Tips for Apple Picking with Your Family


Apple picking season is upon us! Here in southern Ontario, the days are getting shorter, the mornings and evenings much cooler and the leaves are slowly changing colour. I love this time of the year.  Especially after that summer full of weird weather we just had.

Besides the visual signals of fall, my other favourite thing about this time of year is the tastiness. And I'm not just talking pumpkin spice lattes. Fall means an abundance of produce, including apples!

Tips for Apple Picking with Your Family

Apple picking is a perfect family fall activity! If you're taking a trip to the orchard this season, these tips for apple picking will help ensure you get the most out of your basket and experience, all while making lasting memories with your family.

Tips for Apple Picking


Check the weather before you go. 


The weather can be all over the place in the fall and the last thing you want is to be over or under dressed. Dressing in layers is best - it's easier to take off a layer than put on one you don't have. If it is a warmer day, don't forget the hats and sunscreen!

Call or check the website before visiting. 

Certain varieties are only available at certain times of the year, so make sure to call ahead or check the website if you are looking for a specific type. 

Tips for Apple Picking with Your Family

Leave the pets at home. 

Most orchards and farms do not allow pets for health and safety reasons. So please, do your pet a favour and leave them at home. Don't ever leave them in the car as they can overheat quickly, even in the fall.

Avoid the crowds. 

Certain times of the season will be busier than others, such as the weekends and holidays. School fall field trips will also be in full swing. If time allows, visit on a week day morning to have a more peaceful experience and your pick of the orchard.

Know the terrain. 

Orchards are often bumpy, and not stroller friendly. If your babe is not yet walking, leave the stroller at home and opt for a baby carrier instead. For older kids, bring a wagon. The wagon can serve two purposes - to carry your apples and your babe when their legs are tired.

Tips for Apple Picking with Your Family

Discuss the rules beforehand. 

Before you begin, make sure to go over both the orchard rules and your own rules with your kids. Make sure they know how to tell a good apple from a bad one, and not to pick the ones from the ground or those with holes.

Know what to look for. 

Look for firm, crisp, well-coloured apples that are free of blemishes, wrinkles and bruises.

Don't mind the insects. 

Bees are a main pollinator of fruit trees, including apples. If you are allergic, ensure that you are properly prepared, especially if that means being armed with an epipen. 

Tips for Apple Picking with Your Family

Be prepared to get a workout. 

Apples are usually picked and sold in bushel and half bushel quantities. A half a bushel of apples weighs around 20 pounds. It's a workout! If your children are too small to reach the apples, you will also constantly be bending and lifting to pick them up and put them down.

Make it a day trip. 

Pack a picnic lunch for after your apple picking experience. Most orchards will also offer other family activities aside from apple picking, such as hayrides, so plan some extra time to take advantage of these as well.

Tips for Apple Picking with Your Family

And the most importantantly,

Have fun! 

Enjoy making memories with your family during this fun fall family activity.

Looking for a tasty recipe to make with all of those apples? Check these out:
The Perfect Crisp
Fruit Filled Adult Pop Tarts
Apple Cinnamon Muffins


What is your favourite fall family activity? Have you ever gone apple picking? I'd love to hear about it!





A Girl with Big Dreams


It was the spring of 2004. I was standing in the kitchen at my parents' old house, my childhood home, envelope in hand. I recognized the logo in the top left corner but couldn't help but think, "The envelope is so small. It can't possibly be the answer I'm looking for."

Isn't it amazing how we can remember the exact place and time when significant events in our lives take place? 

You see, in my hands was the letter I had been waiting for. It was the letter that would potentially help shape my future. And when I opened it, I found out it was the letter that said I had been accepted to the university of my choice, into the program of my choice.

Heritage Education Funds Heritage Heroes

Ever since I was a little girl, I have had a strong affinity to the outdoors. Particularly, the water. Like many, as a young girl I had big dreams of becoming a marine biologist. Except, unlike many others, I was bound and determined to make it happen.

And, in a sense, I did.

Heritage Education Funds Heritage Heroes

Four years following that event in my parents' kitchen, I graduated with a degree in Marine and Freshwater Biology and the tools to begin a career doing what I had always loved, being outside.

Fast forward a decade to where I stand today – I’ve worked with dolphins, pet a wolf, dived with sharks and have seen polar bears in the wild. And while I may not have the official title of "Marine Biologist,", saying yes to that letter I held so tightly in my hands has led to some pretty amazing experiences and opportunities doing what I love.

Heritage Education Funds Heritage Heroes

Yes, there have been some bumps and road blocks along the way. I would be lying if I said there weren’t. But, I powered through them. And, if it weren't for the hard work I put in (literally blood, sweat and tears when field work is involved) and my parents investing in my future through an RESP, who knows where I would be today.

Heritage RESPs has a goal to make college and university affordable for every child. Now, in celebration of Canada's 150th, they're launching the Heritage Heroes Campaign, which will be a series of in-depth coast-to-coast features sharing the stories of those that have used a Heritage RESP to kick-start their careers without being mired in student debt. The features will showcase what these grads have accomplished so far in their field of practice/study and community, what they hope to achieve in the future and how RESPs have given them a leg up. Stay tuned!

Heritage Education Funds Heritage Heroes

What's your story? How did you get to where you are today? I'd love to hear!






*Disclosure: As a Heritage Ambassador, I received compensation in exchange for this post. However, all opinions and advice shared are 100% my own. Thank you Heritage!

Tips for Traveling While Pregnant


As summer comes to an end, the travel planning wheels in my head have already started turning with new ideas and destinations for the year that lies ahead. 

We have Alaska coming up in the fall, with thoughts of a joint Iceland/Scotland venture in the near distant future. I'm also currently dreaming of these luxury homes in Italy. Oh, Italy. How I would love to go back.

Traveling to Europe While Pregnant

Our family trip to Italy two summers ago was one for the memory books, and one that will be hard to top. For many reasons.

We ate, we drank, we laughed, we relaxed, we took in the sights. And, I did it all pregnant. (Ok, minus the drinking part.)

You may not know it by looking at my vacation photos, but I was hot, I was uncomfortable, I was irritable, I will slightly nauseous, and man, oh man, was I tired. A “total trooper”, as my mom called it.

Traveling to Europe While Pregnant

Despite being in my first trimester on my family’s vacation to Rome, Napoli and the Amalfi Coast, and despite not being able to drink all the wine, enjoy all of the cappuccino and devour all of the meat and cheese, being pregnant did not affect my experience or the amazing memories made.


Tips for Traveling to Europe While Pregnant


Just because you're pregnant doesn't mean you need to pause your travels. Here are some things to consider when traveling while pregnant.

Before You Go


Talk to your doctor.

First and foremost, be sure to talk to your doctor before booking your vacation. Zikka, malaria and other viruses with fancy names are all things to consider. Your doctor will know if you require vaccinations based on the country you're visiting, what medications you can and cannot take while pregnant, what foods to avoid and what to do in case you run into issues.

Check your health insurance.

Ensure your health insurance plan covers out of country medical, in case you need take a trip to the clinic. If not, purchase an additional package so that you are covered. 

Select your seat.

Flights to Europe are long, and plane seats are uncomfortable. If the budget allows, upgrade your seats to one with more leg room, or opt for an aisle seat which will make it easy for you to get up and down to the bathroom and to stretch throughout the flight.

Pack light.

You’re already going to be tired, so the last thing you want is to lugging a heavy carryon and suitcase around the airport and to and from your destination. Make a packing list and check it twice. Chances are you won’t need all of that stuff anyways. It’s always helpful to lean on your travel buddy to assist when needed. 

Get some rest.

When flying from North America to Europe, flights are typically overnight. And if you’re anything like me, that doesn’t mean I’m able to sleep. Despite the pregnancy fatigue. Make sure you get plenty of rest in the days leading up to your trip. 

Traveling to Europe While Pregnant

Travel Day


Drink lots of water.

Not consuming enough water while flying often leads to nasty side effects such as cramping, swelling, fatigue and jet lag. Prepare ahead by consuming plenty of water before you board (with a pit stop at the washrooms). Bring your own reusable water bottle and fill it before you board the flight. That way, you don’t need to rely on the flight attendants for a small glass of water whenever you need a drink.

Bring snacks.

Being hungry on a plane is the last thing a pregnant woman needs, so load up on snacks before going to the airport. Protein bars and dried fruits and nuts are good options. Also prepare for nausea. Since I could not take my old reliable Gravol or Dramamine, candied ginger was helpful for me. 

Give yourself lots of time.

Some cities (such as those we experienced along the Amalfi Coast) have many, many stairs. Take your time. You don't need to set a personal best. Everyone in your party will understand if you're a bit slower, or need to stop more often. Giving yourself time also includes sneaking in a few extra bathroom breaks. 

Request a pat down.

The TSA says that body scanners, which use imaging technology with low levels of radiation are safe for pregnant women. However, if you are hesitant, instead ask for a pat down from a female guard when going through security. 

Remember to stretch your legs.

Flights to Europe are long ones and plane seats are not comfortable. So, don’t forget to get up every once in a while to stretch your legs, whether a trip to the bathroom or just a quick stretch in the aisle.

Traveling to Europe While Pregnant

During the Trip


Wear comfortable shoes, and clothes.

The best way to see Europe is via your own two feet. Which means you need good walking shoes. 

Don’t over schedule yourself. 

Wake up when you want and go to bed early. Limit yourself to one activity per day to minimize the amount of stress on your body. Don’t be a hero. If you can’t fit everything on you ‘must see list’ into your trip, Europe will always be there. Planning in activities in advance of your trip will help with this. Your body will thank you. 

Stick to bottled water.

You may think it is silly avoid tap water in certain countries. But these counties may also have different standards and regulations when it comes to drinking water than we do in North America. Bottled still and sparkling water are the safer bet.

Avoid certain foods. 

When you spoke with your doctor about your travel plans, they should have alerted you to what you can and cannot eat. Alcohol, unpasteurized cheese and cured meats may be tempting, but are best to avoid (especially alcohol). When eating out, ensure you know how to communicate your pregnancy with the wait staff.

Listen to your body. 

The most important thing to do while traveling pregnant is to listen to your body. You know it best. Rest when you need to rest, eat when you need to eat and drink water when you are thirsty. Go with your gut. If something doesn’t feel right, take a break or visit a local clinic. 

Have fun!


Did I miss anything? Do you have any tips for traveling while pregnant? I'd love to hear!





*To & Fro was provided compensation in exchange for this post. All opinions are 100% my own. Thank you for your continued support!

Celebrating the End of Summer + Salmon Poke Recipe


This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. The following content is intended for readers who are 21 or older. #ShareWineandBites #CollectiveBias


It’s hard to believe the first week of September has come and gone. The tourists have all returned home, the kids are back in school and families are settling into their new routines. Fall is on the horizon.

In my neck of the woods, this time of the year is bittersweet. The long, hot and humid days, hanging out at the cottage and even roasting marshmallows around the campfire are now just good memories of summerWe look forward to what lies ahead with the changing leaves, dipping temperatures and shorter days.

One of my favourite ways to celebrate the end of summer is at a place that I love, surrounded by the people that I love - Lake Huron with my family. Toss in some good food and good drinks and I don’t even want to go back to reality at the end of the weekend.

Salmon Poke Recipe & The Dreaming Tree Wine


The environment is very important to me. Being outdoors is very important to me. So, when we're visiting my parents, we spend every second we can outdoors - whether it be eating a meal, playing with the dogs or a walk on to the beach.

Loving Mother Nature also means that I conscious of the my actions, including the food that I eat. 

When choosing sustainable food options, I opt for those that are harvested in a way that has minimal impact on the environment. 

Salmon Poke Recipe & The Dreaming Tree Wine

Seafood, for example. We love to eat fish. But, the fish that we choose to eat without a doubt must be sustainable. This means that it must be caught or farmed in ways that consider the long-term vitality of harvested species and the well-being of the oceans.

Made with fresh, sustainably caught Coho salmon and served with salty kettle chips, this recipe for salmon poke makes the perfect addition to any end of summer celebration. 


Salmon Poke Recipe & The Dreaming Tree Wine

Sustainable Salmon Poke

Serves: 4
Total prep time: 40 minutes


Ingredients:

  • 1 8-ounce boneless, skinless fresh sustainable salmon fillet
  • ¼ cup cucumber, seeded and finely diced
  • tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 ½ tsp fresh chives, minced
  • 1 ½ tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 ½ tsp seeded jalapeno, minced
  • 1 ½ tsp shallot, minced
  • ½ tsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • ¼ tsp lime zest
  • ½ tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp Black and white sesame seeds
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Kettle chips


Directions:

  1. Place salmon in the freezer until well chilled, about 20 minutes. This will help with slicing the salmon.
  2. Thinly slice the salmon lengthwise into 1/8’’ wide pieces. Cut each piece into 1/8’’ long strips. Cut strips crosswise into 1/8’’ cubes.
  3. Place salmon in a medium bowl. Add cucumber.
  4. In a separate small bowl, combine lime juice, vegetable oil, jalapeno, shallot, ginger, lime zest and sesame oil. Stir to combine.
  5. Add sauce to salmon and cucumber and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Transfer poke to a serving bowl and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  7. Serve with salted kettle chips.
Salmon Poke Recipe & The Dreaming Tree Wine

And what's better to pair with sustainably harvested seafood than sustainably crafted wine?

Pairing wine and seafood doesn't have to be a challenge. And in our house, we're not picky. Right now, we're particularly enjoying The Dreaming Tree Crush (tasty red blend) and Chardonnay. 


Salmon Poke Recipe & The Dreaming Tree Wine

The Dreaming Tree makes high quality, delicious California wines at an affordable price point that are meant to be enjoyed in any group occasionAnd while the brand is passionate about winemaking, they also have a social conscience in the commitment to protecting and restoring tree and forestry areas across the country and around the globe. 

You can find The Dreaming Tree wines at your local grocery, drug or supercenter stores. Be sure to check their website before you shop.

Salmon Poke Recipe & The Dreaming Tree Wine

Pairing The Dreaming Tree sustainably crafted wines with sustainably harvest seafood seems like a no-brainer to me, and it is sure to spark a conversation and help foster a connection between the food we eat and drink and the company we keep with the environment. The perfect way to celebrate the end of summer. A beautiful sunset also helps. 


What is your favourite way to celebrate the change in seasons? Are you conscious of where your food comes from? I’d love to hear!




Best of Summer


As we close the chapter on summer 2017, I can't help but look back on all of the amazing memories it brought with it. It seems just like yesterday I had a 3 month old, was celebrating my 30th birthday and we were just trying to keep cool in the heat and humidity of summer 2016.

Lake Huron sunset

Related article >> To & Fro's Summer 2016 Recap

This summer, our 16 month old was able to enjoy summer like any other toddler. And while the weather this summer wasn't much to write home about (hello, rain), we made the best of it and fit in some pretty amazing activities and memorable family time. But, before we dream of all things fall, let's take a quick look back at To & Fro's summer 2017.

June


Although technically still spring, June brought a lot of outdoors adventures. Morley’s first camping trip to Pinery Provincial Park near Grand Bend, ON was a huge success. She loved being outside and getting dirty, and mom and dad enjoyed watching her love nature just as much as they do. The Pinery holds many camping memories from when I was younger, including two summers spent working as a Naturalist in university, so I was happy to introduce her to a place that means so much to me.

In case you missed it:
Preparing Your Vehicle for Summer Family Fun
A Family First Camping Trip
Celebrating Canada150 in Toronto
Fostering a Love of Animals in Children
The Mother of All Worries

Pinery Provincial Park, Grand Bend, ON

July


The start of July rang in the must anticipated Canada 150. July also meant a getaway to our family cottage, on the northern Bruce Peninsula.  We spent five glorious days disconnected from the "real world", relaxing with family in one of my favourite places on earth. A highlight of the week was our trip on the glass bottom boat to Parks Canada's Flowerpot Island.

In case you missed it:
Raising a Future Leader
Good Times Outside this Summer 
Benefits of Outdoor Play
The Best Hashtags for Outdoors Lovers
Time for Mom 

Family Cottage on Northern Bruce Peninsula

August


August started off on a high note with a visit from our Alaskan pals. We played tourist in our town and showed them the sights, sounds and smells of the concrete jungle that is Toronto. We cheered on the home team at a Blue Jays game, gave them the taste of the Toronto/Ontario craft beer scene with stops at Mill Street, Steam Whistle and Amsterdam (safe to say it doesn't come close to Alaska’s), and enjoyed each other’s company. It has been three long years since we’ve seen each other last, and we can’t wait to do it all again when we take a trip up to their turf in October.

We spent our first weekend away from Morley. She spent some quality time with her grandparents while dad and I hit up The Big Feastical at Burl’s Creek in Oro Medonte. MEC provided us with all of the gear we needed from amazing weekend filled with camping, good food, good drinks, good company and good times outside.

And last, but definitely not least. no summer is complete without a visit to the Ex, or CNE. This year, Morley and I visited twice. The animals in the Farm Building and the Food Building topped Morley’s list. Can’t go wrong with festival corn on the cob!

In case you missed it:
All Aboard to Flowerpot Island
The Perfect Visit to Flowerpot Island
Good Times Outside Our Comfort Zone
Family Travel Made Easy with Happytrails from MEC Review
Keeping Cool in the Summer Heat Blogger Collaboration

Good Times Outside at the Big Feastival with MEC

Check out more of our summer adventures on To & Fro's Instagram.

And now, here we are. The first week of September.

As much as I love the sunshine of summer, I am so happy to live in a place that experiences fall. While it means the weather is getting colder, the changing colour of the leaves makes me happy. 

Stay tuned for what To & Fro has in store this fall - Alaskan adventures, fall family traditions and so. much. more. 

So long sweet summer, bring on the fall!


What were the highlights of your summer? I'd love to hear!