How to Make Your Own Baby Food

Posted 11-14-2015 at 04:40 PM by JPMP


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.

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)


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.

Diaper Swapers

Have You Thanked Your Freezer Today?

Posted 10-15-2015 at 01:50 PM by Agla



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.

Halloween Candy Alternatives

Posted 10-10-2015 at 12:33 AM by JPMP



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!

Small toys

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?


Shopping for Car Seats Again

Posted 10-8-2015 at 12:27 PM by Agla

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.


Establishing A Bedtime Routine

Posted 10-5-2015 at 02:34 PM by admin



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!

Easy DIY Ideas To Save Memories and Keepsakes

Posted 09-14-2015 at 06:41 PM by admin



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?


Safety Checklist For Crawlers

Posted 09-13-2015 at 06:41 PM by admin


I remember preparing for my oldest when he started to become mobile. We started baby-proofing as soon as he began rolling over. I was so nervous, so I got an early start. And I am glad I did. It seemed like time flew during those first 9 months of his life.

These are just a few of the safety precautions I took early on.

Plug covers – use outlet covers or safety plugs
Keep electric cords out of reach. Behind furniture or use a safety cover for cords.
Keep hot liquids (like your coffee cup) up high and on a steady table that can’t be knocked over by baby.
Put safety locks on low cabinets.
Use door stops or door holders to protect babies’ little fingers.
Never leave crawling baby unattended.
Put soft covers on tables with sharp corners or edges.
Gate fireplaces and keep fireplace tools out of reach.
Use gates to keep baby away from stairs.
Consider a toilet child proof lock and a refrigerator child proof lock.
Gate any areas that you don’t want baby in.
Keep bathroom doors closed.

I found a FULL childproofing checklist that you can print out HERE. You can also check with your pediatrician for more great safety tips for all of your baby’s stages.

The Diaperswappers Everything Swap: What it is and Why You Should Be Participating

Posted 09-9-2015 at 02:25 PM by Agla



One of the best kept secrets on Diaper Swappers is our regularly running Everything Swap.

– An ESWAP is a great way to move along items that you no longer use while getting some of the things that you actually need for your household.

Here is just a sampling of some of the things that I have received by participating in our ESWAP:

Custom made superhero capes.
Two brand new sun hats.
Mama Jewelry
New Tea Cup with Infuser with loose tea leaves
Custom T-shirts
Star Wars Action Figures
Organic Boys European Sweater

In an eswap you post the items that you have available and then shop from the items offered up for trade from other members.

There is a period of time where you are allowed to make choices and ask questions about the items available. During this time you can also post items that you are currently in search of.

Once the shopping period is over you submit your top three picks to the swap coordinator. It doesn’t mean you will get all of your top picks but the coordinator will try and match as many as people as possible.

To see more detailed guidelines (don’t be daunted the process is much easier than it looks!) please see this post about eswap rules and guidelines.

The DS members that participate in the eswap are a very friendly bunch that are very open to helping new participants.

Apple and Pumpkin Season is Upon Us

Posted 09-8-2015 at 02:08 PM by Agla



If I didn’t know that Fall was upon us by looking out the window or the calendar I would know by the constant advertisements for everything pumpkin and apple flavored advertised in print and media. Instead of fighting the pumpkin and apple trend embrace it!

Here are some fun things you can do, make or taste to make the most of this time of year.

– Bake a pie. It really is much easier than you think and there are videos and recipes easily accessible online. Little hands can mix ingredients and help with the dough. Not sure if you know how to crimp pie dough? Fold over the sides and call it a tartlette instead.

– Add Pumpkin or Apple to Anything. Muffins, pancakes, waffles, soups there are so many recipes that can be enhanced by adding some apple or pumpkin.
– Go to a pumpkin patch or apple orchard. Don’t have one in your area? A corn maze or hay maze will do in a pinch.
– Have an apple tasting. There are many varieties of apples. Buy several and have a tasting. Which do you prefer? What words would they use to describe them?
– Wear some Fall colors. Put away the neon green and bring out the orange!
– With your kids, do some apple or pumpkin themed crafts.
– Check out books about pumpkins and apples for your kids from the library.

I would love to hear what type of activities DS members do during this time of year.

Closet Organization: Fall Season

Posted 09-7-2015 at 02:05 PM by Agla



For some of us this is the time where we have to open our closets and figure out what needs to be put away, given away and put out. This can be a daunting project and there are many ways that this task can be approached. I am going to share some of the ways I have learned to get this task done through the years.

Keep, Store, Give Away
Anyone that has watched a home organization show is familiar with the sorting technique in which you quickly assess your items and sort them into three categories: Keep, Store and Give Away. If you are looking at an item for more than 30 seconds still debating if you can get use out of it then the item should probably be in the Give Away pile. For parents that are thrifty another category for sorting can be made titled “Sell/Trade.”

When the Weather Is Temperamental
Some of us have the joy of living in areas where the weather can change from one second to the next. I’ve learned the hard way that putting all the summer things away as soon as the weather cools can be a mistake. For example, yesterday it was 90 degrees here. Today, one of my kids left the house wearing shorts, a long sleeve T-shirt, and a fleece, because it was much cooler. To keep your organization time and frustration level to a minimum I suggest doing your closet change over in stages.

First, clear out the items that are overtly summer related. Things like your 4th of July T-shirts can be cleared out. Most tank tops can be cleared out with the exception of those that you can layer as the weather cools. Clear out items that are stained or damaged as well.

At this point I would make sure that long pants and sweatshirts are also accessible so that they are available for cooler mornings and evenings.

Keep shorts out as they can still get some wear as the seasons change but gather them in one location so that they can easily be gathered and stored when the weather gets too cool.

Hand Me Downs
Here is where things can get a bit complicated. For some reason kids grow like weeds in the summer. As you go through the closet make sure that the items still fit and assess what is about to be grown out of. If your same gender children are close in age and born in similar seasons then it does make sense to keep clothing to hand down. Just keep in mind that trends do change, the build of children vary and so do their tastes. You usually won’t lose if you hold on to classic pieces. I have one gender neutral nautical themed sweater that has been passed down for fourteen years. I prefer sorting hand me downs by size and season and using storage containers I keep in the basement. I know others that keep separate sections of closets. The storage method will vary based on your space and the amount you need to store.

Is There Too Much?

One of the things that can make a closet change overwhelming is when there are too many items to deal with. Realistically, the clothing needs of a school aged child are not huge. If you are swimming in clothes and are constantly frustrated by your efforts to organize it all then it might mean that it is time to purge and free yourself of items that are creating more work for you.