Sunday, August 31, 2008


Today our little guy was startled grown-up style for the first time. All babies are born with a startle reflex but this is not the kind of startle I am talking about. You know how when we as adults get scared and we jump and let go a scream or an "ahh"; well the cat jumped down near Christophe and this is exactly what he did. Unfortunately I was not there to see it but I heard it from the other room, papa was the witness.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Eco Friendly Fridays

This week it's all about getting clean. To help save the planet one small step at a time switch to eco-friendly cleaners.

Instead of listing all the various things you should and should not do when selecting cleaners I am going to talk about the products we use in our home. First, I would like to point out we started switching to green cleaners about 2 1/2 years ago and have tried many different brands and have now found the ones that work best for us.

In our laundry room you will find the following:

Laundry Soap: Nature Clean 3X Laundry Liquid; this laundry soap does not contain any sodium lauryl sulphate, phosphates, chlorine, optical brighteners or formaldehyde preservatives; it's hypoallergenic and unscented; non toxic; has all natural ingredients; biodegradable; last but not least is great at cleaning your laundry. The 3.78 liter bottle will cost you about $22 and will last for approximately 162 loads. If you compare this to the approximate cost of a leading brand of baby laundry soap (Purex Baby 2X) at $6.50 for 33 loads to complete the same amount of laundry you would spend $32 for the leading brand.

Fabric Softener alternative: Natura Reusable Dryer Sheets; We have been using these for about 5 years now and find they work great for us. If you have a lot of synthetic clothing you wont find these very useful as they work better if there is at lease 50% cotton clothing in the dryer at the time.

Stain Remover: Stain Remover Stick; This is an all natural product, all you need to do is dab in water and rub the stick on the stained fabric. We use this as a pre-treatment then toss the stained piece of clothing in the laundry basket and wash as you normally would. So far I have not found a stain that it could not handle however I am sure one day I will. Cost about $3.00 per stick, one stick last us about 4 months.

Odor Remover: Good old fashion vinegar. If we have a wash that needs a bit more cleaning power such as diapers or dish towels I add one cup vinegar to the rinse cycle. You can't get more natural then a staple from your food cupboard. Costs 'bout $2.00 for 4L if you buy the store brand.

In our Kitchen you will find:

Dish Soap: Nature Clean All Natural Dishwashing Liquid Unscented; this liquid is hypoallergenic, non-toxic, not tested on animals and biodegrades at 99%. Geoff has very sensitive skin we noticed a difference with his hands when we made the switch. Will cost you about $5 a bottle.

Vegetable and Fruit Wash: This one is home-made with items you will find in your kitchen. When we get home from the market I fill up the sink with water and add 1 tablespoon salt and one cup vinegar. The vinegar will remove any pesticide residue or contaminates on your food and the salt will kill little bugs and pull them out of those vegetables and bring them to the top of the water. Start with your least-dirty fruits and vegetables and give them a bath in this concoction let them sit for about 30 mins; remove and rinse with clean water. You can use the same vegetable bath about 4 to 5 times before you need to refresh it. I just want to point out that some fruits such as berries do not do well if you wash them in vinegar so use you discretion.

General Cleaner: Once again home-made; one part vinegar, 2 part water and a few drops of lemon-grass essential oil (you could use any essential that you like is this is for fragrance only). Place the mixture in a spray bottle and away you go. I find this works on almost anything.

Window Spray: I find that my general purpose cleaner leaves streaks on my windows so we buy a plant based Glass Cleaner from Ecomist. It's non-toxic, has no petroleum or ammonia; no dyes, no fragrances, biodegradable and food surface safe; most important it works.

Drain Cleaner: Pour down the drain one cup baking soda; follow with 2 cups vinegar; once it is done fuzzing flush with one kettle full of boiling hot water. If you have a clogged drain after doing this once use a plunger on the drain and repeat the baking soda solution until fully unclogged. I try to clean my drains once a month.

Floor Cleaner alternative:
Use dish-soap and water.

In our Bathroom you will find:

Toilet Bowl Cleaner: Nature Clean Toilet Bowl Cleaner; this toilet cleaner is non-toxic, and contains no hydrochloric acid, which is highly toxic and corrosive and commonly found in most toilet bowl cleaners. It's very easy to use; biodegradable and keeps our potty clean and bright. Will cost you about $5.00 per bottle. I clean our toilet once a week and a bottle will last me about 2 to 3 months.

General Cleaner: Same as general cleaner for kitchen.

For Cloth Diapers: Before washing the soiled diapers we rinse the poo and pre-treat the stains with The Soap Works Laundry Soap Bar. Amazingly enough doing this has aloud us to keep all our diapers stain free. Cost aprox. 2$ and a bar last us about one month (lots of diapers)

Antibactirial spray: This one was though as I am a firm believer that too many people abuse "antibacterial" stuff; however once you have a little one sometimes you want to disinfect. We use this on the diaper pail, garbage cans, if one of his toys falls on the ground in a beyond then gross situation and to spray down the shower after we finish pre-treating our cloth diapers. The spray that we are using is called Benefect Natural Disinfectant and will cost about 10$ for a large bottle or 6$ for a small bottle. We keep a small bottle in our diaper bag.

Miscelanious Items:

Carpet Deodorizer: Sprinkle baking soda then vacuum.

General Cleaning Tough Stains: Sprinkle with baking soda then use your all purpose cleaner to moisten and scrub clean.

Not only did we help keep our planet healthy by switching to these cleaners we also minimized the quantity of different cleaners we had in our house. I remember the day when we kept tones of cleaners in the house. Just check out our before and after list:

Shopping list before making the switch to eco-cleaners:
  1. Dish Soap
  2. Kitchen Spray
  3. Bleach
  4. Oven Spray
  5. Microwave Cleaner
  6. Toilet bowl cleaner
  7. Shower Spray
  8. Wood Cleaner
  9. Laundry Soap
  10. Fabric Softener
  11. Shout
  12. Drain Cleaner
  13. Carpet Disinfectant
  14. Floor Cleaner
  15. Window Spray
Our new shopping list:
  1. Vinegar
  2. Laundry Soap
  3. Laundry liquid
  4. Stain Stick
  5. Dish Soap
  6. Disinfectant Spray
  7. Glass Cleaner
  8. Toilet Bowl cleaner
  9. Natura Laundry Sheets (only need to buy once as they are reusable)
  10. Salt (We already have this in our kitchen)
  11. Baking Soda (we use the old one from the fridge)
  12. Essential oil (we have this already in our home as I use this for message oils and bath salts)
If you are going to start making some of your own cleaners make sure to label all your bottles and still keep them out of reach of little ones; even though they are just water and vinegar a cup or 2 of vinegar can cause for a very sore stomach.

When you are ready to do the switch rally up all your old cleaners and check out your municipalities website for proper disposal of toxic chemicals. In Toronto there are community clean up days; you can bring the old cleaners there and they will make sure they are disposed of properly.

Friday, August 29, 2008


When you make the decision to only buy cloth or wood toys for your child there are a few items that are hard to find. One of them being a car; once Christophe gets older I will be able to find tones of wooden toy cars but there are not many made for babies. We successfully found 2, and Christophe especially likes the one from Plan Toys.

Baby Car by Plan Toys:


Thursday, August 28, 2008

News in the life of Christophe

Christophe discovered this week if he holds on to our hands and puts one foot in front of the other he can go forward. Then he discovered that he no longer needs to wait for the cats to come a see him he can go to them (as long as mama or papa are cooperating).

Christophe also successfully peed in his face, yes in his face. He now holds up his legs for us during diaper changes and uses his hands on his knees to help out. Well mid diaper change he started to pee but did not think that releasing his legs would be wise. We took a bath after that event.

Christophe is rolling but shy about it. Every-time I leave the room I find him flipped over however he wont preform when I am playing with him. At night we stopped using his blocks when we put him in his crib, so every morning or at 2am we find him in these weird positions - lying with his head at the foot of the bed; lying sideways, lying sideways at the foot of the crib...

Christophe also discovered that splash pads are like large tubs and 100 times better. This is another location where he enjoys walking (my back is killing me from holding his hands all the time)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Tasty Tuesdays

This Tuesday is not about recipes but about how to get great produce in Toronto. I am always surprised find out how many people do not know about all the different Farmers Market in Toronto. Almost everyone knows about St-Lawrence Market but did you know there are tones more to discover. We frequent regularly the East York Farmers Market, East Lynn Farmers Market and Withrow Farmers Market. For a complete list go to

Generally I find that produce from Local Farmers Markets taste better, keep longer and cost less. On top of all those things you are supporting local farmers and by doing so you help the environment by minimizing how far your food has to travel before it gets to your plate. Did you know that on average your food will travel 2400 kilometers. Most of the vendors to not travel more then 200 kilometers to sell there produce, you will find produce coming from Picton (185km), Innisfil (96km), Queensville (62km), Campbellville (63km), Waterford (130km) and
many more.

If you make it to the East York Farmers Market make sure to stop at the Round Plains Plantation booth and pick up some purple or white sweet potatoes they are fantastic. This is also were we get all our jams and jellies from Hattie's Booth; some of our favorites are strawberry jam, plum jam and apple chutney.

In short eat fresh and cut your carbon foot print.

New Year's Eve Day at the ROM

On the thirty-first day of December in 2007, Tara, Benjamin, Sarah and I went to the ROM. Pierrette was supposed to join us with Christophe in-utero, but was unable to -- I think she wasn't feeling up to it that day.

We saw the ROM's infamous new barosauraus, which I captured in a panorama; you can see it in larger forms if you click through to Flickr:

There were also some Mossy Frogs from Vietnam, which were difficult to see from above, but quite visible below the surface of the water:

Benjamin and Sarah took part in some minor archaeological digs:

And both took a quick tour in the world of entomology:

All in all, it was a good trip.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Eco Friendly Fridays

I have decided to share with you guys once a week different ways that we have been making our home more eco friendly. Most of my friends knew that we were already "green" before Christophe arrived but having a baby puts a whole new perspective on making sure the planet is there for our kids and because of this I am always looking for small ways to be kinder to our planet.

This weeks topic is eliminating some paper products. We no longer buy paper napkins or paper towels; instead I have a bag of rags and a pile of cloth napkins. Both of these we already had but just never used.

To keep my systems working I have a bag hanging in my broom closet labeled rags and in here goes any old towels, dish cloths, clothing ect. that make good rags. I then have 2 other bags hanging in the corridor to the laundry room labeled laundry and rag laundry. The "Laundry" bag is for our napkins, dish towels, and dish cloths. The "Rag Laundry" is for the rags. When you wash your rags you do not want to wash them with the rest of the laundry for sanitary reasons. At the end of the week I do a load of laundry for each bag, to ensure the germs and smell are all gone I add a cup of vinegar during the rinse cycle.

We have now been doing this for a few months now and I do not miss either the paper towels or the paper napkins.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Toyspotting Thursday

These days Christophe's favorite toy is a rattle from Melissa & Doug. If I offer him 3 or 4 toys he always choses this one out of the pack and sometimes gets upset if I take it away to pick him up or something. My guess is that he is attracted to the big bright eyes of this frog. The recommended age from this one is 6 months plus but our guy has been playing with it since he has been 3 months; however only recently has he really shown interest in it.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Mile stones

So our little guy has passed many other mile stones:

Can site unsupported
Can pass toys from hand to hand
Can hold his toes
Holds his legs up when we are changing diapers - and does so every time
Grabs for toys (specific ones he is already showing us his favorites)
Gets upset if he is having a good time and we need to change activities (Today he got upset for a little bit when we left the park)
No longer faces mom when sitting in the stroller (I think this is more a mile stone for me)
Has hit the 20 lbs mark
Has outgrown his baby swing and more clothing then I can count

There are many more but that is it for now.

Wordless Wednesday

We have this image on our digital picture frame in our living room and each time I see it it always makes me smile. Christophe was only a few days old here. Don't you find he looks like Yoda.

Tasty Tuesdays

OK I know I am a day late with this one...

This is something simple and easy to make that dresses up any drink... During the summer months many of you guys know that I live making ice-tea and have even found a few blends that taste pretty much like KoolAid but with no sugar. Durring the past few weeks I have started making a variety of ice cubs to add to my drinks.

Just take an ice cube tray fill up each section just shy of half way with water. Add a few leafs of fresh mint to each section and place in the freezer for 2 hours. After the 2 hours finish filling up the ice cub tray with water and freeze until solid. The reason why you do these in 2 steps is to make sure the leaf gets trapped in the center. I like using perfect cube shaped silicon ice cube trays; Tovolo makes some great ones that can also be used to freeze baby food.

I have also made these following the same steps with fresh raspberries (about 2 per cube), Blueberries (3-5 per cube), strawberry slices. I am sure you could use almost any fruit.

For those of you wondering what is the magical KoolAid tea . Both of them are from The Tea Emporium in Toronto: Sunburst Raspberry and Blend 1592. For Blend 1592 I add about 1 tablespoon of honey per 1 litre of tea, add the honey when the tea is hot. Sunburst Raspberry is perfect just as is.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Toronto - Hail Storm

Too bad Christophe was napping...

Pregnancy for Three-Year-Olds

Step 1: Consider The Option:
Many three-year-olds haven't even considered becoming pregnant. It's a novel idea, and it takes a visionary mind.

Step 2: Find a Partner:
It takes two, so they say. It's pretty difficult to load that baby (or doll) into the shirt by yourself, you know.

Step 3: Show Off:
Look ma, I'm pregnant!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Toy Thursdays

I am always trying to find bpa free tub toys. Last week while shopping at Whole Foods ( that I now hate - but that is for another blog entry) I stumbled upon these guys. Little Tub Puppets by Rich Frog, I though they where too cute. Unfortunately the little man still has not shown too much interest in them . I think they may become more of a hit when he gets older...

So if your little one like puppets this may be a great tub toy for them.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Looking Back: January 28th

Almost eight months ago now, I was trying to finish the flooring in the nursery before the little guy came along. Sadly, that was not to be. These are cleat nails, driven through flooring using a pneumatic nailer. You can see a chunk of a row of nails, ready to go into the nailer, as well as a single nailhead in the tongue of the bamboo I was laying, on top of the red rosin paper I was using as an underlayment.

Three more boxes of flooring ready to get laid down. One of these is still unopened, the other is half-used as I finish the floor upstairs. Pierrette already had the closet organized:
Finally, a bamboo plank where you can see the tongue clearly, sitting on top of the red rosin paper:

wordless wednesdays

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Tasty Tuesdays

I have been meaning to share this recipes with you guys from the Avoca Cafe Cookbook. It is the absolute best shortbread cookie in the world.

450g plain flour
225g corn flour
225g icing sugar
450g butter, diced

Mix flour, cornflour and icing sugar in bowl; rub in butter until mixture forms soft balls. If required add a tiny bit of water. Roll out until 1/4" think and cut into various shapes. Place on cookie sheet and cook until golden on the bottom; about 20min depending on your oven. Transfer to rack and let cool - these are very fragile.

I can sit :-)

Another mile stone has passed. Christophe can now sit unsupported for anywheres between 5 sec to 5 mins+. It depends on how active he is and what there is in his surroundings that can distract him; but overall he seems to enjoy sitting and is quite good at it. He can also sit propped up for hours on end...

He now has a new game its called sitting in my high chair and throwing things to the ground. This will keep him amused for around 30 to 60 mins. Yes that is correct because of this I can now eat my meals without a child attached to my arms.

Friday, August 8, 2008

A PhotoEssay on Birth

Well, I've finally managed to work my way back to Christophe's birth, so with no further ado, you should move on and view the photos from 01-Mar-2008, including:

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

H&M breastfeeding coverup sparks human rights protest

I know I decided to participate in Wordless Wednesdays, but when there is news I must report.

As reported on the CBC: "Manuela Valle decided to nurse her two-month-old daughter while her husband tried on clothes at the H&M store in downtown Vancouver, she said on Tuesday.

When she attempted to start feeding her daughter, two sales clerks and a manager told her she had to go into one of the dressing rooms that they had assigned for breastfeeding, Valle told CBC News. "

There will be a nurse-in at the Vancouver HMV for more information check out there facebook group.

To read the full article go to CBC website.

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Christophe, Playing with Blocks


Christophe just had his first nosebleed: he brought his head forward as Pierrette was lifting him, smacking it down against the back of my head. It wasn't a particularly hard hit, but it did result in a drop or two of blood coming out of his left nostril, which is disturbing to his parents.

I read a little on the 'net, and i'd be happy to recommend these two pages on the "Dr. Spock" site as being relatively clear and concise summaries of nosebleeds in children and when to seek help.

Project Junk Mail

I hate junk mail...
So I started Project Junk Mail.

what do i read?

I decided to add a Blog Roll to the right hand side of our blog. This is not an entire list of all blogs I read but a list of my favorite blogs to read. From time to time I may add or remove blogs from the list.

Would you nurse a friend's child?

I found this great article on regarding cross-nursing. Would you let someone else nurse your child or would you nurse someone else's child.

I though about this long and hard...

If for some reason I was not able to nurse Christophe or express milk for him; ( I am pretty sure the only reason why this would happen is if I was dead or in critical condition in a hospital ) I would prefer, if possible, for him to receive breast-milk from another mother that had a similar life style then I did over formula. So yes if the scenario was there I would let someone else nurse my baby. I believe breast-milk it far superior to formula and weather it comes from me or someone else breast is best. However that said if I was just running late for 30 mins or was out running an errand and someone decided to nurse him without asking me first I would be furious. It's a trust issue, I would want to make sure the mom that is nursing him follows the same strict policies as I do as to what they ingest in their bodies. Also if you were baby-sitting someone's child and the mother left you with strict instructions as to what to gave them for lunch would you change the child's lunch or offer him something different; I would not it's all about respect.

Now for the flip side would I nurse someone else's baby; yes. As long as the mom gave me her consent and it did not effect Christophe supply I definitely would. I am sure if she had the courage to ask it means she really needed the help.

So would you cross nurse?

To read the full article go to

Image by Geoffrey Wiseman.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Lets take a shower

Yesterday my lovely son had a poo explosion out of his diaper while playing in h is bumbo. We literally had to hose him down before I could remove his shirt otherwise we would have gotten poo all over his head. So Geoff helped him stand in the shower while I showered him down. He actually seemed to like it.

Water what should I drink?

With all the new studies about BPA and it's effect on children we decided to stop purchasing water jugs for our water cooler and start drinking tap water. We do filter the tap water with a Brita filter; however I now question my decision. Witch is safer BPA water or fluoride water.

According to an article on CBC:

"he panel does acknowledge that excess fluoride intake, which constitutes 10 mg/day after 10 or more years of exposure, can lead to skeletal fluorosis, which is caused by too much accumulation of fluoride in the bones and leads to brittle and deformed bones.

However, "the current maximum acceptable concentration of 1.5 mg/L of fluoride in drinking water is unlikely to cause adverse health effects," reads the report.

The report does caution however, that infants are particularly vulnerable if they ingest powdered infant formula reconstituted with fluoridated water. "The risk of excessive intake of fluoride is higher for infants consuming larger quantities of infant formulas," reads the report."

To read the full article go to the CBC site.

I still think tap water is better then bottle water how about you?

World Breast Feeding Week

This week is world breastfeeding week. I would like to give a great shout out to all mothers that have chosen the breast; and remember if you are having a hard time you are not alone we have all struggled with one challenge or another during our nursing carrier just ask one of your friends or another nursing mother and you will be surprised as too the amount of support they are willing to give you.

Books for mamas

I picked up the book "Fresh Milk" by Fiona Giles at Red Tent Sisters here in Toronto. I have to say anyone with an open mind that has ever nursed should definitely read this book. It is a combination of short stories and real life accountings of men and women from around the world and there breast-feeding experiences. It opens up many topics for discussion and makes you ask yourself tones of questions. The author sent out a questionnaire to a bunch of people in order to receive material for the book. Some of the questions she asks in the book and my answers are:

What single change in the world would have made breastfeeding easier for you?
For a visual aid to come to your hospital room and
demonstrate how it's done as soon as your baby is born.

If you could buy breastmilk by the liter from the corner store, how much would it cost?
If it was for babies that would otherwise be getting formula free. For anyone else; 1 000 000 for colostrum; 500$ a liter for a mother that has nursed less then 6 months and 100$ a liter if the milk comes from a mother that has been nursing more then 6 months.

If you could cook with breastmilk what would you make?
Ice Cream.

Within any given chapter in this book I cried, laughed and was slightly wired out.

It's an amazing book that all nursing mothers should read.

The cottage

We just got back on Saturday from a week at the cottage...

Grand-mama Wiseman rented a cottage at Sauble Beach - "Frenchman Bay Cottages". The cottage was absolutely beautiful and only a 5 min walk to the beach. These were not your typical cottages it felt more like a home away from home. The owner Dorothy (she has her house on the property) was really nice and loves kids. There are 2 cottages on the property, a small play area with swings and stuff for the kids, a pond, a hammock, lots of seating, a few fire pits, access to a washer and dryer (very
important when you are doing cloth diapers). I would definitely recommend this property to anyone with kids.

You ask - what did we do for a week while at the cottage...

Monday - Left at 7 am and amazingly enough he slept right straight true until we got there 3 1/2 hours later. Once there we unpacked and headed over to the beach. The water was too cold for the little guy to go in so we hung out in the sun for a little bit, then headed back to the cottage for a quiet afternoon and night. My favorite thing rapidly became sitting on the patio reading a book while Christophe was sleeping on me. It's so quiet there.

Tuesday - We decided to skip the beach this day while our cousins Benjamin and Sarah (that were also at the cottage with there mom) went to the beach. We took a little walk and had some play time outside on our mat under the trees while I did my yoga. Christophe loved playing outside so much that I got to do 30 mins of yoga almost every day. Oh did I mention he only wok up around 7:30 am. He slept so well (once he got down for the night) at the cottage I think it was all the tranquility and the sleeping to noise of crickets, birds and other little creatures.

Wednesday - Once again we skipped the beach. However we joined in when the gang all decided to go for a trip to Wiarton. They have a play ground just by the water. Christophe enjoyed watching the kids play on the monkey bars and run around. We tried him for the first time in the baby swings on his own he seemed to enjoy it.

Thursday - Wednesday night there was a big storm and it was chilly so we stayed in for the day. In the late afternoon we decided to check Sauble Falls. As Sarah puts it "This is a very special place". You could walk right into the falls and swim around them, there must of been 50 or so people playing in the water. Since we did not have our suits we had to limit ourselves to walking about. Christophe took his first real steps always holding on to both of my hands in the falls. I think the water and the rocks helped stimulate his little feet. (Ever since then he now takes 3 to 6 steps each time you stand him up)

In the evening we went for a sunset walk along the beach; I missed walking in the water with waves crashing on your feet. Christophe really seemed to enjoy watching the waves all curled up against me.

Friday - We finally went to the beach again. I walked out in the water with Christophe and let the waves crash on us, splashing him in the toes and legs. He seemed to be amused but not to excited. I think it may have been sensory overload. Once again he really liked looking out at the waves. I tried lowering him in the water up to his waist he did not cry but mad his said frowny face so we decided not to push it and went to play on the beach instead.
Durring the afternoon we though Benjamine and Sarah how to play rummy. Tara's kids really love playing cards. In the evening Chritophe slept while I ensured everything was packed for a early departure to Toronto.

Saturday - We got on the road at 7:30 am and arrived in Orangeville for a quick stop about and hour and a half later. I pulled up at the first parking lot I saw to nurse him and it happened to be a toy store - "Kids Can Do" 163 First Street- They had a great selection of wood toys so we picked up a few items.

Alphabet blocks by ELC

and a sorting Wheel by GALT Toys.

Unfortunately the rest of the ride home was not as smooth, I got stuck in traffic twice and Christophe hates it when the car stands still so we had 2 - 15 minute crying sessions.

However when we got home both Papa and Christophe were happy to see each other.

Thank you Grand-mama for the week at the cottage.

Hello from Christophe....

d2xssssss ddddddjD