Help for the mom who forgets food is cooking on the stove

I'm a distracted mom.  I am NOT one of those Super Moms who can multi-task.  I was born to one, but I'm not one myself. 

That's why I get such a chuckle out of distracted-mother-author Carol Barnier's books like "How to Get your Kid off the Refrigerator and on to Learning" and "If I'm diapering the watermelon then where did I put the baby?" 

By the way, in addition to her blog she also has a fabulous website Where Highly Distractible People are Celebrated, Encouraged and Empowered. Oh. But I digress.  See what I mean?

Anyone who knows me knows that I am also culinarily-challenged!   I'm afraid of being turned into "What Not to Wear" AND "Worst Cooks in America." But again, I digress.

If I have to apply heat to anything or use a sharp utensil you better get out of the kitchen!!  I need total concentration.  Cooking is equivalent to doing brain surgery in my world.

So I was really happy to find this cookbook "Hands-Off Cooking: Low-Supervision, High-Flavor Meals for Busy People" by Ann Martin Rolke.

Here's a pretty picture of one of Ann's recipes made and photographed by Elise, a blogger friend of the author. Doesn't this look yummy?!

Now THIS sounds like a book for a mom who burns pancakes and grilled cheese or makes mushy boxed mac and cheese because she forgets they are on the stove.

Feeding a crowd cheaply

Looking for "cheap ways to feed a crowd" ideas for our neighborhood picnic I ran across some interesting recipes that are outside the usual hot dogs, sloppy joes, spaghetti....

Easy Chick Pea Curry for a Crowd

Sweet Massaman Curry

Chicken and dumplings

Any other suggestions?!

Eye Candy for students, parents, and teachers frustrated with our model of education

You might think it is boring to sit and listen to someone talk about the perils of our current education system.  (I was prepared for that.) But I challenge you to watch this for 20 seconds and not get hooked into the rest of the 11 minute video!

THIS IS A PERFECT EXAMPLE OF THE POWER OF CREATIVE THINKING we want to encourage in our schools!!!!

"Mom, I have a handwashing problem"

Indeed you do, my darling daughter. I'm glad you realize it is a problem.  And now I know why I've had to refill the soap dispenser so frequently as of late.

Over the weekend I started settling into the realization that my 5 year old daughter is exhibiting common signs of an obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).  I would not have thought it possible at this age, but a recent report from Science Daily indicates that children as young as 4 can have full-blown OCD.

It was an abrupt onset of symptoms. Two weeks ago she started complaining after brushing her teeth that she felt like she just hadn't brushed everywhere.  She brushed quite frequently. But that seemed okay. It was after each meal and snack throughout the day which seemed logical, especially since she became aware of some cavities that need filling.

But that behavior looks different in hindsight. This past week she started washing her hands a zillion times, complaining about germs and worrying about everything touching something "dirty."  (okay, yeah, I'm a germophobe but not like this!)  She started taking multiple showers and baths a day, crying if we didn't let her.  She started getting chapped hands.

I knew it crossed the line when she had a friend over yesterday and insisted (shrieked) that her friend must wash her hands (and rewash them) before touching things.  She tried her hardest to get everyone to go play outside so no one would touch things in the house.

She has been in nearly constant agony and distress.  Even sleep has not brought relief. She has been waking up sobbing.

Over the past several months she has said "I wish I was never born" which was alarming to me. 

I felt that way a lot as a child with a panic disorder. I've seen the terrorizing symptoms of panic and anxiety displayed in my firstborn with a sensory processing disorder.  And now I'm seeing the OCD in my second child.

I think back to when she was 3 and we would be late for soccer games because she couldn't get her socks and shin guards exactly even and would meltdown. 

I just figured she had mild sensory issues like her brother and was irritated by the clothing. But now I realize it was because of the lack of symmetry.

So she has only a few socks she would wear but mostly avoids them, choosing to wear boots or flip flops instead.

And she often begs to have her hair in pigtails like her cousin or other girls she observes.  But it's only a few minutes before a meltdown occurs.  She sobs that the pigtails are not even, no matter how many times I redo them. They never stay in for more than a few minutes before she is in complete agony.

My children are the fifth generation to deal with some level of "mental illness" related to anxiety disorders.  Anxiety and panic disorders can be traced at least back to my great grandmother. 

These issues have affected my grandmother; my father, all his siblings, at least one cousin; several of my cousins; and now my own children. At one point I counted that 50% of our descendants were affected in some way. I've learned of a family member diagnosed with schizophrenia.  And we've recently learned of a bi-polar diagnosis in my husband's family.

Some folks feel it is shameful to discuss or admit anyone is affected.  But not me.  It's not a moral failing. It's not anyone's "fault."  It's not because someone is weak.  It's just a medical issue.

RESOURCES: So the journey begins for another child. Here are some resources we'll be investigating.

Freeing Your Child from Obsessive-Compu​lsive Disorder: A Powerful, Practical Program for Parents of Children and Adolescents by Tamar Ellsas Chansky

What to Do When Your Brain Gets Stuck: A Kid's Guide to Overcoming OCD (What-to-Do Guides for Kids) by Dawn Huebner

Talking Back to OCD: The Program That Helps Kids and Teens Say "No Way" -- and Parents Say "Way to Go" by John S. March MD

Health Journeys Help For Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder [Audio CD] - Belleruth Naparstek

Converting discarded packaging into useful storage

Another great idea from Indietutes!!  She shows us all how to sew plastic packaging into easy-to-make pocket storage.

From this....

To this!

How clever!

Kids Sewing and Crafting Projects

Sewing Curriculum

Sewing lessons and projects for boys and girls are available from Kids Sewing Projects.   Lessons start at pre-K and proceed through various stages of beginner projects to intermediate levels.

Kids Can Make This!

The expansive site for all types of crafts, You Can Make This, has a special section devoted to kids projects.

Teaching Children to Knit at Home or in School

A list of useful teaching resources is available for adults wanting to teach children to knit at home or to incorporate into educational curricula. 

There are helpful rhymes for teaching knit and purl stitches that I think I'll use for myself! I still wish I could figure out finger knitting though. Grrr...

Handmade Dolls

What a delight it is to peruse the many different whimsical dolls by etsy Black Apple artist and blogger Emily Martin!! 

She has incredible sketches and some of her sketches make appearances as dolls.

Even better is that she has free patterns and tutorials for Black Apple Dolls that you can make at home!! 

Math and Science Resources

A couple of quick finds today...

The Scientific Homeschool Blog with lots of resources, lessons, and ideas.

Expert and user-created database of math and science activities at How To Smile. Look up ideas or contribute your own!

The dreaded grocery store conversation....

Okay, homeschoolers, raise your hand if you've been at the grocery store during school hours and had the "Why aren't you in school?" look or conversation.

Here is one mom's interesting discussion in just such a place and many humorous comments from other readers.

My favorite part of the article is her summary of what secular homeschooling is and is not.  It's a useful piece as it seems many folks have a misconception about secular homeschooling.

Freebies and Fun with Fabric Fragments

Do you want to try your hand at something creative but don't want to commit a lot of time or money?  The projects in these three books will let even the beginning sewer find success. Experienced sewers can use up left over scraps and fragments to make new treasures. Enjoy!!!

One-Yard Wonders: 101 Sewing Fabric Projects; Look How Much You Can Make with Just One Yard of Fabric! by Rebecca Yaker & Patricia Hoskins

This highly regarded book (by the likes of THE Amy Butler of fabric designer fame) comes in a convenient hardback spiral-bound version and the Kindle version.

Sewing Bits and Pieces: 35 Projects Using Fabric Scraps by Sandi Henderson

Find pattern freebies at the author's blog. She also has a beautifully illustrated reference guide to different hand stitches on her blog.

Small Stash Sewing: 24 Projects Using Designer Fat Quarters by Melissa Averinos

Click on book image above to learn about the book and download a free pattern! Visit her blog to see luscious samples of fabrics she has designed.

Easy sew costume: Max from "Where the Wild Things Are"

Here is a fabulous tutorial from Mad in Crafts in how to sew this Max (Where the Wild Things Are) costume using some simple dollar store supplies. Too cute!!  (I can't say the same for the book. It terrified me as a kid and gave me nightmares!!)

Easy Projects for Crafting Kids' Hideaways

Fabric and a little imagination can go a long way on a warm summer day or a cold rainy indoor day.  As an added bonus these hideaways are able to be compacted for storage.

This simple shade tent is likely to grow into other uses as kids grow!  One or more of these can transform into tents, tunnels, canopies, and building materials for all sorts of creation.

A fabric tent or teepee is not only fun to use, it can be fun to make with the kids as well.  This free tutorial treat comes from Sew, Mama, Sew! and uses simple canvas that kids can help paint. How fun!

It doesn't get any simpler than this free tutorial for a no sew easy canopy from Homemade Mamas.  This is so easy and fun you'll want to make a bunch! 

Sew a gift to encourage kids' creativity and compassion

This beautiful gratitude wrap from Souleful mama is an inspirational way to keep thank you cards and writing supplies in a handy kit. 

This free tutorial from author and blogger Amanda Blake Soule shows you how to easily make this kit and encourage kids to be creative and kind.

Free patterns for easy to sew pants for boys

Easy sew pants tutorial from Handy Home Projects -- So easy she can whip up 20 of these in a day!
Here are free instructions for easy sew cargo pants for boys from Modern Sewing Patterns

Cultivating Home has some great tips for sewing for boys, where to find patterns and inspiration.  It seems there is a dearth of patterns for boys.  She suggests looking for vintage patterns. I hadn't thought of that!
Kids Sewing Project has a tutorial for sewing boys shorts (or long pants) using a comfortable pair as a pattern.

Instructables offers this lounge pant tutorial.

Essortment provides a simple formula for making a pattern and sewing kids drawstring pants but if you would like an actual pattern to follow you can purchase this Kwik Sew Pattern or try this highly rated book!

Check out the fun collection of boy craft and sewing projects available at Someday crafts and Sew Chic and Unique.

Easy sew skirts for girls and their American Girl doll friends

Twirly Skirts

Twirl Skirt from Indietutes - This tutorial is very easy to follow. All you need is a few strips of fabric!

Twirly Skirt from House on Hill Road - Another simple tutorial using larger fabric swatches.

Matching patchwork twirly skirts.  Follow the easy steps for a girl-sized skirt at Indietutes and for a doll-sized skirt at Twirls for Girls. It can fit an American Girl or similarly sized doll.

More Easy Skirts and Dresses

Skirts from dishtowels from Grace Violet.

Solar dress - Super easy, super adjustable fluid dress from Indietutes. The delightful model is wearing the dress while coloring the pattern for the dress.

Recycled sweater gore skirt from Martha Stewart - Make one for a little girl and follow the same instructions to make a pattern for a doll

For general resources for sewing for kids check out the tutorials at Whip up including this kimono wrap.

Or try this highly rated book "Sewing Clothes Kids Love."

No sew Fantasy Fairy Wings and Skirt

Halloween costume? Winter Sugar Plum fairy? Birthday princess?  Lots of reasons to make your own fairy wings for gift giving.

Here's an easy way to make no sew fairy wings from Kids Sewing Projects. add the skirt!  Here is a tutorial for a no sew tutu skirt from Plumtickled.

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