Amaro e Dolce

Life, unfiltered


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My food philosphy

Yesterday I cooked up a storm for the babies, and as my husband popped a BBQ turkey meatloaf-style meatball in his mouth, he asked what we would serve it with. I explained I would break it up and serve it with veggies. His response, “this is for the babies? I thought this was for us.”

My baby food philosophy

You see, I know that I was a picky eater when I was a kid. My husband is still a picky eater. I realize you can’t escape this, but my philosophy is that the more I introduce now the more we broaden our daughters’ palates – both in terms of flavors and texture. So they now are happily eating fish, meat, chicken, pork along with rice, pasta, risotto, quinoa and barley. They love veggies and fruits – we are lucky here.

Store-bought vs. home-made baby food

Many people don’t enjoy cooking, or they are too exhausted at the end of the day to fire up the stove. Since I work from home, I take advantage of down time to food prep and cook. I prefer the cook food for all of us because it’s more affordable in the long run, I know what goes in to the food and I enjoy cooking. This last point is important. If you don’t like cooking or you are intimidated by trying, making your own baby food is probably not a good idea.

When I make food for the girls, I divvy up my recipes in to things that I am exclusively serving them and things that the whole family can eat. As they grow older, I am moving away from exclusive food for them and towards family meals. When I look back, I don’t remember my mother ever making individual meals for us on the daily. And as much as I enjoy cooking, this is our home and not a restaurant. I don’t want to build an expectation that we have menus available.

Finger foods & babies feeding themselves

Z & E are becoming increasingly more independent. Crawling, walking and wanting to feed themselves. They are all about their sippy cups (and tossing them to the floor 752,000,000 times in one meal). This independence is fun, but also frustrating.

You see, I believe that they should have the autonomy to feed themselves, but at the same time I don’t want them to associate their meals with play. Perhaps it’s my European upbringing, but I believe that food should be respected and not played with. What I’ve started doing is prepping food that they can eat on their own, and we alternate hand feeding with spoon feeding. For example, today’s breakfast included scrambled eggs, waffles and ricotta mixed with homemade strawberry jam. So I put a piece of small waffle on their tray for them to pick up and eat. Once they were done, I spoon-fed the eggs. Then we finished with the ricotta/jam mix. This makes meal time cleaner and easier for all of us.

breakfast for babies

Z & E’s (and my) breakfast this morning

On toys at the table (or high chair)

When we first started feeding in the highchair, we put toys on the girls’ trays. Perhaps this is surprising, given my above statements about meal time and play, but hear me out. With our girls, we quickly realized that training them to sit in a high chair was actually more challenging than introducing them to foods. They don’t like feeling confined and they are naturally squirmy. So as we were feeding them, we needed a distraction so that they would get used to swallowing their food without being in our laps.

As they got used to the high chairs, we started taking the toys away. We did this slowly – experimenting with removing the toys towards the end of their meal, then halfway, then after the first few bites. Now we don’t use toys during meal times (this will probably change when they are toddlers, but whatever), but we talk (and sing on fussy days) throughout feedings. The theory here is that we get used to sitting and talking as a family over meals, instead of individually focusing on toys, phones, etc.

I realize that I probably sound old-school in my parenting philosophy when it comes to food, and that’s fine. I believe that one of the most important times you have with your family is around the table and it’s important to me to start now with enforcing these eating habits with my girls. I remember always sitting down as a family to dinner (whether we wanted to or not.) Now that I look back, I remember sitting with my family, chatting over dinner and I believe this was one of the things that makes my family so tight-knit.


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Oh hi there

What’s going on? I’m sure you’re trying to cram all the last-minute stuff in before the holidays, much like the rest of us. I admit, this year the holidays seemed especially daunting. Not only do we have two babies to contend with, but for the first time I’m staying put and my family is coming to me.

Some part of me is a bit bummed that I’m not making the jaunt up to South Carolina, but I’m mostly relieved. The thought of trudging through the airport (or driving 12 hours) with two teething babies in the midst of a growth spurt made me want to gnash my teeth with anxiety. I’ll happily deal with the logistics of driving stuff from one place to the other.

As the holidays get closer, we’ve made the following decisions regarding gifts:

No gifts for the girls as they are way too young and have enough toys and clothes. Besides, right now they get excited to play with granola bar wrappers and spatulas.

My siblings and I have decided to not give gifts to each other. Our gifts are that none of us has to spend time or money.

Our gifts are all in the family grab bag. Everyone brings one wrapped gift per round. It’s always a hoot and I’m pretty amused by our gifts. It’s our family tradition and it’s definitely my favorite.

I hope you all have a merry Christmas (if you celebrate). I’ll see you all after the new year!IMG_1497.JPG


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Z & E turn 3 (months)

These are the things I can’t believe. I can’t believe it’s been 12 weeks. I can’t believe the changes I’ve seen in them and in us. I can’t believe it’s been a month since I last wrote. I can’t believe parents are supposed to hand their babies off to someone else and go back to work at this point. I can’t believe most men don’t get this much time because of social pressures.

Ok, enough with that. What’s up with these babies? 

They have both gained at least 5 pounds, and are almost double their birth weight. They are cooing and “talking” to us and each other. They are back to sleeping in their crib and they snuggle up on each other like puzzle pieces. They are rocking tummy time – especially Zoey. They have lots of smile for me and El Hombre, their turtle toy and their mobile. It’s wild.

Where’s my head at?

I’ve been thinking a lot about personal autonomy. I won’t lie, it’s a struggle. Especially during these times when I’m constantly feeding. My husband is amazing – he forces me to do things for myself… To get out and clear my head. 

This past week I’ve been thinking about what I want to do for myself. I’ve been using the Duolingo app and I’m now obsessed. I know I won’t become bilingual or trilingual without actually using the languages (Spanish & Italian) but it’s a good way to get acclimated to the words and conjugations. 

I also plan to start building strength at home. I don’t have a gym membership and it’s too hot to go outside during the day, but I’m not letting that get in my way anymore.

Ideally I’d like to write more, but I’m also realistic that I can’t bite off more than I can chew.


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Perfection

We are home from the hospital and our family has doubled in size. 

Is there any more perfect moment than sitting on the couch with a sleeping baby, listening to the rain while the sun breaks through the clouds?

As we drove home from our first pediatrician appointment, I turned to my husband and told him I have the opposite of baby blues. I’m so overwhelmed by how fortunate we are that it makes me teary eyed. 

Enjoy these small, lovely moments  in your lives people. 

Birth story to come!