Tag Archives: toddler

BLOG Busy Book Feature Image

Tuesday Tips: Busy Books

We are going to be taking a few road trips this summer, so when my friends posted THIS link, I was intrigued.  A portable activity kit could definitely entertain our kiddos on the road.

I also thought that they would have the added benefit of keeping the little Sweet Peas entertained when I was reading out loud to the older kiddos during our morning school session.  So far they have been a big hit.

I am sharing our modifications and some new ideas that occurred to me based on the skills we want to improve. I decided to start from scratch with most of the activity cards instead of printing off the provided links for a couple of reasons. I want to provide a print-rich environment, so I added words to many of the activities.  In addition, I also want everything the Sweet Peas see to be bi-lingual so that they are exposed to both of the languages we speak in the house in print as well as sound.  (Even when some of the activities had words, they were English- only. )

The books were such a big hit with Otter and Charger! Puma and Night Owl were also flipping through the books, checking out the different activities.  I felt badly that I hadn’t created something for them, so when the opportunity presented itself, I bought more supplies to create books with age-appropriate activities for them.  They helped me choose what they wanted in their books.

As far as the little Sweet Peas go, I am thrilled that they are enjoying their books and looking for new pockets to unzip.  I loved all the printables (free!) on the Busy Little Bugs site. I am thinking that I will have to go back there to the to find new games that I can swap out periodically so that the littles do not get bored doing the same activities.  Ideally, I would like to have twenty different “busy bags” with activities to rotate through, maybe putting in five zip pockets at a time into the Busy Books, and letting them choose their favorites when it’s time to hit the road.

We are three days into having these books around, and every day I still hear (several times a day!), “Where is my Busy Book?” YEAH!

Notes:

  1. Links to all the websites I used to make the Busy Books are at the bottom of the post.
  2. If you would like my English/Spanish activity cards, then please send an email to sweetpeafamilies@gmail.com.  I will send you the file I used so you can print them out for your Sweet Peas.
  3. Felt sticks to itself!! You probably knew this – I am thrilled since it is new to my memory bank! Saved all the leftovers – looking forward to cutting it up and using it for future activities.
  4. Cardstock and Con-Tact® Laminate paper are the best! I wish I had picked up the cardstock the first time around at the store.  Since I didn’t and I am not patient when my mind is set on finishing something, most of the activity cards are printed on regular copy paper.   Still okay – the laminate paper make them durable enough to get good use out of them.  In the future and for any recipients of Busy Book gifts, we will definitely use cardstock.

Charger’s Book (5 years old)BLOG Busy Book Overview

Felt Name Board with letters color-coded for vowels and consonantsBLOG Busy Book Name

Shape-MatchBLOG Busy Book Shapes

Buttons + Boards for sortingBLOG Busy Book Sorting

Counting Cards 1-10 odd/even color-codedBLOG Busy Book Numbers

Memory Game / Puzzle Cards

BLOG Busy Book Memory

Charger’s pieces double as a puzzle and a memory game; I chose a fun chevron print for the top-side of Otter’s game

Color Card MatchBLOG Busy Book Rainbow

“Copycat” bags: Felt “Snake”, Velcro Craft Sticks, Before & After number game from Busy Little BugsBLOG Busy Book Copycat

Mona MELisa Sticker Playset – we store it in a page protector sleeve so that the sleeve also serves as sticker storage.

BLOG Busy Books TRVLPPOB-1

Image from Mona MELisa Webpage

 

Otter’s Book (2.5 years old)

  • Felt Name Board with letters and shapes
  • Shape-Match Buttons + Board for sorting BLOG Busy Book Toddler Sort
  • Counting Cards 1-10 odd/even color-coded – Otter’s set has pom-poms to put on the circles – she is still having a hard time with the mini-clothespins.  She reminded me that she can use the big ones 😉 I tried to explain to her that they don’t fit in the bags and we’ll have to save those for the schoolroom games.
  • Felt “Snake”
  • Velcro Craft Sticks
  • Memory Game
  • Color Card Match
  • Mona MELisa Sticker Playset – we store it in a page protector sleeve so that the sleeve also serves as sticker storage.

    Blog Busy Books TRVLPPPONY-1

    Image from Mona MELisa Webpage

Puma’s book (nine years old): BLOG Busy Book Puma

  • Felt shapes for creative design
  • Beads + Cord for jewelry making
  • Horse coloring pages
  • Memory Game
  • Mona MELisa Sticker Playset – we store it in a page protector sleeve so that the sleeve also serves as sticker storage.
BLLOG Busy Books TRVLPPMER-1

Image from Mona MELisa Webpage 

 

Night Owl’s book (six years old):BLOG Busy Books Owl

  • Sorting Cards + Buttons
  • Velcro Craft Sticks
  • Knights (Printed on cardstock /laminated.  They stand-up for play and fold flat for storage)
  • Memory Game (Dragon Images + a Bowman Family Crest for top-side)
  • Dragon Coloring Pages

 

Link List

Inspiration Post From Mama.Papa.Bubba blog
http://mamapapabubba.com/2014/05/22/portable-activity-kit-for-little-travellers/

Busy Little Bugs – Printable activities
http://www.busylittlebugs.com.au/

Travel Play Sets – Mona MELisa Designs
http://www.monamelisadesigns.com/Travel_PEEL_PLAY_Sets_s/1839.htm

Chevron Paper
http://www.minqandmode.com.au/2012/06/11/chevron-digital-paper-free-download/
http://www.craftyferret.co.uk/viewItem.asp?idProduct=759

Pirate ship background turned puzzle
http://background-pictures.picphotos.net/fantasy-pirate-pirate-ship-ship-skull-ocean-wallpaper/images7.alphacoders.com*304*304125.jpg/

Flowers for Puma’s Memory Game
https://sites.google.com/site/lucknowflowers/lucknowflowers2

Google Searches
Knight Images
Horse coloring pages
Dragon coloring pages

 

 

Essential Oil Basics for the Home & Family

Essential Oils are a huge part of how we keep ourselves and our home happy, healthy and clean. I have dreams of one day having an entire medicine cabinet completely stocked and organized with tons of essential oils and oil blends for every specific complaint and ailment but the reality is that quality oils are pricey and only a handful really will cover almost all of the bases.

essential oil photo

Now that my family has been routinely been using essential oils for over two years and has gotten into a groove of using a specific number of oils for almost all of our needs I thought I would share what that looks like.

There are numerous producers of essential oils on the market, and many high quality companies. I personally use and love doTERRA, although I have heard good things about Mountain Rose Herb’s oils & Young Living Essential Oils.

We currently purchase: Tea Tree, Lavender, Peppermint, Lemon, Clove, On Guard Blend, Citrus Bliss Blend, and occasionally Eucalyptus. Below are all of the ways I use these 8 essential oils in our daily life for health and wellness.

Hand Sanitizer: 2 oz amber glass bottle with spray top filled 3/4 way with witchhazel, squirt of aloe vera gel, 5-10 drops tea tree oil, 5 drops On Guard oil

All Purpose Cleaning Solution: 1 large glass spray bottle filled 3/4 with warm water, 1/4 vinegar, 20 drops Citrus Bliss Blend & 10 drops Tea Tree Oil (optional, sometimes we add sometimes not). We use this to clean counters, clean carpet, clean floors, spills on the mattress, just about any/all surfaces. I have used many different applicable essential oils for our cleaner (tea tree + lavender, on guard, on guard + tea tree) and we enjoy the way Citrus Bliss smells the most. I do not mind the vinegar smell but some of the essential oils mixed with vinegar can smell like ketchup or just funky,, especially when used on the carpet, fabrics, etc.

Home Diffusing: We have an Aroma Ace Diffuser and for overall immune boosting I like to diffuse On Guard Blend in various rooms of our house or Lemon during the spring/summer so the whole house smells fresh & clean! Citrus Bliss is also yummy smelling to diffuse, especially when having guests over, etc.

Drinking Water: I add 2-3 drops of Lemon Oil to my water in my glass Life Factory water bottle to drink throughout the day, yum.

Stainless Steel Cleaner: When we used to have stainless steel appliances I would clean them with water & lemon oil – worked like a charm! You can also use a cotton ball with a little water and 1 drop of lemon oil to clean an IPhone or computer screen.

Facial Toner/Pimples: We use Tea Tree Oil as a facial toner after washing sometimes and to spot treat pimples anywhere on the body

Eczema: My son had a really bad patch of eczema on the crease and beyond of his hand, I mixed some organic, unrefined olive oil with 3 drops of tea tree oil and applied with a Q-tip 2x a day, it completely cleared up over the course of a couple weeks, you could never even tell where it was now.

Teething Oil: In another 2 oz glass bottle I combined 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil, 2 drops peppermint oil, 2 drops clove oil, and 10 drops grapefruit seed extract (optional).

Headaches: Rub peppermint oil and lavender oil on temples & back of neck

Fever: Mix a little coconut oil with a couple drops of peppermint oil and lavender oil and apply to bottom of feet and back of neck.

Baths: Add lavender oil to baths to relax, for mama and baby!

Sunburn (or any burn): Mix 1/2 vinegar & 1/2 water in 2 oz spray bottle with 5 drops lavender oil and 5 drops tea tree oil and spray all over burned area.

Toothache: Add 2-3 drops clove oil to melted coconut oil and swish/spit. Apply a small amount directly to tooth afterwards, reapply throughout the day.

Toothpaste: We make our own toothpaste using melted coconut oil, baking soda, and 3 drops of peppermint oil

Stuffy Nose: Boil a pot of water on the stove with 5-10 drops tea tree oil, stand over pot breathing in the steam. We usually do not have Eucalyptus oil on hand but during some recurring colds I had while pregnant I purchased some and did this with a blend of tea tree & eucalyptus oils.

Chest Rub during cold/flu: Coconut oil with Tea Tree and/or Eucalyptus oils. We use on the bottom of our feet as well.

Laundry: I like to add 2 drops of peppermint oil or 2 drops of lemon oil to our wash load. My husband will also spray shirts or pants that need “fluffing” with a combo of water & peppermint or water & lavender and then throw into the dryer.

Immunity Boost: Whenever we need an overall immunity boost (upcoming travel, one of us or people around us are sick, etc.) I spray door handles, countertops, tables, the car with On Guard as well as apply to our feet and backs of our necks.

Colds/Sore Throat: Hot water, Apple Cider Vinegar, Lemon oil & honey

There are so many different oils and so many ways to use them but the above is what I find us doing on a regular and often daily basis. When we first became interested in using them we purchased this book to have on hand as a fast reference, it has been very helpful in many different situations! I am also thinking of purchasing this one next to have for my little one as he grows.

We purchase all of our doTerra oils through our lovely friend, Kelly, at Haute Boheme Essential Oils . She is very active online and via their Facebook Page for questions, concerns, just to chat, anything :)

There is nothing like the relaxed feeling I have knowing there are no chemicals in our house for cleaning, fragrance, laundry, body care, especially now that there is a very curious, active toddler among us. We are very grateful to have discovered essential oils and their endless uses that have seriously enriched our lives!

Do you mamas use essential oils for your little ones? What about for your family or home?

 

New Year Resolutions: Mama Style

Last week I wrote all about New Year Resolutions past and this week I thought I would write a follow up of what I am actually hoping for in 2014.

My husband’s resolutions seemed to take the form of one personal desire, Presence, and then one work/career desire. Under the over arching desire he brainstormed applicable ways to work towards it. For me, I do small interactive advertising, content management, and social media projects from home for money but I consider my “job” to be raising our 22 month old. Naturally my personal resolutions affect my parenting, the same as my husband’s personal actions affect his parenting and our family, but there were some things that I felt I would like to specifically address in my role as mama for 2014.

Potty

We have been practicing Elimination Communication with T part time for a very long while but this year I want 100% of pees & poos to be in the potty. We are armed with many pairs of underwear and we practice a lot at home but I can’t help but feel we are SO far away, T is not verbal and it is almost impossible to get him to tell us *before* he goes. He also wakes what feels like 8-12 times a night and I have no idea what that means for us when it comes to potty-ing and diapers at night time.  I really want him to be exclusively in underwear this year, but again, I pretty much have no expectations left when it comes to his parenting thing and also know that small children simply can not be forced to do anything. So, one can only hope.

Sleep

I feel like we have absolutely exhausted (no pun intended) this avenue. Co-sleeping, night time nursing, night weaning, his own bed next to ours, his own bed in his own room, talking about it, Daddy comforting, Mama comforting, etc. etc. and the longest he sleeps is cuddled up with me for only 2 hours (or less) at a time. This has to change this year. This is the year that we all sleep more!!!!! We have some travel coming up in January and February and then T’s second birthday is in March. After that it is Mission: Sleep. We are going tackle more sleep, even if it means T’s habits can not or do not change but my husband and I switch off nights on duty so we can at least get a few nights of uninterrupted sleep a week, more sleep is a priority for everyone this year.

Environment & Being The Example

What do I want my household environment to be like, feel like? What kind of energy do I want in my home? I like to ask myself this a few times a day to keep it in the front of my mind. My goal this is year is to practice more of what I envision. I can not expect T to grow up being calm, patient, willing to communicate and express himself if I am not. I can not expect him to be peaceful and loving in all of our interactions if I am not. If what I see for us is a slow paced, loving home in which we share many laughs than I am going to slow down, relax and worry less about things that do not need my immediate attention. If my hopes for T are to be polite than I am going to focus more on always using a polite tone with him and my husband, and so on.

I feel like there is so much more I want to get out of my brain and onto paper, so to speak, so I can assess and reflect on it, but I think the above seems to be a reasonable amount to take on right now without overwhelming myself.  I look forward to updating everyone on our progress over the next few months!

What goals do you have in your professional, home, or mama life this year? Anything daunting that you are looking forward to finally addressing when it comes to your Sweet Peas?

 

 

New Year’s Resolutions: 2014

New Year’s Eve & New Year’s Day are quite possibly my two favorite days — the excitement of the evening, the opportunity for reflection and reminiscing and the promise and possibility of a new year. Every year for the past six years my husband and I have made a big deal out of preparing our resolutions on January 1st, each year seems to bring a different kind of format.

2014

One year we did vision boards, a vision of our entire year. Things we wanted to remember each day, things we wanted to accomplish, things to look forward to, mantras, new skills to master, etc. We got to cutting out of magazines, printing pictures & sayings off line, arranging and glueing. We hung the boards in our office where we could see them every day. This was a particularly fun one, I don’t know how much accountability this year had though — the boards had ALOT on them, probably enough for a lifetime, rather than just one year. Super fun nonetheless and I would really like to recreate this activity when our little T can participate.

Another year was more SMART goal oriented, very specific with specific plans in place to quantify, measure, access & evaluate and hopefully accomplish. These are great and my husband and I both LOVE checking things off of to-do lists but as we grew we became more focused on making the journey count, rather than just the feeling of completion.

The next year we focused on themes or sayings for the year, did we want this year to be about growth, or appreciation, kindness, calmness? Sometimes it was just a word, sometimes a year long mantra that could be placed on the refrigerator or other high visibility area.

At the end of 2011 I was expecting our little bundle of joy and knew I had BIG changes ahead of me in 2012. I was not returning to my job outside of the house and life as I knew it was going to be 100% different. This time I made “tasks” or reminders for each month, I knew this year was going to be about survival and necessary adaptation I would be ebbing, flowing, and changing all over the place and thought it would be nice to have little things that I could look forward to and accomplish. They included things like:

January – go to 4 prenatal yoga classes

March – write in baby blog each week

April  – don’t stress!

May – practice sewing

September – plant a garden

I really liked this format too, it wasn’t too overwhelming and I actually crossed off a lot of items! It made the coming and going of each month kind of fun too (:

Last year I came down with the worst case of the flu the day before New Year’s Eve. We had reservations at our favorite restaurant to have a much needed date night out while baby stayed at Granny’s and we had to cancel. I was throwing up for two days and finally just turning a corner on New Year’s Day. We were staying with family and hoping to relocate soon and I am not sure if we actually made any concrete resolutions, this year turned out to be one heck of a crazy ride though and I could not possibly be one bit happier with where we are now!

I am not exactly sure how our “resolutions” are going to manifest this year — I saw this on Facebook yesterday though and we are definitely going to make these jars!  If we can keep it up over the next couple of years I think it will be so awesome to help T with a jar of his own.

I do know that I want to be more present this year, appreciate more of what is happening around me right then, find a way to help our toddler (& us!!) sleep more, learn to & practice sewing (this has been on the list for years, is 2014 the year!?), meditate more and a lot of other things I need to think on // regardless, it is going to be a great year welcomed in with champagne and some hoppin’ john, collards and cornbread!

What are your resolutions for 2014? Do you have any New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day traditions? How do you include your sweet peas? Happy New Year!!! <3

 

 

Munchkin Meals: Food On The Go

Another month has passed and Munchkin Meals from A Healthy Slice of Life are back! Nothing remarkable has really changed with T’s meals and/or eats so I thought I would switch it up with some things he has been enjoying on the go.

Snacks are always a little hard for me — nothing *too* messy since it will end up all over him/me/the stroller/the car, needs to be something I can grab fairly quickly while trying to get us out of the house, I don’t like to default to bunnies, O’s or the like and variety is important to me since he is more of a snacker/grazer than a three meal a day kind of kid.

So what have we been taking with us these days?

Fresh Fruit 

I know, this is easy and obvious, but… it is easy and obvious! (And nutritious). Berries are still in season here on the coast but will probably be slowing down right about now. Super fast to throw raspberries, blackberries or strawberries into a snack cup & go.

20131105-184150.jpg 20131105-183949.jpg

 

Grapes are another awesome farmer’s market find these days and again, just throw into the cup & head out.

Apples, plums, and asian pears are abundant right now from one of our local favorites, Inzana Ranch. I chop the plums and pears but these little Fuji apples are such a perfect toddler snack with minimal preperation. I just peel the skin and he eats them whole.

20131105-183905.jpg It is a great car/stroller activity too and I have recently read across the internet that apples have enzymes or acids in them that are supposedly supposed to help with teething pain which is another major plus since T is currently cutting all four incisors at once (:

taking an apple out with him on Halloween!

taking an apple out with him on Halloween!

As I mentioned last month I have a love affair with bananas despite their long distance travels and nothing has changed this month. They are just so darn easy!

loves his bananas

loves his bananas

perfect for stroller rides

perfect for stroller rides

Dried Fruit

T is LOVING on raisins lately — lucky for us in addition to great fresh fruit Izana Ranch also stocks various types of yummy raisins!

this week we decided to try the "crimson"

this week we decided to try the “crimson”

These dried blueberries from Trader Joe’s are also great, nothing added — just freeze dried blueberries.

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Baked Sweet Potato Rounds

I make up a big batch of these at once and they are perfect for on the go. Cutting them in rounds makes them less squish-able then chunks and therefore less messy for us. T loves them.

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Gluten Free Grahams 

We are lucky enough to live very close to a Whole Foods & T has really been happy about these gluten free cinnamon graham crackers lately. Again, trying not to make a habit of it, but they are super easy to just throw into a snack cup and be done with it.

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Chickpeas

I forgot to snap a picture but recently I have discovered what a great snack whole garbanzo beans are! I buy the Eden Organics because their cans are BPA Free or else I make our own using dried beans. Beware, they will get stinky QUICKLY if left in a car, diaper bag, etc. but they are a nice switch up from fruit and crackers and a great source of fiber plus some protein. They are the perfect size for little toddler fingers, too.

What foods do you take for your toddlers or children when you leave the house? Do you have any go to or easy snack options? T & I both thank you in advance for any ideas (:

 

 

 

 

Munchkin Meals: Another Month of T’s Eats

I can’t believe another month has passed since the last time we featured Munchkin Meals! My son, T, is turning 19 months old on Monday (he is now closer to two than one, aaahhh!) so below is a sampling of what we offered him during his 19th month of life!

Breakfasts

sweet potatoes roasted in coconut oil & cinnamon, banana slices & cheese with a side of 1 parts fresh apple juice & 3 parts water - simple, simple.

sweet potatoes roasted in coconut oil & cinnamon, banana slices & cheese with a side of 1 parts fresh apple juice & 3 parts water – simple, simple.

He opened the pantry & asked for some “o’s” this particular morning, so I obliged..

+ the beloved O's!

+ the beloved O’s!

Trader Joe’s has these Toasted O’s that are gluten free with a short ingredient list that I buy occasionally as T loves them for stroller and car snacks & has fun putting them on his little fingers (:

figs, strawberries, avocado & more roasted sweet potatoes

fresh figs, strawberries, avocado & more roasted sweet potatoes

we always have breakfast while still in our PJ's (: banana, olives and pluot with a side of coconut water

we always have breakfast while still in our PJ’s (: banana, olives and pluot with a side of coconut water

nectarine, fresh fig, and a pancake topped with tahini & honey. The pancake is: whole wheat flour, egg, raw cream + ACV as buttermilk, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, a little ground flax seed & baking powder.

nectarine, fresh fig, and a pancake topped with tahini & honey. The pancake is: whole wheat flour, egg, raw cream + ACV as buttermilk, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, ground flax seed & baking powder.

I have since decided to finally bite the bullet and go 100% gluten free after various practitioners have been recommending it to me for years – literally about 7 years. If I am entirely gluten free then T will also be gluten free (until he can prepare food himself) so no more wheat pancakes, but we have been making really tasty oat and coconut flour ones! I love that they are filled with protein and good fats along with spices and no sugar. They are perfect to cut up and take as a snack too, T loves eating them with or without toppings.

pancake to go

pancake to go

Lunches

tortilla with almond butter, sweet potatoes, corn chips with homemade guacamole & healing movement orange blend cultured vegetables

tortilla with almond butter, sweet potatoes, corn chips with homemade guacamole & healing movement orange blend cultured vegetables

strawberries, fennel barley risotto, carrots, green beans & cheese

strawberries, fennel barley risotto, carrots, green beans & cheese

baked zucchini "fries", banana topped with tahini and heirloom tomatoes

baked zucchini “fries”, banana topped with tahini and heirloom tomatoes

roasted squash with coconut oil, banana with peanut butter & strawberries

roasted squash with coconut oil, banana with peanut butter & strawberries

corn and black beans, avocado, yellow nectarine and pluot

corn and black beans, avocado, yellow nectarine and pluot

baked sweet potato wedges, roasted broccoli, chicken and plum

baked sweet potato wedges, roasted broccoli, chicken and plum

shared lunch with mama: turkey, avocado & tomato on romaine topped with deli mustard

shared lunch with mama: turkey, avocado & tomato on romaine topped with deli mustard

Dinners

Again, I am so bad at taking pictures of dinner but I remembered a few more times this month!

roasted golden beets, adobo slow cooker chicken with mushrooms & onions, and banana slices. Not pictured: rice - makes such a huge mess, I try to help him with it as much as he will let me.

roasted golden beets, adobo slow cooker chicken with mushrooms & onions, and banana slices. Not pictured: rice – makes such a huge mess, I try to help him with it as much as he will let me.

HEAB/CD's dinner hash: yukon potatoes, grass fed ground beef, mushrooms, onions, and sauerkraut

HEAB/CD’s dinner hash: yukon potatoes, grass fed ground beef, mushrooms, onions, and sauerkraut

deconstructed tuna casserole: brown rice noodles, peas, and tuna fish all coated in the cashew/nutritional yeast "cheese" sauce

deconstructed tuna noodle casserole: brown rice noodles, peas, and tuna fish all coated in the cashew/nutritional yeast “cheese” sauce

local albacore tuna from our CSA topped with avocado mousse, white rice (was feeling brave this night letting him go to town on the rice alone) & radish/cucumber topped with flax oil

local albacore tuna from our CSA topped with avocado mousse, white rice (was feeling brave this night letting him go to town on the rice alone) & radish/cucumber dressed with flax oil

chili, corn bread and a little cheese.

chili, corn bread and a little cheese.

The only produce that we purchased outside of the farmer’s market this month (aside from one bag of frozen peas for the tuna casserole) was bananas. As we know, bananas grow *nowhere* near us, in a climate nothing like the one we experience. I have not researched banana plantations in depth and although I always purchase organic, they are still from Dole and as a large multinational company I will never entirely trust their practices. BUT, I just can not stop buying them for T, ah! They are so convenient to take with us out of the house, a great source of fiber, easy to top with healthy fats (peanut butter, almond butter, tahini) and have a long counter life. Do the benefits outweigh the negatives? Are there any good alternatives? What do you all think?

What have your kiddos been eating this month, I can always use new ideas and recipes!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Munchkin Meals: T’s Eats at at 17/18 Months

Happy Thursday! In place of our usual Thoughtful Thursday, today I am participating in Brittany at A Healthy Slice of Life‘s Munchkin Meals. A couple of months ago I shared a lot about *how* little T eats and thought this would be fun to showcase what he has been enjoying eating lately!

Breakfast

Breakfast always has fruit, maybe a pancake/french toast/muffin, sometimes cheese and then usually another random fat/protein source accompanied by a green smoothie

strawberries, chicken, cheese & banana with a side of green smoothie: kale, mustard greens, frozen fruit medley, 1/2 banana, flax seed & water

strawberries, chicken, cheese & banana with a side of green smoothie: kale, mustard greens, frozen fruit medley, 1/2 banana, flax seed & water

half a banana, french toast on local/organic whole wheat bread, grapes & strawberries

half a banana, french toast on local/organic whole wheat bread, grapes & strawberries

T saying "haaawt" to his french toast (:

T saying “haaawt” to his french toast (:

we usually make a green smoothie at home every morning but if we happen to be low on ingredients or in a rush T also loves these green smoothies from Trader Joe's!

we usually make a green smoothie at home every morning but if we happen to be low on ingredients or in a rush T also loves these green smoothies from Trader Joe’s!

AM Snack

While we are out & about during our morning adventure I bring T cut up fresh fruit, roasted sweet potatoes and sometimes almond butter/almond butter & jam sandwiches to snack on

Pre Nap Lunch

I usually put a light lunch out when we get home before T takes his nap.

green beans, chick peas & kidney beans & banana with half OJ/half water

green beans, chick peas & kidney beans & banana with half OJ/half water

peach, chicken & black eyed peas

peach, chicken & black eyed peas

strawberries, oranges, roasted sweet potatoes, white potatoes & raw milk cheese

strawberries, oranges, roasted sweet potatoes, white potatoes & raw milk cheese

frozen peas, blueberries, cheese & banana topped with almond butter

frozen peas, blueberries, cheese & banana topped with almond butter

decisions, decisions (:

decisions, decisions (:

After Nap Lunch

This is usually a heartier plate, I would say this is the time of day T eats the most food at one sitting.

strawberries, lentils & rice, beet saurkraut, golden beets, and a cut up leftover pancake from the AM (almond flour, egg, flax seed, olive oil, baking powder & banana)

strawberries, lentils & rice, beet saurkraut, golden beets, and a cut up leftover pancake from the AM (almond flour, egg, flax seed, olive oil, baking powder & banana)

strawberries, peaches, golden beets & lentils

strawberries, peaches, golden beets & lentils

strawberries, olives, curried green beans, carrots & potatoes

strawberries, olives, curried green beans, carrots & potatoes

white potatoes, red bell peppers, raspberries & a whole wheat tortilla wrap with almond butter & fig spread

white potatoes, red bell peppers, raspberries & a whole wheat tortilla wrap with almond butter & fig spread

Dinner

I don’t have pictures of dinner because we are usually all sitting down as a family and I don’t have my phone/ always forget to get a snapshot. T eats whatever we are having, often he just grazes off of our plates too. This night we were having black cod, sauerkraut, and a green salad. He ate the fish & sauerkraut and I filled his placemat up with some leftovers from lunch too.

strawberries, sauerkraut, miso black cod, leftover chicken, black eyed peas & cheese from lunch

strawberries, sauerkraut, miso black cod, leftover chicken, black eyed peas & cheese from lunch

So there you have it, a mix of all the different kinds of foods T has been discovering, playing with, and eating lately! We shop at the farmer’s markets for most of our fruits, vegetables and bread so a lot of things that are in season are recurring on his plate, especially strawberries :) As we venture into fall I am excited to see different crops offered (the first butternut squash made an appearance this week!!!)  and try out some new, seasonal recipes!

A Day in the Life of… SAHM + 17 Month Old

A Day in the Life Of: SAHM & The 17 Month Old

Life has been a crazy roller coaster for our entire family since pretty much the week my son was born last March 2012, he arrived over three weeks later than we expected and we needed to be moved out of our apartment 8 days later. Since that move we have moved five (!!!!) more times but have currently been situated in our present (and hopefully permanent) town for a month now. In that month we have gotten down a pretty good routine, one that feels that it will stick around for a while, so I thought I would share what a typical day looks like for us.

8:00-9:00AM Wake Up!

T nurses throughout the entire night and is a very light sleeper. In the early morning hours he nurses the most but rolls around and keeps his eyes closed. He is not ready to start the day until 8 or 9, sometimes later. He will open his eyes and smile at me or stick out his tongue and laugh and our day has officially begun!

We get out of bed and head to the bathroom. T gets his pajama pants and crazy full nighttime diaper taken off and sits on his potty. I wash my face, brush my teeth, and get some light makeup on. Thresh sits on the counter & splashes his feet in the sink and plays with his toothbrush and makeup brushes I have set aside just for him. He helps brush my hair and sometimes throws a million Q-tips all over the bathroom floor.

a look of sheer joy for finding the roll of TP that is usually out of his reach, great for using the toilet and brushing my teeth!

a look of sheer joy for finding the roll of TP that is usually out of his reach, great for allowing me to use the toilet and brushing my teeth!

Next, we pick out his clothes for the day, put a fresh new diaper on, and then I dress him.

9:30AM Breakfast

T gets cut up fruit from the farmer’s market and then either some leftovers from the previous night’s dinner, scrambled egg, pancake, French toast, beans, bread with almond butter, or a homemade muffin of some sort. I like to give a lot of choices and switch things up but everything is very basic and whole food.

a sample of T's placemat: blueberries, strawberries, grapes, black beans & corn, chickpeas, tomatoes, & yellow carrots.

a sample of T’s plate: blueberries, strawberries, grapes, black beans & corn, chickpeas, tomatoes, & yellow carrots with a side of water :) Green Sprouts Placemat

While he is busy eating I make my coffee and get dressed as fast as possible. I don’t know what it is about getting dressed but it is a sure fire way to make T hold on to my leg and scream or whine or just need something from me right then while I have no pants on or something equally as inconvenient.

There is usually a few books requested and read throughout the morning too, cannot forget the books. Just once is never ok; “more” is the most used sign in our house by far.

morning reads.

morning reads.

10:00AM Head Out

Each day’s morning activity is a little bit different but we are usually always out of the house around this time.

Monday: Rotates

Tuesday: Age Related Class at Parent’s Place

Wednesday: Tots in Motion

Thursday: Story time at our local library

Friday: Art & Food Class

Mondays (& sometimes Wednesdays) we rotate with different things around town. Sometimes we will bike to the mall if I need to pick something, it is outdoors and T loves running around and playing by the fountain and doing the stairs. We also walk or bike to various beaches and playgrounds.

our bike riding set up - walking is easier but our bike allows us to cover more distance! (this was just a test ride, I always wear a helmet & do not bike in dresses typically haha)

our bike riding set up – walking is easier but our bike allows us to cover more distance! (this was just a test ride, I always wear a helmet & do not bike in dresses typically haha)

exploring at the beach this day.

exploring at the beach this day.

12:00PM Errands

Since we are out and about I will make a quick stop anywhere I might need like the post office or market, return library books, pop into the children’s consignment store to see if they have any “new” goods, etc. T usually wants to walk some of the way home and we stop to enjoy many plants and dogs and birds a long the way.

stopping at the park on the way home & taking some selfless :)

stopping at the park on the way home & taking some selfies (:

1:00PM Lunch & Play

We are home and I assemble T some more food, he has had some sort of snack while we were out and about but now hopefully he will eat some more and fill himself up a bit before nap time. Dinner leftovers, bean salad, roasted veggies, quinoa, lentils, more fruit, olives, cheese, and hummus make appearances often.

lunch today: blueberries, leftover chicken quinoa, and more black beans & corn

lunch today: blueberries, leftover chicken quinoa, and more black beans & corn

We read more books and sometimes play outside and if T is particularly engaged in his toys/play room I try to prep anything I can for dinner that night.

some lunch time play

some lunch time play

2:00 PM Naptime

There is usually a semi meltdown or at least some clingy-ness and/or whining around this time so we head to the bedroom for a new diaper, close the blinds, put on the white noise and lay down together to nurse to sleep.

Once T is sleeping I sneak out and do a quick clean up of the place, throw in some laundry or finish what dinner prep I was doing earlier, make a snack for myself, and work on the computer.

T usually wakes around 3PM and if I catch him quickly enough can nurse him back down for another half hour or hour. Sometimes I lay with him and read or work on my phone.

4:00PM Afternoon Adventures

T is awake and ready to party! I offer him more food when he wakes up and he will usually eat quite a bit. Then we read lots of books, play in his teepee and playroom and pretty quickly it is time to head outside.

awake & enjoying his playroom, searching for the perfect read

awake & enjoying his playroom, searching for the perfect read

On Mondays we walk down to the farmer’s market and finish our shopping for the week and Tuesdays we walk to pick up our CSA seafood delivery. We play with the neighbor’s dog; play with balls in the street, go on wagon rides, walk through the forest near our house, dig in the dirt in the backyard, and find other things to explore in our neighborhood.

off to pick up our CSA Fish share on a Tuesday afternoon

off to pick up our CSA Fish share on a Tuesday afternoon

6:00PM Dinner Prep

It is hard getting T back inside but usually I manage somehow and enlist his help in starting dinner. He hangs out in his learning tower throwing anything and everything onto the ground, plays in the sink, bangs together some dishes, samples whatever I am putting together, and the like. Sometimes he takes all of the garbage bags out from under the sink, all of the mason jar lids out of the drawer, bangs measuring cups together, empties the pantry, stacks muffin liners, and other various kitchen shenanigans. He gets frustrated easily during this time and wants my full attention and I usually don’t get very far into my cooking.

using the learning tower to help wash some dishes

using the learning tower to help wash some dishes

6:30PM Daddy is home!

My husband is usually home by 6:30 and is greeted by a squealing T who immediately runs outside to greet him and to partake in one of his favorite activities, playing in the car (we only have the one car my husband takes to work every day). He climbs in and pushes a million buttons, plays music, etc. etc. etc. while I finish up dinner, yes!

dinner prep: note all the different bowls, etc. I do a little bit at a time throughout the day, this was right before it was going into the pan. Pictured is the chicken fried quinoa from a couple of nights ago.

dinner prep: note all the different bowls, etc. I do a little bit at a time throughout the day, this was right before it was going into the pan. Pictured is the chicken fried quinoa from a couple of nights ago.

7:00PM Eat, Clean, Play

We eat together while T tries to convince us to read books or take him outside and we try to coerce him into having a couple more bites. I clean the kitchen and my husband takes over playtime. They wrestle, read books, and play outside. I am exhausted at this point; there is almost always wine with my kitchen cleaning.

8:30PM Wind Down

There is usually some eye rubbing or yawning, but T fights his sleepy urges to the death. We take the opportunity to put on a nighttime diaper, pajamas, and turn all of the lights down low. T is not loving baths these days so we have been skipping them and every so often do a quick sink bath, he goes back and forth between bath loving and bath hating. I need to get some new bath toys, bath books, and glow sticks – I have heard glow sticks will turn the most avid toddler bath haters around! We all stay in our bedroom and read books, play around in bed, snuggle, laugh, and just marvel at how much personality this small human that is part of our family has.

9:00/9:30PM Lights Out

T usually isn’t ready to call it a night until about 9:00 or 9:30. We turn off the final light and lay down to nurse to sleep. Sometimes it’s easy, and sometimes he gets up at least 43 more times before he finally drifts off. I have thrown all expectations out the window and never “plan” anything for after bedtime. T is so unpredictable and half the time I fall asleep before or when he does. If I do happen to stay awake, I sneak off and eat some cookies or chocolate or drink more wine and work on the computer or read or fold laundry.

It is a simple life, but it is a great one.

What does your routine look like with your little one(s)? Do you find yourself taking it slower at different ages? I would love to hear what everyone does, we are always looking for new things to keep ourselves busy!

Letting child follow his body's cues

Elimination Communication (EC): Tales of a Diaper Free Baby

Posted by Cassandra Okamoto

I first came across Elimination Communication way before I was even pregnant. I read all about it here, here, and here, and after devouring up all of the information, testimonials, FAQ’s and concerns it just made so much sense to me and sounded completely “do-able” whenever we decided to have a child. My husband was definitely not convinced. He was used to me coming to him with “extreme” ideas: Let’s eat vegan! Let’s have a completely vegan life! Let’s eat all raw! Do NOT get the dog his shots! Throw away all of the cleaning products, now! Don’t flush the toilet if it’s just pee! Pee while you shower!

But no diapers on a baby? Potty training an infant? He was definitely skeptical.

Whenever EC comes up in conversation most people do refer to it as “infant potty training” but that really was never what it was about to me, or even it’s appeal. I loved the idea of giving baby an opportunity and space to relieve him/herself and not forcing him/her to sit in wet or soiled diapers unnecessarily, which could be in conflict with his or her natural, instinctual desire. Below is our journey practicing EC with our now 15 month old.

When my son, T, was first born we started cloth diapers pretty soon after and although EC was still on my mind, we were in strict survival mode – washing diapers was all I could manage. Around 14 weeks post partum we were getting in a little better hang of things and I ordered Diaper Free Baby off of Amazon to read up on the specifics of how to implement with my now almost 4 month old.

We started by just letting him be naked on some towels and whenever he would pee or poo I would make the pppppsssssssss sound for him to try & start associating that sound with the sensation of going. Next I would hold him in the squat position over the toilet… he did NOT like this. A lot of the other moms we spent time with regularly that had babies only a couple weeks or months older than my babe were having tons of success with EC in practice and I was determined to keep trying… so the next thing I did was buy the BABYBJORN potty chair.

My son was actually not into this potty either, he wasn’t really able to sit by himself and although we could hold him on it for a few seconds before he started fussing it was never long enough for him to relax enough to go to the bathroom. We “caught” a few pees but that was it…

Baby-led potty-training w/ 16-week old

Baby-led potty-training w/ 16-week old

So after this (when T was 15/16 weeks old) I gave up on EC for a while. I got super sick right after that and my husband and mom were on baby duty for a couple of days and it all kind of went out the window.

But, around the time T was about to turn six months old, I got the itch to start up EC again and it was a whole different experience!

As soon as he would wake up in the morning the first thing we would do is take him to the regular potty, hold him over in the squat position and wait until he peed. He was totally comfortable in that position now & would never fuss!! He would always pee in the morning and then we would do the same after every nap. He almost always went, and we even caught a few poos this way too! I journaled about an after nap EC experience we had during this time that said “you woke up from a long nap kind of fussy (which is rare, you are usually only fussy when you wake up prematurely) so I took your pants & diaper off and went straight to the bathroom and almost immediately you pooed a TON & then peed, wooo hoooo!”

We would still make the ‘pppppppsssssssss’ sound when he was going in hopes that he would start associating that & the squat position with eliminating. I still had not noticed any cues from him: certain faces, grunting, etc. that indicated to me that he had to go but we kept doing the ASL potty sign too, and stayed hopeful that sometime soon he would catch on to that or we would start to notice some sort of other pattern or something. It really excited me! Diapers are really NOT exciting at all, but this was. It was so nice to not have to wash as many diapers, ESPECIALLY poo ones now that he was eating solids, and it felt like we are just making huge strides in our communication with each other, I loved it. My husband would take him to the potty too, which was awesome!

After he was sitting up really well unassisted, around 7 months, we started setting him on the small potty chair again. He was much more comfortable at this age and would sit for a while, playing with toys or just hanging out with us. He would poo & pee, too! We started taking him not just after naps but at all different transitions, when he would wake up, when we got out of the car seat, when we got out of the carrier, before we left the house and sometimes a few minutes after nursing. When we would arrive somewhere I would take him and hold him over the toilet in a public restroom, or often times just outside of the car in the parking lot! We were getting in a really good groove and it didn’t really take much extra effort at all, just undoing & redoing diapers but it wasn’t that big of a deal.

We also bought a few more little potty chairs from IKEA to have around the house so we weren’t always running to the bathroom. Having them scattered about was really convenient for us and I loved that T was comfortable and happy sitting on them.

Baby-led potty-training in progress

Baby-led potty-training in progress

Baby-led potty-training at playtime

Baby-led potty-training at playtime

This went on for a couple of months and then T started crawling, yay! Not so great for the potty though. Now he was able to climb off of the little potty whenever we would set him on it, he was MUCH harder to manage during diaper changes as he just wanted to roll over and go, go, go, and it was much more difficult to watch for any “signs” that he needed to go to the bathroom when he was off exploring.

Potty chairs are fun to play with though!

Potty chairs are fun to play with though!

This was a big time of transition for us, T loved being mobile, his mood was dramatically different, and it was the beginning of a lot more bodily independence between him and I. I was ok letting EC take a back burner for a while. He was learning and exploring and discovering at such a fast rate and we as parents were now deep in the “how to” of balancing freedom and safety and boundaries and awareness with a mobile child.

We changed houses a lot during the next months, stayed with different family members, moved states, but we always managed to spend time outside and I almost always gave T some diaper free time each day.

Around 12 months I noticed that he seemed to have more awareness of when he had to/was about to go to the bathroom. He would be naked outside and he would always look down before he peed, when he had to poo he would usually stand up and hold onto something, still and quiet for a bit, then go. This was huge to me! I felt like if he was aware of what was about to happen it would only be a matter of time before he would be able to communicate it to me or take himself to the potty to go.

He is now 15 months old and that is pretty much where we are. In the morning when he wakes up we go to the potty and he almost always goes pee, same when he wakes up from his nap in the afternoon.  He spends a lot of time during the day diaper free and almost always looks down before he pees, sometimes I am fast enough to put him on the potty other times I wait until he is done and then put him on the potty anyways and explain to him that the potty is the best place to go. I can usually tell when he is about to poo and if we are able to get his diaper off and get to the potty in time we do. I honestly don’t see us being diaper free outside of the house for a long while, it isn’t something I am pushing for and I am all about making things as easy and convenient as possible when it comes to being out and about with a toddler. I believe as he can start communicating more he will tell me when he is ready! I know he is only 15 months which is still very young when it comes to “potty training” but at this point it is not a stressful thing for us and I hope it continues that way over the course of the next year.

Letting child follow his body's cues

Letting child follow his body’s cues

Our EC story is a very part time one, but I am grateful to have come across the knowledge early and give T the opportunity to get comfortable on the potty and relieving himself outside of a diaper from a young age.

What are your experiences with EC? Have you heard of it, tried it? At what ages? We would love to hear your story!