Hiking with a Toddler

My husband, Chad, and I love to get outdoors and explore just as much as our 2-year-old Thomas does. A hike that we’ve done several times is to the top of Seneca Rocks. Last week was the first time we attempted it with Thomas, outside of the womb. The last time we hiked it I was 7-months pregnant.

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The observation deck that we hiked to is on the left of the rocks right where the rocks start. This picture is from this past winter when we visited the rocks.

If you’re planning to go hiking with a toddler, here are some things I recommend based on my limited experience hiking with a toddler.

  1. Get a great toddler carrier. We knew before hand that we wanted to do some hiking this summer so we researched and found this Deluxe Red Baby Toddler Backpack . We love it! It has space at the bottom to carry whatever extras you need such as: diapers, wipes, baggies (for dirty diapers), snacks, toys, water, extra clothes, sunscreen, bug spray, keys, etc. I also like how it has a smaller backpack that you can zip off the back and either use it separately like we did to carry water bottles so the pack with Thomas wasn’t too heavy or it’s also the perfect size for Thomas to carry his own stuff in. The pack also comes with a canopy for when we are out and about in the sun and a rain cover. The pack fit Chad and I both comfortably and seemed to be a comfy ride for Thomas. We took turns carrying Thomas, although Chad probably carried him 70% of the way up and down the trail. Seneca May 2018-63
  2. Dress appropriately and in layers. It was a warm evening so we all had shorts on and short sleeve tops. However, we made sure we brought a light jacket along for Thomas since the sun was going down and our trail was in the shade. He didn’t need it but I would have felt bad if he had gotten chilly. Usually Thomas has sandals on but he is known to slide out of them. Chad wore boots which was the best option. I wore tennis shoes and the next day my toes were hurting from coming down the mountain.
  3. Take snacks and water. Once we made it to the top of trail we sat and enjoyed a beautiful sunset while eating some gummies and crackers. Seneca May 2018-49
  4. Allow your toddler to explore, but cover some ground when they’re in the pack. We had the top of the mountain in mind for our destination so we needed to high tail it when we could. Chad and I allowed Thomas to walk a good bit of the trail when it was flat. It was a pretty slow moving pace while he was walking on his own. It seemed like he was trying to remove every rock from the trail. But he really enjoyed it. As soon as we convinced him to get in the pack, Chad and I took off and went as far was we could until Thomas became too antsy for the pack. To keep him entertained while in the pack he kept looking for big bucks to shoot with his nerf gun. We never did see any deer, but we did see squirrels which he settled for.  Seneca May 2018-43
  5. Set expectations for your toddler. The trail we hiked was very steep in places and can be dangerous for a little tike. We reminded Thomas to stay away from the edge  of the trail and we kept a watchful eye on him.

Seneca May 2018-24We have some more trails for hiking in mind and hopefully we will be able to share those experiences in the future.

**I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Trey Sarver | Newborn

I am so happy I was able to photograph this little bundle of joy! I met Amy in college. We played softball together at Shepherd University and were suite mates. She’s seen me through some crazy times!

When you’re around Amy and Tony you can’t help but smile the whole time. They’re one of the funniest couples you’ll ever be around and they have knack for making people feel better about themselves.

Little Trey is blessed to have such amazing and loving parents. I can’t wait for Trey and Thomas to play together and become friends.

 

Avocado, Pepperoni, Mozzarella Stick Salad

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So simple to make, just cut it up and throw it together!

We have made the avocado, pepperoni, mozzarella stick salad several times. It’s easy to make. Chad usually has it in his lunch box during the week, because it’s easy to pack and eat while he’s up tower in the wind-turbines or when he’s on a long leg of an Air Guard mission in a C-17 Globemaster.

I make this when I feel lazy and don’t really want to make anything for myself for lunch. Hence, why I made it today so I could take some pictures and share it with you.

Once again I don’t really measure anything, I just throw it together.

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What I use to make an avocado, pepperoni, and mozzarella stick salad

Ingredients:

  • Avocado
  • Pepperoni
  • Mozzarella sticks
  • Lime juice
  • Italian seasoning
  • CuminIMG_3712

Directions:

  1. Cut up the avocado, pepperoni, and mozzarella sticks.
  2. Put everything in a bowl and mix it.
  3. Done.
  4. Eat.
  5. Find a show to binge watch while my wild child rests his little head or be productive and fold laundry, wait I haven’t even done the laundry……………
avocado salad
Easy peasy, lime go squeezy and add the cumin and Italian seasoning.

**I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

I use this avocado tool. I’ve almost cut my fingers when trying to remove the seed of an avocado with a knife. So this tool has probably saved a couple of my fingers.

I like these cutting boards because they are dishwasher safe. I like when I can cut up whatever and then just put the board into the dishwasher.

Thomas’ Toddler Plastic Water Bottle Waterfall

Thomas LOVES water play! He could sit for hours in the bathtub and pour water back and forth between containers if I let him. Now that the weather is warming up I want to turn our backyard into a hands on experiment with multiple learning centers that he can learn from and play with.

I put this plastic water bottle waterfall together in a very short amount of time. It took me more time to find water bottles than it did for me to actually get the waterfall made.

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Here is our waterfall! I need to readjust the top bottle so there isn’t any water left standing. I liked this location because the gravel soaks up the water.

Needed items:

  • water bottles
  • box cutter (I tried using scissors and that was too much effort)
  • big container
  • cups
  • water
  • kid
  • staple gun
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The top bottle of the waterfall is a little high for Thomas, but he was able to reach the other bottles and he liked the challenge of pouring into the top bottle while standing on his tiptoes.

Instructions:.

  1. Remove labels and plastic rings from bottles
  2. Find a location for the waterfall (This could be step one)
  3. Cut long rectangles into the bottles with the box cutter
    • Be careful cutting! The razors are very sharp!
  4. Take the staple gun and staple the bottles zig zag down your location.
    • Make sure you have the bottles angled enough to empty the bottles so you’re not left with standing water.
  5. Place the big container at the bottom with water.
  6. Give your kid a cup and let them start pouring water into the top waterbottle

Thomas was mesmerized by the cascading waterfall! Unfortunately, the following day it was too cold to play with it and he was very upset. I have a feeling this summer we will be adding to the water fall. I would like to somehow interweave a second waterfall.

*I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Here are links to some items you can get easily for Amazon if you don’t have them:

Volcano Burger

I made a beast of burger last night and it was FANTASTIC!!!!! You will not regret eating this burger. It was so much of a beast that I didn’t even make any sides to go with it. It has a major eruption of flavor that will make you burst with happiness.

I don’t measure my spices or cheeses. I just add as much as I think will make me satisfied.

For this Volcano Burger, I only made two but could of made 3. Instead I used the extra meat to make Thomas a small burger and Chad one to take with him for lunch tomorrow.

Keto Volcano Burger-3

****I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.****

Ingredients:

  • 1 LB ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 2 oz of pork rinds
  • dash of garlic powder
  • dash of onion powder
  • dash of pink salt https://amzn.to/2HNAQjK
  • dash of pepper
  • cream cheese (as much as you want)
  • mozzarella cheese (as much as you want)
  • parmesan cheese (as much as you want)
  • 4 slices of crispy bacon
  • bell pepper (as much as you want)
  • mushrooms (as much as you want)
  • avocado (as much as you want)

Directions:

  1. Fry the bacon (I like mine Crispy!).
  2. I added peppers and mushrooms to the same pan to soften them up.
  3. Crush up the pork rinds. You can use a rolling pin
      • or toddler

  4. Mix beef, pork rinds, egg, garlic powder, onion powder, pink salt, and pepper together. I used my hands.
  5. Make 2 large balls of meat, there’s enough to make 3. Place them in an oven safe dish lined with aluminum (easier clean up)
  6. I found a 2 inch diameter jar and smushed it down into the balls of meat to form a little bowl.
  7. Take a pinch of cream cheese and line the inside of “bowl” of meat.
  8. Add the mushrooms and peppers.
  9. Top with mozzarella cheese, bacon and parmesan cheese.
  10. Place in oven for 20 minutes at 400 degrees (my oven is old so this just a guideline)
  11. Add some avocado and eat!
    • If you’re feeling frisky you can take some Mayo mixed with garlic powder and a little water, then drizzle it over your Volcano Burger! Sometimes I’ll also add a dab of beef bouillon powder to spice up the mayo if I’m really feelin it.
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Fry up the bacon, mushrooms and peppers
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Peppers and mushrooms are my go to for burgers!
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This is how I created the bowl to put the goodies in to create a volcano burger.
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I used my fingers to create the sides.
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This is the cream cheese that I flattened out to fit the bottom of the volcano burger.
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Don’t those veggies look yummy! They are placed on top of the cream cheese.
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On top of the veggies I added a layer of mozzarella cheese, bacon and parmesan cheese.
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A volcano of goodness!
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Put in the oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes and it comes out erupting with flavor!
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I got a little fancy and added a fan of avocado and drizzled mayo mixed with beef bouillon and water to jazz it up.
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It looks small on this plate but I promise I was not hungry after eating this beast of a burger!

One day I hope Thomas can enjoy the explosiveness of the volcano burger, until then he gets his toddler dinners.

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Thomas does not enjoy his foods layered together like Chad and I do so he gets his food in neat little sections. Burger, corn and apple sauce.

Here are the links to some products that I love and used for my volcano burger:

I love my Calphalon pans! My mother in-law got them for me for Christmas and I use them almost everyday. They are are so great that she requested a set for her birthday.

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I use the Kirkland brand of pink salt.

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Keto Cheesecake Mini

I have been trying to follow a sugar and starch free diet, but I still get a sweet-tooth craving every now and then. Usually it’s because my husband has the craving first and then being the awesome wife I am I try to satisfy that craving.

Instead of making a whole cheesecake that we would eat in one night, I try to help control our portions by making cupcake sized cheesecakes that we can enjoy multiple nights.

Keto Cheesecake Mini-1

Crust Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 2 TBSP butter (I use salted)

Cheesecake Ingredients:

  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • dash of salt
  • 1/4 cup powdered erythritol or other sweetener

Directions:

  1. Melt butter
  2. Mix butter and almond flour
  3. Place a teaspoon of the mixture into cupcake liners in muffin tray
    • Pat down the crust with your fingers
  4. Bake for 3-5 minutes at 350 degrees
    •  Pay attention to your oven. My oven is old and made a couple crusts a little too crispy at 5 minutes.
  5. Beat cream cheese until creamy.
    • I didn’t do a very good job “beating” my cream cheese and there were some lumps, but it didn’t make a difference in the consistency or taste.
  6. Combine cream cheese with egg, vanilla, salt and erythritol
  7. Place about a tablespoon onto each crust.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10-15 minutes.
    • Again know your oven. I only needed to leave mine in for 10 minutes.

**I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.**

I get my powdered erythritol from Amazon. The link is below:

Enjoy your sweet tooth treat and try not to eat too many in one sitting!

Thomas’ Bird Feeder

One of Thomas’ favorite “chores” is filling up his bird feeder. He started “bird watching” at his Gram’s house and enjoyed filling up her bird feeders so we started doing it at home as well.

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This is when Thomas was one at his Gram’s house. He was helping spread sunflower seed on the ground for the birdies.

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