Thursday, December 26, 2013

Homemade Apple Butter

This year's Christmas craft is apple butter.  I was shocked at how many people didn't know what I was talking about when I told them I was making it.  I grew up on the stuff.  To clear things up if you don't know what it is...
1. No it is not apple flavored butter
2. It's like jam but apple and cinnamon flavored
3. You can use it on toast, for pb&j, on vanilla ice cream, in oatmeal.  The possibilities are endless.

  • 12 apples- peeled, cored, and sliced (an apple slicer makes this really easy)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp all spice
Step 1:  Throw everything in the crockpot on low and cook over night.  I let mine go until the apples were really soft and falling apart.  I left it on low all night and most of the next day.  
Step 2:  Crack the lid or remove it and turn crockpot up to high to cook off the water and thicken it up.
Step 3:  Put in blender and blend until smooth.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Christmas Candy

It's that time of year again.  I'm making holiday English Toffee for gifts.  This year I used walnuts instead of almonds because they came already chopped at Target so it saved me a step :)
My recipe is here.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

DIY Mug Cozy

I have been seeing these mug cozies everywhere.  They are so wintery and cute for a cup of hot cocoa.  I was at Hobby Lobby the other day and came across a long garland of cable knit sweater material.  I wrapped it around a cheap plain mug and secured it with some holly berries on wire.  I would have done buttons but I didn't have any and I didn't want to have to sew anything.  If you can't find the sweater material at a craft store, you could always cut up an old sweater. 
Reduce, Recycle, Reuse ;)

My inspiration
My version.  Not too bad for a 5 minute craft :)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Blake Olivia: 3 months

What's been happening this month:

  • Up until now I have not wanted to use any kind of schedule or plans.  I have done anything I could to make Blake feel calm and comfortable.  I feed on demand, I let her sleep when she's tired, etc etc.  I let her tell me what she needs, even if that means using me as a pacifier once and a while.   I knew going into this that I wouldn't put pressure on myself or Blake for the first three months until I figured things out.
  • We are developing more of a routine now but every day is somewhat different and I let Blake set her own schedule.  I don't believe in forcing an infant into a schedule to meet the parents needs.  I just let her do what is best for her and she has slowly created her own routine.  She usually naps about 10-10:30am and again in the afternoon with some small cat naps in between.  We go to bed at different times because of my work schedule but she always sleeps at least 8 hours.
  • I have transitioned her to at least one nap, usually the morning nap, in her crib to get her used to sleeping there.  It took a few days but she now sleeps great in there.  She also naps in the Ergo Baby pretty often.  I like having her close to me and she loves it.  It also gets her off of her back for some of the day which is good for her head.  I'm only slightly paranoid about her getting a flat spot.  
  • She still sleeps next to me in her bassinet at night and I would keep her there forever but she is getting close to growing out of it.
  • Tummy time is still really difficult.  She HATES it so much and I don't believe in tough love so I pick her up when she cries.  That means she only gets a few minutes of tummy time each time.  I have tried getting down there with her, toys, mirrors, music but she still hates it so much.  I feel guilty about her tummy time every day because I know how important it is.  Her doctor said to just keep trying so that's what we will do.  
  • I have finally stopped obsessing about her weight.  She is happy and healthy and continues to get good reviews from the pediatrician so it's time to stop worrying.  
  • She is so much more interactive with people now.  We can make her smile and almost laugh.  She smiles at strangers too.  She is overall, a pretty happy baby.  I know she has a hard time when I'm not there on some evenings but for the most part she is pretty content.  
  • She is following people and sounds with her eyes now, not just her whole head, and takes a lot of interest in her surroundings.  
  • She coos and talks a lot more now.
  • Drool, drool, drool.  She has a soaking wet shirt if I don't keep a bib on her all of the time.
  • She is still trying to figure out the whole thumb sucking thing.  She is successful about 25% of the time.  The rest of the time she is just sucking on her fist.  
  • She had her first vaccinations which were somewhat traumatic for me.  It's so sad to see her cry in pain.  It only lasts a few minutes but it's hard to see her hurt.
  • We had our first trip to the urgent care on the day after Thanksgiving.  She had a stomach bug but we all survived it and she stayed happy and smiling through the whole weekend ordeal.  All that really happened was a lot more diaper changes and a worried mom and dad.
  • Her fingernails continue to grow like crazy and I have to cut them once or twice a week.  Her toe nails, on the other hand, never grow and I have never cut them.  Sooo weird!
  • A final note about breastfeeding: I swear I am going to stop obsessing.  Blake is healthy and my supply is fine, although I know I will always worry about it (I can see a change in just one day of not staying on top of pumping).  I also have to give some major props to my mom for breastfeeding my sister and me.  I can't imagine doing it 35 years ago without all of the resources I have had available to me. 
  • I think I have figured out what my parenting philosophy is.  It turns out that parenting is a lot like politics.  There are two extremes and each side truly believes in their point of view.  I like to consider myself somewhat of a moderate but I do lean toward attachment parenting (I'm a baby wearer, I always respond to her cries, I nurse her to sleep, I exclusively breastfeed and plan to for at least a year, and I cloth diaper).  All of those things just came naturally to me but the more I learn about it, the more I realize what side I seem to be on.  I have to say though, it is terrible how much judgment there is on both sides when we are all just doing our best. 
And last...
  •  We visited Santa Claus.

Merry Christmas