Thursday, September 29, 2011
I do my best each year to fulfill the handmade pledge by making all of the gifts we give by hand. It usually doesn't 100% work out for me (like the ugly slippers from last year that were simply NOT giftable, or the toys that Papa was set on buying for his brother), but we've made many a great holiday gift! We also make many holiday decorations each year, participate in a handmade ornament swap, and make some excellent food that we only indulge in over the holidays.
So, here I sit contemplating gifts for the littles, and handmade ornaments and decorations for this year. So far, I'm thinking hand puppets for the Bean and the Bug, some grasping toys for Squeaker, and perhaps this will be the year I actually make sets of rainbow dish cloths for the adults on my gift list.
What are you planning?
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
A trend that we have noticed at our house is that as Papa is serving up a steaming plate, he will often admonish to the children that the food is hot, and they need to wait to eat it. Quite a bit later, said child is chowing down on applesauce, salad, veggie sides, his or her drink, or whatever else is handy. All the while, his or her main dish has grown ice cold and sits untouched. The Bug is afraid that he will be hurt by a "hot" dish and won't eat something even after it has cooled. One must always refer to his food as being "warm". The Bean is afraid that it is still hot until she is told otherwise.
However, when they are left alone with their food and allowed to evaluate for themselves, they are quite capable of taking a very tentative bite, deciding the food is too hot, and testing it periodically to see if it has cooled enough. Of course, we do warn them if it is something that could truly be dangerous, like a very hot cup of soup, but most of the time, they do just fine when they are allowed to evaluate for themselves.
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
We don't have any oaks on our property, nor any on our usual walking route. Ok, there is one oak with the tiniest little acorns on our route, but I was really hoping for BIG ones. So, a quick "wanted" post on Freecycle yielded some good leads, with one being just a few blocks away from the house. We took our baskets and set off to find some good acorns! It didn't take the kids long to gather up a significant amount.
We took them home and added them to a basket on the shelf. These acorns will become many things - play food, people, decorations, money, even math manipulatives when the time comes! This is the joy of truly open ended toys - they can become so many things beyond what they are.
Monday, September 26, 2011
Today, we will do my basic casserole formula, using a tuna casserole as the basis. The entirety of the tuna casserole can be made with items available to breastfeeding mothers through WIC. Slight variations on the recipe leave it both allergen friendly, and costing little.
2 Cups Cooked Rice (or couscous, quinoa or pasta)
1 Can Tuna (or 1/2 to 1 lb ground beef, chicken, pork or ham, or beans for vegetarian)
2 Cups Frozen Veggies (I love to use a mixture of whatever I have in the freezer or use a pre-mixed variety. Frozen veggies can be replaced with fresh, but this is more time consuming and often more expensive and less nutritious. When mixing, I aim for a variety of colors for optimum nutrition, and a variety of textures as well. One of my favorite combos is peas, carrots, lima beans, green beans, and onions.)
1 to 1 1/2 Cups Chicken Broth (or water to make it entirely from WIC food, or beef or veggie broth, or even milk or a milk substitute)
1/4 to 1/2 Cup Shredded Cheese (or cheese substitute, or omit altogether)
Stir all ingredients together in a casserole dish (I prefer my 9x13 rectangle, but this works equally well in a bowl, or other shape as long as it is big enough to hold everything).
A great step to add here is to make double the recipe and to pop half of it into the casserole dish and the other half into a zippered freezer bag, mark what it is and pop it in the freezer for a super fast meal another night. If you do this, when you are ready to use the freezer portion, thaw it completely then finish the recipe.
Bake at 350*F for 20 - 30 minutes. Tuna will take less time as you are only heating all of the ingredients and melting your cheese, so it will be closer to 20 minutes. If you use a raw meat, such as ground beef, it will need to be thoroughly browned so you will want to give it closer to 30 minutes. Don't worry, you will be able to tell when it is done as there will be a lovely crusty layer over the top and the meat will be browned and the cheese melted.
Let it set while you set the table and serve it up. Then watch the kids devour it!
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Welcome to the September Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting Through Play
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared how challenging discipline situations can be met with play. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
I find myself, on many an outing, with a baby wrapped to me, a shopping cart in front of me, and two other children a growing distance behind me, no matter how slowly I am walking. Refrains of, "Come along, Littles!" "Please hurry up, guys!" "Really, come on!" issue from me every few moments as their steps grow slower. I've tried getting angry. That does make them grow surly, but not any faster. I've tried ignoring and just continuing at my own pace, but worried that I'd lose them altogether if I didn't remind them that they needed to leave with me. I've tried a constant litany of encouragement, but I get tired of hearing myself talk - and they don't walk any faster. So these days, after a few requests to keep up (because I am walking at a reasonable pace), I quack at them. A quick call of "Quack, quack, quack," brings two happy ducklings rushing up behind me to line up and follow through the store, merrily calling out "Quack, quack, quack!"
Sometimes, putting the fun back in the job is the easiest way to get the chore done.
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
- On being a more playful parent — Isil at Smiling like Sunshine shares how the Playful Parenting book impacted her.
- Parenting a toddler through play — Alicia at I Found My Feet lists some examples of how she uses play to parent through everyday tasks and challenges.
- Splashing in Puddles — Abbie at Farmer's Daughter shares how she learned to get dirty and have fun with her little boy.
- Say Please — Cassie at There's a Pickle in My Life explains how they taught their son manners by "play," showing that actions speak louder than words.
- No Nanny Needed — Laura at Our Messy Messy Life wishes parenting through play was her only responsibility during the day.
- I'll Run Away With Gypsies — Nikalee at Spotted Pandemonium maneuvers physical and emotional obstacles while spinning playful tales, jumping through hoops, and inspiring the kids to clean the living room.
- A Promise To My Daughter — Lindsey at An Unschooling Adventure writes a poem for her daughter promising to use play instead of anger when facing difficult situations.
- Parenting Through Play — Not Always Easy But Always Rewarding — Amy at Peace4Parents discusses how play hasn't always come easily to her, the power of appreciative observation, and how her family learns together through play.
- Imagination Plays a Role in Our Parenting — Tree at Mom Grooves shares how parents can use play to set the foundation for communication and understanding.
- A Box of Crayons — Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction talks about how a simple box of crayons has become a wonderful parenting and teaching tool.
- The Essential Art of Play — Ana at Pandamoly shares some of her favorite lessons available for young ones through play.
- The Art of Distraction — Amanda at Let's Take the Metro shares a list of distracting alternatives to harsh punishments in tough parenting situations.
- Grace and Courtesy Games at Home or School — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now has ideas for grace and courtesy games that help you encourage courteous behavior without reprimanding your child.
- I am woman, hear me roar! — Mrs Green from Little Green Blog shares how one simple sound can diffuse an argument in an instant.
- Getting Cooperation Through Play — Amyables at Toddler In Tow talks about respecting the worldview of a preschooler by using play to encourage connection and cooperation.
- Playful Parenting = Extra Energy?? — Momma Jorje didn't think she had the energy for playful parenting. See what she was surprised to learn…
- Dance Party Parenting — Laura from A Pug in the Kitchen learned how to be the parent her children need through play.
- Wrestling Saved My Life — Wrestling is as vital to her son's well-being as babywearing once was, finds Hannah at Wild Parenting.
- Parenting through play — By playing with her children, Tara from MUMmedia is given amazing opportunites to teach, train and equip her children for life.
- Parenting Through Play Starts in Infancy — In a guest post at Natural Parents Network, Issa from LoveLiveGrow shares that though she only has a 3-month-old, playful parenting has already started.
- Play Before Sleep — Adrienne at Mommying My Way writes about how playing and singing with her son before he falls asleep helps calm her frustrations that tend to arise at night.
- Playful Parenting — Or 5 Lessons My Son Has Taught Me About Parenting Through Play — Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama has learned to be a better parent by following her toddler's lead in play.
- Hurry up! Hurry up! I mean it! Quack, quack, quack! — Kellie at Our Mindful Life leads a trail of ducklings
- On the Road: Learning to Play — Seonaid at The Practical Dilettante discovers her inner adult through a summer of playing with her children.
- Preventing Tantrums Through Play — Gaby at Tmuffin explains how she keeps her household happy by not taking things too seriously.
- Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting Through Play — Lily, aka Witch Mom, redirects unwanted behavior in a toddler using games and play.
- Exaggerating for effect — Lauren at Hobo Mama has learned how to ham it up.
- Handling Big Emotions with Role Playing — Zoie at TouchstoneZ plays at tempering her parental frustrations while helping her children handle some big emotions
- How To Herd Toddlers by Talking Pictorially — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama demonstrates how talking in pictures is a playful way to engage your young child in transitioning from one activity to the next.
- Getting a Toddler to Go Where You Want…Playfully — Sylvia at MaMammalia describes how a game of hide-and-seek can be used to steer a wandering toddler in the direction of her choosing.
- Playful Parenting: Chores That Do Themselves — Remember chores when you were a kid? If chores were this fun for Chante at My Natural Motherhood Journey, she wouldn't have needed any reminders!
- Clown School Express: Playing away Fears — MudpieMama describes how she helped her boys confront their fears about starting kindergarten by playing with trains.
- Practicing Playful Parenting — Terri at Child of the Nature Isle realizes that playfulness is the best way through the day and seeks more ways to practice it.
- Today, Tomorrow and Every Day — Starr at Taking Time addresses her children in a letter sharing with them how improtant it is that they spend their childhood playing.
- Learning Through Immersion — Luschka at Diary of a First Child shares how she helps her daughter develop naturally without focusing on teaching, but rather by immersing her in their family's way of life and making her an active part of her environment.
- Play Here Now — Jessica at Instead of Institutions learns and relearns and tries to remember the value of play.
- Play: A Wonderful Parenting Tool — Mamapoekie from Authentic Parenting offers a list of examples on how to use play in real-life parenting situations.
- Playful Parenting — a Book Review — Erica at ChildOrganics shares simple yet sage advice from Dr. Cohen on how play can change your child's life.
- Mock Threats: Turning Real Frustration into Playful Parenting — Threatening is not an effective discipline strategy, but Dionna at Code Name: Mama explains how parents can turn their frustration into playful moments by making "mock threats."
- I'm Sick of Yelling — I Want to Play — Alicia at McCrenshaw's Newest Thoughts realizes she needs to change the way she's parenting and is forming a new plan.
- Sing-along, Brush-along Songs — Shana at Tales of Minor Interest shares a few songs to make brushing her three-year-old's teeth more fun.
- Monster Voice — Ever have those frustrating moments with your kid(s) when you just want to scream? Amy at Anktangle shares a silly strategy for getting through those difficult times.
Friday, September 2, 2011
Each child should have:
2 Cotton Sweaters
2-3 Wool Sweaters
7 Pants or 3-4 Wool Longies (if still diapered)
7 Long Sleeve T Shirts
2 Dress Shirts (usually lighter weight fabric, can be worn over a solid color T)
7 Pair Socks (colors to coordinate with shirts)
7 Pair Underpants
5-7 Pair Pajamas
1 Pair Wool Slippers
1 Pair Snow Boots
1 Pair Rain Boots, optional
1 Pair Dress Shoes
1 Pair Play Shoes
1 Pair Mittens
1 Warm Earflap Hat
The Bean also usually has 2-3 jumpers. The kids also usually have a few sweater vests, just because they love them. The Bug is occasionally into wearing a flannel over a T shirt.
To keep the costs low, I tend to buy fairly gender neutral clothing, and save it for the smaller children. The Bug tends to be 1 size behind the Bean, so he often ends up with her clothes from the year before. I make their wool sweaters, slippers, hats, mittens, and scarves. I try to make most of these items sized so that they will last 2 years. I also sew a lot of their clothing - their favorites are corduroy pants with flannel lining. The pants are a pretty basic pattern with an elastic waist so that it easily grows with them, and they can put them on and off themselves. The pants, Ts and cotton sweaters that I don't make usually come from thrift stores and garage sales. The only things we buy new are shoes, socks and underpants (for the Bean. I make boxers for the Bug).
I try to pick a palette to work from that all of the clothing works with. I aim for basic pieces without a lot of logos or pictures. That way, most shirts will match most pants, and our odds of having crazy toddler outfits is pretty low.
At this point, I think that we are all set and ready for the approaching cool weather!