Toddlers 12 Months and Older

Beat The Heat: Stay Hydrated This Summer With Fruits and Veggies


Temperatures are still rising as we speed through the rest of summer. As it gets warmer our bodies tend to sweat more, urinate waste more and loose water. That means it’s so important to keep you and your little ones hydrated and healthy in the sun. Replacing lost water is a great way to stay cool too!

Did you know adults can loose up to 1.5L of water from your body on a normal day? While this number isn’t as high for children, it’s still a good idea to replenish liquids throughout the day for kids. Drinking lots of water is the easiest way to increase water in the body. However, some kids don’t like water- and that’s ok! Look for other beverages that are high in water like 100% fruit juice mixed with water or increase the amount of breastmilk and milk given to older babies.

Another easy way to increase water is by eating fruits and vegetables that are high in water content.  The next time you make a trip to the grocery store consider adding a few of these produce items to your list:

  • Cucumber- 96% water
  • Celery- 95% water
  • Tomatoes- 94% water
  • Green Peppers- 93% water
  • Watermelon- 92% water
  • Strawberries- 92% water
  • Grapefruit- 90% water

Give something new a try! Don’t forget I’m always available to Shop the Market with you to find the best fresh foods for your family at any of the local Austin Farmers Market. Check the calendar and schedule a tour with me today!

Easy Baked Apples for Baby Recipe

baby apple recipe
There are many types of exciting first food items to try when starting your baby on solid foods. Everything from bananas, to avocados and even oatmeal. In addition to breastmilk or formula, most experts and professionals will advise sticking with solo vegetables and fruits for those tiny budding baby taste buds. I agree!
In the coming weeks I’ll be sharing 26 ways to prepare first foods for baby in a video series called A-Z First Food. One for each letter, starting with… Apples!
To get started, watch the first video step-by-step tutorial here.

Apples for Babies

Did you know there are more than 7000 varieties of apples in the world? Even if you tried a different apple everyday it would take you nearly 20 years to sample the entire spectrum. The most common varieties can be found in the United States  and include Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Gala and McIntosh Apples are all easy to prepare, easy to digest and are full of nutrients.

Apples are also very versatile and may be added to almost any baby recipe you find. You can mix apples with cereals, veggie and fruit purees, with meat purees, used in yogurt and more!

Apples are also a good source of potassium. Potassium is a very important mineral for the proper function of all cells, tissues, and organs in the human body. (This mineral is not affected by cooking.)

  • Apples contain high levels of various plant chemicals, including the flavonoid quercetin, which has anticancer and anti-inflammatory action.
  • Apples contain two types of fiber; soluble and insoluble fiber. Both the insoluble fiber in apples and their soluble fiber pectin, help maintain bowel regularity. The fiber can help to alleviate constipation

Easy Baked Apples for Baby Recipe

Step 1 – Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 2  – Place three cored apples in a baking pan and add 3 inches of warm water. Do not peel the apples, the peel keeps them firm.

Step 3 – Bake the apples for 30 minutes or until they are tender when squeezed with a pair of tongs. Remove the apples from the oven.

Step 4 – Let the apples cool for five minutes and then peel away the skin with your fingers. 

Step 5 – Cut the apples up into small pieces. Puree them to the age appropriate consistency and texture for your baby.


  • The recipe yields about 2 cups of baked apples.
  • If your baby is over 8 months, you can sprinkle the apples with cinnamon or add about 1/2 teaspoon of butter on the inside of the apple.
  • To core an apple, use a apple corer or a paring knife to remove the inedible inner portion.
  • Serve immediately. Leftover baked apples can be refrigerated for up to two days.

Photo Credit:

Get Ready, Get Set, Here Comes Kindergarten!

For years, my friends with older children told me this day would come. Even my husband, who is a second-time father, has shared many stories about how fast his oldest son, UT college student, grew up… But of course, I didn’t believe them. My infant’s, toddler’s, preschooler’s kindergarten days were in the distant future, right?!

Then this August, reality set in.

I HAVE a kindergartener!!!

First day of school

What I have learned is no matter what others tell you, it is not until you are the parent walking down the hallway to your child’s kindergarten classroom that you truly realize what is about to happen.

As I walked Caleb down the hallway to his classroom, I felt like I was in control of my emotions and feelings. After all, Caleb has been in child care since he was an infant! Then it happened. I had to let go of his hand, watch him walk into the classroom, and sit at his assigned seat. All at once my head, my hand, my heart experienced a physical reaction from a rush of feelings, a desire to reach for his hand … how do you even explain what a parent experiences in words?

In this moment it became real that my son was officially in kindergarten.

Caleb gave me a hug and kiss, slapped a high-five, and did a fist bump before I left the room. This has been our practice since he was a toddler. As I left, I asked myself the question that I believe many moms ask themselves in this situation…
“Did I prepare him for kindergarten?”
If so, “What did I do for him?”

I sat in the park across from the elementary school and let my mind flood itself with sweet memories as I sought the answer to my question. Here’s what came instantly to mind:

1.) Prioritizing Time during Early Childhood
Motherhood is overwhelming! Each day is spent working, maintaining our house, preparing meals, taking care of my husband and our children, and caring for the dog. Geez, this list is not complete, but I have written enough that I already feel spread too thin! It’s a daily challenge to find balance between family and work.

Since becoming a “mama” it seems I spend a lot of thought in trying to define myself and motherhood. I know this is personal because it is defined by both my expectations and the expectations of others in my life. This is true for us all. I found this site in which women shared their definitions of motherhood and it really spoke to me.

2.) Applying the Systems Theory

Walking to school
Before I became a mother I was a social worker – personally and professionally and have used systems theory in both.  As a social worker, I consider the reciprocal relationships between myself and/or individuals and my/their environment.  I apply the systems theory by looking at relationships for myself or among individuals, groups, organizations, or communities and mutually influencing factors in the environment and looked at how my son does this as well.

The first day of kindergarten, Caleb and I walked a few blocks to the elementary school. My six-year-old nephew Julian, live near us and came too. I felt pride in knowing Caleb was surrounded by friends and family for this big occasion. Having aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents that live within an hour is a blessing that cannot be taken for granted. Beyond family, I have been involved in a mom’s group in which our children started out together as infants. We have remained friends and participated in special occasions for our kids. I think he has observed how our family values relationships and hope he will be successful at making friends in his kindergarten at his elementary school.

3.) Making the Most of Teachable Moments

Teaching my son
Among the many emotions I experienced, one of them was excitement! I left Caleb sitting at his desk waiting for his kindergarten teacher to give instruction to the group. This was the beginning of school education and the end of a phase of my educating him. I reflected on how I thought my husband and I prepared Caleb for learning in kindergarten.

Did I take advantage of the teachable moments that would help Caleb to excel in school?

Our family enjoys boating, bike riding, hiking, camping, and traveling. We have exposed Caleb to a variety of indoor and outdoor activities and I believe Caleb will be able to follow instruction and complete classroom activities that are similar to the ones we did together.

4.) Eating Heathy Foods (or Grow Foods as we call them!)
When you marry someone with Type I diabetes, it’s a commitment to support a good diet. I thought I knew a lot about nutrition. But, it was when Caleb was a newborn that I truly thought about the foods I ate and carefully selected for my family. I still have a vivid memory of the first time I walked down the baby aisle and looked at all the commercial foods! Even though this foods is great for babies, I knew preparing homemade baby food from natural foods was the best choice. But, honestly, I did not even know how to get started! It was the kindness and guidance of family and friends that showed me how easy it was to prepare homemade foods for my son. This is how my business was born.

Today if I were to describe the foods I give to Caleb in two words, they would be “Grow Foods”. These are foods that consist mostly of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, variety of proteins and the “right” fats to help him grow. It’s hard to imagine my baby has become a little boy who is 6 years old, almost 4 feet tall!  Healthy food choices make a difference from the start and go along ways beyond even kindergarten into adulthood!

5.) Cultivating Play Time
Throughout Caleb’s early childhood our favorite play to shop has been the Goodwill store. for gently used books, games and toys.  Each time I go to drop off a donation, I leave with great finds that provide opportunities for my husband and I to play with Caleb.  

As a family, we enjoy the outdoors and we encourage Caleb to play outside as much as possible. It’s often a one-on-one game of tackle football, basketball, chase and even hide-and-go-seek. Our goal is for Caleb to keep my husband and I young and for us to keep him off the couch and distracting him from the television and video games. If we can’t play outdoors then we enjoy puzzles, books and of course, action figures. There are no words to express how much I have enjoyed watching him learn through these activities together!

This year Caleb is starting kindergarten knowing his alphabet and reading words, counting and doing simple math, expressing himself through art and design.

He is ready for kindergarten because the time we, his parents, and his teachers have spent helping him to grow and learn through play, healthy foods and family time. 

How are your little ones doing this back-to-school season?