How to incorporate minimalism with your kids’ toys

clean play room

You know those days when your kid whines, “I’m sooooo boooooored!  There’s nothing to do!” and you think to yourself, You little ingrate, there’s toys all over the place.  Just pick one!

Oh wait, is that just me?

What if I told you that this kind of problem can be at least partially solved without having to go buy a bunch of new toys?

What about those days when you walk into the house and are like, “Oh em gee, there is stuff everywhere.  All these toys are gonna drive me insane!”

Oh wait, is that just me?

What if I told you that this kind of problem can be at least partially solved without getting rid of everything your kid owns?

In fact, what if I told you that these two issues have the exact same solution?


How your child can help with meal prep (tasks by age)

preschooler knife skills

Letting kids help you in the kitchen can be hard, it’s true. But even though allowing littles to “help” you in the kitchen can be difficult physically and mentally, but the end result is worth it!

Here’s ideas for what your about what your kids can actually do for meal prep by age.

Meal prep tasks for young toddlers

I let each of my kids get involved in meal prep around 18 months old.  They only do really simple things, and I have to be right on top of them, but I want them to get the idea that cooking is fun!

Budrow stirring up ingredients for a casserole.

I have found that when they’re this tiny, they’re too short to reach the counter, even with a stool!  Plus, they’re still pretty squirmy.  Putting them in their high chair/booster seat solves the problem by letting them reach either the table or their little tray.

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How to give your kids a growth mindset

learning through play

In one of my favorite scenes of How I Met Your Mother, older Ted opens by talking about how smart phones have ruined conversation.  It shows a time, years before, when the gang is arguing over what the most popular food in America is.  Pizza, hamburgers, hotdogs:  they’re all passionately defended, as well as pancakes with maple syrup by the resident Canadian.  Fast forward to 2011, when someone brings up the same question, phone in hand:

“Hey, remember when we were arguing about the most popular food?”

“It’s bread.”

Everyone says, “Ah…” in a bored manner, and the debate is killed.

So how does this relate to parenting? (more…)

5 ways to help your picky kid eat better

baby eating spaghetti

Almost every night, I set a plate down in front of General Leia, and for at least one food on there, she whines, “I don’t like this!” which is inevitably parroted by Bella Bean:  “I don’t like dis!”  Yet they end up eating at least some of it. My kids actually have a pretty varied diet, and I feel confident that their palette will continue to expand as they get older.  So how is this happening?

In Parts I, II, and III of this series, we established the pros and cons of buying organic food.  In Part IV, we talked about how you can get the most bang for your buck, nutritionally speaking, by buying groceries selectively.  But we all know that the most healthful food in the world isn’t going to help your kid if he or she won’t eat it.  So what do we do when our child is really used to a narrow diet and is unwilling to try new foods?

First and foremost, relax.  Think back to yourself when you were a kid.  Did you refuse a lot of foods then that you like, or even love, now?  Or do you at least know of someone else who you saw grow up to eat a more varied diet?  So see?  It’s going to be okay. (more…)

Dangers of teething meds

Teething sucks.  There, I said it.

And it basically never ends, right?  From when they’re about six months old (earlier, if you’re unlucky!) until they’re at least two and a half, there’s always a tooth that’s about to come through, a tooth coming through, or at tooth that just came through.

On the plus side, you always have an excuse for whatever socially-unacceptable behavior your child exhibits (Oh, sorry he doesn’t want to go to you, Auntie Em, he’s teething).

Teething means that for at least two years, you can be woken up any night, at any time, any number of times, by a crying, fussing baby.  And sleepy parents are not happy parents.  So we’re desperate to just make it stop.  Which means we’re susceptible to endless marketing aiming to get us to buy whatever might get them to just go to sleep.

With this in mind, we’ll look at several remedies, both currently in use and recently pulled from US shelves, and determine what can be helpful, what isn’t helpful, and what is potentially harmful. Continue Reading