Friday, October 30, 2009

Is it flu? or just another cold?

This time of the year, in connection with the rise and fall of the temperature, has always proved to be the worst when it comes to our health. It's the season when colds, gastroenteritis, flu and now the H1N1 flu become an issue. We have to be extra vigilant. As a healthcare worker, we are urged to be vaccinated against the seasonal flu.

Last week the Influenza A (H1N1) vaccine were launched Canada-wide to fight against this kind of flu. Information were posted in several canadian news website to know when and where to be vaccinated. Our schedule falls on November 6. I'm still hesitant to get it since it's new and we don't know the side effects after a month or two. But, after hearing news of death of people contracting the disease, I'm positive that I want to be vaccinated. Yesterday my sister in law gave me a self care guide on H1N1. The guide itself is available HERE but I would like to post the DECISION CHART that for me is quite helpful for everybody and it comes handy when we or somebody close to us become ill. Let's educate ourselves. It's better to be well informed.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Rise and Shine

My 4 year old son's bedtime is usually at 9 pm sundays to thursdays. Fridays and saturdays, we usually let him sleep at 10:30pm or 11pm. But regardless of what time he slept, I've noticed that the past few months he would wake up at 5am, which is way too early for me on a cold saturday morning. Seriously. C'mon let's not kid ourselves, it. is. too. early! hahhahha At my workplace, fridays are usually the most exhausting day for me. So I expect to have more shuteyed time on Saturdays. This morning I received an email from babycenter regarding my son's development at this time. Suprisingly, it tackles about 4 year-olds waking up too early. Babycenter has proven itself to be a good source of information on kid's growth and development for parents.

Your 4-year-old now:
Often, 4-year-olds who are otherwise good sleepers wake up too early, long before the rest of the household is ready to start the day. If it's a chronic issue, the trouble may be too much napping or a bedtime that's too early. Most 4-year-olds have given up naps, but if she's still napping longer than 30 minutes, keep in mind this will be subtracted from her nighttime sleep.

If early wake-up calls happen only sporadically, there's no harm done, and you don't need to get up early, too. By 4, your child is old enough to understand that she shouldn't wake up others but is welcome to stay quietly in her room (or come and join you for a morning snuggle). Keep quiet playthings in her room. Try leaving out fresh books at night so she'll have something interesting to look at when she wakes up. Agree on a signal that indicates it's time to "get up" and leave the room: your alarm clock going off, for example, or your calling to her. Try putting an analog clock without a second hand in her room and place a sticker on the hour at which it's OK to get up. SOURCE

My son knows how to read the time at 2 1/2 yr old. So everytime he wakes up at 5, I would tell him to wait until 6:30am. While waiting, he can try to sleep some more or read a book or look at the pictures. Most of the time it works, but on some bad times, he would whisper or talk the whole time. I don't consider that as a chronic issue because at this time, my son still naps for 2 to 3 hours in the afternoon. Even if he wakes up too early, I know that he's not sleep deprived, even if it means that the mom has to be a bit sleep deprived. It's part of being a mom, eh?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

One Lovely Blog Award

My first award, yehey! :D

Thanks to pumpkienpie and her awesome blog I LOVE MUCH

Now to accept this award here’s the rules: Post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award, and his or her blog link. Pass the award to 15 other blogs that you’ve newly discovered. Remember to contact the blogger to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

It's my turn to pass this “One Lovely Blog Award” to my friends.

It's my blog, so it's my call.. I would pass this to bloggers who, I believe, are deserving to be called One Lovely Blog. Please take note that I don't expect that you repost this or whatever. This is just my simple way of saying, you guys rock!

Have a blessed day!

Simply Deelytz
Avenue Junkie
Tints of Me
Kay's lil universe
Janeth Vicy
Hits and Mrs
L is for Liza
Vanity Clinic
Busy moms tips

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Apple picking

Apple and Pumpkin picking are regular activities during Fall time. Apples are usually ready for harvest starting September until late October. The month of October is considered the pumpkin month.

I started looking for a great apple picking location from the time that I've learned that my parents are coming. I knew that it'll be a perfect experience for them, and I was right! My husband and I have been to an apple picking event before so it wasn't that of a big event for us. But for my parents and my son, this was the first. And we're more than happy to be a part of it.

Today, we went to the Quinn farm. I chose Quinn farm because 1. they were extremely nice when I called them even if it was very early in the morning when I called just to inquire about the opening hours at this time of the season, 2. I've read a lot of good reviews about this farm, and 3. this orchard is one of the closest to our place.They are open from 10am to 4pm from Thursdays to Sundays. Admission rate including the hay ride is $2 and they charge $12 per bag. Each bag can contain 18 to 20 lbs of apples. Regarding the pumpkins, you pick your own pumpkin and the rate will depend on its weight. The farm itself is huge and very clean, they make good apple pies, they have sweet apples, and they have friendly people. I was surprised that most of the guests were anglophones.

The farmhouse

The Empire apples

They are sweet!

My little boy is trying to clean the pumpkin that daddy picked while holding the small pumpkin that he picked himself on his other hand.

The pumpkin farm

2495 boul. Perrot sud
Notre-Dame de l'ile - Perrot
Quebec J7V 8P4

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Random thoughts on a busy week

I've been very busy the past few days. A lot of things have happened. I finished my Quickbooks task just in time for the accountant's end of the fiscal year, that task was a lot harder than I thought, because I'm not an accountant to start with. I'm not very familiar with the accounting terms and I'm not very patient when it comes to numbers, but it was a task that was entrusted to me by my boss so I have to do it. Then came my parents' arrival here in Montreal. Then my dad got sick because of the cold weather, add to the stress that I need to do regular updates to my siblings on my dad's case. Then I have to learn all the tools and the tricks in Cerec 3D. Then I have to bring my parents to places including a not- so- quick visit to the doctor's office. Thank heavens that my dad is fine. Then I have to do my regular mommy chores, plus my full time job. I have to juggle everything. Do I sound whiny now? hahah sorry! I can't help it! Anyway, it was a bit overwhelming and stressful, but I'm good. Life is good! Thank God that I could blog, at least I can get away from all these even for 10 minutes. And thanks to my mom for helping me with the cooking. It's good to have your mom around, eh? Imagine coming home with a home cooked meal, amazing! So we will be staying away from wendy's, kfc and mcdonalds for 3 months LOL. Even my co-workers have noticed that I'm eating "real" food for lunch.

Anyway, weather forecasts that we will be having a sunny weekend. Sunny, but cold. Highest will be at 6C. But at least it's sunny!

Today (saturday), we went to the Basilica of Notre Dame, which is closed for the whole day since there will be 6 weddings. I was a bit disappointed since I want my parents to see the beauty of the Basilica, not to mention that it was really cold this morning when we went, then to see that it was closed, me = disappointed. But we can still come back some other time. Moving on, we went to the Oratory of St. Joseph in Mont Royal. It was a huge church with a lot of chapels. Just a little backtrack, contrary to my previous post (see LINK), I've said that "there's nothing really special with this church". I was so wrong. Just the view from the top of the oratory, with the facade of the whole montreal made it special. It was breathtaking.

my dad with the view from the top

Even more special is the number of devotees who come here to pray and exercise their faith to St. Joseph and Brother André.

Brother André was known throughout Quebec and to believers around the world. But the man they called Brother André began life in much humbler circumstances. Born into a large Catholic family in 1845 in the Quebec village of St. Grégoire, Alfred Bessette was a frail child who was orphaned as a boy. This CBC special looks at the man whose mission in life produced St. Joseph's Oratory in Montreal.

As a young man Bessette tried working on a farm, as a cobbler and in a bakery. In 1874 he became a member of the Congregation of Holy Cross, an order of Catholic priests in Montreal, and took on a new name: Brother André. For 40 nearly years he was the porter and barber at a boys' school run by the congregation, and it was there that his reputation as a healer — even a miracle-worker — took hold.

Brother André counselled his visitors to pray to St. Joseph, and he never took credit for the miraculous cures his visitors ascribed to him. His dream was to build a shrine to St. Joseph on the side of Mount Royal — a project that began with a tiny chapel in 1904. By the time of Brother André's death in 1937, the shrine was a Montreal landmark.

More on Brother Andre at SOURCE

I hope everybody will have a blessed weekend. Take care y'all!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Christmas gift suggestions for toddlers and preschoolers

~ ~It's christmas! I love the music, the ornaments, and the presents! ~ ~

That was my little boy screaming. Yup, he loves christmas! But technically, he got the phrase from the show Toopy and Binoo.

I know some of you are looking for christmas gift suggestions for toddlers to preschoolers. As a mom, I would prefer that my son would receive anything educational or anything that has something to do with his growth and development. When I say educational, it doesn't have to be the good ol' puzzles, which is not bad! I'm a fan of puzzles, it's just that most kids right now would prefer something else over a puzzle. Let's be a little bit creative and explore when it comes to gift giving. I came up with a list of gift suggestions for toddlers to preschoolers.

I spy Books - I spy books come in little board books that are recommended for ages 2 to 5. They are available in Scholastics Canada. Two thumbs up for being interactive and fun for the kids.

Personalized books - When my son was younger, he's not much of a story book kid. He would look at the pictures but when I start reading, he wouldn't even let me finish. He'll just leave. But when I bought his first personalized book, he got excited. Maybe the feeling of being part of the story itself excites him. I got the book from Chez Homai. They usually put their seasonal stall inside The Bay in Fairview Shopping Center here in Montreal from november to late december. The book basically contains your child's name, the hometown, and it's up to you if you want to put your child's friends name or your name on it.By the way, a lot of online stores out there sell personalized story books, if you're a bit crafty why not make your own?

Vtech Rhyme and Discover book - recommended for 6 months to 3 yrs old. Kids at this age are crazy about sounds.. and songs.. and stories!

Leapfrog Magnetic Fridge Alphabet - This is one of the fun ways to learn and familiarize the kids with the alphabet and its sounds. Recommended for ages 18 months to 24 months.

Leapfrog Fridge Phonics Word Whammer - Recommended for ages 3 to 4 yrs old. Encourage your kids to spell and read 3 letter words with this learning toy. Just like the magnetic fridge alphabet, this one will show your child the letters and its sounds thus would lead him to form a 3 letter word. It's really amazing.

Vtech Real Time Cuckoo Clock - My son learned how to read the time in digits at an early age. He just learned it by reading the displayed time in the computer, on the tv, or in the microwave. But this one will help your kid read the time from the cuckoo clock. Recommended for ages 3 to 8 yrs old.

Leapfrog Leapster Learning Game System - for the techie kid. Recommended for ages 4 to 8 yrs old. Children can play learning games, read electronic storybooks, watch interactive videos. It comes with cartridges that teach kids about phonics, numbers, counting, letters, addition, subtraction etc.

Always remember that kids are like sponges. It's very easy for them to learn, but creativity is the key. Try to make learning fun for them.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Plane ride with your kid - The Survival tips

First off, I'd like to wish everybody in Canada a Happy Thanksgiving! It's a long weekend once again. Sunny? Hopefully! Rainy? Most probably. Most montrealers would just go spend their holidays somewhere else. When you think of travelling, it means having fun... having a great time. It should be. For couples and families, it's the perfect time to connect with each other. But what about when you have to travel with a little kid? It could be challenging. My son was 25 months old when he first travelled by plane. I'd say, It was quite an experience.But travelling with your kids doesn't have to be your worst nightmare, all you need to do is to plan ahead and relax.

I've got few suggestions here so let's roll...

  1. Prepare a Safety bag - Your Safety bag should consist of : a.) a diaper changing kit. I just made my own kit. I put some diapers there, diaper rash cream, baby wipes, a mat, water spritzer, small garbage bags. If your kids are potty trained, b.) bring a portable toilet seat. I bought the cushie ones in walmart.

    It's cheap, it's comfy and very handy since I can just fold it and just put it inside the safety bag. c.) Put at least 2 small plastic bags for accidental throw ups. d.) Bring a blanket and small pillow. e.) Bring a hand sanitizer and lysol or any disinfecting wipes. f.) Bring some extra pants, shirt, socks, underwear for your little one, and stash some extra shirts for yourself too for accidental spill ups. g.) Bring a first aid kit. h.) Put some crackers or cookies, sippy cups or baby bottles.

  2. Prepare an Entertainment Bag - This bag should consist of a.) portable DVD player with his favorite movie, if you have a PSP, just try to install some movies or music that your kids like. Don't forget the chargers though! b.) Also, bring a favorite toy, could be her little teddy or his helicopter, his toy train or whatever. c.) Prepare a bag of goodies. A bag of goodies is just a small bag with dollar store toys. Toys need not be expensive. Just buy cheap stuffs that you think your kid would love to play with until the duration of the flight. So when she's bored, show her a new toy, then when she becomes bored again, show another one. It's ridiculous but it works! d.) You can also bring some books. My son prefers Ispy books over coloring books.

  3. Bring an umbrella stroller.
  4. If you're going to have a major layover/stopover, go online and try to gather as many information as you can regarding the airport. Try to locate the play areas for kids, kid friendly restaurants, breastfeeding or nursing rooms.
  5. Keep your eye on them. Even if it means that you have to go with them in the washroom, do it. It's better to be safe.
  6. Be patient. There will be a time that whatever you do doesn't work. Just be patient. Don't mind those eyes that are looking at you. Your concern right now is your kid's safety and his feelings. That's all.
  7. If you'd go online you'd see a lot of advices from parents such as giving Gravol ,so kids will feel sleepy. But I've read somewhere that sometimes the effect of Gravol to kids is the other way around. I've never tried it because I'm very skeptic to give medications to my kid. If you want to take the chance, then be it. But be very very careful, and it's very important to educate yourself first.

Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey! - Fitzhugh Milan

Goodluck and Happy Travelling.

Useful Links:

Madallie - a store that sells toys and products for travelling. It was founded by a former Montrealer.
Babyzone - more tips from Babyzone
Baby center - packing checklist for traveling with a baby
Baby center - packing checklist for traveling with a toddler

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The innovation on cooking baby foods

Last thursday, I had a discussion with a friend regarding baby foods. She's a new mom of a barely 6 month old baby. She asked me how I prepared the baby food when my son was younger. For cereals (such as barley, rice, oats) and fruits, I just bought the Heinz baby foods. Heinz baby foods have the most natural taste compared to the other available brands in the market. For vegetables, I cooked them. I started with potatoes, then sweet potatoes, carrots, squash and so on. How did I do it? I just boil them, when it's soft enough to mash, I mash it. But most of the time, I want it really really soft. Some foods can block the respiratory tract and choke the baby. Also, babies cannot digest food well enough. I don't want my son to have tummy aches after. For the meat, you can either just boil it with plain water or you can saute it with a little oil, celery and onions to enhance the taste of the meat, then boil it until it's cooked. I usually do the latter, since it's tastier.

Advantages and Disadvantages of buying commercial purees

    • you're sure of the nutrients that your kid is getting. Some people would say that it's healthier.
    • variety of choices
    • ready to serve and practical. it makes a mom's life easier! All we have to do is pop it in the microwave to warm.

      • there's always a fear of the amount of preservatives injected in the food.
      • it doesn't taste good
      • not very easy on the budget. Price range per small container is $1 to $2 CAD.

      Advantages and Disadvantages of Homemade purees

        • nothing beats a homemade food.
        • very easy on the budget
        • you prepared it, you cooked it, so you know what's inside.
        • you can select the freshest ingredients
        • no preservatives

        • when food is overcooked, you tend to destroy the vitamins and minerals inside. That's why I'm very skeptic when it comes to cooking the fruits because I tend to overcook the food.
        • It's so time consuming. For a new mom without any help, preparing and cooking baby food could be overwhelming.
      Between commercial and homemade, I'd still vouch for homemade. But, how can we have homemade purees in less time without sacrificing the quality of the food that we're giving our little ones. Then, this friend mentioned something about Beaba Babycook. I've never heard of Beaba babycook, so I began to research about it.

      The Beaba Babycook is a one-of-a-kind, patented compact countertop appliance that functions as a steamer, blender, warmer and defroster to prepare fresh, healthy meals for baby. It starts by steam cooking vegetables, fruits and meats in less than 15 minutes, while preserving their vitamins and flavors. It then purees and blends them to the desired consistency. Parents can also use the Babycook to quickly reheat or defrost precooked foods. SOURCE

      Judging by the description and the reviews, it's very practical to use. It will lessen the aches and pains of preparing baby food. In less than 15 minutes, you'll have a great food just for your little angel. It is available in Williams-Sonoma for $149.99.

      On the other side of the coin, there was a review, that was published a year ago, regarding the presence of BPA in this gadget. Bisphenol A, commonly abbreviated as BPA, is an organic compound with two phenol functional groups. It is a difunctional building block of several important plastics and plastic additives. With an annual production of 2–3 million metric tonnes, it is an important monomer in the production of polycarbonate. Source

      But on the Beaba website, look at the safety notices, it says that there's no BPA migration detected in the test by an international, independent testing laboratory. You can always email them to ask for the copy of the report. Anyway, after reading the reviews, I thought this is really worth buying. For my next one (not sure when!) I'd definitely be getting this.

        Saturday, October 3, 2009

        Let's organize! - The Kitchen -

        I love organizing. For me, the activity itself is more of an expression of oneself. In my own little world, I strongly believe that if you have an organized house, you have an organized life. If you have an organized office, you have an organized life. If you have an organized purse (even the purse!), you have an organized life. And who wouldn't want to have an organized life?? Let's start organizing!

        When it comes to organizing my clutter at home, 3 stores usually come into my mind: Homesense, Ikea, and Dollarama. If I want something fancy, I'd go to Ikea or Homesense. If I need to buy a lot and don't want to break the bank, Dollarama will be the first choice. Didn't have that luxurious look, but tolerable. Now, I will be posting some of the fancy ways of organizing your kitchen.This is what I usually do, I would go online, look for ideas and find cheaper alternatives.

        Available in StacksandStacks for $48.99

        If you're like me who loves to use herbs on cooking, this is like a dream come true.

        photo credits : Scrapbooking

        Don't forget the recipes! This is a nice way of stacking your favorite recipes. Print them in a small card then stack them in a nice scrapbook style portfolio like this. You can also use a photo album to preserve and showcase your most valued recipes.

        Available in Organize-it $24.97

        This is one of my favorite kitchen organization "gadgets". I just remembered once I attended a bridal shower, after dinner time, the hostess offered coffee and tea and she pulled this box from her cupboard. I was in awe! It's just nice to see the tea bags neatly arranged in a bamboo box like this rather than placed in a jar or a carton box. So if you have different kinds of teas, show them off!

        photo credits from the domestic diva herself Martha Stewart.

        photo credits : Wasserstrom

        Don't you want to have a cereal dispenser that looks like this? fancy!