When Karli dumps cheese on a plate for her sons’ snack time, they grab the cheese with their hands, shove the cheese in their mouths, and keep eating them until one piece of cheese is gone on a plate.
Whole-grain. Fruits and vegetables. Homemade smoothies. Parents are always trying to come up with healthy snacks and recipes for kids, especially eating healthy on a budget. Karli is going to introduce to us three affordable, healthy snacks for kids as well as the Woodbury’s healthy green smoothie recipe!
Cheese is an excellent source of calcium and vitamin D. “I love the already grated Mexican mix cheese at the store,” Karli said. “I buy the huge bags at Costco because I can use it for all kinds of meals, so it's great to have on hand for that reason. Plus, it's healthy and easy to dump on a tray or a plate for the kids when they need a snack or something to keep them busy if I'm busy.”
Vegetables can be a hard sell for kids, but only some are. “My kids love peas still frozen,” Karli said. “You don't even have to cook them. They're healthy (* Frozen is even healthier than fresh), and instead of feeling like you're too lazy to cook your kids lunch, you can feel good about yourself because you're expanding their palette by introducing them to new textures which helps them to be less picky.” Peas provide good nutrition–protein and variety of vitamins.
Carrots are a magical vegetable. Many kids love the color and taste of them even if they don’t like other vegetables. Carrots provide great source of minerals and vitamins, especially vitamin A. No other vegetable will provide vitamin A like carrots do. “This one is a big hit because I let my toddler salt them himself,” Karli said. “I just stick them in a pyrex container with a lid on top. My lids have holes, but you can also just leave the lid askew and boil them for 3 minutes and 33 seconds."
Healthy Snack Recipe– Green Smoothies (Woodbury kids’ favorite recipe!)
Spinach ------------------- Handful
Frozen Kale -------------- Handful
Frozen Strawberries ---- Handful
Banana --------------------- One
Plain Greek Yogurt ------- A dollop
Orange ---------------------- One cup
(*However much you need to make your smoothie smooth. You can also use milk or water, but I prefer orange juice)
Mix all of the ingredients together in a mixer. Blend them well. Serve them while it’s still cold. Karli said her kids LOVE green smoothies which are super healthy and they think it's a treat.
She is from Nevada and likes reading, crafts, learning to sew, Netflix, being with friends. Her favorite food to make is dinner for her husband because it makes him so happy to come home to dinner already prepared. Her favorite books are “Harry Potter,” Rick Riordan’s “Percy Jackson” and “Olympians” series. Her favorite movies are “Pitch Perfect” and “Doctor Who.” Her favorite blogs are Young House Love, Bower Power, and I Heart Organizing. Her guilty pleasures are books by Meg Cabot and cheesecake. She said hardest part of being a mom is wanting a break and then feeling guilty when she actually takes a break.
Her ultimate advice for new moms: “It's not your fault. Babies are people and you can't control what other people do, so why would you be able to control your baby? Some babies are better sleepers or eaters by nature and don't compare your baby to other people's babies and then blame that on your parenting skills. Just enjoy your baby and do what you think is right because no matter what you do, someone thinks that is the only way to raise a baby, and someone else thinks that is the worst thing you could ever do, but you're the mom and you choose what's right for you and your baby.”
When Mallory sees her daughter about to throw a temper tantrum, Mallory lets her daughter decide what the consequence is going to be.
Children can be angels most of the time, but can be frustrating and hard to manage with their occasional attitudes. This is a real test for every parent to overcome: Be patient and avoid meltdowns. Mallory shared with us her three parenting techniques to avoid temper tantrums.
Choices are things that I would benefit both of us. For instance… If she is about to have a meltdown because I said that she couldn’t have a second cupcake, I say “Would you like to have a drink of water and then play a quiet game, OR would you like to sit in your room alone until you calm down? If the meltdown starts and she has not made a choice, I let her know that if she won’t make a choice then I will choose for her. And she knows I will always choose the less fun option, so she will quickly calm down and make a choice. I feel she likes being in control of her choices, and because of it she responds well to this method of ‘discipline.’
The Follow Through
Something that I feel is so important when it comes to discipline is following through with the consequence. I try to be very thoughtful of the consequences I give my children because if I don't follow through with it, they will notice, and then start to respect my authority less. If my daughter is acting out, and I give her a warning like, "If you choose not to obey the rules again, then you will not be allowed to have computer time today," and she is disobedient again, I MUST follow through. Sometimes that can be hard for both of us. I like computer time because she is quiet, and she enjoys playing learning games... but if that is the consequence I gave, I have to follow through so that she will know that when we choose to be disobedient, there are consequences.
Love and Understanding
I feel it is so important to reinforce love even when we are frustrated with our kids, or when they are disobedient. In our home, we like to treat each moment as a teaching opportunity. Each time we deal with a disobedience issue, I ask my daughter to tell me what she has done that was naughty. It helps me to know if she understands the disobedient behavior. Then we talk about a better choice she could have made in that situation. We then share hugs and tell each other sorry, and anyone who may have been wronged (Like her brother if she just hit him). We always end with love because I want her to know that I love her, and that I trust she will make a better choice next time. I struggle a lot with parenting, It's a tough gig. But the more I focus on love I feel that it all comes a little easier.
Here is a parenting quote by Peggy O’Mara: “The way we talk to our children become their inner voice." There is no right way for effective parenting or dealing with tantrums. We know that temper tantrums are hard to manage for both children and parents, but this is a teaching moment. Child behaviors change depending on how the parents handle the situation. Parents need to be patient and help children learn from the new situation children are facing.
Mallory is from Mesa, Arizona, and has two children, Hanna and Henry. She loves shopping, sewing, playing games, and photography. Her favorite blogs are Kendi Everyday, 71 Toes, Cotton & Curtis, and Nie Nie. Her favorite food to make is anything sweet and tacos. Her guilty pleasures are Hulu, Netflix, and Diet Doctor Pepper.
When a new baby is born, it is just the beginning of a new adventure. Danielle Fisher had a baby girl in December of 2013 and has already faced many changes in her life with her new born baby.
Danielle said her baby is a gift from heaven and she can hardly take her eyes off her baby. “Take time to rest and get to know your baby when a baby comes,” she said. “It takes time to heal after having a baby for mommy and baby!”
Let’s see what Danielle said about three things she wished she had known before she had her first baby. She also shared some great solutions to prepare for baby.
Wish #1–Rest and get to know your baby
“A new mother has healing of her own to do from childbirth and also sleep patterns will change and if you breastfeed that's a new adjustment as well,” she said. “Sometimes the labor and delivery was hard or hopefully it went smoothly, no matter how it went, both baby and mother have healing to do. Plan on taking it easy for the next few weeks. Does not have a lot of time to sleep; in fact, no sleep for some. Babies consistently wake up every two hours. Some may even face baby sleep problems. Hopefully parents take turn getting up and feeding them, but a father can't do that if mom needs to breastfeed the child.”
“If possible have your husband take time off of work or school so you both can be with and get to know your little one,” she said. “Having your mother or mother-in-law, or a good friend, come in town to help with house and assist with household duties and meals.”
Wish #2–Endless learning
“Learning doesn't stop with a baby; in fact, this is a time to learn about many different topics including baby nutrition, education, parenting skills etc,” she said. “I wish I knew of more parenting websites and blogs before.”
“I have been reading a lot of articles and blogs on good parenting skills. I am really interested in child nutrition and enjoy this blog called Plant-Powered Kitchen,” she said. “I also have recently been listening to some podcasts like "New Moms, News Babies: Tips, Tricks, Sanity Savers" There are also some really great books out there like: “Secrets of The Baby Whisperer,” by Tracy Hogg “Your Baby's First year week byweek,” by Glade B. Curtand and "The Womanly Art of breastfeeding" by Diane Wiessinger. It’s great becoming a mother and taking care of my precious babe!”
Wish #3–Time commitment
“Babies are the greatest thing but are a time commitment,” she said. “Babies need feeding, diaper changing, and love at almost anytime of day. This is a new adjustment (Think of it like finals week in school where your schedule is different and you don't get a lot of sleep, but it's totally do able!)”
“Be patient with yourself,” she said. “I get worried how I can keep her alive. I struggle with remembering to water our plants in our home, let alone take care of a little person. When a baby is asleep, I try to take a nap with her, so I can be well rested and be a better mommy. I feel that when a mother feels overwhelmed, your baby feels that, too.”
Danielle is from Utah and has lived in China for part of her life. She said home is where the heart is. She lovesbeing with her husband and baby, speaking Chinese, traveling, nutrition, yoga, and reading. Her favorite book is Harry Potter and her favorite movies are “Emperors New Groove,” and “Return to Me.” Her role-model mothers are her mom, aunt Jeannette, mom in law, and Grandmas.
Esther Garfield is the Founder and Editor of Buy Modern Baby. She has been a big help to us over the last little while and graciously agreed to answer a few of our questions. We are excited to introduce her to those of you who may not know her. We think she is awesome and are sure that you will too.
Describe your family in 3 words.
(I crowd sourced this on my personal Facebook page) Creative, fun, together
What is your favorite family activity and why?
Our favorite family activity is reading! Yes, it's a family activity at our house. Most nights before bed dad reads to one child and I read to the other. It's a great quiet time to just be together and relax without other distractions.
What is one kids related item that you just cannot live without and why?
We try to make to with as little as possible to keep from having too many kid-specific items around the house. At this point with kids 5 and 8 we've gotten rid of the stroller, travel beds, pacifiers, etc... but there is one thing in the house that only the kids use, and they use them every single day. The plastic cups from Ikea are just the right size, don't break, and are dishwasher safe. The kids have been using these for years. We keep them in an accessible drawer and whenever they need a drink, they grab their own cup and fill it with water from the fridge dispenser. I love the independence this has allowed them to have and the freedom I've had all these years from getting them drinks all the time.
Who do you idolize/wish you were more like as a mother and why?
I think mothers are always looking around and comparing themselves and their children with other mothers and parents around them-- who takes their kids to more activities, who spends more time outdoors, which kids spend too much time on their iPads? But you never know what struggles people are facing and what their lives are really like, so there's no use in wishing you could be more like what you believe someone is like on the surface. I wish I could be a mother with more patience, who cooks more and has more time to spend playing instead of cleaning up, but I'm pretty sure that's what we all wish and I'll just keep working on it!
Parenting is tough sometimes. Describe an experience or experiences where you thought "this is what makes it all worth it."
Kids may say "the darndest things" but my kids seriously say the most amazing things all the time. I love having conversations with them and hearing what they have to say and how they say it. Listening to them explain their thoughts and feelings to me and hearing how their minds are connecting things is incredible to me and makes it all worth it... especially when they try to explain to me how much they love me!
Now for the practical stuff:
I saw from your bio on Buy Modern Baby that you have two boys. I also have two (18 months and 4 months). any tips on keeping up with an energetic toddler?
Toddlers are tons of fun! They want to try EVERYTHING! My secret with toddlers was to have lots of short activities for them to do throughout the day. This keeps you and them more in the same mind frame. For example, a trip to the park with a toddler isn't just a couple hours at the park, it's really 5 minutes in the toddler area, 10 minutes on the slide, 5 minutes on the swings 5 minutes kicking around the dirt, a 10 minute trip to the bathroom etc... If you've prepared yourself to explore activities one after the other, you'll both be working at the same pace!
One of the biggest concerns we have coming up is how and when to potty train. Any advice for tackling this milestone?
Once you've decided the time is right and you're not pushing it, just go forth fearlessly! I've learned that it's not completely in your control when and how potty training will "click".
My two boys were two completely different experiences. The older one was stubborn and we just had to be just a little more stubborn. We stayed in the bathroom with him for an entire day one day (fortunately we have a large bathroom) and didn't let him use his diaper even though he cried and begged. That was all it took. It was his last day wearing a diaper and he never had a single accident.
His brother decided on his own one day that the diaper wasn't the way to go anymore. The only problem was that we happened to be on an airplane that was landing, the seatbelt sign was on and we couldn't take him to the bathroom. He cried until the plane landed and he waited for me to take him. The timing wasn't ideal but what can you do? He wasn't quite as consistent as his brother had been but he still met our goal of potty training before he started preschool.
Don't assume there's one way to do potty training "right". Some kids will just have an easier time and others will need more time. Roll with it! It won't last forever.