Vanilla Pumpkin – Homemade Baby Food Blog

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Homemade Baby Food Recipes – Pure as babies

A Hurried, Sneaky Chef Mom’s Dream

First, I want to make a quick apology that I haven’t been posting much lately. Recently I lost my job (thank you economy!) and am working on some freelance projects to bring in a little income. My goal is to continue posting for chefs of both toddlers and babies. That said, onward!

While perusing Walmart a few weeks ago (yes I peruse Walmart occasionally since I don’t typically YoBaby Meals, Apple and Sweet Potatoshop there), I saw they are carrying the new Stonyfield Farm’s YoBaby 3-in-1 Meals. Yes, sneaky chef has arrived to the dairy case. The packaging boasts, “yogurt + fruit + veggies” and is certified organic. It comes in a 6 ounce container, which is the perfect size for my 2 year old. Basically the meals are plain yogurt with the fruit and veggie puree at the bottom. Stir it up and you’ve got a fruity and creamy delicious yogurt meal. As I’ve mentioned before, she has turned into an incredibly picky eater, and refuses to eat anything green, let alone green AND leafy.

Currently, the YoBaby Meals are available in Apple and Sweet Potato, Pear and Green Beans, and Peach and Squash. (Any of these combos sound familiar, baby food makers?) Little K likes any of them, but loves the Apple and Sweet Potato.

Not to be fooled by clever marketing, one question remains, how much fruit and vegetable puree is actually in this little cup of wonder? I emailed Stonyfield Farms and got a friendly and very timely response:

Thanks for reaching out to us regarding YoBaby Meals! Great to hear that your family is a fan of our latest baby yogurt 🙂

In regards to your question, our current 6oz cup contains 2 tablespoons of fruits & vegetables, which is considered to be one serving for children 0-5 years old. (combined, not each).

Considering Little K will eat the entire cup with no hesitation or fight, I’ll take 2 tablespoons for fruits and veggies ANY DAY. Plus it’s pretty nice that YoBaby Meals cost about $1.

Let me just throw this out there: Dear Meijer, I usually shop at your stores but you’re not currently carrying YoBaby Meals. I’d love it if you did so I didn’t have to go to Walmart for a single item on my list. If you could fix that, it would be great, thanks! Love ya!

In all seriousness, do you shop at Meijer? Tell them you’d like to see YoBaby in their stores by sending them a message.

Disclosure: I have not been compensated, received payment, or accepted any product or service for this review. Please see this blog’s disclosure policy in full here.


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Filed under: Apples, Around the Play Yard, baby, Best Of, Butternut Squash, Dairy, Fruit, Green Beans, No-Cook, Peaches, Pear, Reviews, Sweet Potato, Vegetables, Yogurt, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Link: Big List of Toddler Art Gift Ideas

I’m busting it trying to find low cost, personal gifts this year for my family and close friends. I came across this list at The Crafty Crow, and thought it was worth sharing.

Since my shelves and refrigerator are filling up with tiny masterpieces, what better way to cut some clutter and gift them? Homemade gifts are so much more personalized that store bought in my opinion. I’ve already matted and framed some of her art, but many of these ideas are new to me.

I’ve also purchased a few canvasses from Hobby Lobby during a 50% off sale and let her paint them. I could go on for days about how much she loved painting these. I picked out colors that matched her room and let her paint, using one color at a time. We let each color dry for about a day so the colors didn’t get all muddled. After she was finished I sprayed it with a matte acrylic spray and we hung it in her room. She is super proud! I’ve had several family members ask for her to paint a canvas for them in the colors of certain rooms in their homes. More Christmas gifts done!

I love the idea of making a portfolio book, maybe in a few years when she’s amassed a variety of projects, and she can see her progress. Read the full list here from The Crafty Crow.

Photo credit to Lodewijk van den Broek

Filed under: Around the Play Yard, Best Of, Homemade Crafts, links, , , , , , , , , ,

Homemade Sidewalk Chalk

Oh my gosh I wish I had found this post from Mad Maggie Designs earlier this summer! Sidewalk chalk is a home run at my house! I’m thinking I may start making some now so we’re stocked up for next year, of course there’s always hope that there will be a few more nice October days…

Mad Maggie Designs: Homemade Sidewalk Chalk.

Someone just suggested this could make a great gift idea, I’d love to hear more!

Filed under: Around the Play Yard, DIY, Family, links, , , ,

Link: No more food fights from BabyCenter

These recipes are geared more toward older children (older than babies at least), but this article is definitely worth a look, since there is much to be learned from the strategies used in the creation of these recipes. I especially love the White Bean Puree, I’ve used it as a bagel spread, quesadilla filler, sandwich spread and sneaky addition to macaroni and cheese. No more food fights: The Recipe, BabyCenter

Filed under: Around the Play Yard, baby, links, Reading, , ,

Homemade, DIY Vegetable Stock

So many dishes benefit from good, quality vegetable stock and how gratifying would it be to be able to use your own homemade stock? By saving and freezing unused veggie scraps, peelings, leaves and stalks, you can quickly accumulate enough to make your own stock.  This post by The Kitchn has some useful suggestions and tips for this project including vegetables to use and what not to use:

Vegetables to use: Onions, carrots, and celery are the key ingredients in vegetable stock, but many other vegetables can add depth and flavor. Wash and save roots, stalks, leaves, ends, and peelings from vegetables such as…

Additionally, The Kitchn has a great post detailing the recipe for using your new stockpile.

After using The Kitchn’s recipe and trying out a few others, I’ve found that one of the most important things to remember is to make sure you don’t overcook your stock or the flavors will turn bitter. I’d also suggest adding a bay leaf and a few peppercorns to the simmer for a more complex taste. Feel free to experiment as depending on your vegetable mixture, you’ll get a different flavor. Good luck!

Filed under: Around the Play Yard, baby, Bay, Carrots, Celery, Corn, Family, Freezer Friendly, Herbs and Spices, Medley, Recipes, Tomato, Vegetables, , , , , ,

Digital Photography for Moms

Most moms I know are passionate when it comes to capturing their families’ memories, especially all of those  “firsts” that are happening so quickly right now. I’ve been trying to improve my photography skills as well as Photoshop skills and recently I started reading  Digital Photography for Moms – a blog dedicated to photography and Photoshop basics writted for moms (by a mom!). As much as I’d love to take the time to learn f-stops and aperture settings, sometimes all I have time and patience for are the basics – and you’d be surprised at how easy it is to take a decent photo and turn it into a portrait. Here are a few other mom photography links to share as well:

Filed under: Around the Play Yard, Best Of, photography

Foodbuzz Growth

On somewhat of a sidenote, Foodbuzz, of which Vanilla Pumpkin is affiliated, announced  today their astronomical growth of 1000% over the past year. Foodbuzz is a hub for foodies, both amatuer and professional and has been great for Vanilla Pumpkin’s success. If you’re a memeber of Foodbuzz, let’s connect! This morning’s press release:

2,000 FOOD BLOGGERS FLOCK TO FOODBUZZ FUELING 1000% ANNUAL GROWTH AND CREATING THE THIRD LARGEST ONLINE FOOD PROPERTY

San Francisco – April 23, 2009: Foodbuzz announced today that is has surpassed 2,000 food bloggers in its online food community. These partner food blog websites, when combined with the foodbuzz.com “hub” website, reached 6.7 million people per month according to third-party traffic measurement service Quantcast. This ranks Foodbuzz as the third largest online food property after less than two years of operation. (See Quantcast Media Planner.) “Our goal is to be the number one online food community by promoting the talent, enthusiasm and knowledge of food bloggers around the globe,” said Ben Dehan, founder and CEO of Foodbuzz. Of the top three properties, Foodbuzz is the only true community that combines social networking for foodies with food content search for everyone. “Both our monthly users and page views grew over 1000% in 2008, and we are on pace to reach the number one spot within the next 12 months”, said Mr. Dehan. Foodbuzz digs deep into the “long tail” of food publishing to discover and promote thousands of small, yet high-quality, food bloggers. “We are providing a platform for food bloggers to pursue their passion in a community that nurtures and encourages the sharing of quality food and dining content daily,” said Ryan Stern, Director of Publishing. Foodbuzz offers these bloggers a compelling solution for building their traffic, connecting with like-minded foodies, and making money. Foodbuzz has exclusive advertising relationships with partner bloggers which provide brand advertisers the reach and share-of-voice they need to effectively engage the food community. About Foodbuzz Based in San Francisco, Foodbuzz is a global online food community of over 2,000 food bloggers connected by the foodbuzz.com “hub” website. In the past month, this community reached 6.7 million people and 33 million impressions according to Quantcast. Foodbuzz.com provides a full suite of social networking features enabling foodies to interact and share their food experiences. With over 900,000 high-quality food blog posts in its searchable database, foodbuzz.com is an essential resource for everyone interested in exploring the world of food. Foodbuzz is a 2009 Webby Awards Honoree!

Filed under: Around the Play Yard

100k playspaces in 100 days

How great would it be to have an online resource of playgrounds and playspaces online at your fingertips?!?

KaBOOM! is parterning up with non-profits across America to encourage families to get out and play. Their web site is full of resources and reasons why we should be encouraging our children to play:

Too many kids are missing one of the most important childhood experiences—play. It can help kids grow to be healthy, happy, and successful through an experience full of creativity, exploration, physical activity, friendship, and adventure. The experience is play.

KaBOOM’s current major initiative is to map all of the playscapes in America, and has partnered with Julianne Hough to achieve this goal. Julianne is donating $1 to one of nonprofits listed partering with KaBOOM to build this resource. You can joing one of the “teams” and for each playspace you add, Julianne will donate $1 to your cause. It’s a win-win!

Filed under: Around the Play Yard, Family, News, , , , , , , ,

Where is the line?

On this morning’s TODAY show, Matt Lauer spoke with the executive director of an anti-smoking ad running in New York that portrays a little boy panicking and crying real tears because he’s lost sight of his mother. The commercial takes place in a train station: VIEW HERE

When he loses sight of his mother, his look of puzzlement turns into abject fear as tears roll down his face. A voice-over then says, “This is how your child feels after losing you for a minute. Just imagine if they lost you for life.”

The ad’s director insists that although the little boy, Alexander, did shed real tears as his (real-life) mother disappears into a crowd of 150 actors and production personnel on the set, no harm, no foul. She says that the child’s anxiety only lasted only a matter of seconds and had no lasting effect on the child.

End Times

This story reminds me of the controversy in 2006 over photographer Jill Greenberg’s End Times series, where Greenburg  photographed toddlers and children in distress, and was intended as a reflection of Greenburg’s frustration with the Bush administration (if I remember correctly – please correct me if I’m wrong). Greenburg manipulated these children to cry by offering them candy and then taking it away.

Regardless of whether or not the commercial is an effective anti-smoking deterrent, my opinion is that under no circumstance should a child be manipulated into feeling fear and confusion. What do you think? I look forward to your thoughts…

Filed under: Around the Play Yard, Family, Reading

13 Toddler Easter Egg Filler Ideas – Lil’ Duck Duck — Lil’ Duck Duck

Easter is just around the corner (April12) and I’ve been thinking about how to make it a fun experience for my one year old. I came across this post from Lil’ Duck and had to share:

13 Toddler Easter Egg Filler Ideas – Lil’ Duck Duck — Lil’ Duck Duck.

Filed under: Around the Play Yard, baby, Family, ,

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