Saturday, January 30, 2010


Preschools...this has to be one of the hardest first decisions. It's the decision that made me feel like a REAL mom. The responsibility was on me to find the very best place to start the education of my twins. No pressure, right?

Well, the decisions get harder as the days go by but as I'm finding out, there are many great preschools out there and it's hard to make a "bad" decision. We are blessed to have many great options here in Columbus and surrounding suburbs.

What to look for in a preschool:

1. Religious based or secular based: Are you looking for a private school that is going to offer a religious base for your child? Many churches offer wonder schooling that also has a Bible class or some type of prayer time. Not all schools that are located within churches are have a Christian basis though so you'll have to ask some questions. For secular based schools, look to community centers, athletic clubs and day care centers.

2. Days/Times: This one is important. Of course the most important purpose of preschool is for your child to be prepared both socially and intellectually for Kindergarten but there are perks for the mom too. It may be the first time you get to the grocery store BY YOURSELF since the twins were born. Oh the luxuries, right? Well, you want to make sure you have enough time to drop the twins off, get to the grocery, drop off groceries at home, and get back to pick up the twins. Not an easy feat! I prefer schools that offer 3 to 3.5 hour programs for this very reason.

3. Location: For 2 years I chose to drive to a different suburb for a good preschool. In the end it was worth it but not in all cases. Consider the location of the school and what surrounds it. Is there a grocery close by? Or maybe you can use that time to hit the athletic club. Consider these as the "best" school may not always be worth a 20 minute drive.

3. Friends: It's always nice to pick a school where your child will know a few children. Even more preferable is to place your child(ren) in a class with kids with whom they will attend elementary school. More mom perks: You'll have a friend to get coffee with on the off chance you don't have a million errands to run. =)

4. Referrals: If you don't know anyone who is currently using your preschool of choice, ask for referrals. Do some research and find out how the school is licensed and how many kids to expect in each class.

There are so many other important issues and this is not an exhaustive list. If you have advice for fellow members (or questions!) feel free to leave a comment below.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Making your own baby food

More and more, moms are starting to make their own baby food. Or at least some of it. With my first, I thought there was no way I had enough time to make food with working full time, a baby and a full time step daughter as well. Aside from mashing up some bananas, I bought all of his food.

When I was pregnant with the twins, though, I read the book Ready or not, here we come by Elizabeth Lyons and in it she had a chapter on making baby food. After reading that chapter, I realized it was not as hard as I thought it was (or that my mind thought it was). Nor as time consuming. I decided I would try it when the twins were the right age, which I did. As it turned out, it really was easy and not too time consuming... and again, I was a full time working mom of four at that point. My point, if you are on the fence, give it a try! If you know you want to do it, below are some resources.

The resource I used the most was the Wholesome Baby Food website. This site has just about everything you could possibly need to know about making baby food and feeding your child - from when and what is appropriate at what ages, nutritional info, how to cook it, recipes, and so much more. I used the "Foods for Babies" tab the most. This is broken in categories (veggies, fruit, grain, etc) and then by food. It will tell you at what age it is best to feed each food item, what is good about that item nutrition wise, the best way to cook it and also give you recipes for mixing different things once they get older (many of these combos I would have never thought of, like avocado/banana mixed, but the twins loved it all). Another thing I found on this site was the use of spices in baby food. I didn't know I could even use spices! But how great is that to 'spice it up' and get their palates ready for what is to come later (you can find the spice info under Tips and Topics, then Introducing Solids, then Spice it up). I really feel as a result, my twins like more flavorful food than my five year old does.

The other resources that I have heard nothing but good things about (though I never used myself) is the book Super Baby Food by Ruth Yaron and Cooking for Baby by Lisa Barnes (sold through Williams Sonoma).

As far as equipment, you really don't need anything special - though there are tons of products out there marketed specifically for this use. I either baked or steamed all the fruits and veggies I made, so all I used were glass baking pans or my steamer insert in my pots. I used a food processor to puree the baby food, though you can use a blender too (I found the food processor worked better since I was typically making big batches). Since then (long after baby food making times), I found a fruit and veggie strainer attachment that goes on a Kitchen Aid mixer that would work well too (I use it for applesauce now and it's wonderful!). As far as storing, I used ice cube trays and lots of plastic wrap (both of those I researched on the web and contacted the manufacturer directly to verify they were BPA-free). Once the food was frozen, I popped them out of the ice cube trays and into glass pyrex containers which I marked with the name of the food and date made. If you are pushed for space, freezer bags work well too. And that's it as far as the equipment I used.

Though I had my moments of "seriously, this is for the birds" thoughts as I stayed up in the wee hours cooking and pureeing so as to stock up, over all I was and am very glad that I did it. I liked knowing I made it and that I controlled the process and the food quality. I liked having a lot more variety for them and different combos than you can get from jar food. I liked being able to add spices. It was a good experience and one I would do over again in heartbeat.

What about you?
Has anyone else made their own baby food? What resources do you recommend? What equipment was invaluable to you? What advice would you give fellow moms who are interested in making their own baby food? Please send us a something to post or just comment below.

If you are getting ready to start making your own baby food and have questions, please put it in the comments for us to answer.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Nobody Told Me...

Twins Sweat

This is the one thing no one told me about before having twins. The sweat, oh the sweat. I guess when you think about it, it all starts when you are carrying the babies inside your belly! There are many different sweats that you have as a twins mom.

1) Stand up sit down - This is the sweat that happens when you find yourself on the ground playing with the babies at a comfortable temperature. Next thing you know you have a poopy diaper, so you are up. Change the diaper, crawl back on the ground, then you smell something. You guessed it, up again. Then crawl back on the ground only to realize you have been holding it for an hour now because you did not have a free moment to relieve yourself, so you guessed it, up again.

2) The hustle - You are playing with a baby only to realize you hear a funny gurgling. You quickly search the room for a burp cloth so you can catch whatever it is that comes up.

3) The indoor/ outdoor - This sweat occurs when you are outside in the cold, then go inside someplace and try to get the kids settled. You still have your coat on and cannot help but sweat.

4) Let's get outta here - This one occurs when you decide on a limb to go someplace. You quickly bundle both babies, cage the dogs in the basement, carry the babies to the car. By the time you get into the front seat, you guessed it, sweat.

5) Embarrassed sweat - Everyone has been there. You are in public and you have a screaming baby. You pick them up, get them calmed down and back into their seat. Next thing you know you have another screaming baby. Repeat. Not only are you tired from holding the babies, but you are completely embarrassed. Pretty much immediate sweat.

That about sums up my baby sweats! I am sure you are happy to have read this. Please feel free to add your own. I am guessing my husband loves me just a little bit more right now.

Written by Michele mother of Grady and Gwen 6-29-09

Juggling Multiple Kids and Strollers

Here is one member's experience:

My son was a young 2 when my twins were born. I ended up using a double stroller with a buggy board attached for my oldest to ride on.

Here is where I bought it.
It was $90.

Here is more information on it.

There is a list of strollers on this website that work with it. I ended up getting an Inglesina double stroller (very lightweight) off Craigslist. It wouldn't work with the double Combi stroller I had.

My son loves to ride on the board. It is a bit louder, but so worth it to me. He doesn't want to walk at all now though. It is very easy to take on/off (I'm talking seconds here) if it is just the twins. It is very lightweight too. I thought about the Valco with the extra seat, but this was so much easier, less expensive, and he just likes it so much.

Experience #2:

My second son was also 18 months when our twins were born. We did a few different things on our outings that I'm happy to share with you below.

We got the Combi double stoller when the twins were born -- it's a side by side, fairly lightweight (more of the umbrella stroller style), and we still use it (they are now 2). We've gotten tons of mileage out of it and it actually folds up into "4ths" so we easily keep it in our van always and we've made several airline trips with it as well. It's definitely been worth the money and I don't have trouble getting in through doorways,etc. I do have trouble in some clothing stores that have their racks packed in so tightly that there isn't room for much more than a standing person to walk through but I just try to avoid those stores when I have the kids. I don't typically have problems getting through the main aisles, though.

The only thing you should be aware of is, it does not hold 2 infant seats but it does have shoulder straps along with the lap belts, reclines, and will hold 1 infant seat. Combi does make infant seats to fit in their stroller but even so, only one will fit at a time. Having had 2 boys already going through the infant seat stage, I knew that stage would not last long and my husband and I decided it would be better to just invest in a stroller we liked and would prefer using over the long haul. So, we dealt with the temporary inconvenience of only being able to use the Combi stroller with one infant seat and looking back, it didn't seem that bad.

All that being said, here's what we did on our outings with the boys:

1. Used the Combi stroller with one twin in the infant seat, the other twin in our Bjorn carrier and our 18 month old in the other side of the stroller.

2. Used the Combi stroller with one twin in the infant seat, the other twin out of the infant seat, reclined, and strapped in to the stroller and our 18 month old in a single stroller. I could only manage this if someone was with me and pushing the other stroller (often, my then 5 yr old).

3. We also used our plastic Radio Flyer wagon which worked perfectly with both infant seats placed side by side. The little notch on the bottom of the Graco snug ride seats fit over the edge of the wagon so I felt they were fairly secure. I managed many zoo trips and neighborhood walks on my own this way because I could pull the wagon and push our 18 month old in a stroller at the same time.

It wasn't long before time passed and our 18 month old got to the point of not wanting to be in a stroller anymore and preferred walking on his own (or chasing after his older brother) and I just had the twins in the stroller. I know there are a lot of wonderful choices and some really nice strollers out there, but for us the Combi fit in our budget and we're still very happy with it. Feel free to email me with any additional questions and I'm hoping you'll get some additional input from all the other moms who have also been through this.
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