Category Archives: Toddler

How To Balance Life When Your Have Kids and a Career

How To Balance Life, work life balance, mom balance, how to stay sane as a mom

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

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

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

cheap summer fun, ways to have cheap fun with toddlers, summer with toddlers, activities to do with kids, free things to do with toddlers

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!  

cheap summer fun, ways to have cheap fun with toddlers, summer with toddlers, activities to do with kids, free things to do with toddlers

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!

Flying with a Toddler {What To Bring With You}

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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.

If you have a longer flight (ours was only 2 hours and luckily was running on time!) then you might want to add a few more toys or games to keep your little ones entertained.  There is a great list over at Starlight Baby with some awesome ideas for you. I love their idea of bringing a kid-friendly camera with you. I can’t tell you how many times my little one thinks my phone is his just because he loves seeing himself in the camera.  

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. 

 

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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.