Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Sweet Potato Purée with the BabyCook

Later this morning we're going to feed Harry his second food, sweet potatoes! The other night I pulled out my Beaba Babycook Baby Food Maker for the first time and prepared the sweet potatoes.

sweet potato puree

If you're in the market for a homemade baby food maker, I would highly recommend the BabyCook! I had never heard of it before receiving it as a gift and was just planning on purchasing a regular food processor to get the job done.

What makes the BabyCook different from other systems is that not only will it purée foods, but it will steam them as well! The directions that come with the BabyCook are pretty lacking so I did some research on YouTube to make sure I made the food correctly. There are plenty of how-to videos which were very helpful.

My main concern was how much food I could cook at one time. The directions don't give amounts and I wanted to make sure I wasn't over-filling the machine. Turns out, it really doesn't matter how much food you put in the machine, as long as it all fits in the steaming basket!

beaba babycook

I was able to get one chopped up sweet potato in the basket.

Using the BabyCook is really easy. Depending on what kind of food you're cooking, you have to add either one, two or three measures of water into the steaming reservoir. The measures are labeled on the blending bowl, taking the guesswork out of measuring.

beaba babycook

To steam the food, I filled the reservoir with the correct amount of water, put the chopped sweet potatoes in the steaming basket, popped on the lid and turned the dial left to steam.

beaba babycook

A majority of foods will take three measures of water to steam, and will take about 15 minutes. What's so great about the BabyCook is that it will turn off automatically after it's finished cooking. So no need to babysit the machine, you can walk away and do whatever while it's working!

sweet potato puree

After the food finished steaming I pulled out the steaming basket and poured the sweet potatoes in to the blending bowl. Note: There will be some cooking liquid at the bottom of the blending bowl after steaming. I poured out most of it before adding the sweet potatoes.

beaba babycook

sweet potato puree

I then put the mixing lid and regular lid on the machine and turned the dial to the right to purée.

sweet potato puree

And now you have a very simple and easy to make baby purée! Freshly made baby food will only last a few days in the fridge, but will last a few months if frozen. I purchased the Tovolo Perfect Cube silicone ice cube trays to freeze all my purées in.

sweet potato puree

These ice cube trays are great! Each cube holds one ounce of baby food, so it's really easy to keep track of how much baby eats. I also have the Beaba Multiportions freezer trays, which are a lot larger and there's no way Harry would eat that much food right now. They'll be perfect for when he gets older though.

I froze the sweet potatoes over night and in the morning transferred them to a freezer bag for storage.

sweet potato puree
This is two sweet potatoes worth of baby food cubes

When I defrost a cube I will probably add a little formula to thin out the purées while also adding a familiar taste and extra nutrition.

I really enjoyed making the baby food. Yesterday I made zucchini and carrot purées, too! Next on my list is yellow squash I think. And then maybe green beans.

The Beaba BabyCook is a really wonderful baby food maker. I love that it steams the food for you. Steaming is the best way to cook vegetables because it allows for the most nutrients to be preserved. And the fact that it automatically turns off when the food is done steaming is a mom's dream! Multitasking is important to all moms and the BabyCook makes it possible.

I think part of the reason I'm so passionate about making my own baby food is because the breastfeeding thing didn't work out. By making all my own foods I know exactly what Harry's eating. No scary, unpronounceable ingredients like a lot of the pre-made baby foods have.

I'll let you guys know what Harry thinks about the sweet potatoes!


Disclaimer: I was gifted the Beaba BabyCook but was not compensated in anyway for this review. All opinions are my own. I wouldn't be opposed to doing a sponsored post, though :).

Monday, April 16, 2012

Graco Alano FlipIt Review

Back in June I purchased the Graco Alano FlipIt travel system. I thought I'd do a basic review of the stroller that came with the system. The car seat is the standard SnugRide seat and has worked well for us. With Harry weighing right around 17 pounds now we usually just leave the seat in my car now. The seat is approved for infants up to 22 pounds so we'll be in the market for a new one soon!

Okay, back to the stroller. The reason I liked the Alano FlipIt was because the handle can be flipped so the child is facing different directions.

Here's the stroller with the baby facing backwards.



I like this position for when Harry is still so small. I like being able to see him in case something is wrong. I'm sure as he gets older he won't like facing boring old mom, though.

The stroller is a bit difficult to navigate while in this position. Only the double wheels swivel, so it's kind of like driving a rear wheel drive car.

Here's the stroller in the other position.



Here it just looks like any regular stroller. Flipping the handle is super easy. In this position it maneuvers very well.  The handle can also be adjusted for any height (it doesn't work in the other position).

I am very happy with our choice of stroller. The other day I took Harry on a walk around our neighborhood and it was really sunny out. I was able to flip the handles so that he was never looking at the sun. Genius!

If you're looking at the Graco Alano FlipIt travel system, here are some things you should know about it.
  • Until recently we had a helluva a time folding it up for storage. I don't know why but neither Ant or I could figure it out. And then one day it just worked, and has folded up fine ever since. I have no idea what the problem was, but I'm so glad we "fixed" it because I was getting very frustrated with it. I still can't fold it up with one hand, but it only takes a few seconds to do.
  • It's heavy. 
  • The system comes with a removable cup holder. It sticks out funny so I just keep it in my car and only put it on if I need it. The cup holder can work in either handle position.
  • The weight limit for this stroller is 50 pounds. Which is 5-10 pounds more than most strollers, so you'll be able to get more use out of it.


Disclaimer: I purchased this product myself and was not compensated in any way.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Baby's First Solids

Yesterday Harry had his first taste of real food! Traditionally babies have eaten cereal as their first food, but those foods don't offer much nutrition and are basically empty calories. Also, Ant's family has a history of Celiac's Disease and from what I've read, introducing wheat (gluten) too early can increase a baby's chance of developing an allergy.

Per the recommendation at Wholesome Baby Food we chose avocados as Harry's first food. The fruit is considered one of nature's "super foods" and has so many of the vitamins and good fats that baby's need in their diets.


Avocados are one of the easiest foods to prepare for baby, there's no need to cook it, just mash it up! I cut the fruit up in slices and put them in the freezer. As I need them I'll defrost and prepare them for Harry.


Appetizing, no? We ended up having to mash the avocado up a bit more after I snapped the above photo. Harry ate avocado twice yesterday, but I'd be surprised if more than a dime-sized portion actually made it in to his tummy.




I honestly don't know what he thought about the whole experience. He definitely didn't love it, but tolerated it for about 15 minutes each time. At one point during the second feeding he started fussing when some avocado got caught in between his gums and cheek, as soon as I removed it for him he was fine again.

One thing he didn't do was push the avocado out with his tongue, which is a reflux babies have and an indicator they're not quite ready for solids yet. So, that's promising! We'll be doing one or two "meals" a day from now on I think, but if we skip a day here or there it's no big deal. As they say, food under one is just for fun!

Everything I've read says to wait at least four days between introducing new foods to easily pinpoint any food allergies baby might have. Our next new food will be on Tuesday, when I'm going to whip up some sweet potatoes. After that, I'm not sure what we'll try. Green beans, maybe? I was originally going to make applesauce his first food, but after researching I found that babies that are given fruit as one of their first foods can be more resistant to vegetables because they're not as sweet (yes, his first food was a fruit, but not one that's overtly sweet). So we'll be holding off on the ay-ples and ba-nay-nays for at least a few weeks, if not longer.

Girl Night In
Last night Ant had a night out with a bunch of his buddies. He hadn't done something like that for a long time, so he deserved it. With his crazy schedule I do spend a lot of time alone, but it was odd being home with just Harry on a Saturday night. Fortunately I managed to get him to bed around 9 o'clock without much incident.

After he was asleep I had a nice lazy evening watching TV. I also did not feel like cooking dinner for one, so I ordered some Jet's Pizza.


I love Jet's! I got the 8 corner pizza with extra mushrooms and garlic crust. Yummy yummy yummy!

We don't have any real plans for today, just they typical Sunday cleaning and getting ready for the week ahead.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Outdoor Decor

I returned that damn wind chime I bought earlier in the week. It had to go back after it took me a half hour to untangle it. No thanks!

I still wanted something to hang from the balcony above us and found something that I think will work well.


I wish this thing (I don't know if it has an official name) was a bit larger, but it was the only thing I could find at JoAnn's that didn't make any noise. I also bought a colorful yard stake to put next to our patio.


I know it's a little rinky dink looking but I thought it was adorable. I also want to get some flower pots to put outside, so we'll be making a trip to Home Depot soon!

Adam Ferrara at the Improv

Last night Ant and I had our second date night without Harry. It was much easier leaving him the second time than the first. But I fear separation anxiety might have set in, apparently Harry had a rough evening after we left. Poor kiddo!

Don't leave me mama!


But, Ant and I had a nice evening out. As I said yesterday, he purchased a Groupon before we even had the baby for the Improv comedy club in Schaumburg and it expires next week. This weekend's act is Adam Ferrara, a comedian who apparently hosts the show Top Gear? Ya, no clue. Ant had heard of him, though.

Before the show we went to Stir Crazy for dinner. Yum!

Steamy!

After we finished our stir fry we still had a half hour to kill before the show started so we walked around the mall a bit.

1997, is that you?


Stunna shades

The show was really good! Adam was really funny, as was the opening act; a local comedian who is also an ER doctor! Unfortunately no cameras are allowed in the comedy club so I wasn't able to get any pictures.

We had a nice night out but I did feel bad leaving my baby. We definitely won't be doing that again for a while. Our next date night will have to be something baby-friendly :).

And we're going to start solids today! I had initially wanted to wait another week, but he's showing signs of reediness so we're gonna go for it. We've decided to skip cereals and go strait to fruits and veggies. We're going to try some avocado first and in four days we'll introduce sweet potatoes.  Neither are foods I like, but by introducing Harry to a wide variety of flavors early on I'm hoping to make him less picky than when I was as a kid (wishful thinking on my part!).

I highly recommend the website Wholesome Baby Food if you're forgoing  the pre-made baby food like we are. Between the website and a baby cookbook I have Harry is gonna be feasting like a king!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Our First Dog

 
Since my dad got a new dog last week, I thought it would be fun to reminisce about my first (and only) dog, Sheikh.


Sheikh was a Doberman Pinscher, just like Caesar. His name comes from Arab Sheikhs, since we used to live in Saudi Arabia. As you can see in the picture his right ear flopped down, something my dad hated because it made him look less menacing. I always thought it was adorable, though. Sheikh was a really sweet dog, but was very protective of our family and took a while to warm up to strangers (men in particular).

When I was in 5th grade we had to put Sheikh to sleep when he was only five years old. It was really sad how it happened. I remember letting him out into the backyard one day and the dogs next door were also out. Like they always did, the dogs ran back and forth along the fence. When I let him back inside he was pulling his hind legs. Long story short, he had basically paralyzed himself.

Dobermans are only supposed to be about 85 pounds, and Sheikh was over 100. As you can see, he wasn't an overweight dog by any means, he was just much too large for a Doberman (he was the size of a Great Dane). My parents took Sheikh to the vet that night and while there was a surgery that could have helped him, they said it wasn't very effective in large dogs. So the only humane thing to do was to put him down.

Oh gosh, that was terrible. I wore all black to school the next day and was an absolute wreck. I saw my 5th grade teacher right after I graduated high school and she said she would always remember how pitiful I was that day!

Wow, I didn't really talk about the picture at all, did I? Anyways, I think this picture was taken when Sheikh was about three, before that fence went up. I also remember really loving that outfit, in all it's matchy-matchy glory.

You can see my other Flashback Friday posts here!

Kitchen Decor Redo

Hello, bloggy friends! Long time no chat, huh? I've been in a bit of a funk lately. I actually wrote a really long post about how I've been depressed, but decided against posting it. Writing it certainly did help me feel better though! I've decided I need to make some changes in my life to help me get out of this rut. Nothing too major, but a few little changes will make a big difference I hope!

Kitchen Decor Redo
Last week I made mention of how Ant got me a new wall hanging for our kitchen. You can kind of see what I used to have over the sink in the first picture of this post. I really liked the Van Gogh canvas I have (I was an art history minor in college), but every time water splashed on it the ink would run, so it looks pretty bad now. I've been looking to replace it for a while and came across this at Target.


I really liked it, but I also really liked how colorful the Van Gogh was in my kitchen. So Ant suggested I put something yellow behind it to keep the color in the room. I think he suggested painting a background but I thought putting a patterned fabric behind it would be neat. I tried hot gluing the fabric to the wall hanging in one piece but the hot glue didn't stick to the fabric at all, so I ended up doing this with some regular all-purpose glue.


Took a bit longer, but I finished gluing everything in less than two hours while I was watching TV Wednesday night. Here's the final product!


Pretty snazzy, right? I'm a little obsessed with it. I also redid the two black frames with some blue and white toile fabric.

Tonight Ant and I are having our second date night without Harry! We just planned everything yesterday, so totally last minute. Before Harry was born we purchased a Groupon for a local comedy club and had planned on going the weekend after Harry was born. Obviously that didn't happen as we were busy going back and forth to the NICU. The Groupon deal actually expired but he got an email the other day saying they were extending it through the end of the month so we jumped on the chance to get out again. Should be fun!

And since I've been absent from TAW for a few days, here are a couple pictures I took of Harry yesterday.


Awwww, what a cutie pie!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Stuff That Happened Today

(Because I can't think of a catcher title for this post)

Sorry no post this morning, I've been pretty good lately about getting one out each day. It just wasn't happenin' earlier.

Last night when we went to JoAnn's along with the fabric I needed we looked at the wind chimes that were on display. We have a few hooks hanging above our patio from the balcony upstairs and thought it would be nice to put one out there. Since we live in a condo building we didn't want to get one that was too loud. We picked out the perfect one. Or so we thought.


Cute, right? And then the wind started blowing.


Still looks cute. But as soon as that gust was over, this is what it looked like.


So ya, that didn't quite work. FAIL. But look what the UPS man brought me today!



My new Cuisinart saute pan! I've been using a really dinky one since we moved in together and stuff is always boiling over in it (Hamburger Helper, in particular). Can't wait to try it out!

And, look what Harry tried today. (I know, this post is all over the place)


When I first gave him the celery to gnaw on he gave this really funny face, but then warmed up to it and chewed it for about 5 minutes. I have some carrot sticks I will let him try as well. I don't know how much flavor he's actually getting, but celery and carrots make great teething "toys" for babies; with adult supervision of course.

Okay, time to go untangle my new wind chime. Ugh.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter

I hope you all had a nice Easter!

I really hope his eyes stay blue like his daddy's!

Isn't his little outfit adorable?

He had no interest in looking at the camera! I think it was a little too bright for him.

Unfortunately right after we took this picture he had a diaper explosion and dirtied his Easter onesie :(.

After changing his outfit Harry and I headed over to my dad's for the second time in as many days. With Ant's crazy schedule he decided it was best to catch up on sleep for the upcoming work week. There was quite a bit of commotion going on over there so their new dog, Caesar, was a bit more rambunctious than yesterday.

Harry liked being around all the craziness, though! He was passed around like it was no big deal and loved looking at all the "new" faces (it had been a while since he'd seen a lot of people).

Harry and his Great Grandma




Harry and Uncle Mitch

All in all we had a nice time. We don't have any big plans for this week but tonight we are planning on going to Qdoba for dinner. Ant and I gave up our favorite fast food restaurant for Lent so it'll be great to go back! I also want to stop at JoAnns while we're out to pick up fabric for a new wall hanging Ant got me for Easter.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Caesar the Dog

Before I talk about the dog, I meant to post this picture with his five month update yesterday.


Harry has found his toes! Any time he's on his back he's grabbing for his toes now. They haven't found his mouth yet, but I'm sure they will soon.

Caesar the Dog
So yesterday Harry and I went over to my dad's to meet the newest member of the family, Caesar the dog!



Caesar is a nine week old Doberman Pinscher. So cute! Caesar recently got his ears clipped so he'll have the cone on his head for a couple months.

We had a Doberman growing up and while they have a bad reputation for being malicious attack dogs, they're actually very affectionate and kind if trained right. 

They are very protective dogs and Caesar took to protecting Harry right away. Look what he did as I was feeding le bebe.


Seriously, is that not the sweetest thing? When my stepsister ran up the stairs loudly when I was feeding him Caesar growled and barked at her like he was trying guarding Harry.

We're going over again today for dinner so we'll see if Caesar has the same demeanor around Harry again. And just for fun here's a cute picture of Harry and my step-mom.

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