May 31, 2016

5 Tips for Introducing Your Family Dog and New Baby

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

5 Tips for Introducing You Family Dog & New Baby

As baby's due date neared, besides the obvious of meeting our daughter, I was extremely excited to have her meet the family dogs. How would they act around her? Would they even care?

Fast forward 2 months... We now call Titus the "Night's Watch" because he always has to be by her side, and little miss Morley can't take her eyes off of him, watching and giggling at his every move. Those are the moments that I want to savor this summer, and forever.

5 Tips for Introducing You Family Dog & New Baby

When bringing home a new baby to a house with a dog, it is extremely important that the "first meeting" is done right. Remember, your dog or cat was your first and is used to being the centre of your attention. Introducing someone else into the mix may set off their routine, and many dogs experience anxiety when their lifestyles are drastically altered. The sooner you begin to prepare your dog, the better chance you will have a successful and easy transition once baby arrives. 

5 Tips for Introducing Your Family Dog & New Baby

01.  Prepare your dog. Teaching your dog some basic obedience skills, such as ‘sit’, ‘stay’, ‘leave/drop it’, etc., will help you manage behaviour when the baby comes. Desensitize your dog to some of the new sights, sounds and smells - unwrap new baby supplies, such as toys, and let him/her investigate them, play recordings of babies crying or babbling and even establish boundaries are baby’s toys and nursery. Once baby is born, take home an item from the hospital, such as a blanket, so that baby can get used to the new one’s smell.

5 Tips for Introducing You Family Dog & New Baby

02.  Control the introduction. It’s crucial to stay calm and relaxed when you and baby enter the house. If you seem anxious, your dog will pick up on your cues and may become anxious as well. Reward and praise your dog for responding to your cues and remaining calm around baby. Remember not to scold your dog - you want them to associate the baby with good things. 

03.  Teach your baby. While it is important to supervise all interactions, once your child is in the exploratory state, take the opportunity to teach your child not to bother the dog, yank their tail, etc. Similar to rewarding your dog for good behaviour, praise baby for being gentle when interacting with the dog. 

5 Tips for Introducing You Family Dog & New Baby

04.  Make baby’s safety a priority. Never leave an infant or toddler alone with a dog, especially when the baby is on the floor. While kisses from the dog may be cute, avoid face to face contact. After taking the appropriate steps, if your dog displays any questionable behaviour, seek professional help. 

05.  Don’t forget about the first member of your “pack”! Make sure that they still receive the attention and care that they deserve. This also means making sure they receive the very best when it comes to their food.  

Mealtime is a moment worth savoring, and this summer, Purina® Pro Plan® Savor® Shredded Blend dog food will help you do just that! Made with real poultry, meat or fish as the #1 ingredient in all dry formulas, Purina® Pro Plan® Savor® Shredded Blend is high-quality nutrition with a taste dogs absolutely love. That is a dog food I can stand behind. 

5 Tips for Introducing You Family Dog & New Baby

Purina® Pro Plan® Savor® Shredded Blend for dogs can be found in the Purina® Pro Plan® dog food section at your local PetSmart, and is available in a variety of dry and wet foods, plus snacks and meal enhancements, to satisfy taste preferences.

5 Tips for Introducing You Family Dog & New Baby

Now at PetSmart, spend $15 on any Purina® Pro Plan® product from 5/31–7/5 and SAVE $15 on your next purchase of 10.5 lbs. or larger Purina® Pro Plan® Dry Cat or Dog Food or Litter (by 7/31).

How do you savor every moment with your dog or cat?


May 27, 2016

Road Trip Reminiscing

Ultimate Road Trip: Anchorage to Toronto

It's hard to believe that 3 years ago we were just a few days in to the ultimate road trip - a 4000+ mile journey from Anchorage, Alaska home to Toronto, Ontario.

I'm a sucker for a good road trip, and this one definitely tops the list of most memorable. Let's take a drive down memory lane...

Day 1: Anchorage to Tok, Alaska
We left Anchorage around 10:30am, with a planned easy six-hour drive ahead of us to Tok, Alaska, just inside the border.  We had done half the drive before when we travelled to Eureka and on our way home from our Valdez adventure. This time around, we couldn’t have asked for better weather for our way out. 

Day 2: Tok, Alaska to Whitehorse, Yukon

We picked up the Al-Can Highway in Tok, AK. Although an exhilarating and ultimate road trippin' experience lay ahead of us, one of the toughest days I've ever had was crossing that border and not just because of the fun ordeal we had at Customs.

There was a bench sitting right on the border - you could chose which country you wanted to be in. I kept my composure through most of our goodbyes, but it wasn’t until I was standing half in Alaska and half in Canada that the waterworks started.  For three years, we had called both home.  It’s funny how things change – the temper tantrum I threw at the border just then was very similar to the one I threw that day in Walmart when I found out we were moving to Alaska in the first place. After a quick "let's go" from Steve, we were on our way, back to our home and native land. 

The drive to Whitehorse, Yukon was gorgeous, with many wildlife sightings, including a grizzly and a couple of black bears. We spent the night in Whitehorse, catching up with an old friend.

Day 3: Whitehorse, Yukon to Liard River Hot Springs, British Columbia
After grabbing a quick Tim Horton's coffee to start our day, we continued on our adventure. We had a picnic lunch at Watson Lake, Yukon, spending a few minutes walking through the Sign Post Forest to take in the thousands of other travellers that have been on the same exhilarating adventure as us.

We camped at Liard Hot Springs Provincial Park in northern British Columbia, enjoying a much needed soak in the hot springs.

Day 4: Liard River Hot Springs, British Columbia to Grande Prairie, Alberta
After hitting the road for what would end up being a long day, we stopped in Muncho Lake, BC to fill up the tank - a pricey $2/L! When driving the road less travelled, it's important to stop and fill up whenever you can, despite the price, because you never know when the next 'in service' service station will appear. The usual turquoise colours of Muncho Lake were muted by the rain.

We saw wildlife galore - from black and brown bears, to stone sheep, bison, coyote, caribou and more.

We passed the Al-Can Highway Mile 0 sign in Dawson Creek, BC, stopping to only snap a few shots, give a quick high five, and continue on our 4000+ mile journey.

Day 5: Grande Prairie to Jasper, Alberta
The drive from Grand Prairie, AB to Jasper, AB was a fairly uneventful one.  The flatness eventually turned back into the towering mountains we had grown accustomed to. Night number 5 was spent at the Fairmont in Jasper to reward ourselves for making it this far without incident 

Day 6: Jasper to Banff, Alberta
We enjoyed the Fairmont right up until we had to check out in the morning.  We woke up refreshed and ready to continue the second half of our journey home. On our way out of Jasper, we saw elk and black bear galore. 

We drove along the Icefields Parkways, one of the most scenic drives in the world, and is studded with more than 100 glaciers and numerous small lakes, rivers and waterfalls. We stopped at the Columbia Icefield Interpretive Center, to awe over the Athabasca Glacier.  The Columbia Icefield is a surviving remnant of the thick ice mass that once mantled most of Western Canada's mountains and is the largest icefield in the Canadian Rockies. At one time the Athabasca Glacier reached the road, however, because of a warming climate, it has retreated almost 1.5 kms, over the past 125 years!

Before arriving in Banff, we made a pitstop at Lake Louise. Of course it was raining. We finally made it Banff and were welcomed with more rain, but a relaxing night catching up with a good friend over some drinks, made the rain not matter.

Day 7-8: Banff to Calgary, Alberta
We spent a few days relaxing in Calgary with family.

Day 9: Calgary, Alberta to Estevan, Saskatchewan

We said goodbye to family and hit the Trans Canada Highway heading East. We welcomed to the prairies of Saskatchewan by rain, and the terrain became as flat as a board. The largest excitement of the day came when we saw this Canadian icon, the television set of 'Corner Gas' while driving through Rouleau, SK. 

Day 10: Estevan, Saskatchewan to Eau Claire, Wisconsin
On day 10 of the road trip we travelled through 1 province and 3 states (Saskatchewan, North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin) before reaching our destination for the night. It was a long driving day, so before passing out for the night, we indulged in some Wisconsin cheese and beer, and some smoked salmon from our Alaskan friends.

Day 11: Eau Claire, Wisconsin to Chicago, Illinois
We spent a few days playing tourist in the Windy City, indulging in some craft beer and deep dish pizza and celebrating my 27th birthday a few days early at Shedd Aquarium. It was a hot and humid few days, definitely not the summer weather we were used to in Alaska. 

Day 12: Chicago, Illinois to HOME
4154 miles, 12 days, 7 states, 4 provinces and 1 territory later, we made it HOME.

While this was a trip of a lifetime, it definitely required some pre-planning. If you're feeling adventurous and want to experience it for yourself, I recommend investing in the Milepost. This is the bible of all Alaska/Alberta/BC/Yukon/Northwest Territory road trips and marks every stop, including things to see, gas, lodging, campgrounds, etc.

The Milepost Road Trip Guide

Do you enjoy taking road trips? What's your most memorable road trippin' experience?


May 25, 2016

4 Baby-Wearing Leg Exercises

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

4 baby-wearing leg exercises

Now that the weather has become consistently nice, and what normal spring weather should be, I'm taking every advantage to get outside. One of my new favourite things is to strap baby in the front carrier and hit the trail behind our house.

As a new parent, I have had to adapt to the lack of time. No time to do the laundry, no time to do the dishes and no time to work out (and off that extra baby weight) because someone constantly needs my attention.

4 Baby-Wearing Leg Exercises

Rather than seeing baby as an ‘obstacle’ to getting things done, why not take advantage and incorporate him or her into your routine? Baby-wearing is not just meant for getting from place to place or calming a fussy baby, it is also a good workout! Wearing baby while working out adds great resistance, and as your baby grows, so does the resistance. Check out these 4 baby-wearing leg exercises for the next time you hit the park with baby.

01.  Bodyweight Squat
Begin by standing with your feet shoulder width apart, with hands on baby's back. For balance, if needed, place one arm out in front parallel to the ground. Lower your body as far as you can by pushing your hips back and bending your knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Pause, and slowly stand back up, pushing your body weight into the ground through your feet.

4 Baby-Wearing Leg Exercises

02.  Reverse Lunge Knee-Up
Begin by standing with your feet shoulder width apart, with hands on baby's back. Step back with one leg, flexing the knees to drop your hips. Descend until your rear knee nearly touches the ground. Instead of returning to standing, bring the rear knee forward to hip height. Return to reverse lunge stance. 

4 Baby-Wearing Leg Exercises

03.  Walking Lunge
Begin by standing with your feet shoulder width apart, with hands on baby’s back. Step forward with one leg, flexing the knees to drop your hips. Descend until your rear knee nearly touches the ground. Your posture should remain upright, and your front knee should stay above the front foot. Instead of returning to standing position, bring rear leg through and repeat on opposite side.

04.  Single Leg Bodyweight Deadlift 
Begin standing with your feet shoulder width apart, with one hand on baby's back. Firmly plant one foot, with a slight bend in your knee. Extending the arm of the planted foot in front, bend at the hips and raise the opposite leg. Push the raised leg straight back, as if trying to push a wall away with the heel. When returning to standing position, slowly lower raised leg, engaging your planted leg. 

4 Baby-Wearing Leg Exercises

Don’t forget to add a warm up before working out. When wearing baby, a fast walk is safest.  Focus on alternating between slow and brisk walks to get your heart rate up. After your routine is done, add in a slow walk to cool down and don’t forget to stretch.

Remember safety first! Not only does your form have to be correct so you don’t injure yourself, you also want to make sure baby is safe. Be aware that if you are postpartum, your balance may not be what it used to be pre-baby. Take it easy and go at your own pace until your feel comfortable. Make sure your baby carrier is worn properly - keep baby tight and make sure their head is supported and stable and their face is always visible. When doing your exercises, find a shady spot so that baby is not exposed to the UV rays.

I love to workout, but there's always one thing that seems to stop me from giving it my all. Back in 2009, I underwent surgery for a trapped nerve in my left elbow. Over 7 years later, the pain is still with me and often prevents me from doing the things that I enjoy. Today, I turn to Advil so that I can focus on saying yes and not on the things that hold me back. 

4 Baby-Wearing Leg Exercises - Advil EZ Open

The medicine in Advil is the one doctors recommend most for joint pain, more than the medicine in Tylenol or Aleve.** (**Based on a survey of monthly doctor recommendations.) And now, Advil comes with an EZ open cap, perfect those struggling with Arthritis or other joint pain, just like me. 

Advil EZ Open can be found in the pain reliever aisle of the Health & Wellness department at your local Walmart.

4 Baby-Wearing Leg Exercises - Advil EZ Open

Do you suffer from Arthritis? Check out this Better Living ToolKit from the Arthritis Foundation, which is packed with information and resources.

How do you find time to incorporate fitness into your routine? Does Advil play a role?


May 23, 2016

What I'm Reading: Approval Junkie

Review of Approval Junkie by Faith Salie

Approval Junkie
by Faith Salie

After my March and April reads, I opted for something a little 'lighter' for the month of May. Enter Approval Junkie by comedian and journalist Faith Salie.

Faith Salie is an Emmy-winning contributor to CBS News Sunday Morning, a panelist on NPR's "Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!" and host of the PBS show "Science Goes to the Movies". As a commentator on politics and pop culture, and television and pubic radio host, Salie has interviewed and been interviewed by numerous celebrities and television personalities.  Approval Junkie is a collection of daring, funny essays chronicling the author's adventures during her lifelong quest for approval.

While I enjoy talk radio and short stories, I have to admit that prior to reading this Approval Junkie, I had no idea who Faith Salie was. Because of this, I had a hard time initially building a connection to her through her stories. One thing is for sure, she has had quite the life - from a failed marriage to the man she calls her 'wasband' to interviewing celebrities such as Robert Redford and attending Oxford University. As I continued to read, I realized there was a message to be heard beneath all of her stories. The collection was a reflection on why she tries so hard to please others, including herself, and how she overcame seeking approval and caring what others think about her. Something a lot of women can relate to.

While this wasn't my favourite read, if you're looking for something light-hearted with a comedic twist, this book is the one. 

T.O. & fro rating: ★ ★ out of 5 

What books have you read lately?
Past reads:

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. All opinions are 100% my own. 


May 20, 2016

5 Baby Products I'm Loving | 2 Months

Ladies and gents, we have a 2 month old! 

I know, 2 months isn't a long time in the grand scheme of things, but in 'new mom world' it seems like the little lady has been with us forever. I can't remember what life was like without her.

One thing I also can't remember is what our tiny apartment looked like sans baby stuff. Holy moly that stuff accumulates quickly!

The baby gadgets and gizmos on the market continue to amaze me. Today, I'm sharing 5 baby products I'm loving this month.

5 baby products I'm loving for my 2 month old

1  |  hydraSense Nasal Aspirator
Baby girl got her first cold this month, and seeing her struggle to breathe through a stuffy nose was heart breaking. We received this Hydrasense nose aspirator at our baby shower and were told it will come in handy. I was hesitant to use it at first, for fear of hurting the little one (and sucking her snot into my mouth). However, it is designed to be gentle on your little one, is so easy to use, and comes with a filter so you don't have to worry about eating baby's snot. It gave baby instant relief. 

2  |  Infantino Flip Advanced 4-in-1 Convertible Carrier
We had originally purchased a sling for our little one, but when we realized it didn't come in one-size-fits all we opted instead for this convertible carrier so that both my husband and I could wear it.  This 4-way carrier is the ideal carrier for infancy through to the toddler years (8-32 lbs) - you can use the narrow seat position and padded head support to comfortably hold small infants, and as baby grows, switch to the wide position to continue to provide an ergonomic seat.

3  |  Tofasco Folding Wagon
Ok, so this product may be more for mom and dad... Living in an apartment, lugging our stuff, and baby, to and from the car can be challenging. We recently found this wagon at Costco, and at first, walked away from it. When we got home that day, we realized how much we would actually use it - doing laundry and bringing up groceries, just to name a few uses. It is extremely durable, folds for easy storage and comes with a protective cover. It has a hard bottom so when baby is old enough, we will also be able to use it to take her to the park. 

4  |  cuddle+kind Doll
Miss Morley loves her Willow the deer from cuddle+kind and I love this company for keeping my little girl happy and because they are a ethical, family-run company. Not only does cuddle+kind make adorable dolls for your little, for every 1 doll purchased, 10 meals are provided to children in need across the world.  In fact, since September 2015, cuddle+kind has donated 210,598 meals from the sales of their dolls and associated stylish inspirational prints! And they don't stop there - all dolls are handmade with love in Peru and provide the artisans with a sustainable, fair-trade income. They are made of high quality cotton with hypoallergenic polyfil for the ideal cuddle. Only the best for their tiny human friends.

5  |  Brica Infant Car Seat Comfort Canopy
This car seat canopy is the answer to insect, uv and rain protection all-in-one. The canopy gives baby a cool, shady hideaway on trips to the park, the breathable mesh lets the fresh air in while keeping out bugs, wind, and germs from overly friendly strangers (which I find especially important while grocery shopping), and a retractable rain and sun cover blocks over 98% of damaging UVA/UVB rays. When not in use, the canopy can be tucked away in a zippered pocket. 

Check out other baby products I've been loving lately: 1 month

Have you tried any of these products? What baby products do you recommend?

Disclaimer: I was in no way compensated for this post, I am simply sharing products I love. If any of these companies would like to provide product for review, I would definitely not be opposed. All opinions are 100% my own.


May 13, 2016


Oh hey, it's Friday. It's also mid-May. Whoa!

5 things I've been up to lately...

Cinco de Mayo. Any day that involves celebrating with good food and drink, I'm there. However, this year we had to skip the margaritas. But, what we lacked in margs, we made up for in pulled pork tacos, made in the slow cooker. Yum! By the way, the hard taco shell in the photo below is ranch-dusted (aka tastes like Cool Ranch Doritos)... mind blown. 

pulled pork tacos

Snapchat filters. Ok, so I may be a little late to the party, but I just recently discovered Snapchat filters. These things kill me, tears have been shed. I could spend hours on the face swap filter alone. Creeeepy.

snapchat filters
her father's daughter  //  her mother's daughter

Spring weather. Now that the weather is in the mid to high teens (high 60s), I've been taking every chance I get to go out for a walk. My new favourite thing is to strap little missy into the front carrier and hit the trail behind our house. Not only does it put her in an instant coma, carrying that extra 10 pounds is a good workout, and just what I need to ease back into some type of routine.

spring weather

My first Mother's Day. My husband had to work on Sunday, so we celebrated a day early. Morley got me a beautiful Michael Kor's bracelet, she has such good taste. My parents also came down for a nice visit. On the actual day, my sister in law took us out for brunch. I could get used to being spoiled like that.

my first mother's day

The little lady. Baby girl is almost 2 months old. Time has sure flown by. She's starting to get into a sleep routine (yay for 4 hours straight!). I would love for her to go longer, but how can you be mad at a tiny face that now smiles back at you? She also has a new best friend, and is quite the chatty Cathy when they're together.

What have you been up to lately?


May 10, 2016

Morley's New Friend

At just shy of 2 months, Morley is just starting to take a liking to her gazillion stuffed animals. It's crazy how fast those stuffies multiply. There's fox and owls, and even more owls - all of her mom's favourite animals. But of all the stuffed animals I thought she'd like, none are her favourite.

Every once in a while I come across a company that I just can't stop talking about. I tell my family, I tell my friends and I tell my family again. I even tell that random lady in the grocery store that asks, "Where did you get that?" Basically, I talk about it ad nauseam. 

Lately, cuddle+kind has been that company. 

Willow the deer from cuddle+kind

Morley recently received a cuddle+kind little doll. With 9 different equally adorable dolls to chose from, I opted for Willow the deer because she fits our whole 'woodland animal' theme. Willow's favourite quote is "Dream big, little one.", a motto that I intend to instil in Morley as she grows. 

Not only does cuddle+kind make adorable dolls for your little, for every 1 doll purchased, 10 meals are provided to children in need across the world.  In fact, since September 2015, cuddle+kind has donated 210,598 meals from the sales of their dolls and associated stylish inspirational prints! And they don't stop there - all dolls are handmade with love in Peru and provide the artisans with a sustainable, fair-trade income. They are made of high quality cotton with hypoallergenic polyfil for the ideal cuddle. Only the best for their tiny human friends.
cuddle+kind dolls
Morley is in love with her new little friend. I put them down together and she immediately strikes up a conversation with Willow, just chatting away about who knows what. I don't know if it's Willow's size, the contrasting colours of her face, her texture and softness, or the taste of her antlers, but Morley's definitely found a new favourite stuffy. 

Willow the deer from cuddle+kind

It's very likely that in another 2 months, Morley will have a new favourite. Until then, Willow goes everywhere with us - from walks to the store to family dinners in the backyard - because she instantly makes a fussy baby girl coo. And she makes her mom happy knowing that I'm supporting an ethical, family run, company.

Learn more about the story behind cuddle+kind, what they stand for and their adorable dolls here: Website  |  Facebook  |  Instagram  |  Twitter

Do you enjoy supporting ethical, family run companies? 

*I received product in exchange for this review. All opinions are 100% my own.


May 6, 2016

Footprint Mug DIY

Baby girl is growing bigger and bigger every day. And every day I tell her to slow down. From her tiny (constantly moving) hands to her teeny tiny toes, I can't imagine her getting bigger.

With Mother's Day just around the corner, I wanted to find the perfect gift for my mom, as this is her first as a Grandma. Being the coffee and tea lover that she is, we decided to make her something special that will not only allow her to enjoy a favourite hot beverage, but also freeze baby girl's tiny feet in time so that she can remember her at this precious age. 

footprint mug diy

This easy footprint mug DIY is the perfect keepsake for any mothers, grandmothers, or other family members (because everyone will want one once they see it), in your life. 

What you need:
  • plain mug
  • paint in desired colour (I used Martha Stewart multi surface paint)
  • foam brush
  • sharpie
  • rubbing alcohol 
  • paper towels
  • baby wipes
footprint mug diy

*Make sure the mug is large and flat enough to fit your baby's foot or hand print. Baby girl's hands are always moving, so I opted to use her foot print. Therefore, the mugs I chose had to be tall enough to fit her big foot. The mug also does not need to be white - just make sure that the paint colour that you chose is visible against the mug.

What to do:
  1. Clean the mug thoroughly with the rubbing alcohol and paper towel. 
  2. Pour paint onto flat surface, such as a paper plate. 
  3. Using the brush, fully coat the bottom of baby's foot or hand.
  4. Press foot or hand firmly on the side of the mug. If you do not like the way it looks, immediately remove paint with baby wipe and dry with paper towel. Repeat steps 3 & 4.
  5. Once you are happy with the print, use the baby wipes to clean the paint off baby. Make sure to be thorough and that all the paint is removed (in case they like putting their hands in their mouth).
  6. Allow paint to air dry for 1 hour.
  7. Using the sharpie, add wording, such as baby's name, to the mug. TIP: Write the design in pencil first and trace over it with the sharpie.
  8. Once the paint is dry, place the mugs in a cold oven. Heat to 350 degrees F and bake for 30 minutes. It is important the oven is cold as the mug needs to heat gradually.
  9. Once the time is up, turn off the oven and allow to cool with mugs in it.
  10. If the wording is not dark enough, retrace with sharpie. Repeat steps 8 & 9. 
footprint mug diy
footprint mug diy

It is best to wait a few days before using the mug to make sure that the paint has set. I also recommend having the recipient hand wash the mug after use, as the paint may wear over time if placed in the dishwasher. To remind Grandma, I wrote instructions on the bottom of the mug using a sharpie.

footprint mug diy

We filled the mug with candies before giving it to the Grandma. You could also fill it with an assortment of coffees and teas or some fresh flowers. 

Baby girl wasn't very fond of the activity, but too bad, I knew my mom would love it.  And love them she did! The perfect [Grand]Mother's Day gift.

footprint mug diy

What fun Mother's Day gifts have you made? 

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