Tuesday, May 31, 2016

A Healthy Toddler "Cookie" {Banana + Orange Oat Bites}

My Toddler definitely got his Daddy's sweet tooth. He sees something sweet and immediately says "more yum yums." While we do allow him to indulge in the occasional spoonfuls of Graeter's ice cream, we typically stay away from all that sugar. So what's a Mama to do when her toddler requests cookies on the daily? Enter these Banana and Orange Oat Bites. These "cookies" are so easy to make and only call for 3 simple ingredients. Aiden loves them and honestly, so do I.
1 ripe banana
1/4 cup Orange Juice (freshly squeezed from an orange is best)
1 cup Rolled Oats
1. Preheat your oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
2. Mash the banana in a bowl.
3. Add the orange juice and mix well.
4. Add the oats and mix until well combined.
5. Take one Tablespoon of the oat/banana/orange mixture and shape into round cookie shapes. Place on the baking sheet until all mixture is gone.
6. Bake in the oven 8-10 minutes.
7. Allow to cool on wire rack.

These Avocado and Banana Popsicles are another one of Aiden's favorite healthy treats!

*Original recipe found here.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

A day in the life {with an 18 month old}

Life with a toddler is full. Full of messes, full of outfit changes, full of stories, full of laughter and full of crazy. I love capturing what a day in our life looks like at different stages so here we are at a year and a half. And here's what a day in our life looks like...

6:30ish AM: Aiden is up. I go and get him from his crib, change his diaper and bring him out to the couch with his sippy cup of milk and his stuffed fox who we lovingly call, Mr. Fox. We usually cuddle on the couch and read books together for at least 20 minutes. I love this slow transition into our day. Sometimes the cats join in for cuddle time too. Aiden's favorite books right now are: Little Blue Truck, Trains, Goodnight, Construction Sight. Any clue what his interests are? Haha.
After we cuddle, Aiden plays in the family room while I fix breakfast. This kid loves chocolate chip waffles so that is his main breakfast entree on repeat almost every single day. I try to mix it up with oatmeal and yogurt or bananas and toast, but waffles are his favorite. My parents got Aiden this Thomas the Train ride on and he is obsessed. We take walks with him every day and sometimes he even joins us at the breakfast table.
After breakfast we get dressed and play outside because this child is a huge fan of the outdoors. Since I knew we would be getting in the water table later, we put on our wet clothes, but we had to walk up and down all our neighbor's driveways with Thomas and Mr. Fox first. 
I scored this water table at a Mother of Twins sale for 12 bucks. We have gotten more than our money's worth from it. 
After we play, it's time to cross some things off the to-do list so we put on some real clothes and head to a local market we like to shop at called Pipkins. They have tons of fresh produce and Aiden likes to run around in their garden area after we shop. Aiden likes to point out all the produce and "help me" put it in the bag. "More Nana!" "More Apple!"
12:00ish Then it's back home to eat lunch. Aiden's favorite lunch lately is an English Muffin Pizza, Veggie Straws and some type of Applesauce I make. Sometimes I mix in Sweet Potatoes, other times it's carrots, but he loves any homemade concoction I make and it's so easy.
This EzPz mat is a life saver for Toddler meal time! I wrote about it in this post.
After lunch, it's nap time. Aiden has never been a long napper so I'm lucky if he naps a solid hour, but I'll take what I can get. While Aiden naps I throw in a load of laundry, clean some dishes or meal prep. Or some days when I'm just plain tired, I sit on the couch and catch up on an episode of Nashville. After Aiden wakes up, he requests more "B" aka milk and we might turn on an episode of Thomas per Aiden's request. "Choo Choo on."
If I decide to actually cook a meal, this would be when I do some meal prep. On tonight's menu, an easy crock pot meal: Italian Meatball & Gnocchi Soup. So good!
Drew gets home around 4:30 and Aiden is in heaven. They usually run around outside if it's nice out so I can finish up dinner or we might take a family walk around the neighborhood. From our front door, Aiden usually heads straight to our neighbor's garage and "borrows" her kid's toys. Good thing we have nice neighbors. Then it's time to eat, play a little more and then around 6:30, Aiden is exhausted so the three of us head to his room to get ready for bed.
7:00 Drew and I read Aiden his favorite bedtime books, then I rock Aiden for a few minutes and lay him down in his crib. I usually just stand above him and watch him sleep for a minute or two. I always thank God for giving me my precious little boy. He brings our family so much joy! Every single day with him is a gift.

See my other "Day in the life" posts below...

What does a day in your life look like?

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!