Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Food Revolution

I'm so glad someone is forcing us to look at what we and our children eat. Good nutrition is about feeding our children's cells, not their mouths or stomachs, and that's what Jamie Oliver is trying to teach all over America. He's all about cooking your meals at home with fresh, healthy ingredients. You can check out his website and sign his Food Revolution Petition (that he will later submit to the President) at www.jamieoliver.com. You can see how's he's doing on Fridays at 9 pm on ABC. Cheers, Jamie! Keep up the good work!

Feeding your Baby

Here is a super "au natural" soup for anyday of the week. It works for babies of any age. For infants, puree it, toddlers can use the cooked veggies and beans as finger foods, and older kids and adults love it, too. The best part is I just grabbed whatever I had in my fridge and spice rack. I didn't go to the store to make this one and didn't even use chicken broth- just water. The olive oil and seasonings gave it so much more taste than lots of more complicated soups I've made. It was so easy I couldn't believe it turned out so well. Even my husband thought it was fantastic. The picture is of Hazel getting ready to put the lime juice in at the end last night. She gobbled it down. Accompany this soup with any kind of cracker or bread. We used rolls.

Au Natural Vegetable Soup

2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 Onion
4 cloves garlic
4 - 6 cups water
1/2 cup rice
1 Carrot sliced and chopped
1 Tomatoe, chopped in chunks
1/2 frozen or fresh peas
1 can Kidney Beans
Kale, broken up into little pieces
Salt to taste
Pepper 1/2 tsp.
Paprika 1/2 tsp.
Garlic Powder 1/2 tsp.
Oregano 1/2 tsp.
Italian Seasoning 1/2 tsp.
Goya Seasoning 1/2 tsp.
1 Bay Leaf
Dash of Cumin (This totally made the soup for me. Too much can make it too spicy for kids though, so be carefu
Cilantro and lime (optional)

Directions: Sautee the onion and garlic in the olive oil. Then I poured in the water, rice, carrot and tomatoe. Let that come to a boil, then turn down to medium low and cook for ten minutes. Then add the peas and kidney beans and the rest of the seasonings and cook for another ten. Add the kale and cook for a few minutes to soften. Season to taste and garnish with cilantro and lime.

You can substitute almost anything in this type of soup: pasta instead of rice, corn instead of kidney beans, celery instead of carrots, fresh thyme or rosemary instead of cilantro, etc. Use whatever you have in your kitchen! The best part is all the ingredients are fresh and packed with nutrition!

Monday, March 29, 2010

My Birth Story on Design Mom

My birth story was recently featured on Designmom.com! Check it out here! Design Mom blogs about all aspects of mothering and how to do it with style.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Potty Training

I started introducing my daughter to the potty at 1 and 1/2 years old. She was having some bouts of urinary tract infections, which were a mystery to the doctors, so I wanted to get her out of diapers to see if that was the cause. She went a couple times by herself in the potty back then, but she was so little, she couldn't really speak and didn't understand everything I was telling her, so I kind of gave up on the issue. I wanted it to be something she did on her own.

Then, at around 26 months, I started to get really frustrated with changing diapers everyday still, so I read four books on potty-training and watched a video from my local library. In the video, which we watched together several times, it taught some super basic but helpful tips. Here are a few I remember.

1)Give the potty to your child to play with at first, not even mentioning anything about what it is for.

2)Then, when they are comfortable with the new apparatus, you show them how their toy dolls or super heroes can sit on the potty.

3)Then, after they've let their dolls play potty, you empty their diaper into the potty a few times to show them what is supposed to go in the potty. That step backfired on me. My daughter started taking off her diaper and putting her poop in the potty on her own, making a serious mess in the process. But I think it may have helped her in the long-run feel in control and involved in the potty-process.

4)Then finally, you have them sit on the potty themselves. First with their clothes on, just so they get used to the feeling of it, then just like they would be going to the potty.

Some people read their kids stories on the potties at regular times in the day, But I didn't have a super rigid schedule for my daughter at that point, so she didn't go at the same time everyday.

What worked for me was bringing the potty into the main room of the house all day at first, instead of having it locked up in the bathroom, far away from me or where my daughter was playing. That way, she always knew it was near, and if she needed to go, she could control her bladder/bowels enough to step over to the potty and go. If they have to run down the hall or up stairs when they are first getting trained, their tiny bladder-control muscles usually won't make it. Plus toddlers aren't disciplined enough to leave their play area on their own to go to the potty at first. Playing is way too fun to leave.

As my daughter got better at using her potty, I moved it back to the bathroom down the hall, but that wasn't for a few months. In the mean time, was just had a potty in our family room/kitchen.

Now it has been a few months and she never has accidents when we're out or in her bed. I contribute that much to the fact that I never forced the subject or made the potty a battle-ground. It was always there, as an option, and she started using it when she felt ready, which ended up being around her 26th month. At one point, I thought she wasn't going to be trained until she was 3 or 4, but one day I came home from my part-time job and my sister-in-law, who watched her at the time, told me that Hazel had used the potty on her own.

I hope that helps any readers who are having a hard time potty-training, are frustrated, or have just gotten in a rut. I know I felt like that a lot after my daughter turned 2. And thanks to Nisha from www.simplelivingforall.blogspot.com for inspiring me to write this potty-training story.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Cloth Diapers

I found the coolest webpage. It's called Wellsphere and it has tons of great natural parenting information as well as "Ask a Health Maven." They feature two health experts on their site at a time, and you can email them your questions.

I found their website while researching cloth diapers. I'm sending my sister-in-law in Argentina some to see if she likes them. I wanted to use them while my daughter was in diapers, but we lived in an apartment without a washer/dryer, and I didn't want to be trekking dirty diapers to the washer in our complex. But if you do have a washer in your home, I would totally recommend using cloth diapers. Not only is it environmentally way more friendly, its so cost effective. You can buy a set of cloth diapers that will last your child's whole diapering for about $300. You spend that on disposables in the first 6 months alone. www.cottonbabies.com has a great selection to choose from.

Chinese Medicine Solutions to Infertility

This image came from a Chinese Medicine doctor's website filled with successful stories on helping women get pregnant with the help of acupunture. His clinic is located in Virginia Beach, VA. He studied at a Chinese Medicine college in China and practiced there before moving to the states. See his website here.

Make Your Own Organic Pureed Baby Food

Speaking of food and feeding your baby, I loved this solution to feeding your infant who is starting on solids. Instead of buying the bottled, processed Gerber products, lots of progressive, natural parenting moms have fed their babies pureed vegetables which they make in bulk and freeze in ice cube trays in the freezer. See specific instructions from Yves, mother of 10 month-old Dylan on this blog post.

I would also say that when you go to heat the frozen food cubes, I would do it in a glass container in hot water, the same way you would heat a baby bottle. If you went to all the trouble to make organic baby food puree, go the whole way and heat it in the least nutrient-killing manner. Avoid the microwave and plastic materials which leach toxins into food when heated.

Feeding your baby

One of the things I wish I would have done before having kids is make a long list of nutritious, easy to make foods for kids. Why do I wish I would've done that? Because by the time I think of something and cook it (this usually takes about an hour), my daughter has already stuffed her face full of junk and isn't even hungry anymore when I put the bowl of steaming-hot, nutritiousness in front of her. I can't be the only one this has happened to... repeatedly.

So don't repeat my stupid mistake. Start researching and ruminating on this list now, ideally before your baby is born, and stop the Easy Mac insanity! 'Nuf said.

P.S. Even if your baby is older, you can still make this list. My daughter is 2 and 1/2 and I'm just starting. Please feel free to post comments with hilariously sad EasyMac/Ramen Noodle stories, etc. and/or nutritious, quick recipes.