Thursday, March 28, 2019

Weighted Blanket and Lap Pad

Our son Alex has used weighted belts and vests in school and therapies.  We have seen success with them and so we wanted him to have the same type of tools here at home.  Alex is actually using both his blanket and his lap pad at school each day.  We take it between home and school each day.  I did some research and found this pattern online to get me started.  I decided however to add my personal touches.  The following pattern was used to get material measurements and the mathematical equation to figure out the weight disbursement.
I chose to create a blanket based on the baby quilts that my Mom has made for each of my children.  I didn't want Alex's blanket to have the stitching visible on the finished project.  Using  muslin fabric I created the inner portion of the blanket.  As follows...
I took 3 yards of fabric and folded it in half.  Lay your material our on a flat hard surface.  Take a yard stick and measure 4 inch spaces across the top and bottom of the fabric.  Use the yard stick to create lines running from the top to the bottom of the fabric.  Knowing that I wasn't going to see my lines I used a permanent marker.  You goal is to create tubes to feed your weights (Poly Pellets) into.  Sew over each of your lines creating your tubes.  
Return your material to your flat hard surface and have the material on the opposite side as your lengthwise permanent lines.  Create 4 inch marks going up the sides of the material on both sides.  Connect the lines going across the material.  Because you have already sewn your tubes you will be able to see the grid really well.  Once your lines are drawn it is time to do your math problem to figure out how heavy your blanket is going to be.  You need to know how much weight to put into each little square.  The weight of your blanket has a lot to do with how big your child is.  The best thing to do is ask your occupational therapist what they suggest. Alex's is 10lbs, but that might be to heavy for a smaller child.  
Once you know your weight of the blanket and of each square set up cups for each tube in your material.  Alex's blanket had 11 so we had eleven cups.  I would use our scale to measure out the Poly Pellets (washable and nontoxic).  After all of the cups were full you send the pellets down the individual tubes.  You will use your yard stick to make sure that all the pellets make it to there destination! 
Once you have your pellets in you will sew up the material creating little 4 inch squares.  Continue the process until you reach the top.  On the final level you will want to fill each square one at a time.  I highly suggest pinning your pellets into your final row so that as you lay down the blanket to sew it the pellets don't spill out all over the floor (not that that happened to me wink, wink). 
 As I was talking to my Mom telling her that I had finished the weighted part of the blanket we discussed my wanting to tie the blanket like she had done for her baby blankets.  I told her that I was planning to tie it and then sew up the side.  She made a fabulous suggestion though...create a pillow case effect and slide the weighted middle into the cover.  I love my Mom!!
Lay your fleece out on your hard flat surface.  Place your patterned fabric face down on top of the fleece.  (You do this so that once you sew around the outside of the material you can turn it inside out and have no seams visible.)  You want 3 to 4 more inches of fleece on the top to close the blanket (the very last step).  Pin the two pieces of material together and then sew the edges.  I doubled my seam (went around the blanket twice) because of the weight of the blanket.  
Once you have sewn the edges turn it inside out.  Use your yard stick to poke the corners out really well!  You can now put your weighted filling into the casing.  Lay it out on floor and make sure that everything lines up well. 

 Once you have everything lined up get a yarn needle and of course yarn of your choice and color.  Thread your needle and make sure that your yarn is doubled (your needle should truly be at the middle and the yarn should be equal in length).  Start your stitch on the top of the patterned material.  Leave 3-4 inches at the end of the thread and then come back up right next to the area you started the stitch at.  Once you have pulled all your yarn through feel your way to the next point (which should be 4 inches away) and follow the same steps going down through the fabric and back up.  You will have yarn connecting the stitches, but you will cut those directly in the middle and then tie them.

When you have tied your quilt (every 4 inches) you are ready for the final step which is closing the hole at the top.  With your extra inches of fleece you can fold over the edges (so it looks clean) and sew down one side of the fleece, across the bottom of the folder over piece and then up the other side.  I chose to sew buttons on top of the fleece for the complete look!
Alex had received so much use out of it already.  The blanket calms him when he is upset and or worked up and gives him the extra push to be good during circle time and reading.  

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A Little Bit of Heaven, I Mean Paris, In Arizona!

 I knew that when Adam and I went to Paris for our Anniversary that I would enjoy the yummy pastries and desserts, but I never expected to fall so deeply in love with sipping hot cocoa at a cafe while the rain fell around us.  When I came home one of the first things that I attempted was purchasing French Hot Cocoa mix.  I learned that not only is there  not a lot of stuff like that out there (mostly machines), but their aren't many recipes either...  My new mission had become finding a recipe that would help me get by until I was in Paris once again.
After doing a lot of googling and experimenting with what others had come up with I have to say that this is pretty close!  I can't provide the amazing atmosphere, but I can get you close to the taste!  

* The darker the better!!  I don't suggest using anything lighter than 70% Cocoa.
* My husband enjoys adding a TBSP of Heavy Cream to his batch of hot chocolate.
* When you get a cup of Hot Cocoa in France it comes with sugar cubes. You can always add, but taste the richness of the chocolate first.  
*You don't have to use the blender if you don't want the froth, but the cocoa powder looks really cool on the froth!!

We are told all the time that Dark Chocolate not Milk Chocolate is good for us.  People have even said the darker the better...I could never enjoy a 90% cocoa bar, but drinking it as Hot Chocolate is truly amazing.  Now I get to say that Hot Cocoa is a health drink :)


Friday, January 20, 2012

GFCF Cream of Chicken Soup!



Tips: * Add Noodles if you want a thick chicken noodle soup!  
* Leave the skin on the chicken while you boil it.  The skin is easily removed after cooking.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Three Bean Chili

 The weather is changing and what better to warm our bellies than chili!  This is a simple, but yummy fast and easy dish.  We serve the chili with corn chips and a sprinkle of cheese (dairy free).

* Adjust the heat for your taste buds.  The cayenne is going to give the most bite.
* I often add celery and carrots to my chili as well.  Shredding them makes them less noticeable!!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Gluten-Free Chicken & Waffles

Our family has a semi annual tradition of eating waffles and ice cream for breakfast.  I had to figure out a way to still enjoy this special meal with my little ones twice a year.  Because of travel we switched our waffles and ice cream to dinner so I added chicken nuggets to the menu to make it healthy!!! 
Many kids have picky eating habits when it come to special needs kids.  Chicken nuggets is a very common favorite, and they know when they are being given something that they aren't used to.  Tonight my kids gave me the reviews of "Awesome", "Good on the inside and out." and they were gone in time for their waffles with ice cream :)
* You can use regular flour and still create great chicken nuggets!!
* Remember not to use to much oil...when oil gets hot it expands.
* Temperature is very important in frying.  Make sure your temperature stays at 350 degrees.

* The biggest tip that I can give you is not to over mix your batter.  
Fold your egg whites into the batter don't mix them.  When folding take the batter from the bottom of the bowl and gently fold the batter into the egg whites.
* You can use regular milk and flour for these waffles as well!
Coconut milk ice cream is pretty yummy!  They even make coconut whipped cream :)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

It Worked!!

 Our family loves treats as any family with little ones do, but when we had to change our eating habits a lot of our favorites weren't good for us anymore.  I have been playing around with the multiple ingredients that are required to match the texture and baking consistency of all purpose flour.  The thought came to me a few weeks ago though...can I make cookies with our gluten-free oats ground into flour????  I tried it today and it worked!  I won't say that it would work for all cookies, but we had success with our families favorite everyday cookies which was great.  I must say though that they are a bit more crumblier, but not enough to not make them and enjoy them!  They hold together quite well :)
* If you aren't in need of a Gluten-Free Dairy-Free cookie then replace the four for all purpose and the Earth Balance for Butter!

Playing Catch-up

Life has been pretty busy as of late, but dinners have still been made.  Getting them up on the blog though is quite a different story!  Today I am trying to catch-up a bit though.  Enjoy!
 My husband enjoys a lot of flavor so I thought of him as I was mentally cooking this up.  The recipe is quite simple but the flavors are good.

* If you are a flavor seeker make two separate batches of the honey mustard sauce.  Use one for cooking and one for dipping the cooked pork chop into while eating.

* A tsp of cinnamon might be an added plus for your family.
* Use a hand mixer to combine all of the ingredients once they squash is cooked for a smoother puree. 

* If you don't have a loaf pan you can just form the meat loaf onto a sheet pan and skip the flipping step!  
* If you don't need your meat loaf to be GFCF I like to add 1 TBS Worcestershire Sauce or 2-3 TBS BBQ Sauce to our meat loaf.
* Corn Flakes also work if you don't have oats that are Gluten-Free.