Tuesday, February 28, 2012

You Are How You Cook.

 ....well if that's true than we must also factor in how we're cooking our best medicines.

Like most newlyweds we were gifted a set of cookware.  It was great, all shiny and red; complete with non-stick linings that made things oh so easy.  But as time wore on, just a few years to be honest, that inside started to change - flaking and cracking until we started finding bits of it in our food. 

A big red flag went up for this new mommy and I began the hunt for new cookware.  This is now one area where I find it is justifiable to relegate a nice chunk of change - particularly if you go at the purchase with longevity in mind.  So with my own permission to invest in a new set of cookware, trying to find new items that were trustworthy, budget friendly and guaranteed to last.

Now first I need to give a big shout of thanks to Frugally Sustainable's Facebook page, where they will post a question for their readers to respond to with their own experiences and knowledge.  It was the overwhelming response I got on this page, over 50 comments in less than an hour, that really sealed the deal for me. 

However, I wanted to share a little of the basic information I found while starting to research the topic.  If you've been using, as I have in the past, the affordable cookware made of aluminum or covered with Teflon I encourage you to look around at the new studies about the potential hazards of aluminum and teflon, and possible consider that it might not just be what you're cooking, but what you're cooking in that could affect your health.

For those of you new to the topic, here's a few of  the basics of cookware-ology that I've learned

  • Stainless Steel
    • Pros - Durable, easy to clean.  Non-reactive with acidic foods.
    • Cons - Does not distribute heat well with out aluminum or copper "clad" layers
  • Copper
    • Pros - Best for heat distribution
    • Cons - Expensive
  • Cast Iron
    • Pros - Long lasting, naturally non-stick if seasoned correctly.  Enameled Cast Iron, though expensive, solves many of the traditional problems with cast iron cookware.
    • Cons - Heavy, hand washing, needs seasoning to keep from rusting.  Can react with high acidic foods.
  • Anodized Aluminum
    • Pros - Light weight and low stick
    • Cons - Possibility of leaching aluminum into your diet.  Can react with acidic foods.
Thanks to the information I collected and all the suggestions I've come up with a game plan for our cookware.
  • Continue using our vintage Pyrex and other glass dishes whenever possible.
  • Ask relatives to go in on a good set of stainless steel pots and pans for my birthday (in a few weeks) and chuck all of our old non-stick immediately.
  • Slowly acquire cast iron and enameled cast iron pieces (Le Creuset, be still my heart)- looking out for deals, sales and perhaps adding items to the Christmas list for the next couple of years.
How about you?  Any type of pots and pans that you swear by?  

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Starting Off On the Right Foot

The last 36 hours have been a doozy.  I went into work on Tuesday morning to get a call at 10 a.m. that my son had a temperature of 102.2  Needless to say I raced home and got him tot he doctor.  Now some folks might think I was over reacting, but this kiddo in his first year has never had a high temperature like that so it's not normal even the couple of days he has been a little under the weather.

Turns out we've got our first ear infection, the high temperature AND he's cutting his two front teeth (one just cut through a little Monday night and the other is almost there).  So we've been playing lots of games of "Ears, Temperature or Teeth" while trying to match up the relief when we think we've got it right.

Now I could get on here and complain - woe is me sort of stuff.  I'm tired, I hurt (because that time of the month had to correspond to today and Endometreosis never makes that fun), my house can't stay as clean as I , I gave up soda for Lent (starting today of course) and I'm dying for the weather to warm up.

But I'm not going there

I choose to look on the bright side.  We have a home and on the grand scale of childhood illness an ear infections (properly managed) is almost insignificant.  I don't know how you folks who've weather major childhood illness do it, you are my heroes.  Truly.

Motherhood often gets it's worst rap at times like these.  We focus on the things that we can't do or the problems that arise and so often make a mountain out of a molehill.  These are the times when some folks I know go to Facebook and start posting "woe is me" sort of updates and offering to sell their children to the highest bidder.

I'm not on to sugarcoat motherhood either, but I can choose refocus my image during times like these.  I can take pride and joy in the fact that I have the means to help my child; that he comes to me (and daddy) to be comforted, that he looks to us to make it better because he trusts us to provide for him and to me that speaks to the successes of our first year of parenthood.

These week is going to be long.  Tempers are going to flare and things just won't get done.  But eventually it will be over and I'll know that it is over because we did what was necessary and needed with love and as much patience as we could manage.  Not too bad for a days work.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Lent; an offering

I mentioned yesterday that I had figured out what my prayer focus for Lent would be, and it's taken quite a lot of that discipline I'm not good at to keep this one down for a couple days.

While reading "Dynamic Catholic" last week I happened upon a passage about "Fostering the Inner Life" and the author made a simple statement.

"The authentic life is compatible with any honest human activity.  All honest work can be transformed into prayer."

I know there's not much to that passage, but it blew me away.  Growing up Protestant as I did prayer was only that stuff you said at Church or while kneeling by your bed.  The idea that the most mundane parts of your life could be a tool for something great, something transformative in yourself is a little mind blowing to me.

I won't lie here.  When we moved back and I chose to leave my artistic career behind the work that was available to me was less than glamorous and I had a hard time reconciling what I do for a living with the time and effort I've spent in school and in developing skills, none of which I use anymore.  However, in Matthew Kelly's words "Who we become is infinitely more important than what we do." and you know what?  He is right.

And so he, with that in mind, suggests this:

"A man's work may be to collect the trash, but if he does it well, and hour by hour turns to God in his heart and says, Father, I offer you this hour of work as a prayer for my neighbor Karen, who is struggling with cancer... or in thanksgiving for my wife and children, then he has truly discovered and is living the words "pray constantly." "

If you were doing your 9-5 job for a great reason would it be easier?  If you're a SAHM would that billionth load of laundry mean more if it could be part of something more?  Would you try harder to do your best knowing that you were offering to give those hours of yourself for someone else?  I know I would, suddenly my work would have a whole new meaning.

For those who don't pray or aren't comfortable with these suggestions I recommend looking at it from the idea of Karma - what goes around comes around.  If you thought, just for a minute, that doing your day to day work a little better, a little hard would balance out a little pain and suffering in the world would you do it?  I bet you would.

So this is what I will be doing until April 7th, everyday I go off to work at 5:30 in the morning I will offer that days work as prayer to a particular person or cause.  I will do my best during those eight hours in hopes that someones pain will ease, that an answer will appear or that a long awaited gift will finally be received.

I encourage you to do the same, whether your job for the day is office work or house work offer it up as a prayer for someone who needs it and see what happens.  Offer your day at a job you'd rather not have up in prayer for that friend who's been job hunting.  Offer the day corralling your children in prayer for the women who still can't get pregnant.  Offer that load of dirty dishes or that meal you're not sure anyone is going to eat up in prayer to those who need food and a home it eat it in.

By making the dull or tedious moments of our day more meaningful we are given a chance to improve ourselves and those around us by just going about our day.  How amazing is that?

So as Lent begins I challenge YOU, whether Lent is actually your celebration or not, whether you "get" religion or not, to challenge yourself until April 7th and see what you can make of yourself and what you can do for others and let's see how different our worlds can be by Spring.

P.S.  It's Fat Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday, which ever you prefer - so go have some crazy pancakes and wear some beads!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Lent ... I dare you.

It's that time of year and for once in my life I'm going to to do it.

Growing up Lent was something that those people who couldn't have hamburgers on Fridays did and it wasn't something that was given much thought.  In college I was always amazed at how determined my best friend was to persevere in her goals every spring and let's face it, not being the role model for discipline in college I was amazed by anyone who was.

I've done a lot of growing up since then and this year I'm determined to discipline myself and I encourage you to do it to.  Perhaps you're not Catholic, perhaps you're not even Christian, perhaps you think all of us religious types are a basket short of picnic, but no matter "what" you are ... I dare you.

I dare you, starting this Wednesday and until April 7th, to give something up.  Go without and see what happens.  Don't give up something easy either, give up something that finds its way into your everyday life.

This year I'm giving up Soda, cold turkey.  I hate that I love it so and I really want it out of my life and so on Wednesday I will give up my favorite beverage.  I will try to discipline my mind and body as I strive for something better; a better version of myself.  The self that could be possible with just a little discipline.

If you want to take it a step further consider the 3 focuses of Lent and do something to fill each one.  Fasting, Prayer and Charity.  The NC Register has a great list, for anyone really not just Catholic, to consider working into your life for Lenten season.

I've already mentioned that I'm going to give up soda, that's my fasting.  I've not decided what my charity will be and when I decide it will be something I keep to myself.  I've already decided what my Lenten form of prayer will be, but it's something I'm so excited about it needs it's own post.  Please join me again tomorrow for a little bit more.

Are you going to celebrate Lent this year?  If so, how are you going to make it meaningful for you?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sundays Ups and Downs

  • Up - Setting up our separate checking accounts so that both the hubs and I have an easily accessible "allowance" that is personal.  So far so good.  I think I will be using the savings account attached to mine to start saving for a proper camera.
  • Up - Good communication.  Now let me admit that in the first couple years of our marriage this was a rough spot - due to a great childhood Ben didn't know how to communicate when problems arose and due to my desire for everyone to read my mind, there by knowing exactly what to do, there were some tough spots.  We've gotten a lot better and cleared up a lot of the "who does what" stuff concerning our new home.  I don't feel like I'm doing everything anymore - which is another bad tendency of mine.
  • Down - We still haven't won the lottery that would allow us to pay off our student loans and the mortgage and have a bazillion more children and travel the world.... working on that.
  • Up - Creative cooking due to lots of leftovers from last week and lots of little odds and ends leftovers (you know that extra can of sauce or bag of beans that is always leftover at the end of the week).  I'm hoping to only pick up the absolute basics during tomorrows grocery trip and still get through the week with some good, filling meals.  Tonight I'm free-styling it and making what will hopefully turn out to be a large pastie filled with beef, onions, carrots and potatoes.  If it works, I'll make it again and post the recipe.
  • Up/Down - I've really been feeling the itch to work more on my "crunchy mom" tendency.  I want better food in my kitchen, natural remedies in my medicine cabinet and natural cleaners in the mud room.  Time to up the game I think.
  • Down - I'm so ready for spring it's not funny.  I want to be outside showing Henry the world.
  • Down - I'm feeling a little stretched this week - so much I want to do and so many things I'd rather be doing.  Good thing Lent is just around the corner.  Time to refocus.  More about that tomorrow.
  • Up - All in all a good, though be it long, week.
How about you?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Quick Takes

It's been a while since I've done a Quick Take, but I thought it'd be a good way to wrap up the week.

1) First a big THANK YOU to everyone who took the time to read and leave a comment on my Glowing Motherhood post I hope to be able to continue my story, share a little more, and reach out to others who've found themselves in a similar frame of mind.  I was filled with great joy to hear others realize that they were not alone.  Please feel free to share that post whenever you may have need of it.

2)  Birthday and Baptism celebration went off without a hitch - if you consider us not having a clue how what we were doing during the ceremony going off without a hitch.  All in all it was kind of hilarious.

3)  Ben and I had our second official date night since Henry was born.  We had dinner out and went to see one of our favorite bands - Gaelic Storm - perform at our local (community saved from being turned into a bar) theatre.  While I'll always prefer to see there shows in a venue where I can really get up and dance (and have better access to Guinness) it was a great show and it's was nice to have some adult time.  All that being said, we were more than anxious to get home to our boy.

4)With last weekend being the party and the weekend before being the Battle of the Stomach Flu I've gotten off track with my meal planning and grocery shopping.  Luckily between being sick, sharing meals with visiting family and lots of party leftovers I don't see the need for a large shopping trip this weekend.  Just going to stock up on fresh dairy and the weeks fruit and veg.

5) To help keep extraneous spending in check (all the little things and work lunches) the hubs and I opened separate checking accounts.  We agreed on a set amount we'll receive at the beginning of the month and what types of items constitute person vs. family account spending.  So far, so good.  I feel that things are a little more balanced now that the hubs has his own "allowance" - I've often felt guilt at the money I spend since I run errands and am out more, there by I, literally, spend the most of the money.  Now there's a way for us to know that we both get a fair share every month.  It also doesn't feel like I have to keep as close a watch on our main account throughout the month since all major, fixed expenditures are already carefully budgeted into our available cushion and monthly income.

6)  In keeping with my New Year's "Priority" I've been making sure to make a little more time for family in the last month and a half.  This usually means spending less time around these parts, but the payoff is great and I've definitely seen an improvement in certain aspects of my family life. 

7)  I also got the gift of time on Wednesday when Henry's Nana and Pop-pop (great grandparents) demanded some one on one time and sent me out on my own.  I have to admit I spent most of it wandering around the bookstore and added (with $ from my personal spending account) a few new titles to my nightstand.

"Montessori from the Start" - I'm a big fan of Montessori Education for young children and want to start learning a little bit more on how to incorporate their ideas of "child led learning" into Henry's Pre-school years.

"Square Foot Gardening" - More to come on our gardening plans for this year, but for now I'm digging in a little deeper and making a solid plan with a little help from this book.

"Second Nature: A Gardener's Education" - A little inspiration while I wait for spring.

7b)  Anyone have any parenting magazine suggestions?  "Parenting" magazine just isn't my style (way too many ads all over the same old articles for a start) and I never feel "crunchy" enough for "Mothering" (more on that later).  Anyone have a source on a good middle ground parenting mag for those of us who kind of end up in the middle?

Have a great weekend everyone!

P.S. - Feel free to leave your recommendations for gardening and early childhood education resources!  I'm always looking to expand the library!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Molly Makes {A Reading Nook}

No, not *that* kind of Nook.  We'll old school here and prefer to sacrifice lots of trees for our reading pleasure.

I realized that I haven't shared with you my favorite spot in the house.  Henry's Reading Nook.  In fact, Henry was so excited that I was taking pictures of it that he crawled right over to demonstrate it's use.  I'm not kidding, these pictures aren't staged.  He just crawled over, sat himself down, grabbed a book and opened it right up.

And then had to show his green truck the books as well.

Now who here didn't have their favorite place to curl up with a good book, tucked away from the world and super comfy.  We made this spot not long after moving in - originally it was just a pillow and a blanket, but now it's a full on comfy spot.  And to be honest, sometimes I crawl right in there with him.

A few things I have noticed since making this spot - Unlike the rest of the toys in the room, the books stay pretty close to the nook it's as if he knows "this is the reading spot" and perhaps it was just a well timed accident, but his interest in his books seemed to sky rocket after this spot became his.

Though I try not to give too much parenting advice here.  However, as a granddaughter of a children's librarian and a future librarian myself I do feel I have a little insight into child literacy.

Here are my top 6 tips for promoting a love of books a young age.

  1. Monkey See Monkey Do - Read around your child.  Read books, magazines, the mail anything!  A child is going to do what you do long before they do what you say.  If you show them that sitting down for quiet time with a book interests you they'll want to discover why!
  2. Have a Reading Space - Even as adults we forge out our own reading spaces - maybe it's the tub or that one comfy chair.  Make a child a space that is just for reading.  Make it comfortable and limit the availability of electronic distractions (there is no tv in the room where Henry's reading nook is).
  3. Age Appropriate Books - Whether it's board books a toddler can't rip or chapter books for an older child make sure you're catering to your child's age.  Simple, short books with bold illustrations or "touch me" books are right where we're at right now.
  4. Spark An Interest and Feed the Fire- Pay attention to which books get pulled from the pile, even at a very young age a child will start to recognize shapes or things that keep him interested.  You might end up with 10 books about trains, but the important thing is that those books are being used!  Just like how a toddler likes to fixate on a particular food toddlers and older children will fixate on particular topics.  Indulge these interests to the best of your ability until they've gorged themselves and are ready to move on to the next obsession.
  5. Read Everywhere - Show your kids that readings just not for school.  Take a book of bible stories as part of your busy bag to Church.  Take books, a picnic and a blanket to the park.  Take books on vacation.  Turn off the radio and listen to books in the car.
  6. Make Reading An Adventure - Whether it's taking your toddler to storytime at the library or taking your dinosaur obsessed 6 year old to the museum to see Sue engage your young reader with the literary world around them.  Encourage them to do summer reading programs (I know our local libraries have special programs to encourage parents to read to their babies and toddlers as part of their Summer Reading Programs) to show them that "Reading is Cool".  Take advantage of meeting visiting authors.  Read the book before you watch the movie.  Take your "Thomas" fan to see real trains.  Take your "Dora" fan to a Hispanic or Latin American cultural event.  Show them that reading truly is a free pass to the world.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sunday Night Chit Chat

 Participating in Carla's Sunday Night Chit Chat

Reading? "Rediscover Catholicism:  A Spiritual Guide to Living With Passion & Purpose" by Matthew Kelly.  Just started this tonight, so not much to say so far.  A gift from my MIL on my sons baptism day - I guess we need to get charged up to raise him in the faith.  Looks like an interesting read though!

Watching?  Hopefully the next episode of "Once" will be up online soon so I can catch up, but tomorrow I'm heading to my mothers so I can watch Season 2 of Downton Abbey!

Listening to? Quiet.  We've had a house full to brim this weekend with Henry's Baptism/Birthday celebration.  It was wonderful, but my introverted self needs a little quiet now to recharge.

Cooking/Baking? Nada.  We've got tons of leftovers from the party today.  We'll be eating sandwiches all week just to get through the leftover bread.

Happy you accomplished this week? 
1st Birthday party and Baptism was a success.  I'll hopefully have a change to share more about today as it just left feeling very loved and peaceful.  Also happy that I finally hit publish on a post very dear to my heart a few days ago.

Looking forward to next week? 
Getting back on track AND Ben and I's 2 official date since becoming parents last year.  We've got tickets for a concert on Thursday and are very excited to see one of our favorite bands!

Thankful for today? 
Family, Faith and Love.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Glowing Motherhood: My Journey Through Antepartum Depression

Tonight is the eve of my sons first birthday.  Tonight I glow as I feel I've glowed throughout my first year of motherhood.  Sure there have been some sleeplessness nights and graceless moments, but it's a year that literally glows gold in my memories.  I am so thankful to be at this stage in my life and I am so thankful for this wonderful little person who was given to me; trusted to me to shape in to a good man.

Tonight also marks the anniversary of last night of the worst 9 months of my life.

Now before I begin I want to say one thing, I hated being pregnant, but I loved my pregnancy.  These were two very different things to me; one was the state of carrying a living human being for nine months and the other was the little human being.  So if you have trouble sympathizing or relating while reading this please remember that to me there was a line.

My pregnancy was planned, but nothing could have prepared me for being pregnant.  After well over a year of trying and deciding that perhaps God was leading us in a different direction we discovered I was pregnant two weeks after our second wedding anniversary.  We were elated, a little surprised, but elated and promptly sat down making lists of names while we continued on with that nights "date" at the laundromat.

For me that elation was short lived.  In a matter of days the sickness started.  Not that "once in the morning, walk it off" kind of sick, but rather all day, every day, constantly running to the bathroom to revisit the paltry meal I managed to keep down for an hour sick.  Little did I know this was to last well into October, and it was June - the beginning of June.

I tell you of the sickness just as back-story.  Severe morning sickness is nothing new in the course of pregnancy history, and though I lost upwards of 15-20 lbs during the whole course I always managed to just barely keep my self hydrated enough to stay out of the hospital.  That alone was miserable, but it was only the tip of the iceberg.

Within those first few weeks the worry began.  A small niggling concern in the back of my mind had grown to full blown despair within a month.  By the time, at 12 weeks, when we made our announcement to the world I could barely muster up a "Yea, I guess."  when asked, for what seemed like the millionth time, "Aren't you excited?"

It was a combination of things that snowballed into hopelessness.  I was concerned at the type of mother I would be, and I was very concerned about how we'd provide for a child, the costs of pregnancy and birth, everything.  I was so sacred at how little I knew and how little I felt prepared that one day all I could do was sit in my dry bathtub holding my cat while sobbing.  I kid you not.

It wasn't long after the tub/cat/crying incident that we realized where we were living and what we were making a living at was not going to provide the type of life we wanted for our children and by September we were in a Uhaul driving back cross country.  My parents had offered us safe-haven at their house for as long as necessary as we got our feet back on the ground in our new location.

I thought that the move was going to fix things.  We'd be closer to family, in a better location to raise our family, in a state with a better economy; all those things so many of us want, but that wasn't how my mind was going to let me see things.  I wasn't someone make a temporary sacrifice for the betterment of her family; I was a looser, a bum living in her parents basement, bringing a new life into the world that she didn't know she could provide for, I was the lowest of the low.  I made list of everything I should of had and achieved by the age of 27 - the house, the stable job, the income and compared my self mercilessly to every friend and acquaintance who had what I had lost.  Everything I had worked for was  for naught, my mind told me, and this was going to be my life forever and I believed "Me".

By November all of these dark thoughts were also combined with the reality that the thoughts were keeping me from connecting with being pregnant at all.  I couldn't stand the fact that I was never truly alone.  I hated the attention and unprompted opinions of strangers.  I was filled with life and felt so empty.  It was all just too much.

By the time winter started to roll across the mid-west, a particularly bitter winter at that, I was defeated.  I'd had enough and it was at that point I had a long conversation with God.

I told Him that I understood.  I understood that some women weren't meant for motherhood and I was certain that this was what He was telling me.  I had obviously been coveting something that I wasn't prepared for and I had learned my lesson. 

I am not proud about this next part, but it is true.  Completely true.  I'm sorry.

I told Him that I understood that sometimes children were taken away and that it was often for the best.  I loved this little boy so much that I'd understand if that was His choice.  My little boy did not deserve the mother I was bound to be.  I told God I wouldn't resent him, I told God I'd understand and I told God I'd understand if He wanted to take me too because I was a failure and I was beyond worthless.

I know God listened to me that day.

He just didn't act in the way that I expected.

I can't tell you that things got instantly better.  Physical pain replaced physical sickness in the last month and I eventually got to the point where I had just accepted my fate in life which was the the culmination of all those terrible thoughts.  In the days before my induction I was fairly convinced I was going to die, and my labor and delivery was, well, let's just call it "eventful".  There were no booming voices, no trumpets and choruses of angels come down from the heavens to tell me "fear not".  Rather the little things kept going.  The bank account kept balancing, the bills got paid, the savings even increased.  A few days before Christmas I had a good, solid job interview and two weeks before delivery I had a job offer.  I even had a few moments, when my son wasn't practicing his roundhouse kick to my ribs that I even thought "I make a darn cute pregnant lady."

And on February 8th 2011 at 9:15 p.m. I knew it had all been worth it.  With my sons arrival to this world every fear and concern melted away.  I was just where I was supposed to be, doing just what I was supposed to be doing.  I spent the early hours of February 9th speak quietly to my slumbering son thanking God that he knew what he was doing and telling Henry everything I hoped and dreamed for him, all my plans for, everything and every bit of me that I'd gladly lay down for him and trying to put into words all my love.  I still can't do it justice.

I now believe that my 9 months of being pregnant were so dark because I need to know and appreciate how much my journey through motherhood glows.  I needed to know how to truly value life and how to trust in the timing.  I need to understand the signs so that I could be there for friends and I needed to know that what can come from sacrifice and how amazing it is to be filled after feeling so empty.

I share this story not to be be applauded or praised.  I have my reward and I have my battle scars.  I would gladly and willingly go through it all over again and that is enough for me.  I share this story because APD, antepartum depression, needs to be recognized. Because we, as a society need to understand that not every woman's nine months are glowing and happy and we need to be able to say that that is alright.  I believe that these uncontrollable fears and panics, when coupled with a strained relationship or an uncertain situation can be the push over the edge that makes women make life altering decisions.  While I, even in my worst moments, would not have made those choices I can see how those options can appeal to those who are lost and confused.

APD can happen to any woman, in any pregnancy.  APD can be caused by everything ranging from changing hormones to the stresses of real life.  It can strike the woman who finds herself alone and in an unplanned situation, the mother multiple times over and even the one who's spent months or even years waiting to see that extra little line on that test.

If you know a woman who's expecting a seems less than radiant extend your arms to her.  Let her know that it's okay.  It's okay not to glow.  Tell her that it will get better and that you'll stand by her side until it does.

For more information on APD please go to:

If you feel that you are showing the signs of APD please open up to your doctor and your loved ones.  If you feel that you are having suicidal thoughts or tendencies please seek help immediately.

Proper support can be key in getting you through this moment and on to the next and know that it's okay not to glow now, but I know you will someday.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Molly Makes {Magnets}

We've been needing something new and fun to play with in the kitchen - the drawer of Tupperware wasn't keeping us distracted long enough for dinner.  I noticed Henry was interested in the few paltry magnets we had for the fridge and decided he needed something a little more kid friendly.  Here's how we, quickly, made some great magnets, a perfect size for your favorite little!

You'll Need:
  • A pack of circular magnets
  • Glue
  • Wooden cut outs
We found these cut outs at our local Hobby Lobby, in fact I found them last year and have been hemming and hawing over what I wanted to make out of them forever!

With your wood object face down, clean and remove any unnecessary stuff from the backs.

Apply small dab of glue to the back and set magnet in the center - we ended up using wood glue, but I'm super hot glue or something equally strong would work.  I'm not going to recommend regularly Elmer's Glue because I'm not 100% sure that it's strong enough to hold up to the abuse fun Little's can put their toys through.  I chose the thicker round magnet to insure a little gap between the wood and the fridge for little finger, but the magnet strips would work just as well!

Let dry over night.  Ideally, use a clamp, large book or other such item to as a weight to insure a good bond - pressure is actually what insures a good bond with glue!  If using strong magnets be sure to give your items enough room so that the backs aren't pulling toward each other.

Once dry and secure these are ready to use!  I look forward to these being a kitchen staple for a long time and adding more magnet games and activities as my Little gets bigger.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Theatre and the Obsolete Skill

When I was first starting my "professional" career in theatre I sublet a room in a beautiful brownstone building in a suburb of Cleveland.  A few weeks into the sublease I met my roommates parents when they came over to dinner.  After a while of polite conversation the discussion turned towards me as I attempted to explain what I was attempting to do for a living - designing and constructing costumes for theatre.  This is involves a broad spectrum of knowledge from paints and dyes to sewing techniques and patterns not used commercially for hundreds of years.

The roommates mother, while trying to make an attempt at interest, responded "Oh my, what an obsolete skill."

I try to give this woman the benefit of the doubt that this was an attempt at polite conversation, but I could tell by her tone that she thought what I was doing was a big waste of time and you know what sometimes over the following 5 years I felt like I was wasting my time as well.  Really, what how can live theatre compete with super 3-D special effects and superb sound editing these days.

This is why I worked 70 hour weeks in college for two theatre degrees.
This is why I lived on less than $20,000 a year, working full time.
This is why I flew cross country multiple times each year and missed countless holidays and special occasions with my family and friends.

Though this was not a show I had the honor to work on I know many of the shows I did moved people.

This might not be my career anymore, but I will continue to be "A Theatre Person" for years to come because I believe that magic is possible and miracles happen.

And in my book nothing that can make a connection and create a moment like this one can ever be considered "obsolete."

"All the world's a stage..." - Billy Shakes

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