Momtastrophe or Momtastic

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Baby its cold outside: what to do with a 7/8 month old

With the winter months upon us several mommies I know with babies in the 7/8 month range are wondering what to do when its too cold to play outside, and with all of the winter germs taking the tots to play groups doesn't seem like the best option.

Here are some ideas to keep the little ones busy and entertained as well as intellectually stimulated:

Crafts: While most crafts are difficult with the 7/8 month age group (since they want to put everything in their mouths) salt dough ornaments are easy to make and with all natural simple ingredients it isn't a big deal if they put it in their mouth.

Art: As I mentioned above babies put everything in their mouths, so traditional finger painting is out. However finger painting with baby food purees is in! If you don't mind getting a little messy, let them finger paint on their high chair table with puree!

Peek-a-Boo: At this age babies are learning about object permanence. (Have you noticed your baby repeatedly dropping things and waiting for you to pick them up? They are starting to learn that things don't disappear when they are out of sight.) Take a small toy and put it where your baby can see it. Then cover it with a towel. Then pick up the towel to reveal the toy again!

Developmental Toys: The ring stacking toy and stacking cups are great toys for the 7/8 months old. My son hasn't yet figured out the stacking cups, but he does enjoy knocking them down after I build a tower with them.

A few other things to try:

Dance Parties: (play your favorite tunes and let them dance around) OK so our 7/8 month old children aren't dancing around the room yet, but they will enjoy bopping along.

Flash Cards: (with colors, numbers and letters) our little ones are like sponges soaking up all of the information around them and while they won't be singing their ABC's anytime soon it never hurts to start familiarizing them with it.

Story Time: Reading to children at a young age helps develop good readers in the future. Right now my son is really into the touch and feel books.

What do you do with your baby? Any great craft ideas or art projects? Let me know!

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

New Feature

I had a few people ask how they could subscribe to my blog. So I added a new email subscription feature to the top right side of the blog. If you subscribe you will get an email at the end of the day with any new posts. If I don't post then no email will be sent. Easy Peasy!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Salt Dough Ornaments

I saw this on pinterest and had to give it a try (adding some new twists to make it my own). It looked like an easy project I could involve my seven month old in. Turns out it is a very easy craft project that kids of all ages will enjoy being a part of.

Step one: Gather your ingredients
2 cups flour
1/2 cup salt
3/4 cup water
food coloring (optional)
peppermint extract (optional)

Step two: Mix everything together (I started with the paddle attachment on my kitchen aid and then switched over to the dough hook and let it mix while I set up the rolling pin, cookie cutters etc.) The dough should not stick to your hands.
Step three: Roll the dough, cut it into any shape/size you like and put at least one hole in it to prevent the dough from bubbling

Step four: Add a foot or hand print

Step five: Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes, then if you can dehydrate overnight (if you don't have a dehydrator reduce the oven temp to 150 and leave in for a few hours) as the dough cools it will harden.

Step six: Decorate! Add some ribbon or paint on a message.

Notes: I added peppermint extract to try to make the ornament smell like the holidays. The dough smelled nice before it was put in the oven but the finished product doesn't smell. Next time I might try to add an essential oil instead. Also be sure to press hands/feet/paws deep into the dough or it will be hard to see after it is baked.

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Friday, November 11, 2011

Meal Planning

At my son's six month check up his pedi told us he can now eat what we eat. She said it is really important for us all to sit down to meals together to establish good eating habits for our son. Well, I am not a three meals a day kind of girl. I eat small meals through out the day, an egg white omelet here, Greek yogurt and fruit there and by the time I get home I don't really want to sit down to a typical dinner (usually at that point I want dessert).

In order to start my son off on the right path I knew I would need to make a change, and with only 30 minutes after we get home to prepare dinner to keep our night time schedule on track I knew I would need to do some planning.

I started by making a chart of what foods I had introduced to my son and have figured out he is not allergic to them. It serves as an easy reference point to be sure I offer him a nice variety during the week.

Then I plot out the week writing new foods in red so they stand out in case we end up with any allergic reactions. I use this form. I also plan out the meals for my hubby and I (with only 30 minutes to make them it helps to look at the plan and put anything that needs to defrost in the fridge the night before.) Some examples from this week for my husband and I include taco soup, pecan crusted tilapia with roasted Parmesan potato, and Skinny Chicken Parm. (I'll post the recipes below) Some examples for my son include carrots and rice, pumpkin with greek yogurt and apple and oatmeal (before we know it he'll be eating chicken parm right along with us).

For baby food prep I steam or roast his fruits/veggies and then blend them, depending on the size of the batch using either a blender (I am super lucky to have gotten a vitamix as a gift) an immersion blender or the magic bullet (I really want the baby bullet but can't justify it since I have the other equipment). Then the purees get popped in ice cube trays (either handy ones with lids pictured below) or a regular ice cube tray wrapped with saran wrap (do not use foil it sticks to the food). As you can see below the cubes are easy to store (though they are starting to get some frost in the Tupperware, I may need to rethink that) and I just put the next day's cubes in the fridge at night and they are ready to go for the day!

Recipes: I am the type of cook who just throws in a little of this and a little of that so forgive me if I am not specific on measurements

Taco Soup:
Chicken Breast, Corn, Black Beans, Tomato, Chicken Stock and Taco Seasoning
Put it all in a crock pot and let it cook all day. The chicken will fall apart when it is done.

Pecan Crusted Tilapia and Parmesan Roasted Potato:
Parmesan Cheese
Olive Oil
Other Spices

Simply roll the Tilapia in finely ground Pecans and any other spices you may want to add (rosemary is always nice with pecans) Thinly slice the potato and place it in a bag with a little olive oil some Parmesan cheese and any other spices you want to add. Place both on baking sheets and bake it all for 25 minutes at 350. (Don't forget to use cooking spray under the potatoes or they may stick because of the cheese)

Skinny Chicken Parm:
Chicken Breast
Quinoa Flakes
Tomato Sauce
Parmesan Cheese (optional)

Roll the chicken breasts in the quinoa flakes and give them a quick searing in a frying pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Then place them in a pan with Tomato Sauce on the bottom and add a little more on top of the chicken. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and bake for 20 minutes at 350. I served mine on top of brown rice pasta.

Drunk Gummies

This post and instructions on how to make drunk gummies has been moved to my new blog. Check out the post

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A New Journey

Artwork for the nursery painted by Josh Miller

So much has happened since my last post. I became a mommy! The last six months have been a whirl wind of sleepless nights, diaper changes, and bottle washing. My organizing and time management skills have been put to the test. Now that we are finally sleeping through the night I thought I might resurrect the Mrs. Alexandria blog to share lessons learned, things that work well and those that don't as I navigate through this new foreign land.

Lesson 1: If you have a newborn baby boy invest in some wash cloths. I figured this one out after a midnight diaper changing where I ended up with pee in my hair. The washcloth is the perfect shield for the mid-change pee stream.

Stay tuned to see how my meal planning for the week works out, or if our salt dough Christmas ornament project ends up burning down our house.