Meet TC

Dear Sis,

A little orange cat has been hanging around our house since last week. Monday, while Mr. Baby and I were wondering around in the yard, the orange cat decided we could be friends. He followed us all around the yard, to and from the mail box, and to the front door. He was hopeful to join us when we went inside, but we didn’t invite him in. He remained on the door step the remainder of the morning and all afternoon. Each time we would go in or out it was a real challenge to keep him out. 

After talking to neighbors to make sure it wasn’t one of their new cats, talking with Josh, and our land lady, we made a vet appointment for the little guy for the following day and spent part of the evening shopping for kitty supplies. 

TC (Texas Cat) has a clean bill of health and got to come inside yesterday afternoon. We had a good first night together:)

TC was hoping for some attention while Mr. Baby was nursing, but I made him wait to cuddle up in my lap until after Mr. Baby was tucked into his crib for the night.

Love,

b

… and the following morning.

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Another Quick Wedding

Hi Sis,

This April, Nate’s oldest brother got married, and I got another awesome sister! We couldn’t be happier for the couple. here are some of the wedding details!!

Since, the wedding was in Cincinnati, we drove down to our hotel the night before. Nate’s father and grandparents arrived shortly after and we went to dinner at Skyline. Nate wanted to introduce me to Cincinnati chili, and I have to admit it is great stuff!

Afterwards, we met up with Nate’s mother’s side of the family. We went to a place called Top golf. Which, is essentially a mixture of golf and bowling, I suppose. lol You hit the golf ball, and aim for a large disk target in the field. Each ball has a chip, and it records your points based on how how close to the center of the target you hit, and which target you hit. (Some targets are farther away, and they are worth more points). It was a total blast, even for the few of us that didn’t golf at all. It turns out there are some very serious golfers in Nate’s family, and there are some seriously lame people like me that can barely hit the golf ball. But, we all had fun.

In the morning, we woke up early to help set up the wedding. Ellen and I went to Walmart to get sign making supplies, as people’s gps were sending them to the wrong park entry. We got terribly lost in Walmart, couldn’t find any employee’s to help us, and took over a half an hour to find some balloons, signs, markers and mason jars. Yeah, it was pathetic. But, the sign Ellen made was pretty darn cute!During the wedding prep, Mellisa approached us and asked Ellen and I if we would participate in the wedding and walk David (my father-in law) down the aisle. We both agreed. And before we knew it the wedding was starting!!

Okay, none of us look very photogenic. lol The path was just about to get narrower (barely big enough for two people), and we were three people wide. So we ended up walking down the aisle sideways. hehehehe

The wedding ceremony was written by the couple, and their best friend whom became an officiant for the event! It was super fast and sweet. And then the couple was wed!

The rest of the night followed by music, food and lots and lots of talking. I ended up being a table jumper, and kept hoping back and forth visiting different family members. We also got to enjoy some of the outdoors, as the wedding was in a hall at the park.Nate forced me to do the dreaded couple picture, when I came outside to give him a cup of water. What was I thinking, I should have just stayed in the hall. He would have been fine!!! I am pretty sure the photographer (whom didn’t speak English as his first language) told me pose and pretend that I thought I was pretty. lol

Oh, and one more picture of the beautiful bride in the wedding shawl I made!!! Thankfully, the weather was so nice that she didn’t really use it. But, she did put it on for a few photos.Love,

Jamiegoof

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Bye Bye Chicks

Hi Sis,

It’s a few months after you, but spring has finally sprung at our snow-belt home! The chicks have been hatching, and I started actually shipping chicks this year! 

Here are some of my babies that are ready for the post office! These little guys arrived in Florida this morning!

I have been shipping 1 day Express, for some reason that is what my post office wanted me to do? (Just in case you were wondering most chicks are shipped 3 day priority). But, I am happy to pay extra in postage, if my chicks arrive at their new home faster!

Love,

Jamiegoof

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Dyeing Yarn

Hey sis,

The silk purses in my Etsy shop have been my best selling product, and I have been going through the silk yarn! I was starting to run out, when I contacted my previous supplier to ask for more. None available! So, I contacted the yarn producer in India. Two weeks of communication, and they were ready to send me an invoice. Then, they told me they didn’t have what I wanted either.

That’s it, I decided. I needed yarn, and there was no way I could afford to purchase silk embroidery or beading floss. That stuff is like $0.50/yard. I had to purchase and dye my own silk. I did some research and discovered that I needed to do acid dyeing over the stovetop for silk. So, I purchased all my supplies, and today I got down to business.

 Step 1: Put on your respirator, and make 1% dye solution. Mix 10 grams of dye with some warm water. Shake until mixed. Then add enough water so that you there is 1000 grams of solution in the jug. Step 2: Add silk to the dyeing pot with water. If you want a even color of silk, it is best to add enough water that the silk can swim in it, vs bathing in a little pool. It does look like there is much water in this pot, but the silk will float at the start.Step: 3 Measure out your solution. You will need approximately 100 grams for a medium shade. I wanted a deep black, not a dark purple, so I used 200 grams of the 1% solution. Step 4: Add the dye solution to the pot, and stir it around.  Step 5: keep gently poking until you reach 180 degrees F. Then add citric acid (for my 100 grams of yarn, I added 3/4 teaspoon) At the 180 degree point, set a timer for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally, and try to keep it cool enough to not boil. At about 10 minutes in, I could already see the dye seeping into the yarn. At about 20 minutes most of the dye is in the yarn, and it is actually black.The finished product! Now I have to dye two more hanks, as I have a lady that wants to buy them. 🙂 

What I learned later:

Allow yarn to soak overnight in water first, and add some Syothopol about a half an hour before the heating process. This will create a more even dye job. After dyeing, allow your yarn to sit in the dye bath overnight. Rinse in lukewarm water, then allow to dry. Then steam to set dye.

Love,

Jamiegoof

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Swinging Baby

Dear Sis,

Today I got the boys back from Grand Mark four hours earlier than usual, so we spent the afternoon at the park. While the big boys played plush-toy hide-and-seek and tag with the other kids, Mr. Baby swung. I had to put his old car seat liner, which we now use in the big kid stroller, in the swing to fill the extra space.

Mr. Baby also took his afternoon nap in the swing.

Love,

b

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Happy Birthday Josh

Dear Sis, 

Today is Josh’s birthday and the day he starts his new job training! The Littles are super excited for his cake… ICE CREAM CAKE!!!

Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Cake
Serves 8
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Ingredients
  1. 1 frozen pound cake
  2. 2 c vanilla ice cream
  3. 1 c strawberries, chopped
  4. whipped topping
  5. additional strawberries, sliced
Instructions
  1. Turn a frozen pound cake out onto a cutting board. Slice cake into three equal layers.
  2. Stir chopped berries into ice cream.
  3. Line cake tin with parchment. Place bottom layer of cake into pan. Spread with half the ice cream mixture. Top with the middle layer of cake. Spread with remaining ice cream. Replace the top layer of cake. Re-freeze.
  4. Slice and top with whipped topping and berry slices just before serving.
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 Love,

b

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Feeding Baby – Relieving Constipation

Dear Sis,

Making the transition from exclusive breast/formula feeding to solids is a lot of work for baby. Some babies struggle with constipation at some point during that transition. Luckily, nature has provided a stage one food that can solve this problem… prunes!

Prunes are simply dehydrated plums. They are loaded with sugar and that’s what makes them work as a natural baby safe laxative.

Prune, Apple, Pear is one of our favorite blends.

To make it Stage Two friendly we add a bit of oatmeal cereal.

Yum yum!

Prune Puree
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Ingredients
  1. prunes
  2. water, boiling
Instructions
  1. Place prunes in a high-sided heat-safe bowl. Cover with boiling water and steep 30 minutes.
  2. Strain and reserve water.
  3. Puree fruit with an immersion blender, adding reserved water as needed.
  4. Strain puree for babies under 6 months, or those who don't yet have teeth.
  5. Scoop into freezer trays. Store frozen portions in labeled and dated freezer bag up to three months.
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Straining & Freezing Instructions

Prune is flavor compatible with other Stage One foods such as: Apple, Banana, Carrot, Mango, Oatmeal Cereal, Peach, and Pear.

It is also flavor compatible with the following Stage Two foods: Apricot, Blueberry, Cherry, Parsnip, Raspberry, Spinach, Strawberry, and Yogurt.

Happy Baby Feeding!

b

Introducing Cereal

DIY Stage One Foods & DIY Stage Two Foods

Introducing Meats & Yogurt

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Feeding Baby – DIY Stage One Foods

Dear Sis,

It is hard to believe Mr. Baby is six months old! Introducing foods has been a pretty easy process… so far. We make many of them homemade, which is surprisingly easy, and often more flavorful, especially in the case of green veggies. I thought we would make a post so all the busy moms can see that they too can be to make fresh whole foods available to their babies.

At our 4 month well-baby check our pediatrician gave us the go-ahead to start introducing solids or the go-ahead to hold off until six months depending on our preference. Since Mr. Baby is tall and lean and rarely goes more than 2-2.5 hours between breast feedings, I decided to see if food could help him gain and maybe even extend the duration between feedings.

Cereal

We chose oatmeal because it is tummy gentle like rice, but with more nutritional value. Each evening I would pump a few minutes to get 1/2 an once of breastmilk, mix in a bit of baby oatmeal cereal, and try to get Mr. Baby to eat it. The first week, he wore all of it. The second week, his tongue started pushing some of the food back instead of forward:) By the third week he was swallowing well and awaiting the spoon with anticipation! By week four he was wishing more was in the bowl, after the feeding was complete. 

At five months, I began introducing veggies. As recommended by the pediatrician, we tried each new food three days in a row and watch for signs of allergy or intolerance. Now, after just six weeks, Mr. Baby eats a variety of fruits and veggies. 

Taste Test

To save yourself the trouble, get one of each stage one puree from the grocery store and let baby try it, to see if they take to that food, before you invest the time to make a batch of homemade puree:)

Shopping for Ingredients

We’ve learned that some purees can be made from raw produce, while others are easier to make from frozen or canned states. Additionally, we keep The Dirty Dozen and The Clean Fifteen in mind while we shop.

Preparing Stage One Veggies (4-6 months)

Butternut Squash 

We purchase fresh. We cut it in half, scoop out the seeds, place it face down on a baking sheet, and bake it for about an 40 minutes at 350. Stand until cooled enough to handle or chill until the following day. Scoop meaty bits of squash from skin before pureeing. In my opinion, baked squash has richer flavor and makes a thicker puree than its steamed counterpart.

When I don’t have baking time, I purchase fresh pre-cut or frozen butternut squash and steam it for 7-10 minutes until it is soft enough to puree.

Carrots

We purchase fresh. We peel, chop, and steam 8-10 minutes until it is soft enough to puree. Baby carrots can be used to skip the peeling and chopping steps. 

Green Beans

Fresh or frozen green beans are harder to puree than most food, because of their stringy fiber. They do best in the food processor. Blenders and stick blenders have a hard time unless the beans are overcooked and lose their vibrant green-ness. Steam frozen beans 5 minutes… fresh take a bit longer to soften enough for pureeing.

Sweet Peas

We purchase frozen and let them thaw on the counter a few hours or in the fridge overnight. Then puree without steaming. For fresh shelled peas, steam 2-3 minutes before pureeing.

Sweet Potatoes

We purchase fresh. Pierce each sweet potato skin a few times with a fork and bake them on a foil lined sheet for 45 minutes – 1 hour at 400. Stand until cool enough to handle, spoon in half longways, and scoop out the flesh with a spoon before pureeing. In my opinion, baked sweet potato has richer flavor and makes a thicker puree than its steamed counterpart.

When I don’t have baking time, I peel, chop, and steam the sweet potatoes 8-10 minutes before pureeing.

Preparing Stage One Fruits

Apples & Pears

We purchase organic and fresh. We peel, core, chop, and steam 10 minutes before pureeing.

In a pinch, I’ve also purchased organic unsweetened applesauce cups for traveling. I admit on busy Nanny weeks I have even purchase jared organic unsweetened applesauce and froze it in portions to save the time making it homemade.

Avocado

We purchase fresh. We place about 1/4 of the peeled pitted fruit into a dish and puree it with a fork just before feeding time.

Bananas

We purchase fresh. We place about 1/3 or the peeled fruit in a dish and puree it with a fork just before feeding time. Another great traveling food!

Mangos & Peaches

We purchase frozen mangos and organic peaches, because they weren’t in season, and let them thaw on the counter a few hours or in the fridge overnight. When in season, fresh mangos and organic peaches require no cooking: just peel, chop, and puree.

Pureeing & Straining

With the exception of banana, which we make fresh before each feeding, other fruit and veggies we prepare and freeze. 

Kitchen Tools

  1. A batter bowl or other high sided container to place cooked, thawed, or drained canned food into.
  2. A stick blender to quickly puree the food with easy clean up. A regular blender or food processor will work too, but they take longer to clean between uses. Some foods are thicker than others, if the blender is working to hard, thin with water as needed.
  3. A sieve, rubber scrapper, and bowl to strain the pureed food so that it is free of large pieces or fiber stands that can choke little babies.

Freezing

  1. Spoon tablespoonfuls of puree into freezer trays.  We prefer silicone brownie bite pans for portioning and freezing, but ice cube trays, or specialty baby food freezer containers work too.
  2. Once frozen, we transfer frozen puree cubed into labeled dated freezer bags

Feeding Time 

What time of day you serve baby’s meal is a matter of convenience. Just be consistent! For example, at 5 months we were having 2 T puree at lunch time and 2 T cereal with breastmilk at dinner time. Once you’ve tolerance tested each singular food, it is safe to begin pairing flavor combinations, which works great for babies that don’t like to switch from fruit to veggie flavors in one feeding. Follow your babies hunger cues to know when they are ready for larger portions or additional meal times. 

Pairing Tastes

Apple pairs well with Avocado, Banana, Butternut Squash, Carrot, Green Bean, Mango, Peach, Pear, Sweet Pea, and Sweet Potato.

Avocado pairs well with Apple, Banana, Mango, Peach, and Pear

Banana pairs well with Apple, Avocado, Butternut Squash, Carrot, Green Bean, Mango, Peach, Pear, Sweet Pea, and Sweet Potato.

Butternut Squash pairs well with Apple, Banana, Carrot, Green Bean, Peach, Pear, Sweet Pea, and Sweet Potato.

Carrot pairs well with Apple, Banana, Butternut Squash, Green Bean, Pear, Sweet Pea, and Sweet Potato.

Green Bean pairs well with Apple, Banana, Butternut Squash, Carrot, Sweet Peas, Peach, Pears, Sweet Potato.

Mango pairs well with Apple, Avocado, Banana, Peach, and Pear.

Peach pairs well with Apple, Avocado, Banana, Green Bean, Mango, and Pear.

Pear pairs well with Apple, Avocado, Banana, Butternut Squash, Carrot, Mango, Peach, Sweet Pea, Sweet Potato.

Sweet Pea pairs well with Apple, Banana, Butternut Squash, Carrot, Green Bean, Pear, and Sweet Potato.

Sweet Potato pairs well with Apple, Banana, Butternut Squash, Carrot, Green Bean, Pear, and Sweet Pea.

Each puree and puree combination has its own consistency. However I’ve discovered that a very specific consistency is idea for feeding. If the food is too liquid-y it tends to fall out of babies mouth or splatter during the eating process. We mix in cereal a sprinkle at a time, until we reach the desired consistency.

Happy Baby Feeding!

b

Introducing Cereal

DIY Stage Two Foods

Introducing Yogurt & Meats

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