Dear Mom who is about to give birth

Dear mom who is about to give birth

Recently, a good friend was gathering advice to share with a soon-to-be mom who was expecting any day. It’s been almost two years since I’ve been at that point but it made me think. What advice did I receive? What helped me through the beginning of this journey?

It inspired me to write a letter. I may need this advice again sooner or later.

Dear future mom,

Your son or daughter is already a part of your life as she kicks and hiccups and does somersaults in your tummy. I’d love to give you solid advice on what you are about to go through, but I can’t. This particular journey is individual. It’s unique and special to you and your child.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned since my son’s birth is that there is no one-size-fits-all guidebook to giving birth and being a new mom.  However, my friends helped with some key points which I will share with you:

1. The Birth: It will likely be different than what you imagine.

No matter how you give birth — in a hospital, at home, in a tub, in a operating room, in a car, with drugs, without drugs, with a midwife, or even adoption — you can’t predict your exact childbirth experience. It’s easy to get disappointed if you do and you’ll miss the beauty of welcoming the new one to your family.

Your baby is going to come out at his or her own speed. Just focus on providing warm and accepting arms for your new one, no matter how it occurs.

2. The meeting: Don’t be upset if you don’t immediately fall head over heals in love with your child. For some, there will be an instant bond. For me. I cared for my son immediately but it took months to fully bond.

You may need time to get to know your child. Or you may not. It will come. Let that bond happen on both of your timelines. Don’t let TV or a friend’s experience set the bar for what you feel.

3. The first month: It’s okay if your first month is a little difficult. You may panic. You may not. But if you do, get support. Pray or meditate. Hug your child. Call a friend. And know it will get better. Get more support if needed.

Again, it’s an individual experience and you shouldn’t compare it with anyone else’s.

I was told that something magical happens one month after the birth and it did. Breastfeeding became easier. The baby’s sleep was a little more predictable. I became more confident as a mom. You have a little more time to make better meals for yourself.

You start to remember who you were before you gave birth.

At the beginning I fought this journey. I did not gracefully enter motherhood and it’s comical that I am even writing this letter now. I was not a model first-time mom.

But now I see how my life is changing for the better — how I am being pushed to grow in ways I didn’t know I needed to.

I’ve learned to give up expectations of how my days should go. They rarely follow my plans, and at first this frustrated me. Well, it still frustrates me a little, but I’ve learned a bit more patience, and a bit more grace.

I also learned that a hug from your child is much more rewarding than a clean living room.

Now I love my new life and I would not have it any other way.

So the best piece of advice I received: Just let go of your expectations and enjoy the experience. Just wait long enough and whatever circumstance you are dealing with will likely change for the better. At least, it did for me.

Enjoy the journey!

P.S. Yes, in case you were wondering, you will sleep again.

Microwave hack: DIY popcorn. Healthier, cheaper and super easy!

Microwave hack: Make your own {cheaper and healthier} popcorn in a bag

Did you know that you can make your own microwave air-popped popcorn bag? I am not sure why I didn’t think about this before. It’s genius.

You simply put popcorn kernels in a paper bag and it works just like the ones you buy at the grocery store. What’s better about this method is that it’s healthier, cheaper and you can control the portion size!

I was inspired by this article in The Christian Science Monitor that gives a great overview.

Microwave hack: DIY popcorn. Healthier, cheaper and super easy!

All you need is a brown paper lunch bag and corn kernels. And, of course, a microwave.

1. Place about 1/3 cup of corn kernels in a brown lunch bag.

2. Seal the bag the best you can by folding it a couple times in various directions.

3. Microwave. It took about 2 minutes in mine but you will need to figure out what is the best timing for your microwave.

Microwave hack: DIY popcorn. Healthier, cheaper and super easy!

4. Toppings! Because the bag is not lined, it’s probably wise to add your toppings after the fact. The first time I tried this, I added salt and butter. I am looking forward to trying kettle corn seasoning soon.

I’ve made this twice so far and have not been disappointed. It’s cheaper and I am happy that I know EXACTLY what ingredients are going into my food.

Confession of a Failed Brownie Baker

Confession of a failed brownie baker

Last weekend I was short on time and decided to make brownies from a box.

Ideally, I would have made the most scrumptious dessert, all from scratch, that everyone would have raved over. It would be that good. This is the dream of someone who doesn’t feel entirely comfortable entertaining or knowing what to bring.

But this time I would be bringing brownies to our neighborhood block party.

Right before the timer went off, my son needed me. I neglected the oven a few minutes too long, but the brownies seem to look okay.

I tried to get them out of the pan. I would save them, I reasoned. I gently scraped and prodded. Then, I scraped and shoved and pushed.

The brownies were a hot mess. How do you ruin a boxed recipe of brownies, one of the easiest baking feats on the planet?

Sighing, I put on my shoes, grabbed my keys and drove to Trader Joes to get a replacement.

Next time, I won’t be baking brownies. Curse you, Betty Crocker! :-)

DIY powedered sugar dispenser

A better way to powder your pancakes: Easy DIY sugar dispenser

My favorite hack of the week: the DIY powdered sugar dispenser.

Every Sunday is pancake or french toast day in the our house, and every Sunday ZJ and I have a little powdered sugar with our meal. I bring the whole bag of sugar to the table and I carefully spoon out the sugary goodness.

Many genius moms and cooks have created better ways to dispense powdered sugar. You can, of course, buy a sugar dispenser. You can also modify a mason jar.

I decided to try a spice jar.

This weekend I took an old Trader Joes 21 Seasoning Salute spice jar that we were no longer using. I cleaned it out and removed the label. Then I poured the confectioner’s sugar inside.

It worked perfectly. It left the right amount of sugar on the french toast, with no clean up.

Right now, ZJ is not old enough to powder his own pancakes but I know he will want to soon. This will be a great hack to keep the amount of sugar he uses under control!

pancake photo credit: ralph and jenny via photopin cc