Thursday, December 29, 2016

A Gift From Your Baby - a guest post by Trudi Goels

I was contacted by Trudi, of the Canadian Blood Services, who is trying to spread awareness around the National Public Cord Bank.  It is a great program that allows women to donate the cord, which is used to save lives already. I was, myself, interested in this program when I was delivering at BC Women's, so I was happy to have Trudi write a guest post here.

Please read on to learn more about this amazing program.

A Gift From Your Baby

When we think of babies and gifts, we think of giving them to newborns. But have you ever thought about receiving a gift from a newborn?

At birth, you and your baby share an amazing lifesaving gift: umbilical cord blood. Cord blood is rich in stem cells, which can be used for life saving transplants. There are more than 80 illnesses that can be treated with a stem cell transplant, such as leukemia and aplastic anemia.

Canadian Blood Services can collect cord blood after a healthy delivery at BC Women’s Hospital & Health Center, and if the cord blood unit meets all of the criteria for storing, it will be listed on a database that makes it available for a patient in need of a transplant. A patient like Aaryan.

Aaryan is only 11 years old and for more than a year he has been living with aplastic anemia.  It’s a condition where the bone marrow fails to produce enough new blood cells. In a healthy body, the stem cells in our bone marrow mature and become healthy red cells, white cells, and platelets.  Aaryan’s stem cells aren’t doing that for him.  This is why he needs a transplant.

Aaryan has an added challenge. He is has a multi-ethnic background, with Vietnamese and Afghan heritage.  For a patient to find a compatible donor, they are matched through Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) typing.  Patients are more likely to find a match from someone who shares the same ethnicity.  The number of people who share Aaryan’s unique ethnic background are few, and even fewer have registered to donate stem cells or have donated their cord blood.

You have a unique opportunity to help Aaryan and patients like him by donating your cord blood if you meet the following guidelines:

-Healthy (mother and baby) with no medical conditions that could be passed on to a patient;
-Mothers must be 18 years of age or older, and have a signed consent form prior to labour starting (you can download the form here
-Mothers reaching 34 weeks or later in their pregnancy
-Mothers not having a multiple pregnancy (i.e. twins, triplets)
-Mothers fluent in English or French
-Mothers delivering at one of the five designated collection hospitalswhere the Canadian Blood Services Cord Blood Bank is operational

At the time of delivery your physician or midwife will determine if the cord blood collection may proceed. There is no cost to donate your baby’s cord blood

Like Aaryan, Nate needed a stem cell transplant.  His mom would like you to consider donating your cord blood, so that you can help people like her son.
Click here to watch a video about this.

For more information visit

Trudi Goels is the Stem Cell Territory Manager for Canadian Blood Services in British Columbia/Yukon. She has a deep passion for helping patients by providing education and opportunities for people to save lives through blood donation, registering as a stem cell donor, donating cord blood or becoming an organ and tissue donor.  She’s the mom of one amazing teenaged son and step-mom to her two fabulous bonus-kids. 
She can be reached at if you’d like to know more or you can always visit   She’d be remiss if she didn’t tell you – it’s in you to give.

Friday, December 23, 2016

The Gift of Giving by "Green Gifting"

This time of year can easily get away with us. We are asked, "momma can you buy me this," or "can I please open gifts now please please please."

Although my kids are quite little, it would be nice to start some tradition to reinstate the meaning of Christmas, in our house. This could be a little gesture, perhaps it will stay and carry on. I had this in mind and contemplating what those could me. I want to exemplify that it is great to do for others, vs only expecting gifts. But what?

By luck, my niece stayed over. I grabbed her and Caiden and took them both to Value Village for some "green gifting" inspiration. En route, she told me how her school had some books from Value Village. And then it hit me. I will get the kids to choose as many books as possible and we will gift them to a cause that would love some books.

The kids loved it and so they set out in Value Village's book section to find books and books and books. And books they found, that's for sure.

There are so many walls and shelves of books at Value Village, all in good shape and in need of kids imaginations. Because they are so low priced it is easy to gather and purchase a lot. Giving a lot feels great and to my surprise, the kids were excited about giving lots and lots of books to kids in need.

I was so proud of these guys, they didn't once ask to keep them all to themselves and took time to choose books they thought other kids would love. 

While there, I noticed that there are many items people can benefit from, so many opportunities to give used items to those in need or on low or fixed incomes. This green gifting program is fantastic, and we all should be aware all we can do our part when we can, as we can.

So books in bags, smiles and excitement in our hearts, I tasked my niece to find a charity to donate these books to. 

Green gifting and giving back...such a great way to say Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Cheesy Chicken and Rice

I love comfort food, especially this time of year. One of my a chicken, broccoli and cheese casserole, with rice. Oh so delicious and warm and awesome.

Turning Mommy Cheesy Chicken and Rice Recipe

I always thought about making a similar, not as calorie rich, version. I finally did and excited to share it with you, because it turned out great. As always, I test it with the checked out.

So here is a one-pot meal your family will be sure to enjoy.

2 cups cooked rice al dente (I opt for brown rice or basmati here)
2 chicken breasts, chopped in bite-size pieces
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
3 pieces of crushed garlic
1 teaspoon of non-hyrogenaged margarine
1 finely chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup to 1 cup finely chopped broccoli
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon hot sauce of choice
1/2 cup grated low fat cheddar cheese
1 cup whole milk
Salt and pepper to taste

Sautee the chicken with the onion, garlic and margarine. 

Add the curry powder and hot sauce to the chicken and continue to sautee until the chicken is fully cooked.

Add the peppers and broccoli, cover and let cook for about 3-5 minutes (do not overcook or let the veggies go soggy). 

Add the whole milk and allow everything to simmer.

Mix in the cooked rice and allow to simmer until all the liquid is absorbed. At this point, mix in the cheddar cheese and salt and pepper.

Turn the heat off and add green onions or any garnish of choice.

That's it...easy, cheesy, yummy goodness.
Turning Mommy Cheesy Chicken and Rice Recipe

Tip:  For extra cheesy comfort food-like goodness, put into a baking dish and top with breadcrumbs and more cheese. Then back at 350 until golden on top.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Holiday Must-Try Treat Recipes

Turning Mommy Holiday Treat Recipe Round-Up
Snickerdoodles by My Recipe Magic

I admittedly love eating at this time of year. I enjoy all the treats, the dinners and the appies, and beverages.

It's so fun to see creative creations. I often think about what I would serve up and, thanks to Pinterest, always getting inspired.  This year, I am a little more on the "homey" feeling, so instead of being fed...I may try my hand at a few of these delectable recipes I have found online. I tend to gravitate to the cookies, and what I loved growing up...shortbread, snickerdoodles, oatmeal chocolate naturally I looked for fun cookies and treats. 

Here is a perfect round-up of some must-try and doable, I might add, Holiday treat recipes.

These look amazing, over the holidays I love Peppermint Mochas...combine that into a about a win!
Sally's Baking Addiction Peppermint Mocha Cookies

Shortbread is like a Christmas cookie staple, and I love the zest of orange, so this is the perfect cookie to signify the holidays...for sure.

I grew up making and always trying snickerdoodles, ok, I also just loved saying it. I definitely want to be that mom that makes her kids snickerdoodles on the holidays. However, this recipe makes a chewy, soft version, which one has got to try.

These look too darn cute not to try, what a fantastic idea...the kids and adults will love them, 

Hot Chocolate Cookie Cups - Butter with a side of Bread
Hot Chocolate Cups from Butter with a Side of Bread

My sister always loved sugar cookies, she was the one to make the sugar cookies. She always stuck to the traditional, but I saw this chocolate recipe and thought, yes I may get her to make this one, or I will.

Ok, when I saw this, I thought, "hello...where have you been all my life?" This is a must-try to stick with the holiday theme. 
Holiday egg nog cookie recipe by cooking classy
Egg Nog Cookies from Cooking Classy

Ok, I admit I had to throw these in there because they are so darn cute, even through you are using pre-bought Oreos. My kids love Micky and Minnie Mouse right now, so I thought it was a fabulous idea and it has to be around this year on the treat tray.

Micky Minnie Mouse Christmas cookies by Living Locurto

I love chocolate, I love peanut butter, I love the two combined. I love this simple treat and this recipe is awesome. I have also tried it with dark chocolate and natural peanut butter and it's still amazing.
Peanut Butter Balls chocolate with grace
Buckeyes from Chocolate with Grace

So that does it for treats this holiday season, or this round-up at least. Enjoy your hand at these tasty treats, that I'm sure everyone will love.  

Happy Holidays!