Category Archives: what i eat

Otis the Elf

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This year our family started the Elf on the Shelf tradition. It’s a really cute idea where a little elf watches over your kids and reports back to Santa about them. Every morning when you wake up he is in a different spot doing different things. Often times he’s mischievous, but our elf, Otis, is just a playful silly elf. There won’t be any trashing of rooms or vandalizing. He came with a book that explained who he was and what he did. He also said not to touch him, or else his magic would be gone, and he needs his magic to fly and report back to Santa every night.

So far he showed up on day 1 in the cookie jar. That’s where Santa left him the night he dropped him off. He had to stop by the house that night to read the letter Alyssa wrote him that was hung on the fridge.

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Day 2 he had himself a little tea party on the mantle above the fireplace.

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Day 3, he got into the candy jar, ate one and left the wrapper there. Alyssa very quickly said she would be his big helper and throw it away for him. She’s sucking up to Otis obviously and its adorable. He also ate another later in the day since Alyssa found a different wrapper sitting behind him. Otis likes hershey kisses apparently Smile.

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The note says “Alyssa, I still have my magic, don’t worry”. On the first day, she was so excited after we read the book and found him in the cookie jar she went to grab his hat so she would pull him out of the jar and get a better look. She quickly let him go and her eyes filled with tears. She said “oh no. I’m so sorry Otis, I am so so sorry. I am just so sorry, I didn’t mean it. Oh no Mommy, I am sooo sorry. Oh Otis I am so sorry I just made your magic go away”. My poor girl felt so bad for Otis. The book said if you touch him his magic goes away. I assured her he knew it was an accident and he would still have his magic. She was very relieved to see his note.

And since “Otis” cant live off hershey kisses alone, I made us a meal plan for the week. This weeks meal plan I didnt label a certain dinner for Monday or Wednesday or Thursday. I am just deciding on 7 meals for each breakfast and dinner and I will most likely wait until the day of to decide what I feel like cooking that night.

Breakfasts:

Stovetop oatmeal with banana, peanut butter, ground flax  (twice)

Peanut butter and banana sandwiches on homemade rolls with cups of milk

Almond Bran Flake Cereal with milk topped with sliced banana (twice)

Pumpkin greek yogurt pancakes

Egg and cheese on homemade english muffins

Dinners:

Grilled balsamic chicken, brown rice, salad (some frozen peas or green beans for Cassidy, Alyssa eats salad though)

Baked Chicken Nuggets, baked french fries with old bay, mixed veggies

Pan fried tilapia, broccoli, quinoa

Hamburgers, sweet potato fries, peas

Beans and greens cheesy soup

Leftovers one night

Dinner at a friends house one night

Now if Otis would only learn how to cook all these meals and do the dishes afterwards too…

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A Very Zucchini Weekend

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When my mom came to visit a week ago she brought me a ton of squash, both yellow and zucchini. The zucchini in her garden are massive, most of them are at least a foot long. I had about 8 of them to use up so needless to say, we ate  zucchini all weekend. I got pretty creative too so I honestly never got tired of it. I came up with 2 recipes that were keepers.

First we had zucchini pancakes. The first time I tired making these I tried using shredded zucchini and whole oats. They turned out mushy  (remember, we are egg free right now so that makes pancakes hard to make). But the second time I made them I used pureed zucchini and oat flour. So much better! I am going to make them again in the next couple days so I can measure out what I do and record the recipe.

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Eating an entire zucchini before 9 am is a good start to the day! Especially when its topped with homemade blueberry jelly and a side of turkey breakfast sausage.

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We made a chicken in the crockpot and added cut up zucchini one night. Then had the leftovers Sunday for lunch.

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And the real winner happened on Sunday night. I figured since squash has such a mild flavor I could just slip it into some enchiladas as the filling. I figured it couldn’t be too bad and it would use up some more squash. It was amazing!! It could have been partly the homemade enchilada sauce as well. The meat mixture was a little bit of leftover chicken with 2 whole yellow squash, shredded. Since both were shredded, it really seemed like it was all chicken in there. And there was a ton of zucchini. 2 squash in a tiny batch of enchilladas, only 5 (it was just the kids and I for dinner).

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The enchilada sauce was amazing as well. I took some tomatoes my mom also brought me and cooked them down with some fresh oregano and parsley. I put it in jars to use for homemade marinara later in the week. Well I decided I’d try some enchilada sauce with some of it. I put some of it in the blender with some cumin, chilli powder, garlic salt and oh my gosh, it was amazing!

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Cassidy ate 1.5 huge enchiladas, it was crazy! And she kept giving me the sign language for more. She started with half of one. Devoured it and signed for more. I gave her another half. Repeat. Gave her another half and she asked for more again. I cut her off at that point! I didn’t want her getting sick.

I will be putting these on next week’s meal plan again so I can type up the recipe. Cassidy will probably be staring at the oven, drooling, waiting to dig into them!

We ended our weekend with a dipped vanilla cone at dairy queen and some time at the park with friends. And my once calm little Cassidy is becoming a wild woman like her sister. She crawls up the steps at the park, crawls to a slide, then throws her body down it face first on her belly. She loved it and did it over and over again. No fear what so ever. I am in for some trouble!

My Family’s Eats

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I am lucky to have the time and opportunity to cook for my family every night. I really enjoy cooking so I do not mind at all. However, I am not a short order cook. I make one meal and everyone eats it. I’d say I am a pretty decent cook so its not like I am serving burnt tv dinners and expecting them to eat it. Everything is made from scratch, whole foods, and healthy. I do not make separate meals for my kids either. Unless I am making something that contains a major allergen Cassidy is not old enough for yet (peanuts, shellfish, etc). Both Alyssa, who is 3 1/2, and Cassidy, 10 months, eat whatever meal Dave and I are eating. Occasionally Alyssa will say “But I don’t want to eat this” or “I don’t like this” (before she has even tries it!). So I will say “ok that’s fine. Go ahead and get up and cook me the dinner you want to eat”.  She then says but mommy I’m too little to cook. So I say “yep, that’s right. That’s why you eat what I cook you”. That’s when I am feeling nice. If she is being rude with a little attitude, I flash her the evil eye and then she promptly says “Thank you Mommy for cooking me a healthy dinner” (A line I have fed her many times before, although its not usually said with much enthusiasm).

My What I Ate Wednesday went like this…

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Breakfast: 1 bowl wheat flakes with rice krispies and raisins added, 2 bowls multigrain cheerios. 1.5 cups skim milk on top.

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Snack 1: Blueberries from blueberry picking in the morning! A small black decaf from Dunkin.

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Lunch: salad- lettuce from my garden topped with leftover mexican pasta salad, avocado,and shredded chicken. An English muffin with 2 Tbs almond butter. Plus more almond butter straight from the jar of course.

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Snack 2: Four cups watermelon. Yeah that’s right, I ate half of a huge watermelon. Gotta get it while its good!

Dinner: Millet, chicken, and green bean casserole with melted parmesan and cheddar. Seconds were consumed.

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Snack 3: raspberry chocolate froyo popsicle. (plain greek yogurt, cocoa powder, honey, mashed raspberries)

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The girl’s Munchkin Meals very similarly went like this…

Breakfast: Cassidy: 1 stick of cheddar, some wheat puffs, and blueberries while we were picking.

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Alyssa: 1 bowl of multigrain cheerios with raisins.

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I kept Cassidy happy by feeding her fresh blueberries while we picked. The owners actually encourage you to eat while you pick since its all pesticide free!

Snack1: Alyssa: homemade graham crackers while we grocery shopped and Cassidy napped.

Lunch: They both had leftover Mexican Bean and Corn Pasta Salad with more blueberries on the side.

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Snack 2: They split a homemade yogurt popsicle. It was organic baby yogurt with mashed organic raspberries frozen in the mold. They both loved it. So much so it encouraged Cassidy to finally do the sign language for “more”. She was whining for more and I told her she wasn’t getting another bite until she said more. Well she signed it AND said the word. She wanted that popsicle!

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Dinner: Millet, chicken, and green bean casserole.

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Snack 3: They each ate a TON of watermelon. I would bet Alyssa will be up in the middle of the night to pee!

And of course Cassidy nursed 5 times throughout the day as well. Cassidys breakfast is usually different than mine and Alyssa’s because she eats a little later. She nurses right when she wakes up so she won’t eat any breakfast until at least 45 minutes later.

And here are some sweet pictures of my babies, just because…

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I love how in this next picture, Cassidy doesn’t have pants on and Alyssa doesn’t have a shirt on. Naked it where its at in this house apparently! They play together so well now. They played for over 2 hours last night together while I cleaned the house, love my girls!

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HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!!

Another Good Weekend Turned Bad

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Let’s start off with the good… We kicked off our weekend on Friday blueberry picking. We have a pesticide free farm right down the street. We picked almost 4 pints of blueberries. The farm owner also sells zucchini, cucumbers, honey, eggs, and more depending on the season and his crop production. I talked to the owner about some zucchini growing tips and when it came time to pay he gave me a HUGE deal. 4 pints of blueberries, 5 cucumbers, and 2 squash for a whopping 5 bucks! And all pesticide free. One pint of organic blueberries are often more than $5 alone! We spent the rest of the day at the pool and the girls had an amazing time. Cassidy is fearless in the water just like her big sister!

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Saturday we went to Lowes for the kid’s build and grow workshop. Alyssa “bammed” as she says, which means hammered. She built a little wooden car and got a free pair of goggles and an apron. It was really cute! The rest of the day was pretty low key. We made some hummus and ate 3 of our cucumbers and 2 peppers out of our own garden.

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We also baked more homemade graham crackers and some cookie dough hummus for dipping.

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Sunday we went to church and I left Cassidy in the church nursery for the first time! I only left her for half the service because I didn’t want to let her get to the point where she was crying and fed up. She did great though. We had lunch at church and helped set up for the upcoming vacation bible school Alyssa will be attending all week. It’s the first time I have ever dropped her off somewhere and left. She has yet to go to preschool either. I am quite nervous, especially with her nut allergy. They assured me there was not nuts in anything they are serving and I was almost going to let her eat the same snack as the other kids. But I got a reality check and my paranoid parenting kicked back in on Sunday night and I decided I would pack her own snacks for the week. And for Thursday I am actually making snack for the entire VBS, 250 rice krispie treats! And what was my reality check?

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We had an allergy issue Sunday night. Although it wasn’t with Alyssa. I fried 2 organic eggs to top on a salad as part of dinner. I took the yolk out of one egg and fed it to Cassidy. After her second bite she started rubbing all over her face and I noticed she looked like this.

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She had hives all around her mouth. I remember this all too well from Alyssa’s reaction to cashews. I washed her down, took the egg out of her mouth, and called ask a nurse. She told me babies can’t have egg whites before one, something I already knew. And I am that overly paranoid mom that follows ALL the rules. If she was 11 1/2 months, I still wouldn’t have given her the whites until her actual 1st birthday. I told the nurse I knew that and I only gave her the yolk.

Then get this…she says “well do you think the white could have accidentally touched the yolk?”. Umm are you serious? Of course the yolk touched the white, haven’t you ever seen an egg?! The yolk is surrounded by the white! I obviously meant to remove all the egg white, but maybe there was a tiny bit left on there? But at 10 1/2 months, she is pretty close to 1 and I know plenty of moms who give their kids scrambled eggs well before 1, so it shouldn’t have been a huge deal if a microscopic piece of egg white was left on. But apparently it was. She has eaten egg yolks plenty of times the last month or two with no problem and has eaten things like pancakes and breads made with egg (which is considered ok before 1).

We are headed to her pediatrician tomorrow morning and then to a pediatric allergist soon after.

Not even a fresh loaf of chocolate zucchini bread could make this better. Although it was quite tasty.

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So now I guess we will have a nut free and egg free house. And since I am breastfeeding I think I am going to have to avoid egg containing foods as well. I just don’t understand… I feed them so healthy, they rarely eat processed foods, and I follow all the recommendations on introducing allergenic foods…why are so many kids developing food allergies these days?

Munchkin Meals

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A Healthy Slice of Life is hosting a link up similar to What I Ate Wednesday except its for our kiddos. Love the idea since I am always curious what other kids the same age as mine eat. As a whole, I try to feed my babies only organic whole foods. I am pretty successful while we are at home, and we do eat at least 95% of our meals at home. But maybe 2-3 times a month we will have a meal out, and its harder to control the health factor when someone else is cooking for you.

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For the most part my 10 month old, Cassidy, still gets the majority of her nutrition from breast milk. She nurses for 5-10 minutes at each feeding which happens roughly at 830 am, 1130 am, 215 pm, 515 pm, 815 pm. Her nursing has gotten very efficient lately and I estimate she gets about 25-30 ounces a day. But that is a complete and total guess since I just breast feed and she has never taken a bottle, little stinker! She goes in waves as to how much solid food she eats. She is on an eating spurt right now so this is definitely at the higher end of what she eats.

Breakfast (915): 1/4 banana and 1/4 cup brown rice puffs.

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These puffs have 1 ingredient, puffed brown rice. No sugar, salt, additives, or preservatives. Sometimes she won’t eat any solid food for breakfast at all, I guess maybe she drinks a lot of breast milk upon waking so she’s still full. I’d say she only eats breakfast 3 times a week. I always offer it, but she throws it on the floor if she doesnt want it.

Lunch(1 pm): 1/4 avocado, 1/4 peach, 1/4 hotdog bun.

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Since we were at another carnival today, I let her gnaw on a bun. I brought the avocado and peach proportioned.

Dinner(6pm): 1/4 organic chicken sausage, 1/2 ear corn on the cob (but she only probably got half the corn off),  homemade baked “french fries”.

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The fries were just sliced potatoes roasted with a little olive oil. She LOVED the potatoes. I slide a little food towards her at a time because otherwise she ends up playing with it and shoving it all on the floor.

Bedtime Snack (715 pm): 2 oz breast milk mixed with 1/4 cup baby oatmeal cereal (for iron since I don’t give her those nasty multivitamins and she doesn’t drink any formula, which is often fortified with iron)

So over the course of the day she got 2 servings fruit, 3 servings vegetables, 4 servings whole grain, and 1 serving protein. Everything was organic besides the hotdog bun and corn on the cob. Usually she has protein and cheese at lunch as well but I didn’t want to feed her a hotdog and didn’t want to bring meat and cheese out in the heat and risk it spoiling. She LOVES cheese. I’d say its her favorite food. Maybe i should start giving it to her at breakfast since I know she’ll eat cheese anytime!

According to WebMD babies 5-12 months need an average of 850 calories per day. Cassidy got roughly 350 from solid foods and 450-550 (again a very rough estimate) from breast milk, so 800-900 total.

Alyssa, who is 3 1/2, ate…

Breakfast (845 am): 1 cup multigrain cheerios, 1/2 banana, 1/4 cup 1% milk on top. 1 cup 1% milk in a cup.

Lunch (1 pm): Smoothie with banana, strawberries, almond milk, and spinach (at 1130 am). 1/2 hotdog with bun.

I made Alyssa and myself smoothies for on the way to the carnival since I didn’t know what kind of food would be available. I do this quite often if I know we will be eating an unhealthier meal out.

Dinner (6 pm): 3/4 chicken sausage, pile of baked fries, 3/4 corn on the cob.  Quite a few homemade graham crackers and 1/4 of a banana for dessert.

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Overall Alyssa had 3 servings fruit, 3 servings vegetables, 3 servings protein, 2 servings dairy, 4 servings whole grain. According to WebMD a 3 year old should consume between 1000-1400 calories depending on activity level. She ate roughly 1150.

Feeding Philosophy:

I take slightly different approaches to the way I feed my baby versus my preschooler. Cassidy is only 10 months so she never gets what we call “special treats”. Special treats are a lollipop, a donut, a rice Krispy treat, etc. Alyssa gets them sometimes, mostly when we are out at a birthday party or BBQ, which is quite frequent in the summer months. I also bake a lot in the evenings with Alyssa so she will eat our (mostly) healthy creations. Cassidy has never tasted anything sweet like cake, ice cream, cookies,etc. And she doesn’t know any better so I figure why would I introduce those things to her. She thinks fruit is dessert and I’d like to keep it that way as long as possible.

Once Alyssa hit around 2, she realized hmmm cookies are good! So now that she is older, she has those things sometimes, although mostly homemade. I feel like if i restrict her from having any unhealthier type foods then she will just want it all the more since you always want what you can’t have. She its not that she “can’t” have those things, its just a “special treat”. I treat her diet the same way I treat my own eating. She eats healthy the majority of the time but if we are at a BBQ, sure she can have a couple chips and a cookie, but not until she eats her veggies and protein.

As far as drinking goes, Cassidy is still on breast milk only. She doesn’t even like water out of a sippy cup. I have bought like 5 different sippy cups and she just doesn’t like them. She’ll play but won’t drink. Alyssa drinks organic milk (usually 2%) or water. At almost 4, she has yet to try soda, and I plan on keeping it that way as long as I can. I don’t drink it, so she has no reason to. Maybe once or twice a month she will have a cup of juice if we are at a party and other kids have it. Even 100% fruit juice is just the sugar from fruit, not the good fiber and nutrients. She eats plenty of whole fruit though. Smoothies however you get the whole fruit and she loooooves them! But again, I have to let her be a kid and a couple juice boxes every now and then makes her pretty happy!

I have never made either of my kids special “kid food”. Why would I cook myself and Dave something healthy and then put junk into their growing bodies? As a stay at home mom I know I am lucky to have the time to cook healthy for my family and I absolutely love doing it! I am not a perfect parent by any stretch, but I have complete control over what goes into their bodies so I do the best I know how to do. Alyssa asks for fruit or carrots for dessert sometimes so I think I’m doing pretty good forming healthy habits.

Backyard Garden

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When Alyssa first starting eating baby foods 3 years ago, there weren’t many organic options in my small town. Weird right since there are farms all around us? We didn’t have an organic market and the grocery stores didn’t have an organic section. So I set out to grow my own vegetables in order to make her own food. I have continued my garden every year since even though there are more organic options around now. Some years its productive, others not so much. It is completely organic. No fertilizers in the soil either, only chicken poop. I have it in a place that gets full sun for the majority of the day. I tried planting in 2 different places my first year, and the other place was too shady so nothing grew.

Here is a full view. Its not too up close since I couldn’t crop out that sweet baby and dog out of the corner.

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I know, my child is naked. She just ate dinner and I forgot to put a bib on her so her shirt had to come off immediately. Well that’s a lie, I didn’t forget to put a bib on her. I never use bibs because she just rips them right off.

I have my herbs, basil, oregano, and parsley in the planter. It just keeps them all together and I am planning on moving them up on my deck so I don’t have to walk all the way down to the garden to collect them. I need to pick the basil because its going to seed. Fresh pesto will be on my plate this weekend!

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Then I have a couple green pepper plants and some yellow squash and zucchini.

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Mixed lettuce up front, although it looks like only the purple lettuce grew and just a couple of the green leaves. What kind of lettuce is that purple? It tastes good so I guess that’s all that matters. Then behind that is some butternut squash, spaghetti squash, 1 watermelon plant, eggplant and some okra I think. I forgot to make a “key” when I planted my garden and now I forget what that one row is. I’m going to say okra, time will tell I guess. And on the right are my peas and green beans in a row.

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And to the far right, well apparently none of those seeds sprouted. I think my spinach, watermelons, canteloupe, and kale were planted there. I hope to plant some more kale and spinach but cant find the seeds around here anymore. I will keep looking because spinach and kale are some of my favorite I never get tired of.

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And how is my garden doing so far? Well pretty good I think. I have gotten a good number of green beans.

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There are 3 zucchini forming.

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A couple baby green peppers. And this picture shows just how badly I need to weed my garden. I HATE weeding but i know it needs to be done so it doesnt choke out my plants.

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And then there’s my tomato plant. Every year my tomato plants do amazing. Problem is, I don’t eat many tomatoes because they give me horrible acid reflux. This year I figured I’d just plant one plant so I don’t have a tomato excess. And of course that one plant shriveled up and died!

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And then there are other plants that have flowers budding. Like my eggplant and some of my other squash plants.

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The lettuce looks ready to pick now! Can’t wait!

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And here is my one watermelon vine that grew. It is randomly in with all my squash plants. I must have dropped a seed over there during the planting process. Funny because none of my watermelon seeds that I actually meant to plant sprouted!

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Check out this big zucchini plant. I get these weird looking bugs on my squash leaves and they lay these tiny copper eggs on the underside of the leaves. Since its all organic I don’t use spray but instead pick off the bugs and eggs. If I don’t, the plant will literally shrivel up and die within a couple days.

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Hopefully these two bellies will be filled with all these veggies before long!

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And without further adieu, my first pick of the season, wahoo!! I got enough green beans for a dinners worth! And of course as soon as I picked them I realized we had a pizza night out with some friends so we didn’t even get to eat them. I was actually disappointed I had to eat pizza when I had these bad boys at home waiting for me. Although not too disappointed not to eat 4 slices. Tomorrow these will be in our bellies for sure!

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Anyone know some organic friendly tips to keep the bugs away? I’ve heard some pretty random tips for rodents that are far out there but apparently work, so I am hoping there are some for bugs too. Please share!