Sunday, October 31, 2010

Cheerios Milestones Party

 If  you're anything like me, you make a huge deal out of your kids' milestones. If you think of it, these developmental building blocks are so important and so special. Being able to witness them firsthand is a remarkable experience.

My friends and family get all the Facebook updates on Little One...whether they like it or not! :)
* First time holding her head up on her own!
* First time rolling over on  her own!
* First word
* First time sitting up on her own
* First time crawling
* First time walking on her own
* First time feeding herself
* First time drinking from a sippy cup
* First round of immunizations
* First bout of pneumonia

You get the picture.

Thanks to Cheerios and Mom Central Canada, I was able to host a Cheerios Milestones Party. To be honest, the party didn't pan out the way I had planned it to. With teaching and all the craziness that has happened in the recent weeks (Hubby and I got sick and then Little One had pneumonia), I wasn't able to host the party I had envisioned. Instead, we had it during play group (thanks to Toy Library for letting me host it there). It was a lot of fun. The kids had a blast and enjoyed their free swag.

 I asked the moms for permission to post photos of the kids in all their Cheerios glory. Check them out! What great motor skills they are demonstrating! They made Cheerios necklaces and bracelets. Threading licorice through Cheerios is not an easy task for a toddler! It takes a great deal of patience and manual dexterity, which are both at times challenging for toddlers.

 Of course, my kid decided that Cheerios were better for eating than for making jewelry out of!

 The kids had story time and the Cheerios Play Book was read to them. Initially, I was going to have a draw and give one child a copy of the Cheerios Play Book. Since it didn't seem fair for just one child to win and for me to not give all the kids a Cheerios Play Book, I donated the book to Toy Library. That way, all the kids can enjoy the fun, colourful, interactive book.
I realize just how important a role Cheerios plays in the development of young children. Cheerios is often times a toddler's first finger food because the small ring shaped cereal is helps with manual dexterity and motor skills. They also get soft and practically dissolve when wet, so that makes them a safer choice for a toddler's first finger food.

Cheerios was Little One's first solid food when she "graduated" from pablum and pureed baby food. From speaking to many other moms, it's the same with their kids! I never realized how important a role Cheerios plays in the development of young kids.

Thank you again, Cheerios and Mom Central Canada! Moms and Dads, don't forget to enter your child in the Cheerios Milestones Contest! Simply submit a photo of your child's Cheerios milestone! You can win $10,000 toward an RESP (co-sponsored by TD-Canada Trust) and have your child's photo featured on a special edition box of Cheerios! Contest ends December 15th, 2010 - 11:59pm EST.

Disclosure - I am participating in the Cheerios Milestones program by Mom Central on behalf of General Mills. I received a gift card as a thank you for my participation. The opinions on this blog are my own.

Happy Halloween!

 Friday began with play group at the hall. Our quiet little hamlet has had a recent boom in its birth rate. All of a sudden, there are a bunch of kids Little One's age. For a while, there were lots of kids (in the same age group as my two nieces), and now they are all teenagers. The township has been pretty quiet, until now. Now, we've got lots of little kiddies running around! Exciting!
 We got play group to return to our village. They stopped the program in our village a few years ago, because there just weren't any kids around for the service. I'm excited to say that it's back...and it is hugely successful!
 If you didn't know how much Little One eats at home, you would think that we never feed her. At least she didn't try to eat the Play Dough this time.

Some spooky "worms and eye balls" were made for the kids to play with. Of course, Little One had to eat them! After me repeatedly telling her not to eat the spaghetti noodles, I gave up. I realize how confusing it must be for a toddler. At home, I tell her "Don't play with your food. Food is for eating." At play group, it's "Don't eat the food! The food is for playing with". Poor kid.

Little One had a bowl of oatmeal with maple syrup (from our farm) and goat's milk (from our friend's farm), cheese, fruit (cut up apple, nectarine, strawberries, grapes, and orange) and she still wanted to eat everything she saw at play group! How she is so tiny is beyond my comprehension. 
 The kids played with the toys, had story time, sang songs, danced, decorated Halloween cookies, and had a blast. This photo below makes me cry. Just looking at it is like flash forward a few years and she's in school! Doesn't she look like a big kid here? :( I cannot tell you how emotional this gets me. I just gave birth to her the other day, didn't I? How can she be so grown up already?

 In the evening we had our third International Dinner Night. The theme was French Canadian. On the menu:
Maple Moose Stew
Cranberry-glazed Duck
Partridge and Beef Tourtiere
Smoked fish (bass and pickerel)
Three Sisters Soup (and their red-headed cousin)
Vanilla ice cream and strawberries in a waffle bowl with homemade maple syrup
Pumpkin pie
Sugar tarts

 Our little chicken laying an egg. This was one of the funniest things I have ever seen! What a wacky kid I have! I wonder where she gets it from?
 The kidlets had fun. They always do.

Great friends, great food, great times!
Our International Dinner Night group consists of some really great friends (most are educators) and our spouses and children. In total, we are about 25 to 30 in attendance. It's a pretty large group and we have so much fun together!
 Adults and kids were all decked out in costume. Hubby went as Johnny Cash.

Me: What are you supposed to be?
Hubby: Johnny Cash.
Me: Who???
Hubby: You don't know who Johnny Cash is?!
Me: No.
Hubby: You don't know "The Man in Black"?
Me: Oh! Isn't that a Wil Smith movie?
Hubby: I can't believe you don't know who Johnny Cash is.

Oh, and apparently all toddlers really want for Christmas is a cat bed. See photo below.
Saturday, October 30, 2010

Her First Time

 Hubby and I were supposed to go to a Halloween/Birthday party at my lovely friend, Maria's house tonight. We were pretty stoked. We haven't  had an evening without baby yet. Date night? What's that? I can't even remember what it was like before Little One came into our lives. What did we do with all that free time? Ha!

We even had babysitters lined up for the evening. Lola and Grampy (my parents) were more than excited to have Little One over for her very first overnight. She hasn't spent a night away from me since she was in the NICU!

Plans fell through with Hubby feeling too tired to go out. My parents said they still wanted Little One for the evening. I brought her over and she was so excited to see her Lola and Grampy. She didn't even noticed that I  had left.

I just called to check up on her and my Mom said, "She's fine. She's having fun. Don't call again." Hahaha!
I don't know who this is harder on. It certainly doesn't look like Little One's having a rough time being without her Mama!

The Owl Hat

 I know I've posted pics of "the" owl hat before. I just couldn't resist sharing this one though. It's the most amazing hat EVER!!! Super adorable AND the toddler loves wearing it!!! No, seriously! Little One HATES wearing hats, but she LOVES her owl hat!

If you want your own owl hat made by Kady @My Dandelion Wishes, check out her Etsy shop and place your order!
Friday, October 29, 2010

We've Got Some Winners!

Can you believe it's almost Halloween?! That means October is almost over. That means Christmas is just around the corner. That means the New Year is almost upon us! Whoa. That is crazy!

Anyway, we are happy to announce that the winner of the Today I Ate A Rainbow! Giveaway is:
Robyn said...
I have your button ( (entry #3) arctic_teacher AT yahoo DOT ca

The winner of the  Cheerios Play Book Giveaway is:
Jennie said...
Great contest! My little one's milestones.. the most memorable one was his first steps at 13 months. He walked a few steps on his own towards me and just plopped right on me.
The winners have been chosen at random using Random.Org's random number generator. Winners, please contact me at cg_lee121875 at hotmail dot com with your shipping info so your prizes can be mailed to you. Thank you to everyone who entered. More contests are coming up! :)

That Time of the Year Already???

Every Fall, we get our family photos taken by the very talented people at PhotoCaptiva. I cannot stress this enough, but there's one thing having "nice" photos taken and another having "professional" photos taken. Not to sound snooty or uppity, but the proper equipment, knowing about lighting, angles, and composition  really make a difference.  It's always really interesting to see someone else's vision of how a frame should be filled or how to work with spaces. It's always fascinating to see someone else's perspective.

We have our family photo shoot once a year. Hubby goes along with it because he knows it makes me happy. I just love having those special moments captured. Little One isn't going to be little for much longer and I'd like to do this while she still lets us!
The photos were all taken on our property. We did the photo shoot in the "bush" to the left of our barn.

I can't believe how Little One has grown up so much in a year! Check out her face in the last photo. What a goofball! She's always trying to get people to laugh. Hmmm...I wonder if I've got a future class clown in the making? She's definitely an entertainer!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Fight For Preemies

Can you believe Halloween is just days away? With November fast approaching, I'm reminded of a really crazy, scary TERRIFYING, yet happy time of my life. November is the month when Little One canon-balled her way into our lives. Many of you read as we posted updates (in hopes that she'd hang in there a little longer).

Though I was on strict bed rest five weeks, she still came early. At 28 weeks gestation, our little preemie weighed 980 grams (a little less than 2 lbs, 3 oz). I've documented our life in the NICU here and shared our roller coaster ride, which I dubbed "our new sense of normal".

The one thing that shocked me was just how many tiny preemies were in the NICU with Little One. The rate of premature births has risen. In some cases, a reason for premature birth just was not discovered or was discovered too late. "While medical advances give some babies a chance of survival, for many babies premature birth is a life-or-death condition. Babies who survive can face serious health challenges and risk lifelong disabilities." (Quoted from here)

Little One will be 2  years old on November 11th. Though she has had no major medical setbacks, we still count our blessings every single day. How fitting that November 17th is the day dedicated to raising awareness of premature births?  Join the collective effort in raising awareness of premature births by checking out Bloggers Unite - Fight for Preemies and The March of Dimes - Prematurity.

I'll be blogging for preemies on November 17th. If you  have a special preemie in your life, I hope you will be blogging too.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Sad Thing

...about living on an island far away from my family and friends is that Little One hardly ever gets to see our family and friends.
They don't get to see her grow up or see how funny she really is. She doesn't get to spend time with them or get to know what it's like living with lots of family around.
I feel like she is missing out on all our big family gatherings. She doesn't get to "know" or grow up with our loved ones. It honestly and truly makes me sad that she doesn't get to have that.

At least she has her grandparents here. She gets to spend time with them and she is very attached to them. We do have a great group of friends on the Island and I am thankful for that. We also have extended family here. The sad thing is that we see Hubby's sis and nieces as often as we see my family in Kingston, Toronto, and Montreal!

I know that we all get busy and wrapped up in our own lives. It isn't always easy to take time out and visit, write a letter/e-mail/card or make a phone call.

I don't know. I guess I'm just in a reflective mood today. I'm extremely happy with the life we have created. I love my little family, our home, our farming/country lifestyle, our friends, and the work we do.

I'm just sad that us being so far away, no one asks how Little One is doing or comes to visit. Then the thought occurred to me that even if we did live in Toronto, Kingston or Montreal, would we see our family more? Probably not. Life gets busy.

I am REALLY looking forward to spending Christmas in Kingston with my brother, sister-in-law, twin nieces and 3 year old nephew (and my parents and youngest brother). I'm so excited for Little One to spend Christmas with her cousins. I can't wait to spend time with my brothers. We'll be stopping by Montreal too to spend time with our family there.

I guess I just need a dose of my family in the city right now.

Ddrops Review and Giveaway!!!

A few years ago, I became concerned about whether or not my family was getting enough vitamins. We eat a very healthy and well-balanced diet, so our family doctor said we shouldn't be overly concerned. We eat lots of green leafy veggies, lots of colourful veggies, and lots of fruits. We get our daily intake of calcium and we get vitamin D as well. This said, I was still curious about the vitamin D.

The health benefits of vitamin D have been mentioned a lot in the news in the past few years. Vitamin D also happens to be one of the vitamins that Canadians are most deficient in.
"Research is proving that Vitamin D 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." (from the Ddrop website)

My aunt, a dietitian has spoken to me on many accounts about making sure we're getting enough vitamin D. Traditionally, vitamin D has been known to help the body use calcium and phosphorus to build and maintain healthy bones and teeth. Now, research is showing that vitamin D does much more for the human body. Not only does vitamin D promote the healthy growth of bones, but it also works with the following:

The Immune System:
Vitamin D works on the immune system, has anti-tumour activity, and has a role in modulation of the immune system
Vitamin D is changed into a hormonally active form within the body. There are vitamin D hormone receptors on immune cells.
As a result, Vitamin D may provide therapeutic benefits in the following types of diseases:
  • inflammatory (such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis)
  • autoimmune (such as multiple sclerosis, type I diabetes, and lupus)
  • organ transplant rejection
  • cancers (breast, colon, prostate, leukemia, squamous and basal cell carcinomas)
  • dermatologic conditions (psoriasis, actinic keratosis)
  • infection (colds, influenza)4
The Cardiovascular System:
The mechanism and role of vitamin D in cardiovascular disease prevention is actively studied
Research indicates that vitamin D may have beneficial impact on the following diseases:
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Coronary Disease
  • Congestive Heart Failure
  • Cardiovascular events
  • Stroke
  • Peripheral Artery Disease
  • Heart Attacks

The Brain:
Tissues in the brain have vitamin D receptors and respond to the active form of vitamin D. Research suggests that vitamin D is essential for healthy brain development for the fetus and early life5. Research also indicates a link with vitamin D in the following diseases:
  • Autism
  • Schizophrenia
  • Parkinson's Disease6
  • Multiple Sclerosis7
  • Depression8
* Information about vitamin D from Ddrops website and the Health Canada website.

Hubby has always taken vitamin D supplements in the pill form. I'm not the greatest when it comes to taking pills. I just don't like them. You can imagine how happy I was to discover Ddrops! Ddrops is described as "the sunshine vitamin in just one drop"!

Ddrops sent me Adult Ddrops and BabyDdrops to try for myself and for Little One.

Baby Ddrops is vitamin D in the liquid form and is designed especially for babies. What I love about the BabyDdrops is that it is colourless, odourless, and tasteless. Just one little drop equals the daily recommended amount of vitamin D and there are no other chemicals or additives. My little one actually LIKES getting her Ddrops every morning!

Of course, I had to try it myself to make sure I was giving the very best to my toddler. The Adult Ddrops, like the Baby Ddrops are odourless, tasteless, and colourless. It couldn't be any easier to get the vitamin D you need! Just one drop, people!

Of course, I always try to get all the vitamins and minerals I need through our food (and vitamin D from the sun), but when  you can't always get everything you need from what you eat (and from the sun), this is the perfect way to do it! Let's face it. Not all of us are able to get all the vitamins we need from our food and not all of us get enough vitamin D from the sun!

Would I recommend Ddrops to friends, family, and blog readers? Definitely!
You can buy Ddrops at retailers nationwide or online. I noticed that Walmart carries Ddrops too. Check out the Ddrops website. While you're at it, why not follow them on Facebook and on Twitter as well?

Ddrops is giving FIVE of my readers an adorable Dora growth chart! If you've got a little Dora fan or two in your household, I'm sure they would love one of these!  My twin nieces (20 months old) and my 3 year old nephew adore Dora the Explorer! This is something I know they're going to love!

How can  you get your hands on one of these cute Dora growth charts? Simple! Just head over to the BabyDdrops Facebook Page and "like" them (2 entries). Follow them on Twitter too @babyddrops (2 entries). Make sure you leave a comment on my blog for each entry.

For additional entries:
- Follow Random Thoughts and Musings from the Island REVIEWS! on Google Friend Connect. (1 entry)
- Follow Random Thoughts and Musings from the Island REVIEWS! on Facebook. (2 entries)
- Follow us on Twitter @chancesmommy (2 entries)
- Grab my button and leave me the link where you posted it. (1 entry)

Good luck, everyone!
Contest ends at midnight (EST) on Friday, November 5th, 2010.

I received Adult Ddrops and Baby Ddrops from the Ddrops company for reviewing purposes. The thoughts and opinions on this blog are my own.

Pssst! I'd Like To Introduce You To Some People...

I am really excited to introduce these two lovely ladies to you!
Krystal is one of the funniest gals around. Oh, and she makes amazing hair accessories! I'm talkin' super cool accessories for baby girls and toddlers! Celeb gossip, food, and fashion are some of the things I enjoy Tweeting back and forth with her about.
She is HI-LA-RI-OUS!!!

Ravit really knows her stuff when it comes to educating people about green products for babies, kids, and family. Another reason you should check her out is me, she's a Montrealer! Love it! *sigh* I love my life on the Island, but miss Montreal tremendously!

Of course, you already know Erica. She's in the know about all things cool and practical for Mom and Baby. Trust me, this lady knows where it's at!

You know ME (since some of you have been reading this sorry excuse for a blog since 2006)! I've also got a reviews blog over here.

Together, the four of us make up the BornFree Canada Mom Panel! Come on over and check out the BornFree site! Lots of great articles, contests, giveaways, and more! Leave the girls a message! I'm sure they'd love to hear from you!
Friday, October 22, 2010

Not Yo' Average Kinda Candy!

Friends, I must say that I am a fan of BigSkyBrands candy. They won me over years ago with theirJones Soda Candy. In partnership with Jones Soda, BigSkyBrands came up with their carbonated Jones Soda Candy. The perfect marriage? I think so. Everyone knows Jones Soda, right? Some of their most popular flavours have now become candy flavours! Fufu Berry, Green Apple, Berry Lemonade, Cream Soda, Grape, Orange & Cream, Cola and Root Beer candy! Thank you, BigSkyBrands!

I love these slightly fizzy candies! They certainly do not fall behind on taste! They are full of flavour! I've tried them all, except for the Cream Soda, Cola, and Root Beer. Don't worry! They're on my list!

Oh, it gets better! Not only is the candy amazing, but the containers are the coolest! The tins are soooooo cool! It's not just a novelty for our family. We actually use the tins after we've eaten the candy! Hubby keeps a few Jones Soda tins in his truck and in my van and fills them with loonies, toonies, and quarters for those times when you need change for emergencies. Trust me, it's come in handy for us!

Then there are the Warp Energy Mints. "Warp Energy Mints deliver the boost of an energy drink with the breath-blasting effects of a high-powered mint. Each mint is fueled with a potent energy formulation featuring ginseng, for superior physical endurance; and guarana, for an instant thrust of energy. The result is a natural, high-octane energy rush, anytime and anywhere."

I'm addicted to the Green Tea energy mints. Hubby loves the cinnamon ones.

What I am most excited about is the introduction of these...

Sunkist candies piqued my curiosity, because I'm not into overly sweet things. I like citrus flavours. These are absolute perfection. Okay, I sound like Chandler in that Friends episode where he gets stuck in an ATM vestibule with Jill Goodacre!

Anyway, Valencia Orange, Ruby Red Grapefruit, Eureka Lemon and Key Lime
give a refreshing citrus burst while freshening your breath. Isn't that cool? So far, I've tried the Valencia Orange, Ruby Red Grapefruit, and Key Lime. All three are my favourites! I can't choose one!

Finally, we have the Yogen Fruz Smoothies. I'm super excited about these, because I love, love, LOVE Yogen Fruz! I am crazy about smoothies. I make smoothies at home, I order smoothies when I'm get the picture. Smoothies = heaven. Smoothies make me happy.

BigSkyBrands teamed up with Yogen Fruz to give you the portable smoothie! Each piece of candy is only 3 calories, with 0 fat. Yup. You can enjoy these babies anytime, anywhere, and feel zero guilt!

They come in these amazing flavours: Strawberry Banana, Blueberry Breeze (with Acai), Tropical Storm, PeachBerry Sunset, Wild Cherry and Verry Berry.

BigSkyBrands gave me Strawberry Banana, Blueberry Breeze (with Acai) and PeachBerry Sunset to try. I LOVE THEM ALL!!! Wait! That's a lie. I didn't get to try the Blueberry Breeze, because I foolishly left the box of candies on my stairs, and our guests at Thanksgiving swiped ALL of the Blueberry Breeze ones! I guess the overwhelming consensus came down to the Blueberry Breeze being the number one choice? Hard to say, since they pretty much cleaned me out of all the other flavours too. Hmmmph! I have to be more creative in hiding my stash next time!


You can buy all of these amazing candies at stores everywhere. Candy stores, specialty stores, grocery stores, convenience stores...I've even seen them at Mark's Work Warehouse!!!

BigSkyBrands is giving one lucky reader a cool prize! One winner will receive a few of their tasty candies! Go on and enter! You know you wanna!

To win:
Check out the BigSkyBrands website and let me know (in a comment on this blog) which candy you would like to try.

For extra entries:
* "Like" BigSkyBrands on Twitter
* Follow BigSkyBrands on Facebook!
* "Like" Jones Soda Candy on Facebook
* "Like" Random Thoughts and Musings from the Island REVIEWS on Facebook
* Follow us on Networked Blogs
* Grab our button on the right and leave us a link where we can find where you posted it.
* Follow us on Twitter @chancesmommy
That's EIGHT chances to win! Contest closes at midnight (EST) on November 11, 2010. A winner will be chosen at random via Random.Org.

I was given packs of Sunkist and Yogen Fruz candies from BigSkyBrands for review purposes. The opinions on this blog are my own.

Bobs and Lolo

Little One's BFF's Mommy (who happens to be my BFF) introduced us to the wonderful music of Bobs and Lolo sometime last year. Ever since, Little One just has to have the raindrop song playing all the time!

In case you are new to Bobs and Lolo, these lovely, dynamic ladies are engaging, fun, inspiring, and they teach kids all about the natural world through music, dance, and make-believe. It's quality kids' music! I promise!

Little One absolutely loves Bobs and Lolo! I love the way she goes nuts and dances up a storm whenever she hears their music! Too cute!What's even cuter is catching Hubby dancing and singing "Raindrop, raindrop, raindrop pop!" with Little One when he isn't aware that I'm watching!

Bobs and Lolo teach kids about taking care of the planet and their friends and neighbours. The songs are fun and catchy. I've had the raindrop song in my head all day.

Check them out on their website and take the kidlets to a live show if you can! Guaranteed to get your little munchkins singing and dancing!

*~Pop pop!~*

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About the Blog Author

City girl moves to the country, falls in love, and marries a farmer. She tries to incorporate her city ways with her new country lifestyle and blogs to keep in touch with friends, family & students who live far, far away :) Can this city girl go country? Watch as she learns all sorts of exciting things about life on the farm and in a small rural community. *UPDATE* We are now parents! Our baby girl was born on Nov. 11, 2008 (at 28 weeks gestation- 12 weeks premature, but she's quite the trooper)!!!
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