Category Archives: Toddler

Our Toddler’s Bedtime Routine

Affiliate Disclosure: 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. 

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Does your toddler have a bedtime routine you follow?  We do and I highly recommend it to every toddler mom.  Your little one will do so much better with a set bedtime and you will feel so much better having a little bit of time each night all to yourself.  Some nights I use my time wisely by taking care of dishes, finishing laundry and cleaning … then other nights I’m so useless and binge watch TV for a couple of hours.  But it’s my choice!  

We set the foundation for easy nighttime routines months ago when we worked on sleep training our little man.  I truly believe that is what made our nights now a lot easier.

I also know that some days are better than others when it comes to a toddler’s bedtime routine.

Typically our little guy’s routine doesn’t vary much.  We found that works best for him and for us.  Now, I am not going to sit here and say we are perfect every single day.  That would be a lie.  No one can be perfect 100% of the time.  However, we strive for some consistency because without it we are a mess.

Around 7:00 each night we start off with bath time, which our little guy loves.  We ask if he’s ready for a bath and he takes off down the hall pulling off his pants and tugging at his shirt.  If we’re not fast enough, he’ll get all the way down to his diaper and then start taking it off.  We may or may not have had to clean a few mistakes down the hallway floor a couple of times.

After bath time, we go straight to getting ready for bed with getting PJ’s on, drying his hair and then story time.  Now some nights if we’re running late on bath time or he’s extra cranky then story time is super fast.  Other nights it’s a bit longer.

During story time he gets a small bottle of milk and then it’s off to bed.  We typically lay him down while he’s still awake.  That way he can put himself to sleep and we’re not trapped for 30 minutes or longer.  When we first sleep trained him months ago I started off staying in the room until he was sound asleep.  But I found that I was keeping him awake longer.  I would rub his back and the moment I switched directions or changed hands it was an excuse for him to pop right up.  It was also killing my back.  Leaning over the crib for 30 minutes or longer was just plain miserable.  So I was moving around a lot, sometimes I would make a small noise and then he would wake wide up.  It was awful.  

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I finally realized I was the problem so I started laying him down when he was still awake.  He gets a small bottle, his favorite blanket and a few soft lullabies.  Then within 10 minutes or less he would be out.  

Most nights that’s all there is to it.  He sleeps quietly until around 7:00 the next morning.  

Now, if he’s not feeling very good or has a tooth coming in then we might be up a few times during the night to cover him back up and pat his back.  It’s very rare we have to pick up up from his crib once we lay him down for the night.  We only do that if he needs a diaper change or is sick.  For the most part once he’s down for the night, he’s down for the whole night.  

We do let him sleep with a small, light blanket.  He prefers to be covered up and loves the small swaddle blankets we received during one of his baby showers.  We also have a LeapFrog My Pal Scout in his crib.  It plays music for him to fall asleep to and he likes it.  So if he wakes up in the middle of the night then he sometimes will turn the dog back on to play more music (which was super creepy the first few times he did it because I didn’t know he could turn it on and I thought it was randomly playing at 3am).

Months ago I found this white noise machine that plays all night.  Our neighbor’s driveway is right by our son’s room.  Our little guy was waking up every time their teenage boy came home late or when they left early for work.  Now with the white noise he sleeps through it.

What’s your toddler’s bedtime routine?

First Trip to the Zoo and a GIVEAWAY of the Laguna Tide Travel Diaper Bag

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This past weekend our little family had the time of our lives.  My best friend from high school lives about 3 hours away, so after months and months of saying we would come for a visit, we finally loaded down the car hit the road. Their little girl is just a few months older than our son so they were able to play and have a blast together.  

It was so nice having a chance to catch up with my friend and to see our sweet babies becoming life long best friends.  Our little guy was exhausted come Monday morning when it was time to drive home.  He didn’t want to leave, but he needed a good long nap to get him back to normal.  This little guy was such a trooper.  All weekend we went, nonstop.  He napped only 30 minutes on Saturday and then only 30 minutes on Sunday, which is short for my sleep-loving child.

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laguna tide, laguna tide diaper bag, diaper backpack, laguna tide diaper backpack review, #lagunatide, springfieldmo, dickerson park zoo, mother and son, walking with family, mom life

On Sunday we all went to the Dickerson Park Zoo in Springfield, MO.  We explored every inch of the zoo, we fed giraffes and watched the lions nap on a big rock.  Our little man is as independent as they come.  Our little guy did not want to be pushed into his stroller, even when he was too tired to walk.  He wanted Daddy to carry him while he rested then he was off again.  Little man preferred to be out front, leading the way for the rest of the group.

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I was asked recently how we pack our toddler’s diaper bag for a long day away from home.  

I’ve shared in this post what we bring, but I wanted to go into more detail about why I like to carry a diaper backpack on those long days.

I don’t know about you, but carrying around a diaper bag all day is so not fun.  The bag usually falls off my shoulder, especially when I bend over to pick up our son.  If I have it stuffed for a busy day then I usually lose a few items with each pickup too.  I saw online a few diaper backpacks and really wanted to give one a try.  I ordered one on Amazon not that long ago for our trip to Florida.  It’s a nice bag, but honestly I knew I could do better.  I had been trying to find a new one when I was asked to try out the new Laguna Tide Travel Diaper Bag. I jumped at the chance.  I looked at it online and thought this could really be the answer to my diaper bag problems.  So the people over at Laguna Tide were super nice and gave me this diaper backpack to test (and they offered you a coupon code for 15% off, keep reading to get the code!).  

laguna tide diaper backpack

This past weekend was the perfect time, too.  With all of the traveling and adventures we went on made sure this bag could keep up.  I recorded a quick video of my first impressions and as promised I’m sharing my final thoughts on this bag, too.

This diaper backpack is the real deal.  I loved so many features about it, but the best part was the actual backpack straps it comes with.  So many diaper bags (even ones I’ve purchased before) have such thin straps.  So by the time you get the straps adjusted and the bag filled, the straps just slide right back down when you go to pick it up.  It can be such a pain walking through the store with a diaper bag banging against your rear-end.  

This bag also came with some great insulated pockets so we were able to keep out little man’s snacks cool during the 80 degree weather, plus his sippy cup of water stayed cold while we explored the zoo.  The bag even came with a changing pad, which came in handy at the gross public bathroom at the zoo.  I’m not a real germ-a-phobic mom, but something about those public restrooms gross me out.  I was easily able to change our little guy, reach everything I need without having to take the bag all the way off and set it on the dirty floor.  That’s a huge game changer for me.  I always hate having to take off my diaper bag, sit it on the ground (because there is never a table or hook near those stations), dig out what I need all while trying to keep my busy toddler from falling off.  

Overall I give this bag 5 out of 5 stars!  It really was a huge help to have a nice, sturdy bag for a long weekend.  The people over at Laguna Tide and I are partnering up to off you a chance to win one of these bags.  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The giveaway will run from September 8 through midnight on September 14.  So be sure to enter for your chance to win.  You can grab one of these Laguna Tide Travel Diaper Bags over amazon.  Make sure to use the coupon code: MEREGP15 to get 15% off.

I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.

Winding Down Summer

I don’t know about you, but the end of August always marks the end of Summer in our house.  Now I know the actually first day of Fall isn’t for a few more weeks, which means we still have some Summer days left.  But it just doesn’t feel like it.  

School is back in session (even though our little guy isn’t in school yet, I still feel it), which means the town just seems quieter.  We’ve been busy soaking up the last few bits of Summer and it has been amazing.  

meredith rines, merelynne, budget expert, toddler, superman, little boy, toddler boy

meredith rines, merelynne, budget expert, toddler, superman, little boy, toddler boy

We have been working hard at crossing off everything on our Summer Bucket List before the temps start to dip too much.  We’re even planning a new list for next year.  I think since our little one is going to be 2 and J’s school won’t be as crazy then we’re going to make a bigger and badder list to conquer.  

meredith rines, merelynne, budget expert, toddler, superman, little boy, toddler boy

meredith rines, merelynne, budget expert, toddler, superman, little boy, toddler boy

meredith rines, merelynne, budget expert, toddler, superman, little boy, toddler boy

What are your end of Summer traditions?  

What to Pack In A Diaper Bag for Your Toddler

Affiliate Disclosure: 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. 

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Motherhood is one wild ride.  So many changes happen in the first year and then when we reached toddler status the changes just kept coming.  I’ve learned not to be so worried about the little things and to have more fun in the moment.  One of the biggest things I’ve changed is the super heavy diaper bag that was weighing me down.  It was such a relief the first time I carried this smaller packed bag out of the house.  I can’t tell you how happy I was when we had everything we needed, too.  Such a great feeling!

As our little boy gets older my diaper bag has changed from this stuffed tote for a newborn to a much lighter bag.  I’ve realized I don’t need to carry all that stuff anymore and it’s so nice.  Now don’t get me wrong as a new Mom I was very unsure about a lot of things (like a lot, a lot).  It was nice having everything that could be possibly needed when he was a newborn.  As I’ve become more confident with motherhood, I have been able to improvise on the fly.  I’ve also learned that as mothers, we don’t need all the stuff in the diaper bag we imagined.  It was a hard lesson to learn, but once I had the light bulb moment it brought a whole new perspective.

Now my diaper bag has changed quite a bit.  No more are the days of leaning over and everything falling out.  I recorded a quick video to show you exactly what’s inside and what I recommend to keep in your diaper bag for your toddler.  Take a look at what I carry for our very active 16 month old.

The diaper backpack I have is no longer available on Amazon, but you can find a similar diaper bag here.

The thirty-one bag can be found here (I have an older version).

My purse can be found here (remember this was a gift from J using his reward points from work – not that there is anything wrong with investing in a nice purse, but with a small child and living on a budget it’s not always possible).

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Some of Our Favorites to Include

Diapers
Wipes
Change of clothes
Sippy Cup that doesn’t leak
Book (similar set to what we have)
Small Toy (I prefer quiet toys for when we’re out to eat or in public places)
Snacks (Goldfish, crackers, Cheerios)
Snack Holder

What do you pack in your diaper bag for your toddler?  Leave a comment below with the details.

 

Check out more posts about parenting a toddler, even help with being a new mom and overall the whole motherhood thing.

How To Balance Life When Your Have Kids and a Career

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I had been working on this post about how to balance life for a very long time.  I’ve had the idea scribbled in a notebook for months.  I’ve had a draft started, but not finished for weeks.  Yet here I am completely changing the whole premise of this topic.  

Let’s get real for a second – when you have kids there is no balance.  Sure you can feel like everything is rocking and rolling for a few days, maybe even a few weeks, but it will come crashing down at some point.  I don’t mean to sound dramatic, but it does.

For instance, I started this post off (then deleted it) talking about how to find balance you need to be a planner.  You need to have a list of everything that needs to get done, be able to know when to delegate and when to say no, and you need help.  But that was before our little boy spent the better part of 3 hours nonstop crying last night.  No idea why.  He just did.

I’m tired.  I’m dragging and I sure know that today is going to be rough.

It’s 8 am and I’m already sipping on a Diet Mountain Dew (it’s my version of coffee).  This post was supposed to be finished last night so it could go live this morning, but that didn’t happen.  Because no matter how hard I try to plan, prepare and schedule my day – it doesn’t always play out like I hope.  So instead of finishing this post last night, I sat in complete darkness holding my crying boy in my arms until he fell asleep.

And there is no place I would have rather been.

Truth.

So maybe work life balance isn’t a fine balance act.  Maybe it’s having the ability to say no to some things so you can say yes to more important ones.

My son, my family and my well-being comes before anything else.  So on days like yesterday, I have to reschedule everything I had planned for the last 3 hours of my day, I have to go to bed later than I normally do and I have to wake up earlier than I thought was possible.

But to me balance isn’t doing it all and being perfect, it’s choosing what’s perfect for me.

I may not get it all done in the time frame I dreamed of and that’s okay.

You may not either and you have to be willing to accept it.  There are a few things you can do to help you not feel pressure to do things you HAVE to do when things you WANT to do come up.

  1. Plan your day.  I use Google calendar to plan out my family’s life.  Everything task, appointment, and reminder are scheduled in my calendar.
  2. Keep a running to-do list.  I am someone who will obsess over something until it’s done.  I have found that when I write a task or an idea down, then I can turn my brain off and focus on what I was supposed to be doing.
  3. Be okay with change.  Days don’t always go as planned and you have to be willing to accept it.  Let’s face it as Moms no two days are the same.  And if you think they can be, then just spend time with a toddler because they will correct your thought process in less than an hour.
  4. Build in buffers.  For me that means going to be later or getting up earlier (preferably not within a 12 hour period, but that’s mom life).  I also try to keep my lunch hour free to do other work.  I work full time so when my lunch break comes I usually run home to write posts, record videos or edit them.  This gives me some flexibility when my evenings or mornings don’t go as I hope. 
  5. Know your priorities.  Sometimes we get wrapped up in the hustle of life.  We get frustrated when we have to stop mid-thought to dig a toy out from under the couch just for your little one to do it all over again.  At those moments, just stop and remind yourself every day they are learning something new and one day they will be able to reach for a toy under the couch themselves and that day will be hard.  You may not realize it at the time, but it will be.  When our little one could finally hold his own bottle, I was happy until the day came that I wanted to rock him to sleep for nap time and he didn’t need me to any longer.  He could hold his own bottle and lay down on his own.

I may not be perfect with work life balance, but I don’t think anyone can be perfect when they’re a mom.  No matter if you’re a mom who works away from home, works from home or in between.  Any woman who mothers a child, runs a household and is making a difference will never have a perfect balance act.  And at the end of the day when you watch your little one sleep you realize that it’s okay because they are more perfect than you could ever imagine.

Why I’m Glad Our Son is Growing Up With Dogs

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Before getting into the many, many reasons why I’m glad our little boy has three dogs to call his best friends I want to tell you a story.  This story took place when I was only nine.  My best friend in the entire world was a Rottweiler named Storm.  We did everything together – played in the mud, laid in the grass, played ball, and he even watched over me as I rode my bike up and down our street.  The best thing Storm did for me every day was walk me to and from the bus stop.  Each morning I would load up my backpack and head out the door with Storm right beside me.  He would wag his little stump of a tail as I talked about all the fun things I was going to do in school.  He would sit patiently at the end of the street until the school bus came, then he would walk home to wait until it was time to pick me up again.  No matter the temperature or weather conditions, Storm never failed.  He was always by my side.  

One day while waiting for the bus like we had done hundreds of times before, a man in a red SUV pulled up.  He didn’t live down my street and I had never saw him before.  He rolled down his window and started talking to me.  I wasn’t sure what to do.  There was no one else around, so I answered.  He complimented by dog and me.  At this point Storm was now standing a little in front of me with my hand on his back.  He was keeping a close eye on this new stranger.  He told me he liked to take pictures and would love to get one of me and my dog some day.  I replied with the fact the school bus should be pulling up any minute.  He then asked if I would go with him to get his camera so we could come back to take pictures.  All the red flags and alarms were going off in my head.  This was a BAD man.  

Within moments he had started opening his door.  My hand left Storm’s back and next thing I know my protector had jumped through the car window towards this man.  I took off.  I ran as fast as I could back to my house.  Screaming for my Mom and Dad.  By the time I reached the front porch Storm was by my side.  

I told my parents what had happened and they immediately called the sheriff’s office.  To this day I’m not sure exactly what happened next, but the man did live in the neighboring subdivision and within a few months he moved out of town.  

Storm saved my life.  I truly believe he saved me.  I know I couldn’t have out ran this grown man at only 9 years old, but because of Storm I got away.  

That story is the main reason I want our son growing up with dogs.  Dogs that will protect him, walk with him and keep an eye on him.  Just like Storm did for me all those years ago.  

Now there are many other reasons I want our son growing up with dogs, which aren’t as scary as my story.  

growing up with dogs, dogs and kids, dogs and babies

Dogs are loyal.  The moment we brought our son home our three dogs knew he was theirs to take care of.  They get up through out the night to sleep by his crib or just to peek their head in to make sure he’s okay.  Tiny, who is my scared-of-everything dog has to be near him at all times.  She follows him, and if he cries she’s the first on by his side – often pushing me out of the way.

Dogs teach responsibility.  Dogs are a huge commitment.  It’s important for our son to learn to care for another being.  He is learning how to pet gently, play with them and will eventually learn how to feed and take care of their water bowl.  At an early age it can help your child feel needed and they can learn the importance of having a few small jobs around the house.

Dogs help with learning new skills.  I can remember sitting on the front porch until it was too dark to see reading a new book to Storm or one of my other dogs.  Reading out loud to your dog can help your child learn new cognitive skills.  Kids who talk to their pets show improved cognitive skills and imagination.

Dogs can help your child be healthier.  Dogs want to play, a lot.  Chase toys, run in the backyard or just keep your child moving around the house.  By having a dog (or in our case three) we’re never short of a dog wanting to play.  Taking our son outside in the backyard with a bunch of dog toys will keep him and our dogs occupied.  This give him a chance to be outside in the fresh air, play with more than just those annoyingly loud baby toys and shows the dogs just how great their new human brother is.

growing up with dogs, dogs and kids, dogs and babies

growing up with dogs, dogs and kids, dogs and babies

Dogs can boost a child’s self-esteem.  This goes back to teaching responsibility.  By having our son help with a few tasks each day he can feel proud of what he has accomplished.  Not only is he taking care of a living being, but he’s helping out Mommy and Daddy around the house.  I can think back to where my job growing up was cleaning up the yard (you know what I mean….).  It was dirty and smelly, but I knew it had to be done.  I felt proud knowing my dogs yard was clean and healthy for him to be in.  My parents were proud because I helped (and because they no longer had to do it).  I knew what it mean to pitch in and help out, and that was pretty great.

I know it’s important for our little man to have dogs in his life, just like I did growing up and just like J did.  To me a dog is a best friend, someone who knows all of your secrets and never judges you.  Someone you saved the last bite of your grilled cheese for and laugh when you get slobbered with kisses after being gone all day.  That’s the love I want our son to know and feel.  The protection at the bus stop will just be an added benefit and will give me a peace of mind.  

growing up with dogs, dogs and kids, dogs and babies

Cheap Summer Fun

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We have been having a ton of fun this Summer.  Lots of memories being made and since our little guy is just a year old, I’ve been taking lots and lots of pictures to share with him when he gets older.  At the beginning of Summer, J and I sat down for one of our money dates to talk about what we wanted the summer to look like.  We knew we wanted to have fun, make memories, but not go crazy overboard on our budget.  So we started planning and even made a Summer Bucket List to go off of.  We scoured around Southeast Missouri for fun activities to do as a family and we even traveled to St. Louis a few times to see J’s family.  

Grant’s Farm

Earlier in the Summer we went to Grant’s Farm, which was actually the first time I had ever been there.  I traveled to St. Louis so much as a little girl to visit my grandparents, I’ve been to the Zoo countless times and to the arch, but I had never been to Grant’s Farm.  So I had just as much fun as our little guy did wondering around.  

We ended up going later in the day, which worked out perfectly.  There were hardly any lines to see the animals or feed the baby goats and we didn’t have to fight crowds while sweating from the heat.  The best part is the price!  Grant’s Farm is actually free to get in, but you have to pay for parking and if you want to feed any of the animals.  But all of those prices were really cheap.

Petting Zoo

On a boring Saturday afternoon, J and I decided we did not want to stick at home all day.  He found a petting zoo that wasn’t too far away and totally within our summer fun budget.  So we took off.  We let our son walk around the whole time and he was just amazed by the animals.  He thought it was fun to tell the baby goats off when they came nibbling on his shorts.  The best part was a deer that just fell in love with our son and he loved him right back.

Swimming

We’re lucky that my parents have a pool and my SIL has a pool in her subdivision.  So we have been able to take our little man swimming this summer.  I had plans on getting him into some swimming lessons before summer really got started, but I missed the deadline by a few days so we’ll have to wait until next year. Being by the water is one of my favorite things to do and it was really important to me that our little guy love the water, too.  Last summer we took him to the beach twice before he was even three months old, so I wanted to keep the momentum going this year.  We even went to the beach for a few days earlier in May, which was a blast!

We bought him a highly rated life jacket to have around the pool and when we go out on the boat, but it’s definitely not his favorite.  He gets a bit of an attitude when he has it on for too long and luckily the pool we go to is never crowded so we’re able to use other rafts and rings so he can have a little bit more fun.  But I am determined to get him used to the life jacket so he will have fun when we’re on the boat.

Baby Pool in the Backyard

We threw a fishing themed first birthday for our little guy at our home, the best attraction of the whole party was this little kid pool I bought for less than $10 and filled with this fishing activity from Amazon.  Since that party, we have pulled the pool out of storage a few times and filled with water.  We let our little guy splash around and around.  The dogs even like it too.  I’m waiting to come out one day and find at least one of the dogs laying in the middle of the pool on a hot day.  I know it’s going to happen!

Walks Around the Park

For Christmas this past year my sister and brother-in-law gifted our son the coolest trike ever!  It starts as a trike I can push and steer, but as he grows it becomes his very own trike to pedal and steer.  So cool!  We like to take that with us to the walking trail.  It’s free to walk and he just loves people watching, trying to talk to other kids and just being outside.  I get some exercise in since it’s a mile lap just to get around once and we get some quality time together.  Sometimes J will come with us, but I really enjoy just having some time with just the two of us.  

Once I tried to bring one of my pups with me (we have three, but one is a little overweight) when I put our son in the stroller.  Half way around, the dog gave up on me and just laid down.  I couldn’t for the life of me get her to get up!  I tried everything… I said “let’s go home!”, “let’s go get a treat!”, everything!  And she still wouldn’t budge!  

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Swinging at the Park

There is another park in town (well 2 actually) that have pretty decent gyms to play on.  Our little man is still a bit too small to climb all the way to the top, but that doesn’t usually stop him from trying.  One of his favorite things to do at the park is just to sit and swing on my lap.  Now I’m sure if he was old enough or big enough he would prefer to do it without my help, but lucky for me he ins’t quite there yet.  The parks are only about a 5 minute drive from our house, so we try to hit them up early on the weekends before they get too busy with older kids running around.

BBQs

Another favorite of ours is to just have a BBQ in our backyard or go over to one of my parents’ houses for dinner.  BBQ is super easy to prepare and it gets us outside for a bit.  I just hate being cooped up inside on a nice, sunny day.  So I’m always looking for something fun to do.  Sometimes we mix in the baby pool while we BBQ to burn off even more energy.

What are some of your favorite activities for some cheap summer fun?

 

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!