Saturday, April 30, 2011

Rhubarb Scones

When we moved in last year we discovered a few rhubarb plants in our backyard.  Last year I picked all the rhubarb, except one stalk on each plant, in one go and made strawberry-rhubarb ice cream and then did nothing with the rest and it went bad.  The plant withered away over the winter and I couldn't even tell where it went.

Then magically, it started growing this spring--and it grew fast. It got bigger and bigger and bigger and I didn't do a thing!  Definitely my kind of gardening.  However I did do a bit more research and came across an article saying to pick just a bit at a time and the rhubarb will continue to grow and you'll be supplied all summer long, so that is what I plan to try.  I made some more strawberry-rhubarb ice cream with the first batch I picked and decided to try making scones with the second batch.  I made these scones last year with wild red huckleberries and thought rhubarb might taste good too.

I chopped the rhubarb up into tiny pieces and then "dehydrated" it in the oven for 2 hours at 180 degrees.  This didn't completely dry it, but it did reduce the water content.  Then I made scones using this recipe and they are delicious.  I think the lemon zest is what makes them special.  I do prefer the huckleberries more than the rhubarb, maybe next time I won't cut the rhubarb  as tiny, or maybe I'll do huckleberries and rhubarb!  Mmmmm.  I might have to go and eat the rest right now.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Sewing Some Kids Play Pants

This is a review of the Willow Wayfarer Hipsters for Slimsters kids pants pattern.  I bought it a while ago off of Etsy and have now made 6 pairs of pants from it.  The smallest size in the pattern matches Selena's measurements exactly, and the pants fit her perfectly.  The pattern is made for woven fabrics, but so far I've only used it with knits.  I have even made Allie some pants from this pattern and by using a knit they fit her with a cloth diaper on.  I'm not a huge fan of the large hem (see middle gray/blue pants), but that is easily remedied.  The pants sew together fast.  Probably 30-45 minutes from cutting to finishing.  It is a pdf pattern that you have to print out and tape together, so a bit of work, but also semi-instant gratification.  The pattern is one piece and so simple, yet you can not believe how hard it is to get a pant's pattern that has the crotch curve just right and the waistline just so, believe me I've tried.  While the pants I've made haven't been heart meltingly cute, they have been highly functional.  Hopefully some day I will make a cute, fancy pair, with pockets and applique.

Also I highly recommend the creator's blog Indie Tutes, she's got lots of great stuff.  I also won a copy of her Spitfire Playdress in a giveaway and can't wait to sew it up, though Selena is begging for a ballet leotard first.

From left to right: 
  • Old cotton/lycra yoga pants of mine recycled for Selena.  I wore them while pregnant with Selena so they were both too small, and too big at the same time. ;)
  • Nice 100 Polartec Fleece.  I didn't have enough of this left to cut so the stretch was width-wise, so I had to cut it with the stretch length wise.  Since the pattern is for wovens I had no problem.
  • Some random knit I bought at Joanns for very cheap.
Here is Selena wearing her pants (on the right).  The ones Allie are wearing are from Old Navy, however the jacket is a monster Halloween costume I made for Selena when she was two.  Allie wears it often. I just want to add that these girls get along so much better when we are outside.

* This review is of a sewing pattern I purchased.  I was not given anything for this review, or even asked to write it.  

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Nook Thief

Allie is 23 months old, still a one year old for a bit longer, but she gets more and more grown up each day.  I got a Nook Color for Christmas and I rooted it and installed a puzzle game, a sock matching game, and Angry Birds.  She was already stealing it before I rooted it to read, Pete the Cat.  Now she steals it to play puzzles, match socks and make stuff timber.  She quickly became adapt at using it and is pretty self-sufficient.  If she needs some help she asks Selena, who by the way, knew all about Angry Birds, even when I had no clue.  Apparently Uncle Chris had shown her how to play on his phone.

Allie's conversation abilities is ever increasing.  Today she was explaining to me why she should get to watch her television show and not the one Selena wanted because, "I asked first.  Selena watch Diego on the bed.  I watch Super Why on the couch."  She likes to stand on my legs and jump up and down singing, "Dancing a jig, dancing a jig."  She likes licking my face while saying, "Free licks." (That she got from her dad.)

Right now she enjoys doing puzzles and can do the 25 piece cardboard ones with minimal help.  She also is great at building.  She loves Duplo Legos, Citiblocs, and Superstructs.  She also likes swimming.  We've gone to the Y a few times, plus we took a road trip to Olympia and our hotel had a pool, and she really likes splashing, kicking and games in the pool.  At first she clung on to me real tight, but about 20 minutes later she was using a noodle and kicking around the pool.  She likes when we play shark and swim up and get her, as long as we don't pinch her.

Allie's a great eater.  She likes meat.  She scarfs down chicken and steak.  She likes soup.  It makes me feel so wonderful when she has the same appreciation for the delicious soups I make as I do.  She also likes eating eggs and smoothies and we share breakfast every morning.

After a bit of a hiatus in using the toilet, and even at one point taking off her diaper to pee on the floor, she is back to using the toilet often if left bare bottomed.  She is very independent and wants privacy, if the door is open, she will wrap the shower curtain around her so you can't see her.  She also wants to dump her pee and poop from the small toilet into the big toilet by herself.  While she loves trips to the bathroom in public places, she doesn't seem to like to go in a public toilet.  Allie really does not like to be told what to do, so any attempt to make her go on the potty upsets her a lot.  So I plan on letting her go bare bottomed when we are at home, wear diapers during nap and at bed, and either a diaper, a pull-up, or maybe some thick undies with a diaper cover when out and do that for a while and see how it goes.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Minimalist Baby

Minimalism is becoming a bit popular.  Partly due to saving money, partly due to the ethical ramifications of over-consumption, partly due to the aesthetics of not having a lot.  It isn't an easy thing to do, especially with children, but here are some things I've learned that you don't need or you don't need a lot of. Note: I had almost every baby item imaginable, but I found that they mostly just took up lots of space and weren't really needed and though I had saved all the paraphernalia from my first I hardly used any of it with my second.

Things you don't need:

Baby Bath - I took baths with my baby.  I didn't have to bend over and my girls never cried when I was in the bath with them.

Swings, Bouncers and Exersausers - A baby blanket works just as well.  Selena did LOVE the swing and it was really nice, but Allie could take or leave anything.  But really a simple blanket with a few rattles nearby worked pretty good. 

Crib/Bassinet/Pack and Play - I know most people would not agree with this at all, but Allie has always either slept/napped in our bed, on a mattress on the floor, or on a blanket on the floor, or while being held (in a baby carrier).  I tried having Selena sleep in the crib, but I couldn't convince myself it was right and it stressed me out, so I didn't even bother with Allie.  It worked out well.  It is a lot easier to lay a sleeping baby down on something that doesn't have a rail in the way.

Nursery - If you aren't going to do a crib, you don't even need a nursery.  You just need to find a place to put their clothes and diapers.

Push Walker - An upside down laundry basket works better than any of the fancy toys that kids push to learn how to walk.  With a laundry basket they can cruise around it to push it another way and turn it.

Stroller- If you have a good baby carrier, you really don't need a stroller.  I mostly just used the stroller to carry stuff with when I was out.  Not having a stroller can be super convenient in that you don't have to look for ramps or elevators.

Fancy Breast Pump - If you are going to be working and breastfeeding then this would be a must, but if you are planning on staying home the only time you would need one is if/when you want to go out and leave your baby with a babysitter.  I had an Avent Isis hand pump and it worked just fine when I needed one.  I even used it for a couple months when I was working part time right after Selena was born.

Things to Cut Back On

Onesies - Yes they are adorable and you probably need quite a few, but usually these are something that you have way too many of.

Bottles - If you plan to breastfeed and stay home you really only need one or two.  Even if you bottle feed and stay home you can get away with just a few by washing the bottle right after each feeding.  If your child will be going to day care you will probably need more.

Bibs -  This kind of depends on the kid.  If your baby is especially drooly a lot might be nice, but for eating all you need is to get one Baby Bjorn bib and you are set.

Blankets - Two or three LARGE sized swaddling blankets.  They can be used for swaddling and setting baby's on the ground.

Toys - Buy a nice set of wooden blocks and you are set.  Supplement with bowls, spoons, and measuring cups when they are young.  When they are older you can make all sorts of toys from cardboard, or paper  (origami) and when they get tired of the toys you can just toss them in the recycling. 


    Sunday, April 10, 2011

    Carseat Safety

    Some people have asked me why Selena, at four years old, is still rear-facing.  There are all sorts of data showing the safety of rear facing, recommendations from various institutions, and laws regarding carseat safety, but really all I needed was to watch these two videos (the videos are below - 1 is 12 seconds the other 4 so they do not take long to watch) and know that I would keep my child rear facing as long as the car seat was built to allow it.  I also made sure to buy seats that allowed rear facing up to larger sizes.  I am fairly liberal compared to many parents as far as child safety, believing in many cases that the learning benefits outweigh the "risk".  Thus I let my kids climb on high things, stand on chairs, and use scissors, but riding in a car is highly dangerous so I make sure to keep them as safe as possible.  It isn't an inconvenience to have them facing backwards, and they aren't missing out on any opportunities, so I figure why change.