Monday, September 30, 2013

My Favorite Things: Month 14

Liam is such a busy boy, constantly on the move!  He's starting to engage even more with Conor & I, as well as his toys!  He even includes us in his play and loves to take turns with us.  He carefully watches and then tries to model everything we do.  He is growing & learning so quickly.  We have been stocking his playroom with mostly gender neutral toys that allow for creativity and imagination; therefore, we love wooden toys or things without bright flashing lights and electronic noises...  Here are our favorite things from this past month:


Nesting & Stacking cups:  Liam is constantly grabbing for these!  I love that they are both nesting & stacking, which has been hard to find!  They are easy for his little hands (well... he actually has huge hands for a baby his age) to hold but durable as well.  Liam spends plenty of his time organizing these cups and destroying the towers that he patiently waits for us to build. He has even just started to try and stack things himself!

Osprey Poco Plus: This is the perfect pack for hikes, as well as everyday use.  Conor puts little L in this when he is doing yard work and even occasionally when he is cooking. Liam is happy as can be up there.  He can see perfectly and enjoys the movement; he's even fallen asleep in it a few times while Conor is mowing the lawn!  We've also used it at the zoo & Oktoberfest.  It has all the features you would want, such as a rain/shade cover & pockets for storage (perfect for bringing a few drinks on your hikes)!  It is a bit bulky and heavier for me, so I still prefer to carry Liam in my Baby Hawk Mei Tai when I'm alone. 

Noah's Ark:  This was a gift from Liam's Godmother for his baptism!  Such a fitting gift for the occasion!  This is probably Liam's most favorite toy right now.  He pretends to walk the animals into the ark and practices the different animal sounds.  Other times he just throws the pieces everywhere; that's fun too!  Some of the pieces are incredibly small and therefore present a choking hazard.  While Liam is the past the stage of putting everything in his mouth, I still only let him play with this when I am right there with him.  The entire set is made of wood and has a fairly modern look to it.  The Ark looks so neat displayed on his fun playroom shelves!

Xylophone:  This is a close runner up as Liam's current favorite toy!  Again, the whole toy is wooden so it is a much quieter option than some xylophones.  The sounds aren't obnoxious at all, which makes for happy parents.  It's also lightweight, making it easy for Liam to carry it around!

Bongos:  With Liam's love of music, another instrument makes the list!  These aren't obnoxious either, and actually make quite fun sounds.  I think Conor & I might have just as much fun playing them as Liam!  They are the perfect little addition to his teepee, which is where he usually plays them!  It's even cuter when he's a naked nudey running in & out of his teepee to have little jam sessions on the bongos!

Shape Sorter:  This is the best shape sorter out there!  It's more challenging than most, so Liam is just getting into it.  The shapes themselves have little balls inside them, so they make a fun sound when you shake them.  This is toy is wooden (surprise, surprise) and very durable!


I highly recommend any of these for your little ones!  They are definitely all well loved in the Keenan household!  Now, I would love suggestions from you experienced mamas for the upcoming months!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Five on Friday

The weekend is here!  No need for small talk today, let's just get down to my Five on Friday.  Thanks to Darci and the girls for hosting:
-ONE-
This week I gave into my sweet tooth with these Sea Salt & Turbinado Sugar Dark Chocolate Almonds (wow that was a mouthful, literally) from Trader Joe's.  They are to die for!  My friend Victoria put them in my cart and MADE me purchase them!  She told me that when she has a sugar craving she eats two and they are perfect... Eats TWO?!  Who can only eat two?!  I ate the whole container in 3 days!


-TWO-
Many shows returned to the TV schedule this week along with a couple new promising ones.  While New Girl is one of our absolute favorites, Conor & I are both hooked on Blacklist already!  I'm not a huge James Spader fan, but I think he did an incredible job in this role.  (Confession:  I'm particularly excited for Hart of Dixie to return!)

 
 -THREE-
With the cooler temperatures officially here (and dropping quickly), we are starting to focus on more house projects.  Painting the inside of our house is a top priority for me, because I am tired of the same color on every wall.  For our bedroom we are using Benjamin Moore Conventry Gray, and we will be painting the kitchen/family room Benjamin Moore Storm (which we used in our Seattle house and absolutely loved)!  These two shades are actually much different in person; the conventry gray is way lighter.  I know gray is trendy right now, but I think it looks so simple and classy with our white trim and white cabinets.


 -FOUR-
I had a huge Target score this week!  While giving the dollar section a quick peak, I found this adorable divided plate!  The owl & turkey were too cute to pass up.  Liam will be enjoying all his meals on this for the rest of the Fall season!  I even bought two matching bowls as well.  Although the plate is extremely cheap plastic (and definitely not BPA free), it was worth it for only a dollar!


 -FIVE-
I bought new glasses for the 1st time in 10 years this week!  My eyes have been so dry since we moved to Utah, so I needed an updated pair of glasses for when I want to give my eyes a rest from my contacts.  I wanted something big & bold (very unlike my old pair)...  I am so happy with my choice and love how I'm now totally nerding out!


 Enjoy this last weekend of September!  Next month will bring 
even colder weather and Halloween shows (and candy) galore!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

14 Months Old


Favorite Foods:   Hummus & cottage cheese seem to be the two favorites right now.  One of the newest foods he's tried was my homemade beef stroganoff, and he loved it!  It was fun to watch him with his little fork gobbling up a whole meal just like us!  He'll eat (or at least try) most things if they come with a bowl/plate & utensils.  He is becoming such a big boy and loves to assert his independence at meal times.  Once he's decided he's done eating, he wants everything off his tray immediately, which can result in a mess on the floor.  We're working on this...


Breastfeeding:  Some days so he is so busy that he doesn't nurse as much, but he definitely makes up for at night then.  Other days  when he is teething or just a little cranky he seems to be extra snuggly and nurses much more frequently. We are both still enjoying our breastfeeding relationship and will continue on!


New Words:  He continues to repeat so much of what we say (Seahawks!) and continues to grow his vocabulary.  It seems like he has a new word every day or so!  This month was all about animal sounds: moo, meow, ooh ooh ah (monkey), hee haw (donkey), & rawr (bear).  Hearing him say these is too adorable!  He also says cat, dog, & duck!  The two words he uses most frequently right now are hi & uh oh (especially when dropping things from his high chair or when a shoe falls off).  He also picked up the word no this week, but he doesn't use it for back talk yet! ;-)  I love hearing his little voice and figuring out what he's trying to say.  Each day he is able to communicate with us just a little bit more!


Sleep:  Conor has been able to put Liam down for a nap or to bed on a somewhat regular basis; it absolutely amazes me!  It's nice to be able to share in that responsibility now.  Although he starts the night in his crib when Conor puts him down, he's still not sleeping for long stretches (only 2-3 hours), and then he joins us in bed.  We still transitioning down to 1 nap... I only get two naps out of him about half the time.  On the days he's only had 1, he goes to bed much earlier.  Little L is so busy, that 1 nap just can't sustain for a long day.


Favorite ActivitiesHanding me toilet paper.  That's right, Liam is becoming very interested in the happenings of the bathroom.  If sees me in there (we keep the door open so he becomes familiar with "going potty" and also because he would be screaming & banging on the door otherwise) he comes running in behind me and grabs a strip of toilet paper for me.  It's so sweet!  We are no where near beginning to potty train, but I'm glad he at least has an interest in the potty.  Changing the sheets.  This boy goes crazy when we strip sheets off the bed and put clean ones on!  There is just something about our bare mattress that makes him want to climb & wrestle all over it!  Jammin' to some music.  Little L loves listening to music, but he especially likes to hold any device playing music.  I recently got a new iPhone, so we stripped my old one so it only has the camera and Pandora on it.  We aren't ready to introduce a bunch of technology to Liam, but I haven't been able to find any good kid-friendly music players that allow you to play your own music, so an old iPhone fitted with "skinnamarink radio" has been our best option.  Peek-a-boo!  Liam has started to hide behind doors or walls and then poke his little head around the corner at us.  He always has a big grin on his face and is just as excited about it the 10th time as he is the 1st!  Holding hands.   Little L would hold hands all day if he could!  He was holding hands with his best friend Max at the zoo recently, and my heart about burst with all the cuteness.  He likes to walk down the street holding onto Conor or I... or both if he can!  He's also always trying to hold my friend Victoria's hand (Max's mom) anytime he sees her!  His other new thing is trying to walk up and down the stairs without having to crawl, so he insists upon having a hand to hold for that adventure.  Going upstairs now takes about twice the time it used to, but he gets so much joy from trying to do things the big kid way! 



We have a full fledged toddler on our hands now!  I wasn't sure if I wanted to continue monthly updates after he turned 1, but I am so glad that I've kept them up.  It's amazing the changes he makes on a daily/weekly basis.  He is starting to be able to really understand us and follow directions.  He is also starting to engage in pretend play with some of his toys, which makes our time in his playroom so much fun.  I love to see how his mind is working and the silly things that he does each day.  He particularly loves his Noah's ark (surprise surprise, this kid loves animals...maybe those weekly visits to the zoo have something to do with it).  He'll walk the animals around (or sometimes throw them) and make little sounds as he puts them through the door into the ark!  Books, however, remain his number one love.  We spend hours every day reading books; sometimes he sits in my lap and reads with me, but other times he'll sit quietly and flip through a book on his own!  With the arrival of Fall I brought out our Halloween & Thanksgiving books.  Our two favorites are Goodnight Goon & I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie!

The shenanigans my little boy is up to each day are always new & surprising.  His smile and laugh have much more emotion behind them and completely melt my heart!  Being a mom truly is the best!  I really need to do a day-in-the-life post ASAP because I want to remember these days once they are behind us.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Weekend Recap

This weekend was the official start of Autumn!  I, of course, tried to fit in as many Fall activities as possible!  It was also the first weekend that it truly felt like Fall weather; I actually got to wear a sweater & my Frye boots!  If you follow me on Instagram you got a sneak peak into our weekend.  We started things off on Friday morning, with Conor staying home for the early part of the morning to have breakfast with Liam & I!  This is such a treat, because usually he has left for work before we even wake up for the day.  He works incredibly hard to support our family, and I am thankful for all that he does every day.  Well it turns out, Friday morning he was recognized for all of his hard work with an unexpected raise (well, maybe a little bit expected)!  I was so proud of him, so I decided to buy a bottle of one of our favorite champagnes to celebrate with later that night!


We spent Friday night grilling on the deck and enjoying some bubbly.  Liam only took one nap that day, so we started his nightly routine a little early.  Sometimes it's nice to have that extra time with just Conor in the evenings.  Well... Liam was a little bit difficult to put to bed, so it took longer than usual.  So while I laid down in the pitch black nursing Liam to sleep, I fell asleep too!  I woke up at midnight slightly confused and wondering where Conor was.  He fell asleep on the couch waiting for me to put Liam to bed and come join him to watch a movie!  So our Friday night was spent... sleeping.  Ah, life as parents!  At least we caught up on some much needed rest.  Nothing wrong with being in bed at 8:30pm on a Friday night... Right?...

Saturday was filled with college football and trip up to Snowbird for Oktoberfest!  The best one we've been to was in Arlington, VA years ago. but Snowbird's was definitely working it's way up the list!  The only bummer was the lack of hard cider, so instead I sipped on a glass of wine.  Yeah, I was that girl drinking wine at a beer festival!  One great thing about Utah is that almost everything is kid friendly.  There were kids everywhere; they even had inflatable bouncy things (descriptive huh?) and the summer mountain rides and slides run by the resort.  Liam was content just chilling in our Osprey pack checking out all the people while we enjoyed the sunshine, drinks, & friends.  There's a good chance we will be back again next weekend.... and I may or may not bring my own supply of hard cider.



 Sunday we stayed home to get some yard work done; it's so sad to say goodbye to my beautiful summer flowers.  Although, I am loving all the leaves that are starting to turn bright yellows & oranges.  While we watched some football & lounged around in our cozies, I finished adding a few Autumn touches to the house.  I'm not particularly into Halloween, so instead I like my decor to be more for the season and therefore last through to Thanksgiving.  I still want to add a few things here & there, but I like what we have going on so far.  Here are just a few of my favorite items:


The burlap on our banisters is a new addition this year, and I just can't get enough of it.  I put some on our mantle as well, and I'm sure I will find another area of the house that could use some burlap.  I'm even thinking that I may use it in my Christmas garlands this year.  I spotted the wheat at my local grocery store, and I knew it would look perfect in a clear vase.  I think it looks subtle yet festive!  The pumpkin candle holder is from Milburn Orchards in Maryland and is still one of my favorite things!  It is the perfect centerpiece come Thanksgiving.  It's hard to see in this small picture, but I also have similar tiny pumpkin place card holders around the big one (also perfect for Thanksgiving)!  I believe those were found at Pier1 a few years ago.  The hurricane jar is from Pottery Barn & the Fall potpourri I found at Michael's a couple of years ago as well.  The wicker pumpkin is from Joann Fabric and was actually purchased just this year.

I also spent a majority of Sunday in the kitchen cooking up a storm!  First off was applesauce, which I through together in the crock pot and let cook all day.  I looked up a few different recipes from Pinterest and then came up with my own.  While the smell of cinnamon & apples was filling my house, I cut up some pie pumpkins and roasted them in the oven to make my own pumpkin puree.  I never buy the canned stuff anymore, because making it from scratch is a million times better!  I had enough pureed pumpkin to make a batch of curried pumpkin soup and pumpkin chocolate chip cookies!  I also roasted the seeds, of course, so we enjoyed pumpkin everything all day!  I'm thinking about sharing all these recipes, since my zucchini bread recipe was such a hit (it just went crazy on Pinterest!).  If I have the time this week I may do a few recipe posts, or add a recipe tab to the blog, we shall see.


Hope you all enjoyed your weekend as much as I did 
and have had just an amazing start to Fall like the Keenan family has!
 


Friday, September 20, 2013

Five on Friday

I am so happy to see Friday after a very hectic week!  Our weekend is going to be filled with Oktoberfest, football, and some homemade pumpkin soup; I am really looking forward to it!  As usual, I'm linking up with Darci and the girls for Five on Friday.  Here's my random five things for this week:

-ONE-
It seems like there are free desktop wallpapers all over the place these days, and I am lovin' it.  They just make sitting down at the computer that much more enjoyable.  Right now there are so many choices that I can change it daily with my mood.  My newest favorites are from Sugar Paper; they have twelve you can choose from and they work for your computer or your phone.  You can find them here.  This one is my personal favorite:



-TWO-
Now that Fall has officially arrived, I am making my house as cozy as possible!  This includes the use of numerous candles!  I love having seasonal scents filling the house and the warm glow they put off.  I've always been partial to tea lights and glassybaby make my favorite holders.  They just happen to be a local Seattle company (apparently I still think Seattle is my "local"), but you can also buy them at Nordstrom (my other love).  These adorable pieces make great gifts, which you should keep in mind with Christmas just right around the corner!


-THREE-
 This week I officially became the owner of a Salt Lake County library card... talk about exciting stuff!  But seriously!  I have taken Liam to story time since he was about 6 months old, but we never spent time looking through the huge selection of children's books until this week.  My little L absolutely loves books, so we spent quite a bit of time at the library.  This will be a great outing for us once the snow is here, and we aren't spending as much time outside.  Liam loved lounging on the comfy seats and being able to choose his own books from the shelves.  We brought a few home with us as well, and they have quickly become his new favorites.  His love for books makes me so happy; it will be a hobby we both share!


-FOUR-
Football season is here and better than ever (both my Huskies & Seahawks were looking awesome last weekend)!  While I only manage to watch about half the game (or less) while I'm chasing around a toddler, I still love all the excitement surrounding the sport.  For those of you that feel a little behind on the sport of football, you must check out my friend Shannon's blog!  It's the perfect girls guide to sports and will give you some fun stats and tidbits to throw out during game time.  :-)


-FIVE-
The days of being able to eat all sorts of candy & treats in front of Liam are officially over!  I don't know what my sweet tooth is going to do!  I had to say good bye to the bowl of candy corn sitting out on the bar, and I now have to be extra sneaky when putting some candy in my grocery cart.  The car has become the only safe place I can enjoy a splurge in peace... thank goodness for rear facing!  


 Enjoy the weekend everyone!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

My Year of Cloth Diapers {Update}

Now that I've been cloth diapering for a well over a year, I thought it was time for an update of our stash and what has worked best for us!  Plus, we've had to introduce the diaper sprayer since Liam started on solids.  If you want to look back at my original post on our experience with cloth, you can find it here.  A year later, we still love using cloth diapers and can't imagine doing it any other way.  Anyone who asks me about Liam's diapers probably gets more information than they ever wanted, but I love sharing what I have learned and the opportunity to try and convert other moms to cloth!


Cloth diapers have a high resale value, especially if they are well cared for; therefore, I have had no problems selling diapers that didn't work well for us.  This has allowed me to try out different brands and only keep what I like.  Some people like to stick with only 1 type of diaper, but come-on people, that's just no fun! I have about 50+ diapers right now, which may seem like a lot (maybe it is...), but it allows me to only wash every 3 days and hang dry everything.  Plus, I just like having a surplus of diapers so I never have to stress about getting laundry done on time.  It also results in less wear & tear, which will make them last longer and help me to recover more of the cost once I'm done with them and offer them up for sale.  Here's the breakdown of my current stash:

1) BumGenius 4.0:  These make up about half of my collection.  I've had these pocket style diapers since the beginning and they have continued to work great!  They are the first diaper I reach for on a daily basis.  My only complaint is the elastic is starting to relax in these diapers more quickly then some of my others.  I will need to replace the elastic at some point, which is inexpensive but somewhat time consuming.

2) "Original" BumGenius Elemental:  This is an All-in-One style of diaper and is my absolute favorite!  I love that only organic materials are touching Liam's skin and that I don't have to worry about stuffing a pocket after each wash.  This is the 1st diaper I reach for when we are going to be out of the house, or when I know that I might not be able to change little L's diaper as regularly as I usually do.  I say the "original" elemental because a newer version was recently released and I am not a fan of the new design.  Many people agree, from what I have heard, so the originals are selling for a ridiculously expensive price right now.  I've heard that the Smartbottoms 3.0 is a very similar diaper, but I have yet to try it myself.

3)  Swaddlebees Simplex All-in-One:  All-in-One diapers are becoming my new favorite.  They are the easiest to use, but they do come with a higher price tag.  I like that this diaper gives you the versatility to have either organic materials against baby's bottom or a stay dry material.  Liam doesn't mind feeling wet, so I always have the organic cotton against him.  This diaper is also the most trim of my entire stash, making it just as easy to put under clothes as a disposable.

4)  S'bish Overnight Bamboo Fitted (OBF):  This is the only diaper we use for night time now!  Liam still nurses regularly throughout the night, so he tends to be a heavy wetter as a result.  This is the only diaper I have found (and I  have tried all sorts...) that really prevents leaks.  They are so soft & squishy; however, bamboo does tend to get a little bit stiff when wet.  Liam doesn't seem bothered by that as he is really only sleeping in them, so it hasn't been an issue for us.  This diaper does need a cover, so we use Sloomb wool covers (below).

5)  Sloomb Wool Cover:  Because Liam is a heavy wetter, wool has definitely been our best option for night time.  I could go on and on about how amazing wool is, although I will admit that it can be intimidating at first.  When prepped and cared for properly, wool is fantastic at allowing the diaper to breathe while still containing all the moisture within the cloth fitted underneath.  We have two covers, that way there is always a back-up if one is being washed/lanolized and needs time to dry.  If you are interested in how to prep & care for wool you can read a guest post I wrote here.

6) BumGenius diaper sprayer: And now a lovely little discussion on the diaper sprayer! So far, it has worked great and was easy to install.  I am so glad we have this, because it makes getting the solids off his diapers so easy.  With many new toilets being more efficient (read: less water) these days, the traditional dunk & swish method doesn't really work (nor is that enticing...).  When we are traveling we sometimes HAVE to use that method, but it is wonderful having the diaper sprayer at home for more regular use.  It takes a few tries before you have the skills to keep water from spraying/splashing everywhere. But despite Liam's less than frequent bowel movements, I still have had the practice to hone my spraying skills.  Lucky for us, Liam only poops about once a week, so I don't have to use my sprayer as often as many other cloth diapering moms.  Trust me, for this I am oh so thankful!  Some people use disposable liners instead, but that just seems like a waste of money to me and somewhat defeats the purpose of cloth.  I want only the softest and most natural materials touching little L's adorable cheeks, not some crinkly plastic derivative liner!

As usual I am more than happy to answer any questions or "talk cloth" to anyone!  I am always trying to spread the love about how awesome having a baby with a "fluffy butt" is! Here are some pictures of Liam sporting his cloth back when he was just a tiny little guy and I was really getting into the whole cloth diapering program.





Sunday, September 15, 2013

Utah State Fair Fun

Leave it to us to wait until the very last day of the fair to finally make a trip out there!  I guess I kept waiting for some cooler weather, which is just starting to creep into Utah.  Right now, I'm considering upper 70s "fall weather".  If it could drop another 10 degrees, it will finally be scarf & sweater weather!  Can you tell I am excited about fall?...  Nonetheless, today we finally took Liam on his 1st trip to the fair!

Having lived all over the country, I've been to my fair share of state fairs.  While the Maryland State Fair might have been that I have seen, Utah didn't disappoint.  We spent plenty of time checking out all the animals, because I know how much little L loves his furry friends!  Today we learned that he likes pigs & cows but sheep & goats terrify him!  Such a silly little boy we have.  He loved being able to pet a few of the smaller animals, and even made himself particularly comfortable with a baby cow!





After we looked at & pet every animal we could find, it was time for some fair rides!  I was all sorts of excited to take Liam on the Ferris Wheel for the 1st time!  As we approached the Ferris Wheel, I realized it was big & moving very fast...  We worried that Liam would probably bit a bit frightened and  felt we were in for a wiggly, crying little boy.  So we decided to look for something a little more in his wheelhouse...  I was pretty bummed since I had been imaging this Ferris Wheel ride for weeks, but I didn't want to chance Liam having a freak out while we were at the very top!

Instead we opted for the Merry-Go-Round, since we know little L loves is obsessed with it!  His huge smile & laugh just melt my heart when he goes for a ride.  However, as soon as it starts slowing down the tears start flowing!  He gets so upset when the ride is over... every time!  Why can't carousel rides last 10 minutes, minimum!



We decided to be a little bit adventurous and take Liam on this fun monster truck ride.  We thought he would love riding in the car and all the bumps it drove over...well, we were wrong!  This ride was a little overwhelming, so he went from moments of curiosity to moments of terror.  Luckily, it was a short ride and he was back safe in my arms shortly.


After the rides, Liam was more than ready for a nap!  He had all the excitement he needed to last him until next year's fair.  And thank goodness it only comes once a year!  While I love the experience, it is just that... an experience!  The people watching is amazing!!!  The fair is a fun Fall tradition I never want to miss out on, but I can only handle a few hours of it.  Before we took off, however, we needed to get some Fair grub!  While I was in the market for an elephant ear, I never found a stand that had them (maybe Utah is too cool for elephant ears?!).  Instead I settled on a caramel apple, and Conor snacked on a corn dog.  He may (jokingly I hope...) consider himself a "corn dog connoisseur", while I don't think I ever have nor ever will eat one!

Hope you all had a fun weekend 
and are starting to get some fall weather as well!

Friday, September 13, 2013

A Cow Says... Moo!

The most incredible thing happened yesterday...well pretty incredible to Conor & me at least!  Liam brought me one of his books, opened to a picture of a cow and he said (in the most adorable little voice ever) "moo"!  I was so proud!!!  I think I was more excited about this, then I was when he started to walk!  We read a few different books that have cows in them, particularly "Goodnight Moon" & "The Very Busy Spider".  We always point out the animals & say the sounds, but that's it.  This isn't something that we work on.  He has repeated "moo" to me a few times, but this instance was different!  This was a cow from a book we haven't read in forever, and he said it all on his own.  After we discovered little L knew that cows say moo, we started asking him randomly, "What do cows say?"  And almost every time he answers with "Moo!"


I am so proud of our little boy and all the new skills he is developing.  It blows my mind that at 13 months, he can understand what I'm asking (in this instance at least) and give the correct response!  I want to tell every one I know that my kid knows what a cow says! :0) Thanks for letting me brag a little today, my heart is beaming!


On an unrelated note, my baby boy is sleeping.  Sleeping in his crib.  Alone.  This has been happening a couple nights a week lately, and I love it!  Conor just started trying one night and it worked! Liam still joins us in our bed once he wakes up (if Conor is unable to settle him back down), but we are making steady sleep improvements nonetheless.  Let's hope he keeps this progress up.  :-)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Zucchini Bread

I have a ridiculous amount of zucchini growing in my garden, which has means I'm making zucchini bread on a weekly basis!  This is a great way to sneak a vegetable into a snack or dessert item!  Liam enjoys nibbling on a piece, and the girls in my neighborhood have loved it as well!  Plus, Fall is the best time of year to make this treat!

This recipe is from my Mom, written on an old crumpled piece of paper with only the ingredients & bake time.  I'm not a recipe writer by any means, but I've tried to add some detail to the recipe.  I grew up making this recipe and feel like I could do it in my sleep; however, for the sake of you all I will elaborate ever so slightly...

Nana's Zucchini Bread


Ingredients:
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil (I use coconut)
  • 2 cups grated zucchini
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 3 cups flour (I use half white, half whole wheat)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts 
Directions:
1.  Cream together the eggs, oil, & sugar.  Then add the zucchini and mix well.
2.  In separate bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder.  Mix together and then    add to the zucchini mixture.
3.  Stir in the vanilla & walnuts.
4.  Grease a bread pan (I use coconut oil for this too) and then dust with flour to prevent sticking.  Fill pan no more than 3/4 full because the bread will rise.
5.  Bake at 325 degrees for 50-60 minutes.  I usually test with a tooth pick; bake until the tooth pick comes out clean!

Note:  This is enough batter to make 2 small loaves or 1 big loaf (and then some extra batter to eat)!

I would love to hear if you make this and hope that you love it as much as my family!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Baby Led Weaning {Update}

I frequently get asked about Liam's eating habits & if we have liked following the Baby Led Weaning path; so, I thought it was time for a little update!  If you missed my original post on BLW, you can find it here.


This method of introducing real foods to Liam has worked perfectly for our family!  Every time I have a meal, I sit down with Liam and offer him whatever I am eating.  Since Conor & I both love to cook, our food is almost always freshly prepared and nutritious.  I like the convenience of not having to prepare a separate meal for Liam.  Sometimes he eats what we offer, but not always.  The important thing is little L always has healthy options and eventually I know that he will start eating more & more.


Conor & I also love the aspect of sharing all our meals with Liam!  I grew up having family dinners every night, so it was important to me for us all to eat together.  Feeding Liam early and eating with Conor later is not how I wanted our evenings to go.  It's nice to prepare a meal, sit down together, and not have to decide who is going to feed the baby.  As he gets older, Liam becomes more & more interested in dinnertime.  He's recently become intrigued by using utensils and dipping things!  Little L can just devour some pretzel chips & hummus!  He is always watching Conor & I and wants to be doing exactly what we are.  I like to
think he is learning from all the experiences we are having during meal time.


We have also loved not having to worry about bringing food for Liam when we are on the go.  He simply eats some of what we eat, and if he doesn't it's no big deal because he is still going strong with breastfeeding.  I also think about all the money we have saved by not purchasing countless amounts of pouches & jars of pureed baby food.  This whole process has been completely stress free for both Conor & me.


Now to address some of the concerns with BLW:  Choking/gagging?  Liam has never choked on his food.  We always made sure to give him pieces of food that were either very large (for gnawing on in the early days) or small enough that he could manage.  We did experience some gagging every once in awhile, but Liam quickly learned his gag reflux and it was never much of a problem after that point.  Is it messy?  It can definitely be a messy experience letting your little ones feed themselves, but they have to learn eventually!  One thing I wish Conor & I did differently was, for a short time, taking away Liam's food when he really started to play with it.  This is all part of the experience and we quickly decided that we should just go back to letting him explore!  Liam will eat more food if we give him the time to fully examine (smell, taste, squish, etc) different things.  Now that he is so excited about using utensils, he wants to keep practicing with them even if he's done eating.  This is especially true with a container of yogurt!  He will get yogurt everywhere, but he loves being independent and will hopefully be a master with the spoon in no time! He also has just started working on his fork skills. He just started chasing blueberries around his tray with his fork one day and has gotten better and better at skewering his little bits of food and bringing them up to his mouth for a nibble. He gets a big smile on his face when Mom and Dad show excitement in those successful utensil-bites!

 
One of Liam's new favorite foods is quesadillas!  He likes having a piece in each hand (we're still not sure if he's a lefty or a righty) and takes the smallest nibbles ever!  I like this meal for little L because it covers a few different foods groups; we fill them with cheese, black beans, & sometimes chicken.  I think this has become a favorite because he is eating exactly what we are!  Sometimes I only give him part of Conor & my meals and he definitely notices.  It's amazing how much he watches us and wants to be doing the same things.  I am happy that we both have healthy eating habits and will be able to instill them in Liam as well.  

Liam still doesn't eat much in the way of volume during meal times, but he has worked up a good variety in his favorite foods. Again, we don't stress about this because Liam is still breastfed and is getting all of his necessary nutrients from me.  But we love how he is willing to try most things & we know that Liam will be an excellent eater when he is ready!  I couldn't speak more positively about Baby Led Weaning and would encourage all families to at least explore the possibility of integrating this feeding method when introducing foods to their little ones!

If you have any questions, I would be more than happy to talk 
to you more about BLW and our/Liam's experiences!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Five on Friday

Well this week just flew by!  I love when Conor only has a 4 day work week; if only they could all be that way!  Now that September is here, it is officially time to pull out the fall decor & start making pumpkin everything!  If only the temperatures were cool enough for my fall wardrobe as well.  This Friday, I thought I would do a Autumn themed Five on Friday!  Thanks to Natasha, Darci, & the girls for hosting.



-ONE-
I love burning candles throughout the entire year, but I most enjoy their coziness during the Fall & Winter months!  Gold Canyon candles are my absolute favorite!  They have the best scents (strong enough to actually make your room smell) and a long burn time.  Once you try these you will never go back to any other candles!
-TWO-
I found these wicker pumpkins at Joann Fabric, of all places, the other day!  I love how simple they look and think they will be the perfect addition to my mantel... if they aren't too big!


-THREE-
While pinterest is full of all sorts of pumpkin recipes, my mouth will be watering for apple cider doughnuts!  When Conor & I lived in Delaware, our house was just 2 short miles away from Milburn Orchards which just happens to bake this most amazing fall treat!  Paired with a cold glass of freshly pressed apple cider or a bottle of hard cider makes for the perfect Fall snack!

-FOUR-
I loved living on the East coast during the fall season!  The leaves over there turn into much more vibrant colors than anywhere else I've been.  The best place to see all these beautiful colors is at Longwood Gardens.  If you live anywhere near Philadelphia or will be traveling through during October, I highly recommend a visit!  And then finish your day off at one of the many old-as-this-country pubs with a pint of hard cider!


 -FIVE-
While I could go on & on about my favorite fall things, I have limit it to 5 today... so the last thing on my list is pick-your-own pumpkin patches!  These can be hard to find, but are oh so worth it!  Numerous times, I have gone to a farm to choose my own pumpkin only to find that they have already been picked and are simply lying in a field or huge bins!  This is unacceptable!  There is nothing like trekking through a few different crops of pumpkins while searching for that perfect one.  Then you get to pry it from the vine with your own hands and suffer from a few prickles while using all your strength!  Don't settle for a pumpkin sitting outside your grocery store, go pick your own this year!


Happy 1st weekend of September!  
Feel free to share any of your favorite Fall things with me!

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