Tips For Grocery Shopping With Toddlers

Posted 02-26-2015 at 06:04 PM by Banana Cat

Costco is good for cheap treats. Also, the kids never finish them so I get to munch on the leftovers during their naptimes. Score. Also we only go to Costco like twice a month so don’t think they live on a diet of churros and ice cream every day. Sometimes they have pizza too. 

I used to like grocery shopping. I would spend more time than I should wandering the aisles, thinking up dozens of fancy, tasty plates to make for the week’s dinners and what new fancy coffee my husband and I should try for our special Saturday breakfasts.

Now, with two young, mobile children, going to the grocery store is basically the very last thing I ever want to do with kids in tow. However, and this is NOT to brag, I’ve had multiple people come up to me and congratulate me on how well-behaved my children are in the grocery store. This befuddles me every time, because these compliments usually come at the rare moments between the kids screaming to get down, or get up, or for juice or cookies, or “ICE CREAM NOW MOMMY NOW WAHHHH” and I’m always like, “Did you seriously not hear my kids five seconds ago, because I’m sure they could be heard in the next town over?” After some thought, I do realize that while I wouldn’t say every grocery trip comes smoothly, we’ve gotten to the point where I don’t feel like picking up a keg on the way out to self-medicate from the trauma. Here are a few tips that have worked for us.

Diaper Swapers

Toddler Snack Tray Ideas

Posted 02-18-2015 at 03:56 PM by Banana Cat

Toddler Snacks Featured

I mean, not to brag or anything, but my daughter used to eat everything.

And do I mean EVERYTHING. Pickles? Steak? Mango? Yes. She’d eat half a bag of steamed green beans for dinner. Her favorite food for the longest time was pickled ginger, something that even me with my Asian taste buds could only eat in tiny bites, but she scarfed it down by the spoonful. I was super proud of my amazing kid. Chicken nuggets and French fries never saw the inside of our kitchen.

And then one day—she didn’t eat everything. It was like the universe knew how smug I secretly felt about my Kid Who Ate Everything, and overnight turned her into the pickiest eater on earth. Mealtimes started becoming battles, and I didn’t want to be battling with my toddler over food.

Enter: The snack tray.

If I Laugh I Lose

Posted 02-17-2015 at 06:00 PM by Matrivine

toddler trouble

Toddlers are cute. When they do something funny I chuckle and all is right in the world. It doesn’t matter if it is messy. It doesn’t matter if it’s happened before. It doesn’t matter if it’s against the rules.

Unfortunately little ones are aware of this too. They get in trouble and their automatic response to this is to get us to laugh. They smile and laugh and try to hug you. It’s like they are saying, “Come on mommy! It’s much more fun to laugh than to reinforce the rules!”

The sad thing is they are right. It is more fun to just to last. Unfortunately, if you laugh you lose. You have to show little one when their actions are not acceptable. But how do you not laugh?

Talking To Toddlers About Gender

Posted 02-16-2015 at 04:13 PM by Matrivine

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My little guy had a rather mind blowing experience this week. He was with me while I was changing his sister when a look of great concern washed over his face. He soberly asked me where his sister’s penis was. I explained to him that his sister was a girl, she didn’t have a penis. He then asked me if I had one, to which I responded no, but daddy did. Mommy was a girl and daddy was a boy. My poor little guy didn’t look too thrilled by this news, and sat for a few minutes thinking about this as I finished up.

Use Proper Body Part Names

Using the proper name for my little guy’s gizmo was the first step in his learning about gender. It was unavoidable to talk about. We had to talk about not touching it during diaper changes. I had to reassure him that it wasn’t yucky, but the stuff in his diaper was. We also discussed that public places were not places to try to bring it out or talk about it.

I expect that I’ll be having many similar conversations with his sister.

Preparing Kitty For A New Baby

Posted 02-13-2015 at 04:34 PM by Banana Cat


Everyone who has pets before having children may find themselves getting nervous as the day they need to introduce their pet to their new baby grows closer. The good news is that cats and babies can absolutely get along, even if your cat is suddenly angry to find out he or she is no longer the center of your world. There isn’t a way to sit down and tell your cat, “Look, soon, a tiny, screaming primate will move into your territory and it will be unlike anything either of us has ever experienced before,” but making a few preparations beforehand can hopefully smooth the transition for everyone.

Craft Tutorial: Ice Cube Boats

Posted 02-12-2015 at 05:17 PM by Banana Cat


Ok, we live in the Pacific Northwest. There are a lot of rainy days, and granted, our area has an amazing amount of toddler-friendly gyms, museums, and other indoor play places we often take advantage of. But sometimes we (ok, I) don’t feel like loading up the kids and trekking out. Sometimes it feels nice to have an in-home day where we can all lounge around with no shoes and sometimes no pants on…but the kids still want to play with water, maybe even channel summertime a bit. And it’s easy to do this with ice cube boats, and even better, you may even have all the supplies to do this already!



  • Bendy straws
  • Small, freezable cups
  • Paper

Step One


Fill your small, freezable cups with water. Disposable plastic or paper cups should work—we had actually just made cupcakes and I still had all my silicone cupcake cups out, so we used those! Cram the bendy straw into place. I had to trim mine a bit to make it fit.

Time-out 101

Posted 02-10-2015 at 05:54 PM by Agla

Time Out Featured

It doesn’t seem particularly difficult in theory to remove a child from one area and place them in another for a finite length of time. Yet any experienced parent can tell you that time-outs can result in colossal battle of wills that can test the patience of the most kind-hearted. Exhausted, frustrated parents often find themselves wondering if time-outs are even worth it. Despite recent negative media coverage about time-outs, there are many parents that have use time-outs as a parenting tool with good long term success.

There are certain factors that need to be considered before placing your child in time-out.

1. Make sure that the expected behavior is clearly defined and age appropriate.

I once saw a grandmother threaten to punish the one year old in her care for putting his fingers in his mouth. Putting fingers (or most things) in their mouths is appropriate behavior for a very young child. Caregivers and parents put undue stress on themselves when they try to enforce punishment for behaviors that are to be expected and age appropriate.

The Office Hours of Mom

Posted 02-6-2015 at 04:45 PM by Matrivine

Woman No Featured

Lately I have been taking a page out of my pediatrician’s book. Unless it’s an emergency, the office of mommy is closed from ten at night until six in the morning. My hours are better than my pediatrician, but that doesn’t seem to impress my toddler.

But Moms Don’t Have Office Hours!

I know. When I was a child I certainly didn’t think so. As it turns out I was wrong. Even with my mother there were office hours. That was the reason there was a bedtime. Do you ever get frustrated that your children not going to be on time? You are trying not to rip your hair out as they go to the bathroom for the sixteenth time while getting their seventeenth cup of water.

We know that our children need sleep, we know that your schedule will be demolished, and we know that much needed child free time is slipping away. Soon we will have to go to bed ourselves. That is if the bathroom/ drink cycle doesn’t go late into the night. That is if they don’t try to climb in bed with us. Soon, regardless of our beliefs, we find ourselves praying our children will let us get some sleep tonight.


The problem is not that we don’t have an idea of when our office hours are (though we may not call it that), so much as it’s we don’t enforce our office hours. We are moms. It’s in our nature to give our children everything they need. It’s in our nature to teach them the basic skills of life. What doesn’t seem to be in our nature is knowing when enough is enough.

Tutorial: How to Swaddle With an Actual Swaddle

Posted 01-28-2015 at 05:02 PM by Banana Cat


Go down the swaddle aisle at any baby store, and there are countless styles and patterns to choose from—enough for stores to justify dedicating a whole aisle to swaddles.  You never know what your baby will tolerate before they are born, and some kids love certain swaddles and totally hate others. After trying nearly everything on the market between my two kids, I came to the conclusion that the good ol’ fashioned simple square-piece-of-fabric swaddle is the most versatile and easiest to care for. Learning to swaddle the old fashioned way can be a bit tricky at first, especially when you are sleep deprived at 3am, but with a little practice you will be a swaddling pro in no time.


  • A Swaddle
  • A baby

Step One


This swaddle is so big I couldn’t get it in the whole camera frame without becoming Spider-Woman and sticking myself to the ceiling. Just trust me that it’s diamond-shaped.

I Survived Flying With Toddlers, So Can You!

Posted 01-23-2015 at 04:30 PM by Banana Cat

Recently, I flew across the country with two kids for the first time. My husband was with me, but our kids are three and one and often after 8 hours with them I feel a bit insane—and that’s when I have an entire city at my disposal in which to drag them around. Spending several consecutive hours smushed between them, trapped in a narrow metal tube with 150 other people sounded like a very special punishment for all the stupid things I’ve ever done in my entire life.

I was so freaked out about the entire trip that a couple of weeks before I sat down and wrote an item-by-item list of things to pack for every person in our family. It was color coded by person and which piece of luggage each item would be packed in and everything, and if you knew how incredibly unorganized I usually am (once I lost the baby monitor and eventually found it in the refrigerator, because DUH, where else would it have been?), you’d appreciate how much I was stressing out to the point where I’d do something like that. Then I hit up the dollar section of Target and threw whatever looked semi-interesting into my cart. Usually I like quality toys, often wood, and carefully budget for them, and don’t (often) bribe my kids with junk food, but this time I strapped them into the front of the cart and shoved Icees into their hands to distract them from seeing the sheer amount of crap I was tossing in the basket. I am sure every other parent in the store was glaring judgmental daggers at me.


How is it that when you travel, you always feel like you’re bringing way too much and not enough at the same time?