BioGaia® ProTectis® – Review

This review was written by Britt T., mother to a 9- month-old

Since starting solids at 6 months, my daughter’s poops have become more irregular and she’s had some constipation issues. I hate seeing her uncomfortable like that, so I was thrilled when I offered the opportunity to try BioGaia® ProTectis®. After looking at the ingredient list, I felt comfortable with trying BioGaia® ProTectis®. It is free of many common allergens, including dairy, gluten, and nuts, making it easier to pinpoint food reactions, as we are still introducing new foods.

Within a week of using the product, my daughter had noticeably less stomache distress. I’m happy to report that her poops are becoming more regular (I know, moms talk about poop a lot) and she has less constipation. I’m thrilled that something so simple can make such a huge difference.

I would recommend this product to any parent looking for a safe, quality probiotic. We plan to continue using this product daily to keep our daughter’s gut health optimal.

Here’s some extra information about the product:

BioGaia® ProTectis® is an evidence-based probiotic that’s been proven to soothe these common tummy issues in newborns and older children:

For colic and digestive health:

 

Most friends and family mean well. They are so excited about the birth of a baby that they buy the cutest outfits they can find and gift them to new moms. While these gifts are lovely gestures, what moms need most isn’t really stuff for baby, but services for themselves that will help make life just a little bit easier. So much attention is paid to the baby, we often forget to check in and see how mom is doing. Her life has changed suddenly and adjusting isn’t always easy, nor is asking for help. Here’s our list of Christmas and shower gifts perfect for the new or veteran Edmonton and area mom in your life:

What would you add to this list?

Happy shopping!

Finding the perfect parented activity for your toddler is no easy feat. Unparented activities for children 3 and up seem to be in huge supply, but parented classes for children under 2 are a bit tougher to find. So, I’ve compiled a list of the best activities and classes for children 2 and under in Edmonton and St. Albert.

Art and Pottery

4Cats

4Cats Art Studios are a great place for birthday parties, family workshops, and their Kittens classes for children 2 – 4 years, accompanied by an adult. Locations: Fort Road and Summerside

Creation Space

This locally-owned art studio is located on Whyte Avenue in the Roots on Whyte building. This is the perfect place to get messy, explore, and create. Creation Space offers parented “Art Play” classes for children 16 months – 5 years. They also offer collaborate family workshops and Open Play on Thursday mornings.

Glazing Pot Studio

Glazing Pot Studio in St. Albert offers a variety of weekly and monthly themed pottery workshops for babies, tots, and preschoolers.

Preschool Painter with Glazing Pot Studio

Dance

Dance Theme

Dance Theme, located in Northeast Edmonton, offers programs for your tiny dancer, including Tiny Stars for babies 3 – 10 months and Baby Stars for 11 – 18 months and 18 months to 3 years.

Griesbach Dance Company

Griesbach Dance Company is located in North Edmonton and offers their Little Performers Ballet or Hip Hop Class for children as young as 2 years.

Intellidance

Intellidance was created right here in Edmonton and is now offered globally. They offer classes for several different age groupings including Intellidance Babies for 3 – 11 months, Intellidance Tykes for 12 – 23 months, and Intellidance Tots for 2 – 4 years. Find a class nearest you.

Intellidance!

Gymnastics

Capital City Gymnastics

Capital City Gymnastics is located in South Edmonton and offers Tumblebugs, a parented class for children 12 – 24 months, and Parent & Tot for children 2 – 3 years.

Dynamyx Gymnastics

Dynamyx Gymnastics is located in St. Albert and offers an Inchworms class for chidlren 12 – 24 months and Caterpillars class for children 2 – 3 years. We love Dynamyx!

Caterpillars with Dynamyx Gymnastics

Gymboree Play and Music

Gymboree is located in Southwest Edmonton and offers play and music classes for a variety of age groupings including 0 – 6 months, 6 – 10 months, 10 – 16 months, and 16 – 22 months, and 12 – 28  months.

Little Gym

Little Gym is located in Southwest Edmonton and offers a Perfect Start, a parented class for children 4 months – 3 years.

MyGym

MyGym is located in South Edmonton and offers a variety of classes for children as young as 6 months. The neat thing about MyGym is that they keep the age range of each class quite small, so your children will truly be with others their own age.

St. Albert Gymnastics Club

St. Albert Gymnastics club offers Caterpillars for children 18 months – 2 years and Butterflies for children 2 – 3 years.

Martial Arts

Hayabusa Training Centre

Hayabusa Training Centre in St. Albert offers a parented Little Ninjas class for children 2-4 years.

Tien Lung Taekwon-do

Tien Lung Taekwon-do on 124 Street offers Mini Dragons, a fun parented taekwon-do class for children 2 – 3 years, accompanied by an adult.

Mini Dragons with Tien Lung Taekwon-do

Music

Baby Steps Giant Leaps

Owned by one of favourite ladies, Angela Flatekval, Baby Steps Giant Leaps is located in North Edmonton and offers Kindermusik Music and Movement classes for all ages.

Dominelli School of Music

This locally-owned music studio offers Rock Your Socks Off, a music class for 1 – 2-year-olds focused on Rock N’ Roll! The program is offered at both their North Edmonton and St. Albert location.

Music Together of the Northern Lights

With classes in St. Albert and all over Edmonton, Music Together’s Mixed Age classes are fun for the whole family, especially when you have a toddler and a baby. We’ve personally attended three Music Together sessions over the years.

Visionary Centre for Performing Arts

With two locations, one in South Edmonton and one in St. Albert, Visionary Centre for Performing Arts offers both Kindermusik for babies and toddlers and Music Funtime for children 2 – 3 years.

Zumbini

Zumbini is a relatively new program to Edmonton, with several local instructors offering the program in Edmonton and area. The program is for 0 – 4 years and combines music, dance, and education.

Kindermusik with Baby Steps Giant Leaps

Sports

Little Kickers

Little Kickers is a soccer program for young children, but  and is quite new to Edmonton and area. Their Little Kicks class is for children 1. 5 – 2.5 years and is offered in many parts of Edmonton and St. Albert.

Sportball

We love Sportball! Sportball Edmonton (and area) offers their Multisport class for children 16 months to 2 years that explores eight different sports.

Sensory Play and Open Play

Norwood Child & Family Resource Centre

Norwood Child & Family Resource Centre is a Parent Link Centre with multiple sites in Edmonton that offer free registered and drop-in programs, including their popular Stay & Play Program and Art & Sensory Play Program (and much more)!

St. Albert Family Resource Centre

St. Albert Family Resource Centre offers affordable programs and workshops for all ages, everything from cooking and sensory play to art and music.

Yoga

Little Lotus

Little Lotus is located just south of Whyte Avenue and offers a variety of yoga classes for the whole family, including Family Yoga, Baby Yoga, Toddler Yoga, and Preschool Yoga.

Mommy Connections North Edmonton & St. Albert

Of course, we also offer awesome parented classes for children 2 and under. So, if you’re looking for a class for your busy, on-the-move baby or toddler that offers a variety of activities, like gymnastics, music, dance, and martial arts, and helps connect you to other moms, check out our Mini Movers Program for mobile babies 9 – 18 months (younger is okay too) and our Travelling Tots Program for toddlers 1.5 – 3 years. Learn more.

All photos above are from our past Mini Movers and Travelling Tots Programs! Ask us about them.

There’s a new, one-of-a-kind program in town for babies and we think you’re going to love it! Hosted by the St. Albert Children’s Theatre, Let’s StArt! is a parent and me program designed for babies 0 – 12 months. Every 60-minute class will allow you and your baby to explore the arts through music, storytelling, dance, sensory play, puppetry, and more!

Taught by a local actor, theatre major, and mom, this class will feature a little bit of everything to help you foster your child’s imagination and creativity. Learn how play can support your baby’s cognitive development and take home useful tools to help you stay present and playful at home, despite the distractions of modern-day life. After each class, stick around for some open and honest talk with the rest of the parents on a different topic each week.

Learn more about their 5-week spring session on Tuesday afternoons starting April 17 at St. Albert Children’s Theatre: https://stalbert.ca/exp/sact/classes/lets-start/ 

Register online or over the phone at 780-459-1585.

This month we had Melanie from Brightpath Early Learning & Child Care Centres visit our Mom & Baby Program to chat with the moms about childcare options and what Brightpath is all about. BrightPath has three centres in Edmonton that accept children from 6 weeks up to 12 years. We love letting families know about childcare options in their area, to help them make informed decisions.

I had the opportunity to visit and review BrightPath’s Hermitage Centre a few years ago. For those of you currently searching for childcare, I’d like to tell you a little more about BrightPath and the four core pillars that guide their early learning and childcare centres:

CURRICULUM

Formed through in-depth and comprehensive research into early childhood learning and development, The BrightPath Curriculum exceeds provincial Early Learning and Kindergarten standards and sets children up for success in life-long learning.  All activities are hands-on and child-guided, recognizing that every child is unique and learns differently.

NUTRITION

Active bodies and minds need nourishment. From the start, BrightPath worked with a Registered Dietician to create a menu that would provide children with the foundation of good nutrition, which is essential for optimal growth and development. They recognize that children may be consuming over three-quarters of their meals and snacks under their care, and want to ensure that they provide the variety and balance key to achieve required daily nutrients.

COMMUNICATION

Communication and connection between parents and caregivers is important, which is why BrightPath created BrightPath Connect™, designed to increase the interaction between the centre and families. BrightPath Connect™ enables teachers to connect in real-time with parents through a mobile application and email messaging. Parents can rest easy with up-to-date communication on their child’s well-being, development, and social interaction while in BrightPath’s care.

EDUCATORS AND SUPPORT STAFF

BrightPath staff are both caregivers and educators. BrightPath requires all centre staff to have their criminal background check and vulnerability screening. Room teachers must also hold professional training in Early Childhood Education as well as a valid Infant CPR and First Aid certificate.

If you are interested in booking a tour with a local center or speaking with a director, you can find their contact information on their webpage.

With so many choices available, it can be difficult to decide which car seat will best suit your family and lifestyle. Our family has tried several different car seat brands over the years, and in five and half years of car seat use, Diono has become our car seat brand of choice. Diono’s many safety features and extended rear and forward-facing capabilities put them at the top of my list. So when I was offered the opportunity to receive and review a new Diono Radian RXT car seat, I jumped at the chance.

The Diono Radian RXT has many safety features that help ease my worrisome mind, including a steel alloy frame, aluminum reinforced side walls, energy absorbing EPS foam, and reinforced adjustable head support. The 5-point harness has five different height settings and the adjustable headrest has twelve positions, ensuring the proper fit for my child. My feisty 2-year-old is comfortable and protected in his new seat.

The Diono Radian RXT could conceivably be the only car seat you’ll need. Forego the common bucket seat before baby is born and instead invest in the stylish and safe Diono Radian RXT (or similar model) which will fit your child rear-facing from 5 – 45 lbs and forward facing from 22 – 65 lbs. Once your child has reached the forward-facing height or weight limits, the seat converts into a booster seat for children 50 – 120 lbs. How awesome is that?

We know that rear-facing our children in car seats is the safest option, which is why the Diono Radian RXT is a favourite of many families. The rear-facing height and weight limits are extremely generous, maxing out at 45 lbs and approximately 44 inches tall. Most children will be able to remain rear-facing until at least age 3 or 4.

Aside from the Diono Radian RXT’s many safety features, I love that it folds flat for travel and has an angled cup holder that keeps drinks or snacks within my son’s reach. The seat itself is rather stylish and the cover is machine washable – a must-have with a messy toddler. It also conveniently fits three seats across in most mid-size vehicles and has a 10-year lifespan.

All in all, we love this car seat. Installation, as with most car seats, is a bit tricky. It requires a lot of force to get the seat secure and even with the angle adjuster, doesn’t leave much room for the passenger in our small SUV. The seat itself is quite heavy – due to it’s many safety features – which does not lend itself to easily moving it between vehicles, but its ability to fold flat for travel and storage is a major asset for our family.

The Diono Radian RXT comes in six different colours and retails for $399.99 online and at most major retailers.

Are you planning a road trip this summer with the kids? Are you dreading the long drive? It’s not always easy to keep the kids occupied while you travel, especially if you have a long drive or flight ahead of you. Whether your trip is a few hours away, a whole day, or multiple days, you can now download TV shows and movies to your device with Netflix! You won’t need to use any of your data and won’t have to worry about what happens when you have no Internet connection. The Netflix My Downloads feature enables you to download certain episodes and movies onto your device through the Netflix app. This means your children (or you) can watch their favourite shows and movies while on the road, without an Internet connection.

According to Netflix, you can download episodes or movies with these devices:

In order to download titles, you will need an Internet connection, an active Netflix account, and the latest version of the Netflix app for your device.

To download, open the app on your device, click on your profile and you’ll see the My Downloads option. From there you can explore the titles available for download and download away. Be sure to download when you are connected to WiFi. Titles will eventually expire, so be sure to check that they won’t expire while you’re on the road. You should be able to download the titles again once they’ve expired and you have an Internet connection.

Our family will be taking advantage of Netflix’ downloading capability when we spend 8 hours on the road to BC this summer. We’ll give each child a device (tablet or phone) and let each choose a movie and a few episodes to download before we leave. We’ll have happy kids (and sane parents) and no additional data charges. The only downside is that we’ll have to endure hearing the Paw Patrol theme song the whole way there and back.

You’re welcome.

~ chelsey

 

 

 

In our age of excessive consumerism, many parents are becoming more concerned with the impact of their purchases on the environment and their children. They take part in clothing swaps and purchase gently-used clothing from consignment stores, or through apps and Facebook groups. They lend and swap toys and children’s gear with friends and family, instead of sending them to the dump. Some even consider themselves minimalists. Beyond that, many parents just want less stuff. We’ve all looked at the toy room, exasperated as we clean up the toys for what feels like the 9000th time that day, while stepping on a rogue piece of Lego.

When it comes to my kids’ stuff, I know I would rather have less, higher quality toys, than more cheap ones. And I’ve found that the less I have in the toy room, the more the kids will actually play. When the bins are overflowing with random stuffies, games, and toys, they become overwhelmed and can’t figure out where to start. This new birthday tradition will cut back on unwanted toys and clutter, teach the value of giving back, and introduce the concept of money.

As my daughter’s 3rd birthday was approaching, a colleague of mine (back in my public-school-teaching days) told me about how she handled gifts at her kids’ birthday parties; it was genius. So for my daughter’s past two birthdays, we’ve adopted this new birthday gift alternative. In lieu of gifts, we ask that guests bring two $5 bills for the birthday girl. The birthday girl keeps the first $5 from each gift and donates the second $5 to the charity of her choice. We tried this for the first time at her 4th birthday party and with 11 children, she ended up donating $55 to the Edmonton Humane Society. She kept the money in an envelope and continued adding coins she found around the house to it. She felt proud that she was going to be able to help so many animals. Then, we brought the donation in and she received a special behind-the-scenes tour of the facility to learn how her money was going to help the animals. It was amazing!

At an early age we’ve been able to instill the importance of giving back, of volunteerism, of community, and of kindness. I believe four was the perfect age for us to start this new tradition. She was able to understand that she would have money to buy her own toys or games and be able to donate money to another cause. When it came to choosing her charity, we didn’t want to overwhelm her, so we gave her two choices: the Stollery Children’s Hospital or the Edmonton Humane Society. I also suggest that you contact your child’s charity of choice before you bring in the donation, that way they can anticipate your arrival, directly thank your child, and explain how the donated money will be used.

Many of our friends have adopted this new tradition for their children’s birthday parties too! So, what do you think? Would you consider this for your child’s next birthday?

~ chelsey

Like many new parents, I often struggle to find a balance between being in the moment with my children and making sure I record every special moment and milestone. Knowing when to snap that picture or record that video and when to put down the phone isn’t an easy task. Having a few low-key ways to record or keep track of your baby or child’s milestones can help alleviate some of that pressure. Below are five unique ways to keep track of your baby or child’s milestones and special moments.

1. Create an email account for your baby. 

I love this! It’s super easy to set up and doesn’t require you to keep or store anything in your home. All you do is create a new email account for your baby (I would avoid using any of their personal information in the address like their name or birth date) and whenever you have a free moment, send sweet little emails accounting the day you’ve had, sharing a photo or video, or professing the love you feel for your little one. The really cool thing about this is that you can send a quick note or photo through your phone. It doesn’t have to be a lengthy process. And, you can easily share your baby’s email address with other loved ones so they can send emails too. When your child is a teenager or young adult or perhaps when you become a grandparent, provide your child with the email address and password so she can access these preserved memories at her own pace.

2. Write milestones and memories on your annual calendar.

I’ve been doing this since I became pregnant with my first child. Every year I buy a new calendar that I keep on my wall. It’s practical because I use it to keep track of the date and to record some of my children’s special moments, milestones, and events like when my daughter lost her first tooth or when my son stood unassisted for the first time. Although, I’m not sure what I’ll do with all the calendars as they pile up; I have five already. It’s an easy way to keep track of those really important milestones. And if you’re going digital, you could always take photos of each month and keep them in an album on your computer. You could then upcycle or recycle your calendar. I love going paperless for many things, but I really like having some tangible records too. So I think I’ll be holding onto my calendars.

3. Write in a journal to your baby.

When my daughter was first born I began writing in a journal to her. It was a really profound way for me to express my feelings and to describe the moments I felt, especially in those early days and weeks. I’ll be able to look back and relive those feelings, that intense love. If you really love to write, you could start a new journal to your child every year on his or her birthday!

4. Keep a memory box.

Not sure what to do with those special drawings, baby handprints, report cards, or baby shower cards? Why not purchase a memory box and store your special photos and other smaller items inside that you want to remember? I found both of my memory boxes at Home Sense for a great price. You could also use any other kind of storage system, like a filing cabinet. Rumour has it that my Mom has a file for all four of us kids.

5. Use an app to keep track of baby milestones and memories.

This is great, especially when you’re on-the-go. You can easily keep track of your child’s milestones and memories. Using an app also means less paper and clutter in your house. There are some really cool apps out there; Qeepsake, for example, is an online journal that helps you to keep track of your favourite moments and memories and even texts you questions about your baby. Here’s a list of 10 apps for recording baby memories and milestones.

What are your favourite ways to record your child’s special moments?

~chelsey

As parents, we work hard to provide for our children, always putting their needs before our own. When it’s finally time to treat ourselves to a vacation, most us would probably love to arrange a kid-free getaway, especially if we’re hoping to do a bit of gambling while we’re away. My hubby LOVES poker – in fact, he once won almost $20,000 in a poker tournament. Wow, right? So occasionally, he likes to hit up the casino when we’re on vacation. However, sometimes it’s not possible to take a trip without the kids. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to enjoy a vacation with the kids when you also plan on visiting the casino.

Find a Hotel That Offers Fun for All Ages

One of the easiest ways to keep kids entertained while you’re away is to book a room at a hotel that has both an on-site casino and entertainment for the kids. Focus on finding a hotel with a casino, swimming pool, and other kid-friendly activities. An example of this type of hotel and casino that is also close to home is the Best Western Camrose Resort and Casino.

If you have your heart set on gambling and will be taking the kids along on the trip, this type of hotel is a great option. It boasts a salon, spa, and swimming pool equipped with a waterslide and splash features. Don’t forget to stock up on on snacks for the little ones when you’re back in the room to save time and money. Snacks are my go-to quick fix for just about anything!

Include Kids in Activities Whenever Possible

It’s important to find a balance while you’re on vacation with the kids, ensuring that, if possible, you have some time away, and you spend time doing fun family activities together. Before your trip, do research to find engaging activities to do that everyone can enjoy.

Also, think about trying an online casino so you can gamble while the kids are in bed without leaving them unattended. An online casino is a handy solution, but before diving into the first online casino you find, check out these reviews.

Figure Out Childcare Options

Children, of course, are not permitted inside casinos. Unfortunately, that means you can’t plan on having your toddler play Lego on the floor at your feet while you play a few rounds of Blackjack. However, there are several possibilities to explore regarding finding childcare while you are away from home.

One option is to travel with additional family members; Grandma, Grandpa, Auntie, or Uncle are our favourites! That way you can sneak away for a break while they take the kids to the pool or other nearby fun.

Another great option is to plan your vacation with another family, that way parents can alternate taking over childcare duties with spending time at the casino. Or, perhaps you’ll decide to connect with a friend you haven’t seen in a while who happens to live in the area who would love to spend some time with your kids.

If there is a concierge desk at your hotel, ask whether there are on-site places where kids can stay, play, and be supervised while their parents have fun too. Even if there isn’t, the concierge may have a lead on a nanny service or travelling daycare that can come to the hotel.

It’s not always possible to vacation without the kids, but a little research and planning can make the experience enjoyable for everyone.

~ chelsey

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