8 Oscar Party Snacks That Happen to be Vegan

A few simple snacks for your Oscar party viewing! Oh, and they just so happen to be vegan!

In the months after I had Henry, I wasn't sure what new lifestyle change to make in order to lose some of the baby weight. After talking with my sister Christine, who incorporates vegan practices into her diet, I decided to give it a try. The what, the why and the how is a post (or series?) for another time, however, I'm trying to eat a 90% vegan diet these days. I do have cheese and oftentimes, steak, on the weekends, but during the week at least, I'm following a more plant-based, less dairy-heavy diet. 

With the Oscars coming up on Sunday - and hey! for the first time in years, I've finally seen a bunch of the films! - I'm thinking about simple, healthy snacks that will feel special but also keep me on track.

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Many of these can be whipped up pretty easily and quickly, and I know my husband and kids will love them as much as I do!

cinnamon sugar pretzels

rainbow fruit skewers

grilled zucchini coins

crunchy spiced chickpeas

toasted corn guac

scallion pancakes

snickerdoodle dip

chocolate chip dough balls

*replace honey with maple syrup!

What are you planning to eat for your Oscar party? Share all the things with me

Penelope's 5th Birthday

Um..hi out there! I realize I haven't blogged in many, many months, but I couldn't let Penelope's birthday come and go without writing her annual birthday letter. I hope you are following me on Instagram where I post much more frequently :) Perhaps I'll be back here someday soon!

Dear Penelope,
Five whole years.
Five years since you came into our world and changed it forever.
Five years since you made me a Mom.
Five years of sunshine, fun, smiles, infectious laughs and the very best snuggles.
Five years of challenges that I never could have prepared for.
Five years of fun.
The longest and shortest five years of my life.

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A few weeks ago, we got all of our snow gear on for the walk to school. We were running late, as usual. You, in your hot pink coat with furry lining, a matching pink Trolls hat, and bright blue Paw Patrol boots, turned to me as I closed the door and said: Mom I’m going to run.

You took off down our long hallway with reckless abandon, feet churning and long hair waving, running with the pure, innocent joy of a baby. I had to stop and just watch you, to soak in the moment. How much longer will you do these things? How much longer will I see the remnants of a baby before you’re too much of a big girl and too grown to run without self-awareness or worry of anyone watching? It was that moment that hit me like a ton of bricks and all I could do was shed some tears and try to imprint the moment on my brain.

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You had a big year. You finished pre-k 3 and started 4s. You loved summer camp. You learned karate and earned a yellow stripe belt, followed by an orange stripe. You took dance class and absolutely loved it. You were a toy soldier in the school Christmas pageant and absolutely rocked it.

You became the very best big sister to ever exist, I’m pretty sure. Watching you and Henry together makes my heart sing. If Henry is fussy, you happily make him laugh. If Henry is happy, it’s likely you aren’t far away. If Henry needs a diaper change, you say: Mom, let me get my step stool! so that you can help. Not one moment of jealousy. Not one moment of not understanding why henry needs extra attention. You love your brother and you love being a big sister. When Henry was born, you received a big sibling book, and in it was a question about how you felt when you found out you were going to be a big sister. Your response? I always wanted a baby.

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This year, we did lots of cooking and baking together. You are always excited to help in the kitchen and lately I’ve started to let you use small knives to chop vegetables and you do such a great job. So meticulous and precise. From vegan cookies to dad’s sandwiches, you’ve made a ton of goodies over the last year.

You still manage to challenge us on the daily. You fight with us about wearing pants, shorts, tights and shoes. Fight is an understatement. In these really tough moments, I pray for strength and pray that you also continue to have courage in your convictions. Because while it’s painful to get us all out of the house in the morning, there’s a small part of me that remembers I still hope that you never stop fighting for what you want.

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You are so close to reading. You can sound out letters and love writing. Will you be a writer someday like me? I would love that so much. You love your baby dolls, and have more than you can keep up with naming at this point. You love school and your friends. I wish I could be a butterfly on the wall of your classroom so I could listen in on what you all talk about (we recently found out that you discuss music and who got to see despacito performed on tv (at the Grammys)).

We just took a big, big trip to Disney World over your birthday. Daddy and I had been planning it for months and I’m so happy to say that it was truly one of the best weeks and trips I’ve ever taken. I had the best time experiencing the magic of Disney with you and I will cherish those memories forever.

Happy birthday, my sweet baby girl. Thank you for being you.

Less than a week...

...from my due date with Baby H2. And by less than a week, I mean I'm due on Friday, so I'm actually just about 4 days away! Eek!

I've done zero updates on the blog this time around mainly because pregnant life as an already working mom is not easy my friends. It's exhausting and tough and wonderful all at the same time. Let's just say that the blog has taken the farthest seat, all the way in the back, where you don't even realize it's there. But! Yesterday I felt inspired to get a post up before H2 makes his arrival so that I have some written record of this exciting time for my family.

I've been working from home over the last week which has been a life saver from commuting. I have extremely swollen feet and hands and so riding two trains each day in shoes that no longer fit was getting real rough. Now I just drive P to and from school, work at home, barefoot and pregnant, feet propped up with a laptop on a pillow in front of me and I'm a much happier person.

Another not super fun symptom I've been dealing with is debilitating acid reflux. I'm telling you, it's horrible. I pop Nexium and Tums all day errday, but it only does so much. I find I do best overnight when I cease eating before 7pm, which is a real bummer as a 39+ week pregnant lady who only wants ice cream and chocolate in her life.

This weekend we finished putting baby's room together, which made me feel ultra ready to do this thang. We live in a 2 bedroom apartment, so H2 will be sharing a room with Penelope. Luckily, our second bedroom is quite large, so all of the furniture and storage fit just perfectly. Here are some snaps of H2's new digs:

To match Penelope's already established aesthetic of the room and our modern loft, I went with something a little whimsical yet modern and chose the babyletto galaxy bedding. Guys, it's a little robot galaxy! It's too sweet. I love that the colors match perfectly with the light blue room and brings in some navy to offset all of the white and lighter colors.

Here's the side with the changing table. I just used some of the leftover wall decals for the frames and Shaun hung them over the changing table as that space was really lacking in design. We also hung up a sweet sign that Penelope painted, as well as her 'we can't wait to meet you baby brother' card that basically brought me to tears when I opened it. This kid is going to be the absolute best big sister ever.

Changing pad cover is also part of the babyletto collection, diaper caddy is jj cole and the little stacking toy is from a cute boutique in Brookfield Place called babesta. Boppy cover is organic little elephants.

Though he will likely sleep in our room in a bassinet for a while, it was important to me to feel like he also had his own space in their soon to be shared room, and I'm so happy with how it all turned out.

Meanwhile, we spent our possible last weekend of 3 doing some fun big sister stuff with Penelope. On Sunday, we took her to see Captain Underpants (she thought it was quite hilarious), out for brunch (she dined on hot dog, fries and vanilla gelato), and a quick visit to Toys R Us for a specific toy that she's been asking us for for months. (It's the Grossery Gang mushy slushy playset, in case you are wondering and she's played with nothing else since we brought it home).

I'm so excited for her to be a big sister, and she is so excited also. We have June 9 marked on her calendar (with a birthday cake sticker that she chose because that will be his birthday, Mom) and she's trying to grasp that he may or may not be born on that day. This week I've been trying to make a super extra effort to spend as much time with her as possible, letting her stay up late last night to watch the end of Sing so we could have a dance party with the finale songs. She tells me, come on Mommy, let's dance! And I can't help but smile and cry at how grown yet small and just awesome she is.

I'm just trying to soak up each day as it comes since we don't know exactly when our lives will change forever! I'm getting super anxious about labor and delivery, but again, just trying to take each day as it comes. I'll be keeping you posted when he makes his arrival! And if you aren't following me on Instagram or Snapchat (rkcannon), come on by and do that because I post a lot more over there!

PS: here's the final nursery post I did for Penelope @ 40 weeks.