Joanna Anastasia

Lifestyle

Lunch hack that really works

lunch hack

Let’s talk packing lunches, meal planning and feeding a family today. To be honest, I really never imagined that being a mother is basically a constant struggle of feeding the kids ( with healthy and balanced diet) of  packing these dreaded a lunches that they’ll eat and not wasting the fresh produce.

See, here’s the typical pattern- every week I’d buy lots of veggies, thinking that this week I’ll finally cook better. Every week I’d struggle with lunches for my kids and my hubby, and then every week I’d end up throwing away some of those forgotten veggies I bought in the first place.

But I’m happy to let you know that with the seasons change I finally found my solution!

Meal planning that involves at least one or two batch cooked soups a week! Since soups are a great way to eat more veggies ( and sometimes hide them too), they conserve well, and they make for a perfect, healthy and satisfying lunch option!

This post was brought to you by Rubbermaid, all opinions remain my own. lunch hack

lunch hack

Now, I must admit that I used to be scared of packing a soup for lunch- mostly because of the fear of it leaking. But since I got to try the new Rubbermaid Brilliance Food Storage Containers I’m more than confident that nothing will leak! Plus they are both microwave and dishwasher safe! Not to mention that they are BPA-free, and built with an airtight leak-proof seal and secure latches.

Also, thanks to the crystal-clear lids and bases it’s easy to see what’s inside while storing in the fridge, and they are big enough to put a whole batch of soup for a week inside. They are also stain- and odor-resistant, and they have built-in vents allowing the steam to escape – tand that means I can microwave my soup without removing the lid!

lunch hack

lunch hack

So if you’d like to start cooking more soups too, here’s a recipe for my super filling Green Monster soup – aka Creamy Quinoa And Leek  soup ( that conveniently hides veggies inside so kids won’t whine). It’s comforting, and feeling and super healthy- perfect for lunch!

lunch hack

Green Monster soup – aka Creamy Quinoa And Leek  soup

  • 1 liter chicken broth
  • 2 large leeks
  • 1 large potato
  • 2 shallots
  • 1 cup cooked brown quinoa
  • 1 cup green peas
  • 1/4 cup cooking cream

Cut shallots leek and potato into small pieces. Cook with shallots on a spoon of olive oil until it becomes translucent and fragrant. Add salt 7 pepper and chicken broth. Add potato in small cubes and cook until everything is soft. Add quinoa and then using a hand mixer blend it all together. Add green peas and cream, cook 2 more minutes and let it cool. You can store it in the fridge for up to 5 days!

lunch hack

I hope that my hack will help you as it did help me!

This post was brought to you by Rubbermaid, all opinions remain my own. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to have more energy while breastfeeding

nursing mom energy

While this is my third baby now, it’s also my third postpartum time and my third breastfeeding period – and let me tell you, it doesn’t really get easier! I mean, it gets less stressful and more predictable, but it’s still all very exhausting! Keeping up with bigger kids, working on my own projects and being an open milk bar 24/7 is definitely not for the weak! But I’m still smiling and full of energy – at least most days!

nursing mom energy

nursing

The trick? It’s all about good habits:

  1. Sleep when you can ( don’t stay up late, since baby will wake you up anyway!).
  2. Let go of the unimportant things ( like keeping up with laundry ) and just assume the chaos is a part of life now.
  3. Eat well ( try not to skip meals, eat wholesome and nutritious food) 
  4. And stay fueled with the right snacks!

And as a breastfeeding mom who works part time, and has my baby babysit once – twice a week, the best snack for me is the one that can help with my milk supply!

See, I discovered these oatmeal chocolate chip cookies: Munchkin Milkmakers Lactation Cookie Bites at Babies R Us Canada – that have all the right ingredients to keep us moms (remove apostrophe) fueled! They are packed with the tested and trusted milk supply boosters and whole ingredients and it doesn’t hurt that they taste really yummy too!

Disclosure – this post was brought to you by Babies R Us Canada, all opinions remain my own.

nursing mom energy

nursing mom energy

They are really very handy when I have my work meetings and I have to skip  a nursing session- they come in snack sized portions and are perfect on the go! And I find them even more useful at home, when I’m starving between meals ( hello breastfeeding appetite ) and need a quick pick me up to regain energy ( hello middle of the night wake ups!)

And while this breastfeeding mom thing doesn’t get easier, I wouldn’t have it any other way- all the baby smiles, the snuggles, and the amount of love a baby adds to home makes it all worth it! And when the breastfeeding is easy and the baby full and happy then mama life is so much easier too!

nursing mom energy

This post was brought to you by Babsie R Us, all opinions remain my own. 

Why you should travel with kids- even if it seems difficult

“Remember that happiness is a way of travel – not a destination.” – Roy M. Goodman

Since our first daughter was born, six and a half years ago, we traveled as a family to Poland, Croatia, France, Barbados, and Cuba. We visited far regions of our province Quebec and while at times it was difficult, it was also something that I’ll never forget.

Because travelling with kids is being really present in the moment, it’s enjoying the unexpected and not planning too much. 

Of course, travelling with babies and toddlers isn’t for the weak: kids might sleep bad and whine half of the time. Sometimes the planned sightseeing attraction can turn out to be the-biggest-tantrum-trigger-ever, but then the unplanned stop to soothe a crying baby can turn out to be the most magical place on the way!

why you should travel with kids

why you should travel with kidswhy you should travel with kidswhy you should travel with kids

Traveling with kids is also a patience test : the time it takes to dress, the time it takes to get to the beach, the time it takes to look at all the rocks and flowers on the way.

But it also means that while traveling with kids, you see more details. And sometimes they’re so lovely, you’re happy you took time to slow down.

So if you’re still doubting if your family is ready to travel together, here are the reasons why I think you should give it a try:

  1. Family bonding.  While family bonding can happen anywhere, it’s during travel that families bond the most. Sharing new experiences with people around us leaves us with the feeling of closeness, and having more time together then usually, mixed with the lack of every-day responsibilities, results in stronger attachment and bonding!
  2. Natural learning.  Instead of teaching kids about other cultures, show them other cultures! They’ll remember much better the differences between renaissance and middle ages architecture if they’ll get a chance to see that architecture in person.
  3. Developing self esteem. Kids who travel and are put in new and challenging for them situations – such as ordering food in a new language, making new friends on the beach, helping with packing and travel organization – grow to feel competent and mentally strong.
  4. Language skills- we all know that learning a new language at home with a book is never as efficient and fun as being emerged in that language. And even if the trip lasts only a week, it can sparkle the motivation and curiosity needed to learn a new language!
  5. Making memories that will help in dark moments. We all have moments of self doubt, sadness and loneliness – even our kids. Having a bank of happy memories to look back at during these moments can help dealing with stress and anxiety.
  6. Time passing slower- with lots of things happening within one day, our brains get tricked in to experiencing time differently then during the day filled with repetitive every-day activities. When we travel we get to see so many new places, people and things that our brains are much more busy then usually with processing it all –  and in the end, we have an impression of the time passing slower, and our days happier then usually.

why you should travel with kidswhy you should travel with kids

 

why you should travel with kidswhy you should travel with kidswhy you should travel with kids

And in the end, I really believe that travelling kids is like depositing coins in their own bank of happiness- and ours too. Even if we’re traveling with a baby who won’t remember anything on a conscious level – they will take in the atmosphere of excitement, smiles of relaxed parents and sound of a new language. And I think that this is truly priceless.

why you should travel with kids

And if you’re wandering HOW to make travelling with kids easier, here are my best tips for traveling with a toddler, and here are my best tips for camping with kids! Also I’ll be sharing more of my tips and tricks for plane travel soon, so stay tuned!

if you're wandering if you're ready to travel with your kids- here's WHY you should and why you'll love it!

 

How to make kids excited about taking photos

how to get kids exited abut photos - three great tips that help me every time

“Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever… It remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything.”— Aaron Siskind

I love taking photos of my kids – and just as Aaron Siskind I believe that it’s a way of loving, and capturing what you love forever! I believe in photographing the every-day life, the ordinary and the easily forgettable days. And I love how through photography we get to see the beauty in those fragile moments – moments that in the end consists the majority of our lives!

Because while faraway travels are for sure picture perfect, for me it’s in the everyday parenting moments that my happiness lays. And it’s these everyday adventures that I want to remember! Like the dimples in my four-year old cheeks when she smiles. The way my daughters cuddle my 8 month old pregnant belly. How they pick up flowers, and how they play together in our backyard during the long weekend.

Sometimes however my kids are not as exited about capturing the moment as I am. They don’t care for stopping for a second and showing me these dimples, because what they want is to play and seek their own magic!

But when I showed them the “magical camera” – aka instax SQ6 over the Victoria weekend as they called it, everything changed!

This post is brought to you by FUJIFILM, all opinions remain exclusively my own. how to get kids exited abut photos

It was a three-day long weekend that we have spent mostly around our home, with girls paying in the garden, eating ice cream on the patio, picking up the ” flowers” from our un-cut wild lawn and visiting a local tulip farm. Nothing spectacular in the eyes of many. But it was also the first warm and sunny weekend after the very long winter, a long weekend filled with their laughter, cuddles and simple pleasures. And I wanted to capture it all: the last Victoria day weekend before we turn form a family of four to a family of five.

And with the new instax SQ6 I did. The way it reveals the photo almost immediately after it’s taken – the way a blank canvas turns in to a perfectly squared photo magically captivated my kids attention!

We made portraits. And they smiled and gave me kisses. And asked for more and more magical photos!

And then when we visited the local tulip farm, they decided they want to be photographers too  – and with how easy it’s to use, I agreed.

how to get kids exited abut photos

how to get kids exited abut photos

how to get kids exited abut photos

how to get kids exited abut photos

how to get kids exited abut photos

And now when I look at all those perfectly squared memories from our Victoria day weekend I know for sure that I wouldn’t make it without introducing my kids to photography!

So here’s what you can do to make your kids exited about taking photos:

  1. Let them become the family photographer! I know it’s easier said than done, especially if you’re worried about them breaking your expensive camera, and that’s exactly why I found the easy to use instax SQ6 to be so perfect for introducing kids to photography!
  2. Capture the simple every day moments. Instead of trying to find that perfect exotic family activity to make family photos at, try making more photos during your regular life at home – I often find that these moments are the most beautiful anyway!
  3. Let them have fun, explore and take photos while they are in their element. It’s so much easier to capture a moment while your kids are having fun, then to tell them to smile and look like they are having fun while they are posing for a photo!

how to get kids exited abut photos

I couldn’t be happier with the memories we captured over the Victoria long weekend, and I’m so exited to see how my passion for photography starts to be in my kids interest too!

5 gender reveal ideas that you don’t want to miss

gender reveal ideas

I never did a gender reveal before : with my two previous pregnancies I was simply too impatient to find out the baby’s gender! But this time around, and with my most likely last pregnancy, I wanted to make something special for gender reveal – and I wanted my two daughters to remember this moment in their lives too.

So I have come up with 5 easy ways that you too can use – either on your gender reveal party, or as a photo announcement for your family and friends!

  1. Use a letter board and let your youngest child announce the big news! ( this option is super cute for gender reveal announcement cards!)
  2. Ask a friend to make an envelope photo booth backdrop with pink or blue tissue paper hidden inside ( full tutorial here)
  3. Get a gender reveal cake with matching cupcakes, and cut it to find out what are you having.
  4. Ask a friend to surprise you with pink or blue balloons ( another cute idea for a gender reveal announcement card!)
  5. Make a blue or pink non alcoholic drink for the gender reveal party.

So this first idea is probably the easiest to go with if you already have another kid:  a letter board, a toddler or a preschooler, and some bribing to stand still for a minute, and voila, a super cute gender reveal photo for announcing the news to family and friends is ready! ( just don’t forget to make a second photo with the question answered on a board!) :

gender reveal ideas

However, if you’d like to invite family over and throw a party, then this envelope photo booth backdrop is my favourite idea ever! Everyone will be curious to peak in, and once open it makes for the prettiest photo backdrop ever!

You can find all the details on making one here, at my super talented Johanie’s blog – she’s a photo backdrop pro and one of the most creative ladies online I have ever meet!

gender reveal ideas

gender reveal ideas

gender reveal ideas

gender reveal ideas

Of course, another winning idea is ordering a gender reveal cake with a matching cake topper. The excitement on everyone’s faces when you cut through the cake is priceless! Not to mention that you get to share the sweet news with everyone int he most delicious way!

If you’re from Montreal like I am, then you might want to check Little Leah’s Kitchen for your gender reveal cakes and Pompons Events for the cake toppers.

gender reveal ideas

gender reveal ideas

gender reveal ideas

gender reveal ideas

Going with the balloons is another simple way for making great gender reveal announcement photos- no words needed just don’t get a confusing colour! This is one of the rare occasions when going with the stereotypes is actually better !

gender reveal ideas

And if you’re making a party simply serve a pink or blue drink!

 

gender reveal ideas

Here’s all you need for a Blue Punch :

  • Sprite
  • Blue food colouring for the virgin – or Blue curaçao for regular
  • Sparkling water
  • Blueberries
  • Pineapple juice

Mix it all together, serve on ice. 

And if you’re looking for a pink drink idea, try this:

Pink punch:

  • sprite
  • pink lemonade
  • ( optional vodka)
  • ice

So if you’re wondering what I did to reveal our baby’s gender at home, well I ordered a cake. And then I used these photos to announce the big news to my extended family and friends. I guess you guessed by now that I’m having a boy, right? 

Resources:

Cake and cupcakes: Little Leah’s kitchen.

Cake topper: Pompons Events.

Photo backdrop idea and execution: Johanie Creative

Photos made by: Johanie Creative

Healthy breakfast on the go

healthy breakfast on the go

“One should not attend even the end of the world without a good breakfast.”
― Robert A. Heinlein

Before becoming a mom to these two little table-climbing monkeys, I used to have breakfast at 9 in the morning. Followed by a big cup of hot cappuccino. And if you’d asked me if I had time to sit and eat in peace I’d say, of course, who doesn’t? Well, a typical mother doesn’t that’s who! Whether it’s because of a crying baby, a running away toddler, or the kids being late for the school bus, moms are always the ones who either forget about their own breakfast entierly, either the ones who eat half burned toast while trying to dress a wiggly child.

So, even though we do know breakfast is important, we usually don’t eat it, am I right? I recently discovered that a study by Burnbrae Farms found out that 1 in 2 Canadians are not consistently eating breakfast, even though nearly all of them know eating a healthy breakfast is important! Well see, mom life isn’t easy.

breakfast on the go

breakfast on the go ideas

But I have recently also found a perfect solution: the EGG Bakes!™ crustless Quiche, that are made with all natural whole ingredients, real eggs and come in plenty of flavour combos to choose from. My favourites are the: “Cheddar, Mushroom and Bacon” and the “Garden Vegetable” ones!

And they take, wait for it,  90 second to prepare! They can be cooked from frozen in the microwave for 90 seconds and are a quick, protein-packed, nutritious breakfast, perfect for eating with one hand while trying to dress a toddler with another!

Though what I actually love about them the most, is that they have really helped me eat my healthy breakfast and stick to my New Year’s resolutions of taking care of my body more!

 

breakfast on the go

breakfast on the go

And last but not the least, they are really delicious, so much so, that these two little fussy girls of mine, started to demand some for them too! And once cooked they smell so amazing, that I have even served them over the weekend to my hubby and parents in law, and they all loved them!

breakfast on the go

So if you also struggle with the hectic mornings like I do, know that you’re not alone! We’re all in this together! But we can also get back on the Breakfast Bandwagon together !

So grab yourself a coupon for 1$ off here, and just take the mornings easy!

Because with these little yummy quiches, you can still eat healthy, and run after your kids in the morning, just like I do!

breakfast on the go

breakfast on the go

 

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Disclosure: While this post was sponsored by Burnbrae Farms, all opinions remain entirely my own. 

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