Thursday, January 31, 2008

Clean up

What's with the junk? It seems like everywhere you go, you find trash on the ground. It can get a little disheartening, really.

What can we do about it? Eradicate litter from the face of the planet? Not likely. But we can do something to clean up our corners of it.

What can you do? Pick up trash in your neighborhood? Start recycling? Find a creative way to use less/create less waste? What's one thing you could do to beautify your community this week?

Project Support Beauty in Nature is all about a lot of people making difference in their own little ways. On February 11, I'll let you know what we did. And I'd love to hear from you too. How did you make your environment a little cleaner, a little more beautiful? How will you teach your kids to take good care of the world around them?

* * * * *
Photos: 1) Taken by the Hubs to document an ongoing problem we have with our dumpster - but more on that later. 2) One of four Project Support Beauty in Nature buttons by Sarcastic Mom. Get one for your blog.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Dr. Mom's sore throat remedies

Today I'm home with a sore throat. I already slept, I already read, I'm not sure what movie to watch, so now I guess I'll share my mom's sore throat remedies with you.

These generally work for kids or grownups. (Although I should refer you to the disclaimer at the bottom of this post.)

1. Gargle with salt water. I hated that as a kid. I don't like it now either, but it works. So I put it off. Then I finally mix a spoonful of salt with a cup of warm water and get it over with. Bleh!

2. Lemon and honey. Always a fave. Stir lemon juice (the kind from the bottle works fine) and honey to taste into a cup of hot water and enjoy (slowly)! The lemon juice gives you vitamin C. The honey makes the lemon juice drinkable, plus I think it has some kind of natural remedy properties too, but I don't know what. (And I'm too sick to be looking things up. Not too sick to type or take photos...)

3. Baby aspirin. Sucking on chewable aspirin will help your throat not to hurt so much. I don't have any children's aspirin, so I just swallowed a regular one and drank some coffee. That's really not the same, but I don't need a caffeine headache on top of everything.

4. Drink lots of water and orange juice. Mom would put water or juice or smoothies in a big water bottle with a lid and a straw (the bendy kind are the best), so we could just take it with us while we lounged around on the couch and watched t.v. or whatever.

Of course, now I've grown out of that.

Or maybe not.

OK, so Spanglish it is...

Friday, January 25, 2008

Toys: What you really have to worry about - Part 1

Ever since the rash of toy recalls we had last year, I've really wondered how it's even possible to choose safe toys for kids. I mean, it's not like you can tell from looking at a toy if it's coated with lead paint or if someone at the factory cut corners safety wise.

According to this article from Safe Kids USA, what we really need to worry about is kids choking on something or falling off something. Know what kids are most likely to choke on?


I wouldn't have guessed that.

I also wouldn't have guessed those colorful letter magnets could be a problem until a friend was frantically moving mine to the top of my fridge and out of her two-year-old's reach. Apparently, her daughter was fond of taking the (choke-on-size) magnet part out of the letter part and sticking the former in her mouth.

But, really, kids will (attempt to) swallow anything you don't want them to - random pieces of stuff from the floor, dog food, crickets. They may not be able to get their vegetables down and definitely not the cold medicine, but they will find away to pry a little black magnet out of a big plastic letter and have that halfway down their little throats before you can say "Heimlich."

Aren't children amazing?

* * * * *

Edited to add: Sorry, forgot to mention that the balloon photo is by omster-com and the photo of the choking-hazard magnets is by me.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Where's Wordless Wednesday?

Normally, today's post would have been a photo with a caption in celebration of "Wordless Wednesday." However, I wasn't able to get online until just now due to problems with my ISP. That's also why I didn't post additional hiking photos until today. (Yay for library comptuers!) Thought you might be wondering.

Hopefully, it'll be all cleared up by tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed! :)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Traveling light - revised

The Hubs and I went on a little hike yesterday. Here is everything we took with us: water, snacks, camera, cell phone, keys, wallet, Kleenex, walking stick, plastic bag for trash. We should've brought hand sanitizer too. (Oops.) We could've brought fewer snacks. (But you never know.)

Our gear didn't even require a whole daypack, but I know we won't be able to travel so lightly once we have kids.

I started thinking what else will we need to bring? To start with, more water, more snacks.

While they're still in diapers, there's the diapers plus wipes and some kind of blanket or changing pad.

If they're that little, they probably need transporation. So some kind of baby carrier or 4-wheel-drive stroller. (I saw someone on the trail with a baby in a sling.)

What else...pacifier, favorite toy(s), extra change of clothes-? Already our "gear" has at least tripled. And I'm probably missing something. Or am I overdoing it? Is my hypothetical day trip packing list too long? Does it just depend on what it takes to keep the kid happy? Or how much the parents are willing to improvise?

PS Speaking of (not) taking stuff with you, I don't didn't have the thing that hooks my camera to the USB port with me, so I'll add another photo or two later on today. now here's a couple more photos! :) Edited 1/23.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Diversity today

Happy MLK day! This is a great day to appreciate the beauty of diversity...

...and to make a craft with googly eyes! I saw this Martin Luther King Jr. Rainbow Pin on Kaboose, and I thought it was just so cute! The list of materials you need and instructions are here. What a great way to teach kids that we're all different, but we're all a little goofy.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Going to the zoo

I walked into the bathroom just inside the zoo's entrance about the same time as a woman who was struggling to get her daughter to go in. The little girl was yelling, "NOOOOOO! I don't wanna go here. I wanna go to the zoo!!!"

After a pause, her mother stated what should have been obvious. "We are at the zoo."

Logic schmogic. The girl kept repeating, "I wanna get money at the ZOO!!" She said it enough times for me to be sure that it was money - not monkeys - that she wanted. At the zoo. (Souvenir penny machine maybe-? Or buried treasure?)

Anyway, the funniest thing was that what she so desperately wanted was to go to the zoo. But she was already there, just one brief pit stop - maybe 5 minutes - away from seeing animals or getting money or whatever it was she was so eager to go the zoo for.

I feel like there's a lesson in there somewhere. Let's contemplate that for a moment.

Maybe that, a lot of times, we're closer to where we want to be than we realize? That we're searching all over for things when we already have what we need? That when we want to yell, "NOOOOOOOOO!" we should shut up and appreciate how good we have it? That I read too much into things?

That could be it.

Maybe I should stop looking so hard for a moral to the story and start trying to find that money at the zoo.

* * * * *

Photos: 1) By MissCGlass. 2) & 3) By me.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Monday, January 14, 2008

Let them bake cake! (And plant carrots.)

I remember going out to Grandpa's garden with him when I was about 5 to see if any carrots were big enough to pick yet. He told me it's best to go in barefoot "so you can feel the mud squish between your toes."

Mud or no mud, I think that getting messy - exploring, experimenting, picking carrots, dumping flour, trying things "hands on" - is an important part of growing up. So I was glad to read that a school in Berkeley, CA is getting middle schoolers gardening and cooking with their Edible Schoolyard.

Their website has a list of 20 Good Reasons to Have a Garden and a Kitchen at Your School. But you could rename it "Good Reasons to Let Your Kids into Your Garden and Kitchen" and most of the principles would apply in your own home. For example, here are the first three reasons on their list:

  1. The garden and kitchen provide a context for understanding seasonality and life cycles.
  2. It's an opportunity to work cooperatively on real tasks.
  3. Sensory experience becomes part of a child’s day...
You can read the rest here.

However, one of the best reasons didn't make the list. I read it in Sept. 2007's Delicious Living magazine in an article by Edible Schoolyard founder Alice Waters.

She said: "When kids grow it and cook it, they eat it!"

* * * * *
P.S. Self promotion moment: Need to outfit a little gardener? You can find cute garden-themed baby and kids clothes in my shop. (Yes, we have stuff for grownups too! :) )

* * * * *
Photos: 1) by Etolane. Creative Commons License. 2) our teeny tiny garden (last year) 3) Gardening Makes Me Happy Infant/Toddler T-shirt 4) Garden Infant/Toddler T-shirt

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Listed announced their list of Top Mommy Blogs for 2007. Two things you should know about that:

  1. It includes 100 blogs, covering diverse topics such as parenting, trying to conceive, pregnancy, babies, breastfeeding, homemaking, special needs kids, grief, homeschooling, and WAHM - so a good resource.
  2. This blog, The Little Stuff of Life, made the list! And they called it "fantastic." :) It's #17. (You'll find it under "Parenting and Mothering Blogs.")
A big thanks to everyone who's contributed to making this a great blog through your comments, encouragement, suggestions and insights!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Does EC eat up your entire day?

Continuing on with my project to tie up loose ends...

Since the first time I posted about Elimination Communication (EC), I've wondered about the amount of time and energy it takes to read your baby's need-to-go-potty signals and take care of them without the safety net of a diaper. When I read up on it, this is what I found.

The general consensus on the boards seems to be that it doesn't consume any more time than the other tasks that go along with the all-consuming office of motherhood - although some posters say it does require extra work/attention at the beginning when you and the baby are still getting used to it.

Free to EC (myth #2) says EC takes less time than changing diapers.

Tribal Baby says it's easier, too:

EC can help make things easier for you. I would certainly NEVER use nappies full time - too hard. Too much work, far too much expense, and the burden on the environment - I simply couldn't cope with that...
Also, as I mentioned briefly before, a lot of the parents who EC also use diapers part of the time. (And they use "EC" as a verb - like I did in the previous sentence - even though it stands for two words which are not.) For example, they might EC at home, but use diapers when they're out. Or use diapers for nighttime and nap time. Or they may even have diapers on their child most/all of the time and just occasionally (when they see a need or feel like it's a good time), offer them opportunities to go in the toilet instead of their diapers. That, to me, seems like the most workable of those options and a good way to have some of the benefits of EC without having to constantly think about it.

* * * * *

Photos: 1) By santheo. Creative Commons License. 2) By 2fs. Creative Commons License.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


Well, here we are at the end of the Day to Read, and I spent more time online (not blogging, but crossing some things off my to do list) and less time off line reading than I'd hoped. But tomorrow is a new day.

Also, tonight the Hubs and I went to the library, so I'm sure we will get some reading in the next few days.

Hope you had fun and read something interesting!

Just read it

One blogger has christened today the Day to Read. It's all about rediscovering the joy of reading, taking one day to blog less and read more. (I'm actually typing/posting this a day in advance.)

So grab a newspaper on your lunch break, stop by the library or a bookstore (if you're in/near Tempe, AZ, may I suggest Quo Vadis Books?), or just curl up on your couch with a favorite novel. If you have kids at home, take an opportunity to read to them.

Need a suggestion? Here are some of the books/series I remember my parents reading to us:

  • Madeline
  • Peter Rabbit
  • Babar
  • Curious George
  • Winnie-the-Pooh (the A.A. Milne original, a chapter at a time)
  • The Chronicles of Narnia
  • Those books that they made from Disney movies, we also had the book-on-tape versions that some random voice would read to us (Ding! "Please turn the page...")
  • What were those books with Miss Sunshine and Mr. Smiley and all those strange funny characters that had arms and legs attached to their heads? Actually, kind of like precursors to emoticons, don't you think? Anyway, we got those regularly too.
  • The Little Prince
  • The Giving Tree (which always made me kind of sad)
  • Oh, and how could I forget The Cat in the Hat and all those wonderful Dr. Seuss books?!
Have any more suggestions? Feel free to comment and then let's all get reading! :)

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Monday, January 7, 2008

See the world. Take the kids.

The Hubs* ran across this "Travel with Kids Q&A" from Lonely Planet. We thought it had some good tips and things to think about.

It summarizes the "most popular questions" from their Thorn Tree travel advice forum about traveling with babies/children in tow. Also, each question links to the relevant thread in case you'd like to learn more or get a second opinion. Seems helpful to me.

* Totally unrelated, but typing "the Hubs" reminded me: I just saw a commercial in which the woman referred to her husband as "the hubs". Um, I thought I made that up. Do you think they got that from me? My the Hubs thinks so. Or maybe he was just humoring me...

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Choosing dependence

The diapering, the feeding, the carrying, the caring for. We tend to think of those things from the perspective of a parent or other adult who is doing these things. What must it be like to be the baby, the recipient of the care?

My earliest memories, brief and vague as they are, are from when I was about 2. Maybe it's good we don't remember back any further. Maybe it wouldn't be pleasant. Or maybe it wouldn't be so bad since we didn't know any differently at the time.

Much harder to be an adult, one who has tasted the freedom of independence, and return to being cared for. Dependent. How fragile, how convincing is the thin veneer of independence. The myth that we can survive on our own is one we take in greedily. The truth of our dependence is hard to stomach because it sheds light on the fact that we are not the all-capable beings we so desire to be. In fact, we are vulnerable, weak, human.

What I can't stop thinking about - though Christmas has come and gone - is God's choice to become a baby. The one truly independent, not limited, all-capable being chose dependence. Chose to be cared for, carried, fed, diapered. Chose the limitations, sorrows and indignities of being human. Chose to become like us in order to save us from ourselves. The more I learn about caring for another individual and ponder what it must be like to be so utterly reliant, the more I understand the sacrifice of choosing that state. The love behind choosing humanity.

I know it's January 3rd. But Merry Christmas.

* * * * *

Photos: 1) By Kudaker. Creative Commons License. 2) By World of Oddy. Creative Commons License.