Friday, September 22, 2017

Apple Baby Food Recipe

Happy fall y'all! It's that time of year again when the leaves are changing the weather is getting colder, and we are getting ready to go to the fair. Of course we also have our Halloween costumes picked out and the fall decorations out as well. This is my favorite time of year.

Which makes no sense because I hated school, and starting school. Something about the crisp air and the Pennsylvania hills turning beautiful shades of oranges, reds, and pops of evergreens just makes me have the feels.

So my little one is gradually eating more and more solids. Her favorite is apples, and since it is fall I am happy about that. I plan on doing pumpkin, squash, and more sweet potatoes to round out her fall baby food menu.



I might do turkey for Thanksgiving but, I have never done meats before when making baby food so I am not sure I am going to be that adventurous.

In other news, her reflux seems to be getting better (fingers crossed) and we have not had any wheezing recently. Yay! Which is a miracle because my older daughter has a bad cold since school started up again. It's tough for daycare kids. Hopefully, by the time she actually is in school, she won't ever have to miss any. Ha!


Anyways, onto the recipe! I used Gala apples because they are sweet and are the cheapest at my grocery store. You can use any variety of sweet apple.


The greens tend to be tart. I use an apple cutter to cut my apples, mine is from pampered chef but you can find one at any supermarket or Walmart.


I also use baby apple juice like Gerber that is 100% juice without a ton of added sugar. The apples will be plenty sweet enough. As always if your baby food is too thin you can add rice cereal, or if it is too thick you can add more juice to the consistency you need.



I then freeze my baby food, it lasts longer and only takes 3 minutes on the defrost setting in my microwave for them to be ready to serve. When I plan on being out for the day I do it less time and let it thaw out on its own. 

Printable PDF


Or if you know ahead of time what you will be serving you can put it in the fridge over night. This is also a great way to make combinations of foods, such as for my fall menu I will be mixing together an apple with a pumpkin or squash and sweet potato. 

Stay tuned for more fall favorites and a fall baby food menu!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

10 Activities for 6 Month Olds





My littlest one just turned 6 months old. She has been having difficulty with her reflux again and weight, it's been exhausting. I am not sure who has cried more me or her.

We found out that she is hypersensitive. Her clothing and detergent will have to be hypo allergenic as well as other products we use with her. I would appreciate if all of her would be working all at once, but I am grateful it's not worse than it is.

Anyways lately I have noticed she is interested in doing more activities, which made me realize she is ready for some activities other than tummy time. Her increased awareness excites me, as well as hurts me while breastfeeding.

I try to tell her that it is not detachable but she still insists on craning her neck while eating. She's such a nosey Nelly. So I put together some activities to do. I will list them first and then go into more detail of why they are good activities and what they help with developmentally.

Activities

1. Reading
2. Talking and Singing
3. Smell the World
4. Bubbles!
5. Tickle Monster
6. This Little Piggy
7. Water Play
8. Mirrors!
9. Exersaucer
10. Small Toys

Reading



Reading is so great for your little one, it increases your bond, builds listening skills, helps with social-emotional skills, literacy, language development, boost brain activity, and also can lead to a little lover of reading. Grab some board books with colorful pictures and different textures. All things this age will enjoy. 


Talking and Singing

Talking and singing are beneficial to your child in a lot of the same ways that reading aloud to your child is. Most notably is the help it has with speech development and recognition. It encourages them to make sounds and teaches them cause and effect when you have a "conversation" with them. Babies learn to talk by duplicating sounds so the importance of this is enjoyable and essential.


Smell the World

This is enjoyable for younger babies as well as 6-month-olds. Open your spice cabinet and have them sniff some of the exotic scents that come from around the world. You can try cinnamon, vanilla, cumin, cloves, nutmeg, and basil. Just to name a few. Rub or put some on your hand and put it up to baby's nose, just make sure she doesn't get it into her mouth or eyes. If she seems to enjoy it, keep trying other scents! 


Bubbles!



Everyone loves bubbles! This is a great activity if you have more than one child, you can let your older one blow the bubbles and your younger one will enjoy watching. This help baby with eye development and hand eye coordination. They also are using their new sense of depth perception! 


Tickle Monster



At 6 months baby has a sense of anticipation. They are already laughing before you get to their tummy's what a wonderful treat for mama and baby alike! You can try hovering over her with your hands tickling the air as you say tickle... tickle... TICKLE MONSTER! You both will be giggling in delight.


This Little Piggy



This little piggy is a wonderful game that has anticipation, sensory awareness, and cause and effect. If you are not sure how to do this I will tell you. Touch, or wiggle his big toe while you chant the first line, This little piggy went to the market. Move to his second toe for the second line, this little piggy stayed home. The third toe for the third line, this little piggy had roast beef. The fourth toe for the fourth line, this little piggy had none. When you chant the very last line, and this little piggy went wee wee wee all the way home. On the ("wee, wee, wee"), give him a little tickle, or cover him in silly kisses. Repeat the whole process with the other foot.



Water Play



Use different cups and blocks to pour and splash in the water. You can set up a tub or bucket so it's not so messy, but you will probably get wet anyway. 


Mirrors!



This age loves to look at mirrors because they do not yet realize that is them looking back at them. This is called the theory of mind. So that happy baby is smiling at them and paying attention just to them! This helps with social emotional skills and facial recognition.


Exersaucer

At this age, they are starting to put weight on their legs and might bounce. So this is a perfect time to get an exersaucer for her to enjoy, I have this one for my little one from Amazon. http://amzn.to/2wIgS4o


Small Toys 



At this age, they enjoy picking up and exploring things. So handing your child a small toy (that isn't a choking hazard) is fascinating to them. You can take a whole bunch of toys and put them on their high chair tray while you are cooking. Or you can give them toys to play with in their boppy while you blog. This helps with hand eye coordination, encourages curiosity, and teaches cause and effect. 



Resources

Center for Disease Control. (2016, August 15). Important Milestones: Your Baby By Six Months. Retrieved September 6, 2017, from https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/actearly/milestones/milestones-6mo.html
American Optometric Association. (n.d.). Infant Vision: Birth to 24 Months of Age. Retrieved September 6, 2017, from https://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/good-vision-throughout-life/childrens-vision/infant-vision-birth-to-24-months-of-age
Huang, S. (2014, June 24). AAP Recommends Reading Aloud to Kids Every Day, Starting at Birth. Retrieved September 6, 2017, from http://www.parents.com/blogs/parents-perspective/2014/06/24/news/the-american-academy-of-pediatrics-releases-new-policy-on-reading-to-kids-during-infancy/
Baby Center. (n.d.). Retrieved September 6, 2017, from BabyCenter.com


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Homemade Cleaning Supplies



Since my daughter recently has been having issues with breathing, I have been trying to get better with cleaning. I am a perfectionist and I tend to live in denial instead of cleaning to my standards. I have also been making my cleaning supplies because it's cheaper and I have a slight problem with jars.

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So I bought a pretty jar to put my homemade laundry detergent in that was on sale, it broke when I opened the back door to my new van. So I bought another one and strapped it into my older daughters car seat. Thus an unhealthy collaboration of an affinity for jars and a love of frugality was born.

Downloadable PDF

I don't use any of the essential oils just because they are very intensive in smell and because of the little one's allergies I would rather err on the side of caution and just not add insult to injury. This recipe is based on http://www.dwellinginhappiness.com/chemical-free-liquid-laundry-detergent/ 


Get a beautiful jar like that here.

I then decided to make my own dryer sheets, because I have a secret to tell you. We don't generally use them. Because we forget to buy them. I don't know what this does to our clothes, but I am happy when everyone in my family is clothed (small steps).

Downloadable PDF

I also have been using homemade cleaners. Also for financial reasons, and because I am too lazy to buy products when I own most of the components for the recipes in the first place. We have all hardwood, linoleum, or tile surfaces in our house except for in our bedroom. Which will eventually be converted to one of the previous floorings I mentioned. 

They are just easier to clean. We used to have an area rug in our living room as well, but since the little one started to have her allergies we had to get rid of it. So I try to use a cleaner that is good for my hardwood floors and I just use it on all of them. 

Downloadable PDF

Do you use homemade cleaning supplies? If you do what recipes do you use? What kind of schedule do you have for cleaning?


Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Camping Menu Roundup



This past weekend we went camping at the Bellefonte KOA, it was amazing. The bathrooms were very clean, the cabins were super comfortable, and they had so many fun activities for the kids. We tie dyed shirts, went on a hay ride, watched a movie,  played with bubbles, and so much more.



I was super upset that we were unable to afford to go to the beach this year, mainly because I had talked to "C" about it throughout the year planning on going. She was so excited to build sand castles and go in the water. We ended up going to a local "beach" called halfway dam that I wrote a post about here. So she was satisfied, but I still had that mom guilt. So we decided that it was much more suitable for our budget to go camping.


We wanted to get a cabin because "A" is so little she wouldn't do well in the heat, and she has recently been having problems with breathing so the humidity wouldn't help that either.



The fact that the cabin had air conditioning surprised me, I am used to camping at state parks and they have a lot fewer amenities. This place had a pool, a TV, microwave, and fridge! Like camping but not roughing it. So, of course, being the planner I am, I went looking through Pinterest to find some wonderful recipes. To put together a menu. If you would like to just pin the fruits of my labor the here's the board https://www.pinterest.com/MamaoftheDrama/camping/




Thursday


  • Breakfast Burritos are always a hit in my house. You basically make a scramble and put it in a burrito shell. Super easy to make and can be frozen and reheated easily. 
  • Sandwiches I got a great idea from EasyPeasyPleasy 

  • Pizza you can make a frozen one on the grill, we had to do this with my soy free dairy free pizza. We also had regular pizza for the hubby and "C". Recipe for that from AThriftyMom

Friday

  • Breakfast Sandwiches from IWishYouDry these were absolutely delicious!
  • Walking Tacos you can find multiple different recipes for these. You just make taco meat ahead of time freeze it and then warm it up on the camp stove there. Buy individual packs of Doritos, Fritos, or Tortilla Chips and add the taco meat. Then add fixings of cheese, onions, peppers, etc. anything your heart desires on your taco. If you need more of an idea I pinned a recipe from MyLitter 
  • BBQ Chicken and Baked Potatoes from Diethood 

baked potatoes are brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with salt then poked with a fork and baked for 1 hour at 350 ℉ then roast them over the fire for 15 minutes. 

Saturday

  • Pancakes you can just premix your favorite pancake batter and then put it in a clean ketchup bottle to squeeze onto your cast iron skillet or camping stove frying pan. 
  • Hotdogs with French Fry Foil Packs the hot dogs you can just put on your roasting forks and heat up over the fire. The french fries I got from TableSpoon
  • Sausage and Pepper Foil Packs with Corn the sausage and pepper packs are from ChelseasMessyApron 

Sunday

  • Bacon Scramble I just put eggs in an old creamer bottle already scrambled with some water. Then you add your bacon, peppers, onions, and cheese. We used our camp stove to make this, I have seen other people use a cast iron skillet. 
  • Hamburgers on the Grill you can have your leftover chips from the walking taco as a side. 
  • One Pot Spaghetti this is another recipe that you can find a lot of different options for, we have a recipe that has no dairy or soy that we use often from MSPI Mama

More Pictures!





Tuesday, August 15, 2017

My Baby's Reactive Airway Disease



I'm losing my mind today. The past week I have been giving "A" nebulizer treatments for wheezing which I thought was brought on by an allergy to cats. We separated them but I am unsure if it is the cats, because they still go on the stairs. Or maybe it's some other allergen. I don't know.

I told the physician's assistant about it and he said maybe she did, but she needed to get nebulizer treatments because she was wheezing and had a bad cough. So I have been giving them to her and I was worried that she had asthma because it is linked to the GERD that she also has. She had a hard time breathing when we went to an indoor chlorinated pool, evidence of a reactive airway.

So now I am worried that she is going to have another thing that we have to worry about. Asthma is a chronic condition so I am projecting and thinking the worst. 

The recheck was today, I was hoping that he would say that she just had a bad cold or something. I also asked about her tugging her ears. Turns out she has an ear infection as well. I am not super concerned about that though, he gave her antibiotics for it.

He also said that she probably has reactive airway disease, and we need to monitor her closely to make sure that her breathing doesn't get worse. I felt a lump in my throat, I knew that's probably what it was, I just was trying to pretend it wasn't because I don't want to think about all the things I was ruminating on. 

So when he checked her lungs though they were completely clear, I put her up to my ear and I hadn't heard her breath that well for awhile. I had just picked her up from daycare and I was starting to think that we need to really deep clean our house. 

I am so worried that she is going to get worse because the house is the problem. It's old and I am sure that it's not the cleanest it could be. So I try to discuss this with my husband and it turns into me sobbing and screaming at him. Very productive I know.

I am just so tired of her having health problems, I am frustrated that there is so much out of my control. The helplessness I feel when there is nothing else I can do to help her. The worries that I have because of all the different things that could happen with her GERD and breathing. 



I am terrified of her future and what she will have to deal with, will she need to carry inhalers? Will she have to see another specialist? Will kids make fun of her? Then I realize I am projecting and I reel it back in. 

I never imagined that I could have a child with health issues. I am glad that I have the coping skills and mental health to be able to deal with it. It's just draining at times. 

I feel like I am on an endless roller coaster that I can't get off. I feel like I am half seen as a crazy hypochondriac mom and partly advocate. I know that I could have it way worse and I can't imagine how people deal with it. 

I feel like I am barely hanging by a thread emotionally. Times like this I am glad I have a tribe I can trust and talk to. In many ways though, this is something I will need to just go through or grow through. Nobody expects for their child to have health problems.

I have no idea how I could prepare for this or the anxiety of it. I have no experience with this person before now. It's a handbook I wish I could find. How to manage your emotions during your child's health problems. 

At this moment I am just happy we are all okay for the time being. This will just show me the strength I can have when I need it.

For More Information on Reactive Airway Disease:


Thanks for reading my rant, if you have any experience with this kind of thing or health issues with your child, in general, please feel free to help me out and comment below. 

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Vacation Budget



This time last year we were going to the beach. I have tried to go every year since "C" was 1. Just because I used to go every year with my family and it provided a nice relaxing experience. Got me out in the sun and I have very fond memories of it.



When I was a child I went to the Outer Banks in North Carolina. It was quite a trip from Central Pennsylvania, about 12 hours drive and we usually did it all in one go. We usually left very early in the morning so that we could accommodate that.

This is economically not feasible for us, so we originally decided to go to NJ to go to the beach. It turned out though, there weren't many options for affordable places to stay where I was looking. So we decided on Rehoboth Beach, DE. It was affordable and only a 4-hour drive. Our friends also were going to the same place at the same time, which was a nice coincidence.

We went to the board walk and beach on the first day and "C" ate so much sand I swear she pooped it for the rest of the trip. She was afraid of the ocean with the crashing waves, it was also quite busy. The kids next to us took our sand toys, they spoke Italian and it was a little difficult trying to explain that we wanted them back.

We were then suggested to go to Lewes, DE which was very close by, less crowded and it was on the sound so the waves were tiny and baby friendly. So that is where we have gone ever since.

Unfortunately, with the new baby, we don't have the budget to go to the beach this year, which is probably bothering me more than anyone else. We are going camping this year, which I will write a post about later. For now, I would like to tell you all how I budget for vacation.


I do all of my budgets on spreadsheets in Google Docs. I do this just because I find it easier, I can share them with my hubby and I can change them according to our pay checks or bills or what have you. I know there are apps available out there for finances. I just don't like that they do not change with the money you have, which for someone who is paid by the hour is a must.

As you can see even last year I didn't leave much room for extra spending rather it being spent on eating out. We also brought our slow cooker to use in the hotel for a dinner, and we had a fridge and a microwave so we were able to heat up leftovers and bring stuff to pack for lunches at the beach. All of which saved us some money.




We also choose a hotel that was part of the points program we are apart of and had free breakfast so we didn't have to worry about that meal of the day. It also had a pool which "C" really enjoyed. We usually get a King bed and all sleep together since that is what we do at home. When my sister in law comes we get a roll away bed. 


To help you get some rest, relaxation, and just a time off. Which might be at the beach or at a camp ground like us this year. I have provided a free vacation budget and planner printable, for you to use. 

Downloadable PDF


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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Why do We Hate Feelings?



It's storming right now, and it's putting me in the contemplative and introspective mood. I love when it rains, it's my favorite inclement weather. My girls also aren't home from daycare yet, so I am alone with my thoughts for a little bit.

Disclaimer

Not everyone hates feelings, I would assume these people would be called normal or mentally healthy. Most of my friends and I are not fans. When you think about it, neither does society as a whole. 

Society

How often does somebody say, I got dumped I am eating a pint of Ben & Jerry's? Or after a hard day, they say I need a drink? In the words of Brene Brown "have a banana nut muffin and a beer." Or you might hear someone say, I need retail therapy. These are all ways for us to not go through our emotions, but an attempt to circumnavigate them. 

Perhaps you can do this without it being a problem to you or your loved ones, but ultimately you are trying to numb those feelings that you don't like. What will ultimately happen is you will numb all of your feelings, and end up being a ball of unresolved anger and sadness. In other words, you can't selectively numb so when you numb the bad, you numb the good. 

Now I am not saying that soothing outside of yourself is bad. Sometimes you need to go to a movie, or take a walk, or take a bubble bath. To get through those really overwhelming times, the bad thing is when people just stop there and don't work on what the problem actually is. They feel better and ignore the cause or source of what made them overwhelmed in the first place.

Or worse they use these things to numb so often they become addicted or are affected negatively by the ways they choose to cope. 

Upbringing & Inability to Cope

Sometimes the reason someone is averse to feelings is that they have never had the tools to deal with them. Not surprisingly affected by society, most people don't know how to deal with things in a psychologically sound way. 

Or at least most of the people I know are not taught how to self-soothe or have positive self-talk to get them through hard times. They prefer to ignore "bad" feelings. They won't even speak about sensitive subjects as if the words themselves, will damn them.

In essence, the way we treat our negative feelings is something that we learn from modeling. Or we are taught through the support we get from our parents, which helps grow our self-soothing. You are left without the ability to internally cope with negative emotions. You are forced to find an external way to soothe.

We Don't Like To Feel Bad

So if you are in the aforementioned situation, you are not going to like feeling bad. You feel stuck in emotions because you don't have any internal resources to help you get through them. Leading you to a beer and a banana nut muffin. 

When you experience enough of these situations you can get stuck in the cycle of using a maladaptive coping skill to get through them. Such as shopping, eating, or drinking. 


How do the Other Half See Them?


People who have these internal resources see them as necessary emotions to live. They are things that might not be nice, but they are necessary for growth and change. People rarely change anything about themselves or a situation when they are happy. 

So when you find yourself thinking this way, you know you have the ability to cope and self-soothe enough to not be self-destructive in a time of negative feelings. In what used to be a crisis of confusion and scrambling to feel better, there is a sense of knowing that everything will be okay, this is not forever and down the road, I will learn from this. 

Why do you think that people don't like to feel? Are you apart of any of these groups of people? Comment below!


Apple Baby Food Recipe

Happy fall y'all! It's that time of year again when the leaves are changing the weather is getting colder, and we are getting ready...