The Easiest DIY Box Fort for your Toddler

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I can’t think of anything better than to bust out a box fort for your toddler when you’re trapped in the house during the cold months. I am not a big DIY person so this will be the easiest DIY box fort you can make for your toddler. 🙂 I would guess if you have a big box, then the rest of the needed items are easily found in your house somewhere!

We have an ice storm headed our way this weekend so I wanted to get some activities planned with Bubby (besides our faithful movie Charlotte’s Web!). I thought a fort would be fun but couldn’t afford one like this, so I started to do some thinking about what we had in the house.

I remembered we had these two huge boxes in our attic that we got from Home Depot when we first moved into our house and they’re just sitting in our attic because we didn’t want to get rid of them. They are of good size and we needed them for the move at the time. Little did I know that I would be using them this weekend to make a box fort for my son! Funny how life works out that way!

This post may contain affiliate links. See full disclosure here.

Easy DIY Box Fort to make for your Toddler. Toddler Box Fort. DIY Fort for your toddler.

 

ITEMS NEEDED:

  • Scissors or Box Cutters or a good Pocket Knife
  • Masking tape
  • and your Box or Boxes!
  • any other decor you might want to add to make it fancy, but we kept it pretty simple. 🙂

STEP ONE: CREATE YOUR DOOR
We had two boxes and wanted to side them up next to each other so he could crawl through both of them. So we created two front doors first.

  • Leave at least three box flaps on the bottom so you can have a base for the fort to help stay stable. We taped them together once we were done.
  • Keep it simple! We just folded the top of the box like you would any normal box to make his “roof.”

STEP TWO: This applies if you’re making two entry ways to your box or if you are putting more than one box together and need to create your passage doors.

  • Since you want to keep your three flaps for the base, make sure you don’t cut all the way through the bottom when you make your “adjoining” doors or extra entry way. See pictured below how we did it.

 

STEP THREE: MAKE THE BASE OF OF YOUR FORT

  • We put the single flap below the two aligning flaps so the fort had a smooth floor for him to crawl on. See picture below.

 

STEP FOUR: We added Christmas lights to his little fort. I didn’t want to make the lights a big deal because I knew we would be moving it around the house some, so I just fish lined them through the top middle hole, hung them around the corners inside (used a little tape to help hold them up there too) and then fish lined it back out the top to take to the second box. See picture below. If you want to add pillows or lights, go for it!


This was how I hung them on the inside of the box. I just added a little masking tape over the seam of the box to keep them stable enough, but easy enough to remove if needed!

STEP FIVE: Have fun and start playing!

When I started looking on Pinterest for box forts, I was surprised to find so many that seemed complicated to me or required more tools than I had on hand. The Christmas lights are even done simply and add a nice dim light inside for when he wants to read books. I found some online that punctured a hole all through the roof of the box and stuck them in there one by one. I ain’t got time for that with my toddler running around me! Plus, we wont always use the lights.

I’m not gonna lie, my idea to create this for him this weekend was to “trick” him into not being so sad to see his own little Christmas tree go away. We had his own, small tree set up in his room for the holidays and he just loved it. I figured this fort was a nice transition to say bye bye to the tree. Oh parenting. Don’t even get me started.

There you have it! The easiest DIY Box Fort you can make for your toddler!

If you want to see a few other toddler ideas, click here. Better yet, PIN this one for later and follow me along the process to stay up to date with all the toddler fun around here!

What other fun ways have you made a fort with your littles? I would love to hear about it below.
Peace Mamas,
Glo

How to Survive Pregnancy with a Toddler

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Figuring out how to survive pregnancy with a toddler boy running around me is not a challenge that I thought I would spend that much energy on. I knew it would be hard at times but mamas, bending over the side of the crib to pick up my toddler is incredibly harder than I anticipated. I’m talking about being 30 weeks pregnant while picking up an 18 month old boy from his crib in the middle of the night because his gums hurt from teething.

But as I have progressed throughout this pregnancy, I have realized that I do a lot to help us both get along throughout the day so our home can stay as peaceful as possible. I know there are many Mamas out there who can totally relate to what I’m talking about and I know many of you have tips of your own! If you want to add to our list, read on and then add your comment below!

Here are a few tips to help you not just survive, but thrive while pregnant with a toddler.

They post may contain affiliate links. As always, opinions are all my own. Full disclosure here.

How to Survive Pregnancy With a Toddler. Tips for being pregnant while having a toddler.

1) Start incorporating Independent Play with your Toddler NOW.
I could probably write a whole post about the power of independent play (IP), and if you haven’t looked into this yet, now is the time. You want to start this trait now, no matter the age of your toddler. And if you aren’t sure how your toddler will respond to this, then start now so you can slowly work towards increasing time your toddler will play by himself.

Independent play is simply you letting him explore a few toys on his own, without interaction from you, allowing him to be totally creative on his own in a safe setting. You’re going to want this time to catch your breath or to feed your new baby once she gets here or whatever you need to do. My 18 month old can play by himself for an hour and 15 mins (we use a timer!). We do this almost every day. It is a lifesaver.

2) Don’t be afraid to put everyone to bed earlier than normal so you can go to bed early too.
I think majority of moms are extremely exhausted that first trimester. I know I am! When I was pregnant with Bubby, I could nap or go to bed whenever I wanted. Now that I am chasing Bubby around all day, I am wiped out by the time my husband gets home and he is usually pretty tired himself from a long day at work, so early to bed we all go.

And this can include nap time too. There are some days when I put my toddler down earlier so I could take a nap myself or I just plain needed to lay down for just a little bit. Putting him down 30ish minutes early is not going to hurt anything and I use this opportunity to teach him he needs to quietly lay/rest in the crib until mommy comes to get him. Getting your toddler used to a flexible sleep time with a window of 30 minutes is a tool you’ll want in your belt when your new one arrives!


3) Allow the extra help!
We have fantastic grandparents and relatives who will gladly take our son for a few hours or even for overnight! I have found I used to struggle with this the most when I kept holding on to control too much over my son’s routine. I realized I needed to prioritize what was important to his routine, communicate that to whoever is helping and let the rest go. Plus, I want Bubby to be used to being around those folks so when our new little one comes home, we can all have a little break from time to time.

4) Try to keep up some sort of exercise routine.
I know this can be REALLY hard the first and third trimesters but I’m not saying you need to pop in P90X and listen to Tony Romo blair out your TV. I have found that variety works best for me when I’m battling prego fatigue. A 10 minute pregnancy pilates DVD here, a 30 minute walk outside with my toddler there. Whatever I do, I try to do something 4 days a week. What might that look like for you?

5) Take a risk with intimacy and your spouse!
Each woman has her own experiences during pregnancy and when it comes to sex, this can be especially varying. Some women are raring to go and some women are still searching for their libido. When I say take a risk, I mean take a risk on being intimate with your spouse and forget about the rest. Most men are sensitive to your needs (and comfortable positions!) during this phase. Try not to let tiredness rule out intimacy every time. I know this can be incredibly hard and a sensitive topic for some but take a look and see if intimacy has faded since being pregnant again. I know it did for us and we decided to change things up so we could each stay satisfied and satisfy each other too.

Use this time to try new things or to be more open with your spouse about what works for you right now as your body is changing. I can personally say that when my husband wants to be intimate with me and I have no desire to be sexual, I tend to give him the benefit of the doubt and things almost always turn out better than I thought. Just something to think about! 😉 Feeling sexually fulfilled while you feel like a giant walking watermelon can give you an amazing boost during this tiring time, especially knowing your spouse feels good too!

6) Start planning now instead of wondering and worrying about what it will be like when baby arrives!
I tend to ask myself a lot of questions about what will I do if this situation arises with our new baby and how will I handle Bubby in the process. I am a planner by heart so coming up with possible ideas incase the need arises down the road reduces a lot of stress for me. The balance of all this is realizing that things may not go at all how you expected and that’s OK! Learning to adapt to a change of plans is such a vital tool, and I imagine this is ESPECIALLY TRUE when planning for your new baby’s arrival.

Some things to start planning ahead now:

  • Bulk freezing meals and/or snacks for your household, especially your toddler.
  • Create a general menu of a week or two of meals so whoever may help you take care of your toddler can have a reference point (I am doing this for my husband too!).
  • Checklist of new items you’ll need to get for new baby that can’t be reused from your first baby.
  • Independent Play (mentioned above) for your toddler.
  • Consider having help come by once or twice a week to help with some household chores the first couple of months. I plan on having our teenage babysitter come once a week to sweep, do laundry, dust, vacuum, etc. (Teenage girl is cheaper than maid service I would imagine!)
  • Bulk buy items that are a pain in the butt to run to the store for when you run out. I did this recently with a huge pack of a TWO MONTH SUPPLY of diapers! Whoot! We also bought bulk deodorant, toothpaste, trash bags, etc. Household items like this give me a peace of mind, knowing I wont need to worry about buying them while I’m sleep deprived.
  • Start creating busy bags or simple daily activities you can easily do with your toddler when baby is sleeping or feeding.

7) You might want to start changing up your daily routine with your toddler.
When I first found out I was pregnant, Bubby was taking two naps still. I never got too sick during that first trimester but boy I would get so exhausted mid-morning. There were mornings I would put him down a little earlier than he probably needed so I could rest for a few extra minutes. We also normally had a mid-morning snack that I slowly moved up so we could just eat lunch earlier together because it helped me fight fatigue. Having an earlier lunch helped me a lot that first trimester!

Also, before I found out I was pregnant, we would get out pretty much every day and do an errand or two or go on a playdate. As I have progressed in my pregnancy, I can’t quite keep up with that every day business. I have started more at home activities with him so we can get used to being home more which will be the case when Sissy arrives (at least in the beginning). It helps me feel more rested now and will help us adjust to being homebodies when she is born!

I know we could add so much more to our list! What would Mamas like to add? Let us know in the comments below! And if you’d like to get tips like this straight to your inbox, click here and join our Mom Tribe.
Peace,
Glo

How Buying Diapers in Bulk Can Save Your Momsanity

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Can we just talk about keeping our momsanity for a minute and what that looks like for me? To do that, I need to tell you Only a Season Mamas something.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret. I am a cloth diapering mama who also uses disposables. I hate cloth diapering when we travel, so Huggies here we come. We are inconsistent about using cloth diapers at night. There I said it.

My name is Gloryanna and I love cloth diapers AND disposable diapers.

Here’s secret number two (no pun intended 😉 ): we started cloth diapering to save money. And I’m going to be honest, we have saved some money but there’s something about my momsanity that when I run into the pile of poop laundry, I tend to go on hiatus and use disposables for a little while. My son’s monthly trip to grandma’s requires a weekend’s worth of disposables. And don’t even get me started on finding the right night solution for leakiness.

And my last secret for you: As we continue to prepare for baby number two in a few months, I find myself being grateful for the ease of disposable diapers and have started buying them in bulk. Which means I find the biggest box possible and throw them into my cart. I do not want to mess with diaper laundry while I’m busy surviving my new journey in motherhood that includes a newborn and toddler.

Enter My Bulk Buying Mom Tip for you today: Huggies Little Movers 2 Month Supply!!!!

When I learned about this GIANT box of diapers I immediately jumped on board. Right now Huggies is offering this size of box for a limited time.

The two month supply is only available in size 4. Let’s face it, this weight range is the one that lasts the longest for our toddlers so I need a butt load of them to get me through the terrible twos. It makes total sense that there are 312–that’s right–312 in this one box that will last you for two months!

Can we just take a minute and look at what this number of diapers looks like compared to the typical one month supply?

I am most looking forward to this bulk amount of diapers so Bubby can wear them when Sissy arrives in March. And what’s great about the size they come in is that he will totally still be able to wear them in a few months, so even if we don’t go through them as fast as some might, we will have them on hand during those sleepless nights with baby #2!!

Plus, they make for a giant box which means endless, easy toddler entertainment. Thank you, Huggies.

Speaking of toddlers, mine likes to run around like a mad man and these diapers fit the toddler life perfectly. The diapers are called “Little Movers” after all…

I like to save money. I’m pretty sure all of us can relate to this one way or another. I have found that buying in bulk saves my sanity and is so worth it to me. If you’d like to learn more about the good stuff that comes with a Sam’s membership, then click here to learn more. Having a membership to Sam’s Club benefits me as a mom in a lot of ways, not just by saving money. Why do I buy in bulk, mamas?

1) It ends up saving me last minute trips to the store that drive me nuts when my toddler insists on snack time in the middle of the store. Places like Sam’s Club offer awesome subscription services to have that stuff delivered to my door, thank you very much.

2) I like the feeling of being prepared and stalked up. I like knowing that I’ve got a humongous box of trash bags and Clorox wipes in the cupboard to get me through all the dirty wipes and messes I’ll be cleaning up.

3) It allows me to personally worry less about store lists and grocery shopping and spending more than I need to which I think most of can understand. Less worry = more happy.

It’s items like this that I pick up from Sam’s Club and in bulk that seriously bring my stress level down a notch. And this doesn’t even include all the items I typically buy in bulk from Sam’s!

Right now Sam’s club has instant savings on Huggies Little Movers 2 Month Supply that goes until the end of January. You can save $6 on these bad boys. I did the diaper math and it’s cheaper to buy one of these 312 boxes than it is to buy two boxes of the 168 count. You pay almost $20 more for the extra 24 diapers if you were to buy the 168 count. So yah, go for the two month supply while it lasts!

Anndddd if you’re unsure where to find one, click on their handy Sam’s Club Locator to find one nearest you. (I would definitely take a quick check because when I did, I found one in a nearby town I had no idea was there and we go through there a lot when we head home to visit family. Score. 🙂

What do you think, ladies? Is buying in bulk for you? Can someone tell me I’m not crazy for thinking this box is HUGELY AWESOME?
Peace,
Glo

Save money now buy buying your diapers in bulk. Mom tip for buying diapers in bulk. Tips for buying diapers.

 

Toys That Will Develop Your Toddler’s Motor Skills

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Bubby has really exploded with his gross motor skill development and his ability to manipulate items with the dexterity in hands. He’s progressing so quickly that I can hardly keep up! He is 18 months old now and I am finding he is walking that line of toys that are either too advanced or toys not advanced enough.

I am always looking for toys that can be used for a long time as he discovers new ways to use them and I like toys that are a sound quality that will last a long time. So when I came across a sale at Melissa and Doug’s and discovered I could peruse toys based on age, category, or skill development, I immediately whipped out the credit card to make some purchases. I even bought a small round to keep for Christmas morning and for his 2nd birthday next summer! Bonus points to me!

What I love about Melissa and Doug

  • Many of their toys are made of a nice solid wood that hold up really well with a rambunctious boy who may or may not throw things a lot.
  • I love how they have toy descriptions and learning opportunities detailed on the back of many of their toys so parents can easily see the multiple ways to teach skills to their children.
  • Several of their gross motor and dexterity toys are basic colors so you can reinforce color recognition with your child.
  • They have an amazing customer service for any questions you may have about a product.
  • They have awesome resources directly on their site to give you ideas on how to incorporate their toys with your kids.

What I don’t love about Melissa and Doug

  • Most of the time I’m OK with their pricing because I know the toys will last forever, but sometimes it gets a little high for my pocket.
  • I wish they had more of a variety of toys for children before the 12 month old range.
  • They don’t offer rain checks during sales. So if you really want a particular item during one of their sales and it’s out of stock, then you’re out of luck until it’s available again.

Here are some of our favorite toys that have gotten reused in different ways since Bubby turned one and still uses today at 18 months and I know will still get used until he’s at least two years old, if not until later!

(This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are always my own. See full disclosure here.)


Stack & Sort Board
I purchased this for Bubby back when he was around 12 months old. I noticed he really started getting into stacking and I thought this would be a good place to start. You can click on pics to enlarge them. 🙂

This stacking toy is great because now he uses it to focus sliding the small blocks on the rings and as he grows, we can continue to work on his color recognition AND work on his numbers by counting the correct number of blocks on each specific ring. I like how they have the numbers color coded on the front of each stacking pillar. This is a toy that will certainly last until his close to three years old. You can see it here!

Pound & Roll Tower
This has been a fun toy that has required me to be patient and just let Bubby explore his dexterity development a little bit. I gave this to him when he was about 14 months old and he really wasn’t quite ready for it. He just wanted to walk around banging stuff. BUT I gave it another go a month later and modeled for him how to use the toy and he started to catch on. You can look up the tower here.

Chunky Puzzle
I seriously love M & D’s chunky puzzles. They have a great variety that works for the varying stages of toddlerhood. We have animals ones, a body part one and one I bought and saved back that is the left and right hand with parts for each finger that are numbered for counting! The one below is a current fav with my pre-toddler as he likes to try and get the shapes to fit in the correct spots. I love the colors and how each shape is labeled to0! Check out the puzzles here.

Caterpillar Gears Toddler Toy
This was a fun toy to introduce as Bubby started developing his gross motor skills. He was really into turning knobs and rotating objects so I was excited to pull this one out. He loves it. It’s another one that will be great for when we are really working on color recognition. The gears easily come on and off so he can start to practice matching the colors as he places them on the gears. Check out the gears here.

Toys I’m saving for Christmas and his birthday
* I’m excited to give him this specific Shape Sorting Cube Classic Toy . It’s a little different than a traditional shape sorter with more of a 3D effect and I love the basic colors to reinforce his color recognition.

*Deluxe Pounding Bench Toddler Toy This pounding toy is a little different than the tower. I like that he has more to pound and can work on his pencil holding skills to fit the pegs back into the hole before he can start pounding again.

*We got him these nesting and stacking blocks that we plan to give him for his 2nd birthday. I think he’ll enjoy the race cars that come with it! Check them out here.

*My favorite item I’m most excited about are these toddler stainless steel pots and pans! We have a little play kitchen for him and plan to throw this in with the 2nd birthday party! Woohoo!

So that’s my fav list for toddler toys from Melissa and Doug that I think are perfect to use with your 18 month to 24 month old! What about you mamas? Have any Melissa and Doug favorites or Toddler Favs for this age range?

Toys for Two Year Old. Toys for 18 to 24 month old. Toddler toys to develop motor skills.



Homemade Toddler Fish Sticks with an Extra Healthy Twist

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I hate all things seafood. I am one of those that wishes I liked seafood, but I just can’t bring myself to eat it. I have tried to eat salmon here, trout there, even shrimp. With that confession, I have realized that I want my kids to hopefully have a different experience. So, I decided to start with fish sticks.

Bubby has tried some different types of fish here and there but I wanted to have something easy and accessible to make at home for him. I came across this homemade fish stick recipe and decided to add some of my own favorite extra nutrients to it.

I like to add an extra healthy dose of sweet potatoes for flavor with added quinoa and flax seed!

Check out these sneaky, extra healthy homemade fish sticks! What’s great about these is that you can totally and easily make them in bulk and freeze them. Then, when you need a quick lunch for your toddler, you can grab them from the freezer and zap in the microwave for only a minute!

I like this recipe too because we use a hand masher and that lets Bubby get involved in the cooking!

This post may contain affiliate links. All opinions are always my own. See full disclosure here.

Homemade Fish Sticks Your Toddler will LOVE with an extra healthy Twist! Homemade Toddler Fish sticks!

 

INGREDIENTS
3 to 5 Large Sweet Potatoes, boiled and peeled
1/2 cup – 3/4 cup of cooked quinoa
1 can of Tuna (I prefer canned tuna in water)
2 Tablespoons of flax seed
3/4 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
4 Tablespoons of melted butter
breadcrumbs (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

STEP ONE: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Personally, I like to utilize my time when I make this, especially since I typically make them during nap time. While you’re prepping the potatoes, go ahead and get your quinoa cookin and stewin. I peel the sweet potatoes with a knife. It’s just easier that way since they are such a tough potato. Once I peel and dice my sweet potatoes, I get them boiling just like I am making mashed potatoes.


STEP TWO: Go ahead get a large bowl, add the tuna, melted butter, flax seed, and cheddar cheese. Once the sweet potatoes and quinoa are done cooking, add them to the tuna mixture. You can use beaters or a hand masher to bring it all to a smooth consistency.

STEP THREE: Get your breadcrumbs out.
Quick digression on breadcrumbs! (I use homemade ones from my homemade bread. Also, it’s super easy to make homemade breadcrumbs from simple ingredient store bought bread. If you look at the ingredients on actual store bought breadcrumbs, it’s crazy! You’re better off making it from a loaf of bread and then freezing them! They freeze great and will last you a long time!) 
*Spread your breadcrumbs on a plate. Roll the tuna stick mixture into “sticks” and then roll them in the breadcrumbs.

Of course I use my ever trusty silicone baking mats. Seriously, I blab about these ALL THE TIME. Nothing ever sticks and they are soooo easy to clean!

STEP FOUR: once you’ve got them on your cookie sheets, bake them in the oven for about 20-25 minutes until they are crispy and golden on the outside.

STEP FIVE: Once they cool completely, I just leave them on the pan for a while and then stick them in the freezer on the pan. If this doesn’t work for you, you could layer them on wax paper in Freezer Ziploc bags and lay them flat in your freezer.

TO EAT: Just pull out a few, cover them with a napkin and zap them for about one minute. Always check the center for hot spots as potatoes seem to have those easily. Trust me. I know from experience!

I love how the sweet potato adds a subtle sweet flavor that masks the quinoa (which can be slightly bitter).

What about you ladies? Any tips to add to our fish sticks?
Peace,
Glo

My Favorite Must Haves for Toddlers to Help in the Kitchen

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Something happened when Bubby started walking when he was about 12 months. He had to be EVERYWHERE I was. And if you know anything about being home with a toddler, a lot of time can be spent in the kitchen fetching snacks, figuring out lunch, surviving meltdown hour until dinner time…

In order to avoid having my clothes tugged on until they were two sizes two big and milk spilled on my shoes, I decided I needed to change my game plan. I needed to help Bubby develop as my kitchen helper. So I did what any good mama does and started googling, looking for tips.

I came away realizing that having kitchen utensils that actually allow my toddling son to feel like he is part of what I’m doing would definitely outweigh the costs. I want him to feel comfortable and confident in the kitchen when we’re cooking. Here are a few of my favorite items!

(This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are always my own and unbiased. See full disclosure here.)

Items and Ideas for Toddlers in the Kitchen. Items for your Toddler to help in the kitchen.

Learning Tower
I absolutely love having a learning tower and I wish I would have bought one sooner. It is by far my favorite toddler kitchen item. If you start looking up learning towers, you’ll find lots of different options out there. I wasn’t too concerned about having one that he could climb in and out of by himself, but I did want one that was smaller and wouldn’t take up a lot of room in our kitchen. I found this one on Etsy and enjoyed that I could customize the colors.
img_0020 img_0041 img_0039The biggest thing I would complain about this learning tower is that at first, I thought I would like how narrow it was so I felt like he was safer while standing with me. After having it for a while, I wish I would have purchased one like this. Yes, it’s bigger, but it’s foldable and I think I would have liked that feature better.

As you can tell, the width doesn’t hinder him from being able to enjoy what he helps me cook with! 🙂

Toddler Weaning Table
This toddler table or as many call it, “weaning table” is definitely my second favorite item. We keep it stashed in corner of our kitchen, and I love how I can just slide it over by the cabinets so he can work on whatever he is “cooking” while I’m cooking. This is especially helpful to have if I’m doing something that is hot over the stove and need him to be occupied with his own task. I can just set him with something easy (like sorting pasta or rice, he LOVES doing that!) and get supper going!
img_0043I also love this table because as he is getting older, he can carry his snacks over to the table by himself and eat on his own. We practice some Montessori in our house and this table helps with that a lot too. I love the versatility it brings and the independent training it offers too! Plus, once you start looking at toddler tables, I felt the price point was decent.

Toddler Approved Kitchen Utensils
I keep a draw like this just for Bubby’s stuff. I can easily grab what I need if we’re cooking a certain item so he can start helping me right away. Here is a list of regular go-to items that you’ll find in his drawer. I bought most of these from Wal-Mart and Amazon too!

  • Silcon spatulas–Wal-Mart has a great selection of these mini sized cooking utensils. As you can see I stalked up on spatulas, whisks and tongs!
  • Baking Utensils are kept with all my other baking supplies. I absolutely love this set and Bubby particularly likes the rolling pin. Right now he sort of whacks the counter with it, but you know, he’ll get there. 😉
  • Strawberry Slicer–Some folks might think this is silly or unsafe, but as he has gotten older and more in control with his motor skills, this slicer has been the bomb. He LOVES pushing down on it and watching the strawberries squish through! And bonus, he can eat what he slices!
  • This hand held fruit and veggie chopper made me nervous at first. But as he has grown, he loves cutting bananas with it. Again, this is one of those skills they develop and if you know anything about Montessori, you know this isn’t unusual to see toddlers use these kinds of utensils.
  • One of my other top favorite items is this tater masher. I used to use beaters to make our mashed potatoes, but now Bubby gets a big kick out of smashing them for us with his own masher.

img_0040

As you can see, I keep a jar with a lid and a small bowl of pasta so he can do his little “sorting” game he does. This is one of those of quick items I grab when I’m cooking something hot and I need him to be independent from what I’m doing.

Toddler Apron
If you’re going to be doing all that cooking, then you can’t go wrong with this laminated Toddler apron. It didn’t even occur to me to get one until a friend of mine kind said one time, “uh you know they make kid aprons, right?”. This one works just right for us and I like that I can wipe it clean.

Alrighty, mamas, let’s hear it. What would you add? What are some of your favorite items to have in the kitchen with your littles? Let’s chat in the comments below!

Peace,
Glo

Four Healthy Snack Alternatives for Your Toddler

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Bubby is screaming at the store because he’s hungry. My errands ran later than I planned and here we are: a starving toddler on the brink of total meltdown. I am a parent who will give him a snack to hold him over until our late dinner. My problem is that I need a healthy snack that I can whip out of my purse in the middle of the grocery store. While I personally love vanilla flavored puffs and Cheez Its, I know I can’t feed my toddler these kinds of snacks every day, all day. Do you feel me?

(This post contains affiliate links which means if you click through then I may get a small commission to aid in my coffee and writing addiction. Thanks 🙂

fourhealthysnackalternativesfortoddler

I needed a mom hack. I needed some tips to handle the hungry toddler at the doctor’s office. I needed to keep my sanity  to avoid universal-toddler-meldown-hour at 5:30 PM.  I decided to take matters into my hands and figure out a way to make some healthy snack alternatives for my toddler. Ladies, I give you FIVE HEALTHY SNACK ALTERNATIVES FOR YOUR TODDLER. You’re welcome 🙂

 

Frozen Sweet Potatoes

You might be thinking, huh? but yes, these healthy, frozen sweet potatoes will quiet your toddler in no time during universal-meltdown-hour, while you’re trying to get dinner on the table. What I like about these is that I would serve these as a side dish anyways with dinner and they are healthier than mashed potatoes! So how does this work?

Buy your sweet potatoes in bulk. Wash them and cut them up in cubes like so.
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Leave the skin on them and boil them in water as if you were cooking mashed potatoes. Depending on the size of your batch, this will take about 3o minutes. You don’t want them to get toooooo mushy, so keep an eye on them. Once they are done boiling and softish, I gently, and I mean gently, toss them in a little butter and cinnamon.

Then I lay them on some cookies sheets (using my silicone baking sheets which I LOVE and easily keeps them from sticking to the pan!) and put them in the freezer until they are hard.
img_0032Once they’re frozen, put them in a freezer safe bag. When it’s time for snack time, zap in the microwave, covered by a napkin for about 1min-1min30sec. The skin peels right off! Voila!

Homemade Nutrient Packed Bites (Puffs but for toddlers!)

These bites are awesome because they have a sneaky super veggie in them and your toddler wont even notice. Plus, I get tired of seeing rice and corn as an ingredient in our snacks, so I like the oatmeal alternative. Perfect to keep on hand in your purse or pull out of the freezer to keep in your bag as you run errands.
INGREDIENTS:
1 c baby oatmeal (yes, I know toddlers are pass this, but it helps with consistency)
1 T oil (I prefer coconut for healthier reasons)
2-3 Tablespoons of applesauce
1/2 cup of spinach
1 Tablespoon of milled Flaxseed
2 egg whites
1 t baking powder
2-3 Tablespoons of water if you need it for consistency

INSTRUCTIONS: Get your oven preheated to 350 degrees. I recommend blending the spinach, applesauce, and flaxseed first. In mixing bowl, combine the oatmeal and baking powder with the egg whites. Then add your blended ingredients to the mixing bowl. Feel free to add cinnamon too!

TO BAKE: I would put your mixture into a Ziploc bag, twist the top of the bag so you can squish it to one corner, then cut off one of the corners so you can squirt your portions on to your baking sheet. Make them a good size for a toddler! You don’t have to do this, but it takes FOREVER if you just pick up portions with your fingers. (If you’re unsure about how to do this, check out Tips from a Typical Mom. She shows you how.)

I have found that they do best when cooked for about 10 minutes, then turn your heat off and leave them in the oven until they feel like the right crispiness to you! (This made about 100-150 quarter sized bites.)

TIP: You can freeze them too and put them in the microwave or let them thaw in your diaper bag through the day or just eat them frozen with a nice crunch!  If you don’t freeze, they’ll keep for about a week.

White Cheddar Cheese & Whole Wheat Crackers

If you haven’t noticed in the toddler snack world, crackers are like a must. Show me a toddler who doesn’t like some sort of cracker and you’ll see my jaw drop. But remember, not all crackers are created equal. While I love Goldfish as much as the next toddler, if we’re going to eat crackers, shoot for crackers that are made with whole wheat (not enriched flour.) Triscuits can be a great, inexpensive, and easy choice. Shoot, you can find them in the off-brand at Aldi and they still have a great simple ingredient list. If you’re a little more particular, many like these are what you should keep an eye out for.

Cheese. Who doesn’t love crackers and cheese? I used to give Asher the simple cheese sticks and then one day I read the ingredients and wondered if I could find a better alternative. I try to go with as little ingredients as possible when I shop. The best cheese choice I found? Good o’l white block cheddar cheese from Aldi for $2.49 a block. Yep. It’s been a life saver and I feel good about no food coloring or extra additives being added to it. Cheese is not yellow folks. Why do we need to buy it colored if we can avoid it? If I can make one little different choice to reduce the amount of processed foods in our diet, then sign me up!

Smoothie Ice Popsicles

I don’t know about you, but I have a little spot in our cabinet where I like to keep those incredible smoothie fruit pouches for my toddler. They are perfect for that quick, on-the-go snack or side when you’re out and about. But that isn’t the norm and Bubby loves smoothies and I am certainly not making them fresh all the time.

The thing I love about smoothies is 1) it can be a good trick to make them think they’re eating something like ice cream, and 2) you can jam pack them with sneaky healthy food and they can be oblivious. Some of my favorite sneaky foods I like to throw in there? Kale, Spinach, Flax Seed, Broccoli (yes, put this in with yogurt, apples and pears and you’d never know!) and of course I like to throw in some exotic fruit to add a flare to our nutrition (like mangos, pineapple, blackberries, etc.).

An easy alternative to the on-the-go puches is to make your toddler a smoothie batch ahead of time. And to make that even easier, use these AWESOME Silicone Ice Pop Tubes. I absolutely LOVE them and their ease of use. Before I had these I just used good o’l ice cube trays and we got by fine. If you’d prefer to stick with the pouch feel of things for ease of use, then these amazing reusable pouches are for you. I used these a ton when Bubby was younger and they freeze just fine.

The easiest way to defrost these is to put them out in the fridge in the morning during breakfast for an easy afternoon snack. OR you could put them in your diaper bag while you’re doing errands and they are nearly perfect when it’s snack time. If you use ice cube trays, then just pop out a few cubes and put them in a bowl in the fridge. Easy peasy for that yogurt based smoothie.

I have always wanted to try some homemade graham crackers but haven’t found a recipe I like enough to share just yet. Of course fruits and veggies are always good to have for snacks, but why not add more tools to our bag?

What about you? What are some of your favorite snack alternatives for your toddler? Let us know below in the comments!

Peace,
Glo

 

 

 

45 Daily Activities to Do with a PreToddler (12-18mos)

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What are some daily activities I can do with my pre-toddler (ages 12-18  months)?

I wake up with my coffee and think to myself, “What should I do with my boy today?” What activities do we have available to do with my 12 month old pre-toddler? Then I realized I should ask YOU GUYS what you do with your pre-toddlers and compiled some great responses.

If I am being honest, there have been times when I twiddle my thumbs trying to think of things to do with my 12 month old boy. I tend to be the obsessive kind who is always checking to see if I’m “stimulating” his development appropriately and all that nonsense. Thank God for my patient husband who is there to humor me when I get this great idea to model rubbing my tummy and patting my head and recording my singing voice so Bubby can hear it when I’m not there. OK, maybe I don’t go that far…or do I? But nevertheless, I needed a simple, basic list to reference for our daily schedule at home and it dawned on my that I should just write down what we like to do and post them in the house. Then, anytime Husband or I or a sitter need a quick idea, BAM we got one. We have plenty of blank space too so we can add more as he grows.

45 Daily ActivitiesPIN

I am sure I will make another one as he gets older and his abilities change, but for the short season of pre-toddlerhood, this list works just dandy in our house. Feel free to print this off for your household or Pin it for later!

I would LOVE to hear other ideas from you guys so give a shout out in the comments. 


PRINT THE LIST HERE. You can see the printable form below to see if it’s something you should have around the house. Cheers!

*Go to the pool.
*Play make believe with stuffed animals
*Walk on some trails nearby.
*Blow bubbles.
*Play-doh!
*Look at books.
*Go for a walk.
*Go to the park.
*Sidewalk chalk.
*Pack a picnic lunch in the park.
*Picnic in the backyard!
*Play in the water outside.
*Sing songs. Clap with baby. Act them out with baby. Raffi is my fav 😉
*Go to the local library.
*Rec classes for babies.
*Sort blocks.
*Stack cups.
*Use non-perishable food for sensory activity bin (beans, pasta, etc).
*Flour in a bowl for sensory fun!
*Play hide and seek.
*Put clothes in the basket and take them out, repeat.
*Rotate favorite toys to keep them favorites!
*Play with any of these favorite toys OUTSIDE!!!!
*Play in the grass! Feel the leaves and trees!
*Pull baby around on carpet in laundry basket.
*Bring the pool into the bathtub on the rainy days!
*Pick baby’s favorite book, make your own cut outs and act it out. Or just act it out!!
*Make a pillow fort!
*Play with puzzles. Chunky puzzles are the best for little’s  hands!
*Crunch alllll the paper!
*Organize toys.
*Color.
*Make an obstacle course in the house.
*Make cookies.
*Play Dates!
*Play peek a boo.
*Did I mention dancing???*Stickers are fun!
*Roll a ball back and forth.
*Finger paint.
*Race cars in the kitchen. (These ones with lights are pretty awesome!)
*Bouncy balls on the floor.
*Sort craft pom poms in muffin pan..
*Sort anything, anywhere!
*Build with blocks.

DailyListforPretoddlerJEG