What The Kids Have Been Eating Lately: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

I do not consider myself a good cook by any means. With that being said, I try to make my family balanced meals that they enjoy. I am guilty of “beating a dead horse,” if you will, when it comes to recipes we like. I pretty much make them until nobody likes them anymore. Creature of habit once again, I suppose! And most of these meals are quick meals because since school has started, it seems like it has been even busier over here! I also don’t promise to be the greatest plater/photographer, so most of these are real life kids plates with no special staging or lighting…hashtag momlife!

Here is a look at what the girls have been eating lately.

BREAKFAST

Scrambled eggs, sausage and toast

Breakfast biscuit with bacon, egg and cheese 

Breakfast burritos for both girls with bacon, egg, cheese and sour cream 

Cheerios and yogurt 

LUNCH

Chicken nuggets, brown rice, zucchini and ranch

Chicken nuggets, noodles with parmesan, avocado and ranch 

Grilled cheese and green beans 

Turkey “roll-up” with mustard in the middle and strawberries 

SCHOOL LUNCHES

Applesauce pouch, rotisserie chicken, carrots and ranch, crackers and skittles 

Turkey roll-ups with mustard, cheese, pepperoni, carrots and ranch and M&M’s 

Applesauce, pretzels, turkey roll-ups, pepperoni, cheese, goldfish and skittles 

Turkey roll-ups, applesauce pouch, string cheese and graham crackers 

DINNER

Applegate hot dog with mustard, cauliflower, a couple french fries and a couple veggie tator tots

Applegate hot dog with mustard, mac and cheese and zucchini 

Ground turkey with taco seasoning and diced tomatoes topped with cheese, rice, black beans and tortilla chips

Ground turkey stuffed peppers with sour cream for Aurora

Ground turkey topped with cheese with chips and a pepper on the side for Hailey

Noodles with pasta sauce, ricotta cheese and homemade meatballs

Lamb burger cut up with a side of greek pasta salad 

Making their own pizzas…with most of the toppings going right into their mouths

As you can see, there are a lot of repeat meals, but I try to offer the girls something I know they will eat. Sometimes Aurora eats every piece of zucchini and asks for more, and other times I can’t even get her to eat one piece! If they are struggling with eating most of their food and I have time, I try to make a “picnic dinner” (or lunch) outside or just lay a blanket on the kitchen floor. They tend to eat better in a fun setting, like having a picnic, at a friends house or even at school!

What are your quick go-to meals for your kids? 

Do you have any tricks to get your kids to eat more off their plates? 

 

Giving up the Binky/Pacifier

The dreaded binky!!! Okay, okay…I do have a love/hate relationship with that little thing. On May 11, 2015, Anthony and I swore our next daughter would never have a binky…and on May 12, 2015, when our beautiful daughter started crying and was immediately soothed by said binky, it was a whole different ball game!

Hailey was a “binky baby” too. She took one whenever she got fussy and at nap and bed time, so pretty much all day, every day! Hailey, however, gave it up with pretty much no fuss, and she was way younger than 2 years and 4 months, which is what Aurora is.

Both of these baby Hailey with her binkies. 

I am writing this because today is Aurora’s first day of preschool ever, and I have been telling her for about a month or so that when she starts “big girl” school, she has to give all her binky’s…yep, all 37 of them (37 is a bit of a stretch, but girl has a lot of binkies!) to the babies who need them. We plan to have her throw all the binkies in a bag for daddy to take to work today for baby Stella, who is a her 8 month old friend who takes a binky also.

With that said, I probably have a better chance of winning the powerball than Aurora just giving up her binky cold turkey…but a mom can dream! I am open to any outside advice on this topic because I am sure I will be trying ALL THE THINGS before Aurora actually decides to give it up for good.

How many pictures has her binky ruined??? (But how many nights of sleep has it saved?!) 

Here are a few things I have heard works when trying to get rid of the pacifier.

1- Take the binky to the store and “trade it in” for a new toy.

2- Have daddy or mommy take them to work to give to other babies.

3- Cut the tip of the binky so that it feels “broken.”

4- “Binky fairy”- Have your child collect all his/her binkies and put them at the front door over night and the binky fairy will come and take them and leave a present.

5- Wean the binky before age 2-opps! Apparently the younger, the better.

Not in the mouth…but sooo close! 

Unfortunately, Aurora also knows about thumb sucking!! I am worried she is going to switch to that when we take the binky and I have no idea what I would do if that happens!

Also, she still puts EVERYTHING in her mouth, so that will be another issue we are going to run into. We usually just throw the binky in her mouth if she starts putting toys in there, so hopefully she grows out of that faze soon!

ANNDDD…where are all her binkys anyway?? If you have ever had a child who takes a pacifier, you know that they can get lost very easily, especially when you child is older and can hide them. I’m pretty sure we have a few strays somewhere around the house, so I am really hoping she doesn’t find one before I do!

It was so easy to give that new baby a binky to stop her from crying…and boy did it work, but now I regret not sticking to my initial “no binky” rule because I have a feeling this is going to be a long and painful process!

Here we go! 

Next step…potty training!! Ahhh!!

Do you call it a binky or a pacifier?

What ways did you wean your child from the binky? No seriously…HELP!!

 

 

Building Relationships at a New School, for the Kid and the Parent

This week has been filled with all kinds of emotions! It is so hard to believe that my oldest has officially started Kindergarten!! Not only is the fact that she is growing up a very emotional thing, but she is starting at a whole new school with a whole new group of people.

Hailey had been at the same preschool for the past four years, and with the same group of kids pretty much throughout. Now she is starting at a different school with almost no kids she knows. There are not a lot of kids from her preschool going to her elementary school, maybe two or three, and none of them are in her class.

When Hailey started preschool she was one, so for us, and for most of the other families, this was the first big social setting we were putting our kids into. Relationships grew through the many years we all have been together and it’s sad to leave and start over for both Hailey and I.

The moms (and dads) I met four short years ago when Hailey started school have become my friends. From playground chats, birthday parties, field trips, play dates and even girls nights, I have formed so many amazing relationships with the people I have met through preschool.

It is always so nice to have parents to talk to who are going through similar life events and challenges as you are. We have all been there for each other through happy times and challenging times and I am so lucky to have been able to go through all the ups and downs of figuring out this whole “parenting thing” with those parents!

Even though I am so excited for Hailey to start this new chapter in her life, I am also bummed to be parting ways with many kids and parents who Hailey and I call our friends. I know we can make time to see them, but with a full-time school schedule and extra-curricular activities, I’d be naïve to say it won’t be hard.

I know we will both meet new people at our new school, and I will still be able to see some friends who still have little ones in preschool with Aurora, but it will definitely be a change! It was nice to be able to send a quick text to a friend to make sure I didn’t mess up what day to bring a pumpkin in to decorate with the class. I’m sure I’ll get there with new parents at her elementary school, but it does kind of feel like I am starting over.

I am looking forward to all the new friendships Hailey and I will build at this new school, but I will miss all my old friends for sure! Thank you all for the laughs, advice and listening you have done in the past four years!

Hailey is usually very social, especially with kids, so I am hoping she makes friends quickly. For me, there are a few things I plan to do to meet new people at this new school.

*Get involved- Whether that means PTO or just going into the classroom when I can help with special events, I definitely want to be a part of Hailey’s school experience some how.

*Don’t be shy- It is easy to walk into a social situation with your head down or just nod and say hi and walk away. I am going to try and start up conversations and be social with the other parents so I can get to know them.

*Go have lunch at the school- At Hailey’s new school, parents are able to go eat lunch with their children once a week. Each family is assigned a day based on their last names. I plan to go as much as I can!

*Plan a play date- Once Hailey and I get to know people, I hope to set up play dates, whether it be at a local park or at our house, to built relationships further.

With that, I hope you all have a great day and holiday weekend! We are off to PA tomorrow, so I will be back to blogging after labor day!

Do you feel like you are starting over when you start at a new school?

What are some things you do to build new relationships? 

 

Five on Friday #12

It’s been two weeks since I wrote a blog and I feel like so much has happened in those 14 days! I took some time off because I wanted to soak up what was left of summer with my girls and I also had family visiting! My “five” today will basically be a recap of some of the things that have been going on, both good and bad!

**Number one has a couple bloody pictures. They aren’t terrible, but if you have a week stomach, maybe skip that one!

ONE- Last Thursday, Aurora fell off our kitchen bar stool and hit her head on the molding at the bottom of the wall. I was cooking dinner when she fell, so I ran over immediately to make sure she was okay. She has fallen off the stool before, so I just thought it scared her, but a couple seconds later, I realized her head was dripping blood!

It stopped bleeding quick, so I didn’t rush her to the ER like I thought I was going to do. I asked her a bunch of questions and made her follow my finger to make sure she didn’t seem disoriented. I put her in the shower because there was so much blood in her hair I couldn’t see the wound.

After her shower, she ate dinner while I decided what I was going to do. It was still hard to see the wound because her wet hair was matted down on it, and as you can imagine, she didn’t like me touching it.

We finally went to urgent care and they said she needed staples. My mother-in-law met us there, and thank god for her because she was calm and knew what questions to ask and I was a nervous wreck! Thank you Gammie!! Anthony made it for the staples too!

They messed up one of the staples and had to take it back out and re-do it!! Oh, that part was just awful! Aurora was such a trooper through the whole thing!

Even though it was 8:45 when we got home, we let her pick out whatever she wanted from the store and she chose a giant cupcake!

This was probably the worst mom experience I have ever had!

TWO- Anthony had plans to surprise Hailey with a “before Kindergarten” trip to Carowinds (amusement park) the day after Aurora fell. He ended up telling her the night of the staples because she seemed a little traumatized by the whole thing and we wanted to give her something positive to go to bed thinking about!

Carowinds wasn’t too busy, probably because it was a Friday and some of the schools around here have already started. She got to ride a ton of rides and go to the water park! She had a blast!

Since I knew I would have a day with just Aurora, I thought we would swim all day because it was going to be hot, but since she had staples in her head, plans had to change.

I didn’t want to take her to the Y because of the staples, so we went for a 4 miles walk/run.

Then, we went out for lunch and went to the store to pick up flowers and a cookie cake that Grandma and Papa Deano called in for her! She was very excited!

Then, it was a very low-key rest of the day and night!

THREE- Anthony took that Friday off work for Carowinds because he had to work Saturday, so the girls and I decided to get ready and drive 40-45 minutes to Trader Joe’s! I LOVE Trader Joe’s, but there isn’t one close to where we live, so I haven’t been there in so so long!

My mother-in-law, sister-in-law, brother in-law and nephew actually were all coming from a baseball practice when we were headed that way, so we met them for lunch right across the street. I got the girls settled and then shopped by myself, which was amazing because I wanted to look at EVERYTHING!! It would have been awful trying to wander with the girls in tow, so thank you Gammie, Uncle Joseph and Aunt CaCa (Jessica)!

Apparently I went on the right day because they were celebrating their 50th anniversary with some good deals, including 50 cent avocados! JACKPOT!

They were also giving tattoos to the little ones!

And I forgot how affordable their wine is! It is so worth the longer drive just to stock up on our Trader Joe’s favorite things! I would say it was a very successful trip!

FOUR- On Sunday, my Grandma and Aunt made the trip down to North Carolina from Pennsylvania and stayed until Wednesday morning. We swam, got my grandma’s favorite ice cream, shopped, saw the eclipse, went to dinner and just hung out at the house! We had a great time!

FIVE- Tuesday was Hailey’s Kindergarten orientation. We lucked out that we had family visiting to watch Aurora so we didn’t have to bring her along.

Hailey was so excited and couldn’t wait to meet her teacher and see her classroom! Anthony even got out of work early to go with us!

We explored the school and met some of the kids in her class. We are all so excited for this big next step! Good luck Hailey girl!!

It is so nice to get back to writing. We have Fantasy Football draft weekend at our house so I better get studying! I hope y’all have a great weekend!

 

 

Back-to-School Shopping for a Kindergartener

I can’t believe I am writing a post about Kindergarten! Hailey starts school in less than a month and I am full of all kind of emotions about it! I am happy, sad, anxious, excited…I’m sure all the same emotions all the other moms out there are feeling or have felt!

A fun part of getting ready for school is, of course, the shopping! On Saturday, Hailey and I left the house right after breakfast to go shop for all she needs to start Kindergarten.

She was excited to be shopping for herself and to have all mommy’s attention on her! She even brought her purse, which is an old purse of mine my mom found from a homecoming or prom!

We went to Target and TJ Maxx and pretty much got everything we needed at those two places! They are in the same plaza, so we got really lucky. We did shop for three hours though! At Target, we tried on some of the clothes I thought she would be in between sizes in, and took some fitting room pictures of course!

Hailey needed some fuel after Target, so we stopped and got some popcorn and Gatorade before our walk to TJ Maxx. We actually did stop at Home Goods and Michaels that morning too.

Target didn’t have “fat pencils” which were on her Kindergarten list. I had no idea what “fat pencils” were, but I thought Michaels might have them. They didn’t, but Amazon did! Amazon for the win, always! Along with “fat pencils,” I also now know what a folders with “brads” are too…thank you google.

I wasn’t sure we were going to find a backpack Hailey liked while shopping that day, but at TJ Maxx, she loved this North Face one! It’s actually an adult backpack, but when we compared them to the kids backpacks, it wasn’t that much different!

Okay, so here is the haul!

School supplies…minus the “fat pencils,” which are on the way! 

I wanted to make sure to get some long sleeves and pants because she has some stuff she can still wear to school that she got at the end of preschool and throughout the summer.

I love the cold shoulder black shirt! 

I love that Hailey likes to wear different things. She goes through dress fazes and she also goes through workout shorts and tee-shirt fazes.

We bought a couple more short sleeve shirts and tanks because they were on sale!

Target had a buy one get one 50% off kids shoe deal, so we picked up two new pair!

And we couldn’t forget about Aurora, who starts preschool in a month too! She also got two new pairs of shoes with the Target deal, and some new clothes too! She does have a lot of Hailey’s hand-me-downs, so she didn’t need as much!

A big thank you to Grandma and Papa Deano for sending back-to-school shopping gift cards to help my wallet out a bit!

And also to Gammie and Papa Keith for these super cute Sperry’s for the girls! I love them!

I think we got a lot of good stuff! Hailey has a birthday at the beginning of September, so anything we didn’t get, she will get for her birthday! My aunt gets her new sneakers every year, so I already know those are coming soon!

It was so much fun to shop with Hailey and enjoy some one-on-one time! We even got to go to lunch, just the two of us!

I can’t believe my first little one is going off to Kindergarten in a few short weeks! I know she is so excited and I know she will do great!

Do you take your kids school shopping? 

What are some staples that you get every year? 

 

 

 

A Day in the Life…

I wanted to do a post about what a day in our house looks like. I decided to document what we did on Monday. If I hadn’t already decided to name the post “a day in the life…,” I would have named it “What a day looks like with a crazy two year old!” There is never a dull moment with Aurora, and Monday was no different.

I set my alarm to get up at 6:15. That is pretty normal. I am a snoozer, so I finally got out of bed by 6:30. Aurora was up and playing in her bed already, and Hailey has a night light that turns green when she can come down (at 7AM), so she came down then.

Usually morning time is the only time the girls see Anthony, but he had to leave before they woke up Monday, so it was just the three of us for the day! Aurora had a morning surprise for me (a poopy diaper), so she was dressed at breakfast, which never happens. I almost had to change her outfit again after breakfast because of how messy she is!

I packed there snack bags for the Y.

They don’t eat all those snacks. I give them options because they are hit or miss on certain snacks depending on the day.

I got the girls ready. Aurora’s hair was done but she found some bobby pins she HAD TO WEAR, so I had to re-do her hair…even though she hates having her hair done.

She looks happy, but those bobby pins HAD TO HAPPEN!

We made it to the Y…that is NOT the hard part! Aurora has to get out by herself and it HAD to be the front passenger seat today.

Then, I thought we were golden…they were running to the door!!

Oh wait…flowers.

I was kidding about thinking we were golden…this happens everyday.

Then, not pictured, Aurora randomly had a meltdown when I was about to leave her in childwatch. Luckily, she snapped out of it after I left and I was able to get my workout in.

When they leave the childwatch, Ms. Jan, the awesome lady who checks the girls in, has dum-dum suckers for the kids. I kid you not that it takes Aurora a good 3-5 minutes to pick a flavor. She goes through several suckers before she finds the one she wants, and usually she ends up with the same one she started with!

Got one! Nope…she went back after this.

When we got home from the Y, I started making breakfast for myself and I heard something strange from Aurora. She had taken her shorts off and ran up the stairs. She is not allowed to go upstairs and she knows that but obviously didn’t care today.

I ate my breakfast and then had to lock Aurora in my room with me so she didn’t go up the stairs while I was in the shower. I was in the middle of my shower and she ran in to show me what she just found…

She got my purse, found the brightest red lipstick I own…and this happened. 

After I cleaned Aurora and everything else the lipstick got on, the girls made their lunch. I find that if they are involved in the cooking process (though this is not cooking…they made sandwiches) they are more apt to eat it.

We played upstairs in the playroom before it was naptime for Aurora.

When Aurora fell asleep, Hailey wanted to play upstairs still and do her chores for the day. We recently started a chore chart and she is really excited about it! I am glad I got all my house cleaning done on the weekend because I usually use this time to clean, but I got to play with Hailey instead.

She made her bed.

And watered the flowers on the front porch.

Then Aurora woke up and Hailey wanted to get her.

They decided they wanted to swim, so they had an early dinner outside and then got into the pool!

We invited our neighbors over to swim too! Sutton is too cute!

We had a dance party, made some popcorn and watched TV before bed. Then, I got the vacuum out to sweep the couch and floor around the couch because of said popcorn.

Aurora had to get her workout in before bed, haha.

Then we went upstairs around 8:30 to read some books and wait for daddy to call to say good night.

After the girls went to bed, I planted myself on the couch to watch a little TV before I went to bed.

This is a good example of what life looks like around here on a daily basis!

What do you do to keep busy with you kids during the week? 

 

 

How to get your baby/toddler to enjoy the pool

Summer is just around the corner! With the temperatures warming up, getting into the water with your little ones is always refreshing in those hot months.

Last year we put a pool in at our house. Hailey was four and learned how to swim pretty quick and loved it. Aurora, on the other hand, had just turned one and did not feel the same way. She would get in for a couple minutes and then run around the perimeter of the pool, want me to take her life jacket off and want to go swing instead. It took some time, and I think the older she got, the better she did, but I came up with some ways to help keep the littler kids occupied while swimming.

1- Swim School Tot Trainer: This life jacket shirt is Aurora’s favorite! She started wearing it at the end of last summer which means she would have been a little over one year old. She doesn’t feel confined and can swim around in it without getting her face in the water. She will leave it on even when she gets out of the pool so I’m less nervous about her falling in.

2- Lollipops: Aurora is my messy child, and that is an understatement. All those doctors appointments in a baby’s first year of life means a lot of lollipops being offered, so I found out quickly on a car ride home just how messy they can be…especially if your child fails to use the stick at the end of the actual lollipop!

She loves suckers though, so last year I thought to give her one in the pool and it was genius, if I do say so myself! She is always so happy to get one, it’s mess free in the water and they take a long time to eat. They do sink when dropped, so I’m thankful that her big sister likes to help out and dive down to get it!

3- Personalized Playlists: My girls both love music! When we put the pool in, we purchased a couple Sonos speakers so we could make the music loud enough to hear. We made a couple playlists for different occasions, but we made sure to make some with different songs the girls enjoy too!

We have some Moana, Sing and Trolls, along with songs that they like to sing with Anthony and I when we are in the car or listening to our favorite music at home. It’s a win, win!

4- Swim with friends: This is kind of a no-brainer, but distractions help keep a baby/toddler interested. Other kids laughing and playing games, or multiple adults to swim around with always help Aurora stay in the pool.

5- Different and fun floats: We bought Aurora a couple fun and interactive floats on Amazon last year and she would switch from one to another and stay in for a longer time.

6- Portable High chair with snacks poolside: If your little one just isn’t wanting to be in the pool, you can always set them up within arms length with their favorite snacks so you can enjoy the water!

Do you have any tricks to help keep babies/toddlers in the pool?