Our Little Pumpkin is One

Dear Sis,

We had fun celebrating Mr. Baby’s first birthday with our neighbor friends. Our menu consisted of some of Mr. Baby’s favorite foods:

Chicken Nuggets

Mac and Cheese

Broccoli

Fruit Salad in Jack o Lantern Bowls

(made by our neighbor Merrill; inspired by Pinterest)

Pumpkin Patch Cake

Mac and Cheese
Serves 8
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Ingredients
  1. 1 lb. small pasta, cooked
  2. 1/4 c ghee or butter
  3. 3/4 c milk
  4. 1 (10.75 oz) can Cream of Cheddar soup
  5. 1 c gouda, shredded
  6. 1 c sharpe cheddar, shredded
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions, drain.
  2. Over low heat, stir in ghee until melted.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and stir until cheese is melted and smooth.
Adapted from jamiegoof
Adapted from jamiegoof
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Pumpkin Bars
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Ingredients
  1. 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
  2. 1 1/2 c granulated sugar
  3. 1 c avocado oil
  4. 4 eggs, beaten
  5. 2 c unbleached flour
  6. 2 t baking powder
  7. 2 t pumpkin pie spice
  8. 1 t baking soda
Frosting
  1. 2 (8 oz) pkg Neufchatel cheese, softened
  2. 1/2 c unsalted butter, softened
  3. 1 c powdered sugar
  4. 1 T vanilla bean paste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a 9x13 baking pan.
  2. Beat together puree, sugar, oil, and eggs.
  3. Combine dry ingredients. Stir into pumpkin mixture.
  4. Pour into prepared pan and bake 30 minutes. Cool.
Frosting
  1. Beat together all ingredients and spread over cooled pumpkin bars.
Notes
  1. If you choose to decorate your pumpkin bars, wait until the last minute, so the candies don't begin to dissolved and ooze. In the photos below you can see we learned that the hard way:)
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After our company left, Mr. Baby played with his new toys and shoes for a little while, I cleared away all the scattered packaging and added the new books to the shelf, and then Mr. Baby fell fast asleep. It was a big day of our little boy!

Love,

b

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Thanksgiving Favor for Classmates

Dear Sis,

We love our library story time friends and we love crafting, so we wanted to make them Thanksgiving Treats. Here is what we came up with!

Materials

Infant/Toddler sized gloves

Mini Raisin Boxes

Ribbon

Adhesive Wiggly Eyes

Happy Thanksgiving Printout

Cardstock/Tape Runner

Assembly

  1. Nest both gloves together, with one inside the other. 
  2. Place the box of raisins in the wrist opening of the gloves to form the base of the turkey as pictured below.

  1. Print and cut out labels. Mount to 2 1/4″ x 1 3/8″ pieces of yardstick. Punch corner with a hole punch. 
  2. Center label on ribbon and tie around fingers to create the turkey’s plumage.
  3. Place an adhesive wiggly eye on the thumb on the glove to create the turkey’s face.

My Tiny Helper

Love,

b

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Adding a Drawstring to Baby Pants

Dear Sis,

Mr. Baby is long and thin. Last well check he was in the 13th percentile for his weight and the 97th for his height. The result… loosy-goosey pants that are too short before they fit in the waist!!! Carter’s is the best fit for our long tall baby and they do make some adjustable waist separates, but I find myself buying sets to save money. In past months, I was taking his pants in, but I thought, “There must be an easier way!” 

So, How did I do it, with no seam ripping, trimming, and sewing?

I used, a really BIG needle, some 1/4 – 3/8 inch ribbon, scissors, and a lighter!

Insert needle on the left side of the center of the waistband, in the space between fabric and elastic, to the center back. 

Thread needle with ribbon. Pull through. Reinsert needle in the same hole, again traveling between fabric and elastic, to right side of the center of the waistband. Retread needle and pull ribbon through. 

Holding the ends of the ribbon to assure that they don’t slip back into the waistband. Flex the waistband, and center ribbon. Trim ribbon tails a few inches beyond the crotch of the pants. Prevent fraying, but singeing ribbon ends.

Love,

b

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Outdoor Play Area

Dear Sis,

We have been seeing a lot of 100 degree days lately, so we haven’t been taking as many walks and playing outside as much as usual. Mr. Baby and I were both missing the out-of-doors, and thus, a plan was born.

The house we are renting has a screened in porch that has been nothing more than outdoor storage to us since we moved in. Yesterday, we shopped for a swing and patio mat. Today we did the hard work of hauling out all the stuff, vacuuming and hosing down the space, and installing our play space upgrades:)

I was so focused on cleaning, I forgot to get a before shot while everything was still messy, so our before shot is post-cleaning.

I transformed the clean space into our new play space during nap time. Mr. Baby must have known it would take a while, because he was generous enough to nap 1.5 hours. 

While we were shopping for supplies, we picked up a bubble machine. 

Love,

b

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Nursery Decor

Dear Sis,

Now that Mr. Baby’s crib is moved into the boy’s room, I felt like the space needed some cute baby touches. Best part… It was free! I used baby cards, 4 Command hooks, and some leftover 1/8 inch ribbon I already had on hand.

Love,

b

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Feeding Baby – DIY Stage Two Foods

Dear Sis,

Now that we are six months old and all  stage one foods have passed the 3 day tolerance test, we can start blending fruits and veggies during some meals:) Stage two also introduces new fruits and veggies to tolerance testing. We tested at breakfast by serving a new food alone or paired with a stage one food we know is safe. Lunch and dinner we get to pallet play with our whole spectrum of tested tastes.

Stage Two Veggies (6 mo +)

Stage two foods are typically a bit thicker than stage one foods, but they are still strained. Especially for babies who don’t have any teeth yet!

Beets

Baking Instructions: Wash and trim greens from fresh beets.  Bake in an oven safe dish, covered with foil at 350 for an 45 minute – an hour. Baking time varies based upon size of beet root.  Stand until cooled enough to handle. Then, peel, chop, and puree.

Steaming Instructions: Wash and trim away greens from fresh beets. Then, peel, chop, and steam 8-10 minutes before pureeing.

Corn (technically a grain)

Fresh Instructions: Boil shucked ears of corn 5-7 minutes, cool enough to handle, and cut corn from cob before pureeing.

Frozen Instructions: Thaw and puree.

Parsnips

Peel and chop. Steam parsnips 8-10 minutes and turnips 15 minutes before pureeing.

Pumpkin

We purchase canned puree and spoon it into freezer containers to portion. 

For puree from fresh pumpkin, purchase 1 1/4 pound pie pumpkin. Half and scoop out seeds.

Baking Instructions:  Place facedown on a foil lined baking sheet and bake at 375 for 1 1/2 hours. Cool enough to handle, scoop fresh of pumpkin from skin, and puree.

Steaming Instructions:  Quarter, steam pumpkin 20 minutes, puree.

Spinach

Fresh Instructions: Purchase organic greens with stems removed. Steam 3-5 minutes in small batches before pureeing.

Frozen Instructions: Thaw and puree.

Stage Two Fruits (6 mo +)

Apricots

Dried Apricots:  Rehydrate fruit by steeping 30 minutes in boiling water, as with tea. Remove fruit from water, use reserved water as needed when pureeing.

Fresh:  No cooking is needed. Simply wash and chop fresh apricots before pureeing.

Berries (Blueberries, Raspberries, Strawberries)

No cooking required. Wash and remove stems before pureeing.

Berries are acidic. In some babies, they cause diaper rash. As I precaution, I make sure berries are no more than 50% of a puree blend.  If your baby is adversely affected, wait until 1 year of age and then try again.

Cherries

Fresh: Stem and pit before pureeing uncooked fruit.

Frozen: Thaw and puree.

Compatible Flavors

Apple is compatible with Apricot, Avocado, Banana, Beet, Blueberry, Butternut Squash, Carrot, Cherry, Green Bean, Mango, Peach, Pear, Pumpkin, Raspberry, Spinach, Strawberry, Sweet Corn, Sweet Pea, and Sweet Potato.

Apricot is compatible with Apple, Banana, Blueberry, Carrot, Cherry, Mango, Peach, Pear, Pumpkin, Raspberry, Strawberry, and Sweet Corn.

Avocado is compatible with Apple, Banana, Beet, Blueberry, Mango Peach, Pear, Raspberry, and Strawberry.

Banana is compatible with Apple, Apricot, Avocado, Blueberry, Butternut Squash, Carrot, Cherry, Green Bean, Mango, Parsnip, Peach, Pear, Pumpkin, Raspberry, Spinach, Strawberry, Sweet Corn, Sweet Pea, and Sweet Potato.

Beet is compatible with Apple, Avocado, Butternut Squash, Carrot, Parsnip, Pear, Pumpkin, Sweet Corn, and Sweet Potato.

Blueberry is compatible with Apple, Apricot, Avocado, Banana, Carrot, Cherry, Mango, Peach, Pear, Raspberry, Spinach, and Strawberry.

Butternut Squash is compatible with Apple, Banana, Beet, Carrot, Cherry, Green Bean, Parsnip, Peach, Pear, Spinach, Sweet Corn, Sweet Pea, and Sweet Potato.

Carrot is compatible with Apple, Apricot, Banana, Beet, Blueberry, Butternut Squash, Green Bean, Parsnip, Pear, Pumpkin, Raspberry, Spinach, Sweet Corn, Sweet Pea, and Sweet Potato.

Cherry is compatible with Apple, Apricot, Banana, Blueberry, Butternut Squash, Mango, Peach, Pear, Pumpkin, and Sweet Corn.

Green Bean is compatible with Apple, Banana, Butternut Squash, Carrots, Sweet Peas, Parsnip, Peach, Pear, Pumpkin, Sweet Corn, and Sweet Potato.

Mango is compatible with Apple, Apricot, Avocado, Banana, Blueberry, Cherry, Peach, Pear, Raspberry, and Strawberry.

Parsnip is compatible with Apple, Banana, Beet, Butternut Squash, Carrot, Green Bean, Pear, Pumpkin, Spinach, Sweet Corn, Sweet Pea, and Sweet Potato.

Peach is compatible with Apple, Apricot, Avocado, Banana, Blueberry, Cherry, Green Bean, Mango, Pear, Raspberry, Spinach, and Strawberry.

Pear is compatible with Apple, Apricot, Avocado, Banana, Beet, Blueberry, Butternut Squash, Carrot, Cherry, Green Bean, Mango, Parsnip, Peach, Pumpkin, Raspberry, Spinach, Strawberry, Sweet Corn, Sweet Pea, and Sweet Potato.

Raspberry is compatible with Apple, Apricot, Avocado, Banana, Blueberry, Carrot, Mango, Peach, Pear, Spinach, and Strawberry.

Spinach is compatible with Apple, Banana, Blueberry, Butternut Squash, Carrot, Parsnip, Peach, Pear, Pumpkin, Raspberry, Strawberry, and Sweet Potato.

Sweet Corn is compatible with Apple, Apricot, Banana, Beet, Butternut Squash, Carrot, Cherry, Green Bean, Parsnip, Pear, Sweet Pea, and Sweet Potato.

Sweet Pea is compatible with Apple, Banana, Butternut Squash, Carrot, Green Bean, Parsnip, Pear, Pumpkin, Sweet Corn, and Sweet Potato.

Sweet Potato is compatible with Apple, Banana, Beet, Butternut Squash, Carrot, Green Bean, Parsnip, Pear, Spinach, Sweet Corn, 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.

Now that baby is bigger it is perfectly normal to be eating up to 4T, three meals a day. Mr. Baby’s hunger is less substantial, at a norm of 3T, three meals a day.

Happy Baby Feeding!

b

Introducing Cereal

DIY Stage One 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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