Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Make Your Own Baby Food!

Hello mommas! Its that time again at the Holt house. Time to start little Airlie on solids. I made a lot of Camden's baby food and it was EASY and saved me tons of MONEY! Two easy things to start with are sweet potatoes and butternut squash. Dave and I committed to getting our babies through their first year with all organic foods and that is not a cheap decision. So............Here is what you need: 

-Blender...there are other high tech things you can use, but I just use a blender. 
-Something to freeze the food in. I use Fresh Baby trays....I have 6. 6 allow me to usually freeze two foods at a time. (pic below). 
-Spoon & fork
-Ziploc freezer bags
- 3 medium-large size organic sweet potatoes
-1 good size organic butternut squash

TO MAKE: 
-Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
-Wash the potatoes and poke holes all over them with a fork. 
-Wrap each in foil. Place on a shallow pan
-Cut your squash long ways in half. 
-Put a small amount of water in a shallow pan and place the squash face down on the pan. 
- Place both pans in the oven and set the timer for 30 minutes. PLEASE NOTE the squash will finish before the potatoes. You will know the squash is done when it begins to brown on top. 
-Sweet potatoes will take 1-1 1/2 hours to fully soften. 
-While the sweet potatoes are still baking, take your squash out and allow it to cool. 
-Scoop the meat of the squash into the blender and puree. 
-Take your spoon and scoop pureed squash into fresh baby trays. Put the lid on and freeze. 
-Repeat with the sweet potatoes.
-Once your foods are frozen, you can pop them out of the trays into freezer bags. When you are ready to serve, grab one or two cubes out the freezer and stick them in the refrigerator to thaw.
EASY, saves TONS of money and you will feel so proud of yourself!


  Sweet potatoes in the blender...            And now in their Fresh Baby trays!



Friday, May 18, 2012

6 Month Old Babies are the BEST!

MY second has hit 6 months and I am LOVING it. 

Two of the biggest things I have been working on with my baby girl are sitting up on her own and taking 2 2-hour naps. Both of these require work on momma's part.

Sitting: 
I start (usually 5 1/2 months in) by sitting behind her with my legs stretched out and let her lean against me when needed. I place one new toy at a time which encourages her to lean forward to work on balance, upper body strength and of course hand eye coordination. When she starts to fuss, we stop and I move on tummy time which is also a great way to build upper body strength. I love seeing my girl doing her baby pushups! So cute! Within a week, she was able to start balancing for a few seconds at a time. By the second week, half a minute and now we are in our 3rd week of what I call SITTING BOOT CAMP and she can manage for several minutes at a time! Her 6 month pictures are coming soon (we are doing them a little late) and I am so excited for her to sit up! Independent play is right around the corner!......as is crawling and walking. Lord be with me.

2 Hour Naps: 
This one has taken me longer (I think) with Airlie than with Camden. The sooner you can get your baby to 2 big naps and an evening cat nap, the better off everyone will be. You can't rush it or you will get frustrated, but around 5 or 6 months, its time to start trying. 

2 hour naps will push your day feeding time to 4 hours between feedings. Once I have this well-established, I drop my dream feed (10 pm). My goal is always to start baby Airlie's day at 8 am. Sometimes, its earlier (if she wakes up!), but never later. You choose your time for whatever works for your life. She eats as soon as she gets up and then 30 minutes later, I do rice cereal. She stays up for 2 hours (from the time she gets up) and then goes down for a nap around 10 am--fingers crossed, she sleeps for 2 hours. To begin with, I would keep her up for 2 hours and she would still only sleep an hour. A week or so later, I had her sleeping an 1 1/2 hours. Now, she is vacillating between 1 1/2 hours and 2 hours in the morning. An important thing to remember is the 45 minute intruder. Babies LOVE to wake up in the middle of their nap to play, scream or in my child's case, examine her hands. If you give them some time, they often will put themselves back to sleep. 

I will say my girl does much better taking at least a 2 hour nap in the afternoon. I try to time my toddler's nap with the baby's to ensure sanity. : )


Not only do I love a sitting baby, I LOOOOOOVE synchronized nap time! It makes for a much cleaner house and a much happier rested momma.

A normal schedule looks like this
8-10 am-- wake--eat--play
10-12--nap
12-2-- wake--eat--play
2-4--nap
4-6--wake--eat--play
6-7--cat nap
7--eat--wake--play
8:30 pm--sleep for the night

Monday, March 19, 2012

Clothes Shopping Post Baby

This falls under the list of things I wish I had been warned about after having a baby. Unless you are Angelina Jolie, your body is going to frustrate the fire out of you post-baby. Now, you may be one of those girls that drops all the weight quick (I wasn't), but I promise you things won't look the same or fit the same. Your hips might be wider, you may have a fun spare tire around your mid section, there may be additional junk in your trunk.....your girls might be bigger... or lower... or just really sad looking. Its a mixed bag and everyone is different. Here are some tips I want to share now that I have been down this tumultuous road twice now.

1) Do NOT go and try ANYTHING on the first two months.....you will cry in the dressing room, I can guarantee it. Honestly, I would wait until at least 3 months, but that's just me.....Chances are you are not back to work yet and you aren't sleeping and you look like death anyway. Just stay home and wear stretchy pants. If you do need to look presentable, put on a little make up and some cute shoes and rock out your maternity jeans or loose fitting clothes. You look better than you think you do and no one is looking at you anymore anyway! They can't take their eyes on that sweet little peanut you are carrying around!

2) Do NOT expect to fit into your original size of clothes in the beginning. This. takes. time. You just gestated a human for 9 months, so cut yourself some slack. That belly has been stretched to the max so just put your big girl panties (and girdle) on and accept it. If you are breastfeeding, your body is going to hold on to a few extra pounds. Don't ask me why because I don't know, but most women I talk to agree that once you stop breast feeding, another 5 pounds usually disappears. And the general rule of thumb is to give yourself at least 9 months to a year to get back into your happy place.

3) Get yourself some control top underwear. These will help you deflate and will make clothes look and fit better. I also used a Belly Bandit in the beginning and I think it was helpful.

4) When you do decide to go shopping, go in with an open mind. Take a friend for moral support and possible crisis intervention. Grab yourself a few different sizes of pants and shirts and just decide what looks best. Ignore the size. This isn't forever and you need to have something to wear that makes you feel good while you transition. Don't spend tons of money on these clothes....I promise they aren't for forever.

 5) Don't beat yourself up. I did the first time around and was miserable wearing clothes 1 or 2 sizes bigger than normal. This go round, I went in KNOWING this reality and just embraced it. It's more important to be in clothes that allow you to feel comfortable and look nice than continuing to wear the baggy sweatpants, or worse yet pouring yourself into clothes that don't fit. The last thing you want is something tight around your waist. It does not feel good. Try not to become fixated on your body and the things you don't like. Instead, embrace and enhance the parts that are still in tact. Remember, your body just completed a very arduous and complicated task. Give yourself small goals to reach. Take walks with your baby, exercise when you have the time and energy. Eat a balanced diet. Commiserate with your mommy friends. I promise it gets easier.

Good luck ladies!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Losing the PACIFIER!

Losing the pacifier or paci as our kids call them...

When we went in for Camden's 12 month appointment, it was only minutes before the doc zeroed right in on the paci question. It was a simple yes or no....was he still taking a paci.....it was a yes, darn it all. Though, I assured him Cam had only ever used it at sleep times, he gently broke it to me. It was time. Time to wean the paci. Cue the dramatic music.

I had to be honest with myself. I was afraid. I was afraid my little man was addicted to that paci. Camden had always been an excellent sleeper and I was scared that taking away the paci might ruin it. The doctor gave me some simple advice that made the transition to no paci go way easier than I could have ever predicted.

First and foremost, the experts tell you that after 6 months, the need to suck to soothe greatly lessens. So really after 6 months, its up to you to determine when you want to wean. You also want to wait to wean on a normal week. A week where there is no travel, shots, sickness or out of the ordinary events.

Here is the big tip my doc gave me... CUT the tip. Just a sliver off the tip of each paci (we had 2) and then throw them back in the crib as if nothing happened. I started this at nap time instead of night time because I figured a ruined nap was way better than a loooong night. Here is what happened.

I put Camden in the crib and then watched on the monitor as he immediately put the paci in his mouth. Clearly, it felt different in his mouth and didn't give him the same sucking satisfaction it once had. He tried the other one. Same deal. He tried them both again a few times, then laid down in his crib and went to sleep...with no paci! I left them in his crib for another day or two just for reassurance that they were there if he wanted them. On the last day of paci's, he had thrown them out of the crib. It was just like that.

My disclaimer: every kid is different. This may not work for you. But it may so when you are ready, try it and let me know how it goes!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Turkey Chili That Will Change Your Life

My friend Lily from Raleigh gave me an awesome recipe for turkey chili and I make it all the time. Its super easy, healthy and yummy!

What You Need:
2 Large can of crushed tomatoes
Package of ground turkey breast
1 Green pepper
1 Red pepper
1 Can of corn
1 Can of black beans
2 Tbsp. garlic 
Cheddar Cheese
Sour cream
Tortilla chips
CROCK POT!

To Make:

-Turn on the ole crock pot to Low and put your cans of crushed tomatoes in there. (FYI, if you like your soup a little chunkier, start with one can and add more if desired). 
-Cut up peppers and add to sauce.
-Brown your turkey meat and add to sauce. 
-Add corn, beans and garlic to sauce. Stir.
-Allow to simmer on low in the crock pot for the day. 
-To serve, pour chili into bowl and then add your desired amount of cheese and sour cream. Serve with chips on the side. 

EASY and YUMMY and perfect for a cold windy day!



Friday, March 2, 2012

Toddler Tornado...Teaching Your Toddler to CLEAN UP!

So toddlers thrive on routine. They need to know what happens next...what is expected of them. My little guy is constantly asking me "What's next?"

They also love to play. with. every. toy. they. own. We thought we had a pretty solid routine with our little guy, but I started noticing that once he was down for the night, the house was DESTROYED. 

This momma thrives on ORDER. Now that Cam is 2, I need my mini man to learn how to CLEAN up after himself. And in talking to some of my mommy friends, it sounded like the toddler tornado was making its rounds. 

So we implemented necessary changes into his routine.  20 minutes before bedtime, we play the clean up game. It involves some singing and some competition and some reminders....okay a LOT of reminders, but ANYTHING can be fun when you turn it into play! Then as with everything you must do with a toddler, you add positive affirmation in there and BOOM clean house, loved child, and integrated routine. 

I think the hardest part so far is the parent piece..... remembering to start clean up BEFORE bedtime rolls around. Its easy to check out after dinner when you have had a long day and lose track of time. I think once Camden gets used to the process, he will probably start reminding us. You know these little sponges don't forget a thing!

Good luck everyone!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Spaghetti Squash Recipes

I have a man at my house with a high maintenance tummy. He has a gluten sensitivity and acid reflux and a list a mile long from his doctor of foods he should avoid. One thing we have had to do is figure out creative ways to make our favorite foods. Now I am not a fan of complications in the kitchen. I want to get in and get out without catching anything on fire or making too big of a mess. Sooooooo I started to implement changes slowly. Thus the spaghetti squash entered my life. Spaghetti squash is an amazing. It is a vegetable and it can replace many of your pastas! How great is that?! Here are two of our favorite EASY recipes that will make your family happy and healthy!


Here is what a spaghetti squash looks like for those of you who might not know what you are looking for.....


before....




after...






Spaghetti Squash Lasagna: 

What you Need: 


1 Spaghetti Squash
1 Large Can of crushed tomatoes (with basil--up to you)
1 16 oz container of ricotta cheese
1 egg
2 cups mozzarella cheese
1 cup roughly grated Parmesan cheese
1-2 packages of sausage or turkey sausage
 salt
pepper 
Casserole Dish

To Make: 



-There are several ways to cook spaghetti squash. The sticker on the squash will tell you to cut it in half and lay it in water on a cookie sheet in the oven. I just poke holes in it with a fork and stick in the oven on a pan at 400. I let it cook until it starts to brown a bit...30-45 min.

-While the squash is in the oven, you want to brown the meat, drain and then add sauce, salt, pepper and any other spices you desire. Leave on stove to simmer.

-Combine ricotta cheese, egg, 1 cup of mozzarella cheese and 1 cup of Parmesan cheese into bowl and mix together. 

-Once the squash is cooked,  cut it open and scoop out all the seeds. You will know the squash is fully cooked when you can scrapes the "noodles" out easily. Scrape all "noodles" out and saute them with a little olive oil, salt and pepper for about 10 minutes.


-Next put half of the meat sauce in the casserole dish. Then add all noodles. Next, spread your cheese mixture on top of noodles and then add remainder of meat sauce on top. Lastly, add the remaining cup of mozzarella cheese on top. Put back in the oven at 350 and bake until cheese is melted on top.

I'm getting hungry just thinking about it!

Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti

What you need:

Spaghetti Squash
1 jar of sauce--your choice--we use the 24 oz classico
Mushrooms (optional)
1 lb of ground beef
Salt
Pepper
Garlic
Bay leaves

To Make: 

Much of this is the same. Cook your spaghetti squash, brown your meat, drain, add sauce, mushrooms, salt, pepper, garlic and bay leaves and leave to simmer. Cut squash open, scoop seeds, scrape noodles out and saute. When you are ready to eat, combine!