Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Homemade Fruit Leather

I have had a few people ask me for this recipe, This is from Russ' mom who has been making this for many years, so I thought it would be fun to post it here. This is a main staple in our home, I make this recipe at least every other week! I use a food dehydrator to make this, but i know that their are ways to do it in your regular oven.

(I just noticed that you can get the exact food dehydrator that I have on cabelas.com for only 99.00! thats a great deal! it does alot more than just fruit leather)

For this specific batch, I used canned fruit, however, in the summer months I like to use fresh fruit or you can use a mixture of both.

My favorite combination is Peaches, Pears, Apricots and Applesauce.

You will need:

4 cans of peaches
1 can of pears
1 can of apricots
1 cup of applesauce

All of these ingredients, will fill one blender full. In order to make a entire batch to fill all 20 fruit leather trays, I need to do 3 blenderfuls.

Drain out the juices of the canned peaches, pears and apricots.

The key to getting a soft fruit leather that doesn't crack is the applesauce, I add one cup per every blender-full of fruit. (unless you cook it to long, than it will be hard and crack anyway!)

Place all the ingredients in the blender, and blend till all the fruit is made into a liquid form.

make sure you blend it enough, so that there aren't any chunks in the mixture.

Pour the mixture into the trays designated for your dehydrator. I spray a very thin coat of cooking spray on the trays before I pour the mixture on.

With the back of a spoon push the mixture to all the edges of the tray and spread it evenly across the tray to not allow and parts of the tray to show through.

Place the small fruit leather trays onto the trays that go in the food dehydrator. I can fit two fruit leather trays per one dehydrator tray.

Place all your prepared trays into the dehydrator. set the temperature to the manufactures recommended setting and wait... For my dehydrator, I have to leave mine for about 10 hours. (I set up the dehydrator out in the garage so I don't really have to think about it, or hear the machine running for that long)

Once the fruit leather is dry and not squishy to the touch, remove it from the dehydrator and peel it off of the tray. I then cut that strip into three smaller strips, that are a good snack size.

After I remove then from the trays and cut then into strips, I place them in a Ziploc bag to keep them soft. I really cant tell you how long they will last, because like I said, we go through a batch this size every other week!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Sleeping Twins... and pictures of course!

I cant even believe that I am writing a post about my babies actually sleeping, and not about how tired I am! So I took a little bit of every ones comments and different stuff I read, and came up with my own plan of attack. It basically was to feed the babies as much as possible before bed, and putting them to bed a little earlier, and not feeding them till morning. It went alot smother than planned, I was expecting alot of crying since the babies were used to eating every 4 hours in the night, but, surprisingly they cried about the same amount of time that they were crying while they were eating in the night! It took about 3 to 4 nights of them waking up and wanting to eat every 4 hours, and I would let them cry for 10 min, then go in and re-situate them and give them their pacifier, and walk out and then time 15 min, and do the same thing, and increase the time by 5 min each time. however I never had to do it longer than 20 min and each night it got a little shorter. Now I'm not saying that everynight has been perfect, there are still nights where they wake, and I have to let them cry a little, but it is usually no longer than about 5 or 10 min. But it is a HUGE improvement to where we were a couple weeks ago! it is so nice to not have to worry about feeding them in the night anymore!

Here is our new and improved night time schedule:

7:30- tub time, jammies on.
7:50- Rock Oscar, feed 6oz bottle with rice cereal in it
7:55- Oscar goes to bed
8:00- Rock Lola, feed 6oz bottle with rice cereal in it
8:05- Lola goes to bed

8:05-8:00am-   SLEEP!!! (occasionally one or both will wake, and I do the 10 min cry time, and they will usually fall back asleep..)

8:00am- Wake up!

Plus they are still taking a 2 hour morning nap, and an 1 1/2 hour afternoon nap.

I'm sure that this will change (in fact, both babies have the stomach flu right now, but so far it hasn't affected their sleep to much) But for now, I am happy with how things have turned out, and I couldn't have done it without all the help I received from all my bloggy friends! thank you.

Now for my classic picture post to recap our last week:

Oscar has decided to pull himself up on everything! this is how I find him every morning (and sometimes in the night.) silly boy.

Both Babies have the funniest little tuft of hair growing right on the top of their head! Lola's is usually covered by a bow, but it is the cutest thing!

I think I have pictures like this of all of our kids... Dad loves it! I love the last picture, he seriously was so happy the whole time, I kind of wish someone could do that to me... wheeeee!

Me and the Kiddos, they are getting so big, pretty soon I wont be able to hold them both!

Love these crazy boys. (who majorly need haircuts)

Lola, and her Victoria's Secret pose. Grrrr Baby! work it!

these next pictures may seem totally disgusting to you. But, if you have ever been a mother or even have been around children for an extended period of time, I'm sure you have images like these burned into your mind!

Remember me saying both babies have the stomach flu......

It started with Lola.... and here is the proof.

yep. I warned you. jealous much?

And if that wasn't enough... check out this video of my surround sound cry-fest. lets just hope this stomach bug leaves QUICK!!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Quick Photo Update

Ok,  I don't have time to do a "real" post, But I just had to give a quick update... and of course, pictures help make my humdrum life seem a little more fascinating!

- I am happy to report, we are having MAJOR improvement on the sleep situation here! I will write a full post later, but lets just say, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel! yay me! but I couldn't have done it without all the helpful comments, THANK YOU!!

- Other big news... Oscar is officially crawling! he decided the army crawl wasn't getting him around fast enough and decided to kick it into high gear and go for it! not only is he crawling, but he is trying to pull himself up on everything! which is causing some bumps on the head, here we go!

- We have had a busy week, with some walks, (when the crazy weather decided to cooperate) this is a picture of the babies first walk outside in the stroller, they loved being outside! I can not wait for the weather to warm up!

- Auggie is driving me crazy! This kid has so much energy, I really need to find a way to harness it and use it to my benefit.. (like to pull the car, so we can save money on gas? just a thought...) But he says the cutest things, and loves to sing. His favorite song is "all the small things" by Blink 182, to hear his little voice sing all the words is just adorable!

- Milo, Milo, Milo... really, the sweetest, kindest, most thoughtful, tender-hearted kid you could ever meet. He is so talented and artistic. However, he is struggling so hard with his spelling and reading! I have talked to his teacher and expressed my concerns, but she doesn't seem to be as worried as I am about it. We have the biggest struggles during homework time, that one of us usually ends up in tears about it. I don't know if he needs a tutor, or if I just need to learn how to teach him better? He has a really hard time focusing, but only when it comes to spelling or reading, he is excellent at math. does anyone out there know of any teaching tactics that I could try with him? books to read? tutor for hire? ugh.

- I made a bouquet for my sister-in-law's winter wedding, She is getting married on the top of a mountain, and skiing down in her wedding dress! I cant wait to see the pictures! These were just some picture I took with my camera...

- I really am having to much fun with a little girl. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my boys, but I love playing dress up with my little Lola, she is such a good sport!
 It is Spring break this week, and we have ZERO plans! I better get creative real quick, or we are going to go crazy!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Thank You! And the Plan...

I cannot even express how thankful I am to everyone who responded to my "sleep" post! That is exactly what I was hoping for. I needed to hear ideas, things that worked, things that didn't work. I think I have come up with a plan of attack... I really am thinking that the quickest way to get the best results, is going to be.... wait for it.... CIO. I know I said that I wanted to stay away from that, but after reading all your comments and doing a bit of research, I think that I am looking for fast results, and that seems to work the best. BUT, in order for me to feel comfortable while doing that, I need to purchase some video baby monitors. Several times when I have gone in there at night, I have found them with their arm stuck under the bumper and through the railing, or their favorite blanket all tangled around them, so I feel like if I could see them in the middle of their cry-fest and know that they are not in any danger, then I can feel a little, just a little, better about letting them CIO. So My husband supported me in my neurotic idea, and ordered some video monitors from Costco. The only problem with that, is that they wont be here for a few days!
So my question now is, is there anything I could be working on in the meantime? I was thinking about doing a few things till we did the CIO when the monitors came:

- First off, I think I will push their bed time a little earlier, like have them in bed by 7:30.
- Next, I liked the idea of doing the dream feed around 10:00, that way if when they do get up later, I will know that they are not starving.
-No more night-feeds. since we will be doing the dream feed I am going to trust that they are good enough to go all night without eating.
- When they do get up in the night, I will continue to what I have done before, and let them try to work it out themselves starting with 15 min, and working the time up from there.

I think that if I start out with those things until I get the monitors, it will make it an easier transition for the shock of the CIO nights.... I hope? I don't know why, this is such a big ordeal to me? I never had to do anything this drastic, or thought out with my other boys? maybe I'm just being over dramatic? or maybe the exhaustion is getting the best of me? I just really need to get this under control.

also.... Some of you had asked what our daytime schedule was like so I thought I would post it.

8:30-9:00am : Wake up
9:00am :  eat 1 jar of baby food each mixed with a little mixed grains
9:30am :  have a 6oz bottle
9:30 to 11:00am :  Play time! which consists of jumpers, walkers, tummy scooting everywhere!
11:00 to 1:00pm: I make them 2 more ounces to top them off before nap, I feed them and put them in bed and they usually always sleep 2 hours for this nap.
1:00pm :  wake up, eat cereal snacks while auggie eats lunch
1:30pm : have an 8 oz bottle this usually takes them a while to eat. they kind of eat, play, eat,  play..
1:30 - 3:30pm : PLAY! this is the time, we would go for a walk if the weather is nice, or I take all the kids to the grocery store = chaos.
3:30pm : Nap time, this nap is usually 1 1/2 hours, but sometimes can be 2 hours
5:00pm : wake up, eat 1 jar of baby food each mixed with some rice cereal OR if we make something baby friendly for dinner they will have a little of that.
5:30 - 7:30pm  :  have a 6 oz bottle play, play, play...
7:30pm : Tubs... start bedtime routine...

Lets hope that I can get these books off the night stand for a while... I'm sick of them.

Well maybe not ALL of them. I need that last one (Beyond Time Out) for this crazy kid, that will be in an upcoming post.. one thing at a time. It never ends! geeez!

Auggie in his mid-dance pose. Always moving, always naked.
love. this. kid.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Sleep... Please Help!

We need major help. I am completely clueless on how to get these babies to sleep through the night, or even 4 straight hours would be nice! I have read to much, tried to much, that I think it has been more detrimental to their sleeping than helpful. We have never been die hard Ferber fans. I prefer a less harsh approach, but this has not been working for us this time around. So we are seriously contemplating putting them to sleep and not going in their rooms at all till morning, which is a huge commitment. that means you are going to hear your children cry for unlimited hours in the night. I cant take it, it breaks my heart, but I really don't know what to do at this point. This no-sleep is really wearing on all of us in this house. But before I embark on this dreaded feat, I thought I would share what our night time currently involves, and see if any of you all-wise mommas out there have any other options or suggestions for me to try? please.

Tub-time, bathe babies and get Jammie's on.

I take Oscar into his room with a bottle, and rock him, feed him, love him, put him in his crib. ( he is usually awake when I put him down, but occasionally he falls asleep while I am rocking him)

Lola's turn to go to bed, same as Oscar... rock ,feed, love. put her in her crib.

Oscar usually wakes up around this time and is SCREAMING! I wait about 15 min to see if he will just go back to sleep on his own (occasionally he does) after the 15 min, I go in and re situate him because he is usually all turned around at the bottom of his crib, I give him his pacifier, pat him on the back, and walk out.

* sometimes that's all he needed, and other nights he does this for about an hour. I increase my wait time by 5 minutes each time I go in, so 15 min the first time, 20 the next, 25 the next....

Oscar wakes up, and I feed him he eats about 4 oz. I put him back to bed and he will go right back to sleep or talk for a little bit (like 5 or 10 min).

Lola wakes up, I feed her, she eats about 4 oz. and I put her back to bed, she falls right back asleep or talks for a little bit, but doesn't cry.

Oscar will most likely wake up around this time and cry, hard! I do that same thing that I do when he wakes up at 10:30 15min then 20, then 25.... he usually falls back asleep after 30 min of that. usually.

Oscar wakes up again, so I feed him again. he eats another 4 oz. and  I put him back to bed, he falls asleep.

Lola wakes up, feed her, she eats about 4 oz. put her back to bed, she falls asleep.

5:00-8:00 am
most nights, one of the babies will wake up somewhere in between this time and we will end up putting them in their swings , because by this point we are so exhausted that  I don't care where they are as long as they are not crying!

Babies wake up.

some more information that may be helpful to know:
- they both sleep in their own rooms right now, because Oscars crying was waking up Lola...
- they take two naps a day right now one at 11:00am for 2 hours and one at 3:30ish pm for about 1 and a half hours.

Like I said, WE NEED HELP! I am so done with this night time routine. I am open to any and all suggestions! i. need. sleep.

Sleepless in Utah
p.s. While writing this Oscar has woken up two separate times why!?
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