Thursday, November 28, 2013

giving thanks

All too often we think about what we want, what we wish we had, what we wish we could do, what we wish we could be more like, and I see there's a lot of FOMO on Facebook as well. What we need to focus on is what we already have, what we already do, who we already are ~ and stop focusing on what you're missing out on, or trying to keep up with someone else's lifestyle. Be yourself. Love yourself. Stop comparing. Enjoy life as you know it. Do what you can, and know that is your best. Be happy. Be thankful for what you have.

Here are 30 things I'm thankful for in my life:

  1. My wonderful, loving, smart, loyal husband, Nathan.
  2. My energetic, exciting, beautiful little man, Tristan.
  3. My caring, always patient and forgiving, easy to love sister, Brooke.
  4. My ability to work and have a challenging career.
  5. I'm grateful for the having clean clothes to wear every day, food to eat, and a home that keeps me safe and warm.
  6. My educational background and the capability and willingness to always continue my education.
  7. I'm grateful someone invented coffee!
  8. My exciting business venture that's turned successful ~ LLC and Trademarked!
  9. I'm thankful for all the time I'm able to spend with those important to me. Every. Single. Day. (You can't EVER get that time back).
  10. I'm grateful for my mother and Nathan's mother.
  11. I'm grateful for government mandated nutritional labels!
  12. I'm thankful for those who are willing to help my family when asked.
  13. I'm grateful for the freedom of speech in the United States.
  14. I'm grateful to be able to provide for others whether it's for fun, for a gift, or just because. Providing for and helping others makes them smile and enjoy the world just. a. little. bit. more. 
  15. I'm thankful my job provides me with opportunities to travel so we can use points for family vacations. 
  16. I am so grateful for my health. Nothing like a having a cancer scare! 
  17. I'm thankful Tristan has grandparents who love him.
  18. I'm thankful that Nathan is the best father I've ever met
  19. I'm thankful that I have loving brothers and sisters who will always be special in my life and as special to Tristan as Aunts and Uncles.  They will never understand just how much love I have for them.
  20. I'm thankful for others' thoughts and opinions.
  21. I'm thankful for the ability to keep in contact with those important to me via telephone, mail, email, texting, facebook, and skyping.
  22. I am thankful for my besties ~ Amy², Katie, Crystal, Maria, Brea, Jamie, Courtney, Laura, Aletra, Danica, Jessica, Sarah², and all my loving acquaintances too!
  23. I'm thankful I have the internal motivation to keep going and keep trying even when it's difficult.
  24. I'm thankful for no gray hairs....yet. ;)
  25. I'm thankful for the opportunity to volunteer for such a great cause by helping others in need.
  26. I'm thankful for enough clean water to drink as often as I want.
  27. I'm grateful for the influences in my life from my male buddies: Jon, Bryan, Nathan, and Steve.
  28. I'm thankful for the daily lessons I learn in life.
  29. I'm thankful for the air I breathe.
  30. I'm thankful to be rested and to wake up every day so that I can again be thankful one more day for everything I have in my life.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thursday, November 14, 2013

easy "how to" make baby and toddler food pouches

My wonderful friend Amy introduced me to the most amazing "appliance" that I wish I had when Tristan was 6 months old. But no worries, I have it now and have had it since this past summer. But in light of these crazy videos surfacing about maggots in Organic baby food pouches, I thought I would teach the world how you can make your own and save a bunch of cash!! At $25 for the kit which included 10 reusable pouches with the machine, you'll save quickly from spending $1.35 - $1.89 per Organic food pouch and you'll have the peace of mind to know that what you are putting in your child's food, won't contain any maggots. :)

Regardless of whether it's true or not, even tampering of food packages that you purchase at a store leaves the unknown for what could be in your packages. Please read the article for more information on the incident.

Fresh squeezed is a product made by Infantino so you can make your own baby pouches at home. The link provides information on products, costs, and ideas. While some of the products listed aren't relevant to my needs with a three year old, they would have been when I first started out. So I highly recommend reviewing all the products and deciding what works best for you and your family. I purchased the Squeeze Station, Fridge and Freezer Sleeve (mostly to make room for these pouches when I store them), and the 50-pack Squeeze pouches. In hindsight, since my son is three, I really didn't need that many, but I was also not aware that the Squeeze station comes with 10 packs as well. Had I known that, I probably would have started with that number and bought more, as needed.

Below will show a serious of pictures and I'll explain how to use the products as well as what kinds of combinations you can make with it. One thing that this product definitely helps with, is NOT wasting fruits and vegetables when they are close to going bad.  You can also make yogurt blends as well by purchasing plain yogurt in bulk and mixing with fruits that may potentially go bad. There are endless options! My example below will involve yogurt with mixed berries, as my first stab at doing this was to make watermelon pouches - which resulted in just water when at room temperature! So watermelon is best frozen, so I will leave that for my homemade popsicles I make. :)

The first step is to purchase the product ~ which
seems to be on sale for $21.25 today 11/14/13!

When you open the product, lay all items on the counter to view.
You should have 10 lids, 10 pouches, 3 tubes, 1, squeeze machine, and one food press.

If you happen to purchase additional pouches, count
them to make sure all 50 are there.

Next, pick your ingredients. For this demonstration,
I chose Organic yogurt with frozen mixed berries (raspberries,
blackberries, and blueberries).

If you are adding a veggie or fruit that's naturally hard to puree, it's best
to steam them prior to pureeing them for a smoother texture. (Ex. spinach, kale, beets,
apples, pears, green beans, etc.)

You will need something to puree the berries. I use a Magic Bullet for all my pureeing needs.
But Infantino also offers a Peppy Puree if you'd like to purchase one for $19.99.

After you puree the berries, you'll need to put them through a sieve
to get out as many seeds as possible. To avoid this step, you can also use
another type of fruit or vegetable.  Be advised, this process can be messy.

Next, you want to add the yogurt to the new berry mix and puree again
until it's smooth to your liking (or your child's for that matter).

Once your product is created, you'll need to insert three pouches into 
the slots of each of the tubes. The tubes screw in at the top, and the pouches 
slide right underneath each one into place. You then screw the tubes
onto each pouch for easy transfer of food. Fill the tubes up to the top line
and use the Food Press to push the ingredients into the pouch. Sometimes
when you lift up on the Food Press the suction brings the food back up from the pouch.
You will have to release the air pressure to ensure this doesn't happen. Once all food is 
pressed into the pouches, unscrew the tube and put it in a bowl to prevent additional
spillage. Slide out the pouch and cap with a lid. Viola! You've made a homemade pouch!


I use the Fridge and Freezer Sleeve to store them since I made so many
of them. I put all of them in a freezer and pull them out a day in advance of when

I know I'll need them.

The website doesn't exactly state that you can reuse these pouches, but since they are clear, I hand wash them and air dry them to reuse. So far, I haven't had any problems doing that. They are Bisphenol A (BPA), PVC, and Phthalate free as well and 100% completely recyclable. I do not recommend using them in the dishwasher or to heat up in the microwave.

Some additional ideas for mixing ingredients are banana, beet, and apple; pears, peas, and green beans; carrots, apples, and pears; spinach, apples, and carrots (double the apple ratio); kiwi, mango, and pear; peaches and pears; bananas and apples; apple cinnamon; kale, kiwi, and pear; and any yogurt combination of yogurt and any fruit. You can also add additional nutrients to the pouch mixtures by adding a teaspoon of pureed kale, spinach, beets, Swiss chard, wheat grass (or wheat grass powder), nutritional yeast, ground flax seed, or any other ingredient to add flavor or nutrients to the pouch. (P.S. You can also do the same in your own meals: spaghetti sauce, lasagna, taco meat, casseroles, beef stew, soups, etc and your family won't even taste it!)

I hope this helps to create a fun project that not only saves you money, but also time and is exceptionally nutritious for your family!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

fall soccer ~ 2013

Here are some videos of Tristan's soccer games this past fall. Thank you to EVERYONE who was able to make it out and support him. You all are so thoughtful and kind to remember him!

Monday, November 11, 2013

bowling with sally

Last night Nathan and I took Sally and Tristan bowling. They are hilarious together! Here's a cute video of the action. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

halloween ~ 2013

Halloween was interesting this year because Nathan and I had class, so we weren't able to throw our Halloween party or take Tristan to trick or treat. When our backup plan failed, our wonderful friends Amy and Jason offered to take Tristan around the neighborhood for some trick or treat fun! Aunt B also offered to help, but we already accepted for Tristan to go with Amy. Check out the pics of the cutest little super hero - EVER! 

Aunt B stopped by to trick or treat at our house.
Look at this good looking group!

Checking himself out...

Nice cape!

Pow pow!

Look at my superhero pants!