Family Activities · Lydia's Nest · Parenting

Baby Led Weaning

Lydia is beginning the transition to solid foods with a method that I had never heard of before, called Baby-Led-Weaning.  When Deacon turned six months, instead of starting with rice cereal like I did when Lyddie was 6 months old, she is giving him real, unpureed solid foods from the get-go. Naturally, I had questions but after observing the results and watching it first hand I am a believer. Come and eavesdrop on our mother/ daughter conversation:

Gail: What is Baby-Led-Weaning and where did you hear about it? (Thinking, “WHAT are you doing to my grandson!!”)

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Lydia: Baby-led Weaning is an alternative method of teaching a baby to eat. Instead of spoon-feeding him cereals and purees, I simply put some of whatever we are eating in front of him, and let him touch it, pick it up, put it in his mouth, and taste it. He is in complete control of what goes in his mouth. This is different than traditional weaning because of the order of things babies learn: when they are spoon fed, they learn to swallow first and then chew later. This way, Deacon is learning to chew, move things around his mouth, and use his mouth muscles before he learns to swallow. He spits almost everything out at the moment!

I don’t remember where I first heard about it. Probably somewhere on the internet. But as I was learning about it, I bought the Baby-Led Weaning Cookbook. This was a super helpful resource – the first five chapters or so explore what it is and how to do it safely.

Gail: Why did you choose this method (thinking, “Why aren’t you doing it the way I did it?”)?

Lydia: BLW has a lot of benefits – by exposing him to flavors and textures now, he will hopefully be less of a picky later on. Also, by not taking the time to spoon feed him, we all get to enjoy meals as a family. I get to eat while my food is still hot! Another factor for us is that it is cheaper and takes less time. I don’t have to buy baby food, or spend hours making homemade purees.

Gail: Isn’t he at risk of choking (picturing a vision of baby gagging, turning blue, and dialing 911)?

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Lydia: No more so than purees. Because he is learning to chew first, he is learning to handle foods before they get anywhere close to his airway. He might gag, but there is a big difference between gagging and choking – a baby’s gag reflex is much further forward in the mouth than an adult’s, so their little bodies are designed to protect them!

Also, we definitely take common sense safety precautions. Before we started, we took an infant CPR course to prepare ourselves for the worst (hopefully we’ll never need it!).  I also have yet to give him anything that is too hard to gum – no raw apples or carrots. Other major choking hazards are things the size of grapes or cherry tomatoes. These can be quartered lengthwise to make them safe, but I’ve just not introduced them yet.

The other important thing is to simply make sure everything is washed down, so he gets water during the meal and then I usually nurse him for a minute or two afterwards to make sure his mouth is free from obstructions.

Gail: Does he get enough nutrition? It seems like he spits everything out!

Lydia: At the moment, all of his nutrition is coming from breastmilk. I nurse him before every meal. This is totally fine for him – he doesn’t really need much else until he’s a year old (the saying is, “food before one is just for fun!”). The biggest concern is his iron intake. Breastmilk does have some iron, but not much. I remedy this by keeping my own iron intake up, and making sure to give him iron rich foods like red meat, broccoli, spinach, and eggs.

Also, it might seem like he spits every single thing out, but I know he must be swallowing at least some things, because they come out the other end!

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Gail: Giving him foods willy-nilly seems extreme. Can his system handle strange tastes?

Lydia: Yes! It is important to wait until six months for his digestive system to finish developing, but after that, he can handle anything. Breastmilk adopts strong flavors, so he has actually already been exposed to some things. Just like an adult, there may be things that are too spicy for his taste, but it’s all part of the learning experience (his and mine – I’ve been learning what kinds of things he likes and doesn’t like).

Gail: Will you ever give him pureed foods?

Lydia: Not unless I would eat it pureed, like applesauce or smoothies. We haven’t given those yet, but when we do we will use “pre-loaded spoons” which basically means I will dip the spoon in the applesauce, and them lay it in front of him so he can pick it up and put it in his mouth himself.

Gail: Look at him! He’s totally loving that avocado! Meal time sure is a happy time. I am remembering parents of my preschoolers complaining how they can’t get their kids to eat, or that the table is a battlefield.

Lydia: That’s one of the best parts of Baby-Led Weaning! Obviously there will probably come a day when I need to tell him to eat his dinner, but for the moment he can learn to love food and taste different flavors and textures without any stress or pressure. There are some days when he doesn’t try much, and that is ok!

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Gail: Ok, I am convinced you’re on to something! I guess there’s always something new to learn and that the way I did it isn’t necessarily the only or best way to parent. How about if you pass me more of that humble pie?

Watch our video to witness BLW in action:

Gail's Nest

Fun Window Treatment

Does your bathroom need an update? Mine did. My blinds were dirty, my valence full of cobwebs and bathroom mold. Time for a spring cleaning.

This is my update. Next I’ll show you how I did it.

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First, I started with an old piece of molding that was sitting around. I bought twisted paper from a craft store and untwisted it. Then I wrapped it around the molding.

Next I used purchased Spanish moss to hot glue onto the paper.

 

The last step is the fun part. I hot glued ribbon, and shells, and old timepieces.

When I’ve done this before I’ve used silk flowers and really anything that suits your fancy.  The last thing to do is to attach metal hooks so that the molding will fit over your curtain rod.

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Here is my result:

 

Blessings!

–Gail

Entertaining · Family Activities · Gail's Nest

Dinner Party Idea- Chopped Competition

Have you seen the cooking show Chopped? Four chefs are given mystery ingredients and have to create meals with them. One person is eliminated after each round. The winner takes home $10,000. We have taken the basic idea and turned it into a fun evening for family and guests. You may have seen an earlier blog post describing how we did it with our family, when our adult children were home for Christmas. Well, this time we did it as a dinner party with guests.

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When I called my guests to extend the invitation I asked if they would bring a mystery ingredient.  I asked one couple to bring something  unusual from the produce dept. of our local grocery. Another couple was to bring something unusual from the dairy dept. and the third couple was to bring an odd flavor of soda. I provided the meat.

My husband and son were the chefs. They were surprised to see beef cutlets, parsnips, plain yogurt and goat cheese, and two different sodas – one was cherry tarragon,and the other was guarana. I told them they had to use all of these ingredients (but only one of the sodas – their choice), and they could use whatever else was available to them in our fridge and pantry. They had one hour to cook us an entree.

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What do I make with this??

The guys scrambled around the kitchen. It was quite entertaining! The guests loved watching, and added to the fun with their friendly banter.

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One hour was a good amount of time. We’re just not as fast as the experienced chefs on the actual cooking show who only get 30 minutes. But an hour is enough time to sip some wine and visit while dinner is prepared.

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Then it was time to plate the food. Each guest got 2 entrees.

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This was Steve’s entree – braised pepper steak with mock scallop potatoes au gratin with sauteed beans and parsnips.
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And Ben’s entree was stuffed beef roulade with cherry-tarragon-yogurt sauce, served with julienned beans and parsnips and buttered new potatoes.

The fun part, of course, was eating together and chatting over what we might have done differently and how delicious it all was. Then we rated each entree 1 to 5 (1 being terrible and 5 being excellent) in 3 categories: taste, presentation, and creative use of ingredients. Scores were calculated and the winner announced. Ben was the chopped champion.

Everyone raved over how much fun it all was! I served chocolate cake for dessert, as we weren’t about to wait around another hour for a dessert round! All in all, it was a nice evening with friends and family. I highly recommend trying it. Let me know your result!

Blessings-

Gail

 

Gail's Nest · Pattern Review

Sewing for Baby – Pattern Review of Fleecefun.com

Being a new grandma gives me a great excuse to make baby clothes! I decided to try the free patterns on fleecefun.com. The first one was their pants:

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You can find the pattern here. It was a very straightforward pants pattern. There is a video tutorial on their webpage and step by step directions. The pattern, of course, is one that you print on your computer and then have to tape together the pages. But being a small pair of pants, there weren’t many pages.

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I’d give the pants’ pattern 5 stars for being very simple and easy to make as well as excellent directions. It’s versatile and can be used for different sizes.

Next, I made a T-shirt for my baby Deacon:

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This too was a free pattern from fleecefun.com. You can get the pattern here.

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This too went together quickly. Directions on their site are clear. Again, another 5 stars. It is tricky sewing with jersey fabric so I used a needle for jersey as well as a twin needle at the end for a nice finish on the hems.

I couldn’t stop there. I had to make matching booties:

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Now these booties were difficult. They are made with suede soles to give them a little sturdiness. I used a free pattern from wholefully.com. You can get the pattern and step by step tutorial here.

Now while it came out beautiful I have a couple of complaints- the directions on this pattern are not accurate. Step 5 tells you to put the pieces “wrong sides together” before you sew. This is incorrect. You should put the pieces “right sides together” so that you are sewing on the wrong side and can turn it inside out to iron. My other complaint is that the finished product has the seam on the inside of the shoe and because there are so many layers the seam could be uncomfortable for Deacon to put his foot in. Time will tell whether or not he’s sensitive to that. He’s not walking yet, so maybe we’ll get away with it.

You must use a heavy-duty needle as you sew through several layers, including suede, and I also used a heavier thread. I’d give this pattern only 2 stars.

So because I was afraid Deacon wouldn’t like the shoes, I made another pair from a less complicated bootie pattern.

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I thought these would fit better as they go around the ankles and are secured with velcro. The pattern is from HandmadeintheHeartland.com You can get the free pattern here. This pattern was much simpler and directions were clear, but they don’t look as nice, so only 4 stars.

Here is the whole ensemble:

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It was so much fun that I made a second outfit with the same patterns:

And you probably would like to see Deacon wearing them. I packaged them up and mailed them to Ohio and unfortunately Lydia said the orange tee was a little too small. So… back to you, Lydia! Time to post pics of our little guy. Stay tuned!

Blessings!

-Gail

 

Lydia's Nest

Deacon: Six Months

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My sweet boy is six months old! This is crazy! He is getting bigger every day. I’m so proud of him – I’m both super excited for each new thing he learns, and yet sad that he is leaving certain stages behind. That’s motherhood I guess!

Physical Development

Deacon’s physical development is taking off in leaps and bounds. He still loves to stand with help and dance around, and he is getting strong enough to pull himself up. He’s only done this with our hands, but I know it’s just a matter of time before he discovers he can do it with the furniture. He can sit upright on his own if we set him down like that, but he can’t quite get himself in that position yet. He has figured out how to scootch himself around. He’s really good at going backwards, and just starting to figure out how to move forwards. It’s kind of funny to watch him – his limbs go all over the place. Check out this video to see him doing it 🙂

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Social Development

My boy is still as sociable as ever. He loves to babble and have a “conversation” with us. He loves being outside, though he is a little skeptical of grass and dirt (I think he has inherited his dad’s aversion to mess!). I just started taking him to a sensory open play time at our local library, and I’m excited to see how that goes. The first one went ok, but he was a little overwhelmed by all of the other babies and adults.

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Eating 

Deacon has started solids! We did end up sticking it out until six months, and are doing Baby-led Weaning. I’m hoping to do a post soon on what it’s been like, but so far its been great, and it’s fun seeing D figure out foods and textures and tastes. He really likes cucumbers and bananas. It is definitely a little nerve-racking watching him chew on hunks of cucumber, but he is awesome at figuring out how to chew it. I’ve also ordered this kit to learn infant CPR so I can be prepared should anything happen. Cory is also certified. Hopefully we’ll never need these skills, but better safe than sorry!

Baby D is also still breastfeeding. BLW advises continuing baby’s regular milk feeds, since they often don’t get a ton of nutrition from the foods they eat until later on.

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Sleeping 

Sleep has been sort of on-again, off-again in the last couple months. Deacon is still waking a couple times during the night. I’ve been trying to work with him to help him learn to sooth himself back to sleep, but I haven’t had much success because our schedule has been rather crazy with travel, visiting family, and (of course) the time change. It hasn’t been too bad, but I’d really like for him to start sleeping through the night (read, I’d really like to start sleeping through the night!). Fortunately, he goes down wonderfully well for naps and bedtime.

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What’s Next

Now that he is figuring out how to move, we need to babyproof! I’m planning on getting some baby gates and cabinet locks, and doing some reorganizing so there are fewer things in his reach. If you’ve got any advice or experiences to share, I’d love to hear your tips!

I’m also hoping to start doing some fun sensory things with him, like playing with different textures and sounds. Pot banging, here we come 🙂

Love,

Lydia

Gail's Nest · Pattern Review

Pattern Review – Sew Over It-Nancy Dress

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I absolutely love this pattern from Sew Over It. Lisa Comfort does an amazing job with her designs and the style suits me. This one, The Nancy Dress, is not difficult at all and I think a beginner sew can tackle it.

Unlike The Heather Dress, (see my review here), this dress has nothing tricky. The directions are clear and easy to follow.

Like all her patterns, Lisa offers them as paper patterns but can be downloaded as well. I prefer the download version as she is from London and I usually don’t want to wait nor pay for shipping. The downside of pdf patterns is that after you print out the pages, you must take time to line up the pages and tape them together before you cut them out.

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Next, you place your pattern on the fabric of your choice and cut it out. I chose this amazing silky-rayon print from Joann Fabrics:

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The finished result:

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I love the keyhole back! I did have to readjust the hook and eye. It might be more secure with a snap.

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Let me know if you try this pattern!

Blessings-

Gail

Gail's Nest · Jewelry

Shell Jewelry

I find looking for shells on the beach a relaxing activity when I’m vacationing in Florida (which I did a few weeks ago to get a blast of sunshine and warmth in the middle of this winter that just won’t seem to end). But what do you do with shells?

I love making jewelry. Each shell is such a work of art. When I pick up a shell I am looking at its  wave-beaten shape; it’s color and patterning; it’s size and sparkle. DSC00236

I take them home and scrub them with soapy water and then let them soak in bleach water or an antibacterial solution. Then I let them air dry on a towel in the sunshine.

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We got a little surprised by a hermit crab inside one of them!

Then it’s time to get out the dremel and make some holes!

I used a cork from a wine bottle that I split in half to pose as a base into which I could drill the holes. Drilling through shells is tricky – some that are more fragile will break easily and others, like oyster shells are really too tough to drill through. But with most shells you use a steady hand, a little water and light pressure.

I sprayed a few shells with a sparkly gloss to give them a finished look. And then came the fun part. Here is where I made them into earrings, necklaces, or a little ring holder:

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I used a strong glue called E6000 to place mini shells on top of or inside of bigger shells. Another fun technique is to mix up resin to fill up a shell:

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Follow directions for mixing – it’s rather messy! But you just pour it into your shell and let it set. I hid a crab-claw inside one of them that I made into a necklace:

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Here are the other finished products:

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Delicate earrings – so what if they don’t match?
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Jacknife clamshell earrings
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A ringholder for your rings when you have to knead dough!

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This is the one I kept for myself. I gave the others away as gifts.

So fun! Enjoy!

Blessings-

Gail