Monday, November 28, 2011

Menu Plan Monday!

That time again already!  Seems like the weeks are just flying by.

Easy Chicken and Vegetable pasta - not sure where this is from 
Beef Noodle Bowl - another Kraft recipe
Chicken Nuggets
Breakfast for dinner - sausages, eggs, hash browns and toast.  Who doesn't love this??

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Hypotonia - My Daughter's Story

Every mom wishes for happy, healthy, normal children so what do you do when you find out one of you're children isn't so 'normal' ??  My daughter was born on June 20th, 5 days late, 8 lbs and a perfect apgar score.  This was after a fairly easy pregnancy and a quick delivery.  I guess the first signs that something was wrong, though I didn't know at the time, was she couldn't breastfeed effectively.  She could suck forever and not get enough.  It took us 18 days to figure out she wasn't getting enough so I pumped and she got the bottle.  It took her a few weeks to be good at taking the bottle.  At the time I didn't think too much about the sucking issues.

I think when you're a mom you just know when something isn't right.  When my daughter reached 3.5 months old I was getting a little concerned as to why she wasn't lifting her head up when on her tummy, why her head was still wobbly, why she had head lag and when picking her up under the arms it felt like she'd slide right through.  At her 4 month check-up I expressed my concerns to the doctor and she felt that it was because my daughter is long and didn't weigh much for her length so it was causing muscle weakness but she referred us to a specialist for further evaluation.  Even though she was being positive about it I just knew it was more that just muscle weakness.

At 5 months old we got an official diagnosis of mild Hypotonia which upon reading about it doesn't really mean much.  Hypotonia is usually a symptom of something bigger having to do with the central nervous system or muscles and it's linked to many, many disorders.  If they can find the underlying disorder than that's treated accordingly but often with Hypotonia it seems that they can't find a cause so it's treated with appropriate therapy as needed.  We are in the process right now of beginning the testing to see what can be causing it starting with an ultrasound of my daughter's head.  Apparantly a lot can be seen through the fontanelle or 'soft spot'.

As you  can see in the picture she is lifting her head up now at 5 months very well and she's also started to stand when we put her feet on a flat surface!  She still has head lag, is a little wobbly and doesn't sit well even with support.  She's reaching milestones in a timely manner so far but only time will tell how the Hypotonia will affect her.  She doesn't babble much but that's not a concern yet.

I'm still trying to let this all sink in and educate myself as much as possible in order to help her.  I find writing about all this helpful for myself and hopefully others who might be going through something similar.  It's also a great way for me to keep my friends and fans updated.  I'll keep updating as our journey unfolds.  Thanks for listening!

Menu Plan Monday!

It was brought to my attention today that I forgot to do this post for the week.  I caught my son's cold and haven't been sleeping all that great between the cold, the kids and the cat.  So here it is:

Tacos - trying to use up shells before they expire
Unstuffed shells - I bought several jars of pasta sauce last week and they're taking up too much space
Cheeseburger meatloaf - bought some cheese whiz on sale to trying to use that in recipes
Slow cooker cheesy chicken and potatoes - uses cheese whiz again and I love a slow cooker recipe
Turkey broccoli divan - not sure where the recipe is from but I have some frozen turkey I'm trying to use up

I'm trying to lose weight so I lighten up my recipes whenever possible and usually fill my plate with half veggies and a little of what I make if it's not that healthy.  To me it's more important I make something that my toddler and hubby will enjoy.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Reel Babies!

I finally had the chance last week to bundle up my five month old daughter and head out to Empire Theatres for their Reel Babies movie.  With hubby's schedule changing at work I have to arrange care for my two year old in order to go.  Toddlers are allowed but there's no way I'm chasing him around the theatre!  For anyone who doesn't know, Reel Babies are matinees offered at the theatre specially for moms and babies.  The theatre is equipped with everything a mom would need to keep baby happy.  The lights are kept dimmed and the volume lowered.  From my experience the younger the baby the better.  

I've been to this theatre before when my son was an infant and wasn't impressed as they had no amenities that were advertised and I had to change my son on the floor.  This time was much better.  There was a change table, bottle warmer, exersaucer, play mats, baby rocker and a swing.  I met some moms outside beforehand and handed out some free passes then we all went in and enjoyed the movie.  It was nice having the amenities around to keep the babies busy.  My daughter enjoyed watching half the movie then she slept the other half.  She did practise her screaming but of course none of the moms cared which was nice.  I'm hoping to be able to go again while my daughter is still a baby.

Disclosure – I am participating in the Empire Reel Babies program by Mom Central Canada on behalf of Empire Theatres. I received compensation as a thank you for my participation.  The opinions on this blog are my own.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Saving Money With Kids

I'm currently on maternity leave for a year (perk of living in beautiful Canada) with two kids, a two year old and a five month old.  Being on EI when you only work part time to begin with really doesn't give you a ton of money and kids can be expensive but I've found ways to be frugal:

  • Use coupons whenever possible.  I buy the Entertainment coupon book every year because there's great savings in it for eating out and attractions such as the Zoo and the Aquarium.  There are also coupons for those indoor play centres now that my son is old enough to go to those places.  For even better savings try and only use coupons for product that is on sale.  I save every coupon I find and when something goes on sale I'll buy as many as I have coupons for that way I rarely end up paying full price for the food we eat often.  Some stores even let you use more than one coupon on one product but that's a whole other post on it's own.  See here if you would like more information on couponing in Canada.
  • Don't be too hung up on certain brands and be willing to switch and try other products that are on sale or that you have coupons for.  Even using store brand can save you a lot of money and the product is usually just as good as the name brand.  For reasons I won't get into yet my daughter couldn't breastfeed so we use store brand formula with her and it's half the price of the name brand!
  • Only buy stuff on sale or out of season if possible.  I recently picked up a lot of clothes for both kids for summer and only paid $1 each item!!  I often buy their stuff a season or two ahead of time when it's on clearance and often pay less than I see people selling used stuff for and it's brand new!  
  • Plan meals around food in your cupboards.  It would be a waste to throw something away so I make a weekly meal plan (which can save you money too!) around what's in my cupboards or freezer.  Often I'll have excess of something that I picked up on sale (pasta sauce for example).
  • Buy food products close to expiry date.  This stuff is often discounted and can sometimes be found in it's own section of the store or in it's usual spot and usually has a bright sale sticker on it so they can be spotted easily.  At Superstore, where we do most of our shopping, they're bright pink.  I'll buy meat and bread like this then put it straight in the freezer where it'll be good for a while or I cook it right away.  
  • Buy stuff used.  I recently bought my son a pair of rain boots and winter boots for $8!  They'll only fit him this year so I don't see the worth in buying them brand new.  Kids grow really fast and I've been very lucky to receive lots of hand me downs and baby goods free for both children!  I'm returning the favour by passing stuff on to others that need it.  
  • Eat at home.  It's nice to go out once in a while but restaurants can be expensive even with a coupon so we go out for a treat sometimes but most of our meals are had at home and planned one week at a time.  

I hope these tips can help you save money like I do and I'll be going into more detail in future posts.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Menu Plan Monday!

Chicken strips - from a box, not very imaginative but they were cheap!
Slow cooker tuscan chili - from Kraft Canada, never tried it before
Sweet n Sour pork chops and Peppers - this was good and I'm using up ingrediants
Bacon or Sausage Quiche - not sure where this recipe is from but it's easy and yummy and I use already made pie crusts
Porcupine Meatball Stew - I think this is from one of my cookbooks....  It's very tasty

Monday, November 7, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Due to the time change and being tired because the kids have been up extra early for the second day in a row we made our meals for the week easy.

Pancakes - from a shake n' pour bottle I've had in the cupboard for a while
Tortellinis fromt the freezer and jarred sauce and veggies
Kung Pao chicken - from the Kraft Canada website
Cheeseburger macaroni - not sure where the recipe is from
Frozen fish and cheesy scalloped potatoes

I wanted to be more adventurous this week and try out some new recipes but maybe once the children are back to sleeping later in the morning and we're all a little more rested.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Mabel's Labels

Mabel's labels are great for labelling anything and everything especially when it comes to our children's personal belongings.  The waterproof ones are great for labelling cups for daycare/school as they don't come off easily even in the dishwasher.  If there's something in your house that needs to be labelled Mabel's labels is sure to have something to label it with from iron on labels for clothes to metal tag labels for bags and pencil cases.  Their labels aren't only functional but they're nice to look at too and there's many designs to choose from.  Mabel's labels ship all over the world for a nominal price and shipping in Canada is free.  Orders can be placed at or by mail or phone.

This post is not sponsored by Mabel's labels and I'm not getting paid.  These are just my personal opinions on some great products! 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Dinner for Monday was brought to us and cooked here.  Tuesday we had a quick, thrown together tuna casserole type dish.  The rest of the plan is:

Pasta with a turkey tomato sauce
An Indian chicken dish - sauce from jars I got for free from a trade show
Chicken nuggets, veggies and some sort of side dish
Pizza from the freezer

Nothing that takes too long and nothing new to try for this week.  Might even be going out for dinner on one of the days.