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Emma’s 2nd Birthday Party

Emma is turning a whooping 2 on March 2nd and I can’t believe it’s been 2 years since she came into our lives. She is the best thing that has ever happened to Mike and I. Sometimes my friends who don’t yet have kids ask how it feels like to be a mom.  All I can say is while there are overwhelming days, a child of your own brings you so so so much joy and you will gain a new capacity to love like never before. Emma has already been such a blessing to the lives of those around her (:  her grandparents, her parents, and now her soon to come baby sister!

So since 90% of our friends don’t have kids, of which the 10% who do have much older kids, Emma’s party was an adult 2nd birthday party. I still wanted to make it pretty and special for her with the decor so we could take lots of pretty pictures for her to look back on when she’s older. This may also be the last year she lets me pick the theme of her party so i seized the opportunity.

I was going for a rose garden theme, and somehow along the way it evolved into its own which turned out in my opinion really pretty!

I cooked and prepared all the food except for the cookies and fruit tart that I cheated and bought at Trader Joe’s.

Food was a hit and I would love to share the recipes with you. I will some time this week as soon as I can sit in front of my laptop for a good 30mins to type them up.

I was just SO excited to share the pictures of her birthday with you guys I had to write this now!

Most of my decor I got at a party shop in Cameron Village here in Raleigh that’s closing down so everything was 60% off! Score. And then maybe 500000 trips to Michael’s and making use of every coupon I could find, mostly 40% off a regular priced item.

If you follow my instastories @aliciatipilly, you would have seen that Mike and I DIYed Emma’s birthday cake. I baked the cake and he decorated it. I seriously think I married a potential baker😊 He did such a fantastic job!

March is going to be a crazy month for our household because Emma’s birthday falls on March 2nd, mine is March 30th, and Elizabeth is due March 31st but could very likely come anytime in March. So while we just got through one birthday party, it’s now time to brace ourselves for an actual BIRTH DAY of Elizabeth Rose and I just hope I don’t spend my birthday in labour! Wish me luck 😊

Ok, so this is going to be a lot of pictures but I hope you enjoy them! Mike, Emma and I had such a wonderful afternoon, and to all our lovely friends + nanny, Selina, who came today, thank you for celebrating with us!

 

 

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Holiday Makeup Look

 

 

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So I attended Mike’s work christmas party on Friday evening, and you know me. I don’t just wing my looks, I plan them out, simply because I love fashion & beauty! Especially with a 6month belly bump, I wanted to make sure I wore a flattering outfit.

I picked a black dress, black coat & black shoes just because I was feeling it, and so decided to go with a smokey eye and a mauve-y nude lip. Nothing too ostentatious but enough definition and drama for a holiday party! The theme of the party was casino night!

So here are the products I used:

FACE

Too Faced Born This Way foundation

MAC Pro long wear concealer ( I loveee this stuff)

Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Bronzer

Becca Highlighter in Opal

Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder

EYES

MAC Mauvement Pigment ( limited edition, but any somewhat sparkly mauve eyeshadow would do, just spray some fix plus or face mist to your brush then dip into the shadow and apply for more vibrancy)

Urban Decay Naked Palette, shade Naked – in the crease

Makeup Geek Eyeshadow, shade Cabin Fever – in the outer corner for definition

Estee Lauder Eye Kohl pencil smudged out on my upper lash line

Becca Highlighter in Opal to highlight my inner tear duct & brow bone

Anastasia Brow Wiz in Taupe

LIPS

Mac Subculture lipliner

Too Faced Matte Liquid lipstick in Queen B

Quick Tip: My skin has been really dry since it’s winter time so prior to applying my makeup I did a DIY facial scrub by mixing sugar with coconut oil to create a paste and then massaging it all over my face for about 30 -45 seconds then rinsing off with warm water. I then moisturised as usual and added Tatcha’s Camellia Beauty Oil over my moisturiser. It gave my skin a lovely glow and my foundation went on really smoothly! I loveeee this beauty oil! 

Happy Holidays ! X

 

 

REAL Skinny Double Chocolate Chip muffins

i’m chowing down on a muffin as I type this.. and it is absolutely divine!!!! You would never guess it’s a skinny muffin, no eggs, no oil, and fortified with flaxseed. The hubby approved which means you really can’t tell it’s a healthy one because he usually tends to shy away from my healthy treats ! He’s had 2 of them already and wanted more because he found them kind of small haha. Emma loves them too which is great because it makes a chocolatey yet healthy treat for a little toddler like her. Believe me.. my pictures don’t do these muffins justice. they are SO good.

What you will need:

1/2 cup flour (all purpose)

1 1/2 tablespoon sweet white rice flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup + 1 tbsp dark cocoa powder

3/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce

1 flaxseed egg

1/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup maple syrup

3/4 cup + 1 tbs non fat greek yogurt

3/4 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C). Spray 12-count muffin pan with nonstick olive oil spray. Do not use liners.

In a large bowl, whisk the applesauce, sugar, maple syrup, flax seed egg, greek yogurt, and vanilla extract until smooth.

Sift the flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda, and baking powder together. Slowly stir in the wet ingredients, being careful not to overmix. Fold in the chocolate chips. The batter should be quite thick but airy.

Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups – fill them all the way to the top. Like, really full! Bake for 8 – 9 minutes at 425F then, keeping the muffins in the oven, reduce the oven temperature to 380°F (191°C). Bake for an additional 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Allow the muffins to cool for 15 minutes in the muffin pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool until ready to eat.

 

 

The perfect Christmas salad!

The holidays are filled with a ton of sweets and a lot of meat. Turkey, Ham, Prime Rib ( which I think i’m going to do as my centrepiece for Christmas) – and all the baking, I just filled my fridge with marscapone & cream cheese because i’m planning to make tiramisu cookies sometime this week!! Anyway, so last night we had a family baking session where we baked a ton of christmas cookies! Given it ran right up til night time, I decided to toss a simple salad that embraced the spirit of christmas just to keep up with our theme of the night! ps. we were all decked out in our christmas PJS !

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And this is what I came up with. SUPER easy! Fennel, pomegranate, radishes & quinoa were the key ingredients. It tasted surprisingly flavourful considering the very simple ingredients used. It’s a very refreshing salad to go with any heavy meats & will surely decorate your holiday dinner table because it’s so pretty! Ok so here goes!

You will need:

1/4 of a fennel bulb, sliced thinly

Handful of fennel fronds, roughly chopped

Bunch of radishes ( about 6 to 7, washed and diced)

Half a cucumber, diced

1 cup quinoa

Herb de Provence

1/4 cup pomegranate seeds

optional: toasted walnuts! (Mike doesn’t eat nuts so I left them out, but I surely would have loved them!)

Dressing:

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 generous splashes of pomegranate champagne vinegar ( or apple cider vinegar will work too)

4 teaspoons brown sugar

Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions:

In a pot, add the 1 cup of uncooked quinoa and 2 cups of water. Season with a pinch of salt and pinch of herb de provence. Don’t skip this step because this is what makes every grain of quinoa so flavourful & helps bring out the flavours of the rest of the ingredients! Bring quinoa and water to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until tender for about 15 to 20 minutes. Turn off heat and let sit for another 10 minutes covered. Fluff with a fork, set aside.

Prep all vegetables, thinly slicing fennel bulb in long strips, dicing radishes and cucumbers to bite size.

Make the simple pomegranate dressing by adding olive oil, pomegranate champagne vinegar, salt, pepper, and brown sugar to a large mixing bowl. Whisk until well emulsified. Add vegetables to the bowl and toss til evenly coated. Add cooked fluffed up quinoa to the bowl and toss til well coated, breaking up any lumps of quinoa.

Sprinkle half of pomegranate seeds in the bowl and toss. Transfer salad to a serving plate/bowl, and sprinkle the rest of the pomegranate seeds & chopped fennel fronds over the top.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 1 day before serving.

 

 

 

 

Holiday Side Dishes: Roasted Butternut Squash Wild Rice | Fig Balsamic Glazed Brussel Sprouts

Roasted Butternut Squash Wild Rice

You will need:

To cook rice:

2 cups wild rice

2 cups chicken stock, 1 cup water 

1/4 teaspoon salt 

1 teaspoon butter

To fry rice: 

2.5 teaspoons chopped garlic

1 package sliced button mushrooms/ white or cremini mushrooms

2 to 3 tablespoons Olive oil – just enough to stir fry garlic & mushrooms

Fresh thyme, sage, rosemary ( get the poultry blend of herbs in the fresh herbs section!)

To roast butternut squash:

1 medium sized butternut squash, diced

Salt & Pepper to taste

Olive oil

Directions Continue reading “Holiday Side Dishes: Roasted Butternut Squash Wild Rice | Fig Balsamic Glazed Brussel Sprouts”

10 tips to hosting a good holiday party

10 tips to hosting a good holiday party 

1.  Prep ingredients the day before 
If cooking, it makes the day itself so much more relaxing if you would do your “mise en place” the day before. Chop up all your onions, garlic, vegetables, and place in separate tupperwares so that cooking the next day is a simple assembly. I caramelised my mushrooms and onions the day before because i know that takes a lot of time, boy did it make it easier!
2. Always have a welcome drink
Drinks are what gets a party going! Even if a non alcoholic drink(: It’s nice for guests to have something to hold in their hands and sip on so they start to feel relaxed and comfortable quickly. It also makes a fun start to set the tone for the party! This time I went with Mulled Wine, a blend of Merlot, Apple Cider, Star Anise, Cloves, Cinnamon and Orange. It set the mood for the afternoon with the warmth scent and flavours of Fall & Winter. Not to mention the smell that filled our kitchen as it simmered on the stove. Everyone loved the welcome drink and wanted seconds! In the Spring and Summer, Sangria would be a fantastic option!
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3. Always set out appetizers no matter how big the main meal 
Guests rarely arrive all at the same time. So it is nice to have appetisers set out on your coffee table or kitchen counter that early guests can snack on while waiting for the rest to arrive. Hungry guests are not happy guests! So keep the food coming! I set out a simple meat and cheese platter with a side of pita chips. I also served it with a side of home made onion jam & pomegranate seeds just to slightly elevate and personalise my appetiser. The onion jam was so easy to make and so delicious layered on top of cheese & crackers! Let me know if you would like the recipe. The 2 cheeses I picked were Brie, a classic, and smoked Gouda, something different, rich, creamy & so flavourful! I completely forgot to take pictures of my meat & cheese platter because we were SO hungry, as soon as I put it out, we dived right into it! Deviled eggs are also another wonderful easy option for an appetiser, and are always well received!
4. Buffet style (label food)
I was never a fan of buffet style parties because they just seemed.. awkward and not very pretty. But ever since being a mom, and now that i’m preggo, I don’t have the energy to serve individually and to go through all that hassle of washing 50000 different plates! So what I did this time was to set up a simple but pretty buffet table. Pretty serve ware is key and TARGET was my favourite place to get serve ware this holiday season! To make it more fun and easy for guests, I labelled the dishes with place cards. Knowing what you’re eating and coming up with pretty names just elevates a buffet table so that my side dishes are just “fixings” but stars in their own right!
5. Set table w name place cards 
If you have enough seats for every guest at your dining table, I find it very important to set name place cards! The worst is having to figure out who should sit where when you’re ready to eat with a plate of food in hand. Having the right seating arrangement also allows for much smoother conversation! It’s also nice for couples to be able to sit together, so Mike and I split ourselves up and the 3 guys sat on 1 end, the 3 girls on the other end, with the 2 couples sitting next to each other (: Especially if you have a big group like 10, it’s even more important to have a seating arrangement or you would be standing around for 10 minutes trying to decide who sits where… Talk about awkward!
6. Split the work, get guests to bring dessert or a side dish
I am not the best baker around and lately have not had a passion for baking… So I handed the task over to one of our guests. That takes a huge load off your shoulders if you don’t have to both cook & bake! It also helps for guests to bring some side dishes that you can then transfer to a pretty serving plate and add to your buffet table (: One of my guest brought Lemon Garlic Green Beans & Cinnamon Sweet Potatoes! Mmmmm…
7. Cook turkey upside down!!! 
This is a specific one to Thanksgiving and Christmas, but it is such an important tip of mine!! Our turkey turned out AMAZINGLY moist again and this trick always works!! Everyone raved about how moist the breast of the turkey was and it really remained the star of the show. Cook the turkey top side up to brown for the first 30 to 45 minutes and then turn it upside down for the rest of the cooking time so that all the juices will flow down into the breast! It makes a massive difference.. Of course not forgetting to baste with chicken stock often & I also basted it at the end with my classic maple mustard glaze. I’ve used this glaze before on a turkey 2 years ago, it was a hit then and still a hit this time! Everyone loved it, and the gravy I made with the pan drippings had a tad bit of sweetness from the maple. Delicious!!
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8. 1/2 to 3/4 bottle of wine per person
The worst thing at a party is to run out of wine… And not especially if you are hosting a Sunday lunch in North Carolina where you can’t buy alcohol til noon on a Sunday..! If your guests are not big drinkers, you could get away with half a bottle of wine per person. But I like to play it safe with about 3/4 bottle of wine a person. Theres usually always that 1 person who drinks more than the rest, yesterday being my hubby! haha. He was having such a great time!
9. As your party winds down, serve guest some tea w their dessert 
Have you been to parties where you leave being so super thirsty from all the food and alcohol? I hate that feeling, so I always offer my guests tea with their dessert and or a plate of dark chocolate. I made tea in my french press, it was a Christmas tea by TWG and felt like a great way to end the evening with a festive tea perfect for the season!
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10. Start cleaning n picking up kitchen while you chit chat so when everyone is gone you can relax rather than clean for another 2hrs! 
I started picking up the kitchen right after everyone got up from their seats, and were standing around chit chatting. It’s nice my sink is right in the center of our island so I could still engage in conversation while cleaning up. By the time everyone was gone I had cleaned up the entire kitchen and could go right to take a long hot shower and then pass out for the night!
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So these are my top 10 tips to hosting a great holiday party! I didn’t get pictures of everything but I hope the ones I have give you some inspiration ideas for your next holiday party. For us, Christmas is next! Mike’s family comes into town to celebrate with us. I’m thinking of doing a Meatball cocktail station, a christmas ham, oxtail Mac & Cheese, Potato Gratin… I have so many ideas but i’ll have to take time to fine tune them.
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I’m also already thinking about ideas for Emma’s 2nd Birthday party in the Spring time in March, and Elizabeth’s 1 month birthday party at the end of April/ May. So many parties to plan and I love it! x

Mommy scars

Mommy scars: stretch marks, linea nigra, cellulite, wider hips, weight gain that doesn’t go away .. and i’d say, we do what we can to prevent them, but if they appear and don’t go away, embrace them!

I’m 19weeks and 1 day today, and feeling fair. When I was pregnant with Emma, the moment I hit the second trimester, it was a breeze! This time, i’m barely trudging through. I think it’s because i’m also running after a majorly active 20 month old. It’s ok we’re almost half way there!

So last night I was going through the motions of my nighttime routine that involves applying 500 different types of skincare to my face and another couple of products on my belly & boobs since being pregnant. I then stopped for a second and realised how I was almost already out of my belly products when I wasn’t even half way through the pregnancy. This is great, because it means i’ve been diligent about it!

This simple 2 step routine helped me avoid any stretch marks on my belly, chest and thighs during my last pregnancy with Emma. I have 4 lines of stretch marks on my left hip though ironically not from during my pregnancy but from my teenage years and they never went away. So i’m just extra conscientious about applying lots of cream to my hip knowing I’m susceptible to it in that area. Im not sure if my body will react the same way this time, but since its worked for me before, I wanted to share it with you! I think a good amount of it can also be attributed thankfully to my momma’s genes.

If you are not pregnant yet but planning to be, I highly recommend to stay really active and build a strong core so you’d be able to bounce back sooner after the baby (: It took me a good 9 months to get back to my pre pregnancy weight, and a year to fully get my abs back. Allow yourself that time! (so funny i’m writing this with a rapidly growing belly)

So here goes!

Tips to prevent stretch marks :

Keep your body thoroughly moisturised! 

I apply Burts Bee’s Mama Body Oil and Body Butter every night immediately after a warm shower, all over my belly, waist, butt, hips and the back of my thighs. By apply I mean smother my skin in it and massage it in for about 2 minutes so my skin absorbs all of it. Start with the oil, then the butter! These 2 products are my holy grail pregnancy must have items! I went through 3 bottles of oil and butter each through my pregnancy with Emma!

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Tips for bouncing back after pregnancy : 

Give yourself time to recover and heal

Many women get so eager to jump back into ab exercises after pregnancy, and sometimes that could make recovery even longer as you could potentially cause your abs to separate even more creating some serious problems. I waited a good 5 months after pregnancy before resuming any targeted ab workouts. Moreover my lower abs were so numb from my (natural) delivery, I just didn’t feel like it would be beneficial for me. As for the Linea Nigra (that dark line on a preggy belly) – it took an entire year for my line to fade almost entirely. I don’t think it ever fully goes away but for the most part at a year mark, I was confident enough to sport a bathing suit as the line was faint enough! So be patient!

Wear a Postpartum Corset

I wore the Bellefit Corset for the first entire month postpartum starting the day I left the hospital. Ideally you would wear it immediately after delivery at the hospital. It helps to support your back and helps your uterus shrink back to its original size. It also helps with the tightening of your skin on your abdomen tremendously! By day 3 or wearing the corset my belly was completely flat! I love love love this corset!

Eat well, eat clean

It’s very important to eat well after pregnancy because the baby has taken a lot of your nutrients throughout the pregnancy and while breast feeding, that now is not the time to be dieting or eating only salads especially if you are nursing. I ate as balanced meals as possible and ate the same amount as I did while pregnant for the first 2 months. A lot of fish, eggs, tofu and veggies. I’m not a big meat fan, but I got the protein I needed from eggs, fish, tofu, and tempeh! I also ate a good amount of carbs, cous cous salads, asian noodles, to give me the energy I needed to care for Emma. I only started to really cut back the amount of food I was eating after I stopped nursing Emma and felt like I was strong enough to go on some kind of a “diet” plan. Never really a diet, more just eating the same food in smaller portions and cutting out most desserts, except asian ones..

Cardio workouts 

I worked out about 2 to 3 times a week for just 20 – 30 minutes each time throughout my pregnancy except the last 2 months when I got way too big it was too uncomfortable. I think that helped tremendously with post pregnancy strength.

I then started running again 1 month after delivery when my OB gave me the go ahead to resume exercising. I wouldn’t do anything crazy as it was still really cold out in NJ and I do not like working out in the cold.. lol! I would run for just 20minutes 3 to 4 times a week. Subsequently I would work out on the bike in the gym for 30minutes. There are HIIT bike workout videos on youtube that keeps the workout out fun and will get you breaking out in intense sweat! In the last 6 months, i’ve moved on from the Bike to Blogilates on youtube where I would do her cardio workout and toning routines for 30 to 45minutes 4 to 5 times a week while Emma naps. Again, such a good sweat! I like Blogilates because it really works your core while keeping the routines fun. I do different ones everyday so I never get bored! And her ab workouts are amazing!!!! I feel SO strong everytime after I do them!

So this is a picture of Emma and I actually when I was 6 weeks pregnant with baby 2. I remember thinking to myself, just when I am looking and feeling great, we’re doing it all over again! I am not a bathing suit sexy bikini photo type of girl so this is the only picture of myself in a bathing suit that would show the progress I made after having Emma (:

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I hope this posts will give those of you who are planning to get pregnant or currently pregnant a better idea of how post pregnancy goes and that it is possible to bounce back! Some things will never be the same like, maybe my linea nigra will never fully disappear or that I may gain a stretch mark or 2 this second pregnancy, but you know what, for the most part, we’d get back most of our pre pregnancy self, and if not, we have a beautiful baby to show for and that is a bigger accomplishment than anything in the world! Hugs and kisses to all you warrior mommies out there!!

ps. if you have specific questions you would like me to answer about my workout routine etc. feel free to email me at alicia@tipilly.com!

Alicia X

Mothers, let’s renew our minds

The past week has been a little crazy in the Sandve household. Mike works as an electricity trader and his shifts are 12hours long, either 5am to 5pm or 5pm to 5am. This week he’s been on the day shift 4 days in a row so yes, he is exhausted to say the least.

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On top of that, we had a little feverish baby bear to nurse back to health. Doesn’t make it any easier that this 2nd pregnancy has been far harder on my body than the last, my back hurts so much my legs feel a little numb. I don’t know if it’s from the side effects of my last epidural or the sheer amount of weight I carry around nowadays aka a 25pound baby. She is officially a quarter of my weight!

So it all started one morning (i don’t even remember which), I woke up nice and early, got dressed, felt ready to take on the day, made myself a cup of tea. I was so happy I posted an outfit photo on snapchat, captioned : Woke up before the baby means having time to get ready properly, I win Emma, I win”

Was I wrong. The little munchkins seem to get you when you least expect it! Always! So I walk towards her room when I heard her whimper, and started to smell something.. No idea what it was. As I opened the door to her room, I literally gagged. Don’t forget i’m pregnant and my sense of smell is severely heightened! It was absolutely shock horror what I saw next. My daughter was quite calmly laying on a bunch of stuffed animals in a corner of her crib. Around her was white gummy paste splattered all over the walls of her crib, on her toys, and a big puddle on her mattress. Traces of seaweed and bits of pork embellished the already nasty mess. Yes she had been rolling around in her own puke (for goodness knows how long) . This has been the worst puke episode i’ve ever experienced with Emma and my first immediate thought was how bad I felt for my own mother who had to clean up the many episodes of mine when I was a child growing up. Which also reminded me this was just the beginning…….

Anyway, after it happened of course I took her out, gave her a good scrub and bath because she smelt like puke all the way from her hair down to her toes. I scraped off as much gunk as I could from her stuff and threw all her toys, blankets and mattress cover into the washing machine. I scrubbed down the entire crib, while trying not to constantly bump my  belly against the crib. I was quite physically defeated. Her mattress sits really low in the crib, i’m not the tallest nor the strongest person around so reaching in and out was pretty miserable.

Amidst all of this, Emma was jolly and happy, didn’t seem to be sick, she just immediately wanted more milk and to sit and watch the washing machine go. “Wow! Wow! Wow!” she says when she sees it spin. I was very glad she was fine after that whole episode, but at the same time frustrated because I was guessing she probably just gagged and threw up by accident (she does this gagging thing sometimes if she sucks on her bottle too hard)

Later on the day she actually developed a fever which made me realise she was unwell. Immediately, I felt like I failed. Did I forget to wash her hands yesterday when we came home from the store? Is that why she fell sick? Did I not dry her off properly after her bath so maybe she caught a cold? Or was it the 4 shots she had at her doctors visit a few days ago.. Then came time to actually give her some Tylenol. She hates tylenol. She cried and screamed, kicked and punched as if I was giving her poison. It was so hard for me to watch yet I knew she needed it. I probably got punched 4 times in the face and kneed in the stomach a couple of times lol. Again, I felt like a failed mother.

In the subsequent days, I felt heavy, sad, and discouraged. For mostly the reasons above, but I think my negative thoughts quickly manifested itself and snowballed into me being discouraged about everything! Cooking dinner, cleaning up after Emma, taking her out.. Everything became such a chore to me, I just couldn’t enjoy my time with her.

This morning, I woke up from my stuffy nose (yes another pregnancy symptom) and couldn’t fall back asleep. So while the apartment was nice, quiet and peaceful, I decided to make myself a cup of tea and do some devotion before the sun came up, before my commitments for the day began. I had not done my devotion for about 6 days now because I was so caught up with. life. (yes just an excuse..) Wow. The moment I picked it up and started reading, a weight was immediately lifted off my shoulders.

God spoke right to me. That I need to be very careful with the thoughts that are in my head. I need to discern the thoughts that come from him, and the thoughts that don’t. He only speaks truth and life. So who is telling me I’m a failure? Who is making me feel defeated? And that I need to be very careful to not let these negative thoughts snowball. I shouldn’t be believing in these lies and surely should not be allowing it to affect my life.

<I like to share my experiences in real time, because I am learning as I go too. I’m no expert. I want you to know that I’m finding my way through motherhood too>

This reminded me how important it is to renew our minds through God’s word. As mothers, we can view each exhausting, difficult, painful episode with our children as a setback, or we can recognise it as a way of God moulding us into becoming more like him. Instead of having a frown on my face while I vacuum and mop the floors for the 3rd time today, I can turn on my christian station on spotify and sing praises to the Lord as I go. Praise and thank him for keeping my daughter safe through her puke blowout instead of getting all frustrated about having to clean it up. By shaping myself to have the right mindset to take on these small mommy adversities, I am learning to be a woman of God who praises him through all circumstances.

For all you mommies out there, who some days feel very discouraged, we all do, and that’s ok, because we’re human. But what we can control is how we control those negative thoughts, and turn them around into positives. How we may feel them, but be aware to dismiss them quickly because we know they are lies. And to do this, I find meditating on the word so important to guide and shape our thoughts. Trust it to do it’s work in you.

 

 

 

Easy Comfort Meals for Busy People/Moms (1) Chicken Pot Pie

Lately, with being pregnant + running and cleaning up after a 19 month old, I have not been too enthusiastic about cooking. We ate out so much last month our bills racked up pretty quick. Maybe also because i’ve been having such particular cravings.. like Ramen. Udon. Random asian food.

Anyway, as I am finally out of my 1st trimester, I’m hoping that i’d get more energy back SOON. I need it. Emma’s survival depends on it. lol.

So i’ve been trying to think of quick and easy yet super comforting home cooked food that I still feel proud to serve my 3 family members and myself, including the one in my belly. Maybe just with a little few short cuts here and there, we still maintain a richness in flavor and less work for ourselves. I used to make everything from scratch, yes everything. Down to the pie crusts, the ladysfingers in tiramisu, everything. Now, I simply don’t have the time or energy! So store bought puff pastry it is, and I even used a rotisserie chicken I bought for $4.99 at the grocery store instead of roasting my own, and that gave the pot pie that extra oomph of flavor! I just removed all the skin to prevent it from getting all greasy. I also used the leftover bones from the rotisserie chicken after getting all the meat off, to make my own quick and easy chicken broth which turned out to be so flavorful and so easy to do!

The hubby loved the pot pie and took all the leftovers to work today for lunch (:

So here’s the recipe!

Chicken Pot Pie

Half medium size yellow onion

2 – 3 teaspoons chopped garlic

1.5 teaspoons fresh thyme

1 bay leaf

1 crate of sliced baby bella mushrooms (about 15 – 20 whole mushrooms)

1 cup of frozen chopped carrots and peas

1 medium size yukon gold potato, diced

1 rotisserie chicken, chicken meat removed and chopped into chunks

2.5 cups chicken broth (made from left over rotisserie chicken bones boiled in 3 cups of water for 30mins)

1/4 cup flour

3/4 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon heavy cream

Salt & pepper to taste

1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, defrosted

Egg wash

Start by preheating oven to 400F. In a frying pan, add olive oil and sauté chopped onions on medium heat til translucent and soft. Add in garlic, sauté for 1 minute, then add in mushrooms. Fry til mushrooms are slightly brown and soft. Add diced potatoes, bay leaf and chicken broth. Add flour in 2 parts, and simmer for 5 – 6minutes til potatoes are fork tender and sauce starts to thicken. Then add chicken chunks. Add fresh thyme, salt, pepper and sugar. Simmer for another 5minutes and add tablespoon of heavy cream right at the end. Stir through and transfer to casserole / soufflé dish. Trim puff pastry to fit over your baking dish of choice and brush egg wash all over the puff pastry as well as between the dish and pastry so it will stick nicely. Poke a few holes using a fork in the top of the puff pastry to allow steam to be released while baking. Bake for 20mins or til puff pastry is golden brown and puffed up beautifully. Serve with some cracked black pepper over the top and perhaps a chilled glass of Sauvignon Blanc if you are not pregnant like me…

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Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

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