Friday, May 25, 2012

Adventurous Eating

Since we're doing so well with all the foods we've tried so far we're becoming a bit more adventurous.  We've had mostly hits but also a couple not real misses but definitely not hits the first time we've tried them.  We are also doing some finger foods and C and P are loving that.  We do the usual Cheerios and the boys love the Plum Organic Puffs.  Watermelon and peas are also a big hit.  I just dice up the watermelon and peas are just cooked and given whole after they've cooled a bit.

Some watermelon for mom and dad and some watermelon for C and P...

I made quinoa the other day and it was really quite easy...

I cooked it with vegetable broth instead of water to give it more flavor and made some extra for Ben and I to have with dinner.  (on a side note...I wasn't sure how Ben would like it because he hasn't had it before but he actually went back for seconds. This says a lot for the meat and potato boy!)


I used 2 cups of liquid to 1 one cup of quinoa (this made enough for the boys to have a couple meals as well as Ben and I to have a couple meals)

First rinse the quinoa til the water runs clear.

Then add it to the vegetable broth, bring to a boil and simmer covered for 10-15 minutes.  You'll know it's done when the liquid has been absorbed and the quinoa has sort of spiraled out of it's shell...husk...not sure what you call it.

Fluff with a fork and then you can serve as is or do like I did and blend with formula.

C and P had it with sweet potatoes.  The first few bites were gagged on and not really enjoyed.  I think it's because of the texture.  We've had it since and they like it much better unblended and served by itself without mixing into anything. 


I've noticed spinach is in a few of the different 2nd foods so I decided to try that out next. 

First I washed it

Then I steamed until tender. 

I blended it with formula and served.  The boys wanted nothing to do with it and honestly I don't blame them.  It was not appetizing at all and even mixed in with something I don't think they would eat it.  We'll wait until they can eat it raw, I think.

Acorn Squash (not really adventurous but first time adding some spices)

A big hit has been acorn squash with cinnamon and it was really quite easy to prepare once you can cut through the extremely hard shell. 

First scoop out the seeds and stringy insides from the middle

Then sprinkle with cinnamon.  (I use Penzeys Spices and love them because I believe they are good quality at an affordable price.)  I didn't use much, just a pinch on each half.

Then bake for about an hour or until tender

Blend with a bit of formula and your babies will think it's delicious.  I wasn't a fan of squash before but the smell of this had me tasting it and being pleasantly surprised.

I've been adding cinnamon to pears and apples as well and the boys are eating it up. 

Black beans are another food I've been serving C and P.  I just rinse them and simmer in about 2 inches of water until they're tender.  I started adding some garlic powder to them and the boys love to eat the beans as finger food along with some brown rice. 

I'm currently on the lookout for ideas on adding more spices to their food.  I am determined for them to not be picky eaters because this mama won't be making separate kid meals.  I'll post more recipes as I make them and of course, if you have any ideas, let me know.

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

The boys went to their very first Mariners' Game on Monday and had a blast.  They are very well versed in baseball games since they've been going to Christian's for a couple months now but this was big time!  We went with their amazing auntie and uncle and they were spoiled from the moment we got there.  Grandma Pam had given them Mariners jerseys awhile ago and Andy and Tracy brought them Detroit Tigers hats so they were decked out in baseball gear and looking adorable.  They received baseball cards, Mariner Moose cards, 1st Baseball Game Certificates, a bite of cotton candy (shhhh) and a much later bedtime than normal.  The boys were in awe of all that was going on around them and happily made it to the 7th inning before falling asleep.  They flirted with those around us and were their usual happy selves.  Parker had a bit of a rough time with the cheering and would get a pouty lip and start to cry but quickly stopped when we smiled and told him it was ok.  Connor wasn't scared at all of the cheering and would even get excited along with everyone else. 

We had a great time and our team even won!  We just might go back again soon if the Mariners can keep that up!

Monday, May 7, 2012 that you peeking in?

Sunday was an absolutely gorgeous day and we took full advantage of it.  After breakfast we got the boys ready, lathered on the sunscreen despite Connor being full annoyed that I wanted to rub something on his face and headed out into the sun. 

Our first stop...The Japanese Gardens in Seattle.  Many flowers were in full bloom, the turtles were happily basking in the sun atop the rocks, the ducks and koi were snatching up the fish food and it was early enough in the day that it was very quiet and the few people that were there were quite friendly.  C and P enjoyed watching the fish and loved watching the water flow in the babbling brooks.  We made it through almost the entire gardens before they decided they'd had enough of the stroller and wanted to be carried. 

Family picture...a family visiting from Canada, with the most adorable little girl, offered to take our picture
 Koi and their duck friend
 Turtles through the trees
 The cutest little baby turtle looking through the lantern
 Connor watching the babbling brook with mama
 Parker watching the babbling brook with daddy
 A view of the gardens
 On the bridge

After the Japanese Gardens we decided to grab some delicious Sarducci's and head down to the Kirkland waterfront for a picnic.  While we had subs, the boys feasted on squash, pears and cheerios. 

C and P loved playing on the blanket in the grass and I was happy I had decided to grab it instead of just sitting at a table.  We lounged there for quite awhile and watched the people, dogs and ducks while soaking up some sun.  The boys really like people watching (and not looking at the camera)

Connor decided to do some flying and the giggles kept mama going.

The boys practiced their sitting, which they are getting quite good at and then they discovered grass!  What a magnificent thing...grass!  Both ran their hands through it and picked at it for quite awhile.  

Soon it was time to head home.  It was going on 2:00 and the boys had yet to take a real nap which you would have never known based on their happy moods...sun really is a mood lifter for all.  

Connor was out as soon as the car got going but Parker decided to play peek-a-boo with mama which was fine because in Parker's world a 5 minute catnap is just as good as a 2 hour nap in his bed.

We got home, had some bottles and off to dreamland we all went for a heavenly 2 1/2 hours for mama and daddy and 3 hours for 2 worn out little boys.

The boys with their Daisy Dog in their Daisy Dog shirts.

It was still so nice after dinner that we went for a walk to the park with Daisy.  Now for the sun to stick around for at least another 4 or 5 months...

Friday, April 27, 2012

I can breathe again

Tax season is over and things are calming down.  I am breathing again and loving spending more time with my boys.  We've had a fun last week and a half and have managed to go on a couple adventures as well as just relax at home. 

We took the boys to the Tulip Festival.  Although it was rainy and windy Connor and Parker enjoyed being outside and we managed to get a few cute pictures.  They aren't the "boys standing in the tulip fields" pictures I was hoping for but we'll try again next year for those.

We bought a new stroller.  The Zooper we had bought a couple months back just wasn't working out.  It was crazy hard to push and way too bulky when folded.  I decided on a Maclaren Twin Techno and was very happy to find one that had only been used twice on Craigslist.  It was a beautiful day so after buying it we ventured down to Greenlake and had lunch and then walked around the lake.  The boys loved their new stroller and we loved how easy it was to push.  No more pulling to whatever side Connor, my chunk, sat on. 

Along with a new stroller, the boys also got new car seats.  They were getting too big for their infant seats (not to mention way too heavy for me to carry) so we moved them to their big boy seats.  They seem to be liking them despite what the picture below shows...

Connor and Parker love being outside.  A walk can turn any grumpy mood into giggles and smiles in no time.  We needed to do some yard work last weekend so we took the boys outside with us and they happily jumped while we worked.

Laura is headed to Disneyland with her family next week so the boys will be home with Ben on Monday and Tuesday and the rest of the week with me.  I am so looking forward to our 5 full days together. 

Friday, March 30, 2012

Homemade Baby Food...Easy Peasy

After spending a small fortune on organic baby food for the boys I decided it was time to start making my own.  We have a Vitamix and that totally makes it a breeze.  It's spendy but we've had it for a couple years and use it for so much more so I find that it's worth it. 

I started out buying a bunch of organic fruits and veggies.  I spent $26 and made approximately 71 jars of baby food that is way tastier than anything you can buy and it only took a few hours one Sunday afternoon.

I washed and cut up all the veggies saving the apples and pears for later since they would turn brown sitting on the counter.

I only have one steamer insert so I started off with the zucchini and gently steamed it until tender.  Gentle is important and please don't let it get mushy.  Even though we're pureeing them mushy vegetables are gross and they're robbed of their healthy nutrients when cooked like that.   

After gently steaming, I blended the zucchini in the Vitamix with a little bit of formula to thin it out.  You can use the water that you steamed the veggies in but some, like carrots, leave the water full of nitrates so you have to be careful and know for sure which veggie water is ok and which should be dumped out.  I choose to be paranoid and not use my steaming water at all. 

When the zucchini was pureed to the consistency my boys like I poured it into baby food trays.  I bought the Baby Fresh Food Trays from Babies R Us but found them on Amazon for $5 cheaper when I went to buy another set. I ended up with a bit more than a tray and a half so the boys had the leftovers for dinner that night.

As soon as I was done steaming one veggie, I washed out the pan and started the steaming process all over again with another while I did my pureeing. 

Sweet potatoes can be diced and then steamed, boiled or baked.  I chose to bake them and when they were tender (about an hour) I removed the skins and then pureed with formula.

After the veggies were done I started on the fruits.  Peaches aren't in season right now so I went with frozen, organic peaches.  They were very easy...blend by themselves with a little formula or add to another fruit.  I chose to add them to the apples. 

I steamed everything until tender except the apples which I barely covered with water and then gently boiled until tender.  I removed the skins from both the pears and apples as well as the seeds and core.


Pears - 1 of the pears was not quite as ripe as the others (hence the bit of green) but this worked out fine because the others were very ripe.

I had only bought 2 of the Baby Fresh Food Trays so I filled those two and then put the rest of the purees in glasses in the fridge figuring I would just pop the frozen food out as soon as it was ready and then add the next batch to the freezer.  I quickly realized that wasn't really feasible so off we went to Target to get some ice cube trays.  I was excited to find they had sets of 2 BPA free ice cube trays for $2 and snatched up 4 sets. 

After washing them, I filled 7 more trays, covered them with Press and Seal and put them in the freezer. 

The next day, I popped the cubes out of the Baby Fresh Food Trays and thought to myself "this is so easy!" Then I got to the ice cube trays and after twisting, banging and all but throwing the damn things out the window I thought to myself "%*!#^!" and then "I'm buying more of the food trays, they are worth every penny!"  Ben agreed since he had been helping me get the food out of the ice cube trays.  I was secretly glad he had a hard time because then he wouldn't say much when I dropped another $10 on two trays after we just bought 8 for $16. 

I put the cubes in freezer bags and labeled them with the contents as well as the date.  Each cube is about 1 - 1/4 ounce and they will last in the freezer for up to a month.

Below is how much I used and what it made...

1 pound Asparagus = 8 jars
3 small Zucchini = 9 jars
2 Sweet Potatoes = 17 jars
2 Apples = 5 jars
2 Apples + 1 bag Peaches = 13 jars
4 Pears = 9 jars
1 head of Broccoli = 6 jars
1 hand full of Green Beans = 4 jars

(a jar = 2.5 ounces)

I have since made more green beans, avocado (which I don't freeze) and blueberries.  I feel so much better giving the boys food that I made and it has saved us so much money.  It only took a few hours and now I just make stuff as we run low so it takes even less time. 

Connor and Parker were my taste testers and they definitely agree that mama's cookin' is better than anything that comes in jar...