"Healthy" Cake Smash Recipe

My daughters first birthday just passed on December 10th, I can not believe it has already been a year since I gave birth to this beautiful little human. I knew that I wanted to do some first birthday pictures along with a cake smash but I wanted to give her a healthier version of cake so I decided to start doing some research. Most of the "healthy" cakes that I found had bananas in them, she loves bananas so that's great. I also wanted to replace the butter with applesauce so we ended up making a healthy alternative to cake that turned out pretty great!


 Photo Courtesy of   Janell Raymond Photography

Photo Courtesy of Janell Raymond Photography


4 ripe bananas

3/4 cup applesauce

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

3 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

2 eggs

1. In a medium bowl mix the mashed bananas, applesauce, eggs and vanilla.



2. In a separate bowl mix the dry ingredients together. Then add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and blend.


3. Spray a 9 x 13 inch baking pan and pour the batter into the pan. Bake on 400 for about 20 minutes.


4. Let your cake cool and then put your frosting on. You can make your own or buy frosting from the store. 


Turning one was a big deal in our house. This was our babies first taste of "cake" and she loved it. We had some great photos taken and had a fun party. If you are looking for a healthy cake to make for your child's birthday we hope this one will work and its easy enough to make. 


Swaddling: What you need to know.

I'm sure as an expecting parent you have heard the word swaddle thrown around but what does it mean? Swaddling has been around for centuries and is a technique that many parents and caregivers use by wrapping a newborn nice and snug in a blanket. This mimics the womb and helps them feel secure like they where while in utero. Swaddling helps promote sleep as the baby has a sense of security and prevents them from startling themselves out of sleep, this paired with a little white noise may help your newborn sleep for longer periods of time. This technique has also been know to help calm the fussy baby. A colicky or fussy baby can bring a lot of tension and frustration on top of being already sleep deprived, this can help everyone get a little more rest.

You do need to be careful while using this technique as there can be some serious issues if not done correctly. Usually, not long after baby is born your nurse will show you how to swaddle your baby but if they don't you can find out how here. It's important to not swaddle the baby too tightly as that can cause circulation issues or can even result in overheating. Hip dysplasia is also something that can happen if a baby is swaddled too tightly, this can cause more issues when the baby get older. Making sure that the baby is comfortable and safe is very important.

One question you might have is how long do you swaddle a baby for or when do I stop swaddling my baby? This answer may be different for everyone as all babies are not the same but typically babies are swaddled until about three months of age. If your baby can roll over or undo the swaddle before that time then it is time to stop swaddling so that your little one is kept safe. 

When it comes to finding the perfect swaddle blanket you will have many to choose from. There are so many different styles, fabrics and designs to pick from. When my little girl was a newborn we had a swaddle sack and it was super easy! The great thing is that you can find swaddle blankets at any major retail store, some of these stores even offer classes for new parents that you can take advantage of.

Swaddling is a great technique to use with your newborn as long as you are doing it correctly and safely. We hope you enjoy your new little bundle.



Mothering a child with Down syndrome.

October is Down syndrome awareness month and many people do not know what down syndrome is. Or if they know what it is they do not know much more than it is a chromosomal abnormality. I wanted to help spread awareness and reached out to a fellow mom friend by the name of Kimberlee, her son Parker has Down syndrome. She has been so kind to answer some questions to give us all a better insight and help spread awareness.

Q.  What is Down syndrome?

A.  Down syndrome - the most common chromosomal abnormality in humans - is a genetic condition (Trisomy 21) resulting in an extra copy of the 21st chromosome.  As a result, a person with Down syndrome has 47 chromosomes in their cells, instead of the usual 46.

Q.  When did you know Parker had Down syndrome?

A.  Parker was diagnosed with Down syndrome when he was 2 months old.  Down syndrome wasn't even on our radar until a week prior, when his pediatrician mentioned it to us and ordered the karyotype.

Q.  What are some signs of Down syndrome?

A.  Typically, newborns with Down syndrome have differences in their faces, neck, head shape, stature, hands, feet, and muscle tone.  Most newborns don't have all the physical features; but in general, the most common features are low muscle tone, upwardly slanting eyes, small stature, flat nose, and small ears.


Q.  How is Down syndrome diagnosed?

A.  There are several prenatal screening tests to determine whether a woman's baby has an increased chance of being affected by Down syndrome or other disorders.  Maternal blood tests and ultrasound are most commonly used.  Screening tests are NOT in and of themselves 100 percent accurate in detecting the presence of Down syndrome.  However, doctors use those results to recommend additional diagnostic prenatal testing in the form of amniocentesis, and chorionic villi sampling (CVS).  Women are free to decline all testing or to choose to have just one or the other of the screening tests. I, personally, declined all genetic screening/testing.  Parker was diagnosed post-birth by having his blood drawn and sent to the lab where they could evaluate the size, shape, and number of chromosomes in his sample of body cells.

Q.  How did you feel when you got the diagnosis?

A.  When the diagnosis was delivered, I was numb.  It was the week before, when they said we should have the karyotype done, that I felt complete shock.  "My baby?  Down syndrome?  There's no way.  That couldn't happen to him/me/us..."  About 6 weeks after the diagnosis was when everything really started to hit me and I became an emotional roller-coaster: grief, anger, despair, helplessness, guilt, confusion, resentment, shame, depression... Primarily, a terrible fear of the future.  I wondered how, or if, I could cope with this sudden, unexpected, overwhelming change to my life.  It took time for me to process and adjust.  Allowing myself to grieve, learning to not feel personally responsible, being open about it with family and friends, and connecting with other families who have babies/children with Down syndrome was key in my "recovery."  Far from the grief and despair I felt after he was diagnosed, I now feel pride and joy.  I came back to see the precious little baby I originally dreamed of, and Down syndrome took on a different prospective.  He has given me a new challenge in life, and a new set of values as well - love better, fight harder, and appreciate people for all they are.  A different dimension was added, partly frightening and partly sad, but also beautiful.  I wouldn't change him for the world

Q.  What challenges might someone with Down syndrome face while growing up?

A.  Just like with any child who has a typical number of chromosomes, that question is a bit difficult to answer as every child with Down syndrome is different.  Often there is a litany of things that could possibly go wrong; but you never know until your child arrives.  The biggest challenges really do seem to be from misunderstandings, negative attitudes, perceptions, and old stereotypes that are out there.  Sure, there are some medical challenges, but those are much more manageable than the social/stereotype situations are.  We prefer to focus on the likenesses to peers rather than the differences.  We prefer to highlight potential and the fact that we all face difficulties - no matter what our chromosomal arrangement is.

Q.  How do you think raising a child with Down syndrome is different from raising a child without?

A.  Parker is my first and only child for now; so no first-hand experience... yet!  But this is what one of my momma friend's has to say about it: "My husband and I have 6 children between us.  Four of them are adults and the youngest two we had together.  Eliyana is 5 and has Down syndrome.  Our youngest is three.  

In most ways, raising a child with Down syndrome has been no different than raising our other children.  A child with Down syndrome has the same basic needs that a child without Down syndrome has.  All of our children are different in personality, likes, dislikes, and demeanor.  As a parent you adjust and adapt to each child as necessary whether they have special needs or not.  That's just what a parent does.  

When you have a child with special needs, you do have to slow down a little.  Milestones come a little slower.  This can be difficult as a parent, but the beautiful thing is, you actually NOTICE them and CELEBRATE them!  

Eliyana does require extra time and attention due to therapies and some extra medical care.

As a parent I sometimes struggle with balancing my time between all of my children as they all have needs, even our adult children.  I want them all to feel that I care about them and that they are loved.

I truly believe that having Eliyana in our lives has made us all a little better.  A little more patient, a little more kind, a little more loving and a lot more aware of the people around us.  We all know how hard she has to work for things that come easy for most of us.  She is our inspiration!"

Q.  What do you hope for Parker?

A.  Rather than changing him, I hope to help change the world around him, that the world may value him, offer opportunities, expand its definition of beauty and success, and celebrate the many things that make us both alike and different.



FREE PRINTABLE||Pregnancy and Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes is something that some women are diagnosed with during pregnancy that goes away once the baby is born. Usually between the 26th and 28th week of pregnancy your doctor will want you to do a glucose test. Some physicians will allow you to skip the test and do other things as an alternative, this is something you would need to discuss with them.

The glucose test will evaluate the way your body processes sugars, you will be asked to drink a sugary drink and then your blood will be drawn usually an hour later. If you fail that test you may be asked to come back for a 3 hours test, you will then have your blood drawn every hour for three hours. If your sugars are still high this will let your physician know that you have gestational diabetes. 

What is gestational diabetes? Gestational diabetes happens to women who have never had diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association it is not known what causes gestational diabetes. They do believe it has to do with the hormones from the placenta blocking the action of the insulin in the mothers body. Without enough insulin glucose cannot leave the blood and be turned into energy, in turn resulting in high levels of glucose.

Depending on the severity of the gestational diabetes you might be able to control it with diet and exercise, if not your physician may put you on medication to help control your sugars, even then you will need to watch what you eat. Your doctor will most likely have you meet with a dietitian who will go over the amount of carbohydrates you should consume daily. To make things easy we have created a printable low carb shopping list for you that you can get here.

There are many resources out there for you to learn more about gestational diabetes. Remember that It's important to control your gestational diabetes, if you do not you could be causing harm to your baby and this is something that your physician will go over with you.

Wishing you a healthy pregnancy,


Source: http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/ge...

New Moms and Pumping in the Workplace

I know how you must be feeling right now. Maternity leave is quickly coming to a end and you will soon be returning to the working field. Its not easy leaving your baby, you feel like you haven't had enough time to adjust to your new roll as mom and that you and baby were just getting into a routine. Its safe to say that once you return to work you will quickly adjust to your new daily routine, pumping. First let me congratulate you for getting this far. Nursing is not an easy task and some woman encounter many different difficulties that prohibit them from being able to nurse their baby so being at this point is a pretty big accomplishment if you ask me. Now you've had a few weeks to establish your milk supply and typically your body knows just the right amount to produce for baby so once you head back to work and get on a set pumping schedule you should be able to keep your milk supply to precisely what baby needs while you're away.

There are a few things you will need before actually heading back into work.

Breast pump

There are a few different kinds of pumps that you have to choose from including manual , electric and battery operated. Most manual pumps are single pumps meaning you only express milk from one breast at a time, electric and battery operated are usually double pumps. Along with the different types of pumps there are different brands, Medela, Lansinoh, Ameda and Avent are a few of the popular ones. Make sure you research the type of pump you think you would be most comfortable with, after all you will be spending a great deal of time using it.

Storage Bags

These are sterilized bags to store your breastmilk in for optimum freshness. These are great for both fridge and freezer storage. There is a spot for your child's name, the date, volume, and time that you pumped the milk so that it will be easy for you to follow breastmilk storage guidelines. Some woman use a funnel to transfer their milk to make sure that they do not spill any, (this is liquid gold we are talking about here) but just pouring it into the bag works just as well. Once you have transferred your milk you want to make sure you zip the bag completely. My first day back at work I didn't zip the bag all the way closed and lost 7 ounces (ouch).

Tote Bag

Your new breast pump should come with a tote bag to store all of your pumping equipment in but if it doesn't it is important to have one. I received one with my pump but ended up using a cute thirty one bag I got as a gift. Whatever type of bag you choose to use just make sure that it is big enough to fit everything that you may need.

Bottle Insulator

This is optional but when I got my diaper bag it came with a "bottle bag" that was insulated and I thought that this would be great to use while at work. Once I was done transferring my milk into the storage bags I would put my milk in this and then store it in the fridge at work, it was easy to just grab and go at the end of the day.

Hands Free Pumping Bra

These are amazing! If you have an electric pump this is something that you could use. It gives you the option to do other things while you are pumping like read a book, finish a written report for work, or check your emails. You can purchase these from a retail store or even cut holes in a old sports bra, this is what I did and it worked wonderfully!

A few other things to think about would be extra pump parts these are not a necessity but will definitely help cut down on your rinse/wash time everyday. I would also highly suggest a sign to put on the door of your pumping area, a do not disturb sign would work. That is what I used after being walked in on twice my first week back, yeah that was just a little embarrassing but I haven't had any issues since putting up a sign during each pumping session.

If you haven't already mentioned to your supervisor that you will be pumping at work I suggest that you have the conversation before you go back. They will then have time to prepare a comfortable area for you to pump in as well as time to plan for who will cover your tasks while your away during that time. You will want to stick to a schedule, for example I would pump every three hours for about 15 minutes. By the time I was finished rinsing pump parts I would be away from my desk for about 20 minutes and I would punch out during that time. All companies are different so you will want to find out if that is something you will need to do.

Some days you are going to feel like pumping is all you do and it can even feel like an inconvenience but I promise you that it is all worth it. You are producing and supplying nourishment for your child and that is such an amazing thing. Don't let all of this overwhelm you once you get in a routine and follow a schedule you will be a pro!