Tuesday, May 29, 2012

breakfast for a baby girl

Moriah is almost 2 (I can't believe it), and will celebrate her birthday in August.  Since she's been old enough to eat solids she's pretty much eaten the same breakfast.  I have a few reasons for this which work for us, but might not for you.
By feeding her the same meal,
- I know she has a healthy breakfast every day
- she doesn't fuss over an infinite multitude of options
- she looks forward to it and enjoys it, little ones DO love routines! (or at least she does)
- it's affordable
- it's quick

on Southern's lovely campus

So as a young baby she ate baby cereal with a fruit puree and plain yogurt.  I started out with a name brand organic baby yogurt but quickly realized the expense even though she only hate 1/2 of a container for breakfast.  I discovered a Crock-Pot yogurt recipe, from the Nourishing Days blog, and started making homemade yogurt for her with organic whole milk, only needing to buy one small yogurt container to work as a "starter".  Since then we've been crunching our budget more in ways that we can and have opted for conventional milk making this recipe even more affordable.  It makes yogurt from a 1/2 gallon of milk so there's plenty of yogurt.  I enjoy it also and we've never had it spoil (usually we eat it for about a week and a half to two weeks).  I'm not sure of an exact expiration point, though I'm hoping I'd be able to tell by smell if it had indeed gone bad.

As a toddler we've added blueberries to Moriah's plain yogurt to flavor it a bit in a healthy way.  I just buy a bag of frozen blueberries at ALDI and sprinkle on a few.  Sometime I'll add a bit of honey, though she's happy to eat it with our without the added sweetener, so I mostly serve it plain.  (For myself, I always sweeten it with maple syrup, strawberry jam, or honey and add a bit of granola or fruit!  It's a treat, I promise)

Along with her morning yogurt I also continued to serve oatmeal.  Matt and I eat oatmeal every morning and have found it to be a healthy, affordable, and energizing start to the day.  After stopping baby oatmeal, I wasn't sure what might be best to use as I knew many instant oatmeals were highly sweetened and not really all that healthy.  Then I found Chop, Chop magazine during an appointment with our pediatrician.  They compared their homemade instant oatmeal with Cheerios oat cereal and obviously raved about the added nutrition from the real oatmeal.  Their homemade version is slightly sweetened but healthy and easy to make.  (I've tasted it myself and needed to add something to make it a bit more pleasant for my taste, but thus far, Moriah loves it without knowing that sweeter things exist!) I usually double the recipe and store it in our Tupperware cereal box for daily use (a doubled recipe lasts about 2 weeks).  Add hot water in the morning and it's ready to eat!

This certainly isn't the only way to feed a baby/toddler and it may not last forever.  I'm well aware of that and want to feed Moriah what is healthy and enjoyable as well.  With that said this is working for us and will hopefully last awhile :)  Our mornings are more peaceful and with quick prep, she enjoys a good breakfast after waking up saying "oatmeal, yogurt, blueberries!"

Monday, May 28, 2012

praise to the Lord, the Almighty

It's late on Monday, but even Monday night counts...

556. a wonderful weekend with our little family
557. weekend breakfasts
558. time for cooking
559. simplifying and de-cluttering our home
560. visiting with friends and enjoying them in our home
561. living with open hands regarding possessions, there's so much that can be more beneficial to others than it is to me (especially when I'm only storing it!)
562. obedient faith even in the midst of persecution to come, all for God's glory and His renown
563. watching and listening as Matt and Moriah play, doctor was the big activity this weekend as her rocking horse, teddy bear, and various babies were all sick from time to time - Matt had her "checking teddy bear's ears for honey" - don't ask me where he comes up with it :)
564. feeding animals on a real farm and watching Moriah blow kisses at the goats as they ran by her
565. the refreshment of a long weekend
566. a lovely at home date with a redbox movie and Lotsa Pasta's individual sized tiramisu (total cost under $5!)
567. Moriah's elation as she ran through the sprinklers at the "sprayground" (fountains) today
568. catching up with sweet and faraway friends
569. considering the Lord's sustaining strength and daily grace over the past year and the trials we walked through
570. new recipes
571. grilling out
572. hearing of the Lord's sovereign work all around the world as we enjoyed time with our neighbors
573. the gift of Moriah's life as we've been entrusted with her for these days
574. summer reading and a lovely recommendation, "Home to Harmony" - I'll hope to write more about it soon
575. considering the perfect plans of the Lord in faithful marriage
576. a busy bag swap and the new games Moriah's enjoyed learning with
577. a thriving container garden with lovely flowers and herbs too
578. little ones enjoying a water table
579. a garage sale to come
580. spring cleaning (late) our bedding

Sunday, May 27, 2012

meal plans May 26 - June 1

Another round of meal plans for the week... hope they're a bit helpful as you think through your family's needs this week!

Friday -
Moriah and I met Matt at Qdoba, and though it was a new location made to look EXACTLY like a Chipotle, we still consider Chipotle the real thing :)  we were thankful for a great coupon though and enjoyed supper out

Saturday -
lunch: BLT's, macaroni and cheese, grapes

dinner: veggie sandwiches (leftovers from last week, freezer stash!), watermelon, and curry corn couscous
*we decided to grill with our neighbors for an impromptu fun evening and enjoyed their fellowship!  they added mango and yummy shrimp to our feast, and shared with us more about their preparations for a second attempt at invetro fertilization this week, pray for them!

Sunday -
leftovers!  our fridge was full

Monday -
lunch: apple, cucumber, cashew chicken salad on croissants, fruit, and cookies
*we'll be saying goodbye to friends we've only recently known but have been so thankful for, they're headed to Utah to serve in a lost culture as North American Mission Board missionaries, pray for them!
from Taste of Home website

dinner: pasta with chicken meatballs, tomato, and mozzarella cheese

from Food Network website

Tuesday -
cilantro lime chicken as seen on Pinterest (may be turned into fajitas?!), black beans, and rice

Wednesday -
French dip sandwiches (leftovers from last week, freezer stash!), green beans, and roasted red potatoes

Thursday -

Friday -
undecided :)

I'll be continuing my gratitude list and hope to also blog about our fun Memorial Day weekend as a family soon.  I'd also love to share what Moriah enjoys for breakfast every morning as it's been such a helpful staple for us every day over the past year since she's really been eating solids (my take on yogurt with fruit, and quick oatmeal).  Look forward to those posts soon!

Monday, May 21, 2012

the one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me... Psalm 50

527. a large round of Amish cheese, given by a generous church member
528. an impromptu dinner with friends
529. a husband who serves me
530. relaxing in the sun with friends for the afternoon and evening
531. friends who've kept in touch even when paths changed
532. a scholarship awarded to Matt, helping to pay for about half of his remaining Seminary tuition during the coming school year
533. honest employers who unexpectedly reimbursed us for more taxes we paid
534. anticipating summer
535. health
536. a potty trained girl (she was in the process below)
537. church members who don't mind us sneaking by to go potty - again
538. Moriah's echo of Matt's preaching as she said "Praise Him!" soon after Matt exhorted us to do the same (we're not in a charismatic church at all though this comment might suggest so!)
539. a garage sale to come
540. a thoughtful Mother's Day celebration
541. finding a dress that fits and flatters while being modest
542.  new independence from our sweet girl as we often hear "Moriah do it!"
543. listening to Moriah say "Jesus loves Moriah so much"
544. an end of pre-school Spring Sing to enjoy as our little friend Mr. S. sung and sat sometimes
545. an extended Memorial Day weekend off
546. used bookstores
547. welcoming others into our home
548. brownies baking
549. Crock Pots
550. poppies blooming along a country road
551. a rock wall well maintained
552. hearing an aged saint share simply that "Jesus changes us, He just does"
553. an Amish family with a little baby on their way to church in a horse pulled by buggy
554. a special breakfast with mommy at the Farmer's Market - a waffle topped with farm fresh strawberries, syrup, and whipped cream, alongside scrambled eggs and cheese, with a mint/lemon tea to drink - a treat indeed
555. container gardening with our sweet girl

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Meal Plans May 20-25

Meal planning is a necessity in household organization for our family.  It may just be the way I think, but grocery shopping or meal preparation without a written plan in advance would be a nightmare!  So I almost always think through dinners for our family weekly.  I've tried to think seasonally and prepare four weeks worth of favorite dinner ideas to rotate through as a general guide though I often veer from that outline as Pinterest or a friend's suggestion may lead :)  I also enjoy reading other meal plans from friends, and often talk with my mom about her recent dinner ideas as inspiration for my family.  I hope that sharing our meal plans with you might give you a spring board into trying a new meal or remembering one of your old favorites that may have been forgotten.  It'll also help me refer back to some of our ideas so that I can reuse them in the future!

where our meals are enjoyed

This week we're having:

Sunday -
Crock Pot French Dip sandwiches, edamame and parmesan cheese, sweet potato fries, and brownies*
(*we're having a single man from our small group over which was cause for the meat splurge and the dessert)

Monday -
Northern Bean and Brown Rice salad from Ashley at The Vanilla Tulip
(we have small group tonight so we're bring a side dish to contribute)

Tuesday -
pesto chicken pizza, and fruit
(I've only used mozzarella on our pizzas as I found fontina to be expensive)

Wednesday -
bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches on English muffins, and fruit

Thursday -
BBQ meatballs, roasted carrots, and garlic/butter pasta
(I make the meatloaf recipe but roll it into meat balls instead of a loaf, I have a funny aversion to the meatloaf idea! - cook for about 30 min instead)

Friday -
veggie sandwiches from Passionate Homemaking

To help with grocery costs I try to buy only what we'll need THIS week, which means that we're often looking pretty bare by the end of the week, but the Lord has always provided.  I'm also thankful that my family enjoys nights like Wednesday's when we have breakfast for dinner.  Both Thursday's meatballs, and Friday's veggies for sandwiches have been frozen as I made each meal last week as well and saved half of the portions in the freezer for future use.  I'm sure I'll have extra French Dip meat from supper tonight to store away in the freezer as well.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

life lately

I have lots of blogging ideas running through my mind lately, so I may become a bit more active in the blogging world... we'll see! For now I wanted to list a few of my favorite things about Moriah lately. Matt and I are so delighted to be her parents and share lots of funny things she does each day with one another, maybe our far away family and friends would like a glimpse of her spunky personality too :)

~ when headed out to run errands the other day, she said, "No, Mommy, Moriah working!" and ran, in a very toddler way, to the office where she showed me that she can climb into the chair all by herself to "work" on the computer like Daddy does

~ potty training has been a success though I'm still in charge of frequently taking her to the toilet, mostly without her asking though she's cooperative in going potty once we're in the bathroom

~ she recently received a John Deere tractor hat which adds to her collection and makes her oh so happy!

~ pink Crocs are her shoes of choice, most all of the time though she's loving wearing my shoes, or even Matt's shoes when we leave them out

~ every time she falls down or trips as she's busily playing, she looks up and says "ashes, ashes" as in "Ring Around the Rosie" - just covering up for the fall as if it was an intentional game :)

~ most close friends are warmly welcomed and bid goodbye with a "big hug", kisses, and pats on the back

~ since potty training has been a hit, she's become SO much more independent in many other things and insists on eating her breakfast all by herself most days with her spoon, she also likes trying to put her own pants/shorts/skirts on, and can successfully put shoes on as well

~ Moriah's go to toys of the moment seem to be her Bitty Baby doll (she loves to feed her, teach her how to walk, etc.), a small Curious George toy we discovered as I sorted former classroom items for a garage sale, and of course her John Deere tractors, she's also happy to carry around spoons while we're at home and asks for more or "another one" often

She's such a blessing and full of fun. I can't imagine missing these moments throughout each day, I'm thankful to have a front row seat during this season and pray that the Lord will continue to provide so that I can care for Moriah and any future children he brings. Thanks for your patience with a doting mama :)

I hope to figure out how to create pages so that I can categorize the blog a bit more for my own use and ease of reading. I have these ideas... meal plans (on a weekly basis) so that I refer back to them though I keep them in my homemaking binder I often veer from my original plans, an ongoing list of gratitude, life lately with short updates, and our growing girl with things specific to Moriah. I've also considered adding more of the projects I do as a nanny with three little ones, especially this summer as we'll have more "free time"!