Chick-fil-A vs. McDonalds.

Ok, so I want to be a Chick-fil-A Mom. You know, the kind of mama that doesn’t feed her kid fast food except sometimes we go to Chick-fil-A as a treat. Where the chicken looks like chicken and the toy is a book so I can feel good about my parenting choices.

(And I actually am a literal #chickfilamom this year as I am on the Chick-fil-A Moms Panel which is super cool but I’m still waiting for my free chicken sandwiches. Do I get free chicken sandwiches? Because I want and love free chicken sandwiches. Maybe later? Ok.)

But here’s the thing. If I am having a Good Mom(TM) kind of day, I probably packed a healthy and delicious lunch already. And maybe I fed Babystar some chia seed waffles and a spinach smoothie for breakfast.

And probably we are singing.

Those are usually not the kinds of days that we stop for Fast Food Lunches.

We stop for Fast Food Lunches when it is already 3:00 and I have seven things left on my to-do list. And I only started with eight.

We stop for Fast Food Lunches when the entire day has been full of tantrums and I am broken and just want to sit down someplace agreeable to the ToddlerMonster so I can calm tf down and think for a minute.

We stop for Fast Food Lunches when I didn’t sleep the night before and I kind of just forgot that kids need to eat until I notice that all the other mamas at the park have snacks (and brushed hair) and I am digging in the bottom of my backpack for a squished granola bar.

Those days usually mean McDonald’s. McDonald’s are EVERYWHERE so a McDonald’s lunch doesn’t require too much actual planning. If you want to go to McDonald’s, you basically just drive in one direction for two to ten minutes until you find a McDonald’s.

I now have very strong opinions on both McDonald’s and Chick-fil-A.

McDonald’s sells a $2.99 Happy Meal that includes a tiny serving of French fries AND a choice of apple slices or yogurt. Fries AND Fruit. Plus four kinda-gross, maybe-chicken nuggets. And a drink (currently Mott’s apple juice but they are switching to Honest). Lately, they have been giving out My Little Pony toys and Babystar LOVES ponies. Also, McDonald’s are literally NEVER EVER crowded because there are so many of them, I guess. And no one wants to go inside. The customer service inside is always lacking. And the dining experience is subpar. But you get fries AND fruit. FRIES AND FRUIT.

Chick-fil-A is always crowded and for good reason. Everyone inside is super nice or faking it extremely well. The tables are clean. I love that they clean the tables. Such a basic luxury. The Under 3 toy is always a board book, and the board books are a big hit with Babystar. She has a stack in every room plus the van. The cheapest kid’s meal at our Chick-fil-A is the one-strip meal at $3.29. Sometimes Babystar eats some of the chicken. Mostly she just wants fries and fruit. Which is not an option at Chick-fil-A. You get chicken plus fries OR fruit and a drink (aka Honest apple juice). I have asked at the counter if I could substitute fries for the chicken. I am pretty sure potatoes are cheaper than chicken, and we were out with our vegan friends (one of whom is two years old). The answer was no. And if they rang in everything separately: fries, fruit cup, apple juice, and a toy, the total was over $6. Annoying.

My Chick-fil-A Hack: I order the fruit cup for Babystar with her meal, and then upsize MY fries from medium to large for an extra twenty cents. Then I  share some of my fries with her; there are always enough for both of us. Of course, this only works if you are getting an adult meal with the kids meal. I always am. If you have a bunch of kids, just get them the fruit and then one large fry to share.

Which is your favorite? Chick-fil-A or McDonald’s? Or is there another, better, kid-friendly fast food place that we should all know?

So, anyway I did at least manage to Babystar in October. We went to McDonald’s quite often. October was kind of a bitch.

  • waffles $2.99, $2.50, $2.50, $2.99, $2.99, $2.99 (I am raising Leslie Knope)
  • bananas $1.47, $1.14. $0.87
  • blueberries $2.99, $2.99
  • turkey pepperoni $4.39
  • strawberries $3.49
  • TJ Mac & Cheese $2.99, $2.99
  • frozen pizza $2.98, $2.98, $2.98
  • salmon $3.00
  • bread $2.99, $2.99
  • TJ potato crunchies $1.99
  • peanut butter $2.29
  • TJ vegan bars $2.29, $2.29, $2.29, $2.29
  • Roast turkey $8.19
  • TJ fruit bars $1.99, $1.99, $1.99, $1.99
  • apples and pears from the orchard $28
  • cookies from the orchard $4
  • TJ letter cookies $2.99
  • Honest juice $3.99, $3.99
  • eggs $3.99
  • bacon $8.99
  • Cava Mezze French fries $7 with tip
  • Costco hot dog $1.50, $1.50
  • Costco pizza $2.99
  • Barnes and Noble apple juice $1.35, $1.35
  • Barnes and Noble m&m blondie $2.65
  • Dogfish Ale salmon kids meal $12.00 with tip
  • BGR sliders kid’s meal $5.99
  • BGR m&m cookie $1.99
  • spring rolls $6.95
  • pizza slice $4.35
  • frozen yogurt cup $5.98
  • Chick-fil-A kid’s meal $3.29 plus .20
  • Chick-fil-A kid’s meal $3.29 plus .20
  • Chick-fil-A kid’s meal $3.29 plus .20
  • McDonald’s kid’s meal $2.99, $2.99, $2.99, $2.99, $2.99, $2.99

 

Plus other things that don’t need a post of their own.

  • Laundry detergent $8.46
  • Storage $127
  • Diapers $4.99
  • Diapers $23.49 (I see you raising your prices, Target.)
  • Wipes $2.99, $4.99, $1.49, $4.99 (I’m trying some new brands.)
  • pedicure with mommy $10 (I’ve discussed this before. She loves her blue toes.)

 

RAISING BABYSTAR: $22,473.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Waving the White Flag. (But the Flag is a Diaper.)

No, this isn’t a goodbye to diapers. Babystar is still a looooong way from being potty-trained. And I DESPISE potty-training so I’m not the most encouraging mother in that regard.

I have officially given up on cloth diapering.

But. Please know that we used and loved cloth diapers since the ToddlerMonster was one month old. I took a few breaks during travel or sickness but we always came back because cloth diapering is really easy. If this forty-year-old mama gets another surprise, we will cloth diaper again. I am a huge fan.

But. We go on so many adventures every day. Big adventures for hours in D.C. or small adventures to a playground ten minutes away. Or Target. Always Target. And carrying cloth diapers everywhere got really hard because of all of the OTHER things that a toddler needs (mostly water and snacks and rocks and snacks and extra clothes and snacks). For awhile we were cloth diapering only at home but that often led to only one or two diapers used per day and the laundry was just annoying at that point.

And finally: butt. Yes, more fun poop talk. I don’t want to tote around the USED cloth diapers anymore. The things that come out of a baby’s bottom are not pleasant, but they are certainly less UNpleasant than the things that come out of a toddler’s bottom. I’m going to leave it at that. If you are reading this blog, you probably have a kid. If not, I’ll let you be surprised. (All children are different and blah blah blah.)

So. I surrender. I have so many cloth diapers but I’ve given away or leant out at least half of them by now.

MAYDAY MAYDAY: Cloth diaper mamas, how long do they keep? Should I save this expensive stash for my eventual grandchildren? I have college students too, so I could have a grandchild in as early as ten years. (They have moved the earliest age you can legally become a parent to thirty now, right?)

disposable diapers

I am officially buying disposable diapers ALL THE TIME now. I usually buy Target brand. They are cheap, and I change her diapers quite frequently because I am paranoid about rashes (and I am still on the cloth rhythm, I guess). This month we spent $4.99, $4.99, $14.99, $4.99, $14.99, $21.99 (total of $66.94). I did just buy that giant box yesterday so hopefully it lasts for a while. Diapers are stupid expensive.

innobaby bus platter

We are still feeding her, too.

  • frozen waffles $2.99, $2.99, $2.99
  • cheerios $3.34
  • apples $0.52, $2.46, $3.99, $7.29
  • bananas $1.14, $0.95
  • blueberries $3.12, $3.99
  • raspberries $4
  • pears $4.99
  • cantaloupe $3.99
  • watermelon $4.99, $4.99
  • salad bar fruit $2.10
  • apple bars $1.99
  • mango bars $1.99
  • strawberry bars $1.99
  • jalepeno macaroni and cheese $2.99, $2.99, $2.99
  • carrots $1.49
  • broccoli (no she doesn’t eat it but I’m trying) $1.69, $1.69
  • (She does eat raw onion like a weirdo when helping me cook but I don’t buy them FOR her.)
  • frozen pizza $2.69, $2.69, $2.69, $2.69
  • Ice cream cups $6
  • Honest juice boxes for popsicles $3.69, $3.69, $3.69, $3
  • pepperoni $2.69
  • Tots $3.34
  • cheese $3, $3, $399
  • bread (yes we basically buy that FOR her) $2.79, $3.29
  • salmon $8
  • cod $6
  • chicken $12
  • Chick-fil-A kid’s meals $3.29, $3.29, $3.29, $3.29, $3.29
  • Chick-fil-A french fries $1.99
  • Five Guys hot dog $4.79, $4.79
  • Pizza slice $3
  • McDonald’s kid’s meal $2.99, $2.99
  • Costco hot dog $1.75, $1.75, $1.75
  • Winterbrook Farms hot dog $2
  • bakery sugar cookie $1.29
  • Dairy Queen kid’s meal $2.49
  • Rainbow Valley Restarant kid’s meal with tip $6

More boring stuff.

  • Laundry detergent $8.47 (no more diapers but lots of clothes)
  • Storage unit $127
  • Wipes $4.99, $2.99, $4.99
  • California Baby bubble bath $14.09
  • Travel baby wash because I forgot to pack some $2.98
  • Children’s ibuprofen $3.99
  • Tissues $1.99, $1.99, $1.99
  • Little Noses saline drops $4.99

 

RAISING BABYSTAR: $21,874.93

 

 

 

Pasta Snakes.

When my older children were toddlers (back in the Twentieth Century), I fed them Gorilla Bars. They LOVED Gorilla Bars. Gorilla Bars are granola bars with an adorable toddler pronunciation. And they have stayed ‘Gorilla Bars’ in our family ever since.

Babystar loves penne pasta. And snakes. And once when she was particularly cranky at dinner, the Teenager distracted her by having her penne pasta hiss like a snake. And now they are Pasta Snakes. Probably forever.

pasta snakes

Do you have any unusual names for foods in your family? Mispronunciations that stuck around long past Toddlerhood?

Below is the food we purchased in August SPECIFICALLY for Babystar. So far, I’ve been listing the foods that I bought with Babystar in mind. Although she does share with the rest of the family. And we share with her. She still isn’t eating more than a few bites of my portions. I will have to adjust this food calculating method eventually, but it seems to be working for now.

  • Turkey pepperoni $2.19, $2.19
  • Penguin crackers $1.59, $1.59, $1.59
  • Bananas $0.89, $1.23, $0.95
  • Strawberries $1.29, $1.29, $2.99, $3.39
  • Blueberries $1.99, $2.99
  • Apples $3.99, $3.99
  • Pears $3.99
  • Fruit roll-ups $1.49
  • Honest grape juice for popsicles $3.99
  • Aldi organic cheese puffs $1.99, $1.99
  • Frozen pizza $2.69, $2.69, $2.69, $2.69, $2.69, $2.69
  • Ice cream minis $1.39 x16 (She had HFM disease this month.)
  • Baskin-Robbins $2.59
  • Friday’s kids meal $4.99
  • Pizza slice $3.00, $3.00
  • Peter Chang’s spring rolls and fried rice $3.50, $3.50
  • French fries at the airport $3.50
  • McDonald’s Happy Meal $2.99, $2.99
  • Chick-fil-A kid’s meal $3.29, $3.29, $3.29
  • Insomnia m&m cookie $1.70
  • Dairy Godmother snickerdoodle cookie $0.95

ice cream

Also every month.

  • Laundry detergent $8.47
  • Storage unit $127
  • Diapers $4.99, $4.99, $4.99, $4.99, $20.89, $14.24  (I have basically abandoned the cloth again. Bad mama.)
  • Wipes $7.99, $4.99

 

RAISING BABYSTAR: $20,963.61

WHAT IS YOUR WEIRDEST ‘FAMILY WORD’, THAT EVERYONE IN YOUR HOUSE UNDERSTANDS, BUT WOULD CONFUSE THE HECK OUT OF OUTSIDERS?

 

 

 

 

Baby Bento.

*Sponsored post.*

Remember when bento boxes got SUUUUUPER trendy in the States a few months ago? It was right between Mason Jar salads and DIY Instant Ramen. I think we’re doing Grain Bowls now, right? Or is it still kombucha?

ANYWAY.

I never got a super cool bento box, but I really wanted one. So I was SUPER EXCITED to get the innobaby Keeping’ SMART Double Insulated Stainless Divided Snackbox at 50% off to review. It’s basically a baby bento box. How cute is this?!?

innobaby bento open with cheese

The Keepin’ SMART Stainless Divided Snackboxes come in two sizes, 11 ounce and 15 ounce. The 11 ounce retails for $12.99. I chose the 11 ounce size and it is kind of perfect for Babystar’s 2yo hands. (I paid $6.49 plus $4.16 shipping for a total of $10.65.)

bento on bench

We have had the innobaby Snackbox for almost a week now and brought it along on a few outings. The strawberries and cheese stayed nice and chilled while we waited outside in the hot August weather for almost two hours. The waffles and strawberries (not pictured) stayed separated during a two-hour car ride. The strawberries and graham crackers did not spill during a stroll to the park.

(I don’t know if you can tell, but Babystar REALLY likes strawberries. Both in her mouth and on her eyes.)

bento in stroller

For size reference, the 11 ounce innobaby Keepin’ SMART Double Insulated Stainless Divided Snackbox above held five graham cracker halves and five sliced medium size strawberries. The divider was moved to one of the side positions.

The metal divider is a bit of a mystery to me. There are ostensibly three positions. Let’s call them A, B, and C. Position B is dead center, to divide the container in half. And there are two more, A and C, each on either side of the center slot B. The container is a three dimensional rectangle that you can turn upside down, so A and C are identical. It would make more sense to me, design-wise, if position A was dead center and B and C were on the same side. Does this make sense? Am I overthinking my ninth-grade geometry?

 

I love the size of the 11 ounce Keepin’ SMART Divided Snackbox. It is perfect for the ToddlerMonster to manage on her own. I love that the divider is removable and repositionable. I love that the entire thing comes apart for easy cleaning. And I really love that it is dishwasher safe. I MOSTLY love that the stainless steel keeps the strawberries chilled for longer than our other plastic containers. Especially if you pack them the night before (or even just put the stainless steel section in the refrigerator to chill overnight).

I wish the 11 ounce size came in the same cute printed patterns that the 15 ounce size did. Though I’m sure that if I wait five more minutes, the ToddlerMonster will decorate it with stickers.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $20,631.52

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SNACK CONTAINER FOR HOME OR ON-THE-GO?

 

O Target! My Target!

O Target! my Target! our shopping trip is done,
This mom has search’ed every rack, the prize we sought is won,
With Cat and Jack, with Up and Up, through self check-out gates,
With empty Starbucks in my hand, the minivan awaits;
                         But O heart! heart! heart!
                            O the concrete balls of red,
                               Where in the haste my Cartwheel app,
                                  Was forgotten once again.
I love Target. I am basic af and I don’t even care.
I love Target like Babystar loves coloring. Which is, like, a LOT.
During my most recent journey to paradise, I bought two new Cat and Jack shirts for Babystar because I just can’t get enough. ($4.50 each.)
cat and jack shirts
I bought four more Up and Up blank paper pads for the insatiable Toddler Artist. ($2.19 each.)
And then I went back because their Back to School sales are ridiculous (and because I live at Target now) and bought two more paper pads and two packs of markers for $5.75.
And THEN I was like WUUUUUT so I went back again and bought a whole bunch of art supplies for $15.36. I stocked the art supply chest for the YEAR with this haul.
crayons and markers at target
Oh, and I got some scissors for $0.94 and pencil cases (that I’m using to corral crayons and markers) for $0.97 each.
Then I noticed that the Cat and Jack shirts were on sale and/or clearance so I (obviously) bought four more for $2.10, $4.00, $2.25, and $3.15.
IMG_4050
Also, I DISCOVERED A NEW LAND AISLE with tons of super cute baby and toddler plates and cups and bowls and utensils. You guys. OMG. I snapped some pictures to show you. Have you seen this adorableness??
I love that there exists colorful BPA-free divided and non-divided plates for as low as seventy-nine cents! Circles AND squares! (Though the divided plates seem about as shallow as a Kardashian.)
The Pillowfort printed plates also look really cool but I wish the dividers reached the top of the lip of the plates, like my beloved Re-play Recycled divided plates.
I found are ‘big girl’ cups and utensils, too. I bought a set of utensils from Cheeky Kids for $3.99. The front of the box promises that Cheeky Kids will donate a meal for every item sold.
cheeky kids utensils
cheeky kids box
The back of the box explains that actually means a ten cent donation. And that the products are made in China. Cheeky Kids website says they are ‘made with love in China’. I’m not sure if that means there are pictures of hearts on the sweatshop’s walls or what. I’ll hope for the best. At least they are feeding hungry children with some of the money they are saving by making their products overseas. I guess.
cheeky kids2
Babystar loves the innobaby fork and spoon that came with the Din Din Bus Platter Mealtime Set. The utensil sets are available on innobaby’s web site for $9.99 each, but I am looking for a lower cost alternative. The Cheeky Kids utensils are a bit smaller and lighter than the innobaby utensils, but Babystar doesn’t seem to have a preference. Unless she is in a ‘pink’ mood. Or a ‘penguin’ mood.
I guess I should go back to Target for a set of the Pillowfort utensils to really compare. Oh no. Golly darn it. I have to go back to Target. JUST KIDDING I’M AT TARGET RIGHT NOW.
MAYDAY MAYDAY: When did you switch your child from plastic to metal utensils? Did you buy child size metal utensils or just go straight to the adult size ones? Are you also a fan of the Target? (I know it’s not just me. I’ve seen the memes.)
RAISING BABYSTAR: $20,620.87