Author Archives: oopiebelle

About oopiebelle

I’m Alison. Ali, if we know each other. And if we’re family, you probably call me Oop, as in Ali Oop. Oopie. My grandad gave me that nickname. Oopie. He’d call me “Oopie Baby” and “Oopie Bell”. It’s stuck with me into my thirties. That’s what the common denominator is for all the seemingly random topics of this blog. Me. This is where you'll find random musings on cooking, crafty DIY creative pursuits, God and science!

zucchini, blueberry & lemon cupcakes

If you are anything like me, each year, you plant a single zucchini plant in anticipation of a few meals and maybe a dessert with the mid-summer veggie. Then the thing grows out of control blob-style and you are swimming in zucchini, wondering if it will ever stop growing as you search for new recipes to use up yet another.
IMG_3878
Or you completely screwed up and planted a mis-labeled yellow squash plant and have completely run out of ideas, while you pine for the zucchini that you thought you’d be eating.
IMG_3867
I actually had to pay for my zucchini this year. Seriously? Who does that in the summer time in Ohio? I have a garden with tomatoes taller than I am, but I bought a bunch of zucchini the other day because I just missed them. If you are wadding knee-deep in zucchini this year, here’s a recipe for you. Unlike zucchini bread, this one is bursting with pops of fresh flavor. Lots of grated zucchini, pops of blueberries and a little citrus zing from lemon. No cinnamon or ginger or cardamom to compete with the summer-y flavors.
IMG_3864
The inspiration from this recipe came from I Am Baker who was inspired from a blueberry zucchini bread recipe from allrecipes.com. I packed in even more zucchini, cut the amount of sugar significantly, and threw lemon zest into the batter. Then I baked these little beauties into single-serving portions and topped a bit of lemon buttercream.
IMG_3881
I’m sorry, but I just can’t resist the chubby baby fingers digging into a cupcake photo op.

zucchini, blueberry & lemon cupcakes 
makes about 2 dozen, adapted from I Am Baker

for the cupcakes:
3 eggs
1 cup canola or vegetable oil
3 tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ cups sugar
3 cups shredded zucchini (~3 small zucchini)
3 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
1 pint fresh blueberries (with a few reserved for garnish)
zest of 1 lemon

for the lemon buttercream:
1 cup butter, softened
3 ½ cups powdered sugar
1 lemon: juice & zest
⅛ tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place cupcake wrappers in muffin tins.

Shred zucchini. (A food processor with grating disc makes this amazingly fast.) If your zucchini are particularly watery, it doesn’t hurt to wring it out with a paper towel to sop up the excess. I shredded mine rather coarsely and skipped the wringing out step. If your zucchini is finely grated, you will need to do it.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, vanilla, lemon zest, and oil together. Add in the zucchini and stir until coated. Add in the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Stir until incorporated. Add in blueberries and gently mix.

Fill muffin cups ¾ full with batter. Bake for 20-25 minutes until centers have set and a cake tester comes out clean. Turn out cupcakes onto a wire rack to cool.

For the lemon buttercream, cream the butter for several minutes using a stand or hand mixer in a large bowl. When the butter is pale, mix in the powdered sugar, lemon juice, zest and salt. Mix until creamy.

Top cupcakes with buttercream.

charred lemon and rosemary G+T

Every vacation spot really deserves its on signature drink. As my family vacations at Rosemary Beach each year, incorporating rosemary into a cocktail was a no-brainer. This is also a nice way to summarize my go-to gin and tonic for the hot weather.
 
There’s nothing particularly complicated about this, but it takes a tiny bit of advance planning. It incorporates a rosemary-infused simple syrup, charred lemon juice, botanical gin, and tonic. Garnished with a sprig of rosemary and a charred lemon slice, it’s summer happiness in a glass. 

charred lemon and rosemary G+T

For the simple syrup:

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
several sprigs (4-5) fresh rosemary

Combine sugar, water and rosemary in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook until sugar is fully dissolved and syrup has thickened slightly, ~15 minutes.

For the charred lemons:

2 lemons (for two drinks*)

Cut 1 lemon in half and another lemon into slices. Over medium-low heat, char the lemon halves and slices cut-side down in a skillet until blackened, 2-3 minutes. Remove the halves from the skillet and flip the slices, charring on the opposite side.

* For four drinks, cut 2 lemons in half and a third lemon in slices. For every additional drink, add an additional half lemon to char.

For the drink:

0.5-.75 ounce rosemary simple syrup
charred lemon juice from ½ lemon
2 ounces botanical gin (or whatever gin you prefer)
4 ounces tonic water
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 slice charred lemon

Pour the simple syrup, lemon juice, and gin over ice. Stir to combine. Top off with tonic. Garnish with rosemary and the charred lemon wedge. Sip, preferably on a beach.  

gender reveal cake

I think this is one of my most favorite cakes ever.  Not because of the flavor combo or anything. It’s just vanilla. A yummy vanilla, but still. Being the first person to know that a mama of two boys is going to have a baby girl is just SO MUCH FUN. Then getting to concoct a 5 tiered-shades of pink-cake to share the news with her and her family. It doesn’t get better than that!
IMG_1304 Maggie and Ryan are amazing parents to two wonderful little boys. When I heard the news that they were expecting their third, I may have blurted out, after issuing congratulations, “I can make you a cake for gender reveal!” And tempered it slightly: “you know, if you want.” Maggie graciously mentioned that her mom had offered the same, but then she called a week later saying that her mom wanted to share in the excitement of finding out the gender of baby #3 with the rest of the family.
IMG_1281 So I got to be the first person to know! Maggie’s OB office called me while I was at work and revealed the secret. The mama herself didn’t even know. While I know they would have been so excited to have a third boy, something about having a baby girl after two boys is just like icing on the cake.
IMG_1286 I scoured the internet for a cake that would be suitable for sharing such exciting news. I looked at “surprise inside” cakes with giant pink hearts inside, only revealed upon cutting  the cake.  I thought about an interior of frosted hot pink. And then I settled on a pink cake itself. Well, a shades of pink cake. Five shades, in fact.
IMG_1696 Then people that were at the gender reveal starting raving about the cake flavor. The simple addition of almond extract can take vanilla white cake to the next level. Topped with a tiny stitches “baby banner”, this cake just made me smile. I think Maggie and Ryan felt the same. Congratulations to the family of 5-to be! “Baby Cutie” is going to be one lucky little girl.
IMG_1697
gender reveal cake

adapted from “The Perfect White Cake” to make 5 skinny tiers
halve this recipe for a standard 2-layer cake

5 cups cake flour
2 cups milk, room temperature
12 large egg whites, room temperature
1 Tbsp almond extract
2 tsp vanilla extract
3½ cups sugar
2 Tbsp baking powder
2 tsp salt
3 sticks butter, softened
gel food coloring

Preheat oven to 350°F. Prep your cake pans. I only have 3 8″ rounds, so I had to bake these in succession. Cut out circles of parchment to line the bottom of each pan. Spray pan with baking spray (or alternatively, butter and flour).

Mix cake flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in bowl of a mixer. Cut butter into Tbsp and add 1 cube at a time on slow speed. Mix for 1-2 minutes.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, egg whites and extracts. Add all but ~½ cup of the milk mixture to the flour mixture. Mix at medium speed for 1-2 minutes. Add the remainder of the milk and mix for 1 minute.

At this point, separate the batter evenly between 5 mixing bowls. Mix in gel food coloring into each and stir until you’ve achieved the desired color. It’s best to start with a small amount and work your way up.

Pour batter into your prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick test comes out clean. For the skinny cake layers of this cake, 20-30 minutes. (For standard size cake layers, 25-30 minutes).

Allow cake to cool.

for the buttercream
more than enough for 5 skinny tears of cake*
cut the recipe in half (or even a third) for a standard sized cake

3 cups butter (6 sticks), softened
9-12 cups powdered sugar
3 tsp almond extract
3 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp salt
⅓-½ cup milk or cream

In a stand mixer, whip butter on high speed until very fluffy and almost white. Whipping the butter longer will produce a fluffier, lighter frosting that will need less powdered sugar. Add powdered sugar in 2-cup increments until 9 cups have been added. Mix on low, unless you’d like to be completely covered in it. Add in extracts and salt. Mix.

Adjust the consistency of the buttercream. Add in milk to soften for easier spreading and piping. Adjust with additional powdered sugar for a firmer texture.

*This will produce more frosting than necessary to frost and fill this cake. With a gender reveal cake, it’s (obviously) important that NO part of the cake be seen. It’s best to have too much frosting than to realize that you didn’t make enough.

assembly
dowel rods (2-3)

First, place a few strips of wax paper around the edges of the cake stand to catch any frosting messiness that is bound to happen while you’re assembling. Next, place the bottom tier on the stand.

Spread a layer of frosting over the bottom layer of cake. Top with layer 2 and repeat through the top layer. Before you frost over the top tier. Snip the ends of the dowel rods so they are even with the top of the cake. Insert the dowels about 1½ inches from the center of the cake. With a whopper of a cake like these, using dowels will help support the structure. You might be able to get away with not using them, but you really want the gender to be revealed when the happy couple cuts into the cake, not when the top tiers slide off onto the floor…
IMG_1292 At this point, frost the outside of the cake with a crumb coat of icing. Refrigerate until firm.
IMG_1294
Frost the outside of the cake with the final coat. Pipe dots around the top and bottom of the cake.

I also made a tiny little embroidered “baby” banner for the top of this cake. I used straws to secure the banner in place.

Easter basket ideas

If your kids are anything like mine, their grandparents spoil them rotten.  They are flooded with candy from every grandparent and great-grandparent for every holiday there is.  Let’s not even get me started on how many toys we have.
Easter baskets
So it may not come as a surprise that the Easter bunny is pretty light on the candy giving.  My children are hardly candy-deprived.  Both grandmas give them entire Easter baskets, besides the one from the bunny.  Not only that, they attend an annual candy hunt where they can rake in at least a dozen full-size candy bars per child, in addition to other things.  Meanwhile, poor mom and dad have to cope with the “can I open this?  please, please, puh-leeze!” and the subsequent sugar highs.  I end up stashing it up in a cupboard only to find it 6 months later.
DSC_0024DSC_0027
So in lieu of candy and gobs of toys, here’s what my kids are getting this year:

Books! You can never have enough books. There’s always something new to learn. Given Alex’s hockey obsession and Gabby’s current adoration of all things puppy, they’ll both be excited with these choices.
DSC_0034
Beach gear. Personalized towels and new swimsuits. Plus some sunglasses. Our family vacation is in the spring and this is just a reminder that winter is almost over! (Right? There seriously cannot be anymore snow…)
DSC_0032
PJs. For warmer weather which will have to eventually arrive.
DSC_0036
A few other things tailored to each kid. Gabby gets the mini cuddly pup and ice packs you see for Alex’s lunch box those are. Yes, this poor child has to live with my nerdiness.
DSC_0042
Chocolate.  I’m not a completely a heartless jerk. My kids do get candy in their baskets, but just very little. And what they do get is really really good. Like I might have ordered a sleeve of those bunnies just for myself. And that chocolate egg you see is filled with rocky road. I’m hoping the boy will want to share with his mama.
DSC_0045
As you can see, the Bunny knows to mostly avoid candy and toys.  Here are some other ideas that she wanted to you.  I promise that they’re not as lame as Santa, who stuffed stockings last year with new toothbrushes and toothpaste.

Easter basket ideas for low-candy, low-toy content

  • books – especially those that let your kids explore their favorite subjects
  • beach gear: towels, new swimsuits, sun hats, sand toys
  • gardening gear: tools like a trowel and gloves just their size to help you out this spring
  • child-sized kitchen tools: mixing bowl, whisk,
  • side walk chalk.  These are adorable.
  • bubbles
  • lunch boxes
  • ice packs in cool shapes
  • pajamas
  • new shoes or slippers
  • rain coat and boots for splashing in puddles
  • jump rope
  • bike helmet
  • mini stuffed animal or lovie.  Jellycat makes the softest, sweetest cuddly ones.
  • socks & undies. Your kids need ’em. Might as well get some cute ones at Easter.
  • hair bows & headbands
  • sports equipment, like a basketball, a jumprope or swimming goggles
  • Peep n peek eggs.  These are cute and not noisy.  And they have been loved but little babies and preschoolers alike.
  • small amounts of darn good chocolate
  • crayons and coloring books
  • Smencils – scented pencils
  • stickers
  • outdoor blanket – for the beach or the park.  You can just hose it off.
  • fun crafting supplies, like washi tape
  • baking supplies, like sprinkles and cupcake liners

the classics: chocolate chip cookies

It’s chocolate chip cookie week! King Arthur Flour sent me an e-mail saying it’s a National week to be celebrated. Who am I to argue?  In kicking off this national week of celebration, I’m also kicking off a series of posts that I’m calling “the classics”.  These are the recipes that your grandma uses. The ones you just don’t mess with. These are the basics of cooking and the ones we return to over and over. The cream of the crop. The tip of the top. These are everyday just the way they should stay – without alterations or invention. These are the recipes that you remember from your youth.
DSC_0032These are complete and utter chocolate chip cookie perfection. Isn’t that quite a bold statement?! But I promise that it’s true. There’s a reason chocolate chip cookies are an American classic. Cookies like these are childhood memories. They become entrenched. And I don’t understand why people diet and give up stuff this good. I’ll take the muffin top and my chocolate, thank you very much. I’ve made this recipe so many times that I don’t even think I’ve ever written it down. The slightest twinge of crisp on the outside with a soft, under baked center. Melty flecks of chocolate throughout. Just the right amount of vanilla. This is the cookie that you’ll find in my cookie jar more than any other.
DSC_0073
classic chocolate chip cookies

This one is my own creation, with influence from a few over the years, including Betty Crocker & Baked.

1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar
2 eggs
2 ½ cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1½ tsp vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet mini chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Cream together butter and sugars, on high speed until light and fluffy. Add in eggs and vanilla extract, just until incorporated. Mix in flour, soda, and salt.
Using a cookie scoop, place dough onto a Silpat or parchment paper on a cookie sheet.
Bake one (or two cookies) as a test run. If they spread too much, add a little more flour. The key to a perfect chocolate chip cookie (or really any cookie) is not to over bake. Once you see the top slightly brown, you take that cookie sheet right out of the oven. You want those little suckers to be perfection on the inside. Different ovens bake differently, especially with cookies. Heck, batch to batch can vary on time. But anyway in the neighborhood of 7-12 minutes is pretty typical.
DSC_0084

Hazan family awesome sauce

This recipe has been written and blogged about extensively. I don’t have anything particularly new to add to it. It’s perfect as is.



Marcella Hazan’s mother perfected this recipe and I’m not one to mess with perfection. This tomato sauce is lovely in its simplicity.  Just 3 ingredients, and you probably have all of them. You can easily double or triple it. And it can be frozen and thawed for meals yet to come.



Even my red-sauce hating husband is a convert. For you busy parents – make this on the weekend and rewarm it with some pasta for an ultra-fast meal.



Hazan family simple tomato sauce
1 28-oz can tomatoes: diced or whole*
5 Tbsp butter
1 sweet onion, skinned and halved
Coarse salt to taste

Combine tomatoes, butter and halved onion in a Dutch oven or large non-reactive pot.

Heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low and cook for ~45 minutes. Sauce should reduce somewhat.  Discard onion and add salt to taste. 

*San Marzanos are especially delicious, but certainly not required.

Note: This recipe can be successfully doubled or tripled. I typically will reduce the sauce for longer times – 1½ to 2 hours.

easy fudgy brownies

I have a confession to make. I kind of like boxed brownies. They’re fudgy on the inside with slightly crispy edges. They take almost no time to make and you can eat them warm from the oven.
IMG_1196 But I also hate relying on box for something so simple as a brownie. These are amazing little wonders. They’re also super quick to mix up and amazingly good. Like the box, but with far more flavor. Perfect crispy edges and fudgy centers. Oh me oh my.
IMG_1226
You can definitely use a single Dutch process cocoa for these guys, but I really encourage you to use a mix of half Dutch process and half black cocoa. Black cocoa has this amazingly dark chocolatey flavor that intensifies the chocolatey-goodness of whatever you’re making. I get mine from King Arthur, but it can be found on Amazon as well.
IMG_1200
fudgy brownies
adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe
for a 9×13 inch pan*

2 ½ sticks of butter
2 ½ cups sugar
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (Dutch-process)
1 cup black cocoa powder (it’s fine to substitute unsweetened cocoa powder for the black cocoa)
1 tsp coarse salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp espresso powder

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line your baking dish with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.

In a microwave-safe bowl, combine sugar, butter, cocoa powders, espresso powder, and salt. Microwave in 1 minute intervals, stirring between rounds, until the butter has melted. It will look gritty. Set aside for a few minutes until the batter is no longer hot. Mix in the eggs, stirring to incorporate fully. Add vanilla and flour. Stir until your arm feels as though it might fall off. Mel advises 40 times. Really though, I don’t know that it matters much, as long as the ingredients are fully mixed.

Bake for about 30 minutes, until a tester toothpick comes out clean.

*This can easily be cut in half for an 8×8 inch square baking dish. Just bake for less time: 20-25 minutes.
IMG_1197
brownie photo bomb!

skillet brownie

I’m about to post two brownie recipes – immediately following a post for hot cocoa.  So I have a little thing for chocolate, ok?
IMG_1238 Anyway, chocolate obsession aside, if you’re looking for a dessert recipe that’s great for a tiny gathering – no more than 4 people – look no further.  Warm, gooey brownie.  Cold ice cream.  Happy belly.

IMG_1217It’s also something you can mix up in advance and bake when you’re ready.  The only caution with these is not to overbake.  Also, this brownie is not very sweet.  It’s rather heavy in the chocolate department and begs for the ice cream to balance it out. Choice of ice cream is completely up to the lucky person waiting for the brownie. Alex goes for mint chocolate chip. Peppermint is perfect at Christmas time. Coffee for late nights. Vanilla bean is always perfection.IMG_1253 And if you don’t happen to have adorable little mini cast iron skillets – no worries.  These can be made in ramekins or muffin cups for the kiddos.  Just shorten the baking time accordingly.
IMG_1221IMG_0911

skillet brownie
adapted from Ina’s Make It Ahead
1 stick butter
5 oz dark chocolate (55-75% cocoa) disks or semisweet or dark chocolate chips (~⅔ cup chips)
2 large eggs
1½ tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp instant espresso powder (King Arthur brand sells a nice one)
½ cup sugar
¼ cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt

½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 Tbsp flour

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate and butter in 30 second increments. Stir well between each heating and warm only until just melted. Add sugar and espresso powder. Allow to cool until warm (not hot). Stir eggs and vanilla extract into chocolate mixture until completely incorporated. Fold in flour, baking powder and salt.

Mix ½ cup chocolate chips with a small amount of flour. (The flour will prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the brownie.) Stir them into the brownie batter.

Divide the batter among 4 small cast iron skillets (or ramekins).

Bake for 20-22 minutes. A toothpick tester will not come out clean. Serve warm with a scoop of your favorite ice cream. Jeni’s salty caramel pairs oh so well.

hot cocoa mix

This is the stuff to keep in your pantry all winter long.  Don’t just break it out for the kids.  It’s awesome mixed in with your morning coffee for a DIY mocha.

IMG_1069
IMG_0815 With just three ingredients, it’s simple and decadent. Using good cocoa will ensure that it has amazing flavor. King Arthur Brand is a favorite of mine.

hot cocoa mix
a la Martha Stewart

3 ½ cups sugar
2 ¼ cups cocoa powder (I love King Arthur Brand.)
1 Tbsp coarse kosher salt.

Mix it up. Or get a little help.
IMG_0822
Warm up a cup (or three) of milk. Microwaving is just fine.
IMG_0825
Add in 2 Tbsp mix for each cup of milk. Stir it well. Or use one of these little wonders.Unknown-3

Top it off with a homemade marshmallow or a dollop of whipped cream for an extra special mug.
IMG_0835

getting baby through gastroenteritis

I’m not a medical doctor and I don’t like the idea of obtaining your medical advice on a blog on the internet. That being said, I’ve gone through many rounds of gastroenteritis when my son was younger, 4 bouts of stomach virus with my daughter last year and just another this season, and I’ve gained a few helpful hints from our pediatricians. (I’m also a scientist, trained in biomedical research.)

Having a sick baby is awful. You feel so bad for the little one. When your baby has a stomach virus, aside from following doctor’s orders and lots of holding and rocking, it feels like there is little to be done about it.

Having gone through this so many times though, I’ve picked up on a number of great tips from our docs.  Stomach viruses during infancy can last for about 10 days! It’s miserable every time, but I hopefully these 10 tips can help shorten the misery, at least a bit.

If your baby is throwing up and has diarrhea:

1. If you have advice nurses at your pediatrician, it might be helpful to call in to see if you should take baby to the doctor. She’ll check to make sure your little one is adequately hydrated and that other factors are not at play. You’ll especially want to call the doctor if your baby has signs of dehydration like: sunken eyes, not producing tears when crying, and a decreased number of wet diapers.

2. For fluids, stick to the rules: smaller amounts, more frequently. If your baby can’t keep breast milk or formula down, wait a half an hour and try an electrolyte replacement solution, like Pedialyte or Gerber Replenish. (The unflavored version of Pedialyte is not exactly palatable. If you’re going for something without artificial flavorings and dyes, try the Replenish.) If your child normally takes a 6 oz bottle every three hours, try giving 1 oz every hour, gradually increasing to 2 oz, as your baby is able to keep fluid down. After baby is doing well keeping pedialyte down, you can gradually switch back to breast milk or formula.

3. If you formula feed, temporarily switch to soy formula. The enzyme that breaks down lactose is stripped away from the intestines during an extended bought with diarrhea. Soy formula will be easier for baby to digest than milk-based formula during this time. After the gastroenteritis has run its course, switch back to regular formula. If you’re nursing, continue to nurse.

Unknown-2

4. If baby is eating solids, try rice cereal. It’s constipating. You can even add a bit of it to bottles as a thickener. Nuff said.

images5. Try giving Fluorastor and a probiotic blend. Fluorastor is a yeast probiotic. It can help to re-populate the intestines with the good bugs that have taken a hit during the infection. While there is a kid’s version available, the packet of the kids version is equivalent to a capsule of the adult Fluorastor. Mix the contents of 1 capsule or 1 packet with a bottle or solid food once per day. After baby gets over the infection, it might be a bit helpful to give a probiotic blend, to help repopulate some of the good bacteria. To ensure that you obtain a good product, it’s best to buy from a place that keeps their probiotics refrigerated. Additionally, try to buy a brand that has several different types of bacteria, with the greatest number of colony forming units (cfu) per serving. You can always use less than the recommended serving size. We’ve used Maxi Baby dophilus from Whole Foods. Probiotics are likely not going to have a dramatic impact, but they can be beneficial.

Unknown6. Sanitize pacifiers, bottles, etc. If you don’t own a bottle sanitizer, the Quick Clean Micro-Steam Sterilizing bags from Medela are a great, cheap way to use your microwave to sterilize these items. Each bag can be used up to 20 times.

Unknown-17. Try to plan out back-up childcare for the coming days if at all possible. These things seem to last for quite awhile, and most childcare facilities will not allow a baby with diarrhea to attend, as that baby is still contagious. (And as a parent, it is incredibly aggravating when your child comes down with one of these viruses as a result of another parent taking a sick kid to daycare. As a parent, I also know the agony of feeling like you shouldn’t continue to take off work mixed in with the desire to stay home with your sick child. Welcome to the guilt of working parenthood.) I know it’s difficult and it completely stinks to use up (all) of your sick days, especially after taking maternity leave, but it’s best for your child to be at home while contagious. If you’re lucky enough to have options for back up care, set this up as soon as possible.  Sometimes neighbors really are that generous with the time to stay home with your sick child.

8. It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway. Be diligent about washing hands. Also, wash soiled clothing, sheets, etc. in hot water.

9. With all of those diaper changes, avoid diaper rash by changing as quickly as possible. My favorite diaper rash cream is Ava Anderson Baby Diaper Cream.  It smells great and works quickly.  It must be ordered online, but it’s a nice product to have for general use.  Plus, it’s really quite versatile.  It also functions as a general healing balm (even for adults) or ultrathick lotion.  I may happen to have a tube in my own bathroom cabinet.  Another option that’s available in drugstores is Baby Aquaphor Healing Ointment. It works so quickly!

images-110. Vaccinate! On schedule! While vaccination is not going to help your child while he’s sick, you can prevent rotavirus (one of the common viral causes of gastroenteritis) simply by making sure you follow the recommended vaccination schedule. Besides, rotavirus can be dangerous to infants that aren’t old enough to receive the vaccine yet. The first rotavirus vaccine is given at 2 months of age.

Best of luck with your kiddo!