8 Healthy Meals Kids Will Love (that you can make in 30 minutes or LESS!)

As a parent, and especially as a working parent, it can be pretty tough to find the time to not only cook a healthy meal, but one that your kids enjoy.

There are plenty of easy meals (think mac & cheese, grilled cheese, etc.) but they often aren’t healthy.  I love a good grilled cheese and tomato soup as much as the next person (mmm, dipping the grilled cheese into the soup, soo good…) but we all know it’s not good for you.

So, I set out to track down some recipes that met the following criteria:

  • Quick and easy to make
  • Relatively healthy
  • Most kids will actually like them

And I didn’t want these to be your typical “kids meals.” I’m a big fan of exposing kids to new flavors at a young age, and doing it in a way that gives them a positive experience in the process.

Not exactly an easy quest, but I’ll share with you what I found.

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What It Takes to Be a Good Parent: 11 Traits (#6 May Surprise You)

A lot of parents have anxiety over figuring out what it takes to be a good parent.  Especially new parents.

It’s a tricky subject, because you don’t get a report card that tells you whether or not you’ve been a good parent.  There’s no master guidebook on how to be a good parent.

The challenging part of it all is that it continues to change throughout your child’s life – what it takes to be a good parent when they’re a month old may be completely different than what it takes when they’re 15.

I do, however, believe there are traits that good parents have in common, that apply no matter what age you’re child is. And that’s what I want to write about today.

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Best Baby Food Brands in 2017

By the time your baby reaches 5-6 months of age, you’ve probably considered giving them a taste of real (baby) food.  At least, that’s how it went with us.

Our daughter was still on breast milk, and our pediatrician told us that we could continue that way until about a year before real food became more of a necessity.  However, if we wanted to start introducing baby food, we should do it with the understanding that it’s more “for fun”.

It helps get your child acquainted to new tastes and textures, even if it’s not their main source of nutrition (while still on breast milk or formula).

As we do with everything else, because we live and die by our computers, we started researching to see what the best baby food brands were.

Here’s what we found.

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Pros and Cons of Cloth Diapers (As Gross as it Sounds?)

Several years ago, long before I ever thought about becoming a parent, I heard about a family member who had begun using cloth diapers for her baby.  And to be honest, my initial gut reaction was: that’s disgusting.

It’s true that today’s society is often criticized for embracing a “throw away” culture, and I agree it’s a valid complaint.  We’re far more wasteful now than we’ve ever been, in a lot of ways.

But let’s be honest here – when it comes to poopy diapers…

Doesn’t it make sense to throw them away?  

Before coming to some grand conclusion, I want to take a deep dive into cloth diapers (not literally, of course – eww) and examine how they stack up against disposable diapers.

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Ultimate Guide to The Best Childcare Options for Infants

Best Childcare Options for ParentsOne thing my wife and I have discussed and debated with regards to our baby girl is how we want to handle childcare, considering we both work full time jobs.  And I’m guessing we’re not alone in trying to figure out the best childcare options (for infants especially).

Our general debate was “daycare or in-home nanny” because those were really the only viable options to us, especially at an age when our daughter isn’t yet going to school.

However, there are obviously a lot of other options available that we first considered before narrowing it down to the two options that seemed most realistic to us.  So before I get into my specific analysis of the best childcare options, let’s go through the different types of childcare available, and the pros and cons of each.

I promise, this isn’t as difficult as it seems.

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Should I Start a 529 (College Savings) Plan for My Child?

As a parent, one of the hot topics in personal finance that you’ll often see discussed is saving for your child’s college education.

While some parents prefer to save their child’s college fund in a glass jar or underneath their mattress, there are certainly a lot of better options out there: one of which is a 529 Plan.

(Whether or not you think saving for your child’s college tuition is a good idea is a separate discussion – I discuss that here.)

The 529 plan sounds a lot more confusing and intimidating than it is, and I think that’s why some people ignore it.  And you don’t need to hire a CPA or a financial adviser to set one up – it’s actually quite easy to do yourself.

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Top 10 Books to Read to a Baby in 2017 (And the Benefits of Reading to Them)

top-10-books-for-kids-smallerThere’s no doubt you’ve heard about the importance of reading to your child, especially as he or she gets a bit older and can comprehend what you’re saying.

But even when your child is an infant – before he or she can talk or comprehend language – reading still has benefits.

But what should you read? Does it even matter when your child is a baby?

Keep reading, and not only will I get into the benefits of reading to a baby (and the science behind it), but I’ll give you a rundown of the top 10 books to read to a baby in 2017.

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How to Start a Baby Registry Online (Everything You Need to Know)

how-to-start-baby-registry-onlineSetting up a baby registry is one of those fun things you get to do before the baby is born (maybe as fun as designing the baby’s nursery).

It’s kind of like writing a Christmas list when you’re a little kid…you pick out things you want, you don’t pay for them, and you just wait and see if you get the items on your list.

It used to be that you would physically go into a store and set up a registry there (and some people still do it this way).  Friends and family would then need to go into that store to make a purchase off your registry.

But with the internet as it is today, you can do it all online much more efficiently, with a lot more options.

There are a few things to know about how to start a baby registry online, however.

I’ll get into those here, along with the many places you can register (with my personal recommendations).

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Can You Influence a Baby’s First Words? (and Should You?)

influence-baby-first-wordsA baby speaking its first word(s) is often viewed as one of the key milestones in its first 9-14 months of existence.

Which means, as a parent, you’ve spent nearly a year being babbled at.

It’s cute and all, but you’re dying for some real conversation with your infant child. The babbling has taken a toll on your vocabulary as the gibberish nonsense has now become a part of your daily conversation.

Even the dog looks confused.

confused-dog

Naturally, some parents try to speed up the process and even attempt influence their baby’s first words (see Jimmy Fallon’s book, Dada).

Can you actually influence a baby’s first words? And should you?

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5 Critical Things to Consider When Designing a New Baby Room

baby-nursery-designDesigning a new baby room is definitely one of those fun things that couples get to work on together prior to a baby’s birth.  From colors, to furniture, to overall style – there’s definitely a lot of room for creativity.

My wife and I had a pretty unique situation, in that our future baby room was, at the time…

…occupied by a bunny.

Yes, you read that correctly.

Our pet bunny had its own room.  That’s what happens when you move into a three bedroom condo and don’t have kids for a few years.

So, on top of the usual room designing tasks, we had one extra step: find a new place for the bunny to live.  I won’t bore you with those details, because chances are, you don’t have to deal with this exact scenario.

Regardless of what your situation is, however, you are probably looking to fully transform the current space.  And in doing so, there are some important factors you will want to think about.

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