Beech-Nut: Real Food for Babies

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I was excited when Beech-Nut reached out and asked us to try out their new line of real food for babies. Beech-Nut has always been one of my favourite brands to feed Roman. Many of the big name baby brands put extra ingredients & additives in their food. What I’ve always loved about Beech-Nut is that there is none of that. It’s just food.

We love their new line of real food for babies. It’s as close to homemade as you can get. In fact, I couldn’t tell the difference between my own homemade purees and the new Beech-Nut line. (Yes, I taste-test all of Roman’s food of course!) We tried out four jars from the new line and one was better than the next. My favourite was the Spinach, Zucchini and Peas. Roman loved the Beets, Pear & Pomegranate.

The branding, look & feel of the new line is lovely, too. It’s clear that Beech-Nut put a lot of effort and love into this re-launch. I’m excited to be a part of it. The Beech-Nut mission is simple: to provide honest, real great-tasting food that’s closest to homemade as possible. As a mama, that’s something that I can get behind. I invite you to check out their website to learn more about the company and its values.

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I was not compensated to write this post, other than the four jars you see pictured above. As always all opinions are my own (and Roman’s, too!). xo

Rain

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Express yourself completely,
then keep quiet.
Be like the forces of nature:
when it blows, there is only wind;
when it rains, there is only rain;
when the clouds pass, the sun shines through.

These words come from the Tao Te Ching, an ancient Chinese text fundamental to Taoism, and strongly influential to other philosophies, such as Confucianism and Chinese Buddhism. It is one the most translated works of literature of all time.

I read the Tao Te Ching over & over again — each time, learning something new and seeing the world in a new way. The passage at the top of this post comes from the twenty-third verse of the text. When I think about the word — rain — I think about this passage. Throughout the text, there are reminders that we should try to be like nature. I don’t mean this in a hippy, tree-hugger way. Rather, it is truly practical.

The past six months has arguably been one of the hardest times of my life. I have felt sadness, loneliness and desperation in ways that I never thought that I would feel again. I thought that I had come past it — but I was wrong. Sometimes life hands you difficulties when you’re not expecting them. In my case, the greatest joy that I have ever known (the love for my son, Roman James) has been accompanied by some of the greatest pain that I have ever known (in other areas of my life).

The difference between the pain that I am living through now and the pain that I lived through years ago lies in the way that I am handling it. Or to say it in another way, the difference is what I know now that I didn’t know then. And what I know now is that this too shall pass.

I have learned that acceptance is always better than resistance. Whatever pain I am going through — I accept. When it blows, there is only wind. Whatever challenges present themselves — I accept. When it rains, there is only rain. Eventually, the trials will end and peace will come into my life again. When the clouds pass, the sun shines through.

There is no need to dwell on pain. It is best to say what we mean, share what is in our hearts and then move forward. Express yourself completely, then keep quiet. As I always like to say, let go & let God.

This is the way of The Tao. It serves me well. April is often known as a rainy month that nourishes the earth in preparation for the glory of spring. April showers bring May flowers. I hope that this year’s April rains are cleansing and that they bring peace into all of the hearts that need it.



“Rain” is the April writing prompt of The Mommy Blogger Collective. In addition to a monthly writing prompt, the collective hosts a monthly blogger featurette. This month we are featuring Katie of Hello, Little Bean. A few words from Katie — Hi! I’m Katie and I write a blog called ‘Hello, Little Bean.’ It’s about life as a new mom to my cute daughter, Lark Story. I’m California born and raised, but currently live in Michigan with my soon-to-be husband, James and my soon-to-be stepson, Brennan, as well as our little Lark and two kitties. I’m a full-time graphic designer who loves all things artistic and creative. I’m overly sensitive and sentimental, sarcastic and foul-mouthed at times, a foodie and a reality tv junkie who’s completely and utterly in love with motherhood. You can also find me on instagram, facebook, pinterest and our little online boutique, Bold Threads.

/// The Mommy Blogger Collective /// Christina, Courteney, Dena, Erica, Erin, Gillian, Katie, Misty, Nicole, and Renée. ///

15/52

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The 52 Week Project – A portrait of my son, once a week, every week, for one year.

15/52 — Oh, my little Roman. The accidents have begun. Last weekend we were all sitting in the living room relaxing when you knocked Mama’s glass off of the tray. It’s happened before so we didn’t think much of it… then you started crying. It turned out that a piece of the glass broke off and you reached under the couch to pick it up. Papa said, “He’s bleeding!” Gratefully I kept a cool head, took you to the bathroom, discovered your cut, applied pressure to slow the bleeding, and we got you to the emergency room. The doctor said it wasn’t as bad as it looked. The fingertip (the pad of your right middle-finger) is a very vascular area. It was a clean (straight) cut so the doctor was able to use glue to put it together instead of traditional stitches.

You were such a good boy in the E.R. that the doctor and nurse couldn’t believe it. They kept looking at you waiting for you to squirm or cry, but you just sat there, curious about what they were doing. My little nosy boy. We kept you bandaged up for a few days and even made a “cast” (out of a sock!) because you kept pulling your band-aids off. You’re bandage-free now and almost completely healed. You’ll just have a little scar. The emotional trauma of the event was almost certainly the worst of it.

Needless to say, I’ve been pretty devastated about it all — blaming myself & overcome with guilt. We’ve tried so hard to make the house safe for you — baby-proofing everything, plugging up outlets, cordoning off unsafe areas, and installing a giant baby gate in the living room in case we have to leave the room for even a moment. And still, you got hurt.

I am trying to accept the fact that these things will happen. We won’t be drinking from glasses in here for awhile (as much as I hate plastic). But no matter how safe we try to make things for you, there will be accidents. They are a part of life. Just remember that I will always be there to pick you up, brush you off, and try to make it better.

To see the other posts in our series, click here.

Eleven-Month-Old Roman James

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Oh my sweet, little Roman. The past few weeks I’ve been looking at you and thinking — you are not a baby anymore, you are becoming a little boy. Last week you took your first step and since then you’ve taken a few more. You are smart and so, very happy. Wherever we go people comment on your temperament — calm & smiley. I hope with everything inside of me that the peace & joy that fill you now, stay with you always.

You are feisty. You have taken on a personality all your own. You know what you want and you don’t like be to be told no. If you’ve got something in your hands, we’d better not take it away or you get very upset. Gratefully, you’re easily distracted. Everything fascinates you. So long as there is something to listen to or watch, you are happy. They’ve been paving our road this past week and you are happy to stand up on the edge of the couch and stare out the window, watching the big trucks grumble along and the men hard at work. You are babbling all of the time now. We have the loveliest and silliest conversations. Sometimes you yell in joy. You are picking up on more & more. It is always so exciting when you do something that we do, like throw your hands up over your head or wave or laugh or call to Bella. You give the most incredible hugs imaginable. You squeeze me tight with your little arms and press your sweet face into my body and just stay there. I can feel the love radiating from your body. It makes me cry tears of joy thinking about it. I often think that my heart will surely burst with love & gratitude for you.

You are the brightest light of my life. You are my every hope, dream, and happiness come true. All of my life it was you that I was waiting for. Thank you for being my littlest sunshine boy.



((( Other posts in this series: BABY’S FIRST YEAR )))

First Hike of the Season

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“I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness the astonishing light of your own being.” —Hafiz

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“I’ve had so many knives stuck into me, when they hand me a flower I can’t quite make out what it is. It takes time.” —Charles Bukowski

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“I’ve got my theories. My theory is that a vigorous, free, outdoors life is good for people. It fills them with cheer and high spirits, leading to health and a long life. Despite the claims of medical technicians… it is not more and newer drugs we need… but rather clean air. Clean water. Good fresh real food. And plenty of self-directed physical activity.” —Edward Abbey

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Recipe: Vegan Kale Pesto Pasta

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup raw cashew pieces
  • 1/2 cup raw, shelled sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 handfuls kale
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 box vegan pasta (we like: this kind)

Directions
Boil pasta according to package. Drain and rinse. Set pasta aside. Add cashews, seeds, olive oil, kale, and garlic to blender. Pulse until you have a creamy pesto. Add pasta and pesto to a large wok. Warm over medium heat, stirring pasta into the pesto mixture until pasta is evenly coated. The mixture will likely be a bit thick, so pour in almond milk as needed to make it as creamy as you like. At this point I remove Roman’s portion of pasta and place it in a covered glass dish. I like to add a pinch of salt, freshly ground black pepper, and red pepper flakes to the “adult portion.” Add the spices to the mix and continue heating for another minute or so, stirring all the while. When your spices are evenly mixed into your pasta, you’re finished and ready to eat. I hope you love it as much as we do.

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xo

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14/52

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The 52 Week Project – A portrait of my son, once a week, every week, for one year.

14/52 — The spring thaw has finally begun and this week we set off on our first hike of the season. I’ve been longing for warmth for so long that I almost forget what it feels like.

This winter has been the worst the northeast has seen in over twenty years — certainly the worst that I can remember. Last spring & summer I was pregnant and then had a newborn. I didn’t get to enjoy the warm months in the ways that I would have liked to. I’ll make up for it — and then some — this year. I’m looking forward to hiking, camping, fishing, gardening and taking more road trips than you can shake a stick at.

The best part will be sharing all of the wonder with my sweet boy. Just wait ’til he sees the magic of fireflies dancing on a hot, July night. My cup runneth over.

To see the other posts in our series, click here.

We were together. I forget the rest.

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We’ve got reason to believe that, at long last, spring has finally sprung. We’ve been sucking up all that the warm weather & sunny skies have had to offer for the past couple of days. I’ve been spending time with my sweetest, little love — which is my very favourite way to spend time.

On yesterday’s walk, I put him down in the grass for the first time. He didn’t know what to make of it. He went back & forth between shock, horror, and indifference. He wanted nothing more than for me to pick him up & get him outta there. I suppose that being stuck inside for an entire season — unable to touch the earth for three+ feet of snow — will do that to a child. He warmed to it a little bit eventually. I look forward to watching him become further acquainted with the beauty of the earth.

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The title of this post is a Walt Whitman quote — We were together. I forget the rest. It’s often how I feel about time spent with my sweet boy. When we’re together everything else falls away. He breathes magic into every, little thing. I cherish him with each beat of my heart.

Oh, New York

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I ventured into Manhattan the other day for a business meeting. I had forgotten just how deep my love/hate relationship with that city is. There is no other place like it in the world. A veritable explosion of colour, culture, and life. It takes my breath away. The greatest melting pot in the world. There is beauty to be found, nestled in sweetly among the harshness of the mean, loud streets. It makes my heart pound and my feet move quickly and it wraps me up like a wild, electric blanket. And at the same time, I hate it. That city makes me miss the quiet of my own neighborhood with a sharp fierceness. When we’re out walking at home, everyone says hello. In the city, I can pass 500 people in ninety seconds and not one of them even looks me in the eye. For me, the worst thing about the city is the smell. It’s putrid, and sometimes it smells like every awful thing in the world has just collapsed in on itself and died right there. I can’t leave without a headache.

Still, I am drawn to it. The love/hate dichotomy is strong and I am pulled in like a moth to a flame. It’s only an hour away, but I hadn’t been in since I was eight-months pregnant with Roman. This trip may have been my last one for another long stretch or it may have been the first one of many to come soon. Time will tell.

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Oh, New York. How I love/hate you.

Good Food Made Simple

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A few months ago, the folks over at Good Food Made Simple (GFMS) reached out and asked us to give their food a try. I am always skeptical about packaged/frozen food. In my experience convenience usually comes at a (nasty!) cost. However, when our sample pack arrived I was blown away. Every package contained all natural, real food. There was no confusing or scary ingredients on the labels. And best of all, the food was delicious and ridiculously easy to prepare.

(I wasn’t paid to post this review and I’m under no obligation to post a positive review. I genuinely feel this way about the GFMS products. They’re just good, really good.)

The folks at GFMS passionately believe that ingredients are the priority in any product. Clean, simple ingredients that you know and trust. They make sure each and every ingredient in their products meets their strict clean food criteria. With nothing artificial… ever. It’s food you can trust, made with clean, simple ingredients that you can understand. The people at GFMS, go to great lengths to discover and source only the finest, cleanest, GFMS-approved ingredients available. They don’t cut corners by formulating with hydrogenated oils, inexpensive filler ingredients or chemical preservatives.

When you try their food, it’s clear that they take the time to strike the perfect balance between taste, texture, nutrition and presentation. Just real food made with all-natural ingredients, packed into quick, delicious meals.

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We tried out a whole bunch of the Good Food Made Simple products and enjoyed them all. My favourites were the southwestern veggie breakfast bowls, the veggie and potato breakfast burritos, and the mac & cheese with pepper jack. I gave Roman the kids mac n’ cheese and he loved it.

As much as I would love to prepare fresh, local, homemade meals every day of the week, the reality is that I don’t. (I mean, really, who does every single day?) GFMS is the next best thing. It’s so nice to have a quick, easy and healthy alternative in the freezer for those days when I’m just not up to the whole rigamarole of cooking from scratch.

Good Food Made Simple products can be found all over the U.S. in most major grocery stores. Check their map to find a store near you and find them on Facebook here.

If you’ve tried Good Food Made Simple or if you have other recommendations for quick + easy — let me know in the comments.

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