Monday, July 7, 2014

Compostable Mom...

As I wash the dirt from under my fingernails in the kitchen sink, I smile at the first harvest of wild pepperweed I've just harvested.  I think about maybe I can make something for some of the ladies in my breastfeeding support group, Milk Makers Community.  After the dirt is uncaked from under my nails, I sidle over to my keurig and replace this mornings' coffee pod with a new one, tossing the old one in a re-purposed lunch meat bin to be dumped in the compost crock later.  I like this brand, New England, because there's very little plastic and it's easy to open and dump.  Compost likes coffee. I have a lot in

common with compost it seems.

I realize, sitting here amidst my coupons, my height measuring wall-art for the baby's room, my coffee, and my bag of Skinny Pop Popcorn, waiting for my cloth diapers to dry - I've somehow overnight become this hippie version of myself. Why buy it if you can make it? Why make it if you don't need it? Why throw away something that can be repurposed or recycled? Am I recycled?  What happened to that person that once said, shamefully, "...recycling is a pain in the ass. I won't be here when it matters and neither probably will my children.  Tree huggers need to get over themselves."

Sigh. I shake my head at that person who put more value on waist size and shoe brands.  Who was I back then? There really hasn't been any major thing that happened that made me make such a radical shift in thinking. It's been gradual.  Seeing how much garbage a family of 5 can produce, seeing how little our children understand about the food they eat, the world they live in, and the cost of blindly walking through life - I come to the full realization that I have massively changed.

I care about our planet. I care about the small patch of dirt I am living on - this place. I want my grandchildren (if they are in my cards) to know the wonderful smell of healthy dirt. Understand the meaning of "loamy soil". Giggle at the feeling of an earthworm desperately trying to mimic a coiling snake. And for that matter - giggle at the feeling of a worm snake desperately trying to return to eating earthworms.

I buy items that are less plastic, less wasteful and try to eat healthier.  I try to work out to be healthy, not thin - though that is a nice side effect.  I try to show my kids that being thoughtful is better than being "better than".  I coupon, I stop and say hi.  I help others when I can.  I try my best to think of why that jerk that just cut me off might be speeding and driving erratically - is he heading to the hospital? Is a loved one ill?  Is he late to pick up his child?  Did he just get fired?  Or is he trying to get home to that newborn?  Maybe he IS just a jerk, but hopefully one day he'll see his actions through others' eyes. Or maybe not - in the end it doesn't really matter.

There is no Gandhi-like saint residing in this tattooed skin. I get angry, I yell at my kids when they do something dumb or thoughtless. I sometimes want to grab Mr. Man and shake him when he complains how hard his day is and how tired he is and is any laundry done and why are we out of creamer...when I've had 4 hours of sleep,  3 bored summertime kids, a yard to mow, dogs to walk, a house to clean, laundry to do and dinner to make.

On those days, I take a deep breath and look around at this chaos, this mess. This out of control life.  Smelly diapers, dirty knees,  grubby fingers and dog slobber.  All of it is a blessing when I stop and think. I have a home to live in. I have good food to eat. I have healthy happy children. I have healthy happy pets.  I have a strong relationship.  I have a skill set my mother gave me to sew, cook, garden and manage a house that I am blessed to have. There are so many without.

As I finish up sweeping the floor and picking out a bread twist tie to toss in the recycle I note that I smell like the earth from weeding and putting compost around the root of our volunteer pumpkin.  I smile and think about how much I've changed over time having a lot of garbage dumped on me and how I feel like I've changed into something healthy, earthy, giving, and full of good stuff.

...And I like coffee.  I really do have a lot in common with compost.

Friday, December 6, 2013

White grout cleaning

Well it's done! I had to add lemon juice to kick up the bleaching process but it went well and smells FABULOUS!

In addition I basically just scrubbed my bathroom with peroxide, so the germophobe in me is pleased!

Dirty Housewife!

Well at least I'm trying!
Trying to get stains out of white grout. WHO PUTS WHITE GROUT IN A BATHROOM?????

Ugh. It looks like it's had coffee poured on EVERY.DAY.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

How to keep that mold out of kids bath ducks, frogs, monkeys, etc.

Rubber ducky, you're the one!  You make bath time lots of fun!  Except when you get the inevitable gross, and unhealthy, mold inside the duck. Or frog. Or alligator. Or whatever rubber/plastic bath toy you have to squeeze water out of after each bath.  (If you haven't seen it, don't google it)

There is a really simple, REALLY simple solution that doesn't involve any kind of bleach or chemical or scrubbing. Well - besides not using the toys that is.

Cut a hole in the bottom.

Here are the super easy, super simple, and-it-still-floats, directions.

(1) Assemble your tools, which include scissors, a razor (or sharp pointy
cutting tool of any sort), paper towel, and your duckigatofrog of choice.
(2) Start an opening with razor.  Then cut a half circle with
with scissors. Usually there's a ring to follow as a guide.

(3) Bend back the flap a bit, pour out any water inside. 

(4) Make Rubber duckigatofrog do an endo. If needed use a
towel and wipe out any water droplets & let air dry.

See! They still float!  Thank you Fairy and Princess ducks!

(I told you not to google it. Now you're grossed out.  Click here to make your brain forget that image)

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Mom Stuff on the Couch - Parenting styles and pretty girls.

Do you think telling your daughter she's pretty all the time is bad? Or not a big deal?  Do you have a parenting style? Do you consider yourself a natural parent? A gentle parent? Or just a parent?  Drop a comment after the vlog and let me know!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

I tell my children when they've done a piss poor job - and I'm a good parent for it.

Today my daughter, 6 mos old, managed to hold a baby spoon and get a bit of avocado in her mouth. I reacted with praise and excitement, "good job!" I shrieked clapping and smiling. She beamed back at me with a face full of slimy green goodness.

It reminded me though of a post I read in a "gentle parenting" group I was invited to. I didn't stay long for a few reasons, namely I don't need to label myself nor do I subscribe to any one way of parenting. I've had three of my own children and assisted in rearing two others, and am STILL looking for answers and feeling around blindly in the dark when it comes to parenting.  I am by no means an expert, though I do have some experience. Those are not the same things.

The post in the Gentle Parenting group was discussing using the phrase "good job"and how when you use it you infer that they can sometimes do a "bad job" and how they didn't want to damage the self esteem of the child. It made and argument that you are saying "you pleased me, and that's good, that's what you should be doing" rather than (and yes, this is a real quote from the article in the post
"More than it celebrates, blanket praise imparts judgment and increases a child’s reliance on external validation."  
My eye rolls began. I muttered something to myself along the lines of "oh for the love of..." and then called a girlfriend of mine just to make sure I wasn't being a complete asshole.  She is much more level headed than most other people (unless you count commenting on threads about how breastfeeding is gross, then her inner fire-breathing-dragon comes out) and certainly more forgiving than I am.  I told her about this post and her exact comment was (and yes, this is the real quote) "Oh for the love of..."

I somehow managed to contradict myself in the eyes of new parents everywhere fifteen years ago when I said that babies under 6 months can't be spoiled, get them when they cry and ALSO that no child ever died from crying - sometimes you have to do things and can't grab them AT THAT EXACT MOMENT.  Also, I bedshared with my son until he was about 3, but I also had a crib for him.  I don't agree with hitting a child but I won't hesitate to get their attention however I have to if they are putting themselves in harms way by doing EXACTLY the opposite of what I've asked, (i.e., running into a parking lot, standing on the edge of something high, grabbing scissors/knives/sharp things, playing with fire)  all of which my now 15 year old did.  I baby wear, I breastfeed, and I make my own babyfood when convenient, and I co-sleep.

To those looking in at these items alone, they would label me an "attachment parent".  They would be wrong to do so, but I've learned in my 40 years that people need to label, categorize, and file things away neatly.

Honestly I have issue with blindly praising everything a child does as wonderful awesome and amazing.  At some point, they have to learn they are NOT the best at everything, or else what will be left for them to strive for if they've already reached perfection at 5?

But back to the reason I'm posting this.  Saying "Good Job" and imparting judgment.  I have no issue with imparting judgment.  As a matter of fact, I impart judgment with most every single thing I do with regard to reacting to my children's doings.

And this is why - once a child leaves your home and goes out there, into the world - they will NOT do a perfect job every time. They will also sometimes to a crap job because they didn't try. ALL children.  EVERY child has the propensity to be lazy, to cut corners, to figure out a better way of doing something or an easier way. This isn't a bad thing - this is how we ended up with smart phones and fax machines and ear buds.  However - what boss has ever said, "thank you! this is excellent, whatever-it-is, awesome to have you on our team"?

Teachers will grade them with F's.  Enemies in school will call them losers, love interests will say no thanks pal, and bosses and potential bosses will tell them they failed. This happens in life.

If my teen goes to school and does a mediocre job and gets a C I will tell her she did a bad job and I'm not proud of her at that moment.  And I have done this. She is still an honor student and is still motivated to get good grades, go to college and do well. Her person and soul are not crushed because I said "Good Job".

If my 10 year old does a science project last minute, throws it together and gets a D - I say he earned that D because it was poor planning and not a good job.

This is the reality of the world. What's going to happen when all these kids grow up thinking they can do nothing wrong? How difficult is the world going to be when they realize that people judge you?  Harshly even?

I don't want to be there when they look back and say, "you didn't' prepare me for this world mom and dad, GOOD JOB".