Saturday, August 28, 2010

Days of Play--Bug Count

Get outside--the backyard, a park, a near by lake or pond--and go for a walk.

As you walk with your child, count the bugs you see.  Talk about number of legs, wings, and colors.  If you are feeling particularly nerdy, check out a bug book from the library in advance and look up the bugs you find to learn more about them.

Consider having older children draw the bug and keep a log of how many bugs they find, etc.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Date Night In--Board Game Tournament

Break out those board games and have a tournament.

All you need are a couple of board games (personally we shy away from Settlers of Catan, Rish, and Monopoly because they takes to long) and play.  Best two out of three gets a fifteen minute back rub.

Great board games/card games (don't shy away from kid games):
  • Uno
  • Skip-Bo
  • Sorry
  • Aggravation
  • Chutes and Ladders
  • Twister
  • Battleship
  • Yahtzee
  • Scrabble
  • Connect Four

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Things I Love--School Supplies

You know that scene in You've Got Mail where Joe Fox says he'd like to send Kathleen Kelly a bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils?


I'm not sure if it is the teacher in me (or the nerd) but I have a mad obsession with school supplies.  I love to walk up and down school supply aisles ogling mini-sharpies, lime green plastic pencil boxes, and Fiskars scissors.  Last week I caught my daughter smelling a box of Crayola crayons and the pride of such a sight nearly made me burst into tears.

Perhaps it's the realization of what those supplies are for that makes me so giddy.  I mean, a kid armed with a washable marker has so much potential--who can resist the hope of what some young artist might create with pipe cleaners and some glitter or the inspirational story that might be penned in a spiral notebook.  When we invest in school supplies, we are investing in our future.

Or maybe I've sniffed too much white glue!

Anyone else infatuated with trapper keepers, mechanical pencils, and black and white composition books?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

What I Think About--Disney Princesses

When I was a little girl my parents owned a video store and I got to see a ton of movies.  I loved the Disney princess movies!  Sleeping Beauty was my favorite and I remember seeing Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid in the theater.  What great shows.

Then I grew up and watched them and noticed some disturbing themes.
  1. Few of the princesses have a good relationship with their moms.  Moms are missing or purposefully away (Aurora, Belle, Jasmine, Pocahontas) or Step-mothers (Snow White, Cinderella) or dead (Ariel).  Mother/daughter relationships can be so beautiful but you'd never guess it by watching a Disney show.  I mean with the exception of Mulan and Tiana, moms are missing, dead, or down right not nice!
  2. Disney movies are ripe with chauvinistic stereotypes. First, the princess is generally needing to be in the care of a man (father) or hero (prince charming).  Secondly, the princesses rarely have female camaraderie (and then we wonder why girls are "mean girls").  Thirdly, the females are generally very weak and are seen merely as being beautiful.  Sexuality--not character--is what matters (after all, Ariel gets Eric to nearly kiss her just for being pretty--he doesn't even want to hear her speak and know her thoughts?!?!)!  I know, I know, Tiana and Mulan show women being strong and trying to reach their potential (but as a a frog and a man .... hmmmmmmm.....).
  3. The movies are full of cultural/ethnic stereotypes.  Jasmine is forced to marry by law (like all people in the Middle East, right?) and of course she is the daughter of a rich sultan (because no one in the Middle East is poor).  Tiana (finally a black princess!) is wrapped up in voodoo and poverty in a setting that has been highly traumatic for Black Americans.  And don't forget that many African Americans were upset that Tiana was so light skinned and didn't have many prominent "black" features. Pocahontas clearly enforced the stereotype that American Indians/Native Americans all wore Plains Indian clothing and were "at one" with nature.
  4. The movies "mis-educate."  This just in, historians continually discount a romantic relationship between Pocahontas and John Smith.  She married John Rolfe, whom she sailed to England to be with. The film also "forgot"to show the mistreatment of Pocahontas' people by Europeans.
  5. The scary parts are REALLY scary.  Witchcraft, voodoo, spells, sinister laughs, gargoyles, dragons, fire ... sounds delightful! 

When I had a baby girl I was so excited to show her the princess movies I loved.  But when I watched them as an adult and saw some of these disturbing themes, I chose to share princess films with her very slowly and with very deliberate discussions.

Perhaps I'm going overboard but that's my prerogative as a mom.  In the mean time, I'm thrilled that Madisen wants to be Cowgirl Jessie!  Here's a chick who has had a tough life, can be a little distrusting and withdrawn but overall is adventurous, athletic, fun-loving, self-sacrificial, helpful, opinionated, and caring.  Are all those attributes positive all the time?  Nope.  But I like that she's got good and bad--just like me.

That's what I think about Disney Princesses.  What do you think?  Are these princesses a bit messed up or am I overly sensitive (or both)?

Author's note:  In writing this post I've had to come to grips with the fact that I might not "identify" other cultures or groups appropriately.  In fact, how one identifies is intensely personal (Hispanic/Latino/Chicano; African American/Black, American Indian/Native American ...).  If I've used an identifier that is offensive to you, I ask for your forgiveness and hope that you will look past the mis-label to the heart of the post's content.  Thank you.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Your Words--Wedding Story

Lately, YOUR WORDS has been relationship based. Have you wondered why? It's all in celebration of my parents who, TODAY, are celebrating their 41st wedding anniversary. Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad (Okay, they aren't going to read this because where they live in Alaska you can only get dial up at the local library and they don't love me enough to wait for my blog to load.  They will see this when I make a blog book, though)!

Matt and I got married on 12/21/02.  We were married in a small church and had our reception at the Ivinson Mansion (blocks from where we met).  Our colors were black and white and I let each of my four bridesmaids find a black dress they liked--they didn't match but they went together.  And I know at least one of them has since worn her bridesmaid dress to another event so I broke all sorts of wedding stereotypes!

Our wedding was small and intimate but got rowdy during dancing time (I love that we had a dancing reception where literally EVERYONE danced).  Our friend Andrew broke a table full of glasses during the train, I wore a headdress for the YMCA, and Matt's 85 year old great uncle Bob did the chicken dance.  My favorite memory was getting into the getaway car (which had XXX Mobile written on the side) and realizing we were out of gas.  At 11:00 pm in the middle of a snowstorm, Matt pumped gas in his tux and I washed the windshield in my wedding dress.  Classic!

Tell me your wedding story!  When did you get married?  Where?  Was it everything you hoped it would be or was there a blooper?  What's your best wedding memory?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

What's Cookin'--8/23-8/29

Turns out I forgot to post my menu plan last weekend.  Oops.

My only excuse is that I was out of town on a mom's slumber party :)

Monday--Cranberry Chicken and wild rice
Tuesday--French dips and raw veggies
Wednesday--Garlic Parmesan chicken salad
Thursday--Herb pork loin, sweet potatoes, and swiss chard
Saturday--Hawaiian chicken and rice
Sunday--BBQ ribs and corn on the cob (ewww!)