Friday, August 26, 2011

Cheap and Easy Baby Food

Baby food can be expensive and making your own baby food can be inconvenient. These are some regular cheap foods that you can easily feed your baby:

Bananas. Bananas are the easiest, especially for on the go. Just mash and you're done! Easy to do at restaurants. Once your baby is older, you can just break off chunks for him or her to eat.

Unsweetened applesauce. Regular applesauce is great for babies advancing to more textured foods (baby applesauce is very smooth). And there is no added sugar.

Avocados. Simply mash for a creamy, good-fat snack. Warning: makes stringy poo!

Dry cereal: The best and cheapest cereals to get are the store brand of Cheerios and Rice or Corn Chex.

Puffed rice. You can find a large bag of puffed brown rice in the cereal aisle for $1 at Walmart. It will last you a long time! And there is only one ingredient in it: rice. I have seen puffed red wheat too.

Sweet potatoes. Just mash (no skin) after cooking and cooling. The texture is also good for older babies.

Mashed potatoes. Scrub a potato, poke holes in it, and microwave until soft. Scoop out the flesh and mash with breast milk or butter.

Canned or frozen peas. Peas are very easy to mash and pick up if your baby self-feeds. Canned peas are smaller and softer, but frozen peas do not contain added salt or sugar.

Canned beans. Beans are a great source of protein and fiber and, like peas, are easy to mash or self-feed. (Note, most canned beans contain added salt and/or sugar, but some have high fructose corn syrup.)

Rice. Make mushy rice (or puree it) for younger babies. Mix in some beans for older ones for a full protein meal.

Oatmeal: Chop it up in a food processor for a finer texture and make it mushy. Add small chunks of fresh fruit. Just be sure not to add honey.

Tofu: Tofu is easy for babies to eat and comes in different textures. It can also be smashed and added to any other food because it is bland and absorbs flavor very well.

Cheese: Shredded cheese is easy to pick up and eat for babies who don't like to chew. The thin shreds melt in their mouth.

Plain yogurt. No need to buy special baby yogurt. Plain yogurt is healthiest and cheapest. Mash in fresh fruits for a sweeter taste without added sweeteners.

Bread. Break up whole wheat bread or toast into small pieces. My favorite brand is Nature's Pride: 100 percent whole wheat, no artificial colors or flavors, no preservatives, and no high fructose corn syrup. And it still tastes good. Another good one is Nature's Own.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Spice Up the Spaghetti

Spaghetti can get pretty boring, and your family may be complaining about how often they eat it. “But it is so quick and easy,” you may argue. There is a compromise: add interesting twists to the spaghetti without sacrificing its efficiency.

  1. Use different seasoned/flavored sauces. If you make your own, vary it by making sweet, tangy, plain, meaty, and seasoned versions. Mix in or top with different cheese blends.
  2. Add different meats to the spaghetti instead of always ground beef or meatballs. Good options are Italian sausage, shrimp, grilled chicken, smoked sausage, canned tuna, and ground turkey. Tofu also works.
  3. Include vegetables. Add different types of frozen, canned, or fresh vegetables or stir-fry some onions and peppers with the meat.
  4. Instead of using spaghetti sauce, eat the spaghetti with just olive oil (or butter), salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and grated Parmesan cheese. Add fresh vegetables to make a pasta salad.
  5. Try different noodle shapes—the more fun, the better. A different texture can make a whole new eating experience.

Saturday, August 20, 2011


The winner of the Maxington Bear cuff bracelet giveaway is comment #74 "I follow maxington bear's blog using GFC too!" by TimeAndAgain. Congratulations! I will be contacting you shortly.

Just a reminder to you all to please read the directions before entering a giveaway! I have never had to delete so many entries before for not completing the mandatory first entry. Thanks.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Maxington Bear Cuff Bracelet Giveaway [CLOSED]

Maxington Bear is an etsy shop by my favorite cloth-diaper maker, whom I reviewed and did a giveaway for a while ago. She decided to take a break from her old shop and start a new one selling hand-stamped cuff bracelets. Her jewelry is hand stamped with cute sayings, Harry Potter quotes, and personalized names and dates. Maxington Bear let me choose any bracelet to review, and let me tell you, I had a tough time deciding! In fact, I changed my mind, and luckily it wasn't too late. My choice, the quote on Rowena Ravenclaw's diadem:

*Cute fonts and designs
*Great selection of phrases. A few of my favorites: Nerd; Bookworm, eat. sleep. read; and mischief managed
*Option to choose your own words if you don't find something you like
*Different cuff widths
*AWESOME seller! By far, the person I love working with the most, both as a buyer and a blogger.
*She also has a non-profit jewelry shop raising money for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team in Training (for a half-marathon event).

*As the seller notes, because she hand stamps everything, the words may be uneven. I think it adds to the charm, but some might not like it.
*My wrists are really skinny, so no bracelet stays on very well. However, the bracelet easily bent to fit more snugly.

Maxington Bear is generously giving away a bracelet of your choice!

Mandatory 1st Entry: Heart Maxington Bear on Etsy and tell me which cuff bracelet you would choose. Leave your username.

3 entries: Follow my blog via Google Friend Connect.

1 entry: Follow Maxington Bear's blog via GFC.

1 entry: Like The Hand That Rocks the Cradle on Facebook.

1 entry: Like Maxington Bear on Facebook.

1 entry: Post this giveaway on Facebook.

Please leave a separate comment for each entry. All entries must be submitted by 11:59 MST on Friday, August 19. The winner will be announced Saturday, August 20. Please leave your email in one of your comments so I can contact you if you win. Good luck!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Chocolate Cravings

Often I crave chocolate. And not just any kind of chocolate. Sometimes it's ice cream, other times a candy bar, and yet other times cake. While my palate is pleased when I satisfy those cravings, my tummy is not. Here are some of my favorite healthier ways of getting my chocolate fix:

    Kashi TLC fruit & grain bars. My favorite kind is dark chocolate coconut.

Weight Watchers snack-size chocolate fudge ice cream bars. (Two snack-size bars have less calories than one giant bar.)

Trail mix with M&Ms. Nuts are an excellent source of protein, calcium (almonds), omega-3 (walnuts), and healthy fats.

Fiber One 90-calorie brownies. They could be moister, but the icing and chocolate chips are great!

Other options are Chocolate Cheerios and Chocolate Special K. I haven't tried either one (and don't care to, especially the Special K one--hate their products!). What are your favorite healthier ways to satisfy your chocolate cravings?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Mother Knows Best

This morning I watched an episode of Reba that I hadn't seen in a long while. A small focus of the episode was Cheyenne's (the daugher's) feelings toward motherhood. She is going to school and is gone most of the day, while her husband cares for their baby. One day Reba (the mother) throws a birthday party for her young son, and Cheyenne is worried that all the noise will wake up the baby. Reba tells her daughter to let the baby cry it out so the baby can learn to soothe herself back to sleep. Cheyenne is horrified at this advice, especially when Reba says she let Cheyenne cry it out as a baby. Later, Reba goes upstairs to bring a piece of cake to Cheyenne, who is sitting outside the baby's room looking miserable while the baby cries. Reba says she remembers what it felt like and that it was hard, but that in her heart she knew it was right and the best thing for her baby. Cheyenne replies, "But it doesn't feel right in my heart." She then cries as she explains that being away from her baby all day and then letting her cry does not feel right to her. Reba is silent for a second and then tells her that no one but the mother knows what is right for her baby and asks Cheyenne that if it doesn't feel right, what is she going to do about it. "I want to pick up my baby," Cheyenne responds and then does.

I am not writing this in support of my post against crying it out. I am writing this to support the claim that only the mother knows what is best for her child. We mothers make many difficult decisions daily, and as long as we are informed of and review our options and feel good about the choices we make, they will always be the right ones, no matter what other people, including me, say.
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