2019 Holiday Gift Guide for the Young Toddler

This roundup of THE BEST holiday gifts for the young toddler is perfect for little ones ages 1 to 2. There are many classics but some great new ideas as well. I’ll be updating the list with any Black Friday deals so be sure to bookmark it and check back!

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2019 Holiday Gift Guide for the Young Toddler
This post contains affiliate links. As always, I only share products that I truly love!

(Clockwise from top left.)

Baby Stella was our babe’s first doll and she still loves her to death to this day. She is super-soft and her clothes and pacifier are all removable. Great for little ones who are just getting into imaginative play!

Raia got this teepee for Christmas last year (when she was just over a year old) and continues to love it. If you have the space, it’s so fun for the little ones to have a spot of their own to curl up and play or look at books. Plus, I love the muted colors of this particular one.

Ahhhh, the musical tea set. As much as I hate toys that make a bunch of noise, I can’t ignore how much Raia loves this. Another great toy to ease the little ones into more imaginative play.

We have the Honey Sticks bath crayons and I’m dying to get my hands on some of their regular crayons! I love that they are all-natural and non-toxic. They’re also a great idea for a stocking stuffer!

Raia got a glockenspiel (which is very much like a xylophone in case you’re as unaware as I was) in her music class this year – and she LOVES playing it – but this Papa Bear one is so much cuter!

There are a ton of great books out there for our little ones, but I’m especially fond of books that pack a powerful message. This one has been a favorite of ours for a while now. It’s never too early to start instilling a healthy sense of self in our babes!

If, like me, you’re a fan of toys that actually help our little ones LEARN (and that look stylish to boot), then you’re going to love these sensory blocks.

Finally, the Cozy Coupe. Raia got one for her first birthday and it continues to be the most in-demand toy whenever we have parties with tons of kids over. If you have the space (indoor or outdoor), you’ll set yourself up for hours of entertainment with this one.

While you’re at it, be sure to check out these other helpful gift guides!

2019 Holiday Gift Guide for Older Toddlers

2019 Holiday Gift Guide for the Moms In Your Life

2019 Holiday Gift Guide for Foodies

2019 Holiday Gift Guide for the Older Toddler

This roundup of THE BEST holiday gifts for the older toddler is perfect for little ones ages 2 to 4. There are many classics but some great new ideas as well. I’ll be updating the list with any Black Friday deals so be sure to bookmark it and check back!

2019 Holiday Gift Guide for the Older Toddler.
This post contains affiliate links. As always, I only share products that I truly love!

(Clockwise from top left.)

Our little one got her first Play-Doh set for her birthday in October and she is OBSESSED. She also happens to be obsessed with her toy ice cream set, so I’m thinking Santa might need to put this Play-Doh ice cream set under the tree for her this year!

We’re deciding between a scooter or a balance bike (see below) for Raia this Christmas, but this Radio Flyer scooter looks perfect for little ones who are just learning how to keep their balance.

Are any other mamas toddler daughter’s super into watching them put on their makeup? I know mine is and she’s often asking to “pretend” with my brushes. This wooden makeup set is so cute – and I may just be able to start getting through my makeup routine without interruption!

At the moment, my little one is really into helping us clean, so I’m going to milk it for all I can! This Dyson vacuum is sooo cute for kiddos and has real suction and sound, so I’m seriously thinking about adding it to this year’s Christmas haul.

Raia also got a doctor kit for her birthday and I had no idea she’d be so into it! She now walks around the house with her glasses and stethoscope on and calls herself “Dr. Roo.” While she has a different set, I couldn’t resist adding this super cute wooden doctor kit to this list.

I don’t know about you, but there have been so many times in the past few months I KNOW Raia would love to do some painting, but I can’t bring myself to deal with the mess. I may just havae to give in after buying some of this Veggie Baby Finger Paint that’s both baby- and eco-friendly!

This Little Tikes adjustable basketball hoop is the perfect gift or older toddlers. It helps with hand-eye coordination and also gets them outside and active.

Lastly, as I mentioned above, we’re waffling between a balance bike and scooter for our babe this Christmas. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter!

And be sure to check out these other gift guides I’ve put together just for you!

2019 Holiday Gift Guide for the Moms In Your Life

2019 Holiday Gift Guide for Younger Toddlers

2019 Holiday Gift Guide for Foodies

2019 Holiday Gift Guide for the Moms in Your Life

Whether you’re a mom yourself or have other mamas to do some holiday shopping for, here is a list of some of the most sought-after gifts we’re all hoping for this year. I’ll be updating this holiday gift guide with any Black Friday deals, so bookmark it and keep checking back!

2019 Gift Guide for the Moms In Your Life
This post contains affiliate links and is partially sponsored by The Mom Shoppe. As always, I only share products that I truly love!

Today I’ve rounded up some of my current favorites as well as a few things I’m eyeing already for Christmas this year. Here are some of the best gifts to get for all of the moms in your life this year (and mamas, I’m sure you’ll want to add some of these to your list!)

(Clockwise from top left)

I already own these Quay On the Prowl sunglasses and LOVE them, especially for the price. I’ve been jonesing for another pair and specifically have my eyes on these cat-eye ones!

If you haven’t already invested in (or gotten your wife/mom) a Patagonia quarter-zip, you’ve totally been missing out! I wear mine ALL the time, even in Santa Barbara where the temps rarely dip below 60.

Busy/overwhelmed mamas, this is for you! We got a Roomba last Christmas and we are OBSESSED. It’s such a timesaver when you can’t bring yourself to man a vacuum throughout the house!

This Dyson hairdryer is a total wish list item of mine. You see, I don’t really NEED it, but it would be so amazing to have! Don’t you think??

Air Pods. Another total wish list item. It never seems to fail that my headphones are all tangled up in knots every time I go to use them. These Air Pods just seem so convenient! (If I could manage to keep track of them.)

If you haven’t yet gotten on the AllBirds train, you’re doing yourself a huge disservice! These shoes are THE most comfortable tennis shoes EVER. And, if you have abnormally large feet like me, the men’s styles are just as cute. I have them already in a sand color, but I’m eyeing some in a darker shade so they don’t show as much dirt. (Although these shoes can easily be washed!)

OMG this robe! I need it. I have been dying for a cozy, fluffy robe and this Ugg one looks absolutely perfect. Keeping my fingers crossed!

How stylish is this diffuser? Not to mention the fact that you can control it through your phone or in-home personal assistant. What will they think of next?

This may be a silly gift idea, but these fun Stance no-show socks are my absolute FAVORITE and I think every mom needs a pair. They’d be perfect as a stocking stuffer!

I got my Apple Watch for Christmas last year and I have absolutely LOVED having it. It gives me so much more freedom to NOT have my phone attached to my hip and also helps me keep better track of my movement everyday. Highly recommend!

What mom doesn’t want a cute little tumbler to house a glass of wine after a long day?? This travel-friendly cup from The Mom Shoppe is the perfect White Elephant gift for all of the busy mamas in your life.

Okay, now it’s your turn to let me know what I missed! What’s at the top of your holiday wish list this year??

And be sure to check out these other gift guides for the year:

2019 Holiday Gifts for the Younger Toddler

2019 Holiday Gifts for the Older Toddler

2019 Holiday Gifts for the Foodie in Your Life

The Easiest Pumpkin Apple Baked Oatmeal Cups

These Pumpkin Apple Baked Oatmeal Cups are baby- and toddler-approved, but great for the whole family! Make them in advance and stick them in the freezer to have a healthy, nutritious breakfast ready to go on busy mornings.

A cooling rack of freshly baked Pumpkin Apple Oatmeal Cups.

I don’t know about you, but our toddler always wakes up hungry and ready to eat. It seems like we can barely get a clean diaper on her before she’s begging “Food! Food!” Breakfast also so happens to be her favorite meal of the day, and she eats far more in the morning than she does for lunch and dinner, so we always try to have healthy, quick options on hand for her.

We’ve been big fans of baked oatmeal in our household for a while now. I love that it’s jam-packed with nutrients (especially with the right mix-ins) and that it’s handheld, resulting in much less of a mess than classic or even overnight oats make. While traditional baked oatmeals (in baking pans or dishes) are great, turning your baked oatmeal into single-serving cups ups the convenience factor and makes it really easy to only defrost what you need.

Here’s how this easy and tasty recipe is done!

What You Need

The good news is – not much! Most of the ingredients you’ll be using you’ll already have on hand, especially if you’re making this in the fall.

Rolled oats

I love getting the big bags from Trader Joe’s (these ones also happen to be gluten-free if you need that.)

Pumpkin purée

Buy the can OR make your own with this super simple homemade pumpkin purée recipe!

An apple
Milk

Any kind!

An egg
Maple syrup

And pantry staples like…

Baking powder, salt, vanilla extract and pumpkin pie spice

As far as equipment, you’ll just need a cupcake pan (we love these silicone ones *affiliate link*), a couple of bowls, a couple of measuring cups, and a whisk!

An overhead shot of Pumpkin Apple Baked Oatmeal Cups cooling on a rack.

How to Make Baked Oatmeal Cups

Once you get the basic process of these Pumpkin Apple Baked Oatmeal Cups down, you’ll be able to create tons of different variations.

Simply whisk together the dry ingredients, whisk together the wet ingredients, combine the two, and bake. Easy as that!

Other ideas for flavor combinations might be:

Banana and chocolate chip
Sweet potato and orange
Zucchini and raisin
Peanut butter and apple
Cinnamon and berry
Vanilla and peach

The possibilities are endless.

A straight-on look at a freshly baked batch of Pumpkin Apple Oatmeal Cups.

How to Store Baked Oatmeal Cups

Once the cups are baked and cooled, place them in a gallon-size Ziploc and freeze for up to three months.

When you’re ready to serve, simply microwave however many you need for 30 seconds to a minute (maybe more if you’re defrosting a bunch at once.)

Just like my Super Simple Pumpkin Carrot Muffins or my Peanut Butter and Banana Breakfast Cookies, these cups are a great on-the-go option for busy mornings, or even a great travel snack when you’re on the road. 

Read on for the recipe and, if you want to learn more of my tips and tricks for feeding toddlers, be sure you’re signed up for my weekly newsletter!

A stack of Pumpkin Apple Baked Oatmeal Cups leaning against a pitcher of milk.

Pumpkin Apple Baked Oatmeal Cups
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
35 mins
 

These Pumpkin Apple Baked Oatmeal Cups are baby- and toddler-approved, but great for the whole family! Make them in advance and stick them in the freezer to have a healthy, nutritious breakfast ready to go on busy mornings.

Course: Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: after-school, apple, baby-friendly, baby-led weaning, breakfast, freezer-friendly, meal prep, oatmeal, pumpkin, toddler
Servings: 12 people
Calories: 114 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 1/2 cups milk of your choice (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
  • 1 cup pumpkin purée (Use canned or follow the link in the Recipe Notes to make your own)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup diced apple
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray cupcake pan with cooking spray and set aside.

  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together oats, baking powder, salt and pumpkin pie spice.

  3. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together milk, pumpkin purée, maple syrup, egg and vanilla.

  4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and whisk to combine. Whisk in diced apple.

  5. Using your 1/4 cup measure, scoop mixture into prepared cupcake pan.

  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes, or until oatmeal is set.

  7. Let cool at least 10 minutes before removing from pan. Let cool completely before transferring to Ziploc for freezer storage.

Recipe Notes

Here's the recipe for homemade pumpkin purée!

Ground Beef “Not-So-Sloppy” Joes That Even Your Little One Will Love!

These Ground Beef “Not-So-Sloppy” Joes take a classic Sloppy Joe recipe and turn it into something the whole family – even your youngest eaters – will love. Sloppy Joe filling is tucked into fluffy crescent cups for a neater, handheld version of the popular weeknight dinner.

If you have questions about starting solid foods, consult a physician or health care provider.

An overhead shot of Not-So-Sloppy Joes laid out on a cooling rack.

This post is a collaboration with Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. on behalf of the Beef Checkoff. I received compensation, but all opinions are my own.

I hope you’re ready for an easy weeknight dinner that the entire family is going to love, because these Ground Beef “Not-So-Sloppy” Joes totally fit the bill. They’re quick, easy, and so tasty you won’t even know they’re made specifically for tiny appetites.

That’s right, I’m thrilled to be partnering with Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. to bring you this baby-led weaning-friendly recipe and share all of the amazing benefits of introducing beef as a first food to your babes.

By now you likely know what a huge proponent I am of the baby-led weaning method, which encourages the introduction of ALL foods in their most natural form starting from very early on in a child’s solid food journey. With BLW, it’s recommended that foods like peanut butter, eggs, dairy, and, yes, beef are all introduced before a child turns one in order to expand their palates and set them up for optimal physical and cognitive development.

You can read more about the baby-led weaning method here. In the meantime, let’s dig into some of nutrition benefits of beef, and how it lends itself to these important developmental milestones.

A close-up shot of "Not-So-Sloppy" Joes in their baking pan.

Nutritional Benefits of Beef for Babies

Beef contains high-quality protein, iron and zinc, all of which are essential nutrients for a child’s healthy growth and development. With more than ten essential nutrients, beef can assist in improved recall skills and reasoning abilities, and also support brain health and optimal cognitive development. You can read more about the nutritional benefits of beef as a first food on BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com.

While beef purées are certainly an option for ensuring your baby receives all of these benefits, I wanted to create a recipe with beef in one of its more natural forms for all of my baby-led weaning fans out there. So how did I create a Sloppy Joe recipe that’s baby-led weaning approved?

A "Not-So-Sloppy" Joe on a kids' plate with zucchini and tomato salad.

 

Let me tell you!

Ground Beef Sloppy Joes That are Baby-Led Weaning Approved

If you’re not too familiar with baby-led weaning, there are a few things to pay special attention to when offering foods to your little one:

CHEWING AND SWALLOWING ABILITY

When presenting food to a babe who’s just starting to eat, you want to make sure it’s appropriate for his or her current chewing and swallowing abilities. Ground beef – which I used for these Ground Beef “Not-So-Sloppy” Joes – is a great option as it’s already in small pieces and easy to chew. It’s even “gummable” for babies who may not have many (or any) teeth yet.

SALT

Sodium deserves some special attention when it comes to cooking for your little one. While adults can consume between 1,500-2,300 mg of sodium a day, babies and toddlers should be consuming much less, between 400-800 mg per day. That’s why you won’t see any added salt in this recipe, however, if you feel you want more salt in your Sloppy Joe mixture, feel free to set some “joe” mix aside for your baby and then season the rest as you wish.

SUGAR

While many traditional Sloppy Joe recipes use brown sugar as a sweetener, I try to steer away from pure sugar as much as possible when cooking for new eaters. To sweeten up the sauce a little bit, I recommend adding just enough maple syrup to tone down the acidity of the tomatoes.

THE MESS

If there’s one thing anyone who’s already gone through baby-led weaning can attest to, it’s that it makes a huge mess! In BLW, babies are encouraged to practice self-feeding from the very beginning, so things definitely don’t stay neat and tidy. The great thing about this Ground Beef “Not-So-Sloppy” Joe recipe is that the mess of the Joe filling will be at least somewhat contained by those fluffy crescent cups, and babies won’t even need to wield a fork to get to the good stuff.

"Not-So-Sloppy" Joes cooling on a rack, surrounded by a blue and white checked napkin.

While the nutrients in beef offer an ample amount of benefits, tomatoes and bell peppers give the recipe an extra dose of nutrition. With less mess and babies’ nutritional needs in mind, these “Not-So-Sloppy” Joe’s will be the perfect addition to your weeknight dinner rotation, not to mention they’ll be enjoyed by the whole family!

For more great family recipes and additional information about the health benefits of beef, be sure to check out BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com.

I’d love to hear all about your BLW adventures with beef in the comments below!

Ground Beef "Not-So-Sloppy" Joes
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
12 mins
Total Time
42 mins
 

These Ground Beef “Not-So-Sloppy” Joes take a classic Sloppy Joe recipe and turn it into something the whole family - even your youngest eaters - will love. Sloppy Joe filling is tucked into fluffy crescent cups for a neater, handheld version of the popular weeknight dinner.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: baby-friendly, baby-led weaning, beef, entree, kid-friendly, main course, weeknight
Servings: 24 cups
Calories: 212 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 pound Ground Beef
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried ground mustard
  • 1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons coco aminos
  • 1-2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Salt to taste (for adults)
  • 3 cans refrigerated crescent dough (enough dough for 3 dozen crescents)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven according to crescent dough package directions. Spray cupcake pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

  2. Warm olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until just translucent, about 3 minutes, then add bell peppers. Once bell peppers begin to soften, add Ground Beef. Stir in pan until it begins to brown, then add garlic powder and ground mustard. Continue stirring until most of the meat is browned.

  3. Add crushed tomatoes and tomato paste to pan and stir until combined, then stir in the coconut aminos, maple syrup and balsamic vinegar. If you want to add some salt for the adults and older kids in the family, now’s the time to do it, but go as light as you can. Turn the mixture down to low and let it simmer while you prepare the crescent cups.

  4. Unroll the crescent dough from its package and separate each triangle. Cut the top off of each triangle and then reattach it to the side to make a rectangle (as shown in the photos). Press rectangles one by one into the cupcake molds.

  5. Take a tablespoon measure and scoop 1-2 tablespoons into each crescent cup. Place cupcake pans in preheated oven and bake according to the crescent package directions (typically at around 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes), or until golden. Leave in pan until cool enough to touch, then gently remove, using a butter knife to gently ease them out if necessary.

Recipe Notes

DISH DENSITY: Low