Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Making baby food

I recently saw a post on one of the couponing sites that I go to about making baby food. I think that there are probably a lot of mothers that are interested in making food for their child, but just are not sure how to start. Here is what I did.

Like so many things, getting started is the hardest part! One you try it, and make just a teeny bit of time for making baby food, it truely is not a big deal.

The simplist, cheapest, easiest thing to give your child when you are just starting off is bananas. My son started with bananas and just LOVED them! Here's how you make baby food bananas...

Baby Bananas

1. Pick a banana that is yellow or even in the early stages of browning
2. Peel the banana
3. Break the banana up into chucks and put them in a small bowl
4. Use the back of a spoon, fork, or any other utensil that is handy and mash the banana until it is very slimy and wet looking
5. Serve it to your little on a baby spoon

Seriously, that one is as simple as it gets. My husband and I would take bananas in our baby bags, because we knew that we could mash them up on the spot, no matter where we were.

Another food that my son ate a lot of in the beginning were carrots. Here is how you cook carrots for a baby.

Baby Carrots
1. Wash and peel your carrots
2. Put a vegetable steamer into a small pot and place water in the bottom. (There should be about enough water just to peek up through the holes of the vegetable steamer)
3. After the water is boiling, place a layer of carrots in the vegetable steamer
4. Put a lid on the pot and let everything good on low heat for about 20 minutes
5. After 20 minutes, check on the carrots. Take one out and put it on a plate. If you can use a fork to cut through the carrot, it is done. If not, cook another 10ish minutes and check again.
6. Take the carrots out of the steamer and put them into some kind of food processor (or you can do this by hand if you prefer). Put your food processor on a puree setting for about one minute. The carrots should turn into a thick mush that is very wet. You can add some water or breastmilk if you are finding that the carrorts aren't pureeing very well or to add some nutrients.
7. Serve to your little one!

Often, I would use three or four carrots at a time and have a lot of leftovers! You can very easily freeze most baby foods and really only take about 1 hour a week to make all that you need.

I would love to share more about my days of making baby food with anyone that is interested.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Baby signs

I love when hard work turns into something worthwhile! I started with my son when he was around 6 months on sign language. I didn't follow any kind of program. I just picked the signs for mommy, daddy, and eat and kept doing them over and over. I was so sick of doing them and getting nothing but a look from my son that seemed to say, " my mommy crazy or what??"

Around 11 or 12 months, I was probably close to giving up, and then one day....he copied me! We were getting to our wit's end with him throwing his food all over the floor when he finished eating, so I'd taught him the sign for "all done". He did it!
Since then, the only other sign that he really attempts is "cup". So what though! Just knowing that little bit of information about what he wants help both my husband, my son, and myself to be a little less frustrated.

I'm proud of my hard work. Although, I do wish it came a little easier!

Saturday, January 23, 2010


This morning, my son sounded really bad. I decided that it was really time to call the doctor. I was able to get an appointment. For which, they said, "Come on in right now."

I decided that it was my turn to get a break from appointments, so I armed my husband with a list of symptoms, medicines that he's been taking, and questions to ask. Then, I sent him on his way.

I was sure that my son had some kind of a lung issue. He's had bronchitis at least twice in his short 13 months of life. I was wrong. It was another ear infection. He'll be on antibiotics again.

It is so hard to make the call when you are the mother. When do you need to call the doctor? At a visit a few months ago, my doctor said that it was lucky that I waited to take my son it, because I wouldn't have seen any kind of infection in his ear if I had brought him earlier. I guess that's good. I'm always afraid that I'm waiting too long though.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

My husband is the best!

I just have to say, that my husband made my day!

Today, my husband had off...and I had to work. We were both home during most of the day, save the face that I had to work in both the morning and at night.

My super hub took care of our son all day. HE fed him all of his meals AND he ordered the pizza for lunch, when I was too cold and lazy to do it myself...and he cooked me dinner! NOW, he's going to laugh at some crazy movie that I borrowed from the library.....I think this makes him awesome! MUAH babe!

PS...with the dinner...he even remembered that you have to have a vegetable too....awesome again! ;)

ahh.....another day...

I'm tired and bored today. Today I'm missing the days before I had a child where I could be lazy for an entire day and no one really cared. Now, I'm feeling guilty that I'm not doing something constructive.

I had hoped to take my son to see some animals today. The zoo was doing something at one of the local malls...the had a bunch of animals that the kids could get up close with. He's still a little sick though, so I decided against it. Maybe another time.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010 son is sick today! ;(

Yep....lunch just came back up.

After having just gone to the doctor 6 days ago for a well visit and hearing that his nose and throat look great, I just don't feel ready to call yet.

My son seems to be a little under the weather today.

My son seems to be a little under the weather today.

Last week, he was drooling and eating his hands a lot. I assumed he was teething, but there's nothing to see yet.

Today, since he's got a runny nose and cough, we're going to stay in all day until we HAVE to leave. That means, I'm going to do some of things that I do that are not scheduled into my week, I just do them when we end up staying home for whatever reason and/or my son decides to sleep longer for his nap than usual.

First, I had defrosted a roast to make for dinner. Hubby and I are rarely home for dinner. His new shift at work has him working from 11am-9pm four days a week and I leave at about 4:30 to pick up the kids that I watch and get them to wherever they need to be on that particular day. So, dinner, especially hot and homemade, is never really a priority....except for when we need some leftover for lunches and take to with us to our jobs.

So, I have my roast going. I have learned to LOVE my crock pot! I just recently started making turkeys and chickens in there! It's great and uses a lot less gas (we have a gas oven). I also make a lot of roasts....I love the taste of potatoes that have been in the crock pot and are now all moist and soft! Yum!

The reason that I actually stopped, not because my darling son decided to nap, but because I want to try a new breadmaker recipe. I almost always make a wheat bread that takes over 2 hours. I want to try the rapid version of the wheat bread and I gotta look it up.

I also plan to get done with about 3 loads of laundry. I thought I was getting close to the end, but didn't realize just how much the bin upstairs had until I this weekend. It really bums me out when I feel like I've finally come to the end of it, that I might be able to rest and not do laundry guilt-free. Then, I end up thinking about...worrying that if I decide to sit and eat ice cream during my son's nap (one of my favorite things to do!) that sometime someone is going to see the horrible overflowing bins of dirty clothes and judge me. I will never know why that thought is always in the back of my mind.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A story of life changes.

It is amazing how one small period in time can change your life.

Here's my story....

It was about this time 2005 when I realized that what I was doing just wasn't working for me anymore. I told you I was busy....I have ALWAYS kept busy...

Back then, I was working 3 jobs.

I woke up at about 6:30 and went to the school 3 miles away and was something like a teacher's aid (I am certified, but it is hard to find a teaching position in this part of Pennsylvania). I would be there until 3:45. Then, I might have a few minutes to go home, before I left to watch the kids that I watch now. If there was no school, or sometimes on Saturdays, I would go to help a friend of my mom's with her son's business.

At one point, I tried to keep track of the number of hours I was actually working in a week. I found that it fell somewhere between 60-70 hours! I was always excited for pay day, but pretty much hated my life.

So, February came, and I decided come hell or high water, I was going to find a teaching job. I talked to my fiancee and we decided to map off a area that would be within a 6-8 hour drive from where both of our families were in Pennsylvania. Ultimately, by April, I had found a position in Shenandoah, Virginia. Which is only about four hours away from our families. It seemed mostly perfect. The downside was that my fiancee still had a semester of school left at Pitt and he was going to have to continue to live with his parents until he finished. I was going to be on my own from July until early December.

I had taken a job teaching English as a Second Language. It was stressful. I had to work at four different schools. One, was about 15 miles from the other three. I didn't have a sense of belonging with any of the staff and it was difficult to make friends since I was always missing stuff, because I had to be at another school.

I did, however, manage to get to know two wonderful first grade teachers at one school. They not only took me under their wings, but also offered me a place to go on Friday nights to unwind. We would get together from time to time and have these little wine parties. We'd drink a glass or two and just chat. I always LOVED going to these little gatherings.

I guess it was one such gathering where the topic of needing first grade teachers for the following year came up. They suggested that I apply for the position. I thought about it, but just didn't know that I wanted to make a change. EVEN with as stressful as it was to not belong anywhere, I LOVED my ESL job! The kids and families were fantastic! I've never met such well behaved kids in my life!!! I think it was about as close as I could get to learning about the places that they were from without actually going. I LOVED it...and my students looked up to and adored me.

Eventually, I realized that there was going to be a lot of shakeup over the summer and I should probably get myself into a classroom. I applied, and was accepted to teach first grade! I got started on my room right away!

That year was also the one where my husband's back problems started to peak. He was in pain almost all of the time. He had started sleeping on the living room floor and had a hard time getting up to do anything.

That summer, July 2007, was when my husband and I were married. It was a beautiful day. While other people have issues with DJs, weather, or someone not showing, my day was the best ever. Sadly, my husband wasn't having the best day of his life. He was taking a cocktail of medicine to help keep his back in order so that he didn't have to stand with his upper half shifted to the left and his bottom half shifted to the right. When I watch the wedding video that my cousin took for us, there is a part where he is getting onto our bus to leave and he is so crooked, but he kept on smiling and acting just as jolly as ever.

When we got to the reception, I remember thinking that it was the best day EVER and that I was so lucky that everything was more prefect than I had ever imagined! My happiness faded when my husband leaned into me and said, "I'm done, I just can't stand up anymore." I was left to finish some small tasks visit with all the guests at the table....and keep the dancing going....and toss candy to the kiddos during the 'Lollipop' song. Honestly, I didn't want to see him in pain, but I felt really stupid doing some of things by myself. I felt like people just assumed that I was such a control freak that my husband didn't even know anything about what I was I planned all of that stuff without him. I didn't though....that's just how things turned out.

The worst was later that night when my husband was in tears on the floor because it hurt so bad. We had this fancy, expense room at the Marriott and just couldn't sleep in the bed no matter what. He took to the floor and said that I should stay in the bed and enjoy the king-sized bed all myself. I wanted to....really really bad, but my brain or heart or something just kept telling me that I needed to lay down on the floor with him and stay by his side like a good wife. So, I did. At least until he fell asleep and I didn't know what to do with myself. I ended up spending the night at the bar with my family. We had some good laughs, but that is certainly not how I imagined my wedding night! I NEVER thought my mom and dad would be a part of it! :)

Well now, that was July. We were supposed to take our Disney honeymoon in August, but my husband's back doctor told us that we should cancel. So, instead, we just decided to have all the unprotected sex we could handle! Truthfully, we'd been together for eight years at that point and we spent a lot of time trying not to get pregnant....and never did. We actually thought that there might be some kind of issue and discussed adoption a lot!

It was September 2nd when I told my husband that if my period didn't start by the end of that day I was going to get a test. I honestly never beleived in a million years that I could really be pregnant. I guess a part of me just thought I could get a rise out of him and I liked that. He was working at Walmart at the time. I decided, later that day, to pay him a visit AND seriously consider getting a test. I picked up the test and went over to where he worked, AGAIN....never thinking in a million years that I could really be pregnant. It was cool to see him freak out just a little.

When I got back from Walmart, I thought about taking the test, but ended up finding the slightest tint of blood in my urine and thought "WE'RE SAVED!!!" I told Scott that all was well and I didn't need to test. Oh, the relief!

But then another day past....and nothing else was coming. That night, we very nonchalantly, took the test out of the package, read the directions....and talked about it very nervously. I STILL didn't think there was any possible way that I could be pregnant. Yet at the same time, I knew.

I remember taking the test. We ended up with one very dark pink line and one VERY light pink line. I remember each of us going to a computer to find images of other pregnancy tests to see what their results looked like. I remember being frantic! I just kept thinking that I was so not ready to be anyone's mom. Scott's back was in horrible shape. Worse than ever before! I was only making $2200 a month and Scott was making little more than $800 a month. We had a tiny apartment that wouldn't even allow us to stow away our boxes properly. I had no family to help me! I didn't even have a DR in this one-horse town!

I remember crying a lot, because I didn't know what to do next. I had always wanted to have children, as long as I didn't have to actually give birth to them (that seemed like a pain that I could never recover from!). I had just always imagined that Scott and I would be a little more stable. He would have a good job, we would have put away a nice stash of money, we would own a house with a yard, and we'd have all the time in the world to put together the perfect baby nursery together. We'd take the birthing classes together and everything would be like the movies! LIFE CHECK...NOTHING IS LIKE THE MOVIES!!!

That weekend, we were both still feeling down. We ended up driving to the mall and walked through the baby aisles at Kohls. Scott picked up these little baby Halloween PJs. They were so tiny and so cute. We had to buy them. Scott hugged me and we both realized that this was something we could handle. We just needed to stop paniking, and talk about it.

We ended up waiting a few weeks to tell our parents. We wanted to tell them in person, so we waited until the beginning of October when we had to come up two weekends in a row for weddings. That first weekend, was my mom's birthday. We set it up so that it seemed like we were taking them out for her birthday. Boy, was my family surprised to find out that Scott's family was coming. I'm sure they were confused when they walked in and way about 4 extra chairs at the table.

We told them all that night and the hugs and kisses were plentiful.

We spent the next few weeks going to appointment after appointment. I have VERY high blood pressure. When I did see a doctor to confirm that I was pregnant, I had stopped taking my regular medication weeks before (because I was careless) and my blood pressure in the office that day was 220/120! I spent most of my pregnant time going to different doctors to get on the right medication and also the right dosage. That was a pain in the neck! Thankfully, most of my doctor visits were in Woodstock, which was just about five minutes down the road from my house. It is a small hospital, but everyone that grew up in that area was pretty much either born or gave birth there. It is quiet, safe, and the people are friendly.

I remember driving up to the mall (which was at least a 45 minute drive) to buy maternity clothes. The first thing that I bought was THE best pair of overalls OVER! I would still wear them if I could! I LOVED them! I remember going into the dressing room and putting the fake belly on and wondering if it would really get THAT big.

The week before Christmas was what we had been waiting for! We were going to find out the sex of the baby. Hubby and I were really hoping for a girl. We have all girls in the family and my husband was comfortable with girls. For me, I just wanted to be able to be the Girl Scout Leader, the Mother of the Bride, and all of the other things that Mothers and Daughters get to do together. No such luck. We were having a boy. We both cried when we found out. Probably for different reasons, although I never asked hubby why that made him cry.

We were so excited to tell everyone that we were having a boy and even more excited when the boy clothes started coming in as Christmas gifts. I can remember watching our neices open gifts that year. Hubby and I were sitting on the couch and he hugged me. I'm pretty sure that we were both thinking the same thing.....our little one is going to be down there next year! Christmas will NEVER be the same! This Christmas ranked up there with the one a few years ago where hubby proposed on Christmas Eve, but we knew that the next year would be even more magical.

Christmas was over and it was time to get back to reality. Hubby was still having lot of back problems. We talked a lot about how sad it was going to be that he couldn't lift up his son. That really made him sad. He was on the living room floor nearly every night now and requiring better pain medication, because he just hurt so bad. I was just starting to get out of the phase where I fell asleep every night at 6pm and then woke up to watch 'Friends' until four in the morning. I was headed to my monthly visit with the baby doctor specialist, which I wasn't too excited about. She was kinda rude....granted, I'd been warned.

Mid-January, I went in for that appointment. I remember that THEY thought this was going to be the first time that I was going to find out about the sex of the baby. RIGHT! Anyway, I ended up waiting for HOURS to see someone for the ultrasound. By the time that I got in there, everyone was gone from the waiting room, TVs were turned off, even the secretary had left. I didn't care. I just sat there and worked on stuff for school.

When it was finally my turn, I was just thinking about how much I LOVED being on the "special list", which ultimately gets me two ultrasounds a month! That's lots of seeing my baby. Things started out well. Then I remember the tech saying "I'm going to get the doctor now". As it turned out, there were problems. The baby was not doing very well. There were problems in the sac that were causing the fluid to be low and the placenta to fall apart. I didn't know what to do! No one was with me. I started to cry uncontrollably! The doctor was talking to me about what needed to happen and I just didn't hear a word she said. My worst fear had come true. My baby was sick and I was going to be on bed rest for the rest of the pregnancy. I was 21 weeks. The doctor told me that if I could make it to 24 weeks, she could deliver the baby. After I was able to pick myself up, I was like the engine that could! Things weren't that bad. I could power threw 3 more weeks! I would just stay in bed as much as I could and watch a lot of movies and stuff.

My mom came down that weekend. She brought me everything should could think of to keep me busy and off my feet. Plants, books, even a foot massage bath. I was just glad to have her there. Although, I remember her acting like she was holding back all of her feelings of concern. I kept staying positive and making comments that in probably made it seem like I was in denial that anything could really happen. She just looked like she wanted to believe it, but having the life experience to know that everything isn't always cookies and candy, knew that things were grim.

On the following Tuesday, I went to see the baby doctors that I had been with in Woodstock. They were supposed to close up my care there and send me to be totally treated at the other doctor.

There was a medical student there that day. I had been with her before and she was sweet and a little unsure of herself. The doctor did some measurements and stuff and then was called out of the room. She kind of put the med student on "busy work", telling her to take the baby's heartbeat and stuff. No biggie. She had out the heartbeat microphone thing and couldn't get a heartbeat. She tried in a few different places. I wasn't worried, hell, she was only a med STUDENT. I didn't know everything when I was a student teacher and even the things I did know could get messed up if I was stressed or something. She kept trying and I kept thinking...whatever...let's just get the doctor back in here for an ultrasound or something. The heartbeat monitor isn't that interesting anymore.

The doctor came back in the room and also tried to find the heartbeat. She couldn't, but said, I'm sure everything is fine, let's just take a walk down the hall and do an ultrasound to be sure.

I got all strapped up and she put on the ultrasound stick-thing. A few seconds later she said, "This is a baby that is no longer living". I just remember looking at her and saying "What?" I remember feeling upset, angry, scared, and relieved. Until we had to start talking about what would happen next.

I still had to deliver the baby.

Sales.....and me!

Did I mention that I'm a super sales shopper? There are a few places that I really enjoy shopping at and I have learned when their best sales take place. I also know most of the best ways to get good coupons to stack with those sales.

For example:
January is always a good time to shop. Specifically the 2-3 weeks of January. That is when many stores are trying to get rid of their winter inventory and the sales are HOT!!!

Last year, about this time, I was stalking Target for their baby stuff that was on sale. About 1-2 weeks ago, they started clearing out a lot of inventory in their store. I headed over to my local Target this past Friday to find that they had a TON of items, all over the store, at 50-75 percent off. I know it is early, but I stocked up on gifts for my son and my 4 nieces for both Christmas and their birthdays. I was also about to get a couple nice shirts for myself (all under $5), Gamer PJs (org. 21.99, marked $5.99) for the hubby, and 2 new pairs of Velcro sneakers for my little one (each marked down to $4). I also bought our first tent (4-6 person tent $39.48), and an igloo cooler (under $10) all I spent under $200. It is nice to be able to knock out so many different buys at one time. Some of the best bargains were the Polly Pockets that were $2.50, and a baby doll that was $25, marked down to $6.

Granted, to some, I might be going overboard. I admit that I do at times, but I don't feel too bad about it, since I know that I'm spending what I can afford to spend and I won't be stressing about gifts at the last minute.

Let's do Old Navy next. I only started shopping there a couple of years ago. About three years ago, I stumbled into their store....5 months pregnant (more on that later) and found that there was a sale that I couldn't pass up! They had racks and racks or clearence items that were already discount up to 50%....and you got take ANOTHER 50% off those prices! I went nuts!!!

Well, last weekend, I was waiting to hear that this sale was coming up again....but nothing. So, hubby and I went out to the mall and I just bought a bunch of stuff that I thought would be cute for my son for next winter and a couple of things for the year after that in case he decided to start needing a 3T as we are coming out of winter next year. Well, I had a coupon (which Old Navy puts right out on their site!!!) for $5 off of $25. As it turned out, I had exactly a $25 gift card to spend. I believe that I was able to buy something like 5 winter outfits and the total came to $22 and some change after the coupon. THIS week the extra 50% off sale was going on. Well, lucky me, I was able to take in my receipt and get a price adjustment on what I bought a week ago. $13 was credited back to me! Amazing! I did a little adding to see what the price would have been for all of those items at regular price....$100!!!! I could never afford that!

Another place that I love to shop is at Bath and Body Works. Honestly though, I can't afford shower gel at $9.50 a bottle! Enter thier big sale! In January and in June, they their big "SEMI-ANNUAL SALE". Those same shower gels are just over $2 during that sale! Granted, sometimes their inventory stinks, but you have to be kinda open to different scents. I've not had too many problems personally, and I think that I'm pretty hard to please as far as scents go. As an added bonus. When you answer their survey that is mentioned at the bottom of the receipt you can a $10 off $30! Last time I was at the store, the woman wanted to make VERY sure that I understood that coupon NEVER expired! No too bad! is life, my child is in need of me. I gotta go.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

IF I could find the time....

Here's a list of things that I wish that I could find a whole day to do alone:

1) A hot bath with classical music, dim lights, and a good book.
2) Scrapbook...I have over a year to catch up on.
3) Shop! (I LOVE going Old Navy during their "additional 50% off of already 50% off clothing" sale.
4) Go out with another mom who ALSO has the day to herself and chat over lunch.

hmmm....hark...Is that an angel I hear?

Nope! It's my son. Awake from his nap.....

What do I do???

I'm busy....
I was a teacher...who was busy.
Now, I'm a "stay at home mom", nanny/babysitter, book keeper, and wife...and I'm busy!

My days tend to go like this:
5:30, I wake up and lay in bed and decide if I'm am going to get up and do the dishes, load of laundry, etc before my son wakes up or just stay put.
5:45 (6 if I'm lucky), my 13 month old wakes up and wants to nurse
6:15, I get ready to go and get the kids ready that I watch
7:00, leave for the kids
7:30-9:15, help the 3 kids that I watch get ready to school, and drive them to their two different schools
9:30, three days a week I meet my husband at the YMCA to workout together
10:30, pick up my crying kid from the YMCA daycare and take him home for a snack
11:00, I play with my son, read with him, and teach him a new sign of the day (except for Wednesdays, when I go to my parent's house to do the books for their business which takes forever when you're trying to keep a 1 year-old busy for 2 hours!)
12 noon, is lunchtime and usually a bath
1-3, If I'm lucky is nap time for him and dishes, laundry, picking up his mess, cooking for me...I rarely "rest when he rests"
3, My son wakes up and we play a little
4:30, I'm out the door to pick up the kids again....I take them home, make them dinner, help with homework, take them to: Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, violin lessons, swim lessons, tutoring, etc.
Between 7:30-8:30 their mom comes home and I am on my way back home. I am usually so exhausted that I fall asleep in my bed while helping my son get to sleep.

If I manage to stay up, it is usually to make sure that my husband eats something other than cereal for dinner!

Friday is my favorite day, because usually I do not watch the kids those days. I can just stay home and catch up on stuff that I need to get done.

In all of this, my husband now works 11am-9pm, four days a week. I don't see him much, except for his days off. However, his days off are not always my days off.

What is your day like????

Where to start?

This is my first blog.

I have been married for almost 3 years and a mom for just 13 months. I thought I was alone in feeling tired, stressed, angry, and sometimes downright unhappy! I blocked out friends, because I did not want them to know that they were happier than I was. I blocked out family, because I did not want them to suggest that I could possibly be a bad mother or wife, AND I did everything I could to not get involved with any new Mom friends, because I did not want to have to hear about how much better organized they were than I.

I've finally started to change my mind! I guess I reached my breaking point...and I needed a shoulder to, not cry on, but a shoulder to understand. I've been putting my best foot forward and found that there are a lot of wives, mothers, and singles that are feeling exactly like I do. I was surprised to find out, that this was all just part of being a woman. I want to reach out to you now.