Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Starting Solids

My baby boy turned 5 months on Sunday; he has two teeth, he can roll over in both directions and he's eating solids.  Seriously where has the time gone?
Back to the solids, I know that the guidance from the medical community is that there is no need for solids before 6 months of age.  I also know from experience that you need to pay attention to your child and meet his or her needs regardless what the doctors and nurses tell you.

There are all sorts of articles and guidance about signs of readiness; my boys simply showed interest in food and signs of hunger and they were able to successfully swallow the food, so I allowed them to eat.

As someone who loves to cook, making my own baby food was more a reality than an option.  I never really contemplated buying baby food and when I had an opportunity to compare the jarred food with the homemade, it quickly became apparent that homemade food simply tastes better.  Never mind that you have so much more control over exactly your child is consuming.
sweet potato puree
We are still in the early stages of solids, today the boy tasted his fifth food and I am finally able to start mixing flavours, here's what he's tried so far.
  1. Rice Cereal
  2. Avocado
  3. Sweet Potato
  4. Pear
  5. Chicken
Next up Quinoa, I'll be using the method from Quinoa 365, which I will share with you after I test it out!
If you want to make your own baby food, but don't know where to start, check out The Baby's Table by Bradshaw and Bramley.  A friend of mine lent me her copy of the book when the boy started solids and it ended up so dog eared and food covered that I ended up buying her a new copy.  Another resource I consulted a lot the first time around is the Wholesome Baby Food Website.  And of course I'm happy to answer any questions you may have.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Campfires, Marshmallows and Memories

Although we've been back home for a week, and I was so ready to be in my own home, my own bathroom and my own bed, it doesn't mean I didn't love every moment of my vacation.
Although I loved every giggle, smile and moment I shared with my baby boys, perhaps my favourite moments were sitting around the campfire with the hubs.  Given the time of year, the campground was near deserted and we had a chance to be together, just the two of us, without the distractions of life, in particular the electronic distractions.
I was digging the old school campfire recipes, over the week I made both chocolate chip bananas and stuffed apples in the fire and of course we had to indulge in some s'mores. Since we didn't have any gluten-free graham crackers on hand, I improvised and used gluten-free Kinnitoos (mmm mmm good) to make my s'mores.  They were a bit on the sweet side, but there's something about the crunch that really makes it; these were much more delicious than my usual method of simply stuffing the chocolate inside the roasted marshmallow.

the hubs Long before the hubs and I were married, we camped.  And when we camped, we always ate s'mores.  So having these nostalgia filled moments with him simply reminds me that even though we now go by the names mom and dad, not everything has changed.

Do you have a special ritual that reminds you of your life before children?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Cooking Light Gluten-Free Cookbook | Review & Giveaway

I have a hard time resisting a good cookbook particularly one that has luscious sounding dishes, mouthwatering photos and of course ingredients that are attainable and methods that are realistic.  I admit however, that I'm not exactly gentle on my cookbooks, if its a favourite then its likely covered in smears of food with pages that either fall open or stick together. 

I had the opportunity to try out The Cooking Light Gluten-Free Cookbook and was immediately excited by the plethora of recipes contained within its pages.  Nearly every recipe in the book features a full page, full colour photo which not only inspires, but also provides the home cook with a realistic image of what the end product should look like.  Each recipe also clearly identifies any products that have the potential to contain gluten and highlights those recipes that are also dairy free.

As gluten-free becomes more mainstream, more gluten-free cookbooks are becoming available and the question of how much general gluten-free information should be included becomes an important one.  The Cooking Light Gluten-Free Cookbook dedicates over 15 pages to the 'Gluten-Free Kitchen' including information about what gluten is and where it hides, a description and photo of 16 gluten-free grains, flours and starches and information about effectively reading food labels and kitchen safety tips for those of us who do not have a dedicated gluten-free kitchen.

All of this information alone, makes the Cooking Light Gluten-Free Cookbook a great buy for someone who is new to the gluten-free diet, but add in that many of the baking recipes utilize a combination of gluten-free pantry ingredients and store-bought mixes (such as cake or cookie mixes), this cookbook manages to make gluten-free baking not only less intimidating, but actually achievable for the 'non-baker'.  I don't generally cook with mixes, but people buy them for me, so I'm eager to try out the carrot cake recipe that will give me a chance to use up both a gluten-free cake mix and a gluten-free pudding mix that are already in my pantry.

We are giving away a copy of The Cooking Light Gluten-Free Cookbook to one Momma Stuff Blog reader, to enter check out the Rafflecopter after the jump.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

On camping, needs and wants

Each September, since before the boy was born, the hubs and I go on a 'camping' vacation to my sister-in-laws trailer, which is equipped with all the necessities and many luxuries including a full canopy cover and both an indoor and an outdoor TV.

Although in the past its always been dreary and wet, this year we have been blessed with an Indian Summer and bountiful sunshine.  So much that by the late afternoon the boy isn't interested in playing in the park, he'd rather sit in the air conditioned trailer and relax with his new friend 'Diego'.

at the playground The few other kids around the trailer park are constantly asking if the boy can come and play, but given that the boy is much younger than these kids, generally dislikes playing with other kids and doesn't particularly like people in his personal space this seemed a bit surprising.  That is until my mother-in-law pointed out the obvious.  These kids aged anywhere from five to thirteen don't want to play with my two and a half year old son, they want to play with the toys he brings to the park.

One little boy remarked 'wow, he has a lot of toys' when he brought a bucket, a shovel and 3 cars to the park.  This made me wonder how few toys this little five year old actually had.  But when his eight year old sister explained to me that you can get money for returning pop bottles and cans and that their family was collecting all the cans they could because money was tight, I felt bad about taking the toys away from them when we left the park.

on the swing Situations like this leave me sad and a little confused; I'm sad because I wish that all children could live a life without struggle, where all their needs are easily met.  I want my children to have everything they need and some of the things they want, but without the sense of entitlement that often accompanies affluence.  That being said, I grew up poor and I truly believe that I am better off because of it; that I understand the value of money, the cost of food and the difference between what I want and need. All things I want for my children.

So I'm left wondering, how exactly do we walk the line between desire and survival, effectively teaching our children to value what they have and to work for what they want?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

#Mompact Bloghop: Highchair Organizer Giveaway

Its no secret that I believe in Mom's supporting other Mom's; I am particularly proud to support those mothers with the drive and passion to become entreupeneurs, so when the opportunity arose to participate in a blog hop showcasing mompreuners from across the nation, I jumped on the opportunity.  The Mompact bloghop includes 150 product giveaways, each one created by a busy mom with a bright idea.
Here at the Momma Stuff Blog, we are giving away a Highchair Organizer; designed to be attached to most highchairs or booster seats in a mere ten seconds this innovative product has enough space to hold, dishes, cutlery, washcloths, bibs and bottles alike.

Our dining room table is around the corner from the kitchen, so having all our feeding supplies close at hand but out of the way is more than just a little bit appealing.  As an added bonus, this durable product (designed to be wiped clean with a damp soapy cloth) can easily be folded and transported, regardless whether you're going for dinner at grandma and grandpa's or off for a playdate with a friend.

I hope you have the time to check out all the great blogs, products and giveaways being showcased in the Mompact Bloghop, but even if you don't have time to check out all 120 participating blogs, make sure you stop by the
and Enter our 
using the Rafflecopter after the jump.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Closet Purge

I'm the first to admit that I'm a bit of a slob; I don't live in filth, but left to my own devices I tend to revert to a (somewhat) organized mess. Although this is not one of my best traits, and far from the hubs favourite, I've always been up front and honest about my messiness. When we first started dating, I never pretended I was neat, when we first moved in together I never pretended that I was going to keep the clean and tidy, and it certainly wasn't part of our wedding vows, so I feel only a small amount of guilt about my general lack of domesticity in the cleaning department.

All that being said, its one thing to admit my ability to tune out clutter, but its a whole other thing to show you the breadth of my messiness.  There is only one small space in our home that is uniquely mine; the walk through closet, and for months, this is what it's looked like.
YES, the pile of (clean) clothes on top of my dresser far surpasses the height of my sister.

YES, my bras and underwear are literally oozing out of my dresser drawer.

YES, the whole dresser is likely a safety hazard for my two and a half year old.

The need to clean and purge is obvious, however the drive and organization to do so were sorely lacking, but with a lot of prodding, help and bribery (in the form of Popsicles and gluten-free cake) from my sister, we managed to remove five garbage bags of clothes that were too small, misshapen, stained or just plain ugly from my wardrobe.  I mean seriously, did I really need to keep knee high Eyeore socks in my drawer for years, just because someone gave them to me?

This much needed effort left me with a very small pile of clothes that fit me and an empty wardrobe closet.  Fortunately the hubs was so satisfied by my efforts that I was rewarded with a shopping trip to round out my wardrobe. 

I admit that I'm scared that I won't be able to keep this up and that in time my beautiful looking closet will slowly turn back into a big unorganized mess, but hopefully with a little willpower and continual help from my sister, my closet will continue to look a little bit more like this.
Are you super organized, or not so much?  Either way, what are your tricks and tips for keeping your closet under control?
My apologies for my lack of online presence over the past week, I am having some network issues with my internet service provider and my modem keeps dropping the line (apparently close to 100x before 10am).  I'm hoping to have the issue resolved soon.

If you have a moment and a stinky diaper pail, garbage pail or kitty litter, check out our LOW ENTRIES NaturzAire Baby Giveaway, or if you just want your kids (or grandkids) to walk in style, check out our Skechers Hot Lights / Twinkle Toes Giveaway!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Skechers Hot Lights | Review & Giveaway

When I was a kid, summer was way too long, I was a bit dorky and during two months I was left to my own devices I spent a lot of time riding my bike to the library and a longing for September to arrive.

Aside from school starting back up, the other perk of summer ending was 'Back to School Shopping'.  We were a family of five living on a single, self-employed income, so budgets were tight, but we always got a little bit of money to buy a few key wardrobe items including a pair of runners for the new year.

If you are still looking for shoes that will satisfy your little ones need for style and excitement and your need for value and quality construction, check out Skechers Hot Lights for boys and Skechers Twinkle Toes for girls.

Being a mother of boys, I had the chance to review the Hot Lights, Manifold equipped with both LED headlights and running lights and I'm certain any car-obsessed little man is going to love them.  From a parents perspective, the lights are not too bright and distracting and the shoes are laced with bungees and secured with velcro making them easy to pull on and off.

From a construction point of view, Skechers Hot Lights are made of synthetic overlain leather, a cushioned insole and a wraparound flexible rubber traction outsole.  As you may know, I'm a firm believer in buying a single pair of quality shoes for my kids, I refuse to buy into the consumerism that more is better and at $53 a pair Skechers Hot Lights meets my need for quality while catching the attention of my little racer.

We're giving away a pair of Skechers Hot Lights or Twinkle Toes to one lucky Momma Stuff Blog reader, check out the Rafflecopter after the jump to enter!

Friday, September 2, 2011

NaturzAire Baby - All Natural Deodorizer | Review & Giveaway

 Whenever I tell someone that I use diaper service with my boys, they inevitably ask about the smell and I truly believe that with proper cleaning and maintenance, your diaper pail can keep smells 'locked in'.  That being said, when you pop the lid open to drop a new diaper in, the smell isn't all that pleasant, particularly at the end of the week.

Being the 'greenie' that I am, I hate most air fresheners; on principle infusing the air with chemicals to mask an unpleasant odour just seems wrong to me.  So when I was offered the opportunity to try out NaturzAire Baby, a natural alternative that attracts and traps odours I jumped on the opportunity.

NaturzAire is made of volcanic material that is completely reusable, recharegable and contained within a small organic cotton pouch.

And it works.

When I placed the small pouch on top of my diaper bin, there was a noticeable decrease in odour, the only trouble I've had is finding a way to secure it to the diaper bin, so the boy doesn't pick it up and toss it around the room.  Currently, duct tape is doing the job; however I caution you, don't duct tape it on the inside of the lid or you may end up wading through dirty diapers to find it like I did. 

How it works, scientifically speaking, is actually quite simple.  Odours have a positive charge and are attracted to the negative charge in the NaturzAire granules, which are able to trap the odours inside millions of tiny cavities.  After a few months, you simply need to leave your NaturzAire pouch in the sun for a day or microwave it on medium heat for 5 minutes to release all the trapped odours and moisture.

Want to try out NaturzAire for yourself?  We're giving away a NaturzAire Baby deodorizer to one Momma Stuff Blog Reader; check out the Rafflecopter after the jump to enter.