Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sip and Shop Sunday

How can it already be Sunday?!!? Tomorrow is Labor Day and there are tons of sales going on out there, so if you have the time make sure you get out there and shop!

We have had some running around to do this weekend as we prepare for Thomas to start school on Tuesday.  We have one more day to complete our Summer Bucket List of home projects (still need to paint the kitchen and finish the trim work on our Chicken Coop and then I think can call it done!)

We went to church this morning and Ellie has become a little more difficult to keep entertained during the sermon so we dropped her off in the nursery.  This was the first time.  (She has been in there with us since she was 3 weeks old and went almost everyday with Miss J this past year.)  I knew she would be fine but I was a total nervous wreck the whole time during the service!!! I kept looking at the pager and wanted to go check on her every 3 minutes!!  And of course she did amazing and had no clue we weren't there.  All that worrying for nothing!


The Iced Caramel Macchiato

Yum!! This really is my preferred drink at Starbucks although confession: I like it upside-down and stirred.  I usually always get it hot, but sometimes the day just calls for it to be cold!


AmericanGirl BittyBaby

So Ellie has been on a huge baby doll kick lately.  She always grabs the "dolly" at Nanny's house.  So we tried to get one for her at Wal-Mart.  I chose an all cloth one that can be thrown in the washer. Ellie likes her alright but does not give her the attention that she does to the "dolly" at Nanny's.  I am a long time owner of AmericanGirl dolls and always knew that I was going to get one for Ellie.  We stopped by our local AmericanGirl Store and all Ellie wanted to do was carry one of the BittyBaby's around and push in the stroller.  Knowing how much I loved love my AmericanGirl dolls and their accompanying stories we couldn't leave the store without one for Ellie.  I know that this doll will get a lot of love and I can't wait to share my love for dolls with her!

Is there anything in particular you have your eyes set on for your littles?

♥ Ashley

PS.  Be sure to check back on Tuesday for an awesome Giveaway I am hosting.  It's one you aren't going to want to miss.  hint: it was on my list for 9-12month favorite baby items

Saturday, August 30, 2014

{favorites} baby items for 9-12 months

I know this post is a little late - as Ellie is already 15 months but I sure do love going back through and seeing what items we really used a lot. I know that when we adopt baby #2 these posts will come in extremely handy!  
9-12 month favorites

9-12 month favorites by lifeonthefarm on Polyvore

1. Baby moccasins from Freshly Picked. Choose any color you like these ones are the best! The craftsmanship is axing and the leather is so super soft not to mention these babies last for a lot of miles!! And the footprint the create on the sole is the sweetest. 

2. Nuby sippy cups. I have to admit I was going to be pretty particular when it came to sippy cups. I wanted ones that had a leakproof nipple and these were the best I could find. They do leak on occasion and you need to put the lid on correctly but we love these and more importantly so does Ellie. The caps are interchangeable with the bottoms so you can make any color combo you wish - right now we love the "watermelon" and the "Sounders" colors. The best part is that it seems like TJMaxx and Marshall's always have these in stock!

3. The Ergo Carrier. I got mine used through an iPhone app and just love it. Ellie does too! Even though she is starting to be on the move it's so nice to have a carrier on hand. This one is super easy to put on, helps with proper hip position development, and really helps to distribute Ellie's weight. Plus she gets so comfortable she sleeps in it and I love how I can put the privacy hood up to make it a little darker for her. 

4. Our three in one Exersaucer continues to get more use. Now that Ellie is standing with assistance better and started cruising we were able to take this off the base and open it up so she could get even more use out of it. She now how a whole new way of discovering all the bells and whistles this one has to offer!

5. The Circo straw cups from Target. Wow are these things great. The straw has a one way valve in it to help prevent leaking and really helped Ellie learn how to suck. This is a daily user with water and the animal tops are so cute!

6. Now that Ellie is sleeping in her own room (mostly) the Motorla video monitor is a sanity saver for my neurotic ways! I love that I can pan and scan the room/crib to see her, that it has both day and night vision and that it has two way communication - not that we use it now but I can see the benefits when she gets older!

7. The Jenny Lind crib. I love the vintage look and how the mattress has so many levels it can be adjusted to. I also love how the side rails are both the se height so you really can place this crib anywhere in the nursery - not just against a wall!

8. Amber Teething necklaces. Aside from it being a cute accessory it is thought to have natural pain relieving properties from the oils found in the amber that get released through skin contact and heat. For best results you want to have your little wear it practically 24/7 aside from baths. I was nervous at first having Ellie sleep with it on but now barely bat an eye at it!  You also want to make sure you clean it periodically with a soft rag andild soapy water and then let it "recharge" in the sun for about an hour. 

I really hope this list is helpful to you Mama's out there who have kiddos approaching this age. They truly are a blessing and so much fun!!

♥ Ashley

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Thoughts for Thursday

What a whirlwind of a week.  Sorry for the late post. 

Thomas started up with the beginning of the school year meetings (school starts next week!). And seeing as I don't have a job for this year I had the opportunity to SAHM it up and let me tell you - I don't want to leave Ellie!!! 

The breaks are one of the major perks to being a teacher and let me tell you we work hard for those breaks (and don't get paid for them either)!  And most of the time we are preparing and planning during these breaks for our classes and students. 

Summer is such a tease to us teacher parents. We get to have this 10 week plus long vacation home with our family and then BOOM it's time to go back to work for 8 hours and then daycare or a nanny for our babes if they aren't school age yet. Talk about a change in routine and it is anything but a slow transition!

I have had the opportunity to do a lot of self reflection during this break. 

First off I don't want to leave Ellie anymore - so unless a position comes along and it's a teaching opportunity I just can't pass up we are going to be pinching some major pennies and I will be staying home with E!  But seeing as how we have a bunch of medical bills to pay (for my last miscarriage almost a year ago, a few trips to the urgent care for Ellie, and then my migraine appt that was barley half covered) I need to bring in some sort of revenue for our family. With talking to some friends I am seriously looking into becoming a nanny! That way I can be with Ellie and she can get some socialization! Hopefully I'll be able to find a teacher looking for a nanny since I will get to have all the "vacation perks" still. All I know is that God has a plan and has continued to help provide for our family! He knows best and I need to continue to put my trust in Him. 

Secondly I read this awesome post a couple of weeks ago about how Hurt People hurt people and it really spoke to me. I realized that I have been holding on to some things and most likely have been taking my hurt out on other people.  Instead of wallowing in my 4 miscarriages, 5 years of Infertility, instability in my employment, and the death of my mom I am choosing to start fresh and anew. I am choosing to be happy for all of the pregnancy announcements happening all over my FB and the blog world instead of jealous. I am rejoicing in my friends finding jobs and getting their promotions and those who are getting to share their journey of parenthood with their own moms. I'm not perfect and I know I won't be a fresh daisy everyday but I want to set a good example for Ellie and raise her up to be a nice, happy, good and thankful person. After all bullies and mean girls have to get it from somewhere. 

And Finally, I am sad that summer is almost gone but I like to embrace the changes and coming of Fall. Afterall it marks the beginning of the holiday season!  

PS. Make sure you check back next week I have some great things lined up for my readers to celebrate Fall and Kiddos that you aren't going to want to miss. I'll give you a hint one of them has to do with "FP"!!! I'm so excited!


Monday, August 25, 2014

Toddler Tuesday - with me

Hey ladies! I finally have the opportunity to write a post for my own series!!

I really hope that y'all are loving this as much as I do! It's been so great to read these posts from the mama's who have gone before and to have learned from their expertise!

Today I wanted to talk about how we transitioned from bottle to sippy cup and/or straw cup. 

At first I didn't think we were ever going to be able to get rid of the bottles. We first introduced a sippy when Ellie was around 10 months old. We just put water in at first and she hated it. So then we tried her formula and she hated it even more!!!!!!  We still continued to offer it to her despite the tears. 

Then around 11 months we got a straw cup and after showing her three times how to suck out of the straw she was hooked!  No more tears! We only offered it occasionally since she was still mostly drinking her formula fr her bottle. 

At our 12 month check up our doctor told us it was time to transition to whole milk and to a sippy cup. The sooner the better to help with her teeth.  He suggested going cold turkey with the sippy and to take no longer than two weeks to switch to milk. He said the first few days might be challenging but then she will be just fine.

We decided to slowly transition her to milk and after about a week she got used to the cold milk and the taste and was just fine. 

When we returned home from our trip to Europe it was time to kick the bottle and bring out the sippy. The doc was not lying the first 24 hours were extremely testing. I almost caved in about four times but stuck to my guns and kept at it. By lunchtime the second day we were on to smooth sailing. On the morning of day three I finally got to pack up all the bottles - hallelujah!!' I have been dreaming of that day since she was about a week old! Haha. We loved out bottles but they just had so many parts to clean!

We use the Nuby sippy cups and the Circo straw cups from Target. 

She also gets to share drinks with us when we are out and about or go to dinner since she is so good with a straw!

My advice to Mama's who are getting ready for this transition: you can do it. It might be tough for the first couple of days but once they figure it out there is no turning back and you will be so proud of your accomplishment! 


Do you love this series like I do? Want to contribute a post about your life with a toddler? I would love to have you! Just send me an email or leave a comment and I will get you on the schedule!!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Oh Hey Friday Favorites!

TGIF!! can you believe that its Friday already?
We got a sneak peek of what Fall weather has for us this! morning, it was crisp cold (I needed sweats and a blanket!) and then its heating up for the afternoon!!

I thought I would share a few things that I am really loving right now!

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have you seen these books?  The Pigeon series is adorable and I can't wait to get them for Ellie!

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the Morning Bun from Starbucks! it has just a touch of sweetness and its great to share with my little Ellie!!

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I just recently got these jars from World Market and they have quickly become my favorite way to enjoy any type of drink!

these beauties growing in my vegetable garden.  All of the sunflowers are volunteers from the ones I planted 3 years ago.  I am thinking that I need to purposely plant some in my flower beds because they are so beautiful! A sure sign of fall!

this necklace from DolceAve that I won in a giveaway.  Let me tell you that the craftsmanship that Megan does is great and she is so much fun!!  Lots of goodies in her shop right now so go check it out!!

Life on the Parsons Farm

and lastly I am so loving my Toddler Tuesday series!! I am looking for some more guest bloggers to post about anything and everything about life with a toddler.  If you are interested in collaborating with me just shoot me an email or leave a comment and I will get you scheduled!!

linking up with

Hope y'all have a great weekend!!

♥ Ashley

Thursday, August 21, 2014

{monthdate} fifteen months

Wow. Is it really true that another month has gone by already!?

This has been my favorite month so far! Ellie has quite the little personality and is pretty smart too!  Every day she amazes me with yet another new skill or talent. She is so much fun and just the biggest little love!

Eats: Ellie is definitely letting us know what she does and does not like to eat. We are officially off the bottle and she drinks around 20ounces of milk plus water every day. We introduced food pouches and so far we haven't found one she dislikes! Favorites right now are bread, pasta, Cheerios, peas, beans, blueberries, fishy crackers, string cheese, yogurt, and corn.  She is not a fan of meat or mushrooms. Ellie eats most if not all of her meals in her high chair and I love having her go out to dinner with us every week!

Goes: we have been crossing activities off our Summer Bucket List like crazy!  We have gone to NW Trek (a wildlife preserve), the childrens museum, the splash pad, parks, sprinklers and pony rides!! Ellie also got to go to her third wedding this month but this time she got to walk around and "dance"! 

Does: can now self soothe herself to sleep for both naps and nighttime sleep, we no longer need to rock her to sleep! It was rough in the beginning but now have a fairly good routine down and even have a sleep schedule! She walks all around the house and can play with her toys, she even know what some of them are called and will go get or play with them if we tell her! She is quite adventurous and dangerous at times trying to climb on everything!! Pretty good at self play and will go into her room all by herself to play with room toys and books for at least 15 minutes!

Loves: sticks and rocks. She loves her teepee, anywhere chair, a shopping bag toy, and just fell in love with all her stuffed animals carrying one all around the house and then grabbing another! So cute. She also loves books and shoes! Outside is a favorite and she cries if one of us goes outside without her! She loves to help with the farm chores riding around in her wagon or chasing after the goats!

Baby Gear Love: ergo, Solly Baby Wrap, FP moccs, Britax Boulevard car seat, and baby monitor!

We have had lots of adventures and I can't wait to see what happens in the next month!  I just adore watching her walk around and explore and listen to her baby babble!! 

Sweet Ellie Faith oh how I love you so!

- Ashley

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Summer Days

At the beginning of our summer break I created a bucket list of activities (and home improvements) that I wanted to check off before the end of summer. I have to say that we have done a pretty darn good job, too. 

Fabric leaf pit

Last week we went to our local childrens museum.  One thing I love about it is that it is by donation admission. It's a great way to include everyone in any situation to be able to offer children a great experience (especially since most of our other attractions - zoos, wildlife reserve, etc. are nearly $20 a person!). 

she really is happy in this photo I promise!

It was super fun and Ellie had a blast. She basically got to go just about anywhere she wanted (and touch whatever she wanted) which is not something she gets to do on a normal basis. Since she is still a little wobbly and can't navigate stairs very well I was a bit of a helicopter mom. Following her everywhere and helping her with certain things. The best part was watching her independence though. She also loved watching the older kids trying to figure out what they were doing and just letting it all sink in!

Girlfriend loves her some water!!

We are excited to return again in the future - when Ellie is a little more sturdy to really be able to enjoy all the museum has to offer. 

What sort of fun things have you done this summer?


Toddler Tuesday - with Mande

I am so excited to have Mande here today!! she blogs over at Sweet Home Alabama and has one of the sweetest blogs ever! She has so many great ideas on how to incorporate early learning - she has a masters in early learning. 

Life on the Parsons Farm

Hi y'all, I'm Mande from Sweet Home Alabama. I am a "retired" elementary school teacher turned stay-at-home mamma to sweet Parker Campbell, 17 months. As a former educator with a Masters Degree in Early Education, I give a lot of thought to Parker's cognitive development. Today I'll be sharing about our experience with baby sign language, one of the ways that we foster this growth.

Husby and I first learned about baby sign language in our birthing class, long before Parker's arrival. We both really took to the rationale behind it - the idea that, while babies and toddlers lack the verbal skills to communicate their needs and wants orally, they can do so via signs. It made perfect sense to us, and giving our future baby the tools to communicate by sign was something we both were motivated to do. I picked up the exact book that was shared with us in class and read more about the benefits of signing (including reducing frustration related tantrums during the terrible twos, and aiding the potty training process later on).

The book also has a picture dictionary of signs in the back. For me, the book was awesome because I love being able to pick it up and physically flip through it to look up signs (one of my mommy friends, however, google searches for signs and prefers to watch video clips to learn them and that works for her).

We introduced signs for the first time to Parker right around when we introduced solid foods and the idea of meal time. It seemed logical to start with signs related to food and eating since these would be more meaningful to Parker. We started with more, milk, and the signs for foods he was eating like carrot, apple, and banana. From there we continued with objects that Parker seemed interested in. He's always loved looking at and pointing to airplanes and fans, so those were the next signs we started doing. For each sign that we did, we always accompanied it with the verbal word. This is to ensure that, once baby's speech production catches up to his cognitive ability, he will be ready already knowing the sign and the spoken word for the object. 

It seemed like we signed to Parker forever without ever getting reciprocation. Seriously, months here people. Then, at about 14 months, Parker started attempting signing on his own! As of now, he communicates when he is thirsty (which is so helpful) and of course when he is hungry and wants more. It's also amazing to see him communicate when he sees something he recognizes. We recently went to the beach and he was so delighted to see the sea gulls that he made the bird sign over and over. Parker being able to sign has also opened my eyes to how much of our verbal conversation he's picking up on. Just a couple days ago, I was discussing an upcoming flight with my mom, and to my surprise Parker made the airplane sign! The fact that he is able to communicate like this because of signing reinforces to me our decision to commit to it. 

Here are the top three things I've found surprising about baby signing...

1. Your baby will probably start signing suddenly and out of the blue
I'm embarrassed to say that Parker was probably signing for at least a few days before we recognized what he was doing. We were so used to signing to him and getting nothing in response, that when he kept doing this funny clap at mealtime, we thought it was just that, a funny clap. This leads me to surprise number two...

2. Your baby's signs might not look anything like yours
Yeah, that funny clap? That was Parker's attempt to sign more, which is done by tapping one's fingers together. When we realized that he was attempting to communicate, we verbally praised him and said the word more over and over, but it kills me that we were missing it at first! Knowing now that his signs might be kind of wonky, I feel I am much more aware and responsive to him. Parker's sign for hot for example involves him tapping his head instead of his cheek, but I caught this sign on the first go 'round! And finally, 

3. You will probably be surprised at which words your little one takes to 
Words that revolve around needs (mainly food and eating) will probably be most common (more and milk were Parker's first two signs). However, Parker's favorite sign? Bird. So random. He points to birds out on our walks and signs bird. He does the same thing for geese at the park and ducks by the pond. He'll even look for birds in his books and make the sign. He's not communicating a need or even a want, but simply letting us know that he's identifying things and making connections. As a parent, this is even more mind blowing to watch than when he signs his needs.

I'm loving our journey so far with baby sign language, and I'm excited to see where signing takes us! I want to thank Ashley for having me today! I am enjoying connecting with other mammas throughout the Toddler Tuesday series, and learning from all of your experiences! If there are any other families out there using baby sign language (or if you are wanting to try) I'd love to hear from you!

Smiles, Mande

Thank you so much Mande for this great post!! So many great ideas and tips.  I know that some of these I am going to start using with Ellie! 

♥ Ashley

Remember if you love this series as much as I do and you want to contribute a post just send me an email or leave a comment and I would love to have you guest post!!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Monday Meals Mashup + our weekend

Happy Monday!!

I hope y'all had the best weekend! Mine was a blast!

Monday Meals Mashup

Thomas and his dad made a last minute trip to Ellensburg to go fishing on the river this weekend so I got to Single Mom is up! Before he left though we stopped by the play space at our local mall and Ellie had the best time! The whole play area is designed for little shorties, the floor is cushioned and all the jungle animals/climbing toys are soft and squishy! Ellie had fun on the slide and we could barely get her off it!!

Saturday was a big day! We headed up north to Snohomish to a flea market called "The Barn" with my MIL, Deanna. It was super fun and lots of eye candy but a lot of the vendors were pretty pricey. I came home with a vintage glass door knob for Ellie's room. Since we were in the area we decided to shop around our favorite town.  Ellie got lots of compliments on her new cowboy boots (target for the win!) and we had fun twinning the day away!  

After our shopping trip we headed over to my BILs to celebrate my SILs birthday! Ellie had a blast with her cousins an loved playing with all their big girl toys - play vacuum, playhouse and slide! Happy Birthday Auntie!

Sunday we laid low, attended church and then back home for farm chores, house cleaning and laundry! 

Here is what's cookin' this week on the farm:

Monday: Greek salad is still calling my name since we have some Feta Cheese left over.  I was watching Barefoot Contessa this weekend and she mentioned her Greek Panzanella so that is what we are trying this week!!

Tuesday: A few years ago I got the Dinner at Home cookbook from Martha Stewart. I decided that I would try to cook something from this book each week and this is what I picked. Pancetta Cheeseburgers!  I will let you know if they are worth trying.

Wednesday: for our Engagement Party we received the Bride and Groom cookbook.  I thought I would try out a recipe from here this week as well - since I am always looking for a new Pasta recipe the BowTie with asparagus and sun dried tomatoes stuck out.  Here's to hoping its a good one!

Thursday: Taco Salad has been calling my name and this recipe is too good to pass up!

Friday: Lets go out for dinner.  We need to make sure that we continue to expose Ellie to eating out and she is so well behaved that we need to make sure we continue this trend!!

Saturday: Since Thomas made a last minute decision to head to the river for some fishing this meal didn't happen last week so it's on the menu again!

Sunday: after all that chicken its time for some good old steak! YUM

What are you cooking up this week? I would love to know!

♥ Ashley

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

NapTime Projects

So here is a little confession: we never really had Ellie on a nap schedule or sleep schedule for that matter. In addition we didn't sleep train Ellie either. (She fell asleep just fine in the car seat but "needed" to be rocked to sleep in our arms/laps.)

So her napping consisted of 50/50 in the crib and on our laps(or in the car). Same thing for nighttime sleep, half the time she would be in her crib and the other half in our bed. I know! How did we go 14 months like that? It actually wasn't that bad and we were blessed to have such an even tempered go with the flow girl. I loved having her close to is and co-sleeping. Sometimes I just miss her and want to cuddle her. Plus I never wanted to be "stranded" at home due to naps - and still don't want to be. 

Well that has changed. After we got back from Europe the following weekend Thomas went out of town for his brothers bachelor party. I thought I would take advantage of this time and wean Ellie from the bottle to a sippy/straw cup. The first 36 hours were a challenge but we have never turned back. After about 48 hours I packed up all the bottles and associated paraphernalia and stored them away in our attic!!  

Since I felt successful with that going so well I thought I would tackle the sleep "issue" next.  I gave her some time to adjust before going full fledged into turning her life upside down - no more bottles and then fall asleep on your own. I would say this venture took longer than the bottle elimination - we are 3 weeks in and still working on it, but she is doing pretty good and sleeps through te night and her naps are much longer!!

Ellie now naps anywhere between 10:30am to 4:00pm and the nap is generally around 3 hours. (A more detailed post to come). 

So what is a mom to do when she finds herself with three glorious hours in the middle of the day while baby sleeps? House projects of course!!

When we moved into our house the colors were anything but desirable - including the interior of our front door, a fleshy color. I have hated that color for 6 years and every time I looked at that door I wanted to vomit. So I finally got my act together, grabbed a can of paint from the garage, and spent 45 minutes painting the door white!  I love it so much an can't believe I was putting it off for so long, it was such an easy project!

I was so pleased with the results I couldn't wait for naptime the next day to tackle another project that had been on the list for 4.5 years. When we moved in our kitchen was 1989 oak cabinets. While they are nice I prefer white. So after my first ectopic pregnancy/surgery, Thomas painted them white for me while I was recovering!!  We just left the backside under the counter unpainted - because we were lazy. Now it matches the rest of the kitchen!!

Again I love it so much! Why did we wait so long to finish it? This took longer than te door but it so worth it! And the best part is - we already had all the supplies so it was a "free" project!!

I am so glad that we started sleep training and a nap schedule so that we (me)  can get things accomplished that I have been wanting to for a while!!


How do you take advantage of naptime at your house?

Toddler Tuesday - with Elizabeth

Life on the Parsons Farm

Hello Life on the Parsons Farm readers! I am so happy to be here today introducing myself to you all and thank you to Ashley for having me! My name is Elizabeth and I blog over at Chasin' Mason, a blog about the adventures in motherhood and daily life with a toddler. I am a true California girl. I was born and raised in Northern California, in the San Francisco Bay Area and moved down to Southern California after I graduated college. Shortly after I moved, I met my husband. We worked together... and I was his boss. Oops! We began dating secretly since we weren't technically supposed to be dating since I was his manager. We got engaged in September 2009 at Angels Stadium and were married in November 2010.

Our sweet boy, Mason, was born in July 2012 (he just turned two and is an official toddler now!) and is the light of our lives.

Today I wanted to share a topic with you that all moms can relate to : feeding your toddler.

I hate to admit it, but I must have done something right at some point because I was blessed with a toddler who is a good eater. Maybe I am being rewarded for all of the time we spent when Mason was a baby buying liquid gold (aka Similac Alimentum) to feed him. He had such a bad tummy when he was a baby, I'm surprised he's so easy going with food now (knock on wood, please don't jinx it!). He loves fruits (strawberries, raspberries, watermelon, pineapple, blueberries, grapes, etc.) and loves vegetables (green beans, broccoli, etc).

Eating broccoli // Eating fruits and veggies // Trying corn on the cob for the first time.

Of course he doesn't love this stuff as much as he loves junk food, but he will eat it without any problem, so I still consider it a win.

Pulled down the can of Cheetos by himself and helped himself to some snacks.

Now, saying that, you might think I don't have any advice on the topic. Oh how wrong you are. I have lots. My good eater? Not so good at sitting still during dinner time to eat his food. When you can get him to actually put the food in his mouth, chew, and swallow... amazing. But getting him to sit there and focus on eating is the problem. Creativity is key.


Breakfast on a weekday is a challenge. Since both of us work full time, it doesn't leave much time in the mornings for breakfast. When I work at 11am, it provides for the most time for breakfast so I try to provide a well balanced meal of Cheerios/waffles/mini pancakes, some fruit, and some yogurt. But when I work at 8am or 7am, it leaves a lot less time for a full meal at home. This is where creativity comes into play.

Waffles with strawberries & blueberries and a yogurt // eggs with avocado
Eggs, strawberries, and hash browns (aka tator tots) // Cheerios, waffles, blueberries and yogurt

I've known Mason for a little over 24 months now. And if there's one thing that my son has taught me in those 24 months, it's that he is NOT a morning person. He may wake up early and trick you into thinking he's a morning person, but he is definitely not. Sometimes he is in a good mood when you go into his room to get him and sometimes he's not. Regardless of his mood, he's not a morning person. 

The second you get downstairs with him, it's like he knows we are in the vicinity of the fridge and HE NEEDS FOOD. So, Seth and I (being smarter than the toddler and having learned from our prior mistakes), have learned that we NEED to have milk ready for Mason the second he gets downstairs. Literally, if you don't, meltdown central erupts immediately. And most recently this includes a full blown laying on the ground, pounding his hands on the ground, crying fit.
Terrible two's. Fun times.

So I usually hand him his milk immediately, sit him down at his table or on the couch, turn on the Disney channel and get some Cheerios ready for him. He sucks down the milk in 10 seconds flat and I re-fill it for him. I finish getting ready and put his waffle in a to go tupperware and we head out the door. I hand him one piece of waffle at a time while in the car and driving to daycare and he eats the whole thing.

My secret for getting Mason to eat breakfast on a weekday? Feed him in the car.


Lunch is actually the easiest meal for us to feed Mason. I feel like it is the meal he is most willing to sit still and eat while at home. While these are examples of what I make for him to lunch (and snacks) for daycare, he eats very similarly at home.

I try to stick to the basics, things I know he will like. Recently he's been really into tortilla chips/snap pea crunchies/pirates booty so I try to incorporate that somehow. He also really likes turkey and ham so that is usually his "main dish" with some edamame and olives accompanying it. For fruit, he's been on a grapes and blueberries kick though I do substitute strawberries, bananas, watermelon, or raspberries occasionally. He LOVES apple sauce, avocado, and a fig newton for dessert, so I include that as well. I'm not sure what time our daycare provider gives Mason each thing, but I do know that his containers come home empty every night.

For snacks at home, we usually offer Cheerios with blueberries or dried cranberries, gold fish, a pouch, some fruit, cheese and crackers, pirates booty, etc.

My secret to get Mason to eat lunch? Have someone who is not mommy or daddy feed him. 
But seriously, I'd say the secret is to stick to something tried and true. Things you know they will like. And throw in a little something "bad" for them. Hey, why not? You made it all the way to noon without a meltdown, that's cause for celebration!


Dinner is a whole other ball game. Sometimes Mason comes home from daycare famished and needing dinner RIGHT AWAY. Other nights he's fine waiting until whenever. Depending upon his mood when he gets home depends on if he will eat what we're eating or if I make something special for him.

If I make something special...

If he eats with us.

He used to eat in his high chair. Then we switched it up after we made him his own little table and let him eat there. The high chair provided challenges, but the table provides a whole new type of challenge. Before we switched the to the table, Mason thought it was funny to throw all his food off his tray on his high chair and on to the floor. All my hard work, all over the floor. The more we said no and told him not to...the more he did it. We tried to incorporate forks into the mix to distract him and to get him to try to pick up the food on his fork by himself. This worked sometimes but other times not. Sometimes I had to substitute my fork to trick the toddler. Whatever gets him to eat, I'm all for trying. That being said, most recently we've been using the booster seat and having him sit at the dining room table with us and that seems like the best option right now.

A couple weeks ago, Mason refused to sit in his chair at his table to eat dinner. He kept getting up to walk around and kept sitting in his Anywhere chair. So what did we do? We put the table in front of his Anywhere chair and he ate his dinner there.

And just last night? He refused to eat dinner until I sat there and picked up every single piece of food from his plate and put it in his mouth for him. Annoying for me? Sure. But he ate a whole plate of broccoli, chicken, cheese, and olives. Sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do.

My secret for getting Mason to eat dinner? Be creative. For some reason, he will eat off of my plate, but not his. And sometimes we are having the EXACT same thing. But if it gets him to eat, he can eat mine and I will eat his. Or I let him use my fork to show him that he is a big boy using a "big kid fork". Or sometimes I will put his food on his/my fork and pretend to eat it. I explain how good it is and how I would love to eat it if he won't, and this usually prompts him to grab the fork out of my hand and put it in his mouth because he doesn't want me to eat his good food.

One thing Mason doesn't need help with? 

...and drinking other people's drinks.

You leave your drink unattended and in Mason's world, it's fair game.

So while it is definitely one of the most challenging things to do as a parent, it is so important that the kids get the nutrition that they need. So, if you have to be creative, do it. If you have to do something you swore you would never do (like let your kids watch tv during dinner), do it. If you need to let your kid eat french fries and gold fish for dinner because he refuses to eat everything else, do it (and I've done it).

My advice on getting your kid to eat? 

Creativity and patience.
And know it is just a phase.

It may not be in the "parent of the year" handbook, but it works for us, so we're sticking to it.

Wow! Thank you Elizabeth for the great tips and meal ideas! I know as Ellie is getting older and eating more of "our" food this is really helpful!

♥ Ashley

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