Sunday, February 12, 2012

For Your Valentine

Dave and I have never really celebrated Valentine's Day. It just isn't our thing. That said, I pretty much love anything with a heart on it (I have 3 heart tattoos). So in honor of hearts and Valentine's Day, here is my little shopping guide for your guy or gal:

For the ladies:

1. J. Crew "Edie Purse" $238, 2. Rifle Paper Company Balloon card $4, 3. Marc by Marc Jacobs "Light Hearted" iPhone case $38, 4. alphabet bags Heart Tote for Madewell $23

And the gents:

An otter card made of wood? Get out of here. It couldn't get cuter.

Happy Valentine's Day, or whatever. XO

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Food Prep

Whoops. Sorry for that delay.

On to food making . . .

So, food making has been pretty easy for us in the Wall household. Elliott will eat pretty much anything, so that is a good start. Having the right tools for the job is also a plus. Here are my favorite kitchen tools:

We don't have this exact blender, but ours is similar. Mine is more like the "Bullet" (as seen in infomercials). It's really easy to clean because the blade comes right off. We were using a regular blender or mini food processor - but cleaning these over and over again became a real pain. When you buy a food blender for baby food, really pay attention to how it assembles and how easy it will be to clean.

This was recommended to me by my friend Jess. I use it all the time (especially when I make soups), and it's awesome for baby food. More watery foods and purees are ideal for this - pears, peas, green beans, apples, etc. You need to make a larger portion or else you aren't going to be able to properly blend. It is called an emersion blender, after all.

So I initially tried taking short cuts when it came to food freezing and storage. I was just using ice cube trays (they were all of 99 cents at Target). Because the ice cube trays are harder plastic it was really hard to get the frozen food out. I had to stick knives in the side of the tray to pop the food out, but then I would find little bits of plastic in the food. No good. I switched to these (much more expensive) Beaba food trays. They hold 2 oz. portions, they are silicone (meaning BPA free), have a great little snap on lid, and the frozen food comes out really easily. These are worth the money, I promise.

So let's be honest. A baby can eat food out of anything - it doesn't need to be fancy or plastic. Maybe when they get older and want to start throwing things around plastic is a good idea - but little peanuts need no special dishes. We do use these though because they are insanely cute. We are big Skip Hop fans.

This has been my go-to book for baby food making. I really like the recipes, as they are good portion sizes for little babies. There is a really helpful chart at the front of the book that breaks down what foods are introduced at particular ages. Very helpful (even if I do stray from it).

Recipes to come . . .

Saturday, December 3, 2011


Hello? Is anyone out there? Aside from my husband and neighbors? Probably not. But just in case . . . allow me to tell you about making baby food.

So, when I first found out I was pregnant I knew there were a few things I wanted to do with Baby Wall. Cloth diapering and making his baby food were two big ones. Well, cloth diapering didn't happen, despite the fact that I have plenty of cloth diapers. I think after having a baby you are trying so hard to just figure out the baby. Adding the learning curve of cloth diapers didn't interest me at all. I suppose I could pick it up now . . .

But I digress. I am really pleased to say I have made all of the food that Elliott has eaten (aside from a few banana Puffs). I thought it was going to be so difficult, but it isn't! We don't even have a microwave, so I can only imagine how much faster it is for people that do.

When the time rolled around that we decided to give Elliott food (about 5 1/2 months) we happened to meet up with some friends, Sharon and Matt, and their 1 year old daugher, Isabelle. Sharon is a nutritionist so it was really interesting to talk to her about baby nutrition. She said that they had opted to not use the cereals that all books, Doctors, parents, and friends recommended. They skipped that step and went straight for the actual foods. After asking some more questions, Sharon told me that they decided to do this because, especially if you are breast feeding (which I am), then eating at 6 months is not a necessity, per se. Introducing foods to a baby at 6 months is more a matter of acclimating your baby to being able to eat. Additionally, the box cereals are fortified and processed - and not necessary.

Dave and I have gone to great lengths lately to improve our diets by eating whole foods, and less processed foods (pay no attention to my Junior Mint habit). So why not try the same thing with our baby?

Elliott's first food was sweet potatoes. I roasted them in the oven, then put them through a sieve to keep them super smooth. The potatoes were still really thick so I opted to thin them out with breast milk (which also helps your baby recognize the taste and encourages them to keep eating). It went great! He gobbled up an entire serving with no hesitation.

Elliott enjoying some sweet potatoes.

Because I am a stay at home mom, I obviously have the time to make him food. It also makes me feel more comfortable introducing foods every few days. So, these are all of the foods Elliott has tried within the last month and a half:
  • 10/22 - Sweet Potatoes
  • 10/27 - Apples
  • 10/28 - Apples with Prune Juice
  • 10/29 - Bananas
  • 11/2 - Pears
  • 11/5 - Carrots
  • 11/8 - Peas
  • 11/14 - Peaches
  • 11/17 - Oatmeal
  • 11/19 - Acorn Squash & Cinnamon
  • 11/21 - Avocado
  • 11/24 - Butternut squash
  • 11/27 - Green Beans
  • 11/29 - Barley & Prunes
  • 12/2 - Zucchini
Wow. That's a lot of food. He has loved everything, and only refused too-ripe bananas (which I was warned about). He eats oatmeal or barley with almost every meal, although I prefer the barley because it doesn't get as gummy as oatmeal does. He normally eats 2 or 3 different things at each meal, just to make sure he is getting a good combination of nutrients. For instance, I try to give him something with vitamin C when he eats an iron rich food to help with iron absorption.

When he isn't enjoying food, he likes to eat his toes. If he has socks on, all the better!

Stay tuned for my favorite recipes and things that I have found really helpful in baby food making!

Friday, October 14, 2011


I like to make myself lists for a variety of reasons. I obviously do it so that I don't forget things, but it also makes me feel like I have accomplished something. I have been known to forget to put things on a to-do list, done them anyway, and then added them to my to-do list just so that I can cross them off. It's like this little game I play with myself.

The biggest to do list right now is of home improvement projects (as seen in previous posts). When we first moved in I started this list, and I felt like we hadn't accomplished much. Well, I updated the list a lot over the last few days, and while I added a ton of things (the entire outdoors section of the list is new) it's nice to see some tasks getting crossed off. See, Dave Wall - we have accomplished more than we thought!

Everything highlighted in yellow has been completed!

Here it goes . . .


(Aside from gutting them)

- New toilets in all bathrooms

- New fans, vented to outside

- Remove heat vents

- New outlets

- Remove wallpaper

- Sun tubes

- New flooring


(Again, aside from gutting it)

- New dishwasher

- Hookup water to back of refrigerator

- Fix wobbly stove, or new stove

- New garbage disposal (Turns out we don't really need to do this - I actually really like ours)

- New overhead light in kitchen and EIK

- New outlets

Guest Room/Office:

- Find corner shelves for wall

- Area rug

- New bookcase

- Bed frame

- New overhead light

Baby Wall’s Room: (Now more specifically known as Elliott's Room)

- New overhead light (We have one, it just needs to be installed)

- Crib!?

- Lay rug pad under rug

- Curtains

- Finish hanging art work

Master Bedroom:

- Curtains

- Figure out bed-side table situation

- Install sconces?

- Hang artwork (Weekend project!)

Dining Room:

- New lighting fixture

- Rug

- Wallpaper!

- Sand and paint remaining trim

Living Room:

- Rug

- Reappolster sofa cussions?

- New sofa?

- Curtains/shutters

- Built-in bookcase?

- Fix knob for closet door

- Change light above door

- Figure out furniture to go by front door


- Replace lantern atop lamp post

- New light by front door

- Remove doorbell

- Remove all of the different “ones”, post new “ones”

- Paint mailbox post

- Refinish mailbox (or get a new one)

- New garage doors

- Repaint exterior

- New shutters

- New gutters

- New roof

- Rodent guard on chimney (why is this so expensive?!)

- Trim back trees from house (Weekend Project!)

- Remove extraneous bushes/plants

- Hang doorknocker

- New screendoor

- New front door

- Paint/spray paint lamp post

Gee, that's it?

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Baby Box

The Finnish Baby Box. It may sound sinister, but it isn't. In fact it is one of the most incredible things I can imagine a government doing for its pregnant citizens.

In Finland all expecting mothers are sent a "baby box," or maternity package. Initially this was a box of items sent to pregnant woman in need of aid, which began in 1937. By 1949 this box was offered to all pregnant women (if they want to buy their own baby goods, they are in turn given a grant). The box contains many items which a baby will need in its first year of life; Several outfits, including a snow suit, mittens, and booties, as well as blankets, cloth diapers, a teether, a book, nail scissors, bib, toothbrush, baby thermometer, and even condoms (for the parents, not the baby - haha). The patterns and colors vary by year, so parents can identify which babies were born in the same year as their own based on what they are wearing. But wait, that isn't all. The box that all of the items are sent in can be used as a crib (see below)! A mattress and sheets are, of course, included.
Here is an itemized list of everything in the 2010 box.

That is good government, and tax money going towards an incredible cause. Who'd have thunk it!?

I love that the baby box is sent to every mother. What an amazing way to create unity amongst citizens and babies. No one can complain that someone is receiving aid and they are not - it really creates a level playing field. And not to mention people are sent incredibly thoughtful items - cloth diapers and condoms! That's just crazy!

It's so uplifting to hear of a government supporting its citizens. Way to go, Finland.

(To give credit where credit is due, I initially read about this in a blog post on Etsy, and then read about it further on

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Eco Friendly Wishlist

While we are on the topic of remodeling our house . . . I have a wishlist of things that are all eco friendly, or at the very least energy efficient.

When we first bought our house I knew I wanted to compost. After a little poking around online I discovered that the state of Massachusetts was given a grant to supply every town with compost bins at very cheap prices. I investigated the status of this in Maynard, and found out that I could get an Earth Machine compost bin (that is enormous) for a mere $32. That was one of the first things I did once we moved in - I picked up the compost bin. I did it just in time too, I think there were only 2 left by the time I got there.

We have also talked about getting a rain barrel, and found out that we could also buy this from the public works department in Maynard for a very discounted rate. We have yet to make this plunge because, honestly, I don't ever water anything in my lawn. Maybe next year?

We have bought all energy star appliances thus far: washer, dryer, and refrigerator. Next on deck will be the dish washer, air conditioner, and stove. I am holding out on the stove as long as possible because I would love to be able to get a gas stove (we currently have electric).

Which brings us to the biggest energy suck/earth polluter in our house: OIL. We have oil heat and hot water. I would love to be hooked up to city gas, but I am terrified about how much this will cost us. Not only would we have to hook up to gas, which I am guessing means digging up my lawn (not such a loss, really) and making a hole in my foundation, but we have to buy all new appliances. New boiler/furnace and a new hot water heater. I would love to have an on demand hot water heater, but that is something that would definitely have to wait for the gas switch over. Anywho, one thing begets another in this case.

Some other things that I would love to invest in (and I think they would be fairly inexpensive) is sun tubes.

These overhead lights are sun tubes (images from Watertite Skylights)

These are made by a bunch of companies, and look just like flush mount ceiling lights. However, they require no electricity - they are just like a tubular sky light. Genius. I really want these in the kitchen, as well as all of the bathrooms.

Again, the to-do list grows . . .