Winter Magic

Winter Magic
"Jump, and you will find out how to unfold your wings as you fall." ~ Ray Bradbury

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Nursery Decor: The Very Hungry Caterpillar

The nursery has been a work in progress since I first learned I was pregnant.  I always knew I wanted a primary color nursery regardless of my child's gender and The Very Hungry Caterpillar was my favorite book as a child, so the idea for the baby's nursery was easy! 
"blank slate" - nursery after the primer

I had a lot of help with transforming the room.  Friends and family helped with prepping and painting, putting up the chair rail, and making the curtains. 

My dad used acrylic on canvas to re-create scenes from the book for decoration.

My dad and my brother re-did the closet.

My friend Kara made the closet curtains.

My dad painting.
 My friend Meghann helped me do the green wall paint and the chair rail.

My dad did the yellow wall paint.  My friends Jennifer and Vanessa primered the room.

yellow & green

I created the green swirl design by twisting a sea sponge over the wet green paint.

close-up of the green swirl design

clothing size dividers

I used Eric Carle fabric to make a lampshade and stickers to make clothing size dividers.

finished closet with curtains & baby bug playing

artwork, plantation shutters, and crib

artwork, lamp, dresser


        I made the "S" bow holder with supplies  from Michael's.  I used left-over paint from her room and glitter for the final touches.
artwork, changing table, closet
 The changing table and crib were purchased from Craig's List.  The dresser belonged to my sister-in-law when she was a child.  The rocking chair was purchased at an estate sale by my mom.  I found the toy box on-sale at J.C. Penny and the base of the lamp at the Pottery Barn Outlet. The book shelf and the alphabet play mat are from One Step Ahead.

Baby Bug's room was a collaborative effort of LOVE!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Cooking for Baby: Quick and Easy Pasta

Acini di Pepe is an enriched macaroni that is small enough for baby, even if she can't chew very well.  Baby bug only has her two bottom teeth and this pasta is perfect for her!  The first recipe is just for cooking the pasta, then there are suggestions for how to serve it.
What you will need:
acini di pepe (I used De Cecco brand #78)
olive oil
fresh Parmesan or Romano cheese

To cook pasta:

fill a small pot or large soup pan 1/2 to the top with water and bring to a boil.  Once boiling add 3/4 cup acini di pepe.  Boil for 11 minutes, stirring occasionally (the box of pasta will tell you to cook for 9 minutes, this is for al dente, for baby you want it to be a little softer).  Drain water when done (my colander had holes that were too big, so I used a strainer to drain the water).

Ideas for preparation:

Simple and Classic: stir in olive oil and cheese (baby bug loves it like this!)

With veggies:  prepare with olive oil and cheese and stir in chunks of broccoli, zucchini, or veggie of your choice (baby bug loves this with broccoli).

With soup:  add pasta to your favorite veggie soup
pasta with olive oil, broccoli, and cheese


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Cooking for Baby: Spring Vegetable Risotto

I found this recipe for Spring Vegetable Risotto in the book Healthy Meals for Babies & Toddlers.  Preparation for this takes about 10 minutes and cook time is about 40 minutes.  Be sure you plan to cook this meal when you are able to stay near the stove (this isn't a "let it simmer and walk away" meal).  You can add or substitute other veggies to meet your childs needs.  I added carrots to the mix.

1 small leek, peeled and very finely chopped
1 small zucchini or summer squash, very finely chopped
small handful frozen peas
small piece of unsalted butter
1 tsp olive oil
heaping 3/8 cup of Arborio (Risotto) rice
1 1/2 cups HOT no-salt or homemade vegetable or chicken stock
1/2 tsp dried oregano
2 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

Steam the leek and zucchini for 2 minutes, then add the peas and steam until veggies are tender enough for your baby.

Melt the butter with the oil into a heavy-bottom skillet.  Once melted, add the rice and cook, stirring constantly, for about 2 - 3 minutes, or until the grains are translucent.

Slowly add the stock 1ladel full at a time, waiting until it has been absorbed before adding more.  While doing this you will be constantly stirring the rice.  Cook over medium-low heat for 20 minutes, stirring continuously. 

Add the oregano, cheese, and vegetables and let simmer, while stirring, and additional 5 - 10 minutes, or until all the liquid has been absorbed and rice is tender.

If your baby isn't ready for chunky foods this meal can be pureed (add more stock or water for the right consistency).

I served this to baby bug "as is" and to me and my husband with a little salt and pepper.  If you are busy like me, you may want to freeze some of it for later!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Cooking for Baby: Sweet Veggie Soup

Baby bug's Nonna gave me the idea for this recipe and even provided the orzo.  This is one of those soups that you can do whatever you want with in order to make you and baby happy!  Choose veggies you know your baby (and family) will love.  The soup is made without salt or spices, so you'll want to add salt and pepper to taste if serving for the whole family.  This makes a large pot of soup, so if you don't want left overs or you know only baby will be eating then you will need to adjust accordingly.

Sweet Veggie Soup


unsalted vegetable stock
organic carrots, sweet potatoes, onion,  peas and zucchini

Heat vegetable stock in large pot to boiling.  Meanwhile, chop all of your veggies into small bite sized pieces, chopping the onion into even smaller pieces.  I used 1/2 bag of frozen peas, 3 carrots, 1/2 onion, 2 zucchini, 1 yellow sweet potato, and 1 orange sweet potato. 

Once stock is boiling, add 1/2 cup of orzo, then stir in all of your vegetables.  Add water as needed to be sure all of the vegetables are covered.  Bring back to a boil, place lid on pot, and turn down the heat to simmer.  Simmer for 25 minutes or until vegetables are soft enough for baby to eat without mashing.

I served the soup as an appetizer before our family meal and as baby bug's main course.  I had enough left over to give some to her Nonna and to freeze.  Baby bug loved not only eating the soup from the spoon, but picking up some of the bigger pieces and self-feeding. 

Decor: The Little Touches

Baby bug's room has been a work in progress since I first learned I was pregnant.  I will post later about the transformation of her room.  Although her room looks beautiful the way it is, I'm finding that adding little touches just makes it that much sweeter.  This weekend I worked on two small diy projects: a door hanger and closet dividers.

I purchased the wood pieces for the door hanger from Michael's and I got the Hungry Caterpillar stickers from the Eric Carle Museum Store.  I painted them with the same paint I used in her room and I used a Sharpie for the lettering.  Here is the final product:

I had made closet dividers for her when I was first decorating her room based on sizes (0-3mo, 3 - 6mo, etc...); however, I'm finding that now it is more necessary to have her closet divided by type of clothing rather than size.  So, I peeled off the stickers I had originally used (the upside of not using permanent paint or marker) and redid them.  Here is the final product:

Voila!  A few small touches to make her room even sweeter.  Love.