What Tastes Like Banana Bread, Looks Like a Pancake, and Is Loaded With Oatmeal Heartiness?

I was reading in one of my parenting books recently about how good oatmeal is for kids. I tried feeding Elliot some good old fashioned oatmeal, but he wasn’t having it. Even when I spiced things up with raisins, brown sugar, or apples, Elliot just didn’t care for oatmeal.

I came across this recipe for oatmeal pancakes and decided to give it a shot. I added the cinnamon for that extra zing and Elliot went crazy for these pancakes. They are super fluffy and really good with butter and a little bit of syrup.

If you add banana slices just after the first time you flip them, they come out tasting like banana bread.

These pancakes taste amazing and are a great way to get your kids eating oatmeal! Enjoy!


1 1/3 c. wheat flour

2/3 c. quick-cooking oats

2 tbs. sugar

2 ½ tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. salt

1 egg

1 1/3 c. milk

3 tablespoons melted butter or margarine

1/8 tsp. cinnamon

1. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.

2. In a medium bowl, beat the egg. Beat in the milk and butter.

3. Add the milk mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined; let stand 5 minutes.

4. Heat a skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. Brush the skillet lightly with butter, margarine, or oil. For each pancake, drop 3 tablespoons of batter onto the skillet. Cook until one or two bubbles start to burst on the top; turn and cook until golden on the bottom.



The Good, The Bad, and The Potty: Otto Starts Toilet Learning and a Bunch of Awesome Moms Tell Us What They Thought About Their Kids' Training Potties

Otto Starts Toilet Learning; The Crowd [me] Goes Wild!

A few days ago Otto stood up during his bath and gave me a funny little look. He was standing in a funny little way and I just knew what was going down: he had to go potty. So I said, "do you want to sit on the toilet and go pee?" and he said, "da" (which means yes, though lately he's more likely to say "yeeeeyahhh" like he's from Chicago, which is freaking cute). Anyways, so I picked him up, plopped him on the toilet, held him there, and he peed! I can't even put into words how excited I was about this giant leap for Muth-kind!

The next day we made a special trip to Target to pick out a potty chair. Otto tried sitting on a few, and seemed to enjoy kicking it on the BabyBjorn, so that's what we went with.

That was a few days ago and I'm still riding the wave of potty excitement I felt during the bath incident! So far, though, the Bjorn potty has gone un-christened. We aren't pressuring Otto to use the potty at all. But it sits proudly in our bathroom, and Otto loves to just sit on it and play.

A Bunch of Awesome Moms Tell Us What They Thought About Their Kids' Training Potties:

I asked some moms I know from Twitter to share their reviews of the potty chairs they used for toilet training. Here's what real moms had to say about the popular toities on the market:

Heather from Mommy Knows Mess (Twitter @MommyKnowsMess) and the BabyBjorn:

I have an almost 5 yr old little girl so I'm not so new at the dreaded potty training adventures. Yet when I started the second go round with my little guy I was determined to find a good potty seat! When training my DD I found that the seats I purchased were awful to empty (not to mention about a handful of more problems). Not as easy as 1,2,3 that's for sure. When I saw the Baby Bjorn potty seat I fell in love. I knew he would love it since it was BIG and BLUE. It just screamed big boy seat to me.

Well and now.....nobody else can mess with his seat. He just loves it! As far as a mommy plus it's very simple to empty. I never have to clean up a mess with his potty.The bowl stays white,it's comfortable to him and granted there are no bells and whistles but let's face it.. It's a toilet and maybe we care more about the features than the kids. I wish I would have gotten my DD one. I feel like she would have loved the PINK one!

* It's simple, adorable (as a potty seat could be) and very well made !


Jenny from Mom to a Blessing (Twitter @momtoablessing) and the Boon Potty Bench:
When my daughter started potty training we looked everywhere for a potty chair I even looked up reviews online. Then we came across the Boon Potty Bench. We were not looking for just any potty chair either we needed to put into consideration that this potty chair was going to be used by a child with special needs who had limited mobility. So it couldn't be a potty seat adapter for the toilet. The fact that the Boon Potty Bench could be used as a step stool after kinda sold me, and the fact that it could be easily stored too. So we brought it home to try it out. Audrianna was sooo excited to try out the potty bench she was able to crawl over to it and lift the seat cover itself and turn herself around and sit on the potty, because it's wide she was able to slide herself over to position herself over the hole, which was great no accidents on the floor. She actually peed in it the very first time too and she was so proud of herself. She's 5 now and she's not completly potty trained yet and she has outgrown her potty bench she is just way to big for it. I would recommend it up til about age 3 unless your toddler is really tall. I am soo excited we held onto ours because we can use it for baby number 2 when shes big enough to start potty training. It also has the tray that slides out easily so u can dump the pee and poop in the toilet, there are side compartments one has a toilet paper holder so your little one can feel like he or she really is a big kid. It is easy to clean and doesn't take up a lot of space. I really don't have anything bad to say about the potty bench.


Jacqueline from Tales of the Wife (Twitter @talesofthewife ) and the Safety First Comfy Cushy 3-in-1 Potty Chair:

We bought the Safety First Comfy Cushy 3-in-1 potty chair at a local store when Poot started peeing in the big toilet. This seat gives the option of using it as a potty chair, using part of it on the toilet, or using it as a step stool.

We chose this seat so we didn't have to make the decision between a ring for the toilet or an actual seat. I also like that the ring he sits on is padded. You don't want an uncomfortable seat or the child won't sit on it.

However I don't recommend this seat especially for boys because the "guard" doesn't block his penis from spraying unless we mash it down and that can't be comfortable. He also has a difficult time getting onto the potty. If he just sits he isn't far enough back and misses the hole. We typically have to place him on the potty seat.

To make it work as a step stool you close the lid and stand on it. The closed lid doesn't feel very sturdy to me. The plastic gives when you stand on it. I guess I'm not supposed to be standing on it, but I had to test it out for him.
It serves its purpose but I would purchase a different seat. If you're on the fence about the donut for the potty or a seat, try both instead of this chair.


Shara from Mommy Perks (Twitter @MommyPerks) and the Generic:

When our daughter began to potty train we wanted to offer her the option of the big potty…or a floor model – whatever suited her fancy. We purchased a cheap potty from Walmart and paid around $14. The toilet is green on the base and white on top. The removeable seat inside can be used on the big potty if/when wanted. The toilet has been great! I’m sure there are fancier ones available (I’ve even seen toilets now that sing songs) but for us, this one has served it’s Potty Purpose just fine.


Rachael from Tutus and Tantrums (Twitter @TooTutuCute) and 4 Potties (Give This Girl a Medal, That's a Lot of Potty Training!): 

Safety 1st Musical Talking Potty & Stepstool 

It is supposed to ‘flush’ and play some music. ‘Supposed to’ because I couldn’t figure out how to attach the handle and music box correctly so we never used it. And when you close the lid it’s a great step stool. There is one big problem with this chair though, there is no cushion, it’s flat across and really uncomfortable to sit on. It is easy to empty though, because the there is nothing you have to take off to get the cup out. A little too easy since my daughter never used it as a potty and instead put snacks in it and dumped the cup out very frequently.

Safety 1st Pretty in Pink Comfy Cushy Potty

This was the special potty chair that my daughter picked out because it was pink! And it worked! She loved this chair and because it has a cushioned seat it was very comfortable to sit on. The downfall of the cushion is that, lets face it, kids don’t ever get it all in the toilet at first and the cushion would soak up any pee that landed on it. I tried everything, soaked it in lysol, bleach, you name it and still couldn’t get the smell out. The lid on this one also closes to make a great step stool. There aren’t any fancy sounds or songs but I think this one is great for comfort and price!

Elmo 3 in 1 potty chair

This is the seat that my son chose for his potty training. He LOVES Elmo. This Potty can be used as a Potty Chair, a Potty Seat on top of the toilet, and as a step stool. But, it takes some reconfiguring to change it up so we just kept it as a potty chair. I found that this seat is great for larger toddlers (my son is very tall/big for his age and his butt didn’t fit comfortably onto many of the other seats), and it’s also great for boys since the splash guard is large and covers the whole area making it less likely for them to pee OUT of the chair and onto the floor. Elmo is pretty cool too, when you press his hand he shouts out encouraging comments!

Of course my son quickly decided that he didn’t want to use a potty chair at all and wanted to use the big toilet like the rest of us which brings me to my last option: the potty ’seat’ that fits onto the top of the toilet.

Dora Potty Seat

I think potty ’seats’ are great for transitioning smaller bottoms onto the big toilet but they also are better in theory than they are in practicality. First, small children usually can’t get themselves up onto the potty so unless you have a stair contraption to help them get up, you will still have to do a lot of work to get them on and off the toilet. Also, it is really hard to position them on there just right and that usually means Pee on the floor! Probably not great for beginners but definitely something to consider for a skilled potty goer who may be slightly afraid of the big potty.

To view Rachael's entire review post, including "Other Tips on Toilet Training" check out her awesome blog here: http://rockonmommies.com/rachael/?p=836


Tracy from Sweet Harper (Twitter @sweetharper) and the Fisher Price Royal Stepstool Potty:

When our little guy was ready for potty training, I decided that I really just wanted the kind that you plopped on the toilet. I was trying to avoid the whole cleaning out the potty chair issue. I quickly realized that those potty seats that fit over the toilet seat are better for bigger kids. So, we went on a mission to Target. I was all about letting Jack pick out his own potty! He was instantly sold on the Fisher-Price Stepstool Potty because it makes music when you, ahem, fill it.
We got that potty home and it was out of the box and “in use”, literally within minutes-genius I tell you! The rest is history…but here are some important details.

Pros-It is just so exciting to use! Our guy loved waiting for the music and it was a fun positive reinforcement. The boy version has a splash guard that actually guards! The seat has handles on the sides, which helps the little ones find their balance. It can also double as a stepstool when closed, but we haven’t really used it as one since we already had one by the sink.

Cons-The only con I can think of is that the sensor for the music does wear out after extended use. It worked great for Jack and we recently got it out for our 18 month old daughter (mum’s the word on the fact that it’s the ‘boy’ version-I just popped off the splash guard, and she won’t know the difference). The sensor is a little more sensitive and sometimes goes off just upon her sitting down. Again, this is also after it has been thoroughly used by one child, stored, and used for another.

This potty chair worked so well for our son, and it’s about finding what works best for your individual child. Go Otto!!!

I just want to say a HUGE THANK YOU to each of these amazing moms for sharing their experiences with each of these chairs!


#MummyTummy August! The Ab Ripped-ness Continues!

The Mama of Mojo is taking the #MummyTummy reigns for the month of August! Love that Mojo Mama! Click the link below to sign up!

#MummyTummy is a Twitter based ab workout club that I started last month. You get 4 dedicated #mummytummy tweets per day each one a reminder to do a set of 20 crunches, situps, or whatever ab workout you're comfortable with.

Sign up for the August #MummyTummy at The Mama of Mojo website by commenting your Twitter name on this blog post: http://www.mojomamablog.com/2010/07/mummytummy-part-deux.html

I'm all signed up already and hope to see you there too! My mantra for August "No More Muffin Top!"

ps. You can follow Mojo Mama on Twitter here and I'm on Twitter here.



Stock That Durn Play Kitchen For Free! Upcycle!

Check out Otto's super-stocked play kitchen... 

We've been collecting pics from magazines and grocery/department store ads to cut out and tape into the kitchen. On the lower left we've got a nice amount of colorful pots on the shelf. On the upper shelf, some pantry staples:

Then, so Otto has something to play "with" we super-glued shut empty boxes from our own pantry.

Popcorn, soba noodles, whatever...

Look at that scandalous sink full of dirty dishes. I guess I'm leading by example, haha, because our real kitchen sink seems to look like that all the time (minus the corn).

And an added bonus to the whole "wow, it's free" thing is that it's all recyclable. If a box gets smashed or Otto wants to rip some of the paper pots down (so far he hasn't, knock on wood) well who cares. It can all go in the recycle bin and be replaced when the next annoying batch of junk mail arrives.



Creamy UnChicken Enchiladas from Mommy D's Kitchen!

Mucho Mucho Bueno Bueno!

I wanted to share with you an awesome recipe I discovered at the amazing Mommy D's Kitchen blog (that link will take you to the original recipe - yum!). I made Mommy D's creamy chicken enchiladas but subbed out Morningstar Farms Meal Starters Chik'n Strips.

Other than the chicken substitution, we followed the recipe to a T and ended up with a super delicious dinner than will definitely become a regular on the menu at my house (even my 18month old, Otto, loved these enchiladas and he is famous for his "no tortilla" attitude).
That's right, Otto hates tortillas, how dare he!? Haha, but these enchiladas made the grade!

I loved that this recipe was quick to make but allowed for the use of super healthy and hearty ingredients. So even though it's quick and simple, the end product was very healthy!



Giveaway! Baby NasaKleen & Mama Nasaline - Breathe, Eat & Sleep Better! (Closed)

Click To Vote For Us @ Top Baby Blogs Directory!

SQuiP manufactures a line of gentle, homeopathic and medically tested products that promote good health including nasal rinsing systems for adults, children, and infants. All parts of Baby NasaKleen are DEHP/phthalate, BPA and latex-free.

SQuiP provided us with a Nasaline nasal rinsing system and Baby NasaKleen nasal aspirator to review as well as one of each to give away! One of my close, wonderful mommy friends (Jennifer) agreed to do the reviews:

Jennifer's Review #1 - Nasaline Rinsing System (the adult one):

I had never used a nasal irrigator before. However, I took a quick glance at the large, colorful, and easy to understand instruction sheet, filled the Nasaline up, hummed ahhhh (which closes the back of your throat), and plunged away. Easy peasy, and it doesn't hurt a bit. The purpose of a nasal irrigator is to treat symptoms associated with allergies, sinus infections, colds, or the flu. It is a wonderful option especially if you don't like the side effects of decongestants or allergy medications, or if you are a pregnant or nursing mom and need to avoid those medications. The Nasaline also comes with 10 pre-measured packets of pure powdered salt to mix the optimal saline solution. This is important because a saline solution that is either too strong or too diluted can aggravate nasal congestion by causing the nasal membranes to swell. It probably takes a wee bit of practice to use the Nasaline perfectly. I experienced a little salty drip at the back of my throat, and some dripping from my nose afterwards. This is probably because I didn't take the time to make sure I blew my nose and tilted my head to get all the solution out. Overall though, I highly recommend the Nasaline.

Jennifer's Review #2 - Nasaline Baby NasaKleen

When we took Milo home from the hospital, we were prepared with one of the standard items every new parent purchases (or is given) -- the bulb syringe aspirator. What a terrible invention. It doesn't work worth a hill of beans and only leads to frustration and tears for all. Of course, there is no need for nasal aspiration except for when your baby is congested and feeling yucky -- which serves to exacerbate the frustration/tears scenario. Fortunately, when he was only a few months old, I found out about "snotsucker" devices. Baby Nasaline is a "snotsnucker" type of device. Snotsuckers consist of a nozzle, a plastic chamber with a hygiene filter, a tube and mouthpiece. You gently put the nozzle against your baby's nostril and, you guessed it, suck out the boogers. It is helpful if you don't really think about what you are doing and just trust the instrument. Which is fine, because then you can look at your baby and make sure he is doing okay while you entirely control the suction process, instead of pinning him down while trying to work that dumb bulb syringe. (Note: you may still need to pin them down, but eventually most babies realize that they feel much better after the snot has been sucked out -- unlike the useless hateful bulb syringe.)

I like the Baby NasaKleen because it has a soft silicone nozzle which would feel comfortable to a baby's nose (some snotsuckers have a hard plastic nozzle). The Baby NasaKleen also comes with a generous supply of replacement filters, well written and illustrated instructions, and a storage case. (Although, in my experience, because there is only one baby using the aspirator, a filter can be reused after being washed in very hot water and left to air dry.) Honestly, it will be quite a few years before your child will learn to blow his or her nose effectively, and until then, he or she deserves a snotsucker instead of a bulb syringe (did I mention that I think bulb syringes are a piece of crap?).

Can't Wait to Aspirate? You can buy SQuiP products online here.

Wanna Try to Win The Set? Read On...

Entry is easy! There is no mandatory entry but there are multiple opportunities to enter! Please remember to leave a comment for each entry to increase your chances.

* Comment your thoughts about nasal irrigation. Have you done it before? Does the idea make you nervous? Whatever it is, I'd love to know. And if you have questions, put them in your comment and I'll reply as best I can.

* Follow @squipUS on Twitter and comment, make sure to include your Twitter name.
* Tweet the following and then provide a link to your tweet. You can do this up to 3 times a day!
 Down with sinus congestion! I want to WIN Nasaline & Baby NasaKleen systems from @squipUS and @OttosMomBlogs http://ow.ly/2b80H #GiVeAwaY !  
* Visit the SQuiP website and tell me what other products you'd like to try or anything else interesting you find there.

Make sure we can reach you by including your email or Twitter name.
Giveaway ends 11:59pm Pacific Time on August 15. We will use Random.org to choose a winner.

Many thanks to SQuiP for contacting us to do this review/giveaway! We were not otherwise compensated. The opinions expressed here are 100% my own and the lovely Jennifer's.

-Lindsey and Jennifer

Congrats to the winner of this giveaway Kim@ChubbyCheeksThinks with comment #48. I'll be contacting you via email and Twitter!


Air Travel Tips For Your Toddler (From a Survivor)!

My family and I just returned from our first long-distance trip with our 2 year old son. He would experience two firsts: flying on an airplane and sleeping somewhere “foreign”. I was so nervous about how Elliot would do on the airplane and how he would handle sleeping somewhere other than our house or grandma’s house. It turned out that all my anxiety was for naught. Here is a list of helpful tips that got us through our toddler’s first real vacation.

• You CAN take bottles of milk on the plane if you declare them while going through security! They take them aside and perform a quick test on them before sending you on your way.

• Pack his carry-on bag with toys, books, puzzles that are brand new and have him open them for the first time on the airplane.

• Bring plenty of snacks and have your child munching on something during take-off and landing. Chewing and swallowing helps with the change in altitude.

• Be patient and flexible about sticking to bed time.

• Allow them to “break” some of the rules too, like having ice cream at dinner (or for dinner!) After all, they are on vacation too and it should be fun!

• Managing the airport can be stressful, but if you keep your cool chances are your toddler will take your lead.

• Take advantage of airport play areas so your child can get out some energy before the flight. If there is no designated play area, take them for a walk before your flight so they’re less restless.

Even though travelling with little ones is a lot of extra work, it is also a lot of fun. The more relaxed you are, the more relaxed your child will be. So sit back and go with the flow! Enjoy your flight!



Bananas Foster (no-sugar-added smoothie) "Milkshake"

This recipe is one of my all-time favorite breakfast treats! I swear it tastes like a Sonic milkshake but the ingredients are healthy breakfast staples that just do magical things when combined.

Wayyyy back when I was a kid my Grandpa Foster would make these for me every morning when he came to visit! That's why I call it Bananas Foster Milkshake. However, if you wanted to add cinnamon & rum (like traditional bananas foster) I'm sure it'd taste even better. Bam, you've gone from pre-school breakfast to poolside delight by adding 2 ingredients!

So the ingredients to this thing are pretty basic:

1 cup milk / 1 banana / 1 drop vanilla extract / 1/2 cup ice

Throw everything in a blender and you're done!

Getting freaky with it:

Lately we've been switching it up by substituting frozen watermelon for the ice. That's right, we're risk takers.

We've also been known to add frozen berries.

You can throw a raw egg in there if you want. That's how Grandpa Foster did em!

VEGAN: Works with rice, soy and almond milk too!


Stokke TRIPP TRAPP from PamperedTot.com - WINNER!


Very excited to announce that we have a WINNER for the Stokke TRIPP TRAPP high chair from PamperedTot.com.

With comment # 531, our winner is Priscilla (aka "pawsnhooves"). I'll be contacting Priscilla via Twitter and Email.

You have 48 hours to claim your prize or there will be a second drawing.


Mildred and Dildred - A Rather Excellent Tucson Toy Store - 15% OFF COUPON!

Earlier this month Megan did a fun and quite complimentary review of the rather excellent Tucson toy store Mildred & Dildred.

Mildred & Dildred is a small, locally owned toy store in Tucson. They believe in the value and importance of imaginative play, and work hard to find the toys that encourage such play. They also take pride in creating a safe, open environment in which children can explore what interests them. The play-tables (with trains, pirates, and dollhouses), as well as their "house" (including a kitchen, baby bed, washing machine, and more) are popular with children of all ages: those who are experiencing such toys for the first time, as well as those who are revisiting and remembering the toys they loved long ago.
Mildred & Dildred is located at La Encantada shopping center (lower level): 2905 E. Skyline Drive #186 Tucson, Arizona 85718 (link to google map).

We are very excited that Mildred & Dildred has offered our readers an exclusive coupon for 15% off any one item! All you need to do is print the below coupon and take it with you on your next visit!

Click coupon image below to open larger coupon for you to print! 

Please note: Limit one coupon per customer. Coupon expires 10/31/10.



Good Clean Fun - Bubbles & Bath Fizzies Review and Giveaway! - CONTEST ENDED

We are very excited to have been approached by the eco-conscious guys over at Smith & Vandiver to review and host a giveaway of Good Clean Fun Dino-Bubbles and bath fizzies!

Among the features and benefits of these wholesome, cruelty-free products:

- PH balanced to be gentle and non-irritating to skin and eyes
- Sulfate-free and non-toxic
- Phalate-free certified natural fragrance
- Paraben and formaldehyde free
- No colors, synthetic fragrances or animal by-products

Check out "Mr. Cute City" (aka Elliot) posing with his Party Fizzy and Dino Fizzy for the review!

Our awesome contributor Megan volunteered to take a Party Fizzy, Dino Fizzy, and Ducky Bubbles home to try out with her 2 year old Elliot. Here's what she had to say about Bath Fizzys and Ducky Bubbles:

Bath Fizzys Review:

First off, they are really cute, the packaging is cute and fun, and they smell really good (on the strong side, but good). Even though these toys are geared for kids ages 2-10 I think the fizzys were a bit too much for my two year old and I would actually recommend them for kids over 3 years. They fizzed like crazy! Which would probably be a lot of fun for an older kid, but Elliot was overwhelmed by all the fizzing and didn't want to be in the bathtub with it. Once the fizzing stopped the toys inside appeared and that was a nice little touch. Again, though, because of the tiny size of the toy discs inside I would recommend for over 3-year-olds because littler ones (like Elliot) might be tempted to put the toy in their mouth.

Good Clean Fun Ducky Bubbles Review:The Ducky Bubbles would be appropriate for kids of any age. The packaging of all these products is fun and cute! The smell of the Ducky Bubbles is sweet but subtle. We added about 1/3 of the package to our bath and that created "optimal bubbling" (a scientific term). The bubbles were thick and fluffy.

The Giveaway - Enter to Win Dino Bubbles and 4 Bath Fizzys!Smith & Vandiver have provided 1 winner a Good Clean Fun prize pack of:

(1) Dino Bubbles
(1) Dino Fizz Tyrannosaurus
(2) Bath Party Fizzies!

How to Enter:

This is the last day and their website seems to be wonky so entries are easy today! Lots of ways to enter!

- Follow TidbitsParenting via Google Friend Connect (2 bonus entries) (if you already follow us that counts too!)

- Follow @OttosMomBlogs on Twitter (2 bonus entries) (if you already follow me that counts too)

- Tweet about this giveaway with a link to this page in your tweet. In your comment below make sure to put a link to your tweet (up to 3 bonus entries per day - 1 per tweet - 30 mins apart or more please)

- Like TidbitsParenting on Facebook (2 bonus entries) (if you already like us that counts too)

- Grab the TidbitsParenting badge (on the right) and in your comment leave a link to your badged up blog homepage (4 bonus entries) (if you've already got the badge that counts too)

Please Note:
Just remember to leave a comment for EACH entry. For example, if you follow us on Facebook since that's worth 2 bonus entries make sure you leave 2 comments for that.

Make sure that I can reach you if you win - via email or Twitter. We will contact the winner on August 1 and they will have 48 hours to claim the prize or we will choose a different winner.

Giveaway ends at 11:59pm Pacific Time on July 31st. We will use Random.org to choose a winner and will verify that the winning entrant has played by the rules so it only makes sense to be honest!

The opinions expressed here are 100% my own and Megan's.

- Lindsey and Megan