So I have talked before about how my kids don’t like veggies. I put things on their plate, regardless, but I can’t tell you how many times I have heard ,”I don’t like broccoli!” In order for me to feel better about their veggie intake, I will sneak veggies into a dish. I can’t take credit for this idea. I first learned about it from a great book called The Sneaky Chef. She suggests still serving veggies, but making purees and mixing in fruits and veggies into foods kids like and you know they will eat! So I have a variation of a recipe I found online, mixing in a few things. My girls love this chili and don’t even notice the carrots and red pepper!20160607_165729 (1)

Chili with Sneaky Veggies

Total Time: 35 min

*There are two ways to sneak the veggies in. Either chop them up small or if your kids are really observant, you can puree them and mix them in. To puree, simply put the veggies in a food processor/blender with a little water.

Ingredients

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup chopped red onion
  • ½ cup chopped green pepper
  • 1 pound lean ground beef or turkey
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 (15 ounce) can chopped tomatoes , or larger
  • 1 (26 ounce) carton low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 a red pepper, chopped OR 1/2 cup red pepper puree*
  • 2 carrots, chopped OR ½ cup carrot puree* (you can cook the carrots beforehand for a smoother texture)
  • ¼ cup cornmeal
  • 1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 ounce) can chili beans
  • ¼ cup of shredded cheese (can be cheddar, jack, whatever you like!)

Directions

  1. Coat the bottom of a large pot with cooking spray and set it over medium heat. Add the oil and onions and garlic. Cook until soft, about 1-2 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, sprinkle the ground meat with chili powder, salt, paprika, and pepper. Add the meat to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is no longer pink. About 5-6 minutes.
  3. Stir in the tomatoes. Add the broth, red pepper puree, carrot puree, cornmeal, and stir well. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Stir in the beans and cook a little longer. About 5 minutes.
  5. Serve and garnish with cheese

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Please let me know if this recipe works for you and your family! And what ways do you sneak veggies into your meals?

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This is a huge topic for moms. My oldest child is almost 3 and this is something we have been working on for a while now.  Just hearing the words “potty training” gets me all stressed out and wound up! All the questions one has as a mom who is just starting to deal with it. “When is the best time to start? How do I know if it’s time? What if my child fights me on it? What if they never learn how to use the potty?!?!”

potty chair

I am here to tell you, that it is going to be okay! Your child will get there eventually. Very few children get to their 5th birthday without knowing how to use the potty! But I think the most important thing for you to know is, it isn’t a race. With the social networking aspects of society these days you can’t turn around without being informed on how your friends’, neighbors’, and co-workers’ kids are doing.

“Hey, Billy is out of diapers!”

“Isn’t Billy only 18 months old?”

“Yep! He decided he was done!”

It is so difficult to listen to how these other kids are doing without comparing your child’s progress. But don’t! Every kid is different and has different needs as far as when and how they will potty train. My daughter and I have been working on it since she was around 18 months old, and it honestly has been a very frustrating journey. Not because she had a difficult time, but because I think I tried to push it on her too soon. Many  experienced moms had told me, “You have to wait until she is ready”. I know it sounds like simple advice, but it is so true. You can waste a year pushing and pushing and getting no where OR you can look for the signs that your child is ready, and wait until then. (Honestly I think this happens for most kids around 2.5 years).

So what are the signs that s/he is ready?

1) Being uncomfortable in dirty diapers. S/he will tell you s/he wants her/his diaper changed.

2) Showing interest in potty behavior. S/he will want to follow you in the bathroom and see what you are doing. S/he might also imitate potty behavior.

3) Having a dry diaper for an extended period of time. This one has to do with her/his physical development. Their little bodies will start to be able to hold it in, which in turn will result in dry diapers more often.

4) Understanding multiple step directions.  S/he responds to something like, “Take off your socks and throw them in the hamper.”

5) Is becoming more independent. S/he can do things on her/his own most of the time.

6) Is using language to respond to you. This is a big one! S/he needs to be able to come to you and tell you that s/he need to go potty.

*If your child shows all of these things, then s/he will probably be ready to start potty training. 

I have read quite a few books on the topic because I was seeking knowledge! The list above comes from the similar things I read in the books. If you are going to venture to start potty training, just know, there is no one way to do it. I know people will swear by a method because it worked for their child, but that doesn’t mean it will definitely work for you. It isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” kind of thing. Each kid is different, and temperament plays a big role.  For example, my daughter has a very “slow to warm up” temperament. Meaning it takes her a long time to adjust to change. So potty training her over a weekend, did not work. We were unsuccessful with that method. Also, the  more I pushed her, the more she resisted. So I had to really follow her cues.

The last piece of advice I will give you on this topic is, emphasize being dry! I read this in a book and it was like a revelation to me! Most parents praise and reward a child when s/he used the potty. While that step is important, it is even more important to praise and reward them for being dry during the inbetween times. Being dry, afterall, is the goal. I used “dry checks” about every 40 minutes or so and would reward my daughter for being dry. This was a very useful tool for us because it gave her the self awareness to check and see that she was dry. Now she does it on a normal basis, without reward.

I hope you have success in your potty training journey! If you ever have any questions or need some advice you can email me at friendlymomdotcom@gmail.com !

Good Luck!

 

 

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It is a new year. I am not usually one of those people who makes “resolutions”, but this year I definitely want to make some changes in my life.  I may call them goals instead. For some reason I have a problem with the word “resolution”. It makes it seem like we need to resolve a problem. I just want to make some changes for the better. I want to be an overall healthier person and I plan on doing this with some measurable goals that I have put in place. Examples- drink more water (at least 5 tumblers a day), Exercise more (at least 30 minutes a day), Eat more earth grown nutrients and cut back on carbs (make low carb dinners and snack on fruits and veggies during the day).

healthy mom

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I don’t know about you, but I have been seeing people posting about “make your own play snow” all over the place! I am a Pinterest addict, so of course I have been looking on there for ideas.  I finally felt it was time to try it out and see what all the hype was about!

play snow

It is actually very easy to make. You just need:

-1 box of baking soda (16 oz/ 1 lb)

-shaving cream (you add this in increments as you go)

*Some people like to add of drop of essential oils to make it smell nice. Whatever scent you would like!

Instructions

  1. Have your child/ren pour the entire container of baking soda into a bowl/pan. (I liked using a cake pan because the sides are a little lower which made it easier for little hands to access the snow.)
  2. Slowly add a few squirts of shaving cream and have them kneed the snow.
  3. Keep adding shaving cream until you reach desired consistency. Have fun!

play snow 2

My 2 year old was having so much fun playing with this stuff! She kept giggling and squishing it with her hands. I thought it was such a great little activity for her to do in the kitchen while I could wash dishes, clean, etc.

Well, I turned my back for a minute or two to get to my dishes and when I turned back around I realized she was having even more fun flinging the snow off of her hands in all directions! We ended up with a floor covered in snow. It looked like we had left the door open in a snow storm!

play snow 3

So word to the wise, make sure to do this activity in an area that is easy to clean! Luckily the snow was fairly easy to sweep up! (I guess that is thanks to the baking soda.) It really did end up having a similar consistency to real snow. It was a lot of fun to play with!

If you put the snow in an airtight container you can save it for a while so you can come back and play with it again.

What fun activities do you like to do in the winter?

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Halloween is upon us! Each year I tell myself I am going to decorate and each year Halloween rolls around and I don’t get a chance to do much. I promised myself I would come up with something this year, so I took to Pinterest. Of course, there are a ton of ideas on there. I found a couple I chose to copy with some slight variations.

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I was sitting just talking with my husband the other day (something that doesn’t happen as much anymore) and I found myself really enjoying the time we were spending together. Of course in the back of my mind was, “I need to clean the kitchen, the laundry needs to be done, I have to put away the clean clothes…” But I eventually quieted the blaring list of things being repeated in my head because I reminded myself how important it is to spend time with your spouse.

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So I suppose I am writing this for new moms, but it might also be useful information for moms who are curious to see if it really is worth it to buy another product to help with her day to day.  I remember when I was pregnant with my first child and feeling extremely overwhelmed by all the items that are out there! Also because all the advertisements are telling you that you need that product for your baby or you will basically be a terrible mom. What is a mom to do?!  I listened to some podcasts where other moms shared what their essentials were and I bought a book called, Baby Bargains: Secrets to Saving. It gave great ideas on where to look for deals and what things are essential versus just nice to have.

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I have been on a short hiatus from blog post writing. This was due to the fact that I was having my second child! She is already almost 6 weeks old and I can’t believe the time has flow so quickly.

Today I just felt like sharing my thoughts with you, so this post is mostly just a personal story tied in with some musing that I have been doing on the craziness that is parenthood.

Yesterday was my first day home alone with both of my girls.  To be honest, I was terrified. I didn’t think I could do it.  I had just gotten the groove going with having one at home.  We had a kind of rhythm going on.  Almost like a delicate dance where everything just sort of worked.  I felt like I was doing a pretty good job.  “Winning” as some might say.  I wasn’t sure how I was going to juggle two kids under the age of 2.  Plus I had been blessed with some help in the beginning.  My husband was able to take a good chunk of time off from work and then I had my mom come and help me.

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After my daughter had a little outburst this afternoon, I started to reflect on temper tantrums and the terrible twos stage. I will be the first to admit, I know very little in this area.  She just recently turned 18 months and we have had a few incidents now that I would call “tantrums”.  This is unchartered territory for me and it has me pretty spooked.  I know this is just the beginning and that we will have some major blow ups later on.  That is just part of normal development and something every parent will deal with at one point or another. I totally get that, but I can’t help feeling like there has to be a way to prepare.

I have read articles, books, and other blogs regarding how to deal with tantrums and there were a few common themes in all that I would like to share.  Mostly as a reminder to myself when times get frustrating, but also, because maybe it will help you out too!

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With winter coming, I am growing more and more anxious about being trapped indoors due to inclement weather.  Even though we haven’t had our real first snow here in the Midwest, the temperature is dropping rapidly and the wind chill is insane.  I look out the window and I think, “Oh, it looks pretty nice. The sun is shining.  Maybe we can go to the park or go for a walk.”  Then the second we get outside the wind blasts my face off and I can’t feel my fingers.  addtext_com_MTA1NzQ3ODA3Nzk

Okay. So maybe I am exaggerating a tad, but the point is, outdoors is not somewhere that we can stand to be right now! And I feel bad for my little one year old and the fact that she is being cooped up inside all day long.  So my goal has been to find some activities for us to do here at home.  If we can do at least one activity per day, I would feel like she is at least getting some good play time and I am doing my job as a mom.

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