Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pull Up a Seat

My husband and I decided to grab dinner out the other night.  We took our Dylan with us.  There was this restaurant nearby that we had been meaning to try for a few weeks.  We parked the car and carried Dylan in with us into the restaurant.  We told the woman at the front that we needed a table for two with a high chair.  She said, "Oh we don't have high chairs."  Really???  I mean this wasn't a fancy place, pretty casual American fare.  I guess it never even crossed my mind that a restaurant wouldn't have at least one high chair.  I guess we could have gotten the stroller out of the car and fed the baby in the stroller, but after she said they didn't provide high chairs, we didn't even want to eat there anymore.  So when I got home, I thought that I would do a little research to see if restaurants are required to supply high chairs for their customers.  Surprisingly there is not much on the internet in regards to what is the actual responsibility of the establishment.  

There IS however TONS of information on the cleanliness of restaurant high chairs.  In fact some articles reported that the amount of bacteria found on high chairs was significantly greater than the amounts found on public toilets!  Ahhh!  So maybe we should be happy that the restaurant didn't have a highchair for us!  See full story below:


I know that they make high chair covers that you can just throw into the washer.  I just use a few baby wipes to wipe down the restaurant high chair before we plop Dylan down into the seat.  It takes a couple of extra seconds, but I make sure to wipe the strap and the table down too. 

Friday, October 15, 2010

Let Him Eat Cake!

October is my son's birth month and we have been planning his 1st birthday party for the last couple of weeks.  The biggest debate between my husband and I is whether to let Dylan dive into his cake and make a huge mess.  I feel like that it is a rite of passage.  So what if he gets a little messy?  It's all part of the fun.  My husband being a bit of a neat-nick, is worried about the mess that he will make during his party.  I say, "Let Him Eat Cake!"

Dylan will be diving into his very own Elmo themed cupcake.  We decided to order them from a bakery simply because my baking a decorating skills are lacking (to put it nicely).  But for those of you who may have food restrictions or simply want to make your child's first birthday treat a little healthier, here are a couple of alternatives.

Egg-less Chocolate Cake

* 4 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
* 3 cups white sugar
* 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
* 1 cup vegetable oil
* 3 cups water
* 3 teaspoons baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 3 tablespoons vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C), grease and flour a 9x13 inch pan.
2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, soda and salt. Add sugar and mix together.
3. Add oil, water and vanilla and mix thoroughly.
4. Pour into a 9x13 inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

If you want less sugar and more fiber this Chocolate Zucchini Cake might work for you.  This one is kind of dense and not too sweet. And everyone will get a serving of veggies!

* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 2 cups white sugar
* 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
* 2 teaspoons baking soda
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 4 eggs
* 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
* 3 cups grated zucchini

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9x13 inch baking pan.
2. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Add the eggs and oil, mix well. Fold in the nuts and zucchini until they are evenly distributed. Pour into the prepared pan.
3. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes in the preheated oven, until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool cake completely before frosting with your favorite frosting.

Here are a couple of non-cake alternatives:

A trifle is a delicious layered dessert. It is a good alternative to cake for your baby's first birthday party.  A trifle is a combination of layers of cake, fruit and yogurt or cool whip in a clear bowl, according to Gomestic.com. A trifle is a great alternative to cake as it provides nutrition as well as sweetness and can be decorated to your liking with your favorite fruit.

Fruit pizza is a tasty dessert that serves as a terrific alternative to birthday cake.  Fruit pizza consists of a baked sugar cookie crust and a layer of strawberry cream cheese, and is topped with your child's favorite fruits. This alternative provides all of the flavor of a birthday cake, without all of the processed ingredients cakes include. If you wish, you can substitute whipped cream for the cream cheese. 

Read more: Alternatives for Baby's First Birthday Cake | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/list_6152110_alternatives-baby_s-first-birthday-cake.html#ixzz12Sz26rLy

Monday, October 11, 2010

Frequent Flyer

Traveling with a little one can be challenging (to say the least) but being prepared and creative can make your flight a lot easier!  We started flying with Dylan when he was 3 months old, and because our family is scattered throughout the country, he had been on 7 round trip flights by 7 months.  This may sound a little crazy, but believe it or not, flying with a newborn is so much easier then flying with a 1 year old!

When packing for a flight when Dylan was a newborn, I would make sure to pack 2 bottles of expressed breast milk.  If we were going on a short flight (less then 2 hours) I wouldn't even carry it in a cooler.  I would just put it in the diaper bag.  Fresh breast milk can be left at room temperature for 4-6 hours so if you factor in the time it takes to get to the airport and such...you will have enough milk for a bottle during take off and landing.  For longer flights I would pack the milk in a small insulated lunch bag cooler with a small gel ice pack.  When going through security we always went through the medical liquid/family line.  The TSA worker would always open the milk and test it with their equipment, but luckily I never had to do anything crazy like drink it in front of them.  I don't think they are allowed to do that anymore.

When flying with Dylan from 7 months to 10 months, I would still bring one bottle of breast milk, but would also bring him some baby food/finger food.  Again I would pack it in my little lunch bag cooler.  When packing homemade baby food for a flight, I would make sure to bring food that was not prepared with breast milk.  I would usually bring frozen containers, this way they would be defrosted by the time I needed to use it on the flight.  I would usually check it before getting on the flight and if it needed to be defrosted, I would just get a small cup of hot water from one of the airport shops and let the container sit in the hot water for about 5 minutes while still at the gate.  When packing large batches of homemade baby food for a trip I would use a larger insulated lunch tote and fill it with frozen containers (again avoiding purees made with breast milk).  I would always put containers in a freezer bag before placing them in the cooler, just in case they leaked.  I put a gel ice pack on top of the food in the cooler.  I usually put the cooler in Dylan's suitcase because it always seemed like he had the biggest one because he had the most stuff.  I never had a problem with the food defrosting during the flight, even if it was a 6 hour flight.  The food just needed to go back in the freezer whenever we reached our destination.

At 11.5 months, the days of toting around small containers of purees are long gone, but there is an abundance of Cheerios.  We were traveling this weekend (5 hour return trip) and Cheerios saved the day numerous times!  When packing finger foods for the plane, I try to pick stuff that will travel well.  Bananas are great and are easy to find at in airport shops (Starbucks always has them).  Yogurt is another easy to find healthy food at the airport.  Otherwise I bring cheese sticks, grapes, berries, wheat bagels or bread...and of course Cheerios.

Happy travels!
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