About Carrie

Carrie, mother to 18 month old twin boys, has presently traded a lab coat for mom jeans to be a SAHM. As a research scientist, Carrie was used to problem solving and troubleshooting small tasks while keeping big picture goals in sight. As a mom, she has found her job to be quite similar. While repeating the mantras “don’t sweat the small stuff” and “this too shall pass”, Carrie and her husband managed to survive the first year as twin parents. As this second year progresses, Carrie is enjoying the small freedoms and enjoyable moments that come with toddlerhood. Carrie and her family (including dogs and cats) live in the Bay Area and enjoy good weather, good produce and good times. Carrie enjoys documenting life as a twin mom with the hopes that her stories and insights will make other peoples journey just a touch easier.

Foodie Friday: Getting Dinner on the Table

Getting on the table can be such a challenge! Some tips for getting it simple and healthy

Recently my long-time friends and I were sharing an email thread describing our shortcoming when it comes to getting a healthy dinner on the table during the work week. We are three intelligent ladies living in different areas of the US, each with different daytime duties and schedules and yet we all have one thing in common: we feel like we are failing when it comes to seamlessly feeding our kids at the end of a long day. I’m no expert, but I did come up with a list of ideas that have made my weekdays easier. Maybe some of these ideas will help make your dinners easier too:

  1. Instead of trying to plan out five meals to cook during the week, pick three.  I have found that five is too many to put together and you can usually float two meals between leftovers and schedule changes that come up as the week goes on.
  2. Make (at least) three of the same things every week.  You can switch up little things like the starch and/or the veggie side dishes (and you can change your three meals monthly if you fear you will get board) but making the same basic things during the week will save time and will help you get into a groove.
  3. Don’t make elaborate dishes.  I’m not sure about your kids, but mine really like individual foods.  Chicken legs, broccoli, avocado, rice.  Done.  Hamburgers (no bun because they really don’t eat constructed sandwiches at this age), sweet potatoes fries, veggie.  Done.  Red meat sauce and pasta, side veggie, yogurt.  Done.  Rice, lightly seasoned black beans, avocado, pork, done.  Pizza with whatever topping we have left in the fridge.  No chicken pot pies, no stews, no chili, limited soups.  I love the thought of them, but my children don’t eat them as well as individual foods, and they take too much time and effort for little return on investment.
  4. Prep SOME things on the weekend.  I have been cutting up a batch of onions, sweet potatoes, washing greens and cutting up broccoli on Sundays.  Then I just grab and go from there depending on what meal I am constructing.
  5. Make some grains on the weekends.  Make a batch of rice and cook some noodles or quinoa to have ready to go with any meal.  You can construct a lot of meals under pressure if you have these things cooked and in the fridge ready to use.  Refill your stock of one grain on Wed.
  6. Make ONE of your weekly meals on Sunday (the one that takes the longest to cook).  Roast a chicken, cook a giant package of chicken legs, cook a pork shoulder (I cook my pork shoulder completely plain then season it for other meals later e.g.  pulled pork (add bbq sauce) or tacos (pan cook it with taco spices), burrito bowls (reheat the meat with Mexican spices add it to a bowl of roasted veggies plus rice and avocado, cilantro, fresh tomato).  Cook this beef, chicken, pork, item relatively plain then add spices later to make it work for whatever you are doing.
  7. Anything you make a batch of (e.g. chili, soup, red sauce), freeze half immediately to be used for another meal.  I found that we get board of leftovers and I was consistently throwing some foods away. Having one meal in the freezer from a previous cooking adventure can be more helpful in the future.
  8. Frozen peas can be added to any meal to round it out :)

Those are my helpful tips and how I have managed to keep meal time somewhat sane.  Feel free to add any insights that have helped to get healthy meals onto your table.

Foodie Friday: Energy Balls

My boys have reached the age where they are old enough to become my sous chefs. (Okay, more realistically, we have reached the age where I feel comfortable with them being in the kitchen and being more help than trouble). It’s been fun thinking of easy to make recipes that can double as nutritious and appealing snack options. I love making these “energy balls” because they are clean and easy to put together. I also love when my boys ask for this snack, they yell “Energy!”. It’s adorable.

20131119_161733(1)Here is how we make them:
Into your food processor add two handfuls of pitted dates.
Pulse 5-10 times until the dates are broken apart.
To the dates, add

1 cup of roasted sunflower seeds
1 cup of roasted pepitas
1/2 cup dried cranberries
Process until the mass starts to stick together. If you find that the dough still looks kind of grainy after 2 minutes of processing, add another handful of dates and process again.

Roll into appropriate serving size bites and enjoy!

20131119_161603These energy balls are easy to modify to your family’s tastes. We have nut allergies in our family so I use seeds but you can easily use various kinds of nuts.  In addition, you can substitute any dried fruit you have on hand (dried cherries and blueberries are particularly yummy). Last, I have found that toasting the seeds makes these snack balls extra delicious

For myself, I like to add cocoa to cut the sweetness of the dates. My boys helped me make this “mommy” variety as well and when the final product was revealed they proudly yelled “DIRT”. Yes boys, we made dirt, yummy dirt!

dirt

Twinfant Tuesday: Childproofing Tidbits

One of the most exciting first-year milestones is when your babies learn to crawl.  The sense of joy that they get from being able to decided where they want to go is contagious.  As fun as this milestone is for the babies, for parents it can present new challenges in maintaining our sanity and the safety of our children.

If your kids are like mine, as soon as they could move they started to cause trouble.  I have been wooed with stories from other parents who have perfectly well behaved children, children who never touch an outlet and never dare to open a kitchen cabinet.  My kids are polar opposites to these [saintly] kids.  Without exaggeration, the very first place baby B headed when he learned to crawl was to the only visible power outlet in the living room.  I genuinely feel like he had been plotting his attack for months and liberated by his new- found crawling skills, he went right for it.  My children’s curiosity did not stop at power outlets.  Since learning to walk they have figured out how to open all the cupboard that have baby proof latches, they have ripped the stove safety latch right off (by pulling on the stove handle together), and they can turn door handles and unlock doors without any trouble.  Their rambunctious tendencies have made me an expert on keeping our kids safe while maintaining our sanity and I want to share some insight with you!

Step 1: Create a safe play space for your twins to play.

For us, it was really important to have a safe play space that we could drop our boys into if we needed to be hands free for a short period of time.  In addition, we needed a play area that kept our dogs separate from the babies (until we were sure that everyone could coexist happily).  In our house, that meant we designated a large portion of our living room to be their play space. Around the time they started to crawl, we purchased two play yards and hooked them together to create the perimeter of “their space”.  We filled the area with foam flooring and toys and used this setup until they started to shake the play yard walls and kept trying to open the play yard door (~ 13 or 14 months, around the time that they became proficient walkers).  Designating an area in our main living space allowed me the freedom to step into the kitchen to prepare food and bottles as needed as well as the ability to play with them in the most open and spacious part of our house.  In addition to their play space, we made sure that their bedroom was a secondary safe place that the boys could play freely (and alone for very short periods of time (e.g. while I used the restroom).  Having two reliable spaces kept things interesting for the boys and gave me a little more freedom than just having a single safe area to play.

B n B play area

Step 2: Have a place your twins can play separately.

One of the most unique challenges that twin parents have to deal with is that we are not only trying to keep our children safe from themselves, but we are also trying to keep them safe from each other.  My boys love each other and are great playmates, but they have gone through phases where they gnaw on, bat at, roll over and generally torture their sibling for either attention or general exploration.  (Side note: I have found that period of teething have been especially difficult.  During these times, sibling biting is usually at a high and it is important to have a place to separate the boys when one needs a break).  In some cases, a separate play space may just be their cribs (sometimes it is fun to let them play in the others bed.  This way they do not feel like it is nap time or you are trying to make them go to bed).  Alternatively,  if you have the space, keeping one (or two) pack n plays around is a great way to create two sanctuaries when your kids need to be separated.  Moreover, keep toys that can used as weapons (mallets, hammers, bats, swords, pull toys with strings) out of communal play spaces until your kids understand how to play with these things.  Some toys that are perfectly safe for singleton babies just don’t work will for twins who play together in small(ish) spaces.

DSC_2569

Step 3: Childproof your whole house.

Affix cabinet locks, doorknob protectors, stove locks, gas stove knob protectors, socket protectors, protectors for the strings on your blinds, gates for stairs and doorways, toilet locks, change the temperature of your hot water heater, bolt furniture and TVs down so they cannot tip, and the list goes on and on.  Assess the risk factors within your home and decided which strategies will work best for you. Sometimes it was just easier to bock off a whole room or a cupboard until the boys learned to listen than to have to childproof the entire room or cabinet if your kids are not going to have consistent access to a specific area.   Your child proofing strategies will change as your kids get older, more mobile, and more mature so this is a constant work in progress.

Step 4: Have confidence in your judgment.

Some things are just not safe for your children to play with or play around.  As twin parents, it is easy to feel like we spend a lot of time saying “no” for the safety of our children.  Make your environment work for you.  The more baby friendly areas your house has, the more autonomy you can give your kids and the more relaxed you can be within your own home.

Foodie Friday: What’s in Your Snack Pack?

I have mixed feelings on letting my kids snack between meals. I firmly believe they eat their meals 100% better when I limit snacking.  On low snack days, I notice less food pushed aside on their plates and less food thrown to the floor.  However, there are MANY times when we are out and about that I succumb to letting my boys graze on whatever snacks I have in my bag because they are hungry, and let’s face it, it makes errands somewhat easier. Here are my preferred packables:

  • Pouches: I love to use these refillable pouches and load them up with yogurt or homemade apples sauce. These little guys are always with me and if we do not use them when we are out, I let the kids eat them along with lunch or dinner.  http://http://www.littlegreenpouch.com/  
  • Bananas: they are nature’s power bar. Filling and self-contained, they are a must when I leave the house.
  • Apples. Starting at 9 months old, we let the boys gnaw on whole apples. One year latter, they still love the novelty of being handed a whole apple to munch on. (tip: The apple stand at our local farmers market sells “lunch box apples”. They are small and easy to grip and not as wasteful as handing them a conventional apple).
  • Crackers: Usually Annie’s organic bunnies or butter crackers.
  • That’s It bars. They are made from just fruit and nothing else. Though they are not organic, I still buy them because the ingredient list is simple and they are super convenient to pack.  http://http://www.thatsitfruit.com/

What do you travel with?

Potty Training Twins: A Newbie’s Initiation

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I don’t read a ton of parenting books. I skim topics of interest—areas that I am particularly unsure of—and look things up as I go along. I rely a lot on my mom friends who have already traversed tough milestones like sleep training, starting solids, weaning, and baby proofing. In the end, like most people, my husband and I tend to solve most problems by incorporating what experts say, what the internet says, what our peers say, and what is right for the individual personalities of our twins.

DSC_1101I figured potty training would be the same. My twin boys are 22 months old and I expected that sometime in the near future we would start introducing the idea of “the potty” and maybe in a few months, sometime near Christmas when my husband was on vacation, we would start some more intensive potty training. I’m really not in any rush because, the truth is, I don’t hate diapers. In fact, I find them very convenient. Even with the added laundry that cloth diapering twins generates, I still find the idea of diapers simpler than trying to take two squirmy toddlers to the restroom. To this point, I’ve read a little on the topic, bought some portable potties, and started vocalizing my actions when using the bathroom in front of my kids, but that’s it. Last week, my Mother of Multiples group held a potty training seminar where a local expert and a panel of seasoned twin moms answered questions about the nitty-gritty nuances of potty training. This was perfect timing since potty training was on our horizon.

I learned a lot of good tips about potty training at our seminar but much of the facts overwhelmed me. For instance, I had not considered that I might need more than one set of potties (e.g. 4, 6, 8 instead of 2) to make using the toilet easier for everyone involved. I did not think about the fact that my kids need to start to learn how to take their pants off (something that I was told invariably results in a period of time where your children are always naked because they can in fact take off their own clothes). It never occurred to me that the jeans my guys usually wear are not ideal and that I would need to infuse their wardrobe with some elastic waist pants so they can more easily get their britches down. And the idea of a “potty backpack”, or any sort of bag that I would use to carry a portable toilet in which my kids would use in the car, had never occurred to me. I was, however, aware that consistency is key and that once we started training, there would be no going back. Needless to say, I have been digesting some of these tidbits while deciding how we were going to approach potty training in my household. My plan was to think on it for a bit longer, device a strategy and then when the time was right (i.e. when I was ready to tackle the changes that were about to ensue) we would begin.

Thankfully, my son had a different idea. Two days after I attended the potty training seminar, without any additional potty talk in the house, my son decided he wanted to poop in the toilet. Just before my husband was about to place him in the bathtub, my son looked at the toilet, pointed and said “B poop?”. I was not in the room at the time so my husband did what anyone who had not attended a potty training seminar would do, he sat the boy on the toilet. Minutes later I walked past the open door and asked what was going on. Once filled in, I excitedly told my husband that B needed to sit on his own potty on the floor because he would not likely poop if his feet were dangling (I vaguely remembered just being told that feet needed to be on the ground so the proper muscles could be engaged for pooping). I brought them a potty and over the next 10 minutes the three of us just kind of stood there staring at my son who was sitting on the toilet playing with a toy truck not really doing much of anything. Every time we asked if he was done (which was a lot because I was convinced this was just a stall tactic), he would say “noooooo” in his cute little drawn out way, so we just waited. Finally, he stood and declared “B pooped” and, shockingly, he was right. Words could not express how proud I was of him at that moment. We made a big deal of flushing the poop down the toilet and waving goodbye. Shortly after seeing this, my other son told me he wanted to sit on the potty. Though he did not produce any flushables, I was happy with his effort just the same. Clearly this was a sign that this was going to be easy, right?! One son had the insight and drive to want to poop in the toilet and the other one was going to do it because his brother did. Cakewalk.

Well, the last two days have been comical and a great reminder that doing anything with twins is twice the work and twice the chaos. Since both boys had tried to use the potty, I knew I had to keep the momentum going. The next day I offered them a chance to sit on the potty first thing in the morning. I undressed both boys, showed them the potties and waited. Both boys sat on the potty, but nothing happened. Fine, no big deal and was what I expected. The part that I had not planned for was that now I had two naked boys who need to get dressed. While I’m wrangling one trying to get his clothes on, I look over and brother is sitting bare-butted in the toy box, peeing. The next day, I do the same thing, offer the potty when the boys have been undressed. After some sitting and one going pee in the potty (yay!!) my other son manages to open the door and run down the hall. As I grab clothes for both boys and proceed to dress the son that has peed in the toilet, out of the corner of my eye I see my other son riding his scooter around the living room, naked. This is an image that will always make me giggle. Next, I feel him tugging at my pant leg and I see him pointing. In a matter of seconds, while I was clothing up his brother’s shirt, he had managed to poop on the floor. I turn my attention to getting the poop off the floor before my dog ate it, and I look up to see my darling boys start to tug-a-war with the potty that has urine in it. Seriously, I can’t make this stuff up.

Twin logistics will never cease to amaze me. No matter how you slice it—until they learn to use the toilet—when I am alone, I will have one unattended naked toddler. Preventing this naked boy from peeing or pooping when I am not looking is going to take more effort than I originally expected. I feel like these bathroom mishaps were a fast initiation into the world of potty training but I also feel like this is another one of those things that is just funnier because you are going through it with twins.

Twinfant Tuesday: Baby Carriers for Twins

Reader Kimberly S. asked our advice on purchasing a twin carrier. The Moms put our heads together and came up with some pointers. We’re a mix of proud baby-wearers, occasional carrier-users, and arms-only mamas.

Twinfant Tuesday: Baby Carriers for Twins from hdydi.comSadiawithBabes

Wiley is our resident expert. She regularly wears her 1-year-old twin girls and their 2-year-old brother. Her babywearing even made the paper!

Twinfant Tuesday: Baby Carriers for Twins from hdydi.com

She recommends wearing your bigger child on your back. When her twins were tiny, Wiley started wearing them both in front in a Moby. She then moved to one in a pocket sling in front and one in a Beco on her back. As the girls got bigger, she alternated between Becos front and back or ring slings right and left.

Early on, when she wore her youngest trio–she also has a school-aged son–she put her twinfants in front in a Moby and her son on her back in an Ergo. Next, the two girls were switched to hip carries in ring slings and their brother, 18 months their senior, on Wiley’s back in an Ergo or Beco. These days, she tends to wear her girls front and back in Becos and her older toddler in a ring sling hip carry on top. The benefit of his being on top is that he can get up and down repeatedly with ease.

Wiley’s currently experimenting with the Tula. Perhaps we can convince her to come back and let us know how she likes it!

 has used the Moby, the Björn and the Boba . She still wears her 21-month-olds, who weigh 32 and 27 lb each, although she no longer wears them at the same time, for hikes and city adventures. Her preference is the Boba for its versatility and continues to be her go-to carrier. She notes that the Boba doesn’t require an infant insert to carry small babies, as some other carriers do.

 has used 2 Ergos , both front/back and side/side, but doesn’t do so often. She prefers to wear one child and carry the other. These kids get heavy! She really likes the Kelty backpacks for hiking and long walks. Several of the moms elected to wear one baby in a carrier and carry the other in her arms.  usually uses her Ergo or Björn for one child and carries the other in her arms.

MandyE (in the photo) and Sadia both used the wear one/drive one approach to shopping with twins.

MandyE (in the photo) and Sadia both used the wear one/drive one approach to shopping with twins.

 used to use her Evenflo Snugli for one girl and carry the other in her arms or in a carseat for errands like grocery shopping.

Sadia received a hands free car seat strap from a friend that was just perfect for stroller-free trips to the grocery store. She’d wear one baby in a carrier in front and the other in her carseat across her hips. This left her hands free to load groceries and open doors.

 still, on occasion, carries one almost-4-year-old in the Ergo on her back and the other in her arms. Her adorable boys weigh 30 and 40 lbs.

wpid-Photo-Oct-1-2013-814-AM.jpgKatelyn never wore her twins. They were her first children. She liked having dad hold one, or she’d just carry both, one in each arm. Now that she has a third child, she does wear him.

One of the things we all agreed needs to be considered is the size of your children. If they’re very small, like Sadia’s (1st percentile), you might be able to wear your babies comfortably into the preschool years. If, like RachelG’s twins, yours are 95th percentile, take her advice and encourage walking as soon as they’re ready.

If you’re up for informative laugh, check out DoM Brian Rosenworcel demonstrating (or rather figuring out) how to wear his newborn twins using a Moby wrap.

Please also check out triplet mom ‘ review from 2008. She discusses 3 slings: the HotslingPeanut Shell and an Infantino Sling. She loved her Moby Wrap. She preferred the Beco Butterfly to the Baby Bjorn, but her husband liked the latter. She also discusses the mei tais Baby Hawk and EllaRoo, and notes a couple of places you can find baby carriers.

Did you wear your babies? What worked for you?

Foodie Friday: Ode to a Smoothie

Today’s post is not about sharing a huge secret or a magical way to get your kids to eat when they are on hunger strike. I’m not going to pretend that a smoothie will solve all your kitchen problems and keep you from having to cook dinner this Friday night. I am; however, going to highlight the utility of “the smoothie “ and hope that you will find them as useful as I have over the last few years.

Before babies

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Photo Credit: madlyinlovewithlife

I have never been a big fan of breakfast. For whatever reason, I did not enjoy eating cereal or oatmeal and never really found breakfast foods all that appealing. During graduate school, I got in the habit of eating a blended smoothie for breakfast. I did not own a proper blender, and instead, I used an immersion blender and a big cup to blend together milk, yogurt, fruit, and protein powder. I enjoyed drinking my breakfast on the way to work and found that I was full until lunch-time. During my post-doc years, I not only graduated to using a bender but I also graduated to making smoothies for my husband. The heat (we lived in Arizona at this time) combined with the fact that I road my bike to work, made drinking a cool smoothie for breakfast ideal. I drank them for years and never got bored.

While pregnant

As many of you know, the protein requirements for pregnant moms of multiples is quite high (eating between 80-100 grams of protein is suggested). Food aversions, nausea, heart-burn, plus the myriad of other symptoms that one can experience during pregnancy can make it hard to ingest enough calories, not to mention protein. I found “the smoothie” a great way to add protein to my diet. In fact, I found that the days I did not drink a smoothie, I landed nowhere near the 80-100 gram protein goal. For me, it was an easy way to get food in my belly and in the rare case it made a reappearance during “morning sickness”, it was not the worst thing in the world to revisit.

For my kids (before age 1)

My kids were breastfeed until 1, but I was keen on them learning how to use a straw and how to drink from a cup around 11 months. By this age, they had tried yogurt but not milk. I found smoothies made from yogurt, bananas, blueberries, and a little water to be a great way for them to learn how to drink from a straw cup as well as a great way for them to start getting some solid foods. One we started to wean off breast milk, this smoothie was a great drink to have around during snack time.

The toddler years

It is still amazing to me how often my guys are unwilling to eat a regular meal in their highchairs. Whether it is my fault (e.g. because I booked a doctors appointment to close to the time they get up in the morning) or if it is their own doing (e.g. teething, not hungry, it’s Wednesday, insert other random reasons here), sometimes you need a food option that will fill up your kids but that’s portable too. “The smoothie” fits this bill nicely. If I need an on-the-go meal or something to feed my guys when they are clearly having trouble chewing foods, I will make a hearty smoothie for their enjoyment. I start with milk, add yogurt, frozen fruit (bananas, berries, cherries, peaches just to name a few), a small handful of spinach or kale, a carrot, and them I blend away. These days, I use a Blendtec high-powered blender. This blended makes adding vegetables to smoothies very easy because they basically disappear into the drink perfectly. The combinations are endless and are only limited to your imagination and the contents of your refrigerator.

I find that I don’t make smoothies everyday like I used to, but I keep the idea in the back of my mind and pull it out when needed. They are a great way to pack in some calories and nutrition when you need it most. Happy blending.

Foodie Friday: Twin- or Triplet-Themed Party Foods for a Twin or Triplet Birthday

Children’s birthday parties are always special. You get to celebrate another year of your little one growing into a special and beautiful person – and you get to do it with fun cake, party themes and favors. When you are the parent of twins or triplets, you get to double or triple that fun!

Planning a birthday party for twins and triplets offers so many possibilities. However, the food is often the main event, with most guests congregating around the food table and the selections helping to set the tone and the theme. Here are a few fun ideas for twin- and triplet-themed party foods for a twin or triplet birthday party:

Peas in a Pod

Photo Credit: Sadia

Photo Credit: Sadia

You probably already get the joke about your little ones. Go ahead and make it an inside joke for your party! Serve actual peas in the pod or a side dish of peas for the main course with a little illustrated card showing the joke. You could have one or two baby heads with little pea caps for hats. If you like to bake, you could also create cupcakes or an actual cake with little peas in pods in frosting.

“Pear”ed Food

If you have twins, you can play off the theme with pears – as in a “great pair.” You can serve pears themselves, or you can include pears in salad, dips or desserts. Of course, as always, cakes and cupcakes are always a great canvas for any design you want to include, such as pears.

Bunched Food

Photo Credit: Vainsang

Photo Credit: Vainsang

For families with triplets, you can highlight your larger bunch with “bunched” food, such as carrots or grapes. Again, you can serve these on their own or include them in recipes that you serve, such as a carrot soup or a grape dip. Make sure you highlight the theme in illustrated signage so that guests can be in on the joke.

Noah’s Ark

Photo Credit: Satorare

Photo Credit: Satorare

Twins always inspire comparisons to Noah’s ark. You can use this theme for your party food for a twin birthday by including pairs of everything you make. You can also use this theme to offer foods that you think the animals on board would have eaten, such as bananas for the monkeys, circus peanuts for the elephants, and apples for the horses.

“Full House” Theme

Photo Credit: erin leigh mcconnell

Photo Credit: Erin Leigh McConnell

Having multiples can be a handful. A poker theme is a great idea for a multiples birthday theme. You can play up your “full house” with foods that reflect the four suits in the deck of cards, including any type of red or black foods like strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, licorice, red and black candies, beets, and chocolate. You can even choose foods that match up the shape, such as broccoli for clubs, strawberries for hearts, asparagus for spades, or crackers and cheeses for diamonds. Have fun and be creative!

The food you choose for your party can really set the tone and enhance the theme. Try out some of these ideas if you are planning a birthday party for your twins or triplets.

What other fun food ideas have you seen for a twin or triplet birthday party? Share them with us in the comments!

About the Author:

Bridget Sandorford is a freelance blog and culinary writer, where recently she’s been researching pastry chef schools. In her spare time, she enjoys biking, painting and working on her first cookbook.

Foodie Friday: A Brief Introduction to My Kitchen

Feeding toddlers is hard.  They are unpredictable and mercurial.  What they love one week gets tossed on the floor the next.  They will scarf down low quality restaurant foods and snub your wholesome homemade meals.  They will rub food in their hair instead of putting it in their mouths.  They will pretend to eat something only to spit it out minutes later.  And, if you’re really unlucky, they will willingly eat poop but will refuse to try in-season vegetables (I wish I was not speaking from experience on this last point, but sadly I am).

I feed twin 18 month old boys.  In the grand scheme of things, they are good eaters.  But, like any toddlers, they go through periods of feast and famine.  It seems to be those periods of famine that make you doubt your parenting skills and your ability to attend to your childrens’ needs.  For this reason, I think we all spend a good amount of time asking for meal suggestions and recounting our recent culinary creations.  For me, getting new ideas seems to help me through those rough patches.  This series is designed to describe our feeding concoctions and challenges as well as to hear from you on what’s cooking in your kitchens.

I tend to use organic, in season, whole foods to feed my kids.  I cook most things from scratch, but not everything.  I keep things generally simple for my sanity and for meal planning purposes.  I have not given my kids many high allergen food yet (e.g. nuts or shellfish) due to some family allergy issues so that slightly limits what I feed them.  For some meals, I invent new foods based on what I have in my fridge.  For others, I stick to simple grains, fruits and veggies and diary to try and round out their nutritional needs.  All in all, I am hoping to chronicle the antics surrounding our meals and get some ideas from all of you.  Welcome back Foodie Fridays!

 

Carrie, mother to 18 month old twin boys, has presently traded a lab coat for mom jeans to be a SAHM. As a research scientist, Carrie was used to problem solving and troubleshooting small tasks while keeping big picture goals in sight.  As a mom, she has found her job to be quite similar.  While repeating the mantras “don’t sweat the small stuff” and “this too shall pass”, Carrie and her husband managed to survive the first year as twin parents.  As this second year progresses, Carrie is enjoying the small freedoms and enjoyable moments that come with toddlerhood.  Carrie and her family (including dogs and cats) live in the Bay Area and enjoy good weather, good produce and good times.  Carrie enjoys documenting life as a twin mom with the hopes that her stories and insights will make other peoples journey just a touch easier.

Foodie Friday: When I Dip You Dip We Dip

As lunch time approached today, I was not sure to serve my boys. They have been going through a horrible food throwing phase. Lately, soon after I place a meal on their trays they throw it on the floor. First one sends food flying, then the other, sort of like they are tossing horseshoes and trying to get as close to the stake as possible but in the case the stake is my floor and “close” just means all over. The previous night’s dinner was pleasant (meaning that ate more than they threw) so I wanted to maintain our good momentum.  I made hamburgers in half dollar size patties and BBQed them, added some cheese and gave them to the boys to dip in smashed avocados and ketchup. They seemed to really like them so I was encouraged into thinking maybe hunger strike #172 was over ! Unfortunately I did not have any leftovers to give them so I was back to square one. Here is what I did have access to:

-cooked chicken breast
-quinoa
-basmati rice

I really wanted to make something that they boys could dip because they seemed to enjoy that the previous day. As of now, neither will eat day old chicken so just grabbing some chicken for their plates was out of the question. I decided to make some chicken patties (akin to some of the things I have read about on weelicious). I combined some shredded chicken, quinoa, rice, cheese, basil and pepper together in a bowl. I beat an egg and slowly added it to the mixture until it looked wet. Then I added a little flour to bind everything together. I lightly fried them in olive oil until the outsides were crisp but not hard. Then I finished them off in the oven for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. When whole thing took about 20 minutes to put together, longer than I usually like to spend cooking for lunch, but the end product was worth it.

DSC_8026patties cooking after being flipped once

I served the patties, broken in half, with some tomato sauce, avocado, and orange slices. I also made a second dippin’ sauce of smashed avocado and yogurt (unshown).

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The verdict?

They liked them! They ate a decent amount of the patties and used them as scoops for the dipping sauces.  B1 liked it enough to show it to me while he was chewing (ignore messy table and ugly wall paper)!

DSC_8037

After a fair amount of eating, B2 motioned to the cheese on the counter and indicated he wanted some. I threw some shredded cheese into his bowl. Then he said cheese! First time for that, so exciting!

After a bit more eating, they started to play with their food. B2 spotted some bananas (located on the messy table) and asked for one. I split the banana between the two boys. B1 took a few bites but B2 had tricked me and it turned out he just wanted to play with the peel*. When he started to eat the peel; I called lunch over!  All in all, I would consider that meal a success.  One point for me!

Do you ever make patties out of leftovers in your fridge?  What dipping sauces do you like to use?

*tip:  I end up with a lot of half eaten bananas in my house.  To reduce waste, I started freezing the uneaten parts.  I use the frozen chunks for smoothies or banana soft serve.

Carrie, mother to 18 month old twin boys, has presently traded a lab coat for mom jeans to be a SAHM. As a research scientist, Carrie was used to problem solving and troubleshooting small tasks while keeping big picture goals in sight.  As a mom, she has found her job to be quite similar.  While repeating the mantras “don’t sweat the small stuff” and “this too shall pass”, Carrie and her husband managed to survive the first year as twin parents.  As this second year progresses, Carrie is enjoying the small freedoms and enjoyable moments that come with toddlerhood.  Carrie and her family (including dogs and cats) live in the Bay Area and enjoy good weather, good produce and good times.  Carrie enjoys documenting life as a twin mom with the hopes that her stories and insights will make other peoples journey just a touch easier.