Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Homemade Baby Food

Before Bennett was even born, I decided that I wanted to make his own baby food. There are many different reasons I chose to make his own baby food. It's cheaper, I know all the ingredients that he is eating, and finally, I truly enjoy making it. I get so much  enjoyment making his food. That might sound weird to you, but it's FUN to me. Every Mom needs an escape, or their time, my time/escape is making his food. Don't get me wrong, I still enjoy going to Target, or escaping all reality by reading all the gossip and drama that can be found on Facebook. Ha! But this is something else I like to do.

You don't even need one of those fancy baby food maker things. But, I was that Mom who HAD to have a specific baby food maker. Honestly, I could have done without it and been just fine, but I like having it, and don't regret buying it. I bought the Beaba Babycook food maker off of ebay. It's an all in one product. It steams the food as as well blends it.

Last weekend, I went to Trader Joes to pick up some things to make Bennett's baby food. I bought a butternut squash for $1.99 and a bag of organic pears for $2.69. The butternut squash made 20 one ounce portions which equals out to .09 cents a serving! You can't beat that price. Today though, I'm going to show you how I made the pears.

Here is what I started with. First, I cored and peeled all seven pears.

Next, I diced the pears and placed them in the steam basket. 

Once I was finished with chopping the pears, I poured some water into the cooker. 

I then placed the steam basket inside the blending container. 

I then put the lid on the container and set the button to steam. When it's steaming, an orange light will turn on. Once it has finished steaming, the orange light will turn off. For pears, it takes about 10 minutes to steam and soften. 

When it was finished steaming, I removed the steaming basket and poured out the cooking liquid that was left in the bottom of the container. I saved the cooking liquids because I can use them to help give the pears the consistency and texture that I want. 

I then poured the pears back into the blender and began to blend away. 

I stopped after a few second of blending to see what type of texture and consistency I had. 

I didn't like the consistency, so I added just a little of the cooking liquid and blended some more. After a few more seconds, I had the texture and consistency that I wanted. 

Finally, I separated the pears into one ounce portions and placed them in the freezer. 

Once they were frozen, I removed the frozen cubes and placed them into a zip-lock bag with the name and date on the bag. 

So for $2.69, I was able to make 14 one ounce portions of organic pears. Which equals to .19 cents per portion. Not bad!

Friday, January 17, 2014

What's in My Diaper Bag

I thought it would be fun to share with you what's in my diaper bag for a 5 month old.

Do you know how difficult it is to find the perfect diaper bag? It's nearly impossible! Before choosing the right bag for me, I did a TON of research on different diaper bags. I knew I didn't want it to look so much like a diaper bag. I wanted it to be cute, but also not so girly that Ben wouldn't carry it. Did you know that diaper bags are so expensive?? I didn't, until I started researching for one. After much time spent researching, I went with the Skip Hop Studio diaper bag in indigo dot. 

I love it because it has so many pockets and everything has a place. It has six outside pockets, six inside pockets, a big zippered pocket on the inside, as well as a big open space on the inside. 

Since I don't carry a purse now, I needed a pocket for my stuff. I decided to use this outside zippered pocket. 

It's a nice size pocket and it can hold a lot. Here is what is inside this pocket:

The pocket right below it holds medicine, Clorox wipes, and wet wipes. 

Now, let's move to the other side of the diaper bag. 

This open pocket typically holds my cell phone, planner, and other random items. 

Today, it had a map of Charleston, a receipt, a lanyard, planner, and a pair of Bennett's socks. See, totally random!

This zippered pocket above this one is an anti-microbial pocket. Basically, it can hold soiled clothes. 

Inside this pocket I put Bennett's dirty clothes if he has any. This pocket also always holds the changing pad. 

The two side pockets hold bottles. I can fit up to 4 of my bottles on the outside pockets. I use the Dr. Browns standard bottles.

Next, we will move to the inside pockets. 

The two chevron pieces are my diapers and wipes case. I got them off of Etsy, and I love them!

One inside pocket is the toys pocket. 

All the toys except for the colorful caterpillar fit in one pocket. The caterpillar is usually in the bottom of the bag. Bennett loves his Wabanub! (It's the name of the monkey paci). He doesn't take the paci, but he loves to play with the monkey and bite on it. 

The pocket next to the toys holds cleaning wipes and a pink bag. The water bottle is held in another bottle holder inside the bag. The inside bag also has 2 bottle holder pockets, just like the outside pocket. Everything but the water bottle and cleaning wipes fit into the pink bag.

The inside of the bag has one big zippered pocket. In that pocket, I carry an extra outfit, bibs, and burp cloths. 

My wallet goes fits perfectly in one of the pockets. 

That's all that inside my diaper bag. If you have any specific questions, let me know! 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Baby Favorites: Months 1-4

I always love reading other bloggers monthly baby favorites. It's so interesting to see what other Moms find important or must-haves. Before registering for Bennett, I read a TON of these type blogs. I found them very helpful. I was planning on having monthly baby favorites, but alas that didn't work out. So I have lumped months 1-4 all together. Hope someone finds this list helpful.

1. Fisher Price Kick & Play Piano: Bennett absolutely LOVES this play mat. The loves to kick his feet, and will spend a good amount of time kicking the piano and playing with the activity bar. Bennett enjoys the mirror on the activity bar, because he LOVES to look at himself. I like the fact that when Bennett sits up, the piano can turn right side up so he can continue to play with it. It's a great multifunctional toy. Plus, I got it for $15 bucks off a local baby Facebook site. Score!

2. Halo Sleep Sacks: When Bennett was first born, we swaddled him with receiving blankets. However, he quickly became a kicking ninja and would kick out of the swaddle as soon as he was in the crib. He still loved to be swaddled, so I busted out the Halo sleep sack swaddle. Bennett loved it, and he was able to stay swaddled which helped him sleep better. One night, Bennett decided on his own that he was DONE with the swaddle. Ben and I tried to use the swaddle part, and he just screamed because his hands were not free. We still use these, but now we just wrap the swaddle part around his waist.

3. NoseFrida: Yes, it looks disgusting and gross. But, it is hands down 100 times better than a bulb syringe. With a little bit of saline, this thing gets out so much more snot and gunk than the bulb. I have recommended this to many different people and they all agree. Its a MUST have!

4. Exersaucer: I love this exersaucer simply because it's two in one. It's an exersaucer plus and jumper. Bennett loves all the different toys on the exersaucer and can play with it for a long time. He is just now getting to the point of understanding that it's a jumper as well. It's so fun to see him jump and bounce on it!

5. White Noise Machine: This is a MUST have in order for Bennett to fall asleep. I chose this one for multiple reasons. It has a variety of sounds. It's a projector with different slides that can be projected, it's a night light, it has a timer, and the main reason it's voice activated. If/when Bennett wakes up in the middle of the night and starts making noises, the machine will cut on automatically. This is so helpful because it can soothe him back to sleep.

6. Angelcare Monitor: Bennett has slept in his crib at night from the first night we brought him home from the hospital. This monitor has given me and Ben the peace of mind that we needed. Basically, it's a monitor that senses baby movement. It has a sensor pad under the mattress, that can detect Bennetts movement. If it doesn't detect movement for 5 seconds it gives a warning beep. After 15 seconds if it detects no movement, it will sound an alarm. We have the one with two sensor pads, and two parent units. I absolutely LOVE this product. There is currently a recall on this product, but they have sent a replacement part to fix the issue.

7. Dr, Browns Bottles: I swore up and down that I would not use the bottles. Simply because they have SO. MANY. PARTS. Man, am I eating my words about that! When Bennett was first born, we used Tommee Tippee bottles. Those bottles gave Bennett the worst stomach and gas pains. We would have to use gas drops after every feeding. Bennett was miserable and uncomfortable all the time. Something had to be done. I did my research and the Dr. Browns bottles were the number one rated bottles in order to prevent stomach and gas pain. So, I bit the bullet and bought a pack. Since then, I have never looked back. These bottles have all but eliminated Bennett's gas pain. I RARELY if that have to use gas drops now. Yes, they are a pain to wash, but thank goodness for dishwashers.

8.Swing: I've heard that babies either love the swing or hate it. Bennett is a baby who LOVES it. It's his favorite place to nap, so it's used multiple times a day. I like this one because the swing part can be removed and it becomes a baby rocker. I also like it because it has a vibrate function, and it plugs into the wall.

9. Pack-n-Play: I love our pack-n-play. We use it everyday at my home. Since we have a two story home, we have the pack-n-play downstairs. It's so nice to have a "baby station" in one location instead of having baby necessities all over our downstairs. We got the one with the reversible napper/changer, and I'm SO glad we did. We only use the changer part, we have yet to use the napper part.

10. Travel System: I really like our travel system. It has been used so much already. We have the Graco click connect, urban lite, fast action fold one. That's a mouthful to say. Any stoller/travel system will do the job, this is the one that we choose because it's affordable. FYI: I think there is a huge misconception out there about car seats. Many people assume that the higher the car seat price, the safer it is. That is not true. If you have done your research, you will know that all car seats have had to pass the same safety standards in order to be sold on the market. Yes, some car seats are nicer, and more luxurious, but that doesn't make the other car seats not safe! Many times you are paying for the brand name! No matter what the name brand of the seat, the most important thing is having a correct install and following the guidelines of the car seat. I highly recommend everyone looking up the website or Facebook group called Car Seats for the Littles. This is the place to go when you are needing car seat info! Alright, I'm off my soapbox!

There you have it, favorites for months 1-4. I have a list of items that are least used/baby buy regrets. I can do a post on that if anyone is interested.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Bennett's Nursery

Do you have a place where you can feel relaxed, safe, calm, and at peace all at the same time? That's how I feel about Bennett's nursery. I knew I wanted the room to be soft and cozy. I wanted the environment to feel welcoming. I didn't want bright, bold colors. I also didn't want a "theme" nursery. I just wanted it to have different shades of blue. It was my goal to create a nursery that was serene and inviting. Overall, I think I achieved my goal. 

 Please ignore some of the bad pictures, most were taken with my cell phone.
 Here is the nursery, hope you enjoy!

Crib, Dresser, and Bedding from Baby Furniture Plus Kids.
Chair and Ottoman (not pictured)  from Babies R Us
Chevron Rug from Amazon
Bookshelf from Target

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Green Smoothie Bandwagon

I'll be the first to admit, I was very hesitant about drinking a green smoothie.  I always thought there was no way a smoothie with spinach in it could be tasty. I knew I wanted to up my daily fruit and veggie intake, but I couldn't snack on carrots and apples all day long. I've learned snacking is not conducive with a infant.

So, I bit the billet, and back in December, I asked a former co-worker for a green smoothie recipe that she used to drink all the time at work. I took the recipe and tweaked it to fit my liking. Ben, Bennett, and I went to the store and shopped for the ingredients to make a green smoothie. 

What I have learned is that if you have 2 base ingredients (spinach and banana), you can really mix up other ingredients and you will end up with a tasty smoothie. As of January 7, I have had a green smoothie everyday for the past week! Pretty good if you ask me! Today, I am going to share with you the green smoothie I made last night to drink today. I just used the things I had at home. I'm running low on fruits, so a trip to the grocery store is due for this week. 

Here are the ingredients I used to make today's smoothie. 

Let's get started. 

I rinsed 3 handfuls of spinach and added them to the blender. I have learned that if I want a specific texture to my smoothie, I need to just blend the spinach first. 

I started blending, and my blender began making a weird noise. I soon realized that I forgot to add the water! Duh! Don't forgot add water, it's important. 

I just eyeballed it and poured it in. After you blend the spinach, it should look something like this:

Next, I added the frozen fruit. 

This is just what I have on hand at home. I've used a berry mix and a tropical mix of frozen fruit. All have tasted great in this smoothie. Just get something you like.  I added a couple of handfuls from each bag and blended it up. (I also added a little more water to it too.)

Finally, I put in the fresh fruit. Today, I used one apple and two bananas. I have used all types of fruit for this. Kiwi, pineapple, and/or strawberries all work great. I do always add at least 1 banana. I find that it helps cut the spinach taste. 

Once chopped, I added it to the blender. Yes, I leave the skins on the apple. It makes it easier and quicker! Finally, I needed to use the rest of the yogurt I had on hand. So I added about 3 spoonfuls of fat free plain yogurt. 

Then, I blended away. The final product will look something like this. It makes a lot, so thankfully Ben is willing to drink it with me. 

One tip my friend gave me was to drink it in a 24 hour period. She says it can start to not be as good once it has sat for longer than that. 

So there you have it, a green smoothie recipe. There are so many variations to this recipe. I'm hoping to get bold and adventurous soon and start adding other things to the smoothie. I know many people who add kale and flax seed. I haven't gotten up the nerve yet to try those. Maybe I will soon!

If you try a green smoothie, let me know!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Weekend Recap

This weekend, it was our goal to do as little as possible. Does anyone else ever have this goal? After a very busy last two weeks, we needed a weekend at home.

This post will probably bore you to tears, and it's ok if it does!

Friday night started off with this beautiful sky. 

After dinner, Ben and I played with Bennett. Bennett's been trying hard to sit up for a while now. He was able to sit up for a few seconds at a time. This weekend, something clicked, and he started sitting up for longer periods of time. So we praxticed a lot of this: 

Friday night was also the Clemson bowl game. I couldn't believe it started at 8:30, that's a late game. I gave Ben fair warning that I would probably fall asleep on the couch while watching the game. 
Needless to say, I did not disappoint. I was very happy to find out that the Tigers won! 

Saturday was a lazy day. We played, watched Harry Potter, and the boys took naps. I'm usually all for naps, but I couldn't sleep, so I did this instead. After naps, Ben and I folded a mound of laundry. If there is one thing I hate doing, it's laundry. I would rather do dishes every day than laundry. That's usually why the laundry is typically washed, dried, but never folded and put away. While we did that, Bennett played in his seat. 

On Sunday, we went to church, came home and ate lunch, and this time Bennett and I took a nap. Ben watched football during this time. After naps, we played, and Bennett continued practicing sitting up. 

We had such a nice, relaxing weekend. It was good to do nothing and just enjoy spending time together as a family. I will leave you with a picture of this happy boy.  

Hope everyone else had a great weekend!