FodMap Friendly & Toddler Approved Rainbow Salad

In our quest to learn more about nutrition we have learned that we need to eat foods in each color of the rainbow because each color contains a different nutrient that our body needs. This was also reinforced by Daniel’s new pre-school curriculum that had a lesson about rainbow salad. In the lesson a little boy helps his mom make rainbow salad. We decided to do the same thing, so I got my trusty list of FodMap friendly foods to make sure everything we got was okay for Dad to eat and we headed to the Farmers Market.

It was lots of fun finding fruits in each color of the rainbow. We found

  • Red – Raspberries
  • Orange – Seedless Oranges
  • Yellow – Pineapple
  • Green – Kiwi
  • Blue – Blueberries
  • Purple – Grapes

When we got home Daniel pulled up his step stool and climbed up to make rainbow salad. I gave him a safety/butter knife and let him cut on a slice of pineapple while I diced the rest of it into bite-sized pieces.

I peeled the orange and let him separate the segments and add them to the bowl. He pulled the grapes of the stem and added them to the bowl. He got to push down on the slicer I have that sliced the kiwi.

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Finally we added the raspberries and blueberries and he drizzled the tiniest bit of honey over the top.

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YUMMY rainbow salad, beautiful and nutritious and made almost entirely by an 18 month old!

Healthy Lunch for Toddler AND Mom

Unfortunately I didn’t learn much about nutrition or proper meal planning when I was growing up so I have been trying to teach myself all I can in order to provide nutritious meal for my family.

Recently I decided on a very simple solution for myself, a large salad. I make a killer, everything on it salad so I actually ENJOY eating just a salad at lunch. Hubby not so much but he gets leftovers from dinner the night before so he is taken care of. But since I started doing this I have worried about what Daniel was eating for lunch. He is such a “monkey see, monkey eat” little kid that if I offered him something I wasn’t eating he wouldn’t eat it either. I can’t feed him a salad for lunch, he chokes on the lettuce & doesn’t quite have the whole salad concept down. But he does like all of the elements I add to my salad.

During his nap today I stole a few quiet moments while I was nursing Joseph to read a bit of a nutrition book I am trying to work through. Since my reading time is limited to about 10 minutes a day I jumped right to the chapter on feeding your toddler. The authors (Dr. & Mrs. Sears) explained that toddlers need to have food presented differently in order to match their lifestyle.

Toddlers are always on the go (ESPECIALLY boys!) and exploring their world but their stomachs are only the size of their little fist. Because of this they need nutritionally dense food, such as eggs, cheese, olives, avocado, etc.) They also need it presented in a way that accommodates their need to explore & snack as they get hungry again. They suggested a snack tray, filled with different nutritionally dense foods as well as some “fun food” presented to the toddler at their level that they could snack on through out the day. I decided to try that today for lunch.

Since many of the nutritionally dense food they suggested are items I already put on my salad each day I started by pulling out all my salad items and then threw in a few “fun food” items that I thought he would like.

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Here is what I had:

  • crackers with cream cheese*
  • yogurt dip*
  • mozzarella cheese (any cheese will do, I am just using up leftovers from Christmas’ cheese plate)
  • artichokes
  • olives (I had kalamonte b/c we all like them but you might want to try black if your toddler isn’t used to such strong flavors)
  • hard boiled eggs
  • Fresh Market bacon (Fun food is OK is small quantities, for mom & toddlers)
  • lettuce* (for me not the toddler)
  • parsley (mostly for me but I did put a few leaves in his tray to see what he would do with them)
  • carrots
  • tomatoes
  • peaches
  • dried blueberries
  • dried cherries
  • avocado
  • banana*

*I actually ran out spaces in my tray so I didn’t use these items for this tray but might next time I make it so he has some variety.

My little helper woke up before I had a chance to do more than cut the lettuce for my salad so he came in the kitchen to help me finish making our lunches.

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An he started snacking a little early.

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Having him “help” actually worked out great because he saw that I was putting the same items in his tray that I was putting in my salad bowl so he was more inclined to eat them. He even started polishing off the carrots first, an item that I normally cannot get him to eat!

Here was the final tray:

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As you can see carrots and blueberries took quit the hit before it even left the kitchen.

I placed the tray on a chair at his level and allowed him to graze at his leisure.

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And when we got ready to go to the park or grandma’s I just slipped the snack tray into a gallon ziploc bag to go with us.

So far this has worked well for us and I can expand the list of items so he always has new foods to explore.

 

 

No-Bake Cookies and a Visit to the Fire Station

Daniel, like all boys, is fascinated by fire trucks and there is a fire station just 1.5 miles from our house.  We frequently see the firemen in our development and they always let Daniel see the trucks and give him a plastic fireman’s hat. We wanted to do something to thank them for their service but it had to be something Daniel could actually participate in. Standing in line at the grocery store last night I got a brainstorm. Why not make no-bake cookies? I hadn’t made no bake cookies since I was too little for my mom to trust me with the oven but now they are perfect for me to do with Daniel.

I settled on two no-bake cookies. There is some prep that requires a stove but once that is done little ones can help with the rolling, stirring , pouring, cutting, etc.

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Cathedral Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (60z) chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 3 cups pastel miniature marshmallows
  • 1/2 cup nuts
  • 1 cup flaked coconut

Directions

  1. In a heavy saucepan, melt chocolate and coconut oil over low heat, stirring occasionally. Stir a small amount into the egg, then return all to pan. Cook and stir over low heat for 2 minutes. Pour into a bowl; let cool for 15 minutes. Gently stir in marshmallows and nuts. Chill for 30 minutes.
  2. Divide the dough in half. On a sheet of waxed paper, shape half the dough into a log. Place coconut on another sheet of waxed paper. Gently roll log over coconut to coat sides. Wrap up tightly, twisting ends to seal. Repeat with other half of the dough.
  3. Freeze for 4 hours or overnight. Remove waxed paper. Cut into 1/4-in. slices. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

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No Bake Chocolate Cookie Balls

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (6 oz) semisweet chocolate
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1-3/4 cups crushed graham crackers
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons honey

Directions

  1. Melt chocolate chips; stir until smooth.
  2. In separate bowl combine the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla wafers, walnuts, orange juice and honey. Add the chocolate and blend well.
  3. Shape into 1-in. balls; (if you have trouble getting the balls to hold together add a few more tablespoons of orange juice.) roll in additional confectioners’ sugar, colored sugars, jimmies or peppermint sugar. Store in an airtight container.

This recipe makes a ton of cookies but that is good when your little helper wants to eat as many as he rolls in the sugars. :-)

I supplemented the no-bake cookies with some oatmeal cookies and fudge I made after Daniel was in bed and we had a nice little tray to take to the fire station.

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The firemen were so nice and gracious to show Daniel around the fire station.

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They turned the lights on the truck which was fascinating!

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They showed him their gear inside the truck.

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And they let him sit in the truck!

Thank you Delray Beach Fire Rescue for a wonderful time! And thank you to all of our service men and women for your service to our country and communities.

Edible Finger Paint and an Adorable Christmas Card

I’ve made these finger paints a couple times with the kids and it is great fun. They can paint away and I don’t worry about how many times the little finger go in their mouth because it is completely safe!

The first time was for Father’s Day. This time I was really smart and stripped the kids down to their diapers, spead a plastic table cloth outside and put the paints and construction paper out for them. When they were done clean up was simple, I just hosed them off! (which they thought was great fun by the way)

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I’m looking at this at Christmas thinking “they look cold” but this picture was actually take in June in Florida so the temp was probably in the 80’s or 90’s this day and babies in nothing but diapers were perfectly warm enough. :-)

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I started out with a cup for each color of paint but that seemed to hard for them to access so eventually I just dumped the cups into different sections of a disposable tray for them.

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This made it much easier for them to access the colors they wanted and actually made less of a mess since before they were about to dump the cup of paint on themselves or each other.

Here is how I made the paints.

To a saucepan add:

2 Tablespoons of sugar

1/3 cup of flour

1 teaspoon salt

Mix with 2 cups of water and whisk until smooth. Turn on the heat and stir continually until the mixture thickens. Make sure you whisk the whole time otherwise you end up with little flour lumps in the finger paints.

Pour into your plastic cups. (You’ll need one cup for every color of paint you’d like to make.) Mix in a couple drops of food coloring and stir until completely dissolved. Let cool completely before allowing kids to start painting.

I recently mixed up another batch of paints to make footprint Christmas cards. Sorry no pictures of this process, it took two adults just to hold the baby, dip his foot in paint then press it on the Christmas card! It was a bit of work and only 7 cards were produced but it was adorable.

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Limited edition, once in a lifetime Christmas Card. This busy mom only had the time and the ability to make seven cards so if you receive one count yourself lucky. And if you are a busy mom don’t feel that you have to “do it all” or feel guilty about what you didn’t get a chance to do this Christmas. Just enjoy the season with your family!

 

 

Headbands

One of Daniel’s best buddies has gorgeous curly hair that she won’t keep a hair-clip in but her mom told me that she like headbands. I decided to see if I could come up with a few cute headbands that I could make for her. The first one was a simple puffy pink bow. Daniel called her name as soon as he saw it and couldn’t wait to give it to her.

Here is how I made it.

First I cut six 4″ lengths of ribbon from eight different colors of ribbon.

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Then I folded the ribbon in half and threaded it onto my needle.

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I kept repeating the pattern until I used all the ribbon.

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Then pull everything tight and knotted the thread several times.

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Fluff out the ribbons.

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Then I started working on the band. I used babyville’s yellow fold over elastic that I had measured to the length of her head.  I folded over one end slightly to eleminate rough edges and matched the two ends togther.

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Then I sewed the ends together.

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I put hot glue on the unfinesd ends of the puppy ribbon ball.

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Then quickly press it into the seam area of the head band.

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Beautiful headband for a beautiful girl!

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Thanksgiving Turkeys

I just made these adorable pine-cone turkeys for Thanksgiving place settings with my son. They double as a favor for grandparents to make the size of his hands this year.

Start by tracing his hand on three different colors of paper. Make sure you have one hand print in each color for each place setting you need (I needed 6 place settings so I  did six hand prints in each color).

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Once you have all the prints traced cut them out.

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Then draw oval shaped faces on another color paper and cut them out.

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Once everything is cut out start assembling the turkeys. Draw or glue eyes and a small “beak” on the faces and hot glue it to the narrow end of the pinecone. Take one hand print in each color and fan them to create a “tail”. Hot glue this to the wide end of the pine cone.

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An adorable family of pinecone turkeys! Finish them off by writing your guests names on the tails.

Happy Thanksgiving.

 

Music from a Thankful Heart

I apologize that this blog has been quiet for a little while but there has been very good reason, here is the biggest/smallest one:

Brothers

Brothers

Joseph Mark was born 15 days early via emergency c-section amid a whirlwind of other life altering events. He and big brother Daniel have been occupying all of Mommy’s time.  In fact I am trying to type this blog one handed while alternating little boys who want to sit on my lap while listening to their Thanksgiving Music Playlist.

Daniel has a fascination with music and while I love Cedarmont Kids, Praise Baby & Veggie Tales for him I can only listen to the same handful of songs a certain number of times before I go stir-crazy. I think we passed that point about six months ago after the one billionth time listening to every one of his kiddy dvds! :-)

He dances and signs along when his dad or I are listening to our “grown-up” music so I decided to continue on the theme of teaching him Thankfulness (he will now say “Thank you” with almost no prompting!) and create a Thanksgiving playlist that I can put on for him when he asks for music. These songs won’t drive the adults up a wall and I want to teach him the words to praise hymns while he is young. When I was a child we had to memorize hymns and the words to those songs have stuck with me my whole life and carried me through many trials.

I put a lot of work into compiling these and thought some of you might enjoy being able to grab one of the songs or the whole list. I hope you find it encouraging and if you have a favorite Thanksgiving song please leave it below in a comment.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Thanksgiving Music Playlist

Because Of Your Love
Better Than Life
Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing
Come Ye Thankful People Come
Doxology
Enough
Everything that has breath
For All You Are
For All You’ve Done
For These Reasons
Forever
Give Thanks
Grateful Heart
How Great Thou Art
How To Worship A King
I Thank You
It is Well With My Soul
Love You So Much
Made Me Glad
O Worship The King
Praise To The Lord The Almighty
Thank You For Loving Me
Thank You For Saving Me
Thank You Lord
Thankful
What the Lord Has Done in Me
When It’s All Been Said And Done
Worthy Is the Lamb (with In the Cross and Crown Him With Many Crowns)
You Are Good
You’ve Been So Good

 

Wholesomely Delicious Whole Grain Peanut Butter & Jelly Muffins

I was looking for something yummy and tempting to make for Daniel a few weeks ago. I found a recipe for Peanut Butter muffins which I thought he might like but they had a jelly glaze. Anybody with a one year old knows that you don’t feed them anything glazed unless you are prepared to deal with extreme messiness afterward. Then I had a brilliant idea. Why not put the jelly inside the muffins? I decided to spice the muffins up a little as well to add a little flavor. Here is what I came up with.

Wholesomely Delicious Whole Grain Peanut Butter & Jelly Muffins

2 1/4 cups whole wheat, white whole wheat or whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
4 Tablespoons butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)
1 Tablespoon Vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon almond extract
2 large eggs
3/4 cups buttermilk

Filling:

Favorite flavor of jelly

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375. Line a mini muffin pan with paper cups.

Mix dry ingredients together in a medium bowl.

Cream butter & sugar then add peanut butter, extracts, eggs & buttermilk. Add dry ingredients and mix until moistened.

Scoop one Tablespoon of batter into muffins cups.

 

 

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Put a heaping 1/4 teaspoon on top of the batter.

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Scoop another Tablespoon of batter on top of the jelly.

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Bake until golden brown 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven & allow to cool before feeding to your hungry monster.

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They must have been good. He ate 6 of them as soon as they had cooled and everyday at noon he begs for them. This batch made 3 dozen mini muffins and has lasted me several weeks of lunches and snacks.

Since they are wholegrain & a good source of protein I have no problem with him eating them as often as he wants. I’ve been told they are the perfect food for picky eaters as well. Picky eaters isn’t really an issue I have at my house  but if your kids are try these muffins. They are Daniel endorsed.

 

To Train Up A Child

Now days it seems that there are so many spoiled children and mothers who are simply slaves to their children. I really don’t believe that this is the way it should be. Children should be trained to behave properly and do tasks according to their abilities and moms should be able to enjoy the time they have with them instead of being worn out from being their servant.  One of my favorite author’s & speakers says regularly our goal as parents should be to raise Godly, marriageable adults. I think the Godly part is obvious, if we fail at that we have failed as parents; however, most people miss the marriageable part. Most moms forget to train their sons to me marriageable (able to care for themselves, their wife and family) and instead train their sons to expect their wife to cook, clean and slave for him just like mom did while he he does little to nothing and shows no appreciation.  It is all well and good if his wife marries a woman who desires to cook and clean for him. This was my personal choice in life, and I hope my son will choose a Godly woman who will love and respect him and fulfill the Proverbs 31 model I try to follow. However, I speak from experience when I say it is much easier to do when you have a loving, caring, grateful husband who is willing to pitch in and doesn’t expect you to do everything for him. I would like to do my daughter-in-law the favor of training her husband now instead of making her spend 10 years trying to re-train bad habits out of him. Daniel is one and we are starting to work on him doing some age/ability appropriate items.

I have recently started trying to teach him to pick up his own toys. It is still a work in progress and, yes at this age it would be faster and easier for me to do it myself than to spend all the time I do training him to do it himself. But if I did that I would not be teaching him anything except that Mommy will do it for him. So instead of doing it myself in half the time, I take the time to sit with him and train him on how to pick up after himself. Someday my daughter-in-law will thank me.

Children respond to doing any task better if their is a reward attached. Fortunately I was able to discover early on that Daniel’s love languages are touch & words of affirmation (for more information about  discovering your child’s love language check out Gary Chapman’s 5 Love Languages of Children, they even have a test to discover your child’s love language for older children) I discovered this when I told him thank you for handing me a piece of laundry. He went happy crazy and now he wants to help with laundry all the time and if I forget to say thank you after he hands me a piece he will remind me. This works with almost anything. If we say “Thank you” to him he will repeat that action over and over to get more affirmation.

Today I decided to try using affirmation to get him to pick up his blocks. I’ve tried to get him to do this before and usually he get bored after the third block and wanders off or starts crying. So today I decided to sit with him the entire time and affirm each time he put a block in it’s bucket. Yeah, this took WAY longer than doing it myself but it was well worth it as all the blocks got put up and he was so proud of himself.

I started this video about halfway through, when he wasn’t looking (otherwise he would have just wanted to quit and play camera) The angle isn’t the best the whole time since the camera was stationary and obviously a one-year-old little boy is NOT and unfortunately my arm is blocking him part of the time but I think you get the main idea. Hopefully this will give you some ideas about how to train your child up to be a Godly, Marriageable adult.

 

 

 

 

DIY Cat Hooded Towel

I mentioned in a previous post that I have been making my own hooded towel.  I wanted to try a cat but  search as I might I could not find a pattern for a cat hooded towel so I decided to try to design my own.  It was kind of fun to try my own creative skills on this one. Here is how I did it. (sorry for the coloring difference in some of the pictures, I worked on this project over several days/nights  and sometimes I had the florescent lamp on and other times I had natural lighting from the window.)

 

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I started by sketching  out my face pieces. Pointy ears, a heart nose & an oval mouth with “jowls”.

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Here are all the pieces cut out.  The first mouth I did flopped miserably so I came up with a new method.

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I pinned the pattern with the “jowls” along the fold & cut the sides and top but not the bottom.

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Then I outlined the bottom and used that as the sew line instead of cutting along it.

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I sewed the nose on with a satin stitch and sewed whiskers on in black with a satin stitch.

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Then I sewed the sides and top, just leaving a small opening along the top to turn it right side out.

 

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Turn right side out through the opening at the top.

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Finished mouth, don’t worry about the opening in the top. We will close that off when we attach it to the hood.

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Match up the ear pieces.

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Sew them together, you will have to gather the outer part to make it match up with the smaller inner part.

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Turn the ears right side out.

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All the face pieces ready to be sewn to the hood

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Fold and pin up the edge four inches.

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Sew the edge down.

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Fold the top third of the towel under. Line up the mouth with the seam and lay out the other pieces, eyes right above the mouth & ears over to the side and slightly above the eyes.

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Sew the top of the mouth down with a satin stitch.

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Sew around each eye useing a satin stitch.

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Make a small slit where the ears are to be placed and poke them through.

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Useing a zigzag on the inside of the hood sew the ears in place making sure to fully catch all the edges.

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Cat face! Ready to be turned into a hood.

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Sew the cut edges of your towel together.

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Sew a zigzag along the top of the cat hood and trim off the excess.

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Take your bath towel and make a small pleat in the center. ( these pleat folds are about one inch on each side)

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Line up the seam of the hood with the center of your pleat and pin in place.

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Pin & sew hood to bath towel.

 

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And there you have it, a cat hooded towel all ready to snuggle a little kitty lover.