Monday, December 31, 2012

Say Goodbye to 2012 - Hello 2013

I must say that 2012 was a hell of a year! The birth of our daughter, moving, sister's wedding, Adriana's baptism, niece was born, then her baptism, going back to work, etc. I can say 2012 was definitely a FUN-filled year. My boyfriend and I are very thankful for many things - the biggest being Adriana! We hope that 2013 only brings more for us and our family. Here are some pictures from 2012 that really made it what it was....

 January 5th - Adriana was born.....the day our lives changed :)
 Daddy and Adriana on her first day home
 Adriana's Baptism
 Aunt Kim and Uncle Tim with Adriana - Moved to Australia in June
 Me, Loni, Kim and Jill at the rehearsal dinner
 The Happy Couple on their wedding day!
 Little Miss Audrey Marie is born in August
 Adriana's First Halloween
Adriana's first meeting with Santa

2012 was filled with many firsts for a few different people. Each and every person in our lives made an impact this year and we hope to share more with them in 2013. I will take the time to acknowledge those who we have loss in 2012 - You will be missed.

I want to wish everyone health, happiness and love in the New Year!
Love,
Hillside Mommy :)

Monday, December 24, 2012

Happy Holidays 2012

 The 2012 Holiday Season is a big deal for my family. It is Adriana's very FIRST Christmas! She hasn't been able to experience the true holiday spirit of giving thanks, family and friends, presents, FOOD, or all the decorations. She doesn't quite understand it but she is definitely fascinated by the decorations! I am thankful she's been gentle enough to our tree (and others) that its still standing on this Christmas Eve Day. Very Thankful!

It has been a busy few days already but its one thing we love about Christmas. We get to see the family we don't see very often. We get to eat as much food as our little tummy can handle! and of course we get lots of presents too :D So far I think Adriana is loving the holidays and we're not even there yet! She was pretty darn good yesterday with people around from my boyfriend's side of the family. It was nice to see everyone after a few months. She was friendly to everyone - went around and said "hey!" to each cousin, aunt, uncle and great grandparents :) There was great food (as always) and found out my boyfriend's Gran makes Lemon Squares....MY FAVOURITE! They were delicious.

Today it will a little more low key. We plan to spend time together as a family and later take Adriana to her first Christmas mass as a tradition. The same thing we always did when we were young. After church we will most likely spend it with my sister's in-laws. We don't see them often either! Tomorrow will be by far the busiest day. IT'S CHRISTMAS!! We start with possibly the earliest rise since I was 7yrs old for Christmas morning. Heading down the street to see my boyfriend's mom, sister in law, his brother and their kiddies for breakfast. Exchange gifts and head back down to our house to open our own with Adriana. Then we will get ready and head over to my parents house for the night. This is the part my mom is REALLY looking forward too.

I know Christmas isn't all about presents (they are nice though!) and we want Adriana to remember the true meaning of the holidays. Its nice to receive gifts but its never expected. It's about being together as a family and enjoying the time you do have. No work, no phones, no computers....just family time. This is the one holiday I look forward to more than my own birthday every year! I know Adriana will have a difficult time between the two since they're only 11days apart! Once we get through the holidays - Her birthday is just around the corner. Since this is her FIRST birthday....I started planning in November lol I hope its everything she wants and more!!


From my family to yours....Happy Holidays Everyone!!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Red Velvet Peppermint Holiday Cookies - YUM YUM!

The Holidays are pretty much here and with all the chocolate being passed around at work...I feel I had to do my share and have a holiday bake off! Tomorrow is the last day of work before Christmas and tonight my sister and I decided to bake a delicious batch (or two!) of cookies. I found an eye catching picture on Pinterest and jumped on the idea!!

Red Velvet Peppermint Cookies. Yes. Red Velvet - COOKIES! Delicious and can be presented in so many different ways.


What you need:
1pkg Red Velvet Cake mix
1pkg Cream Cheese (8oz)
1/2cup butter
1-1/2tsp vanilla
1 large egg
1/2cup icing sugar (sprinkle ontop)
1pkg Hersey Candy Cane kisses (unwrapped)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350F. Soften cream cheese in mixing bowl, add butter and mix well. Add vanilla and egg to mixture and blend well until all ingredients have been combined; except the kisses and icing. Using an ungreased baking sheet, spoon mixture leaving about 2" in between each cookie. Sprinkle icing sugar over top each cookie. Bake for approximately 11mins with baking rack in the middle of the oven. Once done, remove from baking sheet and let cool on a rack or cutting board. Place one Hersey kiss in the center of each cookie (they slightly melt and taste delicious!!)

Prep Time: 15mins
Cooking Time: 11mins
Servings: 2 dozen (24 cookies)

These cookies turned out to be so soft, fluffy, delicious and not too sweet. I love the added peppermint flavour and was planning to chop the kisses up and add to the batter before cooking or sprinkle the chopped up pieces on top. There are so many different ways to make this recipe your own!


Happy Holidays from Hillside Mommy :)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

I Went a Little Crazy This Year

OMG.....Christmas is just over a week away!

I really thought I was going to be one of those people who waited until the very last minute to do their shopping. I figured with me having to go back to work, a new baby, bad weather, lack of energy, and everything else, that I would be just too overwhelmed! As much of that is true....I somehow found the energy to do a little at a time. I'm not going to lie, I truly took advantage of Black Friday deals in Canada. Half my shopping was done by the end of November. The rest was fairly simple. A gift card here, some toys there....and BAM its done! But the hardest part is wrapping it all - for some. I LOVE WRAPPING PRESENTS!!
Seriously people...L-O-V-E it! It makes me think about the surprise people get on that special day. I also enjoy seeing all the presents all wrapped together in one big pile. Makes me proud! I was able to buy gifts for everyone on my list. A sense of accomplishment. Its wonderful, especially when you really feel like you never had the time to do it all!

This year I might have gone a bit crazy....

Not in the head but shopping wise. I don't know how many times I said "Adriana is all done for Christmas" and then go out and buy something else for her. Yesterday I spent another $100 on clothes for her! I totally justified it in my head - She would look SOOOO cute in this....
Which only lead to several outfits, sleepers, chocolate, another toy, and one tired Mommy! I just want to make sure she has a special Christmas every year just like I did. After all this shopping...I'm probably going to have a hard time getting her a birthday present!!
Tomorrow we get her invitations and our Christmas cards...yes I know I'm cutting it close! Most people are around during the Holidays that I can hand deliver them. Others will have to understand this is my first family Christmas...I promise next year will be better!! Thank you in advance :)

We have somewhat finalized our plans for the Holidays this year. Those we don't get to see at Christmas, we hope to see you at Adriana's Birthday! We start with The Ellis family gathering on Sunday for some food, company and presents. Then Christmas Eve will be a family tradition again of going to church, then relaxing with some wine and food. Christmas day will be the BUSIEST day of our entire year. Every year. First an early breakfast with Nana, Aunt Laura, Uncle Jay and cousins Aiden and Audrey. Exchange our gifts then quickly walk back down the street (they live 8houses away!) and open our gifts at home. We will get all dolled up and head over to my parents house. We will open presents while we cook Jigs dinner. Some Christmas music on in the background while we play with our new gifts and munch on candy until dinner is served early evening.
 No Christmas would be complete without the hour long photoshoot in front of the tree of all the couples and families. This should be interesting for Adriana. As much as she loves her picture being taken, I'm not sure how she will do when its 3 cameras at once?


Regardless of how we spend our Christmas this year, it has always been a great one. I am beyond excited for Adriana...for many years to come! I really hope she loves everything we got her and the presents from everyone else! I specifically cleaned out her closet and dresser to make room for new clothes!! As well as planned some great storage solutions for everything else. There is going to be one spoiled little girl this holiday season.....Love You Adriana More Than Anything!!!!

Thank to Aunt Laura for Adriana's beautiful new hat! It looks awesome on her :) I always keep all the handmade gifts from people. This will definitely go in the box after this winter!!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Daddy Daycare

I have been back to work for a few weeks now. Which means my boyfriend will be the full time caretaker for the next few months! I've written before about Letting Men Become Dads and how important it is for your child to have bonding time with them. I have to admit that although I was a bit nervous at first....it really didn't take long to ease up! This was our first baby and despite having little to no experience with babies prior to Adriana, I must say my boyfriend has really taken on the role of being a DAD. Adriana approves!


I was worried he wouldn't keep her on the same schedule lol This was a big thing for me since she was so used to doing things a certain way and I didn't want Adriana to be all out of sorts while I had to go to work. That little girl had has so much fun with her Daddy!! Seriously....for all the times we went to the mall or to the Ontario Early Years Centers or Tim Horton's for lunch, she really loved spending time with her Dad! It was probably harder for me to let go than for her lol I never once had a concern about her health or food choices - it was the amount of playtime; specifically television time.

My first week back was hard enough because of the early hours but it was nice to come home and not have the home look like a tornado ran through it! Dishes are done, laundry is going, Little Missy has been fed appropriately, Tyson is laying on the couch. All I have to do is work something up for dinner! Not a bad deal considering everything. It really made my transition to the working world better knowing I don't have to come home and do all that normal stuff all the time! Note to Dads: Please consider the amount of pressure Mommy has when returning to work after SEVERAL months of being a so called "housewife" - laundry, vacuuming, dusting, diapers, dishes, beds, dog, Christmas tree, groceries, pictures, etc. The list goes on. To my boyfriend, Thank you!!!!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Happy 11mths Adriana!

It has been 334 days or 8016 hours or......11months since Adriana was born! We really could not ask for a better baby :) She's beautiful...gorgeous! she's so smart...way more than we expected and shes such a character already. Her personality fills my heart with warmth and laughter every day. I can't believe she has learned so much already!

In the past month she has been able to really fine tune those skills from last month. Words are clearer, she is really recognizing people (Gran, Grandad, Nana, etc.) and it seems she has passed the separation anxiety stage completely :) She also remembers characters from shows and commercials plus dogs! She knows what Tyson looks like in comparison to Miko (my mom's dog) and Tango (Aunt Jill's dog).

The one thing I am a bit amazed by is her appetite! She always ate well no doubt but the variety of food we have let her try - and she liked - is amazing! Prime example: Tonight my boyfriend grilled us some nice sirloins, while I steamed some broccoli and baked some Crescent rolls. I held off on giving her the jarred food until after we were done. I cut my steak in half and cut up her half into bite size pieces (she only has 3 teeth remember!) and broke apart some broccoli as well, about a cup full. She ate everything. On top of the steak and broccoli, she had a small jar of sweet potatoes and half a big jar of Banana graham pie!! This little porker just went to the doctors on Monday - weighed in at 22lbs and 77cm tall :) I hope these eating habits continue. So far so good.

She has been able to take 10 whole steps by herself. Although she's nervous, she is progressing at her own pace. She takes some steps and then takes a break for a few days. We really encourage her to do it on her own and praise her when she does! Its amazing that she's been doing this much already. I hope that by Christmas or her Birthday she will be able to walk around all on her own more!

Adriana, Mommy and Daddy love you so much!! We can't wait to celebrate you very FIRST birthday in another month. Even sooner, we can't wait to celebrate your very FIRST Christmas too!! We promise to work hard and give you everything you need and could ask for. At the same time, we plan to teach you the way and guide you as best we can in the right direction to live a full life!!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Meeting Santa for the First Time

Tonight we decided to take Adriana to see Santa up close and personal. A few weeks ago we were having a blast at the Santa Claus Parade. She loved all the floats, especially the cadets and bands! Basically, she liked the ones that made the most noise lol What would Christmas be without having Santa pictures taken? She JUST missed Christmas last year - by 11 days. So needless to say this year I want to go all out.

I have explained how much my family loves Christmas - my mom goes all out with decorating! I always appreciated it and I want Adriana to have the same reaction. I want her to look forward to it as much as I did as a kid. No matter what happened...my parents always made sure we had a great Christmas! Lots of presents, big-fully stuffed stockings, family and a TON of food! I know she's still young but if I start now...she will look forward to it by next year at least!

I want her to have the pictures to remind her of how much fun it was, how much love and thought went into it all...I want her to have the same feelings that I have about Christmas.

....I just have to remember that SANTA IS REAL for the next 10-12years!! LOL



 Classic First timer photo....Love this!

 Now we try with Daddy in it too....

...Still didn't work but GREAT pic!! <3


These pictures were taking at Square One Mall. We got a 5x7 and a CD with all the pictures (7) for $35. Not a bad deal. Only waited for maybe 5-10mins and there was only 2 others in front of us. I definitely recommend going during the week!! We thought it was going to be much worse than it was but wanted to do it as soon as we could. The longer you wait...the closer it gets to Christmas...it only gets more busy.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Baby On The Move

I'm a little late for posting this but Adriana is on her way to being a full fledge walker! Okay okay its clearly going to be awhile before she starts running around but its progress. There are two types of walkers: one who watches to learn and then just takes off or the one who attempts a little every time until they have enough courage to do the whole thing by themselves. Adriana is the latter. It started a little over a month ago when she took a step in her playpen by herself. It went cold for a few days and then she did it again. We didn't want to push her but she does enjoy walking while holding on to someone's hands. Both of them. A few weeks later she took more steps by herself. Then nothing again for a few more days. We want her to feel comfortable with walking; encourage her to do it on her own. If we push too much - she will end up giving up entirely for awhile. Gently nudging and a walker really help.


 Recently, she has made the big leap to a full TEN STEPS on her own!! Unfortunately, I was not around to see it. Darn work!! But my boyfriend did so it was okay :) He finally gets to witness things first hand before me since hes off work for the winter. It was quite a moment when he told me. Slightly brought tears to my eyes! She loves being mobile and more so by herself. She's very independent and I like it this way.

She will do it more and more by herself - without the walking toy. We are patient about this but definitely jumping for joy inside. There are babies who don't end up walking until a year and a half old. Nothing wrong with that! Those are probably the ones who patiently watch and learn instead of testing the waters until they perfect it. It doesn't matter when your little one starts walking - every baby is different remember! As long as there is progress, I guess. The late bloomers doesn't mean your child is developmentally slow....they just need time to understand the concept of walking. This is how they learn. Some babies are watchers and some are doers.

We started encouraging Adriana to stand quite early - only 2mths old. She wanted to stand all the time! Which made tummy time a bit more difficult. She warmed up to that eventually but did not like being on her back when she realized she could sit up by herself. I think we will have to harness her when she starts fully walking - she's just going to get up and RUN. Thank goodness for our massive backyard, which is fenced in! Between her and the dog....they will tire themselves out! lol When If we get snow, it will be an interesting winter with her walking. I actually picture Robert Munsch's Thomas' Snowsuit book.......lord help me.



Has your baby started to move on their own?
When did they take their first step?
If they haven't moved, are there any signs they're going to start soon?
Do they observe others intently and then act?

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Returning to Work after Maternity Leave

I must say it was nice to have 11-1/2months off....

This past week I have unfortunately returned to work. Since my last job was a contract, which ended when I left on maternity leave, I had to find a new job. I was smart enough to enroll in some online college courses while off to help boost my resume *good idea!*. It took me a few weeks (very discouraging weeks I might add) but I found a full time job! *phew*

It's not the most ideal situation...I'm still getting used to the 6am rises. However, I get off at 4pm so I still have plenty of time to see Adriana. Most important thing to me! It's a decent job - nothing I haven't done before. I work for a government regulated manufacturing company who makes all the bomb sniffers for the airports and army. Actual title is Inventory Control Specialist (again). Downside is this is another contract position but high potential to become permanent after 6mths. Honestly...it doesn't bother me too much since in the New Year I plan to look for another job; a better one.

So...my first week back after having a baby has been different. Interesting. Tiring. At times difficult. I have a tedious job which requires a lot of attention - working with very small parts takes patience. Several times a day I find myself thinking about her and my boyfriend.
What are they doing?
What did she eat for lunch?
How long was her nap?
How much longer until I see her!
I prepared myself near the end of August for going back to work. I didn't like it but I knew I had to do it. It was definitely an adjustment for me. I was so used to being at home with her for 12hrs a day by myself, talking to friends whenever I wanted, online shopping, mall shopping, long walks, tea dates, etc. Now I have scheduled breaks, lunches, work to do, people to impress, etc....an expectation as an employee in a new place. I need some time to adjust to this work world, that's for sure.

The best advice I can give a fellow Mommy is to mentally prepare yourself. Take some time to adjust to a new routine. Since my boyfriend's working season was slowing down, I was able to take a step back and let him get used to being with her more than just a few hours at night. This helped Adriana adjust to being with Daddy for the day instead of Mommy. I would still feed her during the day but maybe get Daddy to bathe her and feed her dinner - I would give her a bottle and put her to bed. Little things at a time allowed her to ease into a new schedule, as well as myself. I woke up earlier and tried REALLY hard not to nap during the day. As difficult as that was...some days I just needed it.
I had zero fears that my boyfriend would be the main caregiver now. He's been a wonder dad from the beginning - and Adriana is a pure Daddy's girl, which makes it easy. My boyfriend really took the reins from the beginning. He helped a lot in the beginning to let me heal properly and he has really tried to do his share when he can! Kudos babe. Kudos.

I think Adriana has been having a ball at home with her Dad! She's a happy girl and really doesn't have much to complain about. Both parents who love her and would do anything for her. She has a warm home, a bed, toys, clothes, food, etc. I am very thankful to have a family like I do....Even though this is the American Thanksgiving weekend and I am Canadian - I am thankful for many things. My boyfriend and Adriana being right there at the top of list :)


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Meatless Mondays - Rice Cups/Casserole

I have fallen in love with plain white rice lol I found this recipe and it looked delicious. Has all my favourite things - and there's NO meat! Its filling enough to make as a casserole or as little cups to wrap and freeze for a quick side dish during the week.

What You'll Need:

1cup of white rice
1cup chicken broth
1tsp butter or margerine
1cup shredded cheese
1cup Ranch dressing
1cup Broccoli (cubed)
1/2cup Carrots (sliced, julien, or finely chopped)

Directions:
Prepare white rice using chicken broth instead of water. Add butter and set aside in a mixing bowl. Steam or boil broccoli and carrots for about 5mins. Add to bowl to cool a bit. Add shredded cheese and ranch dressing - mixing everything together. In a greased muffin tin (or 9x9 baking dish) add mixture. You may top with cheese, bread crumbs, or honey for taste! Bake at 350F for about 25-30mins, or until golden brown tops. May serve immediately or let cool, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for another meal. These are great as individual portions which can be used for lunches or quick meals.

Go even one step further and make TWO batches to keep in the freezer! Great for Monday nights - the one night of the week you DON'T really want to cook. Or save them for when guest come over as a quick appetizer! If you're not a fan of Ranch dressing, try Caesar dressing or Thousand Island...whatever creamy dressing you prefer! Also you can switch up the veggies to whatever you like more. Eggplant and Goat cheese, Zucchini and havarti, or through in some cubed ham and swiss instead!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Adriana's Christmas List (and Birthday List)

It's never too early to start Christmas shopping....I've said this a million and a half times already this year! I am always on a hunt for a good deal and never forget about preparing for (in my opinion) THE BEST HOLIDAY ever. This will be Adriana's very first Christmas. In my family, it has always been a big deal! Big beautiful tree, lights, Dickens Village (My mom has a metropolis - not a village) and I want Adriana to enjoy it as much as my sisters and I have over the years.
She doesn't get to be excited JUST about Christmas. Her very First Birthday falls 11days after Christmas. It will be interesting to plan that without incorporating the Christmas holiday as well! Wish me Luck :)

I thought I would make things a little easier for our family this year. Instead of TELLING them what she wants - I have compiled a list for her myself. It is mostly toys because we're not particular on what kind of clothes she will get. These are just a few I picked while browsing through the Sears Wishbook online (not the same as flipping through the pages!). I will list her sizes as well for those of you who need to know for clothes.

Adriana's FIRST Christmas List
Toys
1. Fisher Price Ballcano Stand-up Playset
2. Fisher Price Disney Baby Sing-Along Choo Choo
3. Alex Jumpin Jr First Trampoline (YES!)
4. Little Tikes Discoversounds Activity Garden
5. Fisher Price Record Player
6. Fisher Price Little People Zoo Talkers
7. Fisher Price Little People Wheelies Stand N' Play
8. Fisher Price Laugh & Learn Apptivity Monkey
9. Alex Busy Tot
10. Alex Sort & Count
11. Fisher Price 2-in-1 Wagon Rider
12. Fisher Price Laugh & Learn Learning Kitchen
13. Safety 1st Sand N' Surf Outdoor Play table

Clothes 
Sleepers: 18mths-24mths
Dresses: 18mths
Bottoms: 18mths (2T at Walmart)
Tops: 12mths-18mths
Shoes: size 4 or 5

Decor
Room Colours: Pink and Purple
Crib: Cherry wood
Storage Cubes: Pink


Clearly this list is just a guideline based on what I saw and feel would benefit Adriana. She's a smart little girl and would love any gifts she gets this Christmas holiday (or her Birthday!). I wasn't specific but BOOKS! She loves books...any kind by any authour would be good. Obviously, they need to be age appropriate. She has Flash Cards that we will start using in the next few weeks. I even bought her very first stocking. It's a good size and says "Dear Santa, I have been a good Girl this year" down the front. I will sew her name into the top part for added touch.


Have you started Christmas shopping?
Did you kids make a list?
What sort of things are they asking for?        

Sunday, November 11, 2012

How to Chose a Stroller

The stroller evolution has evolved beyond the traditional carriage. It can be overwhelming choosing a stroller for your first time - unless you have a sister in law who recommends some for u....(Thank you, Laura!). I was given some pretty good options and it took me a little to consider what would be the best for me. So don't rush this process!! Go to the store and test the strollers, or read about the functions online. I have compiled some considerations to take into account when making the big decision. It goes beyond just the safety of your baby!

First consider the main use for the stroller. Do you plan on running with your baby? or taking several walks? How about traveling? Do you travel by bus or car? Once you figure out what you plan to do most with your stroller, then you can narrow down the types of strollers that work for you.
 Running strollers are convenience and designed to keep baby safe and give great support for those bumpy trails! If you travel by bus, you may want to consider a light-weight stroller instead of the bulky ones.
Call me crazy but if you have a spouse who is significantly taller (or shorter) that you, consider them too! My boyfriend is a FULL foot taller than me so we ONLY looked at strollers with adjustable handles to accommodate him pushing the stroller as well. Which has also helped when his mom pushes the stroller too (She's tall as well!) The adjustable handles slide up so the taller person doesn't have to hunch forward to push the stroller. Amazing idea! My boyfriend has no problem pushing our stroller since there's no strain on his back :) It gives me a break from it too....

If this is your second child - or if you've been blessed with twins! - think about the different options you have before jumping on the first double stroller you see! The tandem strollers have become more compact than the traditional ones. They're not as LONG anymore! Don't think that because you have twins or a second baby that you can't run....they have a stroller for that too! This particular stroller has great storage plus the chairs adjust to have both lean back for nap time. Also the seats remove to accommodate car seats for your little infant bundle of joy.

If you're like me and have to constantly fold up the stroller to bring it inside or put it in the trunk of the car, then you may consider one in which you can easily do so. I love that mine actually stands up by itself. Easily stored in my bedroom or on the stairs. Its a little complicated to fold but once you do it a few times - its so easy! I also love that I can have Adriana in one hand and still unfold the stroller without having to put her down. When you have your hands full - you either have to plan ahead or learn to multitask!
Personally, I chose red because I wanted something that wasn't gender specific. We plan on having another baby in a few years and would like to use the same stroller if possible. If that second baby happens to be a boy then we can reuse a good chunk of the stuff we have already. I am not a runner but I do walk every day! I needed a light weight stroller to take on the bus too. Adjustable handles work amazing for us! I'm 5'4" and my boyfriend is 6'4". The Peg Perego's handles adjust about 4inches which is better than nothing. One downside to the stroller is the cup holder. It attaches to the outside of the stroller and barely holds a water bottle. Anything larger (my tea!) and it wobbles. A way around this is to purchase a stroller strap which has a cup holder and storage pocket for keys, phone, etc.

Here are some links for more guidelines on choosing a stroller:
http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/strollers/buying-guide.htm
http://www.babyzone.com/products/baby-gear/stroller-buying-guide_69142
http://www.babble.com/baby/products/stroller-buying-guide/stroller-buying-guide-stroller-types/

Monday, November 5, 2012

Happy 10 months Adriana

I do this every month since starting my blog. Today my baby girl Adriana turns 10months old!!! Shes beautiful than the last month (and smarter too!). With each passing day she learns more and lets that personality shine through

Some other things she's done so far is take a few steps! Although shes nervous to do it by herself she has made a few steps by herself without holding on to anything. Her eyes go really wide from excitement but looks to grab on to something...a leg, ledge, handle, anything or anyone! She will get there...slowly but she'll do it. I can't wait :) We have a giant backyard that she will be able to run around in when she gets a bit better - or when its covered in snow!
Adriana also - officially - has her first tooth! The darn thing took its time coming in with several wakeful nights, cries, clinging, grabbing, gnawing on everything. She made it through the first one and it really wasn't that bad!! They say the worse is the first tooth and the first molar, so far so good! She looks pretty darn cute with just the one tooth on the bottom. Chomper I call her lol
She also talks more with her tongue. Most words sound like gibberish - I actually understood more before!! But I'm sure she'll start forming more words soon. She tries to say Tyson and is pretty good at it I think! But still.........no MaMa :(

She will go back to the doctors December 2nd and we will know exactly how much she weighs and how tall she is. I can tell you that right now Little Missy is at 18mths clothes now and she's not supposed to grow much more in the next couple of months. With a little bit of guestimating....I ended up being right about what size to get her for Christmas! Awesome. I'm one step ahead of the game lol Canadian Thanksgiving has already passed and unfortunately we don't do much for Remembrance Day here so the next big holiday is Christmas! My favourite time of the year - and will be Adriana's first one :) This year is going to be extra special (but still sad). Even though its her first Christmas - its also the first one without Aunt Kim around to see it all. We plan to Skype for a bit so she gets to see everyone. Definitely better than nothing! We will still have other family around to celebrate and I want to make this one the best ever....for Adriana!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Baby Book Idea - Digital ScrapBooking

I'm always looking for ideas on storage, organizing, food, etc. and I love when I find a beautiful way to showcase memories that are a bit unique. This is not a typical scrapbook or shadow box idea. This is a baby book idea - digitally enhanced!
By using modern technology, its like recreating the scrap booking hobby....digitally. Using layouts created by yourself or downloading free ones, you can print these pages and keep in a binder or book. Add pockets, or clear sleeves to hold specific items like hospital bracelet, first hat, or pin the first onesie your little one wore.
I have been collecting things since the beginning (including the parking pass of the day she was born!) which I keep in a decorative bag - really hadn't figured out what to do with it all!! Until I came across this great idea. Its not JUST a scrap book fellow Mommies and Daddies....its much more.
There are so many great sites to start your digital scrapbook! These sites provide you with some layout ideas, colour and patterns and they're saved right on the website so you can send the links to other people to view. My favourite thing is that you can print them out on good quality paper and put in a nice binder or have them bound into a real book.

Here are some great links:
1. Free Digital Scrapbooking
2. Computer Scrapbook
3. Daisy Trail
4. Scrappy Nat
5. My Memories

Perhaps you would rather create your own? Not a problem! You background pictures and photoboxes in a word document or use Paint. Never underestimate the uses for Paint! Here are some great ideas to get your started. NOTE: These are NOT my ideas. Some pictures come from this website LINK




















I plan on starting one for Adriana! Clearly I don't have time to do an every day thing but perhaps a Month by Month of her first year. Add in things like the picture above plus the birth story I've written on my blog already. I will add some pockets to display her hospital bracelets, parking passes, hat, first outfit, etc. I can add some pictures from her first month home - all the visitors, outfits, time with Tyson, etc. Then I will spread it out each month as a collection of pictures. Add some notes of things she did - I like the article idea pictured above which explains how much she weighs, length, eating, sleeping, etc.

I think this adds a much more personal touch instead of just a photo album and its a great place to display everything. No more decorative boxes to hide it in! It keeps it organized and...when you want to go back to those days it makes for a good read :)


Have you started a baby book? or journal?
What sort of things will you add to yours?
How did you display the memories (digitally or something else)?
Share your stories by commenting below or email me! I'd love to hear all your ideas :)


Saturday, November 3, 2012

How to Prepare meals for MONTHS

This is no joke Mommies and Daddies!

I came across this fantastic website for creating about 46 meals in 4hrs for about $100. Seriously.
A Turtle's Life for Me is a great blog written by a lady, named Natalie, who is taking it one step at a time. This particular post is absolutely amazing for mommies/daddies to be.
They say the first few weeks as a mom are the hardest, especially if you don't have the extra money to spend on take out food every meal. Consider reading this blog post: Freezer Meals on the Cheap. I really wish I had found this before Adriana was born - although we were busy visiting people for breakfast, lunch and dinners! Natalie didn't write the post as a new Mommy but just as a general idea for those busy parents. She has a family of 4 in which are enrolled in several extra curricular activities. Busy schedule doesn't allow her to have the time for grand meals. So she turned to a book "Don't Panic - Dinner's in the Freezer" for help.
She explains what to buy, how to cook and package the meals and only taking about 4hrs to do it. Personally, I love the baked potatoes idea! Twice Baked and only take 20mins when you're ready to use them - I Love Potatoes. The great authors even went a step further to produce a second book "Don't Panic - More Dinner's in the Freezer". Which shares even more recipes for making meals a head of time.

Don't think you have the time Make the time and this will save so much more money (and time) later on! This is an extension to my recent post "Maternity Leave Income - Living on $2200 a month" where I share another blogger's journey of how her family of 6 lives off $2200/mth. It can be done with just a little preparation ahead of time. The last thing you want to do when you get home with your new bundle of joy is cook. That goes for both Mommy and Daddy. Instead make that time more special by not having to worry about cooking or "what are we going to eat for...." This is a special time for you and your baby(ies) to bond; get to know each other.

These books would make a PERFECT baby shower gift! The next baby shower I go to...their getting these books wrapped in a big bow. They can thank me later!



How did you survive eating after baby was born?
What ways did you prepare meals?
If you want to share any ideas, comment below or send me an email. I'd love to hear from you!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween Everyone

Happy Halloween from Adriana :)
 She is the cutest little (sick) strawberry ever! Despite being sick (runny nose, coughing, sneezing) she loved her costume!! Perhaps next year we will go a little scary...make her a zombie or something (proud Daddy!)
More pictures to follow in the next few days. Some with Gran and Grandad plus Aunt Jill too. Stay Tuned!!



Did your little one get dressed up for Halloween this year?
What were they?
Do you remember your first costume? 

Maternity Leave Income - Living off $2200 a month

You read that right. $2200 per month. Most people don't take into account that having a baby also means only 55% (in Ontario) of your income for the next 12mths. Can you survive on that? For several years, you have lived a pretty decent lifestyle of good food, good wine, lots of entertainment, etc. But when you have a baby not only do you have much less time for those things, you also have much less MONEY for them! Several times I've watched "Til Debt Do Us Part" and the couple hadn't taken into account the (temporary) loss of income when they had a baby. They continued to spend as they had before the baby - including their housing expenses.

Probably the best advice I've heard in years is "make sure you can live off one income" (thanks DAD). This is true in so many ways; not only when you have a baby. What will happen if one of you loses their job? "I'll just get a new one" doesn't always cut it. The economy isn't at its best so finding a new job - for the same money - isn't always an option. How long do you think it takes to find a job? The average: 6-8weeks. Can you survive for that long on just one income when you're not used to it? It can be difficult!

Recently, I came across a great series of blogposts  that actually take you step-by-step on how a family of 6 people live off $2200/month. Crazy, I know. But they do it! I found it absolutely fascinating of how this couple does it. They don't cut corners but more eliminate the UNNECESSARY things. Unfortunately, there's no wine in the budget (boo!) but they manage. Coo dos  to this family for making a difference. She shares some great ideas of how to save on Groceries, including meal planning, and without using coupons. The Peaceful Mom shares her ups and downs of living the frugal life. This doesn't make her cheap in anyway - it makes her SMART!

The economy has been very unpredictable. One can hardly say they have job security! Don't be discouraged if you're already pregnant. Just start thinking about expenses of a baby. I refer back to my post about having a Baby Budget. There are great links that will give you an idea of how much a baby actually cost. Of course this is just approximates based on your personal preferences on brands of diapers, formula or breast feed, solid foods, etc. All you need is a little planning and possibly some adjustments, but living off $2200/mth is completely feasible!


How have you had to adjust financially after having a baby?
Do you have any tips?

Monday, October 29, 2012

To My Fellow Mommies

Dear Fellow Mommies,

I am writing to you today in hopes that you reach deep in your hearts (possibly pockets) and think about a little girl for me. She is the sweetest, prettiest, most loving and caring little 5 year old that I have ever met. Right now - and for a little while - she needs your prayers, words of encouragement, thoughts, etc to get through this rough time.

Leah's story isn't a simple one. Over a month ago she complained about having a sore throat. Obviously with the cold weather here, it wasn't uncommon for it. Her mom gave her some medicine but after a few days it wasn't getting better. She took her to the hospital closest to them to get checked out. Leah, Taylor and their mom spent hours in the emergency room waiting on doctors. When they eventually got to see the doctor - he didn't even touch her throat. Looked at it and said it was a swollen lymphoid and said to keep her hydrated. That was it.

After a few days, Leah still wasn't better. Her mom made an appointment to see the family doctor this time but it was going to take a few days to get in. She hauled herself and her daughters over to the doctors in Mississauga. They were sent for an ultrasound and then referred to an Ears, Nose and Throat doctor. The specialist used a camera and scanned her throat and left the room. When he returned he advised that Leah needs to go to Sick Kids hospital right away to have the lump removed. The lump was so big it was slowly cutting off the airways for Leah to breath properly. Once it was removed, they would perform a biopsy to test for Cancer.

The surgery went well although she will need to stay in the hospital for a couple of weeks to make sure she heals properly. Leah slept most of the next few days. On October 26, 2012, Leah and her mommy got the terrible news. She has throat cancer!
After losing both her parents to cancer, Leah's mommy was devastated! Her little baby girl has cancer. Something you never think about when you have babies....

So I ask you, from one mommy to another...please pray for Leah through this time. She has a great support system but she needs anything she can get right now! She's old enough to understand whats going on, but young enough to be traumatized for awhile. I would also like to ask that you take the time to make a donation in her name. Anything will help!!
 Follow the link here to donate: http://www.indiegogo.com/love-for-leah

I appreciate your time to even read this!! I just put myself in Leah's mom's shoes.....I don't know what I would do and I probably wouldn't be thinking about aftercare. OHIP doesn't cover the medication for cancer aftercare. It can also be expensive!! This little girl will miss Halloween this year....she was going to be a princess witch with her twin sister!



Have you ever had to go through a bad situation with your baby?
How did you handle it?

Sunday, October 28, 2012

How to Save Money this Holiday Season

Okay, okay! I hear ya...Halloween hasn't even passed yet. I know. I also know that its never too early to start your Christmas shopping!! :D
So from a new Mommy to another Mommy....Lets save some money together this year! Those babies may not be old enough for high tech toys (or are they?) but they sure are expensive at Christmas time! Clothes, toys, shoes, games, candy, chocolates, etc. The list doesn't end until they start paying for their own gifts to others LOL
I am a true believer in online shopping. Period. I mean, who has the time to deal with busy malls and ignorant people. I don't and have lost patience trying! Therefore, I find myself constantly turning to online shopping more and more. It can be a bit daunting...where do I start? what are good websites? what about shipping to Canada? I will save you some time by sharing my new found love.

Although this site isn't new at all - its new to ME!
 For Unite States Residents:
 Ebates.com is the pioneer and leader of online Cash Back Shopping. The company was founded in 1998 by two Deputy District Attorneys in Silicon Valley who used to prosecute online fraud & identity theft before starting Ebates (so you can be sure we are very into secure online transactions!). So go ahead, sign up and start shopping now. Joining Ebates is always free - you'll never pay us anything. And four times a year or more, we'll mail you a Big Fat Check, or transfer the money to your PayPal account if you'd prefer. We can even send the money to your favorite charity. All 100% free.
People often ask: "This sounds too good to be true, how are you able to do it?" It really is quite simple. Just like almost every other online shopping center, we get a commission from the stores when you make a purchase. Instead of keeping that money - like almost all other sites do - we share it with you!
So, as long as 1500+ of the world's top online stores are happy to pay a bonus to attract the new, valuable customers we send their way, Ebates is going to continue to send Big Fat Checks to our satisfied customers across the globe.

For Canadian Residents:
All the same info about.....but different website - Ebates.ca

They offer coupon codes for discounts at your favourite stores PLUS cashback! I can't wait to start shopping through here and earning those discounts :D You can use those cash backs towards birthday gifts, Easter presents or even for Christmas gifts NEXT year. Again...its never too early to start Christmas shopping!
 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

First Tooth!!

Ladies and Gentlemen....
I want to announce the most amazing thing in the world has happened. You won't even believe it. I have conquered the ultimate task in all of the world. Are you ready to hear what it is??!!

I have finally been able to take a picture of Adrianas FIRST tooth!!
 
She has tried everything to prevent me from it. Constantly sticking out her tongue when I put my finger near her lip to see. She has swat my hands away, kicked her feet and even yelled at me to stop! But I did it. I did it and I feel darn good about it!! Its been slowly working its way through for the past several weeks. Through the fussiness, stirring in her sleep, tired....shes still a trooper! Considering the amount of pain a baby goes through when teething, she has done FANTASTIC!! I swear....if I never win the lottery - I know its because we were given such a good baby!

I remember my friends little boy when he started teething. Poor guy had so many come through at once! He didnt know how to handle it any other way!! Clinging to his mom like a velcro monkey. Not a darn thing my friend could do besides soothe him by rubbing his back and cuddling. It wasnt just the first tooth either! Hes now almost 13mths old and has four on the top and four on the bottom. Its adorable!!