Saturday, February 20, 2010

I've Moved

After blogging for a little over a year here I've decided to make the move on over here.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Saturday, February 13, 2010

So very excited about a slightly unlikely birthday present for my not so little boy

After being overrun with wool play food after the in-laws came to visit - seriously overrun here and it's becoming a bit stressful for the kids because it takes so very long to pick everything up even though we try to tidy things up a couple of times a day - I found myself a bit less than thrilled with the prospect of J's birthday.  My mother-in-law ended up giving J cash which was a bit of a relief because we could control the mix of things a bit and hopefully prevent any more frustration.  So far we've used it for a number of fairly random things like a big fuzzy blanket for J to use under his playstands and on his bed, several pairs of jeans since he hadn't nary a pair without holes in the knees, and some squishy yarn for a new hat and scarf.

Even after all of that there was still a bit of money left plus the money I had set aside for Hubby and I to get J a birthday present.  I've really be struggling with just what to get him.  Part of me really wanted to get him some neat toys, but I already know there's some stress over the existing quantity (too much of a good thing).  I was also feeling a little bit resentful of the in-laws.  I realize they live quite a distance away, but I was feeling like they ruined things for us with the shear quantity of things they give J and L for Christmas and L's birthday.  What was there left for us, J's parents, to buy?

Of course I'm also struggling with why we have to buy something at all.  This present thing can be fun in the short-term, but I wasn't really willing to deal with the aftermath of the short-term fun.  That's when it hit me...what about a present that would be a bit on the practical side?  Both Waldorf and Montessori educational philosophies encourage children to play a role in the day to day activities of the home.  I admit when I first did some reading into things I was a bit skeptical, but I have to admit both J and L are very interested in helping out.  More often than not, if given the choice, they will elect to help me over playing on their own with their toys.  Sometimes having them help is actually helpful and other times it's a test in my patience.

So with the rest of the birthday gift funds for J I came up with a somewhat unlikely present that will get a great deal of use - his very own child-sized cleaning kit.  A bit odd, right?  I still struggle with that a bit myself since it seems to fly in the face of everything our culture values for children and their toys.  Still, he really does want to help and the adult sized items we already have are a bit unwieldy for him.  There are some Montessori websites out there that focus on these sorts of things specifically, but wanting to spread what we have a bit further I decided to check out our local Target.  I was able to find the majority of the items I saw on the Montessori websites like the:
  • Evercare Angle Broom - it's a much smaller head than your standard broom and comes with an adjustable handle.  It caught my eye right away on the shelf because at it's most compact it's the perfect length for J.
  • A squeege (a bit like this one) - we already own a shower squeegee which both J and L have taken a liking to, but again it's a bit on the large size.  This one's smaller and combined with a spray bottle (kind of like this one, but the 5oz "Swoosh Sprayer" to limit the amount of water available) will make a perfect window washing kit.  What's not to love about spraying water on a window, patio door, or mirror and squeegee-ing it off?
  • A scrubbie sponge, microfiber cloth, and cotton rags - the first two were from the dollar section and the last one is leftover from the birth kit.  Oodles of ways to use these including window washing or cleaning up your own spills.  J saw the sponges and thought they were "really cool!"
  • Evercare Mini Dustpan & Brush Set (kind of like this one) - Combine this with the child sized broom and I think J will appreciate being able to help sweep the kitchen floor even more.  As an added bonus it's just the right size for cleaning up crumbs off the table.
  • A shower caddy - it's a bit on the cheap side, but it's the perfect size for all if the above (minus the broom of course).
We're going to add to these items a carpet sweeper, lambswool duster, and a few basic yet decent quality tools (a bit like the ones found here although probably not as many) that can be used to help Hubby with repairs around the house or other creative projects.  Time will tell how any of it does over the long run, but I'm hopeful never-the-less.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Folk Music Friday - "Freight Train"



Elizabeth Mitchell sings a shorter version of this song on her CD "You Are My Flower" and it happens to be one of L's favorites. It's also the third song that we've heard her singing - it's so cute to listen to her sing.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Distracted

I'm feeling a bit distracted as of late and the whirlwind days off (aka weekends) Hubby's been having lately haven't been helping.  Hubby's working overtime today which adds to the hectic feeling I suppose.  L's obsessed with swimming.  All of her stuffed friends that have clothes and can have them removed are currently naked.  About all I've been able to convince her to do is to leave her shirt and diaper on.  Any more clothes than that and she starts yelling "Swimming!"  Being two she is less than reasonable.  I circumvented a soggy mess when I discovered the stuffed friends in the bathtub with J and L kneeling outside of it.  I felt badly about having them shift focus somewhere else (how about this nice big plastic bin?), but I could see where it was going.  If I can kick this headache and keep Baby M happy enough I just may break out the bubble bath for the kiddos.

Tomorrow, if Hubby's not called into work early, will be the grand garage door opener installation.  Both of the kids are going to "help" which should be entertaining for all...well, maybe just me and the kids.  On my list of things to do within the next couple of days?  Window stars and some kind of handmade valentine.  I really liked the ones posted over at Chiot's Run, but I want to stick with what we have on hand.  I'm also working on reading through my digital camera user guide.  Although on the cover it says "English" my comprehension as to how to do what I want to do is a bit fuzzy.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Just like pounding my head against the wall

No really, it is.  We decided to get television service again because I missed Public Television and we can't get it without some sort of service - cable, satellite, etc.  We tried satellite, but they sent an installer who could barely speak English and wanted to point the dish at the big tree in the backyard (southeast) and we couldn't quite figure out why since everyone else's dish in the neighborhood is pointed southwest (where there's no tree).  So we tried Charter...Got quoted one price online and then they downgraded the internet connection without our knowledge in order to make the price online match the price in their computer.  Sixty rounds later and we're packing everything up to take back to the local office.  Sounds like we'll just have to stick with DSL and no TV. Talked with the local office and they're supposed to be fixing things - it's still not right so I guess we'll just have to see.  Hubby's definitely through talking to the 800-number people.  It just amazes me how big companies behave when there is viable local competition like there was where we lived before.

Oh...and the gears in the garage door opener shredded so we now need a new one.  Life is grand my friends.