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Sunday, June 13, 2010

Camp Mommy

This past week my husband was out of town taking the kids from our church youth group to camp.  My girls LOVE their daddy, and especially love being tucked in bed by him each night.  Occasionally, he gets home late and the bed time routine is done solo by me, but there are usually a few tears shed as the girls miss their daddy.  So you can understand my concern at going solo for 4 nights straight!  The days usually aren't a big deal since I'm a stay-at-home mom and that's something they are already used to.  I decided to get creative.  On the spur of the moment after telling Zion that Daddy would be gone for a few days and seeing her eyes already begin to well up with tears I created "Camp Mommy".  I had no idea what that would mean, but it worked!  She thought this sounded fun and seemed okay at the thought of being without her favorite man for a few days.

I decided to let our normal routine kind of slack and added a few fun surprises.  We camped out in the living room the first evening and watched a couple of movies and stayed up much later than normal.  Several good friends made guest appearances and made the girls feel special by just spending time with them and even bringing a few surprises for the girls.  We did crafts, colored, played, went to a splash park and basically did everything I could to keep our minds occupied and off of the fact that Daddy was out of town.

I think all of us had a lot of fun.  The girls were very well behaved and still speak with excitement about "Camp Mommy".

Here's one of the crafts that was a big hit with the girls:

We decorated a couple of Daddy's old undershirts with miscellaneous items from my craft drawer and some fun things my friend Veronica brought over.  We used markers, Aleene's Tacky Glue, buttons, sequins, lace, ribbon, and anything else we could get our hands on.  After the glue dried, Veronica, Chazaq & I were the audience for a wonderful fashion show.  Zion & Zoan were so proud to show off their creations.  And when Daddy came home, he was quite impressed with the transformation of his old shirts!  I think the next time the girls want new dress up clothes, this will be on the agenda for sure!  Plus it kept them entertained for hours!  Anything that can do that is a hit in my book!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Homemade Baby Food

Just last week I was blessed to spend time with a friend making baby food for her little one.  I have made all the baby food for my older 2 children and look forward to doing it for Chazaq when he's ready.  If you're interested, here's the simple steps!  It's so easy and so cost effective!  Plus you know exactly what ingredients are going into what your baby eats!

All you need are some ice cube trays, some zip loc freezer bags, a marker and whatever fruits and veggies you want to prepare for your little one.

I like to start with veggies.   Some of my favorites are winter squashes like butternut, acorn & spaghetti, sweet potatoes, carrots, & beets (although, beware-it causes purple poop!). Most fruits you can simply puree without cooking if they are ripe enough.  Ones I like to use are pears, peaches, plums, nectarines and apricots. 

For the winter squash I cut them in half, scoop out the seeds, place them in a 9 x 13 pyrex baking dish with and bake at 400 degrees for 1hour to an hour & 15 min.  I use the time it's baking to prep carrots, beets, or spinach and to puree the fruit.  You can steam or boil them.  Use as little water as possible and reserve it for thinning the purees.  Once you have the veggies cooked, puree them and pour them into your ice cube trays and cover with plastic wrap.  I leave mine to freeze overnight then pop them out into the freezer bags labeled with the date and type of food. 

To thaw, just place a couple of cubes in a bowl in the fridge to thaw.  My pediatrician recommended trying the same food for a few days before introducing a new one.  Once your baby has had a good assortment, you can start to mix and match to disguise foods he doesn't like or to just make it a little more interesting.

I like to keep a stash of purees in the freezer even without a baby in the house.  The winter squashes and carrot purees are great to add into our Kraft Macaroni & Cheese and the girls don't know they are eating veggies while still getting one of their favorite meals.  And the fruit can be added to yogurt and you have a nice smoothie!

I know I've enjoyed making food for my little ones.  Hopefully these tips will give you a little inspiration to try it out for yourself!  Have fun!