Sunday, September 27, 2009

Inquiring Minds. . .

With the feeling of fall in the air, I find myself with the following questions. . .

1) When can Will have a blanket in his crib?

Right now, he sleeps with two very small, stuffed "lovies" and a small square of a blanket that doesn't even cover his tummy. During the warm, summer months, I dressed him in lightweight jammies. Now that the air is getting brisk, I am using blanket sleepers, but I still worry about him getting a chill. When can he use a blanket?

2) With holiday travel in our near future, what is a good option for a travel bed?

Has anyone used one of these to travel with? We have a standard sized pack n' play, but it doesn't fit in the tight space that we stay at when we are at my in-laws or my parents' houses. Also, it is cumbersome to lug the big ol' pack n' play around, and this sounds like it might be a more space-saving option, especially if we ever get brave enough to travel by airplane. If you have any other small travel bed ideas, or experience with this one in particular, PLEASE leave them for me in the comments section.

3) What toddler-friendly, make-ahead, economical, easy meals do you make during the fall and winter time?

I have a lot of great recipes that I am excited to make, but I am always eager to learn more. Again, please leave in the comments section. As a thank you in advance, here is one of MY favorites. I love it because you can prep it all the night before or the morning of. It just sits in the crock pot all day and makes the house smell like your grandma came over and is making dinner. It is "fancy" enough to serve for guests, but "homey" enough to make for just any old weeknight dinner. This time of year, most grocery stores have really good deals on the cream soups and roast meat cuts so you can stock up and make this recipe really affordable.


1 (12-ounce) bag frozen onions

1 (8-ounce) bag frozen baby carrots

1 (8-ounce) package sliced mushrooms

1/2 pound small new potatoes, halved

4 pounds beef chuck roast, rinsed and patted dry

Salt and pepper

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 (10.75-ounce) can condensed cream of celery soup*

1 packet onion soup mix

1 cup low-sodium beef broth

1/4 cup steak sauce

Into a slow cooker, put the onions, carrots, mushrooms, and potatoes.

Season the roast with salt and pepper. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown the meat on all sides in oil. When it is browned, put it in the slow cooker on top of the vegetables.

In a small bowl, stir together the cream of celery soup, onion soup mix, beef broth, and steak sauce. Pour over top of roast. Cover and cook on high setting for 3 to 4 hours or low for 8 to 9 hours.

*I have used cream of mushroom soup and added some diced celery and it tasted almost exactly the same and was a little less expensive.

4) Baby needs new shoes.

Will hates to have shoes on his little feet. He does love to pull them off, though. We have a lot of right shoes and a lot of left shoes, but not a lot of pairs since I don't always see him pull them off. I'll be honest, during the summer months, especially before he was walking, I kind of let it go. Now that he is walking around and it is getting colder outside, he needs to have shoes on. P So, give me some good toddler shoe ideas. I am willing to spend a bit more for good quality shoes that he can walk easily in and not pry off, but I don't want to spend a fortune if we can help it (especially if he does lose them).

I think that's it. Thank you for your advice!


Baby Smiling In Back Seat said...

I will be using a combo of a PeaPod Plus (a bit bigger than the PeaPod, so you can use it through the preschool years) and a Bjorn Travel Crib Light for my soon-to-arrive twins, but the PeaPod/PeaPod Plus is probably more appropriate for you since Will would grow out of any travel crib soon. I hear very good things about the PeaPods from the anti-Pack N Play crowd (of which I am certainly a member), and it also has utility at places like the beach. But, some kids don't like being closed in on all sides like that, which is why I'm getting two different kinds in the hopes that each twin will be happy with one of them.

Amanda said...

The boys have been sleeping with light blankets (receiving blanket and waffle weave thermal blanket) for months. As soon as we realized that Trip preferred to have a "security blanket" and Jack preferred to have a stuffed animal to snuggle, they've each had one of both. Now at 9 1/2 months it's hard to put them to bed without them!

My FAV recipe: I always make extra of the "sauce".

Unfortunately I've got nothing for the other questions.

Allison said...

both my kids starting using a blanket just past one. DS didn't until a bit later only because it was summer when he turned one. DD it was around 13 months.

We love our Pedoodles for shoes!! LOVE them

Christy said...

I, too, am wanting to know about the blanket thing. Here in AZ we are still running 100 during the day, but dropping into the 70's at night. Not exactly frigid temps.

As for shoes, Andy is a pro at removing them too. A few weeks ago I bought him a pair of Stride Rite's and they are perfect. They have actual laces that I double tie and he simply can't remove them. They are super cute and really easy for ME to get on and off of him.

Anonymous said...

B has been sleeping with a blanket his whole life, BUT we put the blanket under him and swaddle him as much as possible from his armpits down, so the blanket doesn't just get free to cover his head up. He also has one of those small square blanket-with-stuffed-animal-attached silkie blankies that he uses for comfort.

My new favorite recipe, it's delish with egg noodles:

Shoes... We've been finding tons of awesome shoe deals on ebay! Obviously Brecken isn't walking yet so I'm not super concerned with stability, so Robeez are my faves right now. I really like Stride Rite's for more support when they start walking. They're $30-$40 at the store, but you can find new ones for $10-$25 on ebay.

HereWeGoAJen said...

You know, I can't help with any of those questions. Well, except to say that I would just put him in two non-matching shoes that I already own. :)

Adriane said...

Good questions - I would like to see the responses you get!

Blanket - I broke the cardinal rule months ago and put the girls to sleep with blankets for naps and bedtime. They like to cuddle with them.

Travel beds/ Meals - I wish I had something to say with these - anxious to hear what everyone says.

Shoes - We love See Kai Run shoes. One of mine likes to remove shoes no matter the brand.

Fertilized said...

You can always ask the inlaws ask their friends if they have a pnp so you do not have to lug ..or send an email/fb to anyone you know in that area that may have access to a portible bed.

I have given A a blanket since about 3-4 months. It's thin and he loves it - do what you are most comfortable with.

i make black beans and rice, any pea or bean for him to eat while we are out .. squash?

Fertilized said...

shoes - pedipeds, striderites or see kai run! i love them

Leanne said...

Have the PeaPod in Camo. The boys LOVE IT!! J had some of his best night's sleeps in it!!

As for boots...forget boots, just lke you said, they fall off and then you only have one and no pair ever. Try these instead!! I bought two pairs and I love them! I love that they will last from 6-18 months too!!

Tracy said...

Hmmm...can't help you on the other stuff (I have the same issue with shoes, we've been using blankets for a couple months now, and the babies just eat whatever we're eating most of the time) but I love the idea of the Peapod! We've been lugging our PNPs and mattresses around with us, and I've been thinking they'll outgrow them soon. I'm participating in a Mom-2-mom sale in a few weeks and may just sell those PNPs and buy the Peapods!

I'll be interested to hear what other people have to say about them, too.

Katie said...

Will eats whatever we are eating, too, but I am just getting tired of the same rotation and looking for some new dinner ideas! I am always looking for easy things that I can make ahead!

Tracy said...

Katie, I just tend to buy whatever meat is on sale and find a recipe to suit it, but a couple of our recent favorites are spaghetti casserole and pork ribs in a crock pot. For the spaghetti, I just cook up a pound of spaghetti, drain, but keep back 1 cup of water. Cook 1 pound of meat (I've used ground turkey and ground sirloin, both work.) Add meat, one jar of sauce (I use a plain marinara), one can of tomatoes, one can of mushrooms, the water from the pasta, one pound of FRESH mozzarella in small cubes, to the pasta pot. Mix it all up together and put in a sprayed 13x9 casserole. Sprinkle with Italian bread crumbs and grated parmesan before cooking at 400 degrees for 25 minutes. I make this ahead sometimes and for some reason it's easier (and yummier) than regular spaghetti.

For the ribs, add pork rib meat to a crockpot, add one can of no sugar added apple pie filling and a bit of BBQ sauce. Cook on low all day. YUMMY and it falls apart so easy for the babies to eat.

We're also big grillers, so we eat chicken, steak, porkloin on the grill at least a couple times per week. I prepare hamburger patties in advance so if we're having something that isn't kid-friendly we can just throw a burger on the grill for them.

Hope this helps. I also subscribe to a blog that you might like...

Katie said...

Aw, thanks, Tracy! I can't wait to try those recipes. . . I love trying new things out. I make a similar recipe called spaghetti pie, and my girlfriend swears by one that is also very similar but you add a can of cream of mushroom soup to it?? Yeah, it sounds weird to me, but I really should try it sometime because she LOVES IT!

This is fun to get everyone's answers. . . thanks you guys, keep 'em coming!

Kristen said...

1) We travel with the pack and play - and even haul it back and forth across the country from South Carolina to Seattle when we visit my folks. It is kind of cumbersome - but worth it to us to have a safe and contained place for whichever kid was the young one to be in it.

2) We've put all three kids down with lightweight blankets from the time they were about 3 months old. I know, I know - we're probably breaking some horrible rule - but we put it lower on their bodies, only cover their legs/midriff really - and half the time it's kicked off to the bottom of the crib when we get them up in the morning. For warmth we really rely on heavier weight jammies - fleece or heavier material than the thin cotton they are usually in - and always have/had a plain white onesie underneath.

3) Shoes - we've absolutely adored Robeez shoes. They're the best - they stay on - are somewhat hard to remove - are designed for new walkers (to the point that their feet are protected but able to still feel the ground.) Once they were sturdy walkers (closer to 18 months) we invested in Stride Rite shoes - better foot support than off brands and the Angel shoe line.

4) I'm always on the hunt as well for good/fast/go to recipes. Working full time outside of the home with three under age 5 is challenging. I try to cook more on weekends (baked casserole dishes, lasagne, bake off a chicken or smoke a turkey breast) so that we can re-heat or bake off during the week. I'm learning how to use the crock-pot - altho some of those trials have been disasters.

One of our family favorites I can put together the night before then bake it the next day and serve with egg noodles and a veggie:

Swiss Chicken

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 can white wine
Deli sliced swiss cheese
2-3 Tbs. melted butter
1 cup herb blend stuffing mix.

Place chicken in casserole dish. Season with salt and pepper. Layer swiss cheese over chicken.
Mix soup and wine, pour over chicken.
Sprinkle herb stuffing mix over, then drizzle with melted butter.

(sometimes I'll saute' a few mushrooms and onions and throw over the chicken if I'm feeling fancy.)

Bake at 350 degrees about 45 minutes until chicken is cooked through.

I hope you get a few good links to the recipe question - so we can follow along!

Anonymous said...

blanket- yep, fine now

shoes- we've always done stride rite for the first pair or two right when they're learning to walk then switch to crocs... they may not be the most stylish shoes, but kids learn to put them on faster than normal shoes and if you catch them on sale (they're buy one, get one free on their site frequently) a more affordable option. also, easy cleaning and long-lasting!