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    How to Make Your Own Baby Food

    I wanted to make mini’s baby food but being a single, working mom didn’t leave me much time for figuring out how to make it happen. As I’ve learned with baby abc, it’s way easier than I originally thought.

    I was a little confused at how to get started. There are all these contraptions geared towards making and storing your own baby food. I wasn’t sure if I needed the Baby Bullet or any of the other fancy contraptions. I literally did cost/benefit analyses for weeks and overthinking this process before finally simplifying it in my head. I admit, I got caught up by the beautiful pictures in the Buzzfeed article showcasing all these fancy recipes. But at the time I was working corporate full time and working on my blog and raising the babies and……well, you get the point.

    Either way, I discovered that I only needed these four things to make my baby food:

    When making abc’s food, I would just steam a bunch of fruits/veggies, blend them together, add some seasoning (cinnamon for fruits and squash, various seasonings for the veggies), and freeze them. Once they were frozen, I would pop them out and store them in a freezer bag. I would make her baby food maybe once every 10 days in the beginning.

    I did find some great and easy recipes at the following blogs:

    Top Reveal

    Mother’s Niche

    Baby Savers

    Parents.com – these are slow cooker recipes… we know how much I LOVE a slow cooker!!!

    As I developed a higher level of comfortability with making the food, I would wing it with my recipes and she loved it!!!

    Have you tried making your own baby food? What recipes do you have? 

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    I Feel Unpretty

    As I admit the truth about how I see myself, I feel a weight slowly being lifted. In fact, the more I admit that I don’t like what I see in the mirror, the more I begin to like what’s reflected. My weight now is what I was when I was full term with abc. It’s a hard realization seeing the numbers tell me that I weigh the same as 1 person as I did when I was carrying a whole other person.

    *sigh*

    I need my eyebrows done. My cellulite is making appearances through my jeans. You can see that weird mom-flap/apron/belly through my pants. My face is super chubby. My thighs are fighting with each other for their turn to be in front as I walk. My boobs are HUGE and my arms wave at different people without me knowing.

    *sigh*

    I’m sure that most would say something like “stop complaining and go workout.” See, I workout 5-6 days a week never burning less than 500 calories for each workout. My diet needs some work as it’s hard for me to get all the calories I need to consume to get my body out of starvation mode and into weightloss mode. But it’s my ME that needs the work.

    It doesn’t matter how fit I get, how healthy I eat, how accomplished I become, unless I learn to have comfort with myself at all phases, all of that is meaningless. I thought that I’d conquered this after having mini. I dropped 60lbs handling depression in a constructive way–doing something I couldn’t do before as I dealt with some issues that were super hard for me.

    And now I’m feeling like Tamia looking at these feelings of self-doubt, wavering self-love and feelings of self-consciousness like, “how did you get here?” I wouldn’t say that I hate myself. Quite the contrary. I think I’m pretty awesome. I have a lot of great qualities but I still can’t shake the lack of enthusiasm I feel when I look in the mirror. I despise my stomach when I should really love it for it grew me two beautiful girls.

    Will I get there? Sure. Today I feel like I took a first step though. A long time friend of mine asked me to model some of his jewelry for him. I was floored when he asked me (because why would he want this frumpy, basic mom to model something that he’s pushing to become his lifestyle) to do the photoshoot and even more shocked when he was like “I love your style!” My style? I didn’t even know what he meant since I felt like I was having to redefine it as I try and hide my trouble areas. I felt so honored and insecure at the same time. Like what if I showed up and he hates what I brought or didn’t realize what I had meant by “2nd baby #mombod”?

    But when I arrived and changed they all loved it. It was hard to hear the approval of the photographs when they were being taken. Hearing that I was beautiful from someone other than my husband and mini was a little unnerving. See, they see a different type of beauty. Mini thinks I’m beautiful because I cook and dress her and clean and make things with her. And my husband, well, I’ve already written about that. But these people only see the physical–not my spirit. Not the way I love. They don’t know the struggles that I’ve grown from. They just simply see what the camera and lighting show them. And they said it was beautiful.

    I needed for today to happen so that I can begin to undo the damage I’ve somehow done to the way I see myself. I mean, if strangers think I’m beautiful than surely there is some truth to it.

    I’m a work in progress redefining my standard of beauty as a mom of 2 and wife. I’ll get back to the sassy, sexy, fun loving woman I am. I know that I’m not the only one affected by a loss in self-confidence. What are some ways you guys have gotten it back?

    ***My first giveaway contest will be announced on Thursday so stay tuned and get excited!!! ***

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    Baby Harem Pants 

    How cute are these?!?!

    Yes, I made them and they will be coming to The Crunchy Mommy Shop soon!!!

    If you want then prior to me posting them, just head on over to the shop and “Request Custom Order”.

    Once listed, they will be $10.

    What do you guys think of these??

      

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    Dear New Moms: 8 Must-Read Tips

    My youngest is now 9 months and some change so I don’t think that I’m a new mom anymore but when I was, these were some of the things that I either wish someone had told me or that I’d thought as I was reading through some of the posts on a couple mommy boards.

    1. Ask for what you need. I didn’t do this. The week after I had abc, I was in the carpool line picking mini up from school. I cooked dinner pretty much every night. I entertained an infant and a 4 year old. I cleaned and was a wife. I also had countless breakdowns at our dinner table after putting mini down to sleep because i was tired and overwhelmed and needed help. But I didn’t ask for it. Shortly after I’d had abc, my friend Sarah had her daughter. Someone had set up a whole link where people could sign-up for days they could drop off dinner for the family and lunches for their kids. Or someone could pay for something to be delivered to them. This was genius and such a big help for them. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need.

    2. Sleep, but don’t always sleep when the baby sleeps. When people would say this to me my thoughts were always, “well how will i get done all the things I need to?” You can’t. Laundry isn’t going to do itself. Food won’t magically get into your body. You won’t get cleaned by clicking your heels. Yes, you should certainly catch some zzzz’s in the middle of the day but sleeping when the baby sleeps just isn’t feasible. Use that time wisely.

    3. Don’t put the baby first. Yep, I said it again. Do not put this adorable bundle of never-ending cuteness in front of you. It’s hard. I know. You want to stare at their little faces and cater to their every need. Here’s the thing, this is cute when their babies. But when you lose sight of yourself as a woman and not give yourself the care that is required, you become raggedy. Let’s be honest, raggedy people don’t make the best parents. You need your rest. You need to bathe. You need some alone time. You need some time to redefine who you are within this new role. Take care of yourself and then the baby.

    4. Stand up for yourself and your decisions. I’ve read so many posts from new moms talking about how someone didn’t agree with them breastfeeding or not putting socks on the baby or whatever decision it is they decided to make. Here’s the thing: This is YOUR baby. You carried the baby for however long it took for them to come out. You delivered the baby. You get to pay all those hospital bills, doctors bills, college tuitions, etc. You and whomever is involved in raising the baby are the ones who’s opinions matter. Know this. Be confident about that. Recently my mom tried to “scold” me on how I handled something with mini. I had to remind her that she’s mine and that my mom had the opportunity to raise my brother and I how she saw fit and I’m warranted the same respect here. Don’t feel bad about the decisions you’re making for your baby.

    5. It’s relatives responsibility to come and see the baby. Not the other way around–unless they are immobile. Baby abc was born in August so during the winter months she was still in her super infant phase. I would feel bad about not toting her to and from church and peoples houses so they could see her. But then I remembered that SHE was the baby and the new person in the world who’s immune system was still delicate and developing. If people don’t want to come over and see the baby, then they can wait until you’re out and about. Though your baby shouldn’t be #1, they certainly come before a lot of other people. Don’t feel bad about not exposing your baby to different weather so that friends and family can see them. If they want to see them so badly, they can come over–if you’re accepting guests.

    6. Bottle or breast, as long as baby is fed that’s all that matters. I am 100% pro-breastfeeding. I nurse in public, private, under one of the scarves I make or not. But I am also 100% confident with my choice to nurse both my children. Whatever you decide, breast or formula, don’t let anyone make you feel bad about that. As long as your baby is fed, that’s all that matters!

    7. It’s ok to give evasive answers about future children. I think baby abc was 2 weeks old when the questions of the next baby happened. In all honesty, we don’t know if there will be more BUT if there are more, it’s not something I’m planning on deliberating with someone I’m not sharing my bed with. And you don’t have to divulge this information either! Your reproductive business is just that–YOURS. My go-to answer is: We’ll see what the future holds but for now I’m just enjoying my girls.

    8. It’s ok to have breakdowns. Being a new mom is tough and it’s beautiful. Your body just created this wonderful new being. Everything is new and harder to do when you have a little person to do it with. It’s ok to cry. It’s ok to not know what you’re doing. It’s ok to need help. But here’s the thing, don’t do it alone. Have a person that will be able to provide the type of support that you need. For me, when I breakdown, I need to have someone that will help me put an action plan in place for getting it together. Staying home with an infant and preschooler scared the shit out of me. Really. But my husband helped me put together a plan that I could thrive with, not just survive. Remember that you aren’t alone and there’s people that are there for you. And if you don’t feel like you have this and you’re reading this, you’ve got me.

    Surviving new moms, what other “need to know” things would you add to this list?

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    Bye Bye Ear Infection!!!

    Baby abc has been nursing the same double ear infection for about 3 months. She was diagnosed with a double ear infection after rocking a fever of 103 back in March. She’d previously had one in December in her right here but a 10-day dose of amoxicillin knocked that right out. We were prescribed amoxicillin again, but it didn’t work.

    We were probably on day 7 when her fever spiked again. We immediately went to the urgent care to see what was going on. She was absolutely miserable. We were prescribed a total of 5 antibiotics over this period of time. The last one was Suprax and it was $275 without the guarantee that it would take care of the infection. No. It didn’t happen.

    Not only did this financially not make sense for me to do, but logically this didn’t seem to be the best bet. I was being told that ABC’s ears couldn’t drain the congestion. So no matter how many antibiotics that we were given, not one of them would handle the fact that she physically could not drain the fluids. And these antibiotics didn’t dry up the fluids either–they just got rid of the infection in the fluids.

    After breaking down with feelings of desperation and despair because nothing that I was doing was helping, my childhood friend Valerie put some fire under my ass and referred me to Dr. Andrea Robbins. She’s a chiropractor and more importantly, a Doctor of Naturopathy. Valerie raved about her and told me that I HAD to take her to see Andrea. I was hesitant because the initial consult was more than I could afford but Val told me to just be upfront with what I could afford.

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    I’m so glad for the push. After seeing Andrea 3 times and doing what she told me to do with her, ABC’s ear infection was finally gone and I couldn’t be happier.

    So what did she do? What does a Doctor of Naturopathy do? How does a chiropractor help with ear infections?

    What I learned about ear infections is that they are caused when babies have an overproduction of mucous that they can’t drain from their sinus’. The draining that’s supposed to occur with the Eustachian tubes doesn’t happen. Sometimes there isn’t space for them to drain properly or sometimes their little faces haven’t grown enough to put the tubes in their proper place. When it’s structural like this, doctors often recommend tubes. This was our next step.

    As a chiropractor, Andrea was able to “adjust” abc so that the drainage could occur. With her ears draining, the infection left. As a Doctor of Naturopathy, Andrea used non-invasive techniques to find out if she had any allergies to be aware of that could possibly be causing some of the overproduction in mucous. We found out she’s allergic to penicillin and eggs. She was also able to give us a recommendation for homeopathy tablets to give her. We’re giving her Kali bichromicum that helps with her mucous production. She also encouraged me to continue using the essential oils on her.

    The combination of all this has eliminated the seemingly never ending ear infection.

    I’m so incredibly happy!!!!

    If you’re in the Atlanta area and want Dr. Andrea Robbins’ information, shoot me a message at mrsabc@thecrunchymommy.com.

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    3 Quick Tips To Help You Get It All Done

    Most women I know struggle with this Superwoman complex. You know the one. We think that we can handle literally everything–children, laundry, cleaning the house, grocery shopping, homework, volunteering, being a perfect friend, excellent lover–everything. We set out in the beginning of the day to accomplish all this only to end up overwhelmed, exhausted, and disappointed because we didn’t make a dent in what we set out to accomplish. Here’s the thing–Rome wasn’t built in a day so we can’t save the world in one. I mean, God even took 7 days to create the world! And if you’re more of a scientific person, the world STILL took more than a day to get where we are now.

    According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, people need each other and the relationships in order to achieve the ultimate goal of self-actualization–our full potential. So if in our definition of functioning at our highest potential includes accomplishing all of the things above, we need others. So how do we make this happen?

    Here are a couple ways:

    1. Put yourself first. I was sitting in church on Mother’s Day when they asked what made a great mother. A friend stood up and said, “Putting my children before myself…” and I cringed a little. If you are constantly putting everyone else before yourself, chances are you aren’t being taken care of. I know that I require a certain amount of alone time to recenter myself, think about the things that need to be thought about, plan out my days, etc. and without it, I become a little ornery. Some friends and I meet up quarterly at a spa for an evening of nothing but rest and relaxation. Sometimes we talk, sometimes we sleep, we laugh, but it’s about us. We all leave rejuvenated and ready to shine in our roles as mothers and wives. If your well is dried up, how can you provide water to your community? Family? You can’t. Put yourself before other people so your well can be filled.

    2. Ask for help when needed. This is one of my biggest struggles but shouldn’t be because I’m married. As a mother of two my energy is limited. I try to fit a lot in my days–work, working out, cooking, cleaning, running errands. Most days, I don’t have time to get all the cleaning that I need to get done. My oldest who is 5 will often jump in to help or I’ll delegate certain tasks to her that I know that she can do. Or I have her occupy the baby while I get some things done. If it’s too much, call in for reinforcements and really ask for what you need. When my husband gets home, I ask for what I need. It took a while to get there but once I was able to really communicate my needs, my feelings of overwhelming dissipated. It’s ok to ask for help–wise even.

    3. Hold people accountable. What does this mean right? And is this just another “to-do” on the never-ending “to-do list”? Yes and no. One of the effective tools that help with the keeping the house cleaned is a chore chart. If someone hasn’t completed their task it can affect some of your jobs. Hold them accountable to what they’re supposed to be doing. It may be a headache in the beginning but eventually they will get the point that they need to do what they committed to. This isn’t just for a chore chart, this is for everything. In order to function as a well-oiled machine, all parts have to pull their weight. One person isn’t the machine though, it’s made up of multiple people. Hold the people accountable early on so this doesn’t become another problem to solve.


    Is it possible to get all the things completed that you want to? Yes. Can you do it on your own? Sure–but it won’t be without some negative feelings accompanying the ones of accomplishment. The sooner that we understand that we shouldn’t be doing everything on our own, the sooner peace of mind will come.

    What are some other tips to help in getting everything accomplished?

     

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    4 Tried and Tested Home Remedies for Cold/Allergy Symptoms

    I wouldn’t say that I hate medicines but I think that they’re overused. Nature gives us so many options when it comes to treating the common cold and/or allergies that it’s just a matter of finding what works for you. Here are ____ of my most common used natural remedies for battling colds/allergies:

    1. Apple Cider Vinegar

    This is probably my first go-to for if I start to feel sick. It’s an acquired taste for some but I actually like the way it tastes so I do 1oz shots of it daily. If I’m actually not feeling well, then I’ll drink it about 3 times per day. When it’s cold or I’m congested, I’ll drink it as a tea with honey, lemon and hot water. Why apple cider vinegar? The benefits of apple cider vinegar are incredible. Some of the most useful are:vinegar

    • Facial toner
    • Helps with upset stomach
    • Clear a stuffy nose
    • Gets rid of a sore throat. Mix 1/4 c ACV with 1/4 c warm water and gargle at least 3 times a day.
    • Quicker recovery from workouts.  Mix 1 tblsp with 8oz of water and drink post workout. 
    • Get shiny, dandruff-free, detangled hair. Mix 1/3 c with 4c of water and pour over hair after shampooing. After 30 seconds, rinse with cold water. 

    Don’t like the taste? Check out these recipes so you don’t lose out on the benefits.

    2. Nasal Rinses

    Congestion is a pesky symptom of both allergies and colds. Not being able to breathe sucks. As an adult it’s tough but when babies have this symptom? It’s pretty unbearable. For adults, Neti pots are a God-send. I recently bought one after not being able to breathe for a couple days. But once I did, I was incredibly grateful for the invention. All the mucous came out and I could breathe! I did it 3 times a day until the congestion past.

    Nasal rinses aren’t just for adults. Baby abc has been struggling ear infections since she was 4 months. My poor baby couldn’t breathe until I used her nasal syringe in an unconventional neti potway. Gobs and gobs of snot came out. Her relief was immediate.

    Nasal rinses are extremely effective but can be dangerous if not done correctly. Keeping the Neti pot/nasal syringe clean is imperative as is using the appropriate water.

    3. Essential Oils

    Eucalyptus oils on your feet (be sure to use a carrier oil) break up congestion. Peppermint oils on your feet break your fever. Tea tree and lavender oils both have antibiotic properties and are soothing. Using these on your body–do not ingest–or in the form of steam are very helpful. When mini was a little over a year, she had strep throat. The Ibprofen couldn’t break her fever but the oils on her feet with some socks did the trick!

    4. Local Honey & Bee Pollen

    This remedy doesn’t work immediately–it takes some time and consistency. If you have bad honeyallergies this is definitely worth a try about 2 weeks to 1 month prior to allergy season. You’ll need honey local to your region, bee pollen, a gallon of distilled water, and lemon. Mix 1 tablespoon of the bee pollen in with 1/2 lemon and the distilled water. Heat them and then add the honey. Let it cool and then drink it throughout the day. It’s important to note that the bee pollen and honey need to be local as they slowly introduce your body to what it’s allergic to building up a resistance.


     

    Although I’m all for natural remedies, but sometimes they just don’t work and a doctor has to be called. Persistent fevers, wheezing, difficulty breathing, and vomiting/stool with blood are all indicators that a doctor needs to be seen. Keep in mind that I am NOT  a doctor and these are just remedies/suggestions based upon my own life experiences but I do hope they help.

    What natural remedies do you use when afflicted with the symptoms of cold and allergies?

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    Who Can Our Children Trust?

    Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past year, you’ve seen that it’s pretty much open season on black men. Not only is it a problem that random people are killing black people, cops are out here executing blacks, whites, whomever it is they decide should die. This is problematic on so many levels. The first being that what’s the point in the judge and the jury if the cops won’t let them even make it there. And there’s the issue with our children. If cops are out here killing just because they feel like they have the authority to do so, how can we with good faith direct our children to them for help?

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    I was thinking about this the other day as mini and I were going over stranger danger and how to handle a situation if she’s lost. She asked if she should as for help from a police officer. Though I was able hold back my scoff, I couldn’t tell her to go to a police officer for help. And that’s really when it hit me how scary things have become. What if my child is in danger and is running to a cop and they perceive her as being dangerous and just pop off a couple rounds in her?

    I would die.

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    The purpose of police officers is to “Protect and Serve”, not be the judge and the jury when deciding who lives or dies for whatever crimes they may or may not have commited. In the wake of Ferguson, Eric Garner, and now Freddie Gray, how can we trust them? For that matter, how can we trust our neighbors who true feelings are being shared in comments on articles? How is it that we live in a country that we are supposedly “innocent until proven guilty” yet everyone is so eager to justify blood on the cops hands with whatever crime they had yet to be convicted of? How do we send our babies out into the streets comfortably without fearing for their lives?

    What are you telling your children about who will keep them safe?

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    You’re Doing It Wrong: What Mother’s REALLY Want For Mother’s Day

    I remember when my brother and I were kids and our mom would always tell us that she didn’t want anything for Mother’s Day. Not listening, we would always gift her with some piece of jewelry she never wore, some gadget she never used, or some book about how awesome of a mother she was that I never saw her read. Now as a mother and wife, I get it. Nothing is exactly what we want.

    Prior to retiring from corporate America, I was spent–literally. I woke up, got my eldest daughter ready. Nursed the baby. Got her ready. Made sure my husband was up so he could get bottles together for day care. Try and grab a shower while reviewing my mental checklist for things like show-n-tell and ballet and bills and more. After getting them out the house I would rush to work and spend my day catering to the needs of clients, co-workers, managers. I would then pick the girls up, take them to do some kind of activity, make dinner, feed them, bathe them, give the eldest to my husband and do our bed time routine of nursing, fighting with diaper changes, etc. After that was completed… OK, well you get my point. When this is your every day, the one day that you get honoring you for all that you do you literally want to spend it doing nothing.

    Ready to give the mom in your life what they really want? Read more at www.thecrunchymommy.com

    If you’re a man reading this, take heed to the following and if you’re a mom, pass this on to someone who is celebrating your motherhood (I got you!).

    How do you give someone nothing? Here are some suggestions:

    • Let her sleep in. Once the kids wake up, grab them up and take them out for breakfast, an adventure to a bounce house, something. And when you come back, have coffee (or tea) in hand along with a delicious breakfast. Deliver it to her along with the remote and let her enjoy watching her trashy reality shows on Hulu.
    • Treat her to the spa. In Atlanta we have Jeju where you can spend 24 hours there for $25. This is a favorite among my friends and I. And if we’re being totally honest (which I am), I’m actually fine going by myself and sleeping all day in different rooms. But let her go and have the day to herself. Reassure her that you and the kids will be fine. Send her the occasional picture message of you guys doing something silly.
    • Drop the kids off somewhere and pamper her. My husband gives me the best nurturing in the world. He’s also one of the people that I enjoy most in the world. I love hearing his thoughts on things, listening to his laugh, seeing him smile. I love when he can just hold me or we can just be husband and wife uninterrupted. My favorite thing is him rubbing my feet. Cater to your wife or child’s mother and make her feel like “she’s the only girl in the world”. Yes–RIhanna was on to something!
    • Clean the house or have it cleaned. I recently had our house cleaned for the first time and it’s truly wonderful! Having your home cleaned allows her to focus on other things that matter and relieves so much stress while allowing her to do nothing in a clean space.

    Being a mom is wonderful. It is. I love it. But on Mother’s Day, there’s a pretty big consensus that the gift we want is a break from the job that we love most. That and a red Keurig.

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