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Monday, October 12, 2015

Celebrating Special Occasions with Baby: Meal Tips with PC Organics

Having just enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner this weekend and with the holidays coming up, we're heading into an exciting time of the year and there's lots to look forward to. If you've got a little one starting solids it's lots of fun to watch their reactions as they try new foods and the variety of culinary options are endless. 

This was Liam's first Thanksgiving and I tried to introduce foods for him leading up to the long weekend that we would also be enjoying: squash, peas, and carrots to name a few. While it's exciting to think of all the foods your little one will soon be able to try, it's important to know what they can and can't eat and how to offer them as you introduce solids. This is especially true when it comes to holiday cooking when the food is often more rich than our usual diets, and we get together for meals in other's homes. A little planning ahead can go a long way.

To help you navigate feeding your little one at holiday dinners and special occasions, see below for some dietician- approved tips.

First Foods: Turkey, yes or no? 
I wouldn't have thought this before having kids, but did you know that turkey can be a first food? Iron-rich meats are a great choice to introduce to your baby after they reach 6 months. Use a hand-held blender on the pulse setting to puree the meat until it is very smooth in texture. Simply add breast milk, formula, or water to the mixture if it's too thick. The final product should drip easily from a spoon. Fattier meat from the turkey thigh or leg works best for this baby-friendly version of a holiday meal favourite. As your baby gets older you can introduce some texture and pulse the meat less.

Keep Veggies Simple
Mashed regular or sweet potatoes loaded with butter are another Thanksgiving favourite. For baby it's best to serve them as a plain mash; simply set aside some of the mashed mixture before adding butter, cheese, bacon, or sour cream and serve them the plain to your baby. For very young infants (6-8 months), thin the mixture with formula or breast milk to ensure it isn’t too thick. Similarly, the veggies from items like green bean casserole and glazed carrots can all be pureed and served to baby.

Know the Ingredients
While we all have our favourite family recipes, it's important to know what's in the food you plan to feed baby, especially if you’re dining with a new family or a new recipe is introduced. Things like nuts, heavy cream, and spicy seasonings can be hard to detect in dishes like casseroles and stuffing. Double check with your host ahead of time if these or other ingredients of concern have been used in dishes so you can plan accordingly (it might be easier to pack your own baby food). There are lots of baby food options available to suit the theme of special occasions such as Thanksgiving and Christmas. Two ideas include the  Strained Apple PC® Organics Baby Food Pouch and PC® Organics Pumpkin, Apple, Peach & Buckwheat Strained Baby Food.

And Now for Dessert!
While your baby doesn’t know what dessert is yet, you can still offer them some if you like. Tasty treats like homemade pumpkin pie can be easily transformed for your baby. For babies 6- 8 months old, simply scoop out pie filling and puree it until fine and runny, adding formula or breast milk to thin the texture. For a quick on- the- go option you can try a sweet food pouch like PC® Organics Blackberry Cobbler Flavour (contains no artificial flavours). Remember to keep sweet servings small while you introduce your baby to this new taste (I like to combine a sweet item like apple sauce with a savoury flavour to lower the sweet factor).

Foods to Avoid
While adults enjoy loading their turkey with condiments like gravy and cranberry sauce, serving these items to your baby isn’t a good idea. Babies don’t need the added sodium and sugar these condiments contain. Stick to plain foods as your baby gets used to consuming and digesting solids.

Have Back Up
A good idea if you'll be away from home for meals is to have a small bag stocked with feeding essentials that you can toss in the diaper bag on your way out. Something that you can re- use and throw in the wash is a great option, but a plastic ziploc or grocery bag will work just fine as well. Include items such as a bowl, spoon, bib, a few jars/ pouches of food, and any other items you like to have on hand to make meal times away from home a little easier (I like to have something for Liam to chomp on as well now that he's teething). You may not need it, but it's great to have just in case.

No matter how you decide to celebrate you baby’s first special occasion, it’s sure to be one you'll always remember. Take lots of pictures, invest in creating family memories and- most of all- have fun!

Visit the PC® Organics website to learn more about their products. 
You can also find them on social media:
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram 

Photos: K Petrunia
Brands shown: PC Organics, Paper Airplane (bandana bib), Glitter & Spice (teething necklace), Fun Fiestas By Ili (noisemaker)

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by PC Organics. All opinions are my own

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Sunday, October 11, 2015

Upcoming Event: Women of Influence Luncheon Series with Keynote Speaker Tamara Taggart

On October 27th Women of Influence is presenting The View From the Anchor Chair. As part of the Women of Influence Luncheon series, CTV News Co- Anchor Tamara Taggart will be the keynote speaker and will be sharing about the personal side of her professional journey.

As an award- winning broadcaster, Chair of the BC Women's Hospital "Hope Starts Here" campaign, and mother, Tamara juggles a variety of important roles and will be sharing about how she balances it all while maintaining a high profile career in the public eye. 

This event will be a great opportunity to hear one of Metro Vancouver's favourite personalities speak about her own experiences and inspire other women with her story of strength and resilience. 

Tickets are available now for this event on the Women of Influence website, with tables seating 8 guests if you would like to attend in a group.

Event Details:
Date: October 27, 2015

Time: 11:15am- 2:00pm

Location: Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre
1088 Burrard St, Vancouver

Tickets: $102.00 

About Tamara Taggart
Tamara Taggart is a veteran broadcaster, currently anchoring CTV News at Six with Mike Killeen. In addition to her award- winning career, Tamara is the Chair of the BC Women's Hospital 'Hope Starts Here' campaign, where she has helped raise $17 million for a Newborn Intensive Care Unit at BC Children's Hospital. In June 2015 she received the Order of BC for her volunteer work supporting the healthcare and well being of children and individuals with disabilities in BC. Tamara is Wife to her husband David Genn, and Mom to her 3 children, Beckett, Zoe, and Poppy. 

About the Deloitte Women of Influence Luncheon Series
Since 1994, the Women of Influence Luncheon Series has showcased North America's most accomplished and influential women in business, government, sciences, and the arts. The events are an opportunity for them to share their advice and stories of professional and personal success to inspire other women in their journeys. Events provide an excellent environment to network, learn, and grow, and are hosted in six cities across Canada with more than 8,000+ annual attendees. 

For more information and to purchase your ticket, visit womenofinfluence.ca.
Find Women of Influence on social media: Facebook  | Twitter | Instagram 

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Friday, October 9, 2015

A Keepsake DIY with First Baby Shoes

I'm sure you've seen the leather moccs that so many little ones are sporting all over Instagram, and let's face it, they're pretty cute. There are so many brands that offer adorable clothes and accessories for kids and babies that it can be hard to choose. I'm lucky that family and friends have given us gifts and plenty of hand- me- downs for our kids, but I still like to pick out things for them myself (plus I don't get in trouble if I shop for them! If I bring home shoes for me on the other hand... ;) ). 

This pair of little red booties from First Baby Shoes will be one of those things I keep for Liam even when he's outgrown them. I love how cute they are and that they hold a special sentimental value since I made them. I love a good craft/ DIY project, but sometimes I just don't have the time to pull off a Pinterest- inspired project. The kit for these booties allowed me the time to make Liam something special without feeling 'not good enough' from all the ideas out there. The cost of a kit is comparable to what you would pay for ready- made leather shoes and I spent about 3 hours over 3 nights working on them (it would have only taken 2, but I goofed a little- you'll see what I mean). I opted for the Rie design and am really happy with how they turned out. Even if you're not a savvy crafter, this shoe kit would be a cute and simple project- plus I think one of these kits would make a really cute baby shower or first Christmas gift. I'm sharing how I made them below.

Everything came in this cute keepsake box (inside the lid there's space to write to/ from and other info as a sweet memory saver). When your little one has outgrown them, you can store them in the box for safe- keeping alongside other sweet keepsakes.

Everything came ready to go, all I had to do was read the instructions and cut the thread (the holes are pre- done as well, making everything pretty much fool proof). Once I laid out all the pieces and cut the thread I watched the tutorial videos a few times to figure out how to put everything together. The instructions are pretty simple and straight- forward, but I'm a visual learner and liked having the option of online videos to help me get started.  The website has instructional videos for all styles available plus the basic stitch needed to sew their shoes, which I found helpful. There was a little bit of a learning curve, but once I got the hang of it, it was really simple. It took me about 3 hours to sew the pair; it would have probably taken a little less time but I made a mistake while I was sewing the second shoe.

Here's everything laid out; I flipped the pieces to show what the inside and outside look like. A feature I really like about these booties is that they have rubber soles, making them a durable option for early walkers.

I took this photo to show when I goofed making the second shoe- can you spot my boo boo? It just required some unpicking and new stitching, but I opted to finish them on a 3rd night. Otherwise they would have only taken me a night or two to make.

Voila! Boo boo fixed & finished. I love, love, love them and am so happy with how they turned out.

My little dude- I think he likes them! <3

I had fun making these booties and love that they're something just for Liam. My time might be shared between 2 kids now, but I'm trying to make sure I do things that are special for him, as I did for Ari. I definitely pick my projects a little differently than when I just had 1 kiddo, but I hope this post shows that there are options out there for busy Moms looking for something special for their kids.

About Liam's booties 
Kit shown: RIE kit in red 
Price:  €35.00 (approx $50 CAD)
Click here to view other kits available.

About First Baby Shoes

First Baby Shoes is a Polish company specializing in high quality & on- trend baby shoe making kits. Using soft, breathable leather and flexible styrogum (for the soles), First baby Shoes allow baby's feet to grow and move unrestricted while wearing. Both ready- made and shoe kits are available. Prices range from €12.50- €37.00 for ready- made soft sole shoes & kits cost €35.00.
"We believe shoe making can be a great way to express LOVE. One pair of hand made baby shoes contains time, passion and love of people who decided to sew it. We are sure first steps in FIRST BABY SHOES will be unforgettable and this unique pair will stay with family forever".

You can see all available products on the First Baby Shoes website and find the company on Facebook.

October posts sponsored by

Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Stanley Park Ghost Train is Back!

Each year the Stanley Park Ghost Train offers up a fun and spooky seasonal activity where riders take a fun journey through a world constructed by Halloween and other creepy tales. This year's theme is 'Classic Horror', complete with lights, sounds, and live performers. The classic night train is a popular attraction for those seeking a creepy thrill, while the matinee train rides are suited more for families, school groups, and groups with children (there are no live performers during the matinee train rides). There are also a variety of other activities to check out when you visit, including the Spooky Barn, Creature Feature Tent, Lantern- Lit Walks, and more. To help you get in the spooky spirit there will be live music on select nights from local bands.  The Ghost Train's partner charity is the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society, and visitors are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items for the food bank.  See below for all the details on this fun Halloween attraction and how you can WIN one of two pairs of tickets to the Ghost Train for October 15th.

October 9 November 1, 2015. (Closed October 12 for Thanksgiving Day).  
Night Train  
Monday to Thursday: 5:30pm to 9:30pm  
Friday to Sunday: 5:30pm to 10:00pm  
Matinee Train  
Friday to Sunday, 11:00am to 5:30pm  
The train is covered, but dress warmly.  
Buy online at www.ghosttrain.ca or by phone (604-252-3700) with TicketLeader.  
If the time slot you want is sold out online a portion of tickets for each night are reserved for on-site purchase, so even if online tickets are sold out for that day, there will still be tickets for sale on-site. However, since this event is so popular, tickets for the day can sell out quickly, so go early!  
On-site ticket sales start at 3:00pm (11:00am for matinee trains, Friday to Sunday). You can buy same day tickets only.  

About this Year's Theme, 'Classic Horror'
Lights...camera...all aboard!!   
Back from the graveyards of yesteryear comes the most gripping, exciting, and spine-tingling creatures ever to haunt the Stanley Park Train! Dracula, Frankenstein, the Phantom of the Opera, and more, as they come back to life from behind the silver screen to haunt you, chill you, and thrill you! This weird and wild adventure will take you back to a time when moving pictures dared to unearth the shadows that lay sleeping in the dark recesses of our minds.  
More Activities  
Spooky Barn  
The 2nd annual Spooky Barn is open during all operating hours. Enjoy this fun indoor, haunted addition to our family friendly event. Escape from the weather and have a Spooky good time for just $2 per person. The Spooky Barn will be available for both matinee and evening show times.  

Creatures of the Night – presented by the Stanley Park Ecology Society (SPES)  
Running in conjunction with the Stanley Park Ghost Train, Creatures of the Night is a free, family- friendly theatrical experience.   The Creature Feature tent in the miniature train area offers hands-on activities for all ages and is staffed by friendly volunteers ready to teach visitors about Stanley Park’s nocturnal creatures.  Visit the Creature Feature tent to register for your free walk. 
Lantern-Lit Walks: Thursday - Sunday 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm.  Walks leave every half hour.  
Creature Feature table: 7 nights a week 5:30 pm – 9:30 pm  

Movie Theatre Tent  
Classic horror films, such as The Mummy (1932), and Dracula (1931) will be showing at night in a tent beside the Ticket Booth. During the matinee trains, children’s films will be showing, such as Hotel Transylvania.  

Pumpkin Patch  
Pumpkins are available on site for $5 each.  

Activities Tent  
Nightly feature activities (5:30pm onwards), such as face painting and colouring sheets.  
Both Saturday and Sunday matinees will have face painting.  
There will be no activities on Halloween night,

Costume Contest  
October 27 at 7pm in the picnic tent 
Kids 17 and under can enter. Prizes will be awarded for best costume in each age group.  

Costume Sales  
Net proceeds will go to SPES & the Vancouver Food Bank. Adult-sized costumes used in previous Ghost Train performances will be on sale, on Tuesdays October 13 and 20, from 6-9pm.  

Visit the blog's Facebook page to enter.


Visit www.ghosttrain.ca for more info and to reserve tickets. You can also find the Ghost Train on Facebook and Twitter. #GhostTrain

Logo & Images courtesy of the Stanley Park Ghost Train

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