Surviving Cold Season with Young Kids

There are a number of things we can do to avoid getting a cold, including diligent hand washing (clean well spray is great for kids on the run), taking your vitamins, avoiding contact with those who are sick. However, unless you are keeping your little ones in a bubble the chances of them getting a cold this season is pretty high.  Over the last two weeks Max and Alexandra have each been battling colds, which is never fun.  My least favorite part is constantly wiping their noses.  Here are a couple of things that have helped me to keep them comfortable and minimize their symptoms.

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1. Little Remedies is a saline spray/drop that is great for helping keep the nose from getting dry as well as loosening up gunk so that they can get it out.  This is sooooo much easier to give to my 2 month old than my two year old.  I have never been a fan of the bulb aspirator and I have never used one my kids.  I read this an article like this once and it scared me.  I also think with the saline drops they are able to bring it up themselves and it doesn’t really need to be sucked out.

2. Warm washcloths are my next recommendation.  These are great for taking care of the “crusties” as we like to call them in our house.  They are the hardened boogies that never come off with a tissue. Also tissues can be rough on their nose. They sell these, boogie wipes, which I have never tried. I think a warm bath or shower also helps with loosen up a lot of the gunk.

3. If you can put Vaseline around the nostrils and upper lip it will do two things. It helps prevent or treat chapped skin. It also makes it harder for boogers to stick to the skin.

81S8eXQrBML._SL1500_4. A humidifier is helpful in the winter whether you are sick or not. The air is extremely dry in the winter and essentially this puts moisture back in the air. It can help out a lot of dry skin. Their have also been studies proving it decreases the level of flu virus in the home and can decrease the incidence of flu.  The flu virus can be killed by humid air. Finally, this again loosens up secretions helping little ones to mobilize them. We worry about mold with the humidifiers too so make sure you are cleaning them.

5. all-natural-aromatic-chest-rubNot only do our little ones get nasal congestion but they get chest congestion as well. My son loves getting a little vapor rub on his chest when he is sick. I found this badger chest rub at Whole Foods and we love it. It’s safe for the home family!

Finally, when your little one is sick make sure they are getting plenty of fluid and rest.  These are a few of our favorite sick items.  What are your essentials?  I am very interested in essential oils, but I have never tried them out.  What are your favorites?  Do you use them on your kids?

Surviving Cold Season with Young Kids

Banana Oatmeal Cookies aka the Perfect Toddler Cookie

Who doesn’t love a cookie?  I know I can never turn one down.  I feel slightly guilty eating cookies in front of Max and telling him he can not have any.  These cookies are the perfect toddler treat because they get to eat their “cookie” and you feel good about them eating banana and oats.  Max loves them!  They are simple to make and a great homemade portable snack.

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Ingredients

2 large old bananas, mashed

1 cup of oats (they stick together better if you put regular oats in the food processor for a bit, but most days I am lazy and don’t)

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp vanilla

a handful of craisins or raisins

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease cookie sheet.

2. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl.

3. Spoon cookies into greased cookie sheet.

*usually yields 12-16 cookies

Recipe from The Burlap Bag

Banana Oatmeal Cookies aka the Perfect Toddler Cookie

Lenten Digital Detox

Lent is a time to prepare our hearts for Easter.  During this time we have the opportunity to make a decision about adding something into our life that draws us closer to God or giving up certain types of luxuries.  I have been convicted recently about how much I am on my phone.  It certainly is a convenience many of us have become accustomed too, but along with the benefits of the digital age I think there are a number of drawbacks.

For Lent I am making the conscious effort to do a form of digital detox.  For me this will include only checking and responding to my email three times a day and only checking social media once a day.  I am not doing this form of digital detox as some sort of punishment or simply to choose something to give up, but I am choosing not to waste so much time on my phone.  With the extra time I plan to incorporate a daily devotional into my routine.

Not only do I think that this will help my spiritual life, but I also think it will help me find time for more important things. These are some more practical steps that I plan to incorporate to help me save time. I plan to unsubscribe to emails I do not care to receive instead of deleting them.  I hope to clean out my inbox and respond to emails in a timely manner. Finally, I plan to cut down on my internet browsing.

Some of my goals for this season are to be more present and more productive.  My phone is a big distraction from relationships and things I need to get done. Is it really necessary to check your email 20 times a day?  Are you really going to be late to seeing your acquaintance’s new Instragram picture?  How much time do you think we waste on our phones?  Do they control us?

Remember the time when there was not cell phones.  Were people more present? more creative? more productive? more focused? less stressed?  Follow along in this journey of digital detox with me.

“By creating healthy relationships with our devices, developing new positive social norms and etiquette, and by changing the ways in which we build and design our digital technologies, we will shift the course of human history.”

Digital Detox Manifesto

Lenten Digital Detox

Baked Peanut Butter Apple Oatmeal

We have been in a breakfast rut.  Most mornings I make eggs, but sometimes Max requests a waffle or pancakes. I need a hearty breakfast filled with protein to start the day off.  Seriously, if I have cereal for breakfast I am hungry 20 minutes later.  This baked oatmeal is one of our new favorite breakfast treats.  I am calling it a treat because it is so delicious and with very little sugar I feel good giving it to my whole family.  To make it even a little healthier I have substituted maple syrup for the brown sugar.    It can easily be doubled and I love that it can be reheated making breakfast preparation a breeze.  I often make it on the weekends to have throughout the week.  It is simple to make and perfect for a cold morning. Please share if you have any healthy & simple breakfast recipes.

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Ingredients

2 cups old fashioned oats
1/4 cup light brown sugar or maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 3/4 cups milk (I used whole)
1 large egg
3 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup creamy all-natural peanut butter
1 1/4 cups diced apples (I leave the skin on)

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 x 8 square baking dish and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, mix together the oats, brown sugar (if using maple syrup mix that in with the wet ingredients), baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.

3. In another small bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, applesauce, and vanilla extract (as well as maple syrup if you are using in place of the brown sugar).

4. Pour the liquid mixture over the oat mixture and stir to combine. Stir in the peanut butter and mix until combined. Add the apples and stir again. Pour mixture into prepared pan.

5. Bake for 35 minutes or until the top is golden and oatmeal is set. Let cool for 5 minutes and serve warm.

Note-this baked oatmeal is great reheated in the microwave. You can serve with brown sugar, an extra splash of milk, cinnamon, nuts or raisins if desired!

Recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod

Baked Peanut Butter Apple Oatmeal

Toddler Truck Books

As a mom of a toddler boy I am amazed at my son’s innate fascination with all sorts of transportation.  It is nothing I taught him, but he has a love for buses, fire engines, planes, cars, motorcycles, trains, bikes, bulldozers, and TRUCKS!  He enjoys pointing them out to me and labeling each one as they go by. More importantly some of his favorite books are about trucks. Here is a list of our top five favorites.

  1. My Truck is Stuckby Kevin Lewis and Daniel Kirk: An amusing story of a truck that becomes stuck on a way to a delivery.  After many vehicles, including a car, van, jeep, and bus, try to help this poor truck.  Finally, he is saved by a tow truck.  My son loves the illustrations, the repetitiveness, and saying beep beep along with the story.

My Truck is Stuck

  1. Red Truckby Kersten R. Hamilton: A story of a red truck who saves the day!  This book has lots of fun words sounds, including RIIIING!, VROOOOOM!, ZOOOOOOM!, SPLOOOSH!.  It is short and fun to read.

Red Truck

  1. Little Blue Truckby Alice Schertle:  A book with a moral about helping out friends that includes a little truck named blue, a dump truck, and lots of farm animals.  In reading the book you hear all the sounds the animals make.  Now my son reads the book along with me.

little blue truck

  1. Trucks Whizz! Zoom! Rumble!by Patricia Hubbell: Not only is this book fun to look at, but it is exciting to read.  The patchwork illustrations are excellent and the book has so many wonderful colors.  Many of trucks have different animals as their drivers.  It includes any truck you can think of and most importantly has two garbage trucks (my son’s favorite!).trucks
  2. The Trucker by Barbara Samuels: The story of a young boy, Leo, who is obsessed with trucks, and whose mother is tired of reading the same truck over and over and finding trucks in her oatmeal. She buys her son a cat, Lola, to attempt to get him interested in other things.  At first, Leo can not be bothered with Lola, but when he realized Lola could be part of the fun she became a trucker too. My son absolutely loves this story.

the trucker

Do you have any other favorite truck books?

Toddler Truck Books