Wednesday, July 25, 2012

It's nerdy blogger dance time!

My watermelon cake was featured in a linky party! Woot!

Home is where the heart is. - Link it up! - Wednesdays -

To see my post about my watermelon all fruit "cake" go here.

Totally made my day. Head over to Homestead Simple and check it out! And a big thanks go out to them, for hosting and featuring!

With that said, I'm thinking...

...that I want to start a weekly linky party here at Jubilant Jessi.

Anyone interested or know what that is?

A linky party is a great way to connect bloggers. You link up a post of what you have been up to and can look at all all the other posts left by lovely bloggers such as yourself. If you have noticed when I do something remotely creative, I put several buttons of places I have linked that post to.. that's a linky party. I'm probably not explaining this the best way I could, but hey, that's what google is for. If you're confused, chances are you can find someone out there who explains it better. Haha.

Anyway, I always love surfing link parties. All of my favorite blogs have been found through them. It's where I get my major dose of inspiration (next to pinterest) each week. I think it would be fun, but I am worried about the time constraints with school coming up in a month (gag, snort, die. Not ready for school yet).

Anyway, something to ponder and stew on for a bit. Let me know if you're interested and/or would like to join in.

Also, show Homestead Simple some love for featuring me and hosting a great party! :) :) :)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Solid Food Sage Monster, Volume 2

To read Solid Food Sage Monster Volume 1, click here.

So the Saga of Solid Food continues. :) Now if you've met my baby girl, you know she's an eater. It's her favorite thing in the world to do. Since we've started doing solid foods, she's grumpy if people are eating around her and she's not getting any. She's also messy. We gave up trying to feed her in clothes after one shot. I do more loads of bibs than any other laundry. Ha. 

So, in SFSM V.1, I mentioned that we had tried rice cereal. We have since stopped using rice cereal and switched to oatmeal. She was having potty issues, tummy problems, and general crankiness. In searching for the answer, I found info that stated that some pediatricians think that rice cereal is BAD for babies. Apparently, "it's not that different from giving babies a spoonful of sugar." (You can read the article here.) So we waited a few days and tried oatmeal and she loves it. Oatmeal might not be a good idea if there's a history of gluten intolerance in your family, but we're fine there. All of the problems have been alleviated. If you're interested in more info on the rice cereal issue, read this or this or this.

The list of accepted foods is growing. Sage still chomps on sweet potatoes like they're candy. We've also added apples, bananas, avocado, carrots, watermelon, and pears. She wasn't so sure about the avocado alone, but with pears, she loves it. Carrots didn't go over well the first time, but it was an organic jar of food because we were out to Grandma's house. They tasted nasty and bitter. If I wouldn't eat it, I'm not making my baby eat it. 

Luckily, I got my first Bountiful Basket this week and it had carrots so I can make Sagey Poo some yummy fresh food. As a side note, if you don't get bountiful baskets, I require you to immediately click on the link I've kindly provided and participate. 

See this lovely array of fruits and veggies? $15 dollars for all. It's all amazing quality and fresh. It filled up a laundry basket. Bountiful Baskets is a food co-op. You participate by contributing a weekly fee on a Monday and then pick up your produce the following Saturday. Every couple of times, you volunteer and help them sort and what not. Easy peasy. Seriously, go to the website. Learn. Enjoy. You're welcome.

Okay, winding back on topic now....

I've been making baby food like a mad woman this past week. It all started, as good stories often do, when my husband brought me home 9 baked sweet potatoes from his work. I had asked him to bring a "few" home since they throw them out anyway because I wanted to try my hand at making baby food. He brought 9. NINE! So I got out my blender/food processor Bullet thingy, peeled some sweets, and away I went. 

It's a bit of a messy process, but quick enough that in 20 minutes I had two ice cube trays full of pureed sweet potato goodness ready to pop in the freezer. If you're looking for a great set of instructions and pretty pictures, head to Rust & Sunshine's post about it. The picture below is from her blog and gives you an idea of what you'll end up with.

Photo from Rust & Sunshine

Besides sweet potatoes, I have made plums, apples, apples and prunes (dried plums) mixed, peaches, and more sweet potatoes. Tomorrow, I'm all set up to make carrots and peas. I have also spent more hours than I care to admit looking at baby food recipes on Wholesome Baby Food. Since Sage likes her new high chair and will happily watch me while playing with her toys, I can whip up a batch or two pretty quickly.

All together, I have 112 one ounce cubes of baby food prepared. That is over a month of meals for Sage as she usually eats two cubes, twice a day. Overall cost? About 10 dollars. Since the organic jars of baby food run about $.80, I have saved $35.00. Can't beat it. Word to the wise though, use a good sharpie marker to label your bags of food. I had a DUH moment and used a water based marker. Haha. Luckily, I remembered what was what. 

I still had SIX sweet potatoes left to deal with. Honestly, what was the man thinking? I had sweet potato for lunch two days in a row and made a pie. I finally had to admit defeat and throw out the last three. You win sweets, you win.

One last thing, if you don't have one of these nifty food keepers for your baby, get one. Now. I'll wait.

Did you get one? Good.

Sage LOVES when I put one of the frozen cubes of baby food in this. She'll happily gnaw on it until there is nothing left. It's also how we fed her watermelon. Boy howdy, did she like that. She hasn't quite figured out the hand coordination required to hold and eat at the same time, but luckily, she has a patient mama who will hold it for her if need be.

Whew. What a novel. If you made it this far, thanks for reading!!!

Play dates, painting, and pictures of tiny roosters!

There has been much play going on lately at our happy house. So much play, that this Mama bear hasn't gotten much time to herself to simply sit. It seems like summer is determined to move at the speed of light, so I am trying to cram every bit of fun in that I can. So far, I seem to be exceeding my own expectations because I am dead tired at the end of each day. We have had a couple of fun adventures with a few more in the works.

We had a play date trip to the local dairy farm, Reeds Dairy. Hubs and I took the girls and met with a few other mamas and kiddos to play in the sun and visit some animals. (My dear spouse has no problem being the lone dude at a mom and kid party.) The dairy had a picnic area complete with petting zoo.

Lily loved the calves, especially the one that decided she was lunch and kept licking her.

I loved the chickens as it is a dream of mine to one day have a chicken coop. There was one tiny rooster that Nic was positive he could fit under his shirt and take it home.

Sage was absolutely fascinated by the pony, even though her dad didn't really care for the smell. She promptly fell asleep after we left the pony area and slept the rest of the time. Hee.

 The dairy also has an ice cream shop with the BEST grilled cheese sandwiches ever. Nic is now on a mission to try convince me that we simply MUST have the dairy milk delivered now because it is oh so delicious.

The other really fun thing this past week was Lily's art class. She is loving this class and I am sad that it only has one session left. I am looking into finding other art classes for her to take during the school year. Harder than it sounds where I live. Unless I just have no clue where to look. Hmmm...

Lily's class was about watercolors this week. They played with different techniques to use when painting with watercolors, like using salt and crayons for resistance. Then they used those techniques to paint a picture of a place they liked. Lily chose the beach since our much awaited beachy vacation is just a few short weeks away.

Lily really liked playing with the watercolor markers and different blues for the sky. She also has to take the elevator down after every class. :)

The class is in the upstairs of our local gallery, and a new showing, Environmental Considerations has just started. It is full of large canvases, bright colors, and neat sculptures. Totally up my alley artistically. I'm a free spirit by nature, and I like my art the same way. The two artists are very talented and if you live in my area, you should stop by and check it out.

I was pretty impressed with Lily's take on the paintings in the gallery. She asked a lot of questions, wanting to know what they were and how they were so big. She actually considered the art, even though she didn't quite understand it. It was a fun little mom and daughter date and she wants to look at it again after her next class. I love that she is so interested in different types of art and wants to be an artist when she grows up. It's an obsession that takes after my own heart.

We have a busy week coming up and if I make it through, it will be a blast. Dance class, gymnastics, Princess Dance Camp, a pedicure for me (YAY!!!!), fundraiser lunch, baby shower (making a gift for the mama-to-be) and a few other things I'm probably forgetting. It's right about now that I REALLY miss coffee.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Watermelon cake and movies in the yard.

When I saw the all fruit cake over at See My Footprints, I fell in love. What an amazing alternative to sugar and frosting. It's been pinned so many times, but I couldn't really find anyone else who had tried it!

When my aunt asked me to bring a treat for her Movie in the Yard night, I knew what I was going to make.

Movie in the Yard night is a winner of an idea for some summer evening fun. It's like the drive-in, only on lawn chairs and blankets. They had a projector and screen set up complete with popcorn, candy, and other yummy snacks. We watched Despicable Me, a movie I will never get tired of.

"It's so fluffy, I'm gonna DIE!!!"


Anyway, so here's my cake made of watermelon and other assorted fruity magic.

The cake done at See My Footprints had the rind removed, but because there was going to be lots of kids and dark, I decided to leave the rind on. I also wanted it all sliced for ease of snacking. So I sliced a whole seedless watermelon and then rearranged the slices in staggered tiers just to make it look pretty. I used strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, cantaloupe, and kiwi to decorate my cake.

As you can see, it was a little lopsided. I messed with it forever and just finally gave up. So the advice from me would be to make sure you cut your slices really, really straight. Doing the decorating was seriously the best. I think I ate as much fruit as I put on  the cake because it was all so fresh and tasty.

Lily helped me cut out the cantaloupe shapes. I found some plastic flower and heart cookie cutters in two sizes that I had bought to fancy up her peanut butter sandwiches. (Side note: has anyone else noticed that a simple PB&J with a bag of chips is not a cool enough lunch anymore? I should have never shown Lily the lunches over at Meet the Dubiens.)  As long as the melon wasn't more than about 3/4 inches thick, they handled it just fine and Lily could help. I would love to find some smaller cookie cutters that would work for the kiwis. 

I had absolutely no plan when it came down to a "design" for the cake. I am, and always will be, a woman who works better just winging it. The key here, is lots and lots of toothpicks. Which was handy because people re-used them as they were picking off fruit. I probably went a bit overboard with the toothpicks, but only because I had to transport the cake in the car and I did NOT want anything falling apart. 

It was a total hit. I was told it was adorable, a wonderful option for those on diets, and that I was very talented. Seriously, all the compliments were making my head swell. See My Footprints did her cake for her child's 1st birthday as an alternative to real cake, which I think is so very smart. Although, I do love a good messy toddler playing in cake at a party. There are several other versions of cakes that she has done as well. Check them out!

And there you have it. Watermelon "cake" that tastes delicious. I love finding new recipes and foodie projects for big group get togethers. With a huge family, it's good to have these things in your back pocket! ;) If you ever need a summer party idea, I'm telling you, try the movie outside idea. All you need is a projector and something to use as a screen. Oh, but watch out for ditches. Haha. Some of the boys were catching frogs and I suddenly had a very muddy, very wet Lily on my hands shortly before the movie started.   I was lucky to have an aunt who was nice enough to run home and grab a change of clothes so Lily didn't freeze. It wouldn't be a night out if Lily didn't do something crazy!

I have linked this post to...

The Shabby Nest    Home is where the heart is. - Link it up! - Wednesdays -

Friday, July 13, 2012

Solid Food Sage Monster

So we have started the Solid Food Adventure in my house. Miss Sagey Poo is taking to solid food like her sister takes to chocolate bars. It's a pure love.

I knew we were good to go with rice cereal, because we tried it a month or two back. Her tummy got upset so we held off on trying anything else, but there were no allergy issues. So this week, we've tried applesauce and sweet potatoes so far. It's kind of hard to wait 3 days between each food! It's so exciting, we want to just barrel ahead. Sage is now under the impression that a food utensil going towards a mouth should be heading in the direction of her mouth, so I think it's excitement all around.

I did buy some canned baby food, the organic Albertson's brand. The more and more I think about this new foodie journey though, the more I'm leaning towards making Sage's baby food. Have you tasted baby food? It's nasty. It's bland. I want Sage to like carrots, not something that once upon a time tasted like carrots. Not to mention, even with organic food, do we REALLY know what goes into those jars of baby food? (Now I sound like my paranoid hubster.)

This article has some pretty interesting info on baby food. Namely, that bland, gross canned food may not be the way to go. I love the idea of spicing baby food. On the off chance that it helps to make her less of a picky eater, I will dive right in. We all know how I would love to have a child who isn't a picky eater.

The underlying reason behind me making my own baby food? I want to be more involved as a mama. I made a promise to myself that when Sage was born, it would be different than the mess I found myself in when Lily was a peanut. I was young and had no idea what I was doing! While I realize that's true of all first time parents, my views on parenting from then to now have completely done a 180. I've promised myself to be more educated and less go with the flow because it's popular or EASY type of parent. I'm implementing more art and less TV with Lily as a way to connect with her. Making Sage her morning and evening snacks gives me that same type of connection. It also provides some serious satisfaction that as a mama, I've taken the time to care more and hurry less.

I'll let you know more as I get into this food making journey and we'll see if the costs outweigh the benefits. It could be that I end up scrapping it because it takes time away from both my girls. It could end up actually being more expensive. Who knows?

Here's some more info on homemade baby food:

Rust & Sunshine has a lovely post with easy instructions and pictures regarding her homemade baby food.
Weelicious has every baby food recipe you could ever want.
Wholesome Baby Food has some fantastic tips and techniques.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Move over Jackson Pollock, Miss Lily is in town.

Miss Lily had her art class this week and we had so much messy fun!The theme this week was a Jackson Pollock style painting. I absolutely adore how it turned out and am taking it to be framed so we can hang it in our living room. Isn't it stunning?
I really wish I had my camera during the process, so I could post more how to pictures, but I'll try and explain the process. The art teacher explained who Jackson Pollock was in a 30-second biography. Smart to keep it short since there was paint and cool stuff to play with in front of about 50 or so kids.

There were five stations set up: Drip, Splatter, Spray, Roll, and Smear. Each child was given a poster board sized piece of light weight cardboard and a slightly larger sized piece of white paper to keep messes on the cardboard. Which sort of worked.

Drip was a station with kiddie pools on the floor. The kids put their pieces of cardboard in the pool, grabbed a cup of paint with a sponge brush and dripped paint until their hearts were content.

Splatter was a cardboard box with paper on the floor and walls to protect against messes. The kids had these cool foam brushes in two sizes to throw paint on their canvas. This was a station where bystanders walked away with more paint on them than on the intended targets. Haha, We did this station first. I would say save this for one of the last, as all the cool splatter was eventually covered by the other stations.

Spray was another cardboard box and paper set up. Kids were given water guns with watered paint in them to spray paint. Guess which station was Lily's favorite? This could be an art project in of itself, and with towels on the floor, the mess was actually the smallest here.

Roll was a table filled with beads, foam stickers, fish rocks, and buttons. Jackson Pollock used to hide bits and pieces of things in his paintings, so that was the idea here.Kids could grab whatever and roll it around in the paint and stick it to their cardboard. Plastic gloves were given to kids to protect their hands, but wow, was this a mess. There was a lot of handprints in paint going on.

Smear was a station with pieces of sponge and paint. This station, along with Roll, was one of the stations where kids actually touched their art as they were working on it. If it was me, this is where I would start as it gives a colorful background to do some of the other stations on.

The mess this created was incredible, but it was so much fun and the kids were absolutely free to just play with the color and didn't have to worry about what was right versus wrong. I would caution that too much paint leads to a big brown mess, but we avoided that. It's a fantastic project. The paint used was all water based and kids were given garbage bags to wear over clothing, so no harm done. I think this would make a wonderful play date or birthday party activity, outside. I am not brave enough to have this inside.

Lily loved the water gun painting station, so we may set something like that up here at home. Jackson Pollock is a favorite artist of mine, so I may plan on joining her...

If you try this with your kids, I would love to see the results! Have some messy, colorful fun!

I have linked this post to...
Tip Junkie handmade projects   The Shabby Nest

Fun, Family, and Furries.

I am so happy to be back in technology land! I know it's important to unplug and get away from the phones, computers, nooks, and what not once in awhile, but I went cold turkey over the weekend and I missed you all!

Our Fourth was wonderful. The hubster had the whole day off for the first time in 5 years. We did the parade, had a barbeque, went to Brave (again), and played with fireworks. It was fun. Lily went nuts pretending to play in the water. She's a little skittish about sprinklers. Sage couldn't decide if she liked all the sunshine or not. She slept through the whole entire parade. I couldn't believe she didn't wake up from the noise. 50,000 people make a lot of noise.

With all that went on that day, it was just a coming attraction for Thursday through Sunday. It was our yearly Redneck Family Reunion. This is one of the highlights of our summer and this year was even more so! Normally we camp out in the middle of nowhere (so no one can see our silliness!!!) and commence with the Redneck Olympics. Our Olympic games test your seed spitting skills, how well you can toss a toilet lid, and other forms of athletic hilarity. This year, we did things a bit differently. We rented cabins, and yes that's plural on purpose. There was 33 of us! Together we all spent the weekend in Island Park, an area just outside of West Yellowstone, Montana.

The beauty of this was that there was SO MUCH to do. River floating, wandering around town, Yellowstone National Park, Playmill Theater, the list could go on for days. Every time we turned around someone was going on an excursion of some sort. Also, no one knows how to cook like my family. YUM.

I think my favorite part of the trip was going to the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center and seeing the bears and wolves. I went once with a big family group, and went back later with Nic because he missed it the first time around. If you're in the area, go. No excuses! :) All of the animals are rescues. It's really amazing what they've done there. I had a special soft spot for the bald eagle, Isis. She was beautiful.

Sage got a kick out of the grizzly hide they had out to touch and feel. Lily was too busy running around like a wild woman to let me get a picture of her.

Lily loved seeing "Annie Get Your Gun" at the Playmill Theater. She was ecstatic when she got to hug the actress who played Annie. She chattered the whole ride back to the cabins about how Annie was a famous person and she got to hug her and "Mom! Did you know that Annie Oakley was a REAL person in the OLDEN days???"

We also went to Old Faithful and saw some buffalo in Yellowstone National Park. It was so overcast, the pictures I took of the geyser melt into the sky. Bummer! I saw a mama elk and her baby, but we were moving too fast for me to get a picture of them.

The weekend flew by too fast! I felt like we were packing up to go home five minutes after I got there!  Hubster and I want to go back and spend some time there on an anniversary trip or something to see what else we could get up to. Lily asked if we could go back next weekend. With the proximity to Yellowstone Park, it would be easy to live there happily for a year! :) With Yellowstone Park practically in our backyard as it is, we really should get over there more often and play.

Hope your Fourth of July weekend was lovely and as full of family and fun as mine was!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Happy house: Febreeze made by me!

So if you are like me, with kids, dogs, and a husband, Febreeze is one of the greatest inventions ever. However, at the rate we go through it, it can get spendy to play Febreeze fairy around the house as often as I would like!

Well that dilemma is now and forever solved!

Homemade Febreeze is the new greatest invention ever. Cheap, easy to make, and the smell is wonderful! I love love love that it is only three ingredients that I already had on hand. I looked at several different recipes before deciding to combine one or two and make my own.

Here's how to make it!

You will need a spray bottle, I used my empty Febreeze spray bottle so I won't get confused by what it is later.

Fill the spray bottle with three cups of hot water.

Add four tablespoons of baking soda. The hot water helps dissolve the soda, so remember to keep it pretty warm.

Finally, add 1/4 cup fabric softener. Shake well, put on your fairy wings, and dance around your house as you make it smell heavenly.

This is enough to fill one regular sized spray bottle, but it is easy enough to double, halve, or make as much as you want. If you have concerns about stains from the baking soda, I have read that white vinegar works just as well. I tested it on several fabrics and so far, no stains. That could just be my love of baking soda talking too.

If you are looking for different scents, it would be easy enough to buy different fabric softener scents, but I love the fresh scent of clean laundry, so the regular fabric softener works for me.
Well, there you have it! Hope you love this stuff as much as I do! Let me know if you try different scents and how it turns out!

I looked at recipes from herehere, and here.

I have linked this post to:

The Shabby Nest  UndertheTableandDreaming

Sunday, July 1, 2012

"Mom, that's gross!" And other things I hear at meal times...

My picky eater Lily has struck again. A half hour long fight led to her eating corn dogs and jello for dinner AGAIN.

I worry about this eating problem of hers like a dog gnawing on a bone. Her doctor says that she's fine as long as she is on a vitamin supplement. She's not underweight, or undernourished, but man I would love for her to eat a fresh damn orange or a salad.Attempts to coax her to try new things end up in fights, tears, and her just not eating. That whole "this is dinner and if you don't eat you go hungry" idea doesn't work in my house because she literally will go hungry. It's been suggested that if we are that concerned about her, we should start thinking about an occupational therapist for food, which I didn't even know was an option. Who knew?

 I keep telling myself that age old parental advice: "She'll grow out of it." Some days I think that is true and she surprises me by eating something. The other day I went to Jamba Juice and she loved the smell of the place. I got a smoothie and she ended up sharing it with me. I am now buying stock in that company. She wouldn't drink smoothies last time we tried them. Another new development is that she'll eat cheese pizza now. Before it was just breadsticks - as long as there was no seasoning on them.

Other days, I feel like she's getting worse. And let me tell you, it is exhausting trying to figure out Lily dinner and make a meal for Nic and me. She won't eat any vegetables. None. I can try and hide them, call them something different, give her ultimatums, still nothing.

Her list of acceptable food items goes something like this:
chicken nuggets or cooked chicken breasts as long as there is nothing but salt seasoning them.
Steak, but only if it's Grandma's.
French fries.
Hot dogs or corn dogs
Applesauce, pears, sometimes mandarin oranges.
Apples (with peanut butter), bananas, maybe a few grapes, but no other fresh fruit.
Cereal, but only if it's Lucky Charms.
Peanut butter: this she eats by the spoonfuls. PB sandwiches with no jam, honey, or anything else. If peanut butter ever becomes illegal, my daughter is going to starve.
Cheese, but only string cheese. No grilled cheese sandwiches for my girl.
Bacon. Scramble eggs. Pancakes.

I may be forgetting one or two things, but that's about it. I offer and offer and offer new choices, but most of the time all I get is, "EW! That's disGUSTing!"

She'll grow out of it...

Do you have a picky eater? Any advice?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...