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Homemade Baby Food Recipes – Pure as babies

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!

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

Coconut Baby Oil

I’d never thought about making my own baby oil before, but Vanilla Pumpkin reader Kristina sent in this recipe for her Coconut Baby Oil, and I’m sold! This was so easy, and Kristina says that it even helps clear up her son’s eczema. Thanks for submitting your idea Kristina! If you have a suggestion or recipe, please send to vanillapumpkin@ymail.com.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 2 tbs. grated coconut buter
  • 1/2 cup castor oil

Instructions

  1. Mix ingredients together in a heat resistant container
  2. Either microwave on low, or submerge container in hot water to melt coconut butter and oils together
  3. Stir well, and allow to cool

Yields 8 ounces.

Filed under: baby, Family, No-Cook, , , , , , ,

The End of Handmade?

I’ll admit, I haven’t been following the CPSIA story as closely as I should have, and at face value, the CPSIA aims to protect ALL of our children from the negative effects of lead and phylates, which no one would argue the merits of. At a closer look, the law seems to create a very expensive myriad of testing by the end users, notably the host of handcrafters and artisans of children’s products. Many of these entrepreneurs have been successful because their attention and care in selecting high quality, organic components. Many, if not all, are at risk of failing because the cost of testing each component of their craft will make it impossible to survive.

I apologize that I don’t remember where I saw this example, but to illustrate the absurdity of some of the key points of this law: If a work at home mom makes decor for nurseries, she would have to individually test each component of her craft: ribbon, fabrics, yarn. This law puts the responsibility of testing on the end user, and the 10,000 other crafters, instead of the manufacturer. Why shouldn’t the responsibility of safe products be assured from the manufacturing standpoint?

Today, bloggers, Etsy shopkeepers and artisans unite to spread the word about the effects of the CPSIA.

This post written by Etsy shopkeepers chichiboulie and winklepots:

As parents and concerned citizens I’m sure most of us at one time or another have been confronted with the question of lead poisoning. But have you asked yourself what your government is doing to protect your children from lead contained in toys? The answer? They’re banning toys, taking books from schools and libraries, hurting low income families, killing entrepreneurial spirit and risking putting the economy in an even greater depression than we’ve seen in decades. I’d like to introduce you to their solution: the CPSIA.

The CPSIA stands for Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, a new set of laws that will come into effect on 10 February, 2009 and will impact many, many people in a negative way. Make no mistake, this is very real. View it for yourself. If Forbes, the American Library Association and numerous other media are paying attention, perhaps you should too.

How will these new laws affect you? Well, here are a few examples:

To the Parents of Young Students:
Due to the new law, expect to see the cost of school supplies sky rocket. While those paper clips weren’t originally intended for your student to use, they will need to be tested now that your 11-year-old needs them for his school project. This law applies to any and all school supplies (textbooks, pencils, crayons, paper, etc.) being used by children under 12.

To the Avid Reader:
Due to the new law, all children’s books will be pulled from library and school shelves, as there is no exemption for them. That’s okay though, there’s always television. Our children don’t need to learn the love of reading after all.
Article from the American Library Association http://www.wo.ala.org/districtdispatch/?p=1322

To the Lover of All Things Handmade:
Due to the new law, you will now be given a cotton ball and an instruction manual so you can make it yourself since that blanket you originally had your eye on for $50 will now cost you around $1,000 after it’s passed testing. It won’t even be the one-of-a-kind blanket you were hoping for. Items are destroyed in the testing process making one-of-a-kind items virtually impossible. So that gorgeous hand-knit hat you bought your child this past winter won’t be available next winter.

To the Environmentalist:
Due to the new law, all items in non-compliance will now be dumped into our already overflowing landfills. Imagine not just products from the small business owners, but the Big Box Stores as well. You can’t sell it so you must toss it. Or be potentially sued for selling it. You can’t even give them away. If you are caught, it is still a violation.

To the Second-Hand Shopper:
Due to the new law, you will now need to spend $20 for that brand new pair of jeans for your 2-year old, rather than shop at the Goodwill for second hand. Many resale shops are eliminating children’s items all together to avoid future lawsuits.

To the Entrepreneur:
Due to this new law, you will be forced to adhere to strict testing of your unique products or discontinue to make and/or sell them. Small businesses will be likely to be unable to afford the cost of testing and be forced to close up shop. Due to the current economic state, you’ll have to hope for the best when it comes to finding a new job in Corporate America.

To the Antique Toy Collector:
Due to the new law, you’d better start buying now because it’s all going to private collection and will no longer be available to purchase. “Because the new rules apply retroactively, toys and clothes already on the shelf will have to be thrown out if they aren’t certified as safe.” http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123189645948879745.html

To the American Economy:
Already struggling under an economy that hasn’t been this weak in decades, the American economy will be hit harder with the inevitable loss of jobs and revenues from suppliers, small businesses and consumers. The required testing is far too costly and restrictive for small businesses or individuals to undertake.

To the Worldwide Economy:
Due to this new law, many foreign manufacturers have already pulled out of the US market. You can imagine the impact of this on their businesses.

If you think this is exaggerating, here is a recent article from Forbes
http://www.forbes.com/2009/01/16/cpsia-safety-toys-oped-cx_wo_0116olson.html

And for those of you prepared to be stupefied and boggled, The New Law
http://www.cpsc.gov/about/cpsia/cpsia.html

Did you know? If this upsets or alarms you, please react. This link leads to contact information for the CPSC and lobbying information to support component level testing.

Also, a  link to change.gov on the subject. Save Handmade.

Filed under: Family, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Top 3 Organic Jarred Baby Foods

Together, with the discriminating palate of my 9 month old, Baby K, we put over 25 mass produced, organic, jarred baby foods to the test. All of these were available at our local Target or Meijer, range from stage 1 to stage 3 foods, and include fruits, vegetables, grain blends, meats and dinners.

Aside from the few that made the top three, there were several that were tasteless and bland, and then several that were downright cringe-inducing. Watch for my post on the Worst 3 Jarred Baby Foods in the next week or so. Hey, we’re on baby time here. Without further ado, here they are, no in particular order, the top 3 mass produced, widely available organic baby foods.

Earth’s Best Peach Oatmeal Banana Fruit and Whole Grain Combinations

We loved Earth’s Best Peach Oatmeal Banana Fruit and Whole Grain, fromEB Peach, Banana, Oatmeal Earth’s Best “2nd Fruit and Whole Grain Combinations” line. Its home-style fruit and oatmeal blend was a familiar taste, but offered a fruity unique combination of peaches and banana, one that I would not have thought to try (but will soon – I’ll keep you posted!).

Gerber Organic Apple and Strawberry

Gerber OrganicFrom Gerber’s Organic 2nd Foods Fruits line, the Apple and Strawberry recipe is just the right blend of apple and strawberry flavors. Neither flavor dominates the taste, and it doesn’t taste overly sweet, unlike some of the other fruit blends we tried. More on Gerber Organic Apple Strawberry.

Gerber Organic Butternut Squash and Corn

2nd_organic_butternut_squash_and_cornAgain, from Gerber’s Organic 2nd Foods, the Butternut Squash and Corn is such a sweet blend of vegetables. Baby K didn’t like corn alone, but paired with the butternut squash in Gerber’s organic baby food, she couldn’t kick her little feet fast enough. (See, that’s one of her ways of showing approval) More on Gerber Organic Butternut Squash and Corn.

Look for my Top 3 Baby Food knockoff recipes in the next few weeks as well as the three commercially jarred baby foods that we won’t try again. Until then, Merry Christmas!

Does your baby have any favorites? Please comment below!

Filed under: Best Of, food, Reviews, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , ,

Eco-Friendly Shoes for First Steps

 

When Baby K started pulling up and cruising around our furniture last month, my heart skipped a few beats when I realized it was time for her first pair of shoes. A trip to our local children’s shoe store brought back memories of my childhod trips to the Stride Rite store. Brinkman’s in Muncie carefully measured Baby K and brought out a whole variety of first walker shoes. It was no surpise that a pair of Stride Rite’s Early Walkers fit her as if they were customized just for her.

Stride Rite Natural Motion System in Puffling

Stride Rite Natural Motion System in Puffling

Stride Rite’s Natural Motion System early-walker shoes are much more than just adorably chunky. Designed using Stride Rite’s signature Natural Motion System, the flexible soles allow baby to confidently walk following their natural stride path, yet provide the protection that their developing feet need. The soft, leather lining is breathable and the insole offers baby well-cushioned stability. Baby K has both the Kit (brown and pink) and Puffling (sugar pink) styles, and both are equipped with oversized, easy to manage velcro straps that combine sturdiness and baby friendly delicacy. The big opening and handy back tab makes Stride Rite’s Natural Motion System Early Walker shoes quick and easy to put on – but not as easy for little hands to pull off.
Stride Rite is even joining the ranks of big companies using more earth friendly materials. The NMS early walkers have outsoles made of recycled rubber, natural stitching, and use water-based inks for the details and logo. They even come in a cute little recycled box that is now home to an assortment of rattles, blocks, and the occasional Baked Cheesey Cracker.
With Baby K sporting her new Stride Rites, I’m able to watch her toddle around with the same confidence that my mom had when she took me to buy my first pair of Stride Rite shoes over 25 years ago.

Filed under: baby, Reviews, Shoes, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Baked Cheesey Bites

As with many of the foods I make, I love the variety that many of them provide. Try substituting different types of cheeses for the Cheddar, such as Parmesan, or Monterey Jack.

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz (1/2 pound) shredded mild Cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 5 tbs softened butter
  • 1 tbs parsley or chives (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in large mixing bowl, mix well
  2. Cover dough tightly and refrigerate for one hour
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  4. Roll out dough to about 1/2 inch thickness
  5. Use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes, or for younger babies, slice through dough with a knife to make bite-sized finger foods (about the size of Cheerios)
  6. Place bites on parchment paper covered baking sheet
  7. Bake for about 18-20 minutes, depending on size of bites. Bites should be golden brown
  8. Allow to cool, and store in an airtight container

Filed under: Baked Bites, Finger Food, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , ,

Chicken, Brown Rice and Peas Medley

This recipe is for older babies learning to eat chunkier food and meats, using the familiarity of peas and brown rice. You can even substitute any of the ingredients, see below for details.

Peas by Gaeten Lee (Flickr)

Peas by Gaeten Lee (Flickr)

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium sized boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1 cup shelled peas (or frozen, salt free peas if fresh aren’t available)
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1/2 clove chopped garlic (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Steam or boil chicken until tender
  2. Finely chop chicken
  3. Steam peas on LOW for about 20 minutes, or until tender, reserve excess water
  4. Combine cooked brown rice and peas in blender or food mill
  5. Blend until desired consistency is reached, may need to add milk, formula or excess water to thin
  6. Combine rice and peas mixture, chopped chicken, optional garlic and mix well
  7. Serve or pour into ice cube trays to freeze

The great thing about this recipe is that it’s so versatile, you can substitute any of the ingredients with a similar one, for a completely different taste.

Chicken: Turkey

Peas: Broccoli, Carrots, Sweet Potatoes, Green Beans, Leafy Greens, Cauliflower

Brown Rice: Quinoa, Oatmeal, Barley, Whole Wheat Pasta

Filed under: baby, Brown Rice, Carrots, Chicken, food, Freezer Friendly, garlic, Grains, Medley, nutrition, Pasta, Proteins, Quinoa, Spinach, Sweet Potato, Turkey, Vegetables, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Apple Mango Medley

This is a freezer friendly recipe with apples and mangoes. Ripe mangoes usually don’t require steaming or baking since they are naturally soft.

Ingredients

  • 2 medium sized apples (red delicious, Macintosh or another sweet variety)
  • 1/2 cup chopped ripe mango
  • 2-3 tablespoons of apple juice or water

Instructions

  1. Wash, peel and core slice apples
  2. Steam apples on low for about 20 minutes, or until soft
  3. Combine steamed apples with chopped ripe mango and water or apple juice
  4. Blend until desired consistency is reached
  5. Serve or pour into ice cube containers, cover and freeze overnight

Enjoy!

Filed under: Apples, baby, food, Freezer Friendly, Fruit, Mangoes, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , ,

Building Cathedrals

I received this email from a co-worker today, and you may have already seen it, but I feel compelled to share, as I really identified with carving tiny birds in beams that most will never see. To me, it’s all the little details that I pour into building my cathedral that make me proud of my role as a mother. Enjoy.

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I’m on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. 

Inside I’m thinking, ‘Can’t you see I’m on the phone?’ Obviously, not. 

No one can see if I’m on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. 

I’m invisible. The invisible Mom . Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this? 

Some days I’m not a pair of hands; I’m not even a human being. I’m a clock to ask, ‘What time is it?’ I’m a satellite guide to answer, ‘What number is the Disney Channel?’ I’m a car to order, ‘Right around 5:30, please.’ 

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England . 

Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. 

I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. 

I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, ‘I brought you this.’ 

It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe . 

I wasn’t exactly sure why she’d given it to me until I read her inscription: 

‘To Charlotte , with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.’ 

In the days ahead I would read – no, devour – the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: 

No one can say who built the great cathedrals – we have no record of their names. 

These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. 

They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. 

The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything. 

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, ‘Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.’ And the workman replied, ‘Because God sees.’ 

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. 

It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, ‘I see you, Charlotte . I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you’ve done, no sequin you’ve sewn on, no cupcake you’ve baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can’t see right now what it will become.’ 

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. 

It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. 

I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. 

The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree. 

When I really think about it, I don’t want my son to tell the friend he’s bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, ‘My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.’ That would mean I’d built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, ‘you’re gonna love it there.’ 

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we’re doing it right. 

And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women. 

Filed under: Uncategorized, , , , , , , , ,

Lentil and Veggie Medley

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound dry lentils
  • 1/2 pound vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans
  • 1 small onion

    Lentils

    Lentils

  • 3-4 cups of water

Instructions

  1. Bring water to a boil, and simmer lentils for about 1 1/2 or 2 hours
  2. Drain lentils and let cool
  3. Finely chop onion and saute wite a tiny bit of olive oil
  4. Steam choice of vegetables or vegetable medley until very soft
  5. Combine lentils, vegetables and onion in blender, food mill or processor
  6. Blend until desired consistency is reached, you may need to add more water
  7. Pour into ice cube trays, cover and freeze (makes about 4 ice cube trays)

With this recipe, there are so many options, just use the ratio of 1 cup of lentils to 1 cup of vegetables. You can combine lentils with a medley of vegetables, lentils and carrots, lentils and broccoli, the possibilities are endless.

Filed under: baby, Carrots, food, Freezer Friendly, Legumes, Lentils, Medley, nutrition, Vegetables, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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