Sunday, January 6, 2013

Fish Blanket..?

For some reason, Diana has been talking about a "fish blanket." Yesterday, I finally got her to show me what she meant online. (Here's what she found, no idea how she found it.) Today we hit JoAnn's in hopes of finding fabric she approved of for her own fish blanket.

Naturally, fish-themed fabric was scarce. My husband managed to find some that she approved of in the quilting fabrics, I got some flannel to back it, and used a fleece remnant for batting. (I am never using satin blanket binding again. I've used it twice now, and both times had nothing but trouble with the sewing machine.) 

After washing the fabric, I discovered that the flannel shrank more than the fish fabric, so that caused some aggravation until I determined that the binding would cover that issue. I did some very basic machine quilting, added the binding, and two hours later, she has her fish blanket.

I just used the width of the fabric and a yard and a quarter length.
It's a decent size for curling up with on the couch,
but she's added it to her collection.

She's happy with it. But I really hope she doesn't get it in her head that I need to make her a blanket for every single whim she has...

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Penny Pinching

In addition to the Little Chrissy dolls she wanted to badly, Diana also received a gumball machine that I filled with her favorite flavors* of Jelly Bellys.

No, she hasn't nearly emptied it since it was received.
I only bought a bit over a pound, and it will hold probably 4.
I didn't set it to free vend, because I wanted her to use her change to buy them, as a learning experience. As far as I can tell, there is not a way to set it to how much a spin of the handle costs, so she can put in any coin up to a quarter to receive about 5 jelly beans. Now I know she's been working on money math at school, and the class goes on community trips to practice that and other skills. I know she knows that a penny is 1 cent and a quarter is 25, and I know that she knows that 1 is less than 25. I did not expect her to be reluctant to put anything but pennies in the "jelly bean machine." It would seem she's a bit of a penny-pinch, which I find admirable! However, this also means it's going to be really hard to refill the machine with the change inside when Jelly Bellys are nearly $20/pound at the candy store... Ah well, that will be a learning experience, too.

*How to determine the favorite flavors of Jelly Bellys with a communication-impaired person:
1. Buy a box of Jelly Bellys in a 50-flavor, compartmentalized box.
2. Let the person pick freely from the box, until they stop choosing any more candy. (This could take a while. With Diana, I think it took her about a week of grazing before she ate all she intended to.)
3. When they're finished, note which flavors they ate, based on the flavor guide/map on the inside of the box's lid.
4. Keep the list handy so you can buy just those flavors from a bulk candy store.

It may seem silly to go to this much trouble, but of those 50 flavors, she only likes 10 -- 20% of the box. In a bag of 30 flavors, or the little boxes of 20 assorted, she likes 7 and 6 respectively (and since the assortments are random, there's no guarantee that each flavor will be in the package). That's a lot of wasted jelly beans, or jelly beans that her father and I end up eating so they don't go in the trash. It's much more economical to buy only the flavors we know she likes.

And in case you're curious: A&W Cream Soda, Bubble Gum, Coconut, Cotton Candy, French Vanilla, Island Punch, Peach, Strawberry Daiquiri, Toasted Marshmallow and Very Cherry. Interestingly, with the exception of Peach, the rest of Diana's Assortment is very Valentine-y - white/pink/red/purple.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


Last night we had our party, as dictated by her. She wanted us to have hats, horns, balloons... and popcorn. Not clear on what was so "party" about popcorn, but I made it anyway, and she was happy. My husband commented, on hearing her with a party horn, that was the loudest noise he had ever heard her purposefully make. While the dog wasn't keen on that, she seemed to be having a marvelous time with it.

I'm not sure whether or not Diana understands the concept of resolutions, those promises we make to ourselves and break... I'd actually call that a lucky thing; she doesn't have the disappointment of not following through with them.

My hope for the coming year is to help her become a little more self-sufficient. (Hungry? Make some lunch.) We've tried in the past, but often it's so much easier (and faster) to do it for her, when what we're really doing is hobbling her. That needs to stop. So she will be doing more cooking, more cleaning, more chores, and she won't like it, or me, for it. But maybe someday she will recognize why and understand.

While I am busy with my own chores this morning (whoops, afternoon already!), I'm considering ways that will make it easier for her to do for herself. Things like putting the frozen chicken nuggets in a freezer container with the instructions printed on the container -- the zip-top bag doesn't close very well, and rather than have her struggle to get it closed, a container with a lid would be much easier, and might even make the freezer better organized. Tiny things like that, working toward her own sense of accomplishment and independence, that's my goal for her this year.

 Happy 2013!