Saturday, March 13, 2010

Anecdote

Remember that woman I told you about in my class - the one who keeps making comments about how my husband and I should have children (oh, or adopt)?

The other night, when she was talking about it again (seriously... I have no words), this conversation came about.

The context: We're in my studio, there are a number of students there, working away on their paintings, while I oversee and give help where needed.
She: So, you guys should have kids. When you guys have kids... But... wait a second, you're vegetarian, right?

I: Yes.

She: (gasp!) But... your babies will eat meat, right?
Um. No. I'm not planning on spawning little sharp-toothed carnivore babies. Or, you know, raising them on someone else's moral system.

Winner announced!

The MyPleasure.com giveaway has come to an end - thanks all for entering, and congratulations to the lucky winner...
Lucky number 88 is Megan R., aka Megweno, who has won the $50 gift certificate!

A big thanks to MyPleasure.com for generously sponsoring this giveaway. I hope you had fun browsing their store. Hang in there folks, if you didn't win this time, there is more fun stuff coming up.

In case you didn't notice, there's also a brand NEW giveaway from Best Baby Organics for another chance to win a bottle of FertilAid for Women!

Friday, March 12, 2010

BestBabyOrganics - Review & Giveaway (TTC?!)

GIVEAWAY CLOSED!
**** The winner is: Holly (confirmed)! ****

I have an exciting post today! It’s all about Best Baby Organics. If you haven’t heard of this online shop, get ready… it’s pretty sweet. Their goal is to bring affordable and eco-friendly maternity and baby gear to you. (Two of my most favourite adjectives are in that sentence!)

If you are in the market for before, during or after baby – or if you know someone who is, and are looking for an affordable AND eco-conscious gift – this is a great place to shop.

For where we are in the whole baby process, I’m impressed that they carry fertility products. You can find the same digital thermometer that I use for my BBT (basal body temperature) charting here, at the super affordable price of $8.95 (recommended! I really like mine). They also have a pretty moonstone bracelet – if you have faith in this sort of thing, moonstone (selenite) is supposed to boost fertility. Hey, it can’t hurt and it is pretty! And they carry that awesome preconception supplement that I was telling you aboutFertilAid for Women! Remember that bit, I’m going to come back to it!

They have tons of stuff for baby, like:and MORE. Yeah, there’s even more – go check it out!

There’s stuff for mama too – they also carry nursing wear, belly bands, the Belly Bandit (which I’m sure you’ve heard of – a compression band for post-baby body recovery), hospital gowns, and organic skin care products for mum. The big brands that you have seen reviewed on many a blog are there.

A big thank you goes out to Best Baby Organics for stepping up! After hearing about the FertilAid giveaway that just closed on my blog, they have generously offered to give one of my readers a one-month supply of that awesome preconception supplement! You can read my review, if you haven’t done so yet – it’s pretty thorough, I think! I went over what’s in there, and why it’s important for us wannabe moms.

Remember, this is a preconception supplement, not a prenatal – as in, you take this to prepare for conception, but once you have that Big Fat Positive (BFP to those of us with baby fever), you stop taking these and switch to a prenatal multivitamin.

So if you didn’t win the last time, here’s one more chance!

The giveaway: A one-month supply of FertilAid for Women!

How to enter: Head over to BestBabyOrganics.com and let me know one thing that catches your eye, OR one thing that you learned there. Make sure I've got a way to contact you if you're the winner!

Extra entries (please leave an extra comment for each):
  • Follow the Best Baby Organics Blog (heads up: they have great giveaways there monthly, too!)
  • Follow @bestbabyorganic on Twitter (leave your Twitter name!)
  • Subscribe via email to the Best Baby Organics newsletter (on the left side of their website)
  • Follow me on Twitter (leave your Twitter name!)
  • Tweet about this giveaway for ONE entry, this is not a daily! You can use this if you like:
    TTC? Win FertilAid for Women from @bestbabyorganic at Emily's Latest @emilyisland http://bit.ly/dolfyY US/CAN 3/26
  • Follow my blog (publicly) – 2 entries, leave 2 comments
  • Add my blog button to your blog– 2 entries, leave 2 comments and please leave a link to your blog
  • Blog about this giveaway, linking back to this post and to BestBabyOrganics.com – 2 entries, leave 2 comments and please include a link to your post
I will be verifying comments so please actually do the things you say you do ☺

Please be sure to include your email address if it’s not public in your blogger profile! Anonymous comments without a way to contact you will be rejected. Canadian or US mailing addresses only, please. Giveaway ends March 26th at 11:59 EST. A winner will be drawn the next day, announced here, in a separate post and emailed!

This review was based on a product that I received at no charge from the sponsor. No payment was made for this review. Prize will be shipped directly from the sponsor.

Impressed by Jessica Simpson

I bet you weren't expecting to read that here. I'm not too into celebrity stuff, usually.

You may have heard about John Mayer's absolutely tasteless recent interview with Playboy. It hit the news because he used some unacceptable words; I found it distasteful in a number of different ways from his discussion of his porn "addiction" to his comments regarding ex Jessica Simpson. (He's since apologized for some of the things he said.) While I do like his music, I also think he's got some really nasty aspects to his personality now.

I just caught this article on Dose with a video of Jessica's interview on Letterman. She handled the interview with a lot of class. I know she played dumb on that silly show with her ex-husband (who treated her like crap on camera, I thought)... but I think this girl's got her wits about her. Worth the 5 minutes to see the intelligent, focussed and classy side of Jessica Simpson.

Score: Jessica +50, John -100

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Sharing

Last night I shared some time and conversation with a group of other women who are trying to conceive. It was brief, not too intense, but very friendly - and I was left with the good feeling of not being alone. Sometimes I forget that, surrounded by friends with babies and reading so very many mom blogs. If you're interested in joining in on the chat, you can read more about it here (the info about the chat is on the left side under "TTC Happy Hour Details").

And I want to share a couple other things with you -

First, on "training" your husband - my mum sent me this link to a funny little article that I think has some real gems on interpersonal relationships. I think that a lot of the time when we get close to someone we stop the little social niceties that make things run smoothly - like taking the time to thank them for doing good things. Expectations can take the place of gratefulness. The article is a little tongue-in-cheek, but if you look beyond that, the advice is sound.

Second, if you're in the market for a thermometer, there are a zillion nineteen different giveaways for Exergen Temporal Artery Thermometers (the kind where you just scan the forehead) going on - and that's just the ones open to the US and Canada; there are a few US only ones as well. You can find them all listed here on Mama Buzz.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Spicy Lentil Soup (with Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil!)

You know I'm all about delicious food, and I take care to ensure we're eating a healthy diet. We're vegetarian, and I would estimate that 90% of what we eat is homemade from scratch (we love trying new restaurants as well!). So to have a new pantry staple is pretty exciting for me, since I do the vast majority of that cooking and baking!

I was lucky enough to receive a jar of Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut oil to review. I've never used coconut oil before, and I'd been reading about the health benefits lately. The oil contains antioxidants, and (admittedly, I don't completely understand this part) apparently because the structure of the fatty acids are different than the fatty acids in the majority of fats in the North American diet, they are metabolized differently and apparently stimulate metabolism, give you more energy, and subsequently promote weight loss.

Sounds too good to be true, right? I did a little reading and learned that researchers at McGill University in Quebec did a study that showed this result (in animals). So... maybe. You can read more here, and even more here, if you're interested. I'm not convinced, myself.

For me, I'm not as interested in the weight loss idea as in the potential to reduce the amount of hydrogenated fats in our diet. We do eat butter (mainly in baking, which I do a lot), and rarely vegetable shortening. Coconut oil can raise cholesterol* - just like other saturated fats can - so, like any food, use in moderation!

Plus... I just love the flavour of coconut. I think dessicated shredded coconut is nasty (like eating sawdust!) but the flavour of coconut milk or fresh coconut is something to swoon over.

Anyway, my point is that I got this jar of coconut oil to try out. With this cold/flu/whatever that I have, I know I'm not tasting at 100% right now, but I just couldn't wait to play in the kitchen with a new ingredient. On opening it and scooping out a dollop, I was surprised by the texture. It has an almost waxy texture to it. The oil was solid (our house is at about 21 degrees - it liquefies at 24) but melted really quickly once in a pot on the stove - much faster than butter.

Coconut oil can be used as a spread (not for me, I don't spread oils on my food but if you use butter like that, this could replace it. My husband tasted some of the oil out of the jar and said he could definitely see using it as a spread!), a cooking oil, in baking, as a soothing drink when mixed with honey and hot water, and even outside the kitchen as a lip balm, skin moisturizer and hair mask! Amazing - when I mentioned I got this to review, I heard from two separate people on twitter that both said it's a great moisturizer! So I have a lot of experimenting to do.

Here's what I made with it tonight - a hearty, filling and mildly exotic soup that has rich flavour and a great texture. Plus, it's super fast (30 minutes max and most of that is just boiling on the stove). I started with this recipe from St. Margarets Kitchen, but changed it as I went. The bones are the same, but I tweaked it.

Spicy Lentil Soup

1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 heaping tsp turmeric
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cayenne (or one minced jalapeno pepper)
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
1 cup red lentils
1/2 cup grated carrot
4 cups water
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 red or yellow bell pepper, finely chopped

the ingredients (less the water & sugar!) - spices are in the pinch pot

In a medium sized pot, saute the onions and garlic in the oil until translucent. Add the spices, stir to combine, and cook another minute.Add in the lentils, carrot, brown sugar, and water, and bring to a boil. Boil for 15 minutes, then add the red pepper and boil for another 5 minutes.

You can blend it if you want (let it cool a bit before pureeing in batches in a blender), but that's just another step and a blender to wash. Phooey! I found the unblended texture was quite nice as is. Plus, I think it's prettier unblended.

Just like that. Yum.
You could sprinkle it with a bit of chopped parsley if you wanted, too.

And yes, you can taste the coconut oil - it's very subtle, but adds a layer of richness.

I'm looking forward to more cooking experiments with coconut oil :) Thanks to Tropical Traditions for providing this for me to try! I can recommend their shipping wholeheartedly as well - the glass jar was packaged so well that I can't imagine it breaking in transit. The time it took to receive? Seven business days to Canada. Pretty good!

Oh, and if you decide to order from Tropical Traditions (aside from the coconut oil, they also sell a wide array of organic and natural foods and household products!) - add my user id 5687267 on your order, and you'll get a free copy of the Virgin Coconut Oil Book included with your purchase!

Sneak peek!

Just a little heads up about some upcoming reviews and giveaways here on my blog. I'm really looking forward to working with the following companies and also looking forward to hooking up my readers with some goodies!

Best Baby Organics is going to set one lucky wannabe mama up with a month's supply of FertilAid for Women! If you didn't win my giveaway from Fairhaven Health, you'll have another chance to try out this great preconception supplement!
Update: the giveaway is on! Ends March 26th :)

ABC Neckties will be sending out a $25 gift certificate to one of my readers (which is enough to buy two ties for the lucky man in your life). I can't wait to show you the tie they sent my hubby - I just have to catch him post-work day and pre-evening, because he changes from Office Guy to Casual Guy in a flash when he gets home, and I want to add a photo to my review.

Eden Fantasys will be sending one reader a fun prize of Paradice and a gift certificate! And yes, I'll be giving you my thoughts on the Paradice as well... should be interesting!

I'll be reviewing two healthy products from Tropical Traditions. You know I love to bake :) I can't taste a darn thing right now because of this flu or whatever it is, but soon I will be ready for taste-testing. And I'll let you know what I think!

There are a couple of other things in the works, but not finalized yet, so I'm not telling!

Meanwhile, stick around for the fun stuff to come :) If you're not following yet, hook yourself up so you don't miss out!

Fairhaven Health (FertilAid) Winner!

Time to announce the FertilAid for Women winner!

Random.org selected...Which is USCGWifey! I've sent out an email, congrats!

Don't fret if you didn't win - I may just have ANOTHER FertilAid for Women giveaway coming up soon! Just sorting out the details :) And you can always pick some up at Fairhaven Health!

Meanwhile, there's always my other current giveaway for the $50 MyPleasure.com gift certificate to enter!

...and I'm going back to bed. Did I mention I've had a fever for the last two days? Not complaining (much)... just sayin'.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Oh, my gosh, guys, I get so super-whiny when I'm sick! Sorry! And thanks for the nice things you say to me even when I'm being sucky!

BTW, this is the very last day to enter the FertilAid for Women giveaway - so if you are trying to conceive (or know someone who is), get your entries in. I am a convert to these preconception supplements! I'll draw a winner tomorrow.
___

Last night in my class, that woman who keeps telling me that we should have kids brought it up again... I thought she'd moved on to other topics because she hadn't mentioned it in a few weeks. No such luck. She went on and on about it, with me giving vague answers like "We'll see" and "Maybe one day", until finally I got fed up (this is fed up for me, still polite, lol) and said, "It's not always as easy as it sounds."

I think she had an OH moment - lasting all of a second - and then said "Oh, well, you can always adopt!"

Yeah, thanks for the tip, Ms. Sensitive.
___

Unfortunately, frustratingly, I think me being sick is making this month a write-off for trying... and another month goes by.

I'm not going to complain about being sick anymore, but let me just say that the rest of my day involves:
  1. crawling under the covers
  2. staying there

Monday, March 8, 2010

Barely alive

Ughhhhh I have a miserable cold. My grandfather had a charming expression for days like these: "I feel like sh*t on a stick." Classy, huh? But it kind of fits.

I spent the weekend mostly in bed. Somehow my husband managed to catch the cold as well, despite keeping his distance, and he's miserable too. These are not happy times in our household. The dog, of course, is oblivious.

And I have Metric's Help I'm Alive running on loop in my head... again... catchy song but it gets old somewhere around the 150th repeat.

I'm teaching tonight as well, meaning a late night (the class is 7-10). I hope I don't pass on this cold to all of my students.

I still have the blues, despite it being a nice (sunny, but cool) spring day. I'm that far gone that seeing my neighbours' kids playing in their yards is bringing me to tears. Just at a low point, I guess. I'm going to try to keep off Twitter today if I can - there's bound to be more mom/pregnancy talk than I can take atm.

That's the only news around here...

OH and don't forget to enter my two giveaways... one ends tomorrow, the other has only a few days left. Links at top left!