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Bye Bye 2012

by Juliemara
12.31.12

The last day of the year. Where did this year go? How did it go so fast? Why did my little babies have to grow up so much in one year?
Questions many of us ask ourselves every year, yet we never get an answer.

We had a lot of fun this year. It was a challenging year but one I wouldn’t trade a moment of for anything.

I never make concrete resolutions for the new year. Instead I set goals for myself at different times throughout the year. It’s usually when I am feeling a bit down because my “to do” list is longer than my “got it done” list. But lately I have been getting some big things done in I’m life that I am really pleased with. All to be posted about in the new year.
But I can’t help but think about the things that I would like to try to work a little harder on in the coming months,
1. Cooking for my family more
Here’s one of those healthy toddler meals I told you I would post periodically. I can’t take credit for the cooking on this one, this yummyness is all the girls nanny.
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Italian meatballs, semolina wheat cous cous and steamed broccoli. If you’ve never had semolina wheat cous cous, I highly recommend it. It’s called Israeli cous cous and it is little pasta balls. Because its made with the semolina wheat it is packed with protein. Add a bit of chicken or veggie stock while cooking for some extra flavor. It’s a great first food because its already in tiny bit size pieces and picking up the little balls is good practice. Like pasta, most kids love it.
2. Making more tees for my Etsy shop

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This year I am making monthly onsies for my friends new baby, when the yer is up ill add this set to the shop!
3. Doing my plank excersizes

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more often to help close my diastasis recti.
4. Finish my Instagram book, blog book and the girls first year photo book.

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Finger painting with pudding

by Juliemara
12.27.12

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Toddlers are busy little people, they move from activity to activity in a blink of an eye and then back again. They get bored and fussy quickly so having a pocket full of activities to do on a moments notice is a must.

There are great go to activities like stacking blocks or the shape sorter that hold their interest for a few minutes, but to keep them occupied for a little longer try a yummy and fun new activity like finger painting with chocolate pudding.
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This activity was introduced to me by my good friend who also has a one year old little girl.

I like to have the girls do really messy activities like this one in their highchair a, it helps to keep the mess contained.
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Mix the pudding according to the package directions. Remove all clothing from your baby or toddler or clothe them in stuff that can get dirty. This is a very messy project. Tape a large piece of construction paper to the highchair tray.
!

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Demonstrate with a small amount of pudding, how to use your finger to color the paper. Don’t lick your finger! Let them figure tht out on their own.

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Happy painting

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Using your best judgement

by Juliemara
12.26.12

Being a parent, especially a new one is an on going lesson in using your best judgment. I struggle constantly with how much freedom to give my girls. Where should I draw the line between letting them explore and keeping them safe.

Sure I could expertly baby proof every square inch of our home and make sure that nothing except baby tested and certified toys get into their hands, but I don’t think that’s the best way to raise independent, creative children. And despite the fact that the girls have toys that are safe and developmentally appropriate within arms reach at all times they would always prefer to get their hands on something new.

I read in a parenting book to try, as much as possible, to only say “no” to a child if they are in real danger of hurting themselves. It’s a way of keeping the word “no” a serious and meaningful one. Jordan is really good at listening when either of us says no, it kinda startles her. But she was always the one to jump at the slightest noise, even when she was a brand new infant. She is also a very cautious and careful child so she doesn’t get herself into dangerous situations too often.

Talia on the other hand is a little dare devil. She will jump off anything and everything. She automatically assumes that if we are within arms reach we will catch her. She is always climbing and falling and hurts herself many times in a day.

When you have a new baby the last thing on your mind is the day that they start running, usually with a small object in their hand, and then they fall. The thing is, it hurts little knuckles a lot when you land on them because the little hand was busy clenching a tiny toy and there is no way to prevent it. They will fall, they will get hurt and you, as the parent, just have to try not to freak out.

The girls have lots if toys that could present a hazard, we try as much as possible to supervise them when they are playing with these toys such as the Melissa and Doug stacker with its wooden stick or the drum sticks from their music set or even the bristle blocks that when stepped on hurt a good bit.

I took this video of the girls this past weekend. I can’t believe we are here already, they take turns so nicely until the very end when it starts to get ugly. But for a while they each take their turn. Talia starts out with a stick in her hand, which I took away because eyes are really hard to replace. But the whole time I was filming this I was saying to myself Talia, please sit before you go down the slide. And, begging for those little rubber soled shoe to not get stuck on the plastic slide. And for no one to fall off while climbing up and for none of the other hundred things that an go wrong in a second to happen. If you turn the volume way up you can probably hear me gasp a few times.

Oh, and to all the stranger that wished us good luck when they saw us out with our infant twins, we will take it now, we need it for their toddler years.

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Teething Necklaces, some may say…

by Juliemara
12.24.12

Some may say that teething necklaces don’t work, that it is a myth, a placebo effect. Some may say that they are dangerous.

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I am not one of them. I was, but not anymore. After about six months of watching my sweet babies suffer from teething pain and after being kept up into the late hours of the night trying to comfort a baby who is suffering from pain she has never known before I broke down and ordered two. I did some research and spoke to some friends who had been using them about what type to get. I found mine on Etsy, a seller in Lithuania. The necklaces are made from amber, amber comes from the Baltic sea, near Lithuania, so this made sense. They took what felt like months to get to us.

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Teething pain comes and goes, bothering babies for a few days here and there, maybe lasting as long as a week, but for those few days life is hard for the little ones and for mom and dad.  As soon as I received the package I put the necklaces straight on the girls. Teething pain had started again a few days before. That night they slept, without interruption. Maybe it was coincidence, I don’t know and I don’t care. We haven’t seen either baby experiencing the level of discomfort they did prior to wearing the necklaces, so as far as I am concerned they work. I wish I had ordered them sooner. If I could do it over my girls would have been wearing them from when they were five months old.teething-necklaceteething-necklaceteething-necklaceteething-necklace

Amber has been used throughout the world to relive pain, it has succinic acid in the resin that when worn warms on the skin and releases some of this natural anti inflammatory into the skin and thus into the blood stream. The most pure Baltic amber will contain about 8% of the succinic acid.

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My girls wear the necklaces all the time. I only remove them for bath because warm water and soap can, over time, reduce the effectiveness of the amber. My girls sleep in their necklaces. They are made in such a way that they are as safe as possible. First, the necklace is knotted between each bead, so that in the event that the strand does break, only one bead will fall off. Second,  the necklaces are too short for the girls to pull them up into their mouths, so they can’t and are not meant to be chewed on. I tuck the necklaces into whatever shirt or pjs they are wearing and they girls hardly notice that they are even there.

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And as a bonus, they are supper cute and surfer baby looking.  One more thing I would have done differently was to order two slightly different necklaces so that our family and friends could use the necklaces as a way to tell them apart. I ordered this necklace in particular because I originally read conflicting beliefs as to weather the light or dark beads were more effective. Since ordering the necklaces I have read more times than not that the darker the bead the more succinic acid it contains.

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Tiny baby parts

by Juliemara
12.23.12

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I love baby arms, some people go crazy over baby feet or cute little tushies. I’m a sucker for my girls squishy little tiny arms. Despite it being winter and pretty cold outside we keep our house toasty warm so that I can let the girls run around in just their diapers as much as possible. Any less than that is asking for trouble.
Hope you are having a nice weekend.

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Happy Holidays!

by Juliemara
12.21.12

Hannukka has passed and Christmas is just days a way. This year has flown by and yet so much has changed. It’s been such a great year for my family, we are lucky beyond words. I am so thankful for another year of living an amazing life and looking forward to the next.

Happy Holidays to all of you from my family to yours.

I hope that this year was a good one, and I hope that next year is even better.

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Thank you to all of you who sent my family holiday greeting cards. We love receiving them and seeing how everyone’s families have changed in a year. And I love that I have this place to display and share them.

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Love,

        Julie

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Dinner Time!

by Juliemara
12.20.12

This is one of those posts that has been in my drafts folder for several months.  In an attempt to not let the writing go to waste I have decided to use the story of feeding our babies food as the start of a new series for my blog. Each week (hopefully) I will post a toddler meal and a people meal, sometimes they will be the same, sometimes they will be different.

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We are a family that loves food, it is a major part of our lives. Not just eating it, but preparing it, planning it, finding new kinds of it, and discussing it after we eat it. Everyday involves some sort of food planning, weather it’s that days food or the next days or the up coming weekend. No meal is easy and thrown together. We don’t eat, we dine, as my sister likes to say. It’s one of the things about my husband that drew me to him. He grew up with every meal being an event, breakfast, lunch and dinner each consisted of courses and freshly prepared foods. He loves to introduce me to new foods and food combinations. In my home we ate dinner as a family every night, but lunches and especially breakfasts were basically on the go. Between the two of us we strike a nice balance of eating well and trying to do more in a day than cook and clean up.
We decided when I was pregnant that we would be making all our own baby food for the girls and aside from the occasional jar or pouch to go, we have. We puréed everything we could think of apples, pears, peaches, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower and a bunch more. feeding-baby-food
The process is really very painless. We cooked for ourselves most nights so chopping something and throwing it in the steamer wasn’t any more work, it was an easy process. We used a basic rice cooker with the steamer try set into the top of it, I think it was about $15. This one is very similar

It’s the simplest kitchen appliance ever, fill the pot with water, chop the food you want to steam into large chunks and place in the steamer tray, press the one button all the way down. Check it after 15 minutes, if a fork goes in and out easily, it’s done. We would then use the Ninja to puree, but any blender or even a hand masher will work fine. The baby food makers are also really great they do both steps, steaming and pureeing, in one machine, but we already had the other two machines on hand so we didn’t need to add anything new to our kitchen counters. We would make a big batch, portion it into ice cube trays and freeze it for later use. There are ice cube trays with covers just for this. When it was time for them to eat we we could choose what combination to feed them, chicken, broccoli & sweet potato or beans, apples and squash. Take one or two cubes of each out of the freezer and pop it into the microwave either together or separately. Having so many choices ready to go was really convenient. The thing is, babies eating purees only lasts about three months, before we knew it, around eight months, with a freezer full of homemade baby food, our girls were ready to start chewing!  So instead of pureeing we started giving them the tiniest slivers of table food, banana, chicken, pieces of pasta, quinoa, cauliflower and broccoli.  We had to freeze their food a little differently now. First we would steam, mash or cut, but not purée, the foods, then portion it into the ice cube trays just the same so that we can still feed them healthy quick meals as soon as we arrive from work. We did this with most of the same foods that we previously pureed. But now we could add tiny bites of whole grain breads and tiny pieces of fresh fruit. When I say tiny pieces, I mean tiny and soft, about the size of a baby’s finger nail and soft enough to mash between your thumb and index finger.

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Around this time we tried to make meals easier for us too, we would prepare as much as possible the night before so that all the prep is done and all we had to do is cook when we got home or even better use our crock pot! If you have any great healthy crock pot recipes please send them my way! We are still trying to get the hang of this planning ahead. We currently make sure on Sunday that we have enough food in the house to make a meal for each night of the coming week, but don’t necessarily know which night we will eat what. We also have a few take away options that we use as fall backs and our amazing nanny cooks dinner for the girls a night or two a week and always makes enough for us to have for dinner or take for lunch the next day. She is also a really great cook!
To kick off my regular posting of easy and healthy meals for the whole family I’d like to share one of my absolute favorite dishes to make. This one requires a good bit of prep, but the actual cooking goes really quick and the outcome is well worth it. And the girls love it too!

Turkey Lettuce Wraps

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1tbs sesame oil
4 garlic cloves minced
2 tbs olive oil
3 shallots minced
1 pkg lean ground turkey
Minced ginger root
2 med Shredded carrots
2 tbs rice vinegar
1 tbs soy sauce
2 tbs fish sauce
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/4 copped cilantro
1 tsp chili sauce or red pepper flakes
3 green onions chopped
Bib lettuce for serving
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In a large skillet heat sesame oil over med high heat
Saute garlic in sesame oil (do not burn)
Add shallots and olive oil, cook till limp.
Add turkey, Brown
Turn heat to med/low
Add carrots, ginger, rice vinegar, soy sauce, fish sauce, chicken stock,  chili sauce and green onion while continuing to stir
Turn off the heat and add cilantro
Serve hot with bib lettuce warps

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Show Offs – A Video

by Juliemara
12.19.12

Just a quick video of Talia and Jordan showing off

1)being crazy

2)listen carefully you can hear some b words

3)climbing!

Brilliant little people.

 

 

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Emergency Prep for Toddlers

by Juliemara
12.18.12

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Last weekend we decided to take the girls to Catch Air, an indoor play ground. The girls go almost every week with thier nanny and my husband had been with the girls a time or two, but I’d never had a chance to go. After morning nap and snack we headed to the new playground that recently opened close to our house. Walking in was like entering Disney World or Willy Wonkas Chocolate Factory. It was shiny and bright and there was something to look at it in every direction. We were all having a good time until Talia slipped and hurt herself. We didn’t realize what was wrong at first because she was just crying, after a while we realized she was limping..

20121216-230205.jpg We hopped back in the car and headed towards the children’s hospital while I called our pediatrician. They suggested we do exactly as we were, go get her leg x-rayed.

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This would not have been an issue, with my company insurance I have a really reasonable emergency room co-pay and when all was said and done Talia was fine, no injury and what ever was hurting her had worn off.

The issue was that we spent four hours waiting to find his out. We waited two hours between two waiting rooms and another two hours in the room.

It was so exhausting trying to entertain the girls and keep them from touching gross stuff or the floor. At the end of our four hour wait while we were listening to the prognosis of nothing Talia was jumping on the bed, clearly she was fine.
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Going to the emergency room was the right decision for us that day. But here’s how I will handle similar situations in the future. First, I will have information about the local private urgent care centers as far as what services they can provide and if my insurance will cover It. Second I will give it some time. Shortly after she fell she stopped crying as long as one of us was holding her, so we knew she wasn’t in constant pain. It was only when we put her down she would limp and start to cry again.

I defiantly won’t take any chances but if faced with a similar experience again I will take what I learned from this one and hopefully avoid spending another Saturday afternoon in a tiny room with no windows or toys.

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thought and prayers

by Juliemara
12.17.12

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Today I will just say I’m so sorry to the families of those who lost their lives at Sandy Hook Elementary, it is sad and awful and useless and I just can’t imagine how the entire town feels today. My heart aches for all the moms and dads and grandmas and grandpas and brothers and sisters who will never get to hold their sweet babies again. My heart aches for all the great that these children and their teachers would have accomplished in their lives. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers during this holiday season that they will not get to celebrate. Hug your children and your loved ones, be grateful for everyday that you get to see them grow.

And I am saving one prayer for my friend at work whose baby boy was born this past weekend  too many months early, please keep him in your thoughts as he fights to get strong.

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