September 27, 2018

Baby Favourites for a Better Night's Sleep

Every parents knows that sleep-deprivation is just part of the package when it comes to life with a newborn. 

I won’t sugarcoat it, the first few weeks are tough. They will absolutely test you - baby’s up every few hours, he or she may be gassy and fussy, your boobs are leaking all over the place, and the list goes on. Not to mention the constant lying in bed wide awake, listening for signs of life coming from the bassinet (trust me, the worry is real). 
Baby Products for a Better Night's Sleep

You may also like >> Words From the Mom of a Colicky Baby

Like I said, those first few weeks are really tough. But, not to worry, you do get into a rhythm. You begin to work on autopilot - you just get up and go and eventually it becomes your new routine. The tiredness may never go away, but that’s just the new normal. 
So despite cursing the 3am wakeup in the moment, cherish them. Those priceless, magical moments you spend with your baby in their first few weeks of their life make it all worth it.  Babies grow way too fast. 

There are many different baby sleep products available on the market - from bottles to bassinets. Where do you even begin? 

You may also like >> What's In My Diaper Bag?

As we near the two month mark with little Berkley (holy cow, two months already?!), we have begun to develop a sleep routine. These are all products that we use in our home and contribute to what we would consider a better night’s sleep.
Baby Products for a Better Night's Sleep
1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6

Here are my favourite baby products for a better night’s sleep:

Baby Probiotics  
Like adults, infant probiotics are also used to help with digestive issues. When Berkley was first born, she was extremely fussy and gassy, entering the early stages of colic. We immediately started her on BioGaia probiotics, and while the issues have not completely resolved, we are noticing a difference in her - less gas, less discomfort and less fussiness. 
BioGaia Protectis baby drops are a food supplement containing the patented lactic acid bacterium Lactobacillus reuteri Protectis®/™that helps the good microorganisms restore a natural balance in the gut. 
Sleep Sack 
Not only is swaddling meant to help babies feel safe and secure, it also helps keep them warm. Especially as we move into the colder seasons. However, our babies were not and currently are not ones for being swaddled.
Researching an alternative to swaddling, and as blankets are a no-no, we found the Halo® SleepSack® wearable blanket. It replaces loose blankets in the crib that can cover your baby's face and interfere with breathing. In addition to sleeping safer, it helps babies sleep better, too. It's a warm cuddly blanket they can't kick off; ensuring baby sleeps soundly throughout the night. Available in cotton and micro-fleece, and a variety of designs and different sizes depending on baby’s age.  (Berkley is in size small, designed for babies 10-18 lbs. or newborn to 6 months.)

Baby Products for a Better Night's Sleep

When Morley was born, she slept in the bassinet attachment for the pack and play travel crib. Now that space is at a premium in our master bedroom, we needed something a little bit smaller that could easily be transported for traveling to visit family. We also did not want to spend a lot of money on a bassinet, knowing it would only be used for six months max. 
The Fisher Price Stow and Go Bassinet is a portable flat bassinet that gives your baby a comfortable spot to soothe and snooze, without taking up a ton of space. It's easy to assemble, has breathable, mesh sides, a calming vibration setting and everything stores in the easy-to-carry storage bag! It can also be purchased for under $100.

Baby Products for a Better Night's Sleep

White Noise
Living in a condo, potential noises can come from all four sides of us. Not to mention the noises of a crazy toddler running around while baby is trying to sleep. White noise helps to mask the sounds that might occur naturally in an environment, such as a condo. 
The Sleep Sheep from Cloud B is the perfect night-time companion to help soothe children to sleep in a safe, calming and effortless way. A sound box tucked safely inside Sleep Sheep lulls one to sleep with pleasant "white noise” - soft sounds from nature (my favourite is the waves) and the reassuring sound of a mother's heartbeat. 
Baby Products for a Better Night's Sleep

When changing baby in the middle of the night (often in the dark), I want it to be as quick and painless as possible. That means removing as little of her clothing as possible. 
When it comes to her sleepers, I am pro-snap. Snap up sleepers from Carter’s are my go to. Unlike those with zippers, when changing baby, you can just undo the bottom few snaps to easily remove their legs and change their diapers while keeping their upper body warm.
Now that Berkley is beyond the recommend 4 weeks of age, we have begun to give her a soother when she is fussy and at nap or bedtime to do just that, sooth her.

We have always been a Philips Avent family which is why we are currently using the Philips Avent Newborn Soother (0-2m). This soother is extra small and lightweight for tiny babies up to 2 months old. Unlike normal soothers which fall out of their mouths, this soother fits just right. It is also designed for natural oral development - the collapsible silicone nipple has a symmetrical shape that respects baby’s plate, teeth and gums as they grow.

And, if all else fails, there’s always coffee. In fact, I think I’ll grab another cup…

What are your favourite baby products for a better night’s sleep? Any tips or tricks? I’d love to hear!

*Please note, this is not a sponsored post. These are all products that we use in our home and contribute to what we would consider a better night’s sleep. All opinions are 100% that of To & Fro. This post contains affiliate links.


Baby Products for a Better Night's Sleep


September 25, 2018

Lemon & Zucchini Muffins

Easy meals are my go-to. Ain’t nobody got time to whip up a gourmet meal, especially when you're chasing both a toddler AND a newborn around. Ok, well mostly the toddler. But my point is, time is precious in our house these days.

lemon zucchini muffin recipe

Zucchini is one of my favourite vegetables. Not only is it delicious, at around 21 calories per cup, it is also extremely healthy for you - loaded with fibre, magnesium, potassium, vitamin C, lutein and zeaxanthin (which promote healthy eyesight) and manganese. And with an availability of July to October here in Ontario, now is the perfect time of year to take advantage of this delicious summer squash. 

The possibilities are almost endless for this vesatile vegetable, and it can be incorporated into a variety of different dishes - it can be eaten plain, with hummus, in a salad, sautéed in a stir fry, spiralled into zoodles, or my new fave... in muffins!

Muffins are such an easy grab and go breakfast, and work perfectly with our crazy morning routine. Today, I'm sharing one of my favourite recipes for Lemon and Zucchini Muffins - flavourful, light and fluffy and most importantly, healthy.

Lemon & Zucchini Muffins

Makes: 12-14 muffins

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind (approximately 1 medium-sized lemon)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 medium-sized zucchini, coarsely grated (approximately 1 cup)
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg
  • Cooking spray or vegetable oil

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Grease muffin tin with vegetable oil or cooking spray.
  3. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, lemon rind and salt in a bowl. 
  4. Mix zucchini, milk, oil, and egg in a separate bowl and stir well. 
  5. Add to flour mixture to wet ingredients, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened.
  6. Divide batter evenly among 12 muffin cups. 
  7. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until golden. 
  8. Remove muffins from tin and let cool on a wire rack.

Notes about baking: Since each oven cooks differently, I don't always trust them.  When making muffins, I usually use a 6-cup muffin tin. It may take longer, but it also gives a more even bake. 

lemon zucchini muffin recipe

Are you a fan of zucchini? What is your favourite muffin recipe? I'd love to hear!

 photo TampF sig_zpsi50j9kbk.jpg


September 18, 2018

Words From the Mom of a Colicky Baby

Last week, I posted this photo on Instagram to celebrate Berkley turning one month old. 

Except, the photo isn’t all rainbows and butterflies like it should be. There’s no smiling baby in this photo. 

Looking back, at the time, I didn’t realize how good we had it with Morley. She was an easy baby - loved her sleep, never made a peep and was happy happy happy. 

With a completely opposite pregnancy this time around, I should have known that these two would be completely opposite babies. I should have seen it coming.

Just when you think you have got this mama thing down pat, you get a wrench thrown in the mix.

But, even if I did see the writing on the wall, I don’t think I could have prepared myself for this. I never truly knew what a colicky baby meant until it started taking over my life.

For those scratching their heads at the word colic, let me explain it to you… it’s an ugly beast. The long bouts of crying for no apparent reason leave you exhausted, frustrated and heartbroken, not being able to do a damn thing about it. 

Words From the Mom of a Colicky Baby

While the above post was originally intended to celebrate baby girl’s one month in the world, something else happened. 

Below the post, came an outpouring of support. Words of encouragement, advice and messages I needed to hear. Words from moms like me. Words from those that had experienced colic in the past, those currently going through it, those that knew someone that had and those that simply just care. 

Here is what the messages said,

“My niece was colicky for 6 months… It never seemed to let up. You nailed it on the head though, it’s extremely exhausting, frustrating and heartbreaking.”

“Sending you both hugs.”

“Sending love. We went through colic too and it was one of the hardest experiences.”

“I can relate to this. All I can say is it will get better. Continue to stay strong mama!”

“Every time doctors said colic, it was ALWAYS an actual reason. Gas was a huge one. So was teething. Then reflux, then a virus, but gas was a huge one. She cried in pain and the doctors said colic. All of them. You adorable sweetheart’s colic could definitely be something else.”

“I hope it gets better soon! We had symptoms of colic too and it turned out to be a food intolerance. She’s a totally different baby now that she is dairy, soy and corn free.”

“My first son was colicky and it is so challenging and disheartening at times when you simply can’t console them. The good news is that it DOES get better. Hang in there mama…”

“Oh no. That’s so hard, especially with no sleep. Hang in there and ask for help when you need it…”

“Have you tried probiotics? Biogaia was a life saver. May seem like it’s not working as it takes a week or two, but omg saved my life the first year. Also, it’s good at preventing colds/flus too.”

“Sending lots of love and sleeping dust your way mama…”

“Oh I remember this stage. Sending good vibes because it can be pretty tough.”

“Hand in there sweetie! Those adorable little girls are so lucky to have a mama like you!”

“I was in it too mama! Just keep going. I felt like it would never get better, but then it does and you are stronger than ever for your little one! It is heartbreaking and so hard to see them go through but you are doing an awesome job, always remember that.”

“I know that there’s nothing I can say to help it pass, or to make it easier. But know that I survived it, there is a light at the end, and what helped me was to reset ALL of my expectations. Hang in there and we love you!”

Absolutely incredible.

So, why am I sharing these words?

I’m sharing these messages because the post made me realize something. It made me realize that I am not alone. There are other moms out there that are exhausted, frustrated and heartbroken over an inconsolable child. There are other moms out there that are struggling to get through the rough patches. And so, by sharing these messages, my hope is that these words of advice and encourage will also help them see the light at the end of the tunnel, just like they did me. 

At the end of the day, we’ll work through it. At the end of the day,  these next few months are only going to be hard on one person, and that’s me. At the end of the day, Berkley is not going to remember the screaming, or the gas, or the fussiness. We’ll work through it. And we’ll be just fine. 

Did you experience colic with your littles? I’d love to hear your stories, tips and tricks. 


September 14, 2018

My "Oh, Shit" Moment

Earlier this week, we made the executive decision to remove our toddler from full time daycare, while I’m on maternity leave.

In simple terms, that means that I will be home, alone, with a 2 1/2 year old and an infant. All by myself, 5 days a week, 8+ hours a day, until I go back to work next August.

Just me, myself and I, and my two gals.

I have spent hours trying to justify the decision - with my husband (who was 100% on board), with my parents, with his parents and most importantly, with myself. Was it the right thing to do? 

Financially? Absolutely. Daycare isn’t cheap, especially when you’re down to one income and still have loads of other bills to pay. But what about socially? Academically? For my own sanity? Well, that is where I’m struggling…

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a wave of anxiety rush over me, followed by an “oh shit, what have I done?!” moment, as I hit send on the email to the daycare supervisor.

But, what’s done is done. No take backs now. 

Oh, shit. 

As an informal educator by career, I’ve done my fair share of writing curriculum, leading programs, running day camps and managing entire classrooms. My summers growing up were spent babysitting the neighbourhood kids. And while they by no means prepares you for motherhood, my point is, I’m used to working with little ones. 

However, those kids weren’t MY kids. It becomes a much different ball game when they’re YOUR kids. The rules change. (And you can’t give them back at the end of the day…)

Morley has fully embraced her role as a big sister since miss Berkley entered the world mid-August. In the month since little sissy’s arrival, she has become this loving, helpful and independent little girl. However, she has also started to discover the attention is no longer all on her. Some days, it’s a full on whine and cheese party in our place. The drama is real. And now, I’m tasked with keeping her occupied and stimulated all day - finding a balance between giving her the attention she needs, while taking care of both baby and, if time permits, myself. 

So yes, I’m over here panicking a little bit. 

I’m also over here feeling guilty. That goddam mom guilt. The guilt I felt when we initially sent her to daycare over a year and a half ago, is back. In full force. 

You really can’t win, can you?

While she has only been at this specific school since June, she has completely settled into her new role as the now older kid in the toddler room. I feel guilty for removing her from her friends. But, I also feel guilty from removing her from learning. She’s 2 1/2, she will get over the other kids and teachers. But, what about the learning? Will I be able to do what her teachers could do?

The answer is, no. No, I won’t. 

But, can I do it? 

The answer is, yes. Yes I can.

I know I don’t need to be super mom. I know I don’t need to have a laid out lesson plan, themed weeks, Pinterest-perfect crafts or even an organic menu. I also know that it may take me losing my patience a handful of times before we get there, and maybe even putting on an episode or two more of some god awful YouTube video or TV show. But, we will get there. 

We can do it. I can do it.

I do love a good challenge.

Mommy daycare, here we come. 

Are you a stay at home mom? How do you do it? I’d love to hear ALL of your tips and tricks!


September 11, 2018

Fall Family Traditions

*This post is sponsored by Bayer. To make sure these products are right for you, always read and follow the label.

It’s hard to believe that in just ten short days, we will be saying an official goodbye to summer. Fall is just around the corner. 

After spending the majority of the summer basking in the AC (thank you pregnancy), I am excited to be able to get outside and enjoy the cooler weather, crisp air and changing colours this fall with my family. That is, before baby and I go back into hibernation this winter. 

Fall is the chance for new traditions, new routines and new memories.  And while we have our favourites, we are so excited to be able to create new ones with little sissy this season.

Fall Family Traditions

In our family, fall is filled with fun family traditions. Here are just a few of our favourite. 

Go apple and pumpkin picking.
No fall is complete without a visit to the local apple orchard or pumpkin patch to pick your own. Many farms also offer special activities for families, such as hayrides, petting farms, corn mazes and more. 

And because picking apples and pumpkins (and, ahem, chasing after a toddler, ahem) is a tough job, and can bring aches and pains, we always keep ALEVE® in our diaper bag, just in case. After a full day of activities, ALEVE® Nighttime helps to relieve mom and dad's muscle aches and pains for up to 12 hours - plus it has a sleep aid to help fall asleep and stay asleep after a fun-filled day.

>> You may also like:  Tips for Apple Picking with Your Family

Fall Family Traditions

Bake all the fall goodies.
Once you leave the orchard, don’t let the apple fun stop. Head home and make some homemade apple sauce, apple pie or apple crisp (our personal favourites).

A trip to the family cottage.
One of my favourite times to visit our family cottage is in the fall, when the leaves are changing. The tourists have all gone home for the year, so it is much quieter, and there’s just something about the smell of a wood fire in the fall that makes me happy.

Go on a fall walk.
There’s nothing better than going for a long, fall walk to take in all the sensory experiences the season has to offer - from the smell of fresh air, to the colourful changing leaves. And for our toddler, jumping in the fall leaves.

But with the change of season comes a change to our wardrobe. Switching from sandals to shoes and boots can be uncomfortable as our feet get used to different footwear. To help ease any discomfort, add a pair of Dr. Scholl’s® Comfort and Energy Massaging Gel® Insoles your footwear. These insoles are great for foot and leg fatigue, with gel waves that massage the most sensitive areas of your foot.

Fall Family Traditions

Watch a fall sunset.
There’s just something about a sunset, am I right? Although it means the days are getting shorter, fall sunsets can be enjoyed by the whole family because they now take place earlier in the evening. It is the perfect time to turn off what you’re doing and just sit and enjoy the rainbow sky.

>> You may also like: 50 Essential Fall Activities 

Our family is always looking for new fall activities to do together. What are some of your favourites? I’d love to hear!

*This post is sponsored by Bayer. To make sure these products are right for you, always read and follow the label.

Pin It:

Fall Family Traditions


September 6, 2018

Morley's Book Club: Favourite Toddler Story Books

As Morley has gotten older, we've really fine-tuned her bedtime routine. 

After dinner, we wind down in the living room, usually colouring or doing a puzzle before bath time. After the little mermaid decides to get out of the water, we get her "jammas" on. With her cup of milk in hand (and her blanket and multiple stuffies tucked under her arms), it's off to bed.

But, before the lights go out, we must first read a few "stowies". Of Morley's choosing, of course. 

Favourite Toddler Story Books

The books that Morley loves, and that keep her attention, are always changing. Gone are the days of simple board books. Nowadays, the books we read have gotten a little longer and a little more complex. Whether it is bringing home baby, going potty or learning about different animals, the books we read always include some type of lesson or message. And when Morley finds a book she likes, like really likes, we will read it over and over, night after night, until we can all practically read it with our eyes closed. Morley included. 

So, what are we reading these days?

Welcome to Morley's Book Club. These are her current favourites.

Favourite Toddler Story Books

Do I need to explain this one? What kid doesn't love talking about poop?! I picked up this read at a visit to the Jacksonville Zoo last winter, but it is available wherever books are sold. Originally a Japanese story, it has been translated into an English version. As the title suggests, it talks about how everyone poops - from animals to kids and adults. The book contains various prompts regarding how animals poop, such as opposites (big poop vs little poop), comparisons (shapes and sizes) and questions (what do you think it looks like?). A MUST have for any kid that is currently potty training.

There are many reasons we love this book. First, it's Dr Suess. What's not to love about a Dr Suess book?! Especially one with a message. And a message this nature-loving mama can stand behind. The Lorax chronicles the plight of the environment and the Lorax, who speaks for the trees against the Once-ler. As in most Dr. Seuss works, most of the creatures mentioned are original to the book. We also enjoy it for the kookiness, silly words and rhyming. The length of the book is perfect, and Morley rarely lasts through the whole thing (even though I continue reading because I enjoy it so much).

Another Dr Suess favourite. This one is a bit of an easier read for younger kids, with opposites, colours, numbers and rhyming. And of course, lots and lots of dogs. The book describes the actions and interactions of a group of dogs, who operate cars and other forms of transportation in pursuit of work, play, and a final mysterious goal - a dog party. We have read this book so many times that Morley can now recite it by heart and I often have her "read" pages of the book to me. 

Growing up, Mercer Mayer's Little Critter books were a staple in our house. We purchased this book for Morley when we found out she was going to be a big sister in the hopes that it would give her a small glimpse into what it would be like. We also used it in our pregnancy announcement

Mama and baby animals, beautiful illustrations, counting and rhyming? What's not to love about this book?! This book will have you prancing and dancing through the Arctic, and will introduce your little one to the fascinating animal mamas and their babies that the Arctic home. Can be read or sung to the tune of Over in the Meadow.  

PAW Patrol is like crack to little kids, I swear. But it is also the one TV show that Morley watches that I can stand behind and also find myself enjoying. This story book starring Nickelodeon's PAW Patrol! is perfect for kids who love Adventure Bay's favourite pups. Each story can be read in five minutes or less, so it's also perfect for bedtime!

>> You may also like: Favourite Animal Children's Books

Favourite Toddler Story Books

What are some of your children's favourite books? Have you read any of these? I'd love to hear!

*Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. 

Pin It:

Favourite Books for Toddlers

Blog Design Created by pipdig