Lexi’s Favorite Snacks

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Best for Baby, BUSY MOM TIPS, Cooking, FOR MOMS, Fun as a Toddler Mom, Health and Fitness, Life as a Toddler, PRODUCTS, Tried and True


I haven’t written about what we eat in a long time. Tastes and routines evolve and so do our eating habits, so I want to update what our favorite on-the-go snacks of the moment are.

We still prefer fresh organic whole foods like fruit and vegetables to anything else. However there are times where packing a lunchbox full of perishables isn’t a good idea. Living in Florida doesn’t really help it. So during those days, we resort to nuts  and packaged snacks. I personally love going through the snack isle at Whole Foods trying to discover different types of snacks that would be better than what we are already eating.  This list below applies to both me and Lexi. In fact, our eating habits aren’t that different with the exception that I eat less healthy than she is (I am adult. I can. That’s my excuse)


So these are the things we enjoy together.


Seaweed snacks

This one blew my mind. One day we were sitting at the beach with our friends and my girlfriend Carla showed me roasted seaweed sheets that her 3 year old was obsessed with. She swore that Lexi would go crazy over them. I smelled the snack and ew! I am not a person who is normally grossed out by food. But I couldn’t believe Lexi would want to eat that. Two minutes later, she had devoured the whole package and moved onto the second one.

We have been buying these snacks since then and it is absolutely the most favorite thing of hers to eat on the go. A year later and I am now starting to dig them from time to time myself. Open mind, I’ll tell ya, keep an open mind. We can’t order them fast enough from Amazon. Just FYI, do not buy wasabi and teriyaki flavor is the best.

BUY HERE: Seaweed Roasted Snacks


goodnessknows snack squares


I consider this a treat which is one of the reasons why it is so awesome. Packed with nutty goodness, fruit/berries and DARK chocolate with specifically retained phytonutrients, it acts like a treat, but is natural and wholesome.

While technically these are a snack I use the word “treat” with Lexi, so she eats these instead of bad treats. It has chocolate, so she is happy. And it is loaded with wholesome nuts, oats and berries, so I am happy. Win win. Natural and tasty treat. 

Wholesome toddler snacks

Each goodnessknows package contains 150 calories, no artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners. My favorite part is  that it’s divided  into 4 pieces so you’re not tempted to eat the whole bar and give it out as little squares

My favorite is Peach & Cherry with almond and dark chocolate flavor. Lexi loves the apple, almond&peanut, dark chocolate ones. goodness

BUY HERE: Amazon

FIND RETAILERS: goodnessknows


Edamame peas

Lexi lovingly calls them “mommy peas” ( aw which breaks my heart as I am writing this on the plane to Vegas away from my girl)

When we make them at home, we always buy organic, since they are soy beans and soy is ALL pretty much GMO, unless it’s organic or Non-GMO certified. Unfortunately at the restaurants we can’t really chose organic and non-GMO, so we eat whatever they serve.

You can buy bags of frozen organic edamame peas that are quickly prepared in boiling water and make for a great snack at home or for a lunch box.

BUY HERE: Organic Edamame Peas



Prunes and Dried  apricots

This is a total throwback to my childhood. My mom used to give them to us and only when I became an adult, did I appreciate their taste of prunes. I love them now and so does Lexi. If dehydrated properly, they are a nutritional powerhouse.

BUY HERE: Dried Apricots | Prunes


GoRaw bar

I found this bar browsing in Whole Foods for snacks that we could take on a plane with us. My favorite is the banana bread. It has FOUR (4!!!!!) ingredients, all organic. It tastes great, and is very filling. The banana bread has flaxseeds, banana, dates and coconuts in them.

BUY HERE: GoRaw bar


This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of goodnessknows. The opinions and text are all mine.

Panorama and Things You Did Not Know About Prenatal Testing

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, BUMP UPDATES, FOR MOMS, HEALTH, Health and Fitness, My Pregnancy, New Mom Experience, Pre-CONCEPTION, PREGNANCY, Pregnancy Q of the week


I would like to officially announce that I have been selected to be one of the Panorama Moms this year. What that means is that I will be learning and writing about prenatal, genetic carrier, preimplantation and other types of pregnancy related testing available by Natera. It’s an interesting learning experience and I hope that it will also help some of my readers make testing decisions that are safer and more accurate than the traditional testing.

When you are having a baby there is so much on your mind.  You are always thinking about the health and safety of your baby first in almost every daily task that you take on.  Then the doctors present prenatal testing to you as an option. Maybe you had higher than normal numbers, maybe your age is considered “advanced maternal age”. Whatever the case is there is a huge amount of stress and anxiety associated with the safety of your baby.   There is so much to know about prenatal testing and it’s important to be well informed before you go in for testing, so in this point I am going to try to lay out some of the information available to me.

My Little Kitchen Helper

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Best for Baby, BUSY MOM TIPS, Cooking, FOR MOMS, Fun as a Toddler Mom, Health and Fitness, Life as a Toddler, Other Recommendations, PHOTO, Photo Stories, PRODUCTS, TODDLER


I know that I’ve slacked in the department of product reviews since getting busier, but I am hoping to fix that in the near future and trickle out reviews of some of my favorite things or at least compile them into the TRIED and TRUE posts.

This is going to be more of a story of how our life evolved with the product than an actual review, but in so writing about it, you will get a good idea whether you might enjoy this product as much as we did or not.

This particular item has sneakily made its way into our life in more ways than I anticipated. We had featured a Kitchen Helper on Daily Mom, right at the time when I was struggling to keep Lexi occupied while I cooked. I had also heard good things about it from MULTIPLE people. So I thought it was a worth product to try and see if it solves our little problem. Our first test was Easter Cooking out of all things. I took an egg nest recipe from Daily Mom (of course), Lexi and I put on our favorite Mommy and Me aprons and we started cooking.

Perfect Exercise Routine for Busy Moms

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, Fun as a Toddler Mom, GET FIT, Health and Fitness, My Pregnancy, New Mom Experience, PREGNANCY, TODDLER



Can I start this post with UGH?

I really didn’t think I’d be here at this point, but whatever.

Let me start from the beginning. Or actually let me start with this phrase:

I was in better shape right after birth than I am now ( at the time of writing).

Bam! That blows! It took 3 years (pregnancy and 2 toddler years) to UNDO all the work I had done prior to pregnancy.

People often ask me how I stayed so fit and “skinny” after birth. Before, I could have told them something worthwhile. Now I just chuckle. I looked good after birth because I was REALLY fit going INTO pregnancy.

What went wrong?

Morning and Evening Bike Rides

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, Daily, Fun as a Toddler Mom, GET FIT, Health and Fitness, LIFE, Life as a Toddler, New Mom Experience, PHOTO, TODDLER


A while ago when Lexi was 1.5 years old, we decided that it was time to start biking as a family. Prior to that time, we weren’t so sure that Lexi would even sit in a bike seat, since getting her to sit in a stroller was pretty challenging as it is.

So after looking around for bike seats, I narrowed it down to one seat that I felt was absolutely perfect for Lexi, Yepp Mini. It was a front facing bike seat made of a softer material and had the potential of actually helping her enjoy the bike ride versus sitting in the back and not seeing much but our backs. It was sort of like using a carrier when she was little- she would absolutely refuse to be back carried or be rear-facing. It had to be front facing at all times. So pretty excited about the prospect of actually being able to go on bike rides with Lexi, we got the seat, installed it and took off for a first ride.

It was PERFECT! I cannot recommend the seat enough! Even though she hated any other mode of transportation, riding a bike was fun for her. She was facing the world and the wind and seeing the sights and it was fast and exciting. I really feel it was the seat that made a huge difference in how she perceives biking.

Baby’s got glasses and what we, as parents, should know about sight!

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, FOR MOMS, Fun as a Toddler Mom, HEALTH, Health and Fitness, Life as a Toddler, New Mom Experience, Parenting, TODDLER

Baby got Glasses

About a few weeks ago, we made a decision to get Lexi glasses. After a yearly trip to an ophthalmologist, we found out that Lexi was nearsighted (she can see well close up but not far away) and could possibly need glasses. The doctor didn’t seem so sure that she HAD to have them, if we didn’t want to get them, but after figuring out how she must be seeing and reading up on some studies, we decided that it was necessary.  So that same day, we took her to a local lens store and got her two pairs of glasses.

We had an idea that it would happen sooner or later, as Andrew’s side of the family have all  been in glasses since a very early age, especially the females. Given that childhood onset myopia (nearsightedness) is primarily genetic, we figured she would need glasses at some point, but, of course, hoped that she wouldn’t, since no one in my side of family was myopic before 17 years of age (which is the age where the line between a genetically inherited childhood onset myopia and adult myopia gets drawn).

My kitchen help

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Cooking, Health and Fitness, Other Recommendations, PRODUCTS

kitchen helpers

I wouldn’t be able to cook and get meals done the way I do if it wasn’t for these handy appliances.

Here is what I use virtually on daily basis.

kitchen helpers

Fagor Juicer

{holy crap, it’s on sale on amazon for 42% off!!!)

I’ve only recently started making my own juices but that was something on my to-do list for years. Little did I know what a difference it makes in the taste of the juice. If you haven’t tried squeezing your own apple juice or orange juice, come over to my house and I’ll do it for you, because it is SERIOUSLY night and day. It’s like the juices you drink at restaurants and buy at the grocery stores aren’t juices at all, even if they are organic and not from concentrate.

fagor 3

The biggest two complaints I’ve heard about juicers from friends and online reviews are that they are hard to clean and assemble/take apart or that they are too hard to use ( especially when it comes to manual juicers).

I have zero complaints about our Fagor Juicer. Once I figured out how to take it apart, it was a breeze – 5 different parts to clean that easily snap in and out of the juicer and rinse clean with simple water, as long as you don’t let the juice bits sit on it for hours. I am not kidding: you just run them under running water and voila (Depending on the fruit sometimes you have to help the stuck skin from under the disposal shute)


The juicing part is easy. You throw cut up fruit inside and it pours juice out of one end and waste out of the other. It rarely gets stuck or clogged. I honestly have zero issues with it and it makes perfect juice.
It’s considered a slow juicer which means it takes its time to get out every possible drop of juice from the fruit, preserving vitamins, minerals and all the nutrients. All the materials that come in contact with food are BPA free.


While for those of us who eat fruits and vegetables on daily basis, juicing  might not be such a big deal, aside from  the taste standpoint, for average eaters who rely more on meats or processed food, juicing is almost a must because you can cram so many more fruits and vegetables into a glass of juice than you can actually eat in one sitting. So if you or your baby isn’t a fan of the green stuff, juice it with something sweet and have them drink it – perfect solution! You can find a ton of tasty recipes online by googling “juicing recipes”.


Cuisinart Multi-cooker


I heard about multi-cookers from my sister who lives in Russia who swears it’s the solution of all world’s problems.
It really is pretty neat. I have a Cuisinart 3-in-1 multicooker (as you can see from the sticker that I didn’t bother removing for months. lol. Also it’s on sale on Amazon as well.) I am not sure if everyone is familiar with the concept, because I didn’t know what it was prior to her mentioning it. It’s basically like a slow cooker with several settings: slow, steam and sautee/brown. It really is as simple as it seems. You throw a bunch of food inside, close the lid and set the correct setting and the timer. On the saute function they recommend that you stir occasionally but otherwise it really can be left to its own devices.


It is especially helpful because I barely have any time to cook, but it’s something I HAVE TO DO, so I try to find ways to make it less of a time consuming process without sacrificing food quality.

This cooker works well with both veggies and meats on both slow and saute functions. It’s huge and the finish does not contain any cancer causing chemicals (PTFE/PFOA) that are commonly found in non-stick surfaces (I emailed the company and checked). Cooking beans is a breeze on the slow cooker option, vegetables do great on the sautee setting and I would imagine meats would do great in it too.


The pot itself is removable so you don’t have to move the whole appliance to clean it or serve food. Temperature can be set custom, there is a timer and my favorite “keep warm” feature.

Meals I usually make in it are any type of vegetable combinations, potatoes and mushrooms, beans and peas. It works out really great because I often make 2-4 meals at a time and this doesn’t have to crowd the stove surfaces.


MiTutto Hand Blender

Oh wow, what a tool!

I always despised using those big kitchen appliances that chopped things because they were a pain to clean. At the same time, blenders were not up to par either, because they would only puree/chop up the bottom of the food pile and leave the top untouched. You’d have to shake it in order to get the top food down to the blades.

MiTutto is like this kitchen “wand” that does pretty much everything. It has a bunch of adapters for aerating, whipping, mixing, chopping, crushing, pureeing food, so it replaces many appliances and can be used in any dish not just the provided one.


The two major uses of MiTutto for me are to make purees for popsicle and smoothies and to get vegetables chopped evenly. The even chopping part is pretty self-explanatory and it’s most likely due to the small and evenly sized bowl. But where it really shines, at least for me, is the pureeing part.  See, because it’s a handheld wand, when you puree fruits or vegetables, you can control the angle and pressure of it. That makes it easy because you can push down on the fruits/vegetables to force them to mush even if they are “resisting” like it often happens in traditional blenders.

Does that make sense? It takes seconds to get things pureed. It comes with a convenient measuring cup with a spout for easy pouring: seriously a great tool starting from baby pureed solids to any kind of daily cooking.


Homemade Popsicle recipe

I wanted to share this amazing popsicle recipe I came up with using the MiTutto wand. The ingredients are really interchangeable and I only came upon this because those were the only three ingredients we had in our house. I would not necessarily recommend any of these brands of ingredients specifically. Normally I would go for an organic peanut butter and soy milk creamer, because the coconut one turned out to have titanium dioxide in it (what?). So if you try this recipe, just replace the ingredient brands with the ones that you like to use. I’ve been asked for this recipe a few times on Instagram – it’s really delicious.



1 pear

1 spoonful of Peanut Butter (other butter)

1/3 of a cup sweetened creamer ( coconut, soy, dairy- whatever you use)

Add to the blender or MiTutto cup and blend. Pour into a popsicle mold, freeze.

Lexi ate the whole thing in one sitting. A huge hit.

Week in Food

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Cooking, Daily, Fun as a Toddler Mom, Health and Fitness, LIFE, Life as a Toddler, TODDLER

toddler food

I’ve been asked to do this post by multiple people, I’m just sorry it took me so long.

Warning: I am not a good food photographer. In fact, I kinda suck at it! I just don’t have the time or the patience (I’m super impatient!) to stage and snap pretty shots. So if you’re weirded out by food or whatever, skip it. If you wanted to know what Lexi eats on a weekly basis, read on.

Toddler Routines: Meal Times

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, Daily, Fun as a Toddler Mom, Health and Fitness, LIFE, Life as a Toddler, New Mom Experience, TODDLER

Continuing the routines series, I would like to write about our current eating/feeding process, and a follow up post with an average week of meals.


The “cooking for Lexi” process really happens randomly and is almost never planned, sort of like for us. I try to make enough food to for her to last 2-3 meals and it’s usually rounded enough that she could eat it all day long if we needed to and still get plenty of nutrition and vitamins. According to what I read, at 18 months a breastfed toddler still gets 50% of his/her nutrition from breastmilk which is a staggering number for me. In the morning, when Andrew takes her and I either catch up on sleep or get an hour or two of work done, he usually gives her fruit (per my instructions, though he does tend to forget sometimes) while he quickly cooks hard boiled eggs, peas and broccoli. Those are his staples, and those are the foods she likes to eat now (along with many others). The reason for fruit in the morning is something I have written about in the past, but I’ll mention it again.

Nature vs. Nurture – A Shocking Discovery

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, FOR MOMS, Fun as a Toddler Mom, HEALTH, New Mom Experience, Parenting, TODDLER

Nature vs Nurture- A shocking Discovery

I was at the airport in Vegas getting reading to board the plane to fly back home to Florida….

I was in the hurry at the time, with the gates literally closing within 5 minutes, but I knew that my husband was running behind after having to drop off the rental car, so I wouldn’t get on the plane without him anyways. I had Lexi in a my Emotion stroller ( which is by the way ridiculously awesome for airplane travel) and 3 carry-ons with me, but I was determined to get some water and reading materials for the flight. After browsing their magazine stand and not finding anything that would interest me, I made my way to the book area and after skipping all the romance novels, I saw this book, called “How Children Succeed” and I thought the title was good enough for me to make it an entertaining and at the same time educational read while Alexis sleeps on the plane.

Little did I know that that book would become the kind of parenting science/child psychology/biology book that you devour and then recommend to all your friends and blog about.

So here I am, so impressed with it, that I am writing this post while riding in the car from Orlando.

Let me start with a piece of advice for everyone reading this:

Go on Amazon.com ( or wherever it is you buy books) and order this book immediately! It does not matter whether you are 16 years old, 50 years old, or childless. It is seriously that impressive and interesting to anyone who has ever been interested in why people turn out they way they do and what makes some people successful and well rounded individuals while others seem to struggle at everything they do, how much parenting really influences us and our children. This book has insights,  parts of which I have read in numerous parenting and psychology books I have gone through over the year, yet no one book has ever summed everything up and traced it from the beginning to the end, rather than rely on us trusting its conclusions.