Archives for October 2010

What’s Your Favorite Baby Food Book?

We wrote about making your own organic baby food in the Eco-nomical Baby Guide. Most DIY baby food enthusiasts know about Super Baby Food, which Joy reviewed once upon a time. Do you have a favorite baby food book—or do you rely on the Internet for recipes? Or do you just wing it? (After all, pureeing yams is not exactly a complicated culinary skill to master.)

Speaking of baby food recipe books—we’re giving away Great Expectations: Best Food for Your Baby & Toddler. Go to our giveaway post, comment on it, and you’re entered to win!

Great Expectations: Best Food for Your Baby & Toddler Review and Giveaway

Homemade baby food became somewhat of a hobby for me. I don’t think my daughter had more than three or four jars of store-bought food, and I smiled smugly when she rejected it in favor of my delectable concoctions of ground oats, flax seeds, and kale. (That smugness has since faded: See the Any Brilliant Ideas for Picky Eaters? post!)

As obsessed as I was with making my own homemade baby food, I could have used this incredible book: Great Expectations: Best Food for Your Baby & Toddler by Jeannette L. Bessinger and Tracee Yablon-Brenner of Real Food Moms. Their guide goes way beyond my boring purees, with more than 150 recipes and snack ideas for babies and kids under three. Many of the recipes sound delicious for adults, too—zucchini cupcakes with mascarpone frosting, veggie pancakes, pasta with pesto and garbanzo beans, creamy choco-banana smoothie. And don’t worry—there are still plenty of recipes for “traditional” baby fare such as teething biscuits, grain cereals, and apple sauce.

Last Minute Green Halloween Tips

If you’re like most of us, you’re scrambling to handle those last minute Halloween decorating and costume creation challenges.  We’ve put together a quick list of some great green Halloween tips for your festivities that are easy and cheap!

If you’re hosting a Halloween party this year, Rebecca has a lineup of simple and elegant Halloween crafts.  You may want to cut out a DIY Halloween spiderweb, or if you’re feeling less ambitious, you can make a DIY Paper Jack-O-Lantern with your little one in a matter of minutes.  There’s nothing quite as simple and spooky as the vintage DIY simple paper spider in its web from last year’s post.

Selling Back your Baby Gear: When Best Intentions Go Awry

I had it all planned out: I’d buy high quality baby gear, treat everything like a museum piece, then sell it back for top dollar a few years later. In our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide, we advocate this approach. “An heirloom toy will be used by generations of babies because of the quality of its construction and workmanship,” we say. Then we remind you of the resale value of all your top-notch baby doodads.

The Maclaren strollergood for resale?

Now that my daughter is four and a half, I am sure you are all wondering just how this little plan paid off. Well, the theory was sound. But years out of babyhood, and I’ve still neglected to make so much as a dime on my so-called “quality baby gear.” What happened to those good intentions?

Breastfeeding Support for New Moms: Our Top Lactation Posts

After hours of labor, I always assumed that I would nestle my new baby to my breast where he would quickly suckle and then fall into an eight hour slumber.  Instead, breastfeeding a newborn was a tricky business for the first few months.  I only wish I would have had the resources we’ve compiled over the years at

Low breastmilk supply can be a major issue, especially when rest and fluid intake are so hard to keep up in the early days.  Why not have someone whip you up a batch of homemade lactation cookies, or “milk making cookies” to boost your breastmilk supply?

What are your favorite cloth diaper shops?

Cloth diaper shops abound on the Internet–but what about in real life? Does your town have a brick and mortar shop that sells cloth diapers? If so, give them a little shout out here! (Stay tuned–we may work at creating a cloth diaper shop directory some time in the future!)

Mother Nature’s in Portland carries cloth diapers. They also hosted our first book signing for The Eco-nomical Baby Guide!

Our Favorite DIY Halloween Costumes of 2010

We asked our readers what their favorite DIY Halloween costume ideas were, and they delivered!  How will they outfit those trick-or-treaters this year?

Pair of dice. Cut head and arm holes in boxes. Paint them or wrap them in white paper, add some black dots. (Thanks, Brittany!)

The world. Use old boxes to make a sandwich board that fits over the shoulders. Paint it. Attach planets, the sun, and the moon made from cardboard scraps onto a headband. (Thank you, Lauren!)

Fairy. Scavenge around the house for materials! Lauren’s daughter will wear a tutu over a onesie and sweatpants. Felt will cover her shoes, transforming them into fairy shoes. Make a wand out of a stick, ribbons, and paint. Fashion wings out of hangers and old tights. The final touch? A crown made from fake flowers.

Worn Cloth Diapers: Embarrassment or Achievement?

Are your cloth diapers disintegrating before your eyes?  Do you pull a larger lump of lint out of the dryer with every cycle?  Are you a bit ashamed to send those raggedly cloth diapers off to daycare?  You’re not alone!

My small batch of cloth diapers has seen some serious wear and probably kept thousands of disposable diapers from the landfills.  I bought them secondhand from a cloth diaper service, used them with Roscoe, lent them to a friend for her two children, used them with Jovi, and then passed them onto another baby.  Wow!  I have to confess they were looking a little tired by the end, but I also knew that concerns about their appearance were a little silly considering that their only purpose was to soak up her waste.  All that wear had softened them up quite nicely and while I was a bit embarrassed at times, I knew that she’d only be using that size for a matter of months.

A Creepy, Crawly DIY Halloween Craft: Another Paper Spider in Its Web

Last year I dazzled you with my Paper Spider. (Not to brag or anything, but this easy Halloween craft was showcased on the French website Bulbinblue earlier this month!) What crafty goodness do I have in store for you this year? Another, different paper spider. A creepier, crawlier paper spider:

Here’s how you do it:

1. Fold a white, square piece of paper in half, making a triangle

2. Fold it in half again

3. Fold that in thirds

4. Cut the top off at an angle

5. Draw a web pattern as shown

6. Cut out the web

7. Fold a piece of black paper in half and cut out a spider


Green Halloween Harvest Traditions: The Family Pumpkin Patch Visit

When the autumn air reaches the perfect crispness and the light through the yellowing leaves is angled just right, I know it’s time for our yearly Halloween family tradition, a trip to the local pumpkin patch. We have visited a large local farm every year in mid-October to pick our fall pumpkins straight from the field, ride the horse cart, and munch on sugar coated appleasauce doughnuts while the chickens peck at our feet.

Since this fall tradition started before we even had kids, we have great memories of tromping through the mud all the way out to the pumpkin field because we couldn’t afford the hay rides while my husband was in graduate school.  Years later, we remember bundling Roscoe up in his thrift shop pumpkin suit and clumsily adapting to a family outing with a one-month-old baby. Isn’t he the grumpiest pumpkin baby you’ve ever seen?