A Seussical Birthday

Today, my little man turned 1 year old! I just can’t believe that a whole year has gone by, it all happens so very fast.
Ryker is my everything, so I wanted to make his first birthday very special. We love Dr.Seuss, so that is the theme that I decided to run with. I made sure that all the food was Dr.Seuss themed, and I pulled different types of food from his books and made my interpretation of them.  To add some nice little details I made label cards and copied pages from the books of where the inspiration for the food came from.
Anyways, enough with the chatting. I’m just going to post all the pics below of how everything turned out. I’m not putting any recipes up on this post as it would make it insanely long, but if you have any questions at all about recipes, how I made things etc., please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments or leave me your e-mail and the requested recipe and I would be more than happy to share anything with you.

Treat Bags

Party fun stuff

Barbaloot Truffula Fruit (The Lorax) – Assorted fruit

Thing One and Thing Two (The Cat in the Hat) – Vanilla Cupcakes & Chocolate Cupcakes

Who Roast Beast (How the Grinch Stole Christmas) – Roast Beef Rollups

Three Cheese Tree (Fox in Sox) – Cheddar, Havarti & Swiss

Schlopp with a Cherry on Top (Oh the Thinks You Can Think) – White Chocolate Mousse topped with a cherry

Pink Ink Drink for Yink (One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish) – Berry Lemonade

Green Eggs & Ham (Green Eggs & Ham) – Green Deviled Eggs and Prosciutto Wrapped Honey Dew with Mint

Ryker’s Cat in the Hat Cake! It was my first attempt at decorating something properly ever.

Happy Birthday little man! I love you with all of my heart!

Learning Flash Cards

We have been wanting to start using some flash cards with Ryker for quite some time and I had been looking around everywhere, but just couldn’t find what I wanted.  Everything was a little to hippie  or new age.  I just wanted some basic cards with ABC’s, Numbers etc., but there didn’t seem to be any at the toy and book stores that I visited.  And everything I found online was shipped from the states, and it would double the price.

So I got crafty and made my own!


I had them printed on regular paper and then laminated to endure a little roughness, and spent a little extra time rounding the edges so they weren’t too sharp.  For storage I think I am going to sew some little pouches for them, but another idea is to hole punch the corners and stick a ring through them.


Below is the pdf I created, so feel free to use it! I left a little extra space in between each one to allow for some not so accurate cutting 🙂

 Flash Cards PDF

Everyone Loves a Sale

Ok, time to take a little bit of a break from the cooking and visit my other addiction, shopping!
Since I’ve had a baby I discovered how ridiculously expensive everything can be and how very fast all the little things add up ,so I have spent a bit of time researching how to get some bargains on the most sought after baby and mama gear.
This bargain hunting was initially brought about when I was introduced to a website called Baby Steals on a Facebook mama group that I’m part of and I thought to myself that there must be some competition out there, and there was. Below are the bargain websites that I have compiled for you with the links and I have listed some their highlights.  To get the best deals, you have to check everyday as the products they carry are usually sold on a first come first serve basis.  My suggestion would be just to bookmark them and take a quick gander each day with your morning coffee….if you actually are granted that moment ;).  Also, for all my Canadian friends, these particular sites I have listed do ship to Canada.

1.  Baby Steals   www.babysteals.com 

  • 2 deals a day at 9am & 9pm MDT
  • Both baby and maternity products
  • 40%-80% off till sold out
  • Great brand names – Ergobaby, Babylegs and Mooshu just to name a few

2. Green Baby Bargains  www.greenbabybargains.com  
  • Deals at 9am CST Mon-Fri
  • Have products for parents, babies and children up to the age of 5
  • Use eco-conscious vendors and offer a minimum of 40% off
  • Have a points rewards system “My Rewards” for every dollar you spend
3. Mamabargains  www.mamabargains.com
  • Have 2-10 deals a day – within a 24 hour period
  • It is on a first come, first serve basis, so this site requires a more frequent check throughout the day
  • 40%-80% off baby and maternity products
4.  Eco Baby Buys  www.ecobabybuys.com      
  • Deal every day at 9am EST, first come first serve
  • Offers eco-friendly and organic products which are always at least 40% off
  • Make sure to check their blog as they have a lot of contests and giveaways
5. Baby Half Off  www.babyhalfoff.com  
  • 1 Deal a day at 50% off or more
  • Products that don’t sell out that day get put into the archives, which you can browse and buy from
  • Products for babies, parents and children 10 & under
Found a couple of more sites to add onto this list


Grocery Delivery!

The other day I was watching a marathon of ‘Til Debt Do Us Part’, and I absolutely love Gail Vaz-Oxlade.  Admittedly, when I usually watch the show I pick up on all the flubs that I take on my own finances but it doesn’t quite get through my thick head to make the changes that she suggests, but occasionally some advice slips through and is implemented in my day to day.  On one of the episodes the other day, there was a couple that was spending far too much on groceries per month.  They were a fit couple that liked to eat organic, quality food.  Gail suggested to them that they look into an organic grocery delivery service and that it would save them money.  I thought that was absurd, how could your groceries being delivered to you save you money?  My curiousity was peaked though, so I looked into what services were offered in the Lower Mainland and was pleasantly surprised by what I found.

There were a few service to choose from, but I ended up going with spud.ca (SPUD = Sustainable Produce Urban Delivery).  I received my first grocery order this week, and I will definitely be continuing on with this service.  As far as organic produce, meat and dairy, my local grocery store is limited and what they do have they mark up significantly.  I found this not to be case with Spud and just because I love lists, I am going to list the advantages that I feel come along with this service.

  • Fresh, organic, and local groceries.  They list the farm in which each product comes from, love that!
  • Prices for organic groceries are less than that of a large chain grocery store.
  • Provides the ease of ordering online and avoiding grocery store debacles with a crying baby.
  • Because everything is listed in front of you online, I found it much easier to create a budget and meal plan and stick to it.
  • Temptation is decreased.  I often end up spending above my budget and past my desired waist line in the grocery store because I have no restraint when walking by something that looks good.
  • Delivery is free with a minimum order (it is only $35 for my area).  And even if you order less than that, it is only $3.50…probably less than your gas.
  • You don’t have to be home for delivery, you can just specify where you would like your totes to be left.  If you live in an apartment, arrangements will be made for that as well
All in all, I think this is a great option and is a great way to support local farmers and healthy living.
If you are interested in trying it, they gave me a promo code to pass on to friends which will give you a total of $25 off your first 4 orders ($5 off first 3 orders, $10 off the 4th).  So just visit spud.ca and use the promo code CRVAN-PARKAG

Stocking Your Kitchen

I was looking through some recipes the other day trying to decide what to make and was noticing that my kitchen wasn’t ideally stocked as it could be.  So I have compiled a list of what I feel are key items to have on hand in your pantry and fridge that tend to make repeat appearances in a variety of dishes.   I did leave out things like bread, specific proteins, fresh veg and fresh fruit as  I find those are better bought with recipes in mind so that they do not go to waste….but that is just me 🙂  Let me know if there is anything that I should add on!

Dry Goods

  • All Purpose Flour
  • Baking Powder
  • Baking Soda
  • Brown Sugar
  • Granulated Sugar
  • Rolled Oats
  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Basil
  • Bay Leaves
  • Chili Powder
  • Cumin
  • Cinnamon
  • Garlic Powder
  • Nutmeg
  • Onion Powder
  • Oregano
  • Paprika
  • Parsley
  • Pepper
  • Rosemary
  • Salt
Canned, Boxed, Bottled (In Pantry)
  • Beef Broth
  • Canned Tomatoes
  • Chicken Broth
  • Hot Sauce
  • Soy Sauce
  • Tomato Paste
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Vanilla
  • Vinegar
  • Worcestershire Sauce
In the Fridge
  • Butter
  • Eggs
  • Ketchup
  • Mayo
  • Milk
  • Mustard
In the Freezer
  • Chicken Breasts
  • Frozen Vegetables (Corn, Peas, Carrots)
  • Ground Beef

Baby’s First Foods

The topic of baby’s first foods can be super varied on opinion of when to start, what to feed them, and what your baby will actually try so this is just what I have done thus far and plan to do for the future.

With Ryker we had planned on starting at 6 months, but ended up starting around 5 months because, by that time he already had 4 teeth and was grabbing at everything we were eating or drinking.  I feel that your baby will tell you when he or she is ready to start eating food.  Initially I started Ryker out on rice cereal, about 4-8 tbsp to start.  He did like it (somewhat), but it ended up constipating him quite a bit so that only lasted about a week before I switched to making my own foods.

Since the rice cereal was backing him up, I decided to incorporate foods that were full of fiber and more gentle on his stomach such as, pears, peaches, peas, apricots, yams etc.  I was feeding him about 4 oz. once a day.

He is now up to 2 meals a day of pureed foods (4oz. each), I also give him a few sips of water and a teething biscuit in the middle of the day.  He has been finishing all of the food I have been making for him, so that is great, but I am keeping an eye on signs that he is full so that I am not force feeding him.  I want him to be able to develop his own sense of appetite.

I have been creating more textures and flavours in his foods by adding brown rice, cous cous and herbs and spices.  He has had a fairly sensitive stomach so far, so I am introducing everything in stages so I can easily monitor what is working for him and what is not.  Also I will be starting to add in some proteins such as Chicken and Turkey this week (hopefully he likes it).  The 2 proteins I will be avoiding are fish due to the mercury, and soy due to phytoestrogens….don’t really want to mess with either, but that is of course a personal preference.

I will be starting him on some finger foods this week, so I’ll have to let you know how it goes.  We did try Mum Mums already, but he really didn’t like that at all.  I think I am going to bake some pears with a little cinnamon and dice them up for him, as I know he loves his pears.  If anyone has any suggestions and what worked for them, I am open to it.

Pictured below is his breakfast which is a mix of white peach, apples, cantaloupe and cinnamon as well as his dinner which is yams, whole wheat cous cous and dill.  And they are all in my Wean Green Cubes of course :).  I make about 4 days worth of food at a time, so I freeze and thaw as I need to.

And last but not least, when I am wondering about anything baby food related, this website has been a fantastic reference for information and recipes http://wholesomebabyfood.momtastic.com

The Last 10 Pounds

The extra pounds that accompany this journey of pregnancy and motherhood are starting to weigh a little heavy (haha) on me.  During my pregnancy I was told that I should ideally gain between 25-35 pounds, which I kept right on track with until the very tail end of my third trimester.  I exploded and was rapidly gaining towards the end, I retained every bit of water that entered my body and my shoe size even went up 2 sizes.  I ended up gaining 44 pounds, which isn’t horrible, but it certainly ensures that some extra super stubborn poundage is left hanging on for dear life.

Ryker is just over 7 months and I have lost 35 of those pounds, which is good and I am trying not to be too hard on myself…but I am female and that is hard to do.  Every once in a while I really have to get grounded, focus and remind myself that I did have a baby.

The one good thing is that I can carry extra weight well.  I am a very curvy girl so it goes to the “assets”, but the “assets” are really wanting to fit back into my favourite jeans.  So here I am trying to figure out the best way to do this because I am breastfeeding so I do have to consume a certain amount of calories in day to produce the proper nutrition for my boy, which over all of this is of the utmost importance.  So that rules out any “1000 calorie a day” diets.  I actually did try Weight Watchers for a couple of months because they have a breastfeeding friendly plan for new moms, but I really didn’t lose anything on it.  Truthfully, Weight Watchers said I needed 44 points a day and you have points plus on top of that and I really felt that it was allowing me too much.  I have a small home gym set up that I have really been trying to use but it has been a bit challenging to get a full workout in with Ryker.  Sometimes he lets me get a full workout in and sometimes he doesn’t.  I debated joining one of those mommy-baby workout groups, but I just don’t think I can bring myself to do it.  My experiences with moms in this city (with the exception of my lovely friends) is that they are fairly competitive and all conversation steers towards some sort of competitive yuppy bullshit that I just don’t have the patience for.  So a group setting that is focusing on image….I just can’t do it, I am too cynical for it.

These of course are all excuses, I am the queen of those! I will justify the reason why I can’t exercise and I will justify why I needed to eat that bag of potato chips.

So this is my new approach, motivation from fear of humiliation for not achieving my goal.  I am making it public that I am currently 145 pounds, by my 30th birthday on September 17th, I want to have lost 10-15 pounds.  It will most likely be the first time going out since I had Ryker as I still haven’t done so yet and ideally I want to get myself into a sexy Herve Leger birthday dress.  So here we go, it is recorded and dated on the blog so hopefully that will be the kick in the pants that I need.