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…

photo (27)

…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)

photo 1 (38)
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!

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.


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.


Irelyn’s 1st Birthday [Rainbows & Clovers!]

Since Irelyn’s birthday is on March 16 (almost St. Patrick’s Day) and we’re part Irish, we chose a rainbow & clover theme for her 1st birthday party.  The goal was to save as much money as we could on decorations and food – especially since she won’t remember it anyway – so I got most of my ideas from Pinterest!  It’s been almost 6 months since her birthday, so I’ve lost some of the links to the other blogs I borrowed ideas from, but I will do my best to give credit for everything.

We did a cake smash photo shoot in our kitchen a few weeks before the party.  This was the first time she had ever had a cupcake or frosting (I had to make special dairy/egg free cupcakes for her) and she loved them!  Many of them were blurry, but I got quite a few good shots.

Irelyn's bday pics


Below are pictures from the party, I’ll add a list at the bottom with links to all of the treats/decorations!

A few pictures from before the party…


Rainbow cupcakes, Oreo Brownie cupcakes, and Lucky Charm Trail Mix


Pictures with family…


More pictures with family!


The cake!  Kaden refused to be a part of the “family” photo; he’d had his fill of pictures by the end of the party.


And this is the only face Zach will make for a picture by himself!



Here are links to all of the goodies pictured above – in no particular order:

1.  Rainbow Cupcakes
2.  Lucky Charm Trail Mix
3.  Shamrock Rice Krispie Treats (not pictured above, but they were yummy – we didn’t make a Christmas tree, just squares)
4.  Cupcake Circle Printable
5.  Oreo Brownie Cupcakes
6.  Crockpot BBQ Meatballs (we also used this recipe for mini hot dogs and they turned out great!)
7.  Printable LUCKY Banner
8.  Irelyn’s Birthday Outfit (this is the link to where I got the idea from.  Zach’s aunt offered to embroider the clover and “I” onto a onesie we bought, we already had rainbow leggings and I made the bow for her hair)

We also had a rainbow assortment of fruits & veggies, chips and probably a couple of other things I can’t remember;  we had plenty of leftovers.

Her party was a great success.  Everything turned out the way I was hoping, it gave all of our family a chance to see our new house and Irelyn & Kaden both had a great time.  Now we’re hoping for the same with Kaden’s 5th birthday party!  We will be having his birthday a few weeks early (so that he’ll get to have his special day just in case baby Lily decides to enter the world a little early), so I’ll be getting a head start on planning within the next month.  As of right now, meaning: until he changes his mind next week, we’re thinking of a LEGO or “Movie night” theme (popcorn in special tubs for snacks, movie theater candy, ticket themed invitations, etc.).  It’s not easy steering him away from the superhero themes, but it’s so much more fun planning a party like this than going to Walmart and buying all of the Spiderman decorations.



The past few weeks have been a little crazy (which is why I haven’t posted in well over a month…)!  I have tons of pictures I could post, but it’s 6:55am right now, the kids and hubby are sleeping and I’m trying to enjoy every last second before the little monsters wake up…so I’ll do a little updating now and a picture post later. 🙂

Here are some things that have happened in the past month:

  • Zach’s Welcome Home party (I forgot the camera…but I do have one picture below!)
  • My family reunion (I forgot the camera for this, too)
  • Zach’s family reunion will be this Saturday (I’ll try to remember the camera this time!)
  • We’ve started cloth diapering almost full time (I haven’t found the right inserts to try a cloth diaper at night yet)
  • Irelyn had her 4 month appointment (she was 14 lb 9 oz, 25 inches long and is growing perfectly!)
  • Made it to 5 months of exclusive breastfeeding 🙂 (I tried some dairy a couple of weeks ago to see if she’s still sensitive to it…she is.)
  • Kaden spent a week at his dad’s house while Zach & I were house-sitting for my aunt
  • Irelyn learned to roll from back to belly (she’s been going from belly to back), has been learning to sit and has attempted to crawl twice!
  • Zach went to Columbus this past Tuesday to take his exam for the Ohio State Highway Patrol (he passed!) We should know if he got accepted into the academy in a few weeks 🙂
  • Irelyn had her 1st taste of solid food [this morning! – video below]

We are trying baby led weaning with Irelyn.  Basically, we’ll be skipping cereal & purees, starting with simple foods such as avocado, bananas, peaches, broccoli, etc and allowing her to feed herself.  The idea behind it is that she’ll learn to chew before swallowing (which will help her to only ingest solids as she is actually ready for them), it is supposed to help her be less picky towards the texture (with a 3 year old that would only eat mac-n-cheese and popsicles if I let him, I love this), plus I don’t have to spend time pureeing and storing foods for her, she’ll just eat what we eat!

We tried avocado today.  She was so excited when we put it on the tray and she licked it for a few minutes – I don’t think she actually managed to swallow any though.

Obviously, Kaden was narrating the entire event…I’ll only bore you with a little over a minute of it. [please ignore my messy house]

And here is the one and only picture I have from Zach’s party.

I’ll post more pictures as soon as I have some “free” time to edit them! 🙂


Cloth Diapers

I’m adding one more item to my list of things I’ve done differently with each of my kids – cloth diapering (& while we’re at it, cloth wipes)!  I’ve done almost the complete opposite with Irelyn so far compared to Kaden and I’m becoming a different kind of mom than I ever thought I’d be.  Before having Kaden and formula feeding, using disposable diapers/wipes, working full time 5 weeks after he was born and living 3 hours away from my family…I never thought I’d be a breastfeeding, cloth diapering, stay at home mom who lives 5 minutes from my family now…but I love every bit of it! 🙂 I wouldn’t change how I have raised Kaden because it was what worked for us at the time; but I love having a husband who has made it possible for me to even have the first 4 months of Irelyn’s life at home with her and to do things the way I have.

After already going through so many boxes/packs of disposable diapers in the short 16 weeks of Irelyn’s life, we’ve decided that we can save a ton of money using cloth diapers.  We bought 19 diapers from a friend (to add to the 2 diapers Irelyn has) for a total of $78 (we’ve already spent twice that much on disposables) and since I’m at home all day anyway, a couple extra loads of laundry per week will help fill my “down” time. 🙂  Anyway, we have a variety of diapers (velcro, all in ones – which will help when we’re out, Daddy has to change her or when family is watching her), but they’ll all fit up to around 35lbs.  And if we take care of them, they’ll last through potential baby number three.  We’ll easily save thousands of dollars and cloth diapers are just too cute! (I’ll definitely be posting pictures once they’re all organized and ready to use)

I’ve become pretty addicted to my sewing machine lately and have been practicing making some pocket and fitted cloth diapers.  Today I decided that I’m going to use cloth wipes as well.  Since we’ll be tossing her diapers into the diaper pail after changing, there’s no point in having to carry a dirty wipe to the trashcan every time when we can just use cloth and throw it in with the diapers!

I found 7 baby washcloths lying around, but of course I had to sew some cute ones for her!

I found a super simple wipe solution online (1 tablespoon baby oil, 2 teaspoons baby wash, 2 1/2 cups water) and filled a squirt bottle with it.  I’m planning on making another couple dozen wipes after I find which fabric I like best.  The yellow wipes are made from an old baby towel and cotton (for looks) and the pink/zebra print are made from an old shirt of mine and cotton (for looks again!).

Sunday I’ll be buying the supplies I need to make laundry detergent for the diapers and a small trashcan to use as a diaper pail.  I’ll be posting more about our cloth diaper experience next week!  Also, within the next 14 days there will be a post all about Zach meeting Irelyn for the 1st time!!

Here’s a picture of Irelyn in one of her cloth diapers (& Sophie – which I highly recommend for teething babies) & Kaden blowing bubbles at 7am today 🙂



28 Day Challenge Update

It’s pretty obvious that I recently lost all motivation to post.  Zach left Afghanistan a couple of weeks ago and since I’ve been able to talk to him more often, I haven’t spent much time organizing/thinking of things to post.  As far as my 28 day challenge goes, I did start and finish organizing the master closet (which I’m sure Zach will appreciate once he’s home) and I’m halfway done cleaning both of our cars.  With the 90+ degree weather we’ve had, we haven’t been spending much time outside.

Now, for the exciting news of the day week year Zach will be HOME within the next 2 weeks!!!!  He’s not having surgery and is in Kentucky right now, waiting to fly home. 🙂  He has internet access there, so we’ve been able to skype (and see each other clearly for the first time in 6 months!).  Irelyn was confused & happy to see him clearly for the first time on skype yesterday.  I hope this helps these last 2 weeks pass quickly…although now that we’ve made it through 9 months of this deployment, 2 weeks seems like nothing.

The three of us went to the park this morning (at 7:30am!) and took some fun pictures this afternoon.

Irelyn loved riding in the stroller and Kaden had so much fun playing at the park.  Irelyn ended up needing an outfit change after spitting up all over her clothes and needing her dirty diaper changed on the picnic table five minutes after we got there.  We managed to make it home before it got to 80 degrees though!

We decided to have a mini photo shoot in our living room today – of course with a red, white & blue theme!  Irelyn had fun trying to eat the streamers and Kaden tried rolling them into the flowers I made a few weeks ago.  I’m pretty happy with the pictures we did get. 🙂

And here are a few pictures of the past week (plus one of the hubby 🙂 ).  I came across an $80 Baby Einstein jumper I liked for Irelyn and was able to find the exact one at a garage sale for $15!  She’s loved sitting in that and her bumbo while watching Kaden play.  Kaden has been learning so many new things lately and he’s so excited for Zach to come home in a couple weeks (I’ll probably have an entire post of pictures once he’s here!).

That’s all for tonight.  I’ll work harder on posting regularly again… at least until Zach is home.  🙂