About Brittany McCoy

My name is Brittany McCoy and I am the mother of 2 beautiful children with my husband Brady. After a stressful pregnancy and even more stressful labour and delivery, I gave birth to our son Colt. We spent the first 4 days in NICU and my journey as a mother was suddenly filled with so many questions. I realized then that I didn't know anything like I thought I did! Within the first few months I found Mommy Connections and took our first class. There was so much information and I finally got to have some adult conversation. Not long after starting the program, I started battling post partum depression. This class gave me a reason to get out and I found there were other moms that were struggling with the same thing I was. I couldn't wait to sign up for our next class! The program started me on a journey to learn as much as I can about my children and what is best for them. When Colt was a year and a half I became pregnant again. This pregnancy was night and day different from my pregnancy with Colt. Stress free, easy and uncomplicated! And thankful, so was the labour and delivery. I'm talking 6 hours compared to the previous 56 hours! I had a beautiful healing birth of our daughter Ashlyn. I am so excited to be the new director for Mommy Connections Red Deer. To offer moms to be and new moms and all moms a chance to learn and meet others in the same situation and experiencing the same struggles, day in and day out. I strive to create a space and time for interaction between moms and babies and to learn about new and exciting products and programs in our community. My job isn't complete until I have created a sense of community amongst the moms in each group

Moving Houses with Small Children

Welcome to 2019! Hope everyone is having a great New Year so far! What a whirlwind the end of 2018 was for our family! After having our house for sale since February 2018, we finally got an offer at the beginning of November! Which we were over the moon excited about, but the downfall was we had to move in just over 2 weeks! That seemed like a very daunting task as my husband works out of town and we have 2 small children (3 and 5). I knew I had no time to procrastinate and got to work straight away! By moving day, I had the whole house packed so the movers could just come in and take everything to the new house! Here are some of my tips for moving with small children:

  • Get Help!

I knew I could handle the packing on my own, but it would be really difficult with my children around asking for snacks and needing my attention. They went to our wonderful day home 3 afternoons a week so I could focus on the packing. My parents were also so kind as to watch them on weekends as well. I strongly suggest finding someone who can help with your kids so you can focus and stay organized.

  • Stay Organized

Keeping your house organized on a daily basis is super helpful on just a regular day, but while moving it will keep you on track and able to find what you need both before you move and after you are in your new house. Try to keep your space as organized as possible! I moved furniture in each room so that I had a space to put packed boxes. I also kept a small basket on each floor with moving supplies like tape gun, sharpies, and labels. Make sure you write on each box what is in it and which room it goes to in the new house. I also wrote either essential or non-essential so I knew which boxes could be unpacked first.

  • Pack Decor First

I started the packing process by packing the most non-essential items first. I started with decor and actually moved all these boxes to a storage unit that could be unpacked well after moving day! After packing decor, I moved on the other non-essential items that wouldn’t be needed in our 2 week moving time frame.

  • Hire Help

Not only did I have help with my children, but we also had help with moving and cleaning. Because we had to move so quickly we hired a moving company to come the day of the move to load everything and take it to the new house and unload it. They were absolutely wonderful and it was such a relief to have someone booked with a truck. This was also a life saver for my back as I didn’t have to move any heavy furniture! Because everything was already packed up, it was an easy job for them! Part of our contract for the purchase of our house was that we get it professionally cleaned as we had a cat and the new owner was allergic to cats. Having a cleaner helped take more stress off me as well!

  • Check Buy and Sell for Boxes!

I got some really awesome deals on boxes off Kijiji and Facebook Marketplace. You can also buy boxes from moving companies but be prepared to pay a lot of money for them! These are great quality boxes, but I was able to find some good quality boxes for less than half the price!

  • Pack Most Toys Before Hand

My children did help me pack up their own toys and bedrooms! We set a small amount of toys that they would play with before the move aside. Think of going on a trip! Leave out a small box of toys, clothing and bedding that you will need before your move. This meant much less last minute packing.

 

Well that it! Because I stayed so organized before we moved, it made it so much easier to unpack at our new house. Let’s face it, once your moved, you have an unlimited amount of time to unpack! By labelling everything essential or non- essential, I was able to unpack only what we needed at the beginning and then slowly pick away at the rest. Because we moved before Christmas, I was careful to keep my Christmas boxes in a place I could find them. We are just over a month into our new home and almost have everything unpacked! Basements and garages are great places to keep all those extra boxes, and then you can just go through them as you have time.

Have you moved with children? What are some other great tips for moving

Favourite 5 Fall Trade Shows!

Are you excited for the fall trade shows? These shows are a fantastic time to support your local businesses. Many of these businesses are stay at home moms and dads that are trying to support their families by creating unique items you cant find in a store. We think these shows are the best in Central Alberta for being pregnancy, baby, child, and mom related:

  1. Rock Your Bump Baby Shower- Rock Your Bump trade shows have been around for over 7 years in Red Deer, but this is the first Baby Shower event! Happening September 23rd at 12 pm and 4:30 pm at The Black Knight Inn. This event will be filled with prenatal information, games, shopping and prizes! If you are expecting, this is the event for you! Expecting mamas will receive a free swag bag and professional photo and there are also guest tickets for friends, partners, mothers or anyone else you would like to bring. Tickets are available at: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/rock-your-bump-baby-shower-tickets-45567845653?ref=estw
  2. Rock Your Bump- This is the 14th trade show and the longest running pregnancy and baby related trade show in Central Alberta! Happening November 3rd and open to the public from 11 am – 3 pm at The Black Knight Inn. Get in early at 10am and a swag bag when you buy your early bird tickets. Tickets will be $5 for regular swag bag and there will be a very limited number of VIP tickets available for $10 for a VIP swag bag! Over 40 fantastic vendors, hourly door prizes, a grand prize, on site professional photography and so much more! Get the latest information on tickets on the website: http://www.rockyourbump.ca/fall-2018-show/
  3. Deja Vu Kids Sale- This is a HUGE consignment sale of pregnancy, baby and kids stuff including clothing, toys, furniture, and more. Consign your own stuff to get some extra cash! They also have some unique vendors. Sale happening September 15th from 10:30 am – 6 pm at Parkland Pavilion, Westerner Park. Get more information on the website: https://www.dejavukids.com
  4. Lacombe Mom2Mom Event- Check out the fabulous Mom2Mom Event in Lacombe on September 30th from 11 am – 4 pm. Free Admission and activities. Shop from second hand kids items from baby to school age, meet local parenting resources, shop the family market and enter to win a prize! Check out their Facebook event for more details: https://www.facebook.com/events/2131301760423617/
  5. All Things Pretty Fall Market- Looking for something really unique? The All Things Pretty Fall Market offers many unique and beautiful vendors and items. This might be just the place to find something amazing for yourself! Happening September 15th and 16th with the Saturday evening being a ticketed event and Sunday open to the public. Check out their website for more information and tickets: http://www.allthingsprettymarket.com/upcoming-markets/

So many great events! Make sure to stop by Mommy Connections booths at both Rock Your Bump shows and say hi! Also cheer me on as emcee for the Baby Shower Event!

 

Wellness Event

Big thank you to everyone who came out to our Wellness Event on February 27th! This is the second time we have offered this session and it was a great success. Not only did everyone learn some very valuable information, but we collected donations for The Pregnancy Care Network as well! We will continue to do this event twice a year so watch for it again in the fall. Participants also received swag bags and we did draws for door prizes!

We heard from 3 expert speakers. First from Adina Armstrong from Primerica as she talked about investing, RSP’s, RESP’s and getting out of debt. Money isn’t always a fun topic but Adina makes it interactive and gives so much great information! She is very laid back and has a no pressure approach. She has been into my house to talk to my husband and I and everytime I feel more educated about money.

Next we had Jasmine Lyster from Moonlily Wellness and she talked about essential oil safety. There is lots of conflicting information out there these days about what is safe especially around children and pets. Jasmine is a certified aromatherapist and makes essential oils easy to use! She also has an amazing kids line called Lua Kids where every blend is safe for your children.

Last we had Dr. Joelle Johnson from Family First Chiropractic talk about first aid. She covered many different topics including fractures and joint injuries, wound care and bleeding, shock, allergic reactions, bug bites, burns and heat injuries. Dr. Joelle has a very natural approach to first aid using essential oils and homeopathic remedies where she can.

Continue checking in on our page or Facebook page for more information on the next Wellness Event coming this fall.

Panago Halloween Pizza Party!

Just got back from our wrap up party for our October Travelling Tots Program! We had an absolute blast with this program! We visited Discovery Zoo, The Jungle Farm, Kraay Family Farm, Kerrywood Nature Centre and wrapped up at The Forum. If you haven’t had a chance to visit The Forum they are a workout facility that offer something for the whole family! They have childminding and lots of community events and also serve beer or wine (I’m sold!). All the kids got a chance to wear their halloween costumes and it was so cute to see everyone dressed up. At our wrap up party we sampled yummy Vanilla and Chocolate Shakers from Baby Gourmet Foods. These Shakers are not only delicious but are also nutritious with 7 grams of protein and 24+ Vitamins and Minerals. Next we had Sam from Beaners Fun Cuts for Kids Red Deer come in and share some of the amazing things Beaners does and their great hair care products. Then we finished up with pizza from Panago Pizza which was amazing (my favourite pizza place!). Thanks so much Panago for supplying all the pizza, plates, napkins and juice boxes! We all had such a great time and all left with full happy tummies. Watch for our Christmas Pizza Party that will open for registration here in the next few weeks.

2017 BrightPath Centre Review

We have been so fortunate to work with Brightpath Kids over the last few years. Brightpath Kids is a childminding facility that has 3 locations here in Red Deer: Eastview, Oriole Park and Riverside Meadows.

I was able to visit the Eastview location this month to see how they operate. I did already know quite a bit about the facility from having director Jennifer Hermary come into our Mom and Baby Program and chat, but this was my first time visiting a center. I was super impressed with how they work and the research that has gone into each of their programs.

We toured all the different rooms for different age groups. They have a baby room, toddler room, pre-k, and their kindergarten room. They offer preschool and kindergarten programs right on site at Eastview. Even the baby and toddler rooms follow a curriculum that was formed through in-depth research into early childhood learning and development. Each room has everything needed for play, learning, development, eating and naps. The centre also has a very large outside area for children to play and a gym in the basement. In the summer months they offer many different summer programs for preschool and school age children.

Meals are prepared fresh at the Riverside location. The menu has been developed by a registered dietician and nutritionist and meets all recommendations from Canada’s Food Guide. Lunch and 2 healthy snacks are provided daily at the centers.

I was able to meet some of the staff at the centre and everyone was so friendly and almost all have been at the centre for quite some time. This centre prides themselves on having a low turnover rate, which directly affects the children. All staff members has to provide a criminal record check before employment and must be qualified in Early Childhood Education.

BrightPath offers one of the coolest apps called BrightPath Connect which enables teachers to connect with parents. Parents can see child’s well-being, development and social interactions in real-time. I love this feature! You can even see how your child ate their food!

Overall I was very impressed with my visit to BrightPath Eastview and would absolutely recommend it to anyone looking into childcare. I would suggest that if you are starting your search for childcare, that you take some time to do a tour of the facility and ask questions. Jen let me know that you should start your search as early as 6 months before returning to work so you allow adequate wait times. I absolutely love the BrightPath Connect app and the fact that they follow set curriculums and offer pre-k and kindergarten programs. Perfect for busy full time working parents!

Honey Bear Music Review

I am coming up on my third year of being a director for Mommy Connections and still to this day one of my all time favourite classes with the Mom and Baby group is the music class we do with Honey Bear Music.

This spring my family had the privilege of taking a class with Honey Bear Music. It really was a family affair that included myself, my 2 year daughter, 4 year old son and husband. Their program, Music Together, is 10 weeks of 45 minute classes that combines song, rhymes, movement and instrument play. The classes are mixed age groups, which is perfect for families of more than one child. It was so much fun to play, sing and dance while watching our children grow and learn more about music. The director, Tyra Armeneau, makes it very clear from the start that parents must participate in the program to show our children how to interact with the music and become music makers instead of  ‘music consumers’. My husband was a complete natural and we both sang, danced, played instruments and loved every minute of it!

This truly is a very beautiful program and I would absolutely recommend it at any age! There were babies in the program only a few months old, which makes me wish I had started my children at a younger age! Since taking the program my children spend much more time dancing and singing along to music. Dance parties happen very often at this house!

Check out their schedule here to register for a class.

Honey Bear Music
Reviewed by Brittany Thomson at Mommy Connections Red Deer

on

This spring my family had the privilege of taking a class with Honey Bear Music. It really was a family affair that included myself, my 2 year daughter, 4 year old son and husband. Their program, Music Together, is 10 weeks of 45 minute classes that combines song, rhymes, movement and instrument play. The classes are mixed age groups, which is perfect for families of more than one child. It was so much fun to play, sing and dance while watching our children grow and learn more about music. The director, Tyra Armeneau, makes it very clear from the start that parents must participate in the program to show our children how to interact with the music and become music makers instead of ‘music consumers’. My husband was a complete natural and we both sang, danced, played instruments and loved every minute of it!
Rating: 4

My Struggle with Postpartum Depression

I recently did a post on Facebook opening up about my struggles with Postpartum Depression that was very well viewed which is why I thought I would expand it into a blog. I think it is important we keep opening up about PPD and sharing our stories to let all women know that they are not alone. At the time I felt like I could be the only person who felt like this which made me isolate myself more. May is PPD awareness month so I feel like it is a perfect time to share!

My story starts like most, with the birth of my first child, Colt. My labour was very long and very hard and I have honestly never felt closer to death than I did giving birth. After 56 long and strenuous hours in labour Colt tried to make his appearance but had what is known as a nuchal hand and had shoulder dystocia. That brought in the NICU team which was a saviour because once he was born we saw that he actually had a collapsed chest. I remember laying on the table while the team worked hard to help him breath. All I could see of his little body was a completely deflated chest and the worry began. My fiance rushed with the team out of the room and to the Intensive Care Unit where they were able to re-inflate his chest.

I had not imagined this was how my labour would go! I had imagined having the baby and getting to have that instant skin to skin but instead I wasn’t able to hold him for a long 12 hours after he arrived. Thankfully he recuperated very well and was just kept to be monitored in NICU for 4 days. Those were a tough first 4 days as a new mom! I was already exhausted from the labour where I was up for more than 2 days and then we needed to feed Colt every 3 hours. I knew I wanted to breastfeed my baby, so the job was all mine. We struggled with breastfeeding right away as he was a bit stubborn and wanted to be full instantly. He started losing weight so we made the decision to introduce a bottle, which in the end was detrimental to my breastfeeding journey. After we got home we continued to struggle with breastfeeding and eventually stopped for everyone’s sanity.

I have dealt with depression since my teen years so I was on a antidepressant throughout pregnancy. I thought that PPD would happen instantly, but for me it took a few weeks. I started to not care. I didn’t care how I looked, what I did, and most importantly I didn’t want to take care of my baby. I began to feel like other people did the job much better than me. I didn’t really notice that I was starting to feel depressed, I just lost interest. It wasn’t until one day my fiance was suppose to be leaving for work for a few weeks and he came in and said, “I called my boss and I’m not going back today. You need me here right now” that I actually noticed that maybe I was struggling with PPD.

After realizing that I had PPD I started to look for ways to get help. I was completely traumatized by Colt’s birth that I had to deal with it. I started meeting with a PPD group through Alberta Mental Health. I also started attending my first Mommy Connections group. Both groups were amazing to help me hear of other moms going through the same stage of life as me and realize that I wasn’t alone with all these big emotions I had going on. Mommy Connections worked hard to connect the moms together and I found it much easier to actually develop some friendships. I also started seeing a wonderful physiatrist in Red Deer, and she helped me figure out a medication plan. Thankfully my journey through PPD was short lived.

When I became pregnant with my second child I was very concerned that my postpartum would return. I made sure I continued with my medical advice from my doctors but I also looked into other options. I took precautions to help my labour be easier by hiring a doula, getting chiropractic care, studying hypnobabies, and getting my placenta encapsulated. Thankfully my labour was much better with my second with only 4 hours of active labour and everyone was healthy and happy afterwards. Against all odds I didn’t get PPD with my second which was absolutely amazing!

I highly suggest that if you are struggling with PPD to find a support network. I found a group of women that were going through the same stages with their own babies to be the most helpful. When I was first looking into becoming the director of Mommy Connections Red Deer my main goal was to offer a safe place for moms to come and talk about PPD.

I hope my story gives some hope in their own struggle with PPD. Thanks for reading!

The Organic Box Review

One of my favourite parts of summer is that it is farmer’s market season. I was lucky enough to grow up with a mother that grew most of our own vegetables in the summer, and there is nothing better than fresh organic vegetables straight out of the garden. Unfortunately we live in a part of the world where gardens and farmer’s markets just aren’t available all year round. Being a mother of 2 busy children, I also sometimes find it difficult to make it to my local market. The Organic Box is a perfect solution!

The Organic Box is all the best of the farmers market, delivered straight to your door! They make it easy to enjoy fresh. local and organic food all year round and it is conveniently delivered straight to your door. The Organic Box shares this about themselves: “The Organic Box is a food family made up of local producers, warehouse and delivery staff working together to bring you the very best food available throughout the year. Finding sources of local, organic food is our passion. And working with local farmers who share our values is something we feel truly grateful for.

When you become a member of our food family, you are choosing to help create a healthy community and build your local economy. From the soil that nourishes its roots to the trusted hands that nurture it, we deliver great tasting, certified organic food you can feel good about eating.”

Learn more about their process here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6q8_5u_pXts

The website is super easy to navigate. You take a very simple test that helps pick the box that is best suited to your family’s needs (size and food preference). Once you decide which box will fit your family best, you get a detailed list of everything that is in your box. If there is something that doesn’t work for you, simply change the quantity of the item and add something different. If you ever have questions about what you are doing, there is a chat widget to help you out. I loved the website because I could browse on my own time, but there was also someone there if I needed it. To find out more about how to work the website, check out this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJf3POtPQ6k&t=19s

The red line at the top tells me I still have room in my box for more items.

Now the line is green and my box is ready to be confirmed!

A few days before the delivery of my box I received a call asking if I had any questions regarding my box and let me know when the delivery would take place. Delivery for Red Deer takes place on Thursday and lucky for me that is my day to be at home. When the delivery driver arrived, she took extra time to ask if I had any questions and explain the delivery instructions. She let me know that I can specify delivery instructions of where to place the box if I am not home and the day is too hot or cold.

Not sure if they will deliver to your area? You would be surprised at the amount of Alberta they deliver to! Check out there delivery map and schedule: https://www.theorganicbox.ca/how-it-works/where-we-deliver/

I was so excited to open the box and see the beautiful produce. Due to it being March, it has been a long time since I had farmer fresh produce. The quality of everything  was sensational! I was absolutely thrilled with everything. The grape tomatoes that I had ordered came with a sticker saying they were less than perfect so that item was free. Thats showed up as a credit the next time I went on the website to view my box.

I would have to say overall this company has been amazing to deal with. They are so dedicated to customer service, which is such a nice change from other companies and grocery stores. There is someone there to help you right from the beginning on the website right through to your delivery. The quality of everything I ordered was amazing. If you are interested in trying out The Organic Box please use voucher code: MOMMYCONNECT to receive $20 off your first order of $50 or more.

All this fresh beautiful produce has inspired me to do some cooking, so I have come up with a few recipe. All these recipe include some sneaky ways to include veggies in your little ones diets. I struggle to get my kids to eat enough veggies, so I like to sneak them into any and everything I can. Hope they can help you get some extra delicious veggies in your family’s diet too! Keep checking back for more healthy recipes all summer long.

Sneaky Zucchini Oat Cookies

Spinach Mushroom & Feta Frittata

Sneaky Zucchini Oat Cookies

I really love to cook food that are secretly healthy. There is nothing more satisfying than biting into something delicious that is also healthy. These cookies fit into this category! I was inspired to make these after receiving my weekly box from The Organic Box with zucchini in it. I love zucchini and eat it lots of different ways, but my kids are another story! It’s one of those “off limit” veggies to them, so I have to be sneaky if I want them to eat it. Anytime I can trick my kids into eating healthy I feel like I’m winning! Plus they feel like they are getting a treat because of the chocolate. Making these cookies with my little guy was a ton of fun, even if it was a bit more messy! I think it is important to get your kids into the kitchen early to help out so they understand the importance of cooking healthy meals.

Note: In the recipe, it tells you to melt and cool your coconut oil to room temperature. I didn’t have time for this so I just melted it. Then I added the cold maple syrup with cooled the coconut oil and made it lumpy. I just microwaved that mixture again for about 10 seconds and it melted the coconut oil enough to make the lumpy disappear.

Sneaky Zucchini Oat Cookies

 

¼ cup Coconut Oil melted and cooled to room temperature (or see note)

½ cup Maple Syrup

1 Egg

1 tsp. Vanilla

1 cup Shredded Zucchini

1 tsp. Baking Soda

½ tsp. Salt

1 cup Whole Wheat Flour or Oat Flour

2 cups Old Fashioned Oats

¾ cup Dark Chocolate Chips

 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

  • Mix together coconut oil and maple syrup until smooth. Add egg and vanilla extract. Add zucchini and mix until combined. Mix is baking soda, salt and flour. Once combined, add oats and chocolate chips.

  • Drop heaping tablespoons of dough about 2 inches apart on baking sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until cookies are slightly golden around edges and set. Cool on baking sheet.

Spinach Mushroom and Feta Frittata

This is a classic recipe I was so excited to use my fresh veggies from The Organic Box that was delivered on Thursday. I love Frittatas because I can easily hide veggies in my kids food. They love eggs and my daughter ate 2 helpings of this when I made it. Win win for this momma! I have made this recipe with regular veggies from the store, but this one was so much better with the fresh organic veggies from The Organic Box. They make it so easy to eat healthy! Pick out what you want in your box online and it is delivered right to your door. The quality of the vegetables is unbelievable! Much better than what you get in conventional grocery stores and a lot less work for you.

Spinach Mushroom and Feta Frittata

2 Tablespoons Butter

3-4 cups fresh spinach

2 cups fresh sliced mushrooms

10 Eggs

¼ Milk of your choice

½ Cup Crumbled Feta

Salt and Pepper to taste

  • Preheat broiler to high
  • Over medium heat, melt butter in a large oven safe skillet. Add mushroom and cook for about 3 minutes (stirring occasionally) until mushrooms are tender. Add spinach and cook for another minute until wilted.

  • While your mushrooms and spinach are cooking, whisk your eggs, milk and salt and pepper together. Add your eggs to the skillet and cook for about 5-6 minutes, stirring once or twice. Once your eggs start to set, add in the crumbled feta. Move the skillet to the oven for 2-3 minutes until eggs are set.

  • Slide Frittata out of skillet, slice and serve. Easy, beautiful and delicious!

The Organic Box
Reviewed by Brittany Thomson – Mommy Connections Red Deer

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Receipt created for review of The Organic Box