Thursday, April 23, 2015

Toddler Meals: Part 2

The twins are eating us out of house and home already - and they're only 1 year old! It seems like I feed them 20 times a day now that they are eating solids (minus one bottle at bedtime) because they snack... all. the. time. We're trying to get out of that habit, though. 

Currently they wake up at 7 a.m. and have a 10 ounce sippy cup of whole milk and a handful of Cheerios. At 9 a.m. we eat a real breakfast - this is their biggest meal of the day... I swear I can't feed them enough in the morning! They eat a snack (Goldfish, Cheerios, share a pouch) at noon and real lunch at 1:30. Sometimes they need a snack while I'm cooking dinner... heck, even I like to snack while I'm cooking dinner. Dinner is at 5 p.m. and their bedtime snack is at 7:30 p.m.

Like I said, it seems like feeding them is an all day long event. I make as much of their food and pouches as I have time to, and keep very few processed foods in the house - mostly snacks like Goldfish and chicken nuggets (because, Andy.) Everything that I make for them or that I make for dinner is doubled and we eat every last bit of the leftovers! Making everything in bulk saves me a lot of time... less cooking, fewer dishes to clean.

Here's a sample of what they've been eating recently!

Leftover penne with meat sauce, sweet potato fried, peaches and pears

Leftover chicken alfredo, sweet potato fries, applesauce with pumpkin pie spice

Fish sticks with ketchup, black beans and peaches

Mac & cheese (boxed) with steamed veggies, hotdog (processed), tater tots (processed) and mixed fruits. Not my best meal!

Leftover penne with meat sauce, string cheese, green beans and peaches

Spinach stuffed grilled cheese sandwich, spinach and cheddar omelette slices and roasted sweet potato
Sweet potatoes are a huge hit in this house! Whether it is pureed in a pouch, mixed with yogurt and pumpkin pie spice, in fry form or baked... they'll eat it! And they'll eat it first!

Ways I like to sneak extra fruits and veggies into food:
  • Pancakes - add pureed banana, carrot, avocado, blueberries, pumpkin, etc
  • Omelettes - add anything! A little bit of cheese with almost any vegetable
  • Sandwiches - grilled cheese with spinach, butternut squash, etc. 
  • Pasta sauce - puree carrot, celery, onion, green or red peppers and add it to your sauce along with all of the tomato-y goodness
  • Oatmeal - toss in any fruit
  • Pouches - I make all of my pouch foods except for the emergency stash I keep in the diaper bag (doesn't have to be refrigerated) and blend yogurt, applesauce, and/or oatmeal with ANY fruit or vegetable. My kids love any of their various colored "smoothies!"

Friday, April 17, 2015

5 Nearly Free Toddler Toys

The boys are 13 months old now. They walk, run, play all day and need constant supervision. [Hence the recent decline in posts.] Luckily, there are two of them and they can play together quite nicely. But that also means twice the clean up, food prep and double the trouble to watch out for. At. All. Times. Seriously, all times. 

While the boys do have a butt-ton (ass-load?) of toys that they received for Christmas and their birthdays, I find myself constantly needing to come up with activities for them. Activities that will keep them occupied for AT LEAST a half hour. So I can have some peace and quiet, eat lunch or, heaven forbid, clean something!

Here are a couple of toys and activities I have come up with over the last few weeks that are free or nearly free, easy to create and provide at least a half hour of entertainment.

1. Old magazines and newspapers. Heck, even a couple of pieces of scrap paper of junk mail. Anything that they can carry around and then shred whenever they fancy works. One old magazine can be shred into thousands of smaller magazines if they really set their minds to it! Once the pieces get too small, they tend to bring them to me as though I have magical powers to put it back together. They used to try to eat the pieces but have since grown out of that stage so this is a great distraction for when I need to focus on cooking or even just run to the restroom. Yay!

2. Balloons. I bought a pack of 25 balloons the last time I was at the dollar store and they have lasted almost 2 months. A couple here, a couple there. The boys love kicking, hitting and throwing them around. The cats also get in on this action which makes it even more exciting for the boys. If I have the balloons out, I stay nearby so I can see or hear if any of them pop so that they don't become choking hazards.

Loving the balloons during their birthday photo shoot with Auntie Kara!

3. Sensory water bags. Put a couple of small trinkets and waterproof items in a quart-sized heavy duty Ziploc bag, fill with water, remove excess air, and seal. These are a hit and are actually quite durable. It probably won't even cost you a penny either considering most households have plastic bags and small junk items within an arm's reach. When/if they spring a leak you can either toss the whole thing in the trash or plop it into a gallon sized bag to extend the life expectancy.

This kept them busy while I wrote this post in its entirety... heck yea!

4. Food. Lemon and lime slices to be specific. If I'm cooking a recipe that calls for lemon and/or lime, I'm sure to save the slices for the boys and let the hilarity ensue. Be sure to video tape or capture some pictures the first time you do this because it is PRICELESS.

Really unsure, but going back for more.

So shocked that his hair stood up! ...just kidding, he has bed head.
5. Bottles with lids. Andy has these over-sized, durable plastic bottles for his Soda Stream. The caps are huge as well so we don't have to worry about choking hazards. The boys love to mix and match and put the lids on the bottles. They haven't figured out how to take the lids off yet, but they will bring them to me. It's a little work on my part but it keeps them busy for a good, long time with minimal effort and attention on my part. This one is a hit while I prepare dinner because they can be in the kitchen and close by to me while they work on this project.

Smart little cookie hard at work!

Also, in case you haven't seen this super cute twins video that went viral over the last few days, here it is. The Best Kept Secret - surprise gender announcement/twins announcement! If only this would have ever crossed my mind before we announced my pregnancy!