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13 Healthy Kid-Friendly Halloween Recipes

For me Halloween is all about candy and costumes. It is a glorious day! The problem is that I now have a toddler that I don’t want to pump full of sugar and then have to deal with the inevitable sugar crash. With Halloween parties coming up I keep seeing all of these adorable Halloween treats that I would love to make, but I need to find some Halloween themed party food with some nutritional value to round it out.  I’ve gathered up some Halloween themed food for us all to pull from.

Stuffed-Peppers
Jack-O-Lantern Stuffed Peppers

pizza
Mummy-Face Pizzas

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Ten Things to Do When You’re Home with a Sick Toddler

It’s the changing of the seasons! Hooray, fall!

It’s the beginning of cold and flu season. Womp womp.

I recently spent a wonderful, lovely day at home with my darling two year old as he fought a fever, sore throat and general illness that rendered him a monster so sad that I couldn’t help but pity him. I was also so lucky as to stay home with Will on his second full day at home, so he wasn’t over being sick, at home, with his parents, at all.

Needless to say, I learned a lot! And I’m here to share. Without further ado, the lessons I’ve learned:

TEN THINGS NOT TO DO WHEN HOME WITH A SICK TODDLER

  1. Go to the DMV*
  2. Expect to shower
  3. Hope that he’ll rest most of the day
  4. Just have any expectations, really
  5. Eskimo kiss your sick toddler (I mean, nose on nose germ exchange is just not worth the pure joy of getting up in their adorable face.)
  6. Leave the house if it means riding in a car seat
  7. Argue against the wearing of just underwear if toddler is not potty trained**
  8. Merely suggest that said toddler should get dressed
  9. Try for an early nap
  10. Respond to any suggestion by your toddler to go somewhere/do something in such a way that darling toddler begins to suspects that brilliant idea wasn’t actually his and he realizes that you planted said idea inside his head, Inception-style, so that you could try for some semblance of joy on this otherwise terrible adventure known as ‘home sick with a toddler.’

And now for the slightly more helpful list of ways to pass your time with a sick not-a-baby and not-yet-school-aged child whilst ill:

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August Mommy Favorites!

I have no idea where August went — I feel like it just started and now September is almost over! I thought I would share some of my Mommy Favorites from the past month!

August-Mommy-Favorites

Waterproof Bibs – Even though Mini Pbj is over 2, she still wears a bib at most meals…especially when we are eating out! I love these waterproof bibs with the pocket because they are easy to clean up! They hold up really well and you can use them for quite awhile before they start to show some wear. I usually keep one of these tucked into a zip compartment in my purse at all times, and it’s nice because they aren’t super bulky. I can pop it on her in the restaurant, and then shake it out, wipe it off really quick, and put it back in my purse when we’re done. I love not having to take her backpack inside everywhere we go!

Snack Cups – If you have a toddler then you know that snacks are a vital part of everyday life. These little plastic snack cups w/lids are a necessity for us! I use them all the time for home and away snacking. They are great for at home snacking because I can just toss in some crackers, blueberries, cheese cubes, etc, and send her on her way. If she doesn’t finish the snack then I can just dump it out and give it a quick wipe, or pop the lid on it and put it in the cupboard/fridge for later. The lid is also fabulous for on the go snacking. It fits nice and securely for putting in her backpack, or stacking up in a cooler or cold pouch. I also love them because they are super affordable, which means if they dog gets ahold of one or it gets lost/forgotten somewhere I’m not completely broken hearted or out oodles of dollars.

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Blending families with little ones – complete!

I’ve been completely swept up the past few months because of the Big Move. I spoke awhile ago about possibly living with my sister’s family. Well guess what? We did it! They recently purchased a big home and have room for 2 more adults, 2 toddlers, plus another one on the way. There have been so many changes over the past couple months between these 2 families:

  • Everybody has a new job, and everyone now works from home
  • Our family company was sold (which now makes me a SAHM)
  • We both moved out of our home cities to a brand new city
  • Our kids started school
  • 1 kid + 1 kid = the sound quality of 500 kids in a home
  • We now co-live with a dog
  • My sister successfully got pregnant through IVF and is expecting another baby

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And did I mention… we live with a whole other family!? I feel as though I get two different reactions from people. They either think it’s a fantastic idea and wish for the same thing or they stare at us in horror, as if to say “what on earth are you in for?” So far, it’s been working well but logistically it was a crazy fiasco just getting to where we are now. I have never relied so much on Google docs, scheduling and the use of basic mathematics! Here’s how we did it:

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Sleep Training at 6 Months

I’m just going to come out and say it — I love sleeping training, specifically cry-it-out, or CIO. I’m not a robot, listening to my children cry definitely makes my heart ache in a terrible way, but I also really enjoy sleeping and the ability to function during daylight hours. Sleep training can become a heated topic and every child is different which means CIO will not work for every family, but it worked with both Crumb and Chip so I want to share our experience in case it can work for someone else.

First, some backstory — Mr. Cookie and I have not slept well for six looong months. I am not exaggerating. While there has been a good week here or there, for the most part, since his birth, Chip has woken up every 2-3 hours at night. When he was three months old we desperately bought a Magic Merlin Sleep Suit and that helped lengthen his sleep cycles a tiny bit.

But when Chip hit the four month regression, he began waking up even more frequently, sometimes every 30 min to 1.5 hours. I don’t remember much about this past June, mostly because I never, ever felt rested. At the five month mark his sleep improved, but we still had 2-5 wake ups per night PLUS two feedings. We were able to limit nursing to twice per night but Mr. Cookie was in and out of his room for the other wake-ups, putting Chip’s pacifier back in as a temporary fix.

Chip recently turned six months old and after his well check-up visit with the pediatrician we decided to begin sleep training that very night. Our ped had gently suggested we sleep train at 4 months, but we did not feel like Chip was ready at that point. While all babies have acid reflux to some extent Chip was waking up with wet burps and occasionally with milk coming out his nose. Both our boys have been above average spitters but Chip definitely beat out his brother for most outfits and bibs changed in one day. I knew Chip was uncomfortable at night so I continued to nurse him in hopes that the milk would soothe his upset tummy. We were given Zantac at his 4 month appointment and it was not the game-changer I had hoped it would be, but Mr. Cookie said he thought it was helping so we used it every morning and night until the prescription ran out.

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Year in Review: How we paid off all our debt and moved to Thailand

Our decision to move to the Chiang Mai countryside this month was pretty impulsive. In contrast, our move to Thailand took many years of planning, waiting, debt payoff, saving, and more planning. During these years we were your typical DINKS in many ways – Double Income No Kids. Except we tried to spend only the minimum possible of that double income – we tried to avoid rewarding ourselves with little things like coffees or drinks and instead aimed for a big future payoff. A good Saturday night for us was sharing cheap wine and paying off another home or student loan. As a result, I am exceptionally nerdy about financial and life planning- more on that some other time.

latest phots

Since we were both working full time, commuting, and living for the weekends, there was a lot of dialog between us about the future and a longing to slow down. We also bought a foreclosure during this time and Mr. Gumdrop was constantly knee deep in pro-level remodeling projects while I was running and sewing my fashion line on the side, so it didn’t leave room for much else. It’s not to say that we couldn’t find joy our work and friends and other activities, but we felt like we were burning out and I couldn’t see that trajectory lasting into the future. Especially not if we wanted to have a baby someday.

During this waiting phase, I dealt with a lot of fear that we’d never make it to Thailand; that we were too caught up in our jobs and attached to Minnesota through friends and family, tradition and routine to try something else. These aren’t bad things in themselves, but I felt like the really valuable parts of life were all crammed into minimal hours left in the day and we’d sometimes go months without being able to schedule time to hang out with people we really valued. Stress was rising and something needed to change but we were trying our best to save and wait for the snowball to gain momentum. I remember promising myself that I would never allow us to say that college was the best time of our lives.

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Sunday Dinner Traditons + Butternut Chowder Soup

Growing up my parents had the tradition of making a nice family dinner on Sunday nights. Sunday afternoon we would go out and do something fun as a family, then on the way home we would stop at the local market, Harvest Ranch, and pick up groceries to make a delicious meal. We often picked up a Marie Callendar’s pie for dessert at it was next door to the market, too! My parents weren’t big cooks, but they loved to grill. We lived in San Diego, so the weather was pretty grill-friendly year around. I enjoyed helping them prepare the meals and assist in the kitchen. Perhaps this tradition helped to spark the love of cooking I have today!

When I moved away from home, I continued the Sunday dinner tradition, and especially enjoyed it when Mr. Macaron came into the picture. A few years ago, Mr. Macaron made a request to make Sunday night dinner soup night. To persuade me, he gifted me the book, Mr. Sunday’s Soups. I tried out a bunch of recipes and really started to like the soup tradition. We put soups on hold during the summer – just too hot for soup – however, each fall we tend to bring it back.

This week when I was talking to Mr. Macaron about how I wanted to share a recipe and he suggested this one, which happens to be my favorite. The only problem is that it’s a bit more time consuming than I would like. Now that I have a baby, I need meals that are quick and easy. Of course, I want to share this kind of recipe with my fellow mamas as well. So, I did something I’ve never done before and I am quite proud of the results: I converted the recipe for the crockpot!

sundaydinner_bns_chowder

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