tips

Organizing My Kitchen

New Organized Kitchen

After saying “Wow, I really need to get this kitchen more organized!” about a million and a half times, I finally did it! Well…mostly my pantry! I’ve really been trying to keep our kitchen more organized in general because it is a huge pet peeve of mine to have things all over the counters all of the time (even though things tend to accumulate on the counters anyway). However, the main thing that needed some major organizing was our pantry! Oh man…opened boxes all over, things piled, baby cereal and snacks all over the place, extra canning jar boxes scattered all along the floor…just a disaster! I feel like it is so easy to throw something back in the pantry when you’re done with it instead of keeping it orderly so I finally decided to completely reorganize to make it much easier to keep things looking nice.

New Organized Pantry

I bought some OXO containers to keep boxed snacks, chips, cereal or whatever in. You can get them on Amazon, Target and most places but I was actually lucky enough to stumble upon them at TJMaxx for much cheaper, score!!

I also used mason jars to put baking stuff in such as cocoa and corn starch. Not only does this keep it more organized and fresh but it is way more cute than all of the random containers! I then used chalk labels and a permanent chalk pen to label them.

New Organized Pantry

I used our old flour/sugar canisters for pasta. We use a LOT of pasta so it is nice to have it right there in a convenient container. I put additional different types of pasta boxes in a pull out tote (which can’t really be seen towards the inside of the pantry) as well as another pull out tote with small things like taco seasonings, tuna, etc. Below that I used baskets to organize jars of things such as coconut oil, cooking spray, etc. I stuck canned good in towards the inside ends since we don’t use those as much.

On one hand, I wish I would have taken a “before” photo for you but on the other hand, it is probably best that I didn’t 😛

New Organized Kitchen

 

For some reason I am obsessed with chalk board stuff! So awhile back I got this small little chalk board that has a little stand on it to put on our kitchen counter. Sometimes I decorate it for the holidays, but much of the time I like to write our supper menu on there!

I love the colorful look of all of our cookbooks so I never liked them hiding away in the cupboard. I found this wire basket to display them in, plus they’re easier to grab!

I hope this can give you some inspiration! It’s helped me a ton and is so much nicer to look at 🙂

 

 

Whippersnappers

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What Kind of Baby Food Do You Make?

babyfood2After posting a variety of ideas and recipes lately on making your own homemade baby food, I wondered…what kinds of ideas do you have?

 

Any good recipe ideas?

Things that work well together, things that don’t?

Tips?

Funny stories of feeding your baby?

 

Share your ideas! I love getting ideas and tips from others 🙂

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My son (he is almost 10 months already!) has branched out and it starting to eat a lot more foods of different textures and even eating pieces of food that my husband and I are eating. It is becoming more and more fun now that he is not just simply eating purees. He is starting to eat sandwiches (given in bites), green beans, rice, noodles and other cooked veggies. It also makes things sooo much easier when trying to go out to eat at a restaurant. He keeps much more occupied when we can feed him some things that we are eating as well. The other day my husband let him try lemon…ooooh man did he make quite the sour face!! To my surprise, he wasn’t upset though. In fact, he kept leaning in for more! But would make the same head-shaking sour face every time and then smile!

 

Again, I’d love to hear any of your stories or ideas for homemade baby food! Comment!

 

 

Whippersnappers

Tips to Making Homemade Baby Food

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I’ve been making all homemade baby food for a few months now. I started making homemade baby food since my son turned 6 months (He will be 9 months this Wednesday…wow where does the time go, right?!). I love it for many reasons. First of all, my son loves it! I think that is first and foremost the most important thing right there. Have you ever smelled or tasted baby food from a jar? Most of them are pretty disgusting! Nothing against anyone who uses jarred baby food…I just prefer this method myself. Secondly…it’s way cheaper, and I mean WAY! Okay, there may be a few exceptions here, such as the mega expensive and out-of-season blueberries I have been buying but that is besides the point 😛 Take for example, I just bought a huge butternut squash the other day for well under $2 (I can’t remember exactly). And it made 9 servings of baby food! Considering that most baby food jars or especially the food pouches cost over $1 as it is, this is saving a lot of money. Another reason to give you motivation for making your baby’s food homemade is that it is much more fresh! They are trying to find more ways to make jarred baby food more natural such as the Beech Nut brands that say there are no additives but I don’t think that it gets any healthier or more nutritious than making it yourself homemade. Only then can you know for sure what exactly is in your baby’s food. My last main reason for making my son’s food homemade is that I enjoy it! I would have a whole lot less motivation to do it if I dreaded it every time I had to make a new batch of food. I love making it and coming up with new recipes to try for him, so it is really easy to make it fun too!

Are you thinking of trying to make your own baby food? Here are some tips I can give you that I have learned over the last few months that can hopefully make things a little bit easier. Like I said, I have been doing this for a few months so I am by no means any sort of expert in this but I can at least share what I know and hope that it helps! Not to mention, you really don’t have to be an expert to make your own baby food…it is that easy!

 

First Starting Out – Around 6 months (You can follow what your pediatrician suggests, but my son’s suggested foods at 6 months and he had started cereal at 4 months)

  • Start out with fruits and veggies that will be easy on your baby’s tummy such as:
    • avocado
    • banana
    • green beans
    • peas
    • carrots
    • squash
    • sweet potato
    • apples
    • peaches
    • pears
  • At first only make single purees like these and wait until your baby has tried a variety before mixing them.
  • Only introduce one fruit or veggie at a time and give the same one to them for at least three days. This is to make sure they have no allergies to that particular food.
  • Bananas are the EASIEST food to give your baby and perfect for on the go. You can simply mash it with a fork and it doesn’t have to be cooked. This is one of my easy go-to foods for my son.
  • Avocados can also simply be mashed with a fork. My son was funny about texture at first so I had to blend them, but I am now to the point where I can just mash them up along with a banana.
  • Your baby may not like the new texture of eating solids right away. If they don’t like a particular fruit or veggie, try giving it to them with a little bit of baby cereal on the spoon as well.
  • Don’t give up right away if your baby doesn’t like it! Sometimes it just takes awhile to get used to the new texture, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t like the taste. For example, my son haaaated green beans at first. He would eat everything else pretty well, but the green beans…nope! I will say, they were a grittier texture. I didn’t give up though, I continued to offer the green beans for a few days in a row, then offered a new veggie and then came back to the green beans again. He eventually got used to them and now loves his green beans!
  • You can add breastmilk when making a puree instead of water for added nutrients.

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After trying a variety of fruit and veggie purees – 7 to 9 months

  • You could now start making combinations of foods
  • Try adding spinach or kale to a veggie for added nutrients
  • Add some new fruits and veggies into your baby’s diet such as:
    • cantaloupe
    • potatoes
    • blueberries
    • mango
    • eggplant
    • papaya
    • asparagus
  • Some combinations that I have found to work really well are:
    • banana-avocado (my son’s favorite and SO easy to simply mash together with a fork!)
    • blueberry-pear
    • Green bean-kale
    • Kale-potato-peas
    • Spinach-sweet potato

Find more great combinations on my Homemade Baby Food page!!

baby food

 

As baby gets older they will start learning to pick things up and feed themselves. I started giving my son puffs at 6 months. It was a bit early for him but by 7 months he was picking them up and putting them in his mouth like a pro! Now he is starting to do that with more things and liking that he can feed himself. I will give him cut up bits of noodles, green beans, cooked carrots, melons and recently started with cheese (which he is not yet a fan of!). I’ve also started giving him yogurt and cottage cheese (make sure it is full fat, NOT the fat-free kinds) for snacks. Just remember that every baby is different and this is what worked for us. You can always talk to your child’s pediatrician to check with suggested ages to start a certain food.

Check out my Homemade Baby Food page for all kinds of recipes and how to prepare them! Whether you are just getting started or simply looking for tips, good luck to you and I hope that this helps if even in a small way!

 

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Whippersnappers

Tips for Traveling With a Baby

travel tipsTraveling can always be hectic and traveling during the holidays adds a whole new level of stress. Add a baby to the mix and it’s just a whole different story! This year we are traveling to visit my side of the family for Thanksgiving. My whole family lives in Iowa and considering we live many states away in South Carolina, we were definitely going to fly.

We have an 8 month old and have taken him on an airplane once when he was two months and we were moving. He did wonderful but this time he is more awake, way more mobile and definitely needs things to keep his attention. Thankfully the flights weren’t going to be long ones but I knew that it had the potential to go very, very wrong. I have been on many flights where I hear a screaming child the majority of the time and it is not too fun. I really didn’t want to be the person with the screaming child!

Here are some tips that helped us along the way!

1) Bring tons of things to do!

Even if you think it is too much, bring it just in case. My son kept dropping toys and depending on where he dropped it, I didn’t necessarily want him putting it back in his mouth :/ So it was nice to have extra toys.

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2) Bring even more SNACKS!

This was a lifesaver for us. I brought baby puffs, yogurt creamies and teething wafers. We also bought some bananas in the airport since it is one of his favorite snacks. I packed an empty sippy cup and filled it with bottled water in the airport. The snacks are what really helped him when he started to get fussy on the plane.

3) Sanitize areas!

Wipe down areas that your baby will likely touch on the plane. There are sooo many gross germs on a plane and it is so easy to get sick. I used wipes to wipe down the window area, tray tables and arm rests. I also had “pacifier wipes” (found them at target and are safe for disinfecting things that baby puts in their mouth) for cleaning off toys or sippy cups if he dropped them.

4) You can bring breastmilk or formula through security!

Just be prepared, they are going to inspect it so you will have to take it out. I also believe it must have a hard ice pack if using a cooler, I don’t think you can use the gel ones. If you need to use milk on the plane but don’t have anything to warm it up, ask the flight attendant if there is anything they can do and it is likely that they can help. The first time we flew, they were able to warm up his bottle in hot water.

5) Bring a stroller!

Especially if you have a long layover!! We have a large jogging stroller that we wouldn’t have been able to take all the way to the gate anyway so I ended up buying a small cheapo umbrella stroller before our trip and I am glad I did! We were able to wheel him around in it and keep him entertained until we went on the plane. Then just checked it at the gate!

6) Nurse on the plane!

Nurse on the way up and before landing, this helps with their ears popping. Thankfully, my son didn’t seem to have a problem with his ears but I have heard of many people who do this and it helps. Sucking on a pacifier could also help.

7) Bring an extra onesie, pants and/or burp cloth!

You never know the kind of mess they are going to make! Luckily this time my son didn’t make any messes except for dropping puffs on the ground. However, the first time we flew with him at around 2 months old he had a huge blow out and of course, of all times…runny poop starts running out of his diaper and onto my lap only a few minutes into the flight!! Thankfully we got it wiped up with wipes. Did I mention to bring WIPES?!

travel tips

8) If possible, plan travel around bed time or nap times!

The first time we flew with our son it was a 7 hour flight (man were we dreading it!) but it was a completely overnight flight. Since he was already sleeping through the night he slept…THE WHOLE FLIGHT! I couldn’t believe it! Then this last time we went during naptime. Since he was on our lap this time I thought no way he would sleep but to my surprise, he still fell asleep on my lap during his usual naptime!

9) May be useful to get their own seat! 

If you’re traveling by plane and the flight is long then it may be worth it to pay for an extra seat for your baby if you can afford it. Babies under the age of 2 can sit on your lap but if the flight is a long one, it is much easier to bring an infant carrier or car seat along for them to sit in. If traveling by car, take breaks to let them stretch out.

10) Most importantly…make the best of it!

Traveling with a baby may feel like forever but it will be over before you know it. Try not to worry about the people cussing you out for your baby’s cries because most likely, they will be in your shoes someday as well!

 

We took lots of pictures and had a memorable experience traveling with our little guy. He loved looking out the plane windows as we took off, had a blast bumping up and down while we ran through the airport (as we almost missed our second flight!) and really enjoyed looking at all the unusual things he doesn’t see on a day to day basis. Traveling with a baby isn’t easy, but it really just takes some planning and organizing! Hope this helps with your travels!

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Travel Safely!