Archives for the month of: April, 2013

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20130423-231046.jpgHappy 10 Months Baby Girl!!  Oh my goodness, the cute things you do.  I haven’t had a chance to go through all the photos we’ve taken with the camera – but I took these quickly this morning right after you had another “first.”

We were reading books, and I was pointing to different things – nose, bird, tree, etc – and naming them.  In the past week you’ve developed an utter fascination with ceilings, and fans in particular.  You stare in wonder at the ceiling.  So I suddenly said “Where’s the fan?” to see what you’d do.  You immediately threw your head back, looked right up at the fan, and pointed your arm straight as an arrow, with confidence, up at the fan!  I was amazed!  I had no idea you understood not only the word “fan,” but also that I was asking you where it was!

We love you more than ever!

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Has anyone else experienced this?

I began drinking coffee when I moved to Spain for 6 months during college and they had those amazing espressos with cream that I have never tasted here in the U.S., and I’d been drinking coffee ever since (thought I quit a couple times for about a week, only to resume drinking it) until.  Until I gave birth to Catherine.  Yep, I drank coffee in moderation, but daily, throughout pregnancy, and always felt a little guilty but if you felt like you’d been hit by a semi truck but still had to drag your flu-symptomed, barfing body out of bed and go to work every day you might drink it too.

But then.  The second I had her I couldn’t drink it anymore.  And I still can’t.  Just the taste makes me feel a little funny, then my head starts to hurt and the worst part – I get super anxious.  When I go out of town to visit family sometimes I drink it.  At work, on very rare occasion I have a little in the afternoon and I always deeply regret it.  I had an espresso this afternoon.  I think my experience this evening has been enough to cure me for a long, long time.  I felt like I was about to jump out of my skin all afternoon, and still do.  I feel so on edge and panicky, for absolutely no reason.  Yeah, I have lots to do but nothing that warrants this feeling.  I just wonder what it is about me now, after having a baby, that can’t handle coffee.  My entire body is tense.  My head hurts.  I’m not going to drink coffee anymore.  I can’t complain, I always wanted to quit and now I have.

So yeah, has anyone else ever suddenly not been able to drink coffee anymore after having a baby?  Fat chance I know, but surely I can’t be alone.

I know I should focus on the wedding, but I’m actually really excited about Catherine’s 1st birthday too.  I don’t want to go too crazy and obsess over the details the way I have with this wedding.  Instead, I want her first birthday to be a celebration of her amazing first year in this world, as our baby, and Chris’s and my first year as parents.  I want us to spend time with family and friends, do something fun, and eat birthday cake.

That said (and here I go again)…here are some things I’m thinking.

I already have her dress.  It’s a pink party dress I got for $6 on clearance when she was just 3 months old.  When I think of a classic little girl’s birthday dress, this is the dress I think of.

I am going to make her cake.  I’m hoping I can pull off a 3-tiered cake.  It will be a healthy cake.  But also a delicious cake.  I’m thinking about a banana cake with classic white frosting and pink scalloped edges.  It’s only fitting since her favorite food in the entire world is bananas. I think this will be a good opportunity to shock people with how “unhealthy” a healthy cake can taste.

I don’t want to spend too much time indoors on her birthday, and we don’t have a yard.  So I’m thinking this will be the PERFECT day for Catherine’s first visit to the zoo!  She’s already very interested in the world around her, and noticing things off in the distance more than she used to.  She’s become a little bird watcher.  She spots them in trees and in the sky.  Maybe she’ll have excellent vision like her dad.  So I think a big trip to the zoo will be so much fun!

I haven’t booked our honeymoon yet (which isn’t really a honeymoon because C is coming with us), but I think it might make sense to leave the Monday after her birthday party for Costa Rica.  That way we’ll have had plenty of time to focus on the wedding and first birthday party, meanwhile looking forward to our getaway!  I seriously can NOT imagine leaving for our honeymoon the day after our wedding.  I liked the idea of it, but I have been so consumed with the wedding and Catherine, I have had zero time to even think about a honeymoon.  Having the honeymoon almost 2 months after the wedding gives us a little time to actually look forward to it.

That’s all! Just thinking out loud.

IMG_5118I can’t stop staring at this face!  I love the colors, how her blue eyes match the sofa and her yellow dress matches her hair, and her skin is so pure and white. I’m going to follow her around her entire life holding a sunshade over her so she never spoils that beautiful skin.

IMG_5062Okay, so my title sounds kind of gimmicky.  I’m not running ads on my blog nor do I have that many followers, so there’s just no reason to be gimmicky.  BUT – I still think this is the best baby food (which I will continue to make into toddlerhood and beyond as long as she likes it) I have ever made.

I’ve said some conflicting things about making my own baby food.  I believe at some point I said it’s easy and there’s no reason to not do it.  Another time I said it’s a pain in the butt.  Well, it is both, depending on the day.  Some of us like fooling around in the kitchen more than others.  I happen to be one of those people, as well as slightly obsessed with nutrition, so it’s a given I’d make Catherine’s food.  But I’m also busy, and I have a baby who only wanted purees for about two weeks before she decided she would like to feed herself, thank you very much.  If you know babies, you know that a baby trying to feed herself a puree is a big, messy joke.  So I had to get super creative.  I had to figure out what sort of finger foods would be

  1. nutritious
  2. delicious
  3. soft enough for her to eat
  4. bite sized, but still large enough for her to hold
  5. not a choking hazard
  6. packable – as in, she can eat them the next day with her nanny Juliana

I’ve learned a few things the hard way throughout this process, and gotten more skilled at putting together a meal for her, quickly.  I’ve discovered things like rainbow cauliflower.  Buy some purple cauliflower, slice it into small, holdable pieces, roast in the oven until soft. Her highchair tray – sprinkled with a rainbow of purple cauliflower, avocado, halved cherry tomatoes, and cannelloni beans (previously cooked and frozen for when I need them) – would be quite pretty to look at were it not made of grey plastic.  I digress.  She eats about a third of it.  The other two-thirds end up in her lap.  She’s learning.

All that to say:  There is ONE food that she allows me, or anyone, to spoon feed her.  And that is this cereal with fruit, the recipe for which I’m about to share.  It takes a little effort on the weekend, and then you have cereal with fruit for weeks with zero effort.  If I could suggest one recipe to anyone interested in making even some of your baby’s food, it’d be this one.

Multigrain Cereal With Fruit (for weeks and weeks!)

You’ll need…

  • A handful each of several whole grains – your pick. For example, I use farro, oat groats, millet, hulled barley, and brown rice. Quinoa would be another excellent pick.
  • A whole bunch of your fruit of choice. Either a huge bag of apples, or several cartons of strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries.  Depends on if you want apple cereal, pear cereal, or mixed berry cereal.  A warning. If you do mixed berries, you may want to do apples too, separately.  That’s because cooked berries are not naturally sweet, and by adding some homemade applesauce you can sweeten them (without them tasting apple-y).

Now, here’s how you make it…

For the grains.

  1. Grind the grains together in the food processor, as close to a powder as you can get them. It may take 5 minutes or so.  It’s okay if they aren’t all ground, especially as baby gets older.
  2. Add the powder to a pot with water and bring to a simmer, whisking as needed to prevent sticking or clumping.  You will need to continuously add water as the mixture gets too thick, and taste for doneness.  Just keep whisking and checking.  It may take around 20 minutes.  When the grains are all soft you will know that it’s done.
  3. Freeze this porridge mixture in ice-cube trays, then store in a glass-lock container to prevent freezer burn.  These are your cereal cubes. 🙂

For the fruit.

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  1. Let’s assume you went with apples.  Core, slice, peel them, you know the spiel. Put the apples in a crockpot with some cinnamon and a little lemon zest and forget about them. Your house is going to smell amazing.
  2. When they’re soft, take them out and either mash or puree them depending on how small your baby is (if baby likes chunks or not).
  3. Freeze in ice-cube trays, then store in a glass-lock container to prevent freezer burn. These are your fruit cubes.

That’s it!!

Now each morning, grab 2 cereal cubes and 1 fruit cube.  Are you feeling sorry for my baby because she’s eating a frozen meal each morning?  Don’t.  It tastes amazing. Like a fruit cobbler for babies.  You will want to eat it yourself.  But you don’t get to because your baby will eat it all.  And I am pretty sure frozen whole grains and fruit are better for her than the boxed stuff.

The mixed berry version:

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  1. Toss several cartons of various organic (my doctor says its best to buy organic berries because of the pesticides used on non-organic berries) berries into a pot with a little lemon zest, orange zest, and a few cubes of the applesauce.  Cook gently for a few minutes until the berries are soft and begin to fall apart.  This won’t take long.
  2. Puree to desired consistency. Taste for a subtle sweetness.  If the berries are still too tart, add more applesauce cubes.  The sweetness from the applesauce will actually make the berries taste more like berries, believe it or not.
  3. Freeze in ice cube trays, then store in glass-lock containers to prevent freezer burn. These taste good 1 berry cube to 2 cereal cubes.  Mix in a little fresh banana for a banana-berry cereal!

This is also really tasty for grown-ups.

If all that seems like a lot of work, well, it isn’t.  Especially considering this will last forever, and you’ll be feeding your baby a really healthy meal that she loves every morning with absolutely no work, after the initial batch is made.

We’ve also done pears.  Now that summer is here, I’m going to start mixing fresh fruits into the cereal. I’m thinking fresh mangos will be yummy!

*By the way, I also used to mash baked sweet potato or butternut squash into the grain porridge for another yummy, healthy option.

I thought I’d post a video of Catherine with her Easter basket, in addition to this pictures I posted on Sunday. It’s pretty long so don’t feel like you have to watch the whole thing.

I should mention that her Easter dress and Easter basket are very special.  The dress was handmade and a gift from my Aunt Cacky before Catherine was born.  I was so excited that it fit her perfectly for Easter.  The Easter basket was made by Catherine’s grandmother, Margaret.  I saw one online and loved it but it was too expensive.  Well, Margaret sent me a text and said she could make it, and the one she sent me in the mail which made it just in time for Easter (another wonderful surprise – I fully expected we wouldn’t have it in time this year) and I love it more than the one online.  It’s perfect.

The goodies inside?  A kitten named Katrina by Jellycat, Peeled Snacks organic dried fruit (Catherine was totally freaked out by the texture, but they’re yummy and she’ll come around), Lavanila baby sunblock, Where are Baby’s Easter Eggs book, and a card (which sadly said Happy Easter from your grandparents – I hadn’t noticed).

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