Babies on a Plane

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This is not a repeat post, I promise. You probably remember my post on flying with babies and also my “Diaper Bag Essentials” post, but I wanted to do an updated version for babes over 12 months. Maybe you haven’t heard, but most domestic airlines will let kids under 2 fly for free on your lap. This is amazing news for us, since we normally fly with $300+ tickets to California. This is bad news for us because we fly to California and it’s always a 6 hour trek [at least]. When Sugar Plum was smaller, she would nurse, sleep for half the flight, and when she was awake, she’d quietly look at the rest f the passengers or just want some thing to bite on. I laugh now when I think about how stressed out I used to be traveling with her at that age. Now we have a rowdy one year old who can crawl, walk, play, and needs so much stimulation that I’m already having nightmares about a never-ending flight the next time we go to visit my family. I think the saying goes “proper planning prevents poor performance”? I don’t know – it’s some thing like that – and that’s why I am already planning.

We recently did a 5 hour car trip for Labor Day weekend, and I felt like that was good practice. In fact, I would argue that flying is easier then car trips because both parents can give their full attention to the baby, there are some options to move around [as opposed to being strapped in a car seat], and I feel like it’s easier to do certain activities like coloring or eating. Also, most flights nowadays make you have a layover somewhere, which sounds like a hassle, but to me its the perfect halftime. I can change baby in a decent sized bathroom, grab a hot meal, and stretch out my legs while providing a change of scenery for baby.

Now, as far as how I am modifying what to pack, this is what I have planned:

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Food – Pack a snack for every hour you’ll be traveling. I know this may seem like overkill, but if your kid asks for a snack every hour, at least you’ll have one. Even if they don’t want a snack every hour, you’ll have back up snacks in case there is a delay and you don’t want to pay for airport food. *Sigh* It was so much easier when I could just nurse my little babe…

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Beverages – We carry these bottles through security empty [just to avoid the hassle of “claiming” liquids, though, if you have formula or milk, you ARE allowed to take these things through security with a baby] then fill up the water bottle with the filter at a drinking fountain. We periodically fill up the baby cup with our filtered water bottle, so everyone has some thing to drink!

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Entertainment – This is always the hardest category because you don’t want to pack too much to where toys are falling out of your bag when you go to reach for you ID, but at the same time, you want to have enough to keep a little one occupied. I pick a skinny book like our Dr. Seuss books, because they slip into the back of a backpack nicely and don’t take up too much room. Our daughter loves books, and is content to sit and flip through the pages for long periods of time so I’m hoping this will be a good activity to calm her down. Crayons and paper are also items I’ve packed. The paper is a thin little booklet from he dollar store, so again, it shouldn’t take up much room; and crayons are generally less messy than markers. If that isn’t stimulating enough, I have her “cell phone” packed, which lights up and makes different noises when you press it. Since the plane engine is so loud, it won’t disturb other passengers to have my baby play with this normally noisy toy, as a lot of its sounds are significantly muted once we’ve taken off [and anyway, it’s better to listen to the ABC’s on repeat then to hear a baby scream, amirite?]. Of course I will have my actual phone on me. The Samsung galaxy comes with a built-in “kids mode” where you can let your kids play with your phone to their heart’s content, and not have to worry about them deleting your contacts or moving around your apps. It is a password protected part of the phone that only has children’s applications on it.

As much as I’m hoping she’ll eat and sleep for me on this flight, I’m prepared for the worst! We’ve traveled so much just in the past year, so I’m sure we will slip back into our vacation groove, but it’s always to be prepared for the worst. How do you keep your child content for hours at a time?

Why We Eat Organic, Whole Foods

Ok, so some times we don’t always eat organic whole foods [hello pregnancy cravings…] but as the meal planner for my household, I try to make sure we are eating as many organic whole foods as possible. I try to stick to an 80/20 rule. 80 percent of our meals and daily snacks should be organic whole foods and 20 percent allows for grabbing food while we’re on the run, being invited over to dinner at some one else’s house, etc.

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But WHY? Why is it so important? Despite growing up in California for 20 years, my family didn’t really try to make a healthy food transition until I was in middle school. I probably don’t know the real reason why my mom made the conversion, but what I do remember is my brother and I struggling with ADHD. We were 12 and 10, and being put on adult doses of medications like ritalin, strattera, and adderall. I remember coming across several articles and books at the time linking poor diet, primarily of processed foods, leading to attention deficit disorders. I’m sure there we other reasons my mom made the change, but that sticks out in my mind as a big one. DSC_2177

Let’s flash forward to my adult life. My weight over the past 6 years has fluctuated enormously bouncing in between 130-178. Yes, 178 was my highest, and I was sitting at that weight when I became pregnant. Luckily, while I was pregnant, my body burned that fat as fuel to sustain the life of my child. Also, the month before I got pregnant, I switched to a clean eating diet that is very similar to the Paleo movement. So, I set myself up to have healthy eating habits while I was pregnant and didn’t gain too much weight throughout that 9 month process. What motivated me to take on clean eating, besides being at my highest weight? Well, being overweight was the motivation for me to do some research on how I should lose the weight. I didn’t want to cut out food groups [not even fat] and it seemed the best way to lose fat while not removing any 1 food group from your diet is to eat organic, fresh foods.

You see, in my research I found that a lot of food, even “fresh” food, has chemicals in or on it. When we consume those chemicals, our bodies don’t know how to digest it. In fact, our bodies kind of procrastinate digesting it, because  the chemicals are so unlike any other food our body has experience digesting. Well, you can’t just have chemicals floating around in the body, bumping into important organs, so this is how the body stores them, until it can figure out how to digest them: The body coats each chemical in a layer of fat, and then sends it off to be stored with the other fats. Eating processed food LITERALLY makes you fat. This is why detoxing became such a craze! People are desperate to get these fat-coated chemicals out of their bodies! Yes it’s true, you can eventually detox from all of that junk, but how do you maintain your clean slate? Eat organic. Your body knows those foods, and has the ability to properly digest and absorb nutrients from those foods.

My husband will some times tease me, because I’d rather buy organic chocolate chips over regular chocolate, or organic cinnamon sugar cereal over cinnamon toast crunch. While these foods aren’t the healthiest in nature, and should be eaten in moderation, I know that when push comes to shove, my body is going to have a way easier time digesting organic chocolate made from cocoa beans and sugar cane than it will trying to digest hydrogenated oils and fructose.

Flash forward to me being a parent. Our babies have virgin digestive systems. We nurture those tummies with awesome breastmilk, but then what? There is an epidemic of childhood obesity, and yet parents have no idea how to take preventative steps to help their children! Do we give them a SlimFast instead of whole milk? NO. Give them fresh, whole foods, free of chemicals. Get back to the garden, back to nature. Since the organic craze has become more and more popular, there are organic versions of all your favorite foods. Cereals, crackers, yogurts… and of course, fruits and vegetables. Make it fun, let your kids pick out a new fruit or vegetable to try. When I’m strolling around the produce aisle, my baby grabs what she wants off the stands, and I let her! I want her to feel like she’s independent and can make healthy choices for herself.

I was really inspired by 2 documentaries on this subject:
my all time favorite: “Hungry for Change”
and also “Fed Up”

If you also want more information and a more detailed explanation on the harm processed foods and chemicals do to our bodies, I highly recommend “Hungry for Change,” it is by far the most informative and empowering.

DIY Kale Crackers

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My daughter loves cheddar bunnies. Yes, I am a mom who will pay $2 more for ORGANIC cheesy crackers vs the little orange fish. As parents, we try try try to do our best, and that includes what we’re giving our kids for consumption. I’m not a complete hippie ok, so just hear me out. These are easy, don’t involve a lot of effort, and are an easy way for YOU to give your kid an extra veggie throughout the day. Because of my daughter’s love for cheddar bunnies, we always seem to be out of them. She eats them in fistfuls and for some reason, she prefers savory tastes to sweet. Once upon a time my husband bought me these spinach+kale tortilla chips and I gave one to Sugar Plum because she would not leave me alone. Well, giving her a chip only intensified her clingy-ness because then she wanted to eat the whole bag. SO, I decided why not make my own kale crackers to satisfy her? Not only could I relax about the ingredients, but it saves me from going through $5 boxes of cheddar bunnies.

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What you need:

  • ⅓ cup of frozen kale  (loose leaf spinach works too though!)
  • ¼ cup oil (I use avocado oil)
  • ½ tsp kosher salt ( I use pink Himalayan salt)
  • 1 and ½ tbs water
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill whole wheat flour)

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Sugar Plum was concerned at first, that it wasn’t cheddar bunnies that made their way into her mouth… She eventually asked for “more” of these kale starts, though!

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Puree the kale, oil, salt, baking powder and water in a food processor or blender. (In my case, I used my nutribullet)
  3. Combine the flour and the spinach mixture in a mixing bowl.
  4. Knead the dough and form it into a nice ball.
  5. Roll the dough out on a well floured surface. The dough should be rolled out very thin for best results.
  6. Put the dough on a floured baking sheet or silicone baking mat.
  7. A cute cookie cutter, like my star, works well for cutting our the crackers from dough (a pizza cutter or knife will do if you don’t have one)
  8. Prick each cracker with a fork.
  9. Bake for approximately 20 minutes.
  10. Crackers should be put directly on a kitchen towel to cool, to maintain their crispness.

Enjoy!

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