September 29, 2015

5 Tips to Staying Healthy During Pregnancy

It’s crazy to think that in just 25 weeks, there will be a little baby Wardo in our arms. Time has flown. Sharing our news yesterday was so exciting. I'm still on a high from the love and support from family and friends near and far.

As I enter the second trimester, I am really trying to focus on being the best that I can be. I have got back into the swing of yoga, attempting an earlier bed time and what I put in my body has become increasingly important. While I am not a doctor, I have learned some valuable advice from my own doctor, friends and family in the past few weeks about staying healthy during pregnancy

5 ways to stay healthy during pregnancy

Moderate exercise is not only considered safe for pregnant women, it is encouraged. Exercising 30 minutes a day is proven to help circulation, strengthen muscles and decrease stress. Try brisk walking, swimming, or yoga. Remember, it is always a good idea to talk to your doctor before starting any new exercise routine. 

Pregnant or not, staying hydrated is important. Drinking lots of fluids during pregnancy can work wonders easing indigestion and constipation  and flushing your body, and baby’s, of waste and toxins.  Make sure to get at least 8 cups of fluids a day - water, milk, juice and decaf coffee or tea all count. And if you’re like me and still need your morning coffee, make sure to limit yourself to less than 200 mg of caffeine a day. 

Get some rest.
It's normal to feel tired as your body works to protect and nurture the developing baby. The fatigue you feel in the first few months is due to high levels of pregnancy hormones, such as progesterone. You can also thank this hormone for the never-ending trips to the bathroom, which in the middle of the night is not ideal for your sleep cycle.

Take your vitamins. 
While most nutrients needed during pregnancy should come from food, prenatal vitamins do play an important role. Make sure your supplement contains at least 400 mcg of folic acid, which reduces the risk of neural tube defects such as spina bifida.

Eat smart.
What you eat during pregnancy could give your developing baby the healthiest possible start in life. Eating small meals throughout the day will help keep your energy up, minimize bloating and gas, stave off light-headedness by keeping your blood sugar in check and keep morning sickness at bay. You don’t need to eat for two when you’re pregnant, but you do need to aim to eat a healthy, balanced diet whenever you can. 

While the cravings have not been anything out of the ordinary for this salty-loving girl, one of my go-to meals lately has been Eat Smart's salad kits.

Eat Smart offers a wide variety of fresh, nutritious and delicious salads to choose from, but my favourite is the new Plant Powered Protein Sweet Kale Salad Kit. Loaded with broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, chicory, dried cranberries, roasted pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, flax seeds and hemp seeds, and a yummy poppyseed dressing, you can't go wrong. 

The single-serve, individually-wrapped 7 oz container is perfect to take to work for lunch - just toss and enjoy. And with 11 grams of plant-based protein and a good source of fibre, it is the perfect fuel to keep me going throughout my busy work day.

Eat Smart salad kits are perfect for those looking for innovative, convenient and healthy eating options that are easy to integrate into your busy life. Protein has turned over a new leaf with a deliciously satisfying way to power your day.  

Do you enjoy salads? Have you tried Eat Smart salad kits?

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.


September 28, 2015


April 2003: We meet.
April 2005: We start dating.
October 2010: We move in together.
September 2012: We get engaged.
June 2013: We get married.
October 2014: We buy our first home.
March 2016: We grow from two, to THREE!

Baby Wardo coming 03.25.2016!

I'm not big on 'bumpdates', but as part of our announcement, I figured what the hell. If anything my Grandma, and future first-time great grandma, will appreciate it (Hi G-Ma!). No belly photo though - I haven't quite perfect the 'cute belly selfie'. 

How far along? 15 weeks. 

Baby's size? According to my app, the size of a navel orange.

Gender? Still too early to tell, and we're on the fence about finding out. I say boy, daddy-to-be says little girl. 

Weight gain? I was never good at weighing myself, so I don't have a baseline, but I would say minimal.

Maternity clothes? Normal shirts, but have switched over to elastic-waist pants and have one pair of maternity jeans. They are so comfy!

Symptons? I hate to be that person, but the first trimester was a breeze. Besides being pregnant on our Italian vacation, I was very lucky. The baby was an energy sponge, but the nausea was very very very minimal. Currently, I can feel my belly starting to expand to make room for the growing babe.

Sleep? Getting a little uncomfortable to sleep on my side without a blanket bunched up underneath me. Finally getting my energy back though, which is a bonus!

Aversions/cravings? Aversions: chicken. / Cravings: anything salty. No odd combinations, but I have been caught a few times eating salt straight from the shaker. (Bad, I know.) Also, Koolaid Jammers - they're like crack and probably should not be legal to give to children. 

Miss anything? Sometimes I crave the coldest, hoppiest IPA. 

Best moment of the week? Telling our family, friends and coworkers before the announcement made its way to social media. 

Looking forward to? Continuing to share our news. While it was fun to keep it our little secret for so long, I'm glad we can finally share. 


September 25, 2015

New Job Survival Kit DIY

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #EatASNICKERS #CollectiveBias

new job survival kit

Starting a new job can be a stressful time. New commute, new routine, new environment and new people. It's like starting from scratch all over again.

This week, my husband started a new job - same company, different title and different location. While I am extremely proud of him for excelling in his new career since retiring from hockey, I don't envy the tough transition of starting a new job. So, to help "boss man" ease into his new routine, I created him a new job survival kit - filled with goodies to get him through the first day and week in one piece.

How to Create a New Job Survival Kit

1.  Gather the items, aka goodies, for your basket.
2.  Find a basket that is big enough for your goodies. (The one pictured was from a local dollar store.)
3.  Print these cute goodie tags, or create your own, to let the person know you are thinking of them. 
4.  Using a piece of tape, attach the tags to the goodies.
5.  Arrange goodies in the basket.
6.  Enjoy the smile you put on their face as they open the basket. 

new job survival kit

In my husband's basket, he found...

1.    Fancy socks  ...  to keep you on your toes.
2.    Mid-day snack  ...  to keep you sweet.
3.    Hand sanitizer  ...  to keep you fresh.
4.    Pens  ...  to remember what's important.
5.    Reusable coffee mug  ...  to be responsible. 
6.    Coffee gift card  ...  to fuel your day.
7.    Note book  ...  to not miss a note.
8.    Deodorant  ...  to no sweat the small stuff.
9.    Highlighters  ...  because you are the highlight of my day.
10.  Gum  ...  to help you stick to your goals.
11.  Lip balm  ...  to keep smiling.

inside new job survival kit

Found in the checkout aisle at my local Walmart, including a SNICKERS® bar in the survival kit was a no-brainer. Packed with roasted peanuts, nougat, caramel and milk chocolate, a SNICKERS® bar is the perfect mid-day snack to combat that afternoon slump. The last thing I want is for him to go hungry, or turn into a 'princess' mid-afternoon. 

SNICKERS location in Walmart

To create your own "New Job Survival Kit", use this free printable, which includes cute notes for each of the goodies pictured above and a shopping list.  

The verdict? The basket was a hit. And the first week? "Boss man" rocked it like the pro that he is.

opening new job survival kit

Who are you when you're hungry? Take the SNICKERS® quiz below to find out. I'd love to hear your results in the comments!


September 23, 2015

Summer 2015 Wrap Up

Happy official first day of fall! Can you believe how fast the summer flew by? What did you do this summer? Despite going fast, my summer was loaded with activities. Here's a quick recap of T.O. & fro's summer...
June was 'Camping Month', so we grabbed some family members, tents and canoes, and hit up Algonquin Provincial Park. The weather was perfect, the food was delicious and the company wasn't too shabby either.

Favourite Posts:
10 Reasons to go Camping
Tips for Planning a Camping Menu
Camping Recipes
Camping in Bear Country
Celebrating Dad
July brought the end of the months-long suspense and the destination reveal of our 'mystery family vacay' - Italy!

Favourite Posts:

August was "Family Fun Month", and family fun it brought - more adventures in Italy!

Favourite Posts:
Scuba Diving in Fathom Five National Marine Park
Rafting Down the Kenai River, Alaska
Free Things to do in Toronto
Mystery Trip Recap
Grilled Honey Garlic Cornish Hens

What was your favourite part of the summer?


September 21, 2015

Spaghetti con le Cozze

One of my favourite things about the Italy was the food, especially the freshness and simplicity of the ingredients. One of my favourite meals was spaghetti con le cozze, or spaghetti with mussels - fresh, homemade spaghetti noodles, in a simple and chunky tomato sauce, with locally-caught mussels and lots and lots of fresh garlic. 

Some people are intimidated over cooking with mussels, but they are affordable, sustainable and surprisingly simple to cook. Minimal ingredients are needed to create this tasty mussel dish. Enjoy!

spaghetti with mussels

Spaghetti con le Cozze [Spaghetti with Mussels]
Yields: 4 servings

  • 2 pints (2x500ml jars) homemade tomato sauce
  • 1 package spaghetti 
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup dry, white wine (optional)
  • 2 lbs mussels
  • parmesan cheese, grated
  • loaf of fresh Italian bread

  1. Bring water to a boil in a large pot. Add 2 tbsp salt.
  2. In a sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook until light golden brown, about a minute. Add the stock and wine, raise the heat, and bring to a boil
  3. Add the mussels to the liquid. Cook, stirring and tossing, until all of the mussels have opened, about 6 minutes. Discard any unopened mussels.
  4. In a separate large pot, add the homemade tomato sauce and 2 gloves of garlic, minced. Simmer until heated through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Meanwhile, drop the pasta into the boiling water and cook until al dente. Drain well.
  6. Add the pasta to the pot with the tomato sauce. Toss in pasta in the sauce and plate.
  7. Top the plated pasta with mussels, drained of liquid. Garnish with grated parmesan cheese.
  8. Serve extra mussels separately, with a side of sliced fresh bread for dipping.
spaghetti with mussels; spaghetti con le cozze

Farmed mussels, especially those grown in suspended culture such as blue mussels, are an excellent sustainable seafood option, and Ocean Wise recommended. Similar to how these Alaskan oysters were cultivated. 

Love mussels? Check out this recipe for mussels in a garlic wine sauce

    Do you enjoy mussels? Is this a recipe you would make?


    September 18, 2015

    Capri By Sea

    Located in the Tyrrhenian Sea, off the Sorrentine Peninsula, lies the infamous island of Capri. The 11 square km island's first tourists were the Romans, who were attracted by its ravishing scenery. Today, that same scenery attracts thousands of tourists a year and is home to a healthy population of movie stars, fashion designers and other high rollers.

    boat in blue lagoon, Capri, Italy

    Our last day along the Amalfi Coast was spent in style, aboard a private speed boat, exploring Capri by sea. Limited on time, a boat tour was definitely the way to go. Our adventures led us through the crystal-coloured waters of the Sea, where we snorkelled, ate local seafood and took in the all of the sights of the colourful island. 

    speed boat ride to Capri, Italy
    speed boat ride to Capri, Italy
    snorkelling in the Tyrrhenian Sea, Capri, Italy

    We docked at Marina Piccola (the 'little harbour'), on the south side of Capri. Until the late 19th century, Marina Piccola consisted of a small group of fishermen's houses overlooking two small pebble beaches close to an ancient landing place of Roman origin. Today it boasts many sea-side restaurants specializing in the catch of the day and colourful umbrellas for lounging.

    Marina Piccola, Capri, Italy

    Despite the quietness of the marina, compared to its counterpart on the north side of the island, the water was studded many day trippers like us and biollionaire-owned super yachts, which we later learned cost around 250,000 per week (that's almost $375,000 Canadian). We couldn't help by stare, and play the "If you were rich..." game. We were all a bunch of dreamers. But, also on our own private boat, exploring one of the most beautiful places we had ever been, so we couldn't really complain. 

    boats in Marina Piccola, Capri, Italy

    We enjoyed a fresh seafood lunch on the terrace at Torre Saracena, while taking in the fabulous views of the sea and the Faraglioni of Capri. I had the spaghetti with clams, my go-to all week, and it was so good that it was gone before I could document it. 

    The Faraglioni of Capri

    The Faraglioni of Capri (pictured above) are three impressive stacks situated in the sea just opposite the bay of Marina Piccola. Each massive stack with its own name, the Faraglioni are the product of centuries of coastal and atmospheric erosion of the predominantly limestone rock, and a definite sight to see. 

    town of capri, capri island, italy

    After a quick stop to the city centre (it was so hot, so busy and so expensive) and one last dip in the Tyrrhenian Sea, it was back to the boat.  As we cruised away from Capri, a feeling of nostalgia came over us - we had been on an absolute high since finding out we were headed to Italy. Spending the day with my family, on the water, in this beautiful country, made me feel like the luckiest girl in the world.

    marina piccola, capri

    Have you been to Capri? What would you recommend to 'sea' or do?

     Read more about our trip to Italy here:


    September 14, 2015

    5 Tips to Green Your Bathroom

    This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #NaturalGoodness #CollectiveBias

    tips to green your bathroom

    The bathroom is where we begin and end each day, with a variety of routines designed to help keep us healthy. It is also a hotspot for overindulgent water use, excessive paper waste, chemically-loaded cleaning products and lots and lots of plastic.

    Have you ever thought that the decisions you make in the bathroom can not only affect you and your family, but also affect the health of the planet we call home? Use these 5 tips to green your bathroom and reduce your impact on the planet.
    1.  Clean the air. The bathroom is usually the most humid room in the house. Excess humidity causes mould which can spur allergies, asthma and other respiratory issues. Make sure your bathroom is ventilated properly by opening windows, installing an exhaust vent, turning on a fan after showering or even adding an oxygen-producing plants. By moving air through the bathroom, you’ll remove the moisture the mould needs to grow. And no toxic mould means no need for harsh chemicals.  
    2.  Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Reduce the amount of water consumed by installing low-flow toilets and shower heads, taking shorter showers and turning off the taps while washing your face and brushing your teeth. Reuse products whenever possible, such as towels and rags instead of paper towels to wipe down the bathroom. A number of items used in the bathroom can be recycled, including shampoo and body wash bottles, empty aerosol cans, empty toilet paper rolls and plastic bags and wrappers. 

    3.  Upgrade your lighting. If you haven’t already made the switch from incandescent or CFL bulbs to LEDs, now is the time. LEDs generate less heat, consume 80% less energy and last 25 times longer. Switching to LEDs is one of the simplest ways to cut down on your energy bill and save money. Remember to only use lights in the bathroom when absolutely necessary and get in the habit of turning off bathroom lights when you’re done.

    4.  Nix the chemicals. Standard household cleaning products are loaded with harsh chemicals, which can be detrimental to your health as well as the planet’s. That skull and crossbones symbol does stand for ‘hazardous’, which should be the number one clue. Luckily, you have everything in your kitchen cupboards to get you started on creating all natural cleaning products. A bit of baking soda and vinegar goes a long way and will leave your bathroom sparkling.

    5. Go all natural. Similar to bathroom cleaning products, your bath soap, shampoo and even your toothpaste contain chemicals that can damage your body. A good rule to live by - if you can’t pronounce the name of the ingredients in your personal care products, you shouldn’t use them. 

    brushing teeth with tom's of maine toothpaste

    As a user of all natural face wash, lotion, shampoo and conditioner, we recently made the switch to the natural Tom's of Maine® Simply White® Clean Mint Cavity Protection Toothpaste (4.7 oz).

    tom's of maine toothpaste in grass

    Found in the toothpaste aisle at your local Walmart, Tom's of Maine® products are made in Maine and do not contain artificial colours, flavours, fragrances, preservatives, animal ingredients. All toothpaste packaging is recyclable, and products are not tested on animals. Aside from toothpaste, Tom's of Maine® also offers other natural products like deodorant, bar soap, and mouthwash. You can learn more about the products' ingredients, including their purpose and source, by visiting the Tom's of Maine® website.

    tom's of maine toothpaste location in walmart

    Interested in trying Tom's of Maine® Toothpaste? Check out the roaming demos happening in select Neighbourhood Walmart locations on September 19. Demos feature select Tom's of Maine® products, including samples and coupons. Check to see if they’re coming to a store near you here

    tom's of maine toothpaste in bathroom

    Don’t stop in the bathroom, challenge yourself to go green in other areas of your home!

    What natural choices do you make for your family? Have you ever tried Tom's of Maine®  products? I'd love to hear!


    September 11, 2015

    Along the Amalfi Coast

    The majority of our mystery family vacation to Italy was spent exploring the Amalfi Coast. Deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997, the Amalfi Coast is a gem of Italy - magically suspended between the blue sky and the crystal-coloured sea. 

    We stayed in the small town of Praiano, located between Positano and Amalfi. Praiano is an ideal village if you enjoy a simple, much quieter vacation, far away from the mass tourism that can be found along the Coast. The town is characterized by a labyrinth of stairways and narrow streets making their way through the terraced gardens, connecting the mountains directly to the sea.
    town of praiano, italy

    Derived from the word praia, or beach, Praiano has a few small pebble beaches, reachable by foot (and lots of stairs) or boat. One of my favourite of the trip was inviting waters of the cleverly named Marina di Praia. 

    marina di praia, praiano, italy

    If you like a little more action in your beach day, then One Fire is the place to be. While the atmosphere is great, this isn’t like your typical North American beach - no sand here. Bright orange chairs and umbrellas (available for rent), are strategically positioned on what can be described as a large 'patio'. Getting to and from One Fire requires descending and climbing over 400 stairs. Luckily, cold beer and wine awaits when you make it down the stairs, and on your way back up, there is a little family run bar conveniently position half way for a much needed beverage.

    one fire beach club, praiano, italy

    We decided to take a break from all of the stairs with a beach day at the Grand Tritone Hotel, also know as the hotel with a 'lift', or three elevators, to the beach. 

    view from grand tritone hotel, praiano, italy

    Mid-week, we took a driving tour along the scenic Coast, stopping in the infamous town of Amalfi to wander the shop-lined streetsLunch, which consisted of octopus salad, pizza, mussels and clams, was in Atrani, a small town to the immediate south of Amalfi. Given the proximity to the sea, there was no shortage of fresh seafood to try. 

    beaches of amalfi and atrani, italy

    On our way back to Praiano, we made a stop in Ravello where we sampled local wine and limoncello. Ravello is set right in the middle of the Amalfi Coast, overlooking the whole Gulf of Salerno, and is known for its music scene.

    town of ravello, amalfi coast, italy

    Eating good food and drinking good beer and wine was a common theme on the trip. On one of the evenings, we took a boat ride to the nearby town of Maiori, where we enjoyed dinner at Torre Normanna, a restaurant located in an old coastal watchtower. There are about 30 watchtowers strategically built along the Coast. When unwanted visitors, such as pirates, were spotted, fires were lit, warning the inhabitants of imminent dangers and allowing them to seek shelter into the woods, grottoes or fortifications. In the early 1800s, most of the towers were unarmed and used for other purposes, such as restaurants or housing. 

    boat ride along amalfi coast and torre nor manna restaurant

    Our last dinner along the Amalfi Coast was spent at Kasai, one of the cutest little restaurants in Praiano. Despite being forced inside because of the rain, my 'spaghetti with local squids' was one of the best meals I had all trip. 

    kasai restaurant, praiano, italy

    Know before you go:
    • Praiano is on the SITA Sorrento-Salerno bus line, which will allow you to travel to all of the towns along the Amalfi Coast. 
    • If you prefer to drive, all towns on the Amalfi Coast are connected by the scenic SS163 road. Following the natural course of the coastline, the route is full of curves, nestled between the rock and the sea cliffs, and can be a bit intimidating to the novice European driver.
    • July to August is considered “tourist season”, and is extremely hot, reaching an average high of 29C plus humidity. However, most of the events, festivals, etc. take place during this time. 
    • The best time to visit is said to be April to June, when the blossoms are in bloom, the weather is just right and the Sea is warm enough to go for a swim.

    Have you been to the Amalfi Coast? What was your favourite part? What would you recommend to 'sea' and do?

    Read more about our trip to Italy here:
    Blog Design Created by pipdig