High Heels and Hot Deals

Monday, July 21, 2014

Ridiculously Easy Way to Homemade Baby Food

When Cohen was old enough to eat solids I ran out to the store and scooped up every fruit and veggie Gerber made in Stage 1 foods.  Then when he got older I graduated to Stage 2 and then Stage 3.  However at Stage 3 he started to get picky and this was when he turned from loving food to only eating his favorites.  Plus let's get real -- this stuff gets expensive as your kid eats more and more food.  I decided to try a new approach with Lola this time and make all of her purees.  I wanted to expose her to different foods and keep bringing them back to her meals so she wouldn't forget tastes and textures.  After doing a little research I realized how ridiculously easy it is t make baby food and feel kind of embarrassed I didn't do this witch Cohen.  Let me help save you from this embarrassment and teach you how to make your own baby food simply and easily.

You will need:

I'm not kidding.  That's it.
Well plus the foods you are making but I'm telling you it's seriously this easy.  Kurtis bought me a super nice Ninja blender and it has worked just fine.  If you have a food processor that would work just as well too.  Check the dollar store for ice cube trays.  I found mine at Kroger for $1 and I got 2 in a pack.  When buying gallon size plastic bags do buy the ones that are specifically made for the freezer.  Also keep in mind you may want to double bag your food to prevent freezer burn, so double up on the quantities.  

I then make my foods and blend them up until they are the consistency that I want.  Next I pour them into the ice cube trays and freeze.  Finally when they are frozen, I pop the cubes out and store them into labeled plastic bags.  
That's it my friends!
  I started off super smooth the first few months and then keep them thicker as Lola has gotten older.  One suggestion I have is to start by making your purees thicker.  Then you can use breast milk or formula to thin it out before feeding your babe.  Plus if you are mixing these in with rice cereal or oatmeal, you may want them a little bit thicker anyways.  But if you do want to add water while making your food start off by adding just a little bit at a time.

Below are the foods I've made and how I've made them.  I don't blend different flavors together when I'm making the food, especially since you don't want to start off blending foods when you are first starting your little one on solids to help prevent allergies.  My suggestion is you defrost and mix cubes later on so you can try any combination that you want because you'll never know what will kick in that gag reflex!

Butternut or Yellow Squash
--Cut in half and scrape out the seeds with a spoon.  Bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes or until it is soft.  Scoop into blender and blend.

Sweet Potatoes 
--Poke your potato with a fork.  Bake at 400 degrees in the middle of your top rack for about an hour or until your potato is soft.  When cooked, cut in half and take off the skin.  Cut into pieces and blend, using 1/4 cup of water.  Add or decrease the water based on the consistency you are looking to make.

--Cut avocado into pieces and blend, using 1/4 cup of water.
*My avocado cubes have stayed bright green each time I have made and frozen them! No browning at all!

--Cut into pieces and blend, using 1/4 cup of water.  

--Cut carrots into small pieces and place into a pot.  Fill up pot with water until the carrots are just covered.  Cook and simmer on low until carrots are soft when poked with a fork.  Drain carrots and blend.  I usually add a little bit of water to make sure they aren't too chunky.

Apples and Pears
--Cut into small pieces and place in pot filled with water.  Cook and simmer until pieces are soft when poked with a fork.  Place into blender adding a bit of the water.  Blend until smooth.
**I have made both of these with and without the peels and have found that both ways work just fine, it just depends if you want to take to the time to peel your fruits!

--Make sure your peaches are soft and cut into small pieces  Blend until smooth.

Green Beans
--I used fresh green beans and started by cutting off the ends and simmering in water until they were tender.  Next drain and blend until smooth.

--The easiest way I have found to make peas is by using a bag of frozen peas.  I made them up until they were soft and tender, then blended them to the consistency I wanted before pouring them into cubes and freezing them.

--Wash the blueberries and throw them into the blender.  Blend away!

Since I am saving a ton by making my own food I do buy mainly organic fruits and vegetables.  I do suggest you at least follow the Dirty Dozen list and purchase those fruits and vegetables organic, but it's totally your preference.  Before you get crazy and make up huge batches of certain foods, be sure your babe likes them first because that would be terrible if you spent time and money making a huge amount of baby food your kiddo doesn't even like!  But I told you, the whole making baby food process is too easy not to try to do on your own.  I'm no Martha Stewart but if I can do it -- you totally can do it.

Good luck!  Let me know how it turns out!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Lola Girl is 8 Months Old

Oh Miss Lola girl why are you growing so fast?  I'm in disbelief that another month has passed us by again.  Today just so happens to be Mommy and Daddy's 6th wedding anniversary too.  Crazy it has already been 6 years and even crazier that I haven't had an alone vacation with my husband since our honeymoon 6 years ago.
Need to fix that one babe.
But Lola continues to be Miss Social and an absolute joy to our family.  She will let anyone hold her and really only cries when she's hungry, tired or you take something away from her that she wants.  Diva status for sure.  She was the perfect little traveler last week on our family vacation - she ate, slept and handled the car as best as a little baby could handle a 6 hour drive.  It's fun to see how alike yet different Lola and Cohen are with certain things.  

Here are a few things Miss Lola has been up to lately:

Size: Lola continues to fit along with the average size of her age.  We haven't weighed her in awhile but I think she is probably around 17 lbs.  She fits comfortably still in 6-9 month clothing but can still easily wear some 6 month outfits.  I discovered that I do need to update her wardrobe with more 9 month warmer outfits after this freakish July cold spell we had last week.  

Eating:  We are still giving her 4 bottles a day, but she seems to be dropping her ounces and wanting more solid foods.  She takes 6 oz at 7:30, 4.5 oz at 11:30, 4.5 oz at 3:30 and 6 oz at 7:30 before bed.  I'm down to pumping twice a day now but I still have a mega supply of breast milk so I know for sure I'll be able to push her through 9 months no problem and maybe even 10.  I surpassed my 6 month goal mark which I'm happy about, but the whole drying up process is bringing back horrible memories from when I stopped pumping with Cohen.

Lola is a huge fan of the Mum Mums.  I got a box on clearance at Kroger when I was in Goshen and thought I'd try them before I bought a bunch and girlfriend can't get enough!  I'm kicking myself for not grabbing the other two boxes because they were only $1 each.  She also love Puffs, Yogurt Melts and Cheerios and today she devoured the Lil Crunchies, which were a fav of Co's too at this age. I plan on making her food through this month while slowly introducing more textures.  For example I will give her avocado pieces rather than pureed avocado.  I promise I'll share my baby food recipes before I head back to work -- they are so easy moms! 

Sleeping:  The sleeping has been a bit more consistent lately (except for tonight-of course).  Lola will go down around 7:30 and sleep until 7 or 7:30 if not later.  I find the rough nights usually come a few days before she hits a huge milestone.  Lately she's been waking up a few times crying and I noticed her top gums felt hard and she's been chewing her paci really hard up there.   The past week she has also been crying in her sleep so I think we're going through the night terror stage, my absolute least favorite.  As far as naps go she goes down around 9:45 and will sleep until about 11:00 or 11:30 and then go down again around 1:45 and sleep until 3:00 or 3:30.  I'm going to miss my afternoons with Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte when school starts back up in a week.  Nap time with Sex & the City is the best.

Likes: This kid loves to talk.  Not sure where she gets that one...  But she also loves when you have a conversation with her too.  She will squeal and laugh and babble right back.  I'm working on starting a few baby signs with her to see how quickly she will pick up on them.

Lola loves sitting up and watching the world around her.  Whether it's in the stroller, on my lap or hip she is just taking it all in.  It's a big world little girl, eat it up.

My little girl also loves to sit with us at dinner time and eat her little Mum Mum or just enjoy our company.  Some nights we put her in her walker while we eat and she gets so mad if she isn't right up with us being a part of the group.  This kid a social butterfly and loves people.  Once again, I wonder where she gets it...

Dislikes:  The kid hates being hungry.  She is a creature of schedule and I'm totally fine with that.  Yesterday I was making dinner and trying to get her food around and she started crying at 5:30 on the dot.  She will also let you know if her bottle is not ready right at 11:30 or 3:30.  Diva status I'm telling you guys.

Lola has also developed a new cry.  This cry isn't the usual hungry, wet or I want mom cry.  This is a full out -"I will get what I want" cry.  Like when I take her out of the bathtub she will have nothing to do with that.  She will wail her head off until I give her the bottle because she doesn't want to get out.  The other day Sophie gave Lola her phone to hold and when she took it away you would've thought the world was coming to an end.  The second she gave the phone back she was just fine.  Already so spoiled.  I blame her dad.

She had rolled herself under the table and was stuck.  I probably should have rushed to help, but I needed a picture first.  Oops.

Milestones:  Lately she has been getting up on her knees and rocking.  Then she will push herself backwards or roll over.  I need to start making sure the outlets are all covered and get out the other gate to confine her to the living room because it's only a matter of days until the kid starts crawling.  Lola has also started clapping when she's really excited.  At my parents' house last weekend the music was playing and she was so excited she started clapping, it was so fricken cute.  She won't do it all the time but only when she's super excited.

Each and every day this child brings more and more joy into our lives.  While her brother continues to crack us up and keep us on our toes daily, she is definitely more laid back and allows us to conserve our energy for her busy body brother.  You are just sweet as can be my sweet Lola girl.  I wish I could spend every minute of each day with you and your brother!

Friday, July 18, 2014

New Baby Printable Coupons - July

Here's a new round-up of some great printable coupons for you babes and tots!
Click on the picture below to print your coupon.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Meijer Match Ups for the Week of 7/17

I'm in obvious denial that it is already the middle of July.  I head back to work July 31st -- barf-o-rama.  There's no maternity this year so no extended break to look forward to this time. However, I will say I'm more excited to be able to teach a class MY way and not leave it up to a sub...or two in my unfortunate case.

It's a good stock up week at Meijer this week.  Several great deals you can stock up on for the upcoming school year -- it's an 11 for $10 deal!

Check out the following deals:

The following items are part of the buy 10 and get the 11th item free -- each item is $1 unless noted otherwise.
--Dole salad blends

--Betty Crocker Suddenly Salad -- Use $0.50/2 printable.  Final Price:  $0.75 each when you buy 2

--Chef  Boyardee pasta - Use $1/5 (SS 6/15).  Final Price: $0.80 each when you buy 5

--Chex Mix - Use $0.50/2 printable.  Final Price: $0.75 each when you buy 2


--Goldfish crackers -- STOCK UP!

--Hunt's Snack Pack pudding (4 pk)

--Chobani Greek Yogurt - Use Buy 3 and Get 1 Free Mperk.  Final Price:  $0.75 each when you buy 4

--Ol El Paso refried beans, shells or sauce - Use $1/3 printable or mPerk.  Final Price:  $0.67 each when you buy 3

--Cole's Garlic Bread -- mini loaf

--VitaminWater - Use Buy 4 Get 1 free mPerk.  Final Price:  $0.80 each when you buy 5

--Angel Soft toilet paper (4 pk) 

--Colgate toothpaste - Use $0.50 off (SS 7/13).  Final Price: $0.50

The following items are part of the Buy 8 and get $8 off (prices reflect savings):
--Kellogg's Frosted Flakes or Mini Wheats - $1.99

--PopTarts - $1.75.  Use $0.50 off (RP 6/29).  Final Price:  $1.25

--Nutra-Grain bars - $1.75.  Use $1/2 (RP 6/29).  Final Price:  $1.25 each when you buy 2

--Keebler Townhouse or Club crackers - $1.69.  Use $1/2 (RP 6/29).  Final Price:  $1.19 each when you buy 2

--Eggo waffles, sticks, pancakes or bites - $1.39  **I found a $0.75/Bites blinky at my Kroger store.  If you snagged any of these they would only be $0.64!

--Morningstar Farm products - $2.49.  Use $1/2 (RP 6/29).  Final Price: $1.99 each when you buy 2

Here are a few other good deals you don't want to pass up!
--Green Beans - $0.99/lb

--Sweet corn - 10/$3

--Betty Crocker fruit snacks - 2/$3.  Use $0.50/2 printable or SS 6/22.  Final Price:  $1.25 each when you buy 2.

--Aunt Millie's select bread products - Buy 1 Get 1 Free

--Gerber Graduate Lil' Meals or select meals - 3/$4.  Use $1/3 printable.  Final Price: $1.00 each when you buy 3

Any deals you found this week?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Target Deals for the Week of 7/13

Sorry that I'm a few days late with this match up.  My computer decided to go poo poo on me and my husband had to wipe it out..Completely.  For the second time this year.
Yes, there is a  new computer on my Must Get list as soon as I get my normal paychecks back.

I have to mention that a few of the deals are school related because if you are like me then you are starting back to school in about 2 weeks.  So don't get angry at me.  I'm just trying to help a brother out really.

Here area a few steals you must snag on your weekly trip to Target:

--Market Pantry macaroni and cheese - $0.61.  Use $0.50/4 Target coupon (target.com) and 5% Cartwheel deal.  Final Price: $0.46 each when you buy 4.

--GoGo Squeez - $2.00.  Use $1 off (GoGo Squeez's Facebook page).  Final Price: $1.00 -- stock up for the school year moms!

--Keebler Town House Pretzel Thins - $2.54.  Use 50% Cartwheel deal and $1/2 (RP 6/29).  Final Price:  $0.77 each when you buy 2 --- these things are amazeballs my friends!!

--Yoplait Greek Yogurt - $1.00.  Use $1/5 printable or SS 6/8 and $1/5 Target coupon (target.com).  Final Price:  $0.60 each when you buy 5.

--Up & Up tissue - 4/$5.  Use $0.50 off Target coupon (Target.com).  Final Price: $0.75 off -- great for those school supply lists moms!

--Up & Up wipes - $1.61.  Use 5% Cartwheel deal and $1/2 Target coupon (target.com).  Final Price:  $1.06 each when you buy 2

--Up & Up baby food pouches - $0.89 (2nd stage ones).  Use $1/5 Target mobile coupon.  Final Price: $0.69 each when you buy 5 -- great for on the go!

Okay, now go to Target!

Any deals you found this week?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Our First Vacation as a Family of 4

One of my most favorite memories are the family trips we would take to our grandparents and their house in the country.  Kurtis and I both decided we need to be more adventurous and start making these traditions with our own little family.  My aunt and uncle have a cottage up in Northern Michigan in a small town north of Traverse City, so we decided to take a trip up there for a long weekend. Originally my cousin, her husband and their son were going to join us but we ended up having to switch weekends and it was her weekend to work. But hopefully next year they'll be able to join us!  Luckily we were smart and split the trip up by a stop in Goshen, our hometown. Traveling with a baby and toddler is rough so I wasn't about to do 8 hours in the car with them.  Overall we had a really nice time. The weather was gorgeous when we got there Thursday, decent on Friday and overcast on Saturday. The temps were all in the mid 70s the entire weekend which made for great sleeping weather but not so nice lake weather. We checked out local shops, restaurants and sites and even took Cohen bowling for the first time which made his entire weekend. Lola was an absolute champ, napping and sleeping so well and just hanging out and watching the scenes. Neither kid was having the 5 hour drive from my parents' house to the lake which once again reaffirmed the necessity to break up the trip. I'm so glad I got to spend this time with my family and hope we can make it a tradition for more summers to come!

Now for a picture overload...

**Side note -- excuse Cohen's mop of hair right now.  Kurtis insists on growing it out.  I'm giving him until the start of school and if it hasn't grown to a length I like or goes behind his ears, I'm cutting it.  Mom says.

Have you enjoyed any family vacations this summer?

Monday, July 14, 2014

Vacation All I Ever Wanted

So we are headed home for a wonderful family vacay in Northern Michigan.
And my computer decided to take a full on dump on me.

Therefore my husband is going to try to "reformat" it tonight.  Not going to lie, I'm hoping I can hit the Apple store later to upgrade...

Vacation update coming soon!
I hope.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Keep On Moving with Stayfree #FreeToMove

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FreeToMove  #CollectiveBias

My life these days is nothing short of chaos.

Let me explain...

I truly enjoy summer.  The weather, activities, sites and smells -- I literally could take it in all day long.  Being a teacher, the summertime is even better because I get to spend it at home with my family.  So after ten long months working full time, my days now turn into life as a Stay at Home Mom which is probably just as hard if not harder than my job as a teacher.  But this summer is different because I have a mobile baby, a wild toddler and a teenage step-daughter all under the same roof.  I am all about keeping these kiddos busy just as much as they are all about keeping me on my toes as well.  My nonexistent alone time continues to vanish in front of my eyes more and more each day.  Therefore I don't have time to worry about being protected, especially each month when it comes to my feminine care products. I need to be just as alert and on the go like any regular day as well as taming my wild household without having to worry about my "personal" problems.

Exhibit A: The Wild Three Year Old Boy
Okay for real, I love this kid more than words but this summer has been rough for us in a few ways.  Let me preface this by saying he's three.  Moms with children of this age are nodding their heads simultaneously and saying, "Oh..." at the same time.  He has to be busy ALL. THE. TIME.  Like yesterday when I'm picking up Lola's toys in the living room, he says, "Heyyyy Mom!" and I turn around and he looks like this:

Then not even an hour later he calls for me to see his new trick and he looks like this:

Basically I can't blink my eyes without having him get in trouble.  So this summer I have been doing everything I can to keep him busy.  Which means more time away from home at places like the park, zoo, museum or even library.  Once again leaving myself few opportunities to worry about myself and the fear of having to continuously run to a public restroom.
I know.  Gross.

On a recent trip to Walmart to pick up some summer necessities (you know, sunscreen, bubbles, sidewalk chalk, ice cream), I decided I needed to find the right protection that was going to allow me to enjoy my kiddos and our summer outings without having that worry constantly nagging my brain.  Stayfree has always been a brand that I could trust so I knew their products would be the right fit to offer me that protection as well as allow me to enjoy my busy family time.  Stayfree Ultra Thin Regular and Overnight will comfortably keep me protected both during the day and at night without those worries.  Plus you can earn a $5 Walmart eGift card when you buy any three Stayfree, Carefree or o.b. products so I made sure to stock up!

I plan on doing everything I can to enjoy these last four weeks of break before I have to head back.  I'll be honest, there have been many days where I have felt like this too:

But one of the best parts of my summers are making fun memories with my babes.  That's what I love the most.