Sunday, March 25, 2012

Homemade Teething Biscuits

With three kids 4 and under mealtimes sometimes get a little hectic, especially when I'm not prepared, which happens more than I'd like to admit. Someone often ends up waiting and not always patiently - can't blame em. Today I happened to have it very much together. Probably because we were all home all day. We had no play dates, no errands, no maintaining rental properties, etc. The hubby worked a few hours from home, but it was a pretty laid back day and feeding the fam was a breeze.

While everyone was eating happily I got thinking about those days when mealtime doesn't go as smoothly. I thought that it might help to have something Buddha could snack on if she was the one who had to wait. She's had Plum Organics Super Puffs, but she can't quite pick them up on her own so I still have to feed them to her and they're pricey. She's 7 months and has suddenly developed a healthy appetite and a strong desire to chew on ANYTHING (brother's foot included), so I thought maybe some teething biscuits might do the trick. Being that she is our third child and we've made all of their baby food you would think that I would have made teething biscuits before - nope, never even thought to try. So today I hopped on Pinterest to find a good recipe. I found a few that sounded promising and ended up choosing a recipe from Momtastic's Wholesome baby food. I tweaked the original recipe, Nutritious Teething Biscuits from Vicki Lansky's "Feed Me I'm Yours, because of the ingredients I had on hand and personal preference. Here's my version:

Homemade Teething Biscuits*
1 beaten egg yolk
1 tbsp maple syrup (optional)
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tbsp canola oil
1/4 cup (2 oz) breastmilk
1 tbsp uncooked oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tbsp flax meal
1/2 tsp cinnamon (can substitute other spices)

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a medium bowl mix wet ingredients. Mix dry ingredients in separate bowl and then add to wet. I started mixing the dough with a spoon, but to get it thoroughly blended I ditched the spoon and used my hands. The dough was pretty firm. On wax paper I rolled out the dough to about 1/4 inch. Then I used a mason jar lid to cut out circle shapes and the lid to the maple syrup to cut an inner circle making an O shape. I thought that shape would be easier for Buddha to hold than a traditional rectangle.

Bake for 15 - 20 minutes. I left mine in for about 17 minutes and they were perfect, but I'd check them at 15.

There you have it. It was quick, easy, inexpensive and she LOVED them. I froze about half of them and figure that might feel good on her gums at some point.

*Pieces of biscuits can break off and become a choking hazard so ALWAYS supervise baby while she's eating. After some gumming biscuits will soften and break apart easier.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

March Madness Pom-Pom headband tutorial

I realize I've been MIA for a while and I'll update y'all on that in a bit. For now, I hope you enjoy this tutorial saluting the greatness that is March Madness.

I don't know about you, but the fever is spreading at our house and the culprit is March Madness! We recently had the opportunity to go to the Big South championship game at the new Kimmel Arena in Asheville, NC. UNC Asheville, our alma mater, would take on VMI. I knew that all the kids needed to get in on the action. Lou had his UNCA shirt that Grammy gave him. I sewed E a shirt in Bulldog blue out of one of my t-shirts. The hubby was out of town and I made it the morning of the game so upon close examination it is rough to say the least, but he loved it and it fit just fine.

I had to decide what to make for Buddha. I knew that I'd be wearing her in her Ergo so her outfit wouldn't be seen. I narrowed it down to a headband or a hat. I chose to make it out of old t-shirts for the upcycling factor, the ease of jersey knit, and it reminded me of pom poms. I had both white and blue t-shirts in my upcycle pile so I grabbed em and got to work.

To minimize sewing I chose to make a headband. I only needed the sleeves of the t-shirts so I have lots left over to show our team spirit in the future. Because Buddha is only 7 months I had to cut off a little of the length of the sleeve. Depending on the size of the shirt and the size of your kiddo's noggin you may be able to get away with leaving the length in tact and then not have to sew a new seam. I made my headband about 2 inches wide. I used a well-fitting headband to determine the length of my band, however, it had a bit more stretch than my t-shirt so I added a little to my band. I ended up cutting off about 2 inches to make it short enough to fit snugly.

I then cut several strips from both the blue and white t-shirt sleeves. I placed a strip across the band to determine how long to make each of the small strips for the pom pom. I decided to make them 4 inches long. I got 4 strips from each of the long white strips (2 from the front of the sleeve and 2 from the back). The blue shirt was slightly smaller so I only got 3 strips out of each long strip.

Since the white strips stand out more than the blue I decided to do the entire first layer in blue. I lined up the strips so that they overlapped slightly until they made a circle.

For the second layer I alternated white and blue strips until I again had a complete circle.

I was happy with the results, but knew it needed some embellishment in the middle where I would attach it to the band. A bulldog would be cute, but since I don't keep those in my stash I chose a button instead.

I turned the right sides of the band together and then sewed the ends together. I attached it to the band through the button.

And here it is in action - or inaction, I guess. You can use any team colors to show your school spirit. I LOVE how it turned out. What do you think? How do you get your kids cheering for your favorite team? (Please ignore the date on some of these photos. I am borrowing a camera and couldn't figure out how to turn off the date stamp and it kept resetting so I finally gave up. I have since figured it out and turned it off.)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Bird Bath Turned Nature Table

The previous owners of our home left a bird bath behind. It is very pretty, but it has been hanging out by the garage since we moved in more than two years ago. I always hoped we'd find a good use for it and then a few weeks ago I decided to paint the little bird perched on the edge. The screw holding the bird on was badly rusted and would have been difficult to remove so I slid some painters tape under and around the bird to protect the rest of the bird bath and went to town with some cheery yellow spray paint I had on hand. I still wasn't sure what purpose this bath would serve, but with the bird painted yellow I perched it by the front door where it would sit for two weeks begging to be useful.

Then one day last week we came back from a walk in the woods with buckets full of cool rocks, pine cones and other fabulous nature treasures. We placed our finds on the ground where we sorted, compared and marveled at the gems nature provides us. When we finished we set the items on the porch where they sat until what hadn't blown away was squished and broken and was returned to the woods in our back yard. That's when it dawned on me that the bird bath would make a perfect nature table. It sits right by the front door so it is a great drop off point for our goods before we enter the house and we can easily enjoy and change our nature table anytime. Miri at Here We Are Together has a great post about nature tables here.

With our nature table in mind we set off on another hike. This time we had some friends in tow. I gave them the mission to hunt for moss, which gave us a great opportunity to discuss the type of environment moss prefers and how it's absorbent quality made it a great choice for diapers for Native Americans. We had a great time gathering our goods and then headed home to sort it all out.

I love how orderly Lou is. He loves to line things up.

The kids were really excited to lay out their finds and show each other what they picked. We lined the table with moss and then the kids added items and organized and reorganized until they were happy with the layout. Our neighbor, Moie, particularly enjoyed reorganizing the table until it was just right.

It was a really fun afternoon and a nice segue into spring. We've been watering the moss and I'd love to think that it will live on indefinitely on our table, but our front porch gets direct sun all day long and it will probably take it's toll. But we'll enjoy it while it lasts and when it starts to wilt we'll take the opportunity to talk about why the moss didn't thrive and maybe look around the yard for a spot that might be a bit more moss-friendly.

Not sure what's up with the date on this photo.

I know that nature tables are usually inside as a way of bringing the outside in and staying connected to the natural world, but with a precocious 2-year-old it would just turn into a lot of extra cleaning and would lose the calming aspect. Maybe by the time we're changing our table for fall we'll give it a try inside - maybe.