Making Baby Food - Pears



Another post in the series of making your own baby food - this time with Pears.


Pears turn out very similar to apples. They are sweet, blend well, and it's a good base to add other foods to.  I like to make combos starting with a couple ounces of pears, then add a little bit of peach, plum, blueberry, or even veggies like carrots or sweet potatoes!

Just know that with pears, you're getting yourself into quite a sticky and slippery peeling process.

Directions:

1. Wash and de-sticker pears.

2.  Peel pears. Careful - they get messy from here on out!

3. Chop into quarters. Cut out cores, bits of stem, blossom end (the butt of the pear/apple).


4. Depending on ripeness and how much time you'd like to cook, chop into chunks or leave as cored quarters.

5.  Put about an inch of water into bottom of pot. Use a big enough pot for however many pears you're processing. 4lbs fit into my large stock pot well.  If your pears are very ripe, don't use as much water. When they get hot, they will release a lot of their juices. 

6. Let gently simmer until pears are falling apart.
Mumi & Bubi curved bottom trays. Easy to pop out the cubes!

7. Let cool breifly.

8. Ladle into blender, and let it go!

9. Pour into storage method of choice. I love my Mumi & Bubi trays (no I'm not paid to say that... but wouldn't mind to be, LOL!)

10. Store in fridge for up to 2 days, frozen for 2 months.


See, that wasn't too hard, was it? :D

I've compiled a list of lessons learned in making baby food, and also working on FAQ's section, for when things just don't turn out right.

When I first started making baby food for my little one, I was so nervous that I'd be wasting my time and money on food that wouldn't turn out right. Our budget is so tight that $5 down the drain of wasted baby food would have probably brought me to tears!

Yes, it takes more time. But if you're concerned about using organic produce, or saving money, or even just going more grass-roots about how you raise your family, there is nothing easier than starting with your own baby food!

Fluffer Nutter Bites, Yum.


Pinterest = quicksand 
 Sucks you in and you just can't escape it.

It's like when Facebook first came out, and we all spent hours stalking people we hadn't seen for a while, trying to dig up all sorts of juicy info about new girlfriends/boyfriends, new cars, getting kicked out of college, ya know, all that stuff.  Oh wait... not everyone did that? My bad...

The worst part about Pinterest is that it's full of seriously amazing looking food. I think I'm gaining weight just seeing all of it.  Oh, and of course the most compelling pictures aren't of healthy food, but of cookies, cakes, caramel filled crescent rolls... ah!!! 

One of those goodies are these fluffer nutter bites. I surprisingly had all the ingredients in my cupboard, and it seemed so simple. Well and peanut butter is kind of healthy, right?

Here's the link to the original recipe that was pinned.

Ingredients:



1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup honey
 1 cup nonfat dry milk
1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
1 cup dry roasted peanuts

Directions: 
In a medium bowl, combine the peanut butter, honey and dry milk. Stir until combined. The mixture should be similar to a thick cookie dough, moldable and not sticking to your hands. I ended up adding just a little bit more dry milk. I also am not the most accurate measurer... I kinda just throw it all in :)
The peanuts were put into a plastic baggie, and smashed with my meat tenderizer hammer. Way easier than chopping. BUT, it made some of the peanuts turn into a powder. You can see in my pictures that some of the bites don't have the same rough peanuty texture as others. 
Take 1/2 Tablespoon of dough and wrap around each mini marshmallow creating a ball with a marshmallow center. Roll each ball in crush peanuts to coat.
I didn't measure out the dough. I just took a small bit, flattned it out in my hand until it looked like just enough to cover the entire marshmallow, then wraped the marshmallow up. 
In the end... Mr E thinks these are delish! But they are junk food, which I'm trying to rid our house of.
Also, they take forever to assemble!  This would be a much better recipe for a mama with kiddos a little bit older who could help.  It took me over an hour to do it all.

It doesn't make a whole lot - but these Fluffer Nutter bites are so rich and sweet.  I think it's a combo of the sweet, and the protien in the peanuts and peanut butter, but just a handful (5 or 6 of them) and I found that sweet tooth and snack loving tummy were quiet.


Frugal $3 Fall Wreath



Fall obsession has taken over me! I just have to decorate every inch I can with something in reds, oranges, and browns.

I had some wreaths that I hung outside on our porch lights last fall, but I wanted to give them some fresh life.  I didn't have to buy anything to re-do them, and all the the materials were originally purchase from the Dollar Tree.  
If you want to go out and buy the same stuff it would cost about $3.

Materials
  • wreath: $1
  • fall leaf garland: $1
  • faux mini gourds and pumpkins: $1
Other from my stash
  • a bit of raffia
  • hot glue gun & hot glue sticks
Last year, I simply wrapped the fall garland around the wreath, and attached it with some thread - to be removable. Then had added 3 little gourds or pumpkins. That was it. They were simple, easy to put together. But too darn plain.

Since the gourds on the one wreath were hot glued on, I had to work around them. I chose to remove everything from the other wreath, and make it a blank canvas again. That way I could use the materials to make one much prettier wreath.


With the leaf garlands off of both wreaths, I popped off the leaves from the vines, since I really wanted to use just individual leaves.

I used hot glue to add on the extra gourds, to make the bunches more full.
Behind the gourds, I glued on a few leaves here and there.


Then I created a bunching of just leaves on the upper part of one side. I layered leaves of different colors, to contrast with each other. Also making sure to try to tuck the ugly green plastic stems in between the sticks of the wreath.  I had half pointing up and half pointing down. Then to cover up the middle part, I made a raffia wrap, and bow.  I glued the one end of a thicker peice of raffia over top of the middle, then wrapped and wrapped - ocassionally using a small dab of hot glue to keep it in place.


Making the bow, I took a few strands of raffia and loosely wrapped it around my hand to make a circle. Then folded this in half, and in the middle glued a thicker short peice of raffia around the middle to secure the bow.  Then hot glued this bow onto the raffia wrap on the wreath.



I'm pretty proud of how many things I can craft for free.  I guess that's what happens when you nearly hoard craft items :)

Our DIY Baptism: Trendy Blue Chevron Invitations


We have set a date! 

No, not for whenever that wedding is supposed to happen... 
but for Baby C's baptism! YAY!

I am all up in a tizzy trying to plan the best baptism this part of the state has ever seen on a budget of... wait for it.... $0.00!

I will take on the motto of that steam engine, "I think I can, I think I can...". Well, ok, lets be realistic.  I'm going to have to buy some things, like paper plates, napkins, silverware, and maybe some crafting supplies. I'm hoping Grandma can fund that $10 trip to Dollar Tree - seeing as the luncheon will be held at her house.  

New Dining Room Pictures from Free Printables!



Man, I wish I had a picture of the old photos I used to have up in our dining room.  They were cool, black & whites taken by a friend of rustic, falling apart, abandoned buildings.  They had a vintage artsy feel to them and originally framed for up a stairway at an previous apartment. Not quite dining room decor though.

Peek at my Fall Mantle

If my other fall decorating posts haven't made it clear yet - I love fall.  Its easy to tell when you walk into our apartment too.


There are certain items that always stay up on our mantle: Mr E's Russian nesting dolls, the 4 little reindeer his gpa made, the US flag painted slate, the puppy dog carving, and my favorite Ikea sticks.

From time to time, I will rearrange these things. And with the seasons & holidays I'll add in other touches.

DIY Fall Tissue Paper Topiary


I am totally in Autumn mode & I love it!

I've practically hosed down the house with my favorite Pumpkin Spice room spray, decorated my fireplace mantle, and ready to chow down on some caramel apples.  This is by far my most favorite time of year.

Chicken Broccoli Alfredo - Freezer Meal

With many busy nights in our house, it's nice to have a healthy go-to meal. While I love slowcooker freezer meals, sometimes I don't plan things very well, and need a heat & eat dinner.
This is exactly that. Add in a side of pasta, steamed veggies, and a can of fruit - and supper is ready in about 15 minutes. Sounds good to me!

Assemble into each freezer bag the following ingredients

Throw Pillow Envelope Covers



Everything in our house needs to be washable - baby with reflux, 3 year old, dog, and 28 year old "boy".  Yup, it's all gotta be able to go in the washer or easily cleaned with our Little Green machine.

The accent pillows that came with our couch and loveseat did not have removable covers. I found them to be drab, and have intended on making covers for them for a few months now. Originally I wanted to tie in the color and floral pattern from the lampshades that we have in our living room.

But since there isn't any $ for new fabrics to match, I decided to use what I already have and continue the Americana theme of some of my living room decor.

How to Make Chicken Baby Food {Easy, I Promise!}


Last week, I bought a large pack of chicken breasts at Sam's Club. By Monday, they needed to either get cooked up or frozen, so I asked Mr E (who is unfortunately still unemployed, and home all day) to throw them all into the slow cooker with some diluted chicken. We need to cook like that more often! I'm loving having ready to heat chicken in the fridge. I shredded some up for quesadillas, then used it in tacos last night, and the night before cut some into strips to add to rice along with broccoli.

Simple Chicken Quesadillas

I saw some recipes on Pinterest of chicken quesadillas that just had my mouth watering yesterday. I  had cooked chicken on hand, so darn it, that's what we were going to have for supper! :)
Oh my they turned out so good, I've actually been looking forward to them for lunches at work.  And so quick, that whipping them up took about 15 mintues!

Making your own Instant Oatmeal Packets: Pinching Pennies

Our household has been tossed around and brutally battered in the past year on the rough seas of the real-world. Fresh out of college, we found out we were expecting Baby C. Our plans to save money for a house turned into saving money for the baby & maternity leave. Five weeks after we welcomed our bundle of joy, I found out there would be no job for me to return to.  A few months later (very crazy job-hunting months), Mr E lost his job as well.  We went from earning six figures combined, to none in six months. 

I successfully (and luckily) found employment quickly shortly after Mr E lost his, but every day is a challenge financially and emotionally. I'm looking into every way to stretch each penny earned.  Here is another one of my attempt to make our money go farther.

Me and T love to eat oatmeal for breakfast. We used to buy Quaker brand at Sam's Club, in a super huge box.  It's a good value for name brand, and easy to make with just hot water - I take it along with a mug to work.  We switched to Aldi's Millville brand at somepoint when saving up for Baby C to arrive. It's not the same quality (I do find hulls every once in a while, and the tastes are different), but the awesome price makes up for it.

More Baby Food: DIY Home made Carrots

I've been going nuts lately with making baby food.  The blogosphere is probably sick of seeing all my links to pureed foods. Too bad! Part of the reason I want to document how I've been making baby food is for me to reference later, and if others can learn something from it, that's cool too.

I had made carrots into baby food previously once, but did not take any photos and didn't really think about the process. We were out of veggies to feed Baby C, and carrots happened to be in the fridge.

Un-Cycle? Tank Top Refashion by Removing Embellishments


I feel like I've been in a fashion rut. Pinterest, I swear, is evil. The most adorable outfits sprawl across my screen when I log in, but there is absolutely no room in the budget for Mama to get clothes (even used ones are out).

So I've been trying to come up with ways to re-love the items I already have.

Homemade DIY Baby Food: Apples


The seventh day for rest? Nope, not in my home. Weekends are packed to the max with visiting friends, family, and chores around the house.

Sunday I turned 5 lbs of apples into baby food. I've really started to dislike making fruit baby foods, due to the juices when peeling and chopping. Coming to the rescue again was my Dad's apple corer/peeler/slicer thingamajig.

Here's a recap of how I did it:
Apple corer/peeler/slicer thingie. 

DIY Night: Homemade Baby Food Sweet Potatoes!



Oh the things I get done once the kids are in bed...

Last night was no exception. Despite this cold, I managed to process 4 pounds of sweet potatoes into food for Baby C. 

New Blog Name!

As a new blogger, I don't have many readers.

But for archiving purposes, and to not confuse any readers during this transition (I do have a few links at some of my favorite link parties), I thought I should clue the web in.

My old blog title was Oh Wells That's Life, a little play on my last name.

I found this to be too pessimistic, too long, and not descriptive of what I wanted my blog to be all about.

My new name: 
Crafty WI Mama

Totally awesome, right?  I know, I take all the credit myself :) 

I feel it encompasses exactly where I see my blog heading, as well as let readers know who I am. I am a proud Badger, midwestern mama. I love the culture of where I live.  I love my kids.  I love to create with many mediums - food, fabric, paint, paper, it goes on!

I raise my re-usable water bottle up - cheers, here's to hopefully successful blogging!

Free things to do in Rochester, MN - Including Oxbow Park/Zollman Zoo


This Labor Day weekend, we visited Mr E's parents who live in Rochester MN. I had never been to that city before meeting him, and when I go to new places, I like to be out and about to soak up the local happenings.

Whenever I ask Mr E what there is to do in Rochester, I get a shoulder shrug and "I-dunno" as my answer. I've seen the mall, played mini golf, and did Black Friday shopping at Kohls there, but not much else. So I took it upon myself to do some research.  I found this blog - Everyday Notions - which has a list on free or cheap things to do on a "staycation". 

On my list of places to visit were: