Friday, July 6, 2012

New Baby Advice - Must-Have Toys

I'm sure you will agree, whether your kids are babies, toddlers or big kids, the amount of toys in your house is IMMENSE.  And not all toys are created equal.  The following baby toys, I can confidently tell you, are winners all around the board!  Register for them or buy them for friends.  You can't go wrong.

Manhattan Whoozit - this is generally for slightly older babies, like maybe 4-6 months, up to almost a year.

Sassy Rings - this is your baby's first toy!  A newborn will respond to these, and a 6 month old will enjoy bang them all over the place.
 Lamaze Dragonfly - a baby will notice this around 4 or 5 months when you rattle it in her face, but then will love to hold it and shake it at 6 months plus.
 Vulli Sophie the Giraffe - this is new since my first son was born and it is all the rage!  Allegedly hand-made in France, it is a sweet, squeaky toy that is entertaining and a teether.

Rhino Oball Rattle - this is also a new addition to our arsenal with baby number two and it has been his very favorite toy, starting very early on.  Initially, we would shake it in his face, and now at the age of 7 months, he shakes it and throws it across the room.  And then gets mad because he can't retrieve it (yet.)

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Just for Fun - Baby & Kids Books Summer Reading List

I have a great friend from childhood who always gives me the best recs for kid's books. And it occurred to me that I posted MY summer reading list, so I should post one for babies and kids too!

Goodnight Moon
Runaway Bunny
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Goodnight Gorilla
Time for Bed
Hush Little Ones
Brown Bear, Brown Bear
Bear and Kite
But Not the Hippopotamus
Miss Spider's Tea Party

I Love You Stinky Face
If I Build a Car
Down by the Sea with Mr. Magee
Where the Wild Things Are
Angelina Ballerina
McElligot's Pool
The Polar Express
Miss Spider's Listening Walk
Every Friday
Diary of a Worm
Diary of a Spider
Llama Llama Red Pajama
Pout-Pout Fish
If you Give a Mouse a Cookie
Cactus Hotel
The Kissing Hand
Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy
Cat in the Hat
Nate the Great series
Arthur series
Berenstain Bears (all of them!)

Let me know your favorite books, we are always looking for new reads!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Just for Fun - Our Easy Summer (Edible) Project

I love the website  There are some incredible craft projects and AMAZING treat recipes.  I came across these adorable "edible tea cups," when the photo popped up on my Facebook News Feed.  Click here for the Mommy Wisdom Facebook Page

My older son loves these treat projects, mainly because he likes to eat the ingredients while we are prepping.

Here us our rendition.  This is the outcome when you don't locate the directions first.  Not bad considering we did some improvising!

Tell me one of your favorite treat projects.  It is raining here today, so we need some new ideas!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Just for Fun - Kids and Outdoor Play

I received this terrific guide from our preschool director entitled "A Parent's Guide to Nature Play."  It says that American kids spend 27% of their time in front of media (video games, TV, computers and music.)  I am guessing it is higher in a lot of homes!

It also says that kids spend only 15 of their time in outdoor play - and get this - that includes structured outdoor play like a soccer or baseball game.  Unstructured outdoor play amounts to 1% a week!  

And I believe it.  I have to beg my 5-year old to go play outside.  What happened to roaming around the yard, digging in the dirt or making mud pies?

This guide is 17 pages long and talks about what happened to outdoor play, why it matters and what to do about it.

I'll sum it up.  We are more urbanized, kids have longer school days, there are more dangers, and of course media.

It matters because kids need activity/to be active, it is proven to help ADHD, it helps immune systems develop properly and it teaches conservation values.

The guide goes on for several pages about what you can do as a parent.  The three key ingredients to good, old-fashioned nature play that is UNSCRUCTURED are:

1. The right kind of place: the site must have ways to discovery nature: rocks, dirt, trees, bugs, rough patches of land, etc.

2. The right kind of play:  children should initiate the play themselves, there are no rules and they play with nature not just in nature.

3. The right kind of re-play: play in nature every day, again and again.

There are even more suggestions on exactly what you can do (or not do) to your backyard.  The guide says that having an untouched mound of dirt is a GREAT thing for kids to explore.  

For much, much more, including many specific (and creative) things to do to your backyard, request a guide.  Go to

Saturday, June 9, 2012

New Baby Advice - Making Baby Food

When my first son turned 6-months old, I enthusiastically read up on making baby food.  I tried using a blender, a hand mill, and a Cuisinart.  But none of those tools made it pureed enough.  My son had major texture issues and would not eat anything I made.  In hindsight, I wish I would have just continued until he ate it.  But I was a new mom and was such a rule follower!  So I quickly went out and purchased prepared baby food - which he loved.

Fast forward five years later, to today.  My second son is 6-months old and still won't eat cereal or avocados.  I really want him to start eating other foods besides breast milk because gosh, maybe it will help him sleep through the night?!  PLEASE!!?  

So once again, this morning, I researched some more baby food making techniques and now I anxiously await him waking up!

I have steamed carrots waiting to be pureed (now I own a Magic Bullet which I hope makes the food smoother than my food processor and blender.)

And I found this terrific web site with all kinds of recipes, so I got really ambitious and just baked homemade teething biscuits.  They ended up being super easy.  TIP: I used WAY more water than suggested (1/4 cup probably four times!)


This might be the first time that I am anxious for baby to wake up from his nap!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Just for Fun - My Fave App Part V

My newest fave app is The Weather Channel app.  It is very user friendly, nice looking and has all the pertinent information that I need.  You can choose an hourly forecast, a 36-hour forecast or a 10-day forecast.

It has also helped us tremendously with my son who is thunder-obsessed.  For the last three summers, we haven't slept through a single night because if there IS thunder, he runs in to our room frantically.  But even if there isn't thunder, he would still wake up anticipating it.  We had tried everything - positive reinforcement, taking things away, and maybe some yelling.  When his pediatrician suggested that we check the weather before bed, I decided to let him check it himself on my phone.  This was a big deal for him because he typically isn't allowed to play with my phone.

Ever since we started this ritual of checking the weather, his anxiety has been tamed.  For some reason, if he knows that it might happen (it usually says "30%" chance,) he can go to sleep peacefully.  And he knows that any time he hears thunder (or sees lightning,) he can come sleep in mommy and daddy's bed.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Toddler Advice - Potty Training Potty Kit

One of my friend's is in potty training H-E-L-L right now.  After giving her a pep talk because her little girl had 7 accidents on day one, I remembered that I carried a Potty Kit everywhere we went while my son was newly sans diapers.  I took it to Target, the art museum and on the airplane when we flew to California for a wedding.  It helped tremendously - and what I mean by that is it helped my son go the bathroom in public, and it helped me be at ease during this stressful period!

Potty kit:

Washable, water-resistant, lightweight bag. Our Envirosax bag worked perfectly. Its nice to keep all of the below items in a bag while traveling. Keep it separate from your diaper bag and especially when at an airport. I would put it in my carry-on, and then grab it, take my son to the bathroom and leave the carry-on with my husband.

plastic grocery store sack (for a dirty diaper, or wet wipes, etc.)
Change of clothes and undies
Diaper (just in case!!) and wipes
Diaper cloth or wash cloth (my son peed all over a sculpture garden outside.)
Hand sanitizer
Mini toilet ring stored in a Ziploc bag (it can get gross if you are using it all day on a trip or in an airport, so keep it in a gallon-sized ziploc.)
This is the one we had, it folds into a 1/4th of the size shown –

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Just for Fun - Refreshing Summer Salad

I am a decent cook and I don't HATE cooking.  But I don't love it and I am not great at it.  And as I have mentioned before, I only follow recipes.  Well, last week, I was at Trader Joe's and tried a sample of this yummy veggie salad.  The sales associate told me it was just 4 ingredients, plus a bottle of their vinaigrette.  Last night, I decided to make it.  But, I didn't want to use bottled vinaigrette, and have my salad floating in Xanthum Gum.  Soo, I made up a dressing, and it was delicious!

This is so refreshing for summer, I served it alongside some yummy baked chicken.

Mix in a bowl the following four ingredients.

1 can corn, already drained and rinsed
1/4 chopped red onion
1 red pepper, chopped
1 box frozen asparagus, thawed and rinsed *

* I put the box of frozen asparagus in a colander in my sink and left it there for about 5 hours.  Then rinsed them and put in the salad.

Here is what the salad looks like before the dressing is mixed in.

Then add the following, stirring as you add.

2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. Italian Seasoning
salt and pepper to taste

Serve and enjoy!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Just for Fun - My Summer Reading List 2012

Last summer, I posted a reading list that included books from various categories, including my all-time faves, some easy reads and what I was hoping to read over the summer.  I enjoyed doing it and liked hearing from readers that picked a book to read from my list.  So I'm doing it again!

Infidel - AMAZING!!!
Tender Bar

Historical Fiction:
In the Time of Butterflies

Bringing up Bebe
Sense of an Ending
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Locks

Sherlock Holmes
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Just for Fun:
Paper Towns
Dandelion Summer
Carrie Goes Off the Map
Minding Frankie
Girl in Translation
Home by Morning
Fifty Shades of Grey (3-book series) - I need to explain this rec.  I didn't like the first book.  I thought the writing was poor, the lead male character was despicable and the sex was GROSS - too graphic, and so nerdy!  But my friend told me to persevere, so I did and the lead character became like Don Draper or Tony Soprano.  You root for them because they are damaged and just can't help the way they are!  And I just skipped over the gross (and so not romantic) sex scenes.

All the Books I Hope to Read this Summer:
The Expats
The Violets of March
The Slap
The Miracles of Santo Fico
The Night Circus
Most Talkative

Recent Books I Hated or Could Not Finish (a new category!)
Under the Banner of Heaven
When Everything Changed
Let the Great World Spin
State of Wonder
Little Bee
And here is the link to the list from last summer.

Happy Reading!  And like last year, please tell me your newest fave, I always need new book ideas.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Techy Advice - My Fave App Part IV

This might be the silliest app ever.  And what's MORE silly, is how much joy it brings me!  My friend Cris introduced it to me on St. Patrick's Day.  He sent me a Happy St. Paddy's text with a shamrock emoticon.  I am Irish, so I got very excited.  Where did he find a shamrock emoticon!??  

The app is called Emoji.  And by downloading it, an additional keyboard appears on your Smart Phone (right alongside your alpha-numeric keyboard.)  It has oodles of screens with all kinds of icons including buildings, faces, flowers and food.  A few of my favorite emoticons include the hands praying, the smiley face wearing a surgical mask, the pile of poo with eyes and the mustached-man.  And there are several that remain a mystery to me.  I'm sure you probably already guessed, but it was created by a Japanese group!

And side note: all the apps I recommend are FREE.  Sooo, enjoy!  And send me a text with your favorite Emoji Emoticon!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Baby Advice - Six Months: Almost to the Light

I have a 5-year old son and a 5-month old son.  And with my second baby, it is ALMOST like he is my first, because he is so different.  Due to severe reflux, he slept in his swing and car seat for the first four months of his life.  I moved him into his crib 3.5 weeks ago.  And it has been my definition of hell.  Most nights he was up 3 times.  And some nights 4 or more times.  And absolutely nothing but nursing calms him down.  I guess I should feel lucky that I DO have something that puts him back to sleep right away.  But I would have liked it if my husband's attempts at shh-ing and rocking him would have worked.

Because he is my second, I knew that 4-6 months was a tricky time because babies can't quite self-soothe, but they aren't in that newborn phase where they can sleep anywhere either.  So I persevered.  

I THINK we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Since I moved him to his crib at four months, I have had to nurse and rock him into a deep sleep for every nap and throughout the night.  But then, about 5 days ago, he just wasn't falling asleep while nursing, so I set him down in his crib, slightly fed up, and walked out for a breather.  He cooed and kicked AND FELL ASLEEP on his own!

And then, last night, after getting up every night with him at least 3 times for the last 3 weeks, he only got up once, at 3:30am.  Yahoo!   PLEASE keep it up little one!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Techy Advice - My Fave App Part III

If you like to (window) shop online for AMAZING deals like I do, but hate those pesky daily emails, there is a solution!  Many of the daily deals web sites now have really outstanding apps.  So you can just open it whenever you want on your Smart Phone and start (window) shopping.  My very fave is Gilt, followed by One Kings Lane and eBay Fashion.  I am less impressed with Stylebop, Etsy and Nordstrom.    

Please enlighten me with your favorite (window) shopping apps, so I can do some more imaginary damage to my credit card!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A family friendly EASY recipe

I try new recipes all the time.  What did we do before the Internet?  I find so many delicious and easy recipes from the various cooking web sites.  Tonight, I had some ground beef, but didn't feel like Sloppy Joe's or hamburgers.  I Googled the words "beef" and "rice" and came up with a few good sounding Spanish rice recipes.  I tweaked and came up with my own version and it was delicious.  I was very proud of myself because I have never actually made up my own recipe (even if what I really did was combine other people's recipes!)

Here it is for you to try!

Spanish Rice with Beef


  • 1 box pre-packaged Spanish Rice
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 1 or 2 teaspoons brown sugar, optional
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. ketchup


Start Spanish Rice cooking.  I like the brand Near East.  Meanwhile, in a heavy skillet brown ground beef. Add onion, salt, brown sugar, chili powder, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce. Cook until onion is tender. Add ketchup; simmer 15 minutes.

Combine beef mixture with rice. Stir and serve!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Another Weekly Dinner Plan for your Family

I recently received an email from a reader thanking me for the weekly dinner plan I posted.  She had tried and enjoyed one of the (very easy) recipes.  I love to hear positive feedback!

Because of the reader's email, I decided to write a new dinner plan for you, complete with a couple more easy recipes.

Night #1:
Chicken Fajitas: see recipe below

Night #2:

Night #3:
BLT's!  We joke that my 5-year old son likes to eat a B and I like to eat a BL.  My husband is the only one that actually eats a BLT.  I always put a big side salad with lots of veggies (my son likes carrots and mini cucumbers in his).

Night #4:
Burgers on the grill if warm or Sloppy Joe's.  I love Sloppy Joes and always try out new recipes.  Or I used to.  Until I discovered the best recipe EVER on  I have included the recipe at the bottom of this post.  I like to make frozen green beans on burger night and if I have enough time, I'll cut a russet potato thinly, and bake it on a cookie sheet.  Just smother the potatoe slices with olive oil and sprinkle with Kosher salt.  Cook at 425 for about 20-25 minutes (flip once, after 12 minutes.)

Night #5:

Night #6:
Breakfast for dinner!  As you know, we love breakfast in our house.  I have this amazing Martha Stewart pancake recipe, but it requirements buttermilk, which requires some planning.  So I searched and found a decent pancake recipe that requires regular milk.  See recipe below.  I always pair our pancakes with bananas, blueberries and organic breakfast sausage.

Night #7:
Order takeout or a pizza!

I always stress about dinner - just about every day.  It looms over me.  I try and prepare (at least in my head) at the beginning of the week so we don't have to worry about "what's for dinner" at 5:00pm.

Chicken Fajitas
  1. 1 teaspoon pure chili powder
  2. 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  3. 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  4. 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  5. 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  6. 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  7. 1/4 cup water
  8. 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  9. 1 whole skinless, boneless chicken breast (about 1 pound), cut into 1/2-inch strips
  10. 1 green bell pepper—cored, seeded and cut into thin strips
  11. 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  12. 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, plus lime wedges for serving
  13. 8 flour tortillas, warmed in the microwave
  14. Shredded lettuce, shredded cheddar cheese, salsa and sour cream, for serving
1.      In a resealable plastic bag, combine the chile powder with the salt, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, cornstarch, water and 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the chicken, bell pepper and onion, seal and knead gently to coat. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
2.      Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a large nonstick skillet until shimmering. Empty the contents of the bag into the skillet and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are crisp-tender and the chicken is cooked through, about 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the lime juice.
3.      Transfer the chicken and vegetables to a large bowl and serve with the warmed tortillas, lettuce, cheese, salsa, sour cream and lime wedges.
 Sloppy Joes

1 lb. lean ground beef or turkey
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1 tbsp. dried minced onion
1 8-oz. can tomato sauce
2 tbsp. ketchup
1-1/2 tsp. white vinegar
2 tbsp. packed brown sugar
3/4 tsp. MSPI-friendly Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
MSPI-friendly hamburger buns

Place ground beef in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook until evenly browned, stirring to crumble. Add the celery, cover the pan, and cook until tender and transparent, about 5 minutes. Drain off any grease.

Stir in the onions, tomato sauce, ketchup, vinegar, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce into the beef mixture. Season with salt and garlic powder. Heat to a simmer over low heat, and cook until thoroughly heated and onions are tender, stirring frequently to prevent it from burning on the bottom. Adjust seasoning to taste.

Spoon the hot beef mixture onto buns and serve.

Easy Pancakes


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil


  1. In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the center, and pour in milk, egg and oil. Mix until smooth.
  2. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.
**In the comments section, someone suggested adding 1 tsp. vanilla, which I did.  I liked it, but I think I will try ½ a tsp. next time.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Techy Advice - My Fave App Part II

Now that I am a nursing mom again, I spend a lot of time sitting in my son’s glider chair, trying to nurse him to sleep.  This time around, I have an iPhone to keep me company!  And while I do catch up on my news via The New York Times App, The Today Show App and the Yahoo News App, I have been enjoying some of the free games that I have downloaded.

Everyone has surely heard of Words with Friends, thanks to Alec Baldwin who was kicked off a plane because he wouldn’t turn his phone off (because he was trying to finish a turn playing Words.)  I really enjoy this game because I can take a turn at my leisure and spend as much time as I want.  I also like Scramble with Friends, but hate that it is timed!  I feel like I get on a roll just as the clock is ticking down to zero.  If you aren’t familiar with it, you play against a friend, and you have two minutes to come up with as many words as you can find in a scrambled mess of letters. 

And finally, my new fave is Draw Something.  You take turns with your friends playing Pictionary.  It can get pretty tricky drawing Shrek and Kanye just using your fingertip.  But it is a fun challenge to come up with the drawing in such a small space.  Some other examples of choices have been “butcher,” “skiing,” “turkey,” and “Godzilla.”

Anyone have another game for me to play?

Baby Advice - Crib Transition

I recently gave birth to my second boy (he is almost 5 months old.)  I am, for the second time, trying to transition him to the crib.  It is going better than it did the first time, but still NOT SO GREAT!!!

Because he has reflux, and had it REALLY bad for the first 3 months of life, he slept in his swing during the day and the car seat at night (positioned on our bed, surrounded by pillows).  At 3 months, I kept him swaddled and decided to move him to his crib just at night.  I figured since naps in the swing were going so well, I shouldn't mess with days.  WELL, after 8 nights of sheer hell, I gave up and ended up putting him in the swing 24/7 because he wouldn't even sleep in his car seat in the crib anymore!

At his 4-month appointment, my pediatrician said I should try moving him to the crib during the day, that it was about time he got used to it.  She warned me to expect bad naps for a few days.

We are now on day 8, and while he IS in the crib 24/7, he only takes one-hour naps still!  At night, he sleeps for 4-5 hour stretches.  This is decent, but I don't think it is so great for an almost 5-month old!

And just because I knew I would give up if I had the choice, I sold our swing on Craig's List last week.

As a good friend recently said to me, "days are long, years are short, HANG IN THERE!"

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Big Kid Advice - Sleeping Through the Night

I wrote a blog a while back about how to stop your young child from coming into your room in the middle of the night.  I am following up because my child, now 5 ½ comes into our room once again.  Sticker charts and the bunny clock no longer work!

I have a new system.  I ran it by my pediatrician and she improved!  We have created “sleep tickets.”  I simply cut card stock into pieces – about 4 inches by 2 inches.  I then wrote something on each one that my son loves and would hate to be without.  Currently, his sleep tickets have the following written on them: Treats, TV, iPhone, Computer, Angry Birds (his stuffed toys) and iPad.  We count how many times he comes into our room at night, and then the next morning, he has to give us a sleep ticket for each time.  Sometimes we let him choose and sometimes we choose.  We then post the ticket (or tickets) on the refrigerator for the day.  And then before bed, (hopefully we remember), we put the tickets back on his nightstand.

And of course, we do have exceptions when it is OK to come into our room.  He is allowed to come in if he hears thunder (because he is terrified) or if he needs help going to the bathroom.

We have had these issues with my son for several years.  My pediatrician said that it COULD be that he wakes up from anxiety.  And you might ask, for a 5 year-old, what causes anxiety?  She actually asked my son what he thinks about when he wakes up in the night.  He started telling her silly and small things like his excitement about playing on daddy’s phone!  She said if the sleep tickets DON’T work, then a couple of sessions with a psychologist might help.  A doctor can give your child coping tools for easing anxiety in the night.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Techy Advice - My Favorite App Part I

I finally purchased an iPhone a couple of months ago and MAN DO I LOVE IT!  It really should not be called a phone, that does it little justice.  It is a gadget of gigantic proportions, with the ability to make phone calls too.

I am really enjoying all the amazing AND FREE apps out there!  So I have decided to periodically use my blog to give you a rec for a favorite app.

My first suggestion is Nike Training Club.  I have a 4-month old baby, so I really need to start working out.  This app is sooo cool and watching it has almost motivated me to start exercising.  You can pick beginner, intermediate or advanced, then pick from several workout options and even set it to music!  And if you need help understanding how to do a portion of the workout (ie, partial plank), there is a video of a svelte gal doing it.

Let me know if you try it out and tell me what you think!

Friday, March 2, 2012

New Baby - Nursing and the MSPI Diet

I thought I would be an old pro when I started nursing my second child.  But new problems came up with him – namely, REFLUX!  We have been trying countless things to make him feel better while trying to solve the core issue.  In addition to two medicines, sitting upright after feedings and block nursing, I have been on the MSPI diet (milk-soy protein intolerance).

Friends had told me that being on this diet while nursing was so restrictive and so miserable, I was petrified.  I really lack discipline when it comes to dieting, especially while nursing!  But honestly, it has not been as bad as I expected.  It IS a bummer to have to plan every meal in advance, and I really miss buying baked goods to satisfy my cravings.  Between the resources online and what I was given by my pediatrician, I have survived – for almost a month.

Below you will find some helpful things to get you started, if you too decide to try the MSPI diet.

  1. The greatest web site, started by a mom, that has some delicious recipes – even if you aren’t on the diet:
  2. A wonderful mother created a cook book that lists some ingredients to avoid, some foods that you CAN eat and plenty of yummy recipes:
  3. A recipe of the food that is keeping me going: puppy chow!
  4. The milk and soy ingredients to avoid if you are on the MSPI diet: see below
  5. A list of processed foods u can eat: see below

  1. Melt 1 cup MSPI safe chocolate chips (I like Guittard) in a large pot over low heat.  Mix until completely melted. 
  2. Turn off heat and add ½ cup MSPI safe peanut butter (I like Jif Natural.)
  3. Remove pan from heat and add 9 cups Rice Chex.  Mix until coated.
  4. Add ¾ cup powdered sugar to two gallon Ziploc bags (3/4 cup in each bag.)
  5. Split Chex mixture in each bag and shake well.
  6. Store in airtight container.

*artificial butter flavor
*butter, butter fat, buttermilk
*caseinates (ammonia caseinate, calcium caseinate, magnesium caseinate, potassium caseinate, sodium caseinate)
*cottage cheese
*half and half
*hydrolysates (casein, milk protein, protein, whey, whey protein)
*lactalbumin, lactalbumin phosphate
*milk (derivative, protein, solids, malted, condensed, evaporated, dry, whole, low fat, non fat, skim)
*rennet casein
*sour cream, sour cream solids
*sour milk solids
*whey (delactosed, demineralized, protein concentrate)
*brown sugar flavoring
*caramel flavoring
*chocolate, milk chocolate (cocoa butter is ok)
*high protein flour
*natural flavoring
*Simplesse A "D" on a product label next to a "K" or circled "U" may indicate the presence of milk protein

Avoid foods that contain any of the following ingredients:
*shoyu sauce
*soy (flour, grits, nuts, milk, sprouts)
*soybean (granules, curd)
*soy protein (concentrate, isolate)
*soy sauce
*textured vegetable protein (TVP)
*tofu ingredients
*hydrolyzed plant protein
*hydrolyzed soy protein
*hydrolyzed vegetable protein
*natural flavoring
*vegetable broth
*vegetable gum
*vegetable starch

**Studies show that most soy allergic individuals may safely eat products containing soy lecithin and soybean oil

Grocery Store Items that are MSPI-safe (always check the ingredient list, in case anything changed!):
Orowheat 100% whole wheat bread
Orowheat cracked wheat hamburger buns
Squirrely Sprouted Wheat Bread
Sara Lee 100% whole wheat bread
Mission whole-wheat tortillas
Old El Paso Taco Shells
Van's Organic Blueberry Waffles
Healthy Harvest pasta and most other pastas
MultiGrain Flatout Tortillas
Rudi's Organic Bakers 7 Grain Bread
Most varieties of Orowheat and Sara Lee breads are safe
A lot of bread from the grocery store bakery is safe too

Honey Maid Graham Crackers
Wheat Thins
My Family Farm organic whole-wheat crackers

Barbara's Shredded Oats
Honey Nut Cheerios
Quaker's Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies
Wal-Mart's Great Value Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal
Wal-Mart's Great Value Nature's Grain Cereal
Life Cereal, Cinnamon
Life Cereal, Honey Graham
Life Cereal, Original
Wal-Mart's Great Value Raisin Bran
Cascadian Farms Organic Cinnamon Raisin Granola
Post Raisin Bran
Organic Wheatabix
Instant Quaker Oatmeal

Regular Pringles
Lay’s Naturals tortilla or sea salted potato chips
Plain Sunchips (blue bag)
Barrel O Fun Tortilla chips (several kinds of Barrel of Fun chips are ok)
Two-Bite brownies by Homestyle
Wal-Mart's Great Value semi-sweet chocolate chips
Lindt dark chocolate bar
Baker's brand semi-sweet chocolate chunks
Duncan Hines white frosting and cake mix (several other varieties also ok)
Duncan Hines brownie mixes, several varieties
Great Value (Walmart brand) white cake mix and frosting
Pillsbury Funfetti frosting
Dad's cookies, several varieties
Oreos, original and Uh Oh Oreos
Various Nabisco 100 Calorie Packs
Rice dream ice cream (available at health food stores)
Purdy's dark chocolate
Boxed chocolates from Rose City ( choose vegan varieties
Twizzler's licorice
Newman's Own Organic Dark Chocolate
Wal-Mart's Great Value plain and barbecue chips
Health food stores carry several different brands of cake mixes that are milk and soy free. 

Old El Paso Refried Beans
Wal-Mart's Great Value fat-free refried beans
Bush's Vegetarian Baked Beans
Any dry bean, prepared per package instructions
Nuts: almonds, cashews, walnuts, pistachios, peanuts, etc.
Eggs: fried, boiled, scrambled, etc.
Boar's head deli meats (all varieties but ham and turkey)
Mrs. Paul's fish filets and fish sticks
Tyson chicken nuggets
Applegate farms organic turkey dogs
Quorn brand vegetarian sausages (also have a vegetarian chicken nugget and burger crumbles)
Citterio proscuitto ham
Applegate Farms ham
Applegate Farms turkey
Applegate Farms turkey bologna
Trader Joe's Southwest Style Turkey Burgers
Amy's Kitchen California Burgers (vegetarian)
Ian's allergen -free chicken and fish sticks
Oscar Mayer Oven Roasted Turkey
Oscar Mayer Honey Roasted Turkey
Oscar Mayer Smoked Sausage
Shake and Bake Original Chicken
-Any other fresh prepared meat that has no added flavorings 

Rice Dream Rice milk: plain, vanilla, or chocolate
Westsoy Rice milk: plain or vanilla
Almond breeze milk
Health food stores also carry oat milk, hazelnut milk, and mixed grain milk as well as other brands of rice milk
Orange juice with added calcium
Any other fruits juices
Soda pops 

McCormick's Fajita Seasoning
Smart Balance Light spread
Fleishmann's Light (the one with the blue lid) sold at SunMart in Kearney
Avo Classic Guacamole
Alexia oven fries
Newman's Own Olive Oil and Vinegar Dressing
Wal-Mart's Great Value Thousand Island
Dorothy Lynch dressing
-Many brands of Italian, just check for cheese in it.
Chocolate Chip Teddy Grahams
Dried fruit
Fruit rollups
Amy's kitchen pizza roasted vegetable without cheese
Maggie's seasoning for flavoring stir-fries. (Like a soy sauce, but made with wheat rather than soy).
Mrs. Dash 10 min. marinade
Lowry’s Baja Chipotle marinade
KC Masterpiece barbecue sauce-several varieties are safe
Or homemade barbecue sauce: ketchup, rice vinegar, onion powder, and molasses
Salsa (most are ok)
Mayonnaise-most brands
Miracle Whip

Good luck to you and let me know if you have any other suggestions!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Just for Fun - Preschooler Games without any "Stuff"

Before bed every night, my son wants to play on the bed.  We have a king sized bed, and he loves to get wild and crazy on it.  If he is playing with daddy, that works.  They rough house, create obstacle courses and even do running flips to try and touch the ceiling!  But if daddy is working late, then mommy sure doesn’t want to pillow fight.  So I am constantly trying to think up games to play that require no tools (ie, I can lounge on the bed and only use my voice, little energy required.)  I realized recently that I have quite a few.  You can also play these in the car, while waiting in line at the grocery store or when trying to calm down your wired preschooler before bed.

Anything Alphabet – The child starts with A and says “a is for apple.”  Then mom says “b is for baby.”  You can adapt this to Beach Alphabet, School Alphabet, Animal Alphabet, Name Alphabet, City Alphabet, Christmas Alphabet, Sports Alphabet and my son’s very favorite, which he came up with “Stinky Alphabet.”  If you want to make it more challenging, you can repeat every letter by playing the “I’m Going to the Store Game”.  Kid – “I’m going to the store and I am buying an apple.”  Mom – “ I’m going to the store and I’m buying an apple and a basketball.”  Kid – “I’m going to the store and I’m buying an apple, a basketball and a crayon.”

What age will your brother be? – My 5-year old has just become a big brother and he is very excited.  He is also really into people’s ages.  He recently introduced my dad to his babysitter and said “this is my grandpa, he’s 64.”  That is how this game started.  I said, when you are 10, how old will your baby brother be?  OR, when your brother is 8, how old will you be?  He got so into it, we started doing crazy ages like 64, 88 and 105.  And I taught him how to subtract on his fingers by five (their age difference.)

Rhyme Time – If mom says rat, kid says bat.  Or, if mom says log, kid can try and come up with as many rhyming words as possible – dog, fog, bog.  And then this game adapted further to “Silly Rhyme Time.”  This came from that Yanni song, you know the one… “Have you ever seen a cat, wearing a hat?”  OR “Have you ever seen a whale with a sock on his tail?”

Last Letter – Mom says elephant, then kid has to know what the last letter of that word is (T) and then say a word that STARTS with T.  To make this harder, do only animals, only kid’s names, places you have visited, etc. 

Check back, I will add more games as we invent them!