Apr 27, 2011

Getting Your Kids to Eat-A real mommy momment.

Probably every mom has encountered this challenge at some time-getting your kids to eat what is on their plate.  I know there are a bazillion theories and ideas out there (thank you but I don't need any lectures on how yours is better than mine).  And I don't believe for a moment that kids eating or not eating is a reflection on how good of a parent you are.  Kids are people too and have their own ideas and opinions.  I know Small Fry ate pretty much everything as a baby and as a toddler but as soon as she figured out she had a say then things changed.  She still eats pretty good but she definitely has her likes and dislikes and is pretty adamant in her refusals to try some things.  So then the question arises-how on earth are you supposed to get a child like her to eat what you have cooked for a meal?  Do you become a short order cook and make a separate meal for each child?  Do you only cook "kid" food for every meal?  Do you buy a Happy Meal for every meal?  What to do???? I am no expert by any means.  If it was up to my kids we'd have Mac and Cheese and chicken nuggets for every meal (which we don't!!).  I have found two principles that work in our house.
#1. If you call a food something that your kids like, know or will eat and it looks, smells or tastes similar to that name they are more likely to eat it.  For example I make baked oatmeal for breakfast.  It is crunchy as opposed to goopy like regular oatmeal.  I tell Small Fry we are having oatmeal cookie for breakfast and she could do back flips she is so excited.  She knows it is not a cookie, she knows what I am talking about but when I say we are having just oatmeal I don't get nearly the reaction.  Simple.  She doesn't like ham-well she thinks she doesn't like ham.  If I ask her if she wants some lunch meat ham she will say no.  If I ask her if she would like some lunch meat turkey (and actually give her ham) she will say yes and gobble it all up.  She likes turkey but not ham.  If I tell her she is eating ham (like call it that by mistake) she will correct me and say, "No this is turkey."  She loves spaghetti and lasagna.  If we are having spaghetti I call it just that and she is thrilled.  If we are having any other type of noodle with a tomato sauce and meat I call it lasagna and she is thrilled.  No other fancy names needed.
#2. The principle of leverage (some may call this bribing-I don't think they are the same thing and again spare me the lecture if you feel one coming on). When I am serving a meal that includes something that I know my kids may not try of their own free will and choice or that they may not eat because they like something else on their plate better (for example not want to eat the potato but want to eat all the meat) I also serve something that I know they will love (like a bowl of strawberries or an apple, or bread and jam or just bread, crackers, cheese etc etc-not candy or pop or juice or dessert items during dinner).  I then use the item I know they will love as leverage to get them to eat what I want them to eat.  "I need you to eat two bites of potato and then you can have a strawberry."  Then I only give one strawberry.  2 more bites are required before they can have another one. Or Small Fry will ask for a strawberry and I will say, "When you eat two bites of sandwich then you can have some."  "When you have eaten a bite of rice you can have a piece of bread."  Sometimes I say "Only the kids who have eaten up all their peas get to have crackers."  I tell you people it works almost every time.  And we don't always have dessert but if I know Small Fry is just messing around I will tell her, "everyone that has tried 4 more bites of stew will get to have a cookie for dessert." (That one I pull out only once or twice a week as needed.)  I don't consider it bribing-I consider it smart parenting.  And I never force my kids to clean off their plate or try things they just are refusing to do.  We had an incident of vomit all over our table over one green bean (which by the way Small Fry ate by the fist fulls just weeks previous) and I decided it was not worth the power trip as a parent.  I like to look at my kids as people too.  If someone did that to me I would be furious.  I feel my energy is better used else where.  These two principles however do make meal time run that much smoother. 
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Apr 26, 2011

Birthday Review

Small Fry's birthday went perfectly.  The weather was perfect, the company was perfect and actually she was too (no fussing or screaming-MIRACULOUS!!!)  Here are the highlights.

A tutorial for my doughnut pops will be coming....sometime....
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Apr 25, 2011

Make Ahead Monday-Spaghetti Sauce Courtesy of Pioneer Woman.

I hope you are not getting tired of simple Makeahead ideas-it's just all I've got right now.
This recipe is from Pioneer Woman.  It is my favorite spaghetti sauce right now because it is super meaty.  I make a huge batch and then freeze it in smaller portions for future uses.  The only thing I do differently is double the amount of tomatoes.  I know her whole point is to have it meatier than tomatoier (a new word I just made up) but it is still plenty meaty even with the extra tomatoes.  My mouth is watering as I type.

Here is the before:
And this is after it has simmered for a while (I don't always simmer as long as she recommends either-mostly because I never have that much time).
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Apr 21, 2011

Fabric Flower Ideas

 There are so many fabric flower ideas out there right now-who needs any more to choose from?  Well-you guys do!!! So I am giving you a few more options.  These are for flowers that you would sew to a dress, shirt, hat, skirt etc (apron).
First up:
 To make these cut 3 pairs of circles in descending sizes.  The size doesn't actually matter-you can make them as big or little as you like.
 Place all pieces so that they are right sides up, stacked on top of each other (see picture).
 Begin with the largest circles.  Decide where you want them.  Place them one right on top of the other.
 Pin it in place and then sew around the circle about a 1/2" in from the edge.
 Like this.
 Continue with the remaining circle sets.  After they are all sewn, clip the edges of each circle up to the stitching.  Once washed these will be frayed but that is okay by me.  How about you?
 Add a button for the center and you are done.

For this flower begin with a squarish piece of fabric.
Fold it into fourths.
Cut out your desired shape (mine was a scalloped flower).
Open and then repeat with a small square and thus smaller flower. 
Continue layering your flower pieces.  Stitch them layer by layer to whatever you choose.  Add a rolled fabric flower to the center or a button and done!!
Happy flower making!!
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Apr 20, 2011

Ruffle T-Shirt Skirt

The original tutorial for this skirt comes from Make it and Love it.  This is my version of her idea.  Mine has an extra ruffly layer and I changed how I assembled my pieces.
1. Buy a t-shirt (size XL works great).
2. Cut one strip from the bottom about  6" wide.  This is going to form the waist band.  It is a yoga style waist band and folds in half so that is why it is 6" wide.  I use this piece as the waist band because I like the finished edge on it.  And because I am doing two layers on the skirt it looks better to have two layers without a finished bottom rather than one finished and one unfinished.
3. Lay out this strip and cut to your desired length.  This would be equal to the width of the girl you are making this for.  It is stretchy (though not all t-shirts are created equal so be aware), so you will want it slightly smaller than the waist of a pair of pants of whomever you are making this for.  Most of the t-shirts I have used are very stretchy and the waists have always been a bit on the big side so measure and then go a bit smaller is my suggestion.
4. Next cut your remaining strips of fabric to make the skirt.  These can be what ever length you want.  A longer one for the under layer and a shorter one for the top ruffle.
On this t-shirt by the time I cut the waist band and the first skirt layer I didn't have enough room on the t-shirt to cut another strip using the t-shirts side seams as my side seams.  This is not a problem though.
I just cut two strips from the middle part of the shirt...
And I sewed the sides together using my serger. 
Here is a handy hint to save thread while serging: instead of sewing off the edge and then cutting your thread, just bring up the other edge that you have to sew and continue sewing.  It will save you a little thread everytime.
Okay so now I have a second skirt piece.
5. Sew the waist band piece right sides together as well.
6. Next you are going to sew a basting stitch around the top edge of each of the skirt pieces.
7. Pull your threads to gather the skirt tops.
(this is my top layer)
8. Pin both layers together.  Here is another handy tint: If you use a shirt that is long enough for you to cut your waist band and both skirt layers so that they are all the same size, then you can put both skirt layers together first and sew them together.  Then sew your row of basting stitches and pull to gather the skirt pieces.
9. Next (this is important so watch closely) pin the waist band piece with the right side facing out and the wrong side facing the skirt.  The finished edge should be at the bottom and the cut edge is the one you are going to sew to the skirt pieces.  Adjust your skirt so that it is the same width as the waist band piece.
10.  Sew these together.  I am not going to lie: this is easiest with a serger, but if your machine has a stretch stitch you will want to use that (if using a regular sewing machine) otherwise your stitches will break as you try and get this on and off a wiggly body.
11.  Pull the waist band up (it should have the wrong side out now)...
and fold it over.  Pin in down where you will want it to stay.
12.  One more handy hint: use clear thread.  It is fantastic.  You use whatever color as your bobbin thread and then clear thread as your top thread (it can't be seen, you don't have to change it for every new thing you are sewing and it works slick for basting stitches and gathers).
My bobbin thread is white.
13. Now stitch around the bottom of the waist band.  I decided I liked this sewn down because it was always curling up and unfolding.  This will prevent that.  Use a stretch stitch when doing this part don't forget.
And there you have it.  A perfectly springy, soft, stretchy fun skirt.
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Apr 19, 2011

Bottle or Sippy Cup Leash

This is a take off on a Martha Stewart idea.  I have seen various versions of this kind of thing on blogs.  Here is the Small Fry version: Bottle Holder.  If you have child who is prone to throw things overboard then this is for you.
For this project you will need:
1 cord stop (see image below)
1 piece of fabric 3x26"
1 piece of cord 12" long
These are cord stops.  I found these at JoAnns
Start by cutting your strip of fabric.
 Press it, right sides together, with an iron and then sew across one end and down the length of the fabric (1/4" seam).
Clip off the corner on the sewn end and trim excess fabric off the length.
Now you will need to turn it.  To do this you will use a large safety pin.  Pin in through one side of the fabric on the sewn end (make sure the pin is not through both layers).
See the back side-no pin showing-that is what you want.
Now pull the pin up with one hand (obviously I can't take pictures and use both hands to do this but you will need to use both hands) and pull both sides of the fabric apart so that you can push the pin down in between them.
See like this, the pin is being sandwiched between the two layers.
Push the pin down, and bunch up the fabric with the other hand at the same time.  Then hold the pin in place and pull the fabric up so that the pin is completely hidden inside the tube.
Here is a picture after I have bunched...
Now I am holding the pin in place and pulling up the fabric. 
Now do it again.  Just repeat this process until...
the pin end comes out the opening.
Pull it all the way through.
Now I am not going to lie-this is tricky, but you will want to undo the pin inside the tube so you can get it off the fabric.  Turn the pin so that...
it is completely inside the tube (NOTE: if you made your piece any narrower than 3 inches this is going to be tougher).  Carefully slide the pin down the inside of the tube (yes it is open while doing this) until it falls out the bottom.
Now your are ready to continue.
Press this piece flat.
Tuck in 1/4" on the open end.
Fold in the sides to create a narrower piece (kind of like a pleat).
Take your piece of cord and fold it in half and tuck the ends in the open end of the tube piece.
Stitch over top of the whole piece, catching the cord and sewing the opening closed.  Slip the cord stop over the folded end of the cord.  I found using something to help push it through was very useful.
Topstitch along both sides of the tube.
On the opposite end of the strap fold over at least 4 inches.  Stitch in place to form a loop.
See here is a loop.
Now it is ready to use-slip the cord over top of a bottle, slide the cord stop until the cord is snug around the bottle.  Thread through the loop end of the strap to attach it to a seat buckle on a stroller or a carseat.
It works for lots of types of sippy cups too.
It even works for a regular water bottle.
No more drinks being tossed overboard.  1 small victory for the mom.
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