Wednesday, April 27, 2011

So Apparently I'm (Viewed as) Incompetent

I happened across an article that has been bugging me (Breastfeeding Women Viewed as Less Competent). It states that the perception of women who breastfeed their children is that they are less competent. It is irking me... Not the article, as it is just stating the findings, but that people believe this. And from what I gather probably mostly young people (they are listed as students), so not a group of older ladies or gentlemen, who were taught that formula was better (which had been the teaching for some time).

I've never been one to be horribly outspoken on this issue. If someone had a question, I'd gladly answer it. I nursed three babies for just over a year each, so I have some experience on the topic. I know that it doesn't work for everyone, even those who try very, very hard sometimes struggle with it and switch to formula. For some women, there are reasons (good reasons) to never nurse in the first place. I get that, but to think that a woman is inferior because she feeds her baby organically (as one commenter on the article put it)...that I just don't get.

If it is free it must be broken, right? I guess...

Then the article introduces the idea that employers are opting not to hire nursing moms because of a perceived dropped productivity. I worked and nursed/pumped. I was wonderfully blessed that my daughter was in a daycare down the hall for the few months I worked as a mother, and I just spent my lunch break feeding her. I pumped in the little bathroom off my classroom during my planning period for 10 minutes each day. And I took 1 sick day in that 5 month period (it wasn't for her either!). I can not say that she would have been more sickly had I fed her formula, but since study after study shows that breastfed babies are healthier, it is a fairly safe bet.

There are benefits for the children in the short term. In the long term. To the mom. To the family budget.

This isn't to make moms who choose to/have to formula feed feel poorly, but to ask why, when a woman chooses the clinically better path (even though it may be harder), should she be seen as incompetent? Maybe if we all listed our degrees and GPAs on our nursing covers, we could turn this around.

I'm hoping that my beautiful, brilliant daughters will be able to feed their (sure to be adorable and brilliant) babies any way they choose without being viewed as less than their peers one day.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Counting Days

I remember keeping a count down to the end of school when I was in college and the kids kpt one on my board when I was a teacher. So as we're getting to the end of our school year I thought I would count up our days to see when we would be finished with our required days, not sure how many school days we may actually have, as we can obviously keep going. I kept coming up with us not finishing until mid-June. I knew that we started a little later than the public school system and we've had some sick days, but we also didn't take all the snow days, we've had class on some of their holidays and in-service days, and even worked on Saturday on occasion if we missed some other time through the week. Then I went back over my numbers--I skipped March. Oops! So we should be finished with our required days by mid-May. Whew! Evidently Mama needs a break if I can't even add up all of our days, huh?

I haven't entirely decided what we'll do this summer to keep busy. There is a summer camp that I have signed Kate up for in June. The library has a summer reading program too. Then a trip to visit family. Justin's doctoral defense. I think we'll need to do some math practice once in awhile so she doesn't forget those skills. Oh and then maybe moving... Okay, maybe our summer is filling up after all!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

He has Risen!!!

Happy Easter from us!

Friday, April 22, 2011

A Walk Through Holy Week

We've been celebrating Holy Week around here.

So far we made palm leaves for Palm Sunday

and celebrated by shouting "Hosanna!"

We've also had a passover meal including all the traditional passover seder: Metzah (unleavened bread), Karpas (we used leaves from salad, as parsley was impossible to find), Saltwater, Maror (we used horseradish), Charoset (a fruit salad), Lamb shank, and a Sacrificial egg.

I was really surprised that the girls liked the lamb, despite the fact we told them it was lamb. They didn't care at all for the unlevened bread. I didn't use kosher ingredients, but I was able to make it in less than the prescribed 18 minutes (as the Israelites had to make their bread quickly to leave Egypt traditional Metzah is made in 18 minutes or less).

We talked about the significance of the foods we were eating (and the one we weren't). We also put up some red construction paper on the lintel and doorposts of one of our doors. We have read some (here is one source) and found that the blood would most likely have formed a cross on the door.

How very fitting.

This afternoon we will be burying our clothes pin to represent Jesus in the tomb. The girls and I will be awaking early to anoint the 'body' on Sunday morning.

Blessings to you and your family as you are passing through Good Friday and on to Easter!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Step 1 of 1000

Ack. We're starting to get our ducks in a row to buy a house. I've had my eye on the MLS since we moved here (okay, since before we moved here), so I've just been looking more intently lately and filling in all those numbers on the mortgage calculator to see what is feasible and what is not. Our lease isn't up for about three more months, but with the flood of short sales on the market and the fact they can take significantly longer to close on now seems like the right time...

This week I called up our bank, who we have been using since we left my hometown over 10 years ago. The fellow in mortgages worked quickly and got our pre-approval letter ready in less than 24 hours. Here's the kicker--I gave him what price we were looking at as our cap and our pre-approval is for 30% more than we think we could possibly pay! Then he quoted me a number for a payment that sounded really feasible, BUT it didn't include the taxes or insurance (which, in my experience, add up to nearly 20% of the monthly cost of owning a house).

No wonder many, many people are left in ridiculous amounts of debt, wondering what happened. The bank said they could afford it, the real estate agent said they could afford it, the numbers sounded reasonable, but there was no way they could make those payments without making major changes or living on credit. I was really surprised though, I thought after all the short sales and foreclosures that are occurring that the banks would have tightened their loan qualifications.

If you are buying a house, please, please, look for a calculator that adds in the cost of the house, the taxes on the property, an estimate for your home insurance, PMI (if you are paying less than 20% down), and allows you to put in the proper amount of down payment and choose your interest rate.

On the upside, since we were able to pay the difference that we owed on the house that we sold in Kansas (rather than short sale) we qualify for a really good interest rate. Yay for excellent credit!

So here we go again!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Words Aptly Spoken

Okay, call me a dork. I was looking at home school books and I happened across Words Aptly Spoken. The book is being revised and updated, so the old text was on sale for $5. I ordered. Not for my kiddos--way above their heads at this point--but because I wanted to read it. It has political documents, speeches, even poetry that is foundational to our country. I remember looking my parents' World Almanac to read the constitution and the Declaration of Independence. This has all of that and quite a bit more.

Then I got it. Okay, my oldest is in kindergarten, so here's where I get dorky. I can not wait to teach high school government! I don't think this book (based on my first look through) is worth quite a full credit in government (though others may disagree), but it is wonderful. It has two sets of questions for each reading, and it could easily be expanded into more in depth research projects for some of the topics (like the use of Locke and Rutherford in the writing of the D of I) to get that full credit. It is primarily a work of foundational documents, though there are some slightly more modern pieces (like Brown vs. Board of Ed.), so I'll likely add a little more on global government and modern government.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Three and a Half

Today the little gal is three and a half. She is funny, quiet, and mischievous. She's a cuddle bug, little mama, and sneaky little thing. I have a lot of favorite things about her lately. She tries to read books, she admires her sister and loves her brother, and she is adorable even when she is pouting.

And these are a few of her favorite things lately.

Book: My cookbook (Pretend Soup)

Song: Happy Appleness (Apple Red Happiness)

Food: Macaroni and cheese

Place: The bouncy place

Game: Candy Land

When I asked if she had anything to add, she said, "I like birds in the blue sky."

Friday, April 15, 2011

Tea Time

Our library had a tea party this past weekend,

so the gals and I went.

They enjoyed muffins, tea sandwiches, cookies, and liberty tea (punch).

We heard the story of Felicity (one of the American girls), and made a bilboquet (a colonial era toy in which the children try to catch a bead in a cone--the two items being attached by a string).

Thursday, April 14, 2011

What Gabby has been Saying

In a very serious tone: Daddy has fu' on his feet, so he's a hobbit. Hobbits have fu' on da feet.

* * * * *

Looking at a Granddaddy long legs: That is Joseph. He's our pet.

* * * * *

Outside looking at an ant: I'm gonna squish dat bug!

Oh Gabby, we don't squish bugs if they aren't bothering us.

Dat bug is boddering me.

No, Gabby, he's just walking around.

Oh dat poor bug. He wost his Mama and Daddy.

Monday, April 11, 2011

What is Underneath

Last week our van was in a little mishap. It is really a teeny dent on the driver's side fender, but that little dent caused it to bow in the back, making it hard to open the driver's door (actually more damage was done in opening the door--pushing the fender in a bit at the back) and the paint was peeling. Obviously it had to be repaired.

Justin is pretty good with cars and after the sticker shock from the body shop he opted to put on a new fender himself. It is just a bunch of bolts, right? Oh, and a lot of time.

He spent the day Saturday removing the fender (by way of the tire, hood, headlight, and side view mirror, as there were bolts to remove under all of those items). He begins to install the new fender and then he finds that one of those places that bolts run through has been bent a bit. Just enough that he can't attach the new fender that was already in place.

Looking at it now, with the new fender on, all you can see is that it needs a little paint. The van looks like it has been repaired, but underneath the truth is that if you tried to drive the van at highway speed the pretty new fender might well be ripped away, showing that bent piece of metal that is hidden.

How often do we try to fix ourselves? Sometimes we can take care of it ourselves, but other times we have no idea how broken we are until we pull back that exterior. Then we can either put a new cover over ourselves and pretend that all is well until life speeds past us and rips that new skin off or we can look at ourselves and see we are broken past our ability to fix it and take our hearts to the One who is skilled in these repairs. We couldn't see that when the project began: we had to start somewhere, but now we know. Thankfully we have a gracious Father in heaven who will take care of us, take off that band-aid that did nothing but hide the ugliness, and truly repair us. After all, He sent His Son here so we can be fixed up forever.

It costs more, it takes longer, but the right fix will be better in the end.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Adventures in Cooking: Hummus

Last week we ventured to the store before lunch one day last week. The same old, same old for lunch was sounding, well, old. So I picked up some hummus and pita bread. Kate tried it and liked it immediately. After watching Kate eat it Gabby decided to try it too. I figured Nate wouldn't like it, so I made him a peanut butter sandwhich, then he ate a third of my hummus. I think he would have eaten all of it, had I let him.

Since then I've been doing a little exploring into the possibility of making my own. The store bought was a tad expensive and we went through it quickly. I found it is a lot like ketchup--everyone has their own recipe, and they all have some of the same basic ingredients.

I tried it tonight with a basic idea of what went into it, but no real recipe. It turned out well. Here is (approximately) what I did, since I didn't measure.

First I couldn't find Tahini, so I placed an entire spice box container of sesame seeds (60 gram size) on a cookie sheet and roasted them for 5 minutes at 350*. As those cooled I assembled my other ingredients:

2 cans of chickpeas (16 oz size), drained
2 artichoke hearts (from a can), squeezed to drain
1/3-1/2 cup lemon juice
2 Tablespoons of minced garlic
1 Tablespoon parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon of salt

In a food processor combine cooled sesame seeds with enough oil to make a thin-ish paste.

Add all (including the Tahini paste) to a food processor or blender (I used a Vitamix) and pulse until well combined.

Last week's hummus cost $3.49

This week's hummus cost $5.26 ($.84 chickpeas (each); $2.69 seeds; $2.68/3 for portion of artichokes used) for what I guess is three times the amount and the added splurge of artichoke hearts. I'm also going to venture to guess that there is a more economical way to procure tahini.

About a 50% savings.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Testing 1 - 2 - 3

I gave Kate her very first spelling test today. She got a 100% on her long e words, so I put a sticker on her paper. She was excitedly telling Justin about her perfect score this evening. He told her that his spelling was never that good, so he never got a sticker on his paper. In turn, she told him that when he finishes his dissertation that she'll give him a sticker to put on it. He told Kate that there will probably be a misspelled word somewhere in his dissertation. She looked at him thoughtfully, reached out her hand, placing it on his shoulder, and said, "That's okay, you can still have a star."

Friday, April 1, 2011

Lest anyone think I am the only one around this house that has those frustrating moments...

Justin tried to come home a tad early a couple of days last week to mow our yard. The weather and traffic both conspired against him. He worked Saturday. Finally he gets to it this week. The lawn mower starts, but will not stay on. He cleans the carburetor and lets it dry. The next day, it still won't start. I bought a replacement spark plug. It still won't stay on for more than a couple of seconds. Though the gas had stabilizer in it, he replaced that too. Still no go.

I guess its time for a new lawn mower or we're going to have to get out the scissors!