Saturday, January 29, 2011

Discourse on food, robots, and ballet.

In my new series titled Kristen lured me here with pictures of her children and then assaulted me with her opinions about stuff. (what? you fell for that?)  Well.  I now bring you FOOD.
Firstly.  May I start this off by saying.  If eating is so primal and instinctual why is it so confusing?  And, oh vey.  The vasts quantities of books on the subject.  The bookstore has major sections for recipe books, another for nutrition and diet, and in parenting we find a subsection on weaning/nursing.  There are best sellers on whole foods, or the obesity epidemic.  Now in addition to deciding whether you want to ascribe to whole foods, raw foods, ovo-lacto-pesco foods.  NOW my pseudo-hippy creds are challenged by the locavore and slow foods.  ( as a side note: the slow foods tagline is "good, clean and fair food" and my brain brought up images of funnel cakes).  Time OUT.  Can't we just eat FOOD?

And here is the part where I pepper in photos to keep you entertained. 
Elliot and a gaggle of small girls (old friends of 5 minutes) excitedly waiting for her FIRST BALLET CLASS.  Giddiness in the air...10 minutes class begins.

Elliot in the middle- smaller than her peers.  But already well studied.  She got a ballet lessons on dvd from the library and watched in 700 times.  She is an expert on plee-ins and first position and all the warm up stretches.  Ready to start on advanced choreography.  Hope she wasn't disappointed.  (2 minutes until class begins)

Sometimes when I hear food-talk it sounds like people are programmed robots...with our scientific robot programs that mathematically redact our bodies until all we are is metabolism, thyroids, proportions, ratios, and scenarios.  On further insult our food is distastefully reduced to scientific units of calorie, carbohydrate, and fat with corresponding charts, tables and trends (Malibu, Adkins, Hollywood juice). 

Anyone think that perhaps we are oversimplifying in the wrong direction?  Maybe.  Throwing out the proverbial baby and not the bathwater?

Stay with me.  This may not be profound enough for some of you.  BUT there are more photos to come. 

Why not just real food for real humans?  Pop Tarts (brown sugar flavored) be damned but if you can't garden it or raise it...or if you can't go out and hunt, fish or forage it...may you shouldn't eat it?  Just saying.  Maybe it isn't food?  Or, maybe (at the very least) it warrants a second thought before mindlessly partaking.
Thinking that we could measure our food in steps removed from nature.  Like carrot sticks = 0 and pop tarts are at 1000.  With everything else somewhere else on the spectrum.  And then we seek to eat as close to 0 as possible...with a few funnel cakes now and again.

That is Elliot mid-plie.  Teacher asked them to just stand there...but when you know stuff you should show off stuff. 

Otherwise , doesn't food get redacted to scientific units and's almost enough to make me loose my appetite. 

We went to a paint your own pottery place.  Elliot spent an hour and a half getting the switch cover just right...then I stamped on her initials. 

Hey.  Aunt Jennie.  This picture is for you.  See that brass tiger?  I've tried to make it disappear about 6 times already but it keeps magically appearing on this shelf. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Ideas about cleaning your house and using essential oils.

NOTE: this is not a how you should clean post.  Or, at least don't read it that way.  It is a this is how I make cleaners post.  xo kq.
Did you read this? A few of my loyal band of merry readers emailed me about making my own cleaners.  So this post is a) to share how to clean a house with green/eco/frugal/non toxic/friendly and generally happy cleaners that you make.  and b) offer proof that it cleans very well.

This works especially well if you are cheap frugal and/or have sensitive skin or respiratory allergies.   

what to clean with.
basically, vinegar, lemon juice, baking soda, dish soap (phosphate free), optional essential oils.

Why vinegar?  it is acetic acid, a strong acid with a ph of 2ish.  Bleach is used because it is a strong base with a ph of 12 ish.  Extreme acids and extreme bases are good cleaners because bugs and people like neutral environments (ph of 7).  Not that I am saying to use bleach for everyday cleaning...but I digress...

Basic spray cleaner: 32 oz spray bottle.  1/2 to 1 cup vinegar, 1 squirt (1-2 teaspoons dish soap), blend of essential oils (total 20-30 drops.  less if peppermint or tea tree because they are strong!).  fill rest of bottle with wash water and shake to mix up.  This can clean just about anything. 

To scrub (grout, toilet bowls, burnt pan bottoms): baking soda and good scrubbing tool (tile brush, old toothbrush, toilet brush, scour pad). 

clean microwave: 1 cup-ish of lemon juice in a bowl + water to fill up.  cook in microwave as long as you would a cup of tea (3-5 minutes). Open door wipe down. Lemon juice evaporates to deodorize, the citric acid disinfects, and the humidity softens any crusty stuff.   I usually put my dish sponge in the bowl with the lemon and water to cook it (yummy).  I feel like it disinfects sponges.  And feeling like something has been cleaned counts, right?   

essential oils.
I order mine from New DirectionsMake sure to use Essential oils and not aromatic oils.  Body Shop also carries them.  What are they?  Read wikiI like Worwood's book Complete book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy I got that book a couple of years ago and it has been really handy. 
In the winter I like to use clove (smells Christmasy), otherwise a good household scent is peppermint and lavender (1part peppermint to 2-3 parts lavender).  The best disinfectant is tea tree.  Diaper pail or bottom of trash can getting stinky?  A few drops of tea tree on a piece of TP, thrown, should take care of the smell and diinfect the cause of the smell too.
A good combo for sick person clean up and to disinfect when a virus is going around is tea tree + eucalyptus.  A palm size of vasoline+ 1 drop eucalyptus is a nice chest rub for a stuff nosed child that can't sleep well (a la vicks vapor rub)
Citronella smells like lemon pine sol cleaner and it is a natural bug repellent.  About 30 drops of citronella in the mop water smells really nice and it helps in the spring time if ants are fighting to move in.   The ideas run on and on to the power of ten.  

but does it clean as well as my blue/pine scented/foamy/$4 non-reusable bottle? or silly hippy Kristen thinks this works because...? 
Lots of reading and research backs me up.  Using the stuff above is effective for cleaning and sanitizing.  Need something more solid?  I took a microbiology course at Boise State a couple of years ago (has it been that long already?)  For a lab project, I brought home supplies.  Swabbed, smeared, cultured etc.  ta da. The petri dish does not lie.  I have a fantastically clean house (um. well.  when we've actually cleaned it is clean. Of course an excellent cleaning product unused is very ineffectual. whoops.)

and finally get some equipment
Paper towels are flimsy.  How can you really get remnants of bread dough off the counter tops once it is dried down on there like cement?  No.  you need lots of rags, a grout brush, scour pads and elbow grease.  Lots of elbow grease. Leila (her again?) posted about cleaning.  It's good if you want to read a long post about rags.  but I guess if you've read this far you are a sucker for long boring posts.   

Monday, January 24, 2011

Elliot's ballet class starts tomorrow. 

It is her second obsession.  The first being all things Laura Ingalls. 

Elliot has talked about going Bah-ay school since she was two.  None of the local schools started until 3 1/2.  So, as she is 3 1/2 and ready to her bah-ay shoes, and bah-ay skirt she got for Christmas. 

Little baby bird leaves the nest a bit at a time.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Spring is here and the ABC tree is in bloom. Or so says the bad mom.

okay.  fat lie. Spring is not here.  It is cold and, aside from a couple sunny days this week, it has been dull and gray.  We are ready for the good weather....only a couple more months.  

At the risk of sounding like a bad mom.  I am starting to cringe at sentences that begin with why.  Which is every sentence that Elliot speaks.  It is not a rhetorical why.  She is tenacious enough that if we don't answer (from exhaustion) she keeps asking.  We are suffering from an overload of curiosity.  Why did Toad crash his car again?  Why did  you sit on the couch and not the red chair?  Why did Henry just spit up again?  Why did you do it that way? Why is that girl wearing boots?  Why is that man's hair long like a girl?  Why is the little red hen red?  Why WHY?!  I don't know WHY!!!

and don't get this bad mom started on how I don't like playing pretend for 8 hours straight.  I just don't enjoy it.  Elliot can inexhaustibly play Laura Ingalls and Farmer Boy ALL-DAY-EVERY-DAY.
Elliot:  you be Mary
Us: let's play another game.
Elliot:  ok let's play school.  You be the teacher and I will be Laura.

Seems suspiciously like the same game to me.  humph.

Well.  That was cathartic.  So, back to the title of this post.  The ABC tree.  We are finding letters everywhere.  She has never seemed too driven to draw pictures.  Try as we might to show her smiley faces and stick people.  And she doesn't color.  she takes tests, does her lessons, and  gets information.  She asks questions (what is your name?  What is your city?  What is your husband's name?) and then scribbles the answer down.  She doesn't show much interest in drawing but is desperate to write.  And when her favorite game of spelling bee evolved into spelling test - she really did begin writing letters.  In her beautiful 3 year old hand.  Letters have been showing up everywhere.  A lot of E's, but an important letter for an Elliot. 

E. L. C.




Someone's proud mama took a lot of photos.  Who did that?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

well.  For all of our listeners out there in blogland...
Izaak's law school tally is 2 acceptances, 1 waitlist...and a few pending reviews.

The acceptances/waitlists are in 3 different states/regions/climates.  How does one prepare when one is facing so many unknowns? (with children)

Beyond that we are tired.  There is a reason that 18 year olds are poor college students.  The body does not take it so well in subsequent decades. 
Izaak went back to school 24 months ago and has gone straight summer breaks.  Phase one of  Great and Crazy Plan (GCP) wraps up this May.  The 1/2 way point.  Phase two of GCP scheduled to begin this September.

We both admitted to each other this week that we have let our brains wander and daydream about moving back into a big-people-house.  We could just give someone 30-day notice...and move in...with a garage, and a family room, and a real backyard, and a dishwasher....but I digress.

Friday, January 07, 2011

nothing particular

WELL. of all the things I could share today...I think I will indulge in a stream of nothing important.  A wildly active stream of information -gurgling, churning, spilling over rocks.  Yet, still I think I can manage to say only non-earth shattering things.  It will be difficult perhaps.  My life is a rare fount of headline news stories.  (ummm.  humoring myself)
Elliot and I dressed for Christmas service.  Her Christmas dress is completed by boots.

Izaak's new Sony camcorder/camera/toy came in the mail today.  He's not here so I am playing with it. He got it for free.  It is a deep violet color to match the white 32g iPod he got for free last Spring.  The colors don't match.  It is the free part that matches.  Did you notice that?  People just give him expensive items when he does lame stuff like fill out surveys at expos.

When you send a 3 year old in to put on her shoes SOMETIMES they put socks all the way up and put on broken ballet shoes.  Next time I will be more clear about the knicker/ballet combo.

I learned this week that you can't effectively shush 3 year olds.  They just talk louder over the shhh sound to make doubly sure that you heard them.  I learned that lesson when Elliot pointed at a black man and said innocently enough that that wasn't her favorite color for skin.  Too dark, she thought.  It was a grocery store, he was standing about 1/2 aisle down from us.  It is the same Elliot who is very clear about not liking short hair, and blond hair. She alternates between liking Indians and not (as per the Little House books).  And, she cried once when she found out that she was an American (she just wanted to be a girl, as it turned out)

Elliot is modeling a jacket her dad wore as a little boy

Sure, it is okay to not like blonds and prefer lush long hair.  BUT how do you draw a line on what is okay without drawing a line between an imaginary us/them.  The man was black, obviously.  I don't want to teach her to ignore that fact because that is disrespectful to who he is. 

So, I faced the teachable moment where I had the chance to explain that some people are black and some have short hair and these are just adjectives but that's not who we are but that is who he is because of heritage and culture and short hair is just fashion and its okay to not like some one's fashion but you should acknowledge how people are born without judgement because while that defines us it doesn't limit or separate us (but then neither does some one's fashion choices) but it is not a big deal but why am I making this moment a big deal? It's like...In the 1 second I had to say something deep even the voice in my head was confused about what the lesson should be or why the lesson should be.  I just shrugged my shoulders and said that I thought it was a nice shade for skin but that I agreed with her about the orangyblond hair.
Her awareness of otherness is outgrowing her awareness of other's feelings. where angels fear to tread 

Henry is already 4 months old and smells inexplicably of babyness.  You know that smell?  How do they manage to smell like that?

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Love, baby, Love.

What words can I use to express how I (we) feel?  Our two babies LOVE each other!

 Henry thinks (so far as we can tell) that Elliot can do no wrong.

Elliot is fairly sure that she wants to marry Henry when she gets bigger.

Doesn't Henry rock that Santa bib?  He's teething and drooling everywhere!!


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