Baby Food Purees

I really love making baby food. When Turner was a baby, he was the only child AND I didn’t own a business. So he got only the best homemade purees. He never had store bought (insert gasp). I breastfed until he was a year and never gave him a drop of formula. He was “the first child” indeed.

Now I love Gracie to pieces, but life is a tad busier these days. I own a business managing 16 rental properties, have a toddler, and attempt to maintain a certain level of sanity. I adore making Gracie baby food and make most of it! But I need to plan ahead for that, and I do throw the occasional store-bought food in the mix. I also had all intentions of breastfeeding her a year, but with working and parenting a toddler, my supply wasn’t as good as with Turner. I ended up making the switch to formula at 9 months (more about that transition HERE). I did have some guilt with that but ultimately knew it was the best decision for all of us! 

Life has gotten exponentially easier since Gracie can now hold a bottle and feed herself using those pouch things! The pouches add to the convenience of feeding my baby, but I don’t want to use store-bought food all the time! So for the past few weeks I’ve used those reusable food pouches! I found a great brand that is easy to fill and clean so now I’m able to put her food in that. That helps alleviate the mom guilt just a tad! So here are some of our favorite purees these days. I peel, steam to fork tender, and puree.

 

Carrot & Golden Beet

Corn Plum Apple & Sweet Potato

Spinach Blueberry & Apple

Red Beet, Sweet Potato & Blueberry

There really aren’t measurements. I sort of just peal veggies, cut into small chunks, and steam on average 10 minutes. I DON’T steam the berries. I just make sure to wash them and buy organic especially when not steaming. For spinach and other greens, I throw them in my steamer basket for the last few minutes to soften and make them easier to digest. Then I blend it all up in the Vitamix. Add water, formula, or breast-milk to thin to your baby’s desired thickness. I don’t add water at this point because Gracie eats chunkier purees. But when she was a baby I would add the steam liquid at the bottom of the pot. Store in small glass jars in the fridge or freeze in ice cube trays for easy prep for the rest of the week! I also mix in some baby oatmeal if I need to bulk it up a bit. I hope you like these! What are some of your favorite purees?

Provencal Summer’s Eve Supper Club

Our supper club is one of the highlights of our social life. Each couple that hosts goes all out! Every month we rotate hosts. They are in charge of the theme/entree and the others bring a side, dessert, and cocktails. We were the hosts for July. The theme was Provencal Summer’s Eve. I wanted to do something summery but not quite a BBQ. Hence this theme!

I started with a charcuterie board because I’ll use any excuse to eat cheese! I went to Whole Foods for this particular selection. They are just so darn excited about describing cheese that I had to go with them! The guy behind the counter picked the most delicious assortment of french cheeses that I paired with some meat, crackers, and fresh figs. This was a crowd pleasure for sure!

For the table-scape I picked a few french things to adorn the table. French Peonies were a must! I put out a few bottles of Perrier and a baguette with a Provencal Herbed Butter (softened butter mixed with thyme, lemon zest, salt, pepper, chives). The name tags were held in place with a Fleur de Sel Caramel.

The entree was Filet of Beef au Poivre with a side of hericot vert (french green beans), provencal orzo, and a delicious St. Germain cocktail to wash it down!

Of course, after supper, we made our way onto the screened porch where the men smoked cigars (I complained that I couldn’t breathe) and we played Cards Against Humanity.

 We had SO much fun! We laughed hard, stayed up late, and enjoyed hilarious conversation with close friends. This group is so comfortable with each other that no matter what we do, it’s a blast! Can’t wait to do it again next month!

Sweet Summertime

This summer has been the most amazing summer to date! Life is starting to get a little bit easier. We’re at the point where Gracie really likes hanging out and playing with Turner and he feels the same! They occupy each other which helps me out big time! She also has started eating more solids and is more independent when it comes to eating. I can sit her in her high chair and give her a bottle, a baby food pouch, or finger foods and she can feed herself. She falls asleep at night and nap-time without crying, sleeps a solid 7pm-7am and is such a happy girl!

We spend most of our days doing much of the same. First thing in the morning, the kids eat cheerios and play while Stew and I drink our coffee in bed. That is, and always has been, my favorite part of the day. Everyone wakes up in a great mood! Turner always says, “I missed you! I’m so happy to see you!” which melts my heart. It’s as if he gets amnesia and forgets the way I yelled at him the night before! Thank God for a short memory and an ever-forgiving heart!

We hit the gym in the morning and then either go to the pool or play at home. It has been SO hot that the only way we can be outside is if there is a pool or hose involved!

The other day we met my mom for breakfast at one of my favorite spots (thanks Kirsten). It’s called Vintage Cafe. They have the best food and coffee. Super hip little joint. In the back, they turned an old pickup truck into a little playground. Is that not the best idea ever!? That way the adults can eat and enjoy their coffee while the kiddos entertain themselves! The only problem was that it was about 115 degrees with the heat index so we were dripping with sweat and red-faced. That didn’t stop us from having a great time (and drinking tons of water) though!

I’m already getting the itch for cooler weather! Work will be a little slower, we will spend the entire day outside, and the food is just so stinking good in the fall! Considering it’s only July 16th, I have quite a ways to go. So for now, I’ll hold my horses and be in the sweaty moment! We will pack as much summer into our days as we can handle! Have a great weekend!

Cheapest House Remodel Projects Ever!

Have you ever used chalk paint? If not, I highly recommend it! You can literally paint anything. Hence my cheapest remodel projects ever!

I had a quick tutorial with my neighbor and now I feel like a pro!

Project One:

This set of built-ins in our dining room. They’re beautiful shelves but they are a dark Charleston Green with a shiny finish. So it would have taken a million coats of paint to cover. But not with my beloved chalk paint!

I used Paris Grey and it covered beautifully! I did one coat, then a thinner coat that was watered down for a smoother finish. Final step was to apply the wax and buff it with a rag. I used Old White chalk paint for the mirror in the center, which was a shiny black color. We also swapped out the light fixture for a more rustic feel.

Project Two:

We have a dark wood living room end table that has beautiful lines, but has a few water stains on top. I mixed 1 1/4 cups Old White with 4 tsp Florence to create the perfect color to fix up this table!

Project Three:

And probably the most insane and daring… our kitchen tile back-splash! We’ve been toying with the idea of replacing the tan back-splash and counter-top. While it’s pretty, it’s just not my taste! So I thought, before we throw big bucks into fixing what ain’t broke, let me just see if chalk paint will cover the tile backs-splash. Here is the before:

I used Old White for this project so it would match our trim. And guest what!?!? It looks incredible! I did a regular coat and then a watered down coat for a smooth finish. We changed the switch plates to white and swapped out the light fixture as well. It’s so much brighter!

I did all of these with the same cans of Old White, Paris Grey, and a sample of Florence. Can you believe that!? Best. Invention. Ever!

Happy Birthday America!

As I sit here typing this post, I’m listening to the fireworks outside our door and all I can think with each BOOM is, please don’t wake up my kids! When did I become such a grandma? But seriously, STOP with the fireworks people!

We had a festive few days celebrating our nation’s independence! I really love the 4th of July. But according to my husband, I say that about every holiday!

I had Turner and Gracie dressed in their most festive outfits since Friday! It’s never too early to start celebrating, right? We pretty much spent the weekend lounging, grilling, and playing outside, while Gracie perfected her RBF (I had to google that too. Don’t feel bad).

 

Saturday afternoon, the kids woke up early from their naps, so we went out for an early ice cream treat before supper. There’s a cute little hole in the wall called Jack’s Cosmic Dogs where they have retro soft-serve that hit the spot!

This morning, we did some last minute grocery shopping to get ready for our BBQ this afternoon. Gracie took an early nap so we had some quality time with her while Turner napped, which rarely happens! So she played with Turner’s giant garbage truck and we passed her around like a hot potato to get some photos because she’s SO stinkin’ cute and poses for pictures!

We had some friends over, all of whom have kids. So it was a fun and crazy day! We set up the sprinkler so they could run around outside and get as messy as they wanted!

Everyone had a great time. It was the perfect celebration! Every holiday gets better and better with these two. But this was one for the books! This weekend was what childhood dreams are made of. Happy 4th, Friends!

Healthy “Ice Cream” Sandwiches

These are Turner and my favorite summer treats. We love our ice cream over here, so I tried to think of a healthy alternative that I wouldn’t feel guilty about eating and feeding to my toddler. I even let Gracie taste them! These aren’t actually made out of ice cream. But they’re JUST as tasty. I promise! They’re made out of frozen fruit, almond milk, and a splash of agave nectar. That’s it! I use graham crackers as the “cookies”. There are a few steps, so bear with me. Once you get the hang of it, they’re really easy to make!

  1. Start off with frozen fruit of your choice (I used bananas and strawberries). Be sure to let them sit out at room temp for about 5 minutes before blending. Pulse in the food processor until the fruit looks like sand (scrape down sides as needed).
  2. Add in a splash of agave nectar and then pour in the almond milk while the processor is running. Scrape down the sides and keep processing until you have a mixture that resembles ice cream!
  3. Line a baking dish with 12 graham cracker squares and spread the ice cream over the graham crackers. This is the part that takes patience. I usually put my hand on one side of the grahams and spread the mixture towards my hand to keep the crackers in place. You end up with something like this:
  4. Top the ice cream with the remaining 12 graham cracker squares
  5. Run a sharp knife between the crackers to score the ice cream so they’re easy to cut after you freeze them.
  6. Place the dish in the freezer for up to 2 hours. Remove the dish and cut over the scored lines to separate the sandwiches.
  7. Store sandwiches in a ziplock bag in the freezer. Let me know what you think!
Not So "Ice Cream" Sandwiches
Yields 12
So delicious and addictive! These ice cream sandwiches will satisfy your sweet tooth without leaving you feeling guilty!
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups frozen sliced banana
  2. 2 cups frozen strawberries
  3. 1 tsp agave nectar
  4. 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  5. 12 honey graham cracker sheets (24 squares)
Instructions
  1. Place frozen fruit in the bowl of a food processor fitted with blade attachment. Let fruit sit for 5 minutes.
  2. While the fruit is sitting, line a baking dish with 12 graham cracker squares
  3. Pulse fruit until it resembles coarse sand. Scrape down sides with a rubber spatula as needed.
  4. Add agave nectar and pulse once to combine.
  5. With the food processor running, pour in almond milk. Pause to scrape down sides and pulse again. Keep scraping down sides and processing until the mixture resembles ice cream.
  6. Use the spatula to place dollops of ice cream over the graham crackers. Use an icing spatula or rubber spatula to evenly spread the ice cream over the crackers (I put my hand on once side of the crackers and spread the ice cream towards my hand. This helps hold the crackers in place).
  7. Place the remaining 12 graham cracker squares on top of the ice cream.
  8. Score with a sharp knife between crackers so the sandwiches are easy to cut.
  9. Place dish in the freezer for up to 2 hours.
  10. Cut sandwiches into squares and store in a ziplock bag in the freezer.
Notes
  1. Try mixing up graham cracker flavors (cinnamon, chocolate, chocolate on one side and honey on the other, etc). Also, play with flavors. Use chocolate grahams with a banana and peanut butter "ice cream" mixture. These are so fun and great alternatives to the sugar packed ice cream sandwiches!
Little Baby Watson http://littlebabywatson.com/

Gracie at 9 Months

I really feel like I just had Gracie yesterday! It’s hard to believe she’s already 9 months old! Where does the time go? It flies even faster with the second.

I love looking back on these posts as the kids get older. Gracie is the sweetest, chillest, daintiest baby out there! She has an amazing smile and is such a snuggle bug. She sleeps like a rock and loves to eat! She is still so tiny so I feel like I can soak up her little baby moments even longer!

Age: 9 months
Weight: 15ish lbs. So tiny!
Teeth: Two bottom teeth are in. Top are starting to poke through!
Favorite Food: Everything! Girlfriend can eat. I just finished nursing (2 days ago actually) so she drinks Honest formula and eats any sort of veggie concoction I can think of. This week She has a mixture of carrot, yellow squash, zucchini, red pepper, apple and pear. I just make a big batch for the week. She also loves plain greek yogurt with cinnamon and a touch of applesauce!
Movement: She’s been crawling for a while now. She also does down dog and bear crawls. I feel like she’ll be walking by the time she’s 1 for sure! She’s not one to get into mischief yet. She loves to watch her brother run around like a mad man.
Favorite Activities: Eating, being held, swimming in the pool in her float, bath time, anything with Turner.
Favorite Toy: Wires, tags, hair ties, dirt, anything dangerous that she can find to eat. She will go straight for a wire rather than the 9 million toys she and Turner have. How are they just attracted to things like that!? But she does like those big legos and Turner’s trucks and cars too.
Sleep Schedule: Sleeps from 7:00pm to 6:30am. We finally dropped the 10:00 dream feed bottle about a month ago, and it’s a beautiful thing.
Favorite Things About Gracie: I love how she gets so excited when we walk into her room and dive bombs into her crib because she can’t even contain it. She has the cutest belly laugh ever. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it melts my heart! I also love how she shakes her arms up and down when she’s really excited. I love watching her grow right before my eyes!

Weekend Celebrations

This was quite a packed weekend! I used to be so good at planning ahead and making holidays and events really special. I feel like, between work and two kids, these things sneak up on me! I read some moms’ blogs and they seem so together. If it’s not on my calendar, I won’t remember. In fact, I have to put it on my calendar a week in advance so I remember to remember ;o) Lately, I feel like a chicken with my head cut off!

This past weekend Stewart and I celebrated our 7 year wedding anniversary! The actual day is today, but we knew that Monday would be too busy to focus on us (and we were right). So, we celebrated on Saturday. My mom and stepdad came to babysit in the afternoon. I went out to get my hair cut (insert Mom Chop…it’s getting shorter and shorter with each child). Then we hit the town! 

We started the night at a little bar in Charleston called The Belmont. SO CUTE! It felt like we jumped back in time and walked into a speakeasy during the Prohibition Era. 

Stewart made dinner reservations at The McIntosh. So, after our drinks, we walked down the street to enjoy a fancy dinner together. I was impressed by his skills! It was a wonderful night of celebration. We laughed a lot and tried not to talk about work or our kids toooo much.

And then the next morning was Father’s Day! I’m embarrassed to say that I was painfully hung over by one martini and half a glass of wine. So I didn’t make him breakfast in bed. He may have even brought me coffee….ooops! But I rallied and whipped up some pancakes before church to start the day off right.

I can’t even put into words the kind of father Stew is…but I’ll try. He’s the kind of father who comes home from work and takes Turner to the park. The kind who plays hockey in the driveway with Turner while Gracie observes from her pack n play. The kind that runs around with Turner on the beach while Gracie and I sit and relax. The kind that gives Gracie her nighttime bottle so Mommy can have a break. He does all this because he truly wants to and not because he has to. He’s the most gentle and kind man that I’ve ever met. And the fact that he is Gracie’s example of what a husband and father should be makes me the happiest momma on earth!

So here’s to celebrating our love AND being parents all at the same time! Happy Father’s Day to all you amazing dads out there!

A Day at The Farm

Over the weekend, we took our dog, Ellie, and the kids to a friend’s farm (after failing miserable at our previous attempt for a family adventure). It was one of the most fun days we had in a while! They live about 45 minutes away, so we planned accordingly! We left early enough that Gracie would take her morning nap on the way to the farm. Turner was in heaven when we arrived! They had horses, a donkey, goats and cows! We had to feed and touch them all.

Our dog, Ellie, ran around like crazy with their little dog. It was so awesome to see her have that freedom! She’s such a huge dog, that she rarely gets to stretch her legs like that! She was tuckered out after about 20 minutes…



After a few hours of playing, we packed up to hit the road. But, before we left, we stopped at a local ice cream shop. You know, the kind that has old fashioned ice cream sodas in a pharmacy? That was the best part of the day!

Everyone was happy and exhausted after a sweaty, slobber-filled morning! I’d say we finally got our adventure! And, as you can imagine, the drive home was a quiet one!

 

Toddler Foodie Favs

Hey, Friends! I’ve been working on a post for some food ideas for toddlers! I love perusing Pinterest for food ideas for the kids. At the same time, it makes me feel like I suck at life, because who honestly has time to make these fancy colorful meals for their toddlers! Most days, lunch is a peanut butter and banana sandwich with a smoothie and various sides for Turner AND me. But occasionally, I’ll have the time and/or energy to make him a nice meal! I also have been making Gracie’s baby food, with the exception of moving week, when I bought a few jars of baby food. I actually saved the glass jars because it’s quite convenient to make a batch of baby food, fill the jars, and keep them in the fridge to grab and go (story of my life)! I’ll be posting those soon! Here are some toddler meal ideas to share.

Toddler Meals:

*Graham crackers with peanut butter, berries, yogurt with cinnamon, and a homemade Chocolate Bar.

*Chips and guacamole, berries, peanut butter and banana sandwich, a spoonful of almond butter (per Turner’s request).

*Crackers and beet hummus (from Whole Foods), re-fried black bean and cheese quesadilla, berries

*Peanut butter and banana sandwich with tons of berries.

These are just a few of our favorite things! I’ll be posting our favorite “Ice Cream” Sandwich shortly. Share some of your favorites! We’re always looking for new foodie ideas. Have a wonderful weekend!