Thursday, December 11, 2008

Take a Stand

(cross posted on family blog)
We try to have toys that are from reputable sources. We avoid products manufactured in China, if we cannot determine the company's standards and policies. We tend to buy from small companies that offer natural products (e.g. Bamboletta dolls, Nova Naturals, North Star Toys, Willow Toys, etc). We have given away/thrown away toys that come from disreputable sources.

thus we were pleased when it became a national issue and Congress wanted to help protect children. However, we feel that the current legislation passed in August 2008 and taking effect in February 2009 will hamper our ability to choose the toys we want. It will especially affect small artisans and handmade products. If you are not familiar with the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, please take a minute to read about it. It will require everyone to test. On the surface this appears to be a sound decision, however it will drive independent toy makers and artisans out of business due to excessive cost.

Please visit Help Save Handmade for yourself and contact your Representatives and Senators if you feel as we do.

Help Save Handmade

We try to have toys that are from reputable sources. We avoid products manufactured in China, if we cannot determine the company's standards and policies. We tend to buy from small companies that offer natural products (e.g. Bamboletta dolls, Nova Naturals, North Star Toys, Willow Toys, etc). We have given away/thrown away toys that come from disreputable sources.

thus we were pleased when it became a national issue and Congress wanted to help protect children. However, we feel that the current legislation passed in August 2008 and taking effect in February 2009 will hamper our ability to choose the toys we want. It will especially affect small artisans and handmade products. If you are not familiar with the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, please take a minute to read about it. It will require everyone to test. On the surface this appears to be a sound decision, however it will drive independent toy makers and artisans out of business due to excessive cost.

Please visit Help Save Handmade for yourself and contact your Representatives and Senators if you feel as we do.

50/50

Overheard while Eamon and Aine were flipping coins:

E: I pick heads. You are toes.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Quick Soapbox

This is why we don't want or have plastic toys, sippy cups, plates, cups, etc.

http://www.oregontoxics.org/plastics1.html


Children are more vulnerable to toxic harm than adults because they are smaller, consume more air, food, and water for each pound of body weight than adults, and they put more things into their mouths.

Accordingly, children are more susceptible to damage from environmental threats because their bodies, brains, organs, and central nervous system are undergoing extensive growth and development throughout infancy and early childhood.


NEW RESEARCH on Children’s Exposure from Toxics in the Environmental

Exposure to toxics can cause irreparable damage to a child’s health and cognitive abilities. New research from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warned that chemicals in the environment are implicated in asthma, acute bronchitis and upper-respiratory infections, cancer, mental retardation and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

Scientific conclusions about what might be a “safe” threshold of exposure have been continuously revised downward. What ten years ago was considered a “safe” level of mercury for human consumption is now known to be a harmful level. Lead and asbestos, once commonly used and promoted as safe, have proven to be harmful at any level of exposure.

REDUCING TOXICS IN YOUR HOME SHOULD BE A GOAL.

This is why

we don't want or have plastic toys, sippy cups, plates, cups, etc.

http://www.oregontoxics.org/plastics1.html


Children are more vulnerable to toxic harm than adults because they are smaller, consume more air, food, and water for each pound of body weight than adults, and they put more things into their mouths.

Accordingly, children are more susceptible to damage from environmental threats because their bodies, brains, organs, and central nervous system are undergoing extensive growth and development throughout infancy and early childhood.


NEW RESEARCH on Children’s Exposure from Toxics in the Environmental

Exposure to toxics can cause irreparable damage to a child’s health and cognitive abilities. New research from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warned that chemicals in the environment are implicated in asthma, acute bronchitis and upper-respiratory infections, cancer, mental retardation and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

Scientific conclusions about what might be a “safe” threshold of exposure have been continuously revised downward. What ten years ago was considered a “safe” level of mercury for human consumption is now known to be a harmful level. Lead and asbestos, once commonly used and promoted as safe, have proven to be harmful at any level of exposure.

REDUCING TOXICS IN YOUR HOME SHOULD BE A GOAL.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Home Cooked Meals

A: Home is just plain. (Stated while lobbying for a meal at any restaurant in the TJ's plaza):

Planning

A: When I get bigger, I want to be a horse rider and pancake maker.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Water Fun

Eamon and Aine wanted to blow up some leftover birthday balloons we had in the cupboard. The balloons were impossible to blow up, so I suggested water balloons. They loved the idea. I filled all the balloons, and they went to work.

Putting Up


We "put up" 16 quarts of applesauce today. We found some organic apples for $.77/pound at our local grocer. We bought a box and decided to can applsauce. It was a long day, but we had a lot of fun.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

WOOT WOOT

Deconstructing


Eamon is fascinated with how things work and how to build things. We have a portable CD player that doesn't work, so Eamon decided to fix it. He took the player apart and investigated the inner workings before taking the whole board apart.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

More Knitting

I started these sockes while driving home from Ohio. I wish I wore a size 7 shoe, because I would be done by now. My problem is that I am never sure when to stop the cuff. Now? no, now? now? UGH! Pride Socks
Pattern: Jenny Wren Socks
Yarn: Regia Sock Yarn
(more info on Ravelry)

I really want to finish them by election day, since Arizona has a marriage proposition on the ballot.

Balls!

I received a gorgeous hank of Three Irish Girls Galenas Chunky yarn in the mail. I belong to the Stash Menagerie yarn of the month club (which was a fantastic use of some birthday money). It had my favorite colors in it, so I immediately cast on for a hat for me. Alas, I didn't bother checking my gauge. It was off, so I am short a few yards for my hat. I will have to frog and cast on with smaller needles. I did contact TIG to see if I could get another skein for a pair of mittens. Woo Hooo! Knitting for me.

Vacation Knitting

Here are the items completed on our cross-country travels last month. Details can be found on Ravelry.Anniversary Yarn Scarf
Pattern: Lace Ribbon Scarf
Yarn: Colinette Jitterbug in CopperbeachMy Socks
Pattern: You're Putting Me On
Yarn: Knit Picks Felici in DakotaFingerless Gloves
Pattern: Fetching
Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted in Brownberries

Curls??

According to my stylist, my hair has wave and CURL. Amazing what a few pregnancies and nursing can do to your hair.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Halloween Costumes


A cape, withes socks, witches dress and bat wings were desired for the autumnal festivities. It took me a bit to get started, but everything was met with rave reviews. They wore the outfits all day. E exclaimed, "This is the best costume ever!"

Monday, October 27, 2008

Spooky Pumpkins

We carved pumpkins today, since Dave was off work. The kids made designs, but were lured away from their ideas by images Daddy found on the web. Eamon did a vampire, Aine a ghost and Benton a silly face.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Arizona Girl

Outisde Temp: 52
Indoor Temp: 73

A: It is so chilly outside. If we go outside, we will have to wear a jacket. A warm jacket.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Building


Eamon enjoys constructing and deconstructing things. He likes to grab his tools and head out to the backyard for some creating. He thought about being Bob the Builder for Halloween, but changed his mind to something more spooky.

Sitting Tall


Benton can now sit without assistance. He can not only sit unassisted, but he can get into a seated position by himself. When laid on the ground, he quickly maneuvers himself to sit. Amazing!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Children

As an American educator, I cannot help but be struck by certain paradoxes. In America we pride ourselves on being focused on children, and yet we do not pay sufficient attention to what they are actually expressing. We call for cooperative learning among children, and yet we rarely have sustained cooperation at the level of teacher and administrator. We call for artistic works, but we rarely fashion environments that can truly support and inspire them. We call for parental involvement, but are loathe to share ownership, responsibility, and credit with parents. We recognize the need for community, but we so often crystallize immediately into interest groups. We hail the discovery method, but we do not have the confidence to allow children to follow their own noses and hunches. We call for debate, but often spurn it; we call for listening, but we prefer to talk; we are affluent, but we do not safeguard those resources that can allow us to remain so and to foster the affluence of others. — Howard Gardner

Monday, October 06, 2008

Higher Education here they come

I finally made the plunge and started 529 plans for the kiddos. It has taken me 5.5 years! It seemed like such a daunting task. There are so many plans to consider. Luckily my state provides tax considerations regardless of the plan you choose. I decided after reading a few finance blogs and perusing Bankrate on the Ohio CollegeAdvantage plan. The biggest draw aside from low fees and solid investments was the fact that they are currently offering a $25 referral and sign-up bonus. The initial investment needed is only $25. E already has $75 from the start-up money and a referral from his sister. The same will be for A. B will have $50 just from the sign-up bonus. It seemed like an easy way to begin.

How to Earn Your Referral Bonus

  1. Open a new 529 account with $25.
  2. Enter the following referral code: 2429910.
  3. You will receive a $25 credit to your account within 7-10 business days after your account is established. (And E will get $25 for referring you.)
  4. You must establish an account on or before December 15, 2008 in order to be eligible to receive the referral bonus.
  5. Let me know if you decide on this plan.
So now for holidays, birthdays or any special occasion, you can always just add money to their 529 plans.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Birding

We spent the morning birding with the Desert Rivers Audubon Society. They were leading groups at the Chandler Environmental Education Center. We borrowed binoculars and found 12 different bird species with the help of our guide - Turkey Vultures, Kildeer, Black-necked Stilts, Double Crested Cormorants, Say's Phoebe and many more . Eamon and Aine really enjoyed finding the birds and trying to focus on them with the binoculars. Benton hung out on mama's back and enjoyed the fresh air. The temperature was mild and our day was beautiful. We plan on going again next month as they lead the birding tours on the first Saturday of the month until April.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Dancing

Aine has begun a new session of Irish Dance. She is not joined by her brother, but that does not slow her down. She really enjoys the dancing and is happy to resume her class.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Loving Them

I finally got rid of my stinky Born Mary Jane shoes. They were so stinky I could smell them at my height of 5'10" while wearing them. I found a pair of Dansko Mary Janes online that are fantastic replacements. Don't you agree?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Repurposing

I have very busy repurposing things around the house lately.

First, I pilfered an old shirt from Dave for a dress for A. It was a fairly straight-forward task. I followed this tutorial. She loved the dress. I have one more shirt waiting to be transformed.Next, I turned my attention to shirt of E's onto which I had spilled a drop of bleach. I decided to try reverse tie-dyeing. Voila a new look! E loves it.
Next up were some baby legwarmers for the wee folk. I grabbed two pairs of my knee highs and transformed them into legwarmers for the kiddos. Rave reviews for the third time!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Six Months




New Dress

Six Months

Benton turned a half year with a flourish. He scoots around the floor, sports a tooth with another waiting to emerge, smiles at his family and friends and is an all-around delight. He is becoming more active in his environment. He chews on whatever he can find. Aine can make him belly-laugh like no one else. He is good tempered and will happily go wherever his family travels. He endured the long trip to and from Michigan and Ohio with nary a complaint. He loves being carried in the sling or ergo. He is a cuddly bear and we love him. (Vitals 20lbs, 6 oz; 28.5 inches)


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Friday, September 12, 2008

Toofer


While visiting his cousins in Ohio, Benton sprouted his first tooth. It was within a day or two of his cousin. It was a bit of work, but it is quite the addition to his smile.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Racing for the Cure

Although I wanted to run in the next one, I will only be walking. I am walking again for the fight against breast cancer. Please follow this link to add your support.

THANKS!!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Mamas and Babies

Aine is fascinated by mamas and babies. She discusses them daily. If a child or young animal is seen, talk is often geared toward the missing mama. If she spots a woman, Aine asks where are the children and babies.

Today, we read a chapter in The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane that brought Aine to tears. I was not expecting it. The passage involved the death of a little girl in the arms of her brother. Aine asked why the little boy wanted her to breathe. I explained that the little girl died. Aine layed down and sobbed. She sat back up, climbed on top of my and wept in my arms. She could not understand why the little girl had died, why there was no mother and how the little boy was left alone with a rotten dad.

We had to put the book down for later reading. She wanted to be held while we read a more light hearted book, The Mighty Pigeon Club.
This link sums it up for me nicely and leads you here. Like Molly Coddle, we don't watch much TV. We go in spurts, but my children know who Mr. Rogers is through some books and DVDs from the library. I fondl recall Mr. Rogers and have watched the program with my children. It is a heartening show in sharp contrast to the programming of today. I am off to write a letter.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Activism

Our playroom has been infiltrated by ants. Today I set out a bit of poison (agave nectar in lieu of honey laced with boric acid). Eamon and Aine were intrigued by it. They noticed that a LOT of ants were attracted to the bait. Suddenly Aine spoke up:

A: But, wait, the ants will take the poison to the queen and she will die.
H: Yes, she will die and the colony will die. It should et rid of the ants.
A: But if she dies, herbabies will be lonely.
H: Perhaps.
A: We can't kill her. Her babies will die. Stop!

That is the hope.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Snail Mail

Eamon and Aine love receiving mail. This week they received a package from Grandma and GrandDad. Inside was the book I Love Dirt, two calculators, two dowels, two nails, four beads, and instructions on making pinwheels. We immediately grabbed some scissors and a hammer setting out to make our pinwheels. After only a quick assembly, Eamon and Aine were blowing their pinwheels and devising outdoor locations for them. Each had clipped their calculator to their belt, and we headed outside. The pinwheels were given homes in the garden, and we made plans to flood the other garden for mud play the next day.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Sammy Says...

The kids and I headed over to the new Chandler Environmental Education Center for a puppet show. The show was performed by a gentleman from the Great Arizona Puppet Theater. Eamon and Aine enjoyed the show which was called "Hotel Sauguaro." It discussed the environmental impact of the saguaro and the many benefits of our state tree.Afterward the puppeteer showed up all of the puppets and how they work.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Three and a Half

Aine is now three and a half. She recently gave away most of her dolls since they were plastic and opted for a handmade Waldorf style doll. It came the day before her half birthday, and they have not parted company since.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Homophones

The other night, Aine joined me in the den for some sewing. She had a pair of scissors and thread. While cutting her thread, she remarked:

A: I need a tool
H: You have a tool. Scissors are tools.
A: No, I need a tool (said with more emphasis).
H: You have a spool. I need theis one for sewing the bags.
A: No, I need a TOOL to sit on (said with even greater emphasis)
H: Ah, you need a stool.
A: Yes, I said tool.

Quick Knits

I really like some of the patterns in Last Minute Knitted Gifts. The Children's hat seemed like a perfect creation for A after the first hat debacle. I used some Malabrigo yarn in my stash.
It is worsted thick/thin yarn. A picked out the color and is eagerly awaiting mittens and a scarf too. More information on Ravelry.