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.

Diaper Swapers

If I Laugh I Lose

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

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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?

Craft Tutorial: Ice Cube Boats

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

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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!

Supplies

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  • Bendy straws
  • Small, freezable cups
  • Paper

Step One

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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.

My Kid Needs New Shoes, Again.

Posted 01-27-2015 at 07:45 PM by Banana Cat

I defy stereotypes because I hate shoe shopping.

To be fair, I have good reason. How many other 5-foot-4-inch tall people do you know have a US size 11 wide foot? Women AND men a good 6 or more inches taller than me often have smaller feet. I live in the Pacific Northwest so I suppose there’s the potential for some literal Bigfoot genes floating around somewhere. Anyway, it’s a pain finding shoes that fit and are comfortable, and even harder to find shoes that are also somewhat stylish (come on, I’m still in my 20s, I don’t need ten slightly different pairs of loafers!). Basically, I’ve hated shoe shopping since I was about 14 years old.

And then I had kids, and after they started walking, I suddenly found myself needing to go shoe shopping for them. No more cute little stretchy booties or soft-soled leather moccasins. And I was annoyed.

At first I tried to make it easy on myself and picked up kid’s shoes at consignment and thrift stores. I figured they’d just grow out of the shoes quickly, so why pay full price? Sometimes I do find good deals, but some mornings I wake up and the $1.99 Goodwill Stride Rites that fit my kid just fine yesterday are suddenly two sizes too small, and of course the size I now need isn’t to be found at any secondhand store in a 50 mile radius.

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My daughter wore these size 5 shoes for about two weeks before she grew out of them. I saved them for my son, who never wore them because he went straight from a size 4 to a 6.5. Of course.

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.

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

Life Lessons From Little Ones

Posted 01-1-2015 at 10:45 AM by Matrivine

Silhouette of Happy Mother Playing Outside with Baby

Children can do and say some crazy things sometimes. It’s part of their charm. Sometimes the things they say and do make us have to stop and question our priorities and points of views. If we are really lucky we can even change a few of our points of view to find the joy in life that comes so naturally to the small ones in our lives.

Be Excited About Life

An apple is worthy of a jump up and down celebration in my child’s point of view. So are new pajamas, taking the trash out, and watching a favorite television show. We are talking about uncontrolled bouncing shouts of joy. If we all celebrated the little things like a two year old the world would be a happier place. The opposite, however, does not apply. We would all be very unhappy if we all had toddler like meltdowns instead.

Potty Training Hacks

Posted 12-31-2014 at 10:43 AM by Matrivine

Potty Training

After about six months of trying to convince my son to use the potty, and cleaning up the aftermath, we have found a few potty training hacks we agree on (because when your toddler isn’t cooperating with potty training it feels like herding cats to a toilet) that have turned the tide in our potty war and resulted in a truce.

Hand Held Entertainment

I don’t let my children play with my Kindle Fire as a rule. This has resulted in making it one of the most coveted items for my children to play with. I can see their little wheels turning over how to play with it without getting in trouble. There is one way mommy will share her toy. On the potty. If my child is on the potty, he has five to ten glorious minutes on the Kindle. If he has a stubborn bowel movement, he gets more time. To get his hands on the Kindle he will even tell me when he has to go.

Kitchen Timer

I set a fifteen minute timer on my microwave to make sure I hold up my part of potty training. My part would be to ask regularly if  he needs to go. I have a seven month old, work from home, and do house work. Naturally I am going to forget. Setting a timer, however, makes me remember. I just have to make sure to drop everything and ask otherwise I’ll get sidetracked and forget all over again.

Mom Knows Best: Tricks for Flying With a Toddler

Posted 10-24-2014 at 03:21 PM by Rasha

traveling with toddler

Packing used to be the part of the trip that you dreaded the most, but that’s all changed now that you have a toddler. Now, packing seems like the easy part when compared to the tall task of keeping a toddler content on a plane. Maybe content is even too much to ask. Most of us would simply settle for a plane ride without scowls and dirty looks from passengers because your kid is throwing a tantrum, playing too loud or playing with the long hair of the lady in the seat in front of you. Here are some tried and true tips to keep your little one in good spirits for the entire flight:

Consider the Schedule

While long flights are challenging, layovers extend your travel time even more, so book a direct flight if you can. Less connections means getting back into some semblance of your little one’s routine a little faster, so it’s usually worth spending extra money if necessary.

Tutorial: Homemade Threading Board

Posted 10-22-2014 at 02:53 PM by Banana Cat

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So I like to sew. I have a cheap plastic sewing machine, and what feels like a 5000 lb vintage cast iron sewing machine, and between the two of them I can usually sew whatever I need to, unless it’s something like a king size quilt, because we don’t have room for a quilting machine in our apartment because dumb things like the stove and refrigerator are in the way. But, sometimes I need to hand sew something a little more delicate, or I’m just way too lazy to clear off the dining table and yank out the sewing machine and all the STUFF that goes along with it. One day, I was repairing a small hole on the seam of a sweater by hand, squinting and remembering that once long ago I wore glasses and whatever happened to them anyway?, when my 2 year old came over and asked what I was doing.

“Sewing up a hole in Mommy’s sweater,” I explained.

She stood up tall and declared in the way of two year olds, “Ok. I sew too.”

Now what? I had some large, dull embroidery needles and some yarn. Sewing/threading boards are all over the place—wooden or plastic boards with large holes in them that kids can practice sewing on—but we didn’t have one. So, I put my sewing aside and declared that it was now time for an art project.

Supplies

Tutorial: Three Travel Busy Bag Ideas

Posted 10-7-2014 at 01:55 PM by Banana Cat

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Soon, it will be the holidays.

Soon, hundreds of thousands of families will pack their kids up and travel.

Soon, parents will be rubbing their temples and buying headache medication in giant Costco-sized containers.

Yes, it’s that time of year again. Parents hit the road (or sky), not necessarily because they want to, as in during the summer, but because of family obligations and gatherings. It can be hard enough to entertain a child when you’re at home surrounded by their favorite toys, but how to do so while travelling, possibly cramped in a small vehicle for hours at a time, without resorting to gluing your kid to the iPad for 6 straight hours? Thankfully, some smart parent before me has solved this problem with the invention of “busy bags”—small bags with a travel-sized activity to keep your kids busy. While there are a million different types of bags you can put together, here are three easy, low-budget ones.