Flour + Paper https://flourandpaper.com Stay A While. Be Inspired. Wed, 26 Sep 2018 01:03:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 https://flourandpaper.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/cropped-Negative-logo-32x32.jpg Flour + Paper https://flourandpaper.com 32 32 How To Reduce The Risk Of Food Allergies In Babies https://flourandpaper.com/2018/08/how-to-reduce-the-risk-of-food-allergies-in-babies/ https://flourandpaper.com/2018/08/how-to-reduce-the-risk-of-food-allergies-in-babies/#respond Thu, 30 Aug 2018 16:45:56 +0000 https://flourandpaper.com/?p=5600

 

With the insane amount of food allergies being diagnosed in children and adults lately, I have to say, it was one of Tom and mines biggest concerns when Evan was approaching the age at which we would start introducing him to solid foods.

Our Paediatrician is the absolute best.  She provided an incredible amount of information about when and how to introduce the top common food allergens.  The method she suggested was to introduce a food allergen or a new food one at a time and for 3-4 consecutive days. This way it was controlled and we could easily identify a potential allergic reaction.  She also gave us some background on a study conducted out of Israel.  There, they have a popular snack, Bamba, which prevents peanut allergies in children. She suggested searching for it here at a local grocer or speciality food shop. Lucky for us, Tom was very familiar with this snack as it was one of his favourites while he lived in Israel for a year.  We were also very lucky that his uncle was visiting Israel at the time, so we reached out to request if he could bring back a few packets of this peanut snack for Evan.  Within a few weeks we received a jumbo pack of about 40 snack packs of Bamba! At 6 months old, Evan was eating 2-3 pieces of Bamba each day.

We slowly introduced other common food allergens such as fish and eggs, in the same way.  I figured after getting past the eggs, peanuts, and fish, without an issue (with exception to eczema after eggs for the first time) we were good to go.

It wasn’t until discovering Roslyn’s Real Foods, I realized that there were so many other common food allergens that we had not yet introduced to Evan, such as other tree nuts and soy. Roslyn’s Real Foods makes it easy for parents to introduce tree nuts and soy to their little ones with ease and without having to spend a whole lot on full-sized jars of the stuff.  Instead, you can either purchase individual 20g taster packs of their 10 available tree nut butters or purchase a starter kit which includes all the taster packs.  Once you’ve introduced all the nut butters and soy individually, you can purchase a jar of their Wholesome Blends: Tree Nut Butter to regularly continue to expose your child to these common food allergens, and helping them build their immunity to them.

I decided to get a little creative when introducing the butters to Evan.  I mixed a little less than one teaspoon (you get about three from one packet) each day into a food or snack.  I started by mixing the pecan butter into a yogurt parfait in the morning, then I made a “mayo” using the soy in an egg salad for his lunch a few days later, macadamia in his breakfast cereal, and the almond butter in a smoothie – to give you a few ideas. Otherwise on a spoon or toast works just as well.

Before letting Evan have a taste, I made sure to taste all the nut butters myself and they are delicious! Most of these nuts I wouldn’t eat raw, but in nut butter form I am totally down.   I think this is such a great and simple way to introduce your little one’s to these common food allergens without spending a whole lot of money and also being sure that you are getting a healthy product that is made with love right here in Canada and with the best intentions at heart.  Try it for yourself (and little ones) and get free shipping on your order with code FREESHIP now through September 10, 2018.

If  you have any questions, you can find more information in the FAQ’s section at the bottom of their Homepage or contact them directly.

 

DISCLAIMER: I’m not a health care professional. Please consult your medical physician for complete information and guidance.

This post has been sponsored by Roslyn’s Real Foods. All opinions and views expressed are my own.

 

OTHER HELPFUL LINKS

Introducing Baby to Solid Foods With Allergy Awareness

KidsHealth

Food Allergies and Babies

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The Best Plant Based Chocolate Smoothie https://flourandpaper.com/2018/05/the-best-plant-based-chocolate-smoothie/ https://flourandpaper.com/2018/05/the-best-plant-based-chocolate-smoothie/#comments Thu, 10 May 2018 17:03:08 +0000 https://flourandpaper.com/?p=5555

 

This is my all time favourite chocolate smoothie.  Don’t let “plant based” fool you. Every ingredient in this smoothie, by The Greenhouse Juice Co., is packed with flavour and just the right amount of sweetness.

A few summers back when I put my self on a strict-ish diet and workout regime to get my body into shape and have glowing skin for my wedding, I visited The Greenhouse Juice Co on Macpherson Avenue in Toronto about 3 times a week, once the summer had started.  During one of my visits, I noticed a new menu on the counter for smoothies. I decided to give the Rococoa a go since the ingredients were the most appealing to me. I really wasn’t expecting it to taste much like a milky, chocolate smoothie, but more like a cold pressed juice.

Was I ever wrong…BIG time! Upon first sip, my taste buds were pleasantly surprised and it was as if a chocolate bomb of goodness had gone off in my mouth – I was instantly hooked. The rest of that week I treated myself to a Rococoa smoothie each morning. After about three weeks, and having seen how this new found smoothie love of mine was affecting my bank account, I had to have a little more self control. At $15 a smoothie after factoring taxes (worth every penny by the way) each day, for 3 weeks, you can see why I had to cut back. I decided that I would treat myself to a Rococoa on Fridays. The only problem with this new “rule” of mine, was that once a week just wasn’t enough. I honestly felt like I was going through withdrawal. So, I decided to try and recreate it based on the ingredients listed on the menu. I wouldn’t say I failed. I also never really got it the recipe quite right, but it was good enough for me. All the more reason to look forward to my end-of-the-work-week treat.

Fast forward to Tom, Evan, and I moving from Toronto to Hamilton. When I realized that I would be a long way from any Greenhouse Juice Co location, I was a bit sad that I would no longer be able to treat myself to a Rococa smoothie on any given day that I craved it. Or so I thought!

While scrolling through my Instagram feed one afternoon, a post from Greenhouse came up about a blog post for the Rococa smoothie recipe. I immediately saved it on Pinterest for safe keeping. Unfortunately, when this happened, I was very pregnant and had zero energy in the morning to whip up a smoothie, and it didn’t get any easier to do so after Evan arrived. Now, an entire year after getting my hands on one of my most coveted recipes, I have finally made the time to treat myself to what I consider to be the best chocolate smoothie, ever.  The best parts about this smoothie, other than the yumminess, is that it doesn’t have any refined sugar, no added salt, and all the ingredients are plant based.

 

ROCOCA SMOOTHIE

Makes about 2 cups: 1 large or 2 small smoothies.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almond milk (or milk of your choice)
  • 1 frozen banana cut into chunks
  • 1 to 2 pitted Medjool dates
  • 1 tbs raw cacao powder
  • 1 tsp ground maca (optional)
  • ½ tsp coconut oil
  • 1 vanilla bean, sliced lengthwise, seeds scraped out and reserved, or 1 tsp pure vanilla extract (I reduced this to 1/2 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 1 tbs natural almond butter
  • 7 ice cubes

Steps:

  1. Pour the milk into a blender first, then add the banana, dates, cacao, maca (if using), coconut oil, vanilla seeds or extract, and almond butter.
  2. Blend for 30 seconds, or until well combined (you don’t want to hear any chunks of ice bumping around).
  3. Pour and enjoy!

 

More about maca powder

Why I love cacao

Photo | The Greenhouse Juice Blog

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Life After Baby: Diastasis Recti (Abdominal Separation) https://flourandpaper.com/2018/03/life-after-baby-diastasis-recti-abdominal-separation/ https://flourandpaper.com/2018/03/life-after-baby-diastasis-recti-abdominal-separation/#comments Thu, 29 Mar 2018 12:17:45 +0000 https://flourandpaper.com/?p=5504
Photo | www.lyndalippin.com

 

In my Life After Baby: What No One Tells You post, I briefly mentioned Diastasis Recti (DRA), a condition which is the separation of the abdominal muscles.

After having Evan, my expectations were that my body would return to it’s pre-pregnancy size within the first three months post partum. After all, I was working out and doing everything I thought was right for a fit and healthy pregnancy and postpartum recovery. Everything I was told at the prenatal and educational classes, and from seasoned mothers, not once mentioned Diastasis recti. I think many women, like myself, tend to believe that they simply have a “mummy tummy” without realizing they have a deeper underlying issue which is directly related to their pelvic health.

For several months post partum I had this weird jiggly belly where everything in there felt like is was sloshing around freely. It was the weirdest feeling! I knew something wasn’t quite right and so I decided to conduct a bit of research myself. I didn’t know about DRA, so when searching for answers, I was typing in all kinds of terms including “why do I still look 5 months pregnant?” and “breastfeeding and not loosing the pregnancy weight.” Finally, after all my searching and noticing similarities between discussions on online forums and various websites, I realized what was going on with my body. The culprit – Diastasis Recti.

During my online search, I came across numerous workouts that claimed to help heal this condition. I saved many to give them a try later on, but I found conflicting information when it came to which exercises were safe and which ones to avoid. I decided to stop trying to fix this issue on my own in case I was actually doing more harm than good.

At this time, Tom and I were in the process of packing for our move into our new home, and figured I might as well wait until we were settled in to find a physiotherapist to work with for this tummy issue. In the new year, I got my butt into gear and called a Physiotherapy Clinic. Surprisingly, I was told that I would need to find a pelvic health specialist. This made me feel a bit geriatric and a little embarrassed. I managed to get over myself and search for a clinic. Luckily, I found a Pelvic health clinic close to home and managed to get an appointment two weeks out.

Photo | www.Fit2B.us

 

 

At my first appointment, I realized I had made the right decision to halt my own attempt at fixing my Diastasis Recti and by seeking out a professional. I met with a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist, Christina Dzieduszycki, who went through my medical history and details about my pregnancy and post partum recovery. Surprisingly, we spoke in depth about peeing and pooping. At this point I was thinking “why are we talking about this? Can we just get to the part on how I lose this mummy tummy?” I soon understood why we were talking about bowl movements, as our chat led into a very educational discussion about the muscles in our core and pelvic area and how they work together to support EVERYTHING down there. She also explained that women don’t realize that the hormone relaxin (makes your joints loose and “rubbery” to help with delivery) which is produced by our body while we are pregnant, remains in our system for upto 3 months once breastfeeding has ended. This is important to know! At my 8 weeks postpartum check-up, my doctor told me that I could start to workout the way I used to pre-pregnancy. I was and still am breastfeeding, so if I had jumped right back into the gym, I could have caused even more damage.

Photo | www.momstrongutah.com

 

The second half of my appointment with Christina, was spent learning how to perform a breathing exercise as the first step in healing my DRA – retraining myself on my breathing technique. The way Christina described this was:

“When you inhale, you need to watch/feel your belly rise (or expand like a balloon filling up with air). During the inhalation phase, the pelvic floor muscles relax and a descent/lengthening of the area between the sit bones should be felt. This can best be experienced while assuming the happy baby yoga pose.

When we exhale this is where the contraction occurs. The belly falls and tightens as we activate the transverse abdominus muscle (our bodies “corset/girdle” muscle). During the exhalation phase the pelvic floor muscles also contract, as though you are trying to prevent the passing of gas, flow of urine and then drawing navel to spine (in that order – back to front – like a zipper effect). It sometimes helps if you imagine yourself trying to suck in a ping-pong ball through the vagina.”

 

I do have to emphasize that this technique is NOT a simple one to achieve without formal instruction as most of us tend to breath backwards. We suck in to look thin, which negatively impacts the pressures acting on the pelvic floor.

Once I got the hang of this, I was sent home with a bit of homework. Performing this breathing exercise 25-50 times a day until my next appointment. This one change alone made me feel a bit stronger in that area and made me more conscious of my posture. To boot, my massage therapist noticed the muscles in my mid back were not as tight as before – it’s because I was breathing using the correct technique! It feels so good to know that I am on my way and progressing at a healthy pace towards healing my Diastasis Recti.

If you think you might have Diastasis Recti and would like to follow me while I take the necessary steps to heal my DRA, be sure to subscribe to our mailing list for the most current blog updates!

Written in collaboration with Christina Dzieduszycki, The Active Pelvic Healer

 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The Active Pelvic Healer

Tupler Tchnique

momSTRONG

healthline

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Life After Baby: What No One Tells You https://flourandpaper.com/2018/03/life-after-baby-what-no-one-tells-you/ https://flourandpaper.com/2018/03/life-after-baby-what-no-one-tells-you/#respond Thu, 22 Mar 2018 01:11:55 +0000 https://flourandpaper.com/?p=5376

 

Having a healthy pregnancy has always been important to me since I knew I wanted to have children of my own. I figured by doing what I thought were the most important things a woman could do for herself and baby – be physically fit, health conscious with eating habits, get as much rest as possible – would be enough to see me through a healthy pregnancy and recovery. In addition to these things, it’s important to educate yourself on what to expect during labour and delivery.  Tom and I also discussed post partum depression and how we would work together to work through it if I felt like I was experiencing symptoms.

When we shared our pregnancy news with our family and friends, we took note of all the advice we were getting from well seasoned parents within our circle.  You know…”sleep when baby sleeps”…”make sure you eat”…”have someone stay with you in the first few weeks.” I did ask about child birth experiences, but never did I think to ask about the things I experienced postpartum, nor did anyone (not even my OBGYN!) talk about it – the nitty gritty stuff.

During and after pregnancy, your body goes through a significant amount of change physically, emotionally, and mentally – it’s hard to keep up. You go through life’s most intense and beautiful experience of delivering your baby and are then thrust right into being new parents and figuring out how to care for this tiny, little being. You, on top of that, have to pay attention to your own body to make sure you heal properly.

 

WHAT I EXPERIENCED AFTER PREGNANCY

Body changes

  • After pregnancy I experienced exhaustion from both the actual act of delivering a baby and being sleep deprived. I have never been THAT exhausted, ever.
  • After giving birth, your uterus needs to shrink back to its original size pre-pregnancy. In order for this to happen, your uterus contracts and it’s painful. A combination of extra strength Tylenol along with extra strength Advil was prescribed to help with this – it can last a few weeks.
  • Hormonal fluctuation from an ultimate high to menopausal low. Feeling really happy to the point where I was crying when I felt this way, then crying when my mind would wander off to so many different things such as having a lot to loose now and worrying over the worst happening and not being there for this precious little life. I would also experience hot flashes and sweat like crazy as well as become super thirsty when breastfeeding.
  • Engorged breasts were expected, but when you have no clue how this actually feels, it’s a bit of a shock.
  • I had an incredible amount of excess fluid in my body after giving birth. I was painfully swollen for a few weeks (something I didn’t experience during pregnancy).  After a week of the pain and discomfort, a family friend who is a retired nurse advised me to keep my legs elevated every chance I got. This worked wonders and within three days my swelling subsided.
  • During my pregnancy I didn’t have such a difficult time breathing as I was warned about. I think it’s probably because Evan was sitting so low. Oddly enough, after giving birth was when I had experienced breathing problems. I couldn’t walk more than five minutes before feeling like I was having an asthma attack. I was told this was due to all my organs and such being moved around before and after baby. It took about two weeks before I felt normal again.

 

Breastfeeding + Getting back my pre-pregnancy body

  • No one ever said how hard this would be to establish. Yes, it’s supposed to be very natural, but the process doesn’t go as smoothly as we might expect it to. It took several weeks before Evan was able to breastfeed without any type of feeding tool or aid.
  • Much of what I heard about when it came to breastfeeding was that I had to pump to prevent leaking and that it would help me shed away all the pregnancy weight. This instant weight loss seems to be the number one reason for breastfeeding. It was part of my main three reasons for wanting to breastfeed. Well, this magical weight loss is only half true. Not all women experience this and the reason is due to hormones in our body postpartum. These hormone levels vary for everyone. So, instead of loosing all the weight, I lost 14 of the 24lbs I gained during pregnancy and have been stuck there.
  • If you’re breastfeeding, your body needs more water than ever. Not only to help with milk production, but to maintain all regular body functions which require water, including painless bowel movements, skin and hair maintenance, etc.

 

Getting Back My Pre-Pregnancy Body
It took me several months to realize I was not one of those women who was going to zap back to my pre-pregnancy weight with the help of breastfeeding. At the 8 weeks post-partum mark is when I had my follow-up exam with my OB and family doctor to make sure I was healing well and whether it was okay to start certain physical activities again – I really wanted to get myself back in shape, but I wasn’t going to jeopardize my health if my body wasn’t ready. According to the doctor, all was fine. But I didn’t feel that way. My joints still felt rubbery, I didn’t have the energy I needed to work out, and my darn tummy still looked like I was five months pregnant. I couldn’t figure out why. I was breastfeeding and doing my abdominal massages. I knew it was going to take some time, but I felt stagnant and stuck physically.

So, four months postpartum I had to figure out for myself what the heck was up with my body. After searching online and reading endless amounts of new mommy and health discussion boards, I realized I had Diastasis Recti…Diasta-what? Exactly! This is what happens when your abdominal muscles separate during pregnancy. This can happen also happen or make the problem worse if you push incorrectly during labour.  After a lot of online searching and thinking I could fix this on my own, based on what other women posted online, I decided I needed to seek help from a health professional.

Pregnancy puts your body through a great amount of “stress” so it’s important to allow yourself to properly heal before returning to high impact physical activities. Ease back into your health habits and be sure to always consult a medical practitioner. Sometimes we may look completely healthy on the outside, but the reality is, you may not be aware of underlying issues. Pay attention to your body and listen to your intuition.

In my next post, I’ll get into more detail of Diastasis recti and how I am working towards healing my body. If you are a new mom, seasoned mom, considering of having more children, or think you may have this condition as well, you won’t want to miss the upcoming posts in the rest of the Life After Baby mini series.  They will focus on Pelvic health and it’s importance for women who plan on having children or who have already gone through the experience.  I guarantee that your OBGYN won’t share with you any of the knowledge I’m excited to pass onto you.

Do you have an interesting life after baby experience or any helpful advice for other that you wished was passed onto you? I would love to hear about it!

 

 

 


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Eco Friendly Wall Art: Photowall https://flourandpaper.com/2018/02/eco-friendly-wall-art-photowall/ https://flourandpaper.com/2018/02/eco-friendly-wall-art-photowall/#comments Tue, 06 Feb 2018 14:36:15 +0000 https://flourandpaper.com/?p=5373

 

Before Tom, Evan, and I moved into our new home, I was eagerly planning what Evan’s nursery would look like, from the colour scheme, theme, and layout.  One of the important design elements was wall art. I had seen so many beautiful, cute, and modern prints, but I wanted something that was not the current trend and I to include certain elements in Evan’s room that would grow with him.

At the time of planning and thinking of décor and design, I had very little time to actually look for wall art, since the options and retailers are endless. So, I was pretty excited and grateful when I was asked by Photowall, to review one of their products.  Photowall’s product line-up of canvas prints (with do-it-yourself frame) and wall murals/wallpaper is absolutely stunning and so not boring.  The artists they work with all bring very unique and versatile elements to the murals and canvas prints they design.

I chose the Skinny Dip canvas print by designer Ryan Fowler with a DIY frame.  You can choose whether you would like the do-it-yourself frame or just the canvas only, from 3 types of frame edge styles, and size ranging from 40 cm x 40 cm as the smallest to 150 cm x 150 cm as the largest. Shipping was fast, arriving within a week of placing the order.

Once we settled in and the holidays were over, I finally had a chance to put it together.  It took me 20 minutes at most. The instructions were super easy to understand and the product itself was designed with great care and detail.

 

 

The quality of both the canvas print and frame are of high quality – sturdy frame and a nice thick canvas. You can truly get a sense of the amount of care and thought really put into their design. Speaking of care, I love that Photowall also has a vested interest in the care for our planet. They do a bit of environmental work which involves minimizing their impact on the environment and planting 5,000 trees yearly around Lake Victoria in eastern Africa to help fight poverty, improve the environment, and fight climate change.

 

I absolutely love this print in Evan’s room (just a sneak peak of the nursery for now).  As you can see, he has quite the collection of stuffed toy characters and this bear print gives his room a bit of a big boy feel.

If you are looking to add a bit of “ooh la la” to your walls, whether it be at home or at work, use code flourpapercampaign2018 for 20% off until March 31st. Happy shopping!

 

 

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How We Won Our Dream House https://flourandpaper.com/2018/01/how-we-won-our-dream-house/ https://flourandpaper.com/2018/01/how-we-won-our-dream-house/#comments Mon, 29 Jan 2018 03:09:16 +0000 https://flourandpaper.com/?p=5333

Tom and I knew we wanted to purchase our first home before Evan arrived. We decided to purchase when we did, since the market in Toronto was (and is) ridiculous. Prices were being blown waaay over asking due to inevitable bidding wars. We were lucky the government put new rules and regulations into place when we were in the market, which helped ease the pain of buying and selling. Both our buy and sell had to be timed just right to avoid having our house search drag on too close or even past Evan’s due date (and good thing since Ev decided to arrive a month early).

We went into house hunting expecting to have to look at over 20 homes and possibly having to place at least 10 different offers before getting a house we wanted. We had heard stories from friends and acquaintances being in the market to purchase for over a year and seeing well over 100 houses, even putting in over 25 offers! Thankfully, that was not the case. Phew!

Tom and I saw a total of seven homes over 2 days in the month of May (one Saturday and on a Wednesday). After the first round of house visits on the Saturday, I had little hope about finding something both Tom and I would love and that wouldn’t mean giving up a lot of what we really wanted in our future family home. After all, this would be the largest purchase we make together, and we planned on living in our new home for the next 20+ years. So, I didn’t want to have to give up on a lot just for the sake of buying a home out of fear we wouldn’t find the house of our “dreams.”

One thing we seemed to have working against us, other than a very possible bidding war situation, was a closing date that was at least 90 days from the date of purchase. We needed a posession date a minimum of a month after Evan’s expected arrival, but it was tough to find due to when we were looking to purchase.

On the second day of house visits (the Wednesday) is when we knew we had found a home that hit all the important needs and wants on our list.  We were very fortunate that the home owner was home when we went for our visit. We took the opportunity to talk to her and find out the history of her time here and also to answer questions that were not answered in the listing. One VERY important piece of information was the closing date. It was listed as “TBD” but the home owner ended up telling us at the end of November is when she would like to move. NOVEMBER! That was perfect!

While on our way home, we decided we needed to put in an offer. We were hoping to present an early offer before the listed bidding date, but thanks to our (amazing) realtor, we found out pre-emptive offers were not being accepted and that there was an early offer that was presented, but rejected because it was not what the home owner wanted. This put a real damper on our offer plans. We realized we would have to go in near the top end of our budget with a small amount of wiggle room and sad we might loose out on this awesome house in a bidding war.

When we first started our house hunt talks with our realtor, she mentioned that buyers sometimes include a personal letter with their offer, but it wasn’t guaranteed to work. It helps, but not all sellers will consider them. Regardless, I knew I had to try. So, I got to work and put together a letter using all the information we were privy to during our little chat with the home owner and thought “how can we connect with her?”

This was our letter:

When offer night came around the following Tuesday, we submitted our offer along with our letter and kept our fingers and toes crossed, knowing there were about 6 offers being presented. We were told we would hear back about an hour after the submission deadline. Over an hour had passed. Tom looked at me and said “so, I guess no news is bad news?” and at that moment my phone rang. It was our realtor. She started the conversation off sounding a bit somber “how’s it going?” Great…we didn’t get it, I thought. “So..” she continued, “congratulations, you got the house!” Whaaaat!? NO second or third round of offers to go through?! Amazing and such a relief! Our realtor was equally excited. She said we are the luckiest people she knew. She hadn’t had a sale (of our condo) go so well OR the purchase of a home take such a short amount of time – only 7 homes viewed and the purchase offer not being the highest, yet coming out on top. Turns out the two things that made our offer the winner were our offer letter and closing date. It was meant to be and we couldn’t be happier!

Tom, Evan and I moved in a month before Christmas. It was super busy and stressful given we had Evan to look after all while packing up, moving, and unpacking and settling into our new home – all right before the holidays. I think back and wonder “what the heck were we thinking?!” I don’t recommend moving with a baby, but that’s a whole other blog post. All-in-all it was worth it because we have settled into our new home and are slowly making it our own – giving it a bit of a facelift until we move on to the real renovations over the next several years.

What tips do I have for others looking to submit a personal letter with their purchase offer?

  • Take time to talk to the home owner and neighbours if they are around when you visit the property
  • Be honest and genuine
  • Make it personal
  • Be complementary to the home owner
  • Don’t beg or use language like “you need/have to” or “I/we deserve it” or similar
  • Thank them for taking the time for reading your letter
  • And while you’re at it, put positive vibes and some good intention behind your words while your write your letter.

Then hope for the best. Know that if you do get it, then yay!! But, if not, it wasn’t meant to be and what’s meant for you is better than you can imagine and it’s out their waiting for you.

Do you have a neat home purchase or selling story? Did you try something completely unheard of or have general tips on house hunting? Would love to hear all about it. If you have any questions for me about our house hunting experience and process, I’m happy to share!

 

HELPFUL LINKS:

Everything you need to know about writing an offer letter

How to write an offer letter for a house

How to write an offer letter that will win sellers over

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Great To Be Back https://flourandpaper.com/2018/01/great-to-be-back/ https://flourandpaper.com/2018/01/great-to-be-back/#comments Thu, 18 Jan 2018 03:23:44 +0000 https://flourandpaper.com/?p=5310

 

I know I’ve been MIA for way too long, but let me explain.

2017 wasn’t “busy” in terms of having a full social schedule, but being pregnant for the first half of the year made me a total couch potato.  The first trimester started at the end of 2016 and trickled into 2017.  This was my first pregnancy and I don’t remember feeling as lethargic and exhausted in my life as I did then (actually, when I volunteered for the Canadian Cancer Society’s Relay for Life and didn’t sleep for over 24 hours then having to catch a plane for my vacation over seas, was the only other time prior to becoming a new Mother), and when I finally got my energy back in the second trimester, I was trying to play catch up at the gym – keeping myself physically healthy during my pregnancy and in preparation for Evan’s arrival.

There was a whole ton I wanted to blog about and share with you, but experiencing pregnancy for the first time was a real kick in the butt and a serious reality check. I always thought I would be able to have everything balanced, organized, and running like clock work as I am so proudly able to do – it is part of who I am…My crazy organizational and plan-ahead skills…Which all went to poo with my pregnancy.

I decided several years ago that I wasn’t going to force myself to do things if I just wasn’t feeling it. Doing that stressed me out and made me antsy.  I didn’t need to feel like that during my pregnancy. I wanted to be as calm and cool as possible (when my hormones weren’t raging). From being tired and exhausted to developing pregnancy brain (it is real, believe me. I tired to fight it.) which then turns into mommy brain once your little one arrives. You can’t get away from it. But I’ll touch more on that in a future blog post.

I still have so much I want to share about my pregnancy and on being a first time mom. Forgive me as I now play catch up on Flour + Paper, and I may seem to be all over the place as I travel backwards with my life events and make my way back into blog land.

To give you a quick rundown, aside from sharing my pregnancy experiences, I have yet to share all the tips I came across while planning our wedding in the fall of 2016, and not to mention Tom and mines latest adventures in being new parents and new home owners in a new city – there is SO MUCH to share! I don’t even remember Christmas since it flew by so quickly. I think it took a back seat to us moving and settling into our new home.

I never even got around to thinking about New Year resolutions for 2018, but what I have decided (over and over again since thinking that getting my balance back seemed like it was never going to happen, up until recently) is to follow a handful of key things that really made a difference in how I lived my daily life a few years ago, when I was stuck in a rut:

 

GO WITH THE FLOW
This was my dad’s advice to me back in 2011 when I was trying to force things in my life. Whether it be relationships, jobs, chores, hobbies, etc. So, I started to just let things be. If something didn’t click with me, I left it alone and let it be. Forcing it never ended well or left me feeling great. I took more of an “If it does, it does. If it doesn’t, then it doesn’t” approach to just about everything. I accepted the good and the not so good potential of my situations. That way I wasn’t left feeling let down by expecting anything from anything or anyone.

 

BE GRATEFUL
My sister called me out on this when I was feeling super down on life in 2013. I don’t remember why she said it exactly and what we were talking about, but I remember my outlook changing almost immediately and I started to look for the tiniest bright side or good things that happened throughout my day. By doing this, so many awesome things started to enter my life, and I started to take notice of all the amazingness already filling my life.

 

PAY ATTENTION
In 2011 I started reading The Celestine Prophecy series of books. I had bought them a few years before that based on a recommendation from one of my close friends.  The first book in the series is the original and the best of the four. The Celestine Prophecy takes the reader through nine insights, one of them being “Meaningful Coincidences.” I won’t go into detail, but to sum it up, pay attention to situations or messages you experience or hear multiple times. They usually take place when you are in need of an answer to something and they keep occurring until you take notice and act on them. It’s one of the reason’s we are sleep training Evan right now and why I’ve been able to spend time writing this blog post the past couple of days.

 

As Tom and I work our way through the adventures in parenting, I’m slowly finding a balance, amongst other personal goals, and so you can look forward to more posts (trickling in) from Flour + Paper from here on out.  I can’t promise they will be regular, but they will happen bit by bit.

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Maternity Style Staples: Tips To Stretch Your Closet + Budget https://flourandpaper.com/2017/05/maternity-style-staples/ https://flourandpaper.com/2017/05/maternity-style-staples/#comments Fri, 05 May 2017 01:25:24 +0000 https://flourandpaper.com/?p=5190 Once I got through the first semester, and my belly started to actually grow, is when I started thinking of having to purchase dreaded maternity clothes. I didn’t want to get sucked into spending tons of money on clothing that is insanely overpriced and, realistically, would only get worn for a few months. For the most part, the majority of pregnant women are going to need a wardrobe that takes them through 2 weather seasons, since they can get away with wearing regular clothing for the first trimester.

I did purchase a few non-fashion items in my first trimester which I found essential and would use throughout my pregnancy as well as after. However, when it comes to maternity clothing, it seems like wearing most of what’s available after pregnancy, could look a bit odd.

When shopping for maternity clothing, I found that prices range from average to just plain ridiculous. So, although it took a bit of searching (and self restraint to not blow all my cash) I managed to shop my own closet and purchase items that look great during pregnancy and will be just as stylish to wear postpartum.

 

STRETCHY TUNIC TANKS

These are perfect for layering with sweaters, shirts, and blazers. They have a whole lot of stretch and the extra length helps to keep your belly from showing a bit of skin once you’re baby bump is pretty plump. | $7 CAD, Old Navy (on sale)

 

SWING DRESS

Swing dresses are great and will fit your bump all the way through your pregnancy since they are cut in an A-line shape and the style naturally has extra fabric, allowing lot’s of room for belly growth. They look great with just about any boot, shoe, or sandal. I’ve been wearing mine since the first trimester and still wearing it proudly. | $48.96 CAD on sale at The GAP

 

EMPIRE WAIST BLOUSE

This was one of my maternity wear purchases. It has enough fabric to allow belly growth throughout your entire pregnancy, but it’s definitely a piece you can wear post par-tum, untied at the waist and worn lose with a blazer. | $34.97 CAD from Motherhood Maternity (on sale plus an extra 30% off)

 

BUTTON-FRONT CARDIGAN

Great for layering over tank tops and dresses on cooler days or days when you don’t really need a jacket but there’s still a coolness in the breeze. Another piece you can wear during and after pregnancy. | $15 CAD from Old Navy (on sale)

 

MATERNITY JEANS

I didn’t think I would have ended up purchasing a pair of maternity jeans or pants since I still wear my other jeans and pants with the Belly Band, but there have been times when I’ve gone away on weekend trips and totally forgot to pack them (pregnancy brain is real)! So, I bought a pair of jeans to avoid THAT happening again. | $50 CAD at Old Navy

 

JERSEY PENCIL SKIRT

Jersey is great because it has a lot of stretch. You can wear it dressed up or down. It has lots of length to it which will accommodate a growing belly, and you won’t end up with a mini skirt by your third trimester. | $16 CAD at Old Navy (on sale)

 

BOYFRIEND SHIRTS

These I already owned before becoming pregnant. During my second trimester, I was still able to button these up, but they we’re much cuter paired with a skinny belt at the waist. Now that I’m in my third trimester, I leave them open layered with a tank top underneath or they can be tied at the top your belly, paired with jeans, shorts, or a jersey pencil skirt for a summer weekend look. | $17.50 CAD at Old Navy (on sale)

 

COCOON DRESS

Sometimes you just want to be in something lose and non-constricting. The cocoon dress is perfect for just those days. This one was found at ASOS from their maternity line, but one that can be worn after pregnancy, especially when you can expect to be a bit sore after giving birth and no longer feeling that pregnancy glow. | $25.81 CAD at ASOS (on sale)

 

COLD SHOULDER TEE

The nice thing about this tee is that it’s very light weight and it doesn’t have so much extra material that I can’t make it work after my pregnancy. It can even be layered with a jean jacket or blazer. Once the baby arrives I’ll still have plenty of time to sport this with a pair of jeans or shorts, tucked or untucked. Bonus, it will be perfect for feeding time. | $34.95 CAD at The GAP

 

OFF SHOULDER TOP

Just like the Cold Shoulder Tee, this Off Shoulder Top is versatile enough to wear during and post pregnancy. It could even be a cute cover-up beach or pool side. Again, great for feeding time. | $37.43 CAD at ASOS

 

STRETCHY JERSEY TEE DRESS

This I bought in a regular fit from Old Navy. It’s something I knew would have enough stretch to wear during pregnancy, and that I can wear after as well. Pair it with sneakers or jean jacket, sandals, and woven fedora. | $15 CAD from Old Navy (on sale)

 

These are just about all the pieces I’ve bought to give me some wardrobe options during pregnancy.  Almost all of them were purchased on sale (and during Super Cash and GAP Cash days) to avoid spending too much. I think each piece cost $45 or less, with the exception of maternity bras. A bonus is that I can continue to wear about 85% of these items post-pregnancy.

 

OTHER FINDS

The most comfortable maternity and nursing bra

Jean shorts that grow with your bump

Baby shower dress option #1

Baby shower dress option #2

Super cute form fitting dress for when you want to show-off your bump

A dress to take your bump from day to night

Memory foam sandals for when all you want is comfort for your swollen feet in your last pregnancy months

Softspun knit v-neck midi dress

Make My Belly Fit jacket extender growing belly bumps during the colder months

Super comfy thong undies that don’t give you sausage lines

Shorts for bumming around the house

Great everyday basics

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Pregnancy: First Trimester Essentials https://flourandpaper.com/2017/04/pregnancy-first-trimester-essentials/ https://flourandpaper.com/2017/04/pregnancy-first-trimester-essentials/#respond Fri, 28 Apr 2017 01:33:47 +0000 https://flourandpaper.com/?p=5018

 

Yes! I’ve made it through the first trimester (Tom survived as well…and is still surviving through all the pregnancy hormones) and am basking in the bliss I’ve heard SO much about that comes in the second trimester. And it sure is wonderful!

The first trimester of pregnancy is between weeks 1 through 12 and I’m not going to say it was the worst thing ever, but it wasn’t very pleasant either. All pregnant women will have a slightly different pregnancy experience, but for the most part, many of the symptoms are the same – the sore breasts, aches and cramps, bloating, constipation (I know, T.M.I.), nausea (I had ALL day nausea without the puking, thank goodness), and food aversions. I’m going to say…This. Was. The. WORST. I can’t speak for Tom but I’m pretty sure my raging hormones accompanied by mood swings will always rank #1 of the worst thing for my entire pregnancy. I think he’s a bit nervous about how I’ll be after the baby. I don’t blame him. I’m a little scared myself.

There are a handful of items I found very practical and essential to surviving the first semester. Seeing that we chose not to tell friends and family about our baby-on-the-way news for the first trimester, I was left up to my own devices on figuring out how to deal with certain symptoms. Here were some of my favourite things that helped me get through it:

 

BOOKS + APPS

Being newly pregnant and not being able to share the news or get advice from those who have been through it before, can be tough. You want to know if what you’re experiencing is normal and figure out how to manage. I found these books and app to be very helpful (in addition to talking with my doctor).

What to expect when you’re expecting

What to expect: What to eat when you’re expecting

What to expect app

 

PRENATAL VITAMINS

These are imperative during your first trimester. However, my doctor did recommend I start taking them once we started planning and actively trying since certain vitamins and minerals help to prevent neural tube defects which affects the brain and spinal cord (which are the first parts to develop of your growing baby and before you will even know you are pregnant). The most important vitamins and minerals are folic acid, iron and calcium.

 

GINGER

Another recommendation by my doctor as well as my pregnancy books and app. Since you are limited in the medication you can take during pregnancy, especially if you suffer from nausea and morning sickness, ginger is a great natural remedy to help alleviate those symptoms. Try ginger tea, ginger ale, and ginger lozenges.

 

FIBER

Constipation is pretty much guaranteed during pregnancy. It’s all due to those lovely hormones, specifically progesterone, which has a relaxing effect on your muscles, including your digestive system (causing food to make its way through your intestines rather slowly). The best way to fight this is to eat fiber rich foods such as whole-grain cereals and breads, fruits like apples (with the skin), and dried fruits such as figs and apricots.

 

CRACKERS

Such a simple thing, but when you have all day nausea and just can’t stomach anything, saltine, arrowroot, or ginger snap crackers are like gold. Have them on hand to help you get something in your tummy. The saltine crackers can help with the nausea as well.

 

MATERNITY BRAS

These are a MUST! Regular bra’s just won’t cut it when you’re breasts start to swell and become ridiculously tender. I find that regular bra’s don’t provide the proper support or comfort you will need over the next nine months. A well fitted maternity bra can help prevent stretch marks, reduce sagging, and alleviate back pain. This is because a maternity bras cover the entire breast, which is more than an everyday fashion bra covers – everything is cut higher from the top of the breast to the breast tissue under your armpit. And between underwire and wireless, I’d say wireless all the way – they don’t feel so constricting and tight.

 

THE MIRACLE BALL METHOD FOR PREGNANCY

Towards the end of my first trimester, I started to get a lot of lower back pain and discomfort in my hips. My sister gave me the Miracle Ball Method for Pregnancy, which is a set of two teeny Swiss exercise balls and an instruction book on how to use them for different aches and pains. I wasn’t sure about them, but after the first time of using them, I noticed a HUGE difference. You have to be sure and be gentle with

 

BELLY BELT

During my first trimester I didn’t gain much weight, but my waist did grow enough for me to notice a difference in the way my clothes fit, especially my pants. I didn’t want to start purchasing  maternity clothes until I absolutely had too, and besides, maternity pants seem to be made for expectant mothers unless they are in their second and/or third trimesters.

The Belly Band is a perfect start to maternity gear while still wearing the pants and jeans you love most. It’s a set of elastics, at varying lengths to accommodate you as you grow, which easily attach to you pants with a button hole and button. I needed an additional inch and a half on my jeans by then end of my first trimester, and these did just the trick!

 

BELLA BAND

This I used (and still use) with my Belly Bands. I find that while the Belly Band give you more pant room, my pants would slide down slightly. The Bella Band helped keep my pants from sliding too much and would smooth out the bit of bulk that comes with using the Belly Bands.

 

SUPPORT SYSTEM

Surrounding yourself with family and friends who provide endless support and welcomed advice is always a good idea, especially for first time mom’s. The first several weeks were tough as Tom and I decided to wait until the end of the first trimester before sharing news with our family and closest friends. After sharing the surprise with everyone, it was the best feeling to have other supportive and experienced mom’s who had been through pregnancy already.

Are there any tips or must have items you used during your pregnancy? Would love to have you share them in the comments below!

1. Rosie Pope Wireless Nursing Bra $59.87 CAD | 2. Belly Belt $30 CAD | 3. What to Expect When You’re Expecting $18.17 CAD | 4. Miracle Ball Method for Pregnancy $20.21 CAD | 5. Bella Band $42 CAD

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An Everyday Watch | Lord Timepieces https://flourandpaper.com/2017/03/an-everyday-watch/ https://flourandpaper.com/2017/03/an-everyday-watch/#respond Mon, 20 Mar 2017 00:36:06 +0000 https://flourandpaper.com/?p=5120
Sponsored post

Lately, I’ve been shopping around for an all metal watch that could be worn casually, without being too clunky. I lucked out when Lord Timepieces sent me the stunning Classic Silver Ladies watch ($98 CAD) from their women’s watch collection to review.

Watches have made a HUGE comeback in the past couple of years. I remember getting my first “grown-up” watch when I was about 9 years old. It was an analogue watch. I’ve never owned a digital watch or clock, and not because my dad thought it was important that my siblings and I know how to tell time the good ol’ fashioned way, but because I just like the look of an analogue watch better, for many reasons, one being that they are just really classic looking pieces.

Fast forward to my 30’s and I still love a beautiful watch, but, I actually use it for the purpose of telling time (and adding a bit of POW to my outfit). The big thing for me is being able to glimpse at my wrist, rather than having to search for my cell phone whenever I’m curious about the time.  Besides, it’s a nice way to disconnect from social media for a little bit each day.

When you receive a watch from Lord Timepieces, it arrives in a simple black box with silver lettering. With it you receive a manual, warranty, and welcome card. The one thing I wish was included was instructions on how to adjust a mesh band to fit your wrist. I’m impatient and didn’t want to wait to have a jeweler to do this for me, and after a quick Google search, I found an easy tutorial.

The Classic Silver Ladies watch is a stainless steel version of the coveted leather boyfriend style watch. The 18mm mesh straps lends well to the 38mm face size and the ivory white dial keeps it clean and simple. What I always look for with anything I add my closet and accessories is versatility, and this watch delivers just that – wear it to the office or dress it down on the weekend. It’s well made in that it feels sturdy at all the connection points and has a good weight to it. A bonus is that it doesn’t pinch my skin. The only design detail I would have love to see is their crown logo rather than the word “Lord” on the face and clasp.

Lord Timepieces womens watches review.

The Classic Silver Ladies Watch is priced at $98 CAD and ships free worldwide. You can’t go wrong with the price as you rarely find a well crafted and fashion forward watch for less than $100. It’s water resistant and comes with a 2 year warranty.

If you’d like a Lord Timepiece of your own, use the discount code “FLOUR10” for 10% off your purchase valid for both women’s watches and men’s watches.

Follow @lordforher on Instagram to see other watches in their women’s collection (and a little more enticement if you need it).

 

This post is sponsored by Lord Timepieces, however, all opinions are my own.

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