Friday, December 31, 2010

Cheers!...Baby (and Mommy) Mocktails

In my New Year's preparations for this evening, I started thinking about all of the fun non-alcoholic drinks that could be served up at this year's celebration.  I have always loved frozen drinks and smoothies, so why not serve up some healthy beverages suitable for even your littlest New Year's guests! 

Smoothies are a great way to get extra fruit and veggies into your little one's diet.  They are also great for soothing sore gums from teething, and they pack an extra punch of vitamins and calcium. 

The following smoothie recipes are suitable for babies who have been introduced to yogurt, milk, wheat, soy, berries, and citrus with no adverse response (typically for babies 9 months and older).  Always use judgment when making these baby smoothie recipes for your baby and be sure to consult your pediatrician with any food allergy questions.  These recipes generally make enough for one adult and one baby. 

Carrot & Banana Smoothie
  • 1 1/2 cups carrot juice
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 6 ounces plain yogurt
  • 1 ripe banana (frozen if desired) 
Directions: Put all ingredients in blender and puree until consistency is very smooth. Process longer for babies, less for older toddlers who can handle a little more texture.  For less sugar replace 1/2 apple juice with water.

Fruit Fusion Smoothie
  • 2 bananas
  • 1/2 cup of frozen raspberries, blackberries or strawberries
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen peaches or mango pieces
  • 1 cup orange or pineapple juicepineapple juice
Directions: Mix all ingredients in a blender until desired consistency is reached.  For smoother, richer consistency replace 1/2 cup frozen peaches or mango with plain or fruit flavored yogurt. 

Winter Chiller Smoothie
  • 1/2 cup plain, vanilla or banana yogurt
  • 1/2 cup milk (or soy milk)
  • 1/2 cup cranberry juice
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored and cut into chunks
  • dash of cinnamon
  • 1 frozen banana

Directions: Combine everything in a blender.  Blend until smooth. Serve immediately. 
Banana Pumpkin Smoothie
  • 1 cup milk or plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons canned pumpkin (or homemade puree pumpkin)
  • 1 banana
  • dash of cinnamon or nutmeg

Directions: Blend all ingredients in blender until smooth.  Serve immediately.


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Making Room for Baby

With Christmas less than a week away and the new year right around the corner, I can hardly believe that in about 5 months we will have a newborn in the house!  It seems that this pregnancy has been flying by, and May will be here before we can blink.  I have to admit, the thought of having 2 little ones under the age of two is a little scary.  It feels like we just started to get the hang of this parenting thing, and before we know it we will be starting again from square one. 

We just started to plan out the logistics of the bedrooms and the nursery, which has started to make it very real that our new bundle of joy is coming.  With Dylan we must have looked at a million and one crib sets and went back and forth on whether or not to do a "convertible crib."  I of course, wanted the beautiful sleigh crib that converted to a full sized bed...which in my naive pre-baby mind, envisioned him using throughout the years.  Luckily in the end we decided on a regular Graco crib that looked nice, but didn't cost us an arm and a leg (under $150).  Good thing, because as soon as my son could pull to stand, he started gnawing on the sides of the crib, scraping the wood off with his teeth!  We have since covered the sides with plastic protectors.  Anyway, I am pretty sure that even if the crib converted to Lamborghini, Dylan wouldn't be using it anytime after the first few years.

As for the changing table, I had never been fond of the design of a traditional changing tables.  After being married to my husband for 3 years, I have learned practicality is the spice of life.  And we decided on an IKEA dresser (under $80) that was a good height to put the changing pad on top.  The best part is that we will use it long after he is out of diapers. 

I had always wanted some sort of rocking/gliding chair in the nursery so that I could have a comfy place for nursing or rocking baby to sleep.  Well if you have ever looked into the price of new arm chairs or gliders they are pretty pricey.  I knew that I couldn't justify spending $300-$400 on a new rocking/gliding arm chair.  So luckily I was able to find a gently used arm chair with a rocker bottom on craigslist for $50.  It was red and blue plaid, which I have to admit was hideous, so I bought a armchair cover online for $30 and for about $80 I had a perfect chair for the nursery.

So if we learned anything from the first time around, it is that you can plan for the perfect looking nursery to bring baby home to, but after a few months, it really doesn't matter how much or how little you spent on the furniture or the bed linens.  Oh by the way, we never even bought a crib bedding set.  You can't use the quilt unless you are planning to hang it on the wall, and the bumper needs to come out before baby starts rolling.  I bought two cute valences from Pottery Barn Kids on clearance for $10 each, and a matching crib skirt for $15.  So if you are willing to shop around and get a little creative, you can put together a cute nursery without compromising your little one's college fund. 

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Click "Like" and Mush Homemade Baby Food will donate $1 for Toys for Tots

It's hard not to get caught up in the hustle bustle of the holidays, but it is important to remember that the holidays are just as much about giving, as they are receiving.  So in the spirit of giving, from now until December 23rd, Mush Homemade Baby Food will donate $1 to Toys for Tots for each new "Like" we receive on our Facebook Business Page. Simply click the link below and then click "like."Feel free to share this link with your family and friends!

Mush Homemade Baby Food Facebook Business Page

Here are some other holiday donation ideasThey are all quick, easy, and don't have to cost you a fortune...and the best part is that it will make you feel really good!

Donate canned goods or dry to a local food pantry or shelter. For less than $5, you could provide several meals worth of canned vegetables or fruits to a needy family. Even something as simple as a box of macaroni could provide a family with a meal this holiday season.  Women's shelters are always looking for unexpired formula for babies, so all you breastfeeding mommies who received those free Similac and Infamil canisters in the mail, dig them out and donate them before they expire!

Donate used clothes, coats, and hats to local shelters. Clean out your closets and gather all the used clothes, coats, and hats you have not worn in ages.  Baby clothes are also in high demand at local women's shelters, so open up all of those Rubbermaid bins in your garage and donate some of those outfits your first or second baby never wore. 

Donate your spare or lose change. Take what change is left over from your latest purchases and set it aside each day. By the end of the month, you will be surprised at how much money you have accumulated. Donate the spare change to a local charity or to the Salvation Army.

Donate a toy.  Make room for all those new toys your little one will receive this year by donating some of the old ones to a child that is not as fortunate.  It will set a great example for your little one and it will free up some space in the garage.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Holiday Countdown

There are 22 days until Christmas, but who is counting?  Is it me, or did the holidays just sneak up on us this year?  It sure feels like this past year has flown by, and when I think about last Christmas I realize how much our life has changed in a year.  Dylan was two months old last Christmas, and obviously had no clue what was going on.  This year he still has no idea about Christmas or the holidays, but he loves tearing paper so I am assuming that he will love unwrapping his gifts and playing with all of the empty boxes from his gifts.  And I know for sure he will love sampling all of the holiday cookies!

Cookies have always been a huge part of my family's holiday traditions and over the last few years I have tried to keep up that tradition my making a couple of batches of at least 4-5 different types of cookies to give as gifts or bring to holiday parties.  Unfortunately most of the cookies never make it out of the house...meaning I eat them all myself.  So this year, in an attempt to prevent me from acquiring gestational diabetes and to provide healthier cookies for Dylan (and my husband), I have found these low sugar, low sodium recipes for tasty holiday treats.

Applesauce Cookies

  • 1 cup(s) flour
  • 1 teaspoon(s) cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon(s) baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
  • 1/2 cup(s) your favorite nuts
  • 1 cup(s) quick oats (not instant oatmeal)
  • 1 cup(s) applesauce
  • 2  eggs
  • 1/2 cup(s) vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients in the largest bowl. Mix the wet ingredients in the other bowl. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture. Blend them well.
  3. Spoon the dough for these drop cookies onto the greased cookie sheets.
  4. Bake the dough for 8 to 10 minutes.
  5. Allow the cookies to cool before eating them.

Brown Sugar Crackles

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat 3 baking sheets with cooking spray.
  2. Stir together all-purpose and whole-wheat flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a small bowl. Beat together brown sugar, butter, oil, eggs and vanilla in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer on high speed until smooth, making sure no lumps of brown sugar remain, about 1 minute. Stir in the dry ingredients until completely blended. (The dough will be stiff.)
  3. Divide the dough in half and press each half into a flat disk. Roll out one of the disks on a lightly floured surface to a 1/4-inch thickness. Cut out cookies with a 2-inch round cookie cutter, placing the cookies 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets. Repeat with the remaining dough. Press the scraps together and cut out additional cookies. Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, until they are puffed in the middle and browned around the edges, 8 to 10 minutes. Let stand for about 2 minutes on the baking sheets, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
Per cookie: 77 calories; 2 g fat (1 g sat, 1 g mono); 11 mg cholesterol; 13 g carbohydrates; 1 g protein; 0 g fiber; 89 mg sodium; 15 mg potassium.