Hack: Freezer Marinades

It can be hard to plan ahead and stay organized for preparing family meals. On top of other responsibilities, it may feel daunting and even impossible at times. Something I like to keep in my arsenal (read: freezer) is marinated meat. It is super easy to prepare, throw into the freezer and forget about until a rainy day.

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Trader Joe's Frozen Quinoa & Rice

Trader Joe's frozen quinoa and rice (four different kinds of rice!) are a timesaver and a lifesaver. I always have them in the freezer, whether for myself or Theo. Sometimes I don't or can't plan ahead or get it together to make rice the traditional way. Sometimes I have a toddler clinging to my leg, sobbing as he melts down from hunger. Sometimes we get home from the park or a playdate and I have to prepare dinner like it's a fire drill. Never fear - Trader Joe's comes to the rescue!

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Gear Guide for Feeding Toddlers

Below is a list of gear that will make mealtimes with your toddler more efficient and fun!

UTENSILS

Note: It's very important for babies and toddlers to practice with utensils. For more information, see my post about utensils. 

This fork and spoon by Oxo Tot (pictured below) are designed for "little hands" for babies 12+ months. They're intended to mimic adult utensils, but they have a no-slip, more ergonomic handle that makes them easier to hold. Theo loves them!

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The Learning Tower

The Little Partners Learning Tower has been a game changer for us! I love to cook and Theo often wants to watch and participate. The tower has enabled him to be really involved and engaged in the kitchen in a safe way. He loves standing up high at counter level and being able to see what is going on. He even does some of his own "cooking" and blending (see the videos below)! It is much easier (and safer) than holding him on my hip and cooking one-handed.

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Green Valley Organics Lactose-Free Dairy Products

Dairy is difficult for me to digest (as it is for many, including babies and kids). I’ve been lactose-intolerant since I was 7 years old, and have had IBS since I was about 18. I still LOVE dairy, though… especially cheese and yogurt! YUM. A year or so ago, just by chance, I discovered the most delicious lactose-free dairy products at Whole Foods.

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Trader Joe’s Pre-Cut Squash Offerings

Why cut up a whole butternut squash when you can buy it pre-cut? It saves so much time and is much easier, which is particularly valuable with a baby! I especially love Trader Joe’s Butternut Squash Zig-Zags and Cut Butternut Squash.

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UPDATED! Gear Guide for Feeding Babies

Below is a list of gear that will make feeding your baby more efficient and enjoyable.

High Chairs: We have the Stokke Tripp Trapp chairbaby set and tray, which has been awesome. It is adjustable – it is meant to grow with your baby and can be used well into their toddler years. It is wooden, has a place for your baby’s feet to rest and is easy to clean. For a baby, you'll need the baby set, which include a harness and a plastic bowl seat and back support.

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