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WE EAT | Toddler Meal Ideas

At one years old the girls started eating regular meal times- three meals and three snacks a day.  Like every new parent, I was super concerned whether or not the girls ate enough at a meal or throughout the course of a day.
Daily servings for toddlers
  • Fruit 3-4 servings a day: fruit- 1/2 to 1 small fruit, 2 to 4 tbsp canned fruit
  • Vegetables- 3 servings a day: 2 to 3 tbsp cooked vegetables
  • Dairy- 4 to 5 servings a day: dairy- 1/2 cup milk (whole milk for 2 years or younger) per serving or 1/2 cup yogurt
  • Protein- 2 servings a day: 1 to 2 oz meat, 1 egg per serving, or 4 to 5 tbsp cooked legumes
  • Grain products- 3 to 4 servings a day: 1/2 to 1 slice of whole grain bread; 1/4 to 1/2 cups rice or pasta, preferably whole grain like brown rice, whole wheat pasta or quinoa pasta, or 1/2 cup to 1 cup dry low sugar cereal, 1/4 to 1/2 bagel, 1/2 to 1 whole wheat or corn tortilla
Children catch on fast and they know when to cry, whine or charm their way into a certain food selection. Parker is notorious for this.  If ever its a mealtime when they are trying something new and it isn't up to her expectations, (this is my life..) she gets pretty upset and refuses to eat.  Jolie is typically less picky and will try everything.  Once Parker sees her sister eating, she will often try several bites before deciding she's done.  I do my very best to offer well-balanced and nutritious meals and healthy snacks- and the occasional convenience mixed in here and there- letting the my girls eat or not eat the amount of the food offered. Children often need to be exposed to the same food many times (10-20 times) before it is accepted.  Reinforcing the importance of regular meal times and healthy food choices help to mold good eating habits formed early in life.
I have found that meal planning for the girls, just as I do for Jordan and I, has been incredibly helpful in forming my grocery list and planning and preparing meals ahead of time when I can.  It also provides a no-brainer explanation when it comes to feeding the girls when I am not home with them or we happen to be out and about.  
A typical meal plan for Parker and Jolie at 15 months (has been the same since 12 months) 
Breakfast (7:30-8am): mini waffles with peanut butter (4 mini waffles, 1 tablespoons peanut butter), 1/2 slices banana, 1/2 cup organic whole milk 
Snack (9:30am): 1/2 cup whole milk Greek yogurt or fruit pouch 
Lunch (12-12:30pm): 1.5 ounces diced deli turkey, whole milk mozzarella string cheese, sliced grapes or strawberries OR 2 tablespoons guacamole spread on whole wheat pita bread, mandarin oranges 
Snack (2:30pm): whole grain goldfish, fruit pouch, multi-grain Cheerios, graham bunnies (Annie's), veggie stix 
Optional Snack (5pm): apple slices, multi-grain Cheerios, veggie stix 
Dinner (6pm): turkey meatballs, cheesy broccoli OR scrambled eggs with cheese and turkey dogs OR baked chicken nuggets, baked sweet potato fries, steamed carrots with a little butter OR whole wheat pasta, red sauce, and chicken or turkey sausage OR whatever we are eating that night (casserole, etc.)
The things on this 'toddler menu' is usually on repeat in some sort of fashion every single week.  For the most part the girls eat the same breakfast on most mornings.  They love the mini waffles and peanut butter.  Would probably eat them every meal if I let them.
Toddler Breakfast Meal Ideas:
  • Mini waffles with peanut butter and sliced banana
  • Whole cooked oats mixed with whole milk yogurt and a little brown sugar, blueberries/strawberries.
  • Mini Banana Pancake Muffins (recipe here)
  • Whole cooked oats mixed with mashed banana, and a dash of cinnamon
  • 1/2 English muffin, 2 teaspoons peanut butter, sliced berries
  • Scrambled eggs with spinach and cream cheese (1 whole egg, 1 tablespoon cream cheese, 2 tablespoons chopped organic baby spinach), whole grain toast with strawberry jam
  • Cheesy Scrambled Eggs (1 whole egg, 1 tablespoons whole milk shredded cheddar), 1/2 cup organic whole milk yogurt.
  • Mini Omelet Cups (I make these in bulk and freeze them for later use)- 8 whole eggs, 1/2 cup whole milk, shredded cheese, veggies and meats of choice.  Bake @ 350 degree in a mini muffin tin for 25 minutes.  
  • 1/4 cup Cheerios (we do the multi grain), 1/4 cup diced melon (cantaloupe), 1/2 cup whole milk yogurt
  • Fruity cream-cheese pinwheels (Spread low-fat cream cheese on a small whole-grain tortilla. Top with sliced fruit. Roll up the tortilla, and then slice into “pinwheels.”)
Smoothies (makes 2 (8-ounce) smoothies)
  • Morning Glory Smoothie ( 6 organic baby carrots, 1/4 c 100% pear juice (such as Gerber brand), 1/2 c frozen pineapple, 2/3 c vanilla Greek yogurt, 1/4 c frozen mango)
  • Banana Split Smoothie (1 c frozen strawberries, 1/2 frozen banana, 1/2 c low fat chocolate milk, 2/3 cup vanilla Greek yogurt)
  • Berry Berry Green Smoothie (1 c loosely packed organic baby spinach, 1 c frozen mixed berries, 1/2 c vanilla Greek yogurt, 1/2 c whole milk)
  • Life's a Peach Smoothie (1/2 c frozen peaches, 1/2 c frozen strawberries, 2/3 c vanilla Greek yogurt, 4 fresh basil leaves)
  • Love A'cado Smoothie (1/4 ripe avocado, 1/2 cup organic baby spinach, 1/2 cup frozen mixed berries, 1/2 c frozen mangos) 
Toddler Lunch/Dinner Meal Ideas:
  • Alfredo Veggie Pasta (frozen mixed veggies (broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, green beans), whole wheat tube pasta & homemade Alfredo sauce- recipe here) with mandarin oranges (canned in juice)
  • Baked chicken nuggets (all white meat), 1/2 cup chopped broccoli with American cheese, strawberry slices
  • Guacamole (recipe here) on whole wheat pita bread, sliced green grapes
  • Baked fish sticks, 1/4 cup steamed butternut squash, 1/4 cup chopped broccoli
  • Grilled cheese (American 2% cheese slices, whole grain white bread), Veggie Stix, peaches (canned in 100% juice)
  • Creamy Tomato & Sausage Tortellini (recipe here), 1/2 c sliced pears (canned in light syrup)
  • PB&J on whole grain white bread, sliced apple sticks (no skin), 1 cutie orange
  • Beef Stew (recipe here), whole wheat egg noodles, cinnamon applesauce pouch
  • Turkey Dogs and Cheesy Cheddar Scramble, 1/2 c sliced peaches (canned in juice)
  • Deli turkey meat (Boar's Head), cheesy broccoli rice (Green Giant steamer bag), mango applesauce
  • Mexican Egg & Refried Bean Tostadas (3 whole eggs, splash of whole milk, diced tomatoes, onions, sweet peppers- spread fat free refried beans on a corn tostada, top with egg mixture and serve with cheese and plain Greek yogurt), sliced green grapes
  • Veggie Burger (brown rice), sweet potato hummus (blend together: baked sweet potato, skins removed, 2 tablespoons tahini paste, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon minced garlic, 1/4 tsp kosher salt), 1/2 c blackberries
  • Cheese Broccoli Quinoa (recipe here) with rotisserie chicken (white meat), 1/4 cup steamed carrots, apple sticks
  • Turkey Meatballs (recipe here), cheesy veggies (Green Giant steamer bag), fresh mango slices
  • 2 ounces deli turkey or ham (Boar's Head),  5 whole grain crackers, whole milk mozzarella string cheese
  • Turkey Sausage Alfredo Pasta (homemade Alfredo sauce- recipe here- lean turkey or chicken sausage, whole grain/wheat tube pasta),  steamed broccoli, sliced grapes
  • Mini Egg Frittatas with deli ham and hash browns (recipe here)
  • 2 oz Deli turkey, 1 oz sharp cheddar cheese cubes, 1/2 c mandarin oranges (canned in juice), 1/4 c steamed peas
  • 1/4 baked sweet potato, 1/4 c shredded rotisserie chicken, 1/4 c melon
  • Bean burger (recipe here), 1/4 c cubed avocado, 1/4 c blueberries, 1/4 c sliced strawberries
  • 1 sliced hard boiled egg, fresh veggie sticks (zucchini, squash, carrots), 1 half whole grain English Muffin
  • Curly whole wheat noodles with peas & zucchini in marinara sauce sprinkled with mozzarella cheese, 1/4 cup blueberries, 1 cutie orange 
  • Greek Cous Cous (grape tomatoes, chopped, skins removed cucumber, feta cheese, sea salt an olive oil), applesauce pouch
  • Veggie Quesadillas (white tortilla, cooked sweet peppers, onions, tomatoes, shredded monterey jack cheese- grilled or sautéed until cheese is melty), plain Greek yogurt for dipping, 1/2 c cantaloupe
  • BBQ Chicken Pizza (recipe here), 1/2 sliced strawberries
  • 2 oz Grilled chicken breast, 1/2 c baked sweet potato fries, 1/2 c steamed broccoli with American cheese
  • Mexican Turkey Bowl (1/2 c cooked ground turkey, 1/4 cup black beans (rinsed), 2 tablespoons diced fresh tomatoes, 2 tablespoons diced sweet bell peppers), 1/4 c sliced grapes, 1/4 c blueberries
  • Mini Meatloaf (recipe here)- make and freeze leftovers, mashed potatoes (boiled red potatoes-skins on-, buttermilk, salt, pepper), steamed broccoli
  • Turkey & Veggie Sloppy Joe (recipe here), 1/2 cup strawberry honey Greek yogurt
  • Broccoli, Chicken & Rice Bowl (1/4 cup brown rice, 1/4 cup chopped steamed broccoli, 2 ounces rotisserie chicken, 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese), applesauce pouch
  • Ham & Cheese Muffins (recipe here) 1/2 c mandarin oranges
  • Pizza Minis (whole wheat pita bread, marinara sauce and shredded cheese) with veggie toppings
  • Hummus Pinwheels (recipe here), sliced green grapes
  • Chicken, Bean, and Cheese Quesadillas (recipe here) with 1/4 cup steamed corn & sliced peaches
There is my toddler meal planning list to start. This list will grow and I will surely update (because I like to look back and while I'm meal planning myself!) I make my meal plan a week ahead of time so that developing my grocery list is super simple and quick.  I make my list from the meal plans (both the little birds and for the adults) and it allows me to manage my budget in such a way to keep it under control.  Going to the grocery store without a list is a terrible habit to allow myself to do.  I would spent $300 and come home with nothing.  We've all been there. 

Be productive, make a list, feel accomplished.

Good luck!  Feel free to email me with any questions you may have (click that 'contact' button at the top!)

Snacks are next!



Austin Road Trip

It has been quiet the week, I must say. I feel like everything we have done in this short window of time has consumed an entire month of my life.  But alas.. its Thursday.  And we are still in February. 

Monday morning we loaded up the girls (after an entire night of being throw-up free!) and headed down to Austin.  I was so thankful that Jolie's little tummy bug was minor and didn't last more than Sunday afternoon.

We timed the trip right to surround nap time.. and made sure to put the sound machine in the cab with us.  Proved to be a very 'relaxing' trip- listened to the 'ocean' for 2 hours straight.  Put me to sleep, too! 
We made it to Austin just in time for me to head out to my seminars while Jordan and the girls got settled in the hotel room.  I was thankful that Jordan and the girls could make the mini trip with me.  Made for more eventful evenings rather than turning in for the night at 4pm when my sessions ended. 

Dinner the first night was low key and super easy.  Parker was way more interested in eating the pizza  in whole slices rather than in cut up chunks.. so Dad had to help. 

Tuesday we got done early with workshop, so we headed out to the mall to let the girls run off some steam.  It was rainy out, and so we were hoping for a play area, but we were in no such luck.  Since it was the middle of the day on a Tuesday the mall wasn't very busy, so we played in one of the large open areas, causing a scene for the customers that were shopping.. or attempting to enjoy their coffee. 

Goal of the afternoon: Keeping babies off/away/out of the escalators.  They found every way to get over to them. 
headwrap /  two little bees boutique // top: dress by osh'kosh for target

The girls have found a new love for being on Dad's shoulders.  It is nothing but laughs and giggles from way up high.

People watching break. 

Smiling for the camera.  When did she get so big? I can hardly help myself with that sweet little grin.

Traveling with the girls took packing to a whole new level.  We have been on road trips before, but never to a place where we were responsible to bring everything.  The amount of food, snacks, toys, pack and plays, clothes required by these two tiny humans is unreal. 

Thankful for these highchairs that break down into boosters.  The days of feeding them on the floor are over.  WAY to busy for that.  We have to contain them in some fashion to get them to eat well. Requesting a microwave was another biggie.  We were able to bring a lot of normalcy to traveling with them through their meal and snack times.
headwrap / @shelbychicboutique (on Instagram only) // necklace / Josie James Boutique // top / Carter's

Last stop before heading out for home (our mini trip was super eventful..)

The State Capitol of..

We might have been a little disruptive.

I loooovve Texas. - Parker Jane

My favorite part of the entire Capitol was the second floor.  The many flags of Texas hung proudly in that hall.  This one was my favorite.  Bullet holes and all.

The drive home was planned around nap time.. which was awesome because it was nearly two o'clock when they woke.  

Awake and haaangry and in the middle of nowhere.  Which means we had the option of..
this place.  NOT McDonald's. 

We are not eating French fries..

..or Mc'nuggets.  (please keep the judgey comments to a minimum.)

Short and sweet with a whole lotta nothing in between.  I was super busy with my conference, but I was really happy that my favorite people were waiting for me when I returned to my hotel room. 

Girls' first official hotel stay was a success!  Kudos to momma and dad, too:)



Sunday Funday

Sunday Funday has a totally different meaning these days.  Our days of day-drinking by the pool and getting our tan on is all but over.  Don't get me wrong.. Sunday Funday is still- FUNday.

For sure.

I've been letting the girls play on the back porch with the door open while I clean up after their lunch meal.  The weather has been beautiful and they love the outside- getting them out for a half hour or so everyday provides a great break for momma and happy girls going into the evening.

Not to mention, we have to pay a visit to our favorite outside friend..

head wraps c/o {Instagram shop} ShelbyChicBoutique
Daphnee is our 4 year old Brittany Spaniel.  She was purchased with my hope of being a (calm) indoor dog.. and Jordan's hope for another hunting dog.

Jordan won.

Without any prompt from me she leaned in and gave that sweet pup a smooch. Daphnee is so gentle with them, but is still a little too hyper to let her loose around these littles.

They love this girl.  And she loves them the same.
Next stop: the big red wagon!  You knew this was coming..  

Two little birds.  One ball. 
 You do the math on that.. 
 SO sweet and innocent. 
 What you can't see/hear is the angry eyes and screaming over said ball.
 Give me the balllllllll!  
{as I live and breathe.. I'm looking into a mirror with that look on Parker's face.}

Its all fun and games until someone pukes.

Let me introduce to you 'someone'.
My sweet girl.  Bless her little heart.  We came in from being outside- playing hard, hard, hard.  Stopped for some yogurt and a few swigs of water before heading down for nap. About an hour into her nap she moves around and fusses a little.  I check the monitor and notice nothing out of the ordinary. 10 minutes later she's awake again.  Not the norm for my girls.  They are notoriously 2-2.5 hour nappers twice a day.  I go in the nursery to soothe her and check to see if I need to rock her back to sleep and I am met with the worst smell and the most heart breaking scene.

Puke. Everywhere.

In her hair.  All over her clothes.  Coating the sheets, bumpers, mattress.  Puppy was practically unidentifiable.  She had thrown up all over one end of her crib and moved to get out of it and go back to sleep.  Hence the first 'fuss' during her nap.

Afternoon bath.  Pronto.  And never ever, ever, ever again will I eat strawberry yogurt.  

Sweet thing.  I was dying because she was in such bad shape.  Clean hair. Clean jams.  Lotioned up and baby fresh- she was good as new! Her normal happy spirits were there in a glimmer- but still stayed close.  I let her have a water and sit with Parker while she sat and ate a couple Goldfish.  I was hoping and praying that puke incident was a fluke.

I was wrong..  

An hour after the (technically) second mass puke was the third.  She climbed into my lap, handed me her handful of goldfish and blechh.  All. Over. Me.


Again.   But this time she didn't get it all over herself.  It was all over momma.  

This is my life.

Again, she proceeded to act like nothing was wrong and played happily per the usual.  Humming and bee-bopping to every tune.  I decided to stick with BRAT foods (bananas, rice, apples (applesauce), and toast) to calm her stomach.  Dry toast and plain applesauce was on the menu.  She didn't touch the toast much, but downed two pouches of applesauce and some water.  She was able to hold that down- thank the sweet Lord.  We didn't offer her the 'bedtime' sippy cup of milk for fear it would upset her tummy.. I took Parker in another room to enjoy her milk in hopes to not upset sister girl too much.

She's asleep now.  I'm sitting here watching the monitor like a hawk.. almost expecting her to throw up at any moment.

We leave for Austin tomorrow- I have a conference I'm attending and Jordan and I decided to make a little trip out of it and tote the little birds along, too.  I am hoping and praying this was temporary and not something we will take with us to Austin.

I hated to see the pitiful look on her face today. Parker kept getting super upset every time Jolie would get sick.  She wasn't sure what to think about all that mess!  In 15 months I have never had to deal with anything like this.  I've been very lucky to steer clear of illness outside of head congestion and low grade fevers.

I guess there is a first time for everyone.  
Welcome to the club, Amber:)



The Calm

Its been one of those weeks.  Weeks that you just 'make it'.  

Yea. Pretty much just makin' it by this week.  Hence my lack of blogging this week.  My lack of social media period, actually.

All this started last weekend with fevers and snotty noses.  Less than stellar appetites warranted multiple offerings at meal times to get them to eat anything.  ANYthing.    

Work this week was hectic.  High strung would be an understatement.  

Wednesday.  WEDNESDAY.  Crying from the moment they woke up to the moment they went to bed.  Parker ate nothing at all.  MAYbe a couple sips of milk. Jolie didn't do much better.  Nothing would soothe them.  Nothing.  

And then.. the calm.  My sweet Jesus reminded me of why I do what I do.  My job, my purpose, my role as Parker and Jolie's mother.

Just peace.  

Yesterday afternoon we spent the evening out in the backyard- just me an the girls.  Daddy was at the firestation, and I was fearful of what I was coming home to after the crazy week we had been having.

In those moments we spent enjoying the weather I saw the pure joy in my baby girls' hearts.  
They were calm.  They were the happy babies I know. 
There wasn't a place in the world that I would have rather been.

After getting them up from nap the girls spotted the new package of head wraps we got in the mail the day before and insisted they be put on their head.  Total clash, but they pulled it off well if you ask me.
 head wrap / Two Little Bees Boutique // onesie / Old Navy
 My sweet girl.  Those baby blues are breathtaking.
Our neighbors were playing on their trampoline and Jolie was super enthused and telling me all about them.  When that little voice turns that babble into sentences I won't know what to do with myself.
 Watercolor.. obsessed with this app.   
 ..and this one.  Obsessing about Daphnee.  Daaaaaa! (dog)

 I dare you to blink first.
 Our #OOTD. I hope no one is taking notes on this fashion sense.

God is good at reminding me of the calm that is to come when I feel like I can't handle one more stress, emotion, cry, or responsibility.  

..and what a beautiful reminder He provided.

“No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face.  All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it.” (1 Cor. 10:13)



We EAT | Veggie Burgers.. with a fork!

I'm such a foodie.  I love to cook.  I love to create.  I love to develop.  

Meal planning.. ya'll- my favorite part of the week.  

Well.  It was my favorite part of the week.  When the girls started eating 3 meals a day I was über excited.  That excitement soon turned into anxiety.

What in the world was I going to feed them!?  

After the first week I was at a complete loss. When meal planning for my girls, I have to keep in mind that I'm not home with them some days during the week (mainly lunch and sometimes dinner), so I have to make sure whatever I 'plan' for them to eat is relatively low maintenance out of respect for the MIL and hubby.  We like (close your eyes!) fish sticks, PB&J's (occasionally they are the Uncrustables- YIKES!),  and (Oh.EM.GEEE) chicken nuggets.   This is a small percentage of what I give them.  One meal.  Out of 21 meals in the week.  

There have been many times when I've made my own veggie burgers (see my favorites here, here, and here) but this isn't one of those times.  I spent many moments on a busy Saturday morning at the grocery store looking/evaluating my options and never found a 'veggie' burger I liked enough to offer the girls.  
Random Costco run on our Valentine's Day (day) date- I know, super romantic- these Gardenburgers were on sale.  I read the food label and they sounded delicious to me!  

I didn't see anything listed on the Gardenburger webpage so I am not sure if I am just lucky enough to be a testing market or what and I haven’t seen them anywhere else, but Costco.  If you happen to come across them- they are super delicious.  Parker and Jolie love them, too!  
Brown rice and whole oat based and loaded with veggies.  All it took was a quick heat in a skillet coated with cooking spray.  
Lunch is served!

..and while we are trying new things.. heres a fork (spork?), Jolie.
Theres one way to do it. 

"Look Ma! No hands!"

Parker did just as I expected her to do at first examination of the veggie burgers.. 
Disassembly (and to the floor), one corn kernel at a time.

Fork it.
Blurry- and I don't care.  I think I might frame this picture and hang it over my bed.  

This dietitian loves these burgers.  I've enjoyed them for myself a couple times this week- not just for the bablets!

As far as the utensils go, I picked these up at Walmart (found on Amazon here).  I was shocked at how quickly they understood how to orient the 'stab' motion to their food with the fork or spoon.  I started by helping her get the food on the fork and then letting her hold it and bring it to her mouth.  Did that once and the rest was history!  Now we put them on their tray every meal time.  Sometimes they use them, while other times its a toy.. and occasionally a weapon.  I've had one whiz by my ear a time or two.  A centimeter closer I would be pulling food out of my hair- Ariel style.

Thanks for the advice and encouragement on starting with the utensils fellow mommas!

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