Monday, July 22, 2013

Arthur's Baby and my babies

Growing up, we read a lot of Arthur books.  In the 1990's, PBS started a show based on the books. My brothers and I delighted in watching Arthur quite often.  I admit, we watched it well into our teens.  It is a fun, sassy show that is suited for a younger audience without pandering to it.  The books are that way too.  Lots of clever quips from D.W. - Arthur's smarty pants sister, and plenty of sweet moments from the whole family.

Tonight the bedtime story our 3 year old selected was Arthur's Baby.  In the story, Arthur learns that his parents are expecting another little one.  While his sister is pleased, he is a bit apprehensive about the thought of a small person being added to his young life.  It is a wonderful book and as an adult, the drawings of the hospital led me to memories of my own experiences.

I don't remember much about when my brothers were born or what an enormous upheaval it was to the family schedule, but I do remember what it was like with my children.  Most of all, the book made me think about my experiences as the mother bringing a child into the world. I thought about all the work and care that was taken by the nurses and staff there to ensure that me, my baby, and my family were doing all right.

Labor is never easy, but I was blessed to be able to deliver my daughter and my son without any medical concerns for myself or for them.Some people might think that after you deliver the baby, you're done and ready to start caring for them right away.  Sorry, not true!  After comes the healing.  If you are fortunate like I was, you get caring individuals who tend for you. You get incredible, fantastic, sent-from-heaven people commonly referred to as nurses.

Now, I know that it is their job,  but most nurses treat it as more than that.  The nurses that I have helped me have been so sweet.  For a while, there was nothing I could do by myself.  Having been given an epidural, and stitches in a very sensitive area, I had to keep clean.  I could not get out of bed by myself. I had to try to sleep and watch my newborn baby.  I had to seriously think about the act of peeing in order to do it!  It was crazy and I was helpless.  The nurses that took care of me were sweet and kind. They let me keep my dignity, even through the stitches, the pain, the complete confusion and exhaustion.  I will always be so grateful for the work and the effort that they give.

Arthur's baby ended up being something for which he was truly grateful.  In the end of the story, he feels the connection that he has to his new sister and isn't worried about things to come.One little bedtime book can bring back quite a swirl of memories.  Tonight, I got to hold my son and feed him his bottle as my husband read the story of a baby's birth to my daughter. My kids continue to grow and we are all gaining a rhythm together.  While my body is pretty well healed up now, I will never forget the comforting skill of the nurses that watched over me in the hospital.  In a small way, they will always be part of our family too because of the help that they have given.

Check out Mark Brown Studios for more books

Arthur's Baby - Story online

Saturday, July 20, 2013

What's in a sandwich?

If you need to dress up the PP&J,  I suggest that you dress it up on the outside.  Find some fun sandwich cutters and get creative with the side dishes.  Don't forget to explain your "picture" to the kid that gets to eat it.
 After a pair of dinosaurs on her plate, my little girl would ask specifically for a dinosaur sandwich.
Quick, easy, simple: Lunch!

Making Green Slime

My daughter loves watching PBS Kids and will view episodes on the IPad repeatedly. One day, she was methodically watching Sid the Science Kid, green slime experiment video,over and over again. She had the hand movements that the children do at the very end down to, well, a science.   :)

She was bored and I wanted to attempt to cook something without interruption.  I quickly whipped up a batch per their instructions and let her have at it.

I ended up using some blue food coloring, but we still had fun.

Note to parents - test out the ratio of cornstarch to water for yourself.  I ended up adding a lot of cornstarch because the mixture was too runny.

Cleanup - As you can see from the photos, it was a gooey mess.  The mixture dried and it was just a matter of getting rid of the cornstarch mix - pretty harmless. Just watch out for the food coloring dye to  make sure you don't get it on your clothing.

Eat Yer Bell Peppers

In an attempt to get my little one to try more fruits and veggies, I turned to the internet and found this website with a wide list of Bell Pepper ideas.  The one that I thought I could use in my kitchen was the array of colorful bell pepper flowers.

I went Sprouts, like I normally do, and went out of my way to pick a peck of peppers that had 4 sections to them.   In an attempt to further gain the kiddo's interest, I added sour cream and a few pieces of shredded carrot. Shredded carrot tends to be easier for toddlers to eat. It also reminded me of the stamen part of the flower and ended up making my bell pepper garden a little more fun.

In the end, she ended up tasting a few of the peppers and eating most of the sour cream. This experiment was quite a while ago. Now she is a super champ at eating bell peppers and loves them with hummus. Making a food appealing can take a bit more effort, but I think it is well worth it. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Saving On The Old Information Super Highway.

Beyond brick and mortar establishments, there are a number of online webites that are great for deals. The one I use all the time is Amazon. I love getting on here and finding a used movie, video game or book for a fraction of the price. I have not had many problems with getting a good quality item, however I do follow some general rules to ensure that I like what I'm getting.

  1. View the description.

A seller should tell you the condition of the item. Does the cover art and guide come with the video game? Is the book worn around the edges? Amazon also has a grading system that allows the seller to decide what kind of used condition the item is in. Used- Very good and Used- Good are usually safe bets. Remember, that there is no rubric for this grading system. It is the seller's opinion.

2. Free Shipping

View the shipping price before you buy an item. If you can wait, or have other items you are buying on Amazon, it is often easy to get to that magic $25.00 amount and get free shipping. Some used items may cost the same or more with shipping. If a used items is three or four dollars below the new price, it really isn't worth it to buy it used yet, because even standard shipping will eat away your money saved. Again, if you are only buying the one item, it may be worth it. Just remember to consider shipping in your final costs. Amazon now offers used items with free shipping, so take advantage of those when you can as well.

3. Age of item

The longer you wait, the cheaper most items get. In other words, if you can wait for the latest video game for a few months, the used price will drop. This is generally not true of limited time offers or extremely popular items. Consider getting the older version if you can or buying the 1st day an item comes out or within the 1st week. Blu-rays and DVDs will usually be a few dollars cheaper the day they come out and then won't see a price decrease for a while.

4. The Instant Streaming correlation

If Netflix or Amazon Video is streaming a movie or tv series, be prepared for the price of that item to drop. This is an opportunity for you to buy the item if you would like to own a physical copy. Netflix, as well as other streaming sites, usually do not leave material available indefinitely and rarely include bonus materials found on discs. Consider this when purchasing as well.

There are a lot of other websites out there, but Amazon, seems to be the trading post, super mall, bazaar of them all. I'm always looking for more places to get the best price, so any suggestions are always welcome. What web-shops do you like to frequent?