“BIIIG Mess” – by Austin Pfeffer

So, my son is really good about telling me when he is hungry and is even better at telling me when he absolutely, positively, does NOT want to eat something.
Well, today after Austin ate through a piece of toast, handful of raisins, cup of Apple Jacks, and a whole apple {doesn’t this sound like a page from The Very Hungry Caterpillar} he proceeded to tell me that he was STILL “HANGRY, mama!” I explained that I needed to finish feeding Luke and try to put him to take a nap.

I promised to make him oatmeal when I was done putting Luke down. Well, as I am feeding Luke and he is drifting into dreamland, I hear Austin’s little feet running around the house and cupboard doors slamming. Then it gets quiet …. Really quiet. I am wondering, should I go check on Austin and risk Luke being woke up by my jostling OR should I wait until Luke is completely asleep and sneak out to figure out what Austin is up to. Let me tell you, ladies and gents… you DON’T do the latter. A few minutes later I hear “BIIIG mess” from my toddler who was so obviously pleased with himself.

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I shoot up and Luke is jolted awake. Yay, mom. Great job waking up the baby. The neat freak in me couldn’t handle it. I grabbed Luke and we ran to the kitchen. I followed the sprinkle trail to the play room/living room.

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Austin had decided HE was going to take care of his craving. Of course, in true toddler style he decided sprinkles poured into a silicone muffin mold would be a great snack. Unfortunately, as soon as he found out how much fun shaking the sprinkles out was he decided to carry out his food fun to the rest of the house. JOY.

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I set Luke down by the scattered puzzle pieces to assess the mess. I asked Austin what he was thinking and his reply (in the most pathetic tone) was “I HANGRY, momma. Belly {pointing to his belly} I eat. NUM NUM NUM.” Cue the adorable grin . . .

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I asked him to look at what he had done. His comment? “Make BIIIG Mess.” Yes, yes you did, my son.
Moral of the story?

Tie your toddler down to a chair if you are planning on leaving the room for an extended period of time. 😉
I should add that WHILE I was cleaning up his mess, he decided Luke would taste better with sprinkles on top {wish I snapped that pic}. Also, if you want to test the effectiveness of your vacuum, spill tiny sprinkled about the room. You’ll either be pleasantly surprised or slightly annoyed. Fortunately for me, my vacuum is awesome.

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Foodie Baby Part ONE

Luke has dove MOUTH first into the world of solid food!

Tonight was the first night he got to experience BLW at it’s finest.  This was NOT his first encounter with food, however.

Ever since he was a newborn, he would ALWAYS managed to cry and need something just as dinner was ready for our family.  I would sit down to eat and “WAHHHHHHHH,” a cry would emerge suddenly from Luke’s mouth.  He never failed.  It’s true, mommies usually always eat cold dinners.

When Luke turned 5 months old, I decided to see if it was the food that was making him go nutty during dinner time.  I occasionally would slip him some apple sauce from big brother’s plate.  At first, he looked shocked and then perked up and immediately reached for the spoon, motioning for more and latching onto the spoon with his kung foo-like grip.

This week, I introduced him to watered-down oatmeal (without breast milk).  He was up all night with that little experiment.  The oatmeal or the water made his little tummy upset.

The next time I tried to give him a proper meal, I prepared Happy Bellied Multi-Grain Cereal by Happy Babies with breast milk.  It was a HUGE success.  Luke LOVED it.

In the following attempt, I added pear puree from Happy Babies to his cereal.

Today, I realized that I was going about this ALL wrong.  I had total forgot my Baby Led Weaning (BLW) success with Austin.

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For those of you who don’t know, Baby Led Weaning or BLW means that you let your child feed themselves when they start weaning (at around 6 months).  When they show interest in food or start reaching for food then let them have it!  Of course, food needs to be age appropriate and start off chopped up into baby bite sized pieces (and preferably steamed to a soft consistency).

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No more purees, ice cube trays filled with homemade baby food, no need for those expensive baby food processors, and no rice cereal (which provides little to no nutritional value anyways!).  It’s just Luke getting to eat the same meal as the rest of the family!

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No more mush (well it may be mush once your little one is through with it), lots more fun!

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The best foods to start with using the BLW approach are avocados, butternut squash or sweet potato.

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Tonight, Luke got AVOCADO.  I can’t say he loved it, but I can say he had fun with it.  He got more on his face than he did in his mouth.  My messy boy.  I keep reminding myself that food before 1 is just for fun and he will get most of his nutrients from my breast milk.

I was glad to introduce avocados tonight because I recently scored a huge bag of 25 avocados for $5 this weekend!  Get ready, Luke.  It’s about be Avocado-Palooza!

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Resources:
1.
Solid Food Charts by age:

4-6 Months Old

6-8 Months Old

8-10 Months Old

10-12 Months Old

MY FAVORITE: Solid Food Chart organized by Food Types or the Combined Chart

2. Forbidden Foods that you should wait to introduce to your little one until after a year: honey, peanut butter, tree nuts, citrus or acidic fruits, raw strawberries/blackberries/raspberries, corn, egg whites, whole milk, wheat, grapes, and shellfish.

3. Follow the 4 Day Wait Rule to ensure your child isn’t allergic to the newly-introduced food.

I am BETTER because of THEM ♥

Being a mom is the most rewarding and, at the same time, most difficult job out there.  I am constantly second-guessing myself and wondering if I am doing the right thing by my kids.  I know there is no RIGHT way to do it, but, I guess, all moms feel like they HAVE TO find the right way.  Right now, I just know that I want to be better.

Today, I watched a video shared in one of my mom’s groups.  In the first segment, a group of moms were filmed reflecting on their parenting abilities (all in the negative).  In the second, the same moms watched clips of their little ones proclaiming what they loved most about their moms.  I couldn’t help but sob.

So now I sit here and reflect on myself as a mommy:

I wish I had more patience.  I want to lose my temper less and shrug away the small stuff.  So what if he spilled water (TWICE).  So what if he bleached the rugs.  So what if he won’t eat his dinner.  So what if he spits up on his second outfit of the day.  So what!  The things he ruins are just that… THINGS.  And sometime I need to be reminded of that.

I wish I was less of a perfectionist with my kids.  Yes, they are going to make mistakes and yes, they will make messes.  But to me, their messes are beautiful (and I need to remind myself they are).  Books strewn across the living room and toys scattered across the house are little reminders that we are making memories.  AWESOME memories.  We are playing and learning and growing as a family.  I don’t want my boys to remember me as a “yeller” or a “clean freak.”  I need to PUT DOWN the toy and just let life happen.  We can clean up when the day is done.  The dishes WILL get done, just not right now.

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I wish I had more quality time with them.  Less cleaning, less picking up, less “jobs” to do and more TIME to focus on the most important job — being a mommy to my two amazing boys.  More LEARNING time and more time to introduce them to something new and exciting.

I started working for Origami Owl to have a supplemental income that would provide more fun for our family and allow me to stay at home with my boys.  I, recently, had to remind myself to STOP working and be with my boys.  This was, after all, for them.  So, I only work during bedtime and naptime.  I was consumed with it in the beginning and now I’ve toned it down a little for the sake of my boys.

REMEMBER ASH, It is FOR THEM.  If they are suffering from this then it is time to stop.

How do I know that I am getting something right? That I AM a great mommy?

The excitement I see in his eyes when he spots me from across the room

When he asks for a hug

When he only wants ME to hold him

When he follows me around the house.

Hearing “momma” in his loving tone

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Toothless grins

Belly-laughs

Surprise kisses

… and many other little reminders

I am thankful for each day I have with them and how much they have helped me grow as, not only a mother, but a person.  I am, without a doubt, better because of them and I hope someday they will feel that they are better because of me.

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Watch the VIDEO here: These Kids Finally Say What They Really Think About Mom. And Her Reaction? Priceless.

A { BLESSED } life

MY STORY BEGINS with a loving mother + a hardworking father. Mornings filled with praise + guidance, evenings spent at the dinner table recanting the day’s events, + nights filled with bedtime stories and kisses goodnight.

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IT CONTINUED with a childhood full of excitement, LOVE, family, + friends.
The people in my life inspiring, motivating, + pushing me to be the best ME that I could possibly be.

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I made mistakes, I learned from them. I pushed myself + GREW. I accepted change + challenges and rejected hate + fear.
I GREW as a student. I GREW as a daughter. I made myself GROW as a person.

I thought to myself, “it can’t get any better than this”

AND THEN IT DID . . .

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I promised my HEART, I said “I do.” I loved + honored + cherished.

We changed for each other, we went on adventures, we fought, we made up, + we grew.
I held his hand and he held mine back +

I thought to myself, “it can’t get any better than this”

AND THEN IT DID . . .

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Our life was BLESSED with tiny hands + TINY FEET that filled our hearts with love.
Baby giggles + toothless smiles. More joy than ever imagined.

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TWO tiny people who needed me as much as I needed them. A mother, a friend, a playmate, + TEACHER. A job too important to miss.

Decisions were made and a stay at home mommy I became to give them the life they DESERVE.

The search began to balance family + work while keeping them both at home.

MY STORY CONTINUES with a charming, spunky, + crazy neighbor who opened my eyes to so much.

I asked her for help, I confided my worries, and she shared in all of my JOYS.

She showed me her LOCKET + I thought more about it + decided to give it a try.

ORIGAMI OWL was the name + story telling was the game. So now I’m telling you MINE.

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A HEART for the love of my family + friends, a TREE for all that I grew. TWO FEET for my boys + an APPLE for being their teacher. INFINITY for our love never ending + BLESSED so I’ll always remember.

You’ve heard my story now help me tell yours of your PASTS, your PRESENTS + FUTURES.

Now I think to myself, “it can’t get any better than this”

. . . BUT IN MY ♥ I KNOW IT WILL

 

MommaOwlsign

Sneaky Baking: How to Get Your Toddler to Eat Veggies

I’ve recently had trouble getting Austin to eat different veggies. I will usually resort to those veggie/fruit pouches to get him some vegetables in his diet. A little while ago I figured out that I can combine something he loves with something he isn’t too fond of. I made veggie quick bread! His love of carbs masked the fact that there was veggies in his snack. The first thing I made was butternut squash quick bread. It was SOOOOOO yummy. Unfortunately, I almost chopped off a finger in the process of making it. Whoops!

I give credit to Daily Garnish. I’ve been following her blog since Austin was born. Both our toddlers were born around the same time. She is a vegetarian chef/blogger. I get a lot of good ideas from her blog (parenting & food-wise).

Daily Garnish: http://www.dailygarnish.com/

Here is the link to the Butternut Squash Quick Bread recipe: http://www.dailygarnish.com/recipes?recipe_id=6038005

Today, while Austin and Justin were napping, I decided to put my ripe banana to good use. I decided to create a Banana Carrot Quick Bread. I looked up different quick bread recipes to see what was standard in them.

Here are the ingredients I used:

  • 3/4 C. vegetable oil
  • 1/4 C. honey
  • 1/2 C. brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 C. flour (sifted with a fork)
  • 1 C. whole wheat flour (sifted with a fork)
  • 1/2 C. oatmeal
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 + 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 C. mashed bananas (about 3 bananas)

I didn’t have 3 bananas, so I mashed 1 banana and squeezed in an apple and strawberry pouch.

  • 1 + 1/2 C. grated carrot (3 large)
  • 1/2 C. raisins

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease your muffin tins
2. Whisk together flour, oatmeal, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in medium mixing bowl; set aside.
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3. In a large mixing bowl whisk the oil, brown sugar, honey, eggs, and vanilla. Mix well.
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4. Add 1/4 of the flour mixture at a time and stir in – alternating with the banana and ending with the flour mixture. Scrap down sides and just mix until incorporated; don’t over mix.
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5. Add grated carrot and raisins. Fold into mixture until mixed throughout.
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6. Spoon into mini or regular sized muffin tins.
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7. Bake mini muffins 12 minutes and then check until a toothpick comes out clean. Regular muffins should take about 5 minutes longer. Ovens may vary the times a big. Just make sure to check your muffins. Cool for 15-20 minutes. Remove from pan and continue cooling on wire rack.
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I had my best judge taste the muffins. I think I got the toddler stamp of approval!
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Scrumptious!

Keeping Toddler Busy with DISCOVERY BOTTLES!

I have found that entertaining a toddler can be quite challenging. He will be happy with one activity for one minute and over it the next. His favorite things to do are as follows: make noise and make messes. Hmmm… so it is true.

The definition of BOY: NOISE covered in DIRT!

I am always on the lookout for awesome kiddo games on Pinterest. If it is cheap and easy to make and will hold his attention for at least 10 minutes then that is enough for me. I pinned these cool Discovery Bottles from http://familylicious.com/how-to-make-science-discovery-bottles/. This was the best example I found because there were so many varieties. They also suggested to hot glue the bottles shut. Great idea because my little guy would definitely find a way to open those suckers up!

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Here is my finished Discovery Box. Awesome! This took no time at all and I had most of these things lying around the house. No expense for me. I had my grandma save her small Gatorade bottles for me so that I could use them for my bottles. the website called for regular sized bottles, but my little guy will do just fine with the smaller ones. Plus it’s less material waste.

Materials:

  • 10 or more mini Gatorade bottles
  • hot glue gun
  • glue sticks (for the glue gun)
  • straws
  • yogurt containers (for sorting )
  • Plum Organics pouch tops
  • objects to put inside (SEE BELOW for examples)

Hot glue trick: hot glue around the inside of the cap. Don’t put glue on the lip of the bottle. Putting it on the inside of the bottle cap rim is the cleanest and simplest way to seal the bottles.

BUBBLE BOTTLE

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I used a mini Gatorade bottle and filled it with water (half way), a few squirts of dish soap, and food coloring. Viola! Instant bubble bottle 🙂

ROCK BOTTLE

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Simple, right?! My son loves rocks. Plus these bad boys make a nice little racket. That’s a plus for him. It may suck for you. Ultimately, you get to decide what goes in these bottles, so you can make them as “quiet” as you’d like.

SOUND BOTTLE

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For this one, I used mini salad macaroni and rice. I also threw in some buttons for good measure. Austin likes looking for the buttons among all of the pasta and rice.

MUD BOTTLE

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OH YEH! I went into the backyard and got a handful of dirt and bark and filled the cup 1/3 of the way. I then filled the rest of the bottle with water. I left a little room at the top for shaking. Mud is a boys best friend. AND he can play with it without getting messy. Yay!

SOUND BOTTLE

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Another sound bottle. For this one, I used wrapping ribbon and i cut up one of those Mardi Gras beaded necklaces.

Another cool idea I saw for a sound bottle was a rain maker. I didn’t have enough toothpicks so I couldn’t make it. You just need to fill the bottle with toothpicks and add rice. When you turn the bottle upside down, the rice tried to make it’s way through all of the tooth picks. Makes a pretty cool sound.

SPARKLE BOTTLE

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This one was just water and cute little sparkle stars. You can also add glitter for more sparkle. 🙂

WAVE BOTTLE

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This one was layered with water oil and rubbing alcohol. You can put food coloring in the different substances to really make it contrast. Eventually, the water and rubbing alcohol mix, but it still makes a cool wave effect.

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SORTING

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I used as many yogurt cups as I had colors. The tops are from the Plum Organics pouches. I knew they would come in handy! Cheaper than those sorting bears.

And here’s my little guy exploring!

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He even got mad when I started cleaning up. Every time I would put a bottle away, he would take another out. So glad I found this idea!

REPOST: A Mommy’s Heart Grows

Originally written in February 2013. There is truth in this post. LOVE ALL MY BABIES

I’ve been thinking a lot about how this new baby will affect all of our lives. I especially worry about Austin and how he will cope with this new baby. For 16 months he has been my world and I spend every waking minute with him. I worry about when the new baby comes and how much of my time I am going to be able to give to him. Should we have waited longer to have this baby? Will Austin transition well? Will we be able to get out as much? … Will he feel LOVED?

It breaks my heart to think that Austin may not feel special anymore. It could be the hormones of pregnancy, but I really hope I can continue to be a great mommy to my lil sidekick. I hope that he understands that he is NOT being replaced. Daddy and I just wanted to give him a playmate.

I hope that I can get into the groove of having two kids quickly. I like being able to decide last-minute that I want to go to the Zoo or SeaWorld. Austin and I have so much fun during the day. It’s going to be a big change to have to stop every 2 hours to feed Luke. I remember it took me over a month to leave the house with Austin. I know it will be different because I WILL go stir crazy chasing around a toddler who just want to go OUTSIDE.

Speaking of going outside. Here is what we did on Saturday as a family. Fun in the Sun & Water!

A Picture Montage:

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Daddy cleaned his pool hoping that Austin would want to play in it on this HOT February day. Nope, he wanted to water his rocks.

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Pulling his wagon.

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LOVED the hose. Who knew.

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Popsicle time. He likes to bite it. Hasn’t master licking or sucking a popsicle yet. Look at that face. 🙂

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LOVE my lil man.

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Having two kids will definitely be a new adventure. It’s funny to think about how much love you have to give. When I got married, I thought I gave my whole heart to my husband. Then our son was born and I gave him half. Now our newest member of the family will join us in a few short months and he will get his equal share. Fortunately, I don’t think it will be that difficult to love this new baby as much as I love my 2 other boys.
Giving your heart to someone doesn’t make sense in math terms. You’d think that the more people you have to love, the smaller the pieces of your heart you have to give. It’s not like that at all. I gave Justin my whole heart, then my heart grew to be able to give the same amount to Austin. The same thing will happen with little Lukie. My heart grows exponentially each time our family grows. I love you all very much. Thank you for making my life so special and for making me feel so loved.