Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Pass It On Down

    This past weekend we went to visit my sister and her family. We had a great visit and we were very fortunate in the fact that we got a giant box of boy clothing for Xavier. It was from my sister's sister in law who had two boys as well as my sister who has two boys of her own. What was neat was as we were going through it my sister would remember her boys wearing something and it got passed to her sister in law's two boys and now it is getting passed on down to Xavier. I have never been one that has hated hand me downs. Even for myself but especially for Xavier since children rarely wear out clothes they out grow them so fast I am happy to have hand me downs for Xavier. He has been lucky to get some hand me downs already and we are fortunate to now have gotten a ton more just in time for winter.
   I took this picture as this was a jacket that we knew for sure has been handed on down the boys. It started with Jimmy, then Sam, Joey, Vinnie and now Xavier. This jacket looks brand new and I am pretty sure it will be saved for our next bundle of joy because we rarely need warm jackets here in North Carolina. I think it is really special for Xavier to be able to share things with his cousins and we are very fortunate that they live near each other and are so close in age.

On a Side Note:
  Just wanted to wish everyone a safe and Happy Halloween and Samhain. I will be posting our festivity fun tomorrow.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Baby Food: Broccoli Puree

  Broccoli is a definite favorite in our house. We eat it many different ways all the time. It is very rare for us to not even have some broccoli in our house. This is a great way to introduce broccoli to your infant. It is an extremely easy puree that you can make with fresh or frozen broccoli. Obviously the fresh has more flavor but frozen is good as well. Also, you will love the "Not Just For Babies" recipe as well. This recipe is courtesy of the book Easy Gourmet Baby Food 150 Recipes for Homemade Goodness By Chef Jordan Wagman and Jill Hillhouse, BPHE, RNCP.

Nutrition Information
"Broccoli always makes the super food list. It is a nondairy source of calcium, an important mineral. During the rapid growth of infancy and toddler hood your child needs calcium in significant amounts. Calcium not only optimizes the growth of their bones and teeth but also provides for healthy muscle contraction, including their heart." - Wagman and Hillhouse

Broccoli Puree
makes about 1 cup

- 4 cups water
- 2 cups broccoli florets

- In a saucepan, bring water to a rolling boil over high heat. Add broccoli. Cover and cook until broccoli is fork tender about 5 minutes. Strain through a colander set over a measuring cup or bowl, reserving the cooking liquid. Transfer broccoli to a blender with 1 cup of reserved liquid or return to saucepan and use an immersion blender. Puree until smooth. Let cool until warm to the touch or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month.

Not Just For Babies
Add 1/3 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese to this puree to transform it into a great sauce to serve over long noodles like spaghetti or linguine. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Lemon

     Yesterday, when we did our early voting we decided to do some shopping for our Halloween costumes and go out to lunch. Since Xavier is now eating more and more solid foods and seems to be loving everything. I always look for things we can let him try. There was not much that we ordered that he can have yet, but I noticed the lemons that we had and realized he can try the lemons. Thinking this would be the best face yet that he has made I had my phone camera ready. (sorry did not bring the good camera). This was his "lemon face". Believe it or not it was not as bad as we thought, he actually had a worse face when trying baby oatmeal for the first time. He hates bland foods and since lemons are anything but bland, he actually liked the lemons. Although when we thought about it we figured he would like lemons as both Nick and I do and I must drink gallons of lemonade while I was pregnant and while I still nurse him. However, I thought that it was still worth posting the "first lemon face". Hope everyone has a great weekend we are headed out for some Spookatcular fun!

Thursday, October 25, 2012



    Today we decided to go early vote for the presidential election. I highly recommend early voting if you are able to in your state. There are no lines and there are  many locations and hours to choose from.  Believe it or not this is Xavier's second election, but first presidential election. I like taking him with me. It is important to try to take your kids with you when you vote to let them see what part each of us play in our country and how important it is to vote and let your voice be heard. It is much easier to vote with children if you go to the early voting. I was especially glad I had him in the wrap as while I was voting he wriggled his arm free and tried to vote for himself on the screen. I guess he thought it was a giant "nook" like the one I let him play with at home. So if you bring your infant voting with you, watch flying hands they may vote for someone you did not intend to.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Lounge Day

  So today has been very uneventful and that is a great thing when you have a baby. However, perhaps not so good when you have a blog to write. I decided to make it a lounge day and Xavier and I are just chilling at the house, playing with blocks and relaxing. I did manage to get some great pictures of him playing on my laptop yesterday and lounging with his Muppet, Fozzie Bear today. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Fizzle

     When we started Xavier on foods as well as breast milk they had mentioned to us that now is a good time to start trying a sippy cup as well. I broke out the sippy cup and filled it with water at first and would try it with his food. The novelty of food was so new to Xavier I took a small hiatus from the sippy cup. I lately had been trying to reintroduce the sippy cup to Xavier. However, he does not understand it. He does not seem to like water in it and when I tried breast milk he still was not crazy about it. The best I ever got from the sippy cup was that he would open his mouth let me pour the water into his mouth and then he would spit it out. Sort of like a mouth wash. Rather then let him use the sippy cup to cleanse his palette. I decided to take a break from the sippy cup again.
   Xavier loves trying food and has had no problems eating anything so we have gotten more brave in letting him try different foods and textures. The other day Nick was drinking a seltzer water. We love seltzer water in our house it is just as good as water yet it is carbonated. It is not to be confused with club soda which has the added salt in it. Seltzer has no additives and is only carbonated water. (If you get bored of drinking plain water you may want to try seltzer). He decided to give Xavier a taste. Xavier made the funniest face tasting the bubbles and he opened his mouth for more. We decided to put some in a cup for Xavier to try and he took to it immediately. That is not to say a lot did not end up on his shirt, but it is only water. However, he understood the cup much better then the sippy cup. I realized that he watches Nick and I drink out of glasses or cups all the time, but yet never sees anyone use a sippy cup. I don't know how to teach him to use a sippy cup when we do not use one. So he did understand the idea behind the cup and of course he was going to do whatever it  takes to try this fizzling wet stuff that he loved so much. Needless to say it was quite a sight but I am glad we tried it because now we know he can practice with a cup and try many different drinks, ones that fizzle or not.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Baby Food: Quinoa and Bananas

    Quinoa is my new favorite food. It is so very good for you and your baby. It is very versatile and so yummy. It is protein packed and found in your grain section. Quinoa is also gluten free, has the highest iron content of any grain and is a complete protein. It is great for adults too and is easy to cook and incorporate into your meals. Our family now loves Quinoa even Xavier you should try it! I am including two recipes in this post the recipe for Basic Quinoa which is plain so you can make it for yourself or your baby and add whatever you would like also, the Quinoa and Bananas which makes a great puree for your baby. These recipes and nutritional information are courtesy of the book Easy Gourmet Baby Food 150 Recipes for Homemade Goodness By Chef Jordan Wagman & Jill Hillhouse, BPHE, RNCP.

Notes About Recipes:
- Depending upon where your baby is in terms of eating solid foods, quinoa can be pureed or left whole and added to another puree to provide a nutritional boost and textural contrast.
- When choosing bananas for cooking use the most ripe. Regular yellow long bananas, dwarf, finger or red bananas all work well for baby food purees. Avoid using plantains for baby food recipes.

Nutrition Tips:
- "Quinoa is an ancient grain and is gluten-free, has one of the highest iron contents of any grain and is a complete protein. That means it contains all eight essential amino acids, which are the building blocks of everything in your baby's body. We call them essential because they must be obtained from the diet. Most complete proteins are found in animal products, making quinoa a particularly valuable protein source for vegetarians".  - Wagman and Hillhouse
- "Bananas have a low allergenic potential and quinoa is gluten-free. Consequently, this is a relatively safe recipe to try if you think your baby might have an allergic reaction, based on allergies you or your partner may have". - Wagman and Hillhouse

Basic Quinoa Recipe
- makes about 1 1/4 cups

- 1/2 cup quinoa
- 1 cup of water

- Warm a saucepan over medium heat. Add quinoa and toast, stirring constantly, until golden and fragrant, about 4 minutes.

Add water and bring to a boil. Cover reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes.

Set aside to steep until quinoa is soft and water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Let cool to room temperature before serving to baby or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Not Just For Babies:
- Chill the quinoa after cooking and use it to make a cold salad with the addition of some chopped red or green onion, celery, carrots and vinaigrette. Or serve it warm with olive oil, fresh garlic and Parmesan cheese. 

Quinoa and Banana Puree Recipe
- makes about 1 1/4 cups

- 1 banana peeled and sliced (as ripe as possible)
- 1 cup of water
- 1/2 cup of cooked quinoa (see above recipe)

- In a saucepan, combine bananas, water and quinoa. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer until bananas are soft, about 5 minutes.

Transfer to a blender or use and immersion blender in the saucepan. Puree until smooth. Let cool until warm to the touch. Serve immediately or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Not Just For Babies:
- Turn this into a salsa by adding 1 tbsp each unsweetened coconut milk and diced tropical fruit. Serve with fish, such as grilled red snapper.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Infant Trick or Treating

    When we realized that we would have a seven month old for Halloween this year we started deciding what to do. Do you take him trick or treating? Does he really need a costume? Many thoughts and ideas were running through our heads. We ultimately made a few decisions on what we wanted to do for Halloween. It is one of our favorite holidays and since we are pagan it is the biggest pagan holiday of the year so needless to say we have a lot of plans for Halloween. I'm sure you want to know what they are...well, you will have to wait. All of our Halloween fun will be up on my blog but after wards. If you have not decided what to do with your infant I thought this post may shed some light and give you some ideas. So I took some polls on baby/parent websites, Halloween forums and of course from my family and friends. I got a lot of fun responses so here are somethings I wanted you to know.

Taking Your Infant Trick or Treating
  The overall best way to take your infant trick or treating is to go with another kid, that way people don't feel like they are just giving candy to the adults. A bigger candy bonus goes in if your kid and baby have coordinating costumes. The majority of parents do take just their infant trick or treating. This is not to say that people giving candy really appreciate it. Many said they were not thrilled by the idea of giving candy to an infant. One lady even said
  " if the kid can't knock on the door, say trick or treat, or eat the candy I don't like to give them any".
However, majority of parents still do trick or treat with their infant. There are some ways to do it though. I had one person actually say
   "I give candy to anyone with a costume. I have given it to a dog with a bucket who was dressed up before".
So if you insist on wanting to trick or treat with your infant and you cannot coax another child to go with you make sure you dress up as well. A bonus goes if you have a family matching/coordinating costumes.

  Please do not let this disappoint you in your Halloween plans just remember to always be courteous when you are trick or treating. One of the best facts while doing all this researching and polling that no matter what you show up as (if anything) people still give you candy (they just may gripe about you later).  Remember that Halloween is basically celebrating the new year of the nature cycle and by receiving candy from people you are getting well wishes in the coming year. That will help you have some joy and fun on your Halloween. Hope you all have fun and safe Halloween!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Baby Food: Roasted Carrot Puree

 This is a great way to feed carrots to your baby by offering a different type of flavor. It is really easy and tastes great.  This recipe is courtesy of the book  Easy Gourmet Baby Food 150 Recipes for Homemade Goodness By Chef Jordan Wagman & Jill Hillhouse, BPHE, RNCP.

Nutrition Tip:
" The eyes have it. Carrots are the richest vegetable source of beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in the liver. Your baby's developing vision relies on adequate amounts of this vitamin. The body preferentially uses vitamin A in specific areas of the eye giving your baby the ability to see well in the dark ( night vision )." - Wagman and Hillhouse

Roasted Carrot Puree

- 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped peeled carrots
- 1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup of cold water

- Toss the chopped carrots in the extra virgin olive oil and roast in a preheated oven 300 degrees until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Puree until smooth in a food processor or blender. Add water as needed for desired consistency of puree for your baby. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month.

Not Just For Babies:
- You can eat these carrots after roasting before pureeing or
"For the greatest ginger soup ever double the quantity and add 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk and 2 tbsp fresh ginger root while blending." - Wagman and Hillhouse

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Baby Food: Barley Cereal

 Here is another great and easy baby food recipe. This recipe is courtesy of the book, Easy Gourmet Baby Food 150 Recipes for Homemade Goodness By Chef Jordan Wagman & Jill Hillhouse, BPHE, RNCP. This has been one of Xavier's favorite cereal recipes and it is great to mix with different fruits.

To Make Barley Flour

In a saucepan over low heat, toast barley until aromatic, 3 to 5 minutes, stirring often to prevent burning. Remove from heat and set aside until completely cool. Transfer to a blender/coffee grinder, in batches if necessary, and pulse until desired texture is achieved, about 4 minutes. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Nutrition Tip About Barley

" There are three different ways of buying barley: hulled barley, pot barley and pearled barley. Pearled barley is the most refined because it has had most of the outer bran and germ layer removed. On the scale, hulled barley has only had the tough outer hull polished off and so it retains virtually all of its fiber and polynutrients. Pot barley is somewhere in the middle. Flour made from hulled barley can be used in this recipe but be sure to double the cooking time to about 40 minutes, because this version has been tested using pearled barley. "
- Wagman and Hillhouse

Barley Cereal

 - 3 Cups Water
- 3/4 cups Barley Flour

- In a saucepan, bring water to a boil over medium-low heat. Whisk flour into water and continue to cook, whisking often, until mixture is thick and flour is fully cooked, from 20 to 40 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool until warm to the touch. Serve immediately or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Xavier Goes To The Fall Festival

     Fall is Nick and my favorite time of year.  We have been so excited to be able to share all our favorite things with Xavier in the hopes that he will love them as well. I have been marking our calendar with tons of fun fall things to share together. This past weekend we decided to go to the Poplar Grove Plantation Fall Festival. Nick and I had never gone before but we have heard good things and it sounded like a lot of fun. I was excited to break out the big stroller ( I use a small umbrella stroller just for walks around our neighborhood, but the big,  nice stroller we take places with us ). I knew Xavier would not be able to do the haunted things and bounce houses however they did have a petting zoo and hayride that we thought he would like.
     Xavier likes to pet his cats and dog that we have so I thought the petting zoo would  be great for him. Unfortunately, the goats only came near you if you had food, but he liked looking at them and he got to pet a little pony that he smiled and laughed at. Plus it was fun to point out all the different animals to him, better then just looking at pictures in books.

   After walking around for a while and taking in the sights we took Xavier on his first hayride. I  was very disappointed to find out that there is no actual hay on this "hayride" really should call it a wagon ride instead. However, it was a nice wagon ride and it was worth it when the wagon started moving and Xavier let out a squeal of excitement and he ended up laughing and clapping the entire way. Everyone on the wagon was watching this baby who clearly was enjoying the ride more then anyone else!
   They had lots of pumpkin patches throughout the festival so Nick and I took advantage of all the photo opportunities to get Xavier next to fall decor!
   This was a great fall festival and we really enjoyed ourselves and I know Xavier loved every second of it. We are definitely going to be repeating this festival every year.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Pumpkin Spice Bread

     This is one of my new favorite fall recipes. I like that it gives you two loaves, one for you and one to share. It tastes a lot like a zucchini bread and it is very good for you. Enjoy your pumpkin cravings with this yummy Pumpkin Spice Bread!

Pumpkin Spice Bread
makes two loaves

- 2 cups of canned pumpkin
- 3 cups of sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 4 eggs
- 3 1/3 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tsps. baking soda
- 2 tsps. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
- 3/4 tsp.  ground cloves

- Heat oven to 350 degrees. In large mixing bowl, combine pumpkin, sugar, water, vegetable oil and eggs. Beat until well mixed.

 Measure the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, baking powder,  nutmeg and cloves into a separate bowl and stir until combined.

 Slowly add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture, beating until smooth. Grease two 9 x 5 inch loaf pans and dust with flour.

Evenly divide the batter between the two pans.

 Bake 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for 10-15 minutes, then remove from pans by inverting onto a rack and tapping the bottoms. Slice and serve plain, buttered or with cream cheese. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Sausage Potato Dinner

    This is a great,  easy dinner to do when you do not have a lot of time to fix something. Really takes about 20 minutes tops and most of it you can just leave it on the stove. A great meal if you have kids.

Notes About Recipe:
- You can use any type of sausage, italian, mild, hot or sweet whatever kind you like

Sausage Potato Dinner

-1 lb. sausage cut into 1" pieces
- 1 medium onion sliced
- 2 bell peppers sliced
- 4 potatoes sliced 1/4" thick
- 1 cup of water
- salt and pepper to taste

In a large pan brown sausage and drain.

 Add other ingredients and cover. Cook over medium heat for approximately 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

What Goes In Must Come Out

WARNING! This is a gross post do not read if you cannot handle it. :)

  I'm sure that most of you have been reading that we just recently started feeding Xavier solids. So far he has not had much but Millet, Rice, Oat, and Barley cereal and bananas. I am very happy in the fact that for the most part he does eat all the food that we give him. The only issue I have noticed so far is that he likes a variety. If I serve him the same thing too many days in a row he does not like to eat it anymore so I have been trying to switch it up and still introduce him to new things.
  If you ever wonder just how much your kid eats, take a look at what comes out. I don't know why I was so surprised at this fact. They have been preparing you as parents all along. One of the first things they teach you when you come home from the hospital is to make sure you count wet and dirty diapers to make sure they are eating enough. However, I will admit with the exception of blowouts, I have been spoiled. My perfectly, exclusively breastfed baby did not produce much poop. For the most part he pooped every other day, it was a liquid and mustard color and believe it or not it barely even had an odor to it. Well, NO MORE! Gone are those days. Any doubt I may have had that Xavier was not eating correctly is now gone with the last two diapers from yesterday and today. Xavier loves oatmeal. Today I even added some bananas to his oatmeal. However, after breakfast and some Sesame Street he takes a morning nap for about an hour. Yesterday and today when I went in after his nap to get him; I would open the door and there is this aroma. "Oh No!".  What I have seen and smelled in those diapers I cannot believe could possibly come from the little guy who's bottom I have cleaned for six months. There is so very much, so very smelly, so very dark and so very chunky. Thank god for the diaper genie, wipes and hand sanitizer! All I can say is "That's a healthy boy!" As he smiles up at me and laughs.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Reaction

 Believe it or not I have been debating about telling this story. I did not want to frighten any new moms. However, as time has gone by I have realized it is a good lesson for new moms to hear to not get so worried, plus it is funny now that I can look back on it.
   It started the first day we gave Xavier solids. ( See post, Bon Appetite Xavier ). We picked a Saturday morning and unlike most kids Xavier actually ate a lot of the millet cereal that I had made for him that morning. Nick had to work that day and left Xavier and I alone. His car needed a new battery at the time and he did not have time to fix it so I said, no worries just take mine we are not going anywhere tonight anyway. 
   At around 5pm, after a fun day of Xavier and I playing together I decided I would give him some more millet cereal, as they recommended trying to feed him twice a day. So I fed him and after the mess decided I better bathe him as well. We had just opened a new bottle of Disney baby lotion. I decided that since I would give him a bath I would try the Disney baby bath stuff as well. I have discovered that sometimes mixing different bath and lotion products leaves Xavier smelling like a crazy floral bouquet and I thought I would try to make him smell the same with bath and lotion. So he has a nice calming bath and I whisk him out and I am putting lotion on him when suddenly he is all red and blotchy with what looks like a rash! This is at about 7pm. I assume it is from the millet cereal. We were told when we started feeding him to look out for rashes in case he is allergic to anything.
   I did the mom panic thing. I called the doctor and tried not to freak out. I panicked not having my car the one Saturday night and realizing there is not a neighbor home. The only thing keeping me sane was the fact that Xavier didn't seem to notice he had a rash. He seemed completely not bothered and in fact in a good mood.  Finally when I talked to the doctor he did not seem to think it was the millet cereal as it is very mild and rare for a baby to be allergic to millet cereal and suggested allergies or something. However, he assured me whatever the reaction it should not get any worse so I did not have to worry about anything. So I put Xavier to bed, still not sure what on earth was wrong with him, but still assuming it was the millet cereal.
   When Nick finally came home later and I told him about the crazy night I had he could not figure it out either. Until I mentioned I gave him a bath with the new soap. The "bell" went off. Nick has allergies to soaps. I already knew that, we have to use Tide detergent because of it, and I also remembered I was allergic to certain soaps as a baby. Needless to say we kept feeding Xavier the millet cereal and no longer gave him a bath with the Disney soap and no more allergic reactions.
   It is crazy that a simple baby soap would irritate Xavier's skin but I should have thought of that over the millet cereal as soap allergies run in our family but food allergies do not. I think it is a good lesson though to really look at the whole picture when something happens to your baby to make sure you do not just think it is one thing. I do believe if I had not been ready for a food allergy I would have thought of the soap right away. Well, lesson learned,  no more Disney soap for us!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Dutch Apple Cake

    This is one of my favorite recipes especially for fall when you have lots of apples that you picked straight from the orchard. This is a little more work then my usual recipes but I can assure you it is worth it in taste. Your family will really enjoy this great Dutch Apple Cake. This recipe has been in my family for a while, it belonged to my grandmother.

Notes About The Recipe:
- You can use any type of apples but prefer tart baking apples such as cortland, empire, granny smith or macintosh.
- You do need a flour sifter for this recipe
- This is similar to a coffee cake which is why you put sugar, butter and cinnamon on the top. You can make it slightly different and mix it all together without the special topping and it will have all over flavor instead of a sweet topping.

Dutch Apple Cake

- 4 cups of flour
- 1 tsp. of salt
- 6 tsps. baking powder
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1/2 cup of melted shortening
- 2 eggs (beaten)
- 2 cups of milk
- 6 large tart cooking apples
- 2 tsps. cinnamon
- 2 Tbsps. butter

- Sift flour, then add salt, baking powder and half of the sugar, resift entire mixture.

 In separate bowl beat melted shortening, eggs and milk.

Add wet ingredients to dry and stir quickly until flour mixture is dampened and mostly smooth.

 Spread mixture into a greased 9 x 11" pan.

Slice apples evenly and arrange in rows, pressing sharp edges lightly into dough. Sprinkle top with remaining sugar and cinnamon and dot with butter.

Bake at 425 degrees for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with warm butter.


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