Thursday, November 17, 2011

Traveling with baby food

UPDATE - this worked very well for our travels for the holidays. I ended up doing this for Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. If I had any extra, I was able to use it up when I packed meals for around town when I knew we wouldn't be home.

The holidays are coming and I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to travel this time with a 6 month old and getting him the food he likes. Last time I traveled with an infant, my daughter was closer to 9 months and we did just a couple of quick weekend trips. But at 9 months, she was doing more table food and I was using jar food that time and formula feeding. This time around I have been making my sons baby food - because you do what you learned about after having your first.

So my orginal thought was when we got to the in laws, I would buy some jar food, and a little cereal and hope he liked it and would get through the weekend. The more I thought about it, I wasn't thrilled with the idea. One he has not tried any jar food yet - so I was worried about him not liking it. Two, he would be stuck with the same flavor of cereal all weekend - unless I bought more than one flavor, but then I would have to pack the extra to take home (more packaging than I need). We do buy diapers when we get there - and I have a wipe contianer I left at their house the last time we traveled - so I'll be buying a refill for that.

Here is some of what my son eats
He has different cereals mixed with food, and I use little formula to mix with the food. I do breast feed, so we really don't need much formula. I do have some of the prepackage pouches to fill 4 oz bottle - but there are times he need a little 2 oz bottle to help him settle - even after feeding and I hate to waste formula.

And his food.
Here is an example of what his food looks like from the freezer. Now I know for the 5 days we will be gone, I don't need all of this. I need enough of about 5 breakfasts and 9-10 lunches and dinner.

So here is my solution --

premeasured cereal, for each meal and formula measured for 2 ozs bottles.
And --

premeasured quanities of his food. All of these have been vaccuum seals using this ---

I know people have made there own yogurt tubes and seeing the pouch food and premeasured formula sticks is what gave me the idea. I'm hoping that if I pack the food in a good cooler with lots of frozen water bottles we can make it on our 7 hour trip without to much trouble, and my son will enjoy the food he loves. I do have a small food mill that I will take with me to have him try some foods - but he will mostly have his favorites.

To do this

First you need to make the bag strips to fill. For the food saver they have premade bags and rolls. I don't have many bags right now, so I made bag with my rolls.
I measured off a nice size peice of the roll. There are marking on the side of the roll, and I cut at about the 4th mark. I wanted the strip long enough to get more than one serving size in a strip to save more room, also this made the strip the right size lengthwise to seal the sides.

Then you heat seal one side closed.

Once the one end is sealed to need to make the tubes. I laid the newly made bag back in the sealer and made seals so I had anywhere from 3-4 strips. I found later that I like 3 strip wide for the food and 4 strip wide for the cereal and formula. Here is what is looks like before I cut them apart.

If you look closely there are two seals close together. This allows me to cut the strips apart to fill. If they aren't cut apart then you would being trying to seal the whole piece and you might not want that. Also make sure that you seal across the bottom seal so you don't have any leaks on the bottom of the strip. I came a little to close a couple of times.

Then cut apart the strips.

Once they are cut apart then you can start filling.

Notes when you are sealing the first section. Because you are at the end of the strip - you have a lot of empty space at the top. Make sure other end of the strip is in the vaccuum channel. If it is not then your strip will not vaccuum and the machine will just keep running. Once you get closer to the top with your sections it gets easier.

For filling the bag of the dry items I used a funnel. Now for the funnel I got creative. I don't have a funnel big enough to allow larger item to go through. So I used the cup part for my breast pump that I didn't use.
The hole is big enough and worked well. You might have to shake the cereal and formula down on the first couple of sections, just be patience. Also when you seal these, make sure there is no cereal or formula where the seal hits. This happened to me once I had to add a seal because the cereal broke the orginal seal.

Now we will see how this work over the holiday weekend. I think it will be great. A couple of last notes. Make sure you pack a small pair of scissors in your bag to cut these open. Which means I don't think you can do this much for airplane travel. We are driving to our destination so I don't have to fight with TSA. My hope is with the items vaccuum sealed that they won't defrost as quickly. I plan on freezing some bottles of water and layer the food between them in a small cooler that will be in the freezer before we leave. I'll post how this worked after the holiday. But if I can save a little money, and some space in the car this sounds like the way to go.

Linked - ;;; ;;;;;

Sunday, October 23, 2011

2011 Halloween costume crazies

Ok - I love to make Halloween Costumes. I think it shows creativity in a world of let's go to the store and buy something mentailty. And the other best part is - so far my daughter loves her costumes and they will get a lot of love till she grows out of them.

This year I'm having trouble. Besides the fact that with a newborn/infant I can't always get to my sewing room. I chose a crazy pattern for my daughter and my son's I have had to make up since there wasn't one that I wanted.

So what is driving me crazy this year - Tangled! My daughter as Rapunsel and my son as Pascal.

Pascal was easier than I thought. I had bought a baby pattern set from Simplicity #5316 . What was nice is there was a hat and the overall romper that I could use. And I used Polar fleece - which is why I went with the sleeveless style and I'm pairing it with a long sleeve shirt. He will be plenty warm and I didn't have to finish a lot of edges since this is a costume. Pascal has a bumpy back bone. So to get this look I sewed the hat seam and the back of the over all inside out. I also added about an inch of fabric. Doing this allowed me to cut scallops going down the back of the outfit. For the hat I combined the two peices of the pattern into one big piece. I also didn't do the lining part around the ears. Again - Halloween costume doesn't need to be fancy. With doing this I got one contious look going on the hat of the hat. I also made the ear flaps longer so I could add a little velrco underneath to keep the hat on instead of ties. I also free hand cut a tail that can be removed with velcro.

Rapunsel - was my issue. I used Simplicity #2065 . Now I have been sewing a loooong time, which is why I don't mind buying patterns from the store. I know they have been tested and the sizing is the way I want. However I felt that this was the worst designed pattern I have seen in while. I feel like the numbers weren't figured correctly and things weren't tested. I wouldn't be surprised if some of this one gets relooked at (I hope).

Here are the MANY issues I had with the pattern. Keep in mind I did the size 6 and it does fit my daughter, but there isn't much more difference between the size 6 and the biggest size 8.

1. The side front and back piece. They have you cut 2 pieces on the fold of the lining fabric, the over skirt, and the main skirt. The part I have a problem with - is the piece measures 26" wide before gathering. You gather this down to 9". So the piece is almost 3 times width of where it is to go. This was very hard to work with and on little girls that don't need that much fabric at their waist. The thickness also throws other things off in the design. also when you are sewing two of these pieces on to the bodice pieces - there is to much fabric for the machine to handle.

2. Working with 3 layers of gather fabric, made putting in the zipper - extremely hard. The only plus is that the overskirt and main fabric are togther and the lining is loose and attached to the bodice lining, not the main bodice pieces. But it was hard to work with all around. With all the fabric to gather and fit in one spot, I didn't have enough ungathered fabric to put in the zipper. Plus the directions have you putting in the zipper a different way than you would normally put in a zipper.

3. I ended up with nearly 36 inches extra of trim for the skirt on both both trims. Normally - not an issue. But I went with the trims pictured - and the flower trim was $6.99 a yard! The pattern called for 4.5 yrds. Before my 50% off coupon this came to $31.46. Now remember all that extra fabric in the skirt - if you cut out some of that fabric - you can cut out even more trim. Also note all the trims that I purchased for this dress were Simplicity trims to go with the Simplicity pattern.

4. I question the use of the tulle. The pattern called for 1 1/3 yrds. They had you cut 3 pieces 15 inches wide. When you gather this up it barely made a pouf. The pouf of the dress really is coming from the excess fabric at the waist - not the tulle in the skirt - this could almost be dropped. Granted this is not expensive - I just felt that it was a step that wasn't needed.

5. The lining of the dress. They have you cut neck facing pieces - but have you use them near the end when you add the lining of the bodice. The way it ends up - I would sew the bodice lining in earlier and use the interfacing directly on the lining fabric. The facing pieces sit weird on the inside of the dress since you have the lining that could be used. In the dress I made, I used cotton fabirc for the lining (no need to go with satin), and having a piece of fabric just sticking out there doesn't seem comfortable.

6. Lining part 2. I'm use to in dress patterns working the bodice till complete and then adding the skirt. One - if the lining was put in earlier - you can use it to hide more things like the sleeve edges. As it was  - working with the lining after the skirt of the dress was on the bodice made it very hard to manage on my machine.

7. Sleeves. They have you putting in the sleeves LAST. Again by the time you have the weight of the whole dress this hard to work with.

8. The yarn for the hair. They called for 16 ozs of 4ply yarn. The one I picked up was 1020 yds for the 16 ozs. They have you cut 38" inches of 180 strands and 18" of 180 strands. this equals - about 280 yds. by my calucation I have about 800 yds too much. Now I'm a knitter no big deal - but to someone else this is an issue. Well when I cut the 18" peices and braided them - guess what - it doesn't fit around my daughters head. so I have to re cut about  peices at least 25" long. Again someone needs check their measurements, or give us measurements based on head size.

9. One suggestion for working with the fabrics. In the pattern they mentioned sewing the seams and then serging or zig zaging the edges or sewing the seasm twice and trimming to keep the edges from fraying. I decided this time to do french seams where I could. Hopefully this will keep the seams from fraying and allow the dress to hold up to excessive wear.

I know once costumes were out I know could have found the Rapunsel dress cheaper than I made it. However, the way I made the dress it should hold up for a while with her playing dress up with it. She got to wear her costume to a dance already, and she got MANY compliments on it already, I can say it was a sucess. My only wish is I took some suggestions about making the dress that I had seen on online before - one would have made a simple dress and coat/robe with the detail to do over the dress. But having a 4/5 month old means lack of sleep for me and I didn't want to think to hard.

Now to see what she will want to be next year.

Costume history

I love Halloween. The dressing up, decorating the house and seeing the costumes of the kids who come to the house. I love to make costumes and have fun with what I come up with. So before I do a post about this years costume headaches - here is a look at some of the things my daughter has been.

1st year - 2006 - K is 7 months old

This was an easy year. My MIL had seen a lion costume and bought it, before I knew what she would be. My MIL did this because her son was  lion for his first costume. I would have liked to be consulted before hand, but I survived and went with it. She now realizes I make costumes, so she doesn't surprise me.

2nd year - 2007 - K is 19 months

This year I went a little easy on myself. K was seriously into Teletubbies. I know most people hate the show. The thing I liked about the show - was it showed the beginning of the day and at the end the Teletubbies went to sleep. K would watch this before nap and bed - and when the show was over she would come to us asking for her milk and would head upstairs to bed for nap or sleep without any fussing!

Anyway to make the costume I found a red blanket sleeper at a thift store. I took a peice of grey felt and painted glitter glue on the felt. For the hat I knitted it and when I got to the top I made a tube which I filled with polfil and sewed into the shape I needed. She gets a kick out of seeing the hat now when she runs across it in the dress up clothes.

2008 - 3rd year - K is 2.5 yrs old

This was the last year I could make the decision about what she was going to be. I made her a fairy costume. The pattern was McCalls 4887. I did spend too much on the fabrics, but I fun seeing how it turned out. Because I like to make the next size up when I sew costumes - there are still pieces of this costume that she can wear. This was also the year of naked baby - she didn't want to wear the costume and I had many fights getting her in it. To the point at our MOMS club Halloween party - she ran around in just her diaper! My friends called her the New Year's Baby for doing that. I have noticed that with a lot of my friends - between 2-3 yrs old thay do not want to get dressed up in costume.

2009 - 4th year - K is 3.5 yrs old.

This was the start of the princesses in our house. She said she wanted to be Cinderella. But when I took her to choose the pattern and the fabric she choose a basic princess dress - without it being a Disney design. She choose Simplicity 2569 . I will say that this dress got well worn, and now 2 years later, she can still wear the dress. The skirt is getting shorter on her, and it is fraying and the tulle is ripped - but she will wear it.

2010 - 5th year - K is 4.5 years

This was an interesting choice on K's part. Part way through the year she decided she wanted to be a
Veterinarian. She didn't change her mind once - and I was waiting. So I made the scrubs and bought a lab coat to go with it. My hubby and I found a cute dog carrier set and tool set for her. I should have done better making a name tag and sewed on some little anaimals - because everyone though she was a doctor. I was lucky this did get done - because I was pregnant in my 1st trimester with our 2nd child. So there were days I wasn't feeling up to things.

2011 - 6th year - K is 5.5, and A is 5 months

This is the big year - Rapunsel! After Tangled came out, she wanted to get the dress and hair. I kept putting her off. One because she was bigger than 4-6x you can find for most dress up clothes for girls and two I wasn't keen on fake hair.

I'll show you how this years costume turns out in the next post along with what I came up with for A, now that I have 2 kids I can have fun with the next few years of costumes on our house will be fun.