Snack and Meal Ideas | Tot School and Pre-K

It’s been an eventful week to say the least!

Winter snow has made way for Spring and we had just started our kids in twice a week school when bam! Schools around the globe are closing due to the COVID-19 virus epidemic and many of us are finding ourselves in new daily routines that often involve hands-on caring for our children while trying to maintain our usual money-making careers.

Even if you manage to come by the groceries and the energy and time, we often have no idea where to start, especially when it comes to feeding picky (ahem, particular) toddlers.

While many of us parents would be happy to take an opportunity to fast or diet, it’s important that young children continue to get the caloric needs that may have been provided by schools or daycares before all of these new arrangements.

In my household, we have a one and two year old who are very vocal about the things they don’t prefer to eat – a list that seems to be growing every day despite our best efforts!

Being creative with presentation, plating, variety, or mixing up the textures can make a big difference in “tricking” (convincing) a new food experience.

Trick 1: Same Foods, New Ways

This afternoon we sliced up hotdogs, speared a few noodles through the centers, and then cooked the whole lot in boiling water for about 11 minutes.

While we reserved a few and carefully diced them for the younger child to avoid choking, the older kid found it hilarious that his “big kid lunch” was so silly! I decided not to tell him it was the exact same package of dogs he refused to eat two days before, and spaghetti noodles he “didn’t like” last month – from the same box.

Trick 2: Templates or Placemats

I have already started curating Amazon gifts list for upcoming events with our kids. One thing we look forward to getting some day is educational or interactive placemats like these:

Until then, we’ve found a lot of success in creating fun templates based on popular kids snacks, and using them to teach all sorts of lessons during snack times, from counting to sorting to matching. These Teddy Graham ones were a hit, even though I didn’t realize that they have different arm positions (I just grabbed one and traced it onto my iPad Pro, so I made another sheet:

I’ve laminated a few of our favorite multi-purpose ones (such as the numbered circles) and enjoyed creating custom ones for “healthy” versions of snacks (like Annie’s Organic bunnies, etc.)

follow on Insta for more toddler food inspo

I’ll be sharing some of my snack and play ideas on Pinterest stories this week so make sure to follow! @brandi_n_hightower on Instagram @mommaamommab on Pinterest

Where was I this week?

It has been a minute! Today finds me feeling like it’s Monday, despite being nearly Wednesday at this point. How about you? Have you taken a moment to check in with yourself and recognize all of your accomplishments, instead of your shortcomings and un-finished (or un-started) tasks?

I hope you’ll join me in forgiving myself for not posting until now.

It’s easy for me, someone who loves a good commitment while struggling with the follow through, to get overwhelmed sometimes. For the most part I seem to see my projects and task to fruition; through much trial and error, honing an ability to set realistic but lofty goals has become my life’s work.

Nobody wants to settle for mediocre, but am I as fabulous as I think I am?

The short answer: YES! And so are YOU!

While it would be borderline reckless to suggest that simply dreaming up an idea and diving in headlong is all it takes to be successful, somehow it still parallels truth to some degree.

Without a dream to get you started, what do you have?

This week has found me busier than ever. I’ve taken on a few roles within a non-profit in my area, as well as some additional projects of personal interest. While it remains to be seen how ‘successful’ our new venture is, we hope to have an official website and menu up for Hightower Digital Media within the next couple of weeks.

Yep. We’re going for it! Ripping off the band-aid and getting squared up with all the right people to help us make it happen.

I believe strongly in the power of manifesting your desires. I’m not sure how it happened, but the last few months has been one of the most intuitive times of my life; by saying out loud the things that I want to bring into my life and eliminate all together, it seems that life is finding a way to make things happen.

Our Insta page launched a few short hours ago, so if you can read this, check out @hightowerdigitalmedia and be our friend in that space. We’d love to connect with you over there as we square up our logo design and begin building our digital empire. Be the first to see it all unfold!

Canyon has been officially enrolled in a new Montessori preschool and will be twice a week, starting tomorrow. Dakota will be flying solo without the comfort of having her big brother there. The teachers say that she’s more than ready, and they look forward to seeing her continue to grow and embrace her own schooling experience while bro spreads his wings and experience a more routine educational experience alongside a new set of peers.

Exciting things happening for everyone in the family this week!

Thanks for stopping by and we’ll catch up again soon!

B

Surviving a Day with Toddlers | Real SAHM | Mental Health Awareness

The day started off pretty promising: after regrettably having to skip yesterday’s workout I was a little nervous I was going to feel some backslide in progress (and scared my workout was going to hurt) but it wasn’t the case.

I have been trying to network a little bit more here in the valley and decided to head to Pybus marketplace to share some treats with The Littles.

That is: the one and two year olds.

After somewhat coaxing them to eat last nights dinner of a recent “hit” (a side of fresh blackberries plus tortillas with mozzarella, pepperoni and…ketchup), they’d both woken up starving like they’d not eaten in 46 days.

just why

If you see next weeks Vlog you’ll know that I’m not starving them; we have plenty of marinara sauce, yet they for some reason both think that it’s poison. So…ketchup.

After refusing the eggs I cooked and turning their nose up at the peanut butter toast, I gave in to cereal.

I’m not advocating for being a pushover parent but two days without my wife will do that to me. (I am so much looking forward to her return from overnight work travels this evening!)

Amos if you can read this: I love you!

But I digress as per usual.

For some reason I left the stroller at home thinking they were both old enough to walk 25 feet through the front doors and another 25 feet or so to the front counter and wait in line for about three minutes or so.

It was about as good idea as putting two unleashed rabbits on the floor.

Wild animals, I tell ya! This was before the chaos. More at MommaAMommaB on YouTube

Loud rabbits. Rabbits that wanted to touch the display case even though we talked about looking with our eyes at this EXACT CASE on the car ride and on the walk over to said display case.

As I try to corral them in the same general area, and yell loudly enough for the barista to get my order, also yelling BITE ME because my kid couldn’t make up his mind and that’s the first one I saw.

His increasingly-heavy-in-my-arms sibling was starting to arch her back and do tornado moves and scream. Boy, did she scream, demanding in her 17 month old way to also touch and possibly lick the cookie case.

Bite Me! Cookie

It was the first one that stood out to me, and I’ll admit it felt good to yell it. Only because I did it with a half smile on my face, and the barista smiled back. I think it made her day.

Instagram @cafecolumbiapybus

Or maybe I looked scary (I noticed smeared mascara when we fiiiiinally got back to the van – has it been there??!) and maybe she didn’t smile but grimace.

No, it was a smile. She was friendly. But gosh, I could hardly see anything through my embarrassment – parenting in public is definitely not for the faint of heart.

Menu @ #cafecolumbiapybus

Regardless, instead of me just sitting there like usual being too shy to reach out to people I actually had people offer to help – and struck up quite a few conversations with interesting folks which was the exact reason I went there: I had been hoping to bring my work from home mentality to the public realm, thinking just maybe my kids would sit and be distracted with beautiful cookies while I chatted and it would be chalked up as a business expense.

But, kids are unpredictable- especially young kids! Or maybe I am. I mean, they’re just doing what they do best. I was the foolish one thinking that pre-feeding, pre-watering, pre-entertaining, pre-napping them and bribing them majorly would buy me TEN MINUTES.

Nope!

But you know what? I embrace it. I didn’t have a choice in the moment.


Thank you from the bottom of my soul to whomever made these cookies

I marched those sugar-laden children to the minivan and ate my cold tuna melt in the park. Well, near the park. With the window rolled down. While the kids slept.

My lunch from the park as experienced from inside the mom van

Oh, how I wish to have sat on a sunny bench – but there was no way I was waking up one sleeping soul. And what would I do with them once they were awake? No sunbathing was happening today. Or was it?

Since unattended children in running vehicles is frowned upon, I engaged the parking brake and kept the seatbelt on, then craned my neck until I needed two Tylenol, aiming my gaze out my van window and into the sunshine – and enjoyed the moment. Really. Someday they will be grown and I will look back at this and miss it immensely. Of course I will probably glorify it. And oh the advice I’ll have!

we arrived home and it’s been a nightmare ever since…

…but now my Mom#2 is finally back (!!!) and I can post this and give you all a look at my day as a stay at home mama trying to network and meet new professionals in the valley. Tough and very rewarding!

Thankful for my coworking days at Wenatchee WorkSpace – a time I get to truly maximize my productivity so I can be both “on” as a parent and “on” as a community member. When you start using a coworking space like mine, and begin growing your business…well, it’s hard to go back to the home office! Hats off to those who can pull it off. Mamas everywhere being SuperHuman!

Rainbows at yesterday’s lunch meeting @ #wenatcheeworkspace

Wenatchee WorkSpace is also located half a block from the Apple Capitol Loop Trail – Perfect for days when you need to blow off some steam or get creative energy flowing.

It’s all about work life balance.

Until next time!

Mama B

You may have noticed a lot of my recent posts and YouTube videos have focused on mental health. Even my most positive and chipper friends have thrown an occasional “…gee, February sure is a long month!” For those of us who got through a tough December, February is dragging on and on.

Can it be spring yet?

Or are there changes we can make now to improve productivity?

I’m talking, clear the clutter or rearrange your if need be. Shake things up! Try something new! Modify your routine if it isn’t working for you.

Stay positive and good things will come.

Until next time,

Mama B

xxxx

no filter day – love yourselves