Foodie Friday: Oven Pancake

Hot out of the oven

Puffy oven pancake

This has become a staple breakfast in our house over the past month or two!  I love this recipe because it is easy to make, has a decent amount of protein, isn’t overly sweet, and is flexible in that you can use whatever fruit you have on hand. Our almost one year old triplets gobble it up every time!  We’ve made it with peaches, peaches & plums, and bananas.  Here’s the banana version I made today:

Put these ingredients in the blender & blend until smooth:

4 eggs

3/4c milk (we usually use almond)

3/4 flour (works just fine with gluten free flour mixes too!)

1tsp vanilla

dash of salt

1-2tbs of sugar (we usually use coconut sugar or maple syrup)

2tbs melted butter or oil (I typically use coconut oil)

Melt 1-2 T butter in a cast iron skillet and add 2T sugar (this carmelizes the sugar) and add a layer of thinly sliced fruit covering most of the bottom of the pan.

Pour the blender contents over the fruit and bake at 425 for 20-25 min.

I love to serve it with a big scoop of yogurt, a drizzle of maple syrup, and a dash of cinnamon.  It is also good with a sprinkling of powdered sugar.

pancake with yogurt, maple syrup & cinnamon

My favorite way to eat it!

Twinfant Tuesday: Moms Need Food, too!

 

A mother expecting twins recently asked on the San Antonio Mother’s of Multiples FB page how the moms fed themselves after the babies were born. What a great question because we are often more concerned with how they will be fed and we forget that we need to eat, too. But, a mom (and dad) can get very run-down if he or she is not sleeping AND not eating well. Sure, we can make do for a while, but being the best parent you can be (even in those crazy first weeks and months) means taking care of your needs, too

Feeding the MomWhen my twins Marc and Maddie were born, we were living far away from our families and we didn’t know our neighbors every well. I think we had two meals brought over by acquaintances from our church. I remember being hungry, tired and cranky a lot of the time. I was trying to lose the baby weight, but I would go for what was quick and available rather than what was the best choice nutritiously.

We were blessed that my mom and my mother-in-law stayed four weeks each, but honestly, I don’t remember them cooking too much because we were all consumed with our premie babies ( I was pumping and everyone else was taking turns feeding them). I do remember that mom made me some excellent salmon patties and individually froze them so that I could take one out of the freezer for lunch after she left. I also remember my 12 year old “mothers helper” learning how to put together lasagna while I shouted out instructions while walking a cranky baby. (Don’t ask me why I decided that I would make lasagna with newborn twins!)

But, leave it to the mother’s of multiples to have some ideas to help new moms and moms-to-be feed themselves AND their families, especially during those weeks (months!) of sleep deprivation and crazy schedules.

Here are five ideas to get YOU fed after you’ve had the babies:

  1. If you are nursing and/or pumping you’ll be HUNGRY. I remember making myself a fried egg almost every night sometime after the midnight feed. You’re burning an extra 600 calories (which is great for losing the baby weight) but you’ll get HUNGRY. Don’t try to diet during this time to get into those pre-pregnancy jeans. EAT MAMA EAT. But, eat the right things: lots of protein, fruits and veggies.
  2. Make freezer meals or better yet, when someone wants to give you a shower suggest a freezer meal shower. Babies don’t need as much stuff as advertisers want you to think they need. BUT you need to EAT! When someone wants to know what you need, don’t be embarrassed to say, FOOD!
  3. Buy fruit and veggies trays. These are already cut up—saving you precious time—and you can munch on them throughout the day/week. This way you aren’t tempted to go for the unhealthy items beckoning from the pantry–especially when you are hungry but you are trying to soothe two (or more) upset babies.
  4. Make double batches of everything and freeze the extra servings. If you are making spaghetti sauce, stew, soup. . .whatever, make double the amount. Start doing this now while you are pregnant.
  5. Buy an electric pressure cooker. Meals can go from frozen to DONE in about 30 minutes. Soups take about 15 minutes. Really this is my go-to appliance when I need dinner on the table FAST. (And you can make extras and freeze another meal for later on.) Here’s a recipe for Beef Green Chili Stew that literally went from freezer to table in 12 minutes.

 

 

Foodie Friday: Five Days of Kindergarten School Lunches

Every parent of school-aged kids has the same dilemma – how to pack healthy lunches their kids will eat.

Everyone in our house has been waiting all summer for September to come. Our three year old twins started full day Junior Kindergarten this year. They are really excited about going on the school bus. We are excited to no longer pay for daycare times two!

Of course, time is money because now Mister and Missy need to take their own lunches to school. We (I) agonized in over what to pack in their lunches, how to pack it, how heavy it would be for their backpacks, how to keep their food warm or cool, and so on. Lucky for us, our kids like to eat and get excited with simple foods.

We decided to go with bento box-style containers called Lunchblox by Rubbermaid™. They are amazing and affordable! Aside from having to label and wash the individual pieces, it gives you the flexibility to pack lunches with different configurations. For days we want to pack them a hot (cold) lunch, we got the Funtainer by Thermos™. Finally, for juices, a litterless Rubbermaid™ reuseable juice container. All these items are available at Walmart or our local supermarket, Loblaws.

We (I) had grand plans to make a monthly menu just like the kids’ daycare to take the guesswork out of making lunches and help with weekly groceries. Instead we are winging it and somehow things have been working out well, despite a few late nights spent making their lunches. First was a big shopping trip to Costco to stock up on those essential nut-free snacks until I heard that schools in our area are recommending healthy, nutritious and litter-free snacks. So those Costco purchases (granola bars, applesauce cups, animal cracker pouches, juice boxes) are now a treat once or twice a week.

We have tons of ideas for snacks, but find it difficult to come up with options for the main lunch. Generally, we have been sending them whole wheat bread and cheese, one fruit or vegetable, a small yoghurt or applesauce, and alternating the packaged treats with some homemade baked goods.

I believe the following factors help to makes these lunches disappear into their tummies and not just nibbled on by our little munchkins:

1. Asking M&M what they want in their lunches. Surprisingly, I have been getting some very detailed specs, especially from Mister.

2. Packing the lunch the night before. To keep things dry, I toast the sandwich bread and place the cut fruit/veggie in a paper towel before placing in the lunch container before placing it in the fridge.

3. After breakfast every morning, we take a moment to do the lunchbox “reveal” where they get to see what’s for morning snack, lunch, and dessert. This gets them excited about eating! If there’s something objectionable in their lunch box, now is their chance to tell us.

4. Giving some kind of dip on the side, whether it’s jam for muffins or ranch dressing for veggies, to make the food go down easier.

5. Keeping the portions small, but giving them variety without letting it get overwhelming. For example, we’ll give them half an apple because we know they will eat it, but only 2-3 small pieces of a vegetable. They are more likely to eat a piece or two of the vegetable this way and something is better than nothing!

Here is the menu, more or less, of the first few days of junior kindergarten for our little ones:

Day 1: applesauce, yoghurts, apple slices, seedless red grapes, buttered toast, cheese cubes, water

Day 2: oatmeal-carrot muffin, strawberry applesauce, ½ egg salad sandwich, ½ boiled egg, yoghurt, water, homemade popcorn, 11 goldfish crackers

Day 3 hot lunch: yellow split-pea lentil (daal) and indian flatbread (roti), ½ oatmeal-carrot muffin, raisins, dried blueberries, shreddies, ½ banana, watered down juice

Day 3: Cream cheese pinwheel sandwich (wrapped in the roti), lemon poppy seed loaf, yoghurt, granola bar

Day 4: swiss cheese stuffed in pita pockets, homemade hummus, zucchini sticks and carrots, fortune cookie. Notice the pink and blue compartments are mixed up. This caused a fight at the lunch table which had the kindergarten teachers in stitches. Our Boy/Girl twins are very territorial about their colours!

Cheese pita pockets, hummus and veggies

Cheese pita pockets, hummus and veggies

The aftermath

The aftermath

Day 5: whole wheat croissant stuffed with cheese, applesauce, yoghurt, red bell peppers, pear, cheese cubes, 15 mini cheddar crackers and watered down pineapple juice. We used the Pillsbury bake-your-own croissant dough and placed cubes of pizza mozzarella cheese inside. Yum!

Cheese-filled croissant with sides

Cheese-filled croissant with sides

Missy generally has been eating almost all that we give her while Mister has a more discerning taste.

What our picky eater doesn’t like (and why): homemade baked goods (too dry), homemade hummus (too much garlic), zucchini sticks, red bell pepper (not crunchy)

What has been a crowd pleaser so far: homemade popcorn, bread and cheese, Grandma’s daal, shreddies and crackers, anything that comes in a package.

Tomorrow we will try roast beef sandwich squares, red grapes, and their favourite – daal and rice.

What are some of your go-to school lunch options for your kids? Do you find it gets easier or harder to make school lunches as they get older?

What were YOU THINKING? New Parenting with your Partner

parenting with your partner

Your Partner Isn’t Against You. When you have newborn multiples it may feel otherwise, especially in the first few weeks or months of sleep deprivation.

One of the major differences between having a singleton and multiples is the amount of chaos. You are feeding and changing and nurturing these babies simultaneously. If you have premies those demands can seem even greater.

The best scenario would be to have a partner who is in the game with you.

Since my husband and I had decided that I would stay-at-home with our children, I was the main care-giver. But, I was lucky that he never claimed that he couldn’t get up for night feedings because he had to work the next morning. We both agreed that BOTH of us were working the next morning. . .we just had different jobs and different offices.

Having twins meant that as the primary care giver couldn’t do everything on my own (I bow down to single moms or military wives!) and  it was in the best interest of our new family if Scott and I parented as a team.

But, I also had to come to (the slower and sometimes painful) realization that we parented differently. Ok, to be honest, this realization doesn’t come as a lightening bolt—although that would have been helpful—but maybe if someone had given me this one piece of advice when the babies were young I would have

Agree from the beginning that each of you is doing the best that you can in the best interest of the children.

Ignore the fact that he dressed the babies in plaids and polka dots for church. . .that he is embarking on a walk with the babies when they’ll need to be fed in ½ hour and will be screaming banchees. . .that he is literally gagging when changing a poopy diaper. . .that he is trying to watch the Master’s Golf tournament and isn’t catch watching the crawlers make their way to the dog’s bowl for a quick snack.

BE QUIET, Mama.

This works in the reverse as your partner returns home and babies are screaming, you haven’t showered and dishes are still out from breakfast.

No “I told you so’s.” No accusations of “Why didn’t you?” or “What were you thinking?” Or, my personal favorite, “Were you thinking?”

Second most important piece of advice: Leave your partner alone with the babies.

 This was hard for me and I still remember the first time I did it when the babies were a couple months old—actually one month old adjusted. My next door neighbor, Sarah, came over one evening after Scott had come home from work and said, “You’re going to Target with me.” I stared at her in disbelief. No, I thought, I couldn’t leave these babies with Scott–ALONE.

I needed to be able to leave. . .and Scott needed to experience juggling the babies and a feeding and changing session on his own. How else was he going to get good at this if he never did it. Everyone lived.

Date nights may or may not happen; tempers will be short as you are both exhausted; hygiene might not be up to par; the house will probably look like a thift store sale. . .but believing (and living) the piece of advice that both of you are doing the best that you can will help your relationship transition through this very challenging time.

 

 

 

Make-It-Monday: Paper Wheel Decoration

I was looking for something to add color to my boy’s room, but didn’t want to put too many holes in the wall to do it. Plus, my husband and I don’t like hanging anything that has some weight to it above cribs and in a room with two cribs and a toddler bed, that leaves zero wall space for most decorations! So, I wanted something cute, colorful, and extremely light weight. I found these paper wheels on Pinterest a while ago and thought they would be great!

Here’s the tutorial I used: http://catchmyparty.com/blog/diy-how-to-make-a-backdrop-out-of-paper-rosettes

I first used them for Jack and Ben’s 1 year photos:

crib1

But I had to make more and add some things to put them up on the wall in their room like this:

IMG_5146

After you have all of your wheels, this is what you’ll need:

  • A few straws, how many depends on how many wheels you have.
  • Small rectangles of construction paper, cut about 1 inch tall and 2.5 inches wide. They don’t have to be perfect because they won’t be seen.
  • Hooks to screw into the wall.
  • String/yarn/twine/ribbon to put the wheels on.

Here’s what to do:

  1. Hot glue the rectangular piece of construction paper to the back of the wheels. I laid mine out on the counter top to make sure I was spacing them evenly on the fans. If one is an inch lower than another, the fans won’t hang at the same length. IMG_5087
  2. Then I cut up a few straws into 1.5-2 inch pieces and hot glued those to the construction paper.
  3. Get some hooks/screws/nails to put into the wall for hanging. I used these Screw Eyes from Wal Mart. I like that they had a hole I could tie the string through and they were really easy to use. You just hand screw them into the wall.

IMG_5144

4. Lastly, just string the wheels onto some string (or whatever you are using) and tie them to the screws.

 

 

Foodie Friday: Re-Usable Squeeze Pouches

I’ve had two things on my mind lately that I’ve been wanting to do something about.

1. My three little boys eat SO MUCH FOOD. It’s great that they have hearty appetites, but “snacks” have been costing us a lot of money.

2. Try as I may, my boys are extremely selective about eating vegetables. My twins did great when they were infants eating whatever baby food I made for them, but now that they are almost 18 months, they are putting up much more of a stink. They just won’t eat them.

So, I’ve been trying to find a happy medium between quick snacks and healthy snacks. I found that my kids were eating mostly fruits and processed carbs, so I’ve been really wanting to find a way to get vegetables back into their diets.

I have always loved how simple and healthy all of the fruit and vegetable squeeze packs are; like the Go-Go Squeeze packs if that helps you put a picture to my description. However, they are on the more expensive side and it always kind of bugged me that each pack only gave me one use.

I ended up buying my own re-usable pouches that I can put my own fruit/vegetable concoctions in. They can hold more than some of the other disposable ones on the market, and you get to choose what kinds of fruits and vegetables go in them. Plus, it’s cheaper.

True, you have to put in the time to fill them and make the stuff, but it has been a good fit for our family.

I got these ones, but there are loads of options out there. Just look them up on Amazon and use the reviews to see which brand you want.

IMG_5137 I’m not gonna lie, it was a little annoying getting the sauces into the pouches. I just used a spoon so it got kind of messy, but I think I’m going to try to find a wide funnel next time. Or maybe the top of a 2L soda bottle? I’m sure there are easier ways.

I made a recipe that I used to make when they were just starting solids with broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, and milk, but it was far too strong for them at this stage. So, I had to tone it down by mixing it with applesauce, which they gobbled up.IMG_5138

Here is the finished product. Lots of yummy pouches.

IMG_5140

I went ahead and included a picture of my favorite baby food recipe book, Baby Love: Healthy, Easy, Delicious Meals for Your Baby and Toddler by Sarah O’Donnell and Geoff Tracy. I’ve used it for three kids now and I just love it. It has great recipes and tips in it if you’re looking for something like that.

Happy snacking, Mom!

Please share your tips and tricks with me for getting your toddlers to eat vegetables!

Toddler Thursday: Biting

When the twins were about 15 or 16 months old, I started noticing what looked like bite marks on Baby Boy’s hands. It was an anomaly, as no one had observed him biting himself or being bitten. For a bit I actually thought they were self-inflicted in a temper tantrum, or maybe it was an experiment to leave marks on himself. It wasn’t until I saw a mark at the wrong angle to be self-inflicted that I began to suspect Baby Girl of biting her brother.

Strangely, it wasn’t for another while before we actually caught them in the act. And then Baby Girl began to get these markings too. They were really good about doing it quickly when no one was watching though.

But by now, 5 or 6 months later, we’ve had the chance to see them at it many times. They’re still pretty stealthy about it, but we now know what to watch for: a certain prolonged guttural screech, usually coming from both parties in a fight over something, and then a quick lean-over by one, a pause of silence while the pain registers, and finally the extended agonizing cry of the other.

The problem is when they play in close proximity. And of course that’s how they almost always play. If they are confined in the same room for a while, that’s when the conflicts arise. They get cranky and will start fighting over toys and space. Big Sis actually got caught up in it for the first time this past weekend. We can’t really be sure what happened, but according to her she was trying to play with her brother when sister came and bit her, hard enough to leave a bruise. We think Baby Girl was trying to play with brother. There wasn’t much warning, and they did all this while both myself and their dad were in the same room!

Now I really don’t think my kids are malicious. I’ve watched them bite and get bitten and then go back to playing alongside each other like nothing happened. In fact, after Baby Girl noticed her sister crying after being bitten, she went to comfort her by rubbing her arm and giving her a hug and kiss. (Big Sis was just as loving, forgiving immediately and defending her little sister from our scoldings.) They just get caught in the moment and that is their only form of communication when screaming doesn’t work.

However, the bites are getting more vicious, and they’re no longer on the hands but on the upper arms. And now they’ve bitten someone other than themselves.

Should I be concerned? Is this something that they will grow out of? Is this a twin thing? I certainly wouldn’t want them to be that kid in preschool, the one who bites. We’re at a loss as to what to do, but they seem to be getting over the bites very easily. It doesn’t even faze them that their arms are all bruised up for days, but we are really just baffled at and bothered by this behavior.

Any MoM’s out there who can help us out?

lunchldyd is mom to 21mo biting b/g twins, and their 4yo sister who never bit.

Mommy (and Daddy?) Milestones

I’ve written numerous times about “Mommy Milestones”…those experiences that mark some kind of turning of the tide…often something I have to work up the courage to do with my twin girls (now 5 1/2).

There were lots of Mommy Milestones when the girls were smaller.  There was the first time I spent the day with the girls by myself, and the first time I took them out of the house by myself…there was the first time I took them to the pediatrician by myself, and the first time I took them to the park, outside the confines of their stroller.

These days, at 5 1/2, my girls are so grown up, and my Mommy Milestones are few and far between.  Sure, there was their first day of Kindergarten a few weeks ago, but I count that more as a family milestone (although I am **terribly** proud of myself for not crying in front of them…that definitely counts for something in my book!).

Today, though, something is happening at our house, some turning of the tide.  I can’t quite decide if it is to be classified as a Mommy Milestone, but like my No [Public] Crying Award for the first day of Kindergarten, there’s gotta be something written down.

Haircut

Baby A’s first haircut, at just shy of 9 months old!

Since the girls were tiny (and Baby A had freakishly long hair), I’ve taken the girls for their haircuts.  I’ve gotten a trim, and then they’ve each sat in my lap for their turn.

Now, with me working full-time and my baby girls in school, things are changing.  I went last week for a haircut (and glorious alone-time with my hairdresser…that hasn’t happened in YEARS!!!).  Today, Daddy is carrying the girls after school for their haircuts…without me.

Truth be told, I may be a little more nervous for Daddy than for the girls.  I know they’ll do fine.  I don’t know if Hubby has a Milestone tally…but if he does…I imagine he’ll count this one.

I post this today as a reminder to us all to celebrate those little milestones.  You can bet I’ll be enjoying a cookie in honor of today!  ;)

What’s your latest milestone?

MandyE is mom to 5 1/2-year old fraternal twin girls.  She blogs about their adventures, and her journey through motherhood, at Twin Trials and Triumphs.

Twinfant Tuesday: Car Eating

This post could very easily be a no-brainer for most of you parents out there, but I just thought I’d share the tip anyway! We had a big move in July and this turned out to be a successful way to keep the little munchkins happily snacking during the trip. I think it’s great for car trips both long and short. Again, many of you may find yourselves rolling you eyes thinking, “Come on, give me something new here lady!” but for me it was a stroke of genius.

I went out and got some of those Munchkin Snack Catcher cups and attached them to a bunch of baby rings which I then connected to the seat back of the driver and passenger seats. That way if they dropped the cup I could just feel for the rings and pull it up and hand it to them. No turning around to find something that has fallen, no grabbing for snacks in the seat next to me all the time. For the most part, they ate out of these cups.IMG_4926 IMG_4927

You could also attach a bunch of toys that way. When infants are rear-facing you can attach things like this to the adjustable handle bar of the carrier too. I’ve also had success attaching toys and snacks to my strollers this way for long outings. They are at a stage when throwing stuff around is the cool thing to do, so putting stuff on rings makes things easier for mom and dad.

Hope that helps! Any other easily over-looked tricks out there?

How do you do it? Parenting Link Up #38

Skip to this week’s links | Skip to featured posts | Skip to linkup rules

Welcome to the How Do You Do It? parenting link up party. Here, you have an opportunity to share your posts with other parent bloggers and the followers of How Do You Do It? and What’s up Fagans?.

How do you do it? is a community of mothers of multiples that believes in supporting each other, in sharing our experiences and questions, in friendship, and in encouragement. The link up is open to all of our readers, whether you have multiples or not, where you can share your wisdom, your favorite posts, your insights, with our online community here at HDYDI and What’s up Fagans?.

Each week, we pick some of our favorite posts and feature them the following week on our site! Plus, we pin them on Pinterest, tweet them on Twitter, and share them on Google+ and Facebook! Get some more exposure for your great content, and don’t forget to check out the featured posts from last week’s link up!

Plus, ldskatelyn of What’s up Fagans? is co-hosting our link party on her blog as well. One party on two blogs means double the exposure and community.

Each HDYDI parenting link up party accepts new links from Monday morning through Friday at noon.

So tell us: How do you handle conception, pregnancy, prematurity, birth, and postpartum recovery? How do you handle tantrums, diapering bills, stress, and potty training? How do you handle education and special needs? How do you balance the needs of several children with a marriage? How do you manage being a stay-at-home mom, a working mom, or a single parent? And how do you find time for yourself?

How do you do it?!


This week’s featured posts:

Thanks to everyone who is linking up each week! It’s clear that back to school is on our minds as our most clicked link from last week was from Barb of A Life In Balance. She came up with a solution to the neighbor kids asking to play during designated homework time. Do you have a system to politely ask the neighbors when to come over? Barb also shared a great post outlining her “Mom Command Central” for Back to School.No More Knock-knocking during homework time: A Sign for Neighborhood FriendsHere are some Tips for Taking Those Back to School Pictures from Paris of My Big Fat Happy Life. Tips for 1st Day of School Photos #firstdayofschool #phototips | mybigfathappylife.com
Sarah of Me Plus 3 Today may not have kids in school, but she has friends who are teachers. And she has a big heart. She shares 7 Ideas On How to REALLY Help Your Child’s Teacher.

7 Ideas to Help Your Child's Teacher, How to Help Series, Part 1 - Real answers from real teachers that will REALLY make a difference! - www.MePlus3Today.com #quote #TeacherAppreciation #BackToSchool #inspiration #RAKtivistIf you were featured above make sure to grab our featured button and display it proudly on your blog! How Do You Do It? Featured Post

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