Saturday, January 30, 2010

Fletch Food Continued

I just wanted to show everyone just how easy making your own baby food really is.This is a normal size batch for me...for now. You can store frozen baby food for up to 3 months, but I'd rather make smaller batches so Fletch can try a variety of things for now. One medium sweet potato will fill one ice cube tray with a little extra. Whatever does not fit in the ice cube tray, I place in a Tupperware container in the fridge and use that up first. You can keep food in the fridge for 3 days. The best way to cook the veggies is to bake or steam. (Side note: I just ruined my steamer pot and I am waiting on a new silicone steamer insert so I can steam some veggies...PSA - Never leave your steaming food unattended!) Once you've cooked the veggies, you cut them into one inch pieces or smaller and place them in a food processor/blender/immersion blender and puree. You can use the water that you used to steam the veggies (you only need a few tablespoons) or you can use breast milk or tap water. Once you've pureed the veggies, you spoon them into the ice cube trays and freeze. Once they are frozen into veggie cubes, you can pop them out and put them in a zip-lock bag and label them. I try to put the date I made them to get in the habit, even though he will definitely finish all of them within three months. Once I start making bigger batches, it will come in handy. Making meat is not much different. I season and bake the chicken or turkey cutlets. Once they are cooked, I let them cool before putting them in the food processor. You process them until they are chopped into very fine pieces, then you add the liquid. You freeze the meat the same way. Each veggie or meat cube is about one ounce.
When it comes time to feed Fletch, I pull out three cubes to defrost. I like to mix and match and make all kinds of weird combinations. Fletch does not seem to mind the least. It takes about a minute in the microwave to soften and warm it up. If it gets too hot, I add some cold applesauce to cool it off. Applesauce is one of those important staples to keep in the fridge. Some people make their own, but I just buy the big jars of natural applesauce that has nothing added to it. Most of the veggies I make for Fletch are veggies that were already on our menu anyway. It is incredibly cheap. One bag of frozen veggies is less than a dollar and it produces way more baby food than you could get in a jar for the same price.
If anyone out there needs some helpful tips on getting started, feel free to email me and I'd love to help you get started.

We're a Google Family

Google Inc.Image via Wikipedia
We're a hardcore Google Family. All Google applications are free and there is an online app for everything. Check out the list of available apps. You don't have to download software. All Google apps are available online, or to use the parlance of our time, "in the cloud".

We have four Gmail addresses between us -me, Jennifer, Fletch and a family email. Yes even Fletch has his own email address. I wanted to make sure he didn't get some crazy email address like fletchos4987 when he's old enough to use the computer, so we registered a Gmail address early. If you want to email him his email address is fletchshock at gmail dot com. Don't expect a prompt response or it to make any sense. He's a baby for God's sake! Do look for him to post to this blog in the near future. :)

We use Google Calendar to schedule our lives and for reminders. I have a personal calendar, Jenn has a personal and school schedule calendar, we have a family calendar and a bills calendar to keep track of when our bills are due. There are also cool public calendars like sports teams schedules (I subscribe to the Redskins calendar of course), moon phases, holidays and a calendar that will pull all your contacts birthdays and anniversaries. I don't think we could live without it.

We use Google Reader to follow our favorite blogs. It's handy if you follow lots of blogs that span multiple interests. You can use tags like 'personal', 'sports', 'finance' or 'hobbies' to organize your blogs into categories. My favorite blogs are personal (friends and family blogs), the Redskins, personal finance, music, life hacks, beard blogs (there are many), blogs about the movie The Big Lebowski, and Google blogs. Jenn's favorite blogs are family and friends, crafts, The People of Walmart, Cake Wrecks and Awkward Family Photos.

We use Google Docs to create and share our online documents, spreadsheets and presentations. It's like an online version of Microsoft Office. You can create documents or scan and upload. It's compatible with MS Office, Open Office and PDF document formats. Docs has many advantages. It's free and doesn't take up any space on your hard drive. It's green in that you can upload all your important documents and store them in the cloud reducing clutter and improving organization. You can share documents with anyone who has an email address. You can collaborate simultaneously on the same document will all the doc owners. Jennifer's family sends out an annual holiday gift list email. It was hard to maintain among 10 adults and numerous kids. Jennifer turned the gift list into a Google Docs spreadsheet, shared it with everybody and viola! - problem solved. Everyone had access and could make updates without worrying if the they were editing the latest draft.

Our blogs are written and hosted by Blogger, Google's blog application. It's not as robust as Wordpress, but it suits our needs.

We use Google Sites to build and host our our family website, chronic and shock dot  com.

Google Maps has replaced MapQuest as the map and directions website of choice. Before we got a GPS, we used Maps to get directions.

You can get Google products on your cellphone with Google Mobile. I can read my email, check my calendar, read blogs, find or create a document, make a call, send a text and get directions on my phone. You never have to leave home without Google apps.

The newest addition to our Google family is Google Voice. It gives you one phone number that can ring all your phones. It also transcribes your voicemail messages and sends you an email when you've got a new message. It links to your Gmail contact list. You can also send text messages from the website or email. I recently transitioned to a Google Voice number. Now when people call me, my cell phone, work phone and Jenn's phone all ring. The flexibility is amazing. You can have different settings per contact. If my mom calls, I can have it ring all my phones. If work calls, I can have it just ring my work phone. If you didn't receive the email with my new number the send me an email and I'll be happy to give it to you.

One Google app we don't use is Picasa, the photo website. We use Flickr instead. No particular reason. Flickr is just the more popular of the two.

Enough with the Google advertisement. I'm not a paid spokesperson. But I don't mind singing the praises of a forward thinking, creative company that has applications to make our life organized and easier. Just call us a digital family. We live in the cloud.
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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Feeding Fletch

While I was pregnant and trying to make a decision about all of the various options of how to take care of baby (diapering, sleeping, vaccinations, etc), I thought I had ruled out homemade baby food. That is until I read about how easy it actually is from a mom who considers herself to be pretty lazy (thank you Amalah). Not only is it easy, it is cheaper than buying all those little jars of food. Another benefit is knowing exactly what is going into Fletch's belly. Have you seen the color of some of those jarred veggies? I can't even find those colors in nature. Once Fletch was born, I had a few months to gear up for the process. I purchased a new food processor and some ice cube trays with lids. I found a wonderful online resource Wholesome Baby Food that has everything you need to know about making your own baby food. Initially Fletch started with rice cereal. Considering it only cost $2 for a box, I splurged on that menu item. We realized quickly that Fletch was not a fan of rice cereal. That is when I switched to oatmeal. I didn't get much more enthusiasm for oatmeal. One night I decided to try something else. I pulled out the frozen peas, steamed and pureed them and was ready to experiment. Fletch was very happy to see something new in his bowl and enthusiastically finished all of his peas. That was my jumping off point into the realm of homemade baby food. Since then we have tried other veggies, fruits and even yogurt. I was reading a blog that mentioned an article about avoiding creating a picky eater. There was a list provided of different food groups. In order to avoid creating a picky eater, it is suggested to have your baby try one thing from each group before they turn one. I found the article very interesting and I believe it will not be very hard to accomplish. I do not want to raise a picky eater addicted to macaroni and chicken nuggets. I may be a little optimistic, but here is the list I will be working on until June 28th. Of course, I will be following the normal guidelines as to when certain foods should be introduced. I'm not going destroy my son's digestive tract for my own selfish reasons. Maybe through this process, even I will try some foods that I have been apprehensive towards. I've tried everything I have fed Fletch so far, but I may have to pass on the mushrooms and beets. Those that have been struck through are those that we have already accomplished. Wish us luck!



Woody trees

Cruciferous vegetables



Heath plants

black beans


sunflower seeds

sesame seeds


Rosy plants



white potatoes


swiss chard


True grasses
brown rice

sweet potato

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Our Little Spurs Fan

Every year I get tickets to see the Spurs play the Wizards here in DC. They only come once a year, and it is usually in February during the "Rodeo Road Trip." This year they came a little early. We took Fletch with us because being so close to the holidays it was far fetched to find a babysitter. We were a little nervous having him out a little late, but he did extremely well and did not get fussy until the last two minutes. Since the Spurs were kicking booty, we headed out a little early. Unfortunately the Spurs gear that Deanne sent Fletch was too big for him to wear to the game, but it may fit for next year's game. Fletch helped Mama cheer on her team and apparently is a good luck charm.

Ba Ba Ba

Here is a video of Fletch's cute babbling.

Friday, January 1, 2010

What a way to start the year!

Look who's sitting up!Yep! He has been trying and trying and finally has something to show for it. Fletch has been sitting up with assistance for over a month, so it was bound to happen any day. This is Fletch's way of saying Happy New Year Mom and Dad! His 6-month appointment was on the 30th. He has grown 2 inches and is now 28" tall. Our little butterball is 18.9 pounds. According to Dr. Cross, he is doing amazing. We were even given the go-ahead to add some meat to his diet. Fletch tried some chicken today with his sweet potatoes and peas and had no complaints. Here's to a happy and healthy new year for our baby boy!