October 30, 2011

The things we learn in English...

Most of the time have nothing to do with English.

I love my class. Somehow the topic of "text speak" came up a few class periods ago and the conversation that followed was really entertaining. One boy in our class spoke up and mentioned that his mom would text him "WTF" frequently after he had sent something to her like "I just did really well on my midterm!" He was confused and finally asked her one day if she even knew what that meant. She replied, "of, course! It means 'wow, that's fantastic!'" ((If you don't know what that actually means, don't look it up.)) I mentioned that to Craig and we now have some of our own versions of some popular, yet formerly unkind,  text lingo. My favorite? OMFG- "Oh my! Flying goats!!"

And with that, I'm off to make some Thai chicken potstickers with Craig :)

October 27, 2011

Great Parenting

Craig shared this with me earlier today and I thought it was worth passing along. Any eternal principles you can see here? I thought so, too.


Post written by Leo Babauta.
I often get asked how I can do so much while having six kids.
My short answer, and all you really need to know, is my wife Eva is awesome. I couldn’t do half what I do without her.
She is the reason Zen Habits is able to exist. And so if you want parenting advice, you’d be smart to ask her.
She doesn’t, however, have a blog. And so I’ll share some things that we both do that make our jobs as parents easier.
These are Very Important Rules that must never be broken by any Serious Parent … until, of course, you want to break them. The first rule of Rules of Effortless Parenting is that you should always break rules.

Rules of Effortless Parenting

There is really only one rule: Love Them. But you already knew that one, so let’s get into details:
1. Teach kids to be self-sufficient. Our kids started by learning how to pick up after themselves (as 1 and 2 year olds), and later learned how to feed themselves breakfast, brush their teeth and shower and dress themselves, wash dishes and clean up in the kitchen, clean their rooms, do laundry, etc. Our jobs as parents became tons easier, but it does take a little patient teaching in the beginning of each skill.

2. Teach older kids to help with the younger kids. If you have multiple kids, this rule is golden. Our teens can help the little kids with anything. That makes our jobs a lot easier, and the older kids learn responsibility.

3. Teach them to solve problems. This is really the main job of unschooling, which is the philosophy we follow as homeschoolers. Our kids don’t learn facts or even skills. They learn to solve problems on their own. If they know how to do this, they can learn any facts or skills they need to solve their problems. Want to learn how to write a computer program? That’s just another problem that you need to learn how to solve. Want to cook Thai food, or write a blog, or start a business, or build something? Problems that you can solve.

4. Show them how to be passionate. The other main thing you teach unschoolers, besides solving their own problems, is how to be passionate about something. If they know this, they will do work they’re passionate about as adults. How do you teach them this? By modeling it yourself. By doing projects with them where you’re passionate about something. Kids learn an amazing amount by watching and mimicking.

5. Play with them outside, and be active. Spending time with your kids is one of the best ways to show them you love them. Playing with them is one of the best ways to spend time with them. Playing outside shows them how to be active and have fun being active. I also stay active on my own, but I make sure they know what I’m doing, why, and how much fun it is. They have a role model who is healthy and fit, and that will help them for the rest of their lives.

6. Don’t overschedule. Most parents schedule too many classes, sports, parties, activities. We give our kids lots of unstructured, unscheduled time. They have to figure out what to do with that time. That’s an important skill to learn. It also means their lives are less stressed out, as are ours, and they learn a slower pace of life.

7. Don’t dote. I’ve seen lots of parents that dote on everything their kids do, who are worried about every little thing their kid might touch or that might cause a fall. Back off, and give them some space. They need attention, but they also need some time alone to explore, to fall and get back up, to scrape their knees, to figure stuff out on their own. Go do something on your own, and leave your kids alone sometimes.

8. Dance. Because life without dance is dull and not worth living. Play loud music. Go crazy.

9. Read with them, and read in front of them. Kids love books, especially if you read them with them. Here are some of my favorites. If you are a reader yourself, and they see that, this will teach them to love reading too. Reading is one of the best loves you can instill in kids.

10. Be inquisitive. Ask questions about everything, and encourage them to do the same. Kids are naturally inquisitive … they can ask a million questions, because everything is new to them. Learn to see the world through their eyes — it’s amazing. Why the hell IS the sky blue? Why do leaves change color? How does a bird fly? These are brilliant questions, and you should explore them with the kids — don’t just give them answers, but show them how to find out.

October 24, 2011

Another confession...

...Sometimes I give food to homeless people. Or people who say they're homeless. You know the ones I'm talking about. The people who sit on corners by themselves with large backpacks, dogs and occasionally a sign that says they're traveling and hungry. I don't ever give money but if we have extra fruit smiles, cosmic brownies (sorry, Craig) or a pack of crackers, that's what they get. No, I do not get out of the car. No, I don't roll the window down all the way. Yes, the doors stay locked. Not trying to be scared of people but I have to be safe, right?

I don't remember how long ago this actually was but I remember when I was littleish my dad would have corporate meetings in Bentonville a couple times a year. It was always fun to see what kind of treats/samples he'd bring home with him. (A couple I remember: the lifesaver creamy hard candies and the Lays Baked chips. We got to try those before they were even being advertised. Oh, and shampoo from the hotel. Always fun.) Any way. One time he came home from a trip and told us a story. I couldn't have been very old when he told us this and the details are fuzzy, but this is what I remember. Maybe my older siblings or mom could clarify some things. He was driving somewhere and had a strong impression to slow down/stop. There was a man who was homeless/unemployed/not doing well or what have you on the side of the road. Dad felt impressed to take him to a restaurant to get him something to eat and he ordered the most expensive thing on the menu but dad got it for him. He then took him over to the local Walmart and bought him some socks. I believe it made more of an impact than a full stomach and warm feet. Certainly has for me.

Another time, we were on spring break and went to Washington D.C. A women who truly looked homeless and had a baby with her came and asked dad for money. This wasn't the first person to ask us but for some reason, helped her a bit, too. I think she also got some packs of fruit snacks from us.

Why am I talking about this now? As I was leaving Walmart today, I saw a tiny little Hispanic lady -the one who sells pine nuts and homemade tamales on the corner- walk over to the girl who was sitting on the corner with a backpack and her dog and gave said corner girl several of her tamales and a pack of pine nuts.  Who knows if this corner girl is really homeless or traveling or whatever. The tamale/pine nut lady didn't care. She saw someone who in her mind was worse off than herself and did what she could to help. Watching this reminded me of our spring break and the story dad told us. It really isn't our place to judge others or assume we know why people are in the position they're in. Dad followed an impression to help someone in need. We don't always know why we're impressed to do things. Maybe we could all be a little nicer to each other- including those we don't really know. We're all children of a God who loves ALL of us.

p.s Sorry, Craig. We are a bag of Triscuits shorter this evening than we were this morning.

October 6, 2011


It's snowing.

Sophie is sick.

The house is cold.

I want {more} carbs.

This is what I am making for dessert.