Toddler Meals (School Time)

Big news in the Benton household!! Littles has graduated from a Sprout to a Caterpillar!!!  Mom and Dad couldn’t be more happier in our growing ball of sunshine! He has mastered the art of crawling, walking, running with the occasional spill, painting, sweeping, climbing, spinning, yelling and chewing everything in sight. I couldn’t ask for a better child. He has his moments, but all the good completely out weight the bad times.

If your like me, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out the easiest and healthiest way to put together meals for littles while he’s at school. Let me catch you up…..He’s almost 1 1/2 years old and graduating rooms, means no more bottles of milk and more solid foods that he can eat himself (with or without silverware) I wanted to make sure that he is getting a well balanced meal and also not a big chore for his teacher to grab and arrange. There is a microwave, but no fridge. So I purchased his very own, very first insulated lunch bag, water bottle and thermos. We went more adult on this than cartoon character as we found he is still little enough to not really care about the looks and the adult ones are more functional in my opinion.

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Similar to this, storage on top and bottom. 

 

 

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Silicone baking cups help portion control

 

 

 

 

 

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BPA Free plastic bento boxes

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the food container, I decided on plastic Bento boxes. I found them on Amazon along with silicone baking cups. That way I can have everything he’s going to eat in a days time, all in one convenient container, separated by the silicone cups. The silicone cup also allows me to know how much food he’s eating. He gets an AM snack, lunch and PM snack. I try not to give him foods that have to be warmed up in a microwave. I found that there are a lot of great make at home or store bought options out there.  Here are a few examples of some daily meals:

AM Snack: Strawberry cream cheese bagel sammies, banana honey wheat tortilla roll ups, hard boiled eggs, string cheese cubed, diced ham, fruit, croissant/banana bread pieces, apple biscuits,  fruit bars, smoothies, bacon bits, avocado toast, cucumber & cream cheese sammies, yogurt, hummus.

Lunch: Curry chicken salad, pesto pea pasta, macaroni salad, potato & beet salad, fruit salad, ham and cheese  on wheat triangles, pita sammies, diced meats, lightly seemed then cooled veggies, peanut butter and jelly triangles ( use Sunflower butter when a peanut allergy is present) cold pizza bites, turkey and mascarpone wheat tortilla roll ups, BLT triangles, roasted then cooled potato bites with chive and sour cream, zucchini and sausage fingers, chicken meatballs, ramen,falafel.

PM snack: Apple/berry biscuits, fruit snacks, cheese sandwich crackers, soft granola, dried fruits, hard boiled egg, salami cheese and ritz, fruit, cooked and cooled beans like garbanzo or black beans, fruit bars, veggie crackers, pretzels.

The kids in the new class don’t sit at high chairs anymore. They sit at a large table, in little chairs and they each feed themselves and are given spoons and forks when needed. This is going over very well with my littles and the feeling of being more grown up, elates him!! I am thinking that now a booster is better for him to eat at the table with all of us. He does great with his spoon and fork on the other end utensil. He still likes to throw the plate or cup, so suction is best for now. Also, they make these really cool snack cups that have a little rubber piece in the middle, so the snacks don’t fall out but a hand can go in. This is an awesome little snack container!

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Handy little snack container (Amazon.com)

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I grocery shop on Sunday morning and prep everything that afternoon. Prepare and cook all meats, dice and chop everything, bake some goodies and store it in their own tupperware. Each night after littles is fast asleep, I create each box for the following day making my mornings so much easier. Grab the ice packets, put them into the lunch bag …DONE!  When preparing littles foods, I also incorporate the hubby’s lunches or a side or two for a dinner during the week. My motto is if you pull it out and know you’ll need it within the next day or two, then prep for that time as well. So all littles meats and veggies can also be Dad’s salad fixings or snacks. Mom too, lol.  Using our precious time as wisely as possible to allow for more kid time!! I use to kill myself preparing these lunches for him until I found my niche. I hope that you will use some of these ideas in your littles lunches. What other foods can we try adding? Let me know.. till next time, enjoy packing lunches for your littles, smiling and being a parent, all while living in Nevada!

 

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Just Me, Myself and…………

 

Hahahaha, just kidding. It’s totally NOT about myself these days and honestly, I am fine with that. I’m in my mid-thirties now and I have had a lot of time to play and I was ready for my new life as a wife and mother. My purpose in life is to serve others……well at last my family. I have gotten to that point in my life where it truly makes me happy to make my family and friends happy. You know that phrase, “If mama ain’t happy no ones happy”?  I sort of agree with this, but in my household, I am pretty happy as long as my littles and the hubby are.  I have always found myself to be pretty smart, organized, clean, have my shit together yet spontaneous and care free. I like to be somewhere happily in the middle.

Even in my younger days I was never all about myself, I always had a great time making things for people, cooking and hanging out with people that I enjoy. So for me now, to get to play with my son everyday, make his foods for the day and clean his cute little clothes, I’m all for it. The hubby is in there too, all of the daily things that go into working and maintaining a home with food and cleanliness. PHEW! It adds up.

A few days ago, I had an opportunity to leave littles behind with the hubs and go out with some girlfriends. My first thought was AWESOME!!! I will wear a hot little number, have some dinner, laughs, drinks, YEAH!! The day comes and literally that morning, I’m like……….ah………er………. I don’t really want to do that anymore. Guess I’d rather be home with my family, wearing pjs, eating whatever left over littles didn’t eat and watching him play with his toys. Funny the things that make you happy!

Littles is up walking around these days. Cruising from one end of the house to the other. I couldn’t be more ecstatic for my son. He is loving being more independent. Hard for mom to accept this, but I’m loving watching him grow. Whatever will I do when he doesn’t want that hug from me or too excited playing with kids that he doesn’t have time for mom. Well it’s not just all about me is it….damnit!  He is the person that makes me smile, the reason I haul ass to his school after work like a mad woman and the reason I barely do my make up anymore and I am just fine with that,lol.

But for reals moms, we do need our time and when I do get some me time. I’m either doing some maintenance on myself up with a nice at home facial, getting my toes on fleek, plucking eyebrows, maybe cooking something special, tiding up the house or the hubs and I have gone somewhere to have fun together. Even just relaxing, reading a book while he’s napping. We need to re- charge ourselves and get ready for the next energy buster.

Since littles is an ever growing sponge, I find myself talking more out loud on what I’m doing and why I’m doing it.  I feel like theres a camera behind me and I’m speaking to an audience or something.  He listens and or watches me, then either tries to repeat what I said or try the movement that I made. Mimicking me is hilarious, its’s not only a good laugh, but watching him absorb something and then do it himself……priceless moments!! I have to watch what I say these days as he is learning so quickly and soon will be saying the words mom says and those 4 letter ones, can be a bad thing  😦

My love for cooking and decorating are just some of the few things I hope to pass on to my child. I love doing what makes me happy with my son and loving watching him love it too. What are some of the fun things you do with your kids. How are they learning and growing these days and what makes moms happy. I need to know if there is something I am missing out on. Till next time….love being a mom, love your family and all while being inspired and living in Nevada!!

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The Hats We Wear

 

 

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Being the mother of a one year old is probably one the best hats I wear. Being a wife is the reason I used probably in the last sentence. Being a sister and daughter are up there too. We wear many hats these days. The hubby and I take turns wearing each others hats, but my hats, are the ones I love the most. This might sound sad, but I love organization so much that I can wear any of these hats at any moment because I already know whats expected from each. Whats scary to me, not knowing. How silly, not knowing or understanding is what scares me in life, the fact that something is beyond my control. Being a new mom has helped this fear in may ways that I am learning to cope and understand what I don’t understand and that its OK. We can wait to see whats around the next corner when we get there.

When I’m wearing the mom hat, the wife hat is that thing that just dropped on the floor, yeah that poor sad little hat that used to be so bright. The one that now sits on the floor next to the 4 legged mom hat. Juggling the of hats I swear! We try to do our best and wear them all at the same time. However, there is usually always someone or something that gets missed or left behind. It’s important to me that I spend the best years with my son and helping him to grow and learn, but it’s also important to me that my husband has  clean clothes, food on the table and supporting the feeling of being proud for all that he has worked so hard to accomplish. The 4 legged creatures are just as important to me as the other kids. I tend to always tell them to go lay down or get out of the way. So making sure I spend quality time with them too. Our lives are pulled in so any directions sometimes that it can get overwhelming, but its all doable, just one thing at a time.  Someone very important taught me to decide on what is most important and everything else can wait  😉

Littles is getting bigger everyday, learning to walk on his own, reaching way up high on counters and tables, pulling off anything he can grab. Opening the refrigerator door and pulling out all the condiments. I swear he crawls with authority, like a little pit bull,lol. His vocabulary has grown to words I can’t quite make out yet, but I encourage him to say the correct words when were playing. He loves books and the noises animals make, its quite a joyous sight to see him learn something new. Add the teacher hat to this mix, mom is learning too so she can pass it along to her big boy! His personality is really shinning threw and slowly becoming more of his own. He goes through these phases of being moody and being happy all at the same time. He loves as much as he dislikes. Yesterday was the first time he just laid down on the floor, kicked his legs out and hit them on the ground. OH JESUS! Were my first words, it begins………  He has been enjoying laughing hysterically while closing his eyes. He loves to jump on all the dog beds and roll around. I should have bought him his very own Costco dog bed, but that would just confuse the dogs. He helps mom with most chores, laundry, chasing the vacuum, following me from room to room. He is the best……. He loves to watch mom in the kitchen explain what each food item is, what were going to do with it, I even let him let help. Stir a pot, throw in some veggies, were learning to hold the utensils correctly and were trying to eat with them not EAT them. Dressing him has been easier these days, he understands arms up and arms down. Take one foot out then the next. He likes to do it. I let him help me pick out his clothes for the next day. YES, I am a super geek and do this because my mother taught me this when I was younger. It helps us get ready in the morning. Plus he looks super stylish!!

As time just flies by and were all getting older, we need to slow down and learn to appreciate all that we have worked so hard to obtain.  My mom tells me this often. This leads to the mom hat that we as women sometimes don’t like to wear, the hat of our own mother. If your like me, I have my own ways and don’t always agree with my mom or my mother in law. I appreciate their opinions immensely, but as my own person in a different time, I can also appreciate letting myself figure it out. I don’t live close to my mother, so at times I miss her being there, but I also enjoy the separation. I mean that in a loving way.  But I do agree that we need to live in the moment and enjoy every little moment in life, its a gift, not a given. I truly believe this and try to incorporate this everyday. Easier said than done. A quick funny story, the other day while at the grocery store, I witnessed a mother with one child, a boy about 5. She was dragging him through the store, not literally dragging, but her steps were quick and so quick that he couldn’t keep up. His little feet were like little ant legs, moving so fast. He tripped, he cried a bit, he looked up at her from the floor with that face, the little sad, scrunched up face. She leans over sets her purse on the ground and just hugs him. In the middle of the isle in everyones way, but it was as if they were the only people there. She picks him up, shakes off the dirt, she grabs his little hand and the slowly start walking together. It was a beautiful moment, makes you stop and think.

With all the positive and wonderful moments we take in, we occasionally need to where the parent hat. When discipline comes in, this hat is no fun. I don’t enjoy wearing it what so ever. But I know I need to and have to, otherwise I’m going to have one hell of a hellion as if I don’t have that coming anyways. We need to teach our kids respect, values and morals. He needs to learn traditional manners, opening doors for others, please and thank you. Yes and No, even pulling out a chair for a woman. Allowing that person with one grocery item go ahead of us, being able to recognize that some one needs help and not bat an eye. Asking a girls father if he may take her to a movie. Honest, real, back in the day type manners. The kind my Dad learned and taught my sister and I. I want my child to learn common sense and the difference between right and wrong and be able to read in between the lines. Discipline and structure are what we all crave, even as little ones, we like a guid to follow if you will. I am not the kind of parent to just let him do whatever he wants, I will smack a kid if I need to, LOL! Not a fun hat, but a hat it is.

 

I am curious to know what other hats parents are wearing these, feel free to add to my story. Always looking forward to feedback. Till next time…..Love wearing hats while gardening, playing baseball or parenting in Nevada!

 

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Joys Of An 11 Month Old

Ahhh the feeling of spring, then you wake up to snow? Well thats Nevada for you. The weather has been so funny around here lately. The warm days are such a treat and it lets you know that summer is on the way.

I wanted to share some fun things we’ve been doing lately and what progress littles has been a making. He’s almost 11 months. For such a little new guy, he packs a whole of energy and is full of smiles and laughter. I can’t express enough how lucky we are to have such an easy going, happy, willing to try it, cuddly yet tough baby we have. He amazes me everyday! We have been working on the crawling/walking phase lately and boy is it ever entertaining! Littles isn’t too big into crawling, in fact he sort of dislikes it. He gets down on all fours, he wiggles around for a minute, sets is eyes on his prize and with all his might, lays down, lol. He then follows that by rolling around and pretty much making crazy movements until he reaches his destination. But with walking, its like he doesn’t like to sit and wants to be standing. He loves holding on to the couches, chairs, cabinets and whatever else he get his grip on. So baby proofing is in full effect at my home. He loves being in his walker and roaming around the parts of house he’s able to get too. The dogs have been so patient with him, they are always around him and wanting to be close, one of biggest dogs, I call him the Worlds Smallest Hippo, he lays down right next to where littles is playing and his nose is almost touching him, littles pats his head and smiles, our dog just lays there and is the most content he can be. It’s too cute when littles is standing and he reaches up with both hands waiting for you to grab his, now were off walking along the hallways and living room, one foot followed by the other foot, then a quick bounce of excitement. He loves to be walking and I imagine that any now, I’ll look over and there he is, walking towards me. Just thinking of that moment males me smile.

He loves his bouncer, the kind you hand from the door frame. Its a weird little contraption that has a giant spring loaded claw and it rests onto of your door frame. He gets going in that thing and you can hear him laughing from across the house. The other big one is this Vtech standing toy, pics below.

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He stands and grabs the dancing bear and loves the music and lights. He bounces up and down with excitement and finally learned to fall on his bottom instead of being stiff as board and falling back, OUCH! I love watching him at sitting position, grab the handle, pull himself up and wiggle around so proud of himself! Watching your child learn something and actually get and repeatedly keep trying it is the best feeling a mom could ask for, seriously!  He’s big into lights and sounds and anything electronic, but the natural side of his still loves the “green” toys, blocks and shapes and the activity block that Grammy has at her house, a simple wood block with moving pieces of all shapes and colors.  He has such a creative mind and anything really becomes a cool toy. Tupperware with cooking spatulas make an awesome drum set. A zip lock of beans is fun to throw around and moms flip flops are for some reason super cool, but gross in eyes for him to play with. Shoot, even the dog bowl an stand is an awesome toy! Mirrors are also big right now. His reflection and any other reflection in his sight is just too cool! He giggles at himself and then turns around to see exactly if I’m real or in the mirror. Its hilarious! He loves those Melissa & Doug wood shape sets, his Michelangelo teenage mutant ninja turtle this tool box that his cousin gave him. Hammer included (toys of course)

 

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Talking has been fun, words like baba, mama and dada are in his vocabulary. Up, “ger” and mmm are other favorites. We do not baby talk with littles we encourage his proper learning of words and try to correct him or say the word to him. We talk to him constantly about what were doing, why and where were going. We read and look at pictures and point out the things were talking about. We encourage him to practice his vocals as often as possible. While driving we (I ) sing songs,thank goodness for blue tooth now days, otherwise I’d be the weird lady talking to herself in the car.

He most definitely takes after his mom and is quite the little eater. We’ve come along way from breast milk to formula to now solid foods. All sorts of yummy foods that I’m so happy he loves to eat. Grilled chicken, stewed beef, pork chops, chicken sausage and chicken bacon and even baked salmon. He loves avocados, spinach, broccoli, peaches, mandarin oranges, kiwis and mangos. He enjoys a wide variety of fruits & veggies, not mashed up anymore, no way,we do it big boy style, small cut up pieces that we likes to either finger feed himself, or we both hold the fork or spoon to eat. Were learning how to hold utensils and have plates in front of us without throwing them and getting better at drinking from a cup. He enjoys pastas with sauce, quinoa salads, cucumber sammies, hummus, beans, scrambled eggs and really small bites of whatever were eating. Spaghetti, orange chicken with broccoli and rice, curry with chicken, the limits are endless at this point. This weekend were intruding peanut butter. It’s a bit before that one year mark, but I feel as though he is ready for it. I am slightly concerned about him having an allergy to it, I ate peanut butter while pregnant and don’t want to make a big deal of it, so a little PB&J is up next. I know he’ll love it and I don’t think he’ll have a reaction to it. Then honey and right close to his one year, well slowly start introducing milk. I have read both sides of the argument over wether or not to feed your under 12 month old seafood, nuts, eggs or honey.  I have to agree and admit that after reading the research done, it’s OK to start these foods earlier not like 6 month early, but at that 9/ 10/11 month mark. A sample meal schedule goes as follows, 6am about 4-6 ounces of formula. 8am-ish breakfast 4/5 ounces of eggs, fruit, toast, veggie or oatmeal. I try to incorporate a protein, fruit & starch. Lunch time about noon- grilled chicken, asparagus, sweet potato, sammy pieces, ham and potatoes or mac n cheese. Again trying to be balanced with a protein, fruit/veggie/starch. 6 oz formula about 1 ish- Afternoon snack at around 3ish is yogurt, fruit pieces, apple veggie sauce, cottage cheese about 4-5 ounces. Dinner is usually at 6:30 and is again 4-5 ounces of a protein, a starch, veggie/fruit. One little oatmeal cookie as a treat then a bottle at about 7:45. Now that he’s getting bigger, were slowing backing off the formula and incorporating more foods. And water throughout the day to keep him hydrated. Littles hasn’t been given any juice yet and I don’t really intend to anytime soon but I will soon incorporate a veggie/fruit juice. All natural with no added sugar. We don’t need him at such a young age to have these things yet, there is no nutritional value in refined sugars, processed foods or preservatives. Home made fruit snacks and popsicles are great too!

Now that weather is getting nicer, we’ve been doing more outdoor activities, playing outside, going for walks, taking littles to play disc golf or really just mom and dad play and he watches and laughs. Were trying out a Gymboree class this weekend and I’m hoping he’ll dig tumbling around and just being a kid! We’ve been to baseball games and soon our first camping trip with some swim time. I can’t wait. Dad’s first big boy project is too get him a little dirt bike to start learning on. It fills my heart with joy to hear the hubby talk about the day that he and his son are riding together out in the dessert. Mom is excited to have littles outside gardening and playing the dirt! All the these future moments I can’t wait for, but enjoying all these baby moments as much as I can before their gone. Just yesterday he was in his wrap pressed against my chest sleeping and today he’s way too big for that, lol!! I must say, besides being a wife, motherhood has been my ultimate gift!

I’d love to know what you and your littles are doing and eating these days. Enjoy growing, learning and eating all while living in Nevada.

 

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Fun Paper Crafts Make Me Happy

 

Paper projects are my all time favorite!! It helps my urge to create things and it doesn’t hurt that I work for one of the best print shops in all the land. So paper, laminate material, foil and old holographic stickers are abundant. I love to get creative during holidays and really go all out. I do this mostly at work as we have 20 foot walls and warehouse ceilings. Sad that if your like and have an 8-5er, we spend most of our time at work. ( I need to change this )   I tell my graphic design work peeps that I am the “Ghetto Design Artist” I happen to love taking old pallets, throw away circle dots and bundled up foil pieces from our dumpster and turn them into creative art. P.S. The guys in the back now save that stuff for me so theres no more diving.

For this coming Spring, we’ve really been feeling the weather here in Reno, so I wanted to get in the mood with a half Easter half Spring design that is sure to WOW.  I decided to make flowers with our Astrobright collection. Taking an 8 1/2 X 11 sheet, cutting it into quarters and folding them into cone shapes. You will need 4 different colors for 4 layers. Cut out a cardboard circle roughly 6 1/2 inches in size, take the first layer of cones and attached them around the outer part of the circle. I stapled mine, but using a good glue gun or fast acting adhesive works. There really is no number of cones that I can suggest, just keep attaching them to your liking. Now start with the second color and layer, keep following the first layer around. Same with the third layer, on this layer and the fourth layer, you might need to cut the attaching ends of the cones down a bit to fit into the tight space. Once done with all layers, you should have a beautiful Dahlia flower to hang on the wall. I made four in different color schemes. I took several colored dots and with some fine eyeballing created a spring logo. In honor of all my great work peeps, each of their names are written on each dot that surrounds the flowers. For every work project like this that I do, everyone gets their names on the board! I think it turned out pretty cool!!

 

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A few eggs made from Astrobright paper and some old credentials. Egg shaped paper cut outs, staple in the middle and fan out, I attached them to a long piece of ribbon and hung from my desk. Cute little chick and rabbit cut outs to accentuate the fullness of Easter.

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I found this “window frame” as is, it was the bottom of a pallet I wanted to use, I ripped this off and found it to be quite cool, so of course, I had to use it! So I came up with using a name sign for our front office, our work colors are green & black, but I occasionally switch out the colors to match the holiday…..or mood!

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For St. Patrick’s Day………………………..

 

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Old non useable foil in all the right rainbow colors! Black pot from our shipping paper, gold Astrobright coins, card stock clouds with highlighter blue accents for texture and depth. I winged this one and with out any layout or design strategy, I just started putting things on the wall and this was the outcome. I feel like creating a fun atmosphere in the front office is just what is needed to turn a rough day around, well slightly anyways  🙂

 

Halloween………………….

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Halloween is my all time favorite holiday! I wanted to try something different with more movement, since paper doesn’t move, I have to make it move. My version of a spooky Halloween scene. Bats moving towards the moon are definitely an eye catcher. Even walking threw the front door, something catches the corner of your eye and for a moment, you quickly turn your head to see whats going on. Where did these guys come from? Cut out bats with either dark grey or black paper, I did both, but hard to tell here. Crease the middle, tape on the crease and attach. Arrange them in a way that they would be flying to create movement. I added the giant moon and grey clouds to the upper corner. Pretty easy and simple, no mess! P.S. whenever I mention tape to use on the wall, I try to use something wall & paint friendly, so painters tape or even desk tape works good!!

 

 

Thanksgiving…………………

I call this one the Giving Tree. A wet pallet dried this way with such amazing color to it, nature at it’s finest!  A real pumpkin from my favorite pumpkin patch, Ferrari Farms off Mill Street and a wicker pumpkin brought from home. Grabbed a few leaves from right outside, threw them down to add realness to the scene. Twist natural colored shipping paper into long “branches” attached to the wall with pins. The base was a larger piece wrapped over all of the branches to create the trunk and a few roots poking threw the pallet. Each work peep got their own paper craft pumpkin. Take about 8-10 long strips about 1/2″ wide, fan them out to make a circle, staple in the middle, then grab each piece, bring to the top and staple all together to create a ball. I used two orange colors, then take a strip of green, take scissors and run the green strip down the scissor edge like you do ribbon to create a cute curl, cut out a leaf and staple both to the top. I wrote each name on the leaf. Staple all pumpkins randomly throughout to create the tree. I must admit, this one was my most favorite, it turned out better than expected.

 

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I am a big scrapbooker, I make my own holiday or just because cards, I make paper figurines and paper boxes. All of these things amongst the many other things I love to do, give me a creative outlet and it allows you to shut the world off for a few minutes and let out some steam. I love checking out Pinterest for new ideas and see what others are doing, so if you ever feel like you can’t do these or that you aren’t creative enough, BS, there are so many free ideas out there, just Google something and let id flow from there!

I love living in Nevada, I hope you do too……Live, love, laugh and create all while living in Nevada. Happy Easter Guys!!!!

 

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Inner Monologue of A (Controlling) New Mother

It’s funny how I find myself, saying things to myself so they make sense…….and yes, I answer myself back! It seems that after you have a baby, some of the nerves in your body just never reconnect together properly. I slur my words, I think the weirdest thoughts, I am constantly checking that I have the same two shoes on and my brain is a bit slower than before. Being a new mom isn’t about just a new baby, it takes on a whole lot more. Yes, there is a new person in the house, everyone’s sleep is goofy, the house is quieter and louder, there is another person to cook and clean for and all the wonderful love and playtime with that new littles. But have you ever stopped to think about all the “other” things that come with this new role? Well being that my littles is growing like a weed, I am at the stage where new things everyday are becoming…..I don’t want to use the word challenging, but half challenging and half new to me, so there are a lot of trials and errors.

Let’s start from the beginning………….

Choosing types of foods for your littles. You want the best for them, so you think organic, no problem. But what happens when you go out to eat? DO you bring him his organic food or do you order them something off the menu. When they go to some one else’s house, will have they his organic food. Will schools have organic food. So that takes you off in a whole other crazy direction and you start getting anxiety thinking about all the what if’s. You try hard to give him the best but soon he will exploring  on his own and he may not always be able to eat a certain type of food.

Choosing a daycare/home care or “authorized” person to watch your bundle of joy. This is another stressful and anxietal situation. Yes, I made up that word, but it fits. Who, where, what to bring, for how long, how will they treat my child, is it clean, is it safe and how much does it cost. Besides the common questions, you will run into you being on one page and the daycare on the other. How do you calmly and without looking like an over controlling new mom discuss this new child care? How do I NOT roll my eyes when disgusted with something, how do I in a way that doesn’t sound crazy, ask them to do something a different way, will I like the teachers, how do they warm up food, how often do you change diapers. My inner monologue comes out and while on the drive to the interview at the new facility, I ask myself these questions and sort of pep talk myself into not looking like a freak. Or do you look in the mirror and say, calm down mom, everything is fine. He is happy and they are taking good care of him. My husband is always reassuring me when the situation is good, but for some reason, I can’t on my own do that for myself, why do I need his approval, so weird!

When it comes to his well being and if we need to be giving him vitamins or immunity supplements, does he have an ear ache, is he developing properly, why is he not sleeping that well tonight and sure enough the inner monologue starts coming out, saying things to myself inside where no one can hear the ominous conversation going on. I think of a million things that could be going on. I don’t know why I do it, but I do. Even when it comes to fun things, my mind plays out all these scenarios, like hurting himself, meeting a new friend will their parents be cordial. Sitting him down to play with some if his favorite toys while he’s having a blast I am wondering if there are other toys that he would like better. It’s literally like I have lost control of my own mind.

I am big on my lil guy having a pretty good schedule, not too tight, but I do like for others to conform to that, but is that boring or wrong? In my mind, we all conform to a certain schedule per se, it’s part of life. School is always at the same time and so is work later on in life. But am I doing more harm than good……enter monologue. Convincing myself of what I can’t control.

The hubby is a great help with littles and even tho I know the job is getting done, it’s my controlling ways that I say to myself, why is he doing it like that? It’s like I know I am being controlling, so that’s why my inner monologue has become my new best friend. I can say it to myself, if its sounds crazy I don’t repeat it out loud and I must say, it has saved me hundreds of arguments just NOT saying it!! I have found that after my son my inner thoughts have become blissfully happy and the total opposite of morbid. The morbid parts I think are me almost coming up with emergency plans in my head. For example, on the drive to and from home, there is a little area where there is a sharp turn in the road and water below that turn, what if it was icy and the car got out of control and we went down, what would I do, how would I protect my child. If an intruder were to break in, what do I do first and I know how ugly that sounds, but for me its my controlling brain that HAS to play out a “what if” and an escape plan. Sometimes I tell my hubby, other times I keep it to myself. If only I could record my inner thoughts and could listen to them. How would I feel?

Am I the only person who does this? Is it being a new mom just totally has me overwhelmed? I do not think I am to the point that I need professional help and by no means am I even slightly mentally unwell or cannot efficiently take care of my child but as a new mom, the fear and anxiety of the unknown is REAL people. As time has gone by and he is getting older it is slowly going away but enter a new situation and I promise that monologue is getting thick in here. I do think of the fun were all going to have as a family, all the school pictures he will have, the bike riding in the summer, the going to parks and playing with our dogs, the friends he will make at school all the great times that come with kids and yes that inner voice adds fuel to a beautiful fire. It truly does make me so happy to be a mom and I am thankful for him everyday. I hope that I am being the best mom to him that any woman could be. I hope that someday I can look back and think of how silly I sometimes can be. We are human and there are so many funny things we do, but that makes us powerful in my eyes.

Stay calm and inner monologue on moms…….love, laugh and don’t quit talking to yourself all while living in Nevada!

NevadaState

Favorites of an 8 moth old………

Has it already been 8 months since littles arrived? Jeesh! Where has the time gone…………

 

I wanted to share you with some of the awesome products that were using these days. So all you mamas and papas that are new to this “parenting world” I have brought some helpful ideas to share with you!!

Diaper Rash Cream- Ok lets get this one out the way first, since it is the most FUN to get a handle on. In my experience I have come to find out that diaper rash is caused by more than just not changing diapers frequent enough. It can also be caused by teething or antibiotics. With my littles, he gets this type of rash with both. I notice that there is also a difference between the rashes. With the teething it’s not as bad, small red areas along the insides of the bottom. I just use either Beaudruex Buttpaste, Babyganics or The Honest Diaper Cream. On the other hand, with him recently taking antibiotics for an ear infection, the rash is more “wet” and thats when I use either corn starch/baby powder product to suck up some of that moisture. *I also like to let him air dry everyday, twice a day, for about 20 mins or so. I lay him down on a towel and put a little cloth rag over his private areas ( incase of a little pee pee) and with boys, who knows where it will go, lol! This sounds silly, but I try to keep his legs spread apart while I’m playing with him, little bicycle movements for a little bit to really get that area dried out, more the anus area and all the little folds. That really helps and allows you to apply the diaper cream. I use the diaper cream with every diaper change. * According to some researchers, now days they say that powder products like Baby Powder can cause lung problems in infants, so I stepped away from him, put some into my palm and gently let that fall onto the affected area to avoid a dust cloud.

Rice Rusks or Puffs- These easily dissolving “surfboard” shaped rice wafers are my littles all time favorite. His little face gets a grin from one side to the other and the hands go flying!! The brand that I buy are the Parents Choice, they come 2 in every pack. I think 12 packages in a box, they cost about $2.00 a box. Find them anywhere. I like this brand compared to other wafer style, this one is still just as good, but also doesn’t leave the gummy cookie mess everywhere like the others do. I give him one an evening as a little snack. I don’t even break it up anymore, he loves the size and he can hold it and take little bites from it. Funny the first time you hear your little make a crunch noise. My littles has two bottom teeth and 2 top teeth, well technically one and half top teeth. I started giving him these when his first teeth developed and he showed interest in wanting to eat finger foods. Plum Organics make fun flavored “puffs” that are shaped like little stars and great for the “pincer” period in infants where they hone their skills of the forefinger and thumb grab. They have strawberry and beet, blueberry and sweet potato and spinach apple kale. They taste great and littles loves feeding himself.

Teething Toys & Tabs- Littles is out of the pacifier phase, WOOH HOO!! So finding something to sooth him is tougher these days. For teething I have found the BEST teething toy, finger & hand work out, all around best nutritional item is a………….dun dun dun a CARROT!!! I get the long ones, shave it or not. Trim the ends and hand it over. They will naw the heck out if it, it doesn’t hurt them and they can’t choke on it. Provides soothing comfort for their gums, and helps with their hand to mouth coordination.  As they get bigger, watch out for them actually cutting a piece off with their front teeth, but even then, the pieces are small enough that littles can swallow it safely, but with all things, just watch them as they are enjoying it. We also use the refrigerated rings that are cooled down and really help those swollen gums! A damp baby cloth put into the freezer for short time, enough to almost freeze it, remove and let littles chew on it for a bit. And of course, our “Kiki” Elephant chew toy, its a less hoity toity version of the Sophie la Girafe Teether.  Hyland’s makes an all natural teething tab. They are these little tiny white pills that have all natural ingredients in the them to sooth the pain. They chew 2 or 3 pills at a time, every 4 hours or so. I am not 100% convinced that these work, but I feel like they help. My littles wears a Baltic Amber Teething necklace. I bought mine from the Nurturing Nest off Longley here in Reno. Amazon and local stone/bead shops have them as well. They are not to chew on, but they say that the amber has healing properties in it, when introduced to the skin, its relieves pain associated with teething.  You are supposed to clean it once a week with a very mild soap and recharge it in the sun for a few hours. Honestly, there is no scientific proof that it does work, but it looks cute, its all natural, so I’m down to try it! Choking has never been a concern of mine with the necklace, its easily tearable, the clasps are a plastic screw on type and you can also take it off while they sleep.

Finger tooth brush- When your littles starts into solid foods, thats the best time to start a healthy teeth & gum regimen. Right after he eats, I take a small finger toothbrush and rub it all round his teeth and gums. This allows him to get used to the brush being in his mouth and it is cleaning the food from the day. I do it once a day right now, at night after his last solid food meal. I do not use toothpaste yet. Water is important now too, it helps to keep them hydrated and refreshed, cleans their mouth out after any type of food and if starting now with it, they won’t fuss about water as much when their older………I hope!

Solid Foods- This to me, is such a taboo topic. Depending upon who you ask, the diet of an infant between the ages of 6 moths to 12 months is one of the hardest to understand!  Wether it be a Dr, a book, the internet, your mom, your friends, everyone has their opinion of what and when their littles can eat. Here is my theory and what were currently doing. My littles started out on rice cereal and oatmeal, followed by bananas, apples, carrots and sweet potatoes. We started that at about 5/6months old. As he progressed, we dove into avocados, pears, green beans, squash, zucchini, mangos and pineapples. Being at 8 months old now, we’ve moved on to scrambled eggs, spinach, kale, lentils, chickpeas, mashed potatoes ( not made with milk or seasonings) asparagus, beets, turnips, cauliflower and broccoli. The way I judged this was by watching his reactions and his ability to somewhat chew by moving his jaws around to crush or smash the food. When we go out to eat, depending upon where we are, littles is sitting up just fine these days and he can sit in a restaurant high chair. I will sometimes order him a little something, we have eaten rice, wheat toast and scrambled egg. Whatever I am eating, I am trying to incorporate into his diet as well. I’m not talking about Doritos with your sammy or chicken vindaloo by any means, but grilled chicken, veggies, a veggie soup, things of that nature. As long they can swallow it and mash it with what they’ve got. We have introduced dill and parsley and cilantro. All which my littles was interested in. I will say that I am not going to give him any fish or honey or peanut butter until he is older. Honey and peanut butter, somewhat for his allergy protection, but mostly because those foods are too sticky and thick and babies his age cannot swallow that properly yet. As much as mama loves fish, I will wait till closer to the one year mark when were both more ready. Next up on the food list, were going to try stewed beef, cheese, yogurt and more combos!!  Just a heads up now to all family, NO littles will NOT be eating a “cake” for his one year 😦 I know, I know, I’m lame!! I am not ready for littles to be eating processed foods or refined sugars!! They do make a nice “healthy” smash cake for the one year mark that I will be making. It includes bananas, no sugar added applesauce and whole wheat flour. They even have a frosting for it too. Find the recipe at ourhavenhill.com, under recipes or look at Pinterest, they’ll have some too!

Umbrella stroller- This little guy has been a life savor. We do have the big ole fancy stroller/jogger deal where the car seat can attach to the stroller or just use it as a stroller. But it’s big, it’s bulky and sometimes too much. So, we got a little umbrella stroller that has a seatbelt on it, and a little hood for the bright sun. Littles can just sit in it with a blanket if need be and cruise around looking at everything as we head from the parking lot to the Drs office or a quick store trip and I don’t want to carry him. Besides, I feel like he appreciates being able to sit and look around. It looks like this:Babies-R-Us-Lightweight-Stroller--pTRU1-19575772dt

Super simple, easily folds and only costs about $20-$30 depending upon where you buy it. P.S. If you throw your diaper bag over one of the handles, and there is no baby in it, it will fall backwards.

 

Baby Stores local & online-  I am so dang frugal at heart its not even funny. But along with that comes the feeling of not being wasteful and recycling items that are OK to be re-used. I think hand me down clothes are fine, they can be washed and cleaned. Same thing with high chairs, bouncers, excersaucers, rockers, wood cribs less the mattress, glider chairs for nursing, even the popular Bumbo chairs, toys that can be washed or sanitized. My thoughts are that if the item is gently used, can be cleaned, then what the heck. My littles has lots of these items. Gracious co workers and friends that have older children have all been throwing items my way and I couldn’t be more appreciative. I wouldn’t use any USED hygiene or eating items like nipples. No mattresses, teething toys, underwear, car seats or un washable items. They will only be used for such a short amount of time. Some of the local stores we enjoy are The Nurturing Nest, Play it Again Kids, Sippees, Carters, Target. Amazon is great, The Land of Nod and Etsy.  All of them range in price and what they carry. Some things are worth spending that extra buck but there are also a lot of good, reasonably priced items out there too! Just Between Friends, twice a year has this awesome giant sale at the Livestock event center. Its only a few bucks for admission, they carry everything!!! It’s basically gently used items for sale by parents, vendors and retail shops. They come together to give everyone great deals on kids clothing, toys, books and infant needs. It’s pretty cool, go early if you can, the check out line gets crazy long!

 

Coughing/Pain Relievers- Always, always check with your doctor before administering any of the following!!! My natural cough remedy is by Zarbees.  Target, CVS & Walgreens carry this product. It’s an all natural cough & mucus concoction made from tea leaves & agave syrup. Zarbees makes other all natural products for the immune system, probiotic and digestive health and vitamins. This is my go to when littles has a slight cough. Make sure to check the labels, the one for babies 12 months and older contain honey, for infants younger than that, they do make one for infants 2months +.  Tylenol and Childrens Motrin are what my pediatrician says are safe. Check with your doctor for dosage amounts.

Daycare/Learning Centers-  I saved the best for last, or should I say the HARDEST!!  My littles started day care at about 8 weeks old. Well, lets back up just a bit. The hubby and I decided when we first knew that I was pregnant that mom would go back to work and that we would find a day care for little man. This was not an easy decision, but for financial and sanity reasons, we made this choice. I have always worked and brought home the bacon, just as my husband has. It’s not that I am in a much needed career path right now or even that my job is THAT important per se, but as a woman, I did not want to be a stay at home mom. To some that sounds bad, I get it, but its our choice to make. There are a lot of kids that attend school/day care. Now let me explain the difference between a day care and a learning center. Now don’t get all offended about what I’m about to say OK. Day cares could be a home that you drop your kid off at, maybe its a friend or family member or young person. Maybe their licensed, maybe not. Maybe they know CPR. They might have a room segregated off that they use as their “play room” or maybe a garage converted into a day care. There’s a TV, couches, pets maybe, personal or family items everywhere. Maybe they keep it clean, maybe they do activities but just a whole of of NUH UH’s!!  This is not to say that every where is like this, but I have personally seen a few when I first interviewed! A learning center is a scheduled time of naps, feedings, learning, activities, outside time and learning to be social with other children. They are licensed, most of the staff has infant & children development education. They are CPR certified, they cost more and they have strict rules. Again, not all of them are this way, but thats the general idea. If you are in need of a learning center or day care. Visit UNR’s webpage for CFRC ( Child & Family Research Center) They are a specialized group of individuals who work with UNR to give our community some of the safest, most nurturing and higher learning standards in the Northern Nevada area. There is also a government website that you can look up that tells you any and all complaints against a daycare that you might be considering. If you have some in mind, ask them for a tour and don’t hesitate to ask a million questions, after all this could potentially be the place your child will spend most of their time during the work week.  So if they have to be somewhere, how about a place where they can socialize and actually learn!!!  Again, I am not a Doctor or a certified person of anything, this is what I have experienced and the types of places I have seen in this area. Please feel free to contact me for any more further thoughts regarding this topic.

 

All in all, all of this info is to be helpful to you, not offend or upset. I hope you enjoyed all my silly ideas and advice, until next time. Love your babies all while living in Nevada!!!

NevadaState