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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Penny's 2nd Birthday Princess Tea Party

I know it has been a loooooooooooooong time since I posted but I had to share some pictures from Penny's 2nd birthday party. She's SUPER into Disney Princesses right now, plus we are going to Disney World this December, so a Princess Tea Party seemed appropriate.

I promised myself that we would make this party super simple and low cost since we are between houses, are saving money, and were having my in-laws host. Of course "keeping it simple" isn't actually in my vocabulary though so I went a little crazy as per usual ;-)

Penny loved the princesses and balloons, but got super shy when all of her guests arrived. She spent the majority of the party hiding behind the shed, insisting that mommy or daddy hold her, or covering her eyes with her hands. We didn't sing happy birthday or blow out candles because we knew she would not deal well with the attention, and gifts were opened facing mommy on her lap so that she couldn't see everyone watching her. It still was a great party though and we loved getting to see all of our family and friends celebrate this amazing two year old!

 Please excuse all of the hoses, grills, and other misc in the background.



The banner was handmade by my awesome sister. A similar one can be found here.


 Food we kept pretty simple as it was 10am on a Saturday.

The cupcakes were made by my mother-in-law and decorated by yours truly. We got a cream cheese frosting and separated them out into 6 bowls to dye the frosting with food coloring to match each respective princess's dress. We decorated the top to look like a skirt, printed off the top half of Aurora, Cinderella, Snow White, Ariel, Rapunzel, and Belle, tapped them onto a lollipop stick, and stuck them in. Easy enough and super cute!


We also popped some popcorn, got some pink melting chips, and drizzled it over the top. Added some sprinkles for more color and voila!


Every good tea party needs some finger sandwiches. We went with PB&J, egg salad, and ham and cheese for a nice variety.


For beverages we went with "Rapunzel's Magic Golden Flower Juice" (orange juice), "Snow White's Posion-Free Apple Juice", and then of course a tea party needs tea, so we had classic iced tea compliments of Cinderella.



We also dipped some strawberry wafer cookies in almond bark and sprinkled with gold sprinkles for the centerpieces. Unfortunately we didn't get a good picture of those but they were simple, adorable, and delicious!


And now for some general party pics. Notice how enthused Penny seems about all the attention ;-) Love this girl, though! She's too dang sweet for her own good!










Friday, July 18, 2014

11 Months!!! One Month to One Year!

This kid is getting more personality then ever! She's become such a little chatterbox, especially over the past couple of weeks. She has added a couple of new words to her repertoire (dada, nenen=Megan, does=toes, etc), can show you where her toes are and tell you what a chicken says, and can entertain herself and make herself laugh like crazy. Her favorite show is Clifford, but to Mommy's delight she will also watch snippets of Sesame Street and Little Mermaid.

This month she took her first two trips to the zoo, once with Mommy, Daddy, Grandma and Grandpa Legg, and Uncle Tom to the Minnesota Zoo, and once with Grandma Williams, Great-Grandma, and Auntie Megan and Gillie to the Como Zoo. She LOVED seeing the animals. Her favorites included the bears, the giraffes, the penguins, and the birds at the bird show.


Weight: 20.6 lbs 
Height: Unknown
Head Circumference: Unknown

Biggest Accomplishment This Month: Her first couple of steps! She's getting brave, which is the thing that was holding her back before, and will now take 3 or 4 steps at a time to get from one thing to another. She started doing this with Jon and I getting her to walk with us holding her wrists so that we could let go to let her take the last few steps alone. One day a few weeks ago, Jon and I were home for lunch and I bent down a few feet away from where she was standing holding on to the coffee table and she turned around and took a couple of steps toward me before collapsing into my arms full of smiles. I'm so happy I got to see her first independent steps! Ever since she's had a lot more confidence and is getting steadier every day!

Biggest Struggle This Month: We went and stayed at a hotel in the cities with Jon's family for a few nights over the 4th of July weekend and Penny's nap and night time schedule got a little screwy. When we got back home, her awesome night time routine kind of went to crap and she relapsed into hour long screaming sessions before finally getting to sleep. Luckily this only lasted about a week and she's now back to normal and is back to putting herself down with no tears shed. 

Mommy's Favorite Moment: The other night the three of us were driving home from running errands. Penny was in the back of the van (oh yeah, P.S. we bought a van this month and are retiring my green Saturn...Jon is thrilled!) and she sneezed and I said, "Bless you". The rest of the drive home you could hear her from her car seat going "Ah-dooo!" and I'd tell her "bless you" and then...."Ah-dooo!" over and over again. It was so adorable and Jon and I were cracking up!

Mommy's Least Favorite Moment: When I leave the house and Penny starts crying. 90% of the time she's fine, but about 10% of the time she will cry and throw a mini tantrum when I try and hand her off to Daddy, Grandma, etc. if she knows I'm about to leave. It's heartbreaking!

Daddy's Favorite Moment: Playing in forts with Penny. This kid LOVES forts of all shapes and sizes. It's gotten to the point where you can literally just throw a blanket over her head and she's in heaven. 


Daddy's Least Favorite Moment: Penny was taking a bath and was walking around the edge of the tub and slipped and went under water. We both froze and couldn't even process what was happening for a second as you could see her face looking up at us from under the water. A second passed before we both snapped into reality and jumped for her and pulled her up. She was a little stunned but was totally fine and never even cried, but it was still really scary. Parents of the year!

Eleventh Month Developmental Milestones According to What to Expect in the First Year (highlighted in green Penny has accomplished, highlighted in red she hasn't yet):

"By eleven months, your baby...should be able to:
*get into a sitting position from stomach
*pick up tiny object with any part of thumb and finger
*understand "no" (but not always obey it) - for the most part she's actually very good with the word no. Besides the rare tantrum, she will almost always stop whatever she is doing when we say no and will then move onto something else.

...will probably be able to:
*play patty-cake (clap hands) or wave bye-bye
*walk holding on to furniture (cruise)
*point to something to get needs met

...may possibly be able to:
*stand alone momentarily
*pick up a tiny object neatly with tips of thumb and forefinger (keep all dangerous objects out of baby's reach) 
*say "dada" or "mama" discriminately - she finally learned "dada" and uses it constantly and Daddy could not be more thrilled!
*say one word other than "mama" or "dada"

...may even be able to:
*indicate wants in ways other than crying
*play ball (roll ball back to you)
*drink from a cup independently
*stand alone well
*use immature jargoning (gibberish that sounds as if baby is talking in a made-up foreign language)
*say three or more words other than "mama" or "dada" - she knows toes, Megan, Bella, bear, and is learning a couple more
*respond to a one-step command without gestures ("Give that to me" without hand out)
*walk well

Thursday, June 26, 2014

10 Months

Only two more months until my little baby girl is a one year old! Wah! It has really hit me this month how she's not really a baby anymore...she's like a TODDLER! I can't even deal with it. But at the same time it is so fun!

On her 10 month birthday she started swimming lessons and Jon and I got our first taste of what our future will be like. We run home after work, change Penny into her swimming suit and a cover-up, run out the door wiping the remnants of dinner off of her face, and speed over to the high school to make it to lessons on time. By the time we're done, have gotten her out of the pool, rinsed and dried off, changed back into her clothes, and driven home, it's almost her bedtime so we play for a few minutes and then start up her bedtime routine. This meas Jon and I are throwing dishes and laundry in as we're standing in the kitchen hovering over our dinner plates at 8pm. Penny is loving swimming and I love taking her and it experiencing it with her, but I'm so not ready for this type of extra-curricular schedule and will not be overly sad when the next two weeks are over.



Weight: 20.4 lbs according to our home scale
Height: Unknown
Head Circumference: Unknown

Biggest Accomplishment This Month: She's getting so close to walking! She loves walking with her walker and when I hold her hands when she's walking she's barely even using them for support anymore. I'm convinced that once she realizes she can stand without holding things it will be a mere couple of days before she's walking because she has the strength and the balance, just not the confidence yet.




Biggest Struggle This Month: She's growing and learning so fast and is becoming so much more aware of what she's able to do by herself, but she's also becoming a lot more frustrated with things she can't do. She used to be pretty patient and chill when she couldn't figure out how to do something and would just take her time and keep trying, but now it will sometimes set her off if it takes more than a few seconds to master a new skill.

Mommy's Favorite Moment: Our mommy/daughter date at the park. Enough said. I absolutely love that the weather is warm enough to get her outside more often!



Mommy's Least Favorite Moment: Mine is a collection of moments. Penny has decided this month that she can be picky about foods and will throw her green beans, broccoli, and anything else she's not feeling at the moment onto the floor. I loved being able to brag about how my kid eats anything and I'm not a big fan of this new stage!

Daddy's Favorite Moment: Similar to Mommy's, Daddy's favorite moment was the first day we took her to the park. She LOVED the swing, playing in the rocks, and riding the bouncing...duck?


Daddy's Least Favorite Moment: Also similar to Mommy's, Daddy's least favorite moment was one lunchtime when she was eating green beans. She normally loves green beans, but apparently this particular day she decided she didn't. Or maybe it was the texture since we had given her French cut green beans so they stuck to her mouth a little more. Anyways, she began taking handfuls and throwing them on the floor. We both instantaneously shouted, "No!" and Penny's lips slowly formed a pout and she began making the most pathetic fake crying noise in the history of time. Mommy thought it was hilarious, but the combo of Penny becoming a picky eater and learning how to throw tantrums was Daddy's least favorite moment.

Ten Month Developmental Milestones According to What to Expect in the First Year (highlighted in green Penny has accomplished, highlighted in red she hasn't yet):

"By ten months, your baby...should be able to:
*stand holding on to someone or something
*pull up to standing position from sitting
*object if you try to take a toy away
*say "mama" or "dada" indiscriminately
*play peekaboo
*exchange back-and-forth gestures with you

...will probably be able to:
*get into a sitting position from stomach
*play patty-cake (clap hands) or wave bye-bye
*pick up tiny object with any part of thumb and finger
*walk holding on to furniture (cruise)
*understand "no" (but not always obey it)

...may possibly be able to:
*stand alone momentarily
*say "dada" or "mama" discriminately
*point to something to get needs met

...may even be able to:
*indicate wants in ways other than crying - her big thing this month is that she's learned when she's hungry and either wants food or milk, she'll make a clicking noise with her tongue that kind of sounds like someone chewing. If she's hungry or sees food or her bottle and wants it she will make this noise consistently every time and it's pretty funny. She'll also get really excited and look around for food if you make the noise to her.
*play ball (roll ball back to you) - I don't know if she's done this at all this month but I know she did it last month so I'll leave it as a yes
*drink from a cup independently
*pick up a tiny object neatly with tips of thumb and forefinger (keep all dangerous objects out of baby's reach) - peas, cereal, you name it and she can probably pick it up with her pincher grasp
*stand alone well - just like last month, she's able to do this well but she doesn't know it. She's only willing to stand on her own when she lets go of her "support' without thinking about it. She's still convinced she can only stand up if she has something to hang onto.
*use immature jargoning (gibberish that sounds as if baby is talking in a made-up foreign language) - she has definitely moved from babbling to this. I could listen to her "talk" all day. So adorable!
*say one word other than "mama" or "dada" - she's been saying "la la" in reference to Bella for longer than she's been saying "mama" but this has recently started turning "la la" into "ba ba" for Bella
*respond to a one-step command with gestures ("Give that to me" with hand out) - she's actually learned in the past couple of days how to do this even without the gesture. If you ask "Can I have it?" she will usually hand it to you without you even putting your hand out.
*walk well

Monday, May 26, 2014

9 Months (and 10 days...)

Ok for reals, I know I ask this every month but where does the time go?! This baby BIG girl has 7 teeth, is scooting around furniture like a boss, knows a couple of words, and is full of sass personality. She LOVES music and will bounce around like she was born to dance.



Preview of some of Penny's 9 month pictures courtesy of Jolene K Photography

Weight: 18 lbs 11 oz, 61st percentile
Height: 27.5 in, 46th percentile
Head Circumference: 18.25 in, 97th percentile

Biggest Accomplishment This Month: The last couple of days this month she finally started napping IN HER CRIB! Hallelujah! We still haven't officially packed the swing away (usually her nap spot of choice after someone's arms) but any day now I'll get up the courage.

Biggest Struggle This Month: Keeping her in one spot! She's a mover and a shaker now and does not like to hold still! The biggest struggle with this is that she often can't decide what it is she wants...she wants to be held, but she wants to be exploring. Plus she gets herself into all kinds of mischief!



Mommy's Favorite Moment: She started saying "mama" pretty regularly this month! Sure, it only lasted a few weeks before she got bored with it and seemed to *forget*, but for awhile whenever she would see me she'd start babbling "mama, mama, mama, mama" with a big goofy grin on her face. Melts my heart!

Mommy's Least Favorite Moment: A nasty cold and a double ear infection WHILE cutting her four top teeth and while mommy was also sick. Enough said? She also slipped the other day while trying to pull herself up the other day and bonked her face on the hardwood floor. She's normally pretty chill when it comes to injuries and doesn't react too much (mostly because we don't react too much) but this time she cried pretty hard and when I picked her up her nose started bleeding and I almost started crying with her. 1st big illness and 1st *real* owie this month might possibly have been rougher on me then they were on her!

Daddy's Favorite Moment: Penny has learned to talk with her mouth full of food. She's always done the humming while she eats, but now if she's feeling particularly goofy she will wait for you to give her a spoonful of something and will then start blabbering non-stop. Hilarious! Well, for now....

Daddy's Least Favorite Moment: We went to Fuji steakhouse, one of those hibachi style restaurants, for mommy and Auntie Gillie's birthday the other night. Penny LOVED it and the cook was playing to her the entire time as she ignored her food (which she never does for any reason) and just stared at him. At one point in his "show" however he puts oil all over the grill and then lights it on fire so the whole thing goes up in flames. He's just far enough back that the flames don't get anywhere near you, but the sudden light/noise/heat scarred Penny out of her skin as she scream-cried and practically threw herself out of her highchair to try and get to mommy. Neither of us have ever seen her get really scared by anything (noises and what not don't normally bother her) but the poor thing freaked! Luckily daddy is a quick thinker and grabbed a noodle from her plate and stuck it in her mouth and she was instantly better and started watching the "show" again with no problems.

Nine Month Developmental Milestones According to What to Expect in the First Year (highlighted in green Penny has accomplished, highlighted in red she hasn't yet):

"By nine months, your baby...should be able to:
*work to get a toy that's out of reach
*look for a dropped object

...will probably be able to:
*pull up to standing position from sitting
*creep or crawl 
*get into a sitting position from stomach
*object if you try to take a toy away
*stand holding on to someone or something
*pick up tiny object with any part of thumb and finger - no more issues with this, she's a pro!
*say "mama" or "dada" indiscriminately
*play peekaboo - she loves putting the curtains over her face and then peeking out at you! She thinks she's pretty clever!

...may possibly be able to:
*play patty-cake (clap hands) or wave bye-bye - she even knows when to clap her hands during "When You're Happy and You Know It" and can wave bye-bye after only hearing the word
*walk holding on to furniture (cruise)
*understand "no" (but not always obey it)

...may even be able to:
*play ball (roll ball back to you)
*drink from a cup independently
*pick up a tiny object neatly with tips of thumb and forefinger (keep all dangerous objects out of baby's reach) - peas, cereal, you name it and she can probably pick it up with her pincher grasp
*stand alone momentarily - she does this very rarely (I think she still thinks she needs to be holding on to something for support even though she really doesn't) but she has been doing this since a couple days after her 8 month birthday
*stand alone well
*say "dada" or "mama" discriminately
*say one word other than "mama" or "dada" - she's been saying "la la" in reference to Bella for longer then she's been saying "mama" but this has recently started turning into "ba ba"
*respond to a one-step command with gestures ("Give that to me" with hand out) - she's very good at sharing when you ask "Can I have it?" but she always wants it back right away :-)

Monday, April 21, 2014

Starting Solid Foods - A Beginner's Guide to Making Your Own Baby Food


I knew before Penny was even born that I wanted to make my own baby food. Not only is it better for baby since you know exactly what is going into your baby's tummy (fresh, organic fruits and veggies vs. preservatives and added flavorings), but you can also determine the specific make-up of the food (higher in veggies so baby gets used to the flavor vs. masking the taste with sweet fruits) and save a ton of money (one estimate I saw listed around $500 a year). If you're even slightly considering attempting homemade baby food, I HIGHLY recommend it. It is so easy and quick...I spend maybe an hour every couple of weeks whipping stuff up and our freezer is always fully stocked.

However, once I was getting to the point where I was ready to start making and prepping, I couldn't find a ton of guidance on what baby could eat and when. I've compiled some of the stuff that I've found (with sources included) to hopefully help any mommies wanting to make their own baby food but aren't sure where to start. I'm certainly no expert, but the following is what we found works for us.

Step #1: Do Your Research

The biggest thing that I did to help me get started was I spent several hours on Google. I set up a bookmark folder on my browser and a Pinterest board for Baby Food and I went to town. Although the American Pediatric Association recommends holding off on all solid foods until 6 months, our doctor requested that we start a couple weeks before that so that we could have a feel for how Penny was tolerating solid foods by her 6 month appointment. He also was pretty insistent, however, that we start with rice cereal which we knew we didn't want to do (here and here are great articles on why). So the first thing I searched for was some guidance on what foods to start with for a five month old if I was going to skip out on the traditional rice cereal. I came across this awesome chart from Wholesomebabyfood.momtastic.com that lists what foods are appropriate by age:


Once I determined the foods I could introduce, I started Googling how to prepare it.

Step #2: Gather Your Supplies

There are five basic things that I found super helpful when making our own baby food. Not all of these are 100% necessary, but these are the items we like to use.

1) Food
Obviously. We try and do organic as much as possible, but when this isn't cost effective or isn't readily available in our local grocery store, we make sure to scrub all foods down as much as possible before we peel the fruit or veggie so that we can reduce the amount of dirt, pesticides, and other chemicals getting into Penny's food as much as possible.

2) A Good Blender, Baby Bullet, or Food Processor
We actually won a Baby Bullet at a baby expo we went to when I was pregnant with Penny, but since we have such a small amount of kitchen storage space and an already large array of kitchen appliances, we returned it to Target for credit to use on our other gift registry items. Our standard food processor works just fine and is able to handle bigger batches than the Baby Bullet.

3) Something to Freeze and Store Baby Food In
If you have a Baby Bullet I believe that it comes with a few containers for this purpose, otherwise there are some similar containers here. However, I like to make big batches of food at once to save time down the road (most recipes last up to 3 months in a standard freezer) so I needed a way to store large amounts of food and those couple of little jars wouldn't cut it. I also preferred freezing items in 1 oz increments since babies don't eat very much when you first start out (unless you have my daughter who would eat everything in the freezer in one sitting if I let her) and I didn't want anything to go to waste. We went out and purchased four ice cube trays at Target and they have worked perfectly. I recommend going with the hard plastic vs. the rubber trays as the hard plastic trays are a lot easier to pop the frozen food out of. After the food was frozen, we transferred it to a freezer bag that we labeled with the food contents and the date to keep things organized and to free up the ice cube trays for future cooking. If you have any trouble getting the cubes out (which we never did), dipping the trays into warm water should loosen them up.




4) Steamer Basket
This is not a requirement, but we loved having this item as it is the preferred method to cook fruit and vegetables for baby. It is an easy way to soften foods and still retain the most nutrients of any cooking method. We purchased this one on Amazon that works perfectly and folds up small for easy storage.

5) Baby Food Masher
Again, not something you absolutely need, but works great for when baby gets a little older and you want them to experiment with more texture then the finely pureed mush. There are products like this that are specifically designed for this purpose, but we just used our standard potato masher that we had on hand and it worked great.

Step #3: Get Cooking!

Here are some of our favorite recipes we've used, listed in order of when we introduced them. Remember to only introduce one food at a time and then hold off on introducing any new foods for at least three days so that you can monitor any adverse reactions baby may have.

Sweet Potatoes - Introduced at 5-1/2 months
Because sweet potatoes are one of the foods least contaminated with pesticides, we usually don't buy organic with these to save money.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Wash a sweet potato thoroughly (skin on), use a fork to poke with holes, and then wrap in tin foil
Bake for about an hour to two hours depending on size, feeling for when the potato gives easily to pressure
Slice open the sweet potato and scoop out the innards
Either mash or, for a thinner puree for young babies, put in food processor with a couple ounces of formula or breast milk to achieve desired consistency

Avocados - Introduced at 5-1/2 months
Choose avocados that yield slightly to pressure when you push on it. When you cut the avocados open, they should be bright green (not graying), the pit should be easily removed with a knife, and the "meat" should peel away easily from the skin.
There is no need to cook avocados. If you choose a ripe one, they are soft enough on their own without cooking.
Either mash or, for a thinner puree for young babies, put in food processor with a couple ounces of formula or breast milk to achieve desired consistency
Avocados may turn darker after freezing. Ours never did, but if yours do you should not be concerned. As long as you use them within 3 months, they are still safe to eat, don't lose much (if any) nutrients, and still have a similar flavor and consistency if they have turned dark green or brown.

Bananas - Introduced at 5-1/2 months
We always buy organic with bananas. They are only slightly more expensive at our local grocery store, so why not?
Just like avocados, there is no need to cook the bananas.
Either mash or, for a thinner puree for young babies, put in food processor with a couple ounces of formula or breast milk to achieve desired consistency
The bananas likely will turn a light grey or purple when they are pureed and especially after freezing. Like avocados, this is totally natural and doesn't affect the safety or taste as long as they are eaten within 3 months.

Apples - Introduced at 6 months
Because this is one of Penny's favorite foods and mixes well with so many other foods, I usually buy a 3 lb bag and stock up! Gala apples are usually our apple of choice. Apples are usually highly contaminated with pesticides so we try to buy organic when we can, otherwise we make sure to scrub them down well to try and eliminate as much contamination as possible.
Wash, peel, and core apples
Cut into bite-sized chunks
Fill bottom of pot with just enough water to see through steamer basket and then put apples in steamer basket (if you don't have a steamer basket, the apples can either be baked or boiled in just enough water to cover the apples)
Cover pot and steam until tender (about 20 min)
Mash, or puree for younger babies, adding breast milk or formula as necessary to achieve desired consistency (we didn't find it necessary to add any extra liquid)

Carrots - Introduced at 6 months
I recommend using actual carrots (we usually buy organic) vs. baby carrots when making baby food. Baby carrots are often soaked in chlorine to keep them from turning white in the package (info found here) so it's better to select and chop your own.
Wash carrots (scrub if not buying organic) and peel (always peel for younger babies and/or if not purchasing organic)
Slice carrots into bite-sized chunks
Fill bottom of pot with just enough water to see through steamer basket and then put carrots in steamer basket
Cover pot and steam until tender (about 20-30 min)
Puree carrots, adding breast milk or formula as necessary to achieve desired consistency

Sweet Apples & Chicken - Introduced at 6-1/2 months
Recipe adapted from Wholesomebabyfood.momtastic.com
We knew we needed to start introducing proteins to Penny but felt a little weird about just giving her pureed chicken. This recipe was awesome because it used flavors she already loved which helped with the introduction. The chicken does cause the puree to come out a little grainier, so be warned that this recipe should be used only when baby is ready to try a little more texture.
Combine two chicken breast (diced), four or five small gala apples (scrubbed, peeled, and diced), and one large sweet potato (scrubbed, peeled, and diced) in a pot of four cups low-sodium chicken broth
Bring liquid to slow boil and then reduce heat
Simmer until chicken is cooked through and apples and sweet potato are tender (about 20 min)
Remove contents from broth and let cool
Puree or, for older babies, mash or chop

Green Beans - Introduced at 6-1/2 months
We introduced these a little later (closer to 7 months) just because it had a chunkier consistency due to the skins, even when pureed and thinned with breast milk. If you'd like, you can try and run the puree through a strainer to try and remove the hulls, but we just chose to introduce it when Penny seemed like she was ready for a little more texture.
We have trouble finding organic green beans at our local grocery store so we normally just buy a pound of fresh, non-organic green beans and then scrub them.
Wash green beans and snap off ends
Fill bottom of pot with just enough water to see through steamer basket and then put green beans in steamer basket (if you don't have a steamer basket, the green beans can be boiled in no more than an inch of water)
Cover pot and steam until tender (about 20-30 min)
Puree green beans, adding breast milk or formula as necessary to achieve desired consistency

Pears - Introduced at 7 months
We introduced these at 7 months just because they weren't in season earlier, but pears can be introduced pretty early on.
If making for an older baby, you can just wash, peel, and mash when ripe. For a smoother puree, we steamed them.
Wash, peel, and core pears
Cut into bite-sized chunks
Fill bottom of pot with just enough water to see through steamer basket and then put pears in steamer basket
Cover pot and steam until tender (about 20 min)
Mash, or puree for younger babies, adding breast milk or formula as necessary to achieve desired consistency (we didn't find it necessary to add any extra liquid)

Peas and Pears - Introduced at 7 months
Recipe Adapted from Fitnessista.com
If you want a sweeter recipe, up the number of pears. I like to keep the veggie flavor the strongest with just enough fruit to cut the bitterness of the veggie.
A bunch of fresh spinach would be another good addition to this recipe but I would up the number of pears to three or four since the peas alone already overpowered most of the pear flavor.
Wash, peel, and core two pears
Cut into bite-sized chunks
Fill bottom of pot with just enough water to see through steamer basket and then put pears and a bag of frozen peas in steamer basket
Cover pot and steam until tender (about 30 min)
Puree peas and pears, adding breast milk or formula as necessary to achieve desired consistency (we didn't find it necessary to add any extra liquid)

Mangoes - Introduced at 8 months
If introducing earlier than 8 months, you may want to steam slightly to soften the mango. However, we introduced it at 8 months and chose a ripe mango so cooking it was unnecessary.
Wash, peel, and remove seeds from one large mango
Cut into bite-sized chunks
Mash to desired consistency, adding breast milk or formula as necessary to achieve desired consistency (we didn't find it necessary to add any extra liquid)

Mixed Mango Tango - Introduced at 8 months
Recipe Adapted From Wholesomebabyfood.momtastic.com
Wash, peel, and remove seeds from one mango
Cut up one cup of mango into bite-sized chunks
Peel and slice one banana
Wash, peel, and remove pit from two peaches
Cut peaches into bite-sized chunks
Mix together all three fruits and mash to desired consistency
Goes great over cooked oats or with pork or chicken

Broccoli and Apples - Introduced at 8 months
Recipe Adapted from Fitnessista.com
If you want a sweeter recipe, up the number of apples. I like to keep the veggie flavor the strongest with just enough fruit to cut the bitterness of the veggie.
Wash, peel, and core three small apples (we use Gala)
Cut into bite-sized chunks
Wash one bunch of fresh, organic broccoli
Cut up stems and florets into bite-sized chunks
Fill bottom of pot with just enough water to see through steamer basket and then put broccoli and apples into steamer basket (you may want to do this in two batches)
Cover pot and steam until tender (about 25-35 min)
Puree broccoli and apples, adding breast milk or formula as necessary to achieve desired consistency

Cantaloupe and Blueberry Puree - Introduced at 8 months
Recipe Adapted from DesginedtoNourish.com
Cantaloupe is one of the foods least contaminated with pesticides so buying organic isn't necessary. Blueberries, however, are one of the MOST contaminated so buying organic is advisable if available. Blueberries are also not considered to be included in the group of high allergen berries so introducing before 12 months is ok.
Wash one cup of fresh, organic blueberries
Cut up one cup of cantaloupe into bite-sized chunks
Puree cantaloupe and blueberries separately
Serve purees swirled together
Freeze either separately or swirled

Zucchini - Introduced at 8 months
If introducing earlier, you may want to to puree the steamed zucchini along with formula or breast milk to achieve a smoother consistency. We chose to first serve it as a finger food, however.
Wash zucchini and cut into small, bite-sized chunks small enough for baby to eat
Fill bottom of pot with just enough water to see through steamer basket and then put zucchini pieces into steamer basket
Cover pot and steam until tender (about 20 min)

Blueberry Quinoa - Introduced at 8-1/2 months
Rinse the quinoa by putting it in a strainer and running water over it until there are no more bubbles
Cook quinoa similar to how you would cook rice (we made ours in our rice cooker)
Puree about one cup of quinoa and one cup fresh, organic blueberries, adding formula or breast milk as necessary

Plum Banana Quinoa - Introduced at 8-1/2 months
Plums are one of the least contaminated foods so we usually skip buying organic.
Rinse the quinoa by putting it in a strainer and running water over it until there are no more bubbles
Cook quinoa similar to how you would cook rice (we made ours in our rice cooker)
Wash, peel, and remove pits from two plums
Cut plums into bite-sized pieces
Fill bottom of pot with just enough water to see through steamer basket and then put plum pieces into steamer basket (if you don't have a steamer basket you can also bake by slicing the plum open and putting each half face down in 1 inch of water at 400 degrees until soft)
Cover pot and steam until tender (about 15 min)
Peel and slice one banana
Put steamed plums, banana, and about 1/2 cup of quinoa in food processor and puree, adding formula or breast milk as necessary

Step #4: Make It Your Own!

One of the funnest parts about making your own baby food is that you really can experiment and find out what works for you and your baby. Have fun mixing and matching fruits and veggies to create new flavor combinations for baby! Don't be afraid of using spices to make things a little more interesting. You obviously don't want to add unnecessary salt and sugar to your babies diet, but there is nothing wrong with adding a bit of cinnamon, cumin, paprika, milder chilies, etc. to liven up your meals and expand your baby's palate. If you have been breast feeding baby up until now, chances are he or she's already been exposed to more then you might think. Your baby is starting to develop his or her own preferences so go crazy with trying to open up a new world of flavors!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

8 Months

Happy 8 months to my big girl! Once again, I'm about a week late on this, but look how far she's come in 35 weeks!



We also finally got her 6 months pictures back and here are a couple of my favorites!








Considering she was in a terrible mood for most of these, I'm pretty happy with how they turned out!


Weight: 18.5lbs according to super inaccurate home scale
Height: Unknown
Head Circumference: Unknown

Biggest Accomplishment This Month: Crawling! She finally did it! It's kind of an odd tripod crawl (one leg for moving and one leg for balance) but it gets the job done!



She doesn't like crawling very much, you can tell she'd much rather be walking as she's constantly trying to push up in a downward dog position and walk/crawl with her feet flat on the ground. The day after she turned 8 months she started standing up unsupported for a few seconds at a time, so I think she's well on her way!



Biggest Struggle This Month: She still is not really getting the hang of finger foods. Her pincher grasp isn't the best (she can grab stuff with her finger and thumb, but can't really hold onto it for long) which I think is the main issue, so she gets frustrated really quickly with the small pieces of steamed carrots and apples that we lay out for her. She still tries to scrape it up with her entire fist and then, once she finally gets one, she has a really weird thing with her hands (she HATES people grabbing her hands) and she doesn't seem to like the food sticking to her so she immediately sticks her hand out over the edge of the high chair and shakes it off her hand. She never even tries to bring it to her mouth. Then she screams for you to put a piece in her mouth for her while the dog laps up all the food she's just thrown on the floor. Thursday, however, I tried giving her a saltine cracker just to see how she'd do with it. At first she just opened her mouth and pushed her face forward, trying to get me to feed it to her, but I put it in near her hand so that she could try and grab it, and within seconds she had figured out what to do with it and the entire cracker was gone. Saltines probably don't have a lot of nutritional value so we won't be giving her a ton in the future, but it is comforting to know she's at least able and willing to feed herself. It's just that dang pincher grasp we have to get down! 

Mommy's Favorite Moment: I can't think of a specific favorite moment, but man do the development check offs seem to be happening quicker and quicker these days! She can say the word "Bella" (la-la) and often calls for the dog in the same inflection she hears me do it. She's been doing the sign language sign for "milk" for close to a month now and knows to do it without prompting both when she's hungry and when she seems me putting away milk into the freezer bags. She knows the word "no" and will often stop grabbing for things when she hears mommy or daddy say it, but sometimes she's feisty and will just give you a big grin and then keep right on going. One day she's crawling, the next day she's walking along the perimeter of her crib (holding on to the railing), and the next day she's standing on her own! She's also become quite the little pro with her sipping cup and loves drinking all by herself now that she's got the straw mastered.



As much as I miss cuddling with her all day long when she was just a little baby, this is by far my favorite age so far!

Mommy's Least Favorite Moment: Penny decided it was time for mommy and daddy to upgrade their phones this month. She got a hold of my cheapo, outdated flip phone that I still use and chewed on it for a few minutes until the screen went black. Turns out, she got so much slobber in it that the inside of the phone was full of spit when I pulled the battery out to try and reset it. The phone kept "working" for a couple of days, just with the screen completely out, and then died totally. Now Penny gets to keep that phone for play and is not allowed to touch mommy and daddy's new phones. Lesson learned!

Daddy's Favorite Moment: Coming into her room in the morning to get her out of her crib and finding her trying to pull her ball drop toy out of the toy bin and into her crib through the slats.

Daddy's Least Favorite Moment: This last week or so she's been teething really badly and it's been pretty miserable. If you look closely at her top gums, it looks like all four top front teeth are on the verge of popping through. Poor thing, I'd be crabby too if I had so many teeth trying to push through my gums at once! One night earlier this week, she screamed for close to two hours when we were trying to get her down for bed. Nothing comforted her, not rocking, not singing, not teething rings, not a movie, not teething tablets, not water, not tylenol, nothing. Finally mommy gave in and nursed her until she fell asleep and we were able to get her into the crib, but that was a rough night!


Eight Month Developmental Milestones According to What to Expect in the First Year (highlighted in green Penny has accomplished, highlighted in red she hasn't yet):

"By eight months, your baby...should be able to:
*bear some weight on legs when held upright
*feed self a cracker
*rake with fingers an object and pick it up in fist
*turn in the direction of a voice
*look for a dropped object

...will probably be able to:
*pass a cube or other object from one hand to the other
*stand holding on to someone or something
*object if you try to take a toy away
*work to get a toy that's out of reach
*play peekaboo
*get into a sitting position from stomach

...may possibly be able to:
*creep or crawl 
*pull up to standing position from sitting
*pick up tiny object with any part of thumb and finger - she can pick stuff up with her thumb and finger, but can't hold onto it very long that way
*say "mama" or "dada" indiscriminately

...may even be able to:
*play patty-cake (clap hands) or wave bye-bye
*walk holding on to furniture (cruise)
*stand alone momentarily
*understand "no" (but not always obey it)