Wow – I’ve been busier than … what? I don’t know. Busier than a writer fighting the urge to use a cliche, perhaps. Anyway… Since October, I:

1. Met Oprah Winfrey. And Gayle King. And hugged them both. On camera. After Oprah told me and 29 other military spouses that she was surprising us with $30,000 worth of her “Favorite Things.”

(yes – that is how big a smile gets when Oprah decides to shower you with gifts and affection.)

 

2. Put out two great, if I do say so myself, issues of CityView.

3. Had these articles published on Base Guide:

a. 10 Perks of Being an Army Spouse

b. Get Happy at Home

c. One Favorite Thing

4. Had this commentary published by The New York Times:

Finding Home Again After Deployment

5. Was interviewed for Gretchen Rubin’s website. (She’s the author of “The Happiness Project” and “Happier at Home”.)

6. Got three kids adorable for Halloween.

 

 

 

 

 

 

(yes, I realize there are 4 kids in this picture. See if you can figure out which one didn’t come out of my body.)

and a dog…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. Was interviewed in The Fayetteville Observer about the whole Oprah experience.

8. Got to watch myself on the show.

9. Started getting boxes of amazing stuff sent to my house. (I’m still getting stuff, by the way. Everyday is Christmas here!)

10. Started finding people to give the stuff I don’t need/want/think someone else could use more. (This, by the way, has actually been more fun than even getting the stuff myself. I’m getting a tiny taste of how much fun it is to play Oprah/Santa.) I’ll share some of the stories with you all later. There are some great stories.

11. Hosted a Thanksgiving Dinner — in a house I’ve lived in for eight weeks — that very quickly included 10 people I’ve never met before — and it was fantastic. Really, just lovely.

12. Single parented three kids and a dog (and, yes, Hank has been up to all his old tricks and some very expensive new ones) because my husband has only just this week received the promised orders that will allow him to move to Florida with the rest of the family. We’ve been waiting since spring.

13. Smiled. A lot. It’s been a busy, crazy and, all in all, fantastic couple of months.

 

 

 

So MONTHS ago Shanna, a fellow Army wife, asked me if I’d like to review some Happy Baby products on my blog. Now, I don’t normally do reviews but I do have a baby, and I do have a blog, and Shanna is a sister wife in a Big Green Machine sense of the term and (most importantly) “review” means “free stuff”. So I said yes. She dropped off a box full of Happy Family stuff — rice cereal, oatmeal, applesauce and baby-style finger foods.

And then life happened. I didn’t think much about the review because, when Shanna gave me the stuff, little Lucy had only just started on rice cereal, her first solid food (if by “solid” we mean gruel so weak it could be sucked through a straw). I took the box and set it aside. Lucy wasn’t ready for most of it anyway. At the time I was staying in a condo my mother owns in Florida because we were mid-PCS. We were being sent to Florida from North Carolina and had a house to sell. Since it was summer and I have three kids and a dog, we decided to get out of that house so that it would stay clean enough for someone to actually want to buy it. Well, lo and behold, our house sold and I had to go back to it to pack up. We also found a new house in Florida and so I toggled between the two, lugging the box of Happy Baby foods with me because I wasn’t sure when we’d be settled somewhere or when little Lucy would be ready to eat them.

Well, we’ve been in our new house for several weeks now and Lucy has polished off most of the food Shanna gave me, so (drumroll) here’s my Happy Baby review:

 

 

I love it.

 

 

 

No, seriously, that’s all I want to write.

 

I mean, what can I write about free, organic, baby food? There’s just no downside. Lucy loves it. I love it, and I really love the pouches. When Rudy, my now 4-year-old, was on baby food they didn’t have these pouches. I had to sit there and spoon mashed mystery purees into her mouth and it took forever and was very messy. Now, with these pouches I can just kind of hold and squirt the food into Lucy’s mouth — which is much quicker and cleaner. With three kids and a husband who isn’t home much to help, I need every extra minute and extra convenience I can find.

(I did find one way to really make feeding Lucy even quicker and easier for me — we’ll just call this “outsourcing”)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’d already started Lucy on regular rice cereal (Gerber brand, I think) and so she didn’t really care for the Happy Baby rice cereal, which is made from brown rice, when I first fed it to her. And, really, who can blame her? White rice is sweeter. Brown rice has that faintly cardboard taste. I got around this by mixing the white rice cereal and brown rice cereal together and Lucy was totally cool with that and ate it … happily.

We moved on to the fruit purees with great success. Lucy is a big fan of food and, while bananas seems to be her favorite, she’s pretty happy with anything I squirt into her mouth. I’ve just started trying the Happy Baby Sweet Potato Puffs, which are like Cheerios but they dissolve in her mouth and taste like sweet potatoes. Her coordination isn’t quite up to the finger food challenge, so right now Hank, our dog, is a big fan of the puffs. His new favorite hangout is under the high chair. Lucy likes them, too, when she manages to get one into her mouth.

We’re out of the free food now, so the one downside I can find is that Happy Baby is pretty expensive, about $1.25 — $1.60 a pouch, depending on where I buy it.  (Shanna tells me that they’re cheaper at the Commissary, but I haven’t bought them there yet.) But it’s no more expensive than the other organic baby foods in squeeze pouches. I steam and puree most of Lucy’s food for her myself, but I buy the Happy Baby pouches to take with me when we’re going to be away from the house for awhile.

So there you have it — my review and my very happy baby.