Sunday, November 23, 2014

Health for our family is really important to me and first and foremost is the food I'm putting on our table. Being a first time mom and developing a menu with a wide range of options for Penelope was a little daunting at first but it's become fun. Since she's just turned one, I feel like I have full freedom now for all food groups like shellfish and less formula.

I'm a firm believer in if you want a non-picky eater, give your child different flavors from early on and also don't give her the option to eat something else. What she has on her plate is what she will eat. With this method, sometimes she does curl up her nose and roll her food around on the plate but she always ends up eating it which is my goal.

The biggest problem I faced when Penelope wanted to pretty much only feed herself was finding healthy finger foods that were varied. After a couple of months I've got some of her favorites that are really simple to make, most of which can be made ahead and microwaved the next day for an easy lunch. Below I've listed some of Penelope's favorites separately so you can mix and match together.

Spinach ravioli, roast chicken and chickpea salad. DINNER!

Breakfast Ideas:
- Scrambled eggs w/ chopped veggies and chia seeds
- Whole wheat organic toast w/ almond butter and honey
- Oatmeal with fruit, brown sugar and cinnamon (not a finger food!)
- Any fruit - Cantaloupe, blueberries, bananas, blackberries, watermelon, honeydew, strawberries etc.
- Cheerios, bananas and almond milk in a sippy cup

Lunch Ideas:
- Baked chicken
- Avocado
- Bananas
- Grilled fish
- Stir fry - I love tofu, kale, mushrooms, bell pepper, swiss chard, spinach...anything quick
- Steamed veggies - Broccoli, cauliflower, carrots 
- Leftovers from last night!
- Sliced cucumbers
- Baked sweet potato fries

- Stuffed baked bell peppers
- Pasta - (Get rotinis, easier to handle for baby)
- Roasted butternut squash
- Chickpea salad w/ feta, tomatoes, celery, corn
- Ravioli
- Shellfish - Shrimp, clams, crab
- Roast - Pork or chicken
- Steamed veggies - Broccoli, cauliflower, carrots sprinkle some parmesan cheese on top
- Stir fried eggplant
- Brown rice
- Quinoa (this is not really a finger food)
- Healthy lasagna (tofu lasagna is really good)
- Pesto pasta - Make your own pesto and add some walnuts or pine nuts
- Stir fried zucchini
- Fish - Salmon, tilapia seasoned with some lemon pepper 
- Curry - Thai yellow curry is mild or Indian curry recipes
- Black bean salad
- Stuffed mushrooms
- Lentil salad
- Veggie fried rice

- Raisins and walnuts
- Cut up organic apples
- Cut up organic pears
- Blueberries
- Steamed carrot sticks
- Slice of whole wheat organic toast
- Cheerios
- Dried fruit organic - Penelope loves apricots
- Hard boiled egg
- Brown rice rice cakes w/ almond butter
- Slice of cheese
- Banana
- Seedless grapes (cut in half)

Great on the go (minimal mess) snacks:
- Organic apple or pear wedges
- Steamed carrot sticks (you want the sticks to be steamed through but still firm)
- Brown rice cakes (I like Happy Munchies from Target)
- Rice crackers (Hot Kid Baby Mum Mum from Target)
- Cheerios (In a snack catcher)
- Any dried fruit

As far as milk goes, we decided to opt out of dairy and are giving her almond milk for breakfast and dinner. Totaling around two cups. Also, we haven't stopped her on formula because we still want her to get the nutrients from that. We've reduced her intake to two bottles a day and less scoops per bottle.
So far she's loving all of the food and eats like a champ. Do you have any other great finger foods I can try? Let me know!


Sunday, November 2, 2014

I had so much fun planning and putting together Penelope's birthday party. I'm so proud to be able to say that all of this came together completely by myself! We all know the first birthday parties are never really for the children and mama loves her some gold :)

I knew from the beginning of planning I wanted to really convey a crisp, uncluttered and bright setting. I was set on doing a dessert table as well and decided on doing a hot dog bar, since it was still really cute and inexpensive. We have some super amazing friends though and they cooked massive amounts of bbq steak, macaroni salad and appetizers. Truly a blessing to have people help out.

To keep costs manageable, I made myself a per month budget and purchased what I could with that. Anything that didn't fall in that budget got purchased the next month. When the time came for the party it was great because we weren't financially strained trying to get my vision to come together.

We rented the community center in my apartments which was great incase Penelope had meltdown. Also if we needed something we could just run upstairs to our apartment. For the kids, to keep costs down our entertainment was a ping pong table that came with the community center and a bunch of blown up balloons all over the floor.

Penelope had a ball and we got to celebrate with our nearest and dearest. Doing everything I possibly could DIY really kept our costs down and still allowed me to have the party I always wanted for her. 

My precious dessert table. The baby's breath flowers were super cute and frugal and I made that glitter frame. (See the DIY here) Also all the desserts were made by moi, except the cupcakes I picked up from Safeway.
Confetti is super expensive so I bought some tissue paper in metallic and rose at Micheals. I spent a few evenings and naptimes cutting a bunch of confetti myself to cut costs. I loved the idea of fun confetti sprinkles so kept with that theme for the desert.
This background was so cute. I ordered the metallic letters online here and the gold background is just some sequin fabric you can get anywhere online.
Probably my top favorite of everything was the metallic gold confetti filled balloons. When I picked them up, the girl working there said she had never seen these before, they were so pretty! With these I simply took a bunch of confetti I cut to any store that blows up ballons and asked them to fill them up with it. 
I loved the idea of having a photo chronicle of the past year for Penelope. I printed out all of her photos on my Instagram for the past year at Walgreens using their square prints for like .20 cents per photo. Purchased some mini clothes pins and gold ribbon on sale at Micheals and strung these together chronologically. I loved that it told a story.
I was really particular about cups. I didn't want ugly red cups to ruin the clean vibe, so I found these gorgeous clean plastic cups and pretty gold straws to add detail to the overall look.
I LOVE these beverage dispensers. Great reviews on Amazon and all on point. They aren't glass but still looked super chic and lent to the vibe overall. Get them here.
A closer look at my DIY glitter frames. For the print, I used a free editing program and typed up the quote. Printed it out on my computer for a pretty addition to the table.
My little family :)
The birthday girl <3