If You're Happy and You Know It

3.31.2012



Adventures in Baby Food Making

3.30.2012

Although I am not the best cook, I knew before Emerson was even born that I wanted to make her food when the time came. Now I have absolutely nothing against prepared baby food and Emerson eats it quite often when we are out and about but I just loved the idea of being the one to make her food and I felt like it would save us money in the long run. Once I actually got started with it I learned that is incredibly easy and even sort of fun! Over the last 4 months she has tried so many new foods and Jesse and I have learned the best way to prepare it through lots of trial and error. I thought it might be helpful to share a few things we've learned.

First of all, you don't have to have any fancy appliances or gear to make baby food. You can use a regular food processor and even the blender to puree baby food and you can use regular ice cube trays to freeze the food. I did, however, find the following items helpful in our baby food making adventure:

KidCo Babysteps Electric Food Mill


This little food mill seemed to make the purees a little bit finer than our regular food processor. I love that you just attach the top and push it down to turn it on.

Tupperware MicroSteamer

Really any steamer will work just fine but I love this one because it's easy to use and easy to clean.

Kidco Babysteps 1 oz Freezer Trays



I really like these because they have lids and you don't have to worry about wrapping the tray with saran wrap.


Fresh N Freeze 2 oz Baby Food Containers

We used these when Emerson started eating more. I like that they connect to each other and stack on the little tray so it is easy to keep them organized.

When it came to deciding what to make, I found these cookbooks to be helpful. They all have simple and tasty recipes and I like that give suggestions for when different foods should be introduced.

Cooking for Baby 


Top 100 Baby Purees


The Healthy Baby Meal Planner



And I referred to this awesome website quite a bit: Wholesome Baby Food

So now that you know a little bit about what gear we used, I thought I'd share the basic process we used to make batches of food for E.

For most fruits and vegetables I would use the Tupperware steamer. I would steam a very large batch until it was quite tender and then puree it and put it straight into the food trays. After it was frozen I would transfer the cubes to freezer bags that were marked with the date and the name of the item. I did this with broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, peas, apples, asparagus, pears, peaches, and several other fruits and veggies.

Apples with cinnamon

Since Emerson loves sweet potatoes and squash so much, we wanted to find the easiest way to prepare them. The first time I peeled them and steamed them and it took forever. The next time I decided to bake them instead. I lined a cookie sheet with foil and pierced the potatoes with a fork. Then I cooked them on 375 for about an hour or until the juices started oozing from the potatoes. They turn out SO good this way because it caramelizes the sugar in the potatoes. Then when you take them out of the oven the skins will fall right off. The potatoes are so soft that you can just mash them with a fork instead of using the food processor.  It's also easy clean up because you just throw the foil away.

sweet potatoes and potatoes
I also use this same process to make mashed potatoes and it worked perfectly. We did try roasting a few other veggies but it seemed to dry them out too much to make a smooth puree. I found that steaming worked best for everything else.

Now that Emerson has moved onto finger foods, she doesn't eat quite as many purees but I do still make them occasionally to mix with her chicken or oatmeal. I really think that making our own food has allowed me to introduce her to a variety of foods and I'm hoping it will keep her from being a picky eater when she gets older.
I guess only time will tell!






Because I'm Random Like That...

3.29.2012

Here are a few randoms on this lovely Thursday:

-Our little shopping trip yesterday was somewhat successful. I didn't find anything even close to the outfits I posted but I was able to get a few plain t-shirts and tank tops and a pair of really cute shoes. I tried to find some jeans but Emerson had a major meltdown in the dressing room when I was trying on clothes. She wanted out of her stroller and she wanted to be held. It's pretty difficult to try on jeans while holding an almost 20 pounder. Needless to say I walked away without any jeans. Of course as soon as we were out of the dressing room she was as happy as a clam.

Despite the dressing room fiasco I did find some pretty adorable stuff for little Miss E that I just couldn't resist. She is just too much fun to shop for. I may not be rocking the colored skinnies but Emerson sure will. And you can never, ever go wrong with pink boat shoes.

This week is my 12th consecutive week of working out at least 3 times a week. I am pretty excited about this! I think I can finally say that working out has become more of a habit and less of a chore. It's also one more thing I can mark off my 101 in 1001 list. :) (The funny part is that I'm supposed to be working out right now but I chose to blog instead. Maybe I'll squeeze a workout in later!)

-It is already getting so hot here!

It looks like we will be spending lots of time in the pool- starting this afternoon...

-I found a super easy way to watermark my photos without having to do each one individually. It's a plug-in for iPhoto called iWatermark and it allows you to watermark photos in one step. If you have a Mac I definitely recommend it. It does cost $30.00 but if you like their page on Facebook it will give you a promo code you can use at checkout. I think it's worth it because it's so much easier than having to upload the photos to a photo editor and do them individually.

-I hate that Pinterest has become so full of advertisements lately! They are slowly, but surely, ruining it one pin at a time. :(

-We went to a playdate today and the little girl had a play kitchen. Emerson stood at the little sink and played for about 30 minutes- she just loved it! I'm thinking it's a must for her birthday. I'd love to DIY one but it's just not happening here.  Does anyone have any recommendations for a good toddler sized play kitchen?

-It's going to be a pretty quiet weekend around here. Jesse has to work a little bit so Emerson and I will probably just hang out and relax after we do our dreaded grocery shopping trip tomorrow. Guess I better get started on my grocery list...


Don't You Know I'm Loving...

3.28.2012



I'm loving the beautiful Easter dress and sweet goodies that Mimi and Pa sent for Emerson. I can't wait to get her all dressed up!

I'm loving that Jesse won a free night at a gorgeous beach hotel in the golf tournament he played in a few weeks ago! We are so excited to use it!


I'm loving that E and I are heading to the mall today to do a little bit of shopping. I just want to get a few shirts and maybe a pair of shoes. I love that we have some great stores here but I hate that they are so much more expensive! :( Hopefully I'll be able to find a few things that are somewhat reasonable. Here are a few of my inspiration outfits:




I'm loving that I have *finally* decided on a theme (and color scheme) for Emerson's birthday party. Details to come soon!


I'm loving Newman's Own Pineapple Salsa. Have you had it? I thought it was so gross at first but it has really grown on me and now I can't get enough.

via

And, of course, I'm loving this little girl who is keeping me on my toes with all her crawling, cruising, and *this* close to walking!





Another Fun Weekend

3.26.2012


Happy Monday y'all! We had a wonderful weekend and I hope you did too! 

Our little block party went well and we all had a lot of fun. I think a few people may have had a little too much fun but that's a whole other post. :)

At our compound playground there is a small swing set that has a little fort attached to it. Emerson loves to stand at the door and watch the other kids play. That night she stood there for at least 20 minutes talking to herself and watching everyone around her.

While I followed her around, Jesse did the grilling for everyone.  We made chicken, stuffed mushrooms, and cheese dip. It was all delicious and I ate way too much! :)

We even hired a babysitter for the evening. Well- sort of. After I got Emerson to bed I paid our teenage neighbor to come sit at the house while we hung out by the pool area. Of course E was having so much fun at the party she didn't really want to come home and go to bed. She cried on and off for about 30 minutes before I was finally able to get her to sleep. It was nice to be able to stay out a little later than normal, even if we were just 50 feet from our house. Maybe one of these days I'll get brave enough to actually leave the compound while E is with a babysitter. Or not.

On Saturday Jesse had to go into work for a little while and Emerson and I went to a birthday party.
Sweet little Leah is one year old and her Mom threw her such a nice party. There were a few other babies there and it was funny to watch them all. They didn't really play together and most of us spent the whole time chasing our babies around the house.

I really wanted to get a picture of the babies together but that just wasn't happening. We did have a lot of fun though and it really motivated me to get started on Emerson's party planning. 

The party was right in the middle of E's afternoon nap so she passed out as soon as we got home. I think all of that partying really wore her out. I guess it wore me out too because I did something I never do and also took a little nap. I usually feel terrible after napping but I actually felt pretty good when I got up. Maybe I need to do that more often....

Emerson and I stayed home yesterday and hung out and played. I rarely go anywhere on Sundays because I like to let E get back into her routine and I usually use the day to get caught up on laundry and other fun stuff like that.

Unfortunately, I didn't get quite as much laundry done as I planned because we had way too much fun playing.  Now I'm surrounded by a mountain of clothes that need to be folded. Thankfully I have a wonderful little helper who loves doing laundry. And by doing laundry I mean taking all of the folded clothes out of the basket and throwing them on the floor. 


How else?

Baby Girl is 10 Months!

3.25.2012

Dear Emerson,

Every single day your Daddy and I talk about how much you are growing! You just astonish us with all of the new things you are learning and your sweet as sugar personality makes us love you more and more every day. You are still the sweetest and most mild-mannered baby and everyone always comments on how good you are. We feel so lucky to have such a sweet girl! You are quite the little charmer with the toothy grin and fake laugh that you have suddenly mastered. You are a blessing to everyone that you encounter and you are beautiful both inside and out. We love you more than words could ever say!

Love,
Mommy


I don't have official stats for you this month but I'm guessing that you are a little over 19 lbs and about 28.5 inches. You are still wearing Size 3 diapers and we have finally retired all of your 3-6 month clothes. :) You are now wearing 6-9 month clothes and some 6-12 months. You are wearing Size 1 and some Size 2 shoes and we have been trying to put you in shoes more often so that you can get used to them. They don't seem to bother you at all.


You are still nursing every 4 hours and eating 3 meals a day, plus the occasional snack. You are not a picky eater at all and will eat pretty much anything I give you. This month you tried tuna, string cheese, fruit smoothie, macaroni and cheese, scrambled eggs, and goldfish crackers.  You have moved away from purees and now you mostly eat finger foods. When you do have foods that require a fork or a spoon, you love to hold it and feed yourself. It's messy but you do a pretty good job of getting the food in your mouth.  You also love to try to feed Mommy or Daddy while you are eating. Your favorite foods right now are bananas, cheese, Cheerios, and broccoli. You are still obsessed with drinking water from your cup and we never leave home without it.

You have 6 teeth and you love to show them off!
You have gained such better control of your body this month. You are crawling incredibly fast and pulling up on everything with ease. You will let go for long periods of time and you are able to sit down easily and stand up on your knees.



You love to walk behind your walker and can do it without any help. You are able to stand for about 30 seconds at a time and you took 2 steps toward me a few days ago. You haven't done it again since then.

You have become such a talker. You are constantly talking as if you are really carrying on a conversation. You said Daddy in context for the first time this month. Daddy was asleep and you wanted his attention so you called out to him. I've never seen him wake up so fast. You have also said Momma a few times but we're still not sure if you are associating it with me. You also say "what's this" with one hand up the air. It sounds more like "wuh zis" and when you say it you want me to tell you what something is.

You learned two new signs this month. You did the sign for doggy when we were dog-sitting and you also learned the sign for more. You learned to point and love to point at the pictures on the wall and have me tell you who everybody is. You are doing lots of motions with your hands so I have a feeling more signs will be coming soon.

You love to be outside. We spend a lot of time standing at the playhouse door, swinging, and swimming in the pool. You just love when the other kids come outside to play and I know you can't wait until you can run with them. They all love you and always come over and sit with you in the grass and talk to you.


Emerson Olivia- you are the light of our lives and we are so proud of you!


Happy 10 Months precious girl!




To Mimi

3.23.2012




We love you so much and hope you have a wonderful day! Thanks for being the best Mimi in the whole world!

Thursday 5

3.22.2012







I'm linking up with Nicole today for her Thursday 5.


The words for this week are:
Outstanding 
proud 
energized
splendid

wonderful

Emerson's sudden interest in baby signs is outstanding. She's been watching us do them pretty intently for a while now but she is finally starting to do them back and it is so darn sweet! She did the sign for more yesterday and I was so excited! It is so much fun to see her actually doing the signs with her chubby little hands. Here is a quick video of her doing it last night during dinner. Please excuse my silly expression. I get pretty excited over these things... 




I'm really proud of the amazing compliment I got yesterday! The photographer that did Emerson's 6 month pictures emailed me and told me that she had seen some of the recent pictures I had taken of Emerson and that she felt like I really had an eye for photography. She also said that I do a great job of capturing E's personality in my photos.  I emailed her back and told her that was probably one of the best compliments I have ever received. I was literally giddy after I read it! It makes me even more motivated to keep learning everything I can about photography and editing. (On that note I am almost finished editing Emerson's 9 month photos and will be posting them in the next week. They're obviously not professional but she does look pretty darn cute in all of them!) :)




Working out has left me so energized lately. There are some days that I just don't want to do it but once I get started I'm so glad I did! I did another Turbo Fire workout yesterday and I loved it! It's so motivating to have something new to do and I'm really looking forward to trying the rest of the workouts. Is anyone else out there doing Turbo Fire? 

We have a splendid weekend planned. We are having a block party tomorrow and I'm so excited! We have the best neighbors and it's always fun to hang out with them. I also love watching Emerson play with the big kids. She just loves them to pieces and they keep her well entertained. We are also taking Emerson to her very first birthday party. One of her little friends is turning one. It will be good practice for E's big day which is now less than 2 months away!!

It's been a wonderful week. We have stayed pretty busy with several play dates, lots of outside time, and a trip to the mall. Emerson has been a sweetheart despite missing several naps and I have enjoyed spending time with great friends. Unfortunately this poor little blog has been quite neglected due to that and my early bedtime. I'm hoping I'll do better next week!





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