Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Homemade Baby Food, Who does that anymore?

While you may think Homemade baby food is a thing of the past, you would be shocked by how many moms go that extra mile to make it healthier for their babies.
When I was pregnant with the twins, I decided to rethink everything I had done with their older brother, lil J. Things like shots and baby food were at the top of my list. For Jason, the WIC program here in Ohio had just started offering baby food on the checks,,, of course they had their limits and rules. Nothing with extra additives in it, no tuti fruity etc. I was fine with that, but it was such a hassle to bring up a cart full of baby food, make sure you had all the checks in order with what baby food went with what, and then when the cashier got picky on what you got,,, oh wow. It was an ordeal, but I was willing to push through for free food. Now, they started giving you fruit and veggies on your checks, so I thought, hey! I'll just use these to buy the needed items and then make my own baby food.
 Have you read a baby food jar label recently? Honestly, we wonder why babies have so many allergies when they first start eating, check out the baby food ingredients and tell me why some of that stuff is in there?
Ok, sorry, off the subject :) I found an awesome ice cube- like tray that freezes your baby food in 1oz cubes which can in turn be stored in extra breast milk storage bags, to make it easier to take places.(I use an insulated bottle bag with two ice packs, put in my storage bag of food and I'm good to go) Now you may not be wanting THAT much baby food, but let me tell you, hungry twins who love to eat, is a whole other matter! One batch (filling up both trays) lasts for maybe a week, if that.
A common question is: What foods should I start with? What if my baby doesnt like it?
The answer I'v always heard is start with the veggies first then do fruit. If you start with fruit, you baby will be introduced to all the sweet stuff first and be turned off by the veggies, but if you do veggies first, he'll be thrilled with both. If your baby doesnt seem to like a food, just remember, it takes about 3 time of having something before they get used to it.
Here are some of the veggies and fruits I'v already introduced to my boys( they were 4 months when I started)(Remember to try ONE thing at a time for at least 3 days to make sure there are no allergies)
First I started off with Barley cereal, then added different fruits and veggies TO it, and then in another bowl.
green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, prunes, blueberries, avocado, bananas, peas, carrots, peaches, sweet potatoes, oatmeal cereal.
 All you have to do is either buy fresh or frozen,,, put them in a pan with about a cup of water, simmer until soft. Puree in either a food processor or blender til the consistency is to your liking (adding water to thin it out a bit) Baby food will last for 3 days in the fridge or 6 months in the freezer! AND it is definitely cost efficient and fun to make, I love it. One of the best things is you can try just about anything in your produce section as opposed  to having a limited selection of already made stuff :)
Ok, and I just have to say, there is a great family on youtube.com Here who have made some great video tutorials if you are not sure how to get started.
What kinds of food did you try for your baby's first food? I'd love to hear your comments!
Caleb enjoying his first taste of avocados! 

Books that inspire

When I was a teenager,growing up in Florida, the cool thing to do was read. Yes, thats right, a real book with pages and a wholesome story. All my friends did it, and I loved a good book, especially if I could play hooky from school (homeschool that is), go hide in the bathroom, and be under the radar for an hour or so before someone decided I had gone MIA. My Mom and Dad were both teachers and taught my sister and I to love books. Every morning my Mom would read us a chapter from the Bible and then a couple chapters from an adventure book series like the Mandie Collection books, The Cooper Kids Adventure Series and sometimes Missionary Biographies. I think she started doing that when I was 3 or 4 and continued til my sister and I were 16 and 17 years old. I attribute this daily reading as the start to my love of books. In addition to reading to us every morning, my Mom was also a collector of books. She had so many books my dad had to build more book shelves! The last ones I remember him building were floor to ceiling all around our fireplace. ( Yes, even in Florida it got cold enough for a fireplace.. I know, I know, it was probably only 60s, but it felt cold to me!) 
My family's love of books continue to this day. My mom belonged to a Christian book club for a very long time and used to send them on to my sister and I. We finally had to start putting our initials in the covers so we would know which one we'd all read so it didnt get passed back by accident. Mom has long since canceled her membership to that club, but she still likes to buy Christian romance at Walmart, and passes them on to my sister, who in turn passes them on to me. Yes, just about every visit brings about 2 HUGE bags of books, which go down in my basement after they are read. You would not believe how fast those kind of books go at a garage sale! I once sold a huge box of Christian romance books for $5. The poor husband looked sick as he lugged the box to his car. Poor guy :) 
Here are some of my favorite books and Authors:
Anne of Green Gables
Grace Livingston Hill (My mom had just about EVERY book the woman ever wrote)
Ted Dekker - Red, White, Black and Green
Jannette Oak
The Sadie Rose Series 
The Cooper Kids Adventures
The Bobbsey Twins
The Hardy Boys
Sherlock Holmes
Gilbert Morris - The House of Winslow Books
Elizabeth Elliott 
The Biography of Missionaries John and Betty Stam
Biography of Gladys Ailward, Missionary to China
I cant remember the name, but it was a book put out by Bob Jones Press about a Polish boy who escaped the Nazi's during WWII and lived in the woods with the resistance,,, it was a big favorite of mine.
The Secret Holocaust Diaries - by Nonnie Bannister (VERY good book!)
The Diary of Anne Frank
I remember quite clearly a book I used to check out ALL the time at the Library when I was 7 or so, it was about a swimming pool :) 
Amelia Bedelia 
The Babysitters Club (the old ones) 
The Christy Series (not the one about the school teacher,, the one about the teenager seeking Christ)
The Christy Book - about the school teacher in the Appalachian Mountains 
Corrie Belle Hollister Series
and I could go on and on!
So if you have little ones and haven't started reading to them, make sure you start soon and do it often. A love of reading and books is a wonderful tool to help them better understand the Bible!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Keeping Warm on a Cold day

Now that Winter is here, there are a lot of reasons to stay inside, such as keeping warm! I LOVE winter time, but the snow and sunny freezing days look so much more inviting on tv or from the living room window. I guess that comes from growing up in a Florida climate when one never got to experience winter except from the Christmas specials on tv. How was I supposed to know that all those glorious mounds of sparkling white dust would be cold and wet? Oh well, we haven't had to worry much about that this year. One or two days of snow so far and then "poof" its melted.
I did, however, find a new hot drink that I LOVE! A proper English tea. 
What you will need:
Tea cup or Coffee mug
1 tea bag (preferably without the string)
a spoon
First you need to heat up your water in your tea kettle (microwaves are no match for a tea kettle, people!)
While your water heats up, take your cup of choice and put in your sugar(I use 2 1/2 teaspoons)
Place your spoon in the cup and take out your tea bag
Be sure to gently pull your tea bag apart to form a sort of pyramid shape(dont tear it or pull hard, just enough to get the shape)
Place your tea bag in the cup on your spoon
Pour the milk in on the side away from the tea bag,,, enough so that it barely touches the tea bag (if you prefer more, thats fine) 
When your kettle is ready, pour the water in on the tea bag side, holding your spoon in place
Gently move the tea bag up and down with your spoon against the side of the cup for a minute or so
Either use your fingers (be careful, its hot!) or another spoon, and squeeze the excess water from the tea bag and discard
Stir your tea and gently tap the excess off ... its the English way! :D
Enjoy with a ginger snap! :D
(as a side note, if you are not sure what tea to try this with, I use fruit teas and also chai tea and it is just delicious!)