Toddler Easter Basket Ideas

Here are some of my favorite ideas for toddler Easter baskets that won’t give them a sugar high. Peace be with you all this Easter!

INDOOR TOYS

-Board books

-Puzzles

-Stuffed Animals

-Coloring books/ arts and craft supplies

APPAREL (etc)

-Rainboots or Sandals

-Sun hats

-Warm weather jammies

-Sunglasses

-Spring outfit

-Water Bottles

-Fun toothbrushes

OUTDOOR TOYS

-Bubbles

-Balls

-Sidewalk chalk

-Sand Toys

I highly recommend the dollar section at Target for some adorable Easter basket goodies. I plan to add a few more items to our baskets once the personalized ones I ordered arrive!

How cute are these?! Made by Sticky Momma Designs!

What fun surprises are you putting in your children’s baskets this year?

🐇🐣-TBHM Hilary

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Favorite Kid Item of the Week- Reusable Pouches

Pouch addicted toddlers anyone?! I admit, I’m as big of a fan as they are. Convenient snacks that are something other than crackers? Sign me up. Our go-to pouches are greek yogurt and applesauce. Much to my daughters dismay, I limit her to 1 yogurt and 1 applesauce a day. Trust me, I’m all about as easy clean up as possible. Yet, the price of the daily pouch fix plus waste, started to eat at me. So, after some sweet talking to my hubby (aka bickering that I’d actually clean the pouches) I convinced him to Amazon Prime me an order of Squooshi reusable pouches to try.

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I can prepare 9 pouches for the same price that I was buying 4 greek yogurt pouches for. Just look for the deals. Psst, Target and Costco. Easy to fill. I just spooned it in. Squooshi does make a filling station which I’m thinking about trying.

Pro Tip- don’t over fill. Leave enough room to close the pouch.

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Chief (13 months) and Peach (2) enjoying a post-nap pouch

I’m writing this post to tell you that even me, Hot Mess Hilary, can handle cleaning reusable pouches. It’s not even bad. I brought some on a day trip and managed to bring them home and clean them before they were beyond saving. Can you say “win”?! It’s hard to believe considering how many moldy snacks I find in my bag…

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Hand wash and I recommend a dish drying rack to hook them on. I got mine at Dollar Tree. You can use a bottle brush to get in the curves if you find it necessary. I’ve taken to “pouch prepping” to get set for the week.

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Chief approves.

Squooshi makes a variety of pouch sizes and designs. I have the large size which holds up to 6oz. I’m sold, guys! I’m already scoping out the other sizes to try.

Do you use reusable pouches? What’s your favorite brand? Any tips, tricks or recipes you’d recommend?

👍🏼👩‍👧‍👦- TBHMHilary

Nickelodeon Universe

Cabin fever, freezing temps, rainy day, boredom, layover at MSP? Get the kids to Mall of America’s Nickelodeon Universe! MOA has so much to offer for family fun but this is a highlight that’s worth a trip.

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Nick Universe has 27 different rides to enjoy. 11 of which are considered “Junior” and 5 that are “family”. So no worries, there are plenty for the toddler variety to take delight in!

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Even Chief (12 months old) got to enjoy a ride on the “black stallion”

Purchase tickets online or in person at one of the kiosks. You can make a day out of it or buy as little as a “3 Point Pass” which will get you on 1 ride. I went with my sister, brother-in-law and both my kids. Between us we bought two 18-point passes which you can use amongst everyone. We went on about 8 different rides taking turns who rode with Peach.

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Peach and Uncle Troy on Azul, the blue train

Toddler meltdown but still have points left? The point passes don’t expire so save them for next time or pay it forward and hand them off to an eager kid. I still have a few points waiting for next time.

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Peach (2.5) and I on Blue’s Skidoo

Seriously guys, look how much fun Peach and Auntie Mimi are having on “Swipers Sweeper”!

Being it’s the Mall of America, there are tons of food options to choose from. We made the day extra special and dined at the Rainforest Cafe! If your kids love animals this is such a fun place to eat. There is something for everyone on the menu. I was impressed with the kids meals too! Or you can check out the new food court complete with our fave, Chick Fil A!

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Peach sipping on her beverage at Rainforest Cafe

DEALS ALERT! MOA hosts “Toddler Tuesdays” which offer Toddler Wristbands from Nickelodeon Universe. $12.99 for 5 hours of unlimited toddler rides. Tons of restaurants have kids eat free. Plus, many other attractions have discounts. For a full list of T.T. events click here.

Have you taken your kids to Nickelodeon Universe? Planning a trip to Minnesota soon? Let me know what you think!

🎠🎡-TBHM Hilary

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Hot Mess of the Week- Sculpture Garden

Over the summer I went, kids in tow, to meet a friend at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. It was a show stopping July morning. Even better? My girl was bringing me Starbucks. #butfirstcoffee. This wasn’t some nose wiping, diaper changing, soggy goldfish cracker eating playdate. No. This was getting together with my single independent girl friend! Maybe I’ll even feel like my old self and slap on a crop top for the occasion. Just kidding guys! Leopard sundress it is. *winks*

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We strolled around the sidewalks admiring all the large sculptures. I briefly wondered where people came up with this stuff. Hmmm. Then I moved on to more important things: Who was my friend dating? Was he a “swipe right” dude? When was her last drunken night? What spontaneous vacation does she have planned? (Of course she had one set.) Greece, at that! Can you blame me, guys? Let this mom live a little. Vicariously anyhow.

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Peach making sure she’s in every on-lookers photo op.
Maybe I painted that picture to sound like a peaceful morning? Sorry to kill your buzz, but remember, my toddler came with. She spent her time practicing parkour over the various monstrosities. She quite literally only removed herself from the above pictured sculpture to pee behind it.

As much as I would have loved to sit and drink a bottle of chilled Rosé, reminiscing about our days when we drove our dad’s lifted trucks (hers bright red Dodge pickup, mine Hummer H2) on lunch break from high school, waving at potential boyfriends, I had to get the toddler home. Because #NapsSaveLives. I hug my friend goodbye and we go our separate ways. As I approach Black Beauty (my suburban), I dig around for my keys to get her unlocked. Beep-beep! I get all my baggage packed up, hop in the driver seat and…KEYS NOWHERE TO BE FOUND. Why me?! Why me?! Can I ever do anything seamlessly? I feel like I literally search everywhere possible. My kids are starting to freak out. I call my friend. “Hi. It’s me, obviously. Yes, problem. No keys. Bring wine.” She drives back and meets us.

During this time I continue to scrounge around for those priceless jinglers. I FIND THEM!!! In my diaper bag pocket. Where I always keep them. SMH. Sweet relief anyway. I slide the key in the ignition. Tick. Click. ITS DEAD. My truck is freaking DEAD.

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Chief & I waiting in Black Beauty playing with Snap Chat filters. What else would we do with our time? 
The way I’m parked up against gardens and sprawling groomed grass there was no way to get a jump with cables. Note to self: always back into a parking space. Much to my chagrin, I dial up husband aka my ” #1 emergency responder”. He says “Sorry, Hily. Can’t help ya.” he was basically in Wisconsin, bringing home the bacon. He does remind me however, “call the roadside assistance!”.

They arrive with a fancy-schmancy little jump start thing. My girlfriend and I both ask where we can get one of those. Turns out we’d have to be prepared enough to keep the device charged. Yeah, not happening. Way kill our mellow, Progressive Roadside Assistance Man.

Are you seeing a theme with my Hot Mess stories? Yep. I wouldn’t be opposed to anyone starting a Go-Fund me for a luxury car upgrade with keyless entry and start. Or perhaps, a personal assistant that is strictly responsible for my keys. Birthday gift?

🏙🍒🥄-TBHM Hilary

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Ridgedale Play

As winter continues, so does cabin fever! You won’t survive this winter season with toddlers unless you GET OUT of the house. I draw the line for outdoor play at 10*F. Luckily, for us Minnesotans, there are plenty of fun indoor places to have your kids get rowdy. My oldest likes to run. And jump. A lot. Which leads me to Ridgedale Play! The newest indoor playground at Ridgedale Mall in Minnetonka, MN.

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Located on the upper level of Nordstrom wing, learn and play through their 7 different areas. Free admission and regulated for ages 0-12. Don’t worry, your non-walkers won’t get trampled as they can be safe in the “baby oasis”. Drink your coffee from the lounge area as you monitor the fun. Caribou located on the first level. I recommend going there before you enter. If you arrive empty handed, caffeine conveniently awaits you in a Starbucks vending machine.

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Chief (12 months old)
Light and airy decor give for a dreamy atmosphere. You almost can relax amongst the squawking munchkins. Almost. Yet, I said “dreamy” for a reason. Even the light fixtures resemble clouds. Magical, am I right?!

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Nursery inspiration?
There’s only one entrance to Ridgedale Play. So, if you have a wild child like me, you don’t have to fear too much that they might escape. Side note- I lost my daughter for a minute. Found her in the lounge, sitting on a tall stool, waiting for “goldfish”. Ok kid…IMG_8346

Which circles me back around to my top Pro Tip for outings: Dress your mobile kids in the brightest color you can. Trust me on this one. Luckily Chief doesn’t run from me yet! He was off the hook this time from me dressing him like a glowing ray of sunshine.

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DJ Peachy Popper mixin some hot jams

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Chief on the dance floor
How cute is the disco ball dance party zone?! Adjust the tempo and shake your sillies out.

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Wiggle your way through the “Shadow Jungle”. IMG_8340

For the climbers. Complete with “apples” that come shooting out of the tree. You can pop them into various holes for added thrill.

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Gone Fishin’
Use these fishing poles to hook your “fresh catch”. Fish not pictured as some kid was swinging them around.

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Foam building blocks to create a village. Or even play house in this little structure. cRdh6U5QQ8W%R6bNQ1%7+w

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Distracted Driver…
Large Bug Mobile equipped to house an abundance of wiggly pipsqueaks. Steering wheels, noise making buttons, textured walls, windows, etc.

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Chief in the Baby Oasis safe from big kid smack downs (kind of)
There’s also a large “Choo Choo Island” train table set up. We steered clear though because Peach preferred to dance on the table. The train conductors were less than pleased.

Note worthy:

– Family restroom complete with stools for the shorties and changing table.

-You can bring your own food. Highchairs available. Or hit up one of the many cafeteria style or sit down restaurants in the mall. Shoutout to Chipotle’s Kid Meal. #win

-Party Room available for reservations by InnerActive. (See my blog on the joy that is Inner Active) What a cute place for a birthday party! They even have 6 party themes to choose from! Get more info or book your party here!

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Have you checked out the new Ridgedale Play yet? What did you think of it? If you head there after reading this, comment and let us know your thoughts!

☁️🤸‍♂️-TBHM Hilary

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1st Birthday Party

Sound the Alarm! My son, Chief turned 1! I hosted a small firetruck themed party to celebrate. Here are some of the things I did that might inspire you!

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Image from his invitation
-I used Paperless Post for online invitations. There are so many designs to choose from. A great way to “go green” and save yourself some time and energy. His party was 2 days ago and I already used Paperless Post again to send out thank you notes! The ease of this has helped me start my week with one less dark cloud over my head. I always send thank you cards but this seemed like the perfect way to please everyone. (especially my sanity) Welcome to 2018 people!

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Paperless Post Thank You Card with photo from the party!
Whats a first birthday party without a little look back at the year?!

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-I used a photo display frame which normally hosts my daughters art, to showcase 12 photos from my son’s first year of life. I loosely started from youngest to most recent. For simplicity, I tore these pics out of some of our Groovebooks.

*To try out Groovebook for yourself, Get a free book with code: Poulsen284

Side note- Groovebooks are also really fun to have in general. My daughter loves flipping through all the books, naming people and talking about memories.

The frame is from Michaels. The exact on I have is on sale now!

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Party Display Table
-Time Capsule! I set up a little area for guests to write memories, predictions or anything they like to be opened on my son’s 18th birthday. I love this idea especially since life is so short and we never know what tomorrow may bring. At least he’ll get a glimpse back to his first birthday even if all the people won’t be there to celebrate #18.

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-I made all the desserts. The smash cake is a fire hydrant, if you can’t tell. Haha. Cake decorating is not as easy as it looks. No wonder bakeries get the big bucks! A tip I got was to add milk instead of water to the cake mix and 1 package of pudding mix. It turned out really well. Homemade buttercream frosting too. Don’t go store bought!!! I also highly recommend going the cupcake route. People can just grab a dessert as they please, no cutting required! Word on the street: Cake pops were the winner! The red cake stands are from Target’s Dollar Spot.

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-Same with these adorable wooden firetruck party favors! Always browse the bargains, guys!

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The only family photo we got with Peach
-Balloons and other party supplies from the Dollar Tree I did go all out with the #1 balloon from Party City

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-There are a lot of ways to keep up with the firetruck theme. Hose Water anyone?


-I mean, is this the cutest shirt you’ve ever seen?!

Did you have a theme for your child’s first birthday? Any other pro tips you would add to ease a busy mom or dad’s stress when party planning? Comment and share!

🎈🚒🎂-TBHM Hilary

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The Struggles (and joys) of going from 1 to 2 kids.

Don’t get me wrong, having 1 child isn’t a walk in the park. The first year is difficult. The transition from independent adult to someone’s parent is huge. Someone relying on you for their whole survival 24/7 is the most demanding job in the world. Then you get the hang of things. “hey, it’s not so bad! The baby can’t even crawl or walk yet.” Cool. Go get dressed in the other room and come back to zero disasters. Maybe even start sleeping through the night again. Insert- Baby #2.

 

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Ignorant Bliss as a mother to 1 child. (infant Peach)
A few of the biggest struggles from going from 1 baby to 2:

  1. You may never be on time again: You think it takes forever to get out the door with 1 kid? Try 2. One of which probably just peed their pants and would prefer sandals despite the snowstorm. The other is probably screaming because they are late for a nap and more than likely need another diaper change. Don’t even get me started on car seats. I daydream of the day when my eldest can climb in my suburban on her own, get in her seat,  and clip herself in.
  2. Someone is always sick: Literally. Never ending. Toddler comes home with runny nose and cough. Baby gets cold that lasts for approximately 1-2 weeks. You think you made it out unharmed as everyone is perky for a day or 2. Nope, mom and dad always get hit too. And honey, MOMS DON’T GET SICK DAYS. 
  3. You’ll never sleep again: After weeks of nursing the new baby every 2-3 hours, they might start sleeping longer stretches. Or maybe not. Probably not in my case. I always say “I just don’t make lazy kids”. The months go on and perhaps they sleep through the night or only wake up seldomly. Insert- Toddler random night wakings. Reasons include: “I have to pee”, “I need more water” or easily mistaken for sweet,  but trust me its far from it at 3:30AM after nursing the baby for 15 minutes, “sleep with me.”
  4. Good intentions to use hand-me-downs: Ha-Ha. If you get lucky enough to have your kids follow the same growth trajectory on the same season, then bravo to your planning. The rest of us, not so lucky. Also note, baby girls leggings are not very cute on my infant son’s chubby buns. Neutral colors really aren’t always neutral. Even if you don’t mind pocketless cheeks on your son in a black and white stripe, it’s rare they actually have the same build. 
  5. Your house will never be clean again: Mine probably won’t anyway. As much as you can try to tidy up as you walk through every area, its nearly impossible to keep order. Exploring toddler and curious baby makes for a mess at every corner. Shout out to my Roomba and my dogs for doing the best clean up they can!      
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    Chief and Peach Halloween 2017 Cop & Donut
    Lets not forget the Joys…
  6. They start playing together: Once you see the love your first has for your new baby. Talk about heart melting. All your tired doubts come to a screeching halt. This is why you have more than one kid. It’s really a gift for them. BFFs. Teaching each other how to use items, play games, read books. 
  7. How can you love another baby as much as you loved your first?: A thought many mothers and fathers may have. Is there enough room in my life? Wait until the day #2 arrives. HEART EXPLOSION. How on earth did we survive without the newest member of the crew?! 
  8. They help take care of each other (and you): Maybe I’m nursing the baby and need a  rag quickly. Toddler to the rescue. Baby starts crying in the carseat before we’re headed out the door. Toddler is on entertainment duty. She even makes sure he gets to try all her snacks. She even breaks them down to baby sized pieces for him. 
  9. The world doesn’t revolve around just your 1 child: Sorry kid, you have to learn to wait, to share and to most importantly, love. The real learning begins at home. Home is where the heart is. Life isn’t fair. Let’s begin a big life lesson ASAP.
  10. Lifelong friends, Confidants, Family: I can only pray this will be true for my children as the mature. Life isn’t easy. It’s a rollercoaster of happiness and suffering. I’m grateful everyday that I gave them the gift of each other. No one will know them better. Know them for their whole lives. Understand what they’ve been through. The inner working of the family dynamic. This is priceless.

It may never seem like the right time to add more children to your family. One thing I know is, I’ll never regret having more children but, I may regret not having more. Life is short and you cannot please everyone. Live your best life. Find the beauty in every day. After 2 I say, the more the merrier!

What would you add to the list?

Love,

TBHM Hilary

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Sure my hands are full, but you should see my heart.