Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I'm a Mom Central Canada Blogger Grant Recipient!

When you're a newly married couple, people always ask, "When are you going to start a family?"
When you have your first child, people always seem to ask, "When are you going to have Baby #2?"
I can't help but feel a little bit of anxiety when people ask these rather innocent questions. Though I do wish for a younger sibling for Little One, I can't help but be scared.

Being a Mom of a preemie and having had a high risk pregnancy, I worry about having a second baby. In my heart, I want a sibling for Little One, but can't get past the fear of something going wrong again. I'd like to share with other moms about the realistic fears of expanding one's family and let others know that they aren't alone in feeling anxiety over this matter.
After Little One’s dramatic entrance into the world, where she canon-balled herself into existence without the presence of a doctor in the hospital room, I have to say that the thought of having another preemie is a little bit daunting.

With her being born at 28 weeks gestation and weighing in at a whopping 980 grams (that’s just a tad over 2 lbs of butter!), life as my husband and I knew it would never be the same.  Having spent the first 70 days of her life in the NICU, we realize what a tremendous blessing and miracle she is.

Of course, our little preemie is now two years old (three years old in November) and everyone keeps asking when we’re going to have #2.
 The dates on these photos are incorrect. The settings on the camera were wrong. Little One was born on November 11, 2008.

The truth is, I’m scared.

I am terrified of having to go through that again.  There’s no telling whether I will have another premature baby, but the thought of it happening again scares me to death. I have friends who have had preemies and who have gone on to deliver their other children full-term. I've also got friends who have had preemies and kept on having preemies. We are blessed to have  had a healthy, strong, feisty little girl, but what if the next time we aren't so lucky?
  We were so fortunate that despite her prematurity and low birth weight, Little One came out unscathed.  She had no serious health complications, but was using her CPAP and NG tube for longer than I expected her to.  Two lumbar punctures (spinal taps) and a few other procedures were the biggest/most serious things she had to undergo.  Otherwise, no retinopathy of prematurity, no respiratory issues, no vision or hearing impairment.

It’s still scary to think that she might have had one or all of the above. I know we would love her with all our hearts regardless of what the outcome would have been.  ALL babies are special and all babies are blessings.  I guess the part that scares me the most is the thought of my preemie not surviving and not whether my baby had any medical issues.

Every day in the NICU was like a roller coaster ride.  One fantastic day could be followed by days of set backs.  One never knew whether Baby would survive.  Being born so early means having to do all that growing outside of Mom’s womb when Baby should still be inside.

Those 70 days in the NICU were the most challenging (physically and emotionally) days in my life. Words cannot express how scary each day was with the not knowing what would happen from one day to the next. Perhaps I've put those memories behind me for the most part. Every now and then, those memories resurface. They usually return and haunt me whenever people ask about Baby #2.  I remember how tiny and frail my preemie was and it just makes me cry.

People tell me to forget about Little One being a preemie and that I should put all of that "stuff" in the past. Little One is happy, healthy, and just like any other toddler around. I should let go of "unrealistic" fears and stop being so worried.

Perhaps I should just take a leap of faith and let whatever happens happen.

 Unless you've experienced having a baby born so early, you might not understand how real these fears are.
 My husband understands these fears and is supportive. He also feels we need to just go ahead and have faith that everything will turn out okay.
The best thing one can do is to speak with one's medical team (OB-GYN, high risk pregnancy specialist, etc) and discuss what steps need to be taken to prepare for another pregnancy and possible preterm baby. In our case, we've already had a consultation with our high risk pregnancy doctor and have discussed putting in a cervical cerclage for the next pregnancy. It will help keep the cervix closed until time to deliver the baby.

At least this time, doctors are aware that Little One was born preterm due to my incompetant cervix and me dilating at 21 weeks. Preparing mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally will make things easier this time around.

Steps to prepare for next pregnancy:
* Prepare body for the next pregnancy by eating healthy, continuing to exercise regularly, taking pre-natal vitamins, and getting enough rest. If doctor's orders call for bed rest, by all means, abide by those orders! The longer the baby is in, the better!

* Prepare emotionally by knowing what the outcomes of a premature birth can be. Know that another early delivery may or may not happen. Some women have preemies, but go on to have full-term pregnancies. Some have one preemie after another. In any case, remember that there may be many days in the NICU if you have another premature delivery.

* Use all the services available to you. There is a wealth of help out there. Everything from doctors, chat groups, parents of preemies, social workers, etc. Mount Sinai has fantastic services that I found extremely helpful for me when I was there.

Later on, after you have delivered, consider contacting the Ronald McDonald House (should you require somewhere to stay after your baby is born and you live out of town and cannot commute to the hospital every day). If you require aid in any way - for example, with paperwork for time spent away from work to care for your sick baby (that isn't included in maternity leave), social workers can also provide you assistance and information on various services available in situations like these.

* The best advice family and friends have given me is to believe and have faith that all will turn out well, but prepare for the challenges should they arise.


 I know I do want to have a sibling for Little One.  I do want to have another baby.  I’m just still a little bit scared.

I have been selected as one of the Summer 2011 recipients for a $250 Mom Central Canada Blogger Grant. I have been participating in Mom Central Canada blog tours, testing opportunities, and reviews for the past few years (since I became pregnant with Little One). Mom Central Canada also has a Blogger Grant Program where they will be awarding $10,000 worth of grants over the next year for Canadian bloggers in the Mom Central Canada network who have a compelling story and who want to help make the lives of busy moms and their families better.


I never expected to be selected, and am thrilled (and still shocked) to discover that I received the grant! Thank you so much, Mom Central Canada. You do so much for moms like me. It means a lot for me to have a place to express my thoughts, fears, concerns, anxieties and for me to be able to share with other moms who may be going through the same experience. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.


Round 4 of the Mom Central Canada Blogger Grant Program:
• Open for submissions: September 23, 2011
• Deadline for submissions: October 28, 2011
• Winners notified: November 25, 2011



*This blog post is cross-posted over at www.lifeonmanitoulin.blogspot.com

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Back To School Snacks with Orville Redenbacher

It's Back-to-School time! I know! Where did the Summer go? It seems one day we're gearing up for days on the beach, and the next, the kids are back at school!

What goes hand in hand with Back-to-School prep? Pencils, paper, and...popcorn! We send our children to school with all the tools and materials they need to learn. This should include some healthy snacks! How about something full of fibre, whole grains, and flavour?!

What's even better is that you can get your children in the lunch and snack prep mode by having them help you out? Have them help make a bunch of  snacks for the school week on a Sunday evening and each morning, they can choose what they'd like to put in their lunch bags! Kids love being creating and doing things themselves helps them feel empowered. If they make it, they'll be proud of themselves and want to eat their creations!

In our house, Little One enjoys her popcorn like it's no one's business! Popcorn and family go together well. When we have some downtime, we sometimes have popcorn and watched "Tangled" or whatever other movie the toddler wants to watch with us.

Sure, she's still a bit young to be making Back-to-School snacks, but she does need snacks for play groups, on the road, at friends' houses, etc. She loves helping out in the kitchen, so Orville Redenbacher's® Smart Pop! is fabulous to have on hand at  home.

Here are a few quick Orville Redenbacher Smart Pop! recipes to get your kids through the school week.
Pop some extra popcorn the night before, and package them in individual snack bags (to retain that just-popped freshness). If you want some flavour, in a large bowl, add freshly popped popcorn, sprinkle with taco seasoning or Parmesan cheese, and shake until coated evenly. Little One LOVES cheese-flavoured popcorn!

If you and your kids have a few extra minutes, the following recipe is another great one for school snacks.


Orville's Power Crunch Bars
Serves: 24 servings (1 bar each)
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Baking Time: 10-12 minutes
Ingredients
·         1 mini bag (31 g each) Orville Redenbacher's® Smart Pop!® 100 Calorie Buttery Flavour Microwave Popcorn
·         1/2 Teaspoon baking soda
·         1 1/2 Cup quick-cooking rolled oats
·         3/4 Cup dried cranberries
·         1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
·         1/2 Cup margarine, softened
·         3/4 Cup all-purpose flour
·         3 *serving (1/3 sec spray) PAM® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray
·         1/4 Teaspoon salt
·         1/2 Teaspoon ground cinnamon
·         3/4 Cup firmly packed brown sugar
·         1 Tablespoon water
Directions
1.       Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray 15x10-inch jelly roll pan with cooking spray. Combine oats, flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in medium bowl; set aside.
2.       Prepare popcorn according to package directions. Remove any unpopped kernels; set aside.
3.       Combine brown sugar and margarine in large bowl, using electric mixer on high speed.  Add water and vanilla; beat until light and fluffy.  Gradually add flour mixture and blend well. Turn mixer on low speed; add cranberries.
4.       Cover hands with plastic gloves or sandwich size plastic bags; spray with cooking spray. Mix popcorn into dough. Spread mixture into prepared pan.  Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.
5.       Let cool before cutting into 24 bars.  Store in tightly sealed container.


 Discolsure- The recipes posted on this blog have been developed by the Orville Redenbacher team, and are not my own. I am receiving a sample of Orville Redenbacher's® Smart Pop! to make a batch of my own.



Thursday, August 25, 2011

Baby Banana Brush Review and Giveaway!

We pay close attention to our little one's teeth. After all, healthy teeth and gums are paramount. Oral care is so important because teeth and gums are good indicators of one's overall health. This is why we encourage Little One to take good care of her teeth. I realize she's still little, but I figure that if we start her off young, it will just be part of her daily routine and she won't think twice about brushing her teeth.

I was so excited to discover Live-Right Solutions' Original Baby Banana® Brush. The Baby Banana Brush is specially crafted from the highest quality medical grade silicone. This ensures babies are safe as they learn to brush their teeth. The material is soft, pliable, durable, and babies won't hurt themselves if they fall while brushing. It's not made of hard plastic, so you can relax a bit when your wee one is brushing his/her teeth!
The Baby Banana Brush is also dishwasher safe. You can sanitize it in the dishwasher if you wish! It can also be frozen in the freezer for teething relief.

Our toddler loves to brush her teeth and she's a little over two years old now, so I thought I'd let my friend try the Baby Banana Brush on her baby (who is in the midst of teething). No such luck. As soon as the package arrived, Little One tore into it. She got so excited and said, "MY banana toothbrush!"
Little One has been carrying the Baby Banana Toothbrush around with her everywhere she goes! That's how much she loves it! She loves the Spry Tooth Gel too. It's a delicious strawberry-banana flavour that kids love. I tried it just to see what it tasted like. It's pretty good. I can see why kids like it. It is fluoride-free, safe to swallow, and made with Xylitol (the cavity-fighting natural sugar).
I was given the opportunity to try out the Baby Banana® Brush Combo Pack, which includes one  Baby Banana® Brush and one tube of Spry Tooth Gel. They make the perfect pair! The Baby Banana toothbrush is so much fun to hold and easy for toddlers (and babies) to use. I've never seen my child get so excited about brushing her teeth! She's been telling me when it's time to brush teeth! She just loves the tooth gel too!
It is my honest opinion that these products are must-haves for anyone who has children/babies. It's a great way to get children excited about brushing their teeth!

Baby Banana® Brush products include:
- The Original Baby Banana Brush
- Baby Banana Teething Toothbrush
- Spry Xylito Tooth Gel (Strawberry-Banana)
- Baby Banana Brush & Spry Tooth Gel Combo Pack (the one I tried for this review)
- Deluxe Infant Oral Care Kit
- Baby Sharky Brush


Great news! Live-Right would love to let you know about the Baby Banana® Brush Combo Pack
too! They hope it can get your kids excited about brushing teeth as well!

Win it!
To enter, simply tell me what you like about Baby Banana Brush and why you'd like to win one. (mandatory)


Want extra entries?
"Like" Baby Banana Brush and Random Thoughts and Musings from the Island REVIEWS on Facebook and say hello! (2 entries)

Follow @BabyBananaBrush and @chancesmommy on Twitter and say hi! (2 entries)

Tweet this: "I want to #win a @BabyBananaBrush Combo Pack from @chancesmommy's blog !" (1 entry)

Follow me on Google Friend Connect. (1 entry)

Follow me on Networked Blogs (1 entry)

Post my blog button on your site and leave me the link where I can find it :) (1 entry)

Giveaway Rules:
  1. Contest is open to Canadian and U.S. Residents only
  2. The contest will run from Aug. 25 – Sept. 9, 2011 at 11:59 ET.
  3. One winner will be chosen using Random.org and will be notified at the email address used upon entry.
  4. The winner will have 48 hrs to respond and failure to do so will result in a new winner selection. 

Disclosure - I was given a Baby Banana® Brush Combo Pack (Baby Banana Brush and Spry Tooth Gel) to facilitate this review. All the opinions on this blog are honest and my own.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Seventh Generation Giveaway!

 
It used to drive my family crazy when I was on the environmental committee in cegep and university. I used to hound everyone about being conscious about our impact on the environment. I was even part of an enviro group that started vermicomposting at our university! We believed that we would save the world...or at least, change it for the better.
 
Now that I have my own little family, I'm even more diligent about what I bring into our household. It really is true that parenthood changes the way we view the world sometimes. We become so much more aware of the impact of our actions. This is the same when it comes to our choices in products that we bring into our homes.

Making sure we  have safe products is important to me, especially since our daughter was a preemie. Her immune system was compromised since she was born so early and to this day, she is susceptible to catching whatever colds or sicknesses are going around.

I have to say until now, I hadn't really found any environmentally friendly products that I truly, truly loved. Then, Mom Central introduced me to Seventh Generation.

Seventh Generation believes their products are healthy solutions for the air, surfaces, fabrics, pets, and people in your home, as well as the community and environment outside of it. From their development, production, purchase, use, and disposal, Seventh Generation products make a difference.

Seventh Generation products available in Canada include:
* Free & Clear Diapers (sizes 1-6)
* Free & Clear Diaper Wipes (tubs and refills)
* Natural 2X Concentrated Laundry Detergent
* Natural Fabric Softener
* Chlorine Free Bleach
* Natural Dish Liquid
* Automatic Dishwasher Gel
* Automatic Dishwasher Detergent Powder
* Automatic Dishwasher Detergent Concentrated Pacs
* Natural Household Cleaners
* Paper Products (bath tissue and paper towels)

For those of you who have babies/toddlers still in diapers, you'll be happy to know that Seventh Generation has our babies' in mind too. Little One is still in diapers and I am excited about the Free & Clear diapers and wipes! They provide premium absorbency, and soft, cloth-like comfort. I love that they are free of fragrances, as well as chemicals like chlorine.The diapers are lighter weight, yet still provide premium absorption. The lighter weight core diapers mean less waste in landfill space!

I am happy to say that I am now a 7thGen Nation member. You can join too! Simply sign up here:
http://ca.seventhgeneration.com/community_ca  As a Nation member, you’ll have access to coupons, special offers and great tips for green and healthy living.

 WIN IT!!!

Seventh Generation is giving one of my readers a chance to WIN 
a 100% organic cotton Seventh Gen Eco lunch bag as well as coupons for a FREE package of Seventh Generation Free & Clear Diapers, Free & Clear Baby Wipes and dish washing products! 

Giveaway Rules:
  1. Contest is open to Canadian Residents only
  2. The contest will run from Aug. 23 – Sept.16 at 11:59 ET.
  3. One winner will be chosen using Random.org and will be notified at the email address used upon entry.
  4. The winner will have 48 hrs to respond and failure to do so will result in a new winner selection.
**To win, simply leave me a comment here telling me your best tip on how to be more environmentally conscious. (mandatory entry)**



For additional entries: (please leave a separate comment for EACH entry)
* Follow @SeventhGen and @chancesmommy on Twitter and tweet the following:
"Enter to win eco-friendly products from Seventh Generation via @chancesmommy & @SeventhGen #giveaway #SeventhGenCanada"  (2 entries)

* Follow me on Google Friend Connect (1 entry)

* Follow Random Thoughts and Musings from the Island REVIEWS on NetworkedBlogs (1 entry)

Good luck, everyone!

Pssst! If you're on Facebook, why not drop by the Seventh Generation and Random Thoughts from the Island REVIEWS pages and say hello?






 
Disclosure – I am participating in the Seventh Generation program by Mom Central Canada.  I received compensation as a thank you for my participation.  The opinions on this blog are my own.

Friday, August 19, 2011

And Then There Was Guac

 In our house, we're all crazy for guac. Well, Hubby's more into the salsa. Little One and I can devour guacamole within minutes. People are always amazed to see my toddler eat guacamole straight out of the bowl with a spoon!

With the awesome Wholly Guacamole package I received (thanks to Gingermommy), I have been on a quest to try the Wholly Guacamole and Wholly Salsa products in my recipes. Sure, they're delicious as dips with tortillas, but how do they fare in other recipes?

They are fabulous!!! They compliment any dish!

I made a Roasted Chicken-Guac-Cheese-Salsa Melt with Flat Bread on my Panini press.

-roasted chicken, shredded
-cheese, grated
-Wholly Guacamole guac
-flat bread
-Wholly Salsa (I added extra veggies by dicing up more green and red pepper)

*The Wholly Salsa has heaps of veg, but I had some green and red pepper on hand that needed to be used.

Load ingredients on top of a piece of flat bread and cover with another piece of flat bread. Make sure to put enough cheese so that when it melts, you've got loads of ooey-gooey goodness! Place on Panini press and grill until golden. Garnish with a little more salsa and if you want, a few sprigs of Cilantro.

We're addicted to the guac and salsa from eatwholly.com. I'm going to try to post new recipes as often as I can.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Fun in the Boudoir with Eden Fantasys

WARNING: The following post contains links to adult material. You must be 18+. 

Keep the fire burning in your relationship with some fun items from EdenFantasys. Whether you're in the honeymoon stage of your relationship or wish to bring back the smoldering embers into a roaring fire, you'll be certain to find something on the EdenFantasys webpage that will appeal to you and your partner.

What woman doesn't want to feel beautiful and sexy in some pretty lingerie? Babydolls, teddies, corsets, bustiers, and gowns from EdenFantasys will make any gal feel her finest. C'mon...every girl wants a little something sexy in her closet! I'm not talking about having Eric Northman in your closet. I'm talking something to wear that's sensual, alluring, silky, or maybe lacy?
Sex toys - EdenFantasys adult toys store

Set the mood for a romantic soiree with some candles and scented oils (among other items!) available at EdenFantasys. There are so many fun and exciting products to try out, from tame to the wild and risqué!
Sex toys - EdenFantasys adult toys store

I have to admit that this is the first time I have ever written a post for anything of this nature. I don't know what happened, but as soon as I became a mom, I became more guarded about the things I say or divulge. It's not that I'm a prude or anything. There are just some things I feel uncomfortable about discussing since Little One now has very big ears and repeats everything! Plus, what happens in the boudoir stays in the boudoir. Right? Ha! Ha! I don't actually use the word "boudoir" when I speak about sexy things.

When the opportunity to write this post for EdenFantasys presented itself, I figured it was a great chance to reclaim that part of me that wasn't just "Mom".

As I perused the website, I came across the Party Favors and Gags. This brought back memories of bachelorette/stagette parties for friends (back in the day!). What a hoot! Oh, boy! There are items there that are sure to make my 91 year old grandma blush!

You can also earn free products through the EdenPoints Program at EdenFantasys. Points will be awarded by rating a product, adding products to your wish list, adding items to compare, writing a review, etc...

This might spice up your love life...unless you're already too hot to handle!

Pssssst! You can also get a FREE GIFT with any order!

Disclosure: I am also receiving a Gift Certificate to use from Eden Fantasys in exchange for a review of my opinion. The opinions expressed on this blog are my own.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Eat Wholly: Dinner in a Pinch!

By now, most people know that our family is crazy for guac! In fact, our toddler is a little guac monster! The kid eats guacamole straight from the bowl...with a spoon! No crackers, tortilla chips, veggies, or other accoutrements. Just guac.

Thanks to my friend, Gingermommy, we're big fans of Wholly Guacamole...or as our toddler calls it, GA-KA-MO-YEE! Our toddler's a Purist and loves the guac on its own. Me? I love it on burgers, with veggies, in a layered dip with tortilla chips, and on grilled chicken-alfalfa sprout-tomato sandwiches! YUM!

Did you know that Eat Wholly also has salsa? Salsa and guac! The perfect marriage!

Today, I was in a rush and needed to get lunch on the table within minutes. I concocted some Wholly Salsa Pasta and served it with a fresh cucumber salad. I'll post my Grilled Chicken alfalfa-tomato-Wholly Guacamole Sandwich recipe next time.

Wholly Salsa Pasta Salad




Ingredients:
Whole wheat pasta (I used Conchigliette, small shell-shaped pasta)
Wholly Salsa (medium)
2 tbps olive oil mayonnaise
cilantro 

Cook pasta as per directions on package. Drain. In a bowl, add Wholly Salsa, pasta, olive oil mayo, and mix so that the pasta is completely coated. Garnish with chopped cilantro. Serve and enjoy!


I don't usually use mayo in our food, but was craving a little something creamy today. I served this pasta salad with a fresh cucumber salad (with homemade vinaigrette). The meal took less than 30 minutes (prep and cooking time).

 

Canadian Small Businesses: Win $15,000 from CentrSource

Thinking of starting a small business? Already have one and looking for extra funds to expand? 
CentrSource is having a contest for all Canadian small business owners just like you. You can win a grand prize of $15,000!  

Great news! CentrSource.ca has extended the contest deadline! The new deadline is August 31st! Get your entries in now!


TO ENTER:
Simply enter your business information and a product offer for friends and family to vote on.

Over $40,000 in prizes to be won!


* Grand prize of $15,000 cash + 6 months of free advertising on CentrSource.

* Secondary prize: One ad will be randomly selected out of 50 entries for one prize of $5,000 cash + 3 months of free advertising on CentrSource.

Every Week, there are chances to WIN! A winner will be drawn randomly from ALL ad entries each week to win one of 8 weekly prizes of $1,000 cash + 1 month of free advertising on CentrSource.

Think that's great? It gets even better!  Even if you don't have a small business, you can still enter to win an iPad 2 just by voting!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods & Oils

Eating healthy and getting exercise is high on almost everyone's list these days. Zumba, dance classes, swimming, and now a walking program are how I get my exercise. Of course, living in the countryside, we're always busy and active outdoors...especially running after a toddler!

We live in the rural north, far away from chain restaurants and junk food. In our household, we try to eat as healthfully as possible, and really take into consideration what we put into our bodies. We try to eat lots of raw, whole foods. We've taught our toddler to "eat a rainbow" every day.  Many people are blown away at how the toddler loves to eat her veggies! "GA-KA-MO-YEE" (guacamole) is among her favourites, along with hummus, Babaganouj, and roasted seaweed!

When I was given the opportunity to try Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods & Oils, I was pretty excited!
Manitoba Harvest is a company that promotes a healthy and active lifestyle and encourages and supports sustainable agriculture. They produce fresh, quality foods...foods you can feel good about feeding your family.

Hemp has been hailed as a super food. For the past few years, I have been reading up on hemp and its health benefits. For those unfamiliar with hemp foods/oils, you can view a comparison of dietary fats here and a comparison of proteins here. You can also read some interesting articles and studies about hemp here.

The essential fatty acids contained in hemp can reduce blood cholesterol to prevent plaque buildup in the arteries.

The high amount of fiber that is contained in hemp seeds can help to keep your digestive tract clean and healthy. As a result you can eliminate digestive disorders such as bloating and constipation. Ummm...I'm sure you really wanted me to discuss those, right?

Some other interesting things I have learned in my readings:
A healthy digestive system along with the antioxidants and plant sterols contained in hemp can help to reduce your risk of breast, colon and prostate cancers. Also, hemp can help to control your blood sugar levels. This is due to the healthy fats which help the body to absorb the glucose from the bloodstream and turn it into energy. As a result, energy levels will increase and sweet cravings will decrease.

Enough with the details, right? You want a recipe!

I've been using hemp seeds in almost everything I cook. They're great sprinkled on salads, used in baking, in smoothies...in everything!

After work, I had to whip up a little something for a get together. I made Apple Hemp Muffins.
Apple Cinnamon Ginger Hemp Muffins
Ingredients
-2 c. whole wheat flour
-1 tbps baking powder
-1/2 c oatmeal
-a pinch of salt
- a dash of flax seeds (not needed, but I had them on hand)
-1/3 c hemp seeds
-1 c apple sauce
-1 c almond milk (I used soy milk today, because there was someone with a nut allergy at the party)
-2 eggs
-1 tbsp ginger
-1 tbsp cinnamon
-2 apples, cubed or chopped (peel and core first!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, mix together dry ingredients. In separate bowl, combine wet ingredients and then add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Mix together until everything is wet. Add cubed/chopped apples into the batter. Mix together.

In a greased muffin tin, spoon batter. Be careful not to overfill. I find two heaping tablespoons of batter are just the right amount. Don't go too much over the halfway mark. Just before popping muffins into the oven, I sprinkled some more hemp seeds on top of each muffin. My toddler wanted me to make the muffins look "pretty", so we thinly sliced some apple and place a slice on top of each muffin...with the peel still on for added colour.

Bake in oven for 25 to 28 minutes, or until golden and if you do the "toothpick test", toothpick comes out clean/with no batter stuck to it).

*I did see that Manitoba Harvest has a similar recipe on their website. I will have to try it out sometime*

 What I love about this recipe is that it appealed to everyone at the dinner party we went to. There were no nuts, not too much sugar (homemade applesauce, and I don't put much sugar in my applesauce), and no dairy. Next time, I'll try to make it without eggs so those who are vegan or who have an egg allergy can eat them too. If I'm really ambitious, I might even try switching up the flour and making it gluten-free for those who can't eat wheat products! I'm thinking that to get around the omission of the eggs, I may have to add more applesauce. We'll see.


Another yummy hit:
Rice Pasta with Hemp Seeds

-Rice noodles (macaroni, rotini, or whatever you prefer)
-olives
-cucumber
-goat cheese
-cherry or grape tomatoes
-garlic, minced
-onion, finely chopped
-spices of your choice (a nice mix of Greek/Mediterranean spices work well!)
-Olive oil
-Vinegar
-Hemp seeds

Cook pasta as you normally would. While pasta is cooking, chop up cucumber, olives, cheese, and cut tomatoes in  half. Add ingredients into a large serving bowl.

In a measuring cup, add vinegar and minced garlic. Add a splash of olive oil and your spices. Mix together and pour dressing over pasta and veggies. Toss. Sprinkle generous amount of hemp seeds and enjoy. Sorry, I don't usually use proper measurements in my cooking. I just go on taste.

The hemp seeds were a hit. Everyone loved them. They do taste a little nutty and I love how now I can switch up between flax and hemp seeds. We are really loving the hemp seeds in our household!

Follow Manitoba Harvest on Facebook and on Twitter!







Disclosure- I received a package of hemp seeds from Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods & Oils to facilitate this review. All of the opinions on this blog are my own.




Sunday, August 7, 2011

CostumeSuperCenter.Com Review

 In our household, dressing up is not just reserved for Halloween. Oh, no. We've got a toddler who insists on dressing up all the time. She's got a vivid imagination and loves to explore her creative side. If you're ever at our house, you'll know what I mean. Little One can often be found all decked out in a lion costume or a chicken costume. Little One dancing in her in one of her many ballet tutus is also not a rare occurrence.

This is why I am so excited about the wonderful opportunity I had to review a costume from CostumeSuperCenter.Com!

For this review, CostumeSuperCenter.Com sent us a costume of our choice. As we perused through the huge selection of girls' costumes, I thought it would be cute for Little One to have dress up as a hot dog or something funny like that. Oh, nooooo. She had to choose a fairy costume. How original.

CostumeSuperCenter.Com had our order shipped out and at our house in no time. Customer service was fantastic. Truly a company I enjoyed dealing with! Not only was I impressed with the service, but the costume was simply adorable. Great quality too!

Little One was ooooh-ing and ahhhh-ing over her Plum Pixie Costume. So cute! It came complete with a whimsical fairy dress, wings, wand, and a floral wreath. The verdict? 100% pleased as punch! The toddler refused to take her costume off! Have I mentioned that she's obsessed with fairies and all things Tinkerbell these days?
I only wish  had known about CostumeSuperCenter.Com earlier! My friend (ArtsyTeacherMom) and I are known for throwing dinner parties. More precisely, theme parties (yes, we're a crazy party planning duo). For my 35th birthday last December (did I just say that out loud?), my friend and my husband had a surprise party for me. The theme was a Greek toga party (since I love Greek food)! Everyone was dressed in a toga, my house was transformed into a Greek Acropolis, the food was fit for the gods. It was brilliant.

Of course, come ArtsyTeacherMom's birthday, I needed to match her creativity. Her husband and I rented the  hall in town and threw her a surprise Disco dance party! The only problem was finding disco costumes for everyone! Well, CostumeSuperCenter.Com has everything we would have needed for such an event! The party was fabulous, by the way! Just wish we had these costumes!

Costumes are not just for Halloween, people! 

I know where we'll be getting all our costumes from  now on!

Check out CostumeSuperCenter.Com for a wide selection of costumes for men, women, kids, toddlers, and babies. Good news: They ship to Canada too! For a limited time, get an extra 10% off every item by using the "10MAPLE" code upon checkout!

Find them on Facebook and Twitter too!





Disclosure- I was given a costume of my choice by CostumeSuperCenter.com to facilitate this review. All opinions on this blog are my own.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Ddrops for Kids

Did you know that the recommended dose of vitamin D for toddlers and children is 400IU?

Research has shown that Vitamin D is important for our overall well-being because it has has many benefits on multiple organs within the body. Too little vitamin D can lower the immune system and increase the risk of heart disease, certain cancers, diabetes and more. Check this link for more information about vitamin D.

My doctor even mentioned the importance of vitamin D for adults. Our family spends lots of time outdoors (We're always outside! We live on a farm!), but I still take my Ddrops for Adults!

When Ddrops sent us Kids Ddrops, I wondered whether my toddler would take it. Most kids we know don't like taking vitamins, so this would prove to be interesting!

The result? She loves her Kids Ddrops!

I'm not sure if it's because of the picture of Dora the Explorer on the box and bottle or if it's because the vitamin D drops are really colourless, odourless, and tasteless! Just a single drop of Kids Ddrops equals the recommended dosage (400 IU). It's a fun way to take vitamins too! No need to mask the taste or chew tablets! The purified Ddrops contain no other chemicals or additives.

Little One thinks it's really fun to get her drop of vitamin D! No. I'm not kidding! She brings me the bottle of Ddrops in the morning and says, "I want Dora vitamin, Mommy!"

She loves it!

You can administer the vitamin D drop on a clean surface (like on a spoon) or drop it onto your child's food. Personally, we don't even bother dropping it onto Little One's food. She likes her Kids Ddrops as is. I put a drop on her finger and let her put it in her mouth. Of course, I make sure her hands have been washed first! Occasionally, we'll put it on a spoon, but she prefers it on her finger.
 
Who knew that taking vitamins could be so fun?


For more information about Kids Ddrops, check out the website here.
Follow news about vitamin D related to babies and infants, Ddrops™ and Kids Ddrops™ on facebook.com/babyddrops and twitter.com/babyddrops.