April 28, 2017

Lessons From My Toddler

It has been exactly 60 "school days" since Morley started daycare.

That mom guilt I was feeling back on day one? You know, that uncontrollable feeling moms get that no matter what they do, they are not doing the right thing? Ya, it's still there. It ebbs and flows depending on the day, but overall, it hasn't gotten any easier. Even with 60 days under our belt.

I guess I should clarify that statement. It hasn't gotten any easier for ME.

Baby girl? She L-O-V-E-S daycare.

Lessons I've Learned from My Toddler + Giveaway

I was talking daycare with a girlfriend the other day. It's a pretty common topic of conversation these days, especially amongst those with kids. I was telling her how it seems that every day Morley comes home from day care, she brings a new skill or behaviour with her, continuously impressing us. 

One day it is saying "up" or "choo choo" or "boo" (which we've learned is book), while the next it is knowing how to put on her shoes, asking please in baby sign language or even putting her cheese string wrapper in the garbage, completely unprompted. Such a little sponge. I am still amazed that a 13 month old knows how to throw her trash in the garbage, or even where the garbage can is. Most adults still struggle with that simple task.

Lessons I've Learned from My Toddler + Giveaway

And while baby girl has learned so much these past 60 days, you could say we've learned a lot too.

Like what an "incident report" is. She's gotten quite the reputation as a little bruiser, constantly testing the limits of her new walk/run ability and getting a liiitttttle too confident. It usually ends with her bonking her head, and mom and dad having to sign off on that dreaded incident report. 

One other thing that we've come to learn is that bottles are not only a necessity for feeding, but also a must for comfort.

In a recent parenting fail, we forgot to put a bottle in her bag for a recent evening at Grandpa's house. Silly me thinking a sippy cup would do the trick. You'd think the world was ending, absolutely inconsolable. 

Lesson learned. Baby needs her bubba, especially before bed. 

Lessons I've Learned from My Toddler + Giveaway

Yes, those are Christmas pjs. And yes, I'm aware its spring. As with her bottles, comfort is also key when it comes to pjs.

From the very beginning, we have been a Philips Avent family. Philips Avent Natural Bottles are the most natural way to bottle feed. The advanced anti-colic system with innovative twin valve is extremely important to ensure air goes into the bottle and not baby's tummy. The bottles have an ergonomic shape for maximum comfort, making them easy to hold and grip in any direction. They are simple to use and clean, with quick and easy assembly, which is important when you've got a hungry babe on your hands. Or, in our case, one that needs just a little bit of comfort before she goes to bed.

Philips Avent Natural Bottles are 100% BPA-free and are available in two different sizes, 4oz (125mL) and 9oz (260mL), colours and decorations.

Do you have a toddler at home? What have they taught you? I'd love to hear!

GIVEAWAY: Don't forget to enter this amazing giveaway from Philips Avent! Enter below for your chance to win one of two Philips Avent Natural Bottle and Anti-Colic Bottle Gift Sets. This giveaway is open to all Canadians and runs until 5/21/2017. Good luck!

Philips Avent Bottles Giveaway - March/April 2017

Disclaimer: As a member of the PTPA Brand Ambassador Program with Philips Avent, I received products and/or compensation in exchange for this post. All opinions and advice shared are 100% my own. Thank you Philips Avent! 

April 25, 2017

Inspiring the Future Generation

Six years ago this fall, I had the unique opportunity to visit Churchill, Manitoba. Or, as most know it, the polar bear capital of the world.

During the week, I had many incredible opportunities to experience the iconic Arctic species in their natural habitat. Sounds amazing, right? It sure was. But, despite being in this amazing place, surrounded by these amazing animals, I couldn't help but feel a sadness come over me that week. 

Inspiring the Future Generation with Greenlid Compost System

You see, the reason I was in Churchill in the first place wasn't just to check an item off my bucket list. As a zoo educator at the time, I was attending a leadership camp with other educators from zoos and aquariums across North America. 

The goal of the week-long camp was to learn about polar bears in the wild and, more specifically, the challenges they face in a changing climate. The goal was to not only learn how we could help the big white bear as individuals, but how we could teach others to help protect our planet as a whole for future generations.

It was that week spent out on the Canadian tundra that I learned the breath-taking fact that if we do not lower our carbon emissions, the implications from a warming climate will lead to the disappearance of half of the world's polar bears by 2050. 
"So what?", most people would say today, "Why should we care about something that will happen 33 years from now?” 

While in 2050 I may be leaving the working world, 33 years from now, my daughter, my future generation, will be standing where I am today. A young 30-something professional, trying to balance a career and providing for her family. And, that’s exactly why I care. 

Inspiring the Future Generation with Greenlid Compost System

If you can’t already tell, I’m pretty passionate about the environment. So much so that for the past 10 odd years, I’ve dedicated my career to teaching and inspiring others to care for our natural world. 

These values extend beyond the workplace and into the home, where my husband and I strive to live a sustainable lifestyle. 

While Morley may only be 13 months old, teaching her to care for our natural world cannot start soon enough. Whether it is as simple as spending time outdoors to completing small tasks around the home, such as helping compost, it is not too early to get her involved in our sustainable lifestyle. 

Inspiring the Future Generation with Greenlid Compost System

You know who shares similar values? Greenlid.

Greenlid is the first ever fully compostable compost bin, scientifically designed to be leak and smell resistant. Their hope is to inspire as many people as possible to make small sustainable changes in their daily lives that cumulatively add up to larger environmental impacts.

Inspiring the Future Generation with Greenlid Compost System

What I love about Greenlid is that it sets itself apart from market competitors because it has a carbon negative footprint, helping users significantly reduce their own carbon footprint each time they use it. The carbon footprint produced in the making of the container and lid is extremely low since the product is made in Canada with end-of-life recycled paper. This carbon is offset by the fact that each composted Greenlid bin diverts 4L of waste from landfills, where it would normally create methane gas (contributing 20x more to climate change than carbon dioxide), to a compost facility where it can be used in the making of nutrient­‐rich soil.

Greenlid is perfectly suited to living spaces of any size and is a simple, clean and a convenient way to live an eco-friendly lifestyle. Purchase your own Greenlid online, or at various retailers across Canada.

Inspiring the Future Generation with Greenlid Compost System
Inspiring the Future Generation with Greenlid Compost System

So back to the point of my polar bear story… Teaching others to care about the environment is all about making connections. If someone has a connection with something, they are more likely to love it. And if they love something, they are more likely to want to protect it. By visiting Churchill, I was able to build that connection with polar bears in the wild. And, it is my hope, that through the use of Greenlid at home, I will be able to start building a connection between my daughter, my future generation and this amazing planet we call home.

How do you practice sustainability? Why do you care about protecting our planet? I'd love to hear!

GIVEAWAY: Enter for your chance to win 1 of 5 Greenlid Compost 5 piece Starter Kits and a $50 VISA gift card!

Greenlid the Compostable Organic Waste Container

Disclaimer: I received product and/or compensation in exchange for this post. However, all opinions are 100% my own. I only support brands that I truly believe in. Thank you Greenlid!

April 20, 2017

A Family Day at the Toronto Zoo

Oh hey there. It's me. I'm back from a much needed social media break/some much needed time spent with my little family. I'm back, and ready to dive right into what we've been up to so far this spring.

Did I mention how excited I was that spring is finally here?

Spring is by far my favourite season, because it means that we can finally start spending more and more time outdoors.

A Family Day at the Toronto Zoo

This past Easter long weekend, we took advantage of the nice weather with a little family trip to the Toronto Zoo. With Morley becoming more and more active and observant every single day, we figured she would love the Zoo just as much as we do. It's safe to say, we have a little animal lover on our hands.

Seeing as it was Good Friday, the Zoo was pretty busy. A stat holiday plus amazing spring weather? I don't blame people for wanting some quality outdoors time with their families. That is exactly what we were looking for.

Check out what we got up to during our family day at the Toronto Zoo...

A Family Day at the Toronto Zoo
A Family Day at the Toronto Zoo
A Family Day at the Toronto Zoo
A Family Day at the Toronto Zoo
A Family Day at the Toronto Zoo

Can you spot the little red hat?

Exactly as we predicted, this trip to the Zoo was much different than our visit during the fall at only six months old.  A short seven months later, Morley is now at the age that she notices even the smallest things in front of her, including animals.

Her favourite of the day were the brown bears, who had just woken up from hibernation. The large male was playing with a giant ball in the water in front of us. There were many delighted squeals and her newest word, "ball", coming from her little mouth and she pointed and bounced in my arms.

There was a permanent smile on her little face all day.

A Family Day at the Toronto Zoo
A Family Day at the Toronto Zoo
A Family Day at the Toronto Zoo

And of course, no Zoo visit would be complete without visiting mom's favourite animal, the polar bear. Morley even had the chance to feel real polar bear fur. No fear, I tell ya.

A Family Day at the Toronto Zoo
A Family Day at the Toronto Zoo
A Family Day at the Toronto Zoo

Toronto Zoo
361A Old Finch Avenue Toronto, ON

Things to know before you go:
  • The Zoo is open 364 days a year (closed Christmas Day), but hours vary depending on the season and day of the week. Give yourself at minimum 2-3 hours to visit. Last admission is one hour before close.  Check the website before you go.
  • Cost of admission varies by season. Check the website in advance. There is also a fee for parking, paid upon exit.
  • Several portions of the Zoo are closed during the "off season", including Splash Island, Kids Zoo and several gift shop and food kiosks. Check the website for details. 
  • Plan your route in advance by taking a look at the map and daily animal keeper schedule. 

How do you spend time with your family? I'd love to hear!


April 17, 2017

10 Reasons to Get Outdoors

As far back as I can remember, I have always loved spending time outdoors. When I was younger, my grandmother and I used to go on nature walks at our cottage, collecting interesting things and always looking up the names of certain flowers or birds when we got back. Growing up on Lake Huron, I spent my free time at the local beach, not coming home until my fingers looked like prunes. 

Celebrate Earth Day: 10 Reasons to Get Outdoors

Some may call me a nature nerd, but that's ok with me because being outdoors is what makes my heart happy.  

When was the last time you went outside? I'm not talking a walk to put out the garbage at the end of the driveway. I'm talking when you really went outside - for purpose and pure enjoyment - hiking, camping, fishing, even a relaxing day at the beach.

Sadly, not many people can remember the last time they really got outside. Nature deficit disorder is real, and is becoming all too common in today's society. Emerging technologies, limited green space and a fear magnified by media are to blame. At a time when we just welcomed our first child, I can't imagine a world where we don't get outside. 

Celebrate Earth Day: 10 Reasons to Get Outdoors

I am a total nature pusher and truly believe that being outside in nature is good for the soul. In celebration of Earth Day on April 22, I'm sharing 10 reasons why YOU should get outside:

To escape the hectic city life. 

Stressed at work? Leave the to do lists at home and head for the trees. No wifi, no electrical outlets, no problem. Leave the technology at home. Studies have found that those that spend time in nature have lower levels of cortisol, a hormone used as a marker for stress, than those that stay in the city. Give your brain, and eyes, a break, and enjoy the quiet time. A dose of fresh air is the perfect way to reset before the work week ahead.

To explore new places. 

Whether it is your local park, or a natural area a road trip away, choosing different places to visit allows you to explore what your own city and others have to offer. Do you research - you'd be shocked at the places you can find within a short drive from your home.

To develop a new found love of nature

Being outside isn't just about being in a new environment. It's also about gaining a new appreciation for Mother Nature's beauty. Take a walk in the woods - close your eyes, open your ears and take a deep breathe. Look up, look down, look all around you. Appreciate the small things. Learn something new about the plants and animals that call your area home. 

To reset your sleep cycle. 

With crazy work schedules and the increased exposure to artificial light, our internal clocks can easily get out of rhythm. Studies have shown that we actually sleep better when we set our sleep cycles with those of the sun. Plan a camping trip and leave the alarm clocks at home. Allow your body the rest it deserves.

To relax your mind and eyes.

You probably already know that staring at a screen for hours is bad for your eyes. So then, why do it? Turn off the electronics and take in the visual buffet that is the outdoors instead.

To spend time with friends and family. 

Being outside doesn't have an age limit. Taking a walk through the worlds, relaxing on the beach or even sitting around the campfire, telling stories, playing games and having a few laughs is the perfect bonding experience. And don't forget about your pets, sometimes unwinding in nature does them good too.

To do something affordable. 

Getting outside is often cheaper than planning a weekend trip to a popular tourist area. Chances are, it may even be free! If visiting a national/state/provincial park, day use and overnight fees are usually very minimal, and what you do pay often goes right back into caring for the park. 

If you are planning on visiting one of Canada's national parks this summer, don't forget to take advantage of the FREE 2017 Discovery Pass. Here's how we'll be using ours.

To get some exercise. 

Being outdoors does not need to be strenuous, but it can give you the opportunity to take a break from your regular exercise routine and try something different. The opportunities for exercise while being outdoors are endless - canoeing, climbing and hiking are just a few. Your body will thank you.

To inspire others.

Now that we have a daughter of our own, spending as much time outdoors as we can is so important. The more time we spend outdoors, the more our daughter will enjoy being outdoors with us. It's all about building that connection with Mother Nature. If someone has a connection with nature, they are more likely to love it. And if they love it, then they're more likely to want to protect it.

To have fun! 

No explanation needed.

Celebrate Earth Day: 10 Reasons to Get Outdoors

So do me a favour this weekend - make a pledge to get outside. Whether it is a nightly walk in the park or a weekend camping, drop the chaos of every day life. Take a deep breath and take in the sights, sounds and smells of the great outdoors. Make a lasting connection with nature. I think you'll like it. 

Check out my family's outdoor adventures on Instagram, here

What is your favourite outdoor activity? How do you celebrate Mother Nature? I'd love to hear!

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