Eat.

I don’t know how to make these food posts more exciting. Maybe I’ll make that my New Year’s Resolution. But it’s still 2016 so here goes.

Food we bought especially for Babystar in November:

  • those weird fruit and veggie melts x4 $11.96
  • canned diced tomatoes x2 $2.48
  • digitali pasta $1.99
  • zucchini x2 $1.67
  • yogurt (which she didn’t like btw) $2.99
  • raspberries $3.99
  • TJ graham crackers x3 $5.97
  • pears $2.99
  • so much cheese $5.98
  • eggs $9.98
  • deli turkey $3.59
  • sweet potatoes (which she wouldn’t eat btw because they are apparently for babies) $4.99
  • butternut squash (still sitting on counter and likely bad by now) $2.77

The November tab is low. Babystar was so sick the first week of November that she basically had milk and crackers. And the milk is free! And the grandparents bought SO MUCH FOOD when we were there over Thanksgiving. Babystar looooves shrimp. Crap. Expensive baby tastes. She really loves seafood but I usually just share my salmon or whatever. Now I’ll probably be buying shrimp cocktail platters.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $13,589.31

To Grandma’s House We Went.

I used to love Thanksgiving, back in the last millennium when I was but a wee little one. Thanksgiving meant a break from school, lots of cousins, and extra desserts. It was the beginning of the holiday season. My dad had a big family all close together, so I remember folding tables for MILES that stretched through doorways into adjoining rooms. We kids were running and tumbling everywhere, or more often banished upstairs or outside (depending on the weather), where we got into all kinds of mischief. Ouija boards and naked Barbie dolls feature prominently in my childhood memories.

But now. Everyone has moved away or passed away or simply doesn’t hang out together anymore. My husband is an only child. I live pretty far from most of my family. Air travel is so damn expensive this week. We used to have a LOVELY lonely Hard Candy Christmas type of Thanksgiving with just us and the cats, with the two older children at their dad’s house and the Babystar not yet existing. WHY does having a baby come with certain holiday expectations? My in-laws moved to Myrtle Beach about five minutes before I got pregnant with Babystar (or I doubt they would have made the move). And so we tortured the teenager and the toddler on Interstate 95 last week.

I despise I-95. Fuck that road. The actual visit was lovely, though.

We did break up the trip on the way down because the baby cannot stand more than five hours in the car. Total, all day. After that begins the screamy times. Also, it cannot be dark. Also, someone must hold her hand at all times. Also, people must be singing. People she actually KNOWS, not people from the radio. Dance music isn’t fun unless we can actually dance. DUH, MOM.

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So anyway, that $136.53 at the Hampton Inn is on Babystar’s tab. We could have driven straight through without her along.

Once we arrived, Myrtle Beach was a whirlwind of food and shopping. I wasn’t mad at all. My MIL is a very good cook, even though she always pretends not to be very hungry while she passing me the gravy. Or the butter. Or the cupcakes and ice cream with peanut butter cups on top. Of both.

And that woman is FIRE at the mall. Do you remember that episode of Gilmore Girls where Lorelei and Rory run into Emily at the mall and everyone there knows her? And they know all about Lorelei and Rory too, just by association? It was like that, if Emily Gilmore was much nicer. The teenager and I just watched in awe. I am not even kidding. The dude at the Cinnabon kiosk had her coffee ready when she walked by. One lady at a department store recognized her immediately and told her all about the sales on the ceramic pumpkins that she has had her eye on for two months. A lady in the shoe department knew that the Teenager was a gymnast without being told, and had been thinking about the perfect boots for her since before the Teenager even knew that she was getting boots. A different lady at a different department store gave me hella free samples including actual travel sizes with my Kiehl’s purchase because I was with Emily Gilmore my MIL. I straight up asked her (out of MIL’s hearing) if she was being so nice because I was with MIL, and she looked me straight in the eyes, smiled, and gave a single nod. I buy Kiehl’s at home all the time and they maybe give me two samples of lotion. If I ask nicely.

We did pop out to the outlets once on our own and while the Teenager and I were standing in line, my sweet husband distracted the baby by going to look at the ‘dogs’ at the weird outlet mall kiosk. $13 later, we owned one of those yippy beasts.

We also took a walk one day and found ourselves at a playground and then at Barnes & Noble where we spent way too much time (and money) in the children’s section. We brought home three board books and one story book for $45.32. Yes, they probably would have been less on Amazon, but it feels good to support a brick & mortar book store. I never would have said that about a chain bookstore even ten years ago, but now even the chains are dying. RIP Borders.

Another day, we went down to the boardwalk for a bit. The sand was cold but the ocean was beautiful. We watched the sun set and then Babystar got excited about all the lights. She had fun running around the arcades pushing blinking buttons and getting some wiggles out. And I bought her a $5 piece of crap light up thingy that she IMMEDIATELY bashed against the boardwalk until it broke. It still lit up for another two hours or so. It is in the trash now.

The WORST part of the trip was that it would have been considered rude to binge watch the new Gilmore Girls and the Teenager is so busy during the school week and we will have to wait over a week to see what is up with Rory and Lorelei. We have cleared Sunday evening’s schedule and now I just have to avoid spoilers. I’m scared, y’all. I might google in a moment of weakness. Like a 4am insomnia moment of weakness. Please keep me in your prayers.

The ride home was straight through, though broken up by fast food play places and one actual restaurant. We had snacks from South Carolina and the food on our plates and the ever present mama milk so the only cost to feed her was the $3 cookie I bought her at the fancy grown-up restaurant to eat while we ate our actual dinner. Judge me, I don’t care. I was hungry and desperate. I do not recommend this at all but it TOTALLY works in an actual meltdown-avoidance-emergency.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $13,485.59

 

Apple Hack.

Like pretty much every ToddlerMonster on the planet, Babystar loooooves fruit.

Autumn is tricky, though, because apples are in season. And apples want to choke my baby so very badly.

(Yes, I know about pears. I love pears. Babystar loves pears. But they are sosososososo SO SO messy. They are delicious and sticky and drippy and apparently VERY FUN to squish in a tiny fist before licking off of a tiny hand. So I’ve heard. We eat pears just before bath time. Or if we don’t have anywhere to be for a few hours. We rarely eat pears for breakfast because the clean up time is ridiculous.)

I also know that this is 2016 and I can get any fruit any time. I’m not a strict locavore, but I do like to pay attention to the seasons. Out-of-season fruit is EXPENSIVE. And even more importantly, out-of-season fruit is kind of gross and tasteless. So here we are: Apple Season.

Babystar thinks applesauce is baby food. I make homemade freaking delicious cinnamon applesauce but she hates it. Whatever; more for me. However, the grandparents brought us a peck of delicious yummy apples from an orchard in Maryland so we have apples for days WEEKS and I had to figure out a way to slice them that Little Miss Five Teeth could eat without choking. And I got tired of peeling apples all the time.

This seems to work.

  1. Use the apple corer as per usual.
  2. Use a knife to cut one regular human sized slice into three or four thin baby-bitable slices.
  3. Score the peel so that the bits are so small that she can swallow them whole.

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Voila! ToddlerMonster-safe apple slices!*

RAISING BABYSTAR: $13,235.18

*I am not a doctor or nutritionist or in any way qualified to tell you how to feed your child. Your toddler might choke on apples. Your very small baby probably WILL choke on apples. You know your kid better than I do.

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Baby’s Gotta Eat.

Someone please suggest a better system for keeping track of Babystar’s food. Right now, I’m keeping a list of food that I buy SPECIFICALLY for Babystar. Although we do sometimes share. And we share a lot of our food with her. But I am not counting that, because I was going to buy that bag of veggies from Trader Joe’s anyway. I would have just eaten that extra tablespoon of peas and cauliflower or whatever if she didn’t eat it. You know what I mean? Ok.

Oh, and this is for the beginning of August except for the parts in California and then all of September. I kind of forgot at the end of August. Plus who wants to read this boring blog post anyway? I just have to include it because I AM ADDICTED TO ACCURACY. Ugh, so annoying.

  • Nectarines $6.98
  • String cheese $6.47
  • Mozzarella toast (at our fave local pizza place) $4.99 x 2
  • 3 cans of diced tomatoes $2.97
  • 3 zucchinis $3.00
  • 1 sweet onion $1.50
  • 1 orange pepper $1.50
  • 2 boxes ditalini pasta $5.58
  • 5 packs of Gerber veggie melts $14.95 (yikes!)
  • 5 packs of organic free-range hippie eggs $19.95
  • Gerber veggie puffs AKA Babystar’s Cheetos $2.99
  • box of Trader Joe’s version of cheerios $2.39
  • 3 boxes chia seed waffles $8.97
  • strawberries $9.00
  • peaches $4.78
  •  plain vanilla yogurt (for making popsicles) $2.79
  • so many bananas $8.00
  • Spinach artichoke dip $7.99
  • Fancy crackers $5.99

Those last two seem a bit odd, yeah? Babystar often goes to Costco with her dad on the weekends. (She likes any stores that doubles as a buffet. Same, Babystar, same.) APPARENTLY, she went crazy for the spinach artichoke dip at on of the sample stations and loudly insisted that they go back for more whenever she ran out. Of course, Husband was a wonderful Dada (and decent human being since she ate so much of it) and bought a container to bring home. He even bought the crackers they were selling to go with it since she loved them too. She didn’t eat a single bite at home. It was yummy. We all enjoyed it. But it goes on her tab because we bought it FOR HER.

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RAISING BABYSTAR: $12,296.35

 

 

 

 

 

Vacation, Baby.

We just got back from a looooong but fuuuuun vacation in California.

And boy are my arms tired. Or something like that.

And then right away school started for the Teenager and I’m just finding a moment with my laptop friend today. Hey, boo.

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Babystar sleeps with me and still mostly shares our food out at restaurants so she really didn’t cost that much. She’s under two and we flew domestically so she was even free to fly. On the way home we did have an extra seat that was randomly empty in one of our rows thank goodness but we didn’t pay for it.

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We did feed her though. Over half of the trip was spent in a super cool apartment in West Hollywood via AirBnB. It was very close to a Whole Foods. Guess what I learned? I really like Whole Foods brand diapers. (I did not bring cloth diapers because the other parts of the trip were in two different hotels and just no.) We also shopped at Trader Joe’s, Target and some oddly named store in downtown LA called Smart and Final. (WTH kind of name is that?) And H&M and we ordered actual food for her in restaurants a COUPLE of times.

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  • Whole Foods brand diapers $10.99
  • Chia waffles $3.29
  • ice cream sandwiches $4.39 (she was teething, shhhhh, i know.)
  • elbow macaroni $1.69
  • garlic alfredo sauce $3.69
  • clementines $2.99
  • bananas $2.03
  • cheese sticks $4.99
  • TJ brand cheerios $2.99
  • quart of milk $1.99
  • Luvs diapers $7.39
  • back seat mirror* $14.99
  • various Gerber-fruit-snack-veggie-puff things $16.82
  • Nuetrogena 60SPF baby sunscreen $11.69
  • Hyland’s teething tablets $8.99
  • Pampers $9.69
  • strawberries $2.99
  • children’s ibuprofen $4.99
  • pint of milk $1.49
  • cheese sticks $4.19
  • pear $0.72
  • bananas $1.70

Total for groceries purchased specifically for Babystar (even though we shared a little bit and she shared some of ours): $124.69

Meals out purchased just for Babystar:

  • grilled fish and fries $7.99
  • grilled cheese and fried $5.95
  • fruit cup x 2 $8.50
  • add 20% to all those for tip $4.48

Also we bought her a Venice Beach tee BUT NOT REALLY because it was Buy 2, Get 1 Free so we bought them for all of us girls. Hers was cheapest, therefore free. We did buy a few things at H&M though: a dress for $3 and a tank top for $3.

Who says babies are expensive? Oh, right. Me.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $12,021.13

*I already have backseat mirrors for both cars here at home, but I couldn’t stand not seeing her in her car seat. So I bought one, and it’s currently attached to the crib where she enjoys peeping herself while playing in the crib. Which she totally does for like five minutes each day (while I spray her diapers).