France Now…Blog Later!

Just wanted to let everyone know that I hadn’t fallen off of the face of the earth…but, I have changed time zones for about 10 days. In an effort to let vacation be vacation, my husband and I decided to step away from our computers and mobile devices for the week.

DSC08658Don’t worry, the camera has been snapping away…French country side, Versailles, Paris! I will be back to daily blogging soon; but, for the time being, I’m enjoying the beauty of French culture, bike rides along the water, chocolate croissants, and best of all my family!

Follow The Mom in Me, MD on Facebook for more pictures of our trip!

 

DSC07966

Au Revoir for now from The Mom in Me, MD

Fertility Revolution Podcast…Airing my Infertility Story and Insights!

Julie with Emma HostetterFor those of you interested in hearing more about my story and some of my infertility insights, please check out this link for the Fertility Revolution Podcast Airing today. In this podcast interview I will give you some of my tips on when to seek help, how to share your infertility struggle, how to reduce your stress level, and more! http://bit.ly/FR_87

From The Mom in Me, MD

Another Quick Fall Appetizer That’s Oh So Delicious!

Appetizers are either far too complex or plain old boring. If I am going to cook a meal and make a dessert, I don’t want to spend too much time preparing an appetizer. Solution…Fig and Goat Cheese Crostini. These sumptuous appetizers are gourmet without trying too hard, and they are speedy to make (any sous chef…aka my husband, can whip these out in a jiffy!) Fig Fruit

YOU ONLY NEED THREE INGREDIENTS…plus a knife! 

1. 1 package crostinis (you can find these in any grocery store bakery department). If you can’t find crostinis, just grab a box of gourmet crackers!

2. 1 jar fig preserves (I personally love Organic Adrianic Fig Spread from Dalmatia carried at most stores including Whole Foods) You can mix it up by choosing a fig and orange preserve as well.

3. 1 block of soft goat cheese (plain or one with herbs would work well too)

Sliced French Bread Baguette

The Self-Explanatory Way to Assemble Your Gourmet Appetizer

1. Spread goat cheese on crostini (if your goat cheese is not soft enough to spread, then spread your fig preserves first and layer a slice of goat cheese on top)

2. Using a different knife, spread fig preserves on top of goat cheese

3. If you want them to look a little prettier you could always add a sprig of mint or basil to garnish or for another variation you could drizzle with a little honey and sprinkle with chopped walnuts

4. Arrange on a plate

5. Serve!Sheep milk cheese with basil  and black olives, on cutting board

Sometimes the best things come in simple combinations. Embrace how easy delicious can be!

From The Mom in Me, MD

12 Key Ways to Decrease Your Infant’s Risk of a Sleep Related Death

Fingers Of Newborn BabyAs I was standing in Pottery Barn Kids innocently looking at crib sheets, I overheard the lady behind me who was purchasing a gift ask the sales clerk, “Are you really supposed to use bumper pads? I thought that they weren’t safe.”  To my dismay, the sales associated responded, “Oh, I think it is really up to you. They should be safe; otherwise, we wouldn’t sell them. And, they keep babies from getting their legs and arms stuck in the cribs.” The family physician and public health specialist in me was fuming! I wanted to correct her. I wanted to set the record straight. I wanted to grab the bumper pad from her hands and say, “Don’t buy it!” I debated with myself for just a little bit too long. I didn’t want to sound rude or all-knowing, but I wanted her to know that bumpers can contribute to Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths (SUID). By the time I had built up the courage to add my two cents, the purchase had been made, and the innocent gift giver was out the door.Cute Baby At Hands Of The Mother In An Embrace, Monochrome

Every décor savvy mom longs for a beautiful bumper to complete her infant’s crib. Well, keep on longing! I have created a beautiful nursery for our daughter…bumper free. It sounds cliché, but “SAFTEY FIRST” should be every mom’s motto. Let’s review the updated recommendations to reduce the risk of Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths. If you are already following them, give yourself a pat on the back. If not, then now is the time to start.

Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths are deaths that occur suddenly, and unexpectedly in infants under one year of age. These deaths do not have an immediately obvious cause. But, after investigation, most of them fall into one of three main categories: Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), accidental strangulation and suffocation in bed, and unknown cause. According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 4,000 infants die each year in the United States from SUID, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is the third leading cause of all deaths for infants.Newborn Beautiful Baby Sleeping

The American Academy of Pediatrics has updated its recommendations on safe sleep environments for infants in an effort to reduce SIDS and sleep related deaths. Here is a breakdown of the key recommendations, but be sure to look at the hyperlinks in this article for more detailed information.

  1. Infants should be placed on their BACK every time they sleep
  2. Use a firm sleep surface-a firm mattress with a tightly fitted sheet
  3. Keep your infant in your room, but not in your bed (this can reduced SIDS risk by 50%!!!)
  4. Keep soft bedding and loose objects out of the crib (no stuffed animals, pillows, blankets, or BUMPER PADS)-there is no evidence to say that bumper pads prevent injury, they do, however, raise the risk for suffocation, strangulation, and entrapment according to the AAP. Sleep sacks are great to use instead of blankets. They keep the baby warm without the risk of suffocation.
  5. Avoid infant smoke exposure during pregnancy and after the infant is born.
  6. Breastfeed if possible for at least the first 6 months
  7. Offer a pacifier at naps and bedtime. Even if it falls out, its use has been linked with SIDS prevention.
  8. Avoid Overheating-Don’t over-bundle your infant for sleep
  9. Immunize your infant
  10. Avoid devices sold to “prevent” SIDS, including positioners. These are not considered safe.
  11. Do not use home cardiorespiratory monitors to prevent SIDS. These have not been found to lower the risk.
  12. Make sure to incorporate supervised awake tummy time for your infant. This helps strengthen neck muscles.Mother Father And Baby Feet Under Blanket

Although this may seem like a long list, most of you are already complying with many of these recommendations. They aren’t always convenient, or baby décor conscious, but what could be more important than your infant’s safety? Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths are not all that “common”. But, if SUID only stole one infant’s life each year instead of 4,000, and that life was your child’s….? Don’t tempt fate. Protect your child. Reduce their risk of SUID.

From The Mom in Me, MD

It’s a Hush, Hush Word…Infertility

SHHHHHHHH…..I’ve got INFERTILITY ISSUES! People put autism puzzle stickers and breast cancer survivor stickers on their cars, but I have yet to see an “Infertile Couple” awareness sticker. Is the diagnosis of infertility any less of a diagnosis? Insurance companies lead us to believe this by their lack of coverage for medically necessary infertility services (a blog for another day).  Although infertility may not be life threatening like breast cancer, it is a painful and limiting condition that profoundly impacts many lives.NEW YORK - MAY 24: Actress Sarah Jessica Parker attends the prem

I assume that the stigma of infertility in part stems from the fact that SEX is broken. Who wants to admit that their sex doesn’t “work”? And, although Sarah Jessica Parker may have normalized talking about explicit sex over the dinner table, many of us don’t want to share the intimacies of our relationship with friends, let alone strangers. In my mind, one of the beauties of intimacy is that it is something shared just between my husband and me. And, although I don’t shy away from joking about sex with friends now and then, I don’t make it a habit to share what I do in private. Talking with girl friends about periods, child-birth, and boobs is no big deal. But, infertility doesn’t naturally or comfortably fall into that “normal” girl talk.

Our culture is inundated with sexuality, but the idealized kind filled with Victoria’s Secret Angels, Tatum Channing physiques, and Ryan Gosling charm (okay, and physique!) Infertility is poor performing sexuality. Who wants to talk about that? Not men, and not most women. No, men hate bringing up (sorry for my choice of words here) their struggles with erectile dysfunction. Most aren’t even able to verbalize their complaint. Instead, they just point at their crotch and stutter, “I can’t, umm,” followed by a fill in the blank. And, in the past 15 years I have only had one woman come to me concerned over her lack of orgasmic ability.Lovers

Thus, infertility falls into the hush, hush sensitive topic category. It is sensitive, but the shame and stigma associated with it prevent women and men struggling with infertility from getting the resources and support that they need. Breast cancer used to have a similar stigma associated with it. Women should not openly talk about their breasts! How improper! Yes, it was cancer, but the “unmentionable” kind. Thankfully, the shame that used to accompany the diagnosis of breast cancer has been diminished due to proactive campaigns encouraging and empowering us to embrace our womanhood, “feel our boobies,” and kick cancer in the butt. This change in culture has led to life saving advancements in breast cancer research and treatments.

Can a similar cultural revolution transform how infertility is viewed? Yes, but only if people are willing to step outside of their comfort zones. If thirty year olds still refer to their genitalia as their “junk,” how are we going to have a real conversation about infertility. Using real words and talking about real life problems is a good starting place. Acknowledging that the human body often fails us, and that infertility is one of these physical and biologic failures that is out of our control, lessens the stigma, even if slightly. Normalizing the idea that infertility is incredibly common may also empower men and women to open up more readily about their struggle toward parenthood. The more that people talk about this culturally uncomfortable issue, the less uncomfortable it will become.Group of multiethnic babies crawling isolated on white backgroun

Reducing the stigma of infertility will positively and powerfully impact the infertility world. Infertile couples will have a larger support system if more people are willing to share their stories. This in turn will lead to increased social networks and social capital. With increased unity focused on the cause of infertility, more money will be raised for research, leading to improved infertility treatment options. Awareness campaigns may lead to political activism, forcing insurance companies to take infertility seriously and cover necessary treatments. Imagine a world where people have increased fertility because of improved infertility treatments and insurance coverage! If population control is your thing, then this may not excite you. But, for those of us hoping to add to the human race, this thought is utopia!

From The Mom in Me, MD

 

One of the Best (and easiest) Appetizers for Fall…Caramel Apple Brie…just a bite away

Looking for a quick and easy appetizer that wows every time? Butterscotch-Caramel Brie with Dried Apple, Pecans, and Cranberries-This tasty version of caramel smothered brie does just the trick. Not only do the flavors resemble a caramel apple…they take a huge gourmet leap forward by incorporating both sweet and savory flavors!

The tasty supplies:

1 jar of Mrs. Richardson’s Butterscotch and Caramel Topping (you may have to hunt for this in the grocery store, but most mainline stores do carry this. If you can’t find it, it is okay to substitute with a mixture of Butterscotch and Caramel from another company such as Sanders. If you have the time, you can also order Mrs. Richardson’s online from Amazon)

1 bag of dried apple slices

1 bag of dried cranberries

1 cup of whole or chopped pecans

1 wheel of briecheese

How to smother your brie:

Simply heat your Butterscotch and Caramel in the microwave or stove top until warm. Add in your dried apple slices, dried cranberries, and pecans. Pour over the wheel of brie. Serve with crackers. Oh, my goodness! It doesn’t get any better! So simple…so fast…so good! Great for football tailgating in the fall, a Thanksgiving appetizer, or even a winter treat!

From The Mom in Me, MD

Greek Lamb Burgers…that will leave your mouth watering

I am slightly obsessed with Mediterranean food. Okay, I admit…that is an enormous understatement. I could eat falafel, tahini sauce, hummus, fattoush salad, cucumber yogurt sauce, kabobs, and gyros every day at lunch and still crave it all over again for dinner. I don’t have an ounce of Greek or Middle Eastern in me, but my adopted Yia-Yia (grandmother) and my best friend from childhood are both Greek. They must have rubbed off on my taste buds!

Last week I tried to recreate one of my favorite dishes from one of my favorite restaurants-the Greek burger from Cowfish. This amazing burger and sushi fusion joint, located in Charlotte, North Caroline knows how to make one heck of a Greek burger! And, while I didn’t quite match theirs, my version was equally delicious! I got a little help from the Williams-Sonoma Complete Grilling Cookbook for the burger seasoning.

What you need to go Greek! 

For the burgers: Mix all of these ingredients together in a bowl and then form into 6 medium-sized patties. They should be about 1/2 inch thick. Cover them and place in the fridge for about an hour before throwing them on the grill. Heat your grill to medium-high heat. Grill for about 5 minutes on each side, turning the burgers once. They should be pink in the center.photo 1

photo 12 pounds of ground (minced) lamb

1/4 cup red onion minced

2 cloves of garlic minced

3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

onion burger buns (from your local bakery or deli)photo 2

For the Cucumber Sauce:  Just mix it all together and load it on top of your cooked burgerphoto 3

2 cups plain greek yogurtphoto 5

one cucumber diced

1 bunch of mint chopped

1 teaspoon fresh black pepper

 

 

For the Garnish:  layer these three items on your burger on top of the cucumber sauce

spinach or lettuce

sliced roma or vine ripened tomatoes

one slice of a firm feta block for each burgerphoto 5photo 2

I paired my tasty Greek burger with a side of tabouleh (click here for that recipe) and some all natural Alexia sweet potato fries. I love the Alexia sweet potato fries! These are super easy to make and are delicious every time. Simply preheat and throw them in your oven to bake. You can choose between spicy seasoning, plain, or sea salt. Yummy!

OPA! (okay, not really. I’m a little scared of trying flaming cheese in my kitchen) But, there you have it…a mouth watering Greek burger with some tasty side options. My husband’s only complaint was that he couldn’t fit the whole thing in his mouth at once!White architecture of Oia village on Santorini island, Greece

From The Mom in Me, MD

 

Our Preemie Journey: Holding My Dream Come True for the First Time

I couldn’t do it. I hadn’t been able to get out of bed with my soaring blood pressure, pounding headache, and magnesium clouded confusion. I desperately wanted to hold HER; but, it had been two days, and I had yet to see my baby. Today was the day! I willed my body, forcing my legs to carry me just one step toward the wheel chair. Un-showered, unrecognizably swollen from the preeclampsia, connected to several IV lines and a foley catheter bag…I was far from a picture, perfect new mother. Actually, I was a wreck! I was trying to hold it together, but it was all too much. My body continued to suffer the side effects of preeclampsia, unresponsive to the blood pressure medications being loaded into my veins. I was terrified for myself and my tiny newborn. But, I had to see her! I had to hold her! I had to touch her!Iphone 1634

Iphone 1729Every tiny bump, even the elevator’s gentle thumping felt like foot-high speed bumps. My head bobbed and my body swayed as though I was on a tiny fishing boat weathering rough seas. Although Dave was probably only moving at a turtle speed, I begging him to slow down. The nurse at his side, there to make sure that my blood pressure didn’t jump any higher and that my IV lines were running appropriately, assured me that we would be to the NICU in moments. I reminded myself to take deep breaths. I could make it. I would make it.

The NICU was a whole new world. Small rooms filled with even smaller babies. IV’s, feeding tubes, heart rate monitors, ventilators, incubators…all in an effort to save these precious little lives. My wheel chair stopped in front of HER room. It wasn’t the perfect pink room with a white crib and velvet curtains that I had planned but hadn’t had the time to decorate. Instead, it was a hospital room with a tiny incubator, purple walls, heart rate monitors, and a hospital curtain.Iphone 1653Iphone 1764

I barely noticed the room. All that I saw was HER. So tiny…so fragile…so transparent. Again, I was terrified. I didn’t see a beautiful, healthy, chubby baby that I could snuggle and kiss. Instead, what I saw resembled a frail, baby bird that had fallen from its nest. Her skin was translucent, covered in downy hair. Her features were far too fine and underdeveloped, lacking the fullness and health that fat brings. Her skin was wrinkly, and her arms and legs almost looked skeletal from the lack of fat. Some may be appalled to read that I didn’t find her beautiful at first sight. I loved her desperately, but her appearance was shocking…even to me, a physician.Iphone 1693

I was afraid to hold her. Would I break her? Her weight had dropped into the 2 pound range-down a little from her birth weight of 3 pounds 2 ounces. The nurse reassured me that SHE would be fine. It took some time to get her out of the incubator and untangled from all of her iv and monitor lines. Just as she was placed in my arms I began to feel waves of nausea. My blood pressure had jumped, and my medications were making the room spin. I had made it this far. I had to hold her.Iphone 1661IMG_2042Iphone 1703

After only a few moments, with tears streaming down my face I asked for someone to take her from my arms. I had to close my eyes. I had to lay down. My body was my enemy. It was preventing me from being the mother that I longed to be. But, I had seen her. I had held her-even if just for a moment. In that moment, in my sick and terrified state, I was in love with a little life that had been gifted to me. She was tiny, but she was precious…the most priceless gift my arms had ever held.Iphone 1832

From The Mom in Me, MDIphone 1738

Boost Your Immune System With This One Simple Tip

As women we try to juggle a thousand different balls all at one time. Not only are we pretty darn good at multi-tasking, many of us actually make it look easy! Managing a high-powered job, trying to get pregnant, getting the kids to each and every event on time, putting a healthy meal on the table each evening, volunteering for great causes, and making sure that our significant other isn’t forgotten in the mix, are just a sampling of our busy lives.Pretty Very Busy Multitasking Housewife  On White

And while doing great things is GREAT, too many balls in the air often leads to high levels of STRESS! Most of us brush off stress as a “normal” part of life. In reality, consistent stress is incredibly unhealthy for our bodies, particularly our immune systems. The immune system is our first line of defense, second line of defense, and backup defense! Without a strong immune system we are more susceptible to infections and diseases.Stress - business person stressed at office. Business woman hold

Since we are all so busy (with no slowing down in sight), I will get straight to the point with a simple way to reduce stress and, thus, boost your immune system. Actually, you can start right now! Laugh! Yes, Laugh! Start to smile, and then let it loose! Not only is laughter medicine for the soul, it is an easy way to reduce stress and strengthen your immune system. You may think I’m a quack doctor, but I’ve got evidence to support my prescription for LAUGHTER!

Why Laughing Is What the Doctor Ordered:

1. Laughter makes you feel good-not only does laughing force you to breathe in extra oxygen (which makes your organs happy) it also stimulates the release of endorphins (the same feel good chemicals that are released with exercise). In general, laughter can help you form a happier, more satisfied disposition. It may even give you better coping skills in stressful situations.

2. Laughter relieves stress by causing physiologic changes in your blood pressure and your heart rate. Yes, laughter is an emotional response, but it is also physical! By increasing the circulation/blood flow to your muscles, laughter can loosen a tense neck or shoulders, leading to a more relaxed and less stressed state.two happy little girls kids having fun while and laughing runnin

3. Laughter may also be one of the keys to a healthy immune system. Positive thoughts actually stimulate the release of neurotransmitters (chemicals released by the nervous system) that are powerful influencers that strengthen our immune systems.  So there really is something to the power of positive thinking…it can reduce stress and boost your immune system. Maybe seeing the glass half-full is a perspective we should all adopt!

4. Skip the Tylenol and start laughing! Laughter actually stimulates the body to produce chemicals that act as natural pain killers. Laughter is specifically great medicine for muscle cramps or spasms, because it can interrupt the muscle spasm cycle.Happy woman jumping on blossom meadow. Beautiful day on field.

If you start to feel your shoulders tensing, your head spinning, or negativity overshadowing your day…LAUGH! Let go of the stress, and power up your immune system. We’re all busy, but we’ve all got time for a good laugh. Tell a joke. Think about something funny, or simply force a smile and then laugh. You may even want to put a reminder sign at your desk, by your computer, or on your fridge, “A laugh a day to keep the doctor away!” Stay tuned for more healthy ways to relieve stress and boost your immune system, and leave a comment with ways that you handle stress. Is laughter one of them?

From The Mom in Me, MD

 

 

 

 

 

 

Matilda Jane Giveaway…along with some free MJ styling tips!

I noticed that so many little girls were walking around in fluttery, ruffle pants; mix and match fabric dresses; and over the top ensembles. I hadn’t seen these outfits in any of the traditional department stores, but I loved their Anthropology like whimsy. When Ayla was just 6 months old, I was invited to a Matilda Jane trunk show. Aha! So this is where all of these moms were finding the boho cuteness. I was a little disappointed to find that the MJ styles don’t start until 12 months of age, so I decided to hold out until my daughter was a little bigger. Well, she’s bigger now! Let the shopping begin!

Little did I know how intense (and slightly ruthless) moms can be until I joined a Matilda Jane resale page! Saving a buck or two is always a good idea, but I’m not sure it was worth losing my sanity. So back to retail prices and traditional sales for me…for the most part. I do love a good deal, and Matilda Jane is just so cute!Diptic

While Matilda Jane may seem a little over the top to some of you, I wanted to point out that you can definitely create an awesome (but more toned down) look for your daughter by pairing one MJ piece with other more traditional items. Some of you may love the head to toe MJ look…and that’s great too. To each her own! If budget is a major concern, purchasing one versatile MJ piece can actually stretch your dollar a long way. Many Matilda Jane items are meant to be layered, can be worn as a dress or a shirt (as your daughter gets taller), and can be paired with less expensive items such as $3 leggings or $5 long-sleeved shirts from thriftier stores. So here are my MJ fashion tips:Diptic

1. Purchase a Knot Dress.

These dresses are very generous and can grow with your child. You can adjust the length of the straps and because they are somewhat wide they look equally cute as a shirt as your daughter gets taller.

2. Skip on the Bennys or Wide Ruffle Pants if you like a more toned down look.

I was a little hesitant about the wide leg ruffle pants layered with the mix and match shirts and striped shirts, but many moms love this look. If you like a more tailored look simply skip on the Bennys and wide ruffle pants. Instead, opt for a skinny legging or a pair of more neutral tights. This simple trick will give you a super cute look that may feel a little less “clown like.” Sorry! I had to say it. I think they are cute, but the look does have a somewhat circus inspired feel:)photo 3

3. Buy something that you can use for multiple seasons.

I’ve already mentioned that the Knot dress is great because it can grow with your daughter. It can also be used for multiple seasons!! In the winter, fall, and spring, simply layer the dress over a long sleeved shirt (this doesn’t have to be Matilda Jane-you can pick an inexpensive one up anywhere). In the summer, skip on the undershirt and you have a great sundress. Other great season stretchers are head bands and ruffle socks. These aren’t quite as pricy and can be worn pretty much year round.photo 4

4. Fake the look with one traditional MJ item

If you don’t want to spend the money for a knot dress, instead pick a simple staple that has the MJ signature look. Buy a pair of the ruffle pants or one of the long-sleeved shirts with the ruffled arms. Layering these items with an off brand dress will still have the same fun MJ effect.

5. Shoes matter

To complete your look, whether more tailored or over the top, choose the right pair of shoes. My favorite shoes to partner with Matilda Jane are either Livie and Luca or See Kai Run. Check out the hyperlinks for more about these great brands and for ways to purchase. Not only are these shoes beautiful, colorful, and stylish, they are comfortable for your little one’s feet.photo 5

Okay, that’s it for my free fashion tips. Now I’m onto the REAL FREE STUFF! Just because I think every little girl should have some whimsy in her wardrobe….I’ve decided to do a Matilda Jane Giveaway!!!!! Check out this Rafflecopter link to Enter: a Rafflecopter giveaway
The giveaway shirt is featured here with all of the bubbles! It will be a size 6. Diptic

Don’t worry, if you don’t win you can still purchase some new Matilda Jane. The first Fall line was released early August and then another in September, but October 2nd marked the next new Fall release! You can purchase from The Mom in Me, MD hosted trunk show! Here are the details.

1) Go to  www.matildajaneclothing.com​ to start browsing.

2) The new Fall/Sept Release is on the left hand side of the page. You can of course shop any collection!

3) Add items that you want to the WISH LIST TAB- this is sort of like a cart

4) email the wish list to my trunk keeper: aliciaw@matildajaneclothing.com– please make sure to include your preferred email address, your name and phone number

5) Make Sure to Include My Name as Your Host: EMMA HOSTETTER or THE MOM IN ME, MD

6) My trunk keeper, Alicia will reply that she has received your wish list and will then confirm payment and shipping information.

Happy Shopping!!!!!!

From The Mom in Me, MD