Going Green: Baby-Led Weaning

Okay, so this isn’t really a Going Green post, but since it fits in with the idea of eating fresh, eating organic, I’ll add it to the series.

Have you heard of Baby-Led Weaning? It’s a new, well actually, old idea on introducing solid foods to infants. Way before we had baby spoons and Cuisinarts, babies learned to eat ‘adult food’ by handling, sniffing, tasting, gumming and squishing whatever they were introduced to.

That means big chunks of food for babies to ‘palm’ (since most don’t yet have a pincher grasp by 6 months) and play with. Big chunks might include a strip of toast, a slice of peach or a large chunk of chicken. Any food cut long enough that they can both grasp it in their fist and gnaw on it.

Some of Liv’s favorites? Sliced peaches, pears and apples (sometimes raw, sometimes a little cooked or stewed), strips of roasted carrots, broccoli, sweet potato, squash (roast all of the above with a little salt, pepper & olive oil – let cool), diced plums, blueberries, apricots (small pieces to practice grasping), hunks of chicken, pork, beef, ribs (really!) and sliced bread (loves it toasted), cornbread, avocado and eggs.

At this point she’s still 100% breastfed, so the quantity she takes in is up to her.

BLW means skipping pureed and mashed foods for ‘table foods’, or basically whatever the family is eating for dinner. We decided to experiment with the concept (no extra work pureeing everything? the opportunity for Liv to pick and choose her foods – and hopefully grow to love our dinners – herself? sounds great) and introduced Liv to roasted carrots and Italian broccoli (you know, the long kind that looks a bit like an asparagus) at about 6 months. She’s checking out sliced plouts (plum + apricot = yum) and cornbread above.

I still cut up food that is of choking size (such as these little blueberries which she devours) so she can feed herself.

No, she’s not really pointing :). Liv’s been practicing her hand eye coordination to get that pincher grasp (thumb and forefinger) down – all while playing with her food.

The one downfall? It’s so messy!!

As you can imagine, if baby gets to control where the food goes, it goes everywhere. Thankfully our yellow lab, Bodie, is quick to catch most of the chunks that go tumbling off of her tray!

You have to get used to the idea that about 2/3 of the food that you first introduce will be wasted and in piles on the floor. Slowly that number drops and slowly babies begin to consume more of the food itself.

I think Liv might even love the clean up part just as much as the eating part.

We love it. BLW means I get to put a few choices of food in front of her and she gets to feed herself. I can eat lunch, make dinner or otherwise work with her right next to me. If you’re interested in learning more, Google ‘Baby-Led Weaning’, there are a ton of great blogs and resources out there – including this book.

It’s a great option but we’re not strictly BLW and we also don’t discount purees for when they’re best, such as when we’re traveling (once Liv knows we’re eating she insists on being involved, so there’s no just waiting for a later time in the day to feed her). While out at restaurants we feed her right off of our plate but offer bite sized pieces of beef tenderloin or potatoes so that she doesn’t need to grasp everything (because let’s face it, sometimes a crazy mess of food in every direction just won’t fly).

What we do love is that she gets to participate in our meals! And she totally digs it.

Office Makeover: A New Desk & Bookshelves!

After mulling over this round-up of desks and then considering a diy version inspired by these, I finally stumbled across a great desk for the new office. And it’s nearly perfect as is!

While on the Craigslist hunt for a mid-century modern (ish) credenza for future office storage (one in need of much love and hopefully at a killer price), I opened a link to this dining table:

The wheels started spinning. One of my hopes for a new desk was that it would be BIG – not a measly 48″ (the standard size of a desk) but at least 60″ to corral all of my work projects. Well this dining room table was just that.

After negotiating with the seller, the table came home for just $125.

Plus, it goes great with our World Market Campaign bookshelves! Remember this post? While waiting on the construction side of the office space to wrap up, I had begun looking around for furniture for the room (so we could hit the ground running ;)) and was considering a bunch of different bookcase options.

I had narrowed down my favorites to several World Market contenders and earlier this summer, began the hunt for a way to purchase at the very best discount. If you sign up to receive emails you’ll receive a coupon for 10% off, but I had hoped for better. After inquiring with a sales associate about sales for furniture (nearly every mailed coupon excludes furniture), I learned that all furniture would be 30% off for one weekend at the end of June. Sweet! Next I began checking ebay and Craigslist for discounted gift cards that would knock another chunk off of the price. Low and behold, I came across a $500 card offered at $450 – and when I suggested $400, the seller agreed.

The original Campaign bookcases were priced $279 +tax each, meaning my new finds would have originally totaled $558 + tax (about $608). 30% off  of the pre-tax cost came to $390.60 + $35 in taxes = $425.60 for a total store discount of over $125! Add in the additional 20% off from the discounted gift card and I found my new bookcases for $340.60 or 45% off!

A little snafu: on the particular weekend that furniture was on sale, I happened to be on a business trip in the Bay Area AND the local store had only one bookshelf in stock. Since they wouldn’t allow for me to purchase remotely from another store, I had to rain check my sale and my awesome family (who live in the Bay Area) drove down the bookshelves on their next visit when World Market stocked them again. Oh what an adventure.

But back to the desk! My original though was to sand and stain the desk a darker brown to contrast with the bookcases, but I think they actually compliment each other pretty nicely. I love the natural wood look and am pretty thrilled it’s coming back around with the rise in mid-century modern furniture (not that these pieces are).

Would you look at those legs? Love them. When experimenting with a DIY desk, I thought about making my own X legs and adding an Ikea butcher block (with an added stain) topper. But these legs have a bit of a curve and they’re just perfect.

I may cut down the sides a few inches to make it a bit narrower, time will tell. And as for not having drawers? I’m planning on a little nightstand-turned-printer carriage to fit under the desk and to make up for lost storage.

Yay for a new desk AND bookcases!

For more Office Makeover posts, check out: remnant carpet, grasscloth wallpaper, painting the office nookfinding carpet for the office, chocolate brown wall ideas, plastering progress inspiration for a diy desk, back in action!, desking hunting for under $300, bookcases under $300, inspirational rooms, room layout options, demo part 1 & demo part 2.

Going Green: Farmers Markets Fresh

We’ve been working on Going Green over here through our remodeling, household purchases and especially in the way we cook and eat. One of the best ways to do that is through our local Farmers Market! Gotta love wholesome, locally grown, farm-to-table food (especially now that Liv joins us at the dinner table! More on that soon).

While we are registered with a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) group and pick up a box chock full of delicious goodies once every other week, sometimes we like to supplement with the local Farmers Market, and since San Diego supports over 50 local Farmers Markets – there’s a plethora to choose from.

But… can buying local be as cost-efficient as buying from the grocery store? I headed out to our Sunday morning Hillcrest Farmers Market to check it out.

My mission: Spend $25 for a weeks worth of organic fruits and veggies.

My finds: 1 canteloupe, 1 acorn squash, 3 large bell peppers, 2 bunches baby carrots, 1 head of garlic, 1 bag each (about 8 total) of tomatoes, peaches & apricots, and for good measure – two $2.50 bouquets of flowers, 1 container fresh mozzarella cheese and one loaf of locally baked bread.

The results: My locavore basket beat out the local supermarket by about 50% (I’m sure with coupons and specials you could get awfully close though) and when I added up the finds it was roughly Farmers Market: $25, Supermarket: $38. Score one for the home team.

Best tips: I prefer to hit up the Farmers Market about an hour before closing. The selection is usually just as great but the vendors are eager to part with their wares (to not truck anything home) and offer great sales. Bartering is always to be expected around this time, too! Pick out a range of ‘ripeness’, such as melons a week or so out, peaches that are still hard and squash that will last for a while in your fridge. You don’t want to be stuck with an entire basket that’s bound to ripen up (or is already ripe) too soon.

So delicious! I usually roast my squash and carrots to draw out the natural sugars (450 deg tossed in olive oil, salt and pepper) – also great for any root veggie, BBQ stone fruits (such as my peaches and nectarines – add a bit of honey and yogurt) and saute the bell peppers with fingerling potatoes. If we do have veggies and fruit that we won’t eat quickly enough, into the juicer they go.

By eating locally, we’re supporting our ranchers and farmers, keep our hard earned dollars in the local economy, eating fresher produce (no shipping and shelf life here), reducing energy consumption (transportation and storage) while protecting our environment, and getting the opportunity to cook in season with ingredients that might not often be found in the store (yay for the funny looking vegetable you’ve never tried before! or, chocolate mint, anyone?). Plus, most of the locally produced food grown by family farmers is organic and chemical free.


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