Musings of a crunchy, domestic goddess

Just another mama musing about her kids, Attachment Parenting, activism, photography, and life in general

AP-friendly comic strip March 30, 2005

I came across this comic strip Greystone Inn the other day. There are several storylines, but one involves a couple that practices Attachment Parenting with their newborn son. The author explores such topics as natural childbirth using a midwife, breastfeeding and co-sleeping.

I wrote to the author – Brad Guigar – to let him know how excited I was to learn of his comic strip and to find out if he’s published in any newspapers (as I’d never heard of it before I saw a link on a message board). He said he’s only in a couple newspapers – one being the Philadelphia Daily News and then a few college newspapers, but recommended I write to the editor of my local one if I wanted to see it published here. I told him about my connections with the paper (that I used to work there) and said I’d drop them an email to see if they’d be interested in picking it up. I wrote to two of the guys there – one of whom I know is pro-AP – so we’ll see if anything comes from that. I also wrote to some people at the Boulder newspaper, since this comic strip seems right up their alley.

This one in particular really hit home for me because there were many nights that Jody would come to bed after Ava and I and he’d stand there watching over both of us to make sure we were still breathing. Thankfully he never rattled the bed, like the character did (and the author admits to doing to his son ;) ), but I thought it was cute. I’m sure many dads can identify with that.

I’d love to see AP get more recognition as an acceptable way to raise children. Maybe this comic strip can help do that. :)

 

Bert, Ernie, food and money

Filed under: Uncategorized — amygeekgrl @ 11:03 am

My sister maintains that in nearly every relationship there is a Bert and there is an Ernie. The Bert character is the serious, responsible one, while the Ernie persona is fun-loving and playful. I’ll give you two seconds to decide who’s Bert and who’s Ernie in me and Jody’s relationship. ;)

Anyway, at the risk of sounding very anal retentive (a trait I’ve never really been able to hide, but that has lessened a bit since having dogs and a child), I did something very Bert-esque yesterday. I took inventory of my pantry and kitchen cabinets and made a spreadsheet of all of the food items we have and how many of each. See, I told you it was anal retentive. ;oP

In my quest to buy and prepare healthier meals lately, I’ve been spending way too much money on groceries. So I’ve been looking around the kitchen and realizing that, while I like going out to the store each week and getting the ingredients to make healthy meals, we still have a lot of food in the house that’s going uneaten. And it’s not necessarily unhealthy food, but just things that can sit on the shelf a lot longer than fresh ingredients.

It frustrates me that it is often much cheaper to eat the less healthy foods than it is to eat the healthy ones, but I’m hoping that by knowing what I have on-hand I can still make up some pretty decent meals with a combination of boxed/canned goods and fresh foods.

I don’t know how good I’ll be about keeping the spreadsheet up-to-date. In a perfect world I’d have my list on a PDA or something that I could take with me to the store and update as I buy more items or subtract quantities as I use them in the kitchen, but that’s not going to happen so we’ll just see how it goes. I’m not all that concerned about keeping it up to be honest. Now that I have a list of our staples, maybe I will just try to do a quick inventory once a month so I always have a general idea of what’s in the house.

I am pretty confident that I can cut down on our grocery bill now that I’m aware that I’m spending too much and know that we won’t starve if I don’t go to the store with a mega-list every week. And it’s not like I really have much of an option since that money is earmarked for other bills.

Speaking of money, I’m happy to say that we are getting a pretty decent tax refund this year. :) Yay! I’d love to just go off and spend it on things for the house, clothes for all of us, a vacation and other fun stuff, but the plan is to pay down our credit card with a lot of it. We do hope to use some of it for a vacation, possibly to California, this summer. Jody has a convention in LA in August, so we thought it would be fun to make it into a little family trip if we can.

Anyway, all this writing of food and money has made me work up quite an appetite. I think I’ll check my list and see if anything sounds good. ;) J/K. I’ll just go do what I always do – open all the cabinets and stare blankly until something jumps out at me. ;)

 

Happy Easter and Spring! March 27, 2005

Filed under: Ava,Pictures — amygeekgrl @ 2:30 pm

Hope everyone has a great day!

 

Fast food, soda and junk food March 23, 2005

Filed under: Activism,Food,Health,Parenting — amygeekgrl @ 9:21 pm

If you’ve seen “Supersize Me” you know that along with fast food, junk food and unhealthy cafeteria food in schools is a big problem in the United States. Hell, in middle school I remember calling Funyons and a candy bar “lunch.” And in high school I recall eating french fries and pepperoni pizza on MANY occasions. Oh yeah! That was some fine dining! ;)

I recently read an article in the current issue of Mothering magazine about soda companies and their marketing ploys in schools. It seems that the companies approach the school districts offering to pay for this, that or the other thing in exchange for the school signing a contract that allows them to put their soda vending machines in the schools. The fine print (which usually is not read by the district) forbids them from putting in other vending machines with healthy alternatives (like milk or water). And the contracts can be binding for many years, like up to 8-10.

Soda companies see the formative years as being the best time to develop product loyalty in kids/teens. I remember arguing with my own friends over which was better – Coke or Pepsi.

Then there’s McDonald’s (and many other fast food chains) that markets itself to kids by way of a clown for a mascot as well as play areas in many of the restaurants. Buy a “Happy Meal” and get a free toy!

Taken from “The Fast Food Trap: How Commercialism Creates Overweight Children”
By Gary Ruskin
Mothering Magazine Issue 121: November/December 2003

“McDonald’s first national ad campaign, in 1967, was an unexpectedly huge success: 10 million kids wrote in to pick floats for Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. From then it was off to the races. McDonald’s advertising director put this battle cry on his wall: “Early to bed / Early to rise / Advertise / Advertise / Advertise.”18 Since then, McDonald’s has been masterful in its use of beloved characters to sell its high-calorie fast food. Among others, McDonald’s has employed Winnie-the-Pooh, 101 Dalmatians, Nemo, Furby, Tarzan, and Beanie Babies to sell its Happy Meals.”

“Fast-food marketers such as McDonald’s and Burger King have reshaped the diets of American parents and kids, and the rise in fast-food consumption has paralleled the boom in the incidence of childhood obesity. Between 1977 and 1995, the percentage of meals and snacks eaten at fast-food restaurants doubled. This has been especially devastating to the health of children. Because fast food is typically so high in sugar, fat, and calories, these meals can quickly add pounds to a kid’s waistline. In a study published in the International Journal of Obesity, researchers found that, compared to adolescents who did not eat at fast-food restaurants, boys and girls who ate fast food three times in the previous week had astoundingly higher calorie intakes: 40 and 37 percent, respectively.”

The problem with all of this is that obesity in children in the U.S. is at epidemic levels. I think this is partially due to our recent sedentary lifestyles – i.e. watching TV, playing video or computer games – and also due to junk food and fast food.

“Of these occupational illnesses of childhood, obesity is probably the greatest. Certainly it is the most apparent, as a visit to just about any elementary school or mall will confirm. Depending on how you measure it, between 15 and 24 percent of American children are overweight-a threefold increase since the early 1970s.”

That’s a frightening statistic. I know we aren’t the best about getting off our butts and setting a good example. Both Jody and I enjoy our computer time and like to watch the occasional TV show. But I think things like that can be done in moderation (which is the real key and something we need to work on).

It’s frustrating to me that the soda and fast food companies see children as their target audience with no regard for their health or well-being. This is commercialism run amok at the children’s expense.

It’s encouraging to know, however, that thanks to concerned parents, some states and cities are passing legislation that prohibit soda or junk food from their schools (see below).

Recent Victories
Dates in parentheses indicate when the legislation was approved or signed into law.

-California: banned sale of junk food and soda in elementary schools and sale of soda in middle schools as of 1/1/04 (10/01).
-Texas: banned sale of soda, candy, and foods of minimal nutritional value from hallways, lunchrooms, common areas during mealtimes (4/02).
-Los Angeles: banned sale of soda in all L.A. public schools as of 1/1/04 (8/02).
-Nashville: banned Channel One from Nashville public schools (9/02).
-New York City: banned candy, soda, and other unhealthy snacks from vending machines, and improved school meals (6/03).
-Oakland, California: banned sale of soda, candy from Oakland public schools (12/01).
-Philadelphia: announced plan to ban sale of soda from all Philadelphia public-school vending machines not in faculty lounges (7/03).
-San Francisco: banned sale of soda, candy in cafeterias as of 2003-2004 school year (1/03).
-Seattle: banned Channel One from Seattle public schools as of 2004-2005 school year (11/01).

Obviously the best thing parents can do is adopt healthy lifestyles and eating habits at home and hope that their children will learn by example. But as far as getting the soda and junk food out of their schools, Ruskin advises, “The single best thing you can do is to tell your school-board members and state legislators to implement the Childhood Obesity Prevention Agenda, which has been endorsed by dozens of top obesity researchers and prominent public health groups.”

It’s nice to see that parents’ efforts can make a difference. I hope that more cities and states will continue to pass laws banning the crap from the schools.

As for me – I know Ava’s school-age days are still a ways off, but it can’t hurt for me to start checking around now to see what kind of policies are in place in our local school district. These things tend to take time, or so I’m gathering from the date the above legislations were passed and when they will go into effect, so the sooner the better.

 

Freecycling to help others/ the environment March 17, 2005

Filed under: Uncategorized — amygeekgrl @ 2:35 pm

A couple of months ago, I discovered an awesome thing called “freecycling!” Simply put, “The worldwide Freecycle™ Network is made up of many individual groups across the globe. It’s a grassroots movement of people who are giving (& getting) stuff for free in their own towns.” Learn more at Freecycle.org.

At least where I live, the Freecycle Network is on a Yahoo group. People post things they want to get rid of (offers) or things they hope to acquire (wanteds). The only requirement for posting is that everything must be free. There’s no trading or selling.

So far I’ve freecycled an old couch and our glass/mirrored shower doors. I have some other things in the garage that I’ve set aside to freecycle as well. Of course the more I look through the things we’ve acquired over the years, the more I’m finding worthy of freecycling. It’s amazing how much “junk” you can collect without ever meaning to. ;)

Anyway, once you’ve posted something you want to give away/freecycle, you are then free to post for things that you want. I tried my hand at placing a “wanted ad” for a music keyboard for Ava this week. Less than an hour after I posted, I received an e-mail from a guy who has one sitting in his garage. We’re going to pick it up this weekend! :) I’ve already thought of some other things for Ava that I’d love to get, but don’t have the money. And I think when you are posting for things for kids like clothes or toys, there are bound to be people who have that item just sitting around their house so there’s a good chance of getting it.

There’s a huge array of things posted on Freecycle. Some things on my local list up for grabs in the past day include: a vacuum cleaner, various books, an igloo dog house (which reminds me – we’ve got one of those to get rid of), air mattresses, firewood, a microwave oven, a computer desk, a lop-eared rabbit, a dresser, three recliners, bus coupons, Celestial Seasonings tea, Christmas lights, a Polaroid camera and 70’s hanging door beads, among many others. The variety of items on there amazes me.

The tricky thing I’ve found is that if someone posts something as an offer, you have to respond right away in order to get it, because it’s first-come, first-served. There were some diaper wraps on there a couple weeks ago that I would’ve loved to have, but I was the second person to respond so I didn’t get them. Ya win some, ya lose some.

“The average American generated 2 1/2 pounds of garbage a day in 1960. Do you know how much each American generates today?
Answer: Today it’s twice that at nearly 5 pounds a day!” — www.freecycle.org

Yikes! That quote scares me and makes me want to rant about all of the excess packaging these days, but I’ll save that for another day. ;) “By Freecycle-ing, we can help the environment by diverting useful items from landfills while also helping members of our local community.” I think it’s an awesome concept and I’m glad to see so many people taking advantage of it. According to the freecycle.org website, there are currently 2,507 Freecycle™ Communities and 1,024,995 Freecycle™ Members.

One man/woman’s trash truly is another’s treasure.
And now I’m off to list that igloo dog house. :)

 

No time like the present

Filed under: Uncategorized — amygeekgrl @ 1:43 pm

So much for my feeble attempts to write consistently. I just haven’t had the time.

At the moment, my wee one is down for a nap so I thought I’d try to put some words down. However, I’m finding it’s hard to come up with well-written thoughts when you are under a severe time crunch. I’ve actually started a couple posts lately, but my thoughts have been so jumbled I haven’t felt them worthy of publishing.

I think things will only continue to get more busy as spring and summer arrive. It’s hard to stay cooped up in the house when the warm weather and sunny sky are beckoning us outside.

So what is this post about then? Uh, basically me rambling about how I don’t have time to post anything worthwhile. LOL. Seriously though, I keep coming up with more projects for myself, meetings to attend, playdates to go to, etc. How’s a girl supposed to focus on her writing? ;)

—————–
Quote of the day:
“This time, like all times, is a good time, if we but know what to do with it.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

(Man, do I love that quote website! :) I can find the perfect quote for how I’m feeling all the time.)

 

Sold to the highest bidder? March 14, 2005

Filed under: Activism,Breastfeeding — amygeekgrl @ 1:29 pm

I recently heard that some women have tried to sell their breastmilk on Ebay. (Breastmilk auction) It seems outrageous to me that something as precious as breastmilk could be sold to the highest bidder. Ebay doesn’t allow the sale of human body parts (including blood or sperm), and I don’t believe they are allowing the sale of breastmilk either (thankfully), which is why the above auction appears to have been shut down.

According to Ebay, prohibited and restricted items include:
“Humans, the human body, or any human body parts may not be listed on eBay. Examples of prohibited items include, but are not limited to: organs, bone, blood, waste, sperm, and eggs.”

Knowing that there are licensed Mothers’ Milk Banks located throughout the country that will accept donations of breastmilk (after the mother has completed a thorough screening), makes me wonder why someone wouldn’t just choose to donate their milk rather than sell it. Are they struggling for cash that badly that they have to sell their own milk?

It’s unfortunate that money seems to be such a driving force behind so many people’s motivations. Why not give just for the sake of giving? I believe that people are rewarded for good acts – good karma if you will. So rather than try to make a quick buck here or there (as much as we need it), I’d rather do something to help someone else. I like the feeling I get knowing I’m helping them and I would hope that someone would do the same for me. :)

—————–
Quote of the day:
“How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.” — Wayne Dyer

 

 
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