Easter For a 3 Month Old

Check out my super adorable baby girl last year on Easter. She is rocking another adorable custom onesie made by the same etsy shop, Polka Dot Closet, as her St. Patrick’s day attire. Look at her, still drowning in 0-3 months!

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It doesn’t get much cuter than that folks!

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Last year I was such a procrastinator. I don’t know if it was new mommy chaos colliding with going back to work, but I seriously waited until the very last minute to get this Easter basket thrown together. I wasn’t crazy over the actual basket, but you take what you can get when you wait until last minute.

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The main question was, what on Earth do you put in a still basically newborn’s Easter basket?? Luckily, as much as I stressed over it, I’m pretty confident she doesn’t remember in the least, so it really isn’t that important. But in March of 2012, it was basically life or death and had to be perfect.

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I didn’t want to go crazy and spend an ungodly amount of money on crap she wouldn’t use/play with, so I kept it pretty simple.  Her basket included this mint green TY buddy bunny from my childhood.  I have an embarrassingly large TY beanie collection that I plan to hand down to her over the years, and holidays make the perfect opportunity!  It also keeps me from wasting money on stuffed animals, because let’s face it, kids rarely actually play with those and they end up in a big pile of fluff in the corner.  I included four yoyo hairbows, because I was making them out of every piece of scrap fabric possible in those days.  I’m glad I did too.  I was smart, and put them on a clip instead of sewing them to her headbands.  They were the perfect size for her tiny head then, and now they are perfect size to use as just a single hair clip!  I also included a teething ring and a touch and feel book.  This adorable book, that is still a huge favorite of Elise’s, featured baby animals with different textures to “pet” and feel of.  The windmill was a big hit for many months until just recently, Elise accidentally broke it.  It was good stimulation for her when she was so little.  She loved to watch me blow it and see the colors twirl.  See that completely awesome pacifier sticking out?  That is totally my homemade “wubbanub!”  Those things are way too expensive in my opinion, so I took matters into my own hands and made my own.  I took a few of these McDonald’s TY mini beanies (I told you I have a huge collection of this crap) and sewed them by hand onto the paci.

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These would make such a cute gift to include for a baby shower!

For the one included in her Easter basket, I simply stitched through it’s mouth and the part of the paci that sticks out.  But for her others (which included a mini blue elephant, a dalmatian dog, and a gray cat), I made it a little easier on myself and sewed each paw to one of the holes at the bottom of the paci, which is much easier than trying to stab a needle through the paci.  But this little guy didn’t have any arms, so this was my only option.  These things were a life saver when Elise was little and would drop her paci every five minutes and cry for us to get it back.  She could hold on to the animals and it gave it enough weight that if she spit it out, it wouldn’t go flying and she could get it back.  This was especially helpful in the car seat!  I can’t tell you how many times I had to pull over to try to hunt a paci that she sent flying into the floor board before we started using these!  She did however eventually grow out of these Avent Soothies and started using Nuks, but by that point she had more control of it and was able to keep it a little better.  Luckily now, she has just quit using her pacis all together with no effort from us.

Elise wasn’t overly impressed.  She was all business Easter morning and had her serious face on.

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Here she is modeling another fabulous custom onesie from Polka Dot Closet.  For this super cute and easy hairbow, I simply sewed a few scrapbook flowers together that morning and attached them to the handband.  If you are super short on time, you could always use glue!
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This year I’m much more prepared for Easter and I am so excited that she is old enough to actually take interest in her basket and hopefully to hunt eggs!  As soon as I get her basket together this year, I’ll share all the details!

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Finger painting turned photo session!

Elise & I decided it was time to have more finger painting fun with our “edible finger paint.”  Check out my finger painting madness post to get details on how to make the paint.  I was in the mood to take some photos, and my husband was around to help contain the mess, so I thought why not turn a fun activity into a few adorable photos??

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I think I may somehow incorporate a few of these into her art space in her new playroom if I ever get on the ball and get it going!

Rewind to St. Patrick’s Day 2012!

Last year Elise was still an itty bitty baby for St. Patrick’s Day. At 2 months old, she was still as squishy as can be. How I miss those days!

This was her “holiday picture” which I am still to this day in love with because of this huge string of drool.  I may have on mommy goggles, but I refuse to clone it out.  That is the cutest drool I’ve ever laid eyes on! 

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On actual St. Patrick’s day, we were headed to a baby shower, but little miss was dressed to impress.

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(I can’t believe how much my hair has grown in just a year!)

My super crafty mother made her adorable leg warmers out of an adult pair of socks.  I made her headband and bow out of elastic and yoyos.  Her super cute onesie came from The Polka Dot Closet on Etsy.  I ordered several personalized onesies from her when Elise was little and they are great quality.  I highly recommend her stuff!!

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Elise’s Grammie is super talented when it comes to sewing and she is making her an outfit for St. Patrick’s day this year.  I can’t wait to see!  I’m hoping for some pretty weather so we can do a few outdoor photos.  This momma is tired of being cooped up in the house!

Featured Momma – Samantha

I had the pleasure of getting to know Samantha, because like me, she had a baby due in January 2012.  While pregnant, Sam learned that her sweet baby, Gabriel Ray, had Potters Syndrome – Bilateral Renal Agenesis.  This meant that he had no kidneys, leading to other malformations, and he didn’t have enough amniotic fluid.  She found this out at the time of her anatomy scan when she was 20 weeks pregnant.  She chose to carry him as long as she could, knowing his prognosis, and delivered this sweet angel at 36 weeks.  He was born on December 8, 2011 and they spent 35 minutes showering him with the largest amount of love a baby could ever feel before he passed.  I will not tell the full extent of her story, because I absolutely can’t do it justice.  I encourage you to visit her blog and read Gabriel’s story.  I also urge you to take a moment to read Gabriel’s birth plan.  Sam’s story is truly inspirational and will give you new perspective.  She is by far, one of the strongest women I will ever know.

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Not very long ago, Sam found out that she was pregnant again!  Little did she know at that moment, that she was expecting not one but TWO babies.  Sam is very blessed and has now welcomed twin BOYS.  They are a month old, and doing amazing with their rock star mother!  I sent her a few questions to answer so that she could share a little about her experience of having twins after her loss.  She is also juggling these adorable twin boys and big sis Evelyn.  (She must have eight arms!) 

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After everything you’ve been through and sharing your story, what message do you hope to get out to others?
I want people to know that you can get through anything. I want people to know they have to do what’s best for them, not what’s best for doctors or anyone else. I would like people to look at our story, to take what we have been through, and find strength and courage to get through something that they may be going through. You have courage and strength within yourself, you just have to dig deep and find it.

So far, what has been the hardest part of having TWINS?
Sleep and feeding. They are tied for first place toughness right now. I’m exclusively breastfeeding which has proven difficult. Trying to keep them on the same eating schedule has proven nearly impossible. They wake up at alternating hours which makes it seem like I get no sleep at all.

The most rewarding?
Seeing how much they are alike/different. Learning their different personalities and preferences. Most recently: Seeing how they stare at eachother. Its also nice that people don’t have to fight over who gets to hold the baby (Including Derrick and I), there’s 2 so everyone can hold one!

What was the scariest part of your chaotic delivery experience?
The scariest part for me was when I was laying in the hospital bed bleeding, nobody had told me what exactly was going on but surgical staff was coming in to introduce themselves. They were already prepping me for an emergency c-section before anybody told me why/what was happening. I was terrified and in the dark about what was going on or what they thought was wrong. I was afraid something would be wrong when they came out because they were only 36 weeks. Lucky for me, everything went perfect and the boys came out kicking and screaming.

How is big sis holding up? What does she think of her two new baby brothers?
I spent a lot of time preparing Evelyn for the babies arrival. I spent many hours showing her what two babies means, what it means when we say “there’s a baby in mommys tummy” and other things. We spent countless hours playing with her dollys, learning how to care for a baby. We put into place some “rules” so that when people come over they would greet her first and allow her to show them the babies instead of just running to them first thing. She loves them. We’ve had very little jealousy issues with her. She always wants to help, to give them baths, to change their diapers and rock them. When we hold them, often times she will demand that she holds them instead. I’m so impressed with how she’s adapted and couldn’t be more proud of her.

Anyone who has had a baby knows how hard (and wonderful) the first few weeks are on everyone’s sanity, how’s the fellow holding up?
Derrick doesn’t do well with lack of sleep, he doesn’t do well getting up in the middle of the night or being tired after. However, he has done fairly well. He gets up to change diapers for me or to burp the babies after I’ve fed them. He tries to help as much as he can, but he’s somewhat limited.

You are breastfeeding twins, that is amazing. How’s it going?
I was told from the beginning to try to feed them at the same times. When one wakes up, wake up the other one to eat too. This is difficult, more difficult than I imagined it would be. You can’t force feed a baby that isn’t hungry. Although I battle feeding times, I am lucky that my body is supplying them enough milk and am able to pump for my freezer. I have nearly mastered tandem feeding them which helps save a lot of time!

Do you think there will be more children in your future?
I don’t want to say no, although Derrick would. Right now we are in no place to be able to afford more children. We were only going to have one more and then be done for now (surprise, someone else had better plans!). If I had it my way and money wasn’t an issue, I’d have a house full. Sadly that isn’t in the cards for us financially. Perhaps our finances will change years down the road and we’ll be able to have at least one more. If nothing else, I’d like to someday adopt a child into our family.

Anything you would like to add?
At the moment I can’t think of anything….. This took me days in between feedings and diaper changes haha!

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Again, please take a moment and show support to Sam by visiting her blog and reading her full story.

She is also in the top three running to win a ton of cloth diapers (which would obviously be very beneficial and helpful to her since she has two bums to diaper) in the Pay it Forward contest.  The contest (hosted by www..diaperparties.com) ends at the end of February, but if you have time before then, take a moment and vote for her.  I can’t imagine that anyone could be more deserving of such a prize.  Others must agree, because she is winning by a land slide.

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Valentine’s Day with Elise! (Recipe inside!)

I didn’t go crazy and plaster her walls with hearts, buy her an expensive gift, or plan 475 Valentine’s activities.  There were only a few small melt downs.  Mostly on my part when I went to pick up her Valentine’s Day cards Wednesday evening and they never received the order which I had already paid for.  But that’s okay, the world went on without Valentine’s day cards, and I slapped a little online card together last minute.  Visit yesterday’s post to see it.  My husband and I didn’t go on a date, nor did we exchange gifts, but I had the best Valentine’s day ever.  Why?  Because I have the best little Valentine.  She’s sweeter than chocolate and prettier than roses!

We started our morning off with pink white chocolate and strawberry pancakes!    I made these from scratch, and I must say, I am quite proud of myself.  They were DELICIOUS!  My husband even gave rave reviews, and he can be a tough critic!  Elise’s of course were heart shaped!

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Recipe (I don’t really measure much, so some of the measurements are slightly guestimated):

  • red/pink food coloring (I used neon pink)
  • 1 1/3 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp of honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp of butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • about a cup of diced strawberries
  • a couple handfuls of white chocolate chips
  • powdered sugar
  • strawberry syrup

Preheat griddle or skillet.  Mix the flour, baking powder, salt, and brown sugar in a large bowl.  Mix the eggs, honey, butter, vanilla, milk in a separate bowl.  Combine the mixtures slowly and stir slightly.  Mixture should be lumpy.  Add food coloring until you achieve the desired color.  Stir in the diced strawberries and white chocolate chips.  Save some strawberries to go on top if desired.  Pour approx 1/4 cup of mix for each pancake and flip when they start to bubble.  The color will brown slightly when you cook them, that is inevitable, but the inside will still be nice and bright!  Sprinkle with powdered sugar and diced strawberries after removing from griddle and then pour on the yummy strawberry syrup!  I used a heart shaped cookie cutter to cut hearts out for Elise.

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These were awesome.  Typing this out is making me wish I had them right now!  It’s like dessert for breakfast!

After breakfast, Elise and I cuddled and watched the Valentine’s day episode of Doc Mcstuffins (for the 80th time).  I never get tired of seeing how excited she gets when Lambie starts singing the “I feel better” song after Doc cures her little broken heart.

Miss Kylie was due to come over for a photo session, and luckily we were finishing up right when the princess started waking up from her nap.  That meant it was time for her play date!  They had a blast and both wore each other out.  Elise adores her and smiles the entire time she is here.

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They snacked on fruit plates while they were here, but after her play date was over, Elise had a special heart shaped turkey sandwich!

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You can really tell how tired she was from playing so hard.  Surprisingly, she didn’t take a nap for hours later.

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So instead, we had more cuddling!

Finally when her daddy got up to get ready for work (boo night shift!), she agreed to take a nap for him.  She slept for the longest time.  When she got up, she had a special dinner of steak, steamed carrots, and steamed potatoes.  For dessert, she has a sweet little heart shaped brownie.  Mississippi Mud to be exact, which was totally made from a box mix, so no fancy recipe with that!  Everyone has to take a few shortcuts from time to time!  Overall, it was definitely a wonderful day and my sweet angel’s cuddles were by far, the best possible gift!  I couldn’t ask for a more precious valentine!

Happy Valentine’s Day from Elise

We are SUPER busy today haven’t all kinds of Valentine’s day fun!  (Details in the days to come).  So here is a super quick post with a card from Elise!  Elise's Vday card

…and yes I did totally procrastinate and just threw that together in picmonkey, but that is the life of a procrastinator. 🙂

Be sure to take a moment and walk down memory lane to Elise’s valentine last year and see how much she has grown!

Battling a tiny, clingy monster!

It is no secret that Elise is super clingy to me.  Anyone who knows her knows that although she LOVES attention, she doesn’t want you to come near her.  It is getting worse, as now she will try to shy away in my chest.  She loves other kids and to play, but she wants me to be close by.  If I’m home, she must be climbing me at all times.  If it is her and daddy then she will go on about her business and play, but as soon as mommy comes around, she’s a fussy clingy mess.  It is probably my own fault.  When she was a little baby, I hoarded her up and wouldn’t let anyone hold her, feed her, care for her, etc.  It’s true, I’m a baby hoarder.  I don’t regret that.  Those fresh baby moments don’t last long, but I kind of created a monster.  I adore having a little cuddle bug, but baby girl needs a little independence too.  So in order to battle her clinginess (yes I’m aware that is not a real word), I am trying to get her involved in more social activities that I can still be present to make her feel safe, but that encourage her to be engaged and go play with others.

My first idea was babygarten at our local library.  It is at a horrible time for us, because it runs into nap time, and because I suck at getting us up and out of the house in the mornings.  I’ve been trying for weeks to actually get us there, with lots of failure.  She either rocks out all night so that w are too exhausted to put forth the effort, or like last week I was sick, or we have other plans.  However this week I was determined that we were going to make it.  I set my alarm for 6:00 AM, hours before we would need to leave, so that I could get myself up and showered and the diaper bag ready before she ever woke up.  There’s no fooling this child though.  After being up most of the night (what’s new there, maybe I need to revisit my Real life mommyhood – Sleep Deprivation post) she woke up around 5:30 saying “ma ma ma momma ma ma MOMMA.”  I tried to ignore her in hopes that she would lay back down and sleep to her normal time.  But no way, she was up.  So up we were, cuddling on the couch.  We played around, had a snack, and then she wanted to cuddle on the couch more.  About 7:30, I looked down, and found this angelic face.

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Victory.  Taking an early morning nap for a hour or so would give her enough of an energy burst to be pleasant for library time and give me time to get a shower.  I ever so gracefully picked her up to carry her to her crib and laid her down on her big fluffy quilt.  Fail.  Instant screaming.  Back up she was, and then she was so over the cuddling on the couch time, but she was still a tired fussy mess.  I was ready to call it quits and make another excuse as to why we weren’t going to make it this week.  Then mom guilt kicked in and I decided it was time to suck it up and actually get her there.

She finally came around and let me get semi ready and get her beautiful self dressed and ready to go to her first day of babygarten.  She was too cute in her little sweater.  Perfect to make a smart but casual impression on the other toddlers! 😉

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We made it with 5 minutes to spare.  She was hesitant at first, and stuck very close.  When it was time to get started she was a little happier, as we were all spread out on chairs in a large circle.  She could see everyone, but no one was close enough to be threatening (because heaven forbid they may touch her).  She could smile and flirt from a distance, which was perfect for her.  Then the songs started, and that was lots of fun.  She clapped a long and watched the older toddlers dance.  (She was by many months the youngest one there).  But, what finally broke the ice, the bubble machine!  They turned on two bubble machines and then mommy was old news.  She still stayed semi close for the first few minutes, which was probably good because the older kids were playing, running, and having fun, and I didn’t want her to get knocked down or trip one of them.  But after they calmed down a bit, she was mesmerized by the bubble machine.  She literally played in the bubbles until they cut it off (a good 15 minutes).  I guess I know what is on my purchase list for this summer!

I’m only posting a couple of photos, because I don’t want to post pictures of children that we don’t know.  🙂

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Crappy cell shots, but I wasn’t lugging the massive DSLR around.

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She met two little girls who she enjoyed watching and got a special Valentine’s Day treat bag!  We didn’t stay for story time after babygarten because she was getting very tired and ready for a nap, but we will definitely make more of an effort to go back.  It is so hard to believe that my little tiny baby is even big enough to join in these fun programs!  We are also looking at getting her started in a mommy and me gymnastics, because the child is a monkey, and maybe if we tire her out more she will sleep better.  (Yeah right.)

Look around your local listings.  Most libraries have free programs for little ones which can be very helpful when you are stuck inside on these nasty winter days!

Fake Snow Sensory Bin

In my mom’s group, sensory bins are all the rage.  At first I was reluctant.  It really seemed like a big mess to me.  But everyone kept posting pictures of their babies having a blast with different bins, and sensory play is important at this age, so I decided to hop on board!  I decided to start out by making a fake snow sensory bin!

Fake Snow Sensory Bin

This was SUPER easy for me to make, because back in my wedding planning days when I had decided I would have a winter wonderland wedding (which later turned into a fall outdoor wedding), I bought this fake snow at the Christmas store in Pigeon Forge, TN.  It is a small container of powder that you mix with water and it multiplies itself times a zillion and makes snow.  It feels so much like the real stuff.  It is wet, fluffy, and cold (if you use cold water).  PERFECT for an easy sensory bin if you are like me and get the sudden urge to do these kind of things a hour before bedtime.  Also it lasts for days.  I kept the sensory bin out for almost a week before I finally got rid of it and the “snow” was just as fresh as the day I made it.  If you don’t want to order this stuff (which is awesome and evidently has a shelf life of like eternity since I’ve had it for years), I’ve compiled a lists of a couple of websites which have recipes for fake snow.  I’ve not used any of them though, so try at your own risk. 😉

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I was overly excited and just poured 1/4 the container into my bin and started adding water, so it took me a bit to get the right consistency.  (Why do I never take the time to measure anything???)  It was totally awesome watching it grow with the more water I added, and an older toddler (or anyone old enough to realize what was happening) would be super excited.  Let’s face it, I’m an adult and I was acting like I was going to build the world’s biggest snow village.  It took me a few minutes to do this, so while the princess was waiting, she had some sensory fun with a container of Halloween sprinkles and Christmas sprinkles.

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She was having TONS of fun carrying them around the house shaking them.  She continued to play with these two sprinkle bottles for days.  Silly girl, all these expensive toys and the simplest things bring the most joy!

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After I had the “snow” made, I decided to hide a few of her favorite toys in there.  I put a Mickey bath toy and a few blocks from her alphabet train, in hopes that she would enjoy digging them out.

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Elise on the other hand, wasn’t so sure about slushy mess in front of her.

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She would NOT stick her hand down in it.  She kept touching it and making the grossest face.  I even put her hand down in it at one point thinking it would win her over, but she didn’t like the feel of it.  Although she didn’t dive in and go crazy with it like I wanted her to, THAT’S OKAY.  The sensory bin still served it’s purpose and exposed her to a new feeling.  Maybe she will have more fun with our next sensory project.  Each child is different and will enjoy different textures, tastes, sights, and smells.  Give it a try and see what your child ends up liking!

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**Spin off idea**

Have a toddler that is a little older?  Take an eye dropper and have them drop food coloring (or koolaid if you don’t want to use food coloring) onto the snow to “paint the snow” for a fun and educational activity that helps develop their fine motor skills!

As promised, a couple of fake snow recipes.  Like I said, I haven’t used any of these, so attempt at your own risk!

Living Life Crafty

LIFEOLOGIA has three different eco friendly recipes!

Do you have a recipe for fake snow?  Please feel free to comment and share!  Also I would love to hear about your experiences and how your little one reacted to the fake snow sensory bin!

A Week of Toddler Meals/Snacks

A week of Toddler Meals and Snacks

Toddler food is always being discussed in my mom’s group, so I thought I would share a sample of what Elise eats. It can be hard to come up with different ideas and not get stuck into easy (and often unhealthy) foods and snacks.

I work on the weekends, so I’m not with E and not the one preparing her food on those days, so I am including all of her food for Monday through Friday this week.

Monday:
Breakfast – Mommy was at work, so daddy fed her. She had a banana, Cheerios, and milk.
Snack – Animal cracker cookie and part of a cutie (those little oranges) and milk
Lunch – honey breaded chicken finger, Mac and cheese, steamed veggies with water
Snacks – apple slices, 1/2 a graham cracker, milk
Dinner – French toast (I gave her a tiny amount of syrup) and pineapple chunks, water.
Bedtime – Milk

Here she is enjoying her lunch!

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I still have to cut up her food pretty small for her.  Poor baby still only has two teeth (two bottom ones).  However, we have 6 top teeth poking through all at the same time!

Tuesday was a sleepy day with lots of naps because the princess was up most of the night.
Breakfast – peanut butter and jelly sandwich with milk
Snack – she partied all night and woke up late, so breakfast was later than normal. She did have an animal cracker and a couple yogurt melts though, milk with nap time.
Lunch – She insisted on having a Gerber pouch. It was sweet potatoes mixed with some fruit, so to add something a little heavier with it, she had one of her favorite snacks for lunch, what I call snack pizzas. Crackers, a stick of cheese (mozzarella and cheddar), and pepperoni. She had water to drink.
Snack – Milk (Snack idea to make up for her lack of snack though – YOGURT!)
Dinner – Alfredo bow tie pasta with ham and broccoli with water.
Bedtime – milk

Wednesday
Breakfast – grapefruit and Cheerios, milk
Snack – chocolate chip cookie (this was a big treat), milk
Lunch – fruit plate (bananas and blueberries), water.
Snack – 1/2 graham cracker, milk
Dinner – Pork chops, steamed carrots and potatoes, and water
Another snack – part of a cutie, yogurt melts
Bedtime – milk

Thursday
Breakfast – Blueberry muffin with fresh blueberries, water.
Snack – animal cracker cookie, milk.
Lunch – a banana, rotini pasta, 1/4 a cheesy breadstick (we were out to eat), water
Snack – frozen yogurt with assorted fruit as toppings (on her play date with Miss Kylie!), milk.
Dinner – baked chicken, garlic rice, corn, peas, water.
Bedtime – milk

Friday
Breakfast – Fruit plate (banana and apple slices), milk.
Snack – milk (took an early nap, but she was going to have fresh kiwi).
Lunch – turkey and cheese sandwich, peas, fresh pineapple, water.
Snack – apple cinnamon oatmeal, milk
Dinner – roast beef and scalloped potatoes.
Bedtime – milk

Another fun lunchtime:

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Bonus! Saturday(I’m including even though I wasn’t there)
Breakfast – mini pancakes, apple slices, water.
Snack – Gerber fruit pouch, milk
Lunch – meatloaf and carrots, water
Snack – banana, milk
Dinner – grilled cheese and diced strawberries, water
Bedtime – milk

Sunday– I was at work and she was with her Grammie.  I’m not sure what her meals consisted of, but I know that she did have pineapple, grilled cheese, peas, and shredded cheese. 

My child LOVES to eat.  Here are a couple of photos of her enjoying a few favorites, even though they aren’t from this week!

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Chicken Cordon Bleu pizza with spinach!  YUM!

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Honey breaded chicken finger with broccoli!  Baby likes her veggies!

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Elise loves it when I give her baby trail mix as a snack!

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Spaghetti is always a fun and very messy dinner!

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As soon as you open the refrigerator, she is climbing in it and pulling whatever looks yummy (or colorful) out.  She currently has a obsession with getting the mustard bottle out and carrying it around the house.  I let her taste it once.  She wasn’t a fan!

Other ideas and tips to promote healthy toddler eating:

  • Eggs – This is such a great breakfast for a toddler and it is packed with protein.  You can make an omelet and add veggies to get in more nutrition!  Unfortunately, Elise will not touch eggs with a ten foot pole no matter how much I try to disguise them!
  • Shredded Cheese – Elise LOVES shredded cheese.  It makes for such an easy addition to a snack!
  • Any kind of fresh fruit – Kiwi, watermelon, berries (be careful with possible choking), grapes (always cut in half!), cantaloupe, mango, etc.  Fruit is nature’s candy!
  • PEAS.  Elise loves peas.  They are easy for her to pick up and healthy, so I love them for her!  She eats peas a lot, so I have no idea how we made it through a week of meals without me serving them to her!  They require no prep and can go great with dinner or be a great snack.
  • Yogurt is packed full of nutrition and also satisfies a little sweet tooth in a healthy way!  Elise loves yogurt, but is having an independent streak of not wanting mommy and daddy to feed her with a spoon, so she hasn’t been getting as much of it lately.
  • Pasta is a great way to work on fine motor skills and great for little ones like Elise who are still lacking in the teeth department!  Not to mention it is a family friendly dinner that takes minimal prep time!
  • Oatmeal is your friend!  Again, Elise isn’t in to being fed right now so we’ve held off on it for a couple of weeks, but it is such a healthy and easy breakfast.  Try buying oats in bulk and making your own instant oatmeal in ziplock bags to quickly make!  The flavor possibilities are endless and it is so much healthier and cheaper than buying premade instant oatmeal!
  • Peanut butter!  It goes great on everything!  Toast, bananas, crackers, apples, and so much more!  I recommend speaking with your pediatrician about when it is right to introduce it to your baby though.  We gave it to Elise a couple of days before her one year birthday.
  • Always make extra for dinner and save the left overs!  They make for great toddler lunches the next day!  Did you make baked chicken for dinner?  Try revamping it tomorrow and making a yummy quesadilla with veggies insides as a toddler lunch!
  • We always try to make things for dinner that are baby friendly.  Elise seems to eat more of her food if we are eating the same thing.  If we are eating something different, she is interested to know what we have!
  • This is a given, but sit down at the table together and turn the TV off.  I am always so tempted to do the dishes or wipe down the kitchen quickly while she is eating in the highchair.  I have to stop and remind myself that meal time is family time!
  • I try to offer water at meals instead of milk so that she doesn’t just fill up on milk.  We do often allow her to have milk at breakfast though.
  • We do not do juice at all.  I know a lot of people have to use it for constipation issues once they switch to whole cow’s milk, but I would still encourage it to be with snacks and not meal time.
  • We keep water available to Elise all day.  She always has a sippy full of water close by.
  • Don’t be afraid to give them a treat every now and then!  No hiding in the kitchen eating cookies while they aren’t looking.  Let them share in the snack, and teach them moderation and self control.  Model good eating habits for them.  I think it is absolutely okay for a toddler to have a cookie or other dessert/treat every now and then if they ate their healthy foods first.
  • Keep healthy snacks with you.  When we are going out with others, I will pack a banana or other easy fruit just in case there’s not a healthy option for her.  We also keep yogurt melts, cheerios, and animal crackers in the diaper bag to help with those screaming fits in the car seat or while waiting on meals at restaurants!
  • Depending on what Elise is having, I sometimes offer the healthiest option first.  For example, if we are having steamed broccoli and mac and cheese for lunch (this is a common lunch for us), then I offer the broccoli first.  Elise LOVES mac and cheese, so she will devour that and fill up if they are both offered together.
  • Food is for eating, not for playing.  I know a lot of people say that throwing food off the highchair is a learning process and to just ignore it, but we do not.  If she starts throwing her food instead of eating, then we take it away.  Normally by that point she is full anyway, but if it happens to be a time where she didn’t eat, I will save it and offer it again a little later.
  • I very much believe that a baby with no underlying health problems will not let themselves starve.  If they go a couple of days without really eating much food, don’t stress.  Maybe they are teething or just more interested in exploring the world, but they will come around.  Just keep offering and ensuring they are getting enough milk!

Do you have any other toddler meal or snack ideas?  Any healthy eating tips?  Please feel free to share!

The Adventures of a Toddler

The weather was actually pleasant one day last week, so Elise and I headed out to enjoy the temperature and went to the duck pond.  I of course wanted to take the opportunity to to capture a few photos of her in her adorable little outfit and big girl hair clip.  I should have known I was setting myself up for failure.  Mommy carrying a big heavy camera, a one year old who is no longer the least bit amazed by said big black box, water, muddy grass, ducks, a toddler who has been stuck in the house for weeks who just started walking and wants to run from mommy = a recipe for disaster, not beautiful portraits.  But that is okay, we still had fun!

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I really wanted a photo of her looking at me in this spot, but she wasn’t having it.  She was ready to explore.  Maybe we will have another pretty day soon, when my husband can come too and he can chase her while I snap away.

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She was SUPER excited when she spotted the ducks!

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We were there for maybe 5 minutes when this little dog ran up to us and was trying to jump on Elise.  She loves animals and was all about playing with it, but I didn’t want a strange dog around her so I picked her up and tried to make it leave.  Then this young guy shows up and starts talking to us.  He was very odd and asking if I was a geological person since I had a camera with me.  He even knew what I drive and had read my license plate, so I was a little creeped out.  Since my mom senses were tingling and this guy was not leaving, I decided it was best to get Elise out of there.  Having a baby has made me super paranoid!  So we packed up and left the pond, and went to the playground.  Elise was mad to leave the ducks, but was excited to see the swings and playground!

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There were a few “big kids” aka 3 and 4 year olds there too, and she was amazed by them.  One little boy came to swing next to her, and she wouldn’t take her eyes off of him.

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The other children were playing on the actual playground, and she insisted that she get to play on it too.  The child has never been around stairs in her life and climbed up to the top of the playground like she had been doing it for months.  My little girl is growing up so quickly!  Before long, it started to look like rain, so I decided it was time to head home.  Elise was devastated and carried on like she would never see the outdoors again and her little tiny heart was shattering into a million zillion pieces, so I let her have a few more minutes playing outside at home before we came in.

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Learning to walk in grass is a little bit tougher.  But she’s getting the hang of it…

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…with the occasional fall.

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It is the end of the world as we know it if she falls inside, but as long as she’s outside, she’s a happy girl!

 

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