Kid- friendly Diningware

There are two things that every parent thinks about every single day – eating and sleeping. This post does not have the solution to all of your kid’s eating and sleeping problems (sorry, if I had that I would be a millionaire), but it does have an inexpensive solution to the question of “where can I find some durable diningware that my kid can’t break and won’t complain about using?”

Ikea diningware

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Ikea makes this great kids diningware set that costs only $15. It comes with plates, bowls, cutlery, and cups. The set is surprisingly durable and the plates have high enough sides so that the food doesn’t slide off. It is also BPA free and microwave and dishwasher safe. Did I mention it costs $15? Not sure how Ikea does it, but it is magical.

Explaining the Loss of a Pet to a Toddler

Daisy, Chica, and Telly

Daisy, Chica, and Telly

In the past year, our family has put two dogs to sleep, the first my parents’ lovable black cockapoo, Telly, and the second my in-laws’ scrappy terrier mix, Chica.  When we put Telly down, my daughter was twenty-one months old.  At the time, she broke our hearts by asking “where did Telly go?” every time we walked into my parents’ house, but seemed to accept “he went to heaven” as a response.  She intuitively knew we were sad, but didn’t completely grasp what was happening.  It was a simpler time and it is fair to say that it pretty much went over her head.

When we lost Chica this past summer, my daughter was just a few months shy of three years old, and had a lot more questions.  She joined us as we tearfully said farewell to Chica, and we explained to her that it would be the last time she would see her, and that Chica would be joining Telly in doggy heaven.  We also explained that when an animal (or person) is old or sick, eventually their body stops working.  We told her that we would always remember Chica and when we miss her we can look at pictures and videos of her and tell stories about her.  She seemed to get it and since then brings her name up once in awhile and tells us that she knows Chica and Telly are in doggy heaven.

As my daughter gets older, she continues to grow close with the other furry friends in our family, and I have done some research on ways to help children cope with the loss of a pet.  Here are some of the resources I have compiled.

This advice isn’t for everyone of course, but it reflects my personal beliefs on life and death and I hope instills hope in my daughter’s heart.  The best part about having children around during such a difficult time?  They make you smile even during your darkest hour.  My daughter’s insistence that we all sing “The Wheels on the Bus” on our way home from putting Telly down made us laugh on a day we never thought we would.  So, thank you for that munchkin.

Your Turn: How did your little one cope with the loss of your pet?  Please share stories and resources you found to be helpful!

Halloween and Food Allergies #TealPumpkinProject

#tealpumpkinproject via @twohappymamas

I love Halloween. Actually, if I am being honest, I love candy. But once my son was diagnosed with a nut allergy, Halloween took on a whole new meaning. The fact is, there are very few candy options (if any) for kids with food allergies. I wasn’t sure what I would do with all of my son’s trick or treat loot since he will not be able to eat most of it. Imagine taking a bag of candy away from a three year old? No thanks. Ultimately, my husband and I decided that we would trade some of the candy for treats he can eat but is not normally allowed to have and then trade the rest of it for a trip to the toy store so he can pick a toy. Although it isn’t a perfect solution, I felt like it was the most fair thing we could do.

I recently read about FARE’s (Food, Allergy, Research and Education) Teal Pumpkin Project and am loving this idea. The campaign is designed to make Halloween more inclusive for all children by asking people to also provide a non-food treat option. If you wish to participate, you can paint a pumpkin teal to put outside of your house with a free printable sign from FARE that explains you are participating in this great campaign. FARE also gives some great suggestions for non-food items you can hand out to trick-or-treaters, such as glow sticks, bubbles, art supplies or bouncy balls. You can have one bowl with candy and another with non-food items. I think this is a fantastic idea that will help make all kids feel like they are having a special Halloween experience. We are definitely going to participate and encourage our friends and families to do the same. I hope you will consider it too!

Pear Oatmeal Muffins

The other day I was looking for a good muffin recipe to make and bring with me to the hospital for my visitors and nurses to enjoy the morning of my c-section.  My daughter and I together enjoyed baking these yummy pear-oatmeal muffins, and I just hope we don’t eat them all before I go to the hospital to have the baby!

pear oatmeal muffins via @twohappymamas

Here’s what you need (I changed up the recipe based on the spices I had on hand):

  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats, divided in half
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 2 cups chopped pear
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 large egg

Preheat oven to 400.  In a large bowl, combine 1/2 cup oats, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Stir in pear and make a well at the center.  With a whisk, combine buttermilk, ricotta, canola oil, vanilla extract and eggs together, then add to flour mixture, stirring until moist.   Spray cooking spray into your muffin tins (we used both regular and mini muffins) and spoon in batter.  Sprinkle the remaining oats evenly over the batter.  Bake at 400 for 17-18 minutes or until done.  Remove the muffins from the tins right away and cool muffins on a wire rack.  Enjoy!

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