Monday, February 28, 2011

Finger Foods - 9 Months

Eleanor has not been a fan of letting us feed her lately - everyone says she is becoming independent while I am freaking out that she isn't getting the nutrients she needs becasue she can't feed herself all the vegetables I can puree quite yet to therefore get her optimal nutrients needed to keep her healthy! I then realized this is the beginning of many more moments she will crave independence and I, her worrisome mother will fight tooth and nail to keep her, my sweet baby, close and under my control ha! I guess this is where I need to learn to practice trusting God that He will lead her when I can't...maybe a little dramatic when using that statement to talk about her food independence but still...this is the beginning nonetheless.

Anyway, I have been trying various finger foods with her, here are a few she has had. She loves most. The vegetables take some getting used to but we just keep offering them hoping she will eventually like and not spit them out. Luckily, she, especially with peas, will pick one up, spit it out, and then reach for another thinking maybe it will taste different I guess and then the process starts over again ha!

Eleanor has tried:

- bananas (sliced then the slices halved and cut three times)
- whole cooked peas
- the top (floret) part of cooked broccoli
- steamed and sliced up butternut squash
- cooked zuccini sliced into tiny pieces
- cooked carrots and then sliced super thin
- shredded cheddar and mozzerella cheese (DEVOURS...we are cutting down on this snack)
- rice (tried to make cilantro lime rice and accidentally bought parsley instead of cilantro...she liked it anyway :))
- avocado
- black beans
- shredded baked or boiled chicken (loves it)
- pieces of whole wheat bread
- whole wheat pancakes (LOVES them)
- pan seared tilapia (had seasoning on it but we gave her pieces under the seasoning)
- turkey breakfast sausage cooked and cut up into tiny pieces
- turkey meatballs (I made sure the garlic chunks weren't in what I gave her)
- fresh parsley (she has had it in the meatball and in the rice)
- blueberries (quartered, fresh)
- egg yolks (she didn't like at all - prob. bc they are pretty strong...we will wait until she can eat the whites too and give her scrambled eggs before probably offering eggs again.)
She mostly likes bread (pancakes or wheat bread), cheese, and any kind of meat/fish we have put in front of her. Bananas are something she delights in as well but the problem is all of those are still white/yellow. She needs some greens, reds, and oranges on her plate so here I am, a mother on a quest to get her to have a more colorful this too OCD for a 9 month old? Am I stressing over something silly right now? My quest to have a healthy, non-picky eater continues.
Hope this helps if anyone is wondering what finger foods their 9mo. old+ can have :)

Our feeding routine now includes us trying to feed her the usual portion (whatever food I have cooked and food processed into a puree) and then also letting her finger food it in between bites as after two or three bites she pushed the spoon away and doesn't want us feeding her. Below are some pictures of her trying her new spoon out. We let her hold HER spoon, sometimes put food on it for her to feed herself, and let her feed herself with her hands (finger foods) while trying to sneak her pureed meal in at the same time. It is a major mess these days but she is learning, so whatever it takes! Might I re-state, Eleanor is a BEAUTIFUL MESS when she eats :) Love her!

White Shoes AFTER Easter, WHAT!?

This warm weather has made Eleanor's leather Mary Janes seem so out of place so we bought her spring/summer sandals a little early - I couldn't resist the cute bows and she loves them too! What can I say, she takes after her mother and her crazy shoe fettish. She is wearing the same dress her "Mejor Amiga en Nicaragua," Perlita has - maybe Aunt MEA can photoshop pics of them in the dresses so we can have a "picture" of them together.
I am breaking the "no white before Easter" rule but figure it can be overlooked when on a cute little baby! Do love her!

This picture was so cool because I caught her paci in the middle of it falling out of her mouth so she could smile nice and big for the picture!

My two loves :)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Eleanor's First Trip to the Park

On the first pretty weekend in February, we took Eleanor to kid country in Coppell and she had so much fun swinging! She actually spent the afternoon prior to the park JUMPING in her exersaucer so she was kind of sleepy in the swing but she enjoyed it!

Aunt MEA came too! We love when she comes to visit and spend time with us! She truly is Eleanor's twin! Or Eleanor is of these days I will compare their baby pics in a post and you will understand...
Here's to many more fun days and beautiful weather in the park!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Buying Bright Colorful Bags = Helping My Impoverished School

OK so maybe impoverished is a bit harsh but I work at a "Title 1" School and the way to qualify for that is to have 40% or more of your students considered "low income" and on free/reduced lunch. We have A LOT more than 40%. Most of my students, in fact all but one, are on free and reduced lunches.
That being said, we don't have a lot of monetary support coming from our families which is understandable but also means that a lot of the responsibility in coming up for money for supplies, field trips, school parties falls on the school and in many cases, the teachers themselves.
We have quite a few fundraisers each year to help support our school but they never yield too much aid as the people our children sell to are usually in the same position as their own families and aren't able to spend extra money on cookie dough, wrapping paper, whatever else a fundraising company comes up with.

I have always wanted to offer those products to my friends/family but resisted as, honestly, in the case of the cookie dough and pies, wouldn't buy them myself. This was until our newest fundraiser arrived...MIXED BAGS.

These bags we are selling are made of basically the same material you would see on a tarp. They are washable and very durable, you can literally "hose them down". They come in adorable patterns and all different sizes. This is my favorite, their "hold everything" bag, I like the Damask print, this link takes you there:

They are also in favor of the "green movement" as they sell the famous grocery bags (but much bigger and more durable than those you see at the groc.) and these really awesome snack pouches that you can put a sandwich, some carrots, or cheerios, etc. in, in lieu of the many ziplocks (my family at least) goes through a week packing lunches. Here is the link to one of the designs: Their lunch sacks are also insulated and easy to wipe down!

On the grocery bag note...a lot of these bags are cloth/polyester and must be machine washed. If you own some of these purchased at your favorite local grocery store, you hopefully wash them as they can easily become contaminated. The annoying part is having to put them in the washer and letting them air dry and using up all the water a load of laundry uses. With the MIXED BAG grocery bag, you can literally squirt some dish soap in, hose and scrub it down, and then wipe it dry with a towel. I also noted that it is much bigger and more durable than any of the other grocery bags I have purchased (mine came from Whole Foods, Kroger, and Market Street to name a few who roped me into buying them...).
I am telling you this so that you can be educated about what I think is a super worthy and of course also cute and fun product and if you are interested, request you check it out so to support my school! You can view them on their website: but DO NOT ORDER THEM THRE. Aikin will not get credit for bags ordered online. You will have to order from me and we would appreciate greatly if you did! You may email me at if you are interested! Thank you for taking the time to read this!

Eleanor is 9 Months Old!

We no longer want to sit during the photo shoot - we must stand!

Eleanor doing one of her new tricks - pointing!

Oh my goodness, three months until I have a one year old!? This has been SUCH an exciting month for Eleanor! She has become as many of us say a little child now, not a baby anymore, tear from her mom :(.

I can't even begin to list the many things she has started doing this month, here are a few:

She now waves properly (her hand facing out and bending at a 90 degree angle rather than facing herself which I must say was quite cute). She also waves by just shaking her hand back and forth. She even started pointing (well a day after her "9month bday" but we will count it during the 9th month).

She has three words she can say now: Pop Pop, Mama (MMMah or Mah Mah Mah), and UP. We think she knows the meaning of up too but are still determining. She knows who Pop Pop and Mama are for sure :)

She has started eating food that actually LOOKS like something I would eat including:

- grated cheese (mozzarella and sharp cheddar are what she has tried)

- Plain Whole Milk Organic Yogurt (she made a face at the sour taste but then got used to it when mixed with pureed mango or peach
- pureed peaches and broccoli
- the little "tree" part of the broccoli in little pieces for her to reach for
- shredded pieces of boiled chicken
- whole wheat bread smooshed in little balls or I give her a quarter of a piece of bread and she knaws on it
- wheat teething bisquits

She has thrown a few more temper tantrums and definitely knows what she wants still. She is becoming much more deliberate with her movements and it is so fun to watch her play. She is getting much better at playing independently too! I am able to get the vegetables at least cut for dinner before she wants me to play with her or crawls over to some mischief.

She gets told no to the following things she LOVES to do and still pushes our buttons at trying to get:

- play in the fireplace
- climb on the dishwasher
- put wires in her mouth from the computer to the phone cord...YIKES! This is a major time that I have to stop and say a firm "NO" to her...

A few other things Eleanor can do...She can hold her big water cup on her own ,drink from a straw and hold her cup while doing it. She loves drinking from a straw!

She weighs about 19lbs with her clothes on (she was weight naked at the office and was almost 18 lbs. and then went in the next day for her cold and weight 19). She is ______ inches long (50th%) and her head measures (65th%)
She is crawling everywhere and is pulling up a lot more, she is starting to like to stand! She is also SUCH a curious baby and even figured out how to open her snacks container...a definite quick plug for our favorite disolvable snacks, esp. because she likes them and they have kale, spinach, and other greens in them! SUPER healthy! :)

She had her first (and is still suffering from) real cold. She has had it almost three weeks now with a fever on and off no more than 101, a runny nose, wicked croupy cough, and at times, not so cheerful demeanor which is to be expected. To treat it, we give her tylenol when her fever spikes, and have a humidifier in her room at night. She also gets saline spray in her nose which then gets suctioned out and she acts like we are stabbing her to death in the process. My favorite saline spray is called "Simply Saline" for babies. It is the same sodium concentration as the adults but it has a cool feature on the top of the sprayer for their little noses so that in the rush of spraying in their nose while their head is turning each way trying to avoid it, you don't shove the sprayer too far up their little schnoz's.

Eleanor still LOVES to read. To her book favorites she has added Andy and I love reading to her becasue she just chuckles to herself the entire time. She also, when eating before reading, will sit up and look at the table next to the chair with the books on it just to make sure they are there and then talk to them as if she is telling them to come to the chair and read with her! I LOVE that she already loves books! She is always grabbing the next book to read from the pile and loves to turn the pages in the books for us. I am seriously on cloud nine, I hope this love for reading continues!

Eleanor's Valentine's present was a walker! She loves it - it plays piano, speaks to her in spanish as well as english and she can learn colors, numbers, etc. on it. Not only that, but it has already made her take some of her first steps. We of course don't have them on camera and she got a little scared after her first couple run throughs and just plops on her bottom whenever we try to get her to walk with it now but I am very happy with the purchase! The best part was that we still had gc's from Aunt Gail (thank you!:)) so it was free! It is also on sale!

Sweet, girl, you are a light in our lives and we are so thankful to have you! We live for the weekends and the weeknights when we get to see your smile and hold you (though you are really enjoying squirming away and crawling to whatever it is you have your eye on at the moment). You make us smile with every move you make and every new thing you learn! We love you sweet girl!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

5 Teeth!

Eleanor cut her 5th tooth today! CRAZY that my little girl is growing up so fast :( Picture to come...

Monday, February 14, 2011


Andy and I have never been the types to celebrate Valentines in a BIG way - we can't let ourselves spend triple the amount on flowers/gifts, dinner out, etc. on one day when we could get them for a much lower price a day later. Not that we think badly of the rest of the world who does, we just dont. We ALSO always celebrated our anniversary (that of when we first started dating in February 2005) on February 10th so it seemed silly to do the same kind of celebration 4 days later...

Since our initial opinions of Vday - we always kept it small. I have always made him sugar cookies with hard pink powdered sugar frosting (the only time I could ever give him something pink) and he usually got me a card or got me chocolate.

This year was PERFECT. I didn't have any expectations because he had a basketball game and I knew wouldn't be getting home until almost 9pm. Not to go all country movie on you but, Momma always says when you have no expectations, you can't get let down and can only be surprised and was I ever. I had a card ready from me and one from Eleanor that she personally signed...well I tried to get her to even though she was more interested in eating the pen.

Eleanor side note - she was in such a great mood when we got home from Marmi's tonight. She ate her first meaty delicacy, chicken, tonight, and then bathed and even let me do a little photo shoot in her red Valentine's dress her godmother, Jenna, sent her. We opened her card from Marmi and enjoyed our own little Valentine's night. She then let me put her down so easily and fell asleep after she sang herself there while sticking her arm through her crib slat and banging her paci on the crib....I sent Andy in to make sure her arm wasn't stuck!

I then made and ate the yummy salad I had been looking forward to all day...don't think I was being too healthy because it was loaded with balsalmic dressing, black beans, onions, tomatoes, and AVOCADO along with of course a staple, grilled chicken. It is funny to see what everyone posted for their fancy vday dinner...I made myself a salad ha! While eating, I was enjoying a wonderfully scandalous and put you on the edge of your seat episode of nothing other than "The Batchelor." How could this night get any better?

Andy walked in with a smile on his face and a card and Kroger bag in hand. My sweet husband brought our favorite ice cream - Ben and Jerry's HALF BAKED! I haven't seen that in our freezer in almost a year! What a treat :)

My simple Valentine's Day was exactly that as Andy and I exchanged cards, drank a glass of wine and spooned some "half baked" - I of course fishing to find the brownie and cookie dough chunks :)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Sick Days for Ellie Bellie

Poor Baby girl has been sick for almost a week now. Nothing too terrible but still very bothersome for her. She has had a runny and clogged up nose and a cough that seems to keep getting worse :( She hasn't really had a fever over 100 and her drainage is clear which leads me to think it isn't a bacterial infection...yet....

It is just miserable for little ones because I can't give her a sudafed or cough medicine to help, it is like she just has to ride it out with a humidifier and the miserable squirts of saline spray in her nose only to be sucked out with incredible amounts of un-ending SNOT with the little bulb sucker. I hate to host a pity party but it is so hard to hold her down and push my legs on her hands as she tries with all her might to fight it and looks at me with her poor little swollen sick eyes crying and pouting thinking, "Why is my mommy who is supposed to love me more than anyone doing this to me!?" Certainly it must be close to chinese water torture...

Poor baby, I hate it for her and hope she gets better soon...until then, hopefully the humidifier and saline spray will do their jobs though I am not optimistic. I then think, well hopefully all the vitamins in these fresh fruits and veggies I am feeding her will do the trick which then makes me wish I could give her chicken noodle soup - my remedy for getting over ANY cold - it works like a CHARM! Oh well...maybe I could spoon her the broth?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Krups Waffle Maker F654

So I decided to finally use the waffle maker we got well let me re-phrase I bought us, for Christmas. I had wanted one since we registered for our wedding but couldn't find one we liked. When I made my Christmas list I had decided I would get a waffle iron but of course decided quickly on one that was on sale when MEA and I were outlet shopping and didn't research first.

What drew my attention to it was that it made HUGE waffles and had nice deep pocket holes for the powedered sugar to fill up. I didn't check EVERYTHING on it though for what I wanted...

When I opened the box I noticed my first dissapointment - the plates don't come off!? My parent's OBG waffle iron has removable plates that can be washed so you literally don't have to submerge the waffle iron in the sink (not that I would...). This one didn't...oh well I decided I could get over that...THEN I was reading the directions and learned that the lights that switch on and off and (on my parents' waffle iron) tell you when the iron is hot enough and then when it is ready for the waffles to be done, on this iron just tells you the temp. You have to time yourself 4 - 6 min. WHAT?! Fine, I decided to get over that as well and move on...

When I finally decided to try out my waffle recipe (Pioneer All Purpose Biscuit Mix, add and egg and some milk ha) much to my dismay, the waffles wouldn't come out! It wasn't that they were sticking to the majorly teflon coated plate, it was that the holes were so deep that the waffle was getting stuck. I don't know what else to say except that I am NOT a fan of this iron.

From what I can remember in working with waffle irons, the waffles are supposed to just lift right, not need to be PRYED off the iron.

SO I bought this in November and am hoping that maybe whenever it is that I go back to San Marcos to the WS Outlet that they will take it back. If not, garage sale?