Favorite Things – Liz

I am a Mom in the trenches… my toddler who was once a pretty good sleeper is going through the dreaded 18 month sleep regression… you know the one that lasts for weeks to months and there is pretty much nothing that works! No one tells you that toddlers are more work than newborns! So I thought I would share my favorite things for toddlers and super moms of toddlers. I seriously couldn’t live without the things on this list… now if only I could get her to sleep again, because sleep is my favorite thing of all and I miss it!


This blender is my life. I literally use it everyday. I’ve had it for almost five years and it is the best piece of kitchen equipment I have! I know I’ll have it for years to come and it was worth every penny of investment.  I use it to make smoothies, dressings, marinades, soups, sauces, and I made all of my baby food purees with it. Ellie is really into smoothies, so I make one almost every day.

Prid’s Drawing Salve

This stuff is amazing. Drawing salve is an only Grandmother’s remedy (I heard about it from my Grandmom) and it works. This brand is my favorite. I always keep it around. I used it just yesterday to help remove a very stubborn splinter from my baby girl’s finger. I just put some Prid’s on, slapped on a Disney Princess band aide overnight and in the morning it came right out. I even use this stuff on myself. When I have a pimple, I put a small dab on overnight and it is usually gone by morning. Amazing stuff!

Ellie’s Play Room


Ellie is my 19 month old baby girl. She is one of the most gregarious, outgoing, inquisitive, and energetic human beings I have ever met. I am an introvert, so we are complete opposites. On top of that, she’s a toddler. Enough said. Sometimes I need a minute. And when I do, I invite Ellie to play in her Neverland playroom. We gave up a room in our house for this, and it was a hard decision to make, but I am sooooo happy we have this room now.  It is right near our kitchen, which also serves as my office space, so I can keep an eye on her. We also have a place to keep her toys so they aren’t all over the house, and she has a space to go and play.  #Momwin

Minnie Mouse Table Toppers

I obviously have a baby girl, but they make these in other varieties. I literally wouldn’t be able to take my Ellie to restaurants without these. They are a lifesaver.  I place one down on the table before we put her in the highchair and put her food out on it. They stick right to the table. She is in that stage where she knows how to use a fork and spoon, but put a bowl or plate in front of her and the food is all over the floor. Being able to slap this down on the table and have her eat on this instead of the table keeps more germs away from her and helps to minimize the amount of damage we do at the restaurant in terms of her mess. You just pick it up and throw it out!

Wet Ones Wipes

I keep these everywhere, in every room of the house, my diaper bag, the stroller, the car… everywhere. It is nearly impossible to wash a toddler’s hands, so having these at arm’s length is a lifesaver.

Baby’s DHA

I love this product! I have been putting it in Ellie’s bottles for as long as I can remember. We will be switching her over the children’s version one of these days. DHA is so important, especially during the first three years of your little one’s life because that is when the overwhelming majority of their brain development and growth happens. We try to get DHA into her diet whenever possible, but this is a great safety net, especially during those times when she decides she is a picky eater.

Jelly Cats – E’s “Nunny”

Jelly cat stuffed animals come in a ton of varieties. They are simply the best stuffed animals out there. So soft, so snuggly, and they really stand the test of time and rough toddler man-handling. Ellie’s bunny (she calls it “Nunny”) is always with her. We have three on hand so she always has one nearby. Nunny will always cure a meltdown. Thank goodness for Nunny.

Natural Calm

This one isn’t for the toddlers. It’s for the Mamas of toddlers. Natural calm  has a ton of magnesium, which helps you stay calm in stressful situations. I go into another room and count to ten about  a million times a day, so I need this stuff. I notice that if I forget to take it, my ability to remain calm in stressful situations diminishes.

The Best New Baby Gift Idea!

It can be so hard to think of thoughtful gifts for those we love. Ellie’s Godmother sent us this super cute date pillow with her birthday on it when she was born, and it is a prized possession of ours. It is now my go to gift for friends and family who welcome home a new baby. Everyone who has one loves theirs! Great pillow for a nursery chair!


I love Jarrow brand probiotics. I use the adult kind for me and my husband, and this baby kind for Ellie. I just throw it into her sippy cup or bottle. It has no taste to it and she doesn’t even notice it. It really helps keep constipation and other tummy troubles at bay. I need to switch her to a big kid product soon… she isn’t a baby anymore. 🙁 You can purchase on amazon or at whole foods. It is best to keep them refrigerated.



I’m Liz Vander Leeuw. Mom, wife, daughter, friend, foodie, and wellness advocate. After dealing with health issues for ten years, I decided to make a change in my lifestyle. I lost nearly fifty pounds and began a journey to seek wellness. In 2014, I became a certified health coach after completing my education at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. I am passionate about all things related to health, food, and family. Now, as a new mom to my baby girl, I am even more passionate about creating the healthiest life possible for my family. I believe that Moms hold the key to create healthier generations.

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