Momo In The 6

10 YEARS, I LOVE YOU.

MarriageMomo in the 6Comment
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FEBRUARY 3RD, 2007. What a special day. Today Sam and I celebrate 10 years of life together. Ten years ago today we were sitting in our friends driveway and he asked me to be his girlfriend. We were 17, just kids who had no idea what we were doing, but I knew even before I said "yes" that this was real. I knew I would love you, I hoped that love would turn into the life we have now. And I'm so thankful we have made it this far.

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Love isn't just a feeling. Sure the feeling is there, I still get those mushy feelings when I think about him, or when he comes in from work and gives me a big kiss. But love, real, sustainable love, isn't based on a feeling. It's a choice. It's waking up everyday and saying, "I will love you today, and everyday for the rest of my life." For anyone who knows our story, you know that we fumbled our way through six long years of long distance dating, a stage of our lives that broke both of us in many ways. When you start dating at 17 you have so much growing up to do, so many hard lessons to learn. Those years taught us what it means to fight for each other, to fight for the love that we have. Some seasons it feels so easy and natural to love, other times you feel like you're learning to love someone new, someone different with different passions, interests and tendencies than who you fell in love with. I have loved many different sides of Sam, and am continuing to learn this man who I have spent the last ten years of my life with.

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So here's to ten years down and, Lord willing, fifty more to go.

"So when I lose my way, find me. When I loose loves chains, bind me. At the end of all my faith, to the end of all my days. When I forget my name, remind me." (Dancing in the Minefields)

CREAMY MANGO BANANA SMOOTHIE

FoodMomo in the 6Comment

I'M DEFINITELY MORE inclined towards savoury smoothies (namely my peanut butter and banana smoothie) but some days I want a fresher taste and an extra hit of fruit and veg in my morning. I tried this and believe me, it is hard to resist! The kids loved it too so a win all around!

INGREDIENTS (makes 5 cups):

  • 2 cups unsweetened plain almond milk
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1.5 cups frozen mango
  • 1/2 medium avocado (60g)
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 4 ice cubes

Blend and enjoy! (Macros below)

MACROS (for one cup): Fat 3g, Carbs 17g, Protein 1.5g, Calories: 96

OUR CHRISTMAS, 2016

FamilyMomo in the 6Comment

CHRISTMAS HAS COME and gone, the holiday decor has been put away, and we're settling in to a new year while embracing Hygge and making the house as cozy as possible to get through this bitter cold (hello -20... I did not miss you). And yes, I know this post is about a month after the fact but I wanted to have this memory recorded somewhere - never too late, right??

I love traditions and it has been so fun over the past few years to start to making our own little traditions as our family grows. This year was particularly fun because Finn was finally old enough to understand it and was so excited the whole day.

CLOTH DIAPERING 101

FamilyMomo in the 614 Comments

OKAY WE DID it. We dove head first into cloth diapering and I have to say, I LOVE them. We had cloth diapered Finn off and on with some Royal Fluff diapers that we owned already. But we didn't own enough to even diaper Finny consistently let alone diaper Atticus as well. So we bought a whole bunch of Apple Cheeks and have been cloth diapering them both for about four months now.

COST: The initial draw towards cloth diapers was definitely how cost effective they are. We spent around $400 to use disposable diapers for Atticus in the first five months of his life. Both our boys have reacted badly to Pampers and Huggies so we have to use natural and biodegradable diapers (We started with Naty Care which we love but switched to Seventh Generation since they work just as well and are a bit cheaper). But once I did the math I realized that for $700 I could cloth diaper both boys (and all future children). So it is a large investment up front but it will save us thousands of dollars by the time we are done having children.

ENVIRONMENT: It's no secret that cloth diapers are environmentally friendly which was definitely incentive to use them. We still use a disposable at night or when we are traveling but knowing that we aren't filling the landfills with more diapers makes this a really easy choice, only adding in three loads of laundry a week.

CUTE: Okay, let's be honest though. One of the biggest draws to cloth diapering is just how stinkin cute they are!! The bright colours and the little bubble butts! I can't even. Not to mention Finny loves to pick out the colours that Acey and he will wear so they can be matching! They spend most of the day just in their diapers together and Finny walks around saying "Look Mama! Finny and Acey have matching diapers!" and I can't handle how cute they are.

I KNOW... Most people's aversion to cloth diapers is the that they are gross. Well, yes, they are... BUT so is changing any diaper! As someone who has done both cloth and disposable I can say that I only marginally touch more poop now that I am cloth diapering. Using liners allows you to simply lift and drop the poop into the toilet, and if you don't want to incur the extra cost, I have found that simply inverting the diaper over the toilet 95% causes all the poop to fall into the toilet without having to touch it at all. The odd time I do have to scrape it into the toilet I use a wipe or toilet paper and it all goes down. I figure I always wash my hands after changing a diaper regardless of cloth or disposable so it makes very little difference to me.

One of the reasons we love Apple Cheeks Diapers (and no, this post isn't sponsored, I just really love them!) so much is because the liners agitate out in the wash, MEANING once you have disposed of any solids you just put the diaper in the bin until you wash it... no fiddling with liners or inserts! This was a selling point with Sam who hated having to pull inserts out and borderline refused to use cloth diapers before. It really feels as easy as using disposable diapers!

If you are interested in cloth diapering it is a GREAT week to buy them! Apple Cheeks are amazing and a great Canadian company (love shopping local!) and are available at WELL.CA which I love since they deliver right to your door for free!

I recommend buying 14 size one diapers (they go through them faster since they have many little pees) and 12 size two diapers. Don't be suckered into buying the starter kits, they come with a bunch of things you don't need and won't use... You are better to either buy the bundle (that comes with a bamboo three fold liner) or to buy the covers separately and then enough inserts and boosters to have one insert and one booster in each diaper. Definitely go for bamboo as terry just doesnt have the same absorption!

HOW TO: I use one bamboo two-ply, three fold insert plus a booster for each diaper. I fold the bamboo insert in three (like a letter for an envelope) and then fold the top of the folded insert down to make it extra absorbent (see photo). Then I just insert them into the diaper and voila! Cutest tushies in town!

Size two (left), Size one (right)

Size two (left), Size one (right)

Feel free to comment below or ask me any questions and I'll do my best to help!

 

IIFYM: HOW TO TRACK YOUR MACROS (AND WHY YOU SHOULD DO IT)

FitnessMomo in the 66 Comments

About five months ago I began tracking my macros, I did it for three months and loved it but then the holidays hit and I put it on hold. Starting in January I will be picking it back up again since I really loved it and saw amazing results from doing it. I have received SO many questions about this and since it can be a little overwhelming and complicated (it was for me initially too!) I thought I would write an easy-to-read and compartmentalized post about it for those of you who are interested in trying it.

Before I started tracking my macros my understanding of food and how the body used it was totally warped. I used to eat hardly any protein and ate mostly carbs. I aimed to intake an average of about 1200-1400 calories a day. To hit that goal I would try and eat as little as possible, snacking throughout the day, then eat a huge dinner, and yet I was always hungry and feeling guilty about what I would eat.
Once I started tracking my macros my whole perspective on food changed and the goal became to nourish and fill my body with exactly what it needed while still getting to eat my favourite foods, if not able to eat even more of those foods. #allthecarbs 

Here it is… Macro Tracking:

Flexible dieting aka ‘if it fits your macros’ (iifym). Despite what every fad diet/wrap/juice cleanse etc says, evidence has shown that the main determining factor for weight loss is ‘calories in vs calories out’ and with macro tracking you can still achieve your “dream bod” while eating foods generally off limits to dieters (like ice cream and cookies!), given that you hit your macronutrient targets.

So, what are macros?

Macronutrients are the protein, carbohydrates and fats that make up the calories in all foods. When you count calories to lose weight you are just limiting the number of calories you take to create an energy deficit and your body will shrink in size to adapt to this energy deficit. When you are mindful of your macronutrient intake you will be more effective at burning fat and building lean muscle (not bulking).

1 gram of protein = 4 calories
1 gram carbs = 4 calories
1 gram fat = 9 calories
1 gram alcohol = 7 calories

As you can see above, not all calories are created equally since 20 grams of fat will be used very differently then 20 grams of carbohydrates. The general rule of thumb is to eat 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. So if you weight 130lbs you need to intake 130 grams of protein/day.


Why Track Macros?

When you track your macros you eat in a way to feed your body exactly what it needs for optimal performance and definition. It ensures that the calories you take in go to all the right places in your body, preserving lean muscle mass and helps to get rid of unwanted body fat. Tracking your macros and eating the proper amounts of protein, fat and carbs for your body and activity level can make all the difference in toning up your body and helping to get that definition you always wanted. This has made a huge difference for me, not only in leaning out and with muscle definition but also in my energy levels, how I feel, and to help curb hunger throughout the day.

IIFYM is not a diet. There are no set foods or meal plans to follow and you can track your macros whether you eat clean, vegan, paleo, vegetarian etc. You may have seen photos of people who track macros eating foods that are considered off limits to most, such as ice cream and highly processed sugary treats. To clear the air on this… This is not how they eat most of the time. If you have calorie and macro goals you cannot eat that way and hit your target goals and numbers. Most people who track their macros eat clean with a lean protein and lots of veg at any given meal. Unlike strict diets or clean eating plans, macro tracking simply allows people to occasionally include treats and discretionary foods while still hitting their macro targets and calorie goals for the day.

For example: My current calorie intake is 2100 calories a day (since I am still breastfeeding I add 300 extra calories a day) and my macros are at 142g protein, 61g fat, 239g carbs or 28% protein, 25% fat, 46% carbs. I currently weigh 123lbs.
I was so nervous to increase my daily calorie intake from 1400 to 2100 since I had no interest in bulking up or gaining weight - after all, the goal was to lose the baby weight! But I can attest to the fact that when you give your body the exact nutrients it needs to produce lean muscle mass, your body responds by leaning out and giving definition in places you’ve never seen definition before!

My favourite macros:

Proteins:
Chicken (breasts, thighs, legs)
Extra-lean ground turkey
Eggs
Low Fat Cottage Cheese
Greek Yogurt (Non-fat and plain)
Extra-Firm Tofu marinated in tamari, apple cider vinegar and a bit of water
Protein powder (my favourites are Canadian Protein’s 100% Whey Isolate and ...)

Carbs:
Fruits
Veg (especially dark leafy greens and sweet potatoes!)
Pasta (yes, I eat pasta at least once a week)
Oatmeal and Steel Cut Oats
Soba Noodles
Ezekiel 4:9 bread, or Homemade Oat Bread
Brown rice
Granola

Fats:
Olive Oil
Butter
Avocado
Cheese
Peanut Butter (all the praise hands!)
Coconut Oil


To help with my protein intake (because it can be hard to get protein into your diet without all the additional fat) I usually have two scoops of protein powder at different points of the day. At 30g protein each scoop that takes care of 60g of protein without any additional fat. Sometimes this looks like a scoop of protein in a smoothie or overnight oats in the morning, sometimes it is just mixing it into water and drinking it like that.

How to do it:
- Here is a link to a macro tracking calculator that I found helpful, they email you your results but I would recommend editing your protein intake to 1gram protein per pound of bodyweight on the results page.   Here's how I did it --> I selected the “Total Body Weight Formula”, at “Light Activity” … Sadly BBG girls even though you feel like you are killing yourself it is considered light activity. I said my intensity was moderate and in the goals section I set it at 10% textbook increase for bulking.  
- If you want to figure out your numbers manually, I found this page helpful
- If you are still nursing you will need to add about 300 calories to your TDEE. (Here is a really helpful article on tracking your macros while nursing.)
- I track my macros with the MyFitnessPal app. The nice thing is that if you eat the same foods most of the time, after about two weeks you will have most of your meals and foods in your phone and you won’t have to spend as much time inputting it since you can save it as one of your meals.

It can feel really overwhelming to start tracking your macros, but, as with anything it gets less stressful as it becomes a part of your regular routine overtime. You’ll need a scale, this one is great - small and cheap! And I highly recommend downloading an app to help you, since it makes the whole process a lot easier.

If you have any questions feel free to ask them below!

CHRISTMAS CARDS 2016

City Life, Motherhood, Home LifeMomo in the 6Comment

CHRISTMAS IS EASILY my favourite time of year. And with Christmas come Christmas cards! Before we had kids, I never felt motivated enough to take pictures of just Sam and me to send out to friends and family. But, as in so many other areas in life, having babies totally changed my view on things. Christmas cards... What a fun and beautiful way to memorialize every year and season in our lives and capture a snap shot of our family, right?!


At Christmas, time with family is plentiful, food is abundant, and people seem to really be focusing on some of the things that matter the most in life: faith, family, friends and making memories. Getting Christmas Cards was the perfect excuse to make some memories, put on our best and get out as a family and have some amazing pictures taken (by the talented Ryan Freeman). We ventured to the Distillery Christmas Market, which is the place to go in Toronto to get into the Christmas spirit!


One of the things that has overwhelmed me about Christmas cards in the past is that I never even knew where to begin looking to make one! But then I found Tiny Prints (who is the sister company of the "Wedding Paper Divas" that we used for both our wedding invitations and thank you cards!). Where it was a dream to quickly find cards and styles that we loved for our cards since there is this amazing feature that allows you to see all the cards with your photo in it. Genius and made it go really fast (which, is a necessity with two babies running around!). 

We are thrilled with how our cards turned out and I can't wait to send them to our friends and family, near and far!

If you are looking to send Christmas cards this year, definitely head on over to check out Tiny Prints Christmas Cards!  (If you hurry they are 40% off till Sunday!!) The selection is incredible, the shipping is quick,  and they make it really easy to personalize your cards to match your family's style perfectly!

 

 

TORONTO DISTILLERY CHRISTMAS MARKET

City Life, MotherhoodMomo in the 6Comment
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WITH THE HOLIDAYS upon us I am so excited about all the friends and family we get to see, the food we get to eat and how this beautiful city really comes alive in the Christmas spirit!

One of the best things to do in Toronto at this time of year is to hit up the Toronto Christmas Market in the Distillery district. There is something here for every age with tons of little boutiques, great hot chocolate (or spiked egg nog for those who fancy something a little stronger ;) ) a huge Christmas tree, a Santa Clause meet and greet and basically anything and everything else that will get you into the holiday spirit... There's even a merry go round! (Ps. If you are looking for a place to take Christmas photos this is IT.)

The Distillery District is an incredible place at any time of year, with great shops, coffee, food and even a microbrewery. But at Christmas it is the most festive place in the whole city and I can't get enough of it!

Thank you to the incredible Ryan Freeman for capturing these pictures of our family!

 

HOW TO MAKE YOUR HOUSE SMELL LIKE CHRISTMAS

Home LifeMomo in the 6Comment

YOU MAY REMEMBER last year when I shared this recipe for a Christmas pot simmer to make your house smell amazing. While I still do that regularly during this season, sometimes I want a quick fix to making my house smell amazing. I love having candles burning in the house since it makes it feel extra homey, but with our wild little Atticus I can only use them when the babies are in bed.

So this year these are on my list of my favourite ways to make your house smell like Christmas, with candles and oils to be able to have my house smell amazing while the babes are awake or not!

This essential oil smells like Christmas Cookies. Need I say more?

Use Peppermint Oils to make your house smell like a candy cane.

I also love to use Orange Essential oil at home to give a citrus boost to the house. It is invigorating and is really nice when mixed with Vanilla Essential Oil!

I love using Method Soap in our kitchen and this one smells particularly amazing (and its on sale!)

A few spritz' of this "Poo Pourri" before you go takes care of business AND makes your bathroom smell like Vanilla and Peppermint... A Spritzmas miracle! ha!

My favourite bar soap of all time is Carriage 44's citrus trio. Perfect to have year round in your bathroom but exceptional to have a citrus touch in your bathroom at Christmas. Handmade and all natural, what more could you want!? (Bonus: It's a Canadian company!)

Thymes Frasier Fir Candle. Smells amazing and is gorgeous.

This candle is beautiful and also smells incredible.


However, if things like candles and essential oils just aren't quite covering the smells in your house, check out this article on 20 Common Household Odors and How To Remove Them Fast.
 

MY NEW FAVE ACCESSORY + A GIVEAWAY

City Life, FamilyMomo in the 6Comment
To receive $25 off any JORD wood watch click the link at the bottom of the post!

ONE OF THE things you may or may not know about me is that as much as possible I like to be on time. Having kids has definitely made that a challenge for me, which is frustrating at times, but as much as it depends on me I try to be punctual, if not early, for things. Before kids I loved wearing a watch but then once I was lugging babies around the extra weight and clunk of heavy metal watches was annoying and I stopped wearing them. Until now that is. I love how light this watch is, you hardly feel it on your wrist and because of its unique look it definitely attracts attention!

As far as Christmas gifts go, watches make excellent holiday gifts since they are practical, timeless (see what I did there ;) ), and never go out of style. You can pair this one with other accessories or on it's own and it is a show stopper. They also feature some really beautiful men's watches which may help me cross off a number of items on my Christmas shopping list!

I went with the Zebrawood and Champage watch as I was drawn to the lighter wood and lighter colour of the face which you can see HERE or click HERE to browse the other women's watch styles!

BUT WAIT! The best part is that Jord has given me an exclusive discount code for $25 off all watches for my readers. CLICK HERE to redeem your code!

This post was sponsored by Jord Wood Watches, all opinions are my own. For collaborations click HERE.

BEEF AND BARLEY STEW

FoodMomo in the 6Comment

OH AUTUMN, I just love you. Every year, by the end of the summer I am always so excited for all the root vegetables and stews and crockpot type meals again. We try to take a cue from “French Women Don’t Get Fat” and eat local and what is in season, so in the summer that means all the salads and lighter meals. Come the fall we dive into the heartier meals that feel like home. Eating what is in season also makes me really excited for the colder weather, even though I don’t love winter, because there are so many amazing foods that come with the colder weather. Truth be told I normally hate stew, but that was before I learned how to make it like a pro! This stew is my adapted recipe from Michael Smith’s Beef Stew. There are a few tricks to make your stew next level.

The first is to cut all the meat and veg to roughly the same size. I find that 1/2 inch cubes are my perfect size, but do whatever size works best for you.

The second tip, which is A MUST, is to sear your beef on all sides before you begin. THIS is the trick to delicious and moist beef that falls apart and melts in your mouth.

The third is to cook the vegetables in two parts. Half goes in right at the beginning to dissolve into and flavour the stew, the other half goes in thirty minutes from the end to give a great colour, shape and texture to your stew.

INGREDIENTS

1lb stewing beef
Salt and pepper
Splash of vegetable oil
A couple of onions, peeled and roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
A couple of carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
A couple stalks of celery, roughly chopped
A couple potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
One sweet potato, peeled and roughly chopped
28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 cup hearty red wine
2 cups beef stock
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp dried rosemary leaves or a sprig of fresh rosemary

HOW TO

  • Pat the beef dry and cut into 1/2 inch cubes.
  • Place in a bowl and add a 1 tbsp flour, add salt and freshly ground pepper and toss together until the beef is evenly coated.
  • Add oil to pot, enough to create a thin film across the bottom, then add your beef to just cover the bottom without stacking on top of each other - even if this means doing it in batches.
  • Sear meat on all sides, taking the time to allow the beef to brown on all sides. It takes time but the caramelized flavours are the secret to fantastic stew! (If you’re doing it in batches take the meat out as it is done to avoid it burning).
  • Put the beef back in the pot, add half of your vegetables, the tomatoes, wine and beef stock. Add the bay leaves and rosemary and bring the pot to a simmer. Cover and simmer for about an hour, until the meat is almost tender, then add the other half of the vegetables and the barley and continue to cook for another thirty minutes or so until meat is tender and vegetables are cooked through.
  • Season to taste and devour.