Lindsay Gill: April 2016

Monday, April 11, 2016

Preschool lesson on M: If you give a moose a muffin

Today we worked on the letter "m."  Here's how we spent the morning focusing on muffins.

First, we walked to the store and picked out some muffin mix and necessary ingredients.

We followed the baking directions.  While they were cooking, we traced the letter M and drew in the blueberries.

We set the table together and ate our muffins while I read If You Give a Moose a Muffin.

We then washed the dishes together.  Lastly, we marched around the house saying "Mmm Mmm Muffin starts with Mmm Mmm M!"

My plans never take as long as I anticipate, but we certainly had a full morning and got to share the muffins with Luke's cousin, Olivia, who came to play!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Meal prep: Salmon burgers recipe

Salmon burgers are one of my husband's favorite dinners from childhood. I make them slightly different than his mother does, but I find that I can prepare the whole meal during nap time (or the weekend) so that dinner time goes more smoothly!

Grocery list:
1 lb of salmon 
4+ cups of chopped vegetables of choice (I've had good luck with zucchini, peppers, onions, mushrooms, peas. Tomatoes are usually too juicy, and corn doesn't always mesh well.)
1.5 cups bread crumbs
3-4 eggs
spices to taste

1. Cook the salmon for about 10 minutes on 425 degrees.  It doesn't have to be 100% cooked at this point (though I prefer that it is).

2. While the salmon is cooking, stir fry vegetables. (You can either chop them before cooking, or after. I usually chop them afterwards.)

3. Mix cooked salmon and chopped cooked vegetables in large bowl with bread crumbs and eggs. The consistency should be slightly more moist than meatball mix. At this point, you can put in the refrigerator for later!

4. Grab a small handful of the mix and roll into a ball. Press onto frying pan of olive oil.  Flip once browned. Put on a delicious bun with lettuce and tomato and enjoy!

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Review and Promo code for The Oto by Cellscope: a smart otoscope for ear care in your own home

Thank you to Cellscope for providing me with The Oto to facilitate this review.  All opinions are my own.  *This device is not designed or intended to provide a diagnosis of ear infections or other ailments of the ear. This device should not be used as a basis for starting or modifying treatment without independent confirmation by medical examination. Do not attempt self-diagnosis or self-treatment based on the recording results and analysis.  Self-diagnosis or self-treatment may lead to deterioration of your health.

We were in the Pediatrician's office weekly for congestion and ear checks for Luke.  Some of these appointments showed ear fluid, some showed ear infections.  Little Luke just couldn't get his ears cleared!  The Pediatrician was about thirty minutes away from us, so a quick ear check was always at least an hour.  I'm sure we left with more germs that we started with, and Luke learned to hate the experience of being held down so the doctor could get a good look in his ears.  

Eventually, we were referred to an Audiologist for a hearing test, which showed some decrease in hearing.  She did further testing to show, though, that his hearing would be okay once the fluid was cleared.  We then met with the ENT who suggested we do a surgery to put ear tubes in, as well as take adenoids out.

With the tubes, it is easier to detect an ear infection because it is an "open system" and there is generally see leakage from the ear.  At that point, antibiotic ear drops can be used rather than systemic antibiotics.  However, one of Luke's tubes has since fallen out.  Though Luke can now articulate how his ears feel, we are back to wondering if he has fluid or an ear infection.

Cellscope created a "smart otoscope" that allows you to see inside the ear on your iPhone with The Oto.  The Oto is compatible with iPhone 5, 5s, 6, and 6s.  There is an attachment for the iPhone camera which allows you to capture a video of the child's eardrum.  You can then use the Seymour app to contact an on-call doctor and receive feedback within two hours, or share with your own Pediatrician.  

The Oto set-up takes about 30 seconds. For my 5s, I put on the provided case, slid in the camera, and then twisted on the appropriate top.  Luke was very cooperative and not afraid since we were in the comfort of his own home and bed! I downloaded the Seymour app and followed the easy set-up instructions. I was able to get a view into Luke's ear and the app gave feedback right away with arrows directing me how to turn The Oto and alerting me when there was too much wax blocking the view.  The Oto comes with a small storage and travel case as well. 

I'm excited to share this product with our Pediatrician!  I especially love this product for sharing a video with our Pediatrician in follow-up.  Once an ear infection is treated with antibiotics, we are usually told to come back in two weeks to make sure that the fluid and infection has cleared.  With The Oto, we could avoid a trip to the doctor and send him a video of the ear instead.  

Source: Cellscope LinkedIn
I do think a good Pediatrician is irreplaceable.  I think a parent's intuition that something is not right is very strong, and that you should bring your child into the doctor when you feel it is necessary.  There are times, however, when I think The Oto and Seymour app could be absolutely perfect.  When you are vacation and the nearest clinic is hours away.  When it is in the middle of the night and you just don't know why your child is uncomfortable.  When you've treated an infection and need to know if it has cleared.  Or when your child is so terrified of the doctor's office that they simply cannot get a good look inside the ear while the child is screaming and trying to escape.  

I also think this is such a wonderful tool for doctors to have on hand to record images from inside the ear rather than trying to describe what they see in their notes.  This is wonderful for an educational resource so that doctors can show the patient's family exactly what's happening in the ear, as well as for teaching pediatric otoscope findings to the medical community. 

Medicine today and medicine of the future is very cool and really excites me!  I think it is only a matter of time before tools like The Oto are "the norm."  Again, while I am so grateful for our doctors and have the utmost respect for them, I think The Oto is a remarkable addition to modern medicine!

Cellscope has offered Lindsay Gill Blog readers 15% off of your own Oto with code LINDSAYGILL! I would love to know if you purchase one and what you think of it!

Learn more on their websiteFacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.  Click here to read more about The Oto

Read more about our experience with ear tubes here!

Indoor Activity for Kids: Romp n' Roll of Wethersfield, CT

Our friend Nicole suggested we try out Romp n' Roll of Wethersfield.  It was a great half-way point for us.  We attended the "open gym" 9 am-10:15 am.  It is located in a plaza right off of the highway (and near a very good Marshall's and Chip's restaurant!).  It is also right next to an adorable toy store, The Wooden Toy. Easy to find and plenty of parking.

It was very clean, very bright, very friendly, and very reasonably priced. They have a packed schedule of unique classes such as "Art Explorers" and "Pirates, Aaargh!" They have birthday parties, camps, and membership options as well.  They have a room to the side reserved for younger children, too! We will definitely be meeting there again!

Indoor activity for kids: Bounce Western Mass in Springfield, MA

We just tried out the "toddler time" session at Bounce in Springfield, MA. Located in the Springfield Plaza, Bounce is a trampoline park with obstacle courses, a foam pit, basketball hoops, rock walls, a mini arcade, and more. Bounce used to be a movie theater, so it is big! There were a fair number of guests yet at many times, we had an area to ourselves.

Toddler time was a good fit for our three year old and cost $10 for an hour.  You can sign a waiver online ahead of time to streamline the process.  Kidz Bop music blasted in the background. It was warm inside, so dressing in layers would be best. There is a ramp so it is stroller accessible to the "viewing deck" for the most part but I would put our infant in a carrier if we go again. They have vending machines with snacks and treats, and handed out fruit snacks on our way out. It seemed clean and there were "cubbies" for shoes and belongings. They also offer birthday parties.

The parents are allowed to jump at this time as well, which looked potentially dangerous at times.  There was only one part that had "caution, broken" on it that didn't affect our time there. We saw an employee to pay at the door, but then didn't see any other employees until we left.   Luke had a great time and was able to burn off some energy. My main critique is that we would love to go much earlier in the day rather than right before nap time, and that the other parents were running and jumping out of control, at times!