Beauty in the Normal

Beauty In The Normal

“The true secret of happiness lies in the taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life”-William Morris

 

I have no idea if the two are related, however, since starting Whole30 I’ve realized that I’ve been appreciating the little things more than I usually do.

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Finally getting the kid sized shopping cart for Charlotte (they are always being used when we go)

IMG_2814The way her hair gets super curly after swim lessons

IMG_2809How beautiful food can be

IMG_2797Picking out her first leotard for gymnastics!

IMG_2786This beautiful site on the way home from the gym. But really, sunrises and sunsets are so amazing to me, I’m super grateful for the beauty they bring.

IMG_2790The amount of love this girl has for the dentist, it’s a little weird haha! We even did x-rays with no issue at all.

IMG_2691 IMG_2558Having a neighbor friend for Charlotte. Yes-we are that close that they can talk to each other like this.

IMG_2689(sorry for the grainy picture) the bond these two share is truly magical

IMG_2671Growing up with cousins who also happen to be your best friends!

IMG_2657Doing experiments with cousins and aunties (homemade bubble gum-it actually turned out!)

As I’ve been trying to practice more mindfulness and gratitude I’m really starting to see the beauty in the normal day to day life and activities, plus it makes life more fun!

Tell me some beautiful things in your normal day to day lives?

 

The Fight Against Perfection

ALEX

Perfection is everywhere in our society…..how to be the perfect wife….how to be the perfect mom…..get the perfect summer body….plan a perfect birthday party, I could go on and on…

Honestly, it’s exhausting and completely unattainable. I consider myself to be a “recovering perfectionist” and have learned some things through that journey. Perfectionism is really more about seeking acceptance from others rather than striving for self-focused improvements. The amount of pressure we put on ourselves to not mess up, not be criticized, is so great that individuals suffer from depression/anxiety because of it.

What would truly happen if we allowed ourselves to not be perfect? And be okay with not being perfect? I think what comes from that is self-acceptance, self-compassion, self-love-all important things that most of us lack. Every single one of us struggles with something, some more than others, so why not just embrace our struggles. How awesome would it be if we were gentle with ourselves and with others WHEN (not if) failure occurs, what if we recognized that we are all human-with emotions, down-falls, strengths, weaknesses? Instead of getting into the cycle of beating ourselves up and then feeling bad about it then beating ourselves up about beating ourselves up (see the nasty cycle here?) we acknowledge our mistake/failure and move the heck on! When did we become such a sensitive society where we can only accept things when they are perfect?

Striving for perfection is the worst enemy of getting things done. Instead of saying “that mile I just ran wasn’t fast enough” you say at least I ran a mile today, instead of “I didn’t make my son’s birthday cake from scratch” you say it was a wonderful birthday and everyone enjoyed the cake that was served. Making effort-any effort-is better than nothing at all, the effort doesn’t need to be perfect in order to be made. Let us freely give grace to ourselves, and others who are just trying to do their best at life and acknowledge that perfection is a waste of our precious time.

“There’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in”- One of my favorite authors Brené Brown

Perspective

wishing you loveand more birthdaysto come!

 

A few weeks ago at a MOPS meeting a mom had a heart-felt message to tell our group of women. What I learned from that message was life changing and I wanted to share some of that message with you today.

The mom pushed her daughter who was in a wheelchair up to the front of the room and began speaking. She spoke of the many fears she had when she pregnant, will the baby be healthy? Will I deliver prematurely? Will we adjust to parenthood well? Little did she know those questions would be the least of her concerns. When her daughter was just a few months old they noticed some abnormalities in her behaviors and body language. After a meeting with a doctor, and a few weeks later a specialist their biggest fears were realized. Their daughter was having hundreds of seizures a day and would not have the opportunity to develop normally, she would need a wheelchair, not be able to move much on her own, wouldn’t speak to her parents like most children can, the details are hard to listen to.

As I watched this mother tell us women about her daughter I couldn’t help but lose it, my heart ached for this mama. As parents all we want to do is protect our children, provide the best for them, and this mama couldn’t protect her daughter. The entire room had tears streaming down their face as this mama told us her and her daughter’s story but something almost unbelievable came out of this mama’s situation for her. She learned to completely trust in God’s goodness even if this situation didn’t seem good. She learned to give her children to God because in reality they aren’t really ours, we cannot control what does or doesn’t happen to them in their lives-even if we try. She has accepted their situation and started to use it for good things, her attitude was extremely inspiring and she shared with us how her daughter has been able to bless other’s lives in many ways.

So today, I have a challenge for us parents…..

Instead of getting frustrated that your kiddo has gotten out of bed for the 10th time when they should be going to sleep for the night….be thankful they are able to walk with their own two feet.

Instead of getting upset that your child won’t eat all their lunch….be thankful they can eat food on their own at all.

Instead of having a hard time when your child is having a tantrum….be thankful they can speak to you at all (can you imagine never being able to hear your child’s voice?)

Instead of living in fear of trying to protect our children from the dangers of this world….trust, trust that the amount of love you have for your children the Lord loves them even more.

Today let’s have perspective, let’s live with gratitude and enjoy the many blessings in our lives trusting that God’s goodness prevails even if it doesn’t look like it in the moment.

Easter Weekend Recap

I really hope you had a great Easter weekend because ours was ridiculously awesome. Spring here in Colorado has been really interesting-that’s how I’ll put it-another way to put it is snowy. In the beginning of the week we had heard that there was a potential for a blizzard mid-week, but being a native Coloradoan I didn’t think much of it. Well, come Wednesday it was absolutely insane! My husband left for work his normal time but I kept my eye/ear on the news in case this storm took a turn for the worse. Around 11am I started hearing about road closures (like major highways) so I called the hubby to tell him that if he didn’t leave now he may not be able to get home. All together from Wednesday morning to Thursday morning we ended up with 20 inches, yes TWENTY! However, the good news is that we ended up having daddy home for four days this weekend, yay!

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Thankfully I had purchased the things we needed to dye Easter eggs before the big blizzard came. It was a great indoor activity and Charlotte loved it!

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Once the snow cleared and the roads were drivable we went to visit my Grandma and had a great time chatting and having lunch together. Charlotte really enjoyed the time too, the Easter Bunny even came to visit her at Grandma’s! Charlotte was so excited about her pretty boa she received and couldn’t wait to get home to put it on our dog Maverick, ha! That evening we painted some pictures for the Easter Bunny with glitter paint.

IMG_2744 IMG_2750 IMG_2751Saturday Charlotte and I painted our nails and cooked together. We made Whole30 chicken nuggets with Whole30 approved mashed potatoes, homemade ranch sauce, and a homemade buffalo sauce. By far my favorite Whole30 meal we’ve had to date, I am on day 15 and feeling so good!!

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Sunday was Easter and it was such a wonderful day! We had church service in the morning celebrating that He is risen! During Charlotte’s nap I went for a three-mile run and the Easter Bunny made his appearance at our house! Charlotte was so excited when she woke up from nap, she kept gasping and saying “oh my goodness….” each time she ran into another egg. My favorite part of Easter though was doing resurrection eggs with my family. It was a beautiful moment of reading God’s word about the true meaning of Easter and having something tangible for Charlotte to hold onto, these will make a return every Easter from here on out. It was a wonderful long weekend spent with my family.

Tell me some highlights of your weekend….?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Healthy Items to Stock Your Pantry With From Costco

I love Costco, I just started shopping there when we moved into our new house in December. We have a giant pantry and I was excited to be able to have a well stocked pantry with healthy items. I’m going to give you a list of my favorite healthy items that we always keep on hand from Costco.

Cashews!! We have a great love for cashews in our home, but most of their nuts and dried fruits are great options

cashews

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Popcorn-we like to have family movie nights on Friday’s or date night’s in and will have some nearly naked popcorn for a snack. It’s a low calorie, crunchy, salty snack option to keep your dietary goals in check.

popcorn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seasonings-They can be so expensive! I love that when I buy them from Costco they are a great value and big jars of them. I particularly like the non-salt all purpose seasoning but the majority of their seasonings are amazing!

seasoning

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We buy all of our bulk paper products there as well: paper towels and toilet paper.

I made a recent adventurous purchase at Costco recently that turned out well. We have been trying to eat less carbs and more protein in our home so I bought a big box of edamame pasta. I’m impressed with the taste and texture.

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Charlotte LOVES Clif Zbars and I love the stats on them for a processed food. So we buy the variety box and have it in the pantry for when she “needs” a snack.

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For Brent and I we love Larabars and stock up with a variety pack in case hunger strikes between meals.

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I stock up on a lot of canned and dry goods such as: stewed tomatoes, black beans, soups, peanut butter, marinara sauce, pasta noodles, ketchup, mustard, olive oil, coconut oil.

I love their organic grass-fed beef they carry at Costco, they come in 1.5lb portions so I leave one in the fridge for the week and put the rest in the freezer for later use. We do the same with organic chicken breasts.

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Now I can’t leave this post without mentioning some of the “treats” we find at Costco as well, pretty much ANYTHING from their bakery-holy delicious. Also any of their pre-made dips, so good.

Your turn…..Tell me your favorite’s from Costco

If you like this post, check out these:

What Does Health Look Like To You?, 8 Reasons I Put Coconut Oil In My Coffee, My Favorite Items From Trader Joe’s

 

 

 

 

Foreboding Joy

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I believe one thing everyone craves having more of is joy, most of us feel joy starved. We have a hard time feeling joy even when our lives our going well. Our marriage is thriving, our career is becoming successful, our health is good, then we start thinking to ourselves oh crap, something bad is going to happen, life can’t be this good, darkness is around the corner. We start to feel vulnerable to attack when something (or everything) in our lives is going well. I have always considered myself a “realist” when I would constantly make disaster plans in my life. My husband would kiss me goodbye as he left for work in the morning and I would picture what I would do if he got into a car accident. I got pregnant with our daughter and I would be so worried about something horrible happening to my unborn child and I wasn’t able to control it. In my mind, if I could picture the worst case scenario of every situation I could plan the outcomes and be prepared for what was to come.

In the really great moments in life it was at times easier to live in disappointment knowing that something bad could happen; in this I would consequently feel less joy but also feel less pain. My biggest fear was being blindsided by pain or something terrible happening. Some of you know that my father unexpectedly passed away when I was twelve years old; he was in a motorcycle accident that took his life. One day we had a complete family and I felt safe and the next day it was all taken from me, in an instant I didn’t have a dad anymore. What could I have done to prepare myself for something like this? Could I have prevented my heart from being ripped out of my chest? I’m slowing starting to come to terms with these questions and the real answers. No matter how many times you feel as though you prepare yourself for tragedy it never compares to the true event.

The only way to combat the issue of foreboding joy is to live vulnerably in the moment. True joy and happiness are not the same thing, being happy is dependent on circumstances, joy is connected to true gratitude. Feeling joyful is not dependent upon what we do or don’t deserve and it surely doesn’t invite disaster to come to our door. Celebrating every moment and being grateful for the wonderful things in your life that you may have previously taken for granted.  Being truly present and truly vulnerable allows your heart to feel the joy of the moment. That moment when you look at your child and you feel as though your heart will explode with love and joy, soak in that moment for what it is-a blessing of parenthood. When you’re laying in bed next to your spouse and you wonder how in the heck you are so lucky to end up with someone like this? Allow that to fill your heart and build your marriage. Feeling the sun shining on your face as you close your eyes and hear your children playing in the driveway, this my friends, is gratitude fueled joy.

Friends, today lets be mindful of the many things we have to be grateful for. Let us be present in every moment, taking it as it is and not allowing our minds to wander to the what ifs…. Let us find true joy.

My Favorite Natural Baby and Natural Cleaning Products

 

My Favorite Natural Baby and Natural Cleaning Products

 

Unfortunately, there is a high number of toxins found in many baby, beauty and cleaning products. I have been on a journey for the past six years or so to reduce the number of toxins coming into my home and our bodies. My passion for this grew once we had our daughter Charlotte, I want to protect her from any harmful chemicals that could be lurking in common baby and household products. I have composed a list of my favorite “natural” items that I use on a daily basis and thought I would share with my lovely readers just in time for spring cleaning 🙂

  • Baby Products

This bubble bath is the best I’ve found and I’ve tried many. I love the calming lavender scent, how well the bubbles hold up throughout bath and how long this bottle lasts! I use either one or two capfuls depending on how quickly we need to get Charlotte to bed!

bubble bath

 

My all time favorite baby shampoo/body wash is this. The smell is intoxicating and the ingredient list is something I like. We have used this product since Charlotte was born. I’ve tried samples of others and always come back to this one, we also use the same lotion that comes in this collection.

shampoo and body wash

 

Once Charlotte’s hair started to get long we needed to add conditioner into her bathing routine. This honest company conditioner is my favorite so far and really gets the tangles out of her hair.

I made most of Charlotte’s baby food from scratch, however, in a crunch I really like Earth’s Best baby foods

The wipes I found to be the most cost effective and equally natural are Pampers Sensitive Wipes

wipes

 

Once Charlotte turned one she started drinking whole milk, and Horizon’s Organic Whole Milk +DHA Omega3 is what we started giving her.

milk

Once she started drinking Whole milk I also started adding probiotics to her milk. I firmly believe in the health benefits of probiotics. RAW Probiotics for kids is what we use.

RAW Probiotics

When Charlotte is stuffy from a cold or feeling a little under the weather we like to use some coconut oil mixed with Breathe DoTerra essential oil and it really helps clear up her congestion to help her sleep at night. I rub it on her chest and back and some on the bottom of her feet.

In this house we are a huge fan of Zarbee’s Natural’s products, Charlotte loves her vitamins and asks for them each morning. When I feel as though she has been exposed to a sickness or that her immune system is down this added immune support is what we use. If she does end up getting sick (which obviously happens) we use this cough medicine and it works wonders! There is also a night time version that has some melatonin added which we love as well.

ChildCoughSyrup_Marquee_2732x1725 ChildElderberryGummy_Marquee_2732x1725 Toddler_HoneyMultivitamin

 

If she ends up getting something that is a little worse than just a cough we start using Hyland’s products, we use this for overall cold symptoms and it seems to work very well. They also has a night time version that has helped Charlotte get rest even when she has a bad cold.

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I also really enjoy using natural cleaning products throughout our house, we switched over about six years ago and I haven’t looked back. I’ve tried a lot of natural cleaning products and below is a list of my favorite’s…

  • Cleaning Products

I truly love Method cleaning products and use them for most everything in my house. When we built our house we purchased a stainless steel fridge and I knew going into it that fingerprints would be an issue. I love this cleaner for many reasons, the smell (yum!), how well it works, and how long the tiny bottle has lasted us so far. For a general all purpose cleaner I use this, we use the lavender scent though they have many different options and all of them smell luscious. My favorite floor cleaner, seriously. I’m so glad I found this product, it’s ridiculously easy to use (you literally squirt and mop) and the almond smell is my favorite scent in this line. This cleaner also comes in a smaller spray version for cleaning wood tables, blinds, anything wood in your home. If you were to ask my daughter, this soap is her favorite! Anything that foams is awesome in her book and mine too. It might just be a mind thing but I feel like the foam does a better job covering her whole hand (since she insists on doing everything herself these days) and that makes me reassured her hands are really getting clean. Last but certainly not least we use this laundry detergent and once again I love the scent, how long it lasts and how easy it is to use. So all that to say, use Method products and you won’t be sorry!

4x-laundry-ginger-mango 10oz_HW_Foaming_HibiscusFlower 12oz_specialtyspray_steelforreal 25oz_squirtmop_wood_for_good APC_Lavender

 

For things that need a really good scrub (toilets, showers, bathtubs, etc) I love Mrs. Meyers surface scrub. I grew up in a home that used Comet and I was determined to find a natural version of this type of cleaner.

lavender-surface-scrub

For our dish washing needs we really like this automatic dish gel and this rinse aid. The combination of these two makes for some really clean dishes!

automatic dish detergent rinse aid

 

Well I think it’s safe to say that I covered most every baby/toddler and cleaning product that we use in our home. I hope this list will be helpful to you in your journey towards using natural products in your home.

Please tell me some of your favorite natural products…

 

 

Gifts For New Parents They Don’t Know They Need

Est. 1989Becoming a parent is a monumental event in one’s life that deserves proper preparation. I remember when I was pregnant with Charlotte I was so overwhelmed by the many different types of bottles, diapers, toys, cribs, it was so hard to make a decision on what would be best for our daughter. So if you have a friend who is expecting a baby sometime soon I have some suggestions for gifts that they may not even know they will need/want. I am by no means an expert but these are things that would have been helpful after having our daughter.

 

  1. A white noise machine-I preferred using a three-in-one white noise, humidifier, and night light. We still to this day use this every single night. There is a button to have a backlight which we use has Charlotte’s night light. We also have the white noise running during nap and at night on a low setting. Babies are used to noise in the womb, most parents want to make an environment that’s quiet believing that will create a better sleep environment. The opposite is true, babies like some noise and white noise is the perfect option for the new baby. white noise
  2. A nipple shield-Sorry if this is TMI but it’s so important to mention. If the mother plans on breastfeeding this is a big learning journey she is embarking on. I wish I had known about nipple shields and their benefits after I had Charlotte. We had trouble latching in the hospital and I only learned about the nipple shield days later with a lactation consultant. nipple shield
  3. Gift cards to the parents favorite coffee shops and restaurant (preferably take-out). The lack of sleep isn’t anything anyone can ever prepare for, it’s tough. Coffee always helps, really. Family and friends will (hopefully) give the new parents freezer meals for the first week or so for them to survive off of, but that week will come and go. Gift cards for the restaurants give the parents a little more of a grace period before they need to start cooking meals for their growing family.

    The magically drink that gives parents super powers ;)

    The magical drink that gives parents everywhere super powers 😉

  4. A free house cleaning! It’s a tough transition for a family to make whether it’s their first or fifth child and housework gets put on the back burner. Scheduling a cleaning service to help the new parents out is incredibly helpful. Having a fresh clean house can help relieve some of the new parent pressures and challenges.
  5. A really good swaddle blanket-Swaddling Charlotte correctly and consistently was a life saver for my husband and I. I really recommend one that has a zipper or Velcro (keeps those ninja babies from escaping!). Babies are used to be in a tight space and don’t usually love having “free” limbs while trying to sleep. Babies also have something called the startle reflex which makes babies jump and their limbs go flying which wakes them up. Swaddling helps keep the limbs from flying and is more likely to help keep them asleep during and after the reflex. swaddle
  6. Clothing that is anything but newborn or 0-3 month sizes. Some babies are born so big that they truly don’t even fit in newborn clothing and then they grow so quickly that they are soon in bigger clothes and you have none. Everyone thinks it’s so fun and cute to gift the teeney tiny clothes (they are super cute) but it’s really unpractical. The new parents will greatly appreciate having clothing for when their child gets bigger because it can get expensive clothing a growing baby.

    Little girls love clothes!

    Little girls love clothes!

  7. Diapers-I was truly amazed at the amount of diapers a tiny human could actually go through in a day. Help the new parents out by padding their diaper stock, if you are unsure what brand they like-ask! *Wipes are also super helpful, Charlotte is 2 1/2 and we still use wipes for things daily*
  8. Bibs and burp cloths-You truly cannot have enough of either, this will save the new parents from having to do laundry every day! They will thank you later…
  9. Extra set of sheets-Refer to #8, the less laundry needing to be done the better. It’s never fun to not have a backup sheet for the bed when it gets soiled at 1am.
  10. Last but not least offer to babysit so the new parents can have a date night!! A husband and wife switch to being parents in an instant and it can sometimes be a tough transition. Offer to let the parents go get a cup of coffee together or a meal, it can be an hour or three-whatever the parents are comfortable with. In my experience the new parents aren’t gone too long the first time away from the baby but having someone they trust to leave the baby with is so valuable.

 

Photo Dump (Life Lately)…

It’s Friday! This morning we are waking up to a blanket of snow and it will continue snowing through the day. I’m trying to soak it up instead of crave the warm weather from last week, it is still technically winter after all. Today I just wanted to do an update on life lately…

IMG_2481 IMG_2490I recently joined MOP’s (Mothers Of Preschoolers) and am really loving it. We meet twice a month and from 9:30-11:30-we have breakfast together, share a message, and usually have a craft time. It’s a really great time of refreshment and community, having a group of women in the same phase of motherhood is really refreshing. Charlotte really loves the kids church she goes to while I’m with the mom’s and she also really loves (obviously) the playground outside when we are all finished. I have a serious daredevil on my hands, maybe she will be the next American Ninja Warrior  😉

IMG_2507When Brent was traveling last week Charlotte and I decided to have a date night. We went to Panera for dinner and then walked over to this most adorable cupcake shop for dessert. As you can see from the picture they have these really cute swings for the kids to sit in, and it’s decorated so cute.

Cherry Limeaid cupcake cupcakes

Yeah, their cupcakes are so so good. And really cute! *Side-note* I’m 5 days into Whole30 and these cupcake pictures are killing me….ugh!

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So my “baby” is learning to ride a bike. These pictures make her look SO big, it kills me. She really loves riding downhill and won’t put the brakes on no matter how many times we tell her to because “it’s fun to go fast! yikes. At least we both get a good workout chasing her down the road making sure she stops at the end of the street, ha!

IMG_2571Charlotte also started swim lessons this week. She LOVES them! Loves the water and had a really hard time getting out when the lesson was over…..hence the below picture.

IMG_2573Having to get out of the pool is the worst…..

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We got Charlotte some new dress-up clothes and she is loving them. She has named herself “Princess Allie Oat” haha! No idea where that name came from.

IMG_2626After a week of not having my ring (it was getting resized and some other work done) I was so happy to get it back on Wednesday! I texted this picture to my husband telling him I was married woman again 😉 PS. I’m fixing my chipped nail polish today.

IMG_2580I haven’t taken many pictures of my Whole30 food because honestly it isn’t very photogenic, especially my chia pudding….However, today is day 5 and I’m feeling great! I feel like I have more energy, I’m sleeping better, and my skin looks better. I’m not going to sugar coat it though and say it has been cake (yum cake…..) but I have my moments that it isn’t hard and moments I want to eat all the carbs. I think the thing I’m having the hardest time adjusting to is my coffee, I usually put stevia and some natural coffee creamer in my coffee, I can’t have either. I’ve been using coconut cream but it just isn’t the same…sigh…Also, it’s Friday and I always have a glass of wine on Friday but not today, plus it’s snowy out and it makes me want to eat all the carbs. So today, I’m dreaming of grilled cheese, mac and cheese and wine, but won’t be having any.

Eat anything super yummy lately that you would like to share so I can live vicariously through you? 😉 I’m a tad dramatic….

 

Toddler Meal Ideas

Good morning! Happy St. Patty’s Day!! Don’t forget to wear green!

Is anyone else still trying to adjust to Daylight Savings time? I know we sure are in our house. I’m also really glad that it’s Thursday and the weekend is right around the corner. We have a really fun weekend planned with lots of Easter activities.

The first time I did a post like this I got a lot of positive feedback so I thought I would do another! I really try to do a good job at making sure her plate is complete with fruit, veggies, protein, and dairy. Sometimes she does an awesome job eating and sometimes she takes two bites and is done. I also mentioned last time that Charlotte loved those Applegate sausages, yep, I jinxed myself because she hasn’t touched them since, ha!

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Chicken stir-fry, cashews and cauliflower rice.

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Homemade banana bread, strawberries/blueberries, sausage and a scrambled egg.

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Pork chops with sautéed apples and onions, baked sweet potato, and pomegranate seeds.

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Enchilada, guacamole, sliced bell peppers, and strawberries.

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Organic blueberry pancakes, scrambled egg, and blueberries.

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Healthy chicken ranch skillet, shredded cheese, avocado cubes, and salad.

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Annie’s mac and cheese, turkey breast, berries, and red bell peppers.

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Rotisserie chicken, sliced cheddar, berries, and sliced red bell peppers.

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Peanut butter and jelly sandwich, sliced cheddar, and blueberries

So there’s a glimpse of what my 2 1/2 year old has been eating lately. Some days we battle over meal time and some days they go really smooth. I wish I had some really awesome trick on how to get your toddler to eat all their meals but sadly I do not at this time.

So, if you have a great trick for us, please share it below…

Any meals your kids have been loving lately?

Find more posts like this…

What My Two Year Old Eats

Favorite Items From Trader Joes