February 18, 2019

Baby Feeding Essentials: 6 Months

The 6 month mark in a baby’s life is an exciting one. Not only are they growing in size, ability to move and vocalness (those baby giggles, cue heart explosion), but chances are, they’ve also started eating solids!

Since she was 5 months old, Baby B has been an eating champ. I mean, she was before when I was exclusively breast feeding, but now that real food has been introduced, she has become an animal. There is no turning back.

Before I share our baby feeding essentials, make sure to check out my breastfeeding journey (and how we taught our toddler what it means) here. I 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 Essentials: 6 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. 

Before you start feeding your baby solids, you should definitely discuss it with your family physician/paediatrician. If you’re nervous to get started, there are many great courses that you can take. If you’re in the Toronto-area, check out this Starting Solids class offered by my friend and registered midwife Care, from With Care. 

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 6 month old.

Baby Feeding Essentials: 6 Months

Baby Feeding Essentials: Breast Feeding

Breast Feeding:

We’ve been a Philips Avent family since our first was born in 2016. (You can read more about our love of the brand here.)

I have tried a few different brands of milk storage bags, and have sadly also lost a few bags of frozen milk due to spoiling. The Lansinoh brand bags were recommended by a few different friends, and I have not had any issues.

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.

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.

Baby Feeding Essentials: Solid Food

Eating Solids:

1. Peg Perego Prima Pappa Zero 3 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.

2. Munchkin White Hot Infant Safety Spoons 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.

3. Playtex Sipsters Stage 1 6 oz. Sippy Cup The removable handle allows this cup to grow with your babe and teach them how to use an actual cup.

4. Munchkin Love-A-Bowls The lid allows us to pack food in the diaper bag without having to worry about spills.

5. OXO Tot Baby Food Freezer Tray Most of the time, I make my own puree. This tray helps to freeze the puree into the perfect portion size. Once frozen, I remove from the tray and place in a labelled freezer bag.

6. Tommee Tippee Easi-Roll Up Bib 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.

7. NutriBullet PRO 900 Series Nutrient Extractor, Blender and Mixer This full size blender can also be used for smoothies, soups, etc.

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

9. PC Organics Baby Food Most of the time, I make my own purees. However, when we are planning to be out and about, I will toss a few pouches in the diaper bag.

10. Nestle Gerber Organic Oatmeal Baby Cereal (Also comes in rice.) I like this baby cereal because it comes in a plastic container with a snap lid. I find that much easier to store and even carry in our diaper bag than a bag and cardboard box (like actual cereal) - it’s less likely to spill.

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

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. View To & Fro’s full disclosure policy, here.



February 8, 2019

The Power of Podcasts - 5 Reasons Why You Should Listen

Have you discovered the power of podcasts yet?

No? Well it’s about time you do.

Whether you have an interest in business, art or sports, enjoy getting outside, are a new mom, etc., there is a podcast for YOU! 

And now, thanks to the power of technology, it’s easier than ever to find, subscribe and listen to tens of thousands of podcasts on every imaginable topic. 

The Power of Podcasts - 5 Reasons Why You Should Listen to Podcasts

There are many reasons to listen to podcast.  Here are my top five reasons for loving podcasts:

They inspire you. Some of my favourite podcasts are listening to people’s stories and backgrounds, especially those that have started their own businesses. As a blogger and business owner myself, it inspires me when I hear others’ stories - to know that the hard work and dedication that they have put into their business are worth it, much like I do with mine.

They help pass the time. Podcasts are perfect to pop on during your commute to and from work, whether in the car (like my husband) or on public transit (like myself). They help to pass the time on a boring drive or a crowded subway. For me, listening to people talk about a topic I enjoy listening to makes the time pass much quicker than listening to music.

They help you escape (even just for a few minutes). I listen to podcasts for the entertainment value but also as a way to focus on something different than what you deal with daily. I rarely have time to sit down and read a book anymore as an escape, so listening to a podcast while on the go instead allows me to get out of my own head once in a while. Also, if I’m listening to a podcast about the outdoors or travel, I often find myself dreaming of our next outdoor adventure or vacation.

They’re available wherever and whenever. Unlike streaming your favourite radio station, etc. on your phone, listening to podcasts do not require wifi or data. As long as you have the episode downloaded (which does require data), you can literally listen to them wherever and whenever you want - even underground on the subway!

They’re free! While I do enjoy listening to one of my favourite artists’ new song or even their entire album, those cost money to buy and download. The majority of podcasts are absolutely free, making them budget-friendly and an easy choice!

The Power of Podcasts - 5 Reasons Why You Should Listen to Podcasts

You know what else makes listening to podcasts easy? The headphones you use. 

Catching up on the latest podcast with two kids in tow, be it in the car, on a walk or at home, can often be a challenge. Whether it's my oldest needing to hear her favourite show on TV or asking for a snack, or my youngest telling me when she's awake from her nap, there is always something going on in our house that I need to be able to hear. I want to listen to the latest podcast episode, but I don’t necessarily want to put in typical headphones to drown out the noise. (Although, some days that would be nice…) I need to be able to hear what’s going on around me.

Well, now I am able to have the best of both worlds - listen to my podcasts while being able to hear the girls at the same time - thanks to AfterShokz Trekz Air headphones.

The Power of Podcasts - 5 Reasons Why You Should Listen to Podcasts

Seriously, these headphones are like no other. They use bone conduction technology, which means they send mini vibrations through your cheekbones directly to your inner ear, ensuring your ears remain completely open to hear ambient sounds. 

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 that ambient nose (aka the dishwasher running, the washing machine spinning or the girls doing what they do). They are lightweight and bluetooth enabled, so no need to carry my phone around with me or worry about a cord as with traditional headphones.

The Power of Podcasts - 5 Reasons Why You Should Listen to Podcasts

AfterShokz Trekz Air headphones come in four different colours (slate grey, forest green as pictured in the photos above, midnight blue and canyon red) and retail for $189.95 Canadian. Learn more about these innovative headphones here.

Stay tuned for an upcoming post on my husband and I’s favourite podcasts and what we’re currently listening to!

Do you listen to podcasts? I’d love to hear your favourites!

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.



February 6, 2019

Easy At Home Preschooler Paint Station

With winter finally here and Mother Nature deciding to drop the mother load (pun intended) of snow and cold weather on us the past week, we’ve gone into deep hibernation.

Staying indoors with a 5 month old and almost three year old all day is not easy. Finding things to keep the both of them busy and engaged takes quite a bit of planning.

That’s why we like to have some activities ready to go, “in our back pocket”, for days just like the ones we’ve been having lately. 

Easy At Home Preschooler Paint Station Plus Painting Smock DIY

Last week, I shared our DIY “water table” for baby - one of our go to sensory play activities for the little one.

Today, I’m sharing one of our go to activities for our budding artist - this easy, at home preschooler paint station.

All materials required for this activity can be found at your local dollar store (in our case, Dollarama), which means its not only easy BUT also affordable.

Here’s a list of items you’ll need to make your own station (all for $15!). And then, scroll down to learn our simple DIY painting smock.

At Home Preschooler Paint Station

Place mat, newspaper or packing paper
Ice cube tray
Acrylic paper (number and colours of choice)
Small canvases or card stock
Paint brushes
Painter’s smock (see easy DIY below)

Easy At Home Preschooler Paint Station Plus Painting Smock DIY

One of the great things about this activity (besides keeping my daughter occupied, focused and using her imagination to create her latest masterpiece) is that it is very affordable. For just $15, you can create your own painting station with enough materials for a weeks’ worth of painting. 

Like I said, it’s always good to be prepared.

Here is the cost breakdown for our activity kit:
Place Mat: $0 (already had at home)
Acrylic Paint: $1.50 each colour x 5 colours = $7.50
Painter’s Smock: $0 (DIY - see below)
Paint Brushes: $3 for pack of 25
Ice Cube Tray: $0 (already had at home)
5x7 Canvas: $1.50 for pack of 3 x 3 packs = $4.50

Total Cost: $15 for 9 paintings

Easy At Home Preschooler Paint Station Plus Painting Smock DIY

And if you're not into spending $15, you can make it even cheaper!

The above cost is only if you want to paint on the mini 5x7 canvases. If you have paper, card stock, construction paper, newspaper, cardboard, etc. at home, the painting station is even more affordable - all you’re buying is paint and paint brushes! (Read on for the reason why we use canvases.)

We keep all of the materials in a bin (in our laundry room, away from where she can get to it by herself) for easy access when needed.

Since this is one of my daughter’s favourite activities, she’s created quite a few painted canvas masterpieces. Luckily, they make great gifts! While we’ve added a few to gallery wall (a nice pop of colour), the others have all been given as gifts to family members. Make sure to add a description of the photo (you know, in case it is very “abstract”) as well as the date. 

Easy At Home Preschooler Paint Station Plus Painting Smock DIY

Ok, before we end this post, I know what you’re thinking… painting is messy. And yes, yes it is.

When Morley was in daycare, I remember I could always tell when they did a painting activity. I would be so upset because it would be all over her clothes, ruining them because the stain sat for so long. I always thought, why couldn’t they just cover her up to prevent her from ruining her clothes? 

While painting is messy, it’s important to remember that when it comes to little ones, messy play is good play and should not be avoided. 

There are ways however to limit the spread of the mess, and one of those ways is for your little painter to wear something that covers their clothing, like this DIY painting smock. 

DIY Kid’s Painting Smock

What You Need:
old t-shirt
chip clip or hair clip

What You Do:
Put the t-shirt on your child backwards. 
Grab the back of the sleeves and gather in the middle of their back.
Fasten tightly (but comfortably) with the clip to avoid the t-shirt from falling down. 
*See photo below for example.

Easy At Home Preschooler Paint Station Plus Painting Smock DIY

And voila, with a few items from home and a few purchased items from your local dollar store, you have an easy and affordable preschooler painting station. The perfect addition to your "back pocket" activities for days when you're stuck inside. 

Stay tuned for more back pocket indoor activity ideas for babies and preschoolers, coming soon to Instagram and the blog!

I would love to know - what are your favourite indoor activities for your little ones? 


Easy At Home Preschooler Paint Station Plus Painting Smock DIY

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