Mamas, God Chose You.

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Motherhood is amazing, beautiful, wonderful.  It’s the best job in the world, and you love it more than anything.  It’s a blessing, and you’re thankful for every moment of it.  There’s nothing like it.

But it’s also hard.  The day to day is hard, and when shit happens, which it absolutely does, it’s hard.  And it’s okay.

There might be days where you have scrubbed and swept all day, picked up countless toys, made a hundred snacks and sandwiches and meals, mopped up tears and broken up fights, walked that baby for hours and hours out of the day… and then asked yourself why you can’t stay on top of the chores.

You’re not the only one who is absolutely sick of laundry and dishes.

Or frustrated because you stayed up all night getting your house spotless, and someone just left their shoes in the middle of the floor, and spilled something all over the table.

Or lonely if you stay at home with toddlers all day and you’re starving for adult conversation.

You’re not the only one who forgot how to socialize.

And you’re not the only one who is ready to lose it if your child gets one more attitude with you, or tells you no to your face, or completely ignores you.

It’s hard, ya’ll.  I know it is.  It’s not supposed to be easy, and I don’t know a single person who never has a cloudy day.

I know you feel a little guilty for feeling frustrated, overwhelmed, lonely, worn out, or just sad.  You’re a mother, you give and give until you sometimes feel like there’s nothing else to give.  Then you give more.  Even when it comes to your thoughts, you want to be the perfect mother.  Not really because of any standards of society, but because you love your kids more than anything in the freaking universe, and you know they deserve the world.

But there is not a single perfect mother in the world.  And God chose YOU.  He gave those babies to you for a reason.  Don’t doubt yourself.

No matter what some people might say, it’s okay to feel like it’s hard.  Because it is.  Nothing worth doing comes easily, and motherhood is an extremely challenging and rewarding job.  Not just physically.  But as children grow up, they start reaching for independence, a little bit at a time.  Sometimes it’s frustrating, and sometimes it just hurts.  And we can’t even show it.  That’s hard.  Then you’ve got so many people in the world who just want to tell you you’re doing it wrong.  Most of the time we try not to care what people think, but when it comes to parenting, it’s different.

And then there are times where you just don’t know what to do.  I firmly believe most of us are just winging it, half the time, at least.

So at the end of the day, pour you a glass of wine, take a deep breath and cut yourself a break.  You’re doing an awesome job!

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Summer Sanity Saver – Dancing!!

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It’s Summer ya’ll.

Summer.

With kids.

And no school.

Need I say more?  Besides the words coffee and wine?

So yeah, I’m looking for any and all ideas on kids’ activities.  Especially easy and cheap ones.  And absolutely anything that lets them burn energy!

I created a group board on Pinterest, Kids Activities, where we can share these ideas!!  You can follow the board, or message me if you want to be added!! 😊😊😊

First idea:  DANCING!  It gives kids an outlet for their boundless energy, and there are so many options on YouTube.  I like the Just Dance videos because even though it’s not “kids” songs, they still love it and it’s all censored. And they are so fun to dance to!  We also love some of the other channels, too.  I’ve put a couple of playlists together of our favorite dance songs.  The first one is perfect for younger kids, and the second one is our favorite Just Dance videos.

Let me know if ya’ll have any ideas on other songs I can add to these!

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May Happiness Challenge

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Okay so we are not going to pay attention to the fact that this post is a month late………. Two preschoolers + 3 month old baby = BUSY MOM.  It’s cool though.  Hopefully we tried some of the happiness techniques in May to make up for it and now we can do two things in June.  It’s summer break, guys.  We need all the help we can get.

Anyway, for May we are going to try for PATIENCE.  Let’s do this all summer, ya’ll.  Like I said, we need it.

The one area I need patience with is PARENTING.  My 5 year old is going through a phase, or whatever you want to call it, where his attitude is worse than a teenager’s.  All of a sudden he has extra energy, he is louder than normal, and defiant.  Yay.  My 3 year old doesn’t listen at all, and whines every time her brother so much as looks at her.  And my 3 month old is going through a growth spurt, so she is hungry every 2 hours, and clingy the rest of the time.  Oh.  And ALL 3 OF THEM hate naps.  The older two gave them up, and the baby only sleeps about 30 minutes at a time, for like 2 naps.  My house is a mess, my husband is working and taking a summer class, and sometimes I just want to lock myself in a room.

I haven’t gotten to that point yet.  So it’s time to work on some patience.

Here are the things I’m going to do to help myself and be a better mom.

  1. Loosen up on the house.  That doesn’t mean let it go completely… It just means lower your standards a little bit.  Whether it’s getting rid of half of the crap you own or ignoring some of the clutter, letting the dishes wait, and getting dressed from the Laundry Chair for a little while.
  2. Happy place.  Like on Happy Gilmore, only less weird.  Find a happy place and count to 10.  This combination might help you calm down just a little, so you can take a breath instead of reacting with anger and yelling.  Which is the last thing we want to do.
  3. Ground yourself.  Not that kind of grounding.  I mean like the whole mindfulness thing.  It sounds crazy but it helps you center yourself, focus on what’s actually important and find your calm.
  4. Take control.  I completely lose my patience when some things are out of my control.  I don’t like it.  And it’s not like you can always have control in life (control freak, right?) but in parenting you NEED it.  Kids don’t get to have control.  And when they are acting up, and you let them get the best of you by reacting in anger, they win.  Take control of your emotions, take control of the situation, and take control of parenting.
  5. Be consistent.  In everything you do, not just with parenting.  Don’t let anyone make you doubt yourself, especially your kids because they are like vultures that will swoop down on any perceived weakness.  It’s just what kids do.  If the first time they hit, you sit them in time-out, and the next time you ground them, and the next time you get frustrated and yell, they don’t have clear rules.  Kids need clear rules.  Be consistent and they won’t keep testing you so much.  Which equals more patience.
  6. Let it go.  Pick your battles.  Some things are not as big of a deal as you think – it’s more of a power struggle than anything.  Try to recognize these, and be the bigger person than your 5 year old and let it go.  Distraction still works, and sometimes it’s the best option.
  7. Hugs and kisses.  Show them the love they need, all day and even when you’re mad.  It will help both of you calm down and start over.
  8. Play.  Get in the floor and play with them.  Make time for it.  It makes a huge difference in their behavior over time, and I know this from experience.  And it also helps with patience later on.

I’m no expert.  I still barely know what I’m doing half the time, but I think most of us are like that, whether we admit it or not.  The definition for Parenting should just be:  wing it until they move out.  So if you don’t agree with what I’m saying, no hard feelings!  I hope this helps someone and I am ALWAYS open to new ideas.  Parenting is hard, and I’m realizing it gets harder in some ways, over time.  So good luck with your patience, ya’ll!

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April Happiness Challenge

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The challenge this month is about finding PEACE.

As a mom of two preschoolers and an infant, my days are often so hectic and stressful that I can feel myself getting overwhelmed.  Anxiety, stress, worry, exhaustion… and on top of it, it’s Spring and everyone seems to be sick.

It can be hard to do more than just get through the day.

So to keep it simple, I’ve made a list of ways you can bring more peace into your life, even if it’s just a little bit a day.

1. Go outside.  Get a breath of fresh air!  If you’re like me and the pollen is screwing with your allergies, you might want to keep it brief.

2.  Play.  Tickle fight with the kids.  Dance party.  Car wash with your hubby.  Just take a few minutes to have fun, even if it’s doing every day things.

3.  Pause electronics.  Spend less time on your phone, and turn off the TV sometimes.  Same goes for the kids.  Spend some time in the real world, without the stimulating and distracting screens we all seem to have in front of our faces all the time, almost like the people in Wall-E.

4.  Sing.  I know it sounds crazy, but it can lift your mood and relax you.

5.  Find time for yourself… even if it’s just a 5 minute break where you paint your toenails.  Take the time when you can.  It really helps.

6.  Take a break from cleaning.  This one can be hard for us moms to hear… but I’m not saying live in a totally messy house.  Just stop worrying about perfection.  Leave the freaking dishes for now.  Vacuum later.

7.  Appreciate the little things.  I know everyone says that but it’s important.  Appreciate how the sun shines after a storm, how your little ones just hug you.  Just notice the details of life.

8.  Let go of ideals of perfection.  Right now.

9.  Forgive yourself, and forgive anyone you’re upset with.

10. Let go of fear and worry.  The Bible says do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Worrying will not add a day onto your life.

11. Remove yourself from drama and negativity.

There are so many other ways to find peace; these are just a few!  Check out my Pinterest board for all of my lifestyle and happiness stuff here. I would love to hear any ideas you may have!  Just leave a comment below, and I might even add yours to this list.  Please subscribe to my emails to get updates whenever I post – which isn’t TOO often since I have three preschoolers, but often enough that you won’t miss me.  🙂

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March Happiness Challenge

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DECLUTTER!

I bet you don’t realize how much of your stress comes from STUFF.

Cleaning… especially for moms.

Money… need I say more?

Remember.  You’re working for that money, to buy those things.  And everything is overpriced and overrated these days.

It’s gotten to the point where people are so worried about materialistic things… the “American Dream” of having the best stuff.  Take a step back and reevaluate what you actually need.  And think hard about what you actually want!  Then look at what you have.

It might be overwhelming, so I made a list to help.  This month’s challenge is to take a look at everything you have in each of these categories… and start decluttering.  Some things will be pretty simple, like throwing away old food, but for some situations it might help to choose 5 things from that category to toss out.  It doesn’t matter how you do it. The point is to challenge yourself to take a hard look at everything you’re holding on to… and ask yourself if it’s worth the space it’s taking up in your life.  If it’s worth the maintenance and cleaning.  If it’s worth that hour (or way more) of work you did to earn the money to buy it.  If it’s worth you being distracted from life experiences.  If it’s worth the stress.

If the answer is no, throw it out!  It will be hard at first but stick with it and you will be able to tell a huge difference.  I cut out half of the laundry I have to do, as well as dishes and cleaning and organizing.  That alone was worth it for me!

So.  Here is the list, with a few examples.  For other ideas, check out my Pinterest board Minimalism & Life.  I would love to hear any ideas you may have on the subject, so please leave a comment below!!  And don’t forget to share 🙂

  1. Little clutter – junk drawer, purse, etc.
  2. Dishes – Tupperware with no lids, random take out cups, old pots and pans
  3. Decorations – something you can never really find a place for, or just don’t like.  Especially knickknacks.
  4. Keepsakes – keeping some memorabilia is great, but keeping every little scribble your child colors you at 2 years old is a little much.  I’m speaking from experience..
  5. Monthly utilities and bills – for example, we cut out our TV and are sticking with Netflix and other streaming.  So much cheaper.  Then we cut our phone bill in half since we were only using a little bit of data (especially since we have Wifi).  Also think about conserving water and electricity every day, making a food budget, etc.
  6. Clothes – old socks, shirts, scarves… especially the “one day I will fit these” clothes
  7. Toys – be ruthless
  8. Shoes
  9. Accessories – jewelry, scarves, etc.
  10. Bathroom – old toiletries, makeup, clean out the bathroom cabinet and drawers
  11. Subscriptions – things like Xbox Live and Hulu.  If you don’t use it don’t pay for it!
  12. Books
  13. Electronics & cords – especially the ones sitting in a drawer, like old cell phones you’ve upgraded from
  14. Food – fridge door, expired spices, pantry
  15. Linens – old, frayed towels and sheets
  16. Kitchen – appliances you don’t use, cookbooks, etc.
  17. Medicine cabinet – check expiration dates on everything
  18. Storage
  19. Big stuff – furniture, big toys, tools, etc.
  20. Your mind – get rid of the negative thoughts, stress, and all the things that are cluttering your mind and getting in the way of your happiness.
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February Happiness Challenge

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I have always thought of February as the Love Month.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not huge into expectations on Valentines Day!  For me it’s just a fun holiday to celebrate love.  Nothing wrong with that.  Even if you hate Valentines Day, I think February is a great month to think about the people we love for our Happiness Challenge.

Let’s take last month’s gratefulness to a new level.  Think about the people you are grateful for.  A lot of the time we take them for granted and the sad fact of life is we could lose them at any time, and there’s no going back.

So this month I challenge you to take the time for each person you love, each person who brightens your life a little bit or a lot.  For one thing, forgive them.  Forgive them for taking you for granted, for not being perfect, for whatever they did to you.  Let go of anger and resentment, because it’s stealing your happiness.  And for the people you love, tell them.  Visit them, give them a hug, do something nice.  Tell them something you want them to know but didn’t want to be awkward, so you haven’t told them.  None of that matters when you lose a loved one.

And think about the way you treat others, too.  You don’t have to be a ray of sunshine all the time, but one nice word can really make a world of difference to someone.

Just make the effort to show some love!

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#RockingMotherhood

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I was challenged by https://bodyafterbaby.blog to make a list of reasons why I’m Rocking Motherhood.  It’s time we all let go of some of that guilt and judgment and recognize that being a mom is AWESOME.  It’s the most amazing, beautiful, difficult, heartbreaking job in the world.  Let’s show a little love!!!

So here are my 10 reasons why I’m Rocking Motherhood 🙂

  1. I’m not perfect… but I’m doing my best!!
  2. I follow my heart in how I raise them, instead of letting other people tell me what I should be doing… but sometimes I wonder if I’m messing up.
  3. Some days I play Legos in the floor… and some days I turn on a movie for them.
  4. I let them eat pizza.
  5. I’m trying to teach them common sense and life skills – which is not to be taken for granted these days, in my opinion.
  6. I hug them every day.
  7. I try to really listen when they talk, and really explain why they are in trouble.  And sometimes I say, “because I said so!”
  8. At 8 months pregnant, I still have my patience and sanity… just maybe not very much of it.
  9. I am rocking motherhood especially now that we went minimalist and got rid of most of the clutter and unnecessary cleaning that was keeping me stressed out!
  10. I always try not to judge other moms, no matter what.  Whether you work, stay home, dress expensively, wear yoga pants, co-sleep, cry it out, drink wine, work out, eat the hell out of those donuts, breastfeed, bottle feed, or let them eat cheerios off the floor of your mini van… I know that being a mom is hard work, and we are all just trying to do the best we can!  I know that we are all supermoms.  And none of us are perfect.

Those are not the only reasons I’m rocking motherhood.  I make mistakes every day.  And it’s time we all realized that it’s going to be okay… So I challenge all of you awesome moms out there to list 10 reasons why you’re rocking motherhood too!  🙂

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January Happiness Challenge

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So, for 2017 I’ve decided to start something new… I’m going to try to start focusing more on being happy.  Right now.

No more waiting until tomorrow, when the rain goes away.  No more waiting until things are less stressful and we have more money.  No more waiting, no more guilt and no more excuses!

That’s why I started the Happiness Challenge.  I’m not just going to talk about being happy.  I’m going to challenge myself every month in new ways to make small, positive changes in my life.  You can do it with me!  You deserve to be happy, too.

One thing that’s been on my mind a lot lately is GRATITUDE.  Tragedy has surrounded so many of us, not just in 2016.  I’ve been thinking more about how incredibly blessed I am.  And in some ways, how ungrateful I’ve been.  Tomorrow is not guaranteed, and everything can change in the blink of an eye.  Nothing is permanent.

So here is the #HappinessChallenge for January… Focus on being grateful, counting your blessings, and not taking things for granted.

  1.  Every morning for 30 days, start the day off by thinking of 3 things you’re grateful for.  It can be anything.  Write them in a notebook or your phone to keep track!
  2.  No complaining!  Replace every complaint with gratitude.  Even in your head.  The point of this is to catch yourself every time you want to complain.  Do this consistently for 30 days.
  3.  Every time you buy something you don’t need, take the time to appreciate it and be grateful you were able to buy it.  No matter what it is.
  4.  Donate something.  Part of being grateful is realizing that there are others who need what you might be taking for granted.

Keep in mind that you can do this all year.  Just challenge yourself for 30 days and when it’s over you can go from there!

Bonus:  Challenge your loved ones!  Share this post to friends and family.  You never know who might benefit from it!  We all want the people we care about to be happy.  That’s what love is.  You could even get your kids involved in each one of these steps, no matter what age they are.  The earlier you teach them about gratitude and happiness, the better.

Please feel free to comment below!  I would love to hear about your journey for happiness and some things you are grateful for in your life.  

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Happiness Challenge

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So recently my husband and I made a decision. 

Long story short, for the past 5 years we have struggled with depression, unhappiness, and lots of stress.  To a certain extent, that seems to be a normal part of being an adult.  We just keep accepting that things are hard, that work sucks, that debt is stressful and that one day maybe things will be better.  Even though we have come a long way in our life in just 5 years, it still feels like we can’t be happy or content with our situation right now.  And the question is, why can’t we?

Don’t get me wrong.  We LOVE being together.  We love being a family, and we love our kids so much.  But the thing is, we should be able to be happy!  We have recently re-evaluated our lifestyle and decided to make some changes.  The most important change is realizing what’s truly important.

And RIGHT NOW is important.  Don’t wait until tomorrow to spend time with your kids, or have a better day, or be content with what you have. 

So here is what we are NOT doing anymore…

We are not going to keep WAITING to be happy… Waiting until this weekend… Waiting on debt to be paid off… Waiting for the stress to go away, for a better job to come along, for life to get “easier”.

We are not going to keep ACCEPTING that this unhappiness is just a part of being an adult.

We are not going to keep allowing ourselves to feel GUILTY or LESS because we have different ways of looking at the world… Or because we don’t have such nice things that “everyone else” seems to have.  Or because we aren’t in the same place financially, or in our careers, that “everyone else” seems to be.

And we are not going to raise our CHILDREN to believe that to be happy, to be successful, you need MORE… More money, more stuff, more of everything.

We are done with that.  And we have decided we are going to choose to be happy NOW.

This doesn’t mean it’s always going to be easy.  We are going to have bad days.  We are still going to have stress, and sometimes it can be easy to forget about your own happiness when you have so much to do.  Bills still have to be paid.  Laundry has to be washed.  The kids need to be fed.  And with a newborn baby on the way, I know sleep deprivation will probably be one of my biggest challenges.

But we are not giving up.

Now, here is what we ARE going to do…  We are going to start challenging ourselves to be happy every day.

We are going to try hard to be grateful and content with what we have, instead of feeling like it’s not enough.

We are going to cut out unnecessary stress and guilt, by focusing on what’s actually important instead of what everyone else is telling us we need to focus on.

We are working on loving ourselves.  Forgiving ourselves for mistakes, and telling ourselves that we can feel however we want to feel, and want whatever we want to want (haha!).

We are going to focus less on the future, and what we don’t have, and instead focus more on enjoying life with our loved ones and each other. 

This is a challenge that we will be working on all year, and we want to share it with the world.  Because we could all use a little less stress in our lives, and a little more happiness!

So for every month of 2017 I’ll be posting a new #HappinessChallenge and I would absolutely love it if you would give it a try… You can sign up by email or follow me on social media (Look over at the sidebar – or scroll to the bottom of the page, if you’re on your phone!) to stay updated!  No matter what your situation is, no matter what anyone is telling you right now.  Even if you only take tiny little steps that nobody knows about.  You deserve happiness, too.  🙂

Leave a comment below to let me know about your own #HappinessChallenge (or tag me somewhere), and please go ahead and share with family and friends!  We can all make 2017 a little bit better! 

 

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25 Kid Lunches – Back to the basics

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25-1

“Lunch time!  What do ya’ll want to eat?”

3 yo: “Spaghetti”

5 yo: “Sandwich”

This is basically every day.  I’ve told my daughter I’m not making spaghetti every day… If we do anything it’s usually spaghettios.  And my son must take after his daddy because he seems totally fine with eating a sandwich every single day.  But that’s beside the point.  I think they would appreciate a little variation in the menu… If I could think of anything!

Am I the only mom who draws a total freaking blank when I try to think of food ideas?  Seriously.  I have so many pins on Pinterest about food… But it feels like we eat the same thing every day!

So, I’ve decided to make a basic list of food ideas.  I didn’t include recipes because this is just a kind of reference that you can print and look at when you can’t think of anything.  Then you can look up “fancy PB&J” or whatever floats your boat, and go from there!  There are literally ideas for every item on here, that I’ve never even thought of.

I do have some great recipes and ideas saved on my Pinterest board here, if you’re interested!  🙂

Anyway, I’ve including everything here that I can think of… You can keep all of these extremely simple or try to health-ify them.  Let’s be real.  I do buy pizza rolls and lunchables.  But my kids usually eat some of their veggies every night.  Parenting is about balance…

25 Lunch Ideas – Back to the Basics

  1. Pizza rolls!  Or Hot Pockets!
  2. Lunchables
  3. Ham and cheese sandwich
  4. Grilled cheese
  5. PB&J
  6. Turkey and cheese wrap – easy: melt shredded cheese on a tortilla for 30 seconds in microwave… Add lunch meat and roll it up
  7. Chicken nuggets
  8. Pizza – could do the lunchable type, the frozen ones, or make your own little personal ones
  9. Hot Dogs
  10. Corn Dogs
  11. Mac n cheese
  12. Pasta – keep it simple or add some sort of easy sauce
  13. Nachos
  14. Fish sticks
  15. Tuna & crackers – mine like theirs just tuna mixed with mayo.  Keep it simple if they are picky!
  16. Taquitos
  17. Cheese & crackers, with any kind of sliced meat – turkey, bologna, pepperoni, etc.
  18. Kabobs – even just turkey and cheese
  19. Spaghettios
  20. Ravioli
  21. Chicken noodle soup
  22. Peanut butter & banana sandwich
  23. Baked potato
  24. Popcorn chicken
  25. Leftovers

Another thing… I have found that changing things up in a simple way can make it a new favorite lunch that they wouldn’t have eaten before!  Kids are funny that way.  Here are a few simple tips.

  • Cookie cutters – if your kids are pre-school age and they are not going to eat the whole sandwich anyway, grab a cookie cutter and use it on the sandwich.  This is how I got my kids to start eating sandwiches!
  • Roll ups – It seems like there is a “roll up” idea on Pinterest for most of the ideas on this list!  (A good few of them, anyway).  Just flatten out the bread with a glass, put the PB&J or whatever on there and… roll it up.  Simple, but kids love it.
  • Food coloring – it grosses me out, but it’s worth a try.  My daughter would probably eat anything I put in front of her if it’s “blue like Elsa” and my son would eat anything if it’s “black like Batman” (even though that sounds disgusting).  Anyway, a few moms have had success with food coloring, so give it some thought if you’re desperate!
  • Get creative – You don’t have to go all out and make Reindeer pancakes or whatever, but consider adding a ketchup smiley face or something.  Kids love that kind of stuff.  It doesn’t have to be beautiful or take much time.  Just something to catch their interest.
  • Add fruit, cheese, crackers, yogurt, etc. – I give them fruit all day.  It’s extremely healthy and it makes me feel a little better about those pizza rolls… Take any of the simple ideas above and add one or two sides to make it a better meal.
  • Eat it in front of them – Seriously.  I have lost track of how many times my kids have only tried something because they caught me eating it… Like the baked potato.  Or tuna fish.  They refused to eat it in the past, but when mommy eats it, it’s a different story.  Just don’t make it obvious.  They can smell fear.

Anyway, I hope this list was helpful!  Please feel free to leave a comment below if you have any other ideas, or particular favorites… And don’t forget to check out my Kid Food board on Pinterest!

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