Friday, April 8, 2011

Beaufulah Giveaway

There a sweet bloggy friend of mine hosting a giveaway of any item from my Etsy shop this week. If you'd like a chance to win, hop over to Tales of a Kitchenwitch and leave a comment!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

One sweet potato

Today after we finished up our Saturday morning run to the Farmer's Market, I was unpacking our veggies when T spotted the sweet potatoes.
"I want that, mama!" She said. Of course she did- these days she's eating constantly.
So I easily peeled the largest one, sliced it into circles, and quickly cut out heart shapes in the middle. I saw this done somewhere with apples around Valentines day, but I think they used cookie cutters (and mine are currently being employed in the sandbox) so I free formed these with a sharp peeling knife.

 Sprinkle with salt, bake for 20minutes as you usually would with a sweet potato fry, and hurray! You've got one sweet potato.
 I'm imagining all the other great veggies we can enjoy this way; beets maybe? Tiny banana chips? Cucumbers, regular potatoes, a slice of raw tomato with another veggie filling the hole? What strange things do you use funny shapes on for your whirlychild?

Little boxlings

So you've no doubt heard of the cuteness that is seed bombs, but this is for those of us with a wee bit more patience and some recycling on our hands. I find that these are a bit more gratifying to receive but much less inconspicuous to plant. 

You will need: 
plant seeds- I chose carrot, bell pepper and wildflower seeds. 
a paper bag or newspaper or just old office paper for folding
Dirt, water& a sunny spot

I used a Trader Joe's paper bag because it was handy and because they say "recycle this bag!" 

The bag will compost eventually when you drop your little seedling off in the wild wild world, or when you carefully transplant it into your garden space. 

Step one: make a box. You will need a square of paper about 4.5x4.5inches.
It doesn't need to be perfect because you're just filling it with dirt :)

Fold your square in half each way, then unfold and fold in half the other way.

Repeat this diagonally. It will look like this:

Then, Fold the corners in to the center so they touch, unfold.

Fold the tips of the corners in this way:

and now fold each edge into itself and across diagonally:

unfold again, and then repeat all the way around of course. 
Next, unfold completely, find a corner, point it away from you, and label it with what seeds you will be planting, like this:
(be as fancy as you like!)

Now fold two corners in towards the center,

Fold up their edges, 

and then fold the ends up to close!

Finish the other side
(yay! a box!)
fill with dirt,sprinkle seeds in, water gently and set in a nice sunny spot until you're ready to drop it off somewhere lovely for nature to plant...and repeat!

These would make sweet gifts for your small friends, neighbors, or left in a pretty line at the park

Nature Space

Around the time of the winter solstice this year, I began a small nature space inside for T to enjoy. It was very small at first, a few pebbles, a leaf. Now that spring has slipped around to our part of the world, we are outside more and therefore when we are inside, we tend to bring the outdoors with us.

Besides the nearly constant open doors that allow the outside and inside to merge, we have a beautiful little collection of touch-and-feel nature items where little berry can stop&touch, pat, smell, admire, be creative and even sometimes, sing.

I was hesitant at first because I assumed it would be pretty messy, but I've enjoyed it. It tend to calm her down when she's acting wired or anxious and has her looking at her world closet when we're out and about, thinking about things that she can bring to the little space. 

I also love that it tends to present an opportunity to learn about seasons, animals, plants, insects and weather all at once. We're also not a religious family so our table conversation is always science-based, but nature is a very important part of our life and lifestyle.

Does your family do a nature table? What items generally find their way inside in your little one's scrunched up fist or pockets?

Easy Peasy Marbling for kids

One of my favorite things to do with T is get creative. From day-to-day this takes on different meanings, but today it was a simple water and coconut oil marbling craft.
I've done this before with baby oil but I don't own that anymore so coconut oil is what I used. You will need:
Paint (we used watercolors, which were very light and food coloring which gave darker colors but less variations)

*Oil (again, we used coconut oil which I melted to a liquid)
*a pan you don't mind getting oily (filled a third full of cool water)
*Paper scraps or pretty paper for making cards and tags
*a place to put your finished papers on to dry
*and of course, an energetic and joyful toddler.

To make pretty paper like ours, fill your pan a third full of cool water. Add a few drops of your oil and allow it to spread out and ball up across the water.

Then add about a teaspoon of different paints and shake the pan slightly so the oil separates and begins to roll through the paint across the pan.

Next, dip a piece of paper in the mixture and let it settle beneath the oil so the paint sticks around the spaces where the oil didn't hit, like this:

Then, lift, allow to drip a little, and place on a plate to dry.

VĂ³ila! You've made marbled paper.

Enjoy, and please make sure your whirlychild is wearing art project friendly clothes :)

Adding long sleeves to a short-sleeves shirt

It’s beautiful weather in these parts. Saturday dawned clear and beautiful, we had expected rain and the skies were clear, which made me oh so happy. T has all these precious onesies that she hasn’t outgrown yet, but that have no sleeves. Unfortunately, the weather is really too cool for her to be wearing short sleeve onesies, and putting a sweater on her to go to the car is a pain. Especially when it’s cool enough to wear a long-sleeve shirt and a hat but too warm for a sweater. So, my partner has been bugging me to go buy some onesies for her that have sleeves, just so we can put her in jeans and a onesie again, or snuggly leggings and a onesie- but: I’m too cheap way too creative for that, so I dug out the sewing machine and put sleeves on her Eensie. Teensie. Onesies.
It was really much much easier than I expected, although I really haven’t finished them all yet since our professors are in that phase where they assign six papers a week and 800 pages of reading per class period, so we’re struggling to keep our assignment level caught up enough that we can actually use the dinner table for, dinner

Here’s how to put sleeves on a onesie, or other shirt. The sizes I added them to are 3-6 months, and although I don’t have measurements for other sizes, all you need to do is:
Measure the length of you child’s arm from where their current sleeve ends to their wrist. I used short sleeve onesies, and for 3-6 months, this length was 6 ½ inches long,and don't forget I used the seam at the bottom for the cuff and 5 1/2 inches wide .

The fabric I chose was some of my old (maternity) tee shirts in plain colors that I knew would correspond with her pant selection so that there wouldn’t be too much ‘funkyness’ in her closet. I've tried it with several fabrics, and old tee shirts are by far the softest (and already cuffed!) but you could use anything.

Next, pin your sleeve together, wrong side out, like I did, and sew along the top. This will be the bottom of the sleeve once you’re done. I sewed my sleeves twice, just because T LOVES to chew on them. And I didn’t want to have to regret putting them on there later. Once you’ve made a sleeve, turn it right side out, and then comes the hard part. I’m not a big pin user, but. These onesies are tiny, and if you don’t pin these sleeves to the onesie, then the chances are that you will mess up you’re going to get really frustrated.

Yes, my camera stinks, and the flash is totally killing this photo. But. What you need to do is make sure that the seam of your sleeve is lined up with the seam of the smaller sleeve: both are on the bottom. You are going to pin, pin, pin like crazy because these guys ares so very small. 

I always sew from the outside, and I either chose a thread that matches the onesie, or that contrasts with cuteness. I've done one black onesie with black sleeves and black thread and it was SO easy& didn't show at all. On all the others, I've used white thread and very tiny stitches so it will hold well, and it has worked great.

This way, I can follow the seam that's already on the onesie sleeve: because I want it to look layered. If you want to make the sleeve look like a continuation, that's a whole different post; one I will do later :)
And then, you sew. I sew from the outside of the onesie to make sure I am following the pre-existing seam. You can sew from the inside if you want. The nice thing about these onesies is that theY are forgiving! I've made a few mistakes, but in general, they just look all the cuter for it. 

Have fun!!

Tofu Schmofu

Tofu schmofu

*Edited: due to technical problems between Blogger and my cell phone I am updating this post with its full-text. Sorry!
I have finally begun cooking with Tofu. I've only been living with a vegetarian for three years now so it's not like I am late to the game. 

Anyway, there is a delicious Asian tofu at whole foods that he and I both love and I wanted to make something like it. I came up with the following recipe, which hits the spot so well that I don't have any photos of it finished!
For best results: 
press your tofu first: to press the water out of the tofu, drain it from the package, place on a plate, place a second plate on top of the tofu, place a can of beans (or other heavy can) on top of the second plate. Press it for 1 - 2 hours, or overnight in the refrigerator.
 Drain the water and proceed with recipe.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees, cube your block of tofu into small bite-sized pieces. Lightly oil a baking sheet (olive oil works well)and place cubes of tofu onto this, place in oven for 30 minutes until tofu has lost much of its moisture (If you pressed the tofu first, you can reduce this to about 15 minutes).
While this is in the oven, add 1 Cup of Teriyaki sauce, 3-4 cloves of fresh garlic to a bowl. Remove tofu, let it cool and then place in Teryaki/ garlic mixture. Best if eaten immediately, optionally add 1/2 cup of fresh, thinly sliced carrots and sesame seeds, enjoy!