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...

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Happy Half Birthday, My Sweet Boys!

Dear Connor and Parker,

I can't even begin to fathom how you're already 6 months old!  It seems like it was just yesterday that I found out I was pregnant with you two.  My love since that day has grown beyond where I ever knew possible.  You are such fun little boys and I am loving watching you grow.  (You can slow down a little though...)

Connor, your personality makes me smile.  You can be so serious and you love to just study things and people.  You seem to be analyzing everything.  You are also quite the smiley boy and have started squealing like a little pig.  It always takes you by surprise at first but then you get a big smile and squeal even louder.  You love to talk and will have full on conversations with anyone who will listen, even if that's just your hands.

Parker, you can bring a smile to anyone's face.  You are so smiley and such a little cheeseball.  You flirt with all the girls when we go out and just light up whenever anyone talks to you.  You're a little chatterbox and have been since day 1.  You love to just talk and talk and often will wake up from naps and just lay in your crib and talk to yourself until we come in and get you.

You boys are rolling over like pros from back to belly but you both seemed to have forgotten how to roll back when you're done with tummy time.  Connor, you will happily play on your belly but when you're done you scream and scream til we roll you back over.  This is especially fun at night after you've gone to bed.  Parker, you love tummy time and just take in everything around you.  You'll reach for toys that are just out of your grasp and do this little inchworm thing where you put your head down and bum up and push with your feet to move yourself closer to whatever you're trying to get at. 

Sophie, the giraffe, is definitely a favorite toy.  You both love to chew on her.  Connor, you love her legs and Parker, you chew on her face like it's the best thing you've ever tasted..  Your musical keys are a new favorite.  You've both discovered they make noise and will push the buttons over and over. Parker, you also love the little bird on your car seat.  It's been there since you were only a week old and when you discovered it a couple months ago you would bat it around and smile.  The past month or so though you've discovered that when you pull on the bird it vibrates as it goes back up.  While we're in the car I hear you pulling it down over and over and over again.  It's almost always the first thing you grab when we put you in your seat.  Connor, you have a little frog on your car seat and you pull it down so you can chew on the frog's legs.  When we take you out the frog is soaked.

You guys are giggling like crazy and it's music to my ears.  Parker, you're so ticklish and will start giggling immediately if we even just touch your belly.  Connor, you make us work a little harder for those giggles but you have a ticklish spot...your chunky little thighs.  If I start to even get close you get a sly little smile that quickly turns into giggles.  

We've been reading a lot lately and you both are so fascinated by books.  You study the pictures and then me as I read the pages.  Your favorite bedtime story is definitely Good Night Moon but you also enjoy the new book Daddy got for us to read, Good Night iPad.  He also got us Go the F**k to Sleep but neither of you are a fan.  I kinda don't blame you so we've stopped reading it. 

You Are My Sunshine is one of your favorite songs.  If either of you are crying you will immediately stop when I start singing it.  I often sing it at nap time when you're fighting sleep. 

We've recently been spending more time outside because the weather has been nicer.  We go on a walk almost every night and you're both wide eyed taking it all in.  If you're in a grumpy mood you will immediately calm down when we put you in the stroller. 

We started solid foods about a month and a half ago and you're eating them at lunch and dinner.  Connor, you have liked them from the beginning and so far blueberries are the only food that you aren't too sure about.  Everything else you eagerly slurp down and we can never feed you fast enough.  Parker, you were not a fan for the first week or so.  Every bite you gagged and cried and would clamp your mouth shut.  We decided to just give up on cereal and as soon as we moved on to veggies and fruits you were eager to try them.  You still aren't too sure about texture but just last night you had blueberries for the first time and they were full of texture yet you loved them.  Both of you love avocado and can't enough of it.  

We are still doing a dreamfeed at night which I think helps you sleep longer. (And I definitely appreciate that!)  I love this part of our day because you cuddle up with me after you've had your bottle and sleep on my chest like you did so many months ago now.  The little sighs you make bring me back to those early days.  Connor, you scrunch yourself up like a little frog and are so content.  Parker, you put your arm around my neck and squeeze with your little hand and it melts me.  I never want to put you back in your cribs and would happily hold you all night while you sleep.   

My sweet boys, these past 6 months have been the most amazing time of my life.  Watching you last night on your 1/2 birthday I was in awe.  You have come so far from the tiny little boys we brought home from the hospital.  You have shown me what being a mom is all about and I wouldn't trade it for the world.  I love you both more than you'll ever know.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Let's take a ride on Rachel the Pike Place Pig

We went to Pike Place on Sunday to get out of the house and enjoy the weather.  We had taken the boys when they were only 5 weeks old so I was excited to get another picture with Rachel, the pig.  It's amazing how fast they are growing but pictures like these just prove even more that my little babies are growing up...



Monday, March 26, 2012

It's a fluke and nothing more so carry on

On Saturday the boys went to bed at 8:00 (their normal time) and had their dreamfeed at 10, as usual.  3:30 passed, 4:30 passed and 5:30 passed without even a peep.  At 6:00 they both woke up to eat.  6:00!!  That is unheard of these days and has been unheard of since they turned 4 months and decided sleeping through the night was clearly not for them.  They both went back to bed and Parker slept til 8 and Connor til 9. 

Last night, same bed time, same dreamfeed.  I woke up at 5:15 when my alarm clock went off and the boys were still sound asleep.  I talked to Ben earlier today and he said they woke up at 6:30 to eat.  6:30!!  That is even better than 6:00!  Again they both went back to bed and Parker slept til 9 and Connor til 10! 

It's obviously a fluke and nothing more.  I refuse to believe it's their new "thing" because that will just jinx us and we'll be back up between 3:30 and 4:30 like we have for a couple months now...

Friday, March 23, 2012

4 Saturdays

Before Connor and Parker were even a thought in my head or two twinkles in my eye tax season sucked.  Last year being in my first trimester of pregnancy and dealing with 24 hour a day nausea and crazy exhaustion tax season sucked even more. Now that I have my miracle boys tax season sucks more than I ever thought possible. 

I currently have 4 more Saturdays to go and then I'll get my weekends and Thursdays back.  There was a time when the thought of only 4 more got me through. It didn't seem so bad, I could do this. Now 4 is like an eternity. Do you know how fast my boys are growing? Every day they are discovering new things and learning new stuff. Just the other day Connor reached out for me for the first time when I went to pick him up - well not the first time, he did it on my birthday a month ago but I'm pretty sure that was a fluke although I choose to believe it was his birthday present to his mama. Parker is trying so hard to sit up and I swear he says hi. (Obviously not having a clue what he's saying, I'm not that delusional, but none the less it sounds like hi and I'm not the only one who hears it.) My point...they are becoming new little people every day and in 4 Saturdays they will be completely different little boys than they are today.

I don't want to miss out on all of this and though I still leave work at 3:30 and bring work home to do after they've gone to bed so I have time in the late afternoon/evening with them, I know I'm still missing out. It kills me. I need my Thursdays and Saturdays with them.  Sundays aren't enough but it's all I get for 4 more Saturdays.

I will cherish the time I get with them until 4 Saturdays have passed (and always) but I will want more. For now though we'll just continue to sing our songs, go on walks, talk, cuddle, read stories and play in the evenings and on my one day a week that I'm not at work while I hope with all the hope I have that they save their firsts for when I'm with them.

I've been there for every first smile, giggle, assisted stand, roll from front to back and back to front, taste of cereal, peas, squash, apples, peaches, etc, purposeful grab at a toy, mama being uttered, bubbles blown, spit spat out like a 10 year old boy and many more and that's what gets me through this work crap.  Knowing that I've been there for those firsts despite having to also work.

Please let these next 4 Saturdays go quick but not so quick that I miss out on my boys' lives.

First time on the big boy swing...

Connor was checking out 3 year old boy/girl twins...

Both boys checking out the other twins...

My serious boy...

Who also smiles quite often...
And my flirty boy...

Who is quite the little cheese ball...

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Crazy boy

Connor has this nice big crib all to himself and where does my sweet little lion end up every night...

So adorable but how he can be comfy is beyond me.

PS...I want to hear nothing about the bumpers.  I know "they" say they aren't safe but "they" aren't the boss of my family and we will continue to use them because I don't have boys screaming because their legs or arms have gotten stuck after they've put them through the slats. Also, we use blankets.  The boys like them, they stay warm and blankets rock!

PSS...It was my goal to get this blog up and running before the boys turned 6 months.  They will be 6 months next Wednesday so instead of starting from the beginning we're just going to jump in where we are now and I'll add our story as we go.  :)