Sunday, November 22, 2015

To Freeze, Can or Dry!

Freeze, can or dry? What is the best way to preserve food? Well, from experimenting I can tell you my best answer... it depends what it is and what you want to do with it.

Canning is best when you want to change the food into something else. Tomato sauces, pastes, salsa, soups etc. Berry compote, applesauce, berry sauces. Pickling things like pickles, beets, peppers. Vegetables/fruits that you probably will only eat one way- green beans, sliced carrots, diced peaches.  (Note, depending on its ph, some foods can not safely be canned in a water bath canner and need to be preserved under pressure.)

I really only dry herbs for use later in foods. I don't have a food dehydrator. Shocking, I know. No, I do not want one! I usually dry herbs in the oven on the lowest temperature for an hour or two depending on what it is. Then I chop them fine and put into air tight containers.

I freeze jam. I used to can jam but I switched to freezing. It's faster and less messy. I also freeze fruit and vegetables that I want to have options on how to use. Broccoli- may eat with lemon juice or may make into soup. Cabbage- will I make kraut or save for St. Patrick's Day? Strawberries/blueberries- eat in yogurt, bake with, turn into crepe filling. These I flash freeze so I have options. If I were to can all of them, they wouldn't retain their shape and would make a syrup. (Flash freezing is when you freeze quickly and separately so that you can then freeze but have options on what quantities you want to use. Not just a lump of what every froze together.)
Strawberries flash frozen on jelly roll pans.

frozen berries put into freezer bags.

blanched snap pea

When I open these, since the berries were flash frozen first, the berries will not all be sticking together and I'll be able to use what quantity I need/want to use.
Other foods need to be blanched prior to freezing- snap peas, broccoli and cabbage are two examples in my freezer. This maintains freshness in the freezer. I like to vacuum seal items that are freezing fresh or without any sort of liquid. Other items that will freeze in their liquid- corn, snap peas- are fine in portion size freezer bags. These items are limited as what ever size quantity you put into the bag you have to use when you thaw. So I have to ballpark- how much corn or how many snap peas would we eat for a meal?

So, freeze, can or dry? It depends on what it is. For the most part, I freeze when I want options on how to use the food. I can when I want to save it in the state we will use it.

But what ever you do, don't forget to figure out some way to remember what you have so you use it. I keep a list of what is in the freezer. To see that visit this old post here. For cans- did you see the pretty shelves. You can just see what you have or are out of!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Baby Wearing!

What? You don't wear your baby? Babywearing has been the only way I can make three kids work. With three kids, we need to get out of the house and do things. That's hard to do with an infant! Not when you can wear a baby. When Charlotte was itty, bitty it was a piece of cake because she would sleep. Now that she is a bit older it takes a little more effort to get her to sleep in the carrier, but we are still able to get out! We have four different baby carriers. 
The first one is a Sleepy Wrap. It's like a Moby. One long piece of fabric that you wrap around your body. I like this wrap for the itty bitty baby. After about ten pounds, this wrap hurts my back so I move on!

We also have a Ergo soft structured carrier. I traded a few times to get this pretty one! Third baby, last baby- it has to be pretty. With Cecelia, I didn't know about baby wearing. With Coletyn, my pelvis, hips and joints were still so cattywhompas that after 10 pounds I couldn't wear him. Charlotte, third baby, lucky child. My body is holding up fine and I love all the extra cuddles with my baby. Ergo carriers have infant inserts that you can buy separately. I didn't use the insert as there's a trick with a receiving blanket. We used that blanket trick until Charlotte was about 5 months old and comfortable spreading her legs around my body.
Using the blanket in lieu of infant insert trick.

The Ergo let us have a great few months of maternity leave and summer vacation. Charlotte was little so she would sleep in the Ergo and the kids and I could go out and do anything. Well, almost anything!

I also have two slings. One is mesh for the pool. How long can you hold a baby at the pool? Ten minutes until your arm wants to fall off!! Baby sling, we can play for hours! We can get wet and cool down. I can put the tail over her face to shield the sun and help her sleep.

The other sling I have is a Sleeping Baby Productions linen sling. This one we use if we are running in a store or somewhere quickly, it's super hot or I don't want her to think she has to fall asleep (like in the Ergo). I can't wear a baby for hours in a sling because the weight isn't centered over your body. 

We got so good this summer in the Ergo that we rode dirty once in a while. Three kids. No stroller! This is Betty Brinn below!

Trick-or-treating in the cold with an infant. Piece of cake! You can string a t-shirt onto an Ergo so her Theadore chipmunk shirt was on the Ergo, not her!

I am really going to miss wearing my baby. She's my last. It's been so nice to have her so close and cuddly. I don't know how much longer my body will hold out on me but I am sure I'll suck it up until she is running!

Dude, if you are thinking about three kids, this is the only way to survive! With a baby carrier and an umbrella stroller. The stroller can hold all the crap and the toddler. When my back needs a break, Charlotte can go into the stroller and the three year old gets kicked out. Those huge double strollers or sit and stand strollers are such a pain in the butt to push places that I am liking this option!

I'll do anything to get more snuggles with my last baby. I am savoring every second! She's growing toooooo fast.
9 months

9 months

9 months

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Baby Led Weaning- Charlotte's First Foods!

Baby led weaning. Baby led what? Baby led weaning, you know where you completely skip rice cereal and purees. Yeah, of course we do that!! For those not familiar with baby led weaning, here an article to read. Baby led Weaning 101.

This method isn't for the faint of heart... grandmas don't do well with it! No, they don't choke!
Charlotte's first food... pizza crust. #thirdkidproblems

green beans and peaches!

These videos were from when she first started. Since she wasn't rocking and rolling to the point of being able to eat finger foods by picking them up herself, when I went back to work in September I sent purred foods. So Charlotte gets the purees at the sitter (BLW freaks our sitter out!) and then Charlotte gets the whole foods at home. She is almost 8 months and has progressed to being able to start picking up finger foods, sucking the tomato and pear goodness right off the skin and pruning broccoli heads! She can start to swallow little pieces of foods. About another 6 weeks and she will probably be on all finger foods!!

So I started this post a while ago anticipating on adding videos as she got older of what Baby Led Weaning looks like as the kids get older but my kid made a change! She wasn't digging eating by her self any more. Goes to show you how different every kid is. She is preferring purees on a spoon from us! She sill loves the puffs she can pick up and she makes a silly face when eating the yogurt melts. I found BLW when Coletyn refused to eat purees off of a spoon at 6 months. Neither Charlotte or Coletyn started solids until six months. At 4 months, the pediatrician suggested starting rice cereal with Cecelia. First time mom, I didn't know any better. I blame that as the start of Cecelia's constipation issues that led to an enlarge colon and a five year battle, ugh. So even though Charlotte sort of stopped the BLW portion, she only gets purees from real foods or fruit or vegetable pouches. I make sure not to use nutritionless fillers. We do the yogurt melts and puffs for her to practice her pincer grip! I still can't believe my baby is 9 months old...!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Halloween/Fall 2015

It's our favorite time of the year. Well, maybe not our favorite. Every season has our favorite parts. So, I guess I'll just say that this post will hit the fall highlights!

We went to Green Meadows for pumpkins and to play. It was Cecelia's second time there this month. She went with her class and dragged her own, huge pumpkin out of the field to the bus. I am glad I sent an old pillow case as she wore holes in the bag!

I gave the kids full reign on their costumes this year. I have never done that before. They were either limited to what I wanted them to be or I let them pink off of a cheap website. So what do a 3 and 6 year old come up with together? Alvin and the Chipmunks! Perfect! Some felt, colored t-shirts, a red hat and glasses from Hobby Lobby and we were golden! Nice job kids.

 We went to a girl friends house for a halloween party and trick-or-treating. It was cold and wet. It was over fast. We survived. Instead of putting Charlotte in her costume, I put the costume over the baby carrier. We snuggled while the kids ran to houses.

Happy Halloween from the Eitings.

Window Art!