31 May 2011

The final countdown

Two weeks(ish) to go before this Fuller baby arrives and today I'm feeling the feeling to fill up the freezer with food for later. I'm starting small, with some whole wheat bagels, bran muffins and chicken to shred for later meals. But I'm hoping my energy will keep me going to have a few casseroles and some chicken chimichangas to add by the end of the week.

End-of-the-year teacher gifts

Like many, I always like to give a small gift of appreciation to my children's teachers at the end of the school year. I prefer a handmade gift, and bookmarked this tutorial last year as an idea for something to give. I loved it for two reasons:
1) It can be made up entirely of fabric scraps
2) The embroidered name written in the student's handwriting includes the child in this gift in a special way

Just wanted to share in case someone else is looking for something simple, handmade and special for a teacher gift this year.

17 May 2011

Parenting is always a learning process

Just had to give a little shout-out to this book, which I'm currently reading. I've read a lot of parenting books in my eight short years as a parent, but have found that many of them give these systems that are too difficult to implement, or that the books themselves are simply too overwhelming to read after the first 30 pages or so. This one is clear, to the point and exactly what I have been needing.

It is no surprise to anyone who knows my oldest boy that the bold red words "STRONG-WILLED CHILD" on the front cover were the only encouragement I needed to check it out at the library in the first place. Second was the promise to eliminate conflict. Lately I have felt like all I have with this soon-to-be 8-year-old is conflict, contention, arguing and frustration. Our home was not a peaceful place, and I honestly felt like I really did not know how to change it.

The suggestions given in this book have helped me realize more than anything, that I had just become lax in my setting of limits. I think this happened in the natural process of this oldest child growing up, combined with my inability to reconcile how to give him some deserved independence while still commanding respect and making myself the in-charge parent. It felt like a loss of control, and in fact, it was.

The author doesn't give any new or earth-shattering suggestions, in fact, just the opposite, which is why the book is so readable and easy-to-implement. His ideas are basic and simple and stated with clear, real-life examples of children and their parents. I just needed to remind myself how to be in charge, but, like it also says on the cover, by establishing CLEAR, firm and RESPECTFUL boundaries.

I think that all children are strong-willed in their own right, but he has another version of the book, simply called: Setting Limits: How to Raise Responsible, Independent Children by Providing Clear Boundaries, which I would guess presents similar ideas but perhaps without all the comparisons made between extremely strong-willed children vs. compliant children. My second child is definitely compliant, so those comparisons were not lost on me.

08 May 2011

Garden 2011: part 3

1) This year I discovered garden cloth. I think and hope this will change my gardening yield forever more. I made a little greenhouse with a hula hoop and covered the broccoli and cabbage plants and they have been soaking up the sun and warmth the cloth provides and growing like crazy. I also covered my carrot and snap pea seeds while waiting for them to sprout and am certain it made the process several days quicker.
2)This picture gives a little peek into what's underneath the cloth. We have had some warmer days and nights, and even since this picture was taken 5 days ago, the plants are larger and more healthy. I am in love with this cloth and can't wait to use it on my warm weather crops in the next couple of weeks--tomatoes, cucumbers and bush beans.
3) Italian parsley in the front, snap peas in the back.
4) Spinach in the front, romaine in the back. I am already eating the spinach and it is so perfect. Some of the larger lettuce heads should be ready in the next week or so. I can't wait!

It seemed like May was so far away, but now it is here and everything can be planted and these cold weather crops can be enjoyed while waiting for the warm weather crops to grow and produce.

***POST EDIT: I called this garden cloth, but now I just went back and checked and the official name for what I'm using is plant and seed blanket. Here is the link to the one I have. It is a little pricey, at $13-14/roll but I would say worth every penny. I plan to use it to speed up the growth of my tomatoes & cucumbers by creating a little hothouse until it is hot enough outside to remove it and let the sun do its job. Here in Oregon that doesn't usually happen until late June/early July which makes for a late tomato harvest. I'm an impatient tomato gardener. I want them sooner than that!***

01 May 2011

Six week countdown

Just checking in for my once-a-month blog post. I just can't believe how much pregnancy takes the wind out of my sails. How's that for a corny cliche? The six-week countdown has begun, and although that isn't a long time in the whole forty-week scheme of things, it still seems long being that the final weeks are filled with so much acid reflux, sleeplessness and general discomfort. It has to be this way or no one would ever willingly give birth, right?

One thing pregnancy hasn't taken from me is my desire to garden, and the little beds outside my kitchen window are doing very well full of little sprouts and such. I plan to document that with some pictures this week, if only just for me to remember each year the stages of my garden in the different months of the growing season.

And now I'm off to chew some more ice, just another strange thing that my body craves during these last weeks of gestation.