Baby Led Weaning

If you’ve never heard of baby led weaning (aka: BLW; introduction of solid foods), go here.   It’s really simple and has worked so well for our family.  Basically, Camryn eats whatever we eat (within reason).  If she eats everything I give her or nothing it all, it’s up to her.  We don’t spoon-feed (check out the picture below for her reaction to mushy bananas on a spoon!) and we don’t put food in her mouth.  I simply give her easy to hold and chew foods and let her decide how much she wants.  It has been amazing to watch her learn so quickly – her pincer grasp is very advanced for her age, she chews very efficiently and has only gagged a couple of times.  I was pretty nervous about the gagging/choking aspect of BLW, but after watching a few videos on YouTube that show the difference it has gotten easier to let her learn what she can handle on her own.

We began BLW at 6 months and this is a list of just some of the foods she’s eaten:

  1. bananas
  2. strawberries
  3. oranges
  4. plums
  5. apples
  6. cucumber
  7. tomatoes
  8. whole wheat toast
  9. brown rice
  10. pasta with tomato sauce
  11. green beans
  12. cottage cheese
  13. yogurt
  14. carrots
  15. potatoes
  16. hamburger
  17. turkey
  18. chicken
  19. oatmeal
  20. cauliflower
  21. broccoli
  22. oatmeal fingers (will post recipe soon!)

Our pediatrician advised us to wait to introduce eggs because of Irelyn’s egg allergy and we’ve also noticed that Camryn’s eczema worsens after eating any dairy – so we’ve eliminated dairy from her diet for now (Irelyn outgrew her dairy allergy/sensitivity by about 18 months so we’re hoping for the same with Camryn). Now that she’s gotten the hang of BLW, I’ve started trying different recipes that I’ve found online.  There is a Carrot & Bean Cakes recipe below that Cami loves!  I’ll post more BLW recipes as we try them out.

This was her reaction to mushy bananas that I spoon-fed her…

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…and this is her 1st BLW experience!

And here are a few other pictures from the past 7 weeks of BLW.
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photo 3 (26)

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photo 2 (41)
photo 5 (14)
 Clearly, it’s very messy.  But you can also tell by all the smiles that she absolutely loves it!

Carrot & Bean Cakes

1/2 cup cooked, mashed carrot
1 cup white beans, mashed well
1 garlic clove, crushed
4 tbsp flour (I had to use a couple tbsp more than this to form patties)
olive oil

Mix the carrot puree with the mashed beans, garlic and flour.
Form the mixture into little patties with your hands – if the mixture is too moist, add a little more flour.
Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan/skillet.
Fry the patties for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until golden.
Serve with applesauce for dipping!

I found the recipe here: http://www.homemade-baby-food-recipes.com/baby-led-weaning-recipes.html#ixzz388SJMiMj

Here is Cami enjoying her carrot and bean cakes this morning!

Loaded Potato & Buffalo Chicken Casserole

Zach saw this recipe on facebook and asked me to make it.  It was very easy and tasted SO good.  We paired this slightly spicy casserole with a cool cucumber salad.

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Loaded Potato & Buffalo Chicken Casserole

2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
8 -10 medium potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/3 cup olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon fresh ground pepper
1 tablespoon paprika
2 tablespoons garlic powder
6 tablespoons hot sauce (I didn’t add hot sauce because of the kids, I added it to my plate)
2 cups fiesta Mexican blend cheese
1 cup crumbled cooked bacon
1 cup diced green onion

  1. Preheat oven to 500°F .
  2. In a large bowl mix together the olive oil, hot sauce, salt, pepper, garlic powder & paprika.
  3. Add the potatoes and stir to coat.
  4. Add the potatoes to a greased baking dish. (the greased part is important – I forgot to grease my dish!)
  5. When scooping the potatoes into the baking dish, leave behind any extra olive oil/hot sauce mix. (I had to mix more oil/spices because I didn’t use hot sauce)
  6. Add the diced chicken to the remaining olive oil/hot sauce mix and stir to coat all the chicken. Allow to marinate as the potatoes bake.
  7. Roast the potatoes for 45-50 minutes, stirring every 10-15 minutes, until cooked through and nice and crispy on the outside.
  8. Once the potatoes are fully cooked, remove from the oven and lower the oven temperature to 400°F.
  9. Add the marinated chicken on top of the potatoes. (SEE NOTE BELOW)
  10. In a large bowl mix all the topping ingredients together.
  11. Top the raw chicken with the topping.
  12. Bake 15 minutes or until until the chicken is cooked through and the topping is melted and bubbly delicious.
  13. Serve with extra hot sauce and/or ranch dressing.

NOTE: I was in a hurry to get dinner on the table before bathtime, so I cooked the diced chicken on the stove while the potatoes were in the oven.  It only took 7-8 minutes to melt the toppings after adding the cooked chicken.  Several comments on the recipes I looked at for this did say that cooking their chicken at 400°F dried it out a bit. 

This casserole was simple and my entire family loved it – I’ll definitely be making this again.



Cucumber, onion & tomato salad

Our garden has already produced A LOT of veggies this year.  We planted two cucumber plants, a dozen pepper plants and several cherry/grape/roma tomato plants.  We recently had more than a dozen cucumbers, so Zach decided to make a salad out of them.

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He used slices of cucumber, diced tomato, sliced red onion and Italian dressing.  We added shredded mozzarella cheese and croutons at the end and it was delicious! (that’s saying a lot since I’m not a big fan of cucumbers, tomatoes, or onions.)  I made a Loaded Potato and Buffalo Chicken casserole that we’d seen floating around facebook to go along with this salad, I’ll post the recipe for that soon.

There are many more cucumbers ready to pick and we will have hundreds of tomatoes, so I’ll post any cucumber salad recipes I try!



My 2nd water birth (+ labor cookies)

Camryn’s Birth Story (to read about my 1st water birth, click here!)

My original due date was December 11th.  I had my 38 week check up on November 28th, my doctor stripped my membranes and I was 1-2 cm.  At 38 weeks 4 days with Irelyn, the membrane sweep was enough to put me into labor.  I decided to go home and make a batch of the labor cookies I had made just before I had Irelyn.  I’m still not convinced they work, but they’re yummy and she was born 2 days later!

On Saturday, November 30th, I started having some regular contractions throughout the day that had slowly become more painful by 7:30pm when I was putting Kaden & Irelyn to bed.  By 8:00pm we called Zach’s dad so that we could head to the hospital.  We were checked into labor & delivery around 9:00pm, my contractions were consistently 5 minutes apart, and I was 3-4cm.  My doctor had me admitted at 10:00pm and we called my doula (I was blessed to be able to have the same doula that attended Irelyn’s birth while Zach was deployed).
My birth plan was the same as with Irelyn:

  • walk, use the birthing ball, and move around until I couldn’t handle the pain any longer
  • get in the water to help ease the pain until it was too late for an epidural

Basically, I wanted to trick myself into a natural birth.  Again.  I walked the halls for an hour and my contractions had been 2 minutes apart and much more intense.  I was checked at 11:00pm and I was already 7-8cm!  I was in shock because I still felt 100% normal in between contractions.  We filled the tub, I got comfortable and we all assumed she’d be here by midnight.  I mean, transition usually only lasts 10-20 contractions according to the books, right?  Stupid books.  At 3:00am, I was still 8-9cm.  I had gotten out of the water by midnight and spent hours trying to help move things along.  My doctor finally broke my water between 4-5:00am and I got back in the tub soon after.  My doctor put the gown on for round two just before 6:00am and at 6:12am, Camryn was born.  I’m still amazed by how painless my labor was.  The only time I really wanted pain meds was the very last 1/2 cm and of course I questioned my sanity while pushing (I’m never having another baby, unfortunately I haven’t been lucky enough to forget how painful natural birth is…).

She was the smallest of my three kids and worth every moment of pain.
Camryn Elisabeth Ruth
6lb 15oz
20 inches

She’s the easiest, happiest baby I could ever ask for and absolutely completed our family.  She’s turned into quite a chubby little girl at almost 7 months.


Saying goodbye to the pacifier.

It took 7 different brands of pacifiers before Irelyn finally found one she liked when she was 2 weeks old.  Since Zach was deployed when she was born and I was raising two kids on my own, her colic and the need to suck on my finger all night would have made me crazy if I hadn’t found a pacifier she’d tolerate.

This was her first paci.

Precious, right?

Now she’s 2 and it’s starting to affect her teeth and I’m realizing I REALLY should have taken it away at least a year ago.

So, that precious sleeping baby turned into a terrifying, screaming monster when we decided it was past time to give up the paci. I had a brilliant idea of taking her to the store, letting her pick out a toy, and paying for that toy with her pacifier.  It kind of worked.  She picked out a Dora doll, sat her pacifier on the register, nervously said “…bye paci…” and we walked out the door.  (Obviously, I grabbed it after she looked away – I’m not completely crazy.)

I also chose that same night to move her from her crib to her toddler bed.  Needless to say, it was a pretty traumatic bedtime.  She didn’t realize she was missing something til I had turned off her light and shut her door.  She screamed, cried, coughed, gagged, and almost threw up.  That’s where I drew the line – I can’t handle puke and Zach works 3rd shift.  Side note: 5 days later and she hasn’t climbed out of her bed once, she lazily calls for me when she wakes up so I can carry her downstairs.

After that night I decided she could have it only to sleep.  It hasn’t left her room in almost 5 days now and I’ve slowly been cutting the tip off of it.  She tells everyone, “Paci broke. Dr fix it?”.

photo (26)The goal is to lose it at bedtime this weekend.  Wish me luck — and comment with any tips/experience/wine recommendations you have.  It’s going to be a long weekend.



Blogging vs. The Bachelorette

Almost one year has passed since my last post (again).  Sure makes time fly by, doesn’t it?  In all honesty, when evening arrives and all three kids are sleeping, I have two choices: relax on the couch and indulge in an entire bag of popcorn while watching The Bachelorette or blog.  Obviously, it’s pretty clear where my priorities are. 😉

Quick update of the past 10 months:

  • Camryn Elisabeth Ruth was born December 1, 2013 (10 days before her due date, just like her sister)
    I am planning on writing her water birth story sometime soon!
  • Kaden turned 5 years old and had a Hot Wheels themed party.  He also graduated preschool!
  • Irelyn turned 2 years old and had an Elmo themed party.
  • Camryn is now 6 1/2 months and we’ve started baby led weaning.  I’ll write about that later.

Besides having a new baby, life has been normal over this past year.  I’ll try to write more regularly.  Probably after this season of The Bachelorette is over.


Oreo Pudding Poke Cake

It’s no secret that I (and Kaden and Irelyn) are the chocolate addicts in the house.  Zach doesn’t like anything more than brownies or Oreo’s – when he found this recipe, I couldn’t wait to try it!  Here it is – Oreo Puddin’ Poke Cake.


We loved it.  I’m actually planning on making another one for our family reunion this weekend!


We also picked tomatoes from our garden yesterday;  we pick them twice a week and end up with a basket of 15+ each time.  We still have 17 on our back porch that were ripening, so we asked our neighbor if they’d like the basket we had just picked.  Her son showed up at our front door a few hours later with a container of homemade salsa!  It’s amazing.  I’ll be asking for her recipe for sure (or just giving her another couple baskets full of tomatoes this summer!).