Monday, October 22, 2012

Gracie's 1st Balloon Fiesta

Why I love living in New Mexico, reason #602 – the International Balloon Fiesta!  Aside from Christmas in NM, the Balloon Fiesta is hands down my favorite time of year.  The weather is changing, the leaves are turning beautiful shades of yellow and orange and the sky is FULL of balloons.  It really is an amazing thing to see.

Together with my mom, nephews and niece, Georgia and I loaded Gracie in the Jeep at the crack of dawn Sunday morning and headed to the Balloon Park. The kids did great even though it was super early  and totally freezing outside.  Gracie had a minor melt down once we arrived but quickly recovered and did awesome the rest of the day.  I was so proud of them! This year was Gracie’s first fiesta experience and I’m not sure what I loved more, watching the balloons take off, or watching her watch the balloons take off.  She was so excited and happy to see everything that it made us all a little giddy.    

Our company hosts an Alumni event at the Balloon Fiesta every year and Georgia is the person charged with coordinating the festivities, which means – VIP parking, passes and free admission!  Woot!  Her event took place this past Friday evening during the Balloon Glow (pictures and post of the Glow coming soon!) and we were able to use her VIP parking pass on Sunday morning as well.  That glorious pass saved us from sitting in traffic for an hour, God bless it! 

Baby was bundled head-to-toe and looked too cute for words.  She wore a 9-month outfit that was a bit big but with layers worked out perfectly.  She also sported her froggy hat that we bought while on vacation before she was even a twinkle in our eye.  She looked just as cute as we thought she would and just as she takes on a new persona in sunglasses, she was equally sassy in her gloves and hat, lol!  It’s amazing the attention you get when you baby wear.  We were stopped by what felt like a dozen people just wanting to get a good look at baby girl and comment on her cuteness.  As most parents would agree, hearing how adorable your kid is never gets old!  We loved it. :)

Aside from the balloons, the food is a close second best thing about the Balloon Fiesta.  There are tons of vendors selling everything from New Mexican cuisine to Greek and Italian foods of all kinds and everything is seriously delicious.  We all opted for breakfast burritos and coffee/hot chocolate and it did not disappoint.  We actually ended up spending so much time shopping and eating that we barely made it to the grass area to watch the last of the balloons take off.  This was easily the best part of the day because the girls were just too cute for words.  All Mia could do was point at the balloons and say, “WOW” over and over!  It must have been just too much for Gracie because once we got to the grass area she immediately passed out.

Following the Balloon Fiesta we met up with my BF Sara and her family to have breakfast.  I was so happy to catch up with everyone and snuggle baby Olivia.  She is so darn cute!  It was the perfect end to a perfect day!

Gracie’s after Balloon Fiesta nap. :)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Baby Food Recipe Share

My adventures in baby food making continue!  This weekend I took things up a notch trying out 3 new recipes that would introduce the babe to new spices and flavors (all safe for 6+ month kiddos)!  The recipes were super easy and while baby has yet to taste them, I thought they were all delish! ;)

For any “first timers” out there, here is a quick lesson in how to make your own baby food.  When I first started making Gracie’s food I had no idea what I was doing so I hope you find this helpful.

Step 1: select the fruits and veggies you wish to purée.  Peel and slice your fruits and veggies.  For a list of foods on the “no-no list” for babies 0-12 months, click here.

Step 2: steam the goods until they are soft enough to blend.  If using a stacked steamer, put the food that steams the fastest (like apples and pears) on the top racks and foods that take longer to steam (like potatoes and carrots) on the bottom rack.  Special thanks to my awesome ma-in-law for my new, beautiful steamer!

Step 3: once food is soft enough to blend begin puréeing. When puréeing fruits and veggies, add just enough of the liquid used to make each back into the purée until you have the consistency you want.  This adds the vitamins and nutrients that may have been lost during boiling back into the recipe.  Once blended you can store each food in a glass bowl until you’re ready to make a unique recipe and/or just freeze. 

Step 4: pour or spoon purées into clean ice trays for freezing.  Once frozen, empty ice trays into individually labeled freezer bags for easy storage!  And that’s it – you’re done! 

If you try any of these recipes, I would love to hear how they turn out.  I also happily welcome any recipes you baby-food-making-mamas want to share. Happy puréeing! :)


Avocados and bananas do not need to be cooked
You will need 4 ripe bananas and 1 ripe avocado
Peel and pit avocado and cut “meat” out before dicing into small pieces
Purée bananas adding a small amount of water to purée before blending
Mix ingredients in a large bowl and freeze in clean ice tray before bagging

Perfect Pear Mash

You will need10 fully ripe pears, cinnamon and organic baby cereal
Peel, de-seed and slice pears before steaming
Once steamed, mash or purée pears as needed to preferred consistency
Prepare organic cereal in accordance with instructions on box
Add cereal to pear purée and sprinkle with a few pinches of cinnamon
 Mix recipe, you may need to add water if mixture is super thick
Spoon purée into clean ice trays and freeze
Once frozen, bag cubes in labeled freezer bags and store in freezer

Apple Cinnamon

You will need 5 apples, ½ cup water, cinnamon and vanilla extract
Peel, core and dice apples
Steam apples until soft enough to blend into a purée
Add a drop of vanilla extract to your recipe
Add water and purée ingredients until you have a smooth sauce
Add desired amount of cinnamon (a few pinches) and mix
Pour purée into clean ice trays and freeze
Once frozen, bag cubes in labeled freezer bags and store in freezer

TADA!  You now have 1 month of yummy baby food that is both nutritious and delicious!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Seven Months of Gracie

Believe it or not, our little stinker turned 7 months on the 7th!  Pause to wipe tears… Up to this point, we somehow managed to take her picture on the 7th every month since she was born.  Well, we did up until October 7th.  It seems that the bigger Grace gets, the crazier our day-to-day lives become.  So wonderful and blessed, but crazy!  This past month flew by, which is understandable considering the many things that took place.  There were lot’s of changes at work, a car crash, birthdays, family functions and outings with friends to name a few.  Thankfully, Gracie handled our month of chaos like the little champion that she is. :)  

Baby girl has been such a cuddle bug this past month. The babe wants to be with us all the time, which is just fine by me. We have slowly begun to co-sleep a couple nights a week because she sleeps so much better when she is snuggled between us.  To be honest, she is growing at such a rapid rate that we’re doing everything we can to savor every moment of her babyness before it is gone forever!  We still co-shower because for one, it’s easier, but really it’s because she LOVES it!  She lies in her water hammock on the floor of the shower while we sit to wash up, play and read water books.  

Grace had a bout of sleep regression this past month that resulted in a week of little to no sleep for any of us and her first diaper rash.  One of the things that attracted me to cloth diapering was that I read that cloth babies very seldom get diaper rash.  I would have to agree considering it took nearly 7 months for her to get her first.  While it may have been her first rash it was a pretty bad one.  We finally had to resort to consulting Dr. C who advised that we make our own rash cream using Butt Paste, baby powder and Maalox.  It worked like a charm and finally cleared things up!  

Aside from what’s been going on around here, the thing we are most excited about in the coming weeks is our first vacation as a family of 3!  We’ll be heading out to sunny Los Angeles to visit G’s brother, celebrate my 31st birthday and our 3rd wedding anniversary!  We have been slowly preparing the things we plan to bring and couldn’t be more ready for a little vacay!

Here are some of the other things Grace was up to in month SEVEN ~

She has become a side and stomach sleeper.  At first we flipped her every time she rolled but we’ve given in to her preference.  If she is more comfortable on her side and can breathe, it’s ok by us.

We’ve introduced yogurt bites and organic puffs to baby girl’s diet.  She LOVES the yogurt bites (as do I) and carrots are still a favorite.  She’s also tried whole avocado, a carrot stick, some pear and organic cereal.  Let the baby led weaning begin!

She is still in size medium cloth diapers but they’re getting snug.  I’m thinking we’ll transition to large in the next month or so.

The jumper has been adjusted to the next size up because Grace hops like a crazy child!  She loves that darn thing.

She has added a new “word” to her vocabulary – dada.  When we told our pediatrician she went into this long monologue about how that’s the most common first word for babies, blah, blah, blah.  I think she thought we were concerned, lol!  We think it’s hilarious. ;)

Grace wants to walk with us everywhere.  When we hold her hands and stand her on the ground she takes off.  She really is a great little “walker”.

She has started to attempt kisses.  When we say, “kisses”, she grabs our face and comes at us with a big wet face plant.  At this point it looks more like she’s trying to eat our face than anything else, haha!

Our little lady has become a pooping machine.  I’m talking 3+ poops a day, people!  I know that may not seem like a lot for some of you, but when you go from changing a poopie diaper once a day to 3 or more times a day, you take notice. ;)

She is wearing 6-month clothing but as of 2 weeks ago, she can fit into some of her 9-month stuff as well. 

Favorite toys include, Sophie (still the absolute fav), Dolly and her stroller cards.

She is still sleeping in our room and goes to bed around 8ish every night.  Since introducing cereal we’ve begun skipping the 11pm bottle.  Most nights she will sleep from 8:00/8:30pm – 6:00am.

This was our last picture taken in this shoot.  When she was over it she stood straight up as though she was going to storm off-set, lol!

On to month 8!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

41/52: IBWW

Happy International Babywearing Week to all you beautiful babywearing mamas!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Crock Pot Cookin: Taco Pasta

Crock Pot season has officially arrived and not a moment too soon!  Today when I stepped outside to get the mail I could feel the crisp fall air, which to me means only one thing – it’s Crock Pot season ya’ll.  I wouldn’t say that I’m obsessed with Crock Pot cooking but I will say that I absolutely LOVE it.  What’s not to love about trying new recipes, putting something warm in your family’s belly during those cold fall and winter months and last but no least, tossing a bunch of delicious ingredients in a pot and coming home from work to a dinner that’s made and ready to eat!

If you’re a new follower of my bloggy blog and this is your first season of “Crock Pot Cookin” with us, allow me to give you a little background.  I shared my first CP recipe back in November of 2010 and have shared about a dozen since.  The recipes I post come from all sorts of places.  Some are family recipes I grew up with.  Some are creations that I throw together and others are recipes found online and adjusted to my liking.  I prefer to cook food that has a bit of a kick so you’ll find that the ingredients often include chile, peppers or salsa of some kind.  The spicier the better!

My wife made the special request for this dish a few weeks ago and I’m happy to report that she thought it was YUM! 

What you’ll need ~

- 16oz. pasta shells
- 1 (15oz.) can of kidney beans
- 1 (14.5oz.) can diced tomatoes
- 1lb. lean ground beef
- 1 small chopped onion
- 2 packets of McCormick taco seasoning
- 1 (15oz.) can of tomato sauce
- 1 cup green chile
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- Garlic sauce for taste
- 1 cup of water
- Shredded Mexican/Fiesta cheese
- Fat free sour cream

What to do ~

1. Sauté chopped onions and lean ground beef in large skillet until brown.  Once beef mixture is cooked, drain and pour in Crock Pot.

2. Add kidney beans, tomatoes, taco seasoning, garlic, green chile, tomato sauce and water to Crock Pot.  Sprinkle with garlic salt and stir well.

3. Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours stirring occasionally.

4. Cook pasta according to the directions on the box.  Once beef mixture is cooked stir in pasta and serve with cheese and sour cream.

5. Enjoy!

Plan to do some Crock Pot Cookin this fall/winter?  Below are links to a few of my favorite recipes posted over the past two years.  If you try one I would love to hear how it turns out! Happy CP cooking. :)

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Project 52 Catch Up!

40/52: Ahhhhh!

39/52: Our monkey girl :)

38/52: Cheeeeeese 

37/52: Cousins
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