Thursday, October 27, 2016

What's Coming Up: November Preview

November is a historically busy month for us and this November won't be any different. Here's a little preview of some of the posts I'm excited about for November.

-Our anniversary

-Little One's six month appointment - We'll find out how she's growing and get more shots.

-More Baby Led Weaning - The adventures and tips continue.

-Preparedness checklists - More practical checklist to help your family get prepared.

-The 10 Apps that We Use Every Day


What else would you like to see in November? And how is your month shaping up?

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Baby Led Weaning: Week 2

We've just finished week two of baby led weaning. It's still working great for our whole family and I'm excited to see how things progress. As you can see, we've had a lot of variety over the last week (and some pretty adorable pictures!).

Here's what we tried this week:

Peppers - These were a great addition. Any color bell pepper can be cut into the perfect shapes for Little One's hands and they were firm enough to stay together but soft enough for her to "chew" on.

Ground beef - Despite her face in the upper right corner there, this was also a hit. This one is a little bit harder for her to eat. We cooked it without any seasoning in a little patty shape. The thing is, ground beef crumbles easily but she liked to suck on it and we needed to start adding iron to her diet.

Bananas - We haven't quite figured this out yet. Her favorite method seems to be getting some on her bib and sucking on her bib. Every time she picks up a banana, no matter how we cut it, she just squishes it her hands. More experiments with this are coming soon.

Carrots - We didn't quite get the right shape here but she seemed to like the taste and texture.

More pickles - We thought maybe the first time was a fluke so we gave her more pickles at football this Sunday. She went nuts again. She absolutely loves them still. It's so funny because I just started liking pickles this year. That's exactly why we're going with Baby Led Weaning, so she likes almost everything.

We've learned even more lessons this week. Here's a quick run down of some of what we learned during our BLW adventures.

1. Shapes are the most important thing. If she can't grab it in her tiny hands and still get to the food, it won't work. Baby will get mad and frustrated, which is the opposite of what you want during BLW.

2. Food can upset her stomach, which can upset her sleep. We have decided we kind of just need to deal with this one, she's getting enough sleep and the uncomfortable tummy doesn't last long. It seems like she's just getting used to her body digesting something other than breast milk.

3. Patience. We always jump to taking her out of the chair if she loses interest for a second. We're learning to be more patience and let her take her time when exploring new foods.

4. Did I mention in my last post to never try BLW with a tired or hungry baby? Maybe I just need to take my own advice more but this is a key factor for success.

Have you tried Baby Led Weaning? If so, what was your baby's favorite?

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Southern Jiffy Corn Pudding

Last week I shared our favorite chili recipe and in our house, you can't have chili without cornbread. Here's our favorite cornbread recipe, it's easy and delicious.

1/2 cup butter
1 egg
1 cup sour cream
1 (8 1/2 ounce) boxes Jiffy cornbread mix
1 (14 1/2 ounce) cans creamed corn
1 (14 1/2 ounce) cans whole kernel corn, drained

Melt butter in a casserole dish.
Mix in egg and then all remaining ingredients.
Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

We do add a little bit of sugar to ours too, just a couple of teaspoons.

Here’s the original recipe link.

5 Halloween Tips from a Fellow Halloween Hater

Call me grumpy or lame but I've never been a fan of Halloween. When I was little, I was a witch almost every year because I didn't care to put time into another idea. Last year, we didn't even get candy.

But things are different now. With the arrival of Little One, I knew that eventually have to get on board with Halloween. I can't ruin her's just because I never liked it. I figured I mine as well start this year.

Here are my tips for surviving Halloween from a Halloween hater.

1. Don't spend a lot - If you already dislike a holiday, spending a ton of money on it won't help. Halloween can be expensive between costumes and candy. Find ways to make costumes out of things you already have at home and get creative.

2. Be yourself - I don't mean for Halloween, unless that's what you want to do. But stay true to who you are and don't apologize. You don't HAVE to like Halloween or even dress up.

3. Try to get in the spirit - Think about it, for Christmas we get trees and watch movies. Try to do the same for Halloween or any holiday that's not your thing. Getting into the spirit might just do the trick.

4. Create traditions - Again, we have Christmas traditions. Make some for Halloween, like going to the pumpkin patch or carving your pumpkin.

5. Fake it til you make it - My husband has a theory that if you try a food you hate enough times, you'll like it. I think it can be the same way for holidays and other things you don't like. So, participate in Halloween and fake it until you like it.

I'll be taking my own advice as best I can in hopes that I'll like Halloween by the time Little One can remember it so she can have great memories.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Our Weekend To-Do List

We have a busy weekend ahead, part fun and part work. I thought I'd share our weekend to do list, mostly keep us accountable.

- Write thank you notes - This HAS to get done. I'm so far behind on our thank you card for all the gifts we got before and after Little One was born! Side note: Which cards should I use?

- Meal planning - This is a pretty standard weekend to-do. Hoping to try something new from my Pinterest board.

- Grocery shopping - Where there's meal planning, there's grocery shopping. For a small town, we have a lot of grocery stores and they're all pretty great. Plus it's another chance to wear baby girl.

- Harvest Festival - There's a harvest festival for families this weekend. We're excited for families, food trucks and adult beverages. It will be cool but not raining for the first time in forever and we all have flannels ready to go. Look for a post and pictures from this soon!

- Tummy Time - Little One is anxious to crawl so there's lots of tummy time and mat time in our house to help her get there.

- Clean - More specifically, organize the junk and paperwork in our house and get it all put away. And then dust.

- Trim the dogs nails - Our big dog has the longest nails. We've been looking for solutions for his nails and just got a new tool to try out. We'll be trying to cut his nails to more comfortable place this weekend.

- Blogging - And of course, blogging is on my list.

What's on your weekend list?

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Does Having a Baby End Your Social Life? Tips for Maintaining a Social Life as a New Parent

When you hear where we live, you might not think there's much to do here. But we've found it's quite the opposite. We really enjoy our small town and have found tons of things that we love to do.

Did that all come to an end when we had Little One?

Absolutely not. It might take a little bit more planning, forethought and flexibility but you can have a social life even with a baby. We bring her along every where.

Here are my tips for how to maintain a social life with baby.

1. Be open - Be open to doing different things and trying out new stuff. You might think, there's no way that will be fun if we have a baby with us but give it a try. And try new social activities, like going for walks, going to parks, etc. When I was on maternity leave and before the weather turned here, we took walks almost everyday. It was a great way to get out, be social and include Little One.

2. Plan ahead - Double check your diaper bag, make sure you have a plan for baby's food and bring toys to keep them entertained. A little bit of planning ahead makes any outing easier.

3. Meet other families - No one is more understanding of a fussy, crying or loud kid in a restaurant than another family. Share your outings with other families and it will make a big difference.

4. Remain calm - Your baby will ruin their clothes, poop in the car seat and throw their toys on the ground. We've learned to laugh it off.

5. Earlier & shorter - We try to do everything earlier than we used to and our outings are a bit shorter.

6. Baby wearing - Get yourself a good carrier and wear your baby whenever they'll let you. Little One loves it (if she's fed and not too hot) and it's when I can have the most adult conversations and I have my hands free.

7. Other people - If you live in a smaller town like us, people are very friendly. We are asked questions about Little One all the time. It's just part of the deal and we've met such nice people who were just curious about her. Grandparents are usually the most curious.

How did you maintain your social life with your children?

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Favorite Recipes: Award Winning Chili

We've had a few rainy, cold weeks here in North Idaho. We don't mind this type of weather and it probably bodes well for a snowy winter. Around this time of year we always turn to hearty meals and chili is one of our favorites.

We've tried a few chili recipes but they were never quite right until we found this one.

We used ground beef but we plan to try a few other proteins in there this winter. It's an easy recipe that comes out great with plenty of leftovers.

1 lb ground venison or 1 lb ground beef or 1 lb ground turkey
2 onions, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 tablespoon jalapeno, finely chopped
1 (14 ounce) cans Mexican-style tomatoes ( like Rotel)
2 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
2 tablespoons cumin
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika ( smoked if you can find it)
1 (14 ounce) cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (14 ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup water

sour cream
cheddar cheese
green onion

Cook ground meat with onions and peppers in dutch oven.
Drain excess grease and add tomatoes, seasonings, and water, bring to a boil.
Add beans, cover and simmer 1-2 hours.

Serve with toppings.

Of course, we didn't have chili by itself. There's another recipe coming soon to accompany this chili!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Baby Led Weaning: Week 1

Little one turned 6 months old last Tuesday. I can't believe how fast the time has gone. We've happily stayed exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months and now we're introducing Baby Led Weaning.

Baby Led Weaning, like exclusively breastfeeding, isn't for everyone. I knew it was right for our family because my husband and I cook mostly non-processed foods, try to eat a big variety and both work from home. This means we can let LO eat almost everything we're eating and we have the luxury of time.

LO has had a lot of adventures in eating so far this week, here's a recap.

-Apples - Big hit and a snack she can enjoy with mom.

-Pineapple - Messy but also a pretty big hit.

-Sweet potatoes - She's seems like she could take or leave these but the shape and texture are great.

-Chicken - Loved it the first time. We kept it simple with a little bit of cumin, sauteed in a pan.

-Pickles - This one was a shock and the biggest mess. During our normal Sunday football outing, I offered her the pickle from my plate. She LOVED it and kept going back for more. Her and I ended up covered in pickle juice but it was worth it.

Things to expect with Baby Led Weaning:

1. Most people, especially grandparents, won't get it.

2. Don't try solids when they are sleepy or really hungry, it won't work.

3. Diapers change quickly, that's been quite the adventure.

4. Adjusting how and when you eat meals to include a baby who goes to sleep at 6:30 pm is a process.

5. Meal planning is important.

My husband is a fantastic cook and is open to eating just about anything. He's helped me get past most of my pickiness and we're both committed to raising the least picky kids we can. When someone mentioned Baby Led Weaning, we were both excited.

Stay tuned for more Baby Led Weaning adventures with the little one!

Monday, October 3, 2016

Are Preppers Crazy?

There are so many show, movies and even news stories about "survivalists" or "preppers" today. They're always shown as crazy, unshaven, dirty people hidden away in their bunkers. It begs the question, are preppers crazy?

My answer: yes and no.

I say yes mostly because we're all just a little bit crazy. Right?

But for the most part, no. When I started working at an emergency preparedness company, I was foreign to this concept. I had the same impression that the movies, shows and newscasts give off. But then when I really sat down to think about it, it makes total sense.

In fact, one of my favorite conversations to have a over the last few years is explaining why preparedness makes so much sense.

Let's look at it logically.

There's going to be a storm, a power outage, a gas shortage, an emergency of some kind in your life. You don't need to think on the big scale in order to believe in preparedness. You just need to stop and think in realistic terms.

When you break it down in those terms, does having a plan for food, water and electricity really sound crazy?