Mom of the Year goes to…

In the past 2 weeks I have done 2 things that should probably earn me the Mom of the year award….if the MOY award is in any kind like the Darwin award. Winner —> right here.

And of course the first happened to be in front of a random person I don’t know (and probably will never see again)…but that almost makes it worse in my mind.  Standing in the checkout line a Kohls with my mom and J last week, and J just loves to chew on Grammas necklaces – which happened to be pink beads this particular day.  Then I see one bead bounce across the floor in front of me…hmm where’d that come from, Oh, Gramma’s necklace is now in 2 pieces….shit.  As I reach into my 10 month old’s mouth and retrieve not 1, not 2, but 4 more pink beads and a 1″ piece of silver chain…in front of this random person, who I’m sure went home and told all her friends about this “dumb mom who almost killed her kid in the store today by letting him choke on pink beads”.  Go me. Ugh.

Then today, as we had just cleaned the entire house top to bottom and lit some candles to clear out the “dirty” smell that it seemed to have pre-cleaning, I pulled yet another awesome MOY move.  Searching through the house to find whatever scented candles I had leftover, I found an oil burner – you know, the ones that you put scented oil in the top part and a tea-light candle underneath.  Never had any issues with this particular one in the past… Then we all headed out on a nice long walk in the spring weather.  45 min later we returned home to find an oil burner on fire. Yup, the entire thing was almost engulfed in flame…so I casually walk up and try to blow it out…and the flame doubled….then the hubby tried, and it grew again…and then trippled when we sprayed it with water…finally baking soda did the trick, but not before a huge burn mark on our mantle and a smell that totally voided the nice clean smell of our newly clean house. Yup, if we had come home a few minutes later or it the burner had been 6 inches to the right we would have come home to our entire family room on fire. Scary. Shit.

Sure got my heart pumping though.  Between that scare and our 45 minute walk, I’d say my cardio workout for the weekend was filled.

Any other Mom Of the Year candidates out there??

Baby Food made easy

When J was 4 1/2 months we started him on solid foods.  I think I was supposed to wait till 5 months, but my Baby Bullet had been burning a whole in my cabinet for months already and I couldn’t wait to try it out.  I started pretty basic – carrots, sweet potato, peas, pears.  We tried peaches but they weren’t a favorite, and banana’s seemed to make him constipated.

I don’t really remember why I wanted to make my own baby food as opposed to store-bought.  I had no problems with feeding him store-bought food, and we are not a family that focuses on purely organic or natural foods.  Honestly I think it had more to do with saving money than specifically wanting him to only have pure foods.  Besides, the store-bought baby foods seem to be much more “pure” than I once thought they were, most of them seem to be just veggie/fruit and water plus some citric acid.  

I did the math and it was going to cost $0.50 to $1.00 for each package of store-bought food per meal.  You figure 3-5 meals a day depending on the kiddo and how much you are still breastfeeding/formula plus an increase in intake as they get older….that’s $1.50 to $5.00 PER DAY…up to $150.00 per MONTH…which is way more than that per YEAR.  Whoa…kind of made me queasy to think of how much money to feed one little mouth.  BUT then I did the math for making all (or 90%) of my own baby food.  HUGE huge huge difference.

I discovered that shopping the sales was also a big help, Costco had some fruits/veggies for cheaper too (For example – Costco has a large bag of 10+/- pears for $4.99.  Kings and Safeway charge $.79 each on sale.  You do have to cook them all at once though otherwise it’s hard to get through them before they go bad.) and Sprouts became my new weekly shopping stop for baby food supplies – they have the BEST prices on produce at all times (seriously, no joke.).  

On average I would spend about $5.00-$7.00 for 7 to 10 days of baby food – that’s 3-4 meals a day.

Here’s an example of what I would get:

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1 bundle of Kale – steamed
1 butternut squash – roasted
1 sweet potato – boiled and chopped
3 pears – boiled and chopped
Some leftover peas
Blueberries
1 lb carrots – boiled and chopped
Oatmeal baby cereal

Total cost = $10.00 including the cereal

Plus these supplies – 

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I used my Baby bullet a lot in the beginning, but once the batches started to get larger, my blender worked just as well.

Also, the bullet cups are a good size, but they tend to crack when you have to warm them up straight from frozen.  I find that the small Ziploc containers work best  and they are a great size for cheap – I think you get 8 of them for around $2.00

This is what we ended up with:

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That’s 40 servings – pretty friggen awesome for $10.00 right!?

Plus J ate better than we did every day…although it does make it easier to eat better yourself when you have to have all those fresh veggies and fruits in your house on a regular basis!

We did experiment with mixing all different veggies and fruits to make some quite exotic looking creations – kale, blueberry, oatmeal sounded great and tasted fine, but looked like brown sludge…In the end we stuck with just one type of food per serving.  J didn’t seem to mind the mixtures, but it does take more time to do and there’s something to be said about the texture and consistency of what you end up with…

Even though now J is eating most of what we eat now days, I still have 1-2 meals a day for him as straight blended fruit or veggie.

 Also, I’m not downplaying the convenience of store-bought and pre-packaged baby foods in any way.  The simplicity of them makes life way easier at times.  I have a good stock of the food pouches (Happy Family, Mom to Mom, etc.) in my cabinet at all times for when I’m not otherwise prepared, or when we are out of the house.  They are a lifesaver.

Happy baby-fooding 🙂

Mommy’s Craft Day

After 10 months I’m just getting to the point where I feel like I have the energy to do something outside of being just Mama 24/7.  About once a month another Mama friend and I get together for a mama and baby day, and K suggested incorporating our Pinterest crafts into our monthly playdates, and I loved the idea.  Two birds – One stone type of thing, which is right up my alley (multi-tasker right here). We get to both have a play date for the kiddo’s as well as spend some time with another Mama and do an adult activity.

So since it was her idea, she got to pick the craft – last month was Menu Boards, which happened to be a craft that both of us had pinned – perfect!

Here’s what I ended up with – not too bad for an hours work.  Thankfully J actually took a 1+ hour nap that day…miracle!
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K and I shared our favorite recipes and we ended up with 30+ recipes each to start out our boards with.

I’ve really been trying the last few months to both shop smart when I go to the grocery store – bring a list and shop the sales – and to plan our meals at least a week in advance (which also helps with the list part).  This menu board was a perfect addition to my shop-savvy plan.  So far, it’s been working out great.  Granted we don’t follow it to a “t”, but it lets me know what food I have in the fridge and what our meal options are for the nights that we are cooking in.  Added bonus – it gets us out of our usual same-3-meals-a-week pattern.

There are a TON of other ideas out there for menu boards too so there’s something out there for everyone – even if you aren’t particularly crafty.  Check out Pinterest (duh) for ideas.

Beginnings

I’m the (fairly) new mom of a 10 month old little boy.  I don’t claim to be an expert on anything.  More so, I have big dreams and not enough time in the day.  I am a Pinterest addict (who isn’t?!) and am quite crafty when I have the time.  I like to learn about and try new things that have to do with my family – although I don’t consider myself to be a “fad” follower per say. Product reviews, meals, new mama missteps, crafts & organization ideas, and anecdotes about my own experiences are some of the things you’ll see here.

My goal with this new blog is to share stories and thoughts about things that most other Mama’s may find interesting, new, familiar, relate-able, or just amusing.

As many of my friends are also starting families, I find it comforting to be able to share in my experiences with them and to hear their experiences as well.  There’s something about power in numbers and knowing that not everyone does everything the same that makes getting through the challenges of being a new Mama less.  I hope that it does the same for you as well 🙂

Sleep much?

My little one has never been a great sleeper.  At 10 months old, he’s only slept through the night maybe 3 times, and all 3 times I slept even less being super paranoid that he wasn’t waking up his usual 5 times a night.  Yup, 5 times.  Being that my hubby and I were very new to the newborn sleep pattern thing, we did not start out on the right path.  Our first mistake was right when we brought him home from the hospital.  For some reason I felt like the pack-n-play was too big for him, and his crib was in the other room…so apparently to our new-parent minds we felt that one of us needed to be awake 24 hours a day.  So at night we would take turns sleeping, usually for only 2-3 hours each, then switch back to watching J sleep.  Dumb.  Took us 2 weeks of really bad sleep habits for ourselves to finally go buy one of those little bassinets that you can put in the bed with you.  That was a lifesaver.  Seriously.

At 3 months we transitioned him to his pack-n-play next to the bed.  Which worked OK, and as he was still needing to breastfeed every few hours at night, it was easier than having him in his own room.

Then at 6 months we finally put him in his own bed.  But at that point his sleeping pattern was pre-set to waking up every few hours and Mom being right there to feed him.  Yes, I fell into the “answer them whenever they cry, for whatever reason they cry” pattern.  Frankly I don’t think I would be OK with doing it any other way.  Before I was a parent, setting a baby down to cry it out wasn’t a big deal for me…then J came along.  I couldn’t do it.  If he cried, I needed to be there to make it better.  Judge all you want, but that’s what works for me.

At 8 months, J was still waking 4-5 times a night.  I didn’t have to nurse him every time to get him back to sleep, but more often than not I did just to get him back to sleep quickly rather than have the Hubby do it and be awake twice as long.  Finally a friend of mine with a newborn looked at me and said “you can’t keep going like this, you’ve got to figure something out, this isn’t healthy.”  Of course I knew that, deep down, but it’s hard to admit when your a parent and you don’t know where to look next.  I looked into some of the main-stream sleep advice (Baby-Wise & etc.) and although some of them seemed to have some good ideas, I still wasn’t willing to use the CIO (cry it out) method…at least not to the extreme that they suggest.

That night I totally broke down and after not getting J to sleep after 45 min of trying, including nursing him, I finally had to just let him cry.  15 minutes later he was sound asleep.  Amazing.  Although not entirely convincing as the next night we still had to rock him to sleep after 20 minutes of crying.  But ever since then he’s only been waking up 2 times a night.  I’m not sure if it was just total coincidence, or if that one night of CIO was the reason for the change, but either way things have been better since then.

Although J still wakes 2 times a night on average, I can handle that.  And honestly I don’t mind the middle of the night feedings.  Someday I’ll miss the snuggle time, and besides, this is what works best for him right now.  It did take a friend to look me in the eye and tell me that it was OK to try new things without thinking that I’m failing…sometimes we all need a little reminder from someone in the same shoes.

There are plenty of people, parents, experts out there who would tell me what I “should” do to improve J’s sleep patterns.  Who cares?  I will continue to do what works best for my kiddo, whether it follows what the books says or not.

On his 3rd nap today – victory 🙂