Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Homemade Baby Food Routine

I knew before I had Lucy that I wanted to make her baby food for many reasons.  Just like with what hubby and I eat, I want to know what Lucy is eating.  I want to have control...muah-ha-ha :)  No sodium or preservatives for my precious little one.  Also, although it's definitely more work, it's a big money saver.  Although numbers may vary, Julia Scott, founder of BargainBabe.com, figured that homemade organic baby food is nearly 45% cheaper than store-bought organic baby food.  That is a savings of about $438 per year.  (Read Julia's full article on Mint.com HERE).
 
My routine has changed slightly since I took these pictures because she's eating more, but the technique is still the same.  Here, I'll walk you through how I make an apple/carrot/kale combo:
Place apple (peeled and cored) and carrot chunks in double boiler with a little water in bottom pan. Cover with lid and low boil until carrots are tender.
 
I then place a couple handfuls of kale on top, return lid, and continue to steam about 5 minutes until kale is wilted.
 
I use (and LOVE) the Baby Bullet.  It can be purchased HERE, but I was lucky enough to receive mine as a baby shower gift.  Let food cool slightly, add to Baby Bullet (an immersion blender can also be used), add as much water as you need, and whiz it up.  In the beginning, I used a lot of water and blended it very thinly.  Now, I use as little water as possible and pulse her food to a chunky consistency.
 

The Baby Bullet comes with this freezer tray and storage containers, which hold 2 oz.  I now use the freezer trays below.  They freeze 1 oz. portions, which allow for easy mix-and-matching, and are really easy to remove from the tray. 
Mumi and Bubi trays can be purchased HERE

I now use these OXO 4 oz. containers to thaw/store her food, and can be purchased HERE
 
After the portions are frozen, I store them in labeled freezer bags.  At night, I pull out all of the food needed for the next day and place in the refrigerator.

The Baby Bullet containers fit well in our bottle warmer, but I use a small pan on the stove to warm up her food in the OXO containers.
 
www.wholesomebabyfood.momtastic.com has been a great resource for baby food ideas.
 
Happy pureeing!
 
Oh, and have you entered my E-cloth mop giveaway yet?  Winner will be announced this Saturday, May 4th, 2013.  There are only three entries so far, so the odds are "forever in your favor"!
Click HERE to enter

Saturday, April 27, 2013

E-Cloth Mop Giveaway!

I have been anticipating this blog post because I not only get to tell you about a product I recently discovered, and love, but I also get to share one with you. 

If we are Facebook friends, then you know that I have been searching for something that will leave our Pergo laminate floors streak-free ever since hubby and I married and I moved into this house four years ago.  I have tried sponge, terry cloth, Swiffer, Shark steam and they all leave my floors looking worse than when I started.  I usually end up cleaning our floors on my hands and knees, small sections at a time, and dry immediately with a towel in order to avoid the streaks. This was not only time-consuming, but did not feel great on my knees. I am not Cinderella. I am a working wife and mother, and I am so excited I finally found a product that saves me some precious time.
Some research online led me to discover some amazing reviews on the E-Cloth mop.  You can check out E-Cloth products for yourself at ecloth.com.  What I love about E-cloth is they are loud and proud about selling "chemical free cleaning".  Their mop and other products are designed to be used with water only.  I love that I don't have to use nasty chemicals, since we have a dog and a 10-month old baby girl and they will both eat anything off the floor. Because their cloths have more fibers than any other cloth on the market, they will work better than any other cloth on the market.
"The cloths are made of polyester and nylon, so they don’t “absorb” anything. Water, dirt, oil, grease, grime and even bacteria are trapped within the fibers – so the more fibers you have the better the cloth works. Think of it as millions of tiny hands grabbing onto everything on the surface of your countertop or sink....These cloths don’t kill bacteria, they collect bacteria from surfaces. This is another benefit of all of those fibers – they literally scrape the surface clean at a microbial level."
Here's a great video explaining how E-cloth works:
This video explains how to use the E-cloth mop (I personally find it works best on our Pergo if I spray the floor with water rather than wet the mop):
Better for your family, better for the environment, AND a better clean.  Does it get any better?
IT DOES GET BETTER because you have the chance to win one!!!  E-cloth has sent me a mop, which is a $40 value, to give away!  I contacted them after I had purchased and used my mop, so my review is completely unbiased. 
HERE'S HOW TO ENTER:
1.  You must be a Momster Mash subscriber.  Click that blue "Join This Site" button on the right side of my blog and sign up if you're not already. 
2.  Because of the nature of this blog, you must be a mother, have a mother, or know a mother.  Sorry I'm so strict (and sarcastic) :)
3.  Comment on this post and tell me why you would like to try the E-cloth mop.
Winner will be chosen at random and announced on Saturday, May 4th, 2013.  Tell your mother, tell your brother, tell your sister, tell your friends!
You know you're an adult when you get excited about a mop...you know you're a wife/mother when your floors are dirty ten minutes after cleaning them! :)

*    *     *     This giveaway is closed     *     *     *

Friday, April 26, 2013

Brea's Little Gentleman Baby Shower

They did it!  Our friends Brea and Cy are expecting a boy in a sea of friends with daughters, and my husband is very excited to know he now has a chance at a son our next go-'round.  Seriously, all of our close friends have girls and it was starting to get a little creepy; Brea and Cy also already have a little lady.  We are so excited for them, and not just because they are expecting a boy, but because they are fabulous people who truly deserve all the happiness (and mischief ;) a little boy will bring. 
 
I was delighted to host a Little Gentleman Baby Shower to celebrate the Little Man's upcoming arrival, and we can't wait to meet him!

 'Name That Gentleman' game using famous bow tie wearers.  How many can you name?

I had fun creating the custom water bottles using a Google image of a blue chevron pattern that matched the invitations.  I got the bow tie image from THIS invitation I purchased on Etsy.  I then used packing tape to adhere them to the bottles.
 
Brea and Cy
 
With the beautiful Brea.
 
I made bow ties for guests to wear using a sheet I found at Goodwill for $5.00 and a hot glue gun.
 
Favors that will actually get used (hopefully), Emergen-C packets and hand sanitizer.
 
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UPDATE
3-21-14
I've noticed that this post has quickly become THE most popular post of all time on my blog!  To those of you who are new to Momster Mash, welcome and thank you so much for joining us!  Momster Mash exists to share the stories of inspiring mommas, and to be an avenue for support and encouragement for us all.  Please make yourself at home, stay a while, and meet a new "Momster of the Month" every month.
 
Click HERE to read about the journey Brea endured to get to this Little Gentleman Baby Shower.
 
I'd like to invite you follow along by email (sign up in side bar --->) and/or 'like' Momster Mash on Facebook so you can be sure to meet the next Momster of the Month!
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Monday, April 15, 2013

The Momster Mash - Grand Opening!

A few years ago I sent my sister, Natalie, a card wishing her a "Happy Momster Day" (you know, because she's my sister and a mother, and not at all a reference to her being a monster).  Since then, I have referred to her as "Momster" and I now receive the affectionate moniker since becoming a mother in 2012.   
 
Mom-ster (noun): A member of the sisterhood of mothers.
Teamster.
Hipster.
Mover and Shaker. 
Monster (or so that is what appears to be smacking the snooze button).
 
Although I definitely don't feel like I need more to fill my time, I have been yearning for a new creative outlet lately.  With the day-in and day-out of motherhood, "wifey-hood", work, cook, cleaner, launderer, etc...I want an outlet to keep my creative juices flowing, and I firmly believe we all need to do what brings us joy to avoid becoming burned-out and bitter.  Additionally, over the past nine months of motherhood, I have found conversations with other mothers to be like prized jewels.  Let's say...rubies, not blood diamonds.  It can feel very isolating at times and easy to question if I'm making the right choices as a mother, and it's refreshing to know that I'm not alone. 
 
Whether you're a new mother, a veteran mother, or your heart's desire is to be a mother, we are all in this together. You know the saying, "It takes a village to raise a child"? As families move further away from each other and us Momsters are left to figure things out on our own, our modern-day villages are comprised of Facebook, Skype, forums, and blogs (and late-night text messages asking for advice when it's 3 a.m. and you're sleep-walking in the hallway with a screaming baby). 

Enter Momster Mash! Each month, along with other tidbits, I will highlight a "Momster of the Month" whom I believe has an inspiring story and encouraging word to share.  I think every mom has something inspiring to offer even if she doesn't feel as though she does.   My desire for Momster Mash is for this to be a place where I can do the "bragging" for you because, let's face it, YOU are amazing!  I want to share your struggles, achievements, honesty, humor, creativity, and huge love with other mothers...uh, I mean Momsters.
 

Join the Momster Mash!

and stay tuned for the first "Momster of the Month" coming this May, just in time for Mother's Day!
 
Learning as we go, and encouraging one another as we grow.