Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Strawberry Freezer Jam (No Sugar!)

We don't really go through jam a lot. I maybe buy one jar a year. But then strawberries were on sale and I made this. I thought the 6, 8oz jars of jam would last us forever. I even gave some away. And then we flew through it and E expressed remorse that we had given any away.

It's a good bit tangier than regular jam which we love. But if  that's not your thing feel free to add some honey or sugar. Taste it before you add the apple juice/ pectin mix because it's not going to get much sweeter from there. Also with store bought jam chunks are not my thing. I love the chunks in this though. You could always throw the strawberries in the food processor or blender before adding the juice/pectin mixture to avoid so many chunks.

3 lbs strawberries
2 tbs no/low sugar pectin
1 & 3/4 cup no sugar added apple juice
6, 8oz freezer jars

Hull and de-stem (is that a word?) your strawberries. Chop them up and throw them in a bowl.

Every time you throw a few hand fulls of strawberries in a bowl mash them with a potato masher.

Once all of your strawberries are mashed to your desired consistency bring the apple juice and pectin to a strong boil. Let it boil for about a minute.

Pour the hot apple juice / pectin mixture into your mashed strawberries and stir like crazy.

Ladle the jam into the freezer jars.

Keeps up to 3 weeks in the refrigerator or a year in the freezer.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Baked Oatmeal may be one of our favorite uses (you can cut the sugar from the original recipe or add a drizzle of molasses to honey or maple syrup to get that "brown sugar flavor"). I have also added it to plain yogurt (perfect for home made yogurt) to flavor it.

Do you have any favorite uses for jam?

Sunday, August 5, 2012

10 Reasons It's Easier To Breastfeed Twins (than formula feed)

Hello Everyone! Happy World Breastfeeding Week! I wrote about breastfeeding twins and how to be successful at that already. But I often hear comments on how breastfeeding twins must be hard (or even crazy) and I wanted to write up a little post addressing that. At the time this was published I have been breastfeeding my twins for 16 months and 2 weeks. I have been breastfeeding a total of 36 months, 2 weeks.
A little disclosure, this post is to motivate and encourage women who want to breastfeed their twins. I know that breastfeeding is not always easy for everyone. I have been through many challenges with it myself including nipple confusion and having to use galactagogues to up my supply. This post is not to make anyone feel guilty or to place moms who formula feed in a negative light. If that is something that you are sensitive to please skip what is written below. 

I want to tell you something that you may not believe. Breastfeeding twins can actually be easier than formula feeding them. In the very beginning you will have a lot of obstacles but once you get past those breastfeeding is going to make your life so much easier.

Breastfeeding is easier because

  1. You don't have to wash bottles all the time!  In the beginning when F had nipple confusion I was pumping a lot. We dirtied a lot of bottles. I hate doing dishes (especially when I could be holding my babies) so I was so thankful when we were done with bottles.
  2.  You don't have to make formula while your babies are crying. The great thing about breast milk is that it's always ready and always the perfect temperature. Unfortunately twins often have to cry more than a singleton baby would. I'm thankful that mine didn't have to wait while I prepared anything.
  3. You don't have so much stuff to carry whenever you go out. When you go out your diaper bag will be so much lighter without bottles and formula. You don't have to worry about the formula staying cold enough in your bag or going bad. You won't have to find anywhere to stop and make the formula. And you won't have to carry dirty bottles home with you. If you are concerned about breastfeeding in public you can carry a cover with you in your purse. Still easier than all the bottles and formula for two.
  4. Studies show that breastfeeding moms get more sleep !!! I know I would have gotten a lot less sleep if I had to get up all night long to fix bottles. You will get the most sleep if you keep your babies in your room and know how to safely share your bed. It can actually be more dangerous to night feed on the couch or in a chair since many moms fall asleep during those feedings. Read more about how breastfeeding moms get more sleep  and about bed sharing can be safe.
  5. Breastfeeding is good for your mental health. Believe me when I tell you that taking care of twins (much less twins and a toddler!) can take a toll emotionally. Breastfeeding can help that. I know I need all the help I can get. Read more about night time breastfeeding & mental health and how breastfeeding fights depression.
  6. Breastfeeding means less worrying about SIDS. My twins were preemies. Preemies have a higher risk for SIDS. Breastfeeding reduces the risk for SIDS 50% (or dare I say, formula feeding increases risk for SIDS by 50%). Reducing your babies risk for SIDS = more sleep and less stress for you. Read about preemies increased risk for SIDS and how breastfeeding reduces risk for SIDS.
  7. Breastfeeding is free! You save a lot of money breastfeeding twins. According to this calculator it costs between $2,277.00 and $2,376.00 a year estimated on the low side. That does not include bottles and accessories. I don't know about you but I'd rather endure a few extra busy months breastfeeding my twins (which is best for them anyway) and then go on a nice vacation!
  8. Breastfeeding will help keep you out of the doctor's office. If you think daily life is hard with twins just wait until they are both sick! Luckily I've gone 16 months without experiencing that (minus one of my twins catching Roseola, but not passing it on to my other twin. thank you antibodies in my breast milk!). Read about how breastfeeding prevents disease.
  9. Breastfeeding can make it easier to get things done. When my babies were little (and my husband worked the night shift...I saw him about 2 hours a day people. It's a miracle I'm still mostly sane!) I was able to nurse them to sleep. I would position myself in the middle of our bed, propped up with pillows. I would put a pillow on either edge of my bed to act as a bumper. On top of the pillow I would place the baby on that side's pasci and blanket. I nursed them (and read books on the kindle app on my iphone) until they both fell asleep. Sometimes they would roll off themselves but when they didn't I used the "Pantley Pull Out" (which is where you remove your nipple from the baby's mouth while swiftly replacing it with a pasci. from "The No Cry Sleep Solution" by Elizabeth Pantley). One of my babies was a much more sound sleeper so that baby would stay laying on my bed while I moved the other baby to his montessori floor bed (or co-sleeper). I also made my daughter's third birthday cake while nursing babies in my Ergo.
  10. Breastfeeding makes bonding easier. As a mom who had a singleton first I had a lot of guilt when my twins were little. I felt like I didn't get as much one-on-one time with them as I would have a singleton. Breastfeeding helps this a lot with hormones and skin to skin contact. Read more about breastfeeding and bonding.

I didn't even touch on all of the health benefits to mother and baby that breastfeeding provides. Here are 101 Reasons To Breastfeed.

world breastfeeding week blog round-up

be sure to click the image above to see all the posts in the link up