Friday, October 31, 2008

happy day before november 1! the past few years this has not been my favorite holiday, as i've gained, in my adulthood, a strange fear of all things creepy and spooky. but i know that in a few years i will again be able to enjoy, through my little one, the excitement that comes with costumes and candy. and i do look forward to this day because it means the next day is november and that means...the day i can officially start playing holiday music! got the cd's down from the attic yesterday and can't wait to pop in ol' john denver and the muppets.

but in honor of today's holiday, i'd like to pass along a scrumptious pumpkin bread recipe:

3 c sugar
1 c oil (i use canola)
4 eggs
1 can pumpkin
2 1/2 c flour
1/2 t baking powder
1 t salt
2 t baking soda
2/3 c water
1 t each: ground cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice

mix and pour into 2 ungreased pans (i like to line them with parchment paper). bake about 60 minutes at 350.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

baby gear 101...part 1

i'll be the first to admit that when i was pregnant i was obsessed with baby gear. i spent way too much time on this here computer, searching and comparing and adding and subtracting from my registries. the fact is, there is a lot of crap out there. babies r us and other such corporations have done an excellent job of making you think that you NEED this, that, and the other baby essential. there are, of course, some things that you do need...and lots that you don't. over the next week or so, i am going to present a series of posts that outlines what i have found to be quality, essential items for my own little babe.

today i'll focus on the first few days of that little newborn's life. first and foremost your little one will need to be kept warm. hats, socks, little mittens, and of course, blankets. my little one loved to be swaddled. we found two brands of swaddling blankets that we liked - and as an added bonus, both of these come with swaddling instructions: swaddle designs ultimate swaddling blankets (warm and cozy) and aden and anais muslin blankets (light and airy), seen below...


later on we used these velcro swaddling blankets, but at the beginning these just seemed a little big and it is easier to get a nice tight wrap with the other blankets.

another essential in those first few days - at least if you wish to take your little one from the hospital or birthing center to your home - is an infant carseat. we like the chicco keyfit30:
i think it may be a little heavier than some other carseats, but i'll take the weight if it means added safety. this is also a very cozy seat and fits babies up to 30 pounds or 30 inches. my little one is (a tall) 7 months old and she's still fitting in it just fine. with the chicco, you can get a corresponding chicco stroller to create a travel system. however, we prefer a simple snap-n-go. this is much less bulky than the travel system and in the first few months is all you need in a stroller.

once home, you will be spending most of your time with your babe in your arms. but if you'd like to have a chance to, say, eat or shower, it is a good idea to have a nice soothing swing. we have a very small house so we didn't want to get a big, obtrusive swing, so we found this little travel swing to be perfect. in fact, there were several nights that our little one slept in the swing all night long.


there is a whole world of baby carriers out there and this in itself can be a stressfull decision, as many of the carriers are not exactly cheap and there seems to be one for every occasion. over this post series i'll outline the carriers that i think go well with each stage, but for the first few weeks, a simple across-the-body sling seems to work well. we have a peanut shell
as well as a hotsling - one for me and one for hubby. i've also heard that these are nice as well. the across-the-body slings are also useful later on, as a support when the baby can sit on your hip.

for diapers, we chose to use seventh generation. these are chlorine-free, so they are much healthier for your baby's pristine body, and they also biodegrade faster than the average diaper. if you sign up for amazon's subscribe and save service, you get a discount on the diapers, no tax or shipping costs, and a regular schedule of having your diapers delivered. if you choose to use cloth diapers, i hear that these are nice.

check back...future posts will include breastfeeding, bathing, and soothing essentials! and don't forget, you can never have too many onesies.
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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

move over, giada


olivia started eating solids a few weeks ago, and though she's not the hugest fan yet, it's a fun activity to add to our day. so is making the food - a pleasant surprise to me as cooking often stresses me out and ends up with me throwing things around the kitchen. but making baby food has so far proven itself easy and rather enjoyable - satisfying might be the right term. i've been using a cookbook that alan got me and a website recommended by my friend sara to determine what is best to give at this stage and how to prepare it. to me it feels better to know where the food is coming from - much of it i actually made months ago with food from our spring CSA and froze - plus it's a whole lot cheaper than buying pre-made food. 'cuz you know i'd be tempted into buying the organic jarred stuff from whole foods otherwise. and being at home with the babe, I've got no excuse!
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what goes around...

my friend barbara creates the cutest children's clothes out of recycled clothing. people that she knows will give her old clothing and she uses this as the basis for her inspiration, which she then uses to "cut, patch, create". last year when alan and i were in the throes of renovating our house and preparing to add a baby to it, my mom sat me and my closet down and forced me to clear out and move on...a painful but necessary exercise. afterwards, i gave barbara a big bag of these clothes, and one of the items that i (er, mom) had forced myself to hand over was a old and worn, peasant-ish, wraparound skirt. this skirt had been my mom's in college, then as a child i wore it to play dress-up, and later wore it when i was in college may remember the little hippie girl erin days. well, i told barbara the story of the skirt and she surprised me with the most darling little dress for olivia...the skirt has again reincarnated itself.



check out barbara's other adorable creations here.
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