Sunday, May 15, 2016

DIY Baby Food: The Basics


I realize that the "baby" topics don't necessarily fit in with the typical content of this blog.  However, I've yet to finalize my new blog & in the meantime I've had several requests for a post on making baby food.

Let me preface this by saying I am by no means an authority on baby food & there are tons of great websites out there that are dedicated to baby & toddler recipes.  That being said, there is something encouraging & real about seeing a 1st time mom being able to make all their baby's food at home with no prior experience.  #ificandoityoucandoit  :)

SAMI'S 1st YEAR:
Before Sami was born, I did some basic research and decided to exclusively breastfeed for the first 6 months.  At that time, we introduced foods like avocado, sweet potato, squash, & banana.  We gave him veggies first, followed by fruit.  Over time we slowly added meats, legumes, grains, & dairy (he ended up having allergic reactions to both egg whites & dairy...but that is a whole other story for another time).

We also made the decision to forego the store-bought rice & oatmeal cereals.  Although his pediatrician advised us to add a little iron-fortified rice cereal to his food, I never did, & Sami's iron level at his 9 month check up was still perfect.

We decided to start with purees at the 6 month mark & then began incorporating "baby led weaning" when he was abut 8 months old to help Sami develop his pincer grasp & allow him to become a little more independent & exploratory with his food.  I started with blueberries (cut in half) & slowly added soft veggies or fruit cut into bite size pieces.  Around 11 months, we started giving him pieces of shredded grilled chicken & he has loved chicken ever since!

Sami turned 1 year old last month, so we've actually been in the phase of transitioning out of purees & into more solid food over the several months.  I won't be making any more veggie, chicken, & bean purees (since he's eating them their original form now), but I will continue with the fruit purees as they are very convenient to add to Sami's oatmeal in the morning or to use in baby feeders as popsicles & teething soothers:

SAMI'S FOOD INTRODUCTION TIMELINE:
I'm sure I forgot to include certain foods, but these are the main foods we introduced to Sami over his 1st year:

1-6 months: exclusively breastfed (continued to breastfeed until today)
6 months: avocado, yellow squash, sweet potato, green beans, peas, carrots
7 months: apple, pears, plums, peaches, nectarines
8 months: boiled chicken, mango, quinoa, spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, etc)
9 months: brown rice, hard boiled egg yolk, blueberries, coconut oil & olive oil
10 months: scrambled eggs, chickpeas, lentils, broccoli, whole wheat pasta & homemade tomato sauce, plain yogurt, strawberries, grapes
11 months: grilled chicken, ground turkey, ground beef (limited), raisins, rice with veggie mixed in
12 months: whole milk, almond milk







CONVENIENCE:
Personally, this is the most obvious & singular downside for me.  While not difficult, it does require some extra effort & time from your already busy schedule.  I will say though, that once you get a system down, it becomes easier & easier.  Before you know it, you are introducing regular foods & don't need to make as many purees.

On the flip side, these frozen cubes are convenient in the sense that I couldn't always prepare fresh purees every single day (either I was too tired or lazy, or didn't have the time or the ingredients).  So, always having a freezer stocked with a rainbow of puree options made my life much easier.  You have to figure out what works with your lifestyle.

Storing, packing, & traveling with homemade baby food is definitely more challenging.  You have to consider ways to keep the food cool and/or have a way to heat it up if needed.  I usually throw a few cubes into a small Glasslock container & heat it up at our friends' or families' homes.  I usually had no need to worry about refrigeration, as the cubes were frozen & the food was not left out for very long.  Reusable food pouches are another great option to use as well.

Friday, February 12, 2016

The Garage: Extra Paint Storage

We worked on some garage organization projects at the beginning of last year, including a DIY ceiling storage solution & a wall track system.  Both projects have helped tremendously, but we still had a lot of smaller areas to work on - including our paint storage & organization.

All in all, our initial setup wasn't too bad:

The problem was that the shelf was filling up pretty quickly & it was hard to see what we had on hand.  In most cases, we had gallon paint cans that were less than half full.

Another issue we had, was the dreaded rust that formed along the top of many of the rims, which always led to rust particles falling into the can every time we wanted to paint something (this was the worst one, but most of the other cans still had a good amount of rust):