Adventures in Baby Food Making // “White” Sweet Potato

So… this weekend I went to a baby shower and my husband did the grocery shopping. I had decided that next in my baby food line up would be sweet potatoes, so I asked him to pick some up while he was there. When I got home from the baby shower, Brynlee was in a pretty good mood, so I decided I would go ahead and get them done. When I took them out of the bag and washed them, I thought they looked a little light, but I had never made anything sweet potato from scratch before, so I was hoping that once I baked them they would get that signature orange color. However, after an hour in the oven, they were still light!!! After asking Landon if he was sure that he had gotten sweet potatoes and he said “yes, that’s what the sign on the said”, I decided it was time to turn to my trusted friend, Google! This is when I found out that there is such a thing as a “white” sweet potato!!! Please tell me I am not the only one who didn’t know this… Since I had already baked them, I didn’t want them to go to waste, so after doing some research I found out that they were still safe to Brynlee to eat, however, since the white sweet potato is not as sweet as the orange one I was so used to, sometimes babies don’t take to it quite as easily. I still plan on making the orange sweet potatoes, but I figured I might as well give these a shot to see how it went.

Anyway on to the process:

First give them a good wash.

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Then, using a fork, poke a bunch of holes in them and wrap them in tin foil.

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Then bake them at 400* for about an hour. I tested them by using a hot mitt to apply pressure to make sure they were soft.

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When I took them out, I let them sit for a few minutes so I wouldn’t burn my fingers as much…

Here’s my little helper!! So cute!!!

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Once they were cooled I used a spoon to scrape the skin off, this was a much easier method that scooping the “meat” out.

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I attempted using a blender to puree this, but mine kept getting stuck… I have the Cuisinart Baby Food Maker/ Bottle Warmer so I decided to give that a try. While I did have to puree in a couple of batches, it worked like a charm!!! It was easily able to get the sweet potatoes to a very smooth consistency.

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Once it was to the consistency I wanted (you can add a little water if it is still too thick), I divided it into the ice cube trays. I didn’t have enough this time and had to use a little container for the rest of it, so I think it is time to invest in a few more… It will make it easier to make multiple items in one day anyway. Then into the freezer they went and 24 hours later I removed them and put them in a labeled zip lock bag like the others…

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So far, everything I have made has been extremely simple, it hasn’t taken very much time and is inexpensive. Plus I have really enjoyed being able to make food for Brynlee. I haven’t done any fruit yet, so I will have to try that out sometime soon, not sure if that will prove to be more difficult or not, but I will let you know!

October Recap

Yes, I know it is almost the end of November… but I decided that was not a good enough of an excuse to not do an October Recap, especially since so many fun things happened.

In the beginning of October we went up to Prescott to spend the day at the Mortimer Family Farm Pumpkin Festival with family and friends! We had a blast!

Brynlee’s cousin Malorie got to ride on a pony and while we didn’t let Brynlee ride, I wasn’t about to miss out on this photo op!

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We found this little set up and decided this was the perfect place to get some pictures of the two cousins together:

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And of course some of Brynlee:

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My mom and cousin Jon thought it would be fun to try out zip lining:

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And we thought this giant pumpkin and the entrance of the festival was the perfect background for a fall family photo:

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Later in the month, for Halloween, I made these cute little treats I saw on Pinterest for all of Brynlee’s day care friends:

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We carved pumpkins and wrote “My 1st Halloween” on Brynlee’s in permanent marker. I still haven’t been able to get rid of it, so it’s our last piece of Halloween décor that is still out… who knows, it might make its way into the Christmas decorations too! How long will pumpkins last?

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Landon and I both took Halloween Day off, we had to take Brynlee to her first Cranial Tech appointment for the DOC Band in the morning and decided that we would just make a day of it. Of course we had to get some pics of Brynlee in her cute Halloween outfit:

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And then later in her Halloween costume:

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I made a flower costume for Lola to go with Brynlee’s Bee costume that I made, but as I’m sure you can imagine, she wasn’t too thrilled to be wearing it and this was the only picture we were able to capture of the two of them together:

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October was a lot of fun and as Brynlee is getting older it is going to make these holidays even better! I already made her outfit for Thanksgiving and can’t wait to put her in it!

Brynlee // 4 Months

One of the reasons I started this blog was to keep track of Brynlee’s milestones so that one day she can look back on them. So far… I have not been very good at it. So while she is already 5 months, I still really wanted to get her 4 month update out there and I will get the 5 month update up as soon as possible.

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Brynlee has grown so much since she was born. Because she was a month early and due to some complications, the doctors were initially worried that she wouldn’t gain weight and grow like she needed to. She was only 5 pounds 4 ounces when she was born and by the time we left the hospital she was down to 5 pounds. However, Brynlee was food lover from the start and started gaining weight right away (HUGE RELIEF!!!) And since then, she has continued to impress us and her doctors with how well she is growing and how strong she is!

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Weight: At her 4 month Well-Check she was 13 pounds 9 ounces.

Health: She has been congested basically ever since she started daycare, but that could also be attributed to allergies since it is that time of year here. I use a saline solution and an aspirator when it gets too bad and sometimes have her sleep in her MamaRoo instead of flat on her crib. That doesn’t happen too often and usually one night of that will do the trick.

Sleep: She has been sleeping in her crib for a month now and doing really well. She sleeps flat on her back with her arms and legs splayed out; she is a very hard sleeper. It’s actually kind of funny the way she sleeps! She usually goes to bed between 8:30-9:00pm then I wake her up around 6:00am to get ready to go to daycare. Sometimes on the weekends she lets us sleep in until close to 7:00am. She sleeps through the night pretty much every night. Every once in a while she will wake herself up if she is congested, but falls back to sleep very quickly. I am so thankful she is such a great night sleeper!!! As for napping, she’s not one to take a 2-3 hour nap in the afternoon. Usually she will take a 30-45 minute nap midmorning then a couple 20-30 minute naps throughout the afternoon and even takes one around 6:30pm.

Social: Brynlee is a social butterfly!!! She loves being around people and loves to people watch. She is happiest when she can just sit and observe what is going on around her. When I was on maternity leave I very quickly learned that Brynlee got bored sitting at home all of the time and I would try to run at least one errand a day so that we could both get out of the house .She was always a much happier baby when that happened. The ladies at her daycare absolutely love and call her their angel baby because she is so sweet and doesn’t cry very often. They say she just likes to be held and to watch the other kids play. She smiles all the time now, especially when anyone talks to her. I love it when she smiles, it’s the most beautiful thing in the world!!

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Diet: After talking with her pediatrician, we decided it was time to introduce baby first foods for one meal a day. I know a lot of people don’t generally start their babies on food until they are 6 months old, but Brynlee was showing a lot of signs of being ready and it has gone really well thus far. We feed her in the evenings, right before bath time (which is perfect because she is quite the mess!). She’s had rice cereal, butternut squash, pumpkin and carrots so far. We are following the 3 day rule, we feed her the same thing 3 days in a row to make sure she isn’t allergic. For the most part Brynlee really likes eating food. There have been a few times that she really hasn’t wanted to eat it, but we just try to follow her cues and give her what she needs. I think that adding this meal in the evenings has helped her to sleep through the night better. In addition to the baby food, she has one 6 ounce bottle in the morning before I take her to daycare, two while she is there, one more when Landon picks her up, then has her baby food and we usually feed her a 4 ounce bottle right before bed. This schedule has been working out really well for us and for her. But again, we just pay close attention to her cues to see what she needs.

Clothes: Brynlee is still in 0-3 month clothes. She was in newborn until she was over 3 months old, so I expect her to be in this size for a while too… She does wear 6 month pajamas though. The 0-3 month ones are too short and if they are footed she can’t stretch out very well. But all the rest of her clothes are fitting her well. Actually she is 5 months old at this point and I would say that they are just finally fitting correctly; they have been a little loose up until this point.

Crying: The only time Brynlee really cries is when she gets overtired…  It doesn’t happen too often, but when it does, it is a challenge to get her calmed down enough to sleep. She fusses a little when she is hungry, but we’ve gotten pretty good with knowing her schedule that it usually doesn’t escalate to a full blown cry.

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Likes: She loves her play mat and watching the mobile on it turn. Pretty much anything that plays music or makes sounds will get her attention! She LOVES snuggle time (which is my favorite too!) and she is getting much more active. We are currently working on her hand eye coordination with grabbing her toys and things. She loves to eat and anytime she sees her bottle she gets excited! Again she loves to observe so when we walk around with her, even just at home, or stand in front of a window she absolutely loves it!

Milestones: She started rolling over from her front to back shortly after she was 3 months old and she continues to do that constantly. She is getting really strong at tummy time and can hold herself up really high and for long periods of time. She’s getting better at grabbing things, although sometimes it takes a few tries. She smiles all of the time and even laughed a few times which just might be the cutest thing ever!!! I feel so blessed to be able to call Brynlee my daughter and cannot imagine my life without her.

Adventures in Baby Food Making // Pumpkin

Since it is pumpkin season I just knew I had to take advantage of it a make some pumpkin baby food! I am a lover of EVERYTHING pumpkin (ahem… Pumpkin Spice Latte… ahem) and so I am hoping that Brynlee follows in my very pumpkin-y footsteps. Making pumpkin baby food was basically exactly like making butternut squash, so I feel like the process went a little faster this time around since I knew what I was doing.

First I picked up a Pie Pumpkin

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Then I cut it in half and removed the seeds

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And just like the butternut squash, I placed them face down in a baking dish, added about 1 inch of water and baked it at 400* for about 1 hour. I tested it was done by taking a spoon and pressing it against the skin, when it feels soft, you are good to go!

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Once I took it out of the oven, I used spoons to scrape the “meat” out of the shell.

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This time I decided to try my food processor instead of my blender to see if there was any significant difference. Both worked just fine, I would probably lean more towards using my blender in the future since there are less parts to clean… but either will get the job done.

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Once it was pureed I put it in the ice cube trays and put those in the freezer to set. The pie pumpkin didn’t produce nearly as much food as the butternut squash did, but it was a pretty small pumpkin so I was expecting that. I might have to do another one before the season ends.

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Once they were frozen, I put them in labeled zip lock bags and will just thaw them as I need them.

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When I first starting telling people that I wanted to make Brynlee’s baby food, I got a lot of “are you crazy!!!!” looks and people telling me that it will take too much time. But I have to say so far it has been extremely easy… I usually make it while I am doing something else in the kitchen such as clean or make breakfast or dinner. I plan to up my production and make a few things each week to make sure I have a good variety. So far, I have only made things on the weekends, but I think I could easily get it done after work too. I’ll try it out and let you know how it goes!

State String Art

String Art is nothing new in the crafting world… but after seeing the State String Art all over Pinterest, I fell in love and knew I had to make my own! I thought it would be perfect on a gallery wall to break up all of the pictures and loved that I could put a little heart right where Gilbert is on the map.  I wanted to share the process I used with you, this is an easy fun craft that can be done in an afternoon, start to finish, I think it took less than 2 hours. It would also make a fun homemade present if you need an idea for the upcoming holidays.

Supplies:

State Map

Wood

Finishing Nails

Thread

Scissors

Hammer

Tape

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First, I Google imaged Arizona State map and found one that was around the size I wanted, printed it, and then cut it out. I also cut out a little heart where Gilbert was. Then I headed to Home Depot and found some wood in their scrap bin. I had the hubby cut it to the correct size and I painted it brown, I figured that would be a good background color.

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I centered my map on the piece of wood and taped it down. Next the fun begins… (insert sarcastic emoticon here) Start nailing your nails, fairly close together (I just eyeballed it) all along the perimeter and around the heart. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT do this while the baby is napping!!! It is very loud and even my husband was getting annoyed with the sound by the time I was done…

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To start the stringing process, I just tied a tiny loop at one end and hooked it on the nail I wanted to start with. Then just start looping your thread around the nails alternating from the state outline and the heart. This part goes fairly quickly and you will have to loop multiple times around each nail that is part of the heart while you work your way around, but just try to keep it fairly even and it will turn out fine!

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*Sorry for the blurry picture. not sure what I was doing here…

Once you are done, tie of the end and cut the tail of the thread as short as possible to hide it. Attach a bracket to the back if you want to hang it on your own gallery wall, or it would also be cute on an easel on top of a console or table.

Finished

Who doesn’t love a Baby Shower??

I love throwing parties and will try to find any excuse to have one! Of course, since Brynlee was born, I haven’t been able to have them quite as often, so when something like a baby shower comes around, I am all in!! My office recently went through a baby boom, it seems like that always happens, but this time around, one of my good friends, Crystal, is having a baby girl, so of course I jumped on the chance to throw her a baby shower! We are fortunate to work in a place that promotes these kind of activities, we throw baby showers and bridal showers for everyone! It is a great chance for all of the ladies in our building to get together and the men frequently joke that it is unfair that they can’t attend or have parties. The DO benefit from the leftover goodies though, and that makes them very happy. Crystal threw my baby shower at work back in May and it was so amazing! So I really wanted to make it special for her in return.

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We usually keep it pretty simple, some decorations, drinks and cake. This time we decided to have a diaper raffle to get Crystal nice and stocked up! We also played the game where you can’t say “baby” or else someone can steal your necklace, we don’t usually play games at these showers, but it was a big hit and I’ve come to realize that I work with some pretty competitive people…

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*The diaper raffle prize, a candle and set of blank note cards and the game prize, a Starbucks gift card!

I decided to go with cupcakes. I’ve found that for these types of functions, they are easier than having to worry about cutting a cake. Plus, I was able to have half chocolate and half white cake so everyone could have their preference. I got these cupcakes at Safeway for only $18 for 30 and they were delish!!! The cupcake toppers are from Hobby Lobby.

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For the drinks, I just made raspberry lemonade and had water bottles.

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I ordered pink swirl lollipops from Halo Heaven and put “It’s a Girl” stickers on them from Hobby Lobby for everyone to take with them.

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I also found these mints at Hobby Lobby that I put on the table for people to enjoy throughout the shower.

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I bought the paper lanterns at Hobby Lobby and made the poufs out of tulle. Then I just hung them from the ceiling with twine.

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Then, I added a paper bunting I made to the windows to take up some of the blank space between the food and the hanging decorations.

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I also made this name bunting for her to put in the nursery. Since she will be sharing a room I wanted to do something that wouldn’t take up much space, but also be special that she could use for a long time.

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As part of her gift, I made her this car seat canopy cover. She saw the one I made for Brynlee and has been “hinting” ever since how much she would like one. The tutorial I used is over at Sew Much Ado.

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The shower was so fun and I was so glad we were able to celebrate Crystal and her new baby!!!