10 On-the-Go Toddler Snacks

Hey y’all! Happy Tuesday to YOU! I hope you all enjoyed a wonderfully relaxing weekend. Today I’m sharing with you our top 10 toddler snacks that are easy to pack and make our days on the go doable without *too* many meltdowns, because let’s just say that a hungry toddler is a cranky one!

We have been going all in on the weaning process this past week which means that I no longer pack bottles while we’re out and about during the day. James is now only drinking 8oz of milk/formula before his nap and another 8oz before bed. Other than that it’s real food, whole milk, and water for this little guy. Which means, the snack monster is in full force! Let’s take a look at what we’re loving in the snack department these days.

GOLDFISH

Classic? Yes. Toddler approved? Absolutely! I honestly forgot about this childhood snack until this past summer when it seemed like every kid on the playground was carrying around a container or small bag of goldfish. James included. Is it the healthiest snack option? Not necessarily, but I wouldn’t say it’s the worst choice either. I feel like goldfish are just one of those mess free, kid-friendly snacks you can count on time and time again. While the foodie in me always wants to try every flavor of goldfish on the market (and there’s a lot!), I usually try to stick with the classic cheddar flavor for James because I don’t want his taste buds to explode with all of the new and improved flavors out there. We do occasionally get the vanilla cupcake, or flavor blasted though πŸ™‚

APPLESAUCE POUCH

Kids these days. They are being raised in an era of food pouches. Pouches like this didn’t exist when I was a young child, but I remember my sister and I purchasing them in high school because they caught our eye at the grocery store. As a mom, I was a little skeptical of the pouch at first, but I have quickly realized the simplicity and ease of packing and serving James an applesauce pouch while we’re on the go. The thought of bringing a container of applesauce and a spoon sounds like a lot of work, not to mention a mess. Whereas with a pouch, James can happily sit in his stroller or run around on the playground while enjoying his applesauce. We’ve tried other flavors of pouches as well, there are so many on the market! The target brand has some unique flavor combinations and are some of the most affordable ones I’ve found, but they are hit or miss with James. Applesauce on the other hand is always a win!

CRACKERS AND PEANUT BUTTER

I like to make homemade crackers and peanut butter for a few reasons. First, it only takes less than a minute to smear some peanut butter on a cracker and sandwich it together with another cracker on top. By making the PB crackers homemade I get to control how many I pack rather than the standard 6 sandwiches that come in the packages. I know that James is only going to eat one or two at the most, so it saves me the stress of letting the others go stale. And I get to control how much peanut butter is in the middle, and it tastes so much creamier than the store bought versions. Don’t get me wrong, I still love a good package of pre-made crackers and peanut butter but why spend the money when you’ve got a sleeve of Ritz on hand and a jar of peanut butter in the pantry?

FRUIT STRIPS

A childhood favorite in my family, and now one of James’s as well. Nutritionally speaking, they’ve got a little bit of added sugar but I’m definitely not in the parenting category of limiting all sugar from James’s diet. And if his sugar intake is in the form of fruit strips, it can’t be all that bad…right? His dentist might disagree… But here we are, and they are an easy to pack, mess free snack that is always received with a smile.

BANANA

A whole food makes the list! While this list is primarily packaged snacks, because #convenience, I consider the peel on a banana to be packaging more or less. It’s the easiest whole fruit to pack on the go for a toddler. Sometimes I’ll fill James’s snack container with blueberries or other cut up fruit, but when I’m looking for something to throw in the diaper bag in a flash, a banana it is! We’re almost to the point where he can eat apples, but as of now they get chewed up and spit out. Not exactly a mess I want to clean up all the time.

GRAHAM CRACKERS

Animal crackers could share this spot too because I consider the two to be interchangeable. Simple, not too sweet, and usually not too messy. The crumbs though… that reminds me, I need to bring our vacuum out to the car to suck up the crumb collection James has building up in his car seat. Yikes!

VEGGIE STRAWS

I thought for sure this snack would be too crunchy for a toddler with only 9 teeth in his mouth, but James loves these things! He seems to eat them with little to no difficulty. They must break down easily even without a solid set of teeth.

CHEESE STICK

A snack that won’t last long unless it’s in a cooler but if you know you’re going to be eating it soon, why not throw it in the diaper bag. Cheese sticks take up almost no space, and offer a boost of protein amongst the carb and fruit filled snack options on this list. To my dismay James is not a cheese stick lover, but as I have heard from parents before, don’t give up. Offering the same foods over and over may just be the key to convincing your picky eater to give them a try, and maybe even enjoy it?!

SNACK BARS

Did anyone else grow up in the Nutrigrain bar era? Is that still going because I fell off the train. Either way, these bars are perfectly toddler sized and look like mini Nutrigrain bars. The sugar content makes me cringe slightly, but it’s hard to find kid-approved snacks that don’t have a little bit of added sugar. A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, right? Haha.

TEENSY SNACKS

My mom was the one that first introduced James to these teeny tiny, flat fruit snacks designed specifically for babies. We were on vacation in South Carolina this summer and I put “baby snacks” on the grocery list, and one of the items she brought home were these. James immediately approved! Ok, so the real inside scoop on these fruit snacks, use them to your advantage. I quickly realized that these things are basically the equivalent of dog treats. When you want your child to behave, fruit snacks are the secret. When we were on the plane ride home from South Carolina and James was all kinds of fussy, I slowly handed him one flat fruit snack at a time, and he looked at me begging for more. It offered us a brief moment of peace on the plane as he was happily memorized, chewing down these tiny treats.

There’s the complete toddler list, now I just need to put together a list of grown-up snack options. I’ve been in a bit of a snack rut lately and I’d love to get out of it!

Question of the Day: What are you or your kids snacking on lately?

Fall Friday Coffee Date

Happy Fri-YAY everyone, anyone getting fries to celebrate?! Haha, kidding. But I know someone that wouldn’t turn down a french fry at the sound or smell of one…James. But I titled this a coffee date, so I’m thinking I need to switch gears here. Join me with a cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate (tis’ the season) and let’s chat! How has the week been for you? A good one I hope!

A picture of the most delicious veggie and cheese omelet I got for breakfast the other day at a diner, because I always drink my hot chocolate too fast to take a picture πŸ˜‰

Josiah was off this past week, and while we didn’t travel anywhere it has been a very pleasant staycation for our family. I can’t downplay it too much because we did splurge at the beginning of the week with a most wonderful spa day(!!). It was a much appreciated and enjoyed day of relaxation and pampering. In addition to our signature massages, we enjoyed our time soaking in the hot tub, napping in the peaceful relaxation room, dipping our feet in the warm foot pool, eating a delicious lunch outside looking out at a fairytale pond and gardens, and concluding with luxurious showers and all of the beautifully scented spa products. Ahhh, to live in that kind of paradise forever…we can only dream.

After our day at the spa on Monday, it was back to reality the rest of the week! Cue all of the toddler entertainment and drama. We’ve been trying to keep things as fun and relaxing as possible though in true vacation spirit. I feel like we’ve been eating out more, mostly takeout, but any break from cooking is a vacation for me! And I’ve been letting my usual chores slide a bit in favor of relaxing during James’s naps. Although I got quite a bit of cleaning and laundry done yesterday and despite dragging my feet with all of it, clean sheets and a (mostly) clean apartment does make it feel worthwhile.

Field trip to the mall!

I’m thinking this weekend we’ve got to dive head first into some kind of fall activity. I can’t take it any longer, I need to fully embrace this season and the idea of going to a pumpkin patch, corn maze, or apple fest, all sound amazing! Especially if there is some kind of treat involved, like a warm apple fritter…mmmm πŸ˜‰ I guess I’m feeling especially excited too because I think James will enjoy any kind of fall venue this year and I love experiencing things that are new to him through his eyes. It’s one of my favorite parts about parenting.

James’s first ride on the carousel

Let’s talk about YOU! Any fun and festive weekend plans on the agenda? Are you team apple or pumpkin this time of year? Tough decisions! Another burning question I’ve got for you is, apple cider donut or apple fritter? I don’t even know if I could decide!

Have a great weekend folks! We’ll talk soon πŸ™‚

Toddler Meals: 17 Months Old

Another month down, and James is another month older. Which means, he’s got another roundup of meals to share with you guys! This month has been tricky. It seems like he’s all about the not-so-healthy foods these days, and the healthier options on his plate just gets spit out or thrown on the floor. I can’t help but blame myself for this because I often cave to his persistent “nom nom” when we’re in the grocery store and he spots the bakery, or his eyes catch a glimpse of the dish of candy corn on the counter, or I decide to give him an oreo for the first time and now he wants them all the time, or the milkshake and fries he ate at Five Guys the other night with endless amounts of ketchup.

His desire to eat has certainly spiked this month…in the junk food department. But we do our best, and I know that I offer him plenty of healthy foods to balance out the treats. Plus, I definitely grew up eating my fair share of donuts and candy, and now I love all foods. So there’s hope! Without further ado, let’s dive into some toddler meals, shall we?

BREAKFAST

Cashew butter toast, orange slices, and honey nut cheerios.

Waffle with peanut butter, banana slices, and yogurt.

Cinnamon raisin bagel with butter, strawberries, and yogurt.

Half of a greek yogurt whole wheat muffin, banana slices, and yogurt.

Banana pancake with nut butter, an orange cranberry scone, and yogurt.

Cinnamon raisin toast with sunflower butter, fried egg, and strawberries.

Yogurt, banana slices, and cheerios.

Toast with nut butter, banana slices, and strawberries.

Pancake with nut butter, cheerios, and strawberries.

LUNCH

Peanut butter and jelly toast, fried egg, and watermelon.

Annie’s mac and cheese, cucumbers, peppers, and watermelon.

Egg salad sandwich, homemade applesauce, and potato chips.

Cashew butter toast, cheese crackers, cucumbers, and peppers.

Leftover mushroom spinach beef pasta, grapes, and a cheese stick.

Lentil veggie bolognese with tortellini, watermelon, and a peanut butter cracker sandwich.

DINNER

Cheese pizza, caesar salad, and a chocolate chip banana oatmeal muffin.

Pepperoni pizza chicken, homemade bread and butter, and applesauce.

Tater tots, grilled cheese, cucumbers, peppers, and strawberries.

Broccoli cauliflower cheddar soup, croissant, and cantalope.

Pasta with meatballs and marinara, caesar salad, and homemade applesauce.

Leftover pepperoni pizza chicken, green beans, tortellini, and cantalope.

Homemade chicken nuggets with ketchup, corn on the cob, and chopped salad.

Veggie lentil bolognese with spaghetti, cucumbers, and watermelon.

Chicken and veggie fried rice, applesauce, and corn on the cob.

Mushroom spinach beef pasta, grilled cheese, and peppers.

Whew! Lots of meals to feed a toddler every day! No wonder why I get stuck in food ruts with this kid. I never know whether I’m offering James too much variety or too little. It can get discouraging to put new foods on his plate only to get rejected, but I’ve also noticed that he’ll get tired of eating the same foods over and over…still trying to find a balance that works for us.

Question of the Day: What kind of eater were you as a kid?

Happy eating everyone πŸ™‚

Hello, October!

Happy Friday, friends! Is anyone else in shock that it’s already October? I feel like I say this with every passing month, but seriously, what happened to September!? We are definitely in pumpkin season now, cupcakes anyone?

We’ve had a week over here. The common cold made it’s way through our family starting on Monday, well for two of us at least. We’re hoping and praying that Josiah stays healthy. He’s on vacation next week and it would be great to enjoy a week of family time, and feeling good! I’m now considering James and I to be seasonal cold getters, as in we come down with a cold every season of the year. I’ve never been sick so often since being pregnant, followed by motherhood. I think babies are more prone to sickness because their immune systems haven’t fully developed, and while my immune system puts up a fight, after a few days of direct exposure to coughing and sneezing, it’s a lost cause.

Here’s a picture of the 4 boxes of tissues I went through on Wednesday…just what you wanted to see! But seriously, I don’t know how parents of young children do it. Josiah works long hours on Wednesday’s which happened to be the day I was feeling the worst. I barely survived the 7am-1pm stretch with James, and honestly had an emotional breakdown at 12pm because I felt so sick, defeated, and drained. Taking care of a 17 month old with a lot of needs is hard enough when you’re healthy, but when you feel like you’re barely surviving the day yourself, it can be VERY difficult to cater to your baby.

And that’s why on Wednesday afternoon after James’s nap, I threw everything in the car and we drove over to my parent’s house. I don’t know what I would have done otherwise. My mom stopped by the grocery store on her way home from work and made us grilled cheese and chicken noodle soup for dinner along with fresh squeezed orange juice. She set me up with pillows, blankets, and tissues on the couch and James was happily entertained with wagon rides, swinging, cars, pets, and exploring, as Grammy and Pappy took the reigns and I was able to rest.

I’m not sure if a post talking about being sick is really beneficial for those of you reading, but it’s real life and you know I try to keep things as open and honest on here as possible. When you plan for your week to look one way, but sickness strikes, you’ve just got to make the most of it. I’ve been trying to get James out of the house as much as possible this week, and we’ve been frequenting a very quiet park and playground near our apartment. It has been a good way for him to get fresh air and burn energy without exposing our sickness to anyone. We’ve got a family farm day on Saturday and a friend get together Sunday afternoon. Hopefully with the timing of our sickness, we’ll be more or less good to go for a weekend of fun!

Thanks for stopping by πŸ™‚ Here’s to good health and a beautiful fall weekend!

Toddler Meals: 16 Months Old

Hey guys! I didn’t mean to go MIA on you this past week. The days kept getting away from me and I have been finding myself with very little time to blog. I realize that I could probably make time by waking up earlier or writing after James goes to bed, but I didn’t feel like pushing myself to those limits this week. I hate to be an inconsistent blogger, but I also don’t want to put a lot of pressure on myself to publish a set number of posts every week. My full time job is being a wife and mom right now and it has felt like all of that and more lately chasing around a 16 month old that seems to have never ending energy!

Speaking of James, another month is well underway and I have not shared a recap of last month’s meals. In true summer fashion, I neglected to take a lot of meal photos last month but I’ll share what I’ve got. If you’re looking for meal inspiration for your little ones or wondering what a 16 month old baby eats, keep on scrolling!

BREAKFAST

Toast with peanut butter, cheerios, and mixed berries.

Banana oat pancakes topped with peanut butter, yogurt that looks like ice cream because it froze in the fridge, and blueberries.

French toast topped with sunflower butter, Life cereal with milk, and cherries.

Blueberry pancakes topped with cashew butter, and yogurt.

Fluffy whole wheat zucchini pancakes topped with sunflower butter, yogurt, and berries.

More blueberry pancakes topped with peanut butter, banana slices, and multigrain cheerios.

Fried eggs over buttered toast, mixed berries, and yogurt.

Pancakes topped with peanut butter, yogurt, and strawberries.

More eggs and toast, mixed berries, and banana slices.

Pancakes topped with nut butter, bananas, and an apple cider DONUT(!!).

Banana zucchini baked oatmeal, yogurt, and blueberries.

LUNCH

Peaches, cheese stick, and vanilla cupcake goldfish.

Toast with peanut butter, applesauce, and bell peppers.

Peanut butter and jelly sandwich, apple slices, and bell peppers.

Peanut butter and jelly, cucumber slices, crackers and cheese.

Turkey and cheese sandwich, apples, grapes, and a chocolate chip zucchini cookie.

Peanut butter and jelly toast, roasted veggie orzo, and applesauce.

DINNER

Spaghetti with creamy tomato basil sauce and peas, bread, and watermelon.

Waffle fries, chicken tenders, cherries, and tomato slices.

Cheese pizza, cucumber and pepper slices, and watermelon.

Some kind of veggie stir fry with rice, watermelon, and shredded mozzarella.

Veggie burger with ketchup, crackers and peanut butter, watermelon, applesauce and pasta salad.

Apparently I did a lot better at taking breakfast photos than any other meal. Ooops!

I’ve said this before, but don’t go thinking that James is a perfect eater. A lot of these plates go uneaten or he will only eat the food he’s familiar with on his plate. We are also very much in a food throwing phase so often times his entire meal ends up on the floor…life with a toddler!

I do my best to add variety to his meals and slowly introduce new foods to him. It’s easy to get discouraged when he seems to be more interested in playing with and throwing his food vs. eating it. I find myself saying “why do I even bother” after a lot of meals just because I try hard to make his plates appetizing in both taste and appearance and to see all of that hard work get thrown on the floor can be frustrating.

That’s a quick update for you on where we are with eating these days. I hate to say it, but James is still drinking a lot of bottles and I’m convinced he doesn’t want to let the milk/formula go as his primary food source. Although it very well could be me who’s hanging on to the comfort of bottles. One of these days he’ll be weaned!

I hope you all are having a great week so far! Talk to you soon πŸ™‚

A Tuesday In The Life: August 2021

Good morning and happy September! I’ve got a day in the life post for you guys today. If you’re wondering what it’s like to parent a 16 month old, this is the post for you. I tried to keep the words short and let the pictures do the talking, because there’s a lot of them!

Our day started with some salted brown butter banana zucchini baked oatmeal that I made during nap time Monday. Thanks to my meal prep, breakfast on Tuesday (and the rest of the week) was a breeze.

Unfortunately James is not a fan of oatmeal in any form. I guess it’s the texture? He won’t eat baked oatmeal, creamy oatmeal, or anything in between. Looks like he’ll be eating something else for breakfast the rest of the week…

Shortly after breakfast cleanup we hit the road and went to my elementary school playground for a change of scenery. We got there pretty early and no one else was out. Without anyone to play with James got bored quickly and started wandering in all directions. He has much more fun when other kids are involved.

Swings are his favorite thing ever right now. He loves both the baby swings and adult swings in the form of sitting on our lap and going extra high.

Despite the playground being too quiet for this little guy, it was a beautiful morning to be outside! Look at those blue skies!

Next stop, the lake! I was torn between taking him to my parents house or continuing our outdoor adventures. I think I chose correctly because as soon as James saw the lake he immediately starting running towards it saying “baaaaa”, his current word for water.

The boat launch was a little slippery so while James would have loved to run straight into the water, I tried to keep him close to shore. Not to mention his lack of swimsuit. I had one packed, I just didn’t have a chance to put it on him because he ran to the water so fast.

Little lake lover.

We enjoyed spending a good amount of time at the boat launch watching all kinds of boats and swimmers come in and out of the water. There was a playground at the park too where we met the nicest mom and her two little girls. James was more than thrilled to find friends to follow around exploring everything.

A quick stop for lunch to-go (for me), and car snacks for James…until he fell asleep of course.

Sometimes if he falls asleep in the car I’ll just transfer him to his crib for his afternoon nap, but it was a little early. I woke him up when we got home and he quickly transitioned back into play-mode while I put together his lunch of PB&J, cheese crackers, and cucumber.

All was yummy except for the cucumber slices which were left untouched…

As I was cleaning up lunch someone decided to get into trouble.

We have most of our cupboards child-proofed, but James (of course) knows the ones that aren’t and gets into them before I can stop him.

Trying to get him to relax for a few minutes on the couch, he’s an endless ball of energy!

Sipping some iced tea while…

Doing some meal prep.

Meanwhile, a good reminder why I wait until nap time to do anything relaxing or productive.

We made it! After a busy morning James was ready for a nap.

And I was too, but house duties called, in the form of bathroom cleaning. Blah.

Bathroom cleaning was followed by a much needed shower and sitting down to write a blog post, my favorite part of the afternoon!

I decided to bring back a favorite of rice crispies topped with banana slices and a drizzle of honey as my afternoon snack yesterday. Do you ever go back to your childhood snacks and wonder where they have been all these years?!

Once James (begrudgingly) awoke from his nap, it was time for a bottle and some couch cuddles. He has been waking up slowly in the afternoon’s and I am happy to snuggle with him as he eases back into the day.

A walk down the road to Grandma’s was next on our activity list for the day. We picked up some fresh basil from her garden, and played and chatted for a while with her, Grandpa,and Uncle John.

We came home around 5:30 and were excited to see Josiah home from work as well! I quickly made our dinner which was this burst tomato and burrata pasta ( I subbed mozzarella), and it was SO GOOD! I’ll be sure to share more details in the food highlights from this week. We enjoyed our bowls of spaghetti with green beans and garlic bread. The best!

James was smacking his lips while eating his plate of food, you know it’s good when it’s lip smackin’ worthy. Haha.

The aftermath of James’s play sessions at home. Even though we were out and about a lot, he still manages to create a mess. Josiah cleaned up dinner while I played with James.

And then we tried to sit down for a minute on the couch together…

Someone does not like to be left out!

Much better πŸ™‚

After a final post-dinner run around for James, it was bath and bed time for this little guy. I have my women’s Bible study on Tuesday nights and had a great study with the ladies! Once I had signed off of Bible study, Josiah and I caught up a little bit (distraction free) and went to bed right around 9:30pm.

I’m finishing this post Wednesday morning, and I see James stirring in his crib. Looks like it’s time to start another day. I hope you guys have a wonderful Wednesday!

Quick Catch Up + Fall Baking List

Hey y’all! How’s it going? It’s been a while since we’ve chatted. What’s new with you?

I am just doing the whole mothering thing over here for the most part. Playgrounds have been our hangout of choice. I love meeting other mom’s, dad’s and grandparents and it’s fun to see James interacting with new friends as well. It always feels equally awkward and exciting to meet new people. Maybe it’s an adult thing because James will happily latch on to other kids at the playground and not think twice. Ha!

I can’t believe tomorrow is the first day of September, does that mean we can start celebrating all things pumpkin and apple?

I’m usually ready to get a kickstart on the fall season but this year I feel myself hanging onto the sweet days of summer. I love all of the outdoor time James and I have been spending and I’m thinking we will both miss it when the seasons change.

Let’s talk allergies. Blah. I’m getting hit hard this year on the allergy front. Anyone else suffering with the sniffles? Allergies are the worst.

On a brighter note, what’s on your fall baking list?

Here’s a look at mine so far…

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins: I’m thinking they will be a great snack for all of us this fall, they look easy and healthy which is just what we need to balance out all of the other treats we’ll be eating!

Cinnamon Crunch Bread: This bread looks like a cinnamon roll in bread form and I am a HUGE fan of cinnamon rolls! I also love a bread that turns into great french toast and this screams delicious french toast to me.

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting: My go-to fall recipe for years now. Whenever I bring these cupcakes to a party they are a huge hit! Super moist, bursting with sweet pumpkin flavor, and topped with the creamiest melt-in-your mouth frosting.

Cranberry Whipped Goat Cheese: If you love both cranberry and goat cheese then this looks like a must-make for you too! We don’t do a lot of appetizers around here but I’ll have to keep this in mind for a topping on fall salads or to bring to a party.

Fuji Apple Chicken Salad: Speaking of salad, are there any Panera fuji apple salad fans out there? I’ve been making a homemade version of that salad for a while now and stumbled on this recipe recently for those that want to follow an exact replica. I am so ready to put this salad back on the menu, but trying to hold off a few more weeks!

Baked Apple Cider Donuts: Oops I forgot that I titled this a “baking” list and then got carried away with cheese and salads. For those of you that need more donuts in your life (me!) how about a baked version…I plan to eat multiple fried apple fritter this year, so we’ll see how a baked donut compares. By the looks of these, I have high hopes.

Spiced Apple Zucchini Bread with Cream Cheese Glaze: For those of us looking to hold on to summer while also diving head first into fall, this bread looks like a perfect combination of both. I hope to make it before zucchini season is over.

I’m starting to get that fall baking itch and can’t wait to make some of the goodies I’ve listed above. I hope you’re all enjoying the last day of August! Talk soon πŸ™‚

Question of the Day: What’s on your fall baking list?

Friday Favorites #10

Happy Friday to YOU! How’s the week going? Yay for another summer weekend. Gotta soak up all things sun and summer while it lasts, am I right?! We have a few plans on the agenda including dinner with friends, a church picnic, and an afternoon playdate for James including games and snacks for us and some friends. I’m looking forward to having Josiah home the next couple of days because life is always more fun when he’s around πŸ™‚ Without further ado let’s take a look at what I’ve been loving this week! Feel free to join in in the comments section, I’d love to hear from you!

  • DATE NIGHTS

Speaking of my wonderful husband, let’s talk about how awesome date nights have been the past couple of weeks. I used to take for granted time spent with Josiah, but these days any uninterrupted time together is extra special, especially when it involves a meal that James is not throwing all over the floor. We have been trying to be more intentional about having regular date nights and Thursday’s have worked well with our schedule. It’s nice to have one night a week to look forward too, knowing that we’ll be getting a parenting break to recharge and connect.

  • GRANDPARENTS
My how James has grown in a year!

What a blessing it is for James to have both sets of grandparents right nearby! He has a very close relationship with all of his grandparents and it makes my heart so happy. I can’t wait to see these relationships grow over the years. Grandparent-grandchild connections are as special as it gets.

  • FAMILY TIME

We’ve got quite the theme going so might as well roll with it. Summer get togethers with family are definitely a favorite. Between nice weather, yummy food, and good company, you can’t beat it. As I mentioned in my food highlights yesterday, my sister was in town last week which called for a family dinner at my parent’s house. Despite how close we live to both of our parents, we actually don’t get together for meals too often. It’s a nice treat when we do πŸ™‚

  • MY CUDDLE BUG

Every afternoon this week James has woken up from his afternoon nap wanting to relax in my arms or fall back asleep, as you can see from the photo above. He has been a crib sleeper from the very beginning, I didn’t want him to get in the habit of sleeping on me or Josiah or anywhere else besides his crib, but I’m letting things slide this week because these moments feel fleeting, I want to soak up all of the baby cuddles while I can!

  • AROUND THE WEB

This post from Robyn on career and motherhood has provided me with a lot of reassurance and comfort and a new perspective in times when I’ve felt like the only mom out there who enjoys being a full-time mom. She hasn’t been blogging much these days because she’s busy being a full-time mom herself. But as a Registered Dietitian and Nurse Practitioner, her blog has a wide range of helpful resources when it comes to women’s health and nutrition. She’s a non-diet dietitian as well which I wholeheartedly support! I’ve actually been mentored by Robyn personally and through her “Heal Your Hormones and Get Your Period Back” online course. I love her so much!

I can’t wait to make this Burst Tomato and Burrata Pasta this week. Cherry tomatoes are so good right now! I’m going to sub fresh mozzarella for the burrata because we like mozzarella better (and it’s a whole lot cheaper). I like the taste of burrata, but it’s a little too soft for me.

If you’ve never made soft pretzels before, you’ve got to give it a try! Since we’re having friends over for games and snacks on Sunday, it’s the perfect excuse to make a batch of these tasty twists. The recipe yields 12 pretzels and I usually end up making 1/2 the batch classic salted pretzels and the other half dipped in butter and cinnamon sugar. My mouth is watering just thinking about these!

Question of the Day: What is one thing you’re loving this week?

Have an amazing weekend everyone!

Thoughts on Motherhood and Life Lately

Happy Tuesday evening everyone! I meant to publish this post earlier in the day, but had technical difficulties. I thought that the post had disappeared into thin air at one point! But then it reappeared, woohoo!

I feel like I haven’t been checking in as much and I’m kind of beating myself up over it. I tend to be my worst critic (aren’t we all), and I started this blog as a fun creative outlet for myself. As things usually go for me, the blog has turned into more of an obligation rather than a fun outlet, and I find myself feeling pressured to publish a certain number of posts every week, come up with better content, etc. I don’t want to lose the joy in writing this blog so I’m trying to give myself some grace and allow myself to write spontaneously without a set writing schedule, and write freely about whatever is on my mind rather than focusing on producing quality content.

Motherhood has been all consuming lately. I realize I only have one baby to care for and therefore I do have a decent amount of free time compared to those juggling multiple kids. But a lot of afternoons while James is napping I find myself prepping dinner and staying busy with other chores. I don’t handle boredom well, and I feel the need to stay busy at all times. Deep down I find myself craving rest. It is a lot to chase after a toddler all day, especially since we have quickly transitioned from multiple naps a day to only one. This means there’s only one chance for me to catch up and take a breather myself.

I am currently reading a book that my therapist recommended to me, it’s called “I Hate You, Don’t Leave Me”. It’s all about Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and while I do not meet enough criteria for a diagnosis of BPD I do carry a lot of the same personality traits as someone with BPD. My husband was in my therapy session the other day and being the book lover he is, he asked my therapist for book recommendations. Sure enough he quickly ordered this book from Amazon after she recommended it, and I’ve found myself enjoying it a lot.

Not only does it help me to understand some of my own personality traits, but it has taught me a lot about motherhood and childhood development. It has opened my eyes to cultural shifts, and their impact on the development of BPD and other mental health disorders, including the shift that women have experienced in the past couple of decades which has placed significantly greater pressure women (especially moms) than ever before. The book talks about the changing roles of women over the years including the fact that women used to predominantly carry the role of housewife and mother with no added pressure of external work besides voluntary.

Currently many moms, and families in general are put in a difficult situation. Women were able to stay home and take care of the children and household chores because having a single income was enough to have a decent standard of living. These days, many families are forced to rely on two incomes which often comes at the expense of women trying to juggle not only the household chores and childcare, but also a part or full-time job on top of that. I realize that during this shift, men’s roles have changed as well and they are no longer purely responsible for earning an income, but it is the women that are dealing with the majority of the impact when it comes to adding children into the mix.

All of this to say, it has made me think a lot about my role as a wife and mother. I am almost always feeling guilty about not doing “enough”, whatever that means. I have negative internal thoughts towards myself about not earning an income, or being able to juggle it all like some moms can. I seriously admire those moms that can work a full time job, raise kids, and accomplish the daily demands of life. I don’t think I could do it, nor do I want to. But I feel the pressure of our current culture which says that we have to do it all, and make it look easy at the same time.

Motherhood is the most rewarding incredible experience I’ve ever lived, but it is also exhausting and challenging in ways I could have never imagined. When I find myself racing through the day, I often try and stop to cherish the small moments that are fleeting faster than I can even process. I still don’t know if there is a career out there for me, but I am trying to be patient. James will be an independent adult before I know it, and who knows what will be in store for me then. In the meantime, I love the life I am living and I am blessed to be a full time wife and mom. Most days are a total mess, but it’s a beautiful one (or so I tell myself, haha).

For anyone out there struggling to find worth and meaning in your own life, trust that the Lord has you right where you are meant to be and that you will ALWAYS be enough for Him.

Proverbs 16:1-3 “The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord. All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirit. Commit your work to the Lord and your plans will be established”

Friday Favorites #9

Happy Friday to YOU! I hope that you’re week has been a good one! How’s the weather for you? It’s been a rainy week for us. Just when we were getting into the swing of lake life the weather decides to take a turn…oh well. We made the most of the rainy week and tried to fill it with some fun. Below you’ll find a list of things I’ve been loving this week, feel free to join in in the comments section!

  • THE MALL

You better believe we made our way to the mall on Wednesday when the weather forecast was 100% chance of rain all day. Fortunately a big mall is just 20 minutes away and provided the perfect “indoor playground” for the morning. By the end of our mall visit James was literally on his hands and knees begging to be put in the stroller so that he didn’t have to walk anymore. He proceeded to pass out on the car ride home and transfer easily to his crib for an afternoon nap. Mission successful!

  • ALL THE MESS

Please tell me that I will miss the messiness of toddlerhood. Or will it just get worse as James gets older? How do you raise children to be clean? Am I asking too much?! This is how I get through the mess, I try to laugh through the pain. It seriously causes me stress to watch James eat because it results in this^^or worse at every meal time. I just hope this is normal? There is so much to learn as a first time parent.

  • MORE ZUCCHINI MADDNESS

Aka hiding shredded zucchini in baked goods and pancakes. YUM! We love zucchini season over here, it’s the best addiction to any meal or baked good. This week featured whole wheat zucchini pancakes and chocolate chip zucchini cookies! The pancakes are hands down amazing, but the cookies were a little bit of a let down. They are very good, just a little soft and oaty for me.

  • AROUND THE WEB

This Peach Puff Pastry. I’ve had my eyes on it all week. I’m just trying to figure out how and where to fit it into the meal plan. We’ve been getting the most amazing Pennsylvania peaches recenty, so I really want to make this before peach season is over.

Coconut Rice forever. I’ve despised rice for as long as I can remember. I’m beginning to think it’s because I haven’t had coconut rice in my life up until recently. It is the MOST AMAZING rice you will ever eat. It takes no extra effort, and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to eat plain rice again. It’s rich and creamy and almost buttery in flavor. I could eat a whole bowl of it straight up.

These S’mores Cookie Bars. Who else is all about the s’mores this summer? I’ve been craving a good campfire s’more and stumbled upon these bars the other day. I think they have to be next on the dessert lineup. I’m hoping they satisfy my s’mores loving tastebuds!

Question of the Day: What’s one thing making you smile this week?

Have a great weekend friends!