Monday, May 8, 2017

Letting her "do her thing"

I think we can all agree that the toddler years can be a pretty....challenging time. My two and a half year old is no longer a baby, yet she's not quite a full-fledged kid either. She's becoming a big girl, with big girl emotions, wants, needs, and ideas. Don't get me wrong, we're still in diapers, using a binky, and toting around her favorite blankie everywhere we go, but my sweet little Harper certainly isn't a the chubby, bald baby she once was. She's developed her own silly, sweet, and quirky personality. She's learning to do things on her own and is constantly reminding me that she's the one calling the shots quite often. Sometimes I just have to let her do her thing!

Doing her thing usually involves being outside, which is her absolute favorite big girl thing to do nowadays. I cannot get this girl inside! She loves to pull her little wagon around and collect rocks, sticks and pine cones. 

She loves to play with her water table and make mud- she's certainly not afraid to get dirty! I may or may not have caught her eating dirt on more than one occasion as well. When I asked her what she was doing she proudly proclaimed "I eat the dirt, mama!" 

Now that it's warmed up, playing outside with her big brother and sister is hands down her favorite thing to do. She loves running around and can totally keep up with the big kids! They are so good about including her too. 

Even the rain and snow are no match for her energy. As soon as it starts to rain she grabs her sparkly purple rainboots and stands by the slider yelling "Wow! A big puddle!" She'll stomp around in her too-big boots until she's soaking wet, stopping to catch the rain in her mouth because she's too busy to come inside to get a drink. That would require her to slow down, which never happens.

When she's too busy doing her thing, I can usually get her to take a brief pause to hand her a bottle of her favorite drink, Fruit Shoot. The bottles are durable and are tough enough to withstand my toddler's death grip, and the resealable caps are quick and easy to open. Even for impatient 2 year olds! We've tried other juice boxes and pouches and Harper just can't figure them- she can't open the straws, poke it through the tiny little hole, and her grasp is always to tight and she ends up squeezing it out all over her shirt, pants, shoes, the floor, the couch...everything. It usually ends in an epic meltdown. Fruit Shoots are toddler-friendly and approved! Anything that allows her a little independence and frees me up a few extra seconds is a win in my book. 

Fruit Shoot doesn't add sugar to their drinks either, which makes it an easy choice when it comes to keeping her hydrated (because sometimes it's impossible to get her to drink water). I let her do her thing and choose a fun drink while she's running out the "evening crazies" in the backyard before bedtime. Where does all of that energy come from?

I found Fruit Shoot at my local Fred Meyer and they are a must-have for outside fun and adventures! Find out where to purchase here.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Moms need healthy snacks too

I think most moms out there can agree that when life gets crazy, taking care of yourself becomes less and less of a priority. I mean, we all have good intentions, right? But between diaper changes, meal planning, errands, housework, chauffeuring the kids around, homework, and the billion other little tasks on your daily to-do list, mom's needs kind of take a back seat. One of my biggest chores I find myself facing every day is feeding myself. It sounds kind of silly, but it's the truth. I either get so busy that I forget to eat or I end up reaching for empty calories and processed junk. By mid-afternoon I'm grumpy, tired, drained, and starving! I spend so much time worrying about the kids eating healthy snacks that I forget that I need a healthy snack too. 

After scouring the grocery store aisles for mom-friendly snacks, I came across one of my favorite brands, Arla cheeses. Who doesn't love cheese? I grabbed everything I could find, knowing I could whip up some yummy snacks and filling lunches with these packaged cheeses that all tout no added hormones, no artificial flavors, & no preservatives. I could also pronounce all of the ingredients on the back of the label, which is always a plus!

The Mediterranean Garden cream cheese spread is probably my favorite, with the sliced Gouda being a close second. I love spreading it on crackers, dipping pretzels in it, dunking celery sticks in name it! I'll eat it. The packaged cheeses are great for quick sandwiches, grilled cheese, stacking on crackers, and just plain eating them by themselves. I'm definitely guilty of grabbing a slice or two and just gnawing on it while I wipe off the kitchen counters or load the dishwasher. Arla cheeses are perfect for the multitasking moms who need some quick fuel to get through the rest of the day. 

Here's 10 ideas for quick, easy, delicious snacks with Arla products:
  • Cheese & crackers
  • Bagel with cream cheese & fruit 
  • Veggies dipped in cream cheese spread
  • Pretzels dipped in cream cheese spread
  • Turkey and cheese roll ups
  • Grilled cheese sandwich
  • Tuna on crackers with cheese
  • Crusty bread topped with tomatoes and cheese
  • French bread with cream cheese spread
  • Avocado toast with cheese and tomatoes

Arla is encouraging families to live unprocessed. Remember how I mentioned there are no weird sounding ingredients in their cheeses? Well, they asked kids to draw some of those ingredients that are commonly found in dairy products, like Sorbic Acid, Xanthan, and rBST. I asked my nine year old what she thought Sorbic Acid was, and this is what she came up with. When I told her it was actually found in most cheeses, she asked me why someone would put that in our food. Good question! Arla's cheeses are made without it. 

Check out this fun video to learn more about the "Live Unprocessed" campaign. Leave a comment below with your favorite part for a chance to win a sample pack of Arla Products!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Spring is in the air

It's been a long, cold, wet winter here in the Pacific Northwest, but I think it's finally safe to say that spring has officially sprung. We got a lot of snow this year that lingered for some time. This was our first big winter since moving back to our hometown area- I don't remember having snow all the way into March since I was a kid. Thankfully though, the snow is finally gone for good. Just in time for Spring Break! Not that we have anything big planned- just some family time and maybe a few days spent outside cleaning up the yard, riding bikes, or playing around at the park. We're pretty low-key people, especially with another baby now. I love just spending time with my husband and kids, creating smile worthy moments with my favorite people!

My big kids are spending their first part of spring break at their grandma's house with my sister in law. She's awesome and picked them up for the weekend and has been sending me pictures of what they've been up to. 


I leave the 4-wheeling and snake catching to her, and I'm thankful she likes to do those kinds of things with my kids...not really my idea of fun but they seem to be having a blast!

Harper has been exploring the backyard a lot, since we finally have a great outdoor space for the kids to play pretty freely. I love letting her get out and play without having to hover over her constantly. I can see the entire yard from the kitchen window and the dining room slider, and I don't have to worry about her getting into trouble or hurting herself. I found her crouched over a little green caterpillar she found in the grass, and then she proudly showed me to where these cute little flowers were just starting to come up and bloom. Of course she picked them all right after that, but it was still adorable. 

I just love this time of year! Spring always makes me happy. I don't even mind the rainstorms because I'm just thankful it's not snow, plus there's always the chance of a rainbow. Does anyone else get really excited when they see a rainbow? Lily pointed out a good one right out our front door just the other day. 

The warmer weather always puts a smile on my face, which is probably why spring is one of my favorite times of year. Spending time with my kids, relaxing, creating smile worthy moments they will remember well into their adulthood is one of my favorite things. We don't need big plans to enjoy our spring break!

If you want some fun, stress-free ideas for keeping your kids entertained head over to the Goldfish Pinterest page or YouTube channel for inspiration. Whether it's cute little crafts, fun or educational games, kid-friendly snacks for spring break road trips, or just good ol' yummy snacking ideas, Goldfish has some really creative ideas for keeping your hungry kiddos entertained while they snack. 

I hope you're enjoying your spring, whatever the weather is like in your neck of the woods. What are your fun spring break plans? 

A big thank you to Goldfish for sponsoring this post! And thank you to all of my readers for supporting the partners that make this little blog possible.


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