What did I learn this week?

Saturday market special

This morning my mom and I enjoyed an early morning coffee date before picking up W from Daddy’s care and meeting Lance and C at the Saturday James Bay Community Market. We met up with Sarah (sans child), and Melaina and Wendy with younger ones in tow, and had a nice time sitting on the grass and eating and listening to the music. Great James Bay times.

What else was going on at the market today? The health inspector was making the rounds. Uh oh. Ok, ok, I know the guy is only doing his job, but still. The last visit caused the coffee stand some problems because they were told that instead of providing milk in insulated jugs kept in a cooler, they had to set out those little plastic teaspoon sized creamer thingys (so-called). NOT enviro-friendly VIHA, thanks very much (do you know how many it takes to properly “cream” your coffee?). Anyway, the coffee stand was again the victim today, and it looks like we are losing our pie.

In addition to coffee, the coffee stand people also sell fresh baked pie and other goodies by the slice. The health inspector told them that if they wanted to sell the pie, the pie slices would all have to be cut and individually sliced and wrapped in plastic before arriving at the market (I’ll just pause here to let you imagine how appetizing the pie would look if subjected to such barbaric treatment). Excuse me, but exactly how does that protect us from food borne illness, or whatever else the inspector is concerned about? The vendor already warns people by way of a sign that the food is prepared in a kitchen not inspected by the government, so what else do you need? Sorry, but I would rather NOT put plastic so-called creamer thingys in my coffee and rather NOT eat pies wrapped in plastic. Leave it to VIHA to make things mean instead of green.

Ok, so maybe this isn’t the most pressing example of the government threating food security with its unreasonable and overarching regulation, but, when I go to the market, I want a piece of uninspected, unwrapped pie, preferably accompanied by coffee with raw milk from a local grass fed cow. And, maybe too much to ask for, but some unpasteurized whipped cream to put on top wouldn’t go down poorly either.

Thank you for buying our toxic plastic

All I can say about this latest post on Enviroblog is YIKES!

The look of love

One of the things I love about children of all ages is that when life is good, it is REALLY good. You can see on their face the absoluteness of their happiness. They feel good in their bodies and in their hearts. I think we would all like it if we could recapture the freedom of mind which allows that degree of wholehearted enjoyment of life. Maybe that is one of the real lessons that our children can teach us. To live with happiness and presence in the moment. I think that’s while Jon and Myla Kabat-Zinn refer to them as essentially little Zen masters (their book, Everyday Blessings, is one of my favourite “parenting” reads).

Just like everyone else, I try to live one day at a time and not let all the little things (and sometimes big things) get in the way of contentment. One thing I know for sure is that the “look of love” definitely plants the seed of true happiness and freedom in your heart.

The look of love

You can’t help but feel happy when someone looks at you like this.

Mission accomplished

Cute!So here is the final result of my first attempt at dressmaking (AKA the beautiful mauve eyelet dress).

I know that there are LOTS of people out there who are terrific sewers, and I am just a beginner, but, I think it turned out pretty good! And, most importantly, SHE likes it too.

For those interested in such things, the dress was made from this Burda pattern. I did make a couple of changes, most notably, the satin ribbon is topstiched across the entire bodice, rather than tied in a bow with beads. I thought the bow and bead option would end up being a headache to iron. This version has come nicely out of the wash and hung up after a brief stint in the dryer without needing to be ironed. That’s what I like.

(Note also the image attachment for this post. My in-house admin FINALLY upgraded the version of WordPress I was using!)

Pee etiquette

This morning we headed off to Beacon Hill Park to meet with our Wednesday morning “hiking” group. When we arrived, C told me she had to use the toilet, so I said I would take her before the group headed out. On our way, one of the other two moms in the group arrived with her 3 year old boy and 1 1/2 year old girl, and I asked her if he needed to go too.

“No, he’s a boy, so he can just go anywhere.”

Uh, ok. C CAN go anywhere too, but that doesn’t mean she SHOULD – and not because she is a girl. This is what I am thinking, but, I say nothing. Of course, 20 minutes into the walk, the boy (along with the other two 3 year old boys who comprise the group) are pulling their pants down and peeing against a Garry Oak next to the path.

What if this kid has to pee downtown? Is he allowed to just slip into the nearest doorway or pee into planter box outside the coffee shop? Is he allowed to pee in the corner of the playground because his mom doesn’t want to be bothered to take him into the bathroom right next door?

I don’t think that it is unreasonable to expect people (and I do include children as “people”) to use a bathroom to pee in when one is available. Beacon Hill Park is not a forested or remote part with no facilities, it is a city park! The bathroom facilities are central, and, in my experience, quite clean and well kept. I have no problem at all with the use of bushes, tall grass, or the beach (by boys AND girls) if that is all that is available, but I am not for allowing boys to drop their pants wherever the feeling moves them just because it is more convenient than walking 2 minutes down the path to use the facilities that have been provided for this purpose.

And don’t even get me started on the mom’s suggestion that this is somehow OK for boys to do, but not OK for girls.

Early mornings

Every parent has to turn into an early riser. Children just don’t sleep in — or, not very many of them do and not very often. I’ve never been someone who sleeps in a lot, but even I would prefer to get up at 7.30 am — no earlier. At least with the summer months coming, the mornings are a bit easier to take. I don’t think there is a much worse way to start the day than getting up when it is still dark. Except, getting up in the dark to a child who is in a VERY bad mood.

I’ve read in some parenting books that one of the traits of “difficult” children is that they wake up irritable. That is most certainly the case with C. There are times when she is not too bad, but, basically, if W is around (which he is every morning) and Mummy and Daddy are not pleased about being made to get up (which we usually aren’t), then lets just say that things don’t always go — er, what’s the word? — smoothly.

Yes, things are definitely not going smoothly this morning…

The return of the real milk

This week marked the happy start of a new lactation cycle for Nell, our cowshare Jersey.  I can’t believe how much I missed having real milk to drink.  As I was sitting there drinking my glass of milk, I thought about how really fortunate I was to know exactly where it was coming from, and how the animal who had produced it was being looked after.  Not only that, I know that my participation as a shareholder is directly supporting a local farmer, something else to be proud of.

It also made me think about how many women are so careful about everything they eat or drink when they are breastfeeding, but in most cases, don’t think twice about serving a glass of commercially mass produced cow’s milk to their children once they are old enough to drink it.

What makes people think that it is important that a breastfeeding mom is careful to eat properly and to not ingest unnecessary drugs to preserve the quality of the milk, but not important to do the same for cows who are producing the milk they drink?

Did you know that 75% of the antibiotics used in the US are used on livestock?  I would be shocked if the rate were any lower in Canada.  Makes you think, doesn’t it?

Crafty mamas

In the March/April 2009 issue of Mothering magazine there is a great article about five crafty mama bloggers who make all kinds of neat stuff – sometimes even for sale even if you don’t want to take the time or are not inclined to make it yourself. Anyway, I thought I would post about these five women just in case anyone else feels like being inspired (or, intimidated, as the case may be)!

Amanda Blake Soule, who I have written about before and absolutely LOVE, is one of the featured crafty mamas. I do have to say that the photo of her “studio” really did make me jealous. Eren San Pedro makes, among many other things, traditional rag rugs, which I think is really cool. Both Amanda and Erin are also mothers who know the value of homeschooling, so of course I am loving that too.

Also featured in the issue is Amy Karol, author of Bend the Rules Sewing, which has an associated Flickr group. The other two featured crafters were Stephanie Congdon Barnes and Sally Shim, who, of course, also make beautiful things.

The one question not answered in the article? How in the heck do these people have time to do all of this stuff with all these little kids to look after? I mean, Amanda Blake Soule is a homeschooling mother of four kids, one of whom is around W’s age.

Oh, did I tell you that one of the other featured articles in this issue was “YOU CAN WORK AT HOME AND THRIVE!”

Excuse me, what exactly do you think I am doing all day long?

OK, feeling just a little bit intimidated here…must go and make a pannetone from scratch…

Wait a minute, if I was really like those other women, I would be raising the geese to pluck and make the pillows I need to properly cool the freshly baked pannetone on that I made from scratch. Maybe I’ll think of something else to do while the geese are growing fat. Oh, wait, I know! I am going to finish the beautiful mauve eyelet dress that I am making for C. I do have all the pieces cut out, I just have to actually construct the garment.

Oh yeah, and remember to buy the required notions to finish this project ie buttons, zipper, beads and ribbon to finish it. No problem.

Also not safe…

My 9 month old just figured out how to climb up the stove…not sure how to childproof that one.  If I take the handles off the oven, how will I open the door?

Hmmmmm…

I love it when that happens! Part 2

So, I sure did think that I was lucky when I got the Mala art easel for free, but that is nothing compared to our latest score: a brand new washer and dryer set courtesy of Thrifty Foods! Yes, that’s right, we are the lucky winners of the “Spring Clean” contest and will soon house a Kenmore Elite HE 3T steam washer and dryer pair in our laundry “room” – or, rather, our walk in laundry closet, to be completely accurate.

It is funny because just about a month ago Corey and I were talking about how we wished we had a bigger washer and dryer, because the Samsung pair we have now is compact and really optimized for 2 or maybe 3 people – certainly not the 6 we have in this household. C and I entered the contest online and filled out the form that returns the message when you press enter – Thank you for entering. I don’t know about you, but I always wondered if those little web contest forms actually delivered your entry – but now I can say for certain, yes, they do.

I think that only Constance will truly appreciate the absolute perfection of this particular prize – I can honestly say that I would take this any day over a trip to Mexico or that kind of prize. Actually, I will take any prize – who am I kidding? But you know what I mean. This is something I can actually USE. EVERY DAY! Or, maybe every other day now, since it is so much bigger than our old washer and dryer.

Also scored this week was a little yellow kids two wheeled bike with training wheels. Some people may have “issues” with salvaging freecycles from the boulevard and other give away locations, but not me! There is some great stuff out there if you are lucky enough to find it. I haven’t measured up the bike yet to see if it will be the right size for C, but if it is too small, I’ll just keep it for W.