More ideas to occupy your Toddler while you hit the snooze button!

Part 2 of the If you have a Toddler in the family article.....Some real great ideas on giving your toddler Independence in the morning while you snooze a tad longer :)

To a tune If telling time is too difficult, set an alarm clock to play the radio or your child's favorite CD at, say, 7 a.m., suggests Sarah Hansel, a mom in Eldridge, IA. When her 3-year-old twins wake her too early, she brings them back to their room, saying she'll see them when the music starts. "The first couple of times, they cried," she says, "but we stuck to it, and it only took a few days before they got it."

By the half-light Try putting a dim lamp on a timer, so it won't wake your child if she's sleeping. Or check out the Good Nite Lite (; $34.99), a product designed by a dad whose child kept getting up at 5 a.m. It glows like a sun when it's okay to get out of bed and like a moon when it's still nighttime.
Step 2: Keep Him Entertained
Some especially self-reliant children might be able to find ways to amuse themselves, but most will need a little inspiration.

Wake-up-time toys Fill a bin with quiet playthings, such as puzzles and sticker books, and rotate them so there's always something interesting. Explain to your child that these are "special morning toys" that he can play with only before he wakes you up. Then sneak into his room after he's asleep and leave the box waiting for him on the floor.

His own "play" list Make a digital recording of yourself reading your child's favorite stories or singing songs he loves, get an audiobook from the library, or pick up a podcast online. Then show him how to turn on the player himself.

A craft surprise On the weekends, Ridgewood, NJ, mom of four Nicki Bosch puts out the supplies for an easy-to-do craft project. "I tell them that when they wake up, there's going to be a super-secret project in the kitchen for them, and that they can surprise Mommy and Daddy with it once they're done," she says. "They're so excited about it that they go to bed happily the night before, and it affords us at least an extra hour of sleep."

Erin & Lynda

How you can sleep in.....Part one of four

I came across this article and I have actually just started doing the "clock" thing with my 2.5 year old. She normally sleeps till 7:00am but recently she wakes up at 6:30 or 6:45 and I just needed those extra minitues of I bought her a digital clock! It does take a couple of mornings for them to get the hang of it...but it does work :)
Read on..... more to come tomorrow!

If you have a toddler in the family, like I do, chances are you're woken up way too early every morning, roused by the voice of a tiny child who's burning with energy and hungry to boot. And you probably already know that sound machines, room-darkening shades, and bedtime adjustments won't necessarily solve the problem. Young kids are wired to wake up with the sun.
But here's what you may not know: Just because your kid's awake doesn't mean you have to be. Experts say that, depending on their temperament and maturity level, many kids are able to fend for themselves in the morning, at least for a short time, by age 3. In fact, even some 2-year-olds can play quietly in their rooms. You've simply got to train them.
My sister-in-law, who has four children, has done just that. Her littlest ones, ages 4 and 2, know they can't leave their rooms until there's a 7 on the clock. Then they find bowls of dry cereal waiting on the kitchen table. Tiny stickers show them which buttons to press on the remote control to fire up their favorite movie. And Mom, blissfully, sleeps until 8 a.m.
To get to that point, you'll have to do a bit of work, and take some precautions. Most important, says Ari Brown, M.D., author of Toddler 411, before you start, ask yourself: Do I trust my child when my back is turned? Think about whether she always follows instructions - and so might be ready for a little more independence - or tends to get into mischief, in which case it might be best to wait. Make sure you childproof the area where your early bird will be, and that she understands it's okay to wake you in an emergency. Then let the training begin.
"Consistency is the main thing," advises Lawrence Shapiro, Ph.D., a child psychologist in Norwalk, CT, and author of A Parent's Guide to Getting Kids Out of the Family Bed. "Try it three or four times, and most kids will learn to love it."
The benefits, he adds, won't only be yours. "This is not just about Mom and Dad sleeping for another hour," Shapiro says. "It's about giving your child a chance to learn how to entertain himself, how to make breakfast. That's good for him."
Step 1: Teach Her About Time
The first things your child needs to learn are when it's okay to get out of bed and when it's okay to come wake you up.

By the numbers Put a digital clock in your child's room, then put masking tape over the minutes (so it's less confusing). Tell her, for example, that she can get out of bed and play quietly in her room once there's a 6 on the clock, but she can't leave the room until there's a 7. Too young to recognize numbers? Draw a picture of the right times on a folded index card and place it next to the clock so she can match them.

Recipe, Easy Garden Pie -

I wanted to share this recipe with you all - I would add fresh herbs and some spices/garlic, since it is too bland on its own :0 But a really good easy recipe to get rid of those lingering veggies!

2 c. zucchini
1 c. chopped tomato
1/2 c. chopped onion
1/3 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 c. milk
3/4 c. Bisquick baking mix
3 eggs
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease 10 inch pie plate.
Sprinkle zucchini, tomato, onion, and cheese in pie plate.
Beat remaining ingredients until smooth, 15 seconds in blender on high speed or 1 minute with hand beater. Pour into pie plate. Bake until golden brown and knife inserted in center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes, garnish with zucchini slices if desired.
Refrigerate remaining pie. 6 servings.

NOTE: If using 9 inch pie plate, decrease milk to 1 cup, baking mix to 1/2 cup and eggs to 2.

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7 Frequently Asked Questions by Parents for Toddlers

How do I establish a bedtime routine?

Here is an example of what you could do. Schedule a particular time in the evening, like 6:30pm when your child has her bath and brushes her teeth. You read her a bedtime story and put her to bed. It sounds straightforward, but I know sometimes it isn't. Your child may be used to sleeping at anytime and therefore may put up some resistance to you leaving her once you have put her to bed.

You could close the door and stay behind it to hear whether she is crying, some toddlers tend to drift to sleep after a few minutes. If she starts crying wait for a few minutes to see if she stops and if she doesn't, go back and re-assure her and put her back to bed.

Also worthy of mention is the fact that some toddlers change their sleeping patterns several times before getting into what could be called a normal bedtime routine. It is important to be consistent with whatever routine you develop. Being consistent helps both you and your toddler and it prevents your toddler getting confused.

How do I discipline my child?

Some people introduce time out or the naughty step in order to make the child aware that they have been naughty. Time out and naughty step is when the child is taken from where they were naughty and placed in a quiet place like the steps or in their rooms. They could be left there for around two minutes and the parent would go and get them after that and explain to them why they had to be disciplined.

Another form of discipline is when parents remove their child's favorite toys. It is important to stress here that whatever discipline you introduce, make sure it is done in love.

My child is a fussy eater - how do I get her to eat?

This is a bit tricky, but what works for some is that they continue to introduce new food to the child. If the child does not like a particular type of food, you can discontinue it for a while and then re-introduce it later.

Another thing one could try is to mix the food your child likes with a type she doesn't like and see if she will eat it. Over a period of time, you may find that your child has acquired the taste of a particular food she didn't like before or has given up resisting.

When do I start potty training my child?

Children are different, some are known to have started at the age of 14 months, others at 18 months and some after 2 years old. Sometimes the parents will have an idea that the child is ready by the way the child touches their diapers or suddenly stops when they realise they want to go to the toilet. As your child grows she gradually becomes aware when she wants to go the toilet and this may cause her to react.

How do I get my child to allow me to brush her teeth?

Sometimes your toddler will allow you to brush their teeth if they see you brushing your own. Another thing you could try is to turn teeth brushing time into a song or game. This would engage her and in the process you might find that she opens her mouth wide for you to brush her teeth. Another technique applied by some parents is to brush their child's teeth in front of a mirror so that they can see what is happening.

When is it the right time to change from cot to bed?

When your toddler starts climbing out of the cot, this it is a sign that she is ready for a bed.

How do I get my child to eat by herself?

This is a gradual process and just like with potty training where the age varies, the same applies here. Some parents have been successful in getting their child to eat by themselves as early as the age of 12 months.

You could start with finger foods and place them in your child's plate and leave it for her to pick it up. If she manages to do this, you may progress to other types of food that involve the use of children cutlery.

In conclusion, do not compare your toddler with others and think that you are a failure because you feel your child is not doing what other toddlers are doing or your toddler is not doing what the guidebooks says. The guidebooks have to use an age as a parameter, hence the word guide - it is just a guide.

Article Source:

Erin & Lynda

Make Nutrition Fun and Colorful

To get kids (and adults) to eat more fruits and veggies, Welch's and Produce for Better Health Foundation suggests pack lunches with a different color theme every day of the week, using produce from the designated shade. A few ideas:

Color: Purple
Fruit: Toss a handful of blueberries into vanilla yogurt.
Veggie: Layer eggplant slices into slightly defrosted lasagna.

Color: White
Fruit: Wrap peeled pear slices in ham or turkey slices.
Veggie: Saute chopped cauliflower, then fold into mac 'n' cheese.

Color: Red
Fruit: Add unpeeled apple slices to a peanut butter sandwich.
Veggie: Spear cherry tomatoes on toothpicks with cubes of cheese.

Color: Orange/Yellow
Fruit: Top cottage cheese with fresh apricot slices.
Veggie: Sweeten up cooked carrots with butter and brown sugar.

Color: Green
Fruit: Top an English muffin with low-fat cream cheese and kiwi slices.
Veggie: Toss broccoli florets or spinach into a quesadilla.

For more information and cool tips visit

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Back To School Lunches!!

To see more recipes and pictures view -

Any parent will agree that the world's toughest food critics are children. This "aptitude" for culinary criticism is particularly evident with school-day lunches. You want to give your mini gourmand a balanced meal, one filled with double-duty foods that provide energy and nutrition while keeping junior sated and satisfied. But getting your little loved one to actually eat a wholesome homemade lunch can be as difficult as getting him or her to log off and unplug.

Nutritious Recipes for Kids
Peanut Butter Berry–Wich
Crunchy Asian Chicken Salad
California Style Tuna Salad Rolls
Turkey Pinwheels
Edamame Succotash Salad
Black Bean and Rice Salad
Chocolate Chip Flying Saucers
Wheat Biscuit Shortbread
Mini Whoopie Pies
Extreme Granola

To ensure that junior's power lunch doesn't go straight into the trash (and your time and money with it) or get traded for something a whole lot less nutritious, parents need to approach this nagging problem with a strategy. For years, I've come up with creative, healthy ideas for my kids' brown-bag lunches, and so when it came time to write my cookbook, Real Food for Healthy Kids, my coauthor, venerated food professional Tracey Seaman, and I devoted a whole chapter to this 180-days-a-year conundrum.

What follows are tips on planning and packing lunches; tools to deal with picky eaters; and some simple nutritious recipes to get your kids fed well, all adapted from Real Food for Healthy Kids. All of the recipes in our book, including the ones here, have been taste-tested by kids and analyzed by a nutritionist, so you can be sure there is something here that your child will love and that will be right for his or her nutritional needs. If you want to learn more about the kinds of foods and nutrients your child needs, check out our guide to daily nutritional requirements for preschoolers, elementary-school kids, and teenagers.

To make a meal with these recipes, fill out the lunchbox with a piece of fresh fruit like a Macintosh apple or red grapes, veggies such as sugar snap peas or mini carrots, some dry snacks like trail mix or our Extreme Granola, and some water in a nontoxic container like those from Sigg or Klean Kanteen. But no matter what you include, your child will know that you took the time to make something especially for him or her, as a homemade lunch is yet another expression of your love.

planning & packing tips:
Think Like an Accountant
Budget your time—and money—by creating a spreadsheet that will detail the daily school-day lunches for that month. Make use of Sunday leftovers and use fresh produce as soon as you buy it. Create a weekly shopping list to reduce trips to the store, and allocate healthy prepackaged snacks for days without fresh fruit.

Act Like a Chef
Cut your lunch-making time in half by creating an efficient assembly line of materials. Get out everything that you need, from bread and meats to wrapping materials and utensils. Place it all on the counter in the order you will use it. This will speed up the process when you're pressed for time.

Keep It Hot/Cold
If you're sending your kid to school with something that needs to stay cold, include a cold pack—if your child is like most, you might want to tape the cold pack into the lunchbox, so that it doesn't accidentally get thrown out or left behind. For foods that must be kept warm, like a veggie stew or noodle soup, heat up the food in the morning. Pour boiling water into a thermos, let it warm up the container for a few minutes, and then tip it out before you add the hot food. This will help retain warmth.

Looks Count
The way food is presented affects how a diner perceives flavor; this is true even for kids. Make an effort to keep dishes looking attractive, wrapped and served in cool containers, and packed in lunchboxes that reflect the personality of your child.

tips for keeping picky eaters happy:
Give Jr. Power
Before you plan the weekly lunch menu, ask your child to identify five favorite food items that he or she would like to see in the lunchbox. Then encourage your kid to participate in the planning, preparing, and packing of the rest of the meals, creating a balanced menu of protein and complex carbs. Including them in the decision—and preparation—improves the chances that the lunch will actually get eaten.

Vary the Menu
Even if he or she requests the same ham and cheese sammie every day, it's important to provide at least one or two different items in the lunchbox to expand a picky eater's palate. However, throwing in a food your young food critic claims to hate will backfire, as they are likely to throw it out before trying it. Introduce those new or controversial foods at dinnertime, when your kid is presumably hungry and under your watchful eye.
Never Too Cool for School
No matter how old your child is, include a sweet, encouraging note, a cartoon, a picture of the family pet, or even just a silly drawing to make them smile and be reminded of how much you love them

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