3.31.2010

Heck Yes, I Made It!

Jason and I both have a serious DIY addiction. Really, it has become a problem. I guess I have rubbed off on Jason. All I know is we are continually coming up with new (often hair brain) ideas for making things. And, truthfully, the catalyst behind most of these is money. Or, better stated, lack of money. Making things yourself is typically cost effective. Typically. Somethings aren't really gonna save you money, but that doesn't mean they aren't still fun. Between the two of us, we dabble in a bit of everything. We are very much "Jack of all trades, master of none" kind of people. Anyway the point of this is . . . . we have added a new label "Heck Yes I made It." In which we will chronicle our adventures in all things handmade. We will share the good, the bad and the ugly. I know you are all glued to your computers to hear about our experience with homemade laundry soap and furniture building (yes, we have done both). In the mean time, I wanted to ask you if you had seen this little fella:

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Not the kid, I know where Henry is. I mean, I can be scatter brained but I haven't lost me baby (yet). No, I am talking about the cute little monster. See him.

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He was my favorite little Taggie monster. I loved him. My original design. You can't tell from the photo (the only photo I got of the poor thing) but his back matches the cart cover Henry is setting on. The cart cover that I made. While, it doesn't fit the carts at Target (my happy place) it does fit the carts at most every other store. Of all my sewing projects, I am most proud of it. I blended together several different patterns to create it. It is simple and durable. Also, it isn't "babyish." I know Henry is a baby but my goodness why does everything that is affordable for kids have to be covered in tacky appliques and smattered with pastels? At his age, he doesn't care what things look like. I am the one who has to look at it and I am not into all the kiddy looking stuff. Moving on, sorry, rant now over. So, Henry has been on this kick where he likes to toss toys out of the cart and stroller when no one is looking. He wouldn't toss the silly Fisher Price toy. Nooooooo. He likes to throw handmade toys. I have now taken to tethering everything to his stroller with ribbons and clips. Of course this hasn't stopped him from throwing his shoes and socks. Little stinker.

3.29.2010

Baby Food: A Love Story

I would like to start by saying that I like to cook. I do, I really enjoy it. To me making the perfect dinner is like creating a work of art. I love that sense of accomplishment I feel when I combine ingredients to make something unique and wonderful. By my very nature I love to create - whether it is dinner, a toy for Henry, a painting - sometimes I just need to have that sensation of making something with my own hands. Anyway, the purpose of this little rant wasn't to tell you about my creative drive. No, it was to say that, I really enjoying cooking. I love it. And, I realize that this love may drive my desire to make Henry's food. If you hate cooking, you might not like making baby food. This is my disclaimer. Now, let the baby food love fest begin . . . .

When I found out that I was knocked up I decided early on that I wanted to be a certain type of mom. The kind of mom who was a little bit of a hippie. You know natural birth, cloth diapers, homemade baby food and lots of breastfeeding. However, around the 20th hour of natural birth, it occurred to be that perhaps I would need to comprise a little. The first compromise, the sweet relief of my epidural. I won't lie, the moment that magic little tube starting pumping the numbing medicine into my body was probably the most relieved I have been in my life. Thus the comprising began. I decided cloth diapers weren't worth the extra effort. With work and the chaos of life with newborn I would do my part to ensure that I was destroying the earth by using disposable diapers. So, naturally . . .WAIT . . . one thing I didn't comprise that I forgot to mention . . breast feeding. Oh yeah, who is still nursing? Me! Me! Anyway, so naturally when it came time for Henry to start eating food I went to the store and picked up a few (8 to be exact) jars of baby food for Henry. I approached food like everything else. I just couldn't find the time to make it. When I went back to the store to by some more food, baby food doesn't go far, it occurred to me that I was about to pay $1.00 for two ounce of carrots. Carrots! Do you know how cheap carrots are? Around a $1.00 per pound (often less)! Then I looked at the package and it said that it had some preservative that I couldn't pronounce. So right then, without any clue as to what I was doing, I put down the jar and headed to the produce isle. I was gonna make me some baby food! And guess what? I did. And it was easy, healthy and cheap.

When you tell people that you make your own baby food they look at you like you are nuts. Like you are one of those crazy people who live on a compound in the woods and think that the FDA is out to kill you. I get all kinds of odd responses. My favorite was by one of Henry's daycare workers. She looked at me and asked "what is in it?" I said "you mean in the food?" She said "yes, what do you put in it?" I stared for a moment and said "Peas. Or whatever it is that I am making for him." She said "You mean it is just peas? You don't have to put anything else in it?" Still sorta of shocked I said "Nope. I just steam and puree whatever I want to make for him." She looked at me for a moment longer and then proclaimed "That makes a lot of sense. I had never thought about it before but that is just smart. I bet you save a lot of money and that is better for the baby because to control the quality of the ingredients." And that, dear friends, is what this post is about. That moment of epiphany. I am not saying that feeding your baby commercial baby food is bad. I am just saying if you stop and think about it, cooking it yourself makes a lot of sense.

Now, I started this post by confessing that I really like to cook. I find making his food fun. We get to experiment with variety of flavors and I love it. Remember I like to create. But, even if I didn't really like to cook, making baby food it easy. Really, it is easy. Now, I started making using a hand blender and my stove top. I thought it was easy then. But it got easier because my sister bought be a Beaba Babycook for Christmas. Is it possible to fall madly in love with an appliance? Without the fancy Baby Cook making your food is easy but the Baby Cook makes it ridiculously simple. It is an all in one machine. It steams and purees. The beauty is I only have one little thing to wash. I have a baby, I don't have time for extra messes.

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Baby Cook in Action

Once I am finsihed making the food to pour it into ice cube trays. Once it is forzen I put it into freezer bag and label it. Frozen baby food will keep for up to 3 month in the freezer. I make a bunch of food in advance and then take out a cube or two as needed. As Henry has gotten older I have been able to control the consistence of the food. It isn't quite as smooth now, basically he is on stage 2 foods.

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Cubes of Goodness

And this is the end of my love letter about making baby food. I realize this isn't for everyone. But, if you have a little one, or a bun in the oven you should try it. Just once.

PS. Overwhelmed by all the baby food choices? Cooking for Baby is a great place to start. This book has lots of information in an easy to read format. Also, this website has some good info too. Happy feeding!

3.26.2010

Spring? Yes Please!

It's cold. It's warm. It's MARCH! I love spring but I hate this time of year when it bounces from cool to warm every other day, it makes me crazy (it doesn't take much). Wednesday, 70 and sunny. Thursday, 42 and rainy. I want nothing more than to be outside. I love being outside. I always have. As kid I spent as much time as I could outside. I remember when I was 8 (or around that age) telling my mom on the way home from school that I wanted to spend my afternoon laying on a blanket under a gigantic tree. I wanted to read a book and watch the sunlight make patterns on my pages as the light peeked around the leaves. I can still see her turning around to look at me and saying "What are you talking about?" I shrugged and said "I just like being outside." When we got home she gave me a big blanket and told me (while rolling her eyes) to go sit under a tree. I did, and it was awesome. I still spend large amounts of time outside. Even as a adult, I love nothing more than to layout on a blanket under a tree and read a book. I also love to take bike rides, camping trips and walks. I just love being removed from the confines of a building. All this to say, March is a giant tease. I get all excited about the nice weather them BAM, RAIN and COLD. Mother nature is a big flirt. She comes on strong with sunshine and high temperatures. When you start to think that there is something there she pulls the rug out from under you forcing you to turn back on your heater and dig out your coat that you already shoved in the back of the closet. Arg. You can tell mother nature is a woman, because she is fickle.

Anyway, we have tired to soak up all the sun that we have been given. So far we are doing pretty good. Henry seems to like being outside. If he doesn't, he better get used to it. He is going to be spending a lot of time out of the house and in the yard. Here are some photos of him and his little sweetheart Stella (I have included my own thought on what they were thinking). Don't worry babies, warm weather will be here to stay soon!


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Stella "Hey let's not look at the camera and not smile at the same time."
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Henry "Do they really think they are funny?"
Stella "I am laughing at them, not with them."

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"Quick, let's see how much grass we can get in our mouths before they stop us."

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Henry "Stella is too cute. She is stealing my spotlight. She has gotta go."

Happy . . . . . almost, so close, just around the corner . . . . spring everyone!

3.17.2010

Florida = Fun

First, I would like to say, that having a child doesn't mean you can't be spontaneous. I spontaneously jumped in the car and spent last weekend in Florida. Yep, I made the 10 hour drive with Henry all by myself and we both survived. It wasn't that bad but I think we are going to fly next time. You may wonder, what caused her to drive to Florida with an infant all alone? I had a good reason. This weekend would have been my mom's birthday. This is the third year without her. I just couldn't handle being alone all weekend (Jason was at a retreat). I missed my family and I needed to see the ocean. So, we went and it was wonderful.

I don't think there is ever a point where you get over the pain of loosing someone. I still miss mom terribly. I am sure that for the rest of my life her memory will haunt me. I am always thinking of what she would say or think in regards to what I am doing. Every major life event is tinged with sadness because she isn't around to witness it. That being said, I do think that I have started to come to place where I can spend more time remembering her and less time crying. This became evident this weekend. Yes, we all miss mom (painfully so) but at the same time we celebrated her memory. My favorite moment of the weekend is when we all crowded into my sister's living room and spent hours telling old family stories. We laughed, and laughed as we shared various tales and shenanigans. Almost 3 years after her death her family (children and grandchildren) laughed and carried on in a fashion that I think would have made her happy. As we talked (sometimes over each other) I realized that life isn't about where you work or what kind of house you live in or the car you drive. It is made up of the things you do together. I don't remember the evening we spent watching TV but rather the time we spent enjoying each others company. I remember the cookouts, the camping trips, the days spent on the beach or at the lake. Those moments are where memories are born. These family outings burst to life when things don't go according to plan. Half of our stories revolved around something going wrong. You know, like people getting lost or kids getting into trouble. As we all laughed together, I felt closer to my mom than I had before she passed. I was surrounded by people who knew her and loved her. People for whom she had a lasting impression. When I am gone one day, I hope that Henry will have a library full of stories to tell. Stores of adventures and misadventures. So what if we don't have tons of money or a nice car, I hope we can build Henry a life filled with fun, family, love and a little insanity. Let's be honest, a little crazy makes for a good story . . right?? I think that is why my family is so funny, collectively we defiantly have more than a little crazy.

So here are a few photos from my family extravaganza! These photos reflect the start of the library of stories for Henry.

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3.13.2010

Thanks Johnny


This weekend Jason was out of town, so at the last minute Henry and I decided to go to Florida. Yep, that is right I made a 10 hour car trip by myself with a 9 month old. And you know what, it was great. Really, Henry was great. I am so glad that we headed south. The sunshine has been good for our souls. I'll post some more pictures of our weekend extravaganza but I wanted to go ahead to a share some photos that my nephew-in-law Johnny took of Henry today. I am in love with them. The photos capture the sparkle in his eyes.

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Cheerio stuck to his cheek. Can't blame it, he is the cutest (kissable) cheeks in the world.

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His first taste of Mango. Well, mango seed. We let him suck on the seed and he loved it. It is mother nature's teething ring.

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Serious baby face.

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Causal Dinning

Table manners are very important in our family.

3.09.2010

Miss Mary thinks I am Funny?

Remember during the snow when Ann escaped and I had to physically wrestle her to the ground? Apparently, Miss Mary (My totally nuts neighbor) remembers it and she thought it was hilarious. She dropped by last week to bum a dollar for a "cold drink" something she does once a month or so. She always starts with some type of small talk. You know things like "you have the cutest baby" or "your white legs are lovely." But this last time, it was different, she proceed to make fun of me. Yes, Miss Mary mocked me. She did an impersonation of me slapping my leg and bellowing at Ann. Then started to tell me how hard she laughed when I tackled her. It was weird. Am I becoming the crazy lady of Walker Street? Strolling up and down the road in my pajamas yelling at my dogs? Oh my God I am!

3.02.2010

Crazy Eight!

Today, March 2, 2010, is Henry's 8 month birthday. Despite the fact that it is March, (in Tennessee March means warm weather) we got some crazy snow. I mean the biggest snow flakes that I have ever seen in my life. So I decided to toss the kid on the deck to let him experience the snow. I had great visions of him giving me a priceless reaction. Maybe he would laugh, cry or squeal with delight. Instead he did nothing. He just sat in the snow. And so, I present to you, the most boring video ever. The only reason he smiles is because I am behind the camera making goofy faces at him. Ditto with the tongue sticking out. Anyway, here you go. At least this shows how big he is.



Oh, I can't post without a picture of his wild man hair. It is just out of control today and I love it. He has decided that he is too big to cooperate in my persistent photo taking. He refused to smile. Gosh, he is such a brat.

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