Taking Some Time Away

I can’t believe it’s the middle of November already.  My oldest baby is almost 7, I have four children and I’m a week from my due date with our fifth (a boy, if I never mentioned that before).  I’m beginning to think false labor is going to be a daily thing this time around, have no real meals in the freezer, have a “to do” list longer than I care to think about and nesting has not set in.  Big sections of my home are not unpacked from our August move, even bigger sections remain unorganized, and I have no immediate plans to change that.  Did I mention my energy level is on the low side and homeschooling and training these littles takes a lot of it.

I don’t share these things to say I’m discouraged… it’s just reality.  Of course I have my moments and my days when I want to give up entirely.  To tell you the truth though, I’m actually kind of ok with the fact that I’m using white flour from the store, serving my family frozen pizza and tatter tots, and that hot dogs are a regular on our menu.  Kind of.  At least it means we’re not eating out so much… this can’t be less healthy than the places we were eating.  Not to mention the time and money it’s saving!

It’s not all so bad as it sounds.  I used that white flour to make my family buttermilk biscuits for breakfast one morning (not a normal thing, so don’t think too much of me) and the other night when I served hot dogs, there were 3-4 sides (something important to my husband, but that rarely happens).

I try to be transparent here.  I want you to see the way things really are in the hopes that you’ll be encouraged that your life isn’t all that different.  Hard is normal.  Survival is normal.  Sometimes feeling hopeless is normal.  I’ve had days in the last couple months where I’ve given up what is usually so important to me.  But I also see God working in my family and things are changing around here… in ways bigger than food choices and schedules.

I have enjoyed this blog over the years.  I love sharing what we’re doing and what the Lord is teaching me as I chase these babies.  It seems though, that life is bigger right now than blogging.  I’d rather sit and listen to my girl practice reading, cuddle with my baby while she’s still the baby, tickle my three year old on the kitchen floor until he can’t breathe (figuratively speaking of course… kind of), share Bible study moments with my 6 year old, potty train, incorporate more exciting breakfasts than oatmeal into our week, design our future garden, clear away the chaos to create a little spot of beauty in my kitchen and so much more… rather than stop to take a picture and tell about it.

The Lord has been challenging me (through books I’m reading to the kids of all things) to take my prayer life and time in His Word more seriously.  I’d rather set aside a big chunk of nap time to pray than to have time at the computer.  I’m enjoying time mulling over a few verses of Scripture instead of reading most of the blogs that come through on my feed.  It isn’t always easy for me to do these things, but it’s a discipline I think is worth working on.

I have clothes to sew, quilts to finish, baby leg warmers to crochet, dinners to plan and make, bathrooms to clean, and children to train up in the way in which they should go.  To tell you the truth, I don’t know how so many moms of many have the time to blog.  What I do know is that each of us is different, and what the Lord asks of each of us is different.  It’s not that you or I can or can’t keep up as well as the rest… not at all.  It’s just that I. can’t. do. it.  And I’m okay with that!

I’ve considered a number of times over the last couple years whether I should continue blogging or let it go.  Each time I’ve kept at it, going from barely posting to a renewed vigor to step it up and do it “right”.  I’m there again.  This time I know I can’t blog right now (I don’t even want too), but I’m not ready to say forever (I enjoy it too much).  So in lieu of making a decision, I’ll be taking the rest of the year off.  It won’t be much different than the past 4-5 months, but it will be guilt free.

No expectations, no disappointments, no failures.  Just time and attention turned toward my growing family.

I’ll seek sweet communion with my Lord, enjoy my family, welcome another sweet little one and care for him around the clock.  I’ll celebrate gratitude and the birth of Jesus as intentionally and simply as possible.  Then, as the new year approaches, I’ll wait to see what the Lord asks of me, where he leads me, and what my new phase of life (life with 5) is going to look like.

Until then, I pray you are blessed in your service of our King!

Oatmeal for Toddlers

31 Days of Feeding Your ToddlerOatmeal for Toddlers

I posted years ago on my first experience with serving oatmeal to my toddler.  Since then I’ve switched things up a bit and have settled into a normal “oats” routine.

Oatmeal comes in several varieties and can be confusing to the newbie!  I remember being confused… sometimes I still am, to tell you the truth.  You’ve got old fashioned oats, quick oats, oat groats, and steal cut oats.  Can you use them interchangeably in recipes?  I still don’t know.

Here’s a quick rundown as far as I understand it (please correct me if you know better):

  • Old Fashioned Oats: Also called “rolled” oats, the actual oat grain (or groat) is fed through rollers and pressed flat.  This opens the outer “shell” around them.  They are cooked in a pot of water.
  • Quick Oats:  These look much like the old fashioned variety, but have been processed further and are therefore “quick” to prepare, often simply requiring boiling water to be poured over them.
  • Oat Groats:  This is the original grain “seed” pod.  Organic, not processed, oats in this form could be planted in your yard and would produce more oats.  You can cook and eat these as is if you want.  You can also put them through your grain grinder to get oat flour.  I run oat groats through my roller and roll my own old fashioned oats for recipes.
  • Steel Cut Oats:  These are said to be the healthiest option (though I don’t know how they compare to the original “oat groat”, sorry.)  They are run through a cutter to chop the groat into smaller pieces, leaving the inside exposed, yet not changed too much.

(Again, if any of you can get more “sciency” on that, please share in the comments!)

Our family uses both oat groats and steel cut oats.  The oat groats I turn into old fashioned oats for granola and adding to baked goods (using my roller attachment on my grain grinder.)  The steel cut oats are the ones I used for “oatmeal”.  Because they are less processed/mashed, they take longer to cook.  Many recommend soaking them overnight (8-12 hours) with an acidic medium (much like soaking other grains).  This is supposed to make them more nutritious and reduce cooking time.  Sorry to say, though I do soak them overnight, I do not usually add anything to them.  Perhaps I will someday, perhaps I need to read the reasons for it again so I care again (just being real here!), but I don’t do it now.

Oats (or oatmeal… I use the terms interchangeably) are a wonderful food to feed even the youngest toddlers.  I even start this food with babies (once I’m doing solids).  It truly is versatile.  It can be plain or dressed up, thick or thin.  When feeding babies, it can be thinned down with water, breast milk or other milk to whatever consistency your baby needs.  When toddlers are ready to feed themselves, it can be left thicker so it stays on the spoon better.  (Too thick can cause choking though, so be careful!)

When I serve my littles, I almost always add applesauce.  Not only does this act as a sweetener, but it cools it down and adds moisture (something that my oats usually need).  I also get another food group in there!  Yey!  I have also been known to add mashed bananas if applesauce is running short.  This doesn’t cool it, but the kids think it’s extra sweet.  When I have them, I add raisins to the older kids oats, but not the young toddlers.  I wait until my toddlers can handle a little extra something in their food and won’t choke.  You can also add other extras.  It’s all up to you and your preferences!  My recommendation is to experiment and see just how many nutritious extras you can add in!  The next on my list to try (because I keep forgetting) is wheat germ.  I have tons left over when I sift my home ground flour and it’s just sitting around.  I need to start adding it to stuff! :)

 

What do you do with your oatmeal?

A Real Challenge!

What is a challenge exactly?  Without using an actual dictionary, I’d say it’s an encouragement to try something.  For instance, “I encourage you to write about the same thing for 31 straight days and post it on your blog.”  And that is exactly what the 31 day “challenge” is.

An encouragement.

Not a trap.

Not a  prison.

Not a takeover of all your real life priorities.

I had big dreams for this 31 day challenge.  Problem is, this has been a busy season of my life.  That isn’t a problem in and of itself, mind you, but it does pose a problem for blogging anything at all, let alone something that would take some real effort. Every. Day.  Ha… what was I thinking!?!

Add to that the fact that I’m hardly pulling together weekly menus for myself these days… and find that I feel pressure all weekend to make one just so I can share it.  Then I have to make it cute.  I remember another season of my life when things were crazy and that’s just the reason I stopped posting my menus altogether!

I don’t always get online these days.  We don’t have internet at the house and use my husband’s cell phone to get on when we need to.  Problem is that he is working long hours on the house and my mom’s apartment trying to get us ready for the cold that will come one of these days and I don’t have access to his phone until the late hours of night or wee hours of morning.  By that time I don’t care anymore! :)

To top it all off, I find that when I do have a minute to blog, I’d rather be blogging about what is going on now, or what has inspired me and I keep putting that off because I “should” be blogging toddler food this month.

All that to say that I may or may not have been a little ridiculous to take up this challenge in the first place!  I do still plan to do posting on feeding toddlers, but it (as you’ve noticed) won’t be every day and it won’t be exclusive.  One day this week we’re going to talk about oatmeal… but another day we may touch on this cute skirt I’m making over for the girls! :)   Another day, I’m almost sure I’m going to touch on my pregnancy and answer the big “boy/girl” question.  And the menu for this week?  Not happening… Sorry!  I’ll be lucky to have a meal figured out before we’re eating it each day.  And that is the point of the menu, isn’t it?  To help in troubled times?  I encourage you to try to make one yourselves.  I will do the same, but I won’t necessarily be posting it. :)   And I’m not promising that frozen pizza won’t be on it!

Just keeping it real!

Toddlers and Sugar

31 Days of Feeding Your ToddlerToddlers and Sugar

From the time my oldest was a little baby, I felt that he didn’t need sugar.  While the mommy across the table from us at a church social was giving her 6-8 month old a taste of ice cream, I was determined that what Tornado didn’t know wouldn’t hurt him… and he certainly didn’t know ice cream even existed.  Being our first, it was easy to carry that mindset on for a long while.  At his first birthday, I did make cupcakes, but they were a low sugar variety and it seems to me I found a strange frosting recipe too.

When Sweet Pea had her first birthday, we had banana bread with a cinnamon and sugar topping.  I just don’t think that they need the sugar.

As they got old enough to notice, My Beloved and I kept our treats for after the children were in bed (still do most of the time actually).  And as babies became toddlers, my views weren’t much different.  Sugar is not healthy.  It weakens the immune system and adds empty calories, among other things (not that we don’t still partake ourselves).  With my own struggle with sweets, I just don’t see how introducing them too early is a positive thing.

But what happens when there are toddlers and older children?
At some point, we began including our older two in sweets now and then.  Daddy, who enjoys sweets but has no problem with moderation, loves to surprise them with a trip to the ice cream place for the little free sized cones (when they were small enough), or to bring home donuts on a whim just for fun.  Still, portions are small, splitting a portion or just having a little bit.

Things get more difficult where toddlers are concerned, though, when those observant toddlers see that brother and sister are having something they are not.  Oh, does it get loud around here if little Belle thinks she is missing something!  So what is a parent to do?

I’ll be honest, each subsequent child has been introduced to sugar earlier than our first.  For him, we could put it off, almost entirely, until he was 18-24 months.  Sweet Pea was pretty old too, maybe near 18 months, but certainly more than a year.  Sadly, I’m pretty sure Little Man had sugar before his first birthday… and I know Belle did!  Is it the end of the world?  No.  Will it kill them?  No, not even hurt them.

I know it isn’t practical to try avoiding sugar completely unless the rest of us refrain, so in light of that, I do practice a few little tricks to limit my toddler’s sugar intake.

  • I severely limit portions! 
    If we are having cake or pie or ice cream (or anything really), I simply give her a tiny portion.  She doesn’t notice and it takes her almost the same amount of time to eat it as the rest of us.  Really, I do this for the children too, giving them what we deem “child size” portions.
  • I pre-serve whatever I can.
    This is especially helpful when serving something that has the addition of something sweet.  If I’m serving something that will get a topping, for instance, I dish up at the counter and then hand out the plates/bowls.  Belle doesn’t notice that hers isn’t exactly like the others, but if I’d added that topping at the table, she’d be asking for hers too!
  • I’m sneaky.
    This one applies when my previous approach doesn’t work out.  If I am serving something at the table, and she does notice, I simply pretend to give her a bit.  If I’m fast, she can’t tell.  If I know she’ll notice, I simply give her a tiny portion.  (This approach works well for salt as well!)

 

How do you handle sugar with your littles?  Any more suggestions?

Another Toddler Menu

31 Days of Feeding Your ToddlerAnother Toddler Menu

Well, again, it’s not Monday, (it’s not even Tuesday)but still, I have a toddler menu for you.  Weekends are hard.  As you may have noticed, I didn’t post over the weekend.  I planned to, but life is busy and blogging is not my first priority.  Add to that sick kids and access to the internet only when My Beloved’s phone is nearby and available (and the kids are in bed)… I think you get the idea. :)   The short of it is this:  I love blogging, but in this season of life, it takes the backseat.  Some days are just too full to get online at all.  So, I’m letting myself off the hook, and if I have to skip weekends (and even the occasional week day) during this “31 days” thing, so be it.  It’s still more posting than I’ve been doing. :)   I hope you’ll understand!

Where was I?  Yes, the menu!  I have a menu.

New Toddler Menu 2

A few notes for you.  First of all, the peirogi thing scheduled for Monday night was fabulous!  Yum… if you make it, I used Italian Sausage in addition to the recipe as it’s written and I added a LOT of garlic to the mashed potatoes!  Now go forth and enjoy!

You should also know that my oldest is allergic to peanuts, so even though I say PB&J, I don’t really mean it.  We use nut butters instead, specifically Sunflower Butter (Sunny Butter for short), but it’s just easier and more widely understood to say PB&J.  Please substitute where necessary!

You’ll also notice that we are not having “green” smoothies this week.  Funny, since I just shared our favorite green smoothie recipe.  Sadly, I’ve run out of green in my freezer!  And I think my fridge as well (I’ll have to check on that… I forget about fresh in smoothies).  Whenever we again have those wonderfully nutritious greens in stock again, I’ll be adding them! :)

And again, odds are pretty good that our actual week won’t look exactly like this.  Don’t beat yourself up if that happens to you too.  It’s all about having a plan to make your life easier… if following that plan makes things harder on a given day, you have my permission to drop it! :)

Smoothies for Toddlers

31 Days of Feeding Your ToddlerSmoothies for Toddlers

Perhaps this seems something simple to you, but it took me a long time to “arrive” and finally figure out an easy way to give a smoothie to my toddlers.  A long time… in fact, it has only been a few weeks since that epiphany.  My oldest is almost 7!

Now, in my defense, we have not always made smoothies a regular part of our menus.  For years smoothies were something My Beloved and I enjoyed as a late night snack.  We love them.  Then on a whim one night several years ago, I added peanut butter to our smoothie and the PB&J smoothie was born.  Yum!

It wasn’t until I was introduced to the Green Smoothie, and that some of my children were old enough to drink them easily, that I began making them for the kids (minus the peanut butter because of my son’s allergy).  They love them too.  Sometimes they drink them down and use a spoon to scrape the sides, sometimes I make them thick and let them use a spoon from the beginning.  They think it’s ice cream!  For breakfast.  Who doesn’t love that?  But then what do I do with the baby/toddler?  Smoothies are messy!

My go to answer was to add a bunch of water to hers and put it in the sippy cup.  When I was doing this with our youngest boy, he’d drink it, but it was a constant battle when the seeds and other tiny particles would clog up the sippy cup holes.  My current toddler just doesn’t even mess with it and all those yummy nutrients go untouched.  Ugh!  Not good when several of the days servings of fruit and veggie are tied up in that smoothie!

So the answer?  I began to leave it thick and spoon feed her too.  And now, in the last few days, she’s just too good for that and wants to do it herself (use your own discretion on this one as it can be VERY messy!)

I know… not rocket science.  Most of you would have probably started with that, but not me.  Thinning it out was stuck in my head as the only way.  Just recently I decided to try to give it to her with a spoon (certainly a more time consuming process now that she’s eating everything else on her own, but worth it) and she loves them!

So I thought I’d share our smoothie “recipe” with you to get you started.  It’s not clear cut though…

Babychaser’s PB&J Smoothies

Ingredients:
1-1.5 cup whole milk (or juice of your choice)  + more if needed
2-3 handfuls fresh spinach or kale
1-2 frozen bananas (I leave these whole when I freeze)
1/2-1 cup frozen strawberries
1/2-1 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Honey or sugar to taste
Peanut butter (or other nut butter) to taste (1/4-1/2 cup more or less)
Optional:  any other berries and fruit you desire can be used with or instead of above berries
Directions:

1.  Fill blender with milk to desired measurement and add greens (you can do this later too, but adding it now helps chop them to smaller bits, or you can leave them out all together).  Run blender until greens are tiny.  You now have green milk.

2.  Add banana and blend again until smooth.

3.  Add remaining frozen fruit, as much or as little as you desire of each kind (sometimes we use mixed berries from the freezer section, sometimes strawberries and blueberries we picked from an organic farm… depends what we have.  If we have Bing cherries in the freezer, I add some of those too.)  Add cinnamon, sweetener and peanut butter (I use sunflower butter for the kids) and blend until smooth.  If it doesn’t seem to be blending, you may be able to help by turning it off and manually mixing it with a spoon to get the big stuff to the bottom or you may need to add more liquid to thin it out enough to blend.

4.  Taste test and determine whether it needs more sweetener or more liquid.  The kids and I like it thick, but my husband likes it thinner and easy to drink.  You can do it either way.  I’ve even been known to pour my own thick and then add a bit more liquid to the blender to thin his out.

Yield:  This depends on how much of everything you put in, but when I make this recipe, it makes 4 servings of 3/4-1 cup each for the children or 2 servings in 16 oz cups for my husband and I.  I make two recipes back to back for our larger than average family and so that the adult smoothies can have peanut butter and the kids don’t.

 

Smoothies are very forgiving and are a little different every time at our house.  I encourage you to experiment and find just the right mix for you and your family!  They are a very tasty way to get those fruits and veggies into your toddlers… and yourself!

 

Seasonal Selections for Toddlers: Fall

Fall LeafSeasonal Selections for Toddlers: Fall

There seems to be a lot of hype these days about eating seasonally.  Some say it’s healthier.  Some say it’s cheaper.  For some it just seems right.

Whatever the reason, sometimes it’s just nice to change what I am eating with the seasons.  Though, I’ll admit, ice cream is okay with me 365 days out of the year, I’m not a big soup eater when it’s hot.  Whether it’s for health, nostalgia, or just for special, I thought I’d share some ideas for feeding your toddler through the seasons.  First up… since we’re finally in it, Fall.

 

Soups

These can be a little tricky with young toddlers who struggle with using a spoon.  Of course you can always feed them, but when they want to do it themselves, or when you want them to, it gets messy.  I like to break up crackers or croutons in my own soup, so when I am preparing the same for my toddler, I simply put in a higher ratio of them in the soup.  The “breadiness” absorbs much of the liquid and makes a more easily eaten food for little hands.

Another idea is to serve your soup over mashed potatoes.  Once it is mixed in, it could almost be eaten with fingers.

When I serve a soup that is primarily broth with a bunch of “stuff” inside, I simply don’t add much broth to the bowl.  What she ends up with is primarily the “stuff”… the pasta, meat, veggies, etc.  She eats this with her hands and is perfectly happy!

 

Casseroles

This is an easy one.  Homemade mac ‘n’ cheese, enchiladas, tuna casserole, etc (sky’s the limit) are wonderful comfort foods for me and all my kids get excited when I say I’m making “casserole”.  Little to nothing has to be done to serve this to your toddler, but don’t expect them to eat the bed of lettuce you serve it on.  It just might end up dumped on the tray (as happened tonight here) or on the floor.  You’ve been warned! :)

 

Squash

Fall produce is wonderful for toddlers.  Butternut squash and pumpkin have been favorites with all my toddlers.  I can’t tell you how many cans of pumpkin we went through with my first two.  I’d just scoop it out and they’d eat it.  You can prepare your own as well and add in anything you want (butter, cinnamon, etc.)  Be careful of adding sweeteners though.  The little ones don’t need it like we think they do.

 

Desserts

Don’t let that word scare you off.  There are plenty of fall desserts that can double as fruit and veggie servings.  Baked Apples, Apple and Pumpkin Pies, Apple Cobbler, Sweet Potato Pie, etc.  There are recipes all over the internet for making these without as much or any sugar.  Pumpkin Bread can be made with applesauce to reduce the sugar and honey can be substituted in most things.  Find a recipe and try it out.  You shouldn’t have trouble getting your little ones to eat those! :)

 

What other Fall-ish foods do you feed your toddlers?

Our Littlest Eaters

31 Days of Feeding Your ToddlerOur Littlest Eaters

I suppose our very littlest eaters are those 6-12 month-ers who are just starting out.  They taste, they experiment, they spit out everything we try to put in their mouths.  Some of them even spit it up later.  Those are not the “littlest eaters” I’m talking about.  Instead I’m talking more about the 12-18 month (give or take) crowd.  This can be a very tricky time if you are not prepared (as I often find myself these days.)  For me, it has been especially difficult during this warm summer season of fresh produce.

It’s not that it’s hard all by itself, mind you.  It is hardest when trying to feed your littlest ones the same thing you feed the rest of the family.  I can get away with a lunch of fresh veggies and hummus for my older kids, but my toddler can’t chew raw carrots, celery and bell pepper.

What’s a mamma to do?  Be prepared!

In some ways, these littlest ones can eat right along with whatever you are serving your family, but when it comes time for the green salad (I have yet to meet a toddler that can manage lettuce) or other fresh veggies, a little forethought and preparation can go a long way.  It’s not much different than the baby food stage, in some ways.  That is, if you were making your baby food at home.

The best way is to set aside some time each week to cook and store some veggies in the fridge.  Instead of mashing it or cooking it very soft as you did for baby, simply cook it so that it is soft enough and cut it into finger food sizes.

Some ideas:

  • cut carrots into sticks or circles and cook them until they are easy to chew
  • make sweet potato fries or cube them and sauté
  • steam some broccoli or cauliflower
  • frozen peas cook up quickly to add to any meal

These things can be added to any meal you are serving that doesn’t have toddler friendly vegetables.

For other meals, you can incorporate cooked vegetables (in addition to serving the ones listed above to the whole family) that are easy to eat into your whole family’s menu:

  • asparagus
  • corn (off or on the cob)
  • green beans
  • summer or winter squash
  • potatoes (served all sorts of ways)

 

This is just a list to get you started.  The trick is to make them easy for your little ones to eat without choking.  I can’t tell you how many times this summer (with moving and being pregnant, etc.) I’ve found myself unprepared, when taking a few moments to work some of these ideas into my schedule would have made my life, and my littlest eater’s meals, so much better!

 

What other ideas have you tried and found successful for feeding your littlest eaters when raw veggies find their way to your menu?

What Makes a Toddler?

31 Days of Feeding Your Toddler

What makes a Toddler?

Yesterday I shared the first of what I hope will be 5 all new toddler menus this month here on Chasing Babies.  I’ve shared many of these menus in the past and for a while (it’s not working now, sorry) I even had them available to download.  But before we get too far into this month on toddler eats, the question needs to be answered… what is a toddler?

Okay, so if you have one, you know, and if you don’t, you’re probably not checking in this month anyway.  Still, it might help you to know what I am talking about when I say “toddler”.

The term toddler, to me, covers a wide range.  We call them toddlers because they are just starting to walk and, therefore, are toddling around.  It’s cute to watch really.  The toddling.  They are learning so much at this stage, but when our littles start walking is so vastly different.  Some are walking right at 12 months, others not until much later.  My little Belle (our current toddler) was just under 10 months old.  She was breastfed and uninterested in solid foods.  We were trying to encourage her to eat, but it wasn’t something she was real interested.  So, she was toddling, but not eating.

On the other side of the spectrum, our two year olds still fall into the “toddler” category by most standards, but are usually walking and running very well, hardly toddling at all.  Still, I think of them, menu wise, as toddlers.  Sometime between their second and third birthdays, they can easily eat what their older brothers and sisters eat… if they will.  My just turned three year old can hold his own when he wants to… he just has to want to first! :)

So as I talk about toddlers this month, I could be talking about the baby who loves table food, or even the young preschooler who still needs special attention in the menu department.  And really, most of what I talk about could be opened up for our older children too… which is handy, because I’m not about to fix 4 separate meals three times a day! I barely get the three meals a day in there!

 

How many of you have toddlers right now???  Is this series something you’re excited about?  Needing?  Do you have questions or issues you’d like me to address?  Let me know in the comments!

31 Days of Feeding Your Toddler ~ A Toddler Menu

31 Days of Feeding Your ToddlerAre you here for the first time?  I’d like to welcome those of you joining for our 31 day series on feeding our toddlers… even if I’m a little late getting started on day one!  A long, long time ago, when I had only one toddler, I used to share my weekly meal plan with toddler sized details every week.  Sometime after my second started crawling, I let it go… dedicating more of my time to keeping her out of trouble and less to working our weekly menu plan into little squares in Photoshop so I had something cute to share each week.

Time has passed and I’m on my fourth toddler with a new baby on the way.  We homeschool, are fixing up a new to us 100+ old house that is worse for the wear, and it is still my responsibility to get dinner on the table three meals a day.  Though it doesn’t always work out that way, I find it is much easier when I have a plan.

My current toddler just turned 18 months.  She loves meat but not hamburgers and she’s not big on veggies but she loves beans.  Bread is iffy but pasta and croutons are a sure thing!  Sandwiches are a definite no.

Is she picky?  Sometimes I think so, sometimes I don’t.  I certainly don’t worry about it as much as I did when my first was this age.

That’s the background… and, yes, when I make my menus, I try to take into consideration what she will and won’t eat.  It’s my three year old I really think about though.  He can be the slowest of all my eaters and the most picky.  Still, this week’s menu will include a variety.  Some things they like, some things the rest of us like and they will just have to deal with it.  I encourage you to nudge your littles out of their comfort zones as you feed the rest of your family and aim to please every palate throughout the week!

Enjoy!

 (click to view it larger)New Toddler Menu 1

Note:  We usually do not include snacks in our everyday, but I’ve included them here to help you if your littles require them!  Also, this is not necessarily what my menu will look like this week, things are a bit crazy and I’m behind on my actual plan! :)   Just keeping it real!

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