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The Easiest DIY Box Fort for your Toddler

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 Buying Diapers in Bulk Can Save Your Momsanity

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

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. 🙂

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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.

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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.

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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

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

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.

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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

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

 

 

 

One Item You Need to Transition Baby from the Swaddle

I don’t know why we think we need to hurry and get our babies out of their swaddles. There’s this annoying urgency about the process I think us moms feel. Personally, I just got tired of messing with it and when we had someone else watching the baby, it’s a pain to make sure they swaddle correctly. Although, I will say, I loved the swaddle we used for Bubby and I didn’t want to fix something that wasn’t broken, so Asher was in his swaddle for a little while.

The time did come though when we wanted to drop the swaddle and transition him without it. I am someone who likes to research and figure out how to make that process as smooth as possible. Enter the Zipadeezip. I came across this nifty little suit during my Google searches and the prints are adorable, so I ordered me one.

The company, Sleeping Baby, are really nice people when it comes to customer service. I had ordered a couple more during one of their flash sales and ended up not liking the material for the “summer” one, and they very promptly sent me a different one after I returned the one I didn’t want. Once we got the one we wanted, I realized just how cute Bubs looked in it.ziippywithname2

 

WHY I LOVED THIS THING

*I feel like the Zipadeezip still gave Bubby the feeling of being covered and cozy, but the freedom to move around when he wanted. Seriously, they can crawl and roll freely in this puppy.
*Asher stilled liked to rip his face off or suck on his hands FOREVER. The covered hands keep this problem to a minimum.
*Ohhhhh the prints! I LOVE their selections.
*They have great flash sales.
*Great to have that extra warmth when needed.
*Great options for different material choices.
*His Zipadeezip became his lovey for sleeping, really.
*Made transitioning to sleeping with nothing really easy too!

SIZING

Lots of folks ask about sizing for the Zippy. You can see here that at two months, the small was a little big on him. His feet came out of the pockets but that didn’t matter really. His hands stayed in it pretty well, which was nice since Asher was a serious hand sucker! Their site lays out the sizing really well I think. If you have a taller baby, the feet will fit just fine too.

We had our size small until he was about seven months. Then he just got huge and we went to the medium. I have heard of people having the small forever before they go to the medium. Once we got the medium, the small seemed tiny! I definitely think there is a big size difference, but one thing that’s great about the Zippy is that it still works really well until the baby “grows” into it.

DIFFERENT MATERIALS:

I was excited to see that they had different materials to choose from! We have all four seasons around here so we needed a little variety. The summer blend works well, but I wasn’t a fan of the hint of polyester feel it had to it. So we do the cotton for spring through fall and then had an UH-mazing fleece one for winter. I loved the fleece. I seriously wanted one for myself.

MOM HACK for the this product:

I needed to be outside as much as possible to fight off postpartum depression. I don’t know about you, but i needed to figure out how to keep my kid warm so I could run when it was pretty cold out. Enter the fleece Zipadeezip.
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That’s right. The Zipadeezip fits loverly while baby is strapped in the seat. You’re welcome.

PRINTS:

I can’t get over the variety of prints they have. I love them all! They have lots of good gender neutral ones too so you can reuse them for more than one baby. This moon and stars one is my favorite! By the way, I have no idea how I was able to snap a pic of him while he was asleep. This kid is a LIGHT SLEEPER like his momma. Lord help us.
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PRICING:

OK, so they aren’t super cheap. At least not to me. However, I say it over and over, sometimes the peace of mind is worth it. AND if you can use it on more than one baby then I think you definitely get your money’s worth. One of the great things about Sleeping Baby is that they have all sorts of sales when you sign up on their site. Sometimes it’s $10 off a Zipadeezip or free shipping or buy two, get one free, kind of stuff.

So there you have it. My must have for transitioning from the swaddle! What about you? Do you have a tip to add? Grab a cup of coffee and let us know 🙂
Cheers,
Glo

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When I Realized I Was Teaching my Son to be Sexist

Twelve years old, I was riding my bike down our neighborhood hill as fast as I could. I remember beating my neighbor friend to the bottom of the hill and enjoying the thrill of winning against him. He was one of the “wild” kids in our little tribe and my girlfriends and I never really went over to his house to play. Unless he asked us to jump on the trampoline.

But he hated to lose and let me know about it too. To restore his manliness, he wanted to race down another hill not too far from our spot. The hill was far enough away on a busy road and I remember not being comfortable competing against him anymore. That’s when I heard it for the first time. Pussy.

I cringe as I write it now. I remember the feeling it gave me. I felt like I got punched in the gut. I felt bad for being a girl. I didn’t know anything about sexism and feminism but what he said never left me.

Why is it as a society we find satisfaction in insulting others by using feminine vulgarity? You’re a bitch if you’re in a bad mood. Your ex-girlfriend is a cunt because she broke up with you. You play ball like a girl. You’re a pussy for not racing that boy down the hill.

Why does it matter? Using these kinds of terms perpetuates a weaker view of women and skews upcoming generation’s view of the female sex. Calling someone a “pussy” instantly denotes a weak feminine counterpart. As if you’ve been called a girl and that’s somehow incredibly insulting.

Not just a girl, but a girl’s vagina which, I don’t know about you, but our vaginas are pretty amazing. I mean, my son came out of there. And for some reason, a teenage kid thought calling me a pussy was a good insult. Hmmm. Wonder where he got that idea.

While many worry about what celebrities and politicians say, you don’t see a lot of people talk about how their favorite popular teen movie had sexism in it. You don’t hear many talk about how their grandparent is a blue collar racist. No one wants to take that hard of a look at themselves.

I don’t really remember my parents running around spouting off gender degrading comments, but I’m sure they did. I do not doubt that most of my gender stereotypes came from TV and friends, especially growing up.

Unfortunately, there was a time when I had never thought too much about these degrading terms until I had a son of my own. I remember we had been playing in the front room and my husband made a comment about someone on TV  “crying like a girl.” For the first time I saw that I might be contributing to the problem.

Taking a hard look in the mirror, I realized that what I do and say could have my son imitating that twelve year old neighborhood jerk. I about threw up.

When my husband made that comment around our son, I knew we weren’t going to be talking like that in this house. Not anymore.

How do we break the cycle? The simple answer: within our homes.

I want to educate my son on respecting ourselves and the opposite sex. I want to live an honest life in front of him that shows integrity towards the male and female sex. As a family, we have to decide what that will look like and how we will cultivate an atmosphere of respect towards others. I want to empower my daughter to stand up against those that would slander her using feminine vulgarity.

In my home we won’t need to tear down each other by degrading their gender and using stereotypes.

And if my son gets beat by a girl in a bike competition, I hope he’ll tell her congrats and not “take it like a man” but authentically respond like a child should. Tell her she cheated.

What about you? Have any memories like this? How will you approach this with your children?

Do you ever wonder how sexism gets perpetuated? I realized I was teaching my son to be sexist and knew I needed to stop. Feminism. Sexism. Parenting.

 

 

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

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.

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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

Peace,

Glo

 

Mommy’s Little Hero

I’m huffing and puffing, walking up the stairs, trying to carry this squirmy little dude on my hip while balancing a basket of laundry on the other. Asher is laughing and giggling while trying to see how hard he can kick his legs around before mommy drops the basket. Socks are toppling over the edge of heaping clothes, oozing out the sides of my basket. Oozing because Mike’s socks stink people. If you want to see a fun balancing act, watch a mom carrying her kid and a huge basket through a baby gate at the top of the stars, all the while a 70 lb freight train we call our dog, charging up the stairs. I sort of feel like this is my life lately. I am constantly going up and down. Overloading myself. Trying to get everything done.

I’ve come to realize that if I don’t watch myself, I can pretty much feel like this Every. Stinking. Day. The frazzled feelings. The not enough shaming. The mom judging. The days that get foggy.

Asher is all sorts of pre-toddler these days and I can see the challenges arising.

I worry that I won’t be enough.

Days can be hard as a mom. 

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As I’m sitting there trying to fold our laundry, Asher cruises on over to see what this is all about. Laundry has become his favorite new entertainment. Take the clothes out. Put them back in. Laugh about it. Take the clothes out. Shake them all about. Giggle. Hand mommy her clothes. Yank them back out of mommy’s hand. Laugh about it.

No joke. I had been sitting there working myself into what could have been a good o’l pity party, that would have ended with some comfort eating I’m sure, because that’s what I do sometimes, BUT as many times before, this little guy brings me back.

He brings me back to focus.

What can seem so mundane becomes an adventure.

 

We laugh together.

I remember how lucky I am.

I’m sure the worry will come back. The nag never seems to go away.

But it’s moments like these I need to keep her at bay.

I hear parents say a lot about how they can’t believe they are parents. The unbelief in the privilege they have of raising a family. I can’t say that comment always resonates with me until I start to worry about not being enough for my family. Then it all starts to make sense.

I choose happiness. I choose gratitude. I trust I am enough. I trust that God will continue to guide my heart as I hold my son’s hand. Really, he is leading me. Leading me deeper into my relationship with God. Growing my heart in ways I never knew.

I trust that he will know someday when he looks back that his mama loved him and in the midst of doing laundry, my heart was overflowing with gratitude for the joy he has brought to my life.

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A Day in the Life of a 10 Month Old

I think someone once said curiosity killed the cat. Really, we should say curiosity made the baby cry. That’s what life is like right now with this guy. Curiosity out the wazoo while crying because when we were curious about that pretty green light on our Roomba vacuum and pushed it while mama wasn’t looking, we cried and freaked out. Now, we can’t even crawl by the darn thing. So, we take the long way around to get to the doggie in his kennel. Sometimes we take the long way down the hall and start to cry because we’ve gone farther than we wanted and where’s my mama?

Usually when we make the long trek around the Roomba we end up at the dog kennel watching fido eat his dog food. Yah, that food is small and round like the peas I love to eat. I wonder if this taste like peas, the babe thinks to himself. So, we’re eating dog food now. It’s kind of his thing if I don’t keep him away. Either this means my cooking is so bad he can’t tell the difference from dog food OR he is just curious. I’ll go with the curious bit, thank you.

Floor vents are pretty awesome. Did you know that you can run your fingers along them 50 times before one of your fingers actually gets stuck?asherbook10mon

We can’t quite figure books out yet. I mean, come on kid, you turn the pages from right to left. He is hellbent on turning the pages the wrong way and if I don’t let him, then we just throw the book upside down. And all I want is a kid who likes to read. Sheesh.

It’s amazing what happens over night in baby world. One day, we can’t even roll. The next, we’re crawling. One day he isn’t even aware of pulling himself up to grab something off the couch. The next, ALL he wants to do is pull himself up. The problem is that he wants to do it on ME. Every. Single. Time. Why pull up on random furniture when I can use mommy? But I can’t get enough of those drooly kisses and the sweet smile when we accomplish the feat of pulling ourselves up, so I am pretty much the #1 mom in helping baby move up in the world.

Sometimes when we crawl into a new and exciting room we’ve never been in before, we stop and raise our head as high as we can to look around, while the drool dangles from our chin. This typically stops me in my tracks. This curiosity is the best.

The new exploration. The taking it all in.

For us, the 10 month mark has been all about the crawl. The movin and groovin. And I am loving it.

Although, I wouldn’t mind if he decided to wait another 10 months to walk. I’m not ready for that game changer.

Peace.
Glo

Holy Buckets. Bubby is Nine months old! Ahh!

Crawling? Check.

Teeth? Double Check. Four at one time, on the top. Thank you. Drool everywhere.

Grabbing everything? Check. And check. And check some more. Goodbye earrings I never wore.

Eating? YES. Breast, formula whatever is best before one, but this boy CAN EAT. I’m not sure why we’re still nursing to be honest. Oh yah, doc’s orders.

Must add a note that pooping has increased due to all the eating. Smelly? Holy crap, yes.

Sleeping? THANK GOD.

Talking? Science says that babies usually babble “dah dah” first. It’s easier on their mouth to shape. So, technically “dah dah” is NOT his first word. It IS a competition whose name gets said first. No one is winning. I’m just glad the boy wont shut up.

Curious much? Baby proofing 101–DO IT before they can crawl. Rookie mistake. Thank you mangled Ethernet chord we carelessly left dangling in our front room.

Size clothes does he wear? Man, I don’t know if this is some kind of indication, but we’ve been wearing size 12 months since 8 months. I might mention we wear big fluffly cloth diapers. OK, they take up all the room but seriously, I can’t keep up with the right size fast enough.

I still can’t believe he’s nine months old. Soon I’ll be writing about his nine year birthday.

They say the days are long but the years are short.

I’m finding this to be true. My days are filled with giggles and smiggles and cries and a smidge of sleep. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Well, maybe a Keurig. I’ve always wanted one…

 

5 Freezable Baby-led Weaning Breakfasts

FIVE FREEZABLE BREAKFAST FOODS FOR BABY-LED WEANING

I’ve got a new list for us! You know how I am about lists… Once Bubby started eating foods with his hands along with pureed foods, I really became interested in making healthy foods for him and for me! I love that about baby-led weaning: Feed them what you’re eating!

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While starting this journey, I was reminded of what I already knew: foods we eat are full of sodium and sugar, which are items you need to be wary of when feeding baby what you eat. I try not to obsess about this but I like to be aware.  I found that breakfast foods where an easy first start for us when giving him food to handle on his own.

Breakfast foods are easy to make, can be made in bulk for freezing and eating later, and can be made a little more versatile with adding different ingredients here or there. While these breakfast ideas are probably not ground breaking, the recipe ingredients might be new to you and the taste is soooo worth trying!

Don’t underestimate the power of freezing foods. As I started feeding Bubby what we’re eating, I quickly realized he didn’t eat all that much and I didn’t want it to go to waste, especially if he loved the food, so I started freezing different foods to see how they would turn out!

waffles

Whole Wheat Waffles Strips

These waffles are delicious! I took the original recipe from Lisa at 100daysofrealfood.com.  The only thing I do different from her is a I add 1 1/2 tsp of vanilla and I double the recipe so I can have a big batch to freeze later! Doubling her recipe gave me 22 waffles. Husband and I ate four for breakfast, Bubby ate some of one, so I froze 17 waffles. These recipes use naturally sweet ingredients instead of sugar. Bonus! Anytime she adds salt, I just omit it. 🙂 #babyledweaningwin

*EXTRA MOM HACKS*

*Spreading yogurt on these is really yummy. Have you ever tried whole milk, plain yogurt. I swear it tastes almost like cream cheese. Bubby loves it! Another nice thing about spreading yogurt on these is you’ve now created a sticky layer to add some other food! I squish raspberries, blueberries,

pears, blackberries and bananas on these waffles! You could even sprinkle a little smidge of cinnamon to add a little flavor flair!

*To freeze these, I just put them in a freezer Ziploc bag. When we want to eat them, I put them in the toaster and they’re ready in like two minutes!

*Take a Saturday morning to make a double or triple batch of these. It’s worth it!!

 

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EGGS Galore

Don’t forget the power of eggs! I should add that it is totally up to you on when you introduce eggs. Apparently, there’s a lot of new research out there that says it’s OK to feed your baby eggs around 6-8 months. Like anything, Google it and ask your pediatrician because I’m just a mom telling you my experience over a cup of coffe.

Husband and I don’t have any food allergies and neither do our families. The rule of thumb is if it’s an allergy somewhere in your family, then you’ll probably want to wait. With that, Bubby LOVES scrambled eggs. Again, this is another food when you can add variety AND you can freeze cooked eggs and they warm up pretty nicely.

*EXTRA MOM HACKS*

*When making your scrambled eggs, add a little milk. This makes them fluffier and juicier so baby can grab chunks easily.

*Try Egg Muffins! Once I discovered this, I have gone to town with all sorts of varieties. You can add bacon and bread chunks to a muffin cup, pour in your egg mixture, pop them in the oven, and freeze the leftovers! Super easy! Peppers, cheeses, spinach, and other greens are easy add-ins to your egg muffin cups and gives baby a variety to try!

*My rule of thumb when I try something new in the oven is to start at 350 degrees for baking. This seems to be a pretty universal temperature. You can figure out about how many eggs you’ll need to fill 12-24 cups to your liking. I have found that 8-10 eggs (depending on egg size) works well to make 12 full muffin cups. If you have extra, just make a small batch of scrambled eggs to eat on the spot with your little one!

*Another incident where silicone is awesome. I love my silicone muffin cups! Seriously, 24 reusable cups for $10 bucks is UH-mazing. Awesome for freezing and non-sticking. Plus, whenever I decide to use my muffin pans, I never have to worry if I have muffin cups on hand! When you freeze the eggs, I would freeze them in a single layer first, then throw them in a bag. I think the cooked eggs like to stick to each other.

*

These warm up nicely in the microwave!


 

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MUFFINS!!!

While we’re on the topic of muffins, another favorite around here are these awesome berry, nut, banana, whatever you want muffins! I totally stole this recipe from Lisa and we LOVE THEM! I leave the salt out of these too. They are super easy. Seriously. I made them in like 15 minutes, total. I honestly don’t worry about exact measurements of fruit that I add to these. I just add whatever I have on hand. I like to buy berries to eat throughout the weak. When I can see they are trying to go bad before they get eaten all up, I like to make this recipe to use the berries all up!

*EXTRA MOM HACKS*

*My picture above only has blueberries, but I’ve made these with blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries and bananas before. They turn out lovely! You could even add chocolate chips if you want something with a little sugar! 😉

*In Lisa’s recipe, she uses coconut oil. I use canola oil and have never noticed a taste problem.

*To defrost, you could put them in your fridge over night or even just on the counter. I have done both and they seem fine. Honestly though, I find I don’t think to eat these until the morning of, so I just zap them in the microwave for a minute or so and they turn out great!

 

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FRENCH TOAST STICKS

 

My favorite about french toast is that I love it so much it started me on making my own bread.
(Quick Digression: We got a bread machine for Christmas some time ago and I put that baby to work every week! If you have one, I really encourage you to bust it out! There are some great, easy recipes out there!)
OK, back to freezing food! This breakfast might be an exception to your salt intake if you buy commercial bread. Nothing wrong at all with doing this! I would probably consider this your splurge meal of the day for baby if that’s the case.

*EXTRA MOM HACKS*

 

*French toast seasoning is really about your preference. Personally, I whisk together a few eggs, a little milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a hint of vanilla and a drop orange juice in mine.

*To freeze these, make sure you don’t have too soggy of bread when you’re done. I have found freezing these when soggy, creates a mushy after freeze. I put these in the toaster when I take them out of the freezer and they have the perfect little crunch to them!

*I have found Bubby likes any bread-related item, like his mamma 🙂 Don’t be afraid to try different varieties of toast! Sometimes I give him toast with his scrambled eggs. Sometimes I give him toast with yogurt spread on it and fruit, etc.

 

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YOGURT  CUBED SMOOTHIE

If you love smoothies and want an easy way to have some on hand for those urges and want baby to share in the yumminess with you, this is the easiest way to have a smoothie on the go!

*EXTRA MOM HACKS*

*When you are done making your smoothie, freeze a batch in ice cube trays so you can control how many you want to grab later. We all know smoothies can have incredible varieties for taste! I use whole milk yogurt and a tad of OJ. I try to do more yogurt than OJ to limit some of the sugar and to help with consistency. This has worked well for me!

*When you want some immediately for eating, put it in the microwave on the medium heating setting for 20 second increments. Once it starts to get a hint of mushy, break it up with your spoon to mix with the cold on the inside and enjoy!

*If you know you’ll want it for lunch for yourself and baby, then take out a batch and put it in the fridge. It will be ready to eat by lunch! I like to store batches for myself in my small pyrex containers.

Do you have any favorite recipes you love to share with  your little one? Any favs to add to the list?

Peace,

Glo

 

Enjoy the Little Things: Bubby’s Almost 8 Months!

He laughs pretty much every time I toot.

We’re almost 8 months old. Yikes.

He laughs when he drops things. Repeatedly. On purpose.

Splashing is a good thing in the tub.

bubbyshandsNaps are craptastic right now.

I never knew someone could be so impatient when eating peas.

Clinginess comes in spurts. Sometimes it’s like a tidal wave.

I want to just eat up his hands. So sweet.

I wish the top teeth would just come in already.

He’s a pro at grabbing his food these days. Except for those peas.

The boy has never chewed on anything except his hands. Ladies and gentleman, I give you the mystery of the wooden spoon. Chew toy #1 in our house.

Usborne touchy feely books, you are awesome.

Clinginess equals extra snuggles before nap time. Thank you.

 

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How to Swaddle Baby in a Car Seat

 


Does your baby get fussy while riding in the car seat? Have you tried ways to swaddle your baby in the car seat, but haven’t had success? Here is an easy way to calm your baby, particularly a newborn, while in the car seat and still be safe.

This post contains affiliate links which means if you click through and end up buying something, I get a tiny commission to add to my coffee and writing fund. Thank you 🙂

Bubby was not much of a sleepy newborn. We could go places with him in his car seat and some times he would fall asleep, but not very often. He always wanted to see what was going on. Such a silent observer, like his dad. So, we would try covering the car seat with a blanket to block out too much stimulation when we wanted him to try and catch a catnap while we were out, but he’d begin to scratch his face off. Newborns look so funny when they do this. It’s sort of like watching a monkey hit himself in the head over and over. He gets mad, but he just. Can’t. Stop.

I wish I could say that this ingenious idea came from me. I was too sleep deprived to come up with something like this. But it did come from a friend of ours. How many of you use the Summer Infant swaddle with velcro tabs? We were able to use these on a regular basis for only a couple of weeks before Asher figured out how to get out of them BUT we were able to use it in the car seat!! Here’s how.

First you got your Summer Infant Swaddle. Duh.

Ever wonder why there is a hole in the back??

Lay the swaddle in your car seat and pull the straps over it, as pictured below.

Pull the snap part of the buckle through the hole, as pictured below. Aha!

Place baby in seat and buckle in.

Place baby’s feet in the bottom pouch of the swaddle.

Pull the baby’s right side of the velcro over his body and attach the velcro to the center like you would normally. When I do this. I gently put baby’s arm to the side so it’s not rubbing on the seat buckles.

Finish by gently pulling baby’s left side of the swaddle over to velcro across the baby’s chest. Again, I gently put baby’s arm to the side so it isn’t rubbing on any part of the buckle.

There you have it! Easy way to calm baby while riding in the car seat!

If it was warm out, we had Asher in only a diaper and t-shirt. We were always in air conditioned locations so we never had an issue with heat. If I got paranoid, I would leave his feet out of the bottom pouch. I would not do this if you are planning on being outside when it is warm. I can’t say this is technically pediatrician approved, but our pediatrician saw how I did this with Asher and he thought it was super awesome. Seriously. He said super. He planned to pass the good news on to his patients if they had a fussy baby in the car seat!

Please, pass the good news along! Live long and prosper, my friends.

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How to Transition Baby from a Rock n’ Play to the Crib

How do you know when it’s time to transition baby from his Rock n’ Play? I remember feeling conflicted about it. The crib just seemed ginormous compared to him when we brought Bubby home for the first time. Not only that, but I had no idea how I would go about transitioning from the Rock n’ Play to the crib. Mamas, if you feel like you’re in the same boat as I was, then this newborn life hack is for you.

The Fisher Price Rock n’ Play is an awesome baby product. I would highly recommend one to my friends if their little one likes to be held and feel snuggly. When we came home from the hospital, our friends loaned us one and it was just what we needed. We used it for naps and his short spurts at nighttime. I used it during the day when I needed him to be in the room with me while I cooked dinner. I liked it for sleeping because it keeps baby elevated and Bubby was a spitter, so the inclined feature was a great bonus. This could be especially beneficial if you have a reflux baby.

Can we stop for a minute and talk about how annoying it is to type Rock n’ Play? Too bad I lean towards having a perfectionist problem, so I’ll be typing it correctly. We could make it a drinking game. Every time it’s mentioned, you take a swig of your drink. No judging here whatever you got in that cup of yours 😉

Eventually, I knew we needed to transition. If you’re like me, you Google a lot and I started realizing that having him in the Rock n’ Play (shot please?) too long as he started to sleep longer was probably not a great idea. I realized it was time to go to the crib for full time sleep (well, that was if we weren’t surviving with him sleeping in the swing, but that’s another story, another day…sheesh).


WHEN SHOULD YOU TRANSITION BABY TO THE CRIB FROM THE ROCK N’PLAY?

If I could do it over, I would have transitioned Bubby sooner. He was 2 1/2 months and going from the snuggly feeling of the Rock n’ Play to the crib was a little tough for him. Also, he was used to the incline, so laying flat seemed odd to him, I think.

I think the best indicator is when they start sleeping longer stretches. Head shape, neck muscle development and all that jazz that occurs by sleeping on a flat surface is something to take into consideration when you start using the Rock n’ Play for long stretches of time.

Another indictator we needed to transition was because Bubby kept pushing himself off the bottom while laying in the Rock n’ Play. I was a little paranoid about this, even with the built in buckle! This also caused him to struggle to fall asleep because bouncing around was more fun than napping! If your baby starts to act restless, you might want to consider the possibility he is no longer comfortable in the Rock n’ Play.

how to transition from the rock n play to the crib

HOW TO TRANSITION FROM THE ROCK N’ PLAY TO THE CRIB

I hate to be annoying, but this really depends on your baby and their disposition and if you are dealing with any reflux issues or colic. I am NOT an expert, so as everything you read here, I can only give you my experience.

Bubby had eventually fallen into a somewhat predictable nap routine. I knew he would take so many naps a day. Since I didn’t want to mess with the possibility of poor sleep starting at the beginning of the day, I decided to start with the end of the day naps.

My advice, start with the last nap of the day. I did this so if his sleep was disrupted, we could survive with an early bedtime or cluster feeding. For this nap, I placed him in his crib. Once he got used to this nap in the crib, I moved up to the next nap and so on. It took us almost two weeks before all day sleep was a go in the crib.

The results for this can vary depending on how you put your little one to sleep. If they are used to being rocked to sleep and wake mid-nap for you to come rock them back to sleep, then waking while in the crib doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t like the crib over the Rock n Play. I would pay attention to how long it takes for them to fall asleep in the crib over behavior with midnap

waking.

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nce I felt like he fell asleep with ease in the crib we moved to nighttime. He did it with no problem at that point.

SHOULD YOU USE A CRIB WEDGE TO MAKE THE TRANSITION SMOOTHER?

I had this epiphany that maybe we should incline his crib as part of the transition process. Looking back, I feel like it made me feel better about the transition. My husband thinks it didn’t matter. Either way, the $25 made me feel good about the process. We used this one and I plan to keep it incase I think we need it for baby #2. I figured I can resale it when we’re done having kids so I don’t lose all my money. Hey, peace of mind and some sanity go along when you have a newborn in the house. I gladly paid the $25.

We used it for a few weeks until things got wiggly for him and he became a ninja sleeper.

Alright, how did your transition go? Have any extra tips about this to share with our other mamas? Let us know in the comment section! (Anyone keeping track of how many drinks they took?)

Peace,
Glo

How to Organize Your Cloth Diapers

 

If you’ve decided to take the cloth diaper plunge, then you might be thinking to yourself, how should I organize my cloth diapers? Like with any diaper changing station, there are a few things you have to consider: how much space you have to work with, location of changing station, ease of use by others, ease of use for the main diaper changer!

Some people buy a diaper changing table or one that is attached to their crib for ease of use. We have a nice sized bedroom for Bubby, so space wasn’t really a big concern, but we had Husband’s dresser set that he grew up with and once we got that in Bub’s room, space was a little limited. We decided to use the top of the dresser as a changing station.

Since we doesn’t need to use both dressers in his room, I also decided to use his dresser drawers to stash diaper materials in. If you don’t have many drawers, you might want to consider a small shelf to tack on the side. I ended up buying one like this for my second baby and turned it upright.

I labeled the dresser drawers for ease of use, mainly for my husband, but also for babysitters. I just used mail labels and stuck them on cardstock paper. We also have various cloth diapers that I like to use from time to time, so each drawer is labeled accordingly.

You want to think about what you want to have with the easiest access and where to put those diapers. I wanted all main, everyday diapers towards the top.

You can organize your diapers within the drawers whichever way works best for you to just grab and go. For this particular drawer, I have my pocket diapers. I go ahead and stuff them and put them in the drawer, ready for use.

I also keep a small stash of covers that already have the prefolds inside them, ready to go for a sitter or hubby to just grab and put on baby.

If you don’t have enough room on top to change the baby, have a stash of diapers and have your diaper changing materials (i.e. wipes, water, ointment, etc.) then you’ll probably want to keep your materials on top. Mine is nothing fancy, as seen below. You can also see that I keep an open, dry bin for the dirty diapers next to the changing station.

Don’t try to over complicate the changing station. Keep things simple and straight forward!

How do you organize your station?  Any tips?

Peace,
Glo

OrganizeCDPIN

How Much Does It Cost to Cloth Diaper a Newborn?

Is cloth diapering a newborn worth it? How much does it cost? Should I just buy one size diapers? Which prefolds should I use for a newborn? What all do I need to cloth diaper a newborn?

These are the questions most ask when deciding how to start their cloth diaper stash. I was conflicted about having a separate stash for the newborn stage, but decided that I wanted us to try it. If it seemed like a waste, then I could resale our lot. That is one of the beauties of cloth diapering–resale is awesome!

If you’re thinking about purchasing a newborn stash or curious about what you’ll need and how much, here’s some info for you.

COVERS and PREFOLDS
I would recommend using covers and prefolds. Newborn covers aren’t as expensive as I thought and newborn prefolds can be used for so much more than just diapers. I use them as booster absorbancy for night diapers or even during the day in my one size pocket diapers. Newborn prefolds can go a long way past the newborn stage, plus they’ll stay in great shape to reuse for the next baby or to resale.

HOW MANY NEWBORN COVERS AND PREFOLDS WILL I NEED?
There are a lot of different opinions about this. I would say it depends on how much laundry you want to do and how often you want to do it and of course how much you want to spend. The more you have, the more time you have between laundering. I had a good amount starting out. What I found was that it would take me a little while to get a load washed, then dried, then back on the changing table, so if anything, having extras was nice so I didn’t have to worry about getting it laundered and back on the changing table quickly.

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WIPES
We also went with cloth wipes. My friend recommended this because they are soooo much more efficient than disposables. My husband especially found this to be true. The less he needed to wipe away the poop, the better. The cloth wipes just grab it all and wipe it away better. Some people get in to all the different kinds of solutions you can use to spray when cleaning the bum, but we just use water in a spray bottle. The wipes will last you through your whole cloth diapering experience, so typically, these are a one time purchase.

WET BAG
We bought ours from Amazon. You want something to hold the dirty diapers. I just put ours in a square hamper and set it next to our changing station. We do a dry pail which means we just throw the dirty diapers in there. Some do a wet pail, but I don’t feel comfortable describing that since I don’t have any experience. The wet bags will last you through your whole cloth diapering experience, so typically, these are a one time purchase.  TIP: It is a misnomer that you need to cover your dirty cloth diapers to keep the smell out. Actually, by covering them the yucky smell just manifests even more. Allowing air circulation keeps the odor at bay.

Minimum needed to start out:
6-8 covers

12 prefolds

2 snappis (like the safety pin to keep it all together)

wet bag (to keep dirty diapers in)

24 wipes

spray bottle

Comfortable amount to start out for less laundering demands (this is what we had):
12 covers

24 prefolds

2 snappis

2 wet bags

36 wipes

spray bottle

HOW MUCH WILL I SPEND ON PREFOLDS?
This depends on where you buy them of course. I would plan to spend $20-$30 per dozen. I read a lot of different opinions about which prefolds to use and I went with Green Mountain Diaper prefolds, called Cloth–eez. They are $25 per dozen.

HOW MUCH WILL I SPEND ON COVERS?
As I was stocking up on diapers, I kept an inventory of how much I spend and where I bought them. Partially because I wanted my husband to see how much we would save in the long run and because I am one of those annoying people that likes to make spreadsheets and keep track of things. Covers greatly vary in price by brand. I bought 8 out of my covers used, so I spend less. Newborn covers range from $8-$10. Looking at our spread sheet, I spent $54.

HOW LONG WILL I USE MY NEWBORN CLOTH DIAPERS?
Of course this depends on the size of your baby and how fast he grows! There are recommended weights and sizes that come with prefolds and covers. I found them all to be pretty accurate. I would say the only exception was with our prefolds. If your baby is too big to “wrap” the prefold on him, you can use the prefold by trifolding it and laying it in the newborn cover. We got longer use out of ours doing it that way, plus the prefolds fit very nicely in the covers to help with any sort of leaks. Our newborn stash lasted until Asher was a little over 3 months old. I think it is safe to say most newborn diapers, covers and prefolds will last you until about 3 months unless you have a real little chunker on your hands 🙂

WHERE CAN I BUY MY NEWBORN CLOTH DIAPERS?
I personally bought most of ours from Amazon so we could get the free shipping, however many diaper sites have free shipping and a point system that allows their customers to earn certain rewards. I already have that in a way with Amazon. The prices were pretty comparable from Amazon to the company sites. Here are a few of my favorite sites when ordering from other than Amazon:

http://www.greenmountaindiapers.com/home.php

http://www.nickisdiapers.com/

http://www.diaperjunction.com/

SO HOW MUCH WILL YOU SPEND GRAND TOTAL TO CREATE A NEWBORN CLOTH DIAPER STASH?

Covers (8 avg $8 each) = $64

Prefolds (2doz avg $25 doz) = $50

Snappis (pkg of 3) = $12

Wetbag (2 at $17) = $34

Wipes (doz wash rags from store x 2) = $10

GRAND TOTAL = $170

So the next big question is how much would you have spend on disposables?

Looking at Wal-Mart prices you could buy a pack of roughly 120 diapers for roughly $35. In the first couple months we were at about 8 diapers a day and have evened out to about 6-8, depending on the explosions that happen 🙂

The average diaper changes for a newborn are about 8 a day. Divide 120 diapers by 8 gives you a pack of diapers lasting about two weeks. So, you could say you might spend about $35ish on diapers about every two weeks, plus or minus a few dollars. This doesn’t include if you buy disposable wipes. You could roughly be spending $75 a month on disposables. This price would change a little as you go up in size in diaper but let’s just say you spend that much for three months.

That gives you $225 for the newborn stage in diapers.

costCD3

Photo credit: moohaha via VisualHunt.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Now this is incredibly rough, basic math. These amounts can vary, especially depending on the brand you buy and how many you go through at any given time and where you buy them. Some folks buy them in bulk at a bulk store like Sam’s for a cheaper price, but then you get in to how much you pay for the membership price, how much you spend on gas to get them, etc. With cloth diapers you do have to take in to account how much it costs to launder them but from what I’ve read, it is marginal, plus there are the one time purchases to consider in the grand totals, like the wipes and wet bags.

Another topic that would be interesting to discuss is using One Size cloth diapers on your newborn. These diapers last from birth until potty training. I have a good set of those for after the newborn stage that I use now. I decided to build a newborn stash so I could have a good fit on the baby right away and I wanted diapering to be easy for me AND my husband, especially for middle of the night, tired diaper changes. I didn’t want to be messing with the fit until Asher was a little bit big enough to really fit the one size diapers. In the cloth diaper world, many protest about the smallest size setting in one size cloth diapers and how they don’t fit newborns that well. BUT, in order to save money, many just stick out for a month or so until baby fits them better. I bought many of mine used, so if they didn’t pan out, I could just resale them and the loss would be minimal. I ended up LOVING them and plan to use them for the next baby!

SO WHAT’S THE FINAL WORD ON CLOTH DIAPERS OR DISPOSABLES FOR A NEWBORN??
Overall, I believe it probably cost more to use disposables on a newborn. One thing about cloth is that there are so many more uses and I can use my newborn stash for the next baby as well, AND I will most likely be able to still resale them when I’m done. AND I can use them for more than one child!

It may be worth it to you spend the extra money on disposables. A good friend of mine made the comment that when she wipes her but she likes throwing it away down the toilet, why wouldn’t she want to do that with her baby?! Very true! In the end you should do what works best for your family. Cloth works for us. I don’t mind rinsing the poo off in the toilet if it saves me some money. Others might find that idea crazy!

Which diaper system did you use? Do you think it’s worth it to have a newborn cloth diaper stash or just use disposables until baby fits your one size diapers better?

How MuchCDPIN

Miracle Blanket Review

 

IS YOUR BABY NEEDING A SWADDLE? WHICH ONE SHOULD YOU CHOOSE?

When we brought Bubby home from the hospital we immediately started using the Velcro swaddles. Those worked on him for about two weeks. He very easily started getting his hand up out over the top or would wake up mad because his arm was stuck as he was trying to wiggle his way out. I knew we needed a new game plan for the swaddling. As always, I started Googling and came across lots of different options. As any parent probably knows, when you start looking at new ways to swaddle your baby, you start seeing your dollar bills go out the window! Swaddle products are expensive! At least they are to me!

I began reading different reviews over different products. I considered many different options but before I made my final decision, I started asking some of my friends who are also newish parents. A couple of them recommended The Miracle Blanket. (Play angel music here).

Now, before Bubs got too long, he could not get his legs out as pictured above. Getting his leg out and eventually a hand is what pointed us to the Zipadeezip. BUT, for almost three months we LOVED the Miracle Blanket. I will admit, I was skeptical at first because there are no “fastenings” or velcro. The baby is all swaddled by wrapping!

If you’d like to check out their original site, you can click here. They have nifty little step-by step photos that show you how to use it. When I purchased mine from Amazon (since I’m an Amazon Prime addict, justme?), I was happy to find directions in the package too!

There was no way Bubby was wiggling out of this! After using it for a few days and nights, he became used to it and started sleeping with no problems.  As with other swaddle products, I felt it was fairly comparable to other prices for about $30. Once I realized this worked like a charm, I did invest in a second one to have while one was in the wash. Plus, Bubs might be labeled a “spitter” so we needed to have extras on hand. But hey, for as much as they need to sleep, I felt the investment was worth it! So was my sanity!

ashermiracle1

At about 5 months he started wiggling out of the Miracle so we moved to the Zipadeezip!

A couple of notes worth mentioning about the material:
When we purchased out first one, it was blue, like the one pictured way above. Washing and drying it did not make it shrink. However, when I purchased out second one (beige with green trim, directly above) I went with the cotton knit material instead to have a lighter feel than the blue one which was 100% cotton. The knit material did shrink.

I bought the knit material because the blue 100% cotton was pretty warm. I wasn’t comfortable putting him in a footed PJ onesie at night (during the summer). I felt he got to be too hot for comfort. However, the knit one is more breathable and worked like a charm with his PJs.

Here are my thoughts in nutshell:

PROS
*easy to use
*easy to care for
*no special fastenings to worry about
*great product to keep baby’s arms from wiggling up towards face
*gender neutral colors available, plus other cute prints
*one solid piece of material that is easy to wrap baby up

CONS
*could be a little pricey– Amazon prices can vary by color too, unlike the retailer’s
*might shrink
* 100% cotton might be warm for baby in summer months
*I wish it lasted longer than about 14 weeks! Once Asher hit right at about 12 weeks, he was too long for it and was kicking out of it (like pictured above). I’m thinking this is when most transition from swaddling anyways so maybe it’s not a big deal or it could be that Asher was in the 90% for height…hmm…

Here are some product facts from the actual retailer’s site www.miracleware.com:

  • Stops colic, see our guarantee
  • Helps baby sleep better and longer
  • Helps keep babies on their backs
  • Prevents twitching and “starting”
  • Prevents facial scratches
  • Makes breastfeeding easier
  • Easy to wrap and stays put
  • Made of 100% super-soft breathable cotton knit – perfect for any climate
  • 1 size fits all, up to 14 weeks
  • Offers simplicity of design – no buttons, straps, Velcro, knots, or zippers
  • Offers a 100% money back guarantee

After Asher sadly outgrew the Miracle Blanket, we transitioned to the Zipadeezip. You can read that review here.

MiraclePIN

 

How to Transition from the Swaddle

zippyreview

Something wasn’t right. Asher was starting to go down for his naps rather fitfully. I’m not saying he’s always an angel for naptime, but I could tell something was off. I made a note to keep an eye on it. He did this for three days in a row. One morning, I went in to wake him up for the day and was greeted by this sneaky face.

Yep, he got his arm out of the Miracle Blanket. It was time to rethink the swaddle. I knew it was coming, but I think I was in denial. I had read horror stories about no sleep when you transition.  I knew I just needed to take the plunge.

WHEN SHOULD YOU TRANSITION FROM THE SWADDLE?

I am no expert, (I like to think I am!) but this can vary. Depending on who you read and believe, either you swaddle or you don’t. Either you swaddle forever because if it aint broken, what’s there to fix? Or you get tired of it (like me!). It’s also possible that your little one is starting to sleep a lot more, shall we say, fitfully. For me, I felt like this was the case for Bubby.

Some people go by age and if/when they decide to sleep train. They remove all sleep props and go from there. Hey, you do whatever works for you!

HOW DO YOU TRANSITION FROM THE SWADDLE?

I started with one nap with one arm out of his Miracle Blanket. It was the first nap he wasn’t fitful. It only took him about ten minutes to fall asleep in his crib. I did the same thing with the next nap of the day. He tried to rip his face off and realized he could suck his hands For. Like. Ever. Google immediately showed me the Zipadeezip. I was skeptical, but read about their great service, so I figured if we ended up not liking it, we would send it back.

Couple days later when the package arrived, we did the one arm thing with his hand in one of the arm “pouches.” He didn’t rip his face off, didn’t go to sleep fitfully and barely sucked his hand. Success. It’s taken us some time, but the weaning process has worked.

I did something similar as I transitioned him from the Rock n’ Play. We started with one nap towards the end of the day, and went from there. Once he started sleeping easier at first, we moved on to the next nap. It didn’t take too long. About a week of whacky sleeping and then we did nights.

Alright, tell me how you did it? What did you find that worked well???

how-to-transition-from-the-swaddle