A Review: Freshfoods Cook-n-Blend Baby Food Maker

As you know, I am a Mom Ambassador Blogger for Moms Meet. And I happen to love to cook, especially for my kids. So I jumped at the chance to try out and review the Freshfoods Cook-n-Blend Baby Food Maker. I have used another baby food making appliance (different brand) and was anxious to see how this model compared. Let me tell you, I LOVE it!

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The Freshfoods Cook-n-Blend Baby Food Maker was super simple to set up and use right out of the box. I did a little unpacking and it came fully set up which made me happy. It came with very detailed step-by-step instructions and pictures. Who doesn’t love that? They even included recipes from world-famous child nutrition expert Annabel Karmel to get you started.

The Freshfoods Cook-n-Blend Baby Food Maker steams and blends food for quick, nutritious meals in two easy steps. There are also two texture options – smooth or chunky – so you can continue to make age appropriate purees as your child grows. You can even use it to make smoothies for the whole family. It’s dishwasher safe but I found it just as easy to clean with warm soapy water myself. It literally took 2 seconds and it was clean.

My kids were sick with a stomach bug the week I had set aside to make up a few recipes. I thought I’d have to wait and then I remembered BRAT diet includes apples and bananas! I made this apple banana puree and neither was willing to eat it (or anything else for that matter) but I certainly thought it was delicious.

Apple Banana Puree
(makes 2 servings)

1 large apple, peeled and cut into chunks
1 banana, peeled and cut into chunks

Place all fruit in the steamer basket and fill the water reservoir to level 3. Turn on steam function.  When fruit is finished steaming, remove steamer basket and set aside. Pour remaining water into a heat safe bowl or glass (I used a glass measuring cup) and set aside. Pour steamed fruit into blender basket. Blend and add water until you reach desired consistency.

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I was really impressed with the consistency of the puree, it was exactly like that of a store bought jar. For those of you who have made baby food before, you know that’s a hard thing to achieve. The other model I’ve used in the past was not nearly as smooth. I also really like that it beeps as soon as it’s done steaming. This is a nice feature for a scatterbrained Mom like me. I can totally see myself turning it on to steam and walking away to do something else, forgetting about it and leaving it all day long. I appreciate a beep!

I also pureed a lasagna casserole that we had eaten for dinner earlier in the week. This is something that I did with both of my girls when they were in the baby food stage and plan to do with our (very soon to be!) next one. Even with the best effort we never are able to eat all of our leftovers and this was a great way to introduce our girls as babies to what we were eating as a family. I believe it is a big part of why they are so willing to eat such diverse foods today. The Freshfoods Cook-n-Blend Baby Food Maker stood up to the challenge and produced yet another super smooth puree from my casserole. I added milk to it but you could also add breast milk or water. I would do the same with spaghetti or any other casserole. I was really impressed and can’t wait to make purees for our next addition when she is ready!

I’m excited about the optional accessories as well. The freezer containers that I used with my girls are very well used and need to be replaced. I love the options available from Freshfoods! My favorites are the Freezer Tray, Stackable Cubes and the Fill & Freeze Pops. I know my girls would love the pops so that will be my first purchase. They’re a great size and they have a drip catching design which speaks to the clean freak in me.

You can get more information about The Freshfoods Cook-n-Blend Baby Food Maker by visiting www.Nukfreshfoods.com or Facebook.com/nukUSA. And even more exciting, you can get a $20 coupon for The Freshfoods Cook-n-Blend Baby Food Maker or a $1 coupon for any Freshfoods accessory here.

Disclaimer: I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agreed to use this product and post my opinions on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of the product.

Snow Paint

We are having yet another snow day here. Just what we all wanted, right? UGH. So far we haven’t lost power (crossing my fingers) but more snow is expected today so I’m sure it won’t be long.

Since we were all clearly misinformed that it is now SPRING, I decided to embrace the weather and give snow painting a try with the girls this morning. Like the preschoolers say, “You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.” Not throwing a fit. Not throwing a fit.

I’ve been wanting to try this since Caroline posted about snow painting with her kids. So much fun! I mixed one part plain shaving cream with one part glue in a styrofoam bowl (so I could throw it away afterwards).

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Of course we had to have one for each because who shares anymore?

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Maddie was psyched to put her entire hand in the snow paint and got to painting right away. We were supposed to be making snowmen but she was equally enthusiastic about the snow hand prints she created.

IMG_6070Ellorie was super excited to snow paint and kept running back into the kitchen asking me “Is it ready yet, is it ready yet???” But once she had paint on her fingers it was a different story. Let’s just say she wasn’t too thrilled about getting her hands dirty. This COMPLETELY surprised me since she’s totally the dirty kid in our family. She always has something all over her face or all in her hair. She’s that kid. Little did I know she wasn’t exactly embracing this title.

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The kids had a blast and made some really fun artwork. I was happy because snow paint is super easy to make AND clean up. This was definitely a really fun activity and one that we will do again. Thanks Caroline for the idea!

 

A Baby IS Coming

I decided to get my butt in gear this week and start actually preparing for this baby to come. After all, prepared or not she IS going to come. The carseat I ordered came on Monday. I sifted through baby clothes and blankets, burp cloths and swaddles. I put away what I knew I didn’t want or wouldn’t use. I organized her room and even put on the whopping two lampshades I purchased just for her. I actually spent almost an entire morning organizing and preparing for this baby. It’s probably the most I’ve done for her aside from obligatory doctors visits in the last 8 months. That sounds awful doesn’t it?

And still none of this seems real. Clearly, I know there is a baby in there. My stomach is huge and she kicks me all the time. I’ve seen the ultrasounds. We talk about names and what this summer will be like with her here. Everything we have planned is planned with her in mind. She is clearly going to arrive and be part of our family. We are going to have three kids. But it still doesn’t feel real.

Going through our baby girl clothes was really strange. I found it hard to imagine someone other than Maddie or Ellorie wearing them. It was almost as if I was weeding through them in order to lend them to a friend for their baby girl.

I remember not having much time to think about Ellorie while I was pregnant with her. I had Maddie to take care of and she consumed my life. It was hard to imagine loving any other child as much as I loved the one I already had. How could there be enough for two? And yet, when she arrived it was love at first sight. It was as if she had always been a part of our family and I couldn’t imagine life without her.

I’m sure that it will be that way for this baby, too. She is going to arrive at some point and we won’t be able to imagine life without her as part of our family. This is just all so strange to me right now. I don’t remember feeling like Ellorie wasn’t real, maybe I did. And Maddie was definitely very real being my first baby. Everything was about her and maybe that’s my problem. Everything is still about her (and Ellorie, too). It’s very difficult to picture a child as part of your family that you’ve never laid eyes on. It’s also nearly impossible to carve out time to devote to just the baby you’re carrying when you have two other kids right in front of you who need your time and attention. So maybe that’s just how it is until she arrives? Because she’s clearly going to arrive whether it feels real to me or not.

Did you feel like this with your second, third, etc? Am I totally crazy?

Goodbye Pacis!

Doing a few updates on the blog this week, I came across this post that I clearly started writing a few months ago. I figured I’d go ahead and finish it and share it with you even though it feels like this was forever ago…

Maddie used a paci for a whopping 6 months and then decided (completely on her own) to give it up. It wasn’t my choice but it did require absolutely no effort on my part and she did about as well after giving it up as she had done before with it. It was never really that important to her.

Ellorie, on the other hand, was a paci addict for 2 years. If we had let her she would have spent her entire day with one popped in her mouth. I wasn’t up for dealing with what that brings so we banished them from daytime use around 12 months (maybe sooner, I don’t fully remember) and let her have one (or five…) for sleep and sometimes for emergencies in the car (like Mommy is stuck in traffic and she’s screaming at me for an hour).

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I’m not one to succumb to all of the “you should’s” when it comes to parenting and I was totally fine with letting her have a paci for nap and bedtime. She had 5 or 6 of them in her crib in the event that any should fall out and she accepted the fact that the crib was the only place she was going to get them. She was a great sleeper and that wasn’t something we wanted to change. Pacis made our lives easier and I was all for anything that did that (still am!).

But all good things must come to an end eventually. We decided that since we were having a new baby and she and Maddie would be sharing a room we should get a head start on some of the upcoming transitions (giving up pacis, sharing a room, big girl bed, etc.) while we were baby free and still getting a full nights sleep.

At 2 years old, given the option to sleep in a big girl bed in Maddie’s room, Ellorie happily threw away all of her pacis one night. I really wasn’t expecting her to since I had been asking her for days was she ready to throw them away and she kept adamantly telling me no, no, no. Apparently the chance to sleep in Maddie’s room was all the motivation she needed to chuck them right into the trash. Great. Being the germaphobe that I am there was no turning back at this point. Once they hit the trash can those pacis were gone. Great. Andy and I instantly started exchanging looks and saying to each other, “What just happened???”

She didn’t sleep in Maddie’s room that night, much to Maddie’s disappointment. But to our surprise she did sleep in her crib in her own room without too much protest. She woke up a few times each night for about a week or two and had to be told to lay back down and go to sleep. That was really the worst of it. We literally went upstairs and told her “go back to sleep” and she said “okayyyy” and would lay right down and go back to sleep. It was a little ridiculous. We eventually got fed up with that game and turned the monitor off and let her cry herself to sleep.

It’s been a few months now and pacis are not something we even think about. I know that when we were going through it we kept asking ourselves “was it really that big of a deal to just let her keep them?” and thinking “what did we do??”. It wasn’t the easiest transition in the world but it also wasn’t the worst and it was over pretty quickly in the grand scheme of things. It just didn’t feel that way in the thick of it. Although anything that causes you to lose sleep never seems to end quickly.

I probably will give the next baby a paci if she’ll take it. It made my life SO much easier for such a long time with Ellorie and I would say it was definitely worth going through a week or two of getting up for the two years of (mostly) peace it brought us.

Did you use pacis with your kids? What worked for you when it came time to give them up? I’d love to hear!

31 Weeks

I realized today that I haven’t blogged about this pregnancy (or anything else for that matter) except for to let you know she exists. Poor kid is already getting that “I’m the 3rd kid” treatment and she hasn’t even made her arrival yet!

I’m 31 weeks pregnant today so of course I should take a self portrait in the guest bathroom mirror, right? This makes for a whopping 3 photos of my belly this go ’round.

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It’s getting BIG and it’s definitely impeding daily activities such as leaning forward and tying ones shoes. Guess I should’ve taught the girls how to do that so they could tie them for me? Whoops! I’m more of a buy shoes I don’t have to assist them with (such as velcro and slip ons) kind of Mom anyways. I don’t see that changing any time soon!

The baby moves like crazy, especially at night. I’m guessing that’s just a sign of fun things to come our way. Clearly the time to party is when Mom & Dad are trying to sleep. She’s super strong and I don’t remember either of the girls moving like she does. She’s taken my breath away quite a few times with some of her jabs and kicks. Last night she shook my entire body which shook our entire bed. It wasn’t the first time she’d done that but it was the first time Andy could feel it from his side of the bed. She’s something else!

I’ve also entered the super fun phase where I am starving but I can only eat half of what I would normally eat. Guess that will be good for minimizing third trimester weight gain! Heartburn has returned as well, although I think that may be due to the Diet Dr. Pepper I’ve been drinking lately. I’m pretty sure that’s the culprit, which makes me sad because it was my guilty pleasure. Even my one per day seems to be too much. I can deal, it’s only 9 more weeks. Only 9 more weeks (yikes!).

And speaking of 9 more weeks, I guess I should start actually preparing for this baby to arrive. It’s so funny how things change from kid to kid. With Maddie I had her nursery painted and set up and everything washed and ready to go months (maybe 3 or 4?) in advance. The carseat was purchased at least 4 months ahead and was installed 4-5 weeks prior to her delivery. I remember feeling so prepared for her to come any day. Of course she arrived on her due date and not a minute earlier. And no amount of washing or organizing prepared us for being first time parents.

With Ellorie we didn’t need a new carseat since we still had Maddie’s and the house was under major construction so there was really no actual room to prepare for her. We at least set up the pack n play in our bedroom and washed her clothes, put the carseat in, etc. well in advance of her arrival. We had a plan for who would care for Maddie while we were in the hospital and it all went pretty smoothly. A huge difference from our first experience.

This poor baby has gotten none of that. I’ve bought a few things for her room (lampshade, changing pad cover) and I finally ordered a new carseat this weekend. That’s about it, though. I doubt we’ll install the carseat until the very last minute as we’ll be enjoying the extra room in the car. She doesn’t have a crib since Ellorie has refused to give that up, which I’m fine with. She sleeps really well and a confined 2 year old is far easier to deal with at bedtime than one who has free reign of the house. The baby can sleep in a pack n play for a while and if Ellorie still doesn’t want to give up the crib we can buy another one. Who knows, maybe I’ll break down and buy a new one before she comes or maybe the crib fairy will bring us one? She exists right?

I’ve been way more focused on all of the non-baby things that need to be accomplished prior to this baby’s arrival. Maybe because I know I’ll be able to do nothing aside from feed her and entertain my two older girls once she’s here? Mama needs to not be a crazy person so that’s probably a good plan. So we are doing our best to knock out as much of our to-do list as possible before she comes.

I redecorated the living room, dining room and our bedroom. I basically rearranged all of our furniture because that’s what you’re supposed to do while pregnant, right? And I didn’t bother to take pictures or to tell you. I’ll get on that soon, though, I promise!

We still haven’t tiled the backsplash in the kitchen, built our open shelves or put up our light but we are a little closer to accomplishing that goal. I found this tile at Home Depot in Richmond while shopping with Mrs. 5C and it was love at first site. AND it was a $1 cheaper per square foot than Lowes. Woot woot!

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We had planned to drive over to Waynesboro to pick some up this afternoon but they didn’t have enough in stock so we’re just going to order online. I plan to order extra in the event that some arrive broken and we’ll just return what we don’t use. I still can’t believe it was so cheap. I can’t wait for it to arrive and to get it up on the wall! My Ballard light is still in the box in our closet (going on two years now) and I can’t wait to put that up as well. And by “I can’t wait to put that up” I mean I can’t wait for Andy to put that up because clearly I am not climbing a ladder and installing a light fixture and tile at 31 weeks pregnant ;-) I learned my lesson after rearranging all of our furniture and having to sit down for two days with all sorts of ligament pain and contractions. I will behave. I will behave.

We have also begun the process of building our garage with the removal of the two huge trees to the left of our house. Luckily, it was completed prior to this huge snow storm and we didn’t have to worry around the large dead branches dropping on our house under the weight of the heavy wet snow. Next up the gas tank needs to be moved as well as some utility lines and then they can pour the foundation. All in the plan for the next few weeks hopefully.

We’ve got lots more to do and lots more on our list so hopefully we can knock out at least the most important things in the 9 weeks before she arrives and turns our world upside down. Wishful thinking, maybe. Crossing my fingers!

Sorry I Disappeared, I’m Pregnant!

So I guess it’s a little (OK, WAY) late to be telling you this but we’ll just get over that and move on like nothing ever happened? OK, great. We are expecting our third baby in May and (shock, I know!) it’s a GIRL! Apparently that’s all we make around these parts? At least we don’t need to redecorate or buy too many clothes…

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I’m 25 weeks along and have nothing terribly exciting to report. I was sick for the first 5 months or so but nothing too out of the ordinary. Mostly round-the-clock nausea and exhaustion which is to be expected when growing a small human. But who really gets to be exhausted when you have two other kids? Drink some coffee and get on with it (yes, I am drinking my ONE cup of coffee every day)!

I had some wild heartburn that we figured out was actually due to the fish-oil based DHA supplements I was taking and not pregnancy. Of course we didn’t discover this for a few weeks and I could consume nothing aside from bread products and a half gallon of milk a day. I made up for my four month zero weight gain in one week! Thankfully that’s over with and I’m back to eating and drinking normally. We all know I love to eat ;-)

I’m a huge fan of what pregnancy brings me in the end but I would be lying if I said I was fan of actually being pregnant. This pregnancy has been a little harder on my body than the other two with some awesome pelvic swelling and anemia. All complaining aside, I know that some women don’t get the chance to have even one baby and I am immensely grateful that I get to have three.

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The girls are over the moon excited about the new baby, especially now that it’s a baby sister. They kiss my belly and talk to the baby all the time. They love to rub my belly and are tickled when she kicks them back. They tell anyone who will listen that Mommy has a baby in her tummy. It’s pretty darn cute!

There was a while where they were obsessed with the fact that my belly was growing so big and would be found stuffing scarves and blankets under their shirts in an effort to have a big tummy like Mommy’s. They crack me up!

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Pardon the blurry iPhone picture but it was too funny not to share. The pictures above are from our family photo session with Jamie Kay (love her!) when I was around 12 weeks.  My belly got really huge and really round REALLY fast this time! And it’s way bigger now.

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So sorry I’ve been MIA for so long! I’m going to do my best to get back into regular blogging but no promises. Life is getting a little more normal as we finish up the things that have to happen before the baby comes but then again we’ve got a baby coming in 3 months so really, anything can happen!

Holiday Cards & Tiny Prints Giveaway

***This giveaway is now closed***

Wow. Am I the only one wondering how we’ve somehow made it to October already? How is it already time (or past time in my case) to be scheduling photo sessions with photographers and ordering Holiday cards? This year has really flown by and like it or not the holidays are right around the corner. I seriously cannot believe it!

I am super excited to be working with Tiny Prints again this year for our Holiday Cards. They have an awesome program for bloggers where they give me my holiday cards in exchange for me spreading the word about their holiday cards. I always order my cards from Tiny Prints as well as all of our invitations, birth announcements, etc. Their customer service is amazing and their products never disappoint. They totally rock and I’m happy to spread the word since I already love them :-)

I started looking at designs this afternoon and (not surprisingly) they have SUCH cute options. Here are a few (or 6, or 7) of my favorites:

Who doesn’t love Chevron? I know I do!

This one is classy and preppy, both high on my list.

I love the bubbles and that it simply says “Merry.” Super cute!

Again, I’m drawn to the chevron. I really like the little ornament card option too. What a cute idea!

This one is a contender for favorite for sure. I love glitter and the colors are so bright and fun.

Although I’m thinking this one one will be the winner. There is an option to reverse the colors so that everything red is green and everything green is red. I prefer the card that way and I absolutely love the paper bag like paper. The hubby agrees, this card is perfect!

Have you started looking for cards yet? Am I the only one who just started thinking about this? Guess I’d better get on the ball!

***GIVEAWAY***
Super cool – You could get some free holiday cards too! I get to give away a $50 Tiny Prints gift certificate to one lucky reader! Here are four ways to enter this awesome giveaway:

1. Check out the Holiday Cards at Tiny Prints and leave me a comment below with your favorite design.
2. “Like” Tiny Prints on Facebook and leave me an additional comment below telling me so.
3. “Like” Made In Earlysville on Facebook and leave me an additional comment below telling me so.
4. “Follow” Made In Earlysville on Twitter and leave me an additional comment below telling me so.

The giveaway is open until October 29, 2012 at midnight. The winner will be contacted by email so make sure you leave yours when you comment. Good luck!

And for those of you who don’t win the contest but still love discounts (like me!) you can check out the Special Offers page for more great deals: http://www.tinyprints.com/promo/tiny-prints-coupon-codes-promotions.htm.

Pumpkin Patch

This past Saturday Andy had to work so I took the kids to check out Adventure Farm, a pumpkin patch right down the road from our house. Mimi and Grandpa happily tagged along.

Adventure Farm is actually a working farm, not just a pumpkin patch. The kids were really excited when they saw all of the animals! They had a little petting ring with goats and a 2 week old calf. Ellorie was determined to throw herself into the pen and ride the calf. Poor thing!

Isn’t he cute?!

The kids were really psyched to see the calf eat his lunch – from a bottle! So cute!

And of course, Ellorie had to get in on the action… This was SO funny, she was in Heaven!

The kids were all excited to climb on top of the hay bales but then realized how high up they were and opted for sitting instead. Such a beautiful view!

Ellorie was quite proud of her little pumpkin.

Maddie was obsessed with these little tiny yellow pumpkins, she found them everywhere.

Here is the one we ended up with, we made her carry it (totally kidding!) :-)

Ellorie was more into picking pumpkin blooms than actual pumpkins.

We got to go on the coolest hay ride ever. The kids were excited to go see all of the big cows.

The driver took us all over the farm and explained how it was run and what they did there. Then he stopped us in a big field surrounded by cows, which he explained were all pregnant. Made sense, they were the biggest cows I had ever seen. He then poured a bag of feed (which he called “treats”) around the back of the wagon we were in. They came running, it was crazy! Straight up stampede!

There must have been 100 of them, it was wild! They were all so excited to be getting their “treats.” I have never been that close to that many cows before. I’m glad we were up in that wagon but it was a really cool experience. The kids thought it was awesome!

And this little guy is their first calf of the season. They discovered him while we were on our hayride. They explained that they check them all twice each day during calving season so this little guy was very new, maybe even hours old.

Here is his Mom, watching close by. Our guide explained that based on the way her udders looked he thought the cow had already nursed so that was a great sign. He said that she was just waiting for the little guy to start walking with her. How cool!

Maddie loved being so close to the cows. I somehow didn’t take a picture of Ellorie but Mimi and Grandpa had to keep her from throwing herself out of the wagon as well. She was pretty into the cows!

And of course, there was lots of hand holding to be had!

We had a blast at Adventure Farm!