Friday, September 28, 2012

Monthly photo


I've been taking monthly photos since Griffin was one month old, and here is his progression so far.  I love this boy and I can't believe he is growing so quickly right in front of my eyes.  He smiles all day, and talks non-stop.  He likes funny noises and funny faces.  He likes to sleep in our bed.  He takes long naps and likes to cuddle.  He likes singing and sitting up.  He is amazing.

Lots of people have been saying what a great idea this is, and its really easy to do!

-Go to your local craft store and get something to photograph with your baby.  I got a slice of wood, which I then painted with chalkboard paint.
-Pick an item that you have that you can use as a size marker with your baby. I use this pug stuffed animal that came from Hallmark.
-Clothing - you can use the exact same generic outfit purchased in multiple sizes.  You can get stickers on etsy that say the months that you can stick on any onesie.  I chose navy blue and stripes as a theme.  Depending on what I may find that fits this beast of a boy, I know I can easily find something in navy blue each month.  I actually bought a different outfit for his 3 month photos and he looked like a stuffed sausage in it, so I opted to change him mid-shoot into the polo.
-Take a photo in the same place each month.  It is hard for me to know exactly how far away I was from the chair, and unless you like to keep tape on your floor, I suggest taking tons of photos.  I think I took at least 30 today.  That way I had lots of choose from.

I plan on taking this photo every month for 12 months.  After that I will probably go to every 6 months, then after age 2, every year.  Who knows how long it will last.  As long as he lets me.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Picking a pacifier

When Griffin was born I said I would never get him a pacifier.  As the weeks went on, we realized there were times that we just couldn't soothe the kid.  Like, when he was in his car seat.  After a few weeks we decided to give in and he seemed to be pretty happy about it.  The question was, WHICH PACIFIER SHOULD WE GET???

There were so many to choose from and I am a very indecisive person.  Some were shaped one way and they were 'the best'.  Some were shaped another way and those were 'the best'.  Honestly, they are probably all just fine.  We decided initially on the Avent Soothie for two reasons.
- Hospitals use them.  If hospitals use them for new babies, they have to be good, right?
- They are made out of a single piece silicone.  This is really important because, I admit, I'm not going to clean these pacifiers every time he uses them, like they recommend.  They get boiled every now and then (ok maybe once a month), always inspected for dog hair, and rinsed in the sink occasionally, but I didn't want any of the nooks and crannies for bacteria to lurk in like 'regular' pacifiers have.

Here is Griffin with his Soothie next to him.

We also chose the First Years 'Gumdrop' pacifier, mainly because its just like the Soothie, but has an area for the nose cut out.   

Here he is with both of his pacifiers.  Somehow he ended up with both in his swing with him.

I have no clue which one he likes better.  If I had to guess, I'd say the Gumdrop one, but its really a toss  up.  I did buy these wipes -

just in case they fell on the ground when we were out, but it hasn't happened yet.  I did use one once just for the heck of it, and they smell really good.  Turns out they are apple flavored.

In the end, Griffin doesn't use his pacifier all that much.  If he is REALLY upset, he doesn't want it.  If he is happy, we don't give it to him.  He mostly likes to have it to help him get to sleep in his car seat, or for a nap.  He will spit it out before he falls asleep, which is nice because then he doesn't wake up looking for it.  He doesn't get it at bedtime, mainly cause he like to go to bed at night and doesn't need it.  I'm not too concerned about weaning since he doesn't use it that much, but I'm hoping by 6 months he won't need it for a nap either.  I think I'll let him decide....

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tortellini Soup

This recipe is great for fall and winter when tummies need a little warmth and spice.  The recipe came from my husband's mom, but we've altered it a bit to fit out vegetarian lifestyle.  It is very easy to make, and its even good for you!  

Tortellini Soup

- olive oil
- 4 medium sausages (we used Tofurky Italian Sausage, but you can use anything really)
-1/2 onion, diced
-3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 4 cups vegetable broth (or a bullion cube)
- water
-1 small can stewed tomatoes
-1 large can tomato sauce
- oregano
-1 green bell pepper
-2 medium zucchini
-1 or 2 packs of frozen tortellini

You will need a large pot for this.  I use a dutch oven, which works great because then I can just store it in the fridge in the pot.

First, cut your sausages into 1/4inch pieces and brown them in your pot with olive oil.
Add your diced onion and garlic and brown that as well.

Then, you add your four cups of vegetable broth.  I do four cups of water and one of these bullions that my mom brings me back from Poland when she goes.  This one is mushroom, yum!

This is what your pot will look like.  Bring to a boil.

 Add your cans of tomato sauce and stewed tomatoes.  Then, add one small can of water to your pot.

Add oregano and basil, to taste.  I used dried oregano and fresh basil, because thats what I had on hand.

After bringing to a boil, let simmer on medium low for about 4 hours.  It can be more.  I actually turned my pot off after four hours and we went out and ran errands.  Here is what it looks like after  4 hours.

 Turn up your heat to medium high, add diced green bell pepper

Add quartered zucchini

Finally, add your packs of tortellini.  I added two packs which was too much.  Next time I will just add one.  If you want it more stewy, add two.  More soupy? Add just one.  You can add salt and pepper to taste if you wish.  I didn't, and I don't feel like it really needs it.  

Let boil for 20 minutes or so.  

 This is what my 'stew' looked like after cooking.  It exploded out of the pot a little bit.

 Finally, serve.  

Each bowl is only 560 calories, and it would be less if you chose to just add one bag of tortellini.  It is REALLY filling and perfect on a cool crisp evening.  Enjoy!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Simple repurposing of old bodysuits

There comes a time where your baby will outgrow his one-pieces and you'll have to go out and buy new ones.  If you happen to have one that you don't want to save (I save most of whats in decent shape for the next little one some day), then you could repurpose it so that you can keep using it for a little while.  

You start with a bodysuit.  This happens to NOT be the one that I am cutting up.

 Then, you want to cut a straight line right above where then leg area is.  Here's an example.

 The reason that I am cutting up this bodysuit is because one of the snaps came off and I don't really care to repair it.  You can see the top left one is missing.  

 After you cut off the bottom, you sew the rough edge.  If you have a serger, use that.  If not, I just use a simple zig-zag stitch and I make sure that one side comes off the bottom as to secure it.  If you don't sew, thats ok too.  Knits don't fray too much so you could just leave it!

There you have it!  Its a super easy, quick 2 minute idea you can use to make your little one a t-shirt one of a bodysuit.  I use this as one of the extra shirts in my diaper bag.   Its nothing fancy, but it does the job.  

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Its Officially Fall

Here is a little recipe that I got from Martha Stewart last year.  It is a great way to start out the official first day of fall.  I can't wait until it really feels like fall, maybe another couple months...

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Merry Muscles Baby Jumper

Making the decision on which baby jumper to buy is a difficult one.  Most of them come equipped with lots of toys and things that make noises, which I'm not a huge fan of when there are other goals to be accomplished.  After reading lots of reviews I decided on the Merry Muscles Baby Jumper.  Thanks ro "Uncle" Matt for getting this for Griffin.

Merry Muscles is a Canadian based company that makes this jumper for babies, and larger ones for special needs adults.  Merry Muscles is great for little boys because it is not a "crotch dangler" as some carries and most jumpers are.  This one allows the baby to sit and supports at the hip.  

They claim that in the beginning your child may not jump, that they might just enjoy sitting and watching life happen around them.  I definitely think this is important!  Unfortunately this is what Griffin does in the jumper every time I put him in it.  

What is he doing you ask?  He is staring at these snaps that are inside of the front piece.  They look like little "eyes" and he loves them.  He does nothing else but sit and stare at these. 

The only downside to the jumper is that you have to screw into your ceiling or doorframe to hang it unless you live in a really old house.  They do sell a clamp if you have really tiny door frames.  Ours are WAY too big so we ended up just using the screw.  It is really secure, and that way you don't have to pay for the $35 cost of the clamp plus crazy expensive shipping from Canada.

Overall, the jumper is great.  You can clip toys to the upper ring if you're looking to entertain other than jumping.  Hopefully soon Griffin will be jumping.  For now he sits and stares, but he isn't even 3 months old.  What can I ask for?

This is not a sponsored post, I just like the jumper!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Grasshopper in the Garden

My little grasshopper friend that I found sitting on the peach tree this week.  He was so big!  I would guess about 5 inches long or more.  

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Nutella Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies

I found this recipe from Ambitious Kitchen and knew I had to try it out, especially since all the ingredients were already in my pantry!

Nutella Stuffed - Brown Butter- Sea Salt- Chocolate Chip Cookies

Link to Original Recipe

  • 2¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1¼ teaspoons baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon plain greek yogurt
  • ¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ½ cup milk chocolate chips
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 jar of Nutella, chilled in refrigerator
  • Coarse sea salt for sprinkling

    1. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and set aside. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. The butter will begin to foam. Make sure you whisk consistently during this process. After a couple of minutes, the butter will begin to brown on the bottom of the saucepan; continue to whisk and remove from heat as soon as the butter begins to brown and give off a nutty aroma. Immediately transfer the butter to a bowl to prevent burning. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.
    2. With an electric mixer, mix the butter and sugars until thoroughly blended. Beat in the egg, yolk, vanilla, and yogurt until combined. Add the dry ingredients slowly and beat on low-speed just until combined. Gently fold in all of the chocolate chips.
    3. Chill your dough for 2 hours in the refrigerator, or place in freezer for 30 minutes if you are super eager, although I cannot promise the same results if you do this.
    4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Once dough is chilled measure about 1½ tablespoons of dough and roll into a ball. Flatten the dough ball very thinly into the palm of your hand. Place 1 teaspoon of chilled nutella in the middle and fold dough around it; gently roll into a ball — it doesn’t have to be perfectly rolled! Make sure that the nutella is not seeping out of the dough. Add more dough if necessary. Place dough balls on cookie sheet, 2 inches apart and flatten with your hand VERY gently. (Really only the tops need to be flattened a bit!)
    5. Bake the cookies 9-11 minutes or until the edges of the cookies begin to turn golden brown. They will look a bit underdone in the middle, but will continue to cook once out of the oven. Cool the cookies on the sheets at least 2 minutes. Sprinkle with a little sea salt. Remove the cooled cookies from the baking sheets after a few minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough.

(Above taken from Ambitious Kitchen)

Here is my spread

 And what the dough looked like all mixed up

I neglected to take any photos of the finished product, but they were DELICIOUS!
I took them to our Uncle's birthday party and they were a huge hit.  Everyone was asking for the recipe and said they were dome of the best cookies ever.  That being said, my cookies didn't look half as good as the ones from Ambitious Kitchen.  Mine looked harder and they weren't really chewy.

Things I would have changed -
 - The nutella wasn't soft inside when I baked them.  Maybe making larger cookies would have worked better?
 - I wouldn't refrigerate the dough as long.  If was difficult for me to form balls with the dough because it was really crumbly.  Maybe 15-30 minutes instead of 2 hours.

I bet these would be just as good with other things stuffed inside.  Maybe peanut butter cups?  YUM!

Overall, these were great cookies and the browned butter and sea salt really made these what they were.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Dozynki Festival 2012

This weekend we went to the Dozynki Festival at the Pope John Paul II Polish Center in Yorba Linda.  Basically its the Polish Harvest Festival.  Here is a photo of the festival.
 Ultimately we went because we wanted to see the folk dancing program.  I thought it would be a really fun thing for Jeremy to see just because he hasn't been to Poland with me yet, and maybe he would get a little taste of the culture.  The dancing started around 6pm.  Good thing because it was over 100 degrees in the sun and by that time there was some shade available.

 If I could make some recommendations to the people putting on the festival, it would be to have proper  seating available to watch the dancing.  We stood behind some people that had pulled folding chairs over, but it wasn't organized at all.  Also, the announcer didn't have a clue which group was dancing or at what volume his microphone was set at.  We stayed for 4-5 dances because the music was too loud for the little one.

Here we are at the festival

Friday, September 14, 2012

A blanket for Charlie

Last weekend we attended a baby shower for our good friends and their baby, Charlie.  Charlie was bron only 3 weeks after Griffin, but he was bron at 29 weeks, so he is still in the hospital.  Since I make baby blankets, I figured that would be a good shower gift.  They were going for a green, grey, blue color scheme, so after going through the fabrics I decided on a snake print.  Here is the blanket.

My husband picked out the satin binding, and I really like how it fades from bright green to white.
Here is a more close up of the print

Charlie is a really amazing and strong baby, and it is something you don't think about until you have a baby of your own, and how difficult it must be to see your baby in the hospital.  I don't know if I could do it, and our friends are really brave and tough people for dealing with it so well.  Charlie is 2 months old today and even though he has his ups and downs, I think he is doing pretty great for a tiny little thing!

The theme of the shower was this character
I honestly don't have a clue what the name of this little mouse/chipmunk thingy is, but he is very cute and it was such a good idea to paint decorations on poster board and have them around.  It made quite an impact!

They had photos of Charlie around to look at, and lots of fun games. Here is one where you guess how many tic tacs in the bottle.
And a table where you could write in a memory book for Charlie when he gets older.  Next to it, favors (really yummy chocolate pretzel mushrooms).
And of course, onesie decorating.  After decorating my onesie I realized that I was in a house full of professional artists and mine didn't even come close to comparing.  Still fun! There is Jeremy (husband) decorating his onesie.
Prior to the baby shower we had to send in baby photos of ourselves and turns out that we were turned into a game.  We had to guess who the babies were!  This game was difficult for me because I didn't know very many of the people at the shower, but I helped Jeremy out and he ended up winning!  He won a box of chocolate covered almonds, which I ate because he hates nuts!  Looks like I was a winner anyway.
Overall, a successful party.  We can't wait for Charlie to come home and play with Griffin soon.  I'm sure they will be good buds!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Dr. Brown's Bottles and Using Formula

When we found out we were having a baby there were many things we knew we would need to buy, bottles being one of them.  I did a little bit of research, and the consensus was that Dr. Brown's was one of the best bottles you could buy.

I knew I wouldn't need the bottles for at least 6 months.  I was going to breastfeed, and I was going to be at home so I would have no need for bottles.  Boy was I wrong.  Turns out breastfeeding didn't work out.  That is a whole other story I will tell another day, but long story short, it didn't work the way I planned.  Good thing I had asked for bottles on my baby shower wishlist!

We were gifted two newborn feeding packs which came with 5 bottles, all the parts, and the little pipe cleaners you need to clean the bottles.  We started using formula when baby was 4 or 5 days old.  Here comes mistake number one :  we were mixing formula with room temp. bottled water.  We learned after a couple weeks and a visit to the lactation consultant that you are supposed to boil the water, wait for it to cool a little bit, THEN mix the formula.  What?  Ugh.. what a pain.  

Ok, so bye bye bottled water.  We then started mixing batches of formula in the larger bottles, then pouring it and warming it as needed.  Recently I started pre-pouring the formula and making the bottles I would need for the day (yes, it took me two months to come up with this idea).  This is where the problems started.

Lots of complaints online about Dr. Brown's bottles were that they leak.  This never happened to us until we started pre-making the bottles.  After a few times of this happening we realized that when you pre-make bottles and put a lid on them, then put them in the fridge, it creates a problem when you warm up the bottles.  The heat causes liquid to come up the little straw piece and sit by the opening in the bottle so when you tilt it over, it spills out.  Also most of the formula was leaking out into the heating cup we had.  I would start with 3 oz, and after the bottle sat in hot water, there would only be 1 oz. in the bottle.  Easy solution.  We started taking the caps off and unscrewing and rescrewing the tops back on.  Problem solved and we haven't had a leak since.

Overall, we like Dr. Brown's bottles.  They definitely don't cause the baby to have gas.  They don't leak if you use them correctly.  There is one large downside to these bottles - all the pieces.

First, you have the bottle itself, then the little tan piece that you see here that connects to the straw piece.  Then you have the nipple and the part that you screw the nipple on with.  Then you've got a lid.  So for one bottle you have to clean 6 parts with this tiny little pipe cleaner.  These pieces take over my kitchen.  

I always wondered what it would be like to use other bottles, but for now we have these.  Griffin is getting big enough now that we are moving up to the level 2 nipples, and will soon start with a couple different training cup series and we won't really be worried about washing as many bottles each day.    We are going to try the piyo piyo training cup set.
And also the mOmma trainer, which I just ordered today cause I got half off!  This only also converts to sippy with handles, then straw with one handle.

As we use these, I'll let you know how it goes.  
Here is Griff trying to hold his bottle. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

10 week checkup

10 week checkup went well.  We've got a 13 pound 7 oz, 25 inch long baby.  He seems to be doing well, and above average in his 'talking' skills.  We need to work on gross motor activities, which we can easily do more of... even though we are doing a ton already.  I'm not huge on when kids should be doing things.  He will eventually do all the things little babies should do, on a schedule that won't be stressful for him.  I'm glad that our pediatrician gives hints on what we can do to help him along.  She was proud of us for cloth diapering, and she shared that NONE of her other patients do this.  Can you believe that?

Here he is after his 2 shots.

Monday, September 10, 2012

First time in the Bumbo

Griffin is getting so good at holding up his head.  He is quite wobbly still, but he improves every day!
Here he is just sitting up.
Apparently the Bumbo was recently recalled because children were getting injured by falling out of them.  I have to say that this must be due to parents not paying attention to their children in the seat.  My little squish needs to really be shoved into place in this thing.  There is no falling out.  Maybe once he gets a little older?  I mean, this thing only has like 4 months of usage time.  By 6 months he will be sitting up on his own hopefully and won't need the bumbo.  

Bumbo has sent off a little belt strap that you are supposed to attach to the seat, but honestly, that is going to do nothing and I don't really plan on attaching it.  If you've put your child unrestrained in a seat on a high table or on a chair, and he is wiggly, and he falls off, please don't blame the company for not attaching a silly little belt.  I think by sending out this belt it tells parents that its ok to continue using the bumbo without supervision.
As you can see, he is very wobbly.  All this neck progression has happened in the last week, and I am proud of my big boy, and sad that he is just that.  So big.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Getting Scared

I felt like such a bad Mama today when I scared little Buddha.  Poor guy.  He was sitting in his bouncer and I was bouncing him with my foot, as I do when he needs to sleep.  I found that he falls asleep well this way.  This morning he was sitting in his chair and staring wide eyed at the computer screen.  I sat there and watched him, and after a couple minutes I sang his name.  It wasn't loud or frightening, but I guess he was far off in la-la land because he jumped a foot in the air, got a big pouty lip, and started screaming.

I felt so terrible.  I cuddled him and sang to him, said I was sorry over and over again.  He HATES his pacifier, which I try to give him sometimes when there is no other solution.  I offered it to him while I cuddled him and he sucked so hard.  He really needed some comforting.  He fell asleep pretty quickly and I put him back down.  Poor little guy!

Here he is while falling back asleep.  You can still see the little tear on his face!

It is funny how little babies gain awareness towards the things around them.  I remember a few weeks ago we could make sudden loud noises, and it wouldn't faze him.  He would continue sleeping, not even flinching.  Now, he frightens easily.  I wonder what's in store for us next...

Gdiapers drying solution

I thought I'd share with you all my methods of washing and drying my gDiapers.  The best part about gDiapers is that you really only have to use 2 a day, and sometimes you can get away with 2 days of use on the outsides, if all things go well.  When its time to change the diaper, I get another one all ready to go, take off the old one, and put on the new one.  Easy enough.  Then I just flush the insert of the old one, and then I can reuse the whole diaper for the next change.

UNLESS, there is a poop.  I didn't mention this before but we use disposables at night.  Buddha sleeps one 3-4 hour stretch, then a 6 hour stretch until his "wake up" at 5am.  Thats to say, he goes back to sleep, but only for 2 hours at a time until 8pm, typically.  gDiapers are really only absorbant enough to last 4 hours MAX, usually 2 hours, and I'm not about to make some weird combo of cloth/biodegradable inserts that some people recommend.  I usually hope that he will poop in the disposables.  Lately, thats not the case.

Thats when things get a little more complicated.  Poop ALWAYS gets on the liner.  Its supposed to, so thats not a big deal.  I always have some extra on hand just for this reason.  I can sometimes snap out the liner, snap a new one in, and be on my merry way.  I have a very kicky, wiggly baby, who without fail will put his feet right in the poop, then all over the clean cloth outside.  Into the laundry that all goes (after a rinse off in the bathtub or kitchen sink).

I usually do laundry (one load) twice a week, or twice a day :)  Depends on the day and the things that need washing.  You can absolutely dry gDiapers, but the color fades rather quickly.  Here is my drying solution for the liners and the cloth outsides.

I lay out the liners, making sure they are all puffed out to dry.  Then, I hang the outsides up with clothespins.  They usually dry overnight.

When I was using size small, I only had 7 diapers, so my routine was a little different since I needed more diapers each day (especially due to the leaks towards the end).  I would hand wash the diapers that were dirty each night in the sink, then hang them to dry.  Then, when I was doing a laundry load, I would add them all in expect for one to use in the AM.  Glad that is over!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Blanket for "Bug"

My husband and I recently became aunt and uncle to a beautiful little girl named "Bug".  We were so excited to finally meet her, and being the crafty critter that I am, I made her a little quilt.  Unfortunately, I forgot to take photos of it while I was making it, but I got my SIL to send me pictures of it.   Here is the front quilted part.
A closer up view
I attached front to back by using the little pink embroidery threads that you can see.  I wish their was a quicker way to do this when quilting.  That is my least favorite part about doing projects like this!
The back I found a nice polka dotted flannel, and I sewed a ladybug on it for Bug.
Here is a picture of Buddha and Bug together during the week they first met!