Sunday, September 30, 2012

Hannah's Pick of the Month - Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Smart Screen Laptop

Hannah's pick for September is her Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Smart Screen Laptop.

She really likes playing with my MacBook. Really. And at first I didn't mind, and thought it was kinda cute when she saved my "Pics of Hannah" folder as "mgvvvgb". But when she pulled off the F3 key I knew I had to find a better solution.

Enter the Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Smart Screen Laptop.

I really like this toy. There are nine colourful keys (that can't be pulled off) for her to press, teaching her numbers, shapes, colours, object names, opposites, letters, and more.

When she rolls the extra cute mouse (that's shaped like a mouse) it cues songs. And the songs are catchy. So catchy I find myself singing them in the shower.

Hannah likes watching the LED screen that brings the laptop to life with fun images and light patterns.

She also really likes to open and close the lid.

But the best part of this toy is the fact that it's Canadian. When the laptop sings the Alphabet, it sings ZED not zee. And it teaches French numbers too.

It's no MacBook, but for an eight-month-old Hannah has a pretty snazzy laptop.

The Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Smart Screen Laptop retails for $24.99. You can find it at Sears or Toys R Us.

© 2012 YYZ Bambina. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Combat Dry Skin with George's Cream (Giveaway)

Fall is here, and unfortunately that means winter will soon be upon us.

Other than snowboarding, Christmas and Hannah's birthday, winter and I are not friends. His cold temperature wreaks havoc on my skin. His lack of sunlight makes me depressed. And forcing me to dress Hannah in multiple layers - including a snowsuit - is not fun.

Thankfully, George's Cream can come to my rescue, at least to solve my dry skin problem.

Pharmacist George Doherty created George’s Special Dry Skin Cream in his kitchen using his wife’s cake mixer over 15 years ago looking to create a cream for local Albertans to help combat their severe dry skin from the harsh winters. He didn't intend to invent one of the top selling therapeutic skin moisturizers in Canada, but that's exactly what he did.

George’s Cream is appealing to so many Canadians because it is a non-prescription therapeutic skin moisturizer that has no additives and is fragrance free. Many users suffering from eczema and psoriasis are amazed by the immense relief they feel almost from the first application and now use it as their daily moisturizer or night cream.

George's Cream also offers therapeutic benefits that will provide significant relief to those suffering from cradle cap, sunburn, flaky skin, wind burn or swimmer’s itch.

George’s Cream does not contain urea, lanolin or parabens and has been specifically made to be hypoallergenic and fragrance free. It contains no additives, irritants, fragrance or colouring which could irritate damaged skin. And it's not tested on animals.

George's Cream goes on smoothly and is not greasy at all. Chris even commented on how soft our skin was after use. Our building turned on the heat earlier this week, and with George's Cream my skin looks and feels as good as it did in the summer.

George's Cream is available at grocery, mass merchandise and drug stores nationwide including Shoppers Drug Mart and Loblaws. It retails from $2.99 to $14.99.

Would you like George's Cream to come to your dry skin rescue this winter too? Enter to win a George's Cream prize package that includes full-size and travel size products of George's skincare products by using the Rafflecopter below.

Open to Canadian Residents only. Valid entries only. Contest ends Sunday, October 14, 2012.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received George's Cream and George's Light Cream to review, but all opinions are my own.

© 2012 YYZ Bambina. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, September 28, 2012

I'm a new PTPA Blogaholic!

Hello friends.

I don't know if you noticed, but a shiny new button appeared in the right column today.

I am a proud and excited (newbie) PTPA Blogaholic!

PTPA stands for Parent Tested, Parent Approved. It’s a community of parents across North America sharing valuable feedback about the products we bring into our homes and to our families.

You too can be a parent tester (with or without a blog!). Check out the Parents section of the PTPA website here. And the best part? It's FREE. All you have to do is make sure your profile is at 80 per cent and fill out an evaluation to reviewing the product to help determine whether or not it gets the PTPA Winner's Seal.

So make sure you watch out for the seal in my upcoming posts!

What would be your dream item to test?

© 2012 YYZ Bambina. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Bath time made better with Mustela Dermo-Cleansing

Bath time is one of my favourite parts of the day.

However, before Hannah was born, I really worried about bath time. Since infants can drown in less than two inches of water, it seemed to me like it would be the scariest part of parenting.

Hours after she was born she cried the entire time when the nurse gave her very first bath (Chris caught it all on video, I was still loopy from all the drugs).

The first time we bathed her at home, we did so in the kitchen sink - very anxiously. We kept asking each other questions. I had read the bathing chapter in the Mother of All Baby Books by Ann Douglas multiple times. But for all our preparations and nervousness, Hannah just sat there and stared. Allowed us to get her clean without a peep.

As time went by, she grew big enough that we felt comfortable bathing her in the actual tub, using her bath chair.

Months after the anxious kitchen sink debacle, I'd like to think we are pros and so is she. Hannah loves to be naked and loves to be in water, so I think bath time is one of her favourite parts of the day too.

While in the tub, she kicks and splashes the water all while being enamoured with her rubber ducky. The only time she's ever cried is when we've decided she needs to get out before she has decided she's ready.

Recently we added a new ritual to our bath time routine - the use of Mustela Dermo-Cleansing

Dermo-Cleansing is a soap-free cleansing gel specially formulated and tested to safely cleanse the scalp and body of newborns and babies. Through a unique combination of natural properties, it gently cleanses while respecting the integrity of the skin’s protective hydrolipidic film and compensates for the drying effects of tap water through coconut derivatives. It softens skin and soothes irritations with Vitamin B5 and does not sting the eyes thanks to a neutral pH formula. It's safe to use on baby from day one.

I love that the gel is in a pump, which is so much easier to use than a regular bottle. It lathers so nicely and is very practical - cleansing both body and hair.

The first time we used Mustela Dermo-Cleansing we saw my Mom later that day. She said, "Mmm, Hannah smells so good. And her hair looks so great - did you start using something else?" My Mom is in good company - celebrity moms like Kourtney Kardashian, Tori Spelling and Melissa Joan Hart love the Mustela scent too.

All Mustela Bébé products are hypoallergenic, paraben-free, phthalate-free, phenoxyethanol-free, and most importantly safe for babies. You can find Mustela products in select Shoppers Drug Marts.

To find out the latest on Mustela Bébé products, you can like Mustela on Facebook, follow Mustela on Twitter or visit their website

Disclosure: Although this post has generously been sponsored by Mustela, the opinions and language are all my own. 

 © 2012 YYZ Bambina. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Book Review: Goodnight, Canada

I'd like to start this post by saying I'm not really a fan of Goodnight Moon. Thankfully, Goodnight, Canada by Andrea Beck is NOTHING like that book - although the titles are very similar. I guess it's true what they say - never judge a book by it's cover, er, or title.

Goodnight, Canada takes us into the bedrooms of children across our nation so our little ones who are being read to can learn the names of our provinces and territories (and a little bit about each of them - the Nova Scotia child can see Peggy's Cove from his bedroom, the Ontario child can see the CN Tower from her bedroom, the Alberta child is lassoing a toy dinosaur, etc.). Hannah loves looking at the photos and taking in each child's bedroom (and collection of toys).

It's a great book which I am happy to add to Hannah's collection - and should be part of any Canadian child's.

Goodnight, Canada by Andrea Beck retails for $16.99

© 2012 YYZ Bambina. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Top 5 Things I No Longer Care About

After you become a parent, a lot of your priorities change. As do things that you care about - or find a necessity.

Here is my list of the top five things I no longer care about:

1. Making the bed.

I used to have this OCD-type thing when it came to making the bed. I would get mad at Chris for not making it. Now he makes it more than I do. If people come over, I just shut the door. I have time for that, but not making the bed.

2. Bathing on a daily basis. 

A shower has become a privilege not a necessity. Unless I am leaving the house and am forced to look presentable, sometimes I don't even get dressed. I'm sure the Purolator guy loves it when I answer the door in sweat pants and an old Backstreet Boys concert tee. I know I do.

3. My hair.

I used to blow dry my hair every day and style it as best as I could. It was nicely highlighted. Now it's roots-arama, and gets thrown in greasy pony tails (see showering is a privilege above) more than I'd like to admit. Also Hannah likes to pull on it, so up is better (and less hurtful). (Full disclosure - I'm getting my highlights back on Friday - just in time for our first family trip. Yay!)

4. Wearing make-up.

I started wearing make-up in OAC (back when Ontario still had grade "13"). This obsession grew slowly, but eventually I refused to leave the house without foundation, lip gloss, eye shadow or eye liner. Now sometimes I go out sans make-up, even sans eyebrow plucking. This is also cost-effective as I buy less make-up. Although, my skin isn't any better regardless of the foundation hiatus (even if I DO moisturise daily - that's something I haven't given up).

5. Going dinner, the movies, the bar.

Most of my friends visit me at home. Occasionally, I get out to meet them at a mall. Even rarer: I get to dine or have drinks with them alone. While I miss my friends, I'm so obsessed with my baby I don't notice my lack of social life as much as I should. And my bank account is more focused on buying things for Hannah now than for myself.

I bet most of these things will become things I care about again when I go back to work and am out in the "real world" on a daily basis. But for the rest of my mat leave I'll enjoy PJ days, greasy ponytails, no makeup and unmade beds.

But I'll still be a hermit after work. I know I'll want to spend every waking hour I don't have to be at work with Hannah. She's my life now - not dinner and a movie.

What did you stop caring about after you became a parent?

© 2012 YYZ Bambina. All Rights Reserved.

Green Your Routine with Seventh Generation Wrap-Up

Hope you all had fun and learned something while we all took part in the Green Your Routine Challenge from Seventh Generation.

I know I learned A LOT. I will be packing only litterless lunches from now on, and I will definitely be reading labels a lot more carefully when it comes to cleaning products. I will also remind myself to walk instead of drive, and as it gets colder take public transit as often as I can and leave the car at home. I also have started a handy chores chart. Chris and I are only on it for now, but when Hannah is old enough, she'll be added too.

You can revisit any of my Green Your Routine posts by clicking on their titles below:

  1. Packing a litterless lunch
  2. Switching to eco-friendly cleaners
  3. Green commuting
  4. Rebranding responsibility

And of course, congratulations go out to Andrea A., the winner of a Seventh Generation Starter Pack!

To get continuous updates from Seventh Generation, please be sure to like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.

Disclosure: I received Seventh Generation products as part of participating in the Green Your Routine with Seventh Generation Challenge. All opinions and language are my own.

© 2012 YYZ Bambina. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Rebranding Responsibility (#GYR Giveaway)

How do you organize responsibility in your home?

In order to set kids up for success at school, they need to be engaged in the school preparation and planning process. This means that kids must be involved in planning and preparing their snacks and lunches for the week, they should help clean and select their clothing and should also be in charge of creating their weekly schedules (including chores, sports practices, music lessons, etc). This requires a weekly family rally point (Sunday’s after dinner tend to work well) to meet and go through a mealplanning chart on a large chalk board in the kitchen.

In order to organize and prioritize, you can sit down as a family and create some family goals for the year. This can relate to activities, schedules and even performance in school. Be sure to also suggest some sustainable family goals and actions based on what’s important to you. For example, if your goal is driving less and walking more, the action is to map out a walking route, safety plan and schedule to make it to school and work.

A big part of teaching environmental stewardship to your kids is engraining responsibility into the fabric of your household. Think back to your own childhood and the habits your parents may have taught or passed down to you. Whether it’s how to do your laundry, or what kind of brands you stock your cupboards with, you carry on their behaviors simply because it’s what you’ve always known.

How do you organize chores in your home?

Maybe the person in your household who does the cleaning would love to do so with Seventh Generation products (which they probably do already!). There's only hours left to enter the Green Your Routine with Seventh Generation Starter Pack. Enter using the Rafflecopter below. The winner will be announced on Monday, September 24, 2012. Good luck!

Open to Canadian Residents only. Valid entries only. Contest ends Sunday, September 23, 2012.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 © 2012 YYZ Bambina. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Why I Would Be Daniel Tiger's Neighbour

Other than Back-to-School, fall can often signify the return of our favourite television shows AND the introduction of potential new favourites.

Although I am very excited for How I Met Your Mother to return (can't wait to see how the gang deals with Marvin Wait For It Eriksen), it's a children's show that has quickly become my new favourite.

Daniel Tiger's Neighbourhod is the most amazing children's show I've seen in awhile.

When I was little I LOVED Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, especially the town of Make-Believe, so I had a hunch I'd enjoy this show. Even if it is aimed at preschoolers.

The official website describes the show as a new animated program for preschoolers ages 2 to 4 which builds on the pioneering PBS series, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. This new series, for a new generation of children, tells its engaging stories about the life of a preschooler using musical strategies grounded in Fred Rogers’ landmark social-emotional curriculum. Through imagination, creativity and music, Daniel and his friends learn the key social skills necessary for school and for life.

The tunes are catchy - and teach important lessons, such as "When something seems bad, turn it around and find something good," (check out the YouTube video below when Daniel is disappointed with his mushy birthday cake), "Friends just like to play with you," and "Grown ups always come back."

I know I can't resist the opening when Daniel sings "It's a beautiful day in the neighbourhood, a beautiful day for a neighbour. Would you be mine, could you be mine, won't you be my neighbour?"

I really wish Hannah and I could be his neighbours and let trolley drive us to all the fun, informative adventures Daniel has.

Daniel Tiger is cute and humble. Not annoying like Calliou. Daniel Tiger's friends and family are also beyond bearable.

I will be tuning in when I can. And am crossing my fingers this series comes out on DVD or BluRay so that when Hannah is old enough to learn from it, she can.

Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood can be seen weekdays on PBS.

© 2012 YYZ Bambina. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Book Review: Empowered YOUth

This is the first book review I've done on my blog that didn't have cute cartoons or text that rhymes.

However, it's probably the most important book I could read for my relationship with myself and with my daughter Hannah as she gets older.

Empowered YOUth is the heartfelt story of Michael and Jeffrey Eisen, who rose up from a tumultuous, emotional past to come together in a loving, respectful relationship as father and son, coach and student. Through this engaging narrative, they provide a refreshing perspective on how parents and kids can work together to empower one another by opening the channels of communication, dissolving fear, and surrendering the need for control.

As I was reading the book, following Michael and Jeffrey's stories, I saw a lot of myself and people I know in their journeys. The most important point I personally took away from this book is that support from people in your life empowers you - regardless of your age. 

The book isn't at all preachy, and Michael and Jeffrey are honest and humble when describing how they came to be the Founder of the Youth Wellness Network and a successful Life Coach respectively. 

They focus on showing you how to look positively at situations versus negatively, preferring to look at that infamous glass as half-full. Blaming someone or something else for your current circumstance versus being open to challenges as teaching experiences. Being fearful versus being faithful.

An example they provide is:

"I will never be rich." (Fear Thought and reality for most parents)

"I'm intelligent and resourceful, and I'll always have enough money." (Faith Thought)

There is a wonderful Resources section at the end of the book to help readers put in to practise the simple and straight-forward tactics Michael and Jeffrey used to change their lives.

Check out the book trailer:

This book has taught me that I need to be a "life coach" for my daughter as much as I need to be her mother. It has taught me we all have paths and coincidences in this life - which is a journey not a destination (as Michael and Jeffrey mention many times). I know this is a resource I will reference again and again as Hannah gets older.

If you are a parent, teacher or someone who works with youth, this book is your guide to "Do As I Do" versus "Do As I Say." Join Michael and Jeffrey's journey while you embrace your own. Empower youth and empower yourself.

You can order Empowered YOUth from Amazon. The book will also be available in stores on October 1, 2012.

Disclosure: I received an e-copy of this book in order to write the review. Thoughts and opinions are all my own.

© 2012 YYZ Bambina. All Rights Reserved.

Celebrate Talk Like a Pirate's Day with 50 per cent off Mabel's Labels

Shiver me timbers!

For one day only, on 9/19, Mabel's Labels is offering 50 per cent off Pirate Ship or Skull 'n' Crossbones Sticky Labels in honor of International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

Don't miss your chance to shop this great offer, arrrr!

Disclosure: I am a Mabel's Labels Affiliate. 

© 2012 YYZ Bambina. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

"Mama," she said

Hannah finally speaks my language.

After mastering "Dada" over a month ago,  Hannah then moved on to "Baba" which I can only assume is for our cat, Booyah.

But last week, the M word was finally uttered by her cute, tiny lips.

The first occasion happened after our Diaper Aquafit class. I was in the cold change room trying to get Hannah out of her bathing suit and into her warm, dry clothes as quickly as possible. As a pro-nudist, Hannah was not amused I wanted to put clothes on her. She was crying and fussing and finally yelled, "MAMA!"

A part of me wanted to ask the other moms changing their babies if they had heard it. But, firstly, I wanted to keep my cool as it was just the first class and secondly, they were busy trying to dress their crying babies.

So yeah, the first time was not the magical experience I'd hope it would be.

About an hour later, she said it again. I had just bathed her, and again was trying to get her dressed. She was crying and kicking, and angrily said, "Mama!"

That was Monday.

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday were filled with "Dada"s and "Baba"s but no more "Mama"s.

Then yesterday, my Mom, Chris, Hannah and I were at Tim Hortons. I had made my order and came back to the table. Hannah looked directly at me, and said, "Mama". No crying. No kicking. Just happy Hannah.

It's almost like she wanted to wait for the referee (that would be my Mom) to be present to prove, that in fact, she had reached the "Mama" milestone.

When did your baby say "Mama"? Do you remember where you were/what you were doing?

© 2012 YYZ Bambina. All Rights Reserved.

Green Commuting (#GYR Giveaway)

This third post in the Green Your Routine Challenge with Seventh Generation is all about green commuting.

With an estimated 1.6 million children in Canada (26 per cent of children) considered overweight or obese, it’s a wonder more parents don’t look at making healthy transportation options a part of their daily lives. Here’s a few ways to work health, cost and environmentally friendly options into your getting to school routine:

Start a ‘Walking School Bus’

If your children’s schools are close enough to walk to, leave the car in the garage. Walking is the greenest way to travel and does the least damage to the environment. Find ways to either walk with, or ensure your children join forces with other families who travel the same path to school. This arrangement can give you adult company to chat with, or you can split the task of walking with the children to school. If enough children in your area head in the same direction to school, consider setting up a walking bus in which the children all walk together with a parent at the front as the “driver” and another parent at the back for safety. I actually did this back in University as a newspaper article for journalism class. The parents I spoke to thought it was great - you got to know the people in your neighbourhood AND you got to take a few days off from walking the kids to school.

Make the investment in two and four wheeled methods of transportation 

Like a bike, new scooter, or skateboard to make the trip to school fun and fit. It could also motivate children to not WANT to take the car.

Create a Carpool

Eco‐friendly carpools are best done with a consistent group of committed parents who organize a set number of pickups and drop offs. Ideally, the families work together to organize the largest number of children that can safely be transported in the smallest car. Carpools are easiest to manage if they involve just two or three families. Find out which days work best (or worst) for the carpool drivers, create a schedule that works for everyone and a system for notifying other members of the pool if someone isn’t riding on a particular day. For safety reasons, it’s essential that everyone involved in the carpool have full contact information for all the children’s parents, along with the children’s addresses, allergy notes, and any important health information.

Although Hannah can't walk yet (nor is she in school), she does get pushed in her stroller a lot of places. Chris takes the TTC to work. We do drive places in bad weather, but I try my best to walk before driving.

Do you green commute?

Have you entered the Green Your Routine with Seventh Generation giveaway? A starter pack of three Seventh Generation products are up for grabs. Fill out the Rafflecopter below to enter.

Open to Canadian Residents only. Valid entries only. Contest ends Sunday, September 23, 2012.

© 2012 YYZ Bambina. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

10 Free Thank You Cards from Tiny Prints

"Thank you." 

I have three very special people I need to thank as I'm still feeling under the weather. Chris, for letting me sleep/relax as soon as he gets home from work, and for doing as much as he can before he heads out the door in the morning. And Hannah, for not being as noisy as she can be, and for giving in to a morning nap today so that Mommy could get more rest. And to my Mom, for postponing yet another portrait session so I can look less pale, and more living, in the photos.

Thank You are two words not said enough, by bosses, by spouses, by friends, or by strangers on the street. Tiny Prints is out to change that.
Tiny Prints 10 Free Thank You Cards
For one week only, you can get 10 FREE thank you cards from Tiny Prints. All you pay is shipping (as low as $3.50). 

These cards can be completely customized and personalized to your tastes. Choose from thousands of designs, add pictures, change the text, the fonts, the colours. You get to make these cards uniquely you. 

Just use the promo code FREETHANKS when you check out and pay the shipping and Tiny Prints will send the 10 cards right away.'s up to you to use them! 

Let's start a Thank You Revolution! 

Visit Tiny Prints now to take advantage of this incredible deal. 

Offer is limited to 10 cards per customer. This promotion cannot be combined with other offers and is valid for one-time use only. This promotion code applies exclusively to thank you cards and excludes previously placed orders, Erin Condren products, and William Arthur boxed sets. Offer is only valid on Tiny Prints and is not applicable on, third party or partner websites. To prevent abuse, we reserve the right to discontinue or modify this offer at any time without notice. We reserve the right to cancel any order at any time. 

Disclosure: I am a Tiny Prints Affiliate. 

© 2012 YYZ Bambina. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Mom Cold

Yesterday Hannah and I went to our first Diaper Aquafit class. Due to the temperature drop outside, the pool was a lot cooler than usual. As was our walk home.

Although I was a good Mommy and put Hannah into a warm bath right away to ensure she would not become sick, I didn't worry about myself enough and now I have my first cold since giving birth.

Being sick sucks. Sure, there's the freeze pops and the fact you are supposed to just lay on the couch and no one can bug you about it.

But I miss interacting with Hannah so much. I miss picking her up and spinning her around. I miss playing Peekaboo. But most of all, I miss cuddling with her.

I don't want to get her sick, so I'm staying as far away as possible. Hopefully my Tylenol Cold medication will kill all my sick germs tonight so I can get some baby cuddles tomorrow.

How do you deal with your Mom duties when you're sick?

© 2012 YYZ Bambina. All Rights Reserved.

Milk Unleashed (Giveaway)

With handy single-serving shelf safe milk there's no need to ever run out. You can take it anywhere, at anytime. Milk Unleashed goes wherever your family goes, whether it's in a lunchbox, cooler, purse or diaper bag.

How is this possible? The milk is flash-heated at higher temperatures (ultra-pasteurization) to eliminate bacteria and then put into Tetra Pak shelf safe cartons, which protect the milk from air, light and other contaminants. Shelf safe milk, the most popular way to drink milk in Europe and many countries around world, provides milk on the go, since it stays safe on the shelf without preservatives until it is ready to chill and drink. 

Check out the Milk Unleashed app below for:
  • On-The-Go Games and Tips With these fun games and tips you can have some family time even when you are out on the road!  
  • On-The-Go Snacks Have you ever wanted to try the world’s best smoothie?  Well Milk Unleashed is here to make all your dreams come true. Find out the best snacks to grab that will make your next outing even more thrilling!

Milk Unleashed wants to give one American YYZ Bambina reader four cartons of shelf safe milk, a cow stress ball and information on shelf safe milk. To enter, use the Rafflecopter below.

Open to American residents only. Valid entries only. Giveaway closes Sunday, September 16, 2012.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 © 2012 YYZ Bambina. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Switching to Eco-Friendly Cleaners (#GYR Giveaway)

I was well aware that as soon as I gave birth a lot of things would change in my life. Something somewhat unexpected for me was changing cleaning routines to become safer.

I was completely unaware of what ingredients made up cleaning products. Before, I would only buy whatever was on sale. I didn't care what brand it was, how it smelled and what it was made of. As long as it didn't nudge too much in my clothing/make-up/eating out budget, it was purchased.

Now that there's a little one in my house, that's all changed. I don't want fumes coming from the bathroom. I don't want to clean her clothes in detergent that could make her break out in a rash. And I certainly want to make sure when I clean her bottles, bowls and spoons they are cleaned with the best possible dish soap.

Unfortunately many dish and laundry soaps contain petrochemicals (derived directly from oil). Luckily there are several companies like that have created plant‐based, family‐safe alternatives to ensure we can avoid hazardous toxins in home products.

I was sent Seventh Generation Natural Dish Liquid (Lavender & Floral Mint) and Seventh Generation Natural 4X Laundry Detergent (Free & Clear).

Both products are plant-derived and work just as well as soaps from other brands that contain petrochemicals. Both products are skin sensitive. They both smell great (even the Detergent which is free of dyes & fragrances). The containers are also completely recyclable (and compostable in the case of the Laundry Detergent).

Now that I have tried them I will most certainly continue to use them.

Seventh Generation products help protect human health and the environment. You can find Seventh Generation products online or at several national chain stores listed here.

Do you use eco-friendly cleaning products?

Would you like some free ones? If so, enter the Green Your Routine with Seventh Generation Starter Pack giveaway by filling out the Rafflecopter below.

Look out for my next #GYR post about Green Commuting next week.

Open to Canadian Residents only. Valid entries only. Contest ends Sunday, September 23, 2012.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

© 2012 YYZ Bambina. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, September 07, 2012

It's a Girl!

A year ago today I found out I was having a baby girl.

When I found out I was pregnant I told Chris right away that I wanted to find out the sex of the baby as soon as we could. I am  a very impatient person. I also hated calling the baby "the baby" instead of "he" or "she". And I couldn't wait to get my pregnant paws on some baby clothes.

Everyone around me thought I was carrying a boy. My Mom was convinced, as was my Godmother. A co-worker who had just had a son thought it was a boy too.

To add to everything else, September 7th is also my Grandpa's birthday. If we were going to have a son, my Grandpa's first name was going to be one of the baby's middle names. We were finding out the sex of the baby on my Grandpa's birthday, who could become his namesake. This had to be a sign.

I wanted a girl though. SO. BADLY. In conversations with myself, I had already been calling the baby "she". When friends asked what I hoped for, I quickly replied "A healthy baby." And then, in a whisper, "But secretly I want a girl."

So the night before my 20 week anatomy ultrasound I made a mental list of awesome things that would come from having a son, just in case everyone around me was right. Boys have cooler toys. I would never have to explain what a menstrual cycle is. I would never have to take him bra shopping for the first time. AND I would never have to perform hair miracles.

The next morning we sat waiting to be seen. For all my mental preparation, I still really wanted a girl. We finally got to see the tech. We told her we wanted to know the sex. She had to call in someone else to get pictures of some of the baby's organs because of the way the baby was positioned in my belly. So a more experienced tech came in to take a look. After waiting 15 weeks (I found out I was pregnant at 5 weeks), the 30 minutes spent in that room felt like the longest of my life.

The first clothes I ever bought for Hannah...
two days after I found out I was having a girl
Finally, Sergei (the more experienced technician) turned to us and said, ""Now, I can't confirm this 100 per cent - because nothing is certain - but I am extremely confident it's a girl."

At first I thought I didn't hear Sergei right. I went into shock. I kept apologizing to Chris, because of course he had been rooting for a son. Then as we started calling and texting people to share our news it became more real.

The baby growing inside me was a she. Like my mother, my mother's mother (my grandma) and my mother's mother's mother (my great-grandma)  before me, my first born child would be a daughter. I was carrying on what had become a family tradition. I was going to get the little girl of my dreams.

I just had to wait 20 more weeks (and 2 days) until I could meet her.

Did you find out your baby's sex before they were born?

© 2012 YYZ Bambina. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Reebok's RealFlex footwear for kids

Hannah is beginning to stand on her own, so it's only a matter of time before she starts to walk. When she does, she'll have a cute pair of Reebok's RealFlex shoes to move and flex with her.

RealFlex footwear offers kids a shoe with multi-directional flex buddies and a lightweight, stable sole that will allow their feet to move and flex as they stretch, run and jump

The shoes provide the protection of a traditional athletic shoe, designed with the foot’s natural flexibility. The sole is engineered with independent “nodes” strategically positioned to flex with the movements of the foot. The “nodes” work together promoting natural movement and flexibility while offering protection from the elements.

Reebok has introduced bold new colours and fun innovative designs in the kids collection for fall 2012. They are certainly attractive to kids - Hannah can't stop staring at the pair we were sent.

The toddler sizes have easy to secure velcro versus laces, but are just as stylish and well-made as the bigger kids' shoes. 

The Reebok RealFlex kids’ footwear collection is available at Sport Chek, Foot Locker, Sports Experts and Reebok stores across Canada.


Grade school (sizes 3.5–7): $84.99
Preschool (sizes 10.5–3): $74.99

Toddlers (sizes 4-10): $64.99 

© 2012 YYZ Bambina. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Book Review: Hannah's Zoo Adventure

A personalized book, Hannah's Zoo Adventure is from the folks at First Time Books.

In it, Hannah (customized to have brown hair, brown eyes) goes to the Zoo with her cousin Peter (who also is customized to have brown hair, brown eyes). They accidentally get locked in at closing time. The book follows their adventure with the assistance (and sometimes unfriendly encounters) of all the animals in the zoo while trying to find the exit.

For a personalized book, the plot is a lot better than I expected it would be. It is fast-paced and entertaining. The images are also bright and colourful. The cartoons are pretty lifelike to actual animals, as are their exhibits/habitats.

I'm sure when Hannah is a little older and can understand the book is about her and Peter, it will become one of her favourites. It's already become one of her parents favourites to read to her.

First Time Books offers hardcovers ($20), softcovers ($14) and PDFs (free - you can print yourself) of a variety of books including ABC Book, Birthday Book and many more. You can visit their website for more details and to order.

Do you buy your kids personalized items?

© 2012 YYZ Bambina. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, September 03, 2012

Dadpost: Don't Take Unsolicited Advice - Or Candy - From Strangers

This morning Sarah and I decided to take Hannah up to our building's pool for our first swim together as a family (she has a swim class but it's one parent in the water at a time).

There was an elderly woman already in the pool - she was there when I went up to check the pool's temperature to ensure it was warm enough for Hannah - and she remained in the pool when the three of us got in.

Barely a minute or two had passed when the woman decided to come over to us and share her years of wisdom. After she assured us to "not take offense" - I say "us" but she was looking at Sarah the whole time - she hit us with some knowledge: "Babies sometimes pee in pools."

When Sarah responded that Hannah was wearing a swimming diaper, this woman got way too close for comfort and almost kissed Sarah - whilst holding the baby, no less -  and followed that awkward moment up with another "Don't take offense" comment on her way out of the pool.

This situation left both of us a little stunned: what was the point of that exchange, and why would a complete stranger say something like that to us?

Sarah often encounters random people offering their advice while she's out with Hannah, and I can understand how frustrating it must be. Who knows their baby better than her mommy? Answer: definitely not some batty old lady or some housewife whose kids don't listen to her anymore.

This rarely, if ever, happens to me when I'm out with Hannah by myself; I just get people gushing over how cute she is. I guess it's because I'm the dad and the stereotype is that anything I do should be considered a bonus, but if that's the case, shouldn't I be getting bombarded with hot tips because I "don't know any better"?

It's a weird double standard and like most double standards, they make very little sense and are not based on fact. Both Sarah and I are more than capable of dealing with whatever comes our way baby-wise, and even if we're not always successful, we're confident that we have Hannah's best intentions in mind.

We've been with her every minute of her life. You, complete stranger, on the other hand, haven't even shared a minute of it, and if you're going to offer us totally unsolicited advice, that's the most you're ever going to get.

To check out more posts from my boyfriend Chris, please visit his blog Below the Mendoza Line.

© 2012 YYZ Bambina. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

The Litterless Lunch (#GYR Giveaway)

At the end of this lovely long weekend, many of us will be making lunches for our budding scholars to take to school. Will your child's be litterless?

The average Canadian child throws away 66 pounds of lunch packaging waste a year. If you replace all that disposable packaging with a reusable lunch carrier, you’d be saving an average of $250 a year, not to mention helping the environment!

You and your family will also be healthier - according to Health Canada, avoiding pre‐packaged, processed foods reduces you and your child’s risk of obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease and kidney disease. The majority of sodium found in the typical diet comes from processed food products, accounting for about 77 per cent of Canadians' total sodium intake.

Hannah isn't off to daycare yet, and when she goes she will be provided lunch. However, Chris and I always take our lunches in reusable containers for our fruits, veggies, sandwiches and/or left-over pasta. I work at York University, and we are lucky enough to have a green bin (for composting) in our lunch room. I also use a stainless steel bottle for water, so I don't create waste from my cold beverage either. I am bad at getting coffees (even if the paper cup can be recycled at York), and I intend to purchase a travel mug for future purchases when my mat leave is done (and I will definitely be in need of even MORE coffee).

And instead of the traditional brown paper bag, why not purchase a fun lunch pail or cloth bag that your child can reuse over and over again?

How do you pack your and your child(ren)'s lunches? If you have any green tips that I can benefit from, please leave them below in the Comments section.

As you continue to Green Your Routine with me, please remember to enter the great Seventh Generation giveaway below. My next post will be about eco-friendly cleaners. What type of cleaners do you use in your home?

Open to Canadian Residents only. Valid entries only. Contest ends Sunday, September 23, 2012.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

© 2012 YYZ Bambina. All Rights Reserved.