Monday, February 25, 2008

How much space do you give them?

My friend, boogiemum wrote a great post on the usage of MySpace and kids.

I realize this is a pretty big debate right now. The use of computers and cell phones and instant messaging and all that. I am not too shy to say that my children do not have access to the internet unless supervised. They are not members of MySpace or any other friend to friend chatty type thing. I feel the risks so outweigh the gains. They do not have cell phones. I do not see the point. Much to my oldest's dismay. She wants one. For what, I ask? Cuz they are cool. Cuz I can then talk to my friends. Okay, that is what we have a regular phone for. Yeah, she says, but it is not as cool. Maybe not, but thats what you get. You can choose not to use it. That is still a choice, but in choosing not to use it it does not in anyway increase your chances of getting a cell phone. It just decreases how much you get to talk to your friends. Even on the landline the oldest gets 1 hour of phone time per day. Yes, I am strict.

When they become older and I see the reason for them to have one my feelings may change. Say, when they are like 21! No, really, say when they begin to drive and need it for an emergency or they begin to submerge themselves in school activities and we need to stay connected. But in that event the usage will still be limited and there will be very well laid out rules.

I was shocked one time when my oldest had a friend over and I found out that she(the friend) had been making calls on her cell phone up in the bedroom. And invited another friend over to my house. All without my permission. Yes, my daughter should have been more aggressive in the way she told this friend that it was not a good idea.... Okay, first of opinion is that she shouldnt have even brought the phone with her. Much less used it without permission. The way I parent my children may be different than others, but it is no surprise. I am very open and upfront with other parents on what I think is okay and not okay for my child. So, if you choose to let your child have a cell phone, but know fully that I do not then I feel like in my home it should be my rules that take precedence. If that is a problem than I guess your child need not come over. Just like if my child comes to your place and you are aware that she is not allowed on the computer without supervision and you as the parent feel that you are not up to that task then by all means let me know. And she will not come over. I understand that we all parent differently and I so get that..but be respectful of how we each parent.

And the big one...when do you feel it is okay to leave your child home alone? My oldest knows that she is not allowed to be left alone. If a parent will not be home at all times when she is going to a friends then she simply does not get to go. As bummed as she is...she also knows it is not worth the time or energy to question me on this one. Not yet. I am sure there will come a time and I am trying to prepare myself for that. I know in the near future it will come up and I am trying to find a way to take baby steps into it.

When I was pregnant with my first child everyone always said to me that the first 3 years are the hardest. I strongly disagree. Sure, at that age kids are fussy and messy and trying to come into who they are. Trying to test the waters. But, heck, arent they always trying to test the waters? It just becomes bigger waters, right? As the kids become older and begin to float out there on their own in school or sports or whatever....the parents influence does not remain the largest. It very clearly shifts to friends and outside influences. That is why as a parent you have to work even harder to make sure that your kids are well equipt to make the best decisions possible when they are not with you. Its those times that they are away from you that become the hardest. Its those things that they see their friends doing or see on TV or hear on the radio that try to wedge their way in. As the parent, you have to make sure that you are ready to put your foot in the doorway when all that stuff tries to follow your kids home.

How about you? Whats your take on it?

Just livin'

I had what I thought were all these great pics of the new house. All the great colors that I had painted inside. Yeah, they did not turn out so well. So, instead of that I present you with life at our place. Just hanging out and having a good time.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Black Bean chili

So, one of my closest friends got me a subscription to this really great newsletter. It comes every other month and is loaded with great food tips, articles, and sometimes, recipes. I have received 2 so far and I am in love. In fact, one of the reasons she may have gotten it for me was that it was always missing from her house. I would be at her house next door to my own at the time and I would see it laying there and yes, just helped myself. Took it home, read it, and then brought it back. I always brought it back. Just there were times that she would notice it was gone before I had the chance to read it fully and then she had to come asking for it. At least she knew where it was, right?!

The Jan/Feb issue has a few recipes in it. The other night I made the Black Bean Chili. It was super good. One of those recipes that has the kids asking for more and we dont have any leftovers. That kind. Yes, they do happen.

Black Bean Chili

2T extra virgin olive oil
2 red bell peppers, chopped
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 t chili powder
1 14.5 oz can no salt added diced tomatoes
1 15.5 ox can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 C corn kernels, fresh or frozen
1/2 t salt
1/2 C fat free sour cream
1/2 C cilantro sprigs, chopped
1 clove garlic
1 lime, cut into wedges
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 avocado, peeled and cut into cubes

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Saute the peppers until they start to brown on the edges, about 5 minutes. Add the onion and continue to saute for another 5 min. Stir in the minced garlic and the chili powder. Add the tomatoes and black beans. Simmer for 10 min. Stir in the corn and season with up to 1/2 t salt.

Puree the sour cream, cilantro, and garlic clove with a squeeze of one lime wedge in a blender or food processor until smooth. Use as a garnish, along with the remaining lime wedges, the scallions, and the avocado.

Serves 4

From the Nutrition Action Newsletter

So, my tomatoes were not no salt. They were actually petite diced that had sweet onions in them. Organic.

Organic black beans.

Frozen sweet corn was some we had stored in the freezer from this past season.

Regular sour cream

I had to use the food processor for the sour cream mixture because my blender is packed. I felt it was not as smooth as it could have been. The cilantro leaves were still pretty much the same size I had chopped them. I think the blender may have made it more smooth and silky like. The taste, however, I dont think would have changed. It is amazing.

The sour cream mixture was so good that the next night we went to a friends house for dinner and I made up some more using the rest of my cilantro and we used it as a dip for our natural corn chips. It got rave reviews!

Try it out. I hope you like it. Next up is a recipe called Spicy Red Lentils with Spinach. It comes from the same issue of the newsletter. I will post that one soon.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

So cool!

Wow! Look what I got! Yay me!! She gave me this and said I am one of her daily reads. How cool is that. She must be bored out of her gourd right now since I have been kinda slacking on my posts, but I'll take it! Hopefully along with making me feel all warm and fuzzy inside it will give me a little motivation to get my self in gear and post, post, post. Thanks boogiemum.

So now, as the rules instruct, I must pass this on to 10(do I have 10 friends?) bloggers. Here goes: Sugar Creek Farm, Children in the corn, Farm Dreams, Fast Grow the weeds, Oh my stinkin heck, This just in, Future House, The expatriate's kitchen, The cleaner plate club, On the way to critter farm.

Pass it on.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

house update

Okay, the drywall has begun the mudding process. It makes it so much easier for me to see what everything is really going to look like size wise. My mind begins to take it all in and see spots where I can place things or hang things.

If things keep progressing at this rate we may be seeing paint on the walls by the end of the week. Just a tad nervous, I am. I love the colors that I have chosen. I do. But in the past, my paint choosing techniques have taken much longer and have involved hanging paint chips in various places in the house and then walking past them for days and days. To see the color in the day and in the night. I have not had that luxury this time. I am sorta going in not as prepared. Thats what makes me nervous.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

the cadillac of mixers

One of my fellow bloggers and lifetime friends has emailed me and asked me to give the ins and outs of my Kitchen aid mixer. Mwah? What do I think of it and why does she need it? Well, you just need it. Does there have to be a reason? I feel that mine doubles as a priceless kitchen tool and a beautiful work of art. ART, I say. That should be enough right there for you to jump on the band wagon.

What can you do with it? More like what can't you do with it? The main and most obvious, mix. Stir, whip, blend. Do you need some fresh whipped cream? You got it. Pull out your handy whisk. Need to make some muffins? Then the paddle is what you want. Egg whites, no problem. (Okay, now I am beginning to feel like that guy on the infomercials that wears the chef hat.) Like to make bread? It comes with a dough hook. Virtually kneads the dough right in front of your eyes.

Those are pretty much the standard things you can do. BUT, it has a bajillion attachments. Like the ice cream maker. Which my husband uses every week. Some fresh cream, vanilla, eggs(if you want)...set it to mix and next thing you have fresh ice cream. It has, are you ready for this one? A pasta attachment. Make the dough, feed it thru the pasta piece and voila....thin, even sheets of pasta dough. Then you can also purchase different pastas cutters. We have the fettucini one. You can grind your own meats, make your own sausages, and strain fruits and veggies. The latter is nice if you are into canning and preserving food. The list goes on and on.

There are, of course, varying sizes that you can get. I have one of the largest. I use it all the time. Really. I can make like dozens and dozens of cookies at once. When you have 3 kids and 2 parents with a sweet tooth that is very important. When we get moved into the new house I am going to be branching out and trying my hand at bread making. Hot, steamy loaves of artisan breads. I am sure I will have to go thru tons of flour and many trials before I get a good loaf, but hey. What's life if you dont have any goals?

The one and only one down side that I can think of for my specific model is that I would really prefer it to have a tilt back head instead of a bowl-lift. The tilt back heads are just easier, I feel, to negotiate and much easier to clean.

So, any recipe, big or small. It can handle the job. Once you try it you will have to have it. Once you have it, you will not know how you ever got along without it.