Tres Leches Cake

Delicious for any occasion

Homemade Watercolors

For homeschoolers, or just fun at home

DIY Toothpaste

Great for good health, and a happy pocketbook

Vegetarian Meals for the Whole Family

Even picky kids will love these meat-less dishes

Sewing Projects and Tips

Even more tutorials to come soon

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Giveaway Winner!

So, I numbered a list of all the Facebook fans, added the blog followers & pulled a number from (Oh, & I removed Hubby, what the hell does he need with an apron?) ;-)

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaand- the winner is:
You can click the pic to make it bigger =-)

#33! Kimberly Bryant! Congrats Kim, & email me at admin(at)disheveledmommy(dot)com with your shipping info! =-)
Thanks so much for your support guys! A bigger & better contest is being planned! Also, trying to gather Christmas cookie recipes to share. (& decipher them from Jenni-ese to something a normal human being can read!) 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Dinner Doughnuts!?

Tasty, comforting yummy goodness! Well, they're not really doughnuts, but they are based on my No Time Doughnuts.

Begin by taking a can of cheapy refrigerator biscuits. (They were on sale for like .30 a pop...) Slice them in half. I like to zip through them with a pizza cutter...
Then, while heating up your oil, (I like to use a cast iron pan...), mix together in a paper lunch sack your coating. I used 1/2 tsp each onion & garlic powder, a pinch each of salt & pepper, and a generous pinch each of dried parsley & dried oregano. I think some canned Parmesan cheese, or that fakey-powdered butter would be delicious with some pasta!

Fry, watch them, they go QUICK. Then let drain briefly on some paper towels.
 Toss half of the batch into your paper sack & shake to cover. Repeat with the rest.

Not the healthiest of side choices, but for sure a kid-friendly, crowd-pleasing treat!

Also, don't forget about our Facebook fan giveaway & the Little Diva Tutus giveaway!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Little Diva Tutus Giveaway!

No, not mine (yet, I'd LOVE to give one of these gorgeous tutus away someday!)
Little Diva Tutus is running a giveaway on their Facebook page. Details can be found here:!/topic.php?uid=113954616841&topic=13818 
Be sure to let her know if I sent you there ;-) (Yes, an extra entry would be lovely!)
Even though I do get an entry, I am posting because it is a suuuuuper sweet giveaway, and suuuuuuper awesome tutus. #3 owns two actually, even  though one doesn't fit anymore...
And, even though she is this very moment insisting on running around the house in only a towel, I know that she would LOVE to have a new tutu every month- as would all of your little girls! So, go enter! 

Monday, November 22, 2010

Turkey Time

Here's a quick time-guide for your turkey roasting:

How long will that take?
Depending on the weight of your bird, heat of your oven, and how well the air circulates in your oven, you can expect your bird to be fully cooked anywhere from 3-7 hours. You can use this chart to estimate, but be SURE to double check with a thermometer.

These times are for UN STUFFED birds...just 'cause I don't stuff :P A stuffed bird will take longer.

When is it done?
Cook your bird until a thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh reads 185 degrees.

Weight of turkey
APPROXIMATE time to cook in a 325° oven
3 to 3 1/2 hours
3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours
4 1/2 to 5 1/2 hours
5 1/2 to 6 1/2 hours
6 1/2 to 7 hours

Saturday, November 20, 2010

My Thanksgiving Countdown

Everyone has a general time-line they like to follow leading to Turkey Day, this is my general flow:

1 week before (5-7 days before):
  • ·         Get turkey defrosting in fridge
  • ·         Organize pantry for ease & to double-check ingredients
  • ·         Buy all non-perishable ingredients
  • ·         Make a final shopping list of perishables & hang in the kitchen just-in-case something gets used (Such as cream, butter & other everyday items)
  • ·         Plan activities/get DVDs & stock up on arts& crafts items for the children’s break from school
The Monday before:
  • ·         Iron out cooking/baking schedule to allow for any changes (new guests/new requests/etc.)
  • ·         Finalize shopping list- you will be going tomorrow
The Tuesday before:
  • ·         Go shopping  for perishables & missing items
  • ·         Cut veggies for snacks/appetizers (celery & carrot sticks, etc.)
  • ·         Cut any veggies you know you will be using a large amount of & stow in the fridge in lidded containers. (Onions, celery, etc.)
  • ·         If making dressing from cubed bread, cut & put in a large zip-lock bag
  • ·         If making any dishes that freeze/store well you should make them today. (Make-a-head mashed potatoes, some casseroles, etc.)
  • ·         Organize baking items/area for the big baking day tomorrow
  • ·         Bake your booty off. If you are making your pies from scratch (I do, I’m picky) do them today. If you have rolls to make, get them done. I like to get my dough done and slow-rising in the fridge & bake them off on Thursday
  • ·         Make & pop in the fridge any dishes that do well storing overnight. (Things like Green Bean Casserole…) Pull out & defrost in the fridge any other dishes you may have frozen
  • ·         If making fresh- make your cranberry sauce
  • ·         Start any appetizers that will store well. (I begin my stuffed mushrooms)
  • ·         Put together your relish/crudités platter & tuck into the fridge
I'll post my Thursday checklist after I finalize it tomorrow! =-)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Double-Chocolate Chip Cookies

These delicious cookies are always a hit at our house, nice and chocolaty, with just the right amount of chew & crisp.

Preheat oven to 375.
In a bowl, beat together 1 1/4Cpacked brown sugar, 3/4C butter-flavored shortening & 2 Tablespoons of milk. Beat until fluffy.
Beat in 1 egg and 1 Tablespoon vanilla.
In another bowl, sift together 1 1/4C flour, 1/2C cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon salt and 3/4 teaspoon baking soda.
Stir the powdered mix into the wet/creamed mixture. Stir in 1 1/2C milk chocolate chips. Sometimes I'll add half milk chocolate and half semi-sweet.
Use a cookie scoop, or drop rounded tablespoons of dough on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake 7-10 minutes until almost set. Let cool ON THE SHEET for about 3 or 4 minutes, then cool on a rack. These are also delicious with toasted pecans tossed in.

Also, don't forget to join our Facebook page for a giveaway! =-)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Facebook Giveaway!

We're only about 20 "fans" on Facebook to our 50-"fan" goal for a giveaway. We'll use to pick a winner when we hit 50.
We'll be sending off this CUTE little winter apron:
Well, not this exact one...yours will be brand-spankin'-new-in-the-package. =-)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, November 15, 2010

Quick Meal: Pizza Pasta

Moms like to have an arsenal of SUPER-quick go-to meals to throw together when the day is just too long, and bedtime is fast approaching. Tonight's "Crap-Mom's-not-home-until-5:30" meal was Pizza Pasta.

Take a box/bag of rotini or similar shaped/sized pasta. Boil it. Throw in a jar of spaghetti sauce. Mushroom or garden varieties make for a great pizza pasta meal. Dish up & sprinkle on some cheese & cut pepperoni. Sometimes when I have some ricotta to use up I toss that in- WAAAAAY delicious!

Disposable plates are the bomb-diggity

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Refrigerator Drip Pans...Aka ZOMGoodness WTF is That Smell!?

Until this morning I was blissfully unaware that my refrigerator had a drip pan. I mean, of course if you THINK about it...why wouldn't it? But why would I think about it!?

Soooo...about 5 days ago, the back corner of my kitchen had a faint whiff of socks. Noticed, of course, only after a full day...and the midnight hour quickly approaching. After a quick sniff-around of the area, we determined it was coming from the fridge. Did something die!? Did the kids spill something under it!? Is the cat hiding food? We can clean it in the's only a few hours away after all.

Sooooo...the next morning, after pulling out & cleaning under and behind the fridge. (By the way, Cat, I know where your toys are...) The wonderful aroma of bleach cleaner filled my kitchen & I was sure the smell had left.

Sooooo...the next day...I know, right? I smell socks-mixed-with-yogurt-mixed-with-butt. Is it IN the fridge? I clean the fridge...I pull out the veggie drawer. What's that little thingie? A drain. I bet that's nasty! I pulled it out & cleaned it. It was gross. I thought I was done.

Another day of sniffing...& wondering... I ran out of things to check & clean! It was stronger...not any worse of a smell...but stronger. More ass than butt now...
Is there something up in bottom? Is that possible? Should I...look!? Maybe I'll save it for Hubby...OMFGosh, smells, I can't wait. But I have to, again it's like 1 in the morning, NOT a good time to try & take apart the fridge!

So glad I waited, with a few hours of sleep I was able to have a thought! I should totally LOOK UP on the internet HOW TO get in there first! Great idea, right? So I look it up..guess what...
I learned about drip pans!

Apparently, those little suckers not only collect the water that drips from the self-defrosting feature, but bits of food & junk as well. THEN the water mostly evaporates...leaving behind a sludge of bacteria, mess, and hell. And you're SUPPOSED to clean it. We've been here a year, never knew about it to clean it- & I doubt it's been cleaned before us. For reals...I pulled that sucker out...& THREW UP. I'm not pregnant, not weak-stomached...& I barfed like a model after Sizzler.

Sooooo....long story short...
Go, RIGHT NOW- find & clean your gosh-forsaken drip pans!

Ps...My kitchen smells lovely now, thank you.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Six Word Saturday

Looking forward to some better days.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Can't Fail Brownies

This is my go-to recipe for chewy, delicious brownies. I have never, ever- EVER had them come out wrong. I'm sure if you used spoiled butter, or burned the hell outta them they would...but they would surely smell delicious burning...

You will need:
  • 1/2 C butter (1 stick)
  • 1 C sugar 
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/3 C cocoa powder
  • 1/2 C flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Preheat your oven to 350. Grease and lightly flour an 8inch square baking pan.
Grab a large saucepan, (yes saucepan,) and gently melt your butter.
Remove pan from heat & whisk in your sugar, followed by eggs and vanilla. (The sugar should cool the butter down just enough to not cook scrambled eggs into your brownies!)
Shift together the rest of the ingredients & beat in. Use a wooden spoon or a good spatula, not a mixer- you do not want a bunch of air.
Pour into pan and bake for 30 minutes. It will NOT look done when it is, it will have quite a bit of jiggle left in the middle. Let cool before cutting.
-Yep, that is a disposable pan...these were made for a bake sale! =-) 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Day Off?

It is a federal holiday after surely & can skip NaBloWriMO tonight? ;-)

I've spent the day in horrible back pain....trying to work through it so it doesn't lock up. So...working on making cookies for the Scouts to sell Saturday morning to help with their fund raising. I made it through 1 friggin' batch. Oh...being old is hard...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Let's Start November

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Boxed Mixes Save Time

Nothing is better than something fresh from the oven, but many of us often settle for pre-made-grab-from-the-grocery-store-bakery-counter-fare. Wow, that's a lotta hyphens!
You don't have to settle for less than fantastic cake to save time, cake mixes have a bad wrap for not being homemade, and not being tasty enough- but is it really any worse then the preservative filled items you pick up at the store? Fresh beats pre-made any day, and a few tips can make those boxed mixes and frosting tastes like Grandma's.

My favorite cake "hacks":

- Add a few drops of vanilla or other flavorings to mixes or frosting to give a deeper, rounder flavor- almond is nice, peppermint is great in the winter
- Don't try to pipe frosting from the can, stir in a bit of powdered sugar, small amounts at a time, until it is a good piping constancy- this is especially important if you have added liquid food coloring as it thins it out
- Be extra careful to not over bake, a dried out cake is yucky-no matter where the batter came from
- Try replacing the oil called for with margarine (not butter) for a moist, slightly buttery taste
- A box of INSTANT pudding to the mix will add richness and flavor
- Remember to use room temperature eggs for the best texture
- Try adding preserves to your frosting for a fruity treat
- Sour cream added to the mix makes a great moist, rich, fluffy cake (about 3/4-1 cup)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Quick Tip: Uses for Petroleum Jelly

Here are some awesome uses for petroleum jelly, also known to some as Vaseline.

In the house:
  • Remove tapered candles from their holders easily, and quickly by rubbing a small amount into the holder before you insert the candle.
  • Rubbing a bit along the inside of that super glue lid will ease the pain of opening it the next time you want to use it.
  • Outdoor light bulbs sure can be tough to get out of their sockets when they need changing. If you rub some petroleum jelly to the threads before you put it in, it will prevent the corrosion that happens- and makes it stick.
  • Rub some jelly into leather items, to condition and restore. Jackets, baseball gloves...
  • Here's a tip that is handy- and fun! Sick of squirrels stealing your bird feed? Install your feeders on top of metal fencing poles. Then, coat with petroleum jelly. Sit back, enjoy the bird watching...and laugh at the silly squirrels who will slide off the greasy pole. A backyard entertainment two-fer!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

100 Ways to Get Your Pumpkin On

I came across this site...& I am drooling far too much to write anything else today...

Go...looooook.... enjoy that Autumn is here!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Basic Biscuits

Biscuits are a staple in our home. Very versatile, biscuits can be a delicious addition to any breakfast, lunch or dinner. You simply start with the basic dough, then add any variety of herbs, seasonings, or toppings to create the perfect side.

Basic Biscuits:
Preheat oven to 450
Stir 2 cups flour with 1 Tablespoon baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a bowl. (Or, if you wish you can just dump 2 cups of self-rising flour into a bowl.)
Cut in 1/3 cup shortening with your fingers until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. You must use shortening, butter in this instance will not do.
Dump in 3/4 cup milk and mix until moist. 
You can lightly knead on a floured surface (about 10 times), or use a large bowl & knead up against the sides of the bowl. That's what I do...I'm a bit lazy. Also, instead of adding a 3/4 cup of milk you can add 1 whole cup & make drop biscuits, and not knead at all.
Pat dough out to 1/2 inch thick and cut with a biscuit cutter, a glass, or even make squared biscuits with a pizza cutter. (Again...I'm a bit lazy...)
Place slightly touching (to help rise) on an un-greased sheet-pan until golden and lovely. (About 10-12 minutes.)

In addition to making drop biscuits, you can also use this dough to add things such at a teaspoon or garlic powder & some shredded cheese for delicious cheddar-biscuits. Or sprinkle in some herbs for a savory treat. Or rock them for dessert by brushing with some melted butter when almost done & topping with cinnamon sugar! The sky is the limit- you can get pretty creative with this forgiving dough.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Less Than Three Weeks

There's less than three weeks to go until Thanksgiving Day. Have you started your prepping checklists & shopping lists? I like to do mine a couple weeks ahead so I have more than ample time to grab anything forgotten before the crowds hit. I also like to make sure everything has time to thaw that needs to. A large turkey can take up to a week to thaw-out!

What are your Thanksgiving planning rituals, or tips & tricks?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Keep in Touch!

Or, just communicate I guess...
Disheveled Mommy also has a Twitter-
& a Facebook page. You'll have to search for the page by "Disheveled Mommy" for now, until we get enough "likers" to get a link. All proper like...

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Quick Tip: Cleaning up Egg Mess

I am super clumsy. So clumsy in fact that I am always looking for quick ways to clean up the various things I drop, spill, smear, etc....

Next time you drop an egg on the floor, don't smear it around wiping it up. Instead dump a nice thickish layer of regular table salt over the egg & let sit for a couple minutes. Perhaps while to attend to your batter or pan... Then simply lift the now easy-to-clean clump with a spatula & toss. Then wipe away any leftover salt or white.

Monday, November 1, 2010


National Blog Posting Month. Yep. Like NaNoWriMo, only shorter...& with more recipes. ;-)

So, yeah, I thought I'd challenge myself this year & hop on that NaBloPoMo train. I almost didn't make the first day though! (Hey, it's only 11:00 here- & don't judge!) So here I sit, propped up against the wall, trying to bargain with sit with a toddler who hates me doesn't want to sleep, trying to figure out what the hell to write about. I imagine I'll have quite a few nights like this in November. I also imagine you all will get sick of my rambling life posts. (Like, I dunno...right this moment?)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Review: Elmer's & X-acto Crafers (Via BzzAgent)

As I've said before, I am very fortunate to be part of and I occasionally receive awesome kits to use and review. The past few weeks I've been lucky enough to get to play with the BzzKit from Elmer's and Xacto.

I received the items pictured-
An Elmer's tape runner, glue spots, glue pen, and a glue stick. From X-acto I got two pairs of decorative scissors and a nifty corner-rounder.

The adhesive products are what you'd expect from Elmer's, great consistency & easy of use. The "tape" runner is pretty much a glue-tape hybrid of sorts, and so handy & fun to use. I also love the little tape dots- I've never used them before and I have big plans for some 3D-ish holiday cards now!

As for the tools, they were a dream as well, sharp and comfortable on my hands. I do have to admit though...that corner-rounder...way addictive. I have rounded the corners on almost EVERY notepad in the house. (It can do 3-5 pages at a time easy.) It's amazing how much just a simple little shape change can make anything look a million times nicer. Really, I have the coolest shopping lists ever now. I'm thinking some spiffed up notepads would make a nice addition to gifts.

Cons with these products-
The glue stick is a little smellier than other sticks. Not so much that it's bothersome though. The corner-rounder-puncher is tough- but I kinda wish it would punch through ribbon. That'd be awesome. Also I want need the rounds-cutter. A compass & cutter in one? I'd have every paper in the house in circles.

Just a reminder- I received these products from BzzAgent, but I am NOT told what to say, required to only say good/nice things, or nor do I even HAVE to say anything on my blog at all. I HAVE left a product off my blog I DIDN'T like.  =-)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

No Time Doughnuts

Doughnuts, donuts, doh-nuts, whatever. They're yummy.
As a quick dessert, treat, snack, or if you're so inclined- breakfast, try these super quick doughnuts made from canned biscuit dough.

First, begin by heating about an inch of oil in a very heavy skillet-I prefer cast iron.

While your oil is heating pop open a can of biscuits & flatten each SLIGHTLY with the palm of your hand & cut out the middle with something like the lid to a soda bottle. I use an old scoop from formula with the handle cut off. Set these aside to puff back up while the oil continues to heat. Oh, the holes too. They're lovely little bites of awesome.

When your oil's hot & your dough is puffed up slightly, gently slide 4-5 doughnuts into the oil. Be careful, but quick. By the time you place the last one in, the first one will be ready to turn over. Seriously, it only takes a few seconds. Another great reason to chose these- they cook so quick they don't have time to absorb much grease. Carefully flip over with a wide spatula & cook until the other side is also golden brown and delicious. (Thanks AB.)

Then, you'll want to drain & let cool slightly on some paper towels. I like to use a cake pan, so the little holes can't escape roll away. During this time you can put some powdered sugar, or cinnamon sugar into brown paper lunch bags. Or both. You need to let the doughnuts sit for a brief bit or the coatings will melt too much an make a big mess, instead of adding to the yumminess. Plus they'll look like crap if you don't. Sorry.

Put a few doughnuts/holes in a bag & shake to coat. There. Done. Yum.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Friends, and Crock-pots are Awesome

Like, super-dooper awesome. Really.

Even though I am a WAHM, I often have to leave the house for various appointments, or to meet with clients. For those days, Crock-pots are amazing. Last night I pulled out some of the pre-rolled meatballs I made & stashed from the freezer & popped them in the fridge to defrost. Today I tossed them into the slow cooker with a can of diced tomatoes and a jar of spaghetti sauce. Near-instant dinner for when we get home!
While everyone clambered in & got settled I boiled some noodles & heated some store-bought bread up in the oven. (On 400 for the time it takes to boil noodles.)
What really made supper super- some FRESH herbs straight from our good awesome friend's GIANT basil, oregano & thyme plants. It's totally a BUSH of basil now. It's pretty freakin' awesome looking, and smells sooooooo good! I just tossed some chopped herbs in while the noodles & bread finished up. DELICIOUS!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Quick Tip: Freezing Items Flat

Freezer bags certainly make stocking your freezer and dealing with leftovers much easier. You want them to be nice and flat for stacking and space-saving, but sometimes they can be a pain to get to stay flat. I happened to grab a square cake pan one day to help support a saucy bag, and it fit perfectly and worked so well! Now I use one to freeze all my bags. It provided enough support that items freeze flat, but fits in the freezer better than sheet pans. Sheet pans don't even fit in our tiny freezer...unless I empty it!
So, that's how I fit enough in our little hobbit-freezer for a family of 5.
The ones on the far right- no cake pan!


Bathroom Wishlists

Sometimes, because I'm terribly impatient, I often make little wish-lists of things I want when we have a house again. Sometimes daydreaming makes apartment living a little more bearable.

Next to the yard and garden, the kitchen and bathroom are the most thought of rooms. Always at the top of my list is an awesome double shower head. I miss a good, relaxing shower. Shower heads are so fancy these days. Massaging, rain-like, ones that move up and down. I'd need a seat in there so I could spend the day! A nice big shower stool.

I supposed for now I'll have to scratch my decorating itch with things I can do in an apartment. Swapping shower curtains and towels, maybe a decal or two. Maybe something really flowery and girly. Some big, puffy floral bath towels and roses on the walls. It may drive the boys nuts, but at least it'd feel like mine. =-)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Easy Cheesy Corndog Cups

These corndog muffins are tasty and simple, with very few ingredients.

Here are the ingredients and the process:
- Start with your favorite store bought, homemade, or recipe for corn bread/muffins
I make my own mix, found HERE
- Add an extra egg to the batter when mixing
- Mix in a handful or 2 of shredded cheddar or cheddar-jack cheese (1/2 to 1 cup or so)
- Generously grease you muffin pan with non-stick spray
- fill your cups just shy of 2/3 full
- Take about an inch wide slice of Velveeta, or other processed cheese product, and cut into 12 chunks
- Cut 3 or 4 hot dogs into chunks, the amount will vary depending on your preference
The pieces should be about 1 to 1 1/4 inches long, and no more than 3 will fit in each cup
- Place cheese chunks in the middle of each cup
They will be sticking out slightly, but the batter will rise over them as it bakes
- Then plunk the hot dog pieces in around the cheesy centers
- Bake in a 425 degree oven until slightly golden brown on the tops
- Let cool for 5-8 minutes then remove from muffin pan so that they don't stick inside it

Monday, September 20, 2010

Quick Tip: Freezing Meatloaf

I like to have a few things in the freezer for truly hectic days. Meatloaf is one of them. Here is how to freeze a loaf easily:

Begin by placing a large piece of plastic wrap over your loaf pan. The meat will press it down & line the pan as you fill it. Form your loaf.

Fold the extra wrap over the loaf & toss in the freezer for a couple hours to freeze.
Pop out of the pan. You now have a firm brick-o-meat that's easier to store & keep shape.
Wrap in additional plastic &/or foil, label & toss back in the freezer =-)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

We've Got Spirit, Yes We Do!

Even if we have tiny little toddler hands! =-)
This year we have a Peewee footballer. Which means all sorts of family cheering! Being so far away from major stores though, sometimes things are harder to find- one of them being poms in all sorts of colors. We came up with an idea to make poms out of those cheap $1 tablecloths you can get from the dollar stores. (We got ours from Dollar General.) You can usually find these in almost every color, & they are very thin & easy to cut... & now I have an itch to find other uses for these, because everyone knows they are worthless as tablecloths. We made these small for a little one to hold, but the idea can be manipulated for all sizes.

*Note- There was NO way to get pictures of a this process full-sized, so I made it tiny so I can photograph. So, ignore the rough-cut edges, and the not-to-scale-ness. To-scale would involve math. No thank you!

Begin by cutting your tablecloth in half width-wise.
We used 1/2 of a tablecloth for 1 pompom. Take your first half & cut width-wise into 4 strips.
Now, take one of your strips & fold up length-wise into something easier to cut- then cut into 1/2 inch strips.
Repeat with the 3 other pieces. You'll have a pile of little scraggly strips.
Unroll them, & layer them nicely-ish across a good-sized piece of string.
Gather the string around the stack, & tie tightly. arrange the strips into desired shape as you tighten. (This one's skimpy because I gave up on unrolling all my tiny little strips-lazy...)
We made a good-for-her sized handle by folding over the string & wrapping it in duct tape, then in electrical tape. I'm sure there are lots of other ways to make handles to-size. =-)