27 Feb 2009

Lunch Box Woes

What on earth has happened to the lunchbox? Ok, I'm all about convenience. I understand that life is rushed these days, and its hard finding things that are nutritious yet appealing to kids...all that. I'm mom, I get it.

I had no idea how bad it was though, until these came out.

That's right folks, Squish'ems. Pureed fruit in a box. Am I missing something? Was fruit that came in it's natural form, whole, and in it's very own natural organic packaging, somehow inconvenient? And since when have kids not been able to chew their own fruit?

The thought of sucking pureed mush out of a box makes me gag. I'd hope that no one would have to do this, unless they're without teeth, somewhere in a nursing home!

But it gets better. Not only is fruit available in hospital diet form, now you can get Yogurt that you suck down in one gulp, right out of a giant straw. Spoons are too much trouble for this rush rush world!

When I first saw these, I thought you were supposed to freeze these. That "kinda" made a bit of sense. "ah, better than a freezie" concept.

But apparently they're meant to be eaten as is. (or "drank" as is, I should say..)

This last one scares the socks off me.

I know, the microwave has been around for a long time now, and all have come to accept it. I'm still really a little weirded out by the concept, and I cant say that all the studies I've read about them have been that reassuring.

When I was little, if my mom was running the microwave, she wouldn't let us stand at the door of it and watch. She said "get away from the microwave". I never understood why, when I was little. After growing up, and reading about it, Mom wasn't too far off, she had valid concerns.

Many countries never even approved the use of microwaves in the first place. I mean, radioactively zapping food just doesn't sound like the safest thing. What does it do to the genetic make up of the food itself? Are any of the nutrients left by the time you've nuked it?

Well regardless of the microwave debate, let's add to it. Let's not only microwave our dinner, but lets do it in plastic.
Vegetables are such an inconvenience these days that we're willing to cook our food in chemical soup to save a few minutes.

There's some irony here. Has anyone heard of the CPSIA ? Makers of children's products everywhere are scrambling to test their products for safety, to meet the new guidelines.

Even manufacturers who make their items out of wood, fibers, and other organic materials have to test their items for phthalates and lead.

The real kicker, is that they're testing items that were never meant to be eaten. We're talking toys, play things.

Yet, as all this is going on, Americans will be still be serving food to our children that was Microwaved in Plastic. Just because they make it, doesn't mean it's safe.

For now, this is the only kind of "packaging" I'll be sending my kids' fruit in to school. (and I'm pretty sure it's lead and Phthalates free;)

$9US, From the fine shop of UnravelMe

26 Feb 2009

Tomorrow's To Do List

I should have polished off many of these tasks today, really. But I ended up volunteering in the classroom today instead of coming home and working. And lucky for us, it was "assembly" day. An awards ceremony for all of the well behaved children. (and torture for the restless...including myself!)
I'm pushing my list on to tomorrow! (I'm going to try to get some of this done tonight though, especially the chicken soup;)

1. Laundry. Oye. I hate Laundry. (especially when there's so darn much OF it! Little miss-matched socks everywhere.)

2. Find a way to make it to Fabricland before closing. I'm out of quilting needles.
(how does one "run out" of quilting needles, you might ask....and I really don't have an answer. I'm sure I've misplaced them, and after I buy more, I'll find them hiding in a drawer.)

3. Convince Reuben to pull out that tooth that keeps dangling by a tiny piece of skin.

4. Make a giant pot of delicious chicken soup. (yay, recession food at it's best!)

6. Go through more receipts. (tax season, yuck!)

7. Carve about 20 stamps. (the majority of them, hedgehogs;)

8. Clean the birds' cages.

9. Put a few kilometres on the exercise bike

10. Piece together a few more blocks for the quilt.

11. Mail Lisa her birthday card. (yikes, i should have done that last week, really. Sorry Lisa!)

12. Help Zeke tune his guitar

13. Watch Zeke perform his latest "Bruce Springsteen" routine.

14. Assist Reuben in his latest chemistry adventures. (at this point, we're mostly in the vinegar and baking soda stages, with a little bit of food coloring and vegetable oil mixed in...to him it's real science though;)

15. Empty the one Tupperware cupboard that's driving me bonkers.

16. Cut some wood blocks on the scroll saw, for stamps that need mounting.

17. Curl up with Mark to a good movie, with a bowl of chicken soup!

Now lets see if I finish HALF of that. With the boys being home from school tomorrow, I doubt that i will. It was worth a shot though.

25 Feb 2009

Preparation for St.Chickens' Day

So I have a thing for poultry. (well, birds in general, obviously.) I don't have any chickens of my own, other than what's in the freezer (sorry little feathered dudes!) but one day, I shall have chickens. One or two, just something fun for the yard, to eat the slugs off of my tomatoes, and bring me amusement. (and maybe a few eggs!)
My grandma always had chickens, or guineas, wandering about her yard for as far back as I can remember. Sometimes ducks or geese. I remember loving the chickens, and hating the geese.

The geese were mean, and would run after me and peck at my head. I'd attempt to run away from them, but slip into one of their massive puddles of poo that they'd leave about the farm yard.
Nope, never been a fan of the geese.

For the most part though, the chickens were friendly. (other than one very fancy rooster, who finally met his maker after my Aunt Debbie saw him peck one child too many! He was delicious;)

I'm preparing early this year for St. Chickens day. Wait, I have I mentioned St. Chickens day yet?
St. Chickens' Day is June 9th.
It began years ago, when my mother was a child. She and her siblings had been eating what seemed like a lot of chicken for one day. (or week?) Just about every meal involved chicken.
My grade school aged Aunt Debbie expressed her great annoyance with an exaggerated sigh. "What, IS this, ST CHICKEN'S DAY??"
Ever since then, June 9th is a very celebrated holiday in our family. (at least between my mom and her sisters;)

I plan on continuing the tradition though. Heck, I'll welcome any excuse for a party!

This year I'm starting to search a little in advance for some fun chicken decor. I may even make some "happy St. Chickens' Day" cards for my shop! (of course I'll have to explain this in the listings as I'm sure there will be quite a few raised eyebrows...)

I was doing a little bit of looking around on Etsy today though, and found this. I LOVE the retro feel of this print. How much fun would this be in a 40's inspired kitchen? I might just have to snatch it.

From the lovely shop of amandakindregan .

21 Feb 2009

Back Into the swing of things...

I used to paint. I used to paint a LOT. I haven't though in so long. It's actually been several years since I've picked up a brush.
I'm not really sure where or why I stopped. Life got crazy, and art became my full time job, and wasn't simply a hobby anymore.
Don't get me wrong, I love that art is my full time job. I'm blessed to be able to do what I love, and still make a living! (and above all, that I'm able to stay home with my little guys while I do it.)
I was thrown into it though. I had always planned on someday making the arts the main focus of my career life. Creating is what I was meant to do, I have no doubts about it.

I'd planned on having kids first though, and taking some time to raise them before I made any of my dabbles a career. My plan was to live artfully, kids in tow, with no pressure in regards to the profits of my work. I simply wanted to enjoy my hobby, and enjoy my young family.
But when overnight, something that's simply a hobby, and something you love, becomes your sole bread and butter, there are casualties.

My poor knitting needles sit somewhere in my attic, still to be unpacked from a sudden move that took place several years ago. Piles of patchwork that have yet to be sewn together also wait in anticipation to be completed. I think I've even got several batches of soap curring up there as well.

The biggest loss though that I felt (apart from time to just sit and play with my two little boys) were my painting and photography. I could no longer depend on silly little paintings or infant portraits from a film camera to pay the bills, not where I was in my life.

Two toddlers, no "real" education (other than high school, a semester of bible college, and my many elective visual art courses), and a run away husband. That doesn't make for a very good recipe.

So what's a girl to do when she finds herself in a situation like this? Drop everything that isn't bringing in dough, and hold on for dear life. No more gardening, sewing, home decorating, photography, and no more painting.

I started carving a lot more, rapidly. It's what seemed to sell, and took the least amount of my time, and turned out realistic profits.
(and I truly do love carving, I always have. I'd been doing it for years, and enjoy it. There IS satisfaction in my work. I just hated that it was suddenly ALL that I do).

But that was several years ago. And I had made a promise to myself that this was temporary. Once I was back on my feet, I wouldn't leave everything I'd loved in a box like it was part of a past life.

Once I was over the hump, I would return to being me again. The scatter-brained, multi project girl who wasn't afraid of painting just for the heck of it, and had the guts to dash out of the house on an errand while still wearing an apron, with a paint brush holding her hair in a bun.

I'm slowly reclaiming that girl. Living without painting and photography has been like living without a much needed limb. It's been painful.

Times have changed though. Life is falling into place, and the kids are a little older. I have a touch more time than I used to, and my hard work has paid off. I've even fallen in love with the sweetest man a girl could ever hope for. I've never felt so loved, and so accepted for who I am. He even lets me rub off a little bit of my "artsy-fartsy"ness on him!

(though he does secretly chuckle to himself and calls me a nerd under his breath when I come up with an outlandish random art thought, idea or inspiration, but I've never been called a nerd so lovingly:)

Anyway, these last few weeks, I've decided it's time that I brought out my paints. Heck, I've even purchased some new colors.
While slopping around in burnt sienna, I finally felt like my artistic self again. I couldn't believe just how badly I'd missed it. Even the mistakes, and the exercises, the doodles that lead to nothing, no finished product, they're still so valuable. That time spent with a brush is worth something.

I'm going to start doing a lot more of this artistic play. I'm going to start enjoying art for what it is again, without pressure.

Here I give you, my first bit of watercolor play in several years. Boy did it feel GOOD.