What’s on your baby’s cheeks? Diapers & your baby’s health


As parents, when we’re at the grocery store, we usually flip over food packages to read the ingredients and nutritional facts on the back. We want to know what we’re feeding our babies.

Does the same apply for the diapers we put on them?

I have to admit, before switching to cloth diapers from the Happy Baby Cheeks Diaper Service, I never looked at the ingredients on a disposable diaper box. The funny thing is, I wouldn’t have found much.

That’s because diaper companies are not obligated by law to disclose what exactly is in their diapers. I recently took a look at a Pampers box, and here’s what I found:



  • Petrolatum (a substance much like Vaseline)
  • Stearyl Alcohol
  • Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract (“to keep baby’s skin soft”)

That’s it. What they skip over are ingredients that all disposable diapers contain like plastics, adhesives, glues, elastics and other lubricants.

I also found a warning on the box.

“If you notice gel-like material on your baby’s skin, don’t be alarmed. This comes from the diaper padding and can be easily removed by wiping your baby’s skin with a soft, dry cloth.”

I find this a tad alarming considering we all know that baby cheeks are pretty sensitive. In fact, a 2010 CBC News article mentioned two lawsuits filed by parents in the U.S., claiming that a diaper company’s disposables were the cause of severe chemical burns on their babies. A Facebook page soon followed with other parents making similar statements.

With costs of disposables and cloth diaper services comparable, it comes down to peace of mind. At least for myself. Happy Baby Cheeks uses phosphate free, CFIA approved detergents that are environmentally friendly and safe for baby’s skin.

With all the other things I have going on during my day raising two toddlers, I’m happy not having to worry about their health when it comes to their diapers.


If you’re interested in using the Vancouver-based Happy Baby Cheeks Diaper Service, check out their new website here, or my previous posts about their service.

Disclaimer: diaper service courtesy of Happy Baby Cheeks Cloth Diaper Service. Opinions expressed on this blog are entirely my own.

4 ways to avoid a post preschool meltdown


Layla LOVES preschool, but you wouldn’t guess it by the way she acts once she gets back home. Picture a crazed raccoon on its hind legs, fangs out and hissing for some fishy crackers. One minute we’re walking hand in hand down the sidewalk, and she’s telling me how much fun she had over and over. Then the meltdowns start the moment we walk through the door. The product of no napping and too much stimulation.

It took a bit to find our routine. Here’s a few ways we avoid our post preschool blues. Hopefully they can help heal another tearful toddler, or mom/dad for that matter.

A little screen time


I know, I know. I can hear a few tongues clicking in disapproval. I’m not going to sit here and pretend that I don’t give my children screen time. I do. Especially when it helps to calm and relax my daughter after she runs around with her classmates for two and a half hours.

 A favourite snack


My daughter is a routine snacker. She expects snacks at certain times based on the one or two times she was given them at that same time. I know, toddler logic – it totally makes sense. So now after preschool, she looks forward to a bowl of grapes and a juice box.

A lay down


This strategy is not intended to be a nap, but sometimes I luck out. As we all know, it’s umm, a tad bit strenuous to get our toddlers down for a nap some days, especially if they’re transitioning out of that phase. In exchange of “a nap,” I have my daughter “lay down” on the couch. I put a blanket over her and keep her brother at bay. A few minutes later, she’s up and playing with us – happily.

A tight lip


Like some sort of interrogator-in-training, I often find myself hammering Layla with questions when I pick her up from preschool. She’s still on cloud nine and  I can barely get coherent responses out of her. I thought I was just being an interested and supportive parent, but soon I realized that I was spinning her into overdrive. Now I spread my questions out throughout the evening.

Do you have a post preschool routine? I’d love to hear it!

Mary Kastle shares new music video & secret to her career-life balance


Mary Kastle is a lot of things. She’s a singer-songwriter, baby clothing designer, and most recently became a muppet-maker extraordinaire.

But above all, Mary is a mother of two adorable children. Her son actually became the inspiration for her recently released music video King of My Heart.

“I was bowled over by the crazy intense love of motherhood,” says Mary. “I also wanted to capture that feeling when you realize that your kids will be on this planet long after you’re gone, and wanting to prepare them to thrive in the world.”

Mary’s selfie-style video leads viewers through those significant and often humorous milestones parents endure as they prepare their child for the future. It’s a true sentiment to how we as parents are so focused on capturing our children’s lives through cameras.

It’s an incredible accomplishment to not only write and share your own song with people, but to sew a muppet to star in it to bring your vision to life is an amazing feat. And all while still having the time to cut the crusts off of PB&J sammies. I recently caught up with this rockstar mama to find out how she does it.

Q: You’re a mom of two, musician, designer and owner of Wizard Wear, and now a you’ve made a muppet and a music video – how do you balance it all?

Mary: I’ve learned to be at peace with chipping away at things in 10 minute increments. Sometimes that’s all the time you have between naps and chores and parenting, so I just have to embrace it and ask myself “what is the most important thing I can do right now to move this project forward?” and the answer is often quite obvious. I’m also a copious list-maker. You have to be organized so you can know where to pick up where you left off.

Q: Hugo, the star of video, is a puppet you made yourself. Was that a challenge?

Mary: It was a challenge! I had never made a puppet before. He’s technically a muppet, meaning you move his mouth, not strings attached to his body. It took me about 3 or 4 trials to get it right, and then making the papa head at the end also took a few trials. I thought it would be a fun way to use my sewing skills, but did not realize how much of an art form it is in of itself.

Q: What’s next on the horizon for Mary Kastle?   

Mary: I’d like to do a new recording project. I’ve written a lot of new songs that I’d like to put out into the world so I’m working on getting that rolling.

Q: What advice would you give other parents who are striving to fulfill their dreams while raising a family?

Mary: Generally I hate giving advice because I think everyone’s circumstances are so unique. But I think what works for me is being comfortable chipping away at things slowly. That makes my heart happy because I don’t feel like I have to give up on something, I can just do as much as possible while I’m caring for my kids. The other thing is clarity. I spend a lot of time meditating, reading, and journaling and asking myself big questions about who I am and what I want to accomplish. I think it takes a lot of self-reflection to get to the root of what you’re about. The more you’re willing to go there and sit with the discomfort, the more clear you can be about what direction you need to head in. Then when you have those 10 minutes… Boom! It’s go time!

Also, I think you need to be willing to shorten your process for “getting in the zone.” You don’t have the luxury of a full day to get in the mood to paint, or write, or whatever it is. So you have to be willing to drop in and out of creator mode quickly or else you’ll never inch your works forward.


Now this is a #parentwhorocks!

Connect with Mary:

If you know a #parentwhorocks, let me know – I’d love to hear from you!

Celebrating 100 blog posts & parents who rock


Before I left my full time job as a communications writer to stay home with my kids, I wondered if the daily struggles and cuddles would give me an easy excuse to put my writing, and essentially my big dream, on hold. But here I am, celebrating my 100th blog post as I continue to maneuverer my way through the wild ride of freelance writing.

In celebration of this milestone, I’m launching a new series on Rock ‘n’ Rattle for all the #parentswhorock. For all the moms and dads out there who bust it all day long with their kids, and still find time and energy to pursue their passions, fulfill their dreams and inspire others along the way.

How do these moms and dads conquer the parenting world and still manage to pick up a guitar at the end of the day? How can they start a business when they can barely keep their eyes open? What drives them, and what advice do they have for other parents who may have a few aspirations simmering under the surface.

My goal is to highlight these #parentswhorock in between my regular posts. I’m hoping they ignite a spark in others who also have a big dream.

If you or someone you know would like to be a part of the #parentswhorock series, please contact me. I would love to hear from you.


Dancing feet: a rainy-day activity for restless toddlers


It looks like summer is coming to an end in Vancouver. With a ton of rain on the horizon, and a few weeks ahead of my daughter starting preschool, I had to think on my feet (no pun intended) to come up with some fun indoor activities to fill our week.

To keep boredom at bay, we cranked the tunes, stretched our baby toes and danced the day away with this super simple activity.


All you need is a few footprints and some tape. We bought these foam footprints at the dollar store, but for some added fun, you can always trace your toddler’s feet on colourful construction paper.


Add a piece of tape to the backside of each footprint and start sticking them down. We made a hopping pathway into Layla’s play tent, and then stretched another trail across our couch. At the end of our hopping adventure, Layla was out of breath and laughing on the floor.


Keep the fun times rolling by turning your feet into a craft project afterward.


And there you have it- rainy-day, indoor fun – just a hop, skip and jump away.

Vancouver diaper service offers free starter pack


Thinking about going cloth? Does the thought of scrubbing cloth diapers give you the heebie jeebies? Me too. That’s why we use Vancouver’s Happy Baby Cheeks Cloth Diaper Service. We toss our dirty diapers into a pail, put them on our porch once a week, and Happy Cheeks does the dirty work.

Free starter pack

Not only is this diaper service convenient, but they make their service affordable for their customers. Right now they’re offering new customers their starter pack for free – a $40 value.

Starter packs include your first delivery of diapers (as many as you need each week), a diaper pail (yours to keep forever), and their registration fee.

Just follow Happy Cheeks on Facebook and mention their Facebook offer. Or, if you read the Urbanbaby & Toddler magazine, simply use the promo code “Urbanbaby.”

Amazing referral program

To help save more, Happy Baby Cheeks also offers an amazing referral program. For every referral a customer makes to the Happy Baby Cheeks Cloth Diaper Service, they will receive one free week of service, once that referral has completed their first month of service. There is no limit to the number of referrals, so that means customers could potentially receive free service. Now that’s pretty amazing!

The people you refer don’t have to be friends or relatives either, they can be anyone. All they have to do is mention that you were the person that referred them.

For more information about the Happy Baby Cheeks service, check out their website, or  my previous posts here:

Past posts:

Disclaimer: diaper service courtesy of Happy Baby Cheeks Cloth Diaper Service. Opinions expressed on this blog are entirely my own.

Potty training: the gift that keeps on giving


Not to worry, no TMI in this post. Just a few learnings from a naive mother, who abusrdly assumed that once her daughter was potty trained, she would remain potty trained.

If you’ve ever asked another parent whether their child was trained or not, you may have notice a slight squirm of indecision. They probably turned to the sky, contemplating if they could indeed officially classify their child as potty trained. Maybe their little Johnny had been trained for the last six months, but then suddenly they recall fishing a number two out of the kiddie pool the week before last.

We’ve all been there.

My husband and I “potty trained” our daughter Layla at the age of two. She was exited to try it, and she took to it right away. As parents, we were obviously pleased to have a genius for a daughter. Layla would squeal in delight each time she went, and follow it up with a celeabratory high five. Everything was right with the world. I was happily doling out potty training tips to friends. Then two months later I came face to face with potty training regression. It’s basically waking up one day to discover your child is no longer potty trained. Like a dream – poof – the training vanished. All of it, down the drain – literally.

Suddenly Layla was having accidents all the time. Was it because her new sibling was taking up all the attention? Was she just too busy playing to stop and go to the bathroom? Was she angry and seeking attention? It turns out it was all of the above. So how do you get your kid back on the porcelain throne? Here’s a few things I learned along the way.

The reward system

Small is key. I once met a mom who told me that she gave her son a Thomas the Tank Engine toy each time he went on the potty. I thought that was a bit off the rails (pun intended), and expensive. We started with Smarties, but soon found that it probably wasn’t the healthiest reward. So it evolved to prizes, like the stuff you find in those little red machines at the drug store. We found ourselves running out to buy more, and Layla began to get picky. They were also the perfect size for our newborn son to swallow, so we were constantly waiting for her to lose interest and drop them so we could hide them away again. It was work. Eventually we ended up just giving her one yogurt covered raisin, and she eventually stopped asking for them. Whatever you reward your child with, make sure you can maintain it.

Time it

I don’t mean in the sense that you should keep a poop log, but more of a log about what they’re eating and when. For example, if I give Layla fruit/veggie juice, shortly thereafter… well, you know. So it’s best to be proactive and take them before it’s too late.

Grin and bear it

There will be times during regression that you want to just drop everything, get in the car and drive…to Mexico. During Layla’s regression period she had four accidents in a row. Accidents that still haunt me. It’s enough to drive you mad, especially when you have another little one crying to get into the bathroom while you’re cleaning up. I’ve learned that you have to be prepared for a lot of accidents when you potty train and thereafter. A LOT.

The most important thing is to stay positive, which I haven’t always done. We’re all human after all. But during her last regression period, I made sure to tell her how proud I was of her, and I could tell that struck a cord. And now at the end of a long hard day, I’m rewarding myself for keeping my cool. But not with yogurt covered raisins. Just wine. Lots and lots of wine.