On the Go: What’s in my diaper bag

COMMENTS: 13

family  On the Go: Whats in my diaper bag family  On the Go: Whats in my diaper bag
Most days, at home, I can just toss a few diapers and a pack of wipes into my purse and run out the door. But we’ve been moving around Italy, diaper bag packed for two, and it’s reminding me very much of when I used to prepare for days out in New York City with Hudson: every worst case scenario accounted for. Still, I’d like to think I’ve refined my approach a bit since then. Here’s what you’ll find inside my bag these days—and some thoughts on choosing a bag.

family  On the Go: Whats in my diaper bag

This post is sponsored by Target. The adventure begins here: Discover all Target has to offer for your baby registry and throughout your motherhood journey.

 

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Living Clean: Kids in the Kitchen

COMMENTS: 16

food drink family  Living Clean: Kids in the Kitchen
food drink family  Living Clean: Kids in the Kitchen
food drink family  Living Clean: Kids in the Kitchen
food drink family  Living Clean: Kids in the Kitchen

I’m often guilty of underestimating what Hudson can do to help. Sometimes it just doesn’t cross my mind to ask.

At three, he’s ready to do more tasks on his own every day. Or, occasionally, as a team. (“We’re a team! Right, Mommy?”) I’m excited to spend more time in the kitchen together.

Studies have shown that children are much less likely to reject foods they help prepare themselves—and so cooking can be a wonderful way to expose them to new flavors, new skills, and new responsibilities (like cleaning up). We didn’t really broaden his flavor horizon this time around—dessert!—but I’d been eager to try Gâteau au Yaourt (French Yogurt Cake) with him.

food drink family  Living Clean: Kids in the Kitchen
food drink family  Living Clean: Kids in the Kitchen

Gâteau au Yaourt is a popular goûter (or afternoon snack) in France, rumored to be one of the first things children there bake. The idea is that (almost) the entire recipe can be made off the measure of a 1/2-cup yogurt container.

I drew the outline of the recipe on our chalkboard for Hudson:

  • 1 serving yogurt (1 serving is one  4.75-oz yogurt cup in this case)
  • 1 serving oil
  • 2 servings sugar
  • 3 servings flour
  • 3 small eggs (we used two extra-large)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla (my yogurt was vanilla flavored, so I skipped this)

Here are two, kid-friendly printable versions of the recipe: First, Ingredients only.  Second, with quantities. (You can laminate them for your kids!)

You just combine all of the ingredients. Mix until smooth, and pour into a well-buttered 9″ baking dish. Ours took just shy of 30 minutes at 350 degrees to be done, but I’d suggest checking it with the clean-fork-test as soon as you smell it.

food drink family  Living Clean: Kids in the Kitchen
food drink family  Living Clean: Kids in the Kitchen

I set out all of the ingredients (like a proper sous-chef) and then showed him the recipe on the chalkboard. Each time we started a step, I asked him to count how many servings we needed based on the illustration.

We washed our hands and got started…

I had to help a bit a few times (scraping the last of the ingredients out of the jar after each dump; pouring into the jar from heavy bags or boxes—though he could have spooned things in himself; and cracking eggs), and I did all of the oven-related steps.

But he even did a fantastic job cracking the eggs. Tip: I had him use a separate bowl in case some shell made it’s way in (it did) and told him to open the egg like a book.

food drink family  Living Clean: Kids in the Kitchen

Of course, after handling eggs we washed our hands again. I like this foaming hand wash from Method because he likes all of the bubbles and can easily use it himself (and he’s less likely to over-pump).

food drink family  Living Clean: Kids in the Kitchen
food drink family  Living Clean: Kids in the Kitchen

Don’t you love those squishy little toddler wrists? (I do!)

He poured all of the batter into the pan. (Raw eggs means no licking the bowl, but he was so engaged he forgot to ask!) And while we waited for the cake to bake, we practiced our clean-up skills.

We didn’t make too much of a mess, so a little dish soap and water was all we needed to tackle the counter clean-up.

You’ll recall that we’ve committed ourselves to exclusively using products from the newly curated Made to Matter, Handpicked by TargetTM  (which is convenient since I’m already there all the time), so I’ve been especially happy to let Hudson help me clean-up knowing that he’s using non-toxic household goods throughout the kitchen.

food drink family  Living Clean: Kids in the Kitchen
food drink family  Living Clean: Kids in the Kitchen
food drink family  Living Clean: Kids in the Kitchen

The hardest part of all was waiting. We tried the cake by itself, first. Delicious! It was dense but not heavy at all. It’s a little bit sweet, but not saccharine—just right. It reminded me so much of an olive oil cake that I might try using olive oil in place of canola oil next time. Really, there’s heaps of potential here: you could frost it, bake fruit into it, top it with lemon curd or whipped cream and lemon zest…

Keeping with the jar of yogurt theme, we let Hudson top his with more of the vanilla yogurt and some berries. I thought the whole affair was wonderful—and so did he! I could tell he was proud of the cake (which he really did make almost all by himself), especially when he saw how badly Skyler wanted to try it, too.

food drink family  Living Clean: Kids in the Kitchen
food drink family  Living Clean: Kids in the Kitchen
food drink family  Living Clean: Kids in the Kitchen

food drink family  Living Clean: Kids in the Kitchen This post is sponsored by TargetThe Made To Matter line has been handpicked by Target to bring you brands that make things better for your you, your family, and the place we all call home.

We’re excited to continue using these Method and Seventh Generation products in our home. Thank you for following along with this series of Living Clean posts. And thank you to Target for supporting Hither & Thither!

Meltin Melnick
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Teething remedies (and wishes for a happy weekend)

COMMENTS: 11

family  Teething remedies (and wishes for a happy weekend)

What are you up to this weekend? We have family in town (we’re celebrating Aron’s sister’s 40th birthday!) and are looking forward to checking out Davis’s Bike & Brew Fest. Meanwhile, Skyler is working hard on getting her two little teeth through her lower gum. One is definitely through; the other is still causing her a bit of anguish.

We’ve been breaking out some teething remedies. Sophie’sfamily  Teething remedies (and wishes for a happy weekend) cousin, “Noisy”family  Teething remedies (and wishes for a happy weekend) the deer (as Hudson has named her), Watermelon rinds, teething biscuits, and our knuckles have been tops. The Boon Pulp Silicone Feederfamily  Teething remedies (and wishes for a happy weekend)  (above) is my new favorite addition: we’ve had products like this before—where you pop some fresh or frozen fruit into something they can gum—but this is by far my favorite. I’ve been freezing whatever puree she doesn’t finish (banana, sweet potato… what-have-you) and she loves it. I love that it’s easy to clean.

What are your favorite teething remedies?

We usually rely on Infant Tylenol and have some Orajel swabs or Homeopathic tablets at the ready, but I’d feel more comfortable letting your pediatrician make those recommendations.

P.S. Here’s a video of Hudson spotting her first tooth—of her reaction, really. Also, a look back at when Hudson got his first tooth on this trip to Saint Lucia!

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Living Clean: Starting Potty Training

COMMENTS: 26

family  Living Clean: Starting Potty Training

We’d been doing what one might call “potty-training-lite” for some time before ditching the diapers completely. I think Hudson may have first come running toward me, pants down, carrying a little (slightly wet) plastic toilet chair, exclaiming “I go pee-pee, I go pee-pee!” nearly six months ago. Since then, we always offered him the choice to use the toilet—before bed, at restaurants, and—of course often—when swimming and he would occasionally take us up on it. But while he had lots of successes using the toilet, he hadn’t shown much interest overall.

Teachers, his pediatrician, and some friends all offered the same advice: don’t rush. “Wait until he’s excited,” “wait until summer,” “wait until well after the baby arrives” had been the consensus. And with experience watching friends see the process—and the accidents—drag out (in some case, for years), we were happy to follow that advice.

But we thought that this might be a good time to get more serious about saying goodbye to diapering. He turned three recently and the new baby is not-so-new anymore. Plus we have a big trip to Italy coming up at the end of the summer. It sure would be nice to be (confidently) into undies by then, we thought.

family  Living Clean: Starting Potty Training
family  Living Clean: Starting Potty Training

And it’s summer! Perfect for naked time—and accidents outside the house.

So here is a list of supplies I gathered for getting started, and some tips I’ve gleaned so far… 

family  Living Clean: Starting Potty Training

  1. Potty books—I’ve heard raves about these four books when it comes to inspiring toddlers: Once Upon a Potty, Everyone Poops (pictured), Prince of the Potty, and Going to the Potty (by Mr. Rogers). For parents, my cousin swears by Jamie Glowacki’s Oh Crap!
  2. A potty chair—We have both the small stand-alone potty (Pros: kids tend to find it less intimidating and it’s portable; Cons: you have to clean it, and they have to transition eventually) and the adapter ring. We ended up buying both, but have promoted the adapter ring. We bought the same one for both grandparents’ homes, too. I also think this 3-in-1 seat looks like a good idea.
  3. A step stool—If you don’t have one already, this one looks perfect: it wraps around the base so that they can still be flat-footed on the big toilet. But really, anything will do as long as they can use it to easily climb off and on—like this one. Some stools make for reaching the faucet are too tall.
  4. Rewards—Okay, this is controversial. We had a potty chart in the bathroom, and Hudson would get a different sticker for peeing versus pooping. (But honestly, it was not that compelling for him.) Some people suggest that you use the stickers to earn a prize.  And, I’d heard good things about immediate rewards—like one M&M for each time they go pee and two for poop. I’d also heard that the best reward is lots of positive encouragement… maybe with a little song-and-dance thrown in. And that’s what worked best for us.
  5. Training pants and Undies—Hudson was very excited about a pair of Captain Hook and Dusty from Planes undies. He was less jazzed about the plain Gerber training pants, but I like how these are extra absorbent (but without wicking away moisture like a diaper).
  6. Overnight pull-ups—Most of what I’ve read discourages pull-ups during the active teaching phase and encourages training pants or underwear instead (so that they can feel the sensation of being wet). But I couldn’t imagine going cold-turkey overnight, so I had these at the ready (and have been glad). I’ve heard an alternative tip is to use underwear inside of a diaper; that way, you still give them the chance to feel wetness, but you contain the accident.
  7. Foaming Hand wash—Hand-washing goes, er, hand-in-hand with toilet learning. I’ve found it’s much easier to keep Hudson interested in hand-washing with a foam soap, and it makes less of a mess. This Method hand wash is paraben-free and biodegradable. (Kids might like this one a lot.) We also sing his hand-washing song from preschool: “twinkle twinkle little star, look how clean my two hands are.”
  8. Plenty of cleaning supplies for the bathroom (and the rest of the house)—As you know, we’ve been using products from the Made to Matter, Handpicked by TargetTM collection and these are things I’d feel good about using in the kids’ bathroom: Seventh Generation Disinfecting Bathroom Cleaner and Seventh Generation Recycled Paper Towels. Hudson actually leans up against the toilet when he stands to pee (which is really a problem in public restrooms—gross), so I’ve been more vigilant than ever about keeping ours clean. This one kills nasty germs like E. Coli, but without the yucky fumes. They also make a free and clear surface cleaner.
  9. And for the laundry—If you’re not going with the bare-bottomed approach, be prepared to wash a lot of undies. One anecdote someone shared with me included her washing twenty pairs in a single day! This one is tough (but still gentle on their little bums), and it’s ultra-concentrated so it will get you through extra loads.
  10. (Not Pictured) Patience, humor, and heaps of praise!—Again, there are so many different opinions about the best method for potty training (or toilet learning, as many would say), but the most consistent advice I read before we started is to stay completely positive and enthusiastic.

family  Living Clean: Starting Potty Training

When we finally went for it, I had Hudson bring me all the diapers from his room and we threw them out together. We spent half of that first weekend naked, and the second half commando—and had no accidents on the third day! Nighttime and naps? Still a moving target…

What would you add? Any advice? Did any of you tackle this during the day and night simultaneously? How’d that go?

family  Living Clean: Starting Potty Training This post is sponsored by TargetThe Made To Matter line has been handpicked by Target to bring you brands that make things better for your you, your family, and the place we all call home.

This is the fifth part of a series about giving the Made to Matter, Handpicked by TargetTM  collection a try. See my interview with the founders of Method and my post on cleaning up and making over our laundry room with before and after photos.

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Living Clean: Let’s Go for a (Bike) Ride

COMMENTS: 24

family  Living Clean: Lets Go for a (Bike) Ride
family  Living Clean: Lets Go for a (Bike) Ride
family  Living Clean: Lets Go for a (Bike) Ride

I’ve really been missing getting around town by bike. Skyler is still too young to ride along (most recommend you wait until children are about one year old), so I’ve been in the car a lot more lately.

When we first moved here, we even tried to resist buying a second car—the plan being that I would bike commute around town with Hudson.

I don’t want to fall out of habit; beyond its benefits in terms of the environment and (potentially) my waistline, riding a bicycle on a warm summer night just makes me happy!

So we got a babysitter, packed a picnic, and had ourselves a bike date.

family  Living Clean: Lets Go for a (Bike) Ride

Our bikes haven’t been getting their due attention this past year (when was the last time we rode them?), so Hudson helped us give them a good wash.

By the way: I did a quick Internet search for some tips on “how to clean your bike” to be sure we had any special technical tools on hand. Turns out, a little diluted dish soap is just right for the job! We used Method Dish Soap—one of the products I’m trying as part of my commitment to shop from the Made to Matter, Handpicked by TargetTM collection. The other two top tips I gleaned: (1) use a diffuse setting on your hose (never use a high-pressure hose), and (2) use a lubricant where necessary (like the chain) after cleaning.

family  Living Clean: Lets Go for a (Bike) Ride

Once the bikes were all shiny and clean, we replaced the child seats with wine and cheese and hit the road! Just west of our house, there are rows of olive trees that you can ride through and stop under to look across corn and wheat fields, shining in the golden evening sun.

family  Living Clean: Lets Go for a (Bike) Ride
family  Living Clean: Lets Go for a (Bike) Ride
family  Living Clean: Lets Go for a (Bike) Ride

It’s the perfect place to start a picnic, and the perfect way to get back on the bike.

family  Living Clean: Lets Go for a (Bike) Ride

P.S. This is the fourth part of a series about giving the Made to Matter, Handpicked by TargetTM  collection a try. See my interview with the founders of Method and my post on cleaning up and making over our laundry room with before and after photos.

family  Living Clean: Lets Go for a (Bike) Ride This post is sponsored by TargetThe Made To Matter line has been handpicked by Target to bring you brands that make things better for your you, your family, and the place we all call home. 

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MiniVacay (& Dinner at Blue Plate Oysterette)

COMMENTS: 14

travel family  MiniVacay (& Dinner at Blue Plate Oysterette)
travel family  MiniVacay (& Dinner at Blue Plate Oysterette)

We skipped town this past weekend and headed south to Los Angeles. (Thank you for your tips!) We had some business to attend to and decided at the last minute to extend our travel and bring everyone—except Sawyer, who had a mini-vacation of his own thanks to DogVacay. (More on that below.)

Even though we used to live in Los Angeles, we hardly know the west side at all, so we decided to restrict ourselves to the coast (with, okay, a small detour into Brentwood).

I took a bunch of photos and will share more about some of the highlights next week, but—in the meantime—one of our favorite stops from the weekend: Blue Plate Oysterette in Santa Monica.

travel family  MiniVacay (& Dinner at Blue Plate Oysterette)
travel family  MiniVacay (& Dinner at Blue Plate Oysterette)

We walked from our hotel to Blue Plate Oysterette—which sits right on Ocean Boulevard off Santa Monica overlooking the, well, overlook to the beach. It’s a popular spot (as are the other locations in the restaurant group: nearby Blue Plate and Blue Plate Taco), so because we didn’t have reservations, we just crossed our fingers and showed up early. The wait wasn’t too bad (about 45 minutes to sit outside), so they took our number and we walked down to the sand and played a bit before dinner. But even without that option, I loved that they had sidewalk chalk at the ready for antsy kids.

travel family  MiniVacay (& Dinner at Blue Plate Oysterette)
travel family  MiniVacay (& Dinner at Blue Plate Oysterette)
travel family  MiniVacay (& Dinner at Blue Plate Oysterette)

When we did sit down, I knew exactly what I wanted: a Lobster roll! While the scene was very Los Angeles, the menu was very East Coast, and I was offered a choice of a Lobster Salad roll or a plain, warm Lobster roll with drawn butter on the side. There are two camps on this, but I’m more a lobster salad gal—and this was a good one.

travel family  MiniVacay (& Dinner at Blue Plate Oysterette)
travel family  MiniVacay (& Dinner at Blue Plate Oysterette)
travel family  MiniVacay (& Dinner at Blue Plate Oysterette)
travel family  MiniVacay (& Dinner at Blue Plate Oysterette)

A sleeping baby, plenty of french fries, lobster and fresh tuni, beer and rosé, and a setting sun… could dinner be better?

Um, yes. Yes it could: Key Lime Pie. (And, frankly, the best non-homemade Key Lime Pie I’ve had since visiting the keys nearly 12 years ago. So good.)

travel family  MiniVacay (& Dinner at Blue Plate Oysterette)
travel family  MiniVacay (& Dinner at Blue Plate Oysterette)

Actually, there was more that made it great: while we were out, Hudson told the waiter all about his “black doggy named Sawyer.” We always tell Hudson that Sawyer is having a playdate while we’re away—and this time we were able to give details with full sincerity because we were getting little updates on how Sawyer was enjoying his weekend!

Before our trip, DogVacay got in touch about trying their site and the timing was perfect! DogVacay is a website and app that helps you find great pet sitters. We searched for nearby sitters, booked our stay, and paid online. Sawyer’s host took care of him in her home, sent us cute little emails and photos of what he was up to while we were gone.

travel family  MiniVacay (& Dinner at Blue Plate Oysterette)

We learned that he spent the weekend with lovely Mia (in the photos on the left) and a pug named Auggie, as well as Charlie the kitten (on the right). He also got a bath!

A funny combination of topics, I know, but knowing that Sawyer was happy made the entire weekend better. If you’re looking to take a night or two away and need a good pet sitter, I’d recommend the site. New users can get $10 off their first DogVacay with the code HITHER!

P.S. Sawyer as a puppy! More from Los Angeles (and from our earlier Pacific Northwest road trip)  next week!

Thank you to DogVacay for putting Sawyer up for the night and for supporting Hither & Thither! All DogVacay reservations include free pet insurance, 24/7 customer support, and daily photo “pup”dates, so pet parents can rest easy knowing that their best friend is in great hands. We’ll definitely be using the site again!

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Talltape

COMMENTS: 5

uncategorized family  Talltape

I’ve always loved the idea of marking out your kids’ heights on a wall or doorframe. I picture years and years of scratch marks recorded in the laundry room, a record of growth spurts that remains well after they’ve headed off to college. But the chances that you’ll stay in the same house—will the same laundry room—for all of those years is, for most of us, slim. So whenever I see a good alternative, I can’t help but take note.

This one is called Talltape, and what I like about it (because there are a few options out there now) is: a. it’s portable, and can be rolled up into a canister for storing if you don’t want to display it all the time; b. it’s wide enough to mark multiple children on one and tall enough to stretch into most adulthoods (6’6″ doesn’t quite accomodate Aron, but that’s a…er… tall order) ; and c. it comes in basic white! like your wall! (In addition to fairies and the like.) Most of the one’s I’ve seen are covered in art I’d likely grow tired of and only stretch to three or so feet. Hudson is already 40″ tall!

Talltape has been available in Europe for a few years now, but is just now being released in America.

uncategorized family  Talltape

uncategorized family  Talltape

You might recall that we have something similar in Hudson’s room, called Life’s Journey Measuring Stick. He loves standing up beside it (you can see it on the door frame, below) and will hand me a book as he wedges his heals against the baseboard. It’s a bit narrow for marking both his and Skyler’s heights, but I think we’ll manage. And though I love the nostalgic link to those old wooden rulers and its simple, pared down design, it would ideally sit flush with the wall a bit more easily. But either would be a sweet way to preserve a special memory.

uncategorized family  Talltape

P.S. The monthly baby photos we save; our kids’ rooms; and my (updated) baby registry guide.

 

 

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Three years (36 months)

COMMENTS: 33

family  Three years (36 months)

family  Three years (36 months)

family  Three years (36 months)

I used to write posts marking each month in Hudson’s first year, with photos of him on the same couch. My intention was to switch to every six months, but it’s been two years. So this one is extremely long. I thought about editing it, but instead I’m just posting with the caveat that you might just want to look at the photos and leaving the reading (and re-reading) to me and his dad.

Happy Birthday, Hudson! You can officially call yourself three, now.

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Thinking about: Life, Animated

COMMENTS: 18

uncategorized family  Thinking about: Life, Animated

I just had one of those NPR-driveway moments where I can’t bring myself to turn off the program and step out of the car. Instead, I sat and listened to author Ron Suskind talk from his book, Life, Animateduncategorized family  Thinking about: Life, Animated  , about his autistic son and the field of affinity therapy… tearing up.

(Which isn’t totally remarkable, I suppose, if you know me. It’s really a shame that getting emotional isn’t considered a more valuable skill.)

The interview was so touching that I had to share it.

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He’s up! First (real) bike!

COMMENTS: 8

family  Hes up! First (real) bike!
family  Hes up! First (real) bike!
family  Hes up! First (real) bike!
family  Hes up! First (real) bike!
family  Hes up! First (real) bike!

Hudson turns three next week! Can you believe it?! Excuse me if I get nostalgic around here come next Thursday. We’re celebrating this Sunday with a little party for him. I’m so excited. I keep asking him what he wants on his cake and the answer is different every day. Chocolate, most commonly. But also: “Red.” “And white and blue and lots of cakes.” “Animals, like a skunk and butterfly.” “Nummy one.” “With a stop sign.” (Me: “A stop sign?”) “Yes, a tiny one.”

Full of surprises. Like… (fancy transition here): getting up on a bike last week!! We gave him his present early because a screw came loose on his balance bike—so we thought, why not?! It was awesome. He was up in maybe 30 minutes! I couldn’t believe it. (And yet I could because we always remark that one of Hudson’s skills is motion. Constant motion.)

But it really is stirring to watch them take off—and to have to let go! You’re holding on and telling yourself… “Okay, let go. Okay, let go.” And your hands have to cooperate, but it’s really hard! Oh… full of so many life metaphors, that bike-riding thing.

family  Hes up! First (real) bike!

I posted a video on Instagram. (On Vimeo, here he is just starting out; and going “super fast.“)

In other news, some links for Friday…

I’m certain that Hudson was up and pedaling so fast thanks to his Balance Bike. Follow the link for more on that, and an interesting article about balance bikes versus training wheels.

Also, on the subject of biking: Raluca put (figurative) pen-to-paper much more keenly in this post about watching her daughter learn to ride a bike.

This house in Sydney features a beautiful (and brilliant) pulley system.
Via Sho & Tell, Grandpa’s Photos: a beautiful tribute to family, travel, photography, and memory.
On naming our things. (We had a neighbor who named each car. Do you do that?)
A real-life rainbow forest.

Love this wonderful round-up of shared kids’ rooms. Do your kids share a room?

Uncharacteristically, there are two giveaways on the site right now: Win a Cuisinart baby food maker (find a recipe from here and leave a comment on this post). And win this necklace (directions on Instagram).

Finally, next week I’m sharing a collaboration with Target—hope you’ll follow along!

Have a great weekend!

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Happy Anniversary!

Homemade food for baby

COMMENTS: 67

uncategorized family  Homemade food for baby
uncategorized family  Homemade food for baby

uncategorized family  Homemade food for baby

At Skyler’s 4-month-checkup, her pediatrician mentioned that we could start letting her try solid foods—if she seemed interested. [Insert record scratch, here.] What?! Wasn’t she just coming home from the hospital?

I remember, with Hudson, I was really on top of it at first: pureeing fruits and vegetables like yams, carrots, broccoli, green beans, and peas—they looked so bright and colorful. But there came a time when he was eating an awful lot of avocado and banana because, in New York, they’re available everywhere and you can mash them up with just a fork. If he was going to eat vegetables on the go, it was really was a tremendous help to be prepared.

uncategorized family  Homemade food for baby

So while I try and remember where I stored those little baby spoons and think about what food we should start with this time, Cuisinart offered that we try their baby food maker & bottle warmer. Better yet, they offered that I give one away (see below)!

uncategorized family  Homemade food for baby

There are a million good books on baby food, and you should consult with your own pediatrician, but…

Here are a few things I learned the first time around: 

Start Slow. In the first month or two, it’s suggested you wait a few days in between each new food you introduce to watch for allergic reactions.

But Get Creative. With a few exceptions (honey, raw dairy, undercooked meat…) there’s very little reason not to offer babies exactly what you eat. Season their food, let them reach for what’s on your plate, and try combinations that would appeal to you—like white bean puree with olive oil or spinach and blueberries. Making tacos for dinner? Toss the fixings into the baby food maker! (Cuisinart has a recipe book with tons of suggestions.)

Prep Ahead. You can use the Cuisinart Baby Food Maker to make meals in batches. It steams, chops and purees vegetables and fruits (and even meats) for you to freeze and store for later. Pour homemade baby food into clean ice cube trays (cover and transfer to a ziploc bag later) or into baby-specific feeding cubes for freezing. Either way, they’re the perfect size for a meal.

Be Safe! Be sure to label and date any food you make. Check FoodSafety.Gov for storage guidelines and how to properly defrost baby food.

uncategorized family  Homemade food for baby

Giveaway: Okay, so here’s how you can win a Cuisinart Baby Food Maker.  Just visit the Cuisinart Baby Recipe page for inspirations. Share a favorite recipe from there, or one of your own, in the comment field by 11:59pm PST, Sunday July 13. Your comment enters you to win a Cuisinart Baby Food Maker.

I’ll get in touch with the winner for a mailing address. Good luck!

Thank you, Cuisinart, for sponsoring this post and supporting Hither & Thither!

P.S. Hudson’s first bites. And toddler lunches on-the-go.

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Babymoon? Thoughts on traveling while pregnant

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family  Babymoon? Thoughts on traveling while pregnant

family  Babymoon? Thoughts on traveling while pregnant

With so many babies on the horizon, I’d thought I’d revisit a topic from my first pregnancy. (A handful of you may have seen a version of this on my old site, Baby Mine.)

Being fortunate enough to take a sort of “last-hurrah” vacation as an expectant couple should be enough, right? You should already count yourself lucky (especially if somebody else is nice enough to watch your older child or children while you’re gone).

So let me preface this by saying that I realize this is not a real problem and that I fear that this will sound ridiculous. But some of you might be realizing that choosing a good destination when you’re expecting is a challenge!

And it occurred to me that I’m probably not the only one out there who has Googled “traveling while pregnant” for destination ideas to find that the only links returned are articles on getting up and walking during long plane flights. In the end, I can only offer that (1) these are some of the factors you might consider, (2) you will get to travel again once the baby arrives (and the real challenges begin), and (3) you’ll have a great time regardless. Think of it less as a last hurrah and more of a chance to celebrate what’s to come.

In our case, the first getaway during my first pregnancy was to Montreal, to celebrate an anniversary. Aron worried about the long car ride, and I feared that a romantic getaway to the “Paris of the North” (in the winter) wouldn’t be the same without foie gras; stinky, unpasteurized cheeses; dips in a steamy, hot jacuzzi; or copious glasses of wine.

Obviously, we got over it.

family  Babymoon? Thoughts on traveling while pregnant

The next vacation we got to plan was for a February escape to warmer climes (and hopefully a sun-drenched beach). We’d taken a trip to India the previous April (with the push being that we should seize the opportunity to see a place I’d always dreamed of visiting before having a baby might keep us away for a while), and we actually considered a repeat trip while our visas were still valid. But it seemed unnecessarily risky: Aron had gotten sick briefly on our last visit, and the fear of food-borne illness–potentially devastating to a fetus–loomed large. We also thought about all of the bug repellent we had applied (instead of taking anti-malarials), and knowing that I would now neither feel comfortable using Deet nor taking anti-malarials placed the destination firmly in the no-go category. We had really hoped to go somewhere that could prove challenging with a baby or small child (as opposed to a kid-friendly, domestic spot like Florida), but found that most places that are warm in February are in the tropics and posed similar problems.

I think it was around the time that I reminded my husband that I also couldn’t scuba dive that he was ready to give up on warm weather altogether, suggesting instead that we head for snowy mountains and embrace the winter. But I quickly vetoed the thought of a non-skiing, non-hot-tubbing, non-hot-toddy drinking week in the snow. Picky, picky.

In the end, we got very lucky: my parents (probably tired of my indecision) came to the rescue with a gift of a Caribbean cruise and we had an amazing time! We also snuck off to Napa for a few days of couple-time and laughed at ourselves for booking a trip to the wine region at five months pregnant.

family  Babymoon? Thoughts on traveling while pregnant

Since then, over two pregnancies, I’ve traveled a lot in the expectant state and my conclusion? (Hint: It’s the same with all questions of travel.) Go!

Yes, there will be heartburn. No, you can’t toss back margaritas. Yes, you will probably spend far too much time agonizing over a maternity bathing suit. But not as much time as you’ll spend agonizing over the first postpartum one.

family  Babymoon? Thoughts on traveling while pregnant

I’d vote the best time is late in the second trimester or early in the third, when you’re unlikely to be sick, likely to look pregnant, likely able to stay up past 9pm, and unlikely to be in early labor or any sort of stressed-out nesting mode.

family  Babymoon? Thoughts on traveling while pregnant

family  Babymoon? Thoughts on traveling while pregnant

P.S. More encouragement: Trips we took while I was pregnant with Hudson or Skyler to Cape CodCalistogaHawaiiGrand CaymanYosemite and Lake Tahoe.

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