Thursday, August 23, 2012

Baby Food 101

I've had several people ask me about my baby food recipes lately, so I thought I'd share.

I have always made Quinn's food. It would be a lot easier for me to buy something like Plum from the store, but it's a little pricey for our budget and I honestly enjoy putting together fun little concoctions for Baby Q. For the most part, they have all been a success!

I have to give a shout-out to my friend Neil at work. He and his sweet wife gave me their Beaba baby food maker from Williams-Sonoma! For free. For real. They got it as a shower gift and never really used it, so I got really lucky with this because they are pretty expensive. They even gave me their awesome silicone freezer trays which are normally $20 a pop! Anyway...this thing is amazing and I will happily give WS a testimonial any day. Hint, hint.

Here are some recipes you can try. Keep in mind that I introduced all of these foods to Q individually first. I don't have exact measurements of all this stuff. I tend to cook like my Margaret by just throwing stuff in.

Staples: I tend to use apple, spinach and cinnamon as a staple. I can throw those in with anything and it either tastes good or is hidden so she has no idea she's getting greens. :)

Peas, Carrots and Apple
-You can probably put more veggies and not so much apple. It doesn't take a lot to sweeten it up so they like it. Later, Q was fine w/ just peas and carrots because they were sweet enough on their own. Cut up the carrot and apple (take off the peel) and steam them together. I use frozen peas which I heat in the microwave. Throw those in and puree with apple and carrot in all the juices they were steamed in. You probably won't need all the liquid, so pour some of it out and add later if needed.

Pumpkin, Banana and Oatmeal
-I'm not fancy enough to make real pumpkin might be. I just used canned pumpkin. Use a spoonful of pumpkin, half a banana (smashed) and baby oatmeal mixed with some breast milk or formula.

Apple (or Pear), Spinach and Cinnamon
-Quinn's favorite is homemade apple sauce. Just steam and puree the apples (w/out the peel) and throw in a dash of cinnamon. Again, you probably won't need all the liquid from steaming so pour some out before pureeing.

Sweet Potato and Squash (Green or Yellow)
-Cut them up and steam them together. You can leave the peel on the squash but obviously not the potato. Pour out some of the liquid and puree. You might need a little more liquid to get the potato the right consistency, and I added cinnamon to this too.

Broccoli or Green Beans and Apple
-I used fresh broccoli and green beans at first, but then switched to frozen. Just microwave them and throw them in w/ the steamed apple (same as above) and puree.

Plum, Spinach and Quinoa
-Steam the spinach and plum together (you can leave peel on the plum). Pour out some of the liquid and mix in quinoa that you've cooked separately on the stove. Side note: it helps to put a few drops of olive oil in the water when making quinoa to make it not so sticky.

Squash and Quinoa with Cumin
-Steam squash (leave peel on), mix in quinoa you've made on the stove and sprinkle a little cumin. Puree. It took Q a while to get used to this, but she loves the flavor now. Cumin is a good way to introduce new flavors.

Greek Yogurt with Vanilla and Cinnamon
-Don't waste too much money on that baby yogurt! Buy the big things of plain greek yogurt and just put single servings in baby bowls. Put a drop or two of vanilla and some cinnamon and voila! You can also add fruit to this for a yummy mash-up.

Ground Turkey, Garlic, Onion and Bell Pepper with Lentils and Barley
-Saute the onion, garlic and pepper in some olive oil. Add the turkey and brown it. Cook the lentils and barley separately on the stove. Add the turkey mix to lentils/barley and puree with some water. Sounds odd, but Q loves the taste of grown-up food! :)

Finger Foods:

Oatmeal and Spinach Pancakes
-Use oatmeal pancake mix in a box. Puree raw spinach (no need to steam) with some water and pour in the pancake mix before you make them. Break up the pancakes into little bites and let baby feed him/herself.

Baby Pizza
-Get some whole wheat sandwich thins like these. Use half of it to make a little pizza! Spread a little tomato pizza sauce, sprinkle some Italian cheese and cut up veggies on top (like bell pepper and zucchini) and put it in the toaster oven. Voila!

I might have burned the crust a little...had to cut it off. :)

-Quinn will eat any kind of beans (I just use canned beans...sometimes low sodium): black, kidney (cut in half), pinto, chickpeas, edemame (I use frozen ones and microwave them), cannellini, etc.

BBQ Chicken
-Just grill up some chicken w/ a little BBQ sauce and tear into little bites. I guess Q's a true Texan...we will have to introduce her to Mexican food soon!

-Easy peezy! Just make some whole grain pasta (Q likes rotini, penne and macaroni). Add a little olive oil and stir so they aren't too dry and sticky. You can add parmesan or even some tomato sauce but be prepared for a major mess!

I hope this has helped some of you get out of a baby/toddler food rut! If you have a great recipe, please share in the comments!

Friday, August 17, 2012

A New Title - Rearranged

If you regularly read my blog you'll probably notice I made a change. It used to be called "Not-So-Deep-Thoughts." I gave it that name  back in 2008 when I started it. I guess at that time, I didn't really have much to say that was super was mostly my thoughts, an open journal for our trips and other fun stuff and really (as the title suggested) not a lot of deep thought.

Now that I have Quinn things have changed. I want my blog to be a place where I can document her life and our life together as a family. Later in life, if she has a brother or sister, they will be added in too. Now I actually do have a few thoughts. They definitely aren't all deep, but when your life changes so drastically with the introduction of a child, you tend to have a few pearls of wisdom every now and then.

Behind the Title
I love the band, The Wailin' Jennys. This Canadian group is made up of three amazingly talented women whose voices blend together so beautifully. Their harmonies will give you chills, and for a music/vocal nerd like myself, I love singing and harmonizing along when I'm in the car.

Their songs tend to have a spiritual undertone and I love that too.

The song Swing Low, Sail High is one of my favorites and it has the line: "My days were rearranged to say I love you." Every time I heard that I thought...that's me. When Quinn was born, my days were literally rearranged to say I love you, not only to Quinn but to Jeremy and our family as a whole. My life will forever be rearranged, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Milestone...9 Months!

Precious Little Q,

I always thought of nine months as a huge milestone for some reason and here we are! You amaze me every day with how quickly you learn and the joy you bring. Here are some fun things about you this month:

Weight: 19 lb. 12 oz. (65%)
Height: 29.5 inches (95%)
Tall, skinny girl!

Poor had to get shots.

 Our tradition is to take your photo on the longhorn rocker at the doctor's office...look how much you've grown!

Food and Drink
You are eating so well (when you aren't sick). I rarely feed you with a spoon any more because you are so good w/ your dexterity and those sweet little pincher fingers. At daycare, we have started giving you cold breastmilk in a sippy cup to get you used to drinking cold milk. You love it and seem to do just fine. (You still take three warm bottles a day and I nurse you in the mornings.) Here are a few things you love to eat:

-Mama's oatmeal and spinach pancakes (just oatmeal pancake mix with pureed spinach)
-Whole wheat bagels or tortillas
-Chicken and beef fajita meat
-Any kind of beans (kidney, black, chickpeas, edamame)
-Quinoa, plum, spinach mix (you love open your mouth really wide for this meal)
-Little chunks of ground turkey
-Any fruit

You also figured out how to drink out of a straw. It was the most amazing thing! I held it up to your mouth and you just sort of chewed on it. Then I took a drink to show you how and you did it too! It's so fun to see you learn so quickly!

 Enjoying your oatmeal/spinach pancakes.

Wiggle Worm
You have gotten SO wiggly on the changing table that it's like wrestling an alligator to change your diaper or get you dressed. Daddy finally gave up the other day and just got down on the floor. You are just so very busy and you don't have time to be up on a changing table. You have a whole world to explore!

 Daddy gave up and got you dressed on the floor one day.

 Rocking Chair Discovery
You recently discovered your rocking chair. It was Mama's when she was a little girl and Nannie Mae painted your name on it and now it's yours! I thought it was so cool that you knew exactly what to do when I sat you down in the immediately started to rock! It wasn't necessarily a gentle rock...more spastic. But hey, you knew what to do and you have your own special way of doing it! You also figured out how to push your rocker around on the carpet and you even have your own way of getting out. Pawpaw and I were in tears laughing at you getting out of your rocker because you have no just face plant and then crawl away to get on with your playing. I feel like a horrible mother, but that's how you like to do it. I am in the process of teaching you a more graceful way, but right now, it's pretty funny!

 Dancing to Music
I think you must have learned this at daycare from your crazy, energetic Cuban teacher, but you have started doing a little bouncy dance any time your toys play music. So precious!

Running from Daddy
One of your new favorite games is to get away from Daddy when he's saying "I'm gonna get you!" You are so cute especially when I am holding you and you bury your head in my shoulder and latch on like I'm going to save you. You also crawl and laugh when Daddy is chasing you on the floor. Your laugh is the best sound in the world!

Interesting Faces
You still look pretty much exactly like Daddy. Maybe one day you will get some of Mama's features, but for now, you are Daddy's little mini-me. You also give some pretty interesting looks like Daddy. Some of them honestly say "go to h-e-double hockey sticks" but some of them are just stoic like you are concentrating very hard. One face/gesture you are doing lately is just hilarious. It's not like Mama or Daddy, but it makes us laugh. Sometimes when you get excited you hold your arms up, point your fingers and open your mouth in an "o" while you kick your legs and sort of tremble. Yeah...weird. But, it always makes us laugh!


Obsession with Books
Let's hope this continues into your adult years like Mama and Daddy. You are obsessed with books. You would rather play with a book of any size more than any toy in the world. You can be freaking out throwing a fit and I can give you a book and it provides at least 20 minutes of entertainment. This came in handy when we drove from Denver to Winter Park and per usual, you hated being in the car seat. Thank the Lord for that Elmo book from the dollar bins at Target.

Just brushing up on your farm animal knowledge.

"Hmm...what should I read next?"

Drama Queen
You can imitate us pretty well now, so you favorite thing to do is a fake laugh or cough. Oh we have a drama queen on our hands?

Baby Proofing
Well, the time has come. I did a little baby proofing a while back by covering the outlets and installing baby gates at the top and bottom of our stairs, but it's time for the cabinets. You found them and you love opening and closing them and pulling everything out that you can find. You get mad when something gets stuck so you just close the cabinet. I'll probably have to create your own cabinet w/ some Tupperware or something that you can pull out and spread all over the kitchen. The funny thing is that you will probably want to get in every cabinet but yours. Silly, smart little girl!

"Ooohh what's in there?"

You are wearing a lot of 9-12 month clothes and we switched you to size four diapers. You hadn't completely outgrown the size three, but we knew it was coming soon, so we moved up. You wear size one shoes, but we are probably about to move to size two. You still look cute in everything you wear and I continue to put headbands on you when we go in public. Daddy even learned and put a headband on when I met you two downtown for lunch last Saturday after I got my hair done! I recently bought a REALLY cute headband from one of our friends who just started Gingerpop Boutique! She is your friend, Harper's, mom and she makes really cute stuff!

Your Gingerpop headband is so cute!

Napping (or the lack of)
Oh dear. I don't even want to talk about it! You, little missy, are having a hard time napping. Some of that has been ear infections (more about that later), but a lot of it is just your headstrong personality. You don't want to miss a thing. I get excited if you take two 40 min. naps at school. That's a good day. But, lately you have been taking one 20 min. nap and that's it. Oh. My. Goodness. When I pick you up from school you are just playing and having a grand old time, but then you fall asleep on the way home, wake up at home and you are overtired and grumpy in the evenings. I hope and pray that when you start moving around more that you will nap better. But, you could just be a non-napper. Watch out preschool teachers...I have a feeling this little girl will be the one who doesn't stay on her mat during nap time.

You got another tooth! Holy cow! You officially have eight teeth now so you have a cute little toothy grin. You also chew very well with those little chompers and you have a tendency to bite Mama and Daddy's shoulders.

 You can see your teeth pretty well in this photo.

Rough Week(s)
Well, we had a couple of rough weeks. Daddy went to a conference in San Antonio and left Mama all by herself to take care of Baby Quinn. I love spending time with you, but it made me realize I am VERY lucky to have your Daddy to help me. What made it a little harder was that you had a double ear infection. Poor baby! I couldn't tell what was wrong with you because you are teething so much and I thought that's what it was. You had a very low-grade fever but you never pulled at your ears. Honestly, when I took you to the doctor, I thought you had hand/foot/mouth. But, lo and behold, it was your ears. We got some antibiotics and ear drops and you seemed to feel better....BUT...About a week later the fussiness and sleeplessness was back. That's when you really started not napping and I knew something wasn't right. Luckily your 9 month appointment was last week and you still had the double ear infection. The doctor said sometimes they just don't go away the first time. I really hope it goes away this time!! It's odd...usually breastfed babies don't get ear infections much, but I think yours was a cold turned ear infection.

I don't want to end on a negative note, so here are a few more photos just because you are so dang cute! :)

You love baths and getting out to dry off. (Pay no attention to the collection of shampoo and whatnot in your bathroom that doubles as a guest bathroom.)

 Playing with Declan.

 Little sassy face, visiting Mama at work.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A Fun Idea...Success!

I forgot to mention this in my Colorado blog post, but I came across the greatest idea EVER and actually tried it on our trip.

One of the perks of working in marketing and social media is all the perusing of the web that I get/have to do. One of my main projects at work is our annual Mompreneur Makeover contest. As a part of that, I get to research tons of mommy bloggers and, let's be honest, I sort of love this part of my job. :) I've found so many fun blogs to regularly follow and reading through them each day is one of my favorite things! Plus, I am so inspired by all those moms who run a business and have time to love on their families. I have a hard time working a 40-hour week and being a mom!

Anyway, I found this AMAZING idea from the Land of Nod blog (not necessarily a mommy blog, but still great stuff). I didn't really like the look of the printable, so I made my own.

I decided that chocolate in the middle of the hot Texas summer was probably not a great idea, so I just included Jolly Ranchers and Werther's. Quite a few people around us in the plane had kids/babies as well, but I tried to hand them out to the poor souls who got stuck in the kid section. One guy just laughed and said "I have twins so I totally understand!"

I love this idea and I will continue to use it when we travel until Q is past the crazy baby/toddler stage. I wish I could take credit for this creativity, but I am thankful for all those creative mamas out there leading the way for me!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

A Mountain Adventure

Jeremy surprised me with a trip to Colorado for my 30th b-day! He knows me so well...Colorado in the summer is one of my favorite things in the world. I worked at the Aspen Music Festival and School for two summers during grad school and had the most amazing experiences. There's nothing better than the cool mountain air and the smell of pine. I'm also convinced that the sky is a brighter blue at that altitude with the clean air.

Anyway, we headed to Winter Park, CO with my Mom, Dennis, Emily, Justin and Abby. We stayed at the most GORGEOUS mansion of a house that is owned by Emily's roommate's gracious family. We honestly didn't do much of anything...that's why I loved it so much! The back patio overlooked hole #9 on a golf course so we spent many mornings just bundled up drinking coffee and watching people play (or attempt to play...not gonna lie, we laughed quite a few times).

Jeremy and Justin played golf one day, the girls did a little shopping, J and I went for a seven mile hike one day and other than that we relaxed. Four days just wasn't enough. I had SO MUCH FUN spending that much time with Quinn and it made going back to work so hard. Her little personality is starting to shine through and I wish I didn't have to miss a moment! She is soaking up everything around her and she's so teachable right now. I love that baby girl!

Here are some pics from the trip (sorry for the picturepalooza, but let's be honest, you know you love photos more than my ramblings!) I can't wait to head back to the mountains!

Huge shout-out to Chewbeads for the airport and in flight entertainment. They are a Volusion customer and they sent me a free necklace! Moms, check them out!!


Yay, we hadn't see Uncle J and Aunt Abby since April!

Heavenly back porch.

 Q loves her Aunties!

Q is so amused by running water. 

Q's new friend, Mr. Moose, that Nannie Mae thought she needed.

Jeremy got this great shot of Justin teeing off...if you look closely you can see the ball.

Two of the rooms had a cute day Q can sleep there.

Someone's clock was thrown off, so we were up very early.

 Probably my favorite pic from the trip!

Nannie Mae was in heaven rocking Q in the porch swing.

 My Olympic balance beam routine...what this photo fails to show is the round-off, back handspring I did. HA! In my dreams.

We saw a moose! It was so close...I was a little freaked out!

The moose Abby and Justin took a photo of when they drove through Rocky Mtn. Natl. Park.

 You can't really tell, but this is a stuffed bear...Sic 'Em!

We successfully put together a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle!

I blew bubbles on the plane and it provided about 20 minutes of entertainment.