Monday, June 22, 2009

My thoughs on weaning

Many of you know that I am in the process of being accredited as a La Leche League Leader. This process makes you look at who you are as a mother by writing down many of your beliefs and experiences. I though I would share a section of my portion called "About Me" - We are asked to answer various questions and one of them is on weaning...

Ideally the breastfeeding relationship will continue until the baby outgrows the need.
What are your thoughts about when and how weaning proceeds?
A child starts weening when solids is introduced; therefore Christophe started weening at 6 months and 10 months later is still in the process. My feelings about weening are in constant flux however my core beliefs don’t change change. When I first became pregnant I though I would nurse for one year then stop; however at the time I did not understand the benefits of nursing a toddler and also hoe its not just cut and dry nurse one day then you don’t. Once I started understanding those points I quickly decided that our baby would wean himself - this decision was probably made when I was about 6 months pregnant.
Weaning to me starts when solids are introduced the first time and then stops when your baby no longer wants or needs to nurse. Sometime weaning can happen if a mothers milk is gone but I think typically it should be when the baby decides - or better said child at this point - decides that they no longer require their mothers milk. I hope this can and will be the case for Christophe.

If it’s part of your experience, describe your baby’s weaning.
Weaning these days i san emotional subject because I can see my little baby growing up and sometimes now choosing water over breastmilk. Christophe started solids at 6 months and with his first spoon in his mouth I am sure I shed a tear. I remember telling my husband that this is the first step to no breastmilk and crying; I think this was so emotional for me because we had a though time for the first month of nursing. After 3 months or so of solids Geoff reminded me of what I told him about Christophe and starting solids and we laughed because my son does not want to eat anything and did not want to anything other then breastmilk and a select few foods until he was about 13 months old.
Today at 16 months Christophe eats a small variety of foods; therefore I think it crucial that he continues to nurse however we no longer offer him breastmilk unless he asks - however he asks about 12 times a day so I am not worried. We try to encourage him to eat and drink a large variety of items so that his diet can go beyond 10 foods for the day he decides that he is ready to wean.
Some days I think he might wean sooner then latter because he will drink at the breast for 5 minutes then want his sippy cup with water; but other days he can stay at the breast for hours on end. I feel these changes are not necessarily because he is weaning but because he is changing the reasons to nurse. He is nursing more for emotional needs and less for food - I guess this is also a step a child led weaned baby goes through.
I hope that Christophe will nurse long enough to remember nursing.

Fire @ 236 Highfield Road

There was a fire in an small block of apartments at the bottom of Highfield Road; since some of the readers here are local, I thought I'd share my photos:

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Cheddar Crackers

Christophe has been eating cheddar crackers lately; like 'goldfish', but duck-shaped, and organic. I thought I'd do a quick search and see if I could find a good recipe for cheese crackers that we could make. A little digging turned up 'Cheddar Goldfishbear Crackers' on 52 Weeks of Baking.

I modified the recipe slightly for my own circumstances. I used 1/3rd whole wheat flour to increase the whole-grain side, and swapped out some of the cheddar for mozarella and asiago, as Christophe doesn't always like cheddar cheese. I also used organic ingredients except for the pepper and salt.

I did briefly try to put these through the pasta machine, but the dough was too moist and sticky, so I rolled it by hand. In so doing, I ended up with some different thicknesses, and discovered that the thinner ones came out a lot like goldfish crackers, where the thicker ones puffed up a little and became like crispy cheese puff crackers, which I also liked.

  • 1 cup flour; I used:

    • 1/3 cup stone ground organic hard wheat wholegrain flour
    • 2/3 cups unbleached organic all-purpose flour

  • 1/4 cup cold salted organic butter, cubed
  • 8 oz cheese (I used a mix of organic cheeses: asiago, cheddar, mozzarella), grated or cubed
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 3-4 tsp water, ideally icy-cold
The dough goes together as pie crust does:
  1. Assemble the flour, butter, salt and cheese and seasoning in a food processor.
  2. Pulse until the dough assembles crumbs, or coarse meal.
  3. Add water one teaspoon at a time, or use an atomizer to distribute well. Pulse between each addition, and stop when the dough can be pressed together in a coherent ball.
  4. Chill for at least twenty minutes (or up to a day), 'til the dough/butter stiffens somewhat. Prevent the dough from drying out by wrapping in plastic or a lightly damp cloth.
  5. Before removing the dough from the refrigerator, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  6. Roll the dough thinly, about 1/8th inch for crackers, or 1/4" for something more like 'cheese puffs'.
  7. Cut. Squares, fish, cookie cutter, pizza cutter, knife -- the possibilities are endless.
  8. Lay cut crackers on a cookie sheet. The dough is fatty, so you shouldn't need to grease it, but feel free to grease it or use parchment paper. They shouldn't be touching, but they don't spread much, so the distance doesn't matter terribly.
  9. Bake 15-20 minutes. Cool. Eat.

Friday, June 5, 2009

In search of the perfect boy doll

A few months back we started looking at dolls for Christophe and quickly decided that the best doll for him would be a Waldorf style doll.

Before ordering a Waldorf doll we quickly looked at the dolls that were available at all our regular toy stores and was rapidly disappointed to find out that none of them truly carried non-toxic dolls. What we found was a mix of Corolle and plush dolls that were not very realistic looking or other no-name plastic dolls. Many plastic dolls are made with vinyl, a chemical often under scrutiny as soft vinyl's can contain phthalates (PVC). At our locale toy store we were recommended Tidoo from the Corolle collection, the sales rep said that many parents like me that are concerned with the toxicity of toys chose Corolle dolls and Tidoo is a boy doll. I rarely buy anything for Christophe without doing my research so I told them i would look up Corolle and find out if they were truly non-toxic. After a quick search on the net I quickly decided that no Corolle dolls for Christophe. Healthy Toys rate Tidoo as a medium hazard as he contains Chlorine, Bromine, Tin and Antimony ( I don't even know what antimony is but it sounds bad). I will give this to Corolle I don't believe they have ever had a product recalled - that is something to brag about.

Now that the decision was made that we were not buying any dolls that we could find at the various local toy stores we started searching the internet and was determine that we would be spending $100 plus for a custom made doll. Here are some of the highlights that we stumbled across:

(Keep in mind we wanted a white doll with fair hair to match Christophe appearance as best as possible, all these companies make great dolls of all ethnicity and hair skin color mixes)

Clay by Palumba cost $99.99USD plus $24.99USD for clothing.

Jan by Polar Bear Creations cost $130.00 USD.

Chris by isgood cost $125.00 USD ( I have to admit Chris was our favorite ans we almost bought him)

And the winning doll is... we found Karl by peppa at Parenting by Nature. Cost $54.99 CND. We call Karl Bébé .

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Summer Time Fun

Summers here... well some days it feels like it in Toronto. Summer is not officially here until June 21; however as the days are getting longer and the kids are refusing to go to bed "because it's not night time it's still bright out"; we are all getting in summer mode. With summer mode comes outdoor toys, sunscreen and parks; this post is about what I am doing as a mom to keep Christophe safe this summer, help him avoid toxins and for me select safe products.


There are 100's if not 1000's of sunscreens to choose from on the market so how do you know what to do when it comes to selecting one for you or your little one. Well this is a subject I was not very educated on until last year, I will admit it I am bad I used to never use sunscreen, but I don't want Christophe growing up thinking it's OK to prance around in the sun without protection. A few years back my best friends dad was diagnosed with skin cancer and he is one of the healthiest man I have ever met so if it can happen to him it can happen to anyone; he is still battle with cancer and will probably be doing so until the end. ( my thoughts goes out to him and his family everyday ) I think his story is probably what made me start thinking about sunscreen for use other then at the beach.

There are so many website out there that tell you the pros and cons of sunscreen that I am not going to talk about that. I just want to stress if you are going out in full sun or on a day the UV index is high were sunscreen. Now you may ask how do I tell if the UV index is high; here in Canada you can get all that information from Weathernetwork. Unless the UV Report is low I slap on the sunscreen on both myself and Christophe, if we are planning on being outside for more the 20 mins or so.

What kind of sunscreen do we use: I selected California Baby for Christophe only SPF 30+ and for myself Lavera SPF 30 for babies. So far so good when we are wearing the sunscreen and reapplying as directed neither of has had a sunburn. The reason why I selected a baby sunscreen for myself is that despite the fact that it is for me I am still picking up Christophe all the time so there will be product transfer. So you say why do I not use the California Baby; California Baby Sunscreen is not sold in Canada you have to order it from the US that being said it's not cheep, but it is one of the best sunscreens on the market for infants and kids.

Additional resources on sunscreen check out Skin Deep Sunscreen Report.


Sunscreen naturally brings us to hats, wear a hat, wear a hat, wear a hat. Do I have to say it again. Not only wearing hats is fashionable it offers some sun protection creating shade around you face; and some hats offer additional SPF protection due to the fabric used to make them.

Our favorite kids hats are from Snug as a Bug as a bonus they are Canadian Made. Be sure to check out there adjustable hats. Unfortunately these hats then to be hard to find in stores so your best bet is to order online, you wont be disappointed.

And for mom I just love the hats from deLux. In my hood you can get them at the Hat Depot located at 704 Danforth Ave. This is a great little shop the owner still makes hats right in the shop; if you make it there ask them to show you the caps they make for small kids we got one for Christophe and every day he wheres it I think we must get at least 4 or 5 comments on it. Louis the owner and hat maker will also most likely show you pictures of his grandson that is around the same age as Christophe.

Now that we are ready to go out and play lets talk toys:
Many balls that we buy our kids contains PVC, latex or vinyl; also a lot of the balls you can find these days are decorated with Diego, Dora or some other cartoons. I am not sure about you but in my home we try to avoid any ting that is branded commercially by large corporations. Last summer we found this great company that only makes products that are PVC, latex and vinyl free - Crocodile Creek; you can purchase their balls at Treasure Island Toys in Toronto.
Other necessities for outdoor play are available from Green Toys; we have the Sand Play Set and I would like to get one of the Trucks for Christophe as well. You can get these at Kids on the Hip in Toronto. Green Toys is a wonderful manufacture from the US that make toys from recycled plastic and all there toys contain no traceable amounts of Phthalates or BPA.

When talking about summer items I should probably also talk about sunglasses and bathing suits; unfortunatly I don't feel aquiped to talk about them because well - For sunglasses Christophe refuses to wear them and bathingsuits we really only go swimming indoors. However with Christophe now able to walk I am sure we will be frequenthing the splash pad so I should probably start doing my research on this one... maybe I will share my findings in another post.