Friday, January 28, 2011

How I Menu Plan with a Baby

Ever since Peanut was born, I have struggled with finding a way to keep healthy meals on our table without going crazy planning and shopping for them. I used to be able to take my time planning out exactly what we would eat, complete with a shopping list reflective of store sale fliers and coupon deals. I used to save a lot of money using coupons and sales! However, Peanut makes this process much more difficult, and as such, I've had to entirely rethink how I do things.

A trip to the grocery store without a list is probably the biggest budget buster one can make. I know our bank accounts have been reflective of these impulse buys the past 6 months! I really needed to figure out a way to get back on track, without losing my sanity in the meantime.

Enter, E-Mealz. I had heard about e-mealz over a year ago, but I didn't think it was worth it for our family at that time. But now that we have an energetic baby in the family, that has definitely changed! E-Mealz is an affordable menu-planning service that not only plans out a week's worth of meals for your family, but they also provide a shopping list for your grocery store for those items. E-Mealz bases their menus off circular and sale prices, with the total grocery cost ranging from $35 to $90 a week depending on the meal plan you choose to go with (They have Aldi plans that start at $35 and Gluten Free plans that average $90). You get all this for only $5 a month - that's only $1.25 a week! They have plans for 2 people as well as the standard family plan which feeds 4-6 people.

If you're worried about liking the meals, rest assured, I have tested over 2 weeks worth of meals and can attest that they are delicious and easy to make! I have been impressed with this service so much. It has been well worth the money and then some! If you're struggling with planning meals out for your family, staying on budget in the grocery store or just spending too much time doing your own planning, then I encourage you to give e-mealz a try! My only regret is that I didn't do it sooner!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Food for Baby

Now that Peanut has been eating more solids, I've begun making my own baby food for her. Check out my post over at my food blog, No Preservatives Added, on Homemade Baby Food!
(Oh, and she also enjoys a bit of table food too! Whatever Mommy C and Daddy C are eating seems look good to her, haha!)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Wonder of a Belly Laugh

It's amazing what makes my baby laugh. Random things. Normal occurrences. People being people.

The other day, after Daddy C had returned from a long day at work, we went into the bedroom and laid down on the bed together (normally we eat dinner first, but the broccoli was taking longer than usual!).

Apparently, this was the funniest thing Peanut has ever seen: I set my head down and brought it back up to look at her, and she immediately started belly laughing. We were so confused, but delighted all the same. I did it again and she busted out with another precious roll of laughter. Her face was turning red from giggling so hard! She was having a blast! Daddy C and Mommy C just looked at each other and began laughing along (how can you not laugh when a baby is so happy?!). It was such a special moment.

Times like these remind me of the beauty of life - enjoying and capturing these tiny pockets of joy amidst the everyday. It helps you focus on what's really important. Not the piles of laundry, the mile-long to-do list, the dusty house or what's for dinner; but people- the amazing relationships we have with each other and our family.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Tooth Fairy

Yesterday, as I was feeding Peanut her dinner (homemade baby food - sweet potatoes!), I felt a little "clink" when she chomped down on the spoon. Curious, I opened her mouth between bites.

Ah, yes!

A tooth!!

Peanut officially has sprouted her very first pearly white!

I would post a picture, but she never sits still long enough for me to take one. It's not a full blown tooth yet, but it's a tooth nonetheless. No wonder the poor baby was occasionally screaming out in her sleep!

My one concern with this tooth sprouting is that more are on the way. Aiy aiy aiy - teething babies are no fun :-( Luckily she will take a pacifier every now and then, so that helps sometimes. Oh, and the chewing, chewing, chewing on anything within her reach!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Have a Seat!

For a while now, Peanut has been attempting to sit unsupported, but she always came crashing down to the back or side or nose-dived forward. I've been putting her in the infant seat to help her sit up so she can play with her toys better (currently, her favorite thing to do is taking all of her toys out of the small box they are kept in and dropping them on the other side!). This past weekend, we ate in a couple resturants and tried putting her in the high chairs provided. This worked for about 5 minutes before she got tired and wanted to be held.

This week, however, she has begun sitting on her own for longer periods of time. She's not completely there yet, but has definitely come a long way! Hooray!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

New Year Craziness

It's been a busy month for the Campbell Castle. Not only have we been traveling across the country to visit family, but we're also in the process of yet another move. This time, we're moving back to my hometown in Ohio to be near family. It will likely be our final move for the next 5-10 years. We're very much looking forward to settling down once and for all!

At the moment, we are in the middle of house-hunting. Needless to say that has taken up much of our free-time! Although this will be our first house, the process has actually gone much smoother than we anticipated, partly because we had already house-hunted before in the past. However, it does take a lot of time and can get stressful- I'm thankful I have a wonderful sister who works in real estate to help answer all the myriad of questions!

In anticipation of the big move, I have been decluttering our apartment like crazy. This is not your normal decluttering either - 6 large trash bags made their way to the goodwill donation drop off just last week and more have piled up near our front door waiting for their turn. I am going room by room and finally pitching many items I have been hanging on to for far too long. Nothing is exempt from my intense scrutinizing! Not even the cats! (Ok, well, at least not their toys...) It feels so much better already. I don't want to move needless boxes/weight/stuff/clutter into our new home. My plan is to eliminate future clutter buildup by being on the offense and embracing a more minimalist lifestyle. So far so good!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Homemade Baby Quilt

I finally finished Dallas' baby quilt! The one I began, oh, way back in 2000 of 9. That's 15 months if anyone is counting... 15 months of procrastination! I win an award for this one - I sewed the last seam on Christmas Eve evening, just in time to place it under the tree for the next day. I have to say, I have never been prouder of my sewing abilities! Of course, it is very much handmade, which you can tell by the sloppy edges (which, I did try really hard at getting straight, mind you!), but I love it.

All this sewing has got me dreaming up the next project I'll tackle - an infant car-seat cover! I will be sure to update on how it turns out!

And if anyone is interested, I followed these easy steps from the Life: Frugal and Simple how-to video.