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:

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: 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 -

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!! 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Peppermint Chocolate Chunk Brownies - MUST TRY!!!

I have a weakness for anything covered in chocolate and a soft spot for peppermint. Although I must admit that I`m not much for the sweet is nice to munch on every once in awhile ;) A special treat to boost your mood - and your energy!

This recipe is very very easy. It takes a few steps and some simple ingredients. Secret: I don`t make brownies from Nothing wrong with a box of Betty Crocker Brownie mix! She never did me wrong any other time. Here`s what you`ll need:

1box of Chocolate Chunk Brownie mix
  • 1/4 cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1/4 cup Water
  • 1 egg
16-20 York peppermint patties
8 inch baking pan (grease bottom)

Prepare brownie mixture in bowl according to directions on the box. In your bottom greased pan add half the mixture. You have some options here: 1)add peppermint patties one at a time side by side, covering the mixture or 2)crush the patties into little pieces and sprinkle over the first mixture layer. Either way it turns out delicious!! Add the remainder of the mixture over everything and bake according to directions. This usually means 30-40mins depending on your oven and/or pan. Remove from oven and let cool before cutting and eating!

 I chose to use whole patties

 Look at those CHUNKS of chocolate!!

YUM - they exploded!!

You may also want to add caramel, butterscotch, or chocolate drizzle on top. Add a scoop of ice cream or enjoy by themselves!

These are great for snacks! You can make a head of time and freeze to keep for a special holiday :) Wrap them in little baggies, add tags and give as a Christmas treat for your kids class or even to family!! Add the recipe for an added touch.

Share your holiday treat recipes by commenting below or email me!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Baby Food - Jarred vs Homemade

Baby Food. The ultimate debate between parents, doctors and scientist. There are many parents who stick to tried and true methods of feeding their baby the jarred stuff. Many babies have done this for several years and we have all grown up just fine. Then there are the more modern parents who have chosen to take the plunge and made homemade baby food. This is completely a personal decision as a parent - what's best for you and for baby. I know many parents who have decided to feed their little one homemade food and for several different reasons. One common thing among all the parents: they just want the best for their baby.

Although jarred food has come along way since when I was a baby, with more selections and even Organic choices. Personally, I never chose to fully stick with homemade baby food. Not to say that that's a problem. Adriana actually has a little of everything! The things I want her to try (and at the right time) if its not available in the jar then I do make it at home. Not that surprising, she actually enjoys all the foods - some more than others. She prefers meat from the jars but everything else homemade.

Also, don't shy away from feeding your baby finger foods. This is a great way to teach her how to feed herself (hand-eye coordination). Instead of constantly feeding her dried fruits and veggie puffed snacks, I will cut up cheese or pieces of bread or bologna for her to eat on her own. She also gets yogurt as a desert instead of just plain pureed fruit. This gives her the calcium and vitamins - of course with no sugar added! We make sure that every night at dinner time, Adriana is up in her high chair with us at the dinner table. I will feed her right from my plate - even if she already ate! She loves table food. Still have yet to give her steak and fish (this week hopefully!) but she has tried pretty much everything else. We are lucky to have a baby who is such a good eater :)

If you've chosen to take the homemade route - Good for you!! This is possibly the more natural way to feed your baby. You know exactly what she's eating with no added preservatives (depending on the brand of jarred food). There have been studies in which have proven babies have a better palette when they're older. Here are some Pros and Cons for both jarred and homemade baby food.

Jarred Baby Food
Pro - Very convenient
Con - Limited variety
Pro - Easily transported (prepackaged)
Con - Unknown ingredients (added preservatives)
Pro - Textures (purees to chunky)
Con - Some brands have high sodium

Homemade Baby Food
Pro - Cheaper
Con - Time consuming
Pro - Healthier (no preservatives)
Con - Takes up fridge/freezer space
Pro - Large variety
Con - undercooked foods

These are just some pros and cons and by no means a food guide! Please refer to your doctor for when its best to start solid food and which ones your little one should start with. Every baby is different (even brothers and sisters) so take your time when feeding your baby. Patience is key. If they don't like a specific food one day - try again in a few days or next week. Don't give up! This is a whole new world of feeding for your baby. Its an exciting time! Have fun with it but remember to follow some guidelines. Such as no shellfish, nuts or whole milk before their first birthday. The last thing a parent wants with their baby is a food allergy!
Even if you don't like a certain food - let your baby try it anyways! Watch your expressions though - baby is watching and if you scrunch up your nose even before they taste it, they'll be spitting it out at you! Neutral expressions, let baby make their own opinion about food and they will be less picky eaters! I have a rule for Adriana: feed her 2 veggies to 1 fruit. She's on to chunky foods so this is never a problem. Since she's on 2 bottles a day (morning and night) she gets a multi vitamin with her lunch to make up for any nutrients she doesn't get throughout the day. Ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding foods for your baby. She may refer you to a specific food guide if your baby requires a special diet.

Have fun and Good Luck to all my fellow Mommies and Daddies out there!!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Baby's First Tooth

For the past several weeks, Adriana has been a bit cranky. She cries whenever I leave the room (partially due to Separation Anxiety), she stirs at night which wakes me up, but she's still a happy baby! I figured it was a growth spurt since there was no signs to tell me otherwise. She had a very healthy appetite, normal temperature, etc. She only woke up in the middle of the night twice; once was last Sunday night - thank you loud neighbours at 1am, and the other time was a few weeks ago. She just woke up and cried so I rubbed her back, laid her down again with her blanket and pacifier, turned on her lamb and walked out the room.

Some of the signs a baby is teething are:
  • drooling
  • fussiness/ cranky
  • refusal to feed (usually just bottles or breast)
  • chewing on everything (toys, fingers, nipples!)
  • gum swelling (looks like white blisters where the tooth is coming in)
  • coughing (associated with the overactive saliva glands)
Today it all makes more sense! We have a FIRST TOOTH!!! Its officially poked through on the bottom left side first. The right side is on its way too but hasn't broken through yet. She's done amazingly well considering its her first tooth! If the worse is over now until her molars....we have to be THE LUCKIEST parents ever! Everything has been pretty good considering her circumstance. Shes been a bit fussy but still sleeps for 12hrs at night plus naps. She wakes up as happy as can be: talking to herself, playing with her toys, singing some mornings. You'd think she was having a party in her crib not having teeth coming through!

Adriana, my dear baby girl. You are the most amazing thing to have ever happened to us. Please please stay that way lol Sincerely, Mommy and Daddy!

Does your little one have a first tooth yet?
How was your experience?
How old was your little one when they got their first tooth?

If not, are there any signs you can see?

Share your stories below or email me!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Handmade Gifts

"Blankets wrap you in warmth, but Quilts wrap you in Love"  -Unknown
You can never turn away a handmade gift. Whether it be just a simple card from friends' kid or a blanket - handmade by a special special person from your life. Its hard to keep track of the gifts when you have your baby shower or after. I find it very easy to remember the handmade gifts much easier. Although Adriana received many many blankets, she received 2 special ones that I will hold on to forever.
One was a tightly knitted blanket of white, pink and blue. This was a perfect size to be in her crib the day we brought her home. She continued to sleep with it and have it wrapped around her in the car seat and stroller. Now she's a little big to be wrapped in it but as it gets colder outside, her blankets in the crib get thicker; almost time for this beauty.

Recently, I went to check the mail and had received a package that I was anxious about. I cut the brown wrapping paper down the side and uncovered a box. With a couple of slits in the taped lid, I opened the box which revealed a few things. I started with the letter which says the blanket was for Adriana's first birthday but it was ready now. To go along with the blanket were some runners for our table: 1 for my mom, 1 for my sister and 1 for me - all handmade.
I carefully took out the white plastic bag and removed the twist tie. Sliding the blanket out of the bag I unfolded it and through tears I saw the handy craft work. The quilt had been meticulously sewed that only one with many years of experience could do. I opened the quilt and laid it across the crib. Stepping back I felt overwhelmed with appreciation, joy, thankfulness, slight guilt, but more happiness. I snap a quick picture and explain to Adriana where the blanket came from and who it was for. She loved the different patterns and colours, that when I started folding it again - she cried! Poor little girl just wanted to play with it.
It works out perfectly because I planned on switching her Animal theme out and bringing in more of a softer theme filled with pinks and purples! This is why I painted her dresser purple not long ago :) The quilt will make it perfect and the texture will entice Adriana - who is a touch and feel baby.

The Point: Handmade gifts are more thoughtful and depending on the item, it could become an heirloom! This particular blanket will be kept for many many years - in which will eventually retire to the end of my own bed after all the children have grown up :) Thank you to John and Trudy for the lovely quilt for Adriana. The time and love that has been put into making it, will definitely be felt every night she sleeps with it and more.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Challenges of Feeding a Baby

I had this preconceived scenario of how things will be when feeding my daughter. That everything would go smoothly, she would eat everything, she would be clean, have proper manners during breakfast/lunch/dinner...That she would beat the odds by not spitting her food at me.
Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the reality of feeding a baby solid food. Everything you just read is a hoax. Babies don't know the difference between good and bad table manners. It may be awhile before you see any REAL ones too! I constantly have to dodge a spoon grabbing - Adriana seems to be a lefty and I'm a righty, which makes things difficult! I make sure to have plenty of napkins and wipes on hand before I get started...Especially if its a new food!
Wait...there was one thing [almost] true about feeding a baby solid food. Adriana will actually eat whatever I give her. It's just a question of how long will it take for her to change her mind lol She will eat it but you can tell she's unsure if she actually likes it. We made sure to keep the sweeter foods out and gradually introduce them a little at a time. We want her to enjoy a wide range of foods and although she may not care of some now - we reintroduce them a few weeks down the road!

The key is patience. At first, I admit this was hard for me. I wanted to get feeding done and over with! Adriana was fussy and made things difficult. I realized quickly that she needs time to eat and actually enjoy this "new" food, just like the rest of us. I was so used to her finishing a bottle in 15mins TOPS and now it takes me 45mins to feed her a complete meal. We don't shy away from most foods that we have for dinner - not just the jarred stuff. Little Missy has had everything from Chinese food to Curry! Always remember to follow certain restrictions such as nuts and shellfish until over 1year of age. The doctor can direct you a little more clearer based on your baby's needs.

Babies do need a good high in fat (protein and iron) diet in order to grow properly. This consists of starchy vegetables like potatoes! Boil a single potato and mash with a little butter and milk - NO SALT. Remember to peel the potatoe until way pass when your little one has teeth. You can even use the mashed potatoes and mix in pieces of chicken or beef for protein and iron. Ensure the meat is fully cooked!

Recently, I started giving Adriana soft cheese (Laughin Cow an Cottage cheese) plus Nutrigrain bars, blueberry Eggo with just a small amount of Maple Syrup to soften, yogurt - which she loves! Tonight she will enjoy our dinner of Chicken Breast Roast with Bacon and some Noodles on the side (Chris is having his Crab legs too but NO shellfish for baby!!) She loves table food more than the jar stuff so we give her pretty much everything we eat. These steps will teach your baby a few things: 1. we eat together as a family 2.we eat what is made for dinner (no substitute meals) 3.trying new food to expand baby's palette

For a smoother dinner time, have you baby ready in the high chair while you set the table. She gets used to the same routine. I don't let Adriana watch tv, but it is on during dinner time. I prefer if she focused on eating dinner rather than the television so her chair is facing away from the tv - always! She watches enough tv during the day and I don't want her to be glued to the darn thing! She needs to learn there are more fun and entertaining things to do besides watch TV. This is why I take her for walks every day - rain or shine - or to the Early Years centers to interact with other babies around her age. She loves it and so do I.  So don't worry if feeding is a mess or takes over an hour to finish one meal, baby is still eating and its more about learning than nutrition at first. Once they get the hang of chewing, swallowing, even holding the spoon or finger foods, then they will be able to eat more food and less formula/breast milk.

I was actually told by my doctor to have Adriana on 4 bottles a day still. I told her she's crazy!! At nine months old, she has 2 bottles a day (one in the morning and one at night) and the rest is filled with food of all kinds! I do make sure to give her a multivitamin to make up for less bottles. Shes is a healthy baby and eats whatever we give her. As a mom, you know whats best for your baby. Not to say go against your doctor, just pay attention to signs that your baby is ready to grow! When I started to introduce a Sippy cup - I started to lessen the number of bottles she had throughout the day. She now stands at 95th percentile for weight and height...obviously I'm not doing anything wrong! Know when its time...doesn't hurt to try and if it doesn't work out then go back to the old way and wait a few more weeks to try again.

When did your baby start being weened off bottles?
What foods do they like? don't like?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Are You a Sh*tty Mom?

Now before you start shifting in your seat uncomfortably...... read on! I came across this book and almost peed my pants in the book store. Partially because of Adriana's birth but mostly because of how funny this book is!! Its an unconventional parenting book that probably relates to more moms than the real deal parenting books. The authors do not sugar coat things and have a humourous way of getting the message across to the readers.

This New York Times Best Seller was written by four moms - who have seen and heard it all when it comes to babies. The mix of communication skills and mommy smarts shows. It’s about shortcuts and parenting with 40% effort, but doing it well enough so that no one but you notices.
Laurie Kilmartin is an Emmy-nominated writer for CONAN on TBS, and, as a stand-up comedian, has appeared on CONAN, Last Comic Standing, Jimmy Kimmel Live, and Comedy Central. She lives in Los Angeles with her son.
Karen Moline is a journalist and author who has written more than two dozen nonfiction books, as well as two bestselling novels. Karen and her son live in New York City.
Alicia Ybarbo is a five-time Emmy award–winning producer. She has worked on NBC’s TODAY show since 2000.  Her first book, “Today’s Moms:  Essentials for Surviving Baby’s First Year” was published by Harper Collins in 2009.  She lives in New York City with her husband and two children.
Mary Ann Zoellner  is a four-time Emmy award–winning producer and has worked at NBC news for 16 years.  Her first book, “Today’s Moms:  Essentials for Surviving Baby’s First Year” was published by Harper Collins in 2009.  She lives in New York City with her husband and two daughters.

This short read (just 176pages) is great for when your hiding in the bathroom with the door locked or in your bedroom under the blanket trying to drown out the crying, screaming, whiny coming from the little offspring you call Baby. Remember you're not alone! This book keeps us moms sane with quick witty humour about what it TRULY means to be a MOM. Glass House, Ladies and Gents. Soak it up because this is what you're in for as a parent.
Perhaps some of these "bad" habits that are mentioned in the book are at the top of your list too. Letting your baby play with toys during dinner instead of eating like the rest of the family - Big No No. Laugh away the stress with Sh*tty Mom for just $11.14 on

Share your Sh*tty Mom experiences with me by commenting below or email me!

Sunday, October 7, 2012 Canada

I hope everyone is enjoying their weekend. We are celebrating Thanksgiving in Canada....
What are you thankful for?
Our Daughter - You came only 9mths ago and it was the beginning of many AMAZING days to come
My Boyfriend - My love. My life. I love you more every day
Tyson - My big furry buddy....<3
Family - For being there for me when I need you...and even when I dont!
Friends - Forever <3
Health - One more year of a clean bill of health....thank you very much!
Life - ...and for everything in it.
Courage - to get through the day and build a better life for my family
Security - letting me be comfortable in my life, home and other surroundings.

This year, dont just be thankful for the same as last year. Have new things to be thankful for and make a point to have new things next year too! Family and Friends are the givens....

What are you thankful for this year?

Share in the comments below or send me an email!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Happy First Birthday Hunter

Technically Hunters birthday was Thursday, September 27 but we celebrated on Sunday with his family and friends. My friend Erin, has a handsome boy named Hunter and he's FINALLY one year old!!! This little guy has been hanging out with Adriana since she was about 2-1/2mths old.

Erin and I joke about them being Boyfriend and Girlfriend...possibly each others first husband and wife LOL We love watching them play together! They are both fairly independent and play time is interesting. Anything Hunter plays with...Adriana wants to play with and vice versa. We also believe they talk to each other in Baby in the movie "Look Who's Talking"!!

As cute as they are....I'm glad I got to spend his first birthday with him!!

Did I mention that TODAY is MY BIRTHDAY?! yuppers...still twenty-something and loving it :) It's my first birthday as a mom...that is something very different for me. I didn't ask for anything this year, except to be with my family on this day. Although, my boyfriend had to work....we will have our family time later when he gets home. That's all I ask for on my special day.

To another year of family, friends, health and wealth! Hopefully more than last year though LOL