Monthly Archives: April 2011

Whose Fault is it Anyway?

One of the biggest problems in our home is determining whose fault something is. We all do it. Ella and Agatha say, “I didn’t do it.” Ryan tells Agatha, “Don’t worry. It’s not your fault.” I trip over something in the middle of the floor and demand, “Who left this here?”

Sound familiar?

In day to day life people assign blame for so many things, and most of the time it doesn’t matter who did it. Will it change anything by knowing who to blame? Maybe your relationship with the other person. But most of the time nothing else will change. And that’s the problem. In our family we’ve fallen into the blame game and the only things coming from it are hurt feelings. As parents if we demonstrate truthfulness and own our mistakes as well as failing to notice the mistakes of others, our children won’t fall into the blame game as well.

I want to change how our family handles mistakes. However, for myself, I know it won’t be easy. It’s a habit I’ve fallen into, unfortunately I don’t really know how to stop it. There has always been a punishment for every mistake or wrongdoing. From the time I was young, to moving out, and starting work. That’s the way the world works.

But it shouldn’t.

People should be free to make mistakes. And more importantly, free to learn from their mistakes. Fear prevents learning, growing. The fear of punishment makes a person’s primary objective hiding the mistake, rather than learning anything from it.

How can we step away from blame and become free to make mistakes and let our children make their own mistakes?

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Better Late Than Never

Sometimes I don’t agree with the title of this post. Twenty minutes late for a half-hour class and I’ll just not bother. Incidentally we stopped going to Mommy and Me Dance because I was so late way too often.  However, in this instance late is better than never. We had so much fun, and the results were gorgeous!

I’m talking about dyeing our Easter eggs. This year we planned to use organic chicken eggs, courtesy of my parents farm. Of course my parents eggs are mostly brown, but I was so excited to discover spectacular speckled eggs amongst all those brown ones. They were perfect.

Speckled chiken eggs?

I asked the girls what colours they wanted, then we went through the kitchen to find different items that might produce the desired hue. We used the last bit of red wine in a bottle, turmeric, fruit juice blend, cranberry juice, paprika, green tea, and crushed chilies. The juice blend didn’t work, and even though I’ve heard good things about using chilies, I personally wouldn’t use them again.

Most sites I looked up said to boil the eggs with the item being used to colour the eggs. I didn’t want to do that, I wanted the girls to be able to safely take the eggs in and out of the liquid to check the colour as they saw fit. So I boiled the water for the tea and let it steep and cool for a few minutes, I boiled the turmeric and paprika for a few minutes to get the colour into the water, then I poured that into cups, the juices and wine I poured into cups as they were. I added one to two teaspoons of white vinegar to each cup and brought it all to the table for the girls.

I loved the way the colours turned out. The wine left one egg a deep, deep purple. The other was green with black stripes, the striped one was left for only about five minutes, the other for about twenty (in the fridge). The turmeric left the eggs a vivid orange, the paprika turned them yellow, cranberry juice turned the eggs a rosy pink, and the green tea left the eggs a beautiful yellow-green.

These were the most beautiful eggs we’ve ever dyed, and no one was stained florescent pink or blue for weeks on end. there also wasn’t any concern with eating the eggs after, even if the dye did leak through in a couple places.

When I called my mom to tell her about our spectacularly, speckled dyed eggs, she got very quiet. Asked if we’d eaten any of them yet, then said she knew something about the eggs and she wasn’t sure if she should tell me or not.

I insisted. With a lead up like that either I had to throw out our gorgeous eggs, or know what she was talking about. It turns out there had been a mix up on the farm during egg collection and two dozen turkey eggs went missing. She couldn’t figure out who had them and didn’t want to say anything in case someone got upset.

In case you’re wondering turkey eggs really don’t taste that different from a chicken egg (I couldn’t tell the difference at all), bu they are a different shape, and once the turkeys are mature their eggs will be larger. The eggs we received were about the size of  a large chicken egg so I couldn’t tell the difference based on size. And not knowing the first thing about chickens, or eggs (other than how to cook both), it didn’t occur to me that we received anything other than chicken eggs.

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Orange You Glad I Didn’t Say Banana

One of the greatest days as a parent has arrived. Our little girl discovered Knock Knock jokes! Ella’s spent hours telling joke after joke. Of course most of them are absolute nonsense, but the gigantic grin on her face means we laugh and love. Who wouldn’t? Though she has come up with one or two that we’re actually impressed with.

Knock, Knock

Who’s there?

Stiple.

Stiple who?

Stipleback!

Her favorite joke right now is one I taught her. Yep that one. The one everyone hates. Particularly if you have a sister, friend, or some random stranger that insists on saying banana a million times.

Knock, Knock.

Who’s There?

Banana

Banana Who?

Knock, knock

Who’s there?

Banana

Knock, Knock…repeat pattern as often as possible before the other person gets annoyed.

Who’s there?

Orange.

Orange who?

Orange you glad I didn’t say banana?

Ella only allows us to say banana twice before getting upset. If we don’t follow the pattern she gets confused and then angry. She does NOT like being confused : ) But she loves the joke anyhow and tries to do it to us. I can’t help but laugh and love her even more as she tries each new joke. From the smile on her face I think she loves us even more as well. What more could a parent ask for?

Do you have any good knock, knock jokes, or any other child appropriate jokes to share? I’d love to hear some new ones to share with the girls.

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Baked Pasta With Cream Tomato Sauce

I’ve always loved pasta. According to my mom the only thing I may have liked better than pasta was steak. Those tastes haven’t changed. What has changed is my ability to eat pasta. after being diagnosed with celiac’s disease pasta was one of those foods that became more difficult to enjoy. Most importantly I could no longer order pasta with creamy tomato sauce at our local restaurant. Experimentation ensued. It took me quite some time, but I finally found the perfect sauce.

2 tbsp olive oil

1/2 purple onion finely chopped (yellow onion pictured)

1/4 yellow pepper chopped

1 good sized tbsp minced garlic

3-4 oz cream cheese

1/3 c whipping cream

1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano

1 pint cherry tomatoes chopped

1/4 c chopped fresh parsley

1/2 c crumbled feta

1/2 c. shredded mozzarella

Heat oil in a heavy bottom skillet. Saute onion and pepper until just limp. Add garlic and saute until fragrant.

If using dried herbs add them with the garlic. Though fresh is better.

Add tomatoes and herbs, cook until hot. Cube cream cheese and mix into skillet until almost melted. Pour in the cream and feta, mix well.

Meanwhile cook 16oz pasta of choice. Drain pasta well mix sauce and pasta in a dutch oven. Sprinkle mozzarella over the top, place under hot broiler for 2 minutes or until cheese begins to brown.

For a healthier alternative use light cream cheese, instead of whipping cream use plain yogurt. The taste will be slightly less sweet, but still equally good, my husband even said it was the best sauce he’s had. Instead of pasta cook a spaghetti squash and serve as directed. Adding a bunch of fresh baby spinach with the tomatoes adds a bit more colour and nutrients. For a full meal in one pot add cooked salmon or chicken. For a formal presentation pour the mixture into individual ramekins before broiling, serve with salad and pair with a chardonnay.  This meal has many option, experiment and find the one that works for your family.

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Filed under Gluten-free

Ready or Not – Here I Come

There are many things I love about our new home. It’s almost double the size of our old home, and already provides many opportunities to bond with the girls.

Right now the computer and the television are in the same room, the family room, which is open to the kitchen. This means that if the girls watch shows and I’m busy in the kitchen we can still talk and spend time together. It also means that the amount of time available to use the computer is significantly less than it was a month ago. The girls are always on hand, needing attention. The laundry room is upstairs, as is the playroom. While I’m busy doing laundry the girls run in and out of the room and bring toys or books over to me for us to spend more time together. But the best part of our new house. The number one thing that draws us closer together is the size. That and the closets.

When playing hide and seek we actually have to look for the girls. Well, when they aren’t hiding in the middle of the hallway with a blanket thrown over top of themselves, giggling uncontrollably. But, they fit in every closet, as well as behind most of the furniture.

When we hide the girls call out “Marco” and follow the sound of our voices as we respond with “Polo”. It might be a swimming game, but it works just as well on land.

Tonight we played for almost an hour with the girls running around laughing as they tried to find everyone. We paused briefly when the muffins were ready to eat, then we played for a few more minutes before bed.

Hide and seek let the girls know how much we love them, it provided us all an opportunity to hug, laugh, and play together. It didn’t matter who was hiding or seeking everyone enjoyed the dynamics of the game because as the game changed a new opportunity to spend time with someone else in the family arose.

There is nothing better than seeing a huge smile on our little girls, hearing them laughing, as they throw their arms around us and say “I love you.”

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Make Love Not War…At Home

Is unschooling better than homeschool? Than school?

Yes. For us. For some families. But not for others. For some families unschooling would be a very bad idea. Each family needs to find their own path.

Certain things are required of any path taken in life. In order to send your children to school a certain level of organization is required. A commitment to waking up at the same time most days, and going to bed at the same time. in order to school a family needs to follow certain rules. In order to homeschool at least one parent needs to commit a large portion of time to education. For some homeschoolers a commitmentto sitting down and teaching is also needed.

An unschooling family allows freedoms to everyone – including themselves.

For many people, me, that’s not as easy as it sounds. I have times when I need a lot of control in my life. In order to unschool at all I need to give myself the freedom to allow others to take control. Some days I succeed better than others. Though I know I succeed better at unschooling than I would sending our children to school.

Over the past four and a half years I’ve discovered that if I need the girls to hurry, they go slower. If I want them to keep their voices quiet, they yell loudly. If I need them to be awake at seven, they sleep until I have to carry them to the van. And then they fight tooth and nail to stay home. Some days I maintain a level head and everyone comes out of the situation okay. But more often than not when the girls want something different than I want, the need for them to do as I say increases. Pretty soon a battle ensues.

Some say “Choose your battles wisely.” I prefer not to battle in the first place.

Unschooling allows me the freedom to choose peace over war.

Is there a particular choice you’ve made as a parent that allows you to choose peace? Is there a choice you wish you could make over?

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Filed under Uncategorized, unschooling

Snap Shot

A quick snap shot of our life the past few weeks.

 

We’ve moved into our new home. We love it, but it’s taking a long time to unpack. Ryan still doesn’t have most of his clothes, but I know where they are so we should get them soon.

Stairway

Kitchen On Day Of Possession

 

I also don’t have any clothes, but that’s because I’m still six sizes larger than I was before getting pregnant. I’m still two sizes larger than I was at the beginning of the pregnancy. I don’t have time to go shopping, so I ordered online, but it’s taking some time to arrive. Hopefully by Monday I’ll have clothes that fit again.

Cordelia’s almost two months old and awake now more than she used to be. During those awake times she smiles, coos, and giggles. She also enjoys tummy time and tries to push up. Though she doesn’t get very high yet. Mostly just enough to turn her head from side to side. She also enjoys looking at new things. She got a toy beaver from some friends and she enjoys the bright colours, she also loved her Sophie giraffe – though she liked it better before the squeaker broke.

We’ve also signed the girls up for classes. Agatha starts hers today. It’s her first unparented class, so we’ll see how things go. She’s excited and wants to go to one on her own, so she should enjoy it. Ella starts hers on Saturday, then in June she’ll also take swim lessons.

While each girl is in her seperate lessons I’ll spend the time with the other two giving special attention. Well see how this works for them. If it goes well we’ll continue with classes in the fall.

Ella really wants to take gymnastics and get into a French class – I’m hoping we can get her into them for the summer and/or fall. We did talk to her about kindergarten, but she’s very certain she’d rather be home and take the classes she’s interested in, rather than learning what someone else says she should. We’re happy with that.

 

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