Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Florence



What do you do with yourself when your sad, feeling helpless and restless? I like to put my feelings on paper. My aunt Florence passed away tonight. She has a big family and is one of the most loved people I ever knew by many, many people. Let me tell you about her from my heart. 

Do you have those Aunts and Uncles that it doesn't matter if one is your blood and the other not, theres no difference…you love them both the same. That’s how I love Florence and Chester. When I was in elementary school our time with them was spent like ND people did back then. The adults played cards and all of us cousins  rode horse, played red light, green light or hope to see the ghost tonight under the yard light! Later if we were at Grandma Bruhn’s tiny house in Blaisdell, we would all pair up and sit in the cars and talk because there was no room for kids in the house!

After my Dad passed Florence, and Grandma Bruhn (their Mother) became Mom’s main source of support. We were at Johnson’s a lot and Florence was at our farm a lot too. When I was in high school I was the editor of the school paper, in class plays, ballgames, and her home was always the place to go until dark when Mom got done with her long days on the farm.

Florence’s home was always full of family! Her own five children and later grandchildren. Cousin’s on the other side of the family that lived in Palermo too. Even with so many people in and out of the house, I never saw her have a messy house ONCE! She always had something baked, supper on the table and always dressed clean and neat. She permed her hair every six weeks because that was the style back then and she was lucky enough to have a beautician daughter who kept her hair up. She and Chester always had funny bantering going on, she was the straight man to his jokes. For example, they had a round mirror on the wall in the kitchen and Chester would say, “damn I’m handsome”, just to see us roll our eyes and get a response from Florence. She’d put him in his place with a good comeback, when she had to and he kind liked her spunk you could see. They made lots of yard wood projects together over the years and their yard is always beautiful! They were inseparable as the years went on. They have been so special to mine and my sisters kids as well!  

Florence had a heart attack and lost 40% of her heart about 25 years ago. Mom and I sat with Chester and their family asking God that she survive and she did. She was always my Mom’s baby sister who got run over by a car as a child, and to Mom a survivor. She survived that heart attack and like Allen said, family felt like we had her on borrowed time.

When our Mom got sick with Alzheimers she and Chester didn't let Mom or us kids down. They supported our tough decisions we had to make for her and they kept coming to spend time with her all the way to the end of her life. They drove 2 hours sometimes to see her,  which was such a support to us kids. When Mom was on her death bed, Florence and Chester were there too. Like you do when someone is dying you question why sometimes.  We cried that we were too young to not have our Mom. Florence said, “I’ll be your Mom”, and she made good on it. She never forgot our birthdays and anniversaries and I will miss her card this year and I will miss sending her one.  

When it was her time to go we had to go see her and thankfully her family shared her with us this past weekend. As I sat there at her house,  I looked at all the things she collected… birds (she especially loved humming birds), angels, and decorative eggs and probably more that I don’t remember seeing. 

She passed away like she wanted to. Family and friends came to see her, both Jackie and Tanya being nurses taking care of her. Her kids there, her dog Daisy in her lap a lot, and Chester still doing everything he could for her. My heart breaks for Chester. After that many years how do you find the strength to let her go? Pray for him, please. 

If I had a wish for the kids in the world today it is to be loved by extended family like we were by her. Thank you God for the gift of Florence in my life.  


Saturday, January 23, 2016

40 Things I'll Never Do



After being on this earth a good many years already, there are a few things I KNOW I won't be doing if I can help it!

1. Sleep on the hard floor. Nope... I like my 4" memory foam and eight or nine pillows! The last time Shelbey stayed here she slept with me and I was just dozing off when she piped up with do you have any flatter pillows? I laughed and said look around...I'm sure one of these is flat ha.

2. Appear on the Naked and Afraid TV Show. Seeing myself naked makes me afraid...I got a show all my own!


3. Go to "hot yoga", or hot anything. Don't like hot!


4. Run a marathon...I'm too damn lazy.


5. Make others more important than myself, I did that for years and I'm done with that. I keep myself        on the same page as others.


6. Go on a roller coaster, did that for the kids a few times but I really hate them.


7. Sit through a scary movie in the name of entertainment.


8. Smoke cigarettes. Been there did that.


9. Have a baby, I'm a bigger wuss these days so it's a good thing I'm past my prime ha.


10. Wear a bikini, I might lose it.


11. Hunt an animal. Although if the neighbor's chickens keep jumping the fence so my dogs kill them and theres blood, guts and feathers all over I might hunt a neighbor...(THIS IS A JOKE)


12. Stop loving my children.


13. Be the quiet type


14. be a Kathy Griffin fan...DO NOT LIKE HER


15. Choose a Pepsi over a Coke


16. Topple around in high heels. I prefer my hips not broken.


17. Ice skate... my ankles fold up like a house of cards.


18.  Buy underwear at a Thrift store


19. Believe a man that says, "go ahead I'm listening".


20. Dig my key into the side of his pretty little souped up four wheel drive, carve my name into his leather seat, take a Louisville slugger to both head lights, and slash all four tires. 


21. Get a sex change. 

22. Date somebody twice my age ha..


23. Wear cheap tight shoes


24. Attend clown school


25. Stick my head out of a dressing room and say to the clerk, "this is a mile too big, you wanna grab me a size 2"?


26. Have washboard abs

27. Take a pole dancing class


28. Wear a tube top..thank me later


29. Start a fist fight


30. Put up Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving


31. Crowd surf


32. Mud wrestle


33. Single space my Christmas letter


34. Eat a Jalepeno


36. Win a video game


37. Get Married


38. Watch a concert from someones shoulders!


39. Work in a butterball processing plant.


40. Not get annoyed when you don't answer someone fast enough and they say, "HELLO"?? Welcome to my shit list when that happens. 













Friday, January 22, 2016

Stanley On A Saturday Night





What's the best part of the week when your a farm kid? Going to town on Saturday night of course! We lived twenty or more miles, from the nearest small town with a grocery store, and 45 miles from a bigger city where you could do serious shopping.

Driving to Stanley as elementary age kids,  my sister Kathy and I were happily unbuckled in the backseat, Dad driving and Mom pointing out anything out of the usual, along the road. Things like how white the alkali lake was, a fox in the distance, how the grain crops were coming along, how many weeds in the fields(thats a problem for farmers every year). Interesting stuff like that. Once we drove under the viaduct and were officially on main street Stanley,  we couldn't wait to parallel park and hurry to get to Hohn drug for a lime soda before it closed!

Next Mom and "us kids" went to Piggly Wiggly grocery store with her yellow check, my dads signature scrawled across the bottom of it because as we heard a million times over the years,  she never had any money of her own! Well except 15.00 a month "allowance". A lot of my Moms generation of women lived like that, it seemed even if it was grudgingly. Kathy and I tagged along behind Mom in the grocery store. And Dad started his rounds at the local bars, it was a mans world for the most part. After we got groceries, we went to the meat locker and ask for bones they were throwing away for our dog, and lugged them to the car.  Next to Perry's gro store for maybe something that was cheaper there than Piggly Wiggly. Sometimes we went to Gambles where the owner had a crabby, snappy little Pomeranian that was a permanent fixture there. I was scared of that little gremlin! Kathy and I would go to Springen's furniture store way in the back corner and pick out a 45 rpm record with our allowance and maybe a trip through Ben Franklin yielding some good penny candy.

        After that Mom retired to our car with our aunt Mable Jarmin usually, who had driven their pickup into town, was doing the same as we were, watching people go by and waiting for a glimpse of Dad and her husband Dewey, going from one bar to the other. There were three in town, The Five Spot, The Farmers Bar, and the West Side and he went to them in that order so we could gage how much longer of this sitting in the car stuff was ahead! Kathy and I could walk up and down the street until dark, but absolutely not past the Scandia bank! Or if the movie that week was fit for kids,  we'd see the lastest Elvis movie or Frankie and Annette in a one of the Beach movies that were popular then. Those were my favorite! If we were lucky there was a black and white "spook show" after the regular movie! I wish I could watch one of those old ones now, because they seemed so scary back then.




Finally our Dad would come to the car about 11pm and take us to the Two Way Inn for a hamburger and a bottle of Nesmiths Orange Soda. Sometimes we'd see Kelly Moore, there with his black plastic glasses and loafer shoes.  Later in life he became my brother in law and I call him my brother from another mother because he has been in my life so long.  The 20 mile drive home was always tense, and the reason I am still today, mostly anti alcohol.  Dad would be "half shot" like Mom called him, and would drive way to fast. The more Mom ask him to slow down, the faster he drove. Being born a nervous Nelly, all I could see was a deer jumping out of nowhere, or snow that looked like white knives coming at your windshield, hard, hard snowbanks that had blown across the roads that you needed just the right speed to clear, In the summer fog sometimes so thick we had no idea where the turn was to get back to the farm but he was determined to be the sole judge of how fast we got there.

Finally, I was sixteen and got a legal drivers license! Mom let me take the car almost every night the last couple years of high school. I ask her once after I was grown and married, why she let me go so much and she very lovingly said, "I just never wanted you girls to be sad, because after your Dad died you'd had enough sadness". So we ran around every night, which most farm kids didn't get to do. We'd drive up main street Stanley and into Ranum's Laundromat, or Stanley Equipment turn around and back up main street until we got to the train depot. Gas was .39 a gallon and we filled up at home because we bought our gas in bulk from the Standard Oil Truck that Kenny Vaage from Blaisdell drove. We always hoped we'd see friends, especially boys to hang out with and they'd stick their arm out and wave us over where we'd park one of the cars. I never drank in high school, I always took care of all the others that did. My Dad only drank on Saturday nights, when I was a child but the feeling of not knowing what a drunk person will do still makes me nervous to be around one to this day! I don't mind someone drinking a few and being a little talkative, but drunkness still makes me nervous.

Mom, Kathy and I lived like three girlfriends in high school.  We could always bring friends home anytime of the day or night and Mom would get up( like she'd have been sleeping) and cook for all the kids who'd been drinking. I will never forget her making hamburgers at midnight and calling out mustard, ketchup, mayo? She loved being part of and listening to all the stories the kids would tell, and everyone loved my even tempered Mom.  She never slept till we were home and would come looking for us if we didn't call. I can't imagine the worry she must have had with no cell phones to check on us.  Back then you could call person to person for free so we would call and she'd say no the person wasn't here but that was a signal we were going to be late! I could hear her exhasperation when the operator ask her to accept the call! Poor Mom.

As girlfriends around the house though Mom, Kathy and I played music all the time! Mom loved music too, unless it was the same record over and over, which always brought out some reaction on her part! We took impromptu trips to Stanley just to go to the Dairy Queen or Tastee Freeze, just for the heck of it which was pretty unheard of.  I think she was starting to dread us leaving home and wanted to spend more time with us. We took turns with the Lee girls getting the family car and driving to Stanley. They lived south of Blaisdell, our little home town and we lived North of town. We gave their parents some sleepless nights too.

I loved horses, and cats and so much about living on the farm but worrying about the remoteness  turned into a perilous feeling once our Dad died and we three were alone out there with 100 horses. The roads would blow shut, furnaces go out, cars drive in and out of the yard late at night, and I wanted to get to town where people were. Today everyone has snow equipment and life is different on the farm.

Stanley was the fun place to go as a kid growing up. We had wonderful 4th of July celebrations, fun times at Regis theater and lots of fun chasing boys back in the day. Everybody should have "Stanley on a Saturday night"memories.

THE PICTURES I USED BELONG TO our saviors.org and the Regis theater Facebook page.



Friday, January 30, 2015

Pam’s Homemade Pizza


 

Bread Machine Pizza Dough Recipe (thin or pan crust)

 

For one large pizza

          ADD IN THIS ORDER TO THE BREAD MACHINE:

                    3/4 Cups warm water(110 degrees)

                    1 Tbls butter softened or melted

                    1 tbls sugar

                    1 teas of salt

                    2 cups of flour (I like bread flour) and make a well in it and then

                    1 teas bread machine yeast in the flour well

 

For two large pizzas

          ADD IN THIS ORDER TO THE BREAD MACHINE:

                    1 ½ Cups of warm water (110 degrees or so, like bath water)

2 Tbls butter softened or melted

2 Tbls sugar

2 teas salt

4 Cups of flour ( I like bread flour) and make a well in it.

2 teas of bread machine yeast

 

Set the bread machine to the dough setting. Mine takes 90 min. When it beeps that’s its done take it out and on a lightly floured surface work the dough a little and then roll out on a buttered pizza pan forming a crust. Top

with pizza sauce( I use the Chef Boyardee brand),pizza fixings of your choice and lots of mozzarella cheese. Bake at 425 degrees for 18-25 min. You are looking for lightly browned crust and bubbling browning cheese .

 
Note: Without the bread machine I  just buy the Chef Boyardee double pizza mix, some pepperoni, and shredded mozzarella cheese and toppings that are your family favorites and follow the box instructions. I mix the dough with my hands, or a fork, or your dough hook, cover with cling wrap and set it in warm water for the time it says.
 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Rice Pudding (Norwegian Risengrynsgr√łt:)



Ingredients:
1 cup white rice of choice
2 cups water


1/3 cup sugar
1/2- teaspoon salt
1/3 cup raisins (optional)

2 teas vanilla
4 cups milk


1 cup cream  stirred in or enough to make a creamy pudding.

 

Preparation:
Boil water and add rice, and salt according to directions. When rice is soft ( in about 20 minutes and all the water is absorbed add the 4 cups of milk, raisins, sugar, vanilla. Cover with a lid. Stir often and check often but let it simmer for an hour or so, watching it carefully.   


Rice will keep expanding as it cools. Be sure you add enough milk while it is still simmering and keep stirring to prevent it from burning. When the rice is soft and the milk mostly absorbed so it looks like rice pudding, let it cool a little and then stir in the cup of cream more or less,  until you have a creamy consistency.

When risengrynsgr√łten is done, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar with a dollop of butter in the center.

The next day add some whipping cream for glorified rice. If you know you are going to make it into glorified you can leave the raisins out and add other fruits then. Mom liked to add bananas at the last minute before serving or pinnapple. To make that you just make sweetened whipping cream with vanilla and add it to yesterdays cold pudding.

Rosettes





Start heating the oil. I used a fry daddy. But it can be done on the stove too.  

Whisk together:

             2 eggs

            1 tbsp sugar

             1/4 teas salt

Add:

1 cup milk

1 Teas. Vanilla

 
Add:

1 cup of sifted flour. Mix so there are no lumps and it’s the consistency of heavy cream.  
 

Pour the batter into a shallow container. I used a loaf pan. Heat oil to 375 and keep at that temp. Let the irons get hot in the oil and then quickly blot on a paper towel and dip irons into batter being sure not to go over the top, or they won’t release. Fry in the hot oil about thirty seconds. They may come off in the oil or some may need some gentle help with a fork. You can make many different patterns. When finished sprinkle with powdered sugar, white sugar or cinnamon and sugar. Embrace your inner Norwegian and enjoy this delicacy made for Christmas,  or for special occasions in Norway. I had them at my wedding 41 years ago.

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Circle of Life


The Circle of Life
 

Isn’t it funny how life comes around full circle sometimes? When our family went to Hawaii last year, crazily, I took a suitcase with seven ukuleles in it. They were cheap little colorful ones that as it turns out don’t want to stay in tune very bad. When I passed them all out to the kids and Kerry and they were "underwhelmed" with my surprise ha.  Shelbey and I however loved it! We plunked out The Lion Sleeps Tonight and another one or two. Since I got back I still love to strum away, and sing You Are My Sunshine to Easton. When I got a gift certificate from Brendon and Melissa for Christmas, I even upgraded my little red ukulele to a little better one that holds its tune a little better.

              I didn’t really make New Years 2015 resolutions this year except as always; I vowed to take better care of myself, especially after the Bell’s palsy experience. Second, I kind of reviewed the things I found fun, because I don’t have enough fun and I heard someone say the only fun they were actually having was what they watched on TV! I thought yeah Pam…that’s you! So more fun is on my list this year! Playing the ukulele reminds me so much of my Mom. Some of my best memories of her are her playing the guitar for us as kids.

 

            Mom never sang or played, in front of my Dad. Therefore when he was out in the barn or fields, she would pull her guitar out from behind her blonde dresser with the mirror, and position herself so she could see the barn or grain bins… wherever he was. That way she could hurry and put it back in its secret place, if he started for the house! The guitar had been a birthday gift from her brother Julius on her seventeenth birthday. She had many brown covered raggedy “composition” books with handwritten songs in them. There was the title of the song, and singer of the song underlined beneath the title. The pages were yellow and were written in ink from one of those sharp pointed fountain pens with the ink cartridges. There were letters over the word of the song you change chords on.  She wrote the lyrics down by listening to the radio and scribbling the first and third lines the first time, and the second and fourth lines the second time she heard the song. Then in her beautiful handwriting, added it to her songbook. Many, many hours spent on her music.  She tuned her guitar by ear, and played it so much the neck of the brown guitar had white spots worn on it where her fingers had chorded over and over and over, while strumming ( that spot was worn too) with her white, thumb pick.
 


 

 
                    We would look through her books and choose songs. Some of my favorites were, At Mail Call Today by Gene Autry, A Soldiers Last Letter by Ernest Tubb,  Have I Told You Lately That I Love You, Don’t Pop and I’ll Be Good, I Just Don’t Give a Hoot,  The Old Rugged Cross and Down in the Valley. Many were sad songs it seemed.  I have written before about all the musical talent in the Bruhn family down the line. Many who could play instruments and sing with no formal training.

                     The other great memory of a ukulele for me is being in Palermo school, up on the stage behind the curtain with our unforgettable music teacher. Mrs. Hook was probably “seventyish” at the time. She was a little lady, white chin length hair cut straight off and held to one side with a barrette.
She was always in a hurry and you could barely get her attention to ask her anything. Always in black tights a skirt and top, she was eccentric, scatterbrained and unique...my kind of people. She was a dynamo, who took on huge projects. One of those projects she tackled was teaching a bunch of kids a few cords on the ukulele. Seems half the music session was used up tuning them. With her exuberant encouragement we finally, all proudly played Little Grass Shack! I think I could still sing it. Later that same teacher took on the musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream coat, when we were teenagers. She was so much fun, and definitely someone I never forgot.

          So this year I plan eat healthier as I always do, and find time for more ukulele, more card games, more theater, more music, more knitting,  more thrift stores, more knitting and things I really love. I encourage all of us to remember this year to make time, schedule time, to do things we enjoy. I think it makes us all healthier, happier and set good examples for those watching us as well. One day our kids will remember something they did with us like I do Mom’s guitar playing, in a full circle. Why not make it a colorful, well rounded circle?    

Friday, June 20, 2014

Love of a Lifetime

 


                 (Picture by paulasserindipity.blogspot)

 
Love That Lasts a Lifetime


What’s the first thing that goes through your mind when you see a picture like the one above? Study it a minute. Do you wonder what they are talking about? What they are thinking looking out at the endless water?  If you’re like me the thought that follows is something like… “I always wanted a love like that...an inseparable, unbreakable, Notebook kind of love”. How many of those loves do you personally know? Did you say not many?  I venture to say you know more than you think!


When I was a teenager, I think I dated three people before Kerry and got married a month after I turned eighteen. Not because I was pregnant or for any other reason, other than I couldn’t think of anything greater than being married to Kerry and waking up with him every day. I came from a time of when you were going to sleep with somebody, you better be married.  From the time I met him, how I felt about him was different from anyone else. He was and is the love of my life.


 I’d be lying if I said I knew how tough it was going to be! Not long after I got married and my friends were still going out, I was a little sad that I was staying home. When I found out what a temper Kerry had, I wondered how can he say he loves me so much,  but yet get this mad at me once a month or so? I’m sure I wasn’t all Kerry thought I was either. I think he had the idea the husband was the final say, the boss, the money holder and I was to be submissive. If you know me submissive is one word in the dictionary I missed! I am and have always been, determined to be what I believe I was born to be, and follow what I feel is God’s plan for my life.
 
                                    Picture from flickr

 
I gave my all to my husband and family. Kerry and I had our stereotypical gender roles and followed them. I being the woman, cooked all the meals, grocery shopped, washed all the clothes, minded the kids who were all my responsibility to bathe, discipline and tend to. He worked at one and two jobs at times to support us and did a good job of it. He had to be the handyman, the mechanic, and do the “man stuff”.

We were happy a lot of the time. We're either laughing, joking and having fun,  or screaming, fighting and not getting along. Fights seemed to come out of the blue. But after every fight came new promises of change and we both believed change was on the way. So we muddled on.

You have heard me say before that marriage is like thinking your going to Hawaii and winding up in Alaska…still pretty but just a whole different thing than your young mind thinks it was going to be. No map, no trail your just whacking your way through life with a machete! Not very pretty when you look back but you blazed a trail none the less.  

I know couples our age that have been married around forty years too that got to where they are with a whole lot less drama than Kerry and I. One couple has just kind of run parallel down the road side by side, all these years. She stayed in her lane and he stayed in his. They didn’t have all the trips to "Crazyville" we had, they just didn’t interact much at all. They went in their own cars and showed up at the same functions. They just didn’t communicate much. Their lanes are running a little closer together these days.

Another couple I know has survived years of infidelity. Just looking the other way at all that went with that. They too never had the crazy fighting we had. A polite topical on the outside, relationship that hid both peoples real feelings. In the end it was all put in the past and they had a lot of  joy from having stuck it out and the reward that came from from that decision. They were closer than ever at the end of their lives.

Another love I know was more fighting and struggling this time with alcoholism. She’d have to literally escape sometimes to get away from him when he was drinking, yet they are inseparable all these years later. He is her best friend and she his.

Other of our friends seem to have been each other’s half since they got together. But years of him not working and other issues nearly tore them apart at one point. They too are closer now that they are older. They have been left with no kids at home and who else but that person that’s walked the same walk as you, wants to talk about the kids like you do? Who else shares your worries, your pride and their kids now?

My own parents didn’t get to live their’s all out. My Dad passed away after thirty years of marriage,  and they had had their share of problems like everyone else. There had been infidelity and communication problems but when he lay in the hospital bed at the end of his life,  and he seemed to know his time was short. Believe me, he wanted to be with my Mom and would have been for eternity had he been granted that chance.


                           keefkeef.blogspot.com

My point to this blog is that wouldn't it be great if we all stop feeling like we don’t have that love like the old people in the pictures? A PERFECT love. Maybe imperfect is perfect? I don’t know any that had no down times, do you? Kerry’s and mine is more like the couple directly above. She’s being bossy, and he’s wondering what the hell she’s talking about (even the bird seems a little leary of her). The relationship however is honest, real and both of us have the best of intentions to live peacefully, it just runs off the rails at times!  There really might not even be ANY perfect love stories, do you agree? I think it’s ok too,  if there isn’t.  It’s an incredible thing to have worked for the relationship, weathered the storms… the personal storms, that are unique to only that one love.  They’re still muddling through, whatever the struggles. Looking back at that path,  its not straight, it's not neat and surely the outcome was never well planned, but they made it. Now that is a testament to real love!

Some friends got into marriages that didn’t work, and one of them decided the struggles were to much, the price was to high.  They cut the cord and let the marriage go. That probably saved everyone a lot of turmoil, because every case is different, and every decision has pros and cons.  Today maybe they are lucky enough to be in love with the love of their lives. That’s their love story, that’s what worked for them. Everyone has a unique love story! The length of it is just that… the length of it.

I’m happy Kerry and I are still together. Still laughing and having fun one minute, only to fight about the radio five seconds later. Important stuff like that you know…after forty years!  We enjoy Easton and all that’s going on with our kids. Soon were going to be Grandparents again, and get a new daughter in law, who we love!  When I’m sick and I call Kerry…he’s concerned about me, he checks on me and just the sound of his voice gives me comfort. The kids gave us shirts for our anniversary that said, Married since 1973 on the back. On the front it says, “14,975 days but who’s counting”! We got so many people asking about our shirts as we were pushing Easton around in a stroller Hawaii.  

So next time we look at aged faces capturing perfect love, maybe if we were more realistic with ourselves, and took off our rose colored glasses we’d see struggle, lots of it, that led them to this place of facing the uncertain years huddled together with determination to get to the other side with dignity and trust you only have in that one special person! Let’s rejoice in our personal love stories, now matter how long they’ve been going on or how long they last. Give ourselves a pat on the back! Here’s to us! Here’s to love!  Cheers!

 

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Yummy in the Tummy


I have jotted down how Syd and I make Easton’s baby food for some of the girls’ friends who are asking me. I am just a Grandma, not a nutritionist so this is just how we did it, not thee way to do it. When the doctor said to go ahead and give Easton solid foods this is how we did it.

First of all we bought these trays from Amazon. There are cheaper ones on Amazon now but I haven’t used them. Some covers look like they slide on… I dunno about that.  


 



 


We bought organic fruits and vegetables when we could. Sprouts has a good selection, but any of the grocery stores and Wal-Mart has organic produce. We also bought a Nutribullet which was perfect for the job of pureeing.

We started with rice cereal and oat meal. After four days of each of them, we tried apples. I peeled, cooked and pureed about six apples in distilled water about half way up the apples. After freezing them we fed him one cube once a day for four days, (watching for any allergy symptoms like rash or breathing issues), to start out with. After four days we made carrots (organic baby carrots) the same way we made the apples. Only cook them until they are soft enough to puree. For example, we fed him apples and rice cereal in the morning and carrots and oatmeal at night after enough days had past. Next we added one fruit or veg every four days. In the stage one category are:

 Apples


Apricots

Mango

Nectarines

Papaya

Peaches

Pears

Plums

Prunes


Carrots

Green beans

Peas

Squash

Sweet Potato

He also ate bananas and avocados( he doesn’t like avocados much but we try it) which we didn’t freeze and fed mashed up

 

After the baby food is cooked, pureed, and frozen at least over night, we bagged them in labeled gallon baggies (dollar store) and put them in the freezer. I get the cubes out of the trays by running hot water on the bottom of the tray. The trays with the green lid just take a quick twist. The mumi ones you have to push one end of the cube with your finger and they come out. You can even freeze breast milk in these but we just used the little plastic bags for that.  I did use my microwave about twenty seconds to thaw them knowing cooking in the microwave might be not as good as heating on the stove but it was fast.

We added whole milk yogurt at eight months and he started eating three times a day- the recipe for that is on my blog too. He ate these foods until he was a year old, and the doctor told us he could eat whatever we ate. At that time we started mixing and adding to the list.

We are still experimenting as he is only fourteen months now. We don’t have a full menu but some of the things Easton likes, that we added are green peas mixed with organic black beans ( which I freeze in the cubes with a little water on the top, I don’t have to puree them for some reason and he likes them)! At fourteen months he eats two or three green pea cubes and one black bean mixed in. I also make him chicken pot pie, puree it and freeze it in cubes. We also buy organic rotisserie chicken, roast it a little longer with some water in the bottom of the pan, let it cool and puree it with some of the water for chicken cubes. He only eats one of those because it’s solid protein. I make cauliflower and broccoli and add some white cheese, puree it, and freeze. I make him whole wheat baby pancakes and freeze them in a gallon zip lock and take out what I need. He’s up to five little pancakes in the morning with some spiced apples (apples with cinnamon in them). I make pumpkin pie filling and freeze that. We have frozen mashed potatoes.  If I have left over bean soup I puree it. You wouldn’t have to puree it at this point but he has only certain things he likes the texture of. He could be eating macaroni and cheese and lots of things you will think of but he doesn’t like a lot yet. The doctor wants Easton to drink two cups of whole milk a day so he has yogurt every lunch right now, with a vegetable and a fruit on top and a little pumpkin muffin or raisin toast or something. If he has a green veg at lunch then he has orange at night or vise versa. I keep potato flakes and rice cereal handy and if whatever hes going to eat is runny or something I add tablespoon of potatos or a little rice cereal to thicken it.  

I could go into a long spiel about how much cheaper this is but I will leave it at this. Apples are 2.67 a bag and one bag makes about 40 cubes. That is .07 a cube. There are probably three cubes in a pouch of apples for 1.83 in some stores compared to .21 cents and you know what’s in it! When you are going somewhere you just put the frozen cubes in the bowls. I like these because the lids are good and tight.

 
 

When were home we heat in glass bowls only, like the ones below.


 


This is just a rough guideline. It depends on your children, your life, how busy you are, and how making baby food fits into your life. If you’re already doing a balancing act then it’s probably not for you because it is time consuming, which is the biggest drawback. For Sydney and me it was good because I am home all day, and she is a single Mom without a lot of money. I was asked to write this down for some of the kids’ friends and that’s all this is…what we did. Growing up all of my kids ate Gerber’s in a glass jar, drank juice etc because that’s what we did then so don’t beat yourself up if that’s what you want to do.
 
They all grow up! Speaking of that this is the cutest baby movie.
 
 
 
 It shows how babies all over the world have a different norm and all grow up fine!  Here’s to all the sweet babies in the world!
 
 

 

 

 

 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins

My little grandson has been eating these muffins since he was about 8 mo old. They are one of his favorite things to eat so I decided to jot it down. Maybe there are other babies that would love them too. Wholesome ingredients are the best part.

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins
 

 

8    TBSP coconut oil

1  cup sugar

4  eggs

2  cups pumpkin puree

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 TBSP pumpkin pie spice

3/4 tsp salt

2 2/3 cups whole wheat flour

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line about 50 ( if that’s too many cut the recipe in half) muffin cups with paper liners.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the coconut oil and sugar until well mixed. Add the eggs, pumpkin and vanilla and continue mixing until smooth.
  3. Mix in the baking powder, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Add flour a little bit at a time until everything is well mixed.
  4. Spoon batter into the muffin cups, this doesn’t rise much so you can almost fill them.
  5. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean
These muffins are dense and not crumbly for a baby to handle. Serve warmed up with a little butter on them. Keeps well in the freezer so you can take out one or two as needed.   

Monday, January 13, 2014

Home Made Vanilla Greek Yogurt



 

This is my recipe to make yogurt. I started making it for Easton, my then 8 mo old grandson, but I eat it too. If you have babies… it’s so simple, wholesome and cheap. Babies as you probably know need fat and are supposed to be drinking whole milk according to the AAP after the age of one. About 8 mos old they can start on whole milk yogurt because yogurt is digested differently than milk. The story behind this yogurt making of mine is that when Easton was born, Sydney being a single Mom wanted to feed him as cheaply and wholesomely as we could. We’ve been making his food all along.

You will need a crock pot, although you can follow the same procedure on the stove, I just haven’t tried it.

You’ll need a gallon of organic WHOLE milk (I use Shamrock here in AZ)

A 12 oz carton of organic (I use Stony field) Plain yogurt. (Nothing in it but milk and milk cultures). * I buy organic milk, and yogurt, because I don’t like the antibiotics in reg. milk but you can use any whole milk if you are comfortable or even raw milk.   

1 to 1½ cup sugar

2 TBSP vanilla

I start this process about noon on a day that I will be home all afternoon. It’s not time consuming but you need to be around to watch the temperature. Every crock pot heats up at a different speed, so for the first few times you make it,  note how long your crock pot took to get to the desired temp ...YOU DON"T WANT TO BOIL IT!

 

 Start by pouring the milk into the crock pot and heating it on high it until it reaches 180 degrees on a candy thermometer like the one below, to kill all the bacteria in the milk. This takes about 2 hours in my crock pot but it will depend on your pot, and the amount of milk you put in as well. If a scum forms on the milk while you're checking the temp just skim it off and throw it away.

 

 Once the milk reaches 180, unplug the crock pot and let it sit covered for a couple hours or so until the temp cool down to 110 degrees. You cool the milk to that temp so it’s not too warm to kill off the new cultures you are going to add when you add the yogurt starter to make the new batch of yogurt. 
 

 
At the 110 degree point you add 12 oz of yogurt and mix into the milk with a whisk.  No need to whip it just mix it in good. Make sure the yogurt you buy has nothing but milk and milk cultures in it (no pectin or stablizers), if you want to stay true to the nothing added for babies, although any yogurt will work. At that time you can add the sugar to your own liking, and pure vanilla and stir it all together throughly.  ( I tried other more organic sweeteners like maple syrup, etc. but I didn't like the taste so went back to sugar. Like I said this is how I make it, not how it is to be made, chiseled in stone. A recipe is just a starting place... mess around with it and make it your own like you and your family like it. Maybe you'd rather use a pot than a crock pot for example, or you like yours unsweetened. 
 
After you mix the sugar, starter yogurt, and vanilla in, put the lid back on the crock pot leaving it unplugged ( so no one messes with the knobs ) crock pot, and cover and tuck around three bath towels making a warm, dark environment for bacteria to grow. Let is sit there for 12 hours or so (overnight). When you open the lid there may be water standing on top. That is called whey and is full of protein and vitamins and a wonderful probiodics. You can drain that off, if you like a thicker yogurt and use it in something else.  I never do I just mix it back in to the yogurt and then pour the yogurt into a plastic bowl with a pouring spout to fill my jars neatly. I invested in some little jars just because I like them but it can be stored in any jar with a cover.  The jars I like are these from Amazon, although they will leak if tipped over in a lunch bag the reviews say, but I only keep them in the fridge so I love them.
http://www.amazon.com/Euro-Cuisine-GY1920-Glass-Yogurt/dp/B000EWX4CA/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1389336005&sr=8-2&keywords=glass+jars+set+small
 

The batch this size makes 24 6 oz jars of yogurt. I feed my Grandson one every day so that’s how long it last depending on how many I eat, it’s so good! It keeps in the fridge up to a month, however I’m always out by then. You can cut the recipe in half if you want to.

Now, do the math money wise. A carton of yogurt is on average $1.25 per 6 ounce serving. The home made yogurt was 3.83 for the milk, .75 for the sugar, .25 for the vanilla and 3.24 for the 12 oz Greek yogurt starter. That adds up to 8.07 divided by 24 = 33.6 cents compared to 1.25. It’s a little less firm, than the yogurt that has stabilizers and pectin etc... but not enough to make a huge difference and you know they are eating just milk, yogurt, sugar and vanilla, rather than an inch of stuff on a carton you don’t even know what it is. Easton likes it plain, or sometimes I put fruit in it. I have pureed strawberries ( after baby is a year) . Until then they can have blueberries, peaches, apples or many other fruits. It’s so simple, I hope you enjoy it.