Meet Our Favorite Toronto Parents

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We are so excited to be heading to our next Gearapalooza stop this year in Toronto on October 15 at West Coast Kids! It’s going to be so great to bring this ultimate baby gear and registry event to the city — as always, we will be featuring baby gear expert, TheJamieGrayson who will showcase the BEST baby gear, products, services + safety information in one action-packed night!   Attendees will test-drive all of the latest and greatest baby gear, meet the brands and ask all their questions! If you’re a new or expectant parent this is a DO NOT MISS event!  The gift bags are also incredible and there are thousands of dollars in giveaways (strollers, car seats, carriers, and so much more)!

To celebrate our arrival in Toronto, we want to introduce you to some of our favorite Toronto parents!  We are so lucky to have these amazing parents as part of our BCB community & most will be joining us at Gearapalooza so be sure to stop by and say hi!

 

We Want You To Meet…

Name: Jenna Hutchinson

Age: 31

Kids: Lilah Rae- 6 months old

Where do you live? I live in Winnipeg but am back and fourth between there and Toronto as my husband plays for the Leafs!

Tell us a little bit about yourself…

Work life: I co-own Jenna Rae Cakes in Winnipeg with my twin sister Ashley! It is a boutique bakery known for our macarons, cookie sandwiches, custom cakes and more. We currently have two locations and over 30 staff!

What has been the biggest reward of motherhood? The biggest reward of motherhood has just been slowing down in the best way possible, and loving every moment instead of racing through life constantly working and thinking about the next thing.

What’s your best “mom-hack” you think other moms could benefit from? (We all one at least one time or sanity saving tip that everyone would want to know…spill it!) Hmmm I’d have to say all the toys! Her play mats and rocking chairs and soothies are life savers! They are all around both of my homes ready to distract when needed.

What is the best part about where you live? I get to call two places home these days! Winnipeg is so great to live in. The winters are very cold, but the community is so warm and welcoming and so supportive of small businesses. I love it there! Toronto is also a great place to live because it is huge and there’s an endless amount of good restaurants to try, and so many things to do.

Favorite thing to do with your kids in your hometown: The favorite thing to do with Lilah in Winnipeg is go to the Forks! We have a location there, and it’s just such a great local spot to walk around, shop, eat and have a drink no matter what the time of year.

Favorite date night in your hometown: Favorite date night (or day) in Winnipeg would have to be the Scandinavian spa, thermëa! It’s my favorite place in the city.

What are 5 things that you could not “mom” without? Travel sound machine, soother, rattle (any kind!!), skip hop play mat, and her bumbo chair.

What are your 5 must-have items in your diaper bag?Honest wipes, diapers, spare onesie, hat and sip on shoes for her!

When you have time to yourself, what do you like to do?  In my spare time I like to work! And shop 🙂

Who are your “mom idols”? I would have to say my own parents, and my sister Ashley and her husband trev do such a great job while working so hard on the business.

Who is in your mom tribe and how did you meet them? I am lucky and have a lot of close friends who have young babies, I didn’t have to look very far 🙂

What is one piece of advice for new moms that you wish someone told you before motherhood?Everyone tells you this, but it honestly does go by so much faster than you think. Enjoy every good and not so good moments because they are fleeting!

How do you balance it all?  I’ll let you know when I feel like I have everything balanced! It’s an ongoing struggle, but I have a really good support system.

If you had a theme song, what would it be? This is the song that never ends- my daughter loves it when I sing it to her and it’s the only song in my head currently haha

Tell us a little bit about your blog/IG account/online persona and what is your mission behind it: We are Jenna Rae Cakes and @jennaraecakes for everything! I recently started a YouTube channel as well under the same name for video tutorials on cake decorating! We also ship macarons Canada wide, with more things coming to our online shop soon at www.jennaraecakes.com

We Want You To Meet…

Name: Andrea Traynor

Age: 44

Kid(s) and Ages: Miss Q (8.5) and The K Man (11)

Where do you live? Just outside of Toronto, Ontario

Kristen Recalis Photography

Tell us a little bit about yourself…

Work life: I’m a full-time content creator in the travel and lifestyle space. That means I spend my days testing out cool stuff or visiting awesome destinations (then writing about and photographing them!) for my blog, Mommy Gearest, and social channels (like Instagram and Facebook).

I founded Mommy Gearest nearly eight years ago because I owned hoards of baby gear that I bought based on glowing reviews that I later questioned. I believed there was a need for unpaid, honest reviews for information-hungry parents who had to carefully choose where to spend their hard-earned money.

My babies grew up and so did my blog. My site has evolved over the years and now includes products, services and destinations for discerning consumers — not just parents — who love doing research.

What has been the biggest reward of motherhood? Seeing my flaws through a kid-sized magnifying lens and constantly doing my best to become a better person. 

What’s your best “mom-hack” you think other moms could benefit from? (We all one at least one time or sanity saving tip that everyone would want to know…spill it!) Make a rule that you’ll only travel by air with carry-on luggage! This is going to save you time, money and laundry. You’ll spend less time packing, won’t incur baggage fees, get off the plane and ignore the baggage carousel, and have way less to wash and fold when you finally get back home.

I go into all the nitty-gritty in great detail in this packing video, but my top tips are: pack in outfits, bring no more than three pairs of shoes per person, stop rolling your clothes and make sure you double-check your airlines carry-on dimensions.

What is the best part about where you live? Our little semi-rural suburb is close enough to the city that we can easily take advantage of Toronto’s great restaurants and attractions, but far enough away that we have a yard big enough for a pool and a street quiet enough that our kids can play on it safely.

Favorite thing to do with your kids in your hometown. Honestly, just hang out at home. Our travel schedule can get pretty hectic so we enjoy the downtime with have together as a family. In warmer weather, we swim or jump on the trampoline in our backyard, but we’re equally happy snuggling in our bed watching movies. 

Favorite date night in your hometown. The pitfall of suburban living is that most of the restaurants nearby are big chains. Those are great for easy nights out as a family but date nights are rare and sacred and we much prefer independent restaurants who cook love into every dish. Those are harder to come by in our neck of the woods, so we’re extra thankful for spots like Three-Six Kitchen and Casa Verde.

What are 5 things that you could not “mom” without?

  1. My Google Calendar is my lifeline. Whether I’m on my desktop at home or my smartphone on the other side of the world, it keeps us all on track.
  2. The Waze app. Because I’m directionally challenged and despise being late. It’s socially enabled GPS, so in addition from getting my us from point A to B, it also alerts me to unexpected road closures, construction, traffic and even police!
  3. Orangetheory Fitness. My fitness routine has become my sanity. Just one hour a few times a week that’s solely for me makes the craziness in my brain more manageable. (Shout out to my OTF Oshawa fit fam!)
  4. Food delivery services — from the Swiss Chalet app to HelloFresh to Goodfella’s (the best pizza ever), I rely on delivery to keep everyone in my house alive. Sure, we grocery shop and cook ourselves, too, but there are times when no one would get fed if it wasn’t for takeout and delivery.
  5. My parents. They’re our childcare back-up whenever we need it, and I couldn’t make our life work without them.

What are your 5 must-have items in your diaper bag? I’m not sad to say I no longer have to carry around a diaper bag!

When you have time to yourself, what do you like to do? Hit the gym or go to yoga, meet up with friends for coffee (er, wine…), plan my next trip or binge-watch reality TV.

Who are your “mom idols”?  The ones who don’t pretend to have it all together.

Who is in your mom tribe and how did you meet them? My tribe is small but mighty, made up of people I’ve randomly collected over the years. Some are university friends, some come from the blog world, some are neighbours, some aren’t moms at all, and I met one of my besties through her mom! 

What is one piece of advice for new moms that you wish someone told you before motherhood? That the first six weeks is a foggy nightmare, filled with more WTF moments than you can count or ever prepare for. The first six weeks of motherhood should be about pure survival — one day at a time. Something magical happens after that six-week mark: the clouds lift, routines start to form, bonding is usually in full effect and life starts to look happy again. You just gotta get there. 

How do you balance it all? I mean, I don’t. That’s the short answer. There are nights I wake up in a panic. There are times I look at my husband and cry because I’m overwhelmed. But I have a village to lean on during the toughest times, when I’m spread so thin that I’m not giving 100 per cent to anyone. I think we’re all just doing the best we can, and I try not to beat myself up for being busy. The balance comes from letting go of the guilt as much as I can. 

If you had a theme song, what would it be? Titanium (David Geutta & Sia): “I’m bulletproof, nothing to lose. Fire away, fire away. You shoot me down, but I won’t fall. I am titanium.”

We Want You To Meet…

Name: Monika Boch

Age: 23

Kid(s) and Ages: Logan – 2 years old

Where do you live? Toronto, Canada

Work life Blogger + Social Media Manager

Tell us a little bit about yourself…

What has been the biggest reward of motherhood? Every time I hear my son laugh. His voice is so sweet and his laugh can instantly bring tears to my eyes. Some days he makes me feel like I’m losing my mind. Every day brings new challenges and learning curves for both of us. Hearing him laugh and seeing him smile makes every struggle worth it. 

What’s your best “mom-hack” you think other moms could benefit from? Scheduled delivery of everything! Groceries, takeout, personal items, diapers… When mommy brain kicks in, it’s best to leave it up to online preorders of everything.

What is the best part about where you live? Lots of free activities for families around the city. Toronto is also one of the most multicultural cities in the world. I love sharing new cultures with my son and getting to meet new families with different backgrounds every day!

Favorite thing to do with your kids in your hometown. Roam around the city. We can walk just about anywhere and find a great café or park and have fun. 

Favorite date night in your hometown. Escape rooms are one of our favorites. They can be kind of spooky or just really fun. They make us work together as a team and we always leave really happy.

What are 5 things that you could not “mom” without?

My husband

My mom

Netflix

Coffee

WebMD

What are your 5 must-have items in your diaper bag?

Baby Wipes

Hand Sanitizer

Disposable Bags

Extra Clothes

Snacks

When you have time to yourself, what do you like to do? Go shopping alone. Something that I always took for granted, but I love getting to walk around a mall mindlessly with my coffee.

Who are your “mom idols”?  My own mom of course. She made so much happen for us and as an immigrant. I hope to be as good of a mom as her one day.

Who is in your mom tribe and how did you meet them? My best mom tribe is online. I’ve met so many amazing moms because of Instagram, Facebook and blogging. There are genuine women online who are there to support and encourage you every step of the way. 

What is one piece of advice for new moms that you wish someone told you before motherhood? Invest in a high-quality camera – Take more pictures of everything. Because no matter how you look or feel, one day you’ll want to look back and remember those moments. 

How do you balance it all? Some days, I have no idea. I find that creating a schedule is the only way I can keep my sanity. Having a note of deadlines and timelines for everything helps keep my life balanced. Also taking the time to be alone and time with just my husband is very important. At the end of the day, we are not just moms, we’re people – and every person needs a break. 

If you had a theme song, what would it be? This is How We Do – 50 Cent. This is just how we do this mom thing – and for some reason my 2-year-old knows all the words to this song so…

Tell us a little bit about your blog/IG account/online persona and what is your mission behind it: I started my blog as a personal outlet for myself. I was feeling a bit depressed during my pregnancy and I wanted a way to express myself creatively. Over the past 2 years, it has flourished into a way for me to inspire other women and mothers to create joy in their own lives. I love sharing tutorials, stories from my life, and ideas to evoke an urge to create. My blog has also turned into a business for me. I love that I’m able to work with the brands I love and create something that I’m proud of. I have a lot of fun when I’m blogging and as they say, if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life!

We Want You To Meet…

Name:  Andrew Taylor (@JustDadBloggin)

Age: 29

Kid(s) and Ages: I have 2 daughters, Ava, who is my 4 year old and Maisey, who is 1 years old.

Where do you live? I live in Burlington, Ontario. A city 30 minutes outside Toronto.

Tell us a little bit about yourself…

Work life I have been working on and around cars for most of my life. I work at a local automotive service center in Burlington as an automotive service advisor full time. When not at work I spend a few hours per week working on my social media pages and building our family blog.

What has been the biggest reward of motherhood/fatherhood? For me my biggest reward of fatherhood is being a kid again with my kids. Going to a see a kids movie in theaters, playing tag or hide and seek at the park, and even snugling up in bed reading a good book. My favourite of all is being this awesome person to these little kids who think I’m the best dad ever. 

What’s your best “mom/dad-hack” you think other moms could benefit from? My dad hack has to be the “missing” toys. As parents we all know our kids have TOO many toys. We get toys given to the kids at all stages of life, so what I have decided to do is every now  and then I do a clean up and toys go “missing” while the kids are sleeping. Awful, but it works.

What is the best part about where you live? The best part of where I live is the festivals in the downtown core. The City of Burlington does an amazing job at hosting amazing events all year round for people of all ages. From the Sound of Music Festival in the park, to Canada’s Largest Ribfest, the summer is filled with amazing events. It doesn’t stop there though, there is also events in the fall like Treats in the Streets for kids and around Christmas there’s the festival of Lights.

Favorite thing to do with your kids in your hometown. My favourite thing to do with my kids in my hometown is to explore the waterfront that we have in Burlington, after that we can spend time at Spencer Smith Park and play in the playground, followed by one of the local shops for a treat or two.

What are 5 things that you could not “mom/dad” without? My local Dad & mom group, kids playlist on spotify, a lock on the snack cupboard, dad jokes and Youtube Kids.

What are your 5 must-have items in your diaper bag? Pampers diapers, baby wipes, burp clothes, extra clothes, and drinks/snacks.

When you have time to yourself, what do you like to do? Have you have gone to the movies by yourself ? May seem weird but I love it. It gives me a couple hours to relax and not have to stress or talk to anyone for a little. I also love to go to the local race track and spend a few hours watching the races, sometimes even take my car out for open lapping.

Who are your “mom/dad idols”? Number 1 is my own mom of course, shes the real MVP of all. But if I had to pick a “celebrity” mom and dad I would choose John Legend and Chrissy Teigen. They are just so funny together and have a great understanding of parenthood.

Who is in your mom/dad tribe and how did you meet them? My mom/dad tribe is made of personal friends and friends from our neighbourhood that I have met along the way of visiting local parks and kids events. 

What is one piece of advice for new moms/dads that you wish someone told you before mother/fatherhood? From a dad stand point, one piece of advice I can give is the time you take off when your child is first born. I personally took a couple weeks off when both my daughters were born and then took another couple weeks off around the 3-4 month mark. When your child is first born there is always people wanting to come around and the time FLYS by. So after the storm has calmed take another couple weeks if you can just to enjoy the moments and soak up the memories.

How do you balance it all? To be honest, this is a question for my wife. She is the real reason behind how I can balance it all. I work extended hours/days at work but she is the one taking care of the house/kids while I’m working. She is my rock, she holds are household together and makes sure everyone and the house is taken care of. Besides that our teamwork is what makes our parenting so efficient, we have a great understanding and can balance out life pretty well.

If you had a theme song, what would it be? For everyone that knows me, they know I was a Huge Lil Wayne fan. My theme song would be one of those songs that while growing upwe all knew the lyrics word for word.

Lil Wayne – Cannon. Definitely not child friendly but that was a huge song growing up.

Tell us a little bit about your blog/IG account/online persona and what is your mission behind it: When you have a house full of women and run out of home repairs, cleaning cars, watching the latest episode of Game of Thrones or finally finish that season mode in Madden what’s next to do ?  While how about start a blog and name it “Just Dad Blogging.”  A blog and social media page where I can post pictures & videos of my family 🙄 talk about “dad problems” tell “dad jokes” or maybe just rant about being surrounded by a whole lot of estrogen 24/7.

We Want You To Meet…

Name:  Sara Warren

Age: 36

Kid(s) and Ages: 5 year old son

Where do you live? Oakville, Ontario

Tell us a little bit about yourself…

Work life: I’m a professional writer & advertising creative director specializing in kids and family entertainment.  I’ve owned my own business, WhirlyGig Creative Inc., since 2012.

What has been the biggest reward of motherhood/fatherhood? Getting to take my little guy on tons of adventures! 

What’s your best “mom/dad-hack” you think other moms could benefit from? (We all one at least one time or sanity saving tip that everyone would want to know…spill it!) I’ve got a lot!  My number one is probably start bringing your kids with you everywhere you go when they are still babies.  That way they will grow up being used to going on planes, to fancy restaurants and everywhere else in between.  The sooner you start the easier it will be!

What is the best part about where you live? We are near so many amazing family friendly activities there’s never a shortage of fun within an hour’s drive.

Favorite thing to do with your kids in your hometown. We love visiting Conservation Halton, Springridge Farm and (not exactly our hometown) Canada’s Wonderland! 

Favorite date night in your hometown. Niwa Sushi on Upper Middle in Oakville is our go to spot!

What are 5 things that you could not “mom/dad” without? To be honest, I have no idea! I can’t think of anything specific that I couldn’t Mom without. As my little guy grows what he and I need is always changing.

What are your 5 must-have items in your diaper bag? I haven’t carried a diaper bag in a long time but snacks are always in my purse!

When you have time to yourself, what do you like to do? I love to go for walks, exercise/stretch and watch the shows no one else likes to watch lol

Who are your “mom/dad idols”?  I don’t really think I have any. I think every Mom/Dad is doing what works for them!

Who is in your mom/dad tribe and how did you meet them? I’ve made a lot of amazing mom friends on Instagram (yes, it’s possible!) and my lifelong friends have always been there for me! 

What is one piece of advice for new moms/dads that you wish someone told you before mother/fatherhood? No one cares that your kid is crying. Go to the store, go to the restaurant, go on the plane, take them on adventures! 

How do you balance it all? I prioritize my day and work my way down the list. Anything I don’t get to moves to tomorrow, simple as that! 

If you had a theme song, what would it be? I don’t know but definitely something from Disney!

Tell us a little bit about your blog/IG account/online persona and what is your mission behind it:  I love sharing real life tips for traveling and activities with kids. You can find me on Instagram @travelswithtots where I’m always sharing ways for you to have fun with your kids whether at home or on vacation.  My feed is 100% real life and I work hard to make sure my tips are accessible and relevant to real parents wanting to enjoy family time. If you’re looking for some pure entertainment you can also find me at @imagination.factory where I share the fun, imaginative stories my son and I come up with. AND my brand new podcast, The Family Fun Show, just launched and will be available everywhere very soon!

We Want You To Meet…

Name: Cindy Guthrie

Age: 32

Kids + Ages: Noah (5) Liam (4) Luke (2) Aria (1)

 Where do you live? Toronto, Ontario 

Tell us a little bit about yourself… 

Work life: Currently finishing my mat leave but will be going back Shortly to join the workforce as a law clerk! 

What has been the biggest reward of motherhood? My biggest reward as a mother is being able to watch my babies grow together!  It’s not easy but it’s definitely special!  

What’s your best mom/dad hack? (We all one at least one time or sanity saving tip that everyone would want to know…spill it!)  The washroom is my a sanctuary. I go in there when I need 5-10 minutes of peace, even if I don’t need to use it! LOL

What’s the best part about where you live?  The best part about where I live is definitely the diversity.  I really love that my kids get to be exposed to different cultures and we are around so many wonderful things like the AGO! 

What’s your favorite thing to do in your hometown? We love visiting different bakeries and going for walks!  

Favorite date night in your hometown?  I love just trying out every restaurant in the city! 

What are 5 things you can’t mom/dad without? Five things, 

1. My phone

2. Ubereats

3. Instacart

4. My girlfriends 

5. My ability to tune things out haha 

What are 5 must-haves in your diaper bag? Baby Butz cream!  Amazing! Diapers (obviously) Baby cloths/love piccolo bambino Hand sanitizer Baby toys!

 When you have time to yourself, what do you like to do? I love just having a nice warm bath and listening to music. 

Who are your mom/dad idols? I look up to sooo many women. I have to say, my grandmother, she raised 8 kids! She’s my superstar!  

Who is in your mom/dad tribe and how did you meet them? I have close friends who I grew up with and some ig moms I’ve grown to love dearly ! You may know some,  

@tashaklassen

@mombossofboys

@raineedays

@mamacopfer

@allthings.lottie

@our3giiirls

@audreyjudith_

These women are my go to for everything!  

What is one piece of advice you wish someone had told you before mother/fatherhood?  Don’t sweat the small stuff, stains, spills!  They’re going to happen…being late etc!  It’s all so minor in the grand scheme of things!

How do you balance it all?  Still learning to balance it all, but prioritizing things that are important helps! 

If you had a theme song, what would it be?  The song that I sing that everyone hates but pumps me up is – I am woman by Helen Reddy 

Tell us a little about your social accounts & what your mission is: My ig is itscindym , I post a lot about my kids and what we’re currently doing, using or into! If you see it on my feed , that means it’s working for me! I like simple things. Also my stories get more personal, so tune in to that! 

 

If you’re an expectant or new parent in the Toronto area, Gearapalooza is an event you do NOT want to miss!  Join these fantastic Toronto families on October 15, 6:00 pm – p:00 pm at West Coast Kids!

Click here to see even more year-round BCB events in Tortonto!  We’re always bringing you the BEST baby gear, products, services, networking + safety information across ALL of our local and nationwide events – Gearapaloozas, webinars, playdates + more!  Follow us on Instagram and Facebook and sign up for our email list to make sure you’re first to know about our latest content, giveaways, events + more!