Aug 272016
 

book cover

We love going to the library and finding new books.  I usually do a quick browse down the “New” shelf to see what is there, grabbing a few to take home.  However, it is not too often that a children’s book stops me in my tracks and makes me think twice.

I may have been raised in a teetotal family, and am not too far from it now (I do not completely abstain, but neither do I seek out to regularly consume).  My husband grew up in a family/culture where alcohol was commonly and regularly consumed.  He has also reached a point similar to mine, he may partake every so often, but not regularly.  My point being, we are not against responsibly and moderately consumed alcohol, but also do not see the benefit of focusing our lives on it.

HOWEVER, I do draw the line at children’s books centered around a cute animal and alcohol.  There is no need to make it look fun and tempting for children.  They should be out running and playing, not thinking about how to make barrels of it fly through the air ….

… but you should never judge a book by its cover.
book cover 2

Honestly, it took me seeing this book several times before I walked over to exam it more closely.  Before then, we were short on time and this was not an important item for me to investigate further.  One day, though, I had time and curiosity was getting the better of me.  That is when I realized how much a misplaced ribbon could change the meaning of a book’s title and had a good laugh at myself.

I picked up that ‘children’s book promoting alcohol’, adding it to our check-out pile.  As it turns out, Breaking News: Bear Alert by David Biedrzycki is a fun book.  We read it several time before taking it back, the kids enjoyed the silliness of what the bears were up to after waking up from hibernation.

I would like to say I will not judge a book by its cover again, that I have learned my lesson, but I doubt that is the case.  It is so easy to do and we all do it so often without even realizing it.

 

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Aug 222016
 

ragady flower garden

Even an untrained eye could tell you the photo above is, well, horrid.  For many reasons, which I will not be going into.  What it does capture is the feeling and look of a spare garden box I had in June.  Last year this garden bed held a few flowers and lots of peppers.  This year I had no peppers.  What I did have were flowers that looked very ragady and forelorn.  Most of the other flowers had sold on the road side stand.  Due to lack of watering or other issues, these had not.  Instead of adding them to the compost pile, I filled this garden box with them.  My goal was to keep out weeds.  Instead, this is what I got …

non-ragady flower garden

No added fertilizers, no weeding (though there are a few in there), no watering.  I planted and let them be.  So what happened?  Over the winter I had added at lease one 5-gallon bucket of coffee grounds and filters from a local restaurant.  That was it.  Coffee grounds and filters are a great soil additive, helping with soil structure, retention of moisture, and add roughage for our worms.  While not everyone agrees with adding so many grounds at once, it has worked out for me.  Of course, these were on top of wood chips.  I also have a tendency to empty our added from the fire pit into the garden beds.  While we have a compost pile, I find myself semi-lasagna gardening a lot of time.  I think of it as either being lazy or efficient, composting in place and saving time in the spring.

The moral of the story: Getting good results in your garden does not have to be hard and labor intensive.  With the right environment, even the worst looking plants can thrive.

P.S. While taking the last pictures I found a stowaway from last year – a self seeded pepper plant. And to keep it real, I left the weed in the garden bed till after I took the picture.  Your welcome. 😉

self seeded pepper plant

Aug 202016
 

school lessons learned again

A new school year brings new lessons, even if it is something you have done several times before.  Situations change. People change.  The phase of the mood moon changes. There is always a lesson or two waiting in to be learned.  Here are a few from our first day of school(s) yesterday.

In preparation:

1. Do not ladle hot pudding into plastic containers. They will melt.

2. Donut holes covered in honey is a yummy breakfast.

3. The habit of a morning routine is great.  No, they had not gotten it down, without reminders, all summer long even though you did it Every. Single. Morning.  No, they will not miraculously suddenly start doing it just because you now have a 5-times weekly appointment to get to at 8 a.m. (any opinions on this book?)

melted plastic containers

Actual school day:

1. You do reach a point where you do not cry when leaving your child at school, for better or worse. Maybe on a day where you feel less stressed (cast iron tub issues, home remodel, kids’ trauma issues and ADHD clashing, and more anyone?) you will remember exactly what it is you have done, making up for the lack of tears. For now, though, it’s all good. Your social bug is excited/nervous to be back in the throng of so many people to talk to. Constantly. Even with a speech issue, though most do not notice it now.  Boy oh boy, God sure did make this one a talker. He must have some sort of plan for him, or else this is one big double-edged thorn in his side. Love him to pieces.

2. On the way home you realize that you did yourself a favor by starting your home school year 1.5 weeks early (the first few days will be light days) and including a walk to the library on the first day of school.

3. Timers are wonderful things. You work till it goes off, then switch to the next thing.

4. Putting off the start of the school day till after the floors are swept and vacuumed makes you feel less of a failure as a homemaker when you look up between lessons.

5. Tests are not evil things. It is okay to see where your child is in order to know what you need to focus on. That does NOT have to mean bubble sheets and hour long sitting sessions. FYI: part if our tests involved markers and oral descriptions. I had to sigh at the addition of Light Sabers to the map.

6. Remember your clip boards?  Yeah, remember your clip boards and get them out to use. 😉

Afterwards:

1. (leftover) Donut holes are a great after school snack for the ever hungry kid.

2. At bedtime, kids will still be nervous for the second day of school, even if the first day went well.

3. It is okay to only mow 1/4 of the yard at a time.  You do what you can when you can.  However, next time, remember to put the downspouts back on so you do not have to get out of bed and run out in a downpour at 10 p.m. to put them back on.  It may be said that washing you hair with rainwater is a good thing, but I really could have done without the soaking wet clothes that went along with the experience.

4. Remember the “timers are wonderful things” mentioned above?  Well, that goes for setting your alarm to pick up your kid from public school as well.  Especially on the first day of school when they had early release.

In all, this was a great first day of school.  Even with a light school day at home I was reminded of the need for sensory input, mainly along the deep muscle and vestibular kind.

We made it on time for George in the morning.  Earlier this week we had gone to the school and found his homeroom, as well as another class he will frequent, and his locker.  This simple step make a world of difference to him, taking away one unneeded worry.  At bedtime, he told me, in his Grown-Up-3rd-Grader voice, that I would not need to walk him in for the second day; he knew where everything was and could find it.  (I think he has a fear of being lost and not knowing how to get where he is going.)

So, I will let go on this one and allow him to do it himself.  Of course, on day 3/4/5/115 he might change his mind and I will be there to offer the support he needs.  After all, is that not why we are here?  To help them grow into confident, independent, knowledgeable adults?  Well, that is our hope at least.

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Aug 192016
 
Happy Aviation Day & Happy 145th Birthday Orville Wright

Just to clarify, we did not take advantage of the offer advertised above, but it seems my husband was considering it. As part of our new school year, I am making it a point to celebrate various holidays (official or not) throughout the year.  As it so happens, the second day of school finds us celebrating the […]

Aug 122016
 
Bee in the know: come meet your neighbors

After the recent review of The Bee-Friendly Garden: Design an Abundant, Flower-Filled Yard that Nurtures Bees and Supports Biodiversity byKate Frey and Gretchen LeBuhn, I have been paying more attention to the bees around me.  What I came to realize is, well, there is a whole lot more which I do not know and could learn. […]

Aug 082016
 
Heading Out On An Adventure

A week ago I asked the kids what were some things they wanted to do before school starts, things they had hoped to do this summer but never go around to doing. George offered up items like – “Build a real wood play house next to the tree.” Jack mentioned something along the lines of, […]

Jul 282016
 
What to do when life suddenly becomes a bit batty - Part 3

This post contains affiliate links. continued from Part 2… What I found was a tired, motionless bat, laying on the shower floor. I called the kids in to see and talk through the situation.  Never too early to teach them how to handle certain adult responsibilities.  Who knows, they may end up marrying someone who […]