The 8 Stages of Dinnertime with a Toddler

It's hard enough finding a meal your toddler will actually like, finding time to cook said meal, and surviving the day long enough to get it to the table... but actually making it through dinnertime with a toddler is a journey in itself. These are the 8 stages toddlers go through during dinner, every night.

Remember before you had kids, when your dinnertime was a cherished time to unwind with your spouse, catch up on each other’s days, discuss the latest world events, and just be connected?

Or – let’s be real – a time to eat on the couch, watch TV, and play on Facebook next to your spouse while you both zone out after an exhausting day of work?

Dinnertime with a toddler is basically the same as that, if you did all of those things while wrestling a rattlesnake. Not only is it physically exhausting you from its surprising strength for its size, but you’re actually afraid for your life because it could bite you at any moment. But at the same time, you and the snake both gotta eat, so you’re just powering through and trying to get at least half the plate of food into your mouths before one of you completely breaks (and we all know which one of you it’s going to be). Continue Reading

Instant Pot Italian Sausage Penne

This Instant Pot Italian Sausage Penne is a delicious, fast, easy meal with only 8 ingredients.

The Instant Pot electric pressure cooker strikes again! This Italian Sausage Penne Pasta was the very first thing I made in it, based on a recommendation from a friend. I’ve since made it about 10 times, tweaking it slightly each time, finding the right cook times, measurements, and seasoning mixtures.

And finally – it’s perfect. Or at least as close to perfect as one can get with a toddler running sprints around the kitchen while she cooks. Continue Reading

20 Trader Joe’s Must-Haves for Toddler Moms

20 things you HAVE to get at Trader Joe's if you're Toddler Mom! Toddler-friendly snacks and meals, plus mom-necessities to survive the day with a toddler.

Trader Joe’s is the mecca of all grocery stores. The cream of the crop, the best of the best, the G.O.A.T.

No, you may not be able to get your full grocery order there every time, but I’d be willing to bet you’ll end up finding all of your favorite things there.

However, if you’ve never been, it can be a little daunting. It’s organized differently than most stores, and nearly everything is Trader Joe’s store brand, so it can take a few aimless, wandering trips to get the lay of the land and figure out what the real gems are. Toddler moms ain’t got time for that, so lucky for you, you’ve got me! Continue Reading

How to Treat Yo’Self This Mother’s Day

Mother's Day is our one day of the year, moms. We get to be pampered, relaxed, and spoiled.

Moms, self-care is so important. We spend approximately 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, taking care of everyone else. Literally everyone. On my list this week were tasks for my husband, my mom, my mother-in-law, my son’s daycare teachers, my sister-in-law, my neighbor, oh, and my actual, paying J-O-B.

Where are we supposed to find room on that list for ourselves? Continue Reading

12-18 Month Old Gift Guide

10 awesome gift ideas for 12-18 month old toddlers.

Getting gifts for babies has always been a challenge for me. They don’t really have interests yet, like older kids, and it’s hard to know what toys are developmentally right for what age, unless you’re living and breathing it.

That’s why I created my Gift Guide for Babies last year, and I got such a great response to it, that I thought I’d create more of them as my son continues to grow into new toys. Some of the toys on that list are still big favorites in our house, so make sure to visit that list too, if you haven’t already.

So with that, here are his current favorites: Continue Reading