Homemade Baby Food

DSC_5856I’ve been making Beck’s baby food since he’s been eating. Lots of people have asked me about making my own baby food, so I thought I’d throw up a post about it. I think there are a couple main things to know when you venture into this:

  1. It’s super easy
  2. It’s cost effective
  3. It’s healthier – I buy organic

I make it probably once a month or so, and just do a bunch, freeze them in cubes or containers, and pull out what I need. Last night, I made a few so I’ve priced them out. He’s almost 9 months old and can probably chomp down around 8 ounces of puree a day.

Squash, Apple, Raisin – this is by far Beckett’s favorite, so I make a big batch!

  • 6 Fuji Apples – $4.89
  • 1 Butternut Squash – $3.58
  • 1 cup of Raisins – $0.64
  • Made 40 oz / Cost $0.23 per oz!!

Pumpkin, Raspberry, Banana

  • 1 Small Pumpkin – $3.26
  • 1 cup of Raspberries – $1.60 (I bought a pack of organic frozen, cause I couldn’t find fresh, darn winter!)
  • 1 Banana – $0.34
  • Made 25 oz / Cost $0.20 per oz!!

Green Beans

  • 2 – 10 oz packs of Frozen Green Beans – $5.00
  • Made 18 oz / Cost $0.28 per oz!!

DSC_5862I want to put it into perspective for you. I do keep some Earth’s Best Organic jars around, because sometimes you just need to throw a jar of food in there for convenience, travel, whatever. I just like to be prepared. One of those jars is normally $1.25 each, and they are 4 oz each. So, that’s $0.31 an ounce.  This is easy, you mostly steam or roast anything, and throw it into a blender or food processor to desired consistency. I like that because I can make them thicker as he gets older and better at chewing/eating. I freeze them in these Tevolo trays. (buy the green ones, cause they are dramatically cheaper than the other colors). These freeze into 1 ounce portions, making it super easy to portion out. I also have the pouches you see. I always fill a couple of those for convenience, instead of carting around jars. These are technically disposable, but you can rinse and reuse, just takes more effort. I also bought some Squooshi pouches, which are designed to be reusable, but haven’t actually used them yet. So, the day before, I usually plop some cubes into Wean Green glass containers and transfer to the fridge for them to thaw overnight.

I make both mixes like the squash, apple, raisin and single purees like green beans, prunes, etc. I like having some premixed, because the ratios are nice. For the single’s I usually combine them. Like the green bean, i’ll mix with a couple tablespoons of tofu and brown rice or throw some prunes into oatmeal. Generally, if I’m eating something I chop it into little (non chokeables, removing any type of skin or hard to chew bits) pieces for Beckett to eat or feed himself. He will eat anything I eat, seriously anything, at this point. He love fish, chicken, crab, sushi, risotto, pizza, anything, seriously anything. I’ll soak it up now, cause I hear that they can get picky by the time they are two.

I have the time to do this (these three took me maybe an hour, hour fifteen). I like to do this, and I feel good giving Beckett fresher baby foods. I will never regret making his food, this kid eats better than I do.

Anniversary Weekend

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They say, that sometime during the beginning of your third trimester, you should plan some down time for you and your partner. Time to clear your head, focus on baby, things you need to do, etc.

April 13th, was our 6 year wedding anniversary. Neither of us can believe it’s already been six years, but it apparently has. So, we bought some Living Social deal and spend a couple nights out in Leavenworth, which we love. We spent our honeymoon out in the woods in that area and it was fantastic. I love the woods. I love not having an agenda and just living in the moment. I love being on vacation, it’s always amazing.

We made a couple lists while we were at dinner, with things we wanted to accomplish this week and in the next few weeks. I think we made pretty good progress last night.

Knowing it’s probably the last time we’ll have a weekend together before we have a child, is a little wierd. We’re soaking up every minute of it.

The Pregnant Heart gets, what the Pregnant Heart wants

I’ve been starving all day – just feel like eating constantly. Not artificial eating though, I’m talking full meal eating. Needless to say, we don’t leave a lot of full meals laying around this house. Adam’s a big advocate of saving leftovers, so there were some in the fridge. I worked from home today to get a bunch of things done for some big meetings the next two days. One of my fridge foraging excursions led me into a tupperware of Hashbrown/eggs/bacon left over from maybe a week ago and another tupperware of corned beef and rice, from last night. Well, throwing them together didn’t sound like a terrible idea, so that’s exactly what happened. What was I going to do to add a little freshness to the dish? Why, throw another egg in of course. It turned out amazing! I haven’t really had any weird 3AM food cravings or anything crazy like that. Throughout I’ve gone through phases of Coconut cupcake, Egg McMuffin’s, Cereal (I’m talking good cereal, like the kind coated in sugar, like Captain Crunch and Lucky Charms), and Caramello’s. Right now, I am currently specific crave-less.

I have a really sick love of eggs. I’ll eat them with everything. Egg on a salad, egg on a burger, egg on pasta? Yes please, I’ll take them all. I could eat eggs every single day of my life, they are so versatile.

I’ve been stressing about two things lately, let’s talk about each of these a little more in depth.

  1. Work
  2. Babies – and all the things that go with them
  3. My craft stuff
  4. My health

Work – I just feel like there is tons to do lately. I’ve been able to stay under 100 emails, which would have been unheard of 6 months ago even, so that’s good. I’ve been building a global team around me, which has eased the load. Tuesday and Wednesday we have big meetings and I feel ill prepared. I’ve been working on this one big project, called an Administrative Guide, that I’m building in OneNote. It’s pretty amazing, and I’m stoked on everything I’ve got into it, but I just feel like it’s going to be torn apart when I get it in front of the client. That’s disheartening. Also, I’m leaving in 3.5 months, which means that everything has to be a nice package tied up with a bow, and ready for me to move on. A sign of a good leader is one that plans succession well, so that when they leave, the company still thrives. I intend to do everything possible to make sure this happens. But, it’s all still stressful.

Babies – Building a registry, thinking of all the things I need, blah blah blah. It’s all things I don’t want to think about. We started registering on Amazon.com. It’s going ok, but i’m sure there are going to be other things that crop up, that I just don’t want to deal with. It seems like such a hassle. We might buy a stroller tonight! We’ve been eyeying the UPPAbaby Vista, and we found a total score on Craigslist, so we’re going to look at it tonight. Seems pretty slick. When we start buying stuff, that also means we needed places to put stuff (see section 3; re: Craft Stuff). I also have several friends having babies and in particular, wanted to make one something, so I have to get that together too. Not to mention that I want my baby to have something personally made by me as well.

Craft Stuff – have I mentioned that we’re putting our baby in what I’ve called my Craft Room to date? That means shit tons of cleaning and purging. I have a LOT of craft stuff, because I’m the creative crafty type. So – I have to organize, purge, sell, donate everything that I think is now low priority, having a child. I’ll probably see if my MIL wants some stuff, but the vast majority, I’d like to sell so that I recoup some of the money I spent on all this amazing stuff. That’s stressful. I’ve been trying to do it in small chunks, but find that I’m too tired to really get anything going while I’m home. I expend all my energy at work every day. Then I get home and just want to relaxing.

My Health – it’s not terrible, so don’t get me wrong. However, I gained a substantial amount of weight in the last month, which I found out at the Dr on Friday. I’m disappointed in myself. I don’t feel like I’ve been using pregnancy like an excuse, but I have been eating whatever I can. A lot of normally healthy, great, and delicious things just don’t sound like something I want to ingest, quite honestly. It’s been rough in that aspect. Not to mention that I get tired really easy, so working out really hasn’t happened. Walking, like everyone tells you to do, hasn’t even been happening. Adam keeps offering to walk with me, but like I mentioned before, I am always just too tired. When in the hell is this second burst of energy that everyone and their mom keeps speaking of going to happen? Probably never for me!

Baby is getting more active every day. Last night he was trying to keep me from sleeping, but I won that battle! My uterus is the size of a soccer ball right now, at 26 weeks along. That is mind boggling to me. I like staring at my naked stomach, it’s fascinating in my opinion. I’m not really doing anything, but I’m some how growing a whole human inside of me. We signed up for our birthing classes. 6 excruciating evenings for 2 hours each. Are you serious? Seems like overkill. Oh, and I was reading up on healing after the birth, which I shouldn’t have done, because my vagina is going to be a disaster zone. Anyway I can just plan to not have a vaginal delivery? That sounds swell. Could we also cut me open before stretch marks start? That’s another thing, I inspect my stomach every day while lubing it up to look for new stretch marks. So far, coast is clear. This uterus is going to stretch all the way to my sternum, my Dr says, and I’ll feel like I can’t breath. Stretch marks come around the no breathing time, usually. So, another awesome stage I get to look forward to. Great… I’ve always known I would be an amazing mother, but I have ALWAYS dreaded the act of actually being pregnant. I’m finding the actually being pregnant portion not so bad, but the whole squeeze something the size of my cat out of my vagina things, is terrifying. Why does everyone keep saying that this will all be worth it? Did you know my belly button will never be the same? Supposedly I’ll grow a half shoe size at some point too. These all sounds like negatives in my opinion.

On a positive side note – I have never felt more in love, and connected with Adam, knowing that we’ve made a baby that I’m growing inside me, and the excitement we both have to meet him.

Embarking on the Digital Age

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My dear friend Becky (with Lindsay, and Baby Kieffer’s help) has pushed me into the digital age of scrapbooking. I feel a little liberated that I won’t need all this physical “stuff” to look through and put together, and purchase. I spent some time tooling around with it. I have Photoshop on my iMac, but on my new MacBook it’s not installing properly for some reason. This lead me to download the trial version of Photoshop Elements. I’ve found that it’s perfectly functional for the purposes of scrapbooking, creating digital flyers and what not. It has all the things that I actually use, and not all the extra garbage that I’m sure took up tons of space on my hard drive that I never touched, like Bridge. I don’t even know what that is. I learned all kinds of new things just tinkering around on my own with the above layout. It’s pretty geeky exciting. I got totally jazzed working on this layout. Since, I’ve only done one other layout, that I’m not perfectly happy with, but there has to be an end to messing around with a layout, or you could spend eons.

Yesterday was a fairly good day. I got really worked up at work completing this master project I’m working on. I felt really good about it, and then ended my day with a terrible meeting that just made me angry. BUT, it’s also those types of meetings that make me feel like I’m super good at my job. It’s a double edged sword.

My evening was pretty nice. I went home, and took a million calls to deal with some work escalations, but then it was great. I went on a walk with Adam, which I’m told, is the right kind of exercise for a pregnant woman to be getting. Afterwards, Adam and I made breakfast for dinner, which was pretty delicious, but I always love breakfast. After we settled down from dinner a little, we started work on our Europe scrapbook. We kept countless receipts, coasters, pamphlets, etc of all the cool things we did in Europe, and since those are physical items I decided this would be my last physical scrapbook. I bought a Smash Book, which I think will be ideal for putting it all together. You basically just glue and tape in pictures. The problem is that we have a bazillion pictures. So – I’ll likely want a physical and NON physical scrapbook to document our last expedition (the expedition of a LIFETIME) before we went down this path of having children.

A note on getting pregnant: We knew we wanted kids, and that we’d start trying sometime in the near future. When we planned our Europe trip, we knew this was probably going to be the last truly special thing that we did with just the two of us. We decided that we would start trying to make our little family while in Europe, because that could only add to the excitement. We figured it would take a couple months to get pregnant, and I was prepared to feel the sadness of getting my period every month, knowing that this time I actually didn’t want it to come. Our trip was beyond amazing. The things that we experienced together, and the memories that we made will be something we’ll have for our entire lives. Experiencing life really makes us much closer to each other and we both have the same appreciation for travel, new experiences, and each other. We came out of this trip more in love than we’ve ever been, and very fulfilled with all the choices we made while travelling. I don’t think there is a single thing either of us would have done differently (ok, maybe I wouldn’t have kissed that girl, or let Adam sit at the train station while I went in search of a bathroom, but it was all part of the trip).

When we arrived home, after 32 odd days of being gone from US soil, I realized I hadn’t had a period. It had crossed my mind in Europe, but I’ve always been irregular, and sometimes my red tides are 40 days apart. So, I pushed those thoughts aside and figured we could figure that all out when we were home. I took a pregnancy test the day we got home, after a nap. That sucker showed up positive! We were both so excited, we didn’t really know how to react. The realness wasn’t really sunk in yet. I proceeded to take 4 test over the next couple days, and then called the Dr. We were immediately advised we were pregnant if we’ve taken that many all positive tests, and they scheduled us to come in 3 weeks later. Those were 3 excruciating weeks of waiting for official confirmation. I think once that blob showed up on the screen and we saw our bean, a new level of really hit us.

Dublin – Day 3 Game Day

Day three we woke up super early. I’m talking roughly 7:10AM. We showered and headed to O’Brien’s for a quick breakfast and coffee. Then, we joined a bunch of other Notre Dame fans and headed to Mass. How often are you going to be able to attend Mass with the Archbishop of Dublin, in the courtyard of a castle? Probably NEVER. I’m so glad we were both amped about going.

For Adam there were two highlights. 1) holding both my hands as I stood in front of him while we sang Our Father. Most people weren’t even holding their hands up. 2) In his words: I just think it’s pretty cool in general that you can have a football team so far away, in a different country, where everyone is so united in faith that we could spend a Mass together and turn to each other and say, “Peace be with you” to every fan standing around you.

For me, it was being with a million priests on stage, in fantastic robes that had this amazing orange fade thing going on, scouting the crowd for crazy, wonderful old ladies in awesome Notre Dame gear and going to Mass in Dublin Castle, and praying for my future, my family and friends. Sometimes, I feel like I lose a little faith, not consistently going to mass with all the work travel. One wonderful thing like this, is really centering. Hearing all the tumultuous Irish history and the role Catholicism, The Vatican and Britain had in either rising, pacifying or restructuring this land has been really fascinating.

After Mass we were led through the gates of Dublin Castle by the Notre Dame Marching Band straight onto Castle Street and down Dame Street to Temple Bar. It was absolutely incredible, again, to be a part of an American Mob (35,000 Americans) to set down on Dublin, close down the streets and follow an American College Football team band through town. People watching from their windows and tourist trains thought we were bonkers. We tailgated through Temple Bar, which was probably 95% ND, and 5% Navy. A lot of bars just had ND stuff up, probably with our Irish connections. Notre Dame became known as the Fighting Irish in the 1920’s as a result of a huge influx of Catholic Irish Immigrants to the US, often downcast by fellow immigrants. The University turned it into a positive phrase, to show that the University would fight, just as the Irish, through tough times and come out on top. Recent football seasons show otherwise, but eventually, we’ll be good again.

Caught a shuttle to Aviva Stadium, and then wandered around aimlessly looking for the stupid Will Call. Literally FOREVER. Finally made it in. It’s fascinating how the load that place. You have to go into the proper gate, or you can’t get to your seats. It’s super weird, but a little efficient. Five flights of stairs and we made it to our level. Seats were comparable to our Seahawks tickets. The only down side was we couldn’t actually see a scoreboard, the stadium was weird, so we left not knowing the final score. It was pretty cool. I was amazed by the amount of respect both teams showed for each other. I have to admit that every time I see a Seaman in uniform it brings back fond memories of my brother, his time in the Navy, and the extreme patriotism I have for my country. That being said, we totally slaughtered them. 50-10. That’s what, we in the know, call a slaughter.

Caught a couple cabs to take us to a couple bottle shops and we totally bought some awesome things, or so Adam tells me. I told him there is very few a wife that would allow this kind of trolling through Dublin, for beers, let alone be the one leading the flight to find them! Please feel free to remind him what a catch I am whenever you see him.

Back at the hostel now, planning Sunday in Dublin.

Love, Asia

Day 2 – Dublin

We didn’t even wake up until 9AM, which was incredible! I think we’re over jet lag already…or at least I hope. After we ate a terrible breakfast at the Hostel, we started our way toward a walking tour that Rick Steves recommended. A guy named Peter led us through Trinity College, House of Lords, Old Parliament, Dublin Castle, City Hall, Christ Church, Four Courts and Temple Bar. This extraordinarily educational peek at Dublin and Irish history was work every Euro. 12 EUR per person, and I would have much preferred the dollar be spent on something like this, rather than Guinness Storehouse. At roughly 2.5 hours, he answered any questions you had, gave us directions to our next stop and was overall just really pleasant.

After the tour, we headed to Porterhouse. A place with a good tap selection that was recommended on Beer Advocate. I have to say i’m not disappointed, because they had Peach Lambic, and a beautiful label to boot. Those of you that know me, know that I’m not much of a beer drinker.

We walked through Grafton Street -a beautiful, if a bit expensive, shopping area. It was fun to look at and some shops were fun to walk through. Ran to a bottle shop near the end, Celtic Whiskey Shop, and bought a few bottles of beer and a couple mini bottles of whiskey. We asked Darragh – who owns the shop, if he knew of any other shops that had a bigger beer selection. He was immediately and sarcastically offended, but told us about a shop that is literally on our way to Aviva tomorrow for the game. Turns our, they have over 250 bottles of beer, and his brother owns that shop. He had a ND hat, so of course we loved him. It’s really true what they say about the Irish having that gift of gab, because if you stop two seconds, or ask a question, you should be ready for a bit of a chat. Especially from taxi drivers.

We sat at the hostel to try and figure out what we wanted to be sure to see. Around 7:00PM we headed to the O2 for the Notre Dame Pep Rally. It was about a 30 minute walk, when all the locals said it was about a 15 minute walk. I’ve just resigned to believe that I should always double the time a local says it will take, because the Irish walk with purpose (fast). We met up with a lovely couple while we were walking, from Dallas. They were retired, but boy could they walk. I had a tough time keeping up with them. They were fun though.

Sat next to Patricia at the Rally, she’s an alum that lives in Chicago. It was probably the weirdest pep rally ever. It was televised live in Ireland and via YouTube for the US contingent. There were a ton of performances with famous Irish celebrities. So of course, we had no idea who they were. There was a guest appearance by Martin Short, who has had two of his sons graduate from Notre Dame. He was hilarious. Other than that, very weird. No players or coaches were present. The plus side was that the price of a Guinness was very comparable to what you’d spend in a pub. The US should take a hint that they shouldn’t overcharge at events. The most humorous part was the guys selling in the stands were trying to sell you Bud Light for 6.50 EUR. Absolutely hilarious, very few people were purchasing.

The walk back took FOREVER and I had to pee very badly. It was very stupid not to go before we left the stadium, but the line was unreasonably huge. Clearly, I thought it was better to chance possibly urinating on my person, over standing in a line. I make very logical choices.

Wandered and found a Papa Johns, which took to long to make a personal sized pizza. Then I ate it in my bed, and Adam, who wanted to go out, fell asleep before me.

Europe Trip

Long time no talk, everyone! To bring everyone up to speed, we are in Europe, from today, through Sep 30th!

Background – Notre Dame (and anyone who knows me, knows I married a huge Fighting Irish fan) is playing their season opener in Dublin, against the Navy. So, we wanted to go. The problem was that we also wanted to go to Oktoberfest, near the end of September in Munich. Total conundrum! So, I told Adam to ask his boss if he could legitimately take one month off, cause my work has the amazing flexibility of allowing me to work all over the world, and remotely when necessary. His boss said yes. So – we planned an amazing month in Europe, and have just begun our journey.

We left Seattle around 6AM on Wednesday, flew through Atlanta and Dusseldorf, Germany, on to Dublin! We are spending 4 nights here. After landing at noon today, we got straight to our hostel, checked in and booked it via foot to The Guinness Storehouse. You take a self guided tour that lasts an hourish. If you already know how to brew beer, and the basics around it, the actual exhibit wasn’t that exciting. Breweries always want to tell you how the brewing process works. Anyway, the icing on the top was The Gravity Bar on the top of the 9 floor exhibit, with panoramic views of Dublin. The view were beautiful, we got a free pint each, and I dropped my lens cap into my beer, while attempting to put my lens cap on the top of my beer, mistaking it for my camera. I swear I wasn’t drunk!

After hitting up the gift shop, we headed over to Kilmainham Gaol. A historical prison in Ireland that is most famous for the political prisoners that have lived, and been executed there. Many of these Irish Freedom/Independence Fighters have strong roots in Irish history. Thought the movements for independence were not widely popular, til 1916, one execution in particular caught the attention of the Irish and countries throughout the world and they began to understand and empathize with the Irish independence movement. James Connolly, who was the leader of socialist Irish Citizen Army and a big part of the Easter Uprising, was executed at a different end of the stone yard. He was so injured that he could not stand before the firing squad, so he was sad in a chair, tied to it, and then executed. The tour was very thought provoking, and I highly recommend it, even if you aren’t Irish. My old age makes me tear up a lot more these days!

I then headed to a meeting across the street, where I basically got yelled at for 30 minutes. Awesome way to spend the end of the day, after a depressing, awesome historical sight! It was alright though.

Ate dinner at Quay’s and it was delicious just like I remember it. Guinness Stew and Penne with Smoked Salmon. Walked around Temple Bar, grabbed some beers to take back to the hostel and am just updating this site. Apparently, they were doing roof stuff, so the Wi-Fi isn’t working on our building. We’re sitting in a frigid common room while I type. The tiny-ness of our Hostel is comical. But hey – it’s a bed with an ensuite. Who can complain? We’re mapping out what tomorrow looks like. Take care, love you all!

Asia