Christmas Cupcakes

finalraindeerI love to bake!!! It’s a great way to relax and always seems to bring the family together especially during the holidays! It’s also a great way to allow your kiddos to practice their creativity, fine motor skills, and counting! I found this cute reindeer cupcake idea on Pinterest. It’s an easy to make recipe and if you are like me with very little time, improvise! For these cupcakes, to save time I just used boxed cake mix (I used yellow cake mix) and pre-made frosting (I used milk chocolate). For the toppings I used vanilla wafers, pretzels, red M&M’s for the nose, white M&M’s for the eyes (I found coconut M&M’s that came in white and green, so I used the white for my cupcakes and just ate the green ones ;-)) and black icing for the pupils.

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Some of the great tasks to give the kids that come with cupcake making is having them count out the cupcake tin foils and placing them in the tray properly. They can frost the cupcakes (make sure the cupcakes and tray is completely cooled before letting the kids near) and count out the eyes and nose M&M’s (make sure you keep these out of reach of your very little ones though as they can easily choke). Such a fun idea of baking cupcakes can turn into a mini educational project with a great reward; delicious cupcakes!!! I hope you enjoy baking these with your family and happy holidays!!!

Pregnancy Weight Gain

Perfect posting just in time for the holiday season!!! With all the yummy holiday treats…even if you are not pregnant you are at risk of gaining too much weight! First and foremost, remember being pregnant DOES NOT mean you are eating for two! During your first trimester (first three months of pregnancy) you do not even need to increase your daily calorie intake. Starting your second trimester, you should increase your intake by 200-300 more calories per day. This is equivalent to a bagel with no cream cheese or a piece of fruit and granola bar…it’s really not as much as your think! But do not stress if one day you feel like you overate. Some women feel a lot more hungry while pregnant and as long as you are spacing your meals out and your weight gain is gradual, its OK. Like everything else in pregnancy, calorie intake and weight gain is person dependent. If you have nausea and vomiting and the only thing that looks good is pizza, by all means eat it! But on the other hand, if you feel like you can eat the world, try to control the portions you have and opt for the healthier food choices. Just remember moderation and the most important thing…stay hydrated.
Weight gain in pregnancy is generally gauged based on your BMI (body mass index) which is calculated based on your height and weight. In a nutshell, here are some guidelines to go by (don’t forget, these are just recommended guidelines. Please confirm your personal situation with your own doctor).

  • If your pre-pregnancy weight is normal, that is  a BMI of 18.5-24.9, it is recommended you gain between 25-35 pounds.
  • If you are underweight prior to getting pregnant, that is a BMI of less than 18.5, you get to gain a little more weight during your pregnancy. Gain anywhere between 28-40 pounds
  • If you begin your pregnancy overweight, with a BMI of 25-29, should limit your weight gain to between 15-25 pounds
  • If you are obese pre-pregnancy, with a BMI of 30 or more, you should limit your weight gain to about 11-20 pounds.
  • Do not aim to ever lose weight during pregnancy.

Just in case you were wondering…where does the weight gain go???

  • By the end of your pregnancy, about 7-8 account for the baby
  • About 1.5 pounds of placenta
  • 3 to 4 pounds goes to increased fluid volume.
  • Your uterus will be about 2 pounds
  • 1-3 pounds goes to growing breast tissue
  • 3- 4 pounds for increased blood volume.
  • 2 pounds for your amniotic fluid
  • 6-8 pounds goes to maternal fat stores

What are your pregnancy cravings and healthy (or unhealthy ;-)) snack picks?!?!?

Photo credit: Pinterest

Top Baby Names

Choosing your baby’s name is the first official difficult decision you are faced with as a new parent (OK maybe not the first, but its high up there)!!! Understandably so….your kid is stuck with that name forever (no pressure :-))! There is not much advice I can give in regards to this topic because people have so many different traditions behind name picking that it makes it hard to generalize. The only thing that I will say is try not to stress! Play around with the different names you like. The right one will feel right. Be prepared for your friends and family to give “their advice” and make comments. Do not take it personally. In the end this is your child!!!

Well here is a list of 2012 most popular baby names. Looks like Aiden and Sophia are back at the top again! Happy baby name picking!

Top 10 Boy Names

  1. Aiden
  2. Jackson
  3. Ethan
  4. Liam
  5. Mason
  6. Noah
  7. Lucas
  8. Jacob
  9. Jayden
  10. Jack

Top 10 Girl Names

  1. Sophia
  2. Emma
  3. Olivia
  4. Isabella
  5. Ava
  6. Lily
  7. Zoe
  8. Chloe
  9. Mia
  10. Madison

Kate Middleton’s Pregnancy

I may be a little late to congratulate the Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William on the news of their first pregnancy, but I thought this is a great opportunity to discuss hyperemesis gravidarum, the condition which had the Duchess hospitalized ultimately leading to the early leak of their pregnancy news. Unfortunately or fortunately, pregnancy and its possible complications does not differentiate between royalty or a normal gal… it can hit anyone hard! Kate was (can potentially still be) suffering from a condition called hyperemesis gravidarum, aka uncontrolled vomiting during the early months of pregnancy. Most moms-to-be experience “morning sickness” which is basically nausea and sometimes vomiting generally in the morning and during the first few months of pregnancy. Those suffering from from hyperemesis gravidarum have non-stop nausea and vomiting during the earlier months of pregnancy. There is no “cure” for this, rather only supportive treatments such as vitamin B6, antiemetics such as Zofran (ask your physician) or most importantly staying hydrated, whether that is by increasing your oral intake or having to get get admitted to the hospital for IV (intravenous) fluid hydration. Unfortunately the most common and dangerous side effect of hyperemesis gravidarum is severe dehydration. If you are pregnant and have excessive nausea accompanied with vomiting, it is extremely important to get medical attention immediately. With uncontrolled vomiting, you lose a lot of the hydration and nutrition in your body. Severe dehydration can have serious consequences both for you as the mommy and for your unborn child; in severe cases that are not treated, you or your baby can die secondary to dehydration. I am very happy that Kate got the medical attention she needed. I hope that she is feeling better and the rest of her pregnancy continues with ease!

(Photo credit: People.com)

Breastfeeding

The first few days after your baby is born, do not expect to make much milk…in fact you only make about one ounce per day. Yup, that’s less than a shot of your favorite espresso or tequila (of course when your not breastfeeding ;-))…however you chose to measure it by! You’re probably thinking how is my baby supposed to get his/her nutrients to grow and better yet not starve on just one ounce of milk, but that’s all your little one needs the first few days of life!  Your initial milk, also known as colostrum, has all the nutrients your baby needs but in a very concentrated low volume form. Colostrum is more viscous (thick) and yellowish in color than you would expect milk to be. That’s because it is full of proteins, growth factors and antibodies that your baby needs. A newborn has immature immune and digestive systems. The antibodies in colostrum are passively passed on to your baby through your breast milk and helps protect him/her in the early state when their immune systems are not fully developed. Your colostrum also has important components for your baby’s immature digestive system including a laxative component that helps your baby pass their first stool, aka meconium…that black, sticky, tarry like poop! 

Put your worries aside. The best thing you can give your baby in the first few days of life is that measly one ounce of colostrum each day. Don’t give up on breast feeding even if you feel like nothing is coming out…don’t forget all of that trying only adds up to about one ounce for the first five days or so anyways. As the days go by, you will produce more milk, it will become more white and fluid like. Thats when it will start leaking and you will be wishing it was back to those colostrum days! Good luck!