Sunday, December 26, 2010

Dapper Snappers review and giveaway!

A few months ago, I was finishing up a nice early dinner with my mom and Foodie Baby at a Cheesecake Factory in Brea, CA (I had the luau salad, he had the butter-and-Parmesan-covered pasta, I forget what my mom had).
Being a tired mommy not used to her child's new tendency to hike wherever he wanted, when I got out of the booth I took him out of the high chair and put him down, then turned to grab the diaper bag.
It was a nice busy area of the restaurant, a birthday party across from our booth that had several ladies smiling when Foodie Baby clapped with the rest of the table, and multiple servers bringing their entrees.
Foodie Baby (as I think the more experienced mothers are now guessing) went toddling down the row of booths. Unfortunately, his pants, which had to be long enough to cover his slim legs in the cool weather, were too loose in the waist, and as I tried to dodge servers and catch my suddenly speeding wobbler, his pants started slipping down past his Pampers-clad booty and treating a traffic jam as he slowed.
I grabbed him in a swoop and carried him away, pulling up his pants as I did so. Thankfully, no one tripped over him, not even the nice waitress carrying multiple plates.

Foodie Baby has spent time rocking some seriously sagged jeans, and I hadn't found a solution yet besides letting him wear high-water jeans that fit his waist or folding the waistband over (not a good solution either).
(before picture, to the left)

I tried a Dapper Snapper belt, and the saggy pants haven't been a problem when wearing it. At all.

Seriously, I love this thing.

Foodie Baby's Dapper Snapper toddler belt fastens on through the back three loops of his pants.
It is totally adjustable depending on the size needed. Right now, Foodie Baby wears two snaps in on one side, one on the right. It is stretchy so there is give for active growing children.
Dapper Snappers come in many colors and several patterns, so you could match your boy's belt or girl's belt to their outfit- Foodie Baby's navy one goes well with his jeans.
He's a tee-shirt and jeans type of toddler.
(Also one that climbs tables, chairs and couches. But I digress.)

There's several other styles, including clips instead of snaps and an adult-sized Dapper Snapper belt (hello, expectant moms!)

Dapper Snappers are designed to be worn for children aged 9 months to six years- one size fits all.

(Below is a supplied photo from Dapper Snapper)

In restaurant situations, you can have a fidgety, squirmy, wiggly little one being lifted in and out of a high chair or booster. Having a belt for an outfit a little on the baggy side can be helpful.
Not only by less risk of the pants coming off when they are lifted out of the high chair (thank goodness, only at home has that happened) or to help keep errant food out of their diaper (excellent place for cracker crumbs... a fun surprise during diaper changes!)

Learned from experience: I recommend to put the Dapper Snapper belt on the pants before putting them on your toddler when you're getting dressed, otherwise you have a melodramatic kid not wanting to stand or sit patiently while you thread it through, or you will have to undress them to put the belt on, then chase them to pin them down and get them dressed again.

At least if they are like Foodie Baby.

Authorized Giveaway

One lucky winner will win a $25 gift certificate to the Dapper Snapper website!

You must do the following and post separate comments for each entry (including an email address)

Follow Foodie Baby on Google and/or on Facebook (if you already do, please say so)
Follow Dapper Snappers on Facebook and post on their wall

Bonus entry!
Follow Dapper Snappers on Twitter

Contest will run a week. Winner will be chosen at random on Monday, January 3rd at noon.
Good way to start a new year, right?
December 29, 2010- Contest extended due to lack of entries. Winner will be announced Monday, January 10, 2010.

Good luck!

Disclaimer: I was given a Dapper Snapper belt to review for this blog. I received no monetary compensation for my review.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Cheesecake Factory, Victoria Gardens in Rancho Cucamonga

Foodie Baby

As soon as I was seated and comfortable, a really cute waitress brought me a plate of bread and bananas. Now that's service! I dove into that and Mommy was happy she could look at the menu without wrestling me. Usually Mommy finds a snack in the bag or
It was nice to sit in the aisle, lean back and get every waitress to smile at me. Especially after that guy in the red suit wanting me to take pictures with him. I was cool with a total stranger handing me candy, but pictures with him were a bit much. And my mommy, daddy and uncle were laughing.


We went to go see the best Santa Claus in our area (according to me! We've seen him the last two years, which makes total Santa visits for Foodie Baby... two.)
It was a nice rainy Saturday (which turned into a rainy Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and now Wednesday) which made the line for Santa a short two minutes (my friend wanted to go see the South Coast Plaza one, which was a 3 hour wait. They didn't make it).
I hinted and hinted and soon my husband, Foodie Baby, his uncle and I were sitting in Cheesecake Factory.
I have been to that location before, and outside on the patio is a nice place to eat with a child in a stroller (as well as nurse on a nice spring day).
I stepped into the rest room (only changing table in the handicapped stall) and when I was back, Foodie Baby was seated at the end of a booth waiting for me.
After getting the high chair replaced quickly (the strap was broken) Foodie Baby was brought a snack plate.
We had never gotten one anywhere, and since it was a cold rainy day and past lunch time, both Foodie baby and I were appreciative of the offering of bananas and bread.
Note: Foodie Baby did not wait for me to take a picture before he starting devouring banana.

Since he filed up on his little plate of food, we didn't order him a separate meal.
For lunch, we all split an order of the avocado egg rolls (Foodie Baby bit to bite into part of a whole egg roll, or you could pull out some of the avocado) and then had bites of my portabella on a bun burger (cut into bites for him) with sweet potato fries.
I highly recommend the avocado egg rolls. And the green tea (I even order a green tea at Starbucks, iced, sweetened, and I get the venti with one pump of peppermint besides the classic sweetener, just to pretend it's the Cheesecake Factory green tea).

The children's menu is disappointingly not online. Luckily, I snapped a quick pic of it in the restaurant. (click for bigger pic).

I have tried the butter-and Parmesan-covered noodles before for Foodie Baby, but he loved then a little too much and they gave him a tummy ache.
Unless you're willing to feed your baby or you have an older child adept with a fork, I would stay away from any of the pastas.
The pizza, like all Cheesecake Factory pizza, is thin crust.

Another great option would be to supplement some of the food off of your plate with something from the small bites menu.
As long as you're OK with having fried foods items like the fried zucchini, corn fritters, or opt instead for helping them with a dish of dish of edamame (shell for them) or sharing hummus with some flatbread with them for a smaller meal.
You could also add a side of broccoli or another choice to create a mini-meal.

Changing table in handicapped stall
High chairs available
Much of the seating is booths or close together- plan to park stroller and use high chair if eating inside (especially if it's busy) dining outside easily accommodates use of stroller
Kid's menu/appetizers/small plates available
Kid's menu items come with choice of milk, apple juice, lemonade, or a soft drink

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Panera Bread in Redlands

Foodie Baby

Mommy always orders me a grilled cheese sandwich. Usually there's an older lady somewhere around that comments on how cute I am. Usually we sit by where the line is and I can see all the pretty girls come in. And then they see me!
I love this place.


Panera Bread is a staple for eating out with my grandma or other family members. There are parts of the restaurant where a stroller might fit pulled up to a table, but I've never tried it.
I've eaten here both with family and just Foodie Baby and I. just the two of us was definitely and adventure, but this restaurant makes it pretty easy.
If it is an outing for you and your little one(s) on your own, I recommend ordering your food and then asking for a high chair to be brought to your table (if you came before the rush, you should be able to find one) and I bet they would be willing to get your drink for you if you ordered one. After you are seated, it can be hard to get help unless you catch someone delivering an order, but everyone has always been helpful when I go there.
If you're with other people, it would probably be easier to first pick out the table and get the high chair set up (there are several over by the bathrooms, past the soda fountain) and then order while the other adult is entertaining.
The grilled cheese sandwich on the kids menu is the best one we've seen out. Usually toasted just right (you could always ask for a light toast if you're worried about it being too crunchy) and it's only made with bread and cheese, no butter on the outside to get little hands messy.

They come with (as labeled on the menu) an organic yogurt, but the Spongebob Squarepants- themed yogurt we got with our first sandwich was bubblegum flavored and not something I was not interested in getting Foodie Baby (it was a while ago, but I don't remember it saying organic yogurt on the tube).
 Ask for options if you want to give them the yogurt (which comes in a tube) or have the yogurt replaced with an apple. They will slice the apple if requested into thin slices- they were perfect for Foodie Baby.
Beverages do not come with the meals. Juice boxes are available to purchase, including apple and orange juice (so you may want to pack a sippy cup).
Note: You can also have your bread on the side replaced with an apple or the whole-wheat bread version as well as with potato chips. Check the sides menu on the far left for options.
The kids menu also has a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a deli sandwich option and the macaroni and cheese (all come with the yogurt unless you change it). Foodie Baby has had bites of my mac n' cheese, which is heavenly calorie-laden goodness
I've only sat down for lunch, but there are some really good breakfast options on the menu for breakfast on their bakery menu. I'm all about their bagels, we get a few to go and eat them at home with some cream cheese sometimes. A toddler might be able to eat some of the souffle or a parfait, but the sandwiches come on bagels which would be hard to chew. There are also muffin tops and other pastries available.
There are also fruit cups available that look pretty
good and smoothies (I've never had either).


Changing table in the women's bathroom
High chairs available
Strollers could be accommodated outside or inside by the main entrance
Kid's menu items
Juice available to purchase

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Hickory Ranch Steakhouse and Sports Bar in Yucaipa

Foodie Baby
Last time I came here, the waiter asked if I would like a beer. I smiled. In other words, yes.
Every time he came back I pointed and reminded him with a point and a "ba".
He never brought my beer.
I don't know why Mommy, Daddy and Nana thought it was so funny.

Hickory Ranch is another restaurant I've had a long faithful relationship with. Even when they took the mud pie off the menu, I carried on.
Hickory Ranch is a western-themed restaurant that serves lunch and dinner (and breakfast on Saturdays.) It is one of the few restaurants where everyone in my party will get a steak to their linking, every time. They also have delicious honey fried chicken.
The last time we ventured there was after picking up my grandma from the Palm Springs airport.
We got our usual waiter Victor, who we adore and recommend (all of the waiters there are really good though! never had a bad one.)
I always get the Hickory Ranch (baseball-cut) steak, because I'm a rare-steak girl.
And that's why I don't share with Foodie Baby (my husband always gets his stuff well-done, so he gives little bites to him).
I buy a side of steamed vegetables for Foodie Baby and cut them up small for him. When he first started eating finger foods he demolished a plate of them. I usually share part of my baked potato with him has well.
They also have a yam as an option, order the topping on the side and mash it up with as much or little topping or butter as desired. II have been there a couple times where Foodie Baby has been the 'loud' kid in the restaurant (he once had quite a conversation on his toy cell phone) and all it takes is a smile from the wait staff to distract him.
They're also good about not putting food directly in front of him, which I always watch for in restaurants.
They do have kids menus and crayons available, although the options are not listed online. They offer kid's drinks as well, with a lid and a straw.
A grilled cheese sandwich or quesadilla can be a good choice, and mac n' cheese or a piece of rotisserie chicken would also go over well with Foodie Baby. Add to that a side of vegetables, corn (Foodie Baby loves to gnaw on corn on the cob) a baked potato or yam or even fries as a treat.
The restaurant is mostly booths.
When we ate there Victor told us that their high chairs (standard wood ones) had just been maintained.
There is a changing station in the women's bathroom.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Diaper bag snack stashes and the famous literary characters that inspire them


Foodie Baby and I recently took a break from a playdate to skip over to Taco Bell with Foodie Baby's friend and his mommy. While Foodie Baby snacked on the crackers I packed and some taco fixings, his buddy was offered some food kept in the diaper bag.
Mary Poppins must have online courses on diaper bag packing.
She had a regular-sized quilted diaper bag, and like Mary Poppin's carpet bag, the amount of food packed inside defied the size of the bag that contained it.

His mommy pulled out:
Revolution Foods Jammie Sammy snacks in strawberry and peanut butter and blueberries and oatmeal
Revolution Foods Grammy Sammy snacks in graham cracker and vanilla yogurt
Sun Rype Squiggles
Gerber Yogurt Melts in strawberry and in peach
Veggie straws snacks in a snack cup
Pepperidge Farms Goldfish crackers in a snack cup
Assorted dried fruit in a snack cup
Gerber Lil' Crunchies in cheese flavor
Plum Baby Super Puffs in super greens and super reds
Fortune cookies

Foodie Baby's friend got a sippy of water and went through the snacks in the bag a full round before he started to make his selections (He's a little older and communicates 'no' well). He is both a bottomless pit and a little picky about what he is in the mood to eat.
I made her email me the list, I was so impressed. Along with the regular items I try to keep in Foodie Baby's bag, It find it hard to pack more than a couple snacks unless I am packing a meal for him knowing we are eating out. She keeps a variety of snacks like that in her bag at all times!
I saw a couple of foods I liked and will be trying with Foodie baby as part of our snack rotation.
I found it a little inspiring to be so prepared and organized, and along with my recent purchase of a snack cup (we were way behind the times on that one) I am also aspiring to keep a regular stash of snacks in Foodie Boy's diaper bag.

I'd like to hear-
What snack is a regular staple in your diaper bag?
Do you always keep snacks in there or only as needed?

P.S. Yes, Mary Poppins is a famous Disney character (I love me some Julie Andrews) but she was first in a series of books.
In fact, most Disney movies were based on books. I've read several, including the Jungle Book (and other stories by Rudyard Kipling, The Fox and the Hound, and Bambi, a Life in the Woods.
Try reading the book version of your favorite movie!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Jamba Juice- Citrus Plaza, Redlands

Foodie Baby

Mommy shared some yummy oatmeal and spoonfuls of cold fruity stuff with me and Grandma the other day.We sat outside and Mommy let me try sitting in a chair by myself, it was fun!
There was water, but Mommy wouldn't let me get in.

Instead of my usual Starbucks at Citrus Plaza, I walked just a few feet farther to Jamba Juice, somewhere I went to every day the first few weeks I knew I was pregnant (the only thing I could keep down. Yeah, there's a reason I couldn't look at it for a long time!)
There are a couple places to sit inside, but with the easy opening to behind the counter, it was easier to wait and then sit outside on the patio near the fountain.
The good thing about the patio is there is always someone killing time there willing to compliment a cute kid/dog/etc. Especially if he holding hands and walking between Mommy and Grandma.
Jamba Juice's menu includes light smoothies (that include a dairy base and Splenda) ones made with sherbet or frozen yogurt as the base, and all fruit, made with fruit and fruit juice.
They no longer have my pregnancy standby, the Strawberry Surfrider, but the pre-'boosted' Strawberry Energizer sounds similar.
Foodie Baby and I ordered a small Peach Perfection, an all-fruit smoothie made with peach juice and apple-strawberry fruit juice blends, frozen mangoes, peaches and strawberries. (Note: smoothies are an easy way to get fruit down a teething kid, they're cold, easily made with frozen fruit and goes in a sippy!).
I also ordered a berry cherry pecan oatmeal , made with steel cut oats and soy milk with dried cherries, cranberries, and blueberries, pecans and a brown sugar crumble forming a nice thick layer on top of the oatmeal. They usually are $2.95, but I was pleasantly surprised that ordering one with a smoothie only made it $1.
Horror of horrors, I did not have my diaper bag on me. Grandma had Alex for a while and the bag was still in her car, so I grabbed an extra spoon when I got the food.
I really recommend bringing your own- the Jamba Juice spoons are very wide, Foodie Baby had to take small bites. I really recommend trying to bring a spoon anyway, take out spoons can be a little sharp on the edges and could cut a little one's mouth if they shove it in right. I've done it as an adult.
I gave Foodie Baby bites of smoothie and oatmeal- I pushed the toppings to the side and gave him some of the oatmeal with a little sugar with it. I also recommend that you request just the oatmeal and have them put the toppings on the side so you can put in the amount of sugar and fruit you would want them to have as well.
The fountain outside has a very low edge and spouts that shoot water right below them- I had to be sure I was right by Foodie Baby when we went to explore the fountain, he was trying to climb in (he really loves water). So either keep them in a stroller for safe keeping or be prepared to chase them down three feet from the water.
On a really cold day you could split an oatmeal and a hot drink- I've never tried the hot drinks there but they have hot chocolate, green and black teas, chai teas, coffee and a variety of Mighty Leaf teas.
There are also sandwiches, yogurt parfaits and other options on the menu, I could see pulling part of a salad aside for a toddler or sharing bites of non-granola'd yogurt parfait.
There are no high chairs available.
The bathroom for the area is between Jamba Juice and Starbucks- I didn't look in to check the status of the changing station, but I believe there is a one in there.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Every time we go out, I have with me... the essentials

Foodie Baby
Mommy always has a big red bag with me when we go out. I like it, probably because Daddy picked it out. It's a Diaper Dude messenger bag. I've learned to unzip it a little, which makes it fun to dig for treasure inside.

 Since I am an unorganized person, I end up repacking the diaper bag often before we go out on an adventure.
I have a small mental checklist that I go through for restaurants and other outings in general- certainly, based on who the bag is being packed for would change things.
Here are the absolute, must have, always bring basics for restaurants for Foodie Baby.


  More for just a tush, wipes can wipe off an extremely messy face, a hand that has inadvertently gone in the mashed potatoes, or wipe off a table quickly. Or your hand after dealing with a messy baby.

  For sure. yes, they give you cups at some restaurants, but not all restaurants have them. That, and they have lids and when cups get thrown, the lid flies off and water splashes. Usually on me. You can make it special and have the waiter put water in the sippy- Foodie Baby loves to get water with ice. Or you can pre-pack it with something else, but sometimes they leak in the bag for me.

-Snack or Meal
  Whether a bottle of formula or milk, a pack of little graham crackers, a pouch of pureed fruit/ vegetable or a banana, I always have something extra for a hungry or fidgety baby, or when the menu is sparse with stuff I can feed Foodie Baby.

-Baby spoons and/or forks
  Because babies love to throw things, and it's easier to pick up the three plastic ones you packed than ask the waiter repeatedly for a new spoon. Also, if they are self-feeding, an utensil meant for them will be easier.

Yeah, so some restaurants love to give crayons and menus to babies. But that isn't going to entertain them. A toy designated for restaurant visits or even a bath book (just wipe off food afterwards!) or two will help keep a wiggly baby occupied while you wolf down your food. Or, like me, getting the other half to go.