Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Is your jar full?

When things in your life seem almost to much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar......and the beer.

A Professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was. So the Professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was. The Professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with an unanimous "Yes." The Professor then produced two cans of beer from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed."Now," said the Professor, as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things - your family, your children, your health, your friends, your favorite passions - things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, your car. The sand is everything else - the small stuff." "If you put the sand into the jar first", he continued, "there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house, and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first, the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand. "When he had finished, there was a profound silence. Then one of the students raised her hand and with a puzzled expression, inquired what the beer represented. The Professor smiled. "I'm glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of beers (or wine!:)."

Monday, June 29, 2009

Free Books

So, this is going to sound pretty silly to some... every since I can remember when I wanted some books I went to the store & bought them or more recently ordered them on Amazon. Then I'm lucky to read them once, unless it's a cookbook or discipline bk. Even then, how many times have I bought them, then been disappointed... It probably started when I was young and used to love to read & highlight, then collect all these books...that I have since outgrown & that are just CLUTTER. So, a light bulb went off last week & I decided to take the kids to the library (1st time!). I am so excited!! SO many books --FREE...and I can return them when I'm done. No $, no clutter. Better than that, I can order what I want online, then I can just pick up my free stuff at the desk... cookbooks, parenting & relationship books, magazines, audio books, DVDs, CDs..... sweet. Did you know you can check out 30 items per person?? Crazy. Oh yeah, & you can download audio books to your iPhone. Nice. Did I mention you can return them to any of the local libraries (we have 28!)? If you don't have time to read them or lose interest-- no $ lost. Isis has already read through the 6 books she picked out (2 days ago)--great free diversion from media. Okay enough, I feel like I'm doing a library commercial.

2nd & last subject of the day is comments. Is anyone out there? :) Please, I would LOVE to have some feedback... Pretend this is just a random Facebook post and throw me a line once-in-while.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Take it like a man

Outstanding set of DVDs.
Applies to everyone, in any relationship.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Great American Backyard Campout!

Wanted to do it (well, sort of) but unfortunately, we live too close to the road (car noise). Almost every night is a campout in our bdrm anyway...Bella's beautiful venetian crib is still in there, Isis has nightmares from horror movies she watches @ her dad's, & Jade joins because she's a more-the-merrier kinda girl. If I would focus on helping poor Isis we could get our bdrm back.

Friday, June 26, 2009


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Homemade Gifts

We're 1/2 way to Christmas(!)...which is my favorite holiday. I do my best to come up with thoughtful personal gifts for everyone on my list... & secretly wish everyone did the same.

I can predict that again this year, most of the family will decide to just pick a name or buy just for the kids (usually gift cards) or immediate family. I feel like the spirit of Christmas is getting lost... celebrating connections with family & friends.

Due to the economy and my desire to still give gifts I have decided to get crafty. If I can get organized this could actually save me some holiday stress (& $) and give the kids and I some creative summer activites. I had been compiling a long list of ideas on my phone, somehow it has just disappeared (Beau I'm guessing), so here I go again (help me, Martha!)...

* Etched glass storage jars- for storing flours & sugars in particular. I would love to get these. Most people could use these. I know you can find inexpensive jars at Ikea...

* Spa kit, including bath fizzies, body scrub, soap, solid perfume, lip balm, candles, & a relaxing CD.

* Photo calenders / photo books - both sentimental, easy, & inexpensive (compared to scrapbooking)

* Hot Sauce (my hubby & sister-in-law love it) - lots of great recipes, bottle it, & come up with a creative label ("Hot Mama" sauce;)

* Homemade jams - not very original, but rare these days. Spare the healthy recipes.

* Homemade truffles (with variety of toppings) * Chocolate fudge (cut into squares & wrapped up like a gift with lil red ribbon) * Choc. dipped dried apricots * Homemade Roca * Nut Brittle / Toffee * PB cups * Peppermint bark

BTW, while googling ideas I see that the Pitt-Jolie family do the same... Any other ideas??

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Easy, Yummy Tacos

Crispy Black Bean Tacos with Feta and Cabbage Slaw

Who needs meat? The cumin-scented black bean filling is hearty, satisfying, and incredibly easy to prepare. Round out the meal—and get a complete protein—by adding Mexican rice.
makes 4 (you may want to double recipe)
Prep: 25 minutes Total: 25 minutes
Recipe by Bon Appetit
February 2009

1 15-ounce can black beans, drained
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
5 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 cups coleslaw mix
2 green onions, chopped
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
4 white or yellow corn tortillas
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
Bottled chipotle hot sauce or other hot sauce

Place beans and cumin in small bowl; partially mash. Mix 2 teaspoons olive oil and lime juice in medium bowl; add coleslaw, green onions, and cilantro and toss to coat. Season slaw to taste with salt and pepper.
Heat 3 teaspoons olive oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add tortillas in single layer. Spoon 1/4 of bean mixture onto half of each tortilla; cook 1 minute. Fold tacos in half. Cook until golden brown, about 1 minute per side. Fill tacos with feta and slaw. Pass hot sauce alongside.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Jon - Kate + 8

"The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother."

I don't even watch this show, just been following it via the news & gossip...but I'm sad. I'm sad for the 8 kids who have selfish parents who just gave up on being a family without fighting to save it, and I'm sad for Kate who mothered 8 children with Jon...yet he makes no effort to fight for her. Infact, he's "excited" about his future?? He could at least feign some heartbreak for the loss of his wife & family, for the cameras... Maybe it's somewhat lucky for Kate that his true colors are coming out. Imagine how painful it must feel to have your partner say they're excited when they're announcing your seperation. There is no question that there has been infidelity with Jon and the thought of his freedom & fame getting him laid are the only excitement he's thinking of...not how this is going to effect all his children, his finances (alimony + 8 child supports!), & his future relationships. Now they both (mainly Kate) get the additonal stress of trying to do all the same things as a single parent...juggling all the daily duties, stresses, schedules, dating, and working ( if they lose their show). Now maybe Jon will understand why his wife is stressed & demanding...we'll see how he does when he has to handle everything himself, especially while the cameras are rolling. I just can't understand why they aren't trying marriage counceling or marriage seminars...especially when the divorce rate for marriages with multiples is 75%. It's not just about them! Everybody has challenges. I'm not opposed to divorces...but I believe you should try everything to save the marriage first. I also believe that man needs to fight for his wife. I think she's letting go fairly easily because she sees & feels that he doesn't really care. I think men need their ego stroked-- Jon hasn't worked in years, and he isn't very pro-active or appreciated by his wife at his own home...so now the new female attention is like a drug...it's all he can think about with no regard as to the really important things in life. Jon, you can't run away from yourself. Things are only going to get harder, unless you address the underlying issues before it's too late.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

"Daddy, Daddy, Be There"

Daddy, Daddy, Be there.
Put your hand out to me in scary crowds,
on first school days and roller-coaster rides.
Daddy, Daddy, Be there.

Daddy, Daddy, Be there.
When my questions need your ears, listening,
your eyes, searching, and your heart, loving me.
Tell me I am smart, Tell me I am special,
Tell me I am able with your ears, eyes, and heart.
Daddy, Daddy, Be there.

Daddy, Daddy, Be there.
Point out pictures in my storybooks,
Read the nursery rhymes to me,
Show me your daddy, your mama, your growing up.
Share a cookie, half a sandwich, a joke,
Share your music, your dreams.
I'll listen with my heart as best I can.
Daddy, Daddy, Be there.

Daddy, Daddy, Be there.
Hug Mama and smile at her
on Tuesdays and in the grocery store.
Kiss us and take our pictures
at picnics and on birthdays.
Tell us big and little stories.
Daddy, Daddy, Be there.

Daddy, Daddy, be there.
Not only on weekends or across telephone lines,
Not only during commercials or between innings.
Share surprises, the only one-time times.
Shout when I slide into home base
or sing solo in the school choir.
Daddy, Daddy, Be there.

Daddy, Daddy, Be there.
Plant new trees and flower bulbs,
And a rose bush for Mama.
Play inside and outside games with me,
Flick water drops and light campfires,
Dive into cold waves,
Slide down snowy hillsides with me.
Daddy, Daddy, Be there.

Daddy, Daddy, Be there.
Trains speed by, Planes lift off,
Cars race around, Trucks inch forward,
Ships sail away,
Teachers change classes,
Grandpas, grandmas, aunts, uncles die,
Sometimes even sisters, brothers, and best friends.
Big people separate and divorce.
See what I see.
Daddy, Daddy, Be there.

Daddy, Daddy, Be there.
I hear your holler
About money and bills.
I see you push Mama
And take another drink
And turn the television up,
Then leave, slam the door shut.
I feel the holler, the push, the door slammed.
Please stop. Stop, please. Please. Stop.
Make home safe.
Daddy, Daddy,
Be there.

Daddy, Daddy, Be there.
Don't let the world knock you out
And drag you off.
No matter what, struggle back home,
Take my hand,
Let me be your friend.
Do the tough work.
Get well and strong.
Daddy, Daddy, Be there.

Daddy, Daddy, Be there.
If we live where you and Mama stay gone,
Letting sitters or private schools raise me,
If we live where everyone works
But there is always barely just enough,
And no one sees me,
And feelings end up stuffed in a box,
Find a way to save us.
Make a family.
Daddy, Daddy, Be there.

Daddy, Daddy, Be there.
During the hard times when the money goes,
During the bread-and-brown-sugar-breakfast mornings,
During the saxophone-blowing-blues nights,
During the in-between, weary working months,
During the string of long years,
Daddy, Daddy, Be there.

Daddy, Daddy, Be there.
When others gather,
When they tell family stories,
When one someone says to me:
"What's your daddy like?"
Who you are and what you area,
Who you are and where you are
Will answer!
Daddy, Daddy, Be there.

Daddy, Daddy, Be there.
When I dye my hair green or cut it off
Or pierce my ears and nose,
When my music rocks the house.
But grab me when I wander too far from home,
Too close to a danger I cannot see.
Daddy, Daddy, Be there.

Daddy, Daddy, Be there.
With a firm hand and confident grin,
when I take off with you,
When I graduate, head high,
When I enter a new world,
One you helped me reach,
One you could never enter.
Daddy, Daddy, Be there.

Daddy, Daddy, Be there.
As I swim mountain lakes, Stride across deserts,
Stretch to the sun and moon and stars,
Build doors and rooms and skyscrapers and worlds.
No matter what, Daddy, I'll know
That you area there, close by.
My Daddy, Daddy,

Daddy, Daddy, Be there.
Let me sit with you,
Let me hold your spotted hand.
Let my eyes be yours, and my ears as well.
I will remember when you were there for me
And asked nothing in return.
Now I am here for you.
Daddy, Daddy,
I love you.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

"Food, Inc." & "Meet Your Meat"

I Am a Hot Mama, and I Am a
Check Out All the Celebrity 'Veggie Testimonials' at PETA.org

I've had this movie noted on my planner for awhile, but looks like most of us will have to wait for DVD...

"Meet Your Meat":

Sir Paul McCartney: "If anyone wants to save the planet, all they have to do is just stop eating meat. That's the single most important thing you could do. It's staggering when you think about it. Vegetarianism takes care of so many things in one shot: ecology, famine, cruelty."

Chrissie Hynde: "The meat industry spends hundreds of millions of dollars lying to the public about their product. But no amount of false propaganda can sanitize meat. The facts are absolutely clear: Eating meat is bad for human health, catastrophic for the environment, and a living nightmare for animals."

Alec Baldwin: "Every time we sit down to eat, we make a choice. Please choose vegetarianism. Do it for … animals. Do it for the environment, and do it for your health."

Watch more videos at PETA.org


'Veggie Love': PETA's Banned Super Bowl Ad


Friday, June 19, 2009

My "Human Bowling" commercial

I just found this on youtube...a commercial I did when I was pregnant for Beau. I was supposed to be a WT mom, obsessed with my son becoming a pro human bowler.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

40th Birthday

This pic of my hubby was shot on the spur of the moment with my iPhone before we headed out to dinner-- not bad, huh?

So, on July 17 is his big 4*0. I have been mulling over ideas since last year... Beside Camp Watanda (which would have been perfect), I checked into the Forest House Lodge (where we had initially planned to our wedding, you get the entire location including a catered dinner, the bar, & 27 rooms for 24 hrs-- too much $$$$)... the Mikuni Sushi Bus (no longer travels)... inquired about some houseboats... considered a limo/party bus, but where to go?
Just inquired about Palm Lake Retreat, we'll see (nevermind that, they want $2500 for an event or $1200/2 nights)...

I wish I would have had it all squared away then when we had more $. Now with only a month to go it's looking like just a party (surprise party?) at our place instead of a more unique, special shindig I had envisioned. I wanted to make it really memorable. I suppose I could throw the 2nd annual 40th party...

My other disappointment is his gift...I'd love to surprise him with a Rolex. That's going to need to wait for another major milestone. What I really wanted to get him is a photo session with my fav semi-local fashion photographer, Billy Winters. He's been doing weights & cardio 5x/wk for months and he looks hot. It'd be great to have some really flattering shots to treasure through the years.

I had hoped maybe we could get his old band together (The Council) to do a birthday show...that's not going to happen. But what I am hoping to be able to do is track down his estranged best friend-- he would so surprised & happy! No luck online, need to start making some calls...

Since this has been a pretty whiny post, I will also add that all the 40th b-day decorations are crap! Why can't they have anything that looks decent or is along the lines of "Life begins at 40".

No worries, my man doesn't read my blog unless I ask him to...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

6 Secrets to a Happy Family

The 6 Secrets:

* Define your core family values (when you know what really matters it reduces conflict and builds a stronger family identity)

* Lean on each other (having a support system creates self-confidence, Family is a team--kids contribute too)

* Learn to bounce back (focus on the positive, continue rituals, "Anyone can do well when times are good", going through a tough period can make you more connected, Resiliency can be learned)

* Breathe (connect in relaxed ways)

* Be respectful (in the way you speak & listen, acknowledge & appreciate)

* Spiritually connected (...families seem to do better, happiness is valuing experiences more than possesions)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Brag Book

Decided to try throwing together a couple Grandpa Brag Books before Father's Day. So easy. Will definitely do that again...


Monday, June 15, 2009

Experiences make us happier

I heard about this study on Oprah radio on the way to our weekend away. I have to totally agree! Not just because it justifies my desire to travel and try new things, but it really rings true. I don't regret any trips or new experiences I've "invested" in and I can't think of anything I've bought for myself that I'll treasure for life. Trips and special events have made up some of my fav memories. It's funny how the challenging parts just fade away or seem funny in retrospect.

I also remember hearing about a study that you remember more about visiting new places vs. going to the same annual vacation. It stimulates your senses more and you are more aware. Whereas, when you go to the same place every year you may forget alot of the details or they blur together.

Live life to the fullest!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Camp review

We loved it! Perfect spot for a group, regret I don't have it for hubby's b-day now.
The cabin (that sleeps 6) with a lake view was only $330 (+$35 cleaning fee) for 4 days/3 nights.
It really is a private lake and a spacious camp. The pics on their website don't do it justice. The cabin is charming and well stocked. I was taken aback by the composting toilet, but it really wasn't bad--that's coming from a girl who refuses to use out houses. (The lodge and kiosk shower room both have normal toilets.) The kids loved all the boats (several canoes, row boats, & kayaks) and spent most of their time paddling around the lake. :) Each night they picked a flick out of the cabin collection. I loved the beautiful view and the private location.
We ended up sharing the camp with a couple and their 3 boys, who fortunately wasted most of their weekend in the lodge playing video games! Crazy. So, really it seemed like we had the camp to ourselves.
I definitely would go back, preferably with a group of friends.

We also enjoyed "Humbug Days" (Malakoff Diggins). The kids got old-fashioned candy in the General Store and Sarsaparilla root beer floats at the Saloon. They also had delicious homemade ice cream bars...no wonder they had so much fun with all the sugar, huh? They made candles & did tin-punching, and gold panning. The highlight was chillin on the grass in the shade while the kids played all the free oldies...Tiddlywinks, Pick-up Sticks, marbles, hopscotch, ring toss, bean bag toss, jump ropes... Isis said she wants to go every year and Beau actually cried when we left (a first).

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Father of my child? (rated R)

A guy goes to the supermarket and notices a beautiful blond woman wave at him and say hello. He's rather taken aback, because he can't place where he knows her from. So he says, "Do you know me?" To which she replies, "I think you're the father of one of my kids."

Now his mind travels back to the only time he has ever been unfaithful to his wife and says, "My God, are you the stripper from my bachelor party that I laid on the pool table with all my buddies watching, while your partner whipped my butt with wet celery and then stuck a carrot up my butt???"
She looks into his eyes and calmly says, "No, I'm your son's math teacher."

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Camp Watanda

This is a year of milestone birthdays for us...hubby turns 40, I turn 35 (new life cycle), Jade turns 13, Isis 10, Bella turned 1, & my brother turned 30.

In the process of trying to research venues last fall for Dave's 40th b-day (during peak wedding season) I discovered Camp Watanda. It is a 38 acre retired summer camp on a private lake just outside of Nevada City. You have the option of renting the lodge, a cabin, & 4 kiosks-- for a fairly reasonable price. I had envisioned renting the whole darn place and having a "Summer of 69" weekend with friends & family. I sent email invites months ago and put down a non-refundable deposit. Unfortunately, I only got two RSVPs back. So....I scrapped the idea. Fortunately, they let us use the deposit towards our family renting the cabin for the weekend and in the process of negotiation we ended up reroofing their lodge and making money on the whole deal. Sweet!

Tomorrow is the last day of school and we head out for our Watanda weekend. Their calender is showing the lodge rented too...I'm hoping it's wrong.
Our first night we're goin to hook up with my Mom & her man and check out the Mill Street Farmers Market in Grass Valley. Have some dinner & wine & do a little shopping...
Friday we'll chill at Watanda, do a little boating, & enjoy my tasty grill menu.
Malakoff Diggins is the Waldorf 4th grade field trip and Jade was highly disappointed that she missed it because we drug her to Maui for 2 wks. I just found out Sat. is their 43rd annual Malakoff Diggins Humbug Days. If we survive the trecherous narrow dirt road, costumes, wagon rides, ghost town tours, gold panning, candle dipping, tin punching, & live music... await us.
Overall, hoping for some relaxed family bonding time.
*fingers crossed*

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Monday, June 8, 2009

Wanna see my box?

"Whoop, there it is!"

Went to Jade's BFF's house yesterday and all of us ladies made our moon boxes-- on the full moon (see "First Moon Wkshop" post). Everybody's boxes turned out beautiful. A fun time for all.
Kathy (BFF's mom) made us a delicious pizza on the grill...TJ's WW dough, pesto sauce, lg. portabella mushrooms caps, roasted peppers, artichoke hearts, garlic, & goat cheese...mmm, mmm, good. I will definitely be duplicating it this weekend.

The girls were pumpin up the Lady Gaga and Kathy was bustin out the hot dance moves. She recently took a class and has sexy routines choreographed to songs. I was green with envy.
Dance classes have been on my to do list since last fall when I heard at Tony Robbins seminar that dancing helps women stay in their "feminine". I need to take those classes. Then I can be a smokin' hot mama. ;)

Saturday, June 6, 2009

New Homely Doll

EL SEGUNDO, CA—Executives at Mattel Inc. held a press conference Monday to unveil the toy company's latest product, Plain Pamela, a homely doll designed to boost the confidence of girls ages 7 to 12.
Girls of all ages can spend hours feeling superior to the squat, unappealing doll.
The pale, unsightly plaything, which has a plastic torso scaled to the proportions of a 5-foot-4, 179-pound woman in her mid-30s, is being touted as the first toy expressly intended to raise the sense of physical and emotional self-worth in preteen females.
"While we still value our classic Barbie franchise, we understand the need for dolls that offer an alternative body image," Mattel CEO Robert Eckert said. "And that's why we've created Plain Pamela. She's drab, she's dumpy, she's nothing to write home about, and she's going to make the girls of America feel like beauty queens."
Added Eckert, "Relatively speaking."
Mattel, which has been criticized in the past for promoting unrealistic standards of beauty, claimed that the new doll would not only improve the self-esteem of growing girls, but would also give them someone to feel superior to for hours on end.
Modestly priced at $7.99, each Plain Pamela doll comes prepackaged with a variety of unflattering and ill-fitting blouses to drape over her shapeless torso, as well as a packet of paste-on psoriasis spots to apply along her arms and back.
Mattel designers have also included a button at the base of the doll's pudgy neck that randomly plays one of 24 preprogrammed phrases, including "I wish I was pretty like you," "That's okay, you go out and have fun without me," and "Ugh."
"Kids today want toys that are highly customizable," Eckert said. "Which is why every Plain Pamela comes with four interchangeable hairstyles: Just-Woke-Up, Too-Long, Too-Short, and What's-the-Point-of-Even-Trying-Anymore-It's-Not-Like-It's-Going-to-Make-a-Difference. Girls are going to love deciding which of Pamela's hairdos makes them look prettier by comparison."
"Plus, each doll comes with a variety of fun, ego-enhancing features that will allow girls to feel better about themselves as they help Pamela fit into her size-14 doll pants or wipe refillable 'tears' from her swollen face," Eckert added. "This is a huge leap forward in body-positive toys."
Mattel plans in the future to sell a number of playsets for the doll, including the Plain Pamela Cramped Studio Apartment, complete with special Dinner-for-One Kitchenette and Depressing Stack of Old People Magazines.
If Plain Pamela catches on with kids, company officials said, she may soon be joined by an entire line of fun, psychologically reassuring friends. Already in the works for the fall are Lil'-Too-Drunk Linda, whose debilitating dependence on alcohol will make any girl feel better about her own unstable home life, and Plain Pamela's Sympathetic Gay Friend, Craig.
Medical consultants for Mattel have confirmed that the poorly postured and overly awkward doll can effectively serve as an image-enhancing device for children.
"Preliminary tests have shown that as little as one hour of playtime with Plain Pamela can make even the frumpiest, least self-assured young girl feel remarkably positive about her own physical attributes," Mattel child psychologist Dr. Martin Janosch said. "Which, if you've seen the Plain Pamela doll, is not entirely surprising."
Added Dr. Janosch, "She's not exactly easy on the eye."
Mattel also announced that it would begin production next year on Timorous Tim, a fey, cowardly action figure designed to boost the confidence of shy young boys.
-the ONION

Friday, June 5, 2009

Toy Snob

That's it! I am done with the hodgepodge of plastic toys that have all been gifted to my children.
I boxed them up and plan to dump and donate them. The energy in the play room felt better immediately-- more inviting and calm.

Was I raised with only wooden toys? No. Am I a hippy? Definitely not. Am I environmentally conscious? I'm working on it. Bottom line is, I HATE PLASTIC TOYS, especially battery-guzzling plastic toys. I have tried to politely mention this to family & friends before parties...yet, still more plastic crap. I realize I should be grateful they come to the party or even bring a gift...yadi-yadi-ya. I don't make a gift registry (maybe I should), or refer them to educational stores, or hand out catalogs (like my friend)... but there are a plethora of alternatives. Books, balls, art supplies, blocks, puzzles, instruments, puppets, dress-up... Even Target has a natural and retro toy section...with Lincoln Logs, Tinker Toys, blocks, pounding benches, metal Slinkies...

Wooden toys feel better, they smell better, they look better (to me), and my toddlers would probably say they taste better. They're quality-- heirloom quality (many are handmade). They inspire imagination and creativity...hence, they will play with them much longer than a plastic toy that loses their interest quickly. Last but not least, they are safe and environmentally friendly. They sometimes cost a bit more, but are well worth the investment. Used wooden toys are just as great. So are the dolls made of felt or soft flannel cloth & and play silks... or the old metal toys, like the old metal Tonka dump trucks vs. today's junkie plastic alternatives.
If you prefer bright colors, they make some beautiful non-toxic painted and lacquered toys--prettier than any plastic toy.
Honestly, I don't care for plastic toys because they just seem cheap to me. They are built to be disposable. They require dictated play. And children automatically want to know, "What does it do?" They are intended to entertain and distract our children...but an assortment of them just over-stimulate. I hate all the beeping, vibrating, talking, singing chaos. I'm not one of those paranoid parents, but natural is always better than synthetic.

After doing a little more research today I also learned some things. I found that PVC, the most toxic plastic, is the soft type of plastic most commonly used in children's toys (especially infant toys). Heavy metals (like lead and cadmium) are added to make the rigid type of PVC more durable for use in older children's toys. Yes, the chemicals can be absorbed through the mouth and skin, and can show up in the bloodstreams of children. These chemicals are also hormonally active and can interfere with normal growth and reproductive development in children. Lead causes damage to the nervous system, leading to decreased learning ability and behavioral deficits. Children are especially susceptible because they absorb and retain lead more easily and because their brains are still developing.

Wooden toys are memories that last a lifetime. :)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Job Opportunity

This morning I was looking for roof related ads on Craigslist and this pitiful post popped up:

Hello, I am looking for a girl to stay at my house and help me with the day to day responsibilties of caring for my five children. I am recently separated and was not planning on raising my children by myself but my wife decided to become a lesbian and ubruptly move out. I am currently on welfare and cannot afford to pay someone to help out but in exchange I can offer a roof over your head and 3 meals a day for the right person. You must posess good maturnal instincts and great character for me to trust you with my kids. No drugs, alcohol, drama, no exceptions. If you think you can do this please e-mail me for an interview. Thanks, Jonathan
Location: yuba city, ca
Compensation: no pay

Oh my!! Good luck with that. So, really only homeless people (with internet access) need apply. Heck, "no alcohol"-- I'm not even eligible. His best bet is to kiss his wife's ass and bring the poor children's mother home. Seriously, uncover what it is that she really craves...respect, appreciation, passion, compassion, love, cunnilingus... and GIVE IT TO HER! She is the mother of your 5 children. It is a tragedy for all involved. Man up! Get a job. (Learn to spell check.) Try that "Love Dare"...
It is insane to expect anyone else to move into a no-income situation and care for 5 children-- with no compensation. Their own mother couldn't take it anymore...(though that's no excuse to abandon your children). It's hard enough to be a mother and housewife to your own children, let alone to someone else's bratty kids-- with no carrot dangling at the end of the stick. Shoot, you can't even have a glass of wine at the end of the day-- because a) you don't have any $ and b) you're not allowed to drink.
I've been through a handful of paid "Mother's Helpers" (and interviewed countless) and I can attest that good help is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. For this poor guy, it's going to be like trying to find a needle in the ocean.

Monday, June 1, 2009

UP (3D)

Rave reviews... #1 movie ($68m)...1st Pixar 3D:

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