Montana is Love

This past weekend we spent the day at my in-laws. We celebrated Easter, birthdays, and anniversaries. It was the best visit so far. Hudson played non-stop, running all over the property, digging in dirt, chasing the dogs. He was in heaven which meant I was able to enjoy adult conversation and a hot plate of food. It was mama’s heaven!

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We haven’t visited the in-laws in a long time. They usually come to our house so Hudson can run amuck in his area. Also, it can take up to an hour to travel their direction. Have you ever tried to travel with a toddler….even for a short period of time? YIPES!  I would love to know any tricks to make travel easier because we have an upcoming trip that is a tad longer.  Suggestions welcomed.

 

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Not so”Quiet” Time Transition

Hudson gave up naps before his 3rd birthday…let me tell you it stunk. I cried the second I realized he was truly DONE with naps. My husband looked at me like I was crazy. His helpful words…..”Well he wasn’t going to nap forever….you knew that, RIGHT?”  Thanks. Super helpful.

All the stay-at-home-moms out there (working mamas too) know how sacred nap time is. But he was ready to be done so I had to go with it. The first few days were a struggle. He was a blubbering mess by 5pm, I mean could not hold it together at all….. the dog walked by him…meltdown……The pillow fell over….meltdown. It was ROUGH. But after a week or two……maybe three….I can’t remember. We introduced quiet time, he spends a little time in his room with a quiet project and once in awhile I let him watch a movie. No sleep but a tiny rest.

The first few days he only lasted maybe 30 minutes but now he will do a full 2 hours. I put together quiet boxes organized by the day and each one contains a project or puzzle, cars, and a book.

BUSY BOX ITEMS:

Craft project: We are big fans of Crayola magic markers. The ones that only mark the special paper so he cant destroy his room.

Puzzle: I found a couple match puzzles in the 1$ section at Target. Only two or three pieces is all. Before letting him play with the puzzles I showed him how to put them together. He is very proud when he puts them all together!

Book: I rounded up books that we already had lying around the house. But since they are tucked away in bins for quiet time only he only sees them once in awhile.

Cars: Hudson is obsessed with cars…we have entirely too many. I gathered about 4 cars for each bin. No need to by any new ones…I used ones we already had at home but he only gets them during quiet time so they seem special.

I would suggest you put together items your kiddo loves, dolls, instruments, etc.

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He plays…not so quietly, ( My husband suggests we call it “Alone time,” rather than quiet time….I tend to agree) in his room with the items from the bin. The busy boxes are like a present each day. Soon I will have to rotate new toys in but right now he is happy to open the bins. Plus, he actually plays with the toys in them, I would call that a win.

The transition from naps to quiet time has been a difficult one for me…Hudson has taken it in stride.  But I have adjusted. I really enjoy the earlier, easier bed time. The busy boxes have definitely helped stretch the time closer to 2 hours. Hang in their Mama it is a tough one but it does get better….it won’t be like this for long.

 

 

Pumpkin Party

This is a little late but I still wanted to share. We have started a family tradition, a Pumpkin Carving Party! It has proven to be so much fun. It is a very easy party to plan since it’s casual. Dinner, snacks, and all the tools needed for carving and B.Y.O.P, bring your own pumpkin.Since we had little ones coming  markers, stickers, and paint were provided so they could decorate a pumpkin too.

He lined them up himself

He lined them up himself

I usually serve a bowl of warm apple cider, snacks, and a main course that is  make your own so everyone is happy, like tacos or chili. People can make it the way they prefer spicy, mild, this or that.This year we opted for chili because it was  cold outside, delicious, and affordable to make a large amount. The chili recipe is my favorite from Rachael Ray, Espresso Black Bean Chili, its very meaty and has tons of flavor. (You have to try it.)  For the chili I set out all the mix-ins so everyone could choose what they wanted; pickled jalapenos, sour cream, tortilla chips, cheese, etc.

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For Drinks I had warm apple cider, a single signature drink, Apple Cider Sangria, and a fun drink for the kiddos. I ended up making mango juice mixed with plain pellagrino, bubbly juice. All of which are set up to self serve so I don’t have to spend the night playing bartender.  I also made the doughnut recipes from a previous post, the apple cider doughnuts and pumpkin spice latte. We had other sweet treats, a veggie tray, and bags of chips.

Once everyone filled up on dinner, snacks, and drinks we got started with the carving. Most of the little kids opted to paint and use stickers so the adults could carve. We rolled out a painters drop cloth so when the carving or painting was done we could just roll everything up and toss it into the trash. It worked perfectly!

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I hope you try to plan a fun carving party!

Punkin Palooza

We made our first trip to the pumpkin patch this week. I say first because no doubt we will be going back to collect more beauties for our carving party in a couple weeks. We always go to a local family owned farm in town. First off, their prices are the best. Second, the owner is the sweetest old man. Third, buy local.

Benson’s farm has been our family favorite from fresh apples to giant zucchini. Upon arrival Hudson spotted two deer grabbing a quick snack from the apple trees out front.

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We had the place to ourselves which for a rambunctious toddler is perfection. He could not load the pumpkins fast enough. Going from pile to pile saying ” we need this one, and this one, and this one!” I was all for it, I love watching his enthusiasm for holidays. Mr. Man preferred the little ones, or as he called them “The tiny baby pumpkins.”

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Happy Fall Y’all!

Fun Fall Activities

We have been out in the amazing Montana fall lately, not much blogging from nature. It has been a little warmer than usually here so we have been taking full advantage. Mornings at the park or long slow walks. But even with all that activity Hudson has been a little restless or bored so I found a pile of fun activities to do with Mr. Man in the coming weeks or course with a delicious mug of coffee in hand….because hello toddler=caffeine requirement.

  1. Nature Scavenger Hunt: Make a list of items the kiddos can find outside. Red leaf, pine cone, etc. Then head out onto the park. Hudson will love this one. He will love to take a slow walk and finding treasures along the way.
  2. Pumpkin Patch:  We have farms and pumpkin patches everywhere in Montana so I think an afternoon wondering the corn mazes or filling a wheel barrel full of the perfect pumpkins to take home will be in order very soon.
  3. Pumpkin Bowling: I came across this gem when looking for party games for Hudson’s birthday. I found bowling pins in the dollar section at Target and after our little pumpkin patch adventure (see above) I think we will have fun doing this one.

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I hope you give some of these a whirl!

This one is for the mama’s out there.  I found two recipes for fall doughnuts that sound amazing. Plus they are baked so a whole lot easier than splattering oil all over the kitchen.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Doughnut

Apple Cider Doughnut 

You are welcome….and I am sorry just trade those fall skinnies for a comfy pair of drawstring joggers, problem solved.

Meal Prep

I have said it once and I will say it again…The ONLY way I can stay on track with eating well is meal prep. I struggle with having breakfast and lunch items on hand for myself. I always have healthy food for Hudson but  in the morning I am scrambling to find something on the way out the door while combing crazy bed head. Lunch is the same….I forget to eat until after I finally slow down during nap time and realize my stomach is growling. I have been trying to prep those two meals for the whole week on Sunday. I bribe my mom to come help me so we can get the chopping done quickly and my sisters can entertain Hudson for me.

First up is Chia pudding with berry and nuts. It looks really gross but I have to say it was extremely delicious and filling.

INGREDIENTS
  • ¼ cup chia seeds
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • Fresh berries for topping

Instructions: Combine all ingredients in a glass and shake to combine. Refrigerate overnight. Stir quickly in the morning, top with berries, and enjoy! I mixed the berries and slivered almonds with a tablespoon of maple syrup, stir and placed the mixture on top.

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The second is oats. The first go round I made a giant pot of quick oats and placed a serving size in glass storage bowls. In the morning I can warm them up, toss in some fruit and cinnamon. But I have found a TON of overnight oats ideas on pintrest. Next week I will be trying those like this one or this.  Either one would be easy to prep and delicious!

Lastly, we purchased all the produce at Costco. It is the best value and there are a lot of organic options, I stick to the dirty dozen which keep costs down My mom started chopping on the veggies and I grilled up all the chicken with a little salt and pepper. I would recommend using the 16 oz wide mouth mason jars. They fit a large salad and the wide mouth makes it easy to eat directly from the container or to dump out in a bowl. After the chicken cooled we got to work. The first layer is your protein and dressing. Then cucumbers, broccoli, or tomatoes, etc. The last layer is the romaine lettuce or spinach. I omitted cheese but you could add that in, on top of the protein. By keeping the lettuce separate from the dressing it stay crunchy until you are ready to eat.

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I have made a ton of different types of mason jar salads. I like to keep it interesting especially when I am trying to eat healthy which can sometimes get a little boring.

Caesar Salad: Caesar dressing, chicken, tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, croutons and lettuce. (in that order)

Cobb Salad: ranch or vinaigrette, chicken, bacon, tomatoes, hard boiled egg, avocado, bleu cheese crumble and lettuce.

Santa Fe Salad: Habanero ranch (found at Target), chicken, black beans (rinsed), corn, pickled jalapeno, cheddar jack cheese, tortilla strips, and lettuce…This one is my absolute favorite.

Greek Salad: chicken, Greek vinaigrette, red onion, cherry tomatoes, feta and romaine lettuce.

I hope you try one of them out. I have found meal prep to be the most important thing I can do for my health and wellness. I usually add a cup of soup along side my salad for a well rounded and filling meal.

What do you do to make your days easier as a Mama?

Family Vacation

Our family took a tiny trip to Salt Lake City for over a week. It was so much fun. We made so many memories and laughed until our belly hurts. I have learned Hudson can go with the flow much more than I had ever thought possible but HATES being pinned in a car for 8 hours. No amount of movies or games could make him happy. But the fun we had more than made up for it the terrible ride home.

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We stumbled across the most amazing neighborhood. Cute houses with a man made lake right in the middle. There was a little creek kids could splash in with a the coolest jungle gym we have ever played in.

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The next stop was the Aquarium. The entire time we walked through Hudson kept asking to see the Sharks. Once we arrived at the shark tank, he was scared. It took a little time to feel comfortable he became mesmerized.

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The daily stop was at Dunkin Donuts, I am obsessed and quickly shared the addiction with my little man. I may or may not have packed a dozen donuts back home….Dont Judge! The other delicous-ness I shared with Mr.H was In-N-Out burger. I cannot get enough!

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We had so much fun, it was one of THE best trips we have ever been on. It was great to explore a new city and spend time with family.

What was your favorite family Vacation?

Big Boy Bed Here We Come

We changed Hudson to a big boy bed a month or so ago. I forgot to share. So here it goes. I had hoped to keep H in his crib until her went of to kindergarten…;-) But as usual Mr. Man had other plans. He has been climbing out of crib for awhile now….I know I know….not safe. However, as a tiny monkey he doesn’t seem to have much of a problem at all.

I had his big boy bed in the garage for a month…maybe two. Like I said I wanted to hold this transition off as long as possible. I  thought once he was out of his crib he wouldn’t be my baby any more but that is crazy. I was convinced naps would no longer happen and nice long nights of sleep would end forever. My mom came over for dinner and FORCED me to make the change. I fought her the entire time…I can be pretty stubborn….

We got it all put together and Hudson was a bit scared of the new bed. Finally, he warmed up and it was time to head to bed. I was not looking forward to the fight I was SURE would happen once I laid him in bed. We went about our bedtime routine. I acted like the new bed was no big deal. I laid with him for a little bit before I headed to bed. I was all ready for midnight playing or tears of fear…..NOPE. He stayed snug in his bed until morning and we have not looked back.

I have been trying to put off the next milestone with H for a year or so now. I convince myself it will be so difficult or he isn’t ready, in all honesty I am the one who is not ready. He amazes me every day. He takes on new places or changes in stride most often rising to the occasion and surpassing all my expectations. My advice for this change is your kiddo will show you when they are ready…go with it! It will be OK.

 

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1. Be ready: We waited until Hudson was consistently getting out of his crib.

2. There will be set backs: About a month in H felt confident with his new independence and would get out of his bed daily. It would take me an hour of placing him back into bed before he would go to sleep. I adjusted he nap time so with the hour battle he would go down at a reasonable time. After a week the battle was over.

3. Set backs do NOT mean you have failed:  I was so frustrated and wished we had never made the change. But was reminded but a billion people, all kids have a tiny set back and it’s temporary.

4. You will be shocked: Hudson was so ready and I was holding him back. The change was easy for us but no for everyone. Remember every kid is different and handle changes different but you know them best. They will surprise you!

5. Patience: You will need lots of patience but it will pas quickly and you will be on to the next big milestone. Ours in potty training…stay tuned.

Good luck Friends!

You and Me Go Fishin….

You know the rest. Hudson has been obsessed with his fishing pole for months. But it has been too cold to actually go. Finally, the weather cooperated for a few short hours so he could go give it a whirl!

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To keep things easy there was no line in his pole but he still fished his heart out.

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Throwing rocks into the water quickly became our top priority. He kept getting closer and closer to the water, giving me a panic attack but he was very careful. He cried when we left, this boy is a true outdoorsmen, just like his dad.

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Spring in Montana can be long and pretty cold. But it sure is Beautiful!

What do you do with your little’s when the weather gets nice?

St. Patrick’s Day Treat

I had grand plans to make St. Patty’s themed breakfast. But with a 6am wake up call, thank you Mr.Hudson, I was not motivated to do so. I was going to make pancakes with whipped cream and Lucky charms sprinkled on top but we opted for toast. BORING, I know I know.

Not much of a surprise Hudson was ready for a nap a little earlier than usual, cant imagine why. I couldn’t let him wake up without SOME kind of Holiday treat so I decided to use the lucky charms in a different way.

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LUCKY CHARM BARS

6 cups of Lucky Charms cereal

1 10oz bag of mini marshmellows

4 Tbsp Butter

1 brick of White chocolate Almond bark.

1. Grease 9x13in baking pan. or line with parchment paper. Whichever you prefer.

2. Place butter and marshmallows in large saucepan. Stir until all marshmallows are melted and creamy.

3. Mix melted marshmallow and cereal until evenly distributed. I sprayed my spatula with non-stick cooking spray to make mixing easier.

4. Press mixture into baking pan. I placed mine in the freezer to make the treats set up quicker

5. Melt 4 cubes of almond bark on low heat, stir constantly. Almond bark need to be watched it can seize up very quickly. Once the chocolate is smooth remove from the heat.

6. Pour over cereal mixture in the baking pan. Place back into the freezer. Once hardened cut and serve.

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ENJOY!!! They are basically a cavity in a bar!