Saturday, 25 October 2014

Quick and Easy Weaning : Book Review

I was sent a copy of Quick and Easy Weaning by Annabel Karmel (Ebury Press, hardback £9.99) for review. I did not receive any payment for the review but I do get to keep the book. All opinions and photos are my own.

Quick & Easy Weaning Review- Annabel Karmel - Our Handmade Home

'Quick & Easy Weaning' is a great wee book full of advice and tips about weaning. It is crammed with 100 recipes; from simple veg purées to more exciting mini beefburgers. The recipes I have tried have been easy to follow and, on the whole, have been a hit with everyone in the family.

I have really enjoyed the book and would recommend it for anyone with babies or toddlers.

Scroll to the bottom of the page for a quick and easy recipe from the book.

Small (now aged 8 1/4) ate practically nothing but apple and sweet potato purée for what seemed like years. When you have a hungry and fussy baby in your arms it can be so tricky to think of new things to try so I was grateful to have this book as a bit of inspiration while I've been weaning Teeny.

Teeny is now 11 months old and I try to include him in our family meals, but he can be fussy and we don't always eat appropriate food (like my spicy nine-veg-chilli ) I always have a selection of homemade baby foods in little tubs in the freezer ready to grab.

The recipes in 'Quick and Easy Weaning' are a mix of foods to serve to the whole family and great little freezer fillers ready for another day.

Lentil Puree with tomato and cheese - Annabel karmel - Our Handmade Home

Here are the recipes we have tried, with a mini-review of each one:
  • Tuna and Sweetcorn Fishcakes - Yummy! This made enough for all 4 of us for a light lunch, and were delicious.
  • Sweet potato Wedges - Delicious oven roasted sweet potato, omnomnomnom
  • Chicken, Apricot and Butternut squash - Somehow this did not go down well, the recipe looked so lovely, a light curry I thought, but it didn't look at all appetising when it was cooked up and Teeny simply refused to eat it. :(
  • Lentil Purée with Tomato and cheese - This was a winner, as anything with cheese usually is.
  • Butternut squash, Carrot and Sweetcorn - A simple purée in and unusual combination, this got a thumbs up from our little chub (scroll down to find the recipe)

Chopped Butternut Squash - Our Handmade Home

Here's a few other delicious looking recipes in the book ... I am planning on making them when I get around to it...
  • Tender beef Casserole with Parsnip and Thyme
  • Sticky Meatballs
  • Mini turkey burgers

Beside the point: My thoughts on weaning in general:

Organic foods - Babies are teeny tiny, with teeny tiny body parts and they eat an immense amount of food for their body weight. I personally worry about the amount of toxins sprayed onto most food stuffs and try to buy organic for Teeny as much as possible.

Baby rice - The University of Surrey did a study into weaning and  found a young baby's under-developed gut may struggle to cope with fruit or vegetables and recommends that a baby's first food should be baby rice. This is the guidance I followed and weaned my children on pure organic baby rice for the first weeks of solid food.

Age of weaning - Both of my children were weaned around 5 months as they were ready and in need of the sustenance. W.H.O recommends nothing but breast milk for the first 6 months of life, this is the advice given to mothers all around the world and does not take into account the availibility of sterilising equipment, refrigeration or indeed formula feeding - I used my own judgement. But NEVER wean before 17 weeks as the baby's innards just aren't ready and it could cause serious problems.

Baby led weaning - I wouldn't have known how to even if I tried. My babies were both spoon fed with purées, which works for us.

Annabel Karmel quick and easy weaning - our handmade home

Here is one of the recipes that the book's publishers have kindly allowed me to reproduce for my readers.

Butternut squash, carrot and sweetcorn
Extracted from Quick and Easy Weaning by Annabel Karmel 
(Ebury Press, hardback £9.99)


300g butternutsquash
1 medium carrot (approx 75g)
40g Sweetcorn

Put the butternut squash and carrot into a saucepan and cover with 150ml boiling water. 
Cover and cook for 10 minutes. 
Add the sweetcorn and continue to cook for 3 minutes until all the vegetables are tender. 
Blend to a puree using an electric hand blender.

Suitable for freezing.
Suitable from 6 months.
Makes 4 portions.

Book Review - Quick & Easy Weaning - Our Handmade Home

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Our Rainbow Mobile (and how I made it)

Today I'm sharing with y'all the simple mobile I made for Teeny (several months ago) - I'm so happy with the results... and more to the point, so is Teeny - though now he is at a very grabby stage the mobile is being hung higher and higher.

There are loads of really cute crib mobiles on Etsy if you don't feel like making one yourself, but it isn't that hard - I've put in a couple of pointers below.

Felt Baby Crib Mobile - Our Handmade Home

I love the rainbows and the rain cloud, though I was never crazy about the birds, Small likes them, so they stayed. Teeny is a rainbow baby which is where the design came from, and I made this before he was born and it is intentionally unisex

Felt Rainbow Mobile - Our Handmade Home

The rainbow colours are in reverse order on either side of the rainbows as I couldn't decide which way I liked best. They are just semi-circles of felt stitched on top of each other.
The smallest is 2 cm wide and they increase in 2cm increments (I used a pair of compasses to make my templates)

The hanging frame is 1cm thick circular dowel cut to 45cm lengths. I cut a groove in one to allow the other to sit snuggly on top. Then super-glued and bound it with embroidery thread (which I also super-glued in place)

DIY mobile frame - Our Handmade Home

To hold the dangly bits (technical term) in place I made a wee cut with a small hacksaw about 7mm from the ends, it is just wide enough to catch the thread.

Crib Mobile Frame - Our Handmade Home

It is a really simple design, 
feel free to copy it for your own use or for a gift.

Tweet me some photos or stick them on our facebook page if you do make your own version.

Simple Felt Baby Crib Mobile - Our Handmade Home

The Nitty Gritty :

Dowel - 1cm thick pine circular dowel from a selection at B&Q, we had to buy an 8ft length - you should be able to find something similar at any good DIY or art supplies store

Felt - I used ecofi ecofelt - it is made out of recycled plastic bottles and comes in various colours - I had a big stash from when I was an Etsy seller years ago. I'm sure you can find it on eBay, or use any other nice sewing felt.

Embroidery thread - I always use DMC brand, there is a huge range of colours available, I tend to pick up some in fabric shops with good haberdashery departments (specifically Remnant Kings in Glasgow and Hamilton)

Haberdashery is such a good word isn't it... I think I'll say it again... haberdashery :)

Monday, 20 October 2014

I Had a Break, I'm Back, I think

I frequently stumble across other blogs with explanations of why the blogger hasn't been keeping us all updated with the details of their private lives and I always feel a bit sad - of course bloggers have normal messy lives and of course their lives sometimes have to take priority over writing a blog.

To some of us, I guess, blogs take the place of soap-operas where we can see all the ups and downs as the writer stumbles through life and we can all share a little in the joy and sadness along the way.

I don't tend to show all of my life here - I started this blog to share how we were DIYing our home back together, over time, and due to my circumstances it became more about the little DIYs, cooking, mending and painting than the big renovation jobs. But I don't tend to go into lots of detail about our private lives, religious or political views, there are no birth stories, no breastfeeding woes, no political hobby-horsing and no bereaving the death of a loved one - I crave writing about all these things too, but I'm not for sharing too much of what should remain between friends and family.

I have been away for a while, and it was one of those times when real life had to take priority over writing and taking photos.

Here's a little (not too detailed) tale of why I've been gone...

I've been battling the ridiculous condition that pregnancy caused on my body, and the knock-on effects on my mental health. I have been in the care of various health care professionals - some of whom have been amazing, some have been god-awful.

After a short while of wallowing I started getting on with some everyday busying. In between looking after the 2 little-uns I have been making, painting, cleaning, teaching, weaning, voting, cooking and general busy stuff - Perhaps I'll remember to bring y'all up to date on what I have been doing over the coming weeks... stay tuned.

What I have discovered -

  • Keeping myself busy is the best way for me to cope with the crap life throws at me.
  • I am a multi-tasker who needs to see results.
  • Some folks in the medical profession are completely clueless when it comes to mental health (I was told to drink wine, on my own, and watch crap telly to deal with my mild depression - it didn't help)
  • I have less patience with others than I thought I did.
  • Medical professionals find it almost impossible to see you as a multi-dimensional human being.
  • I need to work hard at taking care of myself.

So I'm back for now, I think, but I do need to work hard at getting the balance right. I love my wee blog and I love that you guys are out there reading my wee blog... I hope I can stick around for now.
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