Friday, 1 September 2017

Smart -Trike Balance Bike Review!

Okay, okay, I know it has been FOREVER since we last blogged. Basically what happened was our toddlers grew into busier little people and blogging became nearly impossible. Ugh. Why must they get in the way of everything?! Luckily, my little one is starting preschool this coming week!!! It's only for a couple hours in the morning but I can hardly wait! I am sooooo excited! ;)

Anyway, back to the topic I meant to blog about. A friend of mine asked if I would review the Smart-Trike Balance Bike and I happily agreed (any toy that will keep my three-year-old busy will be gratefully accepted).  My guy is more of a scooter kid so I was curious about how he would react to the balance bike. Balance bikes are really awesome to get kids ready for a two-wheeler with pedals. Everyone swears by them! My daughter attended a learn-to-bike camp this summer and they trained her to ride her bike (with no training wheels) using a balance bike in only 3 days! Once you can glide on a balance bike you can easily transition to a traditional bike with pedals.

This bike comes in a large box that is easy to carry. I was pleasantly surprised at how light it was.

There are very few pieces to put together and it took me like 5 minutes to assemble it. Big points in my books! All I needed was the little Allen wrench that it came with. Instructions were clear and easy to follow.

The best part about this bike is it grows with your child. Once your child outgrows the "low bar" phase, you can just flip the frame over and they can keep using need to buy a new bike! Totally worth it since our munchkins grow like weeds. You will easily get several summers out of this bike.
Love how it grows with your child! Ages 2 to 5!

My son is three and he just fit the "high" frame version (with lots of room to grow into it).  It was easy to adjust the seat and the handle bar for his height.

He seriously just hopped on the bike and away he went. It was effortless for him to maneuver the bike since it is super lightweight. He was able to handle it without difficulty. And we all know that half-way to the park when our kid suddenly decides they don't want to bike anymore, we will be carrying that bike! The lighter, the better! Also love that the tires will never go flat (no need to ever pull the bike pump out).
Away he goes!!! Weeeeeeee!

Overall, I would highly recommend this bike to anyone searching for a balance bike. The price point is very reasonable and it is a high quality product that grows with your child (and best of all, it tires out our little ones). Way to go smarTrike!

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Quick DIY Father's Day Gift Ideas

Oh boy! Father's Day is coming up quick, real quick! Since we are the biggest procrastinators ever, we decided to come up with a short list of easy and inexpensive Father's Day gifts that you can whip up in no time...since we have very little time...yikes!

Maple Bacon Short-Bread Cookies
Yep, the goodness of bacon and short-bread will be sure to delight any man...except for mine, he dislikes both. He's definitely NOT the norm though. Most guys would LOVE to bite into these savory delicious cookies (we stumbled upon the recipe on Closet Cooking). With only 6 ingredients, they are incredibly easy to make! Throw in some dried herbs to make them extra savory or add some dark chocolate chips for a sweeter treat.

Mason Jar Gift Set
You can fill mason jars with pretty much anything: favourite treats/snacks (try to get creative...candied nuts, flavoured popcorn, coffee beans, maple bacon cookies, BBQ sauces), Father's Day coupons, sports paraphernalia etc.
Here is a great list of ideas to fill up your jar. Package it up all cute (check out our post on mason jar gifts) and you are good to go!
image from:
Hand-print Art
Get your kiddies involved and whip up some adorable hand-print artwork! Have a look at this Father's Day book we made last year for some cute ideas.

Sharpie Mugs
All you need is a cheap plain white ceramic mug and some sharpie markers! Have your kid decorate the mug, bake it in the oven (350 degrees for 30 minutes) and wrap it up for an awesome gift. Full tutorial here.
image from:
Coffee Cozy
Your kid will have a blast making this easy craft for all the coffee loving dads out there! Follow our tutorial to make your own!

Good luck on your last minute's the thought that counts, right?! Happy happy Father's Day to all the amazing men in our lives!

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Easy & Fun Sock Donut Craft

In the words of Homer Simpson, "Mmm...donuts!"  They're so tasty and have gone so gourmet lately!  When I saw these sock donuts at my local drop-in program, I knew I had to try making them at home.  Cue today, when my younger son took an amazingly long nap, so my daughter and I had some crafty bonding time.

All you need are socks, and whatever decorations you want to put on top!  It was so fun to decorate these sock donuts and it was so good for my daughter's fine motor skills.  She cut, glued, rolled and assembled her own donuts and it kept us busy for well over an hour!

  • socks
  • scissors
  • glue (we used white glue and hot glue)
  • decorations - felt, pipe cleaners, beads, string, fun foam, etc.
  1. Take a sock and cut the toe open, so the sock forms a tube.
  2. Roll the sock on itself until you get a donut shape.  Adhere the ends with a little glue so it doesn't unroll.

  3. Cut out and glue different decorations on top.  Be careful to use strong glue if you have a little one and choose to decorate with beads!

  4. Let them dry!  You can use them as food items in your play kitchen, or sing this donut song with them!  You can also use them for the Five Little Monkeys song, replacing "monkeys" with donuts.
We hope you have lots of fun making and decorating these sock donuts and playing with them! Ours make me want to get a cronut!

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Self-Care Skills for Kids | Toileting

My first thought about my daughter starting full day kindergarten next year was "uh oh, who will clean her bum after a poop...a messy poop?!". The things we stress about as parents. But seriously, the thought of my kid sitting around at school all day with a dirty bum is anxiety provoking. My recently turned 4-year-old has been potty trained for a while now but I still question her ability to clean her bum properly after the odd messy poop. We put together some useful tips to get your kid ready to master the art of wiping in preparation for kindergarten. If you need a good laugh, check out this post on bum wiping, we got a good chuckle and some good tips from it.
  1. The best way to begin teaching a child how to toilet independently is to model it yourself (or have an older sibling model it) by showing them how to sit on the toilet, how to wipe and how to properly wash their hands. Provide visual and verbal instruction to reinforce learning. Even better, get them to mimic you on a potty beside you.
  2. Set up your washroom at home to increase your child's independence. Invest in a good quality stool (with a rubber bottom to prevent sliding/slipping) for them to access the toilet/sink safely. Make sure the toilet paper roll/flushable wet wipes, hand soap and towel are easily accessible.
    Love the rubber mat on top and the rubber strips on the bottom of this  stool!
  3. Dress your child in clothing that makes toileting easier (i.e. elastic waistbands). Avoid clothing that is tight and/or cumbersome to remove (buckles, snaps, zippers, overalls etc).
  4. Use flushable wet wipes initially. Wet wipes will leave their bums sparkling. It also provides greater sensory feedback so they know exactly where they are wiping.
  5. When you start using toilet paper, have your child count the number of toilet paper squares to make sure they are using enough paper to wipe. Depending on the thickness of the toilet paper, 3-5 squares are usually the right amount. I still remember being stuck on a toilet with no toilet paper in sight and asking my toddler to fetch some toilet paper from the other washroom. She returned with a measly quarter square of toilet paper...sigh...FAIL.
  6. Strongly emphasize wiping from front to back. This is especially important in girls to prevent bacteria from getting inside their vaginas. To practice the movement of wiping outside of the washroom, have your kid pass beanbags (or any other object) between their legs, from front to back.
  7. Instruct your child to check the toilet paper after each wipe to make sure there is no more poop left. You can practice this by colouring a small wipe board with a brown marker. Using toilet paper, have your child practice wiping the board until there is no brown marks left on the toilet paper. Make sure to instruct them to wipe carefully to avoid getting any brown marker on their hands (or anywhere else!).  Or you can use peanut butter on a plate....or chocolate sauce...or anything brown really!
  8. Initially, provide assistance after each poop. Use hand over hand assistance to physically show your child how to wipe. Gradually reduce the amount of assistance as they master the motion themselves. Once they have mastered the motion of wiping, provide supervision to make sure they are doing it correctly. Ask them to show you the toilet paper after each wipe. 
  9. Encourage proper hand washing hygiene by having your child sing a song that is at least 20 seconds long (i.e. Happy Birthday twice or the Alphabet song) while washing their hands. Show them how to wash in between their fingers. A fun game to show them how to wash their hands properly is to sprinkle glitter ("germs") on their hands and then get them to wash their hands until all the glitter ("germs") come off. Every crafter and child educator knows that glitter is a pain in the butt to get rid of, so hopefully this will help your child understand the importance of taking the time to wash their hands well. 
  10. Always keep a change of clothes in their cubby at school in case an accident does happen. I'm sure your child's teacher will instruct you to bring in a change of clothes on the first day of school. The last thing you want is your kid waiting for you in soiled clothing.
  11. Finally, Good Luck! Let's all hope our children will be blessed with ghost poops during their early school years. 
Is your kid using the toilet independently (lucky lucky you)? Please share your tips with us so we can all have kids with clean bums by September!

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Mother's Day Cherry Blossom Craft

Time is running out! Mother's day is coming up quick...real quick (panic is setting in)! If you are looking for an easy craft for your kid to make for the special women in their lives (grandma?), this craft is it. Costs under $10 for the materials and takes about half an hour to throw together including clean-up time. The cherry blossom tree in our backyard was the inspiration behind this craft. Cherry blossoms are breathtakingly beautiful and your little one can recreate this beauty on canvas using their fingerprints. Okay, hurry up! Grab the materials, your kid and get started!

Materials (all purchased from Dollarama...obviously)
  1. Large canvas
  2. Non toxic paint (we used brown, antique white, pink, blue)
  3. Permanent marker
  4. Paint brush or sponge brush
  5. Paper plate (or paint palette)

  1. Using the brown paint, paint cherry blossom tree branches as shown.  Depending on your child's artistic level, you could get them to do this part of the craft. 

  2. Using pink and white paint, have your child make "cherry blossoms" on the branches using their fingerprints. 
  3. Coat your child's foot with paint (we used blue paint) to make a "bird" footprint on a branch. The heel of the foot is the bird's head, and the toes are the bird's tail feathers. I suggest you throw your kid in the bath at this point to wash off the paint.

  4. Once dry, decorate the bird (add an eye, beak, feet etc.) using a black sharpie. You can also use a different colour of paint to add a belly, feathers etc.
  5. Don't forget to have your little Picasso sign their artwork!
Oh and don't forget about our coffee filter crafts if you are looking for another easy Mother's Day craft idea. 

Happy Mother's Day to all the amazing mamas out there:) xo

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Our Favorite Gifts for Mom

So there totally seems to be a pattern here of procrastinating when it comes to buying gifts, but better late than never, I guess?! We've put together a list of our top gift picks for this Mother's Day to help your loved ones out. You can also check out our holiday gift ideas post for more ideas!

  • Mighty Clutch - a purse that keeps your phone charged?  My iphone just died and went to wristlet heaven
  • Dinner cooked in your home by a personal chef - give mom a break and hire a chef to cook a gourmet meal for you!  There are so many personal chefs out there, but we enjoyed hearing stories about Gordon Ramsay from Chef Chadd McArthur!
  • Clarisonic Mia - this gift set comes with Ole Henriksen skincare, too (the Truth Serum is my fave)!
  • On-trend but practical skirt - You can still get down and dirty with the kids while jumping on the button-front skirt bandwagon
  • Tieks - if you're looking for compact but super-comfortable flats, Tieks are the way to go!
  • Wine Tumbler - for when you need a drink, stat!  And no, 10am is not too early if you are in the throes of parenting a toddler.
  • Yonanas - so mom can whip up a healthy dessert when she's in need of a guilty pleasure (check out our review if you want more info!)
  • Leather watch - you can't go wrong with a classic watch, although we still can't guarantee mom will be on time
  • Paper Pumpkin subscription - for the crafty woman in your life!  She'll get a surprise craft kit delivered in the mail to her every month (check out the first one we ever unboxed!)
  • DIY mason jar gift set - if you're feeling ambitious, you can collect some small items and package them in a pretty mason jar
  • A funny book - watch out Ryan Gosling, there are some new studs in town!
  • Or if you're in the mood for Pulitzer-prize-winning material, try this book, or check out this list for top inspirational books
  • A stylish charging station for all the electronics - perfect for the whole family, really!
  • A custom print with her favorite quote 
We hope you have fun blessing the socks off your mom or the special women in your life this Sunday!   If you have other brilliant ideas, please share your awesome gifts with us below!

Friday, 22 April 2016

Cloth Diaper Basics

Is there anything better than a chubby baby in diapers?! When they’re bundled in cloth diapers, they have the cutest, waddly bums! But is it worth it to cloth diaper your baby? When we got pregnant with our first, my husband and I sat down to have a conversation about diapers. Seriously, the thought of using up 12 disposables a day as a newborn shocked me a little bit, as did the calculations for how much it would cost! We did a little research and committed to cloth diapering our babes, and today we thought we’d share some of the cloth diapering basics we learned.

We’ll be talking about (click on the topic to jump to that section):
Disclaimer: This article isn’t intended to convince you to cloth diaper, or make you feel bad if you use disposables! I just wanted to share our experience, in case you were curious. I’ve also linked a lot of the specific products I use, but they’re just so you have a reference point. No sponsored or affiliate links here!

Why we cloth diaper

Saving money – my primary concern was the finances. We live in a condo where water and electricity are included in our condo fees, so the only cost we incur for using cloth diapers is for the actual diapers and any accessories we buy. We actually received a lot of our stash for free, so our startup cost was probably less than $400. On average, even if you pay for your utilities, you end up saving money by cloth diapering.

Environmental impact – a large percentage of landfill waste is composed of disposable diapers! The resources used to create disposable diapers also exceed the resources used to create, clean and maintain cloth diapers, apparently.

Chemicals – I don’t know that I’m fully convinced that the chemicals in disposable diapers are hazardous to a baby, but that’s what some people say. I figured we’d play it safe by going cloth. We use a natural detergent so I know what’s coming in contact with my baby’s skin.

Cuteness factor
– they can print all the trademarked cartoons they want on my diapers, but nothing will beat the beauty of a fabric color/print! There are so many varieties and colors to choose from, and they round out baby butts so nicely!

Faster potty training – Potty training is a whole other post, but I don’t know that having my daughter in cloth diapers affected how fast she potty trained (I think it was probably due more to plying her with chocolate and screen time. I know, parent fail. But she’s potty-trained, so I’m letting it go, lol). I understand the reasoning behind this, since cloth diapers let your little one know they’re wet, while disposables don’t. It was one of the reasons we decided to go cloth originally.

Reduced blowouts – because of the design of cloth diaper covers, we rarely had a poo blowout that wasn’t contained. Most of the time, the elasticized waistband kept everything in!

Types we use 


All-in-ones (AIOs) - These cloth diapers are basically the cloth version of a disposable. It has a waterproof outer layer and absorbent layers inside. Most of the pieces are connected, so you use it once and then you need to wash it. We pull these out when we have babysitters, so that they don’t need to worry about folding cloth, etc.

Prefolds (+ waterproof cover) - Closest to the traditional cloth diaper, these have layers of cloth sewn together for absorbency. These layers save you the trouble of folding a flat piece of cloth over and over until it fits in a diaper. They’re rectangular in shape and need to be worn in a waterproof cover before you use them.

Fitteds (+ waterproof cover) - Fitteds are basically an all-in-one without a waterproof outer layer. They’re made of cloth that’s been cut and sewn into a diaper shape, so it's fitted to your babys' body. You need to put a waterproof cover over these, but they’re great for heavy wetters!

Pocket diaper - We use pocket diaper covers exclusively, but don’t actually use the pocket! Pocket covers have a pocket (duh) where you can insert a prefold or insert to absorb wetness. When you change the diaper, you have the option of just changing out the insert and keeping the cover.

Velcro vs. snaps - I prefer snaps (basically, buttons) over Velcro, especially for longevity. Velcro tends to snag slightly if you don’t close it properly, and Velcro is also easily undone by curious toddlers who desire to run naked around the house.

PUL covers vs. wool - Most of the covers I’ve seen and use are PUL (polyurethane laminate) covers, although I’d switch to wool if I was braver! PUL fabric basically has a shiny plastic coating on one side to make the fabric waterproof. The covers are usually lined with fleece or minky so that baby feels dry. Wool covers are waterproofed using/because of lanolin (yup, that same stuff they tell you to smear on your nipples as they crack and bleed, which naturally occurs in wool) and need to be lanolized again occasionally.  I aim to use one cover for the whole day, just changing out the inserts. If I get poop on the cover, though, I’ll grab a new one.

Brands - Everyone I know uses a different brand of cloth diaper, and everyone I know prefers their brand for different reasons. I decided to go with Applecheeks and Bummis diapers because a few friends recommended them, and they’re manufactured in Canada. Applecheeks also have limited edition cover designs that are highly sought after (and apparently go for way more than the retail price). I grabbed some Applecheeks inserts (they’re nice and soft!), but also inherited a load of Bummis organic cotton inserts, so that’s what we use. I’ve also used Totsbots AIOs, Rumparooz pocket diapers, Bamboozle fitteds, random Japanese flat inserts as well as Mother-Ease fitteds and covers.

Useful accessories

Wet bags – if you’re going to use cloth diapers on the go, you need a place to store the dirty ones until you can get home and launder them. These wet bags are mostly waterproof and also come in super-cute prints! They’re also made with PUL, usually.

Cloth wipes – I personally don’t use cloth wipes, but if you want to know exactly what you’re putting on baby’s skin, there are tons of these available. You wash them along with your diaper laundry (see below).

Disposable liners - Solid food poo is the stinkiest. And it’s not water-soluble, so you need to make sure you really get it off the diaper insert.

Prefold clip – we used Snappis to keep our inserts wrapped around our kids when they were newborns. This is the equivalent of the safety pins our grandmas used to use. After you wrap the insert around your baby, this clip helps keep it in place. Once my kids were bigger, we opted to fold and lay the inserts inside the cover, so we didn’t need these anymore.

Diaper pail & liner – you gotta have a place to store the dirty diapers until laundry day! We use a fairly large one and wash the liner along with the diapers. We don’t lock the lid but we’ve never had a problem with odors escaping.

Diaper sprayer – for those messy poops that won’t come off with a flick of the diaper. These (the sprayers, not the poo!) usually attach to your toilet and allow you to spray off any solid waste that’s stuck to your diaper. I try to spray my diapers in the toilet bowl (not above it) so that I can contain splattering.

Spray shield – as you can imagine, aiming pressurized water at poo can cause a bit of a mess. I don’t personally use one of the plastic shields, but sometimes I wish I had one so I know for sure that poo isn’t flying everywhere. It encases the diaper while you spray to reduce the mess.


This is probably what most people want to know about! I often get asked about how much laundry I have to do, and whether it’s a lot more work to cloth diaper. With the stash I have, I only do diaper laundry once every week to week and a half. It’s super easy for breastfed babies because breastmilk poo is water-soluble so you don’t even need to scrape it off the diaper; just toss everything into the wash as is! Once your little one starts solids, you need to clean off any solid waste before you launder.

I use cloth-diaper friendly detergent that doesn’t build up, and I’ve only had to strip (i.e. deep clean) my diapers once to get rid of a funky smell in some of my diaper covers.

I like to tumble-dry my inserts because it makes them softer. I find line-drying them leaves them more crunchy and stiff, although I’ve used both and my kids didn’t seem to care either way. Tumble-drying until they’re about 75% dry and then hanging them makes them a bit softer, but not as soft as a full tumble-dry. With the covers, I always line-dry so they last longer.

My biggest hangups

Using cloth diapers on the go – you get used to trucking your clean and dirty diapers around, but it does increase your load. It’s also awkward if you forget that you had a poopy diaper sitting in a wet bag and discover it a few days after, once the poo has crusted on. True story.

Cleaning wet poops – if I don’t catch the poop soon enough and it smears everywhere, it’s more ick factor to clean it. Dry poops are easily tossed in the toilet but wet poops are clingers and usually have to be sprayed off.

Random tidbits

With our first, we started cloth diapering about 3-4 weeks in. I mean, seriously, no one needs to be a hero that first month, and I just couldn’t handle the thought of doing diaper laundry on top of the stress of adjusting to having a newborn. With our second, we started about a week in.

Make sure everyone in the household is on board. Bless my patient husband for coming along with me on our cloth-diapering journey! Through all the lugging and laundry, he’s been on board with cloth diapering. I mean, there’s the occasional day where he breaks and uses disposables, but for the most part, we share the burden of diaper changes and laundry. I think this is the sole reason we’ve been able to continue to cloth diaper. It would be discouraging and hard to cloth diaper if he wasn’t supportive of it.

We use disposables overnight, because both our kids are super-heavy wetters and I just couldn’t find a feasible solution for our leaking diapers. Seriously, the diapers ballooned to the size of little bowling balls because of all the layers and they still leaked overnight! No one wants to get up to a) change a diaper in the middle of the night plus b) change the sheets in the middle of the night plus c) soothe your child back to sleep in the middle of the night. We also use disposables when travelling because I don’t want to pack up my stash for a plane ride. So yeah, disposables ftw.

Also, can I just rave about cloth swim diapers here?! I mean, swim diapers are meant for the capture of solids, so why not just use a reusable cloth swim diaper instead of a disposable one? They’re super-cute and come in all sorts of patterns and sizes.

Let us know what your experience diapering has been! Do you have more questions about cloth? Leave us a message in the comments below or on our Facebook page!

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