This Week at the Brennan’s This Week at the Brennan’s
Getting Kids to Eat Veggies Getting Kids to Eat Veggies

The other day, I was talking to a friend about a cooking video we both had seen. In said video, the lady cooking was describing how easy it was to feed kids veggies by simply calling them “worms” or other fun names. Just like magic, ta-da!! Your kids will eat their vegetables! Now, while I admire the kids who eat their “worms”, I’m guessing the other 94% of kids will REFUSE. Not just say no nicely; straight up refuse. 

Thus this post was born.

I have three kids. Two out of the three are PICKY which means I can’t give them a bowl of mashed sweet potato, call it unicorn poop and all is well in the world. That’s not my reality folks and I know that’s not your reality either.

So, how do I get my kids to eat their veggies? It’s really quite simple:

I lie, I hide, I cover with Doritos, I cover with cheese, I dip in ranch. And when all else fails, I bribe.

And that right there is why I won’t win any parenting awards, but I don’t care. I’m giving my kids the nutrition they need (sometimes with a side of chips) and can fall into bed knowing they got some decent vitamins that day.

This Week at the Brennan’s This Week at the Brennan’s

Early Monday morning after I walked my two older kids to school, I took the subway over to the pediatric ENT where Eddie won the hearts of ALL. People in the waiting room, the two receptionists, the nurse, the ENT and the audiologist. ALL OF THEM were swooning over him…typical. He was a little more timid and shy than normal, but warmed up to everyone and even flirted a little with the nurse! He did such a good job through the hearing test and even kept some big headphones on for a good two minutes before he was annoyed and threw them to the ground.

So, after all was said and done, Eddie’s ears are totally fine! No real damage from the consistent ear infections, and his hearing is right where it needs to be. Onto speech therapy we go! Still only speaking one word, though babbles up a storm.

I’ve also noticed that when he is having a tantrum, its usually because I (or whoever) hasn’t taken the time to explain what is happening. For instance, Gordon left the apartment to go pick up our van from the parking garage. When he left, Eddie started screaming inconsolably. So, I picked him up and started explaining to him where daddy went. Once he heard my explanation, he was fine and went back to playing. He understands everything incredibly well, its just his speech that is delayed. So, I’m looking into the ins and outs of speech therapy.

Foods to Feed a Toddler Foods to Feed a Toddler

Figuring out how to feed the demanding and picky little ones in our lives can be tricky, especially when they choose to start biting and growing teeth and stop sleeping about 17 months in…not that I’m speaking from experience or anything. Ahem.

Regardless, they still have to eat and we still have to feed them. Half the battle is remembering what your third child even likes/coming up with things for them to eat and the other half is preparing. I’ve compiled a nice long list of food items that I have consistently fed my little guy with much success. I’ve also included a few of his favorite dinners (with links to the recipes!) that I’ve made in the past. Most of the time though, I am giving him slices of this, or pieces of that and pulling a meal together based on food groups, which is why the first section of this article is just that. You’ll notice the picture above is one of those meals: crackers, hummus, fruits, veggies. Not rocket science and really simple to do.

This Week at the Brennan’s This Week at the Brennan’s

Here’s what has happened this week:

So, I am a little less than smart and realized that Eddie’s appointment is THIS coming week. Not this past week. Dang, gina. So, tomorrow morning I take him in! Still fascinated to figure out what’s going on in that little body of his!

Speaking of Eddie’s little body…his hair!! It’s adorably out of control. I’ll be cutting it again. I really want to cut it short, but I don’t want to jinx getting rid of the curls, though it seems they are here to stay after the first trim.

My two friends left early Tuesday morning and it made me sad because I really like them and I forgot what it was like to live by close friends. *Sigh* One day I’ll have New York friends….one day.

Blake learned all about friends at preschool this week and even went to a pet store to visit some ‘animal friends’…Except I forgot about him going to the pet store and was throughly confused when he came home one day saying he wanted a guinea pig. (The best part about field trips with the school is you just walk wherever you want to go because everything is so darn close!! I love the opportunities they get!!)

Brooke and Blake are pretty convinced we are getting a kitten or a puppy once Eddie is out of diapers, but I keep telling them “Dad is allergic!!” Brooke is a little sassy though and responds quickly with a “well, Dad is hardly ever here, so what’s the big deal??”

She’s completely right on that one (but only for 5 more weeks!) and then it’ll be back to “Dad’s allergic”. By the way, the deposit for a small animal in my building is $1000. So, it’s a firm no.

This Week at the Brennan’s This Week at the Brennan’s

Oh, mama! Another busy week in the books!

Here’s what happened this week:

Welllllllll, I started my week saying goodbye to Gordon and saying hello to two dear friends who came to visit me! I convinced them to come to NYC to help me with a few big photo and recipe shoots for a holiday e-magazine I’m putting together for you all! We were cooking, cleaning and decorating up a storm while taking as many little sight seeing breaks as possible amongst the madness.

This week was crazy, decorating for Christmas, shooting 17 (!!!) recipes, keeping three kids alive, etc.. But a big chunk of the work is done and over with and I can’t wait to put it all together so you all can have this resource in your kitchen to keep you sane during the holidays! Sanity seems to be my number one priority. Always.

This Week at the Brennan’s This Week at the Brennan’s

This week was filled with lots of food and business, as per usual!

Here’s what happened this week:

Well, I’m working on a wee little Christmas project which involves lots of recipe testing and lots of picture taking. This week, I’ve been doing a TON of testing…meaning no gym time and lots of eating. So I’ve been picking up some poundage. GO ME! More details of this project to come in November and December 😉

Brooke had volleyball this week and is starting to enjoy it a little more! Her first week was kind of a bust because she felt unprepared, like the game of volleyball had changed once we crossed state lines and it was foreign to her. But this week was totally different! They were working on a different skill, and she got partnered with a girl coach which made all the difference (in my opinion). So, yay! She’s back to liking it again.

Blake also started Soccer this week and so far loves it. But, it’s mostly just running at this point, so we’ll see how he progresses. That boy is such a goofball and a ray of sunshine wherever he goes. I love him so so much.

I’ve noticed my eyes getting worse and worse and one of my teeth starting to hurt. So I’ve been wearing my glasses and amping up my flossing game. I know I should floss a lot more than I do, but MAMA TIRED.

Gordon came back this weekend and we really didn’t get to spend a whole lot of alone time together because of our kids sports and general attention they need. I saw a lot of him in passing. So, better luck next weekend? 7 more weeks to go until he works out of NYC!! Not that I’m counting or anything.

Links and Love Links and Love

Hi Friends!

I’ve been getting a lot of emails and questions on Instagram over these past few weeks about the different products I tend to plug again and again. I thought I’d make it easier for ya and put them all in one place. There are all sorts of things I’ve linked to though the lifetime of my blog, but these are going to be the ones I’ve been talking about for the past month or so 🙂

And incase you’re wondering, yes, I am starting to feel more comfortable and at home in NYC. I think school and a schedule has really helped. I also think my attitude adjustment has really helped too, which is in large part to my Happiness List. It only took me 7 months of my husband being gone and away for me to get it figured out!! Haha! Oh dear. Change is not my strong suit. But, now that we are settled and have our little lives somewhat together, it has gotten a ton easier. Plus a gratitude and self love journal has really helped too! I’d highly recommend both! It’ll work wonders in your life.

ANYWAYS, lets get these links rolling.

This Week at the Brennan’s This Week at the Brennan’s

This past week has been great!! Back to school is HERE! Yes!

Here’s what happened this week:

My biggest news to share is Brooke and Blake started school this past week and we are so excited about it! Well, I’m probably most excited about it, then Blake, then Brooke. Haha! I’ve had my kids with me 24/7 since June 1st when we were rolling out of Idaho on our way to NYC. So yeah, this day couldn’t come fast enough for me. We all thrive off of schedules, proper bedtimes and the same daily patterns so we are thriving now that school has started.

Blake got seriously lucky by getting admission to the same school Brooke got into and his teacher is amazing! I couldn’t be happier. It is such a huge blessing to have them at the same school, not just because it makes my life so easy (I drop them off and pick them both up at the same time in the same place), but because their elementary school is considered to be a very good public school. I was really concerned that I wouldn’t be able to figure out the school system because its so different in the city, but after making lots of calls and getting our apartment, it was much easier than anticipated. So hooray!

This Week at the Brennan’s This Week at the Brennan’s

Hi Friends!!

You probably noticed I took a few days off from blogging 🙂 Since it was the long weekend and since I posted every day last week (unheard of!!) I took full advantage of the Labor Day weekend with my family. You probably caught a glimpse of what we did on my Instagram Stories, which is to be expected! We had a fun time being together, as per usual.

Friday Things Friday Things

Hi Friends!

I wanted to quickly pop in and say Hallelujah!! School is starting for my kids next week and I’m so so excited 🙂 Brooke realized today that school is literally starting in just a few days and it got her all nervous. She’s so cute! Still working out where Blake will go since he’s still on the waitlist for preschool at a couple of spots, including the same school as Brooke. We’ll see if anything comes to fruition with that.

Also, if you don’t follow me on Instagram, you totally should! Not everything you find on the blog will be published on Instagram and vice versa. The same goes for all of my social media accounts, actually. Just trying to keep it all fresh…plus I can’t keep up and syndicate them all. I need a nap just thinking about it. Most days, I need naps.

What are you doing for Labor Day? We are heading to the Hamptons because its close and we’ve never been! What are all the things to see and delicious places to eat at? I’m packing lots of healthy snacks for the in betweens, but I’d love to get your opinions. I’ve heard Ina Garten mention that Duryea’s Lobster Deck and 1770 house were good?! Thoughts? Kid-friendly spots only please 🙂

Mommy-Daughter Date in Eataly Mommy-Daughter Date in Eataly

I took Brooke on a Mommy-Daughter date today! Not only because it was raining and I was feeling blah, but because I love having a daughter that wants to do girly things with me, plus school is going to start soon and her brothers were really bothering her today. It was just a last minute decision that totally worked out in our favor.

Here are a few photos from our trip to Eataly. (I wish that was Italy, but for now, Eataly will have to do!)

For those of you who don’t know what Eataly is, it is an Italian marketplace with various cafes, counters and restaurants. Lots of authentic, Italian foods (like two zillion cuts of pasta!!) are available for purchase as well as amazing options within the different restaurants. We went to the Flatiron District location.

We were able to mostly take our time and just explore. Eataly is huge!! At first it seems small, but it just kept going! Lots of different sections and I’m dying to go back to just eat meat and cheese. (Not quite what Brooke had in mind for our little date. Haha!)

When I started this blog, Brooke was just 6 months old and that girl has grown up with a mother who loves food, so she is blossoming into a mini foodie and New York is *the perfect* landscape for us! (Also, hi to all you wonderful readers who have been following along since I only had one kid!!)

This Week at the Brennan’s This Week at the Brennan’s

‘ve just spent the last two hours researching NYC real estate and avoiding writing this post. And by researching, I mean dreaming. But it was fun while it lasted! Ha!

Here’s what happened this week:

The beginning of the week, my kids started their second half of day camp. They started doing field trips to other parts of the city which thankfully saved a lot of the morning arguments over why they HAD to go to camp. (“Mommy will go crazy if you stay home.”)

So they went to camp and I got my work done. 

I went to the dermatologist on Tuesday and it was the best experience ever. Like, where has this woman been all my life? I have some scarring on the sides of my face from acne and I wanted to get her opinion of what to do. I also had a few other questions too, but first she wanted to address my adult acne because I STILL HAVE IT. Props to all you other ladies having to deal with work, home, family, kids, life AND acne. We cannot catch a break.

Anyways, she asked me how willing I was to x, y and z and I said “DO IT ALL!!” 

My Happiness List My Happiness List

I’ve gotten a lot of feedback about my latest This Week at the Brennan’s where I mentioned my Happy List!

There was a good chunk of time this year where I was so drained, emotionally, physically and mentally that nothing sounded fun and nothing seemed like it would make me happy. How could it when I was going a million miles a minute? BUT, now that I’m starting to settle into this new life in New York and all our boxes are unpacked and I feel like I’m getting a grip on things, I am starting to ease up, relax and find happiness and joy in the more simple pleasures of life. Some are cheap, some are free and some are more expensive….the point is it’s good to have a list of things that make you happy for those times when things get a little uncomfortable or busy or stressful.

Maybe your list will look a lot like my list or maybe it will look much different. It doesn’t really matter. But after going through what I went through, I’ve learned in order to maintain balance and happiness in your life, you can’t sprint a marathon. Parts of my life I have sprinted, but it’s completely unreasonable to think it’s managable or maintainable. Hence giving myself time for things I like to do or want to do. So, here is my list! I’d love to hear other things that could be on your list….maybe I’ll have to add more to mine!!

Mom Life Mom Life

Nothing can fully prepare you for parenthood. You think you’re prepared emotionally, physically and mentally, but once your baby comes shooting out of you….you realize you’re not. Labor, breastfeeding and changing those first few diapers certainly prepare you for what’s to come. I do recall my husband changing Brooke’s first dirty diaper in the hospital saying “holy crap”. No pun intended. Our sweet nurse was like “her bowels are working! Hooray!” and we were like “wait, this is normal?”

It’s so precious that we were so young and naive about it all!

Three kids later, and yeah, not everything is figured out perfectly because things are always changing because LIFE. (Hello, my name is Lauren and I just moved to New York City with my three kids.)

This Week at the Brennan’s This Week at the Brennan’s

This past week was Brooke and Blake’s first week of camp! Those two have a love-hate relationship with this day camp I signed them up for. Some days they love it, some days they hate it! I make them go regardless because its good for them. Plus I’M THE MOM. 

They get to swim, play sports, work on arts and crafts and do other things that I can’t think of. And I get to stay home with Eddie and work! Except the nanny still comes and has one kid to watch instead of 3! It’s pretty great 🙂

Eddie realized that he fits through the ladder on the bunk bed and gets stuck there every once in a while. We know he is stuck because he just screams and screams. 

Eddie can also run!! Well, sort of. He tries really hard, but it mostly looks like a shuffle.

This Week at the Brennan’s This Week at the Brennan’s

Hello again, friends! I’ve tried to sit down and write this post quite a few times, but my mom brain is getting the better of me, as is my attention span. Hello, FRIENDS bloopers. But I will power through and give this a whirl.

Here’s what happened this week:

I love making goals for myself and trying to accomplish them. Earlier in the week, I had a few conference calls that put a few things into motion that would allow me to take small steps towards greater, much larger goals for myself. I’m so excited about all that stuff! Of course its a little daunting because its a TON of work to put in and make the effort, but I’m excited nonetheless. 

Also, my nanny gets an A++ this week for just showing up and being here. My kids are getting the hang of her and she is getting used to them and their personalities. It’s grand! And I really love that I get uninterrupted time to myself but still plenty of time with the kids. I’ve been with them 24/7, nonstop since school ended in Idaho at the beginning of June. Mama is ready for Brooke and Blake to head back to school! 

Family Photos in Central Park Family Photos in Central Park

So excited to be sharing our family photos from when we were in Central Park a few weeks ago! The lovely and talented Kylie Whiting took all of these gorgeous images and we are so happy we have memories documented from when we first moved to the city. I’m glad we have these smiles on file because 2017 hasn’t been all rainbows and sunshine. It’s been a hard year for all of us (and it’s only August!) This is proof that there are good days amidst the bad/hard/tiring/frustrating/lonely ones. Seasons change as we grow and we’re mostly excited to see what this big city has in store for us.

Whenever we end up leaving New York City, we are going to take more photos to compare and to see how much we’ve grown and inevitably gotten older.

Eddie of course stole the show and we had sweat dripping off of us by the end of this session, but by golly these photos were worth it!

This Week at the Brennan’s This Week at the Brennan’s

We did a *leetle* traveling with our littles!!

Here’s what happened this week:

The beginning of the week was pretty uneventful. I live for uneventful!

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday were great days of me crossing off items on my to-do list. I have so much work that has gone unnoticed over the last few months that I am so happy to clear my mind and my psyche!

My nanny has been so helpful and just having time to myself to get it all done has been super helpful. Most of the time, I can work WITH kids, but it takes me three times as long to get anything accomplished. I’m so grateful to Melanie!! (Her name is Melanie.)

Same old same old. Lots of laundry, lots of cleaning. Mom responsibilities. Ya know.

On Thursday morning we left New York and drove to DC (only 3 hours!!) and have been here exploring and eating and exploring some more!

Of course there will be a more specific post on the details of our trip coming up this week, but for the time being let me tell you the highlights:

Home Boy is 32! Home Boy is 32!

My husband had a birthday a few days ago and I didn’t post really anything about it, besides a few things on Instagram. Well, today I thought I’d share a few photos from years past. There are lots of you that are newer readers and don’t really know the history or background on us, so this will catch you up real quick 🙂

We’ve known each other nearly 14 years (holy moly) and met in college. We were just friendly acquaintances for about 3 years before the lightbulb clicked that I was the most glorious girl on planet earth for him. We started dating in March ’07, got engaged 10 years ago yesterday (!!!) and were married by November. Never ever have I regretted that decision.

Our lives over the past 10 years have had a lot of ups and downs, but generally we’ve been getting better and better with age and three kids later he is still in the hot husband club, regardless of losing his hair. 😉

Here are some of my favorite pictures of my favorite person.

Happy birthday, Gordon! I’m so glad you were born.

This Week at the Brennan’s This Week at the Brennan’s

So much good happened this week! We are staying busy for sure…story of our lives!

Here’s what happened this week:

I HIRED A NANNY! She’s only part time (18 hours/week) but it is so wonderful! I can sit down quietly at my desk, close the door and work. I love writing everything out in big long to-do lists and then crossing everything off. Its the best. I still sometimes work into the night because no husband, but that’s ok! I feel my sanity slowly returning.

I took my kids to Chelsea Market this week to see the different food stores and options and get some yummy doughnuts. I did not have enough hands to hold my kids high enough to see the doughnuts being made at the Doughnuttery. More details below on that. I must must must go back to Chelsea Market on my own to browse and take it all in. Plus Anthropologie is there! I love looking at all their stuff. 

I don’t have any pictures of Brooke to share, but she got a hair cut this week! It’s right to her chin, just where she likes it. That girl HATES getting knots in her hair and can’t seem to brush them out sufficiently enough…so I brush them out for her with all the detangled in New York City and still she hates it. I tried to convince her to keep it long, but she wanted it short, so bye bye long hair.

She also has a very loose front top tooth. Any day now! 

Eddie at 18 months Eddie at 18 months

This boy is exactly 18 months TODAY!!  I can’t believe that a year and a half ago, I was in the hospital with him.

Eating

This boy continues to amaze me! He will eat and love everything my other kids hate. Tomatoes, for instance, is one of his favorites. Pasta, rice, cucumbers, carrots, cereal, oatmeal, yogurt, pizza, waffles, bananas, peaches are some of his favorites. He also does not like cheese crackers of any kind. Brooke and Blake LOVE goldfish crackers, but Eddie just throws them and wants nothing to do with them. Also, ice cream isn’t his favorite either. I think it’s too cold?

He’s a little more adventurous too. If I put something new in front of him, he will always try it. He also LOVES to dip. Anything to dip into anything is his JAM. Fries into ketchup. Pretzels into hummus. Crackers into egg salad. You name it, he will dip it!

He is still on the small side, but I think thats more related to genetics and not because of his hearty appetite. 😉

A Fish out of Water A Fish out of Water

When Gordon and I were first married, I told him I’d love to live in New York City.

“Why?” he asked puzzled.

“Because it would be so fun! But only if we were millionaires.” 

Well, we finally got our opportunity to move and we took it. (Still not millionaires but working on it 😉 )

After we moved into the city, I was so excited. What an adventure! So much to see and do! A lot of people were excited and jealous for us and we definitely did get some sarcastic “GOOD LUCK” comments. But truth be told, the excitement has mostly worn off and the reality is hitting me that I still don’t have a husband around to help, my tiny apartment still needs someone to clean it, I still have work to do and my kids still like to argue….a lot! I know there are good things happening all around me too, like Eddie transitioning into his new big boy bed so smoothly, but sometimes when you’re stuck in a rut, its extra hard to see the good. 

This Week at the Brennan’s This Week at the Brennan’s

What a week what a week! We were busy with my side of the family and then traveling….again. We’re certainly staying busy this summer.

Here’s what happened this week:

We started out the week in Canada with my family. Last Sunday, we drove home from camping and enjoyed sleeping in actual beds, though I had a sweet set up in my tent with just Eddie and my way better than an air mattress sleeping choice 😉 

Once we all tended to our bug bites and battle scars, we mostly just pool hopped! I wish I could have joined Brooke on a few of the many occasions she swam, but I was typically home with both boys so she could do her own thing with her cousins in the deep end.

Oh, and that brings me to another thing! Brooke was totally swimming around in the deep end with no life jacket or anything! Usually, she would never attempt anything like this even though she KNOWS how to swim…she just usually has a few hiccups between transitioning between treading water and actual swimming. But my sister was like “I thought she could swim just fine BECAUSE SHE WAS SWIMMING JUST FINE” once the group got home. So, apparently, Brooke can swim just fine in the deep end. Go Brooke!