Monday, July 30, 2012

16 Weeks & Meeting Danish Cousin Sara!

Happy 16 weeks my love! This past weekend you got to meet your Cousin Sara who was visiting from Denmark! You also got to hang out with Uncle Randy, and meet Sara's friend Sofie! They spoke a little danish to you and loved on you lots. You're a lucky girl to have so many people to squeeze and kiss and love on you!

We ADORE your awesome, laid back personality. You are so happy with just about anyone. You smile and "talk" and play and already just love life. Mommy and Daddy sure do love life even more with you in it :)

We just might have to take you on a trip to Denmark one day to see Sara and Jenny and Anne in their home! Hope you like to travel like us. 
Thanks for visiting us Randy & Sara & Sofie and for loving on our girl! 

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Saturday, July 28, 2012

my how-to for yummy homemade meals for baby caroline

Making my own baby food has been EASY! Caroline isn't consuming anything but Mama Milk yet {and we are planning to nurse full time for awhile still}, but as I blogged about earlier this week, we have had a crazy amount of garden produce! I am hoping she will enjoy {actually eat with our spitting out} some summer veggies / fruit later this fall. 

The "Super Baby Food Book" has been such a great reference! I only spent about 2 hours total and have 50 squash meals , and 32 peach meals for miss caroline neatly stored away in the freezer. 

I did a little calculating and figured out that if Caroline eats two squash cubes for a meal then it will only have cost us 0.16 cents per meal and for two peach cubes it will cost about 0.30 cents per meal. AMAZING! That beats the heck out of a $1.00+ per store bought meal/jar of baby food, AND you know your babe is getting ONLY veggies or fruit with out the preservatives or extra salt. 

Okay... what you need:
Your veggie or fruit of choice
Any seasoning you may want to add
Cutting Board & knife
Food Processor or Blender
Large Pot & water or the Pampered Chef Deep Covered Baker
Several Ice Cube trays
Glad Press & Seal wrap
Freezer Bags
We had tons of summer squash and zucchini so I am definitely hoping Caroline likes this in a couple months!
Chop up your squash... the smaller, the faster it will cook!
Throw all those veggies into a pot of boiling water on the stove to steam for a few minutes, or throw them into you Deep Covered Baker, with NO extra water, and then into the microwave for about 10 minutes on high until tender. This method is so healthy because all the nutrients stay in the vegetables, and the water that is created while cooking, is added with the squash into the food processor. Miss caroline will get every bit of goodness from her food!
 {I am pretty obsessed with my Pampered Chef Deep Covered Baker. Its great for many things, but with this pot, making baby food is so super easy!}
Throw all that steamed squash into your food processor, or blender, and pulse until really smooth. I added a little bit of italian seasonings because who wants bland, old, boring squash puree? Caroline won't enjoy going from flavorful breastmilk to plain liquid squash. I would say use the same seasonings in baby food that you use when cooking for yourself, because those are the flavors your babe is already use to getting in your mama milk.
Use a spoon to fill ice cube trays with your squash puree. I got these ice cube trays at the dollar store for 0.50 cents each. Each cube equals about 2 Tbl of veggie/fruit. Cover your trays with Glad Press & Seal... it seals off your trays well to avoid extra moisture and freezer burn. 

Place your squash trays into the freezer and leave about 12 hours. Once they are frozen solid, you can pop them out and put about 8 - 12 cubes in a freezer bag and store for up to 6 months! Make sure you label your bags and date them so you know what all those colorful cubes actually are :)
I used a straw to suck the extra air out of my freezer bags, and create a tight seal around each cube to keep them even fresher for longer. I also only placed about 8 cubes in a bag so that you can limit the times you have to open each bag when you are ready to use them for meals. 

We don't have any experience with the thawing process yet, but from everything I have read, thaw cubes over night in the fridge or quick thaw while sealed in the freezer bag in a bowl of room temp water. Avoid the microwave so you don't get any hot spots and burn that little one's mouth. 
I used the exact same process for peaches... Peeled, chopped, cooked in the microwave for about 10 minutes, pureed, froze in trays, and now storing in freezer bags! 
2-3 cubes of baby food equals about a jar of store bought baby food. It really saves SO much money, and I like the idea of knowing exactly what will be going into her tiny little body! Give it a try or pass this info onto your friends and family who have little ones. You can do the same things with most all vegetables and fruits too!

Caroline, I wonder what your favorite foods will be in the coming months?

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

OH MY! 15 Weeks!


My girl is growing SO fast... Anyone figured out a way to slow down the growth rate of a 3 month old? Or just slow down time in general? 

Nope... Me either. I wish though. Caroline is just too dang fun for it to be going by SO SO fast!

This week we made the big switch to cloth diapers. I have been doing research, and debating and going back and forth since before her arrival in April. My dear friend Jessie gave me three cloth diapers from the Little Bee Company, and I decided to go ahead and buy 3 more to give it a fair shot. So far we are doing cloth at nights and when we are at home for long stretches. I love it! Caroline seems fine, they are pretty darn cute, and I have only used 7 disposable diapers in 3 days. Washing is easy, and I am already planning to buy several more by the end of the week. Not sure we will ever do it completely full time, but I love saving money on disposables, and being a little green.

PLUS, and I love this almost as much as I love how cute they are: The Little Bee Company is so great! For every diaper purchased they send a diaper to a baby in an orphanage around the world. We got a card with our diapers saying that 3 diapers were sent a baby in Haiti. I have been telling miss Caroline when I change her diaper about the babies in Haiti and that are having their diapers changed too. LOVE IT! 

We did a little 15 week / Cloth Diaper / "Capture the cuteness" while it lasts photo shoot yesterday... Caroline and I decided on the pretty Red Diaper since we are excited for Team USA and the Olympics in just TWO DAYS!! 
 Just barely caught that adorable smile!
 BIG girl holding her head up... We are loving tummy time these days!
Miss Caroline also is enjoying her fingers and just about anything in her mouth
 Gram found Baby C this great mirror last week and its a new favorite toy... 
OH, and check out those rolls.... I die. 
 Caroline, your hair is wavy and curly and beautiful! Mommy and Daddy think you are pretty darn close to perfect... Thank you for a wonderful 15 weeks :) 

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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Whole Wheat Zucchini Muffins!

This is only a tiny portion of the massive amount of garden abundance we have had this year. It has been so much fun, and quite a bit of work growing a garden. I have learned SO much... made some mistakes and looking forward to planting more and differently next summer.... but overall it was a huge success! 

I have been making these delicious zucchini muffins for years. This recipe is an old Cooking Light recipe that I altered slightly. The whole wheat flour and zucchini makes them totally healthy right? {just forget the sugar :) } They are really easy to throw together, and freeze well too!
First of all shredded us some yummy zucchini {About 1 large zucchini}
 Combine your dry ingredients:
1 cup Whole Wheat Flour
2/3 cup All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup of Sugar
1 {heaping} tsp ground Cinnamon
1 1/4 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/4 tsp Salt
Stir together with a whisk and make a well in the center.
And Combine your wet ingredients:
1 1/3 Cup Shredded Zucchini
1/2 Cup Fat-Free Milk
2 Tbls Canola Oil
2 Tbls Honey
1 large Egg

Poor into dry ingredients and stir by hand to combine completely. 
 Pour into greased muffin pans, and you can also fill mini-muffin tins too. Perfect for little mouths, and for mamas-on-the-go! 
Before popping these babies into the oven, sprinkle with a little cinnamon/ sugar mix. It gives the tops a sweet little crunch. 

Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes

Thats it! Love them... great way to get veggies into husband too!

Anyone else have go-to recipes for their garden goodies? Please share!

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Sunday, July 15, 2012

A BIG 1st for Miss Caroline!

Chick-fil-A's Cow Appreciation Day is always a BIG day at our house, but it was even bigger this year because it was Caroline's first time really meeting the Chick-fil-A Cow!!

She has "seen" him around Chick-fil-A before, but it was her first real interaction. It was great! She wasn't scared in the least and loved every minute of hanging out at Chick-fil-A. She was a real trooper and handled being passed around and photographed all day like a champ!

We met Little Boy Kid Cow & Little Girl Kid Cow
Gram found this awesome Cow onsie for Miss C before she was born... Its a newborn size, but we squeezed our chubby legs into there just fine :) 
This was the greatest Cow costume! There were about 10 people making up this huge beast... awesome!
Some of Caroline's Chick-fil-A Friends... Mrs Joyce & Miss Taylor
And Miss Bethany!
More Chick-fil-A friends... Mrs Rachel & her adorable kiddos. Rachel Made their Cow shirts! Great inspiration for future Cow Appreciation days

Family Photos! 
AND BEST OF ALL: They Cow even achieved a cute Caroline smile on camera. C smiles plenty, just usually not on camera. This was a perfect first cow moment! 

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Thursday, July 12, 2012

3 Months and 13 Weeks!

Caroline Bennett was 3 months and also 13 weeks on Monday... and man she is SO FUN! I am blessed to be her Mama and to get my days with her!

A few things about Miss Priss at this point:
- We are in some 3 month clothes and lots of 3-6 month clothes. Growing big wayyyy to fast...
- Switching to size 2 diapers this week {Need a bigger size for her adorable chubby legs!}... I think you're close to 14 lbs!
- Caroline, you are a talker! Oh my! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE you baby noises. I could listen to them ALL day and night. Precious. 
- You are so serious, but in a good way. You definitely smile tons, but you focus in on something and it holds your serious gaze for what seems like forever. You are very intent already on figuring things out... Maybe you will be detail oriented like your Mama??
- You usually sleep 8 hours for me at night... THANK YOU! I would like 10, but we'll work on it... I'm certainly not complaining about 8!
- You love music. Kids radio on Pandora is wonderful :) 
- Bath times are still your favorite, and we have had some fun in the kiddie pool on our deck. You are our little water bug!
- You are napping in your crib during the day, but still sleeping next to Mama in your bassinet at night. We are going to start working on nights in your crib... I'll be honest though, I am sad to see you out grow your bassinet. Just another visible sign its all going by at light speed..
- Caroline, you are beautiful. Mama and Daddy definitely think so, but we hear if from others too... because you really are a gorgeous baby girl. 
- Your sweet little personality to so inquisitive and still so laid back. Its perfect! 
Thanks for another wonderful month of being your mama. I love our days together and I am so thankful and blessed that you are healthy and growing. Happy 3 months little love bug :)

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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Why I LOVE the Olympics!

Y'all, I seriously LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the Olympics. I will pretty much have the TV on 24-7 during these wonderful 2 weeks. I love everything about the competition and the pride in your country and the hard work and dedication, but what I love most is the stories of triumph.

This made me cry this morning. THIS is what it means to be an American. To be PROUD to be from this great country, and to be PROUD that in this country you are able to actually WORK hard at something and achieve it. Lopez, has pride in himself because he came from nothing {really worse than nothing} and because of his faith, and hard work, and dedication he has pride in himself that he has become something amazing.

Once someone have tastes what it means to succeed because of hard work, You can't take that away feeling away from them. The desire to make something of your life is God given.

ONLY 17 more days till London Olympics... Anyone else as excited as me?

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Friday, July 6, 2012

Yummy Chocolate Covered Pretzels & Baby Davis!

I made these pretzels for the shower we had for Hannah & Davis. Chocolate covered pretzels are a favorite in our house. I usually make them every christmas, but they really are too easy to make and too yummy to save for only christmas time.

These pretzels went perfectly with our Bee theme shower!

All you need is pretzels, a bag of white chocolate chips, bag of milk or dark chocolate chips, vegetable oil, and food coloring or sprinkles. Simple!
Heat water in a double boiler {or fill a larger pot with water and place a smaller pot on top}. Once simmering throw in the white chips. Once they start to melt add in about two tablespoons of vegetable oil. This will help liquify the chocolate a little... allow white chocolate to melt until smooth. It will take about 10 minutes or so to get the right consistency.

White chips are easy to dye any desired color. I chose yellow for our Mommy to BEE theme and only dropped in a couple drops of food coloring. 
Once melted, coat the end of the pretzel and allow to dry on wax paper or aluminum foil. To speed things up place the chocolates in the fridge! They taste good with warm melted chocolate too :)

{I have also used the pretzel twists and just drop in a handful of  whole pretzels, stir to coat, and lift out with a fork to dry}. 
To make my pretzels look like Bee's, I melted about 6 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate chips in the double boiler using the same method with about 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. I used a spoon to drizzle regular chocolate over cooled white chocolate dipped pretzels. Easy, easy, easy! 

Around Christmas I usually leave the pretzels coated in white chocolate and roll them in red or green sprinkles. Festive, and again so easy and delicious! 

Speaking of Hannah and Davis.... HE ARRIVED!!! Caroline and I happened to be in Greensboro visiting mom due to the massive power outage in virginia, so we got to meet the sweet little guy the day after he made his 8 day early arrival. 

Hannah and I were eager to introduce these two cutie pies... we also began discussing their arranged marriage at the perfect age of 45 :) 

Just kidding, but seriously, it will be SO FUN for these two to have lots and lots of play dates in the coming years! 
LOVE you Hannah and Aaron and Baby Davis! Thrilled to have been able to meet you! 

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