Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Dairy Free Key Lime Gelato


With the extreme heat we've been having lately, I have had some major cravings for icey cold drinks & treats. Unfortunately, E has me on a no dairy diet as he doesn't seem to tolerate it well, so many of my favorite drinks & treats are off the table. 

A few weeks ago I decided to try my hand at adapting an Epicurious recipe for Key Lime Gelato to meet my dairy free needs & I have to say it turned out to be quite a success! I love when that happens :)

Here's the recipe:

2- 14 oz. cans lite coconut milk
4 egg yolks
2/3 cup raw sugar
3 TBSP lime juice (key limes if available)
2 tsp lime zest

 Pour coconut milk into a double boiler or heavy bottomed saucepan. Place over medium-low heat and cook, stirring occasionally so a skin doesn't form, until tiny bubbles start to form around the edges and the mixture reaches a temperature of 170°F.

Meanwhile, in a medium heat-proof bowl, whisk the egg yolks until smooth. Gradually whisk in the sugar until it is well incorporated and the mixture is thick and pale yellow. Temper the egg yolks by very slowly pouring in the hot milk mixture while whisking continuously. Return the custard to the saucepan and place over low heat. Cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon and it reaches a temperature of 185°F. Do not bring to a boil. Let cool at room temperature, cover & refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Gently whisk lime juice & zest into the base. Pour mixture into ice cream machine & churn according to product directions; freeze at least two hours before serving.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

2 months old

And looking SO handsome!  Of course, I am just a wee bit partial :)
We haven't yet had his two month appointment but already, I can tell little man is getting SO long and if my vintage scale is right, he weighs upwards of 12lbs.
I think someone is taking after his daddy!
This month has been so fun; mommy & daddy soak up every little coo, smile and squeal.

A few noteworthy things from the second month:

You are smiling more and more every day & love smiling back at mommy and daddy.
In addition to lots and lots of cooing & "ahgoos" you have started these little exclamatory squeals...so cute!
Bath time is one of your favorites, it always calms you down.
Even more than bath time though, you love to have your hair washed and massaged.  We get the most smiles and even the beginnings of little giggles out of that. 
Mom & dad went on their first date without you this month & you were quite the sport.
At 6 weeks you started sleeping through the night (and mommy is so thankful!) and average about 8-9 hours per night.
You also moved to your big boy crib this month & are loving your superhero room :)

We have been so blessed in these two months & can't imagine life without you.
Love you, little man!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Has it really been four years?

Today I get to celebrate four wonderful years with my amazing husband. Four years seems like such a long time to me and yet I feel like it has just flown by. I am so thankful to God for the gift
He gave me in Ben.

Thank you, Ben for being a great leader and an amazing representation of Christ to me. I am sharpened and encouraged daily by your integrity, strength, love, humility and sweet spirit. You are the best daddy little Ephram could hope for and I am glad he has a man like you to look up to. Here's to the next four years and the many adventures to come! I am so glad to walk this life with you by my side :)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Cloth Diapering Review: Part II

In case you missed it, you can read Part I here.
So, now that I've talked about our decision on which type & brand we went with--onto our day to day process of using cloth diapers! 

I mentioned briefly in the first post that I use Ruby Moon cloth diaper detergent.  I haven't had any experience with using any detergent beside this one, but I can say that I do enjoy my Ruby Moon.  For HE washers, the recommended amount per load is 2 TBSP and one package is supposed to last for 90 HE loads. In almost 2 months of use, I am about halfway through the bag which seems to coincide with what the package claims. One of my cloth diapering friends gave me this link to all the cloth diaper approved detergents on the market with their rating & cost per load--very helpful chart, I recommend taking a look! 

I have REALLY enjoyed cloth diapering.  I can honestly say that I do prefer it to using disposable, one because we are saving money & I am always on board for that, but also, I just genuinely enjoy the process of it all and don't find it to be a great burden.  Maybe I just hate going through so many trash bags, I don't know, but it makes me happy not to throw things away.  Also, have you noticed how cheery the colors are?  I love grabbing a new diaper each time & being surprised by which color he will wear next!  It's almost like an outfit change ;)  And sometimes the diaper is his full outfit (we like naked days!), so at least its a cute one, right?

A few things differ from disposable when changing a cloth diaper.  One is rash cream.  Just as there are special cloth diaper detergents, there are also rash creams that are made specifically for cloth diapering.  Using normal rash creams will stick to the cloth & ruin the absorbancy of the diaper.  So be careful when choosing a rash cream!  I have heard that just using straight olive oil or coconut oil on their little bums will work just fine with cloth.  I bought a Kansas City local's homemade hiney rub and we are liking it so far--it smells like lavender, which always makes me happy.
Target also sells a brand called California Baby that is safe for cloth. 
With cloth, you can also choose to use cloth wipes.  It's recommended to have somewhere between 25-50 cloth wipes if you choose to go this route.  In preparation for using cloth wipes (I haven't fully transitioned over yet), I made a cloth wipe spray consisting of water and a few drops of lavender added to a spray bottle, which I will spray on the wipes before cleaning his hiney.  Lavender has antibacterial properties & it also smells great.  Win win.

You also need a wetbag or a diaper pail with wetbag pail liner for storing dirty diapers after a changing.  With all in one diapers, you can just throw them in the pail after cleaning off the dirty diaper (a nice perk), but with pocket, you need  to remove the pocket insert from the diaper cover so that when you throw them in the wash, they are cleaned thoroughly. The pocket is not very difficult to remove though, just an extra step in the process.  I made two wetbags which I wrote about here.

I do love my wetbags.  When they are full & ready for a wash, I just dump the contents into the washing machine, along with the wetbag...super easy & minimal touching of dirty diapers ;)
I think, eventually, though I will invest in some sort of diaper pail with a foot press that lifts the lid.  It can be very difficult to supervise a baby on a changing table & unzip a wetbag at the same time.  I think a hands-free diaper pail would be much easier to use! 

Ben & I also invested in a diaper sprayer & have been very glad that we did so.  It's not quite as necessary to have with newborn poo, although we still use it, but I think it will really be needed when he starts on solids.

As far as the "hassle" of cloth diapering goes, I really haven't found it to be an extra burden.  I just have to be mindful of when my clean diaper count is getting low & throw the dirties into the wash.
It takes about 2 hours to wash the diapers as they need to run through a cold water quick wash cycle, as well as a hot water heavy duty cycle.  I usually throw the dirties in after E's early morning feeding and they are ready to hang out to dry by 9 am or so.  In my opinion, the washing machine really does all the work.  The extra laundry doesn't really bother me because having a baby creates plenty of extra laundry any way, so what's one more thing? ;)

On top of the two wetbags I made for the home, I also made a portable wetbag that fits 2-3 diapers in it.  When we go out for the afternoon, I take this wetbag with me, along with a couple of extra cloth dipes & when he needs a changing, store the dirty ones in the wetbag.  I haven't had any problems with odor (typically newborn poo is not too smelly), but there are odor sprays & pail powders that you can use to neutralize smells.  Also, Sassy sells a brand of disposable bags that are odor neutralizing, I've found these to be a good option as well.
Of course, if we are on a trip and will be gone more than just one afternoon, I do switch over to disposable. But for day errands  & trips, I've found that I can still use my cloth without any extra difficulty.

I am by no means an old pro at this cloth diapering thing, but this is what has worked for us so far!  I was intimidated by it all at first, but have been pleasantly surprised by how easily it has flowed into our daily routine!  Hopefully I covered most things, but if you have a question or something to add, please feel free to leave a comment!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Cloth Diapering Review: Part I

Cloth diapering has been one of the fun experiments of new mommyhood. I was very excited about the prospect of it & talked about how we prepped for cloth diapering here.

Now that we are almost 2 months into it, I thought I'd give a little update for those interested.  I am going to break it up into two parts, because apparently I have a lot to say on the subject. This post will cover the type, brand & number that I use, along with detergent. 

I've had many people ask me about cloth diapering...what we are doing, our experience with it so far, etc..hopefully this post will shed a little light on the subject, for those who are curious!

One of the first steps in cloth diapering research is choosing the type of cloth diapering you want to do.  There are several types including: pocket, All-in-One & prefold. 

After much research, we decided to go with the pocket option.  Basically, with pocket diapers you have a diaper cover (shown above on my man's cute little hiney) with a "pocket" inside and cloth insert that slips inside of the pocket.  The cloth insert does most of the absorbing, but the pocket cover acts as an additional absorbant layer.  The outer side of the diaper cover is water proof to help with leaking.  On the flip side, All-in-One's are just what they sound like, the cover & cloth inserts are one and the same, no assembly required.

I opted to go for the pocket over the All-in-Ones namely because they tend to be much faster drying than All-in-Ones. And believe me, I have learned that drying time really makes a difference when I'm running low on diapers.  Being that you can disassemble the layers of the pocket diapers when you lay them out to dry, they dry much faster!  In this crazy heat, they dry in about 30 minutes in full sun.  I have a couple of All-in-Ones and even in full sun they take at least a couple of hours to dry.

The next step for me was deciding which brand of pockets to go with.  After reading lots of mommy blogs I decided on BumGenius.  I know there are many great brands but this particular brand seemed to get the most positive reviews from the most mommies (less leakage, great warranty, good durability & longevity) so I took the leap & ordered all BumGenius.  I really have no other brand to compare them to as I haven't tried any of the others...but while I can't give an opinion on any other brands, I can say that I LOVE my BumGenius diapers.  As E was a chunky little monkey, we were able to start him on the diapers when he was about 2 weeks old.  BumGenius diapers are OneSize diapers, meaning they are adjustable for all baby sizes, but typically are too large for those little newborn legs. 

Even at 2 weeks old we had no leaking problems & although they did engulf his little body, they did the trick!

It is recommended to start with 24 diapers for one baby.  At the time that I purchased mine, there was a buy 5 get the 6th free sale, so I ended up buying 15 and getting 3 free for a total of 18. 

With 18, I do laundry about every other day, but sometimes I end up having to launder every day. Not the end of the world, but  I decided recently to invest in a few more (again I found a sale! yay!) and will now have 22 which should ensure that I only have to do laundry every other day. 

As for detergent, there are several great ones out there, you just need to make sure they are approved for cloth diapering.  I have been using Ruby Moon & love it-- no residue to speak of & gets out most stains!  If I do have a little stainage left, the sunshine usually bleaches it out!