Make your own baby food?

So even as a beta mom (you can check out that blog here), I make my own baby food. Now I can see you thinking “ain’t nobody got time for that”. HAHA. But really, I do it because for me it’s convenient. We eat fairly balanced in my home, so the majority of time I just puree up leftovers for baby. However, there are some days I put a few extra minutes into it and make a stash. That’s what I did last night / tonight.

20151009_171303

Last shopping trip I picked up a bag of frozen peas and some frozen blue berries, and I had some sweet potatoes in the pantry already. So after work I tossed peas in a pot, peeled the sweet potatoes first and then cut them into chunks, putting them in a pot to cook too. While this was happening I had the blue berries thawing on the counter.

Once the peas were cooked I tossed them into my ninja blender and pureed them.  Personally I love the Ninja, it blends everything, we even grind coffee in it. I tried milling flour to see if it would work, and it seems like if you wanted to listen to it, it could, but I really don’t have time or patience for that.

I bought these ice cube trays off Amazon (someday I may tell you about my love affair with Amazon and their two day shipping), they work great for baby food! I love that the are so easy to manipulate and get the cubes out. And if you choose, they make pretty ice cubes too, haha.

I also love to use these reusable pouches. I can use them for both baby food, and apple sauces for my older son too.

71DRWaklwpL._SX522_

Sorry I get side tracked easily, back to my point. I add baby formula to my puree to make it smoother, plus my kids drop weight fast once they start eating solids, so I love the idea of adding the extra calories and nutrients. You can use breast milk or water too. Once the puree is the thickness I like, I spoon it into the tray to freeze overnight. Then puree the blueberries, same basic process.

At this point, I shove the sweet potatoes in the fridge to deal with the following day, as I have enough to do as is. Plus, the next day I can put the peas and blue berry cubes into freezer bags and freeze the pureed sweet potatoes.

Personally, when I do baby food I leave the texture in it, you could strain out the skin from the peas, or puree the sweet potatoes super smooth, but I learned with my first son that if its always perfect, its hard to get him to eat the not perfect. Tip: buy store bought food every now and then. I took my first son back with me to South Dakota for my Grandfather’s funeral when he was still eating only purees, and he refused to eat store bought. I’d never tried it before and he refused. He wound up eating apple sauce the whole time. As if it wasn’t stressful enough I had a baby refusing to eat. I suggest Beech-nut brad, it seems the most similar to home made.

Thinking about it now though, there is a good savings when you take the extra couple minutes to make your own food. I figure the bag of peas cost me $0.99 at Winco, and I made about 15 cubes and a baby food jar, so I would say that would equal out to about 6 baby food jars and a savings of about $2 ( $0.60 x 5 jars – cost of peas). Not too bad.

Plus, living in a farming community we get a lot of opportunities to get free  fresh produce.

20151009_163639

Advertisements

Best late excuse – sorry cops were searching my house.

DSC_0448

So my internet has been down, but it is up just in time for me to tell my crazy running late for work story. So here goes. Deputies don’t drive around our area very often, so yesterday morning I was a bit surprised when I saw one drive by, then a little annoyed that he drove through my property treating it like a personal turn around. But hey whatever. So I take my son to the babysitter and realize I left my cell at home, then didn’t tell her or get her phone number again. Living just down the road I decided to rush home and get it. Like anyone living in the country (and some city dwellers), I left the truck running and ran inside to grab by phone. As I’m coming out a deputy is pulling in. Now I know something is up, but at the same time, I’m struggling to care as we are shorthanded at work, I’ve got a gal from our CA branch there to meet with me, and I’m already going to be late. So as politely as possible, I slow down to see what the deputy has to say.

Here’s how this goes:

Deputy: “You look like your leaving, have you been here all morning?”

Me:  “for the most part, but I left just a bit ago and took my son to daycare, but forgot my phone.”

Deputy: “well, we have a really bad guy running loose right now and we suspect he is trying to find a place to hide and a vehicle to steal”.

Me: “so, leaving my pickup running with my purse in the front seat while I run inside, probably not the best plan”.

Deputy: (eye’s rolling) “No. Do you ever leave your doors unlocked?”

I must have made a funny face (I’m no poker player), because he does this exasperated eye roll with a “you leave your doors unlocked” – more of an accusation this time.

Me: “well the back door to the laundry room, but there are 3 big dogs in there, so I highly doubt he made it in”.

Deputy: “We have reason to believe he is hiding in your house, would you like us to check it?”

Now this seems to be a pretty big leap, but given hubby was going to be working out of town and I would be coming home alone with a 5 year old in tow……

Me: “well, alright, I should at least lock the door, your welcome to do a walk through”.

I go in real quick, and my inner bad ass is going I’ll  just check the rooms myself real quick – if I let the dogs out its going to be this big stop harassing the deputies (there are 2 now), don’t lick, don’t knock them over, yada yada yada. At the same time my brain quickly touches on that I have a pistol hidden nearby, but the deputy is standing right there and that seems inappropriate. I figure if there is a bad guy, one scream and the Great Dane eats the bad guy and cops come running in. I say “I’ll just peak in and lock the back door real quick”. I failed to mention that the laundry room leads to more of the house.

Me: (as I come back) “Well, I locked the door, and there doesn’t appear to be anyone hiding in the back bedroom or bathroom, or anything”.

Deputy: (serious eye roll) “you checked the rooms yourself?”

Me: “yes, their clear, however, you are welcome to check around the property outside, I don’t think anyone would hide in the chicken coop, but feel free to check around”. My mind touches on the hidden pistol again, but that still seems weird to get out with the deputy standing there, plus I’m sure picking up a gun while in the presence of the deputy would definitely slow down my progress of getting to work.

At this point, the local farmers are pulling into my driveway and I’m still going, I’m totally going to be late. I do a quick introduction, and everyone was nice enough to move trucks for me. I called the gal down the road and let her know what I was told – “stay in side, bald white bad guy hiding in the corn field”. Turns out she knew too. So I tell hubby, who is now not so happy being away, but gets the full story from the other neighbor after I hung up.

So here’s the outline:

Turns out the neighbors son was moving out and the night before had loaded up his guns, TV, and misc stuff in his truck. The next morning he goes to leave, and this guy is steeling the stuff in his truck. So the neighbor’s son takes off chasing the guy on foot into the cornfield boarding our property. After losing track of him the neighbor goes back to his house and finds 3 guys in a car have arrived and are trying to take off with his stuff. Deputies arrive about this time and chase the 3 guys in the car, who in turn roll their car. Deputies found a bunch of master keys, slim jims, and other paraphernalia. Those bad guys get arrested (guess they also punched the ignition on another vehicle in the area).

Later in the afternoon I hear from my neighbor’s dad (whom I work with) that they caught the bald guy. Turns out the irrigation district worker was going by and stopped to ask what all the commotion was about, so my neighbor tells the story. Irrigation guy goes “no way, a guy matching that description just walked out of the corn field and is walking down the road right now!” so my neighbor drives down to see if he is still there and calls one of the city officers directly. My neighbor gets flagged down by bad guy who asks to borrow his cell charger! Needless to say, neighbor says no, and the city cop arrives and detains bad guy until deputies arrive.

So there is the craziness of yesterday morning. Lesson learned: locks doors, and perhaps leave dogs out.

A Working Mom is NOT the Minority!

said-no-working-mom-ever--300x210

I’m a working mom, and though at times I don’t want to be, I’m proud to be a working mom. But today my frustration is directly related to the “don’t want to be” part. It seems to me that those who have school age children are of the same mind: schools act as though everyone has a stay at home parent!

working-moms

Now my son is 5, will start kindergarten this fall, and I am already pulling my hair out in frustration. Let me start by describing my community:

We are a farm based community, and as such, the population is low and greatly made up of people that fall into the migrant worker category. Our town has exactly one preschool, technically it is a migrant council head start, and as such has very limited openings with very specific restrictions, of which we don’t qualify. And that’s okay, but on top of this there is not a single licensed daycare provider in this town (facility or home based-nothing!).

With this being the case, children either attend preschool in a neighboring town (20 miles away), don’t go to pre-school, or are accepted to the migrant council head start. I chose to homeschool for preschool, and from what I can tell my son is good to go, but I am concerned that he has not sat through a real school setting, just Sunday school, and I’m not sure that counts. Anyway, our school offers what they call “Kinder Camp”. It’s a program offered (next week actually) that allows the kids to experience ½ day kindergarten and the teachers get to evaluate and decide how to split up classes. I’m very excited about this especially since for many of these kids English is their 2nd language, and with not having a preschool, the kids are all over the board.

When I registered my son for kindergarten I was told this camp would take place, and I would receive information on it when it came closer. Not how long it was, full day vs 1/2 day, or anything of usefulness. Actually the school didn’t really even post anything on kindergarten registration at all, I had to ask about it, and a friend mentioned a flyer was sent home with her kids. Anyway, I finally get a postcard in the mail Saturday (the 7th!) saying the mandatory orientation for kinder camp would be at 8:30am on the 16th. That’s all the info on this post card by the way! So I call, turns out it’s a 2 week program, from 8:30-12:30 M-F. WTF! Let’s not make it easy or give notice!

7c1e100bfbee6690c043b3d08b8f1833

I work in town for a pretty flexible company, and that’s even hard for me to swing. Reminder, there is no daycare in town! So I was all excited because I’ve been taking my son to Moses Lake (roughly 15 mile commute) to daycare, but found a high school girl to watch my son once she gets out of school, and then once he starts school she can watch him in the afternoons too. This is great, my girl can’t drive. So for my son to attend, not only do I need to arrange on 1 week notice to have the morning off (I got lucky and my department is just going to shut down for a few hrs so I can attend), I have to figure out transportation too. Luckily my work was okay with me shifting my schedule 30 minutes for 2 weeks, but how many others can do that? Oh and as it turns out, when school starts, the 1st two days for the kindergarten kids will be ½ days, but not for anyone else (new vacation day request – 2 days for school, yeah me).

The more I get into this the more grateful I am for the job I have (4 weeks’ vacation, holidays off, and about 2 weeks off at Xmas); most jobs are not that flexible. What about other parents? Why do schools act like you are the minority for working? I’m a mom who doesn’t work from home, I bust my booty to be a good mom, help provide for my family, and yet I get a guilt trip for working. WTF! If you are able to stay home that is awesome, and many “stay-at-home moms” are working no doubt about it, but that job is still the less common job. Yet somehow in my immediate circle I am actually the only “work-away-from-home” mom. Not sure how that happened, but some days I am incredibly jealous and have to remind myself of the benefits I have from my work.

So for those in a similar position remember the pluses:

* life enriched by co-workers and other connections (adult conversation & new friends)

* spending flexibility (though it may not be much for some, it’s more than nothing)

* Child social interaction (for me this is the only real kid time my son gets)

* Savings/retirement

* Good medical insurance

* Vacation and holiday time allow extra at home time for the big things (sorry this isn’t relevant for my friends in LE, EMS, ect).

no-time-as-a-working-mom

 

So anyway:

Dear Warden School District & multiple others,

Thanks for reminding me of all the great stuff I can’t do with my kid.

Sincerely,
#pissedoffworkingmom

“get out there while you still know it all”

 

3380753151_2460ceb1c4

We’ve all heard the joke, “get out there while you still know it all”.

I’ve reached that point in life where I’m not the baby of the employment world. And in once sense its nice, somewhere along the way I woke up and was an adult. There are some great benefits to this. But watching the up and coming group entering the work force has had me thinking. Now obviously at 18 we didn’t really know it all, even our college degree certificates didn’t really say “hey, now you know all you need to”. But is it really that we didn’t know that annoyed our elder generations, or was it that we were still holding onto our innocence?

Watching the under 25 I’ve realized that it’s not that they don’t know, it’s more that they do. They still live in the world of black and white, right and wrong. The older we get the farther into the grey we move. As we get older we accept that things are not as simple as we would like and we adapt. Perhaps the teens and fresh out on their own are not uneducated by life, but rather not yet worn down. I think as we age our sharp corners wear down so we can work in better. At 22-24 we are still hot tempered, sharp edged, and see right vs wrong for the immediate very clearly. And yes as we get older perhaps we see out farther more clearly than our hot headed counter parts, but maybe we watch, and remember our own sparks?

Random thought for the day. Maybe we weren’t so off base at 20. But then again, give me 5 more years I might change my mind again. Ha-ha.

Weekend herbal garden build

Weekend herbal garden build:

water

In the past several years I’ve become more and more interested in herbs. I didn’t have much exposure as a kid so my cooking with herbs has been a hit and miss trial process. My dad used to make stew and just dump a little of all the spices in…. it was awful! But over the years (despite dad’s teachings) I’ve gotten to be okay in the cooking department. I’ve kept this mainly under wraps. I’ve never minded being the wife that can’t cook. When working funky shifts it really came in handy, so I just played it up. I must have done a good job too, because when I finally made a true home cooked meal for my in-laws they were shocked and kept telling me “no, really, it’s actually good”. It was quite funny, ha-ha. Now my schedule has calmed down a lot, so I don’t mind playing the good wife role.

Anyway, back on topic. This is the first time I’ve ever had an herb garden, so I’m really not sure how this will turn out. I like using natural remedies whenever possible. Which may sound contradictive to some given I work for “the evil” Monsanto, ha-ha. No worries, I won’t go into pro GMO or anything. Anyway, I wanted to have herbs for food, basic remedies, and tea (because, I like tea).  After searching on-line I was having a hard time choosing which herbs, and finding one source for all. And honestly some were a bit extreme and reminded me of the time my dad took me to a gun show and we realized after we got in that it was not like the ones at our local fairgrounds, but more like a pro-Hitler gun club. Anyone remember the movie Rat Race and the Barbie museum? Yea, kinda like that, but I digress. So I found a set on Amazon that looked good, plus I’m a Prime member so I got free 2 day shipping. Can’t go wrong with that.

Here’s a pic:

seed

This can also be found at http://www.mypatriotsupply.com

Hubby built me a raised bed and we hit up some yard sales and freebees for planting pots. Some herbs help with fly control so I needed some that can move around as I need, and some herbs are an invasive species and will run wild if you let it. And honestly I’m not sure which they are for sure, so I may have to replant some if I guessed wrong.

On the raised bed I filled the bottom with these huge rocks that someone actually trucked in for “beauty”. Honestly this amazes me because this rock is so prevalent around most of Grant County you actually see rock walls made of it on people’s property.  So given my built in hatred for this rock style, I used some to take up space at the bottom of my raised bed.

rock-fill

I also used a couple small old stumps I didn’t know what to do with. Once the bottom was filled about 8 inches deep I (and by I, I mean, Hubby) filled it with dirt until it was about 6 inches from the top. Next we put in garden potting soil.

dirt-fill

I added a few scrap pieces of wood to divide up the bed so that I could keep track of things a bit better. Then I laid out my seed packets to decide how to set it up. For now I wrote on popsicle sticks what is planted in each spot (I found a couple cute ideas on pinterest I may switch them out for later). I tried to have the tallest on the North side so that it won’t give too much shade.

layout

finished

Here is what I planted:

Food –

Sage

Oregano

Thyme

Parsley

Cilantro

Basil

 

Tea- (some double for medicinal)

Wild Bergamot

Anise Hyssop

Chamomile

Lemon Balm

Lemon Mint

Peppermint

 

Medicinal-

Catnip

Hyssop

Culver’s Root

Nettle

 

 

 

Planting is fun for all! Love my little helper.

fun

Country Girl Fail

funny-i-hate-spiders1

Some days I think God has a sense of humor where my humility is concerned. About the time I start getting a little too “I’m a rock-star”-ish, he reminds me that, actually, no I’m a mom/woman/wife still trying to find her way in life. Today at work, about the time I thought I was the master juggler of shipping activity, a HUGE spider ran across the floor in front of me while walking back to my desk. Yup, screamed like a little girl and almost dropped everything as I did this skip/shuffle/jump thing. And this reaction ALWAYS has witnesses, plenty eager to re-tell or even reenact the story.

large

After work I had to run to the store for dog food, on the way my son fell asleep in the truck, go figure. With all the craziness the last couple days, I figured I’d carry him in the store to let him sleep a bit. I managed to pack my 5 year old in one arm and push a cart with the other. Luck was on my side, because the dog food was at the perfect height to pull a bag down and have it lad perfectly into my cart; kid still asleep in my arms. Another shopper walked by and goes “nice!” And my inner supper mom does an air punch is all “I know right? Check me out!” don’t worry, I didn’t let the crazy out, I just smiled and said thank you.

So here I am on cloud nine, and I get home and start doing chores. Hubbys working out of town, so I’m on funny farm duties again. Bunnies, check, dogs, check. Chickens – I got this, HA! Those little white monster chickens have no fear of humans. WTF, you’re supposed to runaway chickens. But no, I open the door and they swarm me, the dang little white ones actually started pecking me! So here I am screaming and making a fool of myself, completely unaware my son has come around to “rescue” me, all “mommy I can do it”. Ya, I almost threw my hands up and said let them suffer, but I don’t know when they ran out of water and I feel bad.

I finally get by the devil birds, grab the water can and run. I have no idea how this dumb thing is supposed to actually work. I got it filled, but by the time I got it flipped back over and ready to go into the chicken coop the dumb thing was empty again! Blah! On the second try I managed to keep a little water in it, but they will definitely be out by tomorrow. I was so confident in my awesome farm mom skills that I didn’t change into chore clothes before I started either; you should have seen my mud covered shoes and slacks.

SONY DSC

Strong Hearted Woman

 I read a great blog post today, below is a snip-it and a link to read the original.

The Beauty of a Strong-Hearted Woman

I’m not sure what started it.

But I suspect it had something to do with this one book I’d read a few years back. I’m not saying the author intended to communicate this message, but it’s certainly what I concluded.

If I wanted to be a a good wife — a biblical wife? Then I needed to tone it down a bit.

Okay, a lot.

I needed to swallow it, hold it back, and keep it down. I was far too intense for my own good. Or at least for my husband’s good.

So I started this new, radical campaign. I didn’t even tell my husband what I was up to, but decided that from then on, I was going to mellow out. Keep it quiet.

Now for those of you who know me, you probably find that rather funny. You can’t even hardly picture it.

But I really did try.

And I kept it going fairly well … until one day when we were discussing a certain subject while standing by the piano — a subject that I felt, ahem, passionate about. And suddenly, I couldn’t take it any longer.

I nearly shouted, “I JUST CAN’T DO THIS.”

“Do what??” his eyebrows raised.

“I can’t simply keep my mouth shut and not express all that I’m thinking or feeling!” I was practically shaking with frustration.

[Read the rest of the article at The Time-Warp Wife.]

 

OnlyChoice