Tag Archives: tips

Adventures of The Sneaky Chef in the Cave of the Aspie Kid

15 Jul

Boy Genius

A couple of months ago I intended to blog on this fabulous book (The Sneaky Chef) we had bought, hoping to increase nutritional value for our whole family, particularly Alex. I mentioned Alex’s food quirks and “rules” a little in my post “Islands in the Stream” and promised to check back in about the book.

Well, here I am. A little older, a little wiser, a lot more cooking under my belt than I typically do. I enjoyed my experiments and the creativity exercised in the kitchen. I really enjoyed that because of my abnormal level of fatigue and pain (yay, isn’t arthritis fun!) Jeff did the dishes and the grocery shopping so I could focus on inoculating tasty and fun foods with extra nutrition to make one of kiddo’s primary personal goals (and one of our goals as his parents) come to fruition.

Alex wants to grow up big and strong and healthy.

And we want him to grow up big and strong and healthy as well. (By big we mean: Not frail)

We have always avoided the concept of “the clean plate club” as in my million plus years of Weight Watchers meetings I had seen and heard of the fallout of such parenting & nutritional methods. And, as someone who has been on a diet since 3 weeks old (yes, you heard me: weeks) and I am still experiencing the fallout from that (I’ll cover that in another entry, at another time. Promise.)

So I am particularly sensitive to not taking the warden approach to nutrition. Our goal for Alex, in all aspects of his life, was to give him the tools to be able to make the best decisions, for himself, in his life. This applies to work, health, his personal life, etc… I do want to thank Early Intervention for asking us the important question of what we want for him and his life. We learned to keep it non-specific enough that we don’t suffocate him with our expectations, but enough that we can build goals. Good and important stuff.

So, we decided to start “Sneaky-cheffing” more nutrition into his regular foods and he even helped me (we both got so messy! he didn’t freak out completely! it was wonderful!) prepare a few recipes.

But guess what we found out? Our experiment reiterated that kiddo will probably never eat a casserole or anything remotely resembling a casserole- even homemade macaroni & cheese with real cheese rather than packet of powdery stuff is too much of a multiple texture experience for him. He’ll eat Annie’s Mac n’ Cheese but not the stuff I spent so much time planning and prepping and cooking. He also won’t eat any whole vegetables other than carrots. Think about it: Carrots are the same consistency all the way through- I can’t think of another vegetable that does that…Maybe peeled and cooked potato chunks-but then there’s a certain graininess, and with sweet potatoes a certain stringiness… Anyway, this goes beyond regular little kid dislikes and pickiness- these textures actually make Alex dry heave (or barf. Depending how deep we are into the meal.)

Some ideas from The Sneaky Chef worked beautifully- the idea of adding extra nutrition everywhere has stuck with me- even as far as adding water to a recipe (or instructions on a box)- I don’t add water (well not every time, I still need to work on the planning thing!) but use a nutritious liquid instead. I learned that blueberry juice doesn’t curdle milk and makes a fun colored alternative to plain white milk (or soy milk…Alex seems to change his preferences every couple of weeks)…

I also learned that we can sneak some of the purees suggested in the book into some foods, without objection.

Then Alex saw the jars. Ok, when I first started using the book I made my own purees. But as backups we had the recommended jars of baby food (not all of the purees are available as baby foods, and the homemade purees and mixes are much cheaper and not difficult to make and freeze).
Alex saw the jars. I took a deep breath. He voiced a little panic about baby food being for babies.

So I asked him (remember, he is deeply logical and literal and rule based. Think Spock to the nth power):
ME:Who eats baby food?
ALEX: Babies
ME: Are you a baby?
ALEX: No. I’m a big guy. BIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGGGGGG! (makes war face and flexes and almost knocks himself over)
ME: What do you eat?
ALEX: Big Guy food.
ME: If you eat a cracker is it Big Guy food?
ALEX: Yes.
ME: So if you are not a baby and you eat the stuff in this jar then what is it?
ALEX: I’m not a baby!
ME: That’s right! You are a big guy! SO, if you eat the stuff in this jar & you are not a baby then the food in this jar cannot be baby food! It’s only baby food if a baby is eating it.
If a BIG GUY is eating it, it’s called “PUREE”!
ALEX: I like puree!
ME: YAY!

So, after all of our experiments trying to sneak “puree” into his foods we found out that Alex doesn’t like it mixed in. He likes it plain and separate from his regular food.

Of course, he has to announce, at the start of the meal, “It’s only baby food if a baby is eating it. If I eat it then it’s puree!”. Seriously. He says it every time.

Perhaps, if he adjusts to the taste this way, he’ll be more accepting of various textures eventually. Until then, I’m happy to serve him his vegetables in this manner.

A wise person once said, in regards to parenting, “Pick your battles”.

As he slugs down jars of summer vegetables (a sneaky way of disguising what actual veggies are in there- summer veggies are ok, broccoli & spinach, etc -not so much. Don’t forget, on top of our Adventures with Asperger’s, our Alex is still a kid. Sometimes, I guess that maybe it’s like having twins.) I realize that we both are winning and we can focus on moving forward to bigger and better things. I try to point out that it’s like a bisque, but he corrects me “Puree!”

I still think The Sneaky Chef is totally worth the purchase (Amazon has copies from <$2.00 + shipping to brand new…any which way, I think it's worth it) it was a great jumping off place for figuring out some small ways to enhance nutrition for the whole family.

(We have been getting various supplies through Amazon.com lately- yes, the Prime program is awesome! They do carry Earth's Best in 12 packs and Annie's Mac n' Cheese as a 6 pack- actually, with Prime, it winds up being less expensive than our chain supermarket and they are delivered right to our door. I'll post a link to my amazon store soon, where I'll have all of the things I have mentioned with links, to make things easier for everyone!)

xo
Bek

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Two Tip Tuesday!

3 Feb

There’s no wrong way

Originally uploaded by CleverIndie

I’m going to start collecting tips and sharing them…Two on Tuesday, ok? Cool. Make sure you get the two tips next Tuesday by subscribing via email!

Clickity click here!

I love reusing spools from my chain purchases to hold small things… They are usually wide enough that they are more tip resistant than other containers, which is an important feature for me, what with being less than grace personified and all…

I do quite a bit of work either on a high countertop/bartop where I can stand or sit (mostly stand), or sitting on a softer surface with plenty of back support… Things tend to get flung and knocked over (again, another reason why I hesitate to work with glass and gemstones and if I do I always double the recipe) in either location, this contraption prevents that a bit…

Basically, I packing tape one hole, with a little bit of paper so it’s non stick on the inside of the well… I have, in the past, used double stick tape to tape this to my tray table/lap desk/workbench, but in each location I wound up getting too cocky, started talking with my hands (I’m a passionate hand talker…), and kablammmm! small bits (headpins, ear wires, you name it) everywhere….

And, when working from one of my satellite locations, I like to wind my tape measure around the outer portion… So it’s handy…

Another tip? When Target has silicone baking mats in the dollar section near the entrance I grab a few- they are easily cleaned during messy kid crafts (yet they give kids a colorful background and contrast- very helpful for some kiddos) and they are great when working with things that tend to roll away, a little non-slip grip and cushioning…

OK, that’s all I’ve got for now…

Hugs all around,
xo
bek

HOW TO: Offer Multiple Shipping Options on Etsy.com

21 Dec

UPDATE:  5/4/2012… Apparently this no longer works.  I will keep this post up on the blog but it has been reported to me that this method no longer works as Etsy has rolled out and is continually rolling out new seller/checkout/shipping features…This was from way back when, in the very early days of Etsy…. I guess I’ll keep it here for historical reference…

UPDATE: 1/27/2011…  Not sure that this works with the newer Etsy checkout… Anyone want to try it?  Report your results in the comments section please!  Merci!

(UPDATED with international info…It’s at the end of the post)

Here is how I am offering multiple shipping options without the whole “convo me” and paypal invoice thing…

I read the article in the storque about setting up paypal so that transaction shipping info would be taken from the etsy transaction and brought to paypal…

I thought, “hey ,why can’t I do the reverse to use paypal’s shipping features when the customers are in the paypal portion of checking out”…

So…Here’s how I did it.
I went into paypal and clicked profile(under “my account”)

Under “selling preferences” I clicked “shipping calculations”

Here you can add methods…Each method gets a line, so you can customize what is charged.

For example, for my goods, and in my Etsy shop I have the base shipping (on domestic US) as:
$2.75 ($0.50 if shipped with another item)…
So for each entry in my standard shipping profile in PayPal I would put items 1-1 $2.75, 2-2 $3.25, 3-3 $3.75 4-4 $4.25 and 5+ $4.75….

Then I can also add a profile for Overnight and 2 day…

But for those it’s flat rate regardless of quantity (you can also do all of this by weight or dollar amount, but you need to stay consistent with your etsy listings, so doing it by quantity makes sense for most sellers…

Remember, your etsy listing is your agreement with your customer, you cannot go charging some bizarro number in paypal shipping….

To handle this I have explained in my listings what the listed shipping price is for (usps first class) and that other options are available when completing their payment in paypal…I also list those methods and their charges in my listing so nobody is confused and thinks everything ships fedex upgraded for free….

My etsy shipping charge does equal the “standard” shipping charge in my paypal profile.

Now, when setting this up, there is an important box in each little shipping method/profile that you set up…

It says:
Use the shipping fee in the transaction instead of my calculator’s settings:

If you click this, it will use the amount you specified in Etsy.  If you leave it blank, your customer should be able to choose their shipping method (if you have multiple methods…if you only have one method, and do not want to offer speedier shipping then you probably should just disregard this post as you don’t need to do this…

( Here’s the article that got me moving in this direction:
http://www.etsy.com/storque/how-to/customer-care-how-to-for-sellers-shipping-costs-and-paypal-399/ )

I do think it is important to explain to the customer what your listed shipping is for and that they have choices once they are in paypal…

Also, if you are shipping fedex, you will need your customer’s phone number for the airbill… I chose “optional” for the phone number request in “Website Payment Preferences” under paypal/profile for the time being…

I really hope this helps someone!

I wish I had figured this out sooner!

I do have to update my listings (take out the date specific/holiday stuff) but I think it gives a good picture of how I am managing this idea for my own shop….You can see it here: CleverGirl.Etsy.com

Hugs!

xo

Bek

NOTE:  This is for domestic US shipping.  I believe the international shipping could be tweaked the same way but the parameters of shipping various goods to international destination is quite varied.  The method outlined here is how I am doing it. Your Mileage May Vary.  No guarantees, warrantees implied.  Not responsible if problems occur. Etc… Basically: here’s what I did, you can try it to, if you want to, but if it doesn’t work for you then I am not responsible.  Everyone has very different needs, requirements, goods which may make this method ineffective or impractical… I may have skipped steps. I tried not to, but things happen….   I will answer questions if I can, but I am swamped.  The best teacher is experience…It’s worth investigating all of the details before commiting to anything…  (and I am not tech support…I am a silversmith…) Sorry if this sounds harsh…. Hugs! Peace! Love all around!

INTERNATIONAL: For international orders I have two shipping profiles in Etsy, one for goods that are priced above $50 and one for those that are below $50,  due to importation requirements for most countries… So in this case, I chose to use the information from the etsy.com transaction to override shipping options in paypal.  PayPal allows different options for domestic and international- including which info is used… hope this helps…

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MULTIPLE SHOPS:  I have not tried this for multiple shops… If you try it and have success(or failure, as long as we can learn from it) with multiple shops let me know and I’ll post an update here , or blog about it and I’ll post the link… I cannot even wrap my head around the basic logistics of two shops right now, so in the interest of my sanity and accurate information, I’m taking  hands off approach to that one…

Windows…

5 Aug

No, not Vista… I’m talking about outdoor windows…

The sliding glass door has been my nemesis for quite some time…

When we moved in getting that thing clean was an epic adventure.

So, this time I brought in the big blue genie…

Dawn.

“Basic” Dawn Dishwashing Detergent does a whole load of stuff….

I use it as the burnishing fluid in my tumbler…. I used it to scrub (with a softish but still slightly rigid brush) my big glass door before squeegeeing… And I have to confess, a squirt of blue Dawn down the commode every once in a while really helps to keep things moving (and get things moving…if the um offending stoppage isn’t just paper…Hey, *%it happens. Also, I no longer even bother with stain remover on any greasy spots (even dairy leaves little greasy kisses on clothes)- as most of my clothes are cotton these days (good ol’ casual Florida!)…I put a dab of Dawn on the top and underside of the stain (to really kick it’s greasy arse) and throw it in the wash… Sure I love my “all natural” old school detergents and soaps, but Dawn is a great little weapon (and the small bottle lasts us around 6 months…and oddly enough, I tested some of the things I do with Dr. Bronner’s and some of the more natural/branded/marketed stuff from Ada’s Market and Dawn came out ahead…But for a quick cleaning of a mirror and everyday home maintenance I find that vinegar and water and baking soda work wonders….

I’m glad to see I’m not the only loony using dawn on windows- there was a gentleman on the today show with the dishwashing liquid suggestion as well. He had a nifty giant sponge though…Have to get me one of those…

School Glue is Too Fast For Us….

4 Jun

OK. So eventually you have to let little kids use elmer’s (or other brand) white glue in the squeezy bottle, right?   Child cannot glue with gluesticks alone…

BUT the problem with anything that isn’t a complete solid and it’s interaction with younger kids, is that the combination of boundless enthusiasm combined with the sheer joy of “more” usually leads to a puddle of glue that frequently drowns whatever they were trying to glue and if on paper, can form a soggy, rippy, drippy mess…

For kids who will only sit and glue for a little while I have a suggestion… I tried this on a whim yesterday and so far so good…

Try putting your squeezy bottle of white school glue in the fridge- even 30 minutes works… I may start storing one in there to see how it “keeps” over time…

The cold thickens the consistency of the glue just enough that, when squeezed, it comes out slowly…

This effect seems to wear off (keep in mind we live in Florida and it is hot hot hot here) after a short while (I stopped trying it after 20 minutes because not only do I have a 4 year old, I have the attention span of one…) but lasts long enough that junior can glue a little bit without needing triple tarp protection and the vigilant hovering of the mama….

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