Forcing the Bloom

Happy, Healthy Mommy Blog


Natural Birth Gets Coverage – Thanks Kate Middleton!

Many of you may have heard that Kate Middleton had a natural childbirth.  This has created some wonderful buzz about natural childbirth and an opportunity for some local doulas (and friends of mine) to get some local press coverage!  Check out  Kate’s choice for a drug-free birth helps open the door for dialogue about birthing options.  I was so inspired by my natural birth experience that I became a doula, or labor assistant, to help other mothers have the best birth possible.  I would like to point out that having a natural birth is actually cheaper assuming you can get coverage, but that’s another issue.  There are many resources about natural childbirth but here are just a few that I value.  What is your favorite natural birth resource?  If you don’t have one, does that mean we need more?!  Yes!  🙂

Kate Middleton


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Great Veggie Chili Recipe

We enjoyed this hearty chili recipe tonight: “The Best Vegetarian Chili in the World” from  I had four hungry family members visiting from out of town and I thought chili would be great to feed a crowd.  Except, I also wanted something healthy.  I found this recipe while searching online and it seemed pretty manageable.  I didn’t have any jalapeno peppers or green chile peppers but I added some red peppers and carrots instead.  I don’t like very spicy meals and this one was just right for me.  I served the chili with naan and grated cheese.  Baby B loved the grated cheese 🙂  And I love one pot meals!  This recipe fed six people and there were leftovers!  Also, no one was vegetarian and they still liked it!  You could tell you weren’t eating beef but the vegetarian burger crumbles were pretty good in the chili.  I had not cooked with them before and I was pleasantly surprised.


ToLabor Doula Workshop

I completed my toLabor doula training last weekend!  26 hours of intense training packed into two and a half days.  I spent the weekend with an incredible instructor and an awesome group of women.  For those who don’t know what a “doula” is, the best descriptions I heard during the weekend workshop were educator of birth options, labor assistant, birth activist, advocate for midwifery model of care, and choreographer.  The last one means that doulas help mom and partner do the “dance steps” of labor.  A doula comes to your home to assist with labor before you go to the hospital or birth center and a doula stays with you throughout labor.  They also help the family transition back home.  A doula provides several pre-natal visits focused on education about labor and birth.  Throughout pregnancy and the post-partum transition period, the doula is a resource of information about labor, birth and breastfeeding.

I was trained with an organization called ToLabor, “The Organization of Labor Assistants for Birth Options and Resources.”  Their moto is: “Empowering Families, Honoring Birth, Changing Lives.”  You can read more about their teaching philosophy at the toLabor website.  When asked why I was attending the weekend workshop, I responded that it was the next logical step after having a natural childbirth experience.  Ounce you learn about all the birth options available and the possibilities for women to have the birth experience they deserve you just can’t keep quiet.  Becoming a doula is become a voice for change.  Doulas are the support, the inspiration, and the resource bringing families home.  The workshop I attended was only the beginning.  The more I learn, the more I realize there is so much more out there to learn.  I feel very privileged to be part of the community of professional doulas but it really applies to everyone.  Every family and every baby deserves the chance for their birth experience to be about celebration, transformation, and healing.  Now that I’ve made this a part of my life I will be posting information from my research and about the inspiration from serving women and families in my community.  I look forward to hearing about your birth experiences!


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Toddler Recipes: Quinoa Cakes and Chocolate Date Bites

Tonight I made Quinoa Cakes and some sort of Chocolate Date Bite thing.  Both these little recipes were simple modifications of prior recipe ideas.  Once you get the hang of it you can experiment with other nutritional enhancers.  The Quinoa Cakes were a dinner gone wrong and an understanding that toddlers like finger foods.  I made up a dish of quinoa (1/2 cup dry quinoa with 1 cup veggie broth and a dash of curry).  I added about a cup and 1/2 of mixed frozen veggies (pea, green beans, carrots and lima beans) and a cup of chickpeas.  Baby B served it to the dogs, which was sweet and a nice gesture since he has been ramming them with his cart all week.  With the leftovers, I decided to try making baked cakes.  I added about 2 T of olive oil and another cup of chickpeas and mashed it all up with a fork until it was nice and mushy and easy to patty.  I spooned out the patties about the size of half dollars and baked them for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees.  After I pulled them out of the oven I had to let them sit for awhile so they would not fall apart.  Result: little toddler finger food.  Whatdoyathink?  🙂

Quinoa Cakes











I also continued to experiment with my date bar recipe.  This time I did not have very much rolled oats and I used chocolate chips instead of dried fruit.  In place of rolled oats I used extra wheat germ.  Like, alot of wheat germ!  It’s good for you, right?!  So I mashed together: about 4 or 5 T of baking dates (pitted and mashed), 1/4 cup rolled oats, 1 cup wheat germ, 1/4 cup chocolate chips, 1/4 cup pumpkin puree, 1 T cinnamon, 1 t pumpkin spice, 1 t nutmeg.  It took awhile to mashed it together evenly.  I spooned out and formed little cookies and dehydrated them for about 5 hours.  You can also bake them at a low temperature until they harden.  The chocolate chips melted and mixed with the dates to create a dark, rich color.  Yum.  🙂

Chocolate Date Bites


Teaching Kids about Music

Our music teach was interviewed by our local newspaper discussing “The Art of Teaching Kids to Play Music“.  Several music professionals were interviewed and gave their take on when to start music lessons and how to get kids interested in music.  Our teacher, Phyllis Fulton, is the co-owner of Music Together.  How important is music in your home?  Is it a priority that your kids are involved in musical activities such as singing or a practicing an instrument?  I don’t know why but I have always thought that there wasn’t enough time to do both sports and music.  I always picked sports.  It didn’t seem like there were many kids that could do both and do them well.  I played the piano when I was young.  I remember that I really enjoyed it.  Yes, I didn’t want to practice like most kids but that seems normal now.  Once I got into sports – you name it and I played it – it just didn’t seem possible to keep up with practicing an instrument.  Was I wrong?  As I entered the working world I traded basketball and tennis for running and triathlon.  I also play golf when I find the time.  Music is not a big part of my life.  If I had a choice I actually prefer quiet over the radio or itunes.  And I don’t go around the house singing.  Actually I’m pretty out of tune when I sing.  So when I had a baby I decided I needed a little help exposing him to music.  I signed up for baby/toddler music classes.  I’m pleasant surprised by the results and positive effect on our family.  Not that I was expecting any negative effects.  I just wasn’t really expecting anything.  Also, I should say that I had to drag my butt to class.  I mentioned that I can’t sign, right?  But it was also the idea of being musical, which seemed very unsporty to me and maybe even down right sissy.  Well, as always seems to be the case, my child proved me wrong.  Music class provided him an opportunity to work on movement (he went from crawling to walking and now even dances), language (he signs his favorite songs) and socialization (he’s learning to meet other kids and be vocal).  What’s most amazing is watching him take everything in during class – the music, people, moves – and then demonstrate what he’s learned later on.  For example, after a few music classes we noticed that he waved his hands in the air and started dancing when we turned on music.  And when I play music class songs in the car I can almost always get him to calm down when he’s fussy.  Not only that but my husband found his musical side and bought a guitar!  He and Baby B love to play and now Baby B points out guitars whenever we see one or a picture of one.  I’m not saying that I’ve switched from music to sports.  Maybe there’s time for both.  At least now I see more value in bringing music into our home.  Not quite the Von Trapp family but close!  I’m not going to worry about whether he should play an instrument or when to start lessons.  I think we’ll just take it one year at a time.  I’m glad to hear our music teacher, Phyllis, agrees not to rush it.  Just have fun!  What do you think?  Is music a priority in your home?  Are your kids playing instruments or planning on playing an instrument?  Singing any one?


More about Charleston, SC









We stayed an amazing hotel in Charleston called Market Pavilion.  They were recently ranked #1 for small city hotel for the U.S. and Canada and #52 in the world.  We stayed on a floor that a had a concierge lounge which provided breakfast and snacks throughout the day!











Baby B loved most of the food.  Who doesn’t love an endless supply of cookies?!     










We ate at Magnolias.  A great restaurant in downtown Charleston.









We enjoyed walking by the water.








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We visited the Charleston Aquarium.

























Not sure why the aquarium had a lemur but it was cool.




















We enjoyed pastries at the Bakehouse.








We picked up some local artwork.

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We visited Fort Sumter.









On our last day we visited Patriots Point and the USS Yorktown.

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And of course lots of beach time!!



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Trip to Charleston, SC

My husband was able to take off this past holiday week and we traveled to the beach!  First we visited family in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  Then we spent a few days in Charleston, South Carolina, including the 4th of July.  Then we returned back to Myrtle Beach for more beach time before heading home.  We are all burned, bitten and bumpy so we’re ready to rest and recover indoors this week.  I didn’t think my son’s hair could get more blonde but now it’s practically white.  He looks like a beach bum or surfer dude.  Very cute, of course.  Prior to our trip and also during the trip I took the opportunity to teach Baby B about seashells and other beach things.  We talked about the texture, colors and sizes of shells.  We practiced transferring shells from one dish to another in Montessori style.  At the beach, we put sand and water in his bucket and practiced filling his watering can with seawater.

There were plenty of learning opportunities in Charleston too.  We visited the aquarium, Fort Sumter, and the USS Yorktown (aircraft carrier).  All great activities during the 4th of July!  The Charleston aquarium and Fort Sumter were both a bit small but still interesting.  I enjoyed the boat ride out to Fort Sumter.  The entire tour took about 2 hours.  The USS Yorktown, along with the destroyer and submarine docked next to it, were very interesting for my husband and 15 month old boy.  Something about boys and anything dealing with transportation!  It was, however, very hot on the carrier.  It was not easy maneuvering the stroller around the decks but it was manageable.  There was too many stairs not to use the stroller.  I recommend the USS Yorktown tour in the spring or fall to anyone planning on going in the future.  Downtown Charleston is super cute.  There are historic house tours, art shops and interesting restaurants.  Here are some pictures of Charleston and I’ll post more tomorrow.  Hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July!

Biking in Myrtle Beach


Mom and Baby Charleston, SC Charleston, SC Charleston, SC Charleston, SC