The Next Stage of Toddlerhood.

Potty training… a journey that’s not for the weak.

Last year, I introduced Mila to her little potty. She did okay on it, but would rather go outside like Max. It’s okay. It’s funny and you can most definitely laugh. She’d sit on it through fall and most of winter, but she really was not interested.

Around when COVID hit and when she turned two, we really hit potty training hard. I bought her underwear and she did a good job of letting me know when she had to go. All summer, she’s been amazing with it. When I started working full time at the end of August, she had a few mishaps, but is back to no accidents. She can nap without having one and has slept through the night a few times too.

I’m so proud of her.

The last time I bought diapers, I told myself this was it. It’d be the last time I ever bought them and I’d only buy pull ups from then on. Honestly, I thought it was a lot of wishful thinking. Then, last night she wore her last diaper and were in the land of panties and pulls ups for night time and long periods away.

This is a huge deal. She got a coloring book today to celebrate and a popsicle after school. I tell her she’s my big, good girl so she knows how good of a job she’s doing.

Lasts of anything are hard, even the last diapers.

Ever since losing Jensen, the first and lasts with Mila have been monumental. I know they have a bigger meaning, but I try not to put it all on Mila. I just hope she knows how proud I am of her and all that she does.

Tonight, we’re celebrating being diaper free and the next stage of toddlerhood. I’m so happy to be her mom and can’t wait to see what she does next.

Mom Fail: Dream Edition.

I just want to start off by saying, I’m not exactly sure if this should be categorized as a mom fail, but I’ll leave it up to you at the end.

Mila has long, beautiful, thick hair. It’s always crazy to me to see how much hair she actually has. I think a lot of people dream about their daughters having nice hair, but, if you’re like me, you didn’t realize how much of a struggle it is. She’s had to have her hair brushed EVERY SINGLE DAY since she’s been a newborn and still hates it with a passion. Lately, it’s gotten worse because she doesn’t want to sit down and wait for me to do it.

Since it’s long, it gets a lot of knots and tangles. My mom always called them rats and that’s what I’m calling them for Mila too. Every night and morning, our routine is to get the rats out of her hair. I don’t even know if she knows what a rat looks like or whatever, but she knows it’s bad and needs out.

I wake up and go to sleep talking about these rats, but I didn’t know how much it was impacting me.

After our normal rat evacuation, I ended up falling asleep with her. That night, I had one of the most strangest dreams. There were actual rats everywhere chasing Mila and I had to shoo them away. It was like little faces and eyes constantly looking at me and I was trying to throw them out of the house. I felt like I was struggling through the dream to get them all away and Mila wanted no part of it in my dream either. Just the whole entire night/dream, I was getting rats away from her.

You can laugh. I would laugh too.

Let’s just say, the next day I went to go get detangling hair spray to add to our after bath routine. The less ‘rats’ I have to think of and deal with, the better.

I’ve yet had any other rat related dreams and plan on keeping it that way.

Again, maybe not a mothering fail in terms of not providing for Mila, but definitely a dream fail, to say the least. A little tip to not have rat nightmares, buy detangling spray before that’s what you think of before bed.

Weird Things My Toddler Does: Part Five.

I think we already know two things about toddlers: they’re weird and they love to snack.

Mila is no different.

Usually when she wakes up in the morning, she runs and gets a fruit snack to chomp on. It’s been our routine for weeks. So the other morning when she went to the kitchen to grab a snack, I thought I was going to have to open her fruit snacks up for her. Instead, I heard a dragging sound…

This girl brought a whole bucket of chicken to bed to eat. Not your usual morning snack, right?

After a good laugh, she ran out for something else. I’m partly blaming myself and laziness for not putting things away the night before…

Chicken and a coke. What more could a girl want when she first wakes up? Thankfully, all the coke was gone, but she did eat a bunch.

Toddlers are hungry and weird, but I wouldn’t have it any different.

What’s the weirdest thing you or your toddler has snacked on first thing in the morning?

Monday Recipe: Kielbasa Power Bowl

On Instagram, I noticed this hashtag: #quarantinerecipeswap. So many people are running out of ideas of what to cook next and want to revamp their meals for the month. Believe me, Mila and I are right there too!

Today, I figured I’d share one of the easiest and tastiest recipes I make frequently: a Kielbasa Power Bowl. It can be converted to what you have on hand AND made meatless. Honestly, it’s a pretty simple recipe and seems really basic. Sometimes, that’s all we need though!

Ingredients:

  • One Package of Kielbasa (or a can of chickpeas if you want it meatless)
  • Two Medium Sweet Potatoes
  • 1/2 Yellow Onion
  • Head of Broccoli
  • 2 Medium Peppers (whatever color you like best)
  • 1/4 cup Quinoa
  • Cheese – to sprinkle
  • Balsamic Glaze
  • Olive Oil
  • Spices: salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, Italian seasoning

Feel free to use whatever veggies you have on hand. I typically have all of these at my house. Mila loves broccoli and peppers, so it works out for us. I’ve also made it with carrots, brussels sprouts, and zucchini!

First, preheat your over to 400. Then get to cutting. Everyone has their cutting preference, but this is how I do it. Everything is really ‘eatable’ and not too big. Then I take the veggies and put them in a bowl. I get a coating of olive oil and the mix of seasoning on there. Make sure everything’s covered and put it in a baking pan. After your oven is preheated, put the veggies in there for 10-15 minutes. Put the kielbasa in the same bowl with olive oil and seasoning and wait to add in later.

Then, start boiling water (or broth) for your quinoa. Rinse the quinoa off in a small strainer, or you can do what I do and rinse it off to the best of your abilities without one. It’s always a fun challenges You can follow the packaging directions, but I usually just double the amount of liquid to quinoa. Sometimes I add more, depending on how it cooks. When the water starts boiling, pour your rinsed quinoa in the pot, and turn down the heat some. Stir every so often. It doesn’t take too long to cook; maybe 15 minutes. While it’s cooking, I usually add some spices to taste! After that time, remove from heat, let it stand for about 5-10 minutes and fluff it with a fork.

In the middle of cooking quinoa, your timer will go off for the veggies. Take them out and add the kielbasa in. Give it all a good mix. Put it in for another ten minutes. I usually then take it out, mix everything up once more and stick it in the over another 5-10 minutes too.

Once everything’s cooked and cooled, assemble!

I usually start with the quinoa on the bottom, then lay the kielbasa and veggie mix on top. To add a little something with it, Mila asks for cheese on top (which makes it better, I’ll admit) and ill drizzle balsamic glaze on top. If I have avocados, I’ll slice some for on top as well.

It’s truly an easy meal that’s packed with veggies and taste so good! Mila, Miss Picky Eater lately, are her whole bowl.

I hope you enjoy this recipe and try it soon! This week I’ll make a new recipe and share how it goes with you guys. If you have any recipes to share for the swap, comment below and I’ll try them out!

Mom Tip of the Week: Pasta Edition

Once upon a time, Mila was an amazing eater. She would try anything put in front of her and clear her plate. That time is now gone.

Somedays, I’m excited if she eats a handful of nuts and some dry cereal for the whole day. Others, she eats everything in sight so I keep giving her more to store up for other days. It’s a constant battle in toddler world.

Anyways, one staple for Mila is pasta and red sauce with a ton of cheese; she’d eat a bag of cheese a day if I let her. I think she likes it causes it the messiest thing she can possibly eat. It does taste good too, but… One thing I’ve learned to do to sneak some protein in there and fill her (and me) up with less pasta is adding beans.

Beans can sometimes be intimating to cook with or introduce, but when added with pasta, red sauce, and cheese, you don’t even notice them in there. They’re such an amazing source of protein and, again, you can’t taste them.

Before adding them into the pasta, I usually put salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and onion and garlic powder to it. It just spices it up a little.

That’s what it ends up looking liked when it’s mixed. Obviously you can see them in there super up close, but when you’re enjoying dinner (and have a mountain of cheese on it if you’re Mila) it’s just like a typical bowl of pasta.

It’s Mila approved in our house and I’m interested to see if it’s toddler approved across the board. Next time you have pasta, try this little mom tip and let me know how it works for you.

Weird Things My Toddler Does: Part Four.

This may not look like a weird thing, but it’s the strangest to me.

Since Mila was first born, she’s HATED sitting in the car seat and she still does. She would scream until we got to our destination; nothing would calm her down. It made driving not so fun and I’ve been waiting for her to ‘grow out of it.’

Turns out, all I needed to do was bring it inside. I was looking for her for ten minutes and didn’t even think to check the car seat, but there she sat.

Maybe next time she faces her comfy chair in the car, she’ll remember it’s not so bad.

Toddlers are weird.

Meatless Monday: Fiesta Bowl

Let’s discuss my weird obsession with Mexican food. I feel like I’m always craving it and it’s easily adjustable for meatless Monday’s. Maybe it’s my love for rice and avocados, but any time I look for a new recipe, it’s usually what I find.

After a busy day yesterday and a swollen ankle (I hurt it a few weeks ago and it hasn’t gotten any better, actually it’s been worse this last week), I knew I wanted to try something quick and easy. Usually I go to recipes I’ve made before, but last night I was feeling inspired.

A quick look on Pinterest led me to a crunchwrap recipe. Mila and I both LOVE crunchwraps when we go to Taco Bell. I figured I’d give it a go… how hard could it be?

I got all my ingredients ready and even spiced up the rice. Everything was tasting and looking amazing. Let’s just say, I was feeling proud of myself. Until, I got to the wrap and folding part of the meal. Then it all went bad.

Okay. I’m just going to be very blunt, I failed miserable. For about ten minutes, I tried different ways to wrap it. Each time, everything in the middle would fall out making more and more disappointed. After twenty different tries to keep it all together, I gave up. I tasted everything and realized it was all good. Maybe I didn’t need a wrap… so I created what is now known in our family… The Fiesta Bowl.

Since COVID has been here, I’ve realized I’m just amazing at gathering ingredients, seasoning them, and throwing them in a bowl.

The Fiesta Bowl:

Ingredients:

  • One can of black beans
  • One tomato (I used Roma because it’s what I had in hand
  • 1 medium green peppee
  • 1 medium avocado
  • Mexican shredded cheese
  • Sour cream (optional)
  • Avocado ranch (optional)
  • Seasoned brown rice (spices used: salt, pepper, paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, oregano)

It’s a pretty simple recipe and standard ingredients I use all the time. As you can tell if you’ve looked at some of the things I’ve posted. The spices in the rice were amazing. They completely changed the taste of the almost crunchwrap. Unfortunately I didn’t have cumin, but I’m actually glad I didn’t because it tasted so good. The fresh vegetables were refreshing and we have leftovers for lunch!

The longest part was cooking the rice (and figuring out I couldn’t fold tortillas), but it was easy for me with Mila and Max running around. After it was all thrown together in the bowl, I realized I needed to name it something fun after the craziness. Plus, it did really taste like a fiesta in my mouth too.

Another positive with this recipe and really these ingredients in general is Mila loves it and I know a lot of other toddlers who approve too.

Meatless Monday: Spanish Rice

This is a tiny bit of false advertisement. I’m going to give you two recipes because when I made my Spanish Rice, I also added some chicken thighs with it too. It tasted amazing! Mila loved it as well.

So Mila and I LOVE different types of food. Last week, with Cinco de Mayo, we made different Mexican food and this Spanish Rice dish. I will admit, we did order out for Cinco de Mayo, which was…. interesting to say the least. Turns out, you should call waaaaay beforehand when ordering Mexican on Cinco de Mayo, during a worldwide pandemic. Who would’ve known?

Anyways, so this recipe was given to me a couple weeks ago and I figured I’d try it. I love recipes that are easy to make and that are tasty. It’s something I could throw together and walk away from while attending Mila’s daily dinner crisis. This recipe would have worked great without the chicken thighs I added, they needed cooked, so don’t blame me. I also added black beans, which could have just been the protein for the meal. Without going on forever, here’s the recipes.

Without me chatting too much, here’s the good stuff…

Spanish Rice Ingredients:

  • 1 cup uncooked brown rice
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes and chilies
  • 2 tapblespoons of taco seasoning mix
  • Shredded cheese (optional)
  • 1 avocados (optional)
  • 1 can of black beans (optional

Combine rice, water, tomatoes, and taco seasoning in a large saucepan or pot (like I did). Bring it to a boil. Then reduce the heat to low and cover, simmering for 45 minutes. Remove from heat and let it stand for 5 minutes. If you’re adding beans to your rice, I’d do it before the 5 minute warning so they can get nice and heated up. Fluff the rice up with a fork and add in your extras if you choose so. If not, enjoy as is!

Taco Chicken Thighs:

  • 3 chicken thighs, skinless and boneless (use as many as you need and adjust accordingly, this is what I had left)
  • Olive oil (I didn’t measure. I’ve never claimed to be a top chef, guys!)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Taco Seasoning Packet (what you didn’t use with the Spanish Rice)

Preheat your oven to 400. While it’s preheating, rinse your chicken thighs and pat them dry. Once they’re dried throw them in a bowl with the olive oil, salt and pepper, and the taco seasoning. Make sure there’s seasoning covering the thighs and place them on a baking sheet. Once the oven is preheated, cook them for about 20-25 minutes. Once they’re done, you could shred them or cut them in strips. I did the latter, which was amazing for us.

This really is a quick and simple recipe you can make if you’re busy. Just set timers for everything and it’ll cook itself, really. Mila really enjoyed the chicken thighs (it’s not fun to convince her to eat chicken breasts) and rice is one of her favorite meals. Yes, rice is considered a meal for Mila. Some days are just a win when she’ll eat anything. It’s a toddler world and I’m just living in it.

So, although I didn’t completely go meatless for this meatless Monday recipe, there’s a lot of options to take the core of this meal and make it a meatless one.

Quick and Easy Mother’s Day DIYs.

Scrambling to quickly get a gift together for Mother’s Day? You’ve came to the right post.

For the last week, I’ve been looking around the house to see what Mila and I can up-cycle and make for Mother’s Day gifts. All of these items can be found at home or a quick trip to any store really. Mila helped me with all of these projects and some of them (you’ll be able to see) I worked on a little extra too. If you have older kids, they’ll definitely be able to help out more!

Seed Bombs

When I think of Mother’s Day, I think about flowers. I know a lot of people love planting this time of year and I wanted to combine that with something Mila loves, getting dirty. This recipe was in this month’s Mommy and Me Art Box.

You’ll need:

  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1/3 cup of water
  • 2 cups of soil
  • 2 packets of flower

Mix the dirt, flower, and water up until you get a sticky concoction. Once it starts sticking to the spoon and forming together, add the two packets of seeds too. Mix them evenly in the mixture. Then either use cookie cutter to form shapes or make little balls. Let them dry out. She recommended two days, but I think mine were pretty good after a day!

Mila LOVED sticking her hand to help me mix it. She also enjoyed forming the shapes we did. It’s toddler friendly, but she needed a little more guidance than an older child. As with anything, right?

I packaged mine in tissue paper to give to my family. They’ll just need to put them in their flower garden or pots and water like normal.

Another suggestion if your child is going to see their grandma or other mother figure is to bring these ingredients and make them with each other.

Coffee and Coconut Body Scrub

What’s more pampering than body scrub? And you probably have everything needed to make it in your house, right now.

What you need…

  • 1 cup of coffee grounds
  • 1/2 cup of coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract (optional, but smells amazing)

Mix the ingredients all together and once its blended evenly (sort of liked crushed Oreos) put them in a jar! Yes, it’s that easy.

To use this scrub, I’ve used it in the shower. Just get enough to scrub on whatever body part and rinse off with warm water. Your skin will feel so much softer. I’ve read online (but I’m not a scientist or anything), that coffee helps tighten the skin. If anything, it makes your skin feel softer and it smells amazing.

I loved making this with Mila because if it got outside the bowl, it wasn’t a big deal. Plus, I feel like kids connect so much when they can cook with you. She loves putting the ingredients in the bowl and stirring. It was also funny to watch her smell it and have to persuade her not to eat anything!

Tin Can Vases

This is probably the easiest one on the list and it came out SO cute.

All I used was a can I washed out and scrap material. My material was the cover/bag that a sheet set came in. You could use an old shirt or any fabric that you’re wanting to throw away to give it a second life. Just measure how long the fabric needs to be to tie it around and then knot or bow it.

The opportunities on how you do this is endless. I love the way these two came out and am so glad I made them. Once I get another big can, I’ll definitely be making one for myself!

For this project, Mila didn’t technically help with the finished project. Since I was using scissors, I had her practice cutting with her kid’s scissors. She cut a few things then wanted to run around, which gave me time to finish them. This would be a nice project for older kids.

This little vase could be used to store lots of things or fill it up with handpicked flowers or handmade ones…

Bouquet of ‘Flowers’

If you’re scrambling or can’t find any flowers at the store or wherever, handmade flowers are so fun to make with your kids. Mila loves to paint and draw, so it’s a good fit for our little family. You can use different techniques or even have your older child cut flowers out, but I specifically did things age appropriate for Mila.

Fork Flowers– For these little flowers, I had four different paints in little bowls. Mila used a fork (one for each color) as a paint brush. It was different for Mila to use the fork, but she seemed to think it was interesting. She played around with it for about fifteen minutes. I haven’t done this yet, but I’m going to cut little parts of the painting and glue it to pipe cleaners.

Plastic Bottle Flowers– First, I preheated the oven to 250 before I even showed Mila how to color these. There’s so many times I forget to preheat and it takes me so much longer. Then, I used some plastic bottles that were waiting to be recycled and cut the bottoms off. I had Mila use permanent markers to color them. When she was finished, I cut ‘petals’ (slits) and put them on a baking sheet. After, I threw them in the oven to bake for a little while. Honestly, I forgot they were in there and put Mila down for a nap… oops. They didn’t melt and I think they turned out really cute. I’ll either glue these on craft sticks or pipe cleaners to put in the bouquet too.

Mila also wanted to paint her hand, so we’ll use one of these as flowers as well. To fill up the bouquet, you could help draw flowers with your child or even make some out of pipe cleaners. Either way, this will be the cutest bouquet your loved one will get.

Watercolor Cards

This one was a lot of fun to do. I love making handmade cards for people. It just shows so much personality and just that extra little touch.

Mila painted these cards a few days ago. It was a salt technique too, which made the prints seem to have glitter on them. While she napped, I got creative and made more flowers. On the back, I’ll write a little message and have Mila ‘sign’ it too. The opportunities are endless with these and they can be as elaborate as you’d like them to be!

I hope you like these little DIYs. They’re not exclusively for Mother’s Day either! If you decide to do any of them, I’d love see your pictures!