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Chasing Babies... Growing in Grace: January 2008

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Being good... and getting rewarded!

Ok... so maybe you've decided not to join me, but hopefully you are up for the play by play! Funny how the most temptation comes right after a decision, isn't it?!? Yeah... funny... that's the word!

So DS and I were leaving the doctors office (all is well by the way... only gained 3 pounds in 2 weeks ~ it's not 2, but it's not the five I was afraid of either) at 1pm... about an hour later than I would have expected, but we did a lot of waiting today. Long story short... pregnant lady was hungry... and Wendy's (in the same parking lot) was calling my name. Allow for me to clarify my plan for you all... I'm watching my sugar intake and generally trying not to eat tons of bad things all the time. I made the quick decision that a burger is completely acceptable... and doesn't it sound soooo good! Mmmm... and fries! As long as I have a reasonable amount of them (aka no supersizing) that should be fine! Ok... it's decided... I get in the line of cars at the drive through. There are 3 or 4 in front of me. It's not like it's noon or anything! Crazy!

Ok... so now to decide what I want... looking at the board of yumminess while the 3-4 cars take their time with ordering. Hmmm... a chicken sandwich... maybe that is healthier. Um... not if I get the yummy breaded chicken. Ok... a burger sounds better today anyway... which one??? If I get the littlest one I am sure to spend less right? Ok... the 1/4 pound burger... the #1... perfect. Now there are only 2 cars in front of me. And is... yes, DS has fallen asleep in the car (it was nap time after all!) Excellent... I hope he will go back down after we get home.

So... there I was... in line for my burger and fries. Oh... and a Frosty... NO... bad... no frosty! I will just get a soda... hmmm... sugar in a soda too (we avoid aspertaime)... this isn't working well! Ok... I'll just get water... but then I can't get a value meal... etc... etc...

You see how this was going. So now I am truly next... not only next, but the car in front of me is starting to move out of the way... I really am next! So what do I do??? I just pulled out of line and drove home. Yes... a small victory! I was still craving something yummy from a place that isn't home, but I did the grown up thing. And why??? Because I shared my resolve with all of you this morning! Thank you for your accountiblity!

I did drive home the whole way thinking about how I would need to eat out sometime soon to take my "craving" away. Mmmm... maybe sushi!

Well, isn't it great to have a loving God... and a loving husband! Not a full minute after arriving home and putting DS in bed the phone rang. DH was on his way home from a sushi lunch and wanted to make sure I was home so he could bring me some. I was a good girl, and I was rewarded with a few pieces of yummy sushi!

Praise God for all his blessings!

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Call for Accountability... Wanna join me?

It's official!... I'm out of control! With 5 1/2 weeks to go (give or take), I want to really buckle down on taking care of myself and this little one within. We could say it's a maternal instinct to do what's best for my baby, but in reality I caught a profile shot of myself in the mirror last night. Let's just say it wasn't pretty... and I'm one of those much hated pregnant woman who "looks really good" through the whole pregnancy. I didn't swell up, I don't gain weight everywhere, etc.

I go to the doctor today... so I'll find out what my cookie eating and lack of restraint has done to the scale (I'm afraid... very afraid). Really though... personal weight gain isn't my primary concern (thought it will be after our little one is here). Nope... I was informed that decreasing my carbs and sugar consumption in the last month, and exercising regularly, can reduce the birth weight of my baby. Now, for those of you who have had babies with birth weights that were too low, please understand that I am simply trying to avoid another 9 pounder! Yep... DS was 9 pounds!

So I figure... I have 5 1/2 weeks to (carefully) watch what I eat (not a diet, just wise choices) and exercise (mostly consisting of walking inside). I still plan to have a "something sweet" with DH in the evenings, but not all day munchies!

Anyone want to join me??? It's a matter of discipline... and I figure we can do it for 5 1/2 weeks! I know some of you are expecting around the same time I am... make your goal however long you have left. Let's get in shape as best as we can (if the doctors say it's ok of course) before those babies get here... our bodies will thank us later! :)

Not pregnant??? Join us anyway... you can use my due date as your deadline! Just try it with us.
If you plan to join in, leave a comment with your goals and plan! We can do this together... it's tough in the winter... let's be accountable to each other! :)
  • My goal... hopefully lower baby's birth weight, tone leg muscles (and a little higher than the legs too) and generally increase indurance.
  • My plan... walk with a walk aerobics video at least 15 minutes each day 5 days a week, be disciplined with healthy food choices and quantities without depriving my little one of what she needs!


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

When your Toddler Won’t Eat Anything ~ Part 5

We are talking about basic strategies for encouraging your toddler to eat healthy. You can read the first strategies and source information here before continuing.

5. Build Bridges!
For an architect, building a bridge can be more about building something beautiful, but for those of us waiting as it’s built, that bridge serves a bigger purpose. Once it is finished, that bridge will take us from where we are now to an, as yet, un-reached place.

Photo taken by my husband

Bridge building can help us with introducing new foods to our little ones too. If your child rejects a new food, and the rule of fifteen doesn’t seem to be helping, try to build a bridge to the new food using foods your toddler already accepts, or even likes. For instance, I was very disappointed several weeks ago that my little one refused oranges. After a number of tries (I’ll admit, I didn’t count… so it’s possible I didn’t make it to 15), I gave it a rest. A week or two ago, when Clementines were on sale, I thought I would try those. Being very similar, Clementines are a little sweeter, so I thought perhaps DS would like them better. Turns out he LOVES them (I would generally share mine with him, giving him the smaller half of each section). So today (yes… an example that worked for us from this very day) I decided to be brave and try oranges again (since those were on sale this week we have oranges instead of Clementines). Turns out he accepted them without problem! :)

What foods do your children reject? Does your little one reject your favorite chicken dish? Try serving chicken a different way… as chicken fingers or with BBQ sauce. If you can find a way to serve chicken that everyone loves, perhaps next you can re-introduce the original chicken dish. Your toddler may surprise you with how fast it disappears off his plate!

Instead of introducing new foods in random order, take some time to build bridges. If green beans are a hit, try snow peas next. Find a similarity between the foods… appearance, taste and texture all work! Are both foods orange as with carrots and sweet potatoes? Are both similar constancy as with sweet potatoes and mashed potatoes? Hmmm… with this one you can move to baked potatoes next… then maybe scalloped. Use your imagination and build away!

Have you tried this??? What have you built bridges from?

When your Toddler Won't Eat Anything ~ Part 6

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Sorry to have skipped out yesterday... I was having a hard time staying motivated... at least online. I suppose it was a good thing, because while I was struggling to want to blog or surf around or read (though I did stop through several blogs yesterday), I did accomplish tons of stuff yesterday. After DH got home I just kept thinking of things to tell him about. I may not have folded the laundry from the day before or ironed his work pants (on my list for several days now), but I decluttered the house (nice enough for clients to come in the evening), finished all dishes, and did tons of business things... oh, and had dinner done by noon! I just didn't want to sit here at my desk (which many of those business things required anyway) wandering aimlessly. I have to say... praise the Lord for that! That's usually all I want to do. So maybe it is every other day that I am unmotivated and yesterday was a very motivated day! We'll see if I can feel as accomplished when today is over! :) I'll try to get that next strategy post up sometime today... and we'll see what else I can get done. :)


Monday, January 28, 2008

Oatmeal and the Toddler Meal Plan

I can't believe I haven't been adding this before, but this week I am officially adding real live (not just multi-grain baby cereal) oatmeal to my toddler's diet! I've been trying to use up the baby cereal that was already open when he his his 1st birthday last month... and we are finally at the end! :) This morning I tried oatmeal in DS's breakfast for the first time. It wasn't nearly as sweet (ok... not sweet at all) as his previous hot cereal as the 1:1 applesauce to cereal no longer applies. I used the oats we have (may have been quick oats... they are in a Tupperware and not the original box) and water, added a splash of whole milk to help cool and flavor, and added Cinnamon. I thought about making it sweeter after trying it myself (as I wouldn't have wanted to eat it), but thought to try it the way it was first. He ate it! Perhaps some days I will add some applesauce or honey to sweeten it and make it different... but we'll see how it goes.

Also, on the topic of oatmeal... I knew it was healthy, but I had never really looked at it before. So today I found an article about the "magical" properties of oatmeal (aimed at adults... but still applicable to our babies). While lowering our little one's cholesterol is probably not the first thing on our minds, I love that by introducing oatmeal to my baby now (and fostering a habit of including it in his diet for life) I can help avoid heart disease when he's all grown up! It's all about introducing our little ones to healthy foods now for a long life of good and healthy food choices!

Another great benefit of oatmeal is that it is a complex carb! This makes it a great food for keeping our kids off the obesity lists! Complex carbs stick around longer than simple carbs, giving our toddlers the energy they need for all that running around, and keeping them from craving unhealthy snacks before it's time for lunch.

Also, here's a blurb from the article I found on the nutrient density:

Nutrient Density: The nutrients in fortified oatmeal include all the B vitamins including the heart healthy Folate which lowers homocysteine levels (another heart disease risk factor), and it also includes iron, calcium, Vitamin A, protein and more. All this plus fiber, virtually no fat, low sodium and no cholesterol. At about 140 calories per cup, I consider this an all around good deal. Eat oat bran oatmeal and we've got even more fiber.

I love nutrient dense foods!

With all that said... here is my toddler menu for this week. Remember... dinners are for all of us and I make little changes to DS's based on what is easiest for him... but the foods are generally the same. :)

I'll be trying this recipe for the Kielbasa Pasta Casserole, but I'll be adding chopped broccoli to it for the veggie content! :)

Also... as far as the oatmeal... I plan to try Crystal's recipe for Baked Oatmeal. I've included it below... but go check it out for yourself!

Baked Oatmeal

  • 1 cup oil (can substitute butter or applesauce)
  • 1 ½ cups sugar (can reduce)
  • 4 eggs6 cups oats
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 cups milk

Combine all ingredients in order listed. Pour into greased 9x13-inch pan.
Bake at 375° for 30-40 minutes until lightly browned. Can refrigerate overnight
before baking. Serve topped with butter, brown sugar, and milk.

Yields: Approximately 12 servings

I'll probably experiment a bunch with the different options, using applesauce and reducing the sugar. I'll let you know how it goes! :)

Get more meal plan ideas at MPM!

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Blood... and today's plans

I had big plans to participate in Crystal's Making your Home a Haven Challenge today... and in Rachelanne's Small Things Challenge... then the blood happened! I do still plan to do what I can... and to include my list of things to do, but I'm exhausted already! First let me tell you about the blood (sorry if it's TMI).

Yes... we had our first real bleeding incident. It seems to me that DS got a bloody nose when falling off the bed at 6 months (please tell me this happens to everyone), but it didn't bleed long or much. Today, while I was vacuuming the living room (see my list below), DS was running from this to that, watching me and staying clear of the vacuum (he no longer cries when it's on, but he does want to make sure he knows where it is... pretty cute really!) He had climbed on Daddy's recliner and was getting down (something he is very good at doing safely) when something went wrong. I saw it happen, yet have no idea what happened at the same time. Basically, he fell... sideways sort of and landed with the back of his head to the floor. I knew this could go a few different ways, so I waited. He could get right back up and keep going, fuss first, then get back to business, or cry and want me to comfort him. He chose the later... which didn't surprise me today.

So... I turned of the vacuum and went over to scoop my sobbing little boy off the floor. I lay his head on my shoulder and swayed back and forth while feeling his head and shushing. He cried and cried for several minutes before picking his head up to look at me. That's when I saw it... lots of blood all over his face. I next looked at my shoulder and saw even more blood soaked into my green sweatshirt. I've got to tell you... my first thoughts weren't good. I was sure we were into some sort of blunt force trauma injury and he was bleeding from the mouth as a result. I was a little disoriented and panicky, but I needed to figure out what to do at the same time. I tried cleaning things up so I could see where the blood was coming from and whether or not it was still bleeding. At the same time I was getting blood on everything I touched and trying to call DH at the same time.

Long story short, I never did see exactly what was bleeding, but it slowed down. I am assuming he must have bit the inside of his upper lip (since it seemed a bit swollen). I got him a sippy cup of cold water in hopes of washing his mouth out a bit so I could see better. It worked alright... but still it is near impossible to get him to open his mouth so I can see in. Sticking my tongue out at him did the trick for tongue inspection as he loves that game and was more than happy to stick his tongue way out at me. Nothing.

The bleeding had stopped, he played a bit, had lunch, we went on a short outing to have his ears looked at by a doctor we know, and I brought him home for his nap. I could tell he was crying standing up in his crib, so I went in to help him lay back down (when I can tell he is standing, that means all his blankets and his monkey are on the floor and he will never lay down himself). Unfortunately, it seems sucking on his fingers while trying to fall asleep started the bleeding again, so his blanket, and his poor stuffed monkey had a good amount of blood on them. *Sigh*... does anyone else hate cleaning up blood?

Anyway... all this to say, after all the emotional stress and cleaning up blood, I don't know how much of the following list will actually get done today (I really need a nap or chocolate or something), but here is my goal list:
  • Stow some toys for later on
  • Meal Plan/Grocery list for shopping tonight
  • CVS Shopping Game Plan
  • Finish Laundry and Fold
  • Iron DH work pants
  • Launder bed linens
  • Bake potatoes for making Twice Baked
  • Vacuum Living Room

Thankfully, I am already able to cross off a couple of these from this morning... now we'll see about the rest... one thing at a time!

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When your Toddler Won’t Eat Anything ~ Part 4

We are talking about basic strategies for encouraging your toddler to eat healthy. You can read the first strategies and source information here before continuing.

4. Just keep trying ~ “the rule of fifteen”

Our toddlers can be picky, and very cautious! While some will exhibit this behavior during the second year, most will show it to some extent after hitting the two year mark. Imagine living with your two year old long ago when day care and office jobs weren’t the norm. When you were out tending the garden or washing the clothes, your little ones would be playing near by. A sense of caution in what was put into their mouths would have been appreciated as they came across poisonous berries and other things, and God built this caution in.

What once may have saved the lives of many toddlers, however, can now be painfully frustrating to us as mothers. We are tempted to yell, threaten or bribe (even being reduced to tears) our little ones, finally giving up for the peace of the family meal. Understanding our little one’s cautiousness and working through it patiently is the key (very patiently!)

This is where we apply the “rule of fifteen”. It can take up to fifteen times of being offered the same food before your little one welcomes it openly. Try not to make a big deal out of whether or not your toddler eats the particular food. If it is neglected or rejected the first time, simply eat it yourself or freeze it for another meal. Toddler portions are small, so you could even throw it away and not feel too badly about food waste. Don’t include it at every meal, but wait 3-14 days and then try it again. If your toddler has a non-threatening atmosphere in which to slowly get used to and try a new (and scary) food, over time, he/she will accept most things.

After sharing this strategy with a friend of mine a couple years ago she tried it on her 3-4 year old. The first time asparagus was offered the little girl didn’t like it. After a short time, it showed up on the dinner table again. The little girl said, “Mommy, remember, I don’t like this”. My friend said she needed to try it at least (however many times) before deciding she didn’t like it, so her daughter tried it again. The little girl’s response… “Mommy, you must have prepared this differently this time.” She herself was surprised to like it. Turns out that nothing was different in the preparation… she just needed more exposure!

Be patient as you offer that new food again and again in a low pressure atmosphere! You may be surprised at the result! If you are, I’d love to hear about it! :)

When your Toddler Won't Eat Anything ~ Part 5

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Friday, January 25, 2008

When your Toddler Won’t Eat Anything ~ Part 3

We are talking about basic strategies for encouraging your toddler to eat healthy. You can read the first strategy and source information here before continuing.

3. Switch it up!

Believe it or not, most toddlers crave variety (unless this has been trained out of them by bad food experiences)! If your little one refuses to eat peas today (as happened to me a couple weeks ago) when he loved them yesterday (and most everyday before that), he may just be asking for something different. By inserting broccoli or carrots into the menu in place of peas for a few days, I was able to revive his excitement for peas the next time they were offered!

Even at this young age, God has designed our toddlers to “know” what they need. In order to get our little ones to eat the wide variety of nutrients they need, He has given them a desire to eat a variety of foods (instead of the same 3-4 foods all the time). So… switch it up!

If your toddler is refusing to eat something you want him to eat, make some changes. And by changes I don’t necessarily mean a different food. Perhaps he is tired of everything being “mushy”. Offer carrot peelings instead of steamed carrots… or allow him to self feed a slice of avocado instead of mashing it up and spoon feeding… or make steak fries from the potatoes instead of mashed potatoes. Do you see a pattern here? The same food served a different way can offer variety to your little one! Chicken can be breaded and cut in strips or sautéed in a sauce and served with rice. Ground beef can be served as taco meat or as a hamburger. Get creative… push yourself to find new recipes for the same basic foods! (Your husband and older children will probably love this too!)

In addition… add a new variety of foods to your toddler’s diet! Instead of peas, carrots, and broccoli (3 veggies I find it easy to get stuck on in the winter because I buy them frozen), include asparagus, cauliflower, squash (I was shocked to find that my son loves canned pumkin... try even the crazy ideas), etc. My son loves mushrooms… cooked or raw, flavored or not… try those "adult" veggies! Don’t get stuck on pears and peaches in the fruit department either! Add that mango that is on sale this week (ok… for me it was last week). My DS loves bananas and would eat several a day if I let him… but instead of letting him (seriously… that would be a lot of potassium) I try to spread out 3-4 bananas throughout the week. I am secretly hoping this will keep him from ever getting tired of bananas!

Do you find that at meal times your toddler always eats the bread first (or something else)… leaving the veggies or the meat until last? Try not to let that worry you (and try not to make it a battle). Given enough time at the dinner table, he may just surprise you and finish off the whole plate! Bread is a quick filler for that hungry little one (of course you won't want to let him finish a whole loaf)… after the initial hunger has gone away, he can feel safe to pick through everything else available to him… and the more different foods you have available… the more he will probably eat. It is easy for me, with our little family of 3 (2 adults and a 13 month old), to only have 2-3 foods available in a given meal… a meat, a bread, and a veggie… but put an additional veggie on the table, or a fruit or two, and you may find that your toddler is more than willing!
When your Toddler Won't Eat Anything ~ Part 4

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Rejoicing in Him!

Isn't God great!!! Circumstances haven't changed much for us since yesterday, but I am ever thankful that our circumstances do not rule over us! God is the giver of comfort and the reason for joy! I am thankful for His constant presence and His overwhelming love! Thank you for your prayers, comments, and emails! I have found sweet rest in our Savior's loving arms yet again as I reached out to Him without words of my own! :)


Thursday, January 24, 2008

Rough Day

Sorry to say I don't hold out much hope for an official post today. The day has been pretty rough emotionally and I just don't have it in me to sit and write and think any more. I will dedicate the time and energy I have left to straightening our home for my husband and maybe even making him cookies!

I don't know about you, but I am inspired to love on my husband even more than usual when I am faced with the sin that fills this world and makes our hearts heavy!

I hope you all take time today to remember and worship our Savior, our Comforter, and the Lover of our souls!

Tearfully yours,
The Babychaser


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Learning for Little Ones: Sign Language

Having a background in American Sign Language, both interpreting and working in deaf and hard of hearing classrooms, I knew years before DH and I were even married that I would use sign language with my children "one day". 2007 brought with it that "one day"! Well before DS was ready to begin signing himself, I began using signs like "all done", "more", and "milk". Now my one year old uses them regularly (though not always perfectly).

Signing with your babies, toddlers, and children can have many advantages. The main advantage is giving your little ones the gift of communication before their little mouths are capable of making words and learning to talk! You reduce the need for screaming or crying for every little thing. As they become more comfortable with signs, and begin to use more and more of them, you can easily communicate with them, understanding their needs, or giving them a chance to tell you something. You can take some of the guess work out of knowing whether your toddler wants a cracker or a cup of milk. You can help resolve some frustration when your little one wants to tell you about the dog he sees outside but can't make you understand. Overall, you are giving your little ones the gift of further Independence!

Baby Signing Time is a resource I have found enjoyable to use (though we haven't used it as much as I would like). We found it at our local library and DS has enjoyed watching it from time to time (hmmm... I think I'll request it again... it's been a while). The DVDs incorporate fun songs, animation, and video of children signing into a fun way to learn signs! As your little ones learn the signs and mature, there is a series of Signing Time DVDs for them as they grow.

Currently we are working on teaching our little one the sign for "help" as well as a number of animals and colors (well... we're working on the animals and colors in general). :)

This Works for Me... but do you do sign language with your little ones? Any tips for this new mom and others?

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When your Toddler Won’t Eat Anything ~ Part 2

We are talking about basic strategies for encouraging your toddler to eat healthy. You can read the first strategy and source information here before continuing.

2. Take advantage of the “window of opportunity!”

The second strategy for encouraging healthy eating in your little ones is to take advantage of their “window of opportunity”. Between 12 months (or even earlier) and approximately 21 months to 2 years, your toddler is much more likely to be willing to try new things than at any other time in his/her childhood. This is true, in large part, because of their overwhelming “need” to put everything in their mouths. I encourage you to use this, otherwise difficult, developmental milestone to its full advantage.

During this time introduce any foods you want your little one to enjoy! This can include basics like carrots and bananas or be as wild as curry chicken (a flavor my little one enjoys) or sushi (though we don’t usually spend that much money on DS’s meals). Try to offer as varied a diet as you can think of… and be creative! The more foods your little one is exposed to and learns to like during this time, the more options you will have down the road when he/she becomes more skeptical about what he/she puts into that little mouth!

Are you frustrated to have missed this "window"? Look for more strategies to come in the next few days! Don’t get discouraged… it’s not too late!

When your Toddler Won't Eat Anything ~ Part 3

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Reader Question About Tuna

I got this email from Irene:

Thank you for the nutrition for toddlers part of your blog...question, how do you serve the tuna? Do you use mayo, put it on bread? I don’t like tuna but it sounds like good way to get protein in my kids.

Thanks Irene for a great question!

First of all, you are right… tuna is a great (and so easy… and so inexpensive) way to get protein into our kids! In fact, The World’s Healthiest Foods Website calls it an “excellent source of high quality protein”. You don’t have to twist my arm any further… but then we learn that it is also an all around “nutrient dense food!” Ok, ok… I’ll mix up a batch for my son! :)

One of the other (in addition to the protein) great reasons to feed tuna to your children (and yourself… especially during pregnancy and while nursing) is the omega-3 essential fatty acids contained within! This is something that is *essential* for good health, but that our bodies do not make on their own… we must get them through the foods we eat.

So how do I serve it to my toddler???

I do mix the canned tuna (canned in water) with some sort of “moistening agent”. Sometimes it is mayo, but I prefer to use salad dressings like Ranch, Caesar, or Blue Cheese. (We found a brand of Ranch that contains no MSG in the refrigerated section in the produce department of our grocery store.) I like the added flavors that the spices, etc. add to the tuna.

Sometimes I put the tuna, spread thin, on bread (as I will tomorrow), open faced and let DS self feed. I do find however that my 13 month old often picks the tuna off and eats them separately. Older toddlers and children will do better with the sandwich style, whether open or closed. Other days, like my plan for Friday, I spoon or fork feed the tuna from a bowl. It really all depends on whether or not I want my son to have a slice of bread with the given meal or not.

As an aside… my husband loves tuna melts, so add a little cheese to the tuna sandwich and melt it on the stove top and you have a whole new option! :)

Does anyone else have serving ideas for feeding tuna to your toddlers or young children?

For more kitchen related tips, visit Kitchen Tip Tuesday!

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Monday, January 21, 2008

When your Toddler Won’t Eat Anything ~ Part 1

Nichole left the following comment on my first Sample Weekly Toddler Menu post...

That's a great menu! Sadly, my toddler's weekly menu wouldn't take long to type; she won't eat much other than veggie sausages, bread and rice.

I hear this sort of thing all the time and I’ve watched friends and family battle it with their own children! “My son/daughter just won’t eat anything but…” (fill in the blank with whatever your child’s food preference is!)

So what are you supposed to do? Ultimately it helps to start from the beginning, when first introducing solid foods to your children, but what can we do now that we are in this rut? I have some strategies you can use and adapt for your own children. I found these strategies in the book Feeding Your Child for Lifelong Health. I found this book at the library and fell in love with it (well… the basic concepts it teaches anyway ~ it is written from a wildly atheistic and evolutionary perspective [so read it with a grain of salt if I may use that pun here], but the nutrition concepts are great!)

Throughout this week and next (I'm breaking it up into multiple posts because this one is already pretty long) I would like to share with you some basic strategies for encouraging your toddler to eat healthy. So the first strategy is...

Number 1: Be willing to compromise!

Our toddlers are growing, changing, and maturing every day. Part of this maturing is a growing desire to control their own lives. This started from day one and will continue throughout their lifetimes. Meal time is one of the first things they try to take control of. You’ve experience it… the “you can’t make me eat that” attitude or response from your little one. And they’re right… can we really make them eat anything? No! Likely it will end up on you, on the floor, or anywhere else.

It gets worse… even if you have succeeded in forcing them to eat something they refused to eat, you may have won the battle but you are loosing the war! If your toddler learns (or has already learned) that you are willing to do battle over meal times, he/she is likely to accommodate by refusing for the simple pleasure of demanding his/her own way. I feel very strongly about disciplining our children and about teaching them obedience the first time, etc. That said, I try not to make meal time the primary training grounds for these lessons. The other danger is found in giving in. When we “give up” on “forcing” our children to eat what they should, we are giving up on the good nutrition we know they need for proper growth! But what can we do?

Start by setting yourself up to succeed! When I said to be willing to compromise, I didn’t mean to compromise your standards of nutrition or to compromise on the level of obedience you expect from your little ones! Those two things are non-negotiable! Your toddlers need to eat healthy foods and they need to obey! Both are for their own good.

You can compromise by sharing control of the situation. You control what foods are available at each meal and snack and your toddler controls how much he/she wants to eat. Don’t put pressure on your little one to eat a certain amount or even to eat certain things (at least not at the beginning). Perhaps for a while (while retraining what your little one can expect from meal times) meal time rules can be limited to not throwing anything on the floor, or keeping things on a plate whether they want to eat them or not (these are what we focus on in the obedience arena during meal times and I am blessed to have very little on the floor in a given week). If your toddler is hungry, he/she should eat something you’ve made available to him/her.

Borrow ideas from my sample toddler menus here and here to get you started. Choose foods you have introduced before and start with the things your toddler likes, but offer a variety. Then, whether you are spoon feeding or your toddler is self feeding, let him/her decide how much to eat. If you don’t think your little one has eaten enough at a meal, be prepared to offer a snack after a while when hunger strikes again, but be sure to offer healthy options.

I will continue with more strategies of what Works for Us in posts throughout the week. Let me know what you think of today’s strategy by leaving a comment! Or even better, if you’ve tried something similar with your little ones, let us know what your experience has been!

When your Toddler Won't Eat Anything ~ Part 2

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Sample Weekly Toddler Menu

Well... here it is, this weeks complete menu for my 13 month old. I was amazed at how much I relied on this past weeks menu! At every meal time I found myself scurrying (yes, I actually scurried) over to my computer to see what I was supposed to feed my little boy. It took the stress away from figuring out what I could, or should, give him at each meal time! What a blessing!

I was also so excited to see and hear how much it helped so many of you! Please keep the comments coming! Truly I thrive on them! :) If you have any suggestions, I'm all eyes! :)

The dinners are the ones I have planned for our whole family. I'll just be cutting DS's up small or mixing with something else. Again I tried to keep things balanced according to what and how much DS should be eating.

Hope this helps inspire you! My Nutrition for Toddler's post is still to come today (unless things get out of control and I have to put it off till tomorrow). Check back to learn about strategies for getting our toddlers to eat!

* We are still testing out peanut butter. I will be watching him for reactions on Tuesday and will then decide if Sunday's selections need to be changed.

Visit MPM for more Menu ideas for your family!

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Friday, January 18, 2008


My ultrasound went well! Thanks to everyone who has been praying. Everything said she was measuring up right about where I am date wise... her head is a few days ahead of everything else though... hmmm.

Still says she's a girl! Which is a good thing since I've started my collection of girl clothes already!
Overall a great appointment... and it didn't even take anywhere near as long as they said it would!


Thursday, January 17, 2008

1 Pre-Baby Thing Crossed Off My List

Well... it would be if it were on an actually list anyway. Maybe I should make a list (with this thing on top of course), then I could cross it off! :) But then I'd be adding clutter to my home with a list that floats about and doesn't live anywhere specific. Hmmm...


  • Deep Clean/Vacuum under our bed
  • Lots of other things

That's much better... who knows, maybe I'll keep adding to this list as I get things done pre-baby. :)

So, yes, that's right, I did the deep clean under our bed! That means I took everything out from under our bed (some things live there on purpose), moved the bed (it took some doing), threw away all little trash things, vacuumed, organized all the cords, power strips, etc that live under there (it's so nice now), and put the bed back. Whew! I'm tired!

Sorry there are no pictures... I never think to take pictures of these sorts of things until after... and there is no way I'm moving that bed again today! Unless it's to move the covers for a nap! :)

It does feel nice to have it done though... especially since it's something DH has wanted done for a while! Sadly, I think it's the only time I've really done it since we bought that bed (the day we got here from our honeymoon!... 3 years ago (maybe today). So I guess in another 3 years I'll have to do it again... just kidding! :) I can't even imagine we would still be living here in another 3 years... but then I didn't expect to be living here still now either... so I guess you never know!

Thanks for sharing my moment of accomplishment... sharing it with you all is my reward! And maybe something sweet... hmm... Off to find something sweet!

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House Guest... Day of Departure!

Sometimes when we have house guests, the day they leave is a sad one. We wish they could stay just a little bit longer. Sometimes we even feel this way with guests who invite themselves. Well... this is not the case with this little guy! I am excited to say he left this morning with DH... wrapped in a paper towel!

We thought we heard the trap last night while we were in the living room, but no luck there. No... it wasn't until we were in bed, the lights were out in the rest of the house, and DH's contacts were out that we heard the trap for sure... ok... DH heard it. I was just going on what he said. So... with DH being quite blind without help... and having no glasses (perhaps we should get some of those before I go into labor this time), the mouse had to wait till this morning! :(

Regardless... after everything... and especially after having to completely clean again yesterday, I'm glad he's gone!

Now I can disinfect everything one last time and get back to normal. DH says we'll put the traps out tonight one more time... just in case he had friends. Hopefully he was a loner!

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

32 Week Check Up

DS and I went for my 32 week doctor's appointment this morning. (Though don't miss this... I'm really 32 1/2 weeks along! ~ I find that this close to the end every 1/2 week counts!) :) DS was great and we hardly had to wait at all! The appointment before mine canceled... so my midwife was ready for me. :)

Most everything looked good. I forgot to ask what I gained this last 2 weeks... seems like 2-3 pounds if I'm remembering things right. I'll take it! So far I'm only up 19-20 pounds from where I started. Hopefully I'll have as easy a time loosing it as I did with DS! :)

The only little thing that didn't go as normal was my measurements. Every appointment they make me lay down and get out their tape measure to measure my belly from bottom to top. A couple weeks ago she could tell baby was laying sideways and figured that I was measuring a week less than I am because of that. This week I was measuring 30 weeks along... small for being 32 weeks in. She said this happens all the time and is probably nothing, but still they'd like for me to have another ultrasound.

So... Friday at noon I have an appointment to have an ultrasound. I was thankful that she warned me it would probably be a long one... I think I'll just get a sitter for DS! Apparently they have to measure all the bones and such to make sure she is growing right. :) It will be fun to see her this far along. We didn't see DS past his 20 week ultrasound.

We aren't worried, but please keep my little one in your prayers. :)

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House guest... Day 2!

Well... That house guest I referred to yesterday is still here and living large! I took a couple pictures of the counter area for you...

I really didn't think it was that bad. It was the middle of the day... and I'm working in here you know? My point with the pictures, I guess, is that I didn't think the mess warranted mice. But... since he's here... or she, or they (I really hope it's not a "they") I have deep cleaned the kitchen counter area.

I started with all the dishes... then dried them (don't want clean dishes on a counter that may get visited later on) and put them away. Then I cleared the counter of all things that belonged there and scrubbed down the counter... and the stove top (which really needed it anyway). I didn't quite get to the disinfecting stage (I figured the little visitor may be coming back... so what's the point.

When DH came home he brought gifts for our little friend (aka he stopped at the store for mouse traps) and placed them around. Two of them are on the counter (I've been working from the kitchen table anyway) and when DS is sleeping 3 are on the floor.

So... I got up this morning hoping to find a troubling and yet very exciting sight (hoping it wasn't on my counter, but rather on the floor)... yet no. The "special" gel stuff that is supposed to be better than peanut butter failed us. No little friend.

We went through the normal morning routines (well normal for "hurry, I have a doctor's appointment at 10") using the kitchen table (that is cluttered with all the counter top things) as my work space. We got all ready and left for my appointment.

We returned home and I began to prepare lunch... yuck! Let's just say the mouse had definitely been in the sink! There were some things in there, but not many because I've been working to keep it up (with a house guest and all). I was not happy... so after DS's lunch I went to work cleaning the kitchen again... dishes first... then the scrub down. Now... the kitchen sink is perfectly empty and clean!

Now I will go dry and put away all those dishes and my counters will be clean slates for our little house guest to scamper all over. Lovely!

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Unwelcome Guests!

Ok... so I'm all for hospitality! Last minute visitors or dinner guests... come one come all! This latest visitor however needs to leave... and soon!

I hate mice! I'm proud of this bloggy friend for her strides in rodent love, but when they enter my kitchen... that's the end! It started yesterday when I noticed *something* on the butter plate. Now this isn't my covered butter dish that lives on the counter... this was a little plate with a wrapped up quarter of butter I had taken out days ago to let "soften" for a recipe in my 60 degree house... yeah, not working. Also on this plate were little ?crumbs??? Yeah... wasn't positive what it was yesterday, but we threw the butter away just in case.

Today... I noticed those very suspicious looking "crumbs" on the other side of my sink... oh and a couple on the stoneware sitting on my stove (mostly clean but waiting to be washed just the same).

It's enough to convince this mama... and I'm not happy about it at all! What I want to know (or rather would love to not know) is where is this little guy is spending his hours while I'm here? He took the opportunity to come run around my counter tops while we were on our little errand to the store this morning, but where is he now???? Have I mentioned that this is not ok?

So... next on my list... instead of moving our bed and meticulously cleaning and vacuuming under it, which is what I was going to do during DS's nap time, now I am going to completely clear and clean and disinfect all the counter top/stove top areas in our kitchen (I just had a brief moment of thankfulness for the smallness of my kitchen). I hate this job! And what's worse??? I'll have to do it again and again until the thing is caught... because I never know what has been scampering on my counters before I prepare my families meals on them!


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Doing Dishes Pregnant ~ Avoid a Wet Belly!

The bigger I get (I hit my 32 week mark on Sunday) the harder it is to stand at the sink to do dishes. Not having an automatic dishwasher, I'm it! As I stand to do this lovely chore (sometimes multiple times a day) my back aches, I get short of breath (from leaning forward), weak and tired (I just don't stand long anymore without that happening), and the worse of them all... my belly gets wet (especially cold in the winter)!

My tip today is all about avoiding that wet belly (and as a bonus, it's helping with all the other stuff!) I don't know about you, but when I do dishes, no matter how hard I try, water somehow sneaks up to the edge of the counter where my belly inevitably rests or rubs against it. I am just the right height for my belly to rest comfortably ON TOP of my kitchen counter when I am right up against it. Lovely!

So yesterday, out of a fit of desperation, I grabbed a kitchen towel. By folding a (dry) kitchen towel and laying it on the edge of the sink, I can now lean (deliberately) into the counter (with the towel between us) without getting wet! This also alleviates my sore back (from trying to stay far enough away from the counter as to not get wet) and gives me something to lean on... making it easier to stand there for any length of time at all! :) YEY!

For more kitchen tips, visit Kitchen Tip Tuesday!
Or visit Works for Me Wednesday!

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Monday, January 14, 2008

Nutrition for Toddlers: Sample Weekly Toddler Menu

I'm moving a little slow today... and have been all weekend. Unfortunately DS and I both have colds. :( So... we all took it easy this weekend.

Because of this I decided to put together a sample menu for you (the menu I created for DS this week) as our next edition to the Nutrition for Toddlers Series. Hopefully you can read it... it was way easier (in my usually wrong opinion...we'll see) to save a "picture" of the chart, than to re-type it in here.

Keep in mind that I am not striving for perfect (I think I would go mad), and that I too am still learning the ins and outs of feeding my little one the right balanced diet. I strove for getting the right number of servings in each category and tried to make the foods somewhat diverse. That is definitely something I will need to work on. Take a look and let me know what you think.

You will notice there are several foods that appear and reappear throughout the week (i.e. cottage cheese and mashed potatoes). This is because I have them this week... so we eat them. I will be making up a big batch of mashed potatoes to eat throughout the week... and the cottage cheese we will eat while we have it. Next week we may skip the cottage cheese and have something else.

You will also notice bananas on the menu every other day because they really are DS's favorite. I have to hide them during the day because if he sees them he will want one... whether he's hungry or not. :) I try to separate the potatoes and the bananas into different days since they are both high in potassium. (More nutrient details will come down the road.)

The dinners are our regular family dinners. DS eats almost everything we do (though DH and I will have salad a couple of those nights). Want more family dinner ideas??? Visit Meal Plan Monday!

For more ideas on healthy lunches for the family, visit Keeper of the Home!

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Friday, January 11, 2008

Saving Money with Free Homeschooling

Today is Frugal Friday over at Biblical Womanhood. As I was thinking of what I could share with you all, I decided to "piggyback" (nod to Crystal's post) my Learning for Little Ones's series with something school related.

Did you know that homeschooling doesn't have to cost your first born child? I started something before DS was born (more than a year ago) that is helping me save money on homeschooling down the road.

Over at Homeschool eStore you can find tons of download-able resources and ebooks for homeschooling at great prices (though I haven't done any comparison shopping... so I really can't know that for sure). What I do know is that every week they offer a FREE product (how much more frugal can you get?)

I am on their mailing list, and, for more than a year now, each week I receive their newsletter with that weeks free product of the week highlighted! I follow the links and the directions and each week I download and save one free resource for future homeschooling needs.

I have them all arranged in a homeschooling folder by grade level. When it comes time for me to need a resource for that grade, I can go through everything I've collected and decide what we want to use that year. It is that easy!

Go check it out... and if you are already in the middle of homeschooling, don't let that stop you... you can still get somethings free! For those of you with babies... start collecting now!

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

4 Hour Naps

Ok... I gave some serious thought to whether or not I was even going to post this (I'm talking at least 2 whole seconds of serious thought) because I know some of you would throw things at me if you knew where I lived (or lived anywhere close to me for those of you who do). I am blessed to have a wonderful sleeper! Ok... maybe I deserve it a little since eating was not his best category in the first 6ish months. Still, I am thankful! My little boy sleeps (most nights) 12-13 hours... then he takes a 4 hour nap in the afternoon! Has anyone ever experienced such niceness? I do hope so!

So... the problem with this? There isn't one!... except for the days when he doesn't sleep 4 hours. Imagine my dismay when I hear him after only (get this) 2 1/2 to 3 hours! I know... step back... have a seat and process!

I am a spoiled girl... and unfortunately, I often do not take full advantage of this time. I am really trying though and have been getting better. For those of you who are thinking really mean thoughts about me right now (I forgive you as I'm sure you are completely justified!), remember that in 8 1/2 weeks my home will again have a newborn in it and all bets are off. I'm just trying to use the time the best way I can. I need help though... the afternoon is my drag time... so what would you do with 4 hours alone in the afternoon if you had it (take this opportunity to be creative)? DH tells me I should nap... and he's probably right (since he's always right), but I think to myself... but there is so much I would rather do. Unfortunately I can never think of what that is when it comes time to do it! HELP!

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Celebrating 3 Years of Marriage

Yesterday was our anniversary! It was a wonderful day. I thought about posting on how wonderful my husband is, or how very blessed I am to have had him these past 3 years, but I decided to wait until today when I could report on our fun evening alone together.

We actually paid a sitter to come stay with DS while we were out. I got "dressed up", which means I wore a new shirt and heels with my jeans, did my hair, wore make up (all the way down to foundation) and remembered to put on a necklace. Oh, and I actually made the time during DS's nap yesterday afternoon to polish my nails! :)

I looked forward to it all day. Our sitter arrived at 5... which allowed me to finish getting ready. DH arrived home shortly after and by 5:30 we were out the door. We went for sushi (I know... pregnant women aren't supposed to eat sushi, but I stick to the cooked variety for the time being), which was really exciting! It is something we both really love, but I don't get to go too often. It was really yummy! We ordered one plate worth and shared, this is my favorite way to do it. Sharing anything with my husband is a delight to my heart. I am so blessed that he is willing to do it.

After dinner we went to see National Treasure 2 at the theater. This is something we very rarely do as we generally watch movies with a projector at home. We had a gift card though and really wanted to see this movie before it's out on DVD. And since we had the sitter already, we decided it sounded like fun. It was lots of fun... and we really enjoyed the movie! It has been a long time since we've watched a movie without an "intermission" (also called bathroom break) though, and it was a bit rough. I was a tad uncomfortable for the last 1/3 or so of the movie. :)

The evening was simple... just being together alone... but it was wonderful. It lived up to all my expectations! It was a wonderful anniversary indeed!

(Now I'll gush on my wonderful husband for a moment)
I truly am blessed to have met and married my husband when I did. I married later in life than some and earlier than others. I had come to a place (as I was preparing to leave for the mission field) where I was willing and excited for my ministry as a single lady. I had let the thought of marriage fade into God's apparent plan for my life. Without notice or looking, there he was. The story is lots longer than that (perhaps we'll go into it someday), but it is a wonderful story... and life with him has been wonderful ever since! I am grateful to God for his shift in my life!

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Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Learning for Little Ones: Family Devotions

Family devotions is something we are doing with our little one that has me most excited! We didn't start right away (though I wish we had), but now that we have started, it is a regular thing. I'll admit, there are nights when we are getting home late or something else happens and we opt to put our already (or practically) sleeping baby right to bed. Most nights though, we have built family devotions into our bedtime routine. For now, this works best for us. You may have a different time of day that works for you. Some, I know, build their family devotions into breakfast, or do it right after dinner. The time doesn't matter... doing it is most important.

So what do we do? When DS was born last December, my in-laws bought him a children's Bible that we have chosen to read through. Being a "study Bible", it has lots of little opportunities in each story to really talk about and teach what the Bible is saying. For our 13 month old though, we just stick to the basic stories. As he gets older and we are going through it again and again, we will take the time to discuss what we are reading.

After reading our Bible story (one story each night), we sing a song or two. It's amazing how someone so young can learn so much. After we finish reading the story, we ask DS what is next. Almost every night (and he's been doing this for a couple months now) he sways back and forth or claps his hands to signify song time. It's adorable! The past couple months we've been singing Jesus Loves Me every night. In December we added a Christmas carol on there too. :) It is fun to see how he is familiar with the song when we sing it at other times. He gets very excited. We are now transitioning into another song (one I wrote) taken from John 1:1-3. Even though he isn't talking yet, this is the part of family devotions he is most attentive to.

After singing, we have a time in prayer. The amount of time we pray (and whether or not DH and I both pray or only one of us) depends on DS's tolerance. When he is especially tired or cranky, we keep it short. On other nights we spend more time.

This is what has been working for us. It is short and simple (way shorter and simpler than my explanation). We don't spend much time, but it is something our little boy is learning to expect. He is learning that we make God our focus everyday! At 13 months, he still doesn't pay close attention to the story or prayer time. He still tries to get down off my lap or reach for a nearby toy. We remain flexible with him. We want him to enjoy the time, not learn to hate it. Right now it is more about him learning the practice of family worship time.

Plus... many nights we are learning new things from this children's Bible too! :)

It Works For Me!


Tuesday, January 8, 2008

What can I do for you today?

Today's One Small Thing over at Home Sanctuary is to ask a simple question... then follow through. It made me think, and I decided that I didn't want anyone to miss out on it!

How often to you ask your husband (or family member or friends) what you can do for them today. One of my favorite ways to start the day (or end the day when referring to tomorrow) is to ask DH if there is anything I can do for him today. Some days there is a big answer, some days it is just to make a phone call, or to change the sheets, or whatever. Most days he can't think of anything. Some days his one thing he wants me to do is to take a nap. These aren't hard things, but it is a way for me to put him and his priorities before my own! I know how special I feel when he asks me if there is anything he can do for me! Try it... it's sooo much fun!

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Monday, January 7, 2008

Contractions and God's Grace

Yesterday afternoon and evening were very uncomfortable... even painful! Sometime in the afternoon I started having contractions (this isn't the first time this pregnancy and it won't be the last I'm sure!) Good ole Braxton Hicks! Ouch! Sitting or changing positions helped some, but as soon as I was up and going again they were worse again. Yuck! My sweet husband was (and always is) great about it and took care of everything I just didn't feel I could do. I started dinner, but then while I fed the baby (something I could do sitting down) he took care of the rest... right down to getting it on the table! :) How blessed I am.

Anyway, things continued right through church last night and finally I just couldn't stand there and fellowship anymore... I was ready to head home. It was on that ride home I got to thinking. I thought about how much discomfort I was experiencing... then I thought about how there are still 9 weeks left in this pregnancy. I thought the dreaded words... "I just don't think I can do this for 9 more weeks... I can't handle it anymore!" Before the thought finished playing it's "oh pity me"-self out in my head, I was reminded of something that I read just this weekend.

I've been picking (very slowly) through Nancy Leigh DeMoss' book Lies Women Believe and the Truth that Sets them Free for a long time now (off an on). This last couple weeks I've been in the chapter on our circumstances. Each chapter is broken up into 5-6 lies we believe (in this case about our circumstances), making it easy to sit and read just little snippets. This weekend's lie was "I just can't take it anymore!" With each lie DeMoss teaches us the truth to counter it. In this case the truth is that God's grace is sufficient for me! It is so true... 2 Corinthians 12:9 says, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."

I just sat there in the car on the way home and couldn't help but smile! Of course I can do this for 9 more weeks! I can do anything He asks of me because His grace is sufficient for me... His power is made perfect in my weakness!

Remember that ladies... whatever you are facing: rough financial times, sick children (still), a difficult marriage, or physical pain... God is allowing you to go through this, and He tells you "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in [your] weakness."

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Nutrition for Toddlers: What and How Much Should My Toddler Eat?

In this series on feeding your toddler, I plan to both simplify and go into detail on a number of things. Starting out though, like you, I am more interested in what I need to be doing now… while I am learning all the details. Really, my 13 month old can’t just hang out for the next few months while I figure out which fruits and veggies have the right amount of Vitamin B6 to keep him healthy, or what combination of protein and fat he needs for optimum brain development. Those things will come as I intend to go line by line down the label I saved from our last can of formula (ok, yeah, it would have worked way better if I had started this 6 months ago, but 6 months ago I was working on whatever was happening then) and find out what I need to do to be sure my little one is getting the same level of nutrition now as he was when Enfamil or Similac (or whoever) was ensuring it for me.

For today, however, let’s look at what we can be doing to make sure our little ones are getting the right foods, and the right amount, from the start. Since my little boy was 4 months old, we have been slowly and methodically introducing him to “real” foods (I imagine I’ll walk you through how we do it when we begin with our little girl in the Fall). You may not have started that early, but we had some growth and nursing issues that encouraged us to begin when we did. Regardless when you started, you now have a (hopefully long) list of foods your little one is familiar with. I encourage you to start there and over time, watch it expand.

How much should my toddler be eating?

The American Academy of Pediatrics says that your 1 year old should eat approximately 1000 calories a day. Other research however gives more of a window that may reduce some of your stress about whether or not your toddler is eating enough. This research gives us a caloric range depending on the age of your little one:

  • 1 year: 550-1100 calories/day
  • 2 years: 700-1400 calories/day
  • 3 years: 850-1650 calories/day

Where your child will fall in the caloric range will depend on metabolism, size, activity level and whether he/she has more of a calm or excitable temperament. Other factors to affect this, temporarily, are growth spurts, teething, and illness.

This said, I must add that the best way to know how many calories your children need is to let them be your guide. Their diets should be balanced (something we will discuss next), but as long as the proper number of diapers are being soiled each day with both wet and (ehem) less wet soiling, you don’t have to worry. (If you are worried, remember that all your concerns and questions should be brought up with your children’s doctor ~ I don’t pretend to have the knowledge a doctor could give you… I only share what I have learned for my children.)

What should my toddler be eating?

Toddlers need the same nutrients, and therefore foods, as we do. The difference is that they need them in different amounts. One general rule is to give your toddler ¼ of the serving size recommended for adults for every year of age (i.e. if the serving size is 1 cup of peas for an adult, a single serving for your 2 year old is a ½ cup portion. A single slice of bread may be a serving for you, but ¼ slice of bread would be a single serving for your 1 year old.) Another method of figuring serving size for your toddler is to figure 1 tablespoon per year of age = one serving. While they do not always work out exactly the same, both are considered a good rule of thumb to ensure you are giving your toddler the right amounts.

Here are the specifics on what your toddler needs:

  • 16-24 ounces milk (and/or other dairy, such as cheese, yogurt, etc.)
  • 4 servings fruits and vegetables (try to make one of those servings high in vitamin C and another high in vitamin A)
  • 4 servings grains (bread, rice, pasta, cereal, etc.)
  • 2 servings protein (meat, eggs, tofu, beans, peanut butter, etc)

I hope this is enough information to get you started without overwhelming you. I've been working on putting together a chart that you can print out and put on your refrigerator to mark off each serving each day. (I recommend laminating it or putting it in a page protector and using wipe off ink so you can reuse it each day.) It is my hope that this chart will make it easier to keep track of all those little meals and snacks until it is second nature to you. :)


****Please keep in mind that I am not a nutritionist or medical professional. I am simply sharing the research I am using for my own family. Please consult your own doctor regarding your children's nutritional needs!****


Sunday, January 6, 2008

How to decrease the sugar we give our babies!

I was so excited at my grocery store find yesterday that I had to take a picture and share it with you! :) During the summer months, fresh fruit is everywhere. I found it easy to feed my little one a wide variety of fresh fruits without having to worry about the heavy, or even light, syrup added. Our babies don't need sugar! And they really don't need the high fructose corn syrup that is in everything these days! We avoid it as much as possible for ourselves, let alone our little boy!

In the off season, it is harder to find fresh fruit (especially on a budget), so I finally decided that canned fruit was better than no fruit. (Yeah... it was a tough one for me to figure out.) To make it a little bit better, I do rinse the canned fruit in cold water before giving it to DS. I hope that it removes at least most of the sugary content before I give it to him.

But yesterday I saw something I've never noticed (not at my regular grocery store anyway) before. Canned peaches and canned pears in pear juice... no sugar added! They also had canned appricots in pear juice and fruit cocktail, but I didn't pick those up this week as we were trying to stick with our budget. The ones we bought were store brand, but I think I've seen them brand name other places too (does anyone know?)

Anyway... I wanted to mention it so you could keep your eyes open. I've been busy these last couple days preparing my first Nutrition for Toddlers post. Hopefully I'll have it for you tomorrow, so come on back! :)

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Friday, January 4, 2008

Response to my Rant

Ok ladies and gentlemen (as apparently there are gentlemen who read)... the mystery is solved. A dear friend's husband (also a dear friend) called this evening to "fess up" (and to apologize) for teasing me anonymously. They are both regular readers of my blog (how cute is that) and he can't pass up an opportunity to poke fun at me. As he admitted tonight on the phone, it wasn't something he wouldn't have said to me in person. So now we have a deal... and I want all of you in on it too. If you want to poke fun at me and don't have a blogger account, at least put in a nickname! If I can tell who you are, I may be able to take your jokes in the way they are intended. (Maybe a smilie would help too... just to be sure.)

Oh... and keep in mind... I'm still an oversensitive pregnant woman! I'm talking egg shells here some days. :) And after I'm no longer an oversensitive pregnant woman (sometime in March), I'll be a sleep deprived mother of a newborn and a very active toddler. :)... Just thought I'd mention that. :) Other than that... I can *totally* take a joke. :)


Changes for the New Year

I mentioned a couple days ago that I have been giving some thought to what will be new in this new year. Really what's been going on is that DH has been encouraging me (for some time) to get more theme specific on this blog. So I've been trying to figure out what that means.

What does that mean? What is my theme? I could do any number of things with a blog called "Stay at Home Mommy". Really, I could do what I have been doing all along... just a modge podge of everything. I could, but DH has challenged me to go a step further and to really develop my identity on this blog. Who am I as "The Babychaser" and what can I bring to all of you as a result? If there is anything I have learned (er... am still learning) in our 3 years of marriage, it is that if my husband makes some sort of suggestion, I need to swallow (or kill or destroy) my pride and take his advice... he's usually right! It's biblical really... he is the head God has put over me. So here we go...

What you can expect from this blog in the months (maybe even longer) ahead as I settle into the place God has for me here at Stay at Home Mommy:
  • Nutrition for Toddlers! That's right... I plan to bring you a weekly (let's just call that our goal) series on nutritious eating for toddlers (many principles will apply to babies and children as well). It is a big step moving from breast feeding or formula to a full "adult food" diet, and it is a big responsibility on us moms to make sure our little ones are getting the same level of nutrition in their diets now as they were then! As I do my own research, I hope to bring you the facts and helpful tips for getting your little ones the nutrients they need!
  • Learning for Little Ones! Our children begin learning the moment they are born (even before), so why is it that we wait to begin teaching them until they are 4 or 5?!? I plan to share with you each week something that we are doing to "train up our little child in the way he should go" (loosely quoted). I know so many of you have been doing this longer than I have, so I look forward to hearing your own success stories and ideas too. Maybe down the road we'll get a Mr. Linky for this... until then, I am more than happy to include your links and ideas as you get them to me. Just send me an email, or add a comment. :)
  • Product Reviews and Highlights! Who of us don't need to learn of new and great products for our babies? Even better? Who of you who have products for our babies don't want others to hear about them? I already have my first couple product highlights all picked out. I may begin with one a month for now, but keep your eyes open for review posts, and for buttons on my sidebar highlighting some of my favorite products for my babies! If you have a product you are interested in showing to my readers, or offering as a giveaway, just send me an email and I'll take a look. :)

So what else will you find here? Some of the same old same old as before (that is good for those of you who like my blog already... for the rest of you I hope you will bear with me). This blog is about me... Stay at Home Mommy... The Babychaser! Interspersed with what I have already mentioned above, I will be sharing my life with you... the happenings of my household. Some days that may be recipes or proof that I did indeed clean, other days it may be some carnival I'm participating in or my "deep" thoughts on whatever. :) If any of you have other ideas you would love me to include, send me an email at babychaser (at)

Thursday, January 3, 2008

The Rant of an Over Sensitive Pregnant Woman

I don't know about you, but people who are rude or mean really bother me... let alone being rude or mean for no reason... let alone being one of those things and not owning up to it. Maybe I am just oversensitive (MAYBE??? Ah, yeah... I'm way oversensitive!), but a comment received on this post really bothered me. What's worse... because I never in my wildest imagination expected to receive such a comment, my computery and very tech savvy husband had to explain what the comment even meant.

Why is it that some people feel the need to be rude? And this isn't the first time... maybe the same anonymous person left both unnecessary comments, I don't know. But why? Did I offend any of you by my overt lack of knowledge in html? If I did, I would hope you would come to me privately first as Matthew 18 teaches... but really! Whatever happened to "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all"? And on top of that... if you are going to say it, don't hide behind an anonymous identity... if you are going to be rude, at least let me know who you are. I may have been able to give this commenter credit for a harmless (if insensitive) joke, if only he/she would have left me a link to his/her own blog or signed a name.

Now I love comments... I really do! I wish more of you would comment while you are here. It brings me great joy (especially while home all day alone with my not yet verbal baby) to see that someone has left a comment on one of my posts... it's like I'm here with friends. Unfortunately, receiving a less than desirable comment does quite the opposite... I've got to tell you, it doesn't take this pregnant woman, 9 1/2 weeks from delivery, much to cry these days. I did manage to hold back the tears... but the frustration with rude people remained! I sure hope I can raise my children better.

Thank you so much for letting me rant a bit! Unfortunately, with this event, I feel the need to moderate my comments from now on. I'm not really sure what that looks like to all of you because I've never done it before, but I hope it makes it possible for me to catch and delete rudeness in the future (since I can't seem to delete this one). I will work on some sort of Comment Policy to post soon.


Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Help... Can you help me fix my header?

Well, you may have noticed that I'm working on changing the look around here a little bit. Everyone (DS and Grammy) was napping when I started... now everyone is awake and I just can't stop. Hmmm... so anyway, you may notice a few more changes still to come before I am happy (suggestions welcome), but really I need your help. I can't figure out why it is that my header is small and not taking up the whole space like it was before. I don't know what I did, or how to change it... does anyone know???

Stopping to Smell the (Scentless) Flowers

My mom is still in town, so blogging is still slow as there is very little extra time. I have been giving some thought to changes on my blog for the new year though, so I'll share those with you sometime soon. For now I wanted to share these with you...We sent DH to the store last night for bacon... it really does make that Chicken Ranch Pizza! When he returned with the bacon, milk, and whatever else we added to his list, he walked in the door with these! Ok... there were more than two. I separated these two out so I could put flowers in multiple locations. I put this little vase next to my bed and the big vase stays in the kitchen for me to enjoy during the day. :) Aren't they pretty... oh, and in reality they are orange (my favorite color), but I've been playing with pictures I took of them in my Lightroom software. I love my Lightroom software! This is one of my favorites so far. :)

The best part of getting flowers from my darling husband is that he is almost more excited to give them to me as I am to get them. I am truly blessed to have a man who loves me so much!

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Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Chicken Ranch Pizza

Once again I forgot to take a picture before we devoured our dinner, but I had to share the yumminess with you (I'll try to get a picture next time). We combined Crystal's super easy and fast and yummy pizza crust with Sargento's Chicken Ranch Pizza recipe and love it! It is a combo of yummy ranch dressing, bacon, and chicken, topped with crazy yummy amounts of cheddar and mozzarella cheese (though tonight we were out of mozzarella and only used the cheddar).

Try it... I know you'll like it! :)

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A Huge Sale at Biblical Womanhood ~ New Year's Day only!

That's right ladies... Crystal, over at Biblical Womanhood is having a HUGE sale! Get there via this banner link and I can get a small percentage for refering you! :)

Through midnight (CST) January 1, 2008, you can receive incredible savings
on all of our ebooks.Our very well-received course, Supermarket Savings 101 is
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All of our other ebooks are $3.00 each. And our ebook package featuring
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I've purchased the Supermarket Savings 101 course myself... it's incredible! And I have a couple other of her books and recommend everything highly! Head on over!