Ketchup Art - Meal Time Fun

Getting a toddler to sit down and eat can be a challenge. I've heard this from every other parent I've talked to. So why was I surprised when I started having troubles getting our little man to eat? No clue, but I'm not going to waste time worrying about it. My strategy most times with him is: "quick, distract him!" In this case my go-to distraction is ketchup pictures.

During one trip to Daiso in Seattle, I ran across a small condiment bottle that didn't have a whole in the top made yet. This allowed me to cut the hole as small as I wanted, which would be perfect for decorating bento's. Or meals in general. It all started with me making "ketchup stars". I would sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and draw out shapes as I sang. Dean was really into it, so I started doing it more often.

When Twinkle Twinkle Little Star didn't work, I started singing another one of his favorites, Boku Wa Kuma, and started to draw bears. The combination of singing and him watching me draw the designs seemed to get him interested in eating. Most of the time it's only for a few bites, but I feel like even then I'm still winning the fight. His excitement for the ketchup designs has inspired me to get more creative with it.

Thomas the Train, for instance, has a black smoke stack made of sliced olives, and white smoke made of cottage cheese. The face is so terrible, but Dean thought it was the best thing ever. I was barely able to snap the picture before he dug into his food. That's a big win in my book!

Trixie from Toy Story is a current favorite character of his right now, so she's popped up a few times on plates. Drawing dinosaurs is hard! Luckily my kid isn't a critic. He even recognized BB-8 despite the botched "thumbs up". Buzz Lightyear and Peppa Pig were both successes as well. This is something I can see myself continuing for as long as he likes it. It doesn't take much time to do, it's actually pretty fun, and it seems to get him to eat with less hassle.

Some other pictures I've thought of doing in the future are a line of trains (Thomas, Percy & Gordon), Itsy Bitsy Spider, a tractor, a big red London bus (of Tractor and Bus fame).

Are there any little tricks that you do to help get difficult eaters to eat?


Dean's Tractor & Bus Felt Book Progress

"Kids grow out of things so fast, they'll be on to the next toy before you know it," my parents said to me a few months ago. I was telling them how much I loved that Dean couldn't be separated from "Tractor" and "Bus"."Enjoy it while it lasts," they said. Dean had spent so many months unable to be separated from Tractor and Bus, I didn't think he'd out grow them. I still have my all time favorite doll, so I expect my son to have inherited the same devotion to his toys. Is that crazy of me to think?

Over the last little while he's become interested in other toys, like Thomas the Train and construction vehicles. He still plays with Tractor and Bus but his attention is divided with other toys. It hurts my little-mama-heart to see him growing up and playing with other toys. That's such a silly thing to say, but it's true. Why can't he just stay my little guy and need Tractor and Bus for everything forever?

If you follow me on Instagram you've seen pictures of the felt book popping up. It's slow going and very tedious. Definitely taking longer than I'd like. I really really really don't want Dean to have outgrown it by the time I finish it. More than likely he won't because he still plays with the one Auntie Kinner made him.

After weeks and weeks on working on it, I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. I'm currently working on the last page, then I'll stitch all the pages together and bind it. Looking forward to spending time tonight working on it and I might be able to finish it by this weekend. The anticipation gives my heart palpitations!


How I'm Coping With My Toddler Weaning Himself Off Of Naps

It's hard to believe Dean will be two years old in March. My little baby is no longer a baby but a full-blown little man who runs around all day, playing, dancing, talking, and has even started to sing a little bit. He has a strong will of what he wants to do, when he's going to do it, who he's going to do it with, and where it is going to happen. Is that common for toddlers?

My parents often talk about how "busy" he is. He is always doing something. If he's not playing trucks, he's playing trains, blocks, ball, sweeping, vacuuming, reading books, telling stories to his stuffed animals, running around, eating, or any number of other things... that are not sleeping. Over the last few months he has weaned himself almost completely off naps. For some reason I pictured him napping once a day for another year or so. I'm not quite ready for this change.

Nap time was the time I set aside for myself to work out and catch up on a few things that were easiest to do when Dean isn't around. For the last year I was able to do Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred dvd two to three times a week. I'm not trying to get shredded, no no no, but I want to build a bit of muscle and loose that stubborn tummy of mine. Now that Dean has stopped napping I'm finding it hard to work that 20 minutes elsewhere into my day. I would do it while he's awake but his love for playing with weights is not helpful to my workout routine.

Luckily the lack of naps don't effect him much. He's not often cranky. I think it's because he gets about 10-12 hours of sleep a night. (The last few nights it's been 14 hours, which leads me to think there's a growth spurt in the future.) There is a point everyday in the afternoon where he does slow down and he'll zone out watching an episode of Thomas the Train or Daniel Tiger, and then he's back up and running again. I figure as long as he doesn't get nasty there's no need to have him nap. That being said, I've now lost the time I used for certain things.

The day I took these pictures we went to two parks in hopes I could wear him out enough to take a nap. We left the second park more energized than when we arrived, I'm sure of it! I was so bummed that day because I had put off a few things that week and was just waiting for him to nap so I could get them done. That day I learned I can't rely on nap time any more and I need to start figuring out a way to get stuff done (especially working out). Laundry, which is difficult because he is the Destroyer of Piles, I now either pile up on the bed and do it before bed with Aaron's help, or I'll put the baby gate up in the hallway and sit on the floor on one side and do it while he's playing toys on the other. Crafting I push back until he's in bed for the night.

Over the last few weeks I've been showing signs of Postpartum Distress, which are making this transition more difficult than I'd like. Things as simple as me showering, getting ready in the morning, and running errands are now incredibly stressful. My body deals with these high levels of anxiety by detaching myself from the situation and slowing me down, almost paralyzing me. Aaron and I are working together to get me through this, and his support has been wonderful. He helps me fold laundry or plays with Dean when he gets home from work so I can have "me" time or do whatever I needed to do without a toddler underfoot.

One good thing to come out of Dean's lack of naps is he wants to cuddle with me in the morning. He has never been a cuddler, but for some reason he wants to sit on my lap in the morning while he watches his morning episode of "Thomas and Friends" of "Daniel Tiger". I don't care how starving I am in the morning, I will sit there with him leaning against me as long as he sits there. Yesterday he even put his arm across my body while he was sitting with me. I teared up because he just doesn't do that. I guess I can handle getting less work done if that means I can cuddle with my baby. I gotta stop calling him my "baby". He's not a baby anymore. But he will forever be my baby so I can't help it.

Do you mama's have any advice or ideas on how to get things done with a little one running around. How do you keep them from getting into your work? What are your best tricks?


Shared Toddler and Mama Meals - Eggs and Toast Breakfast

Scrambled eggs has become my go-to for a quick and hearty breakfast. Pop some bread in the toaster, chop up whatever greens that are on hand to mix in, pour a glass of almond milk or Green Machine and it's a super balanced meal.

Spinach is what I put in my eggs most of the time, but this morning we didn't have any so I used green onions. As a little extra somethin'-somethin' for me, I added a little Kewpie Mayonnaise and habanaro salt on top of my eggs. On my toast I added butter, a tiny bit of peanut butter, then some jelly. In all honesty, I could probably eat three pieces of toast each morning, haha!

Dean doesn't really care what I add to the eggs as long as he has ketchup stars and "may-mays", which is normal mayo, not mama's Kewpie Mayo (there's no way I'm sharing that with anyone). Every meal I put a different number of stars on his plate which we count together before he digs in. The stars are made by a mini condiment bottle I snagged at Daiso.

Toast is something Dean hasn't been really big on, so I decided to cut his up and add a dollop of jelly for him to use as dip. This little trick worked and he ate his entire piece.

Avacados are a staple around here also, but since I haven't been able to find any good ones at the store, I served Dean some cottage cheese. This isn't something I typically buy since I have a dairy allergy, but since Dean eats it really well at my parent's house I figured I should get him some.

Scrambled Eggs and Toast
3 eggs
1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
2 green onions
ground flax seed
chia seed
habanero sald (for my portion)
2 slices of bread
peanut butter

to make:
Mix eggs, cheese, onion, pepper, and seeds together in a bowl. In a small pan add a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, when the oil is hot add the egg mixture and cook until scrambled.

Add bread to toaster and toast. I enjoy my toast brown and crispy. Add toppings to one piece and cut the second piece into toddler bite size pieces.

Plate everything, add toppings (habanero salt, ketchup stars, mayo, and jello). and enjoy. Oh and don't forget to count the stars!

What sorts of foods do you like sharing?


Fabulous 2015

This year is coming to a close, and man oh man, am I excited it's over. Before I ring the new year in I want to do a quick little post about my Word of the Year: FABULOUS.

My little family is growing fabulously. Look at those two guys~ so cute!!

I made awesome new friends from the store~ some of which I spend a good amount of time outside the store, made friends with a new neighbor who has kids around Dean's age, dropped a fair amount of baby weight, and have pretty much perfected my morning routine (6-8 mins on hair and maybe 10 mins on makeup, depending on if the eyeliner is behaving).  We got a van which I love.  It has 16 cupholders, which is rediculous and awesome.  It also has remite controlled doors which are so incredibly handy with the little guy.
Not much has happened around the blog lately but maybe that'll change next year.  Until next time~~ HAPPY NEW YEAR FRIENDS! ♪(v^_^)v♥

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