Thursday, January 19, 2012

Welcome to my Home

Since I had children and moved to the "boonies" I do not have many visitors. Having children and moving a 45 minute drive from most people you know really lets you know who your real friends are.
But I do love when my friends and family come take the time to come for visit. Most of my friends are working, some multiple jobs, some working and still going to school, so they have few time to spare and I love that the choose to spend it with me and my family.
Since I have 2 young children the only real preparation I can get done before people come over is cleaning up the toys and straighten up the house. I have some things I like to always do before guest come, simple things like sweep the entry way, change the linens in the bathroom, and do a quick swish and swipe to my bathrooms.
But I really like to make my guest feel at home. I love making some tea or coffee for them, the kerig is great for a nice little fresh cup for them. Another nice touch is fresh baked cookies.
While I do not have the time to make a batch from scratch I also couldn't imagine giving someone break and bake cookies either.

So a nice little tip I've learned from my latest obsession of reading cooking and baking books is how nice cookie dough freezes. So when I am making cookies with the girls instead of cooking the whole batch and watching half of them go bad before we can eat them I freeze half of them.
I roll the cookie into little balls and place them on parchment paper and place them in the freezer. Once they are a little frozen(so they won't stick together) I move them into plastic bag and write on the bag with tape the date and how to bake the cookies, temperature and time.
Then I can make a small batch for who ever comes to my house, on cold days where I want a nice hot cookie or when ever we get the craving for some baked goods.
Its just so nice for people to come over and I get to show my appreciation for them with out breaking my back to do so.
Life is always a little more complicated with a toddler and infant at home so this just eases it up a little for me.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Outdoors In

Even though it has been a mild winter so far we are spending more time then I would like indoors.
Its mainly because Eve is so young. She is only 4 months and I am not found of the idea of bringing her out in mild NE winter weather. Cold rain, blustery wind are fine for my toddler and me all bundled up, but I would rather not bring her out in it.
We do go out on the not windy, warmer days, but they occur not so often so poor Liv, my toddler, spends more time then I would like indoors. And on those warmer days we spend a large part of the day outdoors enjoying the weather.

I try to do some more active things with her on occasions she does not get to go outside.
We- dance, play right light green light,have parades around the house, do action rhymes like ring around the rosey, chase each other, pull and push special walking toys, pretend we are different animals, hide from each other and pretend we are outside. Today we pretended to splash in puddles, climb trees (the bed) and play in the snow.
I love the old Swedish saying "there is not such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes." But until I feel I can bundle up Eve in a carrier better (and even in rain and snow this does not work at all) bring the outdoors inside will have to do.

Friday, January 13, 2012


Last week when I was grocery shopping I noticed a new product in the cleaning isle. It was a little tablet you place in your dish sink so you won't have sink odors overnight.
I thought to myself what a great product. Being a SAHM/Radical Homemaker I'm often influenced by things that claim to make my life easier. But then I thought about it for a minute.
Argg, they got me. Why would I waste my families hard earned money on this? I already sprinkle baking soda and vinegar down the drain at night. This little odor eater costs me next to nothing.
But I still can't believe I almost fell for it.
They are always trying to pitch products to SAHMs to make our lives easier. No scrubbing, sweet smelling home, no mopping. Yes please, let me spend my money on chemicals to fill my home with.
Its amazing how many products just go into our unconscious. Who knows what was in those little pills to put in my sink?
I'm very glad for being an educated consumer. I try hard to not let products and commercials sway me to buy things. But I realize that I have to try and be aware of this so they won't trick me.
Since having Ev I've been on a de-clutter kick since I feel our house has gotten very crowded with an additional person in it. Because of this I have even been more conscious of what I bring into our home.
But if they can get me, what can they do to our kids? I'm a 30 year old woman, with a BA from a major University and some grad credits from a great MSW program. How can my children stand a chance against advertisers?
I feel they can't. So I try to avoid it as much as possible.
TV programs are limited to PBS or DVD rented from the library. Kids sitting watching tv are the prime victim for advertisers.
I really like this website for advice on keeping your children commercial free.
Commercials are every where. On tv, radion, t-shirts, beach towels, cereal boxes, and if my state gets its way, on the side of school buses!

It angers me to think my children can get picked up in a bus that has a McDonald's billboard on the side. Anything for a buck is what school districts are living I guess.
Its sad and I want my children to be educated consumers, but at this young age this in not possible. So I avoid. And I plan to avoid as long as possible.
Hopefully by the time we can't avoid any more they will be older and smarter consumers.
I feel like I am swimming up steam in this buy buy buy world we are living in.
It doesn't matter though, I will keep fighting the fight and not let my children be another consumer and taker in this great world.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Kids Need to be Kids

An interesting article caught my eye on preschools and children. This article from WebMD states that kids in a preschool setting or childcare spend 70-80% of their time in sedentary activities. What I found interesting is that the main reason for this is the push of academics on children too young.
Children need time to play period. They need time outside, to run, jump, climb trees. This is all very important for their physical development. But we have this push in America for academics earlier and earlier and it is coming at a cost.
Parents putting their children in school at early ages so they can read earlier, write at a young age. All of this, studies shows, backfires and these children who learn this early often do not do better then other children who were let to be children.
These parents don't want their children just playing while they are paying for them to be in school.
And on the flip side some schools are scared to let children play outdoors for fear of injuries in our sue happy culture.
What is sad is this push does not just come from parents. Many kindergartens expect a lot from young children and expect them to know a lot when they come in to kindergarten. They also try to teach them so much in the short period they are there. Consequently they are shortening play time and outdoor time. This is not by the choice of the teacher, but by laws and mandates from states and government agencies.
Parents feel conflicted, how much to push before kindergarten? Ideally not much, but its harder and harder to do this.
I just think of an average day for a young child in an academic preschool.
Wake up 7:30 eat breakfast
8 get dressed and ready for school
Out the door by 8:45
9am school
School till lunch time.
Lunch at home then nap till 3 ish.
This leaves several hours at home for the child to get outdoors and just play but many parents schedule playdates and other activities during this time. They also might allow the 2 hours of tv the AAP says is okay for children.
This leaves dinner, bath and bed.
Where is the time for free play? When can kids run and climb, balance and logs? These are important to their physical development.
When can they just explore their world, discover on their own? Find acorns, dig in the dirt?
When can they play, pretend dance and sing on their own?
I feel bad for many children in this generation. Being pushed to their little limits but not allowed to live limitless.

Spend time outside with your children, everyday unless weather is severe.
Give your children plenty of free time, indoors as well.
Turn off the tv, video games and computer. Young children do not need these at all. Limit them as much as you can.
Encourage play, do something outdoors, garden, shovel snow, go for a walk, a hike, swim, indoors, cook,bake, sweep, knit, craft. All of these things your child will love to imitate and play out other times.
Encourage play, not academics in this young age.
As I stated in a previous post I plan to home preschool school. But this will be less academic and more play based. I want my children to enjoy childhood, not feel pushed at a early age, and look back on this period and smile about the smile times we spent together, not the simple times we spent in a car riding from activity to activity.