Sunday, September 25, 2011

What on Earth Do You Feed a Toddler?!

I know what they should be eating, but what they are actually eating is a mystery to me! Bear's diet these days seems like:

1 Cup Dirt
8 Cups juice/water/milk
1/2 Cup lint
1 Pound of Goldfish/Cheerios mix
3 Peas

I know this is clearly NOT true, he's healthy and growing! This is the recommended diet for a "toddler" keep in mind every kid is different and younger toddlers just learning to walk and run probably wont sit long enough to wolf down this food.

16 Ounces of Whole Milk (or equivalent)
3/4 Cup Veggies
1 Cup Fruit (only 4 ounces of 100% juice/day)
1 1/2 Ounces Meat/Beans
2 Ounces of Grain
1-2 Tablespoons Fat/Oil

Gerber sent me this nifty thing with a few coupons on their (overly expensive IMO) products for toddlers and some meal plans. I've revised them and included them below. Many of these can be cooked in bulk ahead of time or as meals for the whole family. This is the goal - Bear will eat only about half of each meal, the rest ends up on the floor, in the pants, hoarded in the cheeks, etc.

1/2 Cup whole milk (mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm kjyhhjumjj-Bear)
1/4 of a banana sliced - you can eat the rest =]
1/4 cup Cream of Wheat with milk and a teaspoon of maple syrup

Snack 1:
Juice Box - i like clifford
1/4 Cup diced cold cooked carrots (leftovers work nice)
1 tbs ranch
hand full of goldfish

Small yogurt with 3 chopped up strawberries
Mac n Cheese with hotdogs - I make this in a big dish for everyone and we snack on it all week for lunches.

Snack 2:
Juice box
1/4 cup sweet potato chips - i make these by slicing sweet potatoes this, very lightly coat in olive oil and bake until crunchy. If you dont want to make yourself Bear loves veggie straws.
1 small Pear

8oz whole milk
1 cup pasta pinwheels - cook pasta in 1/2 low sodium chicken broth 1/2 water. drain and add chopped cooked chicken and peas. Red sauce or alfredo optional.

Other fun snacks:
Black olives
cheddar rice cakes
spoon of peanut-butter

Bear will eat all this stuff he's not picky. He prefers Greek yogurt from regular and LOVES peas - see pic below!
Any suggestions or meals you'd like to share??


Wednesday, September 21, 2011


There are many, many play dough recipes out there but these are two of my favorites. This first one is colored and flavored with Kool-Aid so it’s totally ok if you’re little one eats it. The second is still edible but tastes like salt so probably not the best to eat a ton of. Both are oodles of fun and pretty simple to make.
3 tsp. Cream of Tartar
1 C. Flour
1 C. Water
1 Packet Kool-Aid drink mix (unsweetened)
1 Tbs. Cooking Oil
½ Cup Salt
Mix all the try ingredients with a spoon in a large pan. Add water & oil and stir on medium heat. It will start to look doughy and turn the color of the Kool-Aid. Scrape out of the pan into a ball and let rest on wax paper to cool. Once cooled, have fun! (10 minutes total time)
Sea-Captain’s Dough: (because it’s salty)
1 C. Salt
1 C. Water
2 C. Flour
1 Tbs. Oil
Food Coloring
Mix it all together with hands until dough forms. Break the dough into three balls and press thumb into center of each. Put different colored drops in each and knead until the color is mixed in evenly. Now play!
This is great to squish in between small fingers and chuck across the room! Ha – it’s actually great for getting dinner ready. Set the kiddo in his highchair at the table and let him entertain himself while you get dinner ready. To cleanup just ball it all back together and store in Tupperware or a baggy.
FYI if you make more than one color, I’d only give the little ones one color at a time unless you want a brown glob.
Hope you have fun!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Just a Few Friendly Reminders

-Don’t wear white with a toddler around! If you do, bleach, aspirin and dawn dish soap (grease cutter) should do the trick.
-Make sure you’re not in a bad mood when you wear gray, it throws your whole day off and makes you feel…well…gray! I even went home and changed to a colored shirt because I was feeling crappy and the gray hoodie wasn’t helping.
-If you’re making toast, don’t leave the room. I’ve burnt 6 pieces of bread today.
-It’s cold and flu season, get your shot, wash your hands, wash your babe’s hands and ask your childcare provider to notify you if another kid in daycare is or has been sick recently!
-It may also be time to do a toy cleaning – I dread this too – fill the tub with 4-5 inches of hot water and 1 cup white vinegar, throw all the plastic toys in and then dry ‘em off.
-Prep for winter weather (in NE especially), put the plastic shrink wrap stuff on the windows (or at least buy it), clean the window sills and remove all AC units (it helps to wash the filters before putting away for the season).
-Lastly, if you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands! (Bear’s new favorite song).

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Containers Everywhere

I don't know about you guys but I loose tupperware like there's no tomorrow! I think there is a creature that steals it and tucks it into the shadows or trash's it on me. I recently started saving containers of all kinds, I used to only save glass jars, but knowing I didn't spend extra money on them when they disappear makes me feel a lot better!

The most useful sizes and uses:
Jelly Jars - Great for storing pennies, pencils, extra screws, paint water etc. I find they work better for non-food items.
Olivio, Cream Cheese and other short round containers - Great for lunches, car snacks and toddler learning toys. Put in & take out!
Spray Bottles - after thoroughly cleaned can be repurposed - i have one filled with vinegar and water which is my go-to cleaner, also nice to just fill with water to keep the plants watered.
Yogurt, Ricotta and other tall round containers - make nice leftover containers, soup, if they are large enough you can poke 5 holes in the bottom and toss bath toys in them to drain. I have one in my fridge with holes poked in the lid and baking soda inside to absorb smells.

When I go on a day/weekend trip I buy Gerber Toddler meals (the ones you zap in the microwave for 30 secs) and bring them along. I normally get them only when they are on sale ($1.25) but it's alot cheaper than eating out or buying a kids meal. I save the blue containers for regular baby meals. The tray in microwavable and fits into a sandwich bag nicely! Bear also likes to play with them. I just like that they each have a meal compartment and a smaller veggie one. This morning I put yogurt in one side and scrambled eggs in the other. Bear tends to throw regular plates but doesn't throw these.

Single serving yogurt or pudding packs - I use these as snack cups at home. I fill it with cheerios or cheesy bunnies and it is just the right size for bear to walk around with!


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Outdoor Activities with No Big Production

Often going outside is a huge production, especially if you don't have a yard. Theres normally a stroller, snacks and toys involved. Nana lived in a condo complex with a deck and shared yard and we live in the good ol' city and have a shared yard as well. Here are a few things Bear and I like to do to wind down before bedtime, and get a little fresh air.
Nature Walks! He has a fascination with nature, sticks, flowers, ponds, bushes, fallen leaves. This will be especially fun in the fall. He picks up things and collects them through the walk and we have a spot by the door where he pus them before we come inside. We keep it close to home, whether it's the yard, sidewalk or driveway.

Plant Bucket! This one involves work on your part in the spring but surprisingly will be entertaining for 3 out of 4 seasons. In the spring we planted herbs in a 10 gallon plant bucket, Bear helped maintain the "garden" all spring and summer and now it's empty and makes a fantastic dirt digging excursion. We put it on wheels (set the bucket on a wood board that we screwed 4 wheels to).

Sandbox for Apartment Living! So this is just if you don't want the work of a garden but like the idea of the above. Get a 10 gallon plastic bucket $15 and a couple bags of sand ($? - free if ya live near the beach!) 12x12 wood board (scrap wood is fine) 4 screw on wheels (1.00 each at hardware store) Screw the wheels on the board (corners) and place the bucket on top (you can put a screw through the middle or the weight of the sand should hold it tight. Fill up the bucket 3 inches from the top and throw some digging toys in there. HOURS of fun and since your little one wont be SITTING in the sand no cleaning sand out of cracks (literally) and ruining your lawn. This is great for a deck or porch and would be a great activity to wear him out!
Walks! I mean no stroller. Let your toddler roam around close to you, take a walk with no destination to tucker him out!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sharing is Caring and...

Should be Fun! If you have a toddler around the ages of 14 months + you probably see your little one getting a tad possessive when there is another child of similar age around. I recently took Bear to visit a co-worker and her daughter, who is close in age to Bear, they at first were hesitant and played separately. Then got a little grouchy and took a few toys from eachother. I notice Bear doing this occasionally when it's just me and him playing. It's not that he actually wants the toy, he just doesn't want anyone else to have it.

I noticed that when Olivia and Bear were playing with bigger toys, designed for one toddler, they didn't want to share but when playing with smaller toys, like blocks or books, shared just fine!

Playdate basics:

If they playdate is at your house, set out toys they can both play with. This will be a great learning experience, especially if you little one doesn't play with other kids on a one-on-one basis daily. Great toys for this age group are fridge magnets (large ones), blocks, multiple trucks, books, instruments, tubberware, or an activity both will enjoy like playing in the yard or sprinklers, etc. Avoid having a rocking horse, ride on toys, or large toys designed for one little mind.

You play too! When we sat down with the kids and showed them how to play, say thank you, and share, they got the hang of it and actually ENJOYED giving eachother toys, no this was not a dream, it was really happening!

Snacks. It's always nice to bring a snack if you are meating at a mutual place, like a playground, just make sure you bring enough for both and keep in mind that some kids have allergies. Some great sharing foods are ricecakes (cheese or plain, not the sugary caramel ones), goldfish, juiceboxes and cherios. Notive none of those foods are messy, like oranges and yogurt, nothing worse than having a mommy bring a messy snack and then sticking you with a dirty kid.

When your toddler hands you something say thank you and encourage them to do the same when playing. Make sure you keep an eye on your kid, and no hitting or grabbing is involved. If you've implemented a discipline plan already then stick with it during play time too. If your kid isn't playing nice, don't leave it up to the other parent to pull him off theirs - that's not very nice huh? A great thing to do is involve the other parent in your plan for good ol' mannered fun and everyone can have a good time :)

This may see mdull and boring but everyone actually had a good time, I was proud to see Bear smile and hand Olivia a block and have her say thank you and hand him one too. It was cute, and, magical!


Playdough recipe coming soon!

Thursday, September 8, 2011


Hi Everyone,

I just want to apologize that I never responded to a bunch of comments. I never got emails/notifications on my home page that they were there. Going forward the issue is resolved! Thank you all for your patience.


Cleanup - Everybody do your share!

Where have the weeks gone? It’s almost fall and Portlanders (Portlandites?) are starting to fall back into the cracks and disappear for the winter. I don’t know about all of you Mommies but this year has been so rainy! Bear is learning how to listen to directions and I thought I’d share some fun cleanup ideas that have helped all of us learn to keep the house tidy!
Remember your little one is ALWAYS watching you, they look to you to learn what to do, sadly I have learned this the hard way. Bear started “texting” on my cell phone the other day and recycled my car keys. When you make a mess, make sure you clean it up, it also helps to say what things are and where they go. Here are a few cleanup times that baby can help with!
Groceries: When we go grocery shopping, Bear always helps fill the cart and put the groceries away when we get home. He’s getting good. He knows that we keep the canned goods in a bag next to recycling (we have very limited shelf space) and he knows where the paper towels and bottled tea goes too. He’s even learned that some things go in the fridge!
Mail: We keep our mail on a low shelf that Bear can sort of reach. Most paper ends up in his mouth but he’s learned that when he pulls the mail off, he brings it to us and then we say “go put it back” and he gets right on it, slides it right back where it belongs!
Toys: This one is HUGE – it’s so easy to put the baby to bed and throw all the toys in the bin yourself. Take 10 minutes before bed time and cleanup together. Say “where do the blocks go?” and you take 3 and give him 1 and both drop them where they go. After a while he will learn what goes where and you can sit back.
Recycling and Trash: this is a good one. Bear hasn’t quite gotten what exactly is trash and what is recycling but if I hand him something and say “please put this in the trash” he’s right on it!
It helps to clap and say yay when he gets it right. He smiles and feels good about helping. That’s what I like to see J
More later today on a new topic!