Mom in the Works

Mom in the Works: February 2014

Friday, February 14, 2014

Healthy Valentine's Day Cookies

Happy Valentine's Day, every one! 

We have a full day of play dates today, so of course we need some easy, kid-friendly snacks that we can munch on throughout the day. These are some stand-by cookies in our house when we have old bananas to use up, and not much time! 

These are adapted from two other blogs that I love - Skinnytaste and the Burlap Bag. I've doubled the recipe, added cranberries, and some spices, AND they are healthy(er) than most cookies, so don't feel too badly about eating more than one. Of course, you can certainly add your own twist on these too. 

My attempt at making heart-shaped cookies

And yes, those are chocolate chips that you see. So, I had to cheat a little.
One thing you must know about me - I'm an unapologetic chocolate lover... 
If you are too, we should be friends. :) 


Prep Time: 5 minutes Bake Time: 15-17 minutes

4 bananas
2 cups quick oats 
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a baking sheet. 

2. In a medium bowl, mash the bananas with a fork or potato masher, and stir in the oats and pumpkin pie spice. Then, fold in the dried cranberries and chocolate chips. 

3. Bake at 350 degrees for around 15 minutes. 

That's it! Easy, right?! And most importantly, they're toddler-approved! :) 

"Mom why do you snap pictures of me with my mouth full?" 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Toddler-Friendly Veggie Muffins

Just like many of you out there, I've had to be creative with cooking healthy meals for our family, which hasn't always been well-received by my greatest food critic, my little toddler.

Do you have a picky eater? I feel like the word "toddler" is synonymous with "particular." They are just learning how to feed themselves and would much rather bat, swat, and drop the food on their plate than eat it. Or, they'd prefer running around and playing - they're so busy at this age! 

At first, I was rather set on getting my son to eat vegetables without mixing them in something else, but I quickly learned that my son's sweet tooth was going to win some of those battles.  We tried adding veggies as a spread on sandwiches because he would rather feed himself and I've tried putting most of his meals in wontons, bread, and tortillas. We use vegetables as a spread and try to put a little of whatever we're having for dinner in a form that he can feed himself. Sometimes, though, I need a sure-fire, easy way for him to get his vegetables, without always having to mix them with applesauce! So, what's a mom to do?! Make muffins of course! 

Here is my attempt at sneaking vegetables into baked goods. Enjoy! If you eat some of them yourself, just keep telling yourself that you're trying to get all of your servings of vegetables in......because that's really the reason you're eating them. right? ;)  

Oh yes, that's definitely sugar that you see on top! I just couldn't help myself...

Prep Time: 15 minutes Bake Time: 18-20 minutes

1/2 cup pumpkin (I used canned)
1/4 cup peas (steamed and mashed)
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup milk 
1/4 cup cooking oil (or you could substitute with applesauce)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup sugar
1 3/4 cups flour 

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease your muffin tins (I used a tin with 2.5 inch muffin cups for 12 muffins). 

2. In a medium bowl, combine the pumpkin, peas, egg, vanilla, cooking oil, and milk. Set aside. 

3. In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin spice. Make a well in the center of the mixture

4. Slowly add the egg mixture to the flour, and stir until just combined (do not over-stir). 

5. Spoon the mixture into the muffin cups, fill each cup about 2/3 full, and bake them for about 18 to 20 minutes. Once finished, let them cool for 5 minutes before removing and enjoying! :) 

What are some creative ways you've used to get your kiddos to eat their vegetables? Also, let me know if you tried these and what your thoughts are! I'd love to hear from you! 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Baby Product Reviews: Carriers

Baby product reviews are one of the many things I’ve wanted to do since we first had a baby. Well, Joel is over one year old, and I’m finally getting to it! It goes without saying that we all have different experiences with these products, which is why I would love to hear what products you have used and what your general opinions of them are. Your questions and comments are welcome! 

On the docket for today, are a few baby carriers...

1 - Baby Björn:
-      Two words: LIFE SAVER. With our son having colic, he pretty much lived in the Björn with his pacifier for the first several months. Ok, that may be an exaggeration, but when he was not swaddled, he was in the Björn. 
     Here’s my take...

Aren't they just adorable?! 

-       This product is easy to use. There are helpful graphics printed on the inside of the carrier itself in case you are a visual learner. I found it easier to put our newborn inside of it while laying the bottom portion down on a bed and then attaching the straps while he laid there so that I could have my hands free.

-       It’s lightweight and made of high-quality material, but is also machine washable (I would wash in cold water and let air dry). Let’s face it – everything that a baby comes into contact with, needs to be washable!

-       Great for babies with colic. I wore Joel in this all the time for the first months. I’d walk around and do dishes, fold laundry, and even carefully dry my hair while he was inside (the hair dryer noise was soothing to him).

-      You can wear your baby both rear and front facing in this carrier. What I liked, especially, is that the sides of the carrier for the infant really blocked out a lot of light, which made it easier for him to take a snooze in it.

-      I didn’t particularly have many issues with this, but the Björn can be hard on your back. The weight is distributed mostly on your shoulders, so if your baby is over 10 or 12 lbs (limit is 25 lbs) or so, it can be difficult to carry her for long periods of time.

-      Our son is also constantly moving his legs, so after a while of being kicked in the gut (or even lower, which doesn’t bode well, especially for dads) :).  
-      Baby’s comfort - The baby’s legs hang straight down, which puts more pressure on their hips and may cause discomfort for them after extended wear.    
    The carrier is only front-facing, so you cannot wear your baby on your back. This can be tough when you’re trying to do things and you baby is old enough to grab things. You will get strong legs squatting because bending over can be difficult with this carrier.

-      We have a smaller than average kid, so I feel like you wouldn’t want to carry a chunkier baby for too long – it can be a rather tight squeeze.

Overall: I would give this product a solid "B-". My evaluation is that it’s great for the first few months, but it seems to lack the longevity that I would have liked. It’s a high-quality, easy to use carrier, so it’s definitely a solid choice if you’re looking for a more temporary product in which to carry your baby.

2 – Moby Wrap: This is a simple, elegant wrap, the concept of which has been around for quite a long time (like since the beginning of time, practically). The wrap is one piece of fabric (about 5.5 meters long), that you can use to wrap your baby in many different and adjust it based on your and your baby’s comfort level.

-      The material is 100% cotton, stretchy, breathable, and washable (I’ve had to wash it many times). The best part is that you can machine wash and dry this product without a fuss!

-      Cost -  This is probably one of the most cost effective options as far as baby carriers are concerned. You can purchase them on Amazon for $44.95 plus shipping (I found mine at Target on clearance for $30! Great deal).

-      Weight -  You can wear your baby in here up until he is 35 lbs!

-      Comfort -  This carrier uses your whole back and shoulders, instead of just your shoulders, which makes a huge difference when you’re out with your baby on a hike or a shopping trip.

-       In this your baby’s legs are slightly splayed, which takes the weight off their hips and should obliterate the hip pain that sometimes may occur with other carriers. 

-       Versatility - You can wrap your baby in so many ways using this wrap. There are several styles for newborns all the way up to toddlers! This product also boasts that you can use it as a blanket, pillow, or anything else you can think of!
-       Usability -  I had a hard time wrapping it. With the help of the instructions and my handy husband, we still weren’t able to wrap it very easily, at least not right away. I would end pulling the wrap too tightly and have to start over. It works wonderfully once you get it started though!

-      The Moby can be really warm for both mama and baby to wear (this could be a pro or con I guess). Both of us were a bit sweaty after using it, although I’m not sure that’s something you can easily avoid with carriers in general.

All in all, I’d rate this product with an "A-." It’s a safe bet if you’re looking for a cost effective tried and true method for baby wearing!

3 - Ergo Baby Backpack:

        Here’s my take on this. I have no official recommendations because I’ve never used one, but I’ve heard really nothing but great things about this one from other moms. You can use this snazzy carrier for a child from 7 to 45 lbs. It’s ergonomically-friendly (no kidding, given the name), and has front, back, and hip carrying positions. It’s easy on the child’s legs, as they are sitting in a natural sitting position (which is easier on their hips). It’s a bit pricier than other carries on the market, but may be worth it in the end as it is sturdy, versatile, and fairly easy to use. I am curious about it and may find a used one for when we have a second baby. If you’d like to weigh in on this and do an official review, I’d greatly appreciate it! 

Stay tuned for more baby product reviews and recommendations. 
Thanks for visiting! 

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