Christmas Must-Haves

First let me start off by saying the most important part of Christmas is family. Christmas would not be the same if we didn’t spend it with our families. Laughter, great company and delicious food. This year is even more special now that we have our new little addition!

That being said, there are many things I must have/do each year at Christmas. There are the obvious things like a beautifully decorated tree (done), stockings (done) and lots of other decorations (done). In the coming days I will share a picture of our stocking line-up and our Christmas tree. For now, here is a list of my top five “must-haves” at Christmas.

1. A New Bulb

Each year I buy a new bulb with the year printed on it. Our 2011 bulb is Maxton’s. We actually have two for this year: a Baby’s First Christmas bulb, and a snowman ornament with Maxton’s name printed on it. My mom purchased it from a craft show and had them paint his name on it.

2. Bath and Body Works’ Twisted Peppermint Foaming Hand Soap

Your guests will love the smell of their hands with this soap! This scent is also available as a lotion and a candle. I can’t get enough of the twisted peppermint!

3. Port

Every year my uncle brings a great bottle of Port to enjoy on Christmas Eve (it never makes it to Christmas Day). He is a wine connoisseur, so he always brings the best of the best! Last year I was pregnant so I wasn’t able to enjoy a glass. This year I hope to pump so I can indulge and make up for last year!

4. Soft Ginger Cookies

I have a great recipe for soft ginger cookies. Last year I was unable to make them because I had a bad case of morning sickness and went from my bed to the couch. I plan to double up on Holiday baking this year!

5. Christmas Movies

Christmas movies are a must! We are so looking forward to introducing Maxton to our favourites. These include: Christmas Vacation, Elf, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and How The Grinch Stole Christmas.

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Priceless

BioGaia drops: $30

Camilia: $18

Ovol drops: $11

Maxton feeling better: Priceless

These three products have become part of our budget and every day routine.

BioGaia drops are fairly pricy and it only takes three weeks to go through a bottle; but, they are worth every penny. These probiotic drops really did help ease Maxton’s colic. We are not out of the woods completely, but we are getting there.

Just as Maxton began overcoming the whole colic phase, he started teething. He is only three months, so he is too young for a lot of the teething gels on the market. So, we went to a Health Food store and found Camilia teething aid. You can take them as young as one month old and it is a liquid they swallow. The kicker? You can give it to them up to 12 times a day. That means a box every two days. At $18 a box,  that’s not really an option. I usually give him 2-3 per day. Always before bed, in the day he has his fists and my hand  (which he enjoys) – he isn’t really into teethers yet.

Ovol drops are wonderful! These are the cheapest of the three and last the longest. I give him about 1/2 mL twice a day, and they have really helped Maxton with his gas issues. I am happy to say he is constantly burping and farting! This is a great accomplishment when you have a baby full of trapped gas.

At the end of the day, I know all of these products are helping my little babe so they are absolutely worth it!

Makeshift Monday

It’s that day again. We had a great weekend – Maxton had his first picture with Santa, and it turned out great! I will share more in a future post.

Today’s Makeshift Monday is a recipe I saw on CityLine (courtesy of Anna Olsen), for some delicious holiday squares. They are on my baking list for this Christmas, if my munchkin allows me the time to make them! Enjoy!

Maple Pecan Chocolate Squares

Base:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup icing sugar, sifted

1/4 tsp salt 1/2 cup cool unsalted butter

Filling:

1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar

1 Tbsp cornstarch

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

2 eggs

1/2 cup pure maple syrup

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp white vinegar or lemon juice

2 cups pecan halves

1 cup chocolate chips
1)  Preheat the oven to 350 °F.  Grease and line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper so that the paper comes up the sides.
2)  Prepare the base by stirring the flour, icing sugar and salt together.  Cut in the butter until the mixture is an even crumbly texture (this can be done by hand, with beaters or in a food processor).  Press this into the prepared pan.
3)  Bake for 15 minutes, just until the edges start to turn golden.  Cool the crust while preparing the filling.
4)  Stir the brown sugar with the cornstarch, baking powder and cinnamon in a large bowl.  Whisk in the eggs, maple syrup, butter, vanilla and vinegar or lemon juice.  Stir in the pecan halves and chocolate chips and pour this over the cooled crust.
5)  Bake for about 25 minutes, until the outside edges of the filling are bubbling and the centre only has a little jiggle to it when the pan is moved.  Cool the squares to room temperature, and then chill completely before slicing.

The squares can be stored refrigerated for up to 5 days.

Makes 1 8-inch square pan, cuts into 25 or 36 squares.

The Wonderful Woombie

Maxton has always had a crazy startle reflex since the day he was born. Some babies have it worse than others, and some for longer than others. Maxton is 13 weeks old today, and has it as bad as he did at one week old.

He:

– Only naps in his swing during the day, otherwise he would startle awake on his back. I have tried putting him on his back to nap, but he wakes within 10 seconds of being put down

– Throws his arms in the air as if he were falling off the edge of a cliff

– While lying in bed, I would reach my hand over the edge of his bassinet and hold his hands to his chest all night to prevent him from startling himself awake (you do what you have to do to get sleep).

After weeks of doing this, a friend of mine asked me if I had a Woombie. A what? Essentially, it’s a zip-up sack that mimic’s swaddling.

I was desperate to try anything so I borrowed the one she had. It’s amazing. I can put him down to sleep at night and walk away as he sleeps soundly (for 2-4 hour intervals). I don’t have to go to bed when he does (although, most of the time I’m half asleep by then anyways) and can come downstairs to spend some time with Steve.

It’s stretchy, so he can move around inside, he just can’t throw his arms up in the air. It’s funny watching him stretch in the morning when I unzip him. I hope he grows out of the startle reflex soon so he can sleep with his arms above his head peacefully.

Until then…