A DIY, New-Mom, No-Money, No-Time Home Tour

The day my husband and I moved out of the city and into our new suburban home was a very big day for us. Yes, moving is a huge undertaking, but it’s also the day I found out I was pregnant with my first (and only to date) child.

When I bought the house I had many grand ambitions for design and renovations for this square white box of a cookie cutter home. I now look back at those ambitions and laugh at myself for how far off I really was. With crippling morning sickness right up till the day I delivered (lucky me), and every other fun thing about pregnancy that slows you down, I would have been thrilled to even get paint on the walls. Spoiler alert: we did not accomplish that.

My little girl is now nearing 2 and though we are still stuck with that horrible quality builder’s paint. With the purchase of a few key design pieces, and a lot of Annie’s chalk paint for furniture, I am confident to say “yup, an interior designer lives here”.

Let’s walk through my “DIY-new-mom-no-time-no-money” home:

Family Room:

A DIY, New-Mom, No-Money, No-Time Home Tour

· Never underestimate the power of plants. They bring much undervalued life to a room. 

· DIY floating shelves and some décor go a long way. (Literally we used old beer jugs, a couple picture frames and plants. No need to reinvent the wheel here.)

· Drapery! Even if you don’t need them for privacy, side panels make a huge impact on the overall look of a room.

· Furniture acting as storage to hide the many toddler toys is an easy way to feel human when baby goes to bed.

I can’t say my couches are high design, but hey they were 50% off at The Brick and seem to hide toddler spills pretty well, so they will do for now.  To counteract this white box and uninspired furniture I rely heavily on décor items to do the work for me.

Kitchen – Before and After:

A white kitchen is not going out of style anytime soon, but never trade that look for personality. White cabinets can be a slippery slope to a very bland space. Make sure to accent the plain white cabinets with the warmth of wood and other natural materials.

Bland white kitchen BEFORE DIY design
A DIY, New-Mom, No-Money, No-Time Home Tour

· Taking out the under cabinet range (and cabinet)  and replacing it with a chimney style vent makes a HUGE impact, for as little as $300. 

· Don’t be afraid to go bold with a kitchen backsplash. This 2’x2’ slate tile packs quite the punch and really makes the space what it is.

Dining Room:

A large dining room needs statement furniture to appropriately fill the space. We had none, and only a small budget for it. Thanks to the Habitat for Humanity Restore and Homesense we furnished this whole space for around $1500.

using plants/ side panels to design an entertaining space
DIY dining table design that looks more expensive than it really was

· We were lucky to find this dining room table TOP only on clearance for $100. Nobody was buying it because it had no legs. After a very easy leg purchase online we now have a statement dining room table that would sell for $3000+, which we spent $300 on. 

· Hutch and coffee table were dated, orangey pieces found at the Restore. With a couple coats of white chalk paint and new hardware they work in just about any space. 

· Don’t forget the plants/ drapery side panels and you have yourself a space to entertain in.

Master Bedroom:

This master bedroom is such a painfully square and boring room. With grand ambitions to one day put in hardwood flooring and do a wood statement wall, a rug and some décor items are doing the trick for now.

Master Bedroom home design ideas and tips

 · A plush rug takes your eye away from the builders grade carpet.

· Move the eyes upand away from the plain wallswith decor. A headboard, wall art, lamps, plants etc. 

· End tables are refinished logs with legs bought on Etsy. 

· Makeup vanity, chair and mirror were all literally found on the side of the road. HELLO spray-paint and new hardware! 

I’m not suggesting that décor items are cheap, but I am suggesting that they are cheaper than a full blown renovation when you’re not ready. It’s always nice to dream of your perfect home, but until time and budget fill that dream there is plenty you can do to make your home design an inviting space that you are proud of.

Lara Young is the Principal of Lara Young Design, and also a new mom. Like many of us Lara is trying to find that quintessential work/life balance. Being her own boss is bringing Lara one-step closer to her dream. You can read Lara’s full bio, or contact her to help with your next design project here.

My Struggle With Postpartum Self Esteem

For women there is a constant expectation and pressure to look a certain way. Whether it’s actresses in movies, the media picking apart celebrities, or airbrushing in your favourite magazines, we’re bombarded from every angle with how we “should” look.

Add to that the toxic, often repeated, phrase of “baby weight”, and the idea that new mothers have to “bounce back” or suffer comparisons to their “pre-baby body” and it’s no wonder a lot of women’s self esteem takes a hit once they’ve had a baby.

My Struggle With Postpartum Self Esteem by Roseanne Murray for Nesting Story
At 3 months postpartum I was constantly feeling self conscious about my body

I fell into this trap freshly postpartum, and let’s be honest, these thoughts still linger. The intense physical changes your body goes through after pregnancy are difficult enough, never mind the overnight identify shift, and the sleep deprivation (oh, the sleep deprivation).

I kept saying “this isn’t my body” because it was so, SO, different from what I thought it would be after birth. As someone who has always preached self-love, regardless of the how your body looks, I was disappointed in myself to be struggling with my postpartum self esteem because I was heavier. Fitting into any clothes I owned was difficult, the sheer heaviness I felt in my body every time I moved was difficult. My body looked and felt completely alien to me.

A lovely photo of me using my Moby wrap with Willow. I could never bring myself to share this because I thought I looked so large.A lovely photo of me using my Moby wrap with Willow. I could never bring myself to share this because I thought I looked so large.
A lovely photo of me using my Moby wrap with Willow. I could never bring myself to share this because I thought I looked so large.

But what had I really expected? There is a serious lack of representation for how postpartum bodies will look and feel. I really had no idea what to expect.

I had heard my whole pregnancy how “breastfeeding will make the weight fall off!” But it didn’t work that way for me. I gained around 50lbs during my pregnancy, and two years later I’m still carrying about 20lbs of that. It took me a long time to learn to love myself again. I spent so much time feeling like my body had let me down because it didn’t look how it used to. Fighting these thoughts is something I’m working on.

To think of my strong postpartum body in these narrow terms is so damaging. It can be difficult to come to terms with how much changes after pregnancy and birth, and our society’s attitude to postpartum bodies definitely doesn’t help.

The first few months (or, let’s be honest, the first year) after having your baby is a steep learning curve. It’s a scary, beautiful ride navigating this new phase of life. The last thing you need is to feel ashamed of how your body looks, or feel anxious about how you’ll “lose the baby weight”.

Whenever you find your thoughts drifting to your pre-pregnancy skinny jeans gathering dust in your wardrobe, or that new exercise regime you saw to get rid of “the mum pooch”, please  remember how incredible your body is, and remind yourself of these facts first:

You literally grew a human being(s) inside of you.

Isn’t it mad when you think about it? You LITERALLY grew a human being, with no conscious effort; you created life while you slept. It’s a pretty awesome achievement, and definitely one to feel proud of. If you breastfed, you also produced breastmilk all while batting through the sleep deprivation and craziness of newborn life.

Baby Bump comparison, 15 weeks pregnant and 40 weeks pregnant.
15 weeks pregnant, compared to 40 weeks pregnant.

You gave birth.

It took sheer strength and determination for you to birth your child (not to mention surviving labour and contractions and all that crazy business). Whether you pushed with everything you have, or you underwent surgery to have your baby brought into this world, your body is insanely powerful.

Hours old newborn baby.
Willow, only hours old.

Your body records your life.

Whether you’re left with stretch marks, loose skin, or any leftover signs of pregnancy, think of them as beautiful natural tattoos! They serve as a physical reminder of the strength you possess, and the beautiful experience of pregnancy you were so lucky to experience. And stretch marks are actually extremely beautiful and delicate, if you look at them without judgement and hate.

My Struggle With Postpartum Self Esteem by Roseanne Murray for Nesting Story
Newborn life is a beautiful struggle, take it slowly and treat yourself with kindness.

Your body is absolutely incredible, and deserves to be honoured, treated with kindness, and loved fiercely as you embark on this new phase of your life. Wanting to gain back your previous level of fitness and feeling strong is fantastic, but coming at it from a place of hate for your soft postpartum body will never make you feel good.  

Your body is so much more than how it looks, please remember this, and treat yourself with love if you’re struggling with your postpartum self esteem today. You’re beautiful, and you got this mama.

Roseanne is the blogger behind the honest and inspirational personal blog Roseanne Writes. Native to Scotland and now calling Canada home, Rosanne helps mothers navigate motherhood while remaining true to themselves. You learn more about Roseanne and follow her personal blog here.

The Story About My BAD Epidural And Tips On How To Stay In Control While Giving Birth

My bad epiduralDid you know that some epidurals are fabulous and some are a total fail? Yup, I can tell you first hand, because I have had one of each. With my second, Beau, my epidural was magical. In fact, I felt so great the entire time I was in labour, that Mike and I felt like we were on a date, while our toddler was home with Grandma.

But the first time I gave birth, my epidural was spotty. It only worked in some areas and when I spoke up about it, I was too drugged and started throwing up. Watch both footage from my son’s birth, as well as hear the whole story below…

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Parents, Stop What You Are Doing Right Now And Watch This!

Newborn Moms - Making Babies SR 1I have a new obsession! It is something that my husband, Mike and I have been enjoying together and it is has made parenting more fun. I am talking about the new comedic web series on CBC Punchline (cbc.ca/newbornmoms), Newborn Moms. To say I am hooked would be an understatement. I honestly haven’t seen anything this funny, or spot on since, well… ever!

Newborn Moms follows a couple of brand new moms who, like most of us, have had to leave their ideals behind as they hilariously navigate motherhood. Mike and I literally sat and binged watched each episode, laughing until our sides hurt.

From a hilarious episode with a hot male lactation consultant, to trying to sleep train your baby, Newborn Moms has captured motherhood in a way that will make us all feel a little more normal.

As far as favourite episodes go, it is hard to pick. But there were two in particular that I can identify with first hand. One of them would have to be “The Pick Up.” The main characters, new moms and best friends Rosie and Julia, are in the park trying to pick up other moms who seem similar to them.Mom Pick Up 1 Whether it’s a Type-A mom like Julia,ep6-julia-thumbs-up

or hippy earth mother wannabe like Rosie, the results are hilarious!ep6-victory-dance

“I got a number, I got a number.”

I was dying laughing because I can totally relate! Recently many of my mommy friends moved away and I have been trying to vet and make new mommy friends in my town. It can totally feel like dating.

Another favorite episode of mine is “War Stories.” We’ve all been there. Moms are sitting around a table, one-upping each other’s birth stories. Newborn Moms takes it to a whole new level.Newborn Moms - War Stories SR 7

Every story is gorier than the last. The final story will have you in peeing your pants at the sheer reaction of the other moms. Newborn Moms - War Stories SR 11

Yes, that is a mom throwing up a little into her napkin.

Newborn Moms, (which was launched today), is comprised of a veteran-comedic cast based out of Toronto. This over-the-top comedy is hilarious and dirty (in the best way possible). Each episode is an easily digested 1-3 minutes in length.

The main characters Rosie (Aurora Browne) and Julia (Nadine Djoury) are extremely real and relatable. You will instantly fall in love with them.

Motherhood is really stressful most of the time. This show gives us permission to laugh about it, something that is necessary if we are going to get out alive.

You can watch the entire season on cbc.ca/punchline/newbornmoms.ca.

This post was sponsored by CBC (Punchline). All opinions expressed are my own. 


With Early Intervention My Child Has Gone From Hating Life To Being The Life Of The Party

The first night in the hospital, when my oldest child was born, I didn’t sleep a wink. Not because he was fussing or hungry, but because I couldn’t stop staring at him. This was it, I was a mother. I had dreamed about becoming a mother when I was a child, caring for my own dolls like the attentive mom I planned on being.New momI sat there, upright in my hospital bed, watching Holden breathe, feeling the love inside of me bubble over. “I am going to do this right,” I thought to myself. “I am going to love every minute of being a mother.” I started to think about all of the simple things I wanted to enjoy with my son. Like, reading books, singing songs, play dates and running errands with my adorable baby in tow.

After the first six week and the haze of new motherhood passed, I was ready to start living life like I had planned with my new baby. I soon started to realize that despite my best efforts, Holden was rarely happy. He wasn’t colicky. He was a fantastic sleeper. But Holden just didn’t seem to enjoy life. He was fine when I was with him in the comfort of our home, but as soon as someone else tried to hold him or be in his presence, he would scream. Holden even rejected my husband, his own father, for a while.

Weeks turned into months and instead of things getting better, they started to worsen. When I tried to go grocery shopping, Holden would quickly become agitated, and if someone dared to make eye-contact with Holden, he would go nuclear. We could barely go to birthday parties, because the noise was too much. We learned to ask for a heads up when Happy Birthday was going to be sung, because we knew that we had to leave the room. Holden just couldn’t handle it. Countless play dates turned into me hiding out with Holden in a separate room, to keep him calm.

My husband, Mike, and I were in constant survival mode. I found little tricks to get through social situations, like using television, sticking Holden in his high chair with a big spoon full of peanut butter or water and cups to distract him. I stopped caring what other people thought.Holden 2There were times that the isolation and stress of Holden’s mood and separation anxiety almost broke me. When he was 18 months old, and I was very pregnant with our second child, I went into a full panic attack and had Mike drive me to labour and delivery. I was talked off the ledge by some incredibly patient nurses, who gave me great advice… get help. Which I did.

For months, we kept waiting out Holden’s permanent bad mood. I had heard tales of my younger sister being very similar as a baby and out-growing her misery by age two. But there were other things that started to worry us about Holden. He was always on the late end of normal for every milestone, and as I watched his peers start to talk and interact with other children, Holden would mostly grunt and avoid anything social.

After one particular devastating play date, where I not only spent the whole time trying to keep Holden happy, but I also felt judged by another mom about my survival tactics, (needless to say that was the last time I had a playdate with that mom), I told Mike that I thought it was time to have Holden evaluated to see if something bigger was going on. Holden was age two.

This decision, although difficult and heartbreaking was the best decision I have ever made in my life. Early intervention. Our initial evaluation led us into countless follow-up evaluations and eventually led us into Speech Therapy and a small amount of Occupational Therapy. We used both government funded services as well as hired private therapists. Holden became our project. We worked diligently and Holden began to speak, communicate, comprehend and participate. Although once thinking he may be on the Autism spectrum, this was dismissed as Holden made progress and was interacting well.

I spent countless hours researching and reading books. I kept hearing the same thing while we went through the diagnosis process, “although we see really great things from Holden, there are also some worrisome behaviours as well.” Then our private Speech Therapist had suggested Holden might have Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD).

Sensory processing (sometimes called “sensory integration” or SI) is a term that refers to the way the nervous system receives messages from the senses and turns them into appropriate motor and behavioral responses. – SPD Foundation

I researched more, and sure enough, a mild version of SPD was an exact description of Holden. I immediately contacted a local Occupational Therapist who specialized in SPD and she worked closely with Holden on his sensory issues. 

Holden was eventually diagnosed with a universal language delay by a developmental paediatrician, who explained that this lack of communication could have also caused a lot of the other issues going on.

After two years of multiple sessions a week, as well as work at home, exposing Holden to different life experiences and learning what he needs, he blossomed into an incredible four-year-old ready to start kindergarten. Although he had some anxiety that quickly dissipated with the help of his teacher, he just kept blooming.

Now, at age six, Holden can read and write at his grade level. He is an extremely compassionate boy who is ready to be anyone’s friend and is known as the “peace-maker.” Holden knows how to self-regulate well and is aware when he needs to take a quiet break. This past summer, Holden has been excited to participate in camps and sports; something so social a noisy that he used to avoid at all costs. We have even named this summer, The Summer Of Holden.

Today, Holden has completely overcome his language delay. Has no signs of SPD, other than a more sensitive disposition. Holden no longer requires therapy of any kind. Although he attends tutoring (which he loves), Holden continues to excel in school.

What is the moral of this story? Early intervention is key. Don’t wait too long. Don’t let your pride or ideals stop you from getting your child evaluated. If that inner voice is nagging you that something is just not quite right, listen to it.

I give you, the summer of Holden…

Below is a list of resources, websites and services that we have found very helpful and have played a big part in our journey to Holden thriving and loving life.


These were the cue cards I made to help Holden communicate with us when he was two-years-old. I went around our home and took photos of items and activities, I then laminated the photos. This was to help Holden tell us what he wanted or needed. Photo cue cards for toddler with language delay

Helpful Websites

Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation – www.spdfoundation.net


Books and Videos

The Brain That Changes Itself – Video (You Tube) and Book, The Brain That Changes Itself by Dr. Norman Doidge

The Out Of Sync Child

Childhood Apraxia

The Highly Sensitive Child

Local Services and Activities (Ontario)

Camp Kids Town – www.campkidstown.com (A specialty day camp located in Milton, Ontario)

Erin Oak Kids – www.erinoakkids.com

Reach Out Centre For Kids – www.rockonline.ca

Feature photo is by Blue Bird Creative.