Thursday, August 27, 2015

This Blog is Moving!

I have enjoyed working with blogger, but I have decided that I would like to have access to more features, so I am moving this blog to my own personal site powered by Wordpress.  I hope to see you there - ashleykparker.us.

Fried Cabbage with Sausage

We love fried cabbage so much that it is part of our regular menu.  I hope you love it too!

Ingredients:


  • 1 Head Purple Cabbage
  • 1/2 Yellow Onion
  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 1 pkg Smoked Sausage (we prefer Simple Truth)
  • Chicken stock
  • A few  Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste
  • 2 slices of bacon (optional)
Instructions:

  1. Core and chop the cabbage.  Separate the sections.
  2. Dice the onion
  3. Heat olive oil in a large pan. Saute the onion, garlic, and the bacon for a few minutes.
  4. Add the cabbage and toss with the onion, garlic, and bacon.
  5. Cook until cabbage starts to soften.
  6. Slice sausage and add to the skillet, tossing it with the cabbage mixture.  Cook for a 10 or 15 minutes.
  7. Add chicken stock (just enough to cover the bottom of the pan) and cover.  
  8. Stir occasionally and cook until desired softness.  (we like ours very soft). Add more chicken stock as needed.



Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Packing a lunch for daycare

We have recently been having problems with daycare over Gevevieve's diet.  I will go into that situation in another blog, but here I wanted to show off her new lunch box and explain what I sent today.

I have been looking for lunch solutions for Genevieve for the last couple of weeks because we are starting to feed her more table food.  The problem I found is that most lunch containers are designed for large portions and dont really work well for toddler meals. I also needed a way to transport her food to daycare and ensure that it stays cold and contained.

Solution:

Sistema Plastic Containers and Rubbermaid LunchBox containers.   I found the Sistema containers at At Home, TJ Maxx, and Bed, Bath and Beyond.  I have purchased the Small Split, and a few other small sizes.  I found the Rubbermaid containers at Kroger (and I saved on them using a Kroger coupon and and Ibotta Coupon). I purchased the LunchBox for Kids and a couple of the Snack containers.

Her new lunch bag is from Pack It and I purchased it at Bed, Bath, and Beyond, although I did see some other styles/colors at TJ Maxx after I bought it.  I chose the Freezable Carryall, because I liked that it was long vs tall, so I thought it would work well for more carried sized container.  We have the print "ziggy."  This bag is super cool because you dont have to use ice or ice packs, because its designed with liquid inside the bag (you freeze the whole bag!).  It is supposed to stay cold for 10 hours!

I know that her bag needed her name on it, but I didnt want to ruin the bag with sharpie and my desire to get her a embroidered lunch bag was out the window because the Pack It lunch bag linings are full of liquid. So I wrote her name on the back of some ribbon and used fabric glue to make a loose band around the strap.







Whats Inside:

We are required to provide food that meets all the crazy requirements of the USDA School Nutrition Program (which is horrible, but I wont go into that here).  Genevieve hardly eats anything, so most of this will probably come back home, but they cant say that I didnt send it!  And this bag holds a TON of stuff!

  • Shredded Smoked Chicken and stir fried carrots
  • Cherries (pitted of course) and a kiwi
  • Puffed Rice
  • Celery Sticks
  • Raisins
  • 1 Plum Organics baby food pouch
  • 1 toddler spoon
  • A stick of cheese
  • Her diaper bag also included three 6oz servings of Hipp formula (toddler and infant mixed 1/2 and 1/2).




Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Daycare issues with food and my problem with the USDA food programs

The Issue:

Early in the month the Assistant Director of the daycare we were using in Hot Springs, AR (contact me if you want to know where) came up to me when I picked Genevieve up.  She wanted to talk to me about Genevieve's transfer into the Toddler classroom on August 17th and that when she moved classrooms we would no longer be allowed to provide her meals.  Until this point we brought our own snacks and baby food because I did not like what they served, and this was fine with the daycare.  I told the Assistant Director that I did not want Genevieve eating the salt, sugar, and processed meat that was provided as part of their menu.  I was told that I didnt have a choice, but that I could choose to have her served a vegetarian meal instead of the one with meat.  I thanked her for the option and that would be my preference, but that I didnt want her eating the food and that I would look into the program rules.

The next day when my husband picked her up he called me.  He said that they had sent all of Genevieve's food home and she had a note in her cubby that we were no longer allowed to bring our own food and that any food brought would be thrown away.  Additionally, he was told that she was fed the school meal that day.

I was FURIOUS!  I was told I had a week to resolve this issue and then they gave her the food the next day!  I was waiting to hear back from the DHS Special Nutrition office (who by the way still hasnt called me back 3 weeks later), so that I could speak to the daycare Director with informed information.  I never had the chance to speak with her!  To make matters even worse, when I called to complain, the Director told me that Michael (my husband) had given permission for her to eat the school meal that morning when he dropped her off.  When I asked him about it, he said that no one even spoke to him when he dropped her off, so how did he give permission?!


  1. I was hardly given any notice about the meal requirement and the Director never took the time to meet with me about it. 
  2. I was lied to about when the change would take place.
  3. The daycare had no nutrition program paperwork on file for Genevieve, nor any documentation about possible allergies.
  4. I was lied to (maybe the Director was too) about my husband giving permission for her to eat their food
  5. The Food Program allows for terribly unhealthy foods!

Daycare Menu:

*Each daycare that participates in the USDA food program, chooses how many of the approved meals they will offer.  In the instance discussed here the required participation is 1 meal and 2 snacks (AM snack, Lunch, and PM snack).




Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP):

Basically this is a program that reimburses daycare centers for providing meals to the enrolled children.  The goal of the program is admirable: reduce childcare costs and ensure that children receive healthy food.  This is especially important for children who live in poverty and may not eat well or at all when at home.  

Here is their website: http://www.fns.usda.gov/cacfp/child-day-care-centers


My Issues with the CACFP:

  • The same guidelines seem to apply across the board.  I dont understand how it makes sense to apply the same nutrition standards to 1 year olds as they do to school age children.  And actually, the daycare we were at, started feeding the program's snacks (but not the lunch) at 6 months old!  
  • These foods are highly processed and full of sugar and salt, which the American Academy of Pediatrics, The National Institute of Health, and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics say should be avoided, especially in infants and toddlers.
  • While the USDA does not require that all daycare attendees participate in the program, it does allow for the State or the local institutions to impose additional restrictions, which can mean food isnt allowed from home.
  • The USDA has no dietary guidelines established for infants and toddlers, so the program that are enforcing is created on a fallacy. 
I understand this program is designed to lessen the food gap caused by poverty, but if I can afford to feed my child whole unprocessed foods, why shouldnt I be allowed to?  It offends me that as a parent I am not allowed to provide for my child as I think is important.  My daughter spends more time in daycare than at home, which is hard enough, but furthermore, poor nutrition is being reinforced at daycare which hinders my ability to teach and promote positive nutrition at home. 

Nutrition for Infants and Toddlers

The USDA currently has no dietary guidelines established for infants, toddlers, or pregnant women.  They are currently developing these guidelines,but the will not be released until 2020.  The My Plate program (a reincarnation of the previous food pyramid) recommendations do not start until age 2. 

More Information on the USDA dietary guidelines for Infants and Toddlers (or lack there of ) http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/birthto24months

Informational Links on Toddler Nutrition from the National Institute of Health
https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/toddlernutrition.html

Diet Recommendations from Kidshealth.org (recommended by the NIH)
https://secure02.kidshealth.org/parent/nutrition_center/healthy_eating/toddler_food.html 

Sodium Guidelines from NIH
https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002415.htm

Feeding Patterns for ages 6 months to 2 years by the NIH (also notes that salt and sugar should be avoided)
https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/patientinstructions/000713.htm

Sodium in Canned Foods
http://www.ars.usda.gov/SP2UserFiles/Place/80400525/Articles/EB11_DrainedVeg.pdf

My Thoughts:

I may not make the best nutritional choices for myself, but I want my daughter to have a healthy foundation to her nutritional outlook and I want her to enjoy healthy foods.  I do not want her addicted to sugar and salt and I know that the earlier and more frequently those are introduced, the more desensitized we get to them. It is appalling to me that the USDA can enforce nutrition guidelines when they themselves admit that they do not have established guidelines for infants and toddlers.  Not to mention the fact that the food programs that they promote allow for the lowest quality food possible.  The sodium and sugar content in these foods are extraordinarily high.  Also, it seems odd to me that the same foods considered appropriate for adults are also considered appropriate for a toddler.  Not to mention the fact, that the rules governing these programs make it hard for me to ensure that my daughter is eating nutritious food. 

Its my job as a parent to make good decisions for my child and these approved meal plans, that blatantly go against research and recommendations by the AAP and the NIH, are far from a good decision. 

My Choices:

To the best of my ability, Genevieve will eat whole unprocessed foods, organic, non- genetically modified and hormone free when possible, with no added sugar or salt.  I will do my best to make sure she develops food habits in which salty and sweet snacks are not the norm.  I know that as she gets older she will be exposed to much more than I can control, but for now, I can do my best to help her develop healthy food preferences and create a solid healthy foundation for her health and dietary future.

Daycare Resolution:

We have since changed daycare centers.  The center we are at now, does also use the USDA food program, but they are willing to work with us regarding Genevieve's diet and are allowing us to bring our own food until she goes back to the doctor in September.  Until then, we have a pending request at the pediatrition's office for a doctor's note that will allow us to continue to provide Genevieve food from home instead of her eating the daycare's meals. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Our favorite roast

I have been fighting with Blogger all night, so this post may get redone, but here it is for now - in screenshot instead of actual text





Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Recipes Using the Beaba Babycook #4

More wonderful ideas for using your Babycook to make baby food and save money!


Yellow Peaches

Peel and de-pit 4 peaches.  Steam in Babycook on level 2.  Remove from steam basket and puree. (I didnt need any liquid to get a good consistency with the peaches.)  Reserve liquid for Baby Juice if desired.

Output: 14 ounces
Homemade Cost: $0.09 per ounce

Gala Apples

Peel and core 2 apples.  Steam in Babycook on level 2.  Puree with liquid as needed.  (I chose to reserve the liquid for Baby Juice and puree with distilled water).

Output: 18 to 20 ounces
Homemade Cost: $0.07 per ounce

Kiwi

Peel 4 kiwi and steam on level 2.  Remove from steam basket and puree.  Add liquid if needed for consistency.  Reserve liquid for Baby Juice if desired.

Output: 8 ounces
Homemade Cost: $0.13 per ounce

Mango

Peal and de-pit 2 mango.  Steam on level 2.  Remove from steam basket and puree.  Add liquid if needed for consistency.  Reserve steam liquid for Baby Juice if desired.

Output: 11 ounces
Homemade Cost: $0.18 per ounce

Cucumber

Peel, de-seed, and chop 1 large cucumber.  Steam on level 2.  Remove from basket and puree.  This can be served cold for a summer treat, however cucumber does not really have many nutrients.

Output: 10 ounces
Homemade Cost: $0.13 per ounce

Zucchini

Peel and chop 2 small to medium zucchini.  Steam on level 2.  Remove from basket and puree.  Add liquid if needed for consistency.

Output: 10 ounces
Homemade Cost: $0.10 per ounce

Cauliflower

Chop 1/4 of a cauliflower head into small florets.  Steam on level 3.  Remove from basket and puree.  Add liquid if needed for consistency.

Output: 8 ounces
Homemade Cost: $0.12 per ounce

Red Bell Pepper

Chop 2 bell peppers and steam on level 2.  Remove from basket and puree.  You will probably need liquid to get a good consistency.  This can be eaten alone (although not as a first food) or mixed with other foods to create complex flavors.

Output: 12 ounces
Homemade Costs: $0.25 per ounce


Ideas for Food Blends: 

Beet and Blueberry: Mix beet and blueberry purees at a 1:1 ratio.  My baby prefers beets when blended.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Genevieve's Smile

I have recently opened a shop on Etsy to sell my homemade crafts.  I named my shop Genevieve's Smile after my daughter.  My shop sells jewelry and hair bows.  I have some items premade and ready to ship and I have others that can be custom ordered.   I hope that you will all support me in my new endeavor.  

Facebook: www.facebook.com/GenevievesSmile


Thursday, May 14, 2015

Whats in my Car Bag - 9 months

I decided that I needed to start carrying some emergency supplies in my car for the baby on the off chance I am the one who needs to pick her up from daycare (since I normally dont), or I forget my diaper bag.  I decided to pack some minimal essentials in the back of my car.  Do you have a car bag?


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Cosmetics - What am I Wearing Today

Tarte Rainforest After Dark bronzer and highlighter, Dr. Jart Black Label BB cream,  Estee Lauder Double Matte powder,  Laura Mercier Secret concealer,   eyeshadow trio (not shown)- Mo Rockin Bests, Sephora's primer,  Smashbox undereye primer,  MUFE Aqua Eyes - black, Becca blush - Sweet Pea, Marc Jacobs lip liner - Primrose, Clinique lipstick- Tenderheart, Smashbox Be Legendary Lip Lacquer- Coral, Nars Eyeshadow primer,  Urban Decay setting spray. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Recipes Using the Beaba Babycook #3

Roasted Carrot & Parsnip w/ Onion, Garlic, and Thyme

Peel 3 small carrots and peel and core 2 parsnips (ends up a 1:1 ratio).  Rub with olive oil and sprinkle with a pinch of garlic powder and a pinch of  ground thyme.  Bake in oven at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.
Peel and bake an onion with a tablespoon of butter on 375 degrees for 45 minutes - covered.

Add roasted carrots and parsnips and 1 layer of onion to the Babycook steamer.  Steam on level 3.

Puree with water for consistency.

Note: This is an advanced flavor palate for baby.  Test baby food in individual flavors for allergies before trying this recipe.  Based on what I read, onion has a very low chance of allergies, so it is safe to test blended with another ingredient that is safe.

Output: 16 ounces
Homemade cost: 11 cents per ounce

Plums (Red Plums)

Core and chop 3 large plums.  Steam on level 2.  Reserve juice and puree fruit.  Add juice as needed for consistency.

Output: 10 ounces
Homemade Cost: 7 cents per ounce

Cherry Banana

Pit a cup of cherries and peel a banana.  Steam on level 2. Reserve juice and puree fruit.  Add juice and water as needed for consistency (I used 3:1 ratio).

Output: 8 ounces ( I did mix this a little thick for my baby, so I probably could have gotten another 2 ounces)
Homemade Cost: 19 cents per ounce

Cherry Apple (Gala apples)

Pit a cup of cherries.  Peel, core, and cube 1 large apple.  Steam on level 2.  Reserve juice and puree fruit.  Add juice and water as needed ( I used 1:3 ratio).

Output: 14 ounces
Homemade Cost: 17 cents per ounce

Blueberry Apple Banana with Vanilla (Granny Smith Apple)

Peel 1 medium apple and 1 banana.  Add peeled fruit and 4 oz (2/3 pkg) of blueberries to steam basket.  Steam on level two.  Reserve steam liquid.  Puree fruit.  Thin with water and reserve juice ( I used 1:1).  Add 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract.

Output: 15 ounces
Homemade Cost: 13 cents per ounce

Baby Fruit Cocktail Juice

Juice left over from steaming fruits from previous recipes. My juice is a result of the liquid from my Plums, Cherry Banana, Cherry Apple, and Blueberry Banana Apple.  Mix with water (we use distilled) at a ratio of 25% juice to 75% water.  Freeze.  Cubes of frozen juice can be used for teething in a mesh feeder or defrosted and used to help a constipated baby.

Note: Babies should not be given juice as a beverage until they are drinking out of a regular cup and juice is not needed nutritionally.  Do NOT give baby juice created from raw fruit.

Output: 1 Quart Juice "concentrate" = 1 Gallon baby juice
Homemade Cost: Free - made from after product of steaming fruit for baby food (the average cost of                               the purees used to make the liquid in my version of juice comes to 14 cents per oz)

Monday, May 11, 2015

Whats in my Diaper Bag - 9 months

I have used the JuJuBe BFF since my baby was born and I still love it!  What I packed hasnt changed much since Genevieve was born, mainly because I tend to over-pack.  My favorite feature of this bag is that it opens in the front instead of the top which means no digging to find things!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Recipes Using the Beaba Babycook #2

More recipes using my Babycook...

*Steam ingrediants in steam basket, remove steam liquid (unless reusing), and then add contents of steam basket to the cooking container for pureeing.

Beets

Peel 2 beets and steam on level 2.  Puree with water. (beware!  Wear gloves or you will have red hands!)

Output: 16 ounces
Homemade Cost: 19 cents per ounce

Green Beans

Use about 1/2 lb of green beans (fill basket). Snap off ends and break into pieces.  Steam on level 2 and puree with water. (Green beans are one of the most difficult to get smooth)

Output: 14 ounces
Homemade Cost: (assuming 1/2 a pound) 8 cents per ounce

Blueberries and Bananas

Use 6 ounces of blueberries and 2 bananas.  Steam on level 2.  After steaming, set liquid aside to reuse.  Read liquid periodically through the puree process until appropriate consistency is acquired.  Add additional water if needed.  The consistency of this ends up being like thin pudding.  ( I plan to use this recipe for popsicles this summer).

Output: 16 ounces
Homemade Cost: 12 cents per ounce

Kale and Bananas (Red kale)

Use approx. 1/3 of a bunch of kale (fill basket firmly) and 1 banana.  Remove leafy portion from stems and tear into small pieces.  Steam on level 2 and puree with water.

Output: 12 ounces
Homemade Cost: 7 cents per ounce.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Genevieve's Eighth Month - Babybook Snapshots


This month Genevieve got her first top tooth - the top right one.  It sure did give her fits, especially considering that the first two came in before we even noticed!

This month our poor baby has had her fair share of sickness.  The month started out with a stomach bug that cause her to run fever, vomit, and get diaper rash.  It also made her fussy.  The end of the month saw her with a sinus infection or upper respiratory infection (doctor never clarified) and swollen eyes which the doctor said was caused by the infection spreading to her eyes.  The stomach bug was treated with pedialyte and the infection was treated with antibiotics and eye drops.

This month Genevieve attended her first wedding: The wedding of Michael and Amanda Busick.  The wedding took place in Pocahontas, AR.  I dressed Genevieve in an adorable silver swing dress from The Gap so she would match her dad's suit.  I absolutely love the picture I have of Michael (my husband / her dad - not the groom) dancing with her at the reception.

I bough Genevieve her first bouncing ball (6" ball) this month and she thinks that the bouncing ball is so funny as it bounces!

Genevieve is now wearing size 6-9 month clothes, size 3 diapers, and size 2 shoes (although her size 1 sandals fit fine and she has a few pairs of size 2 shoes that are too small).  The last two days she has even kept shoes on all day at daycare!

This month we introduced peas (jarred) and blueberries (homemade blended with banana). prunes (jarred - im not sure how these would come out homemade), and Baby Mum Mums.  I dont really want her eating the Baby Mum Mums though because of the salt and sugar content.

Daycare insisted we start bringing baby food and "snacks' because she was getting upset when the other kids were eating.  I am sure she is only upset because her playmates are in highchairs and she is by herself.  I went ahead and sent the food though.  She does eat a few bites, but no more than she eats at home (2 to 3 bites is normal / 5 bites is a huge deal!).  I hunted and hunted for sugar free and salt free "baby snacks" and only found 2 products: Ella's Kitchen Baby Cookies and Puffits.  There are a few things out there that are sweetened with fruit juice concentrate, but I hope to avoid that as much as possible.  I even tried to make my own puffs and teething biscuits, but I couldnt get them to harden enough.For now though, she isnt interested in the snacks.  She might play with them, but she has no interest in eating them at all.  Heck, we even tried smashed banana one day and she wanted no part of that either.  I really hope that she doesnt end up with sensory issues with food!


Saturday, May 2, 2015

No Juice for Baby

Many moms want to introduce juice to their babies and I dont understand why.  First of all, most of the juices I see parents give are not really juice but a juice drink - Kool-aid and Hi-C punch are NOT juice!

I would much prefer my child to get their nutrition from milk/formula or actual fruits.  Maybe when Genevieve is older I will give her juice, but its not a needed for nutrition and its full of sugar.

Reference Articles

The American Society of Pediatrics: "The Use and Misuse of Juice in Pediatrics"

Dr. Sears: "The Truth about Pure Fruit Juices vs Fruit Beverages"

The Guardian: "How Fruit Juice went from Health Food to Junk Food"






Thursday, April 30, 2015

Recipes Using the Beaba Babycook #1

Some of the recipes I have tried so far.  I will include the quantity of baby food produced for the recipes I remember the output on. Please remember that all quantities include liquid of formula or water introduced to produce the appropriate consistency for my baby.  The size of the produce you choose to use and the amount of liquid you add will effect your total output.  See previous post on how to prepare baby food using the Babycook.

The cost of store bought baby food (based on Plum Organics - my backup brand) in the store is 37 cents per ounce.


Bananas

Three bananas steamed on level 2 and pureed with formula (beware - banana will turn brown, but that doesnt mean its spoiled).

Output: 16 oz
Homemade Cost: 4 cents per ounce (does not include cost of formula)

Avocado

1 avocado steamed on level 2 and pureed with formula (avocado will turn brown - I was afraid to freeze the avocado so I tossed what we didnt eat in 2 days).

Output: 8 ounces
Homemade Cost: 13 cents per ounce

Apples (Using Pink Lady Apples)

2 apples steamed on level 2 and pureed with water. Feel free to try cinnamon (just a pinch) in the apples after you are sure that your baby is not allergic to apples.

Output: 10 ounces
Homemade Cost: 16 cents per ounce

Butternut Squash

Peel and seed 1 Butternut Squash and steam on level 3 and puree with water.

Output: 24 ounces
Homemade Cost: 17 cents per ounce

Sweet Potato

Peel 3 sweet potatoes and steam on level 3 and puree with water. Once you are sure baby is not allergic, consider added a pinch of cinnamon.

Output: 34 ounces
Homemade Cost: 6 cents per ounce


Baby's First Blend - Try mixing squash and apples in a 1:1 ratio! Yum!



Why chose to use the Beaba Babycook and how to use it

I purchased my Babycook when my daughter turned 6 months old because I wanted to make my own babyfood. I determined that this machine was cost effective for several reasons:

1.) Store bought babyfood costs $1 for every ounce to two ounces of babyfood
2.) I want to feed my daughter pure food without preservitives or chemical additives
3.) I want to know what my daughter is eating and control the flavors and seasonings she is exposed to
4.) I want to create a flavor palate experience that matches our general diet and provide a healthy foundation for my daughter's experience with food.
5.) This machine allows me to steam, puree, and reheat in one easy to clean device.  No extra dishes to wash and I can easily make babyfood while cooking dinner.

About the Unit:

The Babycook includes instructions with indications on how much water is needed to cook the item you are planning to use.

The unit includes the base device which houses the water resoviour and the time/puree control,a cooking container,  a steam basket, and a blade for pureeing, and a spatula for lifting the hot steam basket.

The cooking container looks like a blender pitcher.  The blade connects to the bottom with a screw on the bottom on the unit.  It is very easy to remove for cleaning.  The cooking unit also has two sets of markings: measuring cup units on one side and water level measuring units on the other.  The water level measuring units are marked: 1, 2, and 3.  Level 1 is for reheating, level 2 is most fruits and vegtables, and level 3 is for denser procduce.   The water is measured in the cooking unit and then it is poured into the base unit through a small hole at the top of the unit (under the lid hinge).

How to make your babyfood:

1.) Peel and chop produce (or meat) into small pieces - remove seeds and cores
2.) Measuse water and fill reserviour
3.) Snap cooking cointainer into base unit
4.) Put steam basket into cooking container
5.) Add food pieces into steam basket
6.) Close lit and press lock button
7.) Press the steam button (the machine times the cook based on the water level)
8.) When the steam button flashes and beeps - cooking is done
9.) Open lid and use spatula to lift steam basket
10.) Remove liquid from bottom of cooking unit (depending on what you cooked you may want to reuse the steam liquid for pureeing, but you may not) - reserve liquid if you want to reuse it
11.) Add cooked food to the cooking unit, place the lid cover on top of the cooking container, and the close the lid.
12.) Turn the puree control and puree food product.  Add steam liquid, water, forumla, or breast milk. (If using breast milk, it must be fresh if you plan to freeze the babyfood.  Breast milk should never be refrozen).

Storing:
I use silicone baby food trays for initial freezing and then remove and keep frozen in Zip Lock Freezer bags.  Babyfood can be frozen for 3 months.  All food used for babies should be cooked for the first year, including fruit.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Nursery Tour - pre baby's arrival


The nursery wasnt 100% finished at this point, but it was mostly finished.  Since I made this video we added a valance, changing pad, picture collage and large canvas print of G's newborn picture.  We also replaced the bookshelf with a custom one my husband made.  I will try to remember to post updated pictures.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Trialing a new skincare routine

I have recently started to really show interest in a true skincare routine.  Before I only washed my face in the shower and only used a moisturizer about 50% of the time.  After reading some good articles and discussion boards I decided to really bite the bullet and go from no routine to a variant of the Korean 10 step routine.

I bought a few  things based on reviews and I bought the Sephora "The Great Cleanse" sampler. I also have acquired several deluxe size samples.

So I read several articles about the Korean 10 Step routine and then I dumbed it down for my newbie uses.

Morning:

1.) Cleanse - Purity Made Simple
2.) Exfoliate - Sometimes I use Philosophy Microdelivery Exfoliating Wash, but mostly I combine this step with #3.
3.) Tone - Bliss Steep Clean Mattifying Toner Pads
4.) Serum - Ole Henriksen Enlighten Me Skin Tone Corrector (I will try their Truth Serum when I run out because its easier to find)
5.) Eye Cream - Nurish Organic Renewing Eye Cream (I am currently using a sample and I am not sure that I will repurchase it.  Its a good cream, but I want to try other options)
6.) Moisturizer - Hope Oil Free SPF 30

I follow this with a primer, Dr. Jart Black Label cream and the rest of my makeup routine

Evening:

1.) Remove Makeup - Mary Kay Eye Makeup Remover
2.) Cleansing Oil - Boscia Makeup Breakup Oil
3.) Cleanse - Ole Henriksen African Tea Foaming Cleanser
4.) Exfoliate- FAB Facial Radiance Pads
5.) Tone - Combined with step 4
6.) Serum - Ole Henriksen Enlighten Me Skin Tone Corrector
7.) Eye Cream - Nurish Organic Renewing Eye Cream
8,) Facial Oil - Josie Maran Argan Oil Light
9.) Moisturizer - Hope Oil Free SPF 30
10.) Night Cream - Ole Henriksen Sheer Transformation

Weekly - Boscia Luminizing Black Mask

Notes on process and products:

Overall I really like this routine.  I can definitely tell a difference in my skin tone, texture, color, and my pore size.  My favorite products (that I will definitely buy again) are Boscia Makeup Break up Oil, Ole Henriksen African Tea Foaming Cleanser, Bliss Toner Pads, and the Boscia Luminizing Black Mask.  My favorite brands so far are Boscia and Ole Henriksen.  I will be replacing the FAB pads with an additional application of the Bliss pads when I run out.  I hate the way the FAB pads smell.  The facial oil seems to help my moisturizer absorb better, but I dont think its a necessary step and I dont like the smell on the Josie Maran.  I am not sure if I will keep this step or if I will keep it and try a different product.

I noticeably left out two of the Korean Skin Routine steps: essence and sheet masks,  There are not many US brands of essence in the US and the ones I found were really expensive.  I didnt think this step was worth the cost.  I like the idea of sheet masks, but I havent decided which ones I want to try. Its recommended to use from every day to twice a week. If I decide to use this step it would be once or twice a week.

Do you have any favorites you would like to recommend?  What does your skincare routine look like?

Friday, January 23, 2015

Diapers: My choice

When I was pregnant I did a ton of research and read lots of mommy blogs and reviews about diapers.  After all this reading I knew that I was 100% going to use Pamper's Swaddlers, but consider other options when my daughter outgrew Swaddlers because I wanted to avoid Pamper's Dry Max product.

When G was born we used Pamper's Swaddlers in the Newborn size for about a month and we LOVED them!  I knew my choice had been correct!  Then came the time to switch to size 1s and boy were we in trouble!  The Pampers Swaddlers size 1s were huge on G!  You could see straight through the leg holes!  Its almost like they were 1 1/2s...lol.  Pampers just weren't going to work for us anymore.

We used Huggies Little Snugglers for awhile and during the time we were using them, they had a product change.  I noticed the inside of the newer huggies seemed kind of quilted.  I like the newer version of the Huggies much better than the old ones.

Diaper Sizing

(I meant to take a picture comparing diaper sizes by brand, but in the craziness that is new motherhood, I never made the time.  I look a bit around the web and couldn't really find a picture that really showed the size differences in the diaper brands.)

At one point I had Pamper's Swaddlers, Pampers Swaddlers Sensitive, Up and Up (Target), Huggies Little Snugglers, and Honest Company diapers in Size one.  This would have made a great photo, so I am sorry I didnt take the time to make one.

Since I dont have a photo, I will do my best with a description.

Pampers Swaddlers Sensitive are slightly larger than regular Pamper's Swaddlers.  Up and Up, Huggies, and Honest Company are similar in size, but are different in shape.  The Up and Up brand are more rounded in the bottom area, almost U shapped, while Huggies and Honest Company diapers are more rectangular.  Up and Up are fluffier feeling, Huggies are the softest, and Honest Company seem kind of stiff.



(**Oh look I did find a picture.  This picture is from the miny-moe.com website.  I am not endorsing the site, because I have never used them, but I want to give them credit for the picture.)

Honest Company, Pampers Swaddlers, Huggies Little Snugglers, Up and Up,  Parent's Choice, and Luvs
Choosing a new diaper:

During our Size 1 days I received an email from Honest Company offering me 50% off of up to 3 subscriptions.  I believe I received this email because I had signed up for the trial to get samples and then immediately canceled because we had a ton of diapers in the closest.  I redeemed the coupon for 1 month of Size 1s and 1 month of Size 2s and then canceled the subscriptions again. 

When we ran out of the Huggies we started using the Honest Company and it was love at first diapering!  The prints are so cute, they fit G great (she is tall and skinny), and they after figuring up the cost utilizing a subscription, they weren't any more costly than Pampers or Huggies.

We used Honest Company with no complaint until we went up a size to the Size 2s and then ran out of our Honest Company stockpile.  We had some Huggies in the closet so my husband wanted to use them up before we reordered our Honest Company subscription.  After 1 day of using the Huggies my husband was adamant we find a store and go by more Honest Company diapers right then!  He hated the Huggies!  I dont know why they worked so well for us when G was wearing Size 1s, but not that she is wearing Size 2s she keeps exploding out of and peeing through the Huggies diapers.  Some days twice!!!  We have now used Huggies for a week and I am so glad our new subscription of Honest Company has arrived!

The Cost: Do Pretty and Awesome diapers cost more than the others? (*based on Sz 2)

Target
Pampers Swaddlers 92 pack - $24.99 - 27 cents each
Huggies Little Snugglers 92 Pack - $24.99 - 27 cents each
Honest Company 34 pack - 35 cents each

Honest Company Subscription
240 diapers, 4 packs of wipes - $79.95 (delivered to your door - Free shipping)
  • If you subtract the cost of the wipes $4.99 each (same price as target) then you are looking at a base price of $59.99 which is 25 cents per diaper.

Its  clear!  Honest Company diapers are cheaper!!!! Plus you get to pick your designs and you dont have to go to the store!  I also really like that they are Chlorine free, plant based, and fragrance free!  Its a bonus that Honest Company wipes were already our favorite (our second favorites are Water Wipes).  You can also earn rewards at towards your Honest Company account (click here to order yours and help me earn rewards!), you can cancel your subscription at any time, and you can decide how often you want your order shipped!  






Monday, January 19, 2015

Obsessed with Reds

I seem to be loving red lippies lately! This is my collection of reds as of December 14, minus a Mary Kay Tinted Balm in Poppy.


My favorites are Bite Scarlett, Hourglass Icon, Fresh Sugar Passion, Mary Kay Gloss Rock N Red,  and Sephora Rouge Infusion Red Essence.

Getting back into the swing of things

I resolve that in 2015 I will catch up on my past promised blogs and write on a much more regular basis.  I have so many things I want to say and it will be my goal to get my thoughts "on paper" to my blog at least twice a month.