Halloween Photo Playdate

EJ and I are members of a wonderful playgroup here in Atlanta. One of my favorite aspects of the group is, of course, hosting my own play dates. Craig and I love to entertain and with my past life in the event industry I have to put my best foot forward. Not to mention I love doing it. 
It was supposed to be an afternoon in the back yard with all the kids decked out in their Halloween gear for a photo op and some playtime. As fate would have it Atlanta got hit with some horrid storms that day so I moved the play date inside. Space was a bit more limited, but we did the best with had to work with and I know EJ had a blast. 
We snacked on pumpkin muffins, fruit, and pumpkin dip with ginger snaps. The kids played with EJ’s ball pit and millions of toys and the moms were able to visit. 

Here we have a homemade cupcake tower. Yes that is cans of soup with scrap booking paper and cake plates with scrap booking border glued to it. Affordable and easy. I made the muffin toppers with the same paper and border. Easy, easy and very cute if I do say so myself. 

Homemade sign. An hour with some glue, paint and paper. A nice quiet nap activity. If you want instructions on how to make your own let me know. 

 Photo Op set with a black sheet tacked to the wall and some homemade poms. I moved our planters from outside and Voila cute photos. My kid wasn’t interested in posing so my pictures leave a bit to be desired but there were some cute ones of the other less squirmy kids.


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Ouch

My poor little man is cutting 2 molars at once. We have a pacifier that has ridges on it and he spends all day rubbing it across his gums. It really is heartbreaking to watch him drool and chew on anything he can get his hand on to. Yesterday, I looked over and EJ had pulled a bookend off our book case and was chewing on it. Yes, the wooden bookend seemed to feel awesome on his hurting gums.

I have been trying to help him as much as I can with Infant Motrin and a number of frozen goodies. His favorite so far has been frozen blueberries. He ate almost a whole bag yesterday. As you can see from the pic, he needed a bath after he was done and lets just say the poo has been… well interesting.

I also have been making use of my frozen baby food that he will not eat anymore. Throw it into a mesh feeder and voila tasty, healthy teething toy. Today, I am letting him enjoy some frozen watermelon. I have heard the high water content of watermelon makes it a great frozen treat for teething.

What are your tried and true tricks? How do you keep the family sane and the pain at bay when the teething monster strikes?

Hunger strike

Reel Baby is now a Reel Toddler. He talks nonstop even though most of it is gibberish. He is prone to frustrated screams and went from eating almost anything you put in front of him to refusing everything. He shakes is head no and spits food out. Yesterday’s love will be tomorrows hate.

It didn’t not take long for me to realize this is part of the gig with a toddler. There is something about realizing that you are an independent person  that inspires a fierce desire to push back. And when meal time rolls around pushing back is the main experience. I admit that I am weird about his food. I want it to be healthy and I try very hard to make sure he has fresh food. I make as much as I can from scratch but sometimes you have to go with what works and for our picky toddler here are some of the stuff that “works” for him.

If you are going through this stage these might give you some ideas to try or if you have been here and have some advice I would love to hear it.

1. Baby Food Pouches

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 EJ will NOT let me feed him anymore. He is way too independent for that kind of momma help. He bats the spoon away or grabs it out of my hand. Which results in puree everywhere and even in places the dogs will not clean up. But, he also hasn’t gotten the spoon down enough to not spill  puree everywhere. Now I hand him a pouch and voila he can drink it. Plus, he gets veggies which is something I have always struggled with getting him to eat.

2. Yogurt Smoothies

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Another item that he can drink. I just pour it into a sippy cup and off he goes. I buy the Yo Baby simply because it is full fat milk and my kid is skin and bones. We need all the fat we can get. I have some great recipes for homemade smoothies but it tends to make too much and a big mess so I just buy it, I know lazy.

3. Homemade Muffins.
I can throw anything in these muffins… veggies, fruits, whole wheat flour and he will eat them. Instead of oil I use applesauce, I always use regular butter and Greek yogurt works well instead of sour cream. I make a big batch and freeze them in a Ziploc bag. Pop it the microwave for 10 secs you have quick and easy snack or breakfast.

4. Breakfast Casserole Muffins
I discovered over Christmas that EJ loves our family holiday casserole. It is nothing more than bread, eggs, milk, a bit of butter, cheese and ham. It’s easy and good but makes a huge casserole dish full. It would take him months to eat a whole one and for some reason its doesn’t work to make a small batch. One of my favorite food blogs sent out this recipe and it got my brain working. I adapted it to my Mom’s classic dish and it was perfect. Again freeze what you don’t eat and you have an easy meal full of protein and tasty enough to inspire a picky toddler to ask for more.

The one thing I have learned is adapting any and everything so that it is in a form that he can handle and feed himself. Independence is key.

OK,  Mommas what are your tricks? I would love to hear them!

Easy peasy toddler meals

After a few weeks of this…

(aka batting my hand away if I tried to feed him and grabbing the spoon which in turn flung food all over the babe, the momma and the floor. Not cool, I am entirely to OCD clean to deal with that for too long.)
I got the go ahead from the doctor to ditch the baby food and go for table food. Surprisingly,  he makes less of a mess if I cut up table food and let him feed himself.  So I have embarked on figuring out a way to make sure he gets all of the good things he needs while letting him fed himself.

DISCLAIMER-
I am not overly concerned about food allergies, they do not run in our family and I personally do really agree with any of the hype except with shell fish. He’s not touching fish until he’s older.

Our first night of table food, I microwaved everything and I am not someone who does that. We never ate microwaveable food growing up and I when I first moved into my own place I didn’t buy one. I know, what… people used to come over and look at me in shock you don’t own a microwave?!?!? My answer- a waste of money and totally unnecessary.

Here’s a list of some of the things I found that he loves that are easy but completely homemade.


Mac-n-Cheese with Mozzarella and Peas
Turkey Meatballs with black beans and peppers
Corn with Potatoes and a hint of Thyme
Quesadillas (this a great way to use the old baby food)
* I make fruity ones with goat cheese and veggie ones with cheddar
Roasted chicken, sweet potatoes and squash with cinnamon
Baby Greek– roasted red peppers, feta and cucumbers

I make a batch of these things and separate them into servings and then freeze part of them. It helps for days when time is an issue. If you want a recipe for anything let me know all the meals take around 30 minutes to make and require very few ingredients.