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DIY

12 Simple Baby Food Making Books to Add To Your Library

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There have been a few baby food recalls in recent weeks that have prompted some new moms to consider making their own baby food from scratch for their little ones.

The idea of blending, pureeing, storing, thawing and making batches of baby food or toddler pouches can seem daunting, and time-consuming, but fortunately, in recent years, technology in the form of baby food blenders and scores of new books have cropped up to demystify and simplify the process.

Blender

To start, you may want to go out and get a blender with a puree function on it. I like the Magic Bullet for making smoothies and milkshakes for my little ones because it is easiest to clean. The company that makes it also sells a special version just for baby food making called Magic Bullet Baby Bullet Baby Care System which retails for $59.99 on Amazon but is sold in retail stores like Target, Walmart and the like.

Storage

Next, you’ll have to invest in tiny containers to store the foods you make. The Baby Bullet comes with its own containers and lids but you can also order storage containers. Sage Spoonfuls Big Batch Storage Set includes twelve 4 Ounce containers for about $20, enough for vegetable, desserts and other purees. They are freezer, dishwasher and microwave safe and durable portable jars with leak proof and easy to use screw on lids.

Recipes

Then comes the hard part: whipping up yummy recipes. Here are some books with tips, recipes and other suggestions.

ONE

The Amazing Make-Ahead Baby Food Book: Make 3 Months of Homemade Purees in 3 Hours ($17.88)

This popular hardback book will give you to tools and tips for making up to three months’ worth of healthy, homemade baby food in just three one-hour blocks of time. It has unique combos like Peachy Strawberry Salad, Coconutty Mango Lassi, Plum-Gingered Brocco-Quinoa, and Purple Papaya Flax Yogurt, blending in a rainbow of nutritious options while expanding your baby’s palate.

TWO

Real Baby Food: Easy, All-Natural Recipes for Your Baby and Toddler ($10.79)

The toughest part really is making the time but this book helps new moms create a routine that is easy, fast and flexible. The author starts with the building blocks of solid foods, and shares how to recognize food allergies, and easy ways to cook in bulk. Recipes progress from single-ingredient purées to multi-flavor blends like Salmon, Kale, and Sweet Potato Smash; then move on to finger foods—Turkey Meatloaf Bites, Maple Graham Animals—and finally toddler meals and snacks. Most can be made ahead and frozen, many are easily adapted for grown-up tastes, and all include full nutritional information. Nice!

THREE

101 DIY Baby Food Pouches ($10.99) specializes in baby food pouches for older babies and toddlers. This book includes instructions for filling your own pouches for cheaper, healthier, and eco-friendly options for your little one.

FOUR

Fast & Fresh Baby Food Cookbook: 120 Ridiculously Simple and Naturally Wholesome Baby Food Recipes ($11.87)

This book targets the early stage new mom who “can’t keep up with the laundry” or “can’t fit into anything but yoga pants” and “can’t make your baby sleep through the night.” The book promised to help this mom “make the best food for your baby in 30 minutes or less.”

FIVE

Little Foodie: Baby Food Recipes for Babies and Toddlers with Taste ($13.59)

This book comes from a certified baby chef and blogger over at Baby FoodE, Michele Olivier.  She offers over 100 food recipes, helpful FAQs and a comprehensive overview.

Baby food recipes include: Apple + Mint + Ricotta Purée / Fennel + Pea + Peach Purée / Pumpkin + Thyme Purée / Sesame Tofu Sticks + Peanut Sauce / Curried Egg Finger Sandwiches + Mango Chutney / Slow Cooker Chicken Tagine + Couscous / Sausage + Kale Over Creamy Polenta / DIY Toddler Sushi Bar, and more.

SIX

Super Easy Baby Food Cookbook: Healthy Homemade Recipes for Every Age and Stage  ($11.74)

This book focuses on super simple recipes  with just 5- ingredients each and includes over 150+ nutritious recipes that grow with your developing child. It has time saving sample menus for kids 4 to 18 months.

SEVEN

The Baby and Toddler Cookbook: Fresh, Homemade Foods for a Healthy Start ($15.68)

Packed with over 90 recipes and loads of nutritional information, The Baby & Toddler Cookbook makes cooking healthy meals easy, even for busy parents. By setting aside only a few hours a week, you can make and store an array of nutritious foods to keep baby happy and fed. All along the way, this book will give you helpful hints, guidance, and plenty of recipes to ease your path to nutrition.

EIGHT

Top 100 Baby Purees ($10.52)

Like the other books, you’d learn to wean your baby who is transitioning to solid foods, discover food allergies and how to make  100 Baby Purees  with information tricks on finding the hidden nutrition in everyday foods. Dr. Michel Cohen, New York pediatrician and author of The New Basics: A-to-Z Baby & Child Care for the Modern Parent opens the book with a forward.

NINE

Cooking for Baby: Wholesome, Homemade, Delicious Foods for 6 to 18 Months ($12.30)

This book is organized by age and has smart tips on prep and storage with added suggestions on transitioning as baby grows. From celebrated children’s-food author Lisa BarnesCooking for Baby is a fully illustrated, gorgeous, four-color book that takes parents through the basics of preparing nutritious, delicious (and easy!) meals for your child, from six to eighteen months.

TEN

The Pediatrician’s Guide to Feeding Babies and Toddlers: Practical Answers To Your Questions on Nutrition, Starting Solids, Allergies, Picky Eating, and More (For Parents, By Parents) ($12.30)

A team of doctors came up with this comprehensive manual for feeding your babies and toddlers during their first crucial yeas of life. With The Pediatrician’s Guide to Feeding Babies and Toddlers, you have the expertise of a team of pediatric medical and nutritional experts—who also happen to be parents—in a comprehensive manual that takes the guesswork out of feeding. This first-of-its-kind guide provides practical, easy-to-follow advice to help you navigate the nutrition issues, medical conditions, and parenting concerns that accompany feeding. With recipes, parenting stories, and recommendations based on the latest pediatric guidelines, this book will allow you to approach mealtime with confidence so you can spend more time enjoying your new family.

ELEVEN

201 Organic Baby Purees: The Freshest, Most Wholesome Food Your Baby Can Eat! ($10.25)

When you can have 100 recipes, why not 201?! This book has even more healthy recipes that are organic and blends classic combinations such as turkey, sweet potato, and corn; Superfoods like avocado, blueberries, and spinach; and Puree-based transition recipes including soups, biscuits, frozen desserts.

TWELVE

The Happy Family Organic Superfoods Cookbook For Baby & Toddler Hardcover ($14.54)

This book comes from the organic family-focused food company Happy Family Organics and Cricket Azima, founder and CEO of The Creative Kitchen. Inside, find more than 70 easy-to-prepare recipes made with all-natural ingredients. It includes recipes with ingredient vegetable and fruit purees, including Happy Family’s best-selling spinach, mango & pear recipe, to recipes with quinoa, chia, and kale —Shazi’s and Cricket’s superfood recipes will nourish and please every kind of baby. Recipes for toddlers (1–3 years) include avocado & chicken whole wheat pizza; 3 bean farro risotto; and baked salmon with peas & rice balls; toddlers will love tasty snacks like strawberry-beet pudding with coconut milk and chia; avocado, melon & mint smoothies; banana, chocolate chip & quinoa muffins; and grilled nut-butter sandwiches with smashed berries.

Good luck!

Holiday Photo Card/Out-of-Town Kids’ Outfit Guide

holiday card

The holiday seasons mean that families will be packing up the kids in the car or arranging a suitcase and venturing off to weekend or weeklong visits to grandparents, out-of-town family and friends and winter vacations.

It’s also the time of the year when parents dress up their children to the nines and take professional or DIY portraits to be included in the end-of-the-year Holiday, Christmas or Hannukah cards that are sent out each year.

I recommend you go with one of four traditional colors that are perfect for the season: black, grey, red or white.  Avoid the temptation to put wool or some other thick fabric on baby which may cause her to overheat.

Also, by opting for light weight fabrics, you can pretty much mix and match and play around with different looks and can layer. Add or take away depending on the temperature in the room or outdoors.

Further, if you are going to try different poses during a photo session, having options you can play around with is key.

I curated  a list of 15 items that you may want to consider (or get inspiration from) as you plan your season. You don’t have to purchase new items either. You can pull out classic pieces out of Jr’s wardrobe or closet. But just in case, here is my list and you can click to each item to be taken to the brand partner’s website or eCommerce site to make a purchase.

 

Mother’s Day: 5 Last Minute FREE DIY Gift Ideas for Today

mothers-day2

Sometimes Mother’s Day can creep up on you, and before you know it you are panicking about what gift to get.  Other times the budget just is not there to get the gift that she really deserves. Here are some low-cost gifts that can be put together last minute to show Mom she is appreciated.

1. Time to herself.

Moms are busy. They were many hats, and most of their time is dedicated to other people. So why not give mom a break? Take the kids for a day, so she can have a day off. Give her the time to pursue whatever she wants and make sure there are no unwanted interruptions.

If Mom wants the day to go shopping, then make sure the car is not in the shop. If she want to stay at home and garden, followed by lounging in the tub with a good book, make sure the kids are out of the house so there is not competition for the bathroom or soccer balls rolling through her plants.

One last tip, do not make Mother’s Day the day she gets off. This should be a separate day. A date that is agreed on in advance so that she can makes plans if she so chooses.

2. A weekend of sleeping in

For moms with young kids, sleeping in is a true luxury. Little ones are frequently early birds and one they are awake, there is no convincing them they should go back to bed. That can mean Mom is up early seven days a week corralling kids who have gotten a full night’s rest regardless of how many hours of sleep she has gotten.

Any sleep deprived mom will cherish the opportunity to have a morning to sleep in, but an entire weekend of sleeping in is gift gold. If you can slip out of bed in the morning before she has been roused by the kids and let her wake up to the surprise of a clock that has ticked past her normal time, all the better.

However, if you are a sound sleeper and are afraid you will not hear the kids first, or if she will still beat you out of bed, announce your intentions beforehand.  That way, when Mom hears the first sounds of a waking child she can nudge you out of bed.

3, A surprise girls’ night out

Mom may have a routine with her girlfriends. Maybe they arrange playdates so they can hang out, maybe they work out sporadic nights out when they can arrange kids-free time. Maybe Mom has not seen her girlfriends in a long time due to distance or schedules, etc.

If she is a social butterfly, then try to contact the significant others of the rest of her social circle to pre-arrange a night when all “the girls” will be free. Then let Mom and her friends make their plans with the knowledge that there is no schedule juggling to be done.

4. Mix tape or playlist- This may seem like a cheesy thing from your high school days, but do not think cassette tape filled with sappy love-songs. Rather, put together a playlist that includes some of her new favorites, as well as a few favorites from specific points in her life, and then include a track or two of her kids singing. This can be something that give her on a CD, or maybe load it onto her mp3 player to surprise her.

5. Clean the house -In some homes the chores are split 50-50, in some maids do some of the basic cleaning, other moms dos the majority of the housework herself. Regardless of the percentage of routing cleaning tasks mom has on her plate, she will enjoy having a week where she will not have to do every single one of them.

Try to tackle the chores she dislikes the most first, and try to do as many as possible.

Trend Alert: How to get Celeb-style Neon Nails

This Summer, if you dare to go bold and experiment with neon colored nail polish you may have seen on the fingertips of your favorite celebrity, here is a simple tutorial from FindItWeddings to get you started if you venture to do it yourself.

1.  Make sure you remove all traces of old nail polish and then wash off all traces of nail polish remover.

2. Buffing your nails gives them a super smooth surface so you get a great finish.

3. Try a rubberized base coat to help the nail polish stay on longer and will help the nail polish to bond better. Make sure it is completely dry before applying polish.

4.  Give your nail polish a shake but not vigorously as you may create air bubbles.

5.  Don’t be in a rush. Apply thin coats and let them dry before re-applying. Don’t sit by a fan either as this may also create bubbles in the wet polish. Humidity will retard the drying process so allow extra time if it’s humid. Be patient.

6.   If you smudge your nails ( so easily done) use a smudge repair product rather than having to start again and run the risk of messing up other nails.

7.  Finally, finish with a top coat to protect your nail art design. Using a top coat will not only help protect from damage but will increase the life of your manicure.

Finally, if you want to experiment with more colors or to stay safe with a kit, there are numerous of neon nail kits availalble at online and brick and mortar retailers.

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How to throw a DIY #Minecraft Birthday party

My kids love Minecraft, the 3D-like sandbox building video game, and so much so that they have Minecraft posters, spend much of their free play time on the weekend reading Wiki entries on how to navigate different worlds and also read books on the game. 
Now I’m thinking of throwing the eldest a birthday party and would try to skip the party planning route and instead do a DIY party. I found these ideas for how to decorate a Minecraft birthday party CreativeBirthdayExpress. I’m going to order some templates to start. I’ll share the final output when it’s done. I’m confident I’ll be able to pull it off or at least come close. 
Wish me luck!

 

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