Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Evil and the Super Nanny

OK I have not seen the *new* Super Nanny show, so I may be getting the totally wrong vibe here but yesterday I saw a commercial for this new show, and I saw the same commercial today, so I really feel like I need to get this out there, and maybe then I will be able to move past it.

The commercial depicts a family, not sure if they only have one son, but the one son on the commercial was shown as a child out of control, of course he was being filmed, and I know that they edit this show.  But the words on the screen as he was tearing things apart was "Evil....Has...A....New....Name".  One word appeared on the screen in large letters, at a time.  And I do want to say that they never said that Evil's new name was this child.  But that was CERTAINLY the implication.  I could not believe this....not at all.  I can't even imagine equating evil with a child.  That is such a powerful message.  I can't imagine how I would react if someone equated me with evil and we are talking about a child.

I have seen the *other* supper nanny show, the one that has been around for a few years.  And while I don't parent the way she instructs the families on her show to parent, something she generally started every *meeting* with is "you have such wonderful children", or "you have two beautiful girls" or some kind of compliment like that.

I know the commercial can be totally different from the program, which is why I said up front that I have not seen this show (and don't plan to).  I just wonder how this child will feel when he sees the commercial.  How he was portrayed for ratings.  How can you approach anyone, any situation, with a feeling that the other person (or in this case the child) is evil.  How can that bring any peace, any love, any comfort, any communication, any resolution, any common ground to any situation.

I try to approach situations of disagreement feeling that the person is doing the best they can in the moment, the intentions are the best, and solutions can be found.  Acceptance and understanding lead further than name calling any day.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Circle Sweater

I had quite a bit of extra yarn left over from the Christmas afghans I made.  So I decided to make myself a sweater with some of the left overs.  Not an easy task, I have not had great success with sweaters in the past...arms too long, shoulders too wide etc.  Just not a great fit.  But this sweater is so cute and REALLY EASY.  It is one big circle with two sleeves.  It is made all together so NO sewing, I dislike sewing things together.  You make one big circle, crocheted, and leave two slits for the arms.  Once the circle is done you crochet around the slits making your sleeves.  Easy peasy.  Here is the link to the pattern, called Lyon Circle Jacket. I found the pattern through Ravelry.    I used the Caron Simply Soft yarn, and as you can tell from the picture, lots of left over colors.  The sleeves, which you can't see in the picture are black, with green and brown down toward the cuff.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

After the Rain

For the past few days it has been rather dreary, overcast, on and off rain.  Yesterday it rained ALL day, did not stop for a minute.  We kind of huddled up and stayed warm and dry inside for the most part.  Comforted one of our dogs during thunderstorms, as she shook with fear.  Now this morning it is like the pastures are starting new, refreshed by the rain, enveloped by the sun.  It is so beautiful looking at the rain drops, dangling from the trees, the fog rising up from the pasture as all that water evaporates in the morning sun.  The day is a little chilly but the sun feels so warm on my face.  The hens graciously gave me 6 eggs this morning.  I may just take my cuppa chai out there, watch the hens play and bask in the sun.  Ahh life sure is good!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Parenting and Being Prepared

Jackson and the boys decided to make a trip up the hill the other day to snow board.  I decided to tag along as usual.  I don't ski or snow board but I bring the snacks and hot chocolate, stay nice and warm in the lodge, knit, read, and when the boys come in to warm up and take a break I have everything ready for them, and sit and listen to them talk about how they are progressing.  Generally a nice relaxing day, especially after the public school children are back to school, it is generally nice and quiet.

Wow was I wrong, turns out after talking with a couple of other moms, in other states the children do not go back to school until this coming week, so many families were up in the mountains enjoying a vacation until that time.  So it was packed.  I read some and just watched the families coming and going, skiing and getting lunch, etc.

There were definitely two different sets of parents there.  One group was well prepared and one had higher expectations, with little preparation.  You could see families with children of all ages, some, like mine, with kids old enough to come and go as they saw fit, with a parent near by (on or off the slopes) to touch base with. And there were parents there with younger children, toddlers and slightly older.  The children that need almost constant direct supervision, with short attention spans and a high need for multiple snacks, drinks etc.

The prepared parents were so nice to watch.  They knew that the children would need more attention.  They brought games, toys, coloring books and crayons, snacks, lunch, drinks, cold clothing so the little ones could be taken out back for a few minutes of fresh air and play in the snow, and warm clothing so they would be comfy in the lodge, where it was warm with a nice roaring fire.  These parents were not expecting to spend all their time on the slopes, knew that wasn't possible.  They would tag team, with mom and dad switching off so the parents could ski and also be there for the young ones.  Some of the young ones went out of the slopes as well for a few minutes.  Just a joy to watch, they were prepared for all contingencies, enjoyed being with their children when not on the slopes, and were very flexible.  The kids and parents really seemed to enjoy the experience.

OK then there were the unprepared parents, couldn't watch them for long.  Their expectations of their young ones, in my opinion, was not reasonable.  They brought one toy, if that, and expected the toddler to sit and play with the one toy for hours.  You could see the stress on their faces as they were just waiting for the other parent to come off the slopes so their turn could start.  The toddlers were crying, the parents were unwilling to bend, trying to talk to their child when you could see they wanted to yell, but knew in a lodge full of people, yelling would attract attention and be judged poorly.  These parents would not let it go, wanted a day on the slopes no matter what, and were not going to go home until their time was up.  It was sad to watch, the children were not having fun, the parents were only marginally having fun, stress was building.

It just reminds me how important it is to be prepared.  Now sometimes things sneak up on you and you aren't prepared.  But in times like this, a trip to the ski slopes, some preparation could have changed the entire experience for everyone involved (including me, the innocent observer).  I remember always trying to think ahead in our day, what I could possibly need, and most times every contingency was handled.

So parents, when little ones are involved, please remember to think ahead.  I know it may seem like a lot to bring for a day of skiing, but when you see how wonderful it can go, you will wish you had.  It can be fun for everyone in the family, including those little ones.  Think ahead, plan with joy, be flexible, support each other.

What a day, but a great opportunity to people watch!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Grocery Savings

Well I was working on the 2012 budget this morning, yes my "very favorite thing to do" :-(  I did discovery, however, that I saved just over $2125 on groceries over this past year.  I have been seeing it in my monthly expenditures and knew I had saved over $1500, but was not expecting over $2000 in savings.

So many people had told me that you can't save money eating organic so why try.  They eat organic and there are never any coupons on organic foods.  And you know, they are right.  We also eat, as much as we can, organic foods, we use earth friendly toilet tissue and house cleaners etc.  So how did I save this much money....and no I did not go store to store, shopping in different places.  I stuck to my usual two stores (Ingles and Amazing Savings).

First of all the bulk of my savings this year was from shopping store sales.  I didn't have many coupons at all (maybe $200-$300), but in just watching the products I generally buy, I could see that even the organic product goes on sale.  So when the items we normally use go on sale, I buy MORE.  I buy enough to last us for a few months (until it goes on sale again).   I also buy fruits and veggies in season when I can.  That plus the few coupons I use, saved about $1700 for 2011.

We always plant a large garden, but I paid particular attention to freezing and canning the extra this year, so we have more in storage this year, for the winter months.  I also planted a fall garden so we are still eating lettuce, greens, beets, turnips out of the garden, even now.  (Although it is REALLY COLD today so my lettuce might not make it.)  The extra fruits I bought during the summer, like local peaches and apples, are in the freezer for smoothies and desserts!

I also shop at Amazing Savings, have for over a year now.  So I can get discounted organic items there.  LOVE Amazing Savings, everyone should have an Amazing Savings near them!

And one final small item this year was making most of my own household cleaners.  I make our laundry detergent, glass cleaner, and general cleaner.  Not only am I saving a lot of money but I KNOW what is in the cleaners, safer for the environment and my family!

We also found a farm not far from us that provides grass fed, pasture raised, chemical free beef.  This, you would think, would be more expensive, but it is comparable to buying grass fed organic beef in the freezer section of our grocery store, plus I have the added benefit of knowing the farmer, and seeing the cows and the farm!  Along with this we have started raising our own broiler chickens.  We raise all we need plus a few extra for friends.  What we sell to friends compensates for the chicken feed and purchase of the baby chicks, so all our chicken costs us is the labor.  This was a decision we made over a year ago, so that we know what Phillip and Jackson are eating.  Not only is it "organic meat" but we KNOW where it is coming from, what it eats, how it is cared for and how it is processed.

Coupled with all of this was a savings in our electric bill this year.  As I hang out most of our laundry to dry (always have, just love hanging out clothes), and going back to hand washing the dishes instead of using the dishwasher, we saved a few hundred dollars on electricity.

So that is how I did it!  And for all of you that swear to me you can't save money and eat organic/good/healthy food, you are wrong.  Every little bit adds up.