Friday, May 1, 2009

R.I.P Little Skamper

Tonight we had an unfortunate incident happen in our yard.  A very elderly squirrel, who my daughter named Skamper, fell out of a tree.  While his untimely demise is tragic, the real tragedy is that my liberal, tree hugging, vegetarian daughter found Skamper.  The poor little guy was clearly in pain, his hours numbered and unable to move.  Hannah wanted us to somehow save him.  This was of course impossible.  My husband believes that his back was broken and a painful death was imminent.  This news of course sent Hannah over the edge.  She ran to her room in tears, angry at everyone and everything who had a hand in this squirrel's injury.

Since Skamper was clearly in a lot of pain, Eric did the humane thing and ended his life.  It was obviously very sad, but necessary.   Unfortunately, we did not know she was watching from her window and she saw the whole thing.  This made her even more upset.  To ease her pain, we decided to have a funeral for Skamper (the name she gave him).  I found an old shoe box, Hannah decorated it, we dug a whole and buried it.  Hannah gave a eulogy, I even sang Amazing Grace.  At this point, my husband asked if I had been drinking.  In hind sight, I would say that was a fair question.  We ended by throwing dirt on the box and covering the sight with rocks.  A dignified funeral for a dignified squirrel.

We ended the service with a pruner falling on my husband's head.  The string of profanities that came out of his mouth was all the incentive we needed to quickly end the funeral and go inside. Eric is fine, Hannah is in mourning and the rest of us are happy that this evening is coming to an end.  This was our first animal funeral and I am guessing it will not be our last, we have 2 dogs.  We attempted to use it as an opportunity to explain about the circle of life, survival of the fittest, squirrel heaven.  Useless words that fell on deaf ears this evening.  At the very least, it prepared them for the fact that someday, their beloved pets will die.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Swine Flu

I didn't think that I would write about this subject even a week ago.  But, due to the constant news coverage and my daughter, who is a perpetual worrier, I feel that I need to write something. Just for my own benefit.

I understand that the swine flu has the potential of becoming a dangerous pandemic.  I would never think of trivializing the fact that it has not only infected several hundred people, it has also resulted in the death of others, children included.  That is in itself a tragedy that should not be ignored or over looked.  However, after talking to my daughter tonight, a girl who is only 10, I realize that this is an example of the media going too far. She is terrified of getting this flu.  Convinced, that she is doomed and that the problem cannot be contained.  I need to emphasize that she has not watched T.V. all week.  What she is hearing is the fear of her classmates who have information overload.  These are young children who are discussing at length the potential of a flu pandemic.  One of her classmates was wearing his sweatshirt over his face today on the bus because he is scared of getting the flu.

When I explained to her that the flu has proved to be mild in this country, so far, and that medicine exists to help those infected, she freaked out more.   Why?  Because she is also afraid of needles.  I told her I did not think that Tamiflu was given in shot form and that she should not worry about.  So, in the end instead of alleviating one worry, I created a second.  Now, she is worrying about swine flu and shots.  I can't win.

I guess my point is this, we need to be careful about what our children see and hear.  My 3 children do not have the ability to process the information that they are hearing at school.  My daughter is scared, and she has every right to be.  She is not hearing the whole story, she is hearing what her classmates are interpreting from the T.V.  I really think that the media has given this subject too much coverage. It has been all flu, all the time.  I am not saying that I think that is not worthy of news coverage, it absolutely is.  But, some balance is necessary. Especially, when one considers that so much of our daily lives are uncertain in regards to the economy.   No matter how much I filter it for my children, it still seeps in to their lives and I have to calm their fears.  This is to big of a problem for little shoulders to carry.  

Thank you, I will climb off my soap box now and return to frugality tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Turn off the TV Week

Well, Turn off the TV week was officially last week.  We missed it, again.  This year though, we were given a do over.  My daughter's teacher also missed it last week and decided to do her own Turn off the TV Week this week.  The children in her class who "survive" the week will be able to go to a party next week.  As it turns out, my daughter is all about parties and fun.  So, this little motivation is all she needed to be a willing participant.  

The kids were given a log to fill in daily of how they feel when not watching T.V. and what they did instead of T.V.   We fill it out nightly, so far with success.  Hannah has read, done paint by numbers, played with friends and gone to the park.  She has not complained at all, keeping her eyes on the prize.  

We have had a bump in road though.  I decided that we should all participate in this experiment.  It seemed like a great opportunity to spend more time together and save money on electricity (my frugal ways are always in the back of my mind).  Two things happened that made it very difficult to follow through on this as a family.  One, my youngest daughter got sick. She was home from school for 2 days.  Yesterday, she was miserable and did not want to do a thing.  She was dizzy with a fever, sick to her stomach and tired.  I tried to keep the T.V. off, but caved by 11:00 am.  Board games and crafts were the last thing she wanted to do.  She did watch PBS, I think that is an acceptable alternative to Disney and Nick?   The second bump in the road was in fact my own weakness.  Let me start out by saying that as a general rule, I do not watch reality T.V.  But, I have a weakness that I cannot help.  I love The Real Housewives of New York City.  It was on Tuesday night, and it was a big, can't miss episode.  I really had no choice, I had to watch it before I heard about it from my fellow RHofNYC junkies.  My children knew I watched it, and gave me their blessing.  I can't believe it and know that I will pay for that soon.

As I write this though, we have been T.V free this evening and anticipate that we will keep the T.V. off for the remainder of the week.  My son has complained a little bit.  Which makes no sense because he doesn't like anything that is on anyway.  I think he just doesn't like that T.V. is not an option for him when he is done with his school work, instruments, soccer practice or playing with friends.  I wish I could say that someday we will be T.V. free.  But, I know that is an unrealistic goal.  As it is, we don't watch a lot of T.V.  I like Thursday night on NBC and The Real Housewives, which ends next week.  Otherwise, we watch very little.  So, I think that we are okay in this area of our lives.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Too much paper!

I have a complaint for my children's school.  For some people, my complaint may seem petty or unimportant.  Irrational even.  But, I think that in the day and age we live in, it has true validity. My complaint, the school sends home too much paper!

I have 3 kids in grade school.  In a given week, we receive the normal amount of homework, no complaints from me on that.  But, in addition to the homework and work sheets, I receive countless reams of papers in duplicate.  Newsletters X 3, school lunch menu  X 3, PTA Newsletters X 3, Scholastic Order Forms X 3.  Need I continue?  Probably not.  I also get a never ending supply of permission slips for field trips, Brownie and Girl Scout Newsletters and flyer's for every kid centered activity in the metro area.  Enough already!  I am trying to teach my kids the importance of conserving our natural resources and recycling.  How can I effectively convey my message of being conscientious of what we waste when their own school sends home paper like it costs nothing, both monetarily and environmentally?

I find it especially frustrating that I receive this paper in triplicate in April of all times, isn't this the month that we celebrate Earth Day after all?   While I write this blog, being motivated by pure frustration, I am staring at, you guessed it, paper!  Tonight, I have to go through several field trip permission slips and quietly throw away the third scholastic book order form that I have received in a week.  I have to do that quietly because my daughter is convinced that she needs the slumber party fun kit to complete her life.  It is after all only $19.99.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Another Sunday Feast!

My daughter, Hannah, helped make dinner again tonight.  She is becoming quite the little chef. Yesterday I gave her a new cook book and told her that if she wanted to help again, she could plan the menu.  It turns out that she is very ambitious when planning her meals.  We made homemade ravioli with homemade tomato sauce, salad, homemade chocolate pudding and juice.

Thankfully, we have a pasta maker that my husband is very capable on.  He made the pasta dough and rolled it out for us.  We were responsible for hand making the actual ravioli.  It was pretty easy actually.  Time consuming of course.  But, better tasting than store bought and better for you I would guess.   The inside was nothing more than ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese and parsley.   The sauce was very easy to make also.  Tomatoes, olive oil, garlic and basil.  That was it, oh, and a little sugar.  She also made homemade chocolate pudding with real whipped cream.  It was delicious!!  Having her around to pick out the menu is forcing me to use more whole foods and fresh foods than already do.  She is having a positive influence on all of us.

I would be a bad mom if I failed to mention that I let my 6 year old make tonight's beverage.  It was a juice mixture.  One third orange juice, apple and raspberry.  It was pretty good.  She was very proud of her contribution to the meal.  It could have been any awful combination of beverages and we would have consumed it because she was so pleased with herself.

I think that it is definitely time to let all of my kids start helping more in the kitchen.  It was a really nice way for us to bond and spend time together.  Not to mention, kids really do eat healthy food when they help in preparation.   I never would have believed that if I did not witness it again tonight.