Category Archives: Toddler

Dear Son (What I Want You To Know)

dear son, what i want you to know

Dear Son,

Dad and I are trying are best, but we don’t know everything.

I want to give you the world, but it’s fine line of learning to be independent and just taking care of you.

I love how big you are getting, but I miss my snuggly newborn some days.

I love that you sleep (most nights) through the night, but it doesn’t mean I don’t check on you at least 20 times a night.

Every day you learn something new and amaze me with your energy.

You make my soul, my heart and my brain smile. I love you more than any words can describe.

I want what is best for you, but I understand that I have to let you fall sometimes.

When I get upset or stressed, please know it will pass.

The nights you need a little extra time being rocked to sleep are my favorite.

I now understand how my mom felt when she tried to shower, put on her makeup or pee with an audience.

You’re curiosity amazes me.

You are loved more than you will ever realize.

I want you to know it’s okay to be yourself and not care what anyone thinks of you.

You can do anything you dream of. I will support whatever your choices are.

You’re lack of fear inspires me to let go of my own inhibitions. 

Know that your dad and I will always stand behind you. You have our full support – always.

Lazy Weekends

I thought it was time to do a little family update over here. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in talking budgeting, saving money and frugal living that I can overlook the smaller things – like my cute family!

This little boy has been loving Summer! I think he’s enjoyed having Mom and Dad off on Fridays to get to do fun things together. We’ve been to Grant’s Farm in St. Louis to see the fun animals and take a fun ride through the park.  He even went on his first carousel ride.  He wasn’t too sure of it, but as long as I was near he was brave enough to try.  But once the music stopped and the animals stopped moving, he was ready to get off.

J found a fun petting zoo called the Lazy L Safari Park not too far from our home, so we took a day trip up there.   It was neat.  A family had some acreage outside of a city and they turned it into a petting zoo with about 50 different species on the property.  Most of the animals you could pet and feed, except for the camels since they’re a bit mean.  Our little boy found a deer that he fell in love with.  He kept going up to him and feeding him, then the deer would follow Dent has he walked down a path.  Dent thought it was hilarious.   

You all now how much our little man loves the water after our Florida vacation a few months ago, so we were sure to fill a little backyard kiddie pool so he could splish-splash anytime.  Then when we went to a church carnival he found the one game that involved water… of course!  Dent thought it was so fun to pick up ducks, splash them down then pick up another one.  He wasn’t sure why he stopped getting prizes for picking up his ducks, but that’s because Mom ran out of tickets. 

One of the biggest days so far is when we took Dent in for his first haircut.  I thought I was going to really struggle with my baby’s little hairs being cut, but it ended up being such a great experience.  I went to a friend from high school who has kids of her own and she was able to snip his hair without any problems.  He wiggled a lot, but didn’t cry!  I took a picture of him on his trike the day before just so I could remember his sweet baby hair.

It feels like this summer is flying by.  I want time to stand still just a bit so I can enjoy my boy a little longer.  I don’t know about you, but it feels like his first year flew by and his second is going twice as fast.  I am going to savor the last few Fridays off and the rest of our Summer weekends together.  We plan on watching some fun fireworks over the 4th of July and spend some time my the pool at my parents’ house.  It’s going to be good!

How to Keep Your Toddler Healthy and Growing

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how to keep your toddler healthy, parenting hacks for healthy kids, how to keep your baby healthy

I’m a pretty slick ninja over.  I love finding new ways to sneak good, whole foods and ways to keep our boy healthy.   Especially since he’s in an in-home sitter’s care during the day around other kids.  I think it’s important to keep his immune system up (I know it still has a lot of developing to do) and keep him as healthy as possible.  I am very fortunate because when our little man is sick I can stay home or take him to work with me, but I know most parents aren’t as lucky.  So I keep that in mind knowing that not everyone can take off when their little one has a cold or running nose.  Now my sitter is great because if anyone is too sick or has a fever then she has a policy that they can’t be there that day.  And she’s not afraid to call and say you need to pick your little one up.  I know because I’ve gotten the text about him being sick, so she’ll do it.

I created a quick video sharing all of my favorite tricks and parenting hacks on how to keep your toddler healthy especially when the weather changes.  You can watch the video below or keep reading to find my favorite ways.  

Disclosure:  I am not a doctor so some of my ways may be different than yours.  I will explain why we use certain items and medicines for our little guy but all of the medicines came from our pediatrician’s recommendations.  So you need to consult your doctor before adding any supplements or medicines.

Fluoride Tablets

This was a recommendation from our son’s doctor.  He doesn’t get city water (he never has) so we used store-bought gallon sized drinking water for his bottles and sippy cups.  Our home is on a well, which means we don’t get any of that added flouride most cities put into their water system.  The doctor recommended a fluoride tablet to make sure his teeth develop safely and are healthy.  So each day I crush a little tablet and mix with one of his bottles of milk.  He won’t need to be on this forever, but for now we’re sticking with our doctor’s plan so his teeth come in nice and strong!

Change Their Sheets Weekly

It’s so easy to forget to change the crib sheets, right?  There is so much going on and you usually remember when you’re placing your almost asleep toddler into bed.  Ugh!  Little ones drool and snot all over their sheets at night, not to mention how they may pee through their onsies during the middle of the night.  By keeping clean sheets on their bed you will cut down on the germs they face plant in.  If you’re little one gets sick or a cold then you should be changing your sheets every few days to stop the circulation of germs.  However, once a week is enough for a healthy toddler.  I recommend changing them first thing in the morning.  We keep our extra sheets in his room so each Friday morning I strip his bed down and pop on a new set.  Takes less than five minutes to get fresh, clean sheets on his bed.  

Vitamins with Iron Supplement

Our little guy tested low with his iron at his 12 month appointment.  Our doctor recommended adding in a daily vitamin with iron.  We use the Enfamil Poly Vi Sol Vitamin with Iron because we used their formula and felt confident with their products.  Now I fully know our doctor will retest his iron at his next appointment and may say to stop using these drops.  We also have increased the amount of iron-filled foods he consumes (or at least try to, but he’s one and is pretty picky). 

snacks for baby

Smoothies

I also create baby smoothies for our little guy on the weekends or lazy days around the house.  He thinks he’s getting a special treat (especially when I put it in the fridge and let it get cold), but I know he’s getting a nutrient packed smoothie.  I tend to use a specific sippy cup for his smoothies, too.  That way it’s extra special.  I got these Munchkin trainer cups during one of his showers and I love them.  They don’t leak and are super easy for him to hold on.  

How to Keep Your Toddler Healthy

Mix Pureed Fruits and Veggies Into Other Food

Is your toddler a picky eater?  Mine is.  One day he loves something and the next he treats it like it’s the most disgusting thing in the world.  It’s frustrating.  He does this a lot with fruits, which I think is a texture thing.  He loves the flavors of most fruits like blueberries, strawberries, and melons, but as soon as you give him a piece to eat by itself he will spit it out.  Usually they end up all over the kitchen floor with the dogs trying to get to them.  So after a few attempts I came up with a backup plan.  Just puree the fruit or veggie then mix with their other foods.  

Sleep

This one is huge!  There is nothing worse than an overly tired toddler, am I right?  It’s exhausting trying to soothe a child who is so tired and still refuses to sleep.  So you need a bedtime routine and to work on sleep training your little one.  Sleep is vital for their development and their health.  Here is a chart for how much your little one should be sleeping at night and during nap time.  We aim for him to be in bed by 7:30-8:00 most nights.  Now we hope he sleeps until 7:00 the next morning without waking up, but it doesn’t always happen.  But I’ve noticed when he sleeps regularly and has a routine he does a lot better and he seems to bounce back when other littles have a cold around him.

What parenting hacks do you have to keep your little ones healthy?  Am I missing anything?  Leave a comment to let me know!

Flying with a Toddler {What To Bring With You}

tips for flying with a toddler, traveling with a toddler, flying with a baby, how to fly with a baby, how to fly with a toddler

Flying with a toddler or an infant can be stressful.  

Like really stressful.  I don’t know about you, but I never want to be the parent who’s kid is running around like crazy or worse – screaming the entire flight.  We all know most people are understanding and you’re never going to see them again, but for those hours in you’re in the air it’s torture. No matter how long your flight is your little one will probably not want to be held the entire time, which can be hard to deal with.  Or maybe their ears will pop with take off and landing, which can be hard to comfort them.  Or because they are a toddler they could just be unhappy because of no good reason.

Let’s talk about what you can do to make flying with your infant or flying with your toddler less stressful for them and for you.

Okay, a few weeks ago we traveled to Florida for our family vacation. We flew from St. Louis down to Orlando then had to get in a rental car and drove to Daytona Beach.  It was a long morning, even though the flight was about 2 hours and the drive was less than an hour.  But Moms you get it when I say it was still a long day.  But the 3 hour overall travel day was a lot better than the 12 hour drive it would have been if we didn’t fly.  So I’ll take it.  We drove to St. Louis the night before and stayed with my sister who took us and dropped us off at the airport (hello! No parking fees!).  Staying with her was great because we were able to follow our normal nighttime routine with our little man, which meant he was going to be rested before the flight.  We also picked a pretty early flight hoping we could catch our little guy’s nap time to make it easier on him and us.

flying with a toddler, traveling with a toddler, flying with a baby

flying with a toddler, traveling with a toddler, flying with a baby

Here’s what I recommend you prep before flying with a toddler:

Do Your Research

Check the TSA guidelines when traveling with children to make sure no changes have been made since I’ve written this post.  TSA does allow you to travel with breast milk, formula, and snacks for your little one.  Since our little guy doesn’t breastfeed and is now on milk, I just poured milk in a bottle and went through.  I had no issues and no question if it wasn’t formula or breast milk.  

You will just have to be prepared to have them taken out of your bag to be scanned by the X-Ray machine.  The worst thing to happen is to have spent time to prepare food, drinks and snacks for your toddler just to have the TSA worker throw it out.  So make sure you follow the guidelines.  For any liquids you’re traveling with they will test it for explosives.  Which means they will probably have you unscrew the bottle, hold a test strip over it and then test it. 

When we were leaving St. Louis the first test came back positive, so after two more negative tests we were good to go.  Not sure how my test came back positive, but oh well.  

flying with a toddler, traveling with a toddler, flying with a baby

Pack Only What You Need

Try to avoid overpacking so you aren’t trying to wrestle a huge bag that’s spilling over while trying to wrangle your toddler.  Pack only what you need or  think you will need.  I personally hate having a huge diaper bag that’s super heavy filled with items I know deep down I will not need.  Try to keep things light and easy on travel days.

Here’s what we packed in our carry on:

1) diapers and baby wipes
2) one small toy (that didn’t make any sound to be respectful for the other passengers)
3) iPad
4) snacks – see below for list of the snacks we took
5) milk
6) change of clothes
7) blanket

My carry on was my new diaper bag I bought off Amazon.  I love, love this bag.  It worked perfectly.  It zips close, which is great for putting it under the seat in front of me on the plane.  It can be easily carried as a backpack or cross body bag, which was super nice to have.  Plus it has the stroller straps so I could hook it onto the stroller through the airport.  

Here’s my recommendations on the snacks for your toddler: keep it simple.  Try to pack foods that can be easily closed or could be put into a sandwich baggie.  Try no to bring anything for the plan that will melt or be too messy.  Also think about the sticky factor.  You know which snacks your little guy probably loves, but he ends up a sticky mess after eating.  If he ends up sticky the changes of you getting sticky are pretty high.  

The snacks we brought:

individual bags of cheese sandwich crackers
multi-grain Cheerios
sweet potato puffs
baby food pouches
apple sauce pouches

We did bring more snacks and foods with us in our checked luggage to save money.  This vacation was planned on a budget using a technique that helps us save for anything we want.  So we didn’t want to overspend once we got to our destination.  I knew baby food and snacks were going to be a lot more expensive at the beach in Florida than it would be in Southeast Missouri.  We used freezer bags to make sure if anything was busted than it wouldn’t get over everything.

Gate Check Your Stroller

Did you know most airlines do not charge for checking a stroller?  You can strap your little one in and quickly make your way through the airport, which helps a lot when you have a suitcase to get from the baggage area.  Just make sure you put a name tag on the stroller to be safe.  The airline will put their own tag with your name and flight info, but as we found out the hard way that tag can easily fall off.  So by having our name on a bright orange luggage tag we were able to quickly identify our stroller.

Check your Car Seat

Again, most airlines don’t charge for checking a car seat.  You can gate check them, but we just put ours with the luggage.  Actually, we bought a cheaper one that wasn’t as heavy since we knew we wouldn’t be in the car that much during our trip.  Our chicco car seat is amazing, but it can be pretty heavy.  They make car seat travel carts that looked pretty neat, but we just went with the easier option of checking it with our luggage.  

flying with a toddler, traveling with a toddler, flying with a baby

You have to check your airlines reviews for traveling with a car seat.  Some handle them really well and others are a bit more careless.  I had read some horror stories of people traveling with their expensive car seats just for the airline to destroy them.  The airline is obligated to replace any seat that is damaged, but most of the time they give you a cheap version and call it good.  I didn’t want that happening with our big one, so we just packed a less expensive one.

This system worked great for our flight out.  Our little man passed out before our wheels left the ground and slept the entire flight.  We used the same technique on the way home, but our little guy wasn’t tired at all.  Luckily J and I were able to sit in aisle seats so we could let him stand between us. 

 

Affiliate Disclosure: I am grateful to be of service and bring you content free of charge. In order to do this, please note that when you click links and purchase items, in most (not all) cases I will receive a referral commission. You will not pay more when buying a product through my link. Your support in purchasing through these links enables me to continue to offer you lots of free stuff. Thank you!

Getting Your Toddler to Eat Fruit {Without Throwing a Fit}

I don’t know about your little one, but if they are anything like mine you have to be sneaky. I know my guy just turned one and some foods are still a little strange to him.

For instance… most fruits. He doesn’t care for the texture. But I can’t really blame him because I am the exact same way!

The texture of some fruits just throw me off. I like the flavor just fine, but the texture is a whole other story. I’ve been trying hard to get over my weird issue so that I don’t pass it on to my son.

But I’m not being successful. I’ve even eaten the fruit trying to show him it’s good.

For instance.. strawberries. I know it has to be a weird fruit to enjoy because I do not. I have tried it at least once a year since I was a little girl and I still can’t get over the way it feels.

The other day our boy was fighting me on eating strawberries. I cut them up into small pieces, mixed them with fruit and still nothing. He would literally pull the strawberry piece out of his mouth and drop it to the floor… while looking directly at me and laughing.

You can’t make me eat this, Mom!

I resorted to a new tactic. Nothing super scientific or even that clever, but at 7am one morning I was pretty proud of myself.  Here’s how I’m getting my toddler to eat fruit:

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I took the strawberry chunks, put it in my magic bullet with a little bit of milk and pureed them. Not super fine, still some chunks. Then I mixed it with his oatmeal.

Do you know what?

He loved it! He ate the whole bowl!

So the next morning, I added more strawberries and he gobbled that up too!

I knew I was on to something.

Every morning I’ve been taking his fruit and pureeing it a bit less. I’m trying to get him use to the texture of strawberries, blueberries, mangos and melons. If I make them too big, he’s sure to tell me with that direct stare as he feeds it to the dogs, but we’re working on it.

I thought it was pretty ingenious to blend them together with a little milk or water and each week just blend a little less. I’m hoping eventually he’ll like eating them just chopped into smaller pieces over pureed, but at least he’s eating fruit!

What’s one way you have gotten your little ones to eat healthier foods? I’ve been trying to get him more on table foods, but he’s not that interested in all of them yet.