Friday, August 30, 2013

Starting A Meal Plan

In September we have arranged for the Mamalicious Mamas to attend an information session on Meal Planning at the Loblaws Cooking School. I will not be able to attend, but I've decided it would be a good idea to explore for our own household.

I have been Googling various sites on the topic and so far I like the concept of theme dinners. This is what I have written for the week:

Monday: Pasta and left over chicken
Tuesday: Steak
Wednesday: Wraps steak
Thursday: Stir Fry
Friday: Take-out
Saturday: Barbecue anything goes
Sunday: Chicken

I also read that you can repeat your detailed menu bi-weekly. So if you have lasagna on Monday, then feel free to serve it in two weeks.

Returning to work is leaving me a little overwhelmed with time management. An area I always have trouble with. Yeah… Yeah…. I have been told I have a tendency to over think things. But my commute is 55 kilometers from away. I need to feel that my time after I get home is quality time with my family. Not to mention I have to spend time behind the scenes of the Mamalicious Mamas.

Oh. And there is my hobby of cake decorating that garners me an order every so often.

Hubby and I used to spend a pretty penny on take-out. Yes, I am back to work getting (thank goodness) a full wage, but daycare takes a chunk out of it. Meal planning for dinner will also provide for lunch the next day.

Most importantly, I would like Missy Miu to eat healthy. I am looking forward to seeing her assist with dinner after daycare. Right now she eats the paper napkins. It will be pretty cool when she actually places them on the table.

So Mamas… Do you do any form of meal planning in your home?

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Adventures in Babysitting

We have secured a spot for Missy Miu in a daycare for over a month now. I've had a few Mamas ask me about my experience. So I thought I would share.

When Missy Miu was 4 months Hubby and I started to look around for daycare. We were surprised  at how expensive it would be. The costs were from $68.00 to $73.90 per day. (say what?). We were looking at possibly paying almost $1500 per month! A friend pointed out that it was a mortgage payment. (crap!)

Unfortunately we do not have any family to help with Missy during the day. Paying for a provider was our only option.

I decided to check out a licensed home daycare provider. After doing some research, this seemed to be the best option. Monitored by the Ministry of Education the cost was less expensive due to the fact that this was in the provider's home. We were looking at a cost of $48.00 per day / $960.00 per month.

I filled out the online application and received a call within two days from the Scarborough franchise owner. I let them know the area we were interested in. It had to be easy accessible for Hubby so he could continue on to the GO Station. I was told that there were four providers within our area of interest and that I would receive a call back in April, four months before Missy's official start date.

April came fast and the in home daycare and I connected (actually in May). I paid $50.00 for the setup of the interviews. They set me up with two. Even though there was supposed to be four. We went to one and the next day the other. This one was perfect. It was across the street from The Rouge GO Station. We knocked and rang the doorbell for ten minutes . No answer. We were not impressed. On the way home I left an irate message on the answering machine of the main office.

I received an apologetic call the next morning from the office. Turns out the provider said she was unable to do any interviews because her daughter was ill. She had told the office previously, but they had forgotten.

I accepted the apology and waited for another opportunity for the interview as well as others. Two weeks passed. I followed up and left a message. I received a voice mail back that they would contact me when the provider could accept interviews.

The next day the main office called and told me the provider had decided not to offer daycare in her home anymore. Hmmmmm... I thought so. I asked about upcoming interviews. The person seemed a bit flustered on the phone and I was told I would receive a call.

I decided to phone on my own the next day. I expressed my disappointment that $50.00 got me only one interview. I hinted that perhaps I receive some if not all of that money back. They didn't bite.

Later I received a call back. They had a provider by the GO Station in The Guild. We visited her and she was very nice. Missy Miu liked her. But she was not looking after any other children. It is important for us that Missy interact with other children her age... Not hang out with an adult all day.

Sigh... Now up to two interviews we did not receive any follow up calls.

A bit miffed I called the office back. I told them that they had a lot of nerve to assume that I have decided to go with them. I am a parent who has to plan and was returning back to work soon. I ended the conversation with "well my husband will give you a call soon."

Within minutes I received a call from the franchise owner. She told me of another provider who was located between The Rouge and Guild GO Stations.

We visited, but not still not quite impressed. We received another call from the franchise owner asking me what we thought of the last interviewee. It seemed like she assume that we decided on the last provider. I told her we liked her but had other interviews.

Hubby and I went on a site We found a babysitter by the Guildwood GO Station. She was very nice. A former teacher and she had a resume. She charged $45.00 per day. We just felt that she didn't have any structure to the day.

We finally came across a daycare that charged $73.90 per day. They were five minutes from home. We toured the facility and liked what we saw. They had two infant rooms that would hold 10 babies each up to 18 months.

It was a spacious facility with a couple of empty areas. This
daycare had space due to the full-time kindergarten brought in by the Liberal Government. All daycare centres had to close down spots that had children in this age range. Full day kindergarten was affecting the business of daycare. Because of this we lucked out. This daycare provider matched the daily rate of the licensed in home provider.

We were relieved that Missy Miu would benefit in a centre and interact with many other babies her age.

I would advise you to :

- start looking for a provider at the 4 month mark
- put your child's name on as many lists as you like. When you decide on one call the others to remove your child's name
- if a provider doesn't offer good service from the get go... walk away

So Mamas... Do you have any Adventures in Babysitting to share?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Strollerfit In The Park

The Mamalicious Mamas are so excited about the free workouts hosted by two wonderful mamas in our group on Mondays!

They sure make us work hard though. We power walk, squat, jump around, work on our abs, and sing and dance with our babies. It leaves us painful at the end, but its well worth it! And the babies get a good nap (usually).

M cried through the whole workout today though... She just didn't want to sit still. I didn't give in though! I distracted her with fruit snacks and managed to get through the workout.

We are so excited how big our group is getting and how the mamas are volunteering to help us host events. As you all probably know, Dee and myself are going back to work soon! Meaning we could use all the help we can get. Thanks awesome mamas!

M started her Montessori today (two weeks before I go back) so I can get some stuff done and hopefully get rid of old baby things. She did great for the hour she was in today.

On another note, Dee and myself have been frantically preparing for our picnic on Friday! We can't wait to have a Mamalicious picnic, but the sandwiches and cupcakes aren't going to make themselves. Of course with Dee's awesome baking skills, the cupcakes are guaranteed to turn out great. Hope we have lots of you join us Friday!!

Until next time...

Monday, August 19, 2013

GIVEAWAY! Out To Lunch Snack Bag

Scarborough! Pickering! Are you a Mamalicious Mama? If you are visit our meetup board for your chance at our latest giveaway compliments of Norwex sales consultant Cascindra Kawcynski. You will have the chance to win an "Out To Lunch Snack Bag".

This REUSABLE Snack Bag is ideal for toting pretzels, fruit, veggies, cheese, crackers and other finger food. A $9.99 value.It comes in a whimsical owl design and is an environmentally friendly food storage solution. It has an easy velcro closure. 15cm x 16.5cm / 6"h x 6.5"w.

VERY easy to clean and air dry. Not intended for hot foods. Do not heat or microwave.

This is great for back to work Mamas, or bringing snacks for the little ones Mamas.

You MUST FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS BELOW AND THEN RSVP back on our event board to win. Contest closes August 21 at 6pm. Winner will be announced Thursday, August 22, 2013. Good luck!

- To win visit Cascindra's Facebook page and LIKE it.

- YOU MUST comment on the PRODUCT here.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Budget Wardrobe Rebuild

I will be returning to work in three weeks. Clothing is not usually a priority but I desperately need to go shopping. For the last year and a half I have been wearing maternity apparel or loose and very casual clothes.

I have tried the work clothes I have. Either do not fit or they feel outdated.

My back to work clothing budget is $300 and what I pick up must be:
- machine washable
- on sale
- transitional (can it take me from end of summer into winter)
- bold and classic

I love shopping, but hate wasting time. For the most part I like to head out to stores where my trip may be successful.

Today it was out to Loblaws Joe Fresh. The plan was to look at their summer fashions on sale. I went into the fitting room and came out with six pieces.

I like these ($14.94) red jeans. They have spandex. They're great as a summer or fall pant and would look great with boots come winter. The grey two tone tank ($6.94) is fun with these jean and I can't wait to try it with my black blazer.

The tan pants ($19.94) are a size 8. They are a tad big but are comfy. I walk quite a bit at work. Once I drop some inches I will take them to a seamstress. The cement print top looks very professional.

I love the way my arms look in this halter styled dress ($19.94). It's fully lined.

And my favourite piece.... This navy and white sleeveless dress. I love pockets on a dress! ($14.94).

For six pieces I spent $91.64!

So Back-To-Work Mamas.... Where do you shop to fall into style?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Infant and Toddler Nutrition

Missy Miu and I were shopping one day at Loblaws in Pickering. Before leaving I went upstairs as I usually do to feed her. There was a lady in a white coat outside the Cooking School door. Being one who is always looking for an opportunity for the Mamalicious Mamas, I approached her.

She introduced herself as Lisa Ireland a nutritionist with Loblaws. I asked her if there were any topics that would be of any interest to my Mamas.


Turns out that she would be happy to present an educational seminar for my group. We arranged and set a date for a presentation on Infant and Toddler Nutrition. We had twenty-one Mamas in attendance.
Lisa informed us of:
- the nutrition requirements of breastfeeding moms
- various types of infant formula
- introduction of solids to baby
- sample meal plans It was very informative. I look forward to setting up more educational events for the Scarborough Pickering
Mamalicious Mamas.

posted from Bloggeroid

Monday, August 5, 2013

Gasp! You're A Toddler Now?

Missy Miu turned one.

It means she is now my little girl.  She has personality.  She has preferences (don't talk to her when Baby Genius is on).  And you only get one shot on the change table with her.

I could handle all of this no problem.  But then I received the weekly email from Babycenter titled "Your Toddler 1year 1 Week".

WHAT?!  My baby is no longer a baby?

I was not prepared for that news.  In fact it was a tad upsetting.  I think what is difficult for me is the thought of her gaining independence and not needing her Mama as much.

I know... make up my mind right?  Yes... I want Missy Miu to chill on her own so I can catch a break.  I want to put an end to the boob nap.  I want to pee without her wanting me to pick her up at that particular moment.

But sometimes it's nice to feel needed. It's nice to feel when she grabs me and snuggles into my neck at the frightening sound of a car door closing. It's nice to see that bright smile when I rescue her from her car seat.

Sigh... Being a glass half full kind of gal, I will embrace my little one's new found independence. I will clap with her when she reaches the top of the stairs. I will gladly accept her coloured out of the lines art that she will present to me from daycare. And I will joyfully open the weekly email from Babycenter and read about Missy Miu upcoming adventures.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

We've Been Featured!

We had an awesome opportunity from Lovable Labels.

Once a month they do a feature on local women run businesses. Hear is the one they did on us, Mamalicious Mamas Social Network.

Lovable Labels creates a line of labels that include Regular and Slimline Stickers, Shoe Labels, Iron-ons and Bag Tags.  They are not only bright, fun and colourful but also met the high standards that parents have come to expect.  The Regular and Slimline labels are microwave and dishwasher safe, the Iron-on labels stay put in the washer and dryer, the Shoe Labels have an extra strength adhesive to ensure they won't come off and the Bag Tags are made of a durable and flexible plastic.

Thanks again Lovable Labels!
posted from Bloggeroid