you realize All-About-Me’s not excited for you – she’s excited for herself. She announces your pregnancy on Facebook (on her Facebook page); she tells all her friends, relatives, coworkers, etc. the big news and all before the end of your first trimester. She insists on throwing you a baby shower; she wants to help you decorate because she already has a theme picked out for the nursery. She even presents you with a list of baby name suggestions. You have so much on your plate, after all. The problem is that it’s tempting to allow All-About-Me to take over, especially if you are: 1) feeling ambivalent about the pregnancy; 2) feeling too awful from morning sickness to get very excited yourself; 3) too busy with other children, work, etc. to plan for the new arrival; or 4) not financially able to do all the things All-About-Me promises to do for you and the baby.
How to Deal: In the immortal words of Barney Fife:

… nip it. Nip it in the bud. Thank All-About-Me for those things you accept then clearly and directly state which are deal-breakers.

2. The Worry Wart:
Poor well-intentioned Worry Wart just wants to share in your miracle, but doesn’t know anything about pregnancy and says all the wrong things. For example, Ms. Wart may tell you how she talked to her friend about your pregnancy and that friend “who is a nurse, by the way (as though that immediately guarantees expert credibility status), wants to make sure you are eating enough foods with folic acid and are taking your vitamins.” Wart then launches into several cautionary tales about not consuming enough folic acid to further emphasize the point. This is serious, Preggers! You don’t want to have a baby with an extra arm in the middle of its forehead, do you? Since you’ve been dutifully taking prenatals since before you got pregnant and are forcing yourself to eat 3 servings of green veggies every day despite crippling nausea, these helpful hints are seriously annoying. When Worry Wart reminds you (for the 5th time) not to miss your OB appointments, you may be tempted to fire back: “Nah we’re skipping the whole prenatal care thing. We’re bettin’ on a genetic crap shoot and a diet of Cheetos and Mountain Dew!” Screen Shot 2016-06-04 at 4.54.20 PM
How to Deal: Redirect Worry Wart’s nervous energy toward a specific project. Ask for help finding the safest travel systems or best deals on diapers etc.

3. The Constant Caller:
The Constant Caller tends to arrive near the end of your pregnancy. She starts calling and texting you with increasing frequency in those latter weeks “just to check in.” My own Caller Nemesis began reaching out to me around 32 weeks, asking how I was feeling, if I needed anything, etc. It was all very flattering. Then, Caller dropped by to see me around 34 weeks. Utterly appalled by the size of my belly, Caller immediately (and repeatedly) declared that I was “huge” and proclaimed that I would most certainly not carry to term because I was “so big.” I was incredibly uncomfortable and already very self-conscious about weight I’d gained, and I secretly hoped she was right, that I’d deliver early and put an end to my suffering. Thankfully, my baby had other ideas. By week 38, Caller was calling and texting several times a week, and I was literally praying to have the baby. By the time my due date arrived (with no baby and no signs of impending labor) I was going insane. Caller’s incessant texts asking if I had “anything exciting to report” only served to remind me that I was probably going to be pregnant for the rest of my life. The only thing I had to report was another 5 pounds gained so I chose to cut off all communication with her in order to avoid a profane texting outburst.
Screen Shot 2016-06-04 at 3.27.34 PM

How to Deal: Constant Caller wants to be in the loop. Reassure her she’ll be among the first to know.

A trick I learned from BTDT moms is to tell people an estimated due date 2-3 weeks after your actual EDD.




...Okay I didn't actually do that. But it made for an awfully satisfying fantasy!

…Okay I didn’t actually hurl things at Horror Queen’s head. But it made for an awfully satisfying fantasy at the time!

4. The Horror Story Queen:
The Horror Story Queen has the scariest birth stories around (and it seems to grow more elaborate each time she tells it). Horror Queen will seek you out, poor pregnant Mama, because you have to hear… so you’re prepared, just in case. “I was in labor for 72 hours. I passed out 6 times. The epidural didn’t take, and I had a third degree vaginal tear. Blah, blah, blah. Oh, I’ve already told you that one? Well, my sister’s, daughter’s, best friend’s delivery is the grossest, most terrifying story ever! You need to hear it too.”

Here’s one I actually heard while pregnant: “Oh you’re not delivering at [unnamed] hospital! You know what they say about that place don’t you? That’s the hospital where people go to die. My niece delivered there, and her baby died…I’m just saying.” To which I responded “And I’m just saying, duck!” as I hurled 5 lb. bottles of prenatal vitamins at her head!

How to Deal: Run away! Okay, you can’t run, but waddle away as fast as you can! 
Avoid the Horror Queen at all costs.


5. The Creepy Stranger:
As a Preggo, you can never be sure when you’ll encounter Creepy Strangers. They’ll appear as if out of nowhere, and usually when you least expect it. Creepys have finely honed covert skills, skulking up silently with arms outstretched, ready to touch your growing belly, often without asking. The Creepy Stranger also prides herself on being able to predict the gender of your unborn child just by assessing the shape of your belly, how you’re carrying, the condition of your skin, the position of the moon and so on. Creepy will ask you all sorts of personal questions like the number of children you’ve had, your age, your plans for pain management during delivery, if you’re married and etc. If you happen to be very pregnant when you encounter Creepy, expect to be informed as to how easily you could induce labor by simply taking a few laps around your house (this is especially annoying if you’re already desperately marching your pregnant behind around your neighborhood like a band in a parade everyday without so much as a single real contraction or cm dilated); how you should be having sex every night to induce labor (not terribly appealing since that’s how you got yourself into this mess to begin with); and (in vivid detail) the results Creepy had using castor oil to induce.

How to Deal: Honestly, it’s hard to completely avoid Creepy Strangers, so I encourage you to either take a mixed martial arts class before becoming pregnant so you know how to defend yourself, or consider purchasing several of these:

Take Home Mommy Wisdom: The truth is that none of these folks is really your enemy. They’re definitely annoying, especially when compounded by the ordinary hormonal swings and discomforts of pregnancy. It can be very difficult to graciously deal with a Creepy stranger touching your belly or the power plays of All-About-Me. When tempted to explode, take a deep breath and try reminding yourself that each of these folks is excited for you in his/her own misguided way. Enlist the help of your significant other in dealing with any particularly annoying family members. If you absolutely cannot maintain your cool when dealing with one of these folks, then limit contact as much as possible (texting is a useful means of maintaining communication without too much contact) until after you’ve had the baby. Also, try to remember that this is a blessed time (yes, you are blessed in spite of the heartburn, hemorrhoids and ankle-swelling you’re experiencing) and these characters just wanna share in your moment of joy.

Still, God, in His faithfulness, will deliver (women) through childbearing as long as they remain in faith and love and holiness with self-restraint.
~I Timothy 2:15 (The Voice)
Read more here.

Karen Dietrich is a new full-time mom and a long-time beauty junkie. She spends her time loving her baby, laughing at her husband and wondering if she’ll ever again fit into her pre-pregnancy jeans. For more from Karen and her relentless quest for beauty and wisdom in everyday life, be sure to subscribe to her blog: Daily Beauty Wisdom.

A Truly One Size Fits All Facial Cleanser? Olay 4-in-1 Sensitive Daily Facial Cloths Review

A Truly One-Size-Fits-All Cleansing Cloth? Almost!

A Truly One-Size-Fits-All Cleansing Cloth? Almost!

Remember how your mother (or grandmother) taught you to wash your face every night by telling you horror stories about what would happen if you slept in your makeup – like how your eyes would be swollen shut the next morning due to some terrifying affliction nobody’s ever heard of, or that you’d develop giant blackheads that would get infected just in time for the big homecoming dance? Yeah, I never got that.

Here’s how I learned to take care of my face – my mom told me how she had acne as a teenager; how awful it was; how she was dragged (kicking and screaming apparently) off to see diabolical dermatologists where she received painful treatments she loathed. She told me she hoped I would avoid this fate and the plague of acne, but Mom never role modeled good skin hygiene. I never observed her washing her face every night. I’ve never caught my mom wearing a sheet mask; never known her to splurge for a facial.

I had to figure out the whole skincare thing for myself. It’s like my mother had enough of it as a kid and wanted no part of all that washing and scrubbing, cleaning and clarifying jazz. I’ve always nagged my mother to “at least take off your makeup before bed.” Sometime she would; usually she wouldn’t. We agreed to disagree. My husband is a similar battle. Having also struggled with acne in his teens and endured his own unpleasant interaction with the dermatologic profession, he has no interest in going through a bunch of facial cleansing rituals every night. Each time I rev up to preach to him the importance of washing his face at night, he simply rolls his eyes and walks into another room. Even my baby girl ducks and dodges when I go in to wash her little cheeks and nose. It seems I’m the only one in the house who actually enjoys a good face wash.

Mommy & Me - She may not have taught me to wash my face, but she taught me everything about being a mother!

Mommy & Me – She may not have taught me to wash my face, but she taught me everything about being a good mother!

Another struggle – just about everyone in our household has sensitive skin. My mother has extremely sensitive eyes. My husband and daughter have very reactive skin. So finding a facial cleansing product that won’t irritate has not been easy. I found these highly rated cloths while searching for a potential solution at Paula’s Choice / Beautypedia.com. I almost always agree with reviews of the Beautypedia team, and I highly recommend this website as a resource for anyone looking to save money and make wiser beauty purchases. Seriously, check it out! You’ll be amazed what you can learn about the cosmetics industry and the products you already use or have considered purchasing.

Anyway, after checking a couple of drugstores, we located these cloths at a local Wal-Mart and immediately purchased. I was surprised when I opened the packaged because these cloths (unlike the majority of ready-to-use wet cleansing wipes) must be dampened with water to activate. Not a huge deal but it does add an extra step to the process. And it means these are not the wipes you’d keep on your bedside table for a quick swipe before bed, at least not if you expect any results. It is also worth noting that you do have to rinse off the suds that these cloths produce. Again, not a major deal, but it means you’ll need to use these cloths in the bathroom or at least near a sink and/or with a damp wash cloth handy. And that again adds another step to the process which kind of defeats my purpose (e.g. to make face washing as easy as possible for people who openly hate the whole process).

I was pleasantly surprised by the size of the cloths. They’re very large, too large in fact to use on my daughter’s tiny baby face. So I cut them into quarters which is easy to do since they come (conveniently) folded that way. Honestly, even my mother and husband can get away with using half a cloth. My mother reported easily removing all her makeup with halved cloths (she uses no eye liner or mascara) and reported no eye burning or sensitivity. Hubs likewise had no complaints or reactions and reported the (halved) size was satisfactory. My daughter never cried or exhibited any problems when we washed her face with the cloths. I always follow up by wiping her face with coconut oil (as I discussed here) which helps keep her skin calm.

Cleansing cloths cut into quarters, halves and full size

Cleansing cloths cut into quarters, halves and full size

I found that I only needed half a cloth to remove almost all of my makeup (more on that shortly). And used in this way (i.e. cutting the cloths into halves or quarters), you really get a ton of product for less than $7, which is a great bargain! My one complaint is that it takes a fair bit of scrubbing to remove waterproof eye makeup with these cloths. If you’ve read my eyeliner post (BTW if you haven’t read it yet, you really SHOULD! Check it out here), you already know I’m a huge fan of waterproof eyeliner. In fact, I really only use waterproof eyeliner because I find the regular kind just smudges and runs all over the place. Not only does that annoy me to no end, it wastes my time. And I’d much rather spend my time with my daughter or on more enjoyable activities than fixing messy makeup! I digress, having to scrub too hard around the eyes is NOT good for several reasons. Reason #1 it risks damaging the sensitive eye tissue which has less oil glands and is more vulnerable to stretching and wrinkling than other skin on the face. Check out this article to learn more. Reason #2 is that scrubbing and tugging the delicate eye area can cause loss of eyelashes and eyebrow hairs. This hair loss happens naturally as we age. So the thinner your lashes and brows, the older you appear – not good! Basically this means, if I use these cloths, I have to add a step – eye makeup remover first, then cleansing cloths. Since I purchased this product for others and not myself (I already have a cleansing routine I’m very happy with), this is only a minor strike against the product. I’m deducting 1 star. It may be a fatal flaw for you, especially if you’re seeking a 1-step product to remove your own really stubborn makeup.

Summary: These cloths work well for sensitive, reactive skin and are gentle enough to use on baby skin. They are reasonably priced given the amount of product. However, in order to “stretch” the product, you’ll need to invest a few minutes cutting the cloths into halves or quarters (no biggie). These cloths are not wet upon arrival and each cloth must be damped before usage. You will also need to rinse your face after using the cloth, so this is not a one-step face cleansing product. Finally, while the cloths remove most makeup quickly and effectively; waterproof eye makeup is a challenge and requires more effort than you may want to invest when other products remove it more efficiently.

Price: $6.96 (33 large cloths)

Daily Beauty Wisdom Rating: **** 4/5 pearls of wisdom

Wisdom for the Day:
She considers a field before she buys or accepts it [expanding her business prudently]; With her profits she plants fruitful vines in her vineyard. ~Proverbs 31:16 (AMPLIFIED)
Read more here.

Resource of the Day:
I’ve said before and I’ll say it again, you really need to check out Paula’s Choice / Beautypedia. It’s a fantastic resource full of 1000’s of unbiased product reviews, general info articles and the phenomenal cosmetics ingredient dictionary.

The (Coconut) Oil of Gladness + WHOLE30 Bulletproof Coffee

I have written previously about my love for cooking with all iterations of coconut oil. Vegetables, in particular, seem to respond deliciously to a hearty helping my fav oil and hefty doses of heat and salt. The result is almost always crispy green yumminess that rivals any bagged potato chip I’ve ever tasted. But coconut oil’s uses are not limited to cooking. A fact of which you are no doubt aware, if you frequent online beauty sites (for example: Pop Sugar, Total Beauty, etc.); follow any health or beauty-related YouTube Vloggers (e.g. FitLifeTV, JenerationDIY, and MANY more);  or really have spent any amount of time online recently. Coconut oil is trending as the magical multi-purpose oil touted as everything from shaving cream (messy but reasonably effective in my experience) to leave-in hair conditioner (works well but I’d suggest only applying from mid-shaft to ends and not roots to avoid limp, greasy hair) to cure-all for eczema and lice (thankfully, can’t speak to its efficacy for those particular afflictions…yet). Instagram alone offers a dizzying array of coconut oil-based DIY facial scrubs promising to eliminate old acne scars, age spots, fine lines and cellulite; guaranteed to leave you with smoother, brighter, younger looking skin. Wow! All that, and crispy delicious brussels sprouts, too. Truly amazing!

Well, I’m here to tell you about 2 uses for coconut oil not previously mentioned in Internet Land.
#1. Caring for sensitized baby skin – From an aesthetic perspective, there’s not a lot to “correct” about baby skin. But infant skin can be very fragile and reactive, especially during transitional periods or bouts of illness. My daughter is now 7 months old. She inherited her father’s fair, sensitive skin and allergies (see pic below). She’s also teething, i.e. drooling a lot. When she developed her first ever cold a few days ago (and the runny nose, congestion and sinus drainage that goes along with it, cue sad Mommy face), the combination of factors resulted in an itchy irritated rash on her face, neck and chest. Fortunately, we keep a bottle of fractionated coconut oil spray on the changing table (as I’ll explain below). We just spray a little on a clean facial tissue, then wipe her face, neck and chest twice per day. Following this regimen, the rash resolved within 72 hours. Obviously I’m thrilled that the rash healed so quickly, but I’m especially pleased that she no longer seems so uncomfortable. Also, it’s reassuring to know that if she gets any of the oil in her mouth (and she puts EVERYTHING in her mouth right now), it is nontoxic, chemical and preservative-free unlike any other facial/baby wipe we may have used and unlike any cosmetic or medicated cream or ointment.

Daddy & Baby - both use coconut oil to soothe their sensitive skins! <3

Daddy & Baby – both use coconut oil to soothe their sensitive skins. Swoon!

#2. Coconut oil is a phenomenally effective baby poop cleaner-upper (yep I’m going there) – As I said my daughter is teething. She’s also beginning to eat some solid foods, and she’s had this mucus-y cold. All these things combine to produce some very sticky, icky, tough-to-clean-up poopy diapers. Enter the magic fractionated coconut oil spray. A few simple spritzes of the miraculous spray oil before “going in for the wipe,” and cleanup time is easily cut in half, maybe cut down by ¾. It cuts right through the “mess,” allowing Mommy or Daddy to tidy up the area quickly and with far fewer wet wipes, saving time and money, and parental exposure to toxic ickiness.

Various coconut oil treatment options from darling daughter's changing table.

Various coconut oil treatment options from darling daughter’s changing table.

So now that I’ve offered you a whole new (terrifying?) perspective on the varied uses for and amazing powers of this extraordinary oil that brings happiness to so many, allow me to bring the subject back full circle to food – to a deliciously warm, chocolately and satisfying blender drink. Too soon for that image? I hope not, because I’m talking about COFFEE! As every mother knows, it’s always okay to talk about baby poop – to talk about almost anything – as long as there’s coffee.

Coconut Oil Coffee – The Saga Continues:

From chemical-laden to coconut goodness - coffee bliss at last!

From chemical-laden to coconut goodness – coffee bliss at last!

Back story – I wrote about my struggle to let go of artificial (powdered) coffee creamer at the beginning of our WHOLE30 journey and again mid-way through the program when I realized the powdered chemical-laden gunk was delaying my progress. Though Hubs’ iced option kept me caffeinated and headache-free, I never found a truly satisfying alternative. Then, a few days after completing the program, I discovered the fabulous Coconut Mama.

The Internet has long been a-buzz with the promise of multiple benefits from what has been termed “Bulletproof Coffee” see also slide #2 in this Total Beauty slide show. Now, I haven’t touched dairy in any form for years, so the idea of adding (even) grass-fed butter to my all-important coffee seemed downright sacrilegious to me (and though WHOLE30 allows for the use of clarified butter, I’ve been – quite frankly – too darned lazy, and still too dairy-averse to even go there). Plus, I’ve always wondered – if the active ingredient is the MCT oil, why not forgo the butter and just use an oil that’s high in MCT fats to begin with, i.e. coconut oil? So several years ago I tried adding coconut oil to my coffee but was left with a very unappetizing puddle of oil sitting atop my cup, leaving me with no choice but to pour out my otherwise pristine caffeinated cup o’ goodness. So when I stumbled upon Coconut Mama’s recipe for coconut oil coffee, it rocked my world (or at least my AM routine)! What follows is my own adapted version of Tiffany’s (AKA “The Coconut Mama’s”) recipe. Hubs and I now choose this option regularly for our coffee (hey we’re trying to keep up with a teething 7 month-old after all), and it’s been a wonderful switch! I hope you will enjoy it as well!

WHOLE Bullet-Proof Coffee (with Coconut Oil)

• 10oz. Freshly Brewed Coffee
• 1/2 Tbsp. (that’s 1.5 tsp. BTW) extra virgin coconut oil (I used Carrington Farms brand)
• 1/2 Tbsp. gelatin (optional, I used Great Lakes brand)
• 1 tsp. pure, unsweetened cocoa powder
• 2-3 drops liquid stevia (optional, omit during WHOLE30. I used SweetLeaf Chocolate)
• Additional toppings like cinnamon, nutmeg or unsweetened shredded coconut

1. Carefully pour hot coffee into your blender cup.
2. Add coconut oil and any other flavorings or sweeteners you’re using. Stir briefly to combine.
3. Place the lid on your blender then blend up your coffee.
The result will have a nice frothy “head” like a fancy coffee shop drink (see pic below).
Once blended, pour it into your cup. I like to sprinkle mine with unsweetened shredded coconut (because, can you ever have too much?).
To Make WHOLE30 Compliant:
• Omit stevia
• Again double-check the cocoa powder you’re using to ensure it contains no sweeteners or unapproved additives
• Feel free to use any approved spices you enjoy!

Wisdom of the Day:
(For the Lord has sent me) …to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and a day of vindication for our God, to comfort all who mourn, to provide for Zion’s mourners, to give them a crown in place of ashes, oil of joy in place of mourning, a mantle of praise in place of discouragement.
~Isaiah 61:2-3 (Common English Bible)
Read more here.

Resource of the Day:
The fabulous Coconut Mama offers free e-book with recipes using coconut flour that are sure to please any coconut aficionado (or fanatic such as myself).

WHOLE30 Day #30 – So This Is It….(Paleo) Pie for Everyone!!!

WHOLE30 Day #30 –This is it, the final day of our inaugural WHOLE30 journey. As I discussed in the WHOLE30 Day #25 post, both Hubs and I have achieved some positive results from this 30-day cycle. Over the next few days, I will be writing a couple more posts to summarize our first experience with WHOLE30 – the good, the bad, and the painful. I will also be posting my own list of recommended products for “doing the WHOLE30.” These will be various foods (primarily) and some other items we found along the way that made the experience easier, tastier and generally more tolerable.

This was a challenging final day for us, in part because we had company this weekend. When you have company, of course, you generally have to serve food that is WHOLE30 approved. In this case, our visitors were a family of 5 – including my beautiful cousin, a strict vegetarian, her husband and their 3 boys – all under the age of 7. So at various points this weekend our kitchen was filled with fresh-from-the-bakery cookies (chocolate chip AND peanut butter), tortilla chips, pizza and chicken nuggets. Tempting goodies to be sure. But the joy of hosting family and the pleasure of using one’s home to show hospitality makes it so worthwhile.

To avoid diving face-first into the delicious-looking and even better smelling piping hot cheesy pizza (which was coincidentally the very subject of my food fantasies just a couple weeks ago), I prepared for myself the following go-to recipe. I’ve used this at several points during our WHOLE30 when I’ve felt particularly deprived. I haven’t posted this recipe previously because it comes perilously close to what the WHOLE30 authors refer to as a “paleo pancake,” and which they specifically state is off-limits during the program. However, the primary component here is protein – in this case egg whites – not some flour substitute like tapioca etc. Therefore I believe it deserves the title omelet, even if it does satisfy my sweet cravings!

Paleo Pumpkin Pie Pancakes
Paleo Pumpkin Pie Omelet (AKA “The P3 Omelet”)

• 1/3 medium sweet potato, peeled
• 1/4 cup canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie mix)
• 2 cups liquid egg whites
• ¼ tsp. iodized sea salt
• ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
• ¼ tsp. ground ginger
• pinch each: ground cloves, allspice and nutmeg
NOTE: if you happen to have Pumpkin Pie Spice on-hand you can just use 1/2 tsp. of that in place of the cinnamon, ginger etc.
• nonstick spray (I used nonstick coconut oil spray)
• stevia, if desired (other options include cacao nibs, pure maple syrup and melted ghee)

• electric skillet or large (preferably nonstick) heavy frying pan
• high-powered blender (e.g. Nutribullet, Vitamixer, etc.)

1. Place sweet potato in microwave on HIGH for about 2-3 minutes (depending on strength/size of your microwave) until cooked through. Allow to cool slightly.
2. When sweet potato is cool enough to handle, place in canister of blender, then add next 6 ingredients.

Hmm, not so very appetizing at this stage. But stick with me!

3. Cover and blend on LOW-MEDIUM speed until fully blended and no chunks of sweet potato remain.
4. Place a large skillet over MEDIUM-HIGH heat and spray with nonstick spray. If using an electric skillet, preheat to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
5. Pour half the mixture into the prepared pan and cover pan. Turn heat down to MEDIUM (about 350 on electric skillet). Allow omelet to cook until surface appears dry (about 5 minutes). Then carefully flip.
6. Cook about 5 more minutes on the other side. Repeat process with remaining omelet mixture.
7. Serve & Enjoy. NOTE: I like to sprinkle the omelet with a little stevia before serving. It’s also great with a few cacao nibs sprinkled on top and some melted ghee. Heck if you’ve completed WHOLE30 (or are just trying to eat Paleo), you may as well top it with some pure maple syrup. Go crazy!
Makes about 4 servings

Verse of the Day:
Be hospitable to one another without grumbling.
~I Peter 4:9 (NKJV)
Read more here.

Resource of the Day:
Looking to improve your hosting skills? Here’s a magnificent list of 10 totally do-able steps to increase your hospitality IQ.
NOTE: The Art of Simple is also a lovely all-around blog about house, home and family!

WHOLE30 Day #24 – Cleaning Up

Screen Shot 2016-04-24 at 1.02.23 PM
Much of our family’s focus this weekend has been on cleaning our home in preparation for visitors this coming week. With a baby in the house, we tend to clean more reactively than proactively. “Oh there’s a mess over here. Let me pick that up before the baby gets into it…The baby spilled her bottle over there. I need to mop that up before get into it and turn it into an even bigger mess.” We vacuum before our daughter does tummy time but not on a regular schedule (sad but true). I dust when we’re expecting company not because that’s just what I do every Tuesday.

So as I cleaned, I began thinking about WHOLE30 and how it’s been kind of a metaphor for spring cleaning, a reset if you will. I discussed it with Hubs. We talked about our individual experiences; how our initial WHOLE30 journeys are coming to an end; what we’ve learned; etc. We also talked about how we want to move forward, the aspects of WHOLE30 we definitely want to maintain, pitfalls we want to avoid during the transition from such a strict eating plan (binging on pizza anyone?) and such. More on this topic in the days ahead…

Shortly after this conversation I checked my email. I had received my daily e-devotional from Dr. David Jeremiah’s Turning Points. In case you’re unfamiliar with Turning Points – it’s a wonderful program that sends you 6 emails a week (1 per weekday and 1 for the weekend). Each email contains a short devotional with a foundational scripture, a brief discussion often based on the life story of some historical individual and an additional suggested Bible reading for follow-up. During my days in the full-time, traditional work force, Turning Points emails were invaluable for helping me establish a daily devotional routine. These days, with an erratic full-time mommy schedule, Turning Points serves to ground me and remind me every day of the peace and love God provides. I’ve pasted a portion of this weekend’s devotion below because it speaks so clearly to this issue of spring cleaning, and how we should remain continually in a process of resetting and reassessing our progress toward our goals.

…Why should we live without having our affairs in order? Why shouldn’t “getting our affairs in order” be a continual process of assessing and resetting instead of an end-of-life challenge? We know the reasons: procrastination, busyness, resistance to change, unwillingness to make hard choices, fear of the future, and more. And yet we eventually get to that place: We clean out the garage and basement, we go on a diet, we start exercising, we begin investing resources in healthy relationships, we start spending daily time with God, we fine-tune our financial matters . . . we do those things that we know will allow important priorities to rise to the top and less important ones to fall by the wayside. Is it time for you to get your spiritual and practical affairs in order? Make it a continual process as you press toward the goal of knowing Christ Jesus.

Verse of the Day:
But one thing I do . . . I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
~Philippians 3:13b-14 (NKJV)
Read more here.

Resource of the Day:
Click here to register & begin receiving Turning Points e-devotionals automatically delivered to your inbox!

Is This Bib the Answer to Your Messy Baby Prayers?

Bella Tunno Bib to the Rescue!

Bella Tunno Bib to the Rescue!

Our daughter is a really happy baby. She’s a joy to have around, almost all the time, except when she’s hungry. When she’s hungry, watch out. She’ll scream and yell and throw herself around like it’s the end of her world. When she’s eating she often continues hurling herself about, reaching for things and looking all around the room. It was a messy, drippy, drooly affair when she was just bottle-feeding. Now that she’s eating some solid foods, it’s a full-contact sport! There’s spinach in her ears and up her nose; mashed carrot is caked under her chin and dried on the straps of her high chair. We couldn’t keep clean shirts on the kid! All those adorable cloth bibs we have – you know the ones – the cute ones from Carter’s and Gerber, with ruffles and hearts and baby animals on them, with sweet sayings like “mommy loves me” and “born to burp,” – those things barely survived a feeding before they were soaked through with a lethal combo of pureed veggies, rice cereal bits and some bizarre sour milk-like toxin. We were desperate for an alternative. And one day, I found an answer, via amazon.com.

The Bella Tunno Silicone Wonder Bib is composed of 100% PVC and BPA-free silicone, and it’s CPSIA Compliant as well as dishwasher safe. Each bib is designed with a lip at the bottom to catch spills. It is adjustable for several different infant and toddler neck sizes and also comes in multiple colors and styles for boys and girls. Immediately upon discovery, I purchased two of the fuchsia with elephants style which is super cute, and we keep one bib in the baby bag at all times because they’re super convenient for use on the go. You can roll them up so they take up very little room in even the most over-crowed diaper bag.

At first, I was over the moon with this bib, and I still think it’s an overall wise purchase. The bib fits our daughter well and because of its larger size provides greater clothing protection from spills, leaks and spit-up. It is so cute. I mentioned that already, didn’t I? Well it’s worth repeating because I’ve gotten several compliments from other mamas, which is always nice. The cleanup is a breeze (literally just rinse it out in the sink and drip dry, or use a little dish liquid for especially scary messes). Also, it’s incredibly reasonably priced at only $13-14, all the more economical when you consider it could replace all your other cloth bibs and could save you money on laundry bills.

My one complaint is (likely) specific to our child and her tendency to pick and pull at things while eating, so she very quickly learned she could pull off the bib due to the construction of the notched closures. Not surprising because she’s learned to pull off bibs with Velcro closures as well. In fact, the only ones she hasn’t been able to pull off are bibs with sturdy metal snaps at the neck, but of course those bibs are not adjustable and are usually cloth. She’s especially motivated to pull off the Bella Tunno now that she’s teething because she loves to chew on the notches at the neck so it’s a big-time struggle to keep it on her. That’s a huge problem immediately after a feeding when that “lip” reservoir is full of liquidy gunk! Several times she’s yanked the bib off and tipped it over, dumping out the ickiness all over the place before mommy and daddy could catch it. Sort of defeats the purpose of the bib and meant that we didn’t really save that much money on laundry bills after all…It’s a shame too because otherwise this is terrific bib.

Because I believe this problem is limited to those select few babies who love to pick, grab and pull while eating, I’m giving this a rating of 4 out of 5 pearls of wisdom. The pros definitely outweigh the cons.

Price: $14 + shipping from Bellatunno.com (save 15% when you join their mailing list)
$13 + shipping from amazon.com (or free shipping with Amazon Prime)

Daily Beauty Wisdom Rating: **** / 5 pearls of wisdom

Thought for the Day:
…but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”
~Matthew 19:14 (English Standard Version)
Read more here.

WHOLE30 Day #2 – Busted!

So our WHOLE30 adventure continues. I’m embarrassed to admit that it only took 2 days to reveal some rather ugly aspects of my character. I woke up to the baby crying and fantasies of chemical-laced coffee creamer and artificial sweetener. So I “generously” offered to let Hubs sleep in while I got up to take care of our baby. Even as I prepped her bottle, I knew what I was going to do and planned to very quietly retrieve the sweeteners out of the corner of the pantry where I’d hidden them just days before.

A few minutes later, Baby Girl changed, fed, burped and happy, I sprung into action. I brewed up my coffee and stirred in that delicious white “creamer” powder full of mystery and unpronounceable chemicals. Yum! I paused. “Hmm, better at least try to use fewer packets of sweetener. I’ll go with half.” I then experienced momentary guilt for cheating on our commitment, but I tell myself Hubs will understand. Didn’t he describe black coffee with no creamer and no sweetener as “like drinking a cup of fresh brewed hatred”? Yeah, he’d understand. Besides, he won’t know.

I’d just sat and taken my first sip when Hubs came out of the bedroom. He took one look at my cup and launched into a lecture about all the reasons we chose to do the WHOLE30; how we want to be healthier for our daughter; how the current discomfort is only temporary and will result in long term benefits. He reminded me of all the things we had discussed before we decided to take this journey. And I felt guilty. But I also felt uncertain. Perhaps I was never really committed to this process; otherwise I would not have kept those items so readily accessible. This reminded me of the scripture below. As a result of this lesson, I’ve had to rethink my commitment. I’ve also realized that we need to be willing to totally dispense with those items or habits we wish to get rid of. It’s not enough to kind of commit to stopping while still permitting easy access to those things, while still keeping them around. Too bad for me it took a little shaming to learn that lesson.

“…and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.”
~Romans 13:14 (NASB)
Read more here.

WHOLE30 Meal of the Day (dinner)
Simple Roasted Chicken with Caribbean Roasted Root Veggies & Salad

Recommended Resources:
Functional Dad
MUTU System to Lose Your Mummy Tummy

Hi I'm Karen.

I appreciate you stopping by Daily Beauty Wisdom.

I hope while you're here you find some tips, tricks and recipes to help you feel healthier and prettier, save some money, and live a life filled with wisdom and beauty.

Before you leave, don't forget to enter your email in the subscription box below. You'll automatically receive all new DBW posts and content sent directly to your mailbox of choice.

So be sure to subscribe and never miss another dose of Daily Beauty Wisdom!