Baby Food!

I’m kind of getting a little obsessed with making baby food. It’s just so easy and it makes me feel good because I’m making fresh and nutritious food for my darling and, in most cases, using fruits and veggies that would have otherwise gone to waste (that we received in our produce box.) Here’s Exhibit A: Sweet Potatoes. I’ve now also made Kiwi, Peaches & Bananas.  It truly is simple – doing the kiwi yesterday took under 5 minutes total. That one wasn’t in our produce box, obviously, but they were 3/$1 at Earthfare, so I made 5 little servings out of them… for a dollar! Loves it!

My process: peel & bake hard veggies/fruits (like apples & potatoes… to make them soft enough to be smushed by a fork) or just cut up soft items (like kiwi & bananas – they’re good to go), grind up in my food processor. I added some breastmilk to the sweet potatoes to make the consistency a little more baby-food-ish, but haven’t added any to the others I’ve made. Then you freeze them overnight in ice cube trays and pop them out into Ziploc bags in one ounce servings.

We’ll be starting solids with rice cereal at 6 months, probably a week or two after the official 6 month date since we’ll be traveling on 7/16. We’re looking forward to it, and I think Margo is excited too. She’s totally watching us eat and fascinated.  I’m trying to enjoy our last month of simplicity… things will be messier and a little more complicated when we intro solids, but it’ll be fun too!

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The “Rotation”

Cooking has become understandably more difficult since Margo has come onto the scene. However, eating healthier food at home has also become more important, so I’ve been working on finding easily prepared meals. We have a few favorites, but we also are being challenged to try new veggies since we get a CSA (community supported agriculture) produce box weekly. It’s pretty fun, Scott brings home a box full of in-season and locally grown items and we have to find a way to use them or freeze them (or make baby food out of them!) We’re stepping well out of our comfort zone, but also eating a lot more veggies than we otherwise would be. This week’s main challenge: Eggplant. Here‘s what I made, and it was delicious!! I’d never actually (knowingly) eaten eggplant until this weekend… it was pretty good & we’ll make it again!

This is our current “rotation” of good recipes:

Life-Changing Chicken – or bbq skewer chicken, if you want a more descriptive title. I like this one because 1. it’s DELICIOUS and 2. I can make it the night before lessening the work right before dinner. That’s a big challenge, since Margo hits the sack at 7 and Scott often gets home at 5:45 or so.

Yummy Salad – This is more of a strong side dish, but it’s fabulous for summer and I’ve been making it often.

Dry Rubbed Pork Chops – This one makes me feel all “cheffy” since I kind of don’t have a recipe & just wing it. I used this video as a basic how-to. I also throw a splash of apple juice in the baking dish while I let them marinate to keep the moisture for when they cook. Another dish I can make ahead… loves it! They’re yummy on the grill or in the oven!

Grilled Potatoes – If we’re grilling anyway, these are a great sidekick to our meat dishes.

I’m trying to branch out as much as possible, and use the wonderful produce we have. And whatever we have & don’t want to eat (*cough*SWEET POTATOES*cough*), well, Margo will get that in a month or so 🙂

Ode to the Cloth Diapers

One of our biggest and most misunderstood decisions we’ve made in baby-rearing is the choice to use cloth diapers. We love it, and they’re working out really well so far. They’re pretty user-friendly and should probably have a different name entirely from the cloth diapers of days past that needed pins and rubber pants.

Here are some reasons we love our cloth diapers for Margo’s adorable little bum:

1. Environment. Obviously… and to be perfectly honest, it’s part of our reasoning but not ALL of it. Every time I do laundry though, I think about how those 20-some diapers are getting used again, not being tossed. Which is quite nice and, like the diapers, warm and fuzzy.

2. Cost. This is a much more prominent reason for us. We’re currently using Kissaluvs for the newborn and infancy stage, and our stash is comprised of a few shower gifts, some used, some borrowed and a few we purchased ourselves. Again, I get all warm and fuzzy when I take them out of the dryer and think, I don’t have to run to the store to get more! I am set for 2 more days now, no extra cost! The cost only gets better when you consider we’ll use these for a future child (and if it’s a boy, he can deal with the trauma of a few purple diapers… sorry son), and I can sell them when I’m done.

3. It’s not that inconvenient. Maybe that sounds like a lame reason, but I feel like a big connotation with cloth diapers is that it’s a lot more work and fuss. I was also afraid of this going into it, but signed on regardless. Well, it IS more work than simply tossing a dirty diaper in the trash, but it’s not too much more. It’s a load of laundry more, really. And especially right now when I’m home all day, doing another load isn’t an issue at all.

4. Cute, cute! They’re so much cuter than disposables… she could go pantsless (if it weren’t February…) and be adorable still!

5. Less mess & stankiness. This weekend, we took a forced weekend off of using our cloth diapers because of a persistent diaper rash. (Another fact about cloth: you can’t use a lot of traditional ointments … ie Desitin… bc it stains or otherwise ruins them. And Mommy didn’t plan ahead with a cloth-safe diaper cream so we’re waiting for that, hopefully in today’s mail.) And something kind of unexpected happened… I can’t wait to use cloth again. Until the past few days, I couldn’t imagine how parents could know if their kid had a dirty diaper by smelling their butt through her clothes, because with cloth we honestly can’t smell it. With disposables? Um, yeah. It’s messier and yuckier. And all of the sudden, I understand how people who have only used disposables would say no way to cloth. If you assume cloth gives you the same result… yeah, I wouldn’t be interested in that either. I use a little vinegar in the first rinse and so far, that’s totally kept the stankiness away.

The only real downside I can think of is how big it makes her butt… but our 9 lb bundle of joy is still in newborn clothes even WITH the big booty cloth diapers so it’s not too troubling to us.

So there you have it, Internet. We’re exceedingly happy with this decision. And see, aren’t they pretty?

It’s Fall in our ‘hood

So, the leaves of our “mature landscaping” are coming down in earnest now. We knew it would suck… but it has eclipsed our wildest dreams 🙂

Scott spent all weekend outside doing manly things like raking, picking up pinecones (he counted 511 in our backyard) and blowing leaves with a wussy electric leaf blower (contrasted to the super manly gas-powered kind.) And now, it’s raining… woohoo. That brings down more leaves. Not sure if this pic (out the window of our house) does it justice, but we have like a fortress of leaves along the curb. As does the entire neighborhood. There’s a big leaf-sucker truck that comes twice in the next 2 months to remove them, I’m pretty excited to see that. Maybe I’m a 10-year old boy?

Yup, looks like we’ve done nothing. Awesome.

Also this weekend, Scott put up a clothesline for me! I feel so dorky and domestic getting SO excited about this, but it truly will save us on our power bill and will make our clothes & sheets smell lovely. I even figured out where to find clothespins… (at Target, by the Laundry drying racks & the like.) Bonus – $1.54 for 50! Oh, and since I mentioned it’s raining, and probably will be for most of the week due to Ida, I don’t think I’ll get to test it out for a while.

See it, out there in the corner? It actually gets some sunlight too, so maybe I can bleach out stains. 🙂

I’m Declaring War On STUFF

Junk, Random Crap…whatever. We have too much of it, and I’m declaring war. We had the fun task of trying to remove some of the Random Crap (RC) from downstairs to try to make the terrain a little less treacherous for a 11 month old this weekend, and for the most part we succeeded. I’d blame what was left behind on the cat toys. Anyway… I’m considering the baby’s visit the push we needed to just de-clutterify the place. Here’s how I see it: We’re young. WHY do we have so much RC??? Most of the junk we took upstairs we never even use and wouldn’t miss if we’d just taken it out to the trash rather than upstairs to the guest room.

So, it’s not like we live in a junkyard, I don’t want to paint an unfair picture. I just get fed up with the amount of stuff we have that we don’t need or use on a daily, weekly, monthly, annual…any basis at all, and the amount of time it takes us to save up for/rationalize buying stuff we really do need/want. There’s something wrong there…

This is me declaring war… Scott and I are committing our entire next weekend to going through stuff and trashing the unsaveable, donating the potentially reusable, craigslisting the potentially sellable and shuffling around the underutilized. We’re going to be smart and green in our approach – I don’t want to just throw things away that could be recycled or used by someone else. But I’m tired of having so much more stuff than we need.

Whew, ok, so I said it. Wish me luck. 🙂

This gives me the warm fuzzies…

Saving the Earth is soo Glamourous :)

My sister (in-law, but that sounds so not fun!) Kelly sent me this article from Glamour and I think there are a lot of helpful tips in here for “Going Green” and lessening your impact on the environment.

http://www.glamour.com/lifestyle/articles/2008/03/green_tips

What I love about these tips is that almost all of them also line up with one of my main goals, which is spending less money! 🙂 For instance, not buying bottled water or using less energy in your house BOTH end up costing you less! Now if only they’d make hybrid cars cost less than regular cars and those energy efficient lightbulbs a little more reasonable… for now this is good!!

My newest resolutions are going to be switching to rechargable batteries (after we use up the stockpile we already bought of disposable ones), switching to primarily online banking (bc stamp prices are going up AGAIN!), and keeping appliances and non-essential stuff unplugged when we’re not using them.