Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Mother's Day 2016

I'm so very glad that I live within 20 minutes of both my Mom and my Mother in law and get to share Mother's day with both of them. They are both gems. We spread out the love all weekend long starting with a cook out with my family Friday.
The weather was perfect so we all sat outside and watched Aiden run around like a wild child. 
Everyone just loves when I pull out my camera while they are stuffing their faces. Ha.
Aiden and his YaYa.
Saturday Drew and Aiden took me to Krohn's Conservatory for the Butterfly show! In all my years here, I have never been to the Butterfly show. Aiden and I both loved it! 
"Butterfly, where arrrrreeee you?"
After the butterfly show we walked to Eden park to play and then it was off to Echo for brunch. Their Flying pig sandwich (French toast is the bread) is to die for.  MMMmmmm.

Sunday morning both my Mamas came to church with us. I kept Aiden in my lap (because it's Mother's day, duh.) And Dara Maclean was a surprise special guest! Her song Blameless is just beautiful...go give it a listen.
Then it was off to my sister in law's where she and my brother in law did almost all the cooking. She even designed this adorable chalkboard art for the occasion and brought it outside so we could take pictures with it. She knows me well. 
Shirt from Ezra + Eli
Add in a dozen roses from each of my boys and I'd say this Mama was completely spoiled!
Thankful Mama doesn't even begin to describe it.

Friday, May 6, 2016

How to improve meal time with your Toddler

I've learned a lot about how to make meal time with my toddler go more smoothly. I'm no expert, but I have caught on to a few things that make our meal time more relaxing and enjoyable.

1. Give your toddler choices. Whenever Aiden starts throwing a fit at dinner and food starts to fly, I try to put myself in his shoes. He can't communicate exactly what he wants, which is frustrating. He has control over very little in his life. He wants what he wants and he wants it now. When I think about him as a tiny person and consider how he is feeling, it helps me to deal with his tantrums. He isn't just being mean and making a mess for me because it's fun for him. He is doing his best to communicate something that is going on in his brain. Because of that I always find it better to give him choices. I let him pick which color spoon he wants to use. I let him pick if he wants to use a spoon or a fork or heck, even both at the same time. I use divided plates to give him options on what he gets to eat first so he feels he has some control over the meal I've stuck in front of him to eat. I even let him choose a toy to keep with him on his tray. Fun placemats can make meal time more fun too. We are currently using this one.

2. Make meals a fun family bonding time. Sit down at the table together and actually include your toddler in the meal. Serve him what you're serving. Involve him in conversations and don't talk over him! Children pick up more than you think and they know when they aren't being included. I've noticed that if my husband and I are talking back and forth or if we are on our phones (which we try not to be) that Aiden starts getting frustrated. He wants to be included. I know that meal time is always going to be an important family time in our house so why not set that precedent now.

3. Use products that are Toddler friendly. That means two things: easy to use and easy to clean. Here are a few products that have made my life easier at meal time...
Fun feeding Fork & Spoon set (Pictured above)
These utensils are easy for little hands to hold. They are contoured and easy to grasp even with messy fingers. They are also fun, bright color, which is always important and they are BPA free! I have washed these many times over the last few months and they are durable too. They are my go to utensils for Aiden right now!

Garden Fresh Storage Pots These little storage pots have been a life saver for me. I use them to store any fresh veggie or fruit purees I make. They are also great for dipping sauces or storing leftovers. I've taken yogurt to-go in these as well as homemade applesauce and fresh blueberries for snacking. I love that they come with lids to seal in and preserve flavors and nutrients. These are freezer, dishwasher and microwave safe and hold approximately 2 fl. oz. each.

Ezpz Mini Mat This mat is pure genius. I love that it is a divided plate, but one that STICKS to any surface including a high chair tray or table! Gone are the days of my toddler throwing his plate (and all it's contents) on the ground. I have the mini mat, which is tailored to a baby. The plate is divided with purpose...the eyes and smile of the plate are portion sizes perfect for your infant/toddler 4 months and up. I have my eye on the happy mat, which is geared more toward toddlers 9 months and up as the portion sizes are catered to toddlers. It is also easy to pack up for travel and it comes with a reusable bag you can pop in your diaper bag.
What other tips do you have for making meal time with your little one more fun for everyone?

*I was given these product for free in exchange for a review, but all opinions are my own.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Spring brings...

Spring brings lots of sunshine and happiness. 
Spring brings dates with friends where we can sip our drinks outside. 
Spring brings out all the water toys. 
Spring brings family ice cream dates and the need for two straws. 
Spring brings the desire to explore new places and meet up with old friends. 
Spring brings many trips to the park. 
Spring brings baby showers and sun dresses.

That's what Spring brings.

I can't wait to see what else Spring brings!

Monday, April 25, 2016

5 healthy recipes for picky toddlers

recipes for picky toddlers
Feeding a Toddler is a daily exercise in patience, flexibility (both physically and you are often dodging food being thrown or spilled) and creativity. There are weeks when Aiden could eat the same thing for lunch every day, but then there are days where yesterday's favorite is the most disgusting food in the universe. 

I really try to feed Aiden healthy things, but as I'm sure most Moms of toddlers have experienced, feeding a Toddler is no joke. I have my go-to foods for when Aiden just won't eat anything else, but these are a few tried and true "recipes" that are more healthy and are still some of Aiden's favorites...

1. Cucumber + Cream Cheese + Turkey Tortilla Wrap
  • Cucumber
  • Cream Cheese
  • Deli Turkey
  • Tortilla (corn or flour, I used corn this time because we had some leftover from Taco night)
Peel and thinly slice a cucumber (I also steamed it to make it even softer for my little one, but for older toddlers it'd be fine chopped up into small pieces.) Take a tortilla, spread cream cheese on it,  lay a piece of turkey on top and the cucumber pieces. Cut up and serve.

2. Chipotle style burrito bowl
  • Rice
  • Black Beans
  • Plain Greek Yogurt
  • Shredded Cheese
  • Assorted veggies (frozen corn, avocado, diced tomato...)
Combine cooked rice with black beans, top with cheese and non-fat plain greek yogurt. If you can get your toddler to eat vegetables (congratulations!) Add some corn, avocado or even a little diced tomato. For a simple addition to this meal, serve with a cheese quesadilla.

3. Honey, Almond Butter and Banana "Sushi" Roll-up
  • Almond butter
  • Honey
  • Banana
  • Flour Tortilla
Warm the flour tortilla in the microwave on a paper towel for 10 seconds to soften. Spread with almond butter (about 2 Tbsp.) and honey. Lay out a banana on the tortilla and roll tortilla up around the banana tightly. Cut like sushi and serve. Yum.

4. Sweet Potato Tacos

Aiden loves these almost as much as my husband and I do. Click here for the recipe! This one is for the whole family!

5. Butternut Squash Sandwich 
  • Butternut squash (peeled, cubed and steamed)
  • Cream Cheese
  • Deli Turkey or Ham
This recipe is an easy way to conceal veggies and it's really good! Peel and cube the squash then steam it. Puree it with cream cheese. Spread on your choice of  bread or tortilla and add your child's favorite deli meat and any other toppings you want. Cut up and serve.

What are your go-to healthy foods for the Toddler in your life?

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Spring Break 2016

Since my husband is a teacher, we still look forward to Spring Break in our house. This year we may not have headed somewhere warm and sunny, but we had a relaxing few days in South Bend visiting my sister and brother in law. It was nice to get a way for some delicious food, hiking and family time. We visited the South Bend Chocolate Factory, got a golden ticket to tour the factory and enjoyed plenty of samples. We tried Mexican Ice cream for the first time (yum!) and played a new (to us) game called Qwirkle. Aiden loved exploring new territory and he did great in the car too! (Tips for long car rides with toddlers coming in a future post.)

Did you get to enjoy a "Spring Break" this year?

Monday, April 18, 2016

An Aiden Update {17 Month Pictures}

Aiden is now 17 months old and counting. He is growing and changing so quickly and this age is too fun not to document so here are some things I want to remember about Aiden at this age...

My favorite things he says...
+ He calls milk "B".
+ WubbaNub is "Buh." When he can't find it, he has a little song he sings "Buh, where are you?"
+ He whispers "Love you" and my heart melts.
+ He always requests "More cookie"even with his mouth is still full of one.
+ Besides "Mama" his favorite saying is "Out".
+ When we go to the grocery store or see a big group of people he says, "Hi People!" (He is such an extrovert.)
+ If something impresses him he says, "Wow"
+ He knows the difference between train, tractor, truck and car and asks for them all by name.
+ He knows his directional words and if he wants you to join him somewhere, he will say "Up" and then push you toward his desired destination (usually the front door to go outside!)
+ He knows all his animal sounds including obscure ones like fish, turkey and woodpecker

I tried to count all the words that he knows yesterday and it's always growing. I got up to 50 words then got distracted. He has recently started stringing multiple words together. I love seeing how his mind is working right now! It's crazy!

My favorite things he does...
+ Gives kisses on demand
+ When he gets two of something (two cookies, two stuffed animals, two trucks, etc.) he proudly holds them both up in his hands above his head and gets the biggest smile on his face.
+ Sings the "Mama, Dada, Bubba, Yaya" song.
+ Holds my hair when he is tired or needs comfort (He just loves having me close, boy loves his Mama)
+ After I sing a song he will clap, say "Yay" and request "More song". I feel like a very accomplished and talented singer with all that praise. Haha.

Aiden's current favorites...
+ Thomas the train everything (We just signed up for A Day Out with Thomas and I can't wait to see Aiden's face light up when he actually sees and gets to ride on Thomas.)
+ Books! He is constantly bringing us books and telling us "Book, book, book!" He definitely has opinions about his books too. I will bring over a stack of books and he'll look at a book and say "yah" or "no."
+ Watching the Garbage truck collect our garbage
+ Anything and everything outside. Swinging, riding in the wagon, going on hikes...he could live outside. His current favorite thing is pushing toys up and down our neighbors driveways and letting them go at the top followed by him saying, "Weeeeee!"

Stats: (From his 15 month appointment)
+ Weight: 21 pounds
+ Height: 29 inches (Aw still my little peanut in the 10th percentile for height)
I can't believe I'll have a one and a half year old in just a few weeks. 
He is the light of my life and I am so happy he is mine.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Views from the weekend

My weekend was a good one. My book club got together on Friday night. We drank wine, ate appetizers and talked about our latest read, The Nightingale. It's a book about two sisters in France during WWII. They both handle the presence of the Germans in their home very differently. I highly recommend it, especially if you are a fan of Historical Fiction. If you read and loved The Girl You Left Behind, you will love it! Our next book: The Boston Girl. Have any of you read it?

In our house, weekends equal big family breakfasts and staying in our jammies until 11 because we can. Saturday we woke up to April. We took Aiden to a Discovery Center inside a new shopping center, which meant play time for him and shopping for me. If you take in a bag of old/worn clothes to H&M over the next few weeks, you can get 30% off your purchase!

Sunday we booked our flights to South Carolina and spent some time looking up restaurants and places to site see. I can't wait to be on the beach again in less than two months!

What were some of your favorite views this weekend?