Have you considered making your own baby food? It really is a lot cheaper than you may think. And, a lot easier than you may have thought. Plus, having the peace of mind that you know exactly what is inside your baby’s food is comforting.
MUST HAVE SUPPLIES:
Blender OR Food Processor
Depending on what you’re making you may need other tools. Most are already found in your kitchen, so no worries. Below are 2 of my favorite easy recipes for making baby food at home:
Select a fresh apple
Wash & peel your apple
Core the apple
Chop into small chunks
Cook your apple by boiling in medium sauce pan. Bring water to boil then reduce heat. Cook until tender.
Drain and give apples a cold rinse.
Place into food processor until smooth (may add water to thin consistency if needed)
SWEET PEA BABY FOOD
Select fresh peas. (avoid canned as they contain high levels of sodium). Frozen is another option.
Wash peas (if frozen, you can skip this step)
Place the peas in a steamer and cook for 3 to 5 minutes. I have a microwave steamer that I LOVE and it’s so easy to use!
Run cold water over peas for 3 minutes.
Place in food processor or blender.
Add water as needed to reach desired consistency.
To add a little sweetness, consider mixing with Sweet potatoes baby food or full fat greek yogurt.
Want MORE recipes? Check out Pinterest for a large selection of ideas! That’s where I find all of my recipes.
Growing up we always had a “kids table” on Thanksgiving. Being the youngest of 9 kids, I was always at the kids table, so I consider myself an expert. I’ve learned how to make the kids table, the most fun spot in the house on Thanksgiving Day. Here are a few ideas I’d like to share:
Make your own place mat:
Have a canister of crayons in the middle of the table. have a large rectangle sheet of paper under each plate. Let the kids make their own place mat. They can decorate it with their name, make a hand turkey, and more. More ideas for decorating: stickers, stamps, markers!
I am thankful for…
Have each child write a few sentences about the items they are thankful for.
Have a hand-turkey drawing contest. Have paper and crayons available. Have the kids trace each others hands (or their own if they can) and decorate their “hand turkey”. Put names on the BACK of the turkey. Let the adults choose their favorite!
Have a few crafts on hand. Beaded necklaces with Fall colors (beware of any choking hazards for the younger kids), pilgrim hats, and more.
We always used a white paper table cloth so the kids could doodle on the table. The younger kids loved tracing their plate and utensils right onto the tablecloth.
Have small books and toys readily available to squash boredom when the kids are done eating.
Waffle cone cornucopia:
Let each child have a waffle cone. Set candy corn (with pumpkins!) in the middle of the table and let them create their very own “cornucopia”
The freezer is a kitchen appliance that doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. Often, people only pay attention to the freezer when it stops working, but the freezer can be a busy mother’s best friend.
Here are some of the ways a freezer can save you time and money:
- Prep all the ingredients you would use in a slow cooker meal and place them in a freezer bag. The day you need the meal you can pop the frozen cube right into your crock pot.
- Put all your vegetable scraps into a freezer bag. Toss it all into your slow cooker with water. Strain when cooked and you will have flavorful homemade broth.
- If you have extra broth let it cool and freeze in small measured portions that can be used in future recipes.
- Make big batches of waffles or pancakes and freeze them. Toast them for snack or breakfast.
- Instead of letting vegetables go to waste, chop them up and put them in a bag. Next time you are cooking a meal you can toss them in for a nutritious boost.
- Freeze tomato paste in an ice cube tray and then pop out into a freezer bag. Now you have the perfect portion when a recipe calls for a tablespoon of tomato sauce. The same can be done with pesto.
- If you know you will have a busy period ahead, you can prepare different casseroles and store in the freezer for future use.
- A loaf of bread can be frozen and refreshed whole by being placed in the oven for a few minutes or by placing slices in the toaster.
- Freeze berries on a cookie sheet and once frozen place berries in a bag or container. You can take a handful of berries in smoothie, oatmeal or cereal.
- Grate a ginger root in a food processor. Place ginger in a freezer bag and flatten out the ginger so that it will freeze in a thin layer. Now you can break off a piece of ginger whenever a recipe calls for it.
- Chop up your favorite fruits and veggies and then freeze. Toss right into your blender for a quick smoothie.
- Get into the habit of placing your newly bought flour into the freezer overnight. That will kill off any insects that might have found their way in.
This list just touches the surface of the ways a freezer can be useful to a household. Beyond the storage of ice cream and frozen pizza, there are almost endless possibilities for this particular appliance.
Some of the cloth diapers in use today do not look or function like those that were used by our grandmothers and great grandmothers. There has been advancements in the fabrics used and there has also been a movement to make cloth diapers more fashionable. Certain prints of diapers command high prices and some diaper makers have a fierce and loyal following. Cloth diapers come in a vast array of fabric choices and color options. With all the options available one might ask why is it that flats continue to be such a popular diapering option?
You can purchase nicely serged flats made out of organic materials or you can use a t-shirt, a thin baby blanket or even certain kitchen towels. Your imagination is the limit as to what can be used as a flat.
People continue to choose and successfully use flats to diaper their children because of their simplicity. A flat is just a piece of cloth that can be configured in different ways and fastened to create a diaper. There are higher end flat diapers made of more luxurious or organic fabric. However, you also have the option of using a thin baby blanket or even certain kitchen towels.
There are no separate pieces to put together when using a flat diaper. All that is necessary is the knowledge of a few folds and in some cases a closure method of your choice. There doesn’t necessarily have to be elaborate washing routine and flats can also have a quicker drying time.
Versatility would be the other reason that people often return to flats. There are different flat folds that can be used to customize the flat to fit the needs of the child. Need more absorbency? Then perhaps an “origami fold” will be what you choose. Have a larger child? Simply fold your flat into a pad fold and set it in inside a cover.
When deciding on the diapering options that will work for you and your family don’t dismiss the flat as an old fashioned mode of diapering, Many experienced “diaper mamas” have tried the fancier and more expensive options, only to find themselves returning time and time again to the trusty and reliable flat diaper.
Halloween Candy and Treats are delicious. I am not going to lie and tell you that I don’t look forward to a good handful of candy corn. But, all that sugar!!! I am not a huge fan of giving processed sugary foods to the kids. Halloween is one of those days that kids can get overloaded with junk. There are alternatives to sugar laden candy and treats. You can still celebrate with fun activities and fun healthy treats.
Packaged Healthy Treats
If you’re handing out Halloween goodies at your door, and want to steer clear of the heavy sugar candies, stop by big box stores for prepackaged healthier foods. Head to the aisle that you buy lunch box snacks. Options are endless. individual bags of popcorn, pretzels, goldfish, raisins, and more. You may want to steer clear of nuts if you’re handing out to other children.
I have found great deals on Halloween and Fall themed pencils at our local drugstores. And, pencils encourage writing, which is important for kids!
Another great inexpensive and educational item to hand out to kids on Halloween.
Most kids, even as young as toddlers, enjoy stickers. Have fun with them by choosing Halloween themed stickers that the kids will love.
Growing up, we had neighbors that would hand out quarters! It doesn’t have to be quarters, consider dimes or nickels too!
Many party stores offer toys for as little as 10¢ each if you buy a large lot. This is a great alternative to candy. And, they can keep it much longer as well!
Do you have any other ideas on alternatives to Halloween Candy?
Ask moms that you know if they may be interested in joining a moms group. Think about friends, family, neighbors, church members, etc. Another option, if your kids are in preschool or school, ask the teacher if you can have a handout sent home with your information. Ask parents to contact you if interested.
FIRST GROUP MEETING
This will be a time for moms to decide if they want to be part of your new moms group. Give them details on upcoming events and what you have in store for the next few months. Discuss fees if there will be fees. Cover everything and leave room for questions at the end.
Once you have interest:
Once again, I find myself in the market for another car seat. Although the choices can be overwhelming, changes in the industry have not only made car seats safer but also made it easier for a parent to make a well-informed purchase.
Seat Size and Weight Limits
There is no such thing as a “one size fits all car seat.” Since kids come in all types of sizes the car seat that works for one child may not sit another child comfortably. Manufacturers provide weight limits and height limits but sometimes it takes actually having your child in the seat to evaluate if the seat is going to work for your child.
Extended Rear Facing
Car seat manufacturers have responded to the parental demand to ERF older children and the AAP recommendations to rear face at least until age 2. I was able to sit my child rear facing comfortably up to age 5 by purchasing a seat with a higher ERF weight limit.
Expiration / Manufacturer Dates
Car seats have expiration dates. I’ve heard people scoff at this as a money making ploy by the car seat industry. Actually, expiration dates protect children from seats that have possibly warped or become brittle. Largely made of plastic, car seats are exposed to the fluctuations in temperature day in and day out for years. Weight is placed on it daily and tension directly on the plastic is required for a proper installation. Personally, I think that the addition of manufacturer and expiration days will go a long way in keeping unsafe and outdated seats out of the hands of unsuspecting users.
Car manufacturers have made the Latch (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children Restraint System) car seat system even more convenient to access in newer model cars. The LATCH system has makes proper car installation and removal easier for parents. The development of the system has for the most part reduced the sweat inducing struggles with a seat belt and a locking clip for a safe car seat installation.
Research, Research, Research
The information that can be found about cars seats online can be overwhelming but there are several well established sites that give thoughtful reviews and recommendations. There are also forums where parents can ask specific questions about car seats and their installation.
Good Return or Exchange Policies
Most retailers have very good return policies that allow parents to return a car seat if the fit is not good for the child. When looking for a car seat make sure you ask what the exact return policies are before purchasing.
Shopping for a car seat can be daunting, but newer developments and continued research has now made it easier to buy and install car seats.
A consistent bedtime routine is very important for young children. Kids need sleep. Parents need sleep. A happy family is a well rested family! Below are a few tips to help you get a bedtime routine established. Every child is different, so some of these may work and some may not, depending on your child.
*Quiet time. Having 30 minutes of a quiet activity before bed will help children relax. Consider reading a book, coloring, or having quiet play.
*Give reminders. Many children like to know what’s coming next. Give them gentle reminders to let them know that bedtime will be in 15 minutes, 10 minutes, and 5 minutes.
*Keep the lighting low. In the evening hours, we keep the lighting low to help the kids ease into bedtime.
*Help children relax with a warm bath before bedtime. In our house we have a snack, bathtime, pj’s, brush teeth, quiet time, a short story, and bed.
*If your child is afraid of the dark, use a nightlight or a hallway light to lessen their fear.
*Don’t forget cuddles and snuggles. They are very important!
Over the years we have accumulated thousands of photos, souvenirs, trophies, awards, favorite clothes, stuffed animals, and more. I have boxes upon boxes of items to go through. I never knew how much a child could have….times four! Below are my 3 favorite ways to keep those memories organized and even on display!
Create a shadowbox: There are so many great themes for shadowboxes. One idea is to make one with all the items from the hospital. The hospital bracelet (moms and baby’s), first outfit, hospital hat, and fingerprint card! Shadowboxes can be hung on the wall or placed on a shelf. And, if they are preserved correctly, they can be given to the child when they have their first baby!
Scrapbooks: Scrapbooking has come a LONG way over the years. There are so many options and digital scrapbooking has become very popular. Scrapbooks can be made for each year of your child’s life. Or, make one for each month until they are one, and then one per year. Once your child is old enough, he or she can help create them!
Memory Quilts: Head on up to the attic and grab that box (or boxes) of baby clothes that you can’t bear to throw away and turn it into a beautiful and useful quilt! You can do this yourself or if you’re like me, head to a crafty friend’s home for some help.
Do you have a favorite way to save memories?