Monday, April 14, 2014

Toddler Easter gift basket

With just 6 sleeps till Easter Sunday I am wondering... have you organised your Easter gift for your children yet? I have finally finished mine and thought I would share some of my ideas with you. Without getting into the politics of it, Ben and I are not from religious families, therefor our little family is not religious. We celebrate Easter but not really to the full extent of it's meaning. As a child Easter was one of my favorite holidays of the year because I always got spoiled with enough chocolate to last me weeks after the event. 

This year I look at Easter slightly differently being a mother to a toddler who can now indulge in chocolate (compared to previous years). I don't want to hand my child the necessary components to create:
1- a potentially explosive sugar high,
2- enough war paint to cover her from head to toe, and the walls, and the  floor and anything else that might get in the way of her sticky little fingers,
or 3- a combat ration pack designed to decay each and every one of the tiny baby teeth in her little mouth.

I decided to create a little gift basket containing... yes a few small chocolates but also some other items I know she will love and will entertain her and last much longer then a few chocolates will.

I started with the basics, a large basket and some shredded coloured paper from the cheap shop where I also picked up some Easter themed sticker books. Then I headed to Big W where I found a variety of little items I had been slowly collecting over the last few weeks like a "Peppa's Easter Egg Hunt" board book, a water colour paint set, a Dora the Explorer electric toothbrush and glitter cup. When it was time to choose the chocolate eggs I chose the gift set types that included other things like a ceramic mug and a dyno torch. Finally the few eggs that I got for her to eat I chose because they were small, so she can eat the entire thing in one sitting and 'Kinder' in brand, specially designed for younger children and made with a high amount milk.

P.S: In case you didn't notice my daughter is a huge Peppa Pig and Dora the Explorer fan, hence the theme of most of the items in the basket :-)

I hope these ideas help you to finish of your last minute Easter shopping. Also if you have a moment, please take the time to notice this weeks poll on the upper left hand side of the blog, asking what type of gift you usually give to your children for Easter? Do you have any other fantastic ideas that I haven't thought of?

Friday, April 11, 2014

The fridge door- Savory Ham & Cheese Muffins

Whilst school holidays don't affect us as much as what it would if Hannah were to attend school, it does however put a hold on our regular weekly commitments, the playgroup and swimming lessons etc. To try and keep my sweet little girl entertained and also enjoy some good quality time with her pre-new baby we have been indulging in some picnics and tea parties. One of our favorite recipes has been Savory Ham and Cheese Muffins.

It is super easy, and I would suggest it is one of my healthier recipes posted on the blog so far.

2 cups self raising flour
1/2 teaspoon chicken stock powder
1/2 teaspoon ground hot paprika
80g butter
6 slices of ham chopped
1 1/2 cups grated cheese
1 egg beaten
1 cup milk.

Grease a 12 hole muffin pan.
Sift ingredients into a large bowl and rub in butter. 
Stir in ham and cheese, followed by the egg and milk.
Spoon mixture into muffin pan and sprinkle with a little extra paprika.
Bake in moderately hot oven for about 20 mins.

I think they would also be tasty with some chopped tomato or capsicum, I might try that next time.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

How where you live can effect the cost of having a baby.

I have been in the workforce ever since I left high school in grade 12 so therefore I was never eligible for a Health Care Card and any medical attention (Hospital emergencies excluded) I needed I was required to fund myself. I was quick to jump on the private health cover band wagon to help me get that little bit more back at tax time and it sometimes helped in a small way to cover expenses. So naturally when I found out I was pregnant the first time around, scared as hell after hearing all the mummy horror stories from other women I wanted to have the best possible care I could and also to get a little of my hard earned money spent on our health cover back we opted to go privately.

At the time we lived in Kingaroy QLD, were about to move to Dalby and the closest private hospital that delivers babies was in Toowoomba. As I didn't have a GP at the time in Kingaroy I did shared care between the public hospital and my chosen obstetrician in Toowoomba.

This time around just 2 years and 3 months later I am 32 weeks pregnant with my second baby and during that time we have made the move to Emerald in QLD. I actually believe that Emerald is a slightly larger town then Kingaroy but I am absolutely shocked to see how much more my pregnancy has cost us this time around just because of where we live!

The hospital here simply refuses to do scans or blood tests, not because it doesn't have the facilities but because apparently they don't have to funding to provide the care. I think this is outrageous! Emerald is far more remote then Kingaroy and supports a wider community, I can not believe this isn't an option for all the tax and medicare paying, families here.

Just how the closest private hospital to Kingaroy was 2 hours away in Toowoomba, here in Emerald the closest private hospital is 3 hours away in Rockhampton. Throughout both pregnancies roughly the same procedures were requested so I created a table to help compare the costs.
Emerald/ Rockhampton
Initial Obstetric Appointment
$140 With Dr Kelsey in Toowoomba
$250 with Dr Etherington in Rockhampton
Obstetric Management and planning fee
Each antenatal visit with obstetrician
Each antenatal visit with shared care
Shared care with Kingaroy hospital- each appointment FREE.
Shared care with local GP- each appointment $76.30
Nuchal Translucency blood test
Free at hospital
Free at hospital (Was like pulling hens teeth for this to be allowed, was treated very poorly by hospital staff)
Nuchal Translucency scan
Free at Toowoomba public hospital.
$190 at Emerald Diagnostic Ultrasound
20 Scan
Free at Kingaroy hospital
$200 at Emerald Diagnostic Ultrasound
Glucose Blood test
Free at Kingaroy hospital
$168.40 at Sullivan Nicolaides Pathology in Emerald
Growth and Wellbeing scan at 32 weeks
$200 at Emerald Diagnostic Ultrasound
 After some rough calculations, not including fuel costs or accounting for medicare refunds my second pregnancy has cost our family $2000 more than my first pregnancy and can only be justified by the fact that we live somewhere different. It just astounds me that this one factor can make such a big difference in the already huge financial and life changing event of having a baby. I believe that regardless of where you live you should be entitled to the same care and treatment opportunities!

* Since publishing this post I was required to have a third blood test at $141, a third scan at $200, our anesthetist bill was $1300-ish and our pediatrician bill was $400. Fingers crossed that is all the surprise bills over and done with!