Showing posts with label Family. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Family. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

an olive branch: {brown bread with sorghum butter}

This winter weather and all its polar vortexes (vorti?) have been the great equalizer among inhabitants of New England. I'll explain how and share a recipe for brown bread with you, but first I need to tell you about a recent eureka moment.

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In discovering more about the writing craft, I've been learning types of stock characters. One day recently, I had an epiphany about why I didn't fit with Bostonians. I let myself become a stock character...

A variation on the "Manic Pixie Dream Girl" trope, I'm the manic dixie dream girl {pun gloriously intended}. I'm the southern girl whose only role in the narrative is to cheer up Bostonians. The bubbly, available pal who says cute things like "Y'all" and "Bless her heart." But most importantly, I have no complex issues of my own, and I never ever complain.

This personality description is of course oversimplified; that's the point of a stock character, right? But it does at least partly fit me and my southern roots. Where I come from, the first rule of depression club is we don't talk about depression club. Complaining about the weather, reporting the symptoms of your cold, or whining about your stress level represent a type of self-indulgence that is strictly forbidden in polite southern conversation.

I kept my mouth shut about the weather both due to my upbringing and out of fear that locals would laugh off any dissatisfaction as typical of a wimpy southerner. Oh, how adorable. You just can't hack the New England winter! By attempting to prevent them from labeling me, I ended up pigeonholing myself into one (boring) interminably cheerful side.

But I lucked out this time. This winter has been different. Cold, different. It's one of the coldest seasons we've had in something like fifty years. Like I said beforeeveryone is complaining. It's great! I'm finally able to come out of my shell, to feel like one of the gang. Because, you know what? Sometimes that damn bear eats you, and pretending otherwise doesn't stop it from being so.

Monday, March 24, 2014

the family breakfast project


When the folks at the Family Dinner Project approached me to try out their new breakfast partnership with Cheerios, the Family Breakfast Project, my first thought was: I don't have enough time to add anything to our breakfast routine.

At that time, we had recently made a big transition. We gave up our relaxed, cartoon-watching non-routine of summer for a fast-paced, challenging, drill-sergeant school routine. It was our first time sending a child to kindergarten, and the start-time switch from 9am to 8am was painful for all of us.

I felt pressed to get everything done in the morning. It seemed like every precious minute was spent accomplishing necessary goals: dressing, eating, packing a lunch, brushing teeth and washing up, and getting shoes and winter attire on. Oh and the kindergarten backpack with folder and any homework tucked in, too. I envisioned reading about the program, then feeling guilty for not being able to enact all the wonderful things it offered.

Although I resisted making any changes to our already packed schedule, I figured it couldn't hurt to promote the program for other families who sought to broaden their breakfast horizons. So we agreed to participate in their commercial (we're that first family in the clip). That was a blast! After shooting the commercial, I completely forgot about the whole thing and went about my business.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

sorghum syrup: history, health benefits, & use

Sorghum syrup from Muddy Pond Sorghum Mill


The History, Health Benefits, & Uses of Sorghum Syrup

Have you ever heard of sorghum syrup, also known as sweet sorghum or sorghum molasses*? I learned about it recently through my Uncle Ronnie, who was telling me his fond memories of eating it drizzled over biscuits as a child in North Carolina. I happened to mention I'd never eaten it, so he sent me a batch! Gotta love uncles.

{*Note: Although some people call it sorghum molasses, sorghum syrup is not actually molasses, which is a byproduct of the sugar refining process and is made of sugar cane, not sorghum cane}.

Friday, March 21, 2014

the golden oldies

When I was a little girl, my parents and stepmom introduced me to many musical styles, from Blues to Beatles to B-52s. I can barely remember a moment a record player was not seeing action in my parents' homes. Those were happy times.

c. 1984. Ignore the awkward bunny and instead direct your
attention to the records in the corner. So much space taken up!


Saturday, March 15, 2014

oatcakes

Author's Note: In honor of the Family Breakfast Project, I am sharing seven days of easy family breakfast recipes. At the end of the week, I'll write about how the project went for our family. You can try it out too! Sign up for emails, click through on the web, or download the whole guide here
{Disclaimer: I am not being paid for sharing the program; I just think it's a great way to help you share breakfast with your family.}

Our favorite local Scottish restaurant--and to be honest, the only Scottish restaurant I know about in Boston--serves oatcakes upon arrival. We go for brunch, and I love their Prosecco cocktails and gigantic egg sandwich. What was I talking about?

Oh right, oatcakes. I'd had these a few times in England too, enough to know that I love any device that allows me to get more butter and jam in my mouth. Oatcakes fit that bill nicely, indeed. I've enjoyed noshing on them any time of day with homemade jam (mostly from this book; the winners in my opinion are apple cranberry jam, vanilla rhubarb jam, and slow cooker blueberry butter) and Kerrygold butter.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

how to make yogurt at home {with no fancy gadget}

Author's Note: In honor of the Family Breakfast Project, I am sharing seven days of easy family breakfast recipes. At the end of the week, I'll write about how the project went for our family. You can try it out too! Sign up for emails, click through on the web, or download the whole guide here. {Disclaimer: I am not being paid for sharing the program; I am mentioning it because I think it's a great way to help you share breakfast with your family.}

After the first two days of breakfast recipes (read: buttermilk biscones and breakfast cookies), you might believe I start every morning with a fresh, sugary pastry. But actually, our breakfast breakdown looks more like this:




Friday, January 17, 2014

a 43-year-old letter

the lone home ranger
Cubby and Great Grandma talking to my mom, c. 1979

I found a copy of a letter that my great grandfather wrote my grandmother in 1971 (when he was 82 years old), and it was so fascinating I just had to share it. Were Cubby alive today, he would be roughly 125 years old. There are many more letters like this one; I am sharing the first of the letters I pulled from the stack. He typed it using a typewriter.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

resolution salad, crockpot cassoulet, & a cookbook review

Author's Note: This post is not sponsored or paid. I just really like this book and think you will too.

I've been interested in Laurie David ever since I read an article about her in Outside Magazine eight years ago. Okay, so a confession is at that point I thought/hoped she was a real live version of the fictional character portrayed on Curb Your Enthusiasm (read: she's not).

Anyhow, I eventually learned to love her for her great environmentalist work, and when I heard she wrote a book about family dinner, I was intrigued to find out more. The book is called The Family Dinner: Great Ways to Connect with Your Kids, One Meal at a Time.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

in spaces between

Me (center) and my cousins, July 1997

In the summer of 1997, I was in between my junior and senior years of high school, and I was invincible. Like most privileged kids at that time in the suburbs of Atlanta, I drove a beat-up Volvo station wagon, my bulletproof tank. The car represented my freedom from oppression, whatever that can mean to a girl who doesn’t even have to supply her own gas money. That my muffler was held intact with a coat hanger didn’t matter; I was part of the crowd. Like Billy Joe Armstrong was hoping when he penned the song that is now a part of every highlight reel, I was having the time of my life. Graduation was barreling forward in just a year, and I was experiencing each moment with instant nostalgia and intense feeling.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

making a molehill out of a mountain {rhythm of the home}

Rhythm of the Home's Holiday edition is out today! Check out my article about simplifying our kids' toys. I'll be conducting our "pre-holiday purge" soon. Care to join me?


Author's note: You can read my past contributions to Rhythm of the Home here.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Aunt El's cinnamon rolls

Aunt El as a WAVE, Miami, FL, 1941

Author's note: I originally published this post on February 8, 2012. In honor of yesterday being Food Day--which encourages us to get kids cooking--I am reposting my Aunt El's recipe for cinnamon rolls (and dinner rolls) today. It is my children's favorite dish to help me make. I love it because I get to play with them and tell stories about Aunt El, allowing me to--as Kim John Payne says in Simplicity Parenting--"emphasize the importance of now while introducing the infinite."

My Great Aunt Eleanor is one of my favorite people. I happen to believe she was one of the best people ever to have graced the Earth, but I suppose I'm a bit biased. My family ascribed to whatever knowledge El shared with us as the absolute, 100%, golden truth. Perhaps it is because she was the big sister, or because she raised six children, or because of her big personality. Perhaps it was a little of all of those, and it didn't hurt that she always gave darn good advice.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

food day 2013: pickled red cabbage & more

Last week I mentioned it was World Food Day. Today we're celebrating a nationwide Food Day, with a particular focus on helping children cook real food. Spread the word! The more we can get the conversation started about real, local, sustainable food, the better.

In honor of the occasion, today I'm putting up (canning & freezing) a bounty of soups, chutneys, and jams with the season's harvest. I'm also sharing my three year old's favorite recipe for pickled red cabbage. This recipe originally came from The Joy of Pickling, but I've modified it to make it my own. I love having the blog to document all of my quirky home recipes, but I only share the adaptations that I think make the recipe better. Otherwise I just link to or cite the original source.

Monday, October 07, 2013

a family dinner by any other name

Selfie in Sweden, pre-kids
After graduating college, Nate and I embarked on a journey as a newly minted family, leaving behind our home state for adventures in the uncharted beyond. Moving away from our families of origin was exciting! Graduate school and moves to the Midwest, the US capital, and across the Atlantic Ocean opened our eyes to different and interesting ways of thinking and living.

Along the way, we became parents. Welcome to the best learning experience of all! While we were thrilled about our growing family, we also encountered our share of challenges and foibles. None of our friends had kids yet, so we navigated the choppy new waters solo while they smiled and did their best to understand the dark circles and panicked voices. Without family in town to assist us, we floundered quite a bit on just what to do with our new bundle of joy. We relied on our nanny to tell us what and when to feed Vivi. I chuckle to remember how we browsed stacks of parenting volumes promising new and different ways to achieve better results, as though she were a new iGadget instead of a person.

Although advice was still only a phone call away, the temptation of “the unknown better” beckoned louder. Eschewing family secrets for propaganda, we replaced the village with pop science. Whereas pride in continuing our families’ traditions was once the goal long ago, shiny-new-object syndrome stepped in and took over.

Unfortunately, our manic pursuit of novelty did not improve our lives. The promise that the latest parenting trend would solve our problems didn’t deliver. We were paralyzed by choice and growing dizzy from the pendulum of polarized philosophies. Put simply, we were not happy parents.




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Monday, September 16, 2013

reboot family dinner {+ a giveaway of two great books}

{Note: Congratulations to Emily and Jessica, the winners of the giveaway books. I hope you enjoy them, ladies!}

I enjoy our summer lazy routine where we let the girls watch more TV and eat more ice cream, but there's also a quiet bliss to our back-to-school fall routine. We begin spending more hours indoors, whether in school or in our living room, and our busier schedule makes those rarer family trips outdoors to pick apples or play t-ball all the sweeter.

With school fully ramped back up, I am getting back into the swing of family dinner. I admit to struggling a bit at times, continuing to serve the girls summer staples of deviled eggs or tuna salad before Nate and I have our own dinner hours later. And pretty please don't ask me whether they've been eating lots of snacks.


We've had our successes too. On Sunday, for example, we went out to pick apples and filled our bellies to the brim with fruit, so we weren't as interested in a full dinner that night. Instead, the girls played happily in the next room while we chopped and simmered apples close by in the kitchen. They loved to sample a bit of still-cooking, piping hot applesauce, and Daddy whipped them up a quick grilled cheese sandwich and mug of tomato soup while we were still mixing and canning apple creations.

Charlie's favorite part was the bluegrass band playing at the farmstand. Girl after her mama's heart.

We've all heard in recent months about the importance of sitting down to dinner as a family. Lately I've been pondering the definition of "family dinner" and wondering if there's more room to bend the rules a bit. I'm happy to be working with The Family Dinner Project (FDP) to experiment with my neighborhood pals and see if we can make family dinners better together. They have some fantastic ways to fit in food, fun, and conversation with your children into your day.

I'm betting you can guess Vivi's favorite part of the day...

On apple-picking day, we didn't all sit together at one time to share a big spread of food; however, we did connect as a family in picking and putting away a bounty of fall's delicious harvest together. Later on in the evening at bedtime, we played a game FDP calls Rose & Thorn, asking them what their favorite and least favorite parts of the day were and sharing our own.

If you are interested in making family dinner better in your household, I encourage you to check out the FDP website. They have so many wonderful (and free!) resources. I'm also happy to be offering a giveaway today of two books that have helped us keep the kids interested in trying and eating new and different foods, which is one of the important pieces in the family dinner puzzle. Thanks to their generous publishers for making it possible to share these books!

Here are the books you can sign up for a chance to get for free (sign-up is below, and it will be open until Sunday September 22nd, 11:59pm ET):



1. French Kids Eat Everything. I wrote about this book in April, and the post was syndicated on BlogHer. A publicity manager of the publisher, HarperCollins, found what I wrote and offered to share the book with two readers of this blog. I absolutely loved this book; it changed the way we eat dinner forever, and it has made the experience so much more pleasant. See more of what I wrote here.


2. End of the Rainbow Fruit Salad. Here's what I wrote about it in July. The publisher offered to give y'all one of these books as well, so sign up below if you're interested! My kids love this one and still to this day call it the pickle book because of the illustrated pickle who helps make the salad.

WIN THE BOOKS!

Use Rafflecopter below for your chance to win! It's that easy. Just submit a comment or drop me a line by email or Facebook if you're having trouble figuring it out. Good luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

we are the FDA

Welcome to the September 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Staying Safe
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 stories and tips about protecting our families. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
***

FDA Quotes

I steer clear of giving too much advice to new parents; what I know, they either won't understand or aren't ready to hear yet. Besides, being a mom for five years doesn't make me a parenting expert, and I am far too aware of the foibles I've made along the way to feel I would be any good at telling others what to do. There is an exception to this no-advice rule, and it's concerning the food and drug choices we make as parents. Here is the sum total of that advice: as a parent, you are the funnel by which all materials will reach your children. You are the screen, the poison detector, the regulation. In essence, YOU are the FDA.

One difficult truth I learned in public health graduate school is that the FDA is an agency under extreme political pressure to make profit-based rather than evidence-based decisions. The integrity of their decision-making process has come under scrutiny in recent years for good reasons. The FDA has repeatedly been accused of or directly confessed to succumbing to pressure by Congress, whose members are funded by big companies peddling myriad faulty products.

Note that this pressure isn't exerted by one political party or another; it is a problem that crosses the aisle. Even easier to demonstrate than the political pressure is the whacky organizational make-up of the agency where food is concerned. Let's take frozen pizza as an example; if you want inspection information about a frozen pepperoni pizza, you should seek out the USDA, but if you want the same information about a cheese pizza, go to the FDA. The same could be said about egg regulation, which this article cutely and aptly calls "scrambled."

The problems in FDA regulation aren't limited to processed food but rather extend to sunscreen (see EWG's July 2013 letter to the FDA here), cleaning products, produce, seafood, vitamins*--which the FDA doesn't currently regulate at all (see footnote about vitamins below)--etc. Problems aren't limited to the FDA either. There's bad news for other regulatory agencies as well. Take the FTC (please!), which regulates all advertising, including for children's and infant products, but chooses to provide less regulation and more frustrating "guidance."

A particularly frustrating example of this lack of adequate FTC regulation concerns infant formula. Back in the late 1980's, pediatricians were outraged at a change in formula advertising to direct-to consumer-as opposed to doctors; some pediatricians even went so far as to boycott formula companies. The AAP then and now recommends against direct-to-consumer advertising, but they wield no regulatory power, and even though other countries have banned the practice, the US (via the FTC) continues to allow it.

Why were pediatricians so up in arms? They knew what could (and did) happen; formula companies now manage the information you receive and lead women to believe failure to succeed at breastfeeding is normal and expected. The hazard boils down to this likelihood: if you don't do your own research to become educated, you know only what they want you to know. Perhaps more importantly, you don't know what they don't want you to know.

What all this evidence means, unfortunately, is that parents can't rely on the federal agencies** to protect us; we need to do our own research when making decisions about purchases, particularly when they are for our children. If you're looking for a place to do such parenting research, Environmental Working Group is a good place to start.

*Should you take a multivitamin? This Harvard School of Public Health website discusses the evidence both for and against synthetic supplemental vitamins.

**It's not all bad news at the federal agencies of health protection. The CDC does a fantastic job of relaying transparent and evidenced-based data to the public. I highly recommend checking out their website for child-related health and safety information.

Author's Note: This post was shared with Works for Me Wednesday.

***
Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be updated by afternoon September 10 with all the carnival links.)
  • Stranger Danger — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares her approach to the topic of "strangers" and why she prefers to avoid that word, instead opting to help her 4-year-old understand what sorts of contact with adults is appropriate and whom to seek help from should she ever need it.
  • We are the FDA — Justine at The Lone Home Ranger makes the case that when it comes to food and drugs, parents are necessarily both their kids' best proponent of healthy eating and defense against unsafe products.
  • You Can't Baby Proof Mother Nature — Nicole Lauren at Mama Mermaid shares how she tackles the challenges of safety when teaching her toddler about the outdoors.
  • Bike Safety With Kids — Christy at Eco Journey In the Burbs shares her tips for safe cycling with children in a guest post at Natural Parents Network.
  • Spidey Sense — Maud at Awfully Chipper used a playground visit gone awry to teach her children about trusting their instincts.
  • Watersustainablemum explains how she has used her love of canoeing to enable her children to be confident around water
  • Safety without baby proofing — Hannabert at Hannahandhorn talks about teaching safety rather than babyproofing.
  • Coming of Age: The Safety Net of Secure AttatchmentGentle Mama Moon reflects on her own experiences of entering young adulthood and in particular the risks that many young women/girls take as turbulent hormones coincide with insecurities and for some, loneliness — a deep longing for connection.
  • Mistakes You Might Be Makings With Car Seats — Car seats are complex, and Brittany at The Pistachio Project shares ways we might be using them improperly.
  • Could your child strangle on your window blinds? — One U.S. child a month strangles to death on a window blind cord — and it's not always the obvious cords that are the danger. Lauren at Hobo Mama sends a strong message to get rid of corded blinds, and take steps to keep your children safe.
  • Tips to Help Parents Quit Smoking (and Stay Quit) — Creating a safe, smoke-free home not only gives children a healthier childhood, it also helps them make healthier choices later in life, too. Dionna at Code Name: Mama (an ex-smoker herself) offers tips to parents struggling to quit smoking, and she'll be happy to be a source of support for anyone who needs it.
  • Gradually Expanding Range — Becca at The Earthling's Handbook explains how she is increasing the area in which her child can walk alone, a little bit at a time.
  • Safety Sense and Self Confidence — Do you hover? Are you overprotective? Erica at ChildOrganics discusses trusting your child's safety sense and how this helps your child develop self-confidence.
  • Staying Safe With Food Allergies and Intolerances — Kellie at Our Mindful Life is sharing how she taught her son about staying safe when it came to his food allergies.
  • Don't Touch That Baby!Crunchy Con Mom offers her 3 best tips for preventing unwanted touching of your baby.
  • Playground Wrangling: Handling Two Toddlers Heading in Opposite Directions — Megan at the Boho Mama shares her experience with keeping two busy toddlers safe on the playground (AKA, the Zone of Death) while also keeping her sanity.
  • Letting Go of "No" and Taking Chances — Mommy at Playing for Peace tries to accept the bumps, bruises and tears that come from letting her active and curious one-year-old explore the world and take chances.
  • Preventing Choking in Babies and Toddlers with Older Siblings — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now gives tips on preventing choking in babies and toddlers along with Montessori-inspired tips for preventing choking in babies and toddlers who have older siblings working with small objects.
  • Keeping Our Children Safe: A Community and National Priority — September has many days and weeks dedicated to issues of safety; however, none stir the emotions as does Patriot Day which honors those slain the terrorist attacks. Along with honoring the victims, safety officals want parents to be ready in the event of another disaster whether caused by terrorists or nature. Here are their top tips from Mary at Mary-andering Creatively.
  • A Complete Family: Merging Pets and Offspring — Ana at Panda & Ananaso shares the ground rules that she laid out for herself, her big brown dog, and later her baby to ensure a happy, safe, and complete family.
  • Be Brave — Shannon at Pineapples & Artichokes talks about helping her kids learn to be brave so that they can stay safe, even when she's not around.
  • Catchy PhrasingMomma Jorje just shares one quick tip for helping kids learn about safety. She assures there are examples provided.
  • Know Your Kid — Alisha at Cinnamon&Sassfras refutes the idea that children are unpredictable.
  • Surprising car seat myths — Choosing a car seat is a big, important decision with lots of variables. But there are some ways to simplify it and make sure you have made the safest choice for your family. Megan at Mama Seeds shares how, plus some surprising myths that changed her approach to car seats completely!
  • I Never Tell My Kids To Be Careful — Kim is Raising Babes, Naturally, by staying present and avoiding the phrase "be careful!"

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

depaysement

huffington post

This has to be the first time I've used a French word on the blog title two days in a row. And I don't even speak French!

I was browsing an article on Huff Post yesterday (click picture above for link), and this word jumped out above the others. Depaysement sums up how I feel right now living in Boston. Sure, I have buddies who share my likes and values. But there's just something about living so far away from my roots, my family and close friends, that at times makes me feel like an outsider.

In my normal day to day life, I am mostly happy and unconcerned about this admittedly unimportant first world problem. But then something will happen, like today when we are visiting with some of our closest friends, and the inner turmoil of my heart will ache acutely. 

It's like when you're a kid and you hurt yourself. At first you try to be brave and hold it together; then you notice your mom saw you fall, and suddenly it's a struggle not to cry. 

When I'm missing my home, all the news of the day is viewed through a funnel aimed directly at the gaping hole of loneliness. 

The local swimming hole closes in August? That would never happen at home.

Get pulled over by a state troopah while barely speeding? That would never happen at home.

It doesn't matter whether the thoughts are factually accurate. Truth is in the heart of the beholder. You can't argue with a feeling. It's a state of mind, not a state of address. Only time will tell, but for today, I'm happy to be having some big hugs and big laughs with some of our favorite people.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

photojournalism

{On the Range} is my weekly series (or sometimes semi-monthly series, I guess) where I discuss what we're doing, reading, and eating. It's a little bit 52 project and other photo projects, and a little bit {Did you Read?} and {In the Ranger Kitchen}.


On the Range
{Weeks 21 - 27}
May 21 - July 8, 2013 

"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2013"...

May 21 - 27: Hung out with Grandpa Jim and family in Charlotte and then in N. GA Mtns.
May 28 - June 3rd: Cousins time! Spent time at Auntie M's and then settled in at Mom's.
June 4 - 10: The start of a truly astounding amount of rain. Not much done outside on this trip, except camp.
June 11 - 17: Vivi and I got to eat lunch together at a camp cookout. I call this one "serious face with condiments."
June 18 - 24: Vivi playing big-ball soccer. She has a blue ribbon on her head. You can tell she had no fun at camp.
June 18 - 24 (2): This is from Carnival Day, the last day of camp. We had such a good time!
June 25 - July 1: We went to Vogel State Park for a week for an annual family reunion.
July 2 - 8: We returned home to find record hot temps in the high 90s. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

at my leisure

The toothless twins

We left Friday for the big trip, a salubrious vacation back home to the south. I am enjoying the usual perks of this trek, like eating and gossiping and allowing the constant whims and exigencies of my children to be attended by others. The girls are their summer selves, reckless and wild and covered in sweat and bug bites. Summer!

Follow us on Instagram to see more trip pictures. I think it makes you get an account, so I apologize in advance for that, but it is just too easy to share pictures that way. That reminds me of a Vivism that happened on the drive to Atlanta. She said to Dad, "Grandpa, driving to Atlanta isn't too far, it's just one far."

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

spring cleaning and preparing, part two

We love that tulips are so popular in New England spring.

Welcome to the May 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Emergency Preparedness
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 their plans to keep their families safe. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
***

Last spring I wrote a post about how we created and maintain a bin of emergency supplies. Today I'll cover the another important part of emergency planning, creating a family communication plan. Ready.gov has a family communications website with some ideas, and I've broken those tips down for you.

Creating an emergency communication plan:
  1. Identify an out-of-state contact. In the recent Boston bombing, we had intermittent cell phone service within the city, so if we had been at the Marathon, we wouldn't have been able to reach each other. However, if you designate a person out-of-town that everyone will call, you can get updates through that intermediary. Be sure to tell that person of your communication plan.

  2. Teach your child a contact number, either your cell phone or the designated contact person's. Children ages five and up are able to memorize 10-digit phone numbers. There are some great ideas out there for how to go about helping them memorize it.

  3. Make sure your child knows how to use the phone in your home. In our house, we only have cell phones, and mine automatically locks, so I had to train Genevieve how to unlock it herself and call 911, then I had to do it again this week when I got a new iPhone.

  4. Distribute your plan to your local emergency contact, a neighbor you trust, and your child's school, along with a letter to your child in case of an emergency. 
If you've made a bin of supplies and created a communications plan, consider learning additional ways to keep your home and family safe and finding escape routes. You can also make your stockpile larger in a frugal way by preserving your own food. We are trying not to eat canned food as much as possible due to concerns over BPA, so I've been storing lots of fruit jams and pickled veggies that can be canned using a boiling water bath. Get started with my round-up of canning resources.

***
Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be updated by afternoon May 14 with all the carnival links.)

Saturday, May 11, 2013

soak it up

A break from all the fun with the film Robots. It's a cute one!

Most days I love staying home with my kids, but I admit the little stinkers bring with them a fair amount of absurdity. Sometimes I find that my cup overfloweth with nonsense. But the great thing about having a grandpa visit is that grandpas are nonsense sponges. They ooze their own fun and silliness while simultaneously absorbing all the excess foolishness around them. Hence, Nate and I managed to squeeze in an actual relaxed adult conversation on a walk down to the hardware store, while the tomfoolery ship trailed behind us with Cap'n Grandpa at the helm.

Sorting, playing with, and keeping track of Legos is another of a grandfather's many talents

Along our route, I noted that there were many edible plants, and I thought of Elle. I have been wanting to make salad from the greens that grow in public spaces, but what about dog pee? It seems to me that with all the dogs in our neighborhood, any leafy edible not growing in my fenced-in back yard would be anointed with animal urine. Perhaps it is a given that one should eat their own backyard weeds, but we seem to be lacking in them, possessing minimal dandelions, no violets or chickweed, nor any other weed that I can find. I'll check back in a week and see how it's going back there with the weeds.



In other backyard growth news, we have some seedlings at work now, and Vivi's fairy garden is looking splendid, as our our lilacs. They really are the best of flowers, so fragrant and hopeful.


Our entire fence line looks like this. Thank you previous owners!

Tomorrow is the raising of the big playhouse, and I have pinned all my hopes of relaxing out of doors on its ability to entertain/babysit the girls, so I'll let you know how that works out for us.

Strawberries, lettuce, future fennel, and mint. We will also do tomatoes, carrots, and maybe potatoes.

So, tell me, how does your garden grow?

xoxo
~J

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