January 2016

Does your child hate to sit down for a meal?  Does he/she love veggies one day and then have no interest in them another day?  Does he/she stress you out with his/her picky eating?  If so, try these creative tips.

  1.  Cut out shapes.  A pancake, omelette, or sandwich for instance, can easily turn into a fun shape with the help of a cookie cutter.  I like to incorporate this idea into all my holiday meals.  (stars for fourth of July, hearts for Valentine’s, bears for an animal themed 2nd birthday). IMG_1966 toddler foodIf you have time to get more elaborate, you can even use a bento cutter like my bear face cutter (used below) and have your child help you draw a face (with edible markers). edible marker IMG_0746
  2. Slice and Skewer.  Has your toddler suddenly banned fruit or veggies? instagram.com_2015-07-02_22-21-52 party foodmeisterdishSkewers seem to magically disguise previously unwanted foods.  It has worked for me and maybe it will work for you.
  3. Choose fun dishes.  We use these fun Fred & Friends dishes – here are some examples of how you can decorate them with food.face dishfred and friendsThe melamine hairstyle versions featured above are the nonbreakable versions and what I’d recommend for babies and toddlers. Skiphop, Sanrio and Disney are all great bets too if your child has a favorite character like Mickey, or Hello Kitty.
  4. Enlist their help!  My daughter has had so much fun helping me mix ingredients together during our cooking and baking sessions that she now asks to sleep with her whisk she loves it so much!  Getting her involved with the process of cooking has interested her in tasting the final product even more.

In the end, if all else fails, and your picky toddler still won’t eat 3 sit-down meals, don’t fret.  Rest assured in knowing that pediatricians say that as long as they have 1 decent meal and are growing at a normal weight and height that you don’t have to pull your hair out worrying and stressing.  It’s true that some days, they’ll be good eaters and others they won’t but hopefully, these tips will add some fun and interest back into his/her eating habits.

What other tips would you add?

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Lame.  That’s how this NYE party girl turned parent would describe my first new year’s eve with my child. Don’t fret if yours wasn’t spectactular this year.  Realize there’s too much unnecessary pressure on having an amazing night and also know that celebrating in style with kids can happen -maybe just next year.

Having just experienced my 3rd NYE as a parent, I’ve since learned how to best celebrate with kids and ensure that it never sucks again.  If you’re an overwhelmed new parent wondering how to elevate your new years with kids into a stylish soiree that is both memorable and fun, read on for my top 10 tips:

  1. DRESS UP and GET GIRLY.  Remember how during your single days, half the fun of new year’s eve was about getting to wear the new outfit, and getting dolled up?  Continue the tradition!  matching mommy and me outfitsAs you can see, for us that meant matching outfits and fun glittery mini-hats.  Maybe for you that might mean sparkle and shine or a dress divine!  (Clearly I’ve been reading too much Dr. Seuss lately).   Even if you’re doing a simple stay-at-home evening, consider dedicating some time during the day to do something extra to feel a little more glam – ’tis the season!  These days for instance, I never have time for a manicure but on NYE, I made sure to carve out time during the day for a mini-mani.  new years eve with toddlerEven 2.5 year olds really get into this!  Just doing this gave me reason enough to want to celebrate! For me, this involved some pre-planning.  I made sure to get all household chores out of the way with a thorough cleaning the day before so that I could free up time and not spend the day cleaning the toilets like I did my first NYE with baby.
  2. RECORD THE OCCASION! Kids grow fast and you’ll want to remember how small they were come next new year’s eve.  If you’re a momarazzi like me you won’t need the reminder to take photo and video.  But remember to also think DIY Photobooth! Free NYE themed props are downloadable here, or just buy a couple cheap hats at Party City like we did.  If you really want to be festive though create a fun photo backdrop (even leftover wrapping paper or Christmas tinsel will do!) and try video pocketbooth’s app. Or if you don’t want to go through the extra trouble, just grab your camera phone and find a simple background to snap some pics for your social media like we did and concentrate your efforts on the other items on this list. (A busy parent can only handle so much, I KNOW!)new years eve with a toddler
  3. DECK THE HALLS. Every occasion deserves a little festive decor.  Last year, I created 2015 out of paper napkins and made an entire dessert bar backdrop and display to match.
  4. new years eve decor
    If you’re not hosting others though you might just want to opt for a simple banner like this one from last year where I videotaped my toddler wishing everyone a ‘happy new year” and then proudly sent it off to her grandparents. And aunts. And uncles.  And anyone who would listen to my toddler speak so well haha.
    oh joy for targetOr perhaps you’ll want to concentrate on festive table presentations like I did this year.
    new years eve snacks
  5. MAKE A MOCKTAIL.  Be your kids’ first bartender while teaching them all-important NYE traditions such as clinking glasses and saying ‘cheers!”  Sparkling cider or water are easy options but you can get as creative as you like.  This year we opted for the sparkling cranberry cider and a rose’ sparkling wine to match our red party theme and I added rasberries to our fancy champagne glasses.  Juliet loved joining in on the fun!  And so will your kids!new years eve with a toddler
  6. SPRINKLE!  Incorporate confetti into your New Years Eve lesson and use it as an excuse to slather everything in sprinkles!  Think fruits, ice cream, frosted desserts and even milk cups!sprinklesThis year, Juliet enjoyed decorating cookies with sprinkles and tomorrow morning she is continuing the funfetti tradition with toast spread with nutella and sprinkles of her choice!  My little baker LOVES getting her hands on these things so I make sure to have a whole variety of sprinkles for all our baking needs!
  7. ENJOY A SPECIAL MEAL.  Notice I didn’t say make a special meal.  Parents have a lot on their to do list and some of us might not have cooking as our specialty.  Don’t let that stop you from having one special occasion meal though!  If you love Chinese food, spend the day in Chinatown sampling the best of from various places.  Order in your entire family members’ favorite foods if you have too.   Overpriced NYE dinners are out of the question for most families like us in NYC.  (I mean c’mon, Olive Garden here charges $499 pp on NYE!)  So last year, I cooked a feast and invited another family with a toddler over for a chic little get together.  You could also consider a mini tea party like the one I hosted for toddlers on new years day heretea party for toddlersWhatever you do, make sure to have one out of the ordinary meal to mark the special occasion.
  8. DANCE!  Blast the music, dance like no one’s watching, copy the dancers you see on TV, copy each other. Twerk.  Play a game of freeze dance.  This is a fun, free activity that will lead to guaranteed laughter and really get the party started. (sorry no personal pictures to share here).
  9. MAKE NOISE.  Kids are natural noisemakers and this is the one day we can encourage them to get wild, bring out their instruments and blow party horns. You could even have a scavenger hunt with the family to see who can make the neatest noisemaker out of ordinary objects found throughout the house or craft your own.  Post birthday party, I once made a rattle shaker with leftover candy stuffed into a water bottle for instance.  Juliet got a kick out of that one.
  10. GET CRAFTY.  Even if you’re no Martha Stewart, anyone can handle adding 4 numbers onto a pair of glasses you already own.  Here are full instructions on how to make the more elaborate ones below.new years eve glasses (2016 glasses)
  11. YEAR-END REVIEW.  Wonder in awe at how the year flew by as you create a photo album or decorate a scrapbook together as a family.  As a family, choose your favorite photos from the year and print and frame them.  Or if you don’t have time for any of that, simply go through some of your photos and videos with your kids and spend some quality time taking a stroll down memory lane.  I love bringing back memories with Juliet who loves watching herself on video.  Her reactions and recollections are priceless.
  12. COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS.  Staying thankful is always in style.  End the year on a positive note by being aware of all the good things in your life.  There are tons of ideas here on family projects that promote gratitude.

So there it is!  Are you feeling inspired to do it all again next year?  How are you resolving to make your next new year’s eve special and stylish for you and your kids?  Let me know if there are other things you would add to this list!  I want to hear from you.

 

 

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