Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Ways We Save: Making Baby Food

One of the things I have enjoyed about nursing is that it is FREE!  I know that it's not an option for everyone, but I make sure to enjoy the money savings for as long as I can.  While moving to solids does mean an increase in costs for feeding baby, switching over to solids doesn't have to necessarily break the bank.

Now that our littlest one is eating solid foods, I thought it made sense to include this way we save for today's post.  Let me start off saying that I do not make all of our baby food all of the time.  As much as I'd like to, there are just some times when it's not possible, and I'm totally okay with that.  Making your own baby food does not make you super mom.

There are at least 2 times when I do not make my own baby food.

Introducing a new food
I do not make my own baby food when introducing a new food.  I use store bought so that I can determine if there are any allergies first.  I'd hate to make a batch of it and then find out there was some allergic reaction.

On vacation or out of town
I do not make my own baby food when we are on vacation or when we are travelling out of town.  Even though it does save money, there are some times when the convenience of store bought is worth it to me.

I always keep a little bit of store bought food on hand just in case life gets busy and I run out of homemade food before I can make more.  With two older children, I'm already fairly certain I won't have as much time to spend on this, but we will see.

Here's the basic rundown of what I do and do not make homemade.

Foods that I do not make
- rice cereal {we don't use this much except for when we are just starting out}
- applesauce {we buy this for the older kids anyway}
- bananas {we just mush these up}
- meats

Foods that I sometimes make
- pears
- peaches

It's not hard to make fruit purees, but it is more time consuming because you have to peel everything and you need a lot of fruit to make a substantial amount.  It also depends on what is in season and how expensive the fruits are when you are making your food.

Foods that I usually make
- sweet peas/green beans
- carrots {can follow the same method as for green veggies}
- sweet potatoes/squash
- prunes

I have read that it is important to use organic carrots when making purees - to avoid any nitrates that might come from the soil - so please consider doing your research before starting out.

Overall, we keep things pretty simple when it comes to baby food.  We typically just go for single ingredient foods.  I think about the way I eat my foods and then mimic that for baby.  I have never eaten squash mixed with fruit, so I have never felt inclined to feed that to our babies, for example.  There's nothing wrong with it, but I just don't do it that way. Maybe I should?  And I can't bring myself to feed our babies pureed meats...just can't do it.  :-(

Also, I think of purees as a bridge food, so I don't go crazy with this.  We start working on the pincer grasp and then begin moving towards soft table foods. {Our pediatrician has always said if we can mush it with our fingers, then baby can gum it and should be fine, but check with your doctor}.

I was really surprised at how easy it is to make your own baby food.  The costs of diapers and {possibly} formula are high enough as it is, so I really love saving a little money on baby food when I can.


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Do you make your own baby food? 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Brady at 2.5 Years

This post is about a month overdue, but I definitely need to document what our little 2.5 year old has been up to recently.  He has been keeping us on our toes lately, but his cuteness keeps me going when I want to give up and give in!

Here is what you are to these days, little man.

*  You are doing great drinking from a cup and it's been quite a while since you've used a sippy cup.  I'm keeping a few for your little brother, but I've done some purging of cups recently to make more cabinet space.  You drink mostly milk and water.  You love my sodas {when you sneak sips of them when I'm not looking} and juice is like dessert to you.

*  You are not the worst eater in the world, but you certainly are pickier than what we were used to with you sister when she was your age.  We've decided that we are not going to allow your picky eating to be a battle.  We serve you what we are all eating and it's your choice whether or not to eat it.  I try to serve things that you like {you like almost all fruits and quite a few veggies}, but I also don't shy away from things I know you will likely not eat that are healthy for you and that we are eating.  We do have a rule that you must eat a little bit of everything on your plate if you want any treats for dessert.  We don't have dessert every night, but you have missed out on many a treat because of your unwillingness to try what it on your plate {who doesn't like baked ziti?}.

*  Your sleeping habits have been a challenge recently.  You have always been a lighter sleeper, but a few months ago is when you started to not sleep as well.  It started out that you would wake up in the middle of the night and we would just go in your room and put you back down {you were still in your crib}.  You would go right back to sleep, so it wasn't overly concerning.  Once you were able to climb out of your crib, things got worse.  This is when you started to boycott sleep, sometimes throwing huge tantrums.  We sped up the process of switching you over to a twin bed because you were bruising yourself with all the climbing out of your crib.  Now you are in a twin bed and we are in the midst of "Bedtime Boot Camp."  We put you down at 7:30pm, but sometimes it's an hour or so later before you are actually in bed asleep {sometimes you pop up at 10pm or 1 am}.  We have always done a night time routine to help you settle for the night and I'm convinced at this point that this is you exercising your will.

*  You are still napping for about 1.5-2 hours during the day - usually from 1:30-3:00pm.  You sometimes try to get out of bed at nap time, but it's nothing terrible most days {maybe once or twice before you get the hint}.    

*  You are still wearing size 5 diapers, but I'm hoping to potty train you at the end of the summer after vacation in July.  I'm not going to even consider potty training you though until we have bedtime figured out.  There is no way my nerves can handle both - that would be cray-zee!

*  You are wearing a mixture of sizes - both 2T and 3T.  You still wear 2T for most of your shorts, but some of your t-shirts are looking a little short, so you'll probably need some 3T t-shirts to get you through summer.  You are still wearing lots of hand-me-downs, which is great!  I just have to add here and there since you mostly have what you need.  You are wearing a size 8.5 shoe.

*  You have all 20 teeth.  Your final 2 year molar took it's time, but it finally emerged a couple of months ago.  You like brushing your teeth and we are trying to work with you on rinsing and spitting.

*  You have officially tested out of speech therapy.  It was bittersweet since we have loved your therapist, but it means that you're progressing, which is what it's all about!

*  You are a busy boy and love to be active!  You love to be outside and climb on anything and everything.  You love playgrounds and surprise me with your lack of fear on some of the tall slides and swings.  You are really enjoying our sandbox in the backyard.  It's been covered all winter and you ask to go play in it a lot during the day.

*  You also love to play quietly by yourself sometimes.  When Savannah is at school, you love to play with your toys, figurines, or trains.  It's funny to watch you line up your cars in a straight line.  You also love puzzles and have impressed me quite a bit with your ability to put them together so quickly.  For a while there, you would sit at the kitchen table to do the same puzzles over and over again.

*  You also like to color with markers and crayons.  You don't stay in the lines much, but you do enjoy "scribbling."  You enjoy painting with watercolors too.

*  You love being silly and dancing to music.  I don't hear it a ton, but you have the sweetest little voice that I love hearing sing to songs.  We often will sing a song together before nap time and bedtime and it's so precious.  

*  You and your sister continue to have a love/hate relationship and it's been tough for me to figure out how to encourage you to both get along with one another.  I have to remind myself that we are teaching big concepts and that it can take years to grasp them!  Parenting is not for the faint of heart, right?  At least there are sweet moments on occasion when I see you kissing and hugging, so I know there is hope!

*  You are becoming quite a helper around the house.  When prompted, you will help put your dishes on the counter or your cup in the sink.  You also do a good job of cleaning up when you have someone to help keep your from getting distracted.  It's so nice to have helpers around!

*  You visited the cleft clinic in the fall and everything seems to be going just fine.  Your ear tubes are still in, so we were told to keep an eye out for any possible issues with puss or draining.  Apparently, problems can arise when they are in for 2 years or more so we will keep an eye on that but all seems to be okay so far.  

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Brady Wayne,
I have to be honest and confess that this has been a tough phase for me.  It has been a challenge to "figure you out" and it's had me second guessing myself, but we continue to pray that God will give us wisdom in each and every moment.  I am so thankful that God is allowing me to learn and grow by being your Mommy.  Sometimes I have to remind myself of that when situations are emotionally charged and patience is fleeting.  :-)  While you are my second little boy, you are the first one that I've ever raised so I have a lot to learn and I need lots of grace.  We love you Brady and can't wait to see what God has in store for you!


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To see Brady's other yearly updates, click on the links below...

Brady at 2 years

Monday, May 11, 2015

May Goals

From a goal standpoint, I knew April would go by quickly since I didn't even post about my goals until halfway through the month!  As you can imagine, I didn't make as much progress on them as I'd like, but that's life.  Right?

Before we jump into May, here's how things went for April.

1.  Have a date night with Kevin.
We were hoping to go out for this one, but it just couldn't happen this month.  I had it all planned for when we were at my parent's house for the weekend, but Kev ended up backing out of the trip because he forgot he had to work.  #workinhardforthemoney
We opted to stay in for our date night instead of giving it up altogether.  We ended up watching Star Wars.  This was my first time watching the movie and I'd like to watch them all before I officially decide what I think about them.  Not sure they are my cup of tea.  :-( 

2.  Read Made to Crave*.
I did not have a chance to read this book this month, although I do currently have it in my possession since I checked it out from the library.  I was having a tough time with Brady a couple of weeks ago, so I started reading Raising Your Spirited Child* out of desperation.  I still haven't completed it yet, so I book shelved Made to Crave* for now.

3.  Take Brady out for a Mommy/son date.
Can I just tell you how much I enjoyed my little date with Brady?  We were a little delayed in getting out since dinner was later than I had hoped, so we didn't have time to hit up a playground like I had hoped.  Despite that, I thoroughly enjoyed eating some frozen yogurt with him.  It was a really nice evening and we ate outside and watched the people walking/driving past.  After some rough days this past month {Did I mention he's now in a twin bed?}, I needed the one-on-one time with him to reconnect.  It was so good!      

4.  Paint the upstairs bath closet & pick a date for Dad to come down and install bead board.
Still not done....UGH!

Image result for my fitness pal logo

5.  Make final decision on gym memberships/weight loss strategy.
I finally made a little headway on this one.  I came to the conclusion that there just isn't room in the budget for a gym membership.  We'll see how it goes down the road because I'd honestly love to join the YMCA.  If I decide to pay money for a weight loss plan, then I've decided it will be Weight Watchers.  It works for me and it's what I'm used to.  But, before I actually start forking out money, I am taking the advice of a friend and trying out the myfitnesspal app.  I started tracking over the weekend and it's fairly easy with my smartphone.  We'll see how it goes!

6.  Complete a few outside/yard projects.
I'm so excited that we finally got some fresh mulch down a couple weekends ago.  We had to put it as an event on our Google calendar and it made for a busy Saturday {we had events in the morning and evening}, but we got it done!  I would like to do some other things, but this was a nice start!

7.  Do another freezer cooking session.
I technically didn't get this one done until May since I'm late posting, but it does feel good to have some meals in the freezer.  I've got plans to make some batches of burritos and pancakes for lunches/breakfasts, but we'll see how that goes.

8.  Get Davis situated in his new room.
Davis is back in his room upstairs and I was able to make a little progress on this one.  I made my decision on the bedding, but would like to add a couple small touches above the crib. 

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Here is my plan for May goals.

1.  Put away all winter clothes.
Spring time is especially challenging with keeping clothes organized.  I still have my winter wardrobe out and slowly pull out warm weather clothing one by one as needed.  Now that the weather is consistently warm and it's May, it's time to put all the winter stuff away and get the dressers back in good shape.  Things are getting tight in there now!  

2.  Finish reading Raising Your Spirited Child*
I'm really enjoying this book so far.  It's long and I really want to digest it, so I'm trying not to rush it.  Even if Brady doesn't have all the traits of a "spirited" child, I think this is going to be a helpful read.

3.  Have a date night with Kevin.
We still want to make this happen, especially before he heads out to his training in June.  

4.  Paint the upstairs bath closet & pick a date for Dad to come down and install bead board.
Do I even need to explain this one?  As soon as I publish this post, I'm going to look at our Google calendar and block out time.  This is getting ridiculous!

5.  Schedule some play dates for early June.
I love play dates, but I am the world's worst at initiating.  It's not that I don't want to, but I tend to think about them once it's too late.  I'm going to try and plan some ahead of time for after school is out.

6.  Get paperwork in for new pediatrician & schedule appointments for Brady and Davis.
This is actually already in the works since this is late going up, but I want to get actual appointments on the books by the end of the month.  I just can't deal with filing anymore claims myself and this pediatrician takes our insurance.  It will make my life a whole lot easier, but I hope it will be a good fit for our family.

7.  Make my necklace board.
I have had the materials for this project since last year and it just hasn't happened yet.  I want to get this done and up on the wall so I can finally get my necklaces organized and hung nicely!

8.  Fill in any "holes" in the kid's summer wardrobe.
There are a few items that the kids still need for the summer.  We have the basics, but there are a few things here and there that I'd like to get this month.

There you have it.  I'll report back at the end of the month to let you know how I did!

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What are your goals this month?

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