1/1/17 - 2/1/17 | NESHEAHOLIC

Sunday, January 22, 2017

10 Best Toddler Books

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good toddler books

BabyCakes LOVES reading and the whole family enjoys our nightly book time before bed. I think we have some of the best books for toddlers. She particularly loves books with flaps, repetitive phrases and books that rhyme. We've gotten to the point that she will request the specific book she wants without even looking at her book shelf. This kid knows what she's in the mood for. Here are her 10 most requested toddler books and some notes on what makes a good toddler book.

you're tutu cute book

You're Tutu Cute

This book is really cute. It's ballet themed and a very short read. It has a flap on each page and the little phrases are easily memorable. Each page references an action so this is a good book to incorporate movement into while reading. (BUY)

good night thomas book

Good Night, Thomas 

I should preface this with the fact that although the book says it glows in the dark, I have not found that to be true. Despite this, BabyCakes loves this book because she loves Thomas the Train. This is a good book for Thomas lovers, it also ends with Thomas going to sleep which I like. I find that it's easier to go from book time to bed time when the bedtime book has to do with going to bed. (BUY)

the very busy spider book

The Very Busy Spider

This is a classic children's book. BabyCakes calls it, and any other spider, The Itsy Bitsy Spider. This is a favorite because it utilizes animal sounds, which we love, and a repetitive phrase. I've found repetitive phrases help toddlers focus better on a book. They are paying attention as they anticipate saying the phrase each time. (BUY)

duck and goose find a pumpkin book

Duck & Goose Find a Pumpkin

This book is short, sweet, and cute. I purchased it this fall as a way to introduce pumpkins to BabyCakes ahead of Halloween and our trip to the pumpkin patch. I think it worked well for introducing her to pumpkins, and she loves reading along. There is actually a whole series of Duck & Goose books. I plan on picking up a few more. (BUY)

dear zoo book

Dear Zoo

This is another win in both the animal department and the flap department. The phrasing of the book allows for your child to identify each animal throughout the story which is great. It also contains repetitive phrasing. (BUY)

giraffes can't dance book

Giraffes Can't Dance

This is a new edition to our toddler library. Hubs got it for BabyCakes for Christmas. It is a really cute story about being unique. This is one of the longest books we have. I'd say it is a good start if you are looking to get your toddler engaged in a longer book. (BUY)

goodnight moon

Goodnight Moon

This is a classic children's book. It's been around for 60+ years. It is a really simple book. Something about it is really calming which makes it a great bedtime book. It ends with a series of goodnights which is perfect to end the day with. (BUY)

toes, ears, and nose book

Toes, Ears, & Nose

This book is GREAT at teaching body parts. I credit us using this book to BabyCakes being able to identify most of her body parts. It also has flaps which keep her engaged. I would not recommend letting your toddler play with this book without supervision as it can be quite easy to pull off some of the flaps. Ours is patched up with some tape lol (BUY)

brown bear, brown bear book

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

This is another classic children's book. My niece had it when she was small so I put it on our baby registry once we were pregnant because I remembered how much she liked it. It reinforces both animals and colors. The same creators also produced Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See?, which we also have, that features all endangered animals. (BUY)

the going to bed book

The Going to Bed Book

This is a really good night time book. It goes through some bedtime activities like brushing your teeth and putting on your pajamas. Its short and sweet, and rhymes. It's one of my favorite choices for pre-bed reading. (BUY)

best toddler books

What's in your toddler library?

Sunday, January 15, 2017

How to Make Healthy Smoothies Your Kids Will Love

Today I'm sharing a contribution from freelance writer Jenny Holt. Jenny is a mother of two. She loves nothing more than getting away from it all and taking her pet Labrador Bruce for long walks, something she can do a lot more now she's left the corporate world behind.

healthy smoothies your kids will love

How to Make Healthy Smoothies Your Kids Will Love

If left to their own devices, kids want sweet, frothy treats such as juice boxes, soda, or fast-food milkshakes. If you put these treats side-by-side with something good for them, they'll choose the sugary concoction every time. But there's a way to draw children away from the dark side with healthy smoothies so delicious that kids will love them.

Experiment with different fruits, veggies and liquid bases such as yogurt, milk or Kefir, until you find the one your child loves.

Here are a few ways you can introduce your child to the world of healthy, wholesome smoothies.

Build Smoothies Around Your Child’s Favorite Fruit

All kids have a fruit they enjoy eating. Use your child's favorite fruit and build a smoothie around it. If your child likes apples, you can combine them with bananas, pears and baby spinach. (Baby spinach isn't as bitter as regular spinach.)  If your child likes strawberries, mix them with blueberries, bananas, and yogurt.

Peaches have natural sugar to tempt a child's sweet tooth without causing the same harm as refined sugar. Combine peaches with grapes, blueberries, and ice for a sweet treat. It has all the berry tastes kids love, without the added sugar. And it's loaded with Vitamin C, antioxidants, Vitamin K and fiber.

Let Kids Help You Make Smoothies

Get kids in on the act. They’ll have fun choosing ingredients and helping you put them in the blender. They’ll learn more about what food combinations work well together, and they’ll be anxious to try out new recipes. 

Weight-Gain Smoothie Combinations for Toddlers (& Older Kids, Too) 

Does your toddler need to gain weight? Make them a smoothie with raspberries and plain yogurt as a base, then add rolled oats, nut butter, honey and ice, or combine spinach with Vitamin C-rich berries, yogurt, flax oil, milk and a drizzle of honey.

Smoothies designed to help underweight toddlers bulk up don't rely on empty calories or whey protein powders like some adult weight-gain smoothies.  The healthy fats come from pea protein powder, nut butter, sunflower butter, or organic peanut butter. 

Several dietitians recognize popular smoothie ingredients – and a few lesser-known ones – as vital for kids’ health. Try a smoothie with oatmeal in the morning to give your child steady energy throughout the day, or a smoothie with peanut butter to boost choline for better brain cell production.

There are dozens of healthy smoothie combinations for kids, but you’ll need to experiment with a few to find the go-to recipe for your child, unless you hit the jackpot first time. Kids can drink smoothies with fruits, vegetables, coconut milk, yogurt, kefir, flaxseeds and most of the ingredients that adults also enjoy. However, it’s a good idea to take it easy on spices in smoothies for young kids as the taste may be too intense for them.

What kind of smoothies do you or your kids love?


Monday, January 2, 2017

5 Things I'm Happy I DIDN'T Do this Holiday Season

The holidays are a wonderful time. They can also make me very anxious. I did very well this holiday season with not overwhelming myself or stretching myself too thin. I made some conscious decisions to NOT do some things this year to keep myself balanced.

Christmas Cards. 

By the time I thought about needing to get my Christmas cards out it was crunch time and I was already trying to finish up a lot of things for work so I could enjoy my winter vacation. So I decided to not worry about getting cards printed, addressed, and sent out. I did make a digital card that I thought was cute.

Making my family come to my office holiday party. 

I LOVE showing my family off. But the logistics of getting them to my office party are kind of tricky. My husband and my daughter have to come from the suburbs and by the time they get there it's pretty much BabyCakes' bedtime so they are turning right back around to head home shortly after. When they are there I also have to make sure they are having a good time and can't fully enjoy myself. This year I told my husband they could stay home, and I got to enjoy the party - eating, drinking, and being merry! 

Elf on a Shelf. 

Some of you parents are KILLING it with Elf on a Shelf. Your ideas every day are so unique and creative. I felt myself getting anxious thinking about purchasing the Elf on a Shelf and I knew I would be putting a lot of pressure on myself to produce some dynamic elf scene every day during a month that was already really busy. I decided I'll wait until next year to introduce Elf.

Going to see Santa. 

I think I have a pretty good understanding of my daughter and how she'll react in certain situations. I couldn't see anything good coming from trying to force her to sit on a stranger's lap and get a pretty picture. We might give it a try next year, and she'll likely have more of an idea of who Santa is then. This year she started to notice who he was around the week of Christmas.


I definitely want to do Vlogmas next year, but this year it just wasn't in the cards. Next year I will PLAN what video content I want to produce so that it can be easier to make happen.

What decisions did you make this holiday season to make things easier for yourself?

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