Vanilla Pumpkin – Homemade Baby Food Blog


Homemade Baby Food Recipes – Pure as babies

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

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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

Pants-Free Potty training in three days or less

From BabyCenter, one of my favorite web parenting resources, this article appeared about the Diaper Free Toddlers Program: Potty training in three days or less | BabyCenter . Although I think the name is a little misleading, since the program suggests that baby go “bare-bottomed” for  3 months following the 3 day “initiation” period.

Diapers and training pants are okay for nap time and bedtime, but if you rely on them more often you’ll undo your potty training progress, Fellom says.

“If you really want this to work, it only works naked,” Fellom says. “There are absolutely no pants in the house for the first three months.”

Think of the 3 days as a kick-off to pottty training I suppose. When she’s old enough for this program, I might give it a try – my toddler is going to LOVE being diaper free for 3 months!

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How to Grow Your Own Potatoes | Home Gardening from Foodie Mama, a Foodie Mom Social Network

Spring is officially here – and what better way than to start planning your garden? 

How to Grow Your Own Potatoes | Home Gardening from Foodie Mama, a Foodie Mom Social Network.

Filed under: Around the Play Yard, Grow Your Own, Potato, Reading

Outgrown: How to save your kid’s favorite t-shirt – Parenting on Shine

Here’s a great tip on making your kids’ clothes go a little further from Outgrown. Outgrown: How to save your kid’s favorite t-shirt – Parenting on Shine.

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Third Frame Mobile – Kids Finger Painter

Cool little iPhone app Kids Finger Painter by Third Frame Mobile is an easy to use paint program for kids. It even has etch-a-sketch type properties in that if you shake the iPhone or iPod Touch, the canvas clears.

screenshot 2 - color chooserscreenshot 4 - stamp chooserscreenshot 1 - painting canvas

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Mommy, where does meat come from?: Part 1

If you’ve been following this blog, I’m terrified of the day I explain to Baby K where meat comes from. So I asked HARO, my followers on Twitter, and followers of Vanilla Pumpkin to weigh in on how to best answer this question: Where does meat come from? I searched Amazon looking for books like “My Beautiful Mommy” “A Terrible Thing Happened” or “I Miss You: A First Look at Death” that tactfully explain the concept of where food comes from, but didn’t find any.

Due to the great response I had when I asked this question, I’ll post in two parts. 

From Parenting Experts:

Julie Freedman Smith, Parenting Power

Firstly, parents don’t always have the answers or don’t feel confident in trying to explain something to the child so stalling is important.

1. Thank the child for asking the question: “That’s a great question!” “I’m glad you asked that.”

2. Find out what they know: “Where do you think meat comes from?” “What have you heard about that?”

When we find out their perspective, we can clear up any misunderstandings and find out what they are really asking.

3. Explain that you are not sure how to answer but that you’ll find out and get back to the child: “I need to check with Daddy about that – let’s talk about it on Saturday”

So you now know where your child is coming from and you have supported the child in asking good questions rather than freaking out so much that the child doesn’t ever want to ask you anything again.

The content used in the answer is each parent’s choice. We recommend giving facts and in very small doses. Only answer the child’s specific question. Don’t give a multi media presentation because that is overkill. If you answer the direct question with a fact, that might be all the child wanted to hear. OR the child might ask another question and then you take the next step.

When we get involved in answering our children’s questions, it means we can also inject our values so after giving the facts you could then add:

“In our family, we believe that … and that is why we choose to only eat…” – Julie Friedman Smith, Parenting Power

From Parents:

I’ve always told my kids the truth… and that some animals are raised for food, others for pets. But we live in a rural area, so they know a lot of farm kids and go to the 4-H fair….. I guess you COULD just say ‘from the butcher’s shop!’ =) – Deirdre

My toddler asked this question a few months ago. I told her that some people like to eat animals. She was horrified. “People EAT animals?!” she said in disbelief. Then she asked WHY? I said because some people think they taste good. I then explained that I’m a vegetarian–that unlike her Dad I don’t eat animals. I explained that I don’t like the taste of meat that’s why I eat soy. No judgement –just a matter of fact. Later, when she’s older, I’ll teach her about the importance of knowing where your food comes from & treating animals humanely and all that. – Jen Matlack

I took my nieces out to eat and my 4 year-old was eating chicken. She said, “Where does chicken come from? Is it like chicken at Granny’s?” Uh oh.  She’d just made the connection between the chicken she was eating to the chickens running around on her grandmother’s farm.  I said, “Yes. They are both the same.” She thought about it and then said, “Really?  [Pause]  Mmmmm….” Not a big deal! – Hali Chambers

I don’t know if this will help but we told our daughter that all food comes from the ground.  As she got older, it’s become quite a family joke. On family road trips, when we see a cow, she’ll say, “Remember Mom, all food comes from the ground,” and we all laugh. 🙂 – Erin Peacock

I would simply be honest and let the little ones decide for themselves. I was very young when I decided to be a vegetarian, mainly for the reason that I could not bear to eat animals, since I naturally loved them (as most children do).

It’s only later as I became a certified nutritionist that I learned that a vegetarian (vegan, in my case) diet is extremely healthy.

It’s not a surprise that we call food “beef” instead of “cow” or “pork” instead of “pig” — we naturally find eating animals offensive. If you ever visited a slaughterhouse, you would stop eating meat in a minute.

For some reason, we deaden our hearts to the suffering of animals all in the name of food.

As people become enlightened about the environment, it becomes all too clear that the amount of energy it takes to raise and kill one cow could be put toward feeding countless other.

I say: tell the little ones the truth and let them decide.

My son at 6 was a very picky eater – one of the few foods he would eat was chicken fingers. So he ate them alot – I would guess 4 to 5x a week? One day, he asked if chickens “laid” chicken fingers the way they do eggs.My wife explained, that no, that was the chicken itself. He was very unhappy with the answer, and he swore off eating animals forever (he loves animals, like many boys).  I didn’t think much about it, I really assumed it was a “phase.”
He has been a vegetarian ever since (about a year and a half).  Incredibly, he is alone in his efforts – no one else in our family is a non-meat eater!  He is an amazing kid! – Cotter Cunningham

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DHA: Your thoughts?

When I first started making Baby K homemade baby food, I scoured the baby food grocery aisle in search of ideas for recipes. Baby food can’t be that hard to “knock-off”, I thought, as most of the products had only a few main ingredients.
I noticed, and I’m sure you have too, that several brands have DHA fortified product lines. So I wondered, like any concerned parent, if by making my own baby food, I was denying baby of “support in brain and eye development”. Currently, The American Academy of Pediatrics does not have a statement concerning DHA additives due to insufficient data and evidence. DHA occurs naturally in algae, fatty fish such as salmon and halibut, organ meat, fish oil, and small amounts in poultry and egg yolks.

I consulted pediatrician Lara Zibners, MD, who is board-certified in both pediatrics and pediatric emergency medicine. Dr. Zibners is also the author of forthcoming parenting book “If Your Kid Eats This Book, Everything Will Still Be Okay: How To Know If Your Child’s Illness or Injury is Really an Emergency.” (Hatchette Book Group, June 17, 2009). Here is her advice regarding DHA-fortified foods:

Fatty acids are important for an infant’s brain development. That we know. And we also know that breast milk is a great source of DHA and similar fatty chains, which is one of the many reasons that pediatricians almost universally recommend breastfeeding whenever possible. But science has failed to convince us that a healthy child who is receiving an age-appropriate diet benefits from fatty acid supplementation in a meaningful way. Not having served DHA-fortified strained peas is not the reason Johnny failed his long division test. Keep the cash and save it for a math tutor. – Lara Zibners, MD

What do you think?

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Filed under: baby, Family, food, Guidelines, News, nutrition, Reading

Mommy, where does meat come from?


I’m not looking forward to answering this question. Although I can’t wait to teach Baby K about growing produce, as an animal lover, it’s sometimes even hard for me to think about where my meal comes from, let alone explain this to a naive toddler. So I’ll be working on a post with advice, anecdotes and thoughts about how to approach this one. Anything to share? Please comment!

Photo courtesy Flickr user tj_scenes.

Filed under: Family, Reading

Around the Play Yard: January Roundup

Each week or so I’m posting my favorite baby-related finds from around the web:branchorganicmbr

  • I usually don’t include products in the roundup, but I had to share this mint and brown organic onesie from My Baby Rocks.
  • Making your own Vanilla Extract, from Bethany Actually. Obviously you wouldn’t use this in your baby’s food, but nice gift, nonetheless.
  • Ok, another product website, but Sticks and Stones site has really inspired me to look more closely at the environment around me and create one of these photo alphabet projects for Baby K. This family run business specializes in photo gifts, with photos of letters taken in nature and architecture. Check it out, this would be a cool project to start as our babies start to learn their letters. I’ll post mine as it progresses!
  • I’ve collected several newpapers from this year and 2008, mainly election and inauguration news for to show Baby K all of the historical events that took place in the year that she was born and during her first year. How to preserve them? This article from Columbus Dispatch tells how. Whatever you do, don’t laminate!
  • Gardening season is just around the corner. Have you thought about Growing Your Own? As in food and herbs? It’s much easier than you think, visit Seeds of Change to get started. More on organic gardening for baby and your family to follow.
  • The recall on peanut butter products seems to grow every day. Stay up to date using the FDA’s searchable site.

Filed under: Around the Play Yard, baby, Best Of, DIY, Family, Gear, News, Reading, Recalls, Vanilla, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


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