How To: Make Edible Yogurt Play Doh

magical mama blog how to make edible yogurt play doh dough silly putty toddler baby activity

How To: Make Edible Yogurt Play Doh

You’re trying to get something done and your toddler is running after you, screaming for your attention… Sound familiar?

No worries!  Take 5 minutes to mix together 2 ingredients that are already in your kitchen!

My child is a hungry hungry hippo, so she will put anything within arm’s reach straight into her mouth.  When I want to give her something to amuse her for a few minutes, I need to make sure it’s taste-safe.

Luckily, all you need for this recipe is yogurt and cornstarch!  Both, taste-safe ingredients make for a fun, attention grabbing activity that your child can do in their high chair while you get things done.

I’m not going to write a few hundred words that you’ll simply scroll through in order to get to the recipe!  Here it is!

What you’ll need:

2 containers of baby yogurt (a little less than 1 cup)

1 heaping cup of Corn Starch

magical mama blog how to make edible cornstarch play doh dough silly putty toddler baby activity

Throw both ingredients into a bowl and mix until well combined.

If your dough is crumbly, add yogurt.

If your dough is sticky, add corn starch.

It’s just that simple and it makes a ton!

magical mama blog how to make edible yogurt play doh dough silly putty toddler baby activity

You could easily cut the recipe in half if you want to save ingredients or you have the feeling it will end up on the floor.

It keeps well for a few days in a ziplock bag in the fridge.

magical mama blog how to make edible yogurt play doh dough silly putty baby toddler activity

It has a great smooth and rubbery texture that is great for sensory play!

magical mama blog how to make edible yogurt play doh dough silly putty baby toddler activity

magical mama blog how to make edible yogurt play doh dough silly putty toddler baby activity

Give it a try and see how your kiddos like it!

magical mama blog how to make edible yogurt play doh

 

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How To: Make Baby Food Purees

ihelpmoms.com magical mama blog

magical mama blog how to make baby food purees cooking


This post contains affiliate links.
If you make purchases through these links, I receive a small commission (at no cost to you! Yay!).
I practice what I preach and only promote products that I use, trust, and adore!
If you’d like additional information on anything, visit Privacy & Disclosures.
Please feel free to comment below or head to Contact Me!

“MagicalMamaBlog is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com”


magical mama blog how to make baby food puree from cooked foods

How To: Make Baby Food Purees

I am not, nor have I ever been, an organic-y person.  However, I have always been a penny pincher!  So after months of nursing for free, it came time to introduce my little one to solid foods.  All I could see behind my eyelids at night was dollar signs!

I went to the internet for answers!  Baby food was anywhere from $0.60 to $1.50 per container!

Once my baby is eating three times a day, that’s 21 of these per week and close to 100 each month! Then about 8 months of this before she can really eat what we’re eating?! On top of diapers and other necessities plus snacks, that adds up QUICK!

There was no way I was going to be adding that to my grocery bill each week!  So off I dove into the pool of Pinterest…and I started drinking the Kool Aid!

I began doing the math and it would cost chump change to buy fruits and vegetables, puree them and freeze them.  We’re talking getting it down to $0.08 or $0.10 per meal!  THESE are numbers I can live with!

“But it’s so much work!!”

It’s actually really not bad.  No worse than making a meal for your family.  On some foods you have to peel and chop.  But then the steam cooks it for you and the processor/blender works for you.

If you are pressed for pennies, IT WILL BE WORTH IT!

I am 6 months into homemade food for my little one and BOY am I happy I did it!  I have worked out the kinks and have 3 different methods to show you!

Fresh, frozen, and cooked.

That’s right, for 2 of these methods, there’s no cooking involved!  Score!

I don’t want this post to be ridiculously long, so head over here for your tutorial on How To: Make Baby Food Purees From Frozen Food

And head over here for your tutorial on How To: Make Baby Food Purees From Fresh Fruits

At the bottom of the post, you’ll see the link to get your print out of my favorite combinations & recipes.  Tested and approved by my little helper.  This will help you when you don’t have any creative juices flowing at the end of the day.

A lot of blogs about making baby food will tell you to combine the ingredients before freezing.  I don’t suggest this, at least at first.  Get your baby through their introductions to check for allergies.  See what they their favorites are.  Then begin the fun of combining foods to make them meals.

When you freeze each food separately, you have endless options for combinations.  You can throw cubes for three or four different foods together or keep it simple for one or two.  This also comes in handy when your baby is addicted to the sweet fruits…you can sneak those veggies in there!

(Babies can reject foods up to ten times even though they may end up enjoying it. This is a big leap from milk/formula.  Don’t get discouraged!)

Pro Tip: Take your time. Make one or two purees each night.  You only have so many ice cube trays you can fill.  The process goes slow at first.  You’re supposed to give your baby a new food then have them eat it for 3 days.  This is in case the baby has a bad reaction or food allergy; you know the culprit immediately and can avoid putting your little one through it again anytime soon.

Items you need:

  • Ice cube trays (I grabbed mine at the dollar store – Three 15 cube trays for $1!)
  • Food processor or blender
  • Freezer safe ziplock bags

Stages you need to know about:

Stage 1 – Supported Sitter – Your baby’s first solid food should be runny.  If your purees are thick, you’ll want to thin them with milk, formula, or water.

Stage 2 – Sitter – Your baby’s second solid food should be a thicker consistency.  If your purees are thin, you’ll want to thicken them with rice cereal or oatmeal cereal.

Stage 3 – Crawler – Your baby’s last solid food before table foods should be thick and should have chunks in it baby can chew and mash on.

Cooked

Butternut Squash (check out the tutorial on cooking these puppies here)
Sweet Potato
Carrots
Green Beans (fresh, canned or frozen)
Peas (fresh, canned or frozen)
Corn (fresh, canned or frozen)
Pears
Apples
Broccoli
Bell Pepper
Asparagus
Spinach
Cucumber
Squash
Zucchini

  • Peel, core & chop.
  • Place in steam basket in pot of water for 30 minutes (or until you can stick a fork in easily)
  • Throw in processor/blender until pureed evenly.
  • Stop to scrape if you need to.
  • Add a bit of milk, formula, or water if it needs to be thinned to blend.
  • Spoon into ice cube trays & tap to pop any air bubbles.
  • Toss in freezer for a few hours.
  • Pop out cubes and put into freezer safe ziplock bags.
  • Label name and date.  These are usually good for about 4 months.

This is the method that takes the most work, but this is the place where you’re going to find your solid bases for most meals.

If you feel like this is daunting, check out the tutorials on making purees from fresh food or making purees from frozen food first!

Squash, Pear, or Apple are in almost every single meal I serve my little one.  These are the most popular bases on the market.  They have a good taste that is not overly powerful and they have a great consistency.

If you check out the baby food at the store, you’ll see these ingredients in almost every single label… along with other stuff that you may or may not be able to pronounce.

Special note about Carrots: When in the processor/blender, do not use the remaining water from steaming to thin.

Special note on Peas & Green Beans: These have shells/skins on them that will probably require some extra time in the processor/blender.  You want to make sure that there is no rogue shell in there that can be a choking hazard!

Thawing & Cooking

Pull a few cubes out of your ziplock and toss into a microwave safe dish.

Nuke for 20 seconds, stir, 20 seconds, stir, then microwave for 10 seconds & stir as needed. You want to cook in short bursts and stir.

This is a small amount of food.  It can heat up very quickly and can get hot spots in it so you want to stir to prevent burning baby’s mouth.

You’ll want to get it to room temperature or warm.  Test on your inner wrist if you’re unsure.

Feed away!

…..

Don’t get me wrong.  I also love the convenience of the baby food sold in stores.  I buy a few on occasion.

They are incredibly easy to throw in the diaper bag with a spoon and you don’t have to worry about their temperature or having them going bad.  It’s awesome for trips or being out at a restaurant or somewhere with baby.

However, when I open those containers and smell them, I want to gag a little bit.  When my little one is grumpy about the food, I don’t blame her and I struggle to pretend to take a bite of it.

If she is throwing a fit about what I have made her at home, I happily take a bite or two and it always smells fresh and delicious!

I highly recommend you try this out.  It will save you money and definitely will give you peace of mind that you know exactly what your baby is eating.

Grab your FREE printable baby food recipe ideas here!

magical mama blog how to make baby food purees cooking

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How To: Make Baby Food Purees From Frozen Food

magical mama blog how to make baby food purees from frozen food


This post contains affiliate links.
If you make purchases through these links, I receive a small commission (at no cost to you! Yay!).
I practice what I preach and only promote products that I use, trust, and adore!
If you’d like additional information on anything, visit Privacy & Disclosures.
Please feel free to comment below or head to Contact Me!

“MagicalMamaBlog is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com”


magical mama blog how to make baby food puree from frozen foods

How To: Make Baby Food Purees From Frozen Food

I am not, nor have I ever been, an organic-y person.  However, I have always been a penny pincher!  So after months of nursing for free, it came time to introduce my little one to solid foods.  All I could see behind my eyelids at night was dollar signs!

I went to the internet for answers!  Baby food was anywhere from $0.60 to $1.50 per container!

Once my baby is eating three times a day, that’s 21 of these per week and close to 100 each month! Then about 8 months of this before she can really eat what we’re eating?! On top of diapers and other necessities plus snacks, that adds up QUICK!

There was no way I was going to be adding that to my grocery bill each week!  So off I dove into the pool of Pinterest…and I started drinking the Kool Aid!

I began doing the math and it would cost chump change to buy fruits and vegetables, puree them and freeze them.  We’re talking getting it down to $0.08 or $0.10 per meal!  THESE are numbers I can live with!

“But it’s so much work!!”

It’s actually really not bad.  No worse than making a meal for your family.  On some foods you have to peel and chop.  But then the steam cooks it for you and the processor/blender works for you.

If you are pressed for pennies, IT WILL BE WORTH IT!

I am 6 months into homemade food for my little one and BOY am I happy I did it!  I have worked out the kinks and have 3 different methods to show you!

Frozen, fresh, and cooked purees.

That’s right, for 2 of these methods, there’s no cooking involved!  Score!

I don’t want this post to be ridiculously long, so head over here for your tutorial on How To: Make Baby Food Purees

And head over here for your tutorial on How To: Make Baby Food Purees From Fresh Fruits

At the bottom of the post, you’ll see the link to get your print out of my favorite combinations & recipes.  Tested by my little helper.  This will help you when you don’t have any creative juices flowing at the end of the day.

A lot of blogs about making baby food will tell you to combine the ingredients before freezing.  I don’t suggest this, at least at first.  Get your baby through their introductions to check for allergies.  See what they their favorites are.  Then begin the fun of combining foods to make them meals.

When you freeze each food separately, you have endless options for combinations.  You can throw cubes for three or four different foods together or keep it simple for one or two.  This also comes in handy when your baby is addicted to the sweet fruits…you can sneak those veggies in there!

(Babies can reject foods up to ten times even though they may end up enjoying it. This is a big leap from milk/formula.  Don’t get discouraged!)

Pro Tip: Take your time. Make one or two purees each night.  You only have so many ice cube trays you can fill.  The process goes slow at first.  You’re supposed to give your baby a new food then have them eat it for 3 days.  This is in case the baby has a bad reaction or food allergy; you know the culprit immediately and can avoid putting your little one through it again anytime soon.

Items you need:

Ice cube trays (I grabbed mine at the dollar store – Three 15 cube trays for $1!)
Food processor or blender
Freezer safe ziplock bags

Stages you need to know about:

Stage 1 – Supported Sitter – Your baby’s first solid food should be runny.  If your purees are thick, you’ll want to thin them with milk, formula, or water.

Stage 2 – Sitter – Your baby’s second solid food should be a thicker consistency.  If your purees are thing, you’ll want to thicken them with rice cereal or oatmeal cereal.

Stage 3 – Crawler – Your baby’s last solid food before table foods should be thick and should have chunks in it baby can chew and mash on.

Frozen

On your next trip to the grocery store, be sure to write down some frozen fruits and veggies onto your shopping list.

Strawberry
Blueberry
Blackberry
Mango
Peach
Pineapple
Peas
The list goes on and on!

  • Let a bag of frozen food sit out on the counter for 15 minutes to let it thaw enough to be blended.
  • Toss in food processor or blender and pulverize it!  If it’s having trouble getting down to a creamy texture, add in some breast milk, formula, or water.
  • You may need to stop to scrape down the chunks from the sides to make sure you get a nice even consistency.
  • Scoop or pour your puree into your ice cube trays. You can also pour your mixture into a plastic bag, cut the corner, and fill into each cube like you’re icing a cake.
  • Try to get out any bubbles by patting the trays on the counter or push a spoon into each cube to pop bubbles.
  • Throw into the freezer.
  • Once frozen solid, pop out and toss into freezer safe ziplock bag.
  • Label what is in the bag and the date.  These usually last 4-6 months.

The thing I love about the frozen foods is that they require no prep and the re-freeze quick!  I was able to get through several bags of frozen food in one evening because they froze within an hour or two so I was able to wash my trays and start again!

These are larger quantities of fruit than you can get in the produce section and they are already prepared…and are a lot cheaper!  I was not looking forward to coring strawberries, peeling mango, chopping pineapple, etc.!

Thawing & Cooking

When it comes time for baby to eat, pop out a few cubes into a microwave safe dish.

Nuke for 20 seconds, stir, 20 seconds, stir then 10 seconds & stir as needed until desired temperature is reached.

If you cook for longer periods of time, the small amount of food can heat very quickly and develop hot spots that can burn baby’s mouth. Short bursts & stirring is the trick!

You want to get between room temperature & warm.  If you’re unsure, put a dab on your inner wrist to check.

Feed away!

…..

Don’t get me wrong.  I also love the convenience of the baby food sold in stores.  I buy a few on occasion.

They are incredibly easy to throw in the diaper bag with a spoon and you don’t have to worry about their temperature or having them going bad.  It’s awesome for trips or being out at a restaurant or somewhere with baby.

However, when I open those containers and smell them, I want to gag a little bit.  When my little one is grumpy about the food, I don’t blame her and I struggle to pretend to take a bite of it.

If she is throwing a fit about what I have made her at home, I happily take a bite or two and it always smells fresh and delicious!

I highly recommend you try this out.  It will save you money and definitely will give you peace of mind that you know exactly what your baby is eating.

Grab your FREE printable baby food recipe ideas here!

magical mama blog how to make baby food purees from frozen food

Continue Reading

How To: Make Baby Food Purees From Fresh Fruit

magical mama blog how to make baby food purees from fresh fruit


This post contains affiliate links.
If you make purchases through these links, I receive a small commission (at no cost to you! Yay!).
I practice what I preach and only promote products that I use, trust, and adore!
If you’d like additional information on anything, visit Privacy & Disclosures.
Please feel free to comment below or head to Contact Me!

“MagicalMamaBlog is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com”


magical mama blog how to make baby food purees from fresh fruit

How To: Make Baby Food Purees From Fresh Fruit

I am not, nor have I ever been, an organic-y person.  However, I have always been a penny pincher!  So after months of nursing for free, it came time to introduce my little one to solid foods.  All I could see behind my eyelids at night was dollar signs!

I went to the internet for answers!  Baby food was anywhere from $0.60 to $1.50 per container!

Once my baby is eating three times a day, that’s 21 of these per week and close to 100 each month! Then about 8 months of this before she can really eat what we’re eating?! On top of diapers and other necessities plus snacks, that adds up QUICK!

There was no way I was going to be adding that to my grocery bill each week!  So off I dove into the pool of Pinterest…and I started drinking the Kool Aid!

I began doing the math and it would cost chump change to buy fruits and vegetables, puree them and freeze them.  We’re talking getting it down to $0.08 or $0.10 per meal!  THESE are numbers I can live with!

“But it’s so much work!!”

It’s actually really not bad.  No worse than making a meal for your family.  On some foods you have to peel and chop.  But then the steam cooks it for you and the processor/blender works for you.

If you are pressed for pennies, IT WILL BE WORTH IT!

I am 6 months into homemade food for my little one and BOY am I happy I did it!  I have worked out the kinks and have 3 different methods to show you!

Frozen, fresh, and cooked purees.

That’s right, for 2 of these methods, there’s no cooking involved!  Score!

I don’t want this post to be ridiculously long, so head over here for your tutorial on How To: Make Baby Food Purees From Frozen Food

And head over here for your tutorial on How To: Make Baby Food Purees

At the bottom of the post, you’ll see the link to get your print out of my favorite combinations & recipes.  Tested by my little helper.  This will help you when you don’t have any creative juices flowing at the end of the day!

A lot of blogs about making baby food will tell you to combine the ingredients before freezing.  I don’t suggest this, at least at first.  Get your baby through their introductions to check for allergies.  See what they their favorites are.  Then begin the fun of combining foods to make them meals.

When you freeze each food separately, you have endless options for combinations.  You can throw cubes for three or four different foods together or keep it simple for one or two.  This also comes in handy when your baby is addicted to the sweet fruits…you can sneak those veggies in there!

(Babies can reject foods up to ten times even though they may end up enjoying it. This is a big leap from milk/formula.  Don’t get discouraged!)

Pro Tip: Take your time. Make one or two purees each night.  You only have so many ice cube trays you can fill.  The process goes slow at first.  You’re supposed to give your baby a new food then have them eat it for 3 days.  This is in case the baby has a bad reaction or food allergy; you know the culprit immediately and can avoid putting your little one through it again anytime soon.

Items you need:

Ice cube trays (I grabbed mine at the dollar store – Three 15 cube trays for $1!)
Food processor or blender
Freezer safe ziplock bags

Stages you need to know about:

Stage 1 – Supported Sitter – Your baby’s first solid food should be runny.  If your purees are thick, you’ll want to thin them with milk, formula, or water.

Stage 2 – Sitter – Your baby’s second solid food should be a thicker consistency.  If your purees are thing, you’ll want to thicken them with rice cereal or oatmeal cereal.

Stage 3 – Crawler – Your baby’s last solid food before table foods should be thick and should have chunks in it baby can chew and mash on.

Fresh

Bananas
Kiwi
Avocado
Cantaloupe
Honeydew

  • Peel, core and chop your fresh foods.
  • Toss into food processor or blender and let it work!
  • Stop to scrape if you need to.
  • Add a bit of breast milk, formula, or water if it needs it.
  • Serve fresh or scoop into ice cube trays & toss in freezer
  • Pop out cubes and put into freezer safe ziplock bags.
  • Label name and date.  These are usually good for about 4 months.

A lot of people will get these foods prepared right before feeding time and do not freeze them which is just fine!

I had to leave work, pick baby up from day care and at that point she was usually starving.  I was not about to get out my food processor while she sat there and leave myself with the dishes afterward.

You may be looking at your screen quizzically when you see the word Avocado accompanied with freezer.  I know.  I wasn’t a believer either.  Won’t it brown and be disgusting?!

Surprisingly, no!  The color only slightly changed right on the top of the cubes while they froze. They stayed bright green!

When it came time to put those in the microwave for one of her meals, I cringed thinking about it coming out of the microwave…NOPE!  Just like fresh guacamole!

I’m a believer now and would much rather get all the pit removing and prep work done in bulk and not have to worry about it later.

Thawing & Cooking

When it comes to meal time, grab a few cubes out of the freezer and pop into a microwave safe dish.

Nuke for 20 seconds, stir, 20 seconds, stir, then 10 seconds & stir until desired temperature is reached.

This is a small amount of food that heats quickly and can easily develop hot spots that can burn your baby’s mouth so it’s important to heat in small bursts and stir!

If you’re questioning the temperature, put a dab on your inner wrist to test it.  You’ll want it between room temperature & warm.

…..

Don’t get me wrong.  I also love the convenience of the baby food sold in stores.  I buy a few on occasion.

They are incredibly easy to throw in the diaper bag with a spoon and you don’t have to worry about their temperature or having them going bad.  It’s awesome for trips or being out at a restaurant or somewhere with baby.

However, when I open those containers and smell them, I want to gag a little bit.  When my little one is grumpy about the food, I don’t blame her and I struggle to pretend to take a bite of it.

If she is throwing a fit about what I have made her at home, I happily take a bite or two and it always smells fresh and delicious!

I highly recommend you try this out.  It will save you money and definitely will give you peace of mind that you know exactly what your baby is eating.

Grab your FREE Baby Food Recipe Ideas here!

magical mama blog how to make baby food purees from fresh fruit

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How To: Make Cinnamon Applesauce Ornaments

magical mama blog cinnamon applesauce ornaments

How To: Make Cinnamon Applesauce Ornaments

Santa Claus is on his way and it’s time to bake some cinnamon applesauce ornaments! Yes! BAKE ornaments!

This has become a staple in my Christmas decorating season each year…yes, it can take me a whole season to put up four trees, ten wreaths, multiple sets of garland, wall decor, thousands of ornaments and small touches all over… I have a problem, I know.

WARNING: Your house is going to smell AMAZING!

magical mama blog ingredients cinnamon applesauce ornaments christmas tree decor cookie cutters rolling pin

What we’ll need

Applesauce (1 cup)

Ground Cinnamon (1 cup + extra)

Ground Nutmeg (a few shakes) – optional

Festive Cookie Cutters

Straw

String or ribbon

Head over to the spice aisle and grab the biggest container of ground cinnamon that you can find… I get mine at Sam’s Club. Grab a few snack tubs of applesauce or spring for the big tub!

Head home, throw on a family Christmas movie or two, and get to work!

magical mama blog cinnamon applesauce ornaments ingredients cookie cutters rolling pin

Mix

Mix together 1 cup of applesauce and a heaping cup of ground cinnamon in a bowl.  ( I like to throw in a bit of ground nutmeg for an even warmer and more delicious scent)

Once you get a good dough forming, throw down ground cinnamon and roll out your dough.  If your dough is sticking to your pin, add more cinnamon.  If your dough is crumbling, add more applesauce.

Your hands are going to be nasty!  But worry not,  mine have never been stained, they just require a good wash.

magical mama blog cinnamon applesauce ornaments dough roller cookie cutters christmas tree

Roll

Roll out to about 1/8″ thick and go to town with your cookie cutters.  Continue to roll out your scraps.  I can usually make about 24-26 ornaments with one batch.

Lay on parchment paper on a cookie sheet.  Take a straw and form holes where you can hang your ornaments.

magical mama blog cinnamon applesauce ornaments on cookie sheet bake baking christmas tree

Bake

Throw in the oven on 200 degrees for an hour or until completely hardened. (This is when you’ll want to bathe in the warm smell of your home!)

They’ll be done when they’re completely dry.  If they feel moist on the bottom, throw them back in.  You don’t want mildew hanging on your tree!

Take out and let cool.  After baking at 200, you can practically touch them right out of the oven.

(This is the point that you can decorate with icing if you’d like to and let it dry overnight.)

magical mama blog applesauce cinnamon ornaments baked christmas tree

magical mama blog cinnamon applesauce ornaments ribbon christmas tree

Decorate

Loop String through the holes you created and hang on your tree or garland.  I like to hang them higher up because we have a Bloodhound and a Bulldog that will eat them if given the opportunity.

These beauties will last the whole season and you’ll get endless compliments!  Be sure to send friends our way for instructions!

magical mama blog tree christmas applesauce cinnamon ornaments

magical mama blog cinnamon applesauce ornaments christmas tree

magical mama blog christmas tree cinnamon applesauce ornaments

 

Happy Baking and Happy Holidays!

magical mama blog cinnamon applesauce ornaments christmas decor tree ideas how to

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How To: Make Butternut Squash Baby Food

magical mama blog how to make butternut squash baby food stage 1 stage 2 stage 3

How To: Make Butternut Squash Baby Food

Stage 1, Stage 2, & Stage 3!

So you want to try making your own baby food?  Great!  Welcome to the money-saving, clean-eating party!

It may seem daunting, but don’t you worry!  We’ll cover butternut squash today and see how we feel at the end.

Butternut Squash is a great beginner food as it is not a harsh flavor, won’t shock their systems, and is very nutritious. It is also a great food to use as a base when you start mixing and concocting recipes.

If you’re ever out of creativity for recipes, simply look up what the baby food companies use together and copy them!  Let’s dive right in!


This post contains affiliate links.
If you make purchases through these links, I receive a small commission (at no cost to you! Yay!).
I practice what I preach and only promote products that I use, trust, and adore!
If you’d like additional information on anything, visit Privacy & Disclosures.
Please feel free to comment below or head to Contact Me!

“MagicalMamaBlog is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com”


Your baby has reached the 4-6 month range and you’re ready to start solid foods!  Congratulations and get ready to buckle down and be patient…

Stage 1 should be runny.  Your baby has been on a liquid-only diet for their entire life and shoving something solid down their throat can take them by surprise.  Make the transition as smooth as possible!

Your baby is now agreeing to eating from a spoon and is ready for something a little more filling…

Stage 2 should be thicker, but not chunky.  Your baby has gotten over the trauma of solid foods and is showing interest in the spoon. Give their mouth a little more texture and let them get those muscles ready for more.

Your baby is good at solid food and it ready to experiment with “table food” and feeding themselves…

Stage 3 should be chunky.  Baby is beginning to chew.  You want to be able to squish whatever they’re eating between your fingers with ease.  Some will have teeth and some won’t (like mine) but they should be able to mash food with their gums.

How to make Stage 1 & Stage 2

magical mama blog butternut squash baby food

Head to the grocery store or farmers market and grab a fresh Butternut Squash.

magical mama blog butternut squash cut baby food

Slice it in half lengthwise.

magical mama blog butternut squash baby food scoop seeds

Scoop out the seeds just like you would a pumpkin.

magical mama blog butternut squash oven steam aluminium foil

Get out a 9×13 dish and fill with about half an inch of water.  Place your halved squash cut-side down in the water and cover with foil.

Bake at 375 degrees for about an hour.  The water steams and gives you a nice even cook.

When you pull it out of the oven, let it cool so you don’t scald your hands.  Scoop the good stuff out of the skin and toss it into a food processor.  I use this Hamilton Beach Food Processor and I adore it!

In a few weeks, I made 6 months worth of baby food and it never let me down!  You can also use a blender if you’d like.  I used a Magic Bullet if I just needed to make a single meal from a small fruit or vegetable.

Once you get it all evenly blended, either spoon into ice cube trays or pour into Ziplock bags, cut off a corner and fill in ice cube trays like you would use a piping bag to decorate a cake.

 

magical mama blog butternut squash ice cubes stage 1 stage 2 ice cube tray food processor

Freeze and pop cubes out into a labeled freezer-safe Ziplock bag and use over the next 3 months.

When it’s time to eat, pop out a few cubes, put them in a microwave-safe dish and heat for 20-30 seconds, stir, 20-30 seconds, stir, then 10 seconds at a time until it reaches a desired heat.  You want to stop and stir so it cooks evenly. You can test it on the inside of your wrist if you’re unsure of how hot it is.

Stage 1: Add breast milk, formula, or water to thin the squash until it is runny.

Stage 2: Add some rice cereal or oatmeal cereal to thicken the squash so it has some texture.

How to make Stage 3

magical mama blog butternut squash baby food

Grab a Butternut Squash at the store or Farmers Market for around $2.

magical mama blog butternut squash cut baby food

Slice in half lengthwise.

magical mama blog butternut squash baby food scoop seeds

Scoop out the seeds.

magical mama blog butternut squash peel baby food

Here’s where we begin to differ from Stage 1 &2.  I like to peel the skin off at this stage.    This way, you don’t have to scoop it out once it’s cooked and can just slice it into baby-sized finger food.magical mama blog butternut squash baby food oven steam

Fill a 9×13 with half an inch of water.  Place your squash cut-side down in the water.

magical mama blog butternut squash oven steam aluminium foil

Cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees for about an hour.

Pull it out of the oven and let it cool.

Slice away to your heart’s content to make baby bites.  Serve once it reaches room temperature or place in tupperware in the fridge and use within 3 days.  You can also throw some on a baking sheet and freeze them then toss into a labeled, freezer-safe Ziplock bag and put in the freezer (use within 3 months).

magical mama blog butternut squash stage 3 bites

I spent $2 on this one Butternut squash to make stage 3 baby food.  This Gerber stage 3 food is about $1.20 for 2 servings and only has a few small chunks in there.  My baby prefers to feed herself and these chunks are much less of a mess than the watery puree and chunks that she can fling all over.

I was able to make 10 meals for $2! It would have cost me $12 if I would have bought it at the store!  THIS ADDS UP!

I know what is in my baby’s food…pure vegetable and I know it’s fresh.  It takes about a minute to heat up and my baby loves it!

This whole process can be done in an hour or two on the weekend and you have meals for your baby all week ready at a moment’s notice!

I will not diss store-bought baby food!  It is convenient!

I always have some in the pantry so if we find out we’re going to a restaurant for dinner or we’ll be out for the day, I don’t have to worry about keeping her food cool or warm, it can just be tossed in my diaper bag and can get thrown away at the end.

BUT…

I like to save money and I like making my baby happy and healthy.  Give it a try and see what your baby thinks!

magical mama blog how to make butternut squash baby food butter nut puree stage 1 stage 2 stage 3

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38 Fun Fall Activities for your Family

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38 fun fall activites for your family, family night, family bonding, autumn fall family game night magical mama blog

38 Fun Fall Activities for your Family

School bells are ringing, the air is still muggy from summer, and everyone is trying to figure out this new routine.  Why this is a surprise every year? We may never know.

Between the time the first school bell rings and the time sleigh bells are ringing, it is so important to make time to spend together as a family…but coming up with things to do?  That can be a doozie!  That’s why I created this fabulous list!

There’s a free printable October Calendar at the bottom of this post!

Getting out of the house activities:

  1. Go to a Corn Maze or Hayride

    Almost all city councils crave a fun seasonal festival to bring the town together.  Look on your city’s website for upcoming events.  If your city is unable to host something like this, chances are one close to you is.

    Look up “hayride near (your zip code)” and all kinds of options will pop up for you to look into.  A lot of them also have petting zoos, mazes, crafts and more!  You can make a whole day of it one weekend with your family!

  2. Apple picking at a local orchard

    “An apple orchard?  We don’t usually see those off the freeway.  There’s no way we have one near us!”  I dare you to look it up!  Most states have websites dedicated to “pick your own” farms and orchards divided up by county.  You’ll be surprised how close a local PYO is to you!

  3. Go to a Pumpkin Patch

    They’re everywhere in October!  You can always go to the parking lot of the local store, but its much more fun to go to a local farm or pop up “farm” and get some great pictures of your kids, fun family photos and make an event of it!

  4. Check out your city’s calendar of events for a fall festival

    Your city should have a website with a link to upcoming events put on by the city.  If your city isn’t on the brink of technology, check the paper!

    This is a great way to plan a fun play date or start an annual family tradition!  Some day, your kids can tell your grand kids about how they always went to the Fall Festival in their home town and can take them some day!

  5. Pick out Halloween Candy to hand out

    Instead of going to the grocery store yourself and looking at a mountain of options, get your family involved.  I know, it sounds crazy, let your kids be in charge of picking out candy?  I’ll go bankrupt!  Their teeth will rot!

    Simply give each family member a budget or a one bag rule.  Get your kids excited about going to the store and getting groceries!  Errands don’t have to be a chore!

    My favorite part of Halloween as a kid wasn’t trick or treating.  Sure, I’d go out for 30 minutes just to do it, but I’d rush home to see all of the fun costumes come to my door and hand out candy.

  6. Go out for seasonal donuts

    Everyone makes them.  Krispy Kream, Dunkin Donuts, and all the mom and pop shops around.  Take the kiddos out one morning to a local shop and enjoy breakfast together.

    You can bring donuts home any old time, but going out to a shop where they’re forced to talk to each other and try something unique makes for a great time.

  7. Go for a sunset walk

    It’s been a long day at school and work, the kids have done their after school activities, homework is done.. before dinner and electronics and a bed time routine, get outside.  Take your kids out in the fresh air and have them look up.  Enjoy a sunset as a family.

  8. Go on a nature walk

    You can go out to enjoy the outdoors or you can send your kids out on a serious hunt.  Make them a list of things to look for or make a list of things to collect along your walk.

    Play nature bingo or I Spy.  Try to get away from walking around your neighborhood.  Go to a big park in the city, or a local campground.  Get them out in the leaves and dirt!

  9. Collect pine cones

    Along your nature walk, collect pine cones or other natural materials.  Not only is it fun watching your kids hunt and compare, you can bake them and make a Fall centerpiece or a Winter wreath.

    To bake: preheat your oven to 250, line a baking sheet with tin foil, place cones and cinnamon sticks on baking sheet (I like to sprinkle a little ground cinnamon and nutmeg on top too!), bake for one hour, check occasionally to avoid burning.

    Baking your cones dries out all the moisture and makes sure there’s no miniature critters hiding in there!

  10. Flashlight Tag in the park

    You know all of those flashlights around your house that never get used?  Now’s your chance to find them, check the batteries, have a good time, and make sure everyone knows where their dedicated flashlight is in case of an emergency.

    Get your little ones bundled up in dark colors.  Head out to a local park after the sun sets and it gets dark.  Be sure to establish boundaries so they can all be found again easily and have fun!

  11. Grab seasonal drinks at a local coffee shop

    I’d love to challenge you to find someplace other than Starbucks.  Avoid the girls in their leggings and Ugg boots waiting in line for their Pumpkin Spice Lattes.

    Get on Yelp or ask around for a fun local place and go out for a fancy family date.  Finding a coffee shop that has fun hot chocolates and teas, serves drinks in actual mugs, and has a little ambiance makes for a great trip!

  12. Take some fall family photos

    It doesn’t have to be fancy.  Not everyone has the money to hire a busy and expensive professional, coordinate schedules and get all children dressed and happy at the same time.  It’s nearly impossible.

    Take a fancy camera with you to a pumpkin patch or coffee shop or your back yard and get some realistic and fun photos.  Kids don’t remember the fancy photo shoots when they look back at family albums, they remember the memories you make.  Capture those!

  13. Trick or Treat

    Teach your kids the fundamentals of the classic activity.  Make sure they use their manners and their courage.  Get them some exercise before they chow down!

    If they get tired, bored, cold, scared, etc. head back home.  Let them exchange the candy they got from trick or treating that they don’t like with the good stuff in your bowl that they helped pick out.  Turn on a fun movie (ABC Family and tons of other channels have family friendly Halloween movies running constantly) and have fun handing out candy.

    If your neighborhood isn’t known for it’s Trick or Treating crowd, or Halloween falls on a weeknight, a lot of cities will have Trick or Treat events where the kids can safely get candy without scary decor or crossing streets at night.

    At- Home Activities:

  14. Play football in the yard

    You don’t have to be an NFL pro.  Split up into teams while dinner is cooking and have fun challenging each other back and forth across the yard.

    If you don’t have a big yard, head to a park, invite family friends with you and have a picnic and a scrimmage.

  15. Bob for apples

    Take the apples you picked at a local orchard or some from the supermarket, fill a big basin with water and tell your kids to go for it.

    Most times, they’ll think it’s easy then struggle and giggle with each other as those mini mouths try to capture those giant granny smiths. Get pictures!

  16. Start a fire & make S’mores

    Make your first fire of the season and have the kiddos make some fun snacks for themselves.

    If you don’t have a fire place, head to the beach or a camp ground and nab a bon fire pit, or make them over a grill or stove.

  17. Carve Jack-O-Lanterns

    Get ready to get messy and carve the pumpkins you picked at the patch.

    My favorite stay-clean trick is to cover whatever surface they will be working on in a few of the dollar store plastic table cloths that come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors.  Once you’re done, you can pull the corners in and put the entire thing in the trash.  No soggy newspapers or sticky magazine pages!

    If you don’t have an artsy eye, you can always grab some Halloween cookie cutters and hammer them into your pumpkin or trace them so you don’t end up with a blob thats supposed to be a cat or a bat.

  18. Watch Hocus Pocus

    A classic Halloween film that is rated PG.  Enjoy some autumnal treats and watch this as a family.

  19. Decorate your home

    There is no need to spend a fortune to make your house look like a haunted house or like a Martha Stewart magazine cover.  Grab some stuff at the supermarket, dollar store, or party supply store.

    Have your kids cover the plants out front with spider webs, make a leafy centerpiece you can keep on the table until Thanksgiving, put candles and plastic spiders in jars, place their pumpkins out front, hang bats from a tree, put spooky signs on their bedroom doors, hang fun hand towels in the bathroom and kitchen, put a fun wreath on the door, etc.

  20. Watch It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

    This 1966 classic isn’t even rated.  It’s great for all ages and it’s only 25 minutes long!

  21. Rake & jump in a pile of leaves

    If you don’t have a big tree that graces you with mounds of leaves, chances are someone in your family or neighborhood does.  Get your kids into the giving spirit and go rake up some leaves for someone (with their permission).

    Great pictures can be taken when kids are thrilled to be throwing colorful, crunchy leaves up in the air.  It burns up energy and gets them grungy for a nice hot bath!

  22. Light some fall candles or simmer a seasonal brew

    Nothing makes you warm and cozy like walking into a warm home and having it smell like the season ought to.

    Toss some apple slices, vanilla extract, cinnamon sticks and some ground nutmeg into a pot of water on the stove.  Try orange peels, cinnamon sticks and bay leaves.

    Don’t want to waste produce?  Have some essential oils lying around?  Toss 2 table spoons of coconut oil into a wax warmer and drip some cypress, sandalwood, and white fir to make your home smell like a forest.

    Don’t have the oils?  Get the coconut oil, some pumpkin pie spice and ground nutmeg on the warmer!

  23. Play board games

    You know there are a ton of them in that one closet.  Get them out!  Have a family rivalry, make them use their heads, talk to each other, and strategize.

    Bonus!  You can see what games are missing too many pieces to salvage and can get rid of some stuff!

  24. Make a fall wreath

    Use the pine cones and leaves from your family nature walk, some fabric from your scrap pile, or take a venture to Hobby Lobby, Michael’s or JoAnn and let your kids pick out elements for your front door decor.

  25. Make Cinnamon PlayDoh

    No cook recipe!

    Mix 2 cups flour, 1 cup salt, 2 Tablespoons Cream of Tartar, 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil, a few shakes of cinnamon. Add about  1 and a half cups of freshly boiled water (now is the time to add in food coloring if you’d like it to be bright).  Let it cool and play!

    You can also replace the cinnamon with ground cloves, ground nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice or anything else you can think of!  Experiment!  This is not a costly craft!

  26. DIY your Halloween Costumes

    I know what you’re thinking, I don’t sew!  I don’t have the skills!  Worry not, you’re not making a Project Runway gown.

    It’s great to see what your kids come up with and most times, it saves you money!  Halloween stores and websites overcharge for a highly duplicated costume that tons of kids will be wearing.  I know I saw a sea of Harley Quinn twins last Halloween and eons of Elsa’s a few years ago.

    Get their creative juices flowing and they’ll end up with a one of a kind costume!

  27. Leaf rubbing with crayons

    Take some of the leaves from your nature walk and place them under a sheet of paper, take the wrappers off of your autumn colored crayons and let the kids go to town creating simple art for you.  No coloring within the lines required.

    Seasonal Food and Drinks to Make:

  28. Apple cider

    Dive into Pinterest and look for a fun crock pot Apple Cider recipe.  Great for a family gathering or a fun evening of board games or movies or baking fun seasonal treats.

    Bonus! It makes your house smell incredible!

    Extra Bonus:  You can make some spiked cider or hot toddies for Mom and Dad!

  29. Baked pumpkin seeds

    Grab a few hand fulls of pumpkin seeds during the carving madness and throw it into a colander in the sink and run some water to rinse and separate the seeds.

    Preheat oven to 400.  Throw a cup of seeds in a pan with 3-4 cups of water and 2 teaspoons of salt.  Simmer for 10 minutes, drain, spread out on greased sheet, sprinkle with some melted butter and salt and pepper or cinnamon and sugar.

    Bake anywhere between 5 to 25 minutes depending on how large the seeds are and how many you have.  Keep an eye and as soon as they start to turn brown, pull them out and enjoy!

  30. Pumpkin chili

    There are tons of great recipes out there.  This is a great treat for those seeking a delicious fall recipe that isn’t chock full of sugar.

  31. Pumpkin pancakes or Pumpkin cinnamon rolls

    What better way to wake your kids up on the weekend than with something delicious wafting through their air and tickling their noses?

  32. Pumpkin bread

    Every time you’ve ever tried to make bread at home, has it come out burnt or dry or goopy?  If you’re one to leave it to the pros, every bakery will have seasonal goodies saving you time and heart ache.

    If you’re a baker at heart, Pinterest is crawling with recipes for regular pumpkin bread, pumpkin chocolate chip bread, pumpkin cinnamon sugar pull-apart bread… my mouth is watering just listing them.

  33. Candied apples

    I have terrible teeth and the thought of these makes me want to cringe. Trying to eat these delicious treats growing up was no pleasure and all pain.  Until recently when some genius decided the show the world that you can slice the apples before dipping or coating them and make them easy to eat!

    Most grocery stores have candied apple kits near the apples in the produce section… just look down!  If you’re hardcore and wouldn’t DARE use a KIT, grab a bag of Kraft Caramel Bits, melt and dip or drizzle your slices.  You can add melted chocolate, nuts, broken up Halloween candy, or whatever you please!

    Pro Tip:  If you have little ones or want a pretty easy party snack, grab your melon baller at the back of your kitchen drawer and make little apple balls, throw a tooth pick in them, dip them and voila!  Mini candied apples!

  34. Cookies with fall shaped cookie cutters

    Look in the baking section for them to put out the cookie cutters for the season!  Leaves, pumpkins, witches, cats, ghosts, spiders, etc.

    If you don’t want to dish out the change for new, seasonal specific cookie cutters, see what you already have in the pantry.  You can turn a Santa silhouette or tulip up side down and decorate it as a ghost.  Turn a gingerbread man into a mummy or skeleton or a witch.  You can just make plain circles or squares and give your kids a blank canvas for their imaginations to run wild!

    This is a great activity for people who want to throw everything pumpkin-spiced in the trash!  You can make cookies in your favorite flavor and have a blast cutting them out and decorating with the kids.

  35. Rice Krispy Treats

    You can make these all year round and the recipe is on every box of the cereal!  But how is this a fall activity?  You can make them into fun shapes and decorate them with fun colored melting chocolate!

    These are great for parties!  You can make them bite sized or huge.  Keep them plain or make them into a fun shape and douse them in melted chocolate and sprinkle with crumbled candy for an impressive treat!

  36. Pumpkin pie

    It’s a classic and you may as well get some practice in before you have to bring it over to mom’s house for Thanksgiving.  People are usually making this once a year and it’s disappointing if it doesn’t turn out right.

    If you want to be fancy, you can grab an extra pumpkin at the patch and make pumpkin puree from scratch for pie, bread, etc.   If you want to be that fancy… you go, Glen Coco!

    Bonus:  Get your can of pumpkin pie mix before the Thanksgiving rush!

  37. Apple pie

    My mouth is watering just thinking about it!  Kids love getting their hand dirty in the kitchen… so let them!

    Put the kids to work peeling the apples, you chop them, let them find and measure the other ingredients and mix the sugars and apples by hand, you put it in the oven while they put the ingredients back where they belong and start on dishes!

    If you’re not a crust person, like myself, go for an easy apple crisp.  Place the apple filling directly into a greased glass 9×9 and throw the buttery, sugary crisp on top!  Easy peasy!

  38. Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies

    A delightful treat you can keep in the cookie jar the whole season!
    Want to be lazy?… Yes, please!

    1 15 ounce can of cooked Pumpkin Puree (not pumpkin pie mix), 1 box of Betty Crocker Spice Cake, a bag of chocolate chips (Ghirardelli are always the best!).  Preheat oven to 350, spoon out the combination on a greased cookie sheet and bake for about 10 minutes.

    BAM!  Cookies in about 15 minutes and not a single measuring cup or spoon was used!!

 

So there you have it!  38 fun family activities for this season!  If you’re going to be a Pinterest-Perfect Mom and accomplish every single one of these, I give you serious props!  I’m going to try… but doubt that a 9 month old, full time work schedule and unplanned sickness will allow it to happen!  I’ll be sure to come back and update this post with pictures as we get things checked off the list!

If you’d like to accomplish a couple of these, I have them written down and planned out for you on our printable calendar so you don’t have to remember!  No need to argue on what to do this weekend!  It’s already on the calendar!

October_Family_Activity Calendar PDF

Happy Fall and enjoy your family time!

ihelpmoms.com magical mama blog

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How To: Make every trip to the grocery store a walk in the park

how to make every trip to the grocery store a walk in the park

Even with a full time job, babies, spouses, pets, meals and sleep. We still need to squeeze some fun into our lives.

Unfortunately, we also have to squeeze in trips to the grocery store.

Time to spend most of our hard earned money dodging shopping carts, weaving around the store, juggling a list…and forgetting things. Every. Single. Time.

Time to make things easier. Grocery stores shouldn’t be a chore, they should be a breeze! So here is my secret to getting in and out of the market without pulling all my hair out!

(If you’re already bored by this post, head over to FREE STUFF for the free downloadable grocery check list! Happy scrolling!)

Make a pattern.

We all have “our” grocery store. A place within decent proximity of our homes with the best prices or great customer service or good parking, etc… we all have one.

The next time you go, figure out your habits. Which side of the parking lot do you park on? Do you start in the produce section? Pharmacy? Bakery? Do you go up and down every aisle? Just the ones you need?

Make yourself a mental map of how you shop every time.

Take notes.

Once you know your pattern, take a pen and paper. Write down the aisles or sections in the order that you hit them.

Take pictures if you’re not into notes. Make note of what grocery items are in each aisle.

I typed out my list of super market sections in a Word document, saved it to my computer, and printed several copies.

Mine reads in a long column down the left Pharmacy, Baby, Cleaning Products, Dairy, Drinks, Dry Goods, Cans, Jars, Frozen, Meats, Fruits, Veggies, Herbs, etc.

Keep track.

Once you have your lists printed, keep them in the kitchen! I cannot stress this enough.

Keep your lists where the food is! Throw them on the fridge with a magnet, keep them in a drawer, hang them in the pantry (with a pen!).

Have them handy so whenever you run out of anything, you can immediately write it down and you won’t forget it on your next trip.

If you’re going to be making a recipe that you think you’ll remember, instead of pulling out your phone in the middle of the market and searching your Pinterest boards, simply pull them up and write down your ingredients in the pre-determined sections and you know you won’t forget anything.

Test it.

It will take a while to get into the habit of writing down what you need as you go, but once your mind jumps on board, you’ll always have what you need! And Voila!

I used to type out lists on my phone or jot things down on a pad of paper as we ran out of things. While this worked, I always ended up with my head buried in my list while I made figure eights and ran into about 30 people in the process.

With my new method, I can look down at my categories and know all of the things I will need to grab on the next aisle. I can keep myself engaged in the super market traffic and I never have to double back for forgotten items.

Especially for times that you have a grumpy baby, a toddler tantrum, a hungry family, or you are just ready for bed, this will save your life!

If this sounds like too much work for you, but you’d like to do it, there’s a free downloadable grocery store check list right here!

Good luck and happy shopping!

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