May 21, 2019

Baby's First Picnic in the Park



At three years old, I have proudly watched my oldest daughter check many firsts off the list. But BY FAR my favourite first to watch her master, was becoming a big sister. 

Coming from personal experience, the role of big sister comes with many new responsibilities - learning to share toys (and mom’s attention) with little sister, teaching little sister new skills and sharing in many of little sister’s very own firsts. 


One of our oldest daughter Morley’s favourite places to visit is the local park. Throughout the year, you can usually find us there a few times a week, whether it’s tobogganing in the winter, swimming at the public pool on a hot day or simply enjoying a picnic on the grass.

Since little sister Berkley was born, big sister has been itching to show her “the ropes” (pun intended) at the park. And now that Berkley is nine months old and mobile, and the weather is FINALLY getting warmer, it’s about time we make big sister’s wish come true.


Besides going on the swings, down the slide and just having a good sit, watching big sister run around, one of our favourite things to do at the park is to have a picnic. What better way to take advantage of a sunny day? 

We love a good picnic - but picnicking with two littles ones isn’t always easy.

In order for the picnic to be a success, you must be prepared. Here is what we bring with us to make our picnics in the park both toddler- and baby-friendly, AND lots and lots of fun!

First up, the important stuff - no picnic is complete without the picnic food! Like any other meal, when picnicking with little ones, options are also key. 

Prepping meals for those at different stages of eating (i.e. those with teeth and those without) can be a lot of prep work, so I look for things that they can both eat.

For the babe: We bring apple sauce pouches, rice rusks, and favourite fingers foods such as diced fruit (blueberries and strawberries), quinoa and chopped avocado. It can get pretty messy, so make sure you also bring extra wipes, a change of clothes and towel. 

For our toddler: We bring cheese, meat and crackers, cut up veggies (cucumbers and snap peas are a favourite) with hummus, sliced fruit (usually cantaloupe and pineapple), apple sauce pouches, juice boxes, plenty of water and… cookies!


At just 5g per serving, My First Bear Paws cookies are made better, so your child can snack better. With no artificial colours, flavours or sweeteners and peanut-free, they are the perfect snack to pack into your picnic bag, or school lunch. They are now available in a new stand up resealable bag for easy snacking, and packing back into your bag at the end of your park visit.


As the spring temperatures can still be unpredictable, it’s important to dress for the weather. A light sweater, wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses and appropriate shoes are a must. Also, don’t forget the sunscreen and bug spray (if needed). 

Don’t forget the other essentials - a picnic blanket, cooler, plates and cutlery. I don’t use disposables with picnics because there may not always be a trashcan or recycling bin near by. I keep a small plastic bag in my picnic basket for any trash we accumulate.


Lastly, the picnic location. These active kiddos won’t sit still for long, so it’s important to find a picnic area that has something to offer them — like a splash pad, pool or, in our case, playground. And if not, I suggest packing up a few activities or toys to occupy them while you eat. While our park does have a pool and playground, it’s always fun to bring buckets and shovels to play in the sand. A soccer ball, frisbee and bubbles are also guaranteed a fun time. 

Our baby- and toddler-friendly picnic list:

  • Blanket
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray
  • Wipes
  • Wide-brimmed hats
  • Sunglasses
  • Reusable plates and cutlery
  • Water (in reusable bottles)
  • Wagon
  • Cooler bag
  • Buckets and shovels
  • Bubbles 
  • Soccer ball
  • Frisbee
  • Food


While the picnicking part itself may last all of five minutes, and the prep may seem longer than the reward, the reward of picnicking with a toddler and baby comes in seeing big sister share one of her favourite spots with little sister for the very first time. And that better first, makes it all worth it. 

What are some of the firsts that you have enjoyed watching? I'd love to hear!





*Disclosure: I have partnered with YMC and Dare’s My First Bear Paws and have received compensation for this post. All opinions are my own.

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May 16, 2019

What It Means To Be a Big Sister, From the Mouth of a Three Year Old Big Sister



Being a BIG sister is a BIG responsibility. Yes, I’m speaking from personal experience here…

I am the oldest of three. I have a younger brother and a younger sister. In my 30+ years experience as a big sister, I’ve learned you have many shoes to fill. Among many jobs, you are a role model, a leader, a teacher, a playmate and a best friend. Like I said, BIG responsibility.

baby playing with magnetic tiles

While she may not fully understand the responsibilities that come with being a big sister until she’s a bit older, at just three years old, our oldest daughter has completely embraced the role.

I recently sat down with her - a new big sister as of nine months ago, but also the leading expert on little sisters in our house (or so she thinks). Here’s what she had to say about being a big sister…

Mom: Morley, do you like being a big sister?
Morley: Ya.

Mom: What do you like about it?
Morley: *mumbles something from the living room*

Mom: You like little baby chins? (Honest, it’s what I thought she said.)
Morley: No, this little chubby baby. *said in baby voice while pinching sis’ cheeks*

Mom: Oh, you like the little chubby baby. Is she a good little sister?
Morley:  Ya! *continues pinching little sister’s cheeks*

Mom: What kind of things do you do as a big sister?
Morley: I play with her.

Mom: Do you help mommy, if I need it?
Morley: Ya.

A girl of few words.

Mom: How do you help? Do you help to get her diapers, and clothes? And share your toys?
Morley: Ya, but not my small dollies because she will put them in her mouth. 

Mom: Yes, she will. What other things do you do together?
Morley: We go to the park and on the swings. We take baths. I get her jammies and unzip her sleeping bag. I dress in princess dresses.

Mom: Oh ya, do you think one day she’ll want to wear princess dresses with you?
Morley: Ya, I’ll share my princess dresses. Right little bubbies??? *as she starts pinching her cheeks again*

Mom: Do you also teach her things?
Morley: Ya, we go fishing. (What?! No, they don’t.) I teach her ABCs and how to be gentle with the dogs. 

And then, she walks away. Conversation over.

So there you have it, straight from our three year old’s mouth - a very random conservation about what it means to be a big sister.

baby playing with magnetic tiles

But let’s go back to that whole sharing thing for a minute… 

She told me many times during our chat that she was good at sharing with her little sister. They share many things - my attention, their toys, germs AND their love of the same baby products. 

From the very beginning, we have been a Philips Avent family. Why? Because they are the #1 recommended brand of mother and childcare products worldwide, priding themselves on providing a full range of innovative products for baby and mom, from breastfeeding to bottle feeding, pacifiers and toddler cups. 

baby playing with magnetic tiles

Some of our favourites? 

When big sister was a baby, she was bottle fed using Philips Avent Natural bottles. The BPA-free bottles have an ergonomic shape for maximum comfort, making them easy to hold and grip in any direction. The ultra soft nipple more closely resembles the breast, making an easier transition from breast to bottle. 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.

Then little sister came into our lives. Let’s just say she’s a bit fussier than big sister. With a fussy baby, we had to change up the way we did things, including the bottles we used. Philips Avent Anti-Colic Bottles with Airfree Vent are designed to reduce colic, gas and reflux. The shape of the nipple allows a secure latch and stays full even when the bottle is horizontal, allowing baby to drink in an upright position so that they swallow less air as they drink.

Little sister also loves the NEW Philips Avent Soothie snuggle - the same great Soothie that many families and medical professionals know and trust, but with a soft, lightweight snuggly toy to help make babies feel secure. They’re also pretty darn cute.

baby playing with magnetic tiles

The relationship my little gals have is simply amazing. The way they look at each other, make each other laugh and talk to each other in their ‘secret’ language that only they can understand, has made my heart swell to a size I never knew was possible. Morley has fully embraced her new role and I couldn’t ask for a better role model, leader, teacher, playmate and best friend for her little sister.

Being a big sister, it’s one of the best jobs in the world. 

Are you the parent of multiples? What has amazed you the most about the relationship between your children? I’d love to hear!





*Disclaimer: This post is in partnership with Philips Avent. I received products and/or compensation in exchange for this post. All opinions and advice shares are 100% that of To & Fro.

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May 8, 2019

Spring & Summer Bucket List


After a long winter, the warmer weather is FINALLY here. And that means it’s time to start thinking about our spring and summer adventures!

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but the warm weather passes by rather quickly - so, it’s important to make the most of it. The perfect reason to make a bucket list!

Read on to discover what’s on my family’s bucket list this spring and summer.

spring and summer bucket list

To & Fro’s Spring & Summer Bucket List

Annual family camping trip. For the past few years, we’ve taken a annual family camping trip in Ontario. The first few years we did a canoe-in trip in Algonquin (link). And then kids happened, so we scaled it back a bit with the Pinery and car camping in Algonquin. This summer we look forward to exploring a new provincial park - Awenda, on the shore of Georgian Bay.

More camping. Our condo has a fairly large terrace, large enough to fit a small tent. I foresee many nights spent “camping” on the terrace. It’s also good practice to see how the girls do in a tent.

Picnics in the park. We have an incredible park across the street from our house, that we frequent almost every single day in the summer months. We love to pack up a picnic lunch, grab a blanket and make an afternoon of it. 

mom at park with kids

Dinner on the beach. One of our favourite things to do last summer was to whip up a homemade pizza, pack it up and head down to the beach (a quick 20 minute walk from our house). We’re looking forward to packing up the pizza, some beverages and the pails and shovels and doing it all over again this summer.

Swimming in the lake. I grew up on Lake Huron, and I have many fond memories of swimming with friends each summer. We’re very lucky to have the Great Lakes in our backyard. It’s not a summer without a dip in the lake, whether it be Ontario or Huron.

shores of lake huron

Plant an herb garden. This one I’m especially excited for because it will be my very first garden! That very same terrace I mentioned above has two large planters, one of which I will be using to grow our own herbs. Also a chance to teach my oldest where our food comes from. And let’s be honest, food just tastes better when you grow it yourself. 

Canada Day fireworks from the rooftop. Our condo’s rooftop has the perfect view of the lake, so I look forward to grabbing a few folding chairs and watching the Canada Day fireworks from eight floors above. Because let’s be honest, no one wants to battle the crowds at the boardwalk (especially with two little ones in tow).

Visit to the Zoo. Always a must during the summer months! Since we’re such animal lovers, I don’t think this bucket list item needs much of an explanation. 

Watch a Lake Huron sunset. Preferably while sitting around a campfire, while roasting marshmallows, with a cold beverage in hand. Lake Huron sunsets are seriously like a piece of art. 

Get outside, as much as possible. Summer wouldn’t be summer if we stayed indoors the entire time. Whether it’s all of the above, or just a walk down the street, we get outside as much as possible, rain or shine. Getting outside is just good for your soul. And if you don’t believe me, you can read more about why it’s good for your mental health, here. 

spring and summer bucket list

You know what is always with us when we get outside? Our AfterShokz Trekz Air headphones. I’ve been talking about them for the past few months, and can’t tell you enough how much we love these bad boys. 

Seriously, these headphones are a total game changer. They use bone conduction technology, sending mini vibrations through your cheekbones, directly to your inner ear, leaving your ear canals open to hear the ambient sounds around you. You can listen to your podcasts, music, audio books or favourite sports game, while still being able to hear the world around you!

The Trekz Air headphones sport a wireless wraparound titanium band that loops behind the neck and hooks over the ears. It provides a flexible fit for unnoticeable all-day comfort and stability. No cords, no worries - perfect for an active and on-the-go lifestyle.  

spring and summer bucket list

I will admit, at first, I was a little hesitant. It felt weird not having something in my ear. But, after a few minutes, I was used to being able to hear the ambient nose of the cars passing me and the neighbourhood dogs barking as I walked down the sidewalk and through our local park. And, when you’re walking down a busy street, with a toddler who asks for a snack every 4 seconds, being able to hear is definitely key.

AfterShokz Trekz Air headphones come in four different colours (slate grey, forest green, midnight blue and canyon red) and retail for $189.95 Canadian.

Follow #ShokzSquadCAN on social to see what the rest of the review team is saying about these headphones!

What’s on your spring and summer bucket list? I’d love to hear!

*GIVEAWAY*

I’ve been talking about these headphones for four months now, and it’s about time we give away a pair! Enter below for your chance to win 1 of 3 pairs of AfterShokz Trekz Air headphones. Good luck :)

AfterShokz Giveaway

Fine Print:
  • Giveaway open to residents of Canada and the US only.
  • Open May 8 - June 6, 2019. Winners (3) will be contacted within a week of closing.
  • Prize pack will include the following: Trekz Air headphones, water bottle, black sport belt, portable large case and sport towel.




Disclaimer: This post is in partnership with AfterShokz and PTPA Media. I have received products and/or compensation in exchange for this post, however, all opinions and advice shares are 100% that of To & Fro.
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May 2, 2019

Best Family-Friendly Camping Destinations in Ontario



Now that spring is upon us, it’s time to start planning our spring and summer outdoor adventures. For our family, that means lots of camping. Today, we’re sharing the best family-friendly camping destinations in Ontario! Whether you are an experienced camper or new to camping, whether you hike in, drive in or even canoe in, there is a family-friendly Ontario camping destination for you.

Car Camping at Canisbay Lake Algonquin Provincial Park

Living in Ontario, we love exploring the camping spots in our own backyard. There is so much more to this great province than tall buildings and concrete.

Today, I’ve teamed up with a group of bloggers from the Toronto Bloggers Collective (TBC) to share the best family-friendly camping destinations in Ontario - a list of both provincial and national parks that you NEED to visit if camping with your family, regardless of your camping experience level.

Ontario Parks

Did you know that Ontario is home to over 330 provincial parks, covering 8% of Ontario’s landmass? Ontario Parks is the largest provider of outdoor recreation experiences in the province. Each year, over 10 million visitors from around the world travel to Ontario’s provincial parks to camp, swim, picnic, hike, bike, paddle, birdwatch and much more.

Here are some of the TBC’s favourite Ontario Parks for family camping:

Algonquin Provincial Park

There’s not much more stunning (and quintessentially Canadian) than Algonquin Provincial Park. It’s also only 3(ish) hours from Toronto, making it the perfect long weekend escape from the big city. 

Established in 1893, Algonquin was created as a wildlife sanctuary to ultimately protect the headwaters of the five major rivers which flow from the Park. As one of the oldest and largest provincial parks in Ontario, Algonquin is diverse, protecting a variety of natural, cultural and recreation features and values. It also offers something for nearly everyone. Whether it be a family camping trip, a back country portage or even just a day hike, there are many reasons why YOU must visit Algonquin Provincial Park. 

Algonquin Provincial Park Canisbay Lake sunset canoe

Awenda Provincial Park

We’ve camped with our two small children at nearly every provincial park in the southern half of Ontario. Awenda is among our favorites! With four enjoyable beaches, large campsites and 33 kms of easy-to-moderate hiking trails, Awenda makes for a really lovely family camping experience. It’s just two hours north of Toronto and perfect for a long weekend, although we prefer to stay five days to a week.

The campsites, surrounded on all sides by the tall straight trunks of hardwood trees, are prettier and more private than most. Rent a canoe for a morning paddle, take a hike on the Bluff Trail to have lunch overlooking Georgian Bay, then bicycle or drive to the beaches (they’re a bit far from the campsites to walk) to spend the afternoon swimming, sunning and exploring.

Kids aren’t ready for bed? Enjoy sunset while dock fishing off the Kettle Lake boardwalk or head over to the Amphitheatre to take in a presentation by a Friends of Awenda Park naturalist. And once all is quiet, the best part of the day: sitting quietly by the campfire, beverage in hand, gazing up at a sky full of stars.

Contributed by Zoe King - Wandering Family

Awenda Provincial park fishing

Bon Echo Provincial Park

Bon Echo is the ideal place for new campers. To me, it’s best of both worlds. If you are looking for something resembling city camping all the amenities at the camp site will make sure camping adventure easy. From easy hikes, to interactive boat tour that gives the history of the park to the every popular annual art and craft show in the summer. 

If you are looking for a bit more of an adventure, you can take the ferry to the start of the clifftop trail. Even more adventurous? Climbing the rock wall will fill the cup of even the biggest adventure seeker. 

We love it so much it’s been the site for our yearly camping trip for our children’s birthday 10 years in a row. 

Now when I say city camping, I mean it. From laundry facilities, to comfort stations for hot showers this park has everything you need and it's only a 3.5 hour drive from Toronto.

Contributed by Claire Zlobin - Drop of Golden Sun

Bon Echo Provincial Park

Chutes Provincial Park

Last fall, we had the chance to take the Ontario Parks RV for a spin to five of Ontario’s Provincial Parks for the 125th anniversary. Each one of the parks we visited had a unique footprint and series of hiking trails. But after several hours driving, our second last stop was the one that blew us away with its quiet charm. 

Chutes Provincial Park is in a tiny little spot way up north near Massey on the Aux Sables River on the way to Manitoulin Island. If you arrive in the fall you can spy salmon swimming upstream to mate near the main waterfall. The Twin Bridges Trail is 6 km long and follows the Aux Sables River. The trail leads to lookouts of the falls and the Seven Sisters Cataracts. Interpretive panels at the Falls Lookout tells the history of the area and at the base of the waterfall is a beach that is tranquil. 

Contributed by Paula Schuck - Thrifty Mommas Tips 

Chutes Provincial Park waterfall

Killarney Provincial Park

If you’re looking for a true wilderness to escape some of the crows in Algonquin, head to Killarney Provincial Park. For the hiking family, try the challenging Crack Trail. With more time and an active bunch, climb to the top of infamous Silver Peak (part of the epic La Cloche Silhouette backpacking trail): both trails afford views that prove that Ontario isn’t so flat after all. Canoeing, kayaking, and swimming at the beach are just some of the summer water activities; snowshoeing and ski trails are maintained through the winter. With yurts, cabins, front country and backcountry camping, there is something for everyone. To me, the best feature of Killarney is its sapphire blue lakes. Due to the bright white crystal rock and pink granite, Killarney’s Lakes are some of the cleanest and brightest you can find in Ontario. It is certainly worth the drive, and I can’t wait to be back this summer for more!

Contributed by Lauren Chu - The Ridgeline Report

Killarney Provincial Park camping

Killbear Provincial Park

Killbear Provincial Park is located on beautiful Georgian Bay, an easy drive from Toronto. The park has a wide range of summer activities for the whole family. Bring your bikes so that you can ride the 6 kilometre Recreational Trail and check out the lighthouse at the end of trail. Each of Killbear's seven campgrounds has a beach within walking distance, perfect for a day of swimming with the family.

For those looking for a more exhilarating water activity and one unique to Killbear, try jumping off the cliffs into the water below.  Even the little ones can experience the thrills and jump safely from the lower rock ledges.  

Contributed by Andy Vanr - Avrex Travel

Killbear Provincial Park swimming

MacGregor Provincial Park

MacGregor Point Provincial Park is open year round, but not all campsites are open. The full service campsites and yurts in the Algonquin campground are open through the winter.  One of the best winter camping activities there while you are camping is snowshoeing!

The sites in the Nipissing campground are closed during the winter season making that area perfect for snowshoeing because it’s not being used at all. The only competition for snowshoers on fresh powder are cross country skiers. The area does see a fair amount of snow so you are pretty much guaranteed a great time during the day and then can hunker down in a toasty yurt at night.  

MacGregor Point Provincial Park is located on the eastern shores of Lake Huron in Western Ontario.

Contributed by Kathryn Dickson - Kathryn Anywhere

MacGregor Provincial Park winter camping

Pinery Provincial Park

Growing up, my family and I spent many summers exploring all that the Pinery has to offer. 

Located on the shores of Lake Huron, just outside of Grand Bend, Pinery Provincial Park is a hidden gem in the Ontario Parks' system. The 21 square kilometres of rare forests and rolling dunes offer excellent year-round outdoor recreations, including 10 walking trails, a 14 km bike trail and 38 kms of groomed ski trails. The Old Ausable River Channel, which runs the length of the park, is perfect for wildlife viewing, fishing or a relaxing paddle in a kayak or canoe. During the winter months, the park offers cross country skiing, snow shoeing and yurt camping. 

Pinery Provincial Park Ausable River kayak

Windy Lake Provincial Park

Sandy beaches, great swimming, and views for days. No, I'm not talking about Cancun, I'm talking about Windy Lake Provincial Park. 

It's a great spot to be in the spring or the summer, but I'm actually a big fan of what you can do up there in the winter. Firstly, there are actually gorgeous well maintained cross country ski trails up there, which I found out firsthand at Windy Lake. Beyond that, they've got a lovely cabin or two, and four all seasons yurts. I even did some ice-fishing while I was up there with my best pal, and we couldn't have been happier. 

That being said, this is a place that you'll be happy as a clam no matter what the season. The truth is, it's picturesque all year around and, in my humble opinion, Windy Lake Provincial Park is one of the best kept secrets in the whole province. 

Give it a try, you won't be disappointed!

Contributed by Christopher Mitchell - Traveling Mitch 

Windy Lake Provincial Park Winter Camping

*****

National Parks

Camping in Ontario goes beyond provincial parks. Across Canada, there are also 450 000 km² of protected areas with countless unique experiences to suit your needs. Whether you’re looking for adventure, fun for the whole family, or a break from the everyday, Parks Canada has something to offer.

Bruce Peninsula National Park

Bruce Peninsula National Park is located on the Niagara Escarpment that runs from Rochester to Tobermory. It is approximately 156 square km and is protected by UNESCO’s Niagara Escarpment World Biosphere Reserve. It is perfect for family as it has many outdoor activities. This includes watching birds, camping and hiking. The views of the sunrise and sunset are amazing. The visitor centre has a boardwalk, theatre, reception, information and an exhibition hall. You can swim in the water during the summer. I strongly recommend going there and the drive is amazing.

Contributed by Jerry Godinho - Four Columns of a Balanced Life 

Rouge National Urban Park

If you are a beginner camper, or unable to escape the city, the Glen Rouge Campground within Rouge National Urban Park (RNUP) is a great car camping and the only campground in the City Toronto. Set next to the Rouge River, it’s the perfect place to submerse yourself in nature while staying in the city! It is a fairly open space to camp, BUT the camping around is within walking distance to many of the trails in the park. 

One of the great things about Rouge National Urban Park is theirLearn-to-Camp Program. If you are interesting in going on your first camping trip, but don’t know where to begin, this program program equips you with the knowledge and skills you need to feel confident planning and carrying out your first camping adventure.

No car? No problem. RNUP is easily accessible via Toronto transit and Park Bus.

Park Bus to Rouge National Urban Park

Where are your favourite places to go camping with your family? I'd love to hear!





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Best Family-Friendly Camping Destinations in Ontario

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April 18, 2019

Satisfying Our Wanderlust, Through Our Bellies



We didn’t take a big vacation this year. Between a new babe and a new house, it just wasn’t in the cards. And we’re ok with that because instead, we decided to keep it local, with a couple of day outings and weekend trips here and there. A stay-cation, if you will. 

*Disclosure: I’ve partnered with YMC and Moneris and have received compensation for this post. As always, all opinions and experiences are 100% that of To & Fro.

Despite enjoying our stay-cation, you could say we’re itching for an adventure. But, until we can get away (I’m looking at you Alaska 2020), one way that we satisfy our wanderlust to it revisit memories of trips from the past.

While we’ve had some great adventures, one trip that sticks out in our minds is from 2012, when we ventured to Kauai, Hawaii for our friends’ wedding. We spent 10 whole days exploring, and eating and drinking our way through, the island. It was definitely a memorable one.

Calii Love balloon mural

Now when I say we revisit memories from past trips to curb our wanderlust, I don’t mean we just look at photos. One of our favourite ways of “taking a trip down memory lane” is to also eat the food that we enjoyed while we were there.

Living in the big and diverse city of Toronto, almost any type of food you crave is essentially at your finger tips. (Ok, maybe not salmon straight out of the Kenai River in Alaska, but that’s why I said almost.) So, when we crave the poke bowls like the ones we had while relaxing on Hanalei Bay beach in Hawaii, we don’t have to travel far.

Calii Love King Street West Toronto Ontario Canada

On one of our more recent day outings downtown Toronto, we discovered Calii Love, on King St West. I have walked past it many times before (and have seen their unique insta-worthy photo ops all over social media), but had never ventured in.

Calii Love is a California- and Hawaii-inspired healthy lifestyle hub for all. It started from the idea that a grab and go food place could be more than just your everyday salads and bowls. They decided to take that experience and elevate it with positive emotions, wellness and a sense of community.

Vegans, vegetarians, chicken lovers, fish lovers, whether you’re dairy intolerant or gluten intolerant or simply want to enjoy a great coffee or latte, you will find something you enjoy at Calii Love. And enjoy we sure did.

Calii Love angel wings mural

With every offering on their menu named after a feeling, they literally allowed us to “eat our feelings” of our trip to Hawaii. I enjoyed the “Amazing” signature poke bowl - filled with fresh tuna and salmon - while reminiscing about how much of an amazing vacation it really was.  

You know what else I love about this place? Every decision made at Calii Love starts with a respect for the ingredients, the purpose for those ingredients and where they come from. This includes mindfully sourcing ingredients to meet sustainability standards. As someone with a deep respect for the environment, and especially the ocean, I love that they only use sustainably harvested Ocean Wise-certified seafood in their bowls.

Calii Love Amazing Signature Poke Bowl
Calii Love King Street West Toronto Ontario Canada

Not only did Calii Love allow us to eat delicious, fresh food and relive some great memories from our time in Hawaii, visiting also allowed us to support a local, small business. Supporting our local business owners has never been more important. You know who else is committed to supporting local? Moneris. They are here to make transactions easy for both merchants and retailers, thanks to their payment solutions for every type of business.

Ok, so it may not be exactly the same as sitting on a beautiful beach, watching the waves crash against the sand while enjoying a fresh poke bowl, BUT Calii Love did allow use to relive those memories, while eating local and enjoying a delicious lunch with our little family. And that is something I can support.

I would love to hear - what are your favourite ways to satisfy your wanderlust?


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April 16, 2019

Baby Feeding Favourites: 8 Months



It’s been approximately three months since we started little sister on solid food, and two months since I shared my baby feeding favourites for six month olds.

Man, oh man, time sure flies.

baby in Peg Perego Prima Pappa Zero 3 highchair

Now that the little one is eight months old, her feeding habits have definitely changed.

We’ve gone from strictly breast milk to adding cereal and purees to now teaching her to self-feed with baby-led weaning.

I will admit, baby-led weaning can be scary for parents - not knowing how baby will react to feeding themselves, if they’ll know to chew or not put so much in their mouths, etc. But, nervousness aside, it is also a great opportunity to develop their hand-eye coordination, independence and confidence while eating. While the mess they make may not be fun to clean up, it is fun to watch them discover this new “skill” of feeding themselves. 

Before I share our baby feeding favourites for eight months, make sure to check out my breastfeeding journey (and how we taught our toddler what it means) hereI know I’m not alone in the struggle, and am thrilled that my second time around, I have been able to breastfeed this long. But, I am also glad food has now been introduced, because mama (and her boobs) need a break!

Baby Feeding Favourites: 8 Months

Ok, and now to the point of this post…

When it comes to feeding the babe, the products you use are definitely important to making it a comfortable and positive experience for both the feeder and the eater. 

I am not an expert. Every baby is different. What we do and the products we love may not work for others. Because of that, this post does not contain advice on how to start eating solids. Instead, this post contains the current products we use and love for feeding our eight month old.

Baby Feeding Favourites: 8 Months

While this drying rack has an almost permanent place on our kitchen counter, when not in use, it folds for easy storage. It is also easy to clean. Since the babe doesn’t really use a pacifier anymore or take bottles (it’s a real struggle), we mostly use this for drying sippy cups, toys, etc.

This handy dishwasher caddy fits pacifiers, spoons,nipples and bottle tops, sippy cup lids, etc. so that they don’t get lost in the dishwasher. It comes in blue, pink and green. Like the drying rack, we mostly use it for zippy cups, spoons, toys, etc.

This highchair offers offers convenience and functionality in the form of an ultra-compact high chair. It fits perfectly in our small space because when not in use, it  folds compactly and with little effort. It can be used from birth because of its full recline and the 7 height positions enable the high chair to grow with child. The removable tray cover is also dishwasher-safe, which is key for the self-feeding babe.

This all-in-one placemat and plate suctions to the table, and is perfect for the self-feeder (age 6+ months). It is made from 100% food-grade silicone that is BPA, BPS, PVC, latex and phthalate-free. One of the things I love about it is that portion sizes (i.e., the eyes and smile) are catered to infants at 2oz, 2oz and 4oz. It also comes in a variety of colours, and fits most high chair trays. We use the mat at home (to try and keep things a bit tidier) but we have also used it at restaurants and at a resort on vacationto help keep food off the table.

The babe is not a fan of bottles, so when she started drinking water, we moved right to this spout cup (for babies 6+ months). This BPA-free spill-proof 7 oz. sippy cup comes with soft touch handles that make it easy for your little one to comfortably take their first sips without the mess. The handles are also good to chew on for that teething babe.

Whether your babe is eating purees or finger foods, these bibs are handy to have around. They will keep clothes clean, have a handy pocket to catch the castaways, are easy to clean and can be rolled up to be packed away in the diaper bag.

These infant spoons contain the patented White Hot System - the spoon tip turns white when baby’s food is too hot so you know exactly when to feed and when to wait and let it cool. The tapered spoon bowl is comfortable for little mouths, and the soft tips are gentle on gums. These spoons are BPA-and phthalate-free and top rack dishwasher-safe.

The lid allows us to pack food in the diaper bag without having to worry about spills.

9. Baby Mum Mum Rice Rusks 
These “cookies” are not only a snack for the babe, but also help with their hand-eye coordination.

10. Gerber Puffs
An alternative to the rick rusk cookies, these puffs are good to help develop hand-eye coordination, and some in a variety of different flavours. 

And since babes learning to self-feed aren't the tidiest eaters, you may also want to invest in this upholstery cleaning tool that we swear by to clean up after both the babe AND toddler.


baby in Peg Perego highchair

What Is She Eating and How Much?

I have had a lot of people ask what she is currently eating at 8 months old. Let's just say, she has a pretty hearty appetite and palette to go with it.

Here is what she is currently eating:
- Avocado
- Banana
- Blueberries
- Broccoli
- Carrot
- Cauliflower
- Chicken
- Corn
- Cous cous
- Egg (scrambled or hardboiled)
- Mango
- Oats
- Pear
- Peas
- Quinoa
- Rice noodles
- Salmon
- Star pasta
- Strawberries
- Sweet potato

When we are at home, I have moved away from purees. Usually I will save those if we go out for dinner, to make less of a mess. When I cook the food for her, I will usually make enough to last a few days, and store it in small containers in the fridge. I don't have a set menu for her, I kind of just pick and choose at meal time, making sure to switch it up each time. She is eating three times a day - around 8am, 12pm and 6pm, with breastfeeding sessions before nap and bedtime and puffs/rice crackers as snack in between.

*Always remember, to check with your family physician/paediatrician before you start feeding your baby solids.

Am I missing anything? What are your favourite baby feeding essentials? I’d love to hear!

And as always, if you have any questions about what she is currently eating, etc., please reach out!



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