Monday, December 19, 2011

Homemade Foods: Avocado, Banana, and Squash, Oh My!

The plan all along was to wait till M was six months and start baby led weaning. If you don't know what that is a quick summary is skipping purees and going straight to solids. It's mainly exploring the first month and getting use to foods. As M got close to five months she started sitting up on her own. (big girl) which is one of the main signs that they can start food. I pushed it out of my mind and went on just breastfeeding. Then M got the appetite of a teenage boy. So we broke down and tried organic brown rice cereal. I'm not really sure the difference, but I'm a sucker.

I've never seen a baby do so well with eating at the start. I literally put the spoon up to her mouth and she opened wide to eat. A couple days later I finally accepted that she was ready for food. I always knew plan b to baby led weaning would be making my own baby food. I also always knew that I wanted her first food to be avocado.

Avocado purees are extremely simple. There is no cooking involved. I cut mine into fourths which makes four servings for M. Then take a bowl of water and add a drip of lemon juice.

Dip each slice into the mix. This helps stop the browning. After you have dipped each slice put them  into a Ziploc bag and add the date. Pop your bag into the freezer and you are good to go. I would toss them after a month.

These are M approved! To serve put a slice in a microwave safe bowl and set to 30 seconds. Then add some breast milk or formula to get to the consistency that you want. I use less than an oz of breast milk. Take a fork, spoon, or whatever floats your boat to mash up.

Once M had the three day waiting rule I decided to move on to squash. I didn't think to take any pictures, but it's pretty easy as well. I bought one butternut squash and cut it in half. Fill a 13x9 with about an inch of water and add your squash facing down. Bake this for about 45 minutes or until you can pierce it with a fork at 350 degrees. Once it is done baking scrape it out into your mixer. I had to add about 2 oz of breast milk with it. Puree until you have reached the consistency you want. Put these in the microwave for 30 seconds to serve.

Note how it's spelled wrong. Nice.

To store these I used to ice cube trays. Each spot is about 1oz which is one serving. As they grow you may want to use to cubes. After the squash has frozen pop them out and put them in a Ziploc bag with the date. These should be used within one month. It's a good idea to add the name of your food along with the date. That way you don't get confused once you have multiple foods of the same color. A good tip my sister gave to me.


Today we started banana which is another easy puree with no cooking involved. I cut mine into thirds and freeze in a dated Ziploc. I would toss these after a month. 


I added a little breast milk to help mash and get a good consistency. Heat for thirty seconds without the peel and mash.

If you're not convinced on why you should make your own baby food here are some good thoughts. That one squash that cost a little over a dollar made 21 servings. One avocado for a little over a dollar makes four servings. One banana makes three. A jar of baby food costs a little over sixty cents and is one serving. Jar food isn't evil, but it feels good giving M fresh and frozen food. Really it isn't much work. People will act like it would so taxing, but if I believed them about everything I wouldn't be breastfeeding or cloth diapering. See for yourself and if it is something you can fit in or not. Make Sunday your mass cook day so you don't have to worry about it through the week. Whatever you choose, happy feeding!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

M's Presents Are Here! (An Educational Shopping Guide)

Yay for presents!
 I've been working on M's Christmas list since she was about a week old. This comes from my addiction to online shopping and my love of Amazon wish lists. The list has changed many times. I've added, deleted, and added over again. Finally I felt I had my final draft and could go ahead and purchase. Just to let you in on how crazy I am. I have her first birthday, second Christmas, and second birthday lists started. I love to online shop.

I admit I went a little overboard on her. I hear all the time that she won't remember, and I get that. For me I feel like she needs these things. It comes from me being a teacher of the creative curriculum. Learning is play. That's the focal point. I believe that. They aren't just toys. They are tools for her to learn. I wouldn't go so crazy if it weren't that her last day of school is January 6th and she will be home with me. So I compiled a list of what M has under the tree this year. The captions are links if you find yourself needing this for you munchkin.

Alex Jr. Pop Beads
Pop beads are great for building fine motor skills. Older kids love making jewelry for you to wear. This really is a toy that will last awhile. Babies may need help at first, but once they get it you'll be wearing a pop bead necklace daily.

Melissa & Doug Fill and Spill Fish Bowl

This is a great toy for babies to fill and dump. This could fall under gross motor and fine motor skills. Fill the fish bowl with water for sensory play!

Fisher-Price Brilliant Basics Boppin' Activity Bugs
 These toys are great for learning cause and effect. They also work on fine motor skills by manipulating the nobs to work. There is a pull, push, and twist nob.
Wonderworld Peek-A-Boo Ball
I love this ball! It's great for gross motor development. This toy is great for babies starting to work on crawling. Encourage them to crawl by chasing after this cute thing. You can also roll, toss, and kick for older babies and kids.

Plaskool Explore And Grow Tumble N' Twirl
A great toy for many reasons! Learn cause and effect when you push and watch the balls go around. Work of gross motor skills by pushing down on the button. This toy has a little extra too. You can slide the front window open to watch the balls shoot out. This encourages babies to crawl or walk to get to them. Continuing with the gross motor theme by having to load the balls back into the toy.

Sassy Letter Links

There are so many great uses for these. Work on fine motor by linking together. Go over letter shapes for literacy. You can also use these as stencils for older children, which would be literacy and fine motor. Babies love moving there body with these! They are also great for teething.

Lamaze Musical Inch Worm

I love this little guy. M loves stuffed animals so I thought she would enjoy this toy. It has textures and a tag. If you haven't noticed tags are the cats pajamas to babies. There are also different sounds like crinkle, squeak, and jingle. If you press down on the head it plays If You're Happy and You Know it. The link has some really cute owner images!

The Muppets Green Album

I love The Muppets! I hope at some point M does too. When I heard about the Green Album I knew she had to have it. It has classic Muppet songs covered by really good bands. When it comes to music I think everyone knows about the benefits.

Eebee's Adventure Playmat and Activity House

I am way too excited about this toy. You can see by the picture all that it can do. This really is a toy that will go a long way. Use the mat for tummy time while babies explore the activities. Make it a wall for you sitter or a tunnel for your crawler. You can also make it into a playhouse or a quiet reading area to relax.

Eebee DVDs

I got three Eebee DVDs in a pack. I love these because they are activities that you do along with your baby. It's not just a movie to watch. I can't wait to do these with M. They are 6+ months.

Eebee Doll

There is no real educational value to this toy. M loves stuffed animals and I figure when she is older she would love to have a doll from the movies and playhouse. It was a good deal so I thought what's one more thing.

I hope this may help some of the shopping woes this season. Toys are such a great way for little ones to learn and explore. Some may have no value, but many can do wonders!