Happy Birthday to Me!

Dear Sis,

I was pleasantly surprised with how many family members and friends went out of their way to wish me a Happy Birthday! 

You were first. Your gift came about a week early. The lovely reproduction earrings you sent have me daydreaming about sewing a new day dress with you! 

These earrings and other beautiful reproductions by Southern Serendipity are available: here

Josh really went wild for my birthday. He gave me a box of chocolates, two deliciously fruity Yankee Candles, and a new cordless Dyson vacuum! For a woman who has become obsessed by what is on the floor, as her seven month old crawls around licking it… it was a great gift!!!

My mother-in-law and company surprised me with these beauties!

Just when I thought all the awesome gifts had arrived…

my sister-in-law and family sent Shari’s Berries,

which arrived the day after my birthday.

…and then, at the end of the week

Mom’s gift for Mr. Baby and I arrived!

 Mr. Baby and I are always turning foods into purees. Now it will be easier to have those homemade foods even when we are not home. We can’t wait to try our new Squeeze Station and Pouches

Thanks to all the other family and friends that called, texted, sent Facebook messages, and mailed cards! You all created a very special week!!!

Love,

b

 

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1861 Crochet Purse (Historic Pattern for Modern Crocheter)

Dear Sis, thanks so much for helping me get this pattern ready! 🙂

Peterson’s Crochet Silk Purse, 1861

Skill Level: Easy. If you can crochet with fine thread (think doily) and do the slip stitch, double crochet and chain you can make it!

Materials: 25 grams of Silk Yarn (or more if you use a larger hook or want much fuller tassels), 1.80 or 1.90 MM crochet hook, embroidery needle, 3″ cardboard or plastic for making tassels, sewing needle, thread (I use a ply of the silk yarn)

Size: Without tassels, is approximately 4.5 – 5 inches long and 3.5 inches wide.

What Type of Yarn do I need?: I use and sell silk that is somewhere between lace weight and 20/2 cobweb.  You can purchase silk at my Etsy store, or from a number of other places. I have used both reeled mulberry and cultivated mulberry silks. Both work fine, but have different feels to them.

Your crocheting is complete! Now, time for tassels and cords.

Bottom Tassels: Watch a Youtube Video on How to Make Tassels and Practice! Seriously, if you have never made tassels before, don’t dig into your silk yet. Make tassels with cotton or wool yarn first.

My tassels are made with a 3″ wide Quilting Ruler, and my silk is wrapped around it 45 times. I do a simple loop knot twice.Once, I have three tassels, I tie the three tassels together. Drawl the yarn up through the bottom hole in the purse, tie knots to secure, and weave the yarn through my work (only on the inside, don’t weave it through, so that it shows on both sides of your work) and cut off the extra string.

Tassels and Cords: Cords can be twisted or braided. I braid my cords.  My cords are simply the strings that tie off the top of the tassel. They are 58 inches long and folded in half… so you will have six strings per group of tassels. I then knot all six strings together about 3/4 of an inch above the tassels, separate strings into two groups, and braid.  When the cords are made. I fold the purse and half and weave the cords from one tassel in and out of row 30… both in different directions, till they meet in the center. Then, I decide how long I want my cords to be, when my purse is fully opened, and sew the strings down to the inside of the purse. Repeat on the other side, so that you have a drawstring opening and closure.

A Look into the Historical Pattern

This is what was featured in Peterson’s Magazine, in 1861. Like most patterns of the time, accuracy wasn’t really a thing. If you look closely at this pattern, you will discover it isn’t actually mathematically correct. Ladies looked at the directions, pictures, and made something work.  Which, is exactly what I did. The pattern below, is my adaptation of the above pattern. What did I change?

  • I closed the bottom to the purse. This was a preference of mine. If you want an open bottom, go for it! If you keep the same number of stitches, as I have in each round, your purse will be the same shape and size.
  • I didn’t follow the bottom diagram. The bottom diagram shows 1dc in the chain one space, and a dc in each stitch next to the chain. I choose to do 3dc in each ch1 space. Why? Because, it creates a prettier hole. In fact, when I followed the directions, it didn’t give me a pretty gap at all.
  • I didn’t add as much frill to the top. 

Fun Pictures of the Finished Projects!

Enjoy the pattern! Please comment or email me with any questions, pattern notes, or success stories. For those who prefer it, I sell these purses ready made and custom made in my Etsy shop.

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Sweet, but Stinky

Dear Sis,

Our new cat is very sweet and good with Mr. Baby and the boys, but his litter box stinks all the way into the kitchen after only a few uses! I fear we may become the “cat people” with the “cat smelling house”. 

We started with an open box and Tidy Cat lightweight litter.

We upgraded to a Arm and Hammer Clump and Seal by the second day. That helped!

…but, we still had a trail of litter and lofting ewwy smell.

We used seated candles until our new set up arrived. 

I never thought I’d find myself researching litter pans, until I discovered how much have a litter box that isn’t banished to the basement… STINKS! I knew I wanted something baby friendly, that helped with litter tracking, and it doesn’t hurt if it is pleasant looking too! This Dome CleanStep Cat Box, No-Track Litter Mat, and Scoop’n Hide are affordably all made by Booda.

Love,

b

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Introducing Foods to Baby

Dear Sis,

It is hard to believe Mr. Baby is six months old! Introducing foods has been a pretty easy process… so far. We make many of them homemade, which is surprisingly easy, and often more flavorful, especially in the case of green veggies. I thought we would make a post so all the busy moms can see that they too can be to make fresh whole foods available to their babies.

At our 4 month well-baby check our pediatrician gave us the go-ahead to start introducing solids or the go-ahead to hold off until six months depending on our preference. Since Mr. Baby is tall and lean and rarely goes more than 2-2.5 hours between breast feedings, I decided to see if food could help him gain and maybe even extend the duration between feedings.

Cereal

We chose oatmeal because it is tummy gentle like rice, but with more nutritional value. Each evening I would pump a few minutes to get 1/2 an once of breastmilk, mix in a bit of baby oatmeal cereal, and try to get Mr. Baby to eat it. The first week, he wore all of it. The second week, his tongue started pushing some of the food back instead of forward:) By the third week he was swallowing well and awaiting the spoon with anticipation! By week four he was wishing more was in the bowl, after the feeding was complete. 

At five months, I began introducing veggies. As recommended by the pediatrician, we tried each new food three days in a row and watch for signs of allergy or intolerance. Now, after just six weeks, Mr. Baby eats a variety of fruits and veggies. 

Taste Test

To save yourself the trouble, get one of each stage one puree from the grocery store and let baby try it, to see if they take to that food, before you invest the time to make a batch of homemade puree:)

Shopping for Ingredients

We’ve learned that some purees can be made from raw produce, while others are easier to make from frozen or canned states. Additionally, we keep The Dirty Dozen and The Clean Fifteen in mind while we shop.

Preparing Stage One Veggies

Butternut Squash 

We purchase fresh. We cut it in half, scoop out the seeds, place it face down on a baking sheet, and bake it for about an hour at 350. Stand until cooled enough to handle or chill until the following day. Scoop meaty bits of squash from skin before pureeing. 

Carrots

We purchase fresh. We peel, chop, and simmer with a few tablespoon water over medium heat until soft… which takes about 15 minutes. Stand until cooled enough to handle or chill until the following day. Baby carrots can be used to skip the peeling and chopping steps.

Green Beans & Sweet Peas

We purchase frozen and let them thaw on the counter a few hours or in the fridge overnight.

Sweet Potatoes

We purchase fresh. We peel, chop, and bake covered at 350 for about an hour. Stand until cooled enough to handle or chill until the following day.

Preparing Stage One Fruits

Apples

We purchase organic and fresh. We peel, core, chop, and simmer over medium heat until soft… which takes about 10 minutes. Stand until cooled enough to handle or chill until the following day.

Bananas

We purchase fresh. We place about 1/3 or the peeled fruit in a dish and puree it with a fork just before feeding time.

Mangos

We purchase frozen and let them thaw on the counter a few hours or in the fridge overnight.

Peaches & Pears

We purchase organic and canned in fruit juice.

Pureeing & Straining

With the exception of banana, which we make fresh before each feeding, other fruit and veggies we prepare and freeze. 

Kitchen Tools

  1. A batter bowl or other high sided container to place cooked, thawed, or drained canned food into.
  2. A stick blender to quickly puree the food with easy clean up. A regular blender or food processor will work too, but they take longer to clean between uses. Some foods are thicker than others, if the blender is working to hard, thin with water as needed.
  3. A sieve, rubber scrapper, and bowl to strain the pureed food so that it is free of large pieces or fiber stands that can choke little babies.

Freezing

  1. Spoon tablespoonfuls of puree into freezer trays.  We prefer silicone brownie bite pans for portioning and freezing, but ice cube trays, or specialty baby food freezer containers work too.
  2. Once frozen, we transfer frozen puree cubed into labeled dated freezer bags

Perfect Pairs

Apple & Banana

Apple & Carrot

Apple & Pear

Apple & Sweet Potato

Banana & Pear

Banana & Butternut Squash

Butternut Squash & Mango

Butternut Squash & Sweet Potato

Carrot & Sweet Potato

Mango & Peach

Peach & Pear

Pear & Sweet Pea

Terrific Trios

Apple, Banana, & Carrot

Butternut Squash, Carrot, & Sweet Potato

Butternut Squash, Mango, & Pear

Carrot, Mango, & Peach

Each puree and puree combination has its own consistency. However I’ve discovered that a very specific consistency is idea for feeding. If the food is too liquid-y it tends to fall out of babies mouth or splatter during the eating process. We mix in cereal a sprinkle at a time, until we reach the desired consistency.

Happy Baby Feeding!

Love,

b

 

 

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Happy Mother’s Day

Dear Sis,

This year most of our gifts feature Mr. Baby. Here is what we came up with for the mamas in our life: a reusable shopping bag for our mama and a picture in a grandma frame for my mother-in-law.

Love,

b

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Snacks for the Breastfeeding Mama

Dear Sis,

It is hard to lose unwanted baby weight with high calorie snacks like chips, crackers, and cookies. (Late night ice-cream indulgence doesn’t help either!) Breastfeeding mamas need snacks mid-day and a sweet treat. Just two days of low calorie, high protein snacking and I’ve lost the stubborn two pounds that were part of my April weight loss goals.

Trail Mix
Yields 10
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Ingredients
  1. 3 c dark chocolate M&Ms
  2. 2 c lightly salted peanuts
  3. 1 c whole almonds
  4. 1 c cashew halves
  5. 1 c dry cranberries
  6. 1 c pecan halves
  7. 1 c raisins
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a canister or food storage bag. Shake to mix.
Tag Sis, You're It! http://www.tagsisyoureit.com/
Additionally, I returned to making my own granola. That way I can control sweetening ingredients, what type of fat is used, and include more nuts for protein.

My recipe here: Vanilla Coconut Granola

Love,

b

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Refinishing the Ugly Cabinet

Dear Sis,

Remember the world’s ugliest cabinet from when you helped us move in two years ago? It has been plaguing me every time I look at it for too long, but no more! Yesterday I rolled it end for end into the yard and sprayed it black, while Mr. Baby played with toys on a picnic blanket, at a safe distance. Today, I lined it with contact paper to hide the dark hideous unfinished particle board from view. I still need to spay the other side of the cupboard door, put the handle back on, and attach it with new hinges. I have to update the post when that is all done:) To bad I forgot to take a before photo to hallmark the amazing transformation!!!

Love,

b

 

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