The Lorax: Who Invited the Furry Peanut?

Chillin’ with The Lorax at BlogHer ’12

By now, I’ve come to accept that my family is a little on the weird side. I consider it one of our finer points. But mine can’t be the only family that rates a movie’s worth by whether it gives us quotes that will be repeated ad infinitum, can we?  

It’s not a conscious thing. In fact, I didn’t realize it until I caught my daughter walking around asking “Who invited the furry peanut?”

It’s from The Lorax, which, by the way, comes out on DVD and Blu-Ray today. I’d gotten a copy from the studios because I’m a blogger, and she watched the movie with her babysitter last week while I got work done … and before I knew it, she had a flurry of new comments to utter at random moments before bursting into a fit of giggles.

I should have known it would start a spurt of quoting.
Thought it’s based on the Dr. Seuss classic, The Lorax was made by the same people who made Despicable Me, a family favorite that … wait for it … added the phrase “It’s so fuzzy I’m gonna die” to our family vernacular.

She’s also taken to informing me, “I’ll go right up your nose.”

Yes, I’d say it’s a hit.

How do you rate movies in your house? What’s your favorite movie quote?

Check out the Lorax activity sheets I snagged for the kid at BlogHer ’12 — you can print your own:

Have you “liked” Inside Out Motherhood on Facebook yet? 

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the Lorax on DVD to facilitate this review. I was not otherwise compensated, and all comments in this blog post are my own personal opinion.

My Little Pony, I Hereby Apologize for Doubting You

So there I was in the Wal-Mart checkout line (yeah, yeah, I live in the boonies peeps) buying kiddo the LaLaLoopsy that she’d begged Santa for, and somehow this checkout boy with Justin Bieber hair was talking about things that were so totally cool for kids. And I let slip that I remember the days of My Little Pony. And yeah, he said he’s a fan (after totally making me feel like an old hag when he couldn’t believe I had ponies way back in the dark ages of my youth, but anyhoo).

Say whaaaaa? My 6-year-old watches that stuff! Surely he can’t be talking about the same thing.

She catches episodes of the reboot, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic on The Hub when we have the time, but more often it’s been on YouTube (shhh). And busy mom that I am, I didn’t get around to joining in until a DVD arrived in my mailbox (hellloooooo gift from Shout! Factory! This is my disclaimer!) of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic: The Friendship Express (wooooh, long name there).

And it’s like the heavens opened, and the lights shined in. I get it now — the hipster following, the section on Reddit, the Wiki, the memes … everything.

This show is, like, OMG, deep. Yes, that was sarcasm. But not in a mean way!

There is solid storytelling, some quirky pop culture references, and the animation is heads and tails above the stuff we had as kids. I could sit and watch Twilight Sparkle hang out with the ponies and actually laugh. And smile. And needless to say, there were no thoughts of smacking. my. head. against. a wall. You know — like I do whenever Max & Ruby comes on.

This can’t be a kid’s show, can it? It’s too good. It’s so not what I’m used to.

So this is my mea culpa to nameless Justin Bieber hair dude. This My Little Pony stuff is pretty cool … for all of us.

Who is your favorite My Little Pony? You know you have one! 

Have you “liked” Inside Out Motherhood on Facebook yet? 

I Am the 20% But I Found Help

The latest estimates on parents who hand their cellphones over to their kids should surprise you. Twenty percent of Moms and Dads have used cellphone as pacifier.

WTF? Just 20 percent? I think I smell some burning pants.

Just this week, I was dealing with a sick husband and a 6-year-old who just couldn’t take the quiet anymore. She’d played with her LEGOs. She’d read books. She’d colored. She’d thrown a “tea party.” And bless her heart, she was about ready to burst from all the being good.

Until I handed over the iPhone.

Yes. Angry Birds is part of my parenting arsenal. And I’m not ashamed of it.

I was, however, finding that the very thing that saved me from going nuts on a parenting level was making me nuts on a phone owner level. The iPhone 4 battery is not designed to meet the attention span of a child PLUS the usage requirements of her mother.

I don’t know how many times I’ve gone to check email only to see the ominous warning that only 20 percent of my battery remains.

I was ripe for a sales pitch.

And then it came. Hey blogger lady, want to try our handy dandy smart battery for the iPhone? With the amount of PR pitches I get on a daily basis (and make fun of on Facebook), you have to dangle something really good to get me to bite.

But I was easy pickings this time. I am the 20 percent. I needed help.

And I’m relieved to say that I don’t have to write back to the public relations peeps and say “this thing sucked.” The Third Rail Mobility System ($89.99) is pretty sweet, and this week it allowed the 6-year-old to get on with her bird flinging for a good long time.

It was heartbreaking to say goodbye to my Perry the Platypus cover. Not just a sign that I “get” what 6-year-olds are talking about, it has borne the brunt of my attached-at-the-hip-with-my-iPhone ways, and has the missing chunks of plastic (cellphone went airborne as I tried not to get hit by a bus, and no, I don’t want to talk about it) to prove it. But the Third Rail requires you to put your iPhone in a case that can be synced with its battery, so I swallowed my love for all things Peeeeerry.

Why? Because when my phone is screaming “all you are is want, want, want, and all I do is give, give, give, and I can’t take it anymore” I just hook that little battery to the back of the case, and she settles right down. It begins recharging the phone’s inner powersource, and I can play Freecell check my important work email.

As for why I’m going out on a limb and calling this thing my lifesaver where anyone can read it, can we talk about the option of not having to leave your phone on a charger? I mean, you can, and you should. But while you’re out getting stuff done with a fully-charged phone, you can leave the little Third Rail at home to charge by itself. So when you don’t have time to be away from your phone you don’t feel like you have to ration every precious Facebook-checking working moment.

And if this doesn’t convince you that you reeeeeally need to do something about how your kid is sucking up all the good battery life on your phone, I’ll be the one sitting in the doctor’s waiting room with the quiet child. Keep yours away from mine, m’kay?

Oh, by the way. To all you people who are all haughty that you already got the iPhone 4 S, it works for the new thing too. Maybe Siri can help you hit the Third Rail site to get yourself one.

Are you a member of the 20 percent? 

Disclosure: Third Rail Mobility gave me a system to test at my leisure. They didn’t pay me for the commentary on this post. Funeral services for the Perry case were on my own dime. 

My Kid’s Back-to-School Lunch is Better Than Your Kid’s!

Sing it with me now y’all, back to school, back to school! No more paying sitters and I might just get the Phineas & Ferb theme song out of my head sometime this century.


The better news? I actually have one thing all ready: the lunchbox. All it took was one year, and I’m a pro. Our kids are all off to school together, so let ME school YOU. You just might learn something:

1. Organic Mashups from Revolution Foods: Oh Amazon, how silly of you for putting these in the baby section (although that means they SHOULD qualify for your Amazon Mom membership!). I discovered these bad boys at the Yo Gabba Gabba concert a summer ago, when the folks from Revolution were worming their way into Mom’s hearts by giving us FREE (healthy) alternatives to the standard $8 hot dogs and $7 baskets of fries you find at a concert venue. Since then, I’ve been powerloading from Amazon.

The skinny: They’re heaven in the from of pureed fruit in a little pouch. I have been known to eat one (OK, 4 — they’re small!) for lunch myself, they’re that tasty. But the real crowd pleaser here is the screw on lid, which means your “eats like a bird one day, swallows a house the next day” elementary schooler can actually BRING LEFTOVERS HOME WITH THEM. As much as I love fresh fruit, that was the seller for me. I was sick of throwing away food.

Don’t Miss: Already a convert, I tweeted my love @RevolutionFoods earlier this summer, and the result was an email from their PR firm and a few boxes of their newest flavors. Whatever you do, get the Beetbox Berry. You’ll thank me later.

2. SkipHop Zoo Lunchies. I made the mistake of going for a character lunchbox for the kid last year. It made her happy. It fell apart mid-way through the year. I learned my lesson and went out and bought her something that would last. At $14, it didn’t even break the bank!

The skinny: Cute characters. Insulated bags. You may have heard the warning that the lunches you pack at home are breeding grounds for bacteria? On a completely unscientific level, I can tell you that this bag plus an ice pack kept her food cool all year.

Don’t Miss: The Owl! Owls are hot this year, and this one is hooting “buy me.”

3. The Frozen Juice Box. Hat tip to my mom here, because I’ve got the secret to ensuring they’re not drinking lukewarm juice come snack time.

The Skinny: I freeze the box the night before. Throw it in the aforementioned lunchbag, and by the time they pull those babies out of their cubbies, the frost has melted down but the liquid inside is still cool and sweet.

Don’t Miss: I know, I know, juice is getting a bad rap anymore. But all it takes is balance. She gets milk at breakfast time, water in the Thermos. And one 100 percent fruit juice a day is enough.

What are your must haves for your kid’s lunch?

Survival Guide for Moms of Girls Lesson 1: Preventing That Hair … There

I wish someone had told me that mothering a girl would come with a learning curve. The way I saw it, I am a girl. I already know you wipe front to back. What more would I need?

OK, so that’s like saying “I know how to type” makes me a good blogger. I get it now! And remember how silly I was just a few short years ago, I’m willing to share the glory of my new-found knowledge. No thanks necessary.

First up:
Good headbands.

Because you will plan to have your daughter grow long luscious, equal length locks. And then you will meet gum. And Zhu Zhu pets. And the scissors that “Dora” used in her hair. And suddenly they’ve discovered “eating” their hair is easy with those hangin’ bangs, and you find hair in … well, unpleasant places.

You do not want to be this mom.

Take it from me, you need real headbands. Not those piece of crapola kind you find at Target (oh, excuse me, it’s Tar-jay when you’re buying clothes . . . sounds so much more like a house of couture). My favorites, hands down, are from The Children’s Place.

For one simple reason: they don’t snap. Not even with what my 6-year-old can put them through. They’re cheap enough that if they’re lost you don’t have a heart attack, but sturdy enough to last.

The Children’s Place even sent me some of this year’s line so I could share my faves:

The Tiara Headband — $9.95

Why I Love It: I’ll go ahead and say it. My kid is a drama queen. Entourage fans will appreciate her nickname: Johnny (the rest of y’all go look it up). This flair for the outrageous provides endless entertainment for those who live with her and those who see her walking into the grocery store gussied up in some insane get-up. Fancy headgear is a must. In one year of kindergarten, she wore: Minnie Mouse ears, a large paper chef’s hat, wolf ears, a tiara borrowed from a former prom attendant, butterfly antennae . . . But this tiara comes perched on a regular old headband, making it out-and-about appropriate and practical enough to hold her hair back . . . something the “real” tiaras lack entirely. And yet, it still gives her that “hey, look at me, I’m a glamour girl” glitz that her out loud personality demands.

Who It’s For: The girl who knows who she is and isn’t afraid to share it.

The Star Headband — $4.50 (or 2 for $6)

Why I Love It: I’m always uneasy about plastic headbands because they lack the comfy padding of a fabric-covered band, so I asked my daughter to wear this for a day and report back. At 6, trust me, she tells me when something hurts. And I didn’t get a single complaint from her. It’s hard to tell from the picture, but the plastic is sculpted to wrap slightly around the ears.

Who It’s For: Face it, what are the options for little girls? Hearts, hearts, and more hearts. . . usually. But stars are a nice change. They can be uber girly or work for budding scientists who love to spend the night out staring at the sky.

The Rosebud Headband — $4.50 (or 2 for $6)

Why I Love It: Like I said before, I’m a sucker for the fabric-covered headbands. Although they slip more than the plastic variety, they aren’t prone to the “this hurts, so I’m taking it off” problem. I loved this one in particular because the rosebud was dainty and sweet. Gaudy flowers may look fashionable, but they take away from little girls’ adorable faces.

Who It’s For: I’d say any girl, but the flowery motif means she’s got to be a tad bit on the girly side!

What hair goods have saved your Mom butt? 

Disclosure: The Children’s Place sent me a small sampling of their headbands to facilitate this review. I did not receive compensation nor was I directed on what to write. The bands were put through rigorous testing — aka actually worn by my 6-year-old — and the three best showed up on here!

‘Rio’ Gives the Girls a Chance

I’m developing what some would call an annoying habit, but what mothers of girls would call necessary. I can’t watch a kiddie flick without mining it for lessons of how womanhood rocks the kazbaa.

Case in point: I spent Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 thinking “long live Hermione.”

But it’s Rio that’s been on my mind this week. The movie is coming out on DVD Tuesday, and a screener arrived in my mailbox a few weeks ago. First clue that I should watch it? My 18-year-old babysitter saw it and said, “I’m staying to watch this.”

She didn’t care if I was paying her for the extra time. She’d seen it in the theater and wanted to see it again. Call it a sign.

Rio rocks.

Or rather, Jewel, the last female blue macaw on the planet, whose been captured so she can mate with Blu, the last MALE blue macaw on the planet (don’t worry, the concept of what “mating” means is entirely glossed over for the sake of parents who don’t want to have to explain THAT ONE to their kids) rocks. She makes up for a storyline that’s honestly just so-so, shining as bright as the jewel colors of the Amazon that come out in the CGI animation.

Voiced by the immensely talented Anne Hathaway (lovers of The Princess Diaries take note), Jewel doesn’t see any reason to sit in a cage and make goo goo eyes at a stranger because, um, he’s there? Score one for little girls everywhere — a cartoon character who doesn’t swoon the instant she sees a male of her species.

And it gets better. Jewel is the brains behind their escape into the crazed world that is Rio de Janeiro during Carnaval. Jewel bites. She kicks. She isn’t the doofy little boy bird who can’t fly because he’s a big fraidy cat (macaw?).

Essentially everything that’s usually ascribed to the wilting female characters has been passed off on Blu, and as a mother of a girl, I’m OK with that for once. More than OK. Because what Rio lacks in heart, it makes up for in female chutzpah.

Who are your favorite female characters for little girls to emulate?

Disclosure: A screener was provided to facilitate this review. All reference to she-woman man haters clubs are my own.

My Food Can Shut Up Your Mom

Did you ever have one of those moments when you’re feeding your kids, and the Rockwell song starts blaring in your head? You know the one . . . “I always feel like somebody’s watching me . . .” Because you never know when the sanctimommies are going to strike.

This is where our parents had it better. They were blissfully unaware of the evils of white bread and high fructose corn syrup, able to dole it out with reckless abandon. In their day, they were giving us better than they got, real treats that their parents couldn’t afford. I hold no ill will toward my parents for this. They tried their best to limit us to 100 percent fruit only juice and something green on the plate every day.

But it’s left me with an uncanny need to find suitable versions of my favorite foods to share with my daughter.
Case in point, my family’s renewed obsession with FruitaBu, the newer, healthier version of the fruit roll up. I was sent a box of these awhile back when I worked at Babble. I feel in the food version of love, but when the box was through, I had to come to grips with the fact that I couldn’t find these suckers anywhere in my area. So we gave up. Sadly.

And then a box of Stretch Island’s fruit leather showed up a few weeks ago (disclosure y’all — they came from the company). And suddenly the $79 fee for Amazon Prime doesn’t look so bad. It gives me the opportunity to buy this stuff in bulk. And Mama needs her fruity sweet snack.

Everything that pulled me in to the FruitaBu stands for the Fruit Strips. Real fruit. No added chemical crap. And it tastes like a fruit-splosion in the mouth. Basically, good enough that I’m actually writing about it on Inside Out instead of just saying “thanks for the free crap, I ate it, what more do you want?” They make me feel like a better mom . . . or at least one who is trying. (If you want another reason to get ahold of these babies, check out the adorable “sushi” recipe/craft for kids that my buddy Louise over at MomStart has put up)

I’m officially adding FruitaBu to the list of “appropriate substitutes for the junk I want to share with my kid.” Also on that list?

Country Wheat Bread from Arnold: It’s far from perfect with 4 grams of sugar per slice, but there’s no high fructose corn syrup, there’s no saturated fat, and there are 2 grams of fiber in a slice. Why I bother? It’s the only “healthy” option I’ve found that doesn’t have seeds or similar sticks and twigs-type crunchy bits inside as you bite. It’s about the closest I’ve come to the consistency of the white crap.

Homemade Chicken Nuggets. Fresh chicken breasts. Homemade breading. No more of this “lips and assholes” of the chicken for my kid.

Homemade Mac & Cheese. So it’s still fattening. But it’s got bona fide amounts of calcium, and I can use skim milk, low-fat cheese, and add vegetables. Sorry Kraft box.

What replacements for the crap-tastic yumminess of childhood have you crafted? I need help here people! Have you tried the FruitaBu stuff to replace your candy-coated urges?

Disclosure: Stretch Island provided me with a box of fruity candy that my kid and I fought over. They didn’t pay me for this review; all snarky opinions are my own.

GIVEAWAY: Rosie Pope’s Must Have Beach Bag For Kids (Ends 7/14)

I’ve spent enough time in the world of parenting writing, that nothing should shake me. Especially when you add in where I live: the Catskills, home to the stars who skip the Hamptons and head straight for “normal” for their kids. But after a season of watching Rosie Pope’s Bravo show, Pregnant in Heels, for my day job, I couldn’t help it. I got an email in my inbox from The Children’s Place touting how the maternity concierge to Manhattan’s chi chi mamas is a fan of their towel buddy bags.

OK, enter uber dork mom. Did I mention I’m all over these bags? I got one last year for my kid for swim lessons because they are exactly what the name describes . . . a towel that folds into a bag, so it can be slung around a kid’s shoulders like a backpack. GENIUS.

Now this isn’t your standard “review” blog. I don’t just give away anything, and for good reason. I have to find use for it, and after an entire summer of sending the sitter and my daughter off to swimming lessons in 2010 with a Children’s Place towel buddy bag, I sincerely found them. . . useful. If it was in the wash, I had to pack all her goodies in a traditional canvas bag, the type I use for grocery shopping. And by “stuff,” I mean her sunblock (or is it sunscreen — FDA, I just can’t keep track!),  her extra clothes, her towel. The beautiful thing about the towel “buddy bag” is that the towel folds up into a “bag” with ropes as towel, but it leaves room for STUFF.

That’s the thing. Yeah, Children’s Place just gave me an extra free buddy bag because I took note of the Rosie Pope photo (helllooooo disclosure), but I loved the extra space back when I was paying for it too. I was on my first summer of “Mom with a mother’s helper,” and I was all about over packing those girls before I droppped them off at the pool for kidlet’s swimming lesson. Even if I swabbed her down with sunblock (crap, sunscreen?), I was packing more. Water. Extra clothes. The whole nine. And it all fit! And despite my husband’s inability to fold this thing because he is, ahem, male, it worked, PERFECTLY.

Compare that to the summer before that when I was not working full-time, when I didn’t have a mother’s helper, when I forget her towel about HALF the time on swimming lessons days. Yeah, having the towel BE the bag wasn’t just green, it was practical. It helped with momnesia. It saved space. It made sense.

Oh, and did I mention because I write about Rosie Pope over at the day job all the time, and I have talked about the wonders of how much I LURV The Children’s Place over here, there’s a camo buddy towel bag up for grabs? Oh wait? I forgot? Yeah, so, there’s a buddy towel bag, just like that bag hanging off Rosie’s arm, hanging off the handle of my guest room door handle right now (hey, it keeps it safe from my cats!).

If you want it, you can have it! Just leave a comment tell me your favorite Children’s Place product (with an URL to the item) that’s on your shopping list

Want extra entries? Of course you do. Soooo, you can:

1. Become a Facebook fan of Inside Out Motherhood, and leave a comment telling me (and drop by to leave me a comment on there too if you want — I’m a glutton for looooove).
2. Follow me on Twitter @jeannesager and tweet this giveaway — you MUST have an actual link to the giveaway in the tweet, or it doesn’t count. Leave a link to your Tweet in the comments below.
3. Grab my purty new button (you’ll see it at left), post it on your blog, then leave me a link in comments so I can come visit you and say hi!

I think that’s it. Oh yeah — make sure I have some way to contact you if you’re the winner. If you’re a blogger and have a contact on your blog, that’ll do so you don’t have to put your email out there for the world to see. But if not, how about a Twitter handle, something, so I can reach out. Or you can check back. The contest will end July 14.

Cars 2 + LEGOs = Match Made in Kid-Dom

If my friend T didn’t love me, she’d hate me. At her son’s 7th birthday party a few weeks back, every time the boy opened a box of LEGOs, I started yelling, “T, look, it’s LEGOs! Yipee!” Yes, she hates LEGOs. And yes, I’m still friends with her. What can I tell you? We’ve known each other since fourth grade? I can’t abandon her now?

The fact is, I haven’t a met a LEGO in my life I haven’t liked. Growing up on a rural back road, with no cable (really), where the concept of public transportation was the stuff you read about in books, or better yet, built out of bricks, you learned to choose your entertainment wisely. Stuff that you would solve easily, tire of quickly, was better left behind. And that left LEGOs.

And so it was appropriate that when I was leaving for Los Angeles for my day job to cover the world premiere of Cars 2 on Disney’s dime that an offer from Disney Consumer Products for my daughter to play with a portion of the accompanying Cars 2 LEGO line fall into my lap.

What better way for my just-turned-6-year-old to amuse herself while I was gone than the way her mother kept herself occupied for hours living on a back road with few playmates, with nothing but the voices in her head to keep her occupied? I gave her Mater’s Spy Zone to play with, and let her loose with just the directions, confident that at 6 she could master its simple directions,. but also convinced sure she’d “gotten” what LEGOs meant, “how” to play with them past building.

It’s ironic that in interviewing actor Owen Wilson, who played Lightning McQueen in both the original Cars and Cars 2 that I learned he did much the same thing. Explaining how he approached voice acting rather than physical acting, Wilson told me, “I . .. spent . . . time as a little kid having these little wars and things. So I wonder if I got used to kind of being able to kind of, you know, playing it out with stuff in my head.”

And that’s how it was with LEGOs with me. I played it all out in my head. No wonder I was happy to see T’s son load up on a pile of LEGOs at his birthday party, to see my daughter load up on her own.

But it was after watching Cars 2, after seeing Mater and Holley Shiftwell, the most powerful female yet to drive through onto a Disney/Pixar screen (check out my interview with the voice behind the kick ass lady spy car herself, Emily Mortimer, over at the day job, The Stir!), in action, that I truly got all ferklempt seeing a LEGO set in my daughter’s hands. Because she could do with them what SHE wanted. On screen, Mater is the star. Her little boy friends, they all love Mater. But my daughter, she’s one of those girly girls who kicks some serious ass. I’m lucky that way. She’ll beg for nail polish on the same toes she’ll use to go outside and kick something.

And so the LEGO line in particular, of all the things in Disney Consumer Products has served up from this movie, has served us well. It does what LEGO does best — feed a kid’s imagination, combined with the Disney flavor of some favorite characters.

She gets to control the action. She gets to take the newly built product and decide what happens next. She gets to do so many things that so many women before her couldn’t. Yeah, it’s just a toy, but this is what LEGO does to me. I get all emotional and shit people. I remember sitting in my playroom as a kid, with these immense villages spread out across the room, voicing entire stories in my head Owen Wilson-style. It was the start of who I am today, a successful writer. It was a taste of adventure stuck on a back road in a small town without a lot of kids to play with.

Cars 2 is, in fact, a movie about spies on that takes place on an international road race. I want everyone to see it, and not because Disney paid for me to attend to world premiere, not because I got to walk the red carpet, not because my bosses let me write some incredible stories about interviewing some pretty cool stars. But after they see it, I really do hope these kids get to go home and just play with regular old LEGOs. They opened up worlds for me. I can only wish the same for today’s kids.

Are your kids LEGO fans? What Cars 2 toys are topping their lists?

Excited about Cars 2 toys? My friend Jenn over at Momma D and Da Boyz is ready to hook you up! She’s got a huge giveaway going on! Just check it out!

Disclosure: Disney covered expenses for the author to attend a press junket for Cars 2, and Lego provided a sample of Mater’s Spy Zone to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own.

Images via Disney

Food for Kids Is Not What You Expect

If you go into pregnancy expecting to feed your kids EXACTLY what you eat, well, don’t feel bad. You’re EXACTLY like me. I’m a vegetarian (yeah, freak) married to a meat and potatoes dude (ahem, freakier). And you had better bet we laid some pretty crazy bets on what kinda kid we’d create.

So fast forward almost 6 years (sooooob), and guess who won?

The vegetarian and the meat and potatoes Southerner begat a centrist who seems to eat, dare I say it? Everything? I’m proud, really. I’ll say it. It’s what I always wanted. The kid who wasn’t ultra picky. The kid who wouldn’t listen to her father’s weird (cough, cough) upbringing that seems to have turned him against anything plucked from the ground.

And yet, I’m weirded out at times. AT almost-6, she eats things even I won’t eat. Take the box that baby food company Happy Family sent this blogging household household a few weeks ago. Not a mom to turn down free eats, I opened it up, and happily devoured the amazing thing that is baby cheese doodles, er, Happy Family’ brand HappyMunchies.

Folks, imagine this. Cheez doodles on a diet. Yeah. Organic cheese. With carrots. Baked. Whole grain corn. I was in HEAVEN. And did I mention this can was free?

But there were things in that box even this hungry mama wouldn’t eat y’all. Straight up! Thirty pounds overweight thanks to no willpower and the sit-at-home-on-the-computer-day job, I was all about that Jennifer Aniston baby food diet. Until it came to tasting. But it’s a good thing I have an actual almost 6-year-old to do the taste-tasting. Because I scarfed down those “doodles,” but when it came to those “organic yogurt snacks,” I dare say I gagged. I wanted to like them. They’re organic y’all! And they’re fruit! And yogurt! And this vegetarian loves her fruit . . . and her yogurt.

But when I took a taste, I did, I gagged. They looked just like those little meringue cookies you get at Christmas time, only they tasted like a sour version that made me want to run for the sink, and a giant glass of water. But being a vegetarian in a meat-eating household has taught me something. Let the kid try the Organic Happy Melt Yogurt Snacks. She may just surprise you.

And so I did. Did I mention these were free? What could it hurt? Yeah, you guessed it. Kidlet loved the heck out of those good-for-you snacks, with the organic label (woot), the tons of fruit and calcium:

And I have to admit it. I’m relieved. I don’t NEED her to love what I love. As fellow blogger Brett at Mama Loves Her Bargains and I bonded over recently, I’m not just a vegetarian (she’s not), I’m straight up PICKY. But that doesn’t mean I don’t WANT her to like stuff that’s “good” for her. 

What I’m looking for, in my kid’s food is good, wholesome stuff — organic stuff that is AFFORDABLE instead of extravagant, tastes that satisfy every palate, flavors that challenge (so she doesn’t end up picky like her mama), and the kinds of foods that don’t make me feel like a piece of scum for not taking the time of out my busy full-time job to make her scratch snacks on top of her regular meals.

I’m a regular mom y’all. I’m not made of money. I’m not made of time. I need quick, easy, but I also need something I can have faith on. And yeah, the stuff I got from Happy Baby this time around was a round of freebies, but I’m an Amazon Prime customer, and they’re now on my list. . . so if you’re in this neck of the woods, expect to find Happy Baby foods in the Sager household. You just might get a cheesy carrot doodle at the adult party . . .