Monday, March 29, 2010

Feeding Troubles

Monkey is really not digging solid foods at all. We've tried avocado, rice cereal, carrots, and apples and she hasn't liked any of them. She seems interested in food, but she doesn't want it in her mouth (which is weird to me, seeing as how she puts EVERYTHING in her mouth these days).

I'm not sure where to go from here. Do I assume she's just not ready and give up for a week or two? Do I try feeding her more frequently during the day? Do I just keep trying new foods and hope that we eventually find one she likes?

Your thoughts?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

As I've  mentioned before, one of my goals for this year was to try a new recipe every week. I was in a cooking rut and tired of eating the same few dishes over and over again, so this seemed like a good idea. I'm really enjoying this so far!


This week's new recipe was Buffalo Chicken Pizza. I made this up as I went along since every recipe I found for it contained onions (blech!).

I used this pizza crust recipe* and this sauce recipe (both "new recipe of the week" at some point this year).

How-to:

Cut up about 3/4 lb of chicken into small pieces. Cook over medium-high heat in a little olive oil until cooked through.

Meanwhile, melt 1/4 cup butter over medium-low heat. One melted, added a shake or two of garlic powder and black pepper and a 1/4 cup hot sauce. Stir until well blended. Add cooked chicken and toss to coat.

Spread/roll/toss your pizza dough onto your pan. Sprinkle the dough with hot sauce and spread it out with a spoon (I probably used about 1 tsp, but you could use more or less depending on how spicy you want it to be). Now spread your pizza sauce over the crust.

Top with chicken and any extra wing sauce in the saucepan. I also added chopped pineapple to ours, but my husband also thought it would be good without the pineapple and served with ranch dipping sauce. Top with cheese and bake at 425 degrees for about 25-30 minutes.

It was really, really good! I'll definitely be making this again.

*Note: the pizza crust recipe makes 2 large pizzas - we just put basic toppings on the other one.

My First Swim Diaper!

I've been wanting to try my hand at diaper sewing for awhile now. I'm not sure what took me so long...it only took about an hour and a half, including drawing my pattern and sewing it! It's far from perfect, as I knew it would be. But I made it entirely from materials I had on hand so I wouldn't feel bad when it didn't turn out pretty.

I used instructions for drafting my pattern found here. And roughly went by the diaper sewing instructions here. Since I was making a swim diaper I only used 2 layers of fabric and didn't use a soaker/insert.

I used an old poncho for my outer, waterproof fabric and fleece for my inner fabric. Next time I will use mesh on the inside, but I didn't want to waste it on a practice run. The poncho material worked surprisingly well, although I'm not sure that it would be sturdy enough to use with snaps. I also used 1/4 inch elastic and 3/4 inch velcro.

Blue outer layer, red inner layer

Taken right before turning right side out: 1/4 in elastic sew into the seam allowance

Taken after turning: top-stitching around the edges

Despite the cosmetic flaws, it fit her pretty well.


Check out that belly!


Things I want to do differently on the next one:
  • Use mesh as my inner fabric so it will dry quicker. I would also like to try other, more lightweight materials (I'm curious how an old t-shirt would work).
  • Make my tabs square and put velcro all the way to the end of the tab.
  • Make my top-stitching closer to the edge on places where there is no elastic.
  • Use a bigger seam allowance (I used 1/4 in) so that my open edges (from turning) will get caught in the top-stitching and will look nicer.
I hoping to have time to try a second one tonight. I'm excited to see how making these changes will play out. I think I found my new addiction...

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Happy Spring!

Today was the first day of spring. It was 70 and sunny, and one of the best days I've had in a long time.

My parents and sister came up to spend the day with us. While my dad and husband worked on our basement (his new "mancave"), my mom, sister, and I took Monkey on her first trip to the park.

We played in the grass.



We watched the ducks.


And we let Monkey swing on the swings for the first time.





She had a blast! My parents are getting her a swing for Easter and I can't wait. She's going to love it!

I'm so glad that spring is finally here. I'm looking forward to spending more time playing outside with my girl :)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Handmade Birthday Present

My niece turned 2 last week. For her birthday, I made her a girly twirly skirt and a matching kitty applique shirt and purse.


She LOVES cats (aka "meow meows"), so when I saw the kitty shirt tutorial on Deanna's blog awhile back, I knew I had to make one for her. If I had it to do over again, I would have made the mouth a little bigger and with a darker embroidery thread, so that it would show up better from a distance. Here's a close up:


I followed Deanna's skirt pattern exactly, using the measurements she had listed for her 2 year old daughter. It turned out to be a little too big right now, but it should fit her really well this summer. I also used Deanna's rick rack hem tutorial for the bottom of the skirt.

For the purse, I loosely followed this tutorial. Some changes I made:
  • I didn't use interfacing, since I didn't have any. It turned out fine without it.
  • I didn't use ribbon for decoration or the strap. 
  • For the strap, I cut 20 in x 3 in strip of fabric. I folded it lengthwise with the right sides facing and sewed along the long edge. Then I used a safety pin to turn it right side out and ironed it flat.

By the way, are you wondering what a 2 year old puts in her purse? Sippy cups and pacis :)

First Attempt at Solids

We gave Monkey her first taste of solid food this weekend - avocado. The pictures speak for themselves.

The "before" picture

"Eww, Daddy!"

Second try.

Look at that face!

By the second day, she wouldn't even put a clean spoon near her mouth. Instead of torturing her, we decided to quit avocado for now and revisit it some other time.

Last night I gave her rice cereal. It was really easy to make. Simply put about a cup of rice at a time in your blender (note: I first tried to put the entire bag into my food processor and it didn't work) and blend until you have a fine powder. I went ahead and did the whole bag and stored it in a container for later use.

To cook it, boil 1 cup of water in a small pot. Mix in 1/4 cup rice powder with a whisk. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Once it was done cooking, I thinned it with breast milk. I used about 2.5 oz, but it was really runny. You can store it in the refrigerator for 72 hours so that you don't have to cook it every day. The original recipe/information is here.

Monkey wasn't crazy about the rice cereal either, but she did tolerate it better than avocado.



I'm not sure what's going through her mind in this picture...

Next week we'll start getting into the fun stuff like peas and carrots. I hope those go over better!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Make Your Own Moby Wrap Tutorial

I love babywearing. Love, love, LOVE.

I borrowed my sister-in-law's Baby Bjorn and used it for the first time when Monkey was 3 weeks old. She was asleep within seconds. Sleep. Something she hadn't done without great effort on my part since she was born. That's when I fell in love with babywearing and we've used a carrier every day since then.

But by the time she hit about 12 pounds, the Baby Bjorn was killing my back. I loved the idea of the Moby Wrap, but I hesitated to spend $40 on a piece of fabric that I wasn't sure I'd even like. So I decided to make my own. It's simple and much cheaper than buying one...you can get TWO wraps for about $20 (or less)!

*Note: this is my first attempt at a tutorial, so if anything doesn't make sense, please feel free to ask questions.

Here's what you need:
5-6 yards of cotton gauze (I'm short and can get away with 5 yards. The one I'm making in this tutorial is for a taller friend, so I bought 6 yards just in case. JoAnns sells this for $5.99 a yard. If you get on their email or mailing list, they send out a lot of coupons and you can get it for 40-50% off!)
Scissors
Thread
Sewing Machine or serger



How to do it:
First, wash your fabric (I always pre-wash). Then, fold material in half lengthwise.



Cut along the fold so that you have 2 pieces of fabric, each roughly 20 inches x 6 yards (or however long you chose to make yours). You could use a quilting ruler and rotary cutter here, but it doesn't need to be perfect. Cotton gauze is a "wrinkly" fabric and once it's finished, imperfections really won't show. And they definitely won't show once you're wearing it.



Trim off the rough edges.



Now it's time to sew the edges to minimize fraying. I don't have a serger, so I used a simple zig-zag stitch around all four sides of one piece of fabric. I think that serging would probably look nicer, so if you have one, go for it. Repeat with the other piece.




You're done! You can find the instructions for how to wrap it here. Keep the second one handy for when your baby spits up on the first or give it to a friend. If you're making this as a gift, don't forget to print out the instructions or give them the link.

 Please ignore my dirty bathroom mirror. Monkey's new favorite game is to rub her slobbery hands on it :)

Happy Babywearing!

Starting Solids

We have decided that Monkey is ready for solid foods! The past couple of weeks she's been waking up during the night to nurse (something she stopped doing around 6 weeks old) and she's been showing a lot of interest in our food. Sometime in the past few days she's also lost the tongue-thrust reflex, so I'm pretty sure she's ready now.

I'm a little scared and excited all at once! We're going to install our diaper sprayer this weekend and give Monkey her first taste of food Saturday night.

I'm going to cook all of her food. It will save us a lot of money and I like knowing exactly what's going into my kid's body. I've been doing a lot of research to get ready for this, mostly from these sources:
Top 100 Baby Purees by Annabel Karmel
http://www.wholesomebabyfood.com/index.htm
http://www.feedinglittlefoodies.com/

There's a lot to consider, like making sure they get enough iron (their iron stores are pretty much run out by 6 months), avoiding high allergy risk foods, avoiding salt (a baby's kidneys are too immature to handle it), and pairing foods containing fat-soluble vitamins (A,D,E,K) with a little fat to get the maximum vitamin absorption. There are different ideas on the best way to present food to your baby (pureed vs small chunks), how long to wait between introducing a new food (anywhere from 3 to 7 days), and what food to introduce first. It can be a little overwhelming!

I've decided to just do what feels right. All babies are different and I want this to be a pleasant experience for us. So we're starting with avocado and following her cues from there. I can't wait to see what she thinks of it!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Fluff the Bum Event!

The Eco-Chic Mom is having a "Fluff the Bum Event" during the month of April! She has participating giveaway sponsors listed on the top right sidebar on her blog. It looks like a really great event. For more information, go here or click on the event button in my sidebar.

I Love...

I love the way you smile at me in the morning.



I love how you sign "milk" to me when you're hungry. The hungrier you are, the faster you sign :)


I love how excited you get when you see a monkey.



I love your sweet little laugh. I can't help but laugh right along with you.


I love seeing you play with your Daddy. 



I love watching you learn new things, like rolling over, sitting up, and (panic!) trying to crawl.


I love seeing you wiggle and grin with excitement when it's time for your bath at night.



I love nursing you before bedtime. You smell so yummy from your bath and when you're done you love to cuddle against my chest and rock. Some nights I have a hard time putting you down.


I love watching you sleep in your "papoose." I'm so proud of you for learning to sign it already. You're such a smart girl!



Most of all, I love being your mama. You bring me more joy than you'll ever know.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Learning to sit up


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Pumpkin Muffins

One of my New Year's Resolutions was to try out a new recipe every week. This has been the longest I've kept to a resolution yet...and it's a lot more fun than, say, a resolution to lose weight.

Last night, we had breakfast for dinner (yum!), so I tried a new recipe for pumpkin muffins. I tweaked it a bit, but you can find the original recipe here.

Addictive Pumpkin Muffins (revised, again 2/26/12)

3/4 cup raisins
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 & 1/3 cups and 1 tablespoon whole wheat flour
1/2 cups white sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3 eggs
1/2 (29 ounce) can pumpkin
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 C). Grease 18 muffin cups. Soak raisins in hot water for ten minutes to plump, then drain.

In a large bowl, combine flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, and ground cloves. In a separate bowl, mix the eggs, pumpkin, and applesauce, until smooth. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients and stir thoroughly to make a smooth batter. Stir the raisins and walnuts into the batter. Spoon batter into the prepared muffin cups.

Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Be sure not to bake too long. The first pan I made cooked about 5 minutes too long (35 minutes total) and they were not as good as the second pan. I had these leftover for breakfast this morning and they were still very good. I even froze a few to see how they taste thawed and reheated. I'll let you know how that turns out.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Upcycled Valentine's Day Dress

Last spring, I found these adorable red Valentine's Day tights on clearance at Old Navy for less than a dollar. I had just found out we were having a girl, so of course I had to buy them! Fast forward to Valentine's Day this year and my daughter had tights and a hat, but no dress. I hated to spend money on something she would wear only once, so I decided to give upcycling a try. There are several blogs out there with wonderful tutorials and ideas about using old clothes to make new ones, so this was certainly not an original idea.



I used one of her dresses as a pattern and one of my old shirts as material. I saved a lot of time by using the shirt's hemlines as the bottom of the dress and sleeves. I cut a heart out of red fleece I had on hand and stitched it onto the front of the dress. It's certainly not perfect...I had a lot of trouble with the sleeves and the neckline was a little off, but overall I was very pleased with how it turned out. And it doesn't hurt that she looks adorable wearing it!

Getting Started!

Hi! I'm Kayla, wife to an amazing husband and mother to a sweet 5 month old girl. I've wanted to start blogging since my daughter was born and I'm finally getting around to it! I plan to write about my crafty projects, cooking, saving money, cloth diapering, and my day-to-day life. Thanks for stopping by!