Category Archives: Toddlers

Winning at Dinnertime with the Kids

Pirate "Dinner Winner" plate for kids - love this...makes dinner so much easier and fun!


Dinner has been one of the most despised words in my household for the past few years.  It started when my oldest was beginning to eat solid foods.  To make a long story short, he had an oral aversion sensory disorder that caused us issues with foods that we are still working past.  My youngest copied his big brother’s refusal to eat many foods, making dinner-time even harder on us.  As parents, we are concerned with making sure our children are fed and nurtured so they can be healthy and grow, but my husband and I felt like we were failing for the longest time.  We have made amazing progress the past year and my discovery of Fred & Friends has made progress even easier to attain.

Fred & Friends created one of the most genius plate designs I have come across – the Dinner Winner plates.  These plates help reduce the overwhelming feeling of the dinner plate, spacing foods out and giving order to them.  As children move through the spaces on the plate, they get a sense of accomplishment, being able to see the progress they have made.  There is a special space at the end with a cover to keep a treat hidden for dinner winners!

I received the “Supper Hero” and Pirate style Dinner Winner Plates and they couldn’t have been a better fit for my boys.  They get excited with each bite, asking me to read what they just uncovered on their plate.  Most kids, including my own, have a hard time keeping their hands off of their dessert but the cute covers keep the treats a surprise and hidden away from fidgety, curious fingers.  These plates are fun and definitely a help for fussy eaters.  I highly recommend them!

Love these plates and my kids love them too!


Another fun set of plates from Fred & Friends is the Mr. and Ms. Food Face plates.  These are so much fun!  I admit my creativity lacks but my husband is having a lot of fun with these.  The sky is the limit – create hair from spaghetti, a necklace of peas, earrings of olives…you name it!

Kids are bound keep their attention on their plate with the Dinner DJ plate.  With a spoon/fork/knife that mimics a tone arm, twistable knobs, and a record-style spinning plate, this set will keep your child entertained as they eat.  This would be a perfect gift for a music appreciative family!


Isn't these taco trucks adorable?  Maybe I can convince my kids to eat tacos now!


Fred & Friends also has fun utensils and products for specific foods, such as tacos.  Aren’t these Taco Trucks adorable?  The trucks are full of detail and are sturdy enough to last your children for years.  And check out these fun chop sticks for kids!

Make sure to take a look around the rest of Fred & Friends too – they have so many fun products that would make great gifts.  I think I know where I might be doing some of my Christmas shopping!

Summer fun in Springfield, Illinois with the kids!


A list of fun things to do in the Capitol City with the kids (Springfield, Illinois)


The Capitol City is known for its abundance of Abraham Lincoln memorabilia and historical buildings.  Unfortunately this has little significance to my kids who are both under 5 years old and I’m sure you can relate. Luckily there is still plenty around to do while the kids are young!  Here is a list off the top of my head of some of our favorite sites to see and places to go in Springfield, Illinois:


Henson-Robinson Zoo (see over 90 species of animals including bears and primates, ride the train!)

Downtown and the Capitol area (beautiful architecture, water fountains, tall buildings, and a taste of “city”)

Ergadoozy Creative Play Center (perfect for a rainy day)

Visit a Park

  • Washington Park (large play ground, feed the ducks, go for a long walk)
  • Lincoln Park (Nelson Center with ice skating and other activities, younger/smaller childrens’ outdoor play area, frisbee golf, go for a hike)
  • Southwind Park (splash pad, two separate playgrounds, fishing pond, 2.5 miles of trails)
  • and many more!

Knights Action Park (water park, outdoor putt-putt range, go-karts, outdoor ferris wheel)

Springfield Library (or one of the surrounding towns – Chatham has an awesome kids’ area!)

Scheels (huge aquarium, $1/person Ferris Wheel, cafeteria area with $1 cups of ice cream, bowling, kid’s play area, animatronic presidents, and the list goes on)

White Oaks Mall (children’s play area, carousel, indoor glow mini-golf)

Springfield Lake (parks, watch the boats, skip rocks)

Lincoln Memorial Gardens (6 miles of trails through wildflowers and wildlife)


There is so much to do in Springfield, IL if you have small kids but sometimes it takes a little inspiration and a list to think of everything!


Still need ideas?

Head inside Barnes and Noble on Veterans Parkway for a LEGO Duplo table, children’s books area, seats for reading, and a stage to perform on.  Down the street towards the interstate, you’ll find a McDonalds with an indoor PlayPlace (and another one on south Sixth Street!)

Lowes has Build & Grow workshops for kids.  You may have to check in store for a schedule.

The Illinois Products Farmer’s Market is Thursday evenings from May 12 – October 13th at the State Fairgrounds.  On Wednesday/Saturday mornings May 13 – October 31, you can visit the Old Capitol Farmer’s Market.  Farmer’s markets can be educational and fun for the kids!

In August the Illinois State Fair will run for two weeks with rides, fun foods, and lots of entertainment.  It’s always a blast for the whole family!  I recommend taking a stroller or a wagon if you have little ones though.  All the walking in a hot day can really wear them out!


Do you have any other ideas?  I’d love to hear about them!  We love trying out new things!!! 


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